Friday, 28 September 2012

Tomorrow always comes

Tomorrow, then, is the Nottingham Indiepop All-Dayer. It's been age coming around, but that's maybe because we first started planning it in a pub at the beginning of February.

Anyway, for those of you wanting to schedule in chip breaks, then we've got a running order for you:

2.00pm - Marc and Graeme Elston
2.45pm - The Fireworks
3.30pm - Martha
4.15pm - The Hobbes Fanclub
5.00pm - The Give It Ups
5.45pm - Sock Puppets

(tea break)

7.00pm - Anguish Sandwich
8.00pm - Milky Wimpshake
9.00pm - Shrag
10.00pm - Standard Fare

Riots Not Diets DJ sets during the tea break and after the bands finish.

Oh, and if you're really bored, you can read an interview with me and the ace Brilldream blog.

See yer tomorrow!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The mysterious case of City Yelps

Every so often you hear the first few bars of a song and know it's going to be something you'll listen to over and over again. That's how I felt about an hour ago after hearing City Yelps's grump-pop classic 'Lawns'.

I think City Yelps come from Leeds and have amongst their number ex members of the Real Losers and current Downdimers. 'Lawns' speeds along like an early Prolapse track, and with just as much danger. It's my new favourite song, and I really, really wish I was going to this. You really should.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Hermit Crabs - Time Relentless ep (Matinee Recordings)

I never really thought the Hermit Crabs got the credit they deserved when they released those two eps and daintily understated album between 2006 and 2009. Alas, it's too late for that to happen now, as this is a deceased band, and 'Time Relentless' (a rather apt title, if you think about it) is, I hear, the band's last release.

It's a very perfect way to go out, mind, with 'On The Spectrum' hinting at danger, and the title track nudging at a greatness few other acts would let die. 'Stop This Now' (the clue is always in the question, isn't it?) sounds like The Icicles, and I miss that band so much.

Last track, 'So Blue', is where The Hermit Crabs exit the stage, I guess, and it's a particularly heartbreaking way to leave. It's about helping out a friend through a hard time and whilst it never really lets itself go, it's probably best for that. The last thing we want here is an ill-placed explosion of strings.

And so, ta-ra The Hermit Crabs - a band that never really fulfilled (in popularity terms) the promise shown by that exquisite 'Feelgood Factor' ep in 2006, but who were around long enough to be important in my life. Lost treasures are sometimes the most precious.

You can buy 'Time Relentless' from Matinee Recordings.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Lies, lies and government

If, like me, you found yourself crying whilst Jamie Carragher read out some dead people's names yesterday, then you probably need something completely joyful like pop music to bring you out of the anger/shock/revulsion you're feeling right now over the fact that the establishment lied to the families of dead people for over two decades. As ever, comrades, I'm here for you.

I did this last year, and it seemed quite popular, so I'm going to post a load of videos from the bands playing this year's Nottingham Indiepop All-Dayer. Details are over there on the right. This will be the fifth all-dayer, and we think (and no disrespect to those who played previously) that it's the best line-up we've put together.

So, by way of a half-arsed preview, here you go:

Anguish Sandwich

Milky Wimpshake

The Fireworks

Standard Fare


The Give It Ups

Sock Puppets

20110730 - Indietracks 2011 - Sock Puppets from Eolrin on Vimeo.

The Hobbes Fanclub


Marc Elston (in Bulldozer Crash)

... and Graeme Elston (in Pure)

Monday, 10 September 2012

Born With Stripes

Last Friday I went to The Chameleon (where else?) to see a little acoustic gig we'd organised last minute as Nick didn't have a proper show in the diary that night. He'd asked me to hastily book a couple of acts who could play an acoustic set each. So, I went and asked The Sunbathers, and a band who had posted on the anorak forum asking for a drummer, called Born With Stripes.

The Sunbathers were their usual joyful self, all handclaps one minute - genuine wistfulness the next. Most of their sings are about the seaside, and this I heartily approve of.

