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Friday, 26 April 2013

#92: Catching Up With...Delamere




There's not much information on the internet about Stoke/Leek based quartet Delamere. Currently setting the unsigned circuit and the blogosphere abuzz with their anthemic and infectious stadium sized tunes the band are certainly destined for big things. Recent support slots for hotly tipped indie acts such as Peace, Palma Violets and Dog Is Dead has done nothing to hamper their credibility and it's surely only a matter of time before they're snapped by an eager label.

New single 'Yeah asserts a melodic melancholy over the first half of the song, with singer James Fitford sounding particularly fraught at times. A jangly guitar keeps the song from getting too pessimistic and an explosive chorus completely changes the feel of the song turning in to something uplifting and emphatic; previous single heart on the other hand is nothing but uplifting. Bringing to mind the blistering emo bands of yesteryear such as Sunny Day Real Estate a hazy guitar shimmers and gleams behind Fitford's vocals which are his strongest to date here.



While the bold nuances of each single they bring out might not appeal to everyone's tastes, it asserts the band as something more than “just a band”. Sure they might just be four lads with instruments, but the music that they make upholds a majestic quality rarely seen in unsigned music. There's an underlying professionalism upheld by the band too, which is made all the better by a complete lack of arrogance, something which could easily have gone the other way given their recent successes. The energy and the emotion that has gone in to Delamere's song writing is palpable across the board; if that transfers to their stage show as well as it does on record then we can expect big things from this band, and soon.



I caught up with the lads to try and find out a little more about them:

The first thing that appealed to me about your band, before even the music, was the name. Given that I'd spend hours walking in Delamere Forest with my family as a kid, it's not really any surprise. Does it evoke the same kind of nostalgia in you as a band or are named as such for another reason?

James: When a forming a band, sometimes the hardest thing to do is to come up with a name that everyone can agree on. We decided on Delamere for the mystery that surrounds it, firstly a forest can be a magical place and there's a child in all of us that enjoys climbing a tree or a playing in such places. Secondly the word Delamere sounds great it translates to "Of the lake" in French.

You've pretty much released a single a month since January (we'll forget about Feb). Any plans of releasing an EP or full length album any time soon?

James: We all look forward to releasing our music, whether it being a single for download, or a live acoustic video on Youtube. We don't like the idea of things getting stale or starting to feel like its not moving. We've all spoken about releasing an EP, we are looking at releasing this at the end of summer, we also plan to have a few more singles lined up before this.

Ash: I think sometimes with EPs some tracks can get overshadowed by others, we are really proud of each track we release and like to give people time to really dig and get into each track.

There's a distinct difference in your sound to the usual guitar-based booze-fuelled indie you find splashed across the pages of NME. How would you describe your sound?

James: I personally have never been a fan of the "booze-fueled indie" bands and I’m pretty certain neither of the other guys have/are, when writing our music we don't actively try to create a certain style or sound, but we all know when something sounds right or clicks within a certain jam or song idea. To try and describe the sound, I always find this a tricky question, if I had to answer it now, I'd say its a wall of guitars with a melodic hook, with a little eeriness for good measure.

There's a fantastic remix of your track 'Vampire' on the band's Soundcloud page. How did that come about?

Will: It's been our plan from the outset to include remixes, professional artwork, videos and other added extras with our releases. After recording and producing Vampire ourselves I had a few of my own ideas which would have probably been too abstract to include in the single, so decided to get to work on a remix of my own. It came together pretty well and within a couple of weeks we had ourselves our first remix. The first of many remixes to come.

There's an element of your music which I personally would say is indicative of early emo bands such as Sunny Day Real Estate or JeJune, but I'm assuming you wouldn't immediately cite emo bands as some of your influences. Who are?

Tom: I wouldn't say I have any direct influences in my playing styles in the band. Nothing that I think 'Oh I need to play it like this.' I learnt to play the guitar and bass as a teenager and just apply whatever that style morphed into now to the songs. I just listen out and instinctively some hooks come into my head that I try and articulate (and I have to do this pretty quick before someone else tries to write some bass line for me.) I think there may be some influences on the overall sound more driven by the choice of guitar pedals or instruments, but no one band we set out to be like which is why I think it's also difficult to pin point a band we sound like.)

