To describe the new material from Danish psych-rock duo The Wands as ‘typical’ of them is misleading.
It would suggest they are somewhat one dimensional, or that they opt not to push their musical boundaries. But this is the antithesis of The Wand’s musical ethic; a plethora of influences collaborate within the group’s expansive taste in experimental soundscapes to create a track which continues to cement their place in the evolution of psychedelic popular music.
Spotted by Fuzz Club Records in August 2012, they released their debut EP ‘Hello I Know The Blow You Grow Is Magic’ the following November, and are now said to be ‘working hard’ on a first full length album, on which ‘The Dawn‘ is set to appear.
It may be all too easy these days for the hardened cynic to see the music world as an alienating, amoral, biasly conservative industry run by corporate sharks who have little to no understanding – or actual passionate interest- in real music. Solely in it to see how many units can be shifted and how much money they can effectively squeeze out of artist and consumer alike.
It’s certainly a relief then, to meet authorities out in the field who just aren’t like that. At this year’s South By Southwest Festival, Live4ever was lucky enough to catch up with veteran music mogul, manager and promoter Michael Chugg whilst he was showcasing some of his new signings – these including J.P Hoe, Lime Cordiale, Sidney York, The Griswolds, The Creases and The Parade Of Lights – to soak up a bit of his wit and wisdom and find out what keeps him going after all these years.
It’s likely, halfway through 1994 as one continued the incessant touring trail after finally completing work on his band’s debut album, and the other came to an agreement which would see him adopt the mantle of leader of the Labour Party, that Noel Gallagher and Tony Blair had never even heard of each other.
However, just three short years later the pair would meet inside 10 Downing Street with a handshake and a glass of champagne for an image which now – in all its superficiality – suitably defines an era. By then Noel Gallagher was rich, successful and exhalted. Tony Blair, equally, had just been carried to power in the UK on a landslide, himself now carrying the hopes of a nation blossoming with colour after a generation of grey Tory decline. Or so went the narrative anyway.
Their meeting was the appropriately bizarre hedonistic tipping point of Britpop – that intangible, loosely defined media invention with which Oasis are now so intrinsically tied. Britart and Cool Britannia had themselves been gobbled up by the tabloids in its wake. “Revolution!” they cried. “London swings again!” Yet now, like the Sex Pistols did a decade on from the Summer Of Love, we must surely look back through gritted teeth knowing that, just like Johnny Rotten in 1977, for the majority it was essentially ‘Bollocks’.
Even before that Blair/Gallagher summit was held most of the main protagonists had already come to realise as much. The tabloid press – Dr. Frankenstein to Britpop’s monster – decided enough was enough. Blur were about to re-emerge from their ridiculous Benny Hill cartoon ‘Country House‘ selves with bags under their eyes, a moody camera filter and a far darker story to tell on ‘Beetlebum‘. The gloomy Wigan stroll of Richard Ashcroft and The Verve‘s ‘Bittersweet Symphony‘ would be the diametric anthem for 1997′s summer, ‘Urban Hymns‘ the instant post-Britpop bible. Oasis’ timing was less savvy; the insane riot of ‘Be Here Now‘ arrived right in the eye of a backlash storm, soundtracking a mindset which had already pulled out of the station. It would be another year before Noel Gallagher finally boarded up Supernova Heights and went cold turkey on Billy Connolly videos.
All of which, incredibly twenty years on, makes ‘Definitely Maybe‘ retrospectively more important than ever – and why this article chooses to get those Britpop footnotes out of the way at the earliest opportunity.
Re-issue! Re-package! Re-package!
Re-evaluate the songs,
Double-pack with a photograph,
Extra track (and a tacky badge).
The Smiths, ‘Paint a Vulgar Picture‘, 1987
The recent announcement that Oasis‘ ‘Definitely Maybe‘ is to be re-issued sparked a debate which has been running for years amongst consumers and artists alike; just how much worth is there in making old music feel new again?
Morrissey‘s take on the subject was quite clear during the ‘Strangeways Here We Come‘ period, his acerbic wit and contempt for the industry’s vainglorious marketing wheezes made plain shortly before The Smiths’ implosion. Even this scornful and ethically sound position covered up a more dichotomous belief however, one alluded to in his melodramatic recent autobiography. In it the singer pulls few punches about the shortcomings of both the Rough Trade label which released most of the band’s material whilst they were still together and the Sire imprint who did likewise in the US. Neither outfit he bitterly claims were committed to getting them radio play or wider public appreciation, to the point where no Smiths album ever reached number one during the band’s truncated existence. The main beneficiary he’s at repetitive pains to point out was Rough Trade itself, parleying the kudos of unprecedented chart exposure into a platform for commercial success.
