Pour me a bourbon, I’m in a dystopian noir future with monsters under my bed and in my head, questionable gravity and cold war paranoia. Ah well, leastways I still look good in a trilby. Ah well, better review a new album that just so happens to be about all of these things, the debut album from Shijo X.
Bologna by Night is full of the smoky jazz stylings and triphop of Portishead, whilst being a low key noir about a woman who doesn’t want to get out of bed claiming “I’m not sad, not blue, not mad/I just want to lay on my bed,” but everything she says in the song contradicts this verse when she sings of her apathy and ennui. The character even has ennui about people telling her to “Do something” to get out of her funk, so she says “So, I’ll make you happy/I’ll turn on TV...” an act of bored rebellion that can’t help but make you crack a wry grin.
Bad Bed, six tracks on is a trippy, treatise on the villains and monsters that dwell underneath our beds and in the inky darkness of our subconscious mind, skilfully mixing in samples of music boxes and warping Laura Sinigaglia’s vocals into something swirling and menacing to evoke the feeling of being trapped in the nightmare of your own ruinous imagination.
Uptown Bike is reminiscent of what would happen if Olive was mixed in with the original Doctor Who theme by Delia Derbyshire, with heavy synths building up to a crescendo, mimicking the frantic pedalling of the bike in the song, out of control and onwards to an inexorable fate.
In (The) Moscow is about drunken disorientation and translocation in a different country, a country completely alien to the character in the song: “Why is not working gravity?/Why that big bright sun is green?” Feeling drunk isn’t too dissimilar a feeling of disorientation as being in a foreign country for the first time, with no idea how to speak the language and desperately trying to acclimate to the situation whilst having no idea what you’re doing or where you’re going.
Shijo X has delivered a promising debut, experimental yet you can dance to it, polished but not overproduced. This is an album to dance to in a darkened room with wild abandon, it is worth your time and your ears.
At the Atlantic Stage the modest crowd gathered is split down the middle due to a large pothole filled with rain water, and the wind is picking up when Jane Weaver takes to the stage. I reviewed her latest album, The Silver Globe a few weeks back, http://vinylcountdown.weebly.com/blog/jane-weaver-the-silver-globe Spoilers – I liked it. Weaver was pretty genial with the crowd, and her vocals were crisp and CD perfect as she laid down her eerie psychedelic folk. I just felt kind of guilty that the crowd wasn’t bigger for her, maybe due to people not being aware of her stuff. She did a great set, including Mission Desire, Argent and The Electric Mountain. I hope to hear more from her soon.
Next, we travel to the North Stage (remember the North!) to see C.A.R. Imagine Grace Jones crossed with The XX or Crystal Castles and you wouldn’t be far off. With a stark, stripped back sound and raw, almost angular vocals and 80’s synths, C.A.R was an interesting listening experience that soon drew in more of a crowd due to her pop synth sensibilities. She's a promising artist, if a little rough around the edges. I'll be interested to see what she comes up with in the future.
Side bar: The one really irritating thing is that The North Stage was opposite both the Cavern Stage and the Kraken Stage causing a continual bottleneck, meaning if you wanted to travel from The Atlantic Stage to the Baltic Stage, or to frequent the fair, or many of the other eateries, bars or toilets you were stuck wading through a continual traffic jam of people. Another problem was that the sound bled through really badly from the Cavern and Kraken stages to the North stage because they were all in such close proximity. I really hope this is something that the organisers of Sound City address next year, as the Bramley More Docks were a great venue, and this was one of the few things that marred the experience for me and my brother.
After a much needed beer, coffee and cake infusion, we were off again to the Atlantic Stage to see the hotly anticipated band The Cribs. They didn't disappoint. With a searing setlist that included Burning for No One, Different Angle, Men's Needs and I'm A Realist, the band was poised to please the crowd with a diverse array of their hits from new to old, with the energy of the Manics and the enthusiasm of Ash. The only thing I disliked, and it's a pet peeve was when one of the band members half-heartedly threw his guitar at the amp and it bounced off. Look, I get it, you're trying to be rock and roll, but really? We know you're not going to wreck your own stuff, so who are you trying to fool? Unless you bought your guitar at Primark, you're not going to trash it, are you? So please, cut the shit and keep up the great music, because that's what we're there to see. Otherwise, great performance.
Gaz Coombes was a much more mellow affair, but nonetheless enjoyable. I regret not actually getting the chance to review his latest album, as everything I've heard on 6 Music and at the gig was quite promising. In stark contrast to the singer's Supergrass days at the height of Britpop, Coombe's career as a single artist is one of melancholy and thoughtfulness, evocative of Thom Yorke in a lot of places. It was a nice palette cleanser coming after The Cribs, and the performance was polished and the music was good.
Belle & Sebastian were unsurprisingly the highlight of the night and quite possibly the whole festival. The band kicked off with Nobody's Empire, and the excellently disco The Party Line, the crowd inspired to dance by Stewart Murdoch's brilliant, unabashedly dad dancing that was infectious and caused a quarantine barrier to have to be erected by the Kraken and North stage. Not deterred by this wholly fictional quarantine I just created for a terrible joke, Murdoch climbed into the crowd to meet his people and just be generally charming and amiable, mixing with the crowd, getting one of them to put mascara on him, and bringing a woman from the audience up to the stage to dance. But this was just the start.
The only dud of the performance was the song Perfect Couples, which just seemed to fall flat, and to be quite frank wasn't my favourite song on Girl's in Peacetime Want to Dance. But compared to the rest of the performance, this is just a minor gripe.
But the bit that really got me was when they played “I Want the World To Stop,” a song that along with “You’re In A Bad Way” by St Etienne have been songs that have cheered me up and got me out of a funk I was in. The crowd was buzzing, I was yelling clapping and dancing like the happy idiot I was, and everyone was having a great time. But then they cranked it up a notch.
Oh my god, has he really dragged most of the front row up on stage? Yes, yes he did. I haven't seen such good will and geniality at a gig since Andrew WK offered to piggyback anyone in the crowd at Leeds Festival years ago, and then proceeded to piggyback a man back and forth on a stage whilst singing Party Hard. He got most of the front row up on stage. And they were dancing, and the band somehow played and sung The Boy With the Arab Strap around them. What a band. What a night. Me and my brother had a blast, and I really hope they return to our fair city, the true Capital of the North (suck it, Manchester!) to grace our ears again.
In retrospect, I think we both enjoyed Sound City 15 a lot better than the previous year. Although the Bramley More docks wasn't without its disadvantages, I feel like the festival was outgrowing the pubs, clubs, nooks and crannies of the city centre as the fest was getting a lot more popular, and that for the most part, it was a great location. I just hope that next year that the smaller stages are much more spread out and that there's more in the way of seating areas and toilet facilities next year.
P.S: I bought this great St Etienne art print after the gig in the Screenadelica tent, in honour of the fact that A. Although St Etienne weren't there, they're a great band. and B. As mentioned earlier, I owe "You're in A Bad Way" a debt of gratitude for how it gets me out of a rubbish mood. Here it is!
Hello, dear readers. I am writing the last two entries as I recover from the musical debauchery of the last two days of Sound City 15, drinking chilled owls blood whilst sitting atop a human pyramid. But enough of my own personal decadence, let's get on with what Friday had to offer.
The first band we saw was Becky Becky. If you've been reading my fevered writings for the past week or so, then you'll probably remember me writing something about them sounding a bit like Moloko, which was enough to pique my interest and spur me on to check them out. Whilst Gemma L. Williams had a promising voice, somewhere between Roisin Murphy and Bjork, the band was very raw and unfinished - and I mean very. This was topped off by an inadvisable attempt to mount or vault over the barrier that just seemed ill advised. That's not to say they won't get better, but I think it's early days yet for Becky Becky, and I hope they improve in the future. Like I said, I think they've got an interesting sound, but they're not there yet.
After some American Pizza slice, craft beer and Tim Peaks coffee we head over to the Atlantic Stage to see Sean Lennon's band, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. I'll be honest, I didn't dig them. It sounded very Kula Shaker, and very much more like the ghost of the 70's more than anything else. My brother Nick assured me that the album plays a lot better than the band played live, so I'll give that a listen and let you know what I think. But at the time - decidedly not impressed.
At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon who hates everything and everyone, I also didn't dig the Thurston Moore Band. Admittedly, I've only heard a few Sonic youth songs, (which I quite liked) so maybe I'm not their audience and I'm the wrong guy to ask, but there just seemed like too much guitar and too little singing or lyrics. Yes, I know I'm a bloody philistine, but it just wasn't for me. The guitar work was strong and Moore sounded in good voice, but other than that the whole performance just didn't grip me. Ah me, can anything salvage this day?
I found the drone's performance to be very consistent, it's circular motions a metaphor for being trapped in a recursive loop, symbolising the trap of our lives, but it must always watch! Oh fuck I've turned into Matt Belamy post Black Holes and Revelations. Shoot me now, it would be a mercy.
Thankfully you can count on The Flaming Lips to be brilliantly bizarre and put out a great show, from singing classics like She Don't Use Jelly, Fight Test and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots whilst hugging a mascot dressed as a cartoon sun, to throwing a giant balloon that said "Fuck Yeah, Liverpool!" into a crowd that was loving every minute of it.
There was also confetti, zorbing amongst the crowd and more mascots and strange creatures that you could shake a stick at. Oh, and halfway through two audience members proposed marriage on stage, and at one point some poor bugger had to be rushed out to a paramedic. Hopefully they were ok.
The Lips ended on the transcendent Do You Realise? before bidding us goodbye. The Flaming Lips didn't just bring it with their psychedelic indie rock, they smashed it, glued it back together and then was kind enough to ask if we were ok before sending us back on our feet, minds blown and never the same. I don't know how to end this, so here's a picture of Wayne Coyne zorbing in a giant hamster ball amongst the crowd whilst still singing.
Hello from the trenches of Sound City! Your intrepid reporter has undertaken a mission of utmost gonzo journalism to give you, my hungry audience musical sustenance. I was joined by my brother in these intrepid adventures of sound.
The first band we saw was Hollysiz at The North Stage. Imagine if you crossed Blondie with Bronski Beat, with a generous dollop of Gossip and you'll get Hollysiz. The band set the day off to a great start, drawing in a decent crowd from just a few stragglers with a combination of catchy as all get out pop tunes and Cécile Cassel's strong front woman game, as she danced like a cross between Debbie Harry and Dave Gahan, alternately seducing the audience and her cool and disinterested lead guitarist. Also, in a gamely fashion, Cassel was carried over the barrier to greet her people and induct us in a spur of the moment audience participation, getting us to all sit down whilst she was stood in a circle and then jump up. Not sure what all that was about, but ok! Thoroughly entertaining first band, that I find easy to recommend.
Next we saw Thabo & The Real Deal at The Cargo Stage. Although they were unfortunately cut short due to sound check issues, I'd say that easily the band was the highlight of the first day. Self described as the answer to an unasked question "what if Julian Assange and Bill Withers wrote songs together?" I'd say that Thabo & The Real Deal are a damn good answer. With definite hints of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and The Negro Problem, Thabo & The Real Deal are social conscious soul with Nile Rogers-esque guitar. Make time for them - they're excellent.
Next destination was Shijo X at the Record Store Stage. Unfortunately there was bugger all room in the Record Store Stage due to the fact that half of the tent was taken up with tables selling vinyl and merch, which meant that a whole bunch of people that actually wanted to see the band couldn't get in. This isn't the band's fault, obviously, but it's poor implementation on the part of the organisers. From what I could hear and see of the band, they were pretty excellent. If you like Portishead (and I very much do), then you'll enjoy Shijo X. But on the bright side, I bought their album, so expect a review next Sunday!
So off on to The Atlantic Stage to see Spector! Great band, especially when they peaked with the hits Chevy Thunder and Never Fade Away. Imagine if you cross Editors with Roxy Music, then you'll get this excellent band. If you don't know about them already, then make yourselves familiar with them.
From the moment the band launched into their hit single Cough Cough the atmosphere was electric. By that time the crowd was getting bigger and more dense, a prequel to the crowd that would turn up for The Vaccines. They launched into fan favourites like Kemosabe and MY KZ, UR BF and completed the set with the blistering funk that is Distant Past. They started on a high and went out on one.
Vaccines O' Clock! The band enters to a rapturous applause and an impressive light show. The band did a great show, satiating the audience with a mix of hits from the first two albums, (Post Break Up Sex, Wet Suit, Teenage Icon, Handsome and I Always Knew) and also dipped their toe into the newer material. The audience was packed, jumping and singing along to every song. A great end to the first night, and hopefully an indicator of what is to come for the following days to come.
So firstly, apologies for not putting up any entries for the last two weeks. I've been busy toiling away at putting together an itinerary of the great and the terrible for you, my faithful readers, so you're not going in to Sound City blind. Me and my brother normally do this every year we don't have to stand through gash bands, so hopefully this handy dandy guide will save you having to do as I did and trawl through you tube and sound cloud.
THE ATLANTIC STAGE
THE VACCINES - FRIDAY, "like if The Shadows or The Lively Ones had played guitar for The Ramones" http://vinylcountdown.weebly.com/blog/the-vaccines-come-of-age
NEON WALTZ – PSYCHEDLIC KULA SHAKER WANNABES, NOT BAD. FRIDAY ATLANTIC STAGE
EVERYTHING EVERYTHING – REALLY GOOD. FRIDAY. SERIOUSLY, JUST LISTEN TO "COUGH COUGH" OR ANYTHING BY THEM. BLOODY BRILLIANT.
SWANS – FRIDAY AVOID
SPECTOR – SOUND A BIT EDITORS AND BIT ROXY MUSIC VERY GOOD. FRIDAY ATLANTIC STAGE
EVIAN CHRIST – LOCAL SATURDAY MISSABLE CRAP
TOR MILLER – BIT ONE REPUBLIC. NOT GREAT. FRIDAY ATLANTIC STAGE
VAULTS – BIT FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE. 3 SONGS I HEARD SOUND GOOD. FRIDAY ATLANTIC STAGE
THE FLAMING LIPS - SATURDAY, "like an acid trip described by a friend," http://vinylcountdown.weebly.com/blog/the-flaming-lips-with-a-little-help-from-my-fwends
ALL WE ARE – SATURDAY, "Like a funkier Magic Numbers or a low key Bee Gees with a psych twist" http://vinylcountdown.weebly.com/blog/all-we-are-all-we-are
VRYLL SOCIETY – SATURDAY LOCAL BAND MISSABLE
SERPENT POWER – COLLABORATION BETWEEN SOMEONE FROM ZUTONS AND CORAL SATURDAY
SILENT SLEEP – SATURDAY LOCAL SINGER SONGWRITER, NOT BAD
DUTCH UNCLES – SATURDAY. SYNTHY BUT WHERE ARE THE TUNES? FLAMING LIPS - SATURDAY
FUCKED UP – PUNK BAND SATURDAY MISSABLE
GULF – SATURDAY LOCAL BAND PSYCHEDELIC, SOUND, NOT BAD
STEALING SHEEP – SATURDAY LOCAL BAND ALL FEMALE SYNTH BASED PSYCH COCTAEU TWINS SOUND HMM MIGHT BE OK HARD TO SAY
THE GHOST OF A SABER TOOTH TIGER – SATURDAY SEAN LENNON AND HIS GF. REALLY REALLY GOOD DUO
THE SUNDOWNERS – SATURDAY LOCAL FEMALE BAND MISSABLE
THURSTON MOORE BAND – EX SONIC YOUTH SOUNDS REALLY GOOD DAYDREAMY INDIE AND MISERY POP SATURDAY
BELLE & SEBASTIAN - SUNDAY, "The album is an odd mix of disco and their more familiar brand of dream like folk pop" http://vinylcountdown.weebly.com/blog/belle-sebastian-girls-in-peacetime-want-to-dance
THE CRIBS – SUNDAY, "This album made me want to jump off sand dunes and have adventures. You should too." http://vinylcountdown.weebly.com/blog/the-cribs-for-all-my-sisters
JANE WEAVER – SUNDAY, "like if the theme tune of Space 1999 [...] was vocalised with folkadelia from a questionably utopian society with even more questionable dress sense" http://vinylcountdown.weebly.com/blog/jane-weaver-the-silver-globe
GAZ COOMBES – REALLY GOOD EX SUPERGRASS SINGER, VERY THOM YORKE LIKE, SUNDAY.
BILL RYDER-JONES – SUNDAY, KIRKBY BORN EX CORAL GUITARIST POOR MAN’S NICK DRAKE. MISSABLE
BLOSSOMS – SUNDAY MANCHESTER BAND BIT DOORSY/CORAL NOT BAD
CYMBALS EAT GUITARS – SUNDAY BIT MODEST MOUSE, BIT WEEZERS, MISSABLE
SANKOFA – SUNDAY THINK WE SAW THEM LAST TIME, NOTHING GREAT.
THE HUMMINGBIRDS – SUNDAY LIVERPOOL BASED NEW COUNTRY BAND
OKKYUNG LEE – INTERESTING/WEIRD JAZZ CELLIST, NO SINGING JUST PLAYING OF COMPOSITIONS, BIT JARRING – MAYBE MISS
ICEAGE – very Nirvanaesque, not bad but ultimately no essential
SLAVES – imagine punk crossed with the Streets – a bit raw, not bad but missable
YAK – bit punky, not great
BAD MEDS – another crappy punk band – noticing a theme here?
BARBEROS – WEIRD ELECTRONIC NOISE BAND – V.EXPERIMENTAL – DON’T THINK I GET IT
UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA – "feels like something of a sundowner, or like the drunken haze experienced at the end off a day drinking at the beach." http://vinylcountdown.weebly.com/blog/unknown-mortal-orchestra-ii
THE MEMBRANES – OLD SCHOOL PUNK BAND, ALRIGHT NOT GREAT
THE BOHICAS – catchy garage rock, reminds me of Czars
BAD BREEDING – poo punk
GOD DAMN – POO METAL BAND
HOOTON TENNIS CLUB – CATCHY INDIE POP
R. SEILIOG – electronic, droney, avant garde techno – don’t know how i feel
MOATS – quite good actually, emotional indie guitar rock
STRANGE COLLECTIVE – strange garage rock band, not bad, but not essential
LIVES – dunno, no you tube links!
PEACE – SUNDAY, "Give Peace a chance." http://vinylcountdown.weebly.com/blog/peace-happy-people
Dave McCabe & The Ramifications - ohh, catchy! Ex Zutons frontman’s new band – catchy indie rock electronic –deffo worth a punt
GENGHAR – A BIT LIKE THE SHINS, MELLOW INDIE – NOT BAD, ACTUALLY
CMPNY – below average hiphop, swerve
Single Mothers – another less than great punk band, swerve that!
Clarence Clarity – really fucking strange, trip hop, r n b, catchy, a maybe
Moon King – alright shoegaze pop band, not great, just average
The Mispers – catchy guitar pop with a hint of alt-j, pretty decent
Palace – average, mellow, a bit like turin brakes
Honeyblood – Australian band, pretty catchy grunge pop band like The Breeders and Throwing Muses – definitely worth a look and your time.
Pixel Fix – trance pop, not bad, but missable
Beat Market – damn catchy electro pop, definitely worth a look – a bit like Daft Punk but with no lyrics
LATE NIGHT WAREHOUSE PARTY
RONI SIZE/REPRAZANT –NOT BAD DRUM AND BASS STUFF/HIPHOP, HEARD BETTER, MISSABLE
EVIAN CHRIST – TRIPHOP STUFF, NOT GREAT TBH, MISSABLE
FAT WHITE FAMILY – More like flat white coffee! Swerve this diet version of The Fall so hard you think you're actually a Formula 1 driver!
GEORGE THE POET – HIPHOP ARTIST/RAPPPER – NOT BAD, BUT NOT GREAT
STORMZY – MORE MISSABLE HIP HOP
LOYLE CARNER – MORE AVERAGE HIPHOP
M.O – R n B GIRL BAND, PRETTY DARN AVERAGE
KOF – average r n b
THABO & THE REAL DEAL – DUDE HAS A GREAT VOICE, A BIT STEVIE WONDER, PLAYS PIANO, SOULFUL VOICE – WORTH SEEING
ADY SULEIMAN – NOT BAD SOUL SINGER, NOT THAT GRABBING EITHER – JUST AVERAGE
AQUILO – PRETTY AVERAGE MINIMALIST ELECTRONIC BAND. NOTHING GREAT
FEMME – AVERAGE POP SINGER, MISSABLE
REAL LIES – AVERAGE POP
FORMATION – AGAIN, AVERAGE POP, MISSABLE, LOT OF THAT GOING AROUND
FOSSA – again pretty average fare
FLO MORRISSEY – QUITE GOOD, GENTLE, LULLING VOICE, FOLKY
ZEFUR WOLVES – INTERESTING ALT ROCK, PRETTY GOOD – A BIT LIKE PIXIES
SEKUOIA – ATMOPSHERIC ELECTRONIC MUSIC, NOT BAD BUT MISSABLE
ASTRONOMYY – AVERAGE ATMOSPHERIC INDIE POP
TEI SHI – NOT BAD ELECTRONIC SHOEGAZE POP – A BIT LIKE GRIMES
NLF3 – NOT BAD ELECTRONIC BAND, BUT JUST ELECTRONICS, NO LYRICS
TEA STREET BAND – A MAYBE, PRETTY CATCHY BUT NON ESSENTIAL
JENNIFER DAVIES – ALT POP, A BIT LIKE ELASTICA/GARBAGE – NOT BAD ACTUALLY, PRETTY CATCHY
THE GRISWOLDS – AVERAGE AMERICAN INDIE BAND, MISSABLE
FINDLAY – PRETTY GREAT, PRETTY RAW, A BIT LIKE PJ HARVEY
RAGLANS – average indie band, missable
HIDDEN CHARMS – SOUNDS GOOD, THEY SOUND A BIT LIKE THE ANIMALS/THE DOORS. WELL WORTH A LOOK.
PROSE – A GUITAR/RAP COMBO – BIT LIKE THE STREETS, NOT BAD BUT MISSABLE
JOHNNY SANDS – MANC FOLK SINGER, BIT LIKE I AM KLOOT CROSSED WITH JOSE GONZALEZ – NOT BAD
WHEN I AM KING – DUNNO, NOTHING ON YOU TUBE!
LAKE KOMO – A BIT LIKE THE SHINS, NOT BAD, MISSABLE
GARBANOTAS BOSISTAS – PSYCHEDELIC ROCK, VERY PROMISING, VERY TRIPPY
HOT VESTRY – ELECTRO DIRGE ROCK, PRETTY DECENT
TAFFY – V. BRITPOP AND SHOEGAZE,REMINSCENT OF LUSH – WORTH A WATCH
Anton Maskeliade – SYNTH GUY A BIT LIKE APHEX TWIN WHO PLAYS BY GESTURING NEAR INSTRUMENTS – SEEMS PRETTY COOL
TINY FINGERS – ELECTRONIC AND GUITAR BAND – ALRIGHT, BUT NOT GREAT
DELTA RAE - VERY MUCH POP BY THE NUMBERS, NOT BAD, NOTHING GREAT
HOLLYSIZ – CATCHY AS ALL GET OUT – THINK BLONDIE CROSSED WITH BRONSKI BEAT, WELL WORTH A LOOK
HAPPY MONDAZE – A HAPPY MONDAYS TRIBUTE BAND, BUT ARE YOU REALLY ARSED TO SEE A HAPPY MONDAYS TRIBUTE BAND?
GARDEN CITY MOVEMENT – VERY MELLOW, NOT BAD BUT MISSABLE
35 SUMMERS – BAGGY LIVERPOOL BAND FROM THE 90’S, NOT BAD BIT LIKE CORAL, WE SAW THEM IN LEAF LAST YEAR. MISSABLE
COLONEL MUSTARD 7 THE DIJON 5 – WEIRD PARODY-LIKE BAND THAT’S A BIT HAPPPY MONDAYS AND A BIT REGGAE, NOT GREAT
CAVALRY – PRETTY DECENT INDIE BAND, MY GUT SAYS MAYBE
FREE SCHOOL – ELECTRONIC ATMOSPHERIC POP – ALRIGHT BUT NOT ESSENTIAL
MILLIONS – AVERAGE INDIE POP, MISSABLE
AQUASERGE – FRENCH AVANTE GARDE, INTERESTING – WORTH A LISTEN
JUDAS – NOT BAD INDIE ROCK, BUT MISSABLE
THE BLACK DELTA MOVEMENT – VERY AVERAGE GARAGE ROCK BAND. BLEH. FUCK MY LIFE.
Camarones Orquestra Guitarrística – INSTRUMENTAL GUITAR ROCK WITH ELEMENTS OF SKA, ROCK AND SURF MUSIC – PRETTY GOOD
COLLECTOR’S CLUB – NOT BAD INDIE BAND BUT MISSABLE
GRAMOTONES – GARAGE ROCK, PRETTY AVERAGE TBH
THE AMAZING – PRETTY AVERAGE INDIE BAND ,MISSABLE
THE MERRYLEES – QUITE LIKE THE CORAL, NOT BAD
NATALIE McCOOL – NOT BAD, BUT MISSABLE
VEYU – PROMISING, MELLOW
John McCullagh & The Escorts – VERY CAST. HMM.
C.A.R – LIKE A WHITE GRACE JONES – PRETTY GOOD, ACTUALLY
EDEN ROYALS – NO CLUE, NOTHING ON YOU TUBE!
PAT DAM SMYTH – a bit folky, not bad
DA SWEEP – electro band, pretty good actually
Psyence – very 70-‘s rock and blues with elements of Black Sabbath, definitely worth a look
The Stamp – dunno, nothing on you tube!
THE CAVERN STAGE
36? – QUITE LIKE THE SHINS, not bad but missable
FIST CITY – indie punk, fairly mediocre
CLOSE TALKER – more average indie, MELLOW, ALRIGHT, NOT AWE INSPIRING
YOUNG BENJAMINS – INDIE FOLK – PRETTY AVERAGE
THE LYTICS – average hip hop very missable
THE EMERALD ARMADA – FOLKY, AVERAGE, PRETTY MISSABLE
THE CLAMEENS – A BIT LIKE RAZORLITE, JUST A BIT MISSABLE
HIS NEW ATLAS – A BIT LIKE DRY THE RIVER, EMOTIONAL FOLK. PROMISING.
ALL WE ARE – WELL WORTH A LOOK, I REVIEWD THEM ON THE BLOG
LONELADY – CATCHY POP, BEEN FEATURED ON 6 MUSIC
FEMME – AVERAGE SINGER, MISSABLE
ATTAQUE – electronic, shoegaze pop – average
Beat Market – damn catchy electro pop, definitely worth a look – a bit like Daft Punk but with no lyrics
SOCALLED – pretty catchy, experimental hip hop. Strange stuff.
FOREST IN HIS HEART (IRA LEE) – raw, soul reminds me a bit of Bobby Womack – maybe worth a look
ELM – AVERAGE INDIE BAND
DUKE MERCURY – MEDIOCRE INDIE ROCK
FRIDA – average folk pop, meh
Ludoviik Material – riot grrl kraut rock, alright but nothing great
MOJA – JAPANESE PUNK/DANCE BAND – NOT BAD BUT NOTHING BRILLIANT
JIMMY PE – average atmospheric electronic music, not great
JAMBINAI – traditional Korean music fusion with ambient electronics, pretty decent
THIRD STONE – KOREAN ROCK BAND INSPIRED BY HENDRIX – NOT BAD
PATIENTS – KOREAN PUNK BAND, PRETTY GOOD
DEAD BUTTONS – another decent Korean punk band, but not as good as patients
MONOBAN – Korean folk, pretty missable
CANDELAS – welsh rock band, not bad, nothing stand out
HOUDINI DAX – NOT BAD ROCK BAND, NOTHING STAND OUT THO
PEASANT’S KING – CATCHY WELSH ROCK THT’S REMIINISCENT OF THE WOMBATS – NOT BAD
COLD COMITTEE – band like the Arctic Monkeys, not bad
YR EIRA – MORE WELSH ROCK! AGAIN, NOT BAD, NOT STAND OUT
WHITE ROOM – ALRIGHT PSYCHE INDIE ROCK
AND THE GOLDEN CHOIR – not bad indie, but not great
NINA – great synth pop female vocalist. Worth a look definitely.
ANNE HAIGHT – A BIT EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL – DEFINITELY WORTH A LISTEN, PRETTY GOOD!
THE KRAKEN STAGE
JPNSGRLS – CATCHY AS HELL INDIE ROCK – WORTH A LOOK
JESSE SHEEHAN – EX GUITARIST FOR NEIL FINN, BIT SONDRE LERCHE, PRETTY GOOD
LOUIS BAKER – NOT BAD FOLK/MOTOWN SINGER, NOTHING SPECIAL THO
LUCKLESS – NICE VOICE, BIT LIKE BETH ORTON/PJ HARVEY’S FOLKIER STUFF, INDIE FOLK ROCK – PRETTY DECENT
CARNIVAL YOUTH – REEEEALLY GOOD. A BIT ARCADE FIRE CROSSED WITH THE NATIONAL – FEELS A BIT LIKE A WES ANDERSON SOUNDTRACK.
TRIANA PARK – QUITE CATCHY, BUT DUNNO MAN
THE SOUND POETS – LATVIAN, EMOTIONAL ATMOSPHERIC POP – NOT BAD
GENGAHR – SEE ABOVE, I MENTIOONED THEM EARLIER.
SPRING KING – A FAVE OF 6 MUSIC, CATCHY INDIE ROCK BAND
BLACK HONEY – 60’S PSYCHEDELIC GRUNGE WITH A SINGER WHO SOUNDS A BIT LIKE LANA DEL REY – SOUND PRETTY GOOD!
THE PEOPLE THE POET – UPLIFTING INDIE FOLK – NOT BAD, BUT NOTHING SPECIAL, REALLY
BLAZ PERUS – AVERAGE ELECTRONIC MUSICIAN MISSABLE
SASKWATCH – GUITAR POP/SOUL – NOT BAD, PRETTY CATCHY
MILLIONS – AVERAGE INDIE POP, MISSABLE
SUN GOD REPLICA – HEAVY GARAGE ROCK 70’S INSPIRED BAND THAT SOUND A BIT LIKE SABBATH/CREAM, PRETTY GOOOD!
SERVICE BELLS –NOT BAD ROCK BAND, A BIT LIKE QUEENS OF STONE AGE
KLO – FAIRLY AVERAGE RnB POP
THE COOPERS – average indie rock, missable
HOLY HOLY – warm guitar rock, atmospheric – not bad
HEIN COOPER – not bad, a bit like dry the river – emotional folk rock
VOGUE DOTS – electronic atmospheric band, not bad but not standout
STOP DROP ROBOT – not bad a bit jimmy eat world like, but nothing stand out
GABRIELLE PAPILLON – singer songwriter, think a bit folky like beth orton or Suzanne vega – not bad
SEA WITCHES – not bad indie girl rock group
THE LITTLE SECRETS – INDIE POP, NOT BAD, NOTHING STAND OUT
BATHYMETRY – languorous, eerie folk band – they sound pretty interesting
ORANJ SON – not bad, nothing stand out indie bleh
REMI – average hiphop
THE RECORD STORE STAGE
MOUSES – LIKE BUDDY HOLLY ON ACID, NOT BAD
POLAR STATES – PRETTY POLISHED, STADIUM ROCK – WORTH A PUNT
CHILI AND THE WHALEKILLERS – AVERAGE INDIE ROCK
SHIJO X – VERY PORTISHEAD, VERY GOOD – NEEDS CHECKING OUT
JOY CUT – ELECTRONIC BAND – NOT MUCH COP
THOUSAND – FOLK, MISSABLE
BEACH SKULLS – QUITE ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN CROSSED WITH PSYCHE, PRETTY DECENT
DOOMSQUAD – ATMOSPHERIC ELECTRONICA BAND, NOT BAD BUT NOTHING STAND OUT
MAMAVEGAS – ALTERNATIVE FOLK, NOT BAD BUT NOT ESSENTIAL BY ANY MEANS
BECKY BECKY – VERY MOLOKO, PRETTY FUNKY – I LIKE THEM
SERVICE BELLS – ALREADY COVERED ABOVE
LEAF RAPIDS – NOT BAD INDIE FOLK
OLIVER HEIM – ATMOSPHERIC BUT AVERAGE
TEAR TALK – LIVERPOOL SHOEGAZE BAND, A BIT LIKE EARLY DEPECHE MODE BUT MORE ATMOSPHERIC AND WITH LESS BITE. NOT BAD
THE FLOORMEN – PRETTY AVERAGE LIVERPOOL PSYCHE BAND
