Hockey’s debut album “Mind Chaos” has been a long time coming, there have been a few false starts along the way but ultimately it’s been well worth the wait. Described by the band as “new wave soul”“Mind Chaos” is an album that draws on a myriad of musical styles and melds them together to produce an album that is danceable, exciting and coherent. Any concerns that such an eclectic variety of influences could produce an uneven album lacking in direction and focus are quickly allayed as “Mind Chaos” serves to reinforce the view that bands diversity and ability to surprise is in fact their strength.
The album kicks off with their recent debut single, the soaring “Too Fake ”, a rip roaring anthem that seems to be fuelled by anger and regret, yet conversely still manges to sound upbeat and euphoric. It’s exactly this kind of juxtaposition of conflicting emotions coupled with their innovative collision of styles and themes that is rapidly becoming Hockey’s trademark. “3Am Spanish” is full on funk attack and sounds like The Beastie Boys hanging with MGMT down at Studio 54 , whilst “Wanna Be Black” could be Bob Dylan jamming with LCD Soundsystem as Isaac Hayes asks that age old metaphysical question “Can you dig it?” (Quite clearly they can!) Elsewherethe ludicrously infectious Spingsteen-esque“Song Away” is a festival anthem in waiting with a vocal delivery reminiscent of how Lou Reed may have sounded if he’d stepped into the light and dropped a few “Es!” As if the album isn’t varied enough Hockey even throw in a few a country infused numbers, a particular highlight being “Four Holy Photos” which recalls the ghost of a less dissolute Tom Waits minus the throaty atmospheric croak. Throughout the album the guitars veer from Nile Rodgers “get on down” influenced disco funk to 70’s infused Paul Kossoff guitar riffs all underpinned by the funkiest bass lines since Grandmaster Flash and Funkadelic got their funk on at the worldwide festival of funk on National Funk Day .
Hockey // Learn To Lose (Labyrinth Remix)
“Mind Chaos” is a debut that announces just what Hockey have to offer, it’s full of smart lyrics, gritty vocals and phat 80’s grooves and it deftly manages to pay homage to a variety of styles and eras but isn’t restricted by them. Who said bike riding vegans can’t be hip ? If Huggy Bear had opened an ice cream parlour in Antarctica it wouldn’t be half as cool as “Mind Chaos”. To paraphrase the cult Inspiral Carpets T-shirt of the late 80s,“Mind Chaos” proves Hockey are “As Cool As Puck”, success it would seem is just a “Song Away” 8/10
This Week : Echo And The Bunnymen announce new single and album, Sound Of Guns New EP Plus Dubai Sound City, Marina & The Diamonds – AwesomeRemix! Metric- Amazing Free Remix! Mumford And Sons Album Art and Tour, The Bon-Bon Club, Delphic, Kill It Kid, Cosmo Jarvis, Academy Live and Alela Diane
Released on 26th October 2009 on Ocean Rain Records
‘Think I Need It Too’ is the brilliant new single from the mighty Echo And The Bunnymen, and the first release from their forthcoming album ‘The Fountain’. It’s a joyous, uplifting, utterly infectious slice of luscious pop and Mac’s voice sounds stronger than ever. “I’m just a better writer and better singer these days,” he says. “My voice has got more… honest.” The B side will be a new track entitled ‘November’
The single’s widescreen, crystalline sound is the work of Scottish producer John McLaughlin, who produced the whole album, and whose credits may come as a surprise to some Bunnymen fans.“He’s done work with Busted and Five, who I loved! ;)” smiles Mac. “I just became reallygood friends with him. I really wanted a big, solid undertow beneath the lyrics.
‘The Fountain’, due for release in November, is a powerful album that sees the Bunnymen back to their very best and with a truly modern sensibility that should see a whole new generation discover one of the UK’s most iconic bands.
There will be a special free gig in Liverpool on Monday 2nd Nov as part of Liverpool Music Week. Sound Of Guns will be headlining in Alma De Cuba, a converted church, the band will be playing on the altar. Not to be missed.
Sound City Dubai
Sound City Liverpool takes over Dubai in November, Sound Of Guns will be joining Doves, The Wombats, Happy Mondays, Echo & The Bunnymen, Super Furry Animals….
Here’s a picture of Marina and The Diamonds beacuse a/ we love her b/there’s a fantastic new fansite dedicated to Ms D –HERE and c/ Black Teeth have produced an amazing remix of “Mowgli’s Road”. It’s pretty darn awesome so have a listen and vist Black Teeth’s myspace right about… here.
Adam Freeland has done an amazing remix of Metric’s song “Sick Muse” from their outstanding album “Fantasies”.
Those lovely people at Hype Machine are offering the song as a free download in the site’s first ever download promotion.
Mumford & Sons – Limited Edition Version Of “Sigh No More”
Mumford & Sons have announced details of a special limited edition version of their forthcoming debut album, which is being made.
The fabulous debut ‘Sigh No More’ is released through Gentlemen Of The Road/Island Records on the 5th October, but fans will be able to buy the limited-edition copy in a special ‘lyric book’ hard-cover, which will also feature exclusive photographs of the band, on their UK tour which kicked off on Saturday 12th September in Glasgow.
The tour-only album is limited to just 1000 copies.
The Bon Bon Club are Reenie (bass, vox), Kim (keyboards, vox) and Claire (drums, vox). Reenie is better known for her previous role as bassist in glitter-rockers The Long Blondes whilst Claire also plays in Slow Down Tallahassee and Angular Recordings post-punkers Navvy.
Their second release is a trio of covers, served on a 3” mini-CD that comes wrapped in a sweetie-bag with a beautiful postcard designed by noted Sheffield comic artist Oliver Allchin.
First the girls cut away the bombast from the Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire” and replace the swinging dicks with swinging hips, turning it into a laser guided love missile.
Next up is a versioning of unheralded Dubstar deep-cut “The Day I See You Again” which dons mask and performs lipo on the slightly obese original for full emotional impact.
Finally most of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours classic “Dreams” is wrestled away from the banshees (and Jim) of The Corrs and magically transformed into a grinding, echoing beast that’s finally lulled into sleep by massed endlessly fractal vocal harmonies. It’s disco edit as live band.
The tracks that make up the “Sex on Fire” single were produced by legendary Sheffield producer Alan Smyth (Pulp, The Arctic Monkeys, Reverend and the Makers, The Long Blondes) at his 2Fly studios in Sheffield.
Debut eponymous album Digital/CD/LP out 5th October on One Little Indian
“Their’s is a vibrant blend of The White Stripes, barn dances and the Stephanne Grappelli – like fiddle-frenzy jazz/blues” – Q Magazine ‘Uncontrived, Kill It Kid are a brave, raw talent’ –BBC Introducing ‘Thrillingly unaffected, delightful’ –Music Week “Demands attention from the off… the strength and depth of their songs belie their age” – Clash Magazine
Kill It Kid are spending the summer gearing up to the release of their debut album on 5th October with more shows through the summer and a taster single, ‘Burst Its Banks’ out next week (3rd August). The band have just announced a fresh set of October dates, a co-headline with Sparrow & The Workshop, as follows:
2nd BATH Moles 4th MANCHESTER Night ‘n Day 5th CARLILE Brickyard 6th YORK Fibbers 7th EDINBURGH, Cabaret Voltaire 8th GLASGOW Captain’s Rest 9th DERBY Rockhouse 10th OXFORD Jericho Tavern 11th BIRMINGHAM Hare & Hounds 12th GUILDFORD Boilerrom 13th LONDON Lexington 14th SOUTHAMPTON, Hamptons
Fronted by the gorgeous two-part vocal harmonies of singers Chris Turpin and Stephanie Ward, the lyrical intimacy of the songs is rendered all the more powerful by the interplay between the pair, Turpin’s singular and distinctive voice seemingly arriving from another time and place, while Ward’s softer, huskier tones form the perfect foil. Buttressed with strings, keys and slide guitar, Kill It Kid blend delta blues and roots to striking effect, producing blistering, unapologetic rock’n’roll one moment and a smoky film-noire ambience the next. The band have already drawn comparison to Tom Waits, Frank Zappa and Zeppelin, as well as more recent examples Gomez, Mumford & Sons and The Raconteurs, but it’s on the strength of the songwriting throughout this debut that the deal is ultimately sealed, and with an average age of only 21, the band are apparently in possession of a musical wisdom well beyond their years.
