Indieterria Review – “My Walk” by Pietro Blanca

Dear Readers,

Indieterria continues to showcase artists around Manchester who answered our call to submit their songs. The beauty of project “Hello Manchester” was to allow musicians to speak about their art on their own terms and bring to the light new and upcoming music from the city. It doesn’t matter if the artists were accomplished bands or people who create at their leisure. All music is equal and worth being shared. So far he had the incredible band Hot Minute and electronic indie duo Edits featured as part of our series.

Guitar man – Pietro Blanca is ready to take on the Manchester scene.

Today we meet Pietro Blanca – solo artist and a lead singer of alt rock band Clifftop Empire. And we are so happy to discover Pietro.  Let us tell you why. In March this blog had a pleasure to interview one of the most international acts ever Shiva May Care – where every member comes from different country, speaks different language but all together they create kick ass rock music. Shiva is based in Manchester and was founded by Italian multi instrumentalist and producer Federico Cossu. We are over the moon to discover that Federico is not the only hugely talented Italian artist who chose Manchester to be his home. Pietro Blanca also resides in Mancunia.

If you ever had a chance to listen to Italian guitar masters (Beppe Gambetta or Pino Daniele to just name a few) then you know that the secret of their hugely popular pop and rock music lies in combining classical guitar techniques with ear catching melodies. Continental guitarists don’t just pick up an instrument to play indie – they find their inspiration in folk, medieval, jazz and even flamenco music. Most of them are classically trained. And then bring all those elements into rock music. There is a reason why Sanremo Music Festival both inspired Eurovision and Montreux  Jazz Festival and is responsible for launching careers of Laura Pausini or Eros Ramazotti among countless stars.

The versatility, range of influences from psychedelia to The Beatles and Mark Knopfler (in his Golden Heart era) is evident in Pietro Blanca`s “My Walk” single – dreamy and yet sorrowful song that was just made to be played on the radio on a lazy summer days.  It may surprise you that it lasts just two minutes but such miniature compositions are nothing new in pop music. Just remember “Velocity Girl” by Primal Scream stands at 1:22 minutes.

We had asked Pietro few questions about his music and this is what he had to say:

Pietro during a solo show in Manchester famous Norther Quarter

Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria. Where are you based and who is in the band?

Pietro Blanca: Hello, my name is Pietro. I am folk/pop singer and songwriter based in Manchester.

Tell us something about your project – are there any goals that you managed to achieve?

Pietro Blanca:  I started my current project in 2010, when I’ve decided to create some music on my own. I was 14 years old when I discovered the guitar for the first time. Through the years, I got into different genres: from mixture of folk and pop like Kings of Convenience, The Cranberries and José Gonzàlez, to heavy metal, like Metallica, System of a Down and Meshuggah. After playing metal with my first band for 5 years, my mind went into a totally different direction! (laughs). My first demo came out in 2010 (“Andare Lontano/Nessuna Esistenza”) and the first EP was released in 2016 (“Mirrors Beyond The Sea”).

What inspires you? What artist or genre had the biggest influence on you?

Pietro Blanca:  I`m inspired by many artists but most likely by Kings of Convenience, José Gonzàlez, The Cranberries and Imogen Heap.

It`s all about the music – and we want to hear about your new single. Is there a story behind the song, where and how was it written.

Pietro Blanca: The single is called  “My Walk”. The song has been written right when I was thinking to leave my country to go abroad. Moving away meant a huge change in my life but also a new adventure to embrace.

 

Are you touring? Where can we see you playing live?

Pietro Blanca: At the moment I’m not touring as a solo artist but I am always checking out open mic nights in Manchester and wherever else is possible. I’ve been focusing on another project called Clifftop Empire in my spare time.

If any bookers or promoters want to get in touch – what is the best way to contact you?

Pietro Blanca performing with Clifftop Empire in Sheffield

Pietro Blanca:  The best way to reach me is through my Facebook page – Pietro Blanca Music.

Imagine you can record an album with any artist, dead or alive in a studio of your choice. Who would be on your record?

Pietro Blanca:  I’d love recording some music with Devin Townsend, he is a great artist in whatever genre he plays.

You can follow Pietro on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/pietroblancamusic/
https://twitter.com/PietroBlanca
https://www.instagram.com/pietro_blanca/
https://soundcloud.com/pietro-blanca
https://www.youtube.com/user/pietroblanca
https://open.spotify.com/artist/68TkewCVzLMXtMCpoMtpUn?si=gsTYG0RwSdyANZRKW3ForA

 

You can listen to Pietro`s demos Andare Lontano/Nessuna Esistenza (“Going Away/No Existence”) at this address:

https://www.jamendo.com/album/62053/andare-lontano-nessuna-esistenza

If you would like to check Pietro`s other musical project – alt rock trio Clifftop Empire, you can do so via following links:

https://www.facebook.com/ClifftopEmpire/
https://soundcloud.com/user-434835923

Thank you kindly for reading and there is lots more in Hello Manchester to discover. We will be seeing you soon.

R/M

Indieterria meets The Howlers

Drear Readers,

As music scounts, the team at Vanadian Avenue, is always looking for new talents and exciting new music. We hunt high and low to bring artists with potential to the light and present them to our community. Sometimes we have to go to the dive bar to descover a gem, sometimes we receive an email with a great tip and in many cases, we hear from others in the business. Photoghraphers, managers, writers, bloggers, label owners – they all have their eyes opened as well and a word can spread quickly if a new talent is found.

The Howlers, a trio from London, were introduced to us by our good friends at These Bloody Thieves Records and after hearing their new single, “La Dolce Vita” we quickly understood why the label was praising them so highly. We sat down with vocalist, Adam Young to ask him about their music, background and their influences to learn more.


Adam Young (vocals and guitar)
Guus ter Braak (bassist)
Cameron Black (drums)

Official bio: Formed in May 2018, London’s Desert Rockers The Howlers have gone on to receive critical acclaim for their ferocious live performances and determination to uproot the current foundations of popular music, and are quickly emerging as one of the UK’s must see bands. Their debut single entitled “La Dolce Vita” is vailable to stream and download on all digital platforms. You can order the limited edition 7” heavy weight vinyl & “orange” casette at: https://smarturl.it/thehowlers

Clash Magazine says The Howlers have confidence of Arctic Monkeys and animalistic charms of The Cramps. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Indieterria.

The Howlers picture by Rob Blackham

Adam Young: The Howlers are Adam Young on vocals and guitar, Guus ter Braak on bass and Cameron Black on drums. We have coined the term “Desert Rockers” as a description of who we are.

We have to say the band is having a month that other acts can only dream about:  you signed to These Bloody Thieves Records, released a single and the video debuted though The Clash website smashed 10 000 views in less than 48 hours. The Howlers did not just take off – you sky rocketed!  Are you able to catch up with everything that has been happening around you?

Adam Young:  It has been about 4 days since we released our debut single and we’ve achieved so much with Radio 1, Radio X, Clash Magazine and others. The views our video has racked up, everything has been a bit surreal. I have to admit, it has been a bit of a struggle to keep up with everything but were lucky enough to have a team around us of amazing people who are as much part of this band as we are.

The video to “La Dolce Vita” shows you being observed while playing in an empty theatre. It has a very dystopian feel to it. It was directed by Sam Crowston (The Blinders, The Pagans S.O.H, The Surrenders). How do you remember making of the video?

Adam Young: All I remember is it being an incredibly long and exciting day. We filmed the video in Sheffield so we drove up there and then back to London in the same day in order to try get to a gig that evening. The theatre was an amazing space that Sam found but I’m still washing chalk dust off my equipment (laughing). Sam is incredible. He’s one of the best content creators out there at the moment and a great lad too. He made the day a good laugh and he works his little northern arse off so we can’t thank him enough.

Your single comes with a striking black cover with an emblem of a cowboy throwing his lasso into the air. Visual presentation of a record is often not appreciated enough. Please tell us who designed the sleeve?

Adam Young: Between Sam, ourselves and a host of illustrators, we must of created 50+ designs and nothing really hit home. We got close but no cigar so in the end, I ended up doing it. I just sat down with my laptop and taught myself everything I would need to do, to get what was in my head onto the page.

“La Dolce Vita” comes with a B side, an acoustic and haunting ballad “My Apologies”. We would love to hear the story behind this track. 

Adam Young: The track is actually a monologue of how my life was at the time. Nothing was going my way. I was struggling with my mental health, financially and I just couldn’t get a break until I met someone who changed everything. They know who they are and that’s all that matters! The song was never meant to be recorded. I finished it the day before and we were about to pack up and leave the studio and I decided to lay this track down live. And it just happened in one take. I tried to do another one and fucked it up so that’s why “My Apologies” has this raw, primal nature (laughing).

There are two distinctive releases of the single: 7 inch vinyl via Rough Trade Records and an orange limited cassette via Brutalist Records. We can’t believe you bring cassingle back!

Adam Young (laughing): Nothing’s sexier than rewinding cassette though, is there? In all seriousness, we wanted it to be a bit nostalgic and a bit different.

You will be touring relentlessly in support of “La Dolce Vita” around the country. Where can we see you live?

Band picture courtesy of Rob Blackham

Adam Young: Here, there and everywhere! We are playing the length of the country, going back to some of our favorite cities. We are really looking forward to Hull, Liverpool, Sheffield, London as well as the other cities like Manchester, Southampton, Brighton & Nottingham. Those places have always shown us so much support. People in northern cities are some of the kindest we have met so we are looking forward to playing all the dates really.

You have built a reputation as a live band – your shows are wild, unpredictable and fierce.  It would not be an exaggeration to call you one of UK`s must see bands. How do you prepare before the show? Do you have any pre stage rituals or do you prefer to go with the flow?

Adam Young: We do actually. Guus gets shitfaced drunk (god knows how he manages to play) and Cam has his little moment of calm. He warms up and stretches like our very own little Ghandi. I basically act like King Kong banging on my chest getting all pumped up. To be fair, when I start doing that right before we go on, usually one of the boys takes the opportunity to clip me one, giving me a cheeky whack. Bastards!

The Howlers are no strangers to receiving backing from industry heavy weights. BBC Introducing called you “loud and ferocious”, while Jack Saunders of BBC 1 described you as band that is “here to make a difference”.  It must have been a proud moment for you to hear your music on the flag ship program on the Beeb.

The vinyl promo of “La Dolce Vita”

The cover of the single

Adam Young: It was a surreal moment! You know, every band wants to hear their tunes on Radio 1, that’s a given, but to actually achieve it is another animal entirely. We were like excited little school boys. We can’t thank Jack and the BBC enough, as well as John Kennedy for playing us on Radio X. They are all worthy of a few beers in our books.

There is a saying in the music industry that manager is make or break of the band. But having a right label is also critical. Please tell us about your relationship with These Bloody Thieves? You are label mates to some of the best new acts on indie circuit, including another London band that we admire – False Heads.

Adam Young: These Bloody Thieves have been amazing with us! Rob Hirst, the owner, has a heart of gold and he knows we love him. We had a lot of interest in the early days of the band but Rob was the first person we met and spoke with that wore his heart on his sleeve. He gives everything and allows us to be creative in our own way. The first time he saw us, we played the same night as Arctic Monkeys in Sheffield. The venue was dead as a result but Rob stood front and centre. He’s like another father figure alongside our manager Mike. We couldn’t ask for a better bunch of lads to work with. I know our label mates like The C33’s, Feral Family & False Heads all appreciate his hard work. Someone get the man a drink!

In a recent interview with The Line of Best Fit you described “La Dolce Vita” as a song that is about being yourself no matter what. You also spoke about being ridiculed and ostracized for trying to find your own way. If you had a chance to speak to those who did not believe in you in the past – what would you want to tell them?

