Mix 21

Who are we rooting for in 2013? Part TWO of our Writer’s Hints, Tips and Allegations…

By jove, the end of the year is fair rushing up. Diwali has been and gone; the lights are up for Hanukkah. We’ve decorated and spray painted a bare branch stuck in the ground outside our house, before zip tying 100 fairy lights to it (solar powered of course).

You think I’m joking? Due to that kidney I sold a while back, we now live in a real posh neighbourhood and it’s great to see the looks of dismay on our neighbours’ faces as we add yet another small insult to living near us.

Anyhow, I’m doing my best not to read anyone else’s lists as I edit this lot from our talented crack team of writers. This is Part Deux, the final instalment will be along shortly.

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Death At Sea

Death At Sea Manchester IMG 3250

Liverpool five piece Death At Sea are invading their noisy punk-pop territory with real vim and vigour! Their debut limited edition 7” AA-side single ‘Drag’ / ‘Selfless’.Depicted a band at home in their skins, as they effortlessly produce keening melodies riding waves of gloriously hi-fi cartwheeling fuzz pop redolent of Husker Duand early Ash. Indeed ‘Drag’ is all swaggering guitars and lip curling melodies(‘When he’s with her she bleeds glitter’) fizzy rhythms it makes deadweight heartbreak and low self esteem sound positively electric! The frenectic ‘Selfless’ speeds past in a mess of arms and limbs like an early Cribs cut at it’s heart almost 60s-like woos and rumble pop let’s itself off the leash in hedonistic dance of abandon and brutal honesty: it’s the head rushing soundtrack to a night out where anything feels possible! With a burgoning live reputation documented by our very own Mike Hughes, Death At Sea will be one to keep eyes and ears on this year.

(Bill Cummings)

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The Understudies

 understudies

The critics love an indiepop band, it’s true, but one group of smartly-dressed, well-read sophisticates are about ready to break through the glass ceiling and become a very different kind of pop band indeed. You know, one that real, actual people like. Though they’ve been around in differing formations for a couple of years and are increasingly beloved across Europe, Brian Bryden and his band, newly augmented with a fresh squall of second guitar, are just about ready to unleash their debut album proper which will feature forthcoming single ‘Erika K’. Their style crosses the boundaries of Smiths-like savvy to ride the occasional wave of crashing noise, bound in consistency by Luke Haines influenced hooks and grimly humorous lyrics, assuring that any right-thinking music fan will have them on their must-see list for the coming year.

https://twitter.com/Under_studies

(Michael James Hall)

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LOOM

LOOM November 2012

LOOM knocked the ‘B’ off the front of the name early on in the year, but to ‘B’ or not ‘to be’ the now renamed Loom look set for one hell of a 2013. They have started whispers circulating with their edgy, exciting and eminently watchable live show, whipped up by the crowd-confronting and menacing vox-with-attitude Tarik Badwan. On the basis of just a five-song set (which includes the unreleased killer thriller No Control) and a December released 3-track limited cassette recorded work (with Bleed On Me and Misfits’ cover She), they have already managed to show that they are one of the hottest prospects around for the coming year and whet the appetite for what more this post punk/grunge quartet have in store.

(Linn Branson)

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AVEC SANS

AvecSansPressShot

Avec Sans bounced mysteriously onto the scene with their electro-dance duo ways back in August. Their cover of Bon Iver’s ‘Perth’ was a big pull on Soundcloud’s servers, whatever you think of the original (which in this house is  pretty much “meh”). Then their first self-penned track ‘Heartbreak Hi’  had us me dad-dancing round the kitchen table. They upped the ante in November with their second self-penned number ‘The Answer’. This time there was even a bit of bio, telling us that the band comprises Alice Fox and Jack St James. This track starts out a tiny bit quietly spoken, until that is, it doesn’t so much drop as leap off into space very hard indeed. I’m trying hard to work out the ‘ingredient X’ in here. The answer is that this is unashamed dance-pop, not afraid of its heritage, but intelligent enough to ensnare the hard-bitten and cynical (that’d be me). Just listen to the way the vocal is cut into slivers just before that drop. It’s like being at the butcher’s, only in a good way.

(Mike Hughes)

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STNNNG

Stnnng

Three albums in, Minneapolis’ STNNNG are still fairly unknown outside of their home state and other small in-the-know pockets of the US. This changed for a few hundred people witnessing their blazing ATP debut at Shellac’s Nightmare Before Christmas recently. With a fourth record due early next year, one of the most exciting live frontmen in recent memory and a fuckton of songs that bring post hardcore and punk screaming and choking into the headlights of pounding rocknroll, this is a band that will set the scene on fire this coming year. Get ready to feel the burn.

http://stnnng.net/

(Michael James Hall)

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Heart-Ships

 heart ships

We got the tip off about six piece Heart-Ships from their irrepressible performance at Leeds festival in the Summer of 2011. With only a handful of tracks on show the promise is certainly there for this quirk-folk-pop collective.

