31 October 2010

The Human Race

If there’s one blog it is acceptable to steal the ideas and featured bands from, it’s No Pain In Pop. They seem to be so ahead of everything that even if you don’t get around to posting essentially one of their posts as your own for almost a year, it doesn’t matter as nobody else will have caught on yet anyway.

Indeed this is the case with The Human Race. I downloaded the two free tracks from No Pain In Pop in January and decided recently that it was about time I did some more ‘research’ on this band, only to find that HypeMachine still wasn’t riddled with adoring love letters to the band members.

The description from the blog of the label releasing their EP calls the band “drone punk” which seems about as accurate as describing them in two words as possible – although this description may have you imagining the band are a little more slow paced than is actually the case.

The band would probably fall into the lo-fi punk category as well as “drone punk”, but falling like one of those Tetris shapes that almost makes a line along the bottom but doesn’t quite – their “lo-fi” feel is probably more a necessity rather than a choice so the band can’t quite be lumped in with the rest of this tag. “Incantation” features repetitive and noisey bass buzz and drum rhythms with screechy guitars and atonal vocals that accompany much of their Duality EP; “Insane Trip” opens with a bass-line that feels The Drums might have made a guest appearance on the end of the EP, before the atonal and semi-monotonous (this sounds like negative criticism, but it isn’t) vocals kick in with far more sincerity than The Drums could ever muster; and “Brain” has a fuzzy pop-punk guitar riff straight out of the Jay Reatard book of ‘how-to’ and bass follows suit shortly before the vocals reveal “my brain is sick of MTV, my brain is sick of pornography.”

The EP is a real gem and I feel privileged to own a copy; especially considering it was limited to 50 copies. Incredibly it still hasn’t sold out, so head to Savoury Days to purchase the tiniest little CD ever and get yourself a free poster at the same time. Stream it first if you don’t trust my judgement.

Download Incantation and Insane Trip from No Pain In Pop here

28 October 2010

Swathes: More Stuff

The music made by Swathes is enjoyable. But it's also highly impressive. The instrumental noise of Swathes, reminiscent of much of the shoegaze scene of yesteryear; droningly swirling and bloating, is quite incredibly made by one man alone.

I've almost seen Matt Webber, the man behind Swathes who is based in North Wales, live twice. The first time was at Cardiff Arts Institute (complete technology fail) and the second at 1234 Shoreditch (though at one of the festival's after-parties, not the festival itself, it transpired). Both times I was pretty annoyed, but pleasantly I can now sit here alone in this cold, bland bedroom of mine, shut my eyes, and imagine myself with a beer in hand standing in a crowd of skinny-jeaned types finally managing to experience all of the loops, drum machines and guitar noise unfold right before my eyes; for Matt has posted a link (he did it months ago but I've only just noticed) to a live radio session.

Download the four live tracks from Swathes' very own bandcamp here, and don't forget to say "thank you".

25 October 2010

Three Free Things

Whilst I slave away at a dead-end job, the music world is busy doing its thing. Find below three free things (and four songs altogether) that have been widely written about many hours ago.

Girls – Heartbreaker

A fantastic freebie from San Francisco’s Girls, as they also announce details of six-song mini album Broken Dreams Club - which is to be released on 22nd November through Fantasytrashcan/Turnstile Music. Their 9/10 Pitchfork rated debut album Album will be tough to top, but I think Christopher Owens et al are well up for the challenge. I fancy their chances judging from this jangly loveliness, too. Grab it, in exchange for an email address, from Turnstile here.

Is Tropical – South Pacific

Although the demo has been knocking around for a while now, Is Tropical have decided to release ‘South Pacific’ (‘SOUTH PACIFIC’, to be accurate) as a free download. Featuring their usual catchy electro beats, it’s the band’s second single release in the build up to the release of their debut album, which is due out on KITSUNÉ / Cooperative Music early next year. Not a whole load has changed from the earlier demo, but it’s definitely worth a download for both those who have and haven’t heard their earlier stuff. Download here, also in exchange for an email address.

Lykke Li – Get Some

The lovely Lykke Li offers us new single ‘Get Some’, as well as b-side ‘Paris Blue’ for free download, as well as releasing it on vinyl for fans of that format. Specific album details are also expected shortly. So far, the best prediction we have is early next year. Until then, download both beautiful tracks below, or download here.

19 October 2010

Yuck: New Song

We'll call this fashionably late, shall we?

Those over at Transparent posted this over a fortnight ago, but I'll put it up here for those equally as behind as I am. Another wonderful track from Yuck, this time a sludgey and droney lo-fi masterpiece with heartfelt vocals which I adore, and it's one that I remember sticking out during their set at Latitude. I am very excited about their full-length.

Rubber by Yuck

Sŵn for Beginners (and foreigners): Saturday

Saturday is without doubt the busiest day of this year’s Sŵn festival. With live music lasting for almost 12 hours (11 hours, 45 minutes to be precise, if all runs on time) it’s difficult to find an excuse not to watch at least a few of the bands from the region, especially when there is such strength (and variety) to choose from. Prepare yourselves for an early start though. The above logo is in no way related to the festival, by the way. I'm a joker like that.

One of the first Cardiff bands (but not the first; The Blackout’s Gavin Butler plays Clwb Ifor Bach at 1230 and Mclusky-influenced Exit International play across the road at Y Fuwch Goch at 1300, but these are less to my tastes) to play is H. Hawkline, due to play at the generally un-musical hour of 1345-1430, at The Undertone (below 10FtTall). As well as writing the blurb for this band in this festival’s programme, I also had the absolute pleasure of catching these live a Cardiff Arts Institute not long back – where it dawned on me just how completely wrong said blurb was (for which I, again, must apologise for). In my position of huge power, I said:

“Occasional guitarist for Sweet Baboo, H Hawkline is the work of Welsh musician Huw Evans.”

This much is true (or at least, this much I still haven’t been corrected about). I continued:

“Expect psychedelic and gypsy folk sounds – often largely instrumental and almost always spooky.”

Ah. Hmm. Well… First of all, it certainly was not instrumental. There were definitely vocals. Secondly, it wasn’t spooky (although the almost-violence that followed the gig due to beer downing antics could have turned a little scary). Thirdly, it certainly was not gypsy folk. On this evening, H Hawkline were a three-piece; Huw on guitar and keys duties, Steve (the man behind Sweet Baboo) on bass, and (someone else on) drums. The music was incredibly fun, almost surf-y and psychedelic pop. Much beer was consumed, much on stage dancing was witnessed, but, most importantly, a very good time was had. See these live (but don’t pay attention to my blurb).

Up a mere 30 minutes later also at Undertone (slightly early to start drinking, but with a spare half hour, why not?) is John Mouse. He seems to be a little of a local legend that I am largely unaware of, with Behtan Elfyn describing him as “the Welsh Beck”, Huw Stephens claiming that “John Mouse has released some great records”, and Noel Gardner saying that he “could easily beat up Daniel Johnston and Lou Barlow”, and who am I to argue with them? The music certainly sounds pretty mental.

For those whose eyes were drawn to the words “surf” or “instrumental” in the sentences that precede this one, pay close attention to the next sentence coming up. Y Niwl (although not a Cardiff band; they are from north Wales, but are too good to ignore here) play at Cardiff Arts Institute, 1545-1630. They played Latitude over the summer and were without doubt one of my favourite bands to do so. Their songs are largely laid-back (stress-reducing, but often still fast-paced, curiously), slightly on the psychedelic-side, instrumental ‘surf’ pop - and will without doubt bring a smile to your face. If you don’t believe me, head here and listen to “Undegpedwar”, taken from their (lovely) forthcoming debut album. For those who don’t manage to catch them first time round, head to The Model Inn (a fairly inconspicuous looking pub down the road from Clwb) at 1815 for another performance.

