Tag Archive | "Philophobia Music"

Piskie Sits – Creature Feature

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Piskie Sits – Creature Feature

Posted on 08 November 2013 by Joe

Earlier this year I discovered that indie rock legend Stephen Malkmus is a Hull City FC fan. I was only marginally surprised though as I’ve known that the spirit of Malkmus’s former band Pavement has been alive and well in Yorkshire and Humberside for some time now as  just 55 miles west of the KC Stadium  in Wakefield the Piskie Sits currently ply their slacker rock trade.

CREATURE FEATURE - finished front cover

We’ve been listening to Piskie Sits a fair bit over the last few years after being sent their EPs by their label Philophobia Music, which seems to be uncovering talent in Wakefield on a near weekly basis.

Piskie Sits, along with St Gregory Orange, are our pick of their acts. St Gregory because they genuinely sound like a bunch of blokes who have stumbled upon some synths on the way back from a club at 4am and Piskie Sits because they do the whole American 90s alt rock schtick so well.

On Creature Feature, their debut album we have 11 tight indie rock anthems of love and loss, all delivered with a wonderful Yorkshire sense of irony. The music is just great, with the  quick fire chord intro on Young Dumb and Full Of It and lead singer’s Craig Hale’s weary Yorkshire drawl on opener I Know and You’ll Know among many highlights.

The track Family Tree is pure indie pop gold, and demands indie discos the length of Britain to pick it for their set lists. Piskie Sits also do the whole Pixies slow-fast-slow thing  as well, with the opening two minutes of Fin showcasing a more considered sense of song writing with lashings of whirly gig keyboards that are used just right in the mix.


by Joe Lepper

For more information and to hear Creature Feature tracks click here.



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Jamiesaysmile – Day Three

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Jamiesaysmile – Day Three

Posted on 07 August 2012 by Joe

With a big voice reminiscent of indie rock veteran Bob Mould, this first release by Yorkshire based singer songwriter Dan Hayes has given me a welcome lift during a summer of rain.

Across the four tracks Hayes, who here goes by the name Jamiesaysmile, manages to tread on the right side of credibility as a singer songwriter, helped by his honest, enormous rock vocals and a fine set of tunes.

Opener Guilty and Dressed Up and third track Dressed Up In Waves are the two immediate standouts full of nods towards the best of Bob Mould’s solo work, especially the veteran’s debut solo album Workbook. Hayes’ vocals are so similar that its strange not to see Mould mentioned on the accompanying press release, which instead cites Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly, Bloc Party and Biffy Clyro as influences.

There are the occasional rock ballad clichés on track two, Day Three, and final track, Only Works With You, but not enough to detract from what is a fine and promising debut from one of the UK’s most fertile areas for interesting rock music (see our focus on Wakefield label Philophobia Music).


Day Three is available from Geek Pie Records on a pay what you want basis.

by Joe Lepper


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St Gregory Orange  – Midnight At The Sycamore Lounge

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St Gregory Orange – Midnight At The Sycamore Lounge

Posted on 24 April 2012 by Joe

St Gregory Orange were one of our standout acts that appeared on Wakefield based label Philophobia Music’s 2010 compilation Under the Bus Station Clock.

Their interesting, sombre track on this compilation, Pan Away And Fade To Black,  was enough for us to name them one of our top ten  bands to watch out for in 2011. Thing is, as with another on that list, Django Django, we were a year too early.  It has taken them a while to come up with their second album but as the saying goes, it has  been worth the wait.

Turns out there’s far more to the band than a spot of synth sound scaping that typified Pan Away And Fade To Black and which starts Chalklines, the opening track of Midnight At The Sycamore Lounge.

As Chalklines progresses the soundscape passes and the abstract lyrics come in the album quickly turns to some kind of northern English, Flaming Lips, Pavement, Pulp hybrid. It’s not a great opening, a little unnerving in places, especially the bit about “starting drinking in the afternoon” but you get the sense that is maybe the point. Their world is not meant to be easy going. There’s a lot of drinking going on, not nice drinking instead a kind of  unpleasant,  weary drinking to forget type drinking.

The sparkle of this album though is its ability to create their own universe, even if it’s a bit of a crap one, set in the wee small hours, possibly on a park bench in a Northern town, watching the dawn break as two blokes relive the horrors and joys of a Saturday night out.

It’s not until the well worked string and acoustic guitars of third track Salem AM that the album and the night out with the St Gregory Orangers really gets going, part Streets, part Malkmus this album oozes  slacker pop with intelligence. My Exile Years get s a little more Flaming Lips as it “sleep walks through my waking life with a bottle in my teeth” and the St Gregory lads  struggle again to remember a night out, possibly while clutching a can of Red Bull.

