Social Icons

emailtumblrYouTubetwitterlast.fmSloundCloudMixCloud

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Welcome To Where Nothing Exists And Everything Is Real


Another band has been brave enough to allow themselves to be exposed to the Indie Dunes question and answer session (aka interview), and we liked their response so much we were tempted to make this post only that – the questions and answers - the P L a N E T S speaking for themselves without our meddling.
The band was formed many moons ago by Adam S the Filmmaker and Adam C the Guitarist, their love for music and theater evolved into a ‘one-of-a-kind-creative-collective’ and where once there were two now there are twenty – friends joined them adding their talents of dance, puppetry, visual arts and additional instruments to the mix.

The P L a N E T S draw their inspiration from a specific place – their debut album – Dark Woods, will transport you into the world of coyotes, wolves and all things mystical one would expect to find in the dark woods – scary story n all.
I was watching one of their shows on Youtube – the audience walking into the venue blissfully unaware that the performance had already begun before the band took to the stage – that they were surrounded by dancers posing as statues, who would come to life with the music, moving among them.




This is where geography works against me – I wish I was close enough to attend one of their shows and be part of the audience playing a part in the experience, but sadly, deserts, oceans, lonely roads, time zones, high voltage lines, war zones, savannas and all things geological keep me half a planet (no pun intended) away.

And, without further ado – the P L a N E T S speak:

ID: Planets. it’s a great name for conjuring up austral images....the stories you are telling though are very grounded on earth in the dirt and nature. Why Planets??

Adam Stilwell: Right now, we're 'of' this earth. It's the PLaNET we know best. This album, our first, is based on dreams and memories experienced in the forests of this earth. But, the times they are a changin', so on the next one we'll cover all of our space travel and alien abductions.

Adam Cotton: You know, we thought this through and coming out of the gates with spacey music with a band name like P L a N E T S is kinda like wearing a denim jacket with blue jeans, not that there's anything wrong with that (if you're Brad Pitt).

ID: You have quite a large pool of talent in Planets, enough to form a reasonable sized Solar System. Who would be Uranus in your band so to speak? Supplementary question....Why do they wear a lot of rings?

Stilwell: If this is an ass joke than it's definitely Father Time. Yes, he is a man, he is in our band and he is the ass of our band. The ass, the mouth...pretty much the same. We just let him spew. Check him out on Facebook. He's under "Phather Time", he says some schmuck stole his real name in order to sell more Pepsi products.

Cotton: Rings? Simple, even PLaNETS need to accessorize, you gotta do SOMETHING if all you're doing is just sitting there spinning in circles for billions of years right??

ID: Planets have had an interesting evolution, after the Big Bang between your parents, its just got bigger and seems like its continuing to expand. Who / what is your target audience?

Stilwell: Humans, primarily. We're not sure who else listens to music on this PLaNET, but we are sure that The Skulls enjoy it. We also have TheRobot in the band, so we run everything by him just to make sure that it all translates. There are a lot more robots out there than you think, ya know...and Aliens.

Cotton: Needless to say zombies too, they get fired up with all this blood and brains business.

ID: Do you have lots of Klingons (groupies) or Who has the most Klingons (Groupies), is that because they have a hairy butt

Stilwell: Definitely TheRobot. When we do the album with TheSasquatch, he'll definitely have competition...considering the hairy butt factor.

Cotton: Key word in that being "competition", you'd be amazed at what's really possible in the swiftly developing field of robot body hair over here.

ID: The Dark Woods in a marvellous concept. Are you evolving a new concept for the next release, or will this theme continue to grow?

Stilwell: We're taking you to space on the next one. It's called 'The Last Starfighter' and it will involve similar characters and themes. Our entire body of work, when you look at it as a whole will look like one big television series, like 'Lost' or 'Twin Peaks'. There will be one giant narrative and arc that makes up the P L a N E T S world, but each individual album will be its own show/story/arc. Look at it this way, each song is a puzzle piece, each album is a puzzle and each puzzle fits together to create the picture. I hate puzzles...so we write songs.

Cotton: Wow well we're not all anti-puzzle around here for the record, I like puzzles, those M.C. Escher ones are kinda tricky though. Actually the P L a N E T S world kinda works like an M.C. Escher puzzle, it's mysterious, intriguing and even when you have all the pieces and narrowly avoid having a psychotic breakdown from trying to put it together, you're still confused and wondering how the dang thing works, and why there's a robot. Wait are there any Escher pictures with robots?

ID: You say Disney and the dark side of the fairy-tales were an influence. There’s a pretty dark story behind the doors of The Brady Bunch, if you dig a little. Do you think that could be your next project? If so, I (Steve) won’t ask for royalties

Stilwell: I won't say 'yes' and i won't say 'no', but i will tell you that we are far more apt to get involved in a Dawson's Creek concept record.

Cotton: Yeah, because a Vampire Diaries concept record would be WAY too obvious.

ID: Lots of members of Planets, obviously money is not a motivating factor. I know you are in it for the artistic integrity. BUT if money was a driving force who would you jettison to increase your take, be your Pluto so to speak? Obviously they would still be able to hang around and be associated with you. But it’s not a fully-fledged Planet.

Cotton: Actually we're big fans of Pluto, we named our band the week it got demoted in protest.

Stilwell: If we make any money, we're immediately buying Pluto so it will again officially be called a "P L a N E T" like we all learned in kindergarten.



The P L a N E T S are currently working on their second album, due to be released in 2014. Until then – get your hands and ears on Dark Woods, attend their performances and spread the word. X

Stalk options:

Band website: www.PlanetsTheBand.com
Twitter: @planetstheband

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Calm of Zero - Gentle sounds bring a storm of thought

Here we go again, a new post from the Indie Dunes team.

But firstly, I would like to thank everyone for reading and sending feedback to both myself and Fishy. Not many people leave comments on the actual blog pages but the amount of positive feedback in Twitter, both as public tweets and direct messages, for me is quite humbling. Even more so when we hear people are coming back to the blog, over and over. Best part is knowing the bands we have featured are having their music listened to from people that might not have stumbled across it. An old school friend messaged me saying she had read Indie Dunes and the post made her want to listen to the music. It wasnt her cup of tea, but thats the thing (in my eyes) At least she had an opportunity and listened. What more could you ask for!!!

Soppy but meaningful and important meanderings despatched. New music post time \o/


Here enter Calm Of Zero. 

Open up twitter to find someone has accidently followed me (thats how I feel).I always try to send a tweet to say thanks and follow back. Im not going to embelish what happened when I saw the profile picture. OMG factor, made my jaw drop, followed by feverishly pressing my phone to open the link on the screen. Within the first paragraph on Calm of Zero's website my first OMG instinct was confirmed YEP its them.

 

Calm of Zero are a duo playing some of the most captivating acoustic songs Ive heard in a long time. Springing up from the ashes (palagrised from CoZ website) from one of my favouite bands of the mid 90s Echobelly. You know I love my connections. Echobelly also played a part in Fishy and I becoming the friends we are today, in particular the track Dark Therapy. So as you will see later on, the coincidence continues to weave its way into this post.

This isnt an Echobelly post BUT it is important to acknowledge why Echobelly were more than just an exciting band with songs that made me want to bounce up and down. Loud guitars, with the most distinctive quiet voice which had to "get loud" for the message to push across the well crafted noise coming from behind. Thats why I held/hold Echobelly so close, there was ALWAYS a message. 


So happens, one that I connected with. Disassociation with my surrounding no matter how hard I tried to fit in. With feelings like this, a strong sense of social justice comes out in your belief system. Well it did with me. You bond, doesnt matter how flimsy the connection might seem to the outside world, its yours and you give it everything. "Everyone's Got One" is still one of my favourite albums 

Back to Calm Of Zero.

I believe it took no longer than a nanosecond to click the play button on the Soundcloud page, they say first impressions are lasting. I hope so, because within the opening bars of "Long Way Round" I was quickly enveloped in a calmness. I was lucky enough to stumble across a project called "Low Roar" late last year. The opening of CoZ musically reminds me of that. Sonya enters and her voice takes you down a gentle path to that special place where the world stops.

CoZ released the first Acoustic Sessions in 2011 a six song collection, and I cant find one song that doesn't send a tinlge down my spine. Recorded on a 6 and 12 string guitar with minor embelishments (website palagrism again LOL) Im not quite sure how Sonya's voice can be classed as a minor embelishment...(whispers quietly...i think they mean production and other instruments but Im being cheeky).

Fortunately, Ive found CoZ when they have released the second Acoustics Session, I say fortunately because I can hear the progression and growth between both releases instantly. There was a beacon shining on the final track of Session 1. Im pleased to see the style of the second Session has followed that beam of light. To my ear there seems to be more Asian sounds and influences moulded or flowing through the fabric of the tracks on the second release, its soothing to hear the different cultures effortlessly blending together. Neither outshines or swamps the other. Song crafting at its pinnacle.



 
The undeniable strength of both releases is Sonyas voice. There is such a beauty in the way she phrases the lyrics, its a journey. It really is a pleasure to listen to such a subtle expressive voice. The harmonies are perfect. Obviously I have a little bit in my memory bank to compare todays compositons to the magic I found in Echobellys tunes.

What stands out more than ever, is the maturity and experience in Sonya's vocals. Nothing could highlight that more, just listening to the original version of "Dark Therapy" and the recent acoustic session. Its haunting, and it sends shivers down my temples. This is where you can clearly hear, CoZ didnt just rise from the ashes of Echobelly, they evolved to something amazing that is hard to put into words. I'm thankful Ive found them or they found me...bizarrely LOL.

My favourite tracks of the two releases are


Session 1 "Salamander Sky" 


Session 2 "Snowflakes in Summer" 




There is something so simple and yet peaceful about acoustic songs. You can place them simply in any situation in life and feel connected to the human race. I've shared these tracks at the dinner table with my wife and kids, while we discussed our day. Or even sitting around a campsite with friends, or sadly like so many people in the world at this moment, huddled in a shelter with your loved ones being calmed by the gentle sounds, while their world outside is falling apart.

I hope you read this post, listen to the tracks and then search out the full releases on iTunes or Bandcamp. Because music like this makes me thankful I am alive.

Steve


Stalk options:

Band website: http://calmofzero.com/
Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/calmofzero
Twitter: https://twitter.com/calmofzero
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/calmofzero


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Suzerain look into A Mirror now and I see a musical storm approaching.

My last three posts have been really interesting for me to write, and I hope you found them easy to read. Reading back, the music has been in the background of each post. @TEHI, about how music can cross all manner of obstacles and draw people of like minds together and produce something they never thought possible.

