Saturday, 9 April 2016

Poet Palms - .the inzz and outzz of thoughts in my pocket, album review

With leaden arms and a woozy head I paused to survey the abundant musical landscape, I had come here I search of something 'experimental' and now I was taking stock of the surrounding area as my motor functions continued to float somewhere beyond the realm of normal practicality.

Skinny withered fingers flash across the touchscreen and dip in and out of new releases like some kind of malnourished Winnie The Pooh feverishly tasting from the honey pot using the sense of sight alone, discarding those that don't look right, those that don't appeal, with no real sense of why, but when I've found it, then I've found it.

And I've found it.

I've found the voice that speaks to me.

Speaks to me through poetry.  Speaks to me through brevity, and beauty.
Speaks to me through complexity and pretentiousness, because I love finding something that it can be a challenge to love, I love holding my head up and declaring that perhaps my taste is the emperor's new taste.

But above all that I love passion.

And I love the dizzying power of creation.

This dainty and lithe creation that was spawned of minds and now beams directly into mine. Words and sounds, definitely poetic, occasionally musical, purely avant garde and now a part of my life.  Fleeting glimpses into other lives exist here without boundaries or formulas, these are snapshots of genius fused to maverick productions, both feeding and solidifying each other in the symbiotic process.

I found this.

Or did it find me?

Friday, 8 April 2016

Whenyoung - See How They Run, single review

The debut self-released single by newcomers Whenyoung just landed in my inbox and swiftly wound it's way into my mind.

So far I've received very little information about the band, instead choosing to let the music do the talking, or to get closer to the truth, letting the music do the shouting, stomping, jumping around and teasing.

Whenyoung sound like a number of things and make a great first impression for themselves.  They sound brash, they sound like your favourite garage-rock band that you'd forgotten you'd loved, they sound slightly Scandinavian, they sound flirtatious, and they sound like fun. 

Within two minutes they cram monochromatic shades of PJ Harvey, The Kills and Ladytron into See How They Run, and I for one, am already hooked.

Self-released on 22nd April

in conversation with Eddie's Samband

After pleasantly surprising the band by reviewing their single last month, i decided to get in touch with Eddie's Samband to try and find out a little more about the fledgling act...

I'm sure it's the one question the whole musical world has been asking, but who are Eddie's Samband?

Sam1: We are Eddie, Sam and Sam or Sam and Eddie and Sam or Sam, Sam and Eddie, or just Eddie's Samband.  Three people from North London who enjoy spending far too infrequent amounts of time together making music, generally fuelled by cheap booze and bad jokes.
Sam2: Eddie’s Samband is a feeling, a movement, a way of life.
Eddie: Eddie's Samband is a chemical reaction of off brand Baileys and Tesco brand buck's fizz… fuck’s bizz.
Sam2: If you’ve ever had a feeling and not known what it was, how to deal with it or even if it’s in a ‘talent’ time signature, you are Eddie’s Samband.
Eddie: Sam and I were already mates before we started the “project” and he suggested we record some songs with his friend who is also called Sam. We stumbled into a rehearsal studio I was working in at the time and recorded a song about getting drunk. The rest is history

Do you think Stacey could be persuaded to listen to techno? What is she into?

Sam2: In a word, NAH. She loves a bit of Craig David played on her phone while she’s walking round the estate or reppin’ the back of the bus.
Sam1: I think that she doesn't even know what she likes, she generally has a hankering for top charts bangers and bargain bin Shiraz but that's only because her friends do, in private she probably prefers silent crying and the sound of her own heartbeat.
Eddie: I think I remember meeting Stacey in the smoking area of a run-down pub in Islington… The kind of pub that hadn’t changed the furniture or carpet since the smoking ban. We were talking about festivals and gigs we've been to. Well I was anyway... She was chucking her guts up because she took advantage of the cheap house wine.
Before she left, I slipped her a copy of Moby’s 2009 album “Wait For Me” and told her it would be a good listen for a hangover.
I’ve not had contact with her since.

I see you've been shouting out KT Tunstall and Adele on twitter, are these the strong female artists that you wish to emulate?

Sam1: Can one shout on a medium that doesn't have a volume control? I mean, you can be kind of aggressively visual using CAPS LOCK but it's not got the same power as a good ol' shout, does it?
Sam2: You could say we wish to emulate them. Or you could say we’re just horrific pests on social media.  I definitely want to be one of them when I’m a grown up.  Either or.  I’m not picky.
Eddie: Sam’s a very big fan of KT. I can’t say I’m a huge fan but I can appreciate a good singer/songwriter when I hear one. I wouldn’t say what we’re doing is emulating anyone, it’s just;
“Hey, we all play instruments. Let’s get together and make some noise.”
Sam1: I'm pretty sure we just want to go for a drink with them...
 Sam2: I think a night out with Eddie’s Samband, Adele and KT would be banging. Perhaps when they’re drawing up the table plans for next year’s BRIT Awards they could take this in to account?
Sam1: They would certainly be on the list of people we are influenced by - well the Sams are, I think Eddie's kind of KT-curious verging on A-DeleSexual...
Eddie: I’ve been A-DeleSexual for years pal.  I guess I’m more influenced by other artists we mutually like… Bowie, The Cure, Radiohead, Fleetwood Mac, The Raconteurs to name a few...

