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Video of the Moment #1931: The Orielles

 
By on Tuesday, 13th October 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

Right as I’d arrived in England 2 Fridays ago, young Halifax band The Orielles had a new video out for ‘Joey Says We Got It’. To go along with the lo-fi feel of the single, they filmed an appropriately lo-fi video, which they’ve described as thus:

After watching the cult classic ‘Wet Hot American Summer’ and its recently released prequel, we decided that we wanted to loosely base our video around the idea of a ’70s American summer camp. We gathered a bunch of our mates to help out and had a blast in our friend’s garden in Fallowfield, Manchester.

‘Joey Says We Got It’ will be available on this Friday, the 17th of October, as a Weiner Records release for this year’s Cassette Store Day. (Yes, it has indeed crept up on us.) The band’s upcoming live appearances are listed here on their Facebook.

 

Video of the Moment #1725: The Orielles

 
By on Wednesday, 21st January 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

Halifax band The Orielles have a new video for their single ‘Space Doubt’, out this week. With plenty of sunnies and backward baseball caps, it’s got a summery feel that is just perfect to lift you out of the winter doldrums. (I’m writing this just as it’s snowing outside TGTF Towers…again…groan…) Word on the street is the single will be released on vinyl, so hang tight for that if you’re a collector. For now, enjoy the promo below.

 

In the Post #137: The Orielles reveal limited edition cassette single ‘Yawn’

 
By on Wednesday, 5th November 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

If you think this year’s Cassette Store Day on the 27th of September was a novelty not to be repeated in the future, that digital has killed off the format, think again. Halifax’s The Orielles have decided to release their own cassette single (or as they adorably prefer to call it, ‘cassingle’), just last week. Even more unique is the fact that the run has been limited to a mere 100 copies, so if our readers’ collective prescience naming the band #3 on our 10 for 2014 bands to watch countdown and indeed, that of our contributors including yours truly, are correct, this single in its physical form could make you a pretty packet sometime in the future.

Not like you needed any more reason to buy it besides this review, but the artwork on the cassette is pretty cool too: it seems like a simple drawing, but then you squint to look closer and what? It’s a hand (I’m assuming it’s a pun on the front half of two of their members’ surname) holding a bouquet of tulips, but the hand has legs underneath, so the figure is skateboarding at the same time. You can’t make this stuff up, kids… And how old are these kids again? When I was their age, I wasn’t thinking about playing in a band, let alone coming up with artwork that’s both whimsical and thought-provoking. (Don’t laugh, but seeing that I have no drawing skills, I was sat staring at the art for a good while, trying to figure out how they came up with the idea.)

‘Yawn’, this latest offering from the trio – Esme Dee Hand-Halford on vocals and bass, her sister Sid on drums and their close schoolmate Henry Wade on guitar – feels more closely aligned to their 2013 independently released EP ‘Sunny Daze and Sleepless Nights’ than the more recent, harder-edged ‘Hindering Waves’. (Perhaps this is why they’re offering up a demo of ‘Deduce’ from the former EP as its B-side, then?) While single ‘Entity’ (review here, video here) was more dramatic lyrically, there is a gentleness to the new single, as Esme Dee Hand-Halford sweetly sings in the chorus, “I feel like I’ve been asleep / and I’ve dreamed a thousand dreams / feels like I’m not waking up / and I find it hard to breathe”. The effect is not unlike the feeling you get when you’ve woken up from the best dream ever. You don’t want to get out of bed. And you don’t want to talk about it after, because it would tarnish its memory.

As if the notes are in a daydream themselves and are not directly connected with the words, Wade’s guitar playing is equally as playful. Yet somehow it all works together, the guitar complementing the swirly, fantasy nature of the song. Sid Hand-Halford’s drumming with high-hat accents too provides ample flourishes to keep this track from going too dreamy. I mean, after all, this is a band who pride themselves on being surf pop / rock purveyors, not to be confused with all too often snoozy dream pop. No, this is a song that will stay in your head for a long time and by that, I am giving it the highest of compliments.

8.5/10

You can buy the ‘Yawn’ single, backed by a demo of earlier track ‘Deduce’, from the Orielles from York’s Swirly Records here and yes, if for some reason you don’t own a cassette player, a digital version is available.

 

Live at Leeds 2014 Review (Part 2)

 
By on Thursday, 12th June 2014 at 2:00 pm
 

To read the first half of Martin’s review of Live at Leeds 2014, go here.

