Monday, 21 March 2011

Album Review : football, etc. - The Draft

Whether or not the origins for naming their band football, etc. (a pretty strange name) had anything to do with emo heroes American Football, these three youngsters from Texas do sound an awful lot like that band (which broke up after just one acclaimed album over a decade ago). And I mean that in a good way. So yes, football, etc. are an emo band then, but don’t let that put you off giving them a listen. This isn’t the kind of brazen, modern day emo that involves guy-liner, angsty moaning or big budget MTV videos. This is the kind of loveable emo that label Deep Elm regularly pushed out 10-15 years ago, the kind of emo these days referred to as melodic-emo.

The Draft’ is football, etc.’s first proper album – having released their debut EP and a split 7” with Empire! Empire! in 2009 – and was recorded with onetime Flaming Lips collaborator, Trent Bell. The production quality isn’t out of this world, but the low budget sound actually adds some charm to this record – if you listen back to all those early emo albums, they all shared the same raw production values. All but two songs clock in at under three minutes, and the overall sound is a pleasant mix of the melodic-emo of bands like The Appleseed Cast, the shoegazing indie-pop of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, and the post-art-punk of Pretty Girls Make Graves.

Frontwoman Lindsay Minton's guitars throughout ‘The Draft’ are fuzzy and the riffs are predominantly simple and jangly, although there are occasional math-rock elements creeping in (these math elements were much more prominent on football, etc.’s earlier recordings). Her voice is very reminiscent of the vocals of Rainer Maria – a band who football, etc. are often compared to – containing the same kind of off-kilter whine, and a fine whine at that. The highlight of the record? Either the melodrama of ‘Half Time’ – emotional pop-punk that brings to mind The Early November – or the short burst of closer ‘Mouthguard’, which consists of a little technical guitar and bass twiddling, some post-rock riffing and two long, passionate moans.

football, etc.’s debut album is a fairly understated affair, and its success will be quite heavily indebted to the undeniable nostalgic element created from sound-checking those early melodic-emo bands of the 1990s. There is however an addictive sweetness to their recordings that makes ‘The Draft’ a worthy purchase.

football, etc

Football, etc - Sideline by Music Liberation

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Interview : Vetoes

Today its the turn of Reading based band Vetoes to answer our occassionally probing but always super interesting questions. Vetoes were the 2nd band we nominated for the Glastonbury Emerging Talent stage, alongside The Hysterical Injury and Wounds. You can check the 123 act longlist here, the final 8 list here, and here's the interview we did with The Hysterical Injury. The interview with Wounds will appear soon!
 



Q1. Describe your music in three words?

"Mecha Streisand, yeh?"

Q2. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

"Boring as it is, we tend to take in too many influences to list. At the moment we’re listening to a lot of the ‘soft’ avant garde. Battles, Maps and Atlases and some other math influenced stuff. Expect to hear some of those influences in future songs."

Q3. What's on your agenda for the next 12 months?

"Last month we released our debut EP, 'Ritalin/Ritalout'. We’re doing a digital re-release on the 11th April through SpaceRay Music. We’re going to be playing some shows to promote that. Our main focus over the next few months will be song writing. We hope to have another record of some kind out by the end of the year."

Q4. Any new bands/artists you recommend us checking out?
 
Tripwires are a great shoegaze band from Reading. Really simple songs with great melodies fucked up by guitars which sound like an aeroplane taking off.
Our friends Boy Mandeville are getting some attention as well. They play a kind of calypso infused afro-indie that screams Great British Summer.
We’ve just been listening to Three Trapped Tigers’ ‘Cramm’. It sounds like the theme from ‘the Departed’ farted out by a drunken alien. We like."

Q5. If you could tour with any two artists, past or present, who would they be and why?

"Miles Davis during his Bitches Brew era. Not only would the music be different every night, but also some of Mile’s cool might rub off on us.
We’d also love to tour with Future of the Left. Apart from being fucking ace, they’re also really funny guys. Their gigs are part rock show, part stand up comedy." [ED: Props]

Q6. Have do you feel about music bloggers and their influence on the Music Industry?

"I think it’s a great way to democratise what music people hear. Before the era of blogging the NME could pretty much just push any band to the front-centre of the indie scene and they’d sell records (รก la Pigeon Detectives). That just can’t happen anymore. The blogosphere does a quality control on the whole thing and the scathing reaction to shit hype-band, Brother, shows it’s doing its job.

The only down side is that there is an appetite for the bleeding edge of new music. Unless a band is doing something totally unique, the blogosphere tends to disregard it, which a shame because bands who aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel deserve to be heard as well."

Q7. You have unlimited funds, what 3 things do you have on your tour rider?

I would want a huge portable tower full of money and swim in it, like Scrooge McDuck in Duck Tales. Being in a band nowadays, there is no real way to get stinking rich. But between the sound check and the gig, I would like the illusion at least for a little while. Also, swimming is great exercise. So I guess I’d have the portable skyscraper, swimmable money, and a diving board to top it off..."

