Mont Oliver – 19

Mont Oliver

Danish trio Mont Oliver have released their debut EP ‘19’. A four track EP that is available to download for free from Soundcloud.

Mont Oliver are a group with a lot of potential, ‘19’ is a EP that smashes sounds, genres and beats together and gets them to stick perfectly. Hip-hop beats, trip-hop synth, indie vibes and lead singer Jacob Hammershøj’s distinctive, amazing vocals. This EP displays a band of musicians who can each bring something fresh, unique and talented to the table but more importantly can get all the sounds to work and support each other.

The debut EP includes four tracks: “19”, “White Sheets”, “Golden Glow” and “Nobody Knows”. All are standalone songs that are separate in vibe, emotion and sound but all are obviously Mont Oliver tracks. That is probably the most rousing element about this band, the range and breadth of their potential musical creations is huge.

First track ‘19’ starts with the lyrics “This Is where you want to be”, and you very quickly realize that this music is exactly where you would like to be. The song begins with a slow, old scool hip-hop beat which is soon combined with some deep piano keys and Jacob Hammershøj’s crispy clear vocals. This sets the tone for the rest of the EP, as it shows that this music is not going to be here nor there but each song is going to be a bit of everything. ‘19’ combines some of the best elements of trip-hop and indie music while having that awesome hip-hop beat keeping everything in shape. The dark distorted synth adds a little more of an aggressive, smoky undertone, however this is lost in the euphoria of the high, sparkling chorus which breaks away from the songs hip-hop foundation and rises into a loud trip-hop sounds which resemble sounds created by trip-hop artist Rustie. ‘19’ also introduces us to Jacob’s amazing falsetto voice which is a standout element throughout the EP. His voice is often one of the clashing instruments that make the Mont Oliver sound so unique.

‘19’ is followed by the track ‘White Sheets’ which was released earlier this month. It’s combination of hip-hop vibes Mont Oliver. EPencompassed in electro-pop sounds makes for a catchy and well-rounded tune. You can’t help but bob along to the rhythm while the chorus is sang in a beat spaced staccato style. Some more exquisite vocals are song in sharp contrast to the murky chorus voice, but despite the contrast it never interrupts the tracks flow. White Sheets is an addictive song as the layered sounds along with the Staccato chorus will probably remain stuck in your head by the end of the EP.

‘Nobody Knows’ Is the first song that does not start with hip hop beat that is swallowed in electro – pop sounds, ‘Nobody Knows’ starts with some soft house pulses that are soon surrounded by an urban beat. There are many, many influences that you hear Mont Oliver grasp and mould, this is perhaps the most unique of the four track EP with maybe some The Beloved-esk noise early on. ‘Nobody Knows’ is just a cool chill out track, drifting away from the indie exterior and into a soft house, pop scene that is all their own. Just when you think ‘nobody knows’ has exploited its chill out pop vibe the song goes into a long, harmonizing verse assisted by some beautiful piano sounds carting the song to its conclusion.

Just when you are nice and relaxed after ‘Nobody Knows’ ‘Golden Glow’ arrives on the scene with its dirty phonic,
atmospheric strings which are quickly accompanied by high pitch squeezing Theremin like sound. This grimy combination is somewhat soothed by Jacob’s silky vocals but even when the pitch rises the aggressive tone remains. There is something unique about the atmosphere about all the songs on this EP and Golden Glow definitely has the most intense, it sounds like the sound track to a film fight scene.

Mont Oliver are currently out on a 22 date tour of their native country Denmark. They have plans to come visit the UK in early 2015 at a number of venues. Until then ’19’ is available for free download on the band’s Soundcloud after being released by Danish label Fake Diamond Records.

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Elderbrook – Could

Elderbrook - Simmer Down

Could is only the second release from 20-year-old London based multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Elderbrook. The single is taken from his debut EP Simmer Down which will be released on November 24th.

