Tuesday, June 28, 2011

AIAS at The Great Escape

Ah, The Great Escape. Whatever SXSW can do, you can do, only colder and with a pebble beach. Still you do have the slight adventure of being 100s of miles closer and still put on probably the best value music festival in the UK.

The boat has long sailed into the distance for a full fest review, but I really must share this band as they provided the most enduring memory of the event. AIAS hail from Barcelona and are signed to Captured Tracks which seems a pretty categorical stamp of approval right now (see: Veronica Falls, Dum Dum Girls, Wild Nothing et al).

These girls craft condensed, lo-fi surfer-pop with scuzzy guitar sounds and hooks-a-plenty. When darting from venue to venue in Brighton, it was their sugary harmonies that I kept catching myself humming along to. Their debut, "A La Piscina" comes highly recommended, especially the opening "Tu Manes", a perfect calling card.

AIAS - Tu Manes
AIAS - Moto

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bandstand Busking

Summer in London means snacking on bread & hummus on a picnic rug; sipping Pimms and lemonade whilst basking in the sun; watching the deluded hysteria over a Brit winning Wimbledon and Bandstand Busking.

For the uninitiated, this is a delightful venture where established and up-and-coming bands come play, mostly acoustically, in some of the capital's disused bandstands. It's totally free, available to the masses and the highlights of the shows are put up on the website so you can re-live the moment. Like the Black Cab Sessions, only without having to cram into the back of a taxi to share the experience.

The alumni is pretty impressive with Of Montreal, Wild Beasts & Black Lips amongst those who've graced their stages. Here's a selection of my favourite busks from last year:

This year's busk season has now kicked off in earnest with their second collaboration with Meltdown festival at the Southbank Centre. There's more in the pipeline so sign up to their mailing list and we'll see you at the next busk...

Driver Drive Faster!

Ever since I relented and joined the Apple cult, John Hilcock's weekly New Noise podcast has proved essential listening. The sheer diverse array of sounds on offer in each morsel amaze, challenge and entertain at every turn. Probably the greatest thank you card I owe him is for exposing my ears to the delightful Driver Drive Faster. Their slices of lush, dreamy pop remind me of Mercury Rev and more recent stand-outs Avi Buffalo. "It's All Over, It's Everywhere" is definitely one of my finds of the year.

I picked up their self-funded debut "Open House" last night at their free gig at the Shacklewell Arms. Here's my pick of the highlights:

Driver Drive Faster - It's All Over It's Everywhere
Driver Drive Faster - Gravel Dents