27/12 0 comments
It’s not a Monday, but Bank Holidays and Christmases being what they are, perhaps that’s forgivable. Here’s the last Monday Music – the one weekly blog where SOIWT drops the London-music-only rule – of 2011…
Masterface – Excuse Me Girl
You know that feeling when you’re utterly exhausted, but so happy and without urgent needs that you don’t care in the slightest? That’s what this song sounds like. Giddy goodness, from Freedom Tower, which is out now on Bleek Records.
Class Actress – Limousine
The best track from Class Actress’ new album, all chic pomp pop and non-annoying poseuring.
Little Comets – Worry
Consistently excellent Northern rockers Little Comets return with another classy tune: a guitars and gristle tune that just offers that little more than 99% of its contemporaries.
Torgny – Dying Hipster (Feat. Maria Due) (mp3)
Creativity in meltdown, trying to make do as function after function ceases to work as it once did. Or the sound of one-too-many 5am stumbles home, and the painful reflection that things must, this time, change.
21/05 0 comments
Tonight brings London’s instalment of the annual Stag & Dagger festival, with over 50 upcoming bands from rock/dance ouevres delighting sozzled scenesters in various Shoreditch sweatpits - or rather De Beauvoir, Clerkenwell, Shoreditch and Bethnal Green sweatpits, such is S&D’s scale these days. Like the Camden Crawl but good, this bruiser involves lots of walking, torturous decisions, hosts of new friends, a surprisingly efficient wristband exchange (well, it was last year), and regular shouts of “OH MY GOD, that’s like.. thingy from that band !! lol !!”.
Below I’ve listed some bands I think you should catch, but first some general tips:
1. Watch out for that Shoreditch Triangle – it gets more like the Bermuda Triangle when you’re trolleyed, and trying to cross it can take days.
2. Wear something light. It’s far better to be cold outside than hotly lugging a coat or heavy bag inside. That’s just not cool.
3. Bring moolah – this is Shoreditch we’re talking about, that infuriating anti-land where ATMs haven’t yet caught on. If you do get stuck. Old Street has a few cash machines around the tube station, and there’s a free one about ten mins down Bethnal Green Road.
4. The bigger names – These New Puritans, Ex-Lovers, We Have Band – will of course attract bigger crowds. If you want to see these guys, you’ll likely need to get to the relevant venue with at least an hour to spare, or it’ll be tears before bedtime.
5. Don’t see Sky Larkin – they’re pants.
Okay, so I veered into band territory there, sorry. Anyway, continuing that theme, here are five acts I really rate, and who are well worth a half-mile slog with grumbling friends in check:
Timber Timbre (Rough Trade East, 6.30pm)
The earliest show of the festival sees Montreal’s Timber Timbre freak the hell out of Rough Trade with their peculiar, pallid woodsmoke-blues-rock, tragic tales told by terrified strings, earnest singing and church-quiet riffs. These are simple and yet very accomplished songs, ones that entrap as much as they entrance.
MP3: Timber Timbre – There Is A Cure
Class Actress (CAMP, 9.00pm)
I blathered on about Elizabeth Harper in a recent post, but something tells me she’ll be so good live it’s worth doing so again. Offering elegant, fizzing electro dance numbers with an air of sophistication and serenity, Class Actress is good for a groove, or merely a gentle n0dding of the head as you sip your pint at the side of stage.
MP3: Class Actress – Careful What You Say
Trailer Trash Tracys (93 Feet East, 9.00pm)
Obviously you can’t do Class Actress and Trailer Trash Tracys, but plump for the latter and you’ll be richly rewarded. The London quartet play a wistful, echoey lo-fi rock, with chanting female vocals buried amid a forest fire of throbbing guitars, fierce feedback and murderous drums. There’s something deeply ambient about it: I want to call it post-disco, but that would just be ridiculous.
MP3: Trailer Trash Tracys – Candy Girl
Mount Kimbie (Scrutton Street Studios, 11.30pm)
Because every now and again you need a little dance epicry in your life. Their anthems building like air-raids from an emotionless enemy, Mount Kimbie will provide ambience, moments of pause and providence, and some hip-shaking garage breaks. The work of Kai and Dom, this is a fluid, very-cheerful dubstep with many a sudden sample.
