Tag Archives: Push/Pull

Vuvuvultures – “Arty Party” (Video)

11 Apr

vuvuvultures Arty Party

They’re back! Just when we were sitting here bemoaning the lack of dark, skittish and sinister electro, pop rock sounds in our lives, Vuvuvultures have returned like a musical Batman throwing out beats, riffs, warped digital glitches and attitude from within their utility belt.

After last year’s fantastic debut album, Push / Pull (which made into our albums of the year long list), the gizmo crazy foursome are set to release four 7” AA side singles in 2014. The first of which, “I”, will feature “Arty Party” (the video for which you can watch below – stay ’til the end btw) and “Song Bot”, a track the band say is ”delightfully sinister”. Coming from the group that gave us the outstandingly menacing, ”I’ll Cut You”, that’s saying something.

As evidenced by the video, “Arty Party” is more balls to the wall fun and frolics, meant for dancing, jumping and bouncing around to like a loon. After some very grand and cinematic videos, director Fiona Garden has opted for a more back to basics style, featuring the band doing just those things we mentioned, jumping about, having a laugh, rocking some super Prince-style ruffles (Nicole) and pumping iron (Paul). It is perfectly Vuvuvultures and we love them for it.

Since we first featured them back in March 2012, their reputation has soared and more esteemed publications than ours have been lining up to sing their praises and that trend should only continue over the next 12 months. Hell, they’re even playing with Adam Ant at the Hammersmith Apollo soon, a man who Mr Alphabet Bands was named after (true story). And we thought we couldn’t love them more than we already did.

Watch the video, stay ‘til the end for some post credits japery, let yourself go and have a good old jump around the living room.

”Arty Party/Song Bot” is out on 19 April via Energy Snake Records/Cadiz Music.



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2013 Albums of the Year: The Full List, and a little extra…

21 Dec

2013 Albums of the Year The Full List

Just as we did with our other lists this month, EPs of the Year and Tracks of the Year, we have decided to put all ten of our favourite albums of 2013 into one easy to read list. And, as with our 2014 Preview series, we have also added some honourable mentions of albums that we loved but didn’t quite make it into our final ten.

Every year when we sit down to work out our albums of the year, we always end up surprising ourselves in some way or other. This year was no different and one thing that caught our attention, though probably means very little, was the geographical make up of the list, with seven of the ten albums coming from the USA and only three from the UK, and how many (eight) were debut albums. Evidently we like new things from overseas very much.

Anyway, here you go, all in one place, our favourite albums of the year. Just click on the album title to be taken to the original post and to read more about each one.

Enjoy and see you next week for some regular blog posts and festive fun as well.


#10: Superhumanoids – Exhibitionists

”All throughout Exhibitionists, melodies swoop and swoon, flying to the sun and melting into considered and analytical lyrics. Light and dark meet, mix and leave hand-in-hand, carried off on the marbled tide of heady and vibrant synth-pop and more downtempo and icy soundscapes. The Los Angeles based band has created sounds that dance, sway and float in equal measure and the result is an absolute delight.”

#9: Valerie June – Pushin’ Against A Stone

”Her vocals, so distinctive and unlike almost anything else you’ve ever heard, slip seamlessly from style to style. Warmth and frost, steel like determination and vulnerable insecurity, world weary wisdom and wide-eyed naivety; all feature and all feel entirely natural. She has paid her dues, taken her licks and learnt her lessons. This education, her talent and the fact that she probably bleeds music and Memphis has all come together in a glorious whole and the result is a fantastically varied and captivating album.”

#8: Caveman – Caveman

”Like a sprawling desert, Caveman is broad and spread out as far as the eye can see. Blissfully dreamy guitars wash away the world on lullabies of shimmering heat haze reverb, while the vocals of Matthew Iwanusa float wistfully through your mind and off to the distant horizon.”

#7: Rhye – Woman

”The songs are rich and smooth like a vintage red wine in the company of good friends. Robin Hannibal’s arrangements are deft, delicate and subtle, awash with a languid sophistication, offering glimpses into the intimacy of love, be it full and joyous or pained, private and profound.”

#6: London Grammar – If You Wait

”It is a groundswell of emotion, rising up to the sky and stirring the soul, sending shivers down spines and ripples of Goosebumps across arms. Particularly during moments of quiet, haunting breaths, like those that give way to a compelling, crashing rhythm on “Stay Awake”, or the simple piano intro to “Sights”.”

#5: Day Joy – Go To Sleep, Mess

” Songs trickle gently along, rippling before they unexpectedly swell and rise; lifting you high and carrying you away on a beautiful tide of delicate emotion. Their spectral melodies create a sense of blurriness, like the world seen through rain speckled glasses. Your mind is distorted and made fuzzy by the echoing, swirling sounds and vocals as they shimmer and float on the breeze.”

