One of the original quartet of punk bands – along with The Clash, Sex Pistols, and Chelsea – who set the world of music alight in 1976, The Damned are the great survivors. The ones who released the first bonafide punk single, ‘New Rose’, and who released the first truly punk album, Damned Damned Damned. They enjoyed nine top 40 hits, including perhaps their best known song ‘Eloise’, and earlier this year released their first album for ten years, Evil Spirits, produced by legendary Bowie producer Tony Visconti, which became their first ever top ten album. Not bad for a band that was supposed to implode in punk spirit back in the 70s! 42 years after their formation, original members Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible and co, are about to venture out on the road once again. Dave Vanian took some time out to chat with Jeff Hemmings…
KIN is an original soundtrack album by Scottish post-rock band Mogwai, released on 31st August 2018 on their own Rock Action. Active since the 90s, Mogwai have previously scored documentaries (Zidane, Atomic, Before the Flood, amongst others), but this is their first full film soundtrack. Directed by the brothers Jonathan and Josh Baker, the film stars Jack Reynor, Zoe Kravitz, James Franco and Dennis Quaid, and is a high-octane thriller that gets its UK release November. Following shows at Latitude, Primavera Sound in Barcelona, and the Robert Smith-curated Meltdown festival this year, they’ve got a short UK tour coming up, supported by fellow Glasweigans The Twilight Sad, including a sold out date at the Dome in Brighton. Founder and guitarist Stuart Braithwaite talks to Jeff Hemmings about the film, ‘donuts’, and their penchant for loud music.
Back in 2013 I first came across Courtney Barnett when she packaged her two previous EPs, I’ve Got A Friend Called Emily Ferris, and How To Carve A Carrot Into A Rose, into one long player, and gave it a full UK release. The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas saw this Australian singer-songwriter start casting her spell over overseas listeners with her hazy tales of suburban banalities. In particular, the track ‘Avant Gardener’ was a powerful calling card. An intriguing song initially about the mundanity of getting up on a Monday morning before being inspired by her neighbour to do some gardening, before an unexpected and ambulance-inducing asthma attack takes over, laying waste to Barnett, all detailed in her endearingly lethargic sing-song voice. Even better, the accompanying video features her and a foursome playing tennis, wearing all whites, and playing with wooden rackets.
J Mascis has rightfully claimed his place as a modern guitar God in the 30-plus years since the seminal You’re Living All Over Me came out in 1987; an album that (apart from the little known debut of ’85) introduced the world to his unique talents, including that highly distinctive slacker drawl.
The Brighton-based post-punk grunge trio Projector have been making some serious waves of late, and are upping the ante again with the release of their debut EP How Does It Feel? which was helped funded by the PRS Foundation’s ReBalance programme, aimed at giving women more of a chance in the music making industry. They’ve also lined-up a cracking gig at The Haunt for a launch that also features the recently IDLES name-checked Ditz, and Libra Libra, led by the fantastic voice of Beth Cannon. As well as touring Europe, they performed at this year’s The Great Escape and Latitude festivals, along with supporting Daniel Wakeford on a number of dates. We caught up with two of the three, bassist and singer Lucy Sheehan, and drummer Demelza Mather.
Maybe by name, but certainly not in reality. Growing up in the West Country, brothers Callum and Ewan Merrett have been making music together since their early teens; a combination of daisy-age hip-hop swagger, big funk, and indie-soul-pop, where Beck meets Blur via the loose Madchester sounds of the 90s. They released their first songs in 2015, Annie Mac made ‘Wages’ ‘Hottest Record in the World’, and the brilliant ‘Avalanche’ was also featured heavily on BBC Radio One. The smart money was on Bad Sounds, and this summer they released their debut album Get Better. It’s lived up to expectations, throwing the band further into the spotlight, helped along by their captivating and energetic live shows, supporting Rat Boy this summer, playing loads of festivals, and about to embark on a sizeable headline tour of their own this autumn. They also like remixing, and people like remixing them, such as the recent Everything Everything remix of ‘Wages’. Jeff Hemmings caught up with Ewan.
Founder of Liverpool’s psych-pop heroes The Coral, Bill Ryder-Jones has been ploughing his own furrow this last decade, releasing records and branching out into production, with credits including both the Brighton formed The Wytches and Our Girl, as well as Hooten Tennis Club and Holly Macve. Eschewing the alt-folk sound of his previous two albums, Ryder-Jones comes armed with big electric guitars and an expansive sound palette for Yawn, his fourth solo album post The Coral.
A few years back I received a demo tape from Tom Odell, sent while he was a student at BIMM, hawking his wares, looking for interest. Totally unknown then, but eager to make his way, it was only a matter of two or three years before he had become a name, troubling the music mags with his piano-driven balladry, some of whom thought it abominable, with the NME notoriously giving his debut album 0/10. This didn’t stop him becoming a minor star, said album reaching number one in the charts, his face and music everywhere for a while. Odell was the fresh faced 21st century beacon for lovers of piano-led soft rock balladry, a al Elton John.
“Genie, this is Aladdin. Print me a Razorlight album that doesn’t totally suck,” is the Adam Green line that begins the band’s first record in a decade. Not that you’d be able to tell, with the 12 tracks sounding like they were discovered in a mid-00s indie music time capsule.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, with the oddly-titled Olympus Sleeping finding Johnny Borrell going back to what he’s comfortable with and the result is an okay album only released 12 years too late.
Brighton “fuzz pop” quartet Beach Riot have, seemingly, impressed a lot of people around the city with their exciting live show. Now, they’ve announced their debut EP, simply entitled BEACH RIOT – EP, which will be released on 7th December on Vallance Records, home to fellow Brighton noise-makers Strange Cages.