Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Soft As Velvet

The Big Pink have been getting quite a bit of buzz for a while now. After an attention grabbing tour with Florence & The Machine and The XX (interview & feature coming soon), they've finally unleashed their superb debut on us in the form of the deliciously post-modern and thoroughly brilliant Velvet on 4AD. We've got the Gang Gang Dance remix of it for you to download, courtesy of the band. Meanwhile you can check out the original, it's superb video, as well as a couple of other tracks over at their brand new site.

Via Gorilla Vs Bear.

[MP3] The Big Pink - Velvet (Gang Gang Dance Remix)
[BUY] Pick up the 7" of Velvet by The Big Pink at 4AD's site.
[WEB] Hear more from The Big Pink at their website.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

INTERVIEW: Grammatics by Cheryl Burns

We sent Chez along to see Grammatics support Rollo Tomassi in Leicester last week. Preceding her live review, here's a great little interview with drummer Dominic Ord.

Cheryl Burns - So firstly, how did you all meet?
Grammatics (Dominic Ord) - Dom and Owen met at music college. I knew Owen through his previous band and Emilia answered an advert when our original cellist left the band to pursue her teaching career.

CB - Who are your biggest influences as a band?
G - Blur, Suede, Radiohead, Cursive, Bjork and Elliott Smith.

CB - What are your thoughts on the current UK music scene?
G - It’s healthy in places and unhealthy in others. The metamorphosis of the music industry is having some interesting effects – it’s possible to go number 1 for a week then disappear off the face of the earth, while great bands are emerging from the underground all the time or continuing to survive in the underground without any of the bullshit that goes with ‘a career in music’.

There are plenty of favourable UK bands around – Wild Beasts, Rolo Tomassi, Pulled Apart By Horses, These New Puritans, Chrome Hoof, Selfish Cunt to name but a few… even bands who really broke through like Foals have maintained their integrity and not disappeared into their own egos. I think your opinion of how healthy any music scene is can depend on how narrow/open minded you are in what you listen to.

CB - Are you all nervous about the upcoming Bloc Party tour and how did it come about?
G - We are completely thrilled about it. There will be nerves in the lead up, as ever, but we’ve played big stages with big bands before and I think it will be the most fun we have on tour to date. Apparently the band themselves liked us and invited us to do it, which is very flattering. We were supposed to do some shows with them in January but that didn’t come off for one reason or another, so we were amazed to land such a big tour with them.

CB - Do you have any favourite songs to perform?
G - Relentless Fours has always been fun. We’re partial to a bit of onstage destruction. We have just started playing Swan Song live and I really enjoy losing it in the end section. I also really enjoy the bassline in Inkjet Lakes. I think we each have particular favourites to play but when you know you have a cohesive setlist the whole show is enjoyable.

CB - What is your favourite film soundtrack and why?
G - The There Will Be Blood soundtrack by Jonny Greenwood. I got into it just as I was starting to delve into classical music and it served as a really good introduction to stuff I now really like such as Krzyzstof Penderecki and Olivier Messiaen.

CB - If you could create a super-band, who would you have in it?
G - Jonny Greenwood doing whatever he wanted. Arthur Russell singing, maybe a bit of the World of Echo style cello. Whoever was Serge Gainsbourg’s rhythm section when he recorded ‘Requiem pour un con’. That would be sweet. They would probably sound horribly dour but really groovy. Excellent.

CB - And finally, if you had to recommend a book, film and CD to anybody, what would they be?
G - Fiction, I’d recommend The Late Hector Kipling by David Thewlis. Non-fiction I would recommend The Rest Is Noise by Alex Ross which I’m reading at the moment. It’s a history of twentieth century classical music and utterly fascinating. I really like the film Paris, Texas directed by Wim Wenders - it’s really beautifully shot and wonderfully odd. I love the feel of late 50’s Paris in the film ‘A bout de soufflé’ (“Breathless”) by Jean-luc Godard.

[DOWNLOAD] Grab a download of New Franchise here.
[MYSPACE] Visit Grammatics on myspace
[SPOTIFY] Listen to Grammatics debut album on Spotify now.
[BUY] Purchase Grammatics debut album in physical or digital formats.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

This Is No Modern Romance

The NME has a habit of lumping music into categories with wilful abandon. Take White Lies for instance; it isn't okay to just say that they're taking parts of Joy Division, Echo & The Bunnymen, XTC, etc and mixing them together with pop sensibilities, instead it needs to be seen as part of a new scene. In this case, the painfully obvious "nu-gloom". Lumped into that are today's fresh act, R O M A N C E (yes, written like that). While drawing similarities with White Lies, they are a lot darker. A heavier sound, more feedback, more aggression. Having recently graced the cover of Dazed & Confused Japan, they've clearly got the press mill going already, despite only forming in November of last year.

The band are about to kick off a UK tour alongside Ulterior and White Rose Movement, tickets available from the link below. Before that tour however is the release of their debut EP on 24th April, available through their myspace. They've given us a track from that EP to download, the superb Picture Frame. Enjoy!

[MP3] R O M A N C E - Picture Frame - (Alt Link)
[MYSPACE] Visit R O M A N C E on myspace.
[FACEBOOK] Or become a fan of R O M A N C E on facebook.
[TICKETS] Get tickets for R O M A N C E's tour with White Rose Movement and Ulterior here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hit Me With Lightning

Photo by Lucy Bridger

Ellie Goulding is from Wales, not that you'd tell based on the incredible tracks she's been producing so far. Working with producers Frankmusik and Starsmith, she's produced a veritable barrage of future electro-pop smashes. What sets Ellie apart from the crowd however is the ease with which her acoustic work mixes with the heavy-handed production layered over the top. Instead of feeling disjointed, they are in perfect synergy, coming together to form a refreshing whole.

I've held off writing about Ellie before because her best track so far, the superb Starry Eyed, has been kept closely under wraps. Now that Ellie & Starsmith have unleashed it the hype can really start to build. With a debut 7" rumoured in June/July on Neon Gold Records, these are going to be slick jams for summer. Enjoy!

[STREAM] Stream Starry Eyed at producer Starsmith's blog.
[MP3] Ellie Goulding - Guns & Horses - (Alt Link)
[MP3] Ellie Goulding - Black & Gold - (Alt Link)
[REMIX] Hear a sample of the Jakwob remix of Starry Eyed here.
[MYSPACE] Hear more from Ellie on her myspace.
[TWITTER] Follow Starsmith and Ellie on Twitter.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Will Turn Your Tide

Photo by Fred Thomas.

Quite a while ago we got the chance to sit down with Rab Allen from Glasvegas as they whizzed through Lincoln on the NME Tour. We've already gone on about White Lies, got Florence & The Machine's view on Barak Obama, and posted a gorgeous cover of a Friendly Fires song, so we figured it was time to give Glasvegas some attention.

Our Iron Lung - How's the Tour going?
Glasvegas (Rab Allen) - "Its kind of strange to be with three other bands (White Lies, Florence & The Machine, Friendly Fires) on tour, were used to it just being us. But yea its going good. Everyone's different. White Lies seem to go to bed at like 10.00pm every night, where as Florence & Tthe Machine I don't think have actually gone to bed since the tour started".

Before the end of 2008 the band did that rarest of things, recorded a Christmas album. In Transylvanian church of all places!

OIL - How was that recording?
G - "That was a crazy time for us We'd just come off the back of a tour. We were really tired and drinking loads, so to go and work like twelve hours a day in a fucking castle was the strangest experience. At the end of it we all just disbanded for a few days after some drinking sessions, I think we lost somebody out there as well, but it's OK we found him eventually".

OIL - With summer rearing its sunny head just around the corner, do you guys have any plans?
G - Hopefully loads of festivals, don't think we'll be doing any more tours around then. I think Reading/Leeds, V Festival, Glastonbury, Tea in the Park, Benacasim and a few in America, should be fun, pretty busy".

OIL - Speaking of America, how are things going over there?
G - "It's going good, I suppose. It's hard to judge it really. We've sold double over there what we were supposed to. So that's good. The only real criticism that we seem to get is that we don't play long enough or do encores, but that's about it".

To most, Glasvegas will seem to have risen relatively quickly to their position in the public consciousness, but how did Rab feel about this?

B - How have you dealt with finding mainstream success quite quickly?
G - "People think we've only just come about because of everything that we've just done. But we've been a band for years. It came all of a sudden and broke quite quickly for us really. It wasn't until we signed that things really started taking off for us. It when we first played Reading/Leeds that it changed as well, we were on TV and people started to come and watch us more and more. After that things just changed for us".

B - How has the involvement of NME helped with the band?
G - "Its felt quite natural to be honest, its just been the right time when they've done things for us. It was just the right time for the band. The NME cover that we did came out at the same time as when 'Geraldine' got released so obviously it helped a lot with that, it gave us a lot more publicity. Just felt right at the time really".

B - You've done some rather interesting covers recently, how did they come about?
G - "It's just one of those things, most bands seem to do them anyway. They were really on the spot things actually that we felt like doing. Most of them were just recorded and finished in a day as well, that's how spontaneous they were. The Nirvana cover came out well, we were really impressed with the vocals on that".

B - You've been described in the Guardian Newspaper as “the sound of broken Britain”, what do you make of that?
G - "I don't even know what that means to be honest. Lots of people are gonna write different things about us because it's their opinion. It's not our opinion though. I just think we make really good pop music"

Thanks to Matthew Bryard for transcribing this up. Original interview by Our Iron Lung with many thanks to Leslie @ Charm Factory.

[MP3] Glasvegas - Geraldine - (Alt Link) - Thanks RCRDLBL.
[WEBSITE] Check out Glasvegas online here.
[SPOTIFY] Listen to Glasvegas' debut LP on Spotify now.
[BUY] Grab the album for yourself either digitally or physically.

Mother Tells Me I Need Some Structure

Okay, so at the moment there's a huge overload of female artists in the "about to make it massive" pages of every publication in the land. From La Roux to Little Boots, Florence to Marina, this heaving mess of oestrogen is rapidly reaching saturation point. However thanks to a tip off from Carl over at Illegal Tender, here to save you from all that with a genuine skill at writing melodies that "stick in your brain like porridge to the back of a spoon" is new kid on the block Dimbleby & Capper.

The demos on her myspace are constantly changing, but the track for you to download here is one of our favourites. Opening with some sinister hollow background beats and a simple "take me away from here" vocal line, it's not long before the chorus drops in backed with heavier bedroom production beats. And it's that chorus that hooks into your head, keeping the beats going as the second verse comes in, heavier than the first. Over on her myspace, Dimbleby & Capper (one person, it's worth pointing out) there are even more treats to be had, the strange collage of sounds on offer in Kissed Me being a highlight. Fantastic stuff to keep an eye on, surely a 7" deal must be in the works somewhere?

[MP3] Dimbleby & Capper - Structure - (Alt Link) - MP3 Source
[MYSPACE] Listen to more Dimbleby & Capper tracks at her myspace.
[TWITTER] Follow Dimbleby & Capper on twitter.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Absent As The Dust Begins To Settle

Early in 2008 I wrote a small piece for Illegal Tender on a Bradford based singer/songwriter called Laura Groves. Fast forward a year and Laura is now operating under the Blue Roses moniker, making the same enchantingly delicate songs that first caught my attention. Her debut album is about to be released (27/04/2009) on XL Recordings following a fabulous 7" release in early March and she's also lined up to play some festivals this summer, including Bestival.

Blue Roses' album is, in the words of Laura, "to be found, kept and cherished; it is to be absent as the dust begins to settle, and longed for as ambience resumes". Upon listening, it feels like a discovery to be enjoyed and gently shared. These are soft and pensive tales told from behind a rain-strewn window pane; transcending our current appetite for instant musical gratification. Having listened to the album heavily this weekend, I feel attached to it in a way that not many records can manage. I want to own this physically, treasure it while awaiting the perfect moment for it's gentle finger-picked guitar and caressing vocals to drift towards me. Warm winter fires and red wine, slowly thumbing through the Sunday papers; hazy summer days in green fields; or gently kicking the first auburn leaves of Autumn.

I strongly recommend listening to the full album on Spotify or by pre-ordering from Puregroove, but if not we have the lead single from the album for you to download. Check out Blue Roses' website for more information and to sign-up to her mailing list.

[MP3] Blue Roses - Doubtful Comforts
[SPOTIFY] Listen to Blue Roses' debut album here.
[WEBSITE] Visit Blue Roses' site here.
[BUY] Pre-order Blue Roses's album from Puregroove.
[TWITTER] Follow Laura from Blue Roses on Twitter.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Wot No Spotify

We're not going to write a habit of writing about things other than actual music, but for this, we think you'll appreciate the exception.

You might have noticed that a lot of our recent posts have been including links to this thing called Spotify, or mentioning it at least. Well, that's because it's the most exciting thing to happen to the internet + music since Hype Machine or Last.FM. Trust us, this changes everything. I can't remember where I first heard about Spotify, sometime as January was slowly limping along, but within a few hours I'd sent excited texts to as many people as I thought would listen and signed up a handful of friends. Needless to say they all had the same gradual feeling of epiphany as me upon realising just how big this thing was. And then they made their parents sign-up. Dad's became lost in Meat Loaf's back catalogue, Mum's enjoyed every last song from U2's latest album a week before everyone else. And together, we were hooked.

Put simply, Spotify is all the music in the world at your fingertips. It's a bit like iTunes, but if the 30-second previews weren't just previews. And it's not a half baked collection of "all the music in the world", it really is all there. Well, apart from The Beatles obviously... And some American indie label stuff such as Band Of Horses. Plus, it just keeps growing. My twitter regularly informs me that Spotify "just added another 5,000 tracks to the library", alongside weekly releases being added even before the shops are open or the post has arrived. You simply sign-up for a Spotify account (free, with the option to upgrade to premuim) and then download the small programme for your laptop. Fire it up, sign-in, and prepare to lost yourself. You'll hear a short 30-second advert every 7 to 10 songs or so, mostly just cute little messages from a Swedish girl appreciating how much everyone is enjoying the service. Or Iggy Pop.

[SIGN-UP] Get started on Spotify here.
[DOWNLOAD] And grab the download here.
[PLAYLIST] Add the Our Iron Lung playlist to your Spotify.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

I Heard About Your Band

Firstly, we're very happy to have another new writer on board, the wonderfully named Butler Hasson (codename, obviously). She's based in London and is closely involved with loads of exciting things happening at the moment, including the Camden Crawl. She'll be contributing all kinds of stuff, from live reviews through to introducing us to the capital's hottest acts. Hopefully we'll be bringing you her slant on the live show of heartbreakingly fragile Polly Scattergood early next week. Hold on tight, it's getting pretty exciting from here on in. And now for something closer to home...

It's a sadly rare occasion when a truly exciting band visits Lincoln, and all too often it's courtesy of the Engine Shed. Not that it's a bad venue, it's just nice to have variation. Saturday however, is different. Brakes, that wonderful mixture of musicians from Electric Soft Parade and British Sea Power, drop by the recently mobile Bivouac on the first date of a national tour supporting their new album Touchdown. Eamon from the band describes their new effort as "the fucking zenith of civilisation, it will make your jaw drop further than the Dow Jones in 2008". Support comes from the fabulous Voluntary Butler Scheme (you'll recognise their stand-out track Tabasco Sole from somewhere), Joe Actually, and the Mark 9's. So just to recap, that's two superb out of town bands, and two superb local bands. You'd be a fool to miss it. Ticket link is below, £8 delivered or £7 on the door.

[SPOTIFY] Listen to Brakes on Spotify.
[MYSPACE] Visit Brakes on myspace here.
[TICKETS] Get tickets direct from Bivouac here.
[BUY] Pre-order Touchdown from Fat Cat Records here.

Monday, April 06, 2009

One Day We're Going To Live In Paris

It's rare to stumble across something so haunting, so incredibly poignant and fragile as the voice of Catherine A.D. I've been aware of her for quite a while, but never really took the time to listen properly to her. I don't want to lump her into a scene, but she has a similar fragility in her voice as Polly Scattergood, who was one of the standout acts of Latitude Festival '08. Music Week called her "ethereal, brooding and untameabley crucial listening", I just call her the dangerous shadow of female alt-folk. Apparently her new video will feature the ritual burning of the possessions of various contributors ex-boyfriends. Edgy. This cover just proves how far it's possible to move the already much-lauded material of Friendly Fires, demonstrated aptly enough by Au Revoir Simone's cover of Paris (listen on Spotify). The familiar electro sheen replaced with heartbreak violins and a sinister hollow drumbeat, gradually working up into a shearing & shifting mass of ramshackle anti-pop. Special stuff indeed.

