Friday, 31 July 2009

On the Stereo

1. Carl Woodford - 'Coloured Walls' -

2. Wolf Gang - 'Pieces of You' -

3. Reverend and the Makers - 'Silence Is Talking' -

4. Bill Withers - 'Grandma's Hands'

5. Lykke Li vs. Rodeo Remix - Knocked Up (Kings of Leon remix)

Sick shit x

Wolf Gang - Pieces Of You

Wolf Gang, aka Max McElligott, is a part Irish, part German university drop out playing pop of the finest credentials.
'Pieces Of You’ is a delicate funk popper with scary harmonies and quasi-spaced guitars which dance pertly over Jim Morrison’s much visited grave in the Père Lachaise Cemetery as
McElligott wails: “I keep talking but there’s nothing to say, it is decided that you will have your way.”
The regular horn blasts keep you on your toes while the un-precise recording does nothing but add more and more to the track as you progress.
Enough to suggest we keep a keen eye on this fella.

Tramlines Festival - Sheffield

So, Sheffield has its very first ‘proper’ festival. Based over thirty venues and with different ‘lines’ to suit each taste it looks like curators John McClure, Matt Helders and Toddla T have had their work cut out.

It's Saturday night and first on the must see list is the should be, would be, could be folk legend Carl Woodford down at the Rude Shipyard. Known more for its pastries and poetry, the building is busting at the seams as we arrive. With around fifty people cramped into a hot, sweaty room that resembles an old persons lounge more than anything Mr Woodford finally takes to the stage.

The show is free of microphones, PAs and any kind of wire giving the proceedings an intimacy that you would struggle to find elsewhere. Woodford sheepishly introduces himself before falling straight into ‘The Love Laughter And Money Show’ with an extra addition to his line-up - an extra guitarist named Ralph has been drafted in for the occasion and aptly strums in the background to Woodford’s furrowing finger picking.

His guitar work is incredible to say the least and the songs are buried deep within a world of alternative folk with each song subtly displaying the span of the man’s talent. It’s not until the end when Woodford introduces what is clearly a hotly anticipated number and as he strums and drums (yes drums, on his guitar) his way through ‘Coloured Walls’, Woodford’s arms become a blur and fifty people are staring agape as the Scarborough born singer/songwriter becomes the first human to successfully turn themselves into a cartoon.

As we roll back onto the beaten track and into town we find the Steel in a world of mayhem with people scattering every street corner trying to get glimpses of anything that might be going on.

As we walk past DQ there are huge queues of people just trying to get a look at ex Milburn front man Joe Carnell making a live debut with his new band Joe Carnell and the Book Club.

We fight the crowds to get into the Grapes where neighbours from Rotherham, the Heebie Jeebies, are stomping their way through a sweet blend of jangly guitars and popping bass in front of a riotous crowd. Their jibber jabbering drifts through the sweat and stench to deliver a lively set with enough energy to power a small town.

Then back off the beaten track and down to the Red House where trumpets are a-blazing and skanking is ensuing. The Hostiles aren’t playing to many and by one o’clock people are paying more attention to the 17 stone bald man stood at the bar, celebrating his birthday by drinking 18 shots in a row than their jumpy and expertly executed jump-along ska.

Back into town for Sunday and as we arrive at the main stage our spirits are high, if a little over-hung and despite the never ending rain clouds that sit over Sheffield’s seven hills there are still plenty of bands to be seen.

As we enter the main area to have a gander at the Hallam FM stage Sheffield’s own Oblong are offering up something lost between rock and electro to a sparse crowd. Their sound is tight, if a little lost to the size of their stage and front-lass Tracey Deakin’s vocals are delivered clinically for ‘I AM The Noise’.

As their set comes to an end a kiddie conga lines skirts the perimeter and the rain threatens to get ever harder but anticipation is in the air for the next band.

The Violet May are fronted my none other than Chris McClure, the man who appeared on Arctic Monkeys' controversial album sleeve for ‘Whatever People Say I Am...’ and of course, brother to festival curator and Makers’ front man, the Reverend.
Despite the junior sound engineer turning up for their set the Violet May chug through a glam induced orgasm of noise which rips through the growing crowd. The vocals are not sharp from McClure but he’s entertaining as he saunters between his dark horse of a band.
A couple of hours later we return to the main stage and back into the bleak to see Lord of Flatbush summer it up. With Steve Edwards (Bob Sinclair) and ex-monkey Andy Nicholson riling the Sheffield crowd with dance floor classics such as ‘World Hold On’ the rain turns into a forgotten aspect of the day as their summer anthems consume an ever growing crowd.

With the absence of the scheduled La’s the thousands of brollies form a tortoise formation on Devonshire Green waiting for the festivals headline act. As Reverend and the Makers take to the stage and open with new single ‘Silence Is Talking’ the huge Sheffield crowd starts to bounce along and it doesn’t take long for the Reverend to address the crowd with comments such as “fuck the BNP!” and having a word with the over exuberant teens at the front, “I don’t care if you’re a Blade or an Owl, it’s all Sheffield,” before he gets emotional on his home town mob, “This is the point innit? Together!”
The band pound through hits such as ‘Heavyweight Champion Of The World’ and display many of the songs that feature on their new album ‘French Kiss In The Chaos’ to wind up a successful weekend for Jon McClure.
As we cram into the Frog and Parrot to warm our sodden shackles the Century Kids are taking out their troubles on an unsuspecting crowd rather than their parents for a change. While they stamp their feet around the tiny stage passers-by look through the windows to see what the ruckus is all about until the door opens and the lacklustre harmonies creep out into the night air giving themselves and ourselves a perfectly good reason to leave, leaving us with a slightly submissive end to a weekend of good music.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Fire breaks out at Spanish festival

Kings of Leon and Maximo Park were forced to pull their performances at Benicassim festival when a fire broke out as Paul Weller started his slot on the main stage leaving furious fans booing and leaving the site in their masses.
At around 9:30pm last night (July 17) a patch of long grass which runs alongside the CN-340 road and adjacent to the festival grounds caught fire and was reduced to ash as flames engulfed the area.
No injuries have been reported but the area where the fire boke out is a popular walk-way for festival goers when travelling between the festival and beach.
An announcement is due to be made shortly confirming whether Kings of Leon and Maximo Park will be able to play their sets tonight.

The Dead Weather - Horehound

It’s hard to say where the Dead Weather come from. Apparently they’re from Tennessee but from what I can here, they’ve foraged their way up from the inner circles of hell.

From the lazy chug of ‘No hassle Night’ to the audaciously dirty ‘I Cut Like A Buffalo’ the Dead Weather have broken their very own mould to produce a filthy, stink infested feedback party.

This, for want of a better word, ‘supergroup’ recorded this new effort over the best part of three weeks, leaving very little dubbed and edited. It shows and Mosshart’s cut throat vocal sets the scene for this deeply dark tale of blues.

The slow starting opener, ‘60ft Tall’ takes a little under a minute before it shows it’s rabid face from beneath Mosshart’s drawl – “You’ve got the kind of loving I need constantly.” With its guitar noodling mindlessly beneath, the song is dictated by White’s sticks and when the beat gets going Mosshart’s vocals come out of their shell revealing undercut melodies and a beast from within struggling to release itself.

It comes though and follows with ‘Hang You Up From the Heavens’ which soars through scuzzy amps and not-for-the-feint-hearted wails of “I’d like to take you by the hair, and hang you up from the heavens.”

New single ‘Treat Me Like Your Mother’ continues the fashion with a bite as aggressive as a bull terrier, it has the same characteristics too, once it’s got you, it doesn’t let go and is a four minute assault as Mosshart and White duet over Queens of the Stone Ages’ Dean Fertita’s ripped guitar licks.

This is all before they guiltlessly transform Bob Dylan’s lazy, swaying crooner ‘New Pony’ into something quite unlike its original and encapsulates what this band are all about.

It’s striking but scary stuff, it’s all so simple which, to be honest, is totally delightful. These tracks won’t be dictated to and avoid the same old day-to-day verse chorus verse and a couple of catchy lines that people ‘can relate to.’

