Circus Live has its inception in 2005’s blackAcetate album and the coming together of Cale with musicians Dustin Boyer (guitar), Joseph Karnes (bass) and Michael Jerome (drums), a group which seemed to also, importantly, meld perfectly in the live environment. Cale obviously felt he had found a new group with whom he could tackle a quasi-Gratest Hits slice of the large body of work he had been a part of, resulting in the Circus tour and this well-produced double-CD document.
This “40 minute barrage of indie punk” which forms The Hedrons’ debut album One More Won’t Kill Us has been affably lauded by the likes of the Daily Telegraph and the Times, as well as NME and Kerrang!, using rampant accolade such as “addictive” and “tantalising” and even, “a real hit”. Actually there is an admirable earnestness about this four-piece Glaswegian all-girl rock band, but you can’t help but almost feel them being pumped up with some helium-hype gas cos everyone needs to keep their genitals buzzing on some new band, just like they need to overuse words such as “original” and “authentic”.
This was the first Mojo Fins performance for a while, the band having taken a little time off coming up with some new material and importantly, a record deal. Picked up by Brighton’s Amazon Records the band have a single out in April and album plans for later in the year, and having also played a live radio session on Brighton’s Juice FM it seems it’s actually been all go despite the live lull.
The recent wave of Scandinavian indie-pop invading these shores continues with Ghost Is Not Real the second LP from Finnish band Husky Rescue. Husky Rescue let it be known that they like to deal in a netherworld where nature harbours secrets and dreams are a potent form of transportation and knowledge. Like fellow Scandinavians The Knife, a lot of inspirational elements come from film and they aim to imbue their tracks with a cinematic tapestry that places cinematic virtues such as mood and mise-en-scene in a musical context.
This Peel session dates back to 2002 at a point where Mum still radiated warmth in most critics’ eyes and had just completed their second album Finally We Are No One. Since then Mum have gone on to traverse a line of sound closer to rounded indie pop rather than the stuttering lo-fi electronica of their debut Yesterday Was Dramatic, Today Is Ok.
It’s been a year since we last featured anything about Star Chamber, and what a year it has been. We predicted that 2006 would bring them closer to their ultimate goal of getting a recording contract and recognition for their powerful, guitar-led sound and it proved accurate. They finished as one of three runners-up to New Rhodes for the Kerrang! Live Unsigned Act, and are looking to build on that success with a new two-part EP, the first of which is the aptly named Part One, and a fitting testament to their ever-joyful sound.
Fedde Le Grand was a bit of a nobody until last summer when his electro house hit “Put Your Hands Up For Detroit” stormed into clubs around the world and got to number one in the UK. Predictably enough, Ministry of Sound have jumped on his success, and the electro house bandwagon that has seen the genre’s dramatic rise in popularity in 2006, to invite Le Grand to mix its latest compilation.
McQueen are a young, all-female four piece from Brighton who no doubt would like to break up the boyband-hegemony (Panic! At The Disco, Fall Out Boy, et al) within punk rock circles. This debut is unlikely to do that, but nevertheless has its moments.
Guapo have been making awesome music for over a decade now on avant garde labels such as Cuneiform and Ipecac and now release Twisted Stems on the twisted home of acts like Moss, Wolfmangler and new Stephen O’Malley and Peter Rehberg project, KTL, Aurora Borealis. The offering is a two-track EP clocking in at just a little over 15 minutes, split near equally between the two, and offering a slightly different side to the band. Where more recent efforts like Five Suns and Black Oni have been Fender Rhodes-led, Zeuhl-inspired progressive pieces (building from the meditative, experimental and noise work on records like Death Seed, Hirohito and Great Sage, Equal of Heaven) the two tracks of Twisted Stems are crisp, dark, slow tracks with piano, brushed drums and walking bass offering a distinctly jazzy mood.
Opener and title track “People” is a slow-burner, with a Steve Reich-esque motif of shiny guitar and twinkling piano being gradually joined by a reverb-heavy rythym section. As it builds the track offers vocals in the form of yelps and “yeah”s rising to choruses of distorted and joyful screaming, the rattling roll of the drums driving on the upbeat, rising amble behind it. These off-kilter vocals offer an enjoyably jarring and rousing counterpoint to the niceyness of the simple riffs playing out in the background with the increasingly bombastic percussion adding further to the texture. But although its a good track and builds to perhaps a greater racket than they generally do, you could be left feeling like Animal Collective have offered this kind of thing before.
