Next week this band launch their careers. Although, rather strangely, this is a band that some of you will already know. It is perhaps a sign of the times, in an Internet age, where people can see a band perform live, discuss their music on their blogs, radio can pick up on them and begin playing them, hell this band even self-produced and self-released a full EP and handed it out online for free last August. So when we say ‘launch’, what we really mean is this time they’re doing it officially. If the traction they picked up with their DIY approach is anything to go by, including rather a supportive backing by the likes of Radio One’s Huw Stephens, or fantastic bloggers, such as Rollo Grady or Killing Moon, then what we might now see with a recording label backing them, with all the additional interest and momentum that they will provide, is a launch that actually breaks through.
Making a career out of making music is tough. Very tough. Step one is perhaps to spend a lifetime learning the tricky skills you will need in order to utilise the instruments and technology. Step two is pretty important also, as you have to actually write good music, not just any good music, a batch of killer singles, that make A&R staff drool. In reality step three is probably to be good-looking and right on-trend, which is something you either have or you don’t, so we’ll ignore that one. Step four is to nail down a live show with impact and hopefully you’ll be so skilled by now that you can translate your complicated tunes into an impressive set. Tour relentlessly, grab some useful support slots, play the festivals and the key showcase venues. Move to London, schmooze the bloggerati and anyone in the music industry and hope. Hope that one day some important, established manager comes across you, praying that they take a proper punt on you, throwing enough of their weighted support your way in order for a record label to consider signing you. If you get all that, then congratulations, you’ve reached the starting line. Gulp.
A career in music isn’t so much a marathon, more like it’s a series of really long, uphill sprints. It seems that this duo from Leamington Spa have a few hills already behind them, but are still fighting fit, ready to launch their first official EP on Monday (May 28th). Coves are singer Rebekah Wood and multi-instrumentalist John Ridgard and they’ve produced a batch of (killer) songs that have previously been described as psychedelic rock, but that’s not really fair, as they’re not overly-weird or self-indulgent, neither are they particularly rocky; this is far more pop than that. There’s a wonderful, drowsy, baggy-ness to their pace, perhaps most synonymous with the likes of Happy Mondays, but Wood’s vocals come in mantras as if Ridgard has simply sampled a voice from some old psychedelic 60s record. Their self-released EP picked up enough traction to snare the attention of indie A&R overlord and founder of 1965 Records, James Endeacott, the man responsible for uncovering most of the best guitar music in the early naughties, from The Strokes, to The Libertines, so having him on board as management is very significant. They’ve also signed to the Cross Keys label, who are now manoeuvring them into position for the sprint up next week’s hill.
Where their first self-released EP had decent songs, seemingly self-produced, that were wonderful and infused with bright sunshine, the production made them actually lose momentum, as if the songs kept hitting that exact point when the object you threw into the air reaches the peak of it’s trajectory and starts it’s return to earth. However, the new EP carries the tune No Ladder through from its predecessor and thankfully the revision they’ve now applied sees the songs tightened up so that their music no longer feels low on fuel. Instead they’re burning brighter than ever. They have an enjoyable style that’s instantly attractive, with a talented ear for a melody and shuffled beats that fold and flop with just the right weight. Over it all there’s a kind of harmonious paradise, as if they’re aiming to reach for a higher level of euphoria, infusing the kind of Shangri-La that Kula Shaker used to try and channel, however Coves do it more in line with the wonderful Jagwar Ma. No Ladder has ‘single’ written all over it, but so too does the track, Cast A Shadow, which is leading out the new EP. It has more punch and more obvious riffing, showing off the kind of combustible rocket juice that could see them fly well beyond the crest of the next hill.
So everything seems to be lining up well now for these two. Having only formed last summer and with them rushing out an initial EP, it now seems as though they not only understand, but also have the right team now in place, to take the right steps, reaching that all-important starting line next week. They’ve also enjoyed a few profile-raising support slots, including one on Echo and the Bunnymen‘s European tour earlier this year, plus they’ve played a few shows with bands such as Hooray For Earth and Binary. With the right pieces of what is always a complicated puzzle now in place, we may well be at the start of something exciting. It just goes to show that you can have more than one beginning in this business, so as tough as it is to make a career out of it, you can utilise the Internet to get the first steps out of the way, allowing you to apply some serious grip, before you embark on ‘beginning number two’, with the kind of industry backing that proves a useful engine. Next week Coves have lined up for another sprint and we believe they have all the right ingredients to say goodbye to those hills forever. (MB)
COVES – NO LADDER
COVES – CAST A SHADOW