The 12 Days of Swn-fest: Part 11 – Loose Alldayer with Pipettes, Leisure Society, Lucky Soul et al

Tim and Sams Tim And Sam Band

Tim and Sam's Tim And Sam Band

Emotive, folk-drenched instrumental pop that resonates with flutters of Sigur Ros, Grizzly Bear and Gonzales – all summer skies and tiny crescendos – Tim and Sam’s Tim And Sam Band tremble and tickle with equal measure. Music made for goosebumps.

Debut single Summer Solstice is a wondrous post-folk marvel, a breezy effervescent ride of glockenspiel and banjo with a gorgeous lo-fi cover of Elbow’s One Day Like This on the flipside.

Tim and Sam are joined by Lucky Soul, Leisure Society and the Pipettes. Girl-pop made for daydreams; if the Pipettes buried a time capsule it would contains records by Burt Bacharach and the Chordettes, copies of Jackie and Smash Hits and be covered with polka dots.

Also playing this excellent all-dayer from Cardiff’s delicious Loose are Chris TT, Mitchell Museum, Zissou, All Darlin’, Cat Mouse Cat and the penultimate final ever show from Broken Family Band.

Things kick off at 2.30pm at Chapter while there will also be SWN Mo Wrestling (in the car park 12.00pm-4.00pm), Oxjam Second Hand Record Fayre (in the bar 2.00pm-8.00pm) and Parents + Toddlers DJ Sets (in the bar 12.00pm-6.00pm).

Loose Alldayer with Pipettes, Leisure Society, Lucky Soul et al is at Chapter Arts Centre today.

Broken Family Band – Love Your Man, Love Your Woman

Swn Festival site and information on tickets

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The 12 Days of Swn-Fest: Part 10 – Girls

Girls

Girls

Listening to Girls feels like slow-dancing at dusk on a wind-swept beach, arms-outstretched and care-free; the cool breeze in your hair, the salty air on your tongue and the taste of the day slipping into memory.

The songs on Album, their debut record, are simple and delicious – hazy guitars, oozing melodies and Christopher Owens’ glorious, almost distant vocals delivering stories of heartbreak, love, loneliness and partying. The Guardian labelled it potential “modern classic”, giving Album a full 5 stars. I heartedly agree.

The Girls play Y Fuwch Goch on 23 October

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The Kills – Midnight Boom (Domino)

