Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Interview with the Pigeon Detectives

With RYAN WILSON (guitar)

Q)During the writing and recording of the new album, have there been any new bands/artists that have influenced you or your sound?

A)To be honest with you, not at all, in a lot of ways it was done similar to the previous ones but maybe, subconsciously, there were some other influences as there are different bands coming out doing different songs and stuff. I think what influenced us was recording it (the album) in New York, working in the city, working with a New York producer and listening to New York based stuff like Blondie, The Walkmen and The Strokes. There's definitely the NYC thing in there, although I think just being there probably influenced us more than any specific band.

Q)How did the recording of the album go?

A)Well obviously there were a few distractions (laughs) but we kept ourselves busy and for this record although we had a producer, we helped produce a lot of it ourselves, we were given a lot of free rein where we could just try anything. Obviously not every idea works but there was definitely that freedom. Where as before it was a case of a couple of guitars, drums, bass and singing, on this album we wanted to explore a few different things and sounds and we told the producer that and he registered the idea of that i.e. "maybe try this, maybe try that, what if you do it this way?" etc. A totally different process to what we did before.

Q)Are you happy with the final mix/version?

A)It's pretty much there, or thereabouts, I'm dead proud of it, I’m proud of everything we've done, although it's the strongest one we've done, in my opinion. I think as an album it's all there, I think it's the same for everyone, we're all really happy with it.

Q)Was there more pressure making this record as opposed to your previous 2. Was there ever any “3rd album” syndrome worries?

A)It's always like that with your first album, your really fresh to it and you've had your whole musical life to make the first one but we never felt pressure on the writing side or anything. I'm really looking forward to putting it out and getting people's opinions. You can't really let the pressure get to you, we're really happy with the album and hopefully the media and the fans will like it. We're just trying to not let anything bother us, which is how we've always been really.

Q)As the guitar player did you feel you have had more of a free reign on this album? The guitar playing is really up front and there are solos and intricate guitar lines rather than the typical “indie” guitar playing expected from bands around at the moment. E.g. “she wants me” has a definite guitar riff to it

A)Yeah, definitely! We are like an indie band at the end of the day and we are quite guitar driven but we swapped a few guitar lines for a few synth lines on this record but at the end of the day we are a guitar band. We want to be able to do this really well live, so you can't be too intricate about how you do it. We tried different things and different sounds guitar wise in the studio, throughout the process of the album I think I used about 25 different amps, because they had up to 60 amps in the studio, so we had the pick of what we wanted, which was great and in some cases I was using amps that were even older than my dad! (laughs)

Q)Who would you say influences your own guitar playing?

A)I learnt to play guitar listening to people like George Harrison and John Lennon and throughout my teens obviously people like Oasis because Noel Gallagher has got a really specific style and even though it's good when you're first learning guitar it helps you along because some of the rifts and licks are easy to play. Although later on, I got massively into Led Zeppelin, although that could be quite frustrating as some of Jimmy Page's guitar lines are really difficult. Probably Eric Clapton as well, if you merge them altogether you get how I play I guess (laughs) minus the flares and the heroin!

Q)The band has performed cover versions of other artists’ songs in the past from Live Lounge sessions to more recently the charity single of “Tainted Love”. Would you ever consider recording a cover version on one of your albums? In the past (60s’-70s) it was pretty common practice for bands to do that.

A)Yeah that's true, with bands like The Beatles, their first few albums had loads of covers on them, although we're a little bit against it, but we enjoy doing the Live Lounge stuff and more recently, the charity single, it was good doing something different (Leeds Charity - Tainted Love single). I don't think we'd ever make a point of putting any covers on an album, as we're just not really into that we prefer to do our own stuff.

Q)Do you feel part of the current indie scene?

A)We've been away for a couple of years so don't really know too many new bands, when we were about we were personal friends with a lot of the bands although we don't see as much of each other anymore. Bands like The Enemy, The Wombats, The Twang, The View, Kaiser Chiefs, Razorlight… you just get to know them all as people when you're playing festivals and gigs. With us being off the scene for a while, there are a lot of new bands around that although I've heard of I don't really know too many bands. Like, The Vaccines, I heard their new album the other day and I thought it was alright, but I don't really know them. Even bands like Glasvegas, they were coming through almost as we were leaving to go and write this album, so I don't know them either. There are just so many boring bands out at the moment; we're just looking forward to playing some gigs and tearing it up. When we started it was bands like The Libertines and The Kaiser Chiefs that were really energetic on stage, with loads of crowd interaction, there's not enough of that nowadays. It was really good playing with bands like The View and even seeing bands like Oasis, I mean Liam Gallagher don't do much on stage but he just has that presence.

Q)Will you be playing the festivals this summer in promo for the album?

A)We've got a couple of summer gigs but they haven't been announced yet so I can't really say anything just yet.

Q)You finished the “Emergency” tour with massive sold out shows at Alexandra Palace and the Leeds Millennium Square, have you any plans to try and go to America and see whether you can ‘crack it’ there as well?

A)We did 2 little tours in 2008 out there but it's such a hard nut to crack! Like on the East Coast, in Boston and New York we were doing alright shows at places like The Bowery Ballroom which holds about 500-600 and we sold that out. In Boston, we were doing 400-500 capacity, probably the same in Chicago. On a small level we did OK! We need to step it up from there, ideally with a hit single. It's the same as when we started in England really, just progress and progress and just build it up! I saw Oasis when we were in America, we were touring there at the same time and we both played Toronto (Canada) the same night we were playing a 700 capacity venue or something and they were playing an ice skating rink playing to thousands! It's a shame they never got to the dizzy heights they reached in the UK. I guess bands like Coldplay and their music, is easier to translate in America.

Q)Are there any bands out at the moment that you have seen or played with on the circuit that you like or want to champion?

A)The Neat, from Leeds, they're quite good… they are going to be supporting us on a couple of dates.
'UP,GUARDS AND AT 'EM!' -The NEW album out April 4th

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Connan Mockasin - Forever Dolphin Love

Connan Mockasin
Forever Dolpin Love

Weird is always good, crazy even better. It helps with building legends and a fan base. Connan and the Mockasins (or Connan Mockasin) are a 3 piece from Wellington New Zealand, who have recently arrived on our green and pleasant shores and have a new album out to present to the world. Forever Dolphin Love is the album and it's one that I chose after reading a little about the group themselves and then decided with the quickly approaching summer just around the seasonal corner that some great quirky psych pop would be just the tonic to the winter of discontent cold electro and "back to basics" acoustic twaddle currently filling the Radio 1 playlist. While reviewing the album in question and the more I delved into the music itself, upon repeat listens it is starting to divide my opinion on an almost hourly basis. Has the emperor really got new clothes on? Each track has been treated to various effects and studio trickery which although enhances some of the music does sometimes push the vocals especially into a big “in” joke on the behalf of the band over the audience. As a Zappa fan I like the occasional chipmunk-like falsetto voice as much as the next freak, but on every song? There are some great moments within, such as the track (and I believe first release) 'It’s Choade My Dear' which takes a Flaming Lips template and runs with it achieving fantastic results. As the album progresses along it seems to lose pace, although still keeps the creativity and envelope pushing goals, yet sometimes forgets to worry about the actual songwriting side of things. That said it does constantly bring something new to the table and is at the very least trying to do something new and interesting with the form.

The running order of the album segues the tracks into one another, rather than any stops and starts, which is a nice touch especially when listening to it on headphones as it does it's best to take you on a musical journey rather than the standard jukebox style running order and with songs like 'Quadropuss Island', 'Muss' and the frankly pointless 'Grampa Moff' all clocking in well under the 2 minute 30 seconds mark (the latter only managing a 25 seconds are more like mini themes rather than songs or even extended intros. Taking the mini songs out of the equation you also have the jazz odyssey of the title track 'Forever Dolphin Love' which borders on full on Live At Pompeii Pink Floyd although depending which side of the fence you sit concerning "progression" is it a good or bad thing?

The album finishes with the Syd Barrett reminder 'Please Turn Me Into The Snat' which is another highpoint and although in itself great, still leaves the listener thinking "too little too late" as for an album with only 10 tracks (surely a crime in itself in 2011) and wasting at least 2-3 of them with doodles of strumming sequences for there only to be minimal music that has a beginning, middle and end and with lyrics as well, seems a bit of a wasted opportunity for a band with as much potential as this one. File under confused.

Release Date: 21/03/11

'Originally posted on The 405'

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

FLATS - Gig Review & Interview

The Bull & Gate ; Kentish Town
Date: 09/03/11

FLATS mean it. They are unashamedly a bleedin’ racket. Loud guitars, pounding drums and a wobbly bass-line threading it together into a forceful wall of nihilistic noise while on lead vocals Dan Devine exorcises lyrics like the angriest preacher this side of Bagdad. Songs start, and sometimes end, within 40 seconds with no room for subtleties as its 0-80 mph in a second or not at all. Tonight there is no sing-a-longs, no clich├ęd lighters in the air or even a sloooow one for the ladies…although there is a full on fight between 3 fans by the second song, this is what FLATS music does to people, I doubt they even knew what they were fighting about other than they wanted to hit something and now!

The setting for tonight’s gig is Kentish Town’s own sticky floored The Bull & Gate; an old fashioned square back room venue that tonight is filled and nobody is leaving until the last fizz of guitar feedback has finished mid encore when we all file out with a noticeable look in our eyes like we’ve all just arrived back from Vietnam circa. 1969 and creating an almost too quiet eerie atmosphere outside. I have the set list of songs from the evening listed below, I couldn’t really distinguish the 5th from the 8th in the list, although that to me would be missing the point somewhat as FLATS are about the experience altogether and causing a reaction from you. Whether you love them or hate them that’s fine, there is nothing worse than indifference, loads of bands are ‘alright’ and get almost nil reaction from the crowd. This is exciting music, catch them while you can.

Set List
Lack of Stature
Are You Feeling Rusty?
Never Again
Isolation Chamber
Big Souls
Flats Waltz

I managed to catch up with lead singer Dan Devine and Bass Player Craig before the show for a quick chat in regards to their songs, influences and upcoming tour with Morrissey.

Q) Are there any bands around at the moment either that you’ve gigged with or just seen on the circuit that you like?

Daniel Devine (singer): Yeah quite a few there's Electricity in Our Homes they've just finished their first record and it’s unbelievable, its one that will really stand the test of time. It’s so far ahead of any other debut record I’ve heard in a long time.

Craig E Pierce (bass): Definitely big fans of them. Also the new Hatcham Social record as well, that is great as well.

Q) Which bands/artists have influenced your new record and newer material?

DD: For this record definitely Hellhammer has been one constant influence throughout the new album, as a band we have been listening to their stuff throughout. I bought a reprint of one of their first albums and played it to the rest of the band and we have definitely bonded over that one, it's one that gave us a lot of ideas.

CEP: The Melvins back catalogue as well; we've been going back over that as well over the last year as well, kind of rediscovering it. Iron Gods as well

DD: The first Napalm Death records have also been an influence of our writing, some of the early stuff, the first few albums. I’ve been posting loads of their videos up as well.

Q) Some of your earlier songs were very short in time, do you purposely put these restrictions on yourselves when writing or do they just come out that way?

CEP: Well sometimes it’s just a case of being bored with something after only a verse and killing it, a riff or whatever.

DD: On the record there are some songs that are 30-40 second’s that’s it! Although some are 7-8 minutes long, we’re just filled with contradictions throughout although it’s on purpose I'm looking to confuse people, through some drone notes in there as well.

Q) Do you ever feel on the outside of the current ‘indie’ music trends and scenes?

DD: The legacy of indie music, the punk and hardcore labels are more 'indie' then any of the fucking 'indie' labels out there; they aren't being bankrolled by some massive label in the background.

CEP: I mean we like Orange Juice and bands like that but at the moment, professional indie bands like Kings of Leon? Nah.

Q) Your line up is very traditional i.e. Guitar, Bass, Drums, Vocals, would you ever look to expand this to add other instruments as well?

