Sunday, 22 September 2013

Sound InPhotos: Tall Ships and Tellison @ Camden Barfly

How to create a good show. Take a show that already happened in a bigger venue and sponsor it with beer. Tellison supporting Tall Ships happened last year at Shoreditch's XOYO and from there Tall Ships went on to headline the Scala after the release of their debut record Everything Touching. Becks managed to cram both into the Camden Barfly and what ensued was loud.
Here's the Sound Inphotos set from the night taken by Braden.

Created with flickr slideshow.
Braden Fletcher

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Grouplove - Spreading Rumours

Remember the summer of 2011?  The summer you couldn’t avoid Foster The People whilst their equally good Californian counter-parts Young the Giant and Grouplove skirted the edges and touring Ameri-rocker friends Cage the Elephant and Manchester Orchestra also released solid records?
You’l probably only remember Pumped Up Kicks, but on the smaller stages at all of the festivals you’d find Grouplove tearing it up in joyous and energetic fashion and out of all of their East Coast fleet, they’re the first ones to return. So how is their ‘difficult second record’?

Spreading Rumours starts with the enchantingly dense I’m With You. At first listen it sounds like a pulsating trip into the more grown up version of a band that was in their debut and preceding EP full of reckless abandon. The further into it you venture however the more you realise that this is a band that have spent plenty of time in the studio making their version of an American Carnival sound like the complex yet enjoyable time it is. This care to the complex continues in Borders and Aliens, as the band take a more mathematical backline and give it the kind of chorus that you’d expect to fall somewhere between The Maccabees and Biffy Clyro’s newest work.

Schoolboy and Ways to Go have more of the summertime feel that was on their first record; the latter of which sounds much like Tongue Tied’s older brother, before the middle-filler of the record comes in. It’s in this though that Grouplove show their true colours. Whilst the tracks themselves lack the hooks that could make them great sounding live songs, the lyrical content feels more honest. Sit Still deals with the issues of being noticed whilst in response to much of the ‘hippy’ criticism that came from the media two years ago “I’d rather be a hippy than a hipster // So come sit at my table” is blasted out of Christian Zucconi’s powerful voice.

Hannah Hopper’s voice too has matured and strengthened also. On Didn’t Have to Go, she rivals the power that the likes of Charlotte Cooper and Hayley Williams have honed over the years whilst filling it with raw emotion. If it didn’t have such a strange backing track, the track could be heartwrenching.
Raspberry feels just like Cage the Elephant at their best whilst album closer takes from the similar closing style as album one and the kind of sound that Dry The River tried to pen down last year. It’s a fairly cop-out ending but at the same time; it feels fitting to a record that even in the predictable parts feels like a keeper.  


Braden Fletcher

AllDay Presents: AusRap

So this article's a bit different. Upon a search for new music we came across Australian rapper AllDay. His sound is somewhere between Drake, Travis McCoy and the kind of flow that we enjoyed at the turn of the last decade. It's summery and makes us just a bit happier inside. His track Eyes on the Road taken from the Loners Are Cool EP proved to be a standout for us and his new album/mixtape Soon I'll Be In Cali 2 is full of tracks just waiting to burst out of Australasia into the rest of the world.
You can listen to select tracks from it below and download the whole thing for whatever price you like (yes, including nothing) as well.

All Day, or AllDeezy as he likes to call himself also enlightened us as to some more Australian rappers that he thinks we should lend our ears to. We honestly didn't know more than we could count on one hand before this so it's a real pleasure to get it from one of the most exciting prospects of the scene. This then, this is the British introduction to AusHop.

So right now is a good time for Hip Hop in Australia. There are a bunch of people doing cool stuff and I finally think we are catching up to the rest of the world.

