Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Circuitry Of Life

Boom, back in the game. Everyone involved in Our Iron Lung has been working tirelessly over the past few months launching and establishing Faux, an online and print arts, music, film and culture magazine running in various ad-funded regional editions. If you haven't already, get the skinny here.

It's been a while since I've written about anything quite as pop as Jett Valentine, but this is pretty brilliant stuff. Coming alongside a super remix from Mirrors, this under 3-minute long piece of piano-led pop is vaguely reminiscent of Luke Leighfield's greater moments. Crushing a stomping chorus in behind simple piano lines, Jett executes some self control in creating strong structure within Outlaws which, ultimately, pays off. Both tracks are available to stream or download thanks to Soundcloud. Thoughts?

Jett Valentine - Outlaws
Jett Valentine - Superman (Mirors Remix)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives

Prior to the release of their smashing new album we sent Hannah Matthews along to interview Ellen from Los Campesinos!

Where did the inspiration come from for the name Los Campesinos! - why ‘The Peasants’?
Neil came up with the name due to the fact he did Spanish A Level, and we were all struggling to come up with a band name. It seemed to sound nice, and look pretty written down so we stuck with it, not a very exciting story I am afraid!

When I was asked to describe your music, a melee of thoughts came to mind. How would you describe your sound?
Shambolic indie pop, I don’t know, it’s quite a hard thing to do, like describing yourself naked. A melee of sound oddly appropriate.

For people reading this who might not be familiar with your music, which of your songs would you say sums Los Campesinos! up?
I would like to think that there is not one particular song which summarises us, as we like to keep growing and improving as musicians, I guess what ever is our highest listened to song on last.fm is a good place to start for newbie’s or lazies.

You deal with deep subject matter and sombre lyrics, especially on your second album, but juxtapose this with uplifting music and vibrant live performances. What would you say is more important to you as artists, the music or the lyrics?
I think that’s like trying to pick a favourite child, they are both equally as important as the other, and the juxtopositoning of both seems to create an interesting dynamic, plus they would be kind of pointless apart…

I saw you play Leeds Cockpit on October 30th, and it reaffirmed my opinion that as a live band, you’re head and shoulders above the rest. Do you enjoy playing live and where’s your favourite venue?
We do enjoy playing live and it’s amazing to have people react positively to us, and the crowd in Leeds were awesome, even though we probably gave them all swine flu. I think one of the most impressive places we have performed was a baseball stadium in Japan, that was incredibly surreal and amazing, and made us feel like successful sportsmen.

Why has it been so long since LC! have played in the UK? Will you be touring the UK with your next album?
We were hanging out in America for the first half of the year, we mixed up recording and touring for about five months. We will be doing an extensive tour of the uk next year, so look out!

Your passion for music is evident in your promotion of other bands, such as the incredible Sky Larkin. Which up and coming bands would you recommend we keep an eye out for?
Islet, Sparky Deathcap and Copy Haho are all pretty special.

[SPOTIFY] Los Campesinos! - Romance Is Boring
[MYSPACE] Check out more from Los Campesinos! on myspace.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

If You Haven't Got Anything To Say

For a few weeks now Adam Hockley, an occasional contributor to Our Iron Lung, has been putting on a selection of acoustic acts at Kind, Lincoln. To kick-start the new year he's booked the fantastic Luke Leighfield, an indie-pop darling with an addiction to touring. I caught up with Luke over the weekend to ask him about everything from graduation to the ups and downs of being an independent artist.

Liam Haynes interviewed Luke Leighfield. He plays Kind, Lincoln on 5/1/10.

First things first, graduation! Well done. What's it like trying to tour as much as you have over the past few years, while also putting in some time getting educated?
Thanks! Touring as much as I did was amazing and great fun, but I think it's probably too grand a claim to say that I came out of university 'educated'! I managed to pass my degree but I don't really feel much more intelligent than when I started university. That's worrying, isn't it? Twelve grand down the drain. Oops. But anyway, basically, I did the bare minimum of work in order to get a 2:1 and spent the rest of my time jetting around, meeting ace people and playing fun places, and I don't regret a minute of it.

