Los Campesinos! – Manchester (29/10/17)

When it’s only your second show in 6 months to a packed out Manchester Club Academy the pressures on, but 6 albums into an 11 year career that’s given you multiple line up changes, a performance on Letterman and shows all over the world Los Campesinos! should be used to the pressure by now, right?

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Los Campesinos! have dodged Manchester on their last couple of tours and as a self-confessed LC! super fan, that has been incredibly frustrating. But they’re here now in the same building where I saw them for the first time 9 years ago, a gig which for me is still one of the best I’ve experienced. It was the 2008 ‘Shred Yr Face’ tour with support from Times New Viking and No Age, Los Camp hadn’t quite dropped second their record ‘We are Beautiful, We are Doomed’, but nevertheless, this was an awakening in lo-fi for my teenage self.

This time around the crowd has matured along with the music of the band and we settle in, overpriced pints in hand, for a night of songs that have been the soundtrack to our last 10 years. But first support from the fearsome Patty Hearst, post emo fused with the indie riffs that first gave LC! their name, like Tiny Moving Parts with a touch of 2008 indie pop. They’re energetic and bursting at the seams with freshness that comes from a fusion of sounds making them a perfect contribution to the currently thriving Manchester scene.

 

They’re on, and the unmistakeable ohhhh’s of Renato Dell’Ara echo through a crowd that are clearly here for a sing song, and it’s a good thing too as the band swing straight into massive singles Romance is Boring’ before By Your Hand,’ met and equalled by the chorus of the crowd. I’ve already half lost my voice, but they’re not letting up with ‘What Death Leaves Behind’, lead single from fifth album ‘No Blues’ straining me evermore before an energetic rendition of ‘Broke up in Amarante’ marks the start of the ‘Sick Scenes’ segment of the evening. After a couple more tracks off album number six, Los Campesinos! take us all the way back to the first album with ‘Knee Deep at the ATP’, I’ll admit I see a few younger audience members who this seems to be an education for, but for me I’m back upstairs in Academy 3 remembering why I feel in love with this band in the first place.

 

Cut back to 2017 and ‘Sad Suppers,’ a definite highlight of ‘Sick Scenes.’ As the drums hit the crowd jump, but one of the things that causes this infatuation Los Campesinos! fans have with the band is the lyrics, look around the room at any LC! show and you’d see a venue of all kinds of people in unison screaming every word back to lead singer Gareth. No more so than in tracks like Avocado, Baby, which also sparks a few interesting dance moves in the crowd, and the epic The Sea is a Good Place to Think of the Future’ a lyrical anthem that rallies everyone in there to scream with all they have; “But you could never kiss a Tory boy without wanting to cut off your tongue again”. Ending on Baby I Got the Death Rattle we go through every emotion like a final goodbye, but as they leave the stage we know there’s an encore in there and we’re not leaving ‘til we get it.

‘The Fall of Home,’ one of the band’s latest singles, fills the room as we welcome them back to the stage softly singing along, then the mood becomes tense as a familiar guitar tone rings out and the dynamic builds. After that riffs been strummed to death and the cymbals are nearly broken, a half pint of flat Budweiser is fittingly knocked out of my hand by a fan bouncing around to You! Me! Dancing!, the song I tell my friends they’ll know after they ask who the fuck Los Campesinos! are. It perfectly captures the mood of a night that feels like a celebration of a band and their fans, which ends with the group letting the audience choose their final song. Screaming along to one of my favourite songs from one of my favourite albums, I just sighed…finally finishes off my voice along with the gig. In a hit packed set from over ten years worth of material it’s amazing to see this band still resonate with people, the way the music has grown along with the band, and the fans that have grown with the true cult icons.

 

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5 Releases We’re Looking Forward to in 2017

Author: Jake McGloin

Welcome to 2017! So far no major celebrity deaths, political election ripping apart the country, just the continued sense of anguish and terror for the future within us all, right? Well at least we’ll have something to look forward to with a wealth of talent announcing new albums and EPs for this year. Here’s a look at five of this years upcoming release that we can’t wait for.

