Wednesday, October 31

"It's pop music coming home." What is you ask? The MTV Liverpool Music Awards is what.

That's right, Liverpool's brand spanking new Echo Arena which is so new it isn't even open yet will host next year's MTV Europe Music Awards next year.

MTV man Richard Godfrey even said: ""Not only is it the European Capital of Culture next year but the influence of its rich musical heritage is still felt today."

Too damn right. It's on November 6, but the arena opens in January. Liverpool culture person James Purnell said "this wil make the Capital of Culture year even more special." Again, too damn right it will.

Sure they're gonna paint up Liverpool with that whole annoying Merseybeat blah again, which we all knew it truly isn't these days, but it does shove this city right back in the faces of the planet. Then they can take a deeper look at what's behind those Merseybeat-stained doors. Such as, erm, I dunno, THE WOMBATS!

Monday, October 29

Peter And The Wolf. They're Back. Bigger And Better Than Ever Before.

Carling Academy 2 - October 18

You don’t see enough double bass within the narrow-minded kingdom of indie rock, let alone girls who play drums. So it’s for those reasons alone why Liverpool three-piece Peter and the Wolf should be camped up in all our hearts and minds; and it’s just a bonus that on top of being equipped with such rare apparatus, the Wolf’ seem to be pretty handy when it comes to straight-up short dark pop that sounds like a slightly bigger Blood Red Shoes swarming in sensitivity. Soaking up a whole load of such folked-up sweet melody, ‘Golden Stars’ definitely deserves the attention of way more than just this boiling hot half-packed room tonight. Yet luckily for the clearly roasting singer/guitarist Marc Sunderland, songs ‘Showdown’ and ‘Tommy’ are much more interesting than his now sweat-drenched shirt. That’s their city won over, now for the rest of the world.

Do you want their Myspace? Of course you do. Here it is

Wednesday, October 24

Okay, Let's Get The Elle S'appelle Hype Machine Rolling...

So Zane played em on Monday night as part of his Fresh Meat thang, and they won! That's right, Liverpool's bestest three-piece since, er, The Wombats, and their ace ace ace new single 'Little Flame' was given some proper actual amazing exposure. Not only that but I told the bassist/singer man from the band the very same night that they were 'Really good', and he was like 'Cheers'. But you see, they're way better then 'really good'. I mean they're really really good. So now after some Zane-time, compliments from me, and some great singles in the bag; this can only mean one thing...

Elle S'appelle are officially one of Liverpool's hottest new bands.

Not in an Alterkicks sense where some apparent decent record label signs em up just to release the album without telling a soul. But I mean in a Wombats sense, and we all know what that means. I've seen em live about three times now and there's no doubt they've got some wicked songs in their set, with a great blend of constantly switching and sweet harmonies, and joyfully twee keys plus the craziest thing is they don't even use a guitar. What's more is they're doing a SPECIAL XMAS SHOW AT THE ACADEMY WITH THE WOMBATS AND goFASTER>> (YES THAT DOES SOUND EFFING AMAZING I KNOW), but more of that in a couple weeks. And they're doing a Barfly tour with goFASTER>> next year, and the highly exciting Liverpool Music Week (more of that very soon too!). And they're on the Xfm playlist. And they're gonna be just everywhere once their signed (which they probaby already are, you know how these things work!).

Here's the video to the amazing 'Little Flame' -

Or check it on the DL -
Little Flame

And hit their Myspace

Sunday, October 21

Married To The Sea And Eugene McGuinness (Again).

Eugene McGuinness/Married To The Sea – Korova, Liverpool – October 21

One of the best things about turning up supposedly early to a stupidly late gig at Korova (and Korova only) is that sometimes you’ll come across some proper Scouse talent that you never knew existed. Married To The Sea were such talent last night, doing their thing like a nu-woven Blink 182. They have the look of another soft rock four-piece but beneath all that were some mighty fine songs in their set, like The Maccabees attempting to cover Death Cab with Lost Prophets constantly interrupting. Ish.
Here's their Myspace

If I ever got to edit a big fat feature on Eugene McGuinness I would chuck a huge headline on the page saying 'MODEST MOUSE'. You know, like the band but mainly because he just seems so damn polite and humble.
Coldplay, U2, Oasis. They are stadium-size bands right there, and I’m not saying EmcG is that good but he sure as hell should be playing in front of bigger crowds then the quarter-full albeit warm and intimate venue last night. I know I’ve said it before but his alt.folk sound truly is like a pissed-up Sinatra doing karaoke with Willy Mason. Oh, and he closed with ‘Bold Street’. Nice.

Tuesday, October 16

The Wonderful Elle S'appelle And The Brilliant goFASTER>>

Elle S’appelle/goFASTER>> - Barfly – October 4

‘Is there a Pontins holiday camp in Rhyl? Or is there a Butlins? Maybe both?’ These are the kind of issues pondered across the stage at most goFASTER>> shows, and more often than not you’ll even get some straight-up twee fizzing-pop to get your ass shaking to and all. Sure the curly mops of Merseybeat may adorn their heads but there honestly aint a hint of dull cosmic drab coming out of em whatsoever. Choc-full of pre-second album Bloc Party guitars and Hot Club-type harmonies without the annoying bits, ‘Goodtimes’ is the perfect indie anthem in waiting. What’s more, ‘Flammable Leisurewear’ turns on chavs, and ‘Heather’s Loaded’ turns on Heather Mills. This lot are effing ace, and considering Liverpool is wetting itself over how good they are, so will you be very soon.
All eyes turn to Elle S’appelle, who seem to have jumped aboard the hot Scouse scene in a matter of fewer than ten gigs. Two guys and one Kate Nash-type dress-wearing girl plonk on stage without a single guitar in sight. This time though, said-Hot Club harmonies get suffocated by Pixies-like screeches, especially in ‘She Sells Sea Shells’. If Frank Black grew up on Rainbow he’d have formed Elle S’appelle.

Saturday, October 13

What Happened When Los Campesinos! Came To Town

There’s like, millions of bands out there right now. But like, hundreds that have sort of come on to the big old indie scene within the last year with some form of talent in their grasp. Then like twenty of those have been plugged on MTV2 and Xfm, and pretty much across all decent exposure outputs. And then, maybe five of those twenty are like proper amazing, and will no doubt be around in a few years with a couple amazing albums under their belt. You know, like Bloc Party and Franz and Arctic Monkeys today, there’ll what The Wombats and Cajun Dance Party and Pete and the Pirates will be in a few years. No doubt about it.

But one seven piece from Cardiff you can’t forget is Los Campesinos! They’re fucking amazing, and will also be around in a few years after a couple of very incredible albums under their belt. This lot know what Innovative Indie Twee means, because they’ll definately spawn a whole new wave of violion stringed-up finger-pciking guitar bands set under witty words within these next few years Everything they played at Barfly – well nearly, one song was a bit shit – was great and very much singleish. Proper downright fun indie-pop that’s all over the charts at the mo cheers to Nash and Penate, has to be added to by Los! It just has too. This lot aren’t even from Liverpool, that’s how much I believe in em. I for one cannot wait for their debut.

Hell I’m so excited by them (not that I’ve just of heard of them or anything, I’ve known of them for well over a year. Well about 14 months anyway), here's a nice download of one of their songs -

'We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives'

Friday, October 5

The Sonic Hearts

Saturday night at Korova was all good fun, gearing up for a great old quality week of gigs here. Until…

