Responsible for some of the biggest indie anthems of the past 10 years, Futureheads frontman Barry Hyde released his debut solo album ‘Malody’ on 3rd June 2016 via Sirenspire Records. “Those familiar with my work with The Futureheads may be expecting an album of new wave inspired, four-part harmony, guitar music. ‘Malody’ couldn’t be further away from that. The album is based around my first instrument, the piano, and also features violin, cello, double bass, tenor and baritone sax, pedal steel and trumpet.” – Barry Hyde
While in the midst of a severe mental breakdown in 2012, Barry was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a mania he’d battled for the past decade. Masked by the success of The Futureheads, the bliss of performing kept him stable, and following their hiatus, Barry focussed on teaching music and training as a chef. Today, Hyde has found balance and stability, helped in part by the creation of his debut solo album, which documents his life with bipolar disorder.
Predominantly piano led, Malody has an intense and vivid energy, it’s also strikingly elegant – a quality enhanced by the addition of a six-piece ensemble. A far cry from the The Futureheads’ trailblazing herky-jerky indie hits, the dramatic and moving record establishes Hyde as an idiosyncratic songwriter and pianist who deserves to stand alongside the likes of John Grant, Meilyr Jones, and Perfume Genius.
From Bath, England, The Bronze Medal initially formed in the autumn of 2009, following the pairing of two once-respective songwriters on a six-week busking trip through Scandanavia. Robin Southwell and Chris Hillier were staying in a borrowed house in Norway when they decided their chemistry might be worth more than a passer by’s spare change. “It’s easy, now, to romanticize about that time,” Chris says, “but I definitely think the surrounding landscape has always had a very generative affect on our songwriting, so it seems appropriate that Norway was where it all began.”
Soon after arriving home, the band expanded their line-up with Mike Barnett (bass), Daniel Rogers (piano/organ) and Rory O’Gorman (drums) and began writing together in an isolated Somerset farmhouse. With their sound still rooted in Chris & Robin’s vocal harmonies and their songs’ emotional austerity, they began harnessing a more intricate sound, a dynamic blend of indie-folk and post-rock. After recording their first demo with producer Richard Formby (Wild Beasts, Mogwai) at his studio in Leeds, they released their first single ‘Milk’ with East City Records in June 2011. After extensive touring though the summer, they then followed their single by recording their debut EP in Moles Studio in Bath in September 2011. Their self-produced EP was then mixed by producer Paul Corkett (Bjork, The Cure) and released through independent label, New Music Club.
The band released their debut album ‘Darlings’ to widespread critical acclaim in 2014. The album was followed by tour dates across Europe, including shows at Germany’s Haldern Pop Festival and dates supporting the Maccabees.
“Masters of indie slow-build” – The Times
“Not for the impatient” – The Sun
For the last decade these DIY sonic alchemists have been creating whacked out soundscapes and songs that appear to have been born from another universe, all from the confines of their sonic bunker. The Midlands four-piece make the kind of experimental goth-tinged psych that fans of Swans and The Icarus Line will find pleasurable – this is a band unafraid to take risks.
The Cult Of Dom Keller released their latest album ‘Goodbye To The Light’ in 2016. Released on legendary indie label Fuzz Club (A Place To Bury Strangers, Dead Skeletons), it’s by far their most experimental release to date. Speaking of first single ‘Broken Arm Of God,’ the band said “we wanted it to sound like a volcano giving birth to an atomic bomb. It has bass and baritone guitar that killed 3 guitar amps in one afternoon, then a studio preamp. It’s probably costing us a fortune in damages and repairs. The result was exactly what we wanted though”.
This band can make a lot of noise. To focus on that however would be to negate what makes this band truly beguiling: nuance. Take ‘Deepest Pit Of Emptiness’ for example – its prog leanings combined with a decidedly English vocal delivery are as distinctive and profound as anything released in 2016.
The Fauns released sophomore album Lights through Invada Records on December 2nd 2013. Lead single ‘In Flames’, released late November had recently been playlisted by BBC Radio 6Music receiving air play from the likes of Lauren Laverne. Shortly followed by an invitation for a live session and interview on Lauren’s show aired in early December.
‘Lights’ is the successor to The Fauns‘ self-titled debut album released through their own Laser Ghost Recordings label in 2009. With no promotional muscle, they went on to pick up radio support from BBC 6Music’s Steve Lamacq and shift over five thousand copies purely by word of mouth. The organic success of The Fauns also garnered a valuable champion of the band in the form of Hollywood soundtrack composer Clint Mansell, (Moon, Black Swan, Requiem For A Dream) who remixed the album cut ‘Fragile’ for a limited edition Record Store Day 12”, all 1000 copies of which sold out in under a day.
