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Cousin Kula

Ultimate Playlist: Cousin Kula

Building a passionate fanbase in Bristol, Cousin Kula are a 6-piece on the rise. Blending psychedelic textures with slick pop vocals, lush synths and soaring guitars, their unique sound has gained them high profile support slots for Dutch Uncles & more. 

Frontman Elliot Ellison possesses an enviably unique vocal, a mix of Syd Arthur and Kevin Parker if you had to compare. Musically, they’re a band’s band; the juxtaposition of ‘happy-beats’ and moody lyrics call upon the tipping of one’s metaphorical music hat. With their recent traction in the UK music scene it is clear their name will establish itself amongst Bristol’s best.

We caught up with the upcoming act to discover their ultimate playlist of tracks that they adore:

Parcels – Hideout

We’ve been following this band closely since they released their first couple of tunes in 2016, and we’ve been really inspired by how fast they’ve grown in that time. This is a favourite of their EP, tight, funky and catchy – a great example of super precise pop writing.

Pixvae – La Fuga

This one was shown to us by our friend Ben Tunnicliffe, an excellent DJ (the artwork for his night in Cardiff is illustrated by our singer Elliot) and ex-bass player (he sold me his lovely P bass at the start of 2018). This song encapsulates our love for catchy and left-field sounds and is such a particularly unusual combination – Latin and hardcore.

HOMESHAKE – Call Me Up

It wasn’t until after writing our single ‘Jelly Love’ that we realised a similarity between the synth hook and the one in ‘Call Me Up’. It’s understandable though, Homeshake’s album Fresh Air was getting played a lot at the time so inevitably crept into what we were writing.  The spacious production of these tracks are awesome – it gives the hooky melodies and basslines so much room to speak.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Necessary Evil

The album Multi Love has been played a lot in the van on our way to shows, so no doubt has influenced our output. This tune, in particular, is such a well-made song and there’s something about the chord changes that really get me.

Khruangbin – Evan Finds the Third Room

Khruangbin are the masters of sitting on a groove – a good reminder that you don’t have to cram a load of stuff into a tune. Evan Finds the ‘Third Roomis’ a lesson in how effective sparse vocals can be. We were lucky enough to catch them play in Bristol at the start of 2018, it was an awesome gig.

Oro Swimming Hour – Marshmellow

This one’s from the band of our friend Oliver Wilde, also from Bristol. They’ve got that cosy, de-tuned lo-fi feel down to a tee. The tune’s a real earworm and a firm fave for the tour van.

Vels Trio – The Wad

These guys started out as a prog band, so we’ve obviously got a soft spot for ’em. This latest tune is a bonafide banger. London jazz with a G-Funk swagger. Deep groove, catchy melodies and wait for that bassline at the end, woo!

Al di Meola – Sequencer

This is one of our favourite ‘love to hate’ tunes. A prime example of musicians from the  60’s and 70’s losing their way a bit in the 80’s and writing some pretty awful music… but Al Di Meola is still a stone-cold badass!

BADBADNOTGOOD –  Time Moves Slow

We are big fans of their album IV, but this track, in particular, had a real influence on our writing around the time of its release. The whole vibe of this track, from the low eerie organ to the syncopated brushy drums and super round bass tone (not to mention the awesome vocal performance from Sam Herring of Future Islands), really won our affection and was a big reference point for the first verse of our song ‘Brain Abroad’. It’s not been released yet so you’ll have to see our show to see what we mean!

Methyl Ethel – Ubu

We first became aware of this band a couple of years ago when we almost supported them in Paris. The date didn’t come off in the end, but we ended up getting heavily into their music with this tune ‘Ubu’ being an absolute standout track. The arrangement of the tune is very clever – the main refrain gets reinvented throughout the track so it never gets old.

Like this sound of Cousin Kula? Final tickets for their Manchester date are limited and available here!

Read more about the latest music news and reviews over on our blog 👀

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UPCOMING: MIF 2019 announces first wave of artists

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER

Now in it’s eighth year, Manchester International Festival is proudly, a festival that unites creatives from different backgrounds and demographics. By weaving them together in a celebration of cultural unity that takes place all across Greater Manchester, it’s a biannual event that immerses all of the city together and next takes place from the 4th to the 21st July 2019.

