Monday, 30 June 2008

interview: jeremy warmsley

sweet photo by joe dilworth

Jeremy Warmsley's The Art of Fiction is one of my favourite album's released in recent years. It's aged pretty well, when you consider it was released around the same time as Larrikin Love's album, and pre Klaxons also. It is a record loaded with emotion and aggression, but still with moments of tenderness and poise. The highlight being the brilliant opening track, Dirty Blue Jeans, which hurtles out the blocks at a million miles an hour in its string-laden, glitchy-folk produced tale of the trials of early adulthood. Performed brilliantly in Paris here in Montmartre (near Metro Abbesses), this is my favourite video from the lovely people at La Blogotheque. I sometimes go for breakfast just across from that church, it's about the only place in Paris to get bacon and eggs and a mean cup of hot chocolate.

So any cobwebs which may have been lurking should well have been expelled. I caught up with Jeremy for a brief Q&A about his upcoming album,
How We Became.

J: What is your earliest memory of music?

J-wo:Um... playing the recorder lessons aged four? I once had a synaesthetic vision whilst listening to Handel's Messiah aged 7 and decided I could see the future... and I got really into Graceland when I was 11...

J:So the new album is called How We Became? In what ways would you say it differs from your debut? I read you were planning a double vinyl LP…is this still the case?

J-wo: Yes it is. It is very different from The Art Of Fiction... the songs are a lot stronger. There is more consistency between the tracks - I don't mean to say that they all sound the same, but there is a definite "soundworld" that they all inhabit, together. I think. I was never planning a double LP but there was originally a very complex plan for the album that has since been abandoned.

J:In terms of backing vocalists / guest instrumentalists, do you have as many colloborators as before?

J-wo: There are no backing vocalists on this record - it's all me, this time round. Plenty of other players though, some familiar and some new.

J:Is the record more / less electronic than before?

J-wo: I would say that the split is almost exactly the same as last time. There's one song with entirely electronic music and one song that's just solo piano, and the other tracks range freely between those extremes.

J: I found that the first album had really strong themes and images in it – lying / self deception (a bit Sartrean I suppose) being quite an obvious one, the single bed image is another, are these images present on the new record or do you feel you've moved on from there? If you have, what images / themes would you say are present on the new record?

J-wo: For me the first record was a real document of myself at the time that I composed it. In fact, it represented things about myself that I wasn't even aware of at the time. Presumably the same thing will happen with this album! But in general the lyrical themes are a lot more... open. They're about things that people can relate to.

J:Which song do you like most off the new album?

J-wo: Probably the last song, Craneflies, which anyone who has seen me live over the last two years will have heard me play...

J:What was the last lie you told?

J-wo: I told someone that my new single, "The Boat Song", a duet with Emmy The Great, was being covered by Rod Stewart and Charlotte Church.

J:Do you prefer playing live / working on stuff in the studio?

J-wo: I like to do them both! Working in the studio is great because it's very detail-oriented and you can just geek out about things and make everything sound perfect. Playing live is just a massive rush. Completely different things.

J: How would you describe your relationship with Transgressive?

J-wo: Cordial. No, we're very very close (shortly after signing, I even lived with one of my label bosses for a while). There's a lot of mutual trust and recognition.

J: Best gig you've been to in the last 3 months?

J-wo: Adem at ATP - vibraphone, harp, drums, harmonium, strings, 7 people singing... just wonderful!

So there you have it. Jeremy Warmsley laid bare. Sorta. He's on tour around the UK headlining the Transgressive Hot Summer Tour. His non-album super-hyper-rare as fuck (there's 500 copies) single, The Boat Song (B-Side is Temptation) is available now. Lose My Cool, the awesome next single, is out end of July. Check an acoustic version out on my first Dot-to-Dot post.

Jeremy Warmsley - The Boat Song
Jeremy Warmsley - The Boat Song - Single///transgressive HQ

More interviews to come shortly. A Kotki Dwa interview is sitting on my desk screaming for a write up. And Dot-to-Dot and Primavera write-ups to come this week.

Friday, 27 June 2008

HEALTH + chromatics @ villette sonique

Dot to Dot part 2 is in production. Will try and catch up with myself soon, I haven't blogged as much lately and it's a bit annoying. Trying to make the most of what time is left of me in Paris, and working full-time at a record label and going out pretty much every night is sapping mes temps libres. Enough of the excuses.

Casting my mind back a few weekends ago, it was the day after Danger at Fleche D'Or. I had a hangover that cast a dark, dark shadow over my mind and body and thought it would be a good idea to go to a music festival at Parc de la Villette to see HEALTH and Chromatics. HEALTH having a reputation for being loud. Very loud. That said, they know how use silence as well.

Emerging from the metro to find this science park (it contains the biggest science museum in Europe) was really odd. It did not feel like I was about to have my head blown off. It was quite peaceful, parents with kids on shoulders strolling round the park whilst HEALTH were spotted walking around angrily in the minutes running up to their performance. It was, I think, the biggest aural assault my ears have received since seeing Death From Above 1979 live a couple of years back, and I really admire the inventiveness of HEALTH in terms of the way they used vocal effects to completely distort and elevate their voices at the same time was awesome. And they just battered the shit out of their instruments totally.

HEALTH - Triceratops
visit their myspace /// buy from lovepump

Drizzle had started to descend as HEALTH left the stage, and we wandered about the various record stalls that were set up on the neighbouring lawn. Finally picked up a copy of Motor from the good people at My Electro Kitchen. Chromatics were having sound problems. Johnny Jewel, electronics maestro for the four-piece, had managed to blow a fuse or something, which took ages to fix. Eventually, it was good to go and you can see why they took so long given how essential Jewel is to the group. His synths and samples (does he sample Manuel Gottsching or is that just me?) drive the whole thing, and I don't mean to take anything away from the other guys in saying that. The guitarist, is a bit of a one-trick pony really, if you took away his effects he would sound really bad. Powered by their Jude Law drummer lookalike and the floaty vocals of singer, Ruth Radelet, their sound is atmospheric and disco, pretty much the opposite of HEALTH. Okay, that's a lie, HEALTH have atmosphere but they clearly aren't disco, that's why the made a DISCO album obviously.

Chromatics are clearly striving for a specific sound and style, and when it comes off, it is really life-affirming in a very eighties kind of way. They finished their set with I Want Your Love, which built up and up beautifully forcing a smile on the face of every crowd member before closing with their Kate Bush cover, Running Up That Hill. It sticks in your head for about a week afterwards.

Chromatics - I Want Your Love
visit their myspace///buy from Night Drive from Pure Groove

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

dot to dot festival, nottingham // day 1

(beautiful artwork by Michael Cowell)

Dot-to-Dot is a festival on the rise. It was formed in 2005 by Ricky Haley, promoter behind Liars Club in Nottingham. In general, you could hold him responsible for the general vibrancy of the live music scene in Nottingham. He also runs Alt-Delete Recordings, who put out the Digital Penetration compilation, often considered to be a snapshot of nu-rave before it really took off. In terms of the lineup, it's very now and I can't quite figure out exactly what I mean.

Here is my review of Day 1 at Dot-to-Dot, as I returned to my hometown with my intrepid friend, Doug, who will be providing expert video commentary on proceedings.

Kicking things off were Metronomy at Rock City, who certainly know how to put on a show. Call it a gimmick if you will, but the lights on chests thing certainly makes everyone smile. I don't know how it would go down at an open-air festival but that's besides the point. It would be easy to pigeonhole them as nu-rave but they are far more than that. Vocally, they do evoke the cooing falsettos of Golden Skans but instrumentally they remain pretty diverse for a three-piece with multiple instrument changes. They didn't have a drummer, I wish they did. New songs sounded good. Holiday is out July 7th. It has a jittery elegance with dark lyrical undertones. Listen to it over at the myspace.
Download their finest hour below.

//buy Metronomy stuff

Here's Doug's views on Metronomy.

Heading back to The Social, we thought we'd take a punt on a random artist that neither of us had ever heard of. Alexander G Muertos has a great voice, but sadly little stage presence or quality tunes. Pity.

Back to Rock City for Saul Williams, ever the showman and purveyor of intelligent hip-hop. One thing I like about him is that he clearly, clearly has a sense of humour - he named his recent album, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust for fuck's sake which is easily the best album title I've heard in a long time. He also had the presence of mind to ask the crowd to get into it, and transform the show into something more than a performance - he used the term, ritual. Below you will find his defining track, List of Demands and a stream of his U2 cover, Sunday Bloody Sunday.

Saul Williams - List of Demands (Reparations)
Saul Williams - Sunday Bloody Sunday
//buy Saul Williams

The sound was bad in Rescue Rooms. It was a pity because you just couldn't hear the vocals at all well, which for a pop act like this is absolutely essential. Paris is Burning remains her best tune - it has a chorus to die for and an equally brilliant refrain. It should quite rightly soundtrack summers getting drunk in the street everywhere. Signed to Modular, I'd say she'll be big soon. Whether it will last is another thing, will everybody continue to love the 80's forever? I hope so.

At this point of the evening, I dashed back home for a bit of dinner and Eurovision - the beauty of attending a festival in your hometown.


Sebastien Tellier
has never been afraid of joking around. You would think a televised contest in front of millions of viewers worldwide would create a bit of nervousness in the performer. Not Sebastien, who sauntered on stage in Belgrade with a globe filled with helium and then proceeded to inhale it mid-song and show the world the amusing high-pitched side effects.

