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‘C’ is for Creepy Neighbour

9 Feb

We’ve all had one. Be they curtain twitchers, late night speedo wearers, overly familiar single men, leery weirdos who can’t stop staring or any other variation, every street has its own unwanted Creepy Neighbour. Thanks to sometime Groove Armada and Roots Manuva bassist, Max Taylor and his collective of like minded musical souls, there is now a Creepy Neighbour we’re happy to have in our life.

With just three tracks scattered across the internet so far, pickings are a little slim but all the signs are there that the Creepy Neighbour journey is going to be a lot of fun. How many other fledgling bands can you think of with celebrity friends like Phillip Schofield and Lily Allen just three songs in?

Specialising in a hybrid indie-pop-electro-prog sound and songs about fitting in and standing out, Creepy Neighbour has the potential to be your new favourite band.

The sublimely dreamy “Millionaire Spaceman” is an anthem for Xennials. A heady mixture of unattainable dreams and grounded work ethic set to a gorgeously marbled soundscapes, piercing synthy noodles and a headswirlingly mesmeric melody. Taylor’s near falsetto floats and drifts like bubbles in a lava lamp, settling perfectly against the soft tide of guitars, synths and rhythm. “Break A Leg” meanwhile is a joyful tumble across a drum kit layered with an infectious playground-game-like rhyme, all bouncy, innocent and skippy in its tone.

Latest single “A Really Bad Person’ sees the band, made up of Harry Bennett (drums) Curtis Stansfield (synths) Sam Ryan (Guitar) alongside Taylor, veer off into a softer, more downtempo direction. From its Breeders evoking guitar intro to its ethereal and gossamer melody, the whole thing is a gentle swoon of a song with a subtle, life affirming message.

”“A Really Bad Person” they explain ”is about living a life not comfortable with one’s own sexual desires and needs, it’s about owning your own freak and understanding that it’s actually completely and totally fine. Embrace your freak, enjoy it”.

A soft, ebbing freak embracing anthem with Van Gogh like synth swirls? That’s a sound and aesthetic we can get behind and one we are delighted to be including in the Alphabet Bands Class of 2018.

Creepy Neighbour are playing at the Norwich Arts Centre on 10 Feb, supporting Birds of Hell and tickets are available to buy here. You can get wonderful Creepy Neighbour music from Bandcamp.

Get to know Creepy Neighbour: Website / Facebook / Twitter


‘P’ is for Pikoe

26 Jan

Here at Alphabet Bands, the start of every New Year means the start of a new Alphabet, and we have something rather special to open up our Class of 2018. Showcasing bright indie-pop and dark, sinewy electronica, Pikoe is a act to get excited about and take note of in 2018.

Originally beginning as a solo project for Hunting Stories Rafael Sanchez, Pikoe was never intended to be anything more than a personal project to explore a different sound. Such was the reaction to early demos posted online last year however that Rafeal soon realised it could be much more. A quick recruitment of his younger brother Jose (who has been playing in bands with his older brother since they were little) as well as music college friends Ben Marino and Michael Summer and Pikoe quickly became a four-strong band. With production coming from Patrick Taylor (of Trash Panda fame), Rafeal was ready to go to work.

Their latest release is “Suydam”, a dark echoey presence that twists and shudders hypnotically as it twists and contracts around a deliciously infectious pop hook. As the track builds it vibrates; warped electronics reach out into your mind and soul, probing and electrifying before the whole thing breaks down into a stark, thudding electro-hip-hop finale. It’s Oh Wonder meets Hezen meets Harry Edwards and it is just incredible.

“Suydam” is the second track to be taken from Pikoe’s forthcoming Songs to Dance Alone To EP, following on from the dazzlingly bright and Arcade Fire-y “Fall-N-Out”. A veritable hookapalooza, it’s big and vibrant, hugely danceable and an effortlessly fun tune that belie the heartfelt emotions contained within. It’s pretty much everything good pop music should be.

The video for “Fall-N-Out’ was made as part of the Dance Alone Film Project, an idea that will see each of the four songs on the EP have videos made by different local directors from the Bushwick, Brooklyn area. Director Mark Sylvester and producer Maggie Miller put together the video you can see below (using just an iPhone X) and “Suydam” will soon have a one-shot video from Dan Stebbins and choreographer Margaret Jones to accompany it.

This is just the beginning of what promises to be a pretty good year for Pikoe, with not only Songs To Dance Alone To due out soon, but also a second EP, Mourners/Murmurs pencilled in for late 2018. Keep an ear and an eye out for them, big things are surely ahead of them and we are absolutely delighted to kick that all off by inducting them as the first entrant to the Alphabet Bands Class of 2018.

“Suydam” is out now and available to buy from iTunes. “Suydam” is taken from the ‘Songs To Dance Alone To’ EP which is due for release on 2 March.

Get to know Pikoe: Website / Facebook / Instagram

‘J’ is for… Jitterz

28 Jul

If you ask people what Leicester is famous for, chances are they’ll talk about the 5000/1 shot football team winning the Premier League recently. Some might mention Gary Lineker, others may go for cheeses, pork pies or watches. It’s possible that Showaddywaddy could feature but truth be told, the sound of punk and blues probably wouldn’t come up. Yet that is exactly what the Jitterz duo are bringing us, and in such a fantastically fuzzy and effervescent way that we just had to add them to our Alphabet Bands Class of 2017.

The Oreo loving pair of Beth (whose cat may be her toughest critic) and Jaime (who is quite possibly a wizard) have been Jitterz for just over a year and do a cracking line in song-titles. Their first track, “One Good Song”, came out last year, and was soon being drooled over by a couple of very reputable blogs. Today sees the pair release their debut EP, Get A Real Job, which features tracks like “Unicorns and Glitter”, “Lobotomy Eyes” and “Girl I Hate You”. The great thing is, the songs are even better than their names.

