Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cut Off Your Hands

With such a sporadic kineticism, Cut Off Your Hands are definately ones to watch out for. Not just because they look like they could get big but because you never know where they're going to spring out from. All of a sudden you could be ambushed by their noise as you turn a corner or it will jump at you from the trees as you walk through a wood...ok maybe not so primitive but their angular, dancey punk can be quite surprising. Comparisons will be made to their recent tour-buddies, Foals, but whereas Foals are triangular, COYH sound more like a parallelogram with rounded edges, smoothed with a some "pop" sandpaper. Although i haven't yet seen them live, this Kiwi band have begun to pick up a glowing reputation of blowing even the most stubborn cobwebs from venue ceilings and leaving foot prints on many a bar-top. Sounds like they just can't stop moving and you can't when you listen to their tunes.
You can get their latest ep, Shaky Hands, from I Am Sound records now and they're touring the UK as we speak.

Cut Off Your Hands - You And I
Cut Off Your Hands - Expectations

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dent May & His Magnificant Ukelele




Sounding like a 1960s pop band influenced by 80s electropop and soul, Dent May & His Maginificent Ukulele have a unique style of music. Its strip bare and down beat but its nakedness is its key. The minimal instrumentation lets Dent's melancholic vocals steal the show. As with The Wave Picture's David Tattersall and The Magnetic Fields' Stephen Merritt, his vocal delivery seems like it could get irritating quite quickly but you soon realise that its charming and compelling and not at all annoying.
Straight out of Oxford, Mississippi, Dent has create an album of weird, catchy and irresistible pop songs, called A Brush With Velvet, which he is making available to download on his myspace song by song, so you best keep tabs on this one to make sure you don't miss out

Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele - Meet Me In The Garden

Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele - College Town Boy
Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele - When You Were Mine (Prince Cover)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Tilly And The Wall + The Teenagers + Lightspeed Champion + Slow Club @ Electric Ballroom

With no new releases planned for the near future, it seemed an odd time to tour the UK for Omaha lovelies Tilly And The Wall, but with their contagiously fun live shows and a gaggle of great support acts, i really couldn't miss this show.

Slow Club were the first on the famous Electric Ballroom stage. Already adored by funfunfun, who was down the front singing and dancing along, Rebecca and Charles must have won over the small but intrigued crowd that had arrived early. For all those who made a fashionable late entry, it shouldn't be fashionable to miss these guys. They have such a way with a tune and their songs contain enough hooks, that one of them could bag more fish than those blokes on The Deadliest Catch...with a lot less death-defying and a lot more tea drinking. With their usual set up of guitar and random percussion, including spoons, glass bottles and a wooden chair, their minimalist style lends itself to the strip down indie folk racket they play and future single Me And You is a perfect example of this. All heavily strummed chords, beaten chairs and crazy lyrics, its a riot. Perfect start to the evening.

Lightspeed Champion seemed to have followed me from gig to gig this Summer, having supported Final Fantasy back in July and then played with The Mules in August, now here he was again. This time round he was back by a full band but disappointingly Dev had no female backing to support his sometimes grating vocals and it was pretty obvious. Songs like Galaxy Of The Lost and Mr Fisk sounded thinner without the feminine support of Flo or Emmy and the loss was detrimental to the performance. Dev and his violinist covered Eugene McGuiness' Girl Who My Eyes Shine For, which was surprisingly solid and the epic closer, and next single, Midnight Surprise with its driving violin finale part - although the drummer seemed to want to overshadow everyone on that particular song - were highlights, the set was disappointing. For a band that i was quite excited about at the start of the Summer, its been hugely frustrating to watch their decline. I hope the album lives up to my expectations.

The Teenagers....hmmmm......where to start? Maybe with that they were perhaps, no definately the Worst Live Band I've Ever Seen. Dull and lifeless on stage, playing dirgey electro-indie that all sounded the same. None of the band seemed to be enjoying the experience, the lead singer wore a smirk throughout the entire set, which i read as "I know we're shit but hey, we're playing The Electric Ballroom." They were just so boring, even the addition of two intoxicated audience members to help the band out for the track Homecoming didn't help. In fact they made it worse, it was so embarrassing bad, you felt like you'd just walked in on something that was meant to be publicly seen, like your drunk aunts during a family singsong. I just want to know how they got to tour with Tilly.

With nothing to promote, Tilly used this evening to experiment. The first unusual thing was how they set up on stage. Usually the five of them would be in a line as straight as an arrow across the front but tap-dancing Jamie was promoted to an elevated platform tonight where she stood... well twisted and twirled centre-stage all evening. Next to her, behind the rest of the band, stood a piece of equipment that may have brought floods of fear to many a devote Tilly fan...a drumkit!!! Shock horror!!! But when played along to the songs, the added thump of the bass drum and extra twacks here and there really brought out the energy and exuberance of songs like Shake It Out and Urgency . They were modestly used so that Jamie could have her time in the spotlight but when they were, the beats complimented the tapping of Jamie's feet.
They showcased a few new tracks off the album that they are currently recording, which sound alot punkier and raw than anything of their previous two efforts. All of the band looked like they were enjoying trying something new and this comfortableness was reflected in the crowd, who were loving every moment of it. The ending was the only off note of the whole performance, instead of leaving it with the euphoric atmosphere of Brave Day or giving us the classic The Ice Storm.... the band decided to bring all the support bands back on and play a cover of Michael Jackson's We Are The World, which prompted a stage invasion. It all felt a bit tacky and unneeded but everyone who got on stage seemed to enjoy it. Maybe i'm just getting grumpy in my old age. But it was, as expected, a truly fun night. Tilly just make me smile.

Slow Club - Me And You (live)
Florence And The Machine - Galaxy Of The Lost
The Teenagers - Homecoming (Guns N Bombs Mix)
Tilly And The Wall - Shake It Out
Tilly And The Wall - Too Excited (Daytrotter Session)

Click here to see more fuzzy photos of the gig or here for some beautifully clear ones

Friday, September 14, 2007

St Vincent In A Black Cab

Ok...not a post for a week, then two at once...i'm hopefully not turning into the London bus system but i just couldn't let this one go by without mentioning it. I haven't really got into St Vincent, the album, Marry Me, just hasn't snatched my attention yet but this performance is incredible. I don't want to say anymore, just watch!

St Vincent - Now, Now

Thanks to Just So Films for the performance

Cutting Pink With Knives

When a band lists their influences as being poked in the side of the head and the way it feels the first time you ejaculate, you know you're in for a odd time. Cutting Pink With Knives produce soundwaves that are definately not sinusoidal in nature, they're angular and edgy and as incoherent as can be. The most obvious point of call when it comes to their peers is The Blood Brothers, but CPWK certainly have their own sound. Mixing soothing 80-esque synths with a punk attitude and a course vocal on the track Airz makes for a difficult listen first time around but with repeated listens, the pieces fall into place. Its the incongrous elements that really work, grinding and sparking against the more obvious arrangements, like techtonic plates, building up pressure and tension and resulting in minute long seismic quakes measuring way off the Richter Scale. Signed to Holy Roar Records, the band release their second LP, Populuxxe, later this month. Its a 16 track, 25 minute blazing lightning storm of an album, which is over before it should be but delivers enough strikes to keep the world electrified for a little while longer.

Cutting Pink With Knives - Airz
Cutting Pink With Knives - St Mark

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Beastie Boys @ Brixton Academy

Disclaimer: I attended this gig on the evening of my 22nd birthday so i apologise for any lack of detail or thorough description of events as i had consumed a plethora of alcohol beverages so my memory of the night is slightly hazy but what i remembered was fucking good.

The moment when 3 lounge-suited, grown-up teenagers bounced on stage after a mesmerising display of how turntables should be used by Mix Master Mike was one that i had been waiting ever since i stole my brother's copy of The Sound Of Science and bounded about my bedroom to the sound of Skills To Pay The Bills And Sabotage and i think its one i'll never forget.
Kicking proceedings of with a full band version of one of their early punk tracks, which i'm guessing most people weren't that familiar with, you could tell that the Boys weren't going to make this just a Big Hits setlist. They continued with tracks from The Mix Up, their new instrumental album, which didn't really impress, but then that all too familiar bass line of Root Down dropped in and the crowd went crazy. At this point though i was still getting used to the venue as i had been to a gig in such a large space for over a year, i had to come to terms with the fact that i wouldn't been staring Adrock in the face. It was a shame because in this period they played Sure Shot (full band version) as well and although i danced my ass off i still wasn't feeling it.
It wasn't until they kicked into Check It Out after a slightly overlong instrumental section that my head finally cleared and i could comprehend what was going on. I was seeing my teenage heroes at last, all the times i'd danced and sang along to this tracks while listening to Licence To Ill or To The 5 Boroughs, this is what i'd been waiting for and it seemed that most of the crowd felt the same way. Tunes like Shake Ya Rump, Time To Ill and Brass Monkey(!) sent the fervent audience wild and the floor was awash with dance steps and pointed fingers.
The instrumental sections provided much needed breaks from dancing and although they weren't very compelling, when Adrock, MCA and Mike D stepped up with another classic, they were made all the more worthy by the lull before. The last half hour of the set was tremendous as they unleashed all their biggest hits. Sabotage's huge guitar riff and shout-along-ability and the robotic rhythm of Intergalactic forced an already knackered birthday reviewer into last gasp dance frenzy to get all i could out of the last notes of the performance and then they were gone.
Me...i was left breathless, sweaty, wanting more, but a very happy birthday boy.

The Beastie Boys - Check It Out (Cadence Weapon Voldo Remix)

The Beastie Boys - Sabotage

cheers to intricatetom for the photo