Playing just before Y Niwl finish (1615-1700) are VVOLVES (that’s two v’s, and zero w’s), playing outside of Buffalo Bar as part of FLUX=RAD’s Sŵn festival involvement. Made up of the guy responsible for Zimmermans (who played Sŵn 2009), the bassist for Saturday’s Kids, and some other people who I am less aware of, VVOLVES make fast-paced and heavily-synth’d broadly ‘indie’ music with post-punk leanings, I’d say. To decide for yourself which neat little box their music falls into, download two EP’s completely free of charge from their bandcamp page here.

Booked to play in exactly the same time frame over at Undertone is Mr Huw. Not someone I am overly aware of, again, but music that is enjoyed by some of the Cardiff music-media folk. A quick listen to the MySpace suggests dark, vaguely psych-rock and sometimes folk-y sounds with Welsh-sung vocals. Sounds thoroughly enjoyable, judging from these few listens at very least.

Stripped-back and relaxed folk band The Evening Chorus play Chapter Arts’ theatre at 1900-1930. They’ll be armed with acoustic guitars, bass, maybe the solitary drum and their beautiful voices (mostly male, sometimes female), of course.

Just as they finish, The Gentle Good will be starting up in Chapter Arts’ other room, the studio. Also folk-y (though often less stripped-back); expect acoustic guitars - sometimes played in Jose Gonzalez-typed fashion - as well as occasional luscious violin, and some Welsh lyrics.

The magnificent Cate Le Bon, following a busy year of US-touring, festival-playing, and being bigged-up by numerous esteemed publications, returns to Sŵn festival for the third year in a row – playing (in) Buffalo Bar, 2000-2100. For those who aren’t aware (an increasingly small number of people, I’d guess), Cate Le Bon is the Cardiff-based musician who featured on the Neon Neon (one of Gruff Rhys’ many musical ventures) album. Among these esteemed publications that have said things about her music, words that regularly crop up are: “haunting”, “folk”, and “psychedelic”. The only reasons you need to be there is that it will be a darn good performance (and the fact you’d be mistaken to consciously decide against seeing her live).

Back over at Chapter Arts (and back in the ‘studio’, 2045-2130), find Huw M, another artist featured in this blog post who fits broadly into the category of psych-folk, only with a large dollop of pop on the side. Welsh lyrics are sung in sugar-sweet, often harmonised, fashion, with accompaniment from a range of less-usual instruments (banjo and accordion amongst others).

The School, previously featured on The Guardian’s band of the day and also sound-tracking an oven advert in Japan (I think), play upstairs of Clwb, 2100-2145. Fronted by Liz, who promotes tonnes of great gigs in Cardiff under the moniker ‘Loose’, The School is her platform to recreate pop music of the 60s. She sings songs about love, heartbreak, and everywhere in between; her smooth and sweet vocals surrounded by retro-sounding guitar, violin, tambourine hits, and cymbal crashes.

And in circumstances that’d make a cute and endearing story of a band’s rise to fame if their live shows weren’t so damn energetic and mental, Islet close Sŵn festival 2010 following a year of success helped (in part, at least) by their performance at Sŵn 2009. Anyone with their finger on the pulse will need no educating into this Cardiff band. After lots of press (including a write-up in the NME) about the band’s fantastic live shows, lack of MySpace and general stardom potential, Islet continue to live up to the hype. Debut ‘mini-album’ was a disorientating journey of percussion-heavy noise experimenting drawing comparisons to the likes of Krautrock, and live shows are often described as the best in the UK. A second mini-album will be available at this show, which is most certainly un-missable, and will most certainly be memorable. And it’s the last show of the weekend, so seriously, don’t miss it.

I hope you enjoy Sŵn Festival 2010. And don’t forget to buy John and Huw (pictured below) a pint!

17 October 2010

Gruff Rhys: New Track - Free Download

Everybody's favourite Welshman Gruff Rhys has found the time, in between working with Gorillaz, making an album with a Brazilian TV repairman (true) and splitting up his band Super Furry Animals (not true) to record some new music under his own name.

New track 'Shark Ridden Waters', which is sung in English unlike much of the tracks from solo record Candylion, still features the similar psych-pop sounds that we know and love from said solo album and his work with SFA, and Gruff is on top form with the vocal delivery. I've only owned it for 10 minutes but I already like it a lot, so there.

Download 'Shark Ridden Waters', in return for an email address, from Gruff Rhys' very own website, here. Everyone's favourite social media website Twitter also informs me that more news (perhaps about a new album, who knows?) is due tomorrow.

HEALTH at Clwb Ifor Bach

There is no doubt in my mind that Swn and FLUX=RAD put on some of the very best gigs in Cardiff and do great things for the lives of music fans in this city. This gig lived up to their usual high standards.

Saturday's Kids (much loved on here as any semi-regular reader will be all too overly aware) were only support. Their set got a mixed response from the Clwb Ifor Bach crowd. The majority seemed a little confused and taken aback, but those who enjoyed it seemed to really enjoy it - me included. They continue to adapt as a band, each gig gradually tighter than the last, and they also previewed a new track which suggested a whole new direction for them - more calm, more brooding, more pensive.

HEALTH were incredibly, incredibly loud. About two songs in I was forced to go and pick myself up some ear plugs, both to hear a little more clearly and for fear of those little hairs that can be destroyed by LOUD NOISES. Once these were in, things seemed more rhythmic, electro noises were really catchy and I really started to get into things. Just as I was really appreciating things, though, they announced their last song, which was, of course, USA BOYS.

Read a longer, more in depth, and frankly better review now at The Miniature Music Press (click here).

16 October 2010

My Train Journey To London

I decided that sitting down for 2 hours in the company of other First Great Western loyal customers was an opportunity to re-listen to some of the music I have stumbled upon on the internet presence of various blogs, labels and bands over the past few months. Yeah, I know, this is a really boring pretence (and an even less inventive title), but hopefully the writing below, highlighting some of my favourite listens during my journey through tunnels and past fields, may allow you to find a new band that you grow to love.

Artist: Burnt Ones
Track: Bury Me In Smoke
Download: This track alone from their bandcamp here.

California’s Burnt Ones opt for the same methods as recent Fat Possum signees Smith Westerns, drawing influence from T-Rex styled glam rock, combining it with lo-fi style recording methods to catchy, enjoyable effects. ‘Bury Me In Smoke’ might not be quite as strong as much of the content of Smith Westerns’ self-titled debut – though it would be difficult to be as said album is packed full with fantastic songs - but its reverb-y and immediately recognisable guitar riffs, lazy drum beats and sing-along vocals will, at the very least, tease out a strong sense of nostalgia even if, like me, you weren’t born yet.

Artist: Young Michelin
Track: Elle M'Oublera
Download: Two free songs from Holiday Records by clicking THIS LINK.

Evidently from France (Nandax, to be exact), Young Michelin are another band spotted by the lovely Holiday Records, run (partly, at least) by the now ex-guitarist for The Drums, Jacob. They have a knack of releasing catchy indie pop tunes, and this is no different; jangly pop loveliness fronted by French-sung vocals, with guitar lines straight from Johnny Marr’s How To guide.

Artist: Guards
Track: Resolution Of One
Download: A full seven-track EP from their bandcamp here.

I don’t know very much about this band. I can’t even find out if they have a MySpace page. All I know is that the guy’s sister is in the band Cults. She posted a link on the band’s Twitter to his bandcamp account, which attracted enough attention to his music that the likes of The Guardian and MTV are saying nice things about it. The free EP also features appearances from some people from MGMT and Chairlift, too. I also know that I enjoy this song, and much of the EP, in fact. Okay, so I know a little bit about this band. "Resolution Of One" at times reminds me of Deerhunter, though is more upbeat, faster paced, and has a far more accessible chorus. It’s not very much like Deerhunter at all really. The whole EP is enjoyable, so just download it already.

Artist: Mazes
Track: I Don’t Want To Know
Download: This song from Transparent here, and others from HypeMachine.

Fuzzy and catchy guitar rock/pop from Manchester, not to be confused with the folk band of the same name (who, incidentally, don’t sound too bad). These were one of my highlights from Shoreditch’s 1234 Festival. Expect lazily strummed guitar, a retro sound, and to not your head. They also do a pleasant cover of “Don’t Worry Baby” which you’ll find somewhere on HypeMachine if you look hard enough.

Artist: Plastic Flowers
Track: We Just Had More Fun
Download: This song and one other from Beko 63, here.

Slow paced drum machine, distant chilled out vocals, space-y echoing guitar strums, and an array of synth noises make up this lo-fi and ambient electropop from the Florida-based Sean Earl Beard. Be sure to check out the Beko website in more detail for more fantastic free downloads.

12 October 2010

Sŵn for Beginners (and foreigners): Friday

Continuing with the main aim of introducing Sŵn festival 2010 go'ers to Cardiff bands that they might not be so aware of, Friday's guide is here. Such is the strength of Sŵn festival, and indeed Cardiff’s music scene, that Friday also has a fair few local bands worth catching live.

For the first Cardiff band of the night, head to Undertone (apparently this is below Ten Feet Tall, which is just off St Mary’s Street, and might be a good break between Buffalo and Clwb) at 1900 (finishing 1930) where you’ll find Lucky Delucci. If you find yourself hungover, which, on past experience, I suggest is a strong possibility, then this six-piece should be a pleasant and soothing remedy. Expect soft boy-girl vocals, a chilled out folk-y indie pop sound, and some glockenspiel.

Less suited to the hungover, Brandyman (MySpace-less, but free session downloads available here) play upstairs of Clwb Ifor Bach from 1915-1945. Featuring ex-members of the likes of Truckers of Husk and Joy of Sex, Brandyman make heavy and complex rock music with dark, semi-spoken word vocals (which remind me a little of Tom Waits). They aren’t an instrumental band, but they’re musical is technical enough that it could be. I’m not really sure who they sound like, so… yeah, heavy and complex. Time changes and heavy riffs and the like. Fans of these things will enjoy.

Up directly after Brandyman in Clwb are Truckers of Husk (2030-2115), recently boosted by new member Kelson, the recently ex-Future of the Left bassist and not-o-recently ex-Jarcrew frontman. The band have been doing their thing so to say for a while now (they formed in 2006) – their thing being a wide range of things really, mostly of the instrumental kind. Electro beats; guitar lines ranging from the typically ‘math’ tap-and-slide, to the pop-leaning Afro-influenced, to the post-rock and prog riffing; sample and glitchy computer-ness; fast paced and pounding technical drumming – a wide range indeed. I wouldn’t be sure what to expect either.

Also at 2030, only at Chapter Arts Centre, are Wickes, bringing together Steve/Sweet Baboo, Huw/H Hawkline, and Rob of Voluntary Butler Scheme in one musical place. Describing their music as "spaz pop", and taking influence from Weezer and The Beatles, this is some highly enjoyable lo-fi pop, arguably combining all of the individual members best traits.

And up at 2130, directly after Wickes at Chapter are The Victorian English Gentlemens Club, who, last year, kicked off proceedings at Sŵn festival with a performance at Cardiff museum, which was a lovely if slightly odd experience. This year’s performance will be, I’m sure, equally as good. They describe their sound as ‘pop’, but it’s a lot more snarly, antisocial, and frankly more difficult to describe than that. They continue to make some of the most interesting and unusual music in Cardiff; bringing together a wide range of influences (punk, ‘art-rock’, blues, post-punk etc) and refusing to stick to the musical rule book, which is obviously a good thing. You’ll likely even be treated to lots of the band’s new material, what with them apparently writing and recording lots over the past few months.

Not quite such quantity Cardiff talent to marvel at on this day, but you’ll agree the quality will more than make up for that. Plus, there’s plenty, plenty more to look forward to on the Saturday.

9 October 2010

Sŵn for Beginners (and foreigners): Thursday

Last year, Dempseys, a small Irish pub in the centre of Cardiff not far from Clwb Ifor Bach, was the venue for The Drums Swn Festival experience. This year, Dempseys has the pleasure of hosting Cardiff independent record label Barely Regal’s Sŵn festival ‘stage’, and is the place to go on the opening night (Thursday) for a preview of some of the best music Cardiff has to offer.

Kutosis, featured here, open proceedings at Dempseys 1930 (finishing at 2015) and deserve the attention of fans of mclusky, heavy guitar riffs, well-thought lyrics and, well, good music. They also appear on the Barely Regal compilation disc ‘Zero Years of Barely Regal’, which is worth a purchase for anybody wanting to know more about the Cardiff music scene.

Though I think it is Goodtime Boys just before them who grab the title of first Cardiff band to play Swn Festival 2010 – playing upstairs at The Model Inn, down the road from Dempseys. This band’s live shows should really have some sort of warning attached - expect one hell of a lot of screaming, jumping, stomping, shouting, riffing, and heavy head-nodding.

Nip around the corner and down the road to Clwb Ifor Bach (… and in through the door and up the stairs), and you’ll find Sweet Baboo, the Cardiff folk musician who recently put his second album out through Cardiff’s Shape Records. For fans of Daniel Johnstone or The Moldy Peaches, you’ll get acoustic guitars, pleasant lyrics and a ruddy good performance.

Straight up after Kutosis (2045-2130) at Barely Regal’s Dempseys are the mighty Right Hand Left Hand - an instrument swapping two-piece who have expertise in loop pedals. There are a number of reasons why Right Hand Left Hand, who make heavy, math-y, and pace-y post-rock, are increasingly popular in their hometown, and their awesome live shows are one of them. Oh, and they also, appear on aforementioned compilation.

Down in Buffalo Bar, for those in that area of town (or those willing to embark on a few minutes walk down Cardiff’s Queen Street), Oui Messy (featured here) play outdoors (head through the front door and down to the opposite end of the bar you’ll find a door and some stairs leading downwards) at 2115, finishing 45 minutes later. A fairly young band, they’re making a name for themselves in Cardiff with their post-punk sound and their knack of writing catchy, interesting songs. They put on a good live show, too.

Over at The Model Inn, a pub a short walk from Clwb Ifor Bach, Shape Records present attack + defend (2130-2215), a band who haven’t played a live show since Sŵn 2009 – and apparently won’t play live again for the rest of this year. Good reason, then, to catch them while you can. Expect the less expected. Three brothers, fair bit (okay, a lot) of psych-y pop synth, a fair bit of noise, probably some shouting, mixed in with some harmonies, and a ruddy good show (apologies for second use of that..). Two of the brothers also play in much hyped (deservedly so) Islet, which might encourage a few more of you to attend.

Starting as Oui Messy finish up, Among Brothers (2200-2245) - who both Matt and Isaac of Barely Regal help to form – play at Dempseys. Featuring glitchy electronics and lush instrumentation, this six (I think) piece make an unsual mix of folk, electro, and emo. Imagine curating a stage at a festival where you book yourselves to play, eh? Actually, it’s not the first time they've done this kind of thing – they also included their own music on their compilation of local bands. Shocking.

The Cardiff band fun ends not too long after with Samoans at Dempseys, starting at 2315 (and ending at midnight). Soon to release a split with Strange News From Another Star through Barely Regal, and also featured on the compilation, Samoans are a lot rock, a little emo, a bit of shouting, and a lot energy. Especially from the sleeveless t-shirt and short-short wearing drummer. If your ears haven’t taken a little bashing yet, they soon will. We advise ear protection, though, of course.

Oh, and if you aren’t convinced yet, Matt from Barely Regal mentioned to me the possibility of free beer. Excited now?

Sŵn for Beginners (and foreigners): An Introduction

Sŵn festival, now in its fourth year, is Cardiff’s answer to South By Southwest. Each year, Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens and Cardiff promoter John Rostron team up to bring some of the best up and coming acts, as well as a few more established ones, to venues all over the Welsh capital – this year from 21st to 23rd October. But you already know that, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this, right?

