With what will be the last column of 2012, it seems like Leeds has been holding a lot back until the final part of the year, so with little else to report I'll get on with sharing the wares...
It’s great when a new band pops up from out of nowhere with some excellent recordings already to hand. Menace Beach are the latest band to have done this round these parts, with four enticing tracks uploaded to their soundcloud, which I’m told will form part of a very limited edition tape release due out on French label Desire Records next month. Dream Out (below) expertly fuses Pixies-esque guitars with soft space-echoed vocals, as the band summon the finer moments of 90s grunge without ever getting too murky. Whereas Burn Out is more immediate, infused with Wavves-like pop sensibilities, but it still manages to completely rock. They have been announced to open the launch gig for Lone Wolf’s The Lovers LP at Brudenell Social Club on 19th January, and I’m tentatively keeping my peepers peeled for further live dates too.
Having holed themselves away with Mr Ryan Jarman earlier this year, This Many Boyfriends are now finding their debut album (out now on Angular Records) is being lauded across the land. Deservedly so, having added a whole new batch of potential singles to re-invigorated old favourites, all of which stick to their loveable two-minute-pop-perfection formula. Highlights include the upbeat dancefloor hit ‘Young Lovers Go Pop!’ and the wistful summeriness of ‘Number 1’ (video below). They are a band that don’t care if they come across unhip, and rather than candidly shying away from their influences, they are instead celebrated loudly and proudly within the reference scattered lyrics. The record cheerily conveys this refreshing humility, which ultimately makes them cool.
Leeds has a strong recent history of producing scene capturing compilations, with past releases from the likes of Dance To The Radio, Brew Records, Across The Pennines and On The Bone all providing outlets for many well-known musicians making their first forays into music. At present, the city seems to be the stronghold of a burgeoning indie/alt scene, and Sturdy Records have gathered a lot of the main perpetrators together for a compilation entitled By Hook Or By Crook, released 11th November. I’ve not had the pleasure of hearing it yet, but having seen the list of contributors, I’m very optimistic. Familiar names such as the aforementioned This Many Boyfriends, The Wind-Up Birds and Downdime feature alongside promising newcomers including Racket Ball, The Birthday Kiss and The World Service. Not content with having so many exciting bands together on the record, Sturdy Records will also be hosting a line-up at Oporto featuring a large number of the bands involved - at which each attendee will receive the compilation. Details here.
Kleine Schweine are a new band featuring several hardened veterans of the Leeds scene who have characterised themselves as a post-punk band, lampooning the many villainous characters that inhabited the early 20th century Eastern Bloc in. In doing so they’ve amassed a small arsenal of highly explosive tracks which on their anarchic, rapid-fire debut album. Think ‘Mclusky do Donetsk’, or The Dead Kennedys Holidaying in Czechoslovakia. Entitled 'The Party' it will be available via their bandcamp from 5th November. Bandcamp
A couple of months back I put on a band called T.O.Y.S. (not to be confused with those krautrock wannabees) in a support slot and they had the whole audience captivated thanks to their wonderful meld of playful, melodic indie-pop with rumbling lo-fi garage rock. Oddbox recently put out their second record, the simply named EP2, and you can hear it here. They don't play live too much, so if you see them on any line-ups get there.
Club Smith have spent plenty of time making a name for themselves on the road, having supported several bands on national tours, including the Kaiser Chiefs. They've now found the time to return to Leeds get their first LP released, Appetite for Chivalry, and it proves that what is commonly referred to as indie-rock doesn’t have to be tired and clichéd laddy bullshit. The album (out 12th Nov) demonstrates the band's versatility as it flits from moody to euphoric, clocking up plenty of anthemic choruses and buoyant beats in the territory inbetween. They head backout on their own extensive UK tour this month, returning to us at The Cockpit on 22nd November. You can watch the video to new single 'Lament' below, it was filmed in Leeds’ most loved cinema with a whole host of their musical friends lending a hand.
Wakefield has also being attracting plenty of worthy praise for its musical output of late, which has been heavily championed by the hardworking Philophobia Records. The label has now diversified into a tape only imprint called 'Bitching Cassettes'. Their first release, which is out now, is a split release featuring a track apiece from two of the finer proponents of the Wakefield scene in The Spills and Runaround Kids. Runaround Kid's 'Into The Light' is a brash, larynx shredder, reminiscent of Idlewild’s early rawness when they were at their most brattish and exciting. With The Spills’ turn, Atomic Arabian Facebuster meanders pleasantly around it's scuzzy guitar lines before sucker punching the listener with a mass singalong chorus of Titus Andronicus-esque, rable-rousing proportions. If this was a boxing bout, we'd need a rematch, so bring on another tape... Bandcamp
Other live highlights coming up include Sam Airey and his band playing at the Brudenell on November 9th with his band, to celebrate his new beer release - at which attendance at the gig results in receiving a free bottle of the beer! Constellations Festival also takes place that weekend on Saturday 10th, also at the Brudenell Social Club (note the venue change), and with some new line-up additions including PAWS and Cheatahs. Here’s some more enticing picks for the rest of the month…
12th November – Leeds Met – Mystery Jets
13th November – Nation of Shopkeepers – Holograms + Eagulls + Drench
15th November – Brudenell – Beak> + Thoughtforms + Hookworms
23rd November – The Cockpit – The Milk
26th November – Hi-Fi – Purity Ring + Doldrums
29th November – Brudenell – Wild Nothing + Cave Birds + Backyards
Please send any forthcoming local releases, exclamations of love, and death threats to firstname.lastname@example.org.