The XX, how taking that emotion that music bubbles to the surface, transforming them into a tool to teleport you to a space or time in your life where you came from, or sometimes even where you want to go.

Finally the @L_U_N_G_S piece, tying multiple fields of the arts together, then creating something eerily beautiful which can only be fully understood when the whole picture comes together, but each facet holds its own vital purpose and energy,leading your perceptions and ideas together, drawing you to the towards the other pieces, introducing you to a new friend.....

Today its back to why Indie Dunes was first brought to life by @fishiearchitect. Somewhere to exchange new music discoveries and share the excitement and enthusiam that comes with it. I dont think in our wildiest dreams could we have ever begun to imagine so many other people would be reading our words....



So lets rip into this post because from the opening few seconds of Suzerains "A Mirror Now", you will want to be thrashing yourself into a frenzied romp around the dance floor. Or do a bizarre head dance in the empty office you are listening to it in. Suzerain another band that has been introduced into my listening library by Twitter.

If I remember correctly, I received a DM, thanking "Indie Dunes" for supporting in indie artists and bands, with the promise of a little present if I provided our email. What did I have to lose.... A couple of weeks later, a link for Soundcloud appeared in the inbox, leading eventually to this post. Long story / short, I couldnt get the link to work (because im what is commonly refered to as a "technotard") but that was a good thing in hindsight.

Suzerain recently released the EP "A Mirror Now" Produced / Engineered by Grammy Award winning Steve Lyon. Which has WOW factor, but it means more when you hear the calibre of the artists he has worked with, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Nitzer Ebb, The Wedding Present and ummmm Sir Paul (everyone has a skeleton in the closet). Just hearing those names alone should make you feel excited about being introduced to Suzerain! I was!! 

 
Even the anticipation is surpassed after "Frenzy" comes thundering out of the speakers for the first time. The first single and understandbly so. Its an instant motivator, the bouncing bass and first words from Tom the frontman just make it impossible to stop moving. A "chainsaw like" slide guitar riff works in to grab your attention. I came to realise, this is one tight unit of musicians ready to give the listener 25 mins of pure enjoyment. 

On first hearing I must admit I thought to myself.....YUP lets start off with the strongest song lads. Half expecting it to fizzle out. WRONG STEVE. Every track is different but the same energy seething through it. The third track on the EP "Down to the Sea" is dripping with tension, building itsself into a track that screams "Crowd Favourite" when the chorus and guitars work themselves into the journey...


Each track on this 5 track release could stand the test of being a single, but their strength lie in complementing each other. Showcasing the bands versitility. Its a testement to the direction Steve Lyon has taken them down. What excites me about these songs is the prospect of seeing them preformed on stage. This band already have an impressive CV of live gigs most bands would be envious of, playing with and in support of numerous high end acts such as Stereophonics, The Cribs and Franz Ferdinand

I get the impression though, Suzerain aren't going to be happy playing "support" for much longer. Ambition isn't a dirty word, it is a must in the music industry. And from the small insight I've had into these guys, they have the talent and the drive to pull it together. Add a frontman with the charisma of Dave Gahan, Matt Bellamy rolled into one.... It is a can't lose situation.

There is so much more I could mention but I think its best that I let the music and energy tell you the story a lot better than I can. 

Enjoy and spread the word 

Steve aka @CrustyToon
xx

PS. Ive mentioned before in previous posts that I like finding connections in music. Well so happens there is a nice one here. When I was young, reckless and a little fitter. I used to go mountain biking down very steep hills in the early 90s. One of the favourite CDs to get me all hyped up to was by a band called Senser, the album was Stacked Up. Its a classic in skating and street sport vids. So happens Suzerain and Senser are part of the FeedMeMusic stable of cool bands. I was pleased to find out that Senser are releasing a new tune soon, so stay tuned. Something else to keep the excitement buzzing in my veins!!








Stalk options:

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Visual and auditory senses come together when LUNGS take shape

Forgive me Father, it's been a while since my last post......

What sins do you wish to confess Young Crusty.... (I live in a delusionary state)

Well where to start. My posts generally start off by saying "Bands tend to fall into your lap on Twitter" Never did I expect to get an opportunity like this. It's already been an interesting journey getting to the point of writing this post. Many questions have come and etched a groove in my thoughts. Not just about the music but about OUR role in helping Spread The Word about Independent music and the artists producing it.

The subject of this post is a "Project" rather than a band. LUNGS. Even before I decided to write this post, the name struck me as intriguing and after talking about this post to Fishie, and emailing the members. It becomes evident that they have chosen the name to conjure up an image, an all encompassing image of life springing up from the intake of oxygen that feeds our minds and soul. Its the most organic process our body completes without us thinking about it.

LUNGS sprung from a meeting of two artists preforming in different fields at the same venue. Suzie a  photographer, Magrão preforming on stage. Common interests in cinema helped them spend hours cementing a bond.  

Magrão (A member of the highly acclaimed Guillemots) had been dipping in and out of a side project for the last 6 years. This bond with Suzie has helped LUNGS evolve into something "whole" allowing it to see some light, so we can share. The music brings to me a very trip hop feel, taking me back to Tricky, Portishead and early Massive Attack. The voice reminiscent of Belinda Butcher (My Bloody Valentine) mixed with Micky (Lush) and Toni Halliday of Curve. I wont pull any wool, I found it hard to connect to the music at first. It's not light and breezy, it feels weighed down and to draw an analogy, when listening I struggled for breath. To the point where I thought I could not write a post. Something inside wouldn't let me move on.... I kept being drawn back to the tracks on Soundcloud. With every listen the air, the oxygen flowed easier. It was time to say we would like to do a post and tell LUNGS our style and would they be happy to let us do our thing. They agreed, reluctantly. I felt my throat constrict, what now...... Its difficult, we have our Indie Dunes way. Would we / could we let go of our vision? To help spread the word for another. 

It was only then I actually noticed that LUNGS twitter account tweeted image after image, things started to weave together. The images are striking and technically fantastic. Now I'm not going to pretend to know the first thing about photography, so I will pass onto you the wisdom of LUNGS to help describe the technical intricacies.

Suzie says "all of the artwork is produced by either Magrão or myself. We both prefer working with analogue and both use a lot of double exposure in our image making. Playing around with expired film and doing parts digitally is also fun!"

This was more than just a band, this was art attempting to connect on multiple levels. They want the strands of their creation to work their way into your consciousness. Not play on past triumphs from a previous incarnation. The creation is the focus not the creators. 

It's not easy, but nothing worthwhile is. With the sound and imagery playing like a memory or movie in your head, its dark, complex and strangely beautiful. Take the time to let the concept wrap around you and hopefully you will see what I have and continue to see

LUNGS recently received airplay on Australia's eminent alternative music station Triple J, and my personal opinion is that this isn't going to be a one off event. 


I posed a question earlier "Would we / could we let go of our vision?" The answer is obvious and with good fortune, growth will be achieved on all fronts.





LUNGS fill with vital oxygen, feeding the brain and the heart, so we can go on feeling and seeing the depth of the journey.......




Friday, 5 October 2012

Jugando con Kurt


If you haven't been to Barcelona yet, you should. You will be humbled by the great works of Gaudi, drink champagne while the butcher slices off ham which hangs above your head (yes, butcher by day, champagne tasting by night), if you are there to celebrate the New Year, you will have a mouth full of grapes (the tradition is - as the clock starts to count down to midnight - for every second - you have to stuff a grape in your mouth. key to survival? small grapes, just sayin...), or just chill out sipping carajillo (the Irish have Irish coffee - Spaniards have carajillo, and carajillo wins).

Jugando con Kurt is a Spanish Indie Pop band from Barcelona, formed in 2010, when Antonio R (guitar and vocals) and Carlos M (guitar and vocals) met and started playing together. They quickly discovered that they have very similar musical tastes making it easy for them to start composing.

The first few months of their collaboration planted the seeds of their current songs, but they wanted to give their songs more rhythm and bass - the search for a drummer and bassist was on - bringing Carlos B (drummer) and Gustavo H (bassist) into the final line-up.



They have since played in festivals which cater to emerging bands in Barcelona - like the well known 'Surface' festival. They are currently recording their first EP - which will be released in November 2012.

Their main musical influences are bands like Radiohead, Sigur Ros, The Cure, The Flaming Lips, David Bowie and Spanish bands like Los Plantas, Lori Meyers and Vetusta Morla. Their non musical influence - which has woven its way into the ambiance of their tunes is the location they chose to play in - an abandoned factory, in their own words, and with the helping hand of Google Spanish to English translator:

Among the debris and shrapnel that flood the rooms of the old abandoned heavy weapons factory, you can hear the faint strumming of a guitar that accompanies the incessant noise of thousands of pigeons that populate the highest corners of walls as old as the war itself.

"That space is very important to us, the old abandoned factory undoubtedly influences the sound. Sometimes it seems that we will be crushed under the failing roof, but, nevertheless, we love to play while watching the rain falling through the broken glass. "

Jugando con Kurt sing in Spanish - although you will find a tune in English called 'She' which first caught my attention on soundcloud. I, like most of our readers, gravitate towards bands whose lyrics I understand - English and Serbian in my case, but that always makes me feel that I am missing out on thousands of bands out there who should not be passed up just because I cannot sing along. Lyrics are important, that goes without saying, but when you do not understand them - the singer's voice transforms into another instrument, his/her delivery makes you aware of the emotion, you get it, you understand, you connect on another level. Just listen.





OK, I have to ask - what does Jugando con Kurt mean?

Jugando con Kurt (in English Playing with Kurt) is a two-way name: Playing as "play music" and Playing as "play with toys".

We are beginners in this world, so we are playing to make some music. And Kurt can be whoever you want. Kurt can be Kurt Vonnegut, or Kurt can be Kurt Russell, or maybe Kurt Cobain, or whoever you are comfortable playing with. 

Kurt is an alter-ego of our happiness, Kurt is our religion, Kurt is our family and friends, Kurt is the Fate, Kurt is the Luck, Kurt is the Random, Kurt is God, Kurt is The Evil, Kurt is you, and me and everyone we know. 

Kurt is Kurt.


November Update:


New songs and recordings are now available on the band's official website! http://jugandoconkurt.es/


Stalk options:

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The XX factor and the emotional connection to music

I don't know how many times my lovely wife has told me Steve "Gawd this album / song is depressing" and its not just her, good friends of mine won't listen to the stuff I suggest because its going to be depressing LOL.

I never hear a depressing song, I hear songs which bring to life, emotions. I hear a song gifting you a moment to reflect, lifting memories from deeply hidden places. letting them wash over and through you. Enticing them closer to the outer shell we present to the world. Thats musics gift, it presents you a little opening. Then its up to you to see how far you want to expose yourself (ohhh errr, not in a rude naked way. But then once listened to Barry White one night and....... Ummmm different post is needed for that one ahemmm)

Its an interesting concept and its one Ive thought about on and off for years. It's the old chestnut. Does the mind rule the body or does the body rule the mind? Ohhhh I don't know!!!! But I'm going to phrase it differently.

Does the song make you miserable, or could it be your life experience which we attach to it, is music just the lubricant? I know what I think, what are your thoughts? In the words of the enigmatic wordsmiths The Flight Of The Conchords....Think....think about it.

Ive been a long time Smiths listener, and I adore everything about the Smiths, the guitars, the rhythm section, the voice and of course the lyrics. The Smiths encapsulate all that music can and should be. That band helped me through some very hard emotional times, I never felt alone when I had them with me. Its not just me with The Smiths though, many people think of their favourite bands as good friends.

What got this idea for a post kicking around in my head was the new release from The XX - Co-exist. Every track gently worked up something from deep inside me.



The XX the "to cool for school" band....Nothing seems forced, they aren't even phased by the dreaded 2nd Album syndrome. I didn't read or hear any whining about, its so hard!! its was difficult to make something better than XX, they just coolly got on with it. There is something so pure about this band. I think its in making the music sound so effortless. They know what they are good at and there is no variant to the journey, Steve from @SGSN Blog (Great blog go read it) pondered if the music would blend into the abyss, I quickly jumped in with "I didnt think so". My opinion hasn't faltered in the slightest. I think its going to be a regular on my play list for a very long time.

The first track Angels, took me back, did it take me back to me meeting my wife? My first lover? No it bloody took me all the way back to Junior Primary school days 10 yrs old <rolls eyes> Crazy isn't it. I'm imagining this 10 yr old bucked tooth kid, and all the things I wished I had the courage to say and felt. As an adult, I wear my emotions on my sleeve, be them lovey dovey happy as Larry or grumpy as hell, there's no hiding behind a facade of feakness. As a child though....that wasn't the case. As I type this, I can picture him now. I don't think my world would be a different place if I had spoken of how I felt. But I wonder, why does a song in 2012 take me back all those years?

Unexpectedly, I then had a brief conversation on Twitter about sad songs and nobody seems to like happy songs anymore. Do we like the sadder songs because we know there is someone out there who felt or feels exactly how we have felt? There is a schism in this place, there are more humans on the face of planet and yet lots of us feel lonely at some stage. In the words of another great sage(ess) Mrs Agnes Brown, You can be lonely in a room full of people if the person you are missing isn't there...Music puts that person in thoughts reach....almost close enough to touch. A memory can be a stronger way of connecting, more than a momentary tactile touch. With touch, you feel a warm and a sensation. With thoughts you feel those same sensations but the whole environment leaps to your mind. The air, the temperature, a picture of everything around becomes vivid and clarity wrenches at the heart for what you miss and search for once more.

One song speaks to me on this album like no other, Sunset...track 6. Such an emotive track for me. Recently preformed on Jules Holland show also, go check it out. Its a break up song, but it goes beyond the initial hurt. For anyone who hasn't been lucky enough to lose the person they love unconditionally, this song could be even related to by the ending of a heart held friendship. If you notice I said "lucky to lose" I have always learnt more about myself from the loss in my life. Possibly the reason I still have some of the most treasured friendships/relationships is because of the ones I lost previously. You always learn more from your losses, but can a lost love be categorised as a failure? I think not. The words in this song, pull at my heart. I listen to this and emotion swells to the surface, generally a tear wells in my eye. Does this mean I'm sad or "depressed" NO, it means I'm a big sookie la la, a human, that has been touched by a connection found in music.

What The XX do perfectly.....They "play" the spaces, the silence between notes, giving you a moment to connect, time to think and bring yourself into the experience of listening. That's an invitation I never want to pass up.....


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

A spy with a sonic screwdriver - Sound like an Eleventh Hour Initiative? TEHI


If we have said it once we have said it at least three times. Bands fall into your lap with Twitter and Soundcloud. Once again this post is about one such band. This band makes you question all your juvenile ideas of what it is to be part of a band, how connections between muso's are not about knocking on someone's door with a guitar, saying....."I hear you can sing". (Moz and Marr) The world is becoming a smaller place with each and every advancement in communication. Strong friendships are being formed from the slightest strand of interest.

Minds connect in very different ways. Just like the two virgin bloggers from Indie Dunes first met, so did TEHI. A great distance separates them but distance is irrelevant. Two bloggers, one band.. meet without meeting when these crossed paths in the petri dish of Twitter an intriguing friendship is starting to blossom. At its core MUSIC and respect.

Let me introduce you to Bill (USA) and Emrys (UK) they form The Eleventh Hour Initiative. They create a soul searching musical landscape which makes you ask just as many questions about yourself, in tandem with numerous queries about TEHI's thoughts and experiences. Escapism their first release as TEHI is an interesting attempt to try and strip down the meaning of the daily grind. The music is just one piece of TEHI story, their website features a blog where they have a story for each tune - all 14 of them - inspiration or afterthought, even the artwork - its all done by them - a lot of work for two people divided by an ocean. There is a lot of good music around, but I think what makes finding a band like TEHI so rewarding is that you can feel, pain, a darkness and a light at the end of the journey (Well that's my take on it). 

The "album" name dangles an optimistic carrot to keep dragging you forward "Escapism" Is it a little teaser of a better life? or part of an illusion where you need to be skilled like a slight of hand magician, deceiving the masses that impossible is probable.

In what is becoming a world wide phenomenon, a waiting list becoming increasingly unmanageable, bands wishing to experience an Indie Dunes Q & A session. We have subjected TEHI to this experience for your pleasure. I hope our "original" style of taking the piss will give you a humorous but honest insight into what makes TEHI an intriguing and truly original find.

Please welcome the Guys from the TOP 1 band on a radio station in Plymouth The Eleventh Hour Initiative (thunderous applause from two bloggers). Here on known as TEHI. We catch up on a foggy night somewhere in the world, at some point on the international time line and share an imaginary coffee and fat free low GI donut....



Let's get into the tough questions straight away then.

1.Its a boring Friday night and about to go to bed....you decide to start a musical journey. Is the name an insight into how you guys gave birth to this band?

Bill- Yes, it is actually and thank you for the applause Steve and Tatjana! Emrys and I are going to write songs for the rest of our lives, but when we met we were both in a place where we weren't so sure we were always going to release said songs. However, we were so excited by the music we were making together that we decided to go for it right at 'The Eleventh Hour'. It didn't hurt that it was also the name of a Dr. Who Episode. Then we found out that 'The 11th Hour' was also the name of a documentary made by Leonardo DiCaprio. Since our band is not a documentary made by Leonardo DiCaprio we added 'Initiative' to help us stand out. Plus 'The Eleventh Hour Initiative' sounds like a spy movie from the 1960's and we like that.

2. You live on opposite sides of the Atlantic, how did this amazing collaboration spring up?

Bill- Emrys heard some of the demos I had put up on a site called Soundcloud and asked if I wanted to collaborate with him on a song. That song became 'Where We Go Next' which is still one of our favorite songs on 'Escapism'. We liked working together so much that we decided to form the band. Though we're in different countries, the way we record isn't all that different from most bands that go into the studio. We just have to send our tracks thousands of miles away instead of to the next room.

3. Odd socks. Do you think some people deliberately wear odd socks are fighting the unspoken social structures, or is it just a case of getting dressed in the dark?

Bill- It could go either way I think. It happens to me every once in a while, but mainly due to the fact that my dryer eats socks and car keys. I intend no political statement with it. I could picture people wearing odd socks deliberately to look like rebels and fight the social structure, and Im sure it's extremely effective, and by 'effective' I mean it is not effective.

Emrys - I always make every effort to match up pairs of socks. I lay them all out like kids at a school disco waiting to be asked to dance. Most of them marry up. Then the odd one goes back in the basket to await the arrival of its partner... hopefully overdue in the next wash load. And you know what? I now ask myself why? Why do I go through this routine... when I could just be a free spirit. I too could be that man who wears one purple sock and one yellow sock. That man who boasts about the time he's saved and how he has taken a stand (wearing socks) against all social injustice. I could have be that man!!! But I won't. I'll stick with wearing matching pairs!

4. What technical or teething problems are you encountering with the great distance

Bill- Technically speaking we don't really have any teething problems with the distance? With tracking for our album things actually run pretty smoothly. However, we've been trying to do stripped down live versions of our songs on Skype and have had some issues with the delay inherent in these sorts of things. It's pretty impossible to keep in time when your on a 1/100th of a second delay. Also we can't have one of those pictures where we're both leaning up against a wall or pouting at a diner together without trickery.

5. The addition to Scrappy into Scooby Doo, do you think it added to the team dynamics or did it destroy the very positive hidden message under the surface of Scooby and Shaggy?

Bill- Scrappy gets a bum rap! It definitely added to the dynamic! Try saying 'Scooby Doo' without adding 'and Scrappy too!!!' …impossible. Unless you just did it, then my response would be, 'Rut Ro'?

Emrys - They just had to mess with the formula. The introduction of the 'comedy side-kick'. I thought Scooby and Shaggy between them were already the gang's comedy side-kicks? I must have been missing something! Ha ha! So... I have to disagree with me esteemed colleague - Scrappy was a slippery slope for Scooby Doo.

So by this, I'm guessing Bill is open to adding someone in residence on Antarctica and Emrys isn't.....hmmmmmm

6. Do you take responsibility for helping deconstruct the myth that the Beatles probably didn't live in houses with a separate frontages but a common living area?

Bill- What do you mean that's a myth?! … You mean that they made that up?…. Wait!, but that would mean!….. I guess I thought… …but what about Obama?

Emrys - I always loved that Beatles/Monkees vibe of a band living in one big house with separate frontages. I used to watch 'Help' and buy into the idea that this was real! - that this was what being in a band was all about! But in reality I now realise that was a con. That myth got me into this whole band thing but I notice the Beatles are now conspicuous by their absence. I have to go it alone. I'm currently trying to tunnel under the Atlantic to connect Bill's house to my house to give at least a semblance of a 'shared band living area'. Although to be honest... most of it will be damp, constricted and underground. Perhaps we should change our name to the Wombles?

