Tag Archives: psychorock

Review: Wolf Alice – Old Blue Last – 7th January 2013

13 Jan

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Hello 2013. So is called a series of gigs held at the legendary Old Blue Last pub in Shoreditch to hail in a new era of music. And it’s no coincidence that Wolf Alice were chosen to headline a line-up that includes Deathrays of Ardilla and Syron.

Since mid-2012 the band has gradually ascended, initially with a SoundCloud release ‘Leaving You’. A feature in NME’s new music section ‘Radar’, some wild nattering amongst bloggers, a bunch of gigs in and around Southern England; and now headlining not only the OBL, but supporting Peace (recently signed to Columbia) at the NME Awards Tour in a couple of months. Not bad when you consider that one year ago Wolf Alice hardly had any band members, nor any polished songs.

So what about them? I say ‘them’ to be polite, but really Wolf Alice is all about the lead man (or woman in this case), Ellie Rowsell. Chiselled cheekbones, plump lips, fair ‘alice-in-wonderland’ skin, she possesses the demure of a 1980s film star. A couple of years ago she had a solo SoundCloud page and if you look at some earlier Wolf Alice performances, she can be seen singing a country-like number called ‘Sticks n’ Stones’. But what a difference two years make; and this is ever more evident as I stood in the OBL watching her sing with a little bit more than Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) about her.

Undoubtedly a talented writer as well as musician, Rowsell looks just as good singing ballads and slow numbers, to screaming-in-the-mic, post-punk material. Look at the online material and you get more than a whiff of a band that just doeWolf Alice 5sn’t realise how good they are, nor how much potential they have. They’ve gone through a few changes and band-member additions; not least their sound has evolved massively. The latest single, ‘Fluffy’ pays testament to the band’s growing musical maturity in the past six months alone. With riff-based, highly-catchy songs, I suspect that Wolf Alice is the best thing to happen to UK post-punk scene since the 90s.

Clearly everybody knows this. Playing to a packed room in what was undoubtedly the first major A&R scram of the year, the foursome played a short and powerful set. Here was a band that looked so natural on stage, they could have as easily been playing at Glasto. A casual glance across to one another during songs, helping out when microphones wouldn’t work. It just came together. Good-intentions aside, Old Blue Last, forget 2013: Wolf Alice is possibly the most exciting band to come out of the UK in the past decade.

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Have a listen to an iPhone recording of the set:


Band of the Week: Los Cripis

24 Dec

The DIY-community, self-production-mindset has always had a home in London, from the punk era of The Clash and Pistols, to the modern-day psycho-rock movement.  So it’s really refreshing to come across a band with a DIY mindset, from Argentina.

Apparently, in Peru, ‘Los Cripis’ means marijuana. In Spanish, it means ‘The Creepies’.

Josi and Nico started jamming together back in 2009, before thinking they should start a band. Devoid of a drummer, they started recording anyway and in 2010 put out their first album, called ‘Our First Album’ (reminds me of the baby book my sister made when her kid was born). Their second album, ‘FAT’ followed in 2011. This also spelled the birth of their self-made record-label ‘Fariscal Records’. Two albums and a record-label in, they thought it might be good to start doing live gigs. But first they needed a drummer – enter Marta.

Let’s stop and pause for a moment. The standard process in the ‘handbook’ of ‘how-to-create-a-band (there is no such thing worth reading, but let’s stick with the idea) is that you find a few mates you like jamming with (and that you don’t feel like smashing their heads in with your guitar), whose sound fits. Then you start to play a few songs, do a few recordings and perhaps start thinking about gigs. Right? So two albums in and no drummer, Los Cripis were going commando musically-speaking.

Like many bands and artists, however, there is no magical formula for success, sometimes it just happens.Their second gig in Buenos Aires, the trio meet a guy called Bruno who invites them to play the upcoming 1234-Shoreditch Festival. Thus begins their European tour 2012.

‘Los Cripis’ don’t ‘do’ fancy studios apparently; in fact they have a self-made recording space they call ‘Momia Studio’. It’s a room with all that is needed to make music; one computer, a microphone, an amp, guitars, a fan and…a cassette player. DIY, self-creation to the max. In the past three years Fariscal Records has expanded to put out more punk and experimental music from Argentina; listen-worthy bands Botanophobia and Gizmo amongst them. Most of it is free, from the Fariscal website; another nod to the free-sharing nature of DIY-everything. The next album for ‘Los Cripis’ is due out in 2013.

Some notable songs: ‘Yapa Ride’, ‘Breakfast’, ‘Angry Country’ and ‘Not Enough’ (from ‘Our First Album’) and ‘Fondue de Jesus’, ‘My Face is Funny’, ‘Angry Man’, ‘Refrigerator’ and ‘Ghettoblaster’ (from FAT).

Apoyo a los:

Fariscal Records: http://fariscal.com.ar/

Los Cripis: http://www.facebook.com/loscripiss.

Band of the Week: Wolf Alice

20 Nov

Before NME gets all the credit for catapulting this London trio into the limelight, I wanted to get in on the action. Made up of Londoners Ellie Rowsell, Joel Amey and Joff (?), information about Wolf Alice is incredibly hard to come by. Their Bandcamp page is non-existent, while there are no tracks on their Facebook page; as such, we only have one track to judge them by. However, that one track ‘Leaving You’  (see below) has an intro that frankly made me want to orgasm, musically-speaking. It starts slow, earthly and then explodes into this psycho-pop melange of rock sexiness.  I want to see more music. NOW.