Live – Lynks Afrikka + Speedboat at The Rossi Bar

Lynks Afrikka / Speedboat at The Rossi Bar, Brighton, 26th February 2020

With a growing live reputation and an impressive collection of repurposed ripped denim, Lynks Afrikka played their first Brighton show in The Rossi Bar’s basement, making a huge impression and surely paving the way for many invitations to return.

Setting the evening off with a completely different but no less impressive tone, local duo Speedboat took the support slot, their guitar/synth mix evocative of the 80s’ penchant for overcoat-laden bedsit ballads for the indie pack. It’s easy to see why they’re becoming a mainstay of the Brighton circuit and upcoming shows in Europe will no doubt spread the Speedboat message to a whole new set of fans.

Hurtling straight into an animated version of Don’t take it Personal with some classy dance moves to match, Lynks Afrikka showed how to make an entrance in style. With a now packed room engaged from the start, the set never stopped gaining momentum with high kicks and hair flicks aplenty, taking in crowd favourites On Trend and How to make a Bechamel Sauce in 10 Steps (yes, there were pictures and singalongs of ‘Continue adding milk…’). Like a warped electro-trash mash up of The Mighty Boosh and The League of Gentleman, Lynks Afrikka brings maximum impact and total immersion, a glitter frenzied party from start to finish. Let’s hope for more live dates soon.

Catch up with both acts via the links here:
Lynks Afrikka    Speedboat

Words and photos by Siobhan

28th February 2020

 

New Music – Fast Trains + Autre Monde + MiG 15 + Activity

New releases: Fast Trains, Autre Monde, MiG 15, Activity

Fast Trains – Sea Change (single)

‘Following a typically cryptic teaser video, Fast Trains, the solo project from songwriter and producer Tom Wells, are back with new song Sea Change.’ Tom has recently been playing to packed venues in his local city of Portsmouth, making the transition from studio to venue with the support of a live band. This release returns to a more simple, ambient approach with soft vocals against the bassline, creating a sense of calm in what is becoming a trademark Fast Trains sound. Fans of Fleet Foxes may want to take a listen. As with previous releases, Sea Change is live exclusively on YouTube, landing today – watch below.

Fast Trains will be appearing at Psyched Fest, Portsmouth on 2nd May.

Fast Trains

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Autre Monde – The Imaginary Museum (album)

Drawing inspiration from electro-pop past, Dublin’s Autre Monde bring thoughts of Studio 54 into the present day with their own take on the dark beats of dance. Back in 2018, they ‘set themselves the task of creating a record to sound like it was made by a band who were playing esoteric post-punk in 1979 but who are now transplanted to 1986 where a hit is demanded’. The pay off to this quest can be heard on their excellent debut album The Imaginary Museum (produced by Daniel Fox, Girl Band) which is released today via Strange Brew Records. For a taster, listen to Brain upon your Pillow here.

Autre Monde headline The Workman’s Club, Dublin on 11th April.

Autre Monde

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MiG15 – Interstellar (single)

Following the same career path as one of your parents is a tricky thing to pull off and, given the electronic undertone to their music, comparisons are perhaps inevitable as James McCluskey, son of Andy from Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, marks out his own musical journey. However, despite nods to the 80s, James along with band mates Adam Bray, James Morris and Martin Gordon makes up MiG 15 and collectively they have produced their own very contemporary sound. Based on this track, the band look set for bigger things on their own merit and with their own message. The Liverpool quartet say, ‘MiG 15 is a deliberately provocative symbol of the Cold War – the Cold War never went away; it’s just gone digital. Lying politicians are still manipulating the masses, and now they have even more tools and types of media at their disposal with which to do it. Music should be the weapon of the people, but in a post-truth world, even that is struggling to break through.’

