Festival Review: Future Music – Channel [V] Website

Originally posted on [V] Website

It didn’t take too long at Randwick Racecourse on Saturday to figure out I might not fit in as your typical Future Music Festival attendee. Both my shoulders and the entirety of my buttocks were fully hidden by clothing (prude!), my pupils maintained at the appropriate size at all times and not once did I utter the phrase “Yeeeeeeew”! Happily in the minority I steeled myself in preparation for a day amongst the munted masses, hoping some sweet live tunes would get me through it unscathed.

Rita Ora
After having been sidelined from the Perth edition of the festival last weekend Rita returned to the Future stage, her voice as solid and intact as ever, having told that throat infection to fuck right off. The British pop-star must have powered through some Lemsip this week because she perfectly belted out every note as she surged through her hits to a sizeable early crowd happily partaking in equal amounts of both “Party and Bullshit”.

Bringing their full live experience to Australia for the first time, British electronic outfit Rudimental started their set with some mellower sounds, taking punters who might only know the band from their drum and bass singles by surprise. Song-recognition was definitely not at an all-time high and the crowd was fairly subdued for the most part, at least until ‘Not Giving In’ finally stirred a response. The amazing vocal interplay and chill vibes of ‘Spoons’ slowed things down a bit before the Londoners melted minds en masse with an explosive rendition of ‘Feel The Love’ to close the set.

You know what rhymes with Psy? Why. As in why the fuck is the creator of the eternally painful ‘Gangnam Style’, a YouTube “sensation” from eight months ago, appearing on an Australian music festival line-up? The ultimate novelty inclusion, Psy took the stage in a white sleeveless suit looking equally as bewildered as I was and apologised for his presence with a short monologue on the nature of fame or something… I wasn’t really listening. Flanked by the requisite K-Pop dance troupe, Psy performed two new songs nobody cared about and then the most-watched YouTube song of all time twice. TWICE. To be honest, the main thing I experienced watching this ridiculous set was sympathy for the man. You could actually see another small part of his soul die as he horsey-danced across the stage for the bazillionth time. Dancing for us like a monkey in a circus. DANCE FOR THE PEOPLE, PSY! DANCE!

Steve Aoki
Watching Steve Aoki’s set, it occurred to me the man probably should have considered a less stationary career than DJ. Spending most of his time in front of, on top of or pretty much anywhere but the decks, Aoki jumped about the stage like an ADHD kid who just sculled red cordial. All the hallmarks of his famously fun sets were present; champagne showers, inflatables, fire extinguishers and stage dives and the non-stop electro/house tunes worked the massive crowd into a chaotic frenzy of effed-up camels. After a bitter-sweet dedication to recently passed DJ and friend Ajax, Aoki crowd surfed the entirety of the mosh and finished his day with a soaring leap of our very own [V] Stage Dive.

Dizzee Rascal
Shirtlessness was at an all-time high as the sun began to set on Randwick and the now dirt-covered, sun-drenched masses surged towards the main stage to see everyone’s favourite English rascal. My favourite thing about Dizzee Rascal is if you ever have a brain aneurysm mid-song and forget who you’re listening to, chances are you’ll be reminded fairly quickly by him announcing “it’s Dizzee Rascal”. So that’s handy. Dizzee certainly had plenty of people to dance wiv, with the overflowing horde of ravers being educated on the benefits of being addicted to dirty, stinking bass as opposed to hard drugs. You hear that kids? Drugs = bad. Bass = good. (Channel [V] encourages the responsible listening to bass music. Remember to always bass in moderation).

The Prodigy
Back when I was a tiny human I remember watching the music video for The Prodigy’s ‘Breathe’. That shit gave my seven-year-old self such bad nightmares Mum banned me from watching Rage for like, years. Well guess what, Mother, I’M AN ADULT NOW AND YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO ANYMORE. With a rebellious air and a conviction to overcome my bed-wetting past I entered the ripe-smelling Warriors Dance Arena to end the night with my old pals The Prodigy.

If anyone on the Future Music line-up knows their way around a festival show, it’s the lads from The Prodigy. Opening with a particularly violent rendition of ‘Voodoo People’ and not letting up for a second, the tight, aggressive set saw hit after hit punched out to the pulsating throng of filthy, manic punters. ‘Breathe’ and ‘Omen’ had the biggest sing-along moments with Keith and Maxim’s famous crowdsmanship inspiring the biggest response of the day. The set also featured a unique moment where everyone’s favourite shit-stirrer Azealia Banks took some time away from starting fights with every other musician, and joined The Prodigy boys on stage for a duet version of ‘Firestarter’. I’ll let her tweet describe how it went: “@AZEALIABANKS: YAAAAAAAASSSSSS !!!!!!”. Easily the highlight of the day The Prodigy proved 20+ years of raving hasn’t diminished their sound one bit, and me not getting scared at all proved I’m a big boy now. You hear that, Mum?

Gig Review: Linkin Park – Channel [V] Website

Originally posted on [V] Website

Venue: Sydney Entertainment Centre
Date: 25th February, 2013.

Two skinny white guys in their 30’s alternating between aggressively rapping and screaming at you over densely layered grinding guitar and electronic drumbeats. Oh and there’s a DJ. Describing Linkin Park on paper is at best slightly confusing and at worst a horrific nightmare amalgamation of discordant music styles but the way the band combine these seemingly disjointed genres to create their constantly evolving sound is nothing short of miraculous as the end result is about as fun as rock music can get. In the country for the Soundwave festival Linkin Park tore apart the usual tranquillity of a Tuesday night, tearing the Sydney Entertainment Centre a new arsehole in the process. The band may be hard to define but I guess in the end it doesn’t even matter (I’m so sorry).

Supporting band Stone Sour had a fairly sizeable crowd who arrived early for their brand of lite-metal rock, however I can’t say it’s exactly my cup of tea. It felt to me a little bit like an angrier, slightly metal version of Nickleback which should be enough of a description to communicate my response to their performance. The fact that front man Corey Taylor is also the lead singer from Slipknot also just works to confuse me further at what exactly I was listening to. The rotund bro in the polyester Holden jacket in front of me seemed to enjoy them though so… what the fuck do I know.

Speaking of bros the dude-heavy crowd could really only be described as a Brogasmic Brosplosion of epic Broportions. Bros from all walks of life were present there were big bros, small bros, teen bros, old bros, bros with hats, bros with tatts, bros wearing thongs and bros named John. The ‘All-Ages’ part on my ticket definitely wasn’t lying with every generation represented in the crowd including a large portion of Dads rocking their way through that mid-life crisis as well as a few mini-moshers who couldn’t have been older than 8. Seems kids are learning the ropes of nu-metal younger and younger these days.

Founding members of the rap/nu/alternate-metal scene in the early noughties and moving towards the electronic, ravey feels of their most recent album Living Things, Linkin Park have never been afraid of experimenting with their sound, a fact which makes their stage shows feel like a combination of a heavy metal show and an Ibiza nightclub. Opener ‘Faint’ from 2003’s Meteora album introduced this dichotomy with the interplay of the looping synths and the more explosive guitar riff showing off what Linkin Park do best. Moving through the set-list consisting of a perfect mesh of old and new the band know exactly how to keep a crowd thrashing with even the nosebleeds up out of their chairs for the bulk of the show.

Considering he’s been screaming like a banshee on ice for over a decade now it’s truly amazing that Chester Bennington (who doesn’t even slightly resemble Gollum, that’s rude, why would you even suggest that) hasn’t completely worn down his trachea. The man must fucking love his lemon and honey teas. Getting his scream on alongside co-vocalist Mike Shinoda’s swift rapping, Chester nailed every shriek with frightening intensity.

Accompanying the aural assault of Linkin Park were some impressive visuals with a gigantic live feed of the band overlaid with apocalyptic, fiery graphics depicting bodies collapsing and worlds imploding. The technique didn’t hit the mark every time however with one filter that made the band members look like horrific pudding monsters intent on devouring their own dripping, delicious flesh and which will continue to disturb me for some time.

Closing the night with a succession of their biggest hits ‘Numb’, ‘What I’ve Done’ and ‘In The End’ Linkin Park had the entire Entertainment Centre fist-pumping like crazed fiends with bros of all ages losing their minds to some of nu-metal’s finest tunes. To be touring in 2013 after a decade of playing music when many of their counterparts have faded into obscurity is testament to not only Linkin Park’s ability to continually evolve their sound but the skill and precision of their live performances. Which by the way are a shit ton of fun.

Gig Review: Paramore – Channel [V] Website

Originally posted at [V] Website

If like me, you consider yourself a young adult chances are very high that you experienced first-hand, either as an observer or participant, the glorious age of the noughties where side-fringes reigned supreme, eyeliner crossed gender boundaries and melancholy was the coolest. Emo culture definitely ruled a solid era of my formative years and I’m not ashamed to admit I, like everyone else at my high school, fell for the youthful angst mixed with melodic guitar riffs of the likes of Fall Out Boy and Panic! at the Disco. With these memories swirling in my mind (in addition to the thought “thank fuck I grew out of that”) yours truly and the majority of Sydney’s lesbian community headed down to the Enmore Theatre to re-visit this musical epoch via the sounds of pop-punksters Paramore.

Due to car issues (read: drinking/time-management issues) I unfortunately missed the support band but I’m sure that the certain amount of band members on stage played their respective instruments to some varying degree of success generating an appropriate response from the present audience. And that my friends, is a review you can take to the bank.

With the sold-out Enmore heaving with a fairly gender-unbalanced crowd (helloooo ladies), 9pm arrived and the incessant chanting of “Paramore” finally gave way to the lights dimming and the band taking the stage with the loudest ear-splitting scream saved for the entrance of the woman who launched a thousand 15-year-old Mitch boners: Hayley Williams. Sporting her signature flaming red hair, matching orange microphone and thankfully a full set of eyebrows (have you seen their latest music video? That shit’s freaky) Hayley immediately captured the hearts of every punter in the room launching into latest single ‘Now’ and bouncing round the stage in a way only a true pop-punk princess could.

The set, which stuck to mainly taking from the bands most recent two albums Brand New Eyes (2009) and Riot! (2007), was executed with constant, full-throttle energy, not only from the indefatigable Williams but in equal measure from guitarists Taylor York and Jeremy Davis with barrel-rolls and full-stage circuits very much the par. The ardent followers of the Church of Hayley were definitely out in force with every lyric of every song screamed by both the pitch-perfect
Williams and the enthusiastic audience. One particular Paramore fan got the experience of a lifetime being brought up from the crowd to help sing the final chorus in closing number ‘Misery Business’. Definitely no wall-flower, the wide-eyed girl leapt about the place (whilst no doubt simultaneously shitting herself) and to her credit nailed every “woah-oh” arm in arm with her idol.

The massive cross-genre appeal and mainstream success of Paramore is evident in the band’s ability to not so much as straddle the line between pop and punk as much as gleefully leap back and forth between the two. In one moment of the night I witnessed a characteristic punk scene with a lead singer gratuitously spitting into the air whilst thrashing crowd-surfers were plucked from the mosh by security. A couple of songs later and I’m experiencing a band initiated synchronised finger-snap-along (like a clap-along but… more delicate) and then a sea of camera phones recording an
unashamed acoustic pop-ballad (‘The Only Exception’).

Over 90 minutes Paramore explored every corner of grey between the genres of pop and punk and in doing so gave an impressive, grand and comprehensive show both young adult Mitch and Emo- teen Mitch got a kick out of. If the copious amounts of sweat dripping from the exhausted, smiling masses exiting the Enmore are anything to judge by I wasn’t the only one.

Does it matter if you’re Black and White? – Channel [V] Website

Originally posted at [V] Website

So this week you, the esteemed polling public of Channel [V], voted serial-sexy-backer Justin Timberlake and his long-overdue new video ‘Suit & Tie’ as your [V] Ripe Clip of the Week. You go, Channel [V] viewers! No but seriously I would totally have his babies, so solid move increasing his airtime on my TV screen. What’s unique (or as we’re about to find out: not so much) about JT’s newest music video is his decision to film it in monochrome aka black and white (or “Inkwell” for all you Instagrammers). It’s a classy touch for what is arguably a super classy vid with Mr. Biel pushing hard for that retro style and delving into a decidedly cinematic, ’50s feel. A sophisticated old-school effect however is only one of the many reasons behind an artist’s decision to shoot in black and white and the last few decades of music videos have certainly given us some killer colourless clips.

Beyonce – Single Ladies
If the whole “admitting to willingly giving my body to Justin Timberlake if he so requested” thing didn’t get you questioning my sexuality, let’s bump it up a notch by delving into one of my secret favourite clips of the last few years and what many consider Her Majesty Knowles’ magnum opus. Beyonce’s B&W music video for her massive hit ‘Single Ladies’ has had a lasting impact on both the pop culture world and the very fabric of society itself. The distinctive dance moves Bey and Friends hurled at our faces in the intensely choreographed 2008 video took the world by storm with the hand-twirls and hip-thrusts having been parodied by everyone from the SNL crew to BBC news reporters, moves which can still today be seen repeated nightly on many an Oxford St dance floor. My favourite fact about this clip, however, has to be the internet rumour that circulated a few years back exclaiming that one of the backup dancers was in fact not a single lady at all but really a dude (albeit an incredibly talented, slender one). The rumours of course were nothing but that, rumours, with the physiologically female dancer merely suffering from a bad case of man-face.

Green Day – Working Class Hero
Whereas Beyonce’s simple black and white palette put the focus on the punishingly swift dance moves, Green Day’s decision to film their 2007 reinterpretation of the John Lennon classic ‘Working Class Hero’ in monochrome shines the light on a slightly more serious, worthy cause. Raising awareness for an Amnesty International campaign to save the African region of Darfur, the video is interspersed with real-life Darfur exiles recounting horrific tales of violence and political atrocities. Proving again the power of rock stars doing good instead of doing drugs/groupies, the clip was well received at the time and stood out in a year in music where Fergie was vigorously spelling at us and Akon was mainly concerned with “smacking that” (all on the floor, mind you.) High-five, socially conscious rock!

Chris Isaak – Wicked Game
Jumping back a few years now and on to a clip which is constantly slotted near the top of various Greatest Music Video lists with Croony McSwoony himself, Chris Isaak and his 1989 release ‘Wicked Game’. The brooding, lustful song is appropriately paired with Chris and supermodel Helena Christensen running around pouting on a beach and I assume searching for their respective shirts, which they both seem to have misplaced, while storm clouds swirl in the background. Now I guess this is merely due to my desensitised 2013 brain (thanks Flo Rida) but I have always found it hard to understand the constant declarations of this being the sexiest film clip of all time. Puh-lease. The ratio of shots of clouds drifting by versus shots of lady-nipple is frankly insulting. Pick up your game late-’80s videography.

A-Ha – Take on Me
The inclusion of this final favourite clip of mine may prove to be a bit divisive, so before you get your trolling gloves on and start calling me Hitler, let me state I am well aware that this is technically not 100% black and white SHUT UP OKAY I KNOW GOD… but it’s just so damn good. The 1985 video for the synth-pop tune from Norwegian new-wavers A-Ha (ALL OF THE HYPHENS!) utilised cutting edge, space-age technology to deliver a part animation, part live-action classic which won a whole mess of awards and my eternal appreciation. I’m sorry, but if you’ve never even once dreamed of being sucked into a comic-book world and falling in love whilst being chased by motorcycle racers brandishing pipe wrenches then you have no soul and should probably just leave.

So what have we learnt from this journey back through the ages of black and white music videos? What’s actually going through a musician’s mind when he or she goes, “You know what, fuck you, colour!”? And what IS Chris Isaak’s obsession with standing silhouetted in profile in front of landscapes? Well if there’s one thing we’ve learned it’s this: If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it… or something. I don’t know, I’m tired.

2013 Grammys Recap – Channel [V] Online

Originally posted on the [V] Music website

The 55th Annual Grammy Awards were held Sunday night in LA and continuing last year’s tradition (where Pommy soul songstress Adele went home with a bazillion awards) suffered a largely international invasion with Brits Mumford & Sons taking out the top gong Album of the Year and our very own Wally De Backer (aka Gotye) sweeping all nominated awards with his now ancient hit ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’. Congratulations America, way to celebrate 2011’s song of the year in 2013!

Featuring performances from such heavyweights of the musical world as Taylor Swift (freaky acid-trip circus theme), Frank Ocean (slow-motion, mustard-suit, desert-jog) and Fun. (one word: moist), the ceremony was hosted by obsessively social-media savvy, hip-hop artist LL Cool J #WeGetIt #YouUnderstandTheInternet #Congrats.

In order to run you through all the Grammys highlights I’ve decided to award my own trophies, voted by an industry committee of me. I give you The 2013 Feltchy Awards (working title):

Most Deserving Award-Winner – Frank Ocean
Although I am hesitant to not give this award to your boy and mine Gotye, who, let’s face it, deserves the hell out of Record of the Year with his ultimate earworm of a song which conquered the world over the past 18 months but seeing Frank Ocean win two Grammys was seriously awesome. The R&B singer took home Best Urban Contemporary Album for his critically adored debut Channel Orange and Best Rap/Urban for his collab with Jay-Z and Kanye ‘No Church in the Wild’. His unique style which stretches the boundaries of the genre and courageous opening-up of his private life makes Ocean an impressive new artist worthy of praise.

Most Shown Celebrity in the Audience – Taylor Swift
Okay, so the cameramen at the Grammys all must have serious boners for Taylor Swift. I swear the feed cut to her and her awkward-white-girl dancing at every possible opportunity. Like any early-20s chick at a party, Swifty gawkily swang her arms and mouthed along to the words she knew during every song and thanks to a team of videographers who are obviously lining up to join her infamous ex-boyfriend brigade, we got to witness it all too often.

Most Awkward Presenter Moment – Ellen Degeneres and Beyonce Knowles
Although Beyonce is unquestionably the reigning Queen of Pop following her stunning Super Bowl half-time performance last week, she isn’t, however, the Queen of the Teleprompter, with her awkward, stilted reading of the script barely saved by the charm of her oddly chosen presenter-pal Ellen Degeneres. Stick to winning music awards Bey, not presenting them.

Worst Person Ever, Like OMG For Realz Now – Chris Brown
Seriously Chris Brown? Seriously? For once in your miserable excuse for a life could you try and do something that doesn’t make us all despise you. The Rihanna-beating, Frank Ocean-punching walking venereal disease was nominated for Best Urban Contemporary and on losing to his car-park-battle-opponent, Frank, chose to stay stubbornly seated while the rest of the auditorium gave a standing ovation. REAL MATURE, MATE. Chris Brown takes out this award, once again, and forever.

Weirdest Performance Pairing – Ed Sheeran and Elton John
Inspiring weird-looking rangas the world over, UK wonderboy Ed Sheeran was paired with Elton John/his future self for a duet of Sheeran’s tween-favourite ‘The A Team’. To say it was weird is an understatement, with the two incredibly different vocals not really suiting the style of the song and clashing horribly. File in: No. Just… No.

Best Dressed – J-Lo/Katy Perry
There are two winners in this category, which is going to diverge depending on your sexual orientation. The ladyfriend that was my Grammy viewing buddy grants this award to Jennifer Lopez, who she described as “the epitome of style; seductive, sleek, minimal” but personally I’m giving it to Katy Perry because “BEWBS”. I’ll let you decide which is the ultimate victor. But seriously… bewbs.

And some quick Feltchy Awards:

Best Live Performance: Rihanna, Sting and Bruno Mars getting into the reggae with their tribute to Bob Marley.

Award for Bringing Sexy Back Back: Justin Timberlake

Award for Uhhh Who The F**K Is That?: Every Country Musician

Best Use of Their Grandmas Couch as a Dress: Adele

Overall this year’s Grammy Awards felt like a fairly tame affair. Many artists who performed on the night chose softer songs from their repertoire and the whole evening lacked any impressive glitzy showcases like those given to us in previous years by the likes of Gaga, P!nk and Kanye West, whilst LL Cool J continues to be a bland host more intent on reading dull tweets from his iPhone then entertaining. Jack White and Justin Timberlake (in Instagram-vision nonetheless) brought the tone up slightly but the event is certainly missing a few fireworks. I think the producers need to grow some balls and take some risks next year to ensure the Grammys really do achieve the status of the music industry’s “night of nights” (ugh, vomit).

Gig Review: Sleigh Bells – Channel [V] Online

Originally posted on [V] Music website.

Venue: Metro Theatre, Sydney
Date: Jan 19, 2013

For those that survived what is now officially known as Sydney’s “Hottest Day Like Ever You Guys OMG” last Friday, the following evening at the Metro Theatre offered up an alternate way to melt one’s face off with Brooklyn-based noise-pop duo Sleigh Bells bringing a veritable heatwave of their own. Replacing hot air systems with heavy guitar riffs and scorching UV rays with shrieking serenades, the end result was much similar: a whole mess of people reduced to sweaty, soggy puddles that once resembled human beings.