Co-produced by well-respected Bristol figures Jim Barr and Tim Allen along-side the band’s own Michael Savage, Lights pits the barely-there vocals of front-woman Alison Garner against guitar work which is by alternate turns both all-consuming and intimate. Whilst the shoegaze-indebted elements of the band’s sound still shimmer as brightly as they did on The Fauns, Lights finds them imbued with new purpose-see the instrumental squalls which punctuate album stand-out ‘Seven Hours’, or the interlocking guitar figures of ‘4AM’, resonating with the atmospheric tendencies of the XX.
Michael Savage’s exhaustive knowledge of film & soundtracking permeates Lights; ‘Point Zero’ and ‘Rise’ are sequenced as ambient episodes in homage to the astral soundtracks of Moon and Solaris (created by band heroes Mansell and Cliff Martinez), whilst elsewhere a rather more overt nod is made to film scoring with the motor engine-sampling crescendo of the Tron-esque ‘Let’s Go’.
“It’s easy to become lost in the Bristol-based five-piece’s big, breathy ascensions bathed in reverb and echoes” – The Line Of Best Fit
Flamingods are a five-piece, multi-instrumental band formed in Bahrain in 2009. The band was founded by Kamal Rasool and now consists of Rasool, Sam Rowe, Charles Prest, Karthik Poduval and Craig Doporto. Based in both the UK and Bahrain, the band has carried out operations online as much as in person. The group puts a focus on exploration and experimentation, often taking influence from different cultures around the world by use of an extensive collection of instruments from as far as Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia, Turkey, Japan and Tanzania.
Floating near the western shores of the Persian Gulf is the Kingdom of Bahrain, the desert country where Charles Prest, Sam Rowe, Craig Doporto and Kamal Rasool grew up together, joining forces on various musical projects and detangling myriad influences from other lands and times. At the same time Karthik Poduval, unknown to them as of yet, was being familiarised to a life similarly sated with a rich pick & mix culture only 500 km away, in the city of Dubai, and previously Saudi Arabia, Italy and Albania.
Kamal started a bedroom project in 2009 in which he attempted to make experimental music that captured the imagery and spirituality of far flung cultures. He recorded the first Flamingods tracks in his room, occasionally jamming and recording with other soon-to-be members. Having no specific scheme in place for the long term life of Flamingods, the next few years would see the eventual members relocating to the UK whereupon Karthik was discovered and quickly assimilated into the fray. A band identity had not yet formed but one fateful 8-hour chalet jam at the Animal Collective curated ATP Festival in 2010 later and Flamingods had officially graduated from its initial solo bedroom project in Bahrain to a fully-fledged band.
Kamal said of it in an interview with Loud and Quiet, “We did actually start the band at ATP in 2010. We brought some instruments down to just jam with in our room, and then people walking past would be like, ‘oh, we want to play too,’ and it was just incredible because people were climbing in through our window, and I gave them pots and pans to play… it was just insane. We had 60 people crammed into our chalet and people dancing outside. It got a bit out of control and turned a bit dark. All the lights went off” with Sam adding “It was like a constantly changing band. People would leave but others would then come in. We couldn’t stop it and it turned into a monster of its own. It went on for eight hours.”
Flamingods recorded their first studio album in 2012 in Sound Savers Recording Studio in Homerton, London, and soon after teamed up with Art is Hard Records to release the album in January of 2013. The lead single “Quesso” featured former Ponytail and Ecstatic Sunshine guitarist Dustin Wong. “Sun” received positive reviews from Line of Best Fit who wrote “It is an album that deserves your attention. The complex and dense interplay of all the instruments create beautiful substrata of harmony and rhythm that makes each new listen as rewarding as the last” as well as from The 405 who in describing the band wrote “They are a five-piece based out of the UK, fusing together Asian polyphonic textures, African rhythms, and the occasional pop sensibility into something of a freak-folk blush”.
While being informed by the imagery, music and concepts of far-flung cultures, experimental, psych, rock and pop acts also inspired much of the early works of Flamingods. Bands such as Boredoms, Animal Collective, Sun Araw, Sun City Girls and Deerhunter have been cited as early influences. When visa laws changed in the UK two months before Kamal was due to graduate from university, he was required to leave upon graduation. He first moved back to Bahrain before taking up a job in Dubai. Charles would soon also move to Dubai to live and work. Instead of splitting up, the members started writing the music for their next project using their computers with all communication and ideas being shared over the internet.
This eventually became their second album release titled “Hyperborea” (2014) – released on Welsh indie label Shape Records – and received many positive reviews, earning a 8/10 by NME, a spot as The Guardian’s “Band of the Week” and receiving praise from Dazed who wrote “This kind of global-minded psychedelia, created by musicians living across the world from one another, could only have been made in 2014 – and yet Flamingods sound like nothing else right now.” In the wake of Hyperborea’s release Flamingods performed at music festivals including Milhões de Festa, Glastonbury Festival, Latitude and many others.
In 2015, Flamingods released a remix follow up to 2013′s “Sun” via Portuguese label Lovers and Lollypops. Titled “Moon”, the album featured remixes by Dustin Wong, My Panda Shall Fly, Hypnotized, Shinamo Moki, Happy Cat, Kuro BC and Zequals amongst others.
In January 2016, Flamingods announced their signing with Soundway Records and soon after released their third studio album “Majesty” (June 2016). The new album coincided with a string of tour dates including festival appearances at Green Man, End Of The Road, Latitude, Incubate, Fusion Festival, and Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia.
There’s something great about a three-piece—think The Cocteau Twins, The Clean, Galaxie 500—and the way that irreducible nucleus takes its strength from its limitations, making a virtue of its purity. And so it is with London trio Flowers, returning with their second album Everybody’s Dying To Meet You in February 2016 via Fortuna Pop! (EU) and Kanine (US). Over the course of ten intensely thrilling pop songs, singer Rachel Kenedy’s ethereal vocals and Sam Ayres textured guitar is backed by the powerful, metronomic beat of drummer Jordan Hockley.
The inception of Flowers started with Ayres searching for a singer for over a year when he posted one last fateful advert, stating he wanted to make pop songs like “early Madonna through a broken tape machine.” This led him to Kenedy, and peculiarly, the forming of Flowers. Right away the two fell into a deeply creative and romantic partnership. Currently sharing a flat in East London with their adorable dog Batman, they restore vintage musical equipment and feverishly create demos.
The first batch, polished up by none other than Bernard Butler, turned into debut Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should Do released in 2013. Created during a period of illness for Ayres, the result is an album that whilst receiving great critical acclaim, was necessarily subdued.
For Everybody’s Dying to Meet You the band retreated to Bark Studios in Walthamstow to work with producer Brian O’Shaughnessey (The Clientele, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine), a return home for Ayres, who was born and spent most of his life in the area. It proved to be the perfect fit for Flowers, the sessions enabling them to capture the essence of both their dynamic live sound and their distortion-laden home demos. Effortlessly blending pop songs with noise while leaving space for more stripped back elements, the recordings strike a perfect balance between the sweetness of Kenedy’s voice and Ayres’ abrasive guitar stylings. Their musical inspiration from shoegaze, C86 and New Zealand’s Flying Nun label is now evident.
Grasscut are composer/producer/vocalist/musician Andrew Phillips and manager/musician Marcus O’Dair. Phillips, who writes and produces all Grasscut music, is also known for his soundtrack work: recent credits include Piper Alpha Fire (BBC2), Children On The Frontline (Channel 4), The Seven Dwarves of Auschwitz (ITV 1), Marco Polo – A Very Modern Journey (3-part series for Chinese TV) and Tsunami Survivors Stories (ITV1). As well as managing the act, O’Dair contributes keyboards and double bass. O’Dair is also a writer and broadcaster: his 2014 biography of Robert Wyatt was a Radio 4 book of the week and a book of the year in the Guardian, the Independent, the Times, the Sunday Times, the Evening Standard and Uncut magazine.
Grasscut previously released two albums on Ninja Tune. 1 Inch: ½ Mile (2010) was Mojo magazine’s electronica album of the month, one of iDJ’s debut albums of the year and one of the top ten pop albums of the year according to the Sunday Telegraph. Speaking to the Quietus site, Tom Robinson of BBC 6 Music named it one of his top 13 albums of all time. According to the Independent, the band’s 2012 follow-up, Unearth, should have been on the Mercury list. Both records won 5-star reviews from the Telegraph; support has also come from the Sunday Times, Word, Uncut, Time Out, Q and Clash.