The casette promo of the single

Adam Young: I wouldn’t want to tell them anything to be honest. I bumped into someone in the pub recently and whilst asking me what I was up to, they turned round to me and said: “You should be thanking me really then, for bullying you at school”! What do you say to that? Guess that sums up my home town very well. There’s an old saying round here that goes “strong in arm, thick in head”. I never understood the meaning until that moment I stood in a ropey boozer with a second rate pint…finally all clicked! (laughing)

Last (in) famous question. We have some tough competition for the next PM recently. If you were able to govern the country for one day – what would you do? What policies would be important to you?

Adam Young: That’s a good question. I really wouldn’t want to govern to be honest. Inevitably, whoever comes to power, never lives up to what they promise. As a working class member of society, I’d say leveling the playing field a bit would be a good place to start. There’s no need for corporate bigwigs to get million pound bonuses when there are queues at the dole office and we have teachers and doctors using food banks. I guess I would go full Robin Hood. Green leggings and all!


You can follow the band on their socials:
https://www.thehowlers.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/thehowlersuk
https://www.facebook.com/thehowlersuk/
https://www.instagram.com/thehowlersuk/

Articles:
https://www.clashmusic.com/videos/the-howlers-share-electrifying-new-single-la-dolce-vita
https://www.thelineofbestfit.com/new-music/discovery/the-howlers-la-dolce-vita
https://www.roughtrade.com/gb/the-howlers/the-howlers-la-dolce-vita/7-inch-plus
https://www.rgm.press/2019/06/13/the-howlers-la-dolce-vita/
http://northern-exposure.co/introducing-the-howlers/
https://gotothetop.co.uk/the-howlers-fiery-desert-rock-debut-la-dolce-vita-brings-an-uplifting-message-about-self-identity/

“La Dolce Vita” is out now on 28th of June and the band will be on tour with shows in Sheffield (Cafe Totem) on June 21st, Liverpool (Jacaranda Records) on June 22nd, their home town (London) at the Macbeth on June 28th, Southhampton (The Heartbreakers) on June 29th and Brighton (Hope and Ruin) on June  30th. July will see them play in Hull, Manchester, Notthingham, Tramlines Festival and many others, so visit their websites for more details.

The summer is very busy for the lads so catch them on the road. We give them a full seal of A&R approval and 4 stars of of 5 (and that’s unheard of). Nah, only kidding! It’s full 5 stars and a hug!

Till next time,
R+M

Indieterria Review – “Magic” by Hot Minute

Dear Readers, 

June is all about reviewing new singles and discovering new artists. We start in Greater Manchester and will slowly move towards different scenes across the county.

We wanted to hear about the music from the artists directly, so we made an open call to musicians in the area. The response was amazing and we are thrilled to be presenting these mini reviews to you.

Hot Minute were the first to get in touch with their music. This all female pop group has been together for only couple of months but their chemistry is undeniable. All three girls are studying and living in Manchester and their first single called “Magic” turned a lot of heads and had many feet tapping.

Hot Minute logo

They call themselves a “synth-pop outfit” and this is a very fitting description. “Magic” is a perfect marriage of the 80’s bubblegum pop a la Bananarama, Alphaville, Sandra and Tiffany with crisp, modern production. There are obvious references to K-Pop/J-pop in their sound and promotional aesthetics. Brilliantly neon pictures taken by Rhian Melvin have a strong dystopian and futuristic feeling to them, a cross between Nar Shaddaa and Los Angeles out of “The Blade Runner”.  The beat of the song is fast, the groove is right and the lyrics are easy to remember – by the second chorus you’ll catch yourself dancing around the kitchen singing along. And this is exactly what you’d expect from a good pop song. It has all the right proportions, it stucks with you for hours and you can listen to it on repeat for three days straight without getting bored.

What’s the most important, the girls can play and sing well. In the last decade, pop music relied more on looks and autotuning than singing abilities and it is  refreshing to see that the talent is being brought back to the mainstream. The harmonies in “Magic” are just magical. Believe us, the song is simply irresistible. In short – this is a proper pop banger. You will fall in love with this track, just like we did. In the first 10 seconds. And if you don’t, then we are sorry to say, but there is no hope for you.

The trio photographed by Rhian Melvin at Jimmy’s in Manchester (or maybe in some dive cantina on the Smugler’s Moon?)

Intrigued by their sound, we asked Hot Minute a few questions and this is what they had to say:

Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria. Where are you based and who is in the band? 

Hot Minute: Hey! We’re Hot Minute, Manchester’s newest all female synth pop trio comprised of Keely Hutchinson on vocals, Courtney Williams on synths and Bella Casson on guitar.

Tell us something about the project – are there any goals that you managed to achieve (festivals, radio plays, meeting your musical heroes, EPs, albums released)?

Hot Minute: This is our debut single release as Hot Minute and for us it couldn’t have gone better! We’ve been playlisted by YouTube Music and had an abundance of really lovely blog coverage and some radio play.

“Magic” front cover. Magic is strong with this one…

What inspires you? What artist or genre had the biggest influence on you?

Hot Minute: Our inspirations are women in the industry, Japan and K-Pop. In terms of bands, we love CHVRCHES, Muna, The Midnight, Depeche Mode and The Human League.

It’s all about the music – and we want to hear about your new single. Is there a story behind the song, where and how was it written?

Hot Minute: Magic is about taking the negative and turning it into a positive. The message of the song isn’t exactly a happy one but the tone and feel of the song is very upbeat. We started this band based off the mutual prejudices we’d experienced separately, taking those negative experiences and making them into something we could use to benefit us and we mimicked that in our first single to get that point across. It’s not the cards you’re dealt it’s how you play them.

Are you touring? Where can we see you playing live?

Hot Minute: We aren’t touring currently, but we have a gig in September with Section 25 in Blackburn!

If any bookers or promoters want to get in touch – what is the best way to contact you?

Hot Minute: You can hit us up on our email itshotminute@gmail.com and you can also find us on our socials:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/itshotminute?
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/itshotminute/

Imagine you can record an album with any artist, dead or alive in a studio of your choice. Who would be on your record?

