Laura Craik on kaftan mania, that angry jogger and J-Law's Vogue cover… From http://ift.tt/2wSZx8s
People And Their Dogs is the debut album of Oxfordshire singer/songwriter Willie J Healey. Grounded in observations of everyday mundanity, it is a cool breeze of youthfulness. At times it is utterly inspired and romantic, at others trying to get something seriously substandard past you, pretending that it brushed its teeth by putting a spot of toothpaste on its tongue.
It’s as if there are two performers on this recording, evidence, perhaps, that Healey is still trying to find his voice – literally. It’s a bit of a lucky dip which Healey you will get on each track. The most distinctive and possibly authentic songs are the gentler tracks. ‘Marie’s Balcony’ is predominantly acoustic guitar and bass. It is a romantic melody of ‘sweet dreams and pretty things’. The slide guitar lilts and sways. It is altogether a mature and accomplished song that sounds as if Healey both knows it and is proud of it.
‘All These Things’ is similar. From the opening strum, Healey brings lazy summer days and young love, ‘I’ll be yours to keep if you come and hang out with me’. ‘Pipedreams’ is rockier in places with Healey showcasing the vocal mannerisms of Elvis Costello. The final of these more serious pieces is ‘Somewhere In Between’. Significantly moodier, due to the inclusion of a saxophone and slow drumming, Healey performs some creditable Marc Bolan quavering over the top.
Other tracks well-deserving of a mention are ‘My Room’ and the title track ‘People And Their Dogs’. Both are expansive and musically varied. ‘Subterraneans’, likewise, proves that Healey is the master of the pause. This track celebrates the beautiful things in life like cool places and boys that sing. Shades of ‘Across The Universe’ creep into ‘We Should Hang’, a love song enhanced by the addition of a female vocalist.
There are also a number of songs that would translate very well to a live setting, true festival pleasers. Louder almost punkier tracks, such as ‘Greys’, have not so much jangling, as metal-rattling guitars. This track arrives on a puff of youthfulness. As does ‘Would You Be’, a marvellously energetic finish to People And Their Dogs which should have a field of shaggy haired and be-hatted twenty-somethings in full voice.
There’s no doubt there’s plenty of success on People And Their Dogs, a talent that can’t help but come out, no matter how much Healey tries to disguise it! A little more attention to the undeveloped tracks and even bravery in developing his own style will surely pay off.
People And Their Dogs will be released on 18th August 2017 through National Anthem/Columbia Records.
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If you thought Catfish and The Bottlemen had pretty much exhausted the indie rock arena with their stadium-sized sing-songs, you may well be correct. But growing up never really gets old, does it? And there are still bands knocking around who have a knack of condensing the chaos of our late teens into solid guitar-led pop tunes.
Ireland-based foursome The Academic are one of many hitching a lift on The Bottlemen’s rise and their latest single ‘Bear Claws’ shows that they’re more than capable of joining them amongst sweaty, summer festival crowds. The premise is simple “We all do stupid things at that time of our lives, not thinking about the longer-term implications,” said the band of the track. ‘Bear Claws’ is exactly what you’d expect and delivers a fresh-faced boost to the more accessible realms of its genre. It also has one of the catchiest choruses you’ll hear today.
Pale Waves Television Romance
Manchester’s indie pop new comers Pale Wales return with brand new track ‘Television Romance’, but what sort of reception will it get? (ho, ho). It’s the follow up to their sublime official debut single for Dirty Hit Records ‘There’s A Honey’ and to be honest it isn’t a million miles away from that track, indeed there are points in the chorus that sound like it’s actually going to morph into said debut. But it’s another lovingly crafted slice of slick but heartfelt indie, one that you could imagine being featured in a John Hughes montage featuring Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy. As such it will appeal to pop and indie kids and highlights the melancholic winsome appeal of Heather Baron-Gracies fragile vocal.
Interestingly we’ve noted some online dissent, namely that since joining Dirty Hit records Pale Waves have changed … in all honesty their new songs compared to earlier recordings sound pretty much the same albeit a little more polished and expansive. But not polished to the extent that the band’s personality is erased. We’ll let the earnest indie kids and smug poptimsits fight that one out, we’d rather just listen to the music. But there will always be those from whom wax strip home demos, preferably recorded in a tin bath using “guerilla” instruments such as a rolling pin and a wooden spoon, will be viewed as somehow more authentic. “What you used an actual guitar?? And worse still you FUCKING TUNED IT ??? What a sellout ! “
Let’s face it Dirty Hit have a pretty impressive track record when it comes to working with and developing new talent, and we’d expect to see Pale Waves on numerous tip lists come the start of 2018, quite possibly including the BBC’s Sound of.
from The VPME http://ift.tt/2vLhw0B
Retail sales volumes were up 0.3 per cent in July, taking the annual rate of growth down sharply to 1.3 per cent
After releasing a demo version of War Is Coming (If You Want It) for just 24 hours earlier this month, Car Seat Headrest shares the studio version of the track. After donating the proceeds to Bandcamp’s fundraiser for the Transgender Law Center, all further bandcamp sales for the single will be donated to the fundraiser as well. Check out War Is Coming (If You Want It) below:
After gigging across America on their North American tour, Car Seat Headrest will perform at a number of dates throughout the UK and Ireland. Full list of tour dates below:
29/08 Forum – London (UK)
30/08 Ritz – Manchester (UK)
31/08 Leeds Uni – Leeds (UK)
01/09 Electric Fields festival – Thornhill (UK)
02/09 End of the Road festival – Dorset (UK)
03/09 Electric Picnic – Dublin (EIR)
The veteran University College London professor talks Brexit, the minimum wage and why economists really do care about inequality
“We are Hurray For The Riff Raff. We are American. And we come in peace”. Alynda Segarra’s introduces the band. The charismatic frontwoman’s words may be well-rehearsed but no matter how many times you hear them, the final sentence never loses its impact. Her message of friendship, harmony and goodwill is in deliberately marked contrast to the fire and fury rhetoric of her country’s President and it lays down a strong marker for the evening’s performance.
Segarra goes on to tell us that we are listening to “resistance music” and there is no doubting Hurray For The Riff Raff’s position in what is a very long and noble tradition of producing protest songs in popular music, one that stretches back through the Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone, and Red Wedge movements and anti-Vietnam war ballads. Even as long ago as 1941 the folk legend Woody Guthrie had placed the message ‘This Machine Kills Fascists’ on his guitar.
Music has long been a potentially political vehicle to voice what has been, and continues to be legitimate countercultural anger at oppression, marginalisation and injustice. On The Navigator (Hurray For The Riff Raff’s sixth and most recent album, released earlier this year to widespread critical acclaim), Alynda Segarra – the band’s songwriter – explores her own heritage as a New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent. On the record’s powerful title-track – appearing five songs into tonight’s show – she assumes the voice of her ancestors to help guide her and her fellow Hispanic-Americans through what have become the most difficult and chaotic of times. Later on in the set, she moves from her position centre-stage to the keyboards to accompany herself on what is a beautifully poignant reading of ‘Fourteen Floors’, the narrative of which is inspired by the trip that her grandparents took from Puerto Rico to New York City many years earlier.
Whilst commenting more specifically upon the decimation of established Latin American communities in her home country through the process of gentrification, the material taken from The Navigator – the majority of which is played here tonight – has an even greater purpose, conveying as it does a more universal sense of togetherness. And it is this collective spirit, a fervent belief in wider assimilation that unites us all here tonight.
“To all who had to hide, I say, Pa’lante! To all who lost their pride, I say, Pa’lante! To all who had to survive, I say, Pa’lante! To my brothers, and my sisters, I say, Pa’lante!”
A sparkling encore of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’ aside – the only Boss that Alynda Segarra will listen to – Hurray For The Riff Raff bid York farewell with ‘Pa’lante’. With Donald Trump’s continuing amoral stance on immigration firmly in its sights, the song is a huge rallying cry for us all to move forward. And given the compassionate spirit of inclusion that lies at its very heart, ‘Pa’lante’ cements Hurray For The Riff Raff’s rightful place in the modern pantheon of protest music.
Photo credit: Simon Godley
More photos from this show can be found HERE
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So-called Labour moderates refuse to diagnose their failures. No wonder they’re out in the cold
If a new so-called centrist party is to be set up, why not call it Denial, or perhaps Hubris? Self-described centrists believe that they are the besieged remnants of political sanity in a world gone mad. To be a centrist, so this story goes, is to be above ideology: pragmatic, focused on “what works”, being grown up. They are the moderate stabilisers, or according to this narrative it is their marginalisation that has opened the way to the extremes. In this centrist worldview, the xenophobic, racist or indeed fascist right are deemed to be politically and morally equivalent to the radical left.
What is striking about these so-called centrists is they offer little evidence of self-reflection about their plight
A few weeks ago, one of the most arresting album samplers of the past few years was released, showcasing the cream of talent on offer, amongst many varied acts, on the label Modern Sky. The Future Influences The Present Just As Much As The Past was such an impressive collection, harking back to the days of those classic Indie Top 20 albums while at the same time looking to incorporate the new (hence the title, I guess), that I decided to track down each artist on it for a little more background…
‘Hometown’ is an irresistible tune, Prodigy like beats with guitar motifs akin to Johnny Marr’s on Talking Heads’ ‘Naked’ album. How would you personally describe your sound?