Decadent, sullen and minimal, the Kills have always been a band seemingly out-of-sorts with the industry they’ve chosen. Their ragged garage blues and photobooth posing suggest an art installation or some conceptual burst of freedom in an underground movie, not the austere album/tour order of the music business.
The music is as raw as their image, cheekbone-sharp guitars and death black hair. And interestingly for a band that seems to exist in duotone—they have always advocated the artistry of their photography alongside the music—first impressions are of a band devoid of colour, stripped down to it’s bare necessities: vocals, guitar, drum machine. And yet with every Kills release you soon realise how deceiving their minimalist image is. Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince’s refusal to follow the rules and ditch the drums and bass does more than guarantee any income is split a clean 50-50. Subtle multi-tracking and inventive use of that sparse drum machine ensures the Kills have more layers waiting to be stripped away than most bands who rely on the usual drum/bass rhythm section. The resulting sound is visceral, subversive and immediate.
Midnight Boom is the Kills third full-length release, coming three years after No Wow and Keep on Your Mean Side, from 2003. When they first emerged, carving out a niche for themselves with a distinct style and sound that knowingly referenced other artists such as Velvet Underground, Patti Smith and PJ Harvey, the Kills were joyously welcomed and both records were well received. For a band who limit themselves in their choice of instruments and now on their third album, you might ask how they can progress. The answer is an album which shows a maturity that defies its limitations, yet crucially doesn’t dispel with the rich swagger and sass that gives the Kills their intensity.
It’s a brave band who open a record with 12 seconds of hushed dial tone. Over those initial seconds comes the eager tapping of numbers. It’s unclear who’s calling who but that dial tone soon builds into the effortless beat of “U.R.A. Fever”, an immediate sexual sway of a song, dripping with the Kills typically-subversive chemistry. Mosshart and Hince taunt each other with “You only ever had her when you had a fever” while discordant guitars lash violently at the pace of the song. It’s clear that the Kills have lost none of that raw tension, but it’s also interesting to note the difference drafting in producer Alex Epton (Armani XXXchange from genre-blending sleaze merchants Spank Rock) has made to the Kills sound.
Crucially Epton hasn’t pulled-out his usual record chainsaw and torn apart the Kills sound. Brought in for additional production, the Kills have drawn on Epton’s beat-making skills to add extra texture to the drumbeats. The result is more character, more intensity, and it’s beautiful. “Last Day of Magic” slides along on a cool-ass beat and a whispering backwards hi-hat, Mosshart sounding like Peaches at her most temptress, the Kills spitting out more and more erotic charge with every bar. While the fabulous “Sour Cherry” with its “I’m the only sour cherry on your fruit stand” line and tongue-in-cheek swagger, seemingly exploits what sounds like the under-used rhythmic qualities of chopsticks.
The atmosphere here is strung tight, hinting at the sexual energy Mosshart and Hince give off onstage. But the Kills are also a group that understand the Tom Waits vintage of beauty in melancholy. So yes, they’re all hip and sass at the best times, but they also know how to claw at your heart strings.
Nowhere is this more evident than on the haunting “Black Balloon”, a classic Kills ballad that begins by recalling the dry blues of “Rodeo Town” from No Wow. “You can hold on but I wouldn’t waste your time / Farewell my black balloon,” coos Mosshart. The song’s already lighter than air when half-way Mosshart breaks into an ethereal “aaah-aaah-aaah”, and the song lifts skyward along with said balloon, Mosshart calling out after it, suggesting some latent erotic union: “Farewell my black balloon / Let the weather have its way with you.”
Elsewhere Midnight Boom is such a ride. “Cheap and Cheerful”, “Getting Down” and “What New York Used to Be” all bounce along with vigour that makes the album such a joy. It feels free and rebellious, driven on an urgency and playfulness that evokes Jean Belmondo‘s character in Godard‘s À Bout de Souffle. In fact, the jump-cuts, bold energy and fresh tale of modern urban life of À Bout de Souffle make it a perfect celluloid sibling for the Kills.
The Kills talk much about the influence of art and film on their music. Hince and Mosshart have said they drew inspiration for Midnight Boom from a 1960s documentary, Pizza Pizza Daddy-O, about the playground rhymes of inner city American children. “We just started building rhythms around those and had this concept of coming up with modern-day playground songs,” Hince told Domino Records. “Cos they’re really quite dark. Cutting people’s thumbs off, kicking people in the face, throwing ‘em down stairs. I kinda liked it. So I got this old MPC-60 hip hop drum sequencer and just started making rhythms on that. And these playground songs ended up as Midnight Boom.”
Fed to the skewed guitar and beats, the influence of these ghostly patty-cake rhymes from 40 years ago litter Midnight Boom, from the gorgeous drive of “Tape Song” to the art-punk of “Alphabet Pony”. And they make perfect sense, shaping the record’s consistency and adding to the Kills’ extremely infectious build.
The Kills bleed cool and it runs darker and cooler than ever before on Midnight Boom. They’re a soundtrack waiting for a road movie;  If they didn’t exist you can guarantee they’d turn up in a David Lynch film somewhere, busking on the side of a distant highway under lonely neon and a half-moon.
Midnight Boom finishes with “Goodnight Bad Morning”, a song so full of early-morning melancholy it rivals even the Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning” for sheer crow-black blues. Over a rocking-chair beat and soft-strum of acoustic guitar Mosshart and Hince whisper “….See it in everyone / Like a lost idea under lightbulb sun / Your eyes ready for take-off melt in your head / What a beautiful state we’re in.” It is a song that could have been the highlight on any Mazzy Star or Leonard Cohen album but it closes the Kills most remarkable record to date, staying with you long after it ends, Hince’s slow humming still resonating in your senses, the cold shiver still working it’s way down your spine.

