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Single Review: Deap Vally – Gonna Make My Own Money

 
By on Friday, 10th August 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

If you’re a band that uses the Big Muff pedal, unfortunately you’re going to see two words crop up in most of your comparisons. White Stripes. It’s unfortunate, but by no means degradation on your music. This comparison is in no small part due to the diversity of the fallen duo’s backcatalogue. They travelled around the rough sides of rock, even went a bit polished and virtually took their scissor edge guitar riffs and thumping drums to every corner of blues rock’n’roll they could. In light of this, here’s the debut single from Los Angeles duo Deap Vally.

The similarities between the ‘Get Behind Me Satan’ days of the Whites’ are there on a plate. ‘Gonna Make My Own Money’ is heavy on the riff and minimal in lyrics with plenty of repetitive structure. Credit to Deap Vally, the Californian duo have managed to nail the 2006 Alternative Album Grammy to their wall in raucous style, but its in the difference that they do so well. Whilst The Stripes are guilty of the occasional nonsensical lyrics, ‘Gonna Make My Own Money’ is rooted in deep-south melody but shines in its feminist call to arms whilst b-side ‘Ain’t Fair’ channels a more bluesy side of the act with a hearty dollop of slow grunge in a way that manages to also be lyrically heavy in relevant 21st century struggle lyrics. Now we’re talking.

It’s not going to set the airwaves or charts alive, nor is it going to win many over on the first play, but a bit of continued resilience from the girl-duo and they may just end up with one of those Grammy nominations themselves. Whilst musically it’s hardly ground breaking, what’s underneath has bags of potential.

7.5/10

‘Gonna Make My Own Money’, the current single from Deap Vally, is available now from Rough Trade.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWXsTaBoD7A[/youtube]

 

Album Review: Kyla La Grange – Ashes

 
By on Thursday, 9th August 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

Artists that tread the line between pop and the underground these days do so with certain levels of danger involved. The choice for the artist seems to be whether to aim for the chart sitters or push for the more honest sound that comes from not being Katy Perry.  Coming out of the more folk side of the pop spectrum in the last few years has been the likes of Laura Marling and emerging talent Lucy Rose but one that’s not been mentioned whilst quietly climbing up the venue sizes in the last few months has been Kyla La Grange.

The release of her debut album ‘Ashes’ last week sees La Grange finally show her hand and signals the directions she’s going to be pressing to in the next few months. Opening with single ‘Walk Through Walls’ signals to the very top as its pop chorus and build into one of the most promising opening tracks of the last year. This is then quickly pushed aside by the steady progression into darkness, leading the listener further into the web of La Grange’s emotions. In parts, she’s laid bare as her remarkable voice echoes through you: take ‘To Be Torn’ for example, which is an atmospheric backing track to an almost piercing vocal line. Her voice won’t be for everyone, but to those who will listen its something that toys with eeriness and beauty in equal measure.

After this comes the centre points of ‘Vampire Smile’ and ‘Been Better’. They’re the highlights of an album that starts to sound quite same-y after this. La Grange employs a variety of interesting lyrical and audible styles from the lyrics through to her wails and loops but they don’t quite add up to hugely entertaining music. From start to finish there’s something that keeps you listening though. Its catchy without having many hooks, its listenable in most situations regardless of mood set, and pending your mood you’ll notice something different about its layering. There’s something very enticing about this record but in equal measure, you could play any one track on shuffle and move on with your life. By almost all of her points of merit, La Grange lacks in the killer finish, and that’s why this record feels disappointing without ever being genuinely weak. From a first record, you expect more than that. We all do.

6/10

Kyla La Grange’s debut album ‘Ashes’ is out now on Sony Music.

 

(2000 Trees Festival 2012 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #252: Tall Ships

 
By on Tuesday, 7th August 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

Creeping onto the radars of the underground two EPs ago and raring to break onto the big stage at the end of this year are math-rock group Tall Ships. If you’re a regular at the Old Blue Last’s Pink Mist nights or a Brightonian, you’ll almost certainly be aware of the kind of noises this Falmouth band are capable of making.

With their debut album finally being released on the 8th of October, the band are relentlessly touring and no doubt hitting any festival you are towards the end of the summer; from Hartlepool to Portsmouth, they’re definitely worth half an hour’s worth of your weekend’s attention. Having come through the same touring veins as the likes of 65daysofstatic, the post-rock elements of the band is apparent on tracks such as ‘T=0’, while the lyrical side of the band, which can be rather minimal at points, is equally as interesting. ‘Chemistry’, possibly their most famous track, boasts both simplicity and poignance in its lyrics: “there is nothing but chemistry here and with that in mind we have nothing to fear/ This applies to all I hold dear and with that in mind all is beautifully clear.”

With more firepower than a Team GB cycling team and the aggression/finesse blend of the equestrian team (yes, I’ve been watching a bit of the Olympics), Tall Ships have the potential within the sampler (below) and their forthcoming record to really challenge opinions about whether their style of music can push for the big time. Climbing your festival rosters soon.

 

(2000 Trees Festival 2012 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #250: Maybeshewill

 
By on Friday, 27th July 2012 at 1:00 pm
 

Having stormed two stages at the Cheltenham festival the other week, once on the main stage and once on the second stage, The Cave, Maybeshewill are most certainly a band on the forefront of music’s attention. Whilst the UK post-rock scene is arguably led by the very band that headlined, 65DaysOfStatic’s more electronic influence may leave a gap in between And So I Watch You From Afar and Mogwai for the Leicester group.

They’re hardly a new act, with their third record ‘I Was Here For a Moment, Then I Was Gone’ released mid-way through 2011 possibly being their most definitive record to date. But to many ears, even at a festival like 2000 Trees which models itself on independent new music, Maybeshewill are still a relatively fresh band.  This lack of public knowledge about them, however, shouldn’t lessen your opinion as most of their aesthetic is DIY through their own company Robot Needs Home. If you need more convincing, check out the reviews from their most recent album. They speak for themselves.

Having toured relatively relentlessly for the last year, the band are due to set out on one last UK tour in October before vanishing under the UK radar for a while so be sure to catch them there. We’ll tell you about the dates when they become available. Until then, enjoy ‘Red Paper Lanterns’ below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjhZBGIAb9o[/youtube]

 

In the Post #93: The xx reveal new track ‘Angels’ from forthcoming sophomore album ‘Coexist’

 
By on Thursday, 19th July 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

I’ll admit it. When the xx first broke onto the scene, released their album and even when they got that coveted Mercury seal of approval; I simply didn’t get it. It wasn’t the kind of post-rock that builds up to something epic. It didn’t have a Sigur Ros style of beauty nor did it seem to have the subtlety and beat of Apparat.. In many ways, I still feel that way.

What has changed in my mind to make me suddenly this year pick up the album once more and enjoy it? Possibly that it’s not being forced down my throat by every poster and poser in the trendier parts of the country. Possibly its that Jamie XX’s work in its own merit has made me less reluctant to enjoy the music he creates within an act. Maybe it’s that my ability to enjoy the mellower end of life-soundtrack music has deepened. Whatever it is, I added the record to my iPod just a few months ago; now, I’m ready to fondly rekindle the brief affection I’ve felt for them with new music, but do they deserve or warrant such affection?

Of course we’re meant to forget that at their trio of “secret” London shows they premiered a good half of a new record because the music that was played there is all over YouTube re simply the best effort at a live recording that fans could manage. (Here are recordings of ‘Friction’ and ‘Closer Than This’.) What we do have to take on however is that in less than 2 days, the xx have managed to amass over 600,000 views on the new track ‘Angels’.

The sound hasn’t changed a huge amount. If anything, the instrumentation is even more sparse and the vocals are more the key. It still goes basically nowhere, but as far as dedication to the very specific xx sound they’ve created, it’s bound to be a happy welcome home for such a melancholy track. “And leaving without them / being as in love with you as I am,” sings Romy Madley-Croft. It’s kind of beautiful, but it was always going to be. Surprise me soon please, dear xx, or I might just get bored again.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nW5AF0m9Zw[/youtube]

If you pre-order the new album ‘Coexist’ from the xx, you get an instant free download of this track ‘Angels’.

 

Album Review: Lianne La Havas – Is Your Love Big Enough?

 
By on Thursday, 12th July 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

So you’ve seen that Jools Holland performance right? You know, the one in which Lianne La Havas, a relatively unknown singer/songwriter held her own in fine fashion in the same hour as Bon Iver and metal-masters Mastodon, attracting her around 500,000 views on those two songs alone (‘Age’ below, and ‘No Room for Doubt’ here) and igniting a bright path that’s led her through a brilliant EP and to playing Alexandra Palace with Bombay Bicycle Club? Well she’s gotten round to finishing her debut record. So is it just a flash in the one girl and a guitar pan or can we believe the moderate hype that’s been building around the most infectious smile in music?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYDhQdzo4Io[/youtube]

From the ‘Lost & Found’ EP, the first three tracks ‘No Room for Doubt’ (below), ‘Age’ and the title track have made it through. They’re bona fide pop with underground appeal. Radio1 and Radio2 hits that you’d be equally as happy hearing on Amazing Radio, come heatwave (looking at you, America) or flash floods (hello, England). None of them are the best on this record, but they fit in nicely.

From the off, there’s something that’s a bit different about La Havas. ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’ opens with backing vocoders and computorised sounds that slowly blends to her one, lovely voice. “Well I know why I lost control of my heart and soul”, she begins. You beckon she tells more. Then it’s the title track (video at the end of this post), ‘Lost & Found’, and ‘Au Cinema’. They glow with pure sunshine and are catchy enough to have the likes of Latitude’s World Stage smiling with open arms all summer long.

Not only is the pop sheen spectacular, it’s the slow tracks that really draw the listener in. Its all very well being able to write radio friendly 3 minute 21 second types, but without the depth of slow tracks such as ‘Gone’, it means little. Yes, even here she challenges, especially with the line “the last time I checked, we had it all”. It’s probably not a nod to Adele, but it’s probably better crafted than most of the chart-busting ’19’.

Like with all debut records, there are flaws. There’s tracks clearly not destined for anything further than 2012. ‘Elusive’, ‘Everything Everything’ and the plain weird ‘Tease Me’ just bore as your attention fades to wondering why Willy Mason’s verse exists, or what happened to the quality brilliance of the first seven tracks. Still, there’s beauty to be found here and it’s the kind that doesn’t look like its going to go away for a while.

7.5/10

Lianna La Havas’ debut album ‘Is Your Love Big Enough?’ is out now on Warner Brothers.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcXl6CDqpvY[/youtube]

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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