Tomos Lewis.

Tomos Lewis

Think Wales and you think Tom Jones, the Voice, sex bomb. All of that stuff. But on the strength of the few tracks I’ve been privy to, Tomos Lewis has absolutely everything it takes to be the new voice of Wales. Comparisons to Damien Rice and Ryan Adams are spreading like wildfire, with Lewis’ soaring vocals and swelling sentimentality capturing everything great about being a singer-songwriter. There’s a versatility to the tracks knocking about on the net that really prove this guy is more than just a bloke with a guitar and a few nice rhymes.

The 26 year old releases his debut EP Four Songs on March 19th. Check it out. It truly deserves your attention. Listen to ‘Elinor’, from the EP, below:

From Joe Abbitt.

Sucking Lemons.

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Straylings – Entertainment on Foreign Ground. 7.5/10

Straylings Entertainment on Foreign Ground
Straight off the bat, Straylings bring only good things to a listener’s life. Personally, their new album has inspired an absolute binge on Mazzy Star and all things Hope Sandoval, and if there’s one thing I love about finding new music, it’s that moment that you re-discover old music because of it. If that was the only thing worthy of merit in Straylings debut LP, Entertainment on Foreign Ground, then it’d be a great release. Luckily enough for Dana Zeera and Oliver Drake, this record has more than enough substance to stand alone and see it pegged as one of the best underground releases of 2012 so far.

Opener ‘Carver’s Kicks’ stomps through your preconceptions in dusty leather, raw yet elegant, while the opening hooks of ‘Sleep Shapes’ are reminiscent of a scuzzier Elliott Smith. Zeera’s vocals are wonderfully and unsettlingly detached from Drake’s moody guitar meanderings, inviting an obvious comparison to Karen O in their reverb-drenched growls. Straylings play to their strengths throughout the album, with the rolling piano of ‘The Spoils’ evoking a cinematic bar-brawl and the playfulness of ‘The Unravelling of Mr Ed’, while ‘To Lay Down Roots’ is a chilling americana closer.

There’s an argument that a slightly firmer hand might have chopped the running time of the record down to its benefit, but this is a great collection of tracks that are richly distinctive, repeatedly wide-eyed and unique, and refreshingly confident.

From Joe Abbitt.

Sucking Lemons.

Two Wings.

Two Wings
For all the critical quashing of the new folk scene – and admittedly what passes as folk is a little crap these days (think Mumford & Sons and that muppet Ed Sheeran) – you’d be forgiven for passing up on anything that even dared to utter the f-word. The trouble is, if you did, you’d be missing out on Two Wings, a pretty fabulous duo that incorporate the traditional sounds of folk with rock n’ roll, psychedelia and everything in between. A little tip for you: folk music is amazing, if you ignore everything anyone’s ever told you about it.

April 30th sees the release of debut album Love’s Spring, and, bearing in mind that the promo copy I’ve had for weeks hasn’t left my stereo, that’s certainly a date you’ll want to make a note of. Opener and future single ‘Eikon’ is simply stunningly beautiful, Hanna Tuulikki’s helium-inflected swoon slipping around Ben Reynolds’ Clapton-esque guitar, and it’s quite possibly the most original thing I’ve heard in a while. Elsewhere, ‘Altars & Thrones’ marries chimes and lilting vocals to haunting effect, while 8 minute closer ‘Forbidden Sublime’ is unbelievably ambitious, meandering around with such melody that it’s just impossible to ignore.

The single ‘Eikon’ is set for release on March 12th, through Tin Angel Records. Check out a live version below:

From Joe Abbitt.

Sucking Lemons.

Decibels.

Here at Sucking Lemons we’re always writing about decibels of some kind or another. Geddit? Ha. Anyway, terribly poor puns put aside for now, Decibels are a Northampton 5-piece formed after a rave in the woods of Northampton, where they bonded over a “shared vision” of a project fusing 4 synths, a guitar and a hell of a lot of percussion. Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but I reckon those shared visions might have been suitably substance-induced.

‘The Lesser’, the band’s first release, is a brilliantly contemporary mix of blissed-out electro, rammed full of hooks and enough bounce to make it to the indie dancefloor with ease. A little bit of surfing will unearth a few remixes the band supplied to other artists, but we’re willing to put bets on these guys breaking out big in the coming months.

Check out the video for ‘The Lesser’, released on March 26th through Serious Types:

From Joe Abbitt.

Sucking Lemons.

Interview: Straylings.

Straylings

We think Straylings have made one of the underground records of 2012 with their debut full-length Entertainment on Foreign Grounds. Naturally, we wanted to know a bit more, so they talk tours, t-shirts and tips for the year ahead.

You don’t seem to have done many interviews… Is that more of a conscious decision to keep a bit of secrecy?

It’s not so much about those things really. We haven’t done many at this stage, but I think just staying focused on what we’re doing musically is the main thing for us.

Are there any plans to go on tour proper in the UK soon?

Yes we’re making plans to do that soon after the album’s released. We’ll have to see what happens but initially we’re hoping to do some dates around the south…

How was your recent headline appearance at the Camden Barfly?

Really good thanks! It was wonderful to see that it sold out, also we got to ask some bands we know to support us, so we really enjoyed the music that night too.

Your album, Entertainment on Foreign Grounds, comes out on the 26th of March. What’s the story behind the girl on the front cover, and do either of you own the jacket behind her?

I guess there’s an intention for the story in the picture to be open to interpretation, but also to touch on some conflicting themes like freedom and aggression etc.  The girl’s a friend of ours though… she really just happened to be there when we were experimenting with cover art.  The shirt is Oli’s yes, it seemed to fit the aesthetic we were after. It has made a couple of appearances at our shows too..

Who are your tips to make it big this year?

We’ve been enjoying Buzzard Lope and Orlando Seale & The Swell recently – they’re great to see live… Hopefully they’ll do well this year.

And what was your favourite record of last year?

Mishal Zeera‘s The Design. It’s a really accomplished piece of work.

Where’s your favourite place in the whole wide world? Link it to a song if you can….

… How about ‘Marrakesh Express’?

And finally, when life gives you lemons…..?

Lather, rinse, repeat…

From Joe Abbitt.

Sucking Lemons.

Five A Day: Stray Kites.

Stray Kites

Stray Kites‘ Junior Roseboro takes us on a journey through his five favourite albums:

House of Freaks Cakewalk

House of Freaks - Cakewalk

A fantastic record by a fantastic band. House of Freaks was a duo from Virginia. I like them because their music was really simple and catchy. The vocals were confident, but emotional and the way Bryan Harvey played guitar showed a lot of unique basslines, chords, and melodies that all fit together to make a great songs. This album also houses some interesting percussion and rhythms which inspire me to come and experiment with beats for something different in my songs.

Destroyer  – Kaputt

Destroyer - Kaputt

Like many, my first introduction to Dan Bejar’s music was informal. He was introduced to me through the indie supergroup The New Pornographers’ album Mass Romantic. Since then I’d always make sure to keep an eye on him. When Kaputt was released I downloaded it from mediafire… sad but true. It stayed in my ipod, just consuming space, until the song ‘Blue Eyes’ played on shuffle in the car. After that God blessed moment my love for Destroyer skyrocketed. Eventually bought it on vinyl too. Three cheers for ambient disco; three cheers for cryptic poetry over hypnotizing sax; and three cheers for revamped 80’s jazz fusion.

Heathers  – Here, Not There

Heathers - Here, Not There

This band is a duo as well. I really like the album because it’s full of high energy guitar, interesting lyrics, and great melodies and rhythms. Another Plan-It-X Records gem. They can really wail and their lyrics are catchy, but not corny. Cryptic? The band’s almost got a hint of poppyness to their sound; however, they’re solid in their folkpunk approach to it.

Dance Gavin Dance – Dance Gavin Dance

Dance Gavin Dance - Dance Gavin Dance

2008 was a quite a terrific year for music. Los Campesinos and Heathers came hard with their debuts, The Dodos with Visiter, Zach Hill’s Astrological Straits, and Parenthetical Girls with Entanglements. Dance Gavin Dance was no exception. They had just undergone a major lineup change losing their guitarist, Sean O’Sullivan, and vocalist, Jonny Craig. Even though he’s kind of over-rated in that genre of music it was kind of a big deal. Looking back it’s hard to say if this was their best record, but it definitely has the most passion, virtuoso, and wit.

The Dodos – Visiter

The Dodos - Visiter

I’m not writing on duos on purpose… they’re just truly talented. Much too often people will say things to us like “Oh, you sound like Noah and The Whale meets The Dodos meets Mumford and Sons.” They mean it as a complement and I do understand why they say it, but to be completely honest, we don’t particularly like Mumford and Sons or Noah and The Whale. On the other hand, The Dodos mean a great deal to me, specifically because it was lent to me by my very best friend. Full of jaw dropping beats, yelps, and fingerpicking. It’s really an A+ album and I’m forever grateful was recommended.

From Joe Abbitt.

Sucking Lemons.

Straylings.

