England

NO MAN’S SKY SLATED FOR RELEASE AUGUST 9, 2016
July 5, 2016 11:43 am

Gamer anticipation is building for the upcoming release of the Sci-Fi adventure survival game, No Man’s Sky. Developed by indie game studio Hello Games, No Man’s Sky has people on the edge of their seats, eager to test out the game’s essentially infinite open-world platform.

No Man’s Sky was originally scheduled for release in June 2016, but was pushed back because Sean Murray, Managing Director of Hello Games and programmer on No Man’s Sky, felt that the game needed to be “polished” slightly before a full release.

“I have had to make the tough choice to delay the game for a few weeks to allow us to deliver something special.” – Murray

Now, nearly three years after the initial announcement of No Man’s Sky at the VGX in December 2013, the game is slated for worldwide release on August 9, 2016 for both PS4 and Microsoft Windows.

No Man’s Sky is built on a procedurally generated universe. Planets, and the unique flora and fauna that occupy them, are generated from a deterministic algorithm, creating a massive, and truly random system of explorable planets. 

Hello Games developers have estimated that there are over 18-quintillion explorable worlds, each with unique life, environments and resources to gather. This immense amount of options allows players to approach No Man’s Sky in a way that caters to their imagination and fits their individual style of gameplay.

Players can spend time exploring new worlds aboard a starship, collecting resources and discovering new species on distant planets, or even engaging in combat with first-person weapons on a planet’s surface or dogfights in a spaceship. If you wish, you can even kill the local wildlife on individual worlds, but be wary, too much destruction will attract sentinels that will attack, forcing you to flee or fight for your survival. 

As Murrary said in the IGN First: 18-minute Gameplay Demo, “That’s another way you can play the game. You can, you know, not come in peace.” – Murray

Another significant feature of No Man’s Sky is The Atlas, a player-submitted database of information of the discoveries they make during the game. This allows No Man’s Sky players to share the coordinates of the worlds they locate and info about things they unearth within them. Players can choose to play either offline locally, or online in a universe shared with other players. 

No Man’s Sky is designed similarly to a real solar system. Planets located the optimal distance from a sun will have more varied life and potential for interaction with other players, whereas planets that are too close or on the outer rim may be barren and devoid of life. 

“As much as we can possibly manage, this needs to feel real, and true to what it is, which is a galaxy.” – Murray

Nevertheless, these barren planets may still have some valuable resources as well as hidden secrets for players to discover as they explore. 

No Man’s Sky presents many of the signifying aspects of the adventure-survival genre such as character development, acquiring items and artifacts, and learning new skills such as a better knowledge of Alien languages.

All in all, No Man’s Sky is an ambitious venture in open-world gaming. Come August, we will see if the game can deliver the rich world of deep space exploration and discovery that we are hoping for. 

DENUO: A BRIGHT BROODING
May 12, 2016 11:57 am

Denuo plays beautifully dark music in minor keys that floats a person down a river of reflection while not becoming grim or unpleasant.  

Tom Mason is the man behind this intriguing and powerful music. Born in North Wales, UK, Mason started up the band in 2007 and was joined by Sam Barnes and Harry Jones playing through various cities in the UK. Their first studio album Scarlet Sleep came out in 2014 and two years later they came out with a four song EP, Frozen Lake.

Now, to the important stuff, the actual music. I’ve been using a lot of heavy imagery to describe it because it is the best way to describe it. Denuo’s music is like a winding river through the night, strong, daunting and mysterious. There are the more upbeat songs like “Closer” or “Dreamless,” but most are like “Waves of Silver” and “Frozen Lake.” His clear cut parts which normally just consist of guitar, drums and bass with a small mix of synth pads make for something more intimate for the listener to connect to. The music is well written, but I am going to say that the bass lines are really good: simple and subtle but flow so well throughout the songs.

Frozen Lake was recorded over this past winter months allowing it to stay within their mellow, dark musical style while slowly serenading those bleak and beautiful winter nights. The songs pull you into the winter ice with graceful sounds and creative writing.

Their music isn’t something I’d have on a loop all day, but today has been particularly rainy and gray outside (in DC) and it fits in a satisfactory way. So go ahead open your mind with these songs and listen for the power and wonder that comes from Denuo.

NEARLY OROTORIO: SIMON LAM’S STRIPPED DOWN  TIN EP
April 15, 2016 11:43 am

Melbourne’s Simon Lam is known by many names. Earlier this month, Lam, who releases solo material through the Nearly Orotorio moniker, dropped his second EP, Tin, via Solitaire Recordings.