MiG 15 are playing live over the next week with Love Fame Tragedy. You can catch them at:
29th February – Manchester, Club Academy
2nd March – Birmingham, O2 Institute 3
4th March – Bristol, Thekla

Interstellar is out now – watch the video below

MiG 15

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Activity – Earth Angel (single)

Earth Angel is the latest track from New York based Activity (feat. members of Grooms, Field Mouse and Russian Baths). Lulling the listener into the realms of a state of musical hypnosis worthy of a film soundtrack, the song takes a heavier turn, reaching its pinnacle with screams of paranoia. ‘It’s a song about the freedom of a lifelong love’, vocalist Travis Johnson explains. ‘I think we were going for a very Talk Talk Laughing Stock vibe in general. The vocals at the end physically hurt to perform… I could taste blood.’ Earth Angel is out now on Western Vinyl, taken from the album Unmask Whoever due for release on 27th March – listen below.

Activity

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Words by Siobhan
Photos via Fast Trains, Prescription PR, Wall of Sound PR and One Beat PR (Activity shot © Ebru Yildiz)

28th February 2020

 

 

 

Labelled with Love – The Popty-Ping Recording Company

Ever wondered how to set up a record label? When Andy Black had that thought he may not have taken the most conventional route but it’s working out well so far for DIY outfit The Popty-Ping Recording Company. Andy runs the label with two friends, Matt Jarrett and Dan Orton and together they release limited edition 7” singles, each as a one off project by a different artist. With flourishing music scenes developing around them in Wales and the North West, there’s a wealth of talent to choose from – artists featured so far are made up of the wonderfully eclectic mix of Shy and the Fight, Mowbird, Trecco Beis, Gintis, CHROMA and Red Telephone. We wanted to know how it all began, what’s driving the surge in great Welsh music and where it goes from here…

Tell us about Popty-Ping – how did it all start and who’s involved?

Andy: As with the best of such plans, it began as a drunken pub idea. A mutual friend had introduced me to Shy and the Fight (our first signings); after hearing a demo and seeing a gig I was amazed no-one had shown any interest in them so, after several beers, it seemed a brilliant idea to start a record label to put them out. We drunkenly wondered what the daftest name in Welsh could be, and the Popty-Ping Recording Company was born. Knowing nothing about records or graphic design, I persuaded Dan to design me a logo and sleeve. Radio 1 played the first record in the week it broke, so it seemed so much fun we’d do it all over again with a second band and they did a Marc Riley session for 6 Music. I couldn’t afford to pay Dan for graphics so persuaded him to join in with me and make it a partnership (his knowledge of Welsh music is pretty encyclopedic). Then I hit on an idea of setting a target of nine releases, and putting them all onto a compilation LP called Nine Modern Poets (my grandad released an successful poetry book of the same name – so a modern reflection on the same topic). By the time of the fifth record, we spoke to Matt so much about things it seemed wise to bring him in also. And so now there are three of us. The plan is to release nine of the current 7″ singles and then see what happens next I guess.

Have you got a wish list of artists you want to work with or does it just happen organically when it comes to looking at your next release?

Andy: Hmm kind of… there have been bands we’ve wanted for years and not got, some we’ve worked to develop a great release and others we literally heard a demo, reckoned it brilliant and begged them to let us release it.

Matt: I’ve usually got my eye on two or three but it’s usually down to timing I guess.

How did it feel back in 2012 when you put out your first single and what was the reaction like?

Andy: Both the scariest and proudest thing I’d ever done. I remember the records being delivered and just looking at boxes of orange vinyl and suddenly worrying, ‘What if I’m the only person who thinks this is any good?’… But then it got played on Radio 1 within a week, people all over the world we didn’t know bought it and Dan even heard it when he went to the Olympics that summer. The reaction to the Shy single was just lovely, I somehow thought it would take three releases to get it on Radio 1 and we did it in a week. I’m still really proud of it and think it’s a bloody great release, it’s probably my girlfriend’s favourite of our releases.

There seems to be loads of new talent coming out of Wales at the moment, what do you think is driving this and who should we look out for?

