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Two Wounded Birds – Two Wounded Birds

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Two Wounded Birds – Two Wounded Birds

Posted on 29 May 2012 by Joe

Surf culture has suffered a lack of pivotal vanguards in recent times. Musical exports have equated to lazy, conceited production with little focus on sonic enlightenment and more focus on the aesthetics of stoner nostalgia. And, as the deluge of social media canoodles with substandard sounds of nonchalant surfer delinquents, such as fashionable novices, Best Coast, it comes as an abating reassurance that the genre is in no way as fleeting as the vaporised swill of spliff smoke.

Finally, with the release of their self-titled debut, Two Wounded Birds, who are one of our top ten bands to watch out for in 2012,  seem fully prepared to grapple with integrity over image.

Riding the waves off of the back of their 2010 EP, Keep Dreaming Baby, the band have remained stalwart patriots to delivering vintage pop diamonds. Consisting of twelve progressively sentimental odes to the ‘rebel with a heart,’ Two Wounded Birds focus their attention on emanating throwback rock’n’roll jingles, so authentic they could almost be mistaken for the real thing.

Coincidentally, along with the unavoidable similarity to their unambiguous tour-buds, The Drums, there is a distinctly potent whiff of post-chillwave chic drifting between each segment. The distant Hawaiian guitar twang, coupled with nuances of 60’s psyche warbles in Night Patrol, or the abrasive Beach Boys crudity of opener, Together Forever, are equally as traditional as they are acknowledging of current trends. But, where similar bands fall short, Two Wounded Birds’ straightforward songwriting approach is as believable as Brian Wilson’s affection towards a Bahama shirt.

And instead of repeating the post-Pet Sounds abstruseness, Two Wounded Birds channel their fresh faced energy into short, punchy pop ditties. Daddy’s Junk plays like a 45inch Cramps record being played at 33inch speed. To Be Young becomes a signature to sobered slackers: deceptively angsty and boisterous. Accompanied by such impeccable production, every shading of the afternoon sun seems to have been captured with every snare snap and every six-string boing.

Yet, like the turn of tides, the record travels from polite punk youthfulness towards more of a washed out timidity. Following the instrumental Tarantino-esque interpretation of western trailblazing (much akin to Miserlou, or an acerbic Deltones), the album slows to the pace of driftwood circling around the fringe of a shoreline. The tone in, lead vocals, Johnny Danger’s melodic patterns soften to weepy whines. Whereas the opening numbers fixate on upbeat summer vibes, tracks such as I’m No Saviour and No Goodbyes oscillate around soft, slow guitarwork and moody lyrical material. Dangers’ reverberating vocal lines  become almost Lynchian in execution – eerie and elegiac – only intensified by the album’s closer, Growing, an evident homage to The xx’s bleak minimalism and dark composition.

Despite the ungovernable buoyancy bouncing around Two Wounded Birds’ debut, one fault to note is how clearly effortless everything seems to them. With the impending release for the self-titled this June, the group have proved their ability to clone a carbon copy of a pre-existing sound. Their next task should be to challenge the tradition and build upon their influences. They have the potential to revitalise a genre being lost to sea by an over populated blogosphere and general musical ignorance. Here’s hoping.

8/10
by Tom Watson
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Top Ten Bands To Watch Out For In 2012

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Top Ten Bands To Watch Out For In 2012

Posted on 16 November 2011 by Joe

Last year London band Django Django topped our list of acts  to watch out for  in 2011. As autumn came they didn’t disappoint as they  began unveiling tracks from their forthcoming highly promising debut album.

Another to justify their place on the 2011 list was The Miserable Rich, who unveiled their superb third album Miss You In the Days in October.

This year we look at our top ten bands to watch out for in 2012. Some have already being wowing festival crowds and attracting attention in the blogosphere. As 2012 progresses we predict these bunch will climb up the festival bills and garner even more praise.  Sit  back and enjoy Neonfiller.com’s top ten acts to look out for in 2012.

10. Alice Gun

Just before the 2011 Mercury nominations were revealed a few names cropped up among bloggers, including ourselves, for possible inclusion. One of those names was little known singer -songwriter Alice Gun, whose debut album Blood and Bone impressed us greatly when it was released early in 2011. It’s sparse, it’s eerie and a beautiful debut that was sadly overlooked by the Mercury  panel. Comparisons to PJ Harvey are inevitable, but Gun is her own artist and we are expecting big things of her in 2012 as word  of her talent spreads.

9.Tigercats

Tigercats from London are that rarest of bands, an indie-pop act that you can actually dance to. After a string of singles and EPs they are finally ready to release their debut album in 2012. We’ve had a sneak listen to a couple of tracks already and we predict it will bring them to a far wider audience than the small band of wise indie-kids that have already discovered them.

The album will be backed by a series of tour dates. Among our favourite Tigercats tracks, and one we are keen to see live is Easter Island, which was released in August 2010.

