Interview – Dog of Man

Brighton’s Dog of Man have something special going on with their upcoming album and you can all get involved by doing much more than just streaming the tracks… find out more about the interactive release and the band behind it here…

You’ve been described as ‘great gritty DIY’ (Citizen Fish), ‘accordion driven acid punk’ (Viva Magazine) and ‘dream headliners for an end of the world party‘ (Brighton Source) – how would you describe your music and each other?

I would describe our music as a mishmash of punk rock and psychedelia with gypsy influences. Comes with the territory of an accordion. We come from a variety of musical backgrounds and influences, bluegrass, klezmer, breakcore and punk rock so the result is the freak out music that we make. We wanted to steer rock music away from the slow melodic towards the exciting and hectic.

Brighton’s a continuous hub of activity and creativity – where are your favourite places to go around the city?

Love to go to the Bee’s Mouth for a pint and chat with Superhans, or pop over to The Albert for a good show. During the day, Marwood cafe doth provide. Inevitably we all end up at the nudist beach anyway.

You’re part way through the process of putting out an interactive album Dogmatic Manual – how does that work and where did the concept come from?

The concept came from the fighting fantasy novels like The Warlock of Firetop Mountain in which you choose where to go for the next part of the story (turn to page x to go left). This concept was recently revitalised by Charlie Brooker’s Bandersnatch. The album works like this: each week a song comes out with a video on Facebook. Embedded within the video is a poll with two options. Whatever the majority of people choose decides what the next song (and video) will be and the definitive track listing of the album which will be available at our launch party and online after the 7 weeks are up.

What’s the reaction been like to the tracks you’ve shared so far and are things going the way you expected?

Great! More and more people are getting involved with the polls and the views are getting more traction every week. We have been getting well over a thousand views on the release days and we expect that number to keep rising with each weekly submission.

The videos accompanying the songs have a great old home movie feel to them but have clearly been shot with a lot more skills than the average old home movie maker – who’s behind the camera and the ideas?

There’s a variety of talent behind the lens. Opiate – the first release was shot by James Van Vliet. This shoot involved a crew of 4 people, with incredible costume and design by Laura Byrom and her enthusiastic team. It was a high concept piece of work which involved a lot of planning and preparation and we were very pleased with the end result.

We have also utilised the gonzo skills of Babak Roshan, who is a veteran photographer and world traveller with years of experience behind a camera capturing ad hoc footage in any kind of environment. All videos aside from Opiate are edited by the accordion player Mike and the concepts for the videos are created by the band collectively to suit the theme of the song with essentially zero budget.

And what can we expect from your upcoming live dates and album launch?

Expect a raucous show! You’ve probably never seen an electric accordion psych punk band and the performances are always packed with frenetic energy. We are an excitable bunch, which is why it’s an honour to play alongside Town of Cats and Buffos Wake who know how to get the party moving!

Pending live dates:

19th July – London, The Finsbury
8th August – London, Dublin Castle
16th August – Brighton, The Hope & Ruin (album launch)

Check out the tracks released so far and have your say in future weeks on the Dog of Man Facebook page – you can also find them on Instagram and Twitter

12th July 2019

Interview – Grapefruit

Hailing from Kent and bringing atmospheric indie tunes to the table, five piece Grapefruit release their enchanting new single into the world today. Get to know the band and take a listen to Soak below…

Give us a quick introduction to Grapefruit…

Grapefruit are a five piece female fronted band from all over Kent – we’re a bit of a clumsy mish-mash of old friends and strangers meeting online. Grace (guitar) and Angela (vocals) started Grapefruit a little while after finishing school and then met James (drums) through a desperate online search. Ollie (bass) was James’ best mate who came along to our first ever gig and joined us straight after that. We played like that for a year or so before Lew (guitar), a childhood friend of Ollie’s, came to see us audition for Pride in a drag bar and he’s been with us ever since.

It’s hard to describe what we aim for except to see what happens when we all come together with our vastly different music tastes to create music that isn’t what we are all used to hearing. Debating the value of country music can be helpful for creative flow it turns out.

Tell us about your new single Soak

Soak is the perfecting of the very first thing we started playing when Lew came along to his first practice with us. He instantly clicked with us and we love the music we are making with him now.

The song is about the feeling of dissociating, we live in a world that is so overwhelmingly chaotic and cluttered that you can lose yourself as life rushes past. The song is loud, intense and relentless, which is like the experiencing of dissociating sometimes.

There’s a fair amount of festival activity around Kent (By the Sea and Folkestone Psych Fest spring to mind), has it been a supportive environment for you growing as a band?

Maidstone’s been a bit of a hub for us; it’s Ange and Grace’s hometown and we’ve played Maidstone Fringe Fest a couple of times. Just this year we’ve been picking up a bit locally; we played the Fringe Festival and Hope Festival this year and we’ll also be playing the Faversham Beer and Music Festival in July. It’s exciting to get this support.

What’s been your favourite live show or venue that you’ve played to date?

Get in Her Ears are an incredible collective who promote women and femme people in music; we played for them at Notting Hill Arts Club and really enjoyed it. It was already a nostalgic place for us because it was one of our first ever gig venues back when the band had just started with three members, so it was really cool to come back with more members and more music and more experience, plus to play alongside other really talented female fronted bands. We also found out that night that our new single (Black and Blue) had gotten played by BBC Introducing!! We spent a lot of the night enjoying the really good vibes and dancing.

There seems to be a flurry of articles questioning whether streaming is killing or saving the music industry – what’s been your experience?

It’s a hard question. On the one hand, you could say streaming is killing the industry – 1,000 plays equates to no money for the artist whereas 1,000 single sales would’ve been £990 before. It’s somewhat harder to get somewhere and make a living making music. On the other hand, it is allowing small bands/artists to take control of their own music. Maybe it’s changed the music industry as opposed to killed it and it’s all about adapting to the times.

And what are you planning and hoping for during the rest of 2019?

We are writing and recording and releasing all year. It’s been really good to focus on new music and we’re trying to pick up the pace and spread the Grapefruit vibe.

You can listen to Soak now and keep up with the latest news from Grapefruit here

Header Photo © Jon Mo, B/W photo © fillm

28th June 2019

 

New Music – Frankie Cosmos, Fast Trains (Ban Summers Remix), SadGirl

New releases – Frankie Cosmos, Fast Trains (Ban Summers Remix), SadGirl

A single, a remix and an album – if you’re looking for some fresh new music we have all bases covered. Take 10 minutes of your time to sit back and enjoy the enchanting sounds and visuals of this latest selection of new music…

Frankie Cosmos – Windows

Ahead of new album Close it Quietly due out on 6th September, Frankie Cosmos release lead track Windows, a charming showcase for the melodic vocals of Greta Kline and scene-setter for the album and tour dates later in the year. Greta explains ‘This song takes place during the waiting period of healing, not knowing how to proceed or how to find the path to forgiveness. The inner versus the outer – learning to see yourself as part of the whole.’ Reflective, winsome pop to lighten your day, take a look at the video for Windows here…

Frankie Cosmos on Facebook

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Fast Trains – Measure by Measure (Ban Summers Remix)

Many a kind word has been rightly spoken about Fast Trains, the new project from songwriter and producer Tom Wells. Taking a new twist on the soft psychedelia looped guitars and vocals of recent release Measure by Measure, Edward Perry, aka Ban Summers, has remixed the track, adding different layers and a hint of industrialisation. Whether we have a new Portsmouth supergroup in the making or this is a one off collaboration, it makes for a refreshing listen and is a solid introduction to both artists if you’re not familiar with them already…

Fast Trains on Facebook    Ban Summers on Facebook

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SadGirl – Water

The LA trio’s new album Water is out now, made up of a series of recording sessions from the last two years using a variety of tape machines in different environments including home and studio recordings. Released back in April, Chlorine offers an insight into the story-telling encompassed in the new tracks, with more than a leaning towards early Marc Bolan vocals and a video portraying the fine line between innocence and toxicity. Hazy, soulful tunes aplenty, get a taster by checking out the video for Chlorine here…

SadGirl on Facebook

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Words by Siobhan
Frankie Cosmos header photo © Jackie Lee Young

24th June 2019

 

Interview – Outer Spaces

From the heart of Baltimore, a city with music running through its veins, Cara Beth Satalino brings a new album from her indie-pop project Outer Spaces, drawing vocal comparisons with the likes of Stevie Nicks and Soccer Mommy. A collection of tracks full of clear melodies and reflective lyrics, the result is a cathartic and emollient body of work. We spoke to Cara Beth to find out more about the inspiration for her songs and the eclectic set of artists she listened to in the process of writing and recording.

Your new album Gazing Globe is out on 28th June – how long has it been in the making and who’s been involved?

It’s been quite a long process actually. I started writing some of these songs about three years ago. In 2017 I took a little break from playing shows to finish writing and I demo-ed everything myself at home before going into the studio, so I had a very good idea where I wanted things to go. I recorded the record at Tempo House in Baltimore, working with Chester Gwazda and Jared Paolini in March of 2018. My good friend and former band-mate Rob Dowler played drums on all of the tracks and Chester played the bass and keys.

In the process of making the album, you said that you were reflecting on a period where you were ‘obsessed with finding music from the past that has a cult following now, but never really ‘caught on’ at the time it was released, either because it was ahead of its time or simply because no-one had really heard it’. Which artists did you have in mind that you’d recommend?

One of my favourite albums is East and West by Anna Domino. It’s incredible, and so innovative. I listen to it weekly. Linda Perhacs’ record Parallelograms is another favourite. Lizzy Mercier Descloux and Vivien Goldman. It seemed to me that there were so many women making amazing music and going largely unnoticed. I also fell in love with the music of Francis Bebey, Ernie Graham and The Cleaners from Venus.

Tell us some more about Gazing Globe and what we can expect.

When I wrote a lot of the songs on Gazing Globe I was doing some exploration of my inner self, starting a daily meditation practice. A few of the songs reference another person, who is most likely myself. The title track came to me more like a vision. I liked the image of a gazing globe on a moonlit night. In the song, the character is compelled to explore the garden after dark, in a sleepy haze, further disoriented by the distorted reflection of themselves and their surroundings. They are looking for this person whose reflection they see, but it’s really just them all along. It’s kind of a metaphor for the trap of self-improvement. Basically, Gazing Globe is a record about learning to soften to yourself and really love yourself.

 

How does it differ from your past work and what’s influenced this?

People have told me since I was young that my songs were ‘sad’, which I’ve always hated. As if there are two feelings: happy and sad. What a boring and limiting way to experience the world. I think on my last two records I was trying to make the ‘sad’ songs more peppy, more upbeat, more poppy. With this record I was trying to get outside the box with my songwriting and guitar style. On Paper Flowers that meant letting go and deliberately choosing a very simplistic chord progression, losing that sense of ‘structure’ completely. On songs like I Slowly Close my Eyes I was really trying to make this windy guitar part that kind of pulls you along gently, but doesn’t feel complicated. I was just getting into meditation and I was trying to express my experience of it through music.

What’s your local music scene like in Baltimore at the moment?

After a bit of a slump, it seems like it’s really starting to come back. A few of my favourites have or are about to release new music this year. I’m especially into Abdu Ali’s new record. Baltimore is home to so many amazing artists so it’s nice to feel like the music scene is thriving again.

And what’s next for Outer Spaces?

I’ve already started writing for a new record, though I haven’t made my mind up yet about how it will sound. I’ve been working on stripping things down and doing more solo performances, so I’d imagine it will be a bit more sparse, but time will tell. In the meantime, we’ll be hitting the road and touring a bunch this summer.

Gazing Globe is released on 28th June via Western Vinyl; for a taste of what’s to come you can listen to latest single Album for Ghosts here and follow Outer Spaces for updates on future releases and live dates.

