Posts Tagged ‘Sleigh Bells



Two down, one more day to go.  So with the ringing tinnitus killing my poor little ears, a hangover that only two long days of boozing can bring on, a sever lack of sleep impossible to hide from showing in my eyes and a voice that is fading to a kind Jack Palance husk, we head out for one last sunny day in Brighton.  Another stack of excellent shows awaits and by the end of the day we will be worn, but high on the knowledge that this weekend will forever hang long in the memory.



EXPERIENCE – If you sign up to the festival’s text services you get informed about the (immediately not-) secret shows that crop up.  The festival itself is mainly an indoor evening affair, but the officially established Alternative Escape throws up plenty before and after the main performances.  We awoke, having partied the previous night at the Moshi Moshi Records party at the New Hero venue, to the text service informing us that Fenech Soler were going to be playing outdoors at 13:00 next to the train station.  We headed down to a large, backstreet area, which is normally just a, well,  backstreet area, to find a crowd starting to form.  Amul, Fenech’s manager was there, (we had spent some time together at the Moshi Moshi party the previous night), so I said hello to him and the band as they waited to go on.  This was the band’s fourth set of the weekend, with at least one other to do this evening, so not only did they seem the hardest working group of the weekend, but the buzz around town was that they were totally ace awesome live.  They duly blasted through a fantastic set, to a packed courtyard, looking as fresh as their first performance.  The only distraction from a memorable, engaging show was the arrival of a flash mob.  A large group of people had gathered within the crowd and started dancing in a rehearsed routine.  We’d never experienced a flash mob first hand and we have to say it was totally fucking awesome!  All gigs should hire one!  They even froze to the chorus for Stop And Stare.  As if that wasn’t enough, they then let off an explosion of confetti.  Are you able to imagine how totally brilliant this looked?!  And we hadn’t even had lunch yet.  We love the Great Escape.


TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford


EXPERIENCE – This brother/sister duo was the first of two artists that we would see today that are due to play the Recommender’s next party.  Another afternoon show, this time down at the beach-front club, Life.  Walking around the club’s warren of tunnels to find them seemed somewhat appropriate, as their music is one long attempt to transport you to some sort of cute nether-world of magic and coy mystery.  We found them to be as sweet and tidy as their videos and songs had always suggested, converting the productions well into a live set.  George hit the keys and lined up the samples, whilst Milky sang as if not a care in the world.  Were the room not busy she would surely have produced exactly the same dream-like performance.  It was mesmerising, a little fantastical and ended with Milky throwing a handful of glitter into the air towards the audience as the last song hit it’s final note, (played on a triangle of course!).  Once it was over we waited for them to pack up so we could go and say hello and introduce ourselves.  It’s worth noting just how young they became once we engaged them in conversation off stage.  It was like talking to two little children.  OK, so their tiny reserved voices, reticent natures and modest confidence will never win over Wembley stadium, but it gave a context to their sound that we never had before.  They’d never been to Brighton, but already Milky said she wanted to live here.  Thinking about it, this place is perfect for her.


TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford


EXPERIENCE – We enjoyed lunch on the beach and a few beers at the Oh So Social beach-fronted bar, prior to the second of today’s enjoyable street gigs.  This time the temporary stage was knocked up on a groynes that jutted down the beach, giving the band the backdrop of both the sea and our famous pier.  From a photography perspective it really couldn’t get more Brighton.  As we sipped our pints we heard the first few bars of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool’s set kick off, so we raced straight over.  The Groynes filled rapidly, being set in such a busy area and with these street gigs not requiring a Great Escape wristband, it was free and open to all.  It’s a great way to show those people who didn’t obtain a ticket the type and quality of acts that are on show all weekend.  Two fellas jammed on their synths and twiddled their knobs at the back of the stage and two fellas prance enthusiastically up front.  It worked well and we should point out how hard it must be to generate energy during a daytime gig, with no lights, no smoke, broad daylight and a sea breeze on this occasion.  However they had the crowd singing along, particularly to their strongest single to date, Dance The Way I Feel, and a broad smile was found on the vocalists face as he spotted a lively bunch of young teens bouncing like mad at the front of the audience.  The smiles was contagious and set us up well for the oncoming evening.


TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford


EXPERIENCE – This was the second of today’s artists that are booked for the next Recommender show, which they headline, so we were obviously keen to see them.  We went straight backstage at Audio to say hello to frontwoman and main songwriter, Sarah McIntosh.  She sat there alone and looked nervous.  “Look at me…” she suggested as she held up her hand, which was shaking like a tambourine.  With her young face, her asymmetric haircut and designed eyeliner, this was an artist that had put some effort in, but it reminded us of a student about to sit her exams.  Perhaps the promise of label bosses and A&R in a lot of the crowds at The Great Escape can do this to the performers?  Perhaps Sarah’s like this every time?  Either way, this was going to be interesting.  The set began as most of her songs do, with a piano refrain and her Kate Nash-sounding vocals, but the microphone stand was too far away, causing her to stretch over the keyboards.  Poor thing. If she was nervous before, then now she had a real battle on.  She adjusted the stand for the second song, explaining it all rather engagingly to the audience.  Sadly the stand kept slipping down as she sang, so she gave up on it and snatched the mic from it’s holder.  At this point the show shifted.  It forced her to leave the comfort of the piano’s position and come centre stage, dancing, twisting and posing as she sang.  It became a dramatic performance, where you couldn’t take your eyes off her.  During one heartfelt moment, she put her hand on the chest of a boy stood at the front, as if hypnotising him, accepting the crowd’s existence.  It reminded us of Marina Diamondis and proved we have booked ourselves someone who not only has the tune-bag packed full, but someone who also has an enchanting charm when performing.  This is definitely a chart-bound star of the future. Look out.


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EXPERIENCE – This was always going to be a set cut short as Theophilus London was due onstage within the next half hour, so we had to leave with enough time to catch him.  No matter as half of this band’s set is enough to make you smile and besides we had caught them live back in March of this year, so we were well aware of how incredible they are.  We’d shared a few laughs with their lead guitarist Luke on that previous occasion, so it was nice that he recognised us as we waited stage right.  As they set up we also took the chance to chat with Tinashe, another exciting act that had been playing various shows at the Great Escape this year.  We confirmed our interest in booking him for a future Recommender show and he agreed that it would be a great idea, so we will let you know in due course with that one.  As we looked backstage it was nice to watch all seven members of The Phenomenal Handclap Band get in a little pre-game huddle.  It says something for their closeness and focus, which translates directly into their engaging performance.  They did their usual magic of starting the show by jamming for several minutes before hitting their stride with You’ll Disappear, a song we didn’t want to miss, so we were pleased they played so early in their set.  The packed, sweaty crowd in this dark basement suited this hardworking band perfectly.  They have a fantastic bond with each other and that infects the crowd.  We left the room noticing that every single person within it was smiling broadly.


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EXPERIENCE – This was possibly the one artist that we were most excited about seeing out of the dozens on show this weekend.  Why?  Well, firstly, his blend of crossover hiphop is totally fucking ace, and secondly his performances comes with a warning sticker that says ‘look out’, in bright neon pink!  Additionally, his fashion is so fly and so fresh that he was always going to shine in a room full of drunk youngsters.  So we arrived at this venue, which is situated at the end of the pier, which adds in it’s own sense of exciting magic, a few minutes early with our man Mark Stafford, a music lawyer and good friend, who was enjoying his seaside jaunt away from London.  As we stood in the bar we spotted two of the boys from Mirrors, so we chatted over a couple of rounds of beers and thanked them for a good set of performances this weekend (see previous Great Escape posts).  They agreed to join us in watching Theophilus do his thing.  Standing alone on stage and working the samples and pre-recorded beats himself he fearlessly launched into his set.  The amount of energy and enthusiasm this guy protrudes is exceptional.  It’s like he’s possessed by his music.  Jerking and posing, knocking his cap, tipping his shades, flirting with the girls and dominating the space, this was a totally perfect boozy peak to the evening.  He ended by letting the last song blast out over and over, whilst he jumped off stage, selecting to dance with the crowd until it’s close.  To say they wanted more was an understatement.  We quickly met with his agent to try to secure a future Recommender show.  It’s worth noting that as we left the venue we bumped into Jamie Klaxon.  With our best journalistic hat on we asked him when the new Klaxons album might be ready and his uninhibited and certainly inebriated self informed us that they’re aiming for August 21st.  Drunken exclusive.  Nice.


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EXPERIENCE – Having quickly darted into Audio one more time for a knockout cocktail on the busy evening terrace, we duly wandered down to Concorde 2, just in time for the last tune of Chatau Marmont‘s set.  In a way this kind of points out the scale of The Great Escape, as this is a band we planned to watch and would love to see live, but because we were at the end of a mammoth three day festival, missing them in place for a Mojito somehow didn’t seem so bad.  Nevermind, as we were really there to catch Sleigh Bells, the band arriving from New York with the most buzz.  We darted straight backstage to say hello and met with their manager.  Being over-confident on booze it’s possible that we tried to book them for a future Recommender show.  Not totally sure though.  Anyway, we were introduced to the New York duo.  We enjoyed a funny moment when Derek Miller and I shook hands, before Alexis stepped forward and said “Hi, nice to meet you. My name’s Alexis…”.  As if I didn’t recognise precisely who she was.  We knew she was gorgeous, but in person she’s knock out.  Totally knock out.  We wished them lots of luck, but tonight they weren’t going to need it.  Much in the same way Crystal Castles only played with a strobe light, the lighting for this show made it virtually impossible to photograph.  We tried it from the photographer’s pit below, then from the stage entrance steps and finally by actually sneaking onstage with them, hiding behind the sampler desk.  Lights or no lights, Alexis runs around the stage like a woman possessed, her hair moshing to the music.  They’re unstoppable.  The crowd got over-excited during Crown On The Ground and invaded the stage, which is not that easy when you consider there’s a barrier, a broad gap and quite a big step up, but the frenzy was simply too exciting for them.  They were all quickly cleared offstage and Sleigh Bells completed the set that completed this years festival for us.  It was glorious.  The perfect storm.  We love Brighton.  It seems that there’s really no better place to escape to than your own home.





How is it that every time we come across a band from Paris it makes us want to be right there, in their beautiful, hipster culture?  It’s probably the same factor that made us want to live in Brooklyn when we discovered Sleigh Bells, or Los Angeles when we first came across Heartsrevolution, or Berlin when, or Manchester when, or, or, etc.  OK, to be fair, our home town of Brighton is plenty cool enough thanks, but this three piece from the Gallic capital are definitely made from that most attractive of purest hip.  We are suckers for the sexy vocalist, complete with every word seemingly breathed out, rather than sung.  It’s all so effortless and it challenges you in a manner not seen since the likes of Billy Corgan or Debbie Harry before him.  This all drifts over the top of a lo-fi electro synth and disco beat that simultaneously captures the minds attention whilst  moving your feet in all directions.  This is care-free music, made by care-free imaginations, for care-free music fans.  It’s hard to know why the blogs haven’t gone totally bananas for this pleasant piece of Parisian pop, as they’d slot onto a Kitsune Maison Compilation with ease.  They tick all the right electro boxes and serve up the kind of magic that many blogs stick to as part of their strict diet.  Perhaps it’s simply early days for them, or the publicity machine hasn’t yet got into gear.  It will eventually, but for now it’s perhaps Paris’ secret.  As for us, we’re going to have to get around to organising that goddamn city break.   (MB)

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:       KiT – ANIMALS ysi

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For crying out loud!! We’re getting very bored with the amount of new bands that are deciding to hide their identities from view. From the likes of Fake Blood to Golden Filter it seems people are forever shunning the front of the stage by not confirming who is behind the music. Why they do it is something we seem to be talking about on a regular basis. Perhaps its to restrict the rapid pace in which blogs and the wider online community bore people to death by diluting music through the scrutiny, sharing and critiquing of everything new?  Perhaps not allowing people to know who you are holds something back, giving the artist a sense of empowerment?  Either way it’s over-done now, so much so that it would almost be a better publicity stunt if you actually showed your face and confirmed your name!  Anyway, Silver Columns didn’t even have a Myspace when we first caught wind of them, but although that’s now been corrected, their identity is still being held back.  Apart from this irritation their original music and superb remixes are fantastic.  They also clearly get Joe-Hot Chip‘s approval as he has remixed their track, Brow Beaten, to brilliant effect (see below).  Their hearts beat disco and their synth riffs bleed the kind of choppy rhythms we adore.  This kind of dance music is a little on the camp side, as you will hear with their vocal mantras, but it’s in a good way, like it’s fearless, rather than fluffy.  One thing this lot seemed to have learned, identity or no identity, is that it’s all about the music.  However, in defence of us bloggers, it always has been really.   (MB)

Find them here:      Myspace

Hear them here:     SILVER COLUMNS – BROW BEATEN (Joe Hot Chip Remix) ysi

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford


We aren’t particular fans of Fyfe’s other regular band, the well known Guillemots, for which he sings lead vocals.  For a long time they’ve let us down on the promise they seemed to hold, with their classically trained abilities, as their songs waft between dull and slightly more dull, only coming up for quality air with one decent track per album.  Anyway, we aren’t talking about Guillemots today.  Why their lead singer Fyfe should get a mention on here when we consider his other band so poorly is a little bit difficult to pin down, as there aren’t that many initial differences.  Suffice to say, particularly on the track we attach below, it seems he has magically managed to fill in all the gaps left by the Guillemots.  The gaps where all those killer melodies and pop hooks were sitting.  The gaps where the fuzzy keyboards, beat-claps and chunky samples reside.  Gone are the bored, lifeless tunes and in their place you find an electric, funked-up selection of proper pop. Thank fuck for that.  His vocals seem released from their previous restrictions, which is evidenced more clearly on other solo tracks where he provides a lot more natural spirit and bravery. Guillemots will no doubt be supportive, however, we hope that they now realise that it’s Fyfe who’s clearly their best chance of a good peak.  His solo album, Fly Yellow Moon, is due out January 18th 2010.    (MB)