Hot Minute: This one took a lot of thinking, but we eventually came to the collective decision of Daft Punk and we’d probably go for Alucard Studios. That was a tough one!

 

Or read more hot reviews for “Magic” online:
http://indietronica.org/2019/05/30/hot-minute-magic/
https://anerdyperspective.com/2019/06/05/hot-minute-magic-debut-single-review/
https://thegirlsattherockshow.com/listen-to-hot-minutes-new-single-magic/
https://reverbium.com/2019/05/29/manchester-synth-pop-band-hot-minute-release-new-single-magic/

The trio is probably the first ever pop band that we have reviewd on Indieterria. They are worth every blog post and every review, as we think the girls have not only talent but a huge potential to become something special. Given proper opportunities, they could turn into international stars in a very short period of time! We will be following their progress closely and if any pop music scout is looking for a new discovery, then here they are.

They might be called Hot Minute, but hopefully they will stick around for a long, long time.

M+R

P.S. A big thank you to Pete Eastwood who told us first about the group and who made this interview possible!

Indieterria meets Membranes

Hello!

Forget the saying “never meet your heroes”. Sometimes you just have to meet them! When we heard that John Robb is working on a new material, we immediately knew we wanted to speak to him about it. John is not only a musician, magazine editor (he runs the wildly popular Louder than War magazine) and journalist. He is also a poet, a modern philosopher and an artist. His works have been shaping musical landscape since 1977 and Membranes are considered as one of the most influential punk/alternative rock outfits in the history of British music.

We sat down with John a couple of days before his (sort of) homecoming gig at the Manchester Ritz to discuss the new album, forces of nature, our place in the natural order of the universe and performing with a choir! It was a huge pleasure and priviladge to interview our childhood hero, so if you have one, don’t wait and apporach them. Disappointments happen, but so does the magic. And for us it was a magical experience.

Membranes photographed by jay3008

Membranes
John Robb (vocals, bass)
Nick Brown (guitar)
Peter Byrchmore (guitar)
Rob Haynes (drums)

Official bio: This one comes with their own Wikipedia entry!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Membranes

“What Natures Gives… Nature Takes Away” is your first studio album since 2015 and a follow up to the acclaimed “Dark Matter/Dark Energy”. Four years is a long time. Can you tell us how this album shaped from its conception to the final mixes?

John Robb: We got busy. We didn’t expect the last album to go as well as it did and we were sidetracked by touring and life. All the time though the idea of the next album was germinating (ha!) like a seed. There is no rush for a band like ours, we are not a teenage hit machine. This stuff is art and art takes time. Just create when you are ready. Don’t wait for permission on how and when you create. When it was ready, it was ready. There were always ideas and when they had a grand scheme to fit into to with the nature thing then it all fell intom place. Making a record as epic and ambitious as this is, of course, a gamble. The underground scene has lots of rules and you are expected to conform by them! In many ways underground music is even more tightly regulated by what you are perceived to be allowed to do than the so called mainstream. Alternative music is often not that alternative, is it?

The album’s title, quickly brings connotation to the famous Bible verse “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away” (Job 1:21). Was it something you wanted the listeners to notice and think about? Are we, as human beings, at the mercy of the forces of nature?

The front cover of “What Nature Gives”

John Robb: Yes, the album is about the beauty and violence of nature. It’s also about how we are the nature and as you say we are at the mercy of the forces of nature. We are at the mercy of its ebbs and flows. We do our best to try and break away but we are just chimps in suits. We like the idea of biblical preachers against a stormy sky shouting at nature. Like the good book can even have any control on the mighty forces already unleashed way before a god was even invented. As human beings, we are merely navigating this swirl of wildness and hoping for the best.

The “natural theme” is omnipresent on the record. Looking at the song titles, one cannot miss multiple references to animals (“Murder of Crows”, The City Is An Animal”), plants (“Demon Seed/Demon Flower”) or forests (“Deep In The Forest Where The Memories Linger”). Are we looking at concept album, or “dark rock opera” as one of the reviewers called it?

John Robb: “Dark rock opera” is a pretty cool term! There is a concept running through the album but it’s not as literal as it sounds. The songs take the themes of nature but each song is its own entity but the tracks run in an order. For me, it’s very much an album with each piece in place and not loads of tracks chucked together. Like a book with chapters! “A Strange Perfume” is about the power of pheromones and the powerful primal instinctive urge of the perfumes of our own scent whilst “A Murder Of Crows” is about the dark power of crows – their mystical power, their smartness and their cunning cruelty. The song also looks back on the roots of the word “murder” back to the plains of India where it is an actual Hindu word. “Demon Seed/Demon Flower” is a dark dub built around the themes brought up by Baudelaire – it’s a Baudelaire dub! It’s about how sex runs right through nature and we celebrate the voluptuous flowers trying to attract each other’s attention in the battlefield of life. “Deep In The Forest” is a celebration of the tomblike silence at the centre of the darkest first, a place where you can hear nature sigh in its eternal woody silence. It’s also part of a theme for the perfume we are working on with Lush which will be called “A Strange Perfume”! It smells of the erotic dampness, leaf mould and autumnal richness of the forest – a place where your memories linger for eternity.

Back cover of the new album

Two songs, however differ from the rest, thematically and musically. “Pandora’s Box” and “Mother Ocean/Father Time” seems to be inspired by classical Greek mythology.  Can you tell us more about them?

John Robb: “Pandora’s Box” is the apocalyptic end piece of the album. It is about the power of love and lust and the curveballs that nature throws at us in life and that moment in time when you have to jump in and open the box.