Happyness sound like they come from Slackersville, USA, their sound reminiscent of college rock luminaries such as The Lemonheads. But a quick post-gig chat with affable singer Jonny Allan reveals they’re actually from South London – it’s their record collections, not their accents, that are transatlantic. What’s also very British is their moderately grumpy, slightly pained, dead-pan intra-song witticisms (imagine if Derek and Clive formed a band and cut out most of the swearing) which puts the lie to their optimistic name.

Such obscurantism matches the music well – the full name of one song is revealed to be ‘I’m Wearing Win Butler’s Hair; There’s a Scalpless Singer of a Montreal Rock Band Somewhere’. Said song has a superbly laid-back groove, making it pretty much the perfect song for a late afternoon spent indoors when it’s sunny outside. There’s every day at a festival there’s a band who summarise the mood, linking atmosphere, location and sound in a perfect circle of gentle euphoria – Happyness are that today.

Woman’s Hour (pictured at top) trade in gentle washes of electronica and minimal beats, topped with Fiona Burgess’ peachily delicate croon. Smooth and fragile, here appropriately swathed in smoke-machine atmosphere, Burgess making smooth motions with her hands as if hosting a communal tai-chi class. Much like the smoke, there’s the suspicion that Woman’s Hour are a bit ethereal, slightly monotonal, perhaps without the dynamics to structure a set which fully engages right to the end. Within their niche, very competent, but The xx have nothing to fear.

Highasakite sound like nobody else and are certainly the most ambitious band of the day. They make a fantastic orchestrated noise, perhaps best described as prog-pop, where guitars are just another instrument to carry their elegant, architectural melodies. Ingrid Helene Håvik strolls on stage unassumingly, wearing a hoodie several sizes too big, but when she starts to sing, the true potential of the band begins to be realised. ‘Since Last Wednesday’ is an epic on the theme of loss, featuring cathedral-size pipe organ and enormous drum hits, ‘Indian Summer’ has an enormous uplifting chorus, and latest single ‘Leaving No Traces’ melds spaghetti-western sensibilities with an electronic pop chorus which manages to be both icy cold and deeply emotional all at the same time. Quite a ride.

Each member of the band appears to be a virtuoso, particularly the impossibly-talented, formally-trained synth player Marte Eberson, whose playing stands out as being as stunning as her looks. In the back room of the Brudenell, with not much more than a handful of audience members, this starts to feel like a rare treat, of a band with stadium-sized potential playing a private gig for a select few who know the secret of where to find nuggets of otherworldly music. This is the performance of the day, and, for that matter, of the year so far.

There could hardly be two bands more different than Highasakite and The Orielles. One is an ensemble of refined, trained musicians who formed at the Trondheim Jazz Observatory. The other is a group of two sisters and their schoolfriend from Halifax who have a, shall we say, more rudimentary approach to their instruments. What isn’t rudimentary is their ability with a tune. Their sound is 60s-inspired melodic surf-psyche-garage of the most endearing naiveté. But there they are on Spotify and iTunes, with an EP and a single, showing for more experienced practitioners how to go about this music business thing.

Check out something like ‘Old Stuff // New Glass’ from their ‘Hindering Waves’ EP (video of the title track we featured earlier on TGTF here) – there’s a fantastic surf-guitar sound that Dick Dale would be proud of, there’s the double-double-barrelled Esme-Dee Hand-Halford giving Louise Wener a lesson or two in offhand cool, and her sister’s Ringo Starr-esque drumming holding it all together with a simple, tight groove. They even take on a bit of white funk in ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’. Tonight, the audience are mostly men, mostly at least twice the band’s age, heads nodding and feet tapping to the frenzy of noise coming from the stage, as the band race through their set with no banter or niceties to lighten the intensity. You might go to see them for the novelty of age, but you’ll stay for the tunes. (For more of our coverage on the Orielles, go here.)

By the time TGTF arrives at Leeds University for a look at the Wytches, the well-refreshed crowd are already as excited as a toddler at Christmas, bless them. The appearance of Kristian Bell and his the sound of his dirty power chords sends them over the edge – a tsunami of people surge forward and crush the photographers and their expensive gear who’ve braved the front of stage position. The photographers don’t stay long, the crowd continuing to press wave after wave of human flesh against the barrier. A fight breaks out at one point, which seems perfectly normal given the circumstances.

The band themselves do have a nice line in semitonal noise, mixing ’60s psychedelia with ’90s mainstream grunge like Temples‘ naughty little brothers. In ‘Wire Framed Mattress’, Bell emotes about his dignity collapsing, and it’s clear some members of the crowd can relate to him from first-hand experience this evening. Overall, The Wytches are about as scary as a Vincent Price film, and just as corny, but they’re good for a laugh in a paradoxically light-hearted way. Just don’t stand at the front if you value your bones unbroken. (For more of our coverage on the Wytches, go here.)

It’s left to Drenge to wrap the night up. They take the visceral impact of an act like the Wytches but manage to tidy it up a bit, making proper songs that don’t rely on tons of reverb and walls of noise, but feature audacious concepts like groove and melody. Eoin Loveless is a positive guitar hero for a new generation, despite, or perhaps because of, not really ever playing a solo. (For more of our coverage on Drenge, go here.)He loves a good riff, though. Kids these days, eh? Sadly the crowd here is even further removed from the mores of polite society than the previous one, with flying beer cups, extreme moshing (some punters even come complete with anticipatory plaster casts already applied), and the final straw – enthusiastic vomiting just in front of the speaker stack. TGTF retreats to a safe distance – outside the venue, watching from the stage door – just to be able to enjoy the performance without being assaulted by various fluids, bodily or otherwise. And that’s it. The end.

The genius of Live at Leeds is that it attracts enough ticket sales from those wanting to see bigger, more mainstream acts – apparently Frank Turner’s acoustic set was at capacity long before stage time – that they can afford to run a fringe of more interesting new music. DIY’s programming of the Brudenell was flawless – in another universe TGTF stayed there all day and saw The Amazing Snakeheads, Fair Ohs and Pulled Apart By Horses. But the program is so varied that there’s something for everyone, and at £25 for a whole day of class acts, superb value. Roll on 2015.

 

Liverpool Sound City 2014: Day 2 Roundup

 
By on Thursday, 15th May 2014 at 1:00 pm
 

For all my photos from Sound City 2014, head this way; for all my Sound City 2014 coverage from Liverpool, use this link.

While it was my intention to see as many bands as I wanted to off my Thursday Liverpool Sound City 2014 schedule, by the time I woke up Friday morning, I was feeling it. Oh no, oh no, oh no! The worst thing as a music writer to wake up to: a painful sore throat. After two scalding hot milky teas did not seem to do the trick, a quick stop into Tesco’s on Bold Street to grab some honey lemon Strepsils (as Radcliffe and Maconie and Marc Riley say on their radio programmes, other shops and lozenges are available) was required. And then I was off again, though not with the same get up and go as the previous day.

Thanks to a tip from Chris Donnelly of Sounds of Now Music, I had initially pencilled in the mysterious Moats as a possible early band to catch. However, as it so happens to all of us, hunger set in and I ended up meeting with an industry friend at the amazing Leaf Cafe where I’d seen Sivu close out the night before in fine fashion. They do amazing food and, of course for a place with the word ‘leaf’ in their name, a fine cuppa for a bad throat (thanks all).

The Orielles @ Shipping Forecast

After I’d gotten sufficient food in the tummy, it was time to head back out for our friends The Orielles, who were playing the cramped Shipping Forecast where Traams had got tail feathers shaking late Thursday evening. They were slotted in at the unenviable time of 7, just like Prides the night before, except the downstairs room of the Shipping Forecast was actually packed. Good for them! Funnily enough, the two girls at the delegate greeting table at the Hilton were stood right next to me, I think a little startled that I was there, snapping photos.

You can read more about the Orielles’ live performance in my review of their ‘Entity’ single launch party at Manchester Deaf Institute on the 26th of April through this link and you can also listen to them live in conversation here, but I think the more important take home message from their Sound City appearance is their confidence. It’s a good word to describe the trio, as I’ve seen lesser – and dare I say it, older – bands quake under the pressure of a industry-related festival such as Sound City, but the Orielles are professionals. In a confined space like this, they had nowhere to run – literally – and all eyes were on them. Yet they were calm, cool and collected, which is exactly what their style of surf pop demands. I’m really looking forward to seeing where their music takes them.

Strangers @ Brooklyn Mixer

Then I was off to see someone (or three someones, as I expected) back at the Brooklyn Mixer. Maybe it is just my personality to want to help as many deserving people as possible, but I’ve found it inevitable – in an entirely good way, I might add – that bands we’ve discovered and fallen in love with (and often times, those that you readers have fallen in love with too) become friends. Electro dance act Strangers appeared at #2 on the TGTF 10 for 2012 way back at the end of 2011 and even though I’d corresponded with frontman David Maddox-Jones for years it seems, for one reason or another I always missed seeing them gig in London. When I was scanning the schedule between panel sessions on Thursday, I noticed their name on the Friday. David explained to me that they were asked to fill in last minute. Naturally, I seized the chance to finally see them live.

With his awesome wingtips, Maddox-Jones was the height of fashion. Unfortunately, it was to Strangers’ detriment that the punters present for their set seemed more keen on their pints and less on the electronic music on offer right in front of them. However, as I stood watching Maddox-Jones give it his all – he’s got a fine set of pipes full of soul and emotion there, for sure, and he gets entirely caught up in the music, his body never stopping for a moment – I couldn’t help wonder how the performance would have been helped with an entirely different environment. I remember Delphic saying in an interview once that they’d requested a German festival put them in a greenhouse-like tent for their performance at an event so that the mood was as dark and clubby as possible, and I think that’s exactly the kind of venue I’d want to see Strangers at. As for the three someones I previous mentioned? Piers Sherwood-Roberts has left the band so Strangers is now a duo, though I suppose you could argue with two guys on synthesisers, do you really need a third, if between two people you’ve got one manning the synths ably and the other with a voice perfectly suited to the music?

The Inkhearts @ Kazimier Gardens

There was no time to stay and exchange pleasantries after, sadly. I was off like a rocket to catch The Inkhearts, who oddly popped up in conversations all over my 2-week holiday across England. They’re a young student band from Skelmersdale who appeared at the Label Recordings showcase at the atmospheric Kazimier Gardens. ‘Keeping Up’ is the Inkhearts’ current single, and it’s getting airplay all over the country already (apparently it’s a hit particularly with a radio presenter in Cornwall), which is a good sign as any that these kids are on to something good. And as we know, ‘Something Good Can Work’… I don’t like waving my press badge around at any festival if I can help it (it’s pretentious), but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures, and the bouncers were not letting me in, so waving and yelling saved the day and got me into the place finally.

I think it’s a testament to the good people of the North West that such a showcase was put together to promote young talent and give them a proper way to show off their hard work and what they’re all about. (Read more about the label based at Edge Hill University here.) Yes, they’re young, but you can tell there is a definite desire of wanting to make it, and looking on at these youngsters, you can’t help but feel a sense of pride and that the future of the music business will keep going on the talent and energy of kids like them. I could barely keep up with my own studies when I was in school, so I know that these four who are doing the music on the side while also trying to further their education must have their hearts in the right place. After I interviewed the Inkhearts in the upstairs atrium (and apparently gave them a Stuart Maconie factoid to take back with them to school the next week), Heebie Jeebies beckoned.

Model Aeroplanes @ Heebie Jeebies

With the sheer number of and different kinds of venues at Liverpool Sound City, there’s no use guessing which bands will draw packed houses. Model Aeroplanes from Dundee, who I’d also had the pleasure of chatting with but earlier in the day at the Hilton, deserved a larger crowd but given the low archways I described from Thursday, I’m almost glad it wasn’t packed, because had the place been rammed, it might have been a serious fire code violation.

As it was, the vitality of the Scottish band’s live performance was impressive. Model Aeroplanes’ set, which included new single ‘Electricity’ and closed out with the sweeter ‘Innocent Love’, was energetic like the Inkhearts earlier but in a different way: they’re older, so I think the hunger for fame seems more real to them, especially since they’ve got the support of BBC Radio Scotland’s Vic Galloway and success is seemingly within reach. We had agreed about how Two Door Cinema Club‘s first album was better than their second, and I hear whispers of Two Door in their music: a compliment that they’ve got a very poppy, fun sound and happy guitars that I could see taking Britain and the world by storm very soon.

Boy Jumps Ship @ Mello Mello

I had a little bit of time before I said goodbye to the Model Aeroplanes lads and make my way to Mello Mello, where the Generator proper of the North East was hosting their night at Sound City. I’ve made it a point each year I’ve covered the festival to listen to and watch all the videos of every band scheduled to showcase in Liverpool, especially the ones I’d never heard of, to get a nice smattering of bands on my spreadsheet that I’d otherwise not have known about. Boy Jumps Ship from Newcastle was on the top of that new discovery list and I realised within seconds of seeing them live that I’d definitely made the right decision seeing them.

When I first started music writing, I seemed to spend a lot of my time trying to convince people either by word of mouth or through my writing that it was possible for a dance band to write something emotional, because those kinds of bands are hopelessly misunderstood. In a way, hard rock bands suffer from the same misunderstanding, depending on the company you’re with. I could see in the case of Boy Jumps Ship, fans of theirs probably generally are already fans of that genre of aggressive, devil may care kind of rock. But how does a band like theirs relate to someone like me?