 

The Kills

The Kills

PopMatters, March 2008 8/10

Decadent, sullen and minimal, the Kills have always been a band seemingly out-of-sorts with the industry they’ve chosen. Their ragged garage blues and photobooth posing suggest an art installation or some conceptual burst of freedom in an underground movie, not the austere album/tour order of the music business.

The music is as raw as their image, cheekbone-sharp guitars and death black hair. And interestingly for a band that seems to exist in duotone—they have always advocated the artistry of their photography alongside the music—first impressions are of a band devoid of colour, stripped down to it’s bare necessities: vocals, guitar, drum machine. And yet with every Kills release you soon realise how deceiving their minimalist image is. Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince’s refusal to follow the rules and ditch the drums and bass does more than guarantee any income is split a clean 50-50. Subtle multi-tracking and inventive use of that sparse drum machine ensures the Kills have more layers waiting to be stripped away than most bands who rely on the usual drum/bass rhythm section. The resulting sound is visceral, subversive and immediate.

Midnight Boom is the Kills third full-length release, coming three years after No Wow and Keep on Your Mean Side, from 2003. When they first emerged, carving out a niche for themselves with a distinct style and sound that knowingly referenced other artists such as Velvet Underground, Patti Smith and PJ Harvey, the Kills were joyously welcomed and both records were well received. For a band who limit themselves in their choice of instruments and now on their third album, you might ask how they can progress. The answer is an album which shows a maturity that defies its limitations, yet crucially doesn’t dispel with the rich swagger and sass that gives the Kills their intensity.

It’s a brave band who open a record with 12 seconds of hushed dial tone. Over those initial seconds comes the eager tapping of numbers. It’s unclear who’s calling who but that dial tone soon builds into the effortless beat of “U.R.A. Fever”, an immediate sexual sway of a song, dripping with the Kills typically-subversive chemistry. Mosshart and Hince taunt each other with “You only ever had her when you had a fever” while discordant guitars lash violently at the pace of the song. It’s clear that the Kills have lost none of that raw tension, but it’s also interesting to note the difference drafting in producer Alex Epton (Armani XXXchange from genre-blending sleaze merchants Spank Rock) has made to the Kills sound.

Crucially Epton hasn’t pulled-out his usual record chainsaw and torn apart the Kills sound. Brought in for additional production, the Kills have drawn on Epton’s beat-making skills to add extra texture to the drumbeats. The result is more character, more intensity, and it’s beautiful. “Last Day of Magic” slides along on a cool-ass beat and a whispering backwards hi-hat, Mosshart sounding like Peaches at her most temptress, the Kills spitting out more and more erotic charge with every bar. While the fabulous “Sour Cherry” with its “I’m the only sour cherry on your fruit stand” line and tongue-in-cheek swagger, seemingly exploits what sounds like the under-used rhythmic qualities of chopsticks.

The atmosphere here is strung tight, hinting at the sexual energy Mosshart and Hince give off onstage. But the Kills are also a group that understand the Tom Waits vintage of beauty in melancholy. So yes, they’re all hip and sass at the best times, but they also know how to claw at your heart strings.

Nowhere is this more evident than on the haunting “Black Balloon”, a classic Kills ballad that begins by recalling the dry blues of “Rodeo Town” from No Wow. “You can hold on but I wouldn’t waste your time / Farewell my black balloon,” coos Mosshart. The song’s already lighter than air when half-way Mosshart breaks into an ethereal “aaah-aaah-aaah”, and the song lifts skyward along with said balloon, Mosshart calling out after it, suggesting some latent erotic union: “Farewell my black balloon / Let the weather have its way with you.”

Elsewhere Midnight Boom is such a ride. “Cheap and Cheerful”, “Getting Down” and “What New York Used to Be” all bounce along with vigour that makes the album such a joy. It feels free and rebellious, driven on an urgency and playfulness that evokes Jean Belmondo‘s character in Godard‘s À Bout de Souffle. In fact, the jump-cuts, bold energy and fresh tale of modern urban life of À Bout de Souffle make it a perfect celluloid sibling for the Kills.

The Kills talk much about the influence of art and film on their music. Hince and Mosshart have said they drew inspiration for Midnight Boom from a 1960s documentary, Pizza Pizza Daddy-O, about the playground rhymes of inner city American children. “We just started building rhythms around those and had this concept of coming up with modern-day playground songs,” Hince told Domino Records. “Cos they’re really quite dark. Cutting people’s thumbs off, kicking people in the face, throwing ‘em down stairs. I kinda liked it. So I got this old MPC-60 hip hop drum sequencer and just started making rhythms on that. And these playground songs ended up as Midnight Boom.”

Fed to the skewed guitar and beats, the influence of these ghostly patty-cake rhymes from 40 years ago litter Midnight Boom, from the gorgeous drive of “Tape Song” to the art-punk of “Alphabet Pony”. And they make perfect sense, shaping the record’s consistency and adding to the Kills’ extremely infectious build.

The Kills bleed cool and it runs darker and cooler than ever before on Midnight Boom. They’re a soundtrack waiting for a road movie;  If they didn’t exist you can guarantee they’d turn up in a David Lynch film somewhere, busking on the side of a distant highway under lonely neon and a half-moon.

Midnight Boom finishes with “Goodnight Bad Morning”, a song so full of early-morning melancholy it rivals even the Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning” for sheer crow-black blues. Over a rocking-chair beat and soft-strum of acoustic guitar Mosshart and Hince whisper “….See it in everyone / Like a lost idea under lightbulb sun / Your eyes ready for take-off melt in your head / What a beautiful state we’re in.” It is a song that could have been the highlight on any Mazzy Star or Leonard Cohen album but it closes the Kills most remarkable record to date, staying with you long after it ends, Hince’s slow humming still resonating in your senses, the cold shiver still working it’s way down your spine.

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The 12 Days of Swn-fest: Part 9: Extra Curricular Activities – swn=sound / seminars / scrabble / Gwdihw

sound

swn=sound

The drunken brainchild of Geraint Ffrancon and Gerallt Ruggiero, Swn=Sound is an audio experiment where Ffrancon+Ruggiero will be creating a Swn festival electronic set out of the festival itself.

During the course of the exciting Swn weekend they will be running around like fools recording all sorts of sounds. Later – after a lot of vodka and no sleep – those sounds will be transformed into a magical array of textures, rhythms and vibrations ready to be performed live.

To hear if this experiment works on any sort of level make your way to the Model Inn on Saturday the 24th of October at 6pm! the experiment will be followed by live music from John Grindell, Pencadlys + many more.

Free Daytime Seminars

In conjunction with the Welsh Music Foundation Swn will be running free seminars once again. The sessions below will be held at The Toucan Club, Womanby St, Cardiff (near Clwb Ifor Bach) and are free to attend, on a first-come-first-served basis. If you have any questions, please contact kieron@welshmusicfoundation.com.

Friday 23rd October 2009

CUBE Interactive Sessions
11.30 Tim Morgan / Mint Digital – The Real-time web and the web/tv 2-screen experience
12.30 / Martyn Davies / BBC Future Media and Music – BBC Introducing’s uploader and music distribution across local stations
13.30 Panel Discussion / Digital Wales – We’ve seen the Digital Britain Report. Now what would a Digital Wales report look like? Ewan McIntosh, Channel 4’s 4IP Fund, Tim Morgan, Mint Digital, Martyn Davies, BBC,  Wil Stephens, Cube, Chaired by Robert Andrews, UK Editor, paidContent: UK
15.30-16.30 – Promoting new Music – If you’re an artist or label with music to release and promote, a panel of experts will be giving advice on the most useful steps to take in the current music business maze. With… Huw Stephens – C2 / Radio 1 / Bandit / SWN Festival, Guto Brychan – Rasal / Clwb Ifor Bach / Maes B , Dilwyn Llwyd – Cwmni Coll / Yucatan, Bethan Elfyn – BBC Radio 1 Introducing / C2, (this session will be conducted in Welsh – translation facilities will be available)
17.00-18.00  – Welsh Language Music Industry – The good, the bad and the money : Strengths and Weaknesses of the scene. – A no-holds-barred analysis of the Welsh-language music scene as it stands, comparing changes throughout the years to establish a realistic portrayal of where we are and what the future holds. With… Deian ap Rhisiart – Bangor University Feasability Study, Guto Brychan – Rasal/ Clwb Ifor Bach/ Maes B, Dilwyn Llwyd – Cwmni Coll/ Yucatan
Bethan Elfyn – BBC Radio 1 Introducing/ C2, (this session will be conducted in Welsh – translation facilities will be available)

