As good as a nice cup of tea, and a sit down.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

The Bramham Underground

Picture: WESTM

It's nearing the end of July, and Festival season is well underway. The big one round here has always been Leeds Fest (of course). A strange parallel universe filled with anyone you have ever known, brushed past and went to school with, yet devoid of normal social convention; Leeds has always been a stomping ground of the musical Yorkshire Folk.

If, like us, you're probably not going to be first in the queue for Guns N Roses or Blink 182 then allow us to suggest some alternative local produce for your consumption:



As we write, it remains undecided. But Futuresound's yearly comp for a place on the bill will no doubt be a sure bet. It's always a close run race but this year is especially hard to predict: The competition is just so bloody good! Holy State, Blacklisters, Castrovalva, Sketches, Club Smith, Blood Oranges and Loose Talk Costs Lives are all fine examples of the extended musical renaissance Leeds is enjoying. The only tricky thing will be deciding on who deserves it most.

Picture: Hannah-Rachel Sunderland

PULLED APART BY HORSES Sunday 29th, Festival Republic stage.

Now officially the worst kept secret in underground music, PABH's awesome, muscular punk rock has netted them an army of 14 year old fanboys. Odds are that you've either seen them live hundreds of times (like us) or you've at least heard about their shows. If you're the latter: all the rumours are true, if you're the former, we'll see you at the front. RADICAL!

Picture: Bangers and Mash

THE CROOKES Friday 27th, Festival Republic Stage

Richard Hawley smiled upon these lads by collaborating with them on Steve Lamacq's Evening Session. Let's face it: Richard Hawley doesn't like anything shit. The Sheffield dwellers have beautiful, succinct little pop songs, reminding you that occaisionally 'kitchen sink' music, when done well, can be heartbreaking, memorable and funny all at once.

Picture: The Art Of Agency

ROLO TOMASSI Friday 27th, NME Stage

They might also be from the Steel City, but when compared to most of their successful contemporaries, Rolo Tomassi may as well be from Planet Zog. They may also be young with shiny hair and clean teeth, but their corrosive hardcore is terrifying, and all the more impressive considering their tender ages. Bring some earplugs if you're a wimp and prepare to thrash around like a rag doll.

Picture: Lost at E Minor

WILD BEASTS Saturday 28th, NME Stage

As this is going to press it has been announced that Two Dancers, Wild Beasts's second album, is nominated for this year's Mercury music prize. As the Mercury rarely goes to the most deserving act, it's doubtful that the Beasts will actually win. Never mind though, the album is one of those that comes along once in a while where the planets seems to be in alignment. A rare, blossoming triumph of beautiful songwriting, fresh experimentation and craft. On top of this, they are some of Leeds' most cherished adopted sons: all the ingredients of which make for a very special show.

...and also, for fairness, a taste from t'other side of the Pennines:

Picture: Alt Sounds


Coincidentally, The Low Culture discovered Everything Everything for the first time at Leeds Fest 2009. Stumbling past in search of a kebab (don't do it, just don't), our ears were pricked by the spiky, angular pop this quartet produce. Like the Futureheads before them, their harmonies are so pleasing to the ears that it is impossible not to watch with wide eyed, stupid look on your face because they are so very, very clever - much cleverer than you.

Picture: The Pigeon Post

EGYPTIAN HIP HOP Sunday 29th, Festival Republic Stage

Now it's always advisable to approach 'buzz-bands' with caution. They're unreliable creatures. However Egyptian Hip-Hop seem to have something more going on than just haircuts. Their single 'Rad Pitt' was pretty decent, and they cite Late of the Pier as influences. If they can match their source of inspiration for inventiveness and catchy hooks, then you might just be able to believe the hype. And they're only 17, bless.