The Dead Weather have veered off course on their own little adventure and will take you to hell and back if you dare to let them.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Casablancas goes solo

The Strokes front man, Julian Casablancas, has revealed his first solo album is nearing completion.
The new record, 'Phrazes For The Young', is being produced by Jason Lader and has been in the making for the last 12 months. It is said to be made up of eight tracks recorded in Los Angeles, Nebraska and New York.
With the release date apparently ear-marked for the Autumn, Casablancas is set to appear in a series of live shows before the album is released.
Tracks thought to be on the new album include 'River Of Brake Lights' and 'Ludlow Street'.

Little Man Tate split

Sheffield rockers Little Man Tate have announced that they will go their seperate ways after a goodbye gig in their hometown's O2 Academy.

The band who had hits such as 'Houseparty At Boothy's' and 'Man I Hate Your Band' were dropped by their record label, V2, in November 2007 and despite releasing their second album, 'Nothing Worth Having Comes Easy', themselves through Skint Records the band have decided to call it a day.

A statement on their website said: "Without dragging this on too much, it's something that we have sat down and discussed at length for a while now and we have decided that after a good innings, we've achieved what we set out to do and it's time we moved on to other things."

Little Man Tate will play their final gig Sheffield O2 Academy on Saturday October 3, tickets will be priced at £15 and go on sale on July 14.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Oasis to play one off show

Oasis have announced that they will play a one off intimate show.
The gobby Manchester band announced the news after their three night Wembley stint and will playing Bridlington Spa on August 20 before their double-header at V Festival.

Support will come from Detroit Social Club.

Tickets go on sale on Wednesday 15 July and are limited to four per person.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Michael Jackson - Lose Your Hero, Lose Yourself?

Michael Jackson, rightly agreed the world over, is a legend and always will be.
If you put the man’s bizarre personal life aside and the fact that he made some terrible life decisions to the back of your mind, you are left with a star of totally insane proportions.
Jackson moved, sang and behaved in a way that no other will ever be able to replicate or indeed surpass. His performances from Motown 25, to massive sell out world tours to what was expected to be a spectacular residency at London’s 02 arena were extraordinary and his sudden death has left the world in shock, misery and in need of another King.

For me, the most saddening thing to come out of Jackson’s tragic demise is the devastating affect it’s had on many of his followers. With 12 reported suicides relating to the stars death being confirmed in America alone since Jackson’s death on June 25, many of his fans seem inconsolable during a time where the music world has been left scarred and un-whole. People are so desperate to ‘join’ their hero in another world that they forgot all about their current state, their families, their friends and undeniably their own life all because of the death of this star.

Being a hero to so many and with the lasting effect of his death still coursing through planet Earth, questions have to be asked, why did people rely on one man so much? Why do people feel the need to take their own life to be ‘nearer’ to someone they’ve never met? Why are people so unhappy with themselves that they feel they need to try and live through another?

Legendary rock critic, Lester Bangs once said: “A hero is a goddam stupid thing to have in the first place and a general block to anything you might want to accomplish on your own." While this anti hero’s words are true to a certain degree, everyone needs a hero, everyone needs someone to look up to, draw their influences from and aspire to. But when does this become too much? When does it get to a point that you no longer feel that your own image/voice/body is adequate?
As we are now in a time of celebrity obsession and disgusting publications such as ‘Closer’ judge people on their own simple life decisions it’s difficult to see when this spiral will stutter, when the obsession end and when will people begin to cry their own tears once more.
Identity is a key thing to every person and is something that Michael Jackson strongly believed in himself – just look at what the star did to his own body. If the man was alive today to see the world’s reaction he would not only be honored and happy that so many thought of him in the way they did but he would also be deeply wounded by the fact that this tragedy has not only damaged his own family but the families of those who have lost loved ones in the aftermath of his death.
None of this is down to Jackson of course, while the tabloids will endlessly create conspiracy theories relating to his death, use his name to sell their papers and prey on the people who loved him most, one thing can remain certain, this man didn’t want to die. He had a point to prove and he wanted to show the world that he was still capable of being the star we all need.

Metric - Gimme Sympathy

Blimee, I’m getting fed up of this. Nearly every time the radio goes on these days you’re treated to synth, pretty vocals and the same fucking licks in the background.

