in this issue: tapes 'n tapes, Voxtrot, Karva Checkpoint, Emma York and
Galactica and 66e
Emma York: watch the butter melt...
How many of us grew up with dreams of rock stardom? I'd wager quite a
few. How many of us ever really did anything about it? I'd wager a very few.
I grudgingly gave up the dream a while ago - I will never headline
Glastonbury, or be afforded the opportunity to do copious amounts of drink,
drugs and groupies before, during and after 'work'.
So therefore, sighing audibly and preparing to dive the fourth musicOMH.com
Unsigned Guide, it is time to take stock.
What is becoming clear is the
sheer volume of people out there still keeping the dream alive. More power
to them all, but perhaps the following five acts have maybe more chance than
most of turning the dream into the reality.
If you're an unsigned or own label artist, why not let us know about you for
the next edition, on 17th April?
tapes 'n tapes
Every once in a while in this line of work you come across a band that
simply beggars belief. The fact that tapes 'n tapes are unsigned is an
absolute travesty, because by God, they're absolutely brilliant - they'd be
on my record label that's for sure. This Minnesota four-piece could, at the
risk of sensationalising, really be a 'next big thing'.
They sound a bit like Pixies, but have the brittle, modern edge of Battle
and Bloc Party. Their finest track 'Insistor' is a tour-de-force of sharp,
nervy drumming, rolling bass and vocals spat violently at the microphone -
tempo is masterfully altered, atmosphere built and torn down. From the looks
of things they're great live as well. I'm absolutely mystified that this
band isn't signed, on heavy rotation at MTV2 and high on a festival bill,
because it's plain to see that they really, really should be.
Likewise is the story with Voxtrot, who have supported tapes 'n tapes
live in the past - now that's one show I'd love to have been at. Voxtrot are
bit of a different proposition though, vaunting as they do a Smiths-esque
summery jangle in their prime slices of pop majesty.
Their best song is utterly beautiful. It's not unlike Death Cab For Cutie
in its light, airy feel, with lead singer Ramesh Srivastava's delicate
vocals, the close of the song is startlingly poignant - the whole thing begs
to be used as exit music for a film. Oh, and it's called The Start of
Something. Let's hope it is - something big.
Music is perhaps one of the only businesses where talent is not directly
proportional to success. If it were, Karva Checkpoint would be topping the
charts and James Blunt would be playing dingy unsigned nights in
Manchester. The talent in this band is obvious, even if you're not into the
generally 'prog' vibe that this talent results in on this occasion.
I am rather into it though. Vocalist Kate Mellors has a sweet,
idiosyncratic voice which lays atop beautiful, warm guitar tone and expertly
wielded bass guitar and drumsticks. As with all things 'prog' though, it's
not really easy to categorise their music, or find comparable bands, which
as far as I'm concerned is a wonderful thing - you'll just have to have a
listen for yourself.
Emma York and Galactica
Sticking with female vocalists and the more experimental side of things,
Emma York and Galactica are a duo making music that, as the title of their
album suggests, is Far From the Quotidian. Beatbox, acoustic guitar and
vocals isn't a particularly common combination but, like cheese and
chocolate, is one that works very nicely.
Their chosen tools of the trade add up to sound that's like Joni Mitchell
collaborating with Lamb. Priceless, my favourite of their tracks, is
stunningly atmospheric and the lyrics are somehow apt: "How nice it is to
hear your voices / how nice it is to see your faces," sings (the rather
dishy) Ms York, as Galactica adds rhythmic beatbox that the guy from Police
Academy would be proud of.
Regular readers of this guide will be becoming aware of my penchant for
post rock, and this edition's instalment comes courtesy of Ireland's 66e.
There's so much brilliant music coming out of the emerald isle at the
moment, not least Hybrasil (soon to play our next live night, Club OMH @ the Lumi), and 66e
whose sprawling, cinematic sound is a treat for the ears.
The five-piece create musical melancholia that's not dissimilar to
Radiohead (OK Computer era) or Mogwai's more downbeat moments, to which vocal
harmonies are carefully and sparingly added. 66e are home is a fine track -
restful and relaxing, it could pave the way for a breakthrough that is just
waiting to happen.
So there we go, another trawl round the internet is complete, and never
have I wanted to own a record label so much. Perhaps the above five bands
are a step closer to the dream, or perhaps not, either way I hope you enjoy
listening to them.
Their music will be featured in our podcasts if you can't be bothered to
listen now, and if you'd like to make comments or recommendations about the
Unsigned Guide you can do so at our forum or email us at: