Anthem's Web crew is pleased to present you Part II of our online edition of Future Sound. Check out the first Internet installment and, of course, pick up Issue #34 of the magazine to read the other half of our feature on 2008's Bands to Watch!
As usual, each page corresponds to a different group and two of them include free MP3s (which you can also stream in the media player to the right).
Naming your debut album Zeppelin 3 isn’t the most simple or modest thing to do (Zeppelin III is arguably considered Led Zeppelin’s groundbreaking album), but Pink Skull definitely has some cred to back it all up. The kraut-rock techno group started out as a DJ/producer duo in 2004 featuring Philadelphia dance scene mainstays Justin Geller and Julian Grefe, who each have a slew of collaborations including MSTRKRFT, Spank Rock and Architecture in Helsinki. But it was Pink Skull that gave the two, and the rest of the band who was added in 2006, total musical freedom. “We do whatever we feel like with Pink Skull…9 minute ambient song? Yes. Free jazz song? Yes. Minimal house? Yes. 150 BPM space rock? Yes.”
And that’s what Zeppelin 3 is all about: a mixture of danceable beats with remnants of 90s acid rock, psychedelia and jazz. As for the name, Grefe said he saw the difference of styles in the record being reminiscent of the exploration in the famous Led Zeppelin record, “kinda all over the place stylistically, but still obviously us…plus, it's a pretty rad name, no? I mean, if you had a kid, you'd want to give him/her a cool name, right? Can't get much cooler than Zeppelin 3.” C. T.
Littl'ans started as a modest London-based rock band, led us to believe they would get big in the heads when they recorded a stunning single―”Their Way”―with Pete Doherty and got picked up by Hedi Slimane, and wound up staying just as humble and consumed with their music first and foremost as they were originally. Needless to say, we've been enraptured by the quartet for years, but have only now decided them a likely candidate for musical worldwide domination. If they're not already under your radar, they ought to be steadily popping up soon. We asked Andrew―the band's lead―a few questions about Doherty, the forthcoming LP, Primitive World, recording in New York, and the questinable merits of Arctic Monkeys.
Your music is very easy to fall in love with. One note melts hearts; one word renders doting girls incapacitated. What do you personally think makes you so likable? Personable?
I'm always surprised when someone likes the band in the manner you say. I have seen it but on a very small scale. You can't work it out, you're too busy being flattered whilst in the same hand wondering if that person is genuine or slightly confused. Either way, it's a relief.
Pete Doherty (I'm sure you get this much too often): How did that collaboration come to be, how was it, playing with the man, and how did it affect your career as a band? Is it a bit of a drag to be perpetually known as “The Band that Played with Doherty” or does that not really happen?
It started with a kiss, I think? He was charming and I was lonely. The band have gained and suffered in equal measure and both suffering and joy have been worth it, we wouldn't have it any other way.
Some may say, “that's how I know the Littl'ans,” but those that turn up to the gigs soon get over it.
On that note, why have you shied away from the limelight until now? We've been keeping up with your stuff for years now, but you did a good job of not leaking much information to the press, fans, and the like.
Yes it was on purpose… no, I'd like to think that but I think it's the other way round. Having said that I like the idea of being found rather than paying someone to tell people about you. If you're found and in the same process not flaunted you can keep reinventing yourself. As long as you have a reasonable idea about what you're trying to say… but only reasonably.
Not only have you worked with a musical celebrity, but you're also distinctly attached to fashion designer/photographer/all -around amazing fellow Hedi Slimane (thrilling!) How did that connection develop and what's your relationship with him at present? What do you do with him? How involved in your music is he? Is Hedi to you what Warhol was to the V.U.?
I like your questions, they are very flattering.
He came to see a gig once and luckily it was a good one.
Next thing I knew he'd been hanging out with the tambourine player (Ronnie) who is shameless when it comes to self-promotion (a good thing if you can be that way) and Hedi asked Ron if he could meet me and him by way of a ticket to a Paris cafe… maybe it was the city or the way I wiped egg off of Ronnie's chin that he chose to use one of our songs for his show… I can't say.
Our relationship at present is a stop-and-chat if passing the street and the odd postcard.
V.U/Warhol is a nice way to look at it. (I'll think on that.)
Tell me a little about the recording of the LP… and in contrast to your previous studio engagements. One gets the impression that you approaching “Their Way” in a pretty lackadaisical manner (is this true?)… was recording the full-length any different?
Working with Americans is more proper. Excuse my grammar. Yes, “Their Way” was recorded in one take, with all sorts of unprofessionalism, sparing details, then the poor engineer was left for six months to learn the art of alchemy.
Not so for Primitive World.
You have to live a nightmare as well as a dream, either way the brain tends to remember it well.
We are about to record an E.P with our friend Kristian AKA Capitol K. He has a studio in Hampton court on the river Thames.
We are trying to make our sound more progressive, hence I foresee a Regal early Genesis or Yes combination about to be born. All very Littl'ans.
Once you got the monkey off your back with an album you free up and an E.P is good for starting over.
How was New York? I understand that you recorded there, hung out there (with the Strokes, I hope!), and generally had a good time. Why did you decide to hop the pond and work on music in our humble Union? (It seems to be a trend these days―I met Dirty Pretty Things a while back when they were recording their sophomore attempt; Alex from Arctic Monkeys hit on my girlfriend with this usual trite quasi-poetic ramblings; others floats in and out of the States before releasing material in the U.K.)