HAIKU SALUT – NOT BAD INSTRUMENTAL BAND, USING FOLK AND ATMOSPHERIC SYNTHS
GET YOUR GUN – MEDIOCRE GARAGE ROCK BAND
SUN GOD REPLICA – SEE LAST ENTRY FOR THEM ABOVE
FIZZY BLOOD – PRETTY CATCHY INDIE GROUP
REPETITOR – GARAGE ROCK, BUT NOT ALL THAT TUNEFUL
GENTLEMEN ROGUES – AMERICAN PUNKS INSPIRED BY THE JAM, THE WHO & ELVIS COSTELLO – ALRIGHT, NOTHING GREAT
THE COOPERS – SEE ABOVE, I’VE COVERED THEM EARLIER
JESSIE WILL – QUITE LIKE NICK DRAKE, PRETTY GOOD ACTUALLY
SPLINTERED UKES – UKELELE COVER BAND – NOT BAD, BUT THEY’RE JUST A COVER BAND
TI – PSYCHEDELIC ELECTRO POP – NOT BAD, MELLOW, BUT NOTHING STAND OUT
SASKWATCH – SEE ABOVE, ALREADY COVERED
VISITORS – BASEMENT GRUNGE BAND FROM LIVERPOOL, ACTUALLY PRETTY CATCHY
And that's it! I'm going to sleep now. Sleeep is goood. Yessss, sleeeeeeeeep.
The Prodigy are back, and this time they’re taking no prisoners with their latest album. The titular track The Day is My Enemy is a statement of intent with the repeated refrain “”the day is my enemy, the night is my friend,” inviting you to leave the drudgery of the everyday behind and join the revellers of the night, whilst Nasty is an ear searing anthem that stands up to the best songs on their 90’s classic Fat of the Land, whilst Wild Frontier is a nail biting sonic rollercoaster you want to ride again. If John Lydon was right when he said “anger is an energy,” then The Prodigy just gave us enough to leave the lights on for the next decade. Rave is alive and kicking your teeth in, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Originally printed in Kirkby Extra #320, May 2015.
Unfortunately, seeing as how The Flaming Lips haven't released any new material this year I've had to slum it with their last album, which was done in October 2014. But as I'm covering the lead up to Sound City still, I couldn't not review one of the main headliners. Hopefully they release a new album soon!
The Flaming Lips have never shied away from the eccentric and weird. Coming hot off the heels of their previous cover album in which they reinterpreted Pink Floyd’s classic The Dark Side of the Moon, this time they have decided to cover The Beatles album Sergeant Pepper. But do we have to admit it’s getting better? With A Little Help From My Fwends feels a lot more like a tribute album more than a reinterpretation, and I feel like the band probably treated the source material with far too much reverence, as a lot of the songs feel like they have only been changed by the lightest of touches. If we compare how Jimi Hendrix covered (and in many ways bettered) Bob Dylan’s classic, All Along the Watchtower, then it doesn’t really stand up. I’d argue that what was interesting and ambitious with their Dark Side of the Moon is a pretty straightforward cover album – sure the vocals sound detached and filled with reverb like they were sung in a tunnel, some synths and Miley Cyrus are thrown in for good measure, but the album’s not really all that different apart from the most superficial of ways.
The whole thing just feels adequate, like an acid trip described by a friend – you get the sense of what it’s supposed to be, but because it’s a second hand experience you get none of the vibrancy of the original experience. I really wanted to like this, but I can’t honestly recommend it. The album’s by no means terrible, it’s competent, but there is no time for competent when there is so much spectacular music you could and should be listening to. However, although I have given this album a good old drubbing, I can definitely recommend you check The Flaming Lips out at Sound City. Their live shows are meant to be the thing of legend, and seeing as they have over a decade’s worth of material, including the sublime Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, you’d honestly be doing yourself a disservice missing this brilliantly bizarre band.
Monthly music columnist for the Kirkby Extra, sometimes article writer for Get Into This. Freelance writer/artist/maker.