Eagulls from Leeds, England were a super-hyped buzz band at NXNE 2014 due mainly to their visibility in the UK press. They have performed on Late Night With David Letterman, and received a 8/10 for their self-titled debut album from NME. I popped by Yonge-Dundas Square to check out their set, but unfortunately the sound was atrocious and I left after one song. As I was walking away from the YDS, the sound started to improve and I could hear a glimmer of something interesting in the wall of mud I heard right in the YDS. That gave me enough incentive to check them out later that evening at Edward Day Gallery.
This was a pretty tiny temporary venue for the festival, and a bit of a weird space to watch Eagulls play one of their NXNE showcases. Their were only about 50 or so people in the venue, which was surprising due to their high profile press coverage. Eagulls are a post-punk band in the vein of Joy Division and Wire, but with a louder, and more fast paced, aggressive edge. They played a short set at Edward Day Gallery that only ran through a few songs from their debut album, which included Nerve Endings, Tough Luck, and Possessed. Watch the video for Possessed below via YouTube.
Singer George Mitchell is quite entertaining to watch as he projects his dark lyrics into the mic. I really enjoyed their set, and will check them out when they pass through town again in the future.
Brooklyn synth-pop trio Papertwin recently released ‘Vox Humana,’ their latest EP that is now available digitally on Bandcamp and iTunes. The band have shared a remix by New York trip-hop duo CREEP of the album track, Alkaline. Take a listen to the reworking below via Soundcloud.
Papertwin has been playing music together since 2009, formed by Max Decker. After two DIY EPs, the band is set to release their first studio collaboration, “Vox Humana”.
Produced by Abe Seiferth (Yeasayer, Eleanor Friedberger, Turing Machine, DFA’s Plantain Studios), and mastered by Joe Laporta (Vampire Weekend, Beach House), “Vox Humana” is dreamy, dark, and nostalgically sci-fi. The EP features analog synthesizers, driving percussion, and reflective vocals, which draws from influences like The Cure to Gillian Welch.
Kingston, Ontario’s PS I Love You are set to release their third studio album “For Those Who Stay” on July 21st (UK) and 22nd (NA) via Paper Bag Records. Listen to the band’s new single Friends Forever via Soundcloud below. Pre-order “For Those Who Stay” from the Paper Bag Records Shop or from iTunes.
Friends Forever single artwork was designed by the band’s Benjamin Nelson, and is lifted from “For Those Who Stay,” which is PS I Love You’s third album. The album artwork was also designed by Benjamin. As always, PS I Love You’s songs were the result of collage and experiment: Advice and Friends Forever were still being written until the moments they were recorded. But in the studio, Paul Saulnier says, with “fancy gear” and tons of time, they could wait until they “really nailed” the perfect part. “And I think we made a very indulgent and decadent album because of it.”
“For Those Who Stay” tracklisting:
In My Mind At Least
Bad Brain Day
For Those Who Stay
Afraid of the Light
More of the Same
The band is going out on tour in the north-eastern portion of Canada and the US in August in support of the album release. See the full list of tour dates below.
PS I Love You Tour Dates:
August 1-3 Sackville, NB @ Sappy Fest
August 18 Detroit, MI @ The Pike Room*
August 19 Toronto, ON @ The Drake*
August 20 Ottawa, ON @ Mavericks*
August 21 Montreal, QC @ II Motore*
August 22 Boston, MA @ Cafe 939*
August 23 New York, NY @ Rough Trade*
August 25 Washington, DC @ DC9*
August 26 Columbus, OH @ Rumba Cafe*
August 27 Chicago, IL @ Schubas*
*with Frog Eyes
Brooklyn’s Tiers brought their rumbling synth and guitar textures to the Garrison for Hand Drawn Dracula / Artificial Records‘ showcase for NXNE 2014. They were unfortunately late to start their set because they had some equipment / sound issues, but once they got going, nothing could stop them. During their set, they played songs from their latest album, “Winter.” Watch the video for Winter below, which is lifted from the album.
This was my first time seeing the band play live, and I really enjoyed them. Glenn Maryansky provided the bass-heavy, creepy synth sounds, while Jennifer Mears layered in more synths and airy vocals. Think shoegaze if it was made with synths instead of guitars.
Artificial / Hand Drawn Dracula Records are putting out some of the most interesting music around right now, and Tiers are one of the bands pushing that musical envelope. My big regret was not grabbed a copy of their LP at the show, but during NXNE it was likely to get crushed or wet over the course of the night. Hopefully, they will roll through town again and I can pick up a copy. Definitely check them out live if there pop round your way, and pick up their latest LP.
Burlington, Vermont duo, The Vacant Lots’ will be release their debut album “Departure” on June 30 via Sonic Cathedral. In anticipation of the release, The Vacant Lots have shared their new video for 6 AM, which you can watch the video via YouTube below.
The band are heading over to the UK in a couple of weeks, and to mark the occasion they have designed their own effects pedal. Each signature TVL Fuzz Pedal will be handmade by the band and features a striking black and white op art design by LA-based artist Anthony Ausgang. You can pre-order your own from Fuzz Club Records now.
The Vacant Lots play the following UK dates with The Brian Jonestown Massacre:
June 28 – Brighton @ Concorde 2
July 1 – London @ Roundhouse
July 2 – Norwich @ Waterfront
July 3 – Bristol @ Anson Rooms
July 4 – Nottingham @ Rescue Rooms
July 5 – Glasgow @ ABC
There is also a one-off headline show at The Social in London on June 30, with special guest Tess Parks and a DJ set from former Spacemen 3 legend Sonic Boom, who mixed and mastered “Departure”.
Glasgow based KICK TO KILL release their latest single DREAMS on Monday August 4 via Flowers In The Dustbin Records, and it will be available from itunes and all major digital stores, or by pre-order now on Bandcamp. Listen to the single via Soundcloud below.
…or watch the video for the single below.
The band’s first singles are some of our favourite tracks to come out in recent years, and DREAMS continues in the same vein as the previous singles. KICK TO KILL have fittingly been compared to a series of artists including Depeche Mode, Joy Division, Jesus and Mary Chain and The Stooges. Their first releases, including Black Kisses and Avalanche were co-produced by Iain Cook, CHVRCHES.
Kick To Kill play the Loch Lomond Boat Party on July 12, and the New Glam Festival, Germany on October 25th. The band have had live support slots have included The Fall, A Place To Bury Strangers, The Damned and John Cooper Clarke and the New Glam Festival in Germany.
Brooklyn duo Weeknight brought their dark, gloomy electronic pop to the Garrison for Hand Drawn Dracula / Artificial Records’ showcase for NXNE 2014. When I was browsing through the festival lineup, I was pleased to see that Weeknight was playing. I had heard a couple tracks and watch videos from their debut album “Post-Everything,” but wasn’t sure what to expect from their live show. Watch the video for Honey below, which is lifted from “Post-Everything”.
They unfortunately were affected by the virtually impossible 20 minute band changeover that curses every electronic band during the festival, which cut their set short due to a late start. Wiring electronic equipment on a tight timeline should be an olympic sport – I know from personal experience. This delay was luckily their only misfortune, and they played a solid set featuring most of the tracks from their debut LP.
Their NXNE set was strong; dark yet danceable, with a really warm sound that drew me in immediately. I bet you didn’t know it was possible to make warm electronic music? Weeknight make it possible! Andy Simmons and Holly MacGibbon shared vocal duties, singing in unison, which meshed well with Simmons’ fuzzed out guitar and MacGibbon’s catchy synth lines. Their unique sound translated well into the live setting. As a frame of reference, Weeknight sound like Joy Division cross-pollinating with The xx and Ladytron.
They were really entertaining to watch perform. MacGibbons was like some sort of synth-manipulating robot who jerks her body to the beat of the music. It was impossible to stay still and not dance along, especially since I could tell they were enjoying their performance so much. It left me wanting more when they finished their much too short NXNE set, but hopefully they will return to Toronto soon. Make sure to check them out if they play in your city, and pick up / download the dark, beautiful “Post-Everything” now.