Hey, summer's here and what better way to celebrate than with our "Shake The Shacklewell" alldayer at London's coolest venue The Shacklewell Arms on Aug 4th, featuring six of our finest acts and, by special invitation, the brilliant Aussie slacker punk of Scott & Charlene's Wedding, courtesy of Fire Records, and the rambunctious rockabilly fuzzy lo-fi garage country psych pop of Gringo Record's Fists.
Headlining are the evergreen Comet Gain, still kicking out the post-punk and indiepop jams after all these years, followed closely by Albini-produced psych-punkers Let's Wrestle. Earlier in the day are a new generation of Fortuna POP! bands, let by the inimitable Evans The Death, their first album Smiths-isms replaced by something harder and looser on the album currently in the works with producer du jour Rory Atwell; NYC synthpoppers The Ballet marrying the DIY ethos of the Hidden Cameras with the wry poeticism of The Magnetic Fields; the incredible Flowers, with Rachel Kennedy's heart-stopping voice (think Liz Fraser, think Harriet Wheeler - that good!) the perfect foil for Sam Ayres furious riffage; and Edinburgh indiekids The Spook School - sure to bring a smile to the face with their sing-a-long-a Pavement tunes and offbeat lyrics.
Come along, grab yourself a pint of great beer (London's newest brewery Five Points and Brighton's Dark Star on tap) and a hot dog or a piece of fried chicken (Big Apple Hot Dogs and Mother Clucker are this summer's residents in the kitchen), hang out in the beer garden, watch some seriously great bands and help us Shake The Shackwell.
About the bands...
Led by songwriter David Feck, Comet Gain have released a string of critically acclaimed records on Fortuna POP!, Kill Rock Stars, Track & Field and What's Your Rupture? - albums such as Réalistes, City Fallen Leaves, 2008's singles collection Broken Record Prayers and 2011's Howl Of The Lonely Crowd establishing the band as one of the most fearlessly passionate and fiercely intelligent British bands around. The current line up comprises David Charlie Feck (vocals, guitar), ex-Clientele bassist James Hornsey (bass), Rachel Evans (vocals), ex-Morrissey/The Meteors drummer Woodie Taylor (percussion), Anne Laure Guillain (keyboards), and Ben Phillipson of The Eighteenth Day Of May (guitar).
Unapologetically literate and emotional, Comet Gain seek out inspiration as much in the music of girl-group era pop, heartfelt Americana, British post-punk, and 60s psychedelia, as in the words and images of the beat poets and in the cinema of both the British and French new-wave of the late 50 and early 60s. From Goffin and King, The Modern Lovers, The Seeds, Dylan, The Impressions, Big Star, Julian Cope, and the Flying Nun and Creation labels, to Kerouac, Pynchon, Shelagh Delaney, and Godard, the band are influenced by an incessant drive to "distill the spirit and those moments of musical defiance. recalling old stories of friends, of being lonely and what kept you sane, watching old movies like the kitchen sink English films and early 70s American ones, re-reading the beat writers. finding a common ground, taking a deep breath and then picking up our guitars and singing these songs."
Comet Gain insist on locating and articulating the romance and the heartbreak that permeate and terrorize the everyday, whilst refusing to slip into sentiment or mawkishness. The aesthetic they have made their own has chimed with and galvanized a slew of iconic bands and musicians; from artists like The Make-Up, The Yummy Fur, Jens Lekman, and Herman Dune, to a younger generation of DIY musicians like The Cribs, Let's Wrestle, Male Bonding, Love Is All, Veronica Falls, and Crystal Stilts, Comet Gain's influence remains a traceable and tangible thing.
With their witty, wonkily related tales of teenage ennui, thwarted romance and wise-beyond-their-years world weariness, raucous young London trio Let's Wrestle traffic in the kind of rambunctious, infectious, gloriously untethered indie rock which calls to mind slacker forefathers such as Pavement, Dinosaur Jr and Built to Spill, sending an instant shot of addictive melody straight into your serotonin while also lodging in your cerebral cortex with frontman Wesley Patrick Gonzalez's pithy way with a lyric. They followed their already classic debut album 'In the Court of the Wrestling Let's' with the Steve Albini-produced 'Nursing Home' to rapturous applause, and are shortly to release their English pop masterpiece of a third album later this year.
SCOTT & CHARLENE'S WEDDING
Described by the Guardian as "an attempt to be Jonathan Richman fronting the Stooges", Any Port In A Storm is the new album from Scott & Charlene's Wedding on Fire Records, offering a generation's glimpse of love, home-sickness, basketball, alienation, rock and roll and all things that matter to an expatriate Aussie stranded in New York. The brainchild of the amiable and unashamedly charismatic Craig Dermody, Scott & Charlene's Wedding offer a sonically charged take on the Lemonheads' ramshackle melodicism and Pavement's lo-fi heyday.
