Tag Archives: indie-dance

Delphic – Get Familiar (free download)

23 Apr

Delphic Get Familiar

Over the last few days there have been murmurings coming from deep within Manchester. There’ve been whispers of an imminent announcement that would bring joy to many and seek to re-establish a successful entity that had fallen foul of a new direction. Then on Tuesday it all came to a head and across the land there was much speculation as to what this meant and what would happen next. For it was on Tuesday that Delphic returned with seven new tracks in the form of one 30minute mixtape. Seven tracks that see the band returning to the indie-dance well that made their debut album Acolyte so remarkably wonderful and which they had moved away from for the less well received follow-up Collections.

Oh, and David Moyes was sacked as manager of Manchester United. But no one cares about that…

We’re big fans of Delphic, anyone who has ever read our reviews of their live shows or albums (even Collections which we do admit wasn’t quite what we’d hoped it would be, but even so there was plenty to enjoy on it) could tell you that. So the advent of new music is always welcome at Alphabet Towers.

Get Familiar is a perfect name for the mixtape when you think about it, as it returns the trio to familiar sonic territory and, as James Cook explained to Dummy is the closest they’ve come to recreating their live sound for fans. ”For the first time we’ve tried bottling part of the live show and putting it on record. Although it is something we have often talked about, releasing an album mixed in the same way as our live set has proved a stumbling block because it essentially turns an LP into a DJ mix… This isn’t a DJ mix, it is all new material, mixed together in the same way the early Delphic 30-minute live sets were, but with a modern club sound to the production”.

There is indeed a very clubby sound to it, as well as a fabulous amalgamation of indie, pop, house and some distinctly Yeasayery sounds, especially in the vocals, which we just adore. The synths are once again laser sharp, precision aimed at your feet whilst a scatter bomb of beats and rhythm will have you dancing and swaying about in delight. It’s not hard or oppressive, it’s just damn good. Break out the smoke machines, get the neon green lasers pulsating across the room and let’s get our groove on. And when we’re all exhausted from that, we can wind down with a beer and a little acoustic beauty to close the night with. We say night, we’ll be playing this at all hours.

This is the first time the band has worked on their own, doing their own production and everything and while they aren’t giving much away about what the future holds, we’re once again excited to hear what’s next.
“Let’s say everything is going to be ok” they sing, with this return it feels like it really will be.

’Get Familiar’ is available as a free download from the SoundCloud player below.

1. PPP
2. Only Human
3. Futureproof
4. Colours Of The Day
5. Illusion
6. The Giver
7. What If

Stalk Delphic: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Free Download: Blank Maps – “Everything Ends”

31 Jan

Blank Maps

With Delphic moving off into a new musical direction (well about seven or eight directions to be fair) there is space in our heart for a vibrant, exciting synth based indie-dance act. Enter stage North-East then Blank Maps, for your time is now.

The four-piece from Newcastle has been kicking around since 2010, picking up plaudits and radio play here and there and are now about to release their official debut single, “Everything Ends”. Out on 4 March, it is everything we love about the indie-dance genre.

“Everything Ends” is head thrown back, arms spread wide, spinning around in a field music. Spinning and spinning as the vastness of space opens out above you; the stars shining brightly to match the euphoric lightness that is welling up within you. Pulsating synths, big atmospheric melodies that are full of colour, driving beats to get our uncoordinated and frankly embarrassing groove on to, it’s all there.

This level of awesomeness isn’t limited to “Everything Ends” either and we heartily recommend digging through the band’s soundcloud profile for more gems, once you’ve clicked that button and claimed your free download that is. Go on then, what are you waiting for?

Stalk Blank Maps: Website / Facebook / SoundCloud / Bandcamp / Twitter

2013 Preview: Listen Out For – Kites

21 Nov

In what is fast becoming a theme in our look at bands to listen out for in 2013, the last year has been quiet for Kites in terms of music released. Only one single, “This Jumped Up Boy In Livery”, has been made available and even that was originally posted online back at the end of 2011. What was new this year was the video to accompany the track (which you can watch below) and some cracking remixes.

What Kites have done in 2012 though is display shrewd judgement and a little bit of genius, all without the need for new tunes. Like their music, the approach has one that blends retro methodologies with modern technology. They have introduced themselves to a new audience through their gigs, both headline and well considered support slots, then interacted with and hoovered them up as new fans on social media.

The genius part has been the association with the Huffington Post and lead singer Matthew’s regular blog about anything. Again, it is profile raising, building a new audience using his considerable skill as a wordsmith to connect with people who otherwise wouldn’t have heard of them, getting them interested in him and driving them to seek out Kites’ eloquent and entertaining electro-pop.

All this fan-hoarding should reap its rewards in 2013 with more shows on the horizon, the release of “Orwell Knows” (their first new track since signing a publishing deal with Eagle-i-Music), a remix of a the new Maximo Park track and even a new member joining the band. It feels very much like the ground-work has been done in 2012 and the assault will begin in 2013.

“This Jumped Up Boy In Livery” is available now from iTunes

Stalk Kites: Online / On Facebook / On Twitter / On Soundcloud

Read More: Gig Review: Kites, Scala, 02/10/2012 / Exclusive Stream: Look, Stranger! Remixes Kites / On an upward trajectory – Interview with Kites’ Matthew Phillips

2013 Preview: Listen Out For – Waylayers

20 Nov

Like our first band to Listen Out For in 2013 yesterday, 2012 was a quiet one for Waylayers, with just the one single out this year, “Magnets” – due on November 26. The guys have largely been locked away writing or out touring the length and breadth of Europe, honing their craft and preparing for world domination* in 2013.

The buzz is already there, all the way back in 2010 they had a track, “Fires”, featured on the glacialy-cool Kitsuné label and each time they drop a new track the buzz blogs and online critics (and us) gush and get all googly about it. Not surprising considering they’re blessed with the ability to write BIG synth melodies and huge soaring choruses, such as those found on “Magnets”. They have a sound that blends underground cool with mainstream popularity and with singer Harry’s Chris Martin-like vocals, you could argue this is what Coldplay would sound like if they weren’t so set on curing insomnia.

We like to think of their time away as akin to Bruce Wayne going off for years to study and train, ready to become the Batman. Will 2013 see Waylayers evolve into a fully-fledged, arse kicking indie-dance combo? We certainly hope so, if they can be more prolific with their releases there is no reason they shouldn’t explode and become as big as their choruses.

* Raising their profile further and releasing acclaimed and popular tracks. We know that Harry is very Magneto in the video for “Magnets”, but we don’t think he wants to rule the world. Yet.

Stalk Waylayers: Website / Facebook / Twitter / SoundCloud

Read More: Watch: Waylayers-“Magnets”

‘L’ Is For Look, Stranger!

25 Jan

Regular readers will know that we’ve really been digging band on the rise, Kites of late, so much so that when singer Matthew Phillips recommended Look, Stranger! to us, we just had to go check them out. We’re glad we did too.

They may only be in their mid-twenties but this young band has been playing together, in one guise or another, for over ten years and has also clocked up a bucket load of band miles from playing with the likes of Laura Marling and Noah and the Whale’s Charlie Fink, amongst others. In short, they know what they are doing. If that list of artists has you thinking, ‘great, another acoustic indie-folk combo, just what we needed’ then think again for Look, Stranger! comes with batteries (and cables, and synths, and some rather lovely melodies) included.

Chances are, if you’ve happened upon anything about this London four-piece already, you’ll have read about their smooth, polished 80’s sound, except, that description is not exactly one that singer Tim Sheinman recognises. In his opinion, as he explained to us when we spoke to him before Christmas, that may be more to do with the age and expectation of the critics. Certainly he feels that people, critics included, subconsciously allow a review to influence their opinion, picking up one aspect in particular, “ it is that thing where people pick this up and suddenly it all makes sense “oh yeah well they’ve got the 80s influence and now I see it” you know and all that sort of thing”, and repeating it.

The band currently self-produce, primarily for the freedom from any time constraints, and smooth is not something they are particularly aiming for, “ sound is so degraded at the moment”, he says “and it’s so production based that you can use slightly worse microphones, as long as you’ve got good recording software like Logic or whatever, you can do it all at home”. Because of this, there isn’t really much challenge in making something sound like it has been polished to within an inch of its life, “I think sheen is easy to put on a record these day, I really don’t think that’s where the action’s at”.

Sheinman is a fascinating person to speak with, outspoken, forthright and with an opinion and background knowledge on a myriad of subjects. During our chat we cover football’s governing body (“a mafia clique”), Jon Ronson’s theory of conjuring up a back story to better sell an artist, ‘astro-turfing’ (“fake grass roots and stuff”) and his own theory on how record labels handle new talent (“ development’s dead, you know. record companies don’t do development except they do, they just kind of do it now to get this kind of near authenticity, you know, say hide them for a bit and keep the money away from any public projects they do until a certain point”). His sharp tongue is in stark contrast to his soft, harmonious and sometimes choral vocals, especially on the fabulous “Kept It Alive”.

So what do they sound like, and more importantly, what does Tim think they sound like? He makes mention of their use of reverb in production and a haunted sound, “you can record good quality things with lots of reverb on them and that’s absolutely brilliant”, and is quick to identify “Kept It Alive” as being “a full on sort of banging UK funky step dance indie, you know, monster if you like that sort of thing”. We do, very much. It’s pop music, just the way we like it, with a glorious hook, infectious beats and guitars and synths a plenty.

This up-tempo ‘banger’ is juxtaposed on the EP with the more sedate, languid styling of “To The River”, a shortened version of a track that appeared on their previous EP offering, If You’re Listening. That four song release brings to mind Cut Copy, and specifically last year’s brilliant album, Zonoscope. It too blends an organic, almost tribal beat into the swirling, digital, synth soundscapes.

The guys are minded to just keep recording and releasing on a regular basis, which is a bonus for us fans as it means we’ll be getting regular doses of this pop fix. In fact, the next EP is already on the books, One For The King is due out on 9 April this year, no doubt on their bandcamp page where you can also pick up both If You’re Listening and Kept It Alive for free.

If you want a live show to sink your teeth into then you can catch them on a mini-tour over this coming weekend in Manchester (Thurs 26 Jan), Warwick (Fri 27 Jan) and Reading (Sat 28 Jan). More details of the gigs can be found via their Facebook page

You can also connect with the band on Twitter, Tumblr and Soundcloud.