Tag Archive | "Tigercats"

Nicholson Heal – Big Jupe

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Nicholson Heal – Big Jupe

Posted on 23 July 2018 by Joe

We first heard Bristol based Nicholson Heal last year while helping to judge the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition. As soon as we heard his submitted track, Lacuna, with its twinkling guitar picking, fine melody and brass section we were hooked.

This was deservedly long-listed by us and we’ve been eagerly awaiting his debut album ever since.

Finally released this month we are not disappointed. Throughout it has the same keen focus on melody and that brass section still sounds great.

NicholsonHeal

Lacuna is here thankfully and is among a number of  high points such as Homespun Shotgun, which is elevated by an epic, cinematic chorus. Think Ennio Morricone meets Radiohead.

Lost at Sea is another strong track, displaying a radio friendly pop savvyness, while Diving Bell has some smart afro-beat guitar work. This will appeal to those who like London band Tigercats latest album in particular.

Granted there’s a bunch of nonsense in the press release that did its best to put us off. It’s talk of “a subconscious reflection on the existential questions that pervade the album” almost sent us to sleep. But we do urge other music journalists who are sent this release to forget that tosh and just listen to the album instead.

Nicholson Heal’s Big Jupe sounds great and is packed  full of good songs. That’s our two key reviewing boxes ticked.

8/10

by Joe Lepper

For more information about Nicholson Heal and to order a copy of Big Jupe visit here.

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Top 10 Albums of 2018 ….so far

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Top 10 Albums of 2018 ….so far

Posted on 20 June 2018 by Joe

Each June we take a moment to look back on our favourite albums of the year so far. Inventive pop is a key theme his time around, with bands keen to push their boundaries and take their sound into new directions. It’s certainly paid off in the case of many of our Top 10 Albums of 2018 …. so far. We will revisit this list once again in December, when we will reveal our favourite albums of the year.

 

10. Alex Highton – Welcome to Happiness

For his third album Liverpudlian Alex Highton has turned up the synths and 1980/90s influences to great effect. This is particular notable on opener Benny Is a Heartbreaker, an Ultravox-esque thriller of a song.

Alex Highton

Read our full review here.

 

9. Guided by Voices – Space Gun

Space Gun may well be the best album Pollard has recorded under the Guided By Voices moniker since he resurrected the band back in 2012.

Space Gun

Read our full review here.

 

8. Superorganism – Superorganism

This global octet, with members from the UK, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, have impressed us greatly with their stunning debut, which is packed with a range of styles, big choruses and delicious hooks.

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7. Okkervil River – In the Rainbow Rain

In the Rainbow Rain is Okkervil River at their best, featuring great tunes in the likes of Love Somebody and Pulled Up The Ribbon as well as some of the strongest personal writing yet from their leader Will Sheff.

OkkervilRainbow

Read our full review here.

 

6. Tigercats – Pig City

Tigercats are back, bigger, brassier and they’ve brought the party with them, careering round the capital on this gem of a third album, which makes great use of their new horn section and African influences.

Tigercats

Read our full review here.

 

5. Parquet Courts – Wide Awake

Parquet Courts had already done their bit for guitar rock on their first three albums. Now they expertly take their music into new directions, thanks to Danger Mouse on production duties. The results are pure joy.

parquet courts

 

4. Neko Case – Hell On

The world’s best female vocalist? We certainly think so, especially after hearing this latest highly charged release. She certainly has a lot to be emotional about this time around with this album arriving after her house burnt down and amid a battle with stalkers. Yet another career highpoint and a worthy entry into our top 10 albums of 2018 list.

Neko Case - Hell-On

 

3. The Go! Team – Semicircle

Eu-bleedin’-phoric! There’s no other word combo to sum up the sheer exhilarating joy of this new The Go! Team album.

The Go Team SEMICIRCLE album artwork SMALL

Read our full review here.

 

2. Field Music – Open Here

From its chamber pop gems to pop-tastic foot stompers, this latest from Britain’s most interesting act continues to delight.  There are serious messages too, as the band eloquently express their fears around parenthood in post-Brexit Britain. A deserved high placing in our top 10 albums of 2018 list.

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Read our full review here.

 

1. Jack Hayter – Abbey Rood

A derelict children’s home provides the inspiration for former Hefner man Jack Hayter’s latest, where everything falls into place. It has a strong back story, some moments of genuine drama, great music and above all sincerity. This is not only one of the best folk albums of the year, but currently our favourite album of 2018.

abbey wood

Read our full review here.

Compiled by Joe Lepper and Dorian Rogers

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Tigercats – Pig City

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Tigercats – Pig City

Posted on 18 May 2018 by Joe

Tigercats are back, bigger, brassier and they’ve brought the party with them.

The London act have moved from their usual taglines of either merely “indie-pop” or the slightly more adventurous “Afro-beat pop” into the far more impressive press release description of being a “Kalimba-led psychedelic pop septet”.

Tigercats

Tigercats

The kalimba, refers to the traditional African thumb piano that has replaced a Fender Jaguar as frontman Duncan Barrett’s musical weapon of choice.

The septet refers to a brass section added to the mix and the psychedelic, well, not sure about that, but why not chuck that in as well?

The results of this heady mix on their third album Pig City are exceptional, taking the band back to the ethos of their stunning debut, of a group of young Londoners against the world, well more specifically bankers and hipsters.

Here the gang is back, albeit one with trumpets and saxophone, and still careering around the capital, and later on the album they even venture into nearby Thanet.

The sound is great, like Still Flyin’ for those familiar with the San Francisco act, with Perfect Fried Chicken the pinnacle of this new direction.

I thought the Go-Team had cornered the upbeat party indie pop market with their remarkable album of earlier this year Semi-circle, but this Tigercats’ track gives the Brighton act a real run for their money.

Planet Thanet, where they pop off to the often maligned North Kent district is another highpoint, with the horn section coming to the fore.

While their previous album Mysteries hinted at this new direction, with Gallon Drink’s Terry Edwards providing saxophone, here the Tigercats are far more ambitious. And while Mysteries impressed on first listen, its been rarely played since, something I cannot say about their debut. It is still on regular rotation, and I suspect Pig City will be too over the coming years.

9/10

by Joe Lepper

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Tigercats, Fever Dream and Seadog live in Brighton 27/03/15

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Tigercats, Fever Dream and Seadog live in Brighton 27/03/15

Posted on 12 February 2015 by Dorian

Neon Filler is delighted to present Tigercats and Fever Dream on the Brighton leg of their forthcoming tour. Support comes from the excellent Brighton band Seadog.

The gig is at The Joker in Brighton (view map) and is on Friday 27th March (Doors 8pm).

Tickets are £6 (plus outlet booking fee) and are available from Wegottickets, Gigantic and Brighton Source online.

If you are in Brighton why not get a nice paper ticket from Resident records? Whilst you are in there you can pick up a copy of the excellent new Tigercats album Mysteries.

If you are going to come along to the gig then why not make yourself known on the Facebook event page?

Tigercats

Having carved out a coveted space in the scuzzier realm of kinetic indiepop, London five-piece Tigercats have now delivered second album Mysteries, an assuredly contagious record bristling with melody and noise, and mapped out on a lyrical landscape populated by gated longings, bleached-out city skies, and skewed entanglements of the heart.

Tigercats

Tigercats make music that stems from the weird collision point between Half Japanese, Hefner, Daniel Johnston, Prince, and Orange Juice, shuttling through this heady constellation armed with a pop sensibility marked out by its eloquence and ferocity. Duncan Barrett and Laura Kovic articulate sweet laments and aspersions over swathes of magnetic agit-glam-punk noise which prowls an alternately feral and refined musical terrain.

Find out more at www.tigercatsband.com and check out the video to the song Junior Champion.

Fever Dream

Feted for the urgency and unrest of their live presence, London three-piece Fever Dream have now committed their dark and brittle post-punk-shoegaze noise to tape in the form of debut album, Moyamoya.

Fever Dream

Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Adey Fleet, bassist Sarah Lippett, and drummer Cat Loye, Fever Dream make music which stalks the unsettled territory between MBV and PiL; suffused with melody and discordance, unhinged and brutally stapled-down. Via the twitching fragility and freneticism of Fleet’s guitar and vocals, Lippett’s stormy bass, and the propulsive dark heart that is Loye’s drumming,Fever Dream pitch disorientating swathes of noise against irresistible pop hooks and gentle febrile tonality, arriving at a sound which sharply articulates a disorientating world of panic attacks, tender allegiances, and sweet perversions.

Find out more at www.feverdream.co.uk and check out the video to the song Flux.

Seadog

Seadog is the project of Brighton-based musician and song writer Mark Nathan Benton. Seadog began with Benton at the nucleus of an ever-changing cast of musical friends where each performer would bring their own piece of imagination to the music.

