Theoretical Girl and captivation More
Written By Michael Wood Wednesday, September 16th, 2009
Minus Jack, Napoleon III, Just Handshakes (We're British) and Theoretical Girl & The Equations Blank Generation Disco at 1 in 12 Club, Bradford
Spikes are always welcome in young bands and Minus Jack are fresh faced and ready to make interesting noises. Having gone some distance in the short career they have to date they played the second stage of Kendal Calling in the summer they are a rare mix of confidence with a youthful naiveté.
Guitars thrashed in pleasing ways later Napoleon III takes to the stage in front of a four track and behind a set of three microphones offering his first missive about how what he does is not his proper job, it just pays the bills to which we assume he means a day job and not playing live.
That said Napoleon III seems perturbed about something - imagine a really grumpy version of The Voluntary Bulter Scheme on a really grumpy day - so perhaps he does find the music a grind. Certainly it is cathartic with him growling at times sinking his songs under layers of noise.
It is well performed with one man making an impressively loud sound and - in a way - crafted. I would never say that Napoleon III was not good but the experience of listening and watching is - to me - repulsive. Napoleon III accurately gets over what is in his head to the audience but I'm not sure I welcome such a vex to my mind.
Lacking spikes and vexment are Just Handshakes (We're British) who are enjoyable but somewhat forgettable. They show the influences routed in Swedish twee pop but lack a modulation in what they do. The first song sounds good, the second like the first and so on.
More individuality can be found in Theoretical Girl who headlines the late running gig with an all too brief run through tracks from her album Divided which playfully narrate the odd tale of unrequited love with the Girl herself Amy switching between keyboard and guitar. There are many women doing singer/songwriter - indeed this site had praised at length Blue Roses and things that Florence's Lungs are worth a listen - and Theoretical Girl sit alongside those being more wry than the one and smarter than the other.
Theoretical Girl convinces with a sturdy performance that lacks any fake self-effacement and flashes with confidence. It seems to be the music of someone playing and singing exactly what she wants, a captivating thing.
The pains of being The Pains of Being Pure at Heart More
Written By Michael Wood Thursday, May 21st, 2009
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart at The Cockpit, Leeds
The New York band who play a set of St.Christopher or Field Mice inspired tunes pushed through more RAT pedals than My Bloody Valentine would find acceptable are a beguiling bunch. They beef up the sound with an extra guitarist and fuzz through most of the tracks from the début eponymous album.
As far as a band who make a sound from distortion it is note perfect but therein is the problem. Live they reproduce superbly but they add nothing new.
Not that this is always a bad thing and not that it is bad this evening but my mind that drifted before drifts back to last year and Vampire Weekend at this venue. Both bands are New Yorkers and both bands owe a chunk of thier sound to pilfering twenty years past. Like Vampire Weekend it is difficult to see where The Pains of Being Pure at Heart go next. The new song they try out sounds as if it could have been cut from the current album and oldie Kurt Cobain's Cardigan has not dated in their catalogue.
Like a great impressionist they, and Vampire Weekend, are yoked to the rise and fall of that from which they take inspiration. If twee fuzz up pop/doing The Strokes in a Paul Simon stylee falls from favour then the band fall from grace.
Nevertheless The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are, for the moment, very graceful. They encore with Hey Paul which along with Young Adult Friction stand out from a near perfect set and perhaps if a band takes inspiration from Sarah Records then so can I and suggest that the future for this band is irrelevant on a night of the less than pure pop being played to perfection.
This post is about The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
The Embers Of An Acoustic Sunday Evening More
Written By Michael Wood Monday, January 28th, 2008
My First Tooth, Two Madre and The Rosie Taylor Project Blank Generation at The Love Apple, Bradford
As the acoustic offerings of other gigs in Bradford are lost in a hub-bub of conversation and chatter The Love Apple's oft forgotten other night of mellowed out tunes offers a proposition that could not be further from those busy Friday nights of Granadaland.The Rosie Taylor Project open Sunday night's Blank Generation and as with the other bands on they play mostly to an audience of each other and a selected few who have turned up making a Spartan yet friendly crowd.
Veterans of Jens Lekman support The Rosie Taylor Project are a throwback to the simple pop of The Field Mice with a loving hint of the Modern Folk or Badly Drawn Boy et al. They struggle to balance the sound with a newly signed drummer on stage thickening the sound but eventually manage to project and start to impress with Black And White Films sounding crisp and a growing and warm appreciation towards the five piece.
Jonny looks like the kid in Almost Famous and makes the most of his limited chord set while cloud heeled Sophie switches between trumpet and French horn mid-song and while the latter is lost in the drifting sound the effort is appreciated. Nick the chain trousered bassist has a sit down between songs and sometimes they seem a little too twee for their own good but The Rosie Taylor Project works well and they are sent from the stage with smiles.
Two Madre are small on smiles and this is their last gig for a while. They are dubbed "Bradford's Experimental Superheroes" and while they are amiable they revolutionise nothing and seem to struggle to get comfortable in this their finale.
Guitar and vocal Bill seems to enjoy himself more than the sullen faced Ruth who prods keyboards and plays Sax and the sound drifts around the room transiently.
More enthusiastic is Sophie of My First Tooth who steals tonight's show as something of an all tricks assistant to senior guitar and vocalist Ross's performance. Obviously talented My First Tooth's acoustic pushed melodies are whimsical and border on the wonderful when combined with the odd trumpet - another brass blower - and a bizarre mouth keyboard thing that the youthful Sophie masters with amusingly powerful effect.
The two make an interesting combination on stage and the willingness of the one combines with the wistful detachment of the other. Sleet & Snow is dreamy and tasty and a good percentage of the small audience queue for a copy of the band's demos after the applauded set comes to a close as does the Blank Generation night which deserves more support if only for being the ideal way to spend the drying embers of a Sunday evening as Winter pushes into Spring.