You have to question the motives behind a band who put a picture of two gurning band members on the front cover of their debut 7″, or when asking the record company for a promo photo being offered ‘the one where they’re all dressed up in drag’, or ‘the one where they’re chewing grass’ (we passed on both). Sheffield’s Seize The Chair have the air of a band who clearly and delightfully just don’t give a fuck. In fact they probably just want to make music and have a laugh. Which, if you’ve seen that record sleeve, you’ll be laughing too.
Posts Tagged ‘UK’
What is it with twee pop types and ‘going cuckoo’. Is it something in the music? Should people be warned? Back In July we announced the release of cinematic psychedelians Still Corner‘s debut album Creatures Of An Hour and gave away the first single “Cuckoo” as a free download, which as you can see now, has its own suitably shimmery video. “Cuckoo” shines in its simplicity, a single drumbeat, ghostly guitar, and distant organ highlighting Tessa Murray’s haunting soprano as she asks, “I’d like to read your mind/can you read mine?” “It’s about confusion,” explains bandleader Greg Hughes. “It’s about being confused. Am I going crazy? Does this person like me? What’s happening? That’s the vibe of the whole record really”. Now it all becomes clear. Creatures Of An Hour will be released on October 10 through Sub Pop.
Putting aside Lightspeed Champion, the chameleon musician/producer known as Dev Hynes unveils his latest project Blood Orange.
Never in the history of doing these ‘Who The Hell Are… ?’ spotlights has a band come along and answered each question so thoroughly and excitedly that to praise them any further would make it seem like we’re actually in this band or take bribes (we do. email for details). From the same stable of acts (and household one would presume) that brought you the percussive pop concussions of We//Are//Animal and the not-very-French-at-all Masters In France, come spicy indie rock quartet Fennel Seeds. Further proof that North Wales these days is a happening place or one that naught much else happens.
A once Test Icicle and with two albums to his name as Lightspeed Champion, Devonté Hynes has remained constant with his musical outpourings. Residing in New York City for the past three years, Hynes has been concentrating on writing and producing for other artists (Solange Knowles, Bleeding Knees Club), while continuing to work on new songs, compiling them onto mixtapes that he would listen to while travelling around the city at night (a process adopted by Wes Eisold of Cold Cave for their second album). Informed by such diverse artists as Chris Isaak, Billy Idol, 80’s Japanese pop such as Yellow Magic Orchestra and French singer F.R David, Hynes gave this new project a fresh name Blood Orange and took the songs that form Coastal Grooves on a trip to the West Coast where he started turning the ideas into an album in which the Prince-like, Twin Shadow-echoing urban groove of “Sutphin Boulevard” is the first taste of what to expect.
Congratulations are in order for The Kills Jamie Hince, who became Mr. Kate Moss this weekend and was serenaded down the aisle by the sultan of suave, Bryan Ferry (the ‘down the aisle’ bit, not entirely true). One wonders what he sang to the happy couple…. “Let’s Stick Together”? “Kiss And Tell”? More importantly, just how much does it cost to hire the Ferry? Getting back to business, The Kills have just released the echo-chamber stomp of “Future Starts Slow” as the next single from Blood Pressures. The accompanying video directed by Philip Andelman follows the band on their travels from earlier this year, with a few sweet kissy-kiss and hand-holdy moments thrown in to make you go ‘awww’. The single is released on 7″ this week (July 11) and is backed with the new track “Blue Moon”. The Kills are set to tour Australia in late July with shows scheduled in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, including an appearance at the Splendour In The Grass Festival.
It’s a little known piece of Webcuts folklore that Noah And The Whale once played in my living room. Gladly, it was before my time, otherwise a compulsion to head downstairs and have words would‘ve been hard to resist. A sell-out show at the Camden Roundhouse is not to be sneered at, but if commercial success or the ability to fill a room is the barometer in which all great music is measured, we’re on (and have been for decades) very shaky ground, and when superlative-inducing American folk-rock act Okkervil River are playing across town, clearly in the wrong place.
Why hello, Wendy James. It’s been a while. Almost 20 years since I saw Transvision Vamp play at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney. A mostly unremarkable show except for the amount of intimidating drunks in attendance and the fact they played their current ‘hit‘ twice. Australia loved Transvision Vamp, almost in the same way it loved Blondie, decades before. Stick a blonde wig on a mop, put it in front of a bunch of guys in leather jackets and you’re set. Transvision Vamp at that time were in their career descent with Little Magnets Versus The Bubble of Babble (my head still shudders at the idiocy of this title) and this was their last roll of the dice.
A little disappointed that this isn’t an actual Horrors video clip, just the tune with a revolving psychedelic advertisement for their record label XL, but after the critical acclaim (and deserved apologies for years of Webcuts mockery) of Primary Colours, do you really need some preening boys in skinny black jeans to make up your […]
With a ball and chain campaign to release a single every month for year, The Rifle Volunteer have been steadfast in honourably sticking to the plan. Single number 8, “General Drought” was released last week and was given the honour of its own video clip, showing the boys decked out in their regular Edwardian finery, […]
It’s easy to love Ramona, even though everything about them is so flawless and en pointe, unheard for a scruffy bunch of Brighton by-way-of-New-York rockers. Picks in hand, they transform a handful of chords into polished punk perfection, fronted by the coquettish bleach-blonde tomboy Karen Anne, a second generation Edie and Debbie who knows how to hang from a mic stand like she was hanging from your shoulder. Absent from the stage this year so far, they cycle through their set in a brisk half hour, including encore, and you’re crying out for a flubbed note, an unrehearsed run through a song they just wrote in the van, or general indifference to whether anybody is listening.
The only euphoric heartbreak here is all expectations of Glasvegas trumping their debut going out the window.
Having lived through the 80’s, witnessed the birth of Wham!, the ascension of Kylie from Neighbours mechanic to pop princess and the rise and fall of the Stock, Aitken and Waterman (s)hit factory, intelligent, well-crafted synth-pop has had a tough (but not impossible) road to climb to redeem itself. It’s easier done now for those with little memory of the 80’s, who can mine the decade of its untapped wealth and pull influences from The Human League or Gary Numan or even further back without being mocked, all the while creating something new and exciting. Having a rough guess at their ages, London’s Villa Cola could surely fill these shoes.
A surprising record or a record full of surprises from this indie-pop quartet? Note reviewer in “I loathed it now I like it” situation.
It’s impossible to imagine the 80’s without Duran Duran as they were a defining influence for anyone who came of age in those decadent days. Having struggled to find relevance in their post-80’s heyday, they were dropped from their label in 2008 after the Timbaland-produced Red Carpet Massacre failed to meet expectation. Finding a friend in dj/producer, Mark Ronson, he encouraged them to make the back-to-basics album fans had been calling out for. Released last week (March 21), All You Need Is Now entered the UK charts just shy of the top 10 and showed a renewed confidence in the band, reflected in the new material. Filmed by David Lynch to celebrate the release of the album, Duran Duran performed a special online concert with some surprising guests (Beth Ditto, anyone?) with the clear highlight being a track from All You Need Is Now featuring Kelis, the stirring “The Man Who Stole A Leopard”.
The best way to make a record company uncomfortable? — choose a highly litiguous band name and then sit back and watch them sweat. Once upon a time there was a Leicester-based three-piece called Dysneyland who existed for a few months and released one independent single “Walking Wounded” before seeing the error of their short-sighted ways, or perhaps the pointed finger of ‘The Man’ who said “no change-y, no release-y” and thus Sisterland was born. With their debut single “Tomorrow” released this week as part of the Too Pure Singles Club, we play the getting-to-know-you game with Sisterland.
Any band who writes a protest song and uses the word “control” in the title knows they’re entering The Clash territory, so it better be damn good. British Sea Power, I’m looking at you. Perched as the lead track on their Webcuts approved 9/10 album, Valhalla Dancehall, “Who’s In Control?” is a politically charged, apathetically raging anthem that hits like the proverbial brick through a shop-front window, while also appearing to presciently describe the December student tuition fee riots in London. With lyrical asides like “sometimes I wish protesting was sexy on a Saturday night”, the film-makers have contrived to take on the sex and protest angle residing in the lyrics and create something that is akin to watching an episode of Skins. A little bare flesh, partying and placard waving. Just an ordinary day in the life of a student. Released through Rough Trade records, Valhalla Dancehall is out now.
Our excitement at the return of this beloved 80’s jangle pop band has already been well documented. With the release of their first new recordings since 1992, The Primitives are well and truly back. Following the successful comeback tour of the UK in 2010, the band wisely decided to write and record some new material. With a clear 60’s inspired sound, the four tracks on the new EP light the way forward with the delectable garage stomp of lead track “Rattle My Cage”, the Velvets bliss of “Never Kill A Secret”, while paying tribute to their influences with some obscure 60’s covers of Suzi Jane Hokom’s Lee Hazlewood-penned “Need All the Help I Can Get” and Toni Basil’s Northern Soul classic “Breakaway”. Released on Fortuna Pop!, Never Kill A Secret is out now and the band will be touring the UK throughout March.
There really is something enthralling about watching a band not just perform music but energetically project themselves into it. It’s akin to standing against a gale who’s presence is to overpower you and anything in its way. That would in part, sum up the appeal of Exlovers — they cut a forceful, harmony-fuelled rug. The other part is they’re the most attractive bunch of tattooed scruffs that you’ll ever encounter. Put all this in the context of their latest single “Blowing Kisses”, a song that transcends simple indie guitar music and that gale hits like a perfumed fist that still makes you want to stand up and take more.
There have been few bands in history as stylish and effortlessly cool as Liverpool’s Ladytron. Arriving at the birth of the briefly celebrated electroclash scene in 2000, Ladytron’s mix of new wave and electronica received widespread acclaim with a sound that evolved and updated itself album to album, giving out such defining electro-pop specimens as “Playgirl”, “Evil”, and “Destroy Everything You Touch”. It’s been two years since the release of their last album, Velocifero, but while they band are putting the finishing touches to their fifth album, they’ve seen fit to bookend their first decade together in the form of a compilation album entitled Best Of: 00-10. To bring things up to date, the band recorded two new tracks for the album: their current single “Ace Of Hz” and a cover of folk industrialist’s Death In June’s “Little Black Angel”. Best Of: 00-10 is due for release on March 28.
Over-indulgent Gothic melodrama from Brighton’s Esben And The Witch. How do you like your nightmares? Black with 2 sugars, thanks.
Wire and Gang of Four wrote the book for post-punk, kind of. Are they still innovators or merely curators with Red Barked Tree and Content?
Putting on our Britpop goggles yet again, Sleeper’s debut album Smart and its follow-up The It Girl get the reissue treatment.
Nothing gets us more excited than the sound of perfectly executed bittersweet guitar pop that entwine boy/girl vocals around tales of jealousy and woe. Broken hearts are the stuff of great pop songs… a never-ending well of spite and inspiration that begs you to pick up a guitar and let loose. “Blowing Kisses” is the fourth single from London’s Exlovers, and it’s two minutes of harried drums and guitars with guitarist Chris and vocalist Laurel softly intoning “Keep your secrets to yourself/I know you’re waiting for someone else”. With a sound reminiscent of 90’s guitar pop, “Blowing Kisses” comes across like Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher from My Bloody Valentine fronting Ash. Easily one of the stand-out singles for 2011 and a promising start for Exlovers, having just finished recording their debut album with Jimmy Robertson (Florence & The Machine, The Big Pink). The band are on tour in the UK as we speak, previewing tracks from the album with a date in London set for February 28 at The Lexington.
When you add up the years, you realise Ian Astbury and Billy Dully have been making music as The Cult for a long-ass time. Sitting in the rafters of the Hammersmith Apollo (“Hammersmith Odeon“, Astbury demurs, referring to the venue’s previous appellation), the debt paid to the excesses of rock n’ roll have more-or-less treated both kindly. Astbury, the once flower-child/wolf-child looks a little rough round the edges, but when you style yourself on Jim Morrisson and then suddenly become him, what can you expect. Duffy on the other hand, is ageless, looking more like David Beckham‘s older brother than a well-tooled guitar god.
