Posts Tagged ‘UK’

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Led by the imperious Natalie Sharp, Lone Taxidermist’s 2017 album “Trifle” was a cult hit for its blend of post-punk and Peaches-style electro, along with the complete withholding of any fucks – and 2018 should see them build their reputation as the best live band you have yet to see. Imagine a fetish party in a bubble-wrap factory overseen by a pushy lollipop lady and you’re kind of getting near.

Along with Serafina Steer, Natalie Sharp aka Lone Taxidermist and Medea, created a visual spectacle taking in opera, theatrics, minimalist sounds and stage production.  In her vocal gymnastics and theatrics, Natalie’s performance could only be compared to Kate Bush. Unbelievable.

I just can’t stop listening to this album. As far as genres go it’s pretty much unclassifiable but has a glistening pop sensibility throughout. It will take you on a slippery journey

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As witnessed as Medua and the subsequent irreverent world of Lone Taxidermist, Sharp’s art and expression is firmly based in the ‘performance art’ side of things and her ‘performances’ so far can be equally compared to the afore mentioned Kate Bush, as easily as they could to Gilbert and George or Sarah Lucas. However, what Sharp has done with Trifle, is manage the precarious transition into accessible ‘popular’ music, but without losing any of the ‘high art’ performance or theatrics with it.

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DREAM WIFE – ” Dream Wife “

Posted: January 4, 2018 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Marvellous indie trio Dream Wife, who delivered one of our favourite live sets of the year at Truck Festival have announced details of their much anticipated self-titled debut album. There are plenty of options to buy the record including a very special limited edition transparent vinyl with blood red splatter, a gatefold vinyl edition and CD and various bundles with signed novellas – check the pre-order options here.

They have also shared a new track, Let’s Make Out, which is another top notch track of catchy, feminist post punk swirl… with teeth!

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HOUSEWIVES – ” FF061116 “

Posted: December 28, 2017 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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FF061116, which follows in the wake of their debut Work (released on Hands in The Dark) and previous tapes and 7” releases (on Faux Discs and Blank Editions), the band shows no sign of compromise whatsoever, being as stark, harsh and stubbornly inhospitable as the strobe-haunted, feverishly kinetic live shows that have earned them a fearsome reputation beyond the rumoured West country of their origins or the urban environs of their adopted home. Split into seven excerpts and built on powerful repetition, it’s a mind-melding travail into abstraction and abjection which draws on post-punk, jazz, drone, electronic and avant-garde tropes to create an unclassifiable assault that feels oddly timeless – innovative, invigorating and bare-boned yet tapping into a uniquely English lineage that extends back to the 1970s and forward, into the unknown.

Nonetheless, whilst some may be able to detect influences like This Heat (whose Charles Hayward approvingly described their sound as redolent of “a barely controlled anger, hypnotic and building from the simplest elements”) or Einsturzende Neubauten, Housewives are carving out their own unique place in the darker quarters of the underground, motivated by a fearsome intensity of conviction and a fearlessly experimental approach. FF061116 is the latest in a series of transmissions from a collective mindset whose manifestations are as richly rewarding as they are relentlessly intense. Wherever they go from this aural outpost, all intrepid avant adventurers would do well to buckle in for the ride.

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The Comet Is Coming, signaling an end to life as we know it, heralding the dawn of a new age. In the inevitable physical destruction of the planet, a space is created where all notions of political, social and economic hierarchy will be at once obliterated and transcended.

“Death To The Planet” was released on “Comet Fire” orange vinyl for Record Store Day in an edition of 700, which have now sold out.  This is what I listen to music for – that first hearing of a new band, that totally blows you away. Start Running is such a blistering opener of intense apocalyptic jazz, that I found myself almost in shock. They have captured an original and finely honed sound with this EP that seems more than fitting for the times.

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Following on from our 10th Birthday at the end of 2016, and before the release of our upcoming fourth album ‘What We Might Know’ in March 2018, we’ve been looking back and taking stock, and it turns out we’ve come a helluva long way in the last 11+ years!

We’ve found there are quite a few interesting bits and pieces sitting in the archives that either haven’t previously had a proper release (eg, Beer Drunk Soul), are an alternative earlier version of an established favourite, a chaotic live track (embryonic live version of A Darkness Rises Up), or just a curio that gives a bit of insight as to how a particular track came about (‘Mandolin Song, Basel’). So as it’s the end of the year, and before we get on with the serious business of the new record in the Spring, we thought you might like to join us for a bit of nostalgia from our last decade. And there’s always a tale to be told…

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Merging a wall of noise with a keen ear for melody, La Bête Blooms have grown from their shoegaze, reverb-drenched beginnings to become a force of guitar-driven pop. With Steve Lamacq, Lauren Laverne, Tom Robinson and Tom Ravenscroft championing the birth of a more aggressive sound, Laverne summed up the bands transition perfectly: “Think Slowdive meeting Pixies, thrown in with a bit of Kurt Cobain’s Incesticide guitar and you pretty much have it”.

I Know It’s Nothing is an exercise in catharsis with a firmly set jaw and an ‘us against the world’ mentality.  The band’s desire to prove their worth with a unique take on life up north echoes their home city of Hull’s sentiments. La Bête Blooms are entwined with the region’s hard work to prove preconceptions wrong, and their name, created in a similar way to Bowie’s renowned song-writing ‘cut up’ method, translates as ‘The Beast Blooms’.

Frontman Daniel Mawer tells us what the EP is about: “I Know It’s Nothing is a collection of songs covering anxiety, depression, northern defiance and Hull as City of Culture! Making this EP was really cathartic and our favourite work to date,

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Fresh from touring with Scottish Fiction stalwarts Mt. Doubt, vocalist and guitarist Annie Booth will released her solo debut LP ‘An Unforgiving Light’ in October 2017.

A joint venture from Scottish Fiction and Last Night From Glasgow, the record is an ambitious solo effort of puncturing melody and raw lyricism in the vein of alt-rock titan Jeff Buckley, marked by the contrasts of folk roots paired with alt-rock backing, and urgent instrumentation contrasted with introspective vocals.

The album starts as it means to go on, opening with the honest and tender ‘Demons’. Annie introduces herself in the most personal fashion in a track weathered with vulnerability and reflection. From here, the record opens up to more sonic possibilities on ‘Over My’ and ‘Little Lies’, stretching Annie’s excellent vocal capabilities as the backing grows in stature and strength.
The record’s middle section tackles poignant universal issues such as apathy, anxiety, and a loss of faith, making it’s way through a wide variety of musical textures: from delicate arpeggios, to dynamic rhythms, to glacial hymn-like vocal climbs.
Perhaps ‘An Unforgiving Light’s greatest achievement comes when it reaches the crescendo of ‘Reverie’, a track which manages  more

Released October 20, 2017

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Kiran Leonard.

Kiran Leonard was born in Saddleworth, Greater Manchester in 1995, a fortnight after Oasis lost their famous chart battle with Blur. This is nicely symbolic because Leonard couldn’t be further removed from the cliched indie-lad template. His dad, a former folk singer, encouraged him to learn the mandolin when he was five. From there he graduated to the guitar, and at 10 years old he was devouring his older brother’s prog, noise and jazz records while recording his own music on the computer with a cracked copy of Ableton. “I didn’t really care about learning how to play other people’s songs,” he says. “I just preferred to fuck about. I used to record a lot of absolute shite… and never stopped.”

Leonard’s 2012 debut album Bowler Hat Soup – on which he played virtually everything himself – careened confidently from lush chamber pop to chewy prog via deranged music-hall stomps, placing its 16-year-old narrator on the Pyrenean ski slopes of Port Ainé or in the midst of an ancient battle. Yet Leonard now dismisses the lyrics of Bowler Hat Soup as “mostly bollocks”. Whereas heavier new album Grapefruit is only “half bollocks”, with entertaining salvoes of nonsense wordplay such as Ondör Gongor (named after a legendarily tall Mongolian man) nestling alongside the likes of Half-Ruined Already’s more unsettling exploration of the human psyche.

“That’s based on a Werner Herzog short film called Last Words,” he explains. “There’s an anecdote in the film about two people with leprosy: a man with no legs and a woman with no arms. So the man used to walk around on the woman’s back and together they formed a full-length avatar, and as a result entered a common-law marriage. It’s an example of co-dependence taken to extremes. So essentially the song is asking: Am I actually in love with this person or do I just want their limbs?”

