If we haven’t rubbed it in your face enough yet, this weekend was ‘Live at Leeds’ festival (seriously promoters, where are our freebies? You tight bastards).
So our (not particularly inspired) ‘Future Sounds’ this edition is dedicated to a few of the acts that played at the event. In previous years, ‘Live at Leeds’ has put on acts such as Metronomy, Pulled Apart By Horses, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Wild Beasts: all of which have since found critical acclaim. This year, most of the swinging dicks from the Leeds music scene were off recording debut albums, and a lot of new talent has taken over their places.
Firstly are Is Tropical who may be escaped criminals from somewhere exotic, given they perform wearing tropical patterned neckerchiefs over their faces (or is this some new subtle Topman sponsor scheme?).
Who knows? But this electronic trio sound like they could probably be the soundtrack in your local branch.
Not managing to sound quite as catchy as Metronomy, or as weird as Late of the Pier, they balance somewhere in between with their unnerving spoken or sung lyrics and tropical synth loops. Already touring with The Big Pink, there’s every chance they could gain similar popularity.
With their killer riffs, shouty vocals and beastly name, These Monsters are entirely representative of the scene Leeds has much recent success from.
Having toured with Pulled Apart By Horses, they sound like they could be their heavier cousin – soundwise that is. Vocals take somewhat of a backseat to the riffs here, and, rather unusually, there’s even some brass accompaniment. But thankfully it isn’t in the form of some obtrusive Mark Ronson remix; instead it’s carefully used in the instrumental build-ups for a much more interesting take on the heavy rock sound that isn’t your average Kerrang-endorsed fodder.
Next is up Wolf Gang, but this animal is more Fleetwood Mac than fire-breathing rock monster.
Wolf Gang is the alias of Max Elligott, who’s created a modern take on the 80s pop aesthetic with his echo-y harmonies and Bowie inspired-guitar and synths. Elligott claims be abe to bang out a song in a day, but there’s not too many sound-a-likes, with moody heart-longing ‘Back to Back’, jangly-guitar fast–paced ‘Nightflying’ and staccato synth-pop of ‘Pieces of You’. What sound Elligot will pursue in his debut album, currently being produced by Blue May (thecocknbullkid, Lykke Li) will be hugely interesting with so many ideas already on show.
Lastly are Sunderland indie boy-band Frankie & the Heartstrings. Lead singer Frankie definitely fits the boy band bill with his part-shaven, part-foppish quiff haircut, but that’s about where the boy band comparisons stop. Sure, songs like ‘Tender’ verge on soppy ballad, but with their bursting out chorus and Frankie’s yelps of “breaking out”, they leave you gasping from an emotional punch rather than feeling queasy from sentimental mushiness. They should be abseiling your heartstrings in no time.