Matt: People. There’s amazing artists but also an outlet for them. I can only speak for South Wales but schemes like Forte Project and Horizons help highlight acts and are run by knowledgeable and passionate people. Liz and Sam at The Moon in Cardiff and Le Pub in Newport are willing to give new bands a stage and are hugely supportive in addition to the team behind Clwb Ifor Bach and Swn. There’s also a strong DIY ethic with bands and promoters that means that nobody sits around twiddling their thumbs. Things happen. You then have labels like Libertino and Bubblewrap consistently releasing amazing music. The common thread is wonderful human beings with a love of music, doing things for the right reasons.

Andy: Yeah, I think a really great developing network for artists and music seems to exist in Wales. From Horizons and Forte to Focus Wales, Adam Walton and Rhys Mwyn. And we’ve had a lot of help from our peers. People like Nicky Wire from the Manics buying our records has exposed us to a much larger audience. I don’t think my 19 year-old self would have ever imagined that could happen, it is amazing when we’re still so tiny and DIY. Finally every band we’ve put out have almost become family, which we’re also really very proud of. I don’t think I could have asked for nicer people in our bands which is a notable guide to anyone wanting us to release them.

Releasing on vinyl has had a big resurgence in popularity, is it getting easier to press and distribute?

Matt: Press, yes. Distribute? With 7″s, I’m not sure. The whole industry is changing and you just need to do anything you can to get people to notice you. Anyone want a tote bag?

Andy: Matt knows much more about vinyl popularity than me (he sells it every day, running Diverse Vinyl in Newport), the tote bags are bloody lovely too and highly recommended – and available on our Bandcamp. Thanks to the Welsh Assembly and Pyst, the process for 7″ distribution is much easier than ever before.

Your latest release introduced us to the wonderful Red Telephone – it must be satisfying to help promote artists you like?

Matt: Absolutely, it’s why we do it. We don’t make money from this. Anything in the bank goes straight into the next release. For me, watching five bands we’ve worked or are working with at our Christmas party makes it worthwhile. Five, fairly different sounding, brilliant acts and fantastic people that we’ve done our bit to push forward and to introduce to a wider audience.

Andy: Ah man, the Red Telephone record is probably the first release we all agreed from the instant we heard it. That Christmas party was so much fun, seeing a room of people you don’t know who’ve paid to come and watch a night of your record label was a really special thing. That’s why we do it I guess. Watching CHROMA continue to develop and grow after our release is also pretty amazing, the only thing I can compare it to must be your old school teacher seeing you’ve done good.

And what’s next for Popty-Ping?

Matt: The next big thing…

Andy: We’ve got three more singles in the Nine Modern Poets plan to release. There’s some more T-shirts coming (we’ve some collaborations in the pipeline on that front), and if Gintis ever finish their LP (they’re recording it with Bill Ryder-Jones) we’d be keen to try and get it a bigger audience.

You can check out all the singles and merch so far on Popty-Ping’s Bandcamp (those tote bags really are good) and give them a follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to catch the latest news and releases as they land.

Interview by Siobhan

26th February 2020

Interview – Odd Morris

Making waves on the Irish music scene and hitting the BBC 6 Music playlist, Odd Morris bring equal measures of intensity and vulnerability to the table. Their latest single Cold Water made Steve Lamacq’s track of the week and anticipation is growing for what the band do next. Get to know them here and check out their music if you haven’t already had the pleasure…

Give us an introduction to Odd Morris, who’s involved and how did you all come together as a band?

(Kris:) Just the four of us, Daragh, Kris, Mac & Sam. We all went to the same school and hung around in similar circles then came together to form the band a couple of years ago. It all happened quite naturally to be honest, just searching to play more music was all.

Your latest single Cold Water was released recently – what’s the reaction to it been like?

(Kris:) The reaction to it has been positive. It feels great to release music that people can connect with. Once you start to get more material out there it becomes easier for people to engage with your music and develop a better understanding of what the band is all about – more of a rounded picture of our progression and where we’re heading.

There’s been a resurgence of interest in new music coming out of Dublin lately – is it a supportive scene and who would you recommend we listen to?

(Kris:) The music community in Ireland as a whole is buzzing at the moment. Artists like Junior Brother from Kerry and His Father’s Voice from Limerick are two acts we’d definitely recommend checking out. Alex Gough is playing a blinder as well, it’s refreshing.

Dublin’s known as a cultural hive of activity and creativity – where are your favourite places to go in the city?

(Daragh:) Well it was Garage Bar, but it was recently closed down. That place was home to many of us. Trev, Fontaines D.C. manager, was responsible for its success. It was a tiny bar in Dublin’s city centre where we could just drink pints to great tunes, dance, and have the best laugh really. We made a lot of friends there, it was a keystone in social life for a lot of people with similar interests. Now that it’s gone, along with many other great spots, it feels like the end of an era.

If you could only listen to one album for the next month what would you choose?

Kris – Kind of Blue by Miles Davis
Daragh – Hung at Heart by The Growlers
Mac – Selected Ambient Works Vol I by Aphex Twin
Sam – To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar

What’s been the highlight for Odd Morris so far?

(Kris:) I’m sure we’ve all got our own individual highlights but, collectively, I’d say playing our first gig outside of Ireland (London’s The Old Blue Last, November 2019) was special.

What’s coming up for you in 2020 and where can we see you live?

(Kris:) More shows. We’re focused mainly on writing at the moment and plan to release another single before the Summer. We’ll be touring in May across the UK so do keep an eye out across our socials.

You can catch Odd Morris at The Windmill, Brixton on 5th March and Gulliver’s, Manchester on 19th May. Look out for announcements of further live dates and new music here – in the meantime watch the video for Cold Water below.

Interview by Siobhan
Photos © Jack Martin via Chalk Press Agency

24th February 2020

 

In Focus with Shonagh Kelly

Photographer Shonagh Kelly takes inspiration from a variety of artistic genres to create her own intriguing images. Here, she takes us through some of her favourite shots…

‘My name is Shonagh Kelly and I am originally from Northern Ireland. I am currently a fourth year student at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee. I came to Dundee to study their Foundation Degree in Art and Design (a one year course) and continued to study Fine Art BA (Hons) at the college. I will be graduating in June of this year which is both extremely exciting and scary at the same time!

I work mainly via film photography; the reason for this instead of digital is because of the craft that darkroom development entails. Learning all the techniques from the simple development of black and white film, to the printing upon photographic paper in my university’s darkrooms has been incredibly eye-opening. Jane Geekie, our darkroom technician, has been a total life saver as she is a bundle of knowledge when it comes to analogue photography.

I first came upon our darkroom facilities in my second year at university and I have been a daily attendee ever since. My work at the beginning of my practice was initially inspired by my homeland, Ireland. I think the reasoning behind this was because I was feeling homesick and visiting home and capturing the beautiful landscapes definitely helped me feel at ease. However, I now focus more so on taking portraits, along with my fourth year project, Please be Seated.

Please be Seated is an exploration upon visiting certain ‘institutions’ that evolve around a particular community. I have been heavily inspired by the Deadpan genre, that of which was brought to the artworld by the likes of Bernd and Hilla Becher. Discussing the theme within my dissertation, ‘Can deadpan photographs be emotional?’ has allowed me a deeper understanding of the philosophical and economical reasons as to why we actually photograph. Books such as On Photography by Susan Sontag and the more academic work by Liz Wells, Photography, A Critical Introduction are books that I would strongly advise anyone interested in the field to read.