You appear to me to be a fiercely independent artist, putting out releases on your own label, touring off your own back, etc. How do you feel the place of the "artist" in relation to things like a "label" or "pr" will change over the coming few years?
For the record, it's not that I'm fiercely independent, it's just that I've never had an offer through that's really been worth taking with regards to labels etc. I'm not ruling it out in the future whatsoever! I do feel that nowadays it's perfectly plausible for bands to get a long way without the help of a label, manager or PR company thanks to various tools on the internet. However, because those tools are out there for everyone (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) then competition is extremely fierce and you really have to stay on top of everything all the time. I spend all day answering emails and messages, and I feel that if you want to get anywhere at the moment as an independent artist then these are things that have to be done.

Following on from that, do you regret not having these people by your side, or are you pleased with the way things have worked out for you so far?
I'm really proud of what I've achieved by myself, but ideally I'd like to get a team around me in the future. As I said before, it can be quite stressful doing businessy things on the internet all day. Also, your work is never done so you can never truly relax! Sometimes it would be nice to just watch 24 and not feel guilty about it, or, God forbid, have time to write some music!

I've got a funny feeling you've played Lincoln before, but assuming you haven't... What are the first things that pop into your head when you think of Lincoln?
I've only played a house gig in Lincoln before, so I'm a Lincoln gig virgin. When I think of Lincoln, I think it's near Nottingham and then I think of guns. But Lincoln itself sounds quite boring. Not in a mean way, some places are just a bit nothingy aren't they! Don't worry, I'm from Worcester. Worcester is painfully dull.

Tell me about your latest release, Have You Got Heart? Pretty happy with it?
HYGH is my third album, but it's the first one that I've done with a real producer so I'm very proud of it. It's the best thing I've ever made in my whole life. There are guitar solos, there are violins, there are trumpets, there are gang vocals, there are more guitar solos. You can download it for free here.

What's next for Luke? A cup of tea, a big think, but then what?
Right now, as in tonight, I'm going to carry on reading a C.S. Lewis book that I'm halfway through. And maybe watch a film. But music-wise, I'm writing new songs in January and February, then going to play in China and Russia in February and March. At the end of March I'm touring with Jose Vanders and Eat.Sleep.Attack in the UK, and then there's talk of some gigs in the US later on this year. Watch this space!

Who excites you musically at the moment? We're talking new artists here...
I played with a girl called Rosie Jones in Liverpool on tour last month and she was the best thing I've seen all year. Incredible. Her MySpace songs are old, but trust me, you'll hear good things from her this year. I'm also totally addicted to a Japanese band called Perfume who I first heard last month. They're not new, but I don't think anyone knows about them in the UK, especially not Lincoln, so I hope you enjoy them. Apart from that I'm not really sure.

How much value do you think can be placed in polls like BBC Sound Of 2010 and the like?
Maybe I'm cynical and bitter, but I think it's mostly just hype from big labels with big budgets. Or maybe I'm wrong.

[DOWNLOAD] You can download Luke's latest album for free here.
[MYSPACE] Visit Luke Leighfield on myspace here.
[FACEBOOK] More info on Luke's Lincoln show can be found here.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Live Fast, Die Young

For all intensive purposes, 2010 is going to be a pretty Transgressive focused year. They're releasing the new Foals album, overseeing Mystery Jets move to Rough Trade, and also publishing Johnny Flynn's sophomore album due out in the middle of the year. For now though, they're just releasing a little taster EP to prove that he's not deviating too much from what made us all fall head over heels in adoration for him in the first place.

We've got the closing track from the Sweet William EP for you to download now, along with the whole EP itself streaming over on Spotify of course. Drum is a brilliant little piano led track, proving that Flynn is still as important to the English folk scene now as he was a few years ago.

[MP3] Johnny Flynn - Drum (Alt Link)
[BUY] Get a copy over at Puregroove
[SPOTIFY] Johnny Flynn - Sweet William EP
[MYSPACE] Visit Johnny on myspace here.

