Alternative Friday

Passionately championing new music

From pop to a bit of funk rock hip-hop, there’s surely something you’ll fall for in this latest New Tunes posting…

Three Kings High – Nothing Left To Lose
This Bristol band have a hip-hop background, but have fused it with a funk rock sound containing powerful drumming and catchy vocals to create this energetic and infectious track.
Website | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook

 

Empire Affair – DNA Code
From their recently released 3rd EP Pangs, DNA Code takes the indie rock/pop sound with driving choruses that the band have been previously known for, but adds a synth into the mix with great success. If you want to know more about the band, they recently featured in a Q & A with us, while they’ve also made a great video for DNA Code too, which was directed and edited by their bass player Tom Parrett.
Website | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

 

Alex Moir – Night of Nights
Birmingham artist Alex Moir has apparently played the piano since the age of seven, and in this highly impressive and melodic pop song he sings that he’s “a little bit older now”. Phew!
Website | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

 

Silent Party – Remember Your Strategies
Silent Party are a new 4-piece band from London, who in their own words, are creating a “sound that combines sonic intensity with classic pop sensibility. Jealousy, bitterness and paranoia”. Works for me!
Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook

EmpireAffair0914_2

 

Welcome to the latest Q & A with Empire Affair. They formed in Bournemouth in early 2011 and consist of Neil Tallant (vocals), Jack Woolston (guitar), Matt Park (guitar and keys), Tom Parrett (bass) and Darren Sheppard (drums). Their 3rd EP, Pangs, came out on September 5th, but what have dauphinois potatoes and a dislocated shoulder got to do with rock ‘n’ roll?

Website | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

 

~ Describe your music and influences for those who may not have come across it?
A Hawaiian shirt in a blender with a disco ball. Or for those not trained in allegories, we are along the lines of high energy alt-indie rock and roll.

~ What’s the most fun part of being in a band?
Challenging ourselves with a creative output, and getting to do it in places we wouldn’t usually get to go.

~ What did you find most challenging about the new EP?
Breaking out of our comfort zone and approach to song writing, as well as adding a synth into the mix.

 

 

~ Your live version of Lana Del Ray’s Video Games is a damn sight better than her version! What other mellow tracks would you love to give an Empire Affair makeover to?
That’s very kind; we had a lot of fun doing it. We have started working on The Ronettes classic ‘Be My Baby’, so watch out for that.

~ If you could each pick one band or artist in order to curate a festival stage, who would they be?
Jack – Daft Punk
Neil – Elton John
Tom – New Order
Darren – Two Door Cinema Club
Matt – The National

~ You’ve been to Croatia twice and played numerous dates there. What has been the best thing about going there, and are the venues and audiences any different to what you find in the UK?
They have a different attitude to live music; it’s much more of a whole night out. There is also much more rock music over there, whereas music is more pop orientated here.

 

 

~ Your new EP has been crowd funded via Pledge Music. One of the packages on offer was a “home cooked dinner”. Who is the best cook among you, and if I’d got them round to the Alternative Friday kitchen what treat would they have served up… and who’s the worst, and what would they have attempted!!
That would probably be Jack, who would serve up minted loin of lamb with dauphinois potatoes and trimmed beans.
Neil would have ordered a take away!

~ If you could collaborate with a famous musician, who would it be?
Jack – Rick Rubin
Neil – Freddie Mercury
Tom – Matt Bellamy
Matt – David Bowie
Darren – Alex Turner

~ Are there any other new / lesser known bands from the Bournemouth area we should be checking out?
Check out Jack Grace – Soundcloud

~ Do any of you have any hidden talents?
Matt was Wessex under 16 fencing champion. Tom can dislocate his shoulder…does that count?

~ Which five actors would you choose to play you all in a film about the band?
Jack – Jim Carey
Tom – Adrian Brody
Neil – Ryan Gosling
Darren – Jonah Hill
Matt – Elijah Wood

~ What are your plans for the rest of 2014?
Release the EP and gig, gig, gig.

~ Which gets the most votes from the five of you; lager, bitter, or stout?
Matt makes home brew stout, so he is a little biased, the rest are saying lager.

EmpireAffair0914_6

Following its summer break the show returns with some great new music, so tune in and enjoy…

 

 

David Woodcock – Same Things
Rubblebucket – Carousel Ride
Royal Blood – Figure It Out
Catfish & the Bottlemen – Cocoon
New Killer Shoes – Love Rocket
The Vex – Martyr
The Family Crest – The World
Morrissey – Staircase at the University
Dexters – Start to Run
Metric – Breathing Underwater
Ezra Furman – My Zero
Emil Friis – Down From The Horizon
Total Control – Flesh War
Dietrich Jon – Lions
The Shallows – More Now Than Ever

Welcome to another review by my AlternativeFriday colleague Major
Tom
, who this time offers this thoughts on the debut album by Alvvays…

AlvvaysAlbum1

 

Artist: Alvvays

Album: Alvvays

There’s probably a fair bit the discerning music fan already knows about the Candian Indie quintet Alvvays. Firstly they are from Toronto – led and formed by lead singer Molly Rankin. Secondly it’s pronounced Always…or is it Alvvays? Hmmm, I’ll get back to you there. Third – and this is for certain – their recent single Marry Me Archie is simply one of the best things you will hear this year: a soaring, effortless, melodic triumph, that brings to mind label mates Camera Obscura at their very best. Think French Navy and Lloyd I’m ready to be Heartbroken… it’s that good.

 

 

On to their full length, self titled debut long player released just last month. Unsurprisingly (given the above Camera Obscura reference point) there is nothing groundbreaking on offer here, with the indie jangly/distorted guitar template very much at the albums core. Of course this is a genre which has become increasingly stale and so-so at best in recent times. Indie landfill / Indie by numbers if you like. I may have made that last one up…

Anyway I digress. Apply to Alvvays none of the above on this highly impressive release. Highlights? There are many, with not one weak link on offer. That said, Archie is still the stand out track, but not by that much. Adult Diversion and Next Of Kin are both ridiculously catchy and infectious tunes – Indie sing-a-long classics in the making. Elsewhere the Californian Surf, Best Coast style, is never far away and lends a beachy, yet melancholy feel to proceedings – especially on slower paced tracks such as Ones Who Love You and The Agency Group. Lyrically we are also in melancholic, even dark territory: unrequited love, partners with an adversion to matrimony, a lover drowned in the river in Next Of Kin. Rankin’s vocals are outstanding through out – deadpan yes, disengaged no. An exceptional and compelling performance, that lends a personal, vulnerable and yearning feel to each song.

 

 

In short then: Have we heard it all before? Almost certainly we have. Should we be more demanding? Probably. However… Alvvays positively breath life back into the jaded indie guitar world and enhance it with a collection of just great tunes and melodies, which are fresh enough to override any ho-hum heard-it-all before thoughts.

Ultimately this is just great pop music, which brings a smile to the face and more than a few tugs on the heart. Ultimately we’re all suckers for that, right?

Score (out of 5):

four

Website | Soundcloud | Twitter

ShallowsVol3b

 

Welcome to the latest Q & A with London indie band The Shallows, who also popped up last year in New Tunes #19. They have had 3 EPs released to date, with the most recent, Fear and Hope Vol.3, coming out in June, which again highlighted their knack of writing and performing highly infectious indie tunes. The four members that made up The Shallows have, however, now gone their separate way, but frontman Tom Skelton is continuing the project (and has new tracks in the pipeline) and he faces this Q & A, but what have the film Frozen and fresh Chai tea got to do with rock ‘n’ roll?

Website | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

 

 

~ How was the band formed / how did you meet?

Michael and I met at uni, he was making fresh Chai tea and I asked for some. I initially went to play some drums for a recording for him but then ended up writing a song with me singing and then we carried on writing every Saturday for the next 5 years.

~ The 3 EP’s were recorded in Spain. How did that come about?

Michael works with a guy called ‘Youth’, he’s the bass player for Killing Joke and Is also in a band with Paul McCartney. Anyway, he is quite big in the recording game and has a studio at his Spain abode based on Olympic studio room 1. Youth gave us the opportunity to go out there for 10 days to cut a collection of songs we’d been working on for the previous couple of years.

~ What song of yours are you most proud of, and why?

That’s tough as I think they’re all quite varied. The Enemy really sticks out for me, I love the zombie vibe. More Now Than Ever is also a killer tune. The middle 8 is well Beatles.

 

~ Is music your full time job?

Yes Music is my full time job. At least that’s the way I see it.

~ What are your fears and hopes?

I’m afraid of not doing music anymore.
I’m hoping that some people in the music industry actually reply to my emails.

~ Now you have released the 3 EP’s what’s the plan?

Carry on writing. Nothing really happens when we release an ep. There’s a little reaction online but we have no money, no pr, no marketing, no label, so not much happens. Not to sound negative but it’s a bit of an anticlimax. Gigging is tough in London too so we’re probably just gonna keep it real and keep writing and releasing and hope that one day we’ll make some money which will enable us to put a band together and gig around Europe or Japan. Japan would be rad.

~ If you could curate a festival stage, what five bands/artists would you invite to perform?

Sun Kil Moon
Sage Francis
Bon Iver
Moderat
Isbells

~ What’s the least rock thing you’ve done in the last week?

Watched Frozen.

~ What song would you sing at a karaoke if no one you knew was watching?

If I could turn back time by Cher

~ Can you suggest any new up and coming bands we should be checking out?

Lonesound – website
Tax the Heat – website

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

Curtis Mayfield – Move on up

 ~ What’s your favourite small venue?

Empire Records in St Albans.

~ When you look to get a new live band together, what instrument would you trust me to play without wrecking the performance?

Jim you can play whatever you want, if you suck then that’s cool. Just come and have fun with us.

 

I hope you enjoy another variety pack of great new music, as there’s surely something here you’ll fall for…

Dietrich Jon – Lions
Indiana band Dietrich Jon are no strangers to Alternative Friday, having already appeared in New Tunes #27, while Lions is another example of the superbly melodic country rock they produce.
Soundcloud | Twitter

 

Winters Island – Ares
This indie-electro track from London 3-piece band Winters Island has a highly infectious tune. Add in the strong vocals and polished production and you have an outstanding pop tune.
Website | Soundcloud | Twitter
[Sorry - track removed from soundcloud]

 

The Shy Lips – She Was Born in Bahia
This is a highly catchy indie rock track from 4-piece Swedish band The Shy Lips, which has a great bass groove and sing-a-long vocals that will surely draw you in on the first listen.
Website |Soundcloud | Twitter

 

3D Shark – Sick Note
Don’t let your boss catch you singing this pop punk track, which comes from 3D Shark’s recent EP Some Boys Like To Hide Away, which intriguingly also includes the tracks “Ronnie O’Sullivan”, and “My Name is Brian Clough”! You can also see the entertaining video to Sick Note here.
Soundcloud | Twitter

There’s another eclectic mix of great new tunes in this show. Enjoy…

 

 

The Shallows – Ghost
The Vaselines – One Lost Year
Darlia – Dear Diary
Benjamin Booker – Violent Shiver
The Hosts – September Song
John Wean – New York Doesn’t Love You
The King Blues – Keep The Faith
Catfish & the Bottlemen – Kathleen
Alvvays – Archie, Marry Me
The Go Team – Titanic Vandalism
Roxy Music – Street Life
The Waterboys – Trumpets (remix)
John Newman – Love Me Again
John Grant – I Wanna Go To Marz
Port Isla – Simple Sunrise
Darkside – Heart

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