Author Archives: Laurence

Introducing: Tomahawks For Targets

Well, I guess I have to ask… where does the name Tomahawks For Targets come from?

Ross Harley: There’s an old Lalo Schifrin piece called “For Targets.” We put the word Tomahawks in front of it because we hoped that a butch name would stop people from getting all up in our faces.

Your album seems to have some tracks on it that are fairly complex in their structure. Who would you say has influenced your sound the most?

James Haselhurst: We’re influenced by a lot of very different things—when we’re writing and recording we’ll suggest ideas that come from very different places and attempt to bolt them together. We’ve all been individually influenced by some progressive music—I think Zappa and King Crimson are ones we agree on—but most of the time we’re actually drawing more reference from fairly mainstream stuff and certainly from a lot of pop music.

I think most of the complexity comes about from having a few different ideas or themes we want to include and that we’d rather find a way for them to all coexist in a pop song framework rather than thin them out.  That way there’s a lot happening in our music at any given point.  We certainly don’t actively try to complicate what we do though.

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This week sees the release of Crybaby’s self-titled debut album, and it’s one of those records that is being talked about in all the right places.

The London music scene cognoscenti, and trusted tastemakers are already referencing Crybaby, (real name Danny Coughlan) and he’s being compared to Scott Walker, Richard Hawley, and Roy Orbison. The early lyrics of Morrissey also seem to be an influence.

The ten songs on the album have an immediacy which draws the listener in, and repeated plays reveal a melodic and emotional core, which only serves to give the wry, heartfelt lyrics greater impact.

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Sparrow announce free
single and new album

Brighton band Sparrow have announced the release of their new album, However Did The Wolf Get In, through Numbskull HQ/ Total Creative Freedom on May 20th. The album will be preceded by the single, “Beautiful,” which is released as a free digital download on May 6th.

This excellent quartet, who have been receiving fulsome praise from Tom Robinson, amongst others, is made up of Ali Gavan (vocals/guitar), Marina Tiffeny (vocals/guitar), Bryn Mabey (vocals/bass), and Caz Adlington (drums).

Described as, “combining the beauty and fragility of The XX with the catchiness and raw power of early Radiohead,” ( Sparrow’s sound is born of the interplay of contrasting elements; masculine and feminine, light and shade, the personal and the political.

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Introducing: The Dø

In case you aren’t familiar with  The Dø, they are a French/ Finnish duo, (Olivia Merilahti and Dan Levy) and their sound is an anything goes amalgam of styles and genres—from dance and electronica through to folk and more traditional indie-pop.

Their second album, Both Ways Open Jaws was released at the end of last year and earned them some favourable attention from tastemaker heavyweights.

The duo will be playing a one-off UK show at The Garage in London on April 11th before heading out to Europe for a number of shows and festivals. Check out The Dø, and in the meantime here is their wonderful behind the scenes video for “Gonna Be Sick” recorded at Studio Pigalle in Paris, June last year.

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Fans of summery classic pop, and anyone who bought the last Real Estate album are directed to Lightships, the new musical project from Teenage Fanclub stalwart Gerard Love.

The band have announced some gigs in support of their poptastic new 45 (yes, glorious 7” vinyl) “Sweetness In Her Spark” and the forthcoming album Electric Cables, which is released next Monday, April 2nd. The aforementioned track is fast becoming a contender for Vinyl District UK track of the year.

The single is backed by a cover of “Do Your Thing,” written by avant-garde composer, instrument inventor, and famous Viking enthusiast Moondog.

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Who the hell is:
Maundrie Fox?

Who is Maundrie Fox?

Maundrie Fox is Pittsburgh native producer and multi-instrumentalist Eric Anderson. It’s an MPC mix of sampled vocals, keyboards, and clattering beats.  I like to describe it as “bedroom beat.”

What is your motivation?

Before any other instrument I played the drums. Because of that I am always most invested in the rhythmic quality of music. If I’m listening to something and I think the beat is unimaginative and the sample or the production doesn’t have much character then I’m going to be really turned off. So maybe with that being my focus, I also wanted to make something really melodic / euphoric that incorporated a lot of vocal samples. Ultimately though, I end up obsessing over rhythm tracks.

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Introducing: Brigg Fair

Brigg Fair was put together by multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Geoff Ereth, who took the name from the title of an Old English choral folk song about getting up early, eternal love, and green leaves.

Their debut full-length album, Kill Yourself For Change was recorded in New York under the stewardship of Brit, Iestyn Polson, whose previous production credits include Hard-Fi, David Bowie, and David Gray. Word has it that Ereth met Polson by chance at a Polish doughnut bakery in Brooklyn, which subsequently led to an agreement to make the album together. The majority of which was recorded totally live with the band, inspired by Talk Talk’s Spirit of Eden with Ereth playing a mulitidue of extra supporting instruments himself.

The album also features composers, Brian Senti and Trevor Gureckis, who collaborated on some of the arrangements for select tracks like “Lydia,” and the album’s title track, “Kill Yourself For Change.” The resulting effort is an orchestral and swooshing pop album that is reminiscent of both Keane and Coldplay.

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Introducing: The Finger

Who are The Finger ?

We are Lia Siouti (vocals), Sotiris Noukas (guitar), Sakis Azas (guitar), Andy Haralanis (bass), and Nick Ditsias (drums) and we come from Thessaloniki, Greece. We are five people who love to play and we dream about getting our music out there!  At this point we would like to say that The Finger doesn’t necessarily mean the middle finger. It could be a thumbs up! But it could be the middle one too. It depends.

Everyone is very aware of the political issues surrounding your country. Can you give us an idea what’s currently happening within the Greek music scene?

This is actually a very serious matter to us, since it’s affecting us a lot. There are several great bands in Greece, but with the political and economic crisis, record companies are shutting down, record stores are shutting down, many stages too have closed. The few stages that are left open, pay a little or sometimes they don’t pay at all!

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Tango in the Attic:
New video and free download for “Paw Prints”

Hailing from Glenrothes in Scotland, Tango in the Attic is a four-piece band who have just made available the excellent “Paw Prints” as a free download. The track is a veritable pop nugget and is pulled from their new album Sellotape, which is due for release on April 23rd.

The band was formed in 2008 at Edinburgh University, and self-released their debut album Bank Place Locomotive Society in 2010 to much critical acclaim in both the UK and the States. After the release of the album, the boys headed off to pursue various side projects, returning in October last year to record the aforementioned second album.

Currently playing at SXSW in Austin, Texas, the boys are set to be uber busy this year. Expect tours in the USA and UK as well as dates in Japan. Watch this space: this band are set for big things this year.

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Akira The Don:
Pop Renaissance Man

West Brom’s finest son, Akira The Don (real name Adam Narkiewicz) lists his influences as Morrissey, Billy Bragg, Ice Cube, and The Wu Tang Clan.

He’s a modern Renaissance man in every sense of the term – cartoonist, videographer, blogger, rapper, and producer. Musically he combines hook-ridden pop with alt hip hop. Fans of Jamie T will approve, but there’s so much more on offer here than that comparison implies.

His new single “We Won’t Be Broke Forever” featuring Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals) is just out, and it’s a cracker. “It is a beautiful and inspirational anthem for our times,” explains Akira. The single also features a very cool Dan Le Sac remix, and an instrumental version, replete with personally approved Dollar sample.

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Bear Driver:
Sunny Slacker Pop

Five piece pop-pychsters Bear Driver are set to release their new single “Big Love” on March 26th via Adventure Club Records. Taken from their eponymously titled, self-produced debut album, the track manages to finely fuse a vibe of summer love with a chaotic psychotic meltdown.

The previous offering from Leeds’ finest, the double-A sided “Never Never and Let The Cold,” earned the band a barrage of major love from radio and secured them a much sought-after spot on Daytrotter’s newly launched UK sessions.

Catch Bear Driver live at The Notting Hill Arts Club, London on April Fools day.

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Introducing: Zulu

Zulu have literally exploded onto the scene this year. Despite having played only a handful of gigs, they have already been touted by the Vaccines as one of their favourite bands, and their lacerating 20 minute live sets have torched all who have seen them.

The band will release their debut album as a limited 100 only cassette on March 26th. They are quickly gaining a reputation as the most exciting band in the UK capital, and have a launch show on March 30th in London at Victoria in Dalston.

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The Curious Mystery:
7″ Mellow Pop Heaven

The Curious Mystery‘s press release says they’ll be “out on the road and won’t be back for quite some time,” a statement can easily be a metaphor for their attitude toward themselves and their music.

The Seattle four-piece is due to release their new 7″ this summer via K Recs and the lead track is the dreamy “Be Still.” It’s a glorious slice of mellow pop heaven that conjures up both innocence and mischief. Combine this soundscape with the imagery of their hazy, lo-fi video and you have a package that feels like a total breath of psychedelic fresh air.

Sadly, on their mammoth tour of everywhere, there doesn’t seem to be time to hop over the pond and visit us here in the UK. Rest assured we’ll be keeping all eyes west, in the hope that the spaced out foursome will be bringing their pop glory to a venue near here soon.

In the meantime, fall in love with the fantastic “Be Still.”

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Wooden Wand’s Briarwood, from
humble beginnings

Originally starting life as a Kickstarter for a limited edition vinyl release of 500, James Jackson Toth’s—aka Wooden Wand’s—self-funded new album was recorded in 2011 under the controls of Duquette Johnston at Ol Elegante Studios. For this album, a line-up was formed featuring Duquette’s band, the Gum Creek Killers; James Jackson Toth’s best friend Brian Lowery, and Jody Nelson of Through The Sparks. 

The sessions were casual and loose and yielded some of the most “rock and roll” sounding music of Toth’s career. The album, which was unleashed last year under the name of  Wooden Wand & The Briarwood Virgins, received critical acclaim and quickly sold out.

Now, Briarwood is set to be released by Fire Records as a two-disc deluxe edition on 29th May. The album includes eight stripped-down demo versions of Toth’s self-composed album tracks.

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Who the hell is: Glitches

Can you tell us a bit about Glitches?

Glitches exists because someone out there needs to make music about antiquity, love, and loss, at the same time. ALL the time.

Where did the name Glitches come from?

It’s a name that sounds like it should already be taken, but it’s not. (Well, actually, now we’ve taken it.) It literally comes from the term for an unexpected and undesired spike in voltage in an electronic circuit. But really it represents what we’re trying to do musically. Not. Fit. In.

We’re really enjoying your track “Screwed In A Vice.” Can you tell us a bit about the song?

“Screwed In A Vice” is a song about being with someone you love and suffering for it. The line “It’s in our DNA” can be interpreted different ways in the context of the song. One way to understand it is the inevitability that you’re going to end up back in the arms of that person, whether it’s good for you or not.

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