Tagged: Alternative

LIVE: Pumarosa, Gorilla, Manchester (1/12/17)

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Isabel Munoz-Newsome, Pumarosa (photo: Martin Allen)

After seeing Pumarosa earlier this year at Manchester’s Soup Kitchen, I was somewhat surprised to see the band playing a venue as large as Gorilla seeing as they are still relatively under-the-radar. Their stunning debut album The Witch was released earlier this year via Fiction Records to widespread critical acclaim, so they have certainly earned their right to play a venue this big.

The band were delightfully warmed up by the completely bonkers VÏSTA, who burst onto the stage wearing a Christmas jumper, which he later removed to reveal a turquoise gilet. He then claimed that the stage was too dirty and coincidentally happened to have a broom with him to clean up. The pinnacle of his craziness was when he started a song by pressing the space bar on his laptop using a huge plank of wood. One of his songs, Whisper, featured the lyrics: “This bitch was Skyping me daily / stopping me from living my life / I want to do a Tom Daley / come out and do a 100ft dive”, which would sound equally at home on a grime track. He ended his set barefoot stood on top of a barstool… which is I’m sure is how many middle aged Mancunian revellers doing karaoke ended their night too!

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Isabel Munoz-Newsome, Pumarosa (photo: Martin Allen)

Then, the venue was rapidly filled with a thick fog of dry ice, before Isabel Munoz-Newsome and co. took to the stage. Pumarosa began their set with Dragonfly, one of my favourite tracks released this year, featuring her hugely underrated, iconic guitar beating (if you’ve ever seen Pumarosa live, you will know what I mean…)

They really are an effortlessly cool band, so it’s not difficult to see why Depeche Mode chose them as the support act for their European tour early next year, or why Interpol invited them to be their support act in Mexico. Honey sounded brain-pummelingly, mindbogglingly incredible in a live setting. Lyrically, it discusses climate change and the politically turbulent time we are living in and musically, it is so euphoric and genuinely gave me goosebumps because of its sheer intensity.

Barefoot showcased Munoz-Newsome’s unique, hauntingly beautiful vocals and during The Witch, she danced around the stage in a ritualistic, ceremonial fashion. I have never witnessed a band other than Pumarosa who can so perfectly make their music sound like the end of the world and to put it simply, I want to see them headline Brixton Academy and there is no reason they can’t reach that level of success. Their music is dark, euphoric, sexy, mysterious, industrial, post-apocalyptic and so much more… certainly the power of their music felt far too much for the four walls of Gorilla.

Tracks such as Red and Priestess encouraged everyone to dance and people were visibly getting really into it and moving uncontrollably. Snake sounded cosmic with a hint of 90s and funk influences. For the encore, things took a classic rock turn for My Gruesome Loving Friend. Sadly, the band chose not to play Cecile, but then again, Pumarosa don’t play by the rules. And I love them for it.

Review: Conor Giblin

Django Django – In Your Beat

Brand new from the mighty Django Django is the wonderfully trippy In Your Beat, taken from their forthcoming album Marble Skies, due out on 26 January 2018. The album – which will also include previous single Tic Tac Toe – will feature guest appearances from Metronomy’s Anna Prior, and Rebecca Taylor of Slow Club.

Django Django – In Your Beat

LIVE: PVRIS, o2 Academy, Birmingham (23/11/17)

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PVRIS, Birmingham, 23/11/17 (photo: Arta Gailuma)

US alt-rock outfit PVRIS played one of their biggest shows to date at the sold-out 3,000-capacity o2 Academy in Birmingham.

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PVRIS, Birmingham, 23/11/17 (photo: Arta Gailuma)

The three-piece – consisting of Lynn Gunn, Alex Babinski, and Brian MacDonald, from Lowell, Massachusetts – kicked off with their single Heaven to begin a set heavily-loaded with songs from their second album All We Know Of Heaven, All We need Of Hell.

The set also delved into some of their older material too, with some from their 2014 album White Noise. For songs both old and new,  fans were excited and energetic throughout, with a brief respite in the middle of the evening for the stripped back Same Soul.