I’d personally describe my sound as punchy pop beats with lo-fi electric guitar riffs. I’m not afraid to incorporate elements of pop into my songs but I can never go without writing a gritty riff over the top to complement it.
What should we expect from a Pixey gig?
I’m currently in the process of switching up my live set so you’d probably expect something a little bit different – I have always had all my instruments from my tracks played live, however I’m thinking of getting some proper technology in to ramp things up a bit.
You have three wishes. They must be music related. What are they?
My first wish would definitely be to time travel back to a Prince gig on his Purple Rain tour. Second wish would be able to play the drums with my eyes closed. And my third wish would probably be to never experience stage fright again.
What are FUSS all about?
Escapism, cartoons and death defying stunts. Small mammals, big fish and playing top trumps
Obviously Liverpool has a very rich musical heritage. How do you feel when you play at places like The Cavern Club? Is it more special, given its history? Or does the venue not matter? What I’m getting at is, are there venues that seem to bring the best out of you for no apparent reason? Where are the best places you’ve played and why?
The cavern lounge is a boss venue, incredible sound, its in a different part of town to where we usually play, different vibe but we enjoy it.
In terms of venue, the better the sound, the better we play basically. We played a house party last year and it was the best sound yet, you never know what you’re gonna get.
‘Fluff‘ is a very dreamy, seemingly very optimistic track, until you listen to the lyrics (if, indeed, I’m hearing them correctly!). I love that contrast. If you WERE being optimistic though, what would be your ultimate dream for FUSS?
Nice one for listening to the tune, the contrast is really important like, we’re all optimistic but reality is always there. We just wanna keep doing our thing, make many more tunes and eventually play dominoes with Keith Richards in a Tree City of our own creation.
‘Lucid Dreams‘ is a lush soundscape of orgasmic proportions. To me, it’s kind of like Real Estate doing shoegaze if Prefab Sprout had produced it (which means it’s ace, by the way) but somehow it goes beyond even that. I find it quite exhilarating. How does it feel to play this stuff live?
The live shows are always an experience. There’s a lot more energy in the songs when they’re played live than you might expect but you don’t lose the “soundscape” feel either. We played in an old church for our EP launch recently and it sounded huge.
Do you have a specific vision for Violet Youth? What sets you apart from your contemporaries, do you think?
The Vision for Violet Youth is to grow and take things up a level every time we release. We want to keep an integrity in terms of songwriting and originality. We feel that we stand out when it comes to other bands. You can pick our influences from a mile off but we don’t sound like anyone else. We don’t want to just be a band that has one release then becomes stagnant there is too much of that these days. We want to grab the attention of as many people as possible and give them something to get behind.
What’s the best thing about being on Modern Sky?
The best thing about Modern Sky is that whenever we walk into the office it doesn’t matter what’s going on or how busy they are we always get a warm welcome which is nice since they usually have about 1,000 things to deal with all at once.
‘Doing Well‘ is an insanely catchy track, harking back to classic songwriters such as Jonathan Richman or maybe even Chuck Prophet (certainly vocally anyway), whilst maintaining a distinctly modern feel.
What can we expect from your debut album later this year? It can’t ALL be as infectious as this. Can it?
It’s funny you mention Jonathan Richman, I remember I played ‘Roadrunner‘ at a party once and my friend thought it was me singing. Andrew and I are huge fans.
Simply put, the debut album is a culmination of everything we’ve been through as a band so far. Play it from start to finish, and you’ll be richly rewarded. That’s how I listen to LPs, so that’s how we made ours. To me it really opens up as it goes along, it gets a lot darker, and a lot more expansive than you might expect.
Did you ever hear from Rita Ora in the end? If not, has it lowered your opinion of her?
In the end? We heard from Rita quite quickly! She’s a very big fan of the tune – I think she tweeted something along the lines of it being her new theme song and/or the best song ever made. Which is quite an accolade. My opinion of Rita Ora is at an all time high.
How was your SXSW experience earlier this year? Any tales to tell?
This SXSW was my favourite yet. Here are three things I learned:
1. Student Co-ops are probably the closest American’s will ever get to socialism. And they work so well. We stayed in one at in the West Campus area of the city and spent a lot of time hanging out with a carousel of friendly faces, always with something interesting to say. It makes me really want to go and study there. Oh and they host really good gigs too.
2. See The Lemon Twigs live. I’ve seen them live as many times as I could (3). And it was worth all the sunburn.
3. Relax, take it in and speak to the locals. Austin is a little progressive bubble in the middle of Texas. It’s truly unique and it’s definitely much, much more than Sixth Street. Aside from all the music, my favourite thing was just exploring the City and talking to people.
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