Header photo © Chester Gwazda

7th June 2019

Interview – Diving Station

Ever feel that things are spinning by too quickly and you’d like to just stop, contemplate and enjoy the moment? Then you’ll appreciate not just the sentiment behind Diving Station’s new single Film but also its soothing, multi-layered mix of emotive vocals, melodies and atmosphere. George and Sean tell us how it all came about, what’s coming next and give a shout out to some other great artists, venues and people who’ve helped them along the way…

Introduce us to Diving Station – who’s involved and how did you get together as a band?

George: Hello! We’re a band made up of Anna McLuckie on clàrsach and vocals, Sean Rogan on guitar, George Burrage on bass and Barney Kimberley on drums and vocals. We came up with the term ‘harp-driven dream pop’ and it seems to have stuck for now! Each member is originally from a different corner of the UK (Edinburgh, Manchester, Reading and the Isle of Man) but we all met whilst studying music in Manchester, bonding over similar influences such as Bon Iver, Radiohead and Bombay Bicycle Club. From then we started writing songs, doing gigs around Manchester and here we are 4 years later!

Your latest single Film has just been released – what’s it about and what’s the reaction to it been like so far?

Sean: Film is a story of struggle and frustration in a world that moves so fast we’ve no time to reflect on and deal with our own thoughts. The reaction to it has been wonderful, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the support, especially from the likes of BBC 6 Music and Introducing, it means a lot! This is the quickest turnaround between writing and recording we’ve ever had, so it’s exciting that some of our fans that have watched us live haven’t even heard it yet, but they seem to like it so far!

You’re based in Manchester, much lauded for its music – what’s going on there currently that we should know about?

George: Manchester International Festival is happening again next month. The line-up of music and art is incredible so I’d encourage anyone to attend. Sounds From The Other City Festival in Salford is also fantastic, as well as Dot to Dot and Manchester Jazz Festival, all of which took place in May. There’s always so much music to see from a ridiculous amount of good venues like Band on the Wall, Gorilla, YES, Eagle Inn, Fuel Cafe, Deaf Institute, Dulcimer, Albert Hall and many more. Through studying together, we’ve met some great bands like Paige Kennedy, Cosmo Calling, HAZY, Sylvette, Darcie and Porij.

You’ve toured across the UK – any special venues or standout memories?

George: We recently played a gig in Leeds at the lovely Hyde Park Book Club. Our friends Heir organised the night, colourfully exhibiting local artists around the venue, and we were on the bill with Caro. They’re an exciting band and we were lucky enough to have them support us at our EP launch earlier that month.

Are You Listening? is a great charity festival in Reading. We were on early but there was a big crowd that seemed passionate about finding new music throughout the day. We also had some downtime and managed to sneak in a country walk which always helps.

What’s the hardest thing about trying to make your name in the music business and what or who has helped you on your way?

Sean: I think the hardest thing is simply making yourself heard by those that can help you move forward. To reflect on what we said about our latest single, the world moves so fast that we can release a song, get a super enthusiastic response from our audience, then feel like we don’t even exist a month later. Staying on people’s radars is tricky, and I think someone that’s helped us a lot with staying in people’s heads is our artist, Amrit Randhawa. The aesthetic he’s created across our recent releases is so distinctive, and he taught us a lot about building a visual world around our music, something which we’d probably have left behind.

George: Brighter Sound’s mentoring programme has given me so much invaluable advice on the music business from industry professionals and musicians I admire. Ryan Paul and the BBC Introducing in Manchester team have also been incredibly supportive since our last EP Feather Mouth was released.

And what are you up to for the rest of the year?

Sean: Festival season is just kicking in and we’re super excited to be off to Glastonbury to perform on the Toad Hall stage, as well as Bluedot, Tramlines Fringe and EskFest. After that, we’ll be releasing another single, along with a headline gig at YES in Manchester and a short UK tour surrounding it. Outside of that we’re still writing away, and forever trying to catch up with recording the backlog of songs we’d love to share with the world!

Listen to Film now and follow Diving Station here

Photos © Oliver Pringle
Film artwork by Amrit Randhawa

5th June 2019

New Music – Treeboy & Arc, Cold Showers, The Howlers

New releases & live dates – Treeboy & Arc / Cold Showers / The Howlers

Treeboy & Arc: Concept

Delivering their strongest track so far, Concept is the new single from Leeds quintet Treeboy & Arc, produced by Speedy Wunderground’s Dan Carey. The band have been making a name for themselves on the live circuit playing in great company with the likes of Crows, Chest Pains, Yowl and Vulgarians. Their post-punk guitars take a darker twist here with spoken vocals challenging the concept of the flawed environment around us. Singer Ben Morgan notes, ‘The song is about being the only person alive and the entire world around me being a figment of my imagination. But then ultimately coming to the realisation that that’s not the case as, if I’d created everything around me, I’d have given myself a lot more beneficial features. It’s kind of an existential stream of consciousness.’

Concept is available digitally now and has a very limited vinyl release (250 copies) on Speedy Wunderground on 7th June. At the time of writing there are still some copies available but get your order in quickly, these won’t hang around.

The band have a few live dates booked in June (single launches in London and Leeds):

6th June – London, The Waiting Rooms
8th June – Bristol, Triptych Festival
13th June – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club

Treeboy & Arc © Bands on Film

Treeboy & Arc    Listen to Concept    Pre-order 7″ vinyl

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Cold Showers: Dismiss (single) Motionless (album)

Released today via Dais Records, new album Motionless moves towards warmer melodies and refrains while maintaining the darkwave, brooding backdrop that Cold Showers have become known for. Current single Dismiss offers a flavour of the LA trio’s new sound and comes with a lyric video directed by Ruinas Romanas.

The band explain, ‘Dismiss dates back to 2013 as an ode to broken relationships and still rings familiar which is why we decided to develop it further and re-record it.  As fans of (Romanas’) collage work, we linked via social media to create the visual companion to the song.’ Romanas adds that Dismiss is ‘a reverie about a relationship that ends at the darkest point. An inevitable farewell.’

Motionless is available on both CD and vinyl LP (with limited edition colored vinyl variants), as well as all digital formats.