Q8. What's your perfect sandwich? 

"I’m uncomfortable with the prospect of there being a ‘perfect sandwich’. I think the structural limitations of the sandwich format (i.e. bread) tend to overwhelm the quality of the filling. So I guess my perfect sandwich would be just a mush of filling that I can eat with a spoon....maybe tuna mayonnaise in a bowl.... or trough, maybe. So we can all share."

Q9. If you could be an animal, what would you be and why?

"A Tiger. Firstly, I would know that if I came across a Lion, I would win in a fight. Secondly, I would have the correct blood type to work for Charlie Sheen. I think he just wants a suitable organ donor around in case he collapses following a drug binge. That guy is like the reincarnation of Raoul Duke."

Q10. How can we find out more about you?

"We’re in all the usual places, facebook, myspace, twitter etc. We’re planning a digital release of the EP on 11th April so after that we should be on iTunes, Spotify etc.
We also have a FREE DOWNLOAD of our track ‘On The Waterfront’ available from believe digital.
If you want to splash out the £3 for the physical EP before the digital release then you can visit our Bigcartel site and we’ll send you some ear candy.

As with most bands, I’d recommend you come and see us live. We’ve written so much recently that the records we have so far really just show you where we’re coming from as a band. If you come to a show, you’ll get a better picture of what we’re trying to achieve."

On The Waterfront by vetoes

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Interview : The Hysterical Injury

We recently put forward noisy pop rock making duo The Hysterical Injury for the Emerging Talent Stage at this year's Glastonbury Festival, along with Vetoes, and Wounds. We thought it would be a great idea to find out a little more about The Hysterical Injury, so we conducted a lovely interview with Annie and Lee from the band. Look out for the interviews we did with the other two bands later in the week. To view the full longlist and other blogs nominatied for the competition click here, and  you can check out the final 8 acts who made it through to the live final here.
Photo : Jamie Worsfold


Q1. Describe your music in three words?

Annie: "Melodic, Noise-y, Beatsy?!"

Lee: "Noisy, Constant, Pop"

Q2. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

A: "Musical influences right at this moment, because they change all the time, Kristin Hersh, Broadcast, The Knife. Non – musical are again at this moment in time Finn Mackay founder of London Feminist Network for lucid and clear language to describe feminism."

L: "Musical influences, at the moment are Type O Negative, Raging Speedhorn and as much Italo Disco stuff as I can handle. Non-musical influences include Philip Garner, The Adventures of Pete and Pete and Philip K Dick." [ED: Props on the Speedhorn mention!]

Q3. What's on your agenda for the next 12 months?

A: "Our plans are to finish our first album, we are at the mixing stage and are doing it in small chunks as money is tight. We hope to be touring it as soon as it is complete and out there, but we are gigging all the time anyway cos we love it! We have already started writing the next album too, so hopefully get that into the studio in the latter part of the year."

Photo : Jamie Worsfold
Q4. Any new bands/artists you recommend us checking out?

A: "The Jelas, Bellies, Jemima Surrender all from Bristol."

L: "Not sure about new bands. But I’d recommend listening to That Fucking Tank if you want to hear the most concise drummer known to mankind. Also Tim Ten Yen if you want to hear the most pure form of pop music. I was impressed with Bitches too, we played with them in Cambridge."

Q5. If you could tour with any two artists, past or present, who would they be and why?

A: "I would die a happy girl if we toured with Sonic Youth because they are always interesting to me; their dedication to the artform of music and keeping that every-changing, they aren’t afraid and so many artists/musicians are. I would also love to tour with Lightning Bolt because I really can’t get enough of that bass!! Its like a drug, you need it, intravenously; like a hit and loud and clear and live is good! We supported them once and that was my favourite gig we played even though I think we were a bit rough that night!"

L: "Tough question... I would have liked to have been on tour with a band like The Sonics, just to have seen the reaction at the time. Would be cool to tour with The Dirtbombs too, they seem to look like they are having a lot of fun."

Q6. Have do you feel about music bloggers and their influence on the Music Industry?

Photo : Jamie Worsfold
A: "Telling people all about new music is a brilliant thing, I do it all the time, and that’s the great thing about blogs and people getting involved, the internet has been great for that, it provides opportunities also. I think its good that it influences the industry and helps to shift its emphasis. I don’t really care about the music industry but I care about music and the fair trade of it. If I cared about the industry my dreams and art would have been crushed long ago. We didn’t have any money to make this album until The Joe Strummer Foundation gave us a bursary and we were completely thrilled, they gave it to us and let us be ourselves, they asked for nothing in return but our music as it is and we cant thank them enough for that. That’s the kind of industry I care about. The idea that just because someone gives you money you have to curtail your artistic ambition is complete shit, what is money anyway, to me it’s a curse of our history, I wont be dictated by it."

Q7. You have unlimited funds, what 3 things do you have on your tour rider?

A: "I would like a really good bean chilli, tea and a shower."

