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(SXSW 2012 flavoured!) Live Gig Video: Films of Colour play ‘Creature of Habit’ in a stranger’s living room for Knock and Rock

 
By on Tuesday, 27th March 2012 at 4:00 pm
 

You know we’ve got Bands in Transit and Black Cab Sessions in the UK? This looks to be the American version of those: Knock and Rock based in Los Angeles endeavours to foist acoustic, stripped down sessions of your favourite indie bands on unsuspecting American homeowners. Today’s band? Films of Colour, winners of our 10 for 2012 readers’ poll. They perform a really nice rendition of ‘Creature of Habit’ for some very accommodating Yanks. Watch the performance below. My review of their acoustic Second Play Stage at SXSW is here.

 

SXSW 2012: Day 2 – Burning Ear showcase at Firehouse Lounge and Second Play Stage at the Omni – 14th March 2012

 
By on Friday, 23rd March 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

A little-known fact for first-timers at SXSW: the bands you like are probably playing unofficial showcases and gigs at small, hole in the wall-type places. (This can be a real problem if you have an allergy to renting a car in an unfamiliar town and hate parallel parking, both of which apply to me.) It’s incredibly inefficient, but the only successful way I’ve found to discover these set times and locations is by paying attention to individual band’s Facebooks or Web sites that will say they’re playing this bar out of walking distance from downtown, a burger joint with shows for all ages or a hotel offering free booze, they’re showing up as someone’s special guest, etc. etc. etc.

Being in my position, I had the benefit (I think?) of being inundated by PR emails with lists of shows and more gig possibilities than could be imagined; from the mostly well organised lists, I spent hours before arriving in Austin coming up with alternate plan B and C lists that had cross-referenced the big book of official showcases (only listing nighttime showcases – not especially helpful) with the unofficial ones by day and night I knew of, just in case the shows I wanted to go to were rammed and I needed another place to go. I can say now with experience that you can plan all you want for your ideal day of acts but sometimes, you should just go with whatever feels right. Or is less of a walk. (Not kidding. After the second day I thought my feet might break off at my ankles and my back would break standing so much.)

What felt right to me for Wednesday afternoon was an unofficial showcase being put on by the Burning Ear blog at an unofficial showcase at Firehouse Lounge, a good-sized place that you might miss if you weren’t looking for its small marquee. I certainly did not expect the nice space there was when I entered. Unlike many of the showcases I attended, this one was not region-specific and had a nice mix of international bands. (Unfortunately, with a small place like this, there is no room for lighting rigs, so my photos didn’t turn out all that good.) Hooded Fang, a band whose humourous song ‘Clap’ is getting a lot of love on 6music, stood out to me as a band I should catch in a daytime showcase. Further examination of the line-up revealed hey, this is pretty damn good! Unfortunately, there was a bit of a scheduling conflict with another band I just had to see at a hotel – SXSW hosts what they called “Second Play Stages” where the bands perform stripped down sets in a hotel lounge – but I did manage to get in 4 bands before I had to leave.

Paula and Karol are an indie folk duo from Warsaw, Poland. Paula plays a baby accordion (seriously, it’s adorable and has hearts on it!) and Karol plays acoustic guitar, and both of them sing. They tour with mates on guitar and drums and have great harmonies. Sounds a bit like Slow Club, doesn’t it? Funnily enough, I saw them, their mates and associated people all lined up in the front row at Communion’s showcase at St. David’s Historic Sanctuary 2 nights later, which made me go all warm and fuzzy inside. What punters probably don’t realise is that for the bands, this is often their big chance to see some of their contemporaries and the fact that these nice folks from Eastern Europe were able to experience Ben Howard and Daughter was a pretty amazing example of cross-culturalism.

I thought Paula and Karol were great – truly great pop and I just goes to show that SXSW can be a good place for new band discovery. Listen to their album ‘Overshare’ in full below and if you like it, buy it! I liked them so much – listen to ‘Calling’ and you will fall in love like I did – so it was with much sadness that I missed their set as part of a Polish showcase the next morning…but I overslept. Stuff like that happens at SXSW. And you’ve just got to pick yourself up and move on to the next band. (They confirmed with me that they will be performing at the Great Escape, so you all going to Brighton in May have no excuse to miss this talented twosome.)

The next band up was Dublin’s Minutes. Regular TGTF readers will recall that Luke first came upon the scrappy Irish trio opening for Flogging Molly at London HMV Forum last year; Luke also reviewed their fab debut album on Model Citizen Records, ‘Marcata’ (review here). By this time, the number of people inside Firehouse Lounge had gone up from 6 to about 20, which I took as a good sign that punters had heard of these guys. Oh my god. Despite the shy accents at the start, boy, did the Irish bring it. Lead singer Mark Austin, as he shredded his guitar as hard as he could, was a force like no other. Yowza. At that very moment I thought, I need to give that Luke Morton a hug for finding these fellas; as you should know, TGTF is a family and a team and I rely on all my writers for their expertise on sniffing out the next big thing. So many bands to sift through, so little time.

There was enough room for me to lean comfortably on a railing early on in their set, and this turned out to be a dreadful mistake: basically, Austin used this railing as a “road” down the side of the club, nearly taking me out on the floor with his guitar in the process. But I didn’t mind, and neither did anyone else. The punters ate it up. As they’ve just been announced for Tennents’ Vital festival in Ireland in August alongside headliner Foo Fighters, you can just already see them rubbing elbows in an Irish meadow with Dave Grohl.

Pretty appropriate that in 27 C+ Austin, an Oxford band called Jonquil, named presumably after the lovely yellow flower, should play next in the early days of a Texan spring. After getting over the weirdness that their player looks like a blonde twin of another bass-playing mate of mine, I settled in to listen to what they had to offer. Alert, I’m about to be critical: I can’t get over Hugo Manuel’s voice. Maybe that’s the intention? The vibe is vaguely New Wave-y Aztec Camera, but with a trumpet. Huh? And the songs aren’t that memorable. Dunno, maybe because they came after two very strong acts, I was left disappointed.

After getting my free cupcake (yes, there is free food at SXSW, provided you know where to look and be…early), it was time for Hooded Fang. The phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” is such a cliché, but gosh, given the droll lyrical wit of ‘Clap’ (video below), I’ll be honest, I was surprised by the players. Their guitarist had been hanging out all afternoon, looking like a boffin that was nervously keeping to himself on a sofa in the back. I imagine they are one of those bands that works better in the context of a sweaty, packed out venue; while there were definitely more people in Firehouse by this time (I felt like I was knee deep in hipsters after getting unfriendly elbow jabs in my back), the energy level for the Toronto rockers just wasn’t there. I’m wondering if I’d have felt better and in the zone if Steve Lamacq was present.

So I decided to cut my losses and leave in the middle of their set for a change of scenery. Completely so. The Second Play stages are a collection of gigs that I believe are organized by SXSW themselves, and they’re a series of gigs that are all acoustic and take place in the lobbies of major hotels in downtown Austin. As my schedule had been filling up, I was getting quite concerned that I couldn’t crow bar a gig from 10 for 2012 poll winners London-based band Films of Colour, until I happily came upon the Second Play schedule. Aha! Omni at 6 PM? I can squeeze that in! I snuck in through the back, slightly out of breath from running up a hill (spare me the Kate Bush jokes, please) to the Omni, where a helpful bellhop pointed me in the right direction.

What an unusual place for a rock show. Granted, it was an acoustic set, but still, where else are you sat down for a gig and a waitress comes over to ask nicely if you want something to drink or eat? To be fair, how often are you sat down for a gig anyhow? So I relaxed in my comfy chair and watch Films of Colour spout off beautiful renditions of their new single ‘Running’ (acoustic video here), their cover of David Bowie’s ‘Slow Burn’, and gorgeous newer song ‘Creature of Habit’. I would also like to point out at this juncture that Films of Colour is the second band we’ve tipped (that I’m aware of anyway) whose music has landed as incidental score on Made in Chelsea (the other being I Dream in Colour). So if you’re out there reading this, fine folk of E4, I must say, you have very good taste…

But in the words of Karen Carpenter, “we’ve only just begun”. Wednesday was about to go into full swing.