Remaining UK tour dates with Tamaryn over the next few days below, after these the band head out across Europe playing multiple venues in France, Germany, Sweden, Czech Republic and Poland:

25th May – London, The Shacklewell Arms
27th May – Glasgow, Broadcast
28th May – Manchester, Night People
29th May – Bristol, The Lanes

Cold Showers © Shannon Cornett

Cold Showers    Watch the video for Dismiss    

You can buy Motionless digitally here – for vinyl purchases check your local record shop to avoid postage charges from the US

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The Howlers: La Dolce Vita

For those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure of seeing The Howlers live, they have a run of gigs across the UK throughout June and July – a highly recommended way to spend an evening. Also coming very soon, their new single La Dolce Vita is released into the world on 7th June on heavyweight vinyl (on These Bloody Thieves Records) and a limited run of just 50 sunburst orange cassettes (through Brutalist Records) plus the usual digital channels.

La Dolce Vita is a short, sharp burst of spaghetti western guitars attacked with frenetic drums, another step forward in the band’s assault against the mainstream – keep an eye and ear out for its release; The Howlers’ (fka Scrubs) recent EP Circus of Horrors will give you an insight into what to expect.

You can catch the band live on the upcoming tour dates below:

1st June – London, Camden Rocks Festival
2nd June – Manchester, The Peer Hat

21st June – Sheffield, Cafe Totem
22nd June – Liverpool, The Jacaranda
28th June – London, The Macbeth
29th June – Southampton, Heartbreakers
30th June – Brighton, The Hope & Ruin
5th July – Nottingham, Alberts
6th July – Manchester, The Castle Hotel
19th July – Sheffield, Tramlines Festival (Fringe)
20th July – Portsmouth, Edge of the Wedge

30th July – Hull, The Polar Bear

The Howlers © Rob Blackman

The Howlers    Pre-order cassette    Pre-order 7″ vinyl

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Words by Siobhan
Photos via One Beat PR / Brutalist Records and copyrighted as credited

24th May 2019

New Music – The Vanity Project, Leo C, Gulls

New releases – The Vanity Project / Leo C / Gulls

The Vanity Project: Centaur

With something of the theatrics and art-pop of the 80s’ Blitz Kids about them, The Vanity Project are as known for their decadent stage performances as their music. Perhaps no surprise then that the Manchester based duo (Flora Jackson and Rob Paterson) met in the theatre but this doesn’t detract from the multi-layered eloquence of their songs. Debut single Centaur is a reflection of their modern day surroundings, described by the band as having ‘a Greco-Roman lens but focused on animosity in the Internet Era, from video game enemies to alt-right trolls.’ With loop pedals aplenty and an electronic undercurrent, it offers an alternative view on the wonders of technology in a sometimes dystopian world. It will be interesting to see where The Vanity Project go next. For now, Centaur is out on Eve of Creation Records.

The Vanity Project    Listen to Centaur

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Leo C: Nothing Nothing 

Amidst a big resurgence in folk music, Leo C puts his own twist on the traditional with new single Nothing Nothing. Hailing from Southend, the singer-songwriter has been busy playing on the local scene and recording the track at Side-On Recordings in nearby Rayleigh. Leo adds this song to a growing catalogue of work addressing contemporary issues against a chilled folk rock backdrop; a congenial way to ease you into the day.

Leo C    Listen to Nothing Nothing

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Gulls: Shop

Never has there been a more vociferous defence against the closure of libraries. Make no mistake that Gulls have something to say and they’d like you all to sit up and pay attention please. The Brighton punk poets’ latest release Shop rails against cuts to community services as shopping centre consumerism threatens to eat up local individuality and identity. Think Lydia Lunch meets Slaves for a face off; a protest song for the new generation – all we are saying is give libraries a chance.

Gulls    Listen to Shop

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Words by Siobhan

1st May 2019

New Music – False Heads, Come at the King, Club Paradise

New releases – False Heads / Come at the King / Club Paradise 

False Heads: Slease

It’s been impossible to ignore the love for False Heads on social media and, if you haven’t caught them yet, new single Slease will give you a good idea why. With pure, hard-hitting punk tones reminiscent of The Adverts and early Wire, the track is a great mix of accessible aggression with indie guitar and heavy bass. Endorsed by the godfather of punk himself, Iggy Pop, East London’s False Heads are gaining a strong live reputation and are definitely ones to watch.

Band photo © Holly Benson-Tams

Watch the video for Slease here and check out more from False Heads

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Come at the King: Shudder

Another three piece from London, Come at the King have released crowd favourite Shudder as their second single. Incorporating an undertone of bluesy riffs into their brand of indie rock, the track builds gradually to a crescendo, a fusion of traditional American style rock ‘n’ roll delivered with a British edge. Working hard on the live circuit, the band are starting to headline and fill bigger venues – look out for a date near you.

Listen to Shudder here and follow Come at The King for future releases 

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Club Paradise: Kirby Keger

If indie synth pop is more your thing then Club Paradise’s latest offering may be right up your street. The Newcastle based band’s new single Kirby Keger would sit happily alongside the likes of Aztec Camera’s Somewhere in my Heart and brings 80s’ nostalgia to the table in sound and subject matter (Kirby Keger is the main character in Brat Pack staple St Elmo’s Fire). It’s an accomplished track for a young band who sound like they know exactly where they want to go.

You can listen to Kirby Keger here and keep up with the latest news from Club Paradise 

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Words by Siobhan
Photos reproduced with permission

3rd April 2019

 

New Music – Horseflies

Horseflies – Lucidity EP

Tracklist: Phantom, Fist, Embers, Pieces, Denial

If you’ve seen Horseflies play you’ll know there’s no holds barred in their high volume, frenetic live performances. There may be some surprises though on newly released EP Lucidity as it mixes up their purer punk sound with some more subtle melodies and guitar riffs throughout the different tracks.

The EP follows last year’s well received album Sea Control and further establishes Horseflies’ reputation for grabbing an assortment of influences and creating their own blend of well executed, raw, confrontational tunes. With hints of The Damned’s New Rose on opening track Phantom, the mood mellows on recently released Fist – promoted by Tom Robinson on the BBC Music Introducing Mixtape. There’s no doubting their appreciation for artists like Fugazi and Drive Like Jehu but Horseflies have brought something new to the table, making Lucidity a well rounded body of their music.

Very much a hometown production, Lucidity was recorded at independent studio Southsea Sound and will be the first release by locally based label Brutalist Records. Giving their debut the kind of opulence it deserves, a very limited edition physical release is available in the form of a cassette housed in a gold numbered tobacco tin, complete with badges, a numbered 70’s cigarette card and a download code.

Horseflies hold their EP launch party tomorrow (23rd March), headlining at The Festing in Portsmouth, hosted by Calamity Cratediggers. Get there early because the supporting cast is a strong one featuring The Howlers, Make Them  All Smile and Dad Hair.

Other upcoming gigs will be on 5th April at The Loft in Portsmouth with Lower Slaughter, You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons and Dad Hair and then as part of the Washed Out Festival line-up at The Green Door Store in Brighton on 13th April. Catch them if you can – take your earplugs.

Follow Horseflies and listen to/purchase Lucidity 
There are a limited number of cassette/EP launch ticket combinations available here – any remaining after the show will be made available online 

Words and photos from Dials Festival by Siobhan

22nd March 2019

Ban Summers – Music, Fibromyalgia & Me

Being a recording artist and playing live can be testing at the best of times. Add to this a diagnosis of chronic illness and many people would be inclined to call a halt to the whole thing. But by approaching the process with a different perspective, musician Edward Perry is far from quitting his much loved musical career, producing tracks and performing live as Ban Summers. Recent singles No Better and It’s On You pit lyrics written about being ill in modern Britain against a relaxing, soulful, lo-fi backdrop and have caught the attention of BBC Music Introducing (Solent) amongst others.

We spoke to him about living and making music with fibromyalgia, a condition described by Fibromyalgia Action UK as ‘… a chronic condition of widespread pain and profound fatigue. The pain tends to be felt as diffuse aching or burning, often described as head to toe… The fatigue ranges from feeling tired to the exhaustion of a flu-like illness. It may come and go and people can suddenly feel drained of all energy – as if someone just pulled the plug’.

You’ve been a musician for some time, how did you get started?

I had been interested in music for a while but, when I was about 14, I heard Lightspeed Champion’s album that Dev Hynes recorded in a day, which was before his proper debut album, just something he put up to download on his blog and I loved it so much. It made me think that if he can do that in a day, maybe if I pick up a guitar, I could do something almost half as good over a year. It’s now about 12 years on and I’m still learning how to make an album. So I went with my Mum to Lidl and got a £30 nylon stringed acoustic guitar. I think Mum wanted to test out whether I was going to stick to guitar before having to shell out for a proper one. But I learnt a couple of songs and chords and moved on to my Squire Strat that I still play now. I wasn’t any good at learning other people’s songs though, so soon moved onto writing my own really bad songs. I was 15 when I played my first gig as The Boy I Used To Be (and I eventually got to support Lightspeed Champion at Wedgewood Rooms) and then that ended up after a lot of gigs and festivals becoming a full band with Max, Callum and Andy as Show Home for a short while.

When did you find out about the fibromyalgia; what was your reaction?

Well, I’ve been ill since my teens in different ways, ME and mental health the bulk of it, so I was kind of prepped for it when the diagnosis came. A family member also has fibromyalgia, so it wasn’t unknown to me, but was a new thing to be experiencing personally and that took time to understand what was happening. I still don’t totally understand it now and new symptoms pop up regularly, so understanding it is an ongoing process for me. I think it was a bit disappointing as I had previously had a few good years of health and my ME was in remission, so it flipped my life upside down still, for sure. It took a long time to start building myself back up. Then band stuff took a back seat and I really lost interest in music for a while because I was frustrated and jealous of not being able to take part.

How does it affect you day to day?

I am tired, like all of the time. I’m not sure if I can remember a time where I wasn’t tired and I wasn’t uncomfortable in some way. The joint and muscle pain is bad across my back, legs and hands, it affects my concentration and muddles my brain, plus lights and noise can be an issue which isn’t a great recipe for a budding musician. On top of that, all the medication makes me feel worse too with other side effects, but I’ll stop moaning for now!

So how have you adapted things in terms of making music?

Well, I’ve had to reshape my expectations of myself in my general life and I had to reach that acceptance in my musical life too. At the moment, my hands swell up after I’ve played guitar, so I’ve moved onto using a launchpad and using samples of my songs to play them live in a way that is hopefully more accessible to me but is still true to what a live show is. So now I just make music whenever I’m able and over time I’ve amassed a lot of songs so I can just work at my own pace and then these songs get deconstructed to play at gigs. Plus I don’t have any money at all, so it’s all recorded at home on basic and cheap equipment that I’ve collected over the years in the simplest way it could be done, finishing it on the laptop, bouncing it down to an MP3 and uploading to Soundcloud and Spotify. It’s the most DIY way you could probably be, though admittedly not unusual these days recording and releasing music from your bedroom, but that suits me because though I have no money and this makes no money, I’m not really spending out on it either. It’s the cheapest and most soul enriching thing I can do and, despite the pain and fatigue it causes, it does help me be a happier and more fulfilled person.

Tell us some more about your new tracks It’s On You and No Better…

It’s On You is about privilege and how that may shape your world view or blind you from seeing privilege in process. People can get defensive about it and think that inviting diversity is limiting their opportunities or discriminating against them, but it isn’t. There is more than enough room for everyone and we should be seeking more diversity everywhere, because we miss out on those important voices otherwise.

No Better was written not long after the Brexit referendum and was a way of me getting my frustration out at the state we were in, with people lying and profiteering, but also acknowledging the rise in my generation’s passion to be heard. It’s like venting my thoughts in the first half but also builds to a more hopeful ending.

Hopes and plans for the rest of 2019?

I am going to be releasing as much music as possible this year, with maybe an album coming later in the year (so surprise if you’ve read this far, that secret is just for you). I’ve been silent for too long and I have a lot to say and music to share. I’m also going to be playing a few gigs here and there and really just trying to get as many people listening as possible.

Follow Ban Summers and listen to No Better and It’s On You here

Next live date is at The House of Rapture, Portsmouth, on 2nd April with Penelope Isles and Barbudo 

You can access more information and support with fibromyalgia on the Fibromyalgia Action UK website

20th March 2019

Interview – Tugboat Captain

Released into the world today, Tugboat Captains’s new single Be Strong, Smoke Less offers words of wisdom alongside a welcome serving of sun-drenched jangle pop. Its opening refrain is instantly relatable in a time where expectations are high and we all need to make some space for reality (Be strong, smoke less, maybe you’ll feel less depressed – I‘ve tried but I need something to relax my mind). It’s a track that will stay in your head long after listening and offers enough intrigue to make the London quartet’s upcoming tour dates look a very attractive proposition. Say hello to the band and read on for the story behind the song, service station etiquette and more…

Hey there, say hello and tell us who’s involved in Tugboat Captain…

Hello! Tugboat Captain has had a number of members over the last year or so since we formed and has always been made up of family and friends. At the moment we’re a four piece with Josh on bass, Buddy on keys and bassoon, Georgia on drums and myself (Sox) on guitar. We’ve stripped back the touring line-up a bit so we’re a bit more streamlined and also a bit more like The Beatles. We also all sing!

Your new single Be Strong, Smoke Less is out today – what’s it all about?

Be Strong, Smoke Less is a song about some advice that I frequently get given to me by my Mum. The song explores that feeling of trying to be the best person you can be but not doing it necessarily for yourself. We’ve been playing this track out on the road for nearly a year now and it really feels like I should have quit smoking by now.

Off the back of this, what’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

I would say the advice to be strong and smoke less is pretty strong advice to be given but I haven’t given it much heed so perhaps not the best? A wise man once told me not to slag off other bands on the internet in case you run into them at a service station. I think that’s something to live by.

You’re touring across the UK – how difficult is it to arrange and finance a tour independently?

The organisational side of it can be pretty tough as it just requires liaising with an enormous number of people who are scattered across the UK and like us have the same DIY ethos. This tour took us about two months to get fully booked and organised so it’s a pretty time-consuming task. This is the biggest tour we’ve ever attempted and we’re pretty scared about our health. Most of the tour is sleeping on friends’ floors (sofas if we’re really lucky) and eating meal deals so we can be financially ship shape. As it gets closer and closer I do feel like we’ve made a grave error and we may not make it back to London alive.

Which other artists will you be listening to as you make your way round the country?

We have a playlist of van classics that we always seem to have on and always seems to get us through long journeys between cities – this mainly includes children’s TV themes, Van Halen and Chris De Burgh. If we’re not listening to that I guess we usually listen to lots of our mates’ music. We’re lucky enough to know loads of people in great bands putting out great music. At the moment we’re all on a bit of a mad Enjoyable Listens’ rush – we met them doing a show in Milton Keynes and we’ve been best pals since, they’re even joining us on a couple of our tour dates so go check ‘em out. Other than that, it’s probably just going to be Wilco.

And what’s the dream (awake or asleep)?

Matching Flying-V instruments for the whole band (Flying-V acoustic, Flying-V double bass, Flying-V keytar, somebody needs to figure out how to make a drum-kit Flying-V).

Follow Tugboat Captain for updates on future releases and tour information

You can listen to/purchase Be Strong, Smoke Less here 

Tour dates below

March

28th – Leeds, Hyde Park Book Club
29th – Manchester, 78 Sackville Street
30th – Staithes, The Captain Cook Inn
31st – Sunderland, Pop Recs
31st – Newcastle, Little Buildings

April

1st – York, The Crescent
2nd – Glasgow, The Glad Cafe
3rd – Liverpool, The Jacaranda Club
6th – Bristol, Hy-Brasil Music Club
7th – Plymouth, The Junction
8th – Falmouth, Killigrew Inn
9th – Truro, Prime
10th – Brighton, The Green Door Store
11th – Bournemouth, Sixty Million Postcards
12th – Ipswich, The Smokehouse
13th – London, The Victoria
19th – Cardiff, Wales Goes Pop
20th – London, Nunfest

Photo via Tugboat Captain

15th March 2019

Made in Greece – Inner Ear Records

Discovering an independent label with an impressive roster of artists is always going to make you sit up and pay attention. Not that Inner Ear Records are new – they’ve been around since 2007 and have spent that time building the label’s reputation by working with a plethora of new and innovative artists in their native Greece. Based in the carnival city of Patras, Inner Ear have a pool full of talent with some really exciting releases on their books.

From psych to dance and experimental pop, there are so many artists worth checking out so do take a look through their portfolio at your leisure. In the meantime, it’s been a huge pleasure to speak to four of their acts – Bazooka, Daphne and The Fuzz, Goodbye Bedouin and Vagina Lips, all highly recommended listening. Get to know them here and find yourselves some great new music in the process…

Bazooka

Give us a quick band intro – who are Bazooka?

Bazooka is a 4 piece band, at sometimes 5 in the past. We are originally from Volos, a small coastal town in the centre of the Greek peninsula. We formed in 2008 and relocated to Athens in 2009. Since then we are playing around Europe and Greece and we have also toured the US. We are playing a mix of punk and post punk with a lot of 60s’ influences. We have two albums on the US label Slovenly Recordings. The first one is a self titled LP released in 2013 and the second one is the Useless Generation LP released in 2016 that marked our transition from singing in English to singing in Greek.

Your new album Zero Hits was released in January – how long did it take to put together and how did it feel hearing the end result?

In November 2017 we worked for the first time with Inner Ear Records releasing the Zougla EP. After that release our manager and dear friend, Penny Liaromati, said that it was the time for a new LP. The plan was from January till May 2018 to write new songs and then go into the studio in June to record the new album. We did the recording sessions  in Electric Highway Studio in the north suburbs of Athens, with the sound engineer being our drummer John Vulgaris and the second engineer being John Damianos. We did all the live takes in almost 2 weeks. We recorded one or two songs every day. When we were done with the live recordings we started overdubbing where it was needed and then we added synths, percussion, some wind instruments here and there and of course the vocals. The whole recording process took us 3 weeks. It was the first time that we used such a long time. Usually we do everything in 1 week. This time the whole process  of recording and being in the studio felt really good and creative!

