Do Not Miss – (Thee) Oh Sees at Manchester Academy 14 June 2017

Hailed by many as the greatest band on earth, California natives Oh Sees (née Thee Oh Sees) are making a well deserved pit stop in Manchester this week (their only Northern date of 2017), and we feel it’s pretty bloody unmissable! Don’t sleep on this one, folks.

Now known as just Oh Sees (having previously played as Orinoka Crash Suite, OCS, Orange County Sound, The Ohsees and The Oh See), the quartet are bringing their brain-melting live show to the masses up North and they’re bringing San Francisco’s own The Peacers to sweeten the deal!

Having dropped ‘Thee’ from their moniker, Oh Sees recently announced details of their impending LP ‘Orc’  – number 19 (!) – coming out late August. They also unearthed the manic, ludicrously fun ‘The Static God’ in the process, which you can listen to below! Tickets are available here.

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Get ready to RECEIVE Thee MVPs

(Photo Credit: JOAO MUCHADO)

Purveyors of ‘Thames Pop’, their very own genre, Southern quartet Thee MVPs have been on the Birthday Cake For Breakfast radar for a good while now (having previously answered a load of daftie questions for us). We just can’t get enough of their 100mph live show and collection of righteous, full pelt punk-y numbers. A joy to watch, this past year has seen them opening up shows for Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Pulled Apart By Horses and even pop up at SXSW!

Thee MVPs have now got a new EP in the works, having put together a super sweet transmission entitled ‘RECEIVER‘, capturing five songs that made up a short session the quartet produced at Brighton Electric with Max Horn aka BaronXBones and Theo Verney. The live EP is physically due out in autumn via Yankee labels Burger Records and Greenway Records (on 10” vinyl via the latter!)

Going into the production, the band put forth a Mission Statement: Make it look like it’s from the 70s, like “those old Beat Club and Old Grey Whistle Test videos”. Mission accomplished? You be the judge – check out ‘Funeral’ below and find the other bits and bobs from RECEIVER here:

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Album Review: Sweet Baboo – Wild Imagination

Described by muse Cate Le Bon as “the most androgynous woman since Mo Tucker”, Sweet Baboo a.k.a. Cardiff based musician Stephen Black, recently spent a “wild week” in North Wales putting together his latest LP ‘Wild Imagination’An ode to the little things and starry eyed views, making a break for it and swollen hearts.

In previous LP ‘The Boombox Ballads’ (released in August 2015), there was an album that felt like the listener was holed up in a warm cottage somewhere, staying in during the evenings, boogying in the living room to Northern Soul records and revelling in the small delights of the world. On Wild Imagination, the listener is transported elsewhere, but you still have the impression of being fully immersed in the charming, not-quite-but-almost twee world of Sweet Baboo.

Gardening seems to be a hot topic for our Stephen (who cited the 1976 Mort Garson album Plantasia’ as an inspiration) and the new album, quite rightly, opens up with ‘The Gardener, a jovial little instrumental that acts as the perfect introduction. Almost like the sun rising on the day, it’s the stretching of the legs and blinking of the eyes to greet the impending nine songs that await. It’s swiftly followed by the dreamy title track ‘Wild Imagination– A whimsical delight, overloaded with charm. An undeniable love song from an undeniable lovely man, it features the most infectious of ‘oh-woahs’.

Lead single ‘Badmintonis a sugar coated highlight, giving one the feeling of floating across one of those ‘lazy rivers’ you get in jumped up American waterparks. Its soft, luscious synth has an untold hypnotic effect. Vocally, it’s got such a heart breaking quality, though amusingly it’s lyrically more to do with the actually sport of badminton (which, let’s face it, can be pretty heartbreaking if you’re on the receiving end of a thrashing). The replayability is off the charts on this one. Much floating, almost comatose.

The Night Gardenerbreaks up the record at the halfway point, the rubbing your eyes and going to bed synth-heavy delightful sibling of the aforementioned Gardener. From here we’re treated to the angelic ‘Hold On’, similar in tone and style to The Boombox Ballads (with the heart-warming ‘You shoot me a grin /send me in a spin’), the uplifting dewy-eyed romp that is ‘Humberside, complete with a brilliant Western movie whistle and geetar combo, and the hopeful, dreamlike ‘Californ-i-acloser.