Whether contributing vocal tracks or lending his keen sound engineering chops, Simon Lam has done a lot in a short span of time–and it seems like any project he decides to take on tends to make its way to an increasingly wide audience. His career launched in 2010 with the formation of Kins, a group that initially manifested in Australia, but later transplanted to Brighton, England. Kins fused wistful guitar with downtempo electronic breaks. They followed up the release of their self-titled full-length by touring in support of last year’s indie rock blockbuster, Courtney Barnett, before officially calling it quits in February. Meanwhile Lam, who didn’t stay around for Kins to fully come to fruition, was busy parsing together tapestries of his soulful vocals and minimal electronics with I’lls. Next he was building warm synth backdrops to back fellow-Melbourn songstress Chloe Kaul for their project Kllo.  They released a debut EP Cusp in 2015 via Dot Dash / Remote Control.

Lam’s first Nearly Oratorio release Showers was released in 2011, perhaps opening the door to some of his other collaborations. His fluid transition from one project to the next is disorienting indeed, but it’s the sign of an ambitious recording artist dedicated to his art and finding just the right collaborative environment to find inspiration for his next work.

Tin is a collection of oddball ditties dedicated to the wandering thinkers and creatives that occasionally get stuck inside their heads. To soak in this album properly one simply needs to lay back in a comfortable position, adorn a pair of headphones and take it in. Tin captures the essence of Sam Lam’s tinkering, the thought-process of a tireless scientist going through the motions of artistic process. It’s packed with a modest range of percussion adding texture and rhythmic dimension to his tracks which are otherwise bare-bones: Sam’s soothing R&B falsetto accompanied by a trickle of acoustic guitar and under synths.  It’s a great introduction to Simon Lin’s signature blissfully minimal sound. 

WHO IS DUA LIPA?
March 4, 2016 6:15 pm

Dua Lipa is an Albanian-British model and dark-pop princess who is set to release her debut album early this year. While the mere 20 year old musician is still an industry baby, she possesses an exoticness that is mysteriously appealing to our diluted and mediocre American culture. It’s a pop sensibility mixed with the edginess of rebellious youth, and the confidence of a runway model. So who is Dua Lipa? And why is she so interesting?

As the story goes, Dua Lipa is the London born child of two Albanian immigrants, presumably escaping the traumatic events of the early 90’s civil war in the region. Surely this cultural heritage fuels some aspect of her artistic expression. The family returned to Kosovo in 2008 as the small eastern European country claimed it’s independence. However, two years later, at the age of 15, Dua Lipa returned to London, staying with friends to pursue her interests in music. She became a model at 16, an opportunity that not many young women are awarded in life. Perhaps it was a stroke of destiny.

These are the elements that make the otherwise generic sounding pop so interesting. There’s a fire in this artist that exceeds even the talent of her very professional production and songwriting team. She is a natural, a former theatre student and daughter of a rock n’ roll musician.

Dua Lipa recently released a handful of singles along with videos and has set out on tour in anticipation of the forthcoming debut album. Definitely look out for this rising star, and for you Americans out there – break out of your mold, expand your musical horizons and embrace the message of this aesthetically mature young artist. She could be the next Lana.

A NIGHT OH WONDER AT THE BOWERY BALLROOM
February 1, 2016 12:05 am

The Beasts were out last Friday night to witness the brilliance of our indie friends from across the pond; Oh Wonder, the highly acclaimed and widely talked about indie synth-pop act out of London. Opening the night was Pop Etc., a well respected pop indie outfit themselves, having toured with the likes of Broken Bells, Grizzly Bear, The Kooks and more.

Pop Etc. drew a “sophisticated” crowd of college types and future grad school students, yet their set expressed a sound rooted in punk anthems that have been deconstructed and reassembled as synth based pop songs. The show marked the debut and release date of their new album Souvenir. A high point in the set was a perfectly tempered version of the Tears For Fears classic “Mad World.”

By the time Oh Wonder took the stage, the ballroom was filled to capacity with a slightly older and more culturally hip crowd. Despite the tightly packed conditions, Oh Wonder’s music brought a lightness and fluidity to the crowd. The first song set the tone for a heartfelt night, fueled by the distinct energy that only New York City nightlife can provide. The songs touched upon the delicate emotions of love and navigating this world as a young adult.

Oh Wonder, fronted by Anthony West and Josephine Vander Gucht, created an impressive buzz in the music world over the past year by releasing one single every month beginning September of 2015. These releases eventually accumulated into their debut self-titled album, which they have since performed on tour internationally. The unorthodox independent release granted them the recognition of millions of listeners on Soundcloud and a contract with major label subsidiary Caroline Records. Even the grand master of pop music himself, Rick Rubin, proclaimed to be a devoted fan.

