The Science Department – Yesterday’s Sound of Tomorrow Today

The Science Department - Yesterday's Sound of Tomorrow TodayThroughout the 1970’s computers and synthesizers were being used to create experimental music. In the main, UK artists were following in the footsteps of German pioneers such as Kraftwerk and Can.  Both had achieved UK Top 20 singles.  But neither had crossed over into the world of pop.

In the late 1970s bands like The Human League, Ultravox and Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark were erring towards producing more commercial music with synthesizers. But it was a chance meeting between a young Gary Numan and a moog synthesizer that would spawn what was to become known as synth pop, with his 1979 number 1 hit single, ‘Are Friends Electric’. Synthesizers replaced guitars and a new genre was created. But it wasn’t long before synthesized sounds were replaced by real instruments, at least as far as commercial music was concerned.

The new debut album from The Science Department is a throwback to the analogue synth pop sounds of the late 1970s.  Some of the tracks wouldn’t be out of place on either of The Human League’s first two albums (Reproduction & Travelogue); and that is the company this album comfortably sits with.

The Science Department started as a bedroom band.  Nothing more than a side project for two old school friends with a passion for pop music and a love for all things analogue.  But they have steadily built a fanbase via occasional social media output.

Destined to be listed in numerous ‘Best Albums of the Year’ charts, this self-produced 12 track debut album resides in the ‘all thrillers no fillers’ category and should do nothing but gather accolades and praise. It is a truly brilliant album full of well-crafted pop songs that delivers everything you want from an album that proudly oozes oodles of retro synth sounds and perfectly defines yesterday’s sound of tomorrow, today.

The Science Department debut album is scheduled for release on 6th April and is available as a digital download and very limited CD. On Saturday 7th April they make a very rare live appearance  – an Album Launch live show at The Rising Sun in Rochester, Kent.

Mildlife – groovy spacey jazz, funk and disco

Mildlife - PhasePhase is the debut album by Australian quartet, Mildlife released on 23rd February via Research Records.

Mildlife use elements of spacey jazz, funk, psych and disco to produce groovy sunkissed sounds.  Hard to define but easy to listen to, the album constantly expands and refines itself with each track. Space jazz, funk, disco. The songs work well together. The band cite a wide range of influences on their music, from Herbie Hancock to Can, and it shows.

The six track debut album kicks off with the wonderful masterpiece that is ‘The Magnificent Moon’.

Bassist Tom Shanahan comments: “The Magnificent Moon feels like the veteran journeyman to the rest of the album. I’m not sure if that’s because it was written first or because it seems to know what it wants and has a more considered direction. It never really second guesses itself except for maybe just before the outro when he realises he may have journeyed too far and his space suit has a hole in it. But then he just jams some gum in the hole and gets on with it anyway.”

 

Mildlife take the musical canvas, rip the lids off the paint tins, and throw vibrant splashes of colour into kaleidoscopic jams. Old friends, the Australian four-piece bonded over the desire to push musical boundaries, developing tight live shows bolstered by wild improvisation and a debut record that mines jazz, psych and disco for its irresistible groove. A melting pot of musical sensations, Mildlife combine progressive 70s sounds with electronic krautrock, backed by a mixture of rhythmic funk, house, and dream-pop, to create an addictive atmosphere that’s illustrated perfectly by their first single ‘The Magnificent Moon’, out November 3rd via Research Records. The single comes as an introduction to their highly anticipated debut LP ‘Phase’ due out early next year.

Taking cues from artistic pioneers such as Can and Herbie Hancock, creating a Mildlife song is a constant process of teasing and tugging, expanding and refining. But Mildlife are adamantly not a studio band. Between 2014 and 2015 they took a year off playing shows to figure out how they could produce as much of their music live as they possibly could without losing its complexity. “It makes the performance, the composition, more malleable,” says guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Adam Halliwell.

Bassist Tom Shanahan adds “It feels more authentic. The energy can be in the song rather than sitting on top of it. We wanted to leave a lot of room for improvisation.”

Phase is an exceptional debut album from Melbourne-based Mildlife.

