As you may already know, as part of The Great Escape’s lead international focus on Catalan Sounds, we’re presenting a variety of music from Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, currently a hot-bed of new music, both live and recorded. Me and the Bees are one of many great bands to come out of Catalan territories, featuring Esther Margarit (lead vocals and guitar), Eli Molina (guitar), Verónica Alonso (drummer), and Carlos Leoz (guitar) with back up vocals provided by all of them.
Streaming here is “Cleopatra" of the "Cleopatra EP”, Esther’s raspy vocals are soothing and the honest band’s sound has that unexplainable quality that makes you smile every time you listen to them. You should check out their debut LP “Fuerza Bien" that was released back in late 2010 on Barcelona record label, La Castanya. Can’t wait to see them at TGE!
Brighton’s tweecore trio Damages will release their debut single ‘Tie A Ribbon’ as part of an upcoming split single with former band of the day Towns through Cartoon Records, order here.
They have been described as ‘having enough fire in their belly to stoke a chimney’ and conjuring up ‘what the faster tracks of The Pixies seminal work Dolittle would have sounded like if they had been reinteruperated by Nirvana, spliced with John Spencer Blues Explosion’ before being dropped into a sewer based toxic ooze’
The Cast of Cheers hail from Dublin and debut single, Family, is out on February 20th is full of angular, giddy guitars and yelped vocals. Its sounds like the best bits of Hot Hot Heat with a bit of early Foals thrown in to the mix The band are set to embark on a three month tour with Theme Park from February.
Next show is 31st January (tomorrow) at Madame Jo Jo’s. Details here
Today’s Band of the Day is Vondelpark, a London based production trio on R&S Records. Lewis Rainsbury, Alex Bailey and Matt Law create wonderfully atmospheric sample based sounds using minimal guitar chords and soulful vocals, with this accompanying video completing the ‘washed-out’ vibe. “Camels” was released on their "nyc stuff and nyc bags" EP last July and they’ve supported James Blake who’s also released material on the label.
Ajay Bhattacharyya and Amy Kirkpatrick from Canada are electro-indie duo Data Romance. They create industrial-infused pop likened to that of Nine In Nails, but watch this bewitching video for their track “The Deep” and you’ll soon agree that they have a sound of their own, which they describe as “the contrast between human feeling and hard tech”, with Kirkpatrick’s ghostly vocals offering a feminine edge. Don’t miss the band’s full-length album, due out soon.
Hoodlums are a 5 piece band, fronted by the commanding vocals of Lou Vaingloriuous. Their music emanates a dark and brooding atmosphere that sets them apart from most indie-pop, culminating in euphoric choruses and colossal sounds.
You can catch them next at Wilmington Arms in Clerkenwell on the 9th of February where they’re launching their second single, “Dark Horses”, featured here.
Chairlift’s much anticipated second album “Something” was released yesterday, however without founding member Aaron Pfenning who left the group, now only featuring vocalist Caroline Polachek and multi-instrumentalist Patrick Wimberly.
You may have first heard of Chairlift when their track “Bruises” became a mainstream success off the back of Apple’s iPod Nano advert back in 2008, but the release of “Something" has proved they are more than just a one-hit-wonder, presenting an album of bolder melodies and 80s pop influences, and Polachek’s vocals are as elegant as ever. Watch a stripped down version of "I’m a Ghost Tonight" from Black Cab Sessions.
And while you’re at it, Chairlift’s Boiler Room session back in early November is quite a watch. I was at Corsica Studios on the night to see it live and it was quite the performance, certainly the first of it’s kind to grace the Boiler Room, hence causing a bit of a stir in the infamous chatroom.
Each year we offer over 350 volunteers the chance to gain firsthand experience of life working in the music industry with a variety of roles over the course of the event. We recruit in many different areas including Branding and sponsorship, Convention Production and Hosts, Festival Runners, Delegate and Artist Registration, Technical Production Support, Venue Staff and Wristband Exchange.
Go to here for more information and to register as a volunteer.
Street Chant are a heavy pop trio from Auckland, New Zealand. The band consists of Emily Littler (vocals/guitar), Billie Rogers (bass/vocals) and Alex Brown (drums). Formed out of boredom, teenage binge drinking and other bands making them want to vomit. They have since gone on to storm SXSW and release their debut album ‘Means’ through Arch Hill Recordings.
We haven’t heard this type of urgency since Die! Die! Die! It feels like it could all fall apart at any second. They know what being a heavy guitar pop trio is all about. Turn it up loud, hit the distortion pedal and get to the point. Some UK shows this year wouldn’t go a miss either.
