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Saturday, 29 June 2013

#129: Introducing...Faith

Birmingham, like any major city, has a rich musical history to rival that of any city, north or south. From the ultra heavy sound of bands such as Napalm Death, to the more melodic and indie-centric ideals of bands such as The Charlatans or Ocean Colour Scene. More recently there's been a current surge of young bands all hailing from the city in a collective affectionately known as B-Town, with Peace and Swim Deep spearheading the movement.

One young band hoping to capitalise on the sudden interest in the city are FAITH, a young four piece who've been honing their sound over a period of months and putting together a set-list ready for their all important first gig on July 20th. Rather than release demos of all their songs, the band have enigmatically chosen to release a single, impactive track 'How Does It Feel to Own the Sun' to generally favourable reviews.

The track grabs you by the balls from the word go. A crashing and driving intro hits before the pace slows down for a verse that gathers momentum before exploding once again. It's a track that's all about dynamics, the ups and downs. It's never anything short of anthemic, nor optimistic, but the driving guitars and tenacious drums assert the band's overall personality, while the slower moments suggest a maturity and a musical intelligence beyond their years.

For a band as fresh-faced as FAITH, putting out just a single track before even their first gig is a bold move. But it's worked in their favour. A tenacious work ethic has given the band their first radio airplay, and their number of Twitter followers is steadily getting higher. There's no denying the band's musical ability and if any of their forthcoming tracks stand up to the quality of 'How Does It Feel...' then there's absolutely no reason why this band shouldn't be enjoying the recent successes of other B-Town bands. The music scene needs bands like FAITH, hard-working and talented without an iota of self entitlement, keep your eyes on these lads.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

#128: Top 5 Unsigned - 26/06/2013

For The Roses


The first on this week's chart is London trio For The Roses; making a surprisingly full sound for an acoustic three-piece, the band's music is rich in melody and texture is exaggerated fantastically through the use of strings, providing a classical edge to the band's own blend of quaint folk-pop. There's an understated aesthetic beauty at play that is helped in no small part by lead vocal's courtesy of Lucy that are both powerful and delicate.



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We Came From the Sea



I initially found this Scottish three-piece a few weeks ago after trying and failing to find another band. And I'm more than thankful I did. Merging dynamics together effortlessly, Edinburgh/Glasgow based We Came From the Sea are a band with a firm knowledge of music and the intricacies of composition. Melodic and tempestuous, there's certainly something for everyone at play here.
                                                                          


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Mondays Company



While not unsigned in the strictest sense of the word (the band are signed to an indie), Middlesborough based quartet Mondays Company are making an infectious brand of melodic indie-pop that's far too good to overlook. A wealth of influences afford the band a varied sound that ranges from the Arctic Monkeys-esque of 'Wrong Way Darlin' to the jangly 'Through the Night' which is destined for a wider audience. Their music isn't game changing, but  when it's this good, it doesn't need to be.



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Death to the Strange


Band's such as Manchester based five-piece Death to the Strange are almost impossible to pigeon-hole with a particular sound, genre, or aesthetic. Switching between genres, the band effortlessly blend together traditional indie with melodic folk and blues and tie it off neatly with politicised lyricism that doesn't preach some much as educate. It's clear that three years together as a band has allowed them to hone their sound and perfect it, with it finally becoming the fully realised end product it is now. I dare you not to dance.



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The New Ages



Birmingham-based four-piece The New Ages who have the benefit of at least half their members having played together for several years, however they only became the full band they are now after the inclusion of a bassist and drummer their sound became more full and their music more purposeful. Now with their Piper Man EP under their belt the band are looking to bring their indie-blues-rock fusion to wider audience. The New Ages are note perfect and as tight as you could ask a band to be.



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Why not check out last week's Top 5 Unsigned?

Monday, 24 June 2013

#127: Headlander Festival: Day 1 - 21/06/13 (Bramhall Rugby Club)


Stockport isn't a town particularly synonymous with a music scene. There's one there, that's for certain, after all, being situated as close to Manchester as it is, why it would be a cause for concern if their wasn't one. There's even a wealth of practice rooms and recording studios on offer for those bands who have graduated from the confines of their parent's attic or garage. As for venues however, apart from the likes of the Baker's Vault, there's very few musician friendly venues on offer in and around the town and even fewer that would allow a two day exhibition of some of the most up and coming bands' from the area as well as a smattering of those from further afield, not to mention a handful of names that are slightly more established and more likely to bring in a crowd. That's why when Headlander Festival was announced, there was a higher degree of anticipation than reservation about it, for those at least with a vested interested in their local scene at any rate.

