Saturday, 29 September 2007

Folkin' Hell

Folk, bluegrass, rockabilly; these are words that would have my mother sniggering as she recalls stereotypical men with beards, strumming at a guitar and pretending they are Simon and Garfunkle! Very 70’s! But get ready to welcome in the new breed- The Mules, Noah and the Whale, Kitty Daisy and Lewis, The Woodsmen, Vincent Vincent and the Villains. All great bands combining different sounds- moving away from the classic “indie-pop-Razorlight-make-loads-of-money” formula and making music for the sake of music!
And wonderful music it is too; focus isn’t all concentrated on guitar riff solos and whether the lead singer is “fit” or not but instead on the musical ability of all involved. Violins, harmonicas, fiddles, banjos, guitar, drums, little bit of synth; there is a wealth of inspiration to draw on and an array of musical instruments to explore.
The type of music
Gypsy Kings and Kalico Queens would dance to around campfires whilst drinking copious amounts of rum or whiskey and enjoying the nuances of the sounds!
Bands like the Mystery Jets, Patrick Wolf and Larrikin Love have helped pave the way; rejecting soullessness and connecting with fans through their lyrics and obvious love for their day-jobs. The words aren’t focused on how drunk they got last night, how much they fancy that “bird” by the bar or how many drugs they took in one hour but instead following themes of freedom, love, pent up emotions and inspiration.
In all their tender years Kitty Daisy and Lewis are prime examples of how not following the crowd makes you infinitely cooler. Epitomising 40’s/50’s glamour and playing an assortment of instruments and with harmonica solos rather than guitar makes them unique and talented all in one go!
The Woodsmen
with their macabre and addictive music have all the qualities of a debauched pirate pillaging towns whilst stopping sometimes to make a bit of music and have a bit of a jig!
The Mules
take bits of everything and splice them together to create imagery and worlds that are subtle and vivid. “Rhino” has the makings of a great novel behind the lyrics of a 3 minuet song. Then there is Patrick Wolf who’s upcoming tour (!!!!!!!) promises Patrick with only a violin, harpsichord and piano for company. His orchestral nuances combined with an ever changing persona, David Bowie-esque vocals and optional glitter and magical song content leaves many a fan happy he isn't quitting touring as previously thought! A fore-runner in the weird and wonderful world of swapping a guitar for a fiddle his previously dark songs have been transformed into a glitterati world of Bluebells and Magic Positions!
Although it is a matter of taste, what is wonderful about all these bands is although they don’t seem to be trying to appeal to the masses or garnishing themselves with No1 spots and Brit Awards galore their music has an appeal that could just reach those obsessed with the Top 40 if only they gave it a chance to flourish. Music, it seems, isn’t all about the lyrical hook, perfect drum beat and pulsing rhythms but about subtleties and talent.
Jade xx

Monday, 24 September 2007

3 of a Kind...

It has been brought to my attention how good David.E.Sugar is! A working mans Justice with more longevity than the Klaxons. His perfect blend of electronical noises (for those who still think neu-rave is a genre) and vocals-taking a trip past bass, synth, guitar- are surely set to take over dancefloors and hearts everywhere? Calvin Harris relenquish your (self-proclaimed) claim that you "created disco" and hand full regalia to Mr. Sugar!

Another band on top form and finally set to grace the UK instead of Berlin, Paris and numerous other European countries are Robots in Disguise. Possibly the two coolest girls ever? Dee Plume and Sue Denim. The names say it all really. New song "The Sex Has Made Me Stupid" isn't lyrically as good as "Turn it Up" or " Boys" but is still charmingly cheeky with dirty great bass lines and various squeels and shrieks from the girls as well as smokey vocals.
Finally, one more band I'd class as electro (genres aren't my strong point!) are So, So Modern who hail from New Zealand but have nothing to do with kiwis, sheep or rugby (sterotypes a-plenty!). Along with The Brunettes they're striking blows for NZ everywhere with credible music. Acrid electro for the masses. Like a 99p ice cream they pack sweet, smooth and bad-for-you goodness into every song. Finally a band to cite from the country that isn't named The Datsuns (even though they're pretty good too)! Slightly annoying until a second, third, fourth listen and then instantly the most catchy thing you'll ever hear. Hum along, dance along, sing along; don't be shy!
Jade xx

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Spin spin spinning ...

So our love of vinyl's and our obsession for music has caused for an obvious collision as we decide to delve into the sublime world of DJ'ing. I find this word carries all sorts of bizare sterotype's including images of Fat Boy Slim and the incessent need to scratch and swerve but as we slowly become akin the new jargon and vocabularly that comes with this wonderful hobby we adorn our headphones and get ready to dance our feet away.
On the 24th October, we venture out of the confides of our own homes to the Retro Bar for the Kalico Queens offical debut and we will be joined by the sublime Peter and the Wolf. Its safe to say we are positively giddy and hope to see a few friendly faces there as we enforce our taste of music (Which is naturally faultless!) upon you!

Paris ...

Paris has a culture to admire; a home of fashion, architecture, food and history. In a recent visit to the city I found myself falling in sync with the easy-life persona it exudes; the notoriety Parisians have gained regarding their relaxed style is something I really adore. European cities are soon finding their musical niche, Berlin being the innovators of all things quirky but its Paris that is leading the way forward, providing us with some sultry delights.Style is an essence that comes so easily to Parisians and something I will be eternally envious of. This inherent ability to be elegant has produced some of the finest work both culturally and practically. However, when it comes to European music, it seems there is an endless gap in the market. For the main part, Paris is known only for a brief Eurovision fame and a glorified covers band, both of which can tarnish a country with the "naff and tacky" music label. Longevity has never been important to the French as a nation, with their timeless artists being locked in the realm of operatic and classically trained musicians. So have the independent been left behind? Do the teenagers have to survive on Edith Piaf? Everywhere there is the sense that our musical counterparts are loosing their identity. Being polished for mainstream ears, so little is left plainly visible for the people who seek obscurity in it finer form. Often it seems we have to travel overseas for that…this enthusiasm to rejuvenate such a traditional musical genre is something that will appeal locally and nationally, and it’s a matter of time before the trilby wearing, winkle picker army of Britain are seduced and lured in by these dreamy eyed starlets laced with dodgy accents and a twinkle in their charming eye.

However its not just the fast pace jangly rock kids that are sweeping the country, it appears the traditional sound of folk has been rejuvenated to appear a more accessible genre than previously thought. This is the Kit are a band primarily originating from Bristol however a swift move to Paris and their sound is transformed. Solely dependant on atmospheric vocals and the odd strum of a acoustic guitar, this reliance on natural sounds causes the band to delve into the world of a genre that should be explore more commonly. “I left her standing there” is a song that can only be described as simplistically genius, with beautifully formed scat harmonies reminiscent of 40’s style ballroom rendez.Pristine yet risqué pop trio The Teenagers marry lyrically obsessive content about America’s most notorious women, with cheeky yet sparkling electro that induces an instant sing-a-long. It may not be anything significant or politically sophisticated but it’s the arrogant simplicity of their attitude that appeals, something to make you laugh and dance with an alternative tinge that seals the bands authenticity. Is fashion and dashing good looks something that is entirely necessary? No. But it’s certainly an added bonus when you take the time to have a gander at teen tykes Les Shades.

Their version of The Strokes classic “Hard to Explain” is vocally slightly bemusing but such a daring move has paid off by both proving their excellent taste in music and showcasing the potential dexterity that lies within such a youthful band. Their striking appearance and loyalty of their home land is a commendable asset. Even though their lyrical content is often French, their appealing popularity is not tainted; it only proves what a seductively attractive and romantic language it is.The girls of Paris are sublimely represented by art rock genii, Plasticines, mastering the fine art of edgy harmonies and the effective use of the old fashioned rock riff to catapult them. This traditional format has been rejuvenated and updated and it seems inevitable that this impressive (and sometimes heavily Americanized) sound will enrapture the hearts of thousand. There are heavy parallels to be had with The Long Blondes; phonetic vocals that crescendo in a fine piece of strength and control is highly reminiscent of the steady and cultural sounds of the stylish Sheffieldonians!

The Parisians have a distinct lack of influence therefore looking to such iconic bands as The Libertines has enabled them to focus on the importance of essential music, and they’re hard work has paid off. The bands have been careful however not to become a carbon copy of already acknowledged British acts, this factor paying dividends when listening to their work. French bands have the drive and determination required to claim “icon” status and is clearly and achievement they wish to accomplish, a goal that only British bands seem to strive for. Parisian talent reaches its peak with de Beauvior influenced Second Sex, a band that with only a splutter of live shows to their name have quickly impressed the MySpace generation with their rough English translations and bizarre variety. “Lick My Boots” is a rustic, raw and captivating glimpse into their potential. Their energy and enthusiasm is shockingly visible, not phased by the pressure that can come with musical talent. Loud vocals and the use of hard guitars smashes the boundaries between thrash and indie; a combination that seems to suit Second Sex. These French bands are both originally iconic and innovative, adding the sophistication so desperately needed in Britain. Our complacent love for mediocre bands is tiresome, and more often than not we settle for the overplayed pub bands that did not even deserve a chance in the first place.This raw passion and love is what the British scene lacks, a disappointing fact but none the less one that needs to be addressed. Maybe a shift in loyalty is needed in order to let French bands such as this make more of an impact in Britain. My suggestion? Ditch the classical stereotypes, throw away the onions and stick on your beret as you get prepared for an all new French invasion.
Hannah xxx
X Berg- This is Pop
Sunset Beach- The Teenagers

In which we introduce ourselves & get the ball rolling...

Hello! This is the first (of possibly many) posts on our shiny new blog.
Just as in intro to us : Kalico Queens = a DJ duo (Jade&Hannah) from up'north who also dabble in hosting under18 club nights, writing for many amazing fanzines and dancingdancingdancing! (endintro!)

Although it's back at school/college/uni/jobs and summer is merging far to swiftly into autumn there are still many amazing gigs (now festivals have ended!) and bands floating about s o o o hopefully new music and old will be brought to attention and shared!

Firstly a band EVERYONE (nearly) is talking about: Elle S'appelle. The best band to come out of Liverpool since the Beatles might be going a bit far but they're definatly better than their contempories Hot Club de Paris!
After listening avidly to them for ages now it is safe to say they should be cited as everyone in the worlds new favourite band. From their simplistic and addictive songs like "Mariappa" to the more complex and addictive (at least they're better for you than any drug!) "Wood for Tree" they have created a range of songs which all sound inexplicably perfect for a band who have only just begun to bloom. Unfortunatly I've not had the pleasure of seeing them live although I hear they have gigs coming up in Manchester for an In the City courtesy of Powwow!
Keeping with the theme of Liverpool goFASTER>> are also playing In the City which will be an absolute treat for the ears/eyes and possibly other senses too!! Other bands to take to the stages are people like (shameful plug) The Brouges (literally related to The View but far better!) and Paddy Orange who are gracing the all ages stage at Virgin Megastores courtesy of Same Teens. I'm sure Manchesters finest The Answering Machine, Sir Yes Sir, Headlines and The Ting Ting's will be found lurking at various venues too!!!
Jade x

Elle S'Appelle - Mariappa