Thursday, 16 June 2011


Hooting And Howling is now moving to a nicer website which can be found here. This is so that we can update more easily, with more writers and more articles. Despite this, I will still be updating this blog with my articles as and when they are written, but in order to get the most out of Hooting And Howling please visit our main website at the link above.


Thursday, 2 June 2011

Interview: IS TROPICAL

IS TROPICAL are a trio from London who have been cited as one of the bands to look out for in 2011. After having toured successfully with bands such as Mystery Jets, The Big Pink and Klaxons, they were one of the many highlights of the Dot To Dot 2011 line-up. Hooting And Howling met with the band on the windy Monday evening of Dot To Dot Manchester and talked about their new single, their upcoming album and their time over the weekend...

How has your Dot To Dot experience been so far in Bristol and Nottingham?

Gary: It's been wicked. We haven't played yet today but yesterday at Nottingham was a really good show. The day before in Bristol as well, lots of people came to see us; it wasn't the greatest show but a lot of people seemed to like it.

Your new single 'The Greeks' is out today (30th May), can you tell us a bit about it?

Simon: The song's had a music video done by a collective from France called Megaforce; it's really good, they've made an amazing video and it's doing really well - it's got half a million views on YouTube at the moment which is a bit crazy. The song is about a younger brother trying to act like his older brother but he kind of gets it wrong.

The video for 'The Greeks' has been described as "funny and outrageous"; is this what you aimed for? Is there a story behind the video?

Dom: There's no story particularly, it's just an idea that we came up with and developed that we thought was going to be really good and we put it up on Thursday. I wouldn't say that we tried to be funny or outrageous or anything; it's not political. There are things in there that you could construe as political but they were only little kids so I don't think they knew what they were doing. It's just harmless fun.

Your album is coming out on 13th June, can you give us any hints about what to expect from it?

Gary: I'd say, primarily, it's kind of like a pop album - it's got quite standard, feelgood songs...
(At this point there was a lot of disagreement between the band as to whether it was a pop album or not)
No, okay, scrap is good and we're really proud of it and we spent a lot of time making sure it came across how we wanted it to come across and all the songs sound how we pictured in our heads. Again, we're not trying to make a statement and we're not trying to change the world or anything, it's about just making straight-up, good songs that people can appreciate.

How was the writing and recording process for the album? Was there any specific way you went about it?

Simon: Everything was written in different ways; one of us would come up with an idea or a riff or a lyric or a melody and we take it to the band and all work on it, and when we take it to the studio, the guy that working with us ended up producing it with us and they added some really good ideas to it. It's all kind of natural.

For anyone who hasn't seen you live before, can you tell us what to expect from one of your live shows?

Dom: Hoey's really good at strobe lights, we love strobe lights. We don't really like it when people can see us or when we can see each other because we see too much of each other, so we try and make it really dark and atmospheric...and loud. We like playing late at night because I think the songs come across differently live  - we get a little bit more into it and it gets a bit heavier so I think if someone has only heard the records then they should watch us live. 

Have you seen any exciting bands on the bill this weekend?

Gary: We've been hanging out with DOM. They're from Massachusetts and they're supercool guys, their songs are wicked as well. Cults, as well; we've played a few shows with those guys.
Dom: They're not disappointed that we don't make good music or that we're not good at our instruments - they don't mind because they're not those kind of people...
Gary: Get People, obviously, they're a great band, shame we're clashing with them tonight though. We met them from partying and realised that they made music as well.

Can you name any of your favourite new bands that are around at the moment?

Dom: It's hard to know what bands are new, but Teeth are relatively new...our second tour was with them. They make really abrasive dance punk sort of music. 

Gary: Publicly, Crystal Fighters could be considered quite new...

Dom: Yeah, their album has come out which is one of the ones we've had on rotation in the tour van...we really like Seams as well, and Beach Fossils. They've only had one album out but they're really cool.
Gary: We like a lot of American sounds, you'll figure it out.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Interview: The Elizabeths

The Elizabeths are four boys from Lancaster; the latest of many bands appearing on the vibrant music scene from this area. Hooting And Howling spoke to Will who told us all about the band and what they're up to...

Who are The Elizabeths and what do they do?

We're a young Lancaster band, who like so many met at school. We play Indie/Punk style songs which tend to float from one to the other and we try and put on a good gig...that's all we do really. However, our bass player and drummer both have asthma so we try not to have TOO good a time.

Your music is reminiscent of a number of 60's garage rock bands as well and also channels the 70's punk sound, would you say that you are mostly influenced by bands from this time? Could you name any bands as specific influences?

That whole era definitely has an impact on us. I think alot of the time our lo-fi sound indicates that, that kind of music is where we come from. But just as much as The Ramones have influenced me so have The Vaccines. Then as much as guitar bands like that have had an influence i'm also really into some more pop style bands from the sixties like The Zombies. Also, it's difficult to be 18 and in a band and not be influenced to some extent by Arctic Monkeys and then lyrically Pulp have an influence on me - I think it's good to try and catch something about England in a song.