Marketing itself as a family festival has it's pros and cons. Sure you're going to bring in the crowds, but is allowing a festival to feel more like a glorified school fête going attract the kind of crowds that would make it a success? Thankfully however, school fêtes don't often have live music, and thankfully again, if they did, it probably wouldn't be as solid as some of the performances of some of today.

The first band of the day are Cove, a three piece who kick of the proceedings with the weekends Battle of the Bands. Unfortunately for them, the judges of the competition were running late and a lack of communication between officials meant the set had to be repeated, thus forcing the organisers itinerary back and back. Musically however, Cove are solid in their performance and the shared duties of guitar bass and vocal between the two front-men keep stuff fresh. Despite only a four song set, the band quickly assert themselves as having talent, particularly as far as the vocals are concerned and though the song writing came off as somewhat easy, this is something that obviously improves with time and given the band's young age ( I doubt any are over 18 ) there's a certain amount of potential there for the band to tap in to.

The second band today, this time on the main stage is Vacant Lot, again another young band with a lot of potential who uphold a distinctly 'alternative' sound. Again there young age accounts for the occasionally forced lyricism but where that lets the band down both guitarists raise it up. Their set sees a couple of covers in the form of The Black Keys 'Gold on the Ceiling' and The Strokes 'Last Night' the latter particularly impresses with the singer/guitarist doing his best Julian Casablancas impression, really quite well. You've got to feel sorry for a band like this though, all through their set the guys doing the lighting and the sound do nothing but bitch about how young and unprofessional they are, even though the nerves on their faces are obvious. Everyone's career kicks off somewhere and everyone should respect that no matter how far down that line you are as a band.

The final band of the Friday were Freedom of the City, a band I've recently discovered. Perhaps placed unjustly low down on the bill, sound problems and scheduling issues are abound and unfortunately their set gets cut short after just three songs. Thankfully they squeeze a fourth out of it much to the crowd's pleasure given their blend of reverb tinged and delay-soaked indie pop goes down better than any of the other bands on today's bill, a cheeky comment to one slightly warm member of a media team seems to fall on deaf ears and was a slight hint at what the set could have been if it wasn't for poor planning. Whether it's down to the bands or to the event organisers, when a band travels to a venue that they've had to pay to play, and gets their set cut after only four songs, there's something seriously not right, and despite it being the highlight of Friday, a band like Freedom of the City deserve to be placed higher up the bill and deserve not to have the plug pulled on them.

And so the day's proceedings are rounded off in an almost bittersweet fashion. The music was on point, the kids entertainment was on point and there was almost-enough side-stalls there to allow a festival buzz to rear it's ugly head at times. Unfortunately though poor organisation across both tents seem to impact on both bands and sound engineers leaving a nasty taste in the mouths of those so inclined to notice it. For a first festival experience for some of the younger children though it's certainly something worth bearing in mind, especially for the low ticket prices and camping availability. Let's just hope that the Sunday fares somewhat better. 

Friday, 21 June 2013

#126: Top 5 Unsigned - 21/06/13 (Headlander Festival special)

As many of you may know, Bramhall Rugby Club in Stockport is playing host to Headlander Festival over the next two days (21st - 22nd June). Rather than compile my usual list of 5 bands from all corners of the UK, this weeks chart will focus on the bands that I'm looking forward to seeing over the next 2 days. So without further hesitation, we'll kick things off with...

Turrentine Jones


Playing their own fantastic blend of contemporary blues, Manchester trio Turrentine Jones are harbouring an aesthetic completely evocative of the 1960s. Drawing on influences from the likes of The Doors and The Velvet Underground, their music is as fresh and as exciting as it would have been to see Jim Morrison tear up The Whisky-A-Go-Go circa 1966. Playing the second stage on the Friday, Turrentine Jones are a band who are sure to make you dance to their nostaligia-tinged sleaze blues, complete with organs and all. Crackin'.




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In Isolation



Nottingham's In Isolation are a band whom are fantastically indebted to the post-punk of 1980s Britain. They utilise synth hooks and crashing drums to uphold a sense of ominousness to their music while guitars and vocals are ultimately balancing the scales. Usually such a synth-driven aesthetic would deter me personally, but In Isolation manage to keep the balance perfectly and come of all the better for it.




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Fidel & the Castros



Thankfully with Manchester's Fidel & the Castros, the brilliance doesn't end with their name. Making music that's immediately accessible yet keeps you coming back for more and more, the band's own blend of radio-friendly indie-pop is sure to go down well when they take to the Main Stage this Saturday. The guitar work here lends itself fantastically to more than your usual indie fare, as it straddles the fine line between 90s alternative and times, even emo, while the vocals assert the band as one of the strongest to grace this weekends festivities.




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Sister Ray



Perhaps one of the bands that I'm most looking forward to over the next two days are the fantastically elegant but never short of impactive, Sister Ray. By their own admission, the band aren't ashamed at utilising simplistic and commercial song structures as the backing for their wonderfully spun lyricism. Vocalist Leanne Scaletta provides a softer edge to the vocal duties that's juxtaposed against occasional violent but always on point lyrics. If you're going to the festival, Sister Ray are a band you should definitely check out.




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Jeremiah Ferrari



Following in the footsteps of bands such as Sublime are Jeremiah Ferrari, and what festival would completely without your obligatory dub/ska/reggae band. These lads are without a doubt going to inject a healthy dose of sunshine and (probably) sensimilla in to an otherwise wet Stockport. Definitely a band to get your knees up to, and one who has already forged a path for themselves and garnered a healthy following throughout Manchester and further afield. Exactly what you need to round of a weekend of quality music. Perfect.




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Of course there are more bands playing that I'm looking forward to seeing, and several that I've featured on the hallowed pages of this blog before now. With it being a Top 5 chart though it dramatically limits what I can include, so bands such as Kids With Machetes, Velocets, and Freedom of the City have all been featured and I wanted to expose those I hadn't yet. You can check out the full line-up here.

Alternatively, you can check out last week's Top 5 Unsigned here.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

#125: Happy Families - New Forgetting (single review)


It seems these days that the sonic evisceration of late 80s/early 90s noise/shoegaze scene is coming back with a vengeance, more and more bands are harnessing the raw emotional power of bands such as The Jesus and Mary Chain and Spacemen 3 and giving it their own contemporary twist. One such band are the recently formed Happy Families who, despite having never played a live show before, are already releasing their début single.

#124: Laura Marling - Once I was An Eagle

For her age, contemporary folk troubadour Laura Marling has accomplished an incredible amount in a reasonably short space of time. Since her inception in 2006, the singer/songwriter has wowed audiences and wooed her fair share of celebrity suitors, been nominated for the Mercury Music prize, twice, and won the Best Female Solo Artist in 2011 whilst also being nominated for the same prize a year later. Needless to say, despite her tender age of 23, Marling has asserted herself as the figurehead of contemporary folk and proved that there's a distinct amount of sustainability to her music that's rarely afforded by other artists of her ilk. Now, coming fiver years after her début Alas, I Cannot Swim, Marling has released her fourth studio album entitled Once I Was an Eagle and fans can rest assured that it is very much, business as usual, sort of.

Once I Was an Eagle was an incredibly difficult album for me to start reviewing, and not for want of trying. It wasn't that folk music doesn't interest me (it does) and it's not that the album is the twee affair that a lot of contemporary folk music seems to be (it isn't) It's the fact that this is quite easily Marling's most commercially viable and polished album to date. That isn't a bad thing however, it's just it harbours a particular layer of gloss that needed chipping away before it began to reveal the personality hidden beneath.

That isn't to say that Once...is an album laden with ambiguous personal metaphors, it's very much an album we can all relate to, as all good folk records should be all the while managing to maintain a distinct level of autonomy over the course of the 16 tracks. Starting of light and breezy in the form of 'Take the Night Off', it doesn't take long for Marling to assert a more tempestuous set of dynamics that see her eschew the current stereotype that's befallen most girls with a guitar, instead she not only draws from the likes of Joni Mitchell or PJ Harvey but proves herself as their equal as well. It's as if with this record, Marling intends to take us on the emotional journey typical of a break-up, anger, resentment, bitterness and finally acceptance; and, at it's most debased, that is exactly what Once... is, a break-up album.

