Ones To Listen Out For In 2012

15 to Listen Out For  in 2012 ?

The VPME Tips For 2012

We’ve mentioned in the past that this tipping malarkey can often arrive deep fried and positively dripping in narcissism, garnished with a large sprinkling of ego- “hey look at me I’m a pop precognitive, I can predict the muthafucking future. And it would be easy to look at The BBC’s “Sound Of” list and slavishly copy much of that, throw in a few left field buzz bands, sit back and watch your big massive fucking fat head expand because acts with big label backing are invariably and often tragically the ones that tend to do well. Big labels know that best way to predict the future is to invent it and spend a lot of time, energy and cashola in doing just that this time of year.  Doubtless there are a number of artists on the Beebs list already being lined up by their labels for appearances on Jools Holland and there’s nowt wrong with that, not all record labels are intrinsically evil 😉 , still, I think there’s room for some unsigned bands on JH.

That being said  let’s try not to get involved in the “tipping politics” instead let’s just look at it from the view that here are a group of artists we’d love it do well in 2012, quite simply because we feel they have much to offer and will hopefully make some interesting music in the coming 12 months.  They may not be brand spanking new or wilfully obscure, but we love em !   You can also check out the BBC’s own Sound of 2012  and The Bloggers Alternative here which we helped organise.

Last year we tipped The Good Natured and Islington Boys Club as ones to watch, and we’ll continue to do so this year because we think they both have a huge amount to offer.  We also hope Let’s Buy Happiness get more attention this year as they are also another band who deserve greater recognition in 2012.  Anyway without further waffle as I’m sure all your brains are addled by festive spirit coupled with that gnawing anxiety and uneasy sense of guilt induced by flashbacks from your shameful antics at the office Xmas party,  here are our musical hopes for 2012.

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1.Two Wounded Birds

Two Wounded Birds Pic By Andy Von Pip

Margate based four piece have been criminally overlooked by the printed music press in the past possibly due to the fact that they aren’t  A/ London hipsters and B/ have more song writing talent in their little fingers than your average NME hyped band will ever possess . Their debut album is set to arrive in the New Year and looks set to build on the huge promise of recent singles and 2010’s “Keep Dreaming Baby” EP. If you ever loved The Beach Boys, The Ramones, David Lynch, if you know your pop history than as sure as night follows day, you will love Two Wounded Birds.  Interview Here

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2.Tashaki Miyaki

We first heard this lot on  6 musics “NowPlaying” show of which we have been proud to have been a part of in 2011 and immediately fell in love with them. They have never appeared in the Karate Kid and  are in fact a Californian collective who specialise in impeccable reverb soaked dream pop of the highest order. They’ve already been described as sounding like a female Jesus And Mary Chain (hang on wasn’t that Sister Vanilla ?) and that’s certainly a description that should pique anybody’s interest. We are very, very excited to hear what they come up with next!

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3. Rae Morris.

rae-Morris-VPME-Ones-to-Watch

Our Mancunian gig going chums first altered us to Ms Morris, insisting we really should catch her live, to be truthful we haven’t quite managed that yet but as soon as we heard her songs and her voice it was like fireworks going off in our head. A brilliant prodigious talent, ignore the blithe comparisons with other female songwriters (they are generally wider of the mark than a Chris Waddle penalty) and just sit back and allow yourselves to be swept away by the beauty of her voice and the poetry of her lyrics.

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4. exlovers

There’s a kind of bruised poetic nobility about exlovers music, bittersweet, heartfelt, honest and eloquent. They produce songs which give hope and inspiration to the lovelorn and the lost, and although their world view may suggest they have experienced their fair share of heartbreak and emotional turmoil, exlovers are not devoid of optimism, for within their shimmering melodies there is the hope of brighter days ahead. A debut album is set for release in the New Year, which we are sure will reward the band with more exposure and a bigger fanbase.

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5. Trailer Trash Tracys

Another band who seem to have been around longer than they have* (*comment sponsored by Edward Lear)  who are set to release their debut album “Ester” on 9th January 2012, which will hopefully make a sizable, ethereal dent on the musical landscape. Everything we have heard so far by this band has been excellent, if melancholic, gauzy dream pop is your bag then the TTT’s may well set your loins aflame.

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6.The Jezabels.

Huge lunged soaring melodies and intense live performances are what The Jezabels are all about.  Their emo-centric tendencies may be a tad theatrical for some, but there’s no denying the power of singer Hayley Marys vocals and what a great band they are live. Their debut album has already taken their native Oz by storm and is set to have the same effect over here in the New Year. Very surprised not to see them included in the BBC’s “Sound Of List”

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7.Zulu Winter

If you have recently discovered Zulu Winter than ya- boo to you as we liked them before you did, in fact we liked them before they were even called Zulu Winter. We first featured them a few years back when they were called The Molotovs.   

At that time  it seemed they were on the cusp of making a breakthrough, yet somewhat bafflingly it never quite happened. However a name change has given the band fresh impetuous and 2012 could well be the year they make their mark.

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8.Bird.

Bird , from Liverpool

One of the most interesting bands to come out of my home town in recent years, and not a single twangy Merseybeat guitar in earshot. Bird is the brainchild Adele Emmas a young singer songwriter inspired by Kate Bush, the Cocteau Twins, and has a predilection for producing mesmerising mysterious ethereal soundscapes. Be prepared for Adele’s voice to cast a spell on you and draw you in to a world of seductive, dark magic, where nothing is quite what it seems.

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9.Lana Del Ray

There was been much written about Lana Del Ray , some complimentary and some suffused with more than a hint of  rather disturbing misogynist frat boy spite. We really don’t give a flying fuck with regard to this ‘too cool for school’ hipster backlash because the question is this  -does Ms Del Rey produce bad art, or good art ? Does it stand on its own two feet; indeed does it add value to your existence?  From what we’ve heard so far the latter defiantly applies and Ms Del Rey has it all to play for in 2012. Really we should celebrate an artist who has a unique voice and style rather than castigate her for having the audacity to sign to a record label. Save your bile for the parade of the inane overseen by Cowell the musical ringmaster for the terminally bland. Which is pretty much what we wrote for GIITV zine about the “Double-Eged Sword of being a blog sensation”

 

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10.younghusband

Euan Hinshelwood - Younghusband Live Manchester © Andy Von Pip

If you thought Euan Hinshelwood’s band would sound anything like his work with Emmy The Great your ears may have been in for a rude awakening. younghusband’s sound is influenced by lo fi indie and is infused with a gorgeous, gauzy fuzz pop shoegazy vibe which owes more to Pavement  Kraut rock and MBV than Diane Cluck. After  a couple of fine releases this year in the shape of their debut single “Carousal” and the “Crystal” Ep we look forward to hearing more from these chaps in 2012.

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11.Lucy Rose

Lucy posses a fragile yet husky smoke cracked voice and writes songs with the sort of honest straight forward sincerity that can only come from the heart.  She became well known at various acoustic nights and a chance meeting with Jack Steadman of Bombay Bicycle Club led to her appearing on the title track of the bands acoustic album ‘Flaws’.  Lucy has since gained an enthusiastic, dedicated; some may say besotted fan base and now regularly sells out venues weeks in advance, which is quite a rare thing for an unsigned act. She also makes a nice cuppa.  Interview HERE.

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12.Alt J

The artists formerly known as Films are now called ∆.   (∆ =Alt-j on your Mac  keyboard apparently) and  seem to have derived as much attention from their name change as they have for their music, which I suppose means job done in one sense. These guys are quite difficult to pigeon hole, at times it sounds like understated folky blues rock, on other occasions like  a kind of electronic  trip-hop with a bit of anti-folk thrown in. But then again at other times it sounds bugger all like that, or indeed anything else out there at the moment, so we’ll shut up now.

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13.Projectionists.

Rebecca Stephens - The Projectionists

Projectionists are based in Manchester and feature former Pipette Rebecca Stevens on vocals and song writing duty. There may be a nod to her former girl group past in terms of harmonies, but this is much more grown up pop with lyrics that are introspective and tinged with sadness set against upbeat melodies. It’s top quality stuff, which may surprise some people but not us, their debut EP is planned for January and we’ll have more on that in the new year.

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14.Mode Moderne

Vancouver’s Mode Moderne seem to like the dark side of life and come across  rather like  The Arcade Fire meets Depeche Mode in a graveyard, which believe me is a good thing. The darkness, which makes Nick Cave seem positively sanguine is all enveloping, like black velvet, which disturbs and yet comforts. Let’s face it if upbeat pop is represented by the unholy union, nay the shrill pop abomination that is  Mike Posner and Cher Lloyd  I’ll direct my feet to the dark side of the street any day of the week!

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15.Cold Spex

We caught Cold Spex supporting Howling Bells and from the off it was glaringly apparent that  singer Al Spx  posses the sort of voice others can only dream about. Whether they quite have the songs yet is another issue, but if they are given time to grow and not given a hideous record label make over they certainly have the potential to be something very special indeed, – doom gospel with soul.

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On Tour With Dum Dum Girls.

Dum Dum Girls Live  -Photo - Andy Von Pip - Fac251 Manchester

Ok  I will accept that the title of this post might be construed as a tad misleading and has perhaps strayed over into the more  deluded realms  of ‘optimistic,’ “on tour ,with Dum Dum Girls? ” Well one can dream.  For clarity what I actually mean is I caught them twice in as many days on the UK leg of their European tour,  first at FAC251 in Manchester, then  just over the Welsh border at Central Station in Wrexham. Two places whose musical heritage couldn’t be more antithetical, Manchester of course  has a fabulous musical legacy, giving the world The Smiths, Joy Division, The Stone Roses, The Fall, The Buzzcocks and New Order amongst others whilst Wrexham has  gifted us  erm, K-Klass….

Dum Dum Girls -Jules- Von Pip - Wrexham Central Station

Having caught Dum Dum Girls on a number of occasions over the past couple of years both performances demonstrated just how far they’ve evolved from what was essentially Dee Dee’s lofi bedroom project, into a fully fledged kiss-ass band of some distinction.  Sonically they have improved beyond measure expanding their musical palette whilst  still remaining faithful to their garagey roots, mixing 60’s girl group harmonies with the Ramones trademark head down full on speedball punk/pop fizz.  It goes without saying the band look stunning, hell, this is what a band SHOULD look like, all heartbreak n’ leathers and Dee Dee wearing her trademark “iconic look-in the making” stripped tights.  They rattle through songs from this year’s “He Gets Me High EP”, which in many ways acted as the bridge between their lo-fi debut album “I Will Be” to their second album “Only In Dreams.”  As with most groups the live sound is rawer and more jagged, lacking some of the studio polish and this fits in perfectly with the bands image and reputation, with guitarist Jules fusing a potent mixture of Johnny Marr ‘s chiming jangle, allied to twisted Mary Chain style guitar pedal distortion. Dee Dee’s vocals are pretty much bang on and she seems much more assured than on previous occasions, possibly the raw emotionally honesty of the songs allowing her to really let go, freeing her from the shyness which many have on occasion been misinterpreted as cool indifference. True, that during both gigs there is very little in the way of banter, but hey, if you want wise cracks go see a comedian; Dee Dee gives enough of herself musically, expressed through beautiful poignant poetic lyrics allied to the sort  perfect pop songs that exist “Only In Dreams” for many songwriters. The sort of songs written from the heart and  infused with a genuine emotion that  you simply can’t fake.   If that isn’t enough for you, why not fuck off to a corporate arena communal wank-a- long and listen to songs born at a record label focus group, for this is very much the real deal.

