Adoring Still Life, the second track from enigmatic Liverpool-based group Two Islands. Retro yet fresh, it’s an effervescent, energetic slice of electro-pop that will lift the mood and get stuck in your head. Debut song Heaven was released earlier this year.
Two Islands – Still Life
It all sounded so promising. A pretty impressive line-up of bands old and new in a city centre location, the inaugural Hope & Glory Festival had all the makings of a special weekend. Sadly for many, it turned into something of a nightmare. Continue reading
Liverpool dream pop four-piece SPINN have unveiled the video to their latest song Notice Me. The video is a fairly simple performance piece up until the end when the band become almost parodies of themselves, looking like Pale Waves in their There Is A Honey video, and really just having the same kind of fun that their music evokes.
Notice Me was first made to actually gain some radio play from SPINN’s local BBC Introducing host, Dave Monks. The idea was to write a song about wanting the attention of Monks. Of the track, singer Jonathon Quinn said: “Notice Me started out as a way to get some radio play. We used to say it was a homage to BBC Radio Merseyside because when we wrote it we couldn’t get any radio play, and wanted to be noticed by them. The lyrics are a bit more meaningful, it’s essentially us trying to portray the concept of hero worship in a pop song.”
SPINN – Notice Me
With a little less than a fortnight until the brand new Hope & Glory Festival rolls into Liverpool, many are no doubt already preparing their Victoriana attire for the £1,000 prize fancy dress competition. But even if you’re not going to be able to prime your handlebar moustache in time, there are still many reasons to head along, not least a musical line-up that can only be described as eclectic.
Taking place in the city’s St George’s Quarter, the bill includes Reverend and the Makers, The Fratellis, Saturday headliners James, and what promises to be a truly memorable Sunday headline slot featuring Hacienda Classical and guests Shaun Ryder and Bez from the Happy Mondays. But throughout the list of bands performing, there are plenty of other Sync ‘must-sees’. We picked out five that are not to be missed if you’re heading along… Continue reading
Circa Waves brought their UK tour to London, showcasing second album Different Creatures. Their largely sold-out 12-date run comes to an end this week with shows in Norwich (3 April) and Cambridge (4) before the four-piece from Liverpool set off across Europe for the next few weeks.
They will be figuring at festivals throughout the summer, as well as some massive support slots later this year with the likes of Radiohead, The xx and Eminem. So we thought we’d grab the chance to shoot them in action in North London…
Photos: Jessica Piochon
We’ve been in love with this track for a little while now. Crosby is the debut release by London-based British-American singer-songwriter Azusena, whose atmospheric sound and brooding vocals remind us a little of the genius that is Fiona Apple.
A debut album is in the works and slated for release later this year.
Azusena – Crosby
The anticipation is short as an infamous techno song drops when the lights go out and Two Door Cinema Club enter the stage to blast through summer anthems Cigarettes in the Theatre, Undercover Martyn and Do You Want It All? This Liverpool crowd don’t need warming up as they immediately lose it simultaneously.
After the first four tracks it is obvious that 2010’s Tourist History is going to dominate this set despite the tour supporting recently-released third LP Gameshow. The group play their debut album in its entirety – with the exception of You’re Not Stubborn – and it’s no surprise because the tracks are still as strong now as they were back then, clearly finding a newer, younger audience along the way.
A showcase of Gameshow, their long awaited album, comes but it’s only short as they get back to the indie pop anthem crowd pleasers like Something Good Can Work.
The crowd sees a mix of ages, 20-somethings who grew up listening to the group because of TV shows like Skins or their first Reading and Leeds Festival experience, an older crowd who enjoy the light and feel good sound of the Northern Irish trio, and a student crowd who look at music from 2010 as, ‘vintage’ perhaps, after discovering the group.
During Ordinary, the pretty spectacular stage set shines – a light show that could make stadium shows envious – with colours and images matching their wonky pop sound.
A quick mention of the support act Sundara Karma who keep the momentum and energy high ahead of TDCC’s arrival. They’ve been touring and on the festival circuit for a couple of years now, picking up a following on the way. They look set to follow in similar footsteps as TDCC and that’s evident here as the crowd sing to arena-ready anthems She Said and Flame as if they are the main act they’ve come see.
But back to the headliners, the set built up to perhaps one of the most radio friendly hits I Can Talk which sees mosh pits, dancing, singing and plenty of sweat in the packed out Student’s Guild in Liverpool.
After a quick step-off stage Liverpool want them back for an encore. Anteros lead singer joins the guys to play Sun before they finish up with Someday and What You Know, the first an indie ballad that has the crowd chanting like they’re watching a headline set at a festival with no inhibitions and the latter being a time to party as people are propped on shoulders and the dancing starts again.
Two Door Cinema Club have the strong foundation of a debut album that has the ability to appeal for years to come, that’s clear tonight in the sold-out Student’s Guild, as they deliver a festival-style show to a dedicated crowd in a venue that’s way too modest for their huge performance.
Words: Johnny Yates / Photos (from the band’s Manchester show): Kitty Riddell
Uplifting and polished, our ears pricked up when we first heard the new single by Liverpool-based indie-pop/rock outfit Idle Frets. Out last month, Glow has the accomplished sound of a group that has been doing its stuff for a few years now and is maturing its sound nicely.
We caught up with the band to find out a little more about them and the evolution of their sound…
SYNC: First of all, can we have a quick introduction – who’s who in the band?
Dave Hennessy: There’s Ben Davies (lead vocals / guitar), me [David Hennessy] (guitar), Luke Lewis (bass in ya face!), Erin Gibson (drums), and Michael Jackson’s spirit (Ben’s dance moves).
SYNC: So what are your musical backgrounds and how did things get started for you as a band?
Hennessy: Despite coming from a very musical family, I loved music but was never actually interested in playing it when I was younger. One of my uncles lent me the first Arctic Monkeys record when I was 15/16 and I absolutely buzzed off it. Then it clicked and I thought, yep that’s what i want to do. From that point I was addicted to the guitar and the rest is history. Idle Frets have existed for ages with a different lineup. I’d been in a few bands when I was younger but around a year ago, Ferg (former bassist) left the band. Luke decided to play the bass and asked me to come play some guitar. I went down to a practice and loved the tunes. I think literally two months later we had written three new songs and had them recorded at Liverpool’s Parr Street studios.
SYNC: What influences and musical tastes have fed into the Idle Frets sound?
Luke Lewis: We’re all into various bands/artists and this changes all the time so it’s difficult to point a finger at anyone in particular but the ideology is that we make music we enjoy both listening to and playing live.
SYNC: What’s the Liverpool/North West music scene like right now? Are there other bands on the circuit that you think more people should know about?
Lewis: It’s incredible! There’s always something going on somewhere, it’s brilliant to be surrounded by so many talented people. My recent favourites to come out of Liverpool and the North West recently will have to be Clean Cut Kid and Bill Ryder-Jones but as for the circuits, there’s a band called Fake Street who I listened to the other day, they’re pretty damn decent.
SYNC: What’s in store for 2017? Are there live dates to come – and an album in the pipeline?
Lewis: There are plenty of shows to be announced and we’ve got more tunes up our sleeves too. Maybe even a few festivals, too! All shall be revealed in good time.
Way back at the start of 2016, Liverpool band Haarm put this debut beauty out and we’ve been listening to it pretty much ever since. At the time we said it carries a hint of Peter, Bjorn & John‘s Young Folks mixed with a bit of Saint Ettienne and listening to it today we stand by that.
Whatever the comparisons, Foxglove is a worthy inclusion in our top ten of 2016, and if follow-up track In The Wild is anything to go by, they will most certainly be ones to watch in 2017.
Haarm – Foxglove
Get It Loud In Libraries have been running for nine years now and can boast the likes of Florence + the Machine, Adele and The Vaccines in its history books – pun intended – so it seems apt that Lucy Rose embarks on her own library tour as it’s the perfect setting for her folk-rock sound.
The audience at Liverpool Central Library was treated to 90 minutes of stunning acoustic playing from Lucy and band member Alex, warmed up by Annie Eve. It’s refreshing to see a female singer-songwriter support another which Lucy later points out herself. She says she purposely wanted other women on the tour because it doesn’t make sense that it should always be women supporting men or vice versa.
It is clear that Lucy has a great connection with her fans, from stories about how she stayed at South American fans’ houses on her tour, to giving a job on her European tour to a fan who said she wanted to become a tour manager one day, and her interaction with the crowd in Liverpool which is so effortless with no airs and graces or scripts. She also takes requests throughout the night playing the likes of Night Bus, Shiver and Be Alright, despite a bit of a groan and regret at opening up requests, as she wants to play some of her more uplifting songs but she doesn’t disappoint as she kicks off with My Life and continues to play some of her best from album’s Like I Used To – this audience are keen to hear the bonus tracks in this rare live opportunity – and Work It Out.
She says she won’t talk between every song but that’s part of her charm on a live stage, between stories about how she’s the worst child out of her siblings because she sang at one of her sister’s wedding and not the others, as well as forgetting to record a ‘happy birthday’ message to her mum’s friend Jackie who she’s met once in her life. But then the crowd join in the recording as Lucy quips after that she’s now gone from the worst to the best child thanks to the audience participation.
The singer-songwriter has two studio albums under her belt and a recent live release Live at Urchin Studios which she is showcasing on this library tour but she says she has had doubts about recording another album with new material. However, fortunately she teases Liverpool with some new tracks including the wonderful Fernando which was inspired by her tour in South America.
It is fitting then that she wants to end on positive song Like An Arrow, a track which showcases the singer’s voice as she hits the stunning high notes despite asking the crowd to sing-a-long during the chorus because she doesn’t think she sings it very well. It is a lovely moment as the singer connects with fans in what was already a solid set.
Perhaps the doubts of LP number three come from the music industry today and the pressures to secure a multi-million selling number one album, but there is definitely a place for Lucy Rose in the music world and I’m sure the crowds at all the library shows will agree.
Review & Photo by Jonny Yates (@)
Lucy Rose – Like An Arrow
Debut track from Liverpool singer-songwriter Zuzu is Get Off, a lively mix of punk, grungy guitar, and neat harmonies.
Following a string of UK festival performances this summer, we can expect to see and hear a lot more from her soon. Catch her live on 25 November in Manchester.
Zuzu – Get Off
New from Liverpool-formed band Circa Waves comes T-Shirt Weather.
It’s summer vibe is perhaps a couple of months too soon, but we’re not complaining. This is an energetic and catchy new track building on the solid foundations laid by previous releases Fossils and Stuck In My Teeth, and marks them out as a band to catch on their forthcoming UK tour this April.
T-Shirt Weather is out on 30 March and is taken from their debut album Young Chasers which is released on the same day. With a full video about to be issued, here’s the lyric-based interim version in the meantime.
Circa Waves – T-Shirt Weather