#4: Young Hunting – Hazel

”There is no urgency to Hazel, it is staid, serene like a lake with not a ripple on its surface but amongst the gorgeous and woozy instrumentals, there is darkness. It is dream-pop but laced with foreboding, a feeling that something is about to upset this idyllic scenario. This sense of unease is perhaps best represented by “Baby’s First Steps”, a track that sounds like a late drive along a 1950’s mountain road, loved one in the passenger seat after a pleasant evening with friends. The night is clear and the road is empty, but the audience knows all is not right.”

#3: Public Service Broadcasting – Inform – Educate – Entertain

”It is far too easy to get lost in the perceived gimmick of Public Service Broadcasting and to our mind that misses the point. The samples are critical of course, but the beauty and enjoyment comes from how they are used and woven into complimentary sounds to convey a narrative, emotion, excitement and energy.”

#2: Chvrches – The Bones Of What You Believe

” Chvrches are exciting. Martin Doherty and Iain Cook wield sonic weapons like a pair of skittish electro-ninjas; flipping, kicking and letting loose shurikens of rapid beats and synth lines with deadly precision while Lauren Mayberry’s sweet emotive vocals rise up above them as if summoned by some mystical enchantress.”

#1: John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts

”Here Grant plays with genres more than before as well. Stark electronic melodies and rough synths are juxtaposed with soft, mellifluous harmonies with the guesting (and understated wonderfulness of) Sinead O’Connor and his floating, winsome vocals. But this variety of styles embraced within the album could be seen as representation of the tumultuous variety of emotions and mood swings one undergoes when experiencing and coming to terms with heartbreak. For this is undeniably a break-up album. An album of a man who has been knifed in the heart by a shattered relationship and is coming to terms with the anger, depression, desire and love that remains in his soul.”


Honourable Mentions…

Vuvuvultures – Push / Pull

VVV-Strikethrough

There is a sense of foreboding, of death and of something much bigger than us, of something beyond our comprehension that is prevalent throughout. Be it the portentous, doom laden drum beats and bass sounds that awake “The Professional” or the foot-stomping bluesy sleaze of “Your Thoughts Are A Plague”, cataclysmic events are only moments away. Vuvuvultures have brought the end of this world with them and its noise is addictive.

Guitars shudder and grind, basslines throb and groove, drumbeats pound and scatter and above it all, vocals soar and caress. And within, sometimes buried, sometimes bursting forth beyond these instruments are the electronics, the ghosts in the machine that are desperate to break out. Little glitchy moments here, synthy wails there, digital flourishes that embellish and enhance. On “Tell No One” especially, the machines are coming and the electronics give it an extra feeling of danger, of despair and of impending menace.

Peppered within the album too are fleeting moments where they have taken over entirely, the A.I finding a way to circumvent its masters and the machines talk to one another. They appear at the end of the “Whatever You Will” and the slower undulations of the snake like “Empurrar/Puxar” (Push/Pull in Portuguese) which close the album give way to a minute or so of digital whirring and twitching, calling out to its brothers and signalling perhaps the next stage of Vuvuvultures evolution.

“Push/Pull” is on Energy Snake Records / Cadiz and can be ordered here.



Ms Mr – Secondhand Rapture

MS MR Secondhand Rapture

MS MR resides in a world of the macabre, a world of glitchy electronics, incessant rhythms, swirling strings and deliciously gloomy vocal harmonies. ”We really get off and thrive on a certain level of uneasiness and suspense” Lizzy told us, and that is apparent throughout Secondhand Rapture. Be it the upbeat, clap-happy fun of “Salty Sweet” or the slower melancholy of “Twenty Seven” and “This Isn’t Control”, there is always a sense of disquiet and drama within. It’s just how pop should be, full of big, majestic melodies and hooks big enough to catch a whale. The brilliantly brooding “BTSK” even contains a synth line that is oddly reminiscent of some unnecessarily successful 90s euro-dance, it sounds amazing.

There are so many highlights within; it is almost like a greatest hit compilation. Picking the next single is more taxing than trying a Rubik’s cube while drunk but our money would be on “No Trace”. It’s a beautiful and brutally theatrical piece of noir-pop, full of attitude and sass as well as trademark MS MR rhythms and striking film score-esque strings that urgently harry and batter the listener into sublime submission.

MS MR have been hitting home runs since they came out swinging last year and after the success and acclaim of their previous singles, videos and EP, with Secondhand Rapture they may well have just hit a grand slam.

Secondhand Rapture is available digitally from iTunes.



Little Tybee – For Distant Viewing

Little Tybee

After opening with some delightful, occasional tropical sounding, jazzy folk sounds, we are treated to four minutes of swooshing instrumentalism, laced with gentle prog-rock sensibilities on “Fantastic Planet”. “Herman” drips with aquatic, almost sonar style elements that complement the rich string orchestration before, seemingly out of no-where, dropping in a surprising moment of grinding reverb. It is as unexpected as it is perfect, but it remains the only fleeting moment of rough with the otherwise very smooth.

For Distant Viewing inculcates a care free attitude in its listener. Soothing, heavenly strings entwine with Brock Scott’s rich and slightly sweet vocals as they lick flame like around the rat-a-tat of percussion and the light twang of guitar. It feels fresh at every listen, as if it has just been conceived, improvised, jammed. It is an album that will make you smile, make you sway and hell, maybe even kick off your shoes and have a little shuffle.

Named after an island off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, the music of Little Tybee has a sun kissed feel, not bleached out and surf swept, but bright and breezy. Part Vampire Weekend, part Simon and Garfunkel, perhaps even part Juan Zelada (for they have his charm in their song writing), it is like a glorious summer’s day, it is to be revelled in.

’For Distant Viewing’ is out on Paper Garden Records and can be ordered here.



Cherokee Red – Cherokee Red

Cheroke Red

When you start swaying softly as soon as you start listening to an album, you know you are in for a treat, and so it is with the eponymous debut album of Pennsylvania’s Cherokee Red. It begins with the mellifluous gorgeousness of “Veya Con Dios” and closes with the so-soft-and-delicate-it-could-actually-be-a-lullaby “Blissful Blows”. In between are 9 more tracks of wistful and swoonsome beauty.

“Veya Con Dios” for example, is so pretty you could stick a crown on it and it would win pageants. It’s so beautiful you could frame it and hang it in the Louvre; it’s so … you get the idea, it’s gorgeous. The guitar strums softly as the melody floats like the proverbial wave lapping against the shore; there’s not a cloud in the sky as the sun glistens above you on this deserted beach. It is pure calm and relaxation, Christiana Bartolini’s vocals, from the opening ‘do do, do-do-do-do-do-do-do’, massages away your cares and worries. It’s dreamy, but not in a dreampop way, more a teenage girl describing the High School hunk kind of way.

Bartolini’s vocals are a spoonful of sugar that could make the worst news in the world seem utterly delightful and the arrangements are elegant and divine. Even “Heavy Soul”, with its momentary seconds of comparative angularity and wobbliness, is a tender piece of melody that culminates in the sounds of crickets chirping, preparing the quiet night time for the aforementioned lullaby of “Blissful Blows” which follows.

It caresses the brain and brings about a state of tranquillity in the listener. So laid back and luxuriantly relaxing is it that you may find yourself drifting off into a blissful slumber as you listen. It is the musical equivalent of The Little Book of Calm, except it actually works.

Cherokee Red is available to buy here.



Review: Vuvuvultures – Push/Pull

26 Jul

VVV-Strikethrough

It has been little more than two years since four like minded souls came from across the globe, found one another in a city they now call home and began to make music. Since those beginnings, the four members of Vuvuvultures have grown together, developed together and evolved together till they find themselves at this point, ready to unleash their debut album on the world, and it’s a monster.

Last year’s debut EP, VVV was schizophrenic and gloriously dark in tone and sound. Unlike anything else out there, it blended a multitude of styles and sounds into four tracks of glorious maleficence and the hedonistically disaffected underbelly of society. Like its shorter predecessor, Push/Pull embraces the band’s love of the secret and the sordid, science and fantasy and the way in which sound works. Envelopes have been pushed and with the advent of poppier sensibilities, the tracks feel more accessible and hook laden than even their previous work, without losing any of their grandeur or the darkness within.

Before the album even hits your ears it is worth noting that from last year’s stellar VVV EP, only two tracks remain, and that their single from the turn of the year, “Stay Still”, isn’t on it. Dropping three high quality tracks feels like a statement of intent and thankfully, Push/Pull delivers.

It opens with one of the surviving EP tracks, the skittish and riffalicious “Ctl Alt Mexicans” before sweeping into current single, “Steel Bones”. The sci-fi inspired dystopian dream (or nightmare) sounding like the end of the world as analogue and digital meet in a compelling battle of wills. Neither is prepared to yield and both create noise that drives into the heart of the other.

This sense of foreboding, of death and of something much bigger than us, of something beyond our comprehension is prevalent throughout. Be it the portentous, doom laden drum beats and bass sounds that awake “The Professional” or the foot-stomping bluesy sleaze of “Your Thoughts Are A Plague”, cataclysmic events are only moments away. Vuvuvultures have brought the end of this world with them and its noise is addictive.

Guitars shudder and grind, basslines throb and groove, drumbeats pound and scatter and above it all, vocals soar and caress. And within, sometimes buried, sometimes bursting forth beyond these instruments are the electronics, the ghosts in the machine that are desperate to break out. Little glitchy moments here, synthy wails there, digital flourishes that embellish and enhance. On “Tell No One” especially, the machines are coming and the electronics give it an extra feeling of danger, of despair and of impending menace.

Peppered within the album too are fleeting moments where they have taken over entirely, the A.I finding a way to circumvent its masters and the machines talk to one another. They appear at the end of the “Whatever You Will” and the slower undulations of the snake like “Empurrar/Puxar” (Push/Pull in Portuguese) which close the album give way to a minute or so of digital whirring and twitching, calling out to its brothers and signalling perhaps the next stage of Vuvuvultures evolution.

It is already on its way, their creation of ‘The Appliance of Science’, a briefcase of gadgetry and wires that wouldn’t look out of place in an episode of Battlestar Galactica, should see the band grow their sound still further. A frightening thought when you think how far they have come and how fantastic they already sound.

For now though, they have given us an album to get our teeth into and be invigorated by. Not any old album mind you, Push/Pull is a Vuvuvultures album, and while they may look like us, they do not think or sound like us. They have evvvolved and they have a plan, and the results are all the better for it.

“Push/Pull” is released via Energy Snake Records / Cadiz on 29 July and can be pre-ordered here.


Stalk Vuvuvultures: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

Watch: Vuvuvultures – “Steel Bones”

25 Jul

VVV Steel Bones

With the release of their debut album just days away (Monday 29 July, mark it in the diary people) the always amazing Vuvuvultures have just posted the video for its first single, “Steel Bones”.

As you’d expect from the VVV gang it looks fantastic but unlike past videos there doesn’t appear to be much going on that is weird or out of the ordinary. At first glance it appears that some sleazeball has obviously done our heroes wrong and as a result is getting royally fucked up by some hooded and masked assailants in an underground car park. But as is always the way with Vuvuvultures, there is something else going on underneath it all.

We spoke to the band about the video a short while ago for the Planet of Sound show on Future Radio, so we’ll let them explain the concept in more detail and how it differs from their other videos. Then you can you watch it yourself and see what they meant. Pay attention to the eyes when you do…


Here’s the video, be warned it’s mildly NSFW, depending on how your boss feels about a couple of quick glimpses of Harmony’s arse.


Vuvuvultures debut album “Push/Pull” will be out via Energy Snake Records / Cadiz on 29 July. “Steel Bones” is out now and can be bought here.

Stalk Vuvuvultures: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

Watch: Vuvuvultures – “Safe Skin”

23 May

VVV

Given their propensity for more off the wall visual accompaniments to their songs, each new Vuvuvultures video release is beginning to feel like something of an event. What on earth will they have come up with this time and will Harmony have been browbeaten enough to consent to the inclusion of a vagina laser?

We were somewhat taken aback to find then that the video for “Safe Skin” (from last year’s excellent VVV EP) is almost fairly normal. This is the band who brought us a march into space to obtain multiple limbs, a dark trip to a fantastical and freaky underworld, and of course a woman who eats human-sized flies… (yep). What’s going on?

Well, we did say almost and fairly normal. Directed by James Copeman, the man behind the visceral promo for the menacing “I’ll Cut You”, “Safe Skin” feels like an interesting visual take on the performance video. Harmony is singing, the band are playing, though none of them are with each other, Harmony dances a bit, shows of plenty of skin (safe or otherwise) and that’s about it. Except its not, of course its not.

The visuals are a kaleidoscope of flesh and music, as well as a little oddness thrown in as well. Harmony’s eyes shudder as they blacken, primal screams escape mouths in the form of scribbled lines, which also fill wine glasses. Nothing though compares to the ooze, the liquid gunk that dribbles and pours out of, well you can see for yourself, suffice to say it is not a vagina laser substitute, thankfully (although, you could see it as being something similar if you looked in a certain way…).

While you watch the video below (possibly at home, there’s no explicit nudity but a Harmony sans coulettes may still get you in trouble with the boss, or a raise, depending on your boss) consider the following three exciting pieces of VVV related news.

1) Their debut album, Push/Pull, will be released on Energy Snake Records / Cadiz / Universal on 29 July.
2) It will be preceded by a brand new single titled ‘Steel Bones’.
3) They will be touring the UK tour in support of this release.

More details on where and when will follow but one thing we do know is that they will be playing Open in Norwich on 4 July. How can we so sure? Because we’re only putting on the flipping show ourselves! Yep, its the first ever Alphabet Bands promoted gig and we are made up that it will be one of our blog crushes headlining. Tickets are on sale now and cost a mere £5. Support comes from Box of Light and Horse Party.

Sales pitch over, go watch the video (and buy tickets to the gig!)


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