Saturday, 30 March 2013

THE LINDSAY TIN - SINGLE REVIEW


The Lindsay Tin - They Wear Wolf In London
The Lindsay Tin - They Wear Wolf In London

Release Date: 15th April 2013

With this extended winter we've been having in the UK, we all have to make a decision on whether to ignore it and just get our Summer on regardless of the temperature or just let the weather dictate to us and climb back in to our fur lined onesies and eat custard all day. I've been leaning towards the former for a while but looking at the bleak greyness outside my window, the Lindsay Tin might just sway me back the other way. It's not surprising that a record written in a South Shields attic during the winter has an element of bleakness about it but the richness of 'They Wear Wolf In London' is a pleasantly refreshing jolt. The thudding drums and chugging bass perfectly juxtapose the delicate guitar work and understated vocals to create something akin to the Arcade Fire, Marmaduke Dando or the Little Philistines. This is the earthy claret to winter's beef stew or the mug of tea to the British climate's freshly baked biscuit. That's it, I'm popping my onesie back one and leaving my Bermuda shorts in the cupboard for another month.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/thelindsaytin

Live Dates:
12th April - The Sage, Gateshead (EP Launch with Minotaurs + The Union Choir + Doc Smith)

Friday, 29 March 2013

TIERANNIESAUR - SINGLE REVIEW


Tieranniesaur - DIYSCO (Popical Island)
Tieranniesaur - DIYSCO

Release Date - 5th April 2013

I love a bit of funk, a bit of Disco and a bit of a boogie. Maybe not all the time but in the right environment it can be a beautiful thing and can lift your mood and make you shake your booty. Irish combo Tieranniesaur create something funky and potentially groovesome but there is something lacking in DIYSCO that is really irking me. I could cope with the slightly off-key harmonies or the bass being far too low in the mix or even the fact that at times the song seems to slip slightly out of time, these are all things that can be excused in the pursuit of finding the essence of a great song. But what really doesn't sit well with me is the almost complete lack of interest from the band in their own song. Imagine an 80s Disco diva who has taken being cool and disinterested to such depths that they are actually just bored by everything and that is essentially what this song sounds like. It's a shame because I have a space in my life for an Irish experimental funk-disco-pop combo with some imagination but this just sounds rushed and more throwaway than it deserves to be.  

More information: https://www.facebook.com/pages/tieranniesaur/110975412280662?fref=ts 

SWIM DEEP - SINGLE REVIEW


Swim Deep - She Changes The Weather (Chess Club/RCA Victor)
Swim Deep - She Changes The Weather

Release Date: 6th May 2013

OK. This is serious stuff. Most of the time I get sent perfectly competent music by reasonable musicians and, I'm sure, lovely people. Every now and again though, something comes through that genuinely stops me in my tracks and reminds me how lucky I am to be able to share great, new music with you. I had heard of Swim Deep before I received a copy of their new single but everything I'd heard somehow convinced me they were a Westcoast  American bunch of misfits making stoner rock for slackers and dropouts (nothing wrong with that by the way, some of my best friends are slackers). However, much to my delight, Swim Deep are actually a quartet from Birmingham (UK not Alabama) formed through chance meetings, boredom and a sense of want more out of life - the way all great bands are formed.

For a single, 'She Changes The Weather' is beautifully brave, determined, unrelenting and expansive to such an extent that it is absolutely natural for this record to have a nearly two minute intro. The looped piano riff that brings 'She Changes The Weather' to life is not particularly melodic but conjours the wide streets and immaculate front lawns of middle America with children playing openly on an optimistically warm Saturday morning. As the drums join in, almost shuffling through the garage door, the tune starts to swell and take shape and you can feel that sunshine burn through the haze and start to warm the world around you. This is a record that inflates you with positivity and allows your soul to float above the streets, to rise above the mire. Vocals akin to Tim Burgess at his sleepiest, guitars that Smashing Pumpkins would be proud of and a wall of sound that Nirvana would have made if they'd only had one positive song. This is part Shoe-gaze, part grunge, part Indie and a great big dollop of soul warmed through with the sunshine of your youth. Mainly, though, this is simply one of the most refreshing, exciting and intriguing pieces of music created by a British band that I have heard in years. There is a debut album coming soon and a string of live dates that you really ought to cast an eye over but for the time being I think that 'She Changes The Weather' should keep you going for quite a while - I've given it about 15 listens so far and it's still fascinatingly beautiful.

More information: http://swim-deep.tumblr.com

Live dates:

30.03.13            Stockton               Stockton Calling
02.05.13             Liverpool             Sound City
04.05.13            Leeds                      Live at Leeds
18.05.13            Brighton                  The Great Escape
25.05.13            Bristol                      Dot to Dot
26.05.13            Nottingham            Dot To Dot 
27.05.13            Edinburgh               Cabaret Voltaire
28.05.13            Manchester            Deaf Institute                         
29.05.13            London                    Village Underground 
31.05.13            Birmingham            Institute                                    

FAIRCHILD - EP REVIEW


FAIRCHILD - EP REVIEW
Fairchild - Arcadia EP

Fairchild - Arcadia EP

Release Date - 25th March 2013

It's been a little while since I've had the time to sit down and get any blogging done so I was really excited about the prospect of an inbox full of audio treats to wrap my ears around like a single girl with a box of chocolates on valentine's day.  The first selection I made was a six piece from Australia's Gold Coast by the name of Fairchild - recently changed from Fairchild Republic which I think is a good move as they now sound less like a conceited clothing store for the impossibly thin and constipated - and what a selection it was! The opening and title track of this EP is sumptuous slice if indie-pop-rock that is instantly infectious and fits in neatly alongside Vampire Weekend, Maccabees, Foals, Peace or Two Door Cinema Club. What makes this stand out though is the voice of singer Adam Lyons which has the texture of velvet, the allure of hot tub on a cold day but the impact of a Kangaroo punch to the diaphragm. Vocally and stylistically Lyons is somewhere in the Brandon Boyd league of singers which is no bad thing in my book.

'Stay Young' is an anthemically intentioned song that never quite delivers on its promise but is nonetheless better than anything produced by the Feeling, Snow Patrol or Keane in recent years. 'Outside' is full of delicate guitars, swoopy synths and crashing cymbals but, again, it feels like an album track rather than anything more vital. Final track, 'Running Bear', has more intrigue about it with a dark and sparse electro intro that draws you in immediately before the song starts to build in to something bigger, something better. Elements of the Killers or alt-pop acts like Kimbra and Robyn are clearly there but these 6 gentleman are hanging on to Indie for dear life and I think that might be what's holding them back. For years, I've been waiting for a really good pop act to come along that do justice to the genre without being a manufactured abomination or a flash in the pan. I feel like Fairchild have the ability to be that pop act but it depends on whether they have the guts. Like openly gay sportsmen, unashamed pop acts are rare but fantastic things.

More information:
https://www.facebook.com/wearefairchild    

Live Dates:
4th April - Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane (w/ Nantes + Battleships)

Saturday, 16 March 2013

BRIDGES – SINGLE REVIEW


Bridges - Storming the Palace
Bridges – Storming the Palace

Release Date – 29th March

Seriously, Bristol, give it a rest. You’re becoming a little bit like watching your favourite comedian whilst at that perfect level of drunk. Sure, all the jokes are fantastic and you’re crying with laughter but after a while you’re all laughed out and you just start thinking about getting a kebab on the way home. Right now, Bristol seems to be churning out such a steady stream of fantastic bands (Velcro Hooks and Me, You & Thomas to name but two) that it’s just not funny anymore. Maybe it wasn’t supposed to be funny in the first place, but Bristolian trio Bridges are still repeating the joke like your pissed up mate in the pub trying to profit off your jokes (you know who you are). Having formed less than a year ago, they have already carved a niche for themselves in the indie-grunge-pop genre. Ethan Proctor’s articulate and crystal clear vocals coupled with the choppy guitars evoke audio images of Young Knives and long forgotten 90s bands like Livingstone and Honeycrack. There’s a tightness and drive to the music that is reminiscent of early Arctic Monkeys material but with a more American West coast vibe that somehow has more sunshine about it than Alex Turner could ever manage. Maybe I’ll hold off on that kebab for now, this joke has legs yet.

More information: www.bridgesofficial.com

Live Dates:
28th March - Picturehouse, Exeter (Acoustic)
29th March - The Hope, Brighton
1st April - The Dublin Castle, London
2nd April - The Louisiana, Bristol
3rd April - Buffalo Bar, Cardiff
4th April - Moles, Bath
5th April - Arts Centre, Bridgwater

Friday, 15 March 2013

AIR TO ACHILLES – SINGLE REVIEW

Air To Achilles - Fields Of Mercy

Air To Achilles – Fields of Mercy

Release Date: 29th March 2013

It looks like the Northeast is making a bid for my favourite new scene, hot on the heels of Bristol and Cornwall. Air To Achilles are another group of imaginative and creative young chaps from Newcastle putting out sonically challenging but simultaneously melodic material that grabs you by the brain and the balls. ‘Fields of Mercy’ is the band’s latest single and is full of bouncy bass lines, jangly guitars, subtle synths and huge harmonies. This is part 90s Scottish jangle-pop, part Scando-indie and a little bit of Asian indie-pop (check the band Holy City Rollers if you don’t believe me) but they certainly don’t sound like any other English band I’ve heard for quite some time and that is no bad thing. If you add in to the mix a producer in Johannes Rowlinson (The Sugarcubes, Johnny Foreigner, Minus) then you get a Spector-ish wall of sound that you might as well just wash over you. In fact, do it now. Just turn it up loud, pour yourself an alcopop, strap yourself in to your favourite chair and let it wash over you. Superb.


Live date:

29th March – Single Launch Party @ The Cluny 2, Newcastle

Monday, 11 March 2013

ME, YOU AND THOMAS – SINGLE REVIEW

Me, You and Thomas - Eventually

Me, You and Thomas – Eventually (Howling Owl Records) 

OK, let’s just get this out of the way. The singer in this band is called Rihanna. We could spend this time talking about that or we could spend it talking about the music. So what’s it to be? Wrong, we’re going to talk about the music, ya numpty. Confusingly, Bristol band Me, You and Thomas are actually a duet featuring Rhianna Berarey on Guitar and Vocals alongside Joe Sherrin on drums who combine to make a beautifully chaotic but melodic mess. ‘Eventually’ is the duo’s second single on the Howling Owl label and it hits you full around the face with relentless punk beats and a circular riff that is hard to resist. Berarey channels the lo-fi Indie queens in her vocals to great effect, evoking the spirits of Tanya Donnelly, Sonya Aurora Madan , Justine Frischmann and Louise Wener while the music could slot in nicely alongside White Stripes, Veruca Salt or Lush.

Seriously, this infectious stuff and a must listen for anyone who has ever shuffled around the edge of an Indie Disco dance floor just waiting for the song to erupt. For a two piece with the combined age of about 12 (honestly, don’t the young just make you sick?) they do make an almighty racket but they always manage to rein in that power and keep it firmly controlled along with the rhythm and the melody. There is no let up in quality on ‘Stop Here’ as MYAT explore their more grungy side; increasing the ‘wall of sound’ and really pushing the limits of what you can do with a sparse set up. Final track ‘Boundary’ is a slower, more introspective number which acts as a window to a more expansive future for the band. Atmospheric guitar picking, haunting vocal harmonies and somewhere the distant tinkling of an ivory or two hints at what these two could produce with a big studio, some time and lots of expensive red wine. For now though, they are producing music their own way and on their own terms which alright by me. I’m not convinced by the name but then I thought mobile phones would be a flash in the pan so what do I know!?!?

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

ORANGE ROOM – SINGLE REVIEW

Orange Room - We Told You Not To Go

Orange Room – We Told You Not To Go 

There is an awful lot about the band Orange Room that shouldn’t work. A band that formed in Melbourne, Australia, and then relocated to Liverpool. Odd. A band that play dark, sinister, Dick Dale-esque guitars but write great songs with catchy chorus lyrics. Weird. A band that sound like they should be rock’n’roll monsters but have a video that suggests they are fairly tame on stage. Huh? A band that play ballsy, bass-in-your-face, indie-rock with a twang but release a single which is essentially advising folk not to go out and drugs so much as its bad for their health. WTF!?!

Having said that, maybe it’s these differences that make Orange Room such an appealing concept and why I’ve had this single on a loop for the past 30 minutes. ‘We Told You Not To Go’ has elements of the Courteeners, Kasabian, Reverend and the Makers and Reef that make it pretty addictive and irresistible. The verses are all hypnotic bass lines and open high-hats while the chorus comes crashing in with swathing guitars and a beautifully sneered vocal. This isn’t ground breaking stuff but the songwriting is polished and the attitude is spot on which is more than half the battle in my book. It’s better than anything the Stereophonics or Oasis have produced in the last 10 years anyway!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

ATHLETES IN PARIS – SINGLE REVIEW

Athletes In Paris - Borrowed Time

Athletes In Paris – Borrowed Time (The Animal Farm)

Release Date: 11th March

There are few things in music more likely to make me instantly fall for a band than hearing their native accents come through in the vocals. Bands from the North East seem particularly good at this with Maximo Park being favourites of LWM but Athletes In Paris are making a late charge for my affections. This latest single from the Sunderland five-piece is catchy, Indie-poppy stuff that is dripping in personality and reminds me of some of the late 90s Welsh bands that did so well like Super Furry Animals, 60ft Dolls and early Stereophonics. You’ll have to give the song a few listens to get anywhere near understanding the verses but the chorus is catchy, the hooks are infectious and the double drummers give the song a rhythmic quality that is overlooked by so many bands these days. The quirk with ‘Borrowed Time’ is that you could feasibly see this cleaned up, autotuned and given to One Direction to perform and it would be a fine enough tune but all soul, spirit and personality would be lost. Vive le accent and vive le songwriter!


Live Dates:

8th March – Lomax, Liverpool
9th March – The Empire, Middlesborough
10th March – Nancy Bordellos, Newcastle
11th March – Chambers, Tynemouth
13th March – Lucorum Venue, Barnsley
14th March – Mad Hatters, Inverness
19th March – Pivo Pivo, Glasgow
22nd March – The Finsbury, London
23rd March – Plugged Inn, Sunderland
25th March – Cluny, Newcastle (ALBUM LAUNCH)
30th March – The Harlequin, Sheffield

MASTERS IN FRANCE – SINGLE REVIEW

Masters In France - Flexin

Masters In France – Flexin’

Release Date: 4th March

I’ve been reviewing a lot of downbeat stuff recently and there’s nothing wrong that but Spring is round the corner and my thoughts are already turning to heaving tents full of people dancing to uplifting tunes. Media Sales executives forgetting their soullessness, office workers rediscovering their personalities and students creating memories that will sustain them when they become office workers or Media Sales executives. These people need a new soundtrack and Masters In France might just be the ones to provide it. ‘Flexin’’ is a slab of bass heavy, synth laden, head bobbing brilliance straight outta the mean streets of North Wales and I defy you to stay static once this tune has kicked in. Despite the fact that the band look like four children’s TV presenters that were fired for doing too many drugs on set, the sound they create is an addictive mix of LCD Soundsystem, Happy Mondays, Hot Chip and Transformer that is sure to be soundtracking a Channel 4 montage before too long. Fearne Cotton’s a fan but don’t let that put you off, check ‘em out.


Live dates:

9th March – The Cookie Jar, Leicester