The first half of the record is a tenacious and anger ridden affair which crackles and burns with an intensity atypical of the genre and is no way indicative of the first two tracks featured; songs such as 'Master Hunter' and 'Devil's Resting Place' are melodic in their own right but see a distinctly more husky edge to the vocal than you'd expect from a female folk singer and it's all the better for it. Conversely the second part of the album (following a short 'Interlude') seems to be the latter half of a break up and sees Marling sounding more upbeat, optimistic even accepting.

This polarisation of anger and acceptance is ultimately what makes Once I was An Eagle such an interesting album, beyond of course the undeniable talent that seems to radiate from Marling herself. It's also this polarisation that gives the record it's universal appeal. We've all been there, we empathise with her and despite initial reservations about the album, there's several factors at play beneath it's shiny veneer that make it such an easy negative to (eventually) overlook. The only other gripe that I have is Marling's occasional habit for slipping in to an unnatural and quite frankly, unnecessary American accent. Yes she has recently moved to the States, but Laura, is it really that paramount you immerse yourself in Americana so whole heartedly?

Monday, 17 June 2013

#123: Stylusboy - Lantern (EP review)

“This is the start, of something beautiful” proclaims Rachel Grisedale, on 'Love's Tale' the second track from Coventry-based Stylusboy's new EP, Lantern, and my god is she right about that. Despite only being four tracks and fifteen minutes long, the third release from the duo is optimistically sincere as opposed to sombre and manages to feel like a fully fleshed out record despite it's stripped down nature. Quaint and candid lyricism is woven in and out of brilliantly simple guitar work in each and every song all the while underpinned by a classic male/female dichotomy that makes the Lantern EP so rich with textures and melody.

'Lantern' kicks off proceedings in a brilliant way; there's elements of Scandinavian indie-pop at play, flecked with aspects of 90s lo-fi and alternative such as Rainer Maria or Park Ave. Conversely, however, the aforementioned 'Love's Tale' is equally as optimistic but ultimately a much gentler and heartfelt track in which both Grisedale and singer/guitarist Steve Jones voices work together over the top of a piano melody and rhythm guitar to form a duality that's often seen in acoustic or folk music, but rarely exhibited this well.



The final half of Lantern is comprised of two live recordings so naturally there isn't as much polish here as the first two. Rather than hampering the overall quality, however, it serves to add to the stripped down nature of the music and heightens the overt sincerity of Jones' lyrics. 'Open' sees the duo make use of some excellent vocal harmonising once again whilst closer 'Jigsaw' features some of the best lyrics on the record.

This entire record is a lesson in what contemporary folk should be. It's romantic, it's nostalgic, it's sincere while always managing to maintain a slight degree of whimsy about itself. There really is not a single thing wrong with this EP. It construes just exactly what it is that Stylusboy are about without ever once feeling trite or repetitive. The music itself isn't breaking any boundaries, and you'll probably think to yourself that you've heard it all before. But have you ever heard done this well?

This article was originally written for Ears On. To visit their site, click here.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

#122: Kodaline - In A Perfect World


When a band such as Dublin's Kodaline comes along, I view them with a mixture of both awe and sympathy; the former because of the sheer amount of talent and chemistry upheld by the band members, and the latter because too many times the hype bubble bursts and sends those it once enveloped crashing back to reality, rapidly. Thankfully, for singer Steve Garrigan et al, they've been playing as a single entity for six years now (though only under the Kodaline moniker for two) and that experience helps massively when recording of début album...perhaps someone should have told Palma Violets that.

Friday, 14 June 2013

#121: Sigur Ros - Kveikur


Album review: Sigur Ros - Kviekur (2013)

This article was originally written for Muso's Guide. To read the full review, and more, click the link above.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

#120: Introducing...Velocets (Manc Tank #1 U&I Magazine)

Manchester is a city steeped in musical history; every post-war generation that could call the city home has begotten to us at least one band that has gone on to become a household name. From the electro-soaked melancholy of New Order to the up-tempo drug-fuelled rave culture of the Happy Mondays; the meat- free morosity of The Smiths to the cocksure arrogance of Oasis; right down, even now, to contemporary classics such as The Courteeners. And really, it's easy to see why. Manchester plays host to a burgeoning underground scene, in which a plethora of bands and genres all jockey for the attention of PRs and promoters. One such band are Stockport's Velocets.


