Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Eagulls – Council Flat Blues


February 14

Not Even

If you like your ranty, vaguely punk and rebel rousing anthems then look no further then this Leeds five piece.

After earning the BBC ‘Tip Of The Week’ nod there has been a bit of chatter about this Yorkshire based band, as well as being snapped up by Moshi Moshi’s sister label, Not Music.

Eagulls are ready to kick up a stink but not before they’ve tried to melt your heart as their debut single inexplicably begins with a long build up of spell binding sounds of a sonic nature that send you to a far-away place before it quickly spirals into garage rock oblivion to reawaken angry veins and heart conditions.

The angst that runs though the blood of Eagulls is as clear as the brightest sky as they bark and scream their way through ‘Council Flat Blues’ with an unmistakeable passion that resonates through the airwaves like a riotous protest.

This is not for the faint hearted and only advance with caution, this is not for everyone.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Tom Tom Club – Genius Of Live


February 7

Because Music

After forming thirty years ago, ex Talking Heads members Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz have been having fun.

Tom Tom Club are a band that prey on good times while having a smile on their face when playing the tunes they love and ‘Genius Of Live’ is a concoction of tracks taken from the  infamous ‘Live At The Clubhouse’ album, recorded in 2000 in front of only 50 people at their home studio.

It’s always a tough call when it comes to live albums, whether they can truly leave their studio sibling behind and have a life of their own or not but Tom Tom Club are a band that were born for the stage.

There’s something about this music that just wouldn’t fit quite as well in a strict studio environment and it feeds on energy, ‘Genius Of Love’ and ‘Worldly Rappinghood’ are sugary enough to satisfy your sweet tooth as the reggae roots and danceable qualities play on your animal instincts.

With chirpy beats, disc scratching and rapping mixing this bag up there isn’t much time for rest and Tom Tom Club begin to be almost too much fun and make CBBC presenters look mardy, no one is this chipper. The lyrics get worse too with the school disco ‘Who Feelin’ It’ being one to flick past and it all gets a bit Christian rock in ‘Holy Water’ (“Come on come on, drink some holy water, take the lord with you, take the lord with you.”)

Accompanying the main LP is a bonus CD featuring new ‘Genius Of Love 2001’ remixes by an array of DJs including Money Mark, Mexican Institute Of Sound and The Pinker Tones, if that’s your thing.

On the whole, not essential listening.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Pete Yorn - Pete Yorn


February 7

Because Music

After recording this self titled LP in just five days with Pixies front man Frank Black on the spur of the moment back in 2008, Yorn really is beginning to show himself as something of a work horse.

‘Pete Yorn’ follows up last year’s brace of albums, ‘Back & Fourth’ and ‘Break Up', a collaboration with Scarlett Johansson, and displays all the sensibilities that are so regularly associated with the 36 year old.

As always, the Yorn wears his heart on his sleeve as he trudges through eleven unremarkable, yet very likeable songs that cover torment, angst and love. They’re subjects that Yorn likes to make you familiar with and lead single ‘Precious Stone’ opens up with swooping melodies and lightly crunched guitars to set up an early highlight before ‘Rock Crowd’ (“Rock crowd throw your arms around me, feel glad when y’all surround me, it’s you it’s you who grounds me, when you’re done put me back where you found me,”) shows the dogged nature of Yorn’s music with happy sing along moments that are geared up for summer loving.

The subtle crunch of the guitar builds throughout the album and all of a sudden it’s becoming apparent that Yorn’s relationship with his electric guitar is growing, ‘Pete Yorn’ is more rock than his debut musicforthethemorningafter and his A list collaboration last year and the raw and visceral emotion brings Black’s mix to life.

Yorn’s eponymous new album might take a few listens to earn a place in your heart, and when it does it’ll be somewhere near the back, but it will be there and it’ll make you smile.

Watch out for Pirouettes

The quartet that is Pirouettes aren’t quite what they seem...

Their low key math rock may suggest a moody exterior and a vulnerable heart but as the band relax with a post show drink in Sheffield’s Bowery bar they’re chatty as they smile and joke with each other, relaxed in their surroundings.

Over the last two years they’ve been quietly brewing a storm and since they put the finishing touches to their line up in August 2009, they’ve never looked back.

Currently pushing their recent debut release, ‘The Water Or The Wave’, the band have crept their way into some attention, leading to the EP being released by Manchester’s Hairy Wolf Records.

There is a rich connection between the band’s lyrics and their music, a chemistry that leads to supernatural soundscapes with far out guitars, pounding drums and understated bass accompanying Thomas Bower’s emotional vocals.

With a fusion of meaning and emotion that flows seamlessly into their songs, ‘The Water Or The Wave’ is a collection of four tunes predominately written about John Fowles’ book, ‘The Magus’, as Bower begins to explain:  “It’s basically a concept EP, substance over action, a paradox for the nature of existence. Our sound has developed and the band has come to life since the line up was finalised, there wasn’t really a conscious change about what we wanted to do, we just write what we write.”

The band have strong Sheffield roots and with three of them coming from the Steel City, they speak fondly of their hometown but worry for the city’s musical heritage as drummer Billy Ridge points out: “Sheffield has lost the Boardwalk, Grapes and Stockroom in a matter of months, it’s such a shame. There are very few places for unsigned bands to play now. And there are a lot of unsigned bands, including some really good ones like the Wet Nuns, Skeletons [and the Empty Pockets] and The Salvo.”

Pirouettes are a hard working band, spending up to four nights a week in the practice studio while playing as many gigs as they can, something which can be arduous.  Bassist Matt Cooper also runs the live PR company Uneven Blonde and reckons it’s getting harder for unsigned bands: “It’s difficult to get people into gigs these days and agents would prefer one of their bands to play rather than a local support.”

As far as the future goes Pirouettes want to get the band more widely known as Cooper adds: “We want to focus on getting the EP out there, we also want to write more and hopefully we can play some festivals in the summer. We missed Tramlines last year because I was away so that would be good,” as Bower interjects: “We’ve been playing music for years and we just want to keep on going, it’s the only reason I get out of bed in the morning, we just love playing live music.”

Catch them:

February 18 – The Bowery – Sheffield

March 5 – The Castle – Manchester

March 12 – The Harley – Sheffield

March 28 – SoYo - Sheffield

Songs on the Stereo

Songs that I just can't stop listening to...

1. Don't Look Back - The Persuasions

2. 100 Yard Dash - Raphael Saadiq

3. Genius Of Love - Tom Tom Club

4. Desert Man - Rodeo Massacre

5. I Follow Rivers - Lykke Li