Deadpan denotes any images that are seen as mundane or emotionless, and as a stark contrast from my earlier, sentimental subjects of home, this new avenue has been completely refreshing. In these works, I have consciously decided to photograph the elements within certain buildings that withhold a sense of ambiguity as to where they have been taken. I wanted to photograph the components that are mundane and boring: objects of the every day. I wish to leave it to the audience to decipher what kind of establishment these photographs were taken in, working with how much I consciously choose to expose has definitely been an underlying ingredient to my work.

This work will be included in my degree show that will be on view from the 22nd of May 2020.

Although Please be Seated has been my main project since the beginning of my final year, I have made an effort to photograph my friends and family in order to improve my skills. Here I have shown some other works of mine that are also available to view on my website.’

All photos are taken and copyrighted by Shonagh – if you would like to see more of her work or make contact you can find her on Instagram.

20th February 2020

Artist Feature – Arthur Russell (1951 – 1992)

Arthur Russell was born by the sleepy cornfields of Oskaloosa, Iowa in 1951, where he studied both the cello and piano. He moved to New York age 22 (via a few years spent at a San Francisco Buddhist commune) and enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music, at which time he began collaborating with his peers on an array of underground disco records. He released his only solo record World of Echo in 1986 to critical acclaim but commercial failure and died in musical obscurity aged just 40. His restless quest for musical perfection resulted in him leaving over a thousand tape recordings in various stages of completion. He also might be the most fascinating musician you’ve never heard.

Though he is certainly getting his dues now, Arthur Russell is still a figure who lurks largely in the underground, and it’s often easier to fall into his world (or worlds) through the advocacy of his name from more commercially established artists.

Dev Hynes, Sufjan Stevens and Hot Chip are all fans who contributed to an AIDS awareness album comprised of covers of Russell’s work, Frank Ocean featured him in his Apple Music BLONDED radio broadcasts, and perhaps his widest exposure to date comes due to Kanye West, who sampled him on the track 30 Hours from his 2016 record The Life of Pablo.

It was a sample of This is How We Walk on the Moon that first perked my ears up, and after tracing it back to Russell I was instantly enamoured by the full track, its peculiar use of tribal drums, rhythmic cello, and Arthur’s low, ethereal voice sounded like nothing I had ever heard.

This is How We Walk On The Moon isn’t explicitly avant-garde, you can hum the tune and sing along to the words, and much of what Russell did make was pop – his early disco work was made with the same intentions as mainstream disco; to dance to. But whilst Arthur would disdain at the snobbery towards pop and disco music, his disregard of genre and outsider inclination would both set him free artistically and deny him any real mainstream success. Rarely aggressive or arresting, his records don’t provoke or attack, rather they wash over like waves, more concerned with texture and atmosphere than narrative, as though they’ve been scoured from the bottom of the ocean. His fondness to sing in polysyllabic noises, hums and moans and mumbles, was never really going to put him on Top of the Pops, though his mix of cryptic imagery and sudden, blunt and honest emotion often results in moments where his words break through the echoing soundscapes and hit you like a ton of bricks.

“It takes my whole time / I’m on another thought now / My eyes searching the real face / Of an angel”

Perhaps equally as limiting to his success as his eclecticism and idiosyncratic musical style was his quest for perfection. Russell would tirelessly toy with and revise his work, resulting in there being numerous variations of his songs, contained usually in cassette tapes left scattered around his apartment in New York’s East Village, where he would remain until his death. It is there he would create early underground disco records under pseudonyms such as Loose Joints and Dinosaur L, curate proto-punk minimalist performances at hipster venue The Kitchen, and craft his otherworldly solo album World of Echo, his perfectionist qualities leading this to be the only one he would live to see released.

Though praised by some critics, the record was largely a commercial failure and struggled to find a wider audience, not wholly inconceivable considering the music; made up of unusual textures and tones, it’s a collection of kaleidoscopic tonal shifts built on skeletal, fractured melodies, pining vocals and void-like echo. In recent times it has been looked at much more affectionately, the 2000s saw it reissued by Audika and Rough Trade records and in 2013 FACT magazine named it their number one album of the 1980s.