9 European Music Festivals to Experience in 2018

From discovering the best new bands, to dancing poolside or on a beach, partying in a fortress or experiencing the surreal midnight sun, wallet friendly European hotspots and amazing city festivals to combine with long weekends of culture, gastronomic delights and sightseeing, there’s something for every music lover.

Eurosonic Music Festival in NetherlandsESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) in Netherlands
ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) is the place to discover and access the very best emerging European music talent. The event has a proven track record of helping to break new acts on the international music scene, with now well-known names such as Aurora, Blossoms, Dua Lipa, Hozier, Mø, Lost Frequencies, Royal Blood, and the XX having played at ESNS as up and coming talents.

The B2B side of the event attracts more than 4,000 entertainment industry professionals from all sections of the industry, including representatives of over 400 European festivals, managers, agents, publishers, labels, tech companies and event suppliers. Each year, ESNS stages more than 350 showcases all over the city of Groningen as well as offering a comprehensive and focused conference programme of around 150 panels and keynotes. The event also hosts multiple networking opportunities, annual meetings by music associations, pitch sessions, dinners, parties and dedicated areas featuring the very latest thinking and technical innovation in the music, media, interactive and production industries. At this year’s edition Denmark will be the ESNS focus country.

ESNS takes place from 17 – 20 January 2018.

Sea Star festival in CroatiaSea Star festival in Croatia
After an electric premiere edition Sea Star festival is set to return to beautiful Stella Maris laguna in Umag on May 25th and 26th, while the opening day will take place on May 24th and the after party on Sunday, May 27th. Put together by the team behind EXIT Festival, the first Sea Star festival closed with rapturous applause, firmly proving that it is worthy of the nomination for ‘Best European New Festival’ at the prestigious European Festival Awards. Stunning location, 6+ stages, more than 70 world renowned artists and outstanding productions make this festival a must see. Umag is a beautiful Istrian town, rich in Mediterranean spirit, historical baroque and renaissance buildings and narrow streets that lead to numerous authentic restaurants making it the perfect place to chill out after dancing all night.

Sea Star Festival takes place from 24 – 27 May 2018.

Secret Solstice in IcelandSecret Solstice in Iceland
Celebrating their fifth anniversary, 2018 promises to be Secret Solstice’s biggest edition yet! Taking place in Reykjavik from 21-24 June during the surreal summer solstice (meaning the sun never sets), the festival has firmly established itself on the bucket list for every true festival-geek wanting to be a part of this truly unique experience. Secret Solstice is Iceland’s premiere music festival, each year welcoming an eclectic lineup to the naturally breathtaking country for main stage sets, glacier raves, midnight sun boat parties and secret lagoon blowouts. By combining a high caliber of music talent alongside side events that showcase the incredible Icelandic landscape, Secret Solstice have created a not-to-be-missed festival experience in one of the most breathtaking corners of the world.

Secret Solstice takes place from 21-24 June 2018.

EXIT Festival in SerbiaEXIT Festival in Serbia
Just a short ride away from the Serbian capital Belgrade, the magical Petrovaradin Fortress set high on the banks of the river Danube in Novi Sad provides the perfect setting for the EXIT Festival. Started as a student protest in 2000 fighting for political change and freedom, EXIT continues to spread positive vibes, promoting change and positive education, supporting many community and humanitarian missions, while throwing a damn good party. The award winning festival has something for music lovers of all genres with a diverse mix of artists performing on numerous stages connected by cobbled streets, ramparts and tunnels. Also renowned for it’s amazing atmosphere and energy the Dance Arena champions the who’s who in the electronic music world set in the awe inspiring moat of the fortress, it’s that special moment when the sun’s rays shine over the fortress walls and your favourite tune is belting through the soundsystem and into your soul!. EXIT. Where hedonism meets activism.

Exit Festival takes place from 12-15 July 2018.

Positivus Festival in LatviaPositivus Festival in Latvia
Taking place in the picturesque coastal town of Salacgriva in Latvia, Positivus is the largest music and arts festival in the Baltic States, transporting chart-topping headliners, underground emerging talent and exciting art and dance stages to their unspoiled atmospheric coastal setting amid stunning woodland. Festival goers can dip their toes in the baltic sea or take in the atmosphere in a hammock beneath the trees while enjoying a rich diversity of international chart toppers and underground emerging talent in this idyllic holiday location. Positivus also offers art and dance stages giving festival goers a variety of activities and stalls selling locally made designer clothing and accessories, giving festival goers plenty to see and do during the 3 day event. Positivus was also recognised in the 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 European Festival Awards being a finalist in the ‘Best Medium Sized Festival’ category and also for ‘Best Festival Line Up’ in 2013.

Positivus takes place from 20 – 22 July 2018.

OFF Festival in PolandOFF Festival in Poland
A truly unique boutique music festival, OFF Festival takes place in ‘Three Lake Valley’, Katowice – a beautiful green oasis in the heart of industrial Silesia. OFF is a way of life, one that flies in the face of current trends and stays true to itself, and the ethos of organiser Artur Rojek is firmly aimed at supporting art and music with the festival bringing many acts to Poland for the first time. OFF Festival’s reputation is growing year on year driven by the festivals forward–thinking, eclectic music policy and it’s bold and eclectic lineups. From the greatest alternative music stars from around the world to the increasingly strong Polish scene, OFF festival has inspiring music in abundance and the organisers and crowd have one serious finger on the pulse when it comes to music. As well as discovering new music festival goers can also discover the city of Katowice with plenty of art and culture to soak up and a huge choice of bars and restaurants to delve into.

OFF Festival takes place from 3-5 August 2018.

Lowlands Festival in NetherlandsLowlands Festival in Netherlands
Get ready for A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise 2018. Taking place next to the Walib Fairgrounds, Biddinghuizen Lowlands features some of the biggest headliners, impressive installations including the new iconic armadillo food and drink area, plus unique covers for every stage so you can enjoy all the music rain or shine. Just over an hours drive from Amsterdam you can easily mix your festival trip with a few days city break in Amsterdam. As well as all the amazing artists, Lowlands has so many others things to do from enjoying a soak in the hot tubs, to taking part in science experiments! The festival has also been shortlisted for several awards in the European Festival Awards including ‘Best Major Festival’ and ‘Best Line Up’, Tickets include festival entry, camping + shuttle bus from / to railway station or Dronten Lelystad. Save the date now!

Lowlands Festival takes place from 17 – 19 August 2018.

Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) in NetherlandsAmsterdam Dance Event (ADE) in Netherlands
Amsterdam’s thriving club and nightlife scene is well documented and for 5 days a year the city becomes the centre of the electronic music world as over 395,000 visitors flock to the city for the Amsterdam Dance Event. The ultimate music festival for fans of electronic music features more than 2,500 international artists performing in more than 100 of Amsterdam’s most celebrated venues including Melkweg, Gashouder, Claire, Shelter, Paradiso, the NDSM Docklands and De School. In addition to the extensive line-up of the ADE Festival, the ADE Conference also offers music enthusiasts and artists a large and varied day program featuring a wealth of dance music-related seminars, artist Q&A’s exhibitions, films, documentaries, DJ showcases and gear master classes, taking place across Amsterdam’s five main districts, utilising historical locations and unique venues across the city.

Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) takes place from 17-21 October 2018.

Sea Dance Festival in MontenegroSea Dance Festival in Montenegro
Award winning Sea Dance festival gathers party people from all over the world to dance together on the beautiful beach in Budva, Montenegro. Voted best European medium-sized festival, Sea Dance has proven much within just three short years. With a stunning beach location and impressive line up of more than 100 hottest international music stars. Sea Dance is one of Europe’s hottest summer destinations. Recently listed by Skyscanner as the number 1 cheapest holiday destination this country is well worth checking out. Montenegro has towering mountains perfect for hiking and mountain biking as well as some of the world’s best unspoiled beaches on the Adriatic Sea. And if that wasn’t enough Montenegro featured in the James Bond Film Casino Royale and if it’s good enough for Bond, it’s good enough for us!

Sea Dance Festival dates will be announced soon.

Offerings by Typhoon – the first great album of 2018

Offerings by TyphoonIn these days of instant downloads, individual tracks and a call for shallow, instantly forgettable and meaningless pop songs, the first great album release of 2018 sits very uncomfortably among the previous statements.

Offerings is the fourth studio album from indie / alt rock band Typhoon from Portland, Oregon.

Typhoon fall somewhere between indie rock and alt folk, if I had to try and categorise their music. There are elements of Arcade Fire in their heaviest and more intense moment.  Folk acoustic and traditional rock instrumentation and arrangements, married with the beautiful duel vocals on songs like Empiricist are mesmerising and truly wonderful.

Offerings follows a central figure, allegedly a fictional man who is losing his memory, and in turn, his sense of self.  Singer / songwriter Kyle Morton may well be the latest in a long and distinguished line of tortured souls.

From the very first listen, I was drawn into the album.  This is not background music.  Offerings is deep and richly layered content.  Beautifully crafted, it is without doubt best enjoyed as a complete album.  Following the story from start to end; and in doing so, this is indeed a concept album.

“I’ve always been preoccupied with memory, losing memory, and trying to recapture memory. I wanted to explore the questions: What does a person become if they don’t know where they came from? What is the essential quality of the person if you strip away all memory?”

In losing a certain level of control, Kyle Morton was motivated in part by his situation, as well as drawing inspiration from literature, art, and the films of David Lynch  and Christopher Nolan’s Memento, he was immersed in during the writing of this record.

Offerings is divided into four movements (Floodplains, Flood, Reckoning, and Afterparty) to represent the mental phases the main character goes through where he first realizes that something is wrong, then struggles through the chaos of his situation, and finally moves into acceptance before succumbing to his dreadful fate.

Rorschach looks at the age of information and collapse of meaning. While on Empiricist, Morten explains:  there’s a regression to the womb where the character is back in his bed at home, talking about his range of motion shrinking. This first movement ends with ‘Algernon’ [taken from one of Morton’s favourite short stories, Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes], where he’s constantly awakening and in an interrogation with a woman-who the listener should know is his wife, but he doesn’t.”

Offerings is a truly great album.

Typhoon UK Live Dates:

27/02 – THE LEXINGTON – LONDON, UK (2nd date added)
28/02 – THE DEAF INSTITUTE – MANCHESTER, UK
01/03 – BROADCAST – GLASGOW, UK
02/03 – THE LEXINGTON – LONDON, UK (SOLD OUT)

Offerings by Typhoon is released via Roll Call Records on 12th January on vinyl, CD and MP3 formats. The limited edition Blood-Red vinyl (1,000) have already sold out.

Bradford – Thirty Years Of Shouting Quietly

Bradford - Thirty Years Of Shouting QuietlyBradfordShouting Quietly – a lost indie pop classic gets remastered, extended & re-released.

Thirty years ago a young northern skinhead band named Bradford were very publically handed the baton by Morrissey to blaze a trail in English Indie music after the demise of The Smiths. Well renowned British producer Stephen Street immediately signed the band to his new label and the scene was set for the band, who in the words of Sounds music magazine in May 1988 were:

“Five guys with strict haircuts, their image conjures up short, sharp, shocks but their music tells a different story, creating intelligent and distinctive, finely crafted Pop songs. There are no jangly jaunts through well trodden paths of predictability, the image, the name, the songs, the intelligence and the voice see to that”

Alas, two things destroyed their chances: The collapse of Rough Trade, sending Stephen Street’s new label into ruin and the massive all covering avalanche in music that became known as ‘Madchester’. Bradford’s brand of sharp English Indie Pop was suddenly completely out of step with the times.

Thirty years later and the thawed avalanche reveals a distinctly northern row of chimney stacks belonging to the album ‘Shouting Quietly’ and it’s time for a reappraisal. Here it is in its original form containing 3 top twenty Indie singles, one being the renowned  classic ‘Skin Storm’ which Morrissey also recorded and released in 1991.

This newly remastered re-release also contains ‘In Liverpool’, (Record Mirror’s ‘Single of the Week’) their first single for Stephen Street’s Foundation label, B sides, the eponymous ‘French’ mini album and some never before released material. Totalling 30 tracks on gatefold double CD containing extensive liner notes by Fergal Kinney (Louder Than War), lyrics and photos.

Stephen Street labelled the album a “lost classic” when approached about it in 2017 and it is with the greatest pleasure that A Turnatable Friend Records bring to you this gem of an album once more.

Thirty Years Of Shouting Quietly‘ by Bradford will be released on February 9th via A Turntable Friend Records.