Delving deeper and listening to your debut #feelingsEP reveals that the band can show a slightly more serious and sensitive side... What is it that makes the band tick and what can we expect of any future releases?

Sam2: Feelings. If we ever experience any feelings, they’re in a song
Sam1: What makes us tick? Gin mostly.
Eddie: I think with #feelingsEP we were trying our hand at writing songs with meaningful lyrics and interesting chord progressions while still sounding okay while under the influence. It just seemed a bit boring to be so serious and feelsy all the time so we just decide to have fun and do whatever... even if it didn’t meet traditional songwriter standards
Sam2: Sometimes I just want to get drunk, and that’s a feeling. And that’s ok. Any future releases are guaranteed to have a wide array of mixed messages, mixed emotions and stains of gin and misery.

You've presented yourselves as 'Three drunks and a laptop'.... Any plans to take that set-up into the real world and perform live?

Sam2: We will only play anywhere that has free WiFi and free booze. If you know anywhere that meets that criteria, we’ll consult the Filofax and see if we can be bothered to rock up.
Sam1: That sounds like it would involve a lot of work.
Eddie: I think we’ve all played together at the same time a grand total of once and that’s when we had our first jam.
Sam1: You know, Sam and I tried a rehearsal for a live show we'd been offered (Eddie was busy with his real band or a funeral or something) and we couldn't even remember the chords to the songs. Needless to say we didn't do it.
Eddie: It does sound like a good idea but it would require a lot of planning, rehearsal and booze so I’m not sure we’re gonna be playing shows any time soon... I wouldn’t rule it out though!
Sam1: We'd definitely still be three drunks and a laptop on stage.  The intermittent pauses while waiting for the ageing macbook to reboot from yet another crash would be fun though, wouldn't they?

And lastly, who were your first cartoon crushes and do you think these have informed your later life choices?

Eddie: That’s a very interesting question
Sam1: This question is quite random, I kind of like it, what was the reasoning behind it?
Eddie: I think mine was probably Buttercup from the Powerpuff girls. I’m not sure why, it’s probably the tomboy-ish attitude and taste in music haha!
Sam1: Daria is deliciously morose and may be my spirit animal. But I wouldn't say I ever had romantic feelings for a drawing. I've had other feelings about drawings, but never lustful ones, I mean, never say never, but I haven't so far in my life...
Eddie: I can’t say a childhood crush on an anime inspired little girl with superpowers has affected my life choices.. I think meeting a woman with those characteristics is a bit far-fetched.
Sam2: I would probably say Simba. I just couldn’t wait to be queen at the time. I don’t think this has influenced any of my later life choices really other than the occasional Lion King sing-along in the office at work. Lions don’t form a part of my sexuality.

#feelingsEP and Stacey's Crying are both out now via bandcamp

Friday, 1 April 2016

Those Handsome Animals - Rant Wildly, single review

We are no longer hurtling towards the future, we overshot it, and now find ourselves floating helplessly in an entropy of Chris Morris-esque farce and self-loathing somewhere beyond the path we were meant to follow.

It's all noise and it's all meaningless, but somewhere in this raging 21st century chaos is a band that help me to retune my zen-like state and find my centre within frenetic three minute indie-pop songs.

Those Handsome Animals talk sense in their painfully aware lyrics, taking kitchen-sink dramas and everyday situations and cramming this social commentary into a track until it feels fit to burst, thrusting forth with brake-neck delivery.  Those Handsome Animals can knock out astute witticisms and still counter it all with a chorus that captures the imagination with no imagination needed at all, it's simple, it's forthcoming, just wait patiently and wail along.  And Those Handsome Animals make perfect sense to me, when the whole world appears to be changing quicker than I can keep up with, I love that they seem to stay the same, they wear their influences on their sleeves regardless of what fashion may dictate, and above all that, they make me want to dance.

I don't need phone upgrades and craft beers and tidal streaming exclusives, and I don't want beloved celebrities to keep dying and I don't want to worry about an ever-increasing retirement age or euro-exits.

I just want music to jump around to, and songs to sing along with loudly.

Is that too much too ask?

Out now and available to stream via Spotify

Friday, 18 March 2016

Flo - Spiritual, single review

Musical reinvention is certainly nothing new within the industry.

However having the opportunity to see homegrown musicians change and shape their own destinies over the years brings out a pride in me that I cherish, and so it goes with Flo...

My first encounters of Flo was when she was fronting an indie-synth-pop band in the midst of the heady MySpace era (two mentions of MySpace in a week? I must be feeling nostalgic...), and even dedicated column inches to her when she became 'just another' bedroom musician, but more than just changing her sound over the intervening years, Flo is now releasing her own take on laid-back neo-soul music that carries a sobering sense of maturity.

This first release from True Unity Records follows the path laid out with her hip-hop inspired 2014 Mixtape, the 90’s evoking boom-bap beat is the musical playground for the gentle reflection delivered through the lyrics, lyrics that speak loud and clear of self-worth, trust and growth, the quiet-storm of Flo's vocals drift dreamily across the track and weaves itself wistfully with a tasteful Minnie Riperton sample.

And Flo's involvement with True Unity Records marks them out as a new label to watch, as hot on the heels of the solo single comes this collaborative track with Dotz and Max Runham, fixing to raise funds and awareness for the plight of homelessness in the UK.

Out now via True Unity Records

Monday, 14 March 2016

Eddie's Samband - Stacey's Crying, single review

It has been far too long since anyone has made music that sounds like this...

'Stacey doesn't even listen to techno', a simple refrain repeated over and over, pitched and played out in a variety of voices and filtered effects, it sits atop a D.I.Y electro-thumper of a track that doesn't merely hint at lo-fi, it screams it and wears it as a badge of honour in a way that would have befitted a number of early-noughties upstarts that made a name for themselves in the same music press and indie club scenes that birthed more longer lasting bands such as Bloc Party and Arctic Monkeys, I'm thinking of Look Look (Dancing Boys), Chicks On Speed, Tiger Force, Hadouken! and countless other bands that were hideously trendy for five minutes but ultimately slipped through the cracks of credibility that the passing of time has created.

I can already envisage Eddie's Samband's neon-adorned MySpace page with M.I.A, Gang Gang Dance and Tom's ever present thumbs up all nestled in their top 8 friends.

On the single's flipside, 'Crying' has all the hallmarks of a 'real' song packed full of fraught emotion and angst, until it descends into self-parody and reveals itself to instead be packed full of swears and packing it's tongue firmly in cheek.

Before bands had to be brands and market themselves as such, before 360-degree record deals and twitter handles, before I cared about going out on a school night and still being drunk the next morning at work... there was once an age when it was ok to have fun, when it was ok to not give a flying proverbial.... And the release of 'Stacey's Crying' takes me right back there.

out now via Bandcamp

Friday, 11 March 2016

in conversation with Married To The Sea

Early last month we reviewed the brand new EP from Liverpudlian four piece Married To The Sea, and to celebrate it's release today we got the band to answer a few questions for us...

Ok, let's get the most obvious interview question out of the way first, who are the musical influences that have shaped the group's sound?

Theres quite a range of influences throughout the band but some of the crossovers are Death Cab for Cutie, The Weakerthans, The Shins, Wave Machines, LCD Soundsystem, Wilco, Fugazi and anything that's poppy and from Sweden - Those guys really know how to write a banger.

When I was poking around the internet and doing my research I was greeted by a daily web-comic website after googling 'Married To The Sea', is this where you've taken your name from?

We also stumbled across that comic - its actually really good, but the name comes from the Wes Anderson film 'Rushmore'. We were trying to come up with band names for ages before settling on Married to the Sea - it seemed to be the one that caused the least tears.

I first got my hands on your EP for reviewing purposes in early February, how long have you been living with these songs for?

We have to admit we are quite slow in writing songs - we tend to have sketches of ideas bouncing around the practice room for a while before we settle into a definite shape.

With this set of songs, we had them for about a year or so, but it was only after getting together with mega producer Carl Brown, from Liverpool band Wave Machines, that the songs really started to come together. He helped us realise that you can't fiddle with a song forever, sometimes you have to just make sure the feeling and approach is right and then just make sure you're on fire in the studio. 

And presumably you're gearing up for future releases? What does your schedule for the remaining year ahead look like?

One of our favourite places to visit is Germany - they treat you so well over there and the audiences are so receptive to bands from the UK, plus they have a drink called 'Mezzo Mix' that is 50% Coke, 50% Fanta, so we'll be heading back over the channel later on in the year to top up our supplies.

Then later on in the year we'll be playing some dates in the UK as part of a rescheduled tour that was meant for March. We also have exciting plans afoot with the regular night we run in Liverpool called '10 Bands 10 Minutes' so watch out....

In my review I bandied around the name 'Snow Patrol', sometimes sneered at in musical circles.... Personally I think it's unjust, but what are your opinions? Have I slighted the band in any way?

Not at all - in fact i heard 'Spitting Games' when i was in a shop the other day and had forgotten how great that song is. I guess bands mean different things to different people - so if you think they're great, we'll take that.

Along with Cold War Love EP, March also sees the release of Batman vs Superman, are we now facing too many superhero movies year on year?  And where would you rather play on tour, Gotham or Metropolis?

As a band we are big fans of superhero films, but the idea of playing in those cities sounds a bit daunting. We'd probably get the tyres stolen from the van.... 

Unless we could convince Batman and Superman to join us on stage in a kind of superhero-supergroup? Then we could put both of them on the merch stand - they'd deffo make it hard to say no to a t-shirt...

Cold War Love EP by Married To The Sea is out now