Spoilt Neighbours: The Nouse Live at Leeds 2011 Guide

Leeds has been practically smugly rubbing its musical superiority in our faces all year with: successful multi-roomed debutante Constellations festival, local talent exhibition ritish Wildlife festival and now another Live at Leeds festival

Leeds has been smugly rubbing its musical superiority in our faces all year with: successful multi-roomed debutante Constellations festival, local talent exhibition British Wildlife festival and now another Live at Leeds festival. As ever there is a wide variety of acts, and with mercifully fewer venues to contend with this year, crawlin’ from one place to other should be a tad easier. Even if things turn into logistical nightmare, there’s always the chance for accidently discovering someone brilliant while navigating to the nether regions of the Brudenell Social Club. Those looking to judge some hype beasts for themselves have plenty of options (James Blake, Anna Calvi and Aloe Bacc), or some home-grown talent (Pulled Apart By Horses, Dinosaur Pile-Up, These Monsters) as well as a few long-serving veterans (Young Knives, The Futureheads and Frightened Rabbit). Leeds you spoilt bastard.

 

Adult Jazz

Thankful sounding nothing like smooth jazz, this Leeds student trio make experimental pop layered with both ambient samples and richly varied instrumentals. More information is hard to come by, with the band shrugging off questions of who, what and where with “there’s nothing to say that wouldn’t be smug, rest assured we love what we’re doing” on their tumblr. Well as for “What” that can at least be described: minimal samples back hook-laden vocals and harmonies always at the forefront of the band’s distinctive percussion of restless clicks, flickers and thudding bass. Recently voted by their peers to play Leeds British Wildlife Festival, they are brimming with potential.

Listen at: Tumblr

 

Still Corners

Recently there has been a loose string of bands taking surf-pop, doo-wop and 60s heartbreak girl-group ballads, and heavily filtering them with shimmers, echo, reverb and delay. This, of course, is no bad thing with bands like Summer Camp, Tennis and Twin Sister leading the revival. Still Corners might have outdone them with their stunning take on shoegaze and hazy pop ballads. Ghostly evocative breezy vocals hover over every song, accompanied by a mist of organ and guitar. Everything has a sort of supernatural sheen to it, reminiscent of Twin Peaks, with some tracks like “Clockwork” and “French Kiss” even edging into sci-fi soundtrack territory. Signed to Sub Pop earlier this year, they have a debut record due soon hopefully.

Listen at: Bandcamp

 

KONG

Something for those uninterested by the latter nairy-fairy pop recommendations, KONG are for once, as big and fierce musically as their name suggests. This monster was fed on a diet of Fugazi, Shellac and The Jesus Lizard, probably a side-experiment to the Rage virus infected monkeys in 28 Days Later. Released last year, debut album “Snake Magnet” is a snarling piece of rock and punk. It’s not just killer riffs and venomous rumbling bass either, there a sense of experimentation throughout KONG. Shrill plucked strings, blisteringly paced drum samples, and heavy pauses are all signs of a sophisticated beast.

Listen at: Bandcamp

 

Star Slinger

Previously featured in Future Sounds, Star Slinger is the project of Mancunian sample aficionado, Darren Williams. Williams claims a number of influences from older house producers such as Pete Heller and sample legend J Dilla. His free mixtape, Volume 1, released earlier this year, quickly became an internet favourite, provoking an avalanche of remix requests. Borrowing heavily from lost soul samples, Williams cut and chops smooth forgotten vocals to create almost sickly cheerful tracks like “Mornin’” and “Like I Do”. Star Slinger also has its more sensual side, with the moans and groans of appropriate named “Do It Myself”, a textbook sex groove that ends with several minutes of awkwardly sampled pleasured tones. Be careful not to blow your musical load.

Listen at: Bandcamp

 

Mazes

Frankly, aping nineties alternative rock might not be that original, but it is still pretty great. Mazes have been thrown around with plenty of lazy comparisons to Pavement and Guided By Voices and lumped in with fellow 90s revivalists Yuck. But debut album A Thousand Heys lacks the narcotic fuzz of the latter, instead containing unabashed sloppy pop hits one after the other. Apparently recorded afloat on the Thames in an old light-boat, every song is effortlessly joyful, perfectly channelling teenage summer laziness. That might all sound like a pretty shoddy album were it not for their catchy one-liners (“I get off trains and wave/ Like the Beatles at JFK”) and irresistible hooks. Long live the 90s.

Listen at: Tumblr

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