Category Archives: Local Artist Of The Whenever

Local Artist Of The Whenever #20: Freaks + Geeks

At their debut performance at Fibbers playing main support at The Rodeo Falls’ headline show, Freaks + Geeks quickly established themselves as one of our city’s most exciting new bands, and have only gone on to live up to that reputation at numerous gigs since then.

Freaks + Geeks

Freaks + Geeks

Though the band itself is relatively new, its individual members may be familiar to you. Stu Allan (guitar/vocals) is the long-time frontman of The Blueprints, Sophie McDonnell (baritone guitar/vocals) now plays keyboard in that very same band, as well as being known as a solo performer and frontwoman of Hot Fudge, and you may well have seen Loz Goodacre (drums) playing the skins for Gaz Rowntree And The Silent Sea. Clearly they’re not ones to mess around, as they’ve already recorded a three-track demo EP at York’s Melrose Yard Studios – you can hear the fruits of their labour below.

The band’s songs combine the intensity of garage-rock with some White Stripes-esque flourishes and the indie-pop nous of Sky Larkin to create an instantly pleasing result. The EP flows from the breakneck pace of ‘Pulp’ to the anthemic ‘A Little Longer’ via the soaring vocals of ‘Patchwork’, demonstrating that they’ve clearly more multi-faceted than your average indie-rock band.

You can catch the band live in action in both York and Leeds this week – the Leeds show is at Milo’s on the Thursday 19th September (that’s tonight, if you’re reading this the day it goes up) and the York show is at The Woolpack on Friday 20th September. Both of these shows are freebies, which is always a bonus. Understandably, that may be a little short notice for you, but you can also catch them at Holy Trinity Church in Leeds on Saturday 5th October, and at The Fulford Arms in York on both Saturday 12th October and Wednesday 13th November. I’d recommend that you get down to any of these gigs if you can – Freaks + Geeks are already packing punchy songs and big ambitions, and they could well be going places sooner rather than later.

Check out Freaks + Geeks on Facebook here.

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Preview: Missing Kids – Girls In Their Twenties (EP)

Missing Kids

Missing Kids

You may remember that the first ever Local Artist Of The Whenever was a York-based band called Missing Kids. Equally, you may not remember that, and you may not even remember that said feature of my blog actually existed, but that’s beside the point. The point being that Missing Kids are back, and they’re now a three-piece, with original guitarist, vocalist and all-round lynchpin Dave Mudie being joined by Sam Coates on bass, with Danny Barton (moonlighting from his role as frontman of White Furs) rounding out the lineup on drums. They are a different band, and yet they are also very much the same band. If that sentence confuses you somewhat, here’s a new/old track called ‘Milk Teeth’ from their forthcoming EP Girls In Their Twenties that might help you make sense of things.

You see, ‘Milk Teeth’ is a long-time favourite of Missing Kids’ live sets, but it’s never been committed to record until now. By giving the track a lick of paint (or in this case, an additional helping of guitar fuzz) and enlisting local artist Jade Blood to provide some lovely backing vocals, they’ve given the song a fresh feeling while still maintaining its original poignancy.

Of course, there will also be brand new songs on the EP as well, and here’s one called ‘Felt’.

It’s clear from one listen that ‘Felt’ will slot seamlessly into the Missing Kids canon – it’s a sunny indie-pop anthem, buoyed by a relentless drumbeat and buzzing guitars yet lent a tinge of melancholy thanks to its bittersweet vocals. Expect to hear the above two tunes and two more besides when the EP comes out some time in August. The release comes via veteran York-based label Sea Records, who hope to have physical copies available for Missing Kids’ next live appearance on Saturday 10th August, when they play at The Woolpack in York alongside Scott & Charlene’s Wedding,Fawn Spots and H. Grimace.

As one of York’s most understatedly brilliant bands, it should go without saying that it’s a pleasure to see Missing Kids back in full force – their new EP sounds like one to keep an ear out for, if these two tracks are anything to go by.

Find Missing Kids on Facebook here.

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Local Artist Of The Whenever #19: Drive By Night

Drive By Night

Drive By Night

I’m once again stretching the definition of ‘local’ with this one, but Leeds-based four-piece Drive By Night are worthy of a little poetic license. Formed from the detritus of short-lived indie group Circles (who nevertheless bagged a slot at Leeds Festival before they split up), the band have only been in existence since the beginning of the year but are already making good on the promise shown by their former group. Indeed, they’ve already caught the ear of James Kenosha, who’s produced their debut single – having previously worked with breakout Leeds bands such as Pulled Apart By Horses, Dinosaur Pile-Up and Grammatics. And never let it be said I’m not right at the forefront of new music coverage, because here is that very single, ‘Play Fake’.

What do you mean it came out last week and you can download it for free from their Bandcamp page?

