Monday, 23 February 2009

where's your punk spirit?

If there was any reason for me to love scousers even more than I already do then Wave Machines are surely it. Described by some as lo-fi art disco, Wave Machines are simply the best live band I’ve seen in a long time. All four band members wear masks of themselves while playing live, swap lead vocals and play a range of live instruments, including clarinet, ukulele, malletkat, zither, electro vibraphone and synth-bass. I was lucky enough to catch them last year playing at their single launch at the Royal Albert Hall and wowzers were they good. They were supported by Micachu who was also pretty awesome but she was blown away by four scousers in masks (not literally I hasten to add, as I’m sure you would of heard of heard about a female performer being gunned down mid set in the Royal Albert Hall) but I’m digressing slightly.

Wave Machines released two singles last year via Chess Club, both of which were contenders for single of the year. Part Peter, Bjorn and John, part Carl Douglas, Wave Machines create a fragile pop, built on groovy bass lines, falsetto vocals with just good old fashioned musicianship and great song writing. No two songs are the same; the two singles, both danceable pop songs, are perhaps outshone (only very slightly though) by their set closer, Where’s My Punk Spirit, a straight out indie anthem that you simply have to sing along to. At their single launch party for The Greatest Escape We Ever Made, they played their two singles within the first part of the set. For a lot of new bands that would have meant that things were going to go down hill from there. Not for these sublime scousers, oh no, the set just kept on getting better. All of which makes me unbelievably excited for the album, which I think is set for release in March. The band are doing a mini tour with Post War Years and James Yuill (ed. this Wednesday at The Lexington) and you’ll have a hard time finding a better line up than that. I’m off to find my punk spirit, and I suggest you do too.

Wave Machines - The Greatest Escape We Ever Made

Thursday, 19 February 2009

marina + the diamonds @ pure groove

Last week saw the relaunch of Pure Groove's store in Farringdon. I previously voiced my concerns as to how the store would cope, given their selective stocking policy. They have surpassed my expectations though. I arrived late to a bustling Smithsfield for the secret Marina + The Diamonds show. Derek of Neon Gold had given me the heads-up on what was going to be his baby's first live show with a new lineup, ready to take 2009 by storm in the war of female songstresses.

Let me first describe the store. Gone is the Top 100, an elaborately designed method of showcasing the Pure Groove crew's favourites. It's been replaced by your average shop counter, that also doubles up as a bar. This is a stroke of genius, amusingly turning your trusty record-shop worker into a bartender. The deliberation over which beverage to drink becomes a distracted process, as the CDs and vinyls positioned above the fridges also jostle for your attention. As well as these benefits, it turns the low-key instore gig into something far more riotous; the intimate atmosphere more appropriate to more familiar venues, except without the dark corners and sticky floors. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out when the place is packed, but I'd say the people at Pure Groove are onto a winner. Will they pay the bands to play? Unlikely. Will they make a killing off booze sold at in-store gigs in addition to exquisite boutique vinyls? Absolutely.

And so, onto Marina + The Diamonds, who didn't exactly blow me away on first listen / glance. That was probably because I'm a big cynic, and I didn't really think the world needed another British female singer songwriter. Well, I changed my mind. Kate Nash's debut album was a colossal dissppointment after much early promise; equally distressing was how her quirks were ironed out into a cake-eating, fit dress personality-less persona. Lily Allen always had the attitude, but not the songwriting ability to match. Adele and Florence and the Machine are blessed with stunning voices, but again haven't proved themselves to be in possession of the power to pen a stonking tune. I'll reserve judgement on Florence until her album drops.

Young Marina, on the other hand, has a Pandora's box overflowing with melodies. She whips them out with a voice that soars in all the right places and quivers gorgeously from time to time. Liam Howe as the magician behind the production desk looks an inspired choice. Her songs are breathlessly energetic, energy matched last week on stage with a sultry performance that laid down the gauntlet to all of 2009's pretenders to the quirky singer-songstress crown. Clearly some practicing in front of the mirror has been going on, time put to good use as all eyes in the room were on her.

