Alternative Friday

Spreading the word about great new music

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Moth Effect is the band name for Andy Le Gresley, who according to his label Sunstone Records, is “on a one-man mission to give the drone a home”. He comes from leafy Sussex, but is heading into deep space with his first full-length album, the hugely impressive Crocodilians. Last year in New Tunes #35 we described the music as psychedelic electro rock, but read on to get a much more intergalactic description, as well as to find out what strangely-shaped vegetables and epic sax guys have to do with space rock?

Soundcloud | Twitter | Sunstone Records

 

~ How would you describe your music for those who may not have come across it?
Crocodilians is instrumental and varies between chuggy space rock, frazzled fuzz-disco and spookier soundtrack-style tunes. It may even get a little bit ambient at points.

There are chunks of drone, noise and other pieces of discord mixed into the tunes, but I always try to make sure there are melodies in there too.

I like music that you can either choose to listen to in the background, or if you want, really pay attention to and pick up lots of detail. I hope that Crocodilians manages that. If you’re a snoozer, groover or just want to hoover, I think it’ll fit in.

 

 

~ Where did the band name come from?

I remember reading about something called the Moth Effect. It’s a theory that flashing lights which are meant to warn of a danger actually end up attracting you. The phrase stuck in my head and eventually, when I was trying to come up with a band name, it seemed to fit.

If someone made me stare at a flashing light for long enough, I’d probably confess that the repetitive bits of my tunes, some of which feature a slightly spooky/sinister undertone, also kind of fit in with the band name…at least in my mind!

I’m also a big fan of moths and flashing lights, either both at once or individually.

~ Given that Moth Effect is just you, how many different instruments do you play?

My main instrument is guitar and I can play some bass, although I really ought to practice that a bit more. I also play keys badly one finger at a time. Luckily, you can buy mono-phonic synths.

You might be able to tell from the tunes that I make, but I’m also prone to stringing together long chains of guitar pedals. Even if you’re working with some really clean digital sounds, you can get things pretty warped with a few delays and filters. (Does a guitar pedal count as an instrument?)

Oh, let’s not forget that I can also play the shaky egg.

~ What other instrument would you love to learn to play and why?

Definitely drums. I imagine that playing the drums would be a lot quicker than spending hours programming them and fiddling around with loops.

~ With no lyrics with which to influence track names, how did you come up with the ten song titles on the album?

Anything that sticks really. I get the titles from things people say, looking through the newspaper, spotting phrases in books…if I see something that might make a good title, I usually write it down somewhere and, when a track comes along that fits, give it the name.

 

 

~ How did you hook up with Sunstone Records?

Once I’d finished the album, I spent a while trying to find labels that might like what I’d made. I dropped Sunstone a line and, luckily for me, they were interested. The artists on Sunstone are almost like a microcosm of some of my influences too, so I think the Moth fits in.

As well as that, Sunstone are really into their vinyl, so it’ll be great to have the album in that format, especially because of the artwork which spreads across both sides of the cover.

~ Are there any other great new bands from the Sussex area at the moment that you recommend we check out?

Sadly, I’m pretty out of touch with what’s happening in Sussex at the moment…I’ve been holed up in front of a laptop for the last year making tracks. However, I did visit Jersey in the Summer and came across a gig by The Cryptics. They play some great garagey rock’n’roll. Their EP’s also well worth getting – Gold’s my favourite track at the moment.

Actually, I think some of Fumaca Preta are from Brighton. They’ve just put out an excellent album too.

~ If you could borrow a well-known musician from another band for a day who would it be and why?

Can I borrow a drummer please? Someone like Kid Millions from Oneida or whoever drummed on Broadcast’s Man Is Not A Bird. The drums on the Broadcast track are really mesmeric; I like the way they start off simple, then develop into something pretty complex but still groovy by the end of the tune.

~ If you could claim one song as your own – wiping the original from all memory – what would it be?

I’m pretty fickle, so I can’t say I’ve got a consistent all-time favourite song or track – it’s probably the tune I’ve just listened to at any one time. At the moment, it could be Space Junk by Devo, I’m A Living Sickness by The Calico Wall or Two Lone Swordmen’s The Big Clapper.

I’m not going to get rich with any of those am I? At least I wouldn’t have to erase too many memories before claiming them!

~ Who are your musical Guilty Pleasures?

I don’t really believe in the idea of Guilty Pleasures – if you like a tune, then it’s good. If someone else doesn’t agree, who cares?

