Entries in music (25)

Friday
May062011

The Music League

A few days ago a good friend of mine, Kate Hollowood posted on Twitter asking whether anyone knew any photographers who might be able to help shoot an event she was organising. I dropped Kate a note with some details of a group, ZoomIn photography, who'd helped me out in the past with Brixton Oxjam. I also said if she was really stuck I'd be able to offer my (rather) amateur services! It turned out Kate was really stuck!

The event Kate was involved in the organisation of is something called The Music League. The Music League provides a platform for unsigned bands of any genre to perform in front of audiences they may not ordinarily get a chance to play to. In a battle of the bands type format there are a series of events over the next 4-5 weeks at the end of which the overall winner of the league will have the opportunity to play at the 1234 Shoreditch Festival taking place in July.

To find out more about The Music League you should check out Kate's blog.

Last night was the first heat of round one and featured Will Roberts, Red Apples, Dan Shears and JSA. It's tough to call who'll go through. Will Roberts certainly brought the most fans but if it was down to me it'd be between Red Apples and Dan Shears. Anyway, here are a few (currently unedited) shots from the night.

Thursday
May052011

The Windmill, Brixton

Prompted by the NME's Britain's Best Small Venue competition and that a couple of times I've made reference to the The Windmill when talking about bands on here I figured I'd write a short post about the place which Drowned In Sound calls "your favourite new venue".

Prior to moving to Brixton I'd been to the Windmill a couple of times and when a house came up in the same road I wouldn't say it was my main factor in moving but having the Windmill as my local was certainly a considerable factor.

The Windmill has a strong history, in it's past it was best known as bikers bar and then the chosen haunt of Brixton's Irish community. For the past 12 years its been hosting live music pretty much seven days a week and still remains a pillar of the local community – evident in the cliental mix of music fanatics and old time regulars sat along the bar.

It's been around a year since Windmill became my local and in that time I've seen a whole bunch of great bands. To list them all would be impossible but some personal highlights have been folk punk bluegrass-ist Austin Lucas; garage rock band The Ettes, current darling of Nashville Caitlin Rose, Austin legends ...trail of dead, Icelandic classical/pop Rökkurró, experimental glam rock Bobby Conn, and Canadian indie jazz sextet Brasstronaut. Oh, and how could I forget the legend that is Adam Bomb – stadium rock (complete with pyrotechnics) in your living room!

I caught up with Tim, the Windmill's events/band manager to have a quick chat about the venue:

How did the Windmill become a live music venue?
It kind of happened by accident, late night sessions at the bar revealed that the regulars carried a wealth of experience in musicianship and promoting, and since we all drank there we figured that we should get a good band down every now and and again. The bands came and they loved the venue and informality. Many of the bands kept coming back to play again and it kind of evolved from there.

What has been the most memorable gig you've put on at the Windmill?
Some that quickly come to mind are ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead which was just last month. The 5678s played just after Kill Bill 2 had come out and they were in it, Scritti Politti's comeback show after (gulp) 26 years, The Vaccines played last summer to just 30 people, and loads of others such as the much-missed Clor, Stereolab...

The Windmill prides itself on putting on good music, how do bands go about getting the chance to play?
Sound good and don't ask us for a gig four months in advance. There's always decent slots available. No matter how many of your mates you can get to 'ram the place' if your music sucks we're not interested! For more band information take a look here

RoofdogThere are some great gigs coming up, who's your pick to look out for in 2011?
We've got loads of great Canadian bands coming through in May. I'd say Said the Whale. They're blowing up in canada right now.

Roofdog is turning into a bit of a cult legend, how big is his fan base? Does he have a favourite band?
He's got over 500 fans now on Facebook. His favourite band is ...And You Will know Us By The Trail of Roof Dog (it's a covers band) but he also likes Caitlin Rose for chilltime.

You've recently started on putting on art exhibitions, any plans to continue this theme or branch out?
It was nice being arty. We also like having a pop-up shop too.

The NME is looking for the UKs best small venue, in my opinion the Windmill ticks all the right boxes – a good mix of promoting and nurturing local bands as well as bringing in acts from around the world, a venue run by people who know and love their music – and always up for for a discussion about the merits of some obscure sub-genre like alternative folk chamber pop!

If you'd like to cast your vote (and you really should) you can do so here, hurry though as voting closes on May 11th.

Wednesday
Apr272011

A look forward to Primavera Sound

To help work out who to go and see play I'm hoping that Robbie and the team at the Guardian can do for Primavera Sound what they did for SXSW (Guardian SXSW band tracker) ...but until then here's my shortlist of who I'm looking forward to see play.

The Black Angels

One of my highlights of this year's SXSW I'm very excited to be seeing this awesome psychedelic blues rock Austin based band again in the summer. They're playing the Saturday at Parc del Fòrum and then again at the Apolo Closing Party on the Sunday, there's a fair chance that I'll be there for both!

Las Robertas

A four girl garage band from Costa Rica who've been drawing strong comparisons to the likes of the Dum Dum Girls and Black Lips. They liken themselves to The Vaselines, Black Tambourine and Beat Happening - how can you go wrong with that?!

Ty Segall

At Primavera Ty Segall is performing as a solo artist, though he may be better know for his role in The Perverts, Sic Alps or Traditional Fools. His 'neo-psych garage punk' sound has had him compared to the Stooges and White Stripes.

The Tallest Man On Earth

The Tallest Man On Earth, aka former Montezumas frontman Kristian Matsson, is often compared to Bob Dylan, an accolade justly deserved. Having missed out on tickets for his London show I'm keen to catch him at Primavera.

Of Montreal

Formed back in 1996 Of Montreal is one of the founding bands of the Elephant 6 collective. Their low-fi psychedelic pop funk has been likened to a mixture of Prince, The Beatles and David Bowie. They're renowned for putting on a good live show and will be taking on the San Miguel Stage on the Thursday.

Yuck

With band members formerly of Cajun Dance Party this 90s sounding indie rock band from London are good in the studio and even better live. I may even dance along to these guys!

Swans

Originally a New York post punk band the Swans returned after a long break with 2010's 'My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky' a more experimental sound than their 80s/90s albums I'll be hoping for a mixture of sounds at Primavera.

Wolf People

Drowned In Sound described Wolf People as having the psychedelia of Ocean Colour Scene's 'Riverboat Song' and the rawness of Queen Of The Stone Age's 'Era Vulgaris' - surely that has to be worth a listen!

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

With the dreamy pop sounds of Ariel Pink this should be the perfect band to see in the hot Barcelona sunshine.

PJ Harvey

If you don't like PJ Harvey then you've simply not listened to the right album yet, if you run through the back catalogue I'm certain that you'll find one for you! This year's 'Let England Shake' took a couple of listens to get into but it's now had a fair amount of play and if reviews of her recent London gigs are anything to go by PJ Harvey is likely to be a highlight of the festival.

Pulp

Playing their first gig after an extended hiatus Pulp are deservedly one of the most hyped bands of this year's Primavera. I'm not a big Britpop fan, but when it's Pulp I'm happy to make an exception.

Phosphorescent

Phosphorescent (aka Matthew Houck) probably falls into the trap of sounding very similar to a lot of music around at the moment, however when its done as well as on the 'Pride' and 'Here's To Taking It Easy' album it may not be a bad thing. Much underrated and definitely one to go and see.

Perfume Genius

Perfume Genius may not be one to get the crowds going, or to put you in the festival spirit but the haunting vocals and low-fi piano sound will certainly be worth checking out at (what I'm assuming) will be one of the smaller indoor stages. Last years album, Learning, received accolades all round making many top ten lists.

Grinderman

Alt rock band, Grinderman was formed by legendary Nick Cave as a means to experiment with new material not associated with the Bad Seeds (though Grinderman features all members of the Bad Seeds). With two albums released after under the name you can expect the same Cave sounds along with some garage and stoner rock sounds.

The National

Seeing The National play at the Brixton Academy last year was, for me, one of the live highlights of the year. The Ohio band are at the very top of their game and can seemingly do no wrong it'll be interesting to see them in the festival environment.

Deerhunter

Self described as 'ambient punk' the four piece band from Atlanta take inspiration from The Fall, Nick Cave, Echo & The Bunnymen and My Bloody Valetine. Having supported the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV On The Radio and The Smashing Pumpkins, Deerhunter are renowned for intense live shows.

Warpaint

Nominated for BBCs Sound of 2011 poll and featured as one of the Guardian's bands of the day, Warpaint have been gathering quite a following. Their new wave art rock is different to what I'd normally listen to, but there's something about this LA fourpiece which is pretty cool.

Autolux

Heavily influenced by the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth and Nine Inch Nails they combine 90s shoegaze with 00s experimental industrial rock. They've toured with an impressive array of artists including The White Stripes, Beck, Trent Reznor, The Flaming Lips and PJ Harvey.

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