Despite the highly polished electric sound of the album, Oh Wonder’s live set translates really well acoustically and shows no doubt of true musicianship and aesthetic genius. Each song has been written, recorded and engineered by Anthony and Josephine themselves out of their London-based studio.

Their trans-continental tour picks back up in Europe, starting off in Paris on February 26th, along with plenty of North American shows beginning in May at Sasquatch! Music Festival. If you get a chance to see them live, don’t miss out on this rising act of genuine pop music, that is so full of wonder.

 

ADVENTURES ON TASTEBUDS
January 4, 2016 10:06 am

It takes a certain type of person to really explore what dating sites have to offer. I call those people masochists. However, there seem to be a lot of people who enjoy the unique abuse of online dating, as there are a never-ending stream of ways to be blown off by the opposite (or same) sex from your computer.

Tastebuds, a dating site launched in 2010, looks to pair singles by taking participants’ “liked” bands from Facebook, Spotify, and Last.fm, and matching users to those with similar tastes. If you’re into music, you’re probably already familiar with it.

I joined Tastebuds about 18 months ago, and promptly forgot about it. Aside from a once-monthly email with matches, I hadn’t had much contact with the site until logging on recently to find about 50 unread messages from other users. I was surprised, as my profile was barely filled out, and my face was only (partially) visible in one of my photos. Scanning through the messages, I realized 99% of them were a result of the “Message Bomb” feature, which allows users to send a single question to 8 of their randomly-selected matches. Who came up with this? No one likes “form” messages. Because these messages are being sent to a random selection of users, the people writing them seem to feel like the messages should be both funny and general; one Message Bomb sent to me asked, “Would you rather be hairy all over or completely bald?” (Hint: I’m already one of those.).

Some cursory Googling also revealed that newer members of Tastebuds are now required to buy a membership or pay a fee just to respond to messages. The prices for membership range from $10 for one month to $30 for six months, and include additional features like removing ads, and the ability to view profiles anonymously. I understand that the company needs to make money, but charging people to respond to messages isn’t the way to do it.

I don’t mean to shit on Tastebuds. I think finding people with similar taste in music is a great idea. You can even set your search parameters to find matches in areas you may be vacationing in, so you have someone to go to shows with. Unfortunately, I think the whole thing is bogged down by questionable user experience and member abuse of the aforementioned features. I’m still going to hang on to my (free) membership – maybe that guy who shares my love of both Hanson and Placebo will finally pop up.

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SPECTOR
December 7, 2015 2:40 pm

I want to see Spector again. I don’t care that I’ve just seen them, I want to see them again. Thursday’s performance at Mercury Lounge marked the end of a short, 4-date tour of the U.S. and Mexico, with the band testing the waters of their overseas following. And if the audience’s reaction on Thursday was anything to go by, Spector will be back soon.

Before the performance, ATYPICAL SOUNDS sat down on the floor of the venue with Fred Macpherson, Tom Shickle, Jed Cullen, Danny Blandy, and Yoann Intonti to discuss music, touring, pizza, and pretty much everything else in existence.

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Photos by Sasha Maese

FM: This feels like Alcoholics Anonymous.

If you’ve got anything you want to confess, I can turn the recorder off for a couple of seconds.

FM: Keep it on. I’m ready for a confession. It was 1998…It was a cold day in the autumn. It started like any other. If I’d known what I know now at the beginning of that day, I don’t think I’d ever have left the house.

We’ve all had those days.

FM: Yup.

I saw the video of you guys at Reading this summer, performing for thousands of people. Is it weird for you to go from something like that to playing a venue like Mercury Lounge (250 people)?

FM: It’s good, I think. It’s weird, but it feels kind of natural as well in a way, because throughout our career we’ve had bigger shows and smaller shows, or have been on tour with people who are really big, playing arenas and then going and playing in Scotland to about 100 people or something, so we’re kind of used to the crowd sizes fluctuating and when you come off the back of big shows like Reading and Leeds in the summer, I think it’s really important and humanizing to keep playing to all sizes of gigs because there’s always going to be new places where no one’s heard of you, and it reminds you that any kind of implied “food chain” in the music industry is all kind of bullshit anyway, and really all that matters is the interaction between your songs and the people who are there.

Sometimes at a festival, it might be thousands, but if there’s 10 people in a room, the transaction (I don’t mean financially), musically, spiritually, whatever, it’s still the exact same thing as when there’s loads of people. So I think that bands who kind of get annoyed or think it’s a step down, I think they’ve got the wrong end of the stick of how music works. I always like when a band like Mumford and Sons play to 25,000 people and then go and play at a local country jam around the corner, I think it’s good when you keep that spirit.