Before them, Born With Stripes turned up as a duo. Alarmingly young (although old enough to have both finished university), they picked up a couple of guitars and belted out half a dozen sunshine pop numbers that put me in mind of Beulah at their most optimistic, mid-period Boo Radleys or Belle and Sebastian at their poppermost.

On the other side of The Chameleon's big glass window there was a violent, loud, witless street party taking place. Inside the ramshackle walls of The Chameleon, listening to Born With Stripes and The Sunbathers, the 20 or so of us listening felt like we were in the best type of cocoon. Safe and sound.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

I love the devastating bones of them

Another band playing the Nottingham all-dayer are, of course, Shrag. They're headlining, of course. I've said lots of things about Shrag over the past few months, and so I'm won't gush any more about 'Canines' being the best thing to happen to me since they decided to start serving Harvest Pale in the pub around the corner from work. Suffice to say that 'Devasting Bones' is at the same time savage, sexy, filthy and full of pop.

It's out on 10th September on Fortuna Pop!. Shrag are playing at about 10pm at our all-dayer. Anyone missing will be taken outside and stared at for a good five minutes.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Hobbes Fanclub interview

The Hobbes Fanclub are pretty much the perfect pop band - this much you should know by now. Ahead of their appearance at this year's Nottingham indiepop all-dayer, they answered some questions for me.

Leon, you started the band via a long-distance music writing relationship, didn't you? How did that come about, and how and why did it end?

Leon : Well it was just me to begin with but after getting chatting to Fabiana, who lives in Sao Paulo, on we decided to collaborate. We wrote two songs together, but only one of them has been released. She sang vocals with me on the first two singles too, including lead vocals on Love From The Stars which she wrote the words for. It worked pretty well all things considered, and it was nicer having someone to share it with than working on my own, even if we never met. It came to an end when Gary at Bubblegum Records asked us to play Glasgow Popfest. The chance to play live was too good to miss and Fabi being in a different hemisphere obviously made it pretty difficult for her to be involved in that full time so I asked Lou and Adam to join me and I reckon we make a great team.

How did all three of you meet?

Adam:  Myself and Louise used to be boyfriend and girlfriend. Then we fell out, then we made friends again. Then Louise introduced me to Leon who she had made friends with in between. Then we also became friends. Then we formed our band!

Leon: I met Lou at a gig I played with my old band through a mutual friend about 4 years ago. We became good friends and after a couple of failed attempts at starting a band together both Lou and Adam were my first choices when I wanted to get Hobbes playing live.

Louise: Adam and I go way back to our teens, which is a pretty long way back! I met Leon a few years ago through a friend and we got along right away, then I introduced Adam and Leon a couple of years ago. We toyed with the idea of getting together to play for quite a while before we finally managed to mobilise but we quickly became quite a natural three piece once we started playing, somehow it just worked really nicely together. 

Do you all share similar musical tastes?

Leon: The more we get to know each other the more we realise we have in common, plus we're introducing each other to stuff all the time. I’m probably the most immersed in indiepop and shoegaze stuff, but we have loads of other stuff in common, especially girl groups and '50s & '60s pop.

Louise: I think we kind of meet nicely in the middle of our sometimes very different tastes! It’s probably fair to say that Adam and I come more from the rock/punk end, but we all have lots in common musically too. I think we all share enough to make us work well together but have enough differences to make it interesting and each bring something else to the songs too.

Adam: Yeah, I’d say we all like stuff the others like. And we all like stuff the others really don't like too!

What's your favourite album ever?

Leon: That's a tough one, I find it hard to pick one but it could be one from 'All Mod Cons' by the Jam, 'Bandwagonesque' by Teenage Fanclub or 'Nowhere' by Ride. They are albums I go back to again and again and they never get old.

Adam:  Wow, that's a tough question! Mine's probably the one that I made for myself that has my ten favorite songs on it!