But nothing on side 2 comes close to the funky as-you-like ‘Pink Rainbow’. Eight songs into the record, it’s Sweet Baboo at his finest. When Pink Rainbow kicks in, it’s impossible not to get up on your feet and imitate a big old Jagger walk across the room. With the sweetest of Chic-esque guitar licks and soaring chorus, it’s all going super-funky. Then you hear that keyboard solo – good lord! Hits you like a ton of funk-bricks. There’s a face you pull at moments like these, scrunching up ones face at the POWER (we like to crudely call it ‘Smell-the-shit’) – here it’s unavoidable. That wigging out keyboard makes a joyous return toward the ends as Paul Jones riffs out like a mad man.

Whilst I’m sure it wouldn’t be considered a concept album, Wild Imagination has all the trappings of one, exploring many similar themes throughout its more than welcome stay. It’s more so that it’s far too easy to get lost in a Sweet Baboo record, with this latest LP being no different. Sublime.

Listen to a number of tracks from Wild Imagination in our Now Playing Spotify Playlist!

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Poly-Math make a pledge to produce “an absolutely massive Prog Rock odyssey”

Alleged to be the “oldest band on the Math-Rock circuit at the moment”, the phenomenal Brighton based trio Poly-Math are set to embark on their most ambitious project yet – and they need your help.

Following a number of releases over the past four years (including the incredible bit of kit ‘Melencolia’, released last year through Superstar Destroyer Records) Poly-Math are now setting their sights on something they’ve called “fully ridiculous” and an “utterly bonkers, over-the-top Prog odyssey”.

House Of Wisdom | We Are The Devil’ will be the first ‘proper’ full length LP from Poly-Math, to be produced over the coming fortnight at Brighton Electric Studio, before being finalised in Northern Ireland with producer Lee McMahon.
To help fund such an ambitious project, the trio have reached out to fans and fellow noise enthusiasts with a PledgeMusic Campaign.

Of course, given the nature of the campaign, there is all manner of mouth-watering items up for grabs! Pledge exclusives include limited edition T-shirts, a signed test pressing on vinyl, artwork and even the chance to become an honorary Poly-Math member and perform on the record itself!

Pledge your hard earned money here (whilst you still have the chance!) and, to get you in the mood for the album’s release later this year, peep this ludicrous promo video the gang recently did for the BOSS MS-3 Multi Effects Switcher below:

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Album Review: Kamikaze Girls – Seafoam

Review from Ben Wilson

Leeds’ saddest feel good band, Kamikaze Girls, have been making waves ever since the release of their highly acclaimed EP ‘SAD’ last year. With a collection of very successful tours across the UK, Europe, and US – and their recent signing to the DIY goliath label, Big Scary Monsters – the band are gearing up to release their debut album, ‘Seafoam’. This full length sees Kamikaze Girls expand on the topics they explored on SAD, with it all intertwined between chorus laden stoner-rock riffs and high energy sad songs.

The LP starts off with ‘One Young Man’, a sombre recount of a very traumatic event – and this is where the prescient for the rest of the record is set. Seafoam demonstrates little shrouding events through metaphor, favouring very autobiographical and matter of fact lyrical content. One Young Man contains all of these traits, with the ending refrain sporting a combination of catchy singing ad very intense, emotive shouting. This leads well into ‘Berlin’, the lead single from the record and a banger of track – having a great juxtaposition between the very energetic and lively instrumentation and the sad, sad lyrics.

A great stand out track on the album is ‘KG Go To The Pub’, a very self aware track all about the crude format some nights out in the UK take, with very pushy and disrespectful people taking privileges where they shouldn’t. A lyric that captures the essence of the song very well is ‘I’m not your fucking sweetheart, mate’ – with that line accurately capturing what the song is all about and all together against.