The other day, when we played in Mexico, on the last night I ended up in this bar where there was a covers band [the rest of the band is laughing] playing all night and these two [gestures to Tom and Danny] thought it would be a good idea to join on a cover of “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, on instruments that neither of them play, and Googling the chords…

TS: Googling the chords to “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, looking at the keyboardist, being like, “What are the chords?” and he was going, “Look at my fingers.” and I was like, “I don’t know what that is.”

FM: He was fuming.

TS: I was just onstage, in front of about 300 people, just going “Nope, don’t know it.”

FM: They’re the sort of musicians who you’d shout any song and they could play it. And they’re like the karaoke machine.

JC: Although I thought the video/audio back would be awful, it sounded quite good, I thought.

FM: All three of them were onstage. Sorry, that’s a very long answer to a very short question.

That’s ok, it’s something I’ve often wondered about because, particularly at this [small] venue, we get so many bands from the U.K. (who are very popular in the U.K.) who come here, and I feel spoiled, but I sometimes wonder if the smaller audiences bother them.

FM: I think it’s a rite of passage as well, the U.K. is such a small place with such a big music industry, that I think it’s good for bands of whatever size in the U.K. to come and play to not many people in America, especially the first few times, and it’s such a rarity that anyone breaks America; Arctic Monkeys, look how long it took them, or Oasis never really completely…

Well, they need to come back. They’d have an audience if they came back.

FM: That’s true. Now I think it’s going to get to the point where they could see that they’ll have to do it.

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Photos by Sasha Maese

Blur was here earlier this year, Pulp was here in 2013.

FM: They were probably playing to the biggest crowds they’d ever played to. Hopefully, we’ll have a whole career of medium-sized gigs before we disappear and then get back together to ensure we can play venues of that size.

And by then, you’ll be Jarvis Cocker.

FM: With any luck, yeah.

How was your show last night at Saint Vitus?

FM: It was funny playing at a real rock bar. There’s a bar in London called Crobar that it really reminded me of. It was fun actually, again it was kind of a good in-at-the-deep-end experience. I’m glad we had that one before tonight, cause I think we learned a few things from it.

Like what?

FM: Just about when playing to an audience that’s basically almost completely new, what songs to play and what set list to have. Like, we’ve been changing our set list a lot on our last tour, and it’s funny how big an impact it has both on you and your confidence and the audience, and it’s kind of something that sometimes feels quite mystical, like a lock to an ancient safe. Cause when you get the right one…I’m sure we read too much into it, but it’s one of the many stars that need to align and when it does, it does. And it can be quite nerve-racking, playing to people who don’t really know who you are and I think tonight will feel a bit more relaxed and less like “Ahhhhh”.

There can be some freedom in that, as well. It’s like “I’m never going to see these people again, I can do whatever I want.”

FM: It was quite raucous, I think it unlocked a certain energy in us, it was a bit like Dragon Ball Z, like Super Saiyan.

You have a new album now as well, so that’s going to change what you can play.

FB: Yeah, an album that we like more, and brings a variation of pace and music and style and color.

Are these performances possibly in preparation for a larger tour of the U.S.?

FM: I still think at this point if we went on tour in the U.S., really no one would come. It’s one thing playing small shows in New York, I think if we turned up in Wisconsin we’d have a crowd smaller than the band. There’s hilarious stories of bands we know from the U.K. who toured the whole of the U.S. on a sleeper bus and played to 3 people a night and spent thousands of pounds doing it, cause it’s like “the dream”.

To go to Wisconsin?

FM: I think the thing is, when people see the rest of America, with all respect…

We don’t talk about that.

FM: They kind of realize everything they’ve seen on TV and films is kind of set in 2 or 3 places, and the rest is like this weird 3rd world country made of service stations and churches.

And wheat.

FM: I’m not going to judge the people of America, but I think it’s such a big place and the U.K. feels big to us. Scotland seems far away from London, and for us that’s a long drive. And all of that would fit in a third of Texas which is 1/50 of the whole country, but then you only have a population 5 times the size, which means you’ve got this land mass that’s basically a different planet, but only with 5 people per one of ours which basically makes it feel, outside of cities, like an empty post-apocalyptic wasteland.

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Photos by Sasha Maese

Have you had any New York City adventures while you’ve been here? Have you tried the pizza?

FM: The funny thing about the pizza is that all the Italian words that we have that reference different meats are all slightly different here, so prosciutto in England is like the finest, wafer-thin cut of ham, but then if you order it on a pizza here it’s like these cubes of like pink plastic.