8. Free Swim

Free Swim are one of those unusual bands that pop up in our inbox occasionally that leave us lost for words. The first email we received was to promote their debut EP Two Hands Is Ok, about a man who was so busy he had to graft another set of arms onto his torso. The next time it was to tell us of EP #2 Yolanda the Panda, about the adventures of a mountain climbing Panda. The subject matter may be comical, but they are serious about their music, sounding like a cross between Super Furry Animals and King Missile. A whole bunch of other reviewers from 6Music to XFM also agree.  Live they are a force to be reckoned with as  their bassist becomes a real life Super Furry Animal by donning a giant panda costume. A funny, interesting band that are set to release their third EP in 2012 and continue wowing crowds with their unusual  live show. Here’s some footage we took at one of their 2011 gigs, in Brighton.

7.Kill It Kid

How Kill It Kid are not already one of the UK’s biggest bands is a mystery. Their 2009 self titled debut album’s mix of rootsy blues and rock wowed critics, but failed to shift CDs.  But 2012 could prove to be their year as they continue touring to promote 2011’s excellent second album  Feet Fall Heavy, which features a bigger and bolder sound.  We predict a main stage slot at one of the major festivals in 2012, surely the perfect stage for their ballsy approach to rock. What’s more in Chris Turpin and Stephanie Ward the band, which formed at Bath Spa University, are blessed with two excellent singers.

6.Twin brother

During our visit to Glastonbury this year we made sure we spent alot of time at the BBC Introducing stage. First up on the Friday were Brighton’s Twin Brother and what a performance they put on. Held together by the sumptious vocals of singer songwriter and  multi-instrumentalist Alex Wells, the band evoke classic mid 1980s sounds of Aztec Camera and Lloyd Cole and the Commotions. Twin Brother also played the Anglo-French White Nights festival during 2011 and a string of dates are booked in for 2012.

Here’s an acoustic version by Wells of Send Me A Letter, a track from one of their planned releases during 2012.

5.Two Wounded Birds

Margate’s Two Wounded Birds were another act that dazzled us at the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury. Surf-punk is probably the best way to describe them as they mix classic punk, with surf and rock and roll. They are also gaining alot of attention from national radio stations and online broadcasters, including 6Music and NME online.

4. Dry the River

Festivals have been key to Dry The River’s excellent 2011, bringing their energetic live sets to events such as Glastonbury and Brighton’s Great Escape.  Gradually they’ve been building up a solid fan base thanks to their mix of accessible classic rock with an alternative, folk edge.  They start 2012 as part of the Q:Now the Sessions events playing XOYO, London in January and are certain to start climbing up the festival bills during the summer. In a few years time we wouldn’t be surprised to see this band, which formed in East London in 2009,  headlining a festival main stage.

3.Youth Lagoon

Already Idaho 20-something Trevor Powers, who performs under the name Youth Lagoon, has generated plenty of buzz in the US. His debut album The Year of Hibernation, which has been released on the influential Fat Possum label, has been given near universal critical praise, including a coveted Best New Music tag from Pitchfork. His subject matter of love, loss and anxiety is still immature at times, but he is at the start of what promises to be a long career. We are confident that the US buzz around Powers will soon spread to the UK. Watch out for European tour dates in 2012.

2.The Revival Hour

DM Stith is one of the gems of US label Athmatic Kitty’s roster. The multi-instrumentalist has spent much of 2011 supporting label mate Sufjan Stevens on tour and promoting his dramatic debut album Heavy Ghost. For 2012 he is taken a slightly different direction with his new porject The Revival Hour. This collaboration with John Mark Lapham from The Earlies was formed through a mutual love of Roy Orbison and judging by their first single Hold Back they have been heavily influenced by the 1960s. An album is due out in 2012 and is set to feature contributions from Stevens, My Brightest Diamond and Shearwater.  Hold Back is one of our highlights of 2011 and we anticipate the album to be one of the best of 2012.

1. Singing Adams

After splitting from the Broken Family Band its songwriter and lead singer Steven Adams (pic: second from left) has taken an indie pop direction with his next project Singing Adams. Bringing in indie stalwarts Matthew Ashton, Melinda Bronstein and Michael Wood the band perfectly compliment Adam’s bittersweet and often humourous song writing. We saw them in September in Bristol play to about 70 people, a far cry from Adams’ time with festival favourites Broken Family Band. This meagre crowd is set to grow in 2012 once word spreads. They are a well drilled and engaging live act and in 2012 are set to release their second album. Some tracks were trialled at the gig we saw in September and we were left impressed. Watch out for this band at a festival or venue near you, they could soon be your next favourite band.

The band’s debut album Everybody Friends Now was one of our highlights of 2011. Here’s one of our favourite tracks from the album, I Need Your Mind.

 by Joe Lepper

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