Billed as an ’11 piece indie-orchestra’ on their debut in the UK only a few weeks after well received shows at SXSW, hopes are high for the Brooklyn-based Emanuel And The Fear. Travel expenses in shifting an 11 piece indie band across the pond, however, must be extortionate. This may explain why tonight only six of the 11 band members appear on stage.
Instead of a grand cacophony of sound and stage excitement, it looks and feels a bit more like the Glee Club cast doing Arcade Fire covers, but with far less enthusiasm. We have guitar, bass, drums which covers the indie band side. Then we have flute, cello and violin to cover the orchestra bit. Immediately you sense something’s missing in this performance. It’s quite possibly the other five members of the band.
The classic training of the clearly talented Emanuel Ayvas, singer and band leader, is evident. However, the wonderful orchestration seems to disguise a collection of mediocre songs. It must be hard to rise from the orchestra pit to be star of the show, which may also explain the distinct lack of stage presence from every band member. Even the rather deadpan Ayvas seems unable to connect with the crowd.
It was almost comical during the song ‘Comfortable Prison’, from the 2009 EP Emanuel And The Fear, as it appears they’re in their own private hell and certainly far from comfortable.
With the recent release of their first long player, Listen, hopefully now they’ll be able to raise enough cash for another visit to the UK and bring along the other five band members. Then we may see something special. Tonight…not so much.
Words by Alison Kerry
Photo by Maik Reichart
Cartoon pop collective Gorillaz are to stream tracks from their recent album ‘Plastic Beach’ live from their show at the Roundhouse tonight.
Gorillaz are no strangers to technology. One of the world’s first multi-media pop groups, the cartoon collective are the brain child of Damon Albarn and his one time flat mate Jamie Hewlett.
Recent album ‘Plastic Beach’ was an enormous success, making waves on both sides of the Atlantic. Jetting back from Coachella to play two shows at the Roundhouse the group have confirmed a live internet stream.
Taking to the stage at the Roundhouse last night (April 29th) the group were joined by a series of guest stars. Mos Def, De La Soul, Bobby Womack and Gruff Rhys all took the to the stage reprising their roles on ‘Plastic Beach’.
Returning to the venue tonight (April 30th) the group have decided to stream tracks from ‘Plastic Beach’ live on their website.
A full video stream will be offered, with Gorillaz also making the footage available via their Facebook page.
Receiving rave reviews for their live show, Gorillaz are set to take to the stage at 9pm tonight. As always, the group will have plenty of surprises up their sleeves so expect some guest stars!
If you can’t make it to a computer tonight then watch out for ‘Later… With Jools Holland’ on BBC2 where Gorillaz will be performing two songs.
Watch the Gorillaz stream HERE.
1994, the seeds of the crazily over-rated Brit Pop were just sprouting into the snotty nosed second rate indie bands it spawned. Let us not remember Shampoo right now shall we?
As a movement however, Britpop (this excludes Blur, Oasis and Elastica who all transcended the moniker to become the leading lights of said scene) made everyone feel like they were in the last gang of town and whilst turgid indie popsters such as Echobelly and Menswear were the de rigueur of indie bedrooms across the land, it took Saint Etienne to provide the pop music to the film soundtrack and on their third album, ‘Tiger Bay’, they did it perfectly.
With at least EIGHT compilations under their belt despite not being that prolific and this latest batch of re-releases (this is paired with 2002’s ‘Finisterre’) mean all but their last album, 2005’s ‘Tales from Turnpike house’ have been re-released and repackaged numerous times, hey, maybe it’s time for a new album?
1994 heralded the more mature sounding St Etienne, gone were the camp Europop-isms of tracks such as ‘You’re In A Bad Way’ to be replaced by something much more considered and artistic.
Behind the bubblegum exterior of front lady Sarah Cracknell, all feather boas and chardonnay breath stood Bob Stanley, Pete Wiggs & Ian Catt making some very sophisticated and very serious British pop music, it clicked gloriously into place on this album.
They decided to veer away from the sampling they used on previous albums and for the first time collaborated with outsiders. The burbling techno on intro ‘Urban Clearway’, co-produced by Underworld had them pulling the genius stroke of mixing their sorrowful, soaring retro horn sounds with with minimal house beats to great effect.
With age, pretentious songs about drinking black coffee in twee North West London cafes haven’t aged well but with Tiger Bay, they reached out to record something more thoughtful, the dreamy acoustica of ‘Former Lover’ pre-dates Goldfrapp’s wicker-man referencing ‘Seventh Tree’ by a mere fourteen years, in fact, her entire back catalogue can be sourced directly from this album.
‘Like a Motorway’ and ‘Hug My Soul’ were two of the absolute best tracks from the nineties, the former, a masterclass in pop exhilaration, latter a brooding song about death set to a pulsing Giorgio Moroder style baseline to kill for, a stone cold classic which sounds more and more relevant as the years go by.
‘Cool Kids of death’ also co-produced with Underworld is reminiscent of early 90s house music whilst Shara Nelson’s velvety croon is poured over the delightful flamenco led dub track ‘On the shore’, and proves to be a pleasant break from Sarah Cracknell’s vocals.
This re-release has a bonus disc of exclusive tracks, the usuale apply here, they’re mostly non-exclusive tracks, just the bsides from the singles released from the album, a couple of demo tracks, ‘Urban Clearway’ is particularly fascinating as it shows how Wiggs and Stanley could turn their hand to techno without the assistance of Underworld, this version sounding like the kind of techno CJ Bolland was making at the time with tracks such as ‘Rave Signal’.
Elsewhere, there are a couple of yawnsome acoustic tracks which highlight the reason why they didn’t make the grade and as for the excruciating ‘Black Horse Latitude’ with Cracknell rapping over crunchy guitars about Arsenal being champions again and the god-awful pun very much intended line of “Is Michael Jackson’s ‘Dangerous’ is ‘bad’ as people say?”…oh stop it Sarah…no really, don’t ever do that.
Knowing winks on tracks that should have stayed in the vaults aside, ‘Tiger Bay’ has stood the test of time much more than their other albums. For all the praise given to their début ‘Foxbase Alpha’, that album is very much of its time and sounds like it was made twenty years ago as it was.
This album however looked to the future, they had to change because the retro pop sound was nearing to becoming a gimmick, it wasn’t a huge shift, it’s not like Bon Jovi releasing an album of Slayer covers, it was subtle, unassuming, classy and it has stayed current because of those reasons.
Words by Chris Todd
This month, Jeremy Reynolds from Portland dance troupe Hockey has a serious art attack.
“I’ve done all the artwork for our album as well as designed our posters and T-shirts. I just really enjoy art as a hobby and it’s exciting to inform the visual aesthetic as well as being a part of the music. Album artwork has always mattered to me a music fan: I admire bands that have a great aesthetic that works with the music. Our latest record, ‘Mind Chaos’ is four mini pictures or album covers in one, split into four panels. The idea was that it would go along with the theme of the record, which is that everyone sees things differently.”
“I find that I can store up a lot of creativity by not doing art for a while and then when I get the chance to finally do it, after we get off tour for example, I can really go nuts for a while. It’s definitely expressive of an emotional reality for me personally, so it gets way down in there and I guess that’s what attracts me to it: it’s therapeutic as you are working on a deeper aspect of your self or of your awareness. I’ve used all different kinds of medium: paint, crayons, coloured pencils, I’m always really erratic. A lot of it is accidental. I had a huge pile of paper in my room of all my work and I go through things. The more I can free up the process, the more I like the result and can lose touch with my intentions on whatever I’m trying to do. I let something else take over and inform it: it’s messy and very in the moment.”