Welcome to the world of Metric. Their new single ‘Gimme Sympathy’ is an unblemished chugger which vaguely reminds me of when I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar. You already know that though because you’ve heard it all before, many-a-time. That’s not to say it’s bad, on the contrary, this band are competent and tight, the vocals are well executed and it’s very genial and radio friendly.

What more could you want?

I’ll tell you. We want something that isn’t so pertly sat on Brandon Flowers’s cock end, that they’re infected by a total lack of individuality. We want something that doesn’t ask us “who would you rather be, the Beatles of the Rolling Stones.” They were both extraordinary but I don’t want to be fucking either to be honest, I’ll find my own way.

Not bad but not good.

Released August 3 through Metric Productions.

Tom Walton

Vampire Weekend close to finishing second album

New York boat rockers Vampire Weekend have revealed that their second album is nearly complete.

The quartet expect their new effort to be finished in time for a September release.
Keyboard player Rostam Batmanglij is also producing the follow up to last year's highly acclaimed self-titles debut and he thinks the band have "stepped it up."

The band, who recently supported Bur on their recent Hyde Park appearances, debuted 'Cousins' which is said to appear on the new album.


Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Trashcan Sinatras - I Wish You'd Met Her

Trashcan Sinatras have been away for five years and in the mean time they’ve ambled right into the middle of the road, slowly sauntering at their own pace to the next destination.

Turns out they’ve arrived and it’s called ‘I Wish You’d Met Her’, a freewheeling ode that blissfully swings along at a wistful pace encapsulating the mood of a hazy summer evening.

Trashcans surround themselves with luxuriant guitar sounds and intriguing harmonies with the shimmering sun of Scotland beating down on them as they carve out their resting place in the heart of the highway, rarely threatening to leave its asylum (“I’ve put some things behind me, you know, I’ve closed the door quietly, you know.”)
Good deck-chair listening.
Released July 27 through Lo-Five Records.

History of Guns - When You Don't Matter/Slice Up Your Wife

I’m scared...never has my finger so dutifully twitched towards the stop button and my ears have never wanted to drop off, grow legs and run away since I first watched Reservoir Dogs.

History of Guns then, I feel slightly out of my depth with these Goth weirdo’s and, quite frankly, I’m glad of this.

New single, ‘When You Don’t Matter’, is a dark and seemingly meaningful trip into a world of despair with little musical substance. The piss poor vocals are obviously meant to come across the way they do but for what reason will always be beyond me.

These guys probably love the fact they’re so creepy and diverse but they are in fact so desperately normal and average and their music really isn’t breaking any boundaries and will only end up on the playlist of Newt from Hollyoaks.

Things go from bad to worse when an adaption of the Spice Girls’ ‘Spice Up Your Life’ comes to fruition on the second track. Astutely renamed ‘Slice Up Your Wife’, the track needs little introduction or explanation but does involve moments of make believe dread when singer, Del Alien (nuff said), amusingly sings “Rip his cock off, burst his spleen, take his eyes out, and all that's in between.”

Plain shouldn’t be allowed.

Released July 20 through Line Out Records.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

The Cribs give away new album track...

The Cribs have made new album track 'We Were Aborted' available as a free download for 24 hours from today (July 7).

The Wakefield band have recently finished their fourth studio album, 'Ignore the Ignorant' and features ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr.

Ryan Jarman of the Cribs told NME: "We Were Aborted is the first song that the Cribs ever wrote with Johnny, literally the first thing we did, just plugged in this came out."

'Ignore the Ignorant' is out on September 7.

The Tivoli - Pawns On The Fence

Swaggery can get you anywhere these days and the Tivoli have shit loads of it.

Their long awaited debut single stomps like a leather-clad glam champ on an indie dance floor getting shit-faced on blues and beers.

‘Pawns on the Fence’, taken from debut album ‘National Service’, a middle finger to a life of hard work and shit pay, swirls through a cascade of licks, harmonies and sheer grit demonstrating why the South Yorkshire outfit have been turning heads.

When the song reaches its chorus singer Lee McMahon spits “We’ve been infected and it’s to be suspected, that its life as we know it, that is life as we know it” over a brass section, lifting the song to a level where the cock sure strut belongs.


Released June 29 as a digital download through Shiva Records.

Tom Walton