'Lifeboat' is your newest song which you released earlier this week, can you tell us a bit about it?

Lifeboat is probably the most structured song we've done so far and probably the most melodic. I like how it sits next to 'Back Into The Club' and it will probably be a set closer this summer. It's just about having a mate, or whatever, that you know has as bad luck as you do. I was trying to get a lot of very English references into the song because I like that in a song things like "Seaside rock" and "brown bag of sweets" things that our very specific to our time and culture. I also really like the title - the Richard Ayoade film 'Submarine' gave me the idea for it, but i'm not sure why. I think I just liked 'Lifeboat' as a title.

You're doing a BBC Introducing Live Session in June, how did that come about? Can you give us any hints to what it will include?

We're quite excited about that. Alot of brilliant bands have done it before us; The Heartbreaks, Joy Formidable, Liar Liar etc. It came about through the Uploader which is a brilliant tool for bands. It was 'Turn Around Touch The Ground' that got their attention i think. I put it up online one week and then next week it was played on the BBC Introducing Show on a Thursday - which is great. I think it's three songs we'll be playing so it will probably a good chance to air Lifeboat for the first time and a cleaner version of Back Into The would be a shame to miss out set favourite Pack It Up as well but we will have to see.
Do you have any gigs or festivals planned for the summer season?

We have gigs up until September which is great. We've got things lined up in Manchester at a student bar called 'The Royal Oak' and The Big Top in Catterick. Locally we have a festival at Williamson's Park on the 5th June and we'll be playing on the mainstage and i'm sure there's some other great bands on the bill and I think a festival like that is a really good thing for Lancaster and it's free, which is even better. It would be nice if we got some more local gigs as well actually although we have gigs in Kendal over the next couple of weeks it would be great to have a few more Lancaster shows - there's some great bands we'd like to support.

Finally, are there any new bands around at the moment that you particularly like?

I'd rather talk about local bands I like as we're not really in a position to call anyone else new, not being veterans ourselves. Locally, Lancaster has a great scene. Bands I particularly like are The Charm, Liar Liar are brilliant, The Heartbreaks are stunning and that's been shown by the fact they have a support slot with Morrissey, Hexed Hands are a good band and finally I really like the band Bleach who have a really great pop sound. I think Lancaster has alot to be proud of at the moment - this is exactly why we want to get more gigs in the area.

Pack It Up by The Elizabeths

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


Dot To Dot Festival takes place consecutively over three days in three cities: 
Bristol - Saturday 28th May
Nottingham - Sunday 29th May
Manchester - Monday 30th May 
As well as hosting some of the biggest bands to cause a stir over the past year, it showcases some of the newest and best upcoming bands from all over. The amazing full line-up is available to see here, and with Hurts headlining the bank holiday weekend festival -as well as the brilliant We Are Scientists - it is bound to be a highlight of this year's festival calendar. Hooting And Howling will be attending the Manchester leg of the festival, so here's a rundown of the top 10 bands and artists to see on the day...

10. Ed Sheeran

Thanks to the power of social networking, solo artist Ed Sheeran has already developed an underground fanbase and is sure to make his big break when his debut album is released in August. The 20-year old's acoustic material is comparative to that of James Morrison or Jack Johnson's, and the narrative lyrics give his music a poetic twist and his live shows are known for selling out and filling to the brim. This Suffolk lad is on his way to mainstream success, so catch him here at Dot To Dot before you lose your chance.

9. Hot Horizons

Fans of Bombay Bicycle Club would be advised to check out Leicester brothers Hot Horizons. Their EP "All Of This", filled with tracks oozing with hazy, summery brilliance was released on the 9th May and holds comparisons to Wild Beasts and Grizzly Bear. Their beautifully written lyrics and woozy melodies are not to be missed.

8. The Naked And Famous

Electro-rockers The Naked And Famous are over from New Zealand for Dot To Dot and have already done well for themselves over the past few months. Their debut album 'Passive Me, Aggressive You' got to the Number 1 spot in their home country and turned the heads of a great many over here with their rattling guitars combined with exciting electronic sounds and melancholy vocals. See them if you like anthemic pop-rock tunes.

7. Foreign Office

London's Foreign Office will certainly be a foursome to catch at Dot To Dot as after supporting Carl Barat on his recent tour they received rave reviews for their catchy indie pop. Songs such as 'Leaving The House' and 'Stuck On Repeat' will make you want to dance around and sing along to the paranoid lyrics mixed with electro influenced tunes. Leaving you wanting more, these boys are surely ones to watch out for over the next year.

6. Wolf Gang

Max McElligott aka Wolf Gang has been receiving quite a lot of hype recently, and quite right too. He returns to Dot To Dot after successfully playing last year, delivering exciting Bowie-crossed-with-Scissor-Sisters inspired ballads, and with his debut album released on 27th June, check out Wolf Gang as he will certainly put a smile on your face.

