Tag Archives: Summer Camp

What’s In the Box? – #3 – Album Review Special

26 Oct

Whats In The Box Album Review Special

The last few weeks at Alphabet Towers have been pretty much relentless. With much of our focus and energies being diverted to a hugely successful Norwich Sound and Vision Festival, our intended writings didn’t quite pan out as we meant them to.

There were loads of amazing albums released in September and October that we wanted to cover but time never allowed us to get round to. But we still wanted to say something about them so we happened upon a great idea (so we think anyway), why not break open the occasional What’s In The Box feature, and post a series of mini-reviews? To make things harder for ourselves (because where’s the fun in easy right?) we gave ourselves a word limit for each one.

So we have, and here it is, one post containing five 100 word reviews of albums we have enjoyed over the last few weeks, starting with an absolute cracker…

ChvrchesThe Bones Of What You Believe


Standing toe to toe with anything we’ve heard in the last 12 months, The Bones Of What You Believe is one of the most accomplished debut albums of recent years. 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. As equally moving as it is energetic and fun, Chvrches have delivered an album that is, as they say, all killer and no filler.

Buy The Bones Of What You Believe

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HaimDays Are Gone

Haim Days Gone By

With Days Are Gone, BBC and Blog Sound of 2013 poll winners Haim easily maintained the high standards set by each preceding single. It’s a gleaming broach encrusted with gems of musical genres gone by. Highly polished stones of 90’s R&B, 80’s guitar bands and 70’s pop sparkle alongside one another. Given the amount of work that has clearly gone into making it, Days Are Gone sounds remarkably effortless and light, tracks dance along gleefully, not least the Jessie Ware penned title track which is one of many highlights, and everyone is welcome to jump on board and join in.

Buy Days Are Gone

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Summer CampSummer Camp

summer-camp summer-camp

Sophomore albums are supposed to be tricky and potentially career threatening. As they drive away from Condale, Summer Camp has plotted a route that avoids any pitfalls or hazards and has instead taken a picturesque journey to success. Filled with delicious indie-pop songs, emotional and entertaining tales of love and life, this is a showcase of increased confidence within the duo as they widen their already colourful palette. There is greater variety in musical style while never sacrificing the charm or infectiousness of their debut. Melodious, danceable, warm and fantastic; Summer Camp proves second albums don’t have to be difficult.

Buy Summer Camp

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MorcheebaHead Up High

Morcheeba Head Up High

They may not be hitting the heights of the sublime Big Calm these days, but their second album since the return of vocalist Skye Edwards sees Morcheeba embrace a willingness to experiment. The mainstream friendly darlings of the 90’s trip-hop scene, the trio have spread their wings and flown to new worlds in their latest release, Head Up High. Collaborations and disparate musical genres flow through the 12 tracks like rivers coming together to join the sea. Chali 2na, Rizzle Kicks and White Denim’s James Petralli are amongst the guests on a solid offering that long term fans will enjoy.

Buy Head Up High

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Children Of PopFiesta/Drift

Children of Pop Fiesta Drift

Music consumption has changed dramatically with the Skynet-like rise of the digital format meaning listeners often focus only on a single track rather than a body of work. It’s reassuring to know that there are still people out there making music the old fashioned way and with the liquid psychedelica of Fiesta/Drift, Houston’s Children Of Pop have done just that. Comprised of two distinct sides (one energetic and vibrant, one languid and restful) this long awaited debut swirls with melodies of marbled colours and smoke like vocals, but also jumps with groovy guitar lines and funked up beats, it’s fantastic.

Buy Fiesta/Drift

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Watch: Summer Camp – “Two Chords”

17 Oct

Summer Camp - Two Chords

When we last checked in with Summer Camp, Elizabeth was regaling us with tales and memories of the tracks of her teens, since then the duo have released their eponymous sophomore album to much critical acclaim and are now visualising the end of the world through TV news. Which, let’s face it, is probably how we will all experience it anyway (not us, we’ll be in our top secret Alphabet Bands bunker eating ice-cream and listening to Now 16 – we really should update the music down there…)

Directed by Chris Boyle, the video for “Two Chords” features Elizabeth and Jeremy in supporting (but crucial) roles as a broken love is re-kindled in the face of Armageddon. It’s true what they say, the imminent destruction of the planet is great for focusing the mind on what is really important in life. Or just having one last moment of pleasure before it all ends… Mind you, the band has said that “Two Chords” is the most personal song on the album so it probably isn’t about the latter.

Like the TV news channels that the video apes, the infinite concentric circles of “Two Chords” is hypnotic. Unlike 99% of TV news, it is also tender and full of heart and emotion, introspection and understanding. It yearns and dreams but accepts the warmth and comfort of reality, no matter what it may look like.

”Two Chords” will be released on 18 November and Summer Camp’s eponymous sophomore album is out now and available to order on a multitude of formats.

Read more about: Summer Camp

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Tracks Of My Teens: #11 – Summer Camp

3 Sep

Tracks Of My Teens

We have something a little special for you this week in Tracks of my Teens after its recent return. As one half of Summer Camp, Elizabeth Sankey represents 50% of one of our favourite bands around right now. As she and Jeremy Warmsley prepare for the release of their second album next week, Elizabeth took some time out to reminisce about her teenage years and pick three tracks she loved from those days gone by.

summer-camp summer-camp

Echobelly – “King Of The Kerb”

I haven’t listened to this song in…probably over a decade. It feels so weird to be watching the video on YouTube, I definitely have never seen this video before. As a teenager I didn’t live in a household where music videos were watched. It was so exciting to go to my friends’ houses who had cable or satellite and watch MTV. I would sit there, glued to the screen. I know many facts about Alanis Morissette from one day of watching Pop Up Video constantly. I wasn’t strictly a teenager when this song came out, but it was part of the beginning of my teen mentality, that time in your life when you think things like, “I’ll be the girl who wears the foam zip-up jacket and only listens to Air”. I didn’t own many albums but those I did I knew very, very well. This is a just a great pop song. Miss these guys.

Saves The Day – “At Your Funeral”

I grew up near Kingston, an old market town on the outskirts of London. It’s only now that I realise how lucky I was to spend my teenage years there. Kingston has a unique relationship with bands and music, mainly because of one man, Jon Tolley who now runs Banquet Records and puts on insanely amazing shows at the venues that used to do Kiss FM and cheesy student nights when I was a teen. They always, always, even at the beginning of the night, smelt of vomit and beer. I will never forget those sticky carpets. When I was a teen, Jon was already very involved in the music scene, and he used to DJ at this tiny club called Bacchus (he may even still do it, I’ll have to double check with him next time we play). My best friend Louise and I would blag our way in before we were 18 and spend the whole night dancing to emo and hardcore and also…Mr. Scruff? (Just one song though I promise). We were annoying at the best of times, but when Jon played At Your Funeral we went postal. There’s a dance that can be performed to this song, you know. Anyway, Louise made sure this was the last song played at my wedding, after the DJ was supposed to have stopped. I guess we’re still awful.

The Streets – “Weak Become Heroes”

There’s always a point on tour when I listen to Skinner. This is such an insanely perfect debut. I loved it when it came out, but it wasn’t until I was working in music that I realised how incredibly lo-fi the production was. It’s such a wonderful reminder that good songs cut through, regardless of how much money was spent on the production. His lyrics are amazing, so evocative and truthfully. Totally relatable. And I love his sampling, his loops and breaks are just bloody great. I saw him play at Brixton in my early 20’s and it was amazing, and I’m so glad he’s done well, but I will always love the intensity and loneliness of this album. You can tell how much he wants it, and he has so much to say.

Summer Camp’s eponymous sophomore album is due out 9 September and is available for pre-order from iTunes now.

Read more about: Summer Camp

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Gig Review: Summer Camp, Servant Jazz Quarters, London, 1 August 2013

2 Aug

On what feels like one of the hottest days of the year the last thing any sane person should be doing is cramming themselves into a cosy basement alongside about 80 other people. Yet when presented with the chance to see Summer Camp perform some brand new material in an intimate setting and with a new live line up, the heat becomes inconsequential. Even before the band has started the majority of the audience have sweat dripping from places where most people didn’t know they had places and could reasonably expect to fry eggs on their foreheads. Despite this, anticipation levels in this tiny corner of Dalston are high and we are all eager to hear some new songs.

The heat is quickly forgotten when the band starts up and standing around gasping for air is soon replaced with boogying, whooping and general feelings of merriment and delight amongst the sold out crowd. One thing that is immediately clear is that the new live set up works extremely well. The addition of a live bassist (take a bow Louis Bhose) works wonders and gives the sound additional depth and energy. It may just be a coincidence but a new Elizabeth seems to have been unleashed as a result. More confident than ever before, more at ease perhaps, she has grown as a performer and is now an even better frontwoman than ever. She may share vocal duties with Jeremy but she is starting to own the stage and it looks like she loves it. Neither of them looks overly happy with their decision to wear suits on stage mind you.

The set is super tight, drummer William Bowerman continues to be one of the most underrated around, and the new tracks are slotted seamlessly in amongst newly arranged old favourites, much to the delight of the crowd. Standouts are the mid set triumvirate of “Crazy”, piano ballad “Fighters” and the already released “Fresh”, which sounds amazing live and prompts the biggest boogie of all tonight, causing further weight loss through copious sweating.

From then on we are treated to a quick jaunt down memory lane, the confession that were Magnum ice-creams a bit cheaper we all would have got one, and then the set draws to a close with crowd favourite “I Want You”. As the crowd disperses and air returns to our lungs we are left to reflect on a storming set by a band that gets better and better with each release and show. The album is due out in September and judging from tonight, it promises to be a corker.

Summer Camp’s eponymous sophomore album is due out 9 September and is available for pre-order from iTunes now.

Read more about: Summer Camp

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Listen: Summer Camp -“Fresh”

18 Jul

Summer Camp Fresh

Kick off your shoes, dip your toes in the paddling pool, catch that dribble of ice cream before it drips off your Mr Whippy cone and onto your legs, sit back and take it all in. For, if the bright sunshine and heat didn’t tell you, Summer Camp are back with a super-groovy and gloriously nostalgic piece of disco-funk-pop to leave you in no doubt at all, summer is here, and it sounds amazing.

A heady mix of strings, synths, full on groovable guitar solos (both short and long) and a bassline that funks along underneath it all, “Fresh” is a flake of happiness in a sunshine ice-cream. Quite brilliantly, Elizabeth manages to give us both Pulp and Sophie Ellis Bextor reference points in the blink of a chorus. “Do you remember the first time?” she sings (Pulp, obviously) while layered underneath is a very dance floor-Bextor style “Do you? Do you?”.

The whole track is excellent and while the duo reminisce on first loves and heartbreak, we are given a warm trip down our own memory lane to playing out in the sun, footloose and fancy free, enjoying the balmy conditions without a care in the world. Glorious.

“Fresh” is the first full track we’ve heard from the band’s new album, due out in September, and the excite-o-meter has just been ramped up to 11. Stick on your shades, grab an ice-cream and enjoy the groove.

Summer Camp’s eponymous sophomore album is due out 9 September and is available for pre-order from iTunes now.

Read more about: Summer Camp

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