Arthur died aged only 40, from an AIDS related illness in 1992, leaving the final chapter of his life a desperately sad one, developing throat cancer that hindered his singing ability, as well as cancerous lesions in his eye and dementia. His devoted long term partner Tom Lee remembers him leaving the house without his headphones, something previously thought impossible, as told in the excellent BBC Radio Four documentary Arthur Russell: Vanished into Music, which takes its name from a poignant quote from Kyle Gann writing for The Village Voice:
“His (Arthur’s) recent performances had been so infrequent due to illness, his songs were so personal, that it seems as though he simply vanished into his music.”

Choosing where to begin with Arthur Russell is no easy task, the man’s music spans and often defies genre, so I have chosen eight tracks to try as an entry point into the work of the one of the most interesting yet under-appreciated composers of the 20th century.

1: Dinosaur – Kiss Me Again – 1978
An underground disco hit, thirteen minutes of dancefloor ecstasy featuring Myriam Valle on vocals and David Byrne of Talking Heads on guitar. It’s worth the run time for the array of colourful musical ideas that flow throughout, and the drum break from the nine minute mark sees Byrne’s shuddering guitar push towards a manic ending, making it a must listen for anyone with an interest in classic dance music. The somewhat sparser B-side version is worth checking out also – Kiss Me Again? More like Play it again! Sorry.

2: Loose Joints – Tell You Today – 1983
Loose Joints, an ensemble group of musicians and non-musicians formed by Russell, released three superb singles in the early 80s; the dark and minimal Pop Your Funk, the dancefloor strut of Is It All Over My Face? and the cheerful Tell You Today, which is made up of giddy piano runs, chirpy whistles and rousing Latin percussion.

3: Arthur Russell – Being It – 1986
Being It could be mistaken as something from The Jesus and Mary Chain in its shoegaze-like blur. Taken from his radical solo debut World of Echo, it’s a beautifully hazy combination of distorted cello, scratching and quivering like an overdriven guitar, and Russell’s infinite mumble echoing out into the ether.

4: Arthur Russell – A Little Lost – 1994
One of Russell’s sweetest and most easily accessible solo compositions, which sees him encapsulate heart fluttering infatuation in three and half minutes through his warm voice, cello and lovesick lyrics “’Cause I’m so busy, so busy / Thinking about kissing you / Now I want to do that / Without entertaining another thought”. As heard in Aziz Ansari’s hip Netflix show Master of None.

5: Arthur Russell – This is How We Walk on The Moon – 1994
Russell’s finest pop moment: a bouncy, playful song and nothing short of confirmation that Phillip Glass was right when he spoke of Arthur as a potential pop star. A few variations of this track exist, though the one taken from 1994’s Another Thought is essential listening and the album needs to hit streaming services asap.

6: Arthur Russell – That’s Us / Wild Combination – 2004
Russell’s fragile voice over some soft, plodding synths begin what might be his finest tune, namechecked by Foals frontman Yannis Phillipakis as one of his favourite songs of all time. It soon bounces into a beautiful dance ballad, with cryptic lyrics evoking a pure, dreamlike love “It’s a wild combination / It’s a wild, it’s a loving you baby / It’s a talk in the dark, it’s a walk in the morning”.

7: Arthur Russell – Love is Overtaking Me – 2008
And now for something completely different. His music often sounds as though it was created in a vacuum at the bottom of the ocean or in the vastness of space, but here Russell sounds completely rooted in Americana. Taking the role of singer-songwriter sees an acoustic guitar in place of his usual cello, and his youthful Iowa cornfields in place of the hedonistic dance clubs and trendy art spaces of New York City.

8: Arthur Russell – Barefoot in New York – 2019
Even the most recent Russell releases are continuing to expose how genre-dismissive he was. On Barefoot in New York from 2019’s Iowa Dream, he rambles in a stream of consciousness style over an array of jazz horns and hip-hop drums; relentless and busy, it’s New York in a nutshell, evocative of his time in the East Village and his delivery sounds in homage to his close relationship with beat poet Allen Ginsberg.

A selection of Arthur Russell’s music is available to listen to and purchase here.

Words by Ryan Bell
Photos – Arthur Russell record sleeves

19th February 2020

Live – Rosie Alena + Number 9 + Temples of Youth + Beau Curtis at The Wave Maiden

Rosie Alena / Number 9 / Temples of Youth / Beau Curtis, The Wave Maiden Southsea, 8th February 2020

Selling out her first headline show outside London, Rosie Alena and her band filled Southsea’s The Wave Maiden on Saturday night, a welcome exchange from the approaching storm outside. With three support acts, there was an eclectic mix of music on display, all well attended and received.

First up an unconventional string duo offering from Beau Curtis, setting up the atmosphere nicely with a laid back package of songs that a Leonard Cohen fan might be keen to hear.

Next, Temples of Youth took to the stage with a new fuller sound that compliments their accomplished dream-pop tunes. You can get a flavour of how their music has developed from their Live Lounge session with BBC Introducing Solent here. 

Despite the gremlins attacking with some technical difficulties, local psych-pop/rock outfit Number 9 played a great set bringing, as always, an updated stylised nod to the 60s. Full marks for maintaining the blazer/polo neck combo in a venue that gets increasingly hotter throughout the evening too.

London based singer-songwriter Rosie Alena has been creating quite a storm since the recent release of her debut single Mixed Messages. Its hypnotic vocals and smooth backing track wouldn’t be out of place in a Twin Peaks remake and it’s clear that Rosie can easily reproduce the sound live. Along with her band she gave a performance that pretty much stopped everyone in their tracks – keep an eye out for what she does next as this could be the start of something big.

You can find more from each of the artists via the links here:

Rosie Alena    Number 9    Temples of Youth    Beau Curtis

Words and photos by Siobhan

10th February 2020

Live – Fast Trains + VCR + Marley Blandford at The Loft

Fast Trains / VCR / Marley Blandford, The Loft Southsea, 1st February 2020

Fresh from a successful debut slot at Icebreaker Festival, Fast Trains’ first headline show took place at the weekend to a capacity crowd at The Loft.

Opening support came from singer-songwriter Marley Blandford, offering up a stack of beautifully toned original songs plus a one man and his guitar version of Bohemian Rhapsody to close. Anyone who can induce a singalong to this track without veering into Wayne’s World territory is clearly doing something right; check out his tunes and if you can’t quite remember the name, it’s ‘Marley as in Bob Marley, Blandford as in boring car’.

Second support of the night came from indie-rock quartet VCR. In the past year the band have won the 2019 Youth Music Best Original Track Award for their song Circles and been busy on the local live scene. They picked the pace up nicely, playing an energy filled set, even managing to switch up their usual roles to allow some rapping from the drummer. More live dates and new music are on the cards for 2020.

And so to Fast Trains, the brainchild of Tom Wells playing here with a full band to add an extra dimension to the songs in a live setting. As the warm melodies of Measure by Measure fill the room, it feels like we’re watching a much longer established act, the work that has gone into producing the tracks is obvious and there’s a happy mix of tempo and momentum across the set. It must feel good to play your first gigs to rooms packed full of support – in return the Fast Trains experience lets you temporarily forget that it’s raining outside and just enjoy the summery 60s’ feel of the music and atmosphere. If you don’t get a chance sooner, you can catch Fast Trains performing at Psyched Fest on 2nd May. In the meantime, take a look at the brilliantly matched music and animation created for the project so far.