You’ve toured Europe many times already – any plans for dates outside Greece in the near future?

We are booking a European tour for April 2019. Countries included are Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France and The Balkans. We are going to post the schedule on our Facebook and Instagram pages soon.

Best or worst experiences playing live?

One of the best shows was playing at The Shacklewell Arms in London in 2016. We were touring England as part of our European tour and it was the second show in London in a week. We saw all the people that came a few days ago to our first show coming again and it was really moving and the crowd was amazing. Many good shows in France also. French people know how to throw a party. Worst experience was playing in a squat in Leiden, Netherlands in 2011 on our first tour ever. The people were great but we played in a really tiny rehearsal space where it smelled of rat shit because the guys next door were keeping some rats for pets and all the smell from the ventilation system was coming inside this tiny room. It was a nightmare to say the least.

And what’s in the pipeline for the rest of 2019?

For now we are going to promote our new album Zero Hits by playing a lot in Greece and touring Europe. It’s really exciting playing all these new songs live!

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Listen to/buy music from Bazooka

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Daphne and The Fuzz

Introduce us to Daphne and The Fuzz – who’s involved?

Daphne and the Fuzz is the dream pop project of Daphne Lz, a singer, songwriter and videographer from Athens, Greece. We released our debut self-titled album in 2016 and 2AM in 2018, both with Inner Ear Records. The band consists of Orestes Benekas (keys, synths), Giannis Rallis (guitars), Vasilis Nissopoulos (bass and also the producer of 2AM) and Dimitris Doumouliakas (drums).

Your album 2am came out in October – tell us a a bit about it and what the reaction to it has been like…

There was a concept before the recordings that we were going to make an uptempo album. We were inspired by the French electronic scene as well as psychedelic pop/rock bands that turned to dance beats such as Tame Impala, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and MGMT. We have received a mixed reaction to 2AM so far. There are those who liked our debut album a lot – which had a more vintage pop aesthetic – and don’t think that the new genre we tried to approach fits us that well. And there are those who really seem to like the straight-forwardness and extroversion of our new album. I believe that what truly builds a band’s character is above all the songwriting and, as I really enjoy experimenting with new things all the time, I can promise that what’s coming next for Daphne and the Fuzz will sound a bit different as well.

What’s your local music scene like?

Athens’ indie music scene has been rising in the past years. There are so many new talented musicians in such a relatively small city. Even though each project sounds unique there is a continuous interaction between them, and we can’t talk yet about the scene having a ‘settled’ sound because it is still evolving. From dream pop to psychedelic rock, to stoner and electro, it’s definitely indie and self-made, subconsciously inspired by the economical crisis, the political changes and the explosion of technological advances of the past years that formed us and made us take life in our own hands without stopping dreaming. I’m really proud being part of it, but at the same time, the audience, even though supportive, doesn’t seem big enough to bring the local scene outside our country’s borders.

What’s been on your favourite albums list over the last year or so?

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II & Multi-Love, St. Vincent – Masseduction, MGMT – Little Dark Age, Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, Gorillaz – The Now Now, Justice – Woman

I also made a Spotify list with our influences and the songs we were listening during the recordings of 2AM – you can listen to it here.

And what are your hopes and plans for the next year?

I am currently working on a new live set – you could call it a one woman show. I think it contributes to our latest album’s sound and it will be more versatile for touring. So my plans for now are to organise my first European tour while I also want to start working on my new ideas.

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Listen to/buy music from Daphne and The Fuzz

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Goodbye Bedouin

Can you introduce the band and describe your music in a sentence?

The name of our band is Goodbye Bedouin and, although we will always have doubts about it, we like to say that we play psych garage music.

Tell us about your debut single Submarine/ Youth

Submarine/Youth is the product of our early rehearsals in the studio. In a sense, these two songs embody the drive and the lust that brought us together in the first place. We had a very good experience working with Manolis Aggelakis (producer), Sakis Bastas (sound engineer), and everyone from Inner Ear Records for its production, and we are really happy that the single is out.

What brought you together as a band – did you already know each other before you formed?

Most of us we were friends before forming the band, so that was in itself a very good reason to get together and see how it would go. Composing and playing music with friends can be interestingly (or exhaustingly) tricky at times, yet it almost always delivers a sense of genuineness and, I guess, substance to the process of making and performing songs. Also, we all shared a very similar desire to adopt a music style that would sound direct and rough, oscillating between garage, rock’n’roll and psych pop.

If you could tour with any 2 other bands/artists what would be your ideal line up?

I think we would all agree on The Velvet Underground and The Jesus and Mary Chain. But at the same time, I guess an ideal line up could likewise consist of two bands/artists that are not famous. You always have more fun with non-famous people I think.

And what’s next for GoodbyeBedouin?

Working on an album or an EP and performing live at interesting places!

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Listen to/buy music from Goodbye Bedouin

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Vagina Lips

Tell us about the person behind Vagina Lips…

I’m Jimmy Polioudis and I live in Thessaloniki, Greece. I’m 37 years old and I like 80s’ teen movies, vegetarian food, smoking and buying records. The project Vagina Lips was created almost 4 summers away and for the last 3 years I’ve been creating music and playing live shows all by myself. I have released five full albums and four mini albums.

Your album Generation Y dropped in December – who else worked on it who deserves a mention and how did it feel seeing and hearing the end product?

The other person who worked with me not only on Generation Y but on every release I’ve done so far is Konstantinos Iosifidis (leader of the band Psychedelic Trips To Death). When I first heard the end product I didn’t know how to feel. This is something characteristic about me. Most of the time I don’t know how to feel.

Which other artists have you been listening to or seen live lately?

IDLES, Heavy Lungs, Shame, Fontaines DC, Choir Boy, These New Puritans, Young Fathers

Message to the world?

