Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Sometimes Life's Cool Review

Mi Mye
Sometimes Life’s Cool
Philophobia Music

Mi Mye was born in the North of Scotland in 2003 and Jamie Lockheart was (and is) the proud father of this talented 10 year old. Fresh from recent sessions on Marc Riley’s BBC 6 music show Mi Mye’s new album “Sometimes life’s cool” will be released on Philophobia Music on 4th November.

Having lived in Wakefield for only 3 years my exposure to the band has been limited to seeing half of their set at Long Division 2011 and hearing the eponymous track from this album (about which more later) on the recently released Philophobia compilation “We Phopped something in the water”.

The album opens with “Great sucksess” with its exuberant “Daddy was a bankrobber” vibe and a vocal signature which is, to a degree, the bedrock of the record. Brash and joyous, it is a great opening song which is followed up by the more urgent “Leviy” and the doleful “When I get home”, with its swirling organ and deadpan, wistful vocal delivery. Already the album has done more than it needs to justify the studio time, but it is still to peak.

Some weeks ago I awarded (how very grand of me) “the single of the year so far”, to a band based only a stones throw from Wakefield and although I’m sure they treasure the accolade it is time for them to carry it from Leeds and place it at the feet of Mi Mye. In the title track “Sometimes life’s cool” the band has produced a song so achingly beautiful, so heartfelt and honest that I do not expect to hear a better song this year. Lyrically and musically unvarnished it is a standout track and manages this feat in the face of stiff competition from half a dozen other songs on this impressive and moving album.

When music reaches this quality it can be a challenge to do it justice in words. The leap from the sound, feel and emotion of an album to the page can be too wide a gap to bridge. The translation is too clumsy. So here is my best shot. The title track “Sometimes life’s cool” moved me to tears. Pathetic really but there you go.

The one simple solution to ensure you feel the full force of this impressive and moving album is to buy it.

The album overall has a faint Celtic feel without ever bursting into a jig and reel and although it is deliberately lo-fi it does not do this at the expense of musical subtlety.

Mi Mye will release their new album on November 4th. Hear it first at the launch at the Hop on Friday 1st. I will personally give you your money back if you are disappointed.

Karl Shore 
Twitter @larkhorse

Friday, 25 October 2013

Wakefield's New Dawn

This is the moment that Wakefield, after years of slow but incredibly strong growth, begins its ascent towards something undeniably grand. All those little movements, those groups of people toiling hard for the sheer thrill of creating new and wonderful things, forever in the shade of being in the kind of city people rarely bother visiting - no matter how much we shout about it - are about to see that ethos, that community spirit, born anew.

The greatest hope, certainly in my lifetime, of changing those perceptions, changing everything, is upon us. On Tuesday, at 12:30pm, work on Unity Hall finally begins. It's been a long journey of nearly three years, one that I can barely comprehend, but the truth is, a big old gang of builders are going to spend 10 months bringing Unity Hall back from the brink. And it'll be ours, the community's, to do with as we please for 999 years.

It'll have a 700 capacity hall for music and comedy, the largest in the city centre and capable of attracting a new level of performer. There'll be the minor hall, for smaller, more locally based activites. There'll be masses of beautifully restored office and meeting space. Places for locals business start-ups. There'll be a cafe. There'll be a restaurant. There'll be music students in there, learning and working.

The above picture shows the laying of the foundation stone in 1901.

Currently, this building is owned by just under 200 people. I am one of them. I get to vote on the various goings on in this building, because it is run as a co-operative, by the people, for the people. We all took a bit of a leap of faith, investing our own money in a dream. But it paid off. And there is still time for you to be part of the community of people who decide how it is run.

But, regardless of whether you have got involved yet or not, there is one great thing you can do for Wakefield. Come down for the grand beginning that is taking place at 12:30 on Tuesday. Let's double the 1901 crowd! Calender are bringing their cameras down. That's how serious this thing is; regional news are actually bothering to send cameras out. Let's show them how buzzing Wakefield is.

If you can make it on your lunch break, or have a fee hour or so, come and see what the fuss is about. Come and take one last look at that husk of a building that has sat in the centre of our city for so many decades, before it is finally turned into the most important asset we have.


Thursday, 24 October 2013

Fuxx Review

Forever Cult
Clue Records

Alongside NARCS and Allusondrugs, Forever Cult are the other reason I am so interested in Clue Records right now. Like Wakefield’s own Philophobia Music, the bands have their own styles but seem to be built from a shared DNA that ties them together. Either that, or they just all happen to be really good.

This three track EP does not waste a second of its very brief running time. New bands take note; always leave them wanting more. Opener Sinking clock in at under 2 minutes; that’s fine, I just listened to it twice.

It’s really hard – if you are trying – to write a great song around the two minute mark. Forever Cult, through a channelling of some energetic hybrid of Grunge and Indie, manage it twice, with ease, most likely because they weren’t really trying. That’s just how the songs arrive, and sometimes that can the most special thing of all. The EP is dominated by vital, bottled lightning like directness, full of youthful vigour and passion, only slightly expanded upon for closing track Luck.

So yes, I am excited. Go listen, download, and go see live, it’s that simple.

Dean Freeman

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Wakefield Oxjam Preview

Oxjam Preview
October 25th
The Hop, Wakefield

We don’t preview gigs as often as we should, or would like to. Busy days, y’know? But this coming Friday it is for an especially good cause, so we pulled our fingers out.

It’s an Oxjam gig at The Hop in Wakefield. I can’t remember the last time there was an Oxjam gig in the Merrie City, so fair play to our young promoter friend Sam Russell for making it happen.

Aside of being for a good cause, it’s also a great line-up. Headliners are current highflyers The Michael Ainsley Band who are never less than satisfying when inhabiting a stage. See our review of their recent album here.

NARCS join them, very much ones to watch over the next twelve months. Our review (here) of their debut single proclaimed it the best of the year thus far. Yet from what I am hearing, they have only improved since then.

The Do’s also take to the stage, after a storming Long Division and growing, loyal fanbase, it’ll be interesting to see what they have been up to as they work on their debut album.

Finally, a fundraiser or benefit gig in Wakefield would not be complete without a punk poetry set from Skint & Demoralised’s Matt Abbott. With a lineup like this, it’s all too easy to sit back, pint in hand, and soak up the music, forgetting that there is a good reason to be there, and Matt will surely give us a decent reminder of the fact.

It’s four pounds in, all of which goes to Oxfam. If nothing else, it’s more worthwhile than watching the human jukebox downstairs and contributing to some old rockers hip replacement, so get out, and feel good about yourself. 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

My Cat / Fruit Review

(Clue Records)

First let’s start with the name, Allusondrugs. Rather out there isn’t it? And for those who believe in the saying “what’s in a name?” I would say in this case, a lot actually. You see, one thing I tend to find with drugs is... they’re not everybody’s cup of tea... and I doubt this band are either. But that’s ok, because whether you’re a fan of alternative rock music or not, there’s no denying this 5-piece from Castleford are bloody good at what they do.

There’s so much going on in their latest single MyCat/Fruit that I’m not prepared to pigeon-hole them or compare them to other artists out there. Both tracks take unexpected twists and turns, propelled by fuzzy guitars, pounding drums and soaring vocals to create undeniable intensity only suitable for sweaty moshpits.

First song, ‘MyCat’ (no reference to the drug or furry animal by the way) is a ferocious explosion of edgy rock, executed with heavy distortion and an impressive range of vocals. The repetitive verses make picking up the lyrics far too easy, and coupled with a powerful and frenzied finale, this song will put people in serious danger at live shows.

‘Fruit’ is a little more chilled. But I suppose once you’ve heard ‘MyCat’ that’s a pretty unhelpful phrase. It features soft verses that build into eruptive instrumentals and then back again. It isn’t necessarily a different side to the band, just a very clever technique that makes those full on heavy rock moments even more detonative.