Totally recommend checking out thesixtyone for more fantastic music. It integrates great into Facebook, has a really nice feel to it, and might just develop into something really really exciting. Plus, everything is free to download.

[MP3] Catherine A.D. - Paris (En Seine Mix) - (Alt Link)
[BUY] Buy Catherine's debut EP in physical or digital form.
[TWITTER] Follow Catherine A.D. on Twitter.
[MYSPACE] Visit Catherine A.D. on myspace here

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Late on a Sunday night.. What better time for a glance over the second Ox Eagle Lion Man EP courtesy of Cheryl?

Does anybody remember the much-loved London based band ‘Les Incompetents’? Well, born out of the ashes of their abrupt break up in 2006 came Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man, consisting of two previous members Fredrick Blood-Royale and Jareth, who were joined by Tommy Gunnzs on bass and Edward Quarmby as drummer (that is, after Bono Must Die front man turned drummer Tobi O’kandi left the band). However, their haunting experimental sounds are fields away from the raucous fun filled noise made previously by Les Inc.

According to Blood-Royale, their name is taken from the Book of Revelations, in which four angels take the form of an ox, eagle lion and a man in order to avoid an apocalypse. Deciding against the traditional route of making a full length album, OELM are planning a collection of EPs, their first, ‘Opus I: The Lay Of The Land; The Turn Of The Tide’ getting rave reviews which paved the way for their latest offering in the form of ‘Opus II: Obscured By A Setting Sun’, both released by Transgressive Records. Opus II is roughly 30 minutes worth of apocalyptic rock with frenzied guitars and Blood-Royale’s deep growl chanting out dark lyrics about everything from religion to humanity. Stand out tracks include single ‘Thy Will Be Done’; fast and dramatic it is the most memorable track on the album. Blood-Royale’s menacing voice bellows out the opening lyrics “Where is my free will? Am I just destiny fulfilled?” indicating the power behind this commandeering song, with intense drumming and frantic guitar work to boot. Yet the next track ‘Providence’ is the polar opposite, beautiful in places it manages to convey their softer side, at least for a while. OELM have shown their brilliance with this EP, it takes you through a route of sinister twists and turns and does leave you wondering what they will come up with next.

We've got the third track from Opus II for you to download, as well as the usual links to Spotify and places to purchase both EP's. OELM currently have no dates booked but are set to play The Great Escape festival in Brighton in early May.

[MP3] Ox Eagle Lion Man - Thy Will Be Done - (Alt Link)
[BUY] Buy OELM's releases direct from Transgressive here.
[SPOTIFY] Listen to Opus II on Spotify here.
[MYSPACE] Visit Ox Eagle Lion Man on myspace here.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

It's a given fact that any girl who idolises the characters in Me Without You, flicks off to 'Grace' by Jeff Buckley and puts Radiohead on when she has boys round, probably wants to be Karen O from Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Back in 2003 the band were at the front of American art-rock with attitude, stinging egos and ears with their first LP Fever To Tell. One of the stand out tracks from that debut, 'Maps', went on to influence the sound of their second LP, Show Your Bones. It's slower tone and more delicate nature was a step away from the altogether rawer and aggressive sound of their debut. It was well received however, spawning the incredible indie-love anthem 'Cheated Hearts'.

Their latest effort, It's Blitz, exadurates some of the production nuances that were evident in their two previous albums. From the buzzing beat of album opener 'Zero' to the electro-pop stylings of 'Dragon Queen', there is a layer of production magic spread thinly over the whole affair thanks to TV On The Radio's David Sitek (also responsible for production on Foals debut LP). Having said that, it does have it's simpler moments, the slow pounding piano of 'Runaway' being the strongest example. It's Blitz is a Sunday album; hungover and tired but happy with the world. Fever To Tell was an album to lavish yourself with eyeliner and wine to before speeding into the city and it's dark corners. This is the morning after the night before, slipping in and out of sleep with face pressed tight into pillow. A gorgeous lament to modern romance.