Seadog

Now established as a band with a regular cast, Seadog combine their musical ideas, fusing delicate acoustic lullabies with anthemic electric and acoustic textures.

Seadog have a strong presence amongst the Brighton music scene and have supported a number of acts over the years; including Erland and The Carnival, Blue Roses, Pink Mountain Tops and David Bazan (Pedro The Lion). They recently toured in the UK with Norwegian Songsmith Kenneth Ishak (from Beezwax) by playing as his backing band as the main support on the bill each night.

Find out more at http://seadogmusic.tumblr.com/ and listen to (and buy) the new Transmitter EP here.


 

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Tigercats – Sleeping In The Back Seat

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Tigercats – Sleeping In The Back Seat

Posted on 05 February 2015 by Dorian

Tigercats have just released a video for the song ‘Sleeping In The Back Seat’ from their excellent new album Mysteries. Watch the video below:

The band are on tour with Fever Dream in March and April, including a date in Brighton (promoted by Neon Filler) on the 27th March.

See the tour poster below for full dates:

Tigercats tour poster

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Tigercats – Mysteries

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Tigercats – Mysteries

Posted on 27 January 2015 by Joe

With Isle of Dogs, Tigercats arguably produced the perfect debut album. In garnering a rare 10/10 from us it seemed to perfectly encapsulate 20-something urban life as each song meandered across the records shops, bars and venues of their native East London. Now signed to Fortuna Pop and with Allo Darlin’s Paul Rains in their ranks they have also managed to nail the potentially tricky second album too.

Tigercats

Second albums can be a minefield. So many bands just try and repeat their debut hoping the sound will still be fresh, while others try too hard to change, veering off into experimental and unsuitable areas. Here Tigercats have met that challenge by ensuring their sound has moved onto the next level, while at the same time sticking true to their original ethos. It sounds simple enough, but so few bands manage it.

So how has the sound changed? Firstly, it is more polished, thanks to the band able to rack up a considerable amount of hours at Soup Studios, where bassist Giles Barrett works.

Secondly, there is real ambition here sonically. Not content, as so many indie pop bands are ,with a simple sound they’ve drafted in Gallon Drunk’s Terry Edwards to supply saxophone and horns across the album. This perfectly completes their core drums, bass, guitar, keyboards sound and sets them further apart from the pack. Rains too really adds some polish to the guitars, as he does so well in his day job with Allo Darlin’.

The third and perhaps most welcome change is the elevation of keyboardist Laura Kovic’s role. While on Isle of Dogs her vocal duties were largely confined to final track Johnny, here she is everywhere. She not only duets perfectly with lead singer and songwriter Duncan Barrett across the album but has lead vocals on two tracks, Laura & Cesar and Sleeping in the Backseat. It’s a smart move by the band, really adding depth to the songs with her softer vocals perfectly matching Barrett’s. At times with the horns and Kovic’s vocals there is even a Prefab Sprout quality to their tracks, which here seem more romantic, albeit in a sardonic way thanks to Barratt’s clever lyrics. Junior Champion for example manages the zenith for indie-geeks everywhere, of being simultaneously a love song and ode to chess.

In our review of Isle of Dogs we said Tigercats were an indie pop band you can dance to. For Mysteries they emerge as an indie pop band you can actually first dance to at a wedding – and there are not many of those bands around. With this amount of progress they have set the bar high indeed for album number three.

9/10

by Joe Lepper

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Top Ten Best Debut Albums (That Don’t Usually Make Best Debut Album Lists)

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Top Ten Best Debut Albums (That Don’t Usually Make Best Debut Album Lists)

Posted on 28 February 2014 by Dorian

A good debut album is a tough ask. Most bands starting out are mere songwriting and production novices who use their debut to test the water before unleashing a killer second or third album. Others just nail it first time. There has already been a fair few best debut albums lists but when we were looking through these we noticed a fair few noticeable absentees. We thought it was about time to give credit where its due and pay tribute to those that do not always make such lists. We’ve got lost albums that were only really heard decades later. We’ve also got popular albums that were perhaps not cool enough for some lists. We’ve also got others that were overshadowed by later releases. So what is our benchmark? Its simple, if it’s a great debut but not on the NME or Rolling Stone’s existing debut albums lists then its in. Anyway enough of the rambling, on with the list…

10. Tigercats – Isle of Dogs (2012)

 

tigercats

On this most recent debut on our list London based indie-popsters Tigercats show that they have more about them than a penchant for an afro-beat guitar lick and smart lyric. Here they present a frantic road trip around their East End home, visiting record stores, laughing at hipsters in trendy bars and drunkenly staggering home lamenting on the social divides of the capital. Of course that’s our interpretation. When we asked lead singer Duncan Barrett about how they managed to come up with the concept, he revealed that the tracks were merely the best ones they had at the time. In fact he  looked somewhat puzzled when I even suggested it was a great ‘concept album’  for Coalition government era London.  Happy accident or not, we urge you to check this out. (JL)

9. The Specials – The Specials (1979)

 

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I didn’t live in Coventry in the late 70s but amazingly this album almost makes me wish I had. Combining covers of 60s ska classics with a host of original material, there isn’t a duff track to be heard. Who can listen to Nite Klub without thinking it must have been written about somewhere they’ve been? Concrete Jungle combines social commentary with some amazing guitar playing, the lyrics should be depressing but instead are amazingly uplifting. Dawning of a New Era perfectly captures both the hope and despair as the 70s slipped away into what would be the Thatcherite 80s. The whole album combines great musicianship with thought provoking lyrics. Some of the characters in songs such as Too Much Too Young and Little Bitch are at face value pitiful yet somehow one can’t help but think everyone was having so much more fun back then. (MB)

8. The Go! Team – Thunder, Lightning, Strike (2004)

 

goteam

Thunder, Lightning, Strike is to all intent and purposes a solo album by bedroom recording artist Ian Parton. He cleverly records it under the Go! Team moniker (complete with esoteric punctuation) as he knows. as an obvious music geek, that the mystique of the “band” is part of the appeal. It is one of the most infectious albums of the last quarter century, immediate and energetic. It also performs a pretty neat trick of sounding unlike anything else, whilst being, partly through ingenious sample use. instantly familiar. Even the song titles make you smile and even if you don’t get the references, for example the  motorbiking TV show Junior Kick start is unlikely to be well known these days, they all sound pretty cool. As punky as it is funky, as much in thrall to film soundtracks as hip hop beats, it really is as much fun as you can cram on a CD. The current issue is great even if the extra track is unnecessary and the version of ‘Bottle Rocket’ isn’t as perfect as the original. (DR)

7. John Howard – Kid in a Big World (1975)

 

John Howard -Kid In A Big World

We’ve written about John Howard and his excellent debut album a lot since we were introduced to his music by Neonfiller.com favourite Ralegh Long. Snapped up by CBS in the 1970s he was sort of the next Elton John, but had more of an alternative, melancholy edge to his music. In the end his record company and mainstream radio didn’t really know how to market him to the masses. He made a few more records, but quit to became a music executive only to emerge in recent years with a second prolific recording career, with around a dozen releases since his 2005 comeback. It’s understandable why this album is not on other debut album lists, people quite simply never really got to hear it. But they were missing out. Here are some superb glam pop tracks and piano ballads, such as Family Man and Goodbye Suzie,  that in a more discerning alternative universe would have made him one of the biggest acts of the 1970s. (JL)

6. Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Searching for the Young Soul Rebels (1980)

 

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Like so many others I first got into Kevin Rowland and Dexy’s Midnight Runners because of the song Come On Eileen and the album Too Rye Aye. I became obsessed with them in a way only teenagers do and started to seek out their earlier material which soon led me to Searching for the Young Soul Rebels. Recorded only two years previously with a largely different band it’s a harder, edgier sound, swirling organs and storming brass overlaying  bass, drums and guitar are a marked contrast to the violins and banjos of the Eileen era but for me it is Rowland at his finest. There’s anger and passion a plenty in songs such as Burn it Down, Tell Me When My Light Turns Green and Seven Days Too Long, a number one hit in Geno, and my personal favourite There, There, My Dear. (MB)

5. Hefner – Breaking God’s Heart (1998)

 

Breaking Gods Heart

Darren Hayman has stated that Breaking God’s Heart is his least favourite Hefner album. It isn’t my favourite either, that is an accolade that swings regularly between The Fidelity Wars and We Love The City,  but it is a pretty perfect statement of intent and is an essential album in Hefner’s near perfect back catalogue. In fact it is the elements that make this such a good album that most likely bother Hayman, the rough edged recording, the adolescent lyrics and the far from perfect vocals. It sounds like a band starting out, like a band that is raw and passionate and a band that is bursting with brilliant songs they want to get on record. ‘The Sweetness That’s Withi’ is wonderful; not many bands start their first album with a song as strong as this. In fact the first four songs on the album, through The Sad Witch and the Hymn For The Postal Service are as good a quartet of album openers as I can remember. The last of the four Love Will Destroy Us In The End probably has the best opening 40 seconds of any indie pop song in the 90s. I suspect the same song also offers up the most cock-sure guitar solo of Hayman’s career. (DR)

4. The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band- Gorilla (1967)

 

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Formed at art college in the 60s the Bonzos struck upon the decidedly odd idea to reinvent traditional 1920s jazz in a then modern age of psychedelia and kaftans. The result is funny,  inventive and above all superb. The key to the Bonzo’s success and the greatness of this, their best album, was the songwriting of Neil Inness and the late Vivian Stanshall. Liverpudlian Innes, the genius behind The Rutles, was arguably as good a song writer as Lennon and McCartney. His track Equestrian Statue is a real high point. As for Stanshall, the east end lad with a knack for lampooning the English upper classes like no other, he delivers vocal treat after treat on tracks such as Cool Britannia, the Intro and the Outro and I’m Bored, which to this day are regularly used on TV, film and advertising. (JL)

3. Blondie- Blondie (1976)

 

blondiepsfront

Perhaps opening your debut album with a song about a sex offender isn’t the most commercial of moves but in the long term it doesn’t seem to have done Blondie much harm. It’s an excellent start to an excellent album that sadly over the years has been overshadowed by the more fully realised new wave pop sound of their later albums Eat to the Beat and Parallel Lines. Tracks on this debut, such as Little Girl Lies have much more 60s rock ‘n roll influence but the new wave attitude is bubbling away nicely on Look Good in Blue, In the Sun and Rifle Range. Debbie Harry’s vocals, churning out these sassy and funny lyrics, sound amazing and the whole band is clearly reveling in the chance to leap out of the New York punk scene of clubs such as CBGBs and Kansas City for a short time and into the recording studio, where they continued to improve for the rest of the 70s. (MB)

2. Supergrass – I Should Coco (2005)

 

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Why on earth doesn’t Supergrass’s  debut I Should CoCo take pride of place on other best debut albums lists?  It’s a glorious rollercoaster of a debut, packed with great guitar pop and above all fun. Just listen to one of its singles Caught by the Fuzz or Alright, and marvel at the cheeky chappie thrill ride of a three minute pop track that they are. I challenge you not to get up and start running across the nearest beach arms flailing around and declaring your adoration for life itself after listening to it this album. And it’s not just us that love it, even if it has been cruelly overlooked by the likes of NME and Rolling Stone. It reached number one in the UK album charts and is now platinum selling. The best Brit pop album of the 1990s? Well, its hard to find one that’s more fun certainly. (JL)

1. Sparklehorse – Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot (1995)

 

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Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot seemed to come out of nowhere when I first purchased it in shortly after its release. I knew nothing of Mark Linkous and his time in the Dancing Hoods or even that he had co-written a song on one of my favourite Cracker albums, even though Cracker frontman David Lowery is a secret contributor on this album under the name David Charles. This was purely an on spec purchase that sucked me in from first listen and instantly gave them “my new favourite band” status. Linkous’s  issues with mental health, and his eventual suicide, cloud his music now but at the time (although there is obvious sadness on the album) it is a very uplifting recording.

Songs move from delicate, such as Homecoming Queen to the noisy, such as Rainmaker via surreal noise interludes, most notably 350 Double Pumper Holey, without sounding at all unnatural or lacking cohesion. This is an album that covers so much ground whilst retaining the unique Sparklehorse identity. You want a banjo driven country epic? Well, listen to Cow. You want an indie disco classic with crunching guitars? Well, there is Someday I Will Treat You Good to scratch that itch. This outstanding debut is oddly left off far too many debut albums lists and we are delighted to give it top billing here. (DR)

Written and compiled by Martin Burns, Joe Lepper and Dorian Rogers

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Top Ten Acts To Watch Out For In 2013

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Top Ten Acts To Watch Out For In 2013

Posted on 04 December 2012 by Joe

Each year we give our run down of ten acts that have caught our attention over the last few months and are set for bigger things in the coming year. These are artists that we’ve either seen as emerging artists at festivals or as support acts, or those that have released teasingly good singles and EPs during 2012. Some are old stagers, some are brand spanking new bands. To be boastful for a moment, we  have a pretty good track record with our lists, with the likes of Tigercats in our bands to watch out for in 2012 list  more than delivering this year with the release of their album Isle of Dogs. Tigercats also played at our Oxjam gig in October among a raft of gigs across the UK, France and Spain. Even when we mess up we just about get it right, our top act to watch out for in 2011 Django Django ended up spending most of that year in the studio, but did eventually become a huge success in 2012 to spare our blushes.

