Monday, 29 September 2014
Sunday, 28 September 2014
Friday, 26 September 2014
Purveyors of Mancunian folk-pop gems The Travelling Band haven’t spoken to the written media for quite a while. All that is set to change with the recent release of their third album The Big DeFreeze (Louder Than War review here) however, and Louder Than War’s Dave Beech was luckily enough to be the first to ask them a handful questions on the record.
Wednesday, 24 September 2014
Released: September 22 2014
As a genre, shoegaze is something of a mystery to me. Not because I fail to see the appeal, quite the opposite in fact, but because at the height of its popularity I was still pissing and shitting myself on a regular basis whilst somehow managing to monosyllabically convey to my parents that I wanted to hear Paul McCartney’s “Frog Chorus” on repeat. As such the world of Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine et al was closed to me, and in some respects, it still is.
Tuesday, 23 September 2014
Gymnast – Wild Fleet
September 26 2014
(Photo right © Lindsay Wilson)
There was once a time when the Mancunian music scene was dominated wholeheartedly by testosterone fuelled lads trying their damnedest to become the next Oasis. Of course, scratching beneath the surface revealed a wealth of artists doing things a little differently but for the most part, middle of the road indie was par for the course. Fortunately it seems the tide has changed and the musical milieu of Manchester is no longer underpinned by bad attitudes and questionable hairstyles, in fact, it seems bands have taken the onus upon themselves to keep their scene from stagnating and as a result Manchester is once again a hotbed for exciting emerging talent.
Monday, 22 September 2014
Acre Tarn – Clasp & Shake (Tri-Tone)
September 29 2014
Rising from the ashes of Manchester based Letter To Fiesta, ambient electro duo Acre Tarn release their debut EP Clasp & Shake Louder Than War’s Dave Beech reviews.
“The silence is deafening” proclaim Acre Tarn on the second track of their debut EP Clasp & Shake, before the lyrics stop for a moment and the dull bass throb proceeds to carry the track forward in a somewhat typical move from the band, whose debut is an effortless affair of dark narratives, staccato vocal melodies and twisting soundscapes that keep everything fresh throughout the course of the record.
Sunday, 21 September 2014
Album Review: Avi Buffalo - At Best Cuckold (2014)
This review was originally written for Muso's Guide. Click the link above to read in full.
Saturday, 20 September 2014
A little over 12 months ago, I stumbled across a band from Stoke called Delamere and whilst their Twitter bio said very little, their overall sound spoke volumes; blistering choruses were interspersed with delicate verses whilst the lyricism, wrought with dark sincerity, gave the band a huge edge over the majority of their contemporaries. Sure, the production on some early releases lacked the polish of later tracks, but the same can be said for every band at that stage, and the rough edges only served to add to the band's appeal
Indeed, such was the impression Delamere had on me that I tipped them for label backing within a year and whilst I might have been out on my prediction by a month or so, sure enough, earlier this year Manchester's own Scruff of the Neck Records signed the band, aiding them in the release of previous single 'Do You Want Me?' which was met with much acclaim.
Looking forward however, Delamere are to set to release their second single through the label, the atmospheric 'Headstrong'. A step in a more electronic direction, 'Headstrong' sees the band seguing in to the moody atmospheric sounds enjoyed by the likes of local lads The Slow Readers Club. It might be a slight change in direction, but it also marks the full realisation of the step up in confidence that was teased on their previous single.
Okay, so they might not be from Manchester per se (in fact, they're not at all), but being signed by Scruff of the Neck, and playing a good majority of their gigs in the city, means they're adopted Mancs by all accounts, and that's what matters. With a development deal in place with Scruff of the Neck, as well as their forthcoming single to look forward to, it seems all things are go for Delamere and with 2014 being the year that it has been for the band, we can only speculate and cross our fingers for what 2015 will have in store for them.
U&I: Hi guys, thanks for having a chat with us ahead of your single launch. First of all, you recently signed with Scruff of the Neck, have you found it's opened any doors to you as a band, which might have otherwise remained closed?
Everything is still pretty new at the minute and we’re still all working towards our goals so its hard to say if any doors have been opened as such. Both band and label are very busy with the next step at the minute so maybe this question would be better asked at a later date. I suppose one major factor that has come straight from this and that’s management, we’re now managed by MTE management which will work alongside the label, so that’s pretty exciting.