Kill It Kid is: Richard Jones (violins/backing vocals), Adam Timmins (bass guitar/guitars), Stephanie Ward (vocals/piano), Marc Jones (drums/percussion) and Chris Turpin (vocals/guitars/harmonica). www.myspace.com/killitkid
Cosmo is described as “raggedy troubadour” (The Guardian) who sits somewhere in the triangle between Mike Skinner, Billy Bragg and Half Man Half Biscuit. Young and angry, he splits his time between writing tiny rough-round-the-edges nuggets of pop gold and creating strange – often funny – short films. Check out the first few chapters of his work here – http://www.cosmojarvis.com/
Academy Events are pleased to announce the return of Academy Live, with the fifth tour taking four new bands on a rock ‘n’ roll journey around the UK. As a pioneeringforce in developing new music, Academy Events have secured a dynamite line up and will bring a diverse range of acts to O2 Academy stages this autumn.
Murray James, The Dukes Jetty, Stephen Langstaff and Viva City are geared up to play the shows which give each act the opportunity to play in areas outside of their hometown, culminating in an exclusive London showcase at O2 Academy 2 Islington on Thursday 1st October. The bands from Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham and Londonwill headline the O2 Academy venue in their region as part of the tour.
Making its debut in 2007, Academy Live has helped launch the careers of some of the most exciting acts on today’s new music scene. The Hot Melts who represented Liverpool on the tour’s first outing have supported rock giants Eagles Of Death Metal, stormed the stage at South By Southwest and are currently on their own headline tour of the UK to coincide with the release of their self-titled debut album.
Other acts to benefit from Academy Live include The Volt who were crowned champions of MTV’s ‘Get Seen Get Heard’ competition and Soft Toy Emergency who are currently storming festival stages with slots at the summer’s best music events including Glastonbury and Reading And Leeds.
THE BANDS Murray James
What a voice – with his soulful tones Murray James gives Otis Reading a run for his money! This London singer/songwriter has been working with the magnificent Brendan Lynch (Paul Weller, Ocean Colour Scene, Primal Scream) on what is no doubt going to be a spectacular debut album.
The Dukes Jetty are a four-piece band from the Midlands featuring Brothers Lee and David Hambridge, Steve Hemming, and Chris Webb. Their debut album, ‘Fine and Dandy’, was released and celebrated with a sold out launch party, quickly drawing in new fans and recognition from BBC’s Alex Lester, Nihal and the legendary Janice Long.
With an army of fans, three albums of music and record breaking gigs under his belt, Stephen Langstaff is rapidly becoming one of the UK’s most prolific singer songwriters. He recently became the first unsigned singer songwriter to headline O2 Academy Liverpool’s main room. www.myspace.com/stephenlangstaff
Viva City are a Newcastle alt-electro-indie four-piece, produced by legendary dance artists Kosheen. Their debut single ‘Kate Bush’ charted at No.4 in the official independent Singles charts last year and acquired them a legion of Kate Bush fans plus a well received Newcastle HMV in-store which saw them enter the charts above The Charlatans.
Alela Diane is teaming up with Alina Hardin and releasing a 10” split EP and digital download called ‘Alela and Alina’ through Names Records next month.‘Bowling Green’, one of the tracks from the EP is available for download below.
You wait years for a decent electro band to turn up and then a whole fleet come along at once! The latest to cruise down our very own “Electric Avenue” and gleefully twiddle our musical knobs is Katsen. They are a duo who take the best of the darker side of 80’s electronica, deconstruct it and produce perfect futuristic D.I.Y, pop noir. Electronic music has often suffered from heavy handed over production which has often turned a blind ear to the maxim “less is more”, but the fact isyou don’t always have to throw everything from the “effects arsenal” into the mix to produce great music. Alas many big name producers behave like the salesgirls who work at your local department store’s makeup and perfume counter. You know the ones, orange-hued lasses who deem it necessary to daub every single product they stock, all over their faces and whose ghastly over painted visages owe more to Coco the Clown than to Coco Chanel. It’s therefore a refreshing change to find a band like Katsen whose minimalist approach ensures the essence of their songs remain intact, unsullied and not buried within a flashy gimmicky over produced avalanche of over elaborate synth effects and ego driven ostentation.
Their debut album “It Hertz” draws on many influences and melds them into a glorious, dark , D.I.Y. electro pop extravaganza, mixing a haughty sexy electronic aloofness with real emotion and demonstrates the duo’s innate understanding of just what elements are required to produce great pop song! It’s an album which at times sounds as if members of Cabaret Voltaire, The Human League and Strawberry Switchblade have surreptitiously met to forman avant garde, Kraftwerk influenced, musical collective. It mixes wistful melodies and strident vocals with relentless, hypnotic beats, beneath which runs an undercurrent of Orwellian paranoia. If “Bladerunner The Musical” ever hits the stage, Katsen should be commissioned to score the music! Their love of all things Casio is evident throughout “It Hertz” and whilst the likes of Little Boots and La Roux are being feted by the populist media as the acceptable face of “the new wave of the square wave ™,” you’ll find Katsen lurking in the dark shadows of nightclubs, nursing strong drinks and bruised hearts quietly making plans to subvert the electro pop mainstream with their own special brand of noir electronica. We spoke to both parts of Katsen, Donna Grimaldi and Chris Blackburn to find out more…
VP: The story goes that you met whilst selling clothes at craft fairs, that your musical union survived Donna running away one summer to join the circus, and Chris teaching acting to ballet dancers….So what’s the truth ? 😉
Donna: It’s the truth… seriously! I was head costumier and showgirl in a travelling circus and Chris was an acting teacher at a drama school
Chris: Yes it’s all true! As if we’d lie to you!
VP: Katsen? What does it mean, and given your album cover would it be safe to assume you are fond of all things feline?
Donna: The name Katsen came from the packaging of a toy I bought for my Siamese cats. Yes, we both love cats but I am pretty obsessed and have a growing collection of 1950’s porcelain ornaments of them.
Chris: It’s actually a mis-spelling of KATZEN (German for cats)… I liked the idea of a band called the cats… but with a nice Teutonic twist. I changed the spelling because the z looked wrong in the font I wanted to use. and there are a lot of German cat websites for us to get confused with. But, yeah, we like cats. I’m a fan of pumas, personally.
VP: Talking of your album “It Hertz” has just been released, I’ve heard it and think its fantastic, but how would you describe it to those who are new to Katsen?
Donna: Thank you! It’s very difficult putting a label on our own music but I suppose others would describe Katsen as electronic pop. Although, saying that, we envisage ourselves more a member of the ‘indie/ alternative’ scene than of a strictly electronic one. We’re pretty D.I.Y and lo-fi, creating all of our own videos and artwork as well as producing our own music. I think this enables us to be in control of all elements of Katsen and this in turn makes the process more intimate & personal.
Chris: It’sa twelve track sweet and sour electronic tingle.
VP: Where can people order the album?
Donna: The album can be ordered via our website or Thee SPC’s. It’s also available at Rough Trade, Norman records and Rounder Records (in Brighton.) It’s about to be released in the US by Shelflife, this version has a slightly different track listing and will feature “Start As You Mean To Go On” instead of “Cactus
VP: What sort of music/artists are you fans of, which artists would you say had the biggest influence on you growing up?
