Posts Tagged ‘Indie’

Cardiff post-punk outfit Red Telephone are set to release their highly anticipated debut album Hollowing Out on the 31st March 2023. The only single taken from it ‘Waiting For Your Good Days’ is out on the 20th January.

Listen to ‘Waiting For Your Good Days’ here:

Hailing from Cardiff, Red Telephone’s richly layered alt-rock could have emanated from a club in Blade Runner’s dystopian LA – combining angular guitars, Krautrock-inspired rhythms and New Wave-tinged synths with infectious pop sensibilities. Drawing on post punk and synth pop influences, the band has been catching the attention of DJs across BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio 1, Absolute Radio and Radio X; with comparisons to the likes of MGMT, Super Furry Animals, Mitski and Berlin-era Bowie being drawn. The band have recently appeared at BBC 6 Music Fringe Festival, Focus Wales, Swn Festival, Other Voices and Llangollen Fringe, supporting Warmduscher. With previous single releases on Welsh-based labels Libertino Records and the Popty-Ping Recording Company, the band’s highly anticipated debut album is set to be released in March 2023.

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Photo by Faith Clarke

Christopher Nosnibor

This was supposed to be the perfect bookend to the year: after Percy supported Soma Crew at The Crescent in May, the roles were to be swapped tonight following the release of Percy’s new album, Monorail, in June. But sadly, it wasn’t to be, on account of Percy’s drummer Jason royally fucking his back.

Gigs at this time of year are always a risk, and not only on account of the potentials for injury (as the icy pavements on the way only highlight): the fact that it’s hard sub-zero means a lot of people can’t face wrapping up again after work to turn out on an evening, and then there all of the obligatory work / mates drinks and all that cal. Throw in Steve Mason playing across town and this one was always going to be a gamble, but despite the headliners’ late withdrawal, it’s a respectable crowd who witness The Rosettas emerging sounding stronger than the last time I saw them at the end of September. The sound is solid, buzzy, grungy.

The singer’s confidence leans into arrogance throughout, and not just in ignoring advice sagely dispensed in my coverage of said show in September, while actually mentioning the recommendation not to drop a cover as their second song, they slam in with a faithful rendition of Blur’s ‘Song 2’ as the second song of the set. But it makes sense, and it is well played, as is the majority of the rest of the set. I suspect the singer’s suffering from a cold or something that gives his voice quite a ragged edge, but actually, it sounds decent.

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The Rosettas

Unfortunately, technical issues and a lack of organisation means the set ends abruptly and somewhat chaotically, but they played with enthusiasm and were a lot less reliant on covers, and ultimately made the best of a less than ideal situation.

They seem to clear out and take half the audience with them, but, undeterred, Soma Crew take the stage and drench it with sonorous droning feedback. Then they build into a single chord dragging for all eternity as the muffled drums plod away in the back and they hit peak hypnotic. And then the tremolo enters the mix and the volume steps up with the arrival of the snare drum and…. and… and… the set drifts, and my mind drifts, and it’s a most pleasant experience. Time hangs in suspension. ‘Mighty Forces’ is indeed mighty, and the mid-pace one chord chugs are supremely soporific. Everything is measured, mellow, hazy. Everything comes together to conjure a thick sonic mist, and it’s absolutely magnificent. It’s also seriously loud, as I come to realise about two-thirds of the way into the set. When did that happen? Did it get louder? Perhaps. Probably. I can’t help but feel that Soma Crew are seriously underrated, and tonight they really hit all the sweet spots at once.

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Soma Crew

Leeds trio Nervous Twitch are worthy headliners, and launch into their set without a word, no fuss, not a single note of level checking. Pow! It’s proper, unfussy, old-school punk, three and four chord thrashes played with big energy, and they’re as tight as any band you’ll hear. Sure, with a female singer (who also plays bass), they invite obvious comparisons to X-Ray Spex and Penetration, and as much as they’re punk, they’re catchy and poppy at the same time, and ultimately, they’re good fun.

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Nervous Twitch

There are, of course, many bands playing in the next fortnight, in every city across the nation. Some will draw crowds, others less so. While I enter temporary hibernation, it feels like an appropriate time to reflect, and to celebrate the venues we’re fortunate to still have, and the fact that while times remain tough, 2022 has at last seen live music return to the social calendar. And for all the other shit we’re surrounded by – I can’t even begin the list – this is something we can be immensely grateful for.

It’s pretty perverse to release a single entitled ‘Summer Assault’ in November, but then Dubliners Thumper are pretty perverse.

The single sees Thumper venture into new territory as they release their first brand new offering since their debut album released in 2022. The single comes off the back of their extensive European, UK and Irish tour, including sell out shows in Amsterdam, London, Paris and Dublin’s Whelan’s. The bombastic Dublin outfit have also played at Sŵn Festival in Cardiff and are gearing up for a set at RTE 2FM’s Rising on the Road.

‘Summer Assault’  is a vignette of self sabotage, an anthem of small failure. It’s about a doomed relationship that carries on regardless — a narrator banging on the glass trying to warn the song’s inhabitants. Each melody and hook competes for space over an ever expanding wall of guitars, bass and their signature double drums. In just over three minutes, ‘Summer Assault’ sees Thumper boil their trademark noise wall into an ear worm of a pop song.

It calls to mind the whirling punk-infused pop or pop-infused punk of Asylums, not just in the energy and melody, but the simultaneously soaring, buzzing guitar, and we love it.

Get your lugs round it here:

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Blaggers Records – 28th October 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

I thought I was pretty much abreast of happenings on the Leeds scene, but seemingly since lockdown put paid to live action for two years and since then reduced rail services and skyrocketing rail fairs have capped my forays over the county border significantly, it transpires I’ve missed out on a lot, including the emergence of post-punk influenced indie quartet Cliché Cult. They’ve banged out five singles already since forming in 2020, and this, their first with Blaggers Records, home to JW Paris, who have found favour on 6Music and on these virtual pages also.

‘Slippy’ is kinda loose-sounding, rough ‘n’ ready Northern indie with some chiming guitars that see it land somewhere in the region of Turn on the Bright Lights Interpol and Gene and Marion in that way that nods confidently in the direction of The Smiths but avoids the maudlin self-pity and whiny nasal vocals.

You wouldn’t describe them as typical Leeds, but it’s not hard to discern why they’ve built themselves a following, and fast, and if you’re looking for a song that fits the description of ‘indie anthem’, look no further.

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To coincide with the release of their debut album Fiesta, Leatherette have shared their latest single ‘Thin Ice’, a turmoiled love song about taking risks. They explain: “Musically, it’s a nervous mid-tempo post-punk-ska orchestral tune, sort of Talking Heads-esque. Lyrically, it is quite representative of our approach, both as people and as a band. An approach that can be summed up by the famous Winston Churchill’s quote: ‘If you’re going through hell, keep going’. We learnt, as musicians and young adults, that things tend not to work properly way more often than they do. But it’s not a big deal, It’s actually what makes life, love and art so special”.

We loved previous single ‘Sunbathing’ so much we even made the press release for this one. Look at those quotes! They’re all on the money, too.

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Listen to ‘Thin Ice’ here:

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Christopher Nosnibor

The Crescent seems to have really come into its own of late, with midweek gigs attracting some seriously strong turnouts. Of course, having decent bands on is a key factor, but having a local venue that has decent sound, a welcoming atmosphere, and affordable drinks are also significant factors. With times being tight and banking on travel a gamble, I’m by no means alone in the fact I’m increasingly likely to pick a gig nearby – although that’s only possible because there are gigs, and good ones, nearby.

Sitting in the bar beforehand with a decent local hand-pulled pint for £4 provided a welcome moment of reflection, and increasingly, The Crescent feels like York’s Brudenell: there’s a relaxed buzz and sense of community here.

It’s busy early doors, and local support Pennine Suite, who I realise had been sipping pints and meeting friends at the next table from me in the bar not twenty minutes previous, serve up solid and more than passable 90s style indie with energy and synths and a dash of shoegaze and a hint of Cud. Having announced his sister on keyboards and brother on guitar, I almost expected the singer to announce his dad on drums. It wasn’t to be, but the five-piece displayed a good chemistry and some more than respectable songwriting skills.

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Pennine Suite

It would seem that ‘fehlt’ is the German word for ‘missing’, suggesting that the enigmatic Leeds quartet, whose Figure Two EP was mastered by Slowdive drummer Simon Scott, aren’t making some limp reference to the 90s indie band who prefaced Denim. This is a good thing. Said EP included an intense and near note-perfect and magnificently produced cover of Joy Division’s ‘No Love Lost’, and while it’s not a feature of tonight’s set, it gives a fair indication of where they’re coming from.

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Fehlt

They play moody I Like Trains style chiming indie post-rock / post-punk crossover, and do so in near darkness since the projector isn’t working, and it only serves to add to the ambience. The vocals are often mumbled, and are low in the mix throughout. Gliding violin adds brooding tension and melancholy. Onstage it’s pretty static, but there’s plenty of movement in the music, especially the drumming, but also some nice strolling bass grooves and some tidy runs that are pure Joy Division, and the set builds to a blistering instrumental climax. Again. And again.

It’s clear that a large number of those packing the front half of this 300 capacity venue have been playing BDRMM’s debut album a lot. And I mean a lot. And when a full setlist is available on Setlist FM within hours, you know that this is a band with a serious following. They know every word, and sing them back. Like, how? They’re barely audible half the time. But then, it’s hard to fully detail the rise of BDRMM. From being a one-man home project to a fully-functional live act with remixes by A Place to Bury Strangers and support slots with Ride, it’s a story that reads like a dream. Back in January, they were playing 100-capacity venues. Now…

Hearing them live is also very like a dream. Some of it’s the volume. Some of it’s the hypnotic, motoric groves, the guitars swathed in echo. Some of it’s the heads-down, chat-free approach to performing: this is all about playing the songs and the atmosphere they cultivate. Ultimately, it’s a conglomeration of all of these things that make BDRMM such an experience, rather than just another live band.

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BDRMM

They walk on, unassuming. A string scrape vibrates. The start of the set trickles slowly: mellowness delivered at bladder-shaking volume. And it builds… and it builds. There are immense surges of sound that explode seemingly from nowhere. The vocals are buried in reverb and delay and it’s a wall of noise and it’s so powerful. As is the case with the bands they’ve modelled themselves on – early Ride, Chapterhouse, Slowdive – the songs would be fairly middling psych-tinged indie were it not for the effects: whack on a dozen layers off chorus, reverb, and distortion, and it’s a whole other story. But then, The Jesus and Mary Chain would have been a Beach Boys rip-off were it not for all the distortion pedals

When the drums and the pedals kick in, they really kick in. The volume and density seem to increase as the set progresses, and while half of the songs played toward the end of the set could have bought it to a roaring finale, the set culminates in a blistering sheet of noise.

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BDRMM

They look reluctant in performing an encore, but oblige appropriately with a strong, high-intensity rendition of ‘A Reason to Celebrate’.

It isn’t until afterwards that you realise just how loud and intense the performance was. But, make no mistake, this was both loud and intense.

To celebrate the release of debut album Presence, Attawalpa has today unveiled the video to new song ‘Get Down’. Directed by photographer Dan Martensen and creative directed by Emma Chitty, the video was shot at Drop Studios in north London and Hampstead Heath. Attawalpa, who recently supported The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park and performed at All Points East, is featured on Edith Bowman’s ‘Play Next’ podcast.

“’Get Down’ was me trying to write an upbeat song about depression!” explains Attawalpa linchpin Luis Felber. “I was in a pretty detached and in a neither here nor there place when we cemented the chorus ‘I’m like someone else, when there’s no one here, if I am myself will I disappear? I keep calling out until someone hears, they got to be somewhere, gotta be somewhere!’. I think it describes my ability and tendency to disassociate pretty well! I came to get down but now I get down lolz. It’s funny because it is true! I partied my youth well into my early thirties. And lived at least a decade with a hangover, many not great decisions and a certain uncertainty of who I was. I got down and it got me down! Dan Martensen made the video with my long-time collaborator Emma Chitty as creative director. We also shot the album cover over these couple days. The video is a very simple interpretation of ‘anglofying’ my Peruvian roots".

Watch the video here:

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Ahead of the release of the debut album, Druids and Bards, out later this month on Yr Wyddfa Records, Welsh alt-rock/indie act have released a further single in the shape of ‘Away we Go’.

Hear it here:

Championed by Gary Crowley on BBC Radio London and Playlisted on Amazing Radio’s A List, with BBC Radio Wales support from Huw Stephens and Adam Walton, North Wales Indie-Psych Band Holy Coves have had quite a year so far. They share a brand new single called ‘Away We Go’ before their highly anticipated new Druids And Bards album is released via Yr Wyddfa Records on the 14th of October.

Through long time friend and Producer David Wrench, Holy Coves were put in touch with Texan Producer Erik Wofford (The Black Angels / Explosions In The Sky) and have built quite a magical working relationship, one where Wofford found himself on Mixing and Mastering duties for the material and certainly contributes to their new sound.

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Christopher Nosnibor

The Fall’s ‘Fiery Jack’ is blasting from the PA as I line up behind a cluster of gothy / alternative types: promising signs, always, and Wire and Sleaford Mods feature on the playlist while we’re waiting for Balcony Plants.

York has suddenly begun sprouting a new crop of indie / alternative bands, and tonight’s event showcases three of them.

First impressions? They’re kids. Of course they are. And they’ve brought a lot of mates along. They all congregate and hug in the front rows as the band take the stage. Second impressions? Jesus. Balcony Plants are into introducing the band members and making and calls to make some fucking noise while they’re still tuning up, before launching into some lame-assed rap-rock with elements of early Beastie Boys, with songs about house parties and nightclubs. Then something happens mid-set. After tinkering with some pedestrian Kerrang! flavoured alt-rock that shows they’re as stylistically coherent in their music as their image, they lunge towards ever grittier punk as the set progresses, and improve exponentially as they do, and there’s lots of moshing, especially to their cover of Nirvana’s ‘Breed’, which, is undeniably storming. They do know how to build a set to a climactic finale, I’ll give them that, and by the time they’ve orchestrated some tidal waves of crowd action during their signature song, they’ve convinced me. They’ve work to do, but it’s early days and they’ve got clear potential.

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Balcony Plants

So the guitarist in Balcony Plants is also the bassist in The Rosettas, a more visually and sonically coherent proposition. The singer makes an entrance….and it kinda takes a brief nosedive there. The riffs are meaty and the drumming is particularly tight, but the vocals merely so-so. I’d always question throwing in a cover as the second song of any set, but especially one of The Foo Fighters’ ‘Everlong’, however well played.

That tonight’s bands – all clearly made up of millennials (and I mean that factually rather than in any way disparagingly)– scatter their sets with choice 90s cuts is interesting; I suppose in context it’s the same as young bands of the 90’s dredging up songs of the 70s from their parents’ collections, or every band of the 80s covering ‘Sister ray’ and ‘Louie Louie’; there seems to be a two-decade loop which essentially corresponds with the emergent generation gap.

‘Save Your Time’ may be their idea of heavy, but… Still. They play with energy and are decent enough in a middling gruge-tinged alt-rock way. They probably need to work on the between-song chat, though, since “We’re about to play a song some of you might know. It’s on a thing called Spotify” is about as good as it gets. Blur’s ‘Song 2’ is the second cover of their set, and they seem to play the covers better than their own songs, but also manage to deliver a strong finale.

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The Roosettas

The Rosemaries exude an air that they’re a cut above from the second they walk on. Tonight, they’re all wearing dresses, but still look the most rock ‘n’ roll of tonight’s acts. The 90s covers continue as they open with a passionate cover of ‘Killing in the Nam’, and it again seems an unusual choice. The squawking vocal uplifts are unexpected. But there’s a lot that’s unexpected about this bunch, and it’s all good. They’re political, they’re tight, and they’re solid. Sprechgesang verses bounce over buoyant baselines before breaking into mega choruses. ‘Pogo pogo pogo’, say my notes. Those squeaks are an interesting post-punky vocal quirk that seem to reference early Fall more than anything, but then also make a nod to Siouxsie.

