Where Credit is Due: Freelance Whales

You know those times where a friend tells you to listen to a band because he/she thinks they’re amazing and you usually go something like ‘yeah I’ll listen when I get home’ and then eventually never get round to listening to them? I’m guilty of doing this and thus voided my ears of Freelance Whales for the best part of a month before I got silly addicted to their beautiful music.

Freelance Whales are an American indie/pop band that have two pretty special albums under their belts; Weathervanes (2009) & Diluvia (2012). Each album beholds the cheeriest bursts of electronica pop that you might ever come across and that’s a fact.

DILUVIA is out now!

Where Credit is Due: We Are The Physics

A busy year for the tennis player naming, particle mashing and all-round jokers it has been. The release of their album ‘Your Friend, The Atom’ then top it off with a hoard of successful music videos totalling around 60,000+ views on YouTube.

But why is there credit due you may ask? Well for a band that has been around since 2005. We Are They Physics sure stuck in there and rode the tsunami of life waiting for greener pastures. Playing stages around the world including Japan, Finland and Moscow were they gained fans by oddly playing death metal festivals but in a cool non-edgy way probably only WATP could pull off. They have also shared stages with bands such as Franz Ferdinand, We Were Promised Jet Packs. 30 second to Mars to name a few.

We spoke to the WATP about their year and some of the highlights:

So this year has been a big one for We Are The Physics, the discovery of the Higgs Boson and the release of Your Friend the Atom. Collide a few music videos and its shaped up to be a busy year for you? Any highlights of this year?
All of it, really. Finished our record, it came out, that’s not something we do a lot because we’re so lazy. Actually, scrub out the word lazy and write tortured. Tortured sounds less believable but more acceptable. We got to be in a film, too. Although, I’m sure when it comes out, all traces of us will be completely deleted. That’s the only sensible decision.

What was your favourite video to make?
I think we had the most fun doing Goran Ivanisevic. And by fun I mean pain. Our pals from the band Swound made it for us and it was a good excuse to head down to Nottingham and see them. It was a painfully exhausting day that mostly involved hurting ourselves crawling through mud, dirt and hard things indeterminable. We filmed it in an abandoned flange factory that actually went on fire a few months after we did it, and we’d just like to categorically deny any wrong-doings. But, the ground smelled of fish, and there was no logical reason why it should.

A lot of bands social networking skills can be lack luster. But not yours, we usually have a right good old chuckle at some of the stuff you post. Is it a collective offering or some kind of supercomputer doing all the work?
Sometimes we just tweet whatever we’re talking about together, but generally it’s a case of us having pokes at our followers or throwing bait for them. We have a strange relationship with them where we big ourselves up and they put us down, or we put ourselves down and they agree. You look on other bands’ Facebooks and Twitters and it’s all either sycophantic grovelling, persistent RT-requesting or needless sneering, so we wouldn’t change that relationship for anything – at least we all get a laugh from it. We all do our own wee personal tweets and stuff too, some guy actually came up to me at a gig and said “You do very good tweets” and then left like a sinister gust of information wind. It’s a bit like being stalked but without feeling threatened and with the ability to irritate your own stalkers by endlessly talking.

What gigs this year stand out from the rest?
I think the first gig we did with Johnny Foreigner in Derby stood out for us because we generally have the worst time touring with other bands, their fans tend to not only hate us, but actively hate us. Their fans always made us feel so welcome even when they didn’t like us, so it was dead nice to do. We usually make a foot-shooting point of only touring with bands that will guarantee us a hard time when it comes to their fans, but they were all lovely. We’ve toured with bands that are nothing like us, stuff like 30 Seconds To Mars and Gym Class Heroes and there’s a real rush in trying to win over people who, from the outset, seem determined to cause your demise via their own angry stares. I’m not really into bands who don’t try and play to people who won’t like them; bills with all the same type of bands are just dull and insular. We’ve always been a square peg band and nobody really knows what bills to put us on, so we’ve spent most of our life as a band, basically, irritating other people’s fans. I’d rather be that sort of band than part of a scene hosting all the same sort of music with all the same sort of people. And I like that Johnny Foreigner are that sort of band too. We’re not musically alike, but we’ve got that similar outlook.

If the world doesn’t end and Santa comes what plans do you have for next year?
I’m more worried that you’re linking the world ending and Santa coming. Is this some Illuminati plot? Is ‘Santa’ your code-word for Gozer? The choice is made, the traveller has come. Next year, we take Your Friend, The Atom back to Europe and Russia, I think. I think. Don’t quote me on that. Actually, you have to quote me on that, don’t you? This is part of an interview. But don’t quote me on the thing I’m about to say. If the interview ends here that means you haven’t quoted me on it and I respect you. Okay, ready? Here we go:

Where Credit is Due: Cave Painting

Brighton band Cave Painting have been making waves in the music industry as of late thanks to their quirky take on jangly guitar riffs and lovely melodic vocals.

Formed in 2010 they only made it through my earphones around a month ago thanks to a delightful free download from iTunes (about the only thing that is free on iTunes nowadays) and I’m eternally grateful for this. The song that was free was entitled ‘So Calm’ which is an explosion of bright noise, smile music at its finest. This is something Cave Painting seem to do effortlessly, they write music that gets you smiling and there aren’t many bands that can do this.

Being relatively new they don’t have a lot of online music except for their newly released album ‘Votive Life’ (that they have also released for FREE!) and a few bits and bobs but this is really all you need to fuel your addiction for them. Their music is endearing and pulls you in.

My picks from their album are ‘Gator’ and ‘Rio’. ‘Gator’, for me, really captures their sound in a nutshell and in that I mean, it’s everything I love about Cave Painting. It’s a pop song without being out right about it, it’s calm and carries on without any huge hooks but yet it encapsulates you. It’s exquisite. ‘Rio’ follows the same thread as ‘Gator’, it’s a delectable song that shows vocalist Adam Kane’s smooth voice off perfectly.

I think Cave Painting are onto something special and if they keep going down the path their on I reckon they’ll soon be on par with new favourites Alt-J and perhaps further ahead. Next year should see them playing festivals, sharing their music in the Summer sun. But before that season they’re touring the UK, so if you have the chance, don’t hesitate to go see them, I know I won’t be.

You can get their debut album ‘Votive’ for free!!

Where Credit is Due: Deaf Havana

There are some bands out there that work tirelessly for years and year to gain the exposure and fame they rightfully deserve and at this moment in time there is only one band I can really think of that have done this; Deaf Havana.

Two years ago Deaf Havana were best known for their rocky songs ‘Friends Like These’ & ‘Nicotine & Alcohol Saved My Life’ and if you listen/watch any of the videos for these songs you’ll realise that they were once a 5-piece band that consisted of the usual; two guitars, bass, drums and a screamer, akin to The Blackout. Back then they were good and just a band that I’d listen too but not entirely love. Shortly after I’d made my final decision on Deaf Havana it was released that their screamer/vocalist, Ryan Mellor, had left the band due to personal reason that had also led to his absence on tours also; this was in 2010.

Deaf Havana continued without their screamer and released a few more tracks, the song I remember first being ‘Smiles All Round’, a simple rock song that perhaps pointed the direction that they were soon to be heading. Here’s where I’ll split the audience, Deaf Havana losing their screamer was the best thing that could have happened to them, ever. It’s not that he didn’t add anything, he just really wasn’t necessary, especially when you have a voice like James Veck-Gilodi.

The band took some time and released an album entitled ‘Fools & Worthless Liars’ in 2011. I listened to it the night after its release and remember the feeling of Deaf Havana going from band I liked to band I loved. The album was perfect in every sense and it has acted as rocket fuel for the bands mass success. There are so many top tracks on the album that it’s hard to pick out a favourite but I’ll go for ‘Hunstanton Pier’ very closely followed by ‘Little White Lies’. These tracks portray everything that has changed about Deaf Havana, it shows they have the musical ability to right a slower/ballad rock song and the same endurance and power to write a cracking rock ‘n’ roll tune. The album, as I’ve said, is flawless.

Deaf Havana are quite special in a way, when a band starts getting pushed heavily by Kerrang, some opinionated/hipster like fans will stray from them but this hasn’t been the case. They’ve maintained every single one of their original fans along with picking up many, many new ones. It’s when they post pictures of the crowds they’re playing to now you really get a sense of their achievement, you know yourself that they have deserved it and worked from the ground up. Deaf Havana are a testament to the Where Credit is Due pieces, they encapsulate what it’s all about. Work hard enough and you’ll get there.

Watch their video for ‘Hunstanton Pier’: 

Where Credit is Due: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

Who are these guys? Have I just plucked two random names out of the world of music and decided to give them high praise? Sort of.

These two fellas are responsible for scoring one of my favourite films of all time; The Social Network. The movie itself tells the story of how Facebook (what’s that eh?) came to be and the legal battles that ensued over its rightful owners, the movie in itself is a landmark in cinematography but what really made me fall in love with it was it’s musical score.

Trent Reznor, initially the vocalist for industrial rock back Nine Inch Nails and his fellow composing friend Atticus Ross (who helped produce certain NIN albums) are the creative minds behind the eerie collaborations that back the movie. It’s not often that I’ll go out my way to seek the musical score of a movie and then add it to my playlists but the music in The Social Network was just a different class. The main track entitled ‘Hand Covers Bruise’ is the intro track that makes various different appearances throughout the movie and is by far the most iconic. It sets an almost dark tone to a movie which isn’t necessarily “dark”, the plunky piano melody and underlying atonal sounds really softly set the tone for the entire movie, quite a feat for music. To highlight how highly praised the music was in this movie it won 9 academy awards, yes the score for this tremendous movie won 9 awards, not the movie itself. Outstanding.