Amy Walker

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Things That People Love To Remember EP Review

Nadine Carina
Things That People Love To Remember EP
On The Camper Records

In her new EP, Things That People Love To Remember, Nadine Carina’s eclectic mix of old and new lends itself to the uncanny feel that dominates her sound. The infectious electronic loops and galaxy-like ambience takes you miles into the future, whilst the organic folk undertones create a vintage feel and ages the futuristic noise. Bring in Carina’s beautifully remote vocals and her music is timeless. It’s like watching the future unfold through a vintage camera filter.

First track, The Love, demonstrates this uniqueness perfectly. Carina’s gorgeous voice melts over a melancholy backdrop as she sings lyrics of unrequited love. Stars is a shimmering blend of old-school RnB beats laced with simple electronic notation. At times there is even a child-like element, probably due to her experiments with looping vintage toys (yes, her creativity really knows no bounds). Little House is a live track, which benefits the heavy beat and what I can only describe as electronic-organ-sounding-instrument (I really have no idea). It comes across a little spooky, but this is soon broken with her mesmerising vocals that bring a soft comfort.

It feels like nothing you’ve heard before and everything you’ve heard before. It’s a blissful, dreamy, space-travelling adventure, but in the comfort of your own bed. If it sounds like a lot of what I’m saying doesn’t make sense, listen to her. It will then.

Things That People Love To Remember is out November 18.

Amy Walker

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Two Hearts Review

Tiny Planets
Two Hearts 

Tiny Planets are one of those bands that you listen to and appreciate just how good Wakefield music has it. The two tracks on new single Two Hearts are simple, great pop-rock. Title track ‘Two Hearts’ showcases loud choruses built up around light bridges, where both rhythm and lead guitar intertwine brilliantly to create a free-flowing sound. Craig’s vocals are also impressive throughout, although the shouting at the end of 
‘Steeled to the Sound’ feels a bit lost; like a “what would Ryan Jarman do here?” moment. I don’t feel like it adds anything to the song, but it certainly doesn’t detract anything either.

Amy Walker

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Creature Feature Review

Piskie Sits
Creature Feature
Philophobia Music

Creature Feature is culmination of the raw, edgy, “proper” music that has unmistakably been born and bred in Wakefield. At first the vocals feel rough, but after a few listens they only add the authentic sound the Piskie’s have created.

The opener, ‘I Know And You’ll Know’, sets the precedent for the rest of the album; catchy, wholesome, melodic songs alongside rigid and raw indie-rock guitars. Every track has potential for single release - from the poppy, upbeat Family Tree, to the simple and robust (and cleverly named) Feat. Pharrell Williams. Although each song showcases a different vibe this band effortlessly nail, Viktoria Plzeň is the most striking, and chronic chorus chanting is a known side effect. You have been warned.

Creature Feature will be released on the 21st October.

Amy Walker

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Devil's In The Detail Review

The Michael Ainsley Band 
Devil’s in the Detail
(Philophobia Music)

Devil’s In The Detail is a ferocious concoction of shouty vocals, chaotic guitars and boisterous melodies by Wakefield giants, The Michael Ainsley Band. The “thrown together” feel of this album helps the old-school, punk-rock vibe to keep its musical integrity, rather than hinder it. There’s no doubt these lads are doing it right.

Through heavy distortion and amplification, it’s just as chaotic as it is clever. ‘Alcohol’ and title track, ‘Devil’s In The Detail’, are the most prominent tracks, where as ‘Miss You Most Mornings’ strategically takes a backseat and exposes the quintet’s soft side, where nice lyrics and well-executed harmonies come into play.

There’s a real sense of nostalgia to the album, as it takes you back to the good days of the 90’s where pop-punk bands dominated. If this is that music making a comeback, I welcome it with open arms.

Amy Walker