Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ghost Outfit - Killuhs

"A British No Age" is far too reductive and pat a phrase but it's what initially comes to mind listening to the controlled noise and post-shoegaze fury of similarly two-piece Mancunians Ghost Outfit, who release debut album I Want You To Destroy Me on June 24th. Swathed in tension with distortion pedal abuse helping the monolithic guitar noise move like an iceberg, where even the breakdown sounds like a migraine, Jacq Hardman's vocals sound like the last appeal of a desperate man.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Nadine Shah - To Be A Young Man

You've got to have confidence in your abilities if you're calling your debut album Love Your Dum And Mad, but what we've heard of Shah so far suggests she has ability far outstripping doubts. The advance single from the album, out a fortnight in advance on 8th July, may sound like it takes her further down the PJ Harvey circa 1995 path but the pained redemption tale against the gothic melodrama is purely artist's own.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Weekends away: spring bank holiday weekend

Weekends away: spring bank holiday weekend The weekly-unless-there's-nothing-decent-happening clashguide to ensure you don't miss the good stuff at next weekend's worthwhile festivals:

Dot To Dot
Fred Perry sponsorship is all around. For some reason the usual Bank Holiday Monday Manchester date has been moved back to Friday which doesn't seem entirely in keeping with the alldayer flavour, but there you go. The headliners and big stage lineups are uniquely underwhelming this year and there aren't any of the usual surprising US visitors - trust us, we've seen Liars, Trail Of Dead and Beach House at D2D in the past - so these are a little more sparse than usual.

FRIDAY 24th - Manchester

15:45 Butcher The Bar (Deaf Institute)
16:05 Heart-Ships (Sound Control Loft)
17:30 Golden Fable (Attic)
18:00 Bipolar Sunshine (Gorilla)
20:30 Nadine Shah (SSR)
21:30 Blackeye (Attic)
21:45 Wolf Alice (Deaf Institute)
23:00 London Grammar (Gorilla)
23:30 Story Books (Joshua Brooks)
00:15 Bo Ningen (Zoo)
01:00 Pins (Sound Control Loft)

SATURDAY 25th - Bristol

13:30 The Lonely Tourist (Fleece)
17:30 Golden Fable (Louisiana)
18:15 London Grammar (Academy 1)
18:30 Pins (Thekla Top Deck)
19:30 Hawk Eyes (Thekla Top Deck)
20:00 Only Real (Thekla)
20:30 Bipolar Sunshine (Louisiana)
21:00 The Ramona Flowers (Exchange Basement)
21:30 Story Books (Birdcage)
22:15 Hysterical Injury (Stag & Hounds)
22:30 Wolf Alice (Louisiana)
23:00 Bo Ningen (Thekla)

SUNDAY 26th - Nottingham

14:00 Bitter Strings (Rock City Main)
14:30 Pins (Rescue Rooms)
16:00 Golden Fable (Red Room)
17:00 Hawk Eyes (Red Room)
18:00 We Three And The Death Rattle (Corner)
19:45 Gallery 47 (Rescue Rooms Bar)
20:00 Blackeye (Red Room)
20:30 Dancing Years (Stealth)
21:30 Bipolar Sunshine (Stealth)
23:15 Chapel Club (Rock City Basement)
23:30 Bo Ningen (Rescue Rooms)

Handmade Festival
Full disclosure, we're involved with the organisation of this festival, which really means sending out a lot of emails every couple of weeks and receiving two back, so you'll excuse the push, but if we weren't involved this new Leicester city festival using often unusual spaces - there's a pop-up cinema in a 15th century guildhall, for one thing - would be very much worth a look. Tickets only £25 for the three days too, an extra tenner if you want to see a Robin Ince-helmed afterparty on the Monday.

Rolo Tomassi, Maybeshewill, Codex Leicester (People's Photographic Gallery)
Arcane Roots (Firebug)

Johnny Foreigner, My First Tooth (Firebug)
Sam Duckworth, Grace Petrie (Cookie Jar)
We Were Promised Jetpacks (People's Photographic Gallery)
Her Name Is Calla, Peter Wyeth, Katie Malco (Bishop Street Methodist Church)

Dutch Uncles, Tall Ships, Sky Larkin, Dark Dark Horse, Silent Devices (Firebug)
The Twilight Sad, We Three And The Death Rattle (Guildhall)
TE Morris (Leicester Castle)

Field Day
Ah, Field Day at Victoria Park. Intended as the hippest of village fetes, usually a throwback to one of those early 70s rock festivals where nobody could hear or eat anything other than mud, except without the natural ditches to relieve themselves into. Enter at your own risk.

12:55 Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs (Laneway)
13:00 Gabriel Bruce (Eat Your Own Ears)
14:05 James Yorkston (Village Mentality)
14:30 Amateur Best (Red Bull Music Academy)
15:00 Dark Dark Dark (Shacklewell Arms)
16:10 Savages (Laneway)
16:40 Francois & The Atlas Mountains (Shacklewell Arms)
17:55 King Krule (Village Mentality)
18:15 Everything Everything (Eat Your Own Ears)
18:20 Connan Mockasin (Shacklewell Arms)
19:10 Wild Nothing (Shacklewell Arms)
19:30 Bat For Lashes (Eat Your Own Ears) OR Daughter (Laneway)
20:00 Toy (Shacklewell Arms)
20:20 Do Make Say Think (Village Mentality)
20:40 Four Tet (Eat Your Own Ears)
21:50 Animal Collective (Eat Your Own Ears)

Now We Are Weekender
We've been involved in promoting this too insomuch as we picked up about fifty abandoned flyers after they came to our alldayer in March. Based at The Public in West Bromwich and £23 for the two days there's actually two stages but nobody really seems to overlap so we can recommend a few names without fear of awkward clashes.

15:40 MJ Hibbett and the Validators
17:00 August Actually
17:40 Eat Y'Self Pretty
18:20 Cosines
19:40 Victoria & Jacob
21:00 Ace Bushy Striptease
22:20 Allo Darlin'
23:00 Kid Canaveral

14:00 MJ Hibbett & Steve present Total Hero Team
19:40 Shana Tova
22:20 Darren Hayman
23:00 Johnny Foreigner

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Weekends away: The Great Escape

Brighton's annual takeover by marauding hordes of attention grabbing big names, showcasing Norwegians playing four or five times, major label hopes, mathrock challengers and suchlike. Pretty much everything bar a few standalone gigs is sold out, but just in case you're there next weekend allow us to mark your cards. As usual some of the early selections are made on blurb alone because we aren't mad, and though we've limited it to one slot per artist some of them are playing several times over so watch out.


12.40 Made In Japan (The Haunt)
13.30 Oyama (Above Audio)
14.30 Honeyblood (Dome Studio)
15.30 Young*Husband (Prince Albert)
18.30 Whirr (Concorde 2)    
19.15 Eaux (Digital)
19.30 Girls Names (Coalition)
19.45 Fist City (The Hope)
20.00 Of Rust & Bone (Metro Hub stage)   
20.30 Cloud Boat (Brighthelm Centre)
21:00 Fear of Men (Latest Music Bar)
21.15 Pinkunoizu (Prince Albert)
21.45 Everything Everything (Dome Concert Hall)
22.00 Beach Fossils (Green Door Store)
22.15 Balthazar (Prince Albert)
22.30 Lord Huron (dome studio)
23.15 Melody's Echo Chamber (Corn Exchange)
23.30 Phosphorescent (dome studio)
00.00 On An On (Coalition)
00.30 Husky Rescue (Brighthelm Centre)   


12.15 Lawrence Arabia (The Haunt)
12.45 Kid Karate (Audio)
13.45 AA Wallace (Blind Tiger)
14.00 Jacco Gardner (Komedia Studio Bar)
14:15 Katie Malco (Pavilion Tavern)
14.30 Amateur Best (Fitzherberts)
15.00 Skip&Die (Komedia Studio Bar)
15.30 Alarm Bells (dome studio)
16.00 Luke Sital-Singh (Fiddlers Elbow)
17:15 Bear Cavalry (Pavilion Tavern)
18.45 Shuyler Jansen (Unitarian Church)
19.15 Golden Fable (Sticky Mikes Frog Bar)
19.30 Marika Hackman (Unitarian Church)
19.45 Velociraptor (The Haunt)
20.00 Nadine Shah (St Bartholomew's Church)
20:15 My First Tooth (Pavilion Tavern)
20.30 Caitlin Park (Queens Hotel)    
20.45 Marques Toliver (St Bartholomew's Church)
21.15 Spectres (Above Audio)
21.30 Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs (dome studio)
21:45 Stagecoach (Pavilion Tavern)
22.00 Towns (Above Audio)
22.15 Drenge (The Hope)
23:15 Tellison (Pavilion Tavern)
22.30 Fear Of Men  (The Basement)
23.30 Royal Canoe (Sticky Mikes Frog Bar)    
23.45 The Adelines (Blind Tiger)
00:20 Fight Like Apes (Pavilion Tavern)
01:25 Johnny Foreigner (Pavilion Tavern)
03:15 Her Parents (Pavilion Tavern)


12.30 Sisters (The Hope)
13.15 Fenster (Komedia Studio Bar)
13.30 Mary Epworth (Komedia)
14.30 WALL (Komedia)
15.30 Za! (Prince Albert)
16:35 Son of Dave (St Ann’s Well Gardens)
16:45 Olympians (Pav Tav)
18:15 Hold Your Horse Is (Pav Tav)
18.30 Parlour (Audio)    
19.00 Eliza and The Bear (St Mary's Church)
19.45 The Penelopes (Queens Hotel)    
20.00 Cheatahs (Coalition)
20.30 The Physics House Band (Concorde 2)
20.45 Eagulls (Coalition)
21.15 Tall Ships (Concorde 2)
21.30 The Veils (St Mary's Church)
21:50 Grace Petrie (Mrs Fitzherberts)
22.00 Parquet Courts (The Haunt) OR Sweet Baboo (Green Door Store)
22:10 The Bobby McGees (Mrs Fitzherberts)
22.15 Big Deal (Blind Tiger)
23:15 We Are the Physics (Pav Tav)
23.30 Woods (dome studio)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Without Feathers - Red Little Heart

Three voices, three largely acoustic guitars. One voice instantly recognisable (or so STN would hope if you've been following our work) as Emma Kupa formerly of Standard Fare, one less instantaneous but earpricking in Nat Johnson, latterly solo and before that of Monkey Swallows The Universe, and one maybe less so in Norwich-originating singer-songwriter Rory McVicar. They've just released their first three demo tracks for name-your-price download, a lead vocal apiece as it should be, from which we've plucked this Johnson-led exquisite brokenness.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Track-by-track: The Android Angel - Lie Back And Think of England

The first of a very occasional new series to STN in which people we've covered talk us through their current album. The first we alight on is the work of Paul Coltofeanu, who you might have known of through Free Swim but who put out an album last month of fascinatingly widescreen lo-fi warped psych-pop shapes under the name The Android Angel, complete with an intriguing backstory upon which we asked him to elaborate:

In the summer of 2011, I took my guitar to Eastern Europe where I spent ten days working on a farm in Romania, three days working on a farm in Ukraine, ten days at Sziget Festival in Hungary, and seven days in Berlin. Lie Back And Think of England is the album I have made about my experience.

1. Homes
I recorded the bells sound onto my mobile phone while on a cycle ride high up in the mountains of Transylvania. They were hung around two horse's necks. I added the sound of a piper. The bells kinda slowly pan across the speakers while the piper is constant to create the image of a lone musician on a hillside watching a small procession go past.

2. Solutions
I met an English guy called Danny on the farm in Romania and travelled with him to Ukraine to work on a water buffalo Farm. He was really passionate about bears. I found him quite inspirational. He also gave me a book about the importance of finding a passion. I never read it - I kinda felt I didn't need to because I figured Danny probably embodied its message.

3. Lie Back and Think of England
Being a long way from England gave me a different view of it. Public confidence in the government and the press was reeling from the expenses and phone hacking scandals, and then the riots started while I was away too. England likes to portray itself at the forefront of enlightenment, and in a lot of ways I think it is, but at that time it also showed how stuck in the dark ages it is in some ways too. The female vocal is provided by my friend Sarah Mahony. Was chuffed when John Kennedy played this song on XFM.

4. Distant Star
I met this amazing girl in Ukraine who helped me get to a train station so I could continue my journey. I wrote this song for her. This song was featured on the BBC Introducing Mixtape.

5. Ability Park
I met a girl called Asia on the train into Hungary and I went with her to Sziget Festival in Budapest. While I was there I met lots of people from all over Europe which was really enriching. This instrumental is supposed to represent those glorious hazy wanders from stage to stage at a music festival.

6. Foreign Son
This was actually the first song I wrote when I spent the summer of 2010 in New York. It didn't quite fit with the album borne from that experience (2011's Marble Sun), but it seems to fit on this one. I wrote it in Washington Square and I think it is New York talking to me telling me to man up and enjoy life instead of writing loads of 'cry-wank' music which I had been doing up to then!

7. Her Shoulders
I have a thing about shoulders.

8. Chicago John
Recording live drums can be such a mission so I goofed around for the first time with midi beats on garage band. I recorded four or five songs which were mostly awful but I couldn't get this one out of my head. I had a bit of a rough year last year and often I couldn't get to sleep. To help me sleep I invented this imaginary, comic-book world of espionage in my head and Chicago John was one of the characters in it. This song was also featured on the BBC Introducing Mixtape and played on 6 Music by Gideon Coe.

9. A Parliament of Owls
Without wanting to sound like a dick I think this track most represents where I am musically in 2013 - lost for words, searching for something new, a little bit devoid of inspiration, stuck in a tunnel. For that reason it works above all others as the final 'full' composition on the record. I am moving out to North America for a few years at the end of July to start new projects and recordings.

10. Follow the River
This short outro is the orchestration from the title track given it's own space as the sun sets on the record. It was a very, very profound experience in Eastern Europe that I am not entirely sure I will ever fully get my head around.

Paul/The Android Angel has a few live dates:
28th May Brighton Sticky Mike's Frog Bar
2nd June London Foxfest
20th July London Spice Of Life
27th July Redfest

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Her Parents - Lithuanian Mercedes

You probably know the Her Parents drill by now - thrashy punk, shouting of obtuse lyrics, all over in double quick time. 76 seconds this time, and it's about what it says in the title after a fashion, only with a little less shouting and, dare we say, a little more of a melody the postman can whistle. Second album Happy Birthday (currently streaming via DIY) is out May 13th on vinyl, a week later digitally, via Alcopop!, features songs called Why Are You Hitting Yourself and Hollow Out A Horse, and as it all fits on one side of a 12" they've put its predecessor Physical Release in the flip. Can't say fairer deal than that.


25th May Manchester Kraak
26th May Glasgow Old Hairdressers
28th May Nottingham JT Soar
29th May Oxford Wheatsheaf
30th May Glasgow Undertone
31st May Brighton Prince Albert
1st June London Old Blue Last

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Sky Larkin - Motto

If it seems a while since we last heard from Sky Larkin it's because Katie has been around the world as the fifth Wild Beast, Nestor has been supplementary drumming and tour managing around and about and Doug has been leaving to get a proper job, replaced Future Of The Left-style by two new members, Sam Pryor of These Monsters and Nile Marr of Man Made (and yes, he is). They recorded a third album with usual producer John Goodmanson at the tail end of last year, due out in autumn; this first taste is longer and more concentrated, the mesh of guitars and rumbling bass nodding more openly towards Sonic Youth at their more decodable but still essentially them, thrusting shards of sharply circling riffs and Katie's way with smartly syllable-recursive couplets and detached worldview present and correct. After a date tonight at the Scala and Live At Leeds on Saturday they're embarking on a tour supporting Dutch Uncles in three weeks' time and then some dates with Marnie Stern. Great to have them back amongst us.

Islet - Triangulation Station

The propulsive madmen/woman of Cardiff jagged frenzy and instrument-swapping Kraut-psych-absurdity are back with a second album, Released By The Movement, in the autumn, from which comes a single out 10th June that, obviously, sounds nothing like normal ideas of an single, though it might qualify as a distorted signal beamed in from some other dimension. It does sound like it's been recorded at the other end of a long corridor but otherwise there's a lot of repetitive mantras, a lot of arrythmic percussion and vintage synth drones, some weird vocal arrangements falling over each other and the sense that it might make slightly more sense watching the four of them on stage pushing each other on to greater brain-melting heights.