Could is a very intimate song, it is as if you are in an empty room with Elderbrook singing right in front of you. This feeling is very personal but also a little uncomfortable and cold. The track is a minimalist and only uses droplets of sound, humming, clicking and the occasional hiss of a symbol. This lack of sound gives Elderbrook’s voice a clear, personal, almost accusing effect. Despite this soft approach it is still a song that you will find yourself nodding and singing along to.

Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World

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Death From Above 1979 – The physical World

The most amazing thing about this album is that it carries on exactly where Death From Above 1979 dispersed eight years ago. Some people may be disappointed by this but I congratulate them. After tempting the rock world in with two short but tantalizing albums in 04 and 06 the two piece band separated indefinitely leaving admirers of the bass, drum duo praying for a return. Those fans had to wait eight years but now they have not only returned but returned to form.

Despite the raw, distorted sound of DFA being replicated by bands such as current rock duo Royal Blood, the music they create still sounds as fresh as when the band first cracked a hole in the music scene in the noughties. The energy and solid sound created is still very much their own. Fans of the band back in 06 will immediately recognise the sounds crackling from there speakers and people new to the band may feel as taken aback as I did in my early teens.

When people call for a bands return and the band answers them calls they often try something different. A different style, a new instrument or a more mature sound. However sometimes they give their audience exactly what they want, what they have missed, the sound they loved. Death From Above’s Jesse F. Keeler has grabbed the same bass, tuned it to the same setting and let rip.

Punky, grungy rock peeled back to simplicity. Grate aggressive riffs, loads of drums and a dirty distortion. The are few breaks between tracks, the music is none stop and the album has a grate flow from start to finish. Every time your concentration starts to lax there is a grate bust of energy or a gritty riff that piles the music back on top of you. The album ends with the epic sound of The Physical World which manages to leave you wanting more, even after years of … wanting more.

The Vinyl Revival

Vinyl is rising from its groove ridden ashes with a new generation discovering the crackling sensation of analogue sound. An estimated 780 000 LPs were sold in the UK last year, more than double that of 2012. That trend is continuing into 2014 as the musical world decides to take a step back.

2013 marked a 15 year high for vinyl sales, a year when bands such as Queens of the Stone Age, Daft Punk and David Bowie got big LP sales numbers. It was, however, Arctic Monkeys who eventually topped the vinyl chart with their multi-award winning AM.

The reason behind the sudden rise in record popularity is still shrouded in mystery and it is possible that everyone has their own reason for defecting back to vinyl. Many reasons have been suggested, one of the most common being that LP’s are new to young people who have grown up in the digital age. Something fashionable, vintage and completely different to that of the non-physical product music currently occupies. In comparison 6, 10 and 12 inch vinyl is big, colourful and collectible.

Mandy Kemp, owner of Jam Record store and coffee shop said that she sells to a younger audience. “I’ve definitely seen a rise but I think it’s across the board, there is definitely more students but it’s among all age groups … There’s a clear difference between ripping music off the internet and playing records, it’s that experience. I think it’s the generation who have grown up with music online and they’re looking for the different music experience.”

Art Student Joe Fenwick-Wilson is a 19 year old who has started his record collection young: “I think all of a sudden it’s hit one genre of people that wants the thing that’s going out of date, I think there’s that cool factor about vinyl that people are really latching on to. The sound is a lot better I think, it’s got a real nice vibe to it … I think it’s young people getting into it and them reminding their parents what’s it’s all about and it’s a great thing.”

Another reason given is that the unphysical, downloadable files that congregate to create the modern music library do not display or show off someone’s love for music. The record is often used as a signifier of musical passion, and more and more people are willing to spend the extra few pounds to buy the record instead of the CD or the iTunes file.

There is a retro fashion to vinyl, a stylish popularity; they say something about their owner, a respectability on a musical level and a symbol of a unique personality. Vinyl is cool. This is epitomised by the shops in which they are now sold: alongside in-fashion clothing and skateboards, in bourgeois coffee shops and small, independent music shops.

The only thing slowing the Vinyl revival is the lack of vinyl presses; with no one making the machines needed to press LPs and those of the past having been destroyed or beyond repair, the music machines are hard to come by.

The current record output is so low that some smaller record shops say that Record Store Day, an event that attracts flocks of music lovers to record shops in London, is actually having a negative impact. They say that record press plants prioritise Record Store Day and these smaller shops, especially those outside of London, miss out.

The remaining machines are being dusted down and put to use worldwide, Americas Rainbo Records claimed that the US turned out 7.2 million records last year and other American press plants are at full capacity. Australia saw a 70 percent rise in vinyl album sales and a further 50 percent rise in singles.

Despite this swift and surprising rise, Vinyl sales still only account for less than 5 percent of that of the overall music market. If, however, this worldwide rise continues that percentage will grow into double figures in the not so distant future.

When asked if they think the record revival will continue, Mandy said “I think it will continue because once you’ve committed you’re in for the long run. Once you’ve brought an amp and you’ve brought a deck and you’ve started your collection you’re not just going to stop”.

Joe also thinks that record sales will continue to soar: “I don’t think it’s going to continue doubling (year on year sales) I think it’s going to continue growing, I don’t think it’s at its peak yet. But then again you have DJ’s and producers releasing cassettes again and I think it’s just putting cool into the uncool and everyone’s loving it.”

The old favourite is awakening from a long slumber and preparing to climb the high and crowded musical ladder. Despite the closing of many HMVs and the lack of other shops selling CD’s, the digital disc format is still the most popular for albums. However, CD sales are on the decline and their resilient fight to be more popular than non-physical formats appears to be fought in vain. 2013 saw digital download sales stagger, while services such as Spotify and Soundcloud witnessed rapid growth as the UK streamed over 7 billion songs.

The masked ball experience 2014

What was I listening to? What stage was I at? What time was it? I didn’t know and I didn’t care. I had been in the same tent for what must have been a few hours but had felt only like five minutes, good music followed good music, progressive house into deep drops and bellowing bass lines. Dancing, jumping and smiling within a feel good atmosphere with jovial people in a way very few places can produce but the Masked Ball can.Mask

I left the tent sometime I believe was around 5:30 a.m as the sun was casting an unwelcome glow, signifying the approaching end to a vibrant night. Some people stumbled bow legged in the general direction of tents, some were trudging slowly towards car parks and pick up points, glitter still sparkling but their fancy dress tarnished with dirt, but most festival goers still occupied the four or five marquees and tents, as for them the morning was still a long way away.  I lay down on the hill which rolled away towards the North Atlantic, the views of the ocean pristine in the low light and a great place to nestle in the haphazard memories I possessed of the previous seven hours of my existence.

The Masked Ball is a strange place, its name and tradition encourages people to arrive in obscure attire, painted faces and a whole lot of glitter. Its schedule and energy encourages staying up all night, dancing to house music in tents on a grassy hill and its very relaxed and free-spirited atmosphere and  security encourages its party goers to indulge confidently in whatever they wish to endure the two day event still standing. My catalogue of memories for the 2014 summer Masked Ball are far, far from complete, however, my emotions and excitement still flares when looking back upon them. My experience of The Masked Ball is one of those that despite not being able to fully recollect, you know you had a great time.

Ball DJ1So who did I see? Well I saw many acts, many good performances but for the majority I don’t know who was providing this good music. I know I saw many acts as I remember running, skipping and climbing between stages trying to fulfil my unnaturally expansive lust to embrace everything the festival had to offer. Groove Armada headlined the festival and despite not knowing if I have seen the house music giants I do remember being in a large tent when the words “Groove Armada style” came cruising out the speakers. I do, however, remember basking in the presence of a DJ who gave a high energy, invigorating performance, and he, I learned was one Marcus Marr. I don’t know why it is only Marcus Marr I remember, maybe certain disturbances to my body where wearing off, maybe its because we had squeezed to the front of the crowd and where looking intently up at the DJ or maybe he was just so good that whatever state I was in I took notice.

Many people have said that this Summer’s Masked Ball was not as good as the last, since then the festival  have expanded in crowd and venue size and some critics have claimed that this has made it loose some of its fun loving atmosphere. As a first time Masked Ball attendee I found the atmosphere vibrant, joyous and captivating. Entering any of the tents which housed the stages soaked you in a feeling of excitement and happiness. This was particularly noticeable when entering the Jelly Jaxx Soul Circus tent which spent the entire night jam packed with bouncing carefree bodies. The fairy-tale mise-en-scene was also a joy to dwell within, with 60% of people in varying degrees of fancy dress striding around fairy-light strewn walkways and multi colored tents all upon a grassy bank leading down to the ocean. The masked ball may have lost some of its character but there is definitely still enough to go around.

Ball DJ 2Even despite the lack of clear memory I possess of my night at the masked ball I hold it in high regard and recommend it to anybody who wishes to slip from reality, climb down the rabbit hole and spend a night dancing and smiling. The next Masked Ball is there annual Halloween edition in October. Early Bird tickets are available to purchase at maskedball.net/tickets/

SOHN – Tremors

SOHN – Tremors

Tremors is the much anticipated debut album by English singer-producer SOHN. As a producer SOHN is known for being able to shroud songs in emotion casting a shadowy atmosphere and deep sensations through layers of strong sound. As a singer he is gentle and melancholy yet passionate; when he has combined his talents in previous EPs the results have been shudderingly heartfelt.

Those who have heard SOHN’s previous releases will know what to expect and will be expecting grate things. The artist has the ability to bring the world to a momentary standstill, pinning you in that moment and sending a chill down your spine. Prior to this album people have drawn justified parallels between himself and James Blake, use of ambient sounds and empty space, the sound of the dust settling in the calm aftermath of dubstep.

Tremors does not contain any surprises, it is what it is; a sad, emotional, sometimes depressing album perfect for those who want to sink into their emotions. Bloodflows is a standout song that emphasizes this submission to feeling, it is a shame it follows one of the weakest songs Artifice. It would have been nice for the first two tracks that draw you in nicely to flow into the beautiful soundscape in Bloodflows but Artifice fails to carry that emotion.

The album does occasionally feel cold and bleak, there are certain songs such as Ransom Notes and fool that pass you by without having that much impact. Bloodflows, Lessons and The Wheel are all songs from previous EPs, other songs such as Red lines and Warnings did not make it on the album and those that have taken their place do not stand up to their standard. The 11 track debut does however end strong, there is a flow and an a accumulation of expression in the last four tracks that dip into more bass infused beats that add a different dimension to SOHN’s gentle voice.

Bloodflows and Red lines would have got many people excited about this debut album, something new and passionate but it may be received as slightly disappointing, at times the feel of this album is a little too bleak to enjoy. However that sensation is what many fans of SOHN will be looking for, music to feel sad within.

 

After Gig Chat With The Surfin’ Birds

In a small, packed bar in the middle of the Falmouth high street, an unfamiliar sound could be heard luring people in. The sound of fifties rock ‘n’ roll colliding with punk and blues made something more fun and energetic. That sound, I found out, was the sound of modern surf music and boy is it entertaining. After an hour of dancing an inch or so from the stage on a small, crowded and overly happy dance floor I interviewed brothers Paul (Singer) and Liam (drummer) with bassist Dave about playing live as their band The Surfin’ Birds.

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Q: What do you think of playing in Falmouth and playing here in toast?