Yes, we hung out with the Strokes―I beat Julian at chess. Word was going around that he was a champ and Alex, our guitarist, went out clubbing with Albert while Miss Plynth, Litt'lans administrative secretary, got to hang with the Strokes' wives… of course none of this happened. On arrival to New York a thousand dollar ticket was handed to me by the kind Misshapes to see the Strokes and Alex did stop Albert in the street to ask him to a gig. I played chess with the black hustlers in Washington Square and lost most of my cash. We also recorded in the Strokes' rehearsal building in Mid-Town, in Madonna's old rehearsal room. So there were some parallels, dubious as they may be.
Hence, New York lived up to years of T.V. expectation and American dreams. It was the best experience and some of the worst, when dear Ron got ill with the “Meni” and we were in an episode of E.R.
Apart from the exchange rate, New York can spoil you rotten if the people think you're worth knowing and you can lose sight of the sidewalk for a while.
Fortunately, Littl'ans' luck kicked in and quite a lot out when homeless and staring hungrily at pizza's being made through the shop window, like the film Midnight Cowboy. Alas, we were film stars at every turn.
As for Arctic Monkey man chattin' up your Misses it probably ain't one for the Grand Children. Though I'm not for slagging off. Was she taken with it? And was it about chips and dodgy Liverbirds?
I don't know much of their lyrics but from what I picked up from radio overplay it can't be far off this humble attempt:
I bet you look better than most the Liverbirds I know,
One's called Sally the other called Mo
Lets ditch the oxygen bar and get some chips
Your boyfriend's a scummy man and you've got great hips.
… Like I said, just an attempt. N. M.
The Answering Machine
“God, bands are like cup-a-soups these days. Add the sachet to the cup, stir in some time/money/effort, leave to cool and then gulp down. Instant. Gone before you know it. Music is too important, it shouldn't be treated this way.” This sounds like insight of an old wise band that’s been around, but in fact it comes from Martin Colclough, vocalist and guitarist of newcomers The Answering Machine. Although having only formed in 2005, the Manchester band has already worked to evolve, crafting more focused live performances to bring energy and attention to their dance-worthy melodic pop songs. “I guess we understand the importance of every gig now, and that people make an effort to stand and watch you. The least we can do is give them all we have to offer,” Colclough said.
Giving it all in live shows seems to have led to the replacement of one old band member – drum machine Mustafa Beat. “When we played a gig at Komedia in Brighton for Great Escape Festival, there was a stage invasion on the last song. Mustafa fell off his table (he [was] a raving drunk) and got stamped on by about 50 people. He played through and held his own, but it was too little too late. That was the day we broke the news to him…” C. T.
The first thing Abe Vigoda wants everyone to know is that they are not a new band. While they are definitely fine with being called a band to watch, David Reichart, Juan Velazquez, Michael Vidal, and Reggie Guerrero have been doing the whole band thing for over four years now; across a series of EPs, three full lengths including this July's Skeletons, and hundreds of live shows. The recent flurry of attention they have garnered is the result of hard work and determination, not because they are newest kids on the block. As Vidal says, “We're all really dedicated. We've grown and we've become better and better. And I just want everyone to know that this means a lot to us.”
While Abe Vigoda is frequently associated with downtown L.A.'s all-ages venue The Smell, they shouldn't be dismissed as just another L.A. noise band. The band actually come from Chino, a suburb 50 miles east of L.A., a fact that definitely contributes to their unique perspective and sound. They are both abrasive and fast, as any good punk band should be, but there is also an undeniable tropical vibe to their music that softens things. “We started off as this really noisy band,” Vidal said,”but these weird melodies slowly started to come out.” These new sounds stuck as they proved to be more fun to play. The gradual shift in their sound has also helped distinguish them as a band, by allowing them to develop a unique brand of punk rock that can almost be considered comforting. And really, what better represents the laid-back attitude of Southern California than that? B. H.
Blonde Acid Cult
While Blonde Acid Cult's sonic likeness to classic Madchester groups like the Happy Mondays, the Stone Roses, and 808 State is obvious to first-time listeners, they insist they're no plagurisers but rather diligent musicians trying to carve their own: as frontman Sonny Kilfoyle says, “we're filling the void… and taking what we do now and making it the next thing.” The New York City-based quartet looks back on eras of musical hybridization and cross-genre mingling (Brooklyn in the 1980s, Manchester in the late-1980s and early-1990s) with adoration, but progresses in its own fashion. Kilfoyle adds, “we're into old school New York… when nothing was specific… the periods of time when everything was coming together.” While the band was still in high school when the Strokes and that group's attached scene flooded the airwaves, magazines, and hype machines, they cede that New York is set to explode in a similarly big way (hopefully with them at the center this time). “New York… is at a crossroads… it's on a wave that's about to crash, and it's on the brink of [breaking through].” If the metropolis is yet to re-experience 2001, though, we can be sure that it'll be aptly fueled by Blonde Acid Cult's infectiously dancey live music. The four have been avoiding traditional rock venues―despite their being essentially a rock band―instead playing at major dance clubs like the Tribeca Grand and Spencer Product's Rough Club. “There's really only rock music and electronic music [these days]… not enough live music that you can dance to!” N. M.