Donna: I loved lots of 80’s music and was a big fan of the Cure in particular as well as New Order; Siouxsie & the Banshees, Soft Cell and Dépêche Mode whilst growing up, and still am! Many of the bands I adore were making amazing music in the late ’70’s and early ’80’s. A melody and a catchy tune with a dark under current generally gets me going. I also loved lots of early 90’s indie such as Pop Will Eat Itself, The Cranes, The Sundays, PJ Harvey …. I love front men/ women that have a strong look & persona, almost like comic book characters. I also have a very soft & nostalgic spot for Sheep On Drugs.
Chris: Oh crikey! From the age of 9 to about 13 I only ever listened to a combination of “Unknown Pleasures”, “Low”, “Replicas” and Peter Gabriel’s first 4 albums. I was a right laugh! The most memorable moment for me musically was when, at age 3 or 4, I heard Wendy (then Walter) Carlos’s Brandenburg concerto (can’t remember which one). I just sat there in awe, not knowing where all these exciting, sounds came from, with all their different personalities, not knowing what a synthesizer was. It was like listening to pure imagination coming to life!
VP: What’s the greatest album ever released …and why?
Donna: This is a really difficult question but some of my favourite albums are, Adult, “Resuscitation”, Siouxsie & the Banshees, “The Scream”, Soft Cell “Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret”, The Cure “Head On The Door“, New Order “Power, Corruption & Lies”… all of these albums have an uncontrollable effect on me, I can’t help but dance and sing along.
Chris: Whaaaaat?!? Oh blimey… er um… I’m sorry; I really can’t answer that… too many greatest albums all for different reasons. Nope, I’m gonna have to rebel on this one!
VP: And talking of song writing how do you go about it as a unit, do you write separately or together? Do lyrics come first or is it the melody? We demand you reveal the secrets of your musical alchemy!!
Chris: This is different for each song. We work separately at first, and then come together at the end. A song can emerge very quickly, with most of the words and music happening together (“Let’s Build A City” and “Where Nobody Can Find Us” more or less were finished in minutes)… with clear themes, or messages. other songs will take longer… “Constellation” was an instrumental for ages… I just wanted an oblique song vaguely about international travel, avoiding reality, and our place in the cosmos… that finally got written on the train to Brighton to see Donna. When we come together, it comes together. Something we strive for is interesting lyrics which can be read in several ways. We try to avoid boring love songs. They are all love songs, however.
VP: Now, I know it’s an unassailable fact, that people who produce electronic music love gadgets, so what gadget couldn’t you live without?
Donna: My very expensive soup blender
Chris: Unfortunately, that list of toys is largely in my mind at the moment… there’s lots of stuff I’d like to be using… I’d particularly like a Sid Station and a Mopho… but the toys I couldn’t live without are the toys i’ve always had… my Roland sh-1, my collection of Casios… hmmm… missing them… might go up and give them a stroke in a minute…
VP: Your highlights of 2009?
Donna: The release of our debut album! Being released not just by Thee SPC in the UK, but Shelflife in the US too. Being album of the week on Steve Lamacq’s show on Radio 1.
To be completely honest, when I heard that electronic music was making a revival my heart sank faster than Beth Ditto in a lead canoe. In the past I have experienced great difficulty in relating to this form of musical expression, maybe I considered it a little bit cold and emotionless, or perhaps I felt the phallic symobolism, power and iconography of the thrusting guitar was being undermined by a lot of egg-headed ‘knob twiddlers’ and lets face it, a Casio CZ 1000 is a poor substitute for a penis….However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the quality of music produced by the new wave of electronic artists that have emerged over the last couple of years. On the whole it’s been innovative, hypnotic, edgy and a welcome counterpoint to the lumpen mutton fingered laddish guitar based pub rock that flooded the musical bathroom like so much effluence from a blocked toilet. Given the popularity of bands like The Arctic Monkeys, record companies appeared to be falling over themselves in the rush to sign up any old tosh on the basis that possession of a fashionable haircut framing features that resembled a cheeky northern ragamuffin would somehow produce “precocious, wry, street smart observational lyrics which perfectly captured the zietgiest” and were of course to be sung utilising their own distinctive regional dialect, thus making it more “real, man”. But “Eee by gum lad menny o’ these bands turned art ta be a complete ‘n utta load o’ old ‘orse knackers an’ donkey cock” but at least they answered the question, “what would The Arctic Monkeys sound like if they replaced Alex Turner with Orville The Duck ? ” (An improvement? Not much different maybe? 😉 ) Doubtless if semi-automated, loop driven, electronic music takes off in the same way, record labels will once again develop the same scatter gun approach and randomly sign up anybody who can make something vaguely electronic go ‘bleep’. Heck, if you can use a microwave you might be in with the chance of a record deal!! But before that nightmare scenario rears it’s raddled, sweaty, grasping head, let’s check out a band who demonstrate what can be achieved with ideas, style and no small amount of talent.