Louise: I’m notoriously bad for getting through a full album and am much more likely to dip in and out for particular songs. If I were really, really pushed to say (and I’ll probably disagree with this tomorrow!) in my top ten would always be 'Siamese Dream' by Smashing Pumpkins, 'Doolittle' by Pixies, Violent Femmes (Violent Femmes) and some bits and bobs from Sonic Youth/Pavement/Hole/Dinosaur Jr/Moldy Peaches with a bit of Shangri Las and The Raincoats and assorted other girl groups thrown in! Not quite an album choice, but about as near to one as I get, sorry! 

What's it like in West Yorkshire these days for indiepop? There seems to be some good stuff going on in Leeds.

Leon : I don't get over to Leeds that often but obviously we've got Blanche Hudson Weekend who I love and before them were Manhattan Love Suicides. Like in many other ways Bradford suffers for being so close to Leeds, so we never get touring bands which is a real shame. It wasn't always so. We've only played twice in Bradford and never in Leeds so we've not met many kindred spirits locally. Having said that we did play with a Leeds band called Buen Chico in June who are a great pop band and lovely people to boot.

Adam: Leeds has LOTS of students. I think things like gigs and bands go hand in hand with that. Were playing a really amazing event in Sheffield soon, so I guess Yorkshire definitely does have its golden moments!

Lou: Yeah, Leeds certainly does better for touring bands and there’s a few great venues. Bradford has a reasonably small, but enthusiastic alternative scene which we’ve all been part of to some extent, though it definitely tends to err more to the rock than indiepop. Leon however valiantly flies the flag DJing at a monthly night we all go to/are involved in, treating folk to a fine array of indiepop/related tunes! As for us, the gigs we’ve done have tended to be further afield but I’m sure we’ll do more gigs locally, both in Bradford and maybe Leeds and Manchester in the future too.

How did the releases on Cloudberry and Dufflecoat come about?

Leon: In 2010 I sent a speculative email to a couple of labels including Cloudberry and Roque liked our songs and asked us to do the single which was fantastic. I didn't really expect anyone to respond but I'm really happy Roque did, it was a catalyst for everything that's happened since. Then six months later Gary at Dufflecoat asked us to be on his first release, which when you see the quality of the stuff he's put out since is something to be proud of I reckon.

Tell me a bit more about the songs on the new single. Kieron from ILWTT pointed out in his review that they were like a call and a reply. Was that intentional?

Leon: No, it wasn't intentional and it hadn't occurred to us to be honest although I can see why he would think that. They were written about two years apart and 'The One You Love' (the reply) was written first. 'Your Doubting Heart' was inspired by the title of a short story I saw in an 1950s copy of Woman's Own I found in a back room of Bradford Playhouse one night when I used to help run a night there. 'The One You Love' is just about that feeling you get when you know a relationship is beyond repair, and you're looking wistfully back at what you've lost even though you know it has to end. My songs aren't especially wordy, and I repeat myself a lot! But I think the tone of that song is a bit gloomy which matches the words 

Adam: From my point of view I'd say "Your Doubting Heart" is defo the punkiest moment in our set. And i like things punky! I think the vote was unanimous from the word go that it would be the first single. It seemed to be the one song that we were collectively drawn to.

What's next? An album?

Leon: We'd love to do an album or another single. We are in the middle of our busiest set of shows so far but in between we're busy writing some more songs. The Shelflife single is going well so hopefully we'll get the chance to put some more stuff out.

Louise: yeah, we’d love to do an album and I think we’ve certainly got one in us! We’ll just have to see what opportunities arise, as Leon said, we’re pretty busy with gigs right now, but we’re definitely keen to do some more releases.

Adam: I'd really love to play at Indietracks again! It was awesome. I'd love to record and release a couple more singles. And I'd love one of our songs to be featured in a reality TV programme. One about engineering or automotive construction, that would be good.