Sunday, 11 July 2010
Best Coast- Crazy For You (Wichita)
Best Coast is Bethany Consentino, a Californian who bases Best Coast on her memories and longings for home whilst attending college in New York City. Bethany has already taken part in several talent contest, created a teen pop band which saw her being chased by music industry interested in making her the next teen pop sensation. Bethany then promptly ran a million miles and joined pocahaunted and now this precocoious young talent reincarnates her spirit in Best Coast, following the wake of the Dum Dum Girls, uses noise-pop as a trampoline to create Crazy For You an album which shimmers with the California Summer's lethal cocktail of drugs, love and longing.
"Crazy for you" is a vision of a time we've all had/dreamed of/imagined, it is at times a album about longing, about boredom, about breaking up, about pain, about self punishment but also about strength. Best Coast has essentially created a simple summer surf pop album which easily addresses so many issues that everyone can in one way or another relate to, proving what a massive appeal Bethany's songs have to a mainstream audience. The relationship(s) that BC explores throughout the record with herself and other people teeter between love and hate depending on the move, essentially making this either a summer love or a breakup album, at times both.
Starting from the strong teenage like longing in "Boyfriend" which is a simple tale of having a crush on someone which feels like so much more but you have to overcome the hurdles (in the case a girl prettier and skinnier) to get what you want. While "The End" maintains a prescribed view of a teenage girls diary stating how vitally important love is singing "Last night, I went out with this guy, he was nice, he was nice and cute, but he was not you."
While the title track and "Goodbye" toy with the destructive side of love, the latter's drug induced paranoia playing out as Bethany sings "Everytime you leave this house, everything falls apart, I dont love you, I dont hate you, I dont know how I feel. Everytime you walk away I feel like I could cry, but I would never really cry because your the worst at goodbyes..."
Crazy for you is the most complicated relationship you've ever had, at times so sweet and loving while other times self-destructive and harmful, never once deciding whether you are better off together ("Happy") or literally a country apart ("Bratty B"), but despite the situation it seems that anything is better than being alone, that love can be hurtful but it's worth it in the end. The songs are dripping in some loved up resentment as Bethany's voice is dripping in reverb fuelled by meaningful promises and introspective insights into herself. While musically the album constantly borrows so many 90s riot grrl-isms (Bethany herself credits Hole and Courtney Love as an influences) but delievered in a harsh sweetness that Jenny Lewis (again a noted inspiriation) would have made on The Intitial Friend EP.
Crazy for you could be easily dismissed as the soundtrack to a girls first relationship and subsquent heartbreak, when it turns out her soulmate is merely a bag of shit interested in a lot more than what is a sweet yet fucked up relationship. But this album is so much more, it's joyfully naive, older than it's year bitter and contains something that will appeal to anyone who has ever experienced a heavy resentful heartbreak and has as in the lyrics to middle track "I Want To," "Go Back to the first time, the first place." One of the most brutal, sweet and sour records of our generation. 10/10
Friday, 9 July 2010
Besides from being the lead guitarist in the Foo Fighters, Chris Shiflett has a rich history of bands including No Use For A Name, Me First & The Gimme Gimmes and Jackson United.
So his debut solo album comes as a disappointment, while as the Dead Peasants is a pleasant experience, country tinged rock with some touching lyrics "We love a grief we can rally behind" creating a perfect soundtrack a triumphant, romantic or tragic moment in M.O.R. US Drama Series
All the emotions are set up nicely and its performed with significant gutso but nothing about the album really rings true and while certain exchanges seem geninue, its never particularly eye wateringly heartfelt, despite it's best intentions to be more than a rocked up record for fans who wished the foo fighters were more suitable for country stations and given the hooked up bridges and the hand in the air attempt you'd expect it to deliver that in spades. Not that this album does not have appeal, pass the FF association, DP has songs to entertain middle america and fans of the genre, but it certainly misses several opportunities to be much much more and at only nine tracks long it's almost like Shiftlett is referring to his bandmates other work and saying "well if they're all doing it, i am too." 4/10
Wednesday, 7 July 2010
Its been a while since a new album from the Wirrals favourite sons of the last decade, who released four albums and a mini album (which was in itself the length of an album) over five years, while Butterfly house has taken significantly longer and has been described by the band as the hardest record to make since their debut. "Butterfly House" is never going to convincce any doubters that The Coral are an extraordinary band, but anyone for a previous appreciation for the band or in for jangly British indie pop in general will find something to like on the new album. Disappointingly as jangly as it is, there is nothing here you haven't heard from them or any other band before and there is actually no truly stand out single like on the past four albums.