Hook and the Twin have perfected a dark post-apocalyptic sound which is mesmerising, edgy and stomps about inside your head like an army of demented Cybermen on crack….and confirm if the machines are taking over, we are in safe hands. With two singles under their belt the hypnotic “Race For The Bone” and the impossible to resist “Bang Bang Cherry” Hook and The Twin are certainly a band whose star is in the ascendency and are definitely ones to watch…….and so after analysing their musical data we arranged an information sharing interface in order to extrapolate and assimilate intelligence with regard to their musical project…and here’s what happened
VP: By way of introduction for those who are new to Hook & The Twin who are you and were did the name come from
Hook & The Twin: We’re Tom and Marcus, we live in London and we make rhythmic songs out of drums and live looping.
The name comes from a painting by a friend. Of a butcher’s shop.
VP: What would you say informs and influences your sound…?
Hook & The Twin: We started Hook and the Twin listening to lots of 70s Krautrock, bands like Neu, Harmonia and Cluster. There were loads of rehearsals early on where we’d just spend hours hypnotising ourselves with those kinds of propulsive beats and endless layered up synths. But we’ve tried to mix that with more cut-up rhythms (we’re big fans of people like Sebastian and Oizo). And then we put songs over the top which I suppose are influenced by singers like David Bowie, David Byrne, Robert Wyatt and Bjork.
VP: Your second single ‘Bang Bang Cherry’ is hypnotic hook laden affair, but lyrically sounds a little surreal, what’s it all about?
Hook & The Twin: I’m not completely sure. Somewhere in there I think it’s about the difficulty of acknowledging a genuine terrible threat. Watching earthquakes on youtube.
VP: Is a debut album in the pipeline and if so when might it see the light of day?
Hook & The Twin: It’s moving towards the mouth of the pipeline. We haven’t started recording yet but we’re making plans. The songs are certainly there. I hope we’ll have started work by the end of the year.
VP: What have you got planned for the remainder of 2009?
Hook & The Twin: Lots of gigs, as much recording as we can fit in, and hopefully a few more performances of our live soundtrack to Metropolis. We’re also talking to a Japanese label about putting some music out there. And really hoping that will lead to a tour.
VP: What’s the biggest myth about being in a band?
Hook & The Twin: The glamour of “Backstage”. It’s almost always rancid and cramped. Apart from one venue in Lincoln where it’s in somebody’s bedroom.
VP: ‘Race for the Bone’, your previous single had a strangely hypnotic video, what the devils going on in it?
Hook & The Twin: William Hall, the director, had this idea to use ‘oobleck’, a mixture of corn flour and water. We spooned a huge batch of it onto a big tray and blasted the underneath with bass frequencies. If you get it right, the oobleck starts to ripple and then bits of it rear up and start writhing. The whole thing looks like a melting dancefloor.
VP: I’ve a feeling as well as releasing your own music you may well be asked to remix other artists, would that be something you’d be into and if so who would top your wish list ?
Hook & The Twin: We’ve actually done a couple in the last few weeks, one for My Tiger My Timing and one for Colourmusic. We love doing them. It can be much less pressured than working on your own material, much freer. I imagine it’s like the difference between a girl putting on her own makeup, and covering her little brother’s face in lipstick.
VP: What’s been your favourite album of 2009?
Hook & The Twin: Post War Years, The Greats and the Happenings.