Monthly Archives: July 2013

Bristol Producer, Enjoyed, Remixes Tunng’s So Far From Here

Following masses of praise for their recently released fifth album, Turbines, and two intimate shows at The Lexington (which sold out before the record was even announced), Tunng reveal a new remix and more live dates.

Bristol producer Enjoyed has given Turbines’ lead single So Far From Here a make-over and transformed it into a glitchy, ethereal piece of electronica, exhibiting another side to the delicate and addictive melody. You can listen t Enjoyed’s remix here.



With the band now scattered between England and Iceland, there’s a powerful and surprising togetherness to Tunng’s fifth studio album which founding member Mike Lindsay claims is all thanks to its subject matter: an imagined fantasy village.

Tunng have also announced more live dates- all of which are detailed below:

27 Copenhagen, DK – Loppen
28 Hamburg, DE – Reeperbahn Festival
30 Berlin, DE – Festaal

1 Frankfurt, DE – Zoom
2 Munich, DE – Ampere
3 Zurich, CH – Viadukt – Bogen F
5 Amsterdam, NL – Bitterzoet
6 Brussels, BE – Botanique – Rotonde
7 Paris, FR – La Maroquinerie
8 London, UK – Heaven
11 Bristol, UK – Colston Hall
12 Kendal, UK – Brewery
13 Glasgow, UK – Broadcast
14 Birmingham, UK – Hare & Hounds
15 Manchester, UK – Band On The Wall
16 Reading, UK – South Street Arts
17 Bury St Edmonds, UK – The Apex
19 Hebden Bridge, UK – Trades Club
20 Liverpool, UK – East Village Arts Club
21 Brighton, UK – The Old Market

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Nothankyou Reveal Second Track Of Double A-Side Single, Know Yourself / Oyster

Following the success of the avidly devoured first official track from Nothankyou, Know Yourself, Tom Vek and Olga Bell present new song Oyster.


Tom Vek and Olga Bell of Nothankyou

Nothankyou is the new project from Olga Bell and Tom Vek. Nothankyou’s debut single is a double a-side 7” titled Know Yourself/Oyster that will be released through Moshi Moshi records on August 5 2013.

Hailing from opposite sides of the Atlantic, Bell and Vek first met over mid-aughts Myspace during what Tom refers to as “a window of about a week when I was speaking to people over social media”. They kept in touch, seeing each other every few years in Vek’s London or Bell’s New York, until eventually and inevitably, they found themselves at the same Creators Project party in Brazil.

Olga asked if Tom was working on any new tracks. Tom played her a rough instrumental. Thumb drives flashed, flash drives hummed, Myspace rolled over in its grave and back in Brooklyn Olga added topline and keyboard parts before sending the track back to Tom. After a few exchanges they had one finished song. After a few more, they had two.

Listen to the new track, Osyter, from Nothankyou here.

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Dr Dog Announce New Album B-Room

Philadelphia’s Dr. Dog will release their new album entitled B-Room on October 1 on Anti-. Showcasing some of their most mature, streamlined and soulful writing to date, the record is the culmination of a complete overhaul of the band’s writing and recording process which finds them in a new self-built studio, writing songs live in rehearsal and using the rock solid groove of the band, honed through workmanlike touring, as a powerful compositional tool.

Dr Dog

Dr Dog

B-Room, in its purest form, is a soul album. It may be obvious as the first track opens with the Gamble and Huff inspired, The Truth. But as the album progresses the music continues to take on a soulfulness that is vibrant in its simplicity. As McMicken put it: “The hallmark of soul music for me is that the arrangements are simple rather than virtuosic and that the sound creates a feeling that is intuitive rather than intellectual.”

The Truth is an outstanding track that will calm you down instantly and allow you to let all that tension go. The vocals are a little Neil Young inspired while the music is repetitive yet completely soothing. It has a wonderful feel to it with the rhythmic electric guitar and steel drums really helping to create that summer, lazy day feel alongside that slow drum beat.

After ending the lease at home studio, Meth Beach, where they had been head-quartered for the past eight years, the musicians took on the commitment of constructing an entirely new recording space within a now defunct silversmith mill. As the band’s bassist-vocalist Toby Leaman said: “The whole process of recording really started with building the studio.”

As the band now understands, making a record is a lot like doing construction; both require a similar amount of frustration, intensity and cohesion. By building the space first and releasing all of that emotion, the band was then free to engage in their creative process without the expectation or preconception that they admittedly had brought into other sessions. Recorded primarily in live takes, the songs seamlessly fuse the spontaneity of the band’s live performances with the intricacy of their kaleidoscopic composition. Both Leaman and guitarist Scott McMicken credit this sonic evolution with relying less on the pre-produced demos and more with a reliance on the musicians surrounding them.

To pre-order B-Room go to B-Room is out on October 1 2013.

Dr Dog are going on tour with The Lumineers this autumn. All the tour dates are below:

Sept 15 2013   Red Rocks    Morrison, CO

Sept 17 2013   Great Salt Ampitheater        Magna            UT

Sept 20 2013  King County’s Marymoor Park       Redmond      WA

Sept 21 2013   King County’s Marymoor Park       Redmond      WA

Sept 22 2013   Rose Qrter Memorial Coliseum            Portland         OR

Sept 25 2013   America’s Cup Pavilion      San Francisco          CA

Sept 26 2013   Santa Barbara Bowl            Santa Barbara          CA

Sept 27 2013   Greek Theatre           Los Angeles  CA

Sept 28 2013   Greek Theatre           Los Angeles  CA

Oct  1 2013       Comerica Theatre    Phoenix         AZ

Oct 3 2013       Downtown Airpark   Oklahoma City          OK

Oct 4 2013      Chaifetz Arena         St. Louis        MO

Oct 8 2013      Mud Island Amphitheatre   Memphis        TN

Oct 9 2013     Tuscaloosa Amphitheater  Tuscaloosa   AL

Oct 11 2013   The Masquerade      Atlanta           GA

Oct 12 2013   Ryman Auditorium  Nashville       TN

Oct 13 2013   Ryman Auditorium  Nashville       TN

Oct 14 2013   Ryman Auditorium  Nashville       TN

Oct 16 2013   UNO Lakefront Arena New Orleans LA

Oct 18 2013   St. Augustine Amp          St. Augustine            FL

Oct 19 2013   USF Sun Dome       Tampa            FL

Oct 20 2013  Sunset Cove Amphitheater           Boca Raton   FL

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Empty Pools To Release New Single Exploded View And Debut Album Saturn Reruns

Empty Pools are to release their new single Exploded View on Monday 26 August. They are also releasing their debut album Saturn Reruns on November 4 2013.

Empty Pools’ Exploded View is a fantastic five minute plus track showcasing wonderfully soft yet powerful vocals and brilliant guitar riffs and melodies. The music structure and composition of Exploded View really do pay homage to Tubelord whose sound can be described as organised chaos, especially on the harmonies.

Having dropped out of university, window-shopped at a furniture store while spending “a hundred summers” on someone else’s couch flipping through the old TV repeats, 23-year-old singer/guitarist Leah writes with surprising cryptically honest lyrics that sum up a short lifetime’s worth of experiences. Saturn Reruns is Empty Pools’ debut album and it’s an album as equally influenced by the poetic slackerdom of Stephen Malkmus and David Berman as the defiance of Patti Smith, Taylor Swift and Ian MacKaye.

Empty Pools

Empty Pools artwork

After bonding as members of John Parish’s band at the turn of the millennium, drummer Aaron and guitarist Ben (who originally met playing in ever-rotating Bristol mainstays Soeza) drifted apart from those bands and each other five or so years ago. After stints in other groups that would inevitably finish an album or book a tour only for half its members to quit, they reconnected in summer 2011 and posted a classified ad seeking a singer and bassist for a potential band. They simply listed The Sea and Cake, Cass McCombs, Pylon, TV on the Radio, Marnie Stern, Talking Heads, Helium, Gang Gang Dance and Karate to attract kindred spirits.

Bassist Matt was the first to make it through auditions, turning up with crumbling rented equipment and a repertoire of indelible funk and soul bass lines by the likes of The Temptations and Marvin Gaye. Leah’s first audition wasn’t such a gut-punch: her vocal performance was so quiet that Aaron and Ben, curiosity piqued, had to invite her back for a second round. There, she threatened the pair with a Bryan Adams cover, but won them over by performing songs by St. Vincent and Cymbals Eat Guitars and the lyrics for what would become the band’s debut single, 2012’s Safety School.

At first, all they had in common was their hometown: all of Empty Pools are based in Southville, South Bristol, home to the city’s immediately identifiable brightly painted houses. “The graveyard of ambition,” as Ben, who abandoned his art school aspirations in favour of music, puts it. Still, it was better than where they had each come from: Matt from Nailsea (“no coincidence that spell-check corrects it to ‘nausea’,” he says) via a long stint as a youth worker in Stockton, a grim Teesside town home to the titular record shop of excellent documentary Sound It Out; Leah from Basingstoke (via The Hague), Aaron from Hungerford and Ben from Yeovil (where John Parish taught him at college).