Following a few projects twisting folk music in a more experimental minimalist/modern classical/noise vein released on his Bu_Hanan label (owned in a collective with David Hart and Alex Lazara) David Karsten Daniels has set his trajectory on a perhaps more accessible course with his debut for Fat Cat, Sharp Teeth. It’s a fascinating record full of ideas and hooks, consistently delivering whilst hitting from different directions as the lo-fi basis of the first track spreads out to traverse a wide American songbook.
Zettasaur are four men from Pembrokeshire, Wales, who formed in the latter half of 2005 with the aim, in their own words, “to use momentum, volume and abnormal structure to create something which is (hopefully) suprising and therefore invigorating.” This EP is the fruits of their endeavours, put to tape via the recording abilities of Steve Ansell (Blood Red Shoes/Projections) back in Summer 2006.
It’s taken a while for The Hold Steady to make it to these shores. After two well received LPs on NYC indie label Frenchkiss (2004’s Almost Killed Me and 2005’s Separation Sunday) it took a move to Vagrant for an proper debut in the UK to appear. It makes a nice change for a band to surface from the underground with some weight behind them rather than a hyped debut followed by general apathy.
Dextro is the chosen handle of Ewan MacKenzie, a 27-year old Glasweigan musician who has moved on from the purest medium of dance music with 12” releases on Jumblefunk and James Holden’s inventive Border Community label, onto his first full length release, Consequence Music.
The third album from Mira Calix has been three years coming due to her commitments to a range of commissions and engagements for European arts bodies and institutions. Her music demands you listen with care, you need to give it your full attention. But do so and you will understand its artistry so much more, and why Calix has been in so much demand.
Some good conversation led to Colin from TST colluding with The Albert to come up with a fantastic idea which might just work — afternoon gigs. Sunday afternoons, from about 2pm til 5pm playing light, Sunday afternoon-accessible music. Well that worked well enough and so they’ve even started Saturdays as well, but those ones are loud. But this one was a Sunday, with perhaps the quietest vocalist of them all, Southampton’s Mat Sweet, appearing here under his Boduf Songs moniker, which has been built up into a three-piece band for live performances, though keeping true to the aching simplicity which is at the heart of the project.
Some mystery lies behind just who exactly is pushing the buttons and twiddling the knobs on this first full length release by Plus Device. Is it a name producer or a knowledgeable new face? Is it a PR ploy or shyness? It doesn’t really matter, of course, if it’s decent.
After last year’s awesome I Hate T-Shirts That Say 1977 EP comes the third album from the ever-more interesting Aidan Moffat’s L Pierre. Following the announcement of the Arab Strap split at the end of last year, it is refreshing to hear that Moffat is striding forward strongly with his other project, and now with a fresh new direction it has grown in instrumental scope with Moffat not forgetting but working less on dance beat and effect orientated synths and moving to live drums and percussion, keyboards and harmoniums, also adding cello work from Alan Barr, double bass from Stevie Jones and trumpet work by Allan Wylie, making the project grow in size as well.
Bedecked all Christmaslike, the festive season adding an extra tint to the glam aspirations the venue, Brighton’s Sussex Arts Club played a welcome host to the Brighton’s Finest Songbirds Christmas Special. Due to the unavailability of billed support act Jane Bartholomew the night kicked off with the middle act songbird Cordelia Fellowes, who was quick to point out that her set was not in fact her set but a performance of a band of which she is just one part. She is undoubtedly the frontwoman of her group though, the Gypsy Squat Pop Project, as her stong voice and presence powerfully leads the songs forward.
History is Bunk is a collection of hip-hop, electronica and ambient music celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Chicago based record label Hefty Records. If Hefty Records means nothing to you then maybe a few of the artists it has farmed over the last decade such as Telefon Tel Aviv, Savath + Savalas (Guillermo Scott Herren) and Eliot Lipp, might.
Most of the songs on this album sound the same. Most of these songs sound like Coheed, Taking Back Sunday, Lost Prophets, bands that generally sound the same. So we got a lot of same here.