Tuesday, July 28, 2009

NME Tour 2009 @ Engine Shed, Lincoln

Photos by Fred Thomas

Monday, July 27, 2009

Grab Your Lip Balm

Image taken from the Bells EP artwork.

In startling proof that even the best of us can miss out on fantastic acts, new writer Annabelle Moore comes to paint a picture of The Go Away Birds; half of which is made up of Catherine Ireton who's vocal work we've previously praised in it's God Help The Girl form.

Describing The Go Away Birds’ music is not an easy task, so get your imagination ready and I shall conjure an image of it for your pretty little heads. Picture the sweet tones of a 50’s female jazz singer with a bright spotlight beaming down on her pretty frame. Yet instead of being sat playing a grand piano, in her hand she is clasping an acoustic guitar with someone in the shadows behind her playing a violin. Along with the guitar’s soft chords, female/male harmonies are present, making sure this is not another folk band you’re likely to forget in an instant.

The Go Away Birds are a duo made up of Michael John McCarthy and Catherine Ireton. They met in a chance encounter in a Glasgow studio whilst Ireton was recording with God Help The Girl, a Belle & Sebastian side project, and McCarthy was preparing Zoey Van Goey’s Scottish summer tour. As McCarthy’s house was just around the corner from the studio, they spent much time penning tracks whilst sipping on hot sugary cups of tea. The sugary tea must have secretly contained omega 3 (the stuff your Mum is always forcing you to take to boost your brain power) as the duo created so many tracks, they had too many to fit on their album. Therefore, they decided to stick two fingers up to conventionalism and release an EP for each season, probably for the next 8 or so years.

The pair are currently on their second EP, Sunday, which contains cute acoustic tracks perfect for brightening up your cold winter nights as you sit in your favourite comfy chair in front of a crackling log fire, sipping a steaming mug of cocoa. Download it below in preparation for the cold breeze of winter.

[DOWNLOAD] Get the band's Sunday EP for free here.
[MYSPACE] Hear some tracks over at their myspace.
[WEB] Find earlier EP's to download on their official site.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sheffield Is His Church

It sometimes feels like John McClure is more famous for bashing the BNP than being a remarkable live artist. In a bid to see if he still ticks the right box we sent Darryl Marsden along to review his homecoming show on the 18th July in Sheffield. James Arnold took the photos, gallery at the bottom of the post.

Now I’ve never been huge on The Reverend and his cronies but the energy that Jon McClure has on stage pretty much converted me. He bounds on stage telling the hometown crowd how much he loves them and the city and launches into new single Silence Is Talking. The horn hook goes down a treat with drinks being lobbed everywhere and girls edging to the back when it gets too rowdy. Kitted out in a denim shirt, McClure wouldn’t have looked out of place in a spaghetti western. It’s a testament to how energetic a front man he is when everyone has eyes on him as opposed to the fine young lady on keyboards. Fan favourites such as Heavyweight Champion of the World and The Machine are all present as well as a number of songs from latest album A French Kiss In The Chaos.

It was surprisingly about halfway through the set before The Reverend made any reference to politics, a resounding middle finger up to the BNP. Cliché of him it may be, but if musicians aren’t giving us some interest in politics who will. It’s a few songs after this when the band show their weakness by playing some slower songs, even an acoustic number. It’s obvious this isn’t what they’re good at and maybe if they cut some of these songs they would be a much more consistent live act.

With no planned encore The Reverend grabs an acoustic guitar and makes tracks outside for what has now become a part of his live shows. He perches himself upon a piece of raised grass and starts playing away as the majority of the crowd follow. The first couple of songs can’t be heard due to the natter and lighting up of cigarettes in the crowd. However, once it settles down and The Rev tells anyone who smokes Mayfair to send one his way (they oblige) he plays a cover of Bob Marley’s Them Belly Full and then invites everyone to join him in a sing along of The Beatles Revolution’. Everyone abides by him and tonight The Reverend shows that Sheffield is still his church.

[GALLERY] View a gallery of shots from the show here.
[BUY] Grab the bands latest album here.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I'm Still, I'm Still An Animal

It seems we're expanding all over the place at the moment, and today we welcome Adam Hockley into our writers fold. You may know him from his position behind the decks at Lincoln's Ctrl Alt Delete night, but we know him as a friend from back in the Club Indiependance glory days.

You may be forgiven for assuming that Miike Snow is a solo project, however, you would be very much mistaken. The band who formed in Sweden back in 2007 consist of Downtown Records in-house producer Andrew Wyatt, joined by songwriting & production duo Bloodshy & Avant (Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg) whose credits include co-writing and producing Britney Spears 'Toxic' which won a grammy for Best Dance Record back in 2005.

Named after the controversial Japanese movie director and producer, Takashi Miike, who is famous for making extremely violent anime-style movies which are often oozing graphic sex, I didn't really know what to expect. This combined with the fact that other than the 3 A's [Abba, Aqua & A-Ha] who often define Nordic popular music, Sweden is primarily famous for it's death metal scene, with the term 'Gothenburg metal' being coined from the genres roots in the Swedish city (which is coincidently where Karlsson and Winnberg began their production careers). Luckily though, this is not the case. There is no 'Hard Rock Hallelujah' from Miike Snow. Right from the opening track and lead single, 'Animal', the album bursts into elaborately programmed Euro-Pop glory. Think more along the lines of Peter, Bjorn & John playing A-Ha covers, and you might be close. However, this image has put a few people I know off the album. Well, Fuck them. I like it. It's very rare that I enjoy a sparkly pop song, or any undeniably 'poppy' song for that matter- but in this case I have found an album full of them which I can't get enough of right now. They seem to hold onto artistic integrity with intelligent pop music, whilst producing a commercially acceptable album. I like that.

I still find myself struggling to decide where I would place this album if it were a season. I don't know why I do this, it is just my thing. At times I find myself driving along the winding country lanes around my home, windows down, Ray Bans on and the undeniably catchy, piano laden pop gem that is 'Silvia', blaring as the summer sun cut through the clear skies above. However other times, the icy artwork and heavily tinged, piano laden, Scandinavian melodies take me back to Winter. I'm sitting infront of the fire with my favorite Icelandic knitwear on, and a bottle of port warming on the hearth whilst the less cheesy, less europop, 'Sans Soleil' sets a much more relaxed mood.

As much as I love this album, It is however, admittedly unlikely to be replacing any of the established favorites in music collections around the world just yet. I predict we will have to wait for a follow-up before Miike Snow are propelled into the limelight, unless of course, one of the almost inevitable flood of remixes that will follow, forge them as the next La Roux- being catapulted to fame as the result of an incredibly simple and unarguably effective remix.

[MYSPACE] Check out Miike Snow on myspace.
[SPOTIFY] Listen to Miike Snow's debut album on Spotify.