DD: I was looking to play some guitar on the next record and maybe add a slow track that has 2 basses really tuned low, but as far as other instruments go we do just stick to the root basics, guitar, drums, bass, vocal’s.

Q) Dan, you have acquired a probably quite justified reputation about being ‘outspoken’ in the music press and always good for a quote or sound bite, is this something you’re fully aware of or do you try and steer the conversation away from the possible controversy you might cause?

DD: Half the time I just give in and give it to them, if NME want me to mouth off about Paul Weller or something I will, I doubt he gives a shit, he's sitting there with his 7 jags, did you see Gallagher (Liam Gallagher) on the cover of NME last week? Looking like an ugly Bond girl, I love oasis but come on, enough is enough.

CEP: Although it’s not really a new thing for bands to ridicule their peers, I’m sure they did it too, just joining the great continuum of bands.

Q) Are you happy being labelled ‘Punk’, is this a justified genre for you?

DD: It depends on the interpretation; I think we are closest thing to a real punk band around. When I think of ‘punk’ I think of Crass, they stuck to the ideal of punk more than anything else, you don't need the Doc Martins and painted leather jackets, we put through the ideals more than anything else, we aren't going to be sitting around drinking special brew and talking about left wing politics.

CEP: Hopefully because we don't wear all that stuff and have pins through our faces hopefully I’ll inspire people to look into it more, find these other bands.

DD: Yeah i mean punk when it comes along it was proper for about 3 months before Vivian Westwood come along slapped a label on it and then killed it completely. I'm really interested into hip hop and I don't go around wearing Ramones t-shirts and all that. It’s the same with the Post punk influences as well, we like the music although again we don't have the high waist slacks... (Laughs)

Q) What do you think about the current music scene? Do you feel you are really part of it?

DD: We’ll I’ve explained it before in interviews that I think you get 2 waves that go simultaneously, so you get the more poppy accessible music going one way and at the same time you have the other wave which is a bit more harder sounding stuff, almost when The Klaxons first come out you then had The Horrors going along at the same time but with a darker sounding thing, so you’d have a bit post punk a bit garage, at the moment its going more shoe gazing stuff but I hope there will be a trend of hardcore and heavier bands coming along, some more metal influences as well.

CEP: It’s hard to say from our position, we don't tend to go towards music that is in vogue or anything, I mean we're not really spearheading any trends or anything either, we’re just making the music we like.

DD: Saying that I would love to spearhead a new trend, I mean not bands that sound exactly like us because we want to be the only band that sounds like us although I would love there to be other bands with a similar style or outlook.

Q) You tend to divide an audience within the first few seconds, what’s your view?

DD: Its like when I'm out shopping and I see an item of clothing and I see something really bright or something in a charity shop, half of my friends are going to laugh when i walk into the pub and half of them will think it’s amazing, I always go for that stuff. I like that we as a band don't fit into a set style or trend.

FLATS are supporting Morrissey on his upcoming tour

Friday, 4 March 2011

Glasvegas LIVE@Heavan

Heaven – Embankment

From the last minute rushing around to secure my press pass for this evening’s echoey entertainment (courtesy of Glasvegas) to the slightly worrying “propositioning” I was getting from a hulking American gentleman in the next to venue public house ; I hoped the approaching gig would be something special to help paper over the cracks of a strange evening indeed.

At this time I only have in my collection the debut album from the Scottish foursome and although some of these tracks made it into tonight’s set list it was really about pushing the new material and presenting the new mark 0.2 version of the group. Gone are the leather jackets and guitars from front man James Allan who now is trying to reinvent himself as the lead vocalist/frontman only rather than a guitarist who sings. He manages to do this with some success although the new make over complete with white vest and fairy light entwined microphone stand is a little misguided. But this is a review of the gig rather than a Gok Wan clothing special so onto the music we go.

The group came on stage to Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’ (a piece that itself was used on their own song ‘Stabbed’) which is a great idea as it grabs everyone’s attention immediately and sets the atmosphere (complete with lighting effects) for the group’s arrival. Kicking straight into one of the new track's ‘The World Is Yours’ I notice that the new material is more dance like in its rhythms and influenced by more electronic sources rather than the meat and potatoes Clash, Velvets and Jesus & Mary Chain of the debut although some tracks lift the ambiance to such heights that it would push even Brian Eno to beg for some cowbell. A highlight of the set for me and indeed for the show completely was the cover of The Ronettes classic ‘Be My Baby’ (performed in the slower John Lennon arrangement rather than the roaring wall of sound original.) This was a smart move and the join that separated the set between new and old songs. Tonight’s set was a mixed bag of old favourites and three new ones off the as yet un-released second album. The new songs included the aforementioned intro ‘The World Is Yours’, ‘Shine Like Stars’ and ‘Euphoria,Take My Hand’. After the standard mini break before the encore of the crowd favourite ‘Daddy’s Gone’ in which the crowd took the lead vocals mid way through acapella before cueing the band back in for the ending.

The crowd tonight were there for a good time and got one in return, each singing every word at the top of their lungs and actually bringing to my attention that maybe Glasvegas have a very big and loyal following considering you very rarely hear their material being played at club nights and making any playlists. It looks like a re-appraisal is required here and I am with open ears awaiting the arrival of the new album ‘Euphoric///Heartbreak\\\’ upon its release on the 4th April.

Set List:

Introduction; Moonlight Sonata

1) The World Is Yours
2) It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry
3) Shine Like Stars
4) Polmont On My Mind
5) Be My Baby
6) Euphoria, Take My Hand
7) Geraldine
8) Go Square Go
9) Ice Cream Van
10) Flowers & Football Tops
11) S.A.D Light
12) Daddy’s Gone

'originally printed on Music On In Inside'

Thursday, 3 March 2011

New Single Reviews...

The View

The View are one of those bands that came about in the post Libertines world of NME where a scrappy strummy song and a pair of fairly new skinnies would be enough to push you to the top of 'the cool list'. It is true to say to say that they do have some pretty decent songs though I find the track presented here to be a definite retread of previous work as an almost cookie cutter reproduction from previous releases it’s still not half bad. The new single 'Grace' is immediate in it’s catchiness and if you are a fan of the group surely one to bring a smile to your face although as a first outing from the new album Bread And Circuses I would hope they have something stronger lurking in the background to follow up with. In conclusion, not a bad track but nothing that is going to set the world on fire while a hundred other sound a like bands all fight for the same pair of converse...

Release date: March 7th

The Joy Formidable

They say everything goes in cycles, from flares to platform shoes to even 80’s
Retro Casio watches that you can use to change the telly with. It’s safe to say that the 90’s are coming back. Before you have images of the recent past with Britpop, union jack dresses and Tony Blair fear not as this is concentrating pre Definitely Maybe and are coming in the form of early 90’s Sub Pop pre grunge Pixies and Breeders influences. The Joy Formidable are pop but wrapped in the blanket of fuzz pedals, chart straight ahead drums and a lovely welsh accented vocalist (Ritzy Bryan.)

‘Whirring’ only clocks in at just a fag paper over 3 and a half minutes but has all the ingredients of a successful single and one that will be all over the festival crowd this year. Sticking to the quiet-loud-quiet formula of their heroes and contemporaries The Joy Formidable have given the music buying/downloading/stealing public something new to listen to as well as inspiring old hands like yours truly to dig out their copies of Surfer Rosa from the pile and give it a well deserved revival.

Release date:March 7th

'Originally posted on The 405'

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


1st day of the month!

Yes my children of the night we (and by 'we' I mean ME) have a load more single reviews, gig reviews and general chat to come your way this month. Just completing the final varied insults and praise that usually fill my blogs for the new View single 'Grace' as well as the new Joy Formidable track 'Whirring' I will also be going to and reviewing Brooklyn's own The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart on the 3rd at Kings College London followed shortly after by noise punk racket makers FLATS on the 9th for their Bull & Gate gig.

For those of you that have bounced here after the delightful Adam Goldberg tweeted his interview directly here. It will be back up by the end of the month, it seems that PA's can get very snippy when it comes to deadlines (and adhering to them)...

never mind.

"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain"
Dolly Parton.