Tag Archives: indie

Review: Storms at Club NME

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© KOKO London / Charlotte Davidson 

Ahh, Club NME at Koko. In its heyday, this weekly guitar-fuelled orgy was a place where trilby-wearers could find a safe haven of acceptance, and spoilt girls who dressed exclusively in the Kate Moss for Topshop range could kid themselves that they were going to find their future rock star husband here. Now, Club NME is a bit stale – indie music just ain’t what it used to be, the playlist doesn’t sound too different from the Geordie Shore soundtrack (okay, that’s unfair, maybe it’s more Made In Chelsea) and the drinks are still horrendously expensive.

Not that tonight’s headliners, Storms, really give a fuck about any of that. They’re not here to relive the, err, ‘glory days’ of The Libertines, nor are they trying to peddle some chart-humping shite that sounds like a collection of rejected Owl City songs. Nope, Storms have drawn their musical influences from arguably the best genres of the ‘90s – grunge, shoegaze and Britpop. As the sound of Kanye West fades away and the band take to the stage, a wave of gratitude washes over me. Opening song ‘Special’ fills the auditorium with heartfelt lyrics, even if these sombre tales of society’s lower echelons are masked by an anthemic riff. The crowd doesn’t seem to mind much though, and they sway along happily in a Jagermeister-induced stupor. “Nobody’s special!” they wail in unison, blissfully unaware of the sad truth they seem to be confirming.

The next track, ‘Words’, with its slow, layered guitars and crunchy reverb, is a definite nod to bands like My Bloody Valentine and Spacemen 3. Launching straight into new song ‘Swell’, lead singer George Runciman showcases stronger vocals that range from high-pitched yelping to Cobain-esque roars, supported by a thumping drum beat and thunderous, guitar-backed choruses. By the time the song is over the band appear to have created a bizarre kind of festival atmosphere, as a noticeable amount of girls have actually clambered onto their boyfriends’ shoulders, hands in the air like they’re trying to clutch on to the last of the summer.

The penultimate song of the evening, ‘Plague Machine’, is easily my favourite. With just the right mix of yearning, lust and anger, it’s got a frustrating familiarity to it; the classic influences are there, but you can’t quite pinpoint what they are. Essentially though, it’s a blend that is all Storms’ own.

It’s clear that Storms already have some loyal fans who showed up especially to see them, but you can’t help but wonder if the depth of Storms’ lyrics and their range of influences might be a bit wasted on the people who also enjoy the likes of Bastille and Everything Everything. Perhaps the idiots are still winning, but the enthusiasm for tonight’s performance shows that this lot at Club NME aren’t lost causes just yet.

Franz Ferdinand – Right Action

Franz Ferdinand Music VideoFranz Ferdinand Saul BassFranz Ferdinand VideoRight Action VideoDiagramFranz Ferdinand Pelican BookI know this song has been around for ages, but I’ve only just seen the video for it and I LOVE IT. It’s such an amazing pastiche of mid-century modern graphic design, referencing Saul Bass, maybe a bit of Kenneth Grange, classic textbook diagrams and – my favourite – those wonderful Pelican book covers.

The video was directed by Jonas Odell, the same guy who did the constructivist-inspired video for ‘Take Me Out‘.

Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know?

Do I Wanna Know videoArctic Monkeys BlinkInkDo I Wanna Know David WilsonAnimated Arctic Monkeys videoBlinkInk Arctic MonkeysDavd Wilson Do I Wanna KnowCool video for Arctic Monkeys’ newest single. The style and colours remind me of the scene from Dumbo, when he’s drunk and hallucinating! This synaesthetic animation is by David Wilson, who was behind Tame Impala’s brain-melting ‘Mind Mischief‘ video. He also directed the gloriously technicolour IKEA advert, which I posted a while back.

I like the song, too. Looking forward to hearing the rest of the new album – ‘AM’ – which is out on September 9th.

Reasons To Be Cheerful: Bass Drum Of Death

It’s May and the weather is still awful and a whole load of other stuff isn’t going so well for me either, but I am seeing Bass Drum Of Death at The Black Heart – a tiny venue in Camden – on Thursday. I’ve loved these guys for two years and I haven’t seen them yet so…yay!

The Bilinda Butchers – Careless Teens

ImageImageImageImageAww. This video for ‘Careless Teens’ by The Bilinda Butchers is really priddy and makes me yearn for a lazy sunny day where I can just do whatever I feel like. I discovered this band a couple of months ago when I first heard ‘The Lovers’ Suicide’, which also made me think of the weather. It was March and still snowing a lot in London, so it felt strangely appropriate to be listening to the lines: “Like a flower can’t bloom in the snow / We can’t hide, we can’t grow!”

Don’t you think that this video is almost like a lookbook for some kind of hipster fashion brand, like Wildfox or Cheap Monday, or something? When I saw it, I felt that it evoked a real girly ‘Tumblr’ aesthetic. Hopefully the maker of the video, Vanesa Capitaine, won’t be offended by that description – she does seem to use Tumblr a fair bit!

HAERTS – Wings

HAERTS BandHAERTS are female-fronted band of four guys and one girl, who hail from Brooklyn, New York. Their first single is a beautifully tender piece of lo-fi pop, set to a montage of home video-style clips. I’ve looked for other stuff by them, but this song is the only one I can find. I’m guessing that as it’s on Vevo, they are already on the brink of mainstream success. Judging by ‘Wings’, they sound pretty great and I hope the rest of their songs live up to expectations. Lead singer Nini Fabi’s vocals are sweet, but powerful – like a mixture of Gwen Stefani and Stevie Nicks.

This song is sort of what I was hoping for when I first listened to HAIM. Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed.

MGMT – All We Ever Wanted Was Everything

Ned Wenlock VideoFactory TownMGMT AnimationWow. This song appears to be over a year old, but I’ve only just heard it and it’s brilliant. I was looking for the original Bauhaus version when I discovered this one and – without wanting to sound disdainful towards MGMT – I was pretty surprised at what a good job they’d done of covering it. Don’t get me wrong, I really like MGMT, but they’re not exactly the kind of band that you listen to and then think: “Yeah, I can tell they’re big fans of Bauhaus.”

Better still, this exquisite video by Ned Wenlock really complements the track and conveys the song’s melancholy lyrics.

Still Corners – Berlin Lovers

Berlin LoversThis video for Still Corners’ new single ‘Berlin Lovers’ is lovely. It was directed by Christian Sorensen Hansen and reminds me a bit of Christiane F, but without the heroin. Imagine that Christiane F. and Detlev are a lot more innocent – just two regular teens who don’t inject smack into their veins, or give strangers handjobs for drug money – and this is pretty much it. Considering the song is called ‘Berlin Lovers’, perhaps the similarities aren’t even a coincidence. Either way, I like it.

Dead Gaze – I Found The Ending

Dead GazeLove this song. The accordion in it reminds me of ‘This Is The Day’ by The The…except I think I actually prefer this song by Dead Gaze.

New BRMC Material

BRMC Let The Day BeginBRMC Audio ManualThe new Black Rebel Motorcycle Club website is really cool – great design for a really simple idea.BRMC Specter At The FeastAwful American-English spelling aside, I really like ‘Specter At The Feast’, too. I’m looking forward to hearing some of the new songs live at Brixton Academy later in the month. I think my favourites are probably ‘Lullaby’, ‘Hate The Taste’ and ‘Sell It’.