The stage was set up with two drum sets; including one for Gunn, who added some drumming reinforcements at the end of Half, and also for the big finish for encore song No Mercy. It was a strong end to what had been a powerful and utterly compelling performance from a band whose cross-genre style has found a sizeable following and which has of late generated plenty of hype… the kind that in their case is absolutely warranted.

Photos: Arta Gailuma

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Featurette – Upside Down

A beauty of an off-kilter track from Canadian electronic duo Featurette, Upside Down is an ode to the strangely mixed-up world we live in nowadays.

The Toronto-based pair of Lexie Jay and Jon Fedorsen create a richly-layed sound that is synth-heavy, slick and smooth, yet with an air of unpredictability that makes it a less than comfortable first listen but goes on to get well and truly stuck in your brain. In that sense, it’s a little Phantogram-esque… and that’s a very good thing.

Featurette – Upside Down

CHUNG – What You’re On

With a sound that feels like it has been beamed down from an altogether different place, CHUNG landed in our inbox with this beast of a debut track.

Out today, What You’re On is the first offering from the South London brothers whose expansive electro-pop sound really is something to behold. We think they will be well worth catching live at their forthcoming show on 25/11 at Tooting Tram & Social – details here.

CHUNG – What You’re On

LIVE: Spinning Coin, Heartbreakers, Southampton (31/10/17)

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Spinning Coin, Southampton, 31/10/17 (photos: Ant Penny)

Spinning Coin hail from from Glasgow, and are currently on a UK tour to promote the release of debut album Permo. This gig was the third night of the tour, where they brought their eclectic mix of jangly guitar and vocal harmony laden anthems to relatively new Southampton venue Heartbreakers.

That word ‘eclectic’ seems to sum this band up, both in image and sound. To look at, they all could be playing in different bands; ‘bookended’ by the two most interesting-looking members: the keyboard player on one side, noticeable just as much for her Russian hat and dancing as for her keyboard playing, and the bass player on the other looking dapper with smart shirt and trousers, this wide variety of styles seems to sum up their diverse musical output too. Continue reading

Jade The Moon – Hotels

New from Canadian band Jade The Moon is Hotels, a song inspired by the experience of living out of a suitcase for a touring life on the road.

The track is from the upcoming album 11:11 which is set for release in early 2018. The band – made up of  Vancouver singer-songwriter Jade Moon and Toronto-based production team Bad Cop // Mean Cop – said of the album: “It’s a collection of tracks we can best describe as musical photographs. A moment in time turned dance party, true story turned love song, a daydream turned erie alt pop lullaby. These new songs truly reflect our stories. Although very personal and coming from very different places, our collective experiences feel somewhat universal.”

Jade The Moon – Hotels

LIVE: Little Dragon, o2 Academy, Bristol (30/10/17)

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Little Dragon, Bristol, 30/10/17 (© Sync Music Blog)

One of the bands close to the very top of our hitlist of acts to see live was Little Dragon, a group with a pretty phenomenal track record when it comes to innovative, inventive music. Formed in Gothenburg just over 20 years ago, the quartet have spent most of their career ‘below the line’ somewhat, rarely bothering the upper echelons of the charts. This is mostly to do with their material being more predisposed to a more selective, perhaps even cult following than the mass market, but it’s all the better for it.

Much of this live performance was given over to the kind of stuff you are very unlikely to ever catch on the radio. There was all sorts there though, from trip-hop to dream pop and indietronica to trance, all delivered in Little Dragon’s own unique world; an otherworldly place full of bright lights and neon, with lead singer Yukimi Nagano – whose occasional tantrums in the studio when the group first formed inspired what would later become the band’s name – an energetic and entrancing stage presence throughout. Continue reading

BACKTRACK: Gomez – Get Myself Arrested

Gomez Bring It OnAs they announce a 2018 tour to mark the 20th anniversary of their classic album Bring It On, we thought we would mark the occasion with a Backtrack from one of our favourite bands of all time, the mighty Gomez.

It’s so rare nowadays that these guys perform together, even though some of their number – perhaps most notably the husky-voiced Ben Ottewell – more regularly do their solo thing. But this tour will see them perform their classic debut LP in full for the first time and it will be an absolute must-see. The brilliant Get Myself Arrested is one we’ll be especially looking forward to, along with the first Gomez track we ever heard, Here Comes The Breeze.

Dates are Brighton (24/4/18), Nottingham (25), Dublin (27), Glasgow (28), Leeds (29), Manchester (1/5), Bristol (2), and London (3). Ticket info here from Friday 27 October.

Gomez – Get Myself Arrested

LIVE: Sløtface, The Joiners, Southampton (18/10/17)

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Sløtface, Southampton, 18/10/17 (photo: Phoebe Reeks)

Norwegian pop-punk rockers, Sløtface formed back in 2012 and have since released four EPs and their recent debut album, Try Not to Freak Out. They took to the Joiners in Southampton as part of their extensive UK and Europe tour celebrating its release.

Sløtface are known for their political activism and challenging societal issues such as gender inequality, and how the media represents young people and women. This is reflected in songs such as Magazine, an energetic track which kicked off the set. Continue reading

LIVE: Meadowlark, Talking Heads, Southampton (12/10/17)

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Meadowlark, Southampton, 12/10/17 (photo: Phoebe Reeks)

Meadowlark returned to Southampton to play an intimate gig at The Talking Heads as part of their UK tour marking the release of debut album Postcards. The band – comprising Kate McGill and Dan Broadley – have been doing their thing for a few years now, steadily building a committed following along the way.

The audience were captivated by the duo throughout the night, listening intently and clearly enjoying themselves. In addition to the band’s enchanting performance, their clever lighting set-up made for a very atmospheric show, with the lights flashing in sync with the beat of the music. Continue reading

INTERVIEW: The Big Moon

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Juliette Jackson, The Big Moon (© Sync Music Blog)

The Big Moon‘s tour comes to a conclusion next week, with the intrepid foursome having been on the road for almost a month. Conor Giblin caught up with Juliette Jackson and Celia Archer from the band back at the start of their run of dates to chat about their Mercury Prize nomination, the experience of touring with Marika Hackman and plans for the future… Continue reading

TRACK OF THE WEEK: Avante Black – Acid Love

Steadily gaining profile, Avante Black have been on our radar for a good long while now. Former tracks Drug Money and Make A Mess have both featured on past Sync Lists and it’ll come as no surprise to know that latest single Acid Love will be appearing on the next one when our latest playlist is unleashed upon an unsuspecting world next week.

This four-piece London-based collective – fronted by Swede Ottilia Zimmerman Kjulsten – clearly have that knack when it comes to catchy yet slightly leftfield pop, and they’ve struck gold again with this one. It’s delicately and neatly produced, with smooth, confident vocals, and strong earworm-quality hooks.

Don’t miss the chance to catch them for an intimate show at London’s Servant Jazz Quarters on 11 December – tickets here.

Avante Black – Acid Love

LIVE: Tora, The Lexington, London (9/10/17)

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Tora, London, 9/10/17 (© Sync Music Blog)

Midway through a huge month-long European tour, Australian group Tora came to London’s Lexington for a sold-out show full of sublime tunes from start to finish.

The quartet from Byron Bay – Jo Loewenthal, Jai Piccone, Thorne Davis, Shaun Johnston – are entirely DIY in their approach, seamlessly blending electronic production with organic instrumentation to create an immersive and wholly engaging sound.

There’s a soulful groove to what they do – something that comes through loud and clear on listening to their debut album Take A Rest. But the live proposition elevates things further still, enabling you to feel as much as hear the music. Continue reading

Ardyn – Life Happens

The law of averages suggests that Ardyn eventually have to put out something we don’t absolutely love. Well, the Gloucestershire brother-sister duo are clearly not aware of any such rule, having today unveiled yet another beauty.

Finely-crafted pop tune Life Happens is just the latest addition to a wonderfully evolving, maturing sound that is seeing their material seemingly explore new directions on each new song. We initially heard it during their set at the Dot To Dot Festival back in May but the finished version is next level. Life affirming stuff.

Ardyn – Life Happens