Interview – The Bohemian Embassy

We spoke to Ben Angel (the lead singer of The Bohemian Embassy) about his musical aspirations, the new album and the unique style of the band.The band is made up of Ben Angel (the lead singer and guitarist) Luke Cradock (on bass guitar and vocals) Louis Lanfear (on drums) Will Jefferies (lead guitar and vocals) and Jade Morris (on violin).  The five piece are from Bath, Bristol and surrounding areas.

ACA: Hi, Ben how are you doing?

Ben:  I’m very well thank you, it’s been so busy with the band and our album release it’s exciting so yes I’m really good, haha!

ACA: That’s good to hear. So how did you guys form such a unique concept for your band?

Ben: We started out with just the two of us (me and Luke) but we met the rest of the band in a recording studio in Bath when we were all sort of putting down some tracks and we decided to collaborate and it went well so here we are!

ACA: Is it exciting to think that you’re a signed band with two albums available on Itunes?

Ben: We’re signed by various independent record labels. We think we have a really original sound so we’re really happy with how it’s going with our music and are working non-stop and always trying out new experiments with our music. We think that’s what makes us stand out from other bands, we’re not one genre, we mix genres up to create something new.

ACA: Can you give us an example of some of your experimental work?

Ben: Of course. We have a violinist for starters! We like to use that to the best of our advantage. We’re told we sound like David Bowie mixed with Arcade Fire and The Clash so that’s exciting. We’ve recently recorded a Lana Del Rey cover of “Blue Jeans”.

ACA: Where do you draw your inspiration from for your music?

Ben: Anything from 1960’s onwards, we’re fans of old classics like The Beatles. The Bohemian Embassy have been busy on tour all over the UK and countries including Spain so sometimes on the road we’ll see or hear something then decide to go to the studio when we’re back and lay down a track.

ACA: Thanks so much for talking with us Ben and if you’re ever near Surrey/London let us know so we can interview you on the radio. We will definitely be playing your music on our show on Insanity!

Ben: That would be great! I will do, I’ll be sure to listen in to Insanity. Bye Alero, Andy and Chloe!

They have albums available on ITunes called “Built for the Future” and have just released their newest album “Seek Love” which came out on 13th March. All of their tracks are available on ITunes so if you’re looking for something quirky and a bit different then check out the band that sound like The Clash with an orchestra edge.

~ Andy, Chloe and Alero

Listen to “Seek Love” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=689imI1eKYk

Live Review: DUMB at The Old Blue Last, 11/03/14

Another week, another gig in London Town. This time I was at the Old Blue Last in Shoreditch for my hotly-tipped-for-2014 band DUMB.
Opening the bill was Birmingham’s Curb who showed their stuff in their melodic grunge which got a fair sway going in the crowd. I often feel that OBL crowds are particularly stringent when it comes to any movement so this was fair play to Curb! ‘So High’, a favourite of mine, showed how the band really are great live as guitars and vocals were tight. This band has loads of support in their hometown of Birmingham so hopefully London will be the next city to crack the Curb love!

Now, if you listen to my radio show, you’ll know that I’ve been recommending Dumb gigs for a good few months and last week I finally got to see them! The band opened with ‘In Our Mind’ followed by previous single ‘Retina’, which was enough to elicit some sort of recognition in the crowd and encourage some movement. I was do pleased to see the OBL so packed for this band – their performance just showed a passion for what DUMB are and what they want to be and, frankly, I reckon they will 100% make it!
Tracks I’ve never heard before such as ‘Dollar Babes’ really got me excited as to what DUMB’s album will be like, alongside recent single ‘Supersonic Love Toy’ which was probably the track which was the most recognised. By this point I was completely past caring that I was in London and in the midst of a (very) boring crowd – who can resist busting some moves to some cracking tunes?
The final track ‘Two Bottles’ rounded the set off nicely and left me eager to see the band again to investigate how they progress and which new tracks they’ll whip out. Double A-side ‘Supersonic Love Toy’ and ‘Two Bottles’ is out now on iTunes. Catch DUMB in Manchester on April 11th, in Liverpool on April 12th or in London on April 18th.

