Live Review : Hippo Campus w/ Toothless: The Fleece, Bristol

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Hippo Campus return to British shores to grace us with their ever perfect dreamy energetic melodies, at Bristol’s number 1 sweat fest The Fleece.

Tour support came in the form of Toothless, which is the bassist from Bombay Bicycle Club moving from the side to the centre. A short 6 song set saw the 5 piece go through some songs that had a very similar feel to that of Bombay Bicycle Club, the songwriting influence from the parent band was quite apparent. Dynamic drums and dreamy keyboards set the band apart from the horde of generic bands of similar vain. You probably would never have guessed frontman Ed Nash isn’t a native frontman. The gent looked in his absolute element front centre, with a smile beaming for most of the set. He looked like he enjoyed it, and it certainly rubbed off to those in his peripheral vision.

Headliners Hippo Campus certainly aren’t the most vanilla band you’ll find. Frontman Jake Lupen took to the stage wearing futuristic trainers and a coat reminiscent of an 80’s skiing movie. These guys are energetic – they don’t stop. Bouncing all over the place whilst still delivering an intricate performance. Jake delivered a sassy performance out front, subtle variations melodically mixed with plenty of random ‘braps’ and ‘skrrtts’, unsure if this was his attempt at fitting in with the British youth or he’s just a little quirky. Either way, the band was flawless. Guitarist Nathan delivering a performance on his wood and string that even your Eric Clapton loving Dad’s would be impressed by; it should come as no surprise perhaps, after all, these guys met at a performing arts school and have since applied their learnings in multiple countries.

Emotionally evoking songs, such as Monsoon don’t feel out of place among the more hectic numbers such as Suicide Saturday and Western Kids. The set had all flavours of their back catalogue. It’s worth mentioning their recent EP release Warm Glow featured what’s sure to be a live favourite, in Baseball. The upbeat bouncy number perhaps being the highlight of the night, alongside the penultimate Buttercup.

Coming away from Hippo Campus, I couldn’t help but think this band is only destined for greatness. One of the most immaculate live bands I’ve ever had the joy to witness. I couldn’t recommend checking these guys out, and catching a show, more!

-Words + Photos : Nick Tucker
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TUNE OF THE WEEK// INTO THE ASHES : TIGERCUB : SINGLE REVIEW

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Another powerful release to have emerged in September is ‘Into The Ashes’ from Brighton hailing trio – Tigercub. For me, this track shows progression and a new chapter for these guys while maintaining their distinct sound.

‘Into The Ashes’ begins with battling guitars that are saturated with a grungy undertone before pulling back into the first verse and remains that way during the track. It occasionally builds back up to increase the energy while twisting it’s way across. The thrum of the bassline carries through, keeping a steady pace while the guitars bring the noise. This all contrasts with the vocals that’s are considerably softer and bring a certain sweetness to the grit.

Overall it’s a pretty exciting track – you need to check out Tigercub! With this release they are going to burst their way into 2018 at the forefront of the alt-grunge scene.

 

https://youtu.be/Kd0giUoOT8c

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ALBUM REVIEW: DEAF HAVANA: ‘ALL THESE COUNTLESS NIGHTS -REWORKED’

Deaf Havana will be releasing the special reworked edition of ‘All These Countless Nights’ tomorrow (27th October) on So Recordings!

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Following their recent release and a busy summer, these guys have notched it up a gear with a whole rework too! Now if you’re a big fan of their work, you (like me) may be uncertain about a rework but these guys are genius.

Bringing new life to their tracks, with a more mellow feel that emphasizes the brilliant narrative behind each track; taking you on that journey of self help all over.

Unlike the original, ‘Ashes to Ashes [reworked]’ keeps that focus on the haunting vocals with soft and stunning instrumentation throughout, gradually bringing in the strings to build and intensify the lyrics perfectly. If the rest of the tracks are as unique and well crafted as this, then we’re in for a treat.

Slowed down and stripped back, ‘Trigger [reworked]’ drops that power but oozes emotion and wires in more focus on those melodic aspects, and intricate guitar lines.

‘L.O.V.E [reworked]’ keeps that groove and dials it down on the heavy guitar to breathe in beautiful instrumentation and pairs it with softer vocals that give it a soulful tinge we didn’t hear before.

Happiness’ was a gorgeous and softer track anyway, reworked it takes us back to their older tracks, with a pool of emotions fed into those brave lyrics “it eats away at everything, but mostly love” bursts with orchestral backing lifts the track to a new level of poetic and musical beauty.

Fever [reworked]’ is almost unrecognizable without those heavy guitar elements; enriching the track with a piano baseline and layered delicate guitar with those usually rough and ready vocals are subsided for a softer and emotive approach.

Completely different from previous tracks, ‘Like a Ghost [reworked]’ has a whole new arrangement, mashing orchestra elements with a steady drumbeat for a richer sound.

‘Pretty Low[reworked]’ looses that upbeat groove in the instruments but adds in layered vocals and erupts with passion and more emphasis on the instruments alone. Soft and stunning, I advise you listen to this one loud just so you can appreciate the power of this softer style.

