The online buzz surrounding the release of current single “Mosaic” was uniform in the way the agreeable (and occasionally obnoxious) tastemaker blogs began to fall in line with praise. This was slightly akin to a group of music nerds being played the track at the same time, with cries of “Oh this is really great,
Heavy on atmosphere with a melodic depth that harnesses Banshees-like percussion against rippling guitar-work and bears more than a passing resemblance to the rhythmic whirl of Warpaint and the siren song of Esben and the Witch, the band known as Deaf Club (relax: it's just a name) have become an intriguing proposition in the space
What to say about Sheffield's Best Friends... The name of the band is self-explanatory. The a-side of their debut single “Surf Bitches” could either be about the kinds of girls they like or things they like to do, but with a comma missing between “Surf” and “Bitches”. You know, like a shopping list. Maybe they
This is a first for Webcuts, in the sense that between asking a band to appear in a future 'Who The Hell Are...?' and publishing said feature, the band broke up. Our recent hiatus, which was unfortunate but you know... whatever, allowed Naomi Hates Humans to pass into the great rehearsal room in the sky un-championed
Folk bands are slowly going the way of the emo bands -- cookie-cutter, predictable, uninspired, and inevitably becoming a parody of themselves because music is a business and the market dictates that consumers will always want more of what's popular. The Beggar Folk fall nicely into the afore-mentioned folk music genre, however their music doesn't seem to follow suit with the folk status quo. These are ballads and hymns, carved from trees and molded from soil. This music demands your attention and effortlessly passes any authenticity tests. It conjures up what real Americana and country music should conjure.
When it comes to the mythical it-factor, New York's The Rassle by their own admission are “just rock and roll”. They understand that thousands of people have been there, done that. They're here to enjoy whatever the moment is right now, and it feels pretty damn great. Listen to The Rassle's first single, “Wild Ones” and you'll hear what they're talking about. It's a sound that's been done before. A little synthy, a little danceable. But by the time that kick drum chorus comes bellowing forward, it doesn't matter. You're bobbing your head like this is the first time you've heard indie rock before. It's fantastic.
With their debut album If It Carries On Like This We're Moving to Morecombe, London post-rock quartet The Fierce & The Dead left an indelible impression at Webcuts HQ. It was an album that defied categorisation and challenged perceptions of the post-rock genre, not only from the exceptionally long-winded and unselfconscious title, but in the way it fused elements of post-rock with hardcore, ambient soundscapes and jazz/funk experimentation. It was as if The Fierce & The Dead wanted to sound like all bands, and none, which intrigued us enough to want to find out more.
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.
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.
Introducing KIDCITY. Two people, One word, uppercase for menacing effect. But really, aren't they just too cute for words? Which is apt, seeing as the music that these two Canadian 21-year-olds make is more like haunted voices leaking from an overloaded digital landscape. "Somewhere between Enya and Dr. Dre", someone said. Sure, why not. It might be simple enough to place them within the geographical radius of another glitchy electronic duo, Crystal Castles, but Kelly Ann's vocals soothe, rather than antagonise, as the cracked beats and blistered frequencies dial up the intensity. Significantly impressed, we had no choice but to ask 'Who the hell are... KIDCITY?"
There's not much point in asking where Bleeding Knees Club got their name. It's the kind of degenerate tag that you'd expect from a couple of Australian garage surf-punks, but for the innocent and curious alike the band spell it out below. If they happen to ask if you want to join their particular club, ladies just say 'no'. Hailing from Brisbane, where every home has its own swimming pool thanks to last year's insane floods, Alex and Jordan of Bleeding Knees Club have "won hearts and minds through a reckless live reputation and with a swag of super-catchy tunes on their debut EP Virginity".
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.
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.
Dial back to the summer of 2010 having spent the afternoon hanging out with electro-be-spectacle Amanda Warner aka MNDR, we get a tweet from her inviting us to come down to Camp Basement in Old Street to watch synth experimentalists Silk Flowers, a Brooklyn three-piece that she’d recently produced an album for. Standing facing each other in a semi-circle surrounded by banks of synths, the band were undoubtedly not of this planet, but one Krautrock based in nature, appearing wholly entranced in their own music which veered from instrumental collages to deadpan delivered pop.
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).
Sometimes a mood, feeling or memory can be condensed into a single album or song. It can be due to overexposure to that certain piece of music at the time of a memory being made, like, let's say, Christmas, or it can be the result of new music that already sounds familiar hitting on certain emotional chords, no pun intended. And new music that feels old, strange tunes that feel like a lifelong pal, is not necessarily an indictment of inherent quality, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. So goes with The Volcano Diary, a very new band that feels like they've been making music for decades.
Lion Island were first encounted playing a free show in Brisbane's King George Square. Their ability to fill a large stage with eight members and the cavernous square full of wondrous music bolstered my mood and had casual passerby's on their way to the train, stop and listen. When seen again three months later at The Hi-Fi Bar a liking for the band was affirmed and proved that Lion Island are one of the city's most ambitious and talented acts. Here are a band able to switch from solo singer-songwriter folk, then become a Brisbane Beirut by adding brass and violin to the acoustic guitar and drums to full out orchestral rock, as if Finn Andrews was fronting The National.
Picture the scene... in a dark Minneapolis jazz club, three anonymous musicians take the stage. The usual rituals of tuning and testing, smiling and carrying on, and then the lead singer steps up to the microphone. It only takes a few songs to appreciate the underestimated prowess of the band; the churning bass, the precision in the drumming, and a fiesty singer whose melancholy adroitness shines through her toned-down Joplin-esque voice and ferocious, half-prostrated guitar solos. This is Holly Newsom and Zoo Animal, a band marked by a soulful yet minimal electrofolk sound and introspective, sometimes spiritual lyrics.
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.
There aren't that many great instrumental duos in the history of rock and roll. I've thought about this for about 20 seconds or so and bored already. To arrive at that musical decision, and to arrive at that musical decision when your bandmate doesn't even live in the same country, is as perverse as it is stupid. Being as they are Australian, perverse stupidity is our calling, and it's why Civil Civic succeed where others have just gone "Dude, we need another member". With the title still up for grabs (or until some smart-ass avant-garde freak shoots me down), Civil Civic could turn out to be the greatest instrumental duo in the history of rock and roll. Wouldn't that be just dandy?
Consider The Capitalist Youth, a trio of former high school classmates who play “acoustic indie rock combining a living room full of misfit instruments with lyrically driven songs about summer camp, existential crises and gubernatorial indiscretions”. They don’t write and play the kind of music that will leave listeners dumbstruck over their redefinition of a genre, but they’re able to adeptly inject something into their music that only a handful of others have done well: humanity, with a laid back sense of humor, and without any of the awkward pauses that come from other bands who get lucky on a song or two and can’t maintain things the rest of the way.
While on first glance Big Scary are neither that big or scary, listen to any of their EPs and the name starts to make sense. At the Mercy of the Elements released earlier this year gave us an idea of the versatility of this Australian band: The Led Zeppelin meets White Stripes heavy rock of "Hey Somebody" rubbed shoulders with epic piano driven pop "Falling Away" and the aptly named "Creature of the Night". Those tracks signposted a more a more mellow direction which was continued on the second of their four season EPs Winter. Currently touring with the impressive folk influenced Spring with Summer just around around the corner and a bunch of live shows in regional Australia we attempted to crack open the hardworking twosome.
From the first syllables sung by Jonneine Zapata on her debut album Cast the Demons Out, on an intro which segues into the simmering let's-get-it-on pop of "Good Looking", the LA siren had us hooked. Before the record made its way into the world Zapata was best known as a concert draw, gaining rave reviews in the US and catching the attention of Mark Lanegan and Jack White who had Zapata and band support Soulsavers and The Raconteurs respectively. We attempted to get some background ahead of her first Australian tour. While that was accomplished we also learnt that apart from an amazing voice and song writing chops Zapata has a wicked sense of humour.
Janus 4-14's tag is 'indie pop that won't make you cringe', but they fail to recognise that statement itself is cringeworthy. Despite being presumptious of their own sound, Janus 4-14 do make for great music. They exist in a time that some would regard as the golden age of music, that mid-90's alternative scene when American bands owned their airwaves. They took their influences from the UK, as well as their own country, and put together something that sounded like The Ramones meets The Buzzcocks, that in itself was almost a new breed of rock n' roll -- fast or slow, these were raging guitar-driven, melody-led slices of imperfect perfection.
Originally known to us as one of the curators of the Hangar venue and lofly label in Brisbane we shouldn't have been surprised that Joel Edmondson had a musical project -- the collective have more fingers in pies than Georgie Porgie after all. What we weren't expecting, seeing as his label mates lean more towards the electronic and experimental side of the musical spectrum, was the polished pop and rock awaiting us on his MySpace page. We fired off our standard 15 questions to Mr Edmondson and his swift response proved wry and illuminating, much like his songwriting.
How Webcuts first encountered Knoxville, Tennessee's Coolrunnings could be best described as a lucky accident. And it's no surprise that the best way to get someone's attention is to slap a photo of some naked chicks skateboarding on the cover of your EP and let them sell it for you. The appropriately titled (and NSFW) Babes Forever was clearly the product of talented and warped minds. The creepy, schizoid mayhem of "Trippin' Balls at Der Wienerschnitzel" and the inspired, almost unabashed, synth-pop of "When I Got High With You" sounded like they were made by some slacker Bill & Teds who'd already embarked on their own excellent adventure.
It's not so much lurking in the 3 minute bluster of their debut single “How Long”, but a part of its DNA, where 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