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LIVE: Maribou State @ The Albert Hall

WORDS BY: TIM MOONEY         PHOTOS BY: SAM NEILL AT BRIXTON ACADEMY

The Manchester Albert Hall was a lost venue until it reopened back in 2013. The refurbished Wesleyan chapel now provides a unique environment for some of the bigger bands and artists who take their tours to Manchester, and its vintage, somewhat eerie setting matched perfectly with the bold and euphoric sounds of Maribou State at the weekend.

Celebrating the release of their third Studio album which surfaced in September 2018, Maribou State have been touring America and Europe ever since, and their sold out Manchester show was met with great anticipation from fans. After arriving at the venue and finding a spot close to the stage, which was at the time kitted out with the bands impressive range of performance equipment, my attention turned to the supporting DJ, Earlyham Mystics.

He provided an eclectic mix of ambient and uplifting tracks (similar to what you may expect to hear from artists like George Fitzgerald or even Bonobo at times) and did a great job of lifting the mood and keeping people dancing as the audience started to flood in and fill the hall. Earlyham Mystics ended his set at around 20:45 to a ripple of applause and general appreciation from the crowd before departing for the main act.

On reflection, I feel he could have continued his set for longer, as by the end the crowd was much larger than it had been midway through his set, and I felt he was deserving of a larger audience. In addition, Maribou State came out slightly later than scheduled, around 20 minutes later, meaning the mood of the crowd had started to dwindle slightly during the long break between performances. Nonetheless, when the lights dimmed and Maribou State took to the stage to perform opening track Home, the restlessness of the crowd was immediately forgotten as we became soothed by the ambient yet powerful sounds of their arrival.

I will always be slightly biased toward bands that show a range of musical talents and switch seamlessly between instruments during a performance, therefore, Maribou State have my complete gratitude. Each member had a range of keyboards, sample pads, guitars and synthesizers at their fingertips and alternated their use of each piece of equipment throughout their tracks. And as if there wasn’t already enough for the eye to take in, their touring vocalist Holly Walker took to the stage for their third track Steal. This added a whole new dimension to the performance which previously had no obvious leading member, but now Holly was able to address the hall from her position as front woman, and the crowd absolutely loved it.

The smooth transitions between each track meant there wasn’t a real need for the band to talk in-between songs, so instead they did so during tracks, or to motivate on the build-up to a big chorus. From start to end, they provided a constant flow of music that fluctuated perfectly between mellow breaks and explosive, stadium-worthy choruses, all performed before a vintage-esque, summery backdrop that could have had even the frowniest gig-goer in the hall smiling peacefully. Maribou State closed the show with Turnmills, a personal favourite of mine lifted from their most recent album, and the crowd were sad to see them go after a mesmerising performance.

All in all, Maribou State’s performance felt like a breath of fresh air and frenzy of dance all in one, and I hope to catch them again at a festival this summer.

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ULTIMATE PLAYLIST – Sleaford Mods

Sleaford Mods are one of the most important, politically charged and thought-provoking duos making their mark on the music scene today. Renowned for exhilarating live shows, sharp commentary and minimalist beats, the band have spearheaded the post-punk renaissance of the last five years.

Emerging onto the UK music scene in 2013 at a time of political and creative austerity, the Harbinger Sound released breakthrough album Austerity Dogs caught the moment. Described by The Quietus as ‘a brutally brilliant slice of working-class culture… soaked in the impossible realities of the everyday’, the success was a surprise for many, not least Andrew and Jason who had been making music individually twenty years to no acclaim.  

Fast-forward to 2019, and there are few other bands who can lay claim to such a prolific schedule, yet here we are a year later and Sleaford Mods have released their fifth studio album in six years, Eton AliveReleased on 22 February to yet more critical acclaim the album went straight in at number 9 in the UK Albums chart, number 1 in the UK Vinyl Chart and number 1 in the UK Record Store chart. The album, which features twelve new tracks, was recorded in Nottingham and is the first release on Andrew and Jason’s newly formed label ‘Extreme Eating’; the first album since amicably parting with Rough Trade Records.

We asked the Sleaford Mods to put together a list of tracks which have influenced the new release. Featuring an eclectic mix of artists including Giggs, Pet Shop Boys and Nina Simone, this is Sleaford Mods Ultimate Playlist.

Jason…

Lizz – Chacal

Andrew got me onto this woman. Really good this tune. It’s from her EP ‘Imperio Vol1’  which I’m still getting my teeth into.

Burzum – Channeling the power of souls into a new god

I’m interested in early black metal at the minute. But only with its originators, Burzum being one of them. The idea that people from time to time reinvent music genre purely through passion is such a powerful thing. All that horror bollocks is irrelevant to me. It’s Just the motivation and ideas. Why? Brilliant.

Dat Oven – Icy Lake

Again I got this from Andrew. (Sorry mate haha) it’s Really nightmarish innit, quite cold.  But wicked. Odd.

 Giggs – Baby

The chorus is really good. His delivery. I really like Giggs.

Jody Watley – Looking for a new love

Just started listening to JW. Im trawling the RnB Soul timeline for decent shit constantly.

Andrew…

 Pet Shop Boys – Two divided by zero

Always reminds me of touring especially when we are in Europe.

 Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprosy – Everyday life has become a health risk

The lyrics still seem relevant today.

 Nina Simone – Hey, Buddy Bolden

This song will inspire anyone who is creative. Hairs on the neck go up.

Angelo Badalamenti – The Pink room

I watched the new series, which made me watch the movie again, it’s excellent.

Massive Attack V Mad Professor – Moving Dub (better things)

I already had it but my copy was scratched to fuck so I bought it again.

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LIVE: Saint Raymond @ Gorilla

WORDS BY: DOM TAYLOR

After nearly 4 years since his hit debut albumYoung Blood Callum Burrows, AKA Saint Raymond, is back and better than ever.

With a new album promised to be on the way, Saint Raymond embarked on a mini tour of the UK, playing his classic brand of sing-along-able, upbeat, indie tunes from his debut record, interspersed with the singles he released in 2018. His time away from gigging seemingly didn’t lose him any fans, as he performed to a loving crowd at a packed out Gorilla.

 

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finally got to see my favourite song live after 5 years 🎉 thanks 4 the anniversary present @mr_ticklee love u x

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Going through his discography from breakout hits such as Everything She Wants, to the more recent crowd favourite Nightcrawler, his and his bands infectious enthusiasm resonated with everyone in attendance. Throughout the set the crowd knew every word to every song, and blasted them out with beaming joy.

In the encore we were treated to a solo performance from Callum – an intimate interlude which saw him perform some of his slower jams, with the audience once again passionately singing his lyrics back to him. A truly beautiful and heartwarming moment of the night. His band returned for the last few tunes seeing out the night the way it started – up tempo and high energy.

Considering his music is arguably hard to dislike, with its catchy melodies and easy to remember lyrics, Saint Raymond has his fair share of critics. Cynics argue his music is safe and forgettable. Of course like anything, his music is not to everyone’s taste, but to label it safe and forgettable takes away from the quality with which his music is produced.

 

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Bristol and Manchester, you were a dream. Thanks so much to everyone for coming out on this tour. I’ll be back very soon 😛

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Every song is slick and fun, most of which you can see yourself sat on the grass at a festival with your mates and a pint. Saint Raymond isn’t trying to be the next Morrissey and he doesn’t need to be. His songs are made with passion and that comes shining through when seeing him perform. His music mirrors his personality – authentic, fun and carefree.

If the reaction and turnout for his gig is any indication of his future success, expect a big comeback from Saint Raymond.

Like this? Read up on all of our blog posts HERE 👀

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SINGLE RELEASE: Kevin Morby – ‘No Halo’

WORDS BY KANE MARTIN

On the 27th February Kevin Morby announced his upcoming double album Oh My God, joint with the news was the release of his new single No Halo. Morby has made a career from re-imagining America’s classic rock heritage, a heritage which as time passes on has started to swallow NYC innovators such as The Velvet Underground, Ramones and The Jim Carroll Band in its revisionist history.

No Halo is no exception from this rule with Morby’s well documented Dylan-esque croon and a Rhodes organ chord progression creeping through the track; the classic Morby formula is at play but with repeated listens one can’t help but feel that something else is at play too.

 

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No Halo 📸 by Barrett Emke, shot in studio, West Bottoms, Kansas City. Thanks B!

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The track feels like something of an ode to the innate rhythms of rock n roll and the digestion of these rhythms as a child. Whether it’s the ‘1,2,3,4!’ before a Ramones track kicks in, or learning a new nursery rhyme with a ‘1,2,3,4’ in the playground when the sun’s out and slightly burning your face fat. There’s something both weirdly human and meditative about our unsaid appreciation of these patterns. They guide us through life, song and the passing of time without us knowing too much why or our need for them.