Brissie lads DZ Deathrays opened the proceedings (for this fashionably late attendee anyway) with a tight, energetic set unfortunately only witnessed by a small, mostly stationary crowd. Off the back of their ARIA win last year, the boys impressed with their technical skills, busting out their brand of thrash/punk rock with a certain expertise and vigour but not even popular single ‘No Sleep’ was enough to stir some punters awake. It seemed most were saving energy for the main act and rightly so as that familiar “I’m in an oven” sensation was already in place when the lights finally dimmed and Sleigh Bells took the stage.

Seeing Sleigh Bells live isn’t an experience for the faint-hearted. From the opening explosion of heavy-guitar and synth sounds to the very final scream of frontwoman Alexis Strauss, Sleigh Bells create a soundscape that continuously hits you hard and doesn’t let up its aural assault for 70 minutes. The constant thump of bass challenged not only my body (seriously my internal organs were all like, “Hey man WTF is going on out there?” and I’m all like, “Shut up pancreas you’re not the boss of me”) but also the very integrity of The Metro’s foundations, at times I feared Sleigh Bells would be the last thing I ever heard as I was crushed to death beneath an electro-pop induced cave-in.

The key to Sleigh Bells unique sound has always been the marrying of these dense, violent guitar riffs and deep synths with the startlingly talented vocal work of Alexis, at times sweet and angelic, at other times raw and brutal. Alexis really is the life and soul of the band, she completely owned the stage for the duration with seemingly no part of the Metro off limits. She flailed, rolled, leaped and surfed with a relentless, intensely chaotic energy all the while belting out a bewildering vocal array. Seriously someone should attach a generator to this walking energy drink of a woman; it could probably power a small town (okay, like really small, like Centre for Ants small). It was a slight shame, however, that the other 50 per cent of Sleigh Bells wasn’t really given his moment to shine, with Derek Miller mainly kept to a silhouette despite several blood-curdling guitar solos where he could’ve taken the limelight.

You’ll find it hard to find a Sleigh Bells song that is longer than four minutes, which is highly appropriate for the short-attention span of the Gen Y audience and also allowed for them to get through almost their entire catalogue. The 16 songs executed were taken equally from their 2010 breakthrough album Treats and their slightly darker sophomore Reign of Terror from last year, although the biggest crowd reaction came during the older material with ‘Tell ‘Em’ and ‘Riot Rhythm’ both causing mass shit-losing from the punters.

My highlight would have to be the stripped-back opening to ‘Born to Lose’ where Alexis’s voice really took control of the room. The saintly vocal work over an unprecedented gentle guitar was however short-lived when 30 seconds in the band unleashed a heart-stopping wave of bass and synth that knocked you upside the face like a turkey slap from God and rendered anyone older than 50 in the room immediately dead (just jokes there was no one there that old… at least I hope not, otherwise RIP).

A failed stage dive, a technical issue saved by the witty banter of Alexis and a four-song encore later and we emerged from the Metro sweaty, sore and with 70 per cent less hearing ability. If what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger then I should probably thank Sleigh Bells for the epic workout I received simply listening to their live show. That’s definitely my kind of gym.

Mitch Feltscheer – @mitchfel

Set List:
1. Demons
2. Crown on the Ground
3. True Shred Guitar
4. Kids
5. End of the Line
6. Born to Lose
7. Comeback Kid
8. Straight A’s
9. Leader of The Pack
10. Tell ‘Em
11. Treats
12. Infinity Guitars

13. Rill Rill
14. Never Say Die
15. Riot Rhythm
16. A/B Machines

Discovery of the Week – Night Engine

Hey remember that thing where I do a write up of a new musical discovery and post it online once a week? Remember how strictly I adhered to that commitment? Hahaha me to! It’s fun to remember things. Well whilst consistency goes and fucks itself, I’m back with a new band, a not-so-new sound and the familiar locale of the UK indie-rock scene (Stop it with the awesome indie music UK just stop it!).

The online buzz for UK art-pop outfit Night Engine (both NME and the Guardian have touted them as ones to watch in 2013) is fairly ridiculous considering the group currently have more band members then songs. A single listen through of the three songs they have available on their SoundCloud though and the anticipation surrounding the London boys is more than vindicated.

Listening to Night Engine with their tight, funky guitar riffs and the Bowie-esque vocals of frontman Phil you’d be forgiven for thinking you had travelled back to the early 80’s and were in fact rocking out to Talking Heads (in which case WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Go out and save John Lennon or something jerk!) Regardless of the brazen throwback style of their music, it’s a sound which feels very much like a breath of fun-air and a break from the more reserved fare the indie/alt music scene has been pumping out lately. Personally I’d much rather bounce around a smelly, sweaty room to these guys then sway gently to Alt-J’s latest droning single.

With a full length record out later in the year Night Engine are destined to fill my shamelessly-fun band of 2013. It’s nothing new, in fact it’s decidedly old, but it’s boisterous and enjoyable as shit and in a year where Jareth himself is to make a comeback, Night Engine could very well find a substantial audience ready to throw themselves around to upbeat, funky rock.


Discovery of the Week – BLONDS

Whereas last week’s DotW began on a meditation of the current trends circling the musical world, this week we deal with a band which evokes the ambience of times long past whilst still being very much a reflection of certain contemporary sounds.

BLONDS are the combined forces of Cari Rae and Jordy Asher who utilise their own romance as a mine for exploring dark themes of love and longing through the novel combining of a whole cavalcade of sounds from the past and present. Grabbing from such wide-spread genres as Motown, psychedelia , 50’s Rock ‘n’ Roll and blues the duo have generated a collection of tracks that is difficult to temporally pin down. Lana Del Ray could (read: should) learn a lesson or two on how to do nostalgia from BLONDS, as the end result of this combining of a centuries worth of guitar pop and rock is a glimmering, macabre success.

Debut album ‘The Bad Ones’ contrastingly has both tunes that feel right at home, with lead single ‘Time’ sitting easily within the current frame of indie-pop,  and at the other end of the spectrum songs like ‘Mr. E’ which feels as if taken directly from a 60’s Bond movie in both title and sound. ‘Magic’ has the almost cutesy male and female back and forth you hear every day on the radio courtesy of bands such as San Cisco whilst ‘Run’ wouldn’t be out-of-place in a black and white noir. A lot of the tunes are in fact very cinematic with some seductive and at times melodramatic vocals reminiscent of a silver-screen vixen from a Billy Wilder film.

This triumphant melding of old and new is at the core of what is a fairly dark -themed album but the sometimes sombre subject matter such as in ‘Falling’ (“fear is a crippling thing/stop the sirens waltzing/wave goodbye to the dark ocean floor”) is well balanced with twangy guitar and electronic sounds which often elevate it into a dream pop vibe evocative of Beach House.

Whereas Ms. Ray ends up sounding like a drawling imitation of a vintage cliché, BLONDS flourish in utilising Americana pop of yore, marrying it with the new and creating a totally unique sound which is at once both captivating and transitory.


Discovery of the Week – Foxes

(Ha look at me with my ‘of the Week’ title there, cute. If I actually come through with a write-up of a newly found band every week I’ll be so surprised with my diligence I’ll poop myself)

It’s interesting that at a given period of time in the realm of music, certain countries seem to produce artists all killing it in one specific genre. Think of Canada and it’s current trend of distorted, electronic sounds courtesy of Grimes and Purity Ring or France’s endless stream of dance-pop producers and DJ’s currently triumphed by Yuksek.

The UK’s sound export seems to be slightly more difficult to pin down with it at times alternating between the indie jams highlighted by Two Door Cinema Club and Foals and the (faux) folk of Mumford and Sons and to a degree Laura Marling. One mainstay in the music springing from the ‘Isles of Wonder’ however is the strong-female-led anthemic pop where Florence and Marina are king (queen).

It’s this latter category that new-comer Louise Rose Allen, a 21-year old Londoner who releases music under the moniker ‘Foxes’ would be initially bundled into, but her unique voice and sound indicate a slightly different approach to what some would say is a bloated genre.

Hovering somewhere under the all out belting of Florence and above the often cutesy styling of Ellie Goulding, Foxes voice is completely at home on top of the more electronic-inspired sounds such as found in single ‘White Coats’. Sure the slow build and aural, echoey backing vocals aren’t anything new but the heavier presence of drums, synth and refusing to push the chorus into ‘epic’ realms by burying it under theatrical production and overt belting separates Foxes from other bellowy female voiced pop.

This is Foxes, not Foxes and the Diamond Machine.

With only an EP out last month Foxes is still finding her feet but if she continues to stay on her current path utilising electronic percussion and heavier synths whilst not bursting vocal chords she may very well breathe some much-needed new life into a usually predictable genre.