Towns are a quartet from Weston-super-Mare, a seaside resort from which John Cleese, T4 on the Beach and donkeys reside.
The debut single ‘Gone Are The Days’ produced by Owen Morris (Oasis, The Verve) is four minutes of fuzzy guitars full of reverb and hook laden vocals which effortlessly sear over the wall of noise which reverberates all over it. Think Ride covering My Bloody Valentine songs. It’s out on the 20th February.
Towns are also playing across the UK over the next week, go here for further details and ensure bragging rights that you saw them first.
Speech Debelle was outside in the office courtyard this afternoon playing songs from the forthcoming second album as part of FlyTV’s In The Courtyard sessions. Make sure you catch the performance soon at http://www.the-fly.co.uk.
Italian siblings Daisy and Thomas Finetto formed the band Mausi after meeting Ben Brown and Benji Huntrods at university in Newcastle.
Due for release on February 20 via US label All Things Go, “sol.” is the first offering from the four-piece, showcasing their youthful energy with infectious up-beat pop injected with summer vibes that command you to ‘Dance! Dance! Dance!’, and accompanied by a self-written, directed and produced video.
Friends are the latest in a long line of cool-looking bands from Brooklyn. What sets Friends apart, however, is that the songs are good. There’s a looseness and spontaneity to what they do.
Recently released single ‘Im His Girl’ printed on a limited run of vinyl, sold out within days of it’s release. They are heading over to the UK in February to play shows in Manchester and London, tickets are selling fast. Get them here .
Check out the video for the catchy-as-hell bubblefunk single “I’m His Girl”. Friends singer/songwriter Samantha Urbani co-directs alongside Aurora Halal. Watch it below.
Brighton duo You Love Her Coz She’s Dead have been described as Atari Teenage Riot meets Digitalism. Having notched up previous release through Kitsune and shows with Flux Pavilion and Sleigh Bells this lot have been causing quite a stir for the last few years.
The debut album was released at the tail end of last year and is available to buy from here.
Look out for further releases and collaborations in 2012 and check out the amazing video below for ‘Leap Of Desire (I)’ which was shot in Brighton and is dedicated to the late DJ Mehdi.
Stockholm natives, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Maria Lindén and drummer Fredrik Balck are I Break Horses, who released their debut album “Hearts” last summer on Bella Union, famously home to Fleet Foxes and Explosions In The Sky. What followed was almost universal acclaim for their shoegazy electronica, created using keyboards and plenty of reverb to emanate a textured soundscape.
They’re joining M83 on tour later this year, but for now have a listen to “Winter Beats”.
Megafortress is the brainchild of New York-based experimental pop musician Bill Gillim. His self-titled debut on Software and Mexican Summer (home to previous Band of the Day Oneohtrix Point Never) is awaiting release on January 31st, and judging from this track we’re excited to hear it. His gently obscured falsetto is reminiscent of Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, and he completes the track with a simple arrangement including electronic steel drums and rainsticks. Fader also dubbed his music as “the most beautifully inward, fetal position-inducing music imaginable”.
And on that note, check out the video for “Green Child below” by Grant Nitsch.
Helena Gee and Ashiya Eastwood are Replicas, who recently debuted on O Genesis Recordings last September with a three-track EP produced by Tim Burgess, featuring singles “Hearts Beat”, “The City” and “You Disappear”. Each track exudes sensual melancholy with brooding synths and ambient vocals from both Helena and Ashiya.
Christine Owman is the Swedish based singer-songwriter that has founded her own record label, Revolving Records. She is known for her captivating and unconventional performances, creating a blend of dreamy folk, expressed through clever, uninhibited lyrics. This has earned comparisons to other darkly theatrical songsmiths such as Tom Waits.
The album (featuring a collaboration with Mark Lanegan) is set for release in 2012.
London four piece Crow’s have more raw energy than a 6 year old chugging a can of energy drink. Take the track korea for example, James Cox spits and drawls ‘no things aren’t like they were’ as he struggles to be heard over the trashy garage rockabilly created around him.
The Double A-side Single King/Korea released through Howl Club is available to download from iTunes, as well as Spotify now.
Meet Danielle Johnson, a 21-year-old “sci-fi obsessive” from Brooklyn who goes under the alias of Computer Magic. She makes lo-fi bedroom electronic pop music presumably using some clever computer plug-in that makes it sound as though it came out of a bunch of Korgs that have been stored in a secret vault since the eighties.