I went into Sound City somewhat of a broken, exhausted woman from personal stuff and somehow, the honesty and just pedal to the metal-type delivery of this hard-rocking Geordie band ticked off all the right boxes for me. In my head, their music sounded of letting go, about laying it out on the line, of giving it all you’ve got. Live, they’re just so incredibly fun to watch: frontman Si Todd growls into his microphone and bangs his guitar ferociously as his bandmates play their instruments frenetically to keep up the pace.

There is a reason why Arcane Roots and Marmozets chose them as their support: both bands knew they could bring it. While the band say in my interview with them that they would love to tour with Biffy Clyro, I wonder if one day soon they will surpass the Biff entirely. While I also heard snatches of current radio darlings Royal Blood emanating from the Duke Street Garage around the corner later that night, I couldn’t help but think that all those people crammed inside there were watching the wrong band and should have caught Boy Jumps Ship instead. Those Geordies sure have heart.

 

Preview: Live at Leeds Festival 2014

 
By on Friday, 2nd May 2014 at 1:00 pm
 

Live at Leeds is one of the most intense examples of one of the most intense of gig-going events: the one-dayer. Leeds boasts more than its fair share of fine venues, and Live at Leeds brings them together under one banner for 12 hours of fine new music. Your brave correspondent has attempted to listen to every one of the over 200 artists on offer – and failed. Therefore here’s a list of what stands out as a possible way to negotiate the myriad of combinations.

The Brudenell Social Club has a strong offer all day. We Were Evergreen (3 pm) trade in Parisian twee-pop blended with indie tunes: a fine, summery start. And after that, because the Brudenell has two stages, it’s one band after the other, every half hour. No time to even visit the bar. Dive In are from Glastonbury and offer chiming melodies and a voice uncannily similar to Brian Molko, if he was full of happy pills. Coasts have the nerve to call their latest single ‘A Rush Of Blood’ – and although there is a touch of Coldplay in some of their soaring choruses, they’re unlikely to be confused with the London behemoth: there’s a nice discordant solo in ‘Stay’, and ‘Wallow’ is almost like Bastille with big guitars. A mixed bag then, but certainly one worth assessing live.

Jarbird bring some admirably minimalist electronica overlaid with a lot of twisted, vocodered singing. And with a song called ‘More Bad Celebrity Poetry’ betraying a humourous cynicism, what’s not to like? Happyness, despite being from London, bring sunshine-on-a-string Americana – ‘It’s on You’ properly chugs like the Lemonheads, chock full of classic melodies and a college-rock slacker sensibility; ‘Montreal Rock Band Somewhere’ is a slow-burner, with a lazy bassline sketching out a groove and slurred vocals about drawing letters on one’s person. As you do. Woman’s Hour are a bit like a cross between Wild Beasts and The xx – which gives them a lot to live up to. They sound capable of it. With their debut album coming in July, now is a great time to check them out.

From smooth electropop to guitars – both Creases and Primitive Parts supply lo-fi riffing and retro rock ‘n’ roll beats. Primitive Parts clearly have one or two Graham Coxon records in their collection. Onwards: I can’t stop playing ‘Hiroshima’, a fine example of orchestral pop from Norway’s Highasakite. Ingrid Helene Håvik’s vocals are stunning, framed beautifully by the delicate instrumentation.

The 8 pm hour provides a dilemma – whether to make the 10-minute walk to The Packhorse to catch TGTF favourites The Orielles; perhaps a taxi ride to the Belgrave Music Hall to see the suave chamber delights of New York’s San Fermin, coming over all Tindersticks and Hem; or to stay at the Brudenell for an increasingly noisy night, kicking off with Montreal’s hard-riffing duo Solids. Indeed, the picture of where to be and what to hear becomes increasingly distant and hazy as the night draws in. Several hotly-tipped acts will have already been missed: Courtney Barnett, Flyte, Arthur Beatrice, and the headliners are either heavy-ish (Pulled Apart By Horses, Catfish And The Bottlemen (pictured at top), The Hold Steady), or poppy-ish (Clean Bandit, King Charles). Leeds’ very own I Like Trains set up a homecoming gig at Leeds Town Hall, celebrating 10 years in the biz.

In short, there’s something for everyone, and nobody can see everything, so it’s probably best to go with the flow and not worry too much about it. Or just spend all day at the Brudenell. See you there…

 
 
 

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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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