‘Play Fake’ arguably shows a more restrained side to Drive By Night than their early demo material did, building from sparse, staccato beginnings to an expansive sheen and held together by a surprisingly mature emotional hook. It’s propulsive and engaging without being too in-your-face – think a less histrionic Bloc Party, or some sort of happy medium between your favourite pop-punk band and Wild Beasts. The video reflects the varied tone of the song, with ultra-close-ups of the band contrasting with detached shots of a nighttime cityscape. It’s early days, but it’s quite possible that these guys have struck onto something rather special this time round.

Find Drive By Night on Facebook here.

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Local Artist Of The Whenever #18: The Rodeo Falls

The Rodeo Falls

The Rodeo Falls

Y’know, it’s been so long that I did an article in this series that I actually had to go back and look up what number I’d got up to. But the debut performance by The Rodeo Falls on Friday night at Fibbers was incentive enough to dust off the much-neglected local music part of my blog. It’s not often I write about a band who are this fresh out of the gate, though The Rodeo Falls do have one advantage in that regard – they are lead by a familiar face on the York gigging circuit, one Marck Whiley. The artist formerly known as Marbled is back, revitalised and sounding better than ever, thanks in no small part the assistance of Dave (Guitar/Vocals), Mike (Drums) and Bob (Bass/Vocals).

The Rodeo Falls – ‘In For A Penny’ (Meantime EP version)

While a couple of songs from Marck’s previous musical adventures featured in the set (you can hear an early ‘Rodeo Falls’ version of ‘In For A Penny’ above), there’s also an abundance of new material on offer, and it’s the new songs that really define The Rodeo Falls’ country-tinged rock ‘n’ roll sound. But it’s early days and recordings of these tracks are likely to be some time away, so you’ll just have to take my word for it when I say that ‘Doctor Doctor’ jumpstarts into glorious technicolour after a beautifully low-key beginning. Or that Marck looked surprisingly comfortable half-singing, half rapping along to the spiky blues-funk of ‘Dyed In Wool’ – I think it’s the first time I can ever recall seeing him perform without a guitar. By the time set-closer ‘Put On Silver’ wrapped things up in raucous, barrelhouse-rocking style, it’s clear to see that this is the most fun Marck has had on stage in a good while, and his bandmates are enjoying themselves just as much. There’s no pretence here, just big grins, big choruses and the beginnings of an exciting new rock ‘n’ roll band.

If you want to see for yourselves, The Rodeo Falls are playing a free gig on Friday 3rd May at The Fenton in Leeds, supporting fellow York up-and-comers Pine For Cedars – the party kicks off at 8pm. York residents, be sure to keep an eye out too, as there’ll no doubt be more gigs coming up in the summer and beyond – and trust me, you’ll want to be there.

Find more information on The Rodeo Falls on Marbled’s website.

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Local Artist Of The Whenever #17: IO

York-based four-piece IO (named after one of Jupiter’s moons, fact fans) have already attracted the attention of sites far cooler and more relevant than my own, (This Is Fake DIY and Brighton’s Recommender, to name but two), and it’s fair to say they’re deserving of it. While Oliver Webb (vocals), James Thomas (guitars), Mike Harding (bass) and Sam Ford (drums) have been playing together for less than a year, their songs already sound remarkably tight and fully formed.

Granted, when a band dubs itself a ‘pseudoprog’ act and lists its influences as ’90s dance/prog’, you could forgiven for assuming that those statements smack of irony, pretence, or both – but with IO it actually makes a lot of sense. Take the relentless tempo and simple but affecting vocal hooks of dance music and combine them with the intricate riffs and rhythms of prog, and you’ve got something that sounds a lot like IO.

IO – ‘This Place’

The end result is akin to the likes of Foals and Friendly Fires, mixing math-rock with a tropical pop slant. The band have a handful of tracks up on their Soundcloud page, and despite being humbly labelled as demos, they demonstrate remarkable polish. The mesmeric guitar riffs and swelling electronics of ‘This Place’ eventually give way to a 90s rave breakdown at the track’s crescendo, while ‘Nolife’ sees its incessant, funky bass and airy synths matched with a melancholy vocal.

IO – ‘Nolife’

For me, ‘Peaks’ is the band’s boldest statement of intent, a track that is far more than the sum of its individual parts. “I don’t know if I could do it to myself/or do it to my friends,” opines Webb, demonstrating the kind of universally relatable sentiment that makes for an instantly infectious hook. For those who require context, the next line has it in spades: “I won’t tell her that I love her.” Lyrically, there’s not much more to it than that, but more would be unnecessary – a whole world of conflicting emotion is neatly encapsulated in those two lines, and there’s something to be said for expressing a lot without actually saying much at all. Of course, it helps that ‘Peaks’ is so sonically interesting – beginning with a spacious, minimal feel thanks to its deliberately picked guitar line and restrained rhythm section, before guitars build to an intense shimmer and the drums and bass increase in intensity. And that moment where everything drops out for a split second before the track’s colossal finale? Absolutely sublime.