“Mother Ocean/Father Time” is about the ocean and it’s also about my grandfather, a French Canadian who used to work on the cable ships as they crossed the Atlantic in the early 20th century. They used to call it the most dangerous job in the world. Eventually he stopped over in London for a couple of days and had the briefest of dalliances with my grandmother and was never seen again. I liked that mystery to their brief affair, that intensity of the moment against the backdrop of the mighty ocean. The music was written to reflect that with the riff being the churning of the waves and the salt stained seas, another celebration of the sheer power of nature. I used to live by the sea and loved that line between suburbia and the wild ocean. On one side the thin veneer of civilisation and on the other the wild and mysterious depths.

The record, which is set to be released on June 7th, is a double album full of intriguing guests: Chris Packham, Kirk Brandon (Spear of Destiny) and even a 20 – person choir. You have previously worked with Estonian female choir Sireen for festival slots and BIMM choir for a tour in the UK. Which choir have you employed on this occasion?

John Robb: I like working with guests. I think rock bands don’t have to be so rigid. We have done so many collaborations over the years. We played in Mexico last night and did a live collaboration with a local band who are called Descartes A Kant (who are really worth checking out). We had one rehearsal and a get on stage kind of affair and that is the kind of risk taking that always creates great art. The choir we used on this album is recruited from BIMM – we can’t afford to fly an Estonian choir around. It’s the price you pay for having ideas bigger than your budget. I put the call out on Facebook for a choir and Claire Pilling, who teaches singing at BIMM college came back to us and recruited the choir. It was great working with the Sireen choir who I saw play a festival in Estonia 5 years ago and asked if they wanted to do a gig with us straight after. They said yes and we played two amazing and brilliantly received gigs in Estonia with them which is where this album really started.

We want to ask you about another person who is featured on the album – dame Shirley Collins, the force behind English Folk Revival of 1960s and 1970s. What an incredible woman. She is 83 years old this year and just released her new album herself. Was it hard to convince dame Collins to appear on the record? It does look a bit like Metallica/Marianne Faithfull collaboration!

John Robb: Shirley is amazing. I met her through filming stuff for Lush, the cosmetics chain, who have created a media channel which I film content for. She was in Lush one night at the launch of a film about her and it was great to meet her. She is a wonderful woman. I asked her if she wanted to do a piece for the album and an hour later she was reading this great piece about the South Downs and the power of music and how it comes out of the very soil of the surrounding hills. Her description of the flowers and birds in the Sussex hills is so evocative and perfect and one of the highpoint of the album for me.

“What Nature Gives” comes with an incredible sleeve artwork that is actually a Gothic Victoriana painting by artist Valentine Cameron Prinsep, a relative to Julia Margaret Cameron, Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell. The title of the painting does sound like something Nicky Wire would come up with: “At The First Touch Of Winter Summer Fades Away”. How did you come across this piece?

John Robb: I did a Google search! I was putting key words from the album and then searching through images and hoping something powerful and evocative would come up. What I needed was a piece of artwork that would reflect the themes of the album: the transient nature of nature, life and death and the passing of the seasons and the second that image appeared I know it was perfect. I like it because it is the seasons and death and also because its quite erotic and tragic and full of flowers and lingering and tragedy – just like the album!

The release is being promoted by leading single “A Strange Perfume”, where the band members are shown singing among the ballet dancers clad in black. The video is surprisingly dark and has some sort of nervousness to it. It was directed by Anya Cinnamon Machin – visual artist and cinematographer based in Manchester. Please tell us more about the story behind the video.

John Robb: The song itself was about the erotic power of scent. A celebration of the sensuality of all five senses like in the Kama Sutra where all the subtlties of attraction are celebrated. The idea was to have a ballet dancer as we hate mimed band videos and prefer something a bit off kilter. I think the world is a bit too full of blokes pretending to play guitars in videos and we didn’t want to throw another one out there. Anya is a brilliant young film maker from Manchester and it was a pleasure working with her. We are collaborating on a new video with her now – an animation. We wanted “A Strange Perfume” to be dark and shadowy and also to take an influence from the film Black Swan. That edgy tightrope walking film about the nature of intensity and madness – all themes that we are fascinated by.

Not sure if somebody else observed it before us but there is a strong representation of females on that release: from the Persephone/Demeter figures on the cover, to guests such as dame Shirley Collins, to video director, choir members and ballet dancers in the videos. Its very uplifting in the male dominated industry.

John Robb: Yes! Great that you noticed. We wanted to make a record that broke down the traditional “4 blokes against the world” nature of rock music. There are many bands that are great at that and some of them are my favourites but there’s no point in us joining that eternal queue. We were bored of that macho conservative world and thought of ways to break it up. Using the choir was one. The human voice in harmony is one of the greatest sounds imaginable and to hear that harmony in a modern world that is full of shouting and not very much listening, is quite something. Having that many women around, changes the dynamic of things and the sound and texture of the music. It was great to have guests like 84 year old folk singer Shirley Collins on the album, firstly, because we love her music and, secondly, because we want to celebrate age and wisdom and the beauty of older people. Jordan is on there because she is one of my best mates and an iconic presence who defined punk with an artful brilliance that made her so key. She had inspired us when we were growing up.

Right after the release of the record, you embark on a tour that will take you all over the UK (Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool among other dates), Europe and even to Mexico. What can we expect from you on stage?

John Robb: The music is still physical and will be played in a physical way. There are many epic moments but you can still dance to it. We will bring the choir to as many gigs as we possibly can and try and make something spectacular if we can.

In an recent interview with GigSluts you jokingly said that Membranes can only operate on a grand scale. Here’s our last question: imagine you have no restriction of any kind (financial, timely or artistic) when it comes to the production of your upcoming gigs. What do you go for? Las Vegas residency, grand opening at the Carnegie Hall or Michael Jackson-like world tour?

John Robb: I would love to play epic events like the Carnegie Hall! We did check how much it would cost to hire once and it was a lot! (laughing) We’d love to play at the Griffiths Observatory in LA, The Royal Albert Hall in London or the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics in Moscow. All brilliant locations with the choir and a sense of the spectacular. I love off-the-wall locations. We played the top of Blackpool Tower a couple years ago and we love cinemas where we can use the screen to play a film! I would also love to play caves or in the middle of a forest. Or have this 3D immersive light show that I have been working on. Just need the money to make it all work. Of course, it’s all very ambitious but ambition is the driver in breaking barriers in art, isn’t it?

