Music

Preview: The Libertines & Blackwaters | Live From Times Square 2017

The kings of the 00’s, The Libertines, do not need a recap of their legacy nor do they need to be presented in a false, glittering light of fantasised praise in order to sell some show tickets. Even though the enthusiasm surrounding their ‘return’ is beginning to curb, and ticket holders are slowly segregating themselves as the ones who haven’t travelled for a live glimpse of the boys in the band – if you put them on, the fans will buy their way in, they will hound the bar staff for more beer and there will be a showcase of unruly jiving under the stars.

In only its second season, the Live From Times Square gigs already have a cumbersome reputation surrounding them. This time around, Leftfield and Manchester darlings, James, have been seen ploughing through Newcastle upon-tynes city centre.  Following in their wake is the purveyors of havoc, The Libertines, the Manic Street Preachers – who have the mighty Cribs as a support act – and also a special performance from Brian Wilson Presents Pet Sounds.

So, even though the Libs performing the likes of ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’, ‘Gunga Din’ and ‘Time For Heroes’, is enough to get anybody staggering down to Times Square; SSD Concerts have gone one step further in securing an evening to remember.  Welcome to the bill: Maximo Park, Blackwaters and The Pale White.

Maximo Park

Not a man, not a machine, just your friendly neighbourhood band whose roots are still firmly planted in the cutthroat industry of music, seventeen years after they were sown.  They are a group you could see a platoon swarming too, at perhaps a Glastonbury main stage, yet are still – and probably always will be – Maximo Park from Newcastle, who continues to cut their teeth at The Cluny.  The veterans are somewhat Geordie heroes (remember how many times they managed to play Evolution Festival?) and a slot at Times Square is almost a humble homecoming.

Unlike The Libertines, who have been around for three years longer in length, Maximo Park has never called a hiatus on their project.  Expect scintillating energy from burly men when ‘Apply Some Pressure’ blasts, and prepare yourself for an electrifying assault on your perception of Maximo Park – the boys are back in town and they still have the same glint in their eyes.

Blackwaters

The pioneers in this ‘Jarr’ed up Generation’, Blackwaters, make their return to Newcastle, fresh faced from a triumphant summer season which has included Isle of Wight Festival and the ever-challenging conditions of Y NOT Festival… No bill is too intense and no crowd is safe from the savage wrath of Blackwaters’ heated punk-revival noise.  Whether this is to be your first slice of Blackwaters or your fifth riding the hazy wave; the This Feeling favourites will undoubtedly manage to suspend you in a place of sheer fear.  Keep your eyes peeled and your wits about you as Blackwaters are warming up for a murder party, and you are the next victim of the following.

The Pale White

A developing adoration for The Pale White is sprawling out across the country in a vivacious manner.  The home grown three-piece have found themselves plonked on a tour with only Readings’ Amazons later this year, allowing them to prove their weight in gold even before they begin.  Set to first and foremost open the stage for The Libertines in Times Square, what can we really expect from The Pale White?  Compelling vigour and an arousing show of dark and stormy indie rock, and that is just for starters.  The main course will see dramatised guitar riffs bouncing from the front of the pit to the back of the crowd, causing a serious stir and a resonating idea of “hey, these guys are actually areet” popping into bubbles above heads.  Ding, ding, ding – light bulb moment.

So, as you see it isn’t all about The Libertines (we are totally lying, it so is) there are a handful of bands on this bill who you can sure to expect to be in the same position in a blue moons time.  Prepare to be blown away by the sheer strength of this line-up.  We will be seeing you soon.

Ella Scott
@ellalascott

Music

Gaffa Tape Sandy | ‘Beehive’

Honestly, have you heard a better band name currently circulating the indie music blogs of the internet or darting off the tongues of music moguls, then Gaffa Tape Sandy?

Their name is as cutthroat as their sound and their sound is as rough and gruff as you can imagine a band named Gaffa Tape Sandy would be.

