Live Review: Pulled Apart By Horses at The Trades Club in Hebden Bridge 09 December 2017

There’s never been a moment in my time living up North where I’ve dreaded going to Hebden Bridge, but last night came close. Given that the country goes into lockdown whenever a single snow flake lands on the ground, I was concerned that the last train home would be cancelled and I’d be stranded in the Northern market town. Though there are worse places to be stranded, I suppose.

There was not much say in the matter however, given that Leeds leg-ends Pulled Apart By Horses were making the trip, marking their first ever show at the infamous Hebden Bridge Trades Club. It’s always a pleasure to take in a show at The Trades, and they’ve been putting on lots of wonderful line-ups recently, including fellow Northerners Hookworms and Everything Everything.

I was also fearful that I’d miss the support given some earlier tardiness and having caught the train to Hebden by the skin of me teeth. Thankfully, I knew I was right on time as Crows frontman James Cox was still waiting at the bar on arrival. Minutes later he’s up on stage with the other three in Crows, the North London quartet kicking off with a pounding opener as the room began to fill.

The proper nails rhythm section built up relentlessly throughout the opener before it was unleashed to a ripper of a conclusion. During the applause afterward, a bloke to my right audibly said to his mate “I like that!” Within two songs, vocalist Cox was in amongst it, getting in people’s faces, keen to let us see the whites of his eyes. Later on he was out in the crowd again, doing a circuit of the room whilst the rest of the band slayed from on stage.

Crows were pretty relentless throughout and put in a real shift, dominating the stage. A perfect opener really, with a few down the front more than keen to get stuck in.

Talking of putting in a real shift, Pulled Apart By Horses were unsurprisingly on form, putting together a collection of brain-melters that was all killer, no filler. Kicking off on the title track from their latest record ‘The Haze’, it was near enough 100mph from the off, marked by vocalist Tom Hudson’s initial vocal shredding assault.

Following a huge introduction on ‘Flash Lads’, Hudson was off like a rocket into the crowd, stirring up the congregation. This was certainly what was needed and during the absolute howler that is ‘V.E.N.O.M.’, Hudson was at it again, riffing like a wild man on one of the tables. Pulled Apart By Horses came in hot and got the room bouncing, proper lighting a much needed fire under peoples arses.

…Been wanting to play here for two fucking years!” Announced Hudson following their huge single ‘The Big What If’, with guitarist James Brown in agreement, stating that The Trades might just be his new favourite venue.

Released back in March of this year, The Haze has had time to sink in and on tracks like the storming ‘Hotel Motivation’ and the chunky, brooding ‘Prince Of Meats’, the audience really come alive. It sounded at one stage like they were going to burst intoThe Dream’ by Thee Oh Sees, which would have been monumental, but instead it was album closer ‘Dumb Fun’, which was just as good!

Elsewhere, glimpses from the past were more than welcome, with cuts like the frantic ‘Meat Balloon’ from their first album and the ridiculous ‘Shake Off The Curse’ from their second sounding particularly large in all their riffy glory. This was all capped off in spectacular fashion with old-school favourite ‘High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive’ producing mass hysteria in the room.

For a Trades Club debut, Pulled Apart By Horses knocked it out of the park. It was great too to see such a turnout, especially given the bad weather potential.
Fuck the snow” Said Hudson of the conditions, with Brown quick to add “I hope we get snowed in”. Maybe it wouldn’t have been such a bad thing if the train home had been cancelled…

Read our review of ‘The Haze’ here!

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Live Review: Alex Cameron at Gorilla in Manchester 6 December 2017

It’s Wednesday night in Manchester and me and our lass are in The Salisbury, finally tucking into the legendary delicacy that is the ‘Manchester Egg’. It’s the savoury cherry on top of a wonderful evening, as mere minutes before we arrived, we’d been up the road and witnesses to an incredible performance from Australian heart breaker Alex Cameron.

Just off Oxford Road at Gorilla, the lanky lover boy arrived on stage to rapturous applause, accompanied by business associate Roy Molloy and the rest of the gang. Decked out in double denim, his hair slicked back and shoes shined, with little introduction he launched his crew into ‘Happy Ending’. The nostalgic pangs of the early single flicked on the switch and sure enough, the congregation gathered before them began to dance.

It was near non-stop applause just prior, and when saxophonist Roy Molloy whipped out his weapon of choice, there were howls from the audience for that first blast of brass. This was pretty much the theme of the evening, with every mention of the man’s name garnering huge cheers. He perched on a stool for most of the performance, pensive.

Alex Cameron invited Roy to “conduct a ceremony” at one stage, with that being a live stool review (careful). Apparently, this particular stool was “a beauty”. Though he did have to halt an overzealous crowd member regarding its length; “Please don’t sexualise the stool”.

Debut album Jumping The Shark’ made up the first couple of songs from the evening, with the poppy ‘Real Bad Looking‘ being preceded by a comment from Alex that “If you feel good, you don’t have to look good”.

Elsewhere, Alex extended his gratitude for the audience coming in from the cold, especially given the demand in ticket sales resulted in a venue upgrade from The Deaf Institute. “It’s not like I’m seeing dollar signs…” he commented with a laugh.

There were a few punters knocking about in Killers shirts, owing to Alex Cameron and co. recently supporting the Las Vegas outfit on some UK dates. This comes off the back of Brandon Flowers calling Cameron’s Jumping The Shark his AOTY in 2016, with the two subsequently working together in the studio.

On the topic of the studio, Cameron’s latest release ‘Forced Witness’ is brimming with twinkling 80’s pop hits, but with warped, straight-faced seedy tales that talk of late night internet searching for ‘when the pussy leaves town’ (‘The Chihuahua’), paying for love (‘Candy May’) and leaving politics out of the bedroom (‘Politics Of Love’). It really is an incredible piece of work and thankfully we were treated to the majority of it.

The Springsteen-esque ‘Runnin’ Out Of Luck’ is insanely catchy and sounded particularly blinding, with Roy Molloy shining on the big, triumphant sax solo at the songs end. Equally incredible was the record’s big single, ‘Stranger’s Kiss’, with its huge sing-along chorus, uplifting blasts of brass and chunky drumming. The major highlight though falls on ‘Marlon Brando’, a personal favourite in our household for a good few weeks now. The “Investigation of the straight white male” is lyrically hilarious, but so undeniably captivating, deemed as ‘Woke Pop’ by the other half (though she did also comment that Roy Molloy’s suit looked like someone had been buried in it…)

On a number of songs, Cameron thoroughly embraced his Bruce Springsteen qualities and strummed a guitar, but his calling really comes from gyrating and strutting about the stage, which he did with aplomb.

Following wall-shaking applause awaiting an encore, Cameron and the rest of his band returned to placate the mob, knocking out the heart-warming ‘True Lies’ and its tale of an online relationship with what is potentially a Nigerian man. Just after a bra whizzed past AC and almost decapitated the drummer, the night was brought to a close in the brilliantly uplifting, Prince-esque danceathon of ‘She’s Mine’.

With Alex Cameron, it seems to me that if you weren’t familiar with his oeuvre and took it all at face value, you’d still be in for an incredible show. For those familiar with the tongue in cheek nature of the whole thing, it’s even better. 100% banging retro-tinged pop tunes, chock-full of daft lyrical imagery. He’s very much transitioned from the creepy lounge singer aesthetic to this wild, denim clad 80’s heartbreaker and it’s tremendous.

In January of this year, a Tweet went out from Cameron that said “2016 was the pinger, 2017 is the come up”. Lord knows what’s in store for 2018, but what we do know is this – Alex Cameron and Roy Molloy will be back in April.

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Track By Track: Frauds – With Morning Toast & Jam & Juice

Raucous and twisted Croydon based duo Frauds first came to our attention with the piss-funny Suck Jobs’a raised eyebrow at the tragic events that are stag and hen-do’s. With them there’s no pissing about and sure enough they’ve been hard at work. On the back of tour dates with ex-Reuben frontman Jamie Lenman, the beardy duo have put together an assortment of face-melters to make up their debut LP!

With Morning Toast & Jam & Juice‘ is out today through Till Deaf Do Us Party, so we got drummer Chris (not guitarist Mikey) to talk us through each track.

Let’s Find Out

This is the albums intro, which has also formed the live intro a few times as we were getting the songs together to form an album. We’ve always been interested in trying to do something different and incorporate textures/loops into our sound. This also gives a lot of space for the lyrics to shine through and as we are pretty much two front men on different instruments, it gives Mike the chance to get his character across. The song itself is a metaphor for the class structures and social standings that we’re all born into and institutionally kept in – the need to be aware of where we stand in the world, be it at the top or bottom, in order to force positive change.

Smooth

The first incarnation of the track was called “Smooth Alligator” which was just really very silly (like we are) but too much so. It’s a banging riff and over time we came up with some imagery and the feeling that the notes gave us was that of a struggle… so this is a song about the troubled artists complex (not that we suffer with it)… the initial words inspired by the John Fante novel ‘Ask The Dust’, about a misfit wannabe author. It’s also the first song where myself and Mike really share the vocal duties, which opened up a new avenue for our songwriting.

The Feeding Frenzy

I fucking love this, I don’t care, its heavy AF and with no drums. This was something we had done for literally years and was something we always enjoyed as a standalone piece which kind of confused crowds at shows a wee bit. The recorded performance of this song is completely live, it was done in the one take. In terms of lyrical content…  most wars are political showpieces but all of the business is done in a toilet backstage, war is a business and people fucking die at the hands of these people.

Sandwiches

Putting it bluntly, this is our BREXIT SONG. The deep shame and disgust of how a portion of our society have been lied to and the hate that it’s cultivated. The sword has been brought down between us and it’s hard to see how we will ever be the same. It’s deeply upsetting and in this song I wanted to simply say, “can we be friends?” Plus it’s probably our biggest live banger at this point.

Just Come of Age

This is a tune about ecological damage, a serious subject that we decided to turn Mother Nature into a Porn star that’s being manipulated by a gross older person. Musically this is a big nod to the more stoner-y, doom side of the band and our tastes. I think we were listening to a lot of Melvins at the time.

Suck Jobs

We were uncomfortable how upbeat this was when we wrote it and subsequently dropped it from our set for ages. Out of the blue a good friend of ours decided he wanted to make a video for it us (which turned out to be awesome) and then we soon got a message from Jamie Lenman asking us to come out on tour with him! It’s now turned into a big fave of ours. It’s a song about stag and hen parties, it doesn’t shine a good light on them but its good fun!

Doom

It’s a big ol’ riff and it’s so ruddy doomy that we had to call it Doom. Its HEAVY and slow but then kicks into a fast kicking short punk number. All about consumerism “there’s always something else that I want”. The idea happened whilst seeing a 21st-century gent trying to use his apple watch to board a bus.

Could’ve, Should’ve, Would’ve

There was an old Fast Show sketch where an old git in a bar would overhear somebody talking about their career and no matter what it was each episode he’d have a story better than theirs. So this song is about an old, bitter man in a pub telling everyone how amazing he used to be and all the great things he could’ve done. We’ve all met him and he serves as a warning to us – how we should live our lives today to avoid becoming him.

Give In

This is our slow jam, a song about stress and anxiety. Somehow this song has turned out rather pretty, we incorporated a load of synth and wanted to do something repetitive in a post-rock vain. We thought it a perfect closer to the album. Never been able to play this song live but hopefully one day we’ll bullshit someone into playing Moog for an evening.

Then there’s some silence….

And then there a super-secret short banger at the end… a nice surprise.

With Morning Toast & Jam & Juice is out now! Click the link to bag yourself a copy!

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Exclusive: Watch ‘Witchita’ – The blinding new video from AlgernonCornelius

Tibetan Kitchen, mate? Yes.

Inspiration comes in many funny forms. For Manchester based hip-hop producer-cum-rapper AlgernonCorneliusit was a trip to the old sawbones that led to him penning the brutal lyrical assault that is ‘Witchita‘.

Against a gorgeous musical backdrop, AlgernonCornelius spits about “Tory toffs”, RBS and all sorts, all due to a quack prescribing an inhaler for a potential asthma diagnosis. Two toots on his NHS endorsed crack pipe set him off on an adrenaline rush that led to a two hour production sesh, resulting in Witchita.

Now Witchita has a visual backing to sync up with, produced by Manchester based Videographer CJ Wood. Filmed in and about Manchester, it captures the parts you might not have ventured (including my old kitchen!)

Witchita is out now through Clue Records as part of their Clue Club, a monthly subscription service where punters get music, alongside a fanzine curated & created by the artist involved and all kinds of swag likes t-shirts, totes, compilation CDs, monthly podcasts, discounts and more.
Peep the video below and sign up to that Clue Club here!

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a/s/l: Gender Roles

Remember the days of the old schoolyard? Remember when Myspace was a thing? Remember those time-wasting, laborious quizzes that everyone used to love so much? Birthday Cake For Breakfast is bringing them back! 

Every couple of weeks, an unsuspecting band will be subject to the same old questions about dead bodies, Hitler, crying and crushes.  

This week: Box-fresh Big Scary Monsters signing Gender Roles, answering as a tripod!

(Photo Credit: Yayayaya Ravenna)

a/s/l?
Twenty something/I’m up for it if you are/Brighton.

Have you ever seen a dead body?
Nah but I’ve been to Eastbourne a few times.

Who is your favourite Simpsons character?
Lionel Hutz.

What T-Shirt are you wearing?
Work shirt because we’re livin for the weekend babay.

What did your last text message say?
Nu phone hu dis – this is actually real.

What’s the last song you listened to?
Surf Dads – ‘Up All Night’.

How did you meet the people in your band?
At gay pride in Brighton out of our minds, not much has changed.

What’s the first record you bought?
Soulsearcher – ‘Can’t Get enough’.

What was your favourite VHS growing up?
Me and my dad used to record the simpsons onto tape from Sky then I’d watch them til the tape wore out.

When was the last time you cried?
Yesterday laughing at the other two.

Have you ever kissed someone & regretted it?
No regrets baby, Robbie Williams had it right all along. Let’s smooch.

Best Physical Feature?
For each of us I’d say: a couple of nice sturdy legs, some wicked blue eyes and a smile that’ll break your heart.

Worst physical feature?
Our hair gets a bit greasy sometimes.

Reasonably ok/not bad feature that you’re not fussed about?
I’m pretty indifferent about my back, I guess. I never get to see it so wtf should I care?

Do you have any pets?
Within our ranks we have a miniature poodle and a wire haired Terrier crossed with a million other breeds. Jared’s got a pretty rockin puzzy cat too.

Ever picked up any injuries on tour?
I think I got freshers flu once.

What did you do for your last birthday?
We played a gig in Lincoln, smoked a load of weed and went to a Nu-Metal club night.

Name something you CANNOT wait for?
To get back on that wide open road, baby.

Do you have a crush on someone?
I keep having like 20 minute long fantasies about Kevin Mcloud.

What’s the shittest experience you’ve had as a musician?
Some tech dickhead physically moved us from the side of the stage at our own gig the other night. We eloquently let the mouth breather know how we felt on the matter.

If you could go back in time, how far would you go?
Anything before humanity would fucking rock.

How do you want to die?
Rockin out. In a volcano. In space. On fire.

What’s your favourite thing about pizza?
It’s kind of like loads of nice food on an edible plate isn’t it? Tell me something wrong with that.

What are you craving right now?
Pizza you fuckin nerds.

Have you ever been on a horse?
Hell yeh. And a camel. Don’t really dig it though, can’t see them enjoying it too much. Like, get the fuck off my back dude – I’m kinda busy being a horse n stuff. It’s hard to horse around with some dude on your back telling you to go places.

What did you dream about last night?
Horses probably.

If you could go back in time and kill the baby Hitler, would you?
I’d roll him up in a carpet and throw him off a bridge!

Do you like Chinese food?
Fuck yeah. But some places need to chill out on the MSG though, that shit’s rubbish.

Have you ever been on TV?
No but I was in the paper once holding an owl and they called me Oliver Brown.

Ever meet someone famous?
My ex-girlfriend accidentally brushed Peaches Geldoff’s boob once at a gig.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Growing up’s for chumps.

Gender Roles’ new single ‘Plastic’ is out now on all the usual platforms through Big Scary Monsters! Listen to it above and grab further info here!

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