Listen to Membranes on their official Spotify chanel:


And follow them on their socials:

http://www.themembranes.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/membranes1
https://www.facebook.com/themembranes
https://www.instagram.com/themembranes/

Membranes new album is available at:
https://louderthanwar.com/shop/the-membranes/the-membranes/

Membranes will play Ritz in Manchester on Saturday the 8th of June with supports from Glove, The Pack (Theatre Of Hate), Liines, Queen Zee and HENGE.
More information about the event can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/events/226440181569176/
Last remaining tickets  can be purchased from: https://www.seetickets.com/event/the-membranes-henge/o2-ritz/1308269

We will be in the front row, so expect a detailed review from the frontlines!
Till then,

Malcia and Rita

Indieterria review – Burn by Edits

Dear Readers,

Liv and Chris aka Edits (self portrait)

After reviewing excellent single from Manchester trio Hot Minute, we are back with more new music to discover. We are so happy we decided to do an open call for bands in Merseyside area to send us their songs and describe them on their own terms. This month we are publishing those mini interviews and learning how diverse and absolutely amazing scene up north is!

Edits were the second band to get in touch with their music. They are childhood friends who combine studying with recording and writing their own material. Described as atmospheric electro pop, Liv and Chris cite MUSE, Royal Blood, The 1975 and even Nine Inch Nails as their influences.  Their debut single “Don’t Speak” came out in 2017 and was followed by self produced/self released EP “Re – Surface” a year later.  The band rounded up 2018 by releasing another single “Cold”.

On their new single “Burn”, there is more than just electro -pop to Edits. Firstly, what catches your attention is the vocal range of Liv Westhead who is first dramatic mezzo-soprano on indie circuit we came across. Think Amy Lee of Evanescence meeting Lisa Gerrard. Liv could hold her own in any genre really, from folk to Viking metal and even opera without missing a note. But then her type of voice is not called dramatic mezzo soprano for nothing.  Chris Abbot comes in with guitars to create melodic lines that range between indie outfit to industrial noise.

Edits place themselves comfortably among new coming  electronic indie bands such as White Room, The Ninth Wave, Drusilla or La Mode. Burn – came out on June 14th is opposite  o previous single “Cold”. We think it would be a good idea to have both songs pressed as a Double A single on a 7 inch in the future. Just imagine crystal clear vinyl with “hot” and “cold” side – who would not want that in their record collection? But its time to let Edits speak for themselves:

Burn – single cover

Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.  Where are you based and who is in the band?

Liv Westhead:  We’re Edits: Liv (vox /synths) and Chris Abbot (guitar) and we’re based just outside of Manchester in Northwich, Cheshire.

Tell us something about the project – are there any goals that you managed to achieve?

Liv Westhead: We’ve known each other since we were 15 but we really got serious about Edits whilst we were at The University of Salford studying Popular Music & Recording, which is why Manchester feels like home to us. Highlights for us have been playing at Warrington Music Festival and Chester Live and just some of the great reactions we’ve had to our music from blogs which makes you feel super proud.

What inspires you? What artists or genres had the biggest influence on you?

Liv Westhead:  Growing up I was obsessed with the band Muse so I think they have a much bigger influence on the band than some people think. I’ve also always sung in choirs so a more classical/choral sound has always influenced my vocals. Nowadays, I love bands such as Mew, Biffy Clyro, Interpol, The Twilight Sad, Chvrches, Daughter, Radiohead, Everything Everything and Nine Inch Nails. We both love guitar driven music but often with some electronic elements.

It`s all about the music – and we want to hear about your new single. Is there a story behind the song, where and how was it written.

Liv Westhead:  Our latest single Burn was written very quickly actually, which I think is how the best songs come about. Chris had this idea down in Cubase and then I just started singing the melody over the top. Every song for us is different, sometimes I write at the piano and have chords and melody for a whole song, sometimes Chris writes an instrumental and then the vocals are added afterwards.

I wanted Burn to be the opposite of Cold which was our last single back in November. Cold was all about the inability to feel and bottling up all your feelings. Burn is about finding that raw spark inside of you and the feeling of invincibility I get whenever we play live. It’s probably our heaviest and angriest song so far.

Are you touring? Where can we see you playing live?

Liv Westhead: We have a couple of gigs coming up, firstly at LiveBars in Warrington on the 20th of June and then at The Salty Dog in Northwich on the 4th of August. We’re currently looking for a Manchester date so fingers crossed!

If any bookers or promoters want to get in touch – what is the best way to contact you?

Liv Westhead:  You can contact us at: contact@editsband.com

Imagine you can record an album with any artist, dead or alive in a studio of your choice. Who would be on your record?

Liv Westhead:  I would have to say the band Mew. They do some gorgeous harmonies and vocal layering and I would love to sing with them. Also, my favourite producer is Rich Costey who’s produced some of my favourite records ever (including Mew’s Frengers) so it would have to be with him! It terms of studios I don’t really know but I’d love an excuse to go to New York!

Edits are just warming up. Can you take the heat?

Listen to “Burn” here:

http://hyperurl.co/burn-edits

You can follow the band on social media:

http://www.editsband.com
https://twitter.com/editsband
http://edits.bandcamp.com
https://soundcloud.com/editsband
https://www.youtube.com/user/editsband
https://instagram.com/editsband
https://open.spotify.com/artist/6fwe92CcXSydfsBqpZRAfD?si=Fzlpd1m7QgWpuc6oiAfDHw

 

We are going to keep an eye on the band and so should you! This project – despite being still very young – has already shown a lot of potential. A seal of approval from us as A&Rs.

Much love for the band for sending their music in!