They are a three-piece from Bury Saint Edmunds in Suffolk but their American twang, their jangly garage riffs, and overall still-wet-behind-the-ears DIY atmosphere screams the big-time.  Say your goodbyes to Suffolk guys, the renowned venues in the big smoke and those across the pond are howling your name.

To introduce you into the boisterous world of Gaffa Tape Sandy, BBC Introducing has kindly recorded an electrifying live version of the bands’ track ‘Beehive’, from that little festival down South called Glastonbury.

If you are sold on a band live then you don’t even need to hear them recorded.  Side-splitting vocal harmonies contrasting against each other create a sense of chemistry on stage.  The classic lead guitar, bass, and drums combination have been molded to sound like a collective, rather than solo attributes adding to the band.

Taking these two elements of Gaffa Tape Sandy allows you an insight into what they sound like.  Not who they are, not what they do, not what they are interested in: what they sound like.  They breathe life into the idea of being a band – not three solo artists up on stage together. They are the brash Gaffa Tape Sandy, not just three friends who thought it would be cool to make a band in 2015.

You sense this detailed idea immediately in the introduction to ‘Beehive’.  The drummer timely chimes the symbol, the bass player follows the lead guitar and the lead guitar lends itself to the drummer to keep time. The track is then enhanced by the lead singers vocal, another layer to this well-oiled machine.  The foundations are set and sturdy. 48 seconds in we see the cogs of Gaffa Tape Sandy spin: the raucous noise takes over and we immerse ourselves in this pleasurable experience.  We burst with excitement.

‘Beehive’ is set to be Gaffa Tape Sandy’s next single.  What this means is that ears of the world are about to be flung open and this three-piece are about to have an almighty boost. Catch them now while you still can.

Listen to ‘Beehive’ below.

Ella Scott
@ellalascott

Music

Repetitive Rhythms: Songs of the week (3-9 July)

Mahalia – Sober

Has eighteen-year-old Mahalia perhaps just soundtracked the feeling of coming to terms with not being in love? In a whirlwind of hate-fuelled snapshots of women rising above toxic relationships and calling time on negativity, Mahalia is a breath of fresh air for those of us who just need to come to terms with a situation of change.

Honey-suckle vocals cocktail with a cool slice of 90’s R&B, bringing Mahalia into the foreground of 2017.  The retro track plays like a slightly warped record; the fuzziness combines with the crisp, harmonising vocal to make a seriously sweet, modern ode to a bittersweet epiphany. An updated break-up track everybody needs in their artillery, we are tipsy on Mahalia’s radiating tone of realisation.  We cannot help but aspire to deal with our troubles the way Mahalia does so passionately.

Maddy Storm – Tempest

Anybody who rises above the odds and expectations of BIMM (British Institute of Modern Music) is a golden ticket in my book.  However, ethereal songstress, Maddy Storm might just be the leader of the starry-eyed pack.  Her brand-new single, ‘Tempest’ is a nothing less than a power ballad, used to form the ideology that Storm’s voice reigns supreme, and is far beyond its years.  Guitar riffs with a gothic edge and the mysterious – what sounds like – synth creeping in the background pale next to Storm’s resounding vocal.  If you ever needed a voice, you have bloody got one now.

Storm’s ‘Tempest’ is released on July 14, with a special launch night planned at Jimmy’s MCR on the 15.

Liam Gallagher – Chinatown

If LG keeps releasing mega tunes at this rate, he is going to be featured on Repetitive Rhythms every week.  We at Cigarette Sounds are definitely not sorry. ‘Chinatown’ is the official second single to be taken from his imminent solo record As You Were.  Although the abstract lyrics are raising eyebrows (“Well the cops are taking over/while everyone’s in Yoga”) and the simplicity of the guitar lines can be brought to our attention; we can’t help to appreciate ‘Chinatown’ as one of LG’s softest, heartfelt tracks we have heard to date.  Can we believe that the voice is back?  No.  Will we ever stop banging on about it? Probably not.