However that's not to say the album is without merit or without songs, their inspirations have grown and The Coral embrace the rich tapestry of their home city and country, at moments utilizing Beatles harmonies and Clinic's experimental moments to create a experimental (if slightly more downbeat than previous albums) warm and textured album. They flirt with complex vocal parts, soaring guitar solos and create an atmosphere that would still make Ray Davies proud, utlizing different instruments and textures to bring the whole album together. There's elements of a wider sound that embraces 60s/70s poppy psychedelia, middle of the road love songs, Crosby, Stills & Nash with a coolness that will see them as one of the chillout albums of the summer. As always with the Coral there is an ill at ease confidence which sometimes slips into a sense of nonchalance which often can be mistaken for a lack of effort. "Butterfly House" is not without its charm and effort though and as an a group of songs, it's pretty ambious and ebs and flows perfectly, but simply does not have a sing-a-long standout which made the band effortlessly infectious and a stand out in the scene of nostaglia that emerged around the debut and it's quick followup. It also mistakenly sometimes drops into some bad british indie cliches at times particularly on the schmaltzy and too twee "Falling all around you" but gradually the album picks up pace and John Lackie's production and experience serves the band well. "Butterfly House" as previously stated will not convince doubters that The Coral are anymore than they are/were but its a pleasing listen which should fairly re-establish them as a British treasure able to write good pop melodies and embrace British Music History with a sometimes fresh ear. 7/10
Tuesday, 6 July 2010
Saturday, 3 July 2010
KaitO have been around for a long time as Nikki will say later in our interview but is it hasn’t been until recently that KaitO have started to get the attention over here they deserve. For KaitO endless touring of the US has seen them because a famed band in the US Underground receiving similar plaudits as US underground darlings Pretty Girls Make Graves. But Over Here the Release of their 2nd Album “Band Red” was delayed in this country by nearly a year, meaning that fans had to import the album from the states just to hear it. Eventually after years of struggling, touring the US and sleeping on people’s floors, KaitO finally got a record label deal here on Blast First/Mute, a major independent with ties to the infamous Rough trade. The Album received critical applause that resulted in there being an actual buzz about the band for the first time. We spoke to the band, Nikki Colk (Vocals/Guitar) Gemma Cullingford (Bass/Vocals) Dave Lake (Guitars/Vocals) and Dee Quantrill (Drums/Vocals) about the band without asking about where the name KaitO comes from, so if you want to know the answer, ask them yourselves.
But in order for those of you who have never heard of KaitO here is some background knowledge, but you really should know the story now.
“We kinda formed in 1997, and the other two (Dee and Gemma) came in 1998/99 or 1997, did you?” Turns to Gemma who nods, “That’s when it really started to get our arse moving into gear.
“I Knew Dave from our home town and we just got together cause you know in the country you need something to do, and we just met these two from the “Norwich Band Scene,” not any great historical story like meeting on the tube.
“We had been through a couple of bass players and drummers, we just gelled together.”
Where there any changes to the band when Gemma and Dee Joined?
“It Just Felt Right” Nikki Replies
“I’ll cover my ears, just be honest.” Gemma Jokes which makes everyone titter.
“When you do work with musicians some bass players…”
“Want to be guitarists” ends Gemma
“Gemma played Guitar, but then she took up Bass and she kept it all together because me and Dave go off on a tangent with experimenting on our guitars. So she put a discipline on it. Dee, his percussion isn’t straight forward it’s just played with the sounds.”
“It’s in time with the music, it’s just chaotic.” Gemma Muses
“I Think that’s a compliment” Dee Jokes
After The Magnificent albums the band have created so far and given the current support that KaitO are achieving in the underground music circuit at the moment. I for one really want to hear some new songs from the band, so we asked if a 3rd album was on the way.
“We’re working at the moment, we’ve got about five songs.”
“There’s a couple tonight that we’ve never played before.” Dave Says
“They might be a bit messy so bare with us.” Gemma Laughs
“We’re going to record for a couple of days in July. We’re looking to emulate our live sound because we’ve got more confident live and got more confident with songs, and everyone says we’re better live then on record. Recording on a small budget is a learning process and we’re really happy with it, but now were on a label, it’s given us the chance to experiment in different studios and producers if we need a producer.”
“We Met Jon Spencer briefly in New York” Dee Explains when we ask if they have any producers in mind, “nothing definite but he mentioned that he would be interested in working with us.”
“We’d probably go to his studio just do an EP in August and go to Andy Gill from Gang of Four’s Studio. We’re going to take Charlie our sound guy to come into the studio with us this time; we just want to find the right people, not necessarily big names. We’re quite controlling over what we want we sound like, so we want people to work with us, rather than people telling us what they want.”
