© KOKO London / Charlotte Davidson
Ahh, Club NME at Koko. In its heyday, this weekly guitar-fuelled orgy was a place where trilby-wearers could find a safe haven of acceptance, and spoilt girls who dressed exclusively in the Kate Moss for Topshop range could kid themselves that they were going to find their future rock star husband here. Now, Club NME is a bit stale – indie music just ain’t what it used to be, the playlist doesn’t sound too different from the Geordie Shore soundtrack (okay, that’s unfair, maybe it’s more Made In Chelsea) and the drinks are still horrendously expensive.
Not that tonight’s headliners, Storms, really give a fuck about any of that. They’re not here to relive the, err, ‘glory days’ of The Libertines, nor are they trying to peddle some chart-humping shite that sounds like a collection of rejected Owl City songs. Nope, Storms have drawn their musical influences from arguably the best genres of the ‘90s – grunge, shoegaze and Britpop. As the sound of Kanye West fades away and the band take to the stage, a wave of gratitude washes over me. Opening song ‘Special’ fills the auditorium with heartfelt lyrics, even if these sombre tales of society’s lower echelons are masked by an anthemic riff. The crowd doesn’t seem to mind much though, and they sway along happily in a Jagermeister-induced stupor. “Nobody’s special!” they wail in unison, blissfully unaware of the sad truth they seem to be confirming.
The next track, ‘Words’, with its slow, layered guitars and crunchy reverb, is a definite nod to bands like My Bloody Valentine and Spacemen 3. Launching straight into new song ‘Swell’, lead singer George Runciman showcases stronger vocals that range from high-pitched yelping to Cobain-esque roars, supported by a thumping drum beat and thunderous, guitar-backed choruses. By the time the song is over the band appear to have created a bizarre kind of festival atmosphere, as a noticeable amount of girls have actually clambered onto their boyfriends’ shoulders, hands in the air like they’re trying to clutch on to the last of the summer.
The penultimate song of the evening, ‘Plague Machine’, is easily my favourite. With just the right mix of yearning, lust and anger, it’s got a frustrating familiarity to it; the classic influences are there, but you can’t quite pinpoint what they are. Essentially though, it’s a blend that is all Storms’ own.
It’s clear that Storms already have some loyal fans who showed up especially to see them, but you can’t help but wonder if the depth of Storms’ lyrics and their range of influences might be a bit wasted on the people who also enjoy the likes of Bastille and Everything Everything. Perhaps the idiots are still winning, but the enthusiasm for tonight’s performance shows that this lot at Club NME aren’t lost causes just yet.
Posted in Comedy, Events, Lifestyle, Music, Writing
Tagged 2013, Ben Morgan, blogging, britpop, Camden, Club NME, cool, entertainment, Felix Howes, George Runciman, gig review, grunge, guitar music, indie, indie band, Kanye West, Kate Moss, Koko, Leonie Cumiskey, live music, London, Made In Chelsea soundtrack, new music, nineties music, nostalgia, opinion, photography, review, shoegaze, Storms, students, Topshop, writer, writing, Yacob Andersen
Posted in Art, Design, Film, Music, Writing
Tagged 1960s graphics, 2004, 2013, 20th century design, art, blogging, collage, constructivist, cool, creative, creativity, design, diagram, entertainment, Franz Ferdinand, fun, graphic design, illustration, indie, inspiration, internet, Jonas Odell, Kenneth Grange, Leonie Cumiskey, media, mid-century modern, music, music video, new music, nostalgia, Pelican books, publishing, retro, Right Action, Saul Bass, single, surreal, textbook diagrams, video, video director, vintage books, writer, writing, Youtube
Posted in Art, Design, Film, Music, PR, Writing
Tagged 2013, animation, Arctic Monkeys, blogging, colours, cool, creativity, David Wilson, elephants, film, fun, graphic design, illustration, indie, media, music, music video, new music, opinion, pink elephants, psychedelic, psychedelic cartoon, sound, surreal, synaesthesia, Tame Impala, technicolour, trippy, video, video director, writing, Youtube
It’s May and the weather is still awful and a whole load of other stuff isn’t going so well for me either, but I am seeing Bass Drum Of Death at The Black Heart – a tiny venue in Camden – on Thursday. I’ve loved these guys for two years and I haven’t seen them yet so…yay!
Posted in Events, Music
Tagged American band, Bass Drum Of Death, Black Heart, blogging, Camden, crappy weather, entertainment, exciting, Fat Possum Records, fun, garage rock, gig, indie, John Barrett, Leonie Cumiskey, London, May, Mississippi, music, Print Chouteau, rock 'n' roll
HAERTS are female-fronted band of four guys and one girl, who hail from Brooklyn, New York. Their first single is a beautifully tender piece of lo-fi pop, set to a montage of home video-style clips. I’ve looked for other stuff by them, but this song is the only one I can find. I’m guessing that as it’s on Vevo, they are already on the brink of mainstream success. Judging by ‘Wings’, they sound pretty great and I hope the rest of their songs live up to expectations. Lead singer Nini Fabi’s vocals are sweet, but powerful – like a mixture of Gwen Stefani and Stevie Nicks.
This song is sort of what I was hoping for when I first listened to HAIM. Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed.
Posted in Culture, Film, Music, Writing
Tagged Americana, Ben Gebert, Brooklyn band, childhood, cinematography, creativity, Derek McWilliams, entertainment, female vocalist, Garrett Ienner, gritty, Gwen Stefani, HAERTS, Haerts band, HAIM, harmonies, home movies, home video, indie, Jonathan Schmidt., Leonie Cumiskey, lo-fi, love song, memories, music, music video, New York, Nini Fabi, nostalgia, opinion, pop, romance, small town America, Stevie Nicks, summer sound, sunshine, sweet, tender, USA, video, video montage, yearning, Youtube
Wow. This song appears to be over a year old, but I’ve only just heard it and it’s brilliant. I was looking for the original Bauhaus version when I discovered this one and – without wanting to sound disdainful towards MGMT – I was pretty surprised at what a good job they’d done of covering it. Don’t get me wrong, I really like MGMT, but they’re not exactly the kind of band that you listen to and then think: “Yeah, I can tell they’re big fans of Bauhaus.”
Better still, this exquisite video by Ned Wenlock really complements the track and conveys the song’s melancholy lyrics.
Posted in Design, Film, Music, Writing
Tagged 2D, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, Andrew VanWyngarden, animation, Bauhaus, Ben Goldwasser, bleak, blogging, cityscape, cool, cover, cover version, creative, creativity, cute, design, digital arts, factory, factory town, goth, illustration, indie, industrial, Leonie Cumiskey, media, MGMT, motion graphics, music, music and art, music video, Peter Murphy, SAD, snow, song, sweet, typography, UK, urban landscape, video, Vimeo