Don’t peg this as any specific type of creative festival – MIF covers the whole spectrum – having premiered many a distinguished act from the fields of architecture to visual arts and everything in between. Think Björk, The xx, Maxine Peake, Zaha Hadid Architects, all have performed, produced and presented work at previous versions of the festival. What’s more, Manchester is rife with a collection of unique sites that make for prime locations to host international talent. To name a few that are sure to capture your attention: Kanye West performed his first ever Manchester show at the O2 Apollo for MIF back in 2007; Kenneth Branagh and Maxine Peake were cast in a portrayal of MACBETH at St Peter’s Church in Ancoats in 2013 and last year saw New Order reunite at the old Granada Studios complete with a 12-piece synthesiser orchestra of students from RNCM.

 

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New Order

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Well in advance of the next instalment, the lineup is now already starting to emerge. Just this week, MIF announced that the opening festival slot will be hosted by none other than Yoko Ono. As one of the most respected artists in the world, Ono invites us to join her for her first display in Manchester at Manchester Cathedral, to ring those age old bells and call for the world to welcome peace with open arms, as thousands of voices from the Cathedral and abroad will sing out. Stating “PEACE IS POWER”, the display titled ‘BELLS OF PEACE’ will mark the opening of Manchester International Festival 2019, with one of the most reputable acts of recent generations.

Following on from this, the man of the moment Idris Elba presents ‘TREE’, in partnership with Young Vic Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah as they search for the soul and spirit of contemporary South Africa. An exploration within dance and film, with Elba’s debut album ‘Mi Mandela’ as the soundtrack, the performance is set to show a journey through the ever changing country by way of one young man as the feature star. From the open on the 4th through to the 10th July, the duo will be taking over Upper Campfield Market Hall for this one-off, world-premiere meeting of two creative minds.

The final announcement comes in the form of another man of the hour – Skepta shares with us his own idea of what the future may hold for humanity. ‘DYSTOPIA987’ is to take place in a secret Manchester location that is as of yet undisclosed. With very little being shared in advance about the performance, other than an eerily cryptic name and the promise of a display that is dark and riveting, we’re already eagerly awaiting to see what the featuring musicians, performers and promised use of technology will evoke. MIF 2019 already cultivates the idea of a merger between performance techniques both old and new, by way of technology and the performers themselves. Expect the unexpected and if it hasn’t happened yet it soon will.

Read more about the latest music news and reviews over on our blog 👀

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UPCOMING: FREE VIBES x MCR Live | 20.10.18

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER

Now a classic amongst those in the know, Free Vibes is a monthly slot at Band On The Wall that pulls together a host of talented new acts and sets them up on one of the city’s most renowned stages. Muses of the Manchester music scene often reign in and present collaborated versions of the gig  including Sabotage and Amazing Radio so of course – it’s our turn.

With such a wide selection of talent across the country it was nigh on impossible to narrow down the amount of acts we had available to us – the choice was no where near easy! But our curated lineup sees a selection of artists that we’re sure will whet the appetites of many an attendee.

In the headline slot on Saturday 20th October are London based dream pop-sters Honey Moon. Making shapes with Manchester independent record label Heist Or Hit, the quartet are gracing us with their first Manchester gig and what better a place than the iconic Band On The Wall stage. Sultry dream pop oozes from each track they’ve thus far presented, including their recently released EP ‘Four More From…’ which has been met with adoring praise from fans of the up-and-coming “boys from the big smoke”.

Also on the bill are Manchester five-piece: URF, with their technicolour of female-fronted neo-psychedelic shoegaze. Just two days after, the diversity of this group holds it’s own as they support the one and only Brian Jonestown Massacre on the Sheffield leg of their current tour. Theirs is a sound unlike no other with theatrical vocals and powerful drums juxtaposed against a wave of spiralling guitar and keys, held together by a sturdy bass-line.

Earlier on in the evening are another fiercely female represented act in the form of Écru. Ambient, downtempo, and atmospheric, their sound presents a welcome calm to our Free Vibes evening, presented by the mesmerising vocals of Manchester singer Jade Mannion – a heavyweight amongst the ethereal, acoustic scene.

Last but certainly not least are the North West’s most promising new act, Saint Ivy, who recently made for a phenomenal headline set at Night & Day Cafe with their achingly-indie soundtrack that is sure to capture the attention of the floor each and every time they are presented. Eclectic enough? Sign up for your FREE tickets and we’ll see you at the door!

 

Read more about the latest music news and reviews over on our blog 👀

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ALBUM: LIINES – ‘Stop Start’

WORDS BY RUSSELL HOPE

There’s a brilliant thing about something new combined with something we’re used too. A bit like snowboarding, surfing has been around for decades and then skiing has too, bring them both together and it’s the best way to surf down a mountain! At the top of the mountain all you want are fresh lines, LIINES from Manchester are fresh, they’re made up of Zoe, Tamsin and Leila and they’re climbing a massive mountain of big sound.

