On Thursday 1st May Liverpool Sound City kicks off the music festival season with a bang. From special pop up venues, the buzz of the Wolstenholme Square festival hub to incredible gigs surrounded by the majestic Gothic Revival architecture of Liverpool Cathedral, Sound City Music Festival 2014 has something for everybody. And that’s not even taking into account the conference events featuring appearances from the likes of John Cale and Thurston Moore.
And with that in mind we give you our own twenty must see acts at this years festival via a handy playlist below ( you may note a flaw in our logic here as some acts do inevitably clash!) You’ll also find few words regarding each artist and information about where you can catch them live over three days of musical mayhem. Listen while you read ;)
Blessa – Friday 2nd May -Mello Mello – 12.00-12.30am
One of our tips for 2014 Sheffield five piece Blessa have gone from strength to strength since their initial tracks emerged online in 2011. Last year saw them release our favourite single of the year ‘Betweeen Times’ produced by MJ from Hookworms and 2014 sees their much anticipated debut EP ‘Love Is An Evol Word’ released on 23rd June through their own label Carmel Records in conjunction with Generator. You can read our interview with the band HERE
Lola Colt -Thursday 1st May – The Factory -10:00PM – 10:30PM
Lola Colt (named after a female spaghetti western hero played by singer/dancer Lola Falana) was formed after founding members Gun and Matt L began writing together. Their music is a magisterial mix of dark seductive psychegaze illuminated by a gorgeous iridescent guitar glow. You can read our interview with the band HERE
Wolf Alice – Fri 2nd May – East Village Arts Club Theatre – 10:15PM – 11:00PM
We tipped Wolf Alice for big things back in 2012 and during 2013, according to Hype Machine, Wolf Alice were the most blogged about artist in the UK. They are without doubt one of the most exciting young bands in the country at present featuring Ellie Roswell’s captivating vocals which range from demurely coquettish to belligerently combative set against a wall of urgent beats and agitated grunge infused guitars. They create intelligent, melodic incendiary indie-pop-rock which continues to dazzle with every release.
Public Service Broadcasting – Sat 3rd May – District – 12:00AM – 1:00AM
Public Service Broadcasting’s bold manifesto is to ‘teach the lessons of the past through the music of the future.’ The London based experimental musical duo consisting of J.Willgoose Esq. and Wrigglesworth II take samples from old archive footage, propaganda newsreels and public information films and blend them with soaring electronic post-rock grooves to produce something genuinely inspiring and original. You can read our interview with the band HERE
Embers – Sat 3rd- Duke Street Garage – May 8:40PM – 9:10PM
The good news is, Manchester’s new wave of emergent bands aren’t populated by mono-browed simian siblings, nor do any of them appear to adopt the strutting gait of a chimp with a nappy full of porridge. Manchester’s Embers play music that is so dark and brooding, of such intensity it feels almost like a tangible force. It’s a sound full of widescreen cinematic, empire leveling drama, but there’s something within that darkness that reaches out and grabs your soul.
Gruff Rhys – Thursday 1st May – East Village Arts Club Theatre – 9:30PM – 11:00PM
Gruff will be playing songs from his new album ‘American Interior’ which blurs the boundaries between songwriting, music, literature, film and technology to create a multisensory experience telling the incredible true story of John Evans. In 1792, John Evans, a twenty-two-year-old farmhand from Snowdonia, Wales, travelled to America to discover whether there was, as widely believed, a Welsh-speaking Native American tribe – The Madogwys – still walking the Great Plains. Gruff will be discussing his latest record, film and multimedia project with music journalist Goldblade front man and Louder Than War founder John Robb.
Woman’s Hour – Friday 2nd May – The Kazimier – 9:30PM – 10:00PM
Woman’s Hour craft graceful, evocative uncluttered soundscapes which in no way diminish the emotional power of their songs. Subtly is a much underrated attribute and front woman Fiona Burgess’ beautifully fragile vocals convey emotion of great depth, in a far more real and meaningful way than the egregious caterwauling employed by your Mariahs and your Xtinas. This is because Woman’s Hour realise nuanced restraint is far more potent then bellowing like a freshly gelded bull (i.e. /Tom Jones, forever to our ears, the Brian Blessed of UK music.)
Findlay – Friday 2nd May – The Zanzibar – 0:15AM – 0:45AM
After last year’s show stopping turn at Sound City Findlay and her band make a welcome return. Findlay was once described as ‘a female Iggy Pop, albeit much better looking” (fun fact – her cat’s called Iggy) and yeah, we get what they mean, there’s a raw primal, hot sweaty dynamism to her music. A lascivious kind of swank (with an “s”) that’s instantly appealing and if she carries on producing songs of such visceral undiluted power, she’ll soon make Alison Mosshart seem about as sassy as Debbie Gibson at a Mouseketeers’ reunion. She’s full of strutting insouciance but there’s so much more to FINDLAY than attitude and pout, under the surly punk stylings resides an artist who possesses a remarkable honey cracked blues tinged voice of some substance. Read Our interview with Natalie Findlay HERE
The Wytches – Thursday – 1st May The Factory – 11:00PM – 11:30PM
The Wytches paranoid dystopian doom surf melds the twisted damaged genius of The Cramps with the visceral furious raging power of Nirvana. We’ve not seen them live yet alas but have it on good authority they are a veritable force of nature.
Gambles – Friday 2nd May – The Leaf – 8.00 pm – 8.30pm
Matthew Daniel Siskin AKA Gambles started writing music in 2012 as a way of reflecting on a number of personal issues which he felt needed addressing. Apparently the first song he released publicly, ‘Trust’, was sang in a single take at the Rare Book Room with no words written. Pichfork noticed it and then, he says, “all these people wanted to work with me.” Painfully honest, but full of redemptive power be sure to catch Gambles in the intimate surrounds of The Leaf.
Lyla Foy – Thursday 1st May – The Leaf – 11.00pm – 11.30pm
Previously known as Wall, Lyla’s songs are imbued with an understated sense of beauty and a yearning sense of melancholy. There’s a timeless quality to much of Lyla’s work and as such is difficult to pigeon-hole to any particular movement or genre. This is a good thing because constantly dancing to the Zeitgeist’s tune actually does new music no favours at all.
DZ Deathrays – Thursday 1st May – Duke Street Garage – 12:00AM – 12:30AM
If guitar music is supposed to be dying, we’ve yet to hear it’s death-rattle and besides nobody appears to have told DZ Deathrays. Their latest single ‘Gina Works at Hearts’ from their forthcoming Album ‘Black Rat’ sees them back in fully attack mode after the slightly less frenzied, but equally impressive ‘Northern Lights.‘ The furious pace and raw swagger is still in evidence, as incendiary guitars fizz and swirl like agitated wasps around a classic Ramones-esque NYC 70′s punk melody minus the bubblegum. ‘Gina Works at Hearts’ has the assured sound of a band who are ready to step up to the plate and take a huge step forward.
September Girls – Saturday 3rd May – East Village Arts Club Theatre -7:30PM – 8:00PM
September Girls combine the glittering shimmer of classic 4AD/Creation Records shoegaze legends of yore with ghostly Goth girl- group harmonies, layered guitars, tribal beats and even a whiff of the dark menace of Siouxsie and The Banshees. Those who complain that they find September Girls vocals pushed a little bit too far down in the mix somewhat miss the point as this is akin to bemoaning the fact that TS Eliot doesn’t write traditional prose. The band are all about creating an atmosphere, like shadows across the moon, whereby the vocal harmonies combine with the overall sound rather than lead the songs by the hand. You can read our interview with the band HERE and the album review HERE
Marmozets – Saturday 3rd May – 11:00PM – 11:45PM – Screenadelica at The Black-E
Bingley five piece Marmozets unleash a blitzkrieg of fist clenching adrenaline fuelled power, passion, energy and attitude. Huge guitar riffs replete with soaring hook laden choruses and Becca McIntyre’s amazing throat exploding vocals all add up to band who stand on the cusp of being one of the big breakthrough bands in 2014.
PINS – Thursday 1st May – 12:00AM – 1:00AM – The Factory
PINS début album ‘Girls Like Us’ released by Bella Union was without doubt a hugely impressive first outing on any number of artistic levels. It also managed to succeed where so many others have failed in that it captured the power, intensity, and excitement of the bands live performances. The album was recorded live in just one week at Liverpool’s Parr Street studios and as well as being rammed with quality tunes it’s also crackling with the exhilarating atmosphere of raw creative spontaneity that many bands often try to airbrush out of their sound. This will be PINS third performance at Sound City and they never fail to deliver.
Bird – Saturday 3rd May – 2:00PM – 2:30PM – Studio 2
Saturday 3rd May – Liverpool Cathedral – 7:00 PM – 7:30PM
Bird started life as the musical conduit through which singer songwriter Adéle Emmas presented her songs to the world. Since we first introduced them back in 2011 and later on BBC 6 Music they’ve undergone a couple of line up changes stripping down from a live five or six piece to a trio and now to their current incarnation of a four piece (Adele Emmas, Sian Williams, Alexis Samata and Christian Sandford. ) On personal level Adéle made the move from the cultural wastelands of Birkenhead to Liverpool, a Tolkienesque journey fraught with danger, shell suits and mobility scooters ( rather like moving from Mount Doom to the Shire) to become part of the creative community there. We’d previously likened their oeuvre to “an eerie folktronic Portishead wandering through laughing Lenny Cohen’s nightmares as depicted by René Magritte,” And although these descriptors remain true to a degree (although lets lose the ‘folktronic’ once and for all), the fact is Bird have evolved massively and their sound is now much more substantial, focused and all encompassing than their early musical forays. Read our interview HERE
Girls Names – Friday 1st May – 10:00PM – 10:30PM – The Shipping Forecast
Girls Names music is full of bleak beauty and brooding glistening soundscapes, in short it’s dystopian doom pop at its best. Listening to their second album ‘The New Life’ it’s impossible allow the spectre of Ian Curtis to drifting across your consciousness from time to time.
Say Lou Lou – Thursday 1st May – 8:00PM – 8:30PM – Liverpool Cathedral
Twin sisters Elektra and Miranda Kilbey AKA Say Lou Lou are rapidly establishing themselves as the acceptable face of high quality pop. This is due in no small part to the power of the sisters vocal performances and the quality of their song writing. Self-created and self-imagined, Say Lou Lou have been steadily garnering critical acclaim and a growing global fan-base over the last few years. Prepare to be wowed by these Swedish-Australian siblings in the magnificent setting of Liverpool Cathedral.
Spring King – Friday 2nd May – 7:00PM – 7:30PM – East Village Arts Club Theatre
Someone once said that Manchester’s finest, the fabulous aforementioned PINS are the most ‘Brooklyn sounding’ band to emerge from the city. By the same token, we would submit that Spring King is the most ‘Atlanta sounding’ band to emerge from the North West in recent years ! Initially the side project of musician and producer Tarek Musa, their first ‘Let’s Ride’ was an incendiary explosion of adrenaline fuelled punk embracing a style not dissimilar to Black Lips colliding with the Ramones. Expanded to a five piece and consisting of members based in Liverpool and Manchester (who said we couldn’t get on ) and their live performances are something special.
Broken Men – Thursday 1st May – 7:00PM – 7:30PM – The Factory
Friday 2nd May – 8:30PM – 8:45PM – Moon Museum
Saturday 3rd May 12:10AM – 12:40AM – Korova
And finally keeping it local, we have Broken Men. If dark impassioned blues soaked stentorian vocals, in the vein Of Post War Glamour Girls and The Bookhouse Boys are your bag then you’ll love Broken Men. And you have not one but three chances to catch these guys in action over the course of the festival.
And of course there’s the reunion of a band, whose energetic fresh faced lead singer may be familiar to regular Sound City attendees.
We also have curated a video playlist over on Zugme – http://www.zugme.com/feed/liverpool-sound-city-2014/1103