Mal+Rita

Indieterria review – Slease by False Heads

Dear Readers,

False Heads can easily be called a band that we love here at Indieterria. They have been on our  radar for over three years. We had a chance to interview them in August 2018 and a month later also reviewed their EP, proclaiming “Less is Better”  as one of our records of the year. We seen them live in Bristol at the minuscule The Mother`s Ruin basement and it was a glorious and sweaty affair. We met them at BBC Live conference in London. False Heads represent pure talent, determination and strong fellowship – all the qualities that make great bands. And now they return with a new single!

Slease cover by Will Hutchinson
https://www.facebook.com/will.hutchinson.921

“We go into the studio next week. Wanna hear what scribbling in a shipping container sounds like?” – wrote the band on their socials on March 1st and they meant it. Slease – their first single post “Less is Better” EP has been written in their rehearsal space somewhere in London  – a large, metallic shipping container. A place that may as well be an epicentre of world domination in the near future.

Slease premiered on 22 March 2019, dropping like a bomb from the sky. Three minutes and fourteen seconds of noise, dirt and impressive bass lines. But surprisingly, there is also a catchy chorus and melody that gets stuck in your head. The vocalist, Luke Griffiths screams out his lyrics with such a passion that you get the feeling you are on a political march (and we had quite a few big marches recently).

“The song was written last year” – explains Luke – “It`s about bad mental states. Addiction. But also how similar the left and right are in terms of tactics they use leaving people  politically isolated”.

The band posing outside their rehearsal space
Photo by Neil McCarty
https://www.facebook.com/neilmccartyphotography

Dark and gritty – False Heads are ready to take over
Photo by Neil McCarty
https://www.facebook.com/neilmccartyphotography

False Heads are a trio with Luke Griffiths on guitar and vocals, Jake Elliot on bass and Barney Nash on drums – but the songs they craft are so powerful  that you`d expect them to be at least  a  five piece. Slease is a good example – there is a wall of sound in this song, changing tempos, roaring bass and drums that will make you deaf if you find yourself  standing next to an amp at the gig.

The single is accompanied by a video directed by Brigitta Szaszfai (who also directed video to “Yellow” for the band last year) showing False Heads violently shaking and being blinded by bright lights in a darkened room.

As expected, Slease made a powerful impact within one week of its release.  John Kennedy  – influential DJ and champion of new music as Radio X described the song as fantastic. It has been added to “All New Rock” playlist on Spotify and “Best New Bands” playlist on Amazon.
The song premiered on Rodney on the Rock on Sirius XM in the US and became “next wave” track at BBC Radio 1 in the UK. It amassed nearly 5K streams in few days days on Spotify.

False Heads played two gigs in London and Manchester to promote the single. Their home town show took place at The Monarch on 21 March with The Estevans and Getrz supporting. On March 20, the band played Manchester`s The Soup Kitchen also with The Estevans. We don’t have to tell you that both shows sold spectacularly well.

Tour poster

False Heads by Nathan Whittaker/ MRC Live
https://www.facebook.com/Nathan.W6

False Heads live in London
Photo by Alan Wells
https://www.facebook.com/thealanwells/

There is something about False Heads that remind us of another band we used to follow in the early 90s. We would carefully gather every bit of information about them and the excitement was felt every time the name was mentioned. The band was called On A Friday at that  time and they went on to do a few interesting things since we first heard about them (like releasing The Bends or Kid A for example). Call it cliché – but we feel the same about False Heads nowadays. Keep them on your radars because they are not just an indie band we like. They are a band that will inspire your children to pick up instruments.  Wait and see.

Slease has gathered some rare reviews from blogs and magazines alike – and we would love to quote here some of them as we enjoy this sort of thing in our reviews:

“Outspoken, heavy post punk trio False Heads have just dropped their first track of 2019 and we are loving it” –  Vulture Hound
https://vulturehound.co.uk/2019/03/track-of-the-day-22-12-19-false-heads-slease/

“Keeping things gritty and fierce with new single “Slease” power trio False Heads have unleashed another monster punk-rock anthem” – Gig Slutz
http://www.gigslutz.co.uk/this-feeling-track-of-the-day-false-heads-slease/

“OOOOOH, we’ve got something awesome for you today! Yes indeed…here’s an incredible grungey alternative rock banger from False Heads. It’s called ‘Slease’ and it’s a bloomin’ masterpiece”  – SoundSphere Magazine
http://www.soundspheremag.com/videos/videos-of-the-week/watch-false-heads-slease/

“This is the first new single False Heads have released following their impressive EP, Less is Better. From the very first few chords, it is abundantly clear that this is going to be a step forward. The sound is immediately rougher, more aggressive and stripped down, and, one might say, more confident”  – Words For Music
https://wordsformusic.blog/2019/03/24/false-heads-slease-new-music/

“False Heads are without a doubt one of the most hard-working bands out there. After travelling up and down the country extensively in 2018 to promote their blisteringly confident EP Less Is Better and hooking us in with exploding riffs cemented firmly in the centre of punk sensibilities, this chaotic trio return with new single Slease” – Unique Lullaby
http://www.uniquelullaby.co.uk/2019/03/unique-to-check-out-false-heads-slease_18.html

False Heads
Photo by Neil McCarty
https://www.facebook.com/neilmccartyphotography

“With shows locked in to support the launch of ‘Slease,’ and the wheels of their debut album now in unstoppable motion, 2019 will be their most ambitious year to date and they want you to be a part of it. Who’s in?” – Rock and Loud Magazine
https://rocknloadmag.com/news/false-heads-drop-new-single-slease/

“[False Heads] crash into 2019 with one of their most explosive tracks to date” – Original Rock
https://originalrock.net/2019/03/07/interview-false-heads-talk-upcoming-single/

“False Heads remain one of the best and most authentic guitar bands” – Its All Indie
http://www.itsallindie.com/2019/03/false-heads-release-explosive-new-track.html

“Slease finds the East London trio in super energetic, ferocious punk mode, and memorable and easy to take in as it is, the dynamic song does not lack in any of the fierceness, the poignant lyricism and the impeccably well done production which have made the band thrive from the very beginning” – Destroy Exist
https://www.destroyexist.com/2019/03/false-heads-slease.html