“One Good Song” is a 2 and a half minutes of frenzied guitars and drums crashing together in a gloriously scuzzy and garage rock cacophony of ambition vs the mundanity of reality. It’s hopeful, desperately honest and damn catchy.

In fact, ‘damn catchy’, pretty much encapsulates Jitterz perfectly. Each of the four tracks on the EP is highly infectious. Riffs and rhythms combine brilliantly to batter your brain into submission, able to withstand no longer it lays down and allows Get A Real Job to plant its flag and set up camp.

Their sound is refreshingly raw and authentic. Bluesy guitars stomp all over “Girl I Hate You” and “Lobotomy Eyes” making you want to stomp along with them. Comparisons with The White Stripes are inevitable but not misplaced. The same energy and excitement emanates, like sound-lines from a Scott Pilgrim riff, as guitars are shredded and drums pounded.

They claim to be ”the uncoolest band you’ll ever meet” but the definition of cool is fluid and subject to change. Their sound, however, is positively radiating with influences from rock, punk, blues and soul that gives it a timeless quality that will never not sound great.

Jitterz ‘Get A Real Job’ EP is out now and available to buy from Bandcamp.

Get to know Jitterz: Facebook / Twitter

‘S’ is for… San Jua

26 Jul

Despite having just three demos available online and with no sign (yet) of an official release to their name, Anglo-Swedish duo San Jua are quickly establishing themselves as an exciting new name in the world of electro-pop. They are also the latest member of the Alphabet Bands Class of 2017.

Their music seems to exist in the space between conscious and subconscious thought. Gently probing and planting ideas like some kind of inception-y ninjas using neuro-linguistic programming or Jedi mind tricks. Their debut track, “Laid To Waste”, is about passing through a city at night, and that is all you can see when you listen. The bass and guitar lines pass by like cars on the street as Mags, whisper soft, sings of buildings and streets and the hidden majesty of urban life. It’s some devilish and dreamy musical onomatopoeic wizardry. Or something.

As you listen, shapes and emotions marble in your mind to form images and sensations as their wondrous electro arrangements drift and swirl.

With that (quite literally) in mind, the nominative determinism of their latest track should come as no surprise. With it’s stunningly evocative soundscape, “Swirls In The Swimming Pool” is a devastatingly dreamy and disarming piece of electro-pop.

And it swirls, and swirls, and swirls. Around and down, deeper into the water.

The piano line opening gives way to deftly pulsating synths that whirlpool around, pulling you under into San Jua’s sub-aquatic playground. Treasures await below, amongst that magical swirl of electronics and vocals that open out before you, a mesmerising undulation of sound and imagery. It’s gloriously catchy, subtly powerful, a little bit dangerous, and utterly gorgeous.

Elsewhere, “Break Your Fall” comes with a feeling of tension and drama woven into the synth-threads and quickening-heartbeat rhythms. There is an urgency that is beautifully juxtaposed with the soft, quivering vocal that evokes confusion and stress whilst remaining dreamy and heartfelt.

They are quite something, a mysterious and marvellous musical duo that seem to reside on a different plane of existence to us mere mortals.

Get to know San Jua: Website / Facebook / Twitter

‘D’ is for… Ginny Dix

22 Jun

The second entrant into our Alphabet Bands class of 2017 is something of a special moment for us. Special because it involves someone who has become a big friend of the site over the last couple of years, someone we have seen evolve and improve exponentially and someone who we believe is just so incredibly talented.

Our first encounter with Ginny Dix came about when the indie-rock band she was fronting at the time, Freyr, reached the final of Norwich’s Next Big Thing competition. It was clear then that she was good and the band put on a cracking show to much acclaim. Guitar based thrashing out was not to be in her future though and her Freyr tenure would soon end.

From then on she has set out to find herself as a solo artist. Collaborations and study have followed and in the last 18months or so it feels like the real Ginny is coming through. Not only that, but each new release, each new show, everything is showing her development, her growing confidence and improvement. Her latest track, “Grow”, is a further example of how damn exciting and accomplished she is becoming.

The soft, ebbing electronics and the beautiful, heartfelt vocals entwine to create a gorgeous, mellifluous track that is both soothing and deeply emotive. There is a Shura-esque vibe to the 80s influenced synth lines and heartfelt vocals that is simply divine and as the bassline kicks in you will want to sway gently in time. It’s delicately infectious, with a melody and chorus that will run through your head for days. It’s accompanying coming of age – kids in the 80s going on an adventure – video is absolutely note perfect for the song.

Elsewhere “Woman” further showcases the heart and depth of Ginny’s songwriting as well as the emotive and delicate soulfulness of her vocal. It is so fragile yet so beautiful, it is exactly the sort of thing that filmmakers should be using to underscore any majorly emotional moment. It’s the sort of song that tears flow to. Similarly, the elegant piano arrangement of “Run Away” and Ginny’s vocal make it an eyes-closed-head-swaying listen.

Her voice is beautiful, her songwriting is heartfelt and sincere, her compositions and arrangements are gorgeous. Her development over the last couple of years has been incredible and if she keeps going there is no limit to what she could achieve. Keep your ears and eyes open, Ginny Dix could well be a name you hear a lot more of in the future. For now, we are delighted to welcome her as a member of the Alphabet Bands class of 2017.

”Grow” is out now and available to buy on iTunes.

Get to know Ginny Dix: Facebook / Twitter