“I follow the really classical painters and artists of the past hundred years: Picasso, Moreau, Vasquez and Warhol, Gustav Klimt and things like that. I wish I knew more about modern art but I don’t. I just paint and throw things together in a really abstract way: I just try and funnel the creativity of the music into the art. But my favourite artist is Jean Dubeffet. He does these childlike cartoons which are simplistic but are also really powerful at the same time. There’s a mixture of elements so they are both sophisticated and childlike.”
Picasso the great
“I went to the Louvre in Paris and the Tate Modern in London after we had been on a plane for twenty hours, and I saw some amazing work. Guernica by Picasso is probably one of my favourite paintings. I like the expressive and three-dimensional emotional reality that comes with it. He uses space and expanse to represent something that is emotional. It’s emotive and extra-sensory in a way. And I think that’s what is so great about visual art, it’s at the edge of what our senses can understand, reminiscent of a greater unity and a more informed reality.”
The big question
“I think art is a gesture and it can be anything you like. You can take it to any level, but if it’s intended to be art then that’s what it is. It can be a urinal a la Marcel Duchamp. But if I had to make something out there then I would probably use cardboard and it would have loads of triangles in it all sitting together. I think artists are probably crazier than musicians, deep down. They seem to be genuinely mad and they don’t have any public performances as such, so they can just be really crazy individuals.”
Thomas Fehlmann was a shoe-in to score the conceptually audacious documentary ‘24h Berlin’. Under the album title ‘Gute Luft’, running through a day in the life of Germany’s sonic epicenter, Fehlmann captures all of the city’s automated nuances, bringing calming house and techno to the madness of rush-hour traffic while giving unforgiving glimpses of a grittier underbelly.
Thirty or so years at electronica’s coalface and Fehlmann feels privileged that he’s able to keep applying ticks to a do-list that has spanned allegiance with The Orb (almost bringing with it a one-way ticket to the UK), residency at techno apex Tresor and partnership with Juan Atkins. “I found it totally exciting and felt rather honoured to be involved. Imagine a twenty-four-hour show in TV without interruption? You don’t get that every day. The subject was cool, the director was cool and I could do whatever I wanted. So it was a case of, ‘Yes please!’ I always wanted to do a soundtrack and here was my chance.”
– – –
Fehlmann’s career is ingrained in avant-garde ethnocentricity following a life-defining move from Zurich to Berlin in the mid-’70s. Unassuming, ambitious, methodical and, in some respects, a late developer (“I guess I’m lucky I started to play my solo live sets as relatively late as 2002 – it’s all pretty fresh to me and exciting”), he displays youthful desire for self-improvement. “At least once during every project I get depressed and seriously think that I’ve lost it – this always happens. But up to now, through sticking to it, I can find a way out of that hole.”
Yet, as is the wont and right of the old guard, there’s a stubbornness to give short shrift to some newer thinking. “I do like my ways these days to be honest; why fix it if it ain’t broken? The equipment I use undergoes a slow evolution but I’m not so much hooked on gadgets as I used to be. Music’s within you, not in the gear.” The likes of Flying Lotus, Theo Parrish and the new Sade album are given praise: upfront styles and fads are dismissed with appropriate, elder statesman indifference. “I tend to forget stuff quickly that I don’t like. It’s the copycat syndrome that gets on my nerves most, polluting the pipelines and getting in the way of original stuff.”
His first love of electronic production receives as much adamancy, wise enough to see the bigger picture. “I’ve really never done anything else and never felt it was the wrong path. It does get me worried that it starts to seem rather naive to want to make records these days as nobody buys music anymore on the same scale to when I started. But there are other tasks – movies, operas, concerts and looking after my little forest – that help me not to get too preoccupied about it.”