MP3: Mount Kimbie – Maybes
The Radio Dept. (The Legion, 11.45pm)
This one could require an early arrival but it’ll be worth it. Sweden’s The Radio Dept. play a melodic electro-rock tinged with lush beats, sometimes like to a permanent dance remix of The Streets, sometimes a downbeat UNKLE. You’ll close your eyes, briefly revisiting a cherished memory, before returning to the almost-as-good present.
MP3: The Radio Dept. – David
Also worth catching are Othello Woolf, John & Jehn, White Hinterland, My Tiger My Timing, Spectrals, Sian Alice Group and many more. If you don’t trust me at all (recommended), then Stag and Dagger’s staff have also made their own, very decent, picks on the website.
Frankly, though, you could do a lot worse than have no plan at all. Plans will inevitably get fucked up, dropped down a drain somewhere on Curtain Road, forgotten amid a jive in Jaguar Shoes. Just go, live, and see a lot of great new stuff. Or, as my friend and regular SOIWT inspiration Adrian just said, with brutally perfect simplicity: “I see tonight as an opportunity to see bands I’ve never seen before.”
Have fun - lots and lots of it. Tickets are still available here if you haven’t got on, at an impossibly reasonable £17.
17/05 1 comment
Here’s my weekly collection of five songs that I’m currently loving - a one-off postponement of SOIWT’s avid London focus:
Nas & Damien Marley – Patience
The new album by Nas and Damien “Jr. Gong” Marley (don’t ask) has been, to use the popular parlance, proper bigged up. Here’s the first drop from it: a solemn track that combines Amadou & Mariam’s Sabali (not that Theophilus London hasn’t done that already), Nas doing his useful bullish, cut-through-the-crap pronunciations and Damien offering a rather tender version of his usual ebullient reggae. Will the pair, known collectively as Distant Relatives, change the musical landscape forever, inspiring countless imitations and Facebook groups and human sacrifice? No. Could they make your evening swim by more pleasantly? By God, yes.
Class Actress – Journal of Ardency
I liked Class Actress‘ other recent single, Careful What You Say, but this, their new EP’s title track, is better: instead of the former’s obviously glitzy big electro beats, it has subtler bleeps, little snatches of current flashing invisbly across a forest of pylons. Elizabeth Harper purrs out her vocals with groin-groping sensuality; the keys chime with subdued broodiness and there’s a palpable, brilliant anticlimax via the sudden, cruel severance of an ending. It’s like an amazing house party you’re not quite sure ever happened, a perfect new girlfriend who almost certainly gave you the wrong phone number.
Grand Pocket Orchestra – Nigeria
In honour to the swift approaching World Cup, Indiecater Records have come up with a natty concept album: they asked their favourite bands to write a song about their favourite team from those qualified for the shebang. The resultant 32 track compilation is called Fast Forward, and includes this cheery tribute to the Super Eagles by Ireland’s Grand Pocket Orchestra, an effervescent number doused in community spirit and underscored by feverish flutes, playing at a zillion miles an hour, and sun-drenched chorus chants. If you’re wondering, Detox Cute got to England, the lucky blighters. (Or you could ignore this, and listen to Shakira’s official World Cup tune)
Ratatat – Party With Children
The return of Ratatat comes in June with LP4, which includes this typically inventive slice of string fantasia, an encyclopaedia of riffs mixed with clangs, bangs and breaks, eccentric and electric, and so damn good. Listening to it, I don’t know where to shake my toot beneath an imaginary mirrorball, or shake in tearful agony at the injustices of the world. It works either way. The guitar feedback ratchets up to unsqueakable levels and still it’s okay, still it’s beautiful. (As an aside, check out Ratatat’s remix of Dizzee’s Fix Up, Look Sharp, courtesy of Real Horrorshow Tunes)
Marble Sounds – My Friend
Credit where credit’s due, Belgium. Not only is an amazing Belgian professor kindly helping out with my girlfriend’s thesis, but another amazing Belgian musician has sent me this great piece of music. When not half of the electro band Plastic Operator, Belgium’s Pieter Van Dessel is the founder of Marble Sounds, a new band who’ve just released their first full-lengther, Nice Is Good. That includes this beaut, with vocals by Guided by Voices singer Robert Pollard. A poisoned-candy opus of thoughtful salutations interspersed with sudden, shattering revelations, it’s a tune that produces glandular fever-sized gulps in between cardigan-like cosiness.
MP3s available via the song titles
Posts tagged as "“class actress”"