 

 

Horsebeach

Scheduled for March 17th, Beauty and Sadness will be the third albums from Manchester’s princes of jangley surf sadness. Following up from 2015’s ‘II’, we’re expecting the same dreamy, wavy pop tunes perhaps with a hint of extra melancholy. Never a band to disappoint, Horsebeach’s next album is set to be as stunning, if their recent live shows are anything to go by.

 

Beachheads

February 3rd will see the debut of Norwegian fuzz maestros Beachheads. Built on a love of fuzzy guitars and strong melody, two former members of ‘Kvelertak’ formed the basics of Beachheads, now in full form, the bands sound must be everything they dreamed of, packed with hard-hitting drums and awesome riffs their debut promises to be an album full of twists, turns and stunning tunes.

 

Amber Run

“For A Moment, I Was Lost” will be the sophomore album from Amber Run. The Nottingham band don’t see album number two as a departure from their other work, more an evolution and so far they’re evolving quite nicely with tracks Haze and Stranger evoking feelings of a harder time in life though beautiful melody and spine tingling almost ambient noise at times. The album is set to be released February 10th with their tour starting in Norwich on the 8th.

 

 

Los Campesinos

My love for Los Campesinos is no big secret, for me they’ve been one of the most consistently underrated bands in the U.K for the past 10 years, so with album number six, ‘Sick Scenes’, on the way I couldn’t leave them off this list. So far the only taster we’ve had over the past few months is some pretty sweet art work and the first single ‘Broke Up in Amarante’. It’s a great track that seems to encapsulate every single part of the Cardiff based bands career so far but also feels like a departure from anything they’ve done before, with a little less melancholy and a smidgen of added pop punk. Out February the 24th it’s sure to be interesting experience.

 

 

LIFE

With out a doubt one of Hulls best bands and a band we said a couple of years back would be one of their finest show cases as, now, city of culture, LIFE have just recorded debut album from what we hear and it’ll hopefully be dropping at some point this year. Indie-Punk with shouty vocals and fast pace guitars is always a great combo so this album is guaranteed to be one of the years best debuts.

5 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week (31/10/16)

Happy Halloween! I hope you’ve all had a drunken weekend dressed ridiculous and hilarious and making mistakes. So to help cure you’re long running hangover, here are some of your best options for new music this week. Don’t forget to send your tracks over to Shopliftersuni@gmail.com and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

The Hotspur Press – Other People

Just released through B33 music, the Greater Manchester four pieces latest single is a heavily melodic burst of energy that’s perfect coming together of slicing guitar riffs and vocal hooks laid down on a rock solid bed of explosive drums, break up songs never sounded so fun.

 

 

Hunter & The Bear – Who’s Gonna Hear You

As Explosive as Biffy Clyro, with smoother rock & roll vocals, ‘Who’s Gonna Hear You’ is released in anticipation of their debut album next year and Hunter & The Bear are certainly setting a high standard for them selves already. But it’s something they can live up to having supported Clapton and gained nominations at this years Unsigned Guide awards, they’re flying high and this epic new single thats packed with power and passion that’s hard to ignore.

 

 

Ocean Calling – Black Sand

Encapsulating from the moment it starts, in terms of both visual and audio, Black Sand is a track that electronically produces emotion that seem real, with a unique vocal style that’s almost hypnotic in it’s pattern. The secret to the unique sound could be Sophie Wilkie’s move from the U.K to Washington State, giving the sound a perfect edge.

 

 

Plastic Barricades – Half of your Soul

Taken from their upcoming ‘Mechanics of Life’ album, the new single from North-West Londoners Plastic Barricades starts with all the charm and attention to detail and melody of a Belle and Sebastian track and flows seamlessly with a build of layers into something of their own unique sound, subtle details in the guitars and more obviously in the drums and vocal make this a track that feels like it should already be in any indie singles collection.

 

 

D E C O R U M – Near Gone

Post Punk straight from New York, this track sounds like something that narrowly missed the cut for Joy Divisions seminal debut ‘Unknown Pleasures’  from bass to vocals it’s a truly honest take on the genre and with hints of the likes of The Horrors thrown in for good measure. The bands video is their own interpretation on the classic Smashing Pumpkins, heart wrenching, ‘Disarm’, that fits the pulsing, industrial track perfectly.

 

Meadowlark -Live Review (30/09/16)

Charlotte Smith headed down to Manchesters Fallow Cafe to experience the stunningly beautiful Meadowlark encapsulate an audience with their heavenly sound. With support from O>L>A. 

 

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Photograph: George Heaton

 

Author: Charlotte Smith

 

Salford to Fallowfield – it’s not an easy journey to make on a Friday night at rush hour but alas I arrive at Fallow Café just in time to see the second support act take to the stage before headliners Meadowlark.

One Little Atlas, possibly better known as O>L>A are a band I’m familiar with already after seeing them support a local band sometime last year so I knew what to expect when they stepped into the taped off section of the room I’d then identified as the stage. The duo, who are based in Manchester, are comfortable on stage, they give off a vibe that makes you feel like you’re stood in one of their bedrooms watching them jam. They are typically northern and interact well with crowd firstly asking who’s here to see the main act. A few muted cheers creep out of the crowd to which O>L>A respond with an accusational “fucking hell come on you aren’t all here to see us!” The crowd livens up as they wade into both old and new material, which leave the growing audience transfixed by the uplifting experimental percussion and vocals worthy of a church procession. The band finish their support slot with a huge ballad which is received well by the dispersing crowd (probably rushing off to get to the bar or toilet first), it climaxes and a huge thankful sigh is expressed. A swig of cheap wine later, O>L>A leave the stage and enter a crowd of old fans and definitely a few new ones.

 

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Photograph: George Heaton

I manage to wiggle my way towards the back of the attic space at Fallow Café and into the smoking area to reconvene with the photographer for this piece and quickly find myself rushing back inside in order to get a good spot for the headliners. There’s a definite buzz in the air, one that I didn’t expect as I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of Meadowlark until a few weeks ago when I was assigned the gig. I googled their name and two top results appeared; the band (thank god) and the bird. I had it in my mind that Meadowlark were sweet and tranquil, much like the bird suggested. I listened to a few of their tracks and it certainly felt that way. Their live shows, on the other hand, are far from tranquil.

The band open with recent release ‘Headlights’ and the electronic drum kit claims the tiny space around it. Kate McGill’s vocals are beautiful. They are innocent but full of emotion. Daniel Broadley is the quite opposite, he is animated and full of energy and the contrast works so incredibly well that you could almost forget where you are through pure captivation of what is happening on stage.

 

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Photograph: George Heaton

The band don’t say much, not until after their third track when McGill asks how the crowd are doing after noting their quietness. The crowd recognise this quietness but each member of that audience knows that this is not through lack of enthusiasm, more like complete awe. The fifth track of the set invites Broadley to address the crowd. He tells the story of ‘Quicksand’ and how the song was inspired by a Humans of New York post he had seen on Facebook. The words of the track emanate the stranger’s story of working in the Pakistani brick kilns and you can see the passion Broadley feels for the track through his facial expressions during the performance.

The next 10 minutes are filled with more upbeat tracks with the band playing ‘Sunlight’ and ‘Satellite’, both of which receive a big “WOO” from an overly manly man somewhere behind me. An acoustic version of ‘Postcards’ follows of which McGill claims as her favourite track off the forthcoming album and as an ode to an ex-lover. The crowd are deathly silent during this performance and as interesting as Broadley is to watch, his talent for playing a range of instruments and dancing whilst doing so, it is extremely difficult to focus on anything else other than McGill. The audience is completely lost in her voice.