As mentioned, Sŵn puts on some of the best up and coming bands from all over the world in multi-venue festival form. This year sees the likes of Egyptian Hip Hop, Happy Birthday, Spectrals, and Perfume Genius all making a visit. Great, right? But, again, you probably already know a fair amount about those bands, or at least can easily find stuff out through a quick Google.

The great thing about Sŵn is that they also try their damnedest to ensure that the local talent, of which there is plenty to choose from, also get their fair share of coverage. It is these bands that you, the anticipated target audience for this series of blog posts, presumably know the least about, and thus it is with the aim of acquainting you with some great local bands that these blog posts exist. Oh, and the venues. I’ll talk you through them, too.

Wristbands to this wonderful event are a mere £45 for the full 3 days. Think of all the bands you are seeing for this amount of money. A lot.

Keep an eye out for more posts with a day-to-day breakdown of local bands worth checking, plus a bit of info on the venues, shortly...

Oh, and by foreigners I, of course, refer to those folk travelling across the river from England.

8 October 2010

Islet: New Track

Increasingly known, increasingly loved and increasingly traveled Islet, the Cardiff band who are famed for their 'shun' of the internet (they love the internet, they told me themselves during an interview in a Portuguese cafe in Cardiff, found here) and their very good live shows, have been working hard since their well received mini album Celebrate This Place, released last year.

The band are still currently on a huge tour of the UK, but have somehow managed to record another mini album, entitled Wimmy, which is due out October 10th (and also available at their live shows). Turnstile announced the free download of track 'Ringerz' in the build up to that ages ago, but I've only just gotten around to writing about it. You can download it from here.

'Ringerz' sees the band exploring deeper Animal Collective-y waters, with more use of echoing effects that we know and love from their debut release, multi-drum action, and unsual vocals switching from male to female.

The band play Swn festival on October 23rd (also keep an eye out for the band member's other music with attack+defend and Them Squirrels), and the rest of their live dates from their still going UK tour can be found on their website. (See. I told you they didn't hate the internet).

Frankie & the Heartstrings / Summer Camp / The Neat - Clwb Ifor Bach

I went to a gig on Monday. It costs ten pounds. I have no money and don't get paid for weeks, but I'm crazy and punk like that. It was well worth it, too.

The Neat opened. They're a young band from Hull. They sound a bit like The Fall, The Horrors, Art Brut, and Xx Teens combined. They were pretty fun, and the bassist/lead singer played the bass impressively quickly. See a video below for them playing live to see a similar performance to the one I experienced (link stolen shamelessly from Auditor Records). You can also hear a track from The Neat on a radio show about In The City here (which also features words from The Pigeon Post, which is a good thing, obviously).

The Neat - In Youth Is Pleasure from Auditor Records on Vimeo.

Summer Camp were incredible. So, so good. You probably already know about them, so I won't go into a lot of detail. They were much more electro and disco than I was expecting which worked very well, and Jeremy Warmsley's and Elizabeth Sankle's vocals work together wonderfully. They really, really impressed me live. I was already a fan of them before catching them live, but this has cemented them in my mind as one of the top bands in Britain right now. The vintage photographs projected onto the wall behind them were cool, too. See a video of them below, also (again stolen, this time from indiescreet.com).

Summer Camp - Ghost Train (viral) from Paddy Power on Vimeo.

Frankie & the Heartstrings were up last. They were really fun, and lead-singer Frankie was as energetic as ever. They were heavier and more in-your-face live than I had expected, but still a definite 'indie pop' Last Fm tag is deserved. My favourtie track of that night, and my overall favourtie track of their's overall probably, is Hunger. See it below. This time I feel a little less bad for stealing it from a big company like Last FM. They don't even need a hyperlink.

Summer Camp definitely stole the show though. They continue to tour with Frankie & the Heartstrings for a few more days. Newcastle folk, catch them at The Cluny tomorrow (Saturday), and those from Nottingham, head to Stealth on Sunday.

Oh, and you can read a wordier review online at Buzz Magazine here, if you want.