To start off with, Jackie Onassis. This song is called Smoke Trails. It's just silky as fuck and Kai (the rapper) can sing a bit too. These guys are the next kings of Sydney. [FREE EP DOWNLOAD]

Next up we have a dude from Melbourne called Remi Kolawole. This song is called Sangria and it sums up what every Australian does in Summer. Remi is definitely blowing up right now. [FREE DOWNLOAD HERE]

And finally (drum roll please...)this is a new single from Thundamentals from Sydney. These guys have been around for a while but this song is my favourite thing they've done so far. I actually supported them on a tour when I was starting out last year, they're real nice, humble dudes and they're getting more popular all the time. This is Smiles Don't Lie.

So that's that. Three of my favourite recent Australian hip hop songs and artists. I hope you guys enjoy them!

xoxo Alldeezy

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

No Ceremony ///

No Ceremony/// gave up anonymity last year in favour of playing shows and having their own band identity that wasn’t shrouded in mystery. The buzz that had surrounded their faceless sound continued in a way that must have relieved them, especially considering their secrecy was only a way of making sure people listened before they looked.
So when Kelly, Victoria and James performed live, in many ways, nothing changed. Which leads us up to this point.
The point in which their debut album has been out for a fortnight and in many ways appeared to fail to convert the hype, radio play and admirable touring into chartable sales.

Of course, as I’ve stated before, there’s no magic formula for charting, but the hope that you can turn a solid touring schedule and amount of popularity into a top40 chart position is a fair one. That’s not even to say their debut and self titled album isn’t any good, but the theory that good music doth a chart position create was lost some time ago. No, No Ceremony’s record is a powerful, pulsating 35minutes in which its singles are hardly distinguishable (in terms of quality and structure) from the remainder of the 9 tracks that feature.

It was last year that my mate John first yelled the words No Ceremony at me. He’d read an article by the Guardian’s Paul Lester and was really very excited. He demanded we go see them at the next possible opportunity, which for me was Brighton’s Great Escape. Hundreds of bands on the coast, including No Ceremony who were on at past midnight. A Red Stripe or three for breakfast accompanied by some fish and chips and we were on the way to midnight via lots of exciting music. Night approached and we made our inebriated ways to No Ceremony. The venue’s rammed, many of the viewers blogger-types and the similarly informed to John and myself.

When you hear something as powerful as PARTOFME and HURTLOVE on record, you expect your organs to tremor in a live scenario. To be disappointed by something sounding no better than record isn’t usually an issue, but for some reason with No Ceremony it just is and that’s where their problem lies. FEELSOLOW, the band’s newest single was another track that filled you up with nocturnal energy and possibly the strongest track on the record, AWAYFROMHERE which features the vocal stylings of James Vincent McMorrow takes that energy and compresses it into how you feel at 4am on a Saturday morning. That feeling of having a great time but having little left with which to enjoy said time with. AWAYFROMHERE is enchanting and it gets better the more exhausted you are, which, by the end of a night listening to No Ceremony, John and I were.

You can’t write the formula for success, not even when you’ve laid the foundations so well and created a solid record. You can however, enjoy the creation regardless of its failings, and that’s the point we are at.


Braden Fletcher

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Sound InPhotos: Summer Camp, PINS and KHUSHI @ The Social

Huw Stephens hosts a monthly night at Oxford Circus' The Social. Situated in the northern outreaches of Soho; the likes of Gaggle, Goldheart Assembly and Chet Faker have all played the Radio One DJ's night in the underground venue of >200.
Announcing the 'Special Guests' as Summer Camp just a few hours before the show guaranteed a show that also featured Bella Union girl-group PINS and opening music from the wonderful KHUSHI; Braden was on hand with a camera to capture the event. Here's the results.

Braden Fletcher

Drenge - Drenge

More than five years since Jack and Meg White went their separate ways, their disciples are more numerous than ever – Alabama Shakes, Deep Vally and now Drenge. Though physically Drenge bare more of a resemblance to The Vaccines or Palma Violets, its Jack White they turn to when the time comes to cut loose, delivering filthy crunching riffs and yowling solos with little regard for prevailing trends or technical mastery.

They’ve been a surprise success story too, landing well inside the top ten at a time when much hyped acts like Savages limped to number 36.