I went through a pretty big ELO phase a while back – they’re usually a ‘Guilty Pleasure,’ aren’t they? But, then again, you can’t go too far wrong with an orchestra, several phasers and a vocoder, can you?

I’ve also got a bit of a thing for weird, slightly twisted novelty songs like Adriano Celetano’s Prisencolinensinainciusol – it’s a Krautrock-stomp with gibberish on top or Boom Babba Do Ba Dabba by Powersolo which has been a recent favourite. Both songs have got some great but odd bits of production too, which I may try to rip-off in the future.

I also went through a brief Marc Riley and The Creepers phase…I feel much more guilty about that…

 

 

~ Do you have any hidden talents?

Ha ha. No. I’m fully stretched at the moment…there are no special moves left in the tank!

~ What makes you laugh?

I’m not very sophisticated. Strangely-shaped vegetables, low-level schadenfreude and Daily Mail articles about climate change usually hit the spot.

~ What would it take for you to do Eurovision!?

Well, there’s always been an Epic Sax Guy influence to my music. I’d do it, but am worried that political voting amongst the Balkan states might scupper my chances.

~ We’re in a pub. Do I get you a lager, bitter, stout, cider, or something else?

Umm, if it’s a fancy pub, a wheat beer, cheers. Failing that, lager. If I end up drinking rum and coke, then it’s time for me to go home.

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The four outstanding tracks in this latest New Tunes entry cover numerous alternative genres, but there’s one thing that links them all… the quality of the songwriting and musicianship. I love ‘em all, but have a listen to determine your favourites?

Area 52 – What Do You Want?
Area 52 are a relatively new 5-piece rock band from Reading, and if this track is anything to go by we’ll be hearing a lot more from them. It’s nice and noisy, as alternative rock usually is, but it’s also hugely catchy, with a chorus that has ‘earworm’ written all over it. One for headbangers to sing-a-long to!
Website | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

 

GirlBoy – Jennifer Lawrence
This debut track from GirlBoy, a new collaboration between British singer-songwriter Michael Reeve, and Abigail Tarttelin, an award-winning feminist author, is a highly infectious piece of indie rock. To call it indie rock possibly does it a disservice though, as a wonderfully hypnotic drumbeat, pop melody, and engaging vocals combine to grab you from the first listen. One for the dance floor!
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The Rooz – Pleasantries and Magic Tricks
Better known for their energetic rock ‘n’ roll, teenage Telford band The Rooz changed tempo for this sublime track, which is the b-side to their latest single Lowlife. It’s a wonderfully laid back ballad, where the piano takes the instrumental lead, while the searing vocals of singer/songwriter Louis Coupe are a joy. B-side my arse!
Website | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

 

Record/Start – Electric Minds
Record/Start is the name given to Brighton musician Simon Cowan, formerly of Manchester band Carlis Star. His debut single Rock From Afar (released on limited edition cassette) was featured in the February Mixtape, and Electric Minds continues the superb quality of the alternative pop tunes he writes, with an addictive melody, rich vocal harmonies, and polished production combining to prefection. Play this a few times and I’m confident you’ll be hooked. I was.
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There’s a wonderful spread of excellent new music in this month’s mixtape, and they’re all worth a listen, so I hope you enjoy them, and do spread the word about your favourites…

 


Dork Turnspit – Into My Daze
Record/Start – Electric Minds
The Rooz – Pleasantries and Magic Tricks
The Life and Death – Love Don’t Make Us Tough
Swoons – The Night
Snail Collectors – The Saints are Marching In With Style
Mancheska – Girl Next Door
Coasts – Modern Love
Calling All Astronauts – Show Me Love
Black Rivers – The Ship

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We head to Broxburn in Scotland for this latest Q & A to meet the teenage indie/punk band Indigo Sixteen, who are comprised of Stephen Mallin (vocals, guitar) Matt McPherson (guitar) Andrew Stears (bass, vocals) and Callum Davidson (drums, percussion). They’ve already featured here in New Tunes #36 with their excellent debut Decide, while the follow up And What? comes out tomorrow (Sat Feb 28th)! Read on though, to find out what a crutch, some duct tape, and The Stig have to do with rock ‘n’ roll?

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~ How did you all meet?
We all met through Stephen and Andrew, who were looking to form a new band after a previous effort failed. At the same time Callum and Matt were looking to start a band of their own, asking Andrew (who knew them through a school wind band) for help in doing so. Instead Andrew asked them to join himself and Stephen, and after a first practice in April 2013 Indigo Sixteen was formed.

