Tag Archives: Alternative pop

Introducing…Captain Wilberforce

It is a truth universally acknowledged that bands outstay their creative welcome, distracted by the gaudy excesses of fame and fortune, so how lucky we are that Captain Wilberforce, with his new Distance E.P. has never encountered such a fate. Leeds’ most tenacious purveyor of idiosyncratic alt-pop refuses to bow to the current 80’s zeitgeist, (having already suffered it first-hand the first time round) and instead look to classic songwriters like Mssrs Bowie, Costello and Bacharach – as well as their more recent counterparts Guy Garvey and Sufjan Stevans – to inspire timeless, cultured tunes that ear-worm their way into your life.

The four new songs on Distance reinforce Captain Wilberforce’s growing reputation for compelling melodies, cascading harmonies and crafted lyrics: these tunes ooze class, self-belief and a relaxed confidence that only comes with years of song-writing experience.

Friends of the band include Huey Morgan and Tom Robinson of BBC 6 music and Dermot O’Leary who invited the self-managed, self-released and self-promoted band to record a prestigious Saturday Session following the launch of their Ghost Written Confessions (2011) album.

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Introducing…Mosman Alder

Acclaimed director and producer Kris Moyes (Beck, Grizzly Bear, Franz Ferdinand, Sia, The Presets) takes you on a hypnotic visual journey in the animated video for Mosman Alder’s latest single, Germland (of Julien Charbonneau).

Inspired by the song’s title, Moyes modelled a series of 3D vignettes that celebrate the physical similarities between outer and inner space. Bacteria, body tissue and natural landscapes all form parts of Moyes’ mesmerising microscopic universe.

Kris Moyes said on making the video: “The imagery resembles shapes and colours commonly found in the natural world. Body tissue, bacteria, forests and space junk spring to mind during playback.”

Jackson Muir of Mosman Alder said on the video: “It was a new experience for us to let go of being involved in our art but it made sense to give Kris complete control. He had clear vision and we have a lot of respect for him as an artist and his previous work for
Kirin J Callinan, Grizzly Bear, Beck, Sia and others.”

Germland (of Julien Charbonneau) is the first single from Mosman Alder’s debut album, Humdrum Star. Due for release in September, Humdrum Star was recorded under the guidance of producer Paul Dempsey (Something for Kate) who describes the Australian six-piece as: “One of the best bands I’ve heard come out of Australia in a really long time”.

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Simian Ghost Premiere Video For Album Title Track, Youth

Youth (Reissue) is a new version of Swedish indie pop band Simian Ghost’s 2012 widely acclaimed album, now with five additional bonus tracks.

Formed in 2011 by musician and visual artist Sebastian Arnstrom, the band’s debut album Infinite Traffic Everywhere topped the Critics Chart in Sweden. Now expanded to a five piece including brother Erik Klinga on drums, Mathias Zachrisson on guitar, Maja Agnevik on additional vocals as well as Wilhelm Magnusson on bass, the band has shared stages with Mount Kimbie, SBTRKT, Tony Buck and Niki & the Dove among many others.

The five new tracks onYouth, reissued by Austin’s Red Eye Transit, offer up more of the band’s signature sweet pop sound; from the honeyed harmonies of 2012 which recently premiered at CLASH to the joyful breeziness of Echoes in Your Heart, the new Youth tracks exhibit the musical qualities that have earned them the title of “one of Sweden’s most interesting pop acts to come out this year.” (Noisey).

Simain Ghost are celebrating the charming video for the title track Youth on The 405; the video was filmed during the band’s inaugural US trip to South by Southwest Festival in Austin, TX. To achieve the timelapse imagery, the band rented out a trampoline park for the day while the festival was going on and produced a bittersweet video that conjures up the feelings of the breezy summer ending.

Youth (Reissue) is out September 9 2014 on Red Eye Transit.

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Introducing…Just Walden

If you were looking for a talented singer-songwriter waiting to break out, the Goldman Sachs trading floor might be the last place you would look. But that’s just where Danny Ferraro spent his last five years, plying out his daily trade. In 2014, after years of ambivalence and second-guessing, he finally summoned the courage to make the leap and pursue music full-time.

Just Walden

Just Walden

Danny’s first band experience occurred in 2005 during his first semester at Columbia University where he met future Just Walden musician, Taylor Eichenseer. They built a following around campus; playing shows at parties and various venues around the city before releasing a self-titled EP in 2008. After graduation, the group added childhood friend Alex Margolin and Taylor’s brother, Aaron. They built a studio in their apartment and started experimenting more with their sound. This new group was short lived though: Danny’s job took him to London where he nonetheless continued to write songs. The rest of the group founded the band Wildcat Apollo in Brooklyn eventually relocating to their hometown, Austin, TX.

Before Just Walden finally materialised as a band, principal songwriter Danny Ferraro had a significant reoccurring dream. “It was all the members jamming to a song that had this unique, rocking, contiguous sound with the piano as the central rhythm.” It was the increasing recurrence of this vision that gave him that extra bit of courage to leave his job. This final step resulted in his move to Austin where he rejoined the rest of the gang and helped form the new group, Just Walden – named after the pond made famous by author Henry David Thoreau.

Just Walden’s debut, High Street Barton Blues, barrels out in a glorious haze of psychedelic piano rock, a spiritual and soul-searching experience. Some of the material, which is based on Danny’s experiences in Central London, was informed by the harsher elements of coming-of-age while other songs on the record are beaming with encouragement and sanctuary found upon return to his band.

Just Walden have recently placed their latest track, Romie Knows, on Soundcloud for fans to download.

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The Calling Card Release New Compilation Album, You’ve Got A Lot To Learn

Welsh band The Calling Card have collected all of their demos from their first album, Everything You’re Not, as well as demos for new songs and have produced a 21 song compilation. The compilation is titled, You’ve Got A Lot To Learn and is now up for free download on bandcamp. The title comes from the lyrics for the first song the band ever recorded, Weight Of The World.

The new 21 song compilation contains classics from Everything You’re Not such as Weight Of The World, Lets Stay Young and Cross My Heart among others while also introducing new tracks Caligula, Neon Lights, We Are Just Kids And We’re Never Giving Up, Day In/Day Out, Hayley’s Got Me In A Spin, Someone’s Watching Me, Stop The Sun and We’re Not Anywhere. There is also the odd live or acoustic track or remix.

The Calling Card

The Calling Card You’ve Got A Lot To Learn album artwork

Caligula is a heavy rock number whereas Neon Lights is a pop song with uplifting acoustic rhythm guitar and a happy, summery drum beat. It will make you feel good, especially in the gloomy winter weather. It’s a song about returning home, “Run away/Run away from the city…Take me up/Little space ship/Take me up/On your runaway train/Take me up/In your little black car.”

We Are Just Kids And We’re Never Giving Up is a solemn new track comprising of Benj’s vocals and rock ballad music while Day In/Day Out sees The Calling Card return to their Blink 182 style pop/rock. Hayley’s Got Me In A Spin brings back their summery, acoustic sound perfect for a love song. Someone’s Watching Me is particularly heavy for The Calling Card, focusing primarily on rock guitar riffs which are slightly overpowering.

Stop The Sun is your typical The Calling Card song while We’re Not Anywhere sees them try their hand at a slow, meaningful and lyrical song. This is the equivalent of Everything You’re Not’s Lost @ Sea. Benj’s vocals are soft, emotional and coherent. It’s a welcome surprise near the end of You’ve Got A Lot To Learn.

Not only have The Calling Card released this new demo CD but they are also going to be releasing a new track, one per week for every week of 2014. It’s all going to be collected at the end of the year under their new album titled 52. Just like the demo album, You’ve Got A Lot To Learn, it’s all going to go up on bandcamp and YouTube and will be completely free for everyone. Watch this space in 2014 for more details.

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Doldrums to Release Debut Album Lesser Evil

Doldrums AKA Airick Woodhead is set to release his debut album titled Lesser Evil on February 25 through Souterrain Transmissions. Woodhead, a 23 year old from Toronto, has taken the world by storm with his eccentric take on electronic music. Having toured with the likes of Grime, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Purity Ring and having produced remixes for Grime and Portishead, Woodhead has wowed audiences with his unique and rather electric style.

Lesser Evil was produced between July 2011 and May 2012 through the cracked screen of a borrowed Macbook – the screen which was then scanned and used as the album artwork. With earlier Doldrum releases using anything from 60s girl group samples to Bollywood psychedelia to dial up modems and feedback, Lesser Evil has been woven together in a more sophisticated way with a pallet of sounds ranging from warped vocals to analogue electronic gear.

