Thursday, 31 March 2011

The Chapman Family/O. Children, The Ruby Lounge, 15th March 2011

Tonight's gig was opened by The Tunics, a band from Croydon who seemed to leave a good impression on the crowd tonight by showcasing a selection of anthemic indie tunes that had the rhythmic guitar of a typical Arcade Fire song, Bluetones-esque vocals and the memorable lyrics that would be expected from a band who lists The Libertines as one of their main influences. Although they refer to being described as "the most forgettable band ever", this is clearly not the case tonight as they exit the stage after receiving a great amount of cheers and applause.

As it was a co-headline tour, O. Children were on next, with Tobias towering over the rest of the band, with the microphone drawn up to it's fullest height, as they started with a full-of-energy rendition of 'Malo'. They then went straight into a new track - which oozed the typical O. Children sound - and went down extremely well with the crowd. 'Dead Disco Dancer', possibly their most well known song perked up the audience fully with it's memorable riff and catchy lyrics and following this was the dark yet emotive sounds of 'Heels' which slowed down the mood of the audience, who were quickly electrified again as Tobi and co. burst into 'Radio Waves' - the highlight song of their set. Their relatively short set ended with 'Ruins', as the band showed enormous gratitude to the crowd before leaving.

The Chapman Family headlined tonight, and with a different, heavier sound than O. Children, they opened with 'All That's Left To Break'. An unrelenting bassline and thrashing guitars are overlaid by Kingsley's passionate vocals that range from a doleful croon to a vicious roar as they race through their set. They played the majority of their album, 'Burn Your Town', and as the night drew to a close and the energy peaked, bassist Pop dived into the crowd during 'A Million Dollars', much to the bemusement of the crowd. Dripping with sweat, Kingsley screamed vocals, threw himself around the low-ceilinged stage and at one point thrust the microphone into his mouth as the set reached its climax, and as the final notes died away Pop acknowledged the crowd with arms outstretched before disappearing. After the chaos of the last 45 minutes the sudden silence seems slightly unnerving.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Two Wounded Birds interview

 Margate's Two Wounded Birds formed towards the end of 2008 and since then have released an EP entitled Keep Dreaming Baby which features . They will be releasing a new double A-side single, All We Wanna Do/Midnight Wave, on April 18th, which will be a follow-up to their EP, Keep Dreaming Baby. With a surf-pop sound complete with twangy guitars and lyrics tinged with melancholy, Two Wounded Birds have the potential to be the sound of everyone's summer 2011.

How did the band come together?
JThe band started just over a year ago over a love of old pop records from the 50's and 60's. We just found those old melodies so amazing and aspire to make records as good. 

What is the significance of the name Two Wounded Birds?
J: It's from the film True Romance. It's such an idyllic film, the characters, the story, a great romantic fantasy. I think it also sounds really classic. 

Your new single is out in April, is there any plans for an album anytime soon?
J: I've quite a big selection of songs built up now that there is plenty to choose from for an album. I don't really want to use the songs from the Holiday EP that we done, just because I like the fact it's a separate release with it's own songs. I might only use My Lonesome from that. I like how Best Coast done their record, stuck out loads of great singles, then the album was all brand new stuff. Would love to get the debut out by the end if summer hopefully. I'd also like to stick out another EP maybe at the festive end of the year. I don't like leaving ages between releases. I Like it when bands release a constant flow of music. 

What is the creative process of your music? Do you write together or seperately?
J: I do all the writing in the group, then I usually take it to the others with their parts and then rehearse it. Coming up with a new song idea is one of the best feelings I can have. 

You've had lots of attention in recent months, for instance you supported The Drums in November and played a BBC Radio session, does it feel there is a weight of responsibility to prove yourselves?

J: Not really, because we are all enjoying playing live and enjoying playing these songs. It's amazing that other people are into it as well as us. It sounds nice to us, and it makes us happy. Sometimes I sit and think about how quickly things have happened but I feel we all deserve it and i think if we started to worry about pressure and peoples expectations then it wouldn't be as pure and fun as it is.

The 60's West coast influence is obvious in your music, but what bands inspire you the most?
J: We love lots of stuff, I find the Doors a massive influence on us really, I love Jim's deep drawl, and the darkness of their songs, Rays organ playing is truly out of this world too. They just have great songs you can get lost in. We love lots of Rock N Roll too, like Elvis, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Cash, instrumental stuff like The Chantays, Doo Wop, Soul and Mowtown records also, I love Sam Cooke a lot at the moment. What a voice. I could go on forever. Oh and did I mention The Beach Boys? :)

What are your ambitions for the band over the next few years?
J: I just want to make some of the best albums of all time. People don't fall in love with bands enough anymore. We want to change that. 