~ In New Tunes #36 we described you as being both “ferocious and catchy”, but how would you describe your music?
Our music can be described very differently compared to what songs you listen to, but there is always a feeling that the music is trying to push faster and faster. Take our two new singles as an example; ‘Decide’ is a loud, fast paced indie / punk tune, whereas ‘And What?’ has a slightly more dance-y kind of feel, but the rhythm still has a driving feel to it.

 

 

~ What’s the most fun part of being in a band?
Making and playing new music.

~ You played the legendary King Tut’s in Glasgow last November. How did that come about, and what other legendary venue would you love to play next?
We were contacted a number of months before by a promoter from Tuts wondering if we’d be interested in playing, however we had to turn it down as most shows there were 18+ and we have 2 members under 18. A few months later we were contacted again about a 14+ showcase being put on, and we couldn’t say yes fast enough! It was a dream that we’d had for a long time (what with its reputation and previous acts), and despite being first on it seemed to be near a sell out which really spurred us on to play the best set that we could. Realistically the next big venue would be something like Barrowlands or The Liquid Rooms, but if it could be anywhere, the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury or Coachella.

~ If you could borrow a musician from another band for a day who would it be and why?
Andrew – Between Johnny Marr or John Paul Jones. Fantastic writers and geniuses on their instruments.
Stephen – Morrissey
Callum – Definitely Matt Bellamy. Just to probe his mind for inspiration for a day would be amazing.
Matt – Mark Tremonti. Amazing Guitarist.

~ Are there any other new West Lothian (or wider Scottish) bands that you recommend we check out?
For Edinburgh based bands, there’s A Modern Masquerade, Car Crash Hearts, and Empire By Day, and at the other side of Scotland there’s Echo Valley.

 

 

~ What’s the most rock ‘n’ roll thing any of you have ever done?
At an early gig there was no mic stand provided, so we had to improvise a mic stand from a crutch, a guitar stand, duct tape and some cable ties!

~ And the least?
We had to turn down our amps as it was too loud for our ears.

~ What are your plans for 2015?
We hope to continue to make new music, perhaps some more recordings, and definitely play as much as we possibly can.

~ Which famous person would you love to get to drive the tour bus?
The Stig, that way we’d get everywhere in the fastest time possible.

~ Do any of you have any hidden talents?
Not that we know of, but if we did know they wouldn’t be hidden anymore…

~ What’s your favourite takeaway?
Stephen – Chippy
Andrew – Can’t go wrong with an Indian
Matt – Pizza
Callum – Good old Fish and Chips

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The range of music in this month’s mixtape covers numerous genres, but all are impressive tunes by new or independent artists, as I hope you’ll agree when you hear them…

 


A Billion Lions – Torquay
Record/Start – Rock From Afar
Charlie Belle – Shake You Off
Indigo Sixteen – And What?
Area 52 – What Do You Want?
Flower Fellow – White & Blue
Shinies – Nothing Like Something Happens Anywhere
Girlboy – Jennifer Lawrence
Peur – Hollow Skies
Emil Friis – Sand In Your Eyes

The hugely impressive music in this latest New Tunes takes us from Broxburn, Scotland to Austin, Texas, and covers all sorts, from brash indie to tender folk. I love ‘em all, but which are your favourites?

Indigo Sixteen – Decide

Teenage indie/punk quartet Indigo Sixteen come from Broxburn in Scotland, and if Decide is anything to go by then we’ll surely be hearing more about them in 2015 (listen to the equally excellent And What for further evidence). It’s both ferocious and catchy, which works for me!

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Charlie Belle – Metaphorically Speaking

This trio from Austin, Texas, have an average age of just 15! Given how good this “90’s English alternapop” track is, you just have to doff your hat to them. It’s quite a brilliant piece of indie pop, which comes from their debut EP Get To Know.
Website | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook

 

Liu Bei – Goodness

Pronounced Lou Bay, this London 5-piece band have created a wonderfully anthemic, cinematic, and slow building but addictive tune. They call it “swimming pool echoes”, but I just call it an excellent and harmonious indie pop track, and alongside its polished production it will surely appeal to many music lovers.

Website | BandcampSoundcloud | Twitter | Facebook

 

The Sherlocks – Live For The Moment

If you love a bit of lively indie rock then you should love this debut single from Sheffield band The Sherlocks. The follow up, Escapade, is out this month, so keep ‘em peeled.

Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook

 

Jamie Hamilton – Past Midnight

This is wonderfully laid back song from Lancashire singer-songwriter Jamie Hamilton, full of intricate guitar work and tender vocals. The melody will surely grab you after few listens too. An understated gem.

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