Dee Dee Dum Dum Girls -Photo By Andy Von Pip- Manchester.

Veronica Falls provided  support and played two sparkling sets which encompassed the majority of their superb debut album plus a couple of new tunes. Frenetically strummed guitars and melancholy appear to be Veronica Falls trade mark and they fuse classic pop,  a touch of 60’s doo-wop with late 80’s guitar jangle to concoct an intoxicating musical cocktail. I really hope this band become more widely known because the more I play this album the more I love it.  Great band and great performances.

A quick mention most be given to Retriever who were the first band on the bill at Manchester and Novelle in Wrexham. Newcastle’s  Retriever were  an  astonishing full on sonic ear shredding assault with driving beats, searing guitars, thundering bass all drawn together by  lead singer Jackie Miller’s strident, powerful vocals.  Novelle took the opening slot in Wrexham and performed a set shot through with frail melodies swimming under a wash of woozy shoegazy feedback . All in all a pretty perfect damn near perfect gig experience.

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Songs To Learn And Sing – Milk Maid, Kyla La Grange, War Of The Wangs, The Good Natured remix, The Horrors and more.. Pris Video..

Songs To Learn And Sing – Milk Maid,  New Pris video- War Of The Wangs, Kyla La Grange, The Good Natured remix,   Paintings Of Ships,  The Dead Fronts and a new Mixcloud app!

Milkmaid New Single

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Milk Maid’s  single ‘Not Me’  sounds rather like one of those wonderful early Creation Record releases, there’s a hint of the chiming guitars of  The House Of Love combined the shambling laconic cool of  a lo fi Mary Chain . It’s surf punk for people who really couldn’t be arsed surfing and as such is ten shades of wonderful.

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 Pris – The Better You Look The More You See- Video!

We like Pris so much we gave them some our old vinyl. . . . and here’s the result!

We were also involved in a Twitter rumble, christened  #Warofthewangs or #Wanggate.  The always excellent  Breaking More Waves blog  gave an amusing and well balanced account of how events unfolded,  have a read HERE.  The over-sensitive may be offended and also have to google what a “wang” actually is before deciding to become outraged.  And of course we marked ‘War Of the Wangs”  with a slap-up meal, as you do !

Von Pip - Huge Wang

War Of the Wangs

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 Kyla La Grange‘Been Better’

Kyla La Grange, Photo credit to Debbie ScanlanPhoto © Debbie Scanlan


Kyla la Grange was one of our tips for big things over the next year or two and her latest offering  has confirmed we were quite right, it’s Marianne Faithful meets Stevie Nicks in a smoky, gin soaked bar  and it’s also available as free download. Which makes it a double whammy of goodness.

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 The Good Natured Remix !

The Good Natured Skeleton Remix

As regular readers will know, we love  The Good Natured and will shout it from the rooftops, because……, well,. . . that’s what blogs do!  And maybe that’s the  big difference between blogs  and at least someof the  bandwagon jumping hipsters who reside within the confines of the more  traditional music press ? These scamps are paid to be hip and wear twatty Camden hats whilst snorting Sadie Frost’s toe nail clippings and as such it could be argued that some of their number have no real emotional investment in their tips, it’s purely about the ‘being seen to be hip’ – one up-manship and a step ladder towards the nirvana that is writing for lads mags and Tog Gear monthly. Bloggers generally tend to  promote artists we love because we believe in them, sometimes naively, sometimes unconditionally but always genuinely, there are no agendas and  I think that matters …..in a small way. But I digress, the Good Natured have  just released a new re-mix from their forthcoming ‘Skeleton’ EP – Check it out below.

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The HorrorsStill Life.