Grasscut have worked with musicians including Robert Wyatt, John Surman, Adrian Crowley, the Kronos Quartet, Gazelle Twin, Seb Rochford (Polar Bear) and members of the Elysian Quartet. Since opening the main stage at the Big Chill in 2009, they have become known for their audio-visual live show, originally conceived with As Described (Portishead, Cinematic Orchestra) and now developing in collaboration with the Austrian VJs Luma Launisch (Cluster, Groove Armada). They have performed at Cecil Sharp House, Union Chapel, the ICA, Koko and Tate Britain, as well as in France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland, Czech Republic, Portugal, Poland and Slovakia.
Grasscut have received airplay from Radio 1, 2, 3, 5Live, 6Music and XFM. Their music has been used in the dramas Waterloo Road and Continuum; by BBC Sport and Channel 4; and in advertising campaigns by Boots, Mazda and Kmart.
“Ghostly, weird and enveloping electronica” – Sunday Times
“Grasscut push the electropop envelope in intriguing new directions” – The Independent
“Pure genius″ – Sunday Telegraph
Their name is taken from an ancient term for the New Forest; that wooded, pony, pub, and witch filled corner of the south coast where all four members: Leon Diaper (Guitar/Vox), Lewis Baker (Drums), Jorge Stride (Bass), and Tom Baker (Guitar), spent their childhood.
Great Ytene (pronounced ‘eeten’) formed in London in early 2013, crating sounds between studios, practices spaces and their bedrooms the collected tracks for their self titled debut EP recently released via Bella Union.
The single anticipated the mood and feeling of the recent EP, produced, in two parts, first by Rory Atwell (Test Icicles) and then Iggy B (Money, Snowbird), which captures the band exploring their full patina of strange after playing shows with the likes of War On Drugs, Amen Dunes, Echo Lake, Jackson Scott and Cheatahs. The EP never settles for one uniform sound while echoing various vintage eras of psychedelia, from the Byrds/Pink Floyd models of the Sixties through Eighties ‘Paisley Underground’ champions Rain Parade, Nineties shoegazers Slowdive and contemporary foragers Deerhunter. Traversing through the warped pop majesty of ‘Away For Now’ and ‘Witch, through to the EP’s twin closing sixminute epics ‘Unknowing’ and ‘Suburban Lights’, it’s clear that Great Ytene are have the widescreen vision and haunting beauty to join such illustrious company.
“Jangles and fuzzes, with a descending guitarline that is very Byrds and a Floydish patina of strange… and highly accomplished for a debut” – The Guardian
As outsiders from sleepy coastal towns several countries apart, Stephen Fitzpatrick from Barrow in Furness and Norwegian Audun Laading met for the first time in Liverpool as students. The pair bonded over a love of peculiar, sardonic humour and wide eyed observations. Dream-pop outfit Her’s is the natural extension to the solitary decoding of the cultures they grew up in. Together they create 80s indie influenced songs with nods to Orange Juice and the capriciousness of Ariel Pink-ish pop.
Based in south-east London and compromising of N.H.A. Buxton on Drums, Samuel Geronimo Deschamps on Vocals, Sami El-Enany on Keys, Benjamin Francis Markham on Guitar, and Lou-Lou Maynard on Bass, La Shark have a sense of adventure and lust for the unknown that is rare in an era of career-ist artists.
La Shark’s incendiary and unpredictable live shows have earned them a cult following and comparisons to Faith No More and Red Hot Chili Peppers. They have toured with Cibelle, Mumford & Sons, and The Maccabees, leading Felix White to tell the NME “I hope one day the world can appreciate how amazing La Shark are. We need bands like them”.
La Shark have previously released a series of attention-grabbing singles, including the Radio 1 playlisted tracks Magazine Cover and A Weapon. Imaginary Music is the band’s first full studio album, and follows La Shark Yearbook, a 3 x CD collection of the band’s music from 2006 – 2013, which came packaged with a handmade journal telling the bands story in their own words.
Following the release of her acclaimed sophomore album ‘Dazzle Days’, Liverpudlian singer-songwriter Laura J Martin is back with new album ‘On The Never Never’, released March 11th on Shape Records via Kartel Music Group.
‘On The Never Never’ tells of the disconnect Martin felt when returning home to Liverpool to find that all individuality had been erased and replaced by gleaming empty flats. With former thriving communities dissolved, Paul Kingsnorth’s 2009 study of a nation losing its identity, ‘Real England’, loomed large in her mind when writing the album: “Everywhere is becoming the same as everywhere else”.
What better antidote to the homogenisation of culture, communities and individuality than ripping up your own rule book and “veering from the norm to truly experience life”? A different approach was needed so she flew to the USA to make the album. “It was written on the piano with the intention of getting other players involved as I wanted to make this record differently than I had before.”
A chance conversation with Lambchop’s Matt Swanson and Tony Crow proved fruitful and they planted the seeds of an idea in Martin’s head that “recording in Nashville and working with Mark Nevers was a real possibility”. Swanson and Crow join the all-star band for ‘On The Never Never’ alongside Silver Jews’ Brian Kotzur on drums and The Jesus Lizard’s Duane Denison reviving Fame-era Jimmy Johnson on electric guitar.
Of recording in Nashville, Martin says: “it was a chance to totally surrender to new surroundings, step into the unfamiliar and see where it would go. I like that Mark can do the traditional Nashville ‘system’ style recordings but has a background in punk rock and making things work no matter the budget or situation. His records always sound great – fat, round and never trad. He also makes the best sandwiches”
Shot through with wit and humour alongside the sociopolitical themes – one of the characters talks of bleaching toilets and taking trips to Lanzarote – ‘On The Never Never’ skips through waltz timings, bears influences from Scott Walker to the Compass Point Allstars and picks up a guest vocal from Benjamin Zephaniah along the way. With ‘On The Never Never’, Martin has produced a hopeful record, full of joy, beauty and tongue in cheek looks at those in charge.
“A musician of startling originality… Musically she comes from the school whose alumni include Tom Waits, Kate Bush & Joanna Newsome” – The Sunday Times
“Lithe and fluent, Martin’s debut flutters like a flighter Joanna Newsom or a playful Kate Bush” – The Independent
From Gun Overbye’s powerfully commanding voice and thousand-yard stare, to the cinematically poised guitars, pounding hypnotic toms and fuzzed-up vintage organs, Lola Colt are an expansive and imposing sextet from London with a seemingly ever-evolving palette at their disposal.
Formed equally of female and male members, their spellbinding performances are remarkable to witness as six individuals sonically duck and weave, surrendering musical motifs to one another, apparently via an innate telepathy. The arrangements are at times improbably complex, beaming with intention yet retaining the cool swagger of Link Wray and Grace Slick’s bastard children. They consider their shows to be journeys — shared between the audience and band members, open-ended and brimming with intense drama, utilising shamanic rhythms to hypnotise the crowd, luring them along for the ride.
Off stage, Lola Colt exist mostly in a disused factory space in London, now affectionately known as “Lola Colt HQ”. Native American dreamcatchers hang from the ceiling, incense fills the room and almost every inch of space is occupied either by exotic instruments or recording equipment. This nest permits them the comfort of autonomy — writing, developing and recording all in situ. For guitarist / percussionist and engineer James Hurst, the studio is a central part of the band, itself developing with each iteration, not unlike or separate from the work created within it.
Their first single I Get High If You Get High (2013), released by the prestigious Too Pure Singles Club was a sleazy and snarling debut of cinematic fuzz. Lo-fi and intense, it rattled nervous systems and pierced hearts, with Matt Loft’s signature guitars sweeping like Morricone strings smashed in a particle accelerator, and pounding toms incessantly pushing the mix toward oblivion. Their debut album Away From The Water (2014) was realised with the help of venerable Bad Seed Jim Sclavunos in the producer’s chair. Jim’s looming presence at Lola Colt HQ provided swift exit to any comfort-zone that might have existed. Drummer Martin P Scott recalls the sweat-drenched back-breaking intensity of performing on the command of a Bad Seed. Days turned into nights, and back into days. The resulting album was a powerfully kaleidoscopic saga — each song its own chapter, culminating with the eight-minute title-track’s brooding and hypnotically glitched time signature, teasing with intensity before unleashing a truly cataclysmic finale. When Lola Colt launch into this riff on stage, their dedicated audience know that the evening’s bell tolls.
The release of Away From The Water on Fuzz Club Records dispatched the band onto headline tours across the UK and mainland Europe. With stages drenched in oil-wheel projections and filled with enough vintage equipment to make venue technicians weep, Lola Colt’s ambitious live shows proved hugely successful, having now shared stages with The Jesus & Mary Chain, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Spiritualized, The Black Angels, The Raveonettes and British Sea Power. One senses they’re just getting started.
2015 saw the band straight back to work on a new album Twist Through The Fire, this time working in isolation. Disinterested in merely repeating themselves, they reached first for the uncomfortable and unknown. Motifs would form from jam sessions, before being subjected to a process of filters, reimaginings and explorations of alternate perspectives. It ceased to matter who was playing which instrument on a given session — it only mattered that the vibe was right. Gun’s mystical yet poetic lyrics would always provide the ultimate fulcrum, either dictating musical direction or shifting it toward counterpoint.
As with their previous work, Twist Through The Fire carries an abundance of cinematic themes, but with Kitty Arabella Austen’s Vox and Hammond organs now joined by analogue synthesizers, new voicings and possibilities have emerged. There is still a tribal percussive element too, with James’ North African darbuka rhythms on Dead Moon Jeopardy, and the multi-layered drumcore powering both the 60s R&B groove of Moonlight Mixing and the cinematic runaway freight train of At War. The near ten-minute title-track — this time acting as a centrepiece rather than a finale — offers matching breadth of scope to its predecessor Away From The Water. Part hypnotic-pagan-ritual and part turkish-krautrock-explosion it utterly defies precedent, yet hangs together so effortlessly it feels impossible to imagine it any other way. The band draw blanks when trying to explain how they came to collaborate on such an expansive piece — one must assume telepathy is once again at play. Three-part vocals from bass player Sinah Blohberger, Kitty and Gun repeat in unison “All Illusion!”.
“One of London’s most exciting live bands” – Q Magazine
“Brooding psychedelic rock” – The Independent
“Defiantly dark but cruelly seductive” – The Quietus
“Sexy, yet hypnotic” – Noisey
The Lucid Dream formed in Carlisle, Cumbria, in 2008. A string of sold-out 7″s was followed by the debut longer player, ‘Songs Of Lies and Deceit’, in August 2013. The album gained critical acclaim from Uncut, Q, Rocksound, Clash, Classic Rock Magazine, and leading French culture magazine, ‘Les Inrocks’, to name a few. The initial vinyl pressing of the debut album (500 copies) sold out within 2 days, and was backed by a main stage slot at Kendal Calling, 3 consecutive appearances at the Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia, and supports to Death In Vegas and A Place To Bury Strangers (full UK tour).
The self-titled 2nd album was released in March 2015. Radio support was received from BBC Radio 1 (Huw Stephens), BBC Radio 2 (Huey Morgan), and major support from BBC 6 Music (Lauren Laverne, Marc Riley (inc. 2 sessions), Steve Lamacq, Gideon Coe, Stuart Maconie, Tom Robinson). The album again gained major critical acclaim, with glowing reviews from Uncut, Q, Louder Than War, Artrocker, The Skinny, and Drowned In Sound (who ranked the album #7 UK album of the year). The vinyl pressing exceeded the sales of the debut, with the vinyl pressing of 750 copies selling out upon the day of release.
The album was supported by a European headline tour throughout Spring 2015 (the bands 4th tour in Europe), and slots at Indouro Fest (Portgual), Secret Garden Party, and Eindhoven Psych Lab (Holland). The Lucid Dream also again supported A Place To Bury Strangers, as well as support to Clinic.
“Krautrock, no-wave, psych, dub…terrific 2nd album. 8/10” – Uncut Magazine
“Anything but another psych-by-numbers record” – Drowned in Sound
Titanic yet ethereal, chaotic yet haunting, Matthew and Me create alternative pop like no other band. Their songs see beginnings of contemplative hush transform into leviathan choruses, capable of filling cathedrals. Lead singer, Matthew Board’s haunting vocals evoke a magical quality to their music, adding an otherworldly layer to the band’s sound.
Since their emergence Matthew and Me have quickly found themselves winning widespread support from the likes of BBC Radio 1 (Huw Stephens), BBC 6Music (Lauren Laverne, Chris Hawkins, Tom Robinson, Radcliffe and Maconie) and Radio X (John Kennedy), alongside performing at a series of major UK festivals that include Glastonbury, Field Day, Blissfields, and the Sea Change Festival in Totnes which they also helped to run and curate.
Matthew and Me are Matthew Board and Lucy Fawcett.
“Like an Escher print turned into a pop song – a beautiful, seemingly impossible contraption” – Clash
“A few times a week, we’re overwhelmingly taken back by an artist… Today is one of those moments, as we’re introduced to the UK-based five-piece, Matthew and Me.” – The Music Ninja
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Hinson is an old fashioned trouble man who fell pray to drugs and loose women, winding up homeless, destitute and incarcerated by the time most of his peers were filling in college applications. Music was his saviour, and since his 2003 debut, he’s pieced together a life for himself in his sleepy hometown, even proposing to his now wife live onstage in London.