EVANS THE DEATH
Named after the undertaker in Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood, Evans the Death comprise of Dan Moss (guitar, vocals), Katherine Whitaker (vocals, keys), Olly Moss (guitar) and James Burkitt (drums). The band document and channel the exuberance of youth via the prism of five pop music obsessives, gleaning inspiration from all of the music with which they grew up. They draw as much from the lyrical dexterity of Morrissey and Jarvis Cocker, as to the scuzzed up melodic exuberance of early My Bloody Valentine and The Pixies.
Following the release of their instantly acclaimed debut single "Thread" / "I'm So Unclean" and the equally brilliant second and third singles "Telling Lies" and "Catch Your Cold", Evans the Death have been given extensive airtime on BBC Radio 1 and BBC 6Music, as well being made John Kennedy's 'Xposure Big One' on XFM. The release of their album saw the music press sit up and take interest, with great reviews in Q, The Fly and Uncut, plus support from This Is Fake DIY and Drowned In Sound. The band recently held the audience at Indietracks in their thrall with another of the thrilling, exhilarating shows with which they blazed a trail through 2012 and beyond.
Fists are an indie-rock band that live and write out of a tiny bedroom studio above a video shop in Nottingham, England. They formed in 2007 around a 4-track tape machine; drum kit, practice amp, washboard and a raft of junked keyboards. They cite the experimental home-recorded 50s pop of producer Joe Meek, lo-fi cassette pioneers such as Daniel Johnston and Simon Joyner and a whole raft of punk, indie rock, psych and experimental records as influence.
Musically Fists turn out an ever shifting fracas of styles from fuzzy lo-fi garage through country, noise, psych and pop with the ceaseless verve and passion of the eternal music-loving amateur. On July 8th they released their debut album 'Phantasm' jointly through Gringo Records and Hello Thor Records.
Unashamedly "sissy" and explicitly queer, The Ballet marry the DIY ethos of the Hidden Cameras with the wry poeticism of The Magnetic Fields to create literate, infectious pop gems.
Formed in 2005 by Greg Goldberg and Craig Willse (who are both professors and met whilst at graduate school) with Marina Miranda (who they met at a party), The Ballet are still going strong after eight years of pop magic, retaining their original line-up. That's not to say they haven't gone through some line-up changes over the years. Acquired bandmates Ginger Brooks Takahashi and Michael O'Neill left in 2007 to join JD Sampson in MEN. Indiepop luminaries such as Linton from The Aislers Set and Ramesh from Voxtrot have also made guest appearances on previous albums.
Their new album I Blame Society released on Fortuna POP! is a continuation of the lyrical themes and songwriting style found in the band's two previous self-released albums (Mattachine!  and Bear Life! ). Inspired by Stephin Merritt's body of work, songwriter Goldberg also draws from an array of pop artists and periods, from 60's bubblegum to 80's synthpop and 90's indiepop, fusing these in sophisticated and novel ways which rewards repeat listening. Avoiding autobiographical or confessional modes, Goldberg nonetheless mines his own psychological constitution and intellectual interests to craft songs whose overt musical prettiness is often contrasted by a dark and complex subtext.
Despite only having formed last year they have already toured Europe with The Pains Of Being Pure Of Heart and did a session with Stuart Moxham of Young Marble Giants (the first band to do so in his new studio), who they later supported at a sold-out Dingwalls. Fittingly, Flowers draw a line between the joyous fuzzpop of the Pains and the minimalist brilliance of Young Marble Giants.
The trio is comprised of Sam (guitar), Rachel (vocals, bass) and Jordan (drums). Together they create a wall of sound larger than the sum of their parts, catchy pop songs hidden in noise. And Rachel possesses one of those beautiful pop voices to die for, with echoes of Elizabeth Fraser, Hope Sandoval and Harriet Wheeler.
Their live shows have created a lot of chatter in indie circles, where audiences are blown away by their intensity, surprised by their noisiness and compelled by their sparse beauty. The band recently played in New York for the first time at the indiepop fest, which was rapturously received by critics.
THE SPOOK SCHOOL
Four noisey people from Edinburgh, Scotland. They write honest indiepop songs, full of energy with raucous guitars and drums. They pen love letters to other DIY bands which have been described as "charming", "hilarious" and "terrifying". Their drummer Niall will remove his t-shirt and give it to one lucky member of the audience. You do not want to miss these guys live. They are due to release their debut LP on Fortuna Pop! later this year.
"Fortuna POP are a label that always smear the words "FUN FUN FUN HAVE FUN!" over a noisy Grrrl and growl, but in signing The Spook School they have excelled."
Listen to the 'Shake the Shacklewell' sampler here: