Saturday, 17 June 2017

Gothic Tropic - How Life Works



Aside from Honeyblood, Gothic Tropic were the only other band I saw at the Manchester leg of Dot to Dot, and they did not disappoint.

They played to about 50 people (full capacity) in the tiny back room of the Castle Hotel on Oldham Street at 10pm, where the temperature was akin to that of a pizza oven, and they were fantastic. I was reminded of Adult Net; there seemed to be that same sense of clean post punk pop energy and crispness overlaid with California warmth. They are a great live band, very energetic and immersive. The album, Fast or Feast, is just out and it's a pop classic basically. I loved it on the first listen and will be buying it.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Honeyblood - Sea Hearts



As mentioned yesterday, I did see Honeyblood play at Dot to Dot in Manchester at the Albert Hall on 26th May. They were on at 5pm, which is never going to be a great slot because it's just too early for the audience to be really ready for you. The band played really well, and are clearly amazing musicians who make a staggering amount of noise for just two people, but aside from three pockets of teenagers (mainly girls, some boys) going absolutely berserk to it, the audience was somewhat reserved and quiet, there in body but not in spirit. Despite the wider circumstances of what was going on in Manchester that week, I do feel that if the band had been playing in a slightly smaller venue, later on that night, they would have fared better, crowd and venue wise.

That said, they are a band who are well worth checking out live, and on record as well. As much as I love them, I am aware that, were I 17 I would love them a whole lot more because they are made to be loved by teenage girls, who will latch onto them and clutch them to their fevered hearts with an intensity so fierce it will hurt.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Vagabon - " Fear & Force " (Official Video)



I almost saw Vagabon perform at Dot to Dot, but didn't because I was seeing Honeyblood at the Albert Hall immediately before her set at Gullivers. Because of the amount of time it takes to travel between those two venues (the Albert Hall being near Albert Square, Gullivers being on Oldham Street in the Northern Quarter) it didn't seem worth trying to catch the end of her set. It was a pity though.

As with No Vacation's 'Mind Fields', this video has a clear narrative arc that draws you in. By coincidence, the subject matter is quite similar too, though the songs are very different and I'm pretty sure they're directed by different film makers.

I'm interested to hear the album.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Miya Folick - Talking with Strangers (HQ)



Miya Folick was featured on the Spotify playlist for Dot to Dot, but wasn't scheduled to play at the Manchester leg of it. As with Kelsey Lu, she has a fantastic voice, and some really strong songs, of which this is one. Well worth keeping an eye out for. Instinct suggests she will also be amazing live.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Avante Black - Drug Money (Official Video)



I almost saw Avante Black at Dot to Dot in Manchester on 26th May but something had gone wrong with the scheduling at Mint Lounge so what I saw in the end was a large chunk of their soundcheck before I gave up and wondered over to Gullivers, where I discovered Overcoats had cancelled.

'Drug Money' is a bit of grower I think, and this could be a Wolf Alice or Pale Honey situation for me: Initially I overlooked them both and took them a bit for granted, only for them to completely blindside me with some really good records. So I think Avante Black will be worth keeping an eye on, just in case.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Overcoats - Leave The Light On



While Hanna and JJ were off on their European tour, they also released a video to accompany their single 'Leave The Light On'. As you would expect, there's lots of excellent dancing.

Unfortunately the band didn't play their UK dates at the Dot to Dot festivals, which is a shame, but perfectly understandable in the circumstances. In the meantime, I have reviewed their excellent album, Young, for The F-Word and you can get a flavour of the live experience by watching their Audiotree live session in Chicago in May. 

The album review was quite hard to write. Not because Young is a difficult album, or hard to write about, but because I found myself writing the review in late May in what was a very traumatic week for Manchester, and for the UK. I don't feel the circumstances in which it was written have overshadowed the review, but they have shaped it, for better or for worse.


Sunday, 11 June 2017

London Grammar - Truth Is a Beautiful Thing (Lyric Video)




From the new album, Truth is a beautiful thing, which is produced by Paul Epworth who did the first two Florence + The Machine albums.

London Grammar are one of those bands who I've dipped in and out of over the past few years. I was a big fan of their early track 'Metal & Dust', and I distinctly remember them playing at Pangaea at Manchester University in 2013. That's remember it happening I mean; I didn't attend. I've been looking forward to the new album as the singles bode well and this one in particular feels very atmospheric, poignant and gorgeous.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Natasha Kmeto - Pour Down (official video)



Because after the events of the past few weeks, and the last twenty four hours, I feel a real sense of catharsis and a need to dance.

Thank you to Elmo, Lord Buckethead and Mr Fishfinger for giving me moments of hilarity in the last twenty four hours.