July 24, 2011

Check out Minks

Minks are a dream pop duo from Brooklyn, New York, signed to the Captured Tracks label. Said label has described them as "like Robert Smith gave birth to a baby, and the baby was actually cassette of Cure demos that had a lot more staying power than actual Cure demos". This may seem like a lot to live up to, but they defend this bold claim and more once you start listening.

Their debut LP 'By The Hedge' was released earlier this year, and they could be breaking through majorly into the scene which has brought Beach House, The xx, and more recently Cults, so much acclaim of late. The album has stand-out tracks, such as dirgey garage-gaze 'Out Of Tune' and 'Funeral Song' but also makes for great listening in its entirety. Whilst writing this I'm struggling to pick out my favourite part of the album because it really doesn't have any weak sections. Listen for yourself on Spotify (just type in Minks and you'll find it) or trail through Youtube (link to the first track 'Kusmi'). If you like what you hear, buy it!

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July 19, 2011

Latitude Festival - The Music

With headline slots for Suede, The National, Foals, Paolo Nutini and Bombay Bicycle Club, appearances from My Morning Jacket, Echo & The Bunnymen, Edwyn Collins, Bright Eyes, Crystal Fighters and Lykke Li, Latitude boasted one of the strongest and most diverse alternative line-ups in the UK.

Here is a little snippet of who impressed this weekend (without the aforementioned bands as I'd prefer to focus on the up-and-coming acts).

Some Notable Live Performances

Foster The People. Polished and extremely danceable, the LA band are living up to all the hype. This hype is centred fully around their song 'Pumped Up Kicks', but after listening to their album Torches, and watching them on the intimate Sunrise Arena, I've realised that this band are certainly not a fad or a one-hit wonder. 'Color On The Walls (Don't Stop)' and set-finisher 'Helena Beats' were big crowd-pleasers and it was clear to see the appreciation from both punters and the band at the end of the set; fans being elated at witnessing a thoroughly energetic set, and the band at how well their set was received as they saluted the crowd on their way off.

Tripwires. With their debut album 'Spacehopper' recently out in May of this year, this Reading four-piece shoegaze band haven't been part of much buzz of late. It is all going to change soon enough, however, with influences from The Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine leading to a big sound which you feel could make them into stars before too long. With only a few more summer dates on the calender, Tripwires may have to wait for their break but you needn't. Listen to grungey 'In Apathy' and anthemic 'Cinnamon' on their Last.fm page to get started.

Grouplove. Pixies-fused indie pop. It sounds quite an interesting proposition, doesn't it? Well, fs this concoction exists, it lies within Grouplove. Real feel-good track 'Don't Say Oh Well', minimalistic keyboard breaks in 'Itchin' Like A Photograph' and crowd-favourite/usual set-finisher 'Colours' all lend themselves to a strong live performance, and they sound just as good recorded. With an album to be released in September, Grouplove are months away from breaking into the major leagues of alternative pop. If you are debating watching them at Reading and Leeds Festivals (27th/28th August), I'd urge you to watch them, especially as they are playing right after Tribes on the Festival Republic Stage.

Tribes. The English rockers are fucking cool, and their performance on the Lake Stage didn't disappoint. They commanded a large audience, in no small part due to the rising exposure of this summer's hottest track 'We Were Children', but new single 'Sappho' and the rest of the We Were Children EP went to show that this band are merely flexing their revivalist muscles in the music scene, with anthemic singalongs aplenty and a bright future ahead.

Top 5 Tracks of the Weekend (in no real order)
  1. Dog Is Dead - Glockenspiel Song
  2. Tribes - We Were Children
  3. Foster The People - Pumped Up Kicks
  4. The Walkmen - The Rat
  5. James Blake - The Wilhelm Scream