Obsessions is the single, like I said I wasn't particularly enamoured with it before.
If you're similarly unsure, just listen to the ah-ah backing vocals that kick in just before the second minute. The next thirty seconds, I crumble completely. Pretty much every melody then comes back in for a beautifully layered finalé and it all makes sense. At this point, I'm enthralled by this girl's mastery of melody and vocal layers. Pink Stallone yoink the backing vocals for their epic disco-fare, their version being more suited to the highway than the bedroom. Mowgli's Road is probably the stronger track, definitely live anyway, but go elsewhere for that or buy the vinyl. Head on over to Transparent for another remix of Obsessions also. Buy from Pure Groove.

Marina + The Diamonds - Obsessions

Marina + The Diamonds - Obsessions (Pink Stallone Crush)

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

can: mother upduff

Sometimes I can't write. The words obstinately refuse come. It would be foolish to write, when the words of others just come a lot faster, earlier and easier than mine. One such case is the song below by CAN entitled Mother Upduff. Paints a delightfully skewed picture, enjoy it. I picked up Cannibalism 3 in FOPP, I'm sure you can do the same.

Dusseldorf 1969,
Mr. and Mrs. Upduff and grandmother Upduff
Decided they were going on a vacation.
Mother Upduff hadn't been out of Dusseldorf in 80 years.
They packed in their car their tent and equipment
And started driving off to Italy.
Mother Upduff is reading about the Mafia on their way to Italy.
Drrrroom, off they went,
Driving in their automobile.
Finally they got to Italy, beautiful old Italy, fantastic sights.
Pompeii they went to,
They went to Pompeii, they went to Venice,
They went to Sicily, they went to Florence,
Their final stop was Rome.
Off to Rome, Drrooom.Bzzzzr
Rome, then they were in Rome,
Old paintings, old buildings, fantastic sights to see.
Mother Upduff decided she was going out on the beach for a walk,
Out she went for a walk.
Mr. And Mrs. Upduff said they would follow,
Off they went behind Mother Upduff trailing behind her.
Mother Upduff was walking down the street
Looking at all the shop windows.
Finally, or is it the beginning,
Mother Upduff was standing there watching in the fish market,
A gigantic octopus leap out of the pool
And snatch Mother Upduff up.
Little then did they know what to do Mother and M-Father Upduff wrote,
Not having any money at all,
Decided that they would have to wrap her up in their tent,
Putting on top of the car and carry her back to Dusseldorf.
Wrapping her up in their tent, putting her on top of the car
And fiercely driving off to Dusseldorf.
Drooooom, off they went back to Dusseldorf.
On the way to Dusseldorf as they were still in Italy
They drove into a café, have a cup of coffee.
Drinking their cup of coffee up, coming back outside
Their car had been stolen with their luggage.

You really have to sympathise with the Upduffs. I know I do.

Can - Mother Upduff

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

artist: mumford and sons

Okay. You may have noticed things getting a little more consistent around here of late. This is just the start. Rather than just mope and scream at my computer for not making it easier to design a layout as hot, if not hotter than myself, I've decided to just post. Post. Post. Post. Also enlisting new people, as the other guys have crumbled into their final years. Fair play to them, I've just learnt new ways of managing my time. Anyway, I hereby introduce Joss, who besides being an incredible guitarist for Al Cool, has also just started his own blog, meandbruce, which is quite amusing. Here's his first piece.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the year or so, you might have noticed there’s a small folk explosion happening. Last year Laura Marling and Noah and The Whale stole the limelight but acts such as Jay Jay Pistolet, James Yuill, Jeremy Warmsley and Emmy The Great are on the up. And yes most of them know each other, play drums for each, produce each others records, provide backing vocals for each other, date each other, have dated each other. Excitable journalists have compared the new folk movement to the folk movement in the Laurel Canyon that produced the likes of Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and The Eagles. Like every emerging scene you have journalists getting over excited as well as artists trying to ride the coat tails of other bands' success, changing their names to Jane and The Scenesters and getting someone to play a fiddle over their songs. This does not apply to Mumford and Sons.