Quickly, however, Ben’s gnarled guitar parts tangled around Leah’s lyrics taken from notebooks kept since age 15, detailing loss, stagnation and clean breaks. Empty Pools’ 10 finest songs to date make up Saturn Reruns which asks; can you discover an unshakable core self within that will be the basis for a lifetime of growth? At the very least, it’s a defiant clawed fist punched upward through the soil in that graveyard of ambition.

Empty Pools self-released two singles in 2012, followed by two 7″s on Battle Worldwide Recordings (Frenchkiss Label Group), Safety School (2012) and Small Talk (2013). The band have played shows with Menomena, Destroyer, Sharon Van Etten, White Denim, Other Lives, Memoryhouse and Tom Tom Club.

Exploded View will be available from August 26. Empty Pools debut album Saturn Reruns will be available to buy from November 4.

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Introducing…Straw Bear

So who are Straw Bear? Straw Bear are singer and lyricist Ian Ray, guitarist Chris Gray, bassist Tom Shipp, Pas Struthers (drums) and guitarist Catie Wicks. Singer/songwriter Ian Ray and guitarist Chris Gray met at school in a “dull market town in Cambridgeshire”. Over time, Tom Shipp, Pas Struthers and Catie Wicks joined the fold and they are now spread out all over the south-east. The band took their name from a pagan Fenland festival.

Straw Bear’s album Black Bank is an intriguing collection of oddball folk, alt-country vistas and poppier delights like Snobbery. Produced by Chris Taylor of The Bays at his studio in the eerie Fens, it has attracted breathless praise from the music press and bloggers, notably earning five-star reviews from respected magazine Rock’n’Reel and audio bible Sound on Sound. It has been released by Cambridgeshire-based label Oilbug Music.

Straw Bear

Straw Bear

If you’re a fan of Belle & Sebastian, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynki and Stornaway then you’ll probably like Straw Bear – they’re a band for people with an interest in psychedelia, alt-country and leftfield pop. Their influences come from a predictable range of some of the usual suspects (Talking Heads, Neil Young, Nick Cave, Squeeze) and more recently Grizzly Bear, The Shins, Tame Impala and Other Lives.

Straw Bear are set to release their debut single Snobbery on Monday 29 July. BBC radio DJs have been falling over each other to play Straw Bear’s delicious new single with recent spins from Huw Stephens, Tom Robinson, Jen Long & Ally McCrae, the legendary ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris, Gideon Coe, Chris Hawkins and Gary Crowley.

The song recently wowed a packed room at BBC Introducing’s Great Escape showcase in May after Straw Bear were handpicked by Tom Robinson to perform on the back of a terrific BBC 6 Music session.

Snobbery showcases all that Straw Bear’s acolytes have come to expect: wry storytelling, gorgeous vocals and sparkling tunes – this time telling the tale of love across the class divide from a snob’s perspective.

There’s also a brilliantly chic video for Snobbery, shot in the Empire Cinema in Leicester Square, that shows the band play while they watch a slapstick comedy echoing the song’s lyrics. The video was produced by Flying Guillotine and can be viewed below.

Straw Bears are touring the UK with the Kate Rogers Band in July. All tour dates are below:

Thursday July 25th: MANCHESTER – Night & Day
Friday July 26th: LIVERPOOL – Zanzibar
Sunday July 28th: LONDON – The Dublin Castle

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The Black Clouds Better Days – Album Review

Comprising of guitarists and vocalists Dan Matthews and Rob Blake, bassist Gary Moses and drummer Cory King, New Jersey’s The Black Clouds have returned leaner and louder with their new release, Better Days. Produced, recorded and funded entirely by the band, Better Days was recorded over the period of one month and mixed by alternative rock legend, John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, Hold Steady). The album abides by three driving principles: Play loud. Play hard. Leave every post-modern music trend quivering in the dust.

The Black Clouds have maintained a D.I.Y. stance since their formation in late 2004. Also self-produced, recorded and funded, the band’s debut LP Wishing Well (2008) was mixed and mastered by yet another legendary rock producer, Seattle’s Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney).

The Black Clouds played Bamboozle in 2008 and followed with a self-funded, self-booked US tour in 2009 which saw them hitting 25 shows in 30 days. Another short tour – again funded and booked entirely by the band – followed in 2010 when the they hit the road for SXSW and back.

The Black Clouds’ gruelling commitment to touring has paid off as the band plays every live show like it’s their last one standing. And Better Days pulls off the near-impossible feat of ensnaring the band’s blood-and-spit stage fury in a way few modern bands could even strive for, let alone achieve.

The Black Clouds Better Days

The Black Clouds album artwork for Better Days

Better Days is an album that’s a cross between the familiar sounds of Nickleback and Puddle of Mudd. It’s hard, grunge underground rock which is the sort of rock that’s perfect for a mosh pit.

The Black Clouds have produced a brilliant record in Better Days; it’s the sort of music you want to be able to blast out when you’re having a bad day. So if you’re in need of an album full of anger, Better Days is the one for you.

With the dark, grunge guitars, The Black Clouds tracks on Better Days are incredibly similar in sound to Puddle of Mudd and Nirvana at times. Vocally, The Black Clouds appear to be very influenced by Nickleback’s gravelly sound and Puddle of Mudd’s rock star half shouting voice.

But it’s not just about their grunge rock sound, The Black Clouds are brilliant at writing catchy choruses like those in Defective Mind, “Defective mind/Something’s burning away inside him/Harder they try/Get’s harder and harder to fight it…”and Breathing, “Don’t leave the station/Don’t leave it/Don’t leave it/Don’t leave the station/Breathing…”.

Again is probably one of the best tracks on the record with its Nirvana and Cobain style influences on the vocals, “Again/Again we’re stuck at the bottom…” This song reverts me back to my teenage years as I’m sure it will for those of you who are my age when you hear this song.

Songs like Fray do show that the band have a slightly softer side with a gentler yet just as good a melody and wonderful vocal work which shows off their ability to sing rather than shout in that rock star way. Blue Blocker has a great melody and some fantastic guitar riffs which are truly American in style – this is a song that you will instantly fall in love with, it’s a summer rock song, what isn’t there to like?

Better Days is a solid underground grunge rock album that’s perfect for those days when you just want to let off steam and see ‘Better Days’. Better Days is out now.

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Crystal Stilts’ New Album Nature Noir Out In September

Crystal Stilts are pleased to announce their new album Nature Noir will be released on September 16 on Sacred Bones Records. Along with this news comes a new track Star Crawl and a November UK tour.

Nature Noir sees The Stilts honing in on their various affinities at once. Simulcast from different pools of the past, bridging and expanding their intensive tastes in Soul, Folk, Psych, Country, Proto-punk and onward, it’s apparent that their new formulary is more subtle and fully realised than ever.

Crystal Stilts Nature Noir

Crystal Stilts artwork for Nature Noir

Like any creation worth loving, it’s the quality of the ingredients and the unique perspective lenses of the creators that produce a marvel such as this.  Pleasingly distilled in celestial darkness, floating in a sea of color drenched dreams, and grounded in protean mythology, Crystal Stilts’ third LP sounds refreshingly bold and deep rooted within the current musical climate.

With lyrical themes probing the dark connections between the individual and its environment, along with the shadowy interdependence of nature and man, the album strikes a more emotional chord than records past. Where Alight of Night and In Love With Oblivion reveled in a place of spaced-out awe, Nature Noir reaches forth with a very human yearning.  Unmasked, refined and lush, Crystal Stilts here hint at freeform experimentation whilst holding on to their classic heritage. Retro fitted and forward committed, this is a record whose presence should be welcomed in your collection.

Crystal Stilts formed in 2003 in New York City by Brad Hargett (vocals) and JB Townsend (guitar) and are currently joined by Andy Adler (bass), Keegan Cooke (drums), Kyle Forester (keys)

You can catch Crystal Stilts live on the following dates:
13 Nov – Vera, Groningen
14 Nov – Stengade, Copenhagen
15 Nov – Debaser, Stockholm
16 Nov – Revolver, Oslo
17 Nov – Pustervik, Goteborg
18 Nov – Voxhall, Aarhus
19 Nov – Hafenklang, Hamburg
20 Nov – Festsaal Kreuzberg, Berlin
21 Nov – King Georg, Cologne
22 Nov – De Kreun, Kortrijk
23 Nov – Green Door Store, Brighton
24 Nov – Liverpool Psychfest party, Liverpool
25 Nov – Mono, Glasgow
26 Nov – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
27 Nov – The Exchange, Bristol
28 Nov – Cargo, London
29 Nov – Maison De Musiques, Brussels
30 Nov – Le Guess Who? Festival, Utrecht
01 Dec – Point FMR, Paris
02 Dec – El Lokal, Zurich (CH)
03 Dec – Amalgame, Yverdon-Les-Bains (CH)

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