~Ceri-Ann Hughes

Check out DUMB’s single “Two Bottles” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jp8-8GXbeRI&list=UUTdBQbdi1Gj1QE_LMUWfrIQ

Live Review: Catfish and the Bottlemen, The Borderline, 24/02/14

When you go to a lot of gigs you know when it’s going to be good pretty much as soon as you walk in the room. For me, London is the home of all the best venues for live music – especially if you’re seeing small bands – and Catfish and the Bottlemen’s gig at The Borderline was no different.
As soon as I walked into the basement venue I could sense the eagerness of the crowd to rock out to what was probably the last chance to see this band in a small venue! The mix of people in the room just represented how this band has really had an effect on the musical lives of gig-goers. It was the first time seeing this band for me and, honestly, it was seriously a game changer! You could feel the passion of the band throughout the set in the vocals and in the guitar riffs and I don’t think I’ve been as blown away with a band before as I was with these lads.

Following a not-very-good support act (who I honestly can’t remember the name of), Catfish and the Bottlemen’s performance was well needed. It’s so easy to become absorbed in the passion of this band as frontman Van McCann joked down the microphone and gave exceptional vocals on well-known tracks such as ‘Pacifier’ and ‘Tyrants’, whilst also nailing new tracks such as ‘Kathleen’. And the guitar riffs? Don’t even get me started on how fab they were.
Having a hilarious frontman is just guaranteed to make this band even more huge in the coming months, and with the attention of radio 1, it’s simply inevitable. I’m so happy because they really deserve it! Upon a request for an older song, McCann shouted ‘you liked us when we were s***, top lad!’ down the microphone – I reckon he’s a bit of a top lad himself to be honest.
I’ve also never ever met a band so appreciative of my support for their music which just goes to show that hard work and perseverance can do wonders for a band. (I also quite enjoyed the hug, it was super cute!).

~Ceri-Ann Hughes

Listen to Catfish and the Bottlemen’s latest single “Kathleen” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrrcVxnjJO8

Natives – "Can't Say No"

New to our B Playlist, this week, “Can’t Say No” by “Natives” is certainly a fun track, from an up and coming band to watch out for. With a sound comparable to bands such as All Time Low and Fall Out Boy, these guys showcase their rock/pop style with this catchy new single.

Here are some words from the band:

“For Can’t Say No, production wise we took some inspiration from Dr Luke (Katy Perry, Rihanna, Flo Rida). We love that electronic 808 style drum loop which gives the verse a cool pop and then went for a double hook with the chorus just to make sure it stuck in your head! It’s nice because the song lyrically is quite heavy and a little dark so it’s fun to juxtapose that with a really bright, poppy arrangement.”

Also, if you like “Can’t say no”, check out the Egypt Lane remix. Again, the band kindly gave me some more info on the track:

“With the Egypt Lane version we wanted to showcase a different side to our band. We’re quite creative people and we’re always making music in one way or another. We took inspiration from Michael Jackson, Go West and Cliff Martinez and transposed a bunch of the lead lines onto synths. I guess this is what our band would sound like if we were starting out 30 years ago!”

Natives release their debut album “Indoor War” on March 17th, so make sure you check it out!

~ Laura Webber

check the song out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JURRni03UFk

Interview – Walking Relic

The band formed in 2009 – how did this happen?

 

Me (Jessie) and Chris were in a band in high school, but it didn’t work out, so we started playing with his brother-in-law (Derek) and it just sort of happened!

 

You’ve been likened to acts such as ‘The Killers’; do you think this is accurate?

 

Yes definitely! They’re one of our major influences!

 

Other than ‘The Killers’ then, who would you say have been your musical influences, as on your website, you talk about how your EP ‘Sojourn’ has been influenced by various artists.

 

Yea, definitely… well like we said ‘The Killers’, definitely a bit of ‘Muse’, ‘Florence and the Machine’, and we’d probably say ‘Tegan and Sara’ too.

 

Your website also claims that your EP is a different take on synth rock music… what do you think it is that makes you guys different, and what were you aiming to achieve with this EP?

 

I don’t think we were intentionally setting out to be different, it just sort of happened… I think a lot of it is the actual music. We tend to go a bit over bored with the music, so I guess the sound is pretty layered. I think sometimes bands today don’t have many layers to their music, so I guess this makes us sound a bit different. To be honest, we’re just trying to get ourselves out there and hopefully branch out to the UK.