Straylings

Preconceptions are a funny old thing. Tell me about a boy/girl duo from London and I’ll expect nothing like Straylings, a band quite magnificently indebted to bluesy, melodic Americana, finding the middle ground between Mazzy Star and Jefferson Airplane and a hell of a lot of fans in between. After months holed up recording their debut album, Entertainment on Foreign Grounds, Dana Zeera and Oliver Drake are ready to release it to the world this March. With the likes of the sultry ‘Wallpin’ and the scuzzy stomp of ‘Carver’s Kicks’, you’ll want to keep a keen eye out for this one.

Check out ‘Wallpin’ below:

From Joe Abbitt.

Sucking Lemons.

Interview: Pinkunoizu.

Pinkunoizu

One of Denmark’s finest bands, Pinkunoizu, featured in our fresh section not more than one month ago. We liked them, and their Peep EP, quite a bit, so we asked some questions. They talk to us about go-karting, French writers and some crazy album plans:

Your name means ‘pink noise’ in Japanese. Can you tell us a bit more about where that came from?

It came from driving go-karts with some Vietnam vets in Idaho. There you could really feel the futuristic blow and the circular speed energy accumulating. The pink noise frequency specter made up a landscape of possibilities in which we felt the certainty of the band name.

You’ve cited Pavement as one of your biggest influences. What else inspires you from the worlds of art, music, t.v….?

I think basically everything makes up a sum of inspiration for us. Floating through this world, the digital one and the dream one, snatching ideas in a conscious or unconscious manner is what it’s all about. I’ve personally found direct inspiration from reading. That’s more comprehensible for me. Deleuze, Bataille, Céline and Baudrillard are some Frenchmen I like for instance.

Some of your tracks, like ‘Everything is broken or stolen’, sound as if they could go on forever (in the best possible way). Do you ever have trouble condensing a track down or is there always a clear idea in mind of the end product?

Some times we tend to play some long jammy passages that might be more fun to play, than to listen to. But hopefully it can be the other way around now and then. And hopefully some times the lengthiness is pleasing for both us and the audience. I don’t think length has been a problem for us, as in a real problem; usually it feels pretty natural when we play.

You released your debut UK release this year. Tell us a bit about that and why everyone should try their hardest to get hold of it.

It’s an EP titled ‘PEEP EP’. Three songs on there. If I hadn’t been involved making it, I think I would actually be really satisfied buying it and listening to it. It’s centered around a more layered and thick sound than what we do live. Not too noisy, but with a lot of exciting spatial dimensions on it.

Have you got any exciting plans lined up for the album release?

Yes! We’re gonna hijack a government helicopter and fly down to Syria and spread about all the LPs in Damascus and Aleppo. We’re excited to see if we can manage it.

You’re playing a one off gig in London at the end of November. Any plans for a UK tour?

We’ll be coming back to the UK in April to play, but we haven’t got the dates just yet.

Aside from your releasing your album, obviously, what are you most looking forward to in the next 12 months?

We are looking forward to recording the next album I would say.

And finally, when life gives you lemons…?

…you turn red on the inside.

From Joe Abbitt.

Sucking Lemons.

The Savage Nomads.

The Savage Nomads

You’ve got to be doing something right to even be associated with the one and only Mick Jones. Which, if you hadn’t already guessed, The Savage Nomads definitely are. There’s been a slow but sure resurgence in guitar music over the last months, sweeping aside the endless barrage of chillwave and cheap synths, and it’s one that could, and should, be fronted by this lot. Garnering a fierce reputation all over the country, they recreate a rollicking garage-rock vibe that’s full of ideas and not idiocy. Like The Libertines without sounding like the rip-offs of six years ago, they’re full of swagger and a raw, visceral energy, with a self confessed interest in “…everything”.

Check out the new video for ‘What The Angel Said’, taken from their much lauded album, Coloured Clutter:

From Joe Abbitt.

Sucking Lemons.

Sport of Kings.

Telling people you’re from Brooklyn will forever be cooler than telling people you’re from Bristol. That’s just a fact of life, and one that applies to New Yorkers Sport of Kings, standing them in good stead with regard to their new EP, Logic House. However, the heart of the band, Richard Kelly, is no Brooklyn native. His Dublin-based band Capratone received much airplay and released an EP and full length record. The move to the U.S switched creative directions for Kelly, who introduced an electric piano to the mix to reflect the band’s love of Steely Dan and smooth 70s rock. In fairness, as much of a turn off as that might sound, the smooth as velvet melodies and odd time signatures really work to make this an intriguing listen. The Logic House EP is released on the 12th of December, with an LP set for release in January 2012.

Check out the mindfuck of a video for single ‘Free Jazz’ below:

From Joe Abbitt.

Sucking Lemons.