Deathcap’ and ‘Weaker Than’ are other stand out tracks on the album. Deathcap sees Kamikaze Girls become complacent with the current state of affairs in UK politics, and Weaker Than has a sonic departure from every other song on the album – with it just being a solo guitar and vocal venture, very solemnly describing the events as seen from a hospital bed.

The record ends on a high with ‘I Don’t Want To Be Sad Forever’, talking about all of the things in the world that need to change in order for sadness and things related in the world to end. Seafoam is such a strong debut for Kamikaze Girls to come out swinging with. They have evolved so much sonically and lyrically, with this record seeing them take on new heights and breaking new boundaries as musicians.

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What Is The Price? An interview with USA Nails ahead of the release of ‘Shame Spiral’

(Photo Credit: Eddie Halliday)

It’s the weekend of Carefully Planned Festival in Manchester and I’ve just dragged three quarters of USA Nails out of some downstairs bar in the Northern Quarter. Drinks are dutifully swigged, apart from guitarist Gareth Thomas who just walks out with beverage in hand (as do I – though mine is a tiny can of rocket fuel, stashed in my back pocket the whole time). Whilst drummer Matt Reid is up the road watching Leeds noise-makers Irk, the remainders of the quartet hang back to discuss Greggs, Toby Carvery, Paul McCartney, Starbucks, Brexit (Greggs-it) and Gareth attempting to find a midpoint between Munky from Korn and Graham Coxon in his guitar tone*
*(unfortunately this didn’t make the cut, but you can listen to the full interview on DUGA 3 here).

As is becoming the natural order these days, any band interviewed for Birthday Cake For Breakfast has to have some affiliation with Paul Riddlesworth, a.k.a. the head honcho at Too Pure. USA Nails are no different, with the London based foursome going on to release an exclusive 7” through the Too Pure Singles Club in December 2016.

At the time of interview, details of their Too Pure release were still scarce, though the trio did speak highly of their shopping trip around the warehouse of Beggars Group and its vast back catalogue that they were able to have for nowt.

I’ve got loads of things in my flat now that I don’t need… but I like. I like having all the Pixies records. I don’t need ‘em, but I like having them.” Says frontman Steven Hodson.
It’s great to be associated…” Adds Gareth (following a boast that he already owns the back catalogue on tape and CD). “When you look back at all the stuff they’ve done in the past, they’ve put out some proper legendary artists. I know the Singles Club is kind of a different entity to what Too Pure used to be, but you know – we’ve still got the same label on our records. If it’s good enough for PJ Harvey, it’s good enough for me.”

It’s been a real pleasure actually, to be asked…  Sorry, my mind’s gone a bit blank on that one.” Says bassist Daniel Holloway with a spaced out chuckle as the others laugh. The drink’s kicked in!
They made us go to Abbey Road as well, which was good.” Adds Gareth with the save. “It was just like being in The Beatles. Except they wouldn’t let us in ‘cus we arrived early. We thought we could lord it up in the canteen, have beans and jacket potato next to Paul Simon, but they wouldn’t let us in…”
We had to go to the café round the corner.” Smirks Daniel.

The raucous ‘Stuck For Inspiration’/’Oven Degreaser Lisawas indeed mastered at Abbey Road, notable by the band for being done by the same chap working on the remastering of old PiL records as well as a host of other “big boy stuff”.
“It was just a bit weird to be treated like we’re an actual band.” Says Gareth of the experience.

To make matters weirder and push further within the USA Nails camp of being treated like an “actual band”, Oven Degreaser Lisa had its premiere on BBC Radio 6 Music care of tastemaker Marc Riley. An exciting prospect for any band, surely?

I dunno. I didn’t really know it was happening.” Deadpans Steven as the others laugh, Gareth agreeing. Listeners across the country and beyond were privy to the single’s first outing at the same time as USA Nails by the sounds of it, with it only becoming common knowledge amongst the quartet when it was shared via their group chat on Facebook.
(“Oh right, I’ll listen to that when I get in while I’m eating a kebab.” – Laughs Steven at the realisation.)

My fifteen year old self was beaming when that happened.” Says Daniel. “It was really nice. Yeah, my sister was totally over the moon  – so that’s always nice as well.