5. Dom

If you're looking for a new surf-pop synth band to love, then that is what you will get if you see Dom at this year's Dot To Dot Festival. The five-piece from Massachusetts are ready to bring their infectious lo-fi punk back to England, showcasing tracks from their incredible EP 'Sun Bronzed Greek Gods' which was released last year. If you like Wavves and Surfer Blood then you will love Dom, and watch as they become the soundtrack to your summer.

4. R O M A N C E

A four piece band from London which formed in 2008, R O M A N C E are the band that Hooting and Howling see as the most exciting live band on the line up this year. Singer Jamie Lovatt is renowned for turning their live shows into energetic, crazy parties and with their unique image they are certainly one of the bands which stand out the most. For fans of big post punk anthems, but just make sure you've got your dancing shoes on first.

3. The Joy Formidable

After recent success headlining the Emerge NME Radar Tour last year, this is the second year that Dot To Dot Festival has welcomed the Welsh threesome. Their debut album 'The Big Roar' released in January brought swirling, heavy guitar riffs and silvery, emotional vocals back to a world filled with overproduced teen popstars and are bound to draw a hell of a crowd at this year's Dot To Dot.

2. Cults

Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin make up Cults, a two piece from New York who channel C86 sounds along with 60's girl group vocals. Their twee melodies will leave you elated as they offer tracks from their new album, such as 'Go Outside' - their three and a half minute stand-out track which will get you swaying. Highly hyped all over the internet, Cults are sure to cause more than a buzz this year, so make sure you go out of your way to see them.

1. Is Tropical

You may think Is Tropical are "just another internet buzzband following in the footsteps of Egyptian Hip Hop and Wavves", but the London trio have appeared as one of the most exciting bands around at the moment. Swirling synths and echoing distortion as well as Klaxons-esque vocals are what you would find during a typical Is Tropical set, and with a new single 'The Greeks' out on 30th May, don't miss a band sure to cause a storm when their debut album is released in June.

Friday, 13 May 2011

live review: Liar Liar, Club Smith, City Reign, Secret Pilot, Grounds @ Manchester Roadhouse, 7th May 2011

The Roadhouse is a tiny basement venue in Manchester which has previously hosted such legends as Muse, Coldplay and Blink 182 onto their stage. Tonight the venue welcomes five bands; Grounds, Secret Pilot, City Reign, Club Smith and headliners Liar Liar.

First to take to the stage tonight were Grounds, a four piece band from Manchester, delivering an amalgamation of a 90's grunge-crossed-with-Britpop inspired music. Showing a clear influence from bands such as Oasis and James, they went down well with the crowd who seemed altogether impressed with their sound.

Another Manchester band called Secret Pilot were on next. A set full of infectious guitars and strong vocals from frontman Ali Harrison, they played songs from their EP 'Punching Underwater', beginning with 'The Tide' - a song which holds sounds incredibly similar to early Kings Of Leon. They continued with 'Fight For Me' and followed this with stand-out track 'The Institute'. They then finished their set by asking the crowd to take part in the filming of their new video for the song 'Punching Underwater'; a three-minute anthem brimming with striking lyrics as well as a livelier sound. After they thanked the audience for helping with their video, they left the stage leaving everybody wanting more.

The third out of five bands to play tonight were City Reign, a foursome based in Manchester. Opening the set with 'See What It's Worth' they then followed this 'Out In The Cold'; their second single which was released in January. Vocally they could be compared to Idlewild or Oasis which really showed as they played 'Making Plans', and throughout their set it was obvious as to why Steve Lamacq named them as one of his favourite new bands as part of In The City festival 2010. They closed the set with their third single 'Daybreak' - a four minute song filled with emotional vocals and memorable lyrics - and and finally a heartfelt rendition of 'The Line'. Tonight City Reign have made it clear that everybody should keep an eye on them as they are surely set to do well.

Club Smith have only recently returned from a tour alongside The Pigeon Detectives and tonight they show the reasons behind the hype they have received over the past few months. The electro-indie four piece opened with 'Institution' and then played 'Young Defeatists'; one half of their double A-side single set to be released on the 6th June. There seemed to be more energy during Club Smith's set compared to previous bands and this was clear as they played various tracks from EP's - 'The Loss' and 'The Process' - such as 'Connected' and the energetic 'Lament'. The Yorkshire boys finished their set with the other half of their debut single,  the stand out 'No Friend Of Mine'; a perfect pop song which is most definitely to be huge after its release.

Finally the headliners, Morecambe based Liar Liar took to the stage. As the lights went out and the only thing to illuminate the stage was a set of fairy lights draped onto singer David Murdoch's microphone stand, the band went straight into 'It's Only Love' and continued with 'Unwanted'. After highlight song 'A Little Romance' they played a new track, which involved guitarist Charlie Kondras playing keyboard for what he said was "the second time I've ever done that". 'Sorry' was filled with impassioned vocals and 'Why Don't You Love Me Anymore?' confirmed that they have the potential to become one of the next big bands around at the moment. Their set ended with 'Seaside Girl' - their next single set to be released in September - a song with a memorable drum beat provided by Liam Maxwell and a dancey bassline from Charlotte Bell. Watch out for Liar Liar - they are sure to find all kinds of success in the future.