Here endeth our guide to Leeds Festival 2010. Go to for day tickets and coach packages, starting at 75 quid. You also might like to try Scarlet Mist or viagogo for weekend resales at reasonable prices.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Interview: Cancer Bats

People might bewail how music has become so shallow and greedy, how no one gives a shit about the fans they play to anymore. But then there are bands like The Cancer Bats, who are so obviously in love what they do that they have toured almost continually for the last 4 years. They're not hugely rich or famous, they don't have massive drug habits to support - two of them don't even drink! They just like being in a extremely noisy, post-hardcore band.

We met Lead singer Liam Cormier at Download. He was only too happy to expound his never ending enthusiasm for the band, their fans and their new album.

How have things been today?

Great! The show was awesome. It was deinfitely f***ing way better than we thought! So many kids were giving us love.

So you tour pretty furiously. What do you have planned in the next couple of months?

After this we go and play a few more European shows. We’ve already been here a couple of weeks. We’re coming back in the fall again. But yeah it’s been good. We try to spend as much time in Europe and the UK as we can.

You do intense ones. So many dates. I look at bands like you and I think ‘how do you do it?’

It definitely is one of those things where you try and bring the same level of energy everywhere you play. You wanna be well-rested! I sleep as much as I can. It helps that we’ve been doing it as long as we have, we’ve been touring hard for 4 years.

Do you prefer it that way?

We’d always rather be playing shows than taking days off. We wanna make the most of it. Once you’re actually there you’re not tired.

You’ve toured with Gallows and The Plight, amongst others. Do you feel closer to bands in the UK?

I definitely feel lucky that we’ve been accepted so much over here. I think because we came up around the same time with Gallows we kinda got lumped into it which was wicked for us. We saw so many good bands and we’ve made so many good friends. The fact that we do UK tours and we never tour with an American band. We always get a British band with us, it’s cool. I feel like we’re really part of the team here.

Are you happy with the new album’s reception?

I’m stoked. I think it’s better than we’ve ever done with any record. So the fact that kids are still interested in what we’re doing, like the record, are coming out to shows more than ever is just unbelievable. All the more reason to try and pack in more dates.

The new album seems like you feel freer to incorporate different musical styles into it.

I think for us the big thing was realising how much kids were up for. We messed around with a few ideas, stoner rock stuff and whatnot. They were still jumping around all over the place so when it came to writing this record we were just like ‘fuck it, let’s just try everything, play all the stuff that we want to.’ I think the fact that we don’t have to worry losing our fans unless we right a straight up punk record from start to finish just says how much kids are into different styles and are more receptive now.

It seems like when people band around things like ‘hardcore’ it can actually become very restrictive. Are you happy for people to call you a hardcore band?

I think we’ve never really confined ourselves to that. We’ve never toured exclusively with metal bands or hardcore bands; we just do whatever the fuck we want. How we write songs, the bands we tour with, just how we operate is different. We’ll tour with big metal bands but we’ll still be punk in the way that we do it. Talk and interact with kids just like we would at a punk show. We just don’t care! We’re older, we’re over it. When you’re younger you might think ‘oh I should maybe do this’ or ‘we should only be a hardcore band.’ But we’re all 30 years old now. If that kid in the Youth of Today shirt thinks we’re sell-outs then he can go fuck himself! I’m fine.

It’s quite impressive how your songs deal with the darker sides of humanity. Do you start with that? Or does the music predicate that?

It pretty much determines where the song structure is going to go. In a lot of ways though, I try to show the more positive side of darker things, a solution. A lot of songs will point out how to rise above that, and we try to live our lives as positively as we can. We deal with the same shit that everyone else does but you’ve gotta try and persevere and go beyond that.

Bears, Mayors Scraps and Bones is out now.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Pulled Apart By Horses: Brudenell Launch Party

That's no soft focus effect on the lens: It was that sweaty! Their album is finally on us, and we get the feeling that Horses are too famous for Leeds to contain them now. Deservedly so. Here they are beating the shit out of a packed Brud.

 New single 'Back To The Fuck Yeah' and album are both out now.