Cool your boots, 2016; I’m still working through the impossible amount of tuneage your predecessor tried compressing into my earholes. Is there a way we can start the year around, say, March? Just kick back a bit and write January and February off as a hangover? No, I thought not, you heartless swine. Things Madrid quartet Hinds gives zero fucks about, not including releasing their debut album in the first week of January, are (a) wearing their hearts on their sleeves, (b) displaying their goofy demeanour, and (c) learning to play their instruments properly. In other words: they have exactly the right ingredients for an album which is infectious, fun and fresh. Lo-fi garage pop is the order of the day, centred on the alternating vocals of founding members Carlotta Cosials and Ana Perrote, who tend towards singing about the joys and pitfalls of trying to maintain relationships amid a sea of insecurity, misguided declarations of love, and heavy partying. ‘Warts’ is an early highlight; it’s perhaps the best example of the group’s ability to mix scrappy guitar melodies and loose, dual vocals, whereas the breezy jangle-twang of ‘San Diego’ takes it up all a notch. With an approach to playing that’s as much about writing great pop tunes as it is having a good time, Hinds are not only clapping their hands and enjoying the wild abandon of the moment; they’re digging their heels in for the future. Here’s to you, 2016. Let’s do this.
AUSTRALIA and Two Door Cinema Club are no strangers.
The Northern Irish indie-pop trio have graced our shores a number of times for both headline and festival shows, but their upcoming appearance at Splendour in the Grass will be their biggest test Down Under yet. With a new label and material behind them, expect them to rise to the challenge, says bass player Kevin Baird.
Hi Kevin. What’s the plan to get yourself into a Splendour-headlining frame of mind?
I think we’re going to be super-excited to play. We haven’t really been playing much this year; it’ll only be our second or third show we’ll have played in all of 2014 at that point, so we’ll be really up for it. I think it’ll probably the biggest headline festival slot we’ve ever played, so it’s pretty exciting and we’re just going to go for it. I don’t think we’re going to be too nervous or anything; we’re just going to enjoy it.
How did you feel when you heard you were headlining?
I think if it had been last year or the year before we might have felt a bit of pressure, but the overwhelming feeling now when we get asked to headline things, is like ‘finally’. We sort of feel that we’re ready to do it, and it’s where we want to play on the bill. We’ve played enough and we’ve done enough big slots to know that we can headline a festival, so it’s really nice to know that you’ve got to that point. We always looked at other bands who were in that position when we’d be playing at midday or whatever and hoping we get to that point. So, the overriding feeling is happiness.
Will you do anything differently from a normal TDCC show?
I don’t think we’re too protective of ourselves in that way; even if we’re headlining a festival, we’re not under the illusion that everyone there is a massive Two Door Cinema Club fan. I think a lot of bands make that mistake. We’re obviously aware which songs translate better to someone who’s not a massive fan, and it’s all about pace and speed and not really giving people a chance to relax. We’re not going to be spending 30 seconds between songs talking rubbish, or standing in silence tuning our guitars. It’s all about momentum when you’re in a big outdoor arena; I think at a festival you just got to get on with what you’re trying to do.
Will you be playing any new material at Splendour?
We’re sort of toying with the idea at the moment. We’ve been writing a lot of new stuff while we’ve not been playing shows this year. We haven’t quite decided if we’re ready for an unveiling or not, but if we were to do it, I think Splendour would be a very nice place to do it.
How much have you written?
I think we’ve lost count, but we’re working in double figures in terms of ideas at least. The first album was very different, because there was no pressure. We just arrived with the album, recorded it and it was done. With the second, we sort of wrote 15 or 16 songs and 11 of them ended up on the record. I think this time around we’re trying to be a bit more conscious of having more choice, so we’re just writing as much as we can, hoping to have about twenty or thirty songs to pick from.
Are you looking take your sound in any new directions with the new material?
We were writing the last record in 2011 and a lot has happened and changed about what we are listening to, our perspective of things and our lives in general. It’s more natural to sort of write what we feel like writing, and that just naturally comes out differently. We actually find it much more unnatural to just rip ourselves off, if you know what I mean. Any time we’ve tried to do that it’s come out as a terrible song, so we end up doing whatever feels right at the time. Luckily for us people have liked it so far, and hopefully they’ll like it when we release another record.
After your second album, you left the Kitsuné label and signed with Parlophone. Was there any particular strategy behind that?
We left Kitsuné at the end of our record contract, and we felt like we wanted a change. Parlophone were one of the labels interested in signing us. Kitsuné have always been incredibly amazing and have been a really positive force in our music, image and everything. But at the end of the day we sort of became a bit frustrated – and it’s a horrible thing to say – about money, and although Kitsuné put everything in and we couldn’t ever have asked for more, we’re quite ambitious. We have quite large fanbases in places like Singapore and Malaysia, and we feel like we need to be releasing albums there, so that was one of the things that made us want to go with a big company; to make sure the records come out in these places. The previous two albums; they had to import them from Japan or Australia. Parlophone are amazing; they’re the small family relationship of an indie label, but with a major machine behind it.
If you could have a cameo role in any TV show, past or present, what would it be?