 

Paul: I absolutely love it. There’s a friend of ours who invited us down in the first place, Simon Davis (who I’ve known a long time), so he just invited us down to do one show two years ago, and we come back; this is our fourth time we all gathered a crowd on the way so it’s all good. Every time we come to play its always alright and a good reception and people dig it; they like their surf music.

 

Q: What would you say to people who haven’t seen you play, what you say to expect?

 

Paul: A big, fat, sinister surf sound, it’s not necessarily a surf sound in the traditional concept of it but you’ve got the Fender guitars and the Wang bars and all that from the sixties which I love personally but were trying to revamp it. My brother, he’s into punk, ska and new wave and things like that and then you’ve got Dave on the bass who’s into Motown, James Jamerson and stuff and I love blues and I love blues and surf rock and stuff like that.

 

Q: People were dancing and were packed so close to the band; almost dancing with you. Is that something you look for in a gig?

 

Paul: I love that yeah, when the crowds ten centimetres away and you see them sweat just as much as you that’s a great feeling, of course it is. No matter if you’re playing in front of a thousand people or a hundred people I always prefer the closer crowds.

 

Liam: I like any gigs but I do prefer when it’s more intimate; you do get more of a reaction out of the crowd.

 

Q: What’s you favourite gig to date?

 

Dave: Today, it’s about as far back as I can remember and I’m the driver.

 

Paul: That’s a hard one because different situations, different gigs. One on the nicest ones was when we supported Wanda Jackson because we love Wada Jackson a rockabilly star from the 50s I do know though because I prefer little clubs. Simon has seen us so many times, he’s the one who got us the gig here.

 

Simon: My favourite gig of yours, probably the first time you played here, it wasn’t even the gig it was just playing at my house after.

 

Paul: We went to a student house after and we did a gig for about two and a half hours after and we got a bit pissed.

 

Q: When you  walk away from a gig what makes you think if it was a good gig or not?1653652_585787131506995_1207349579_n

 

Paul: The crowd, we get more into it if it is a crowd that is enjoying it. We’ve been to these gigs were people just stand there at the back and clap and say “oh my God you sound so close to the Sonics or the ventures” fuck that man, we just love the music and we play in our own way.

 

Q: What do you take influence from as a live band?

 

Paul: It’s like psychedelic Punk music, that what I call it. Were into bands like Cream and Hendrix and all those bands from the sixties, the Stooges, we love how they bowed everything together in the mid-sixties garage scene. Garage bands like the Sonics and we are the people. All those kind of bands that put it into a three minuet track. That’s great for an album but live you have to give it something else, you have to play off the sweat of your pants.

 

Dave: All about the crowd if, their into it you can really feed off of it and get in the zone a bit more, when it’s more tame, your tamer in your performance . As influence where trying to bring back the power trio, Cream and all that.

 

Q: What are you doing for the rest of the year?

 

Paul: Were just in the middle of doing an album and were recording that with ambassador records and that will be out around spring time so you can check it out on the internet and check us out on Facebook. We have some gigs coming up and we play all over, last year we played in Sweden and that’s the first time we played away; we had to bring our game to Sweden. That was quite nerve racking for us three country boys.

 

Q: Which do you prefer live or studio work?

 

Paul: Live! I love the studio because you can create, you can think about things and go through things and be bit more creative in that sense but I think live were its more off the cuff is more exciting because you don’t know what’s going to happen next.

 

Q: Does it surprise you that many people from bands prefer studio work?

 

Paul: Not at all, that could be their creative source. My creative source personally being into Blues and Jazz, I like to play and improvise.

 

Liam: With music you have to affect people. I prefer live because when you’re in the studio you’re not performing to anyone; were here to entertain.

 

Dave: Especially in our days how the markets going, an album is used as a tool to get people to go to your gigs, it’s gone on a roundabout circuit.

 

Q: Why should people come and see you live?

 

Paul: I’d say psychedelic surf music. It’s stuff to dance to but be prepared for the unexpected.

 

Liam: it’s not popular music but when you hear it your love it

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