Currently working on a new record, Micah continues to entertain audiences worldwide with a gritty and raw variety of what he describes as “violent country”.
Piney Gir hails from the American Midwest, home of wide-open plains with sunflowers that go on as far as the Earth curves. The “you’re not in Kansas anymore” jokes never wear thin, because Piney embraces her heritage bringing it with her to the UK, where she’s lived in London for over a decade now (yes she does have a sparkly red shoe collection & yes she wears a lot of gingham).
Piney was raised to fear God, like a lot of kids in the Bible-belt she wasn’t taught about Darwin in schools, she memorised Bible verses and chapters every week… It was this religious upbringing that spurred her into rock ‘n’ roll. “All we like sheep have gone astray…” Isaiah 53:6. All teenagers rebel, but Piney had a lot to rebel against and so she went through a series of extremes on an epic journey to figure out what’s what and who the heck she actually is. She was a bit of a Laura Palmer, with a mysterious double life burbling underneath her wholesome persona.
When she moved to London she worked in a cocktail bar & took some classes at St. Martins mainly to meet people & find new ways of expressing herself, and it was then she joined a synth pop duo called Vic Twenty… Vic Twenty released a single on a Mute label and toured UK and Europe with synth-pop legendary duo Erasure. Vic Twenty split up and thus Piney Gir the solo artist was born and this is Piney’s discography so far…
“Peakahokahoo” Piney Gir – Truck Records 2004
“Hold Your Horses” The Piney Gir Country Roadshow – Truck Records 2006
“The Yearling” Piney Gir – Hotel Records 2009
“Jesus Wept” The Piney Gir Country Roadshow – Damaged Goods 2010
“Geronimo!” Piney Gir – Damaged Goods 2011
“Mr Hyde’s Wild Ride” – Damaged Goods 2015
Piney has toured the UK and Europe extensively playing big festivals, small stages, toilet venues, night clubs, gay bars, art galleries, theatres, churches and pop-up shops. She even did her first tour of America, having played CMJ Festival and South By Southwest. She did 2 national radio sessions for NPR, including a gig at the esteemed Mountain Stage, which was a real milestone for her. “It’s nice to feel welcomed by your homeland,” says Piney.
“Varying emotions and mutations are part of its unexpected strength” – Mojo
“A retro delight″ – The Guardian
“Sweet 60′s pop from Kansas Chameleon” – Uncut
Let’s rewind to 20 May, 2013, Still Parade’s first signs of life were heard with the release of its first single “Actors”. This song celebrated its debut on Earmilk, was a viral smash hit – and garnered positive reviews on trendsetting blogs such as The 405, Pigeons & Planes and Indie Shuffle on both sides of the Atlantic. As a result, the single stormed its way directly into the upper rankings of the popular Hype Machine charts and was heard several hundred thousand times – no mean feat for a debut single. Still Parade quickly established itself in the blogosphere as an international rather than a German phenomenon.
For a long time, this phenomenon remained concealed behind a mysterious veil, and hardly anyone knew anything about Still Parade – because the music was supposed to speak for itself. And it did. With the debut EP “Fields”, Still Parade had again won over the trendsetters inhabiting the blog world and the band was approached by the Manchester-based Heist or Hit label. Still Parade played at the most important international showcase festivals, such as SXSW in Austin, Texas, or The Great Escape in Brighton and toured throughout Europe with its own shows in London, Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin. And as 2013 ended and 2014 began, the veil billowed and the identity behind Still Parade was gradually revealed: the founder and creative engine is Niklas Kramer, a young producer and artist living in Berlin.
Out of the blue, in 2014, Kramer received a tape recorder as a present from his father. A significant present, as it turned out, because he began to experiment with it and with new recording techniques. He had recorded his previous material in professional studios with experienced producers, which gave them a sophisticated dream folk sound. Over time, however, Kramer realised that he actually preferred the sound that he could record himself in his modest Berlin apartment using just this tape recorder. He himself describes the process as follows: “For me, production is just as important as composition and lyrics and it’s just really fun to work on the sounds. I learned a crazy amount about production by working with the producer Thomas Harsem on the first Still Parade EP. So it felt natural to do it myself this time. I think the most important thing about solo production is that you can just spend a lot more time and you can also experiment more with off-the-wall ideas. I’ve set up a small home studio in my apartment. I’ve got a couple of tape machines, compressors and everything you need to make music. I can only just imagine how difficult it must be to work on music somewhere else.