Major-chord pop is smothering the CD racks of Tesco’s all over the country, Radiohead aren’t even brothering to chuck their new album out on the shelves to rival them, and Travis are giving away their greatest hits via the most racist newspaper in all the land. I’m not a music snob, not totally anyway, but all this is surely somehow linked with why major labels (Ee-Em-Eye) are signing up drab rock (The Sonic Hearts) to simply shove it in society’s face, make them feel all gooey inside and, well, go make that all-important purchase. The Sonic Hearts managed to make country guitars, country keys and country back up vocals sound as appealing as waiting another year for that new Coldplay record. Otherwise, not very appealing at all. The singer looks like Jack Penate without his top button done up. I don’t if it that’s good or bad – I just thought I’d mention it. This song ‘Blue River’ was quite good, kind of Britpoppy but not at all in the way The Fly have decided to label this city’s most amazing band ever (derr, The Wombats). Anyway, all this major label major chord sh*t has to stop. The sooner ‘A Guide To Love Loss and Desperation’ comes out the better.

Wednesday, October 3

What Happened When Korova Turned Two

Last week the hippest club known to this city turned two years old. While I didn't catch the entire night, I made sure I saw all the important bits.

The Rascals/Hot Club de Paris/goFASTER>> – Korova – September 29

Remember those joyously jerky strings Bloc Party used to shelve out before Kele decided to step foot in East London? Well, luckily for the good load of us inside Korova tonight, such guitar beauty is working its way into goFASTER>>’s set tonight with added tuning key picking and strangely Alfie Holloways’ southern singing on top. The typically curly mops of Merseybeat may be sitting on their heads but considering what’s lurching out of their fingers is basically Hot Club without the annoying bits stuck in between, fortunately goFASTER>> are the furthest thing from trumpet cosmic rock. This city should be wetting its pants at the amount of fresh and downright ace sounds coming out of it right now.
Though the aforementioned Hot Club de Paris are still finding the time to play their so-novel-it’s-dull what-the-hell-am-I-missing not-radio-gracious-enough pop. Their loving cult doesn’t seem to in attendance either, yet suddenly the place is packing itself silly for Alex Turner’s best mates The Rascals.
But just because your best mates with this century’s most important front man, that doesn’t mean you’re any good (See: Milburn, Reverend and the Makers). I mean, what is this 1973? Dull, loud and self-indulgent guitars constantly crashing each other’s nausea like terrible Queens of the Stone Age b-sides. Rubbish.

FYI the most important album brought up by Liverpool since the 60s will be coming out November 5, which is a week later than first told. Damn label! This does however make it easier for me to decide Shout and Twists' album of last month. I hear the Jako bells-a-ringing people! SO REMEMBER, NOVEMEBER 5. 'A GUIDE TO LOVE LOSS AND DESPERATION'. AKA THE MOST IMPORTANT ALBUM TO COME FROM LIVERPOOL FOR DECADES.

Monday, October 1

September - Album Of Last Month

Hmm. Okay, so other than peeling my ears on Jakobinarina's debut again and again and again (even though it aint til October) Athlete, Kanye West and Foo Fighters all made quite the effort to compete for my album of last month. Though, in spite of the fact the winner's attempt technically came out last year in the United States, it's UK release was only just a couple weeks ago.

Manchester Orchestra - I'm Like A Virgin Losing A Child - Columbia

What this record does most for me is remind me of one of my favourite bands. But not in a like, how-dare-you-copy-Death-Cab kinda way, but more of a yeah-that's-that-amazing-feeling-soft-vocals-and-pretty-strings-can't-help-but-give-me kind of way. A lot of 'I'm Like A...' follows in Death Cab's beautiful wondrous footsteps, which considering they're gonna be away for a good while it seems, this works as a perfect kind of 'filler' in the meantime.

There's just so much sweet melody hooking around this album, and live they're pretty solid too. The lead singer has a very gruff (I don't know if that's a word) kind of appearence too, but projects out with one innocent and caring voice. It's a great surprise when you see them live, plus 'Alice and Interiors' is the only bit of fluff on here. 'I Can Feel Your Pain', 'Where Have You Been?', 'Sleeper 1972' and 'Colly Strings' are total anthems in their own right.

Where Have You Been?