 

How have you found your music received in the UK compared to the US?

 

I think it’s a bit difficult to say at the moment, because we haven’t yet been out there and seen the influence our music is having over there yet. There is such a different kind of music scene in the UK that we really want to be a part of. We’re from Oklahoma, and our music is very different from the usually Oklahoma scene. We’re hoping our work will be more accepted in the UK.

 

I personally find it really cool that you guys are female fronted. What affect has this had on your career as a band, and do you think it has benefitted you?

 

Yea, I’d definitely say it’s been a benefit. It’s very uncommon within the Oklahoma music scene so it definitely makes us stand out. Plus, there’s been a massive uprising of female artists, such as ‘Haim’, ‘Chvrches’, etc., so this has helped, and it’s really cool to be a part of that.

 

Finally, you’ve done several EPs now… what are we to expect next from you?

 

Yes, our first EP was definitely a learning experience. We mainly just wanted something people could listen to! And this one (‘Sojourn’) is us trying to really get ourselves out there and to spread the word of what we’re about. But we have a full album coming out around the end of Summer/ early Fall which we’re currently recording and are very excited about.

~ Emily Edwards

Check out the new video for “Every Little Thing” from Sojourn herehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZyGj3hS3js

 

The Years – "Into the Fever"

When you’ve been following an up-and-coming band for a while, it’s always great to see them return with new and improved material. That’s exactly the case for “The Years” – a 5-piece, Canadian group, focusing on bringing a new sound of pop to the indie genre.

“Into the Fever” is their brand new single, released on February 28th, as part of the EP of the same name. Lead singer, Kevin, describes the song as “the moment when we knew where we wanted to take our sound… one that gives the listener these intimate moments, but also these larger than life soundtracks that can take you somewhere”.  After a two year gap between this and their last EP, “Red Wine and Clarity”, it’s a welcome return to the smooth vocals and popular synth-based sound. “Into the fever” is a chilled out track that’s definitely worth a listen.

~ Laura Webber

Check out The Years’ new single “Into The Fever” here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JWFs2G096w

Bon Jovi – "Superman Tonight"

Released as part of their ‘The Circle’ album in 2009, this song never seemed to earn the popularity that, in my opinion, it deserved. While not an all-out rock anthem like ‘Living on a Prayer’ or ‘It’s my Life’, this song nevertheless deserves recognition- lyrically it is very beautiful, expressive in that rare way that makes the listener both sad and hopeful at the same time; it’s the sort of song that I want to lie on my bed and listen to after a hard and lonely day. There is not much more I can say about a single track, but the entire album itself is worth a listen!

~Eleanor Goodman

Check out “Superman Tonight” here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9k-k8609go

Royal Blood – “Little Monster”

Peddling dirty, but melodic riff rock that falls somewhere between The Black Keys and Queens of the Stone Age, the hype surrounding Royal Blood began last summer before they’d even released a song, when the drummer of the Arctic Monkeys wore a t-shirt bearing the band’s name during AM’s Glastonbury headline set. A two-piece consisting of just a bassist and drummer (the former also handles vocals), Royal Blood seem perfect to slot into the void left by The White Stripes as a modern classic rock duo with a sound far bigger than two people should be able to create.

 

“Little Monster” is a thrillingly direct slice of grooving, razor-edged rock with enough sheen to gather fans from the indie scene, but sufficient crunch and attack to impress those who favour harder stuff.  Hooks come as much from the rhythm-driven instrumentation as the vocals, though the chorus does its job well enough too. The obvious musical chemistry within the band shines through, and the band’s no-frills attitude to songcraft is clear. Riffs are very much the order of the day, and anyone with a passing interest in guitar music will find much to enjoy in “Little Monster”. Fans of the four bands previously mentioned in particular should get acquainted with Royal Blood sooner rather than later – you don’t want to be the one to miss out.

~ Michael Bird

Check out Royal Blood’s “Little Monster” here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ere2Mstl8ww

Fall Out Boy – "Miss Missing You"

Hidden in the shadows of the more pop-y, feel good tracks of the album “Save Rock and Roll”, such as “Young Volcanoes”, and the quite frankly hollow singles such as “The Phoenix” and “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark”; the heartfelt lyrics of “Miss Missing You” inevitably strike a chord among listeners.

In contrast to most songs focusing on break-ups, long lost loves and romantic hardships, “Miss Missing You” addresses the bitter-sweet reminiscence of what could have been, which is often overlooked by songwriters and lyricists and yet often an unavoidable experience.

The evocative opening of the chorus, “Baby you were my picket fence”, easily hooks the listeners, regardless of what stage in life they find themselves in, with the meaning behind the lyrics reson​ating on a personal level.

For such a catchy song that carries the album emotionally, it would be an outrage to let it go unnoticed, and deserves its chance to be in the limelight.

~ Hannah McCaldin

Check out Fall Out Boy’s “Miss Missing You” here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVOBh7ItPFI

My Chemical Romance – “Fake Your Death”

The announcement last year that one of contemporary rock’s most successful and beloved bands were to split up after years of international success was hugely shocking for both fans and the wider music world. An inevitable Greatest Hits collection will see release in March, but it will excitingly include one new song, the final recording we’ll hear from them, ironically titled “Fake Your Death”. A fitting musical epitaph, it marries the bombast and drama that has long been the calling card for My Chemical Romance with a wearied, yet oddly triumphant sense of finality.

 

Driven by big pianos and multi-layered percussion, “Fake Your Death” sees vocalist Gerard Way deliver a tastefully understated performance. A subtle but engaging guitar solo elevates the song’s bridge before the final chorus, and the song comes to an end in less than three and a half minutes. It’s not as exciting or immediate as other singles from the band, but is a classy epilogue that feels right to bring the curtain down on the remarkable story of My Chemical Romance.

~ Michael Bird

Check out MCR’s LAST EVER track “Fake Your Death” here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiJzCahaN8w

Live Review: The Aristocrats (The Garage, London | February 17th, 2014)

The rock/fusion power trio The Aristocrats – featuring Guthrie Govan on guitar, Bryan Beller on bass, and Marco Minnemann on drums – are back on tour in support of their second studio album, Culture Clash, released last summer to serious acclaim. The three players are all well known in their fields, especially Govan, who has built up a considerable and loyal following from his YouTube guitar tutorials and the release of his first solo album, Erotic Cakes, in 2006. But this is The Aristocrats, touring their second album on Govan’s home ground.

I don’t want it to sound like it was a one man show, as the group is a completely collaborative effort (each member has contributed three songs each to both albums so far), but it did almost feel like it. Every skinny and long haired guy in the venue erupted as Govan appeared on stage. When it had died down after a minute or two, the band, in turn, erupted. They began with a notably aggressive version of Furtive Jack from their first self-titled album. After the first couple of lightning guitar scales I found myself laughing in shock at just how madly they all play. It’s quite incredible to see in person so close up.

Each song was preceded by lengthy tales of their creation, which served to add to the audience’s admiration. A memorable story was the naming of Ohhhh Noooo, from their latest album. The story goes that while on tour in mainland Europe, a huge guitar amp fell flat on its face while unloading for a show, to which the usually quiet, reserved and gentle Govan furiously exclaimed “Ohhhh nooo! (pause) This is not good. (pause) In fact, this is quite the opposite of good.”

That said, there’s no lack of communication in the music. The entire set came without muddy acoustics or any distracting guitar sounds. This meant the audience could purely listen to the three elements, drums, bass and guitars, all at once. This is particularly valuable for the material in Culture Clash, that leap all over the place between sections of complex time signatures, changing lead instruments and elements of jazz, fusion, rock and metal. Culture Clash was followed by Flatlands from their first album; a distant, driving and melodic track that allowed everyone to have a breather.

However, the wild personality of Marco Minnemann behind the kit quickly took over. He introduced his song Blues F**kers, in which he took a solo, before each member of the group took out a small rubber toy (featured on the cover of Culture Clash) and began improvising with the various squeaks, squeals and screeches they all made. It appears this is a band that do not take themselves too seriously, although, they have all mentioned that this is their most favourite project they’ve ever been a part of. With the experience they all have, that’s certainly saying something.

And Finally, after an encore that almost didn’t happen (thanks to the hesitant management), the show was over in a flash. In the coming months, The Aristocrats will move throughout mainland Europe with no future date set for England yet, but be sure to check out an album or two for now.

 

~ Joe Burns