Youthmovies (previously known as YMSS or Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies) are an English rock quintet, comprising Andrew Mears (guitar and vocals), Al English (guitar), Graeme Murray (drums), Stephen Hammond (bass) and Sam Scott (brass and keys).
Simon Jones, drummer from the band Hope of the States originally played drums in Youthmovies. However, just prior to Hope of the States being signed to Sony BMG in 2004, Jones was replaced by current drummer Graeme Murray.
Their earlier sound touched upon noise, brooding soundscapes, samples, feedback and drone, though with their mini-album Hurrah! Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than the Last; The Inexorable March of Progress Will Lead Us All to Happiness and the subsequent single "Ores" their sound suggested they were moving into a more ambitious and musically accomplished sound.
The band has toured extensively with Hope of the States, 65daysofstatic and ¡Forward, Russia!. They have also played at the Truck Festival, Latitude Festival, All Tomorrow's Parties, Bestival, Cambridge Film Festival and the Reading and Leeds festivals.
The band have developed a reputation as a compelling live act, touring regularly as well as playing improvisations, collaborations and live film soundtracks in art galleries, theatres and forests.
Between April and June 2007 the band recorded their first full-length album, Good Nature, at the Seamus Wong studio in Leicester, released on Drowned in Sound Recordings on 17 March, 2008. Ant Theaker, former guitarist with Hope of the States, produced the album, which was mixed at the Strongroom Studios in east London, and mastered in Chicago by Bob Weston of Shellac. The album introduced "a new attention to melody" and is the first recording to feature the trumpet playing of Sam Scott.
Youthmovies side projects include: guitarist and singer Andrew Mears' solo project no tempo, the debut album is due to be released in winter 2008 through Crossword Records (Andrew Mears was also a founding member of Foals).
Guitarist Al English co-runs a record label, Try Harder, which has released recordings by Foals, Blood Red Shoes, Adam Gnade, Blanket, Tired Irie and Jonquil amongst others. Jonquil and Youthmovies together form Vertical Montanas.
Ostensibly progressive rock to the uninitiated onlooker, Oxford-based quintet Youthmovies can be a difficult band for the inexperienced to digest in a single sitting; live, their maverick sparks singe the air, songs composed of myriad movements reined in and refined, forced into an awkwardly pop-shaped hole. But, really: this wasn’t ever meant to be difficult.
Forming in 2002 at university, Youthmovies (née Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies) began as a two-person affair, utilising tape decks and delay pedals to flesh-out a fledgling sound. Founders English and Mears - attracted to one another’s abilities by a shared fondness for left-of-centre alternative music; the pair would book shows for the likes of Kid606 and Part Chimp while at university - soon sought assistance, and Hammond’s arrival and the employment of Simon Jones on drums, later to commit full-time to Hope Of The States, formed a temporarily finished article.
Jones’ departure in 2003 freed the drummer’s stool up for Murray - a debut EP, ‘Let’s Get Going… You’re Fracturing Me With This Misery’, soon followed - and since then the core four have pursued a very singular creative path, recalling inventors past while always keeping an eye on widening future horizons. Press Youthmovies and they’ll cite King Crimson, Steve Reich and Sonic Youth as cornerstone influences, but their own reach is indicative of their individuality and status in the contemporary indie-rock scene. Sometime tourmates ¡Forward, Russia! can trace their formation back the initial inspiration of witnessing Youthmovies live; 65daysofstatic are regular co-conspirators, remixing Youthmovies’ ‘…spooks the horse’ and sharing a number of tours; and Foals were initially formed, and named, by Mears before the vocalist elected to concentrate 100 per cent on Youthmovies.
Youthmovies’ acclaimed ‘Hurrah!’ EP was released in 2004 on much-lauded indie label Fierce Panda; a re-release a year later incorporated a standalone single, ‘Ores’, the video for which was created by directors Type2Error, whose credits also include Bloc Party and Manic Street Preachers. Since then Youthmovies’ time has rarely been their own for rest and recuperation.
Touring commitments have come thick and fast, with the band supporting Biffy Clyro, Death Cab For Cutie, Mission Of Burma and many more. Festival appearances - including a memorable improvised set with NYC rapper and poet Saul Williams at the 2005 Leeds Festival and bill-topping appearances at All Tomorrow’s Parties and Truck Festival in 2007 - have been welcome distractions. Special one-off events like the live sound-tracking of films at London’s ICA and the Cambridge Film Festival have attracted new audiences to the band’s idiosyncrasies. A special collaborative EP with two-time tourmate Adam Gnade, ‘Honey Slides’, was released via Try Harder, the label co-founded by English, in 2006. (Try Harder has also released material by Jonquil, Tired Irie, Blood Red Shoes and Foals among others). Now, though, Youthmovies are ready to reveal their debut album, ‘Good Nature’.
Produced alongside Ant Theaker, who also manned the desk for ‘Hurrah!’, Youthmovies’ first long-play release proper is the culmination of more than five years’ hard work. With Scott a full-time member of the Youthmovies unit, the progress from the band’s preceding EP couldn’t be clearer: this is fiery ambition committed to digital disc, the sound of five hungry souls realising all their potential in a blinding flourish of compositional extravagance and exemplary musicianship.
But do not let such on-paper hyperbole for time signature hysteria put you, the potential newcomer, off: ‘elitism’ is a word unknown to Youthmovies, and there’s nothing pretentious about the ten songs that comprise ‘Good Nature’. Immediacy is key, and from the outset onwards this album balances the affecting and accessible with the beguiling and bombastic. It is an album to awaken a mainstream to the talents of five young musicians already enjoying an incredible groundswell of support at a comparative underground level. It is an album to put to bed expectations of impenetrable fret-work and preconceptions of ‘progressive’ being a dirty word.
‘Let’s Get Going…’ were their own words five years ago; with ‘Good Nature’, Youthmovies have well and truly arrived.
(Mike Diver, February 2008)
- Let's Get Going... You're Fracturing Me With This Misery (Quickfix Recordings, 2003)
- Hurrah! Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than the Last; The Inexorable March of Progress Will Lead Us All to Happiness (Fierce Panda, August 2004 / Re-pressed, 2005)
- Honey Slides (Try Harder Records, collaboration with Adam Gnade released September 2007)
- Polyp (Blast First Petite (featuring guest spots by Adam Gnade and members of 65daysofstatic and Blanket released November 2008)
- "Ores" (Fierce Panda) (April 2005)
- Homeless Musics I (October 2005)
- Homeless Musics II (2006)
- Homeless Musics III (2006)
Biography from Wikipedia