Morby’s lyrics don’t shine too much of a light on these eternal questions either but he evokes images of nostalgia “When I was a boy / No rooftop on my joy” with the elemental “no how, no one, nothing was not made of fire” and the spiritual “And hey, hey, hey / No, no, no halo, halo, halo, halo”. Demonstrating to us that with a tiny simple repetition we’re merely a few syllables away talking about the fundamentals of what’s important about life as we know it. This is all reinforced by the Astral Weeks flutes, Coney Island Baby Sax and The Steve Reich-esque clapping reinforcing this hypnotic reflection on this mortal coil. Heavy fucking shit man. The best music always is.


With No Halo it really feels like we have the first signs of an artist reaching a cosmic maturity and looking back at the building of himself as an artist. One can’t help but feel like this isn’t Mr. Morby’s first tackling with this subject with track 3 on 2017’s City Music’s ‘1,2,3,4’ except whilst previously this toe-dipping into this subject matter felt like something of parody or an ironic wink as the simplicity of rock n’ roll; this time round it feels as though Kevin something profoundly spiritual in the simplicity of it. Thusly it feels like the songwriting’s as honest, bare and nude as Kevin Morby is on the front cover and makes me tremendously excited for his upcoming double album.

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LIVE: Deacon Brody @ Retro

WORDS BY BEN HAMLEN      PHOTOS BY ROMAN KUCHARSK

This is not the first time Deacon Brody have played in Manchester, but this time around they are playing their very own headline show at Retro (formerly known as Hive) on Sackville Street, in a small but intimate basement with a surprisingly good sound system. Deacon Brody are an indie-rock band, named after a pub, hailing from the green hills of East Lancashire and at a point where they have sculpted their sound over two EPs and are now ready to unleash it on to the indie circuit.

Down in the basement, we were immediately branded with Deacon Brody stickers and swamped with a view of the DB paraphernalia filling the room. If you didn’t know who’s show this was, you sure as hell do now. They enter with all guns blazing with a energetic performance. A highlight of the set came from Live Forever which is the brand new single release: a lively, heartfelt track with a stadium-like breakdown which really gets the goosebumps tingling. Loving Night was another stand out track, splitting the crowd into a frenzy. Then they played Repair off there Vol.II EP and the crowd start lip-syncing every word.

Deacon Brody end the set with an encore rendition of Nina Simone’s Feeling Good, as lead singer, Jayke, hits the high notes almost pitch-perfect throughout the set. When the “I’m feeling good” chorus drops the crowd bop harder and harder after every verse. 

One thing that was lacking was decent lighting to make it more of a spectacle but overall, the Deacon Brody lads have gone from strength to strength with each release getting better and better, filled with catchier hooks and a bigger sound. They put on an energetic show and perform with a passion that feeds the crowd. The next Deacon Brody gig is at Jimmy’s, supporting Indigo Lo, Friday 3rd May 2019. Be sure to check them out.

Like this? Read up on all of our blog posts HERE 👀

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ULTIMATE PLAYLIST – Patawawa

Patawawa are unique in their nature as an electronic trio, who blend beats to pump blood with glittered guitar riffs and basslines that bite. Featuring Sam Wilmot, Rory Lovatt, and Beth Garrett, the three-piece have crafted a sound that stays true to the neon roots of their funk and disco inspirations but dressed with a cheeky flair that makes it all their own.

Picked by NME as ‘Ones to Watch in 2018’ before their debut EP had even been released, the band that originated from Matlock, have more than lived up to that promise. Having found fans in the likes of Huw Stephens, Tom Robinson and Lauren Laverne, they’ve been tipped by the Line of Best Fit, The Guardian, DIY & Clash and has seen them be selected to headline the Free Vibes event at Band On The Wall on Wednesday 13th March ahead of their London, Paris, New York, Matlock EP release which is out later this month.

Before then, Sam & Rory have put together an exclusive playlist for us with their inspirations behind Patawawa’s upcoming drop.

PATAWAWA

Sam’s Tracks –

Westside – Jarreau Vandal

I have a lot of Jarreau’s tunes on my playlist, for me, he just knows how to make a happy, upbeat, fun tunes with great production and often great vocal features!

Meant To Be – Hush Moss

Became a fan of this band a couple of years ago with their super smooth funk banger Clear and was also lucky enough to catch them live when we played ‘Smoked & Uncut’ Festival. Meant To Be is another smooth funk fiesta with excellent horns and percussion, a real earworm!