Evidently there is a high level of intellectual curiosity at play here, so it may not be a surprise to learn that Leonard is in the second year of a degree course in Spanish and Portuguese at Wadham College, Oxford. He has been reluctant to talk about his academic life in interviews, but given we’re drinking in a 14th-century tavern in the shadow of the Bodleian Library, it’s a difficult topic to avoid. Mainly, Leonard is concerned that people might think he’s another posh-boy rocker in the Mumfords mould. “But Oxford’s not what people think it is. There are 22,000 students here and they didn’t all go to Eton.”

With his grungy jumper and blunt Lancastrian vowels, nobody is likely to mistake Leonard for a member of the Bullingdon Club. His music is clever and quixotic but it’s also governed by purist punk ethics. He doesn’t use effects pedals and has only recently taken to carrying a spare guitar with him to shows because he didn’t want to look flash. That doesn’t mean he lacks ambition; he compares his next album after Grapefruit to Pet Sounds and he’s already mapped out its narrative arc, even though he’s yet to write all the songs.

Leonard’s Manchester musical peers include the likes of Dutch Uncles and Everything Everything, who can be heard loudly praising his work at every opportunity. But pinning him down to one particular scene is difficult. The best comparison is with someone like Jim O’Rourke, whose refusal to play the game allows him to move between orchestral pop, post-rock and avant-garde spheres at will.

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Kiran Leonard is just 20 years old, but if you were looking to paint him as a wide-eyed ingénue, you’ve already missed the boat: Such is his experience and tireless work ethic he’s already coming to resemble a veteran. A rangy young man from Oldham, Greater Manchester, Leonard picked up the mandolin aged five, and wrote his breakout 2013 song “Dear Lincoln” a manic piece of psychedelic pop, like Van Dyke Parks reincarnated in the body of a hyperactive English schoolboy when he was 14 years old. Leonard is an intellectual sponge drinking up an ocean of knowledge. His frame of reference encompasses playwright Samuel Beckett and the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, the mangled productions of Death Grips and the brainbox pop of Elephant 6, while “Pink Fruit” – the second song on this, his second LP – is a sprawling song suite with more twists and turns in its 16 minutes ,The crux of its peculiar lyric? An erotic encounter between a woman and a squid.

It’s a lot, right? Right. Grapefruit is by turns astounding, accomplished and difficult to digest, an album shouldering ambitions so big that you fear that at any point it might give way at the knees. Undoubtedly, Leonard is an autodidact of amazing talent and energy. At times his idiosyncratic performance style resembles Dirty Projectors’  see “Don’t Make Friends With Good People,” with those wandering, pointillist guitar lines, that voice that leaps boldly across octaves, as if participating in some tipsy parkour. Elsewhere, he recalls a fellow British outsider, Richard Dawson, whose take on the narrative folk tradition is both wild-eyed and whimsical. The lolloping, rusty groove of “Öndör Gongor” is a fractured song-story sketched in enigmatic strokes – a strapping maritime fantasy set “in the night of the shotgun,” in which sharks lurk as “a clatter of shins hit the dock” and a mysterious orb named Ethel waits, hungrily. The song ends with staccato blasts of guitar and a chanted shanty-like coda, although how all this relates to the subject of the song’s title – a giant who lived in early-20th century Mongolia – is left unaddressed.

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Grapefruit is a gnarlier-sounding record than its predecessor, its lurching guitars and skittering, free percussion. It is at its most digestible, however, when Leonard plays it orchestral. “Caiaphas in Fetters” is a beautiful confection of strings and fluttering guitar that finds him posing questions to a lover: “Ask yourself/Do you feel as I feel?” “Half Ruined Already,” meanwhile, is a finger picked love song in which two participants – one legless, one armless – come together in one romantic whole. It was inspired by a Werner Herzog short about a couple who met in a leper’s colony, but succeeds in taking such grim subject matter and alchemizing it into warm sentiment. At the other end of the scale is the somewhat opaque “Exeter Services,” which flips between quizzical improv and skidding emo, all flail and gasp and rickety cathedrals of language built to collapse: “I’m in the Catskills! Total duality! All of Ophelia! Absolute anarchy!”

