Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hayman, Watkins, Trout and Lee

Bluegrass isn't a style of music i'm familar with, i don't think many people are and i don't think many people would be very inclined to explore the genre but when a couple of celebrated musicians group together to create a Bluegrass band then i'm more than happy to give it a go.
The couple in question are Darren Hayman of Hefner and David Tattersall of The Wave Pictures and with a couple of friends have formed Hayman, Watkins, Trout and Lee. Its the sort of band thats put together over a bottle of wine, drunkenly chatting about music when they all discover a mutual liking for Smithsonian sounds and Dr John (see picture). But with these guys being seasoned musicians they've taken their inebriated converations further than most and recorded an album.
The music is subdued, the guitars twang, the mandolin pings and the fiddle sways. Lyrics flow like a stream as mournful stories and wistful tales are held bare, but there's also a whimsical side to them. The Mountain Goats cover Jam-Eater Blues is a fast paced, banjo lead ditty about life's briefness so why not eat jam out of the jar :)
The album is out now on Fortuna POP! and available through Darren's website

Hayman, Watkins, Trout and Lee - Sly And The Family Stone
Hayman, Watkins, Trout and Lee - Jam-Eater Blues

p.s. Its been Keep Hope Inside's 2nd birthday this week. For it he's got guest bloggers to write about their favourite Brtitish albums of the past 2 years. Mine was put up on Tuesday so go have a look and while you're at it read the rest of the blog as Saam does a great job over there.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Fang Island

"Everyone high-fiving everyone"
That's the description Fang Island give of their music and honestly i shouldn't have to say anymore...but I will.
Mainly instrumental, this Brooklyn 5-piece string together euphoric guitar riffs, pounding basslines and tight-as-hell drumming to create epic, triumphant gatherings of sound. Curanga builts up slowly to an eruption of punk-fuelled, Thin Lizzy-esque, six-string mayhem. Its energy and its unashamed ballsiness is infectious, you just want to jump around and hug around in sight when its on.
I get the sense that Fang Island use their music to bring people together, it has a real unity to it, and in today's insular and insolated society, this union that is much needed. Like other comtemparies such as No Age, Les Savy Fav etc, there is a feel of the band wanting the fans to be as much a part of the music as they are. The fans are more important that the band themselves.
I think this video shows this off quite aptly.

Fang Island - Curanga

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I was meant to witness the devastating glory that is The Mae Shi and Johnny Foreigner live at King's College Student Union last night. Unfortunately, due to a mix-up in communications or something, I wasn't on the guestlist as expected and I couldn't fork out the cash to buy a ticket so my girlfriend and I were left to do the walk of shame out of the venue and make our way back home.
It was a mighty shame because The Mae Shi put on an awesomely fun show, as I experienced back in January at Barden's Boudoir. Also Johnny Foreigner's forthcoming debut album is refreshingly glorious, i won't say anymore til i review it, and I've heard they storm it live. I'll just have to see them when they return to the capital with Danananananakroyd later in the month.

Johnny Foreigner - Cranes And Cranes And Cranes And Cranes
Slow Club - Run To Ur Grave

Credit for the photo goes to Amy Brammall. Cheers

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Bambi, Get Over It

Let me tell you a story. Are you sitting comfortably and all that?
I was an amiable child, never prone to tantrums and was always happy to go along with whatever my two older brothers wanted. At the age of three, my brothers and I were taken to the local cinema to see the latest Disney film, Bambi. It was probably my mum's way of distracting 3 young boys for a Saturday afternoon but as with any cinema trip my ma had to fork out for a whole heap of cinema refreshments. Now, someone in my family - i don't want to point fingers - bought a Terry's Chocolate Orange and then let their 3 year old baby brother munch on it for a while. About halfway through the film, I started throwing up everywhere and my brothers, my mum and I had to leave the cinema.
To this day, I still wary of eating a Chocolate Orange and I still haven't seen the rest of Bambi, in fear of another projectile session, and so I have never seen the reknowned scene wittily referenced by this Norwich 6 piece's band-name.

Luckily Bambi, Get Over It and their lo-fi folkabilly sound don't have the same effect on me. In fact, tracks like the rampant Badman, with its quick-fire strumming and confident wails, are a joy to behold. Having only formed in October '07, its surprising that the band sound so tight and together, even on these low production demos, and that each song seems like a finished product means that they won't stay unsigned for too much longer. The promise of future live shows around the UK and beyond is exciting as they defintiely sound like a band to start an all-night hoe-down and I can't wait to be a part of it.

Bambi, Get Over It - Badman
Bambi, Get Over It - Jeanie

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Lets Do It, Then

Lets Do It, Then sounds like the party the robots will throw when they finally overcome humans and take over the world. Industrial hammers pound out an intro while screeching synths built up tension. This is replaced by stuttering bleets and dial-up connection signals that whirl and whip before a broad computerize voice croaks the entitled refrain and the glitchy beat drops. Despite sounding all techy and robotic though, the Blamma! Blamma! boys have infused it with a hint of humanity and it really does sound like an awesome tune to flail your arms about to in the sweaty confines of your local club.
The track comes of Blamma! Blamma!'s first physical release "the.p", a 12" out on Dovecote records. Other tracks on it are Only Friend and "the internet phemonenon" Carry Me Home. Only 500 were released so you best move quick to get a copy. I certainly did.
Also the guys are looking to work with any vocalists/mcs for future releases, so if you think you've got what it takes, drop them a line.

You can buy the 12" from Dovecote Records (link)