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. 

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Interview: Liar Liar

Liar Liar are a band from Morecambe made up from four members; David Murdoch (vocals/guitar), Charlie Kondras (lead guitar/vocals), Charlotte Bell (bass) and Liam Maxwell (drums). During their time together they have supported bands such as The Vaccines, Brother, The Heartbreaks and Orphan Boy, and in 2009 they played at Underage Festival after being selected out of 1,500 entrants to play there. I spoke to singer David who told me what the band are all about....

You're all from Morecambe; would you say that coming from a seaside town inspires your songs in any way?
Yes, they do. Our debut single "Seaside Girl" was, for obvious reasons, inspired by living in a seaside town. I believe that it does influence our songs, I much prefer living in a seaside town than a city. I believe there is just more substance and character to it.

Are there any plans to bring out a single anytime soon?
Yes, in September. Seaside Girl.

Do you have a specific writing process as a band?
I usually have an idea and take it to Charlie. We then work it out, show our drummer Liam and learn it at practice.

Who would you say are your main influences as a band, musically and lyrically?
Blondie, Jesus And Mary Chain, Echo And The Bunnymen and Pulp.

What should someone new to your music expect at one of your gigs?
A very energetic show, filled with catchy pop songs that leave you wanting more.

Where is your favourite venue to play and why?
Well, out of town I would say Manchester Roadhouse; the sound in there is fantastic. I would say also the Yorkshire House in Lancaster as well, we are having our single launch there on the 17th September.

Where do you hope to see the band in three years time?
We hope to have a larger fanbase, most probably working on a second album.

Do you have any new bands around at the moment that you can recommend?
I love a band called The Crookes and a band from Lancaster called Bleach.



Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Interview: Your Other Lover

Your Other Lover are a four-piece from London whose sound has been described as "doomy, 80's Matchbox sounding aggro pop". I interviewed their guitarist, Ben, and talked about their new single, their influences and 'wardrobe surfing'...

Your music has a very typically "80's goth" vibe, would you say you're influenced mainly by bands from this era or are there many bands from the present day which you could name as an influence?

The Jesus and Mary Chain, Joy Division and The Cure are big influences in they way we sound that are from the 80's but there are definitely influences from modern day bands. Crocodiles are a band we love that we came across last year, they are so cool to watch live as are Warpaint with there hypnotic sounds, A Place to Bury Strangers too, amazing noise pop...there 'Death By Audio' effects pedals are worth checking out to create that huge raw sound.

You're recording a new AA side single, can you give us any information about that?
We're are going up to Newcastle for four days to do two tracks, 'Walking with The Wolves' and our newest song 'Stare at the Sun'. Once it's all mixed and mastered we'll be hosting our own launch party with some good friends of ours in July. We'll hopefully be able to put this out on vinyl as well as download. We literally can't wait to get this done. Planning on shooting a video for one of the tracks too...

Your single is being produced by Detroit Social Club's Dave Burn - how has it been working with him? 
Dave is a friend of ours from back home in Newcastle so we're looking forward to getting in the studio with him. We haven't seen him in a while with us living in London so will be good to catch up. We've been speaking on email and things are getting exciting, he's just ordered a killer mic for Dans vocal which was mega bucks. We're not even in the studio yet and Dave is so enthusiastic and encouraging which obviously makes us feel great, we're counting the days!

What's the best gig you've played so far?
Well we've only played eight shows so far but I think everyone would agree that headlining upstairs at The Garage was pretty special. Every show has made us more confident and we have got some really cool shows coming up at The Bullet Bar and Queen of Hoxton this month and our show at 93 Feet East in June will be great, cant wait for that one.

What is the best story of rock and roll excess you're allowed to tell us?
After one show we thought it would be a good idea to buy a crate and carry on our party back at the bass player Si's house. We invented a weird game we called 'wardrobe surfing' and it was painful, very painful...there was blood. We played our first ever acoustic performance which was filmed for Sounds of the Camper van at the Camden Crawl...we stayed out a little too late the night before and being cooped up in a van when it's 20 degrees outside wearing leather jackets and boots kind of ruined's was great fun though and a good way to sweat out the hangover.

What's your opinion on the current alternative music scene? Are there any bands which really stand out to you at the moment?
At the moment we tend to favour American bands like Crocodiles, Warpaint and Dum Dum Girls that are alternative. I quite like Veronica Falls who play in London quite a bit and The History of Apple Pie are cool. There are so many bands around there is always something great going on in London for unsigned bands which is really exciting. We've met some really cool bands since playing, Severin make great electro noise and Hold Kiss Kill play cool early 90s sounding indie that excites the hell out of us, we're playing a show with the at The Wheelbarrow in June...we may introduce them to wardrobe surfing afterwards.

Your Other Lover on: