Unfortunately this fair and lovely city of Edinburgh has said ‘Goodbye’ to 2011’s fringe festival, with the curtain closing on performing arts until next August. Boo! But, rejoice readers, as the new university term starts this week which means we still have a good excuse to go to the pub! That should be a good enough excuse up until Christmas at least… let’s see if there’s any gems out this week that can be nestled alongside your gloriously new and shiny stationary, residing in your manbag.
Lola King and the Kickstarts release their debut EP this week, which includes L.O.V.E (not LOVE. GET IT RIGHT!) The track starts off very promising, with a lovely build-up to an extremely modern guitar riff. We’ve got the Kate Nash feel about Lola, along with some very catchy lyrics that stick in your head, although it would have been nice to hear her voice let loose a little bit (you ARE allowed to scream or get a bit loud). There’s definitely a Ladyhawk vibe resonating within the reverbed sound, which creates a hazy feel to the whole piece that stops it all from becoming static and boring. I’m not sure at all about the doubled-over vocals towards the end of the track – it works more to confuse and annoy the listener rather than build on any sort of texture of deepening of the piece (at the same time something had to change, or else L.O.V.E ran the risk of going stale). The trail-off at the very is nice, but perhaps cut a little short and abruptly. Overall L.O.V.E is a very admiral attempt that promises LK&TK to deliver better in the future.
The band so good they named them twice (much like footballer Eric Djemba-Djemba), Django Django have today given us the synth-orgy that is Waveforms. (OHAI Animal Collective!!!!) Me being an arse aside, the track is a very nice example of modern minimalistic synth-pop. If this was blasted around a dancefloor then people would go ape-shit for the stripped-down, tribalistic percussion and spacey vocals. For such a basic sounding piece the track is actually intricately layered, and as a result never ever becomes boring. The bridge, with its moreish three-part harmony that fattens up the sound beautifully, is definitely needed half-way through so we can cross the torrent of keyboards, but even without it the listener would be able to doggy-paddle across. Waveforms is a banker to be popular amongst Halls of Residence and club connoisseurs.
It’s an excellent day for fans of The Drums, as their new single Money is released alongside Portamento, the follow-up album to last-years self-titled venture. The initial obsession with The Drums many people had in 2010 has slightly waned (as it is destined to do with any band that comes hurtling into the limelight), which could actually prove to be a positive thing in terms of their own personal sound. Money sounds much more mature and rounded than previous release Let’s Go Surfing, which in hindsight now almost sounds like a cliché to the indie-pop music genre (or perhaps I’ve maybe just heard it too much). Despite the maturing of the band’s sound, the same basic core of The Drums still resounds throughout – they’re not something I’d choose to listen too normally, but it’s nice to see a modern era band with a recognisable sound that they have made their own. Jonathan Pierce’s vocals normally don’t really appeal to me, but they seem to slot in much more naturally on Money than when I’ve heard tracks by The Drums in the past – it’s almost as if I now ‘Get’ what they’ve been doing for the past few years, whereas many people already have done.
By heck, we’ve had some strange names for bands in this week’s round-up, and to carry on the trend we have MK1 and Lazee with Money or Luck. They remind me immediately of a reputable version of N-Dubz…except that this version has a lot more talent. Lazee sounds rather similar to Lady Sovereign to me (that’s probably a really bad thing to say, but I love LS) and brings shedloads of atmosphere and determination to the track. With the recent explosion of dubstep into the mainstream music scene, it’s inevitable that artists will try to implement the trend into their tracks – luckily Mk1 possess dub validity and ability, which allows them to streamline the bass wobble of dub along with grime/garage overtones. Played loud and with a completely open mind, you could very easily fall for Money or Luck. If you’re closed-off and instantly dismissive then don’t bother and go listen to scene shit.
We have Adventure’s Rio next. It’s another lovely example of modern-day electronica, as previously seen with Django Django. This time however, things are slightly more upbeat and a little less spacey. The single finishes at a massive 5:23, but Benny Boeldt was never going to exactly storm the charts, so why not experiment a bit!? It’s a really nice, lucid track that slowly burrows under your skin and makes you think. Rather New Order-esc, each individual listener will get a totally different experience out of Rio – some will feel passionate love and joy, whereas others are going to embrace a fair amount of sorrow and melancholy. I like the fact that we’re not being spoon-fed an emotion – it makes the music feel much more natural and naïve. A cracker!
After waffling on about what a modern synth band sounds like, then perhaps Teeth are showing us what the future will be like! They release Flowers this week. As much as I’ve praised previous singles for their layered sound, it’s also nice to hear this stripped-down, lo-fi effort by Teeth. The far-away female vocals are like a modern Human League, as is much of the single itself. The looped synth and electronic drums link together well and never become boring or stale, thanks to their raw, garish power. Flowers is what a hyperactive child would compose on a keyboard after drinking four litres of Coke – and we always want to go back to our childhood!
My single of the week goes to The Drums with Money. I never thought I’d give The Drums a single of the week, but I really like this one. They sound like they have come of age quite a bit. Perhaps I shall start investing more listening time on them…