Ever been to a micro-festival? In fact, what is a micro-festival? No, we’re not sure either. One thing we are sure of is that if the line up is good enough then we’re attracted. Today we want to talk about one that’s come under our radars, with a particularly decent lineup, that we think may just be worth your effort.
Binnacle is a two day line up of bands hosted at The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch in October (15th and 16th). It’s focus is on emerging music, although in all honesty some of the bands involved will be playing their first ever show, so this is the chrysalis version of ‘emerging’. Among the bands are a bunch that have had a bit of coverage on The Recommender, so we want to point out a few highlights among the growing line up.
At the time of writing, 33 bands are due to play, with a few additional DJ sets by the likes of Double Denim and No Pain In Pop. If you like chill wave with a tidy throb of a beat then you’ll love Enjoyed. If you like playful, dinky but sample-heavy tunes that drift through the square or round window then you’ll love Conifers, who are due to play their debut. The likes of Outfit, Active Child and Weird Dreams will bring decipherable lyrics in case you’re drowning in ambient chillwave, whilst Brighton-based Regal Safari should bring the beach to town. Elsewhere we’ll be paying close attention to the likes of Carousel, who we’ve blogged recently and Torches, who we hope to be blogging real soon. (MB)
All bands evolve. It’s very unlikely that a band will appear fully formed and ready to deliver their product out of nowhere. There’s usually years of changes, tweaks and shifts in every aspect of a band, from the music to the image and sometimes to the lineups. Today we meet a relatively new five-piece from Liverpool who have had their fair share of back story already, but who have finally succeeded in discovering a successful identity. They have recently announced a release date for their debut single, and we’re pleased to hear that it’s the most unified and enjoyable song that we’ve heard from them.
Outfit used to exist in other guises on the Liverpool scene until late last year but the songs that have appeared in 2011 show a set of songwriters who have matured well, fitting somewhere between the macabre story-telling of Wild Beasts and the grooved warmth of Look, Stranger! Every night I Dress Up As You is a track drenched in late 70s pop influences, with everything from Talking Heads to progressive rock being visited. It’s a song that switches pace at regular intervals, always keeping you on your toes, which is as interesting as it is unsettling. We feel that they’re at their best when they really get driving, but the differences in this particular song’s momentum makes for a gap that is perhaps too challenging to bridge in one track. It will be interesting to see how they re-produce it live (you can see for yourself at the upcoming Double Denim night at Brighton’s Green Door on August 30th).
Firemen Don’t Fly is a track that begins like a band doing Monarchy covers using guitars in place of synths, but soon bounces up and down between levels like its Super Mario. In fact it shifts gears so much – you can hear melodic lounge music, to camp pop, alongside the occasional crashed guitar blitz – that it seems like a song that’s not sure what it wants to be. However, each of it’s parts are still decent when considered individually; its like meeting a schizophrenic and making friends with both of their personalities. It may be bi-polar, but it is still very enjoyable and it eventually settles itself for the second half of the tune.
Killer finds singer Andrew Hunt holding it all together throughout and his voice is styled and strong enough to carry it, with the vocals marking perhaps the band’s biggest single improvement. The lyrics are descriptive and direct the tune as if it’s a short film, as it begins with the line, “Killer on the back seat, asks me if I’m happy“. Overall though, its perhaps the least successful of all the available songs to date, choosing to croon more than it bounces, which unfortunately gives it a pedestrian feel, but the voice is undoubtedly arresting.
And so to the new single, Two Islands, which is released in September on London buzz label, Double Denim, who are fast earning some credible stripes having released tracks by Christian Aids/Stay+, Star Slinger and Body Language, among others. You can buy it here, although it’s not shipping until next month. The song starts small, but grows like a moving shadow on a wall. The grooving pulse is particularly gorgeous. It still makes us take note of one specific point; that perhaps by trying to stand out or be different they were also a little lost and as Hunt sings, “I don’t know anyone else in here“, it becomes clear that Outfit have finally learned a key lesson – in order to successfully stand alone you first have to be comfortable with yourself. He continues, “I go out to find out who I am, I go out to find out who I’m not“, which says it all, as they close a remarkably perfect song. So finally the band have found shoes that fit, and with more singles like this we confidently predict that they’ll find the path ahead of them to be far more comfortable. (MB)