JC: Ordering eggs is quite hard as well. I don’t know what over easy…

FM: Sunny side up, there’s a clue there. But then like, easy, over, under, hard over, it sounds like a cricket score or something. But the food is amazing here. Even the shit foods are better than our food.

I’ve never tried the pizza in London.

FM: There’s a restaurant called Pizza Express, which brought pizza to London in about 1965, before that there had never been pizza.

JC: Wait, there hadn’t been pizza anywhere…

FM: Nope. It had been cooked at home, but we don’t have the Italian community in the same way you would here, like over 100 years old, so pizza came late but this first pizza restaurant is still the biggest. The food is getting better in London, but what’s good about the food here is there’s always some element of surprise, like you’ll order something that you’ll find has no need for a gherkin and there will just be a massive gherkin on top, like a whole one.

JC: There’s a lot of mixing sweet and savory foods like maple syrup on bacon, cream cheese with jam.

FM: It’s surprising that New Yorkers aren’t as fat as in other states, but the food here, it’s like you eat here for 3 days and you feel like every meal is your last meal on death row. And you have gyms with ominous names like Muscle Gym, and Crunch Gym that are aspirational in terms of making people, even the kind of nerdy-looking people here are quite ripped. Which is cool, I guess.

There’s nerdy people and then there’s like, male model types who wear glasses.

FM: What, do you think they’re diluting the brand? Like they’re taking away from the real nerds? When people started wearing glasses without any prescription, I find as someone who is disabled and has to wear glasses, I started to find that a bit kind of…

JC: It’s like me walking around with crutches.

FM: It’s like when Rick Ross sits in a wheelchair in a video. But no-prescription glasses is like using a wheelchair cause you can’t be bothered to stand up. In London, everyone’s on those hoverboard things.

Those were just made illegal here.

FM: Same as in London, you’re not allowed to take them on the streets anymore.

JC: Cause it’s a vehicle, you need a license for it.

FM: Yeah, but come on, let us have our fun.

TS: I liked looking at people when they went past me, and just thinking “You have so much confidence.”

FM: And there were people on their phones doing it and not looking up.

As you may know, I interviewed your friends Swim Deep last night. They want to know who your favorite member of Swim Deep is.

DB: Should we all tell the truth, or…

TS: Let’s all tell the truth.

JC: My favorite member of Swim Deep is someone I like to call Good Will. It’s the cool ghost of music.

FM: Mine’s Cav. I’d say that to their face, but only because I spend the most time with him and he always stays at my house when he’s in London. I do love them all, but he’s my favorite. I can’t speak for the band.

JC: Did they say who their favorite members of Spector were?

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Photos by Sasha Maese

I didn’t ask.

FM: Jed’s favorite is probably Zach.

JC: I like them all equally.

FM: Danny likes Higgy.

TS: Yoann likes Balmont and Ozzy

YI: They’re my best friends.

TS: Just put Cav.

YI: They come to France all the time.

FM: Do you like Swim Deep?

I like them a lot. I had seen them at this venue in 2013 and I had just had my wisdom teeth removed and I thought I was going to die.

DB: And you thought that was painful.

I have to ask. You guys opened for Suede a few years ago. How was that?

FM: Yeah, at one of their comeback shows. It was funny because it was our ex guitarist’s last show, so for us we were thinking more about how it was his last gig rather than Suede. I mean, I never listened to Suede much growing up, but when we got the gig, everyone was like “Wow, you’re supporting Suede!”

DB: We did another show in Romania where they were headlining, and then [singer Brett Anderson] came into the dressing room and you called him Brad.

FM: What’s his name?

DB: Brett.

FM: I made a joke onstage, and said “When we got offered this show, we weren’t sure about it, I guess we were easily Suede.”

TS: It was a great gag. It was 1,000 people going “ugh.”

FM: Brett Anderson came in to thank us for the gig, I said “Did you hear the joke?” and he just like, looked at the floor. So that was the only thing I was really interested in. But then I went to a baby shower this year and he was there, lo and behold, Brett in the corner, and I was like is one of us going to say something, or am I going to go up and be like, “Remember when we supported you, and then you came and said ‘thanks’ in that Romanian dressing room?” But I didn’t, and he just kind of looked at the floor and we were there for an hour, and then he left, so I can’t say we’re friends, but I’m glad we got the gig and actually looking back it was a good gig to get. I don’t know if we played it to the best of our capacity, but I think it was great fun. And their audience were actually pretty forgiving. And then I met a girl recently who said “I saw you supporting Suede.” and I was just thinking “Why did you buy tickets for Suede?”, but they’re a brilliant band.