The track ‘Ex Believer’ can be found on the recently released Kitsuné Maison Compilation 12, available here. Check out the video for 'The End Of Time' complete with the best space suite we have seen this side of the apollo missions.
Indie Rock veterans Nick Thorburn of Islands/The Unicorns, Ryan Kattner from Man Man, and Joe Plummer, Modest Mouse drummer have joined forces to create Mister Heavenly. They only have three ground rules a) Keep it short; b) Keep it simple; and c) Keep it rooted in some semblance—harmonic, lyrical—of classic doo-wop. They toured with Passion Pit towards the end of 2011, after releasing their debut “Out of Love” on Sub Pop Records, bringing along adorable Canadian actor Micheal Cera as touring bassist. Their playful spirit is evident but their collaboration of contrasting vocals and captivating guitar hooks will make this project one to remember.
Stream “Pineapple Girl” here or watch the delightfully boisterous video for “Bronx Sniper” below.
ARMS began in 2004 as the side-project of 26-year-old Brooklyn based Todd Goldstein, Harlem Shakes guitarist, who was quietly self-releasing his own music whenever he had the spare time to do so. But once Harlem Shakes disbanded in 2009, ARMS escalated into what it is today, that’s with the addition of Tlacael Esparza on drums, Matty Fasano on bass/vocals and David Harrington on keyboards/electronics. Following a breakthrough on the blogosphere they soon released their full-band debut "Summer Skills" on Manchester label Melodic, featuring 13 tracks showcasing their ambient sounds which are lo-fi yet melodic, accompanied by Goldstein’s passionate vocals.
Woman’s Hour have created ‘a bit of a stir’, with the recently released double A-side ‘Jenni’ / ‘Human’ available on limited 7” vinyl here
The London-based quartet, consist of siblings Fiona and William Burgess. They make wonderful atmospheric electronic pop music that isn’t afraid of dead space and are ones to keep an eye on during 2012. Their next show is a FREE Entry affair on the 10th January, Macbeth, London. Further details can be found here .
London based shoegazers Hold Kiss Kill bring loud chainsaw guitars with dreamy vocal melodies, which become buried, within the beautiful commotion they create.
Their sound nods towards bands such as My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth and encapsulates the very best of what made guitars sound so vital in the early 90’s. It’s time to jump on the indie rock revivalist train and leave Ed Sheeran at the station.
Another Band of the Day from Pictures Music; Jami Welch aka young producer, Seams.
He played The Great Escape earlier this year and has toured with Dam Mantle and Gold Panda, and his summer release “Focus Energy / Motive Order” is the follow up to his “Tourist” EP, which has a significantly different vibe. He states “Tourist” was recorded over a summer in Berlin, ‘inspired by the outdoor living of the city in the summer, and how much music was intrinsically linked to daily life’. The new EP however, is much more night-time orientated, propelling his previously lush and melodic lo-fi electronica to dancefloor-appropriate levels. The two new tracks present themselves as rhythmic and driven, perhaps hinting at his recent move to Berlin, home to techno influences. Listen to “Focus Energy” here or check out the “Tourist” EP on his bandcamp page.
Berlin singer songwriter Dominique Dillon de Byington aka Dillon has finally released her long awaited debut album. The 23 year old has generated a large buzz since she uploaded her first videos on Youtube in 2007. Her leftfield pop sounds like CocoRosie covering Lykke Li songs.
The album 'This Silence Kills' was released last month and is very intimate and personal affair. It captivates throughout and speaks very loudly without making much noise at all. Well worth further investigation if you haven’t done so already.
Mysterious London 3 piece Ghost Eyes are the music equivalent of Big Foot, blink and you will miss them. There have been brief sightings throughout 2011 as they have notched up supports with Gold Panda and The Naked and Famous but beyond that very little else. What we do know is their debut single ‘The Phantom Mountain’ with its scratchy guitars and huge synth basslines crashing over melancholy vocals is utterly compelling.
We have heard that 2012 will see the release of their full length album. Until then you will have to make do with this video for the single ‘Phantom Mountain’ directed by Phil Sharp.
