Our friends at Criminal Records in the UK are making headlines again with a couple of very intriguing artist announcements. First and foremost, The Kut has sold out their “Love Hate Vampire Shotgun System Circus” Tour AND is about to commence recording their debut album AND they have a new video AND…well that’s it but, needless to say we are pretty stoked about it. Maha (lead vox/guitar), Fidan (drums/vox) and Alison (bass/vox) are on fiyah at present and we wish them nothing but continued success. Can’t wait to hear the new stuff!
Speaking of new stuff, checking out the newest band to sign with CR is an absolute must. Argonaut is a 5-piece ensemble that hails from London Town and are criminally good in their own right. Lorna (vocals), Abby (keys, guitar, vox), Nathan (guitar), Paul (bass) and Rob (drums) cite a variety of influences that have paved they way to a remarkably original sound…thankfully none of those influences was Englebert Humperdink! But seriously folks, theirs is a sound awash in gritty guitars, driving drums, siren-esque vocals and just a hint of dissonant angst…very cool.
[itunes link=”http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/all-alone/id478899535?i=478899536&uo=4″ title=”Eureka Stockade – All Alone”]
This just in… Eureka Stockade, my favorite alt-country band from the other side of the pond have just released their latest single “All Alone”. As with their previous tracks we’ve shared here, the sound feels much more like Georgia or Tennessee rather than England’s Cambridge. But between the steel guitar (which I’m always a sucker for), the ambiance set by the cello, the joyous drumming, and the earnestness felt in the Michael Stipe-like vocals…I don’t really care where they are from.
Once again, Eureka Stockade deliver well crafted musicianship, meaningful lyrics, and a soulful delivery. Talent, genuineness, uniqueness. Across all genres, those are the qualities we applaud here at Froglix.
Well, today we pay a bit of homage to New Order yet again. Peter Hook features in autoKratz‘s latest single “Becoming the Wraith”; and, the bass line melody contributed by Hooky is absolutely unmistakable. Combine that signature bass with the hookalicious chorus and you have a recipe for an electronica anthem. And for those of you better-versed electronica aficionados, check out the entire Becoming the Wraith EP. I’m sure you will more greatly appreciate the remixes, especially the Night and Day mixes by French producer Alex Gopher.
[itunes link=”http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/big-country/id373911?uo=4″ title=”Big Country on iTunes”]
I was in Mississippi visiting my grandparents for the summer when I first heard them. I had snuck out of my room to catch Saturday Night Live and the musical guest that evening was…you guessed it…Big Country. It was their American television debut and I was completely blown away. Their sound was unlike anything I’d ever heard and, almost instantly, they became my favourite band of all time. I bought every album and, even now, listen to at least one Big Country song just about every day. I count it among one of my good fortunes in this life that I was able to watch them “grow up” as a band right before my eyes and ears and, needless to say, I was quite taken aback the day I learned of lead singer Stuart Adamson’s death. Distinctly I remember my friend Josh, a huge BC fan as well, and I commiserating, reminiscing about our favourite songs just trying to make sense of what, to us at least, was a senseless tragedy.
Fast forward to 2011. I am scanning for Facebook fodder one Friday afternoon when I happen upon a curious post from Treading Lemmings frontman Quinn. Big Country is back together? What? How could this be? Soap opera scenes of characters who had been killed off in early episodes returning after a case of mistaken identity flooded my consciousness. Is Stuart back with us and, more importantly, has he seen and/or spoken to Elvis? Inquiring minds want to know. Alas, ’tis not the case. I am somewhat perplexed to find The Alarm’s original front man, Mike Peters, has joined the band for it’s 30th Anniversary tour. Oh…and I suppose they are going to change their name to the Big Alarm now too. That’s just great!
Having not yet even heard this new incarnation of my most beloved band, I wanted to hate them. However, try as I might…I just couldn’t. I scoured YouTube for live footage of performances and was once again blown away by what I heard. Maybe not so much as before but a respectable amount of “blown awayness” for sure. Bassist Tony Butler still sounds amazing as do the other members of the band. Peters, thankfully, is not trying to be Stuart or evening like him. He’s just being himself…and it works.
“Another Country”, the track featured above, is the band’s first new single in over (12) years. It was produced by none other than Steve Lillywhite who worked with the band on their first two albums. European concert dates in the early part of 2011 gave way to additional dates in the Spring. Hopefully, they’ll be making their way across the Big Pond as I would do just about anything to be able to see these cats live.
Take a listen to the “flash forward” above and be sure to check out the band’s 2011 live performances on YouTube.
I had to do some double checking of things with Eureka Stockade. For example, are they really from Cambridge? The one in England?? I have to say, the sound is quite American to me. The pedal steel guitar playing a prominent role in “Without You” does make me think Nashville. And other tracks like “Violence” and “All Alone” made me seriously wonder if they could be from Athens, Georgia. I actually did double check….it’s still Cambridge, England.
And with tracks titled “All Alone”, “Without You”, and “Through Every Darkness”, one might be afraid these could be country-western songs where you lost your job, your wife, and worst of all your dog. Don’t worry; they aren’t. Eureka Stockade is a solid four piece, delivering vocally driven, well-crafted, alt-rock tunes with a decent range of different sounds. “Without You”, with that pedal steel guitar is a masterful acoustic ballad and really is a bit country. “Violence” is on the other end of their spectrum, being more Athens-inspired rock. If you like both of these tracks, then you should be happy with everything in between.
Like it? Get it on [itunes link=”http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/modern-english/id755615?uo=4″ title=”Modern English on iTunes”]
Ok, is it just me or did lead singer Robbie Gray of Modern English bare a striking resemblance to Sid from the Disney movie Ice Age back in the day? Originally known as The Lepers, the band formed in the Essex region of England back in 1979 and, aside from Sid…err Robbie, the original line up consisted of Gary McDowell on guitar/vox and Michael Conroy on bass. It wasn’t until drummer Richard Brown and keyboardist Stephen Walker joined the group that they (thankfully) changed their name to Modern English.
While they were best know for the alternative anthem of the ’80s, “I Melt with You,” there was another track that was also released on 1983’s After the Snow that I find to be quite diggable as well. From the synths, to the drums and everything in between, “Someone’s Calling” is pure ’80s new wave/electronica through and through and a track that I hope will be around long after the next ice age. Dig it…
A few weeks ago we wrote a review (read it here) about a new EP coming out from Vetoes called Ritalin/Ritalout. In case you forgot, it hit stores yesterday and is now available to download via iTunes. [itunes link=”http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/sonic-turge/id425160671?uo=4″ title=”Vetoes – Ritalin/Ritalout”] You can also listen to their track “On The Waterfront” right here: On The Waterfront
It’s not often we mention a producer on here, but we would not have heard the band Vetoes if it weren’t for Adam Whittaker. And his hand can be found elsewhere on Froglix too (on a few earlier tracks from Grimus and Attention Thieves). Well, Adam now has a new label, SpaceRay Music, and we were honored when he sent us a preview of his first release a few weeks ago.
When I played “On The Waterfront” by Vetoes for Drago, his first response beat any description I tried to come up with… “sounds like a cross between Brit Pop and Tejano music on acid.” I’m not sure I totally agree with that depiction, but I do think it says something about my own lack of words. The sound is familiar enough that there’s a good chance you’re gonna like it if you like British alternative rock. But it’s also unique enough that you can’t say it’s just yet another alt-rock band heralding from Britannia. I still don’t think “Tejano music on acid” is quite right, but since I am yet to come up with anything better, it stands.
What I’m more sure about is that the things that make their sound different will be the same things that either make you love them or hate them. Personally, I want more.
Their EP, Ritalin / Ritalout drops worldwide on April 11, 2011 via SpaceRay/Believe. You don’t have to wait though. Download “On The Waterfront” as a FREE MP3 from http://vetoes.believeband.com/ right now!
Many moons ago, our friends at Criminal Records contacted us about this band from Portsmouth, England that we just had to hear. Had to hear? Well, to be frank, I’ve heard that before and, on more than one occasion, have been duly unimpressed with what it was that I just “had to hear.” However, such was not the case this particular time as I was quite smitten with both The Exits and their debut single “Neon City.” As I soaked in their intriguing and energetic sound, I was nearly convinced that big things lay in store for this band…but I would need to hear more to be certain. I anxiously awaited their debut album to drop. I waited…and waited…and then waited some more but, to my dismay, no album. Not only was there no word of an album, there was no word of anything. It was like they had disappeared.
Fast forward to the present. Apparently, what I didn’t know was that there was a reason for the radio silence. Tension and in-fighting had taken its toll on the band and so, as a result, they took a bit of a hiatus. We recently received word, however, that they are very much back in the mix and, more importantly, headed back to the studio to record some new material. Hooray! At the time of this writing Froglix is still awaiting confirmation from their label, but it appears that there are (4) demos posted on their MySpace page. “Dead On Arrival” and “Broken Smile” trip the light electronica with pulsating synths giving way to Manchester-like vocals. While with “Romancing In Paris” and “Black” they tone it down and a slow it down for chilled-out sound lies somewhere between Oasis and Pink Floyd. The contrast is excellent. Again, even though these tracks appear to be “demo” versions I’d say they are back on track.
Welcome back gents…for what it’s worth, we’ve missed you!
Given the bevy of US tour dates this Spring, if you miss seeing The Joy Formidable live it’s because you didn’t really want to see them in the first place. Their coast to coast tour kicks off at The Earl in Hotlanta just (2) days after the official start of Spring on March 22nd. From there they hit the rest of the east coast before making their way across the Heartland of America, across to the left coast and then back again to finish up in NYC. This tour also includes stops at SXSW and Coachella.
You can check out the complete tour listing, purchase tickets and pre-order a digital copy of their debut album The Big Roar (scheduled to drop on March 14th) all from their website. Can’t wait to see their show at the Black Cat in DC!