Somnambulist Atlas and the backing vocals on No Tragedies are other highlights on an album that is at times difficult, frequently clever and above all different. I guess spending the early hours in Wakefield with The Flaming Lips, Pavement and two blokes carrying synths trying to remember the events of only a few hours ago was never going to be an average night out.


by Joe Lepper

Midnight At The Sycamore Lounge is released by Philophobia Music on May 28. For more information click here.


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The Spills – Occam’s Razor

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The Spills – Occam’s Razor

Posted on 03 November 2011 by Dorian

The Spills debut album is one that will get better and better every time it is listened to.  Released on the Philophobia  Music label and produced by Lee Smith and Jamie Lockhart at Greenmount studios, this is an album which keeps to a style without becoming predictable.  It has moments from a hazy summer mixed in with atmospheric drones which are broken up by thrashing guitars and choruses.

Occams Razor

‘Summer Vibes’ is a summer pop/rock song with attitude that would be completely at home on a sunny afternoon at a festival, as would ‘Coiled Springs’ which has a happy and hyperactive Nirvana style to it.

‘Oh Say Do’ sticks to this theme with a more relaxing feel to it and a catchy chorus, with vocals reminiscent of The Walkmen.

In between these tracks however is ‘Heat Death Of The Universe’ which changes the pace as well as demonstrating the instrumental as well as vocal ability of the Wakefield band.  Similarly ‘Silver Bullets’ and ‘White Flag’ add some melancholic atmosphere with the latter again showing good vocals in contrast to the snarls in ‘Jury’s Out’.

The songs are positioned well in this album with the first half more lively than the second.  However the changes in tempo within the songs mean that the album flows from one song to another and does not feel disjointed.  The Spills strength is their instrumental ability and vocal variety which shine through most prominently on the more light hearted, up-tempo songs such as ‘Summer Vibes’.

‘Occam’s Razor’ is well worth a listen, particularly when the sun is shining , and although the rawness of this debut adds another dimension, one can’t help but think that there is more to come from this band.


By Danny Foy


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Protectors – The Stem & The Leaf EP


Protectors – The Stem & The Leaf EP

Posted on 21 October 2011 by Joe

This latest EP from Protectors features two brand new tracks and two re-mastered songs from their debut LP, Can’t Shake The Moves.  The Leeds outfit have already supported The Cribs, Frankie & The Heartstrings and Los Campesinos! promoting their debut LP, and listening to The Stem & The Leaf there is no reason why they cannot help strengthen the northern indie rock cause.

The opening song ‘Overtime’ is a bouncy sing-along that sets the feel good tone of the EP, with singer Chris Charlton’s voice rising above the rolling drums and guitar.  There is a warm familiarity even on the first listen of this song which is no bad thing, meaning that on the second and third listens it is hard not to tap your foot and have a little sing when the chorus kicks in.

The same can be said for ‘Honeymoon?’ which is slower and more melodic, reminiscent of some of the more recent songs by The Cribs.  The jolting drums and the holding of awkward notes combined with the catchy chorus, make this the ideal song for joining the band in their love of rambling and real ale.

The third song on the EP ‘Corousel’, has more of a youthful attitude to it with more of a punk rock feel, as if an early Greenday had grown up in Headingley.  ‘Woe betide’ sings Charlton.

Despite the get up and go song title, the re-mastered ‘Shake The Moves’ is a relaxed end to Protectors first release with Philophobia Music, and the lyric ‘Surely worth a listen’ just about sums up ‘The Stem & The Leaf’.  The songs are well written and the melodic catchy choruses will help make the coming winter months just little bit more jolly.


By Danny Foy


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Top Ten Bands To Watch Out For In 2011

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Top Ten Bands To Watch Out For In 2011

Posted on 01 December 2010 by Joe

With the year almost at an end we thought it a good time to profile some of the indie and alternative acts we predict big things for in 2011. We’ve got an eclectic bunch for you. Some have already generated a buzz among the mainstream media, and the likes of BBC 6Music, while others are more obscure but have dazzled us so much this year that we are sure greater success beckons over the coming months. We’ve got some more traditional indie music acts, some exponents of so-called nu folk, some experimental ambience and even a bit of gypsy music. Sit back and enjoy Neonfiller.com’s Top Ten Bands To Watch Out For In 2011.

1. Django Django

Scottish band Django Django’s track ‘Storm’ was a highpoint of 2009. It left us at Neon Filler and countless others gagging for more. Another single Wor followed this year and it showed even more promise, fusing fifties guitar riffs and odd rhythms. It also showed a band unafraid to experiment, full of humour and an act that look like they delight in surprising an audience.

Django Django

Already the darlings of the BBC and with a number of festival appearances under their belts 2011 is set to be a big year for the band with the long awaited release of their debut album. I’m going out on a limb here but I’d wager that if you like Sunderland band Field Music you are going to love Django Django.

2. The Miserable Rich

Comedian and record reviewer Stewart Lee recently said of Darren Hayman, “isn’t it about time he won an award or something.” We feel like that about The Miserable Rich as well. One of the best acts to emerge from UK’s  Willkommen Collective they are two albums into their career and on each they have displayed lush string arrangements, pop savvy melodies and beautiful, often tragic lyrics.

‘Somerhill’, from second album Of Flight and Fury (review here) about my hometown Brighton is one of my favourites. ‘Knife Throwers Hand’, from 2008’s debut album Twelve Ways To Count, is another stand out and made our Top Ten Weepies list. This is a fine, fine band who are deserving of far more success.

3. Allo Darlin’

Allo Darlin’ have a great pedigree in music that is often described as “twee”. Singer Elizabeth Morris plays with Amelia Feltcher’s Tender Trap and Bill Botting is one of the bassists in Darren Hayman’s shifting backing band. It is the honesty and romance and playful melodies of these bands (and the kings of twee Belle and Sebastian) that make them so great, and Allo Darlin’ are a welcome addition to this much maligned genre.

We had the privelage of seeing them perform a captivating set at the End of the Road Festival in September and their self-titled debut album is one of our favourites of the year. “Twee” has a pretty loyal following, and I’m sure that they’ve taken this band to their hearts already, but any fan of quality pop music will find much to love with this band.

4. Cloud Nothings

Cloud Nothings is the work of 19 year old Dylan Baldi from Cleveland. He produces lo-fi indie-pop of a type that sucks in the best of the late 70s, mid-80s and 90s. Think Wavves without the tiresome “attitude” mixed with the geeky charm of blue album Weezer. The songs sound like they were recorded in his bedroom (and they probably were) but the tunes are so catchy that it is easy to forgive the scratchier elements of the (lack of) production.

A handful of 7 inch singles and EPs released in 2010 have been collected by Wichita (read our review of Cloud Nothings as part of the Wichita Recordings tour here) on a single CD. The full length debut is set for release in early 2011. The presence of a professional producer may worry the lo-fi purists, but with songs this good it should prove to be one of the releases of the year.

5. Sky Larkin

Sky Larkin are the second band in our top 10 to have featured in our Wichita Recordings gig review and they proved to be as good a band live as they are on record. Not a new act, they formed in Leeds in 2005 and have two albums under their belt, but they are a band that has being going from strength to strength.

Their sound is influenced by US indie, Sleater Kinney spring to mind, but very British as well. Katie Harkin’s voice and guitar are at the heart of the bands sound, but the rhythm section are tight and just flashy enough to lift the bands sound above the ordinary.

Touring their second album saw them supporting Les Savy Fav, Blood Red Shoes and Frightened Rabbit in the second half of 2010. This will have brought their music to a wider audience, an audience that is sure to grow in 2011.


Folk pop outfit Revere are hard to define. I’ve tried with the aforementioned ‘folk pop’ tag, but there is also gypsy music and Ennio Morricone soundtracks to add to their exhilarating mix as well. At times downbeat and subtle while at others epic and sweeping the act, which was formed by duo Stephen Ellis and Andrew Hawke around five years ago, is now a mighty eight-strong and features glockenspiel, a horn section and strings.

2011 is set to be a big year for the band, mainly as we believe the music would be perfect for festival crowds looking for something new and different. Among their best tracks on Hey Selim! are ‘As The Radars Sleep’, ‘We Won’t Be Here Tomorrow’ and  ‘The Escape Artist’. Read our full review of Hey Selim! here.

7. The Robot Heart

The Dust EP by Brighton, UK, band The Robot Heart and released on Bleeding Heart Recordings, was one of the treasures of 2010. This stunning debut for both label and band with its mix of chamber pop, choral harmonies,  indie cool and down to earth folk is simple, effective and wonderful.

They are potentially the most commercially accessible on out list, with their trademark soft twinkling acoustic guitar, subtle drumming and basic piano melody hard to dislike. We are predicting big things for The Robot Heart in 2011, when a new album is promised and larger tour dates and support slots beckon. Read our review of Dust here.

8.Special Benny

Special Benny sent us their debut album Toys in 2010 along with a single page PR blurb waffling on about Frank Zappa and being perfectionists. We gave it a listen and were blown away by the breadth and ambition of the music.

Largely instrumental bringing in indie, 70s rock, and yes, very clearly Frank Zappa’s music, you name it, its on it. Its fun as well, like US indie metal band Fang Island and what’s more its great music for listening to in a car. In fact we’ve been listening to this everywhere with a hop, skip and jump in our step. Sold yet? You should be. Pick up a copy of Toys (review here), see them live and help make 2011 the massive year it should be for this special band.

Air Filter by Special Benny

9.Veronica Falls

The 1980s are back (again…) but this time it isn’t the poppy synths or new romantic look that is being revived it is the more downbeat end of the C86 scene that is seeing a comeback. This is a trend that has been going on in US music for a little while and is now coming back home.

Heralding from Glasgow, home of The Pastels, they have the sound of the 60s as filtered through the mid-80s perfected. With only a couple of 7 inch singles released to date they still have a long way to go to prove that they are more than just a good tribute act but they show enough promise to make them one to watch in the coming year.

10. St Gregory Orange

Tucked away on Under the Bus Station Clock, the excellent compilation of Wakefield areas bands released this year from Philophobia Music was ‘Pan Away And Fade To Black’ by St Gregory Orange. It was among a number of standouts from bands like The Bambinos, but St Gregory Orange’s track was particularly striking for its soft, electro feel.

Not sombre like more familiar Yorkshire electro pioneers, such as early Human League or showy like, er, well later Human League, but it was enough to get our interest. We have since enjoyed their 2009 eight track mini album Things We Said In Bedrooms. An EP and another album are due out in 2011.

There’s something likeable about them too, especially when reading their Facebook updates. Take this one about a recent unusual gig for example. “St. Gregory Orange performed a set of improvised noise to literally tens of people over four 30 minutes sets whilst artist Bruce Rimmel produced a mural of marker-pen-interpretation. There was wine too.” Sounds fun.

Click here to hear ‘Pan Away and Fade To Black’ by St Gregory Orange

See Also:  Top 100 Indie and Alternative Albums Of All Time

Compiled by Joe Lepper and Dorian Rogers


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Various Artists – Under The Bus Station Clock

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Various Artists – Under The Bus Station Clock

Posted on 23 September 2010 by Joe

Philophobia Music in Yorkshire has provided us with a mine of new tracks to sift through with Under The Bus Station Clock, the label’s second annual collection of music from Wakefield area bands.

Launched two years ago the label is a small operation run by Rob Dee to promote some of the fine music from the area. He explains:  “The label is run and owned by myself. Financed in parts by those goodold fellows at Mastercard. We don’t tend to use pluggers or pr guys. We do our own distribution to shops too. There are a few people who work on an irregular regular basis as we tend to use the same producers as not only are they amazing, they are our friends.”

Across the 20 tracks are some of the label’s key artists who are already getting national radio attention and festival dates, such as Runaround Kids and Imp as well as others that Rob feels the wider world ought to hear.

Under The Bus Station Clock

There’s a lot to digest; some excellent new bands such as The Bambinos, some unusual quirky ones like Junior Swimsuit and many, many that clearly have listened to a lot of Pavement, such as Imp.

What is perhaps most pleasing is the absence of anything truly bland on it, there’s an edge to most of the tracks and overall it is free of the usual twee-indie pop fodder that dominates far too much of indie music.

The stand out for me by a mile is ‘When theWeather’s Wrong’ by The Bambinos. I’ve had to email Rob to check whether their male lead singer Jay had been replaced by a female vocalist, so high was his falsetto. He assures me: “It is indeed the same vocalist. I must admit the falsetto took me by surprise, didn’t know he had it in him.” Not only is the production among the slickest, it sounds punchy and is the catchiest on the album, full of new wave influences.

Others of note are tracks by The Spills and (the unusually named and slightly Yo Le Tengo-esque) St Gregory Orange.

Salvage My Dream’s track ‘Cost of Living’ is another highlight starting off like a Kyma Dawson acoustic poetry rant and turning into something altogether darker and shouty. Like Los Campesinos or Chumbawamba. It’s an inventive track and my second favourite behind The Bambinos.

The album is available to download on a pay as much or as little as you like basis.  It also exists in CD form for the criminally low price of £2, although just 100 copies exist so get your order in early.

For more details about ordering Under the Bus Station Clock click here.

Sign up to Neonfiller on Facebook for regular review updates and classic clips  here.

by Joe Lepper


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