U&I: It's more than just signing to a label though, you've also entered in to a 'development deal' with the company. Can you tell us what this entails and what it means for Delamere?
The best way to put this I suppose is that a straight up recording contract would simply mean that we record and the label puts it out, the development deal on the other hand is pretty much what it says, obviously the recording and putting out of music is there but with the added bonus of the band being developed to a higher standard which can cover anything from fan base to the performances. This is all in place to ideally be ready for a major label to just pick it up from where its at for the next major big step.
U&I: Obviously coming from Stoke you're not a Manchester band, but we have adopted Delamere as one of our own. What is it about the city that kept you coming back and gigging? Why not opt for Birmingham or Nottingham?
We all love Manchester, as kids it was the city we’d travel to, to watch all the big touring bands, the sort of bands that would never come to Stoke. Manchester holds a little bit of magic for us, every gig, every meeting with Scruff, we look forward to coming here.
U&I: Usually I ask a band to name a couple of Manchester-based bands our readers might not be familiar with, but since we're bending the rules this month, any bands from either Manchester or Stoke you think our readers should be checking out?
There’s too many good bands in Manchester to start listing, but we played with this Manchester band in Stoke and were instantly attracted to their music, they’re called ‘Flesh’ and it’s a real live show to witness, check them out! There is also a good scene in Stoke and a few good bands, our friends play in Manchester quite a bit and are worth checking out they’re called ‘Camp Stag’, also check out ‘Moitessier’, we challenge anyone to watch them live and not to tap a toe!
U&I: Your latest single 'Headstrong' is due out in a week and it's a little different than your previous output, what's the story behind it?
There’s no particular story to this song but the meaning about it is all in the title, its purely about knowing what you want and going for it. There’s a quite a poppy/dancey vibe to this and this just came about during the writing process and instead of trying to hone it to our usual sound, we just start running with it and quite enjoyed it!
U&I: You also premièred a video for it earlier this week. How was the process of making a video? Have you done it before?
We made a video before for ‘Do you want me’, but this was our first performance video and we thoroughly enjoyed it, Ash probably more than anyone, the lad had a stiff neck from all the head banging.
U&I: Perhaps more importantly, how long were you up on that roof for and did you have permission? I remember being bollocked on more than one occasion for...enjoying a similar view, though admittedly under-age drinking is probably frowned upon more than making a music video!
Haha, yeah it wasn’t too bad, we had it all done in one night. Scruff arranged it and it was on the roof of the double tree Hilton in the city centre. There wasn’t any time to even enjoy the view with a beer, we had a tight schedule and the director wasn’t letting anyone mess it up.
U&I: Now you've got a label behind you, thoughts must be drifting more and more to than inevitable first album. Any plans for that yet? New tracks written? Titles thrown about?
The albums been discussed and it will happen but it’s a way off at the minute. We’ve got some good songs that we’re happy with but every time we write we always try and better the last so its hard to say at this time.
U&I: Ash's beard is becoming a source of envy for fans and critics alike. How can we be sure it doesn't have some sort of ulterior motive, and that the momentum behind you as a band isn't just the first stages of some beardy world domination plan?
I don’t think we can never be too sure, Ash is famous for coming out with ridiculous statements, but since the beard got massive and covered his mouth, he’s started talking sense, sounds like beard has actually grown its own mouth over ash’s, or the fibres have embedded themselves into his brain, either way we prefer this guy!
U&I: Forthcoming album aside, have you got any other plans in the pipeline?
All talk at the minute like we said earlier, but the next 12 months look very exciting, more recording, more songs, new EP’s and possible tours. Lots of work to do and we cant wait.
U&I: Finally, any exclusive news you'd like to leave our readers with, or parting words of wisdom to bestow on them?
Firstly never, ever, ever bring piss to a shit fight!!!
Secondly, we’ll be releasing a B side to ‘Headstrong’, entitled ‘Criminals’, its nothing like we’ve ever written. It’ll go up on our soundcloud and will be on limited CD singles we’ll be selling at our shows, heard it here first.
U&I: Thanks guys, it's been a pleasure as always.
Cheers Dave, always a pleasure.
Monday, 15 September 2014
Sunday, 14 September 2014
From bedroom demos to billboard debuts, 2014 has been a whirlwind year for east London electro trio Waylayers. Indeed, it seems as if the band's blend of sleek 80s grooves and sharp, contemporary production, coupled with a handful of what Fuse deemed “incendiary performances” at this year's SXSW, has allowed them to find footing in the States, almost before they've established themselves in the UK. As a result, their debut EP Fault Lines hit the Billboard Top 100, whilst follow up single 'Medicine' peaked at the top of Itunes Electronic chart. And all this from a band yet to release an album.
Saturday, 13 September 2014
In the last 12 months, the UK has seen a massive surge in the popularity of both ambient bands and artists, and whilst many will automatically assume it was London Grammar who pioneered the trend last year, the fact of the matter is they merely drew the public's attention to it. In their wake, a fertile milieu has flourished, affording similar, albeit smaller, bands a spotlight they might not have had before. Despite being a band for as long as the aforementioned London Grammar, and sharing similar, albeit darker, aesthetics, Nottingham's Shelter Point haven't enjoyed anywhere near the same level of mainstream success, but hopefully all that's about to change.
Friday, 12 September 2014
Delamere: Headstrong Single Launch
Night & Day Cafe, Manchester
August 30 2014
Delamere are on the cusp of something big, Dave Beech was there from the start and at Manchester’s Night & Day for the launch of their new single.
A major player in the Cash vs Common Sense debate that has scourged many a music venue across the UK in recent years, Manchester’s Night & Day was served an abatement notice last year. Rather unusually for this kind of matter however, it seems common sense has prevailed (though not when it came to the tenants signing on the dotted line and moving in to a property situated a stone’s throw from one of Manchester’s live music institutions) but rather in the venue’s doors are still open and we can, for the time being at least, still enjoy the very best of our city’s contemporary music in a setting steeped in history.
Monday, 8 September 2014
B-Town might well be a distant memory to most, even laughed at by those thought to be at the centre of the sound that gave the Midlands some sunshine over a year ago. The fact that some of those bands are now on their second album is a testament to the fact the scene meant nothing but the music said something. One band that caught the tail end of said scene were JAWS, a suitably jangly four piece who stirred up enough attention to sell out their debut EP, twice. A little over a year later, the band have segued slightly away from the swimmy sounds that became synonymous with B-Towns tropicana, moving in to moodier territory for their debut that, nevertheless, isn’t without a certain degree of sunshine.
Sunday, 7 September 2014
City Reign – When You Got It All (Car Boot Records)
September 22, 2014
City Reign’s follow-up single promises much but there’s still signs of unfulfilled potential from the Manchester band.
Whilst it might have taken four years for Manchester’s City Reign to write and release their debut, Another Step, last February, it seems it’s taken under half that time for the beginnings of a follow-up to formulate. With not even a whisper of a working title though, it seems we might be waiting a while longer yet. If last year’s debut left you clamouring for more, however, your appetite may finally be sated, as ‘When You Got It All’, the first single to be taken from their follow up, drops later this month.
Thursday, 4 September 2014
Having never heard anything by Berlin-based electro duo The/Das before now, I went in to this review with no expectations and little information on the band. Often that can prove problematic, whilst at other times it allows one to form a completely unadulterated opinion on a record. Fortunately on this occasion the latter proved to be true, and it turns out the début from The/Das is one of the sleekest and most introspective albums I’ve heard this year.
Monday, 1 September 2014
Delamere – Headstrong (Scruff of the Neck Records)
August 30th 2014
Dave Beech reviews the new single by Delamere, the North Staffs, Manchester based, indie band oft to be found touring with the likes of Louder Than War favourites PEACE, Palma Violets and Wolf Alice.
I reserve a certain kind of smugness for seeing bands I’ve championed in the past do well for themselves. Not because I’m a self-congratulatory twat who thrives on the satisfaction of being right, but because it proves that I do in fact have an ear for this sort of thing and I’m not just wasting my time. One such band are Stoke’s Delamere, an act who over the course of the last 12 months have evolved and expanded on a sound which was nothing short of infectious to begin with.
The Travelling Band – The Big Defreeze (Sideways Saloon/Republic)
LP / CD / DL
Whilst The Travelling Band might well be from Manchester, their sound couldn’t be more removed from the city’s almost-perpetually grey sprawl and in turn, those bands you automatically think of when you think of Manchester. Resting not on the romantic ideals of a Salford skyline, The Travelling Band opt to paint pictures of vast horizons, rural idyll, and a gentle sense of forward motion which pulls listeners along on a journey through a rich tapestry of folk and americana.