10. Adam green
9. Gruff Rhys
8. Mac Demarco
7. Ian Brown
6. Noel Gallagher
5. Paul Weller
4. Graham Coxon
3. Johnny Marr
2. Damon Albarn
Trojan Horse are a super band from Salford who have only been under the MIMR radar for a month or so but have made a very big impression. They’re take on Prog Rock is big and smacks you in the face hard and they’re hard work is finally starting to bear fruit
In this interview Trojan horse share their love for Plaid shirts, what they did over Halloween and how you can get your hands on their new record:
MIMR: What can people expect at a Trojan Horse gig then?
TR: From a Trojan Horse gig people can certainly expect a great deal of personal existential confusion. Generally audiences fall in to one of two camps; absolute confusion – which then turns into a mix of bemused admiration and questions about their own taste in music up to that point. The second type seems to be “This is really weird but I LOVE IT and i dont care why”, those are the people that stand right at the front and dance with abandon even when we change time signatures more often than underwear. From the band you can expect four people, all trying to play the very bones out of their bodies, hammering out songs that would make most brains bleed with complex hooks. Lots of loud, some quiet, some fast, some slow and lots and lots of weirdness oozing out. And plaid shirts, we love a good plaid shirt.
MIMR: What were your plans this Halloween?
TR: This Halloween we went and played up in a place called Ulverston, for our mate Dan Payne from Cassie (great band by the way, think the UK’s answer to HELLA but catchier songs). We did the set as ‘Cat Sabbath’ and did a cover of Paranoid. We were going to go as Black Sabbath, but couldnt find the requisite long hair wigs, although we are ever the inventive lot so we combined the staple halloween ‘Sexy Cat’ vibes and Sabbath, it was a marriage made in the bowels of hell. It worked, I ended up getting virtually naked and tribal dancing around the venue while the audience played our instruments. It was a transcendental experience.
MIMR: What’s been your favourite venue you’ve played?
TR: That is actually a really hard question to answer! We are very lucky in the UK that we have a network of amazing venues and promoters who are supportive of music on every level. Ruby Lounge in Manchester is like our spiritual home, its just a fantastic place to play all the people who work there are amazing (so much so that Nick relentlessly demanded a bar job there, and eventually they gave in). However theres the Brudenell in Leeds, The Underworld/The Black Heart/The Lexington in London, 13th Note in Glasgow, Buskers in Dundee, Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff….the list is potentially endless as we’re treated really well, and the audiences are always amazingly supportive, they make a gig as much as the surroundings.
MIMR: With your new record receiving a lot of postive comments and a album launch next month, Is it exciting times for the band?
TR: We’re actually really humbled by all the positive words that have been said about both World Turned Upside Down, and Meat Eater the single we did for RAK Records. We have been playing long enough now to know that these new releases are the best things we have put out, and we’re extremely proud of ourselves and everyone that’s been involved to get it to that point. After three long hard years of work, it’s paying off. For us to then put it out and get such an overwhelmingly positive response from reviewers and fans is something else entirely. Even when you know it’s the best you could have done, there is always the voice in your head, the inner critic, and it’s nice for that guy to be silenced by other people’s positive reactions. We’ve had all this good stuff happen, but we know there’s always more that we can do, we aren’t ones to sit on our laurels, onwards and upwards!
MIMR: Are they’re bands knocking about currently that you would love to be on the same bill as?
TR: I think we are in a great position that we are in a time and place where we get to play with a bunch of really cool bands like; Alpha Male Tea Party, Cleft, Body Hound, Flesh, Baby Godzilla, Cyril Snear, Bad Grammar, Knifeworld, The Fierce and the Dead, Cassie, Thumpermonkey and it not be too much hassle to arrange gigs like that. I personally would love to play alongside Field Music, and obviously stuff like Mastodon and Queens of the Stone Age are like the ULTIMATE wish list.
MIMR:It’s important that as a band you always challenge yourself over time, what inspiration do you feed off and how has your sound evolved over the years?
TR: It’s a cliché to say that “everything” informs our way of working, however it would be reductive of me to try and say “oh a, b, c…….are our inspirations”. We put a list of things that inspired the recent record on the inner sleeve of the album, specifically so people could go and explore the sounds and ideas we had while making it. The biggest thing we feed off is each other and our producer, we all have ideas individually but we all work on those ideas together, shaping them and moulding them into the best possible versions they could be. Nothing is sacred, if i have a part and anyone else thinks it could be played better, we try and play it that way, or we swap instruments and play it that way.
As for the evolution of our sound, i remember when we first started, we wanted to make songs that sounded like a DJ mixing different genres of music in a set, and given our skills and musical ability at that time, we did a pretty good job of realising that idea. As time has gone on, we experiment more with sonics, and “traditional songwriting” because that was something new to explore for us. We built the framework of all these different types/genres of songs and hung new sounds in there to see if they were still the same thing once we’d finished with them. So instead of cramming as many time changes as we can, now it’s “right, well how we can keep modifying this before it becomes something else, and is that something else new and unique”.
MIMR: How can people get hold of your latest record then guys?
TR: You can buy our album World Turned Upside Down from Bad Elephant Music: http://music.badelephant.co.uk/album/world-turned-upside-down-2
You can get the single ‘Meat Eater’ from RAK Records: http://raksinglesclub.tmstor.es/
Or alternatively you can pop along to a gig and get them both directly from us and we’ll even shake your hand and kiss your cheek too
Thanks again to Trojan Horse for chatting to us and MIMR reckon you all check out their music, here are the links
1. Deers ‘Castigadas En El Granero’
Spanish girl group Deers are becoming a firm MIMR favourite (this their 2nd appearance on the playlist) with this song taken from the new ‘Barn’ single. Once only a duo, this song is the 1st song recorded by a now expanded 4 members. It’s chaotic and punchy sound makes them a fantastic live band and it’s a mix of 60s pop and garage rock at its finest
2. Spring king ‘Better Man’
This energetic Manchester band have impressed many a music goer this year with their fast paced punk vibes, powerful enough to knock your socks off. The song is taken from their excellent ‘Demons EP released in September and MIMR says they are certainly ones to watch in 2015
3. Superfood ‘Superfood’
One of the many highlights from one of the brightest sparks of this year. Superfood have shone under the radar of so many followers and now they have fantastic debut album ‘Don’t Say That’ to show for their efforts. This song shows off the feel good factor they convey and reminds you of the good times of the summer. Look out for a gig review very soon of them on the NME Breed tour, very exciting!
4. Trojan Horse ‘Meat Eater’
Flying the flag for Prog-Rock are Trojan Horse, a Band that’s varied influences make for a very addictive sound. Hailing from Salford this track released Oct 27 was produced at the famous RAK studios in London (Radiohead, David Bowie, Pink Floyd to name but a few have all recorded there) and is three and half minutes of pure class on so many levels (had the chorus in my brain constantly :p). And there’s more, they have a new album ‘World Turned Upside Down’ out too, get on it I say!
5. Shy Nature ‘Birthday Club’
This London trio have gathered a very good following in recent months in particular, their a essential indie band, guitars played with a swagger and atmospheric vocals. Their easy listenable sound is summed up the title track to their new EP out next week (Nov 10th). Their great use of upbeat harmonies (think mystery jets/vampire weekend) can only mean that they will become one of the best in a good crop of british indie bands around at the moment
One of my favourite new bands I’ve discovered since starting MIMR are these 4 guys from Manchester, together they are ‘Flesh’ a fun, carefree band, determined to party and make music with a smile on their face. They’re raucous style was introduced to me at a recent gig supporting Man Made and I instantly got hooked
MIMR: You would very much seem to be planted in your roots in Manchester but would you consider moving down London way if it was beneficial for the band?
Flesh: Tried london out couple of years already, love seeing pals there, not guna move back in a hurry
MIMR: How would you describe your sound and what are the influences you have on your music?
Flesh: We describe our sound as Snotpop. Were influenced and driven by our surroundings, hatred towards certain people’s behaviour which makes us snotty. Heartfelt politeness and sweet nothings don’t feel like an appropriate representation of the times. The sound that comes out of us is probs a combo of what we love and hate, mashed together in a bit of a contradiction sometimes.
MIMR: What’s your favourite venue in Manchester to gig?
Flesh: Favourite venue to gig in Manchester is Soup Kitchen, been to some ace shows and club nights there too. Occasionally when we got a extra couple of quid to spare, the soup and butties on the ground floor are bang on. But that is defo an occasion.
MIMR: If you could be in any band past or present, which one would you choose?
Flesh: Would have been Slipknot when they were new for sure, not now. If it hadn’t been done already we’d probs all be straight in them red boiler suits, maybe even be 5 more mates involved too.
MIMR: What’s your favourite tipple down the boozer?
Flesh: Me favourite down the boozer…have to be a nice pale ale when I can afford it, usually settle for a diluted Carling tho of course
MIMR: What does Flesh have planned in 2015?
Flesh: 2015 for us….not guna reveal a lot just now but we’ll have a van and plenty of clobber to give out
Thanks Flesh for the interview, a band I will cover again for sure on the blog so keep a look out for some more Snotpop action
Check out there video for the excellent Vauxhall Casanova here
Follow them on Twitter: @LUVFLESHH
At his homecoming gig at Manchester Apollo it was apparent to all that Mr Marr had finally made it on his own terms, turning himself from guitarist of a generation to now a frontman with huge respect and great stage presence. The one and half hour marathon gig was a mix of his two solo albums, smiths songs and even a few covers.
The smiths songs he played were never performed as if to cash in on his success but as a celebration of his musical past, ‘Panic’ and ‘Still ill’ being personal favourites. His new album Playland got its 1st airing since its release with both the explosive ‘Dynamo’ and the catchy riffs of ‘Easy Money hitting the mark. The encore brought a magical cover of Iggy pop’s Lust for life which Marr played with aplomb. The set closer and Smiths classic ‘How soon is now’ led to rapturous applause for the Manchester lad done good, Johnny Marr unite and take over!
Damon Albarn ‘Everyday Robots‘
Who would believe that Damon Albarn has been with us in musical circles for 25 years and in so many various projects. Of course he’s known to many as the man who spearheaded the britpop movement in the 90s with Blur, as well as creating a cartoon alter ego with Gorillaz. His more recent works with African music and even a musical on the west end shows Albarn’s desire to create music in various forms, whilst always pushing himself to achieve more and more.
Everyday Robots is his 1st solo album which is a pretty amazing thing when you think of his career. This personal and revealing record takes small steps to reveal the real Mr Albarn and scans back through childhood and adolescent memories in a intriguing if not often sad portrayal. The title track highlights his great arrays of musical influences and styles. The piano runs along with elegance throughout, whilst there’s hints of synth and harmonium along with endless percussion loops. The most revealing track is ‘Hollow ponds’ a journey through time where albarn takes us back to the drought of 1976, his 1st day in school 1979 and seein modern life is rubbish graffiti in 1993 (the name of Blur’s 2nd record that year) All these poignant memories only illustrates the great craft Damon has in relating past memories and turning them into beautiful songs
Albarn is a avid collaborator on a lot of his previous projects but it is few and far between on this record, Brian Eno adds vocals on ‘Heavy Seas of Love’ and Bats for Lashes singer Natasha khan joins Damon on ‘The Selfish Giant’ both of which are perfect additions to the record. This lack of helpers does indicate that is a true solo record, somethin that has been a long time coming and how glad we all are that it is here.
‘Mr Tembo’ is the only example of cheery, up-beat tempos on the record and is based on a trip to Tanzania he made where he sang to a baby. It’s a ukekele-based sound with great gospel sections and evokes a similiar method he used with the fabulous ‘Tender’ a recent favourite on Blur’s recent comeback shows.
His 1st credited record as a solo performer, Damon Albarn has shown to us that his craft has a songwriter is getting better with age and let’s hope he will show us some more of his wonderful memories again sometime
********* (9 out of 10)
Parquet Courts ‘Sunbathing Animal’
New Yorkers Parquet Courts released their follow up to 2013 ‘Light Up Gold’ on June 3. ‘Sunbathing Animal’ was the end of result of songs that had been written shortly after their 2013 record, showing their great work ethic and their vision to evolve. The writing to the new record has been explained as having a greater freedom and creativity with a tense and tangled take on Punk rock that gets under your skin. The title track explodes like nothing on the previous record and ‘She’s Rollin’ is a diversion from their short, snappy style, mainly due to it’s 6 and half minute duration with long, frenetic harmonica and angry guitar solos.
Other highlights of the record include the head nodding and addictive ‘Ducking and Dodging’ with more examples of frantic guitar solos with a Andrew savage’s continuous and precise lyrical monologue. It’s the last two songs of the album that show Parquet Courts softer side (‘Raw Milk’ and ‘Into The Garden’) which displays their new found confidence given to them by the cult success of the previous record
Perhaps inevitably ‘Sunbathing Animal’ overall isn’t quite as striking as ‘Light Up Gold’ but they’re energy and invention does point to a step up towards bigger things and being in no rush to cease they’re punk racket and this fact is worth celebrating!
Essential tracks: ‘Sunbathing Animal’ ‘She’s Rollin’
* * * * * * * * * (8 out of 10 stars)
ROYAL BLOOD – ‘Royal Blood’
Hailing from Brighton this duo have come a long way in a short space of time, with their self-titled debut album (released august 25th) being the awesome end product. It was July 2013 and the drummer of the Arctic Monkeys, Matt Helders wears a Royal Blood t-shirt as they are headlining the pyramid stage at Glastonbury, this before RB had even released a single. Since then they’ve achieved rave reviews, heavy airplay on Radio 1 and became labelmates with Muse, Biffy clyro and Foals amongst others. Along with support slot with Arctic Monkeys they have been a must see at the summer festival circuit.
Now to the album, 33 minutes of marvellously hefty drum work (Ben Thatcher) and impressive riffs on bass and snarling vocals (Mike Kerr) this alone justifies they’re comparisons with Queens of the stone age, Muse and The white Stripes to name a few. Typically their 4 singles, Out of the Black, Little monster, Come on over and Figure it out, are stand out tracks on the record. My highlight is Little monster with its fine chorus and buzzing riffs which is very hard to shake out of your head. Out of the black was my 1st glimpse of RB so this will always be a top tune, the explosive end to their high energy gigs.
So what about their other album tracks, Ten tonne skeleton is a clever use of riffs and dynamic, stomping percussion and Blood hands an example of a break from their usual high gusto style which still fits the record very well. It is true to say that the impressive singles do eclipse the other tracks, not saying that the tracks Careless and Loose change for example work well but don’t quite hit the spot in the same way.
Overall the hype has been proven correct by this record and there’s much to admire in the direct punch the band deliver. I was lucky enough to see them live few months back on the NME tour and they were amazing, catch them at a venue near you soon!
* * * * * * * * * (9 out of 10 stars)
Essential tracks: ‘Little monster, ‘Out of the Black’