Well, well, well , never in my wildest dreams (usually the one involving  Charlize  Theron and a deserted library..ahem.. ) did I expect to be blogging positively about the Horrors! As a bit of an old school punky/goth, I found their early work a trifle banal. You see I didn’t feel they were using their influences to produce anything remotely interesting …merely aping them… badly.   I didn’t soil my pants with unbridled glee at Primary Colours’  and although I felt it had a couple of interesting moments, I found the reverence  many bestowed upon it a trifle baffling. However I am nothing if not open minded and I must confess I love ‘Still Life’ . It’s moody,  majestic, joyous and magnificent, like being led from the darkness into the light!  Praise the lord I was blind, but now I see….Ok, Ok I’ll leave it at that.   Maybe The Horrors will finally win me over when their latest album ‘Skying’ is released? I really do hope so, I genuinely don’t listen to new music with the intention of being seriously underwhelmed.  And so for now I can forget the hair, the hype and the rather dubious name checking of some of my favourite bands if they continue to prouduce songs as enjoyable as ‘Still Life’.

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Paintings Of Ships – ‘Love Will Always Follow You’

Paintings Of Ships

Heavily influenced by guitar music of the 90s from Sonic Youth to Blur, Paintings Of Ships  is made up by Londoner Daniel Clancy on guitar/vocals, Middlesbrough lass Catherine Wilson on bass/vocals and drummer Matt Hill – the only thing to come out of Asby-de-la-Zouch apart from the  Young Knives and Cat from Pris.

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The Dead Fronts.

The will be releasing their first single ‘You And Me’ as a free download via their bandcamp page on 27th June , but you can preview it here.

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Mix Cloud Release I-Phone App

And finally,  there’s a new mixcloud app available for I phones/I-Touchs HERE,  enabling you to enjoy our podcasts where ever you are  (HERE). Imagine it ! A little scouse DJ in your pocket, like some sort of musical Jiminy Cricket !!! !!! What will they think of next !


Liverpool Sound City Music Festival 2011 – Part 1 – The Good Natured, Pete And the Pirates, Let’s Buy Happiness.

Liverpool Sound City 2011 Review

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Over  three hundred bands in just three days across thirty plus venues?  It can mean only one thing, Liverpool Sound City is back!  And what an amazing three days it was! Highlights included fantastic performances from some of our favourite artists, random meetings with amazing people, a great buzz around the city and for added authenticity there was even  a rock n’ roll injury thrown in for good measure!  This year’s showcase for new upcoming artists really had the lot, capturing the essence of what makes live music such an exciting collective experience.

If you ask people what Liverpool is universally renowned for, the  polite response would certainly include football and music (as well as perms obviously.)  Therefore it must be  doubly frustrating for many within the city to see  their great rivals just up the M53 motorway break longstanding football records, coupled with the fact that Manchester is now touted as the premier northern city for  music.   But Liverpool has undergone a huge cultural and economic renaissance in recent years and it’s fighting back. You can forget the tribute band hell and missed opportunity that is the Matthew Street Festival ( why anybody would want to watch a plumber called Barry from Dudley dressed up as Freddie Mercury or a Tibetan Supertramp tribute band made up of yak shepherds  is quite frankly  beyond our comprehension) , it’s Sound City  that is fast becoming the real jewel  in Liverpool’s musical crown.  This year has definitely  been the best yet and showcases what this city has to offer as a musical and conferencing centre, ranging from traditional venues such as The Masque,  The Mojo, The Shipping Forecast,  The Kazimier and the Zanzibar  to unique locations such as the iconic neo classical splendour of  St George’s Hall, the Bombed Out Church and the Cathedral Crypt.  It also proved that Liverpool is no longer happy to be defined by  it’s musical past and is ready to  free itself from the historical shackles of  the worlds most succesful boy band… with a vengeance.

And so without further ado here’s Part 1 of our non chronological highlights.

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The Good Natured  @ The Mojo.

The Good Natured Live @ Liverpool Sound City 2011

We’ve featured The Good Natured regularly on the blog quite simply because we love their amazing electro goth pop noir and think Sarah McIntosh has certainly got all the attributes to become a national treasure.  We first came across Sarah’s work a few years ago in the shape of her beautiful ‘Warriors EP’ and we  knew straight away we had stumbled onto a very special talent indeed.  After tipping The Good Natured as our own ‘Sound Of 2011′ we knew that the only thing stopping us attending this gig would be Armaggedon (or maybe man-flu.)  The Good Natured are now a trio with Sarah accompanied by George on drums and her brother Hamish McIntosh on bass and  they certainly didn’t disappoint giving us one of our favourite displays of the entire festival.  Sarah mesmerised the audience with an amazing performance as she  prowled around the venue during a number of impromptu sashaying walkabouts involving the world’s longest microphone extension and some slightly bemused looking gig goers.

The Guardian recently described her music as ‘a delightful kind of bubblegoth’ and there is some truth in the “Siouxsie does electro pop “  comparisons but such  tags don’t really do the band justice and indeed may give the erroneous impression that Sarah’s music may be slightly contrived or throw away when the reality is, nothing could be further from the truth.  She can certainly write huge pop monsters with more hooks than New Order’s bassist at a pirate themed family reunion, as the lead track from her latest EP, the sexually provocative ‘Skeleton’ aptly demonstrates. But there is much, much more to her song-writing which is passionate, emotive, deep, poetic, haunting and often touching.  On this showing she’ll be huge and it was a privilege to see her in such a small venue. One suspects in a year or so she’ll be playing to much larger audiences, in fact if she isn’t we’ll be asking questions in the Houses Of Parliament and DEMANDING answers.  The only downside was after the set finished,  a stage to floor-spatial- misjudgment left poor Sarah  with a broken foot, but she still managed to limp over and have a chat prior to her trip to A&E, showing that even when in pain she  still lives up to her band’s name.   And in truth on tonight’s showing it was actually the audience who fell for her, a genuinely fabulous performance. Lets hope she gets well soon. (Interviews here, here oh and here )

Here’s an exclusive stream from the new ‘Skeleton’ EP released 20th June 2010 called ‘The Hourglass’ which we think demonstrates all the qualities that make the Good Natured such a special band.

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Pete And The Pirates @ The Mojo.

Pete And The Pirates Live @ Liverpool Sound City

We been following Pete and his Pirates (well two Petes actually and just to confuse you the lead singer is called Tom) since their debut album Little Death in 2008 but this was our first chance to catch them live. The band played an energetic set of quality indie pop that is anything but generic lad rock.  There is a real emotional heart at the centre of their latest  album ‘One Thousand Pictures’  which demonstrates  a new depth and maturity in terms of song writing and sound.  Lead singer Tom Sanders is as  engaging a front man as your likely to find and it wasn’t long  before his infectious energy rubbed off on the crowd, as spontaneous outbreaks of  random dancing spread around the venue .  A great set from a wonderful, quintessentially English band whoose lyrically astute and occasionally quirky music never fails to entertain. ( Interviews here  and most recent here)

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 Let’s Buy Happiness @ The Mojo.

Let's Buy Happiness - Live @ Liverpool Sound City 2011

Yet another band we have been huge fans of  but not managed to catch live until now.  Let’s Buy Happiness produced a sparkling, magical performance at the Mojo and the glacial, pristine quality of Sarah Hall’s voice, recalling Elizabeth Fraser and Harriet Wheeler coupled with the tightness of the rest of the band’s playing made this a memorable gig.   Sounding like the perfect 4AD band they rattled through a hugely impressive eight song set including a number of new tracks we’d  not heard before as well as old favourites such as ‘Six Wolves’ and  ‘Fast Fast’. On this evidence the debut album will be an absolute corker.  (Interview here .)

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Part 2 HERE featuring Kurt Vile, Emmy The Great and The Jezabels.