Charly Blue & the Colours, The Committed, Toodar, Electric Electric, Our Missing Cat - NOW HEAR THIS!#5
After an over long hiatus, Now Hear this! Makes its glorious return, its our irregular feature that seeks out new and emerging acts. Those artists that sometimes slip through the net of the mainstream music press, those that have been tickling our ears in the last few months. NOW HEAR THESE! And Enjoy!
First up Hugh Worskett delves deep into the musical minds of mind of a delightful new three piece:
Charly Blue & the Colours
Enter Charly, Nicole and Massimo. Meet your paint pot for tonight, your palette of colours out of which pictures of love, lechery, and life, plus a splash of lesbianism, will be painted. Singer and songwriter Charly Morris is the one who wields the brush crafting detailed portraits of the ebb and flow of disappointment and hope when in love, while Nicole Robson on the 'cello and Massimo Franco on the drums add their own bold strokes to fill in the rest of the picture.
Charly's motivation seems to stem from a disappointment in the normality of life and a desire to reassess and reengage with the world in a positive and emotionally exaggerated fashion. She says that, “[when I write] I am very much myself but I am the most inner parts of myself amplified”. She writes with a wide-eyed enthusiasm for all the things that eventually gain normalcy through experience. There is a certain naivety to Charly Blue & the Colours too, from the pleasing poster-paint name to the singing style that robustly rejects cliché or standardisation in favour of something less tutored. In 'Thing About You' the notes are only ever half-hit before being allowed to fall away onto the next. The style verges on conversational and well suits the observational lyrics that are a defining characteristic of the Colours' sound.
The music draws on an array of different influences, evident from the Latin American rhythms, sometime classical leanings and the occasional thrash-acoustic freak-out. A stunning cover of Herman Dune's 'Good For No-one' currently resides at the tail end of the Colours' live shows almost threatening to eclipse the rest of the set. It features some tasty snare work from drummer Massimo although he is trumped at the finale by a 'cello solo that owes more to Metallica than it does anything else.
The strongest influences come from slightly further a-field, however. A broad literary interest informs the intelligent lyrical writing which is aided further by an art-college background that Charly claims has heightened her observational skills: “Having an interest in art undoubtedly makes you think more about what you see, and look at things more closely with your eyes and mind. I think images influence my songs; images from films, the way places look, the way people look.” She is very quick, however, to press the point that “in terms of how the band themselves look, quite frankly I couldn't give a damn. It's not about that. I don't care if we are in jeans and t-shirts or lobster outfits with silver pipes coming off.” Having heard a suggestion from 'cellist Nicole, however, that they could emerge out of a giant vagina one by one at the start of their sets, I would advise Charly not to be too indifferent about the image of her band. A bloody birth onto stage could hamper things a bit. The lack of conscientiousness is hugely admirable though and does at times morph into a subversive playfulness, not least when Charly and Nicole sing together, “If I were a lesbian I'd be wishing she were mine.”
Now it's probably rather unhelpful suggestively mentioning vaginas and lesbianism in the same paragraph as Charly Blue et al., but never mind. I guess I just widened their audience demographic, no matter the fallacy. And for the rest of us who didn't need things widened, I'm sure the fun, honest and intelligent songs will suffice.
Charly Blue & The Colours have a palpable sense of purpose that will benefit them no end as they go off to make their very first recordings for their debut EP. They have some lovely turns of melody, classy arrangements and an obvious addiction to their own music that sooner or later everyone else should be addicted to too. The live shows are polished and well played and there is an honesty and directness of message that at times can be disarming and at others, wholly entertaining. Expect to see a giant vagina on a stage near you soon.
Full gig listings for Charly Blue & The Colours can be found on their MySpace, and if you can't make them, tune into Resonance 104.4 FM on Saturday 16th January 2010 for a live radio session.
Next up Huw Evans has been hard at work seeking out the best the sweaty valleys of South Wales have to offer, and came up with a fresh local band who never shirk a challenge:
Neath band 'The Committed' are steadily building a good following in South Wales, with a sound reminiscent of an early 'Muse' cross bred with a harder hitting 'Jimmy Eat World' minus the cheese. The vocals come across brilliantly with singer Kieran hitting some brilliant falsettos, and with a great ranging voice he's backed by the rest of the band's vocals.
