Photos : Jonny Nolan
Last night (19-10-18) I found myself standing in the new-and-improved Level III in Swindon, thinking to myself; ‘Have I died and gone to Indie-pop heaven?’
The answer was yes. Yes I had.
Lets talk about This Feeling to begin with. According the claims of Noel Gallagher ‘This Feeling is the best club in The UK for future Rock and Roll stars,’ and they seem set to be proving just that by putting on line-ups that feature emerging talent in the pool of indie-guitar bands all around the UK. Surely this means all good things in Swindon as This Feeling hosted, Grimsby hailing, MINT with a supporting line up of Swindon’s up and coming artists.
Opening the night was Basement Club. They definitely set the tone for the night in terms of their bouncy, indie sound. Despite being pretty young, it appears to me that they know the direction of their sound already. Okay, they do need polishing but that will come in time – what they have right now is great. They had good energy and chemistry between them, I’m excited to see more of these guys and see how their sound develops. Next was Rainy Day Fund, carrying the bouncy energy through their set. Melodic guitars and infectious rhythm is what these guys do well and you can’t fault the energy in their performance. They write tracks to get you moving and certainly have a lively presence about them, with recent single ‘Brainshake’ being a highlight for me. Spilt Milk regulars, The Harlers, were on next and they always deliver a tight set. They have recently become a two-piece again but that doesn’t compromise their overall sound from being full and relentless. Their bluesy tinted rock was really well received too, with the crowd singing along and cheering for just one more track. Let’s face it; The Harlers are easily headliners any day
Next up were headliners MINT. My first way to describe them would instantly be ‘They were mint!!!’ but I wonder how many times they hear that. (Probably the same about of times that I hear ‘don’t cry over Spilt Milk!!!!!’) But in all fairness they are a fantastic band. Their sound and chemistry is tight and their experience lays itself out clearly, and you wonder how they aren’t already gracing bigger stages and playing to bigger crowds. Live, their sunny sound carries a bit of grit- in tracks such as ‘Nothing Seems To Get Me High’ – which creates a beautiful infusion between guitar-based rock and a dreamier realm of a quintessential indie sound like in ‘Elise’. This is certainly what gives these guys an edge on the scene.
If you love guitar based indie bands then I strongly recommend checking all of these bands out. Overall it was an exciting line up featuring some of the freshest artists on the scene who are all working up to releasing new tracks and playing more shows. Get on it.
If their bandcamp page is anything to go by, anyone can see that releases from Cheltenham dwelling four-piece, Floorboards, are few and far between. But this week (10/10/18) gives us the release of brand new EP, ‘Cocoon’. As a fan already, I was excited to have this release drop into my inbox.
On a first listen I was hooked, with the tracks being familiar from shows, it was great to hear them polished up and on record. The four track EP presents us with an emotional diversity of styles, yet keeping true to the familiar sound that they have built as Floorboards.
‘Second Sun’ introduces us to the EP and also is the shortest track. It builds the sound up, layering itself with dancing guitar before a passionate vocal takes over. The pace of the track picks up with a defining rhythm before twisting and pulling back, keeping you engaged through the middle of the track into a melodic outro. This leads us into ‘Mary Part II’, which pulls the pace back up into a quicker and more urgent tempo. This track has a grittier taste to it, sitting heavily in the bassline. The layers strip back almost completely allowing guitars to lead us through and showcasing Jay’s unique vocal that pull you in and hold your interest. You can hear the grunge influence in this track toward the outro.
Next ‘You’ll Never Get Better’ dances softly through the intro before contrasting with an explosion of sound, throwing passionate guitars and a driving beat onto the track, you can’t help but feel that this track is here to make a statement. ‘You’ll Never Get Better’ is the longest track on the EP, and you can hear the passion behind it as it turns around, building up the sound and then stripping back creating waves of energy throughout. The vigour steps up through contrasting vocals; both clean and screamed – carrying a certain sense of emotion. Last track ‘If You Can’t Help Yourself’ is my favourite from ‘Cocoon’. It begins more chatty, setting itself apart from the previous tracks before bursting into a familiar Floorboards-esque sound, varying the tempo and again showcasing the vocals. I also love the reoccurring lyrics in the outro that have come full circle from the first lines of ‘Second Sun’ – really refining the EP has a whole which has energy and continuity that flows through the tracks. ‘I hate the winter and what its done. I hate the dark and what it’s done to my friends.’