 

(SXSW 2012 flavoured!) Live Gig Video: Films of Colour play an acoustic, snowy version of ‘Running’

 
By on Wednesday, 14th March 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

TGTF 10 for 2012 winners Films of Colour will be releasing their fourth single, ‘Running’, on the 16th of April. It will be backed by ‘Creature of Habit’. To go along with this single news, the band have released the video below, featuring an acoustic version of ‘Running’ played on a snowy plain.

If all goes to plan, I will be catching the band at the Second Play Stage SXSW performance at the Omni Hotel tonight at 6 PM Central time. If you’re in Austin, get yourself down there. They will also be playing at Easy Tiger’s BMI Showcase on Thursday at 8:30 PM.

Read our 10 for 2012 interview with Films of Colour here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwuZLDU1Hps

 

10 for 2012 Interview: Films of Colour

 
By on Thursday, 22nd December 2011 at 11:00 am
 

Films in Colour, the band you TGTF readers voted to the top spot in our 10 for 2012 poll, answered some questions for us just as they were hunkering down for the holidays. They tell us how they feel being compared to Coldplay and Foals, how crossing the pond will be the furthest they’ve travelled other than Middlesbrough (!), and of course, we had to ask them about that David Bowie cover…

How did you come up with the name Films of Colour? Are films a big influence on you personally and/or professionally?
It’s from an Aldous Huxley essay called ‘Heaven and Hell’, which is in a kind of two-part series with ‘The Doors of Perception’. Some guy called Jim Morrison named his band after the latter. It’s basically one man’s experience with mescalin, in which he sees ‘delicate floating films of colour’, so it actually has nothing to do with movies! We just liked the image of many layers.

Who decided, “okay, we’re going to tackle a David Bowie song”? Did you have any reservations before attempting the cover? Now having done it, how do you feel about it? (Relief? Pride?)
We were approached back in 2009 by Bowie’s publishing team asking if we were up for covering one of his songs. Covering an artist as prolific as Bowie is fraught with danger, I think that’s why we picked a lesser known song and ‘Slow Burn’ stood out as a track that melodically we could relate to. I think relief definitely, the reception from the Bowie community was always very important and to be featured on David Bowie’s official Web site was an honour. I don’t think we won over 100% of the faithful, but the majority of feedback we got was very positive.

How did you hear about Tony Visconti’s take on your cover? (I’m a little confused…did you send him this track as a demo b/c you wanted to work with him for your producer on your future material?)
It’s that classic “it’s not what you know…” story again. Our manager used to work with Bowie and Tony, he sent Tony the track, he liked it. Next thing we know is that Tony is visiting from America to come to a rehearsal. Very surreal night in a tiny East London practice room ensues! He’s the genuine article, lovely guy, great stories, and we remain in contact.

What is like being signed to Fierce Panda? Where they one of the indie labels you felt would be a good fit for your band?
We were technically signed to Fierce Panda through their single label, Club Fandango. When they were up for doing our first single we were chuffed, as they are a really great label with a history. We cannot speak highly enough of Simon Williams, Martin and the Panda team. Would love to work with them again someday.

There’s a lot of good talk going around your appearance at SXSW in March. Are you excited to be going to the States?
Absolutely, not sure it has really sunk in yet to be honest. I think the furthest away we’ve been from home is Middlesbrough? We are sure going to make the most of it. The plan is to stop off in New York for a few days, do some busking, filming etc., before heading to Austin. And hopefully when we are at SXSW we’ll do a handful of shows to offset the handful of forms you have to fill out to enter the country!

Will this be your first time there / first time playing there? Are you going to try and woo American labels when you’re over?
It will be our first SXSW. Sure, we’d love to meet American labels, but I think our SXSW will be purely just drumming up a bit of interest in a new place. Giving away as many CDs as humanly possible in 4 days, etc. We’d rather just worry about playing a gig than who might be watching.

Reviewers often compare bands to other bands that have come before. Who have you been compared to? Which bands did you feel honoured to be compared to? Which comparisons struck you as particularly bizarre?
Did you know this is the hardest question that Films of Colour ever seem to get asked for some reason. We all like different stuff so for example, we’ve been compared to Coldplay before. Two out of four might feel honoured, the other two will find it bizarre. That might work the other way round if someone compares to Foals. I guess it’s just a case of what you want to hear. I think as a general rule in music everyone feels honoured to be compared to Radiohead, right? No one has said we sound like KISS, that would be particularly bizarre.

As an up and coming band, what misconception about your band do you want to dispel up front?
A lot of people get put off by the word ‘Coldplay’, but it’s a double-edged sword. We implore you to come and see us live and make up your own mind.

When can we expect your next release?
The next release is due around SXSW time (End of February/March 2012). Although we do tend to put up free downloads from time to time on our website: http://www.filmsofcolour.com or our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/filmsofcolour

What do you predict for yourselves in 2012?
More of the same! A few more singles, lots more gigs. New ways of getting music out there and meeting people. And at some point, the album. Hopefully we can justify our number one spot on the ‘There Goes the Fear 10 of 2012’!! Onwards and upwards.

 

10 for 2012: #1 – Films of Colour

 
By on Monday, 12th December 2011 at 11:00 am
 

In the last couple weeks, we asked you to vote for the top 10 artists you thought would be big in 2012. We can now reveal the winning London band, who already have caught the eye of a legendary producer…if you haven’t heard of them, you will soon. And without further adieu…we congratulate Films of Colour taking the top honours this year.

It takes a lot of balls to do a cover of a David Bowie song. Bowie’s fans are a devoted, proud bunch and understandably wary of anyone coming near their genius’s music. So when the man behind Bowie’s dials, Tony Visconti (who’s worked not only with Bowie but also Marc Bolan/T. Rex and Morrissey), decides to endorse your version of ‘Slow Burn’ (from Bowie’s 2002 album ‘Heathen’), it’s time to pat yourself on the back. So who is this mysterious band? I’m not going to paraphrase what Visconti had to say about them, read it all here:

When I was given a batch of demos to consider working with Films of Colour I was struck with how many catchy songs they had written. I was also impressed with the quality of their demos; that they were clever, creative lads was very apparent. But one song stuck out, sounding so familiar yet I didn’t really recognise it until the second chorus. I knew the song because I produced it with David Bowie on his 2001 album ‘Heathen’. But Films of Colour had altered it so much they had clearly made it their own. I think Bowie is one of the most difficult artists to cover, since his versions of his own compositions seem to be the definitive versions. After I heard Films of Colour’s version I was completely won over.

High praise indeed. As if that weren’t enough, Films of Colour have also caught the discerning eye (and ears) of the American South by Southwest music team. Their feature Operation Every Band profiled the group on their ones to definitely catch at the 2012 edition of their yearly event in March, describing them as follows: “They don’t shy away from a big song, liberally employing elements of UK brethren Muse and Coldplay with a little more an electronic pop slant. There’s nothing too experimental musically here, but just for a band to release such dense and elaborate pop songs so early in their career shows a ton of potential.”

Though they’ve been around since 2008, Films of Colour were only signed last year to Fierce Panda, whom I’m sure you’ve heard of, as they are also the home of the Crookes and Goldheart Assembly. Head man Simon Williams has stated they are the best band he’s signed since Radiohead and Coldplay. Besides having starred on Lammo’s New Favourite Band feature on 6music in late September, they’ve received major radio support from XFM, Absolute Radio and Amazing Radio. All signs point to 2012 being Films of Colour’s year. Congratulations, chaps!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iq329-MJhrI[/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.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

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