James: I wouldn't write it off as an inspiration so quickly, I know myself and Ash (Guitar) grew up listening to bands like Brand New, Dashboard Confessional and even Death Cab, as a band our music tastes are pretty eclectic and aren't ruled by any one genre. Only this morning I went from listening to Rod Stewart to sticking on De-loused In The Comatorium by The Mars Volta, it actually merged together quite nicely, and I wouldn't be surprised if there was a collaboration on the cards. Actual influences I can say we all pull from at the minute are Local Natives and Foals, Local natives just for the great harmonies and delicate sounds, and the latter for that bit inside us all that wants to write something a little different, odd sounds and time signatures etc.

Ash: Those band names sound great, never heard of either of them! But if you think they sound like us its safe to say I will probably like them!

Question I ask every band now: I'm sure you've managed to blag your fair share of free beer at some of the shows that you play. What would be in your ideal rider and why?

Tom: Given the Delamere band pre gig ritual is usually fast food and hunting a usable, non-tetanus requiring toilet in a nearby pub, I guess they might be on the list.

James: With all the obvious boxes ticked (beer wine water etc), I’m still yet to decide whether I’m a sweet or savoury kinda guy, it would have to be something I know I can eat regardless of how I feel, the obvious choice is a big bag of Maoam, particularly them little balls, cant get enough of them. A good cheese board has got to be on there, some real stinky stuff!! Ash will eat anything so Iknow he'll be happy, if there is money involved, I literally mean anything.

Ash: Yeah anything, if I get dared

On your social networking sites you come across as fairly light-hearted and seem to not take yourselves too seriously yet your music seems fairly serious and candid. Why do you think that is?

Tom: You've got to keep it enjoyable so it doesn't become a chore. If it becomes too serious it breeds conflict and fall outs and so far, touch wood, we've been pretty okay together so far. It's about creating a productive atmosphere conducive to coming up with some good music and not be afraid to try obscure things or make mistakes. There are a lot of bands that come across as serious and unapproachable and that reputation can be counter productive when you're on show either gigging or drumming up interest.

Ash: It's all about the banter, with some bands they only ever post, “Listen to this. Look at this...” You have to mix it up.

Dick fingers? Juvenile yet ultimately hilarious. Care to elaborate?

Tom: Yeah, can you?!
James: [laughs] This came about at one of our old rehearsal rooms. Tthe walls we're there to be drawn on/spat at or what ever took your fancy, and I drew around my hand with a marker on the wall right behind where Tom's bass amp stood, the next time we had a practice I noticed my drawing of my hand was hideous and made it look like I had massively fat fingers, I then decided to make every finger look like a penis and scrawled 'Tommy Dick Fingers' underneath, done!!

You recently supported Dog is Dead at the Sugarmill in Stoke, that's got to have been a pretty decent milestone for you. Who would you most like to support, or even have support you?

Tom: Being realistic, it's bands that you could expect to see play at the venues we might also. New bands on their way up, or those that have been quiet for a while and are promoting a new album. It was mad to see Palma Violets splashed over the NME days before we played with them, and also to see them and Peace go off on the NME tour shortly after our support slots. For me, Thirteen Senses were unlucky not to have made it bigger than they did and I'd love to get on a show with them when they turn up again, or Planes (new side project of Steve Forrest - Placebo drummer.) I'd love to grace a decent festival stage knowing that some big bands are also on the same bill.
Ash: We have been really lucky with supporting PEACE, Palma and DID. For me I really enjoy supporting up and coming bands. I would really love to support Local Natives or Alt-J as I’m a massive fan.

You seem to have set a number of blogs abuzz over the last few weeks. How did that come about?

James: We entered into the road to Blissfields festival competition a couple of months back and got through to the national final in London on the 6/05/13, winning this would see us play the festival. Shortly after getting through to the London gig we noticed a little more traffic on twitter and follows from blog writers, we've been responding to each of them and have been lucky enough to have a few fans of what we do promoting us off their own backs, which we are hugely grateful for.

Stuff must be picking up for you as a band. Where would you like to see yourselves in five years time?

Tom: LA. Lounging by the pool interrupted by studio time, interviews and flying round the globe gigging.
James: Recording music and playing shows, its what we all love to do! To get up and do it and call it your job would be pretty special!(Will)As James says, to play and create music for a living would be brilliant.
Ash: Being paid to eat random things.


Delamere play: Surya, London - 6th May
Castle Hotel, Manchester - 30th May

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All images courtesy of BT Williams

Thursday, 25 April 2013

#91: Introducing...Belter



London-based quintet Belter have been shaking things up since 2007 with their eponymous blend of politicised lyricism, Clash inspired melodies and vocals that are evocative of both Dead Kennedys and bizarrely enough, Little Man Tate. Belter are punk without the spit and the safety-pins and all the nasty stuff your parents warned you about. Their unusual sound has earned them stage-time across a multitude of countries an continents including London’s 100 Club and Brooklyn’s Trash Bar.

Earlier songs in the band’s repertoire are particularly indebted to seminal punk bands such as Buzzcocks and the aforementioned Clash. Indeed, ‘Rubber Bullets’ could quite easily be their ‘Police and Theives’ albeit with a distinctly more upbeat and optimistic feel to it. There’s none of the snarl here that was present amongst the leather, bristles, studs and acne of the 1970s, but that isn’t a bad thing by any stretch; instead what we have is a band with a punk ideology but the intelligence to convey it in a manner that isn’t abrasive and nor is it clichéd.
The inclusion of an organ within the songs is something I feel punk bands can benefit from massively, you only need to look at some of Rancid’s more ska-infused tracks to see that. As it happens this is something I share in common with Belter, and particularly their earlier tracks like ‘TV Junkie’ use an organ to great effect.

Their most recent EP Invisible Cat sees the band expands it’s sound and instrumentation. The inclusion of slide guitar and string sections along with some brass allows the band to maintain a similar aesthetic while diversifying their overall sound to quite an extent. ‘Good Times Can Wait’ is a slow and mournful lament which sees the aforementioned brass and strings take prominence. The politicised lyrics are still present but with a band that has so much to say, could you expect any less.
‘What’s Your Excuse?’ is evocative of both Gogol Bordello and Sonic Boom Six. Effective use of upstrokes and brass make this a song that would be fantastic live; something you can really get your knees up to and almost definitely spill most of your pint over the person in front. What could be more punk short of a 3ft Mohawk and forehead piercings?



Punk certainly isn’t a genre for everyone. It’s antagonistic image and quite often, lack of talent is something which doesn’t do anything to appeal to newcomers. However, Belter have managed to combine a shiny veneer with punk sensibilities and made what is quite possibly the most radio-friendly politicised music I’ve ever heard. There’s elements at play here which suggest that there’s an intelligence behind the band’s music and they don’t just want to smash the state or swear on national television, they want to educate and illuminate rather than preach and ‘destroy’ and their music is all the better for it.


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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

#90: Introducing...Naymedici


Manchester, a city renowned globally for it's musical heritage. A city that has birthed band after band that have since gone on to take the world by storm. A city which has seen the inception of such musical phenomenons as The Smiths and Oasis but not a city you would immediately associate with punk music. Sure it's had there's been a select few; Buzzcock and Sonic Boom Six to name two, but there's never been anything to revival the indie bands from the 1980s onwards. That's why it's so refreshing when you do find a band who are still keeping a punk aesthetic alive in a scene swamped by lads with fringes in pointy-toed shoes. Naymedici are one such band.

A mixture of both Baltic and Irish folk music with a double measure of punk energy and aggression, the and come off sounding like the illegitimate bastard spawn of Gogol Bordello and The Pogues. The sheer ferocity with which the band ply their trade is as invigorating as it is alarming and is surely the reasoning behind their relentless touring schedule which has unsurprisingly taken them to Ireland three times and seen them headline a number of stages across UK festivals, garnering an impressive number of fans in the process.

First single 'Paddy McGee' is a booze-fuelled stomp-along which will undoubtedly earn them favour with fans of bands like Dropkick Murphys. The quintessential Irish fiddle drives the song forward more than expected while a chunky guitar fleshes out the track. Singer Mike King has managed to effortlessly encapsulate the energy and aesthetic of Celtic punk wholeheartedly here in what is sure to be a fantastic live track. However while 'Paddy McGee' is highly endebted to bands such as the aforementioned Dropkicks and Flogging Molly, the bands newest single 'Koo Koo the Bird Girl' is a different story. Drawing on Eastern European influences 'Koo Koo...' is an off-kilter and slightly bizarre tale about a girl who joins a circus due to having a pigeons head. Surreal it may be, but the song itself is a riotous affair that is unusually reminiscent of a polka.




If the rest of Naymedici's repertoire bubbles with the same kind of energy that the three songs I've heard do then they're on to a winner. What people who have never experienced this kind of music live before don't understand, is just simply how fun it is. If the bands recordings are in anyway indicative of their live performances then they're certainly someone you should check out. Put simply Naymedici are making classic, old fashioned, booze-fuelled music to shamelessly spill your pint too. And they're bloody good at it.


All images courtesy of Jen Hingley .

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

#89: Top 5 Unsigned - 23/04/13

Cultures



The first band to fly the Manchester flag this week: Cultures. Making a surprisingly emphatic sound for just a three-piece, I was surprised I hadn't heard about them sooner. Sounding something like Morrisey playing Voxtrot covers with Unrest as his backing band isn't a bad analogy and one which is sure to win over the hearts of Manchester's music fans. Crashing, unrelenting drums and acerbic guitars add an extra edge to a sound which might otherwise be at risk of sounding flat. As it happens though I can't wait to hear more from these guys.



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The Relics



The first of two bands to come from Merseyside this week. The Relics have a particularly nostalgic vibe to their music, as a whole is fairly straight forward; but therein lies it's beauty. A crisp and clean lead guitar permeates most of the bands song while a crunching rhythm forms the meat behind the antiquity. Occasionally, singer Tony Kahl is evocative of both Dylan and Bowie (see: 'September Wind') which does absolutely nothing to hamper the band's sound. Energetic and nostalgic with the occasional acoustic diversion, there's certainly something for everyone here.



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Dead Seas



Manchester-based quartet Dead Seas fusion of straight up rock 'n' roll and melodic indie-pop has earned them a fairly devout following. Their ear for a melody and their penchant for no-nonsense, heavy guitars sets them apart from a lot of their peers. Effortlessly blending driving verse in to uplifting and evocative choruses is something which keeps their songs feeling fresh and unpredictable, a refreshing change from the usual.



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Ice Chrystalls



Quite possibly the best thing to come out of Essex in a long time, Ice Chrystalls are a band who immediately grabbed my attention thanks to the sugary female vocals (who isn't a sucker for a female vocalist) and the distinct 'twee-ness' that the band as a whole upholds. For fans of bands such as Veronica Falls or The Vaselines it's clear that Ice Chrystalls won't appeal to everyone, but for those who like music that shimmers and shines then this is a band for you. My personal pick of the week.



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The Rise of General Mezmar



The Wirral might not be the first place that springs to mind when thinking about blues-soaked psychedelia but that's exactly where Rise of General Mezmar are from. Dragging a 1960s vibe kicking and screaming in to the present, the band have managed to both embody and contemporise a genre usually reserved for those in the throws of a nostalgia binge. Captivating stuff.



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Check out last weeks Top 5 Unsigned.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

#86: Introducing...The Koniac Net




Bombay based and philosophically named, The Koniac Net cite a wide array of bands as their influences. From Deftones to Credence Clearwater Revival, Tool and Manchester Orchestra it’s clear that each of the five members bring something radically different to the table. Although the band started life as singer David Abraham’s solo project/homage to his influences, numerous requests to tour internationally allowed his solo project to become the fully realised entity it is today.


While Abraham’s first solo record was an ‘ode to…’ 90s alternative. The inclusion of a full band has breathed new life in to a nostalgic formula. While tracks such as ‘Maggie (A Song for Brad) brings to mind bands like Marcy Playground, ultimately the songs here have a lot more ambition and optimism about them. There’s no Kurt Cobain-esque self-deprecation, no Frank Black/Black Francis bile-tinged cynicism just an open message declaring that yes, at times life might look bleak but there’s always tomorrow.

Having a list of influences as comprehensive as that listed by The Koniac Net often leads to a disjointed feel to a bands repertoire. That isn’t the case here. From tracks like ‘Aesthetic and the Withdrawal’ that sound indicative of the Oasis/Beatles to the atmospheric shoe-gaze of ‘Demure’ which is slightly reminiscent of Death Cab For Cutie in it’s use of both synth and reverb.Perhaps the title of the band’s most immediately accessible song belongs to ‘This Time Around’, in which a fairly clean production marks a departure from the fuzz of the band’s earlier records. A clean and yet chunky guitar drives the song for the most part with Abraham’s subtle vocal part getting lost behind it on more than one occasion. Credit where it’s due, however, as with ‘This Time Around’, Abraham et al have crafted their most radio-friendly song in their catalogue; even though there are still slight moments of 90s angst that inevitably seep through the cracks in the songs veneer, it’s still at it’s heart, a well-written pop song that’s sure to find a place with a wider audience.

The Koniac Net are a band who are dragging 90s nostalgia kicking and screaming in to the contemporary. While their songs might lack the same repressed aggression that many bands of that era harboured those with their foot planted most firmly in the past are entirely indebted to bands that didn’t need to crank the distortion and smash a drum kit. Everclear, Built to Spill even at times The Goo Goo Dolls, while not implicitly noticeable upon first listen, elements of these bands and more, permeate the songs and slowly reveal themselves. Whilst nothing here is going to break any boundaries, it’s a welcome relief to hear the optimistic side of 90s Alternative represented so warmly.

Friday, 19 April 2013

#85: Horse Party - Back to Mono (Single review)


Horse Party are a band that blend garage rock sensibilities DIY aesthetics and sense of humour. Hailing from Bury St Edmunds, the trio, comprised of Eleanor Lou, Seymour Quigley and Shannon Hope are proving that music doesn’t have to be convoluted or even particularly ground-breaking to still pack a punch worth taking.

This article was originally written for God is in the TV Zine. To read the full review, and others, click here

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

#84: Welcome Pariah - Neither Here Nor There (single review)


For years now bands have been trying to emulate and recreate the cultural explosion that was 1990s brit-pop. From Oasis to Happy Mondays, from Pulp to The Stone Roses, whoever their influence, the same energy, the same furore has never been encapsulated. Often I've given that over to the same reasoning that I give to why contemporary Punk doesn't have the same resonance as that it stemmed from; the moment has passed; situations have changed. Bands can't spend their careers chasing the Zeitgeist of 20 years past. That is until I heard Welcome Pariah.

This article was written for Little Indie Blog. To read the full review, and more, click here.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

#83: Top 5 Unsigned - 16/04/13

Evacuees



The sound of this Bath-based quarter is hard to pinpoint. There's a heavy emphasis on the instrumentation of the band as picked guitars swirl and decorate their songs. The choruses, particularly in 'Delorean' are huge sounding affairs which hit with an anthemic air that would be right at home filling arenas and stadiums. Singer Dean Bryant delivers each and every line with a loaded ferocity that the verses don't exhibit. Maybe it's the restraint upheld by the verses that allow the choruses to pack punches like they do, as if Bryant's emotions are just waiting for the right moment to eject themselves. Candid and lyrical, Evacuees are a band that are bound to turn heads.




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Transition, Baby!



A band that have set the blogosphere abuzz with their infectious and jaunty indie-pop anthems, Transition, Baby! have been on my radar for quite a while now. Their blend of angular riffs and pounding drums, coupled with vocals that are somewhat evocative of a more energetic Editors, and makes for a musical experience that's hard to ignore. Coming from Manchester means there's a lot of stiff competition for the band to contend with but given their rising popularity it won't be long before the band are honing their craft further afield as well.



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Inca



Residing in Leeds, this West Yorkshire based four piece is bound to take listeners on a tripped out and psychedelic journey through musical influences, from garage rock, to 1960s psychedelia, Inca might not have bee around for as long as some of the other bands featured this week but their lazy blend of surf-pop and lo-fi makes for inspired listening.



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The New Caldera



Liverpool's The New Caldera are treading similar territory to that of their fellow Liverpudlians The Zutons.  The two piece are upholding a distinctly bluesy vibe to their music, which, they say, isn't the product of a band but the efforts of "musical collective brewed in the back-street watering holes of Anfield". It's an usual and a fairly stripped down sound that the group uphold, but it's the reletive bareness of it all that make The New Caldera what they are; a nostalgic and summery blues act that would be right at home in the spit and sawdust dives of any northern city.



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Delamere


My particular highlight of this week, Staffordshire-based quartet Delamere are crafting songs that are uplifting, anthemic and heartfelt. Huge walls of sound form the basis of their music while occasional moments of delicate introspection punctuate what is usually a grandiose affair.It was a toss up between including 'Heart' or their own remix of their song 'Vampires'. Heart just won out given that it gives you a feel of what Delamere are about and it purports their aesthetic well. A band whose music I could personally get lost in and a band that everyone should check out.



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Check out last week's Top 5 Unsigned.

#82: Howling Owl Records - Music is Dead (Release for Record Store Day 2013)


Now in its sixth year, Record Store Day is a worldwide event celebrated on the third Saturday of April. It brings together fans, artists and thousands of independent record stores across in an eclectic mix of previously unreleased tracks, reissues, in-store appearances, and more. The aim of which, quite simply to “celebrate the art of music”. In honour of the day and ahead of last year's release, Howling Owl Records releases 'Music is Dead' in a limited print of 100 copies only on vinyl.

This articlde was originally written for Little Indie Blogs. To read the full review, and more, click here.

Monday, 15 April 2013

#81 Introducing...The Harmonics



Nottingham/Derby based quintet The Harmonics have been a band for less than year and already they’ve had a string of support slots for the likes of The History of Apple Pie and The Crookes and released their debut EP entitled Shelley. The arrival of fifth member Tom Hopcroft in February 2013 allowed the band to incorporate a synth element in to their music thus cementing The Harmonics as what they are now; an exuberant and energetic band that blend shiny indie-pop sensibilities with a guitar driven rock aesthetic that won’t be ignored.

The first track on Shelley is ‘Lazy Daisy’ and features a suitable Strokes-esque introduction, complete with fuzzy production and rattling drums. The chorus is particularly emphatic and is a sure fire live favourite. The vocal harmony in the background is another nice touch and sums up the bands pop vibe nicely.
‘We’re Not the Same’ is a completely different matter entirely. Acoustically driven with a crisp and clean guitar sound, the song shows another side of the band. Eschewing the partylike feel of ‘Lazy Daisy’, ‘We’re Not the Same’ features more subtle background harmonies this time, while the chorus features some higher backing vocals which adds a lighter element to the texture of singer George Ramplin’s vocals.

The band lists a multitude of influences on their Facebook page, and when you hear Shelley it’s easy to hear a number of them in the four tracks that make up the EP. While ‘Lazy Daisy’ is a riotous indie affair, ‘Save the Last Dance’ begins like a You Me At Six song and while the verses never quite tread in to emopoptweenpunk territory there’s a breakdown towards the end which is particular evocative of those kinds of bands. There’s certainly nothing wrong with it, other than it being somewhat of cliché, but that never hurt anyone.

The Harmonics aren’t afraid to turn their hand at anything that takes their fancy from garage-rock enthused indie right down to candid accoustic numbers which have more in common with bands such as Third Eye Blind than The Hives. It makes listening to Shelley a pleasure, as you never know just what the next song is going to sound like. Despite their relatively short time as a band it’s clear that each of the five members are talented enough bring different influences to the table and manage to blend them all together to form their own personal sound without ever sounding too disjointed or erratic. It’s something which the band benefits from massively, as there is something here for almost any taste. Coupled with the radio-friendly nature of the band’s overall sound I wouldn’t be surprised if they were to go on to bigger things, very soon.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

#80: Catching up with...Velocets


Stockport-based three-piece Velocets have been a band for less than a year but already they’ve turned heads in their native North West while many more are beginning to turn further afield. Blending a post-punk aesthetic with lyricism that switches between candid and heartfelt to the usual indie-pop fare makes them stand head and shoulders above their contemporaries.
Despite only having a three-track EP behind them, Velocets have already shared the stage with the likes of Manchester’s very own Orphan Boy and are looking forward to a Summer filled with local gigs, a slew of small festival appearances and at least one date in Camden that’s shaping up to be one hell of an all-dayer.

The band as a whole purports a sense of urgency in their music that many unsigned bands lack and there’s no sense of entitlement with Velocets either. They’re a band who understand that breaking through means breaking backs. Of course, not in the literal sense of the word but it’s a good ethos to have and one which will take them further than most.

The three-track demo the band recorded sums their sound up quite well. ‘Tell It To Your Kids’ is an jaunty, angular track that’s had the dance-floor at 42s nightclub in Manchester bouncing. Sounding like The Strokes without the garage rock might be an unusual comparison to draw, but it’s one that’s more than fitting whilst ‘Naked’ is “as close to emotion you’re going to get with Velocets” while that quote might not be strictly true. There are several songs in the bands repertoire that have obviously come to fruition as an emotional response to something or other, but Naked just seems that much more candid,that much more emotive and that much more…well, naked, at least metaphorically so.



Ears On caught up with the band for a quick chat to see what the future holds for a band that are undoubtedly going places:


Why do you think Velocets works as well as it does after several ill-fated bands in the past?

Adam: It feels like we have grown out of previous bands. Looking back now I feel bigger and more mature than songs I used to write. It feels good, I’ve got a map of progress over my last 6 years of music. Velocets is the result.

You’ve had a 3 track doing the rounds for some time now. When are we likely to see a longer EP or full-length?

Elliot: As soon as we can really, we have new tunes coming out of our ears at the minute, so we’re itching to get back in there, we’ve seen good things happening with Kickstarter so we might try our luck on there and see if the good people of the internet could help fund us!

I’m sure you’ve managed to blag a few free backstage beers over the last few months. What would be in your ideal rider? Why?

Adam: Everyone always asks for stupid stuff but I think I’d just appreciate a bottle of Tanqueray 10 gin. And a little guy that only lets me drink a third of the bottle so I’m not a mess on stage. And a big fucking bowl of purple fruit pastilles.

You’ve must have quite a range of influences given how varied your sound can be. Who’s your biggest?

Elliot: A lot of the Cribs influences can be heard in our music, firstly because of our love for the cribs and secondly because of the energy our live gigs can bring. We get told we’ve got the influence of Television in our sound as well which is really refreshing to hear.

A few weeks ago on Facebook you asked the question “What would you rather fight? A Horse Sized Duck, or 10 duck sized horses”. What’s your answer?

Elliot: I asked this question on Facebook a while back and when I read back some of the things I’ve wrote on Twitter or Facebook, I’m just like ‘what the fuck was I thinking’, hence why usually most of our random questions are posted around the hours after midnight.
Saying that I’d happily take on ten duck sized horses, simply for the comedic factor, I’d imagine them to be clumsy, yet all the while making them more adorable.

You’re playing a few small festivals dotted around the country this Summer. Who would you like to see on your ideal festival line-up? Either watching or playing with?

Elliot: We actually play with most of the bands we want to gig with now, we love Mama Roux, Orphan Boy, Just Mammals, Transition Baby, The Gullwings just to name a few and we’re up and down the country with them lot all this year! So its a summer of noise and naughtiness all round!

There seems to be a current trend in which bands are eschewing guitars in favour of a more 80s orientated sound. Obviously that isn’t the case with Velocets. Has Elliot ever thought about putting down his guitar in favour of something distinctly more Peter Hook?



Elliot: The whole reason we wanted to do this band was to keep guitar music alive, I can see the appeal in moving towards a synth for the creation of dreamy textures in sounds, which is something I really like to create, but I try and create the sounds for Velocets using my guitar and try and stray away from anything else.

There’s a darker, more moody element to Velocets than previous bands such as The Harks. Do you think your song writing has hit puberty and is fully embracing it’s teenage angst?

Adam: Yeah when I was in the Harks I was a 16/17/18 year old kid writing about shit that was going on in my life at that point. I guess Velocets tunes are matured. They are the older, wiser brothers.

You’ve only been a band for just under a year and already you’ve built a reputation for yourselves; what can you see happening in the next 12 months?

Elliot: 2012 was a roller-coaster and its only getting bigger and bigger! We hope people hear our music more and more, and we perfect our craft just in time to have the world! That’s if North Korea don’t get there before us!

Adam: Yeah bigger festivals, bigger tunes, bigger gigs. Looking forward to it!

Cheers lads!



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All photography credited to Trust A Fox Photography. View his Twitter here.

This article was originally written for Ears On. Click here to go to their site.






Wednesday, 10 April 2013

#79: The Boy Least Likely To - The Great Perhaps


'Cuddlecore' isn't a exactly a genre you would expect to find whilst at your local music shop but that's exactly what Wendover duo The Boy Least Likely To purport to be. To those with an untrained ear and lacking a sense of irony, the band's sound could quite easily come across as twee-pop, the only difference being...well...there isn't any. The fact of the matter is TBLLT couldn't really be much 'twee-er'. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Coming off sounding something like The Shins meets Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin by way of Beulah is no mean feat and one they manage to pull off without ever sounding too indebted to any of the aforemetioned. Of course, in a genre so full of conventions it's always hard to maintain a certain degree of autonomy, especially one as niche as twee-pop; as a result certain clichés need to be overlooked in order to fairly review a record.

The article was written for Little Indie Blog. To read the full review, and more, click here.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

#78: Top 5 Unsigned - 09/04/13

The 20 Club



The 20 Club are a band who have managed to perfectly encapsulate that rare two weeks of brilliant weather and long evenings that is British Summer Time. Coming from Reading, the band purports an incredible sense of upbeat optimism by means of fuzzy guitars, chunky bass lines and effortless vocals from rhythm guitarist/singer Paul Lindsay. The lyrics are both emotive and descriptive and conjure images of a youth misspent.




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Adam French



Cheshire-based Adam French makes music that's about " past experiences... Life, Death, Love and everything else that I've encountered up to now". It's that ethos that permeates every single aspect of French's musical being. Sounding not dissimilar to the likes of Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. his ability to make you not only understand what he's singing about but to feel it is something which shouldn't be played down and it's a facet of French that will forever work in his favour. If people like the ever-beige Ed Sheeran   can break out of Britain then it's only a matter of time before French, with more talent; more substance, will follow suit.



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Red Chevrons



Having been a band for over five years, North Yorkshire's Red Chevrons have understandably played a multitude of venues covering the whole of the UK and have supported the likes of Ash, and Little Comets. Unsurprisingly then, their sound has been honed to perfection. Sounding like a blend of classic indie acts such as Manic Street Preachers and Stereophonics to more contemporary acts such as The Enemy it's a tried and tested formula, but one that the band has excelled at. Singer Nick Stephenson's vocals are literally sensational, and never are they better than on their track 'Don't Falter'. This is a band that's going places.





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Shakedown Stockholm



Slightly psychedelic, completely sexy, dual female-fronted rock band Shakedown Stockholm are making music that's equally nostalgic as it is refreshing. Their blend of Hendrix-inspired lead guitar and and fuzzy abrasive rhythm makes for compelling listening while the drums carry their songs forward relentlessly. Having two female lead singers in a band is something you don't often see however this duality really gives their music extra layers of texture unobtainable with a male singer.



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Our Last Riot


Once a Manchester band known as Jupiter Sands, a line-up change and a "focussing of ideals" lead to what we now know as Our Last Riot. With the experience of eleven years behind them, the band sharpened their song-writing until it was became the emphatic blend of driving stadium rock, 90s alternative and sweeping soundscapes that it is today. The emotion in singer John Armstrong's voice is almost tangible as on several instances it almost borders on breaking. Given the bands devout fanbase and soaring radio-friendly anthems it's crazy to think that a label has yet to snap these guys up, so catch them while you still can. If their energy and emotion can transfer to a live performance (and I'm led to believe it can) it will truly cement the band as one of the North West's unsung heroes.






Thursday, 4 April 2013

#77: Senses Fail - Renacer


Senses Fail are a band who once adorned the t-shirts and posters of skinny boys in eye-liner and fat girls in even more eye-liner. Their macabre fusion of metal hooks and occasionally violent, always emotional lyricism resonated within the skinny jeaned contingency almost globally. And then the band, like emo culture as a whole, fell into relative obscurity. At least further afield than America anyway. Now, three years after the releases of The Fire comes the band’s fifth studio album Renacer and rarely has an album been more aptly named.

This article was originally written for God Is In the TV Zine. To read the full review, and more, click here.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

#76: Top 5 Unsigned - 03/04/13

The Fallows



The Fallows, a four piece indie-pop band with roots all over the North West, are making the kind of radio-friendly pop-rock that will appeal to fans of the likes of The Killers.  The music the band makes isn't groundbreaking. But it's done to see a tee that it really doesn't matter that you've heard it before. Chances are, The Fallows do it better.



Landmarks


Ten years ago, pop-punk bands were ten a penny, with none of them really managing to break the mould set by bands such as New Found Glory. Thankfully these days the quality of the pop-punk bands that come to my attention is much higher than it used to be. Manchester Landmarks are one such. Their blend of gang-chant choruses, charming lyricism and undeniable enthusiasm makes the band one of the freshest sounding bands around at the moment. With plans for an EP release in the forseeable future, Landmarks are a band to keep at least one eye on.




Hidden Witness


Coming together from four corners of the UK, Hidden Witness are a band whose music spans genres in the same way it's members span the country. There music is as understated as it is candid and heartfelt. Jangly indie-pop guitars and clean unaffected vocals assert the band's aesthetic. If their forthcoming début album is half as good as the songs on their SoundCloud, then Hidden Witness are on to a winner.




High Low


Essex-based two-piece High/Low don't make the kind of sound you would expect from a band with such minimal members. Crashing drums and guitar purport a DIY aesthetic that runs behind and indie-pop veneer that's surprisingly full-sounding, appealing to fans of bands such as Foo Fighters or Ash. With two EPs behind them already, High/Low are a band who are undeniably on the up-and-up, it's only a matter of time before they break through.





Tabby Notes


Tabby Notes aren't the usual type of band I would include in these features. But when I heard singer Tabby Jackson's vocals, coupled with the upbeat pop/punk/rock fusion of the band behind her I knew they had to be included. Sounding somewhere between Joan Jett, Blondie, and No Doubt. This type of music just yearns for misspent weekends drinking in a park. The ska elements that the band occasionally exhibit are particular highlights of the band's repertoire. 'Can't Find You' sees Jackson sounding like Tsunami Bomb's Agent M, and is all the better for it.
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Check out last week's Top 5 Unsigned