I went to see them play at the end of last year in Rough Trade. I’ve been to a few in-stores in Rough Trade and although I’ve seen some good acts play a good set, the atmosphere has been fairly non existent. Not for Mumford and Sons. A packed Rough Trade was enthralled by their uplifting bluegrass folk. The band is fronted by Marcus Mumford, who aside from playing drums for Laura Marling, has one of the best live voices I’ve heard in a long time. He sings with real gravity without sounding like Damian Rice. Backed by double bass, organ, banjo and backing vocals provided by the rest of the band all their songs follow a similar formula, starting off slowly, before rising in intensity before dropping back down before rising to a grand finalé. This does not take anything away from their songs, all carefully crafted folk songs. Like all good folk music the lyrics are important; Marcus’s songs tell tales of regret and insecurities. Just go and see them live, (they’re on tour at the moment) and buy their records.

Mumford and Sons - Sister


Monday, 16 February 2009


Be Kind Rewind was the last time I sat in a cinema and practically convulsed with laughter all the way through. Now, a clubnight has emerged that combines the lo-fi film making aesthetic of the film with hot live music. The film above is the result of the first Videopia at Notting Hill Arts Club, the 'sweded' film being 80's classic, Back to the Future. Tomorrow's event will see ET being reproduced. The below bands will follow to rock your world.




10.15pm SCREENING OF E.T (sweded)




Saturday, 14 February 2009

if he breaks your heart

Happy Valentines. As you read this, I will be far away probably in some kind of warehouse in a sleepy village, asleep.

Whatever you do for your beloved this weekend, do not go to The Slaughtered Lamb tomorrow with the intention of treating them to aural brilliance from Jeremy Warmsley, Slow Club and Johnny Flynn amongst others. It is totally, totally, totally sold out so unless you are one of the ten people (the downstairs room is small) who have bought tickets, no point going I'm afraid.

Jeremy Warmsley - If He Breaks Your Heart (acoustic)

Download this instead. If you're lonely on Valentines, watch the above video. Jeremy looks so very lonely, it's bound to cheer you up.

If the only way to satisfy your beloved is live Jeremy Warmsley, get cosy in front of your laptop and watch the below video. Check out those rhythm section harmonies. Aren't they just to die for? This post is like a video-MP3-video sandwich. Has to be some kind of first. I love the advert at the start of this one, really highlights the power of music.

Friday, 13 February 2009

post war years: whole world on its head

Post War Years - "Whole World On Its Head" (Chess Club 2009) from Post War Years on Vimeo.

This song is going to destroy 2009.
In the manner that Hummer waylaid 2007.
Will probably feature on Kitsuné Maison sept.
The band are going on tour. Dates on myspace.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

david sugar @ slaughtered lamb tonight ! ! ! ! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

David Sugar is a fucking genius. Fuck the idea that you should release one album every two years, maybe every year, or even every 9 months, then peddle the absolute fuck out of it for ages and ages. David Sugar is doing everything on the fly, a man after my own heart. Plan for 2009. Release a track every week for the whole year. 52 tracks. Release a vinyl EP each month with the 4 tracks. Have a free party to celebrate at my new favourite watering hole in Farringdon, The Slaughtered Lamb. Coopers beer is all I'm going to say on that. One compilation at the mid-point of the year, an album a la fin.

David E. Sugar - To Yourself

To Yourself
is still his go-to tune. Tight production, pulsing bass squelches that almost belong on a Ministry of Sound compil circa 2000 (garage times) and choruses and hooks emitted from a voice that sounds like an actual young twenty something chatting shit about girls. Although You May Laugh is a worthy follow up, featuring on Kitsuné 6. I kinda wish Sugar was a pop star appearing on CD:UK and T4. He would wipe the floor with somebody like Lemar. I'm unwilling to say more until I've seen the kid in action, so I won't.

David E. Sugar - Although You May Laugh

///visit his website///buy his vinyl from phonica

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

fleet foxes: mykonos

It's fair to say Fleet Foxes are on a victory lap. A younger version of myself would have been upset at the inclusion of bonus tracks, devious marketing ploy that it kinda is to entice new customers into gaining something supposedly exclusive. It's only an extra track though, I see the bigger picture these days.

I chanced upon a lovely 7-inch of the extra track, Mykonos, in HMV on Oxford Street and thought it worthy of adding to my collection. A collection that hasn't been supplemented much of late, mainly due to a lack of space in my Hackney abode and just the ol' crunch I guess. This is classic Fleet Foxes, if such an utterance can really be made at such an early point in their career. The refrain around the second minute mark doesn't so much stick in your head, rather it seems as if it's been there all along.

Enjoy this live, somewhat rawer version, less coated in reverb - courtesy of Music Under Fire

Fleet Floxes - Mykonos

Good set guys.

buy the vinyl.

server issues to be resolved soon.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

crystal antlers & loverman @ transparent

My timekeeping is poor. Showed my face at a friend's in Waterloo then clambered aboard a 63 in a rush to Pentonville Road. I shut my eyes for a second and I have no idea where the bus is. Hold my nose and ask the pungent drunk next to me which way is Pentonville Road? He tells me to get off, so I do with the stumble typical of any attempt to leave a still moving vehicle. Walking up Pentonville Road for what seems like forever, Theophilius London's latest mixtape soundtracking my ascent. The Lexington finally looms into vision, I stumble up more stairs and clasp a pint and sigh as I realize I've missed nearly all of Loverman and Ark People (there'll be a next time for those kids for sure) on the quality lineup put together by Transparent Magazine

(they've recently implemented a new layout and it is smoking!).

Thankfully, I caught My Trick Is I Don't Die, like a brick to the face. A live rendering as visceral and utterly thrilling as I'd hoped. A super tight band beating the living shit out of their instruments whilst Gabriel growled and prowled his way around, a slightly possessed singer.

Loverman - My Trick Is I Don't Die

Crystal Antlers impressed as I knew they would, but didn't send to me dizzying heights of rapture. I was slightly put off by the seemingly superfluous extra percussionist on stage left. He didn't add much and kept distracting me from the rest of the group with over the top nothing gestures. Their EP is worth having on your record player as you don't have to see all that and you can just sit back for the ride.

Crystal Antlers - A Thousand Eyes

Thursday, 5 February 2009

lock tavern: jeremy warmsley

I dragged my sorry ass to the Lock Tavern on the rainy Sunday after Sébastien Tellier (part 2 of feature coming soon, it's just it's lengthy and I just need to clear some exclusive live tracks with Record Makers) and Deep Note the night before. The roast beef was very good, succulent I might add. Broccoli a bit overdone, same with the carrots. For me a Yorkshire pudding should not be overdone, not even done. Crispy on the outside and a little soft and squidgy in the middle. The Lock Tavern Yorkshire was too hard. Roast potatoes and parsnips were solid, nothing special. Washed down with Kronenbourg and and Tribute. The Lock Tavern is a great place to spend a Sunday doing absolute fuck all. In the summer, it's lush outside and in winter they have heaters.

We got some music as well. After the cancellation of Marina + The Diamonds, it was left to The Woe Betides to provide support. They gave a sterling account of themselves, despite playing to a backing track which always makes me feel a little uneasy. Two men with a good understanding, defiantly a duo. I liked how they both took charge of the stage and their grungy-pop songs without overpowering each other. The 'I don't need you anymore' refrain in the track below will linger like the odours on your clothes after a long weekend.

The Woe Betides - Under the Sand

///visit myspace and buy their EP

The headline act was Jeremy Warmsley of course. He wowed the crammed confines of the Lock Tavern's upstairs with a set that demonstrated a cohesiveness and confidence on the rise. The lack of a piano ruled out a few numbers but the songs he picked from both albums merged together really well. For me, this is the sign of a good live act, when an artist doesn't sound like they are simply reproducing their album on stage. If you want to listen to an album, you can do that anywhere.

A new track, I Don't Know, sounded incredible with backing harmonies timed to absolute perfection. Hopefully that will emerge soon. One thing all London based Warmsley fans should drag themselves down to is The Heartbreak Ball in Farringdon on Sunday 15th February. It's an all-day (well 4pm onwards) affair curated by Jeremy, featuring the likes of Johnny Flynn, Slow Club, Gossamer Albatross, A Classic Education and Stars of Sunday League. The man himself will be performing as well obviously. To celebrate this and the best holiday of the year, Valentine's Day, he will be releasing an acoustic version of If He Breaks Your Heart for download the day before. Listen to it below and get your tickets.

Jeremy Warmsley - If He Breaks Your Heart (acoustic)

///get tickets for The Heartbreak Ball

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

sky larkin: matador

sky lark (sklärk)
n. An Old World lark (Alauda arvensis) having brownish plumage and noted for its singing while in flight.

intr.v sky larked, sky larking, sky larks
- To play actively and boisterously; frolic.

Sky Larkin's name fits them well. Katie Harkin's voice soars and twists powerfully, pushing every line, every chorus to breaking point whilst remaining tender enough to pick up the pieces. It kinda toes the line in a wonderfully, breathy way that leaves me hanging on for something more. Fierce impetus is provided by her bandmates Doug and Nestor. Boistrous and playful is their sound to a tee, a trip to Seattle has resulted in a fine album, The Golden Spike. Their debut single on Dance to the Radio, One of Two, was gloriously raw. Now everything is crisper than the cold snap.

Sky Larkin - Matador

After a listen or two, this song stands out. The opening guitar line has an assured air of quality. Close your eyes and you can easily imagine yourself in a festival crowd as the sun goes down. Equally good on chilly days spilling out of your kitchen stereo.

Album is out on Monday on Wichita. Pre-order it here or if you're in London, head down to Rough Trade East on the 11th to pick up a copy and watch Sky Larkin do their thing in-store.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

peoples person club: our greatest invention

Out of all the music appearing on shattered satellite so far in '09, it's this song that has stuck in my head the most. Peoples Person Club are from Leamington Spa and count Post War Years as best buddies. The brainchild of John Ridgard, evidently weaned on a diet of Skittles and Panda Pops. I'm making such hasty assumptions on his childhood because the song is hyperactive in that state you only reach under the influence of a mad sugar high, intense and ephemeral, liable to run into sharp-cornered furniture at any second.

All manner of keyboard squirks and squarks surround some nice jingle-jangle guitars and hazy melodic clutter in this four-minute frolic. The words are shunted out through a voice that I find endearingly catchy, a little bit reminiscent of Alex from my faves kotki dwa, but with a bit more attitude. You'll find yourself singing along. There's too much humming on the wires.

Peoples Persons Club - Our Greatest Invention

I'm a big fan of the breakdown. Take your chorus. Slice it up. Repeat it very slowly, then go faster and faster then lead yourself slyly into the instrumental outro with handclaps.

John seems like an ambitious chap, informing me of the following:
- When I die I don't want people to say, 'Now there goes a man who made a good music'
- I want it to be, 'There goes a man who made the best music'.

If he knocks out twenty more tunes like this badboy, he's well on the way to having the best music written all over his tombstone, as well as the minds of music fans everywhere. Our Greatest Invention will probably come out in 2010 on fantastically limited edition vinyl when Post War Years set up their own imprint, even though imprints might have gone out of fashion by then. Out of his current crop, I'd choose this mellow but intense effort as the B-Side.

People Persons Club - Don't Get On Anothers Trip