The Roov – Dreams

There is no sweeter feeling than pride swelling in your chest from seeing that band you are head-over-heels in love with rising from rock bottom to the tip-top of any festival bill.  Believe in the unsigned, because ultimately they are the future of music.  An untainted four-piece with a twinge of DMA’s in their vocal chords, The Roov, have recently put out their debut single, ‘Dreams’.

Poking at the idea that they could perhaps be your unsigned claim-to-fame, ‘Dreams’ is the ultimate jangly ode to progressive rock.  Seriously 70’s-influenced percussion makes up the body of ‘Dreams’, perfectly paired with the 90’s style vocal of gruff frontman, Frankie Ralph.  A song dripping with era trends is an excellent showcase to what The Roov is about – now to square up and swim in their own current.  Cigarette Sounds will be keeping their eyes peeled.

Ella Scott
@ellalascott

 

 

Music

Repetitive Rhythms: Songs of the Week (26 June-2 July)

St. Vincent – New York

Have we ever heard St. Vincent in a more raw, revealing and vulnerable state? The first minute of ‘New York’ easily sees Annie Clark putting her sublime, electronically-tuned vocal to a simple keyboard melody.  “I have lost a hero/I have lost a friend/but for you darling/I’d do it all again” pipes St. Vincent in the most gloriously, teary way possible. An angel without wings, St. Vincent’s comeback track ‘New York’ is a simple art form.

Arcade Fire – Signs Of Life

The Arcade Fire disco odyssey continues with this smorgasbord of funky, slick sounds.  Its as if they have taken a spoonful of marmite and hurled it at their fans – do you still love them, or is the ABBA tribute outfit divided your opinion?

Tyler, The Creator – Who Dat Boy

“Who dat boy? Who him is?”.  All hail the return of the modern-day controversialist rapper,  Tyler, The Creator.  We missed you boy, and so has the whole of Manchester apparently, as every teenager who has a car seems to have their windows rolled down, with ‘Who Dat Boy’ blasting through the sunny streets.  Intensely deep and horrifyingly menacing, ‘Who Dat Boy’ is a pioneering step in a not-so-diverse direction for Tyler, The Creator.

The Killers – ‘The Man’

Strange Bones vs Avelino FT. Stormzy & Skepta – Energy

Desire – Under Your Spell

Yes, this is from the Drive soundtrack and yes, this is about five/six years old.  However, due to a recent incident, this has been the main soundtrack to my week.  What can I say, I am a sucker for a song that gets my feelings.

Lifestyle · Music

A Friendless Festival Season

Music festivals usually combine three main components: a copious amount of cheap beer at a ludicrous price, some of the top musical acts gracing the planet and, ultimately the most crucial element for most, spending time with your nearest and dearest mates in a muddy field.

However, what happens when Arcade Fire are headlining a festival 6 hours away and the realisation hits hard that you do not appear to have the third ingredient of friends to make your festival experience reach its peak?  The solution, go by yourself.

Daunting? A lil’ bit.  Sad?  Not at all.

As a T in the Park veteran, where I attended in its penultimate year with a group of fifteen guys and gals, I would never have thought in my wildest dreams that three years later, I would be waking up in a tent at 10 am, grabbing my first bevy and making my way down to the main arena to spend the day making friends, eating good festy food and seeing some serious killer bands, all by myself.

So, why has my friendless festival season been so positive?  Surely I got lonely?  Well, yeah.  It is all well and good lending a boy a lighter and then striking up a conversation about why you chose Trampolene as your headline act over David Guetta and Jonas Blue, but it isn’t the same as having a jolly brill dance off in a tiny tent with your best mate, is it?

The reason my friendless festival season has been such a success is ultimately that I went for music.  I went for the second of the three elements that make up a festival experience.  I went so that I could jump around at the back of the crowd to Catfish and the Bottlemen blasting ‘Soundcheck’, I went because I wanted a slice of Peaches’ ‘Vaginaplasty’ in my life and I went because I am bloody passionate about music.