Grant Green – Mr Jukes Ft Charles Bradley

Bombay Bicycle Club are the band I have seen the most times ever live so when I learnt that Jack Steadman was doing a funk project I was stoked! Grant Green is such a powerful funk track with a brilliant melody for the chorus, unfortunately, it was one of the soul legend Charles Bradley‘s last ever recorded songs.

Lightenup – Parcels

Parcels always bring a groovy number to the table and Lightenup is no exception, it always puts me in a great mood and certainly does light me up! Caught them at Rough Trade in London late last year and they were unbelievably tight! Feel good vibes fo’ sho.

Cookin’ on 3 Burners – Real Life Baby

This tune just gets my feet moving every time, amazing brass in this song, just an ultimate feel-good track!

Rory’s Tracks –

It’s My House – Diana Ross

Just a perfect pop song! It never gets old!

Bicicleta – Marcos Valle

You can’t be in a bad mood when this is on.

How Good Is Your Game – Billy Paul

Billy‘s voice is something else and this song is definitely my favourite of his.

Feel The Music (Original 7 Inch Version) – Dreamflight

The Boston Goes To Disco compilation from Serge Gainsbourg was an incredible release last year and this was the top song for me.

Suddenly – Drugdealer

This song sounds like an old beach boys song at the start, then transforms and has a really nice piano heavy beat which is rate up my street.

Like this? Read up on all of our blog posts HERE 👀

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SINGLE RELEASE: Jack Conman – ‘Easy Xo’

WORDS BY DOM TAYLOR

20-year-old Humberside native Jack Conman already has a lengthy discography and a wealth of experience under his belt and since his first ever gig at just 12 years old, Jack has not stopped grafting.

His debut EP Euphoria Springs reached Number 5 on the singer/songwriter iTunes charts back in 2016, sharing space with the likes of Ed Sheeran and Jamie Lawson. Since then he was handpicked to perform at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Hull in 2017, as well as appearing in session with Colors Berlin, performing what he called a “slappy acoustic version” of his tune Greatly Hasty, which has garnered over 258,000 views. He’s also released a slew of dreamy singles showing off his talents through mature, intricate, honest lyricism, with guitar playing prowess that anyone 20 years his senior would be jealous of.

This new single Easy Xo is the fifth single from his upcoming LP Seventh Sense Libido, and is another smooth slow jam showcasing his production proficiency, letting the music do more of the talking than the lyrics on this occasion, with it all being handled by the man himself. Making a name for himself as a more than competent guitarist, Jack flexes his multi-instrumentalist muscles with some beautiful accompanying piano, and an undeniably toe-tapping inducing drum beat to tie it all together.

 

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UK Tour in June What other cities should we play? Xoxo

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His sheer and unwavering passion for all thing’s music shine through this single and through his sheer work ethic. Before moving to Manchester in 2017 he was gigging up and down the country, and since being at University nothing has changed. Keep an eye on your local gig venues wherever you are in the UK, Jack Conman is probably fast approaching. Now in Manchester in his final year at BIMM, his debut LP is on the way and the hype is warranted. At such a young age, Jack Conman is a talent that is only going from strength to strength, and you’d be silly take your eyes off him.

Like this? Read up on all of our blog posts HERE 👀

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SINGLE RELEASE: Nilüfer Yanya – ‘Tears’

WORDS BY MATTY PYWELL

It’s looking like 2019 is going to be a crucial year for London-based singer/songwriter Nilüfer Yanya. Her debut album, titled Miss Universe is scheduled for release on March 22nd. The record will feature an ambitious and intriguing thematic premise, that of a shady fictional company called ‘WWayHealth (We Worry About Your Health)’. The premise influenced by one of Nilüfer‘s favourite TV shows, Charlie Brooker‘s dystopian and often misleading anthology series, Black Mirror.

Tears is the second single released by Nilüfer this year after In Your Head, a track which instantly became one of the artists’ best songs and featured some of her strongest hooks to date. On her earlier tracks, Nilüfer utilised the technique of leaving ’empty’ space in the backing to some of her tracks, which I found to be a bit hit and miss. At times it could add tension, as you waited for the next note to be played, but sometimes it just left a couple of her songs lacking any kind of tangible punch. But on the 2019 singles, that space has been filled, Tears has a stuttering, jumbled synth-pop backing that never feels empty, instead of giving the impression that it’s constantly evolving.

 

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Tears 💧

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The song sees Yanya accepting past mistakes and coming to realise what she really appreciates. I really enjoy her vocal delivery, her London accent adds character to her vocals and it gives a lot of her vocal highs a unique twist, particularly on the song’s chorus. Towards the end of the track, the synth backing becomes more and more distorted, sounding like something halfway between a computer malfunction and a video game glitch. Overall, it’s another really promising single, Nilüfer is building up a lot of positive momentum now and her album Miss Universe has become one of my most anticipated debuts of the year.

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LIVE: Augmented presents Kerri Chandler @ Gorilla

WORDS BY SAM KERSHAW

Kerri Chandler has been one of house music’s originators since the early nineties. That term originator gets bound around a little too flippantly these days but this is not one of those occasions. From his native New Jersey roots and a backdrop of soul, disco, and garage from his late great father who was also a DJ, Chandler has established himself as a true selector in every sense of the word. As an ambassador of the 4/4 beat, his sets champion a bold plethora of styles, genres and decades.

The most exciting thing about tonight is that Chandler is playing all night long to 600 people in a modest venue under the railway tracks of Whitworth Street West. To give this a little context, tomorrow night he will curate and headline his own show at the Printworks – a 5,000 capacity venue on the banks of Canada Water in London.

Tonight, he kicks off the first hour with some neo-soul and US vocal house followed by some mid-tempo chug, as the crowd bob and weave into their stride. Once he’s found his feet, we a treated to an up-tempo gospel-infused cut of Sister Sledge’s ‘Lost in Music’ and Uptown Funk Empire’s ‘You’ve Got To Have Freedom’. There is a slight lull in proceedings as he gets bogged down with the jazz piano and the atmosphere falls a tad flat. However, redemption is served via the broken beats of some New York garage and a heavy dose of meaty tech house. The latter incorporates the vocal from Loleatta Holloway’s ‘Love Sensation’, sending the crowd into a fever pitch.

The current musical climate is littered with amazing DJ’s come producers – Four Tet, Ben UFO, Floating Points – to name but a few, but Kerri Chandler feels like the engine room on the roster. There’s no effects unit, no all singing all dancing lighting rig, projector screens, lasers et al. It’s six hours of straight up, soulful house, disco and garage on two turntables and it has the clientele in Gorilla eating out of the palm of his hand.

For the pessimists that think that house music all sounds the same, they should let Kerri Chandler take them on a journey. It will make them take a step back and realise it’s time to have a quiet word with themselves.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Sundara Karma – Little Smart Houses

WORDS BY: CALLUM MITCHELL-SIMON

Sundara Karma started out from humble beginnings, formed in 2011 as a high school band in Reading. They releasing their debut singles via Soundcloud, before several years spent developing their sound, releasing the odd EP, and touring alongside the likes of Wolf Alice. They came on leaps and bounds upon the release of their 2017 debut album Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect, which featured huge singles She Said, Olympia and Happy Family.  They’re set for bigger things in 2019, with a new album Ulfilas’ Alphabet due on March 1st on Chess Club/RCA, and a headline slot at Live At Leeds in May, preceded by a huge headline UK tour in April.

 

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With their spiky guitar riffs and heavily stylised art-rock leanings, they bring to mind a hungry young Franz Ferdinand or Foals. The Guardian even compared them to the likes of U2 and Arcade Fire. A daunting comparison maybe, but these guys seems to understand this crazy old rock and roll game – they dress up and play their respective parts with aplomb, lead singer Oscar “Lulu” Pollock in particular doing his utmost to channel a modern-day Bowie (this writer came close to seeing them live in 2017 at Y-Not Festival, but that turned out to be the fateful year that the whole thing was rained off).

Their return is heralded by new track Little Smart Houses. Whilst their debut was itself a very fine record, it, by and large, stuck to a set palate of influences, like a band finding their feet. This time around they appear much more confident to stretch out their sound. This is bolstered with some inspired 80’s touches, such as Pollock‘s heavily indebted Duran Duran-esque vocal inflections. A bouncy, guitar-led intro is abruptly halted by some stop-start vocals, before a wave of shimmering electronics bridge into a rousing chorus. Pollock sings of yearning for a broadening spiritual awareness “free yourself and you will conceive, a life beyond your wildest dreams”, and the habits we inflict on ourselves to prevent us from achieving this “We’ll stay inside because we’re torn and dumb, kept warm in little smart houses”.

It’s a bright, technicolor slab of indie-pop, with slick, polished production. It’s a confident artistic step forward, likely to keep the returning fans happy, whilst winning over many more new ones in the process.

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