Great early singles like ‘Dogmeat’ and the superlative ‘Bloodsports’ are included here alongside the more puerile ‘People in Love make me feel Yuck’. For some that title alone will be enough to having them moving onto more civilised things but the real charm of Drenge comes in their unpretentious buzzsaw energy, never harnessed better than in their ferocious live show. Like Pulled Apart By Horses or Future of the Left it’s difficult to capture their particular quirky energy on record but producer Ross Orton delivers some of his best work and for thirty-seven minutes the duo fizz and spark appealingly. It runs out of steam slightly towards the end with the lumbering ‘Let’s Pretend’ and the lightweight ‘Bye Bye Bao Bao’ but they manage one last blowout on the Libertines-esque ‘Fuckabout’.

In a recent interview Drenge may have remarked that they were “not totally overjoyed” by Labour MP Tom Watson’s stamp of approval. No worries, they’ll be making plenty more fans very soon.


Max Sefton

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Pond - Hobo Rocket

Before the plaudits had even finished rolling in for Tame Impala’s acclaimed Lonerism, Nick Allbrook was announcing his intention to quit the Western Australian rockers in order to focus on Hobo Rocket, the new album from Tame Impala’s sister act, the experimental collective Pond.
So what has Allbrook learnt during his time touring the world? Mostly that it’s pretty fucked up, but whilst conspiracy theories and crackpot messiahs abound here Hobo Rocket also comes across as the most focused Pond album to date.

As you would expect from a record from one of the leading lights of Australia’s burgeoning psych scene this latest effort is a mishmash of chopped up tape loops, Cream’s heavy riffs, and the early psychedelia of Skip Spence or Syd Barrett but whilst, for example, their second album Corridors of Blissterday was cut live with an eight piece band in just five days here Pond make do with a mere five members and an increasing interest in songcraft over sound effects.

After the slightly directionless MGMT meets The Black Keys opener ‘Whatever Happened to the Million Head Collide?’, the first real killer ‘Xanman’ rolls into town like every Paul McCartney-Beatles track played at once; its fried groove and proto hard-rock strut pitching Pond once more as a band out of time.

Elsewhere ‘Midnight Mass’ rumbles like Black Sabbath with Allbrook delivering keening vocals before giving way to a horror movie style mid-section and a final epic guitar flame-out. Where once the Aussie rockers made music to explore the universe inside their heads, now it seems as if they’re only too aware of the dark places this can lead you. If this is music to take drugs to then there’s no guarantees of a good time.
‘O Dharma’ nods to the baroque pop-classicism of Love’s Forever Changes or The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper but compared to the Crosby Stills Nash-esque harmonies of 2010 breakthrough Beard Wives Denim, Pond have actually shifted closer to the heavy and dense sound inhabited by Tame Impala. Even lead single ‘Giant Tortoise’ shimmers with reverb and heavy guitar breaks, leaving it up to the disturbing hobo rant of the title track to supply the album’s quota of true weirdness and it is this which hints at Pond’s greatest weakness: for all their talk of cosmic exploration they’re not covering a lot of new ground.

Endlessly restless Allbrook has already hinted at a forthcoming companion album Man It Feels Like Space Again, which would lean close to their jam band roots but if phasers, flower power and forty minutes of fried psych-rock is your thing Hobo Rocket is a great place to start. Just don’t expect anything you haven’t heard before.


Max Sefton

Friday, 6 September 2013

Beacons Festival '13

Imagine a festival with a stellar line-up of bands and DJs, a festival that's also passionate about cinema, art and good food...a festival where not one idiotic cry of “ALAN!” “STEVE?!” is heard all weekend. That festival is Beacons and Beacons is perfect. 

We spend Thursday night dancing to The Cribs and Sweet Female Attitude in The Social tent and watching the harrowing film The Arbor in the cosy Into The Woods tent. The Into The Woods tent was part of The Space Between – the art space at Beacons and was definitely one of my favourite attractions at Beacons. You have to take your shoes off to get in and can lay back and relax on huge beanbags. Perfect for winding down or killing time before bands in the morning! The Space Between also offered Q&As with director Shane Meadows, screen printing, lectures about the brain, flag making, aura reading, giant scrabble and a Beacons Boutique that offered up delicious cake and face painting.

Friday's festivities begin with Big Deal, a denim clad dreamy duo who treat the crowd to laid back, summery shoegazy pop songs that ease everybody into the next 3 days of partying. To counteract the lovely Big Deal we head on over to the excellent You Need to Hear This stage to witness an excellently gloomy set by Esben and the Witch. Rachel Davies leaves everyone captivated with her haunting vocals and impeccable bass playing. They play an intense set that ends with a 10 minute wall of sound that could rival My Bloody Valentine's. We head on over to The Social for a fancy dress dance off  where the prize for the most amazing, mind blowing disco dancing is free Beacons tickets for life!
Friday is also fancy dress day at Beacons and with the theme being “Frontiers of the Future” there are some amazing outfits including a robotic looking lady with three heads and a man covered in silver paint. The atmosphere is excellent and the dance off provides a lot of sassy dancing to Got to be Real by Cheryl Lynn and a lot of laughs.

We're faced with a Bonobo and Fucked Up clash on the Friday night but after sidestepping to half of Bonobo's brilliant set we head on over to Fucked Up as we're more in the mood to mosh about. Frontman Damien Abraham has crushed a tinnie into his head. And he's styling it out and rocking it as if he's attending a wedding and the can is his jaunty little hat. Damien creates an amazing atmosphere and spends the whole set on the barrier hugging the crowd and shouting in their faces. We leave the tent chanting “dying on the inside! dying on the inside” and spend the rest of the festival wishing we could see them headline the You Need to Hear This stage every night.

Saturday brings such delights as Melody's Echo Chamber. Melody's Echo Chamber play a perfectly psychedelic set with amazing visuals. Singer Melody Proche is incredibly sincere and thanks the crowd about 20 times in-between crooning over dreamy pop that's been crafted with a little help from Tame Impala's Kevin Parker to create something beautiful. We end Saturday evening with Gold Panda. The Loud and Quiet stage is packed out and the crowd erupts into madness as soon as “You” begins playing. Dancing our feet off to Gold Panda's amazing set, complete with funky dancing from the man himself, is a brilliant way to end the night.

Sunday afternoon brings Sky Larkin! We expect catchy indie pop from the Leeds natives and catchy indie pop is delivered with old songs still sounding fresh and new songs sounding very promising. Beacons does a brilliant job at showcasing Yorkshire's excellent music scene as the next band we witness are Hookworms. Hookworms play their epic songs, that almost all clock in at over 6 minutes, very, very loudly. Singer MJ's vocals are barely heard above all the scuzzy guitars but he yelps and jumps all over the stage. Hookworms are loud, enthusiastic and put on a damn good show. We're also very excited, giddy even, because Danny Brown is the next act to grace us with his presence and he's the one we've been waiting for all weekend. 

Danny Brown is one of the most exciting and interesting names in hip hop and, accompanied by DJ and producer SKYWLKR, they put on a rowdy show that does not disappoint. When Danny decides to join the crowd for “Monopoly” he gets mobbed by sweaty bodies shouting along to every single word. Danny Brown was the absolute highlight of Beacons. We end Sunday night with Savages and do not regret it at all. Having never heard them before their raucous live show was a surprise and a highlight of the festival. Frontwoman/intimidating force of nature Jehnny Beth prowls around the stage looking like Bowie in his Thin White Duke phase. The intense vocals teamed with the lightning fast drumming creates a mind blowing sound. Savages are scary and sexy and everything I could want from a post-punk band. 

The festival overall had an amazing atmosphere, everyone was friendly, every band that I made an effort to see and every band that I stumbled upon was brilliant in their own way and when it was all over on the Monday morning we definitely all wanted to stay another night in that field in Skipton rather than return home to hot water and a comfy bed. Beacons 2013 did not disappoint and I cant wait to see what it brings next year.

Words by Eden Young and Photos by Sandy Rushton