Respect what you don’t understand.

And what are your aspirations for the coming year?

Many live shows out of Greece if that’s possible, to get big, be happy and to get a cat.

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Independent record labels are vital in supporting and encouraging new artists; if you like what you’ve seen and heard here you can listen to more of Inner Ear Records’ acts by visiting their website and checking out their Bandcamp, Soundcloud and YouTube pages. 

Promo photos via Inner Ear Records
(Bazooka © Sarah, Daphne and The Fuzz © Mariza Kapsabeli, Vagina Lips © Leah Miza)
19th February 2019

New Music – Good Cop Bad Cop

Good Cop Bad Cop – Silk and Leather

Put together Milburn vocalist Joe Carnall with Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders and you might expect a guitar driven, full on indie outpouring. But the Sheffield pair have some surprises up their sleeves…

Taking a different musical path, Joe has moved towards electronica, his vocals sounding smoother against a synth backdrop. He has written and played all instruments excluding drums on Silk & Leather, the noteworthy debut single from new project Good Cop Bad Cop. With demos complete, he sent them across to Matt thinking he ‘would be into it’ which resulted in the two working together and Matt producing the record in his home studio in the Hollywood Hills, a stark contrast to its birthplace in South Yorkshire.

With Milburn’s last album Time produced by Bill Ryder-Jones, Joe is no stranger to artist production and this new venture confirms that Matt’s skills range way beyond the drum kit. He explains this new string to his bow: ‘I’ve become progressively more interested in production over the years but have perhaps never been brave enough to take the first steps; Joe’s project seemed like the perfect place to start’. Joe describes the experience saying, ‘It was great for both of us as we could afford to make mistakes without a huge bill to pay at the end. It really was just two old friends spending time together and making music in a glorified garage’.

From what is presumably a glorified garage like no other, the pair have come up with something reminiscent of 80s’ synth pop with a current twist and the forthcoming self-titled album will surely be highly anticipated by fans and the industry alike.

Tickets for upcoming tour dates have largely sold out despite having only been announced a few days ago but look out for spares or returns for the following locations in April:

13th – Glasgow King Tut’s
15th – Manchester Yes
16th – Leeds Belgrave Hall
18th – London Hoxton Hall
19th – Sheffield Crookes Social Club
21st – Nottingham Bodega
22nd – Bristol Thekla

Watch the video for Silk & Leather now – you can receive an instant download of the single when you pre-order the album here; you can also see an exclusive Q&A with Joe and Matt – the album release date is scheduled for 29th March 2019

Don’t miss out on updates from Good Cop Bad Cop on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Words by Siobhan

Photo via Lucid Online PR

8th February 2019

 

Interview – Jerry Williams

Portsmouth’s Jerry Williams is not just making waves in her seaside home town. With music industry interest on an international scale, things are looking more than promising for the singer songwriter dubbed ‘the singer you’ll be obsessed with in 2019’ by Top Shop’s fashion and culture blog. Following the recent release of her latest single David at the Bar, Jerry is setting out on tour and has much more in the offing. We had a quick catch up to find out what’s going on…

There seems to be so much happening for you right now! What did 2018 bring that you never expected?

Three record deals! In Germany, USA and Canada. It’s so crazy and so exciting. I love the three labels I’m working with and they totally get me. They love my music and stories which is amazing so I’m looking forward to working with them with everything coming up. It was a busy year.

Your latest single David at the Bar was written about someone you met – can you tell us a little more?

It’s about a man called David who I met in a bar, haha. Honestly, simple as that. The song is so true to what happened. I got speaking to him at the bar about life and I told him I’m a singer songwriter. He went on to say that he’s an alcoholic, ruined his life, he’s got a baby on the way and he’s really scared about it. He said if I wrote a song about him, he’d give up drink. So the next day, I wrote this song like I said I would and I haven’t seen him since. He just completely vanished. I hope he hears it, even if we don’t meet again.

You mentioned your overseas record deals – there’s some big ones outside Europe with Royal Mountain Records in Canada and Big Picnic Records in the US – how did they come about?

It was all pretty quick to be honest. My music just naturally reached the USA. With Royal Mountain Records, they came on board after they saw me supporting Finn Wolfhard’s band Calpurnia in Europe. They were like, yep yep, we wanna work with you, we love you. I was so overwhelmed but I’m sosososososo excited. They’re home to some of my favourite artists like Alvvays. I love Big Picnic. They’re proper music lovers, just like my German label Ferryhouse. They’re great people.

You’re just about to head out on tour – is there anywhere you’re particularly looking forward to visiting?

All of them, but Manchester will be great. The show has already sold out at Jimmy’s which is such a cool venue with neon signs everywhere and trippy wallpaper. But I can’t wait for every city and to meet everyone there.

Wild Front are supporting on the UK leg of the tour, are you involved in choosing your support acts?

Yes! I absolutely love Wild Front and am so honoured they’ll be playing with us on tour. Just watching them every night is gonna be perfect. Jeph are supporting in Southampton at The Joiners too. Their song Hey Baby was my top played on Spotify this year…SO GOOD!!! FLOWVERS supporting in London are great too.

And what’s in the pipeline for 2019?

I’m recording an album for autumn release which is super exciting. I can’t wait for people to hear what I’ve been working on. It’s more edgy and indie and I’ve got so many new stories. That’s the next thing…

Jerry’s headline tour starts on Saturday with dates in Germany before she heads back to the UK:

Jan 19th – Mucke Bei Die Firsche, Hamburg
Jan 20th – Kantine Am Berghain, Berlin
Jan 21st – Milla, Munich
Jan 23rd – Blue Shell, Cologne
Jan 24th – Nachtleben, Frankfurt
Jan 26th – Kasbah, Coventry
Jan 28th – Jimmys, Manchester
Jan 30th – Camden Assembly, London
Jan 31st – The Joiners, Southampton
Feb 1st – Tunbridge Wells Forum

You can keep up to speed with the latest news from Jerry Williams and listen to David at the Bar here

Photos via Lucid Online PR

17th January 2019