Saturday, 31 August 2013

The 1975 - The 1975

The 1975 are the kind of indie story as old as the genre itself. Spend a few years on the egde, holding back your best material and then release it all in one to create almost overnight success. This formula has yielded Bastille and Alt-J in the last year alone, but for Drive Like I Do, Talkhouse etc etc, the 1975’s past has been slightly more littered.
Every time the buzz built, they went away again. This, their final form made up of some big singles and a long lasting partnership with Dirty Hit Records (Ben Francis Leftwich, Little Comets) has proven to be the one that stuck.

Four EPs down the line (the fourth of which wasn’t in ‘the plan’) and two top 40 singles under their wing, the 1975 have finally got round to making a record. Starting with their trademark atmospheric-electro sound, so trademark in fact that it shares their name, it gives way to debut single The City . It pulses with power as mission statement before becoming the chilled out pop sound of M.O.N.E.Y. Echoing with the kind of sound that features across many of Bastille’s album tracks before breaking out into Chocolate, its easy to see how the 1975 have created success. Chocolate’s still as infectious as it was when Huw Stephens first caught wind of it on Radio One and yet it’s still not the biggest track on the record. That accolade’s left for their recently re-recorded single Sex.
Old time ’75 fans will have seen this develop from noisy bedroom recordings to the highly produced monster it is now. As with much of the record, it’s in danger of being too shiny, but it’s hard to deny how catchy the “She’s got a boyfriend anyway” is.

After this, its onto the easily forgettable Talk! and yet another 1975-mosphere minute before indie’s answer to the Drive Soundtrack, Heart Out opens the second half of the record. It’s begging for a remix driven by the bassline and chorus but as a standalone track, it just about works as counter-culture-pop. The same can be said for the offbeat Settle Down in which you can practically see the teenagers on eachother’s shoulders during the chorus. 
Robbers proves to be the surprise of the record. Another track taken from the Matt Healy history vaults, the quality of his vocals resembles that of KIGH’s Aled Phillips (and that’s a compliment).
From here sadly, its relatively predictable. By putting 16 tracks on their debut effort, the 1975 have put themselves in danger of creating too many tracks that should have been B-sides. If left at a 10/11 track, this could have been one of the standouts of the year, but left to trail off in the way that this does, all those years of preparation has been let down by a lack of leaving some of their children to die, the 1975 have let some of their great ones down.


Braden Fletcher

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Los Campesinos! - What Death Leaves Behind

Everyone's favourite not-so-twee six-piece indie-pop hyphen-friendly act Los Campesinos! have been making waves with their paint bomb heavy promotional images (and .gifs, they use Tumblr now) for their forthcoming fifth record No Blues. This afternoon they turned those waves into actual momentum by putting the record up for pre-sale (here) and debuting the first new track from it.

What Death Leaves Behind (below) follows on in the trajectory they've been moving in for some time now, with a By Your Hand-esque synth line pulsing throughout (replacing the Glockenspiel of old), intelligent yet morbid lyrics with a feel good sound and a There Are Listed Buildings style instrumentation.
There's a good feeling surrounding this album amongst its fans, one that based on the glimpses of imagery shown signals a step further in the oxymoronic world of blissful morosity. Only time will tell, No Blues is out in October.



For Flotsam
What Death Leaves Behind

A Portrait of the Trequartista as a Young Man
Cemetary Gaits
Glue Me

As Lucerne / The Low
Avocado, Baby
Let it Spill
The Time Before The Last Time
Selling Rope (Swan Dive to Estuary)

Bands to Look Out For #18 - Splashh

"There are bands that perfectly imitate other bands, whereas we have our influences, but try to do something completely original." These words are from the mouth of Splashh’s frontman, Sasha, and they totally sum up his band’s approach to music.
They reel off influences in interviews, citing indie legends Deerhunter, Dinosaur Jr and Jay Reatard among others, and sounds from all these bands can be heard at times in Splassh’s music; however, they never let one influence overpower their own unique style.

This London band aren’t brand new, not in terms of internet-age time, they’ve been around for a year or so, but they have quickly garnered attention, playing big festivals such as Glastonbury. Their music is in the vein of krautrock indebted bands like the Horrors and Toy, but what makes them stand out is a real knack for melody, which makes these guys not only a great live act, but also a compelling listen on record.
Their debut album is released here in September, which in the band’s own words is "just a collection of songs that we wrote at home and we just put it on an LP. It’s just a nice little intro to the world." An endorsement so calm, cool and assured from a band sitting on a clutch of excellent singles can only mean good things. Meanwhile if you haven’t already heard their stuff, check out the video for their song Vacation (below) which features one of the most infectious hooks of the past year. Watch this space.

Josh Barfoot

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Y Not Festival - Sunday

Making sense of what happened at a festival can often be confusing and challenging; so it is with great apologies that we present to you the rather late roundup of the third day of Y Not festival accompanied by its very own SoundInPhotos Gallery.

As the rain subsides once more on Sunday but the clouds overhead remain ominous, our first stop is to the main stage as we feel that we’ve neglected it this weekend. As we arrive to a flock of animated seagulls taking over the screens, Dingus Khan are treating those brave enough to go out so early on a Sunday to a feast of a set. There’s subliminal messages, synchronised dancing and a mighty lead vocal performance all in one short set.

From here we make our last visit to BBC Introducing for Saint Raymond. He’s massively inoffensive but aside from a few whimsical songs its hard to see mass-appeal within the music and the same can be said for the wonderfully named yet tragically boring Pineapple Thief inside the third stage (although if Radiohead’s The Bends is your favourite record, you’ll thoroughly enjoy them).

From here it’s back to back joy though as MaybeSheWill pull off possibly the strongest instrumental set we see all weekend (sorry 65Days, MaybeSheWill edged you on intimacy and crowd-likeability) before Wet Nuns bring a huge crowd in from the rain into their dark and powerful breed of rock’n’roll.  This Autumn may finally be the Nuns’ time to shine.

Inversely in power but not so much in enjoyment, up and coming starlet Lewis Watson treats a rather busy second stage to half an hour of music taken from each of his four EPs. His latest single Calling is a standout for the festival and possibly our summer as his enthusiastic fans sing every word back at him.

Then comes something we were not expecting. If you’re aware of The Computers you’ll know that not only have they produced two rather contrasting yet wonderful records and toured with both The Subways and Pulled Apart By Horses, but also they’ve mastered the art of performing live; mostly from sweaty shows by the South Coast and Kingston. Their time at Y Not however, proves to be the set of the weekend with only one act left to see. Their blend of sharp suits and raucous behaviour turns out to be the perfect formula and there’s not a muddy, tired face that leaves the Giant Squid Tent happier and sweatier for it.

Which leads to the biggest surprise of the festival. Once chart and Reading and Leeds toppers The Darkness, actually still have it! Yes, the glam-rock dream has faded and yes,  the budget’s slipped and yes, it does get annoying not knowing over half the songs of a headline performance, but with showmanship like Justin Hawkins and his band create, who even cares? Chants to their simple logo, crowd surfing and mass sing-alongs bring Y Not to a strange and wonderful ending before we try and fail to watch Jurassic Park in the cinema tent.

Braden Fletcher

Friday, 23 August 2013

5 Minutes with Tony Law at the Edinburgh Fringe

I managed to catch the fantastic Tony Law’s Edinburgh fringe show at (in my humble opinion, the best comedy club in Britain*), The Stand yesterday. His show is a joyous psychedelic trip through space and time and back, via Peru, with some wry nods to the annoyingness of observational comedy (‘I’ve been noticing the shit outta stuff’) and some pretty fantastic impressions to boot. And it’s hilarious. His humour is such that you can never pin him down, and curveballs are thrown at you left, right and centre.

I met Tony after the show, which as well as his on-point surrealism (is that an oxymoron?), included lasers, music and make-up, as well as some other surprises. I managed to ask him some quick questions, which follow. What a lovely bloke.

HIt seems like you had a lot of fun creating this show, you had music and planets and lots more lovely surprises, how did you come up with all of these things?
TL:  Oh just cos it’s all the things I enjoy. I like The Who, The Who saved me from my turmoil on a farm in Canada, well it wasn’t turmoil but, I like The Who… It’s snowballed from last year’s show where I just wanna give people more, and also I wanted to take the piss out of, like, showbiz, so do like lasers and stuff, with Joseph Stalin doing the opening speech, that was my favourite bit.