Growing up amidst the Brutalist architecture and perpetual grey of a town once rated as one ofthe worst places to live in the UK, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the music and ethos that the band purport are that which will match their surroundings; a Joy Division-infused amalgam of self-deprecation and misanthrope. But you'd be thinking wrong. In fact the only thing that the band have in common with Manchester's Most Miserable is a loose label of them both falling in to post-punk territory.

The energy and the optimism of Velocets is something that's inherently Manchester. Tracks such as 'About the World' and 'Tell It to Your Kids' crackle with a youthful exuberance that's juxtaposed with surprising amount of maturity in the band's song-writing. However, it's not always peaches and cream; 'Naked' upholds an even further level of maturity but the inherent optimism takes a backseat in favour of a much greater sense of candidness that's “as close to emotion you’re going to get with Velocets”. The chorus is a particularly emotive affair, especially after the relatively understated verses, while the songs conclusion is as melodic as it tumultuous as guitar and bass weave in and out of each other at once, both delicate and ominous.

Post-punk is a genre that's thrown about far too loosely these days, however it seems to suit the overall aesthetic of Velocets. From the reverb-tinged vocals to the clean yet crunchy guitar parts, there's a slight sense of nostalgia emitted by the band while they paradoxically manage to keep their music fresh and exciting. Thankfully the band's energy also transfers to their live sets too (which will no doubt see the drummer taking his top off). Singer/bassist Adam Walsh, and guitarist Elliot Berriman feed off each others energy; like a younger Barât and Doherty, it is a joy to watch and no wonder that BBC Introducing, amongst others, have already picked up on the buzz surrounding the band. Fresh-faced and with the world (or at least the city) firmly at their feet, Velocets look set to take off in a big way.


This article was originally written for the June issue of U&I magazine. To read in full, click here.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

#119: Top 5 Unsigned - 12/06/2013

The Sea The Sea



First up are Oxford-based shimmery minimalists The Sea The Sea. Knowing exactly when to play and when not to might seem like basic musical comprehension, and in a way, it is. However not many bands's manage to pull it off with the same aplomb as The Sea The Sea. Huge sounding moments of pure instrumentals give way to understated and insightful sections of lyricism in which the vocals take precedence before exploding in to walls of complex instrumentals that are too delicate to be considered noise. This is a band who knows what they're doing.



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Faith



Potentially future up-and-comers in the B-town scene are Birmingham's Faith. Utilising the traditional four-piece format, the band are drawing on influences such as The Enemy and The Courteeners while managing to keep their own distinct sound. There's uplifting elements at play throughout their music while a distinctly snarling vocal from Jason Payne drags it kicking and screaming back to the streets. Great stuff.




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Shores



In keeping with a coincidental maritime theme are Portsmouth's Shores. A quaint and candid  duo whose insightful and understated acoustic aesthetic will appeal to fans of Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. The band's inherent understanding of tempo and dynamics makes for some seriously compelling listening in which Ben Hardicre's clear and emotive vocals only heighten the experience.



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Freedom of the City



Currently jockeying to be Manchester's next biggest export, Freedom of the City are a band whose sound is instantly relatable and utterly irresistible. Eschewing the guttural grime that so many indie bands opt for, this four-piece are making music that's as eclectic as it is ambiguous, with some songs merging genres effortlessly. It's unusual for an indie band to encompass such a clean and polished sound but Freedom of the City benefit from it massively.



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The Phantom Light


Differing almost entirely from the rest of today's bands are Swansea's The Phantom Light. Drawing on a whole host of influences, the band create sweeping sound-scapes that drip with grandeur while song's such as A Rose in the Avalanche utilises off kilter time signatures in much the same way bands such as Owen or American Football do. Vocal harmonies are aplenty as is a penchant for theatrics. This is a band who don't do things by halves and you should be thankful they don't. This is inspired. 



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Check out last week's Top 5 Unsigned

Monday, 10 June 2013

Friday, 7 June 2013

#117: Introducing...The Sleep Wells

Brother/sister and brother/brother quartet The Sleep Wells have been plying their trade and honing their sound for over five years now. Rather than ape the sound of many of their influences and indeed their contemporaries, the band have created a subtle, delicate and nuanced brand of shimmery indie-pop that sets itself apart from it’s peers. With haunting piano sections and moving vocals coming from singer Grace Mellor, it’s certainly not your usual indie fare. It’s subdued and romantic, eloquent and polished and most importantly, it keeps you coming back for more.