Since they formed last year, comparisons have been cast forth like fishing nets but instantly cut adrift by Heart-Ships’ refusal to conform. Wild Beasts, Modest Mouse and Neutral Milk Hotel – the influences may be there in the middle distance, but their twisted pop sound is fiercely eccentric. “Heart of a Wrestler (A Young Man’s Struggle for Strength)” in particular is one of the best new pieces of music I’ve heard in the last twenty four months. A vignette that vividly transports you to the mind’s eye of a young restless man, skewed visions ride their songs waves that from delicate, quirky almost meek toward ramshackle bearchested and masculine in the course of a few minutes.Ryan Cooke’ vocals gowing from insecure and whispy, a rhythmic creak envelops, whilst it strums starboard toward a cresendo fixed with rum soaked pirate singalongs, foot stomping hollers and mad eye’d calls to arms. Their new track ‘Pinhole of Light’ below is an exhibition their continued confidence. Replete with crashing crescendos, crafty rhythms that dance fiendishly in the moonlight and intense communal narratives led by singer Ryan that weave their way into your subconsciousness and out again before bursting like explosions in the sky. It’s quite brilliant twisted pop of the kind that we desperately cherish.

Mumford and Sons may have defined the sensitive communal singalong for some in the last few years, but with their emotional juxtaposition of sensivity and brutality: Heart-Ships are casting forth to somewhere special we hope in 2013 we’re around to bare witness to it…
http://www.heart-ships.com

(Bill Cummings)

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THE WATCHMAKERS

watchmakers1

 

Are the Maitland brothers the new Gallaghers? Manchester’s latest psych-flavoured quarter The Watchmakers are dropping the haircuts, style and attitude a-plenty in the form of Rich (vocals/guitar) and Ian (drums) Maitland. Joining forces with Chris Lyons (bass) and Adam Lewis (guitar) in late 2011, so far they’ve only unleashed one debut demo in September, Before Questions Became, and played a handful of up-north gigs. But word is out that this early Verve/Velvet Underground inspired bunch are better than the real Oasis. 2013 will tell, but they have already got the likes of Inspiral Carpets’ and Xfm’s Clint Boon talking about them excitedly.

(Linn Branson)

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SWEARIN’

swearin

Long-time devotees of the DIY scenes in both New York and Philadelphia, Swearin’ are the culmination of years of experience in bands like PS Eliot, Bad Blood Revival and Big Eyes filtered through the influence of searing, sweet ’90s alt-pop. If you’ve ever thought fondly of the likes of Superchunk, Scrawl or The Breeders (maybe even Belly?) then this band will light up your indie-rock world. The release of their eponymous album earlier this year led them to a countrywide series of support slots with the mighty Japandroids and a whole ton of blog love. Even Pitchfork are getting in on the act with the album getting a 7.8 review and the bands seemingly endless touring finally seems to be yielding major results. With a UK visit still yet to happen, you’d best familiarise yourself with this glorious troop of Built To Spill-like chorus-hounds so that we’ll all be able to scream along when they finally reach these shores.
Go to their bandcamp and pick up the album for just $7 – if you don’t like it I’ll give you the money back myself.*

http://swearinnyc.tumblr.com
http://swearin.bandcamp.com/

 *I won’t as I don’t have any money but you see my intention.
Editor’s note, this offer is made by (Michael James Hall) and no-one else!!

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Felix Hagan and the Family

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When was the last time Britain produced a proper frontman? You know, in the tradition of Jagger, Mercury, Bon Scott, Nick Cave? Can you even name the weird-voiced guy from Alt-J, or the head somnambulists from The Vaccines or Spector? Can you fuck.
Felix Hagan is one such frontman, to the extent that it’s hard to imagine him anywhere but on stage. Where does this Highwayman/Cassanova/Shakespearian Fool go when he’s not performing? He’s a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in increasingly fantastic pairs of trousers.

When he and his outrageously talented backup band The Family are thrashing and stomping and sweating profusely through their signature brand of – if we have to give it a name – Victorian glam punk, and the person next to you turns, wide-eyed and says “This! I want to be in a band like THIS!”, it feels like the only live music you’ll ever want to hear again. Every gig is an endless succession of moments that you want to immediately share with everyone you know, whether you ended up box-stepping arm in arm with a total stranger, or waltzing with backing singers Tash and Ellie to a song about a murderous prostitute.
There’s a rare sense of camaraderie to this music, both on record and in a live setting, but not in the us-vs.-them way that gets mistaken for progressive. Nope, this is more “Here’s Us, now let’s go and get Them and they can be part of Us too, and then let’s all put on hats and dance until there’s blood in our sweat.” It seems like an obvious point, but actual songwriting is increasingly being jettisoned in favor of a look, or a sound, but Felix Hagan and the Family don’t have a single flat moment in their entire recorded output.
Felix Hagan and the Family have just signed to Debt Records, and there’ll be an EP out in January as well as a few new videos, including “Sing Your Last Lullaby,” in which Felix will (obviously) play Jesus. You can buy their independently recorded album “Dawn Breaks, the Monster Wakes” over at their bandcamp.

 (Duncan Vicat-Brown)

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.