The music really carries the movie, it correctly corresponds with every movement the movie makes, scene for scene, encapsulating the ominous undertones and really highlighting the simplicity of Zuckerbergs inner thinkings. There are few movies where the soundtrack is actually released for the public to listen to/buy, this is one of them. Quite an accomplishment. If you haven’t seen The Social Network, I strongly advise you amend this and whilst doing so, really tune into the majesty that is the underlying score.

In Motion from the movie.

Where Credit is Due: The Helio Sequence

Allow me first to apologise for my lengthy absence, living without a laptop for around 2 months can really take it’s toll on you mentally. Fear not though, I’m now writing from my shiny new MacBook! All of that drug dealing and illegal music sharing has finally paid off…

So with this in mind the ‘Where Credit is Due’ pieces will become regular occurrences again, I bet you’re all pleased to hear this. And to get me back into gear I’ve selected the band that have quickly become an essential part of any of my playlists; The Helio Sequence.

The Helio Sequence are a musical duo (Brendan Summers, Benjamin Weikel) that hail from Portland, somewhere in the USA and have been working together since 1996, the definition of a band that have grafted out what ever fame they’re beginning to conjure. Currently signed to Sub Pop Records, they released their fifth, yes FIFTH, studio album entitled ‘Negotiations’, in September 2012, an ethereal and spacey meets pop heaven encounter. It’s a stunning album to say the very least. I found them through the mass-music portal known as Spotify.

Bands like this remain under the radar for the majority of their existence and I ask is it a completely bad thing? Perhaps not. I can literally picture these guys having an almost religious cult following back in the US, as for Europe, well seeings they aren’t scantily clad dressed women it’ll be a hard nut to crack but let’s hope this little article is a start. I strongly urge you to give them a chance, and if so look up the song entitled ‘October’ from their newly released album. There is something seriously beautiful about this track with it’s tremolo plucked guitar and Brandon Summers haunting vocals and pounding beat that backs it all up. It’s not a stadium filler but it’s a song that will get you searching the deepest cavern of your mind to find an excuse to why you haven’t heard of these guys until now; it’s really that great.

Like I said, these guys have been kicking around since 1996 and I’ve just heard them for the first time, what does that say to you? That great music takes longer to reach your ears? That you have to wade through the endless amount of bollocks that’s thrown at you from the current music industry? Both answers are yes. I genuinely feel like a king when I discover a band like this and I really, really hope I can sway you away from your day for a mere 5 minutes to listen to these guys. For two guys, they make fantastic noises.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HelioSequence

Spotify : The Helio Sequence

Where Credit is Due: Johnny Cash

One way or another, you’ll have heard of Johnny Cash. He could possibly be named one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Best known for writing classic country/rockabilly/rock & roll tunes that have lasted through the ages and even to this day are played with youthful enthusiasm and in many cases recreated and performed live, he also took a swing at gospel and folk music. Now I’ll lay my cards on the table, I don’t know an awful lot about these genres of music and I’ll blame the generation I live in, what with the mass music conveyor belt that the industry relies on nowadays however if one thing stands to reason; Johnny Cash’s music made its way to my ears and I find it hard to not listen.

I’m not going to walk you through his life, if you want to learn more about him I suggest you watch ‘Walk The Line’ or keep an eye out for biographies which are usually very extensive and in-depth, I’m here purely for the music. Who hasn’t been at their Grans 70th birthday and been dragged onto the dance floor by your less than attractive aunt when ‘Ring of Fire’ comes on, his music has lasted through decades and that stands for something.

Johnny Cash obtained 19 no. 1’s in his career, and this was a far harder feat back then than it is nowadays, but how can you question it what with songs like; ‘I Walk the Line’, ‘A Boy Named Sue’ and ‘Folsom Prison Blues’. Also to add to his credentials of living legend, he used to play free gigs within prison walls. Imagine One Direction attempting that.

There’s something seriously cool about Johnny Cash and his whole demeanor. There’s also something truly intoxicating about his bass-baritone voice that makes you continue to listen, they don’t make musicians like Cash anymore which is unfortunate because all we’re left with is computerized voices and beats, thankfully we do have the long-lasting memory of Johnny Cash and by long-lasting, I mean another 100 years.  And just for the record, my favourite Johnny Cash song is a cover he done entitled ‘Hurt’, originally by Nine Inch Nails. Johnny done it better.

Here’s a Johnny Cash Facebook that’s full of old photos and miscellaneous things: http://www.facebook.com/johnnycash

His official website: http://www.johnnycash.com/

His video for ‘Hurt’: