Wednesday, 29 January 2014

2013

Favourite Album:

PEACE - 'IN LOVE'

The debut album from the leaders of the "B'Town" movement may of been released in March, but its spontaneity and youthful buzz carried through the summer and further into its winter tour. Most overplayed albums gradually lose their sparkle, but it's fair to say that 'In Love' is by far my most played album and nearly a year later I am still not bored of it. Peace's tropically fused guitar noise is somewhat euphoric and live it's even better. A mix of escapist, grunge, psych, and just about everything else; the album grabs and combines influences from some of the greats and mashes them together in the most refreshing way. Their quirky, juvenile vulnerability echoes through every corner of 'In Love' as Harrison Koisser describes his infatuated love in perhaps the most imaginative way possible, whilst accompanied by plenty of oohs and aahs. 2013 has been a massive year for the band and with their second album on the way, I foresee an even bigger 2014 for Peace.


Favourite Track:
SPLASHH - FEELS LIKE YOU
Released on July 8th via Luv Luv Luv records, just before their debut album dropped in the UK on September 2nd; 'Feels like you' presented us with yet another dose of Splashh's revitalising lo-fi psych garage and pure summer nostalgia. There's something that I can't quite pin-point about the track that evokes emotion and tingles down my spine every time it's played. Whether it's the space synths or the voiceover of the girl talking about her youth, to the plucky guitars or the yearning vocals, I just don't know. Despite being entirely self-produced, the spontaneous tropical beat is perfectly executed with a care-free shrug to their fans. The 3.02 minutes of alternate psychedlia will forever remind me of reading festival and the summer of 2013. Splashh's sunny fuzz is fresh and addictive and clearly something to look forward to in 2014.

Friday, 1 November 2013

WOMAN'S WORLD

So this year there has been some super STRONG action from copious amounts of female musicians/female fronted bands. I'd just like to take a minute really, to appreciate a few of those artists:
Here's a few to note:

HAIM (obvs!)
http://haimtheband.com/  https://twitter.com/HAIMtheband  https://twitter.com/babyhaim  https://twitter.com/jizziemcguire  https://www.facebook.com/haimtheband

CHARLI XCX

http://www.charlixcxmusic.com/  https://twitter.com/charli_xcx  https://www.facebook.com/charlixcxmusic

FINDLAY

http://www.findlaymusic.com/  https://twitter.com/FindlayMusic  https://www.facebook.com/FindlayMusic

CHLOE HOWL

http://www.chloehowl.com/  https://twitter.com/ChloeHowl  https://www.facebook.com/chloehowlofficial

LORDE

http://lorde.co/  https://twitter.com/lordemusic  https://www.facebook.com/lordemusic

DEAP VALLY

http://deapvally.com/splash/  https://twitter.com/DeapVally  https://www.facebook.com/deapvally

WOLF ALICE (ELLIE ROWSELL)

https://twitter.com/wolfalicemusic  https://www.facebook.com/wolfalicemusic

SKY FERREIRA

http://skyferreira.tumblr.com/  https://twitter.com/skyferreira  https://www.facebook.com/skyferreira

ICONA POP

http://iconapop.com/allnight/  https://twitter.com/iconapop  https://www.facebook.com/iconapop

ANNA CALVI

http://annacalvi.com/  https://twitter.com/annacalvi  https://www.facebook.com/annacalvi

Sunday, 22 September 2013

HARRY'S PANTS

So a while back my nine year old cousin broke her arm pretty damn badly. Bearing that in mind and her undeniable '1D' love, my eighteen year old sister and I decided to take her to watch their autobiographical(ish) film, 'This Is Us'. I stress the point that we took her to see it for her own benefit and that this viewing provided us with absolutely no interest.....

So, as we sat down at the back of the cinema, filled with pre-pubescent children in their sparkly shoes and their "overwhelmingly excited" mum's and dad's, I whacked out my flask of tea and hobnobs, and tried to maintain a blank expression, showing zero excitement or interest in the fit five who were about to edge onto the screen.

I can't deny it, it was an emotional and heart-wrenching eye opener into the life of the 1D crew. The ups and the inevitable downs, the fans, the crews, the tours...

And to be honest, even if you hate one direction or are a 100% straight, indie music-listening boy, you should still check it out because then you might grasp the fact that even though they are famous, they are exactly the same as you or any other young laddie.