Grapefruit is 57 minutes long and feels packed to the rafters, as if Leonard is a hoarder of ideas and song fragments, unwilling or unable to let anything go. Take “Pink Fruit.” In its 16 minutes, it flits between noisy spazz-rock, folk shambling, woodwind interludes, short-wave radio tinkering and free percussion. I’d stop short of calling it confused – even when it’s getting wild, there’s enough recurring lyrical cues to suggest its maker is working to a detailed map. But he can be rather an impatient guide, and while the ground it covers is startling and often picturesque, Grapefruit is an album you feel led through, rather than being left to explore or inhabit. Perhaps in this regard, at least, Kiran Leonard still has things to learn.

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Thanks to Pitchfork,

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Pip Hall might share youth, a label and a flare for the emotional , Pip’s offering, “James”, is a raw slice of emotional outpouring. This is never more obvious than on the stunning title track, Pip’s tribute to her late father, who died when she was young; is part beautiful homage to his memory, part honest recollection of her struggles to grow up without him around.

Musically, across the EP, Pip shows a wonderful dexterity, from the fluttering electronics and Fleetwood Mac-like melodies of Devil You Don’t, to the driving twangy guitars of Turn Over. Throughout they are all pinned together by Pip’s frankly stunning vocal, an instrument capable of effortlessly shifting from an impassioned howl to an intricate whisper. At barely sixteen, Pip Hall is a mercurial talent, a songwriter with unlimited potential, and already quite probably Preston’s most famous musical daughter. If James is an intriguing introduction, where she goes next might just be incredible try and catch her while you can.

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“a gigantic talent…potentially massive” – The Line Of Best Fit
“Hall’s ability to write a brilliant pop hit is evident.” – Goldflakepaint
“It’s been haunting me all day. Sounding absolutely fantastic” – Radio X (John Kennedy)
“a palpable successor to the crown bestowed on Lorde after all.” – The Metro
“Revelatory songs wrapped in velvety synths and guitars” – Daily Mirror
“Stunningly penned tracks.” – Little Indie Blogs
“Wonderful” – Amazing Radio (Shell Zenner)
“Beautiful and engrossing.” – The Revue
“Graciously dark and lushly soulful” – Fame Magazine
“A star in the making.” – For The Rabbits

OUR GIRL – ” Normally “

Posted: November 23, 2017 in MUSIC
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The Normally EP, the follow up to their debut single Sleeper, was recorded in the Summer in one day with Steve Ansell of Blood Red Shoes.
“Lots of the songs are about emotional distance – not knowing what someone else is thinking, and how that can make you feel crazy. It can cloud my judgment to the point that shrugging it off as indifference is the easiest thing to do. Although it still reflects those feelings of self-doubt, Being Around is probably the most hopeful song on the EP. It focuses on the positivity in the relationships I have, and the gratitude and care I have towards those people for being who they are, and being there for me in the way they are,” explains frontwoman and guitarist Soph Nathan.

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Nathan’s honest and personal lyrics float in a delicious array of sounds: rhythmic drum and guitar hooks make dynamic jumps to thick garage-rock riffs, then suddenly cut to beautiful, intimate moments of lone guitar and reverb-hugged vocals. You’d think Soph Nathan in particular might struggle to fit in allocated hours for napping these days; besides maintaining an outstandingly colourful shirt collection, and shredding guitars for The Big Moon, she also fronts ace trio Our Girl. Signed to Cannibal Hymns – the same Brighton label backing the likes of Dream Wife, Abattoir Blues, and Tigercub – the band specialise in inward-looking, complex meshes of haze. Our Girl’s latest, Being Around is their most ambitious yet. Our Girl have shared the stage with the likes of Sunflower Bean, The Wytches, and Dream Wife and head out in support of The Japanese House later this year.

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Rough Trade Counter Culture 12 Inch Volume 1 (Sad Fuzz – Ty Segall Cover)

We are excited to announce the first in our new series of Counter Culture 12 inches. The concept is the same as our yearly Counter Culture compilations, however we aim to give you a taste of what we’re loving throughout the year, rather than just annually. Volume 1 features 4 female fronted bands that we LOVE. Includedis the Our Girl track with a Ty Segall cover. They take Sad Fuzz and give it a neat lo-fi reworking and make it sound like a female fronted version of the Libertines.  This is limited to just 500 copies worldwide. Pressed on solid white vinyl.

Includes unlimited streaming of Rough Trade Counter Culture 12 Inch Volume 1 (Sad Fuzz – Ty Segall Cover)

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