Catchy upbeat rhythmic guitar (think Ed Sheeran) begins ‘England [reworked]’ and although I prefer the original intro I feel the fast guitar work on this version is better suited for this, now, infectious track.

‘Seattle [reworked]’ slow and heartbreaking “you’re so far away”, pulls at those heartstrings with relatable lyrics and perfectly matched acoustics.

‘St. Pauls [reworked]’ brings that intricate guitar, we loved in tracks like ‘The Past Six Years’, and pumps in some country influences to produce an upbeat toe-tapper, which matches that feeling of escapism “I got a past I want to leave behind.”

If I didn’t know better I would have pegged ‘Sing [reworked]’ as foot stomping ‘Hey Ho’ (by The Lumineers) almost unrecognizable, except of course for James’ infectious voice.

I’ll admit I was dubious about this track being reworked, mainly cause I loved the original arrangement so much, but my god, it’s stunning. This reworked version finds the track stripped back of that heavy guitar riff and overall grit and fuelled with honest and heartwarming vibes.

The lyrics feel less desperate with more of a feel good and motivational vibe, surrounded by that styled acoustic guitar is perfect. That harmonious chorus expands the track into a different but just as powerful anthem, with guitar twangs to end.

To end ‘Pensacola, 2013 [reworked]’ keeps that upbeat vibe and captivates the track with an unexpected electric guitar riff that cuts through the acoustic base and adds that dynamic lift, returning to that acoustic guitar before ending.

Overall, Deaf Havana have nailed this rework, achieving completely different arrangements on all tracks with a more mellow sound that spurs more heart and soul into their sound (if possible), breaking down some of the heavier tracks into uplifting tracks.

Pre-orders are available now, go get them here!

EP REVIEW: NELSON CAN : ‘EP3’:

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Danish trio, Nelson Can, deliver a truly unique blend of brilliantly modest, yet powerful, indie-rock. The whole EP showcases a dynamic sound that links each track with its emotional undertones.

“Break Down Your Walls” starts off this EP with a haunting baseline and the hushed vocals (which resemble artists like Florence and The Machine) are beautifully edged with an ominous tone- matching with the lyrics “let all your feelings flow freely but don’t get emotional.” Beautifully menacing, the lyrics in this track instantly resonate that soft urgency, reinforced by that probing beat. Truly understated but powerful and probably my favourite track from the EP.

Stripped back “Downtown” enchants you in with its baseline and whispered verses that contrast with the weighty chorus. It’s built up vocals of whispers, screams and “ah ah ah’s” add to the overall menacing track.

Followed by the equally enchanting “You Are Digging Your Grave” which leans into a darker and more intense track.

“Miracle” begins with a progressive electro beat (the sort you’d expect in a Swedish House Mafia track) before monotone vocals with the repeated lyrics I don’t want you to think I am crazy. It’s that you made me go a little bit insane”, and just when you think this track will continue their eerie sound, it bursts with a dynamic change of vocals and almost instantly you’re reenergised and tapping your foot along to that demanding baseline. Big tune. That full sound has you hooked on their sparkly feel.

“Move Forward” keeps that uplifting sound and Royal Blood energy that resonates in the powerful lyrics “move forward.” As the song peaks, the motivational lyrics sing out “Even if you can’t run, if you can’t walk, if you can’t crawl. Move forward!” not only is this a belter of a record, but I bet it would be insane to hear live!

“Stonewall Frank” is like no other on the EP, with urgent and more rocky vocals whilst still possessing that electronic baseline and elements of those deeper/husky vocals. Boasting high-energy attitude, this track ends the EP in contrast to how it began, a fitting way to showcase all these girls can do.

 

Nelson Can bring an undeniably fresh approach on the rock genre, fusing pop and electronica to produce a number of enchanting numbers.

EP3 is out now via Alcopop! Records, find it here

These girls are a must see and luckily they’re returning to the UK for a run of shows with JAWS! (See Below:)

Nelson Can UK Dates supporting JAWS :

17 November Sub 89, Reading
18 November Engine Rooms, Southampton
19 November Exeter Phoenix, Exeter
21 November The Globe, Cardiff
22 November The Fleece, Bristol
23 November Waterfront, Norwich

 

Single Review : Seventeen : Future Kings

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September is a fantastic month for new releases and here’s one that certainly doesn’t fall short of the mark – it’s called ‘Seventeen’ and it’s from the newly renovated Future Kings! (Formerly Muchos Tequilas Later, but now with a refreshed name and line up and shiny new tracks.)

‘Seventeen’ starts off by showcasing intricate guitar work that hooks you instantly, before pulling back to allow the vocals to hit through with more impact. The pace in this track varies, like two currents of the ocean meeting – this blend creates a contrast that really works, with the vocals and beat feeling slower and more emotive while the brash guitars burst through to create that contrast. The chorus is powerful and catchy; it’s beautifully layered and carries passion behind it. The energy of the track surges through the chorus, twisting and turning the track around which holds your attention throughout. Lyrically it’s very well written too, which makes for an interesting listen. Building energy through the track, it leaves you on a high and wanting more!