10. Owl and Mouse

Owl and Mouse, a four piece from London, fronted by Australian born songwriter Hannah Botting are self confessed lovers of “ukuleles and bittersweet pop songs”. They came to our attention on a set of free Christmas releases by Fika Records last December in which their tender track Sandwich Day was the perfect way to showcase Botting’s intimate, beautiful vocal style.

During 2013 they have plans for a UK tour during June and July and possibly some European dates too.  A split 7” picture disc single featuring their track Canvas Bags is due for release in January and you can catch them at the Hangover Lounge, at the Lexington on January 6, 2013, where they will be launching the release. An album release is also a possibility during 2013. Hannah says: “We’ve been at Soup studios with Giles (Barrett) from Tigercats and have enough material for an Album which we’re determined to release in 2013.”

Their five track EP, called EP One, is available for just £1 here. Incredible value.

9. Evans the Death

The summery indie pop spirit of the mid 1980s courses through the veins of this London band, which released their self titled debut in 2012.  Cut them and they bleed Shop Assistants and Mighty Lemon Drops. We just missed out on reviewing the album through time constraints, but are making amends now by recommending them for 2013, when they attempt to take the next step in their career by impressing the great and the good at the South By South West annual music meat fest.

Signed to Slumberland in the US and Fortuna Pop over here they already have two respected labels of the indie pop world to promote them and further their credentials as one of the UK’s most interesting new bands. Fans of Allo Darlin and Veronica Falls will find a lot to like in their music and we’ve been particularly impressed with the vocal talents of Evans the Death singer Katherine Whitaker.

8.Southern Tenant Folk Union

One of our favourites since the release of their last album Pencaitland. While broadly speaking this is a bluegrass act, they exhibit a range of influnces from soul to cinematic music to indie rock that gives them a real edge. Those that like Miserable Rich and Leisure Society will have a lot to like here and 2013 looks set to be a busy year with the release of their album ‘Hello Cold Goodbye Sun’ and a string of dates planned. This is set to be an excellent follow up to their previous album Pencaitland, which was among our highlights of 2011.

We caught their live set in Frome last year (pictured above) and urge you to go and see them when they play near you. Superb music that adds further depth to the vibrant British folk and roots scene.

To hear tracks from Hello Cold Goodbye Sun check out their soundcloud page.

7.Soccer 96

Brighton drums and keyboards duo Soccer 96 make some of the best low budget electronic music around. Powerful and catchy hooks that adorned their self titled debut album impressed us this year and during 2012 they were named as one of BBC 6 Music presenter Steve Lamacq’s ‘new favourite bands.’ They are primed for more live shows during 2013 to build on the good publicity they’ve already received during 2012.  This includes a show at The Green Door Store in their hometown in March with Can singer Damo Suzuki and members of Sons of Noel and Adrian.

They are also in the studio working with producer Dan Swift on some new tracks which, accordng to the duo,  “promises to be a real step up production wise” A second album release is pencilled in for 2013 and a  collaboration with Stereolab’s Joe Watson is also on the cards next year for the duo, who go by the pseudonyms Danalogue and Betamax to hammer home their back to basics approach to electronic music. As our review said of their debut album “The drums are heavy and the analogue synths pleasingly squelchy and bassy, with 8-bit style squeaks and beeps adding retro texture.”

6.Fever Dream

Fever dream play music you can lose yourself in. It’s what some might call showgaze, others call indie rock and they call “dark, fuzzy menacing music that blurs the line from noisy new wave to angular post punk.”

We were first introduced to them via 2011’s Vostok 5 compilation CD about space flight and since then they’ve released a self titled EP, which they will continue to promote during 2013.   They are back in the studio this month to record some new tracks. As Adey from the band tells us: “If we can scrape ten or so songs together, I’m sure we’ll call it an album.”

They played the Long Division and Land of Kings festivals during 2012 and more festival appearances during 2013 are sure to follow. Adey adds: “As we’ve only played one foreign gig so far – in a toilet, in Berlin – it would be good to spread our wings and creative juices all over the World, so if anyone fancies inviting us to play abroad we’ll jump at the chance.”

Fever Dream’s Soundcloud page can be found here.

5.Ralegh Long

This London based singer songwriter’s EP of piano ballads The Gift left us really impressed in 2012. There’s more to come in 2013 with a follow up EP planned, plus the possibility of a full band record. Heavily influenced by the likes of Bill Fay and John Howard his songwriting is full of subtleties few others can match.

Long is an emerging talent that you should keep an eye out for in the gig listing, where he tours with his band Primary 3 as well as solo, as well as the new release sections. Among our favourite of his tracks is Elizabeth from The Gift.

4. Boomgates

If you are in Australia next year we urge you to check out this Melbourne based indie supergroup Boomgates, who are oozing with DIY punk spirit, catchy indie pop hooks and fronted by one of our favourite singers, Brendan Huntley from Eddy Current Suppression Ring. Other members include Teen Archers’ Gus Lord, The Twerps’ Rick Milovanovic, Sean Gionis from Trial Kennedy and Steph Hughes, ex of Children Collide.

They’ve got a raft of gigs planned in Australia during 2013 to continue promoting the release of their 2012 debut album Double Natural and are sure to continue to pick up interest in the US, where Brendan’s stock is high after  a string of Eddy Current Suppression Ring releases on US garage punk label Goner. 2013 will also see them support Wilco during the Australian leg of their tour, which is certain to bring their ramshackle pop to a wider audience.

To here more tracks from their debut album click here.

3.Rotifer

Robert Rotifer has been knocking around the indie and alternative scenes of Europe and England for a while now and with a new album planned for 2013 we sense this will be one of his band’s most successful year’s yet. Now a three piece, Robert has assembled two of the UK’s most experienced  musicians , Death in Vegas’s Ian Button and The Television Personalities’s Mike Stone.

They were our headliner for our October Oxjam gig and have one of the best live guitar sounds around thanks to Rotifer’s playing and Button’s electronic wizardry. Their last album The Hosting Couple, which featured Darren Hayman on bass, was one of our highlights of 2011 and is worth checking out while you wait for their new album.

Rotifer’s Soundcloud page can be found here.

2.Esben and the Witch

Another Brighton band on our list, who are set to release their second album Wash the Sins Not Only The Face on indie heavyweight label Matador in January 2013, followed by a 12 day UK and Europe tour ending on Feb 26 at London’s Scala. Described by NME as “gothic not goth” they are as haunting and unsettling as that description suggests.

While their 2011 debut album received a reasonable response, from what we’ve heard of their latest release it’s set to  bring them to a far wider audience and make 2013 the busiest year yet for the band.

For more information visit their website here.

1.Stealing Sheep

This Liverpool trio with a folk surf feel somewhere between Pentangle and a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack have the accolade of being the best support band we saw all year. They quite simply  blew the crowd away when they supported Field Music on their sell out tour this year. By the end of 2012 their debut  album  Into the Diamond Sun, with great tracks such as Shut Eye, had received similarly excellent reviews and they were headlining shows in their own right.

It’s at 2013 festivals where you should particularly watch out for this band, after a run of successful festival gigs in 2012 garnered them even more attention. Great live band with a wholly original sound. A deserved number one in this list.

For more information about Stealing Sheep visit their website here.

Compiled by Joe Lepper

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November Preview

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November Preview

Posted on 01 November 2012 by Joe

Here is our November preview of the best music releases and events in the coming month. Items marked with an * are currently scheduled for review on the site.

Album of the Month

Darren Hayman and the Long Parliament – The Violence

In the final instalment of the former Hefner man’s trilogy about his native Essex he turns his attention to the county’s 17th century witch trials in which more than 300 vulnerable, often destitute women, were slaughtered. It marks a poignant and sad end to the trilogy in which Hayman finally realises his potential as one of the best English folk artists around. See our review here.