All That's Left For You Is Doubt

As we hit mid-December the "future acts" hype machine is hitting breaking point, but I don't care. Lauded in the BBC Sound Of 2010 shortlist and with some stellar live shows already under their belt, Delphic are 100% ready to explode in the coming year. From what I've heard so far their debut album Acolyte is shaping up to be quite the killer disc, a perfect mixture of "high art aspiration and party spirit". How very, very Manchester.

[MP3] Delphic - Counterpoint
[YOUTUBE] Delphic - Doubt
[MYSPACE] Find more from Delphic on myspace.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Looking For The Golden Lie

She'll likely be topping many Sound Of 2010 lists, but to us she's been well established since the beginning of this year, nevermind the next. Regardless, the follow-up to Mowgli's Road (her debut for 679/Atlantic) is finally here in the form of Hollywood. One of the first new Marina tracks to surface in a while, yet still not a million miles away from the groundwork layed on Obsessions, I Am Not A Robot or Mowgli's Road. Totally set for daytime radio, totally blitzing from start to finish, totally stuffed full of wit and charm. The video itself sees Marina writhing around with various American celebrity lookalikes, a much more accessible video than that for Mowgli's Road. Hollywood is taken from Marina's debut album, The Family Jewels, out 15th February 2010.

[YOUTUBE] Marina & The Diamonds - Hollywood
[MP3] Marina & The Diamonds - Obsessions (Pink Stallone RMX)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This Is What You Get

Our friends over at Faux are giving away a pair of tickets to General Fiasco's show with The Enemy at Engine Shed, Lincoln tonight. Seeing as we're such lovely people, we thought we'd let you in on all the info. Head over to Faux now to be in with a chance of winning, but be quick, they're picking a winner at 5pm.

Meanwhile, while you wait nervously, why not check out General Fiasco's new app on the Apple App Store. It lets you stream bundles of their tracks and videos, follow their twitter and facebook feeds, as well as check out loads of photos of the band.

[MYSPACE] Check out General Fiasco on myspace.
[FAUX] Find the competition over on Faux.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

We Are The Tourists In The Cafe

Liam Haynes interviewed Local Natives. Their album, Gorilla Manor was released on 2/11/09.

How do you feel your performance at SXSW this year helped you? What are the negatives?
Because we played nine shows at the festival we were able to attain a lot of new exposure. Each show sort of built up on the last so that by the end there were a lot of new people interested in checking us out. I have to say there are really no negatives from the SXSW experience. We had a really amazing time and its helped us tremendously in getting our name out as a new band.

Does being a band in LA help or is it too much of a crowded scene?
I think it helps. There's already so much of a spotlight on a place like LA or NY that if you can stand out in a scene like this, you're already on a bigger platform.

Where do you see music blogs standing in the grand scheme of (musical) things?
Blogs have already become extremely influential on today's music culture and I see them playing an even larger role in the coming years. Maintaining personal relationship with blogs that we really like has been a huge asset to this band. It helps put our music into new ears.

If you were all someone from Seinfeld, who would you each be and why?
I asked everybody and we agreed that I (Kelcey, vocals & keys) would be Kramer, because I'm a bit of the odd-ball, crazy guy. We're all a bit nuts but I think I might be the nuttiest. I think Matt (drums) would be Jerry because he usually is the observer of it all. Taylor (vocals & guitar) is Elaine because he acts like a lady sometimes. Ryan (guitar & vocals) is George because he complains, and Andy (bass) is Newman because Matt doesn't like Andy (not really; I just needed an excuse to have Andy be Newman).

Which UK acts do you feel closest to musically? How has your reception been here so far?
The Zombies? Not really sure which current ones we do relate to at the moment, suppose I can leave that for the journalists. The reception has been overwhelming here.

[MP3] Local Natives - Camera Talk
[SPOTIFY] Local Natives - Gorilla Manor
[BUY] Grab their debut album from rough Trade.
[SESSION] Check out songs from their Daytrotter Session here.