‘Shallow’ sets the tone for the album with lyrics “what were you thinking” anchoring the song, plus you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of Zoe. She backs up her vocals with an aggressive guitar punch enough to keep the receiver of these lyrics from having a second short. The album has a grit to it, the songs are short and punchy, leaving perfect live gig bait. It’s recorded well and each track is written to destroy a room – be sure that the crowd will help out with that. The pounding drums will have no one stood still in front of these three.

‘Stop Start’ is full of bass, smashing guitar, wailing vocals and a solid drums backline. LIINES been likened to Joy Division and I get that, their debut album is produced by the best – Paul Tipler (Elastica, Idlewild, Placebo, Stereolab) has delivered this one. ‘Be Here’ and ‘Find Something’ gives out a solid Breeders/Pixies bass and a Bernard Summer Joy Division divide. Banging tunes!

On to the B-Side and ‘Blackout’ starts with ‘Stop’ and the staple LIINES 3-chord smash which throws energy into the hallowed vocals. The lyrics are dark, something (or rather someone) has created this deep feeling. Zoe can really take it the distance: “I love a band that gives everything and a singer who feels every single word”. She’s a female Eddie Vedder and the backline of Steph Walker (bass, who was a founding member of LIINES but left the band after the album was complete, with Tamsin Middleton stepping in on bass) and Leila (drums) give a solid backing that Elastica were always famous for and Kurt Cobain would have happily been in front of. The bass of ‘Disappear’ is Hooky and Morris all over and the guitar destroys that backline fighting it off to make room for the massive vocal. It’s a goodun.

LIINES are hot off the support of Hot Snakes, Desperate Journalist, and The Slow Readers Club as well as having headlined the Radio X Showcase. Along with getting airplay and 5* reviews from all the music industry elders like Louder Than War, BBC Radio 6 and Q they’re on a tour down the back bone of the country from Manchester and Preston, down to London.

Catch them at:
18th Oct  – Night and Day (Manchester)
17th Nov – The Ferret (Preston)
18th Nov – The Lexington (London – supporting Bis)
14th Dec – O2 Apollo (Manchester supporting Slow Readers Club)

‘Stop Start’ is out now on CD digipak, LP white vinyl and at http://Liines.bandcamp.com. Thanks to Reckless Yes for this record.

Read more about the latest music news and reviews over on our blog 👀

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UPCOMING: Sabotage Presents: La Mode, Self Help & Thin Skinned @ The Castle | 29.09.18

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER     ARTWORK BY KANE TOWSEY

Rapidly making a name for themselves in the city, Sabotage have become curators of the music scene alongside the likes of Interior and Strange Days. A recent collaboration with another ignitor for local acts – FREE VIBES – at Band On The Wall presented a showcase for the gig promoter, with varying acts that fulfil their ethos: to exhibit a selection of national talent from every level of a musicians journey.

The last gig the promoter held at Northern Quarter’s The Castle Hotel featured Liverpool’s Wild Fruit Art Collective, fresh-faced Leeds duo Push and Mancunian favourites The Starlight Magic Hour. In a fittingly similar pattern at their next gig on 29th September, Sabotage bring another Manchester band to the headline slot, swaddled by acts lesser known to the city.

Opening act Thin-Skinned hail from Manchester and currently only have one track released to the world. But it’s an atmospheric, ambient indie single that traces each echo with vocals reminiscent of earlier Maccabees tracks. Following up are Oxford-based Self Help, having cultivated a following further down the country, they’re brought to The Castle for their first Manchester set. Regularly featured on BBC Introducing their raucous, scintillating live shows present a spectacle to the eyes and ears if ever there could be one. An original amalgamation of punk/garage/indie, there’s little left to the imagination with this Southern four-piece.

With their first ever headline show, La Mode, step outside of the box with their four-piece rock outfit, that presents a fusion of modern indie and 60’s rock music. A debut EP soon to be announced, the quartet began with brother/sister pair Millie and Calvin Sproston and soon developed into their own collective. There’s a feeling that the whole of Manchester are excited for the comeback of this act and of course, another Sabotage instalment wouldn’t go amiss. How do you get in? Tickets are exclusively available on the door and are £5 each on a first-come-first-served basis – with doors at 7pm, we’ll see you in the queue.

Read more about the latest music news and reviews over on our blog 👀

 

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independent label

COMMENT: The rise and rise of the independent record label

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER

Originally run by mavericks with little or no business sense, independent record labels turned the music industry on its head in the 80s. Their sound and aesthetic remains a huge influence on the scene today, presenting the latest acts to the mainstream.

As part of this piece we spoke to independent maestros of the scene Heist Or Hit. The label began back in 2008 with the mind of Mick Heist. With a backstory that’s seen him manage a number of bands, being part of David Bowie‘s tour crew and being an A&R team member in America, he’s got the career any music fan dreams of. “I was at a bar once and realised that Iggy Pop was on one side of me and Bowie on the other –  it was so surreal.”

Factory Records, Rough Trade and Mute are celebrated age-old independent labels that have transcended their prime period. Factory was born in a first-floor flat in a crumbly Victorian semi on Manchester’s outskirts. Then for most of the company’s life, Factory was run from a flat in Didsbury, with threadbare sofas that served as a meeting room yet the company still received six-figure cheques from the label’s distributors.

Back then, independent record labels were run by an individual or individuals with a singular vision and passion, an untutored approach to business and a devil-may-care attitude to the conventions of the record industry. Of course with the update of technology and the introduction of social media, record labels have needed to take hold of their claim to music and a structural update was needed.

foetals

Take one look at the labels of today and you’ll see that image and aesthetic is a key step for success. Heavenly and Burger are branching out and staking claim to no particular genre that captures the eye (and ear) of the modern music lover but rather to musicians that are set for bigger things. Heist Or Hit have Honey Moon, Her’s and Pizzagirl on their roster – a selection of acts that are quickly making waves.

“We really don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves into working with one style. We look up to labels like Heavenly and 4AD, labels that don’t have one set genre. If you put two of their bands next to each other they wouldn’t sound the same but there’s something that ties them together.”

off the record

The team see their position as not strictly a management role but more like guidance coaches, leading the artists forward. “The vinyl issue is a weird one. It’s always the elephant in the room. When you actually break it down to an artist and ask why it’s needed at such an early stage of their career – it’s more just a vanity piece for them.” Of course vinyl sales have boosted in recent years; anyone with a finger on the music pulse has a record player. But the costs for a young artist to produce say 300 copies of an EP on vinyl and then maybe only move a third of that – isn’t going to do them any favours. Away from the money-grabbers and game-setters of the industry, independents are affectively managing the finances of the fledgling acts too – ensuring that they make it as far as possible.

For the independent record label it’s a constant hunt to “open backdoors in the industry” especially with not having the luxury of a whole suite of staff as their right-hand tool. Organically, their craft is as independent as their process is. “We like to receive submissions on a postcard, something that’s got some kind of personalisation to it – not just a BCC email.”

It is worth noting that Adele‘s ’21’, now one of the country’s bestselling albums of all time, was released by an independent record company: XL. In an industry that is struggling to hold on, with streaming services taking over, it is the indie label that is reaping the benefits of adaption and experimenting with new technologies, thinking on its feet and being open to new ideas.

Read more about the latest music news and reviews over on our blog 👀

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off the record

UPCOMING: Off The Record Festival & Conference | 15-16.11.18

PHOTO @MANC_WANDERER // WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER & JESS CAMPBELL

Having been graced with two sold-out years, Manchester’s Northern Quarter multi-venue live music event and conference Off The Record is set for another show-stopping year. The logic goes that trusted curators nominate the artists they are tipping for the year ahead to perform the stellar event before a surprise reveal just days before – however, this year it’s going a little differently! We’re extremely happy to announce that this year we’re, once again, a part of the curation team for this years event alongside a distinguished array of influencers including our very own Everything Everything, Rob Da Bank and faves The Orielles.

With the spotlight being on over 40+ budding artists selected by the panel, gig-goers have the chance to see blossoming bands and talented artists across a range of genres perform in eight legendary music venues all within a 5-minute stretch of Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

With so many incredible new artists coming out of Manchester, let alone the UK, our focus was to shine a light on a couple of artists that you might not have seen before – artists that have no ties to the city. However, choosing a new, current act with a sense of vigour and sound that’s eclectically timeless was of course no easy task, taking into account the depth of the current music scene (in fact, we only managed to whittle down out selections to a ‘Top 8!’ – sorry, guys!).

HOWEVER, on the bands we put forward, two selections have come out – and we couldn’t be more excited to shine a well-deserved spotlight on these groundbreaking artists (…and get to know a few others in the meantime!) INTRODUCING:

HIMALAYAS

Himalayas are the 4-peice indie-rock outfit you won’t be able to get out of your head. Hailing all the way from Cardiff, the young-band have already amassed a bit of a cult following with over 7million Spotify plays and having played almost everywhere this year; from SXSW to Reading & Leeds, supporting Kaiser Chiefs across the country and with plenty of This Feeling gigs crammed in between. Although we’ve penned these guys since 2016, the band have since gained notoriety for a set that is highly energetic, full of melody & cheekiness with ripping hooks – listen to this band once, and you wouldn’t be surprised that they’re all fans of Queens Of The Stone Age, Arctic Monkey’s, Jack White et.al. Straight up Rock’n’Roll. Liked The Blinders last year? You’ll LOVE these.

Thyla

Likened to The Cure & Cocteau Twins, all the way down in Brighton lie the swooning pot-punk/ dream-pop sounds of Thyla. Blending two quite opposing genres is no mean-feat and we can assure you that whether you go in to watch Thyla after listening to their music, or you rock up without the prior-knowledge, your head will be turned. It’s hard for us to compare this band to others, which in our books is one of the biggest compliments – if pushed, Millie Duthie’s at-points ethereal-and-others-feroiciously-jauting vocals evoke early Wolf Alice or a much-grungier Black Honey. Either way, they’re boss.  After supporting INHEAVEN on their most-recent tour, with a somewhat erratic stage presence and roller-coaster tracks, Thyla have earned a lot of new fans and we know that you will be next on the list.

But, these are only our picks! Check out the full list for this year’s Off The Record below, and pre-order your tickets through this link.  With two hard-hitting bands on our bill… I guess we’ll see you in the pit!

Who are you most looking forward to seeing?

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ALBUM REVIEW: HONNE – ‘Love Me/Love Me Not’

WORDS BY JODIE BRYANT

Andy Clutterbuck and James Hatcher are the electro-pop duo that makes HONNE. The pair have unleashed their skills and sound with the new album ‘Love Me/Love Me Not, released on the 24th August 2018.

The album itself is easy listening at it’s smoothest – soulful and poppy but not life changing. The noteworthy, most popular track is ‘Day 1’ which encloses a catchy hook with funky beats and gentle piano. On that same first side of the album ‘Me & You,’ features Tom Misch, who compliments HONNE‘s style perfectly by way of raw harmonies. The song has a disco / funk element with a bright, reassuring and optimistic undertone. All songs on the first side of the album are accompanied by the image of a circle half coloured in ◑, perhaps showing the ‘yin and yang’ of HONNE.

Side two, with the circle the other way round ◐, is less loved up – it’s called ‘Love Me Not’ after all. The opener, ‘Shrink’ is a lighthearted take on the future and implies that the shrinks are going to be packed and rammed to the rafters:

“YOU BETTER BOOK ME A SHRINK FOR 2020
COS BY THAT TIME I’M GOING TO BE CRAZY”

This ‘yin’ side of tracks is overall less funky than the opposing ‘yang’ and oozes calmness in a more negative and emotional manner. ‘Crying over You’ features BEKA and is an interesting take on a breakup. It addresses the difficulty of knowing that the time has come and it’s right to end a relationship and the heartache that comes along with that. BEKA plays the female counterpart of the relationship, equally anguished by the situation.

Later on the track list is ‘Forget Me Not’ which maintains a strong beat and ends the album with a sense of loss and apology. Both sides of the album are enjoyable to listen to and the second half in particular is lyrically impressive.

As a whole, HONNE had already established their sound back in 2016. ‘Love Me/Love Me Not’ fulfils the expectations now set for HONNE, picking you up in that aforementioned ‘yin’◑ method with glaringly positive tracks, then releasing you with that alternate ‘yang’ ◐ side.

A fan of Honne‘s work? The duo will soon be touring, tickets can be found HERE.

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LIVE: FREE VIBES x SABOTAGE –
Dylan Cartlidge, Slowhandclap,
Scruffy Bear, Octopus | 29.08.18

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER        PHOTOS BY MANC WANDERER

Following on from the success of the debut Sabotage Festival back in April, the gig promoter has continued to conquer Manchester with another enviable lineup. Wednesday 29th August was a partnership with Free Vibes – another promoter set to ignite new artists. Now a classic amongst those in the know, FV is a monthly slot at Band On The Wall that pulls together a host of talented new acts and sets them up on one of the city’s most renowned stages.