Ignoring the claims of political bloc voting, perhaps it was this carefree attitude that undermined any chance of returning to France victorious. Or maybe the voters just didn’t like his beard. Whatever the reasons were, one cannot deny that Sebastien’s shimmering performance of Divine at Eurovision 2008 was a defiant departure from the norm. I really hope that more quality performers will dare to perform at Eurovision in the future, despite the poor final position, as hopefully it would force general standards higher, which can only be a good thing? or does anybody actually care?

Sebastien Tellier – Divine (Midnight Juggernauts remix)
// buy Sebastien Tellier stuff

Then it was back into town and to The Social (I refuse to call it The Bodega on principle, as I consider it to be a stupid name change) for Jeremy Warmsley. One thing that irritates me about festivals is that often the artist’s set is much shorter than usual, unless they are top of the bill. I suppose it’s a necessary evil to fit everyone in though. Jeremy Warmsley + band were previewing songs from his upcoming album, How We Became. Big feature/interview on Jeremy to come in the next week or so once I get over my festival backlog (This may take longer than expected as the Villette Sonique festival with HEALTH and Chromatics the past weekend was pretty spectacular). Judging from this performance though, the new songs seem promising. Jeremy is blessed with a voice that flits between breathless softness and violent anger, often in the same song. Allied to lyrics that are sarcastic yet insightful, he is a talent. Here is Lose My Cool in streaming format, performed acoustically for MAPS.

Jeremy Warmsley - Lose My Cool (acoustic)

//buy Jeremy Warmsley

Jeremy accompanied us back through the Market Square and back up to Stealth for Dan Deacon, who is an innovator for sure. He just likes to have fun. I’d like to offer some kind of incredible review here, but I was somewhat waylaid by the incredible drinks offer at the Festival, courtesy of Sailor Jerry – beautiful, beautiful dark rum. It cost £2.50 for a double mixer. I’m sure you can imagine the chaos that ensued. Dan Deacon set up shop in the middle of the crowd and then coordinated a dance contest (see video below) and one of those games that you play when you’re a kid where people join arms and make a tunnel and then each person runs through one by one. If anybody can help me out with the name for this game, I’d be much obliged. Again, respect to Dan Deacon for managing to coordinate such a fun event out of such a mess of people whilst playing crazy odd-ball electronics at the same time. He also tells a guy to stop dancing, because he's really bad.

Dan Deacon – The Crystal Cat
// buy Dan Deacon stuff

Bringing the night to a close were Aussie electro-rockers, Midnight Juggernauts. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from them live, as on record they are very, very slick. Again the Sailor Jerry’s had destroyed my ability to see a little bit, but the performance was what would hope for from a show like this. It brought the heavily 80’s tinged songs to life with a lot of vibrancy and got people dancing. Into the Galaxy is my favourite track, if solely for the awesome vocal G-L-O-R-I-A, which deserves some kind of hand-dance. Worth mentioning also that in places, they remind me a lot of Erasure.

Midnight Juggernauts – Into The Galaxy
///buy Midnight Juggernauts stuff

Florence and the Machine was meant to play, I saw it on previous lineups but then her name was absent from the final list. It upset me really. I need to see her live. This video is pretty hot though.Single is out soon on Moshi Moshi. Roll on Day 2 of Dot-to-Dot report.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

DANGER // fleche d'or // 060608

Dot to Dot update is taking longer than expected. Things get in the way, like Danger at Fleche D'Or. In terms of electro, Paris was spoilt last night. Kavinsky was over at Paris Social Club. Tough call but I hadn't seen Danger before, I saw Kavinsky in the rain at Primavera and Fleche D'Or is gratuit, so really it's a no brainer.

After what seemed like an eternity, Franck took to the stage and let rip. Stage invasion ensued soon after, the beats were nice. A word or two about the mask, he looks like Spiderman's long lost evil electro twin. It's a good look. Comparisons to Justice are lazy from a sound point of view, but in terms of hype potential it's probably fair. It's good how even at this early stage he has a clear vision of how he wants to present himself and his music (see Kavinsky also). The mask is one thing, but the use of 24 hour times for his track names is different. I'm pretty sure he probably has code names in this style for his remixes as well. I could easily envisage his album being called 24h00. Certainly has a nice ring to it.

Here is Danger's latest cut. It's a bit less frantic than 11h30 but still motors along nicely.

Danger - 7h46

Enjoy. You can find more over at the excellent Kidz by Colette. I'm off to Villette Sonique once my hangover subsides for HEALTH and Chromatics. More French electro that is possibly a bit less known to come soon.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008



Update starting with Dot-to-Dot Festival will be up on Friday. I'm just so so fucking busy at the moment, have not had a day off in weeks and won't do until then.

At the moment my discovery of the festivals I've attended in the weeks previous is the song below. There is also a delightful video preview of my Primavera review. Fucks sake.

Holy Fuck - Lovely Allen

This week in Paris is going to be incredible musicwise. The Villette Sonique festival this weekend with Dan Deacon, El Guincho, HEALTH, Turzi solo etc.

and Danger at Fleche D'Or on Friday.