It's Blitz! is released on Fiction Records on April 6th 2009. Here's standout album track Runaway for you to download.

[MP3] Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Runaway - (Alt Link)
[BUY] Buy a physical or digital copy of It's Blitz.
[SPOTIFY] Listen to It's Blitz on Spotify now.
[MYSPACE] Visit Yeah Yeah Yeahs on myspace here.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Giantess make pretty party-worthy jams. They're like the tequila-fuelled love-child of Iglu & Hartly and Hockey, with a raging doubt that Passion Pit might actually be the father. They've practically swallowed a Lego kit of synths and beats before spewing it up again with a scream of intent. Sensible songs these are not, but they are very fun. The same sort of fun as ending up getting it on in the bathroom at a houseparty; edgy and immense at the time but with a distinct bitter taste of regret in the morning.

Giantess balance a thin line between loveable and irritating, they're not perfect in any form. But for those brief three minutes of losing yourself in a mess of limbs and sweat, it's totally worth it. Much like houseparty fucks. We've got two tracks here, both courtesy of the impeccable tastes over at Neon Gold. Enjoy!

EDIT// Giantess have just confirmed their debut release on Neon Gold, pre-order link below. You can also head over to the Neon Gold blog to grab a fresh remix of Tuff N Stuff!

[MP3] Giantesss - You Were Young - (Alt Link)
[MP3] Giantesss - Tuff'n Stuff - (Alt Link)
[BUY] Pre-order Giantess debut 7" on Neon Gold here.
[MYSPACE] Find Giantesss on myspace here.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Named after a river in their native Texas, Bosque Brown write amazing, etheral folk songs. Backed by a full band on this their second album, Baby, from which we've got the second track to download. They've got a sound that's hard to pin down, wavering between fantastic vocal harmonies and cascading melifluous instrumentation. Baby was released in early March just before a string of well received SXSW shows, garnering attention from music blogs on both sides of the atlantic. With the press currently focused on Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes and Animal Collective; it's hard to see Bosque Brown not receiving more mainstream press in the UK. For now, just enjoy this taster and then head over to their myspace or site for more.

[MP3] Bosque Brown - Went Walking - Thanks to Force Field PR!
[SPOTIFY] Listen to Baby by Bosque Brown on Spotify.
[WEB] Check Bosque Brown out at her site here.
[MYSPACE] Or on myspace here.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

We're back from a break, ready to bring you smashing new reviews, interviews and features every day from here on in. April Fools, we are not. And so we begin with a review of The Rakes latest effort, Klang!

I never quite got caught up in the buzz surrounding The Rakes back in the heady days of 2004/2005, or indulged too heavily in their debut Capture/Release. However, the superb 'World Was A Mess But His Hair Was Perfect' has been slowly lodging itself into my head over the past few months, alongside the rest of their fantastic sophomore album, Ten New Messages. Which is lucky really, seeing as their third effort takes that more sophisticated and produced sound of their second album as it's base, as opposed to the Paul Epworth produced tangle of their debut.

The Rakes are one of those bands that seem to revel in the day to day of life in a modern city. From 'The Loneliness Of The Outdoor Smoker' to 'Light From Your Mac' (“we can spoon or something, just don't show me the fucking futon”), Klang is an album drenched and dripping in the experiences and eloquence of night after night stumbling down brightly lit streets at darkly lit hours. Each track has a fantastic pounding energy behind it, a driving force of hollow drums and angular guitars dragging lead singer Alan Donohoe's vocal contributions along relentlessly. For me, Klang is the most refined example of The Rakes art-punk sound. An irresistable taste of smoke and haze; the soundtrack to casually calculated living.

[MP3]The Rakes - The Loneliness Of The Outdoor Smoker - (Alt Link)
[DOWNLOAD] Get more free downloads at RCRDLBL.
[BUY] Buy Klang from HMV or 7 Digital.
[MYSPACE] Check out The Rakes on myspace here.