Tag Archives: alphabetbands

‘V’ is for Vanity Fairy

12 Nov

Winter is the time of year when creatures snuggle down into hibernation. It is not the time of year when they emerge, awoken and ready to take on the world. Yet here we are, following a near two year hibernation and Daisy Victoria has stepped back into the light. She has also gone through something of a metamorphosis (if you will allow us this mixing of animal based metaphors). Now Daisy Capri, her musical persona has evolved to its new form, grown shimmering synthy wings, and stepped forth as Vanity Fairy.

Here, the sound is slinkier than before. The 80’s influences that were hinted at in “Pain of Dancers” have been fully embraced and given a subtle disco makeover as her vocals glide and twist in the breeze as one with light, gossamer melodies.

Debut track, “He Can Be Your Lady”, undulates gently, imploring you to sway as Capri’s vocals swoon and flutter. Bathed in disco ball lens flare and blessed with a Prince like synth flourish, it is delightfully catchy and bewitching. Elsewhere on the debut Vanity Fairy EP, Lust For Dust, we are treated to a soft, androgynous sultriness. It’s knowing, yet innocent at the same time.

“Milky Woe” is a late night, candle lit seduction, very soft focus and full of eye contact and fondue. “Loverman” and “Giant” similarly glisten and flicker with sensual synth lines, a heady concoction of romantic psychedelica.

Comparisons to Kate Bush are obvious but entirely fair, there is the same ethereal and otherworldly feel to each composition. Live too, there are similarities with Capri letting the Vanity Fairy persona take control. Her shows are as much about the character and the performance as they are about the music.

It’s an exhilarating and exciting transformation that Capri has undertaken to become Vanity Fairy. Her mew world is enticing and giddy and it’s one we love getting lost in.

”He Can Be Your Lady” is out now and will feature on the forthcoming debut Vanity Fairy EP, ‘Lust for Dust’, which is due for release on 7 December.

Get to know Vanity Fairy: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

‘V’ is for The Vestals

22 Feb

The Vestals

In ancient Roman religion, the Vestals or Vestal Virgins, were priestesses, goddesses whose College of the Vestals was regarded as fundamental to the security and success of Rome. The Vestals were freed of the usual social obligations in order to devote themselves to the study and correct observance of state rituals that were off-limits to the male colleges of priests.

We may not be in ancient Rome but the world has once again been blessed with the presence of The Vestals, albeit in the form of a five-piece indie-pop combo from South Wales. Once again though, they appear to have been freed of the usual social obligations of ceding to the constant demand for information and facts, devoting themselves instead to the music and letting that speak for the band.

So steadfast are they in this belief that singer Adam (no surname, ” you don’t need to know that, you just need to hear the songs” he says) will not yield, even during a face to face interview. ” We are not like, deliberately mysterious, but we just like to let the music do the talking” he reiterates when we sit down following a storming set at the Norwich Arts Centre. The band has been on tour with Pure Love and Turbogeist and, though you would presume they’d attract a very different kind of audience, their blend of energetic indie-pop has been going down a storm with Adam a young Morrissey/Brett Anderson hybrid at the front of the stage.

Even during a live performance they divulge no secrets to the crowd, performing in half light that makes it difficult to determine what they look like. It is the promo shot at the top of this article, with blurred faces, in real life. Aside from Adam, who will man the merch stand after the set, the band is able to walk by unnoticed. ”We are just comfortable playing with those kind of lights. We think they look nice. I don’t think it’s that important to see us; just the songs. The songs you can hear. It’s just the way we like it”.

What we do know is that the guys have been together since at least 2011 when they originally released “Perfect Pain” online, but they ”took it down after a week because it was moving a bit too fast for us”. Having come together originally just to record that song they have reworked it for release on 7” through Killing Moon Records as a double A-side with the equally wonderful “Seventeen”. We know too that the guys have been in bands before and, after a few shows last year, mostly around Wales, this is their first tour as The Vestals.

Live they perform with a controlled energy, you can’t quite tell if some of their rocking out moments have been coordinated or if they are occurring naturally but there is no question over the quality of their music. They specialise in a blend of melancholic yet rocking pop music, all infectious hooks and jump-along choruses that should be blasting out of bedrooms the length and breadth of the country.

That surely is in their future, a future they say they are happy to let come to them. “We spent last year recording a lot of music, so there is a lot of material ready to go” Adam tell us. ”We just take each step as it comes really so we are really excited for this single and then I am sure we will release more songs and play more shows, that’s the plan”. Which of course just adds to the mystery and intrigue. We don’t need to know about the future, just enjoy the music we have at the present, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Whatever the future holds, there certainly seems to be big things ahead for the band. Time will tell if they go down in legend like their ancient Roman namesakes.

The “Perfect Pain”/”Seventeen” AA side single is out now via Killing Moon Records and is available both digitally and on 7” vinyl.

Stalk The Vestals: Facebook / Twitter / Website / SoundCloud

‘W’ is for The White Bicycles

13 Feb

The White Bicycles

Googling Falmouth University may not be top on most music bloggers list of evening activities, but here are Alphabet Bands, we dare to be different. It turns out, from a very limited perusal of Wikipedia, that the notable alumni of Falmouth includes a lot of actors and artists we have never heard of (and a couple we have), someone who professes to be a ‘cyborg activist and artist’, and one musician, Ben Howard. Ben Howard, who, as you know, signed to Island Records, a label famous for many things including being the home of esteemed folk singer, Nick Drake. Why oh why, we hear you ask, is any of this important? Well, forgive us for coming across like a low rent Kevin Bacon, but it is all due to the serendipitous connections of the world.

Today we welcome The White Bicycles to our family of wonderful Alphabet Bands, a band which was born into this world at Falmouth University when songwriter Matthew Howes met guitarist Ryan Nolan. Not only that, but the name comes from the memoirs of producer Joe Boyd, who famously brought songwriter Nick Drake to light. It’s all connected see?

They pitch themselves as being ”a welcome antidote for the haste of modern living” and they are not far wrong. Listening to their latest single, “Courtesy”, in particular makes you feel calm and in control. It moves along at a gentle pace; like you are on an amble through the countryside for a few moments of relaxed tranquillity, looking out from atop a hill as the world whizzes by below you. They use space as an instrument, allowing notes, melodies, lyrics to breathe and linger.

Surprisingly they have labelled their music on SoundCloud as ‘shoegaze’; it is not. It is quite the opposite in fact. It is lift-your-head-up-from-the-rat-race-and-look-around music, take-a-moment-to-appreciate-the-world music. It’s folk, but it isn’t. It’s pop, but it isn’t. It is lo-fi indie, but it isn’t. Its soundscapes are contemplative; they are considered, thoughtful and melancholic. “Wristwatch” is intimate, like walking through the snowfall in moonlight as the rest of the world sleeps while “Empty Frames” is a secret, a whisper The White Bicycles share only with the listener.

It may feel that this contradictory non-style of theirs is an affectation, it isn’t. There is not a bit of pretention in the music of The White Bicycles; it is just simple, poetic and beautiful. We recommend that you find somewhere quiet, shut yourself away from the world for a few minutes, turn down the lights if you can and just listen. Let life carry on outside as you relax with this enthralling new band.

All three of The White Bicycles tracks can be downloaded for free from their SoundCloud profile, and gig details can be found on their Facebook page.

Stalk The White Bicycles: Facebook / SoundCloud / Twitter / YouTube / email

Watch: Empress Of – “Champagne”

13 Nov

Do you like watermelon? Lorely Rodrigez sure does. In her first full length video as her newest musical incarnation Empress Of, our recently added ‘E’ in our alphabet, Lorely gets up close and personal with a giant hunk of that watery, tasteless fruit (we’re not watermelon fans if you hadn’t already guessed).

Directed by Samuel Morris Hamad, the video for her debut single “Champagne” features Lorely gorging herself on watermelon, the juice and fruit flesh spilling and spooling out of her mouth and all over her face and legs as she nom nom noms her way through it. What it has to do with Champagne we really don’t know, but the more we watch it the more it works.

The use of split screens and jump cuts in time with the beat of the track is clever and engaging and the Clockwork Orange style image bombardment towards the end of the video is probably an epileptics worst nightmare but we had fun seeing who or what we could spot (images of Freddy Mercury, The Dark Crystal and The Never Ending Story to name but a few).

The track itself is a jangly, swirling joy that is as disarming as the video. Whirring, bouncing choruses of springy guitars follow soft, burgeoning subtly-synth laden verses before culminating in a crash of sound and vision and then nothing. Three minutes of modern pop bliss.

“Champagne” is out now via No Recordings on limited edition (only 250 copies) 7” vinyl. You can order your copy here, we’ve already got ours, it looks and sounds fantastic.

B-side, “Don’t Tell Me” is currently also available to download for free.

Stalk Empress Of: Website / Twitter / YouTube

‘E’ is for Empress Of

1 Nov

Anonymity is very much de rigour at the moment with being mysterious and not giving anything away very much a favoured skill of many a new artist. A much more difficult skill is managing to retain that air of mystery whilst still providing enough quality material and information to get people hooked and wanting more. It is not an easy line to take but one that Brooklyn based artist and musician Lorely Rodriguez is treading with her latest project, the dreamy Empress Of.

Since the beginning of October, the Celestial Shores singer has teased listeners by uploading a series of musical snippets from her solo project, usually not much more than a minute long, to YouTube with nothing more than a plain coloured background as the video. Now numbering 15 in total, she has about 30 on her hard drive apparently, these ‘colourminutes’ are in effect demos of tracks with a couple having already evolved into full length pieces. The first of which is the floaty, wispy “Don’t Tell Me” which drifts and wanders through the vast cosmos leaving a trail of hazy pop as it goes. It is mesmeric, beautiful and ridiculously easy to get lost in.

A second track, “Champagne” (backed with “Don’t Tell Me”) will be released on limited edition 7” vinyl on Monday 5 November (details on how to order are at the end of the post).

Lorely describes Empress Of as a project of both “sight and sound”, which gives some context to the use of plain colours as her videos and when speaking to The Pheonix recently, she gave some more background to the concept of the ‘colourminutes’.

“I’m a victim of never wanting to commit myself to anything longer than a couple minutes at a time, so that was part of the motivation behind this project”, she explained. ”The musical process was more of an exercise though. I gave myself a format: 1 minute of musical content and a deadline, usually 1-2 days to finish writing, recording and mixing. The end result was a collection of intimate demos that I decided to share with everyone”.

We are glad she has. They may only be about one minute long, but each micro-track gives us a glimpse of her sensual, electronic pop music and excites us for what is to come next. Rumour has it there will be a video for “Don’t Tell Me” coming soon so watch this space for that, and Lorely is keen to play some live shows, we can only hope she brings them to the UK as well.

“Champagne” is released by No Recordings on 5 November on limited edition (only 250 copies) 7” vinyl. You can order your copy now.

B-side, “Don’t Tell Me” is currently also available to download for free.

Stalk Empress Of
Website / Twitter / YouTube