I'm looking for a seaside town to visit in the summer, how can you big up Margate over, say, Whitstable or Herne Bay?

J: Well, We are here, so that's one reason why it's better than those other areas! Great beaches, great fish and chips and great ice cream. You should come! 

All We Wanna Do/Midnight Wave is out on April 18th

TWB on MySpace
TWB on Twitter 

TWB official

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Cat's Eyes, St Philip's Church, Salford, 14th March 2011

Not your traditional venue, St Philip's Church has been home to many gigs over the past few years, such as Chapel Club, Hurts and Florence & The Machine. With no support act and a room filled with people eager to see them play their first UK show, Badwan and Zeffira graced the stage accompanied by a backing band. Starting with the obvious choice of the song 'Cat's Eyes' and then going straight into a cover of Lucifer Sam by Pink Floyd, it was strange to see Faris on stage playing a guitar; although despite this he looked completely comfortable. Following this were Rachel's renditions of Not A Friend and Best Person I Know, her operatic voice echoing around the church walls and contrasting with Faris' snarling vocals during Sooner Or Later, Over You, and The Lull, tracks from their upcoming debut album. Playing only a short 45 minute set, and finishing with the surf-punk sounds of Sunshine Girls the band then left the stage, to reverential applause and an overly impressed audience. 

Cat's Eyes' self-titled debut album is out May 3rd on Cooperative Music USA/Downtown

Cat's Eyes official website

Thursday, 3 March 2011

The Heartbreaks interview

A once great seaside town, Morecambe is now faded, but it isn't hard to see where The Heartbreaks, 
consisting of Matthew (vocals, guitar), Deaks (bass), Ryan (lead guitar) and Joe (drums), get their inspiration for their music from. During a time of manufactured Disney popstars taking over, The Heartbreaks are coming through as a rapidly rising band, opposing with poetic lyrics and a sound that embraces so many traditional guitar based bands, but brings it up to date with a raw honesty arising from their decaying surrounding, living in "the coastal town that they forgot to close down". We meet at the statue of arguably the town's most famous son, Eric Morecambe.

Since forming in 2009 you've released two singles, when can we expect a third?

Matthew: Oh, soon, very soon. April, in fact.
Deaks: The 4th has been pencilled. It's called 'Jealous, Don't You Know' and it's a better, new version of an existing demo that's around at the moment. It's very good, we're very pleased with it.

You're recording your new album at the moment, how's that going?

M: We're trying to work in, you know, we're recording in different places and trying to find somewhere we're happy with. The b-side to the single is actually one of the tracks we did with Edwyn Collins, and we're really happy working with him. We have time scheduled in with him...
Joe: We're working with him tomorrow, in fact, so at the moment, as Matt said, we're very, very happy with that.

Do you have any idea when it's going to be released?

D: Either June, which might be a bit rushed...?
J: I doubt that.
D: That's something we've been told, but we think it's more likely September - probably early September.
J: But if it's not ready then, it's not going to get released any either way, we're not going to release anything that we're not really proud to put our names to, but yeah, I think September is pencilled.
D: And do we have any working titles?
J: We'll give you a world exclusive...we think we're gonna call it 'Funtimes' by The Heartbreaks. There's an arcade down there called Funtimes and it's a bit of a reaction to being labelled really dour, boring Northerners a lot, so maybe someone in London will get the joke, but I doubt it!

I've read that you're big Orange Juice fans, so what's it like working with Edwyn Collins on your new album?

J: A dream.
D: We keep having to pinch ourselves. [to Joe] Have you got that picture on your phone? Because of all of his guitars around, we found ourselves putting his guitars from the Rip It Up video on, and putting sunglasses on and pretending to be him.

What do you think appeals to people when they hear your music?

J: I think it's honesty, and I think it's, from what I've spoken about with other people, at this moment in time when pop music is quite detached and synthetic, we've got kind of a realness, and honesty is rife to our sound.
D: Our approach to creating music has been missing for quite a while, and I think that's what people are trying to connect with. I think, as well, because this is all that we do, we don't have jobs or anything, and we're not very good at anything else, apart from Matt's really good at Mr Whippy ice creams and stuff...

M: I actually won the best Under 21s pourer in the North West for it, if you can believe that.
D: I think because this is the only thing we do, we've created our own little world. If people like the music it teaches them to get involved in it. There's lots of references to places round here like I pointed out before, like The Kings is in one of our songs, so everyone's more than welcome to jump into our little world and come along with us.

What were you doing before you formed The Heartbreaks?

M: Joseph and I were ice cream men when we left school, for two years, and it seemed like a really good, novelty job for two days, but for two years it was enough.
Ryan: I was a roofer, and I made a few smoothies on the side.
D: I did nothing, plethora of nothing for a long time and I just floated from place to place, from job to job. It was rubbish.

What made you realise that this was what you want to do?

M: I think we all probably had a vague sense of knowing that we wanted to do something different and I think it was when the four of us got together that it was definite. When we're recording together it feels right. We're all in the same tree, all on the same wavelength and we're happiest when we're all together.
D: the tree.

What would you ultimately like to achieve as The Heartbreaks?

D: To be some people's favourite band in 20 years or something.
J: To really, sort of, connect with people, and I don't know, something like...longevity.
D: Not like hero worship or anything, just so people love the songs and it means something to them, and they know all the words and all the reference points and things, and if they're having a bad day, they can put our records on and it can make them feel that little bit better.

What was the worst and best gig you've played?

J: The worst gig was probably last week. Everything blew up!
M: To everyone who was at The Proud Galleries last week, we're sorry.
D: That was just a combination of a bad venue...there was a good audience, but we thought we'd sort of got past that 'teenage band' thing where there's like five bands playing, the sound checks are rushed and you're all getting rushed onto the stage. It just doesn't put you in a good frame of mind to play.

M: The best was probably the Scala with Carl Barat.
R: We played a really good set in Scotland the other day...
D: Yeah, it was just a tiny room with about 30 people or something, but they all came just to hear us play.
J: I still can't get my head round, even though there was only about 30 or 40 people there, it was the fact that they'd come to watch us from further afield. It was just a beautiful thing that there were people who'd bothered to travel from Inverness and wherever, to Glasgow, and it's not like we've been rammed down people's throats, or punched into anyone's ears on the radio or in the press.  I think it's really nice that people have discovered us and shown that level of dedication already, it's just really moving.
D: One of the best moments was when this lad from Nottingham, he came to Manchester to The Deaf Institute, and he'd made his own t-shirt with the Liar, My Dear cover on it, and it was like, 'are you serious? Why've you done that?' These are just songs that we'd written in my mum's kitchen and it's come to mean that much a lad from Mansfield that he'll drive however many miles just to see us.
J: It probably means that we should get our arses in gear and make some t-shirts!

Where's your favourite venue to play, and where would you like to play?

J: The Deaf Institute in Manchester, that's cool...
D: We're back there in April.
M: We used to do a lot of gigs in an Irish pub in Morecambe, called Ma Murphy's.
R: We love playing big venues when we get the chance, but my favourite gigs are in little bars, they're the best
J: I've always liked to play at the Apollo in Manchester, and Brixton Academy.
D: Shea Stadium!

Who are your favourite bands at the moment and who were your favourites to come out of 2010?

M: Do you say 'two thousand and ten' or 'twenty ten'?
D: Or either...Best Coast were one of my favourite to come out of 2010, and, I think it came out in 2009 but it was really late on, but The Raveonettes' last record was one of my favourite ones, 'In And Out Of Control".
M: I like Vivian Girls an awful lot.
J: We like a band called The Crookes; they're good pals of ours.
D: They're like a really nice, Southern home county version of us, but just that little bit less stupid.
R: Mabel Love.
J: They're supporting The Arctic Monkeys actually, at the Don Valley Stadium.
D: There's a band I really like as well, from London called Evans The Death. They're a bit like Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, but they're all about 16 or something, and they're incredible.
M: I love PJ Harvey's new song, 'The Words That Maketh Murder', it's just amazing, I can't stop listening to it.
D: Other than that, if it was released after 1984 we probably don't know it...

Where's the best place to get ice cream in Morecambe?

: Lewis' of Morecambe!
R: What's your favourite ice cream flavour?
J: I like Whippy's you know, Whippy's are my favourite kind of ice cream.
D: Pistachio is mine, that's incredible, but why's it green?! They just try and trick you into thinking it's mint.
M: It surprises when you eat a parsnip instead of a roast potato.
D: Or like when you eat a doesn't happen very often in Morecambe, but it happened once. I'd never eaten it before and my mind was blown.

The Heartbreaks on MySpace
The Heartbreaks on Twitter