Friday, July 29, 2016

Indietracks envy...

Indietracks starts today and for reasons too dull to go into here I'm missing it again. Cobblers. Still I've got the memories of the two instalments that I managed to drag my ageing carcass along to and one of the undoubted highlights was the set from Bis back in 2013, so to make up for not being there I'm watching back to back Bis vids like this little gem. Happy days...

Hope all Indietrackers have a great one this year. I'm not at all really...oh who am I trying to kid...agggghhhhhh!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Thatchers Haze Sessions @ The Passenger Shed, Bristol – Friday July 22nd

Having just watched Lou Rhodes’ in-store set at Rise Records a moist 30 minute dash across the City got us to The Passenger Shed in time for most of Sofii Negus’ warm up set. A new name to me but her mix of originals and covers was played with a confidence that can’t have been easy in a bustling bar. Bonus points for a lovely cover of Streets of London too.

In case you’ve not been to The Passenger Shed it’s a ruddy big building next to Bristol Temple Meads station that I’m guessing once housed steam trains back in the day. Divided by a curtain, swept away Wizard of Oz style to reveal the main stage, the rest of the evening saw six acts play, including a couple of delightful female indie-folk singer songwriters from Cambridge (there must be something in the water), Melody Causton and Rachel Clarke, both of whom had the kind of easy going charm and natural talent to keep the increasingly ‘cidered up’ crowd engaged. 

On to the bands and Keston Cobblers Club’s funky pop folk went down a storm. Their set had a bit of a bounce up and down and hug yer mates at a festival kind of vibe capped off by a magnificent tuba turbocharged cover of Fleetwood Macs The Chain that’s just screaming to be released as a single. 

London four piece Anteros reminded me a little of the much lamented Doll & The Kicks (still got no idea why they didn’t make it). At their best on the bouncy indie punk pop of tracks like recent single Breakfast lead singer Laura did a fine job of bopping around the stage in the heat and it’s not hard to imagine them making the leap to Ellie Goulding levels of success (yep, that’s an official measure of success these days. Who says? Me.).

On to the last two bands and local duo The Showhawk Duo almost tore the roof off the place with their acoustic guitar versions of dance anthems. It’s clever stuff brilliantly done, retaining the euphoria of the originals but adding that human element that’s lost when you’re just watching some bloke ‘avin it large on the ones and twos. The biggest reaction of the set was reserved for their cover of Bohemian Rhapsody though which saw several dozen members of the audience belting out the words (not necessarily the right words or in the right order but 10 out of 10 for effort) and punching the air like they’d just necked several pints of Thatchers Haze...which I’m guessing they had.

Last up and time for a bit of a skank with By The Rivers who mashed up soul, reggae and ska into a revitalising musical cocktail that kept the Passenger Shed (well my bit of it at least) bouncing right to the end. 

Given the heat and booze this was no mean feat...

Thanks to all the bands and the good folk at Thatchers Cider for a cracking night. 

PS: As the night was promoting Thatchers Haze cider (as well as the bands) it’d be unfair not to give view on it. As the name implies it’s a little cloudier than most of the established sparkling cider brands, Thatchers Gold for instance. It's got a bit more of a natural taste too and if it encourages drinkers to try what I’d call ‘proper’ cider (still, cloudy as a British summer’s day and strong enough to floor a buffalo...see Thatchers Cheddar Valley) then that’s a very, very good thing indeed. 

Lou Rhodes @ Rise Records, Bristol - Friday July 22nd 2016

No proper gigs for months...well, days if you count Lets Rock Exeter but that’s a festival so that’s different ...and along come two in one evening. After a day spent wandering the streets of Bristol in the heat, pausing just for a restorative cider or three, we’d intended to chill out back at the hotel before the Thatchers Haze Sesh but happened to wander past Rise Records just an hour or so before Lamb vocalist Lou Rhodes was due to do a tasty little in-store album launch set. Well it’d be rude to miss that right? Dashed back to the hotel to pick up the Haze Sessions tickets, hot footed it (literally) back up to Rise via The Cider Shop for a two pint take out and got there with, oooooh, a good 60 seconds to spare. Easy. Ahem.