There are actually some similarities between [the Suede song] “The Beautiful Ones” and “All The Sad Young Men”. When I put the “We’re all beautiful now/like they were beautiful then”, just in that lyric, that was kind of a nod to the Suede lyric, because their songs in the 90s were quite nostalgic and had this…I felt like he was…they had this kind of throwback between the 70s and the 90s in the lyrics and I think that was a kind of slight nod to that.

Brit pop is actually more popular here than you would think.

FM: Really. It’s a bit of an embarrassment, I think. Obviously, the bands are great but I think it would be the equivalent of like that “all-American sound”, like Lynyrd Skynyrd and stuff like that being popular and some of it is so self consciously British, especially when you have the points where people were posing in front of Union Jacks. I guess it was a different time, more exciting in the run up to Tony Blair getting elected, I guess there was more excitement about what it meant to be British than there is now, so maybe that’s what allowed for a style that could go hand in hand with flag waving, etc. Now, doing anything with a Union Jack, unless you’re Morrissey, I think would be a little bit…

It’s so good to dance to, though.

DB: Some of the songs from that are amazing.

FM: The bands are great, it’s just the culture. And Blur are amazing, and Oasis are amazing.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Feeling Gloomy party. It’s one that started in London and it’s here now as well, and you had written about that White Heat party for Noisey. Are there any club nights or clubs that are still going on in London that you think are particularly good, or that you would recommend?

FM: No, not really. Not for hearing guitar music anyway. In London, there’s not a culture for that. Half the clubs are closed down. White Heat still technically goes on on a Friday, but it’s not the same thing. There was a time about 10 years ago where there were so many good indie clubs and right now I guess just the culture moved, and the sound we’re all listening to, all the stuff. Clubs at the moment are electronic.

DB: There’s a lot of grime stuff, which is really good music and I think that’s good that it’s found its place in club culture in England, I think that’s really cool.

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Photos by Sasha Maese

Are there any London-based bands that might be less known that you like and would recommend?

FM: There’s a band called The Magic Gang, who have been on tour with Swim Deep. They’re actually from Brighton but I really like them. Spring King, who are based in Manchester, but they’re a really great new band who I’m sure will be here again soon.

DB: Bill Ryder-Jones, who’s not new, but he just released a new album that’s amazing. He was in The Coral and he’s great.

JC: There’s a band called The Rhythm Method.

FM: They’re a London band.

JC: They’re a really small London band who are really good.

How are you guys celebrating Christmas this year?

FM: The same as basically every Christmas we’ve ever had in London.

Eating Brussels sprouts and wearing a paper crown?

FM: 100%

JC: I really like the paper crown thing, I just, I love it.

FM: I have mine on from about 11am to about 11pm. I always come prepared with jokes that are better than the crackers.

JC: Sometimes the crown, you can feel it on your head until epiphany. It stays there for 12 nights.

TS: When it’s gone it’s still there, isn’t it?

JC: You take it off and it’s still there. You can wash your hair, dry it.

TS: It’s like if you’re going swimming and there’s a wave machine. When you go to sleep you can still feel like you’re in waves. If you take the paper crown off, it’s still there. It’s very odd.

Any last words before you go on tonight?

JC: ARE YOU READY TO RUMBLE?

SWIM DEEP LOOKS ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
December 4, 2015 2:50 pm

Swim Deep is having a small disaster. The Birmingham band arrived in New York a day ago, but Virgin Atlantic is holding their gear hostage somewhere in Newark. The night’s planned performance has been turned into a DJ set, and the band is trying to make the best of the situation.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS sat down in the green room at Baby’s All Right with band members Austin Williams, Zach Robinson, and Cavan McCarthy to try and figure out how to make lemonade from an incompetent-ass airline.

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It’s been raining for two days. I think it was waiting for you to come in from England so you’d feel at home.

AW: Everyone said that when we got here. They said, “You’ve brought it with you.” Sorry

You brought your weather and left your gear.

AW: We’ve had such bad luck. But it’ll be fine.

On the bright side, your album was voted one of the top albums of 2015 by NME. Congratulations, that’s pretty good.

AW: Thanks very much. We’re lucky, yeah.

Tomorrow you start your tour with The 1975. You’ve toured with them in the past, right?

AW: It was like two years ago in Europe.

ZR: We’ve done a few shows in the UK with them,

AW: They’re nice guys. They’re quite grounded. They’re well-mannered, and just good people. They’ve come from the bottom as well, which is great. They’ve worked their way up. It’s inspiring.

Are you looking forward to doing anything in the city while you’re here?

