Tag Archives: Eye Emma Jedi

Listen: Eye Emma Jedi – “88”

23 Sep

Eye Emma Jedi 88

Here at Alphabet Bands we are big fans of technology and gadgetry, but we must confess that we are now at an age where we can recall a time when mobile phones required a briefcase of wires, batteries and electronics to work and when smart technology was a Speak & Spell. As such we love a little bit of nostalgia from time to time. We loved the LSK – Nightmares On Wax collab, “70’s 80’s” and the latest track from the band with the greatest band name in the history of band names, Eye Emma Jedi, is from the same vintage rail of massive duffel coats, hi-tec trainers and games of Kerbsies on the street.

Full of chilled out reminiscence about playing out, hanging out and messing about, the track bounces, grooves and grinds along with flashes of trademark Jedi energy. Not the Force, the musicianship and melodies. It’s hooktacular and full of wicked lines about taking ‘my Walkman for a stroll’, though we do question how they remember all this stuff if they were indeed ‘born in ‘88’ as they say. Still, it’s an aural Back To The Future, a rock-a-riffick burn down memory lane, but with an essential now-like observation. Like when Michael J Fox “invents’ skateboarding by breaking a kids go-kart (such a vandal).

We love tracks like this as we not only appreciate the fun and quality of the song, but we love the memories it stirs within us. Like the cantankerous old biddy down the road that would get all uppity if our football accidentally hit her fence, or the long bike rides to nowhere, or playing out in the trees and ditches with nothing but mud and sticks to create an epic battlefield on, or…

Well, you get the idea. Take a listen, get your groove on and see what memories come flooding back for you.

”88” is the title track from the forthcoming Eye Emma Jedi 88 EP, which is out on 4 October in Scandinavia and TBA later in 2013 for the rest of the world.

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We do like to be beside the seaside… The Great Escape 2013

20 May


Over the last few months we have cast covetous looks at twitter as friends and acquaintances have been getting ever more excited as this year’s Great Escape festival in Brighton approached. Knowing that we couldn’t go, we steadfastly tried to avoid looking wistfully at the line up and cursing our absence. Then something magical happened and suddenly Saturday at the festival was happening and a fantastic day we had too.

We may be the only ones, but multi-venue festivals featuring genuinely exciting up-and-coming new bands playing in a more urban environment, are much more appealing than standing up to your knees in mud, in a space where your tent used to be, with the smell from broken toilets filling your nostrils as in the distance an over-hyped band of questionable quality play middling tunes.

So it was that on Saturday, in and amongst the winding lanes of the city and on the occasionally garishly festooned seafront that we attended our first ever Great Escape, and we had a great time.

In just a few hours we were treated to full sets from nine bands and some quality chat with fellow bloggers, all of whom had convened for the day’s entertainment. Our main musical highlights are below but special mention should also go to Blue Hawaii, Eye Emma Jedi and Lulu James, each of whom put on storming sets that were vastly different to one another. The Jedi clan should be particularly commended as theirs was performed at short-notice to replace another act who couldn’t attend, and a few hours before their actual scheduled slot elsewhere later in the evening.

Playing in the tight surroundings of a packed Mesmerist pub, expectation for the much vaunted and blogged about Embers are high, very high indeed. Certainly much higher than the low ceilings that hang over their heads, offering an immediate challenge for a sound that likes room to breathe and expand, to find every nook and cranny in vast expanses and fill them to bursting. That cannot happen here and instead the sound explodes out at an audience so close to the action they are practically on stage, pummelling them with intensity and energy instead. They offer the kind of excitement and energy that NME promised us Palma Violets would offer, and then some. Veins bulge and sinews are strained as “Part of Echoes” (in particular) rises up and threatens to take the floor above with it. They may well be best suited to epic surroundings, but Embers sure can rock the tiny venues to their core as well.

Velvet Two Stripes
Beneath the promenade of cars on the main road, each pootling along the seafront with not a care in the world, something is brewing. Where you would normally expect to find DJ’s, disco and dance, today there is a trio of Swiss ladies, and they have come to rock. As baselines throb, electronics spasm and shudder into life, as vocals shriek out and drums thunder and boom, there is one more element that grabs the audience by its collective nutsack and won’t let go. Leaning slightly forward and staring straight ahead, resplendent in what appears to be a small cowboy hat and wearing the look of someone who knows just how damn good she is, stands Sara. In her hands, a weapon of such potent devastation it could bring Brighton to its knees should she wish it. From this stringed beast comes the sort of grinding, wailing licks that require you to pick your jaw back up from the floor after you’ve heard them. She effortlessly wields her guitar and coaxes from it solos and riffs that appear to conjure up the Ghost of Hendrix to play them. If we could play guitar, we’d want to play it like Velvet Two Stripes’ Sara, we imagine there’s more than one professional out there who thinks the same.

Following a set by the colourful effervescence of Lulu James can’t ever be easy but Danish purveyor of noodle-pop goodness, Karen Marie Ørsted (or MØ as she is better known) more than manages. Dressed in black and with a long plaited ponytail trailing down her back, she walks on stage with a look that parents of teenagers everywhere will know only too well. The challenging ‘yeah, what of it’ look that politicians point to when making statements about Broken Britain. We don’t know if there is an equivalent where MØ is from (Destroyed Denmark perhaps?) but it is a look she has perfected. What follows is a set of surprising and stunning energy and showmanship. She prowls around the stage, her plait whirling as she flings her head around, fists pumping the air and her legs, hips, feet and everything else jerk and thrust as she power dances. Sounds that transmit pleasantly from your stereo are injected with verve and vigour and attitude. She closes with “Pilgrim” which is transformed into something altogether more vibrant, the call of “Holla/Holla/Holla” is no longer a delicate piece of backing, here it is a full on, shout along call to arms. She has won many new followers to her cause tonight, of that there is no doubt, even if she does look like she could pull a knife and demand your wallet at any minute.

Closing the night for us, and our day of musical adventure, is Scottish electro-pop trio, Chvrches. Expectations are high and queues snake outside as excited festival-goers desperately seek entry into what is one of the hottest tickets (or wristbands) of all three days. Those lucky enough to get in are treated to a set that only enhances their reputation as one of the bands to watch out for right now. Not even the proclamation from an injured and bandaged Lauren (wrist) that all the men will die earlier than the women can dampen the audiences enthusiasm, not even the males. We are treated to a set of nine infectious electro-pop songs (with a real and very welcome emphasis on the pop element) that behove movement and that uplift and invigorate. As the air is dissected by green lasers and a tunnel of smoke surrounds Lauren from above, it is clear that there is more to Chvrches than a line of viciously entertaining and amazing tunes and by crikey what tunes they are. Big things are coming for these guys, no question.

2012 Tracks of the Year

10 Dec

2012 Tracks of the Year

Over the last three weeks we had a look ahead at 15 artists we recommend you Listen Out For in 2013. This week it is time to look back a bit as 2012 fast draws to a close. Over the next few days we will countdown our EPs and Albums of the year but today we start with our 20 favourite tracks.

We have purposefully used quite a loose definition of ‘tracks’. We are not looking at singles only but tracks that were released in one capacity or another over the last 12 months. These are the tracks that stood out and stayed with us across the year, we hope you like them and hopefully even find some you hadn’t heard before.

20. Lovepark – “How Do I See?”
The debut release from Brighton based Lovepark was a perfect track for late summer evening listening, and despite the onset of winter, it still sounds as lovely as ever. The warm, dreamy sounds gently nudge and probe into your subconscious, simultaneously relaxing you while stirring something from within. Not bad for four skater boys who met on the ramps of Burgess Hill.

19. Dare Dukes – “Meet You On The Bus”
Dare Dukes is blessed with the ability to perfectly encapsulate the minutiae of everyday life in the most charming and endearing manner. Of “Meet You On The Bus” he said, “I was trying to capture the great American leaving-on-a-jet-plane narrative the comes up again and again in popular music, and I was trying to run it through the brains of modern-day Romeos and Juliettes looking for escape from all the things that Romeos and Juliettes get fed up with”. Which is a good thing, because it is exactly what he achieved in such a sweet and catchy way.

