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FACEPLANT – dubstep, metal, ska band from Leeds by Helen

I made the pleasant discovery of these guys at The Well on Friday 18th November. They were the local support for hip-hop/rock act Senser (http://www.senser.co.uk/) and rock/metal band Idiom from Devon and couldn’t have been a better choice to open up the night. 

Their diverse influences include:dubstep, drum & bass, metal, punk, post-rock and techno, which combined together produce quite a unique sound. I loved the mix of lead singer Mike’s ska/rap vocals alongside the synths, guitar and drums. It’s great to see new (and especially local) bands carving out their own genre with their music.

These guys will certainly get you dancing and jumping to their beats. If you get the chance to see them live, I’d urge you to check them out! 

For now, here’s where you can listen to them:
https://www.facebook.com/faceplantband?sk=app_19507961798


Why not try… Tim Buckley by Rosalind

So we’ve all heard of Jeff Buckley, he’s probably most famous for his cover of the Leonard Cohen song ‘Hallelujah’. Yes, this song has been covered to death and Alexandra Burke’s version will never fail to make me cringe (the song actually has a strong sexual connotation that X-Factor seemed to cut out, leading to 12 year old girls up and down the country singing it at talent competitions, unbeknownst to what they are actually singing about…). But Jeff Buckley’s one is pretty well known. What isn’t such common knowledge is that Jeff Buckley was actually the son of Tim Buckley, a singer-songwriter from the 1960-70’s. It’s clear where Jeff gets his talent from when you hear his father sing. Tim Buckley was born in 1947, Washington DC, and was heavily influenced by singers such as Billie Holiday, Judy Garland and Bessie Smith. Perhaps this explains the fragile feminine quality to his voice which was past on to Jeff. His career, like Jeff’s, was tragically cut short when he died of a heroin overdose when he was just 28. Unlike his son he left behind wide discography, and there is one album in particular I would like to recommend, ‘Goodbye and Hello’. 

This album has a very psychedelic and ethereal sound; it shows a more experimental side of Buckley. His first self-titled album was a bit wistful and clean – but this album goes absolutely insane at points  (Try listening to ‘I Never Asked To Be Your Mountain – it’s pretty wild). The track I’d like to point you towards is a sweet little love song – ‘Once I Was’. Not only is it beautifully written, but it’s perfect for fans of Newton Faulkner, James Morrison… anyone who enjoys listening to a guy with a great voice mope over a lost love.  It’s also great to listen to at night. When you’re alone. Crying about someone. Or maybe you’re not as lame as me… :)


Review: Constellations Festival by Rosanna

University of Leeds, Saturday 12th November 2011

Last Saturday saw an array of hipsters descending on Leeds University Union for this year’s Constellations Festival (www.constellationsfestival.com), a day-long showcase of some of the best new talents in the field of music, art and film. 

The festival attracted perhaps one of the more pretentious crowds I’ve seen, with far too many moustaches and Doc Mart’s to keep track of.  Whether they were casually sipping wine in The Terrace’s “pop-up” cinema (screening Warp films such as Martin Radich’s Crack Willow), nodding in serious agreement at artwork displays or shoegazing at the back of Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, the try-hard indies did lend to a brilliant day of people watching. 

A variety of lesser known, but of course NME-hyped bands took to the stages throughout the day, with a beautifully subtle performance from Summercamp kicking off proceedings. 

But of course the biggest and the best came as the night drew in, with my new favourite band The Antlers drawing in a massive crowd in the Riley Smith Hall with their gorgeously pretentious set of fuzzy shoegaze.  So pretentious that it somehow worked, the performance had the crowd entranced, myself included.

Downstairs, Three Trapped Tiger’s set in Mine was baffling, in the sense that an entire crowd of nodding moustached men somehow seemed to enjoy what to me seemed like a lot of out of tune screaming.  And I can’t even be criticised for sounding old and fuddy-duddy there as despite the event taking place in MY university, I was left feeling by the end of the night that I was the youngest person in there, with half of Leeds’  20 and 30 somethings emerging out of the woodwork.   

Over in Stylus a much more understandable crowd were in raptures over headliners Wildbeasts, whose ethereal set seemed perfect for the event.  A subdued yet euphoric crowd were treated to the likes of opener “Bed of Nails” and extravagant “We Still Got the Taste Dancin’ On Our Tongues”.  Oh and there may have been the small matter of a guest appearance by Sky Larkin’s Katie Harkin on keys, which seemed to be just the kind of non-event that drives a try-hard crowd wild. 

Meanwhile, The Big Pink’s new drummer Victoria Smith may well have regretted joining the band following their poorly attended set in the Riley Smith.  Whilst it was always going to be a tough job going up against artsy rockers Wild Beasts at, well, an artsy, rocky sort of event, I don’t think anyone had envisaged how bad it would actually be.  At its peak the crowd was maybe 100-150 strong, and this was reflected in the mood, if not the performance, of frontman Robbie Furze, who took to twitter to complain afterwards (“OUCH” pretty much summed it up).  A set barely peppered with the old hits that had attracted the few fans who actually turned out to see them, was full instead of new material that sounded far to electro to be pulled off by a band best known for “that song on that phone advert”. New single “Stay Gold” was poor, but it was new track “Superman” that showed most potential.  Unfortunately, the set didn’t show enough, reflected by the quickly diminishing crowd.  The bald middle-aged raver didn’t do much to up the band’s street cred either.

And so a night of contrasts, beer-drenched floors and moustaches drew to a close, with half the crowd probably dispersing to late night coffee bars to have in depth musical discussions.  But then this isn’t Paris, so in reality they probably went and got plastered in Walkabout.  Ruins the image a bit really doesn’t it?

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