If you’re under 30 the chances are that you might not be familiar with Lamb but for a brief moment back in the late 90s they were one of a number of top notch Bristol based trip hop groups (see also Massive Attack, Portishead and Tricky) producing chilled out atmospheric tracks that somehow seemed to chime particularly well with the PMT (that’s Pre Millennial Times). 

Whilst Lamb’s still a going concern (they reformed back in 2009 after a five year break) Lou’s now got a sideline as an author of children’s books and a solo career to keep her busy, the latest product of which is new album theyesandeye. It’s an altogether folkier vibe than her work with Lamb and this post work set saw a handful of tracks performed including the simply divine homage to the simple things in life, All I Need and dreamy Nick Drake-ish All The Birds. Backed by a particularly talented pair of musicians (who played drums, keyboards, a harp and a saw...yep...a saw, not enough saws in pop music these days) Lou gently lulled away the stresses and strains of modern life a mere few feet away from the bustling Bristol streets. Shut your eyes and you could’ve been in a field somewhere under a tree. Beautiful stuff. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Showhawk Duo do Daft Punk

Off to an all too rare gig in sunny Bristol tomorrow night and one of the bands playing is this pair, Showhawk Duo, who've hit on the pretty neat concept of playing dance music on guitars. Okay, it might sound a little novelty act but it's impressively done and ruddy good fun. How the dude with the beard manages to play that fast without melting his fingers to the fret I have no idea. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Alphabetic – French Boyfriend

Sounding like the offspring of an affair between Neil Hannon and Julian Cope Alphabetic’s lead male vocalist’s clearly had ‘un mal temps’ recently if this track’s anything to go by. Yes, the love of his life has pissed off to Paris for a little Gallic lurve...or amour if you’re that way inclined. In true “if life gives you lemons make a nice little lemon tart out of it” fashion he’s used all this heartbreak as inspiration for a rather fine 80s tinged duet (shades of Metronomy in there too perhaps) between him and his ‘ex’ (okay, I'm assuming it’s actually a fellow band member but you get the idea). Sacre bleu! The track's taken from their debut album, Touch, out now digitally (Booo! Hiss!) and out soon on vinyl (Hurrah! Crackle! Hiss!).

Friday, July 15, 2016

Kids Interview Courtney Barnett

It's been aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaages since last I posted an interview from Kids Interview Bands (in which kids interview bands...genius eh?) and whilst the original kids are now all grown up there's now a new kid in town, Piper, who does a ruddy great job of interviewing one of my personal favourite artists from the past few years, Courtney Barnett. Enjoy...and don't forget to check out the Kids Interview Bands archive. There's that dull Friday afternoon at work sorted. You're welcome.

PS: Here's a little of Barnett in action for ya too.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Day Ends TV Episode One

The Beeb might be shutting down channels and websites faster than Corbyn can appoint shadow cabinet ministers but fear not dear friends, The Day Ends, purveyors of general musical mayhem, madness and majesty are a-riding to the rescue with The Day Ends TV. Okay, so you may need a little mild therapy and a lie down in a darkened room after watching it but what the hell eh? Go down the rabbit hole people, I dares ya...

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Finally - The Correspondents

This lot are sooooooooooooo good live, if you get the chance to see 'em during festival season grab it as fast as a falling pound. Lead singer Mr Bruce actually dances and sings like this throughout a show, somehow without combusting or requiring emergency oxygen. How? I mean just HOW?! This is the new single from forthcoming album 'Crikey Old Bean How Do You Sing and Dance Like That Without Your Arms and Legs Flying Off?'. Okay, it isn't, not sure what it's called but that's as good a title as any right now so there. Enjoy.