Up & Coming Bands who perform in London – All images © Chris Dorney.

Posts tagged “cardiff

40 – ‘Fjokra’, ‘Houdini Dax’ and ‘Brave Yesterday’

Fjokra:

www.reverbnation.com/fjokra

“Earnest singer songwritery balladeering? NO!
Retro revivalists? NO!
‘Hip’, urban funkateers? NO!

‘Queen on crack’? Perhaps. Chuck in a liberal dose of Mike Patton/Mr Bungle, Todd Rundgren, Prince, Rachmaninoff interludes and metal riffs the size of skyscrapers and you’re halfway to describing the musical smorgasbord that makes up Fjokra’s music. Oh, and there’s some Latin grooves and some monstrous Dubstep chucked in as well. Five guys, two girls and a lot of facepaint.”

(Quote obtained from the band’s website)

Houdini Dax:

www.houdinidax.co.uk

“Summer 2011. And the nippers are still making good honest rock ’n’ roll. Take Cardiff’s Houdini Dax, who have an average age of 19. What are they doing digesting records, writing songs and rehearsing when they could be playing Xbox or texting friends from the back of the bus? Weren’t “the kids” supposed to have tired of analogous music? Wasn’t the house music craze of the late ’80s supposed to have killed rock? Heck, thinking about it, weren’t the synth bands of over 20 years ago viewed as the only way forward?

No my dear music lovers, valves are not dead, rock ’n’ roll is blossoming and “the kids are alright” (as Pete Townshend so neatly put it 46 years ago). The Noughties has seen great success for young bands.  The Libertines and then Arctic Monkeys paved the way post-Brit Pop and now still barely out of the shadows come Houdini Dax, your soon to be favourite new band.

Hearing ‘The Magicians’ for the first time it’s impossible not to think of Alex Turner and his band in their early stages. Jack Butler’s edgy vocals, sharp wordplay and the stop-start, spiky New Wave tendency of the playing certainly share similarities with early Arctic Monkeys, but it’s not what defines them.  A video of a live acoustic performance for Huw Stephens’ Swn Festival ‘Swn is Sound’ video series of ‘Struggling In The Sand’ show Houdini Dax playing in a stripped back setting with acoustic guitar, bass, brushed drums and harmonies to the fore. It’s tight, honed and timeless. Yes, they have major talent. They can sing splendidly, they throw in some deft bridges and could very well sound like one of those great old acts. Yet they don’t! And when quizzed about their favourite bands, ’60s touchstones (The Beatles, The Kinks, The Sonics, The Stooges) meet latter day acts (Blur and Supergrass) and new bands (The Black Keys, The Raconteurs and White Denim). Yet You Belong To Dax Darling sounds nothing like any of them. It’s the sound of teenagers discovering what they can do.

“Recording the album was amazing,” Jack reveals. “Having Rich from The Method [another of the See Monkey Do Monkey coterie] as producer was special. We’re friends, so he won’t shy away with his opinions. And he always got the best out of us.”  Mentioning how the production had elements of ’60s guitar heroics, post-punk rhythms and an element of My Bloody Valentine about it, Jack beamed back at me as if their mission statement had been achieved.”I’m glad you hear those things clashing,” he eagerly states “because we love that retro ’60s style, but it’s been done so much before. It’s important for us to mix older styles with newer ones… We were aiming for a really strong debut that doesn’t really let up in energy and excitement,” closes Jack. “We tried to capture this by recording in a really live way.”

And live and exciting is the order for the day for the teenage world view of Houdini Dax. Their second album may well feature strings, ballads and mellotrons but for now let the revolution begin as these youngsters play it their own way with what they have learnt from Hendrix, Syd, Gaz and co. They should be famous! ”

(Quote obtained from the band’s official website)

Brave Yesterday:

www.myspace.com/braveyesterdaymusic

“We are Brave Yesterday, a rock band from Jersey. Not the one immortalized in rock mythology by the Boss. The other Jersey, the one in the Channel. Knowing this, you could also be forgiven for thinking that we are nearly French. We’re not. We’re nearly Canadian-ish.

Our frontman Nutter’s authentic North American Rawk voice gives us our mid-Atlantic twang. Mention us in the same breath as Rival Schools, Jimmy Eat World and 30 Seconds To Mars. We’re cool with that.”

(Quote obtained from the band’s facebook page)

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26 – ‘A Genuine Freakshow’, ‘OK’, ‘Alvin Purple’ and ‘Radio 9’

A Genuine Freakshow:

www.agenuinefreakshow.com

“A Genuine Freakshow. An artful blend of experimentalism and pop sensibility from Reading comprising the traditional rock ‘n’ roll facets of guitars, bass and drums but augmented by the less obvious additions of cello, violin and trumpet. A band that embrace the icy soundscapes of Sigur Ros but remain entranced by the possibilities of the pop song.

The genesis of this multitude is, as you would expect, less than straightforward. A question as to how the band came into being brings forth a plethora of answers and a volley of disagreement. Various members’ recall of history blurs between fact and (assumed) fiction. What can be said for sure is that by 2008 the current line-up was settled and the previous experiments which saw them begin as “too pop to be challenging” and then swing the opposite way until they were “too post-rock to be fun” had been amended and developed to hit the sweet spot that remains their raison d’etre to this point.

Prior to that settled point, the band had already made their mark in the world with the release of a debut EP that all those still in the band from that time (those changes of personnel again) agree was the “too pop” point. In what would become standard AGF fashion, the follow up ‘0.008%’ EP was, naturally, the “too post-rock” response. A musical equilibrium was found with the release of ‘We Are The Undercurrents’ in 2008 and its follow up ‘Holding Hearts’ in the same year. By the end of that year another equilibrium was achieved with the permanent recruitment of the final pieces of the band, drummer Jack Bryant just making it in time to play the band’s autumn dates by fast-tracking the set in a hectic three week period of cramming on his part.

Plaudits followed for this settled unit. ‘Holding Hearts’ made Tom Robinson’s ‘Best Of 2008’, Word magazine’s Mark Ellen fell for the band, leading to their recent appearance on the magazine’s CD for October. Meanwhile, the seven settled into a touring schedule that saw them build a healthy evangelical fanbase leading to a sold out Bush Hall show in February of 2010. In tandem with touring throughout 2009 and 2010, the band entered the studio with producer Jordan Fish to completely re-record the album that had been taking shape throughout these single releases, so unhappy were they with the final version mark one. A brave decision, some would say foolhardy, but one that is vindicated by the now complete debut album, ‘Oftentimes’ that finally ended its gestation on 8th November 2010.

The journey of this firmly bonded septet – despite the notices from media names – has taken place through the old-fashioned world of word-of-mouth and touring. In keeping with that ethic ‘Oftentimes’ comes to you via band-owned Peartree Records, all members making a firm decision to retain their ownership of their music and complete control over their musical destinies. In support of the album A Genuine Freakshow returned to the touring world for an extensive run of dates from September through December 2010 with plenty more to follow in 2011.”

(Quote obtained from the band’s official website)


OK:

www.myspace.com/thatbandok

“Welcome to the bright and colorful world of OK! …Four Cardiffians with a love of pop, truly terrible jokes and generally jumping around like idiots.

Having been obsessed with depressing music as a teen, singer Joe Paine decided he would dry his tears and form a band that would make people feel good again! Rounding up good friend and bass player Adam Barrah, the two waved their West-Walian hometown farewell and, with wonder in their eyes and love in their hearts, set sail for Cardiff.

After a few months playing acoustic shows and generally getting very drunk, the two quickly be-friended guitarist Oliver Miles. The technical whiz-kid hit it off with the boys and was soon on stage performing with them.

In desperate need of a drummer, the band coincidentally bumped in to ex ‘Inner-city Pirates’ sticksman Dave Powell. With their notoriously weird sense of humour, the four got on like a series of terrible house fires and soon released their debut record ‘Under The Weather But Over The Moon’ at a frantic launch party in Cardiff’s renowned ‘Buffalo Bar’.

It wasn’t long before the band had begun to transform Joe’s old-fashioned ‘Libertinesian’ sing-alongs into faster, tighter and dancier full-band pounders. OK have since played a string of packed-out shows, which have left audience and band members alike in sweaty heaps!”

(Quote obtained from the band’s facebook page)

Alvin Purple:

www.alvinpurple.tumblr.com

(No biography info available on the artist’s website)



Radio 9:

www.myspace.com/radio9space

“Radio 9 is a collective (usually 3 live members, not including the laptop) that plays electronic music that isn’t boring. Augmented by real drums, guitar and bass and even some vocals, their energetic, melodic Krautpop kicks arse. varying from subtle, mellifluous atmospherics to harsh postpunk whiteouts, the band frequently improvise live in extended rhythmic bop. previously based in the UK, now Oslo, the band have worked with Paul Epworth (Florence and the Machine, Bloc Party) and Gareth Jones (Depeche Mode, Sons and Daughters). The band have just released an album, ‘Endless Streams of Light’ on Oblong.”

(Quote obtained from the band’s facebook page)