L: "Three bags of Haribo."

Q8. What's your perfect sandwich?

A: "Salmon and cream cheese."

L: "Sausage, bacon and egg. White bread."
Photo : Jamie Worsfold

Q9. If you could be an animal, what would you be and why?

A: "I would be a lazy, fluffy house cat and laze all day and look out at the birds and fly’s because I find it hard to laze about but always want to!"

L: "A cat. Because cats have got their priorities right about everything."

[ED: The guys also put this question to their Facebook and Twitter followers, who said they would be a Bison, an Eagle Owl, a Giant Squid, or a Pistol Tiger Shrimp.]

Q10. How can we find out more about you?

A: "We are on all the social networking sites. The facebook one is the one we are on most. But best to come and see us play really, We are always writing new stuff and like to play it out."

L: Myspace / Twitter / Soundcloud / Reverb Nation. Come and see us play!

"The next gig outside of the local area is at London's Old Blue Last on 21st March – it's free!"

Adam West by Hysterical Injury

Monday, 7 March 2011

Single Review : Crocodiles - Mirrors

In terms of “what’s hot” these days, it’s more a case of “what’s retro”. The shoegaze revival rumbles on with no signs of abating. Grunge rears its bedraggled head again in the form of Yuck and Dinosaur Pile-Up. Britpop gets a Lazarus style resurrection by Slough foursome Brother and hell, even the misguided neckerchief enthusiasts themselves are partying like it’s 1974 under the banner of Beady Eye. It seems that right now, we’re all looking back, not forward.

It sounds like the past is in and doesn’t the industry know it. They're milking this cash cow until everyone becomes lactose intolerant and make no mistake. But until that point, bands such as Crocodiles get to peddle their own brand of reverb soaked guitar pop as if they were The Jesus and Mary Chain or something.

New single ‘Mirrors’ is the opening track from their 2010 ‘Sleep Forever’ debut and it’s a swishy three and a half minutes of dreamy nostalgia, full of drones, spacey vocals and a propulsive drum beat. Part rock and roll and part emotional pop, this single sounds like a mix between Secret Machines and any number of shoegaze bands you’d want to cite.

Sure, there’s no originality here but the out and out fact is that this is a really great single. It’s just a shame that Crocodiles (the band, not the man eating reptiles) have to swim – and drown – in a pool of on-trend soundalikes, because it does them a disservice. When this reverb saturated guitar revival finally crashes down around our ears, chances are Crocodiles will come crashing down with it, which is a shame as they are actually really quite good.

Third single ‘Mirrors’ was released last week through Fat Possum Records and is on sale now.

Crocodiles - Mirrors by Music Liberation

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Interview : Mazes

We recently caught up with Mazes' front man Jack Cooper to detail what his band are all about, where they are headed, and more importantly find out what his favourite sandwich is...

Q1. Describe your music in three words?

"I can do it in two... 'organised sound'."

Q2. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

"Musically we're influenced by everything and anything, both positively and negatively. Specifically hmm...we all agree on a bunch of things... Olivia Tremor Control, Sebadoh, Sonic Youth, Swell Maps, The Fall, FleetwoodMac, The Clean."

Q3. What's on your agenda for the next 12 months?

Who knows? This is all very new to us and we have little expectation. Short term, we go to the states for a week and then we're on tour with Dum Dum Girls. We're quite happy with that at the moment but we'll want more after I imagine.

Q4. Any new bands/artists you recommend us checking out?

"For sure...I'm not as excited about stuff at the moment because I don't seem to have had the time to do my internet research but Dirty Beaches, Hounds Of Hate, Hype Williams, Milk Maid, Palmz, Brown Brogues, Throwing Up, Novella...mostly stuff that either myself or Conan has released just cos that's what I hear most or whatever."

Q5. If you could tour with any two artists, past or present, who would they be and why?

"The Fugs for the kicks and Grateful Dead for the vibez."

Q6. Have do you feel about music bloggers and their influence on the Music Industry?

"Well I think it's great that they've taken alot of power away from traditional media companies but it's getting to the point where influential bloggers are getting swallowed up and ceasing to become relevant... People who used to write fanzines in the eighties and nineties set up great labels like SST, Matador etc etc...I kinda get the feeling that alot of bloggers do it to get jobs at NME."

Q7. You have unlimited funds, what 3 things do you have on your tour rider?

"Infinite good times, ranch doritos and a solid cheeseboard."

Q8. What's your perfect sandwich?

"Just had one that was nigh on perfect not half an hour ago... Chicken Liver Pate, Rocket and Sundried Tomatoes on a Ciabatta. Sandwiches are by far my favourite food."

Q9. If you could be an animal, what would you be and why?

"A baby animal."

Q10. How can we find out more about you?





Mazes debut album 'A Thousand Heys' will be released 11th April through Fat Cat Records. Catch the band on their UK tour with Dum Dum Girls from March 31st to April 6th, check the full dates here.

Mazes - Most Days by FatCat Records