HSame thing with your jokes, how do you come up with all these stories, are they all rooted slightly in real life?
TL: Yeah, they are all based on my observations then I try and twist them just- I don’t really consciously think about them I just go and do them onstage on new material nights and stuff.

HHow did you get into comedy; how did you know this was what you wanted to do?
TL: Well I was always the class clown, the funniest guy in the school. Then during my 20s I spent the whole decade being insecure and afraid and shy, and so I thought one day ‘fuck it, I used to be funny when I was a kid and happy and secure, so I’m going to give it a go’ and then I think I was 29 or something when I started. It took me a few years to get it good.

H: What is it like coming to the fringe? Is it different to other comedy gigs for you?
TL: Basically I use the fringe to write my show, so I come up on Day 1… you’re supposed to have your show ready, then you present it to the world and actually my show doesn’t get ready until 10 days in. Everyone laughs and enjoys it all the way through; it’s just that it’s not a perfect thing until the end. And then I’ll take it on tour and the rest of the country can enjoy the perfect thing.

HAre you going on tour with this show?
TL: Yeah going around, starting in Liverpool on October the 2nd, and then right through to December the 5 or something like that I start at the Soho Theatre and I do five weeks…FIVE WEEKS there.

HAnd you’ve just done 3, nearly 4 weeks here too!
TL: Yeah, and you know it’s much nicer. Because there’s not all the bullshit of the festival and all these egos, y’know. And also you drink less, because you do your show and go home.

HYou obviously picked to come onto The Who for this show because you really like them, what would be your ultimate pre-show playlist, one to come on to?
TL: ‘Do You Realise’ by Flaming Lips, followed by ‘Bust Up Boxer’ by Eels, and then finish it off with ‘Baba O’Riley’ by The Who. They would be my 3 favourites.

HThat’s a great list! Thank you!
TL: It was a pleasure! Nice talking to you.

*It’s also a very unqualified opinion. I’ve only been to about 3. Still, The Stand is bloody great.

Tony Law's Website is here!
His 'Nonsense Overdrive' tour, probably containing lasers, starts on Oct 2nd in Liverpool. More dates here.

Holly Read-Challen

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Swiss Lips - Carolyn

Recently it has become a bit out of character or us to post individual singles but sometimes we have to make exceptions for the exceptional and the new single from Swiss Lips is certainly that.
Carolyn is a swirling pop track of new-Mancunian wonder about falling in love with someone and driving off into the sunset with them (because isn't that the dream), and its audio is below; but its in the method of creating a video for it that the band really stand out. They've created a video game that creates its own remix version with each individual play.
The collaboration with Phililps' You Need to Hear This has resulted in Playstation 1 style graphics and Game Boy Colour gameplay in the form of the most entertaining interactive music video since Arcade Fire's Wilderness Downtown project. Better still, this partnering up means that you can win headphones or Swiss Lips merch by sharing your individual remix across social-media.

It really has to be played to be described, so we recommend you visit REMIXCAROLYN as soon as you humanly can.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Y Not Festival - Saturday

Saturday begins similarly to the way Friday did; the storm from the night before has passed and Y Not is waking up in warm tents in a damp field trying to piece together the night before and THAT storm.

Anyone hoping to have a steady road to recovery bundled into BBC Introducing’s allocation at the Quarry to catch These Mortal Cities. Their twinkling teenage indie came fresh out of the mid-noughties with the kind of enjoyable naivety festivals should be about, especially considering the crowd was barely over age in most parts of the tent.
From one indie band to another, much more professional and enjoyable one; Sky Larkin took to the main stage to play tracks from their forthcoming record as well as a few fan-favourites. Judging by a few of the tracks, Motto could be a strong return to form for the Leeds band.

From here, one of the possible standouts of the festival come in the form of Drenge.  A big crowd has assembled for the duo in anticipation to hear the MP plugged grunge that will surely heat up the charts next week; and the boys don’t disappoint.  It’s loud, energetic and even features a song about a bus.