AW: We did a lot today, cause when we found out that our stuff wasn’t gonna get in until [we thought] we could play, we decided that we would just go and look at stuff like tourists.

CM: We went to see the 9/11 memorial.

AW: We just walked for ages uptown, and then went to see the [site of the] Physical Graffiti album by Led Zeppelin. We went to the East Village and that area, and then it started raining so we went back to our friend’s. We’ve been here before.

smashIn 2013.

AW: Yeah, and then I came here last year. It’s nice, it feels a lot more familiar now. It’s such an amazing place, I think.

It’s fun.

AW: It seems fun, I wish I could stay longer.

Were you working when you were here last year?

AW: No, I just came on my own with a few friends for a holiday.

I’m glad you’re back. I remember the first time you were here in 2013, and a lot of the time, we get these bands from the U.K. who come here once and then we never see them again.

AW: Well, it’s money isn’t it? The thing that’s disappointing about tonight, is we may not have another chance to come out here for so long now. We can really only do this show, because we’re supporting The 1975.

And tomorrow you’re in Boston.

AW: Yeah, and then we play in New York on the day after that at Terminal 5. So at least we get to play here and I guess some of our fans, we share some of the same fans, will get to see us. It’s a shame, you know, cause musicians don’t get any money, so it’s hard to travel so much.

I bet you could get Virgin Atlantic to fund another trip out here.

ZR: Hopefully, we can.

AW: We can get our fans to tweet them.

I will gladly badmouth them on social media in support of that. I remember around the time your first album came out (Where the Heaven Are We in 2013), journalists in England started talking about a “B-Town” music scene, centered in Birmingham. Mainly, I think it was just you and (fellow Birmingham band) Peace that had become popular around the same time. Do you think there’s any truth to there being a B-Town scene, or is that sort of just hype that had been floating around the internet?

AW: As soon as the journalists put pen to paper, the scene’s over. So as soon as they name something, it’s over. But in terms of before that, yeah definitely. We were just mates, hanging out, drinking, trying to have as much fun as possible in the city. And then we all started bands, and started playing stuff, and then it was us and the band Peace that got attention, so I guess they wanted to get something out of it. There wasn’t much going on in music, I guess. I mean there was, but there wasn’t any “scene” or whatever.

Birmingham’s such a good place for music, because the people that go and see shows there are so enthusiastic and lively. They give so much to the band when they go and see them. It’s a great place.

I’m actually interviewing your friends in Spector tomorrow night. What should I ask them?

AW: Ask them who their favorite member of Swim Deep is.

That’s good. Fred Macpherson [vocalist of Spector] was in your “Namaste” video, as well. Was his appearance a result of you being friends?

AW: One, he’s in a band and people know who he is. And two, he’s our friend. Also, we just thought it would be really funny. We have this panel of contestants, and we were trying to think, “Who looks like they could be on a game show?” Fred seemed perfect for it. We needed like one guy, the weird guy. It was a good day, [shooting] that video.

I know shooting can be a lot of long hours.

AW: I hate music videos. I hate the experience most of the time. But there’s been some really great times, like when we got to go to LA to shoot one, and we got to come here to New York to shoot one.

Which one was shot in New York?

AW: “She Changes the Weather”

The one with the swimming pool?

AW: It was a Jewish center in Brooklyn that the swimming pool was in. And we spent ages there. There was such a funny lifeguard there, who said he never had to get in the water, and we were all laughing about it and teasing him because he was such a guy you could tease. He was so in his own world. And he said, “I never get in the water, because I just never needed to.” And then I think someone did something, so he had to go in the water with one of those things that go up and down. And he moaned about it so much. He said he didn’t bring a change of clothes to work. That was fun. That was a fun day.

A lot of people who have interviewed you have mentioned that there’s such a big difference between the sound of the first and second albums. Have you thought about a third album yet? What bands are you currently listening to?

AW: I’m listening to a lot more stuff, just constantly. A much broader selection. I’ve definitely thought about a third album, but I think it’s going to come at a time when it’s right for us. We’ve got to think about when we want to get together.

ZR: We’re so excited to get started.

AW: It will come when it’s ready. We’re letting all of our stuff bubble, letting all of our influences marinate and do whatever, and then we come together and think about it properly. I’d like it to be something that can headline festivals. Something that can really make an impact. Something that means something to people. Something we can play at 12 o’clock on a Monday at a festival.

Who plays at noon on a Monday? 

ZR: We do. From 12-12. We have some festival dates coming up.

AW: I can’t wait. I want to start writing now, just speaking to it.

If you want something that sounds good at a festival, I guess it would be something really loud, right?