Our Band of the Day is technically a band we haven’t yet heard, but it’s an exciting concept. Ex-Gallows front man Frank Carter has started a new project, titled Pure Love, signed to Vertigo Records. They’ve, only just, been keeping us in the loop on their ambiguously designed website therealpurelove.com, their first gig will take place at Shepherds Bush Hall as part of the NME Awards Show on Valentine’s Day next year, and they’ve suggested keeping their music under wraps until then. Apart from of course this teaser they released, we’re not even sure what to expect…
Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis are husband and wife dup-pop duo from Wisconsin, Peaking Lights. Their romantically psychedelic album “936” has been classified on several occasions as one of the best albums of 2011. Love could well be their secret ingredient, a lot of their music is created using Aaron’s home built synths, effects units, and rhythm machines. But it’s their distinctive sounds that fuse Indra’s captivating vocals with fluid rhythms and dub undertones as well as lo-fi tracks as serene as “Hey Sparrow” that make them a real stand out in a year of some really great releases.
I’m gutted that I couldn’t attend a single date on their short stint in the UK, including a show at the legendary Plastic People alongside Patten, Paul White and previous Band of the Day, producer Dam Mantle. However they’ve just been announced for Field Day 2012 and I’m sure they’ll be making plenty more appearances in the near future.
Here’s the video for “Hey Sparrow”, reminiscent of childhood summers that you spent making friends with inanimate objects.
The Great Escape lead international focus on Catalan Sounds
The Great Escape is delighted to announce the Insititut Ramon Llull as its lead international partner for the 2012 festival in Brighton, presenting Catalan Sounds – music from Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. From Barcelona to the Mediterranean islands, Catalan territories are a hot-bed of new music, both live and recorded.
Previous international partners at the festival, such as Ireland (2011), New Zealand (2009), France (2007) and Canada (2006), have seen new artists and musicians from across the world come to the attention of the varied and influential audience at The Great Escape.
The Great Escape has welcomed many Catalan bands and artists in previous years such as Manel and Cuchillio in 2009, Mujeres and John Talabot in 2010 and AIAS, Les Aus, and Mishima in 2011.
Here is a little taster of what you can expect from this years’ leading partner:
Mujeres describe themselves as simply 4 guys who met each other at university and the only way they saw to keep on hanging out with each other after graduating was to start their own rock band. Apart from that “everything else is unimportant”, so they claim.
John Talabot is a youngster from Barcelona with a rather special way of approaching music. His influences range from flamenco to nouthern soul, from African music to traditional Asian songs and his inspiration sources go from the profound and sensual house of Moodyman and labels such as Sound Signature or KDJ to Disco music, Chicago House, Pop or Techno.
Mishima is a Catalan indie pop band from Barcelona. Their music is influenced by artists as Magnetic Fields and The Divine Comedy. Check out bellow “Un Tros de Fang” which is one of their most acclaimed songs.
BAND OF THE DAY #80 - The Hundred In The Hands
The Hundred in the Hands (often abbreviated as THITH) is an electropop duo, formed in 2008 in Brooklyn, New York, USA. They are named after the phrase the Lakota Nation gave to the Fetterman Battle of 1866 in Wyoming (in which Crazy Horse led his warriors to a victory that resulted in the death of 100 enemies). This electrifying band fuses electropop with post-punk and dream pop elements, making for a sound that’s equally danceable and dreamy.
The Hundred in Hands released their debut album in late 2010. The song “Pigeons” supported by an original music video is their most popular song to date. Enjoy!
Brothers Isaac Aesili and Mark McNeill from New Zealand, are known here as production duo Karlmarx. Streaming here is a great track that featured on their “Mists” EP, now on their debut full-length “The Karlmarx Project”. Their sound fuses electronica, techno, synthpop, industrial, future soul and instrumental hip hop, and with support coming already coming from Benji B (BBC 1Xtra) and Lefto (Brownswood), these guys are one to watch.
The following is a video for “Futuro”, a perfect accompaniment to their dark and spacey beats.
Alternative Sounds of The Balearic Islands - Upsairs@The Garage 01.12.11
In continuation of support for Catalan music, The Great Escape and Institut Ramon Llull presented an evening showcasing some of the most exciting acts hailing from the Balearic Islands.
Poomse start the evening’s proceedings as singer and songwriter Llorenç Rosello delivers songs from the album ‘Tomorrow Will Come & It Will Be Fine’ in a warm mournful drawl.
Beach Beach take to the stage and blast through tracks ‘Leeuwenhoek’ and ‘Palindrome’ and instantly disperse any thoughts of the damp cold weather outside. Their lo-fi sun drenched sound embraces all the joy and thrill that sunny weather brings and is the perfect remedy for anyone who is looking for a brief escape from the upcoming cold bleak winter months.