While it’s certainly true that many band’s these days claim employ influences from genres such as jazz, r’n'b and blues, it’s rare that a band will allow such genres to envelope them the way The Sleep Wells have. That isn’t to say they sound like everything one’s heard before in fact it’s refreshing to hear such a contemporary spin on a tried and tested formula something which Mellor’s vocal work helps exponentially.

Their most accomplished track comes in the form of ‘In Paris’, which also sees itself as the most contemporary sounding song. Here a picked guitar part couples itself with Mellor’s vocal part and entwines itself around it during the verses while some nice cymbal and bass work swells and subsides throughout the chorus as Mellor repeatedly asks “Does it wear you out?”. While an infectious yet simple bass riff forges it’s own path and asserts itself as the backbone of the track.




It’s easy to tar The Sleep Wells with the indie brush, after all, they’re a four-piece band who play their own instruments. That said though, the band employ elements from a whole host of different genres that ultimately make up their overall sound. From the understated folk of most recent recording ‘Please’ to the emotive soul of ‘The Masquerade’, no two tracks seem to fall in to familiar territory the same way they could have, with each song on their Soundcloud page suggesting a versatility from the band that only several years playing together can achieve. Understated and silky smooth, London’s The Sleep Wells are a band for those who like their music so laid back it’s almost falling over. Lazy Summer evening festival listening. Mine’s a bourbon, please and thanks.


Thursday, 6 June 2013

#116: Chapel Club - Good Together


Forming in 2007 after the break-up of two previous bands, little known London outfit Palace spent several months honing their sound and adding additional members to their line-up. Two years on and having been joined by baritone’d vocalist Lewis Bowman, they play under final name, Chapel Club, and release their début single 'Surfacing', earning them airplay and critical acclaim alike – despite the brief copyright lawsuit that followed. Six years down the line however much of the band's previous outings have been discarded. Gone is the spatially aware yet ultimately brooding aesthetics of their début album; instead, sophomore effort Good Together sees the band harbour a much more optimistic and electronically driven vibe that proves to be utterly irresistible.

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

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

#115: R'n'B & Hip-Hop Troubadours AlunaGeorge Play Exclusive Show in London

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Lucozade Energy for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

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Forget Daft Punk and their trite and formulaic eurodance rubbish, UK electro duo AlunaGeorge are quite possibly the biggest breath of fresh air that UK electro-pop has seen in a while. Following on from the success of Canadian artist Grimes last year, the pair have been nominated both for the BBC Sound of 2013 award (they came second) and a Critics Choice Brit Award (in which they were just nominated). That said though, the duo have come a long way in a short space of time since it wasn't until September of last year that they released their debut single entitled 'Your Drums, Your Love' reaching Number 50 in the UK charts. Since then though, the duo have gone on to collaborate with Disclosure on their seminal single 'White Noise' earning them a Number 2 spot in the English Chart. Not bad for a band whose first single isn't even a year old! Despite earlier speculation that their debut album (entitled Body Music) was due out towards the end of June, it has in fact since been confirmed that the record is due out at the end of July which gives fans plenty of time to see the tracks live before it's release.

One such opportunity comes by way of Lucozade Energy who have teamed up with Vevo and the ecclectic electroites in order to bring you a competiton which allows you and a mate to see the duo at an as-of-yet undisclosed location in London. Tickets for this show are only available from the Lucozade Energy website and all you have to do is enter your email address for a chance to win. Not only this but a few select attendees will also be in with a chance to meet the duo! The competition is only open until June 14th so anyone interested would do well to enter sooner rather than later if they wanted in with a chance to win tickets to what promises to be a fantastic night. If you do miss the deadline, however, keep an eye on the Lucozade Facebook page for more opportunities to win tickets and more.

Finally Lucozade and Vevo are offering even more great prizes by way of The Yes Project which gives away daily prizes and music exclusives to those who pick up a promo pack of Lucozade and enter the code on the Lucozade Energy website.

What are you waiting for? Check the band out and enter! If you win, you won't be dissapointed.