Overall, The Rosemaries land between The Sex Pistols and Yard Act with a dash of Pulp, although ‘Easy Peas’ bludgeons away at two chords Fall style. The singer heckles the audience in classic northern style: “Are ya gonna do some proper moshin’ or what?”

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The Rosemaries

They slip into a three-chord punky thrash with sneery, shouty vocals that call to mind Jilted John and hammer out as their second cover – the most contemporary of the night – Fontaines DC’s ‘Boys in the Better land’, which had been aired over the PA earlier. It’s a faithful rendition that’s delivered with zeal, and one can’t help but feel its relevance to bands knocking around in York. There are some decent pub venues to be grateful for, but there’s a world outside, starting just a few miles up the A64.

If this seems critical of the bands or local scene, it really isn’t: bands have to start somewhere, and with grassroots venues closing by the dozen, it’s a joy to witness nights like this – bands cutting their teeth in venues what are happy to give them a platform, and what’s also encouraging is the embracing of the ramshackle, rough and ready. I’m tired of a scene where bands strive to sound like arena acts in pub venues. It’s just not punk, and what we need is to hear live music that sounds and feels live. This is what tonight brings. It’s unpolished, unfinished, work in progress. But it’s great fun, and this is the next generation coming through. Just wait.

Partisan Records – 16th September 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

It’s simply impossible to keep up with everything all the time. It feels like a recurrent theme, and even something of a mantra: so many bands, so little time.

Over the course of eighteen years, The Black Angels have cemented their position as, as their bio puts it, ‘standard-bearers for modern psych-rock’. And that’s not hyperbole: it’s a fair assessment.

2010’s Phosphene Dream was a major let-down, particularly in the wake of two such stunning predecessors, with Passover and Directions to See a Ghost. Consequently, feeling disillusioned, both Indigo Meadow and Death Song bypassed me, but Wilderness of Mirrors landed in my inbox with the promise of a return to early form after a five-year gap – or, as they put it, ‘marks a triumphant return with their foot on the pedal. Political tumult, the pandemic and the ongoing devastation of the environment have provided ample fodder for their signature sound and fierce lyrical commentary’.

For Wilderness of Mirrors, the band worked with Brett Orrison (co-producer) and Dinosaur Jr engineer John Agnello ‘to achieve something fresh and new while retaining their heavily influential classic sound’.

Wilderness of Mirrors is epic and feels like it needs to be a double album simply because it has such weight and important in a way that’s hard to really define. It’s not sprawling and awkwardly indulgent: yes, it does contain fifteen songs, but less than half extend beyond four minutes. But it’s an album of density.

Opener ‘Without a Trace’ starts out tentative-sounding distant before the bass crashes in like a landslide and in an instant, the listener is sucked into a dense sonic whirl. It’s the gritty bass that also dominates the pulverising ‘History of the Future’ that lands somewhere between Ther Jesus and Mary Chain and Ride, with some blistering guitar that’s a wall of fuzzing, fizzing treble against a busy beat and a bass that buzzes so hard it practically cuts the top off your head. And just like that, you’re back to remembering why this band mattered in the first place. Everything is a murky swamp of reverb, a deep 60s vibe radiating through the 80s and 90s filter.

I’ve long noted how the Jesus and Mary Chain essentially played surf pop with feedback and distortion, and ‘Empires Falling’ follows this approach magnificently, and with its relentless rhythm section and squalling guitars, it bears strong and obvious parallels with A Place to Bury Strangers.

It’s best played at high volume, of course: this is guitar music to melt the brain, and if songs like ‘El Jardn’ and the acoustic ‘Here & Now’ are more accessible, melodic and overtly indie, they offer some much-needed respite, while still boasting some howling guitars. There’s a vaguely gothic hue to the sneaking guitars and dubby grooves of ‘Make it Known’ and the slower ‘The River’, and it works well in contributing to the album’s rich and varied atmosphere and contrast with the jittery tension of the title track.

Ultimately, the best thing about Wilderness of Mirrors is that is sounds like The Black Angels – quintessentially, unmistakeably, with its motorik grooves, simple, repetitive riffs and song strictures that define the chorus not by a significant shift in key or chords, but by the explosion of sound, the simple structures executed with rare panache. They’re definitely on form here.

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