In short, the very same suits which old misery guts himself regarded as joyless purveyors of snake oil were just the kind of people he really needed to help arguably Britain’s most influential group between The Beatles and the Arctic Monkeys be widely recognised as just that. Oh the complicated web we weave…
Hookworms frontman Matt Johnson looks the colour of abeetroot stuffed full of TNT.
After 40 minutes of screeching, hitting his keyboard like it was an effigy of Thatcher and generally psychedelik freeeking out, his breathless kiss off isn’t about the redeeming power of dirty rock n’ roll, but instead about the venue we’re in. It’s not often a performer chooses to single out the stage instead of the crowd, but tonight we’re in Wharf Chambers, Leeds’ own co-op managed social enterprise which is, as he points out, as far off the corporate rock map as possible.
It’s DIY. It’s free of souvenir programmes. They don’t stock plastic bottles of Chablis behind the bar. In a country where watching live music can now feel at times like being at a dinner party, it’s a place that provides a link back to when all you needed was a guitar, an amp, and some space to create in.
The dawning of a new year brings with it the usual wave of music press hyperbole and grand statements telling us which bands will be bigger than The Beatles or the best thing since the discovery of penicillin.
In reality, there is inevitably going to be a lot of tripe among the hype that is not worth your time – among the new music to arrive this year is a debut release by Moxy Ru, and thankfully they do not fall into the latter category. On the eve of their second anniversary, the band are gearing up for the release of their first EP and single. Since their conception they’ve gigged at some of London’s most iconic music venues, including the highly revered Dublin Castle which has played host to some of the best bands to emerge in England. Now with an established fan base and a growing arsenal of material they are ready to unleash their first official release – ‘Momento Retro‘.
We all dread that moment: 6.30 am, January 2nd, any year. It’s the point at which the alarm goes off and all our worst nightmares become true; the waking ones in which we return to work or school, wage slaves or education stooges, the festive period already beginning to recede into the background of our memories. Just for one year we’d all like to collectively turn it the hell off and roll back over to sleep.
Like many industries, those who work in music have long realised that sleep itself is something of a loser’s choice, and for the last decade or more, they’ve been carefully manicuring a whole host of artists whom they have high hopes for the year ahead – whether or not they’ve been in five bands before for now, they are new. And for now, they are the hottest acts of 2014.
With another series of essential music videos, gigs, tracks and albums in the bag, now it’s our writers’ turn to pick their own favourite album of 2013 – across six selected LPs there’s a ‘head rush of pulsing punk rock rhythms and unsettling psych-pop melodies’, some ‘mastery of techno’, ‘a true labour of love’ and plenty more besides.
After you’ve been through Live4ever’s picks of the year, please leave a comment below to let us know which LP has best occupied your time during the past twelve months!
Another year of essential listening draws to a close today with The Albums.
From the ‘rich arcane pleasures and secret thrills’ of veteran Richard Thompson, to the ‘near flawless, brazen, yet reflective dancefloor filling triumph’ of Arctic Monkeys’ ‘AM’ and the ‘explorations and celebrations of life and death’ which inform Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s ‘Specter At The Feast’, both high profile and under-the-radar album releases have fallen under the gaze of Live4ever’s talented writing staff as 2013 has progressed, and here a select 20 have been pulled out and revisited for you to take a look through. Maybe there’s some major releases you can share your thoughts on, and some hidden gems which can be given a spin for the first time. Clicking on each individual artwork will take you through to our reviews in full.
Live4ever’s Essential Listening series is here to share, not preach! An interactive celebration of rock and roll where your favourites can contribute. Make sure your stand-out albums of the year get a deserved mention by leaving a comment below.
The Essential Listening 2013 series has so far taken in Live4ever publisher Paul Bachmann’s top music video picks of the year and photographer Andy Crossland’s favourite gigs of the past twelve months. Now, editor Dave Smith has taken a look back through a busy year’s worth of Radar music to select 25 of the very best for our Essential Tracks of 2013.
Through New Tunes Guides, Presents features, videos, interviews and reviews, Live4ever’s Radar section has showcased in excess of 300 new and emerging bands during the course of the year, with everything from brash young indie, laid back Americana, solo troubadours and East Coast new wave making the cut for this final rundown. You can rediscover and immerse yourself in all of the selected tracks by clicking on each individual artwork.
Live4ever’s Essential Listening series is here to share, not preach! An interactive celebration of rock and roll where your favourites can contribute. Make sure your stand-out tracks, singles and EPs of the year all get a deserved mention by leaving a comment below.
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