They appeared on Zane Lowe’s Fresh Meat and on Kerrang! Radio. They supported Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly on tour. Soon they’ll be releasing their debut full-length album. This Southend band might be en route to stardom, but faced a nasty detour on the way.
This California quintet makes a fine mix of musical genius, even though they sometimes appear to hail from a different era…or maybe even a different planet. Known to arrive on stage in kneepads, a hairnet, and a flashy concoction of an outfit, lead singer Philipp Alberto Minnig (aka Pam) always works up a sweat while sliding around the stage and jumping into the crowd. And their music is not scanty on the action, either. In fact, it’s nearly impossible for anyone to stand still when their music is playing. If you like uncontrollable dancing and sing-alongs, then they’re definitely worth checking out.
It seems a little trite to talk of a Scottish music renaissance because there has always been an absurdly high number of great bands per head of population; yet this year alone has seen such a rush of great records it’s hard not to think of this as some kind of resurgence: The Phantom Band, My Latest Novel, Frightened Rabbit, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Meursault, The Twilight Sad… Well, into that crowded wedge of bands you can add There Will Be Fireworks who may just have produced the finest record of all of them so far this year. The shocker? At this time, the band remain unsigned.
The facts are these: There Will Be Fireworks are four Glaswegians – old school friends – Adam Ketterer (drums, glockenspiel), David Madden (bass), Gilbran Farrah (guitar, violin, piano) and Nicholas McManus (guitars, vocals, organ). Like WWPJ and The Twilight Sad mentioned above, they make post-rock inflected Big Music – but to these ears they have a greater appreciation of light and shade, a sharper sense of depth and dynamics. They’ve grabbed at a certain strand of post-rock (say Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai) and crushed all that drama into songs – songs that push and thrust at their casings, at times threatening to split apart at the seams.
Their self-titled debut is outsized and sprawling – at times it drifts away on its own sense of ambition. Yet it’s the over-reaching ambition that gives the band their bright allure, their burning core. It also led them to seek out a way to achieve that huge sound. Early recordings had the reach but not the sonic drama. Then the band found a converted 17th-century mill at Stratharven, a giant space of odd angles and high vaulted ceilings. Suddenly they could achieve literal space between their multitude of instruments, and that literal space invaded the recorded sound. There Will Be Fireworks sounds architectural, immense.
You’d think that with all that sonic drama the record might suffer lyrically, but Nicky McManus is a subtle expressive writer. Aside from the opening track and it’s heart-stopping poetic monologue, delivered by Kevin MacNeil, author of The Stornaway Way, the themes are simple but deftly drawn, often mere glimpses into fracturing relationships, or impressionistic vignettes. ‘Midfield Maestro’ has its tape-burning end of relationship blues (“you’re unravelling in my arms”), ‘We Sleep Through The Bombs’ its simple plaintive ache (“I’m going back to the place/where I first saw those shy and tired eyes”); and such is McManuses range that he can shift registers from quite whisper to lacerating roar in the space of a few lines. … Continue Reading
One year after the release of her debut solo album, Dresden Dolls piano basher Amanda (F) Palmer continues to tour unabated with a third visit to the UK planned for this autumn. This week sees the release of the visual element of the onslaught with the album’s DVD companion piece.
Or, to be frank, Youthless introduce themselves. Or, to be more specific, Youthless’ Alex introduces Youthless and we add some sample mp3s for y’all to check out. Ok, enough from us…
Youthless is Sab and I. I play drums and sing and sometimes I play synth lines with my free hand. Sab sings and plays bass through two amps which he alternates between using a footswitch. We also use a bunch of weird FX boxes and other toys. It’s a bit of a strange set up but somehow, amidst all the confusion, we manage to bang out some rockin’ tunes.
Sab and I met when we were 15, in high-school in Lisbon, Portugal. Sab’s English, but he was born and raised in Portugal, and I’m from New York City but I moved to Lisbon as a teen. We’d used to skip class together to go play guitar by the river, and somehow not much has really changed since then. We’ve been through lots of shit together, first bong hits, first night in jail, wisdom teeth. … Continue Reading