You wonder whether “not getting too preoccupied” is a bit of a Fehlmann bluff. His experience goes beyond being a producer of German music; his is an ambassadorial role, patriotically taking to heart all of the scene’s entrances and departures in what he defines as a relatively young history. “I used to suffer under Germany’s lack of self-confidence with its art and music. It was such a normal situation. I remember that for a good part of my life we were always considered inferior to Anglo-American productions, with very few exceptions. Since the very first band I worked with (Palais Schaumburg) I took it on as one of my tasks to wanting to sound German. I considered it boring not to. It’s always a challenging subject to analyse where the inspiration comes from, and with me it has lots to do with feeling rooted in a certain environment. After having dabbled with the idea of moving to London in the early Nineties as a consequence of my work with The Orb I quickly realised I shouldn’t do that in order to not confuse my inner riddims. I’m glad I listened to that inner voice.”
With a sloganeer’s timing, Fehlmann is great for a summarizing, wholly fitting soundbite. “I’m addicted to grooves. They make life worth living” would sell a truckload if it were put onto a T-shirt. “Discover your inner voice and music, and nurture your ability to translate it into the world” is the eloquent passing down of knowledge. “As long as you take regular showers and keep your ears balanced with your heart you will find plenty to do” comes on pseudo-Yoda. “Maybe working as some sort of farmer is an alternative that has recently developed as a pastime idea and kept my head entertained” is his musing as to the what-ifs of staying in Switzerland all those years ago. And for his own existence in electronica’s canon? “I always ask myself, ‘does the world need this?’ A pretty ridiculous question, especially when your answer is yes, but don’t artists also have to be a little stupid to an extent to get something done?”
Words by Matt Oliver
White boy rap – it’s a mixed bag.
For every MC purporting to be a missing member of The Beastie Boys there are a thousand who accidently recall Vanilla Ice. Hailing from Oakland, Yoni Wolf’s WHY? have done things the right way, earning respect from the underground.
2008’s breakthrough album ‘Alopecia’ saw WHY? reach a far wider audience. New album ‘Eskimo Snow’ was released amidst huge anticipation, and did much to consolidate the success of their previous platter.
Hitting the UK earlier this year, WHY? took their art-rock meets hip hop crossover on the road. Playing a series of dates across the country the group seemed tighter than ever, with Wolf fleshing out his productions for a dense live sound.
Taking a camera along for the ride, WHY? have kindly shown us the results.
American grunge-pop outfit Foo Fighters are currently at the beginning stages of a new studio album.
Foo Fighters triumphed over adversity to become one of the most successful groups of their generation. Led by Dave Grohl, the band released a string of massively popular albums before deciding to take a break last year.
Dave Grohl went on to form Them Crooked Vultures, stepping behind the drum stool to work with Josh Homme and John Paul Jones. With their second album well under way, it seems that the jovial drummer has not forgotten his roots.
According to Taylor Hawkins, Foo Fighters have taken the first steps to recording a new album. Speaking to SpinnerMusic, Hawkins claimed that Dave Grohl had demoed more than a dozen new tracks.
“In all honesty, Dave (Grohl)’s got 15 or so song ideas that are awesome and we’ve already demoed some of them twice even,” the drummer told SpinnerMusic.
“We do a lot of demoing to find exactly the arrangements we want, getting them exactly how we want them.”
The new album would be the band’s seventh, and their first since 2007’s ‘Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace’. Continuing, Taylor Hawkins claimed that the recording process could take some time.
“It’s a large process for us. It takes a long time to do it. We don’t just say, ‘OK, let’s go make a record and pop in the studio and record it just like that.’ There’s a lot of preproduction that goes into making a Foo Fighter record. Well, so far.”
Meanwhile, Taylor Hawkins is working on his own solo project which he claims he helped re-energise Foo Fighters. “All that stuff in the past, it’s proven to be recharging,” he explains.
“As long as everybody’s ready, as long as we don’t do it because we feel like we have to, like because the record company wants another record, that kind of crap never makes good music.”
Watch the video for Detroit Social Club’s next single ‘Prophecy’, taken from their debut album, ‘Existence’, scheduled to be released on May 31st.