The Sopranos. It’s just the best TV show ever. I’d like to be one of the animals that Tony Soprano loves, but I don’t think that would be possible. So I’ll be some sort of animal keeper, so Tony Soprano will like me.
Which celebrity or musician would you be happy to sit next to on a long-haul flight?
Not the other guys in the band! Someone who’s not very talkative, because I don’t like to talk. Someone who is really boring.
Finish this sentence: fuck the expense, send me a case of…
Umm… Cooper’s Pale Ale. Love it.
TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB PLAY SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS JULY 26.
Californian indie-pop trio Foster The People just about cornered the hipster music market with their 2011 debut Torches. It was a decent album of dance-infused pop tracks and spawned five singles, including the ubiquitous ‘Pumped Up Kicks’; a deceptively dangerous little pop tune that lost its charm after being played incessantly on every radio station in existence. Now it’s time for the so-called difficult second album, and it’s one that frontman Mark Foster has gone on record as saying is closer to his vision of the band’s sound than Torches. “I’m bored of the game, and too tired to rage,” he sings on first single ‘Coming Of Age’, and unfortunately by that early stage, the listener is too; such is the lack of ideas present on the first three tracks. Maybe the off-the-charts catchiness of parts of Torches have increased expectation on this album to be similar in execution, but the simple fact is there is very little to like here, besides a few slick guitar riffs here and there. Mid-album efforts ‘Nevermind’ and ‘The Angelic Welcome of Mr. Jones’ are cringeworthy pseudo-choral nonsense, and sound like they are probably leftovers from Foster’s soundtrack work. The low point is ‘Best Friend’, which grates like ’80s cheese-pop dorks Level 42 crossed with a bad case of food poisoning. There’s no ‘Pumped Up Kicks’, or even a ‘Helena Beat’, and while the variety of sounds have increased, the result isn’t in any way improved for it. Foster The People are going to have to work very hard to recover from this. (Columbia)
There’s something pretty irresistible about Go Violets, even before you’ve heard a single note of their music. The Brisbane all-girl indie-pop quartet take the kind of infectiously rosy approach to making music and performing that makes you feel like you’re stuck in some perennially perfect version of your teenage self, with nothing but carefree good times and unadulterated high hopes for the future.
Then you hear their tunes, and before you can work out whether the sweet, summer-y harmonies and tales of innocent adolescent longing are cleverly and carefully reconstructed versions of pop masterpieces from times gone by or whether the reference points are entirely coincidental, you find yourself being absorbed into the simple upbeat beauty of it all and thinking that if there’s any justice in the world, this band will be bigger than Robin Thicke’s ego. That’s pretty damn big.
Heart Slice is their debut EP, and in a nutshell, is a six-track, eighteen-minute blast of power-pop and catchy choruses that will charm you into falling under its spell, even if it’s not exactly ground-breaking or particularly technical stuff. “We’ll stick and never will divide,” sings lead vocalist Phoebe Imhoff on opener and best track ‘Teenager’, starting a lyrical run of subjects that include being “mad about you” and “meeting in the park” – get the idea? Various members switch instruments and take turns at lead vocals, as they do when playing live, with drummer Ruby McGregor and guitarist Alice Rezende swapping spots with ease, while bassist Harriette Pilbeam underpins it all with a punchy pop groove.
There are some pretty goofy lyrics here and there, “Hey Josie, this is not the end, or as the Spanish would say ‘fin’,” on slacker-pop second track, ‘Josie’ for example, but they all add to the overriding senses of charm and fun throughout. Buy this EP, and you’ll listen to ‘Teenager’ about fourteen times in a row – I guarantee it.
HEART SLICE BY GO VIOLETS IS OUT OCTOBER 4
Hailing from the northern beaches of Sydney, indie-pop quintet Lime Cordiale make the kind of pop music that will make you think of summer sun, beach parties, beer, barbecues, and good times. The core of the band consists of brothers Oli and Louis Leimbach and one thing that makes this EP different from most similar indie releases is the frequent addition of brass to the songs, including trumpet and trombone at various points. There’s also a bit of clarinet in there, because why the hell not? It’s indie-pop, but with a touch of ska and world music influences in places.
As the band’s name name suggests, Falling Up The Stairs takes a fresh and sprightly approach to indie-pop, and there’s a definite Australian laid-back and upbeat vibe; this music couldn’t come from anywhere else, and much of the style isn’t too far off that of fellow Sydneysiders Sticky Fingers.
Opener and single ‘Bullshit Aside’ is the best song, and sounds fun and upbeat despite having some fairly heavy lyrics. The playful synths in ‘Famous’ are layered over what is a tight and groovy rhythm section, and the jaunty ‘Sleeping At Your Door’ sounds like it would be pretty amazing played live.
The only criticism that could be levelled at this EP is that there isn’t an obvious stand-out killer track, but with the band having just played a by-all-accounts killer set at BIGSOUND and with the might of Chugg Entertainment behind them, expect to hear a lot more from Lime Cordiale in the coming months.
FALLING UP THE STAIRS BY LIME CORDIALE IS OUT NOW