'Streetlights' has wormed its way into my head with the vocal harmonies and screaming lead guitar played by Seab. There are also hints of 'Oceansize' and 'Biffy Clyro' in their verly cleverly constructed music. The biggest plus point of these guys is the way the music is allowed to breath and the variation it gives them, coupled with a lively and energetic live show. These guys have the rawness that Muse had when I first heard 'Showbiz', the screeching guitars and 'angsty' sound that launched these giants. The song 'Modern Times (with barely a smile)' has a great social commentary running through its lyrics. The line 'connect us and watch us disconnect' seems to be quite an obvious dig at the whole social networking 'revolution' and will probably strike a chord with anyone who has a bugbear with the usual suspects of it.
It's no doubt these guys are very clever with their song construction and lyrics and I'm really glad I stumbled upon them supporting People In Planes. Head over to their myspace site and take a listen, I assure you that you won't be disappointed.
Our new band Editor Steven Morgan has been busy he's picked out a plethora of new interesting acts of late including Ignug who currently grace GIITTV's front-page and Glass Diamond who he interviewed earlier this year. Now he picks out a interesting three piece making experimental waves in the Capitol:
Toodar are a multi-instrumental three-piece from London who produce their own internal take on folk music combined with classical musicianship and bubbling electronica. It's a combination which delicately skirts the line between sublime and pompous. Luckily, this is a band with enough guile to know which side of the line they want to be on. The instrumentation is vast, as they wrap their talented chops around accordions, xylophones, guitar, organs lacing it with controlled, complimenting electronic beats and soft, enveloping vocals. The music feels like a warm hug on a winter's night.
Tom Grundy's vocals recall Jeff Buckley with their floating falsettos and sincere emotional delivery.
Their debut single Toy has been championed by Tom Robinson of BBC 6Music commenting "...what an immaculate record" and with good reason. It's a work of bubbling understated acoustic electronica as if Sufjan Stevens was a Londoner with gorgeous song writing and guitar. It's also available now on iTunes and well worth checking out.
The band are soon to release their debut EP White Elephant on December 21st which promises more of the same contrast of sophisticated compositions entwined with gentle beats over memorable melodies.
GIITTV editor Bill Cummings selects an act with mammoth sonic power and ambition…
Heavy, aggressive, progessive, guitar music and Dance, hardly easy bedfellows? Well French duo Electric Electric, are here to smash apart any preconceptions you might have. With guitars as their weaponry, rhythmic beats as their bedrock and thunderously chanted chorus lines they create unstoppable, intricate, mathematical rock puzzles that merge into the realms of Dance. Mechanical rhythmic drumbeats, are built upon by serrated, sometimes minimal guitar lines and noize filled loops that build the framework towards countless careering epiphanies.
They're hardly new, two-piece Electric Electric formed in 2004 in Strasburg, heavily infuenced by the sounds of the Skingraft label and bands that combine noise-rock and explosive performances on stage. Using traditional instrumentation rather than just laptops and sample loops, Electric Electric has refined an organic aesthetic of repetition, minimalism, and most of all, dance music. In the midst of their frenetic workouts, the band gives off a post millennial atmosphere of melancholy and sickness (epilepsy, claustrophobia). Some would say their music fits right between Donna Summer and Sunn-O. I say that right now their superb fifteen track album from last year "Sad Cities Handclappers"(which you can listen to here) will drive a bulldozer through your preconceptions, propel your body into making involuntary movements, take you on trips into new mind spaces, and fill that eager gap in your life that's left by Battles break in recordings. Fiercely experimental, and delightfully bruising, Electric Electric will surge through your frontal lobes.
Last up Charlie Ralph takes things down a notch or two with a new duo with a warm feline related moniker:
Our Missing Cat
Soft guitar tones soothe the listener sweetly as they provide the base of the music the London-based duet Our Missing Cat play. Featuring occasional chimes of electric guitar and bass, for the most part the music is dominated by the presence of a soft female voice and the aforementioned gentle melody plucked out by the guitar.
Creating vivid and beautiful images with their delicate, hazy tunes this folk-ish band are definitely one to look out for. In all this talk of atmosphere and imagery, it's easy to lose the fact that the music is quite infectious, and surprisingly catchy, calling you to listen over and over again. Their debut, appropriately titled Nine Lives, can be revisited repeatedly, sounding just as fresh every time.
This combination of soothing melodies and infectious songs makes for a very entertaining, promising band, who are definitely one to watch develop and grow over time.
Our Missing Cat are playing as part of Fry's Gig next March in London, keep your eyes open for details!