AW: Something that makes people listen to it. This last album, there are some tracks on it that really demand your attention, but I feel like the next one is going to be…it’s really going to demand it. Hopefully.

smash12Do you know where you’re touring yet?

AW: We’re looking to do secondary places in England that we haven’t really done before, like the smaller towns and stuff.

CM: The Firefly Festival in Delaware.

What are your plans for the holidays?

ZR: We all go back to Birmingham.

AW: Go see our families. I haven’t seen my family in so long.

Do any of you still live in Birmingham?

AW: Zach and I live in London.

[Cavan is in the middle of taking a sip of beer and gestures to himself.]

You do?

CM: [Nods] the best time of year in Birmingham is Christmas because everyone comes home. All of our friends.

Do you have any last words before your set tonight?

CM: Keep music alive.

AW: Sorry. And fuck Virgin Airlines.

Yes, fuck them.

AW: And see you next time.

Låpsley CONQUERS ROUGH TRADE NYC
November 11, 2015 2:18 pm

For most artists, Monday night performances are something of a death sentence. Aside from the ubiquitous handful of college students with nowhere to be on a Tuesday morning, the rest of us aren’t usually willing to risk the 4 days of sleep deprivation that inevitably follow pulling an all-nighter so early in the week. That’s why it was particularly impressive that Låpsley not only attempted a Monday night show, but sold out the venue.

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Låpsley (born Holly Lapsley Fletcher) is a singer and electronic musician from England whose powerful voice has earned her a devoted fanbase before ever releasing an LP. With her debut album scheduled to come out early next year, Låpsley spent the night at Rough Trade performing 10 songs from her previous EPs.

Listening to any of her recordings makes it obvious what a talented singer Låpsley is, but hearing her sing live is a whole other beast; the audience was spellbound, myself included. During her performance of “Station”, Låpsley alternates between microphones, singing both the soprano and bass parts of the song. In “Painter (Valentine)”, her voice floats above the crowd, her flowing white dress glowing ethereally under blacklight.

After thanking the crowd for coming, Låpsley closes the show with “Hurt Me”, an ode to a jerk and her most recent single. And that’s it. 10 songs. No more, no less. Every one of them worth the sleep deprivation.

Brooklyn Loves The Cribs
September 25, 2015 10:23 am

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I’ve tried to write this article a few times. But every time I start, I fangirl. The Cribs are just that good. Tuesday night saw the band take the stage at Music Hall of Williamsburg for 90 minutes of loud, sweaty fun, and enough distortion to make My Bloody Valentine more than a little jealous.

This show was part of the band’s second trip to New York this year, in promotion of their most recent album For All My Sisters. On October 30th, they’ll be releasing their “Summer of Chances single as a limited 7’, with the deliciously grungy “Wish I Knew You In The 90s as the B-side.

For those of you unfamiliar with the band, it consists of Wakefield-born twins Ryan and Gary Jarman on guitar and bass respectively, and brother Ross Jarman on the drums. They’re the third most popular band that have had Johnny Marr as a member.

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As soon as The Cribs set foot onstage Tuesday night it became clear that there was a sizeable crowd from England that had come to see them. Intermittent chants of “Yorkshire” echoing throughout the audience lasted through the duration of the show, and served as a reminder that even rock stars are not immune to a good ribbing.

After performing the first couple of songs, Gary held up his bandaged wrist and explained to the crowd that his playing may not be as energetic as usual. This was followed by the band taking turns telling the audience how they toured with Aerosmith in 2010, but managed to piss them off by the end of it. The banter came to a close with the audience singing Happy Birthday to Ross. For the record, it was actually Ross’ birthday.

The Cribs stage show is pretty no-frills, relying solely on simple lighting and the frenetic stage presence of Ryan, often rendering him a challenge to photograph in a way that didn’t make him look like a colorful blur. Hell, that probably would’ve suited him. And it’s not like the audience cared. Whereas so many shows these days are dominated by kids taking endless photos of a band they’re only “meh” on, the audience was every bit as into the show as the band, moshing and even crowd surfing along with the best of them.

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The highlight of the night came when the curtains opened at the back of the stage, revealing a projection screen used to show footage of Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo along with an audio recording of his spoken-word vocals on the incredible “Be Safe. A week prior, Ranaldo had joined The Cribs live during their show at Montreal’s Fairmount Theatre for the same performance.

The show closed with “Pink Snow, the song whose lyrics gave For All My Sisters its title. At seven minutes and thirteen seconds long, it was a great way to hold on to a great show just a little bit longer. After that, they were gone. There was no encore; we were all spent.

Listen: The Cribs