Author Archives: Tommy Royds

video: Claw The Thin Ice – Ice Skates

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Manchester four-piece Claw The Thin Ice have sliced together some trippy footage of themselves hanging out in the wilderness for Ice Skates, a new song taken from new full-length Exercise out on Barely Regal Records and Get Into it Recs next month.

For those interested in past resumes, guitarist and main-guy-up-front Ian Breen used to play in the Spy Versus Spy worshiping Well Wisher and post-rock band Day For Airstrikes and by no surprise elements of both underpin the sound of Claw The Thin Ice, albeit with a level of refinement that pulls up the likes of Superchunk and earlier Seam along with it.

album tease: Elk – Herd Songs

Elk are made up of Glenn and Ritch from Andy, Glenn & Ritch and super-nice-talented guy on the side, Thomas Conolly. I put them once on in my 5ft basement in 2011, which happens to be the last time they released some music. Since then, the trio have been hard at work compiling 10-songs for the appropriately titled Herd Songs which will be out on that Sheffield label, The Audacious Art Experiment in time for chomping on your Easter eggs.

Title track Guernica is a continuation from the early days, building on the intricacies of bands like Smart Went Crazy and Karate while tying in some flavorful indie-pop parts. You’ll find similar things in the video for Remedy below, another track from the forthcoming album that looks like the band are playing out of a disused television set. Hurrah, good stuff moose men.

7″: Sievehead – s/t

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Here’s some jolting spacey post-punk from Sheffield (for a more down-to-earth equivalent check out southerners, Bad Breeding.)

Sievehead are involved in spectacular, central DIY space The Lughole which is spawning/helping create similar bands as these. As with their previous demo (check out that luring artwork) this 7″ was recorded by Luke from The Audacious Art Experiment (oh yes, another recording label-cum-space to check out in steel city).

ep: Carriages – s/t

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Bristol is pretty neat these days, credit due to its promoters: Cheap Words on Handbills, NT Yrs, Deadpunk & Reeks of Effort, faciliated by its venues such as bike repair shop Roll For The Soul whose evolution as a gig space in 2013 was never “part of the plan” but is now regarded as a staple for DIY touring bands.

Adding to the hilly crop of local bands are Carriages – a three-piece who feature members of Sleeping States (remember this gorgeous one) and yes you heard it, Bob Tilton. In parts the wobbly topsy-turvy vocals recall the likes of Sue Tompkins from Life Without Buildings possessing very much a mind of their own. The guitars on the other side keep the whole charade apace, gearing towards indie-rock sentimentals but not dipping their toes too much in the pool. Start off at Canaveral and you’ll get the gist of just how nifty this trio are.

Album picks from 2014

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2014 was the year Taylor Swift changed the music industry because she removed her music from Spotify. Funnily enough, it seems bigger artists can now earn more money licensing their songs through Build-A-Bear toys than streaming services.

Here’s what albums over the last twelve months I feel should be inside cuddly bears around the world:

10. RADIATOR HOSPITAL – TORCH SONG

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Sam-Cook Parrot and the gang squeeze more drops of fun with new album Torch Song. Anyone already acquainted with the Radiator Hospital frontmans pipes (like on this acoustic rendition of Our Song) will realise the guy possesses a voice unlike no other, especially when accompanied by his band mate Cynthia Schemmer on their second, i say, properly released full-length. Each song is short, sharp, to the point. Hopefully they’ll come over here at some point. Ahem.

 

9. KING OF CATS – WORKING OUT

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King of Cats is the startling music project from Ealing-stroke-Brighton chap Max Levy. Now taking form by way of a full band, with flutes, organs and all important more shrieks and cries from other people is Working Out, his most professional release to date through Art Reeks, a collaboration between Art is Hard and Reeks of Effort. Speaking to the NME rag, Max says these songs came about through “…the fear of being trapped in a feeble body, dreams of a muscular form and the relationship between one’s environment, one’s body and one’s being an idiot. I don’t work out a lot, but I think about it often.”