Album/EP Releases

Nov 5 Friendly Fires – Late Night Tales•
Nov 5 Revival Hour – Clusterchord•
Nov 12 Crystal Castles – III

Live

Rotifer

Nov 3, London, Half Moon in Herne Hill, with Willard Grant Conspiracy
Nov 17, London, Rambling Rose/Haringay Arms, as part of The End festival

Rotifer

Tigercats

Nov 17, Paris, L’international
Nov 27, London, The Lexington with Let’s Wrestle
Dec 8, Nottingham, Chameleon Arts Café, with Fever Dream and Young Romance

First Aid Kit

Nov 20 and 21, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
Nov 22 HMV Ritz, Manchester
Nov 24, Queen Margaret Union, Glasgow
Nov 27, O2 Academy, Bristol


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Rotifer, Tigercats and Danny Kendall – Oxjam Benefit

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Rotifer, Tigercats and Danny Kendall – Oxjam Benefit

Posted on 30 October 2012 by Dorian

Our second live music showcase of 2012 at Brighton’s Quadrophenia-esque Green Door Store, which is tucked into the arches underneath the city’s giant Victorian railway station, featured three of our favourite UK acts Rotifer, Tigercats and Danny Kendall. The night was held as part of the Oxjam festival, with all profits from the night being donated to help causes in Africa through Oxfam.

Danny Kendall

Danny Kendall

First on the stage was Danny Kendall, the pseudonym of part-time Chris T-T and Jim Bob drummer Ben Murray, an act named after the troubled mid-80s Grange Hill character. For this gig his line-up was completed by Jen Macro and Lucy Parnell, two thirds of the band Something Beginning With L . The three piece took to their stools  for a quietly beautiful set of acoustic melancholia played on guitar and harmonium. ‘We’ve Never Been To Singapore’ was a high-point in an accomplished set of songs that showcased some lovely three part vocal harmonies and delicate melodies.

Tigercats

Tigercats

Tigercats, from east London, are spending much of 2012 touring venues across Spain, the UK and France promoting this year’s debut album Isle of Dogs. What makes them such an interesting act live and on the album is the mix of styles. There’s plenty of upbeat, indie guitar pop in their set, on tracks such as Banned at the Troxy and Full Moon Reggae Party, but it’s never relentless as their repertoire includes more thoughtful moments, perhaps best shown tonight through the tragic ballad Jonny and the sardonic call to arms from lead vocalist Duncan Barrett on Coffin For The Isle of Dogs. Highpoints  of tonight’s set included their dream like tour of London and one hit wonders on Vapours,  guitarist Stefan Schafer’s intricate guitar playing and the relentless energy of bassist Giles Barrett, who like Duncan was mysteriously barefoot for the performance.

Rotifer

Rotifer

Rotifer, the band fronted by Austrian born now Canterbury based songwriter, journalist, broadcaster and festival organiser Robert Rotifer, proved a worthy headliner, as they showcased a number of new songs from their forthcoming 2013 album as well as highlights from last year’s excellent mod-era influenced album The Hosting Couple and The Children of the Hill (2009).

What became apparent from their first few bars of opener Aberdeen Marine Lab, from The Hosting Couple, was what an accomplished live trio Robert Rotifer has created. With Death in Vegas’s Ian Button on drums and Television Personalities’ Mike Stone on bass they are seasoned pros who know all the tricks to a successful live set. Robert’s engaging banter about futuristic kitchens and newspaper practices won over those that were unfamiliar with his previous albums. While the raft of new songs: Now On There Is Only Love, By The Time November Comes, Ms Pendantovic Resigns, I Just Couldn’t Eat As Much As I’d Like To Throw Up and set closer Black Bag, proved an enticing glimpse of their forthcoming album for fans such as Tigercats, who later described Rotifer’s set as “furious” on their Facebook page.

Rotifer

Final mention goes to Robert Rotifer’s sumptuous guitar sound, played on a Japanese reissue of a custom 1962 Fender Telecaster through a Vox amp. The special ingredient we are told is the use of a EMR valve-driven spring reverb unit made by Button. “Every guitarist should have one,” says Robert proudly. We implore you to check out these three bands, who are not only a fine advert for the vibrancy of the UK music scene but also gave up their time for free for a good cause.

Words – Dorian Rogers and Joe Lepper. Pictures – Nic Newman.

More of Nic’s pictures from the night can be found on our Flickr page.

Forthcoming gigs by the bands.

Rotifer: Nov 3, London, Half Moon in Herne Hill, with Willard Grant Conspiracy; Nov 17, London, Rambling Rose/Haringay Arms, as part of The End festival

Tigercats: Nov 17, Paris, L’international; Nov 27, London, The Lexington with Let’s Wrestle; Dec 8, Nottingham, Chameleon Arts Café, with Fever Dream and Young Romance

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