18. Eye Emma Jedi – “Sin”
There is something slightly antipodean about the opening guitar lines of “Sin” which we just love and the rest of the track is damn fine too. It’s frenetic indie-pop a-go-go with full on festival bounceability that blasts along at breakneck speed revving up the guitars as it goes. Brilliant stuff from a brilliantly named band.

17. Wall – “Magazine”
Utterly enchanting, Wall’s voice is as soft and refreshing as the cool side of the pillow and as fragile as crystal, perched delicately and perfectly atop her sparse, muted soundscapes. It’s no wonder her debut single, “Magazine” was snapped up for release by the label arm of Black Cab Sessions in double quick time.

16. MS MR – “Hurricane”
Introspective without wallowing in self-pity or melodrama, “Hurricane” is a fantastic twist on the classic pop of yesteryear. It deals with the emotion of a breaking or broken relationship but via self-analysis rather than by proclaiming remorse and undying love for the other party. The production too is stunning, it’s about as clean as we have heard all year and is the kind that could make almost any system sound amazing.

15. She Makes War – “Minefields” (Alphabet Bands session)
A little bit of a cheat we admit, but as much as we love the original version of “Minefields”, this stripped back acoustic version that She Makes War recorded for us earlier in the year is just stunning. It is just gorgeous and we fell more than a little bit in love with it, it being our first ever session just made it even more special.

14. Seasfire – “We Will Wake”
We weren’t the only people to love “We Will Wake”. It didn’t take long for it to burn up the Hype Machine chart and hit the top spot. It takes their trademark haunting melodies and glitchy sounds and adds in a huge, anthemic Hurts-style pop hook that just builds and builds. The gentle darkness that has been ever present in their sound thus far has been cracked by a ray of light pop breaking through, it sounds fantastic.

13. Of Monsters And Men – “Little Talks”
“Little Talks” is a great pop song, when you first hear it you have to sit up and take notice. We love the boy/girl duet, and it’s so vibrant and colourful. This was the first track we heard from Of Monsters And Men and it made us stop what we were doing and go and find everything else we could of theirs and ultimately resulted in their album being imported from Iceland.

12. Public Service Broadcasting – “Waltz For George”
“Waltz For George” consistently knocks us sideways with its haunting and harrowing elegance. Other tracks on The War Room may get more recognition and plaudits, but as great as they are, they lack the emotional resonance of “Waltz For George”, which highlights the realities of warfare and the price that must be paid even in victory.

11. Superhumanoids – “Geri”
“Geri” is one of those tracks that just goes round and round in your head on a never ending loop. It’s so damn catchy and infectious. The melody, the light electronica, the beat, the vocal counterpoint of the male and female duet (which gets us every time) is all rather special.

10. Arrange – “Caves”
Listening to “Caves” is akin to catching the faint scent of something from your past on the breeze as you stride along. Without realising why, memories and emotions have been stirred within you and you just have to stop for a moment to take it all in and compose yourself. The soft, haziness of Malcolm Lacey’s vocals waft around while ambient beats and electronics move deliberately below. It’s music for an early morning walk in the autumn, just as the sun rises and the dew drops glisten. Haunting and melodic it is absolutely beautiful.

9. Rhye – “The Fall”
“The Fall” is a velvet smooth recounting of a relationship that is crumbling and the ache to feel just one moment more of tenderness; “My love, make love to me one more time before you go away” is the lament. It is awash with a mid-life crisis feel, the element of looking across at grass that is greener and wondering how you ended up here, all delivered in a rich and beguiling package.

8. Olympians – “It Was Words That Sunk Our Ship”
Full of rousing harmonies and popping rhythms layered over intricate guitar and synth lines, “It Was Words That Sunk Our Ship” just edged out “The Dictionary” as our favourite Olympians track of the year. Arriving as part three of their acclaimed Book Club project “It Was Words” further illustrated the bands rapid growth and their ability to create intricate and intelligent sounds.

7. Vuvuvultures – “Ctrl Alt Mexicans”
Vibrant, fractious guitars jump over pulsating, relentless beats and skittering electronics. Named after one of the samples used within in, “Ctrl Alt Mexicans” is a fantastic track of pulsating and edgy darkness. It whips along at pace, taking you with it as it rocks out and jumps around.

6. Milly Hirst – “Rose”
Taken from Milly Hirst’s eponymous debut EP, “Rose” is just sublime, a track of real beauty. As delicate as its subject, wistful and heartfelt it leads you, floating to meet this Rose, to see her and understand her. Its porcelain fragility is divine and makes you want to just close your eyes and drift away on her voice.

5. Haim – “Don’t Save Me”
“Don’t Save Me” is so infectious that people could well die from it. Hear it and you want to dance, preferably in a not-quite-groovy-but-still-really-fun 80’s way, like Springsteen when he dances with Courtney Cox in the “Dancing In The Dark” video. It is just a great pop track that will have you up from your seat and grooving like a loon.

4. Niki & the Dove – “Somebody”

Speaking of great pop tracks, with “Somebody” Niki & the Dove has leant over and drawn from the well once reserved for Prince, and the result is an absolute gem. There is so much crammed into less than 3 minutes, it’s like they have taken the best elements of every great pop song of the last 30 years and crammed them together, taken a giant hit and blown out a perfect smoke ring of utter pop magnificence.

3. 2forJoy – “Michaela”
2forJoy’s Ruth Ivo has one of the most enchanting and heartbreaking voices we have heard in a long time. On “Michaela” it is soft and gentle, exciting but somehow distant; tinged with an overwhelming melancholy as she sings of a lost friend. Intermittent electronics and percussion build a perfectly brooding, wistful atmosphere for the vocals to melt into. It’s a wonderful piece of low-key, haunting pop music and one that we absolutely adore.

2. Embers – “Hollow Cage (live performance)”
In just the last couple of weeks, Manchester based Embers have exploded across the internet, taking no prisoners on a path of unrelenting critical acclaim. It is entirely justified as well as on “Hollow Cage” they build sound like a cinematic narrative. Layers are added and woven in as the song progresses and evolves. Recorded in a monastery, the acoustics help add to the scale of the sound, which seems to expand and contract at will. Vocals and strings escalate, rising up to the top of the vast ceilings and filling every nook and cranny above and crypt and cellar below. There is drama and intensity on a grand scale, emotional and honest. Had they released this just a month before, the Blog Sound of 2013 longlist would probably have looked a bit different.

1. Spring Offensive – “Not Drowning But Waving”
We said at the time of release that Spring Offensive’s epic “Not Drowning But Waving” could well end up as our track of the year, and so it has. Its anger, fear and guilt all flow like the tide that plays so central a role in the song’s narrative. From the understated tick-tocking of a clock at the start, through the soft remorseful recounting of the situation, the intense rousing worry of the denouement and onto the resigned coda of culpability and consequence; everything is exquisitely crafted and considered. “Not Drowning But Waving” is a stirring and emotional tidal wave that pulls at your heart and threatens to suffocate your soul. It is a magnificent track and one truly deserving of its place as our favourite of the year.

Listen: Eye Emma Jedi – “Sin”

17 Jul

What do you get if you combine a Scandinavian country, rawkus indie-pop, probably the best band name you will hear in a long time, “four white nerds and a black guy with an afro”? The answer is not the punchline to a politically incorrect joke but new-ish London via Norway five piece, Eye Emma Jedi (say it out loud, brilliant isn’t it?).

With that laborious introduction done with, we can get on with telling you about the guys and their tune. Originally from Norway, where they had solid success and buckets of radio play, they have bags packed and set course for London from whence they shall release debut UK single “Sin” on 6th August. And quite a hyperactive party number it is too. They may come from Norway but there is something slightly antipodean about the opening guitar lines, we can’t quite put our finger on it but we know we like it. From then on in, it’s frenetic indie-pop a-go-go with full on festival bounceability.

Having previously established themselves at home, they already have a back catalogue to bring forth to our ears and if you click through the ‘stalk’ links below, you’ll find a lot more to get excited about.

“Sin” will be available as a digital download on 6th August through Killing Moon Ltd along with b-side “Crucified”.

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