The roller coaster set is brought to a close with an acoustic version of ‘Fly’ much to the crowd’s approval. Everyone seems to know this one and the band invite them to sing along to the chorus. The room is filled with varying tones all singing the hook over and over again. Complete elation can be seen on both of McGill and Broadley’s faces as a number of balloons aptly appear over the crowd. It’s super cheesy and I can’t work out whether it was done by the band or a fan but either way, it’s just enough cheese to be acceptable. “One more time Manchester” remarks McGill as the song and evening draws to a close. The crowd lap this up and the last chorus is louder than before and a huge round of applause begins to precede over the singing. By the looks of the crowd, Meadowlark killed it tonight in this tiny venue in the depths of Manchester’s studentville. They finish with a thank you, an invitation to buy merch and promising “we’ll see you again very soon”.

JD PRESENTS THE BRIT PROJECT MANCHESTER

THE BRIT PROJECT AND JD ANNOUNCE A ONE DAY EVENT IN MANCHESTER FEATURING PRIMAL SCREAM, GLASS CAVES AND REVEREND & THE MAKERS.

 

 

The Brit Project have announced a date at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse with 14 bands playing over two stages on September 24th. Headed up by a host of British music icons including indie-psych legends ‘Primal Scream’ with Manchester legend Shaun Ryders ‘Black Grape’, Reverend & The Makers and Dodgy all taking to the stage at the converted Old Trafford warehouse.

 

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With the second stage boasting top up and coming music from the likes of Feed The Kid, Alias Kid, Cupids, The Watchmakers and headliners Glass Caves it’ll be an unmissable day for new and old music a like in a celebration of British Music in one of Britain’s great music cities. Tickets are on sale now at just £40 with any thing else you need to know on the official website at thebritproject.co.uk .

 

 

 

5 Manchester Acts You Should Be Listening To In 2016

Author: Jake McGloin

Historically Manchester is one of the great music cities of the world, argue against that all you want but you’d be wrong. But there’s always more to this city than Oasis, The Smiths, Joy Division, Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses and The Buzzcocks to name but a few. We didn’t do bad last year predicting Prose and Blossoms would do well and we were early champions of Horsebach and False Advertising, so we know Manchester is still producing a whole host of amazing acts. So here’s our pick of the bunch for manchester best new artists.

 

Summerhouse

Shoegaze newcomers Summerhouse released their debut five track EP this year that’s packed with fuzzy guitars and dreamy vibes. Grunge elements and slick beats make this Manchester based band an irresistible listen and an exciting prospect for the future. Embedded in this bands ethos is a pure wall of noise and catchy hooks through out every track, see them live at Fallow Cafe June 24th  and experience it for yourself  (tickets here).

 

 

 

Lusaint

It’s a saturated market for female singers in the modern ages, and it would be easier to compare Manchester born Lusaint to the likes of Lana Del Rey and Lorde due to the dark edge of her music, but her haunting vocal and eerie beats set her apart. It’s a sound that oozes cool from every note, her hypnotising voice drives straight though any distraction and plays beautifully to the elements of pop and rock that are littered thought out her, as it stands, small catalogue of music. She’s still in the formative stage of her career but imagining how great she can be is just damn exciting.

 

 

 

Blooms

Blooms have been showing off their gorgeous surf pop sound around Manchester for a while, and it’s wavy vibes and dreamy riffs are making them one of the cities more exciting prospects. The trios perfect blend of surf riffs and pop melodies make them a heavily listen with Marr like guitars in parts and California feels through out, they’re definitely one to break out on a rainy Manchester summers evening.

 

 

The Hyena Kill

This Manchester two piece have been causing a storm throughout Manchester for some years, but this year they seem like a real force to be reckoned with. Their raw live shows and ability to create double barrel noise from seemingly nothing is just something that can’t be compared. The Hyena Kill are insanely explosive and not to be missed.

 

 

Arms&Heart

It’s roots are firmly planted in early folk but theres undoubtably elements that seep in to the music from the likes of The Gaslight Anthem, Arm&Hearts is like a Mancunian Bruce Springsteen, guitar in hand and gruff vocals at the ready. Steve Millars acoustic project is filled with heart and passion that’s seen a little to rarely and might seem more at home in the dark back room of an old Irish bar, but thank God he’s sharing it with us instead. Hard hitting and deeply melodic ‘The Jaded Captain’ EP is out now.