Free Vibes x Sabotage is an ideal pairing that brought together an amalgamation of likeminded folk interested in the movements of the new waves in music. Setting the scene on the evening were self-proclaimed ‘Tentacle Rock’ act Octopus with their infectious shoe gazer sound that oozes a level of experience beyond their years. Britpop at it’s finest and then some, Octopus welcomed the fast-filling main room of Band On The Wall with open arms.

Following on and keeping up the pace – if not heightening it – psychedelia hits and Scruffy Bear appear. Theirs is a sound which is equally transcendent of their years but in a different manner. It’s the melodies themselves, the riffs and hooks with their psychedelic haze. Blues and psych merge together entangled in a rock n roll shell, equipped with a mesmerising stage presence that can’t not catch your attention.

Bringing the outright noise are SlowHandClap poised and ready to go just ahead of the headliner. If you’re fortunate enough to have seen them yourself, you’ll know they’re not a band to be reckoned with. Raw energy and passion erupts from the trio for a mystifying performance reminiscent of fuzzy early Nirvana gig videos. If you’re a Dinosaur Jr fan, keep your finger on the pulse with SlowHandClap – you’re in for a treat.

Last but certainly never least, alternative rapper Dylan Cartildge hosts as the headliner. He’s making waves in his field, with Huw Stephens a notable fan, as well as having had the famed musician Jamie T accompany him on hit track ‘Up & Upside Down’. Notably Dylan is a multiple instrument player – paired with his charismatic stage presence it makes for a live set that hums with an easy solace. His vocals echo, along with that of his backing singer, to a completely entertained Band On The Wall that’s singing every word back to him. He’s just done Reading and Leeds and you can be sure there’ll be no stopping him soon.

Want to see more? You’re in luck. The next Sabotage curated gig takes place at The Castle Hotel on Oldham Street, Saturday 29th September. It’ll be the first headline set from Manchester favourites La Mode, hot off the heels of their recent EP release which fuses modern indie with 60s rock in an eclectic manner that’s not often found. Oxford-based Self Help present their twist of garage and punk that cuts an original figure, whilst the fresh and fledgling Thin-Skinned who only have one track released are set to introduce themselves. Tickets are only available on the door and at just £5 a pop, we’ll meet you at The Castle.

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ALBUM: IDLES – ‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’

WORDS BY MARIA PASSINGHAM

IDLES are on the warpath. But it’s a warpath lined with glitter bombs rather than the more traditional, explosive type, and they’re marching with smiles on their faces and their arms wide open. ‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’ is the much anticipated second album from Bristol’s most talked about punk act, out Friday 31st August on Partisan Records and boy, is it good.

The record’s first single and opener ‘Colossus’ establishes the subsequent forty minutes as a no-shits-given parade. All at once the album protests all manner of modern politics and social views whilst still remaining overwhelmingly positive and infused with love for fellow mankind. Starting with simple clock-ticking style drumsticks and a heavy distorted repetitive chord, the opener builds and builds into an ominous noisy climax, making sure if you’re listening – you’re bloody well listening. No passive, Spotify radio-browsing, wannabes here please.

Steadily working their way through class divides, immigration, masculinity, the NHS, advertising, love, and everything in between IDLES punch holes in the status-quo. The lyrics flit between disarmingly honest and heavily ironic, but true to the album’s title and the band’s signature style, the songs are joyful anthems; simultaneously calling out established, dangerous ideas and championing those that they prefer.

From the simple, super tight ‘Television’ that confronts media-enforced ideas of beauty and instead commands you to “love yourself” to the take down alpha male ideals in ‘Samaritans’ the Bristol five-piece sugar-coat nothing, yet retain an utter sweetness and charm across the album.

“THE MASK OF MASCULINITY
IT’S A MASK THAT’S WEARING ME
I’M A REAL BOY, BOY AND I CRY”

IDLES are pros at keeping you on your toes. If you dare to drift away, a sudden change in tempo or rhythm, or a switch from sung monologues to shouted refrains will snap you back to attention. If you can’t keep up with the relentless pop culture references you’ll be left by the wayside in no time (although probably one of the IDLES guys will rush back to make sure you’re not seriously hurt – checking on the crowd’s safety and happiness is a trademark of their live shows).

‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’ makes you want to fight and proclaim your love for the humans around you at the same time. It’s a battle cry for the modern man, where the battle is against the media and the politics that run through it. It’s a solid-as-a-rock second offering from what has to be the UK’s finest punk band right now. So why don’t you buy the record? Even Tarquin’s bought the record.

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