Now that Alison Mosshart has extricated herself from the clutches of Jack White and The Dead Weather, The Kills have made a timely return with the slow-motion fuzzed-out skank of “Satellite”, the first single taken from their forthcoming fourth album Blood Pressures, due out May 4 on Domino Records. The accompanying video clip charts a seedy late night ride through The Specials “Ghost Town” against the backdrop of the faded glamour of a seaside town, in this instance, Canvey Island, just outside of London. As conspicous as a couple of jailbirds, co-Kill-conspirator Jamie Hince has taken to dressing like a young Johnny Cash, while Mosshart vamps it up in her Wednesday Addams chic. Recorded in Michigan and produced by Hince, Blood Pressures looks set to take things down an even darker road than 2008’s Midnight Boom. In the meantime, the band have scheduled a pre-release show in London at Heaven on March 31 and will be touring the US throughout April with synth-mavens Cold Cave.
Uh-oh, here comes trouble. Pris are a four piece from London featuring Cat on vocals, Agatha on guitar, Mary on bass and Sam on drums. Imagine Blondie with an attitude problem, Manics before the middle life spread and Kenickie without the big bones. They show their claws on the stuttering “All That Glitters is Not Pearl Lowe”, while “Icon on a motorbike” mixes C86 guitar and girl-group “do do, lah lah”‘s to great effect. “Thesaurus” is maybe the best distillation of Pris so far, punkish chords and a speak-sung verse combine with a killer melody in the chorus. Their skimpily dressed singer Cat Gordon answered our questions just like you’d expect, rapid fire in all caps.
The arrival of their four digit debut single “1268” caused seismic speaker-blowing waves in the Webcuts offices in 2010. It truly was, and still is, a “What the fuck was that?” moment. It was in essence, Gang of Four meets LCD Soundsystem in an abandoned factory in North Wales. An electro pulse and surging beat, sheet metal guitars, inimitable Welsh vocals, it had ‘post-punk dancefloor smash’ writ large all over it, and had We//Are//Animal been from London instead of Wales, everybody would’ve been knocking down their door, kneeling to kiss their cossetted behinds (cough The Vaccines).
This was to be the debut and sole performance of Outsider Music, Luke Haines‘ most successful solo album to date. An album of some notoriety in that it was individually recorded 50 times and released last September for £75 a throw. An artistic experiment and a gamble of sorts, it was an undeniable success for Haines, the old adage about fools and their money standing true — all 50 volumes of Outsider Music disappearing quicker than anticipated. With each volume a unique item on its own, buyers have been reticent on sharing and as of yet, no copies have surfaced. So Haines – 1, Rich Fans – 1, Poor Fans – go eat a shit sandwich.
Hurrah for English music. Just when you think Webcuts panders almost exclusively to the Americans, British Sea Power save the day.
“The Words That Maketh Murder” is the first single taken from PJ Harvey’s forthcoming album Let England Shake. It was released digitally this week by Island Records with a 7″ single due out February 7 backed with an exclusive track “The Guns Called Me Back Again“, recorded during the Let England Shake sessions. With every new PJ Harvey album, she sheds her skin and adopts a new face, with a completely new style and focus falling into place. With almost 20 years making music under her own name, still no two albums have sounded quite the same. Mixing gospel with reggae and a big band sound, “The Words That Maketh Murder” sees PJ Harvey playfully pushing the eccentric envelope and coming up with her most extraordinarily offbeat single to date. Let England Shake is sure to follow the same genre-defying path. Look for the album, amidst the love-sick and love-less, on February 14.
Masters In France are one of several new bands, including the much lauded We//Are//Animal, currently spearheading a North Wales invasion. Fear not, we use the term ‘invasion’ loosely. You don’t have to worry about the charts being filled with Welsh-sung songs just yet (…or do you?). Helmed by Ed Jones and Owain Ginsberg (now that name’s familiar…) Masters In France trick out their schizoid dance/rock sound with taut beats and snaking guitar riffs, coming across like passive-aggressive pied pipers on the prowl. “Lyrically inspired by nights out in Caernarfon and finding influence in the banality of small town life” “Mad Hatter” is more likely code for their dealer or the name of their local boozer. Whatever it is, be sure to look for clues in the video clip. It’s well fuckin’ out there… “Mad Hatter” is released this week on Too Pure as the first release of their 2011 singles club. You can pick up the single through Rough Trade or order it online here.
The final bow from London’s The Loves balances its buoyant pop against a knowing end and comes up smelling of roses.
These are confusing times we live in. The past and the present have merged into one. Bands come back from the dead, sounding better than ever (The Primitives), artists who are clearly dead keep on making dreadful albums from beyond the grave (do we need name names?), and bands will play their best album in full and it becomes ‘an event’ (The Wedding Present). There are few albums in the history of music that deserve to be played in full (though tell that to Echo & The Bunnymen…), there’s always at least one track (or more) of filler, or one completely misjudged stinker, but nostalgia has a price and it pays handsomely, so hey, on with the show!
It’s been a long time time between drinks for The Charlatans and Australia. Fresh from playing their Some Friendly 20th Anniversary shows around the UK The Charlatans were down under recently with a more conventional touring schedule. It’s certainly not the fan fest that they are used to back home but a rapturous welcome still greets the band. With a set drawn mostly from their very early material honed through recent tours, and the obligatory new songs that every band pulls out, it’s a different set to what fans might expect but shows the depth of quality over their long career.
Two classic, career defining Fall albums get the deluxe box set treatment.
It’s an audacious pronouncement to commit to releasing 12 singles in 12 months. The Wedding Present set the benchmark in the 90’s. Ash tried the same thing recently, in a mixture of desperation and overkill in numbers too large to comprehend and tarnishing the very idea of a single. It’s not just two songs on a slab of vinyl (or cd, or one of those less satisfying digital w/artwork jobs). It’s a living, breathing statement. A trojan horse in disguise. A rallying cry to fall behind. A rallying cry… See, The Rifle Volunteer comprehend this. “I’ll Sleep When That Damned Sun Is Dead”, the first single in their year long campaign, is what we’re talking about. Here is a band that means business.
When there’s really only one of you, you can’t be everywhere and know everything. So excuse the tardiness in discovering avant-pop exponents and fellow London-ers, Still Corners. Almost stealing the show while supporting visiting Americans Twin Sister in London, we had these words to say about them — “select instrumental moments brought forth memories of Broadcast and Electrelane, while others a warm Slowdive-ing descent into a lush dreampop parade. Despite the plea of recent single “Don’t Fall In Love”, we couldn’t fake it, even just to spite you”. Released on a limited 7″ pressing on the Great Pop Supplement label in August, “Don’t Fall In Love” ascribes to the psychedelic 60’s cinerama of Broadcast, while the flipside hides a short but sweet surprise in the Mazzy Star-esque lullaby of “Wish”, which we’ve grown particularly fond of. Head over to http://stillcorners.bandcamp.com/ to hear more.
Part extreme noise terror, part euphoria, East London’s Factory Floor have made a name for themselves as being loud and uncompromising, or as they stress in the interview below “brutal”. Having walked half-way in during their set supporting American synth act Cold Cave earlier this year, Factory Floor’s performance was very much a “what the fuck?” moment, unsure as to either quickly vacate the room or take stock of the diffused electronic/industrial free-form concotions they were composing. We stayed, with reservations… Chris Berkley of Static caught up with Gabriel Gurnsey and Nik Colk from Factory Floor shortly after their appearance at the Offset Festival in London in September to find out more.
“Sweetly disarming” could best describe the debut single “Homework” by the confidently monikered duo Big Deal. Seemingly arriving out of nowhere (as all promising bands should) but based in East London, Big Deal are one boy, Kacey Underwood and one girl, Alice Costelloe. Both sing, both play guitar, their folk-tinged, melody-seeking playing and entwining vocals conjure up a delicate, nascent sound that’s naively gorgeous and impossible to ignore. The accompanying video clip is just as alluring, underlining the dreamy, pastoral feel of the song. Like a stripped-back Beach House, or a pot-less Best Coast, Big Deal have managed to sneak in with one of the best debut singles of 2010. “Homework” backed with a cover of Big Star’s “Thirteen” will be available via London label Records Records Records Records, both digitally and on limited hand-finished 7” vinyl on November 15. Go find them at http://www.myspace.com/weareabigdeal.