I Am In Love follow. What everyone was expecting to be a simple 30minute set however, quickly became a party that featured people playing rugby, a marriage proposal (of the lead singer) and drumming from the middle of the crowd. When you bare in mind that this is all in the smallest tent of the festival, its certainly a feat. Whitemore following this do not satisfy to the same extent and its up to 65DaysofStatic to battle a painfully short set and bring the tempo back up. They do not disappoint with a set that features material taken from their upcoming record as well as the singles from their last and of course, the epic Radio Protector. If only they had over half an hour in the sun!

The 1975 then cram a tent full to the brim for their performance. It’s energetic and a hugely uplifting set full of material that’s bound to set the remainder of the summer alight once their debut LP is out next month and it leads us perfectly back across the Y Not site for a set of Ash’s greatest hits. Their time at the top is most definitely behind them, but Ash still know how to put on a great show and the masses assembled at the main stage agree.

After this it’s only the Cribs left and they headline in style. Whilst the setlist doesn’t favour those who prefer their older material, almost every single from their last decade gets an outing as the band’s Payola record is rifled through in what feels like no time at all. The festival’s biggest crowd so far also proves to be the most raucous and as the Y Not party continues through the night, you’re left wanting more Cribs and less of their last two LPs.

Braden Fletcher

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Y Not Festival - Friday

10,000 people, 64 Bands, 7 stages across the day and 1 almighty electrical-storm-enduced evacuation; if you want to describe Friday of Y Not in numbers, it’s possible, but here at SI, we’d rather use 600 words and put a gallery at the bottom of it. 33 photos from Day One no less.

The day starts with a quick succession of up and coming acts. From the blues-rock infusion of Whisky Stain howling with the prowess of a Black Key through to the Johnny Flynn looks and Mumfords’ rhythm of underage duo Natterjacks, the fun really begins when Alcopop Records and Big Scary Monsters joined forces on the Giant Squid Stage.

SI sticks around to watch Axes perform the most enthusiastically joyous post-rock set its possible to witness before straying out into the open once more as ominous clouds sweep over the site. Visits to the Beach Bar and Magical Pizza Gardens take us back just in time for some math-rock.
Delta Sleep’s newest material is making the last three years of slow and steady progress seem very much worth it as the band’s math-rock sounds filled the tent before My First Tooth made an early bid for ‘Act of the Weekend’ with their breed of folk mixed with hooks that most bands spend years trying for. Gunning For Tamar rock out in a big way as their new material blends with huge tracks such as Chocolate Hooves. Keep a watch out for these Oxford boys’ debut record.

Taking mostly from the duo’s UK Top 40 record, PSB’s stage demeanour doesn’t change. Samples and pre-recorded messages “We’re so excited to play … Y Not Festival” are greeted with raucous cheers from the assembled and the band get on with their distinctly electronic sounding live show. It’s as well oiled as a Spitfire (incidentally the title of one of their tracks) and about as easy to compute as “Simon” (see ROYGBIV for witty reference).

As the crowds leave PSB’s set, the aforementioned ominous clouds begin to leak profusely as we take refuge in Stagecoach’s set. Debut album under their wing, Stagecoach have a plethora of tracks to choose from for a half hour set and they don’t disappoint. Singles Work!Work!Work! and Action mix in with We Got Tazers and Headbanger’s Ball as they storm through their set just in time to miss the very real storm that’s built outside.

Playing right into Chapel Club’s hands, the darkness draws a big crowd into the Quarry stage. Whilst their new record isn’t nearly as dark as their first effort, music from each album is greeted fondly and of course Surfacing sees the lowest pitch singalong of the weekend from Y Not’s increasingly damp patrons.

At this point, everything begins to break. An electrical storm takes Mystery Jets off stage, delays Johnny Foreigner and cuts Quarry headliners Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip’s return to the live scene in half. Just as the duo get into their third track and have the huge Y Not crowd in the palms of their hands, stage crew rush on stage to evacuate the Arena for half an hour. Le Sac hugs the crowd and walks off whilst Pip crowdsurfs all the way out the back door to brave the storm himself. By the time The Horrors take to the main stage to headline, Dan and Pip are back on and power through their set with the kind of aggression and gusto that shouts to much bigger things in the next year.

The tagline of the festival? Small. Fresh. Loud. After just one day, all of that’s been proven and there was even a huge storm to top it all off. 


Braden Fletcher