Keep up with the latest news from all three acts via the links here
Fast Trains  /  VCR  /  Marley Blandford

Words and photos by Siobhan

4th February 2020

Interview – Deserta

Deserta is the new project from LA based Matthew Doty, a former mainstay of post-rock band Saxon Shore. Following the recent release of his debut shoegaze-tinged album Black Aura My Sun, we spoke to Matthew about going solo and his process for writing and recording…

Having been part of bands and collaborations, is it daunting to release a solo album?

The only unfamiliar territory that came with this album is having to sing. That’s something I’m still getting used to. In past bands I’ve always kind of fallen into the role of coordinating the behind the scenes work of being in a band such as booking tours, hiring publicists, arranging studio time, etc. All of that was a pretty natural transition.

You’ve said that you were inspired to write new material when you discovered you were going to be a father – what’s been the impact on your approach to making music?

My approach to making music has pretty much been the same. I think the fatherhood piece was more of an inspiration in the sense that there was a surge in confidence and decisiveness that came along with being a father. I trust my gut a lot more.

Black Aura My Sun feels like a very personal and powerful project, how long did it take to put together and, apart from fatherhood, what’s been the inspiration?

From the time I started putting Hide together until it was mastered that album was probably 2 years in the works. Musical inspiration isn’t something I’m able to pinpoint. The songs just kind of happen with a lot of patience, time, writing, rewriting, adding layers, simplifying… I mix my rough ideas down and listen to them inside the studio. I’ll then listen outside the studio while walking around my neighbourhood or something. It’s in that setting that I’ll often hear parts that aren’t in the song yet and make voice memos of whatever it is that I’m hearing.

What are your thoughts on streaming versus physical purchase of music?

Streaming has brought our music to a wider audience than would have been reached if we were just selling limited edition cassettes or something. I think/hope the people who buy records are always going to buy records.

You’re making an acceptance speech at an awards ceremony – who do you thank (for the album and your career so far)?

My wife – she keeps our house/life afloat and makes sure our kiddo is in the best hands so I can spend time in the studio making records, rehearsing or touring. Without that kind of support I wouldn’t be able to do any of it.

And what’s in store for you in 2020?

A good amount of touring and trying to finish LP2 for 2021.

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Black Aura My Sun is out now on Felte Records; you can listen to Save Me below and buy the album here


Interview by Siobhan

Photos and artwork via One Beat PR, promo shot © Jacob Boll

3rd February 2020

Live – Indoor Pets + Gloo + Speakerfreak at The Factory Live (IVW20)

Indoor Pets / Gloo / Speakerfreak, The Factory Live Worthing, 31st January 2020

With so many independent venues closing down it’s great to see things going against the trend in Worthing with a new purpose built live music and club venue in the shape of The Factory Live. Fittingly, on Friday it played host to a trio of bands playing as part of Independent Venue Week – an initiative that continues to promote and support music venues, culminating in a week long celebration of gigs across the country.

First up for this one, locals Speakerfreak pulled in a good early crowd with some clear grunge and indie influences in their material. Busy gigging and with new music in the offing, next up they play a support slot for Dirty Hit protégés King Nun in Brighton on 10th February.

From just along the coast in Littlehampton, grunge-punk trio Gloo are well established on the local live circuit and showed exactly why that’s the case with a tight set of songs old and new, an undercurrent of a sped up version of The Hives shining through the vocal and guitar riffs. Already booked for 2000 Trees in the summer, keep an eye out for more live dates coming through.

Having taken a short break, headliners Indoor Pets are back with a vengeance. Often compared to the likes of Weezer and Hooton Tennis Club, the band seem to have cranked things up a notch and kept energy levels on and off stage high throughout. A confident performance and a batch of certified singalong indie-pop tracks received a warm welcome from the crowd as the band noted that they’d never played in Worthing before. Hopefully, a lot more artists who fall into the same boat will consider stopping off here now that there’s a decent sized venue for them to play at.

Keep up with the latest news from all 3 bands via the links here:
Indoor Pets  /  Gloo   /  Speakerfreak

Words and photos by Siobhan

3rd February 2020