Well guys that was really enlightening, and slightly longer than i expected, I need to trim my beard again. 

What is wonderful about TEHI is that when interacting with them they want to know as much about you, its a two way street. We encourage everyone who listens to TEHI or reads this to take the time to interact with these two very friendly musos/artists. It wont be just a chat about music, in our experience it will turn into an ever evolving conversation about coffee, fears, tips on getting laid in a videogame, inspiration, the mystery of hash-tagging, winning the battle against yourself, pondering the propriety of eating sushi for breakfast. About life.... woven together with a love of music....music always at the core, the way it should be.




October Update #1:

The Eleventh Hour Initiative cover John Lennon's 'Working Class Hero', live across the Atlantic 





October Update #2:

The Eleventh Hour Initiative's From Shipwreck to Shore, track 13 from their album Escapism is featured on NME, read more HERE



October Update #2:

TEHI meet!!! 




Stalk options:


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

On the Radar


It's that time of the month again (not that this is a monthly event), to draw your attention to a few gems discovered of late. I seem to be tuned into the 80's vibe at the moment (as in loads of synth), but I will not stray from angry PMS tunes, promise.

UN (Montreal, Canada)

Not UN as in United Nations, but UN as in UN-available, UN-able to find a lot of information about them, UN-willing to believe there are only two tunes out there. UN is a two girl band from Canada, Jen and Kara, with loads of synth, drums and emotional vocals placing you in the middle of a post-apocalyptic (grass hasn’t started growing yet) haze. So far there are two tracks available for free pickings on bandcamp, with an announcement on their webpage of a full album release due out June 2012 – this either hasn’t happened, or I am unable to find it – either way, I hope this is not all we will hear from UN. To quote Calgary Herald “It’s anti-dance music, cold, moody, distant, aggressive and very nonchalantly sexy”



MYPET (LA, USA)

I believe that the lack of information about this guys is absolutely deliberate (Amy and Ray - no second names) – they keep themselves elusive, throw out a song like 'Pays to Know’ then step back into the shadows leaving you to squirm for more. Her voice, the synth and bass line are entwined in a lyrical foreplay you feel you are trespassing on, should look away, but chose not to. I want more of this. Watch this space.




Buke and Gase (Brooklyn, USA)

Upon hearing ‘Misshaping Introduction’ I experienced a ‘Wait! What???’ moment with this two piece band from Brooklyn. Arone and Aron – play for ten. All limbs are busy playing something, controlling pedals, or trying to prove that some people can and some people cannot touch their nose with their tongue (whoop whoop if you can). They play buke (a self-modified six-string former baritone ukulele), precussion, gase (Aron's creation of a guitar-bass) and a mix of home-made 'instruments' I cannot name – even adding reverb to acoustic instruments. Arone’s vocals hold their own, ducking, diving and soaring through the forest of strings, leading the way into something unique. To get a feel of what they can do – listen to the couple of tunes I singled out from their freshly released EP Function Falls –  amazing, me thinks.



Saturday, 8 September 2012

An interesting concept, doing it together - The Bedroom Hour and more

Today, for the first and may be the only time - Toons and Fishy attempt to write together. Why? Because we discovered the band almost on the same day, and have been silently tug-of-warring on who will write this one. Both will. Peace reigns.

OMG everything is so dramatic. Can't people have a vigorous debate over writing a blog without one party turning it into part of the blog hmmmm. Btw I do see the irony of me actually commenting on this little tug of "my blog would be different to your blog" war 

Anyway.....

In upside/down world (Australia) Spring has hit, and in my little world that takes me to different places in my music library. As the gentle warmth of the sun starts awakes the dormant garden, so springs to life my desire to share new delights with my IDDs 

Bloody hell she is trapping me on the metaphorical shoulder. I better shut my dribbling down. Over to the Fishie one. 

You had to bring beautiful weather into this, didn't you? This past week has been one of great musical discoveries – and cringes. What made me cringe? ‘how to dress well’s cover of Janet Jackson’s “Again”. I was listening hoping it was going to turn into an obvious piss-take – but low behold – no one giggled. As usual, one digresses

Rolls eyes...stay on topic Oh Fishy one

But its been a couple of weeks of high expectation for me as well. With the release of Two Door Cinema Club - Beacon Cd and the impending release of The XX - Coexist. I'm like a kid at Xmas. I think  if I was to mention a cringe factor, I'm still trying to get over Brian May looking like John Pertwee in Dr Who from the Olympics closing ceremony LOL. 

I must admit. I'm not sure what the hell I was doing to have missed the introduction of The XX into the world but Ive fallen head over heals with the beautifully simplistic mesmerising sounds and lyrics. Like I mentioned in a tweet to a fellow blogger. They act like they are the coolest of cool. But if I could create atmosphere like they have, I'd probably think I was pretty cool too. The tracks I've heard so far bring a sense of excitement I've long since felt on a big/much anticipated release. With that though comes hole that needs filling 

I wasnt a big fan of joining Twitter, but Toon seemed to be getting all the limelight. So he dragged me in. I was wrong about twitter. In the few days I noobed around, I discovered numerous up and coming indie bands with loads to share and constant flow of recommendations which overwhelmed me with new discoveries by the hour. The long hard hunt for bands has become so much easier - they fall into your twitter lap - all you have to do is pay attention.

And so here enter The Bedroom Hour, not sure how we both managed to stumble across this 5 piece from London within 24hrs but it happened and here we are...



First impression on listening to these guys is that they know their craft, a nice blend of guitars and synth with a vocalist that knows just how to add to the music without to stamping a overbearing pressence. The bands says big influences are The Doves, Elbow and Death Cab For Cutie. Interestingly both Fishy and I, are strongly reminded of one of our favourite bands James.

These muso's have been around a while. The Bedroom Hour came about when other bands the members were part of came to a natural end. From the death of one musical journey there starts a new musical direction (OHHH back to the beginning of spring again). Anyway.....

We managed to catch up with the band for an interesting little session with the guys, where we asked the hard deep probing questions, and also some about their music

Hey Guys, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. And lets start off with a nice serious one.
The Bedroom Hour, Its a great name for a band. Are you hoping to make all your albums under 60mins so its like a name and a way of life?

If we are lucky enough to be signed or be in a position to release an album then it could well be a plan, no one likes  false advertising.

Very true, thats why Ill never buy fairy liquid or fish fingers stating 100% fish flavour. Gotta be some real fish in there someeeeewhere.

In your bio, you state you want to make credible music. What does this actually mean to you?
To us credible means honest, we don't set out to make music a specific way it just comes we have influences that inspire us and we would love to inspire others I would say that would be the ultimate accolade not money, not fame, but to look at new bands in 10,20 years from now and see our name under their influences. To leave a legacy like the bands we love have done.

Soundcloud and Reverbnation are great for getting your tunes out there. But do they make it hard for you to sell Cds or downloads. Is it a double edge sword? Your thoughts

I think it could be a double edged sword you do have to be careful, but at the same time it depends why you do it. We would love to be doing something we absolutely Love and and making a living from it, we have a lot of belief and faith in what we are doing, so lets just hope people that are as passionate about music as we are share the same belief in us.

We mentioned just a moment ago, The Bedroom Hour came about from the death of a couple of other bands. Is this band a gentle refining of a sound you were creating before, or a totally different entity?
It has grown up a lot but that is not a dig at our old bands, we had a great time in those bands. Its just we as people have all grown up a lot so therefore its only natural the music we make now and the statements behind the songs are maturer.

You guys are in based around London, and its been pretty tough time for everyone in Europe. The Bedroom Hour are a 5 piece.
If you had to cut one because of downsizing, who would be the first to go LOL....? (A long silence ensues) Fishy whispering to me....told you not to ask that question....shakes head. Apparently a short straw pulling competition was taking place.
Stu has done the honourable thing and taken the laws of chance in his stride... Everyone brings something to this band its a level playing field, we are all a spoke in a big wheel 


OK back to being serious
Out of your musical heroes, who would you like to work with in producing one of your future Albums, why?

George Martin has always been a hero of ours, the stuff he did with the Beatles later on in there careers is where we would like to go musically!

So atm, theres still 5 of you making fab music, great tracks.
Are the songs/tracks composed as a group or do you have a Morrissey/Marr thing going on?
A lot of the earlier stuff was written by Mark, Rob and Myself but we have found we have been writing much stronger songs as a band each component is as important as the next. either way works well but the end result is that all 5 members have contributed something special into our work.


Ok Guys we are nearing the end of our time together, just a couple of more hard hitting questions to make this a great unforgetable Q and A session.

I really like the work of the Banana Splits, great tunes, better costumes, even better names for band members, Are you guys fans of their work? If not, why not?

Can't say we are...

Really!!! (Toon crosses The Bedroom Hour of his list of favourite twitter bands)....Anyway What do you think made them unattractive to 5 likeable interesting blokes in this band....not a fan of four piece bands?

We think, as a band fame went to their heads, if they had kept a lid on their rock and roll lifestyle I am sure they could have been bigger than the beatles, but their wild ways cost them dearly....there is a lesson to be learned their kids.

Ever thought of costumes to improve your exposure?

Rob as a polar bear, Mark a Panda, while we just point and laugh.

(Luckily Toon only used a pencil to scrub your name out)
And finally, most important question of the session.
Who's blogs are better, Fishys or Toons....we assume you read them religiously

We could never make such a decision, so we tossed a coin but a low flying crow gathered it in his beak and flew off with said coin....we will never know.....paper,scissors and stone normally solves it.

Bugger that didnt solve anything. So one last question.....long standing arguement settler. Xbox or PS3? 

The old spectrum plus 2 was legendary X

Sighs......Not to worry, Im sure this will be sorted in the next blog

Well guys, thanks for spending some valueable moments in your hectic lifes with US. We really appreciate it. Good luck in the future and keep on making great tunes.

So there we have it, Our first and probably last Interview LOL..

On closing, the message is simple, if you want solid tunes in a comfortable listening range....Go to The Bedroom Hour and get busy. Couple of our favourite tracks attached. Go listen, and give the lads some feedback.

Spread the word

Fishy and Toon
xx


 

TICP - Volume 5 - Sadly the last one


IndieTernational - Germany

IndieTernational - India

Grab It: Cross Wires #supportindie

IndieTernational - Greece

IndieTernational - Italy

Debut: Blockhouse Bay #supportindie

M O S C O W M E T R O - COSMOS

IndieTernational - Finland