8. playlounge – pilot

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playlounge make it a thing that whatever show gets offered to them, they play it, which is pretty incomparable to a lot of bands based around the capital who choose NOT to play for fear of becoming one of the furniture. Balls to that. pilot (lowercase remember) is the debut from playlounge and undoubtedly their bestest to date. If you’re looking for a favourite, look no further than Sick Kid.

7. KITTYHAWK – HELLO, AGAIN

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The Anniversary were a band who existed between 1997 – 2004. Like with most of these snazzy, college rock bands I was too young to be in with a chance of getting it. Thankfully it’s 2014 now and there’s bands like Kittyhawk who don’t want to play with a bass guitarist either. Over the Autumn, I had the great fortune of organising a tour for this bunch with Dowsing and it was sure as hell sweet to hang out with them for a few days. Cracking knack for melodies, as this debut proves.

6. HAPPYNESS – WEIRD LITTLE BIRTHDAYS

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Considering a relatively short-existence (they formed only in September 2013), Happyness have released a fair amount of music. From their EP earlier this year, which didn’t phase me all this much to Weird Little Birthdays, their hotly disputed album. It’s simple, melodic and lovely on the ears, astute fans might say there’s comparisons to be made with Eels Beautiful Freak or Broken Social Scene You Forget It In People. Both albums that plod on solemnly till they reach their graceful end, and like with Happyness leave you with an elated, fuzzy feeling.

5. PRAWN – KINGFISHER

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After a few swap arounds that included a departing guitarist, a graduating bassist and the introduction of a new one on the four-string, New Jerseys Prawn released Kingfisher, an album as beautiful sounding as it is held in your hands. The real churner on here is “Glass, Irony” around 2:10. You’ll know it when you hear it.

4. FUCKED UP – GLASS BOYS

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The Toronto punks has some serious work to do if they were going to bring an album that punched as high as 2012 David Comes To Life, which although stood it’s great in the first half, did leave you pondering over the idea where it was best to shave things down a bit. Coming it a more digestible 10 tracks is Glass Boys, which for the true fans also includes an alternate “Slow Version” with half-time drums. Either way, you’ll have little chance to listen to the latter as you’ll be stuck looping the first.

 

3. DELAY – CIRCLE CHANGES

 

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If you’re not familiar with Salinas Records, please stop what you’re doing and go and check them out now. The Detroit label has help release records for the likes of P.S. Eliot, Radiator Hospital, All Dogs, joyride! and you guessed it, Delay.

Like with 2012’s Rushing Ceremony, Circle Change sees the Ohio 3-piece delve more and more into moodier, indie-rock territory that hits hard on the lyrical front “I need to trust my own guts again instead of getting fucking high”.

Safe to say, these were the best band at The Fest this year.

2. HUMAN HANDS – S/T EP

 

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Human Hands from Birmingham released their first ever full-length in January and remain one of the few crops from the UK emo heyday (Kids Return, Your Neighbour The Liar, Bird Calls etc)

Even though guitarist Clyde now lives in Iceland, the three still cart on making music – and these 6 songs proves it’s all the more worthwhile. Drawing influence from bands like Yaphett Kotto or Indian Summer, the weary cries and drawn-out build-ups may leave you feeling a little agitated, like the world is falling around you or something perhaps less dramatic. Be sure to take this one one step at a time.

 


1. BATON ROUGE – TOTEM

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Containing all but one of DIY screamo Parisian legends Daïtro are Lyon’s Baton Rouge. Hearing the news of album numero deux cast serious doubts in my mind that the French four-piece would top 2011’s Fragments D’Eux​-​Mêmesa post-punk showstopper from start to finish.

Yet packaged in beautiful patterned black, red and white comes their triumphant return Totem, why if you’re not whistling to the meandering slow songs, you’ll be screaming along in French in what may be considered your best accent. Pretty unbeatable.