Saturday 24th October 2009

11.30 – 12.30 – Meet The PRS Foundation – The PRSF is the UK’s only independent funder of new music across all genres and supports a huge range of new music activity – everything from unsigned band showcases to composer residencies, from ground-breaking commissions to live electronica. Find out how the organisation could help your venture. With… Eleanor Ward – PRS Foundation www.prsfoundation.co.uk
13.00-14.00 – Good Lizard Media presents : How to market your music digitally – David Riley, who has spear-headed digital marketing campaigns and fanbase success stories for artists including The Prodigy, Charlatans, Nitin Sawhney (and hundreds of others) shares his hints and tips and how you can apply them to your music releases.  www.goodlizardmedia.com
14.30 – 15.30 – What a difference a year makes – The panel will take a retrospective look at what’s happened in the music industry over the last year.  With… Jamie Fullerton – NME, David Riley – Good Lizard Media, Gareth Dobson – Fear and Records, John Rostron – Swn / Association of Promoters and Events : Cardiff, Martin Carr – TBC
16:00-17.00 – ‘I know you get hundreds of these, but…‘ : Lamacq’s mail sack. – Best practice tips on how to submit your music to radio. With… Steve Lamacq

Scrabble!

It can’t be Swn without scrabble – get your mind-dictionaries down to the City Arms on Womanby St on Saturday for some letter action.

Gwdihw

Sssshh! Swn come-down party at Gwdihw on Sunday. Super Furry Gruff Rhys and others DJing, much fun. Come!

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The need to support music in Wales

Thought-provoking post by John Rostron from Plug 2 and co-promoter with Huw Stephens of Swn Festival.

Events like Swn don’t just fall into your lap, they’re dragged up from the pits of creativity, passion and courage. It’s a shame that an event that raises the profile of Cardiff/Wales and encourages much positive exposure for the cultural arts here – not to mention the global links it forges by bringing over international acts – is still struggling to source funding.

It makes you wonder if there wasn’t a ‘name’ like Huw Stephens behind it if Swn would have existed at all….

Read the post and bear it in mind if you’re ever in the circles of the people of influence.

Read the full post here

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London demo protesting current live music licensing regime – 22 Oct

For those in The Smoke: Equity will be demonstrating in Parliament Square this Thursday, October 22, 2009 from 11.00am to convince the government to undo the damage being done to live entertainment by the current licensing regime.

More info here

The background to the demonstration is that after lobbying by Equity, the Musicians’ Union and UK Music , the Department of Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee made a number of recommendations to Government for improvements to the Licensing Act. While the Government agreed to important changes that will make life easier for travelling entertainment such as circuses and Punch and Judy shows, it rejected three important recommendations:

  • An exemption for small venues.
  • A return of the “two-in-a-bar” rule where no licence is required.
  • Action to cut red tape.

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The 12 Days of Swn-fest: Part 8 – Three Trapped Tigers

Three Trapped Tigers

Three Trapped Tigers

Cerebral fusion of exploratory electronica and jarring instrumentalism that suggests Lightening Bolt pondering the Warp back catalogue, Three Trapped Tigers employ a classically-trained background with a desire to create their own fine anomaly in sound.

It’s their rejection of the actual tools of electronica that makes them so interesting however. Informed by artists like Squarepusher, Aphex Twin and DJ Shadow, Three Traped Tigers explore the possibilities and mental emotion of such music by refusing to rely on  any backing tracks at their shows and recording their music entirely live, without overubs and absolutely no computer sequencing.

The stubborn concept is intriguing and if their name creates an image of primeval beasts exploring their own confinement through wondrous self-rage then the subtle, emerging symphonies and improvisation certainly live up to that expectation.

Three Trapped Tigers play the Kruger gig at Y Fuwch Goch on 22 October. Also appearing are PortasoundNot CoolJonquilFiction and Brainlove DJs.

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