“Lyrics are usually the last thing I will do, the songs you hear tonight don’t have any lyrics, so I just make up the words. Lyrics are usually written like 2 seconds before we had to record, because of the pressure thing, and I know I have to do it. The Actual Melody and Vocal Line is always there, there’s just no formula to how we make songs.”
“They Grow a lot, I record most of the songs when we practice them and they change a lot. The idea is there, but then Dave will add a noise and then it will change because of that.”
“Like With Band Red, I can’t remember how those songs we’re recorded or written.”
“We all feed off each other so much that it’s hard to say how songs we’re made.”
Band Red sounds more like KaitO live then the debut, so noting back to Nikki’s previous comments about trying to emulate the live sound, they have already partially achieved that with their 2nd record.
“We did have more time in the studio for You’ve Seen us… so Band Red is more basic, with our instruments.”
“I haven’t listened to that record (The Debut) For Two Years, I keep meaning to put it on but I don’t want my flat mates to know that I’m playing KaitO.” Gemma Laughs “I think it would be a real treat to hear it.”
“We don’t really know what the new album is going to sound like ourselves.” Dave Replies when we ask what can we expect from the new album.
“More Structured Songs” Replies Nikki “Some of them haven’t got any distinctive choruses but they are still poppy, becoming more clever because we have more time to think things through instead of just banging it out. But we haven’t got any ballads, no nervous breakdowns… yet.”
The Real Meaning of Life in KaitO’s songs are hidden in the yelps is a theory that Lack of Communication are pleased to put forward, as the yelps seem to be a minor criticism that the band sometimes receive.
“Yeah, you yelp when you see a spider.” Nikki Says “I Think Moi on Band Red Really is emotional, there are really emotional songs and other angry angst songs that make you think.”
There are lyrics if you look for them in KaitO which you would never expect to be there just like when we spoke to Ikara Colt Last Month, and found a hidden surprise in the lyrics.
“But its funny in Europe on Try Me Out when they sing along to “He’s The Cool…” bit and one person thought we were singing, “He’s the cool, He’s the Cool, he’s the police.” I was like What?”
“There was this time when I made Band Red T-shirts and we were selling them somewhere like France. When it got printed out it actually said Band Er because my design wasn’t clever enough.” Nikki Explains “But Anyway apparently it means erection in French so we were selling all these badges and T-shirts and this little kid comes up and goes oooh.”
From Left To Right: Dave Lake (Guitars) Dee Quantrill (Drums) Nikki Colk (Lead Vocals/Guitar) and Gemma Cullingford (Bass)
KaitO have played with some of the most successful bands in the world at the moment, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Liars, The Walkmen, Clinic, British Sea Power the list goes on and on. So we asked if the band had any particular Favourite people to tour with or places to play.
“Liars” Gemma and Nikki say collectively
“There has been so many it’s hard to say just one, venues in America are hard to say, places in the mid-west which you always dread. But they are so entertaining because the people are so different. They are also more fun gigs but hard.”
“Oh… Yeah” Nikki Laughs “Norwich of course, Norwich is scary to play.”
“Playing in front of your friends.”
“You go home and talk to your friends about what you are doing and they expect something of you, and your up there and you think oh what they gonna think. So it’s quite scary.”
“A Good Thing about all the tours we’ve been on, is the bands we play with want us to play with them, its not going through booking agents. They’ve come and approached us. They are so diversified as well.”
What’s it like being on these vast tours with people.
“It’s a bit weird because you know your going to spend weeks and weeks with these people but as long as the people are really great which they have been so far. Like With British Sea Power none of us really knew their music too much and after a while we just really liked it.”
“All the bands have been about the music in their own way, no posey bands, real genuine people, so we’ve at least got that in common even if the music is different. It’s always worked out.” Dee Says
“I was listening to that CD the other night.” Gemma Says “and it brought back some memories” They Laugh
Nikki offers up an explanation for why the band get on so many diversified tours;
“You can’t put us in a genre, we’ve got different influences and we never stick to one type, we haven’t got a plan. We just play from an honest thing.”
“I think people have categorized us in the New York Thing, my concern is that people are going to think we sound like that sort of thing.” Gemma Says
However in KaitO’s music there is a real Britishness, although you probably could align it with whatever you want, as however diversified as the tours the band have done they seem to fit with everyone.
“I’m glad you say that” Dee Replies, “That’s one of the things I liked about British Sea Power, such a Britishness to them, it’s great to see.”
“Le Tigre was a scary tour at first because of Kathleen Hanna (Legendary Riot Girl and Queen of DIY.) But it was cool because we were soundchecking and she was dancing on her own to us. But the biggest thing for me was meeting Jon Spencer because he is such a hero of mine.”
The Next Time you will be able to see KaitO is as a part of a package show with The Gin Palace and Selfish Cunt. The Vortex of Now Tour, free shows for fans and potential fans to have a good time for nothing.
“It’s about bringing bands together and letting people go to a free show again. Seeing what’s going on.” Nikki Explains “There are so many underground things in London, we figure that putting it together is the best way to go. There’s the NME and stuff who kinda dismiss it a little bit, so we figured we will try our own thing, because we’re doing it for the music’s sake rather then getting hoards of fans, we just wanna play our music.”
“There all English bands as well, because the sort of scene we’re on, people say what English bands are there about?” Gemma Explains about the reasoning behind the tour, “There doesn’t seem to be many in England, there all from New York or America. So we want to show that there are bands here as well.”
The band prior to this show has just played a festival in Bologna with Morrissey and Muse, when we asked how it was, Nikki replies;
“It was raining and muddy and it was voting day and it was the start of the football so we didn’t play to that many people but then neither did like Morrissey or Muse.”
“We met this band called TV on the Radio and they were cool. I Felt a bit small.”
“I Felt like a bit like an outcast, like you do at school” Gemma Says
“We had a dressing room at the start of the day and half an hour after we played they told us to get out cause Jet need to use your dressing rooms.”
The Band will play at Truck Festival July 24- 25 and you can find out more about that at www.truckrecords.com, and a feature about the whole festival will feature in Next Month’s issue. But hopefully KaitO will explode onto the Carling Weekender next year.
Friday, 2 July 2010
Ending this short summer party this evening are Warm Waves soundtracking the end of the party with a lo-fi shoegaze all of their own, so lie back and enjoy the final part of this beautiful fivesome perfect to see you through the beautiful weather we are having....
More New Discoveries Tomorrow Folks!
Off to Tennesse for the next band COOLRUNNINGS (not to be confused with the reggae band of the same name from Essex), these guys are more of a post-surf party that the Drums have ever dreamed of, with their pulsating drum beats, simple synth/guitar lines and harmonic group vocals. Described as being what would happen if Aerial Pink and Brian Wilson got together for some crazy one night stand (but when the latter was capable...) COOLRUNNINGS are another example of a great band making some true summer sounds...
I'm not a musician but I've always really had the ambition to be in a two-piece band with my best buddy, touring for months at a time in a car across the jagged highways of North America, now this will probably never happen or if it did, I'd give us two weeks before one of us ended up in a ditch somewhere, but the dream is still there. The point is I love two-piece bands and Slow Animal are no exception, from New Jersey they could be the perfect soundtrack to your hot summer nights in that car with your best friend (before you kill each other) as there is something strangely intoxicating about their simple but sinister garage rock sound if your head was recently melted by Beach Fossils or Wild Nothing or simply you wish for some more fun rock and roll times Slow Animal may be the band for you!
Scissor Sisters- Nightwork (Polydor)
I will try not to "mince" my words here because I fucking hate the Scissor Sisters more than I hate kids who collect snails just to line them up and tread on them! Their innane pop slash disco slash camp party is about as appealing to me as a ancupunture with a bag of nails. I'm sure the press release reads something along the lines of "great return to form by everyones disco faves Scissor Sisters produced by yadda yadda (who has probably worked with at least one of these five, madonna, elton john, american singer you've never heard of..., american singer you thought might be dead, the village people/milli vanilli) who have really recapatured what made you love them in the first place or some misinformed bollocks like "jake shears and ana matronic trade innuendos, before exploding into huge disco- fuelled choruses! a whole lot of fun" when in actually fact, Nightwork is somewhere closer to the "nightwork" of some $ 2 dollar hooker who blows five guys an hour and has the face of a wet mop, the brain of a turnip and the breath of a dung beetle. Most of the tracks will penetrate your brain like a bear trap or your average Scissors Sisters fan at a sex party in Whitehawk going three or four at a time! Nightwork isn't new/original/return to form/sexy etc etc, it's a sleazy piece of garbage destined to be remixed for revenge/played to death on Radio 2/played by your mum cause she thinks its cool... Please just fuck off and die! p.s. who chose that cover?!? 0/10
Spectrals- 7th Date 7" (Slumberland)
It Follows that Spectrals were the tour support for Girls early this year and they both seem to share the same sonic goal, Sixties melancholy based around a echoey vocal, distorted guitars and a plain drum beat. Like Girls, the melancholy hints at something much deeper but unlike Girls and other contemporaries Christmas Island and Beach Fossils etc, the dark sound never really reveals itself in anything apart from the context of the song rather than the subtle underbellies that emerge in their peers blacker instrumental freakouts! However it is a tad harsh to judge a band based on this short burst and only time will tell if they are capable of something bigger and blacker. 5/10