OTHER REALLY GREAT ALBUMS

Papayér – Boo
Martha – Courting Strong
Cymbals Eat Guitars – Lose
Luke Abbott – Wysing Forest
Plaids – Plaids S/T (RIP – boo!)
Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) – You Will Eventually Be Forgotten
Perfect Pussy – Say Yes To Love
Literature – Chorus
Young Fathers – Dead
How To Dress Well – “What Is This Heart?”
Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else
Joyce Manor – Never Hungover Again
Future Islands – Singles
Ought – More Than Any Other Day
Adebisi Shank – This Is The Third Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank
The Hotelier – Home, Like Noplace Is There
Hookworms – The Impasse

7″: Charlotte Light and Dark

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Charlotte Light and Dark describe themselves as ‘cubist hardcore’ on their facebook page. As injokes go it hits the spot – the UK/French bands weird ‘avant-garde’ style (ahem) on this latest 7″ finds itself wedged between Justin Pearson styled insanity and chuggy tech metal. You won’t know where to look, but this might be just what you’re searching for.

Limited to 100 on wax from those lovely folk at Wolf Town DIY.

About Time #3 Festival

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I’ve been away from Z&NH for quite some time now, and I must apologise. Aside from the usual summer time gallivanting, us and Barely Regal have been busy on the Vested Interest show front for September. So far we’ve orchestrated the likes of Bitpart, Crows-An Wra and Signals Midwest and are dead excited to be organising shows for Auxes, Bokanovsky, Black Love as well as the first show for my new band, Skinning Dipping. Perhaps most exciting of all, is that we can finally reveal the details for our third installment of About Time. This year we’ve try to really mix things up a bit, and unlike the first (which was for the most part emo) you can expect an eclectic mix of indie-pop, garage-rock, crushing screamo and even folk.

Taking place across two floors at Total Refreshment Studios in Stoke Newington, London, on Saturday 29 November. About Time #3 Festival will be host to Makthaverskan‘s first ever UK show, as well as welcoming back French post-punk heroes Baton Rouge and lo-fi emo darlings Dowsing back to the big smoke. The headliners will be joined by some of our favourite DIY bands to come out of the UK and Europe in recent years, including:

Baton Rouge (FR)

+ We’ve already confirmed stalls from Food Rules Kitchen, Parkin’s Drawing Club and much more.

Tickets are available over via Limited Run (£10 early bird / £13 otherwise).

Video footage from last year is on it’s way!

ep: Love Among The Mannequins – My Uncle’s Ball of Lightning Will Put an End to Your Warped Psychology

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Members of Brighton based four-piece Love Among the Mannequins have been swamped in their other music capacities: Alex Petersen does Vincent Vocoder Voice, Steven Stride strums in Chalk while Tobias Hayes new project Eugene Quell saw him proposing onstage to his girlfriend at a recent gig in London. It’s fab to see new projects forming (and relationships blossoming) but all the pleasing to see LATM still doing the rounds.

The lengthy titled My Uncle’s Ball.. takes a lunge towards the darker elements of your favourite Q And Not U or The pAper chAse record. Inspired by Milton Rokeach book “The Three Christs of Ypsilanti“, a work the band refer to as “an absolutely fascinating insight into the human condition, and our extreme talents for performing phenomenal acts of creative self-deception to stay “sane”, even if the price is – in the eyes of society-at-large – “insanity””, this EP is a gutsy appetiser for the next full-length, which for everyone’s sake shouldn’t be too far away now.

split: My Heart In Your Hand 10″

Slow-churning and sparingly bleak emo from 5 bands across the globe. Check out their individual pages: Human Hands (UK), Nebraska (Australia), Asthenia (Japan), Manku Kapak & Duct Hearts (Germany).

Each copy has been painted and printed by German label time as a colour with copies divvied out between strictly no capital letters, Blue. September. Blue., Mum Says; Be Polite, Stereo Dasein, Caleiah, Desertion Records & Red Panda Records. Now that’s what I called good distribution.

album: Crows-An-Wra – Kalopsia

Kalopsia, the debut LP from Cornwall ‘space punks’ Crows-An-Wra sees the band experiment with 9 tracks of dizzying post-hardcore. Peeling away at their old screamo sticker, the four-piece find new comforts with increasingly weirdo hooks, extra reverb and accompanying guest vocals (tracks 6 & 7). Go fetch this on pre-order via UK’s labels Barely Regal Records, Wolftown DIY & Boslevan Records, Adagio 830 (EU) or Middleman Records (US).