Slaves Interview

Currently on tour with Palma Violets, The Fat White Family and The Wytches, Slaves are probably one of the UK’s busiest bands. Being announced for virtually every festival under the sun and a debut album being released in June, 2015 is going to a big year for the band. After seeing them perform in Manchester last night, I got the chance to speak with vocalist and drummer Isaac Holman about everything from Alan Titchmarsh joining the band to the story behind the ‘Feed The Mantaray’ music video.

So you’re well into the NME tour, how’s it gone so far?

It’s been incredible, the reaction from the crowd each night keeps getting better and better.

What’s it like touring with these other great bands?

It’s rather surreal to be honest. We’ve been fans of Palma Violets for a long time and The Wytches are amazing. Being able to tour with bands that we actually listen to is a real honour really.

Last night in Manchester the crowd reaction for you was incredible, how did you think it went?

As I said, the reaction is so amazing everywhere we go. After the first night in Sheffield we were like “Surely it can’t be like this every night” but it is, we’re having a really good time.

Your debut ‘Are You Satisfied?’ is out in June, what can we expect to hear? Anything drastically different?

It’s more of the same but I feel like the music we’re making now is a lot more developed then our older tracks. I just think the music is sounding better and better.

Any track in particular you can’t wait for people to hear?

Really I just want to release the album now and let everyone hear it. I really like the album title track, people won’t expect it. It has a really mellow tone to it. It’s Laurie on his guitar and me sat at a piano, it’s really different for us. But yeah I can’t wait to get the new music out there.

The video for ‘Feed The Mantaray’ looks like something Noel Fielding would come up with, who’s idea was it? 

Me and Laurie were sat in a Kebab house one afternoon with our manager and we just started to come up with ideas. Once me and Laurie start bouncing ideas off each other, we don’t stop. We came up with this idea for the video and got the same director that we used for last video. At one point we thought we wouldn’t be able to do it but in the end it worked out and it came out crazier than we imagined.

You’ve been announced for festivals all over, do you prefer festivals or your own gigs?

Well they’re completely different so you can’t really say. With festivals you can have loads of people turn up and that’s wicked. With your own gigs though people have come to see you and that’s really nice.

You mentioned on your Facebook that you wanted Alan Titchmarsh strumming his corduroys as a new member of Slaves, any news from him on the offer? 

Nah no luck there mate ahaha

You have quite a presence on social media, is this something you enjoy? Being able to interact with fans? 

We never went out of our way to become this ‘presence’ on social media because it can be quite a horrible thing social media. In the long run I suppose social media is good and it’s great to be able to interact with fans. Overall though, I find social media quite sickening.

Finally why should everyone go out and buy ‘Are You Satisfied?’ when it’s released in June?

If you like social commentary then I think you should get it. Also if you like our previous songs then you should check it out. It’s just full of silly mad songs really.

If you want to catch Slaves live then catch them on the NME tour, you can buy tickets from the link below.

http://nme.seetickets.com/tour/nme-awards-tour-2015/?pre=nmeat15pre&src=nmeawardstour2015presale

You can also pre-order Slaves’ debut ‘Are You Satisfied?’ in the links below and Slaves’ website.

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/are-you-satisfied/id963764606

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Are-You-Satisfied-Slaves/dp/B00TJF80EA/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1425050962&sr=8-3&keywords=slaves

Thanks again to Isaac and Slaves for the interview.

Liam Egan

Photo credit to Max Phythian, Twitter and Instagram – @I_AmAHorror

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JAWS Tour Preview

2014 brought well deserved success for Birmingham band JAWS. The release of their debut album Be Slowly and multiple tours, which included multiple sell out dates, certainly gained the band some well deserved recognition. Now JAWS are heading out on a 4 date tour that sees them visiting Norwich, London, Manchester and Birmingham. There is also promise of new material from the band on the tour, so if you want to hear it then you should definitely head down to one of the gigs. Tickets to the shows are in the link below.

http://www.seetickets.com/search?q=jaws&search=

Also joining them on the tour will be Happyness and Spring King (except Norwich date). JAWS debut album Be Slowly is also for sale on iTunes, Amazon, your local record store etc. Be Slowly can also be streamed on Spotify. The record contains fan favourites such as Gold and Cameron (which has been re-recorded for the album), aswell as alot of new tracks.

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/be-slowly/id881158737

Liam Egan

Little Comets Tour Preview

After embarking on two UK tours and releasing three fantastic EPs last year, Little Comets are kicking off 2015 with the release of their third album Hope Is Just A State Of Mind and a full UK tour.