Co-produced by the band’s David Burn and Arctic Monkeys/Kasabian/UNKLE producer Jim Abbiss, recording ‘Existence’ was an important process for the band with Burn saying ‘Making this record really pushed us, without a doubt helping us to become the band we are now’.
The band are on tour in May, check the full dates below and buy tickets to see them alongside Tiffany Page and Goldhawks HERE.
10 May 2010 Sound Control, Manchester, GB
11 May 2010 King Tuts, Glasgow, GB
12 May 2010 Academy 2, Newcastle, GB
13 May 2010 Cockpit, Leeds, GB
16 May 2010 Academy 2, Bristol, GB
17 May 2010 Academy 2, Birmingham, GB
18 May 2010 London Garage, London, GB
New York disco-troupe The Golden Filter have confirmed a series of British tour dates this summer.
Don’t look now, but disco could well be on the way back. But you leave behind the bell bottoms and afros, as a new breed of groups and producers are doing unseemly things with the legacy of Studio 54.
The Golden Filter hail from New York, and have become a well kept secret on the disco scene. Their live shows are sleek affairs, featuring plenty of chic synths and shimmering beats which add a deeply modern sensibility.
A sensation at SXSW, The Golden Filter are preparing to unleash their debut album ‘Voluspa’ later this summer. A perfect album for those hazy August nights, it retains the energy of their live shows.
Recently releasing the single ‘Hide Me’ the full length album is packed with similar illicit thrills. The Golden Filter are set to head to Europe to launch ‘Voluspa’ with a lengthy series of tour dates.
Opening with an appearance at Pahoda Festival in Slovakia, The Golden Filter are due to be a hit on the summer circuit. Confirming a series of festival shows, the band are also set to hit Oxegen, Arvika and more.
Due to perform at The Secret Garden Party, The Golden Filter are also set to play live at Field Day. In a swift one-two the New Yorkers are also scheduled to DJ at the Victoria Park event’s after party, keeping the dancefloor happy.
The Golden Filter have confirmed the following shows:
9 Pahoda Festival Slovakia
11 Oxegen Festival Ireland
16 Arvika Festival Sweden
17 Slottsfiell Festival Norway
24 Secret Garden Party
31 Field Day
Bloc Party singer turned solo star Kele Okereke has confirmed details of a major new British tour.
Bloc Party decided to take a break last year, exhausted from nearly five years of ceaseless touring. However since then, certain members have done little else but make new music and head out on the road.
Guitarist Russell Lissack released the debut album with side project Pin Me Down, while the Bloc Party star also found an invitation to tour with Northern Irish indie die hards Ash too hard to turn down.
Meanwhile, singer Kele Okereke has been quietly working on a new dance direction. Available to stream now, the track ‘Tenderoni’ has given fans an idea of what to expect from his album ‘The Boxer’.
Set to perform on the John Peel Stage on June 25th, Kele Okereke has confirmed two warm up slots at Sheffield and Brighton. Taking place in early June, the singer will then travel to Worthy Farm before kicking off the full scale tour in July.
Taking in dates across the country, the tour will kick off in Leeds on July 1st. Amongst the pick of the shows are a gig in London’s Village Underground on July 6th, while Kele Okereke will also play shows in Southampton, Newcastle and Bristol.
Finishing with a show in Birmingham Academy 2 on July 14th, tickets for Kele Okereke’s first solo tour go on sale from May 7th.
Fans desperate to hear the singer’s solo album only have a few more weeks to wait, with ‘The Boxer’ due to be released on June 21st.
Kele Okereke has confirmed the following shows:
11 Sheffield Plug
24 Brighton Digital
1 Leeds Cockpit
2 Oxford Academy 2
3 Southampton University
5 Norwich Waterfront
6 London Village Underground
8 Newcastle Digital
12 Bristol Thekla
13 Nottingham Ultra
14 Birmingham Academy 2