If nobody wants to go see The Blinders with you, on a Saturday afternoon, then why should that stop you from going to see them, and doing what you want?

The moral of what I’ve learned, personally, from a friendless festival season is: that if you immerse yourself deeply in festival culture and relish in the idea that you are there totally and solely there because you just want to be, then you can survive.  And, to add – as long as you come to terms with the fact that you are there for you, then you can do it. Bloody hell, if I can manage to get two trams, four trains, two ferries, a taxi and a water boat to a festival by myself, then you can do any journey possible.

Basically, what I am trying to say is go to the music festival alone if nobody wants to come with you – don’t miss out on an opportunity of a lifetime to see your favourite band, just because you do not have somebody to stand next to and drink Jack Daniels with until 4 am.  Sleep is underrated at a festival, seriously.

Ella Scott
@ellalascott

Lifestyle · Manchester · Music

Finishing First Year of University 2.0

Okay so I might not have exactly passed yet – I received 34% on an exam I took before summer so that’s getting sorted in a couple months – but my first year of university is almost (not officially) over!

It has been a weird old year in Manchester and spellbindingly diverse in comparison to last year.  Innocent me taking on the world in the heart of Manchester with some acquaintances that would come to me when they fancied a night out (and vice versa) or wanted to lend some money (not so vice versa). Surprisingly, none of these people cast a shadow over my life anymore.

I also believed I was embarking on an odyssey where student life was concerned – safe to say I dropped out of my Music Journalism degree at the British and Irish Institute of Modern Music as soon as I realised this was a no-go area.  Best decision of my life to change courses to attend The University of Salford? I reckon so.

The 2016/17 academic year has firstly made me question the girl I was becoming.  I realised at The Warehouse Project in October 2016 that I needed to quit the life I had led for the past year.  Did I really want to go stand in a sweaty room of eighteen-year-olds, bouncing around to the ridiculously horrendous David Rodigan, pretending I was having a good time?  Did I really want to be downing double vodka oranges every other night in G-A-Y and stumbling home at 6 am? It just wasn’t me anymore and that was a really scary realisation.  I was the party girl and all of a sudden POOF.  Vanished. Weird, huh?

This idea that I was evolving was totally cemented in when I visited my best friend Kate Shepherd at York St. John’s University, and we attended at University of York student night at Fibbers… Never, ever again am I stepping foot in Fibbers. Give me a chilled night in Manchester’s Jimmy’s or Cane and Grain any day of the week. EVEN Soup Kitchen on a Saturday night!

I have sadly come to terms that I just do not like the partying student lifestyle anymore.  That might make me beige by your book but for me, it is probably my greatest epiphany of this academic year.

So once I stopped wishing DJ EZ was at South Nightclub every weekend I did not really replace this musical desire with anything.  The Libertines said “If  you’ve lost your faith in love and music oh the end won’t be long”.  And honestly music was lost on me.  I did not care.  I did not see a live band from November-May and I genuinely just was not interested.  I had given up hopes of writing about music and I was seriously at a loss.  What changed?  I decided I needed a hobby other than the gym, knew I was good at writing so started again.  Seriously as simple as that… I just did not want to run on a treadmill anymore.

In December I started writing for Gigslutz.co.uk again after taking a year hiatus to experiment with other things.  IE. Not do anything and was wasting away in my bedroom.  I gained the position of News Assistant and was then sent to Liverpool Sound City and Isle Of Wight Festival to become a roving festival reporter for the weekend.  As soon as I stepped through the gates of Sound City I knew this was what I was missing.  The hunger for live music, to discover the next-big-thing, to interview none other than Metronomy frontman, Joseph Mount – this is the gal I was.  I just lost her for a couple years.  Shout out to the Gigslutz team for allowing me back into your world so kindly – Mari Lane, Steve Aston, Becky Rogers and Melissa Svenson (who does a pretty cool podcast which can be listened to here https://soundcloud.com/modernstrife), you absolute angels.

So I rediscovered my passion in life, I ditched the nights out blah blah that is all well and dandy Ella but what did you achieve this year? Power over my own life.  I learnt to say “no” when I did not want a beer (I went to Funkademia at Mint Lounge and was buying rounds of lemonade and water for me and one of my favourite chefs at work AND was home by 2 am, sober.  It was a proud moment.)  I learnt to say “fuck it” when an opportunity I was desperate for popped up.   I learnt that my life was mine and the people that filled it was the people of my choice.  I learnt that I am twenty years old – I have plenty of time in my life to mess up one night and spend the next day lying in bed eating cold pizza from the night before, but right now, at twenty, all I want to do is make an impact in the music industry.

This year at university has taught me to be determined and I will get there, eventually.  I now know not to give up. Cliche? Cheesy?  Embarrassed?  All three, yes probably.

I have also managed to take my blog a hell of a lot more seriously this year.  I am not posting as much as I would like (hello life, nice to see you throwing things at me as always) but it has taken a serious turn in the upward direction. We celebrated our third Cigarette Sounds birthday in April of this year and we are definitely preparing for the milestone of the fourth.  There is no slowing down with this baby, we are speeding up in every single way possible.  Hopefully, soon I shall be able to settle down into a nice lil’ routine of blogging a few times a week, rather than a couple times a month… Here is to hoping. I do need  graphic designer to make Cigarette Sounds a bit more personal so if you are free, give me a holler.

Speaking of blogs, one of my gal pals from work, who also happens to be a sick manager too (Em definitely paid me to say that) Emily Brooks, started a blog this year after she was toying with the idea for so long.  It is a good little start-up, you should check it out at small-thoughts.com

Kate’s sister, Laura Shepherd, also started a blog earlier this year called My Northern Rose Blog which I heavily enjoy reading. It is extremely aesthetically pleasing and very satisfying, I lav it a lot, check it out here – www.mynorthernroseblog.com.

 

I do of course realise that I haven’t ACTUALLY talked about university throughout this entire piece and this is because honestly, this year is first year this year is the year you make mistakes and learn basics and NEXT year is the academic year which counts.  So eyes peeled for when I start to take education seriously… 

Shout out to all the girls in the industry who are killing it.  This time next year, I hope to be as close to my goals as you are.

ES X

Music

Repetitive Rhythms: Songs of the Week (19-25 June 2017)

Blackwaters – Down

The Luka State – 30 Minute Break
* This song is actually from 2014 (late to The Luka State-party) but since I discovered them at Isle Of Wight Festival 2017 this track has been on R E P E A T

The Horrors – Machine

Taylor Swift – Better Than Revenge

*Taylor Swift putting her entire discography back on Spotify is probably my worst/best nightmare, ever.  Now, go in the corner and think about what you did to me, Spotify.

Liam Gallagher – Wall of Glass

Touts – Political People

*Since I went to Liverpool Sound City I have been o-b-s-e-s-s-e-d with these three lads.  Phil Taggert’s one-to-watch, Touts have got it seriously going on.  If you’re Manchester-based, they’re performing at Gorilla with Proletariat on July 7. Get on this tickets now.

BETSY – Little White Lies

*A concoction of Clare Maguire and Cher hurt nobody, did it?  BETSY still remains one of my favourite rising females in the pop world, and ‘Little White Lies’ seriously does not disappoint.

The Pale White – Turn It Around
* Any band with a decent setup, raucous tunes AND from my hometown of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne gets a green tick against them where I’m concerned. I am utterly in awe of these lads, and you should be too.

Wolf Alice – Yuk Foo

RAY BLK – Doing Me
*Girl making me feel good for eating bagels in lounge pants and binge-watching past Smiths concerts instead of going out in the world and specialising in making friends… That is what I tell myself anyways