A Week in Video... Wakefield’s indie rockers The Cribs release ‘Leather Jacket Love Song,’ a nostalgic look back at their last decade of existence as a band. The video inter-splices archive footage of one of the brothers’ early gigs at Ossett Town Hall in Yorkshire, with the Cribs circa 2013 observing their younger selves. The Cribs’ sounds hasn’t altered a great deal over time, but their popularity seems to show no signs of wavering; their commitment to their DIY roots remains strong and even with Ryan breaking out with his new band Exclamation Pony, we reckon there’s a few years left in The Cribs yet.
Palma Violets have been causing a stir, with their accessible, psych-tinged garage rock. The video for ‘Step Up For The Cool Cats’ is a vaguely trippy, home-video style shoot; footage of the band playing is mixed with footage of them driving around in a car together, looking like it’s being played back on an old TV set. The band have gained a lot of attention since playing recent slots with London based Savages. It looks like 2013 could well be their year.
For a while, it seemed that Swedish band Shout Out Louds had disappeared from view but here they are again with ‘Walking In Your Footsteps’ taken from their forthcoming album Optica. It’s accompanied by an atmospheric, pastel coloured video, a stream of slow-motion shots adding to the sombre tone of the song.
Currently on tour with Two Door Cinema Club, Bastille’s emotional dance anthems are rapidly gaining this London quartet some serious attention. The video for ‘Pompeii,’ with its heroic backing vocals sees singer / songwriter Dan Smith chasing through the streets, realising that everyone he encounters is… well, a little dead behind the eyes. A struggle with inner turmoil, played out on celluloid.
The video for Matthew Herbert’s ‘Foreign Bodies is mildly disturbing, if you pay too close attention to it. A foreign body (quell surprise) travels through a series of animated skeletons, seemingly passing from genitalia to mouth, as the figures glide woozily around the screen. Its retro feel is a perfect accompaniment to the laid-back nature of the track, part of a retrospective box set looking back at the 40 year old producer’s respected career.
The White Album may have made themselves deliberately inaccessible by having a thoroughly Google-unfriendly name, but their music is anything but inaccessible. ‘Seasons’ is a bleak, yet tuneful ballad, starting with sparsely plucked guitar and building to an epic crescendo. The video follows an old man through an abandoned fairground, fantasising about the warmth of the communal playground in full swing.
Albums of Note... Wolf’s Law is the second album from The Joy Formidable, an impressive follow-up to their debut, The Big Roar. The band are “quickly establishing themselves as one of the most exciting bands in modern rock.” The band’s singer, Ritzy Brian has “never sounded cooler” than she does here. “If The Big Roar was an introduction to The Joy Formidable, Wolf's Law is a strong statement of intent. Although it probably won't have as much of an impact compared to their initial debut, this album alludes to what is to come from the band. At this steady rate of ascent, one can only get excited about The Joy Formidable's potential.”
Adam Ant’s awkwardly titled Adam Ant Is The BlueBlack Hussar Marrying The Gunner's Daughter is an equally awkward listen. As the post punk pioneer has battled with his own mental illness and the struggles of dealing with the mercenary powers that be within the recording industry, so his latest creation (18 years after his last album release) is an embittered and vitriolic attack both on himself and on the world around him. It’s not an easy listen, though it is an intriguing one. “17 tracks really is too long, particularly when those tracks are largely an uncoordinated mish mash of lo-fi punk throwback, drippy acoustic balladry, Casio keyboard industrial music interpretations and spaghetti western guitars… You can't fault Goddard for getting everything off his chest - Lord knows he's waited long enough to do it - but for all the diversity shown here, there's also a lot to be said for an artist who can fashion a cohesiveness from so many touchstones.”
Sinkane is the moniker of Ahmed Gallab, a multi-instrumentalist and “the only skate punk loving Muslim in his school year” in Ohio. He’s mates with Yeasayer and has toured with the likes of Caribou and Of Montreal and Mars’ “inspired use of disparate musical threads means that its uniqueness is in refusing to be a slave to these influences.” Our reviewer has high hopes for Sinkane and argues that – if justice prevails, they (for ‘he’ is a ‘they’ when the band play live) should be ones to watch for in 2013. “A master-stroke of driven restraint, it's as unconscious of current Zeitgeists as anything you'll hear all year… a collection of songs defined by their unconformity, both with themselves and each other. It's time for music to start delivering the thrills once more. Sinkane could be the cipher.”
Darwin Deez’s latest album, Songs for Imaginative People is as opinion-dividing as ever. In many ways, Songs For Imaginative People contains everything that you want an American ‘indie’ (we use the term loosely) band to sound like. Ramshackle, naïve yet slightly jaded. The problem with this second album, though, is that it all sounds like he’s trying too hard. “Everything about Songs For Imaginative People just sounds like he's trying too hard. He sounds like he's trying too hard to sound like he's not trying hard at all. And those, as we know, are the worst kind of try-hards. After half an hour of listening to Darwin Deez cramming a lyric into a lyrical space barely half its own size, just because he can and not because it does the song, or the listener any good, you begin to tire of those self-conscious quirks. This is the sound of a songwriter stuck in one gear and running out of gas. Fast.”
Music in the News... Yeah Yeah Yeahs are releasing a new album this year and have also announced details of a new tour, playing three major dates in the UK in May 2013. Oh and the really big news in the Yeah Yeah Yeahs camp? Karen O has bleached her hair. Yes. The raven-haired one is now blonde.
Selena Gomez performed a cover of Justin Timberlake’s ‘Cry Me A River’ at a UNICEF charity concert last week. We can’t help thinking that Selena had a different Justin on her mind, though, as she performed the bitter break-up song.
Beyonce Knowles caused a real stir when she performed at the Presidential Inauguration ceremony. Beyonce was chosen to sing the national anthem for Barack Obama but faced a barrage of criticism, for lip-syncing.