 

 

 

 

Got Music You Think We Should Hear? Email Us at Shopliftersuni@Gmail.com, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

5 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week (18/04/16)

We haven’t been writing lately, and we’re sorry. Life aye!? But we’re back with bigger ideas and the same passion and high quality music as ever. So to make it up to you here are five awesome tracks you need to hear this week! And send us your tracks to Shopliftersuni@gmail.com and don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

 

 

 

False Advertising- You’re Too Slow

Our favourite home town grunge heroes are back again with their new EP ‘Brainless’. Their latest single ‘You’re Too Slow’ is everything you’ve come to expect from False Advertising, big fuzzy riffs, killer beats and nothing but noise in between. The vocals bring out a the bands melodic side amongst a meddle of stunning guitar. Stellar as ever from F.A.

(Jake McGloin)

 

 

 

Bad Breeding- Remembering

 

With a barage of noise, Stevenage band ‘Bad Breeding’ bring us their latest song ‘Remembering.’ It’s pounding drums, excessive feedback and the singer shouting about the corruption and manipulation of politicians and institutional bodies, which could not come out at a more relevant time, give us a punk song today’s generation and a middle finger to the powers that be.

(Tom Durkan)

 

Andy Shauf- The Worst in You

 

If you like tales of loves struggles sang in a whispy voice over acoustic guitars and light percussion, then Andy Shauf will be right up your alley. Think of a modern day folky Burt Bacharach. It’s easy listening chamber pop that will help you while away a summers day in the garden with a good book.

(Tom Durkan)

 

James Holt- The Mirror

 

Mancunian musician James Holt exhibits a brand of classic pop rock with a bluesy undertone in new song ‘The Mirror.’ Holt, who produced the song himself, shows a real knack for composition with an arrangement which perfectly blends electric guitar, keyboard, horns and even an organ to create a sound even the finest producers would be envious of. This is real talent and a guy to look out for in the near future.

(Tom Durkan)

 

 

Nick Brewer- Nobody

Following on from his 2015 top 20 single ‘Talk To Me’, Nick Brewer is back with his new song ‘Nobody’. Brewer tells a story of not being taken seriously by other MCs along side thoughts on religion and being patient. He has a flow reminiscent of Wretch 32, who’s ‘Fire in the Booth’ is sampled in the song.

(Tom Durkan)

5 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week

 

HERE ARE FIVE AWESOME TRACKS YOU NEED TO CHECK OUT THIS WEEK! YOU CAN SEND YOUR TRACKS, SUGGESTIONS OR COMPLAINTS TO SHOPLIFTERSUNI@GMAIL.COM. (WE TRY TO LISTEN TO EVERYTHING AND GIVE EVERYONE FEED BACK SO HANG TIGHT)

 

 

Native Kings- Sound of Victory

The Sound of Victory is an apt title of the latest single by Liverpudlian trio Native Kings, because if they keep writing songs like this one then they will be on to a winner. The song has a lot to offer, a catchy guitar hook, a big pop punk chorus, inspirational lyrics and an incredibly tight rhythm section which gives it a funky undertone. Expect to be involved in a mass sing along at festivals when this come on.

https://soundcloud.com/playing-with-sound-919423875/native-kings-sound-of-victory/s-uTOrg

 

 

Coco- Big N Serious

Sheffield native Coco recently has just the video for his song Big n Serious. The beat in the verse, the production is done by fellow Sheffielder Toddla T, is minimal allowing Coco’s vocal to come across strong. Teaming that with the unforgettable repetition in the chorus creates a big tune. Coco is a very talented MC and is definitely one to look out for in the near future, proving that the grime scene is alive and thriving outside of London.

 

 

Still Parade- Walk in the Park

 

Created by Berlin born songwriter and producer Niklas Kramer, Still Parade are back with new single Walk in the Park. Normally folk songs are stuck in the past, trying to recreate the glory days of Dylan and Baez. But the production by Kramer brings this sound firmly in to 2016. Simple drums, a smooth bassline and sound great guitar work centred around a wispy vocal immerses the listener in a spring afternoon taking a stroll.  