IO – ‘Peaks’

The band recently took part in a gig for BBC Introducing’s 360 Festival, which will cover some of the best new bands throughout the four counties of Yorkshire. Tracks and interviews from the gig will be featured on the BBC Introducing in York & North Yorkshire show on BBC Radio York between 6-7pm on Saturday 18th February, as well as on other BBC Introducing shows across the county between the 16th-19th February. Fellow LAOTW alumni …And The Hangnails will also feature, so keep an ear out for them too.

If you’re in York and want to see the band live for yourself, you’ve got a couple more opportunities this month – they’re supporting Club Smith on the 11th February at The Basement, and playing with Spector and David’s Lyre at The Duchess on the 17th February. After that, they’ll be heading down to London for a show at The Electric Showrooms in Hoxton on the 22nd February.

Simply put, IO are a band that show fantastic potential and give further credit to York’s interesting and varied music scene – you’d do well to pay attention to them over the coming months.

Find IO on Facebook here, and on Twitter here.

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Local Artist Of The Whenever #16: Boss Caine

I suppose this article may be a tad redundant, but it’s frankly criminal that I haven’t got round to talking about Boss Caine before now. While Boss Caine is, in actuality, an ever-shifting collective of musicians, the songs themselves are penned, played and sung by perennial figurehead of the York music scene Daniel Lucas (otherwise known to all and sundry as G.T. Turbo).

Lucas plays in a bluesy Americana style that by rights shouldn’t work for a gentleman born on this side of the Atlantic – and yet he carries it off with ease thanks to his deep, gravelly and arresting tones, blessed as he is with the type of voice that makes him sound as if he was raised on Tennessee whisky and cigarettes. He released his debut album as Boss Caine in April 2010 on York-based label Little Num Num Music, a record entitled The Ship That Sailed – and as the title might suggest, it comprises 14 well-woven tales of love, loss and heartache. You can listen to and purchase the whole thing via the Little Num Num Music Bandcamp page, or via the player below. Personal highlights are the simple but heartwrenching ‘Bring Back My Baby’, and the emotionally raw love triangle Lucas deftly illustrates on ‘Sweet Sorrow Surrender’.

There’s also a 6-track EP entitled Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch…, which is also available on Bandcamp – the dark and menacing ‘Murder On My Mind’ is a particular favourite of mine. Interestingly, this latter record received a physical release as one half of a split LP on Little Num Num – the other half being a record by fellow York musician Mark Wynn called Lovers, Losers And Wasters (he’s a man worthy of an article in his own right, but for now you can check that EP out here).

More recently, Boss Caine recorded a session for newly formed music video project York Acoustic – an endeavour that sees local musicians performing in local record stores, coffee shops, bars, and other unconventional venues. In the surroundings of local coffee shop Bison Coffee, Lucas played two tracks that are set to feature on his next record – a jaunty, wryly amusing love song entitled ‘Kind Of Loving’ (watch that here) and a nostalgic, touching ode to Gram Parsons called ‘Truck Stop Jukebox’, which you can see below:

If that’s whetted your appetite to see the man perform in the flesh, your best bet is to find him hosting Busk at Dusk in York every Sunday evening (generally kicking off around 10pm or so). Failing that, he’s currently booking gigs all over the place – February 11th at the 1 in 12 Club Cafe in Bradford, March 18th at The Greystones in Sheffield, May 2nd at The Duchess in York, and July 4th at Prince Albert in Brighton are among the confirmed dates. Fingers crossed audiences across the land will take to him the same way that dear old York has.

Keep an eye on the Boss Caine Facebook or Twitter pages for new announcements and updates as they happen.

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Local Artist Of The Whenever #15: The Buccaneers

The Buccaneers

Having been amongst York’s finest proponents of bluesy garage-rock since 2006, The Buccaneers celebrated a pair of firsts last weekend with a packed out show at York’s City Screen Basement (I would have loved to have been there, but alas, duty called). The trio is made up of Andre de Gaye (guitar/vocals), Johnny Gatenby (Drums/Vocals) and Leo Wild (Bass), and the night saw the premiere of their first ever music video, for their new single ‘Don’t Breakdown’ – the clip was directed by Matt Lee, and you can watch it below.

The track’s laid back swing rhythms and lashings of Hammond organ give it an instant 70s feel, while B-side ‘Shake It Or Leave It’ packs a Rolling Stones-esque vibe, with fuzzed up guitars and a vocal reminiscent of Kings Of Leon (before they went a bit shit). And in keeping with the retro feel, you can get the two-track single as a 7″, another first for the band – so if you prefer your tracks on vinyl, head over to The Buccaneers’ bandcamp page and pick up a copy.

The Buccaneers have been a consistently impressive presence on York’s music scene over the past few years, steadily building up support along the way. With the year having only just begun, we can surely expect more to come from the band in 2012 – keep your ears open and your eyes peeled.

Find The Buccaneers on Facebook here.

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