Overall I enjoy this track, both on record and live as it conveys that driving energy at its best. Keep an eye out for these guys on the local scene.

 

 

Live Review: Fickle Friends w/ Callum Beattie + Swimming Girls: Thekla, Bristol

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Fickle Friends are a band going from strength to strength right now; with new EP Glue out in the world, they’ve embarked on a headline tour and I managed to catch them in Thekla (a venue on a boat), Bristol.

They had 2 support acts on the night, the first being local Bristolians Swimming Girls. Swimming Girls provided a tight electronic indie performance, with their signature stamp being vocalist Vanessa’s distinct tone. If you didn’t know any better you’d be mistaken for thinking Lorde started a little side-project.

Next up was tour support Callum Beattie. Fickle Friends found him over in Ibiza and asked him on tour, a casual tour booking I guess. Callum came with the full band and provided stella musicianship and songwriting with big choruses and polished vocals. An entertaining act that seemed to tick all the boxes, including a cheeky Scottish on stage demeanour.

Fickle Friends took to the stage and bounced through a set full of indie-pop bangers. Tight and polished, the BIMM graduates looked like they’d been on multiple album tour cycles, it’s easy to forget that they’ve yet to release an album; speaking of which, several new songs were showcased and all fit the Fickle Friends bill just nicely. I suspect this could be the last time the band plays venues of this size, as the academies are surely beckoning – this show was packed to the rafters and sold out way in advance. Penultimate song Swim enacted a visible emotional response from singer Natassja, as crowds sang back in full voice.

 

Words + Photos : Nick Tucker

 

FROG FEST 2017: CATCH UP INTERVIEW WITH ALL EARS AVOW

Whilst at the Frog fest, we decided to catch up with and interview one of our local favourite bands- All Ears Avow.AEA FROG FEST 15.09.17 006.jpg

With having recently been signed to ‘Imperial Music’ we were dying to know how this came about and what this means for the band:

C: “They approached us, how cool is that!”

S: “Yeah I think they had heard of us for a while”

C: “In means of moving forward it just means bigger and better tours, we’re going to be releasing a few singles before our next EP, working with a good producer so yeah… all you need to know is that we’re writing at the moment!”

So lots of stuff in the pipelines for us to look forward too!

We were also interested to know how their recent run of shows went and which venue was their favourite:

JW: “they were all good, it was a good tour- playing loads of different places, new places”

S: “Some we’ve never played before too, which was cool”

JW: ”All good for different reasons, the Boston venue was pretty cool- plus the venue has been there since forever…

C: “ since the birth of Jesus Christ”

S: “obviously The Vic is basically..”

C: “..our home! We love it”

Having also played Fat Lip this year, how was it?

JW: “MORE LIKE FAT LIT!”

C: “We played early on in the day but it was amazing and the crowds response was incredible, a great line-up to be a part of!”  

It’s fair to say these guys have had a busy summer and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of the year!!

As an addition to our interviews from now on we have a new and exciting game called ‘The two name game’, and basically we ask a question that has two answers and then the person answering it will give two answers (i.e-names of people) without saying which name is answering which part of the question.

For Example:

We asked Jake from AEA who his favourite member and least favourite member of Spilt Milk is- And his answer was “Courtney and Becky.”

(And so it begins our ever-lasting debate of who IS his favourite and least favourite!)

Anyways we got the lovely people in All Ears Avow to give it a go and this is how it went:

Q1: Who is the most and least talented member of the band?

Band: “WOAAAHHH.”

Joe: “Jake and Claire”

Claire: “Well we both know which is which for that one… haha!”

Claire: “Jake and Claire”

Sean: “…yeah, I agree with that statement”

Jake: “ Most talented is probably myself, I don’t care about the rules! I want them to know! …and I hate the other 3 as they’re all average.”

Q2: Who is the most and least hard working?

Jake/Joe: “This is horrible!!”

Claire: “Claire and Joe”

Sean: “Claire and Joe”

Jake: “Oh I agree!”

Joe: “I agree with those names”

 Q3: Who is the most and least stylish?

Jake: “Jake and Joe. Easy”

Claire: “I was going to say Jake and Sean!”

Jake: “HE COPIES ME!”

Claire: “Exactly, he’s not actually stylish”

Jake: “that’s fair”

Zoe: “I like what Sean’s wearing!”

Jake: “WE’RE WEARING THE SAME THING”

Sean: “I’m gunna say Jake and Joe”

Joe: “Me and Jake”

Q4: Your favourite and least favourite emerging band?

Band: “WOOOOAAHHH SHIT!”

Claire: “A Way With Words and Rewire The Time Machine”

Joe: “Rewire the Time Machine and Ten Tombs”

Claire: “HANG ON!”

Sean: “I’m going to agree with Claire”

Jake: “Rewire The Time Machine and A Way With Words”

Sean: “I’m changing my answer to Elessar and Elessar”

Jake: “Yeah they’re a bunch of arseholes too!” *whispers* love you boys really”

Big thanks to All Ears Avow for playing ‘the two name game’ – we just hope we haven’t caused too much damage within the band!

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