Marzipan Man are an altogether different proposition. Songs from the album ‘The Marzipan Adventures’ are given a new lease of life within a live setting as they perform their orchestral twee-pop in front of a backdrop of images, which beckons the audience into their playful, dreamlike world for forty blissful minutes.
London-based New Build is an exciting new pop project made up of members from Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem, with special guest appearances from Planningtorock. Their obscure sound is created using an experimental range of microphones, synthesizers and drums and all members have an abundance of live experience, it would surely be a pleasure to witness.
They’ve just released their limited edition 12” “Misery Loves Company" on the band’s own label Lanark Recordings featuring three tracks, with rumours of a full album out early next year.
Norwegian band Young Dreams are Modular People’s newest signing, made up of a revolving collective of 12 like-minded musicians. They picked up a following in the International music press by simply uploading music to their Facebook page, and festival appearances shortly followed. Their upbeat dreampop with tropical sounds draw resemblance to bands like Crystal Fighters who are really pushing the summer vibes despite being in the midst of winter, but we’re not complaining. You can download charming single”Young Dreams” on their SoundCloud page.
Here’s the video for said single, directed by Kristoffer Borgli. A little creepy towards the end but I recommend watching.
Highly respected New York producers Braille and Machinedrum work together as Sepalcure, who just released their self-titled debut LP on Hotflush Recordings. Their music, which could easily play into the night in a club as well as at home, is a mix of tribal dub, house and two step beats. They don’t take themselves too seriously and have no interest in keeping up with trends in bass music, but they’re certainly doing something right, having previously released two well-received EPs “Love Pressure” and “Fleur”.
Check out the video for “Pencil Pimp” above. You can also stream “See Me Feel Me” here, and you can download it courtesy of Hotflush. Both great tracks.
Elite Gymastics are a production duo from Minneapolis, significantly influenced by their admiration for Korean Pop music. Their interest in Japanese and Korean music draws from the ability for the music to break through the language barrier, and the differences in cultures. They create sample-heavy tracks that are intensely upbeat and somewhat psychedelic, and they’ve also cited Jungle, House and Hip Hop as influential genres. However, their music itself is largely impossible to pin point. Regardless, it’s pretty interesting.
See what you make of it by listening to their track “So Close to Paradise” streaming here, but don’t stop there as every track on the album is different to the next.
London-based Being There are a young band that have managed to stand out among a recent crop of 90s-inspired devotees. Sammy Lewis, James Robinson, Nick Olorenshaw drummer Tom Rapanakis create blissful summer vibes with their ‘hazy romanticised guitar-pop’. All four of them show a true capability with their instruments and their catchy melodies prove to show a solid musical direction.
The band celebrated their debut single “The Radio” with a special single launch party on Tuesday at the Shackewell Arms. Support for the night was provided by Little Racer and My Sad Captains with a special DJ set from Noah & The Whale.
Hailing from Liverpool, Outfit is made up of brothers Andrew and Nicholas Hunt, plus Thomas Gorton, Christopher Hutchinson and David Berger. Their brand of melancholic guitar-pop has quickly picked them up the title of “Liverpool’s most exciting new band”, which is notable considering they’ve only been making music together since January of this year and have seemingly deliberately kept up a degree of mystery since emerging.
They performed at Cargo, Shoreditch last night. Word on the street is they played a brand new song off their EP, out next year. Let us know what you think if you were there to catch this exclusive! If not, here’s a recent video for their debut single “Two Islands” out on Double Denim Records.
Darkness Falls are a female duo, Josephine Philip and Ina Lindgreen, who have recently emerged from Copenhagen’s diverse music scene. Fellow Danish electronic super-producer Trentemøller has shown a consistent interest in the band, asking them to play support on one of his last shows on his world tour, and he also helped produce their debut album “Alive in Us”, released in October. The full-length is drenched with traditional rock influences full of distorted guitars yet introduces contemporary pop melancholia arrangements featuring synths and electronica sub-layers, all accompanied by Josephine’s ghostly vocals. Watch their new video for “The Void” here.
King Charles was outside in the office courtyard this evening as part of FlyTV’s In The Courtyard sessions, complete with masked ballet dancers and canapés! Make sure to catch their performance soon on www.the-fly.co.uk.
High Highs are an Australian band comprised of band members Jack Milas and Oli Chang. Influenced by artists along the lines of Boards Of Canada and Radiohead, they create sombre yet wistful folk pop.
Their EP went on sale first thing last week week, and the new video for “Flowers Bloom” is below. The song is stunning and the video features a couple slo-mo kissing for three minutes straight, what’s not to like?