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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

#114: Top 5 Unsigned - 04/06/2013

Skinny Roller

Salford-basedquintet Skinny Roller are a band who are have taken garage rock and laboriously steered it away from it's American roots, flavouring it instead with an aesthetic that's quintessentially British. It isn't, however, the Britain of Jane Austin novels. Instead Skinny Roller paint a picture of the nitty gritty and the ins and outs of Manchester life, painting it all with a delicious coat of fuzz that's paramount to the genres overall sound.



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16 Hole Boots



Despite them only being a band for less than a year, London's 16 Hole Boots have been busy. Their tireless work ethic and sheer tenacity has already afforded them the luxury of having two sets worth of material in their repertoire; something which will undoubtedly make each live show different. Their music is an amalgamation of west coast psychedelia and gritty indie-pop, helped along by the petulant snarling vocals of Richey Ostrowski.
Fresh and exciting and definitely a band who are destined for bigger things.




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Dork Turnspit



Ambitious is the first word that springs to mind when listening to Lancaster/Carlisle based Dork Turnspit. Their overall sounded merges the frenetic energy of 80s hardcore pioneers such as Husker Du with a more melodic edge that lends itself more to the territory of bands like Weezer. Keeping the balance of grandeur and accesibility right is an important thing for band's that aim big, otherwise they come off sounding pretentious and self-important. Thankfully though Dork Turnspit have done just that, never once does the transition between tracks feel forced or erratic and the band benefit from this immeasurably. Well worth getting your teeth in to!




Icepops for Breakfast


The second band from Lancaster this week are the delightfully irreverent Icepops for Breakfast. While not strictly an unsigned band their music is just too irresistible to not include. The band uphold a distinctly twee vibe that might not appeal to everyone, but for fans of bands such as Misty's Big Adventure or even Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer the appeal of Icepops for Breakfast should be evident and is proof that light-hearted music doesn't have to be poor all the time.



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The Naughtys



Like fellow Mancunians Sonic Boom Six, Stretford-based The Naughtys are a ska-punk fusion band whose lyrical delivery has as much in common with hip-hop as it does punk, and while Manchester isn't a city often synonymous with Punk despite it's burgeoning underground scene, more and more bands seem to be rearing their head which suggests hope for a scene often overlooked. The Naughtys will undoubtable appeal to fans of the aforementioned Sonic Boom Six as well as The King Blues and even The Specials or The Clash. Punk has never sounded so Summery.



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Check Out Last Week's Top 5 Unsigned

#113: Introducing...Social Potion

Canadian husband and wife duo Social Potion are an unusual band. They’ve shirked the traditional several member set-up and gone instead for a much more intimate arrangement. Aided perhaps by their marital status, the band exudes a heartfelt optimism that is itself peppered with an underlying sincerity usually associated to a more stripped down aesthetic. Indeed, for a duo, the pair maintain an impressively full sound, with guitar and vocal duties falling to Carmen Toth while husband Aaron Jones takes care of the drums and keys predominantly.

Though the band consider themselves to be ‘alt-pop’, that to me is just a catch all term that simplifies all the things that Social Potion are doing. Though the band are shrouded in a pop veneer, upheld impressively by Toth’s sugary vocal talents, there’s far more to it than that. ‘Minishka’, for example, is somewhat evocative of a more accessible Amanda Palmer if in nothing but the off kilter melody of the verses.

Conversely ‘Come Out and See Me’ shows a rougher quality to Toth’s vocal not shown in other tracks. The instrumentation in this track is also somewhat different to the rest of those featured on their self-titled début EP. Perhaps the best example, or at least a personal favourite, is the first track from that EP, ‘Drive Myself Home’. A Mountain Goats inspired guitar forms the backbone of this track, endearing me instantly, while the flesh comes in the form of some fantastic vocal harmonising and layering which provides textures aplenty.



Social Potion aren’t a band who are out to break boundaries, their music is catchy, it’s accessible and it’s Summery. It doesn’t need to have a political message or a dissident nature to appeal because the appeal lies within the quirks and the nuances of both Toth and Jones alike. There’s a certain degree of nostalgia about it too, a back to basics approach that can be exhibited in the band’s reliance on the coupling of guitar and vocal harmonies; it isn’t that it’s musically primitive, far from it. It’s just that more often than the simplest of structures can create the most impressive music which is precisely what’s happened with Social Potion, instead of hiding behind a façade, the duo have embraced their pop persona, let it run riot and are just about having fun with their music.

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