Armed with a collection of brand new songs, Still Parade has left the dream folk and yacht rock, which was characteristic of its first works, behind it. Although “Concrete Vision” offers even more intense melodies, catchy hooks and harmonious singing of a quality that can rarely be found in this country, it is, however, much, much more than this. What is the reason for this stylistic expansion, this quantum leap? This is Kramer’s response: “I started working on new songs right after the EP, and quickly realised that I was being pulled in another direction. “Walk in the Park” (Note: the first single) was the first song that I wrote for “Concrete Vision” and that then provided the starting point for the new direction. I think that the tape machine had a greater influence on the songwriting than on the sound itself. …”
When Niklas Kramer is asked about his influences, he cites heroes such as Caribou, Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Beach Boys, Neu! and Todd Rundgren. They have accompanied him for a long time – but it may be that their influence is also evident in this production. “Concrete Vision” is a treasure trove for the knowledgeable collector of pop quotes, but is always independent, coherent and 100% Still Parade. Niklas Kramer has evolved over the years not only as a great songwriter, but also as an extremely capable producer.
Ladies and gentlemen, hot off the block it’s the kids that pop your cotton socks off, Trudy and the Romance baby. These nowhere boys will leave you love drunk and weeping into your whiskey. With hollywood-tinged melodies and raucous guitar, they spit grit in the teeth of a Colgate grin.
Heartbroken ever since his first love frenched another guy, Olly picked up the guitar and began to pen pop tunes. His songs tell of his struggle: being mean to women and regretting it later when he is lonely. Olly needed a band. Tipping a trolley full of trash in a strangers digs, Olly met bassist Lewis and before too long he found drums in childhood mucker Brad. They now live together in Liverpool.
Trudy and the Romance first release ‘All My Love’ is rumoured to have been written whilst crying in his garden shed. Neighbours would issue noise complaints, however police would favour Trudy and the Romance and in-fact turn them up.
Quote: “Never boring, never disappointing, makes you laugh and cry in equal measure, lovely stuff” Grandma Irene. It is clear that soulful, youthful Trudy and the Romance has a lot more to show the world.
At once uplifting and otherworldly, the music of Ulrich Schnauss combines multilayered synthesizers with beats and ethereal vocals, serving as an aural escape route from the trappings of reality. As Schnauss explains, ‘I’ve always used making and listening to music as a way to escape – putting on headphones is a great way to leave reality behind for a while, reminding yourself why it still makes sense to carry on.’
Today, Schnauss expresses a renewed interest in more direct electronic sounds, and aims to substitute traditional verse-chorus-verse structures for more freeform atmospherics.
“Producer, remixer and all-round genius Ulrich Schnauss makes music as big as the oceans” – NME
“Atmospheric synth outings that combine the spirits of shoegaze” – Drowned In Sound
Formed in 2015, Vanishing Twin came together to make an exploratory record that marries oblique English pop with a palette of arkestral sounds. Having previously released a string of conceptual cassettes under the name Orlando, founder Cathy Lucas (Innerspace Orchestra) named the group after her vanishing twin, an identical sister absorbed in utero, when they were both still a cluster of cells.
The band enlisted the help of producer Malcolm Catto (Heliocentrics, DJ Shadow, The Gaslamp Killer) and began work at his London studio, Quatermass Sound Lab, last spring. Recording the basis for eight tracks, they blended structure and improvisation in pop songs that describe a personal mythology through the adventures of Lucas’ vanished twin.
Drawing on sounds outside of the usual pop vocabulary, the group used forgotten drum machines, home-made electronics, vibraphones, tablas, and harp to invoke the esoteric psychedelia of lost soundtracks, radiophonic experiments and minimal music orchestras. In a studio that Catto built for maximum atmosphere and minimum interfere, and crammed with obscure vintage equipment, he brought his own distinctive sonics to the table, informed by outsider jazz, Italian library music and ethnographic field recordings.
Vanishing Twin is made up of singer Cathy Lucas (Orlando) drummer Valentina Magaletti (Raime, Tomaga, Uuuu, Neon Neon), bassist Susumu Mukai (Zongamin, Floating Points), library music head Phil M.F.U. (Man From Uranus) on strange sounds, and film maker and visual artist Elliott Arndt on flute and percussion.