 

 

The Teen Age- Glade Dreams

 

New York Rockers The Teen Age have showcased Glade Dreams from their new EP Bad Seed which is released on Friday. Their sound is a mixture of garage rock meeting 1970’s rock. Imagine The Strokes and The Clash teaming up, sounds good doesn’t it. Throw in a use of repetition reminiscent of The Ramones and you’ve got Glade Dreams.

 


Oracle North- Underzone

The four piece from Sweden unveil their latest single Underzone, it’s Martin Hannett style production and post punk tones bring to mind an obvious comparison. Electronic blips and    layered hooks, it all equates to a dark industrial sound that reflects their strong Factory Records influence. Haunting vocals and stunning synth, work over the new order esc beats and Sumner style guitar.

 

5 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week (15/02/16)

HERE ARE FIVE AWESOME TRACKS YOU NEED TO CHECK OUT THIS WEEK! YOU CAN SEND YOUR TRACKS, SUGGESTIONS OR COMPLAINTS TO SHOPLIFTERSUNI@GMAIL.COM. (WE TRY TO LISTEN TO EVERYTHING AND GIVE EVERYONE FEED BACK SO HANG TIGHT)

 

Alina Bea- Live Undone

Nothing makes for better writing then a breakup and that’s what Californian singer Alina Bea has used to make her debut single ‘Live Undone’ from her EP of the same name. Bea previously fronted the L.A pop band Body Parts but is now striking out on her own. Think Joni Mitchell mixed with St. Vincent. Her delivery of the lyrics is empowering and the music is subtle and simple creating a great platform for Bea’s voice.

 

 

Old Monk- Shifting The Earth

Brooklyn based band Old Monk really have an interesting sound that is hard to compare to others. ‘Shifting The Earth’ shows that Old Monk make you think you’re getting one thing and then they slap something else in your face. Centred around a catchy surfer esq guitar riff that will be stuck in your head for days, the band quickly change in to a explosive punk sound to really get the message of the song across and then back to the riff. Intriguing and contagious.

 

 

Young Gun Silver Fox – In My Pocket

Hailing from London, Young Gun Silver Fox have a sound more reminiscent of the 1970’s Los Angeles funk scene. ‘In My Pocket’, from new album ‘West End Coast’ is pure funky pop harkening back to the early days of Prince and Nile Rodgers. Their infectious hook and groovy bass line will have you dancing the night away.

 

 

Merricks Tusk- 25

Merrick’s Tusk, named after the Elephant man John Merrick, are a Nottingham based four piece emo rock band who take their influences from the likes of Jimmy Eat World and American Football. Expect heavy drums, distorted guitars and lyrics which tell a story most people 25 and under will know all to well, trying to find yourself and being frustrated by the world around you.

 

MU- Debauchery

MU, a duo from Vancouver, recently released their second EP named ‘II’ and with that have released a music video for their single ‘Debauchery.’ It’s a dreamy, electronic ode to youthful days gone by. Comparisons have been drawn between MU and the likes of Tegan and Sara and Lorde and they are more than warrented. The song is almost hypnotic and leave you in a daze you wont want to wake up from.

 

Author: Thomas Durkan.

5 Albums That Shaped Us – Xylaroo

London based sisters Xylaroo talk us through the albums that shaped their emotional folk pop sound and themselves. Compare with their track ‘Sunshine’ (Below) and hear how the ages have devloped who Xylaroo are.

 

1.The Execution of All things – ­ Rilo Kiley

Rilo Kiley is a band we both grew up with. They continue to be a staple in both of our musical diets and though everyone of their albums has certainly shaped us, “The Execution of All Things” is, in our minds, the best of a fine bunch. It’s one of their earliest albums and like so many other bands in their infancy they suggest in it a willingness to be peculiar and to experiment, to be raw and to be intimate. One thing that draws us so closely towards Rilo Kiley is their lyrics. They are dark yet hopeful, always thoughtful and tinged with sadness. They taste bitter sweet and yet accompany in such stark contrast simple, joyous, blissful and even cheerful melodies. ‘A Better Son/Daughter’, which both of us agree to be one of the most hopeful and uplifting songs that we know, is pretty much an anthem to us. It is, in our opinion, a must listen to; especially when you’re having one of those particularly bad days for no good reason at all. Actually, Rilo Kiley is one of the reasons I (Holly) started writing music. I wanted to write songs and to tell stories that resembled the weaving narratives and shifting moods and subject matters of this album. It moves so effortlessly amongst the personal, even mundane observations of the daily grind and yet also rises above it towards the profound and the philosophical.

2.The Con – ­ Tegan & Sara

Although we don’t listen to Tegan & Sarah as much now ‘The Con’ was definitely an album that I (Coco) remember listening to as a teenager on repeat and it certainly influenced our early sound. Being sisters and singing such synchronized harmonies Tegan & Sara inspired us to incorporate more harmonies into our own music, as initially I (Coco) was a little hesitant and shy about singing. It did not come as naturally to me as it seemed to do for my sister. Listening to their sound inspired us to make the most of the similarities of our voices. I think what was really cool about Tegan and Sara and what I love about this album is their piercing and I would say androgynous vocals and also their angsty lyrics. It was cool to hear female singers who were so distinct and different to other female artists I was listening to at the time and that I could relate to. Tegan & Sara was one of the first big concerts I went to, actually on their U.K tour of The Con in 2008, and I remember thinking to myself after the show ­ wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to do that.

3.Pastel Blues – Nina Simone

There is no disputing that Nina Simone is one of the greatest musicians of all time. Everything about her ­ her voice, the way she played the keys, her lyricism and the way she interpreted covers was beautiful. Easily, I (Holly) could have picked any of her albums but decided to stick with Pastel Blues, as it includes some of my favorites and probably her most iconic renditions; “Strange fruit”, “Sinnerman” & “Nobody knows you when you’re down and out”. What I love most about this album and all of her music is her soulfulness ­ you can feel the passion pouring out of her. Her songs have a sense of grandeur about them; she commands your attention and guides you through her songs with a firm and almost tidal urgency. Musicians like her don’t exist anymore, at least not in our generation, she exudes an emotional honesty and intensity which seems to have been lost in this time. ‘Strange Fruit’ is by far the most intense, an amazing song in it’s own right. I’ve never been drawn to Billie Holiday’s version as much. Nina’s is so much darker, so much more understated and so soaked in injustice and pain and anger. If you haven’t already listened to it you should…it’ll send shivers down your spine.

4. ­ Elliot Smith – Either/Or

Between the Bars is definitely one of my (Coco) favorite songs ever and to be honest one of my go to songs when I’m drowning my sorrows; which is probably true in terms of my relationship with Elliott Smith’s music in general and for that I am extremely grateful. What I love about this album and Elliot’s music is the understated unapologetic raw production of it. What I really respect about Elliot Smith is his music, at least to me, doesn’t feel like entertainment or a performance but an outpouring and even sometimes a rambling therapy. His music is sincere and humble and seemed like it was for him more than it was for anyone else’s sake.

5.Tracy Chapman – ­ Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman is an another artist that we grew up with as her debut album was a routine pick from our parents CD collection. I (Holly) remember listening to the songs on that album over and over again. I loved every one of them and still do today. Tracy Chapman is the kind of musician that is not afraid to be serious and political or to tackle controversial and somber subject matter. She tells human stories with an unromantic realism delving hard into domestic violence in “Behind the wall” or the racial tensions and segregation that still pervades the “Backstreets of America.” In this album she shows how she is not afraid to make her audience feel uncomfortable or to make them think. I reckon her music influenced the subject matter of our songs quite a bit, especially her serious tone. However, despite this seriousness her music is also uplifting and empowering, it is earthy, humble and raw. There is a whole lot of hope and love in songs such as “Talkin bout a revolution” or “Baby can I hold you Tonight.” Her voice is also incredibly distinct and somewhat androgynous. The uniqueness of her voice makes a Tracy Chapman song instantly recognisable. Like her voice, this album is certainly one of a kind, a diamond in the rough.