The tour will see the band visiting various cities from Dublin to Manchester, you can buy tickets from the link below. Little Comets will also be joined by bands High Tide, Model Aeroplanes, Lisbon and Oh Volcano.

http://www.littlecomets.com/live/

Their new album Hope Is Just A state Of Mind can now be bought on iTunes, Amazon and your local record store etc. The album contains tracks such as Little Italy and Salt, songs that featured on last years EPs, aswell as a handful of new little gems for you to listen to. Buy the album from the links below.

http://littlecomets.bigcartel.com/

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/hope-is-just-a-state-of-mind/id957299871

Liam Egan

‘Swim Deep – To My Brother’ Track Review

‘Where the hell are you?’, this is a question that many Swim Deep fans have been wondering for a few months now. After the mad rush to get their debut Where The Heaven Are We? released, Swim Deep seemed to disappear after they got their tour over and done with. But this is no longer the case as Swim Deep are back with new track To My Brother, accompanied by a string of live dates at tiny venues around the UK.

To My Brother is vastly different to anything Swim Deep have attempted previously. Essentially at it’s core it’s a modern day Madchester track, even though they’re from Birmingham (can’t think of any clever puns)… This mixture of Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses in all honesty comes as a real surprise. I hate to use this word, as it gets used every time a band go away for a bit to make new music, but they sound like they’ve matured musically *violently vomits due to the use of musically maturing*. As soon as the baggy beats start you are warped back to the early 90s. Any moment Bez could pop out and start yapping on about anti-fracking. The track is packed full of synths and the aura is so carefree, it’s got an almost gospel vibe to it. If you don’t experience any joy whilst listening to this track then I feel bad for you. It just induces pure happiness and injects you with euphoria. You could even draw similarities with 90s band Lighthouse Family, who are fucking incredible and you can’t deny it. Finishing on mulicoloured guitar solo, To My Brother marks the return of probably one of the UK’s most elated bands.

So yeah, it’s a rather good track. I wouldn’t be surprised if all of Swim Deep’s second record follows this Acid House trip. Not many bands are exploring this, with Jagwar Ma being only the band who’s making some noise in the genre. Listen to To My Brother below.

Liam Egan

‘Peace – Happy People’ Album Review

“We’re just the same old Peace. The four boys from the middle of England doing what they do best, doing the only thing they can”, this is what frontman Harrison Koisser had to say about their new record Happy People a few months ago. Now that release date is almost upon us, we can all judge if they are still the same old Peace. Still the same lads in fur coats creating tracks for a generation of teenagers who don’t really have a band who really represent them. Could Peace be that band? Possibly. In Love laid down the foundations, now it’s time for Happy People to build on that.

Beginning with a flurry of melodies that have a really Caribbean/Reggae feel to them, O You instantly shows that Peace have matured musically since the release of their debut In Love. With the introduction of strings, O You sounds like a more grander and sophisticated Peace. However this sound isn’t to impress and get people to take them more seriously, it’s more just used to make a cracking tune. Also who do they really need to impress? Peace have one of the best fanbases around and have stellar live performances to back them.

From here we tick into Gen Strange. Starting with sound of a clock, this ode to Britpop bounces and swaggers around like Liam Gallagher on acid. Frontman Harry sings ‘How do you do it? How do you do it so good?’ and this brings up the question, how do Peace do it? Being able to capture the bagginess and funk of Britpop but also sounding current isn’t an easy task. The only other band who manage to pull this off are fellow Birmingham lot Superfood.

Next on Happy People is single Lost On Me. Peace fans will be more than familiar with this track. A twisted love song that’s about infatuation, Lost On Me has this funky hook that’s infectious. The chorus is so contagious and could even make Alistair Darling bust some moves. Lost On Me is one of Peace’s more poppier moments in their discography but it shows that Peace can make a superb pop song.

With Perfect Skin Peace address a subject that not many bands address, especially an indie band from Birmingham, and that’s body image. It begins with Harry listing the compliments of someone then backs them with qualities that he doesn’t like about himself. Obviously this probably is more of an observation and Harry is singing about society as a whole and how we want ‘perfect skin’. It’s a unusual subject matter for them to take but it works. It’s important that bands like this talk about these issues as it impacts alot of their fanbase. This track doesn’t just rely on its lyrics, the chorus packs a mighty punch too. It bursts out of nowhere with so much conviction as Harry sings ‘I wish I had perfect skin’. In the latter half there is a heavy bass solo along with a guitar solo that helps round off this unexpected yet fascinating track.

From the title you’d think Happy People would be a joyous track full of colour. The type of track you’d want to hear whilst at a music festival on a sunny day. Well, that’s not the case… It’s a rather dark odyssey that you’d expect Foals might release. The guitars reverberate to create this massive expansive sound that makes it sound like it was recorded in a cathedral. With ethereal backing vocals, Peace ask ‘Where did all the happy people go?’. The whole track sounds like a less raw poppier version of WU LYF. Again another odd choice for Peace to take but it works and it results in one the best sounding tracks production wise on this record and in fact all of their discography.

Someday is the first acoustic track Peace have recorded and according to Harry he was the only one who really wanted it to go on the record. He described it as a classic breakup song and boy he’s not wrong. Someday could honestly make a grown man shed a tear. Accompanied with his acoustic guitar, Harry sings about how it’s a ‘lonely, lonely life’ and how he wishes a certain person that ‘they’ll find someone to love’. Electric guitars reverb in the background to create an amazing atmosphere. There is one point in the track where it’s just an instrumental and it hits you right in the heart. With sharp cold synths that soar upwards and shimmering echos of guitars, this is the most beautiful moment on Happy People. I’d even say this is probably one of Peace’s best songs.