Touched by the somewhat friendly eclectic hand of The Charlatans for their tenth album in twenty years.
You’d be forgiven for having a sense of déjà vu here. Is it 1989? Did The Primitives and The Darling Buds really both play London within a week of each other? Having been absent from the live scene for most of the ’90s and all of the past decade, for both bands to surface at the same time is unthinkable. Unthinkable, but pretty damn cool. It brings back memories of a time when the music magazines invented a scene called ‘Blonde’, where bands were lumped together purely based on the colour of the lead singers hair. Which by their way of thinking meant you were either a Blonde, a Goth or in Fairground Attraction.
One of the stand out tracks, if not the stand out track from The Morning Benders sophomore release Big Echo. “All Day, Day Light” crackles with electricity and smacks of effortless cool. As hand-claps slap against the stab of guitar chords, Morning Benders vocalist Christopher Chu hands out alliteratively perfect lines like “someone somewhere sails the ocean/someone somewhere selling the seas”. Signed to Rough Trade in the UK, The Morning Benders appeared out of nowhere with this near-perfect album, unburdened by pre-release hype and fanfare. A seasonal themed video, the clip reaches its climax as the song descends into a discordant guitar wind-out over a fake snow fight. Impressive without actually trying to impress, The Morning Benders own Big Echo and make the loudest of noise by letting the music speak for them. For indie guitar aficiandos, “All Day, Day Light” is embarrassingly good, yet as straight-forward guitar pop as it gets.
Champion Shoegazers Slowdive get the back catalogue reissue treatment. We’ll have the Souvlaki to go.
In the cockney rhyming slang lexicon there really should be an entry marked “Gemma Ray” that translates to “The Hard Way” for the sultry Essex singer’s career is one filled with false starts, battles with illness and sheer bloody mindedness. Barely finished from touring her last album Ray has just released an album of covers It’s a Shame About Ray which draws its song pool from the likes of Buddy Holly, Lee Hazelwood, Etta Fitzgerald, Sonic Youth, Mudhoney, Gallon Drunk and The Gun Club. Webcuts catches up with the brunette with the beehive during a tour in South Africa to talk knives, the new album, Rosemary’s Baby, illness affecting songwriting and the recording of new material.
It’s not so much lurking in the 3 minute bluster of their debut single “How Long”, but a part of its DNA, that you quickly catch onto Ramona’s game. In the first 10 seconds alone they manage to answer the eternal question of “What if Debbie Harry joined The Ramones?”. You see it in singer Karen Anne’s bleached blonde locks and her breathy purr, and you hear it all over “How Long”, the harmonies n’ hooks, and the buzzsaw guitars that graduate with honours from The Ramones “Rock n’ Roll High School”. It’s just one song/one question answered, we thought best to rattle off 15 more. Thus becoming the first in our “Who The Hell Are…?” Q&A’s where we send out, Smash Hits-style, a random bunch of questions to a new act that has caught our eyes and ears, and then let them answer in their own words.
Send out the search parties — Missing in action on the latest album from M.I.A. — “melody, listenability, and some semblance of a point”.
Gemma Ray found the best way to deal with the Christmas period was to record a covers album. Not a bad idea really.
When you get down to the nuts and bolts of rock and roll, it’s not about how tight your jeans are or how good your stylist is, it’s about the music. It’s about the song. For some bands in particular, it’s about the pop song. Two and half minutes of spun gold that held your attention long after the needle left the record. Few bands embodied the spirit of the sublime ’60s pop song than The Primitives. Sitting backstage at The Scala in London, Webcuts catches up with Tracy and Paul to rewind the clock and to talk about the events that brought The Primitives into the 21st Century and what lies ahead for the band.