Fyfe Dangerfield   When You Walk In The Room listen

Find him here:        Myspace





This very exciting artist comes from Perry, Georgia, of all places.  It’s perhaps a little surprising to find that one of the most promising genre-crossing electronic artists of late hails from a small town that boasts of its “slower pace” and “helping of Southern hospitality”  However, reading that Perry considers itself to be a “warm and gracious” place puts the pieces together.  This is because Washed Out’s currently sold out EP, Life of Leisure, released through the appropriately named Mexican Summer, delivers a soothing sense of warmth and acceptance with every song.  Many blogs seem to be struggling with words to describe Ernest Greene’s sound, and songs like You’ll See It (attached below) and Belong will show you why.  There’s this wonderful, dreamy, wide open sky sound to it that makes you think of soft grass and long lethargic days of summer.  Greene’s songs also stretch beyond the long summer days and into the thoughtful spaces of fall.  There’s also a second skill that’s surfaced, which is in evidence in his exceptionally lovely remix of a Small Black track, (also attached below).  This is the music we wished we could have slow danced to at school discos, but then again they were sadly never this cool.  This fella really is something special.  And if reading this doesn’t make you nostalgic, then the fuzzy hum of his cassette-only (!) release, High Times, certainly will.   (OG)

Find them here:       Myspace

Hear him here:        WASHED OUT – YOU’LL SEE IT ysi

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford


Really, really exciting new bands somehow appear with a thumping impact.  You know the sort.  They arrive riding a bomb, that explodes in your face like a thousand unexpected money shots, forcing you to sit up and take note.  Well, considering this Brooklyn duo named themselves after the rather twee instrument normally adorning Santa’s ride, they actually came onto our radars with one of the loudest booms around.  They provide the type of excellent, noisy punches that head straight for your ear drums.  On the track Infintiy Guitars they throw out a loose, chaotic, punked sound that Alice Glass would approve of.  However, instead of any reliance on electro samples they appear to have more rounded dimensions.  It’s all about a stripped down brand of music, like hip hop at it’s most street level, this is noisy stuff, with heavily distorted beats, overlapped with the seductive vocals of Alexis Krauss.  She’s paired up with Derek Miller, who used to be found playing with Hardcore band Poison The Well, and even though he enjoyed a reputable contribution to their scene, is now testing his talented hands in this new direction.  Fans of Santigold‘s noisy clamour, MIA‘s rapier impact and Heartsrevolution‘s sentimental attitudes will love this for sure, but as you will see on tune Ring Ring (attached below), they aren’t afraid to pen a summer ballad too.  This is music without fear, a big heart and a bright future.    (MB)

Find them here
:       Myspace

Hear them here:      SLEIGH BELLS – A/B MACHINES ysi
Hear them here:      SLEIGH BELLS –  RING RING ysi

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford


By definition the word Gaggle means a flock of geese not in flight, or an unorganised group of people doing nothing. On both accounts these terms fail to sum up this Messianic, Nu-rave, robe-wearing, all women Alt-choir, but then what term could?! Their Cockney, street level brand of social and political lyrics are delivered in apocalyptic annunciations, like a scary girl band of harpies! It’s non-generic, it’s very original and it’s brilliantly rammed with doom and power in equal measure. On their most impressive track, Hidden Army, a Roman galleon drum stomp keeps step as the ladies sing in an almost mocking disdain of hiding ones head in the sand and the failings of men. With the excellent song Crows and with the even better remix (attached below), they’ve managed to compose the soundtrack to some Biblical epic from MGM studios. It’s like they’re staging a feminist, operatic production of Homers Odyssey, with massive, brooding and atmospheric choruses. This menagerie of 22 sassy women, led by Deborah Coughlin, built up their stage act over this summer’s festivals and they garnered plenty of useful coverage through Radio 1. With no dates yet organised for a single release the only way to catch them is in the flesh, which is precisely what they confidently claim to want to tear off your body piece by piece. If you dare, it shouldn’t be difficult to catch them as they have a heavy workload of concerts up to Christmas all over the UK.  (DV)

Gaggle2.jpg image by themadgeorge

Find them here
:        Myspace

Hear them here:       GAGGLE – HIDDEN ARMY ysi
Hear them here:       GAGGLE – CROWS (SPAWN OF GAGGLE REMIX) ysi

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

If any of you lucky readers found yourselves at New York’s big new music event, CMJ over the last few days, together with it’s wealth of after parties, feel free to comment your experiences. Did any of you catch Sleigh Bells’ or Washed Out’s shows?

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Mike Bradford (MB) - Creator and Contributor (UK)

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