Lionface – “Girl”

16 Sep

lionface girl

Depending on who you ask, rock is either dead, alive and kicking, better than ever, on life support, at home eating jelly babies while catching up with The Sopranos (it was always too busy grinding out ear-splitting riffs the first time around to see it but it always wanted to) or out with its mates having a drink and a spliff talking about the good old days man, those good old days. Frankly we couldn’t give a fig (a fig!) about the infernal and endless debate as to rock’s health, be it rude or otherwise. We’d much rather listen to the great music that this generation is making, some of which, rocks.

Take Kat Marsh for example, performing as Lionface (it’s a name, not a condition) she last year released two EP’s that were full of aggression and richter scale shaking angular noise that threatened to bring nearby buildings crashing down.

Her sound, as highlighted on new track “Girl”, is frenetic, industrial and rawkus. Like a Steampunk Willy Wonka making music rather than chocolate, she has mixed, sieved, blended and mashed pop, rock, electronica and the avant-garde into a bombastic explosion of colour and sound.

A slow, sinewy electronic opening and soft welcoming vocals is soon cast aside as the volcanic force of the Lionface bursts out from within Kat and “Girl” kicks off. Ka-boom goes the bass as it drops in under the relentless drumbeat, Kat’s vocals increasing in energy and power as it does. Frenzied guitar and synth lines flash as the thundering, shuddering, crashing and smashing of the track escalates into conclusion before dissipating into an exhausted heap of digital satisfaction.

Rock’s not dead people, it’s just evolved. Embrace the change and enjoy.

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Roxanne de Bastion – “Seeing You”

15 Sep

roxanne de bastion

We thought we’d treat you to a little change of pace now after the bright and uptempo infectiousness of Fickle Friends this morning. As the afternoon ebbs away and the streetlights begin to flicker and hum with life, we thought we’d take things down a notch with some gorgeous folkly melodies and gentleness courtesy of Roxanne de Bastion.

Taken from her new EP (out on 26 Sept via Hidden Trail Records) title track “Seeing You” flickers with 60’s folk sensibilities and evokes elements of musical theatre. Her vocals float effortlessly from honey-dewed beauty to spoken word and ripples of olde worlde troubadour storytelling. It’s rich and full of deep textures that reveal themselves gradually as you listen, another layer, another line of melody to draw you into the tale. It’s quite lovely with just the right twinge of quirkiness to endear itself to us even more.

Should she be new to you, Roxanne was born in Berlin and spent much of her youth flitting between England and Germany before ultimately plumping for London. Gigs and song–writing followed, there was a debut album and next week there will be the EP (it too is lovely).

She is currently on a mini-tour to help promote it and the remaining dates can be found under the Soundcloud player. Most importantly for Norwich based folk music lovers (and we know there are many of you), her tour includes a stop at The Birdcage on Wednesday 17 September. Support comes from Norwich’s own Mari Joyce and Brighton based Ellie Ford (both of whom are also wonderful) and tickets are available here. We’ll see you there.

Roxanne de Bastion mini-tour
15 September, LONDON – The Finsbury
16 September, BRIGHTON – Otherplace at Bar Broadway
17 September, NORWICH – The Birdcage

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Fickle Friends – “For You”

15 Sep

Fickle Friends

One thing we’ve noticed in just over three years of writing this blog is that we tend to talk about the weather. A lot.

Maybe it’s our inherent Britishness that makes it an inescapable part of our psychological makeup, ingrained in our DNA if you will. Or perhaps it is because our palatial offices here at Alphabet Towers have vast floor to ceiling windows that we can’t help but gaze wistfully out of all day.

Something we are doing right now in fact, enjoying the vista that is laid before us as the countryside rolls off into the distance and the grey, dull and drizzly clouds loom ominously in the distance. There is gloom a ‘coming and what we wouldn’t give for an injection of sunshine to dissolve the onset of the inevitable bleakness and drudgery of dark skies and showers.

Thank goodness then for Brighton’s Fickle Friends, a band who, despite their predilection for lyrics reflecting melancholy and confusion, seem incapable of making music that sounds ilke anything less than a glorious summer of fun and frivolity. Case in point is their third single, “For You”, which is about the realisation that no matter how much you may want it to; your relationship just isn’t going to go anywhere.

Not exactly happy making we think you’ll agree, but musically it’s another dazzlingly bright glare of sunshine in your eyeball. The hooks are big and uplifting, the guitar and synth lines dazzle and the rhythm skittles and scuttles like a group of friends quad-biking along the beach without a care in the world.

Funnily enough, having had this on repeat all morning, the view out of our window is starting to look a lot brighter; less cloud and more sunshine.

”For You” is out now on Killing Moon and available to buy from iTunes.

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What’s in a name? Introducing Alpha Bet

12 Sep

Alpha Bet Band

Back when we started this blog (three years ago today actually) we didn’t really think about the name too much. It was very ronseal, we were looking for bands from each letter of the alphabet so Alphabet Bands seemed like the natural choice. We didn’t Google it to see if it existed already and we didn’t consider the possibility for confusion that it may cause (we’ve been called so many things in the last three years, alphabet city being one of our favourites, and even confused with the band Alphabeat by many a European radio station (we do like getting tweets about how they are playing our new record mind you)). Nor did we consider the possibility that there would ever be an actual real life alphabet band. But now there is and the guys from Iowa dropped us a line the other day to say hi and introduce themselves to their UK based, non-music making namesakes.

Ok, technically they are actually called Alpha Bet, but while that is not exactly the same (their social media stuff is all Alpha Bet Band) it is close enough and naturally we were quite excited to virtually meet them whilst simultaneously nervous. What if they’re rubbish?

Thankfully they are not rubbish, not in the slightest and so without further ado, on the day they release new single “Clarabella” and on our 3rd Blog Birthday, we’re pleased to introduce you to Alpha Bet.

Comprised of Harrison ‘Harry’ Horgan (guitar, vocals), Skyler Gonzalez (keys, vocals), Erich Martin (bass, vocals) and Peter Weihs (percussion, vocals), the four piece met at the University of Iowa campus and now make charming alt-indie-rock. “Clarabella” is, for the most part, a gentle rocking chair of mellifluous melodies and guitar lines. We say for the most part as there are a couple of fantastic moments where the gentle ebb and flow is broken up by a crash and soft thrash of drums, harmonies and guitars. A little injection of adrenaline to keep you ticking over as the tune swoons and sways.

“Trampoline” has a little more edge and feels even better for it. There’s quirkiness to it, a wry feeling of worldly observation told on a broken TV. We love it. There are elements of TV Girl but if they had Dare Dukes as a guest songwriter and vocalist. It’s just that little bit different, like coming home and finding everything in your house has been moved just an inch from where you left it. There’s a little alt-funk bassline in there to groove to, sardonic vocals, summer breeze harmonies and delightful little guitar picks.

In short, we’re pretty pleased these guys share our name and hope you like them too.

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Deaths – “Lonewolves”

12 Sep


Like a ninja emerging stealthily from the shadows, yesterday saw mysterious Berlin based act Deaths step into the light with a track so gorgeous, it totally blindsides you with monochromatic beauty. Not since Tears & Marble produced that Haddaway cover have we been so surprised and taken with a song so quickly. Not that we are the only ones, the blog world got itself in quite the lather of excitement yesterday with the debut of “Lonewolves”, and understandably so.

As is often the case with artists these days, not much is known about Deaths (though we understand it used to be a solo project and now comprises a full band) but whilst we would normally have a bit of a grumble or make a joke about the lack of info, this is one of those times when it really should be all about the music. “Lonewolves” is just stunning.

Enveloped in rolling grey clouds of delicately rumbling digital production, the synth lines and guitar picks tumble gracefully like snow, cool and mesmeric. Meanwhile, as your head looks entranced to the heavens, the percussion snaps and crunches like frost under foot. It’s dark but, like death itself, there is light flickering in the distance, a faint glow that compels you to it. It’s gorgeous, take a listen and prepare to be excited about their forthcoming EP.

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