“Sometimes a really crunchy and meaty bass riff is all you need to love a song. Thankfully False Heads’ latest track not only gives us that for an introduction, but continues down the path of beautiful raw punk in their new track “Slease” – Indie Central Music
https://indiecentralmusic.com/false-heads-release-stomping-new-track-slease/

You can follow the band on socials:

https://www.facebook.com/FalseHeads
http://www.falseheads.com
https://www.instagram.com/falseheads/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqivl1sWLJyZxP3Ywei3HGw
https://twitter.com/FalseHeads
https://www.musicglue.com/falseheads

You can buy or stream Sleaze from the link below:

https://ffm.to/falseheadsslease

You can also visit the band`s label These Bloody Thieves Records:
https://www.thesebloodythievesrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/thesebloodythieves/

We hope you enjoy this review. Come back soon, we have more!
M/R

Indieterria presents A Very Insecure Exhibition

Dear Readers,

A Very Insecure Exhibition flyer #1

The opening of A Very Insecure Exhibition – the place was packed!

The opening of A Very Insecure Exhibition

Vanadian Avenue has always been about music, pop culture and art. We absolutely adore any artistic activity and when we are notified that something interesting and unique is going to take place, we cannot help ourselves but to check it out. After hearing that two legendary music photographers, Karen McBride and Shari Dawson are going to do a collective exhibition, we booked hotel, tickets and off we went to see what was happening in the kingdom of Mancunia.

Before arriving to Manchester, we spoke to both artists about their exhibition, but they were mysterious as Sphinxes and didn’t reveal anything about it. They were so adamant not to let things slip, that they refused to name the place of the exhibition until the last day and even then, they had to be convinced by the BBC DJ to do it.

In the days of social media and constant bombardment by notifications, such attitude may be surprising but knowing both ladies, we can understand why they chose to promote their event in this way.

Thomas Haywood of The Blinders – the most popular print at the exhibition

The opening of A Very Insecure Exhibition – the famous Elbow image!

First of all, both Karen and Shari are fiercely independent. They don’t follow any trends and they don’t look up to anybody else. Secondly, they take the Manchester motto of “doing things differently” very literally and always come up with something fresh and exciting. They are also trend setters, always a step ahead of the game. When the rest of the world is busy printing stage times to the last seconds or sending invites, Karen and Shari do the opposite. They provided their fans with minimal information and encouraged them to patiently wait for the right moment. And this tactics worked like a charm! When we arrived at the PROJECTS MCR skate park venue where the exhibition took place, we found out that the place was tightly packed. It was really fascinating to watch – people queued eagerly, exchanging ideas and being excited like  group of kids before unpacking their presents on Christmas morning. We have never seen anything like this before. In a world over-saturated with news, being told only the bare minimum, suddenly seems radical and very punk!

Shari Denson and Karen McBride – photo by Simon Lee https://www.flickr.com/photos/strangelove20/

Skatepark MCR is a very specific place, full of concrete pillars, fantastic graffiti (the portrait of Princess Leia is probably one of the best we have seen in our lives!), slops and ramps. It is located under Mancunian Way and is separated from the main road by a fence. Holding exposition in an open air venue can be tricky on a chilly  February night, but the organizers made sure that the cafe was opened and served hot drinks and cakes to those who needed a little something to warm them up. There was also another drink bar, crafty built from recycled pallets and placed among the pictures that served cold drinks and ice creams.

John Robb (The Membranes/Louder Than War Magazine) who also conducted interview with Karen and Shari at the opening

At the bar

Since learning about the location of the exhibition, we were speculating among ourselves how Karen and Shari’s pictures are going to be displayed. After many guesses, we reached the conclusion that the venue is so unusual that the set up is probably going to be very traditional. We imagined rows of white, elegant boards with pictures displayed in even rows and the visitors passing from one end of the venue to the other with a glass of wine in hand, admiring them. You can imagine our surprise when we saw the final layout! Absolutely nothing traditional, no boards, no elegant browsing! The images, although beautifully printed on large scale billboards, were plastered alongside the slops, hang from the ceiling and were displayed on the walls or even covered the ramps and the floor! To get to see them, we had to move really close. We were forced to bend down, get on our knees, climb and walk around the uneven edges. And in that moment, we truly understood the genius of both photographers. Their art is not to be displayed in a museum or just glanced over. It needed to be felt, touched, breathed in. It was supposed to be in-your-face, it was supposed to feel like you had to work to earn the right to see those images. Only then we could truly appreciated them. The images are strictly linked to the city of Manchester. They portray musicians, artists, cultural icons and regular people frozen in  a single moment in time. They are not static, they are expressive, moving, they feel alive. They would still look beautiful in an art gallery, but it would never be the same. And the title finally made sense. A Very Insecure Exhibition was exactly that – vulnerable, chaotic, unique yet inspiring and very much alive. It felt true and one of a kind. By the end of the evening, the public could take the prints home and the exposition was gone. One time event only, one evening, something brief but beautiful. Just like real life.

Malicia and Keith Higgins

Musicians Against Homelessness Manchester Manager – Andy White

Malicia and photographer Neil Winward

Malicia and music promoter Paul Cartwright

Paul Cartwright

Rita and Mancunian poet – Karl Hildebrandt

Admiring, or taking the photographs home was not the only attraction of the evening. John Robb, punk rock legend and editor of Louder Than War magazine interviewed Karen and Shari for nearly half an hour and we had a chance to listen to their anecdotes, stories from working behind the stages and experiences as professional photographers in one of the most competitive and difficult industries. In the end, Karen and Shari received small gifts form the grateful visitors – two chocolate cameras!

“A Very Insecure Exhibition” proved to be a very big success for both artists. There is a talk that another event will take place in 2020. We cannot wait.

Flyer for next year`s event.

See you shortly,
M+R

As usual – you can see entire gallery of snaps below:

The Exhibition:

 

 

The Opening:

All the best
M/R