Admittedly, it's the least to say that I was but a tad flustered when we left that cinema and obviously my mum didn't have to tell me to 'tone it down, you're with your very young cousin'...... But on the other hand, I totally get what some critics say about One Direction having the "sex appeal" and that it is a little wrong when the majority of fans are probably below fifteen. But yet again, there has to be something for everyone, otherwise products wouldn't sell, and a cheeky Styles-pants shot, is definitely a seller for those my age. RIGHT?


Thursday, 12 September 2013

The ANECDOTES ~ ORIGAMI WAVES (debut ep)


The Anecdotes; made up of lead vocalist/guitarist, Matt Hensley, fellow guitarist Mike Rowlinson, drummer Ellis Cullen and bassist Nick Bradford, are only aged seventeen, but have recently released a rather explosive debut EP. They describe their sound as “a mix of 90's indie, shoe gaze and dance” and it’s true, the sound is just that. By a chance encounter via twitter, I stumbled across the band and opted for bugging them about their music (which you can read at the bottom of the page).


The EP begins with title track Origami Waves, which straight off sends you into a whirlwind of stadium-rock riffs and heavy drum beats. Unlike most young indie bands, the track stands out by showing off ‘old skool’, pure electric ‘air’-guitar vibes. The track itself quite literally owns the catchiest lyrics I have heard in forevs. I can honestly listen to the track, for example, on the Monday and still find myself belting out the same chorus lines ‘You’ve got me falling on my knees, that’s right those origami waves’, by the Saturday. It’s like a hefty groove-tune.
Kaleidoscope follows up next and kind of reminds me of early Red Hot Chilli Peppers records. It starts with an intriguing drum intro, so that when the guitars and bass kick in, your left half surprised after expecting the track to take a different direction. Gentler than Origami Waves, the song focuses more on its lyrics and once again the track takes ownership of some pretty damn catchy chorus lyrics. Credit truly has to be given for this, so many young bands fizzle out and you never remember any songs or lyrics they made; but this clearly isn’t going to be the case with The Anecdotes, considering just how easily their words get jammed in your head.
Quite like Kaleidoscope, Fell Into A Dream is a lot more serene than that of Origmai Waves, or at least you think so at the beginning. The track slowly builds up to a late climax. Its calm ups and downs, flow like a ‘wave’, it’s tender and moany, less rocky, that is until the end nears, then they revert back into ‘Origami Wave’ like drums and electrifying guitars.
The final track, Sepia Fields, is the cheeriest on the whole EP; definitely the party-song of the four. It begins with an intro, one that wouldn't sound out of place on a Dog Is Dead track. Beachy guitars and tender drum taps assist Hensley's vocals as this track rejuvenates a sound that can only be compared to that of The Strokes former songs. It's a soft, youthful end to an impressive debut EP.
'Quite a bizarre mix, but it's kind of dreamy.' - Ellis Cullen, The Anecdotes Drummer.


Track listing:
1. Origami Waves
2. Kaleidoscope
3. Fell Into A Dream
4. Sepia Fields

Released April 22nd 2013. Available for purchase via Bandcamp, at just £2.35 (which is super cheap, considering what you get to pleasure your ears with.) http://theanecdotesvibes.bandcamp.com/album/origami-waves



The Anecdotes

How have, The Anecdotes, been together for?
Around seven months, but we started the band in mid-2012 with a different line up. We’ve changed a lot since then.

Do you vary in age at all? And how did you meet?
Nope, we’re all seventeen now. A few of us met in high school, but Nick (the bassist) came from another band in the area, in which he played the drums. I started talking to Nick, after not really knowing each other in high school and discovered he played bass through being in his music class. The band’s original line up just wasn’t really working, so I asked him to join.


Is the Origami Waves EP, your first release? And how did it all come together?
Pretty much, we released a demo EP, but it was like a different band. We just kind of wrote songs and chucked them all together.



Would you say you have any big influences or bands you like the sound of?
Probably Foals, Peace, The Strokes, maybe a bit of The Smiths lying round.


If you had the chance, which would be the ideal band to support?


I think it changes for all of us, someone like Bombay Bicycle Club, The Joy Formidable, Foals, obviously a band whose audience we’d appeal to.

Is there an ultimate goal for the future, or is it a ‘go with the flow’ kind of thing?

Nah, we definitely have aims, like supporting someone we love, or something. We’d obviously love to burst into the indie music scene, but it’s hard ain’t it.

Finally, what’s your biggest band moment to recall so far?

Hmm, probably recording the EP, especially with people who have worked with artists like Plan B, Lily Allen and The Script, that and just finding our sound, it took us a while, but we got there eventually. Having Nick join was also pretty fab.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

JAWS ~ GOLD (written for http://www.danceyrselfclean.com/)


JAWS - Gold

 

Earlier this month, Birmingham boys JAWS revealed that new track Gold, is to be released as their latest single since their dreamy debut EP, Milkshake. The EP (that was released 22nd April this year) established the band as a key name in the 'B'town' movement, alongside fellow musicians Peace and Swim Deep, with the record selling out over a very minuet period of time.

There had quietly been a lot of talk about the new track; excited remarks from fan's who had attended live gigs and the odd comment or two from listeners of Huw Stephens Wednesday night show, had been circling the JAWS fan community for some time. On June 13th, Gold finally hit JAWS' youtube and soundcloud channels and almost immediately tumblr and twitter newsfeeds went into a total frenzy.
Although Gold still conveys the usual JAWS grunge pop, it appears to be less serene. The track issues a more exuberant and energetic feel, aided by vocalist, Connor Schofield sounding slightly less 'monotoned' than usual. Whilst the song as a whole seems fairly upbeat, the heavy guitar riffs at the chorus, accompanied with the plea 'Take me. Take me where the gold drips from the sun to my back', present distressed vibes, giving a rather powerful image of the complete desperation for escape.
Looking back at demos of Cameron and Holy Cat, is a cheerful reminder of just how far JAWS have come in such a small amount of time, and just how far they can go.
Gold is due for release on July 29th via Rattlepop Records.
http://www.jawsjawsjaws.co.uk/


https://soundcloud.com/jaws-band/jaws-gold

Friday, 19 July 2013

TAME IMPALA/MELODY'S ECHO CHAMBER @ HAMMERSMITH APOLLO


Tame Impala / Melody’s Echo Chamber
Hammersmith Apollo, London, Tuesday, 25 June

In December 2012, space rock stars Tame Impala announced that they were to play a one-off, Glastonbury warm-up show, at London's Hammersmith Apollo. Standing tickets sold out as quickly as you can say 'Kevin Parker', and seated tickets didn't stay sat down for too long either, for they left ticket stalls pretty swiftly too.
Reaching the venue early, we joined a long line of excited fans. As I looked around, I recognised many boys sporting classic Tame Impala styles: long middle-parted hair, snoods around their necks, headbands, the whole Tame Impala shebang. As the clock struck 7:00pm, the fan community rose at once to their feet, and one by one marched into the venue. Racing for a pee, and then heading straight into the standing area, we anticipated the band's, 'special guests.'
No surprise, support came in the form of Melody's Echo Chamber (aka Kevin Parker's g-friend and her band), which made total sense, considering both bands later that week would be heading to the big Glasto. After Melody Prochet's previous band My Bee's Garden supported the headliners back in 2010, the French-lass collaborated avec Tame Impala's main-man Kevin Parker to create one of the finest debut's of 2012. She and her band eased the crowd into an adventure of dream pop, preparing the audience to be launched into it later. There's something about Melody's Echo Chamber that pulls them apart from the rest of psychedelia groups. It could quite be her whispy French accent, or the fact that the band's line up is so mismatched that they ooze with quirkiness. One song in particular was a highlight from the set. Crystallized, which the singer dedicated to her beau. The song itself, is coated in a distressed sound, whilst Prochet's eerie vocals float about. In comparison to many of their other tracks, it provides a heavier beat, enabling bodies to ripple and heads to nod. The whole set was completely delightful and the humbleness of the group evoked love throughout the audience.
With the 5,000 capacity full, and the clock striking 9:00pm, the King's of Australian psychedelic rock paraded onto the stage. There is no possible way that words can explain the kind of frenzy that the crowd endured, all I can say is that a hell of a lot of boys were fan-girling. Screaming from their hearts 'I'll turn gay for you!' and judging by the expressions painted on their faces, they weren't lying. The show opened with the iconic Solitude Is Bliss taken from the band's debut Innerspeaker. Not one member of the crowd didn't know the song lyric by lyric. Hearing 5,000 devotees yelling at the tops of their voices 'YOU WILL NEVER COME CLOSE TO HOW I FEEL', creates butterflies in your belly, that will never be created again. It was unbelievably sensational. Kevin Parker and his crew drifted from songs taken from both Innerspeaker and latest album Lonerism. Each song is so powerful and unique in some way or another, but still resembling the band's divine psychedelic quirk.
Another song that stood out from the rest was the latest single to be released from 2012's Lonerism, which took shape in the form of Elephant. The track itself could be argued to be the band's most famous song, and along with this one of the heaviest. Combining these two things has produced a bit of a TUNE for many o'folk. Groups of lads pushing and shoving, crowd surfing and jumping upon each other's shoulders. It's fair to compare the response received from it to none other than The Fratellis Chelsea Dagger.
Many members of the crowd really helped to stereotype the typical listeners of psychedelic music, by lighting up spliffs in the crowd, or flapping their dreaded hair about with beady eyes. I saw a lot of randomers participating in severe grinding action, then moving onto the next body insight. Classy. One boy next to me even kept viciously itching himself then giggling and shouting 'mosquitoes' before returning to his itching motion. I couldn't help but wonder whether he was referring to Tame Impala's song 'Forty One Mosquitoes Flying In Formation' or whether he had just taken something that made him hallucinate. Either way, at least he was having fun, unlike the old guy near me, who had stuffed earplugs in his ear holes and still continued to cup his ears. I mean ARE YOU FOR REAL?! like dude, what did you seriously expect?
Personally, for me, the biggest highlight came from 'Half Full Glass Of Wine.' As if this song isn't hefty enough, being 4 minutes and 26 seconds of pure psychedelic rock, the band chose to extend it, leaving the crowd in a sweaty mosh of thousands of people. I can honestly say that it was the maddest 12 minutes I have ever participated in, but yet somehow proved to be pleasurably painful. During this, hoards of sweat-infested men crowd surfed above our heads, half-naked bodies flopping around, both on the floor and in the sky. This song summed up the concert as a whole, mental.
It's fair to say you know it's been a good gig when you started at the front centre and ended up touching both sides of the Apollo, and somehow managed to finish back in the centre.

 
 
 

Thursday, 27 June 2013

RAY-BAN ENVISION TOUR PRESENTS: THEME PARK @ WEST COUNTRY BOXING CLUB, BRISTOL

Ray-Ban Envision Tour: Theme Park

West Country Boxing Club, Bristol, Saturday, May 22

Ray Ban had set up a competition enabling a lucky few to attend private gigs after they had submitted their ‘Vision’ onto the competition website. Whilst my friend bothered and entered the competition, after noticing Theme Park had mentioned on Facebook that they had a few spare tickets, I was lucky enough to nab some through a gushy email to the band themselves. After the train journey in, we reached Bristol and hopped off. Knowing exactly where we were heading, we followed the gatherings heading into the city for the Dot To Dot Festival. A rowdy bunch of woman clutched Fosters' cans whilst posing in their wellies, unfortunately it seemed that they weren't aware that the festival itself, isn't your typical muddy field festival, instead they would spend the day crammed into small music venues and pubs across the city, whilst being sandwiched between sweaty men, regretting their choice of rubber booties.

Anyhow, we reached St Thomas Street, and after storming around the street and the area, we found no sign of a 'West Country Boxing Club'. We got desperate, and after approaching four people, we soon discovered that actually there happened to be two St Thomas Street's in Bristol. Typical. Feeling like a complete plank for being so confident with my day-plan, we caught a taxi and trekked over to the opposite side of the city. It soon became apparent that this cheap day out with a free gig, was actually turning out to be rather stressful and unfortunately pretty damn expensive, for a penniless me. Feeling as though someone had thrown me into a sea of relief, we FINALLY arrived and trundled inside the post-church, present boxing club.

After stepping inside, I noticed it wasn’t at all what I expected, but then again, I don’t really know what I expected. Mooching into a room filled with Ray-Ban stickers and plastered with posters, I almost forget this was a boxing gym, until I turned to face a stripy punching bag (is that what you call them?). We were then greeted by two over-friendly brand promoters, who flaunted a bright red Smeg fridge. Inside laid a variety of the company’s produce; glasses differing in colour, shape and size. The female of the two persuaded us to select a pair each, to wear for photos. My friend gladly accepted, picking out a tortoiseshell pair complete with round lenses, whilst I stood aside, muttering about my oddly shaped head. The lady chose to assist and pulled out a humongous set of black glasses. I plonked them onto my face and within a second transformed into a bug. Unfortunately they were way, way too big for my face and this resulted in my appearance becoming rather fly like, instead of the super-fly sunglasses model that I would of preferred. We posed in front of the brands backdrop whilst the (worldly) male promoter took horrific insect photos of us on my shitberry.

