Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Grave Architects

Having seen Tilly And The Wall on Monday (review coming soon), i was reminded of a band that they played with last time i saw them. The Grave Architects were the only support act that night (and there seemed to be millions) who were actually of any interest at all. "They were fun... and their last song was a rapping, dancey delight" is what i said at the time. With a bit of research, i found out that they hail from Nottingham and have been together since the long, hot summer of 2005. After listening REJECTION, which i believe was the rapping, dancey delight i mentioned earlier, you may be tempted to label them a bit of a novelty band, but there's a difference between a novelty band and a band, who cleverly use humour to portray a topic, Pulp are a perfect example. The Grave Architects, who's name is taken from a Pavement song, have the same sense of quirkiness (in a good way) in their lyrics as Cocker and Malkmus but it nevers seems that the humour is forced. Its just nice to hear a band who aren't taking themselves too seriously. They're in the process of recording their debut album and from the source that is their myspace, "Early indications suggest that you may well throw away the rest of your records on the grounds that they are now 'worthless'". Jokers

The Grave Architects - REJECTION

The Grave Architects - Time Management

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Big Scary Monsters

Funfunfun received some electronic mail the other day from the guys at the wonderful UK label Big Scary Monsters, who are home to bands like Secondsmile, Meet Me In St Louis, Jeniferever, Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly and many more, telling me about two of the newer bands on their rosters, one i'd heard of and one i hadn't.

Yndi Halda are a 5-piece from "The Garden Of England" (a.k.a Kent) and create some beautifully epic and colourful soundscapes, which ebb and flow like the tide of a sunset-lit sea. One moment you're cruising across this ocean, drinking in hand, heart on your sleeve, soundtracked by soothing violin melodies and gently plucked guitar, when out of nowhere the soundtrack subtley changes and you're riding the crest of a musical wave, full of tension, electricity and a sense of abandonment. Cymbals sound light lightning and the pounding bass is thunder and you're in the middle of a musical storm, not knowing whats going to happen next.The storm reaches its cresendo and you're not sure where you are, frantic guitar lines and military precison drumming fill your head, when suddenly, the water and music are like a millpond and the moon breaks through the clouds. Beautiful, but you know that with each track lasting over ten minutes that the same thing is going to happen over again. Their ep "Enjoy Eternal Bliss" is out now on BSM and is a haunting but stunning treat.

Yndi Halda - Dash And Blast

Richard Walters is a bit of an unknown to me so after a bit of web research, here's what i found out:
  • He's 23 and from Oxford
  • He's ex-frontman for Theremin
  • He likes umbrellas more than rain
  • He's part of Monoband, a side project with Cranberries guitarist Noel Hogan
  • He enjoys afternoon tea and toast (to be honest, who doesn't)
  • He has had a song featured on hit US tele show CSI:Miami
  • He has a regular acoustic night at The Purple Turtle in Camden
  • He has the same name as British-born rapper Slick Rick
  • He has a gentle, almost fragile voice
  • He writes some haunting, folk music
  • He has a new ep 'Pilotlights' out now on BSM
After all that, i feel like i know him really well, its like i've met him, been to the pub for a few drinks and he's crashed on my floor, that sort of inside out knowledge.

Richard Walters - We Have Your Head

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Out Of Reach

I'm posting this song more out of nostaglia than actually liking the track. Its from Funeral For A Friend's forthcoming album Tales Don't Tell Themselves, out in May, and is just a pretty standard rock track. Heavier than their previous album but still nowhere near as intense or technical as the stuff off their initial ep releases. Got into these guys after seeing them play Tunbridge Wells Forum and then an amazing set, opening the Concrete Jungle Stage at Reading Festival, they really let loose live. I've actually never had a bad time at a FFAF gig, but i haven't seen them in a good few years now. Hopefully the new album will contain some interesting material but i'm not really that hopeful. Out Of Reach starts with a nice riff, pretty head-banging but descends from there to a really accessible and pretty corny singalongable chorus. Just a bit dull (but they do come from the town where the Welsh side of my family come from...respect)

Funeral For A Friend - Out Of Reach

and to relive good times
Funeral For A Friend - This Year's Most Open Heartbreak

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cats And Cats And Cats

Sounding like a triumphant blast of progressive indie wonderfulness, Cats And Cats And Cats taken a genre full of pretty pretentious, egotastic wankers and injected a huge dose of wholesome magic into it. Every track off last year's Sweet Drunk Everyone ep shone with richness and a youthful creativity, which made it a joy to take in again and again. Tracks like Hotel At The End Of Youth and Kites are layered with technical melodies and lush instrumentation, full of subtleties and nuances that you only pick up on after many repeat listens. They seem to fit some many ideas and genres into each tune, without it sounding at all fractured, smoothly changing from downright rock action one second to violin-filled landscapes in another, capped off by choir/spiritual chanting chorus, it quite breath-taking! This 5-piece are a dab hand at creating an epic climax, which is the centre piece for most of their songs and they produce them with such wild euphoria and utter freeness that on every listen i imagine a grand celebration with streamers, banners, cakes, booze and many smiles. Its goddamn marvellous stuff!!
Their new track You'll Never Make It Home continues in the same vein, starting with what sounds like a broken, wind up, mechanical msucial thing and then kicks in with a tasty guitar riff. Somehow they've managed to condense what feels like a good 8 minute masterpiece into half that time without losing any of its edge or intensity. I really can't wait to catch these guys live.
The band have kindly let me stream the new track You'll Never Make It Home, which is off the split single with Tired Irie and is out now and also there's a download from Sweet Drunk Everyone which i strongly recommend you check out.

Cats And Cats And Cats - You'll Never Make It Home (stream only)

Cats And Cats And Cats - Hotel At the End Of Youth

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Bird Flu

In a week that has seen the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus reach our shores and the media panic that followed, it seems fitting that such a odd and infectious track should contaminate the airwaves. M.I.A's new track Bird Flu is raw and a bit crazy, full of tribal drums and yelping, with some sharp-tongued lyrics filling the music out nicely. She claims the outbreak of the virus wasn't due to her but when she comes out with such catchy tunes like this, creating a virus is probably a piece of piss

M.I.A - Bird Flu

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Blood Brothers + Help She Can't Swim @ The Cockpit, Leeds

The occasional contributor strikes again with another great live review. Cheers Neb

Very very exciting gig, having been a fan for a long time but but never seen these guys before and hearing masses about how good a show they put on meant I wasn't in much of a mood to sit through a support band, especially one that failed to wow me as much as Help She Can't Swim. There were some flashes of inspiration granted but they were too few and far between. Referring to them as 'Help she can't sing' (some puns are too tempting) is unfair I'll admit, they're competent, but on this showing I couldn't really say a whole lot more.
In contrast The Blood Brothers fit an insane amount into their songs, one minute initiating mass jittery head banging and the next swinging along smoothly as you like, the incredible thing is just how seamlessly they can do it. It all flows so perfectly. The new album's clearly gone down well, as the shout-along to opener Set Fire To The Face Of Fire shows, but the best reactions of the set are reserved for songs from
Crimes in particular the double header of Trash Flavoured Trash and Teen Heat. Unfortunately technical glitches clearly frustrated the band throughout the set but this was only noticeable between songs, the rest of the time the band were too busy tearing into the crowd and their instruments for anyone to notice, an amazing amazing band. - Neb

Cheers to J0nfin for the photo

The Blood Brothers - Trash Flavoured Trash
The Blood Brothers - Set Fire To The Face Of Fire