Live – ARXX + Run Into The Night + LIME at The Hope & Ruin

ARXX / Run Into The Night / LIME, The Hope & Ruin Brighton, 28th October 2019

Local duo Arxx have clearly built up a strong live reputation and following to match – The Hope & Ruin is busy from early on in the evening as they return to Brighton to finish their tour on home ground. 

Opening act LIME have also been busy on the local circuit; coming together from different parts of the country but currently Brighton based, their mix of dreamy indie tunes tinged with 60s’ psychedelia gets things off to a great start. The band slot together well and their sound is experimental and cohesive at the same time. Maintaining their hard working live regime, LIME will be supporting Little Comets at Chalk on 6th November.

Breaking up the Brighton stronghold, Run Into The Night claim the middle set of the evening with a beautiful fusion of post-punk, blues and elements of Tarantino style spaghetti western. There’s so much good new music coming out of Glasgow right now and it would definitely be appropriate to add them to the list to watch out for. Another two piece who sound like there must be more of them, the band switch from Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ style indie-punk to the much slower paced recent single Mon Cheri with ease – seek out the recorded version for additional featured vocals from Martin Metcalfe (The Filthy Tongues / Goodbye Mr Mackenzie). Run Into The Night have new music and more live dates planned in 2020 – keep an eye and ear out.

By the time ARXX’ headline set comes around there is a real buzz in the venue and the crowd is not to be disappointed. Although they claim to be nervous, their performance is as confident and raucous as they come; don’t be fooled by the smiles and pastel boiler suits – these two are serious musicians and there are no holds barred as they sear between rock, country and grunge. Recent singles You Got What You Want  and Iron Lung would hold their own among much more established artists and their live show comes highly recommended. It might be a good idea to check out ARXX soon if you want to experience the intimate venue experience – bigger things are surely not too far away on the horizon now.

Words and photos by Siobhan

30th October 2019 

Interview – Hot Shorts

Combining the finest slacker rock with lyrical wit and impressively droll song titles, Manchester four piece Hot Shorts released their new album I Understand and I Wish to Continue on Friday. Intrigued by their tunes and party hats, we had a chat with  Chris from the band to find out more…

For anyone who doesn’t know the band, can you give us a quick intro…

Hi, we are the band Hot Shorts from Manchester, England and consist of Peet (bass and vocals), Lara (drums), Joel (guitar and vocals) and myself, Chris (also guitar and vocals). We started in 2014 and while not exactly a 100% ‘comedy band’ we’re still often motivated by doing things that we find funny (even if nobody else does). Self-sabotage seems to be a recurring theme. Also ‘the internet’.

Tell us about your new album I Understand & I Wish to Continue – how long has it been in the making and what have been the highs and lows of the process?

It’s actually taken quite a while! I’m really bad at working stuff like this out but, according to Bandcamp, our last album came out in November 2016, so yeah, three years?! (Although we only practice like once a week; it wasn’t three years of gruelling twelve-hour days).

I guess the high point was actually recording it in a real studio. Up until this point, we’d just recorded everything ourselves in practice rooms but this time around we booked in five days with Michael Whalley at a studio in Bury called Big City Jacks. He was so lovely and made the whole thing really fun and painless, and yeah, it was such a great time.

I think the low point was probably when I got a sore throat the day before I did my vocals and panicked that I just wouldn’t be able to sing all my bits. (I managed to sing all my bits).

Have to ask about Dorothy, the unassuming star of your recent single My Cat is Gonna Live Forever – how is she coping with the fame and expectations of eternal life?

She seems okay so far. She’s already had a taste of ‘fame’ what with her being the cover star of our first self-titled album too (back when she was a kitten). Cool fact: the LP cover photo of her is pretty much 1:1 scale. But yeah, she’s taking it all in her stride, seemingly. (I haven’t broken it to her that she’s going to the vets for a check up next week though).

You’ve got a few live dates booked in London and Manchester, what can people expect from your shows and when might we see you elsewhere?

We’re hoping to play more gigs in 2020, especially in places that aren’t Manchester. We kind of tried to book a small tour to coincide with the release of the album, but it turns out that booking gigs in new cities is really hard and confusing. But yeah, gonna try again really soon!

Which two artists would you love to tour with, no restrictions?

If I’m allowed to say Nirvana, then I’ll say Nirvana please. If I’m not allowed to say Nirvana, I guess … a holographic Nirvana? And also Mitski who is my favourite artist who is still actually active/alive/etc. So Nirvana and Mitski, supported by the comedy band Hot Shorts. What a confusing and wonderful imaginary tour that would be.

Apart from your upcoming shows, what else is happening on the Manchester music scene that we should look out for?

There’s tons of really great bands in Manchester doing interesting stuff. Off the top of my head I would recommend: Butcher the Bar, Chew Magna, Locean, Playacting, Claw the Thin Ice, Patty Hearst, ILL, Secret Admirer, False Advertising… oh and there’s this band called Grotbags who are alright, I guess?

Plans and hopes for the future?

This is just supposed to be a fun thing really, so the fact that we’ve managed to do anything at all – been asked to play gigs, put out two albums – feels like a bonus to me. That said, I’ve got some riffs and song ideas for a possible third album, so I guess we’ll start working on those? Plus trying to play some more gigs outside of Manchester. And waiting on that call from Mitski’s people…

************************************************************

I Understand and I Wish to Continue was released on Friday via Icecapades Records

There’s a link to the video for My Cat is Gonna Live Forever in our previous new music feature and you can watch the video for Who Brings a Guitar to a Party? below

More from Hot Shorts right here

Interview by Siobhan
Photos via One Beat PR

29th October 2019

 

Live – Bambara at Hyde Park Book Club

Bambara, Hyde Park Book Club Leeds, 23rd October 2019

Over the last few years the post-punk renaissance (should it surely not be post/post/post-punk by now?) has seen the emergence of many bands armed with strong basslines and shouty vocals, some creating some of the decade’s most vital noise, some unfortunately sounding resoundingly more derivative and pedestrian. The latter cannot be said of New York outfit Bambara who, whilst existing in this new post-punk arena, incorporate elements of noise rock and ambient music, resulting in something darker and more electrifying than many other postx3-punk groups.

Their UK tour stopped off for a show at Hyde Park Book Club, an independent café and arts space in the student area of (you guessed it) Hyde Park, Leeds, where local group Polevaulter provided support. Whilst Polevaulter got the crowd warmed up and moving, some of their potential was sadly dampened by the high levels of bass and vocal echo which resulted in them sounding a little muddy, and any atmosphere attempted by the singer who draped the microphone lead around his neck, was lost by him singing almost exclusively away from the audience, often eyes closed or looking off towards side-stage.

As a crowd made up of 70% black leather filled up the basement space where the dimmed lights shadowed the exposed cracks in the ceiling, a bottle of tequila was placed at the front of the stage; Bambara were now preparing to perform.

I use the word perform, not in a derogatory sense in that anything about them is false but, that in Reid Bateh, Bambara has a frontman with presence, his lyrics read like southern gothic literature and he delivers them with such brutal conviction and energy. Probing and swinging the mic stand like a baton, he is often perched on the edge of the stage or writhing on the floor, resembling a young Glen Danzig all in black, handsomely dishevelled, as though it’s unclear whether he just got up, or hasn’t been to bed at all. 

On stage the group are a force of nature, the songs which are mostly taken from their 2018 record Shadow on Everything sound like an impending thunderstorm ready to crack down at any moment. Drummer Blaze Bateh, who is shirtless and relentless, pummels the kit throughout the evening against the battling guitars which colour tracks Jose Tries to Leave and Doe- Eyed Girl with wailing tremors and squeals, like something from a demented spaghetti western film soundtrack.

Set closer Monument was the final moment of anarchic catharsis, the array of black leather coats now too warm to wear adorned the front monitors, as more and more bodies began to pile together, limbs flailing in every direction, often stretching out towards Reid’s preaching frame. As the song began to reach its climax, my head crashed against his, locked in yelping unison of the refrain “I wanna see your Shadow on Everything, Shadow on Everything, SHADOW ON EVERYTHING”.

If IDLES, Savages or The Fat White Family are your bag then chances are you may very well have already heard of Bambara. If not, then I cannot recommend them enough, with this set featuring new tracks such as the blistering Serafina from their forthcoming album Stray (due for release in February 2020) it looks likely that Bambara will only continue to assert themselves as one of the more dynamic rock acts of the moment.

************************************************************

You can watch the lyric video for Serafina below

Keep up to speed with Bambara here

Words and photos by Ryan Bell

28th October 2019

Interview – Los Blancos

Steadily creeping out from under the musical radar, Los Blancos released their debut album last month; an impressive collection of songs spanning different genres and past references. Definitely ones to watch, get to know the band a little better here…

For anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of hearing you yet, tell us a little about Los Blancos…

We’re a 4 piece band from West Wales, we play slacker rock with influences from punk, country and shoegaze

Your album Sbwriel Gwyn was released last month – what’s the story behind it and who deserves a shout out for helping you complete it?

Sbwriel Gwyn is Welsh for ‘white trash’, which is what we often refer to each other as affectionately. It encompasses all sorts of our experiences in recent years from heartache, rural isolation, friendship, alcohol and a love song to a dog. Couldn’t have done it without Gruff from Libertino and Krissy Jenkins, our producer.

There’s a bit of a resurgence in contemporary artists singing in regional languages and accents, how important is it to you to write and sing in Welsh?

It is important but it was also never a conscious decision, it’s not like we were looking to make a political statement. Welsh is what we speak to each other so when we started jamming and writing together the lyrics were just naturally written in Welsh, it would be insincere to try and translate them and they’d lose meaning.


(From the band’s Facebook page)

It feels like there’s a huge range of musical influences on the album, who did you all listen to growing up and what’s the last album you each bought?

We all have different tastes but have common ground in Pavement, Brian Jonestown, Ty Segall… these are artists we were listening a lot to when we started Los Blancos

Last albums:
Dewi – Bodega, Shiny New Model 
Osian – Cage the Elephant, Happy Birthday 
Gwyn – John Prine, Prime Prine 
Emyr – Allah-las, LAHS

What’s your local music scene like – any other artists you’d recommend we should look out for?

Papur Wal, Sybs and Hyll are shit hot

If you could put a copy of Sbwriel Gwyn into any one person’s hands and guarantee they would listen to it, who would you choose?

Idris Elba

And where can we see you live, what are your touring plans for the coming months?

We’ll be playing a tour around Wales, in Cardiff, Cardigan, Wrexham and Caernarfon. We’ve also got a few more gigs in and around Wales as well.

************************************************************

Sbwriel Gwyn is available now on Libertino Records – there’s a link to the video for the title track in our previous new music feature and you can watch the video for opening single Dilyn Iesu Grist below

More from Los Blancos here

Interview by Siobhan
Header photo © The Shoot via One Beat PR

28th October 2019

 

 

 

 

Live – Thurston Moore Group + Rattle at The Wedgewood Rooms

Thurston Moore Group / Rattle, The Wedgewood Rooms Portsmouth, 20th October 2019

It’s not every week you have a true rock ‘n’ roll legend like Thurston Moore grace the stage of your local music venue, but, there he is, standing tall in front of a packed Wedgewood Rooms introducing his backing band before playing a single note. He politely informs the waiting audience that the group will perform a single song this evening, but if you’re familiar with his latest album, Spirit Counsel – a two and a half hour record featuring three tracks – this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

First up though is tonight’s support band, Rattle, from Nottingham. The duo consists of two drummers (with some vocal harmonies thrown into the mix), and you might be fooled into thinking that this is some kind of gimmick, but their music is spellbinding and we were all left in a trance, hoping for more. Their set-up may be minimal, but vocalist Katherine Eira Brown is able to create a unique sound of her own that fits beautifully in and around the tribal drumming patterns. It’s hypnotic, strange and the music transports you to another place. Rattle’s simplistic approach is helping them to build a strong following, and it’s not hard to see why they are fast gaining a reputation as one of the best live bands around, which is thoroughly well deserved.

After nearly four decades in the music business, Thurston Moore is still producing some of the most interesting and accessible alternative/avant-garde rock music to date. His last solo record, Rock n Roll Consciousness, was a perfect hit for those of us still yearning for a Sonic Youth reunion (hmm), however, his latest offering takes a slightly less straight forward approach. Entirely instrumental, Spirit Counsel is a huge album (in both length and ambition), and it’s the first track from the album that we’re treated to this evening.

Alice Moki Jayne – named after Alice Coltrane, Moki Cherry and Jayne Cortez – is as inspiring as the women namechecked in its title. It takes many twists and turns throughout the performance, but for a song of this length, not once does it lose its way. It starts with Jon Liedecker creating some gentle electronic textures, before Thurston nods his head for the guitars to join in. Joining Thurston on guitar duties is James Sedwards and My Bloody Valentine’s Deb Googe, and together they create a lush wave of noise that makes your head swim. The wash of cymbals adds to this effect, and I can’t help but think of the intro to Pink Floyd’s Shine On You Crazy Diamond during the opening refrain. It’s beautiful and ominous at the same time, with the delays and drones in between the riffs adding another layer of intrigue to the song.

As the song progresses, the drums gather speed and the krautrock rhythm being played with military precision eventually gives way to an ear-splitting breakdown of guitar spasms, before a sledgehammer meltdown makes a few of those around me jump in surprise. This heavier section of the song sounds like the sort of all-out-sonic-audio-war that Swans have been championing since their reformation, and it’s absolutely brutal. The guitars are played with such ferocity that they’re knocked out of tune, but the song is nearly over and who’s going to care?

After 70 minutes everything gently slows to a halt, and you can hear a pin drop. There is a pause before someone shouts “fucking brilliant!” and the crowd erupts. Our patience is rewarded, our faith in music is restored and that was one of the most Pompey endings to a show ever! Good effort all round I say.

More from Thurston Moore and check out Rattle here

Words by Ryan Howarth
Photos by Hannah Mesquitta

28th October 2019

Interview – Tempers

On their new album Private Life, New York based electronica duo Tempers (Jasmine Golestaneh and Eddie Cooper) step towards darker territory, fusing elements of post-punk, dream pop and industrial music, resulting in what the band have described as a  ‘a successful progression of their cinematic aesthetic into a  moodier and more introspective landscape’. We spoke to them about the inspiration behind the record and its tonal shift, as well as the advantages of being in a two piece…

Your new record Private Life is released today – how does the album process initiate for you? Is it a conscious decision to sit down and start writing, or does it happen more free-flowing and unexpectedly?

Eddie: It’s been different for all three of our albums – Services was so exploratory in the beginning, as we were initially just developing our sound and sense of what we wanted Tempers to be. Then Junkspace was an entirely intentional and defined conceptual project, start to finish. Private Life feels like something in between – the album came from us just continuously writing and recording, our intentions not explicitly stated but with our aesthetic already clearly defined.

You’re releasing the album through Dais Records, what was it that drew you to the label, and how supportive have they been in the production of Private Life?

Eddie: It feels like the diversity of Dais’ roster mirrors the energy spectrum contained within our own music; there’s a vision and coherence to their choices, even though the releases vary quite a bit. That’s something we’ve always cared about within our own sound. The label’s been incredibly supportive – we finished the album before signing with them, and they’ve been on board with all our ideas and choices.

To me, both the first two singles, Capital Pains and Peace of Mind evoke feelings of isolation, envy and dejection. Is there an overarching lyrical ‘theme’ to the album, and musically, what led you to edge towards a darker, more atmospheric sound?

Jasmine: While it is an album exploring intimate and shadowy emotions – there is an over arching political theme to the album, isolation, envy and dejection are all symptoms of the dehumanising aspects of our age. A society that is built on greed, competition and injustice will evoke those feelings collectively. There is a reason why mental illness is such a prevalent issue. I think creating an empathetic space for those emotions is healing and unifying. I don’t think of it as ‘dark’, just reckoning with challenging human emotions we all share, and taking the shame out of it.

Being New York based, I imagine you don’t have to look far for inspiration and motivation. Was that the case for this record? Were there any of your local music contemporaries or geographical factors in New York that assisted in the creation of the album?

Jasmine: It is true that I am constantly fed creative stimulation living in New York city, even walking down the street is a high octave event, and there are fast trends for what is new and innovative, which may or may not be that important in the grand scheme of things. In order to make the most out of it, and not get too distracted or swayed by it all, I’ve created a fortress around my internal space, that I feel a strong need to maintain. It’s like an internal city where I can swim through feelings I can’t put into words, fantasies I would never share with anyone, and where my imagination feels uninhibited. My defense and curiosity for this private space must be a psychic response to my hectic environment – so shaped by the imposition of the city itself. I am very inspired by visual art when writing music, so I spend a lot of time in galleries.

I really like the cover art for Private Life, how did you end up working with the artist Elsa Bleda and what was it about the cover image that made you feel it was the right choice?

Jasmine: We found that image while writing the album, and used it as a kind of visual cue as it said a lot about the themes we were working with. What’s happening in that room, behind the mysterious curtain? We imagined the songs taking place within the privacy of that blue room.

What are some of the positives and negatives about creating music as a duo?

Eddie: Creating music as a duo seems ideal to me, but I guess of course I would say that – we’re so used to working this way that it’s hard at this point for me to imagine being with four other people standing around in a studio working through songs together. Over time we’ve really internalised what each other’s instincts and orientations are, such that we can kind of channel each other during the times when we’re working on sections on our own. The challenge, and this isn’t actually a negative, is that there’s no way to hide – if something’s not working or you’re not feeling it creatively, it’s not really possible to coast along.

Are there any plans to tour in support of the album and, if so, will you be visiting Europe and the UK?

We’ll be in Europe and the UK a lot this winter, putting our tour together as we speak. We’re also playing a few shows in Mexico this fall, which should be really fun…

 ************************************************************

You can purchase Private Life and keep an eye on tour dates for Tempers here

Listen to the audio for Peace of Mind below

Interview by Ryan Bell
Photos via One Beat PR, header shot by Sebastian Mlynarski 

25th October 2019

Exhibition – Photography Season (National Museum Cardiff)

Exhibition – National Museum Cardiff, opening 26th October 2019
Photography Season 2019 -2020
– ARTIST ROOMS: August Sander  
– Bernd and Hilla Becher: Industrial Visions
– Martin Parr in Wales

Launching its new photography season, National Museum Cardiff opens its doors to a trilogy of exhibitions featuring four of the most respected and influential photographers in their fields, each with distinctive and recognisable styles and an underlying honesty in their work.

************************************************************

August Sander was an early proponent of taking portraits which truly represented the subjects without ‘tricks and effects’ to create an accurate record of people living and working in Germany. In today’s environment his style would be seen as reportage with no filters. Sander is quoted as saying, ‘By sight and observation and thought, with the help of the camera, and the addition of the date of the year, we can hold fast the history of the world’.

Photo: August Sander, Secretary at West German Radio in Cologne, 1931

Press release excerpt:
‘ARTIST ROOMS: August Sander presents over 80 photographs by August Sander (1876-1964), one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century. The portraits are drawn from Sander’s monumental project, People of the Twentieth Century, through which he aimed to capture a true portrait of the German nation and of the time. Sander photographed people of all ages and backgrounds, from farmers, policemen and politicians to bricklayers, secretaries and artists. His subjects, always anonymous, are titled by profession or social class and categorised into 7 distinct groups; The Farmer; The Skilled Tradesman; The Woman; Classes and Professions; The City; The Artists and The Last People.

ARTIST ROOMS is supported by Arts Council England, Art Fund and Creative Scotland and is jointly owned by the National Galleries of Scotland and The Tate. The exhibition has received additional support from the Colwinston Charitable Trust.’

26th October 2019 – 1st March 2020

************************************************************

Applying a similar philosophy to Germany’s industrial architecture, Bernd and Hilla Becher were aware of the evolving face of the horizon as developments in technology changed things forever. Bernd noted that he ‘was overcome with horror when I noticed that the world with which I was besotted was disappearing’ and the couple set about recording as many structures as they could to preserve knowledge about them.

Photo: Bernd & Hilda Becher, Blaenserchan Colliery, Pontypool, South Wales, 1966

Press release excerpt:
‘Bernd and Hilla Becher: Industrial Visions brings together 225 photographs by Bernd and Hilla Becher, two of the most significant artists of the 20th century. Since the 1960s their work has reinforced photography’s international currency as art. As founders of what is now known as the ‘Düsseldorf School’, the Bechers influenced a new generation of artists including Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff and Thomas Struth.

For over 50 years, the Bechers collaborated on a project to document industrial structures across Europe and the USA. Their photographic inventory included winding towers, blast furnaces, cooling towers, gasometers, grain elevators, water towers and lime kilns. In 1965, the Bechers made their first visit to Wales and returned in 1966 after receiving a British Council Fellowship. Based at a campsite in Glynneath, they explored the south Wales valleys and made an extensive series of photographs that now stand as monuments to a lost world of labour that were once central to the social fabric of industrial communities.

The exhibition is co-curated by Dr. Russell Roberts and has been kindly supported by the Colwinston Charitable Trust and the Henry Moore Foundation.’

26th October 2019 – 1st March 2020

************************************************************

The third exhibition features the sardonically sincere pictures of Martin Parr, one of our finest photojournalists with an eye for capturing the wit and charm in an everyday scene. His approach, he says, is that ‘With photography I like to create fiction out of reality. I try to do this by taking society’s natural prejudice and giving this a twist’. His twist results in a series of photos that, while adding in the unexpected, draw memories and emotions that are vivid and real.

Photo: Snowdonia, Wales, 1989 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos / Rocket Gallery

Press release excerpt:
‘Martin Parr in Wales features photography by Martin Parr, one of the most influential and prolific photographers working today. Over the last 40 years, he has recorded people, places and cultures in the UK and beyond, exploring themes of leisure, consumption and communication. His humorous and affectionate portrayal of modern life has changed the way we understand society and its many nuances.

Parr has always been drawn to Wales, having lived just over the border in nearby Bristol for 30 years. In that time, he has undertaken several editorial and cultural commissions, covering subjects from working men’s clubs to coal mining. This exhibition brings together, for the first time, a selection of Parr’s work in Wales from the mid-1970s to 2018. His photographs – many of which have never been exhibited before – explore different aspects of Welsh life and culture, from male voice choirs and national sports to food, festivals and the seaside.

This exhibition has been developed in collaboration with Martin Parr. It has been kindly supported by the Colwinston Charitable Trust.’

26th October 2019 – 4th May 2020

************************************************************

Photography Season 2019-2020 runs from 26th October 2019 – end dates as listed above for each exhibition

National Museum Cardiff, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NP
Opening times: Tues – Sat 10-5, galleries close at 4.45, open most bank holiday Mondays, closed  25th – 26th Dec and 1st Jan
Free entry – please check the website for further details of this and other exhibitions before visiting

All images and exhibition details are reproduced with permission from National Museum Cardiff and are copyrighted as credited

Words by Siobhan (quoted sections from official press release)

23rd October 2019

Interview – Night Flowers

Night Flowers have been busy recording their new album, preparing for tour and pushing cars up hills – the new songs are sounding great so we caught up with Greg from the band to find out more…

Your new album Fortune Teller is out on Friday, how long has it taken to write and record and how did you decide which tracks to include?

We started writing Fortune Teller almost as soon as our last album Wild Notion came out, with some songs already well on their way before that. We hung out in Sheffield, where our drummer lives, and ended up tracking it in a few days at a great DIY space called Tye Die Studios. Some songs came together quickly during that time, and one song was actually added really late in the day, and is the original iPhone recording of the first take we did. Originally we were gonna use the recordings for demos but we thought ‘fuck it’ – they had a good feel about them and we wanted to capture that energy this time round.

Tell us about a favourite track that hasn’t been made public yet…

There’s a track called Lotta Love which has a real vibe to it. It’s rare but, if I listen to it, I can dissociate from it and listen to it in a way that’s usually impossible to do when you’ve worked hard on something, and I fucking dig it. We played a real early desk mix to our drummer’s landlord the day we recorded it and he lost his shit, saying it reminded him of a time he and a friend drove through the desert together. Praise indeed.

The video for title track Fortune Teller is shot in 360 surround – it’s pretty disorientating but quite hypnotic to watch, how did it come about and who was involved in the making?

We actually made it ourselves. I borrowed a 360 camera from my work (I was working in a media uni at the time), we hired a beat up old VW Beetle, we stuck it to the roof, dressed up and hit record. The car fully broke down so we had to push it up a hill, and was also set up so low it was literally scraping the ground with the five of us in, making a horrible noise. We didn’t get many takes so we had to make each one count, but people seem to have gotten a kick out of it! The magic of cinema..

There are elements of the album that sound like it would make a great film/TV soundtrack – so which films or TV shows would you like to hear your music played on?

That’s a cool thought. If anyone’s reading this then please approach us, we really need some of that sweet film and TV money. I suppose it’s kind of a mood album, set out on the roads and mostly at night, so anything with that spin would work I think – the obvious ones, Lynch, Fincher, maybe True Detective, etc.. though we’re not kidding ourselves – we’re well aware we have a poppy, ditzy, romantic side that wouldn’t be out of place at the end of an 80s’ teen movie as the credits roll.

In the age of streaming and shuffle-based listening why is it still important to make albums?

I mean, maybe it’s not? It’s entirely possible to take an amazing journey with playlists and stuff, just like we used to with mixtapes. For me, there’s value in both, but I still enjoy giving myself over to a self contained world and vision, with all the hills and valleys an album’s landscape offers and allowing myself to be taken on that journey. If you value an artist, it’s nice to set aside time to soak in their world and see where they’re taking you.

You’re out on the road with Life in November, what can we expect at your live shows and if you could add any other band or artist to the bill who would it be?

We sure are – they’re old friends and we love them to bits. We’re pretty different bands but I think any open minded listeners in the crowds should get a kick from both. From us you can expect topless crowdsurfing, Busted style jumps and poetic post-punk riotous anger. Oh wait, hold on…

There are a million dream bands I’d love to play with but I’m trying to think of a band that bridges the gap between us and them nicely… shall we say The Wedding Present?

And what are you up to for the rest of the year and heading into 2020?

I’ve been to the year 2020. Not much has changed but they live under water – and your great, great, great grand-daughter is pretty fine!

************************************************************

Fortune Teller is released on Dirty Bingo Records on 25th October

You can find more from Night Flowers here; live dates and video for latest single Night Train below

31st Oct – London, Redon
November dates with Life:
2nd – Newcastle, Digital
4th – Stoke on Trent, The Sugarmill
5th – Leicester, The Cookie
8th – Aldershot, West End Centre
10th – Bournemouth, Anvil Rockbar
11th – Brighton, The Green Door Store
12th – Southampton, The Joiners
13th – Tunbridge Wells, The Forum

Interview by Siobhan
Header photo by Frederick Fuller via One Beat PR

22nd October 2019

Live – Richard Hawley + Get Cape Wear Cape Fly at Brighton Dome

Richard Hawley / Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Brighton Dome, 18th October 2019

Brighton Dome has played host to many a legendary artist over the years and Friday night saw the ridiculously talented Richard Hawley return to its stage for the last night of his current tour; what better way to take refuge from the deluge of rain outside?

First up though, the opening set belonged to another stalwart of the music scene in Sam Duckworth, better known by his superhero pseudonym Get Cape Wear Cape Fly. Having seen him perform a party-worthy set with full band at 2000 Trees in the summer, it was good to hear the other side of his skills with a powerful acoustic performance – hard to pull off in a venue this size but achieved with ease and aplomb. Not averse to combining music with a social message, Duckworth could be a credible candidate as the Billy Bragg of the next generation.

To the (thankfully) minority of the crowd having a sit down chat through his set – please just stay in the bar next time, no-one cares what you said to Mandy from HR.

Richard Hawley’s career is well documented, from his first foray into music with Treebound Story to fondly remembered 90s’ outfit The Longpigs and everyone’s favourite cardigan wielding heroes Pulp, he has worked with and inspired a whole heap of artists including Duane Eddy and The Manics. Other collaborations include famously – Arctic Monkeys (on receipt of their 2006 Mercury award Alex Turner opened his speech with the immortal line ‘Somebody call 999, Richard Hawley’s been robbed’) and not so famously – All Saints (providing the guitar solo for their cover of Chili Peppers’ Under the Bridge).

In spite of this barrage of credentials, he retains an air of humility and a grounded sense of humour that makes his set entertaining in many ways. Striking a pose as he arrives on stage, the first three songs, Off My Mind, Alone and title track Further are clear indicators that his latest album is full of his deft mix of rock and balladry that gives his tracks that feeling of reassuring warmth. His rich vocal ranges from Iggy Pop to Scott Walker in a moment and there can be no doubting his guitar skills.

The set continues with songs old and new and lots of love shown for the eloquent Tonight the Streets are Ours, the simple beauty of Open Up Your Door and the heartfelt lyrics on closer Heart of Oak. Hawley makes it look effortless but there’s nothing easy about writing songs this good, singing with an intensity that hypnotises everyone in the room and then chatting to those same people like you were in the pub with your mates. Much appreciated but still vastly underrated, Richard Hawley seems to be master of all trades, jack of none.

You can check in with Get Cape Wear Cape Fly here and find all thing Richard Hawley here

Words and photos by Siobhan

21st October 2019

Exhibition – Shot in Soho (The Photographers’ Gallery)

Exhibition – The Photographers’ Gallery, London, 18th October 2019 – 9th February 2020
Shot in Soho 

(Header shot: The Colony Room Club, 1999-2000 © Clancy Gebler Davies, courtesy of the artist)

The corner of London’s west end filled by Soho has long been a colourful, creative and inclusive part of the capital. Sometimes painted as the seedier side of city life, Soho has remained a magnet for writers, actors and musicians and has welcomed in the LGBTQ+ community. The famous Berwick Street Market saw Marc Bolan working on his Mum’s stall in the 60s, became a haven for food lovers and record collectors and was the location for that cover from What’s the Story (Morning Glory). The writer Virginia Woolf described Soho as a space ‘filled with fierce light’ and ‘raw voices’. There are ongoing concerns about the redevelopment of the neighbourhood but, whatever happens, there will always be a vibrant history attached to the area and this has been channelled into a new exhibition, Shot in Soho, opening tomorrow.

Shoes Polisher, Rocky II, etc, Piccadilly, 1980 © William Klein, courtesy of the artist

Extracts from the press release:

Shot in Soho is an original exhibition presented at The Photographers’ Gallery celebrating Soho’s diverse culture, community and creativity at a time when the area is facing radical transformation. The imminent completion of Cross Rail (a major transport hub being built on Soho’s borders) in Autumn 2019, makes the area a prime target for development and threatens it existence as a place of unorthodoxy and independence…

From market-place to movie-set, sex shop to coffee bar, crime scene to cabaret, Soho has always been an unfolding and complex spectacle, central to the music, fashion, design, film and sex industries alongside being a vibrant hub for LGBTQ+ communities. It has also, across the centuries, been home to a variety of immigrant communities from the French Huguenots, through Italian, Maltese, Chinese, Hungarian, Jewish and Bengali cultures.

Shot in Soho offers a timely opportunity to see the area through the lens of renowned photographers, such as William Klein, through a rare presentation of his candid 1980s Sunday Times commissioned photo essay; Anders Petersen, through a selection of his 2011 Soho series, which capture the neighbourhood with his trademark lyrical melancholy; Corinne Day, whose images take us off the streets into her Brewer Street home where some of her most iconic editorial and personal work was shot; as well as work from less familiar figures such as Times photographer Kelvin Brodie’s night-time forays with police teams, John Goldblatt’s strip club dressing room scenes and Clancy Gebler Davies’s work in The Colony Room Club. The exhibition features a commission from artist, Daragh Soden who will present a new body of work focusing on Soho’s reputation as a place of connection, performance and the pursuit of love…’

Above: Untitled, from the series ‘The Undressing Room’, 1968 © John Goldblatt, courtesy of the artist’s estate

Below right: Men hiding their faces / 69 Sauna & Massage © William Klein, courtesy of the artist

Shot in Soho runs from 18th October 2019 – 9th February 2020

The Photographers’ Gallery
16-18 Ramillies Street, London W1F 7LW
Opening times: Mon – Sat 10 – 6, Thurs lates 5 – 8, Sun 11 – 6
Admission: £5 / £2.50, free after 5 daily, under 19s go free, members go free – please check the website for further details of this and other exhibitions before visiting

Images are copyright of the photographer credited

Words (excluding press release extracts) by Siobhan

17th October 2019

New Music – MNNQNS, Lazybones, Hot Shorts

New releases and live dates: MNNQNS / Lazybones / Hot Shorts

MNNQNS – Body Negative (album)

Meet MNNQNS from Rouen in France, a band producing some excellent post punk tunes that really are worth writing home about. Vocalist Adrian D’Epinay attributes a French/Welsh fusion in their music to the time he spent studying in Cardiff saying, ‘Many of the things I like in music now come from bands I saw there at that time. There were many psych and pop bands, experimental acts, and weird punk music. It impacted on me both musically and visually.’ Their album Body Negative was released through FatCat Records on Friday and comes packed with riff ridden indie gems; fans of Hooton Tennis Club come on over…

MNNQNS play some UK dates later this week:

October

17th – London, Thousand Island
18th – Brighton, Latest Music Bar

Video for recent single Fall Down below

MNNQNS

************************************************************

Lazybones – Trash Talk (single)

Out now, the new single from Brighton trio Lazybones is about ‘That moment when you know you’re about to say something you’ll regret, when you’re right on the edge and you just can’t stop it’, vocalist Candi Underwood explains. It pulls no punches, launching straight into Vice Squad style vocals amidst a triptych clattering of bass, drums and organ. With a sense of suitably DIY urgency, Trash Talk hurtles at speed from start to finish. If you want to hear more, you can catch Lazybones on the road very soon, dates below:

October

24th – Nottingham, Albert’s
25th – London, The Waiting Rooms
27th – Liverpool, Jacaranda

November

1st – Cardiff, The Moon
2nd – Birmingham, The Flapper
3rd – Milton Keynes, Craufurd Arms
21st – Brighton, Latest Music Bar

Listen to Trash Talk here

Lazybones

************************************************************

Hot Shorts – My Cat is Gonna Live Forever (single)

Cat lovers of the internet, this one’s for you. In advance of their impending LP release, Manchester’s Hot Shorts have shared the impossibly heartwarming My Cat is Gonna Live Forever. Like a feline loving hybrid of Young Knives and New Young Pony Club, the track doesn’t take itself too seriously but the accomplished undertones of slacker rock bode well for the album – I Understand and I Wish to Continue is out on Icecapades Records on 25th October.

A handful of live dates are planned; hopefully more will be added:

30th October – London, Venue MOT Unit 18
9th November – Manchester, Soup Kitchen (album launch)
17th December – Manchester, The Peer Hat (Grotbags & Friends Xmas Fundraiser)

Lyric video for My Cat is Gonna Live Forever below

Hot Shorts

************************************************************

Words by Siobhan

14th October 2019

Festival – Dials 2019

Dials Festival, Southsea, 5th October 2019

Returning to its now regular early October slot, Dials Festival brought another hugely impressive line up to Southsea’s Albert Road at the weekend, hosted across five venues all within a few minutes walk of each other. In a sometimes overcrowded market, it’s difficult to find a USP for a festival these days… well, how about this? Dials is run by volunteers, works hard to apply inclusivity towards artists and attendees and raises money and awareness for local mental health charity Solent Mind… now that’s a difference worth taking notice of.

And if that’s not enough, the musical talent on display is a joy to discover. Channeling their inner New Order, Two Tribes gave a great performance at The Wine Vaults, as did Sarpa Salpa with their synth infused dance tunes opening the venue’s stage. I love that people come out early for Dials and support the acts playing from opening slots to headliners.

Across the road at Lord John Russell, Heebie Jeebies kicked off a relaxed atmosphere with guitars and sax aplenty while The Loft saw some some sharp drumming and grunge appeal from Dad Hair and Eno-esque experimental synth loops from Friday Night Weird Dreams.

A firm favourite on the local live circuit, Madonnatron packed the room at The Edge and did not disappoint with their unashamedly brash post punk psychedelia and razor sharp multi-vocals.

As always with Dials, I found some great new bands who I hadn’t seen before, in fact the vast majority were new to me live. Quite how I’ve managed to miss Arxx so far is a bit of a mystery but with a set including fierce grunge tracks, a dabble with country and a Eurythmics cover to boot, they’re firmly on my must see again list. Representing the increasingly impressive Bristol music scene, the discordant drawl of spikey post punk from Haze and some ethereal slacker rock from Wych Elm also both come highly recommended.

Last year, LibraLibra opened one of the smaller stages and more than made their mark at Dials. This year they made an unquestionably triumphant return with a performance so powerful it may be worth checking if the Edge of the Wedge is still standing. Vocally it’s as though Gossip have been shaken up by X-Ray Spex; this is not a band to be missed. I assume by next year they’ll be well on the way to world domination.

Hot on their heels on the main stage next door, another absolute stand out set from Glasgow’s Walt Disco. Their uniquely dark brand of art rock disco is streets ahead of many of their contemporaries, largely because their material stands up on its own and doesn’t rely solely on the performance. That said, the performance is pretty spectacular. Billy Mackenzie would be proud.

One thing that Dials does consistently well is to bring a mix of genres to the table with cross appeal for those attending, allowing different moods and styles of music to reach new ears. From boiler-suited dancealongs with BASH! to Acid Tongue’s folk influenced garage and the dulcet vocals of Megan Lara Mae (including a cover of Minnie Riperton’s Loving You that managed to avoid screeching that note) there really was something for everyone.

Bigger festivals could learn a thing or two about applying gender mix to their scheduling from Dials; the line up this year once again proved that it’s really not that hard to find quality artists across the board with Saltwater Sun and Another Sky both drawing big crowds to The Wedgewood Rooms.

And after a line up so strong, who do you pull in to headline? Kicking a final blast of  vigour into the proceedings, The Blinders took no prisoners with their closing set, a visceral assault on the senses, a last chance for the crowd to decide that they still had enough energy to take on a mosh pit, a fitting close to a brilliant day with a guest appearance on stage from the Dials Fox.

Across the last few years, Dials hasn’t started just another festival; it’s started and built up something to be etched into your diary way in advance safe in the knowledge that each event keeps getting better than the last – till next year…

For more about Dials Festival please check their website

You can find out about the work Solent Mind do here

Words and photos by Siobhan

7th October 2019

Live – A Year in Photos

As we hit our first anniversary this week, here’s a look back at just some of the amazing artists it’s been a pleasure to photograph playing live over the last year. From tiny venues and instore sets to festival main stages, there have been some truly memorable performances and we look forward to bringing you many more in the coming year. We’ll also be compiling another Best Music Shots of the Year feature; look out for details on social media soon…

Click on an individual photo for details, click again for full size picture.

Photos by Siobhan, Hannah and Alan

3rd October 2019

Book Club – Brett Anderson: Afternoons with the Blinds Drawn

Brett Anderson: Afternoons with the Blinds Drawn 

Taking a second plunge into the publishing world, Brett Anderson returns with his follow up memoir to its precursor Coal Black Mornings. Where his debut focused solely on the days before he was hurtled into the public eye as Suede became an improbable household name, Afternoons with the Blinds Drawn brings the next stage of the story, with a brutally honest look back at the band’s spiral to success and the pinnacles and pitfalls that inevitably came along for the ride.

Although he said this was the book he wouldn’t write, the opportunity for people to hear his own view rather the sensationalist click-bait of the headlines has brought about a change of heart. Brett describes reflecting on the period as akin to watching someone else living your life, noting that ‘it’s remarkable how hindsight can lend a clarity that at the time was beyond you’.

The book avoids the often touted glamorous tales of the music world as he talks of journeys supplemented with Silk Cut, Walkers crisps and Batiste dry shampoo. Something that is demonstrated often however is his love and respect for his bandmates past and present, whilst acknowledging the at times difficult relationships therein. The irony of recording Stay Together whilst the connection with Bernard Butler was starting to crumble is not lost; appearances on Top of the Pops and in puppet form on Spitting Image offer reminders of how Suede managed to break through to the mainstream despite, or perhaps because of, their insistence on doing things on their own terms.

© Phillip Williams 

For the music fan there are deep forays into the writing, production and performance of the songs. It is interesting to note the desire, even early on, for every musical footprint to be noteworthy, resulting in what he describes as ‘exiling classics to the wastelands of the flip side’ – the likes of My Insatiable One, He’s Dead and My Dark Star all allotted to what for most artists would be the lower echelon of the B-side. There is a clear understanding that whilst a flurry of hype will propel you into the public eye, it won’t hold your place if there is no substance to follow the fanfare.

The story can’t be told without addressing the demons of addiction that could so easily have dictated a much more desolate outcome. Again, there is no glamour or glitz attached to this period as Brett recalls ‘the substances becoming slowly harder, the evenings becoming slowly more humourless, the chances of escape from it all slowly less likely’. Thankfully there was an escape and there was enough strength in Suede as a collective to continue and move forward.

There are lighter notes throughout the book and times filled with humour and positivity. As a south coast dweller, it was lovely to hear mention of an early show at The Joiners Arms in Southampton, where Brett felt there was ‘a moment’ and recalls it as a pivotal point where the band and crowd were in the same headspace, feeling the same thing, the role of the audience so important in making everything worthwhile. (Happily, The Joiners hasn’t met the fate of many an independent venue and still exists to offer opportunities for smaller bands to play and build into something much bigger).

The book takes us to the break-up of the band in the highly anti-climactic setting backstage at The Graham Norton Show, a mark of success for some, the end of the road for Suede – in this innings at least.

© Pat Pope

With chapter names like Dogshit and Diamonds, Crouchenders and Anything can Happen in Life, Especially Nothing you know this will be no run of the mill music biography.

The leap from lyricist to author doesn’t always run smoothly but Brett has a natural skill for storytelling; he’s a compelling raconteur, a graphic scene-setter. The book offers a point of detailed reference for fans, and for any reader an insight into the disequilibrium of a band trying to make a dent on a music scene flooded with Britpop and imported rock ballads. If we didn’t know to some degree what happened next it might be a somewhat despondent ending. However, now that we’ve felt the aspirations fired by the Coal Black Mornings and spent disordered Afternoons with the Blinds Drawn, perhaps Brett will take us along on the next part of the journey and we can witness the evenings of Suede’s story in book number three…

Afternoons with the Blinds Drawn is published by Little, Brown UK tomorrow – 3rd October 2019

Photos with permission of the publisher and copyright of the photographer named

Words by Siobhan

2nd October 2019