Monday, January 28

Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip

Ever since the entirely fresh and novel 'Thou Shalt Always Kill' paraded itself across playlists and dance floors nationwide, those who believed their ears were wrapped around a one-off intellectual accident must be pretty embarrassed by now. Essex duo Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip have since proved there's more in their musical pocket than a supposed blend of Borrell vs. Wilson. Obviously. "Things in life aint always quite what they seem, there's more than one given angle to any one given scene. So bare that in mind next time you try to intervene, on any one given angle to any one given scene" roars Pip in next single 'Angles' on top of a constant dark and head banging beat telling a harsh but true tale of weirdos, drink and suicide. A chart-smash it won't be, but what an essential piece to the musical puzzle.
Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip Myspace

Wednesday, January 23

Lightspeed Champion And His Very Good New Album

In a time choc-a-block with countless reformations one band you can bet won't be getting back together is Test Icicles. Partially because their job of starting one total musical revolution was pretty much done after one album, but also because one former third, Dev Hynes, is now Lightspeed Champion. Here his debut album pleasantly surprises, divulging a heartfelt sincerity that most from what is supposedly an alt.folk invasion could only wish for. 'Galaxy Of The Lost’ sees Hynes get disturbingly frank, shrieking, “My neck will burn as we kiss and I’m sick in your mouth”, above awfully sweet string picking and straight violin. Such a blend of tools does border ever-so slightly on the annoying as the album progresses, but all is forgiven with its best track, ‘Dry Lips’, a pop sensible number suggestive of early Death Cab For Cutie. This boy has soul damn it!
Dry Lips
Lightspeed Champion Myspace

Wednesday, January 16

The Capital Of Culture And It's Very Own Music Scene

As far as The Rascals are concerned, "People in Liverpool haven't moved on from The La's. There's still this idea that Lee Mavers can do no wrong, and I'm bored with it."

Now, I've revealed my dislike of them, their label and the group that preceded them, on a good few occasions on here. But to claim that Liverpool, a city which is in possession of one genuinely thriving new music scene right now, "hasn't moved on from The La's," is complete and utter rubbish. Though they make good music, The Coral and The Zutons have sent this city in the wrong direction in recent years, both under the Deltasonic umbrella, which for the record also keeps hold of The Rascals, squeezing out the city's expired Mersey Beat juice as much as they can. Also, there's no way they'd be getting the attention they don't deserve if the lead singer wasn't best friends with Yorkshire's finest. And the songs? Honestly, after seeing them live a couple times, one or two have this great energy and magic to them, but the rest sound as dauntingly shit as The Little Flames did.

This is what's really going on in Liverpool right now -

Liverpool is back. After a good few years twittering away in the background of one relentless musical fuss cycle, suddenly a whole load of fresh and inventive Scouse talents are melting hearts and blowing minds the city over. This time though there aint a hint of elderly Mersey beating psychedelic jabber or curly-mop fronted tinges of ska. Well, sort of. In its place stands a scene choc-full of straight-up indie power-popping nuggets stretching as far as the sweetest sounds of pure and pretty alt.folk. What with this year’s ‘Capital of Culture’ label stamped upon the city as well, there just couldn’t be a finer time for such healthy pop music to scurry itself back to where it all started…

It’s kind of ironic that The Wombats not only formed but also planned their planet dominating cheeky-pop inside the talent school that the already planet dominated Sir Paul McCartney actually set up. Though even if it wasn’t for Liverpool’s Institute for Performing Arts, there’s no way our charts and minds would be starved of such joyous indie-pop. Lead singer/guitarist Matthew ‘Murph’ Murphy and drummer Dan Haggis, along with Norwegian bass player Tord Overland Knudsen, would have found each other one way or another. They went touring both dirty little and Academy-sized venues all the way through last year, which, radio and TV sessions counted, totalled in two hundred and seventy gigs. Spreading their love for Bridget Jones, ironically dancing to Joy Division and falling in love with a stripper named Patricia may dip into the dungeon of expiry-date stamped novelty that’ll disappear within the year. But there’s something sincere about this lot that via genuinely fun and cheerful pop, can’t help but tingle you all inside. Debut album ‘A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation’ is jam-packed with nothing but radio-gracious singles and big field-ready anthems. Fortunately for us all, The Wombats bright and shiny jangle will be around for many moons to come, and now the city has the finest of rock bands to front its shiny new music spectacle.

Master of all-things alt.folk, Eugene McGuinness studied at LIPA along with The Wombats, and will be releasing his first full-length album early this year.

I can’t remember what the world was like before Elle S’appelle came along. Without such bright, guitar-lacking indie pop anthems that steer in the outline of Talking Heads on a mission to mess up the theme tune to Rainbow, just how did the planet persevere? Luckily for us, you and the countless bloggers, pluggers and fellow music-makers that were raving about this lot the second they heard them, right now Elle S’appelle are very much on the road to somewhere. Recent single ‘Little Flame’, as well as ‘Mariappa’ and ‘She Sells Sea Shells’ are everything fun and joyous syrupy rock should be, guided by co-singer/bass player Andy, co-singer/keyboardist Lucy and Owen on drums. Fronted by those loveable marsupials, Liverpool is in possession of one dead exciting music scene at the moment. With a highly anticipating EP in the wings and a ‘Bosspop Tour’ with goFASTER>> scheduled, Elle S’appelle will put a smile upon your face before you know it.

Elle S’appelle practice room-sharers goFASTER>> are every bit worth a peep, by means of witty, bouncy indie akin to Bloc Party pre-Kele’s trip to East London fused with that ever-so quirky Scouse sensibility.

There’s only so much noise two chaps and their MacBook can make, but To My Boy create strange, forceful blasts that still manage to glimmer in loud, almost pop spectacles.

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 Peter and the Wolf should be camped up in all our hearts and minds.

Wave Machines make raw and pretty soothing experiments that will one day take over the world. Or at least soundtrack Grey’s Anatomy.

Married to the Sea stumble around like a less stressed Death Cab, crafting slightly bigger than lo-fi indie that’s hilarious all the same.

The complete and utter burst of guitar-disco anthem and recent single ‘Electrical Fever’ is total evidence that 28 Costumes’ time is yet to come.

If you think the amount of guitar/synth mishmashes out there is over mounting, first take a look at The Delta Fiasco. They throw up a brisk and daunting encounter like no other.

Puzzle piece together snappy slices of feel-good indie pop but in total DIY fashion, and released their first and homemade CD late last year. Ace.

Tuesday, January 8

The Mae Shi

Jeez. What is it with these sunny California jingly-pop types? Planet-hurting 4x4s are clogging up Hollywood Boulevard, Jamie Lynn Spears is shopping for pushchairs and her big sister's situation has been labelled "too intense" for the now almost customary TV doc. Yet still LA tykes The Mae Shi are ignoring the damn harsh realities of their hometown’s chilling existence in order to lodge our brains silly with popwerpopping keys and merrily unified handclaps. At least singer Jonathan Gray sounds angry, yelling “Run, run, run to your grave” over and above such a fine slice of head-waggling psychedelia.
Run To Your Grave
The Mae Shi Myspace

Tuesday, January 1

Two Thousand And Eight

Welcome to the all new and improved Shout and Twist!

Along with this brand new and highly swanky design, there's even a new objective around here. See, even though I'll still be putting an emphasis on all-things Liverpool, more bands and artists from all over the place will now get featured, each with their own sneaky download.

So, what better way to start than by slapping the 'Next Big Thing' label on five of the alternative world's upcoming stars...

Elle S'appelle
Three-piece indie-pop masterminds from Liverpool aren’t exactly hard to come by these days, and Elle S’appelle seem to be next in line to follow in the very fine and bouncy footsteps of The Wombats. French for ‘She is called’, Elle S’appelle are teeming with many a guitar-less sweet pop nugget. It’s not even been a year since they formed but already daytime playlists are hopping on board and said Wombats support slots are in the history books. Recent single and one day signature tune ‘Little Flame’ pumps in and out like a sensitive Blood Red Shoes, only accidentally choking 90s Pumpkins in the process. Look out for the nursery-rhyming genius next single ‘Monkey Shine’ too. Never mind their home city, Elle S’appelle will be blowing minds the planet over in no time.
She Sells Sea Shells
Elle S'appelle Myspace

Pete and the Pirates
There should be more buzz about this lot. There was a little bit a few months ago, but considering they're planning to release their debut album next month, if they want it to sell, they need way more exposure. Nonetheless, I haven't heard the album but I just know it's gonna be amazing. All the singles and EPs and whatever have been outstanding, proper indie pop that rides the same wave as Good Shoes, but not as twee. 'Come On Feet' and 'Knots' are complete and utter indie anthems, and I guess it's really good they've stuck with Stolen Recordings, probably in spite of bigger offers from majors or even bigger independents. I'm guessing the PATP camp aren't interested in big marketing plans and release date politics. This lot will be huge because of the music, and nothing else.
This Thyme
Pete and the Pirates Myspace

Cajun Dance Party
Technically, Cajun Dance Party are one of the bands of 2007, let alone anybody with a good musical heart and soul's top tip for 2008. They signed to the label of all labels, XL, earlier on last year, played storming sets at Glastonbury and Reading, and released two absolutely incredible jerk-popping singles. But no album. That's because they still go to college, and with that in mind, CDP are at the forefront of the Underage Revolution (along with Operator Please, Bombay Bicycle Club, frYars, etc) that's seemed to of made a nice big dent in the so-called fragile structure of Planet Indie. Once they do finish their A Levels however, I think they'll have made the summer album of 2008. Jeez, my spine is tingling just thinking about it.
Colourful Life
Cajun Dance Party Myspace

Without question one of the best bands in Liverpool right now, it's beyond me why or how they're not even signed yet. Every time I've seen them live they've blown the minds of those watching, converting them into the total indie pop nonsense that was once shelved out by Bloc Party, before Kele hit East London. The city is changing. Sure the Merseybeating thumps and thuds of The Coral and their many spin-offs are still knocking about the place, but a whole new array of fresh and innovative bands are doing things you'd never think was possible, and goFASTER>> are right at the front.
Good Times
goFASTER>> Myspace

The Xcerts
Biffy Clyro had quite the year last year. One of the best things about 'Puzzle' was the fragility in singer Simon Neil's scratchy vocals, and the singer from The Xcerts has that same kind of tone in his, which placed above what they label as 'melodramatic popular song' rock, is bloody brilliant. 'Aberdeen 1987' is as soft and subtle as Death Cab, where 'Just Go Home' is as loud and catchy as Biffy. To put it simply, they're fantastic, and according to their Myspace they're not even signed yet. If that's actually true, it really is a matter of time, and once that happens, the world is very much their oyster.
Breathtaking Fight
The Xcerts Myspace