Just like Lost On Me, Money should be instantly recognisable to anyone who has been following Peace these last couple of months. It begins with this addictive riff that is so sharp and catchy that it cuts right into you. The bass is incredibly groovy and this gets turned up a few notches when the song has breakdown. This builds towards the final chorus and you find yourself wanting to move your hips like Shakira, okay that may be an exaggeration… Money finishes with a Bloodshake-esque crescendo that results in warped and psychedelic guitars that fade away as they squeal like they are in pain. Money is you’re textbook Peace with a funkier spin on it.

I’m A Girl is another track on Happy People that’s on a topic that doesn’t get really addressed by the indie scene. A track about masculinity and how it defines people, I’m A Girl has tonnes of attitude and is massive middle finger to conservative society. The guitars snarl and the bassline thumps to the point where this track wouldn’t feel out of place on Superfood’s debut. It’s just a really fun track that will no doubt go down a storm live.

Despite all the positives Under The Moon is a misstep for Peace. They try and recreate a track with the same vibe as Float Forever or California Daze and it doesn’t really pay off. It takes the steam out of the album and doesn’t really go anywhere. Unlike Someday which felt like it had meaning and purpose to be there, Under The Moon doesn’t and frankly falls flat. I’d even go far enough to say it’s Peace’s weakest track… Sorry lads but it’s true. It should have really been a B-Side or a bonus track on the deluxe version. In a ideal world, Flirting USA should have had it’s place in my opinion. However we don’t live in a perfect world do we?

The final track on Happy People is World Pleasure, a track that Harry said nearly blew all of their budget. Sounding like Pet Shop Boys West End Girls mixed with Blondie’s Rapture, World Pleasure is certainly a track where Peace are exposing their influences. The instrumentation is so lush with orchestral strings, bass solos and baggy drums. The later half of the track sounds like Primal Scream’s ‘Loaded’ has had a child with The Stone Roses ‘I Am The Resurrection’. World Pleasure finishes off Happy People is a perfect fashion.

So has this left us ‘Happy People’? Early singles suggested it would be a funky groove-fest but tracks like Happy People (ironically) and Someday provided more somber moments. It is however a good follow up to what is arguably a very strong debut. With interesting song topics and catchy choruses, Happy People is a brilliant second outing with the Brummie lads that doesn’t disappoint, well apart from Under The Moon but we’ll ignore that for old times sake.

8/10

Liam Egan

‘Spector – All The Sad Young Men’ Track Review

“Having worked on this album for over a year, I’m so glad that people are finally getting to hear it,” This is what frontman Fred Macpherson had to say about their second record when speaking to The Quietus. I think I can vouch for everyone and say we’re glad to finally hear it too, well a track from it anyway. This August marks the third year anniversary of their debut Enjoy It While It Lasts, been a long time since we first heard Celestine being shouted in faces ey? It’s not like Spector disappeared completely, with tours and frequent festival coming the norm over the last couple of years. New material however was rather sparse. Since their first album we’ve only officially heard two new songs, multiple videos of other new songs from gigs have surfaced online but we’re not going to count them. They’d release a single then go back to work on their album. It was nice when they’d release something but it started to get worrying. With Chris Burman leaving the band, people started to think if this could lead to a break up. Thankfully they didn’t and now we’re here with new single All The Sad Young Men. Also Spector have teased us and have revealed that their album will be out sooner than we think, so probably a mid to late spring release. Anyway enough of the facts, lets talk about the track.

It begins with a droning synth that thumps it’s way into a new wave sounding synth. It sounds like Spandau Ballet are going to pop up. But no, frontman Fred Macpherson steps in and delivers some of the best vocals he’s ever sung on a Spector track. As the track progresses, the synth becomes more prominent and starts to take the forefront. Then it all explodes in a flurry of intense luminosity. It sounds like it’s come straight from the 80s and it’s absolutely brilliant. The chorus is stereotypical Spector, with a catchy vocals and melodies that are made to be seen live. The final chorus upstages the whole song as it just does everything the track has already done and multiplies it by ten. In the interview with The Quietus, Macpherson revealed that “All The Sad Young Men is one of the tracks that took us the longest to get right because of how much it meant to us.” and you can tell that he’s not lying there. The passion in his vocals is remarkable, he sounds like he’s pleading with someone to believe every word he says. The production on the track is also so stellar, it’s sounds so clean and fresh. There’s also a little call back to their track Celestine with the lyrics ‘We were all beautiful now, like they were beautiful then” and “All the miserable girls”, which is a nice little treat for their fans.

In the interview with The Quietus, Fred also said that “I’m pretty sure it’s the best song we’ve written” and I have to agree. This much mature and darker Spector have created a track that sounds unlike anything about at the moment and they now have the opportunity to impress everyone.

Liam Egan