In their impending Too Pure release, USA Nails were looking at their first batch of new songs following the release of full length ‘No Pleasurein late 2015. The songs themselves were recorded in the same sessions for third full length ‘Shame Spiral’, the follow up to No Pleasure. With a wealth of songs already on the table for the impending LP, the band were content to lose two songs from the tracklisting to put on the 7” with Too Pure, as Gareth comments with a laugh.
We couldn’t really be bothered to write any new songs…

One of ‘em we didn’t really like very much, but now we do!” Adds Steven. The three men than have an internal discussion on the merits of the two songs, with Gareth and Steven disagreeing as to which one comes out on top.
Marc Riley didn’t play the other one though did he?” Asks Gareth, jokingly. That’s that then. Steven even suggests that the two songs used were the best newly recorded songs up to that point, meaning the best songs from the album were shelved?

They’re not the best ones, there’s way better ones… “ Laughs Steven, clarifying. ”They’re kind of like the last album, I think. They’d fit on the last album, whereas the rest of the songs on the new album are a bit weirder. Not weird, but weird-er.”

Shame Spiral, to be released on June 16th 2017 through French DIY label Bigout Records and upcoming Southern label Hominid Sounds, was put together in four days last June with Wayne Adams at Bear Bites Horse Studio. Two days were spent recording, whilst two days were spent on mixing, with the odd return here and there for vocals and such (“We don’t like pratting about” – Steven). The East London studio, which has also recently played host to the likes of Death Pedals, Shitwife and Palehorse, generated an intense addition to the USA Nails oeuvre.

Matt got angry, because he was too hot.” Smiles Steven.
This is the last time we’re recording in the summer.” Adds Gareth impersonating Matt, with Steven quick to join in.
I don’t care if you can hear that fucking fan on the recording, that fan needs to be turned on… He got really pink and angry.
He looked like the guy from the Megabus.” Laughs Gareth, before the impressions are swiftly bought to a halt in fairness to the absent Matt.

On the topic of the actual material itself, you can stream Shame Spiral in full on the Hominid Sounds Bandcamp now (get on ‘Prepare Prepare’ – holy hell!). Back in October, however, not much was really known about the album other than that the quartet had been in the studio. Even the style of the material coming out of these sessions was still up for debate. Something they couldn’t quite put their collective finger on, with Steven claiming songs aren’t quite as “song-y” as on No Pleasure, Gareth disagreeing and Daniel suggesting the newer songs are more punk.

Elements of it are sort of more straight forward and more simple – structurally maybe – but the constituent parts are actually a little more focused and a little more thought out.” Suggests Gareth. “Maybe the way that we’ve written these has been a bit different. It’s not wildly different – it’s still us – but I think we’ve just changed. We’ve mixed it up a little bit, I think – just moved forward from the last record.
We’re knee deep in doing something else as well, another release. So yeah – that’s good.” Confirms Steven.

Prolific as ever, as well as tours of Europe and gearing up for their own LP release and an exclusive 7“ single through Too Pure, USA Nails were also due to release another exclusive from another upcoming Southern independent label – No Iguana Records. Originally scheduled for Spring of this year through the 7” exclusive print ran by the Vincent family (Lee Vincent, formerly of Pulled Apart By Horses), it now appears that we’ve been gifted these songs via another out of date format – cassette tapes (via Sad Tapes Records). The no frills DIY label focuses on small batches of cassette tape releases, run as another side project of Steven and Daniel, and has initially put out the aforementioned USA Nails release as well as the new Dead Arms EP.

We’re doing the recordings ourselves.” Confirms Gareth. “It’s kind of a bit of an experiment, really. It was just an opportunity to try something new. I think it’s gonna have quite a different feel to it, but I’m quite excited about trying to do something a bit different.
It will sound worse than any of the stuff we’ve done.” Says Steven, quick to clarify as the others laugh. “Not song-wise, but we’re recording it on this tape four-track I bought off ebay.”

Sell Sell Sell’, the six track EP, was recorded by Steven at Rooz Rehearsal Rooms and at his humble abode using a state of the art Yamaha MM30 cassette recorder.
…We’re writing to the format, d’you know what I mean?“ Says Gareth. “I think we’re all bearing in mind that it has to be more stripped down, because there’s gonna be less mics, it’s gonna be a lower fidelity recording.”

At the time of interview, songs such as ‘University Home’ and ‘The Robots’ had only been heard live, given the band’s penchant for packing sets full of the next album’s material (“We’re in a weird cycle, when our album comes out we don’t play it live” – Steven). Over the coming week, chances are you’ll be reading lots of reviews for Shame Spiral (maybe you’ll even write one yourself!) Back in the car park where we’re finishing up the interview however, no one has a clue what to expect.

Marc Riley likes…some of it.” Shrugs Gareth.

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Live Review: Babeheaven at Gullivers in Manchester 19 May 2017

Review from Jack Brownbill

Babeheaven were brought to my attention after a recommendation by Indie music mag DIY in 2016. After keeping a close eye on them, and missing them during the Neighbourhood Festival in Manchester, I have been very keen to see them perform live. As soon as they announced their first UK headline tour, how could I not get myself out to hear the delights the band had to offer? So I did just that.

The band comprises mainly of lead woman Nancy Andersen and lead guitarist Jamie Travis, but tonight’s line up is five strong. Meeting whilst working on the same street in Ladbroke Grove in West London, they soon bonded over a mutual love of trip-hop, soul and electronics. Last year, after coming across Babeheaven, I immediately knew I had stumbled on a little gem of a band. After purchasing debut single ‘Moving On’ on vinyl (a bargain at £5 may I add), I listened to what I regarded as a throwback to the early 90’s. Think Massive Attack’s ‘Unfinished Sympathy’, combined with a touch of Portishead’sRoads’.

Gullivers bar in Manchester’s Northern Quarter is the setting for tonight’s show. On a Friday night as well, I thought this was perfect date material for a gig (I did actually take the Mrs!) With the soft tones that Babeheaven bring with a little edge, how could this not be one of those gigs where a stiff drink in one hand, with soothing sounds on top, culminates in a near perfect mood setter?

As I had heard very little up until about a week before the gig, I wondered what variety that they would have to offer. We were treated to a new single being released a few weeks before the gig in the shape of ‘Your Love’. Again, another solid song and I had now accustomed myself that this is where Babeheaven’s direction was going – beats with delicate guitars, accompanied with emotive vocals.

As the night arrived, there were concerns with the size of the crowd. It’s a funny one this scenario with me. I sometimes think to myself that crowd capacity can play a part in the whole setup. Does the band get affected if the crowd is too small? Do they consider “Are we doing something wrong?” On the other hand, you could simply just say it’s everyone else’s loss. I tend to go with the latter.

The one big question I found myself asking was ‘will there be enough on offer to mix it up?’ This is even acknowledged by lead singer Nancy, saying in a previous gig on the tour that she was asked the question “Do all your songs just consist of you going ‘ooooohhhhh’ and ‘arrrrrrrrr’?” Controversial (and rude) as it might seem, on the first three songs they are not wrong. But for me, that’s nitpicking. These songs are very well written and sometimes, a simple croon can complement the song with enough emotion, that nothing else more is required.

I had also thought that the back catalogue would be a little on the short side, due to being a new band and all that. I had resigned to it being literally a half hour gig with about five songs. How wrong I was. The set was strong. At least nine songs strong.  But the big thing of the night that stands out is Nancy’s vocals. Carried with an effortless charm, it’s clear that anyone else’s singing of these songs wouldn’t have the same effect. Some of the bigger notes are hit without as much as a flinch. Raw talent is on show here, but a humble natured approach is what gives Babeheaven its appeal.

I think with a little more exposure (maybe catching a break supporting a fully established big time artist), Babeheaven could really go places. This could easily play amongst a Jo Whiley Radio 2 show, as well as being championed by 6 Music at the same time. They have enough about them to make a real good go of it. The song writing is solid. The vocals from Nancy are effortless. The whole ‘right place, right time’ screams to mind with this band. If so, they could be destined for great things. Otherwise, seek them out yourself, crack a bottle open, relax, and let Babeheaven take you away.

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