Doldrums, Airick Woodhead

Doldrums album artwork for Lesser Evil

Lesser Evil is the perfect mix of alternative electro pop. There are chill out tracks alongside more upbeat, party numbers. Track two, Anomaly, is a favourite. Woodhead’s vocals and the back beat are very 80s in Anomaly while also having a distinct interwoven modern feel. On the other hand, She Is The Wave is an explosion of juxtaposing beats. At first it sounds like a massive mess but is in fact one of the best tracks on the album. Woodhead’s vocals move from one extreme to the next, high and screeching to low and mysterious.

Sunrise is another fantastic number. Woodhead’s voice is in the background in this song unlike in She Is The Wave where it is at the forefront. Sunrise is a short but sweet burst of relaxing tones with a brilliant instrumental bit towards the end.

The next song, Holographic Sandcastles sees Woodhead use an instrumental made by Sami Nacomi under one of his musical pseudonyms, Brain Expansion Program. The drum beat at the start is mesmerising, you can feel it pulsing through your veins, you won’t be able to stay still. Holographic Sandcastles is a blend of genres and it works perfectly. This is the five star song on the record due to its mix of Indian, African and jazz influences. It is original and interesting, it can’t be beaten. It’s a shame that Woodhead didn’t produce all the track, he only added the vocals.

Live Forever is one of the dirtier, hardcore songs on Lesser Evil with a heavy and slightly overpowering bass and drum beat but this isn’t a bad thing. It’s grungy and in your face, it’s hard not to like it for that reason alone. In a couple of songs time, you’re back to calm with Lost In Everyone. Lost In Everyone has soft vocals and a great melody which will bring you peace after the explosion that is Live Forever.

Doldrums has this ability to put together sounds that shouldn’t work and make it into something fantastically new and unusual. Lesser Evil might give some people a huge headache but for others it will be a record you will want to listen to again and again. Each time you listen you will spot some new noise or instrument you hadn’t noticed before. There are layers and layers to each song which is why Doldrums draws in so many people. Woodhead produces crazy, non-commercial electro-pop that will leave you mesmerised at how he managed to create it.

Lesser Evil is out on February 25 through Souterrain Transmissions. Doldrums plays Corsica Studios in London on February 20 and Brighton Green Door Store on February 21. More dates to be announced soon.

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Introducing Itchy Teeth

New underground alternative pop band, Itchy Teeth, have been causing a bit of a stir with the likes of Ronnie Wood congratulating them on their ability to produce, “Stupendous pop rock in the style of real bands from the 60’s. Itchy Teeth are the only band doing it right these days. If you think anyone is writing a better song then you’re surely wrong. I can’t get enough of these lads.”

Itchy Teeth are Charlie Hannah, Xav Clarke, Oli Booker and Jon Varney. I think their names help to sum up the idea behind their music. Itchy Teeth are a pop band with a quirky difference. Did We Lose A War shows their more serious, rock side while Going To A Party shows the opposite side of their personalities. They’re a band who knows how to have fun with good music.

Itchy Teeth

Alternative London-based pop band, Itchy Teeth

Going To A Party sees the band take a satirical view of the rest of the pop bands out there. It’s a cheesy pop tune with silly lyrics and an awesomely funny video. I can’t help but think it helps to highlight how bad pop has become. Remember, The Beatles were once classed as pop. There’s not a pop band that comes close to them now.

Itchy Teeth are also unique in their idea of the music industry as they produce and edit their own music videos allowing them to have the control over their creative visions. This is brilliant. Who wants some money-making whore to come in, take control and destroy everything you worked hard to achieve?

If you’re interested in finding out a little more about them then read the interview below.
How long have you been producing music together?
All together for about a year…
How did you meet?
Charlie and I (Xav Clarke) started writing songs together back at university when we got put in the same halls of residence in year one. Charlie then introduced me to his school friends, Oli and Jon, who eventually ended up joining the band.
Who are your influences?
All the best.
How come you decided to produce/edit your own videos?
In our band we have a strong belief that nothing will get done unless you do it yourself. When other people become involved, things slow down and end up looking different to the way you envisaged it. In Itchy Teeth, we try to do everything we can ourselves to keep true to our vision.
Have you got any live shows coming up?
We play in London all the time. Our 100th gig this year is coming up and we’re going to Switzerland to play some shows but in the meantime itchyteeth.org has all our upcoming London dates on it. 30th November at Proud Gallery is going to be the Don.

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