After all the fuss, it turned out that we had to participate in over an hour of standing around until, even the support band performed. We ventured into the second room which was styled so that the boxing ring was pushed to the wall and had adapted to a stage format, whilst a dj booth sat at the back, along with strobe lights, which let’s be honest was a little uncalled for giving that it had only just hit 3 o’clock in the afternoon (I sound like such an old grouch). Having the room fashioned this way kind of killed my dream of having the ring in the centre, whilst the fans squished around the edge, a different member of the band facing in a different direction. However, it turned out that there can’t have been more than 25 people there in total (including staff, shocking), so it looked like there wouldn't be any crazy dance-action happening.

The Portillo Moment were the support band; made up of three men (who covered drums and guitars) and a female vocalist/bassist. I'm not 100% sure where they were from, or who they are, but I'd take a guess and say that they were fairly local to the Bristol area and were aged late teens/early twenties. I'd probably class their sound as folk-grunge or pop-rock, but who knows? The girl had a very distinct voice and the songs were a mix of quietly-relaxing tunes and heavier, dreamy beats. After a pleasurable set, they left the stage and joined the humble audience and wait for the 'headliners.'

Theme Park waddled into the ring and placed themselves into position to embark on the show. They bounced through tracks from the album, whirling the bodies below the boxing ring into a cheerful, tropical adventure. Highlights came from the newish single Tonight, old track Milk and Wax. Their chilled, summer-groove lightened up the cold, damp day, that was fo'sure. The band finished their delightful set and escaped out. We finished up the event by spray-painting and customising some t-shirts, relating to the day's theme of 'Impact Resistant.'

I must admit after being a fan of all the past EP’s, Theme Park’s album was a slight disappointment. However, after hearing all the tracks live, you have a complete different perspective; maybe their next album should be a live album? Rough and unhampered.

 



 
 

Friday, 31 May 2013

PEACE/SUPERFOOD @ THE FLEECE

Peace/Superfood
The Fleece, Bristol, Monday, April 22
It’s not often that I become fully obsessive about a new band, but Peace have joined my list of exceptions. I worry for some emerging bands that are over-hyped by NME magazine; often they later fail to produce the goods. However, after the release of Peace’s debut – In Love, it is clear, that they will not be disappearing anytime soon.
On Monday 22nd, I yet again found myself at another of their gigs (my third in three months). I was once again filled with excitement and expressed this by babbling away and pissing people off with my great eagerness to get inside the venue. Whilst cueing outside, the sky was presenting us with some ‘fine’ British weather, but that couldn’t dampen the spirits of their beloved fans. As we waited outside in the cold drizzle, everyone was unexpectedly quiet, due to sound of the band’s warm ups. Riffs of Lovesick and melodies of Higher Than The Sun, trembled through each figure of the fan community.
I had been counting down for the past three months until this day, so when I found myself practically on stage, with my hands touching guitarist Doug Castle and lead singer Harrison Koisser’s guitars, I could hardly contain my emotions and was virtually in tears (this is not an exaggeration, as dramatic as it may seem).
The show started with the band’s support, fellow B’hamer’s – Superfood. Although the crowd failed to really make any attempt to respond, the band played a pleasantly explosive set. Their performance ran through pretty smoothly and finished off with their first single ‘Superfood.’ Having already heard and downloaded the debut track, I knew they promised a surprisingly grungy, punk-pop sound that pulled them away from the rest of the psychedelic movement of the big ‘B’town. After the last thirty seconds of the new song (that had been praised time and time again by none other than Radio 1 dj, Zane Lowe), Superfood’s guitarist leant over to our annoyingly energetic group and whispered “thanks for dancing.” The group trundled off stage with a couple of waves and awkward smiles, making way for the headliners techs.
With a rather unconventional beginning to the concert, this included Peace standing outside in full view of the crowd, helping to gee themselves up, the band positioned themselves on the tiny platform of a stage. Vocalist Harrison Koisser stood proudly at the centre wearing a rather funkadelic sailor shirt, giving a little hand-quiver to the audience. They began with Delicious, which isn’t to be confused with 1998, taken from EP Delicious. The track took off with its haunting intro and kicked into a product of full of carnage in the crowd. They left no room for 'a quick breather', as they headed straight into Follow baby, one of their slightly older songs. It's heavy guitar riffs and earth-rumbling bass lead to the crowd pushing and shoving so wildly, that the only way to keep myself upright was to balance my body on the stage itself. The newly announced single to-be, Lovesick lined up next. It's indie-pop vibes and lyrics, that see Koisser singing 'I wanna get lovesick with you' are so cutesy, but yet heartfelt that it evokes goosebumps and tears in my eyes. The band whisk the crowd away in a dream full of adventure and love, drifting through the album's chirpy but sultry echoes. Part one closes with Wraith (possibly one of the sexiest songs around) and the stadium sounding cover of Binary-Finary's1998. The audience continue to go wild as Peace wave and leave the stage for a very brief and pointless break. The foursome huddle behind the logo-printed backdrop, occasionally producing their hands out in front to wave and structure Peace signs with their fingers.
The "lads on lash" return to the stage, accompanied by more concoctions and beer bottles. Resetting themselves back in place, they take off once again with California Daze, a more delicate and slightly older song taken again from EP Delicious. It's tender harmonies and gentle, body-hugging guitar lines that aimlessly fade in and out, wobble through the crowd, as many audience members participate in gushy, youthful hugs and first-love stares, demonstrating hope and naivety. The song fades away, like many of these gropers romances will. "This is our last song, thanks for coming, this has been one of the best nights so far." Once again, the besotted devotees lose control, everyone in the sweaty horde knows exactly what's about to go down. Bloodshake. The song rises up with its haunting, psychedelic intro, until the band break out into full tropical rock. The song should be messy and all-over the place, but somehow it just comes together. Guitarist Doug Castle bobs around whilst carrying through the gritty guitar riffs, joined by the reverberating sounds of Sam Koisser's bass. As we arrive at the chorus, Harrison Koisser yells 'YOU VIBE SO HARD' but I think it's fair to reply, actually 'you vibe so hard.' Dom Boyce has now replaced the bongo sounding drums, by hitting harder and heavier than before. The crowd (including myself) are loving every second of it and going completely crazy, pushing and bouncing so continuously that I lose complete control of my legs. "WE'LL SPIT BLOOD IN THE SUN" the Peace enthusiasts shout over Koisser's vocals. Sam koisser and Dominic Boyce's voices join, providing beachy-melodies behind Harrison's harsh gruffle. The track trembles away, as the band float off in a mist of smoke and light.
Their shows share some similarities to those of Foals and Arctic Monkeys. Could sell out stadium tours be the future for the B'Town quartet? I think so.  http://peaceforeverever.co.uk/
Text Box: SET LIST:-
1. Delicious.
2. Follow Baby.
3. Lovesick.
4. Waste Of Paint.
5. Float Forever.
6. Higher Than The Sun.
7.  Toxic.
8. Scumbag.
9. Wraith.
10. 1998.
Encore:-
1. California Daze.
2. Bloodshake.

 

 










Sunday, 31 March 2013

THEME PARK ~ THEME PARK


THEME PARK



For about the last two years, Theme Park have been celebrated on many 'ones to watch' lists and been given the thumbs up by Radio 1 DJs, such as Zane Lowe and Huw Stephens, who; unlike many of their colleagues are renowned for having good radars on upcoming bands that are about to break. The band also being associated with artists such as Cajun Dance Party and Bombay Bicycle Club (their old school chums) presented them with big shoes to step into. However, I think it's fair to say that the greatly anticipated debut album from Theme Park isn't that much to celebrate.


The album first invites you in with 'Big Dream'; sure, the track isn't exactly going to set any concert venues on fire, neither is it the most spine-tingling song that 2013 has offered so far but it forms a low expectation for the rest of the album, which therefore enables you to receive a moderately pleasant surprise as you listen on. It begins with some simple drum taps and guitar strums but even when a reasonably funky bassline appears the track just fails to really get going. Miles Haughton's vocals seem somewhat languid and adds to the song's rather lethargic feel that presents a kind of 'can't be bothered' attitude.

 On the other hand, the album does occasionally show sparks of promise through tracks like 'Two Hours.' Again like many of the songs on the album Two Hours is quite slow to start. It begins with a beat that could make your shoulders dance and sway and maybe get your foot tapping then at 1:11 someone suddenly decides to hit the drums a bit harder and faster. This unexpected release of energy soon permits your whole body to get moving and you find yourself joining Miles as his voice strains "can you feel anything?" Another highlight comes from the recently released single 'Tonight' which provides a refreshing summery sound that is possibly well and truly needed throughout this miserable time of the season.

 To begin with Saccades (Lines We Delay) just sounds like an uninspiring attempt at an electronic sort of psychedelic backing track. Then at about 2:08 it's almost as if the song puts down it's cigarette, gets up off the couch and says "do you know what, I think I might actually make an effort." and starts to have a cheeky little dance. Then at 3:12 just fully decides to throw itself into a wild dance routine. Perhaps if Theme Park had just of been another new band with their quirky and welcoming groove they would of emancipated a breath of fresh air into the forever growing music industry. Unfortunately, at the moment it still seems that they are standing in the shadows of their old school mates, if only they could stop playing catch up on other artists' trails and lead a race of their own.

PEACE @ ROUGH TRADE EAST



PEACE
 
Rough Trade East, London Wednesday, March 27


On the late hours of Tuesday night, I discovered that Peace would be playing an intimate gig down Brick Lane. With a growing obsession with the band and having already had the privilege to watch them perform at the NME Tour Awards, I knew I just needed to see them again. We arrived at the store and made purchases enabling us to be presented with wristbands, that allowed us entry into the private performance. Wandering around the shop happily wearing my wristband, I walked past none other than the lead singer himself. His legend-like aura instantly made me feel star struck. Whilst my sister was purchasing her copy of 'In Love', Harrison Koisser also passed her declaring "you have good music taste." His sparkly eyes shining at her and with that goofy enticing smile.

At 7:00pm, we arrived back at the store. There can't of been many more than 100 people there, but with everyone already being fans; enough to buy the album, it was pretty noisy and packed with excitement. At five-past, Peace strutted onto the stage with their 'indie-swagger.' Harrison welcomed the crowd as the others posed with beer bottles. Looking around, rather amused he said "This is...shit, this is a record store isn't it?!" The band kick-started the show with the first track from the album, Higher Than The Sun, which got everyone wiggling about. The cosy concert moved rather swiftly and I was too busy getting soaked up in the atmosphere to remember fully the order of the set list, but I believe it consisted of: Higher Than The Sun, Follow Baby, Scumbag, Lovesick, Wraith, California daze, Toxic, Bloodshake and quite possibly delicious too. After announcing that they only had time for one more song, Harrison begged and was granted the permission to play two last songs, he chuckled, "Sweet, fuck." They finished off with Bloodshake, during which everyone seemed to be 'vibing hard.'

Later, after a long wait, we reached the signing booth. Douglas and Samuel were huddled up together, Sam smiling away and Doug looking chic as always in his leather jacket. Next, we approached Dominic, who was sat with that usual misty eyed stare, which has almost become his trade mark. He signed my Follow Baby vinyl and passed it onto Harrison who was dancing and miming to his own song, in his infamous brown suede coat (complete with the fur edging). Doug managed to hold a normal conversation whilst swigging his beer, with Harrison occasionally chipping in with replies such as, "Sweet" and "Sweet as fuck." We said bye and left as Harrison twirled about and high-fived my sister, Sam still smiling and Dom still starring into the distance. With songs that are already future classics and quirky 'rock star' natures, Peace are definitely the coolest up-and-coming band around and 2013 is theirs for the taking. I thinks it's fair to say, I am In Love with Peace.http://roughtrade.com/


Monday, 4 February 2013

ALT-J/STEALING SHEEP @ O2 ACADEMY OXFORD (2012)

 

ALT-J / STEALING SHEEP


O2 ACADEMY, OXFORD FRIDAY 2ND, NOVEMBER




Its 8:00pm, and the Oxford audience await Stealing Sheep. The recent release of their hugely impressive debut LP - Into The Diamond Sun, has shown a promising future for the female trio. The album, which is rather unashamedly folk-influenced, meant that they could of left it at just that, rough and edgy. However, their great ears for detail, have resulted in producing something rather special and unique.

Lights dim, spotlights light up the stage. Stealing Sheep dance on, all wearing at least one item completely covered in glitter. The set begins with the LP's first track - The Garden. A light tapping of Lucy on the drums enters, in synch with the sound of Rebecca's keys, then the sudden sound of Emily's haunting guitar, along with her deep bellowing vocals follows. At first it seems that the fans of the greatly anticipated headliners, aren't interested in the 'warm up' act, then halfway through the track, the heavy undertones kick in, instruments gradually become louder, and strangely violent. After the short period of doubt, the crowd begin to embrace the bands quirkiness, becoming fully involved, clapping in time, and echoing the bands lyrics. The cheery but threatening sounds of Circles, almost convinces me that it's summer. On Shut Eye, Rebecca leads the vocals. To begin with, the track has a ghostly feel, almost like someone creeping through an icy-winter forest. Unexpectedly, the song abruptly explodes, like a beautiful, yet aggressive firework, into loud clapping and drum rolls. Then, silence. The crowd seem overwhelmed, by the staggeringly beautiful noises of the LP, until, a sudden uproar of applause and shouts.  "Thank you. We hope you enjoy Alt-J." whispers Lucy, as they float off stage.

Fresh from winning the £20,000 Mercury Prize the night before, Alt-J strut onto the stage. The famous triangle symbol of delta glows bright white behind the drum set, coated in the An Awesome Wave album artwork. The band members perform a variety of geek-chic dance moves, not one naked of a grin that resembles more than just love and passion,  for not only their music, but their beloved fans. Gwil Sainsbury, the bassist, takes a giant leap for his petit figure onto a wooden block, throwing his arms around like an over-excited child. Then with a sheepish step forward, accidental front man Joe Newman (who wouldn't look out of place in a grubby pub) chuckles into the microphone "you may of heard, we were at the Mercury Awards last night". The dedicated fans of the tight-knitted Alt-J community go crazy. Throwing themselves about, shouting praises of love, and the occasional complimentary joke. It's fair to say that the amount of love in this one room, equates to that you would expect for young pop bands, the likes of One Direction, from swooning adolescent girls. It's truly astonishing. By the way in which Joe and the keyboardist Gus, glance at each other, giggling away, it's clearly obvious that conquering the industry hasn't changed nor phased them one bit.

Alt-J  kick-start their concert, with captivating tones of Intro, embarking the audience on a whirlwind journey through the depths of their debut album. The band flow through the sounds of each song, quite literally as if they are riding 'An Awesome Wave'. Ripe & Ruin brings us straight into one of the more known tracks, Tessellate. The smouldering guitar grooves, and tender drum taps, allow Tessellate to imitate an R&B love song.  However behind, the affectionate rhythms, lies Alt-J's intellectual roots, as they somehow manage to sneak in perhaps, the nerdiest sexual metaphor known to the music industry "Until morning comes, let's tessellate". The crowd love it, each person singing in time, swaying and wiggling to the music.

Highlights come from future classics such as, Fitzpleasure, centred around Hurbet Selby Jr's character, prostitute Tralala in the 1989 film adaptation of Last Exit To Brooklyn, goes down a complete storm. With striking vocals from Joe, drum beats from Thom, that are the heaviest to be found throughout the whole of An Awesome Wave , result in the crowd violently pushing and shoving,  whilst attempting to gracefully ripple their bodies. It's total carnage. Throughout the shivery, miserable sounds of Matilda, there seems to be no dry eyes in the cosy academy. The spine-tingled admirers, all with arms in the air, blub along to the lyrics based around Luc Besson's bitter child star - Matilda, in film Leon. When Gus finishes the final soothing keyboard beats, the audience are silent, seemingly completely stunned. How it is even possible for, four rather plain human beings to even create such incredibly blissful sounds and astonishing lyrics? The sinister shadows lurking beyond Breezeblocks, and its controversial drug-related lyrics, based loosely on the children's book;  Where The Wild Things Are, send the irrevocably devoted fans into an absolute frenzy. As Joe cries out the plea "please don't go - I love you so!", their followers roar along, relaying the lyrics to their beloved band, begging them to stay as they finish the song and swagger off stage.

"ALT-J, ALT-J" the crowd screech, clapping, stomping,  in desperation to perform a few more songs. An uproar of screams and shouts echo, as two band members shuffle onto the stage. Gus's hands elegantly float over the keys, and Joe's uniquely distinct voice haunts through the bodies of their devotees. As Handmade concludes, Thom and Gwil saunter on, joining their fellow masterminds. Then the ultimate song begins, wispy keyboard melodies rise up. Paying tribute to two of the iconic 20th century war photographers: Robert Capo, and Gerda Taro. The lyrics plus the music of Taro, creates quite possibly one of the most exquisite songs of the year. All the Alt-J supporters surrounding myself, appear to be covered in goose bumps, as I am too.  Not one person is standing still, "Hey Taro!" the entire audience yell. Then one by one, each musician fades out. The crowd are cheering so loud, not even the little soundproof arena can contain the calls of love and praise. Standing and waving together, suddendly the lights appear, as Alt-J vanish off stage. All that remains is a small dirty room, full of individuals, drenched in sweat and tears.

2012 has been a phenomenal year for the Leeds born band, and the future looks bright for the quartet. The question is, how much left have they got to give? Well, for now that remains a mystery. As the bands devoted fans trundle out of the building, I glance back into the darkening room. Standing proudly at the back, the triangular shape of a delta symbol glows.