Archive for the 'the cave singers' Category

Gig Review Catchup: Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan, The Twilight Sad, Fleet Foxes, The Cave Singers

We’ve been to a lot of gigs this summer. We just haven’t had time to write about them. They’ve been corkers though. I’m going to try and summarize some of it here.

Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan at Manchester Academy 2On 12th June we headed over to the Manchester Academy 2 to see Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan performing in support of their marvellous second album, Sunday at Devil Dirt. While trying to find out the name of the opening band I did something I never do – I read three reviews from their London gig a few days earlier. They were not praiseworthy, suggesting that the pair had no chemistry and the gig was like watching statues performing. Needless to say, I was mildly concerned – until about the second song. Although they barely moved, much less looked at each other, both Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan were in fine voice and both appeared to be far more wrapped up in what they were singing than in each other. This could be down to the fact that they’ve hardly performed together and are still getting used to the idea. Or perhaps they’re both shy – a possibility since neither uttered a word on stage. Still, it didn’t matter at all as the songs themselves were intense and sultry and really brought out the bluesy elements of both albums, especially “Back Burner” and “Come On Over (Turn Me On)”.

The Twilight Sad at the Manchester Night & DayAfter a couple of days off for birthdays and anniversaries, we headed over to the Night & Day on Monday 16th June to catch The Twilight Sad suppored by Broken Records. Having played the same venue roughly two months earlier and with little promotion in the interim, the tables were out for a very sparse audience at the Night & Day. More’s the pity because they blew their previous performance out of the water, sounding tighter than ever. Final song “Cold Days from the Birdhouse” was simply stunning. Openers Broken Records impressed enough with their manic Scottish folk coming across like a combination of the Arcade Fire and Sons & Daughters with a bit of twang to it.

Fleet Foxes at Manchester RoadhouseWe were also down at the Roadhouse for Beach House and Fleet Foxes’ joint headline gig. We bought the tickets because we’d enjoyed Beach House’s laid back, fluid and relaxing summery tunes while sat on the fake grass at the covered main stage at ATP. By the time the gig rolled around, however, the buzz was all about Fleet Foxes. Beach House proved to be enjoyable and very personable, however their lightness did not translate all that well in the dark, dingy Roadhouse. Although I hadn’t heard more than a couple of tracks before the show, I thought Fleet Foxes, were superb with their harmonious folk tunes. The melodies are so catchy that it’s hard not to be taken in by them and the band were rather charming, asking how the crowd were doing, gushing at their reception and cracking jokes about comedian Tim Allen. If it weren’t for some of the usual idiots in the crowd trying to get in front of the barrier (and blocking my view) and then blaming me rather loudly for about three songs after security moved them on it would have been a perfect show. The encore in which singer Robin Pecknold delivered a solo, nearly a capella song – I think it was “Oliver James” but as I hadn’t heard the album, I’m not sure now about 6 weeks on – was haunting and note-perfect. As they reminded me at times of both My Morning Jacket and The Shins – two bands we love around here – I went looking for their debut album pretty much straight away afterwards.

On July 1st we opted to skip seeing The National in Leeds as we were going to catch them at T in the Park a couple of weeks later and instead we went down to the Night & Day to see The Cave Singers perform a full set. Their debut album Invitation Songs is one of my favourites of the year and hasn’t been far from the CD player since around February. They had impressed us with their live show opening for Band of Horses so much that I expected a packed out venue. Instead, the tables were out across the front of the stage and were barely full for the band’s arrival. Nonetheless, fresh from Glastonbury, they delivered a captivating, if subdued, performance which included a couple of new tracks. The new songs didn’t sound much different but were enjoyable and the album tracks made me want to sing along – which would have been a bit silly given the setting. As always “Helen” and “Dancing on Our Graves” were spectacular. It will be very disappointing if they don’t acquire a bigger following because their sparse, rhythmic country folk is quite unique and incredibly gratifying.

Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan – Salvation
The Twilight Sad – Cold Days from the Birdhouse
Fleet Foxes – Oliver James
The Cave Singers – Dancing on Our Graves

Posted by JustHipper on 2nd August 2008 at 1:08 pm | comments (3)
File under female singers,Gig Reviews,Isobel Campbell,manchester academy 2,Mark Lanegan,mp3,the cave singers.

The Indie Credential Gig Guide: 30th June – 6th July 2008

The Cave Singers
We’ll be taking it a bit easier this coming week after this weekend’s exertions, details of which should be up in review form in the next seven days or so. Still, it’s another pretty good week for gigs in Manchester.

Aussie electro poppers Cut Copy play the Night & Day on Monday night while on Tuesday we’ll be at the same venue to see the excellent Cave Singers, whose Invitation Songs album is one of our favourites of the year so far. Also on Tuesday you’ve got the pick of the Brian Jonestown Massacre at the Academy 2, Leeds psyche rockers The Music at the Academy and Athens, Georgia garage rockers The Whigs at the Roadhouse.

On Wednesday Beck pops up at the Apollo, presumably pushing his forthcoming Modern Guilt long player. We wouldn’t have minded going but tickets were somewhere around the £45 mark, which is just ridiculous. It’s most probably sold out anyway, and the excellent Yeasayer are in support so it will probably be a very good night.

Hoary old new wave rockers the New York Dolls are at the Academy 3 on Thursday. We saw them at the Move Festival a couple of years and weren’t too impressed. Friday sees Why? play the Roadhouse in a gig rearranged from early June after illness put paid to their whole UK tour. Also, Idlewild play the Ruby Lounge where they’ll be supporting themselves with a 30 minute acoustic set before playing a full set of b-sides and rarities. For die-hard fans only, then, and probably well sold out.

Not a great deal going on next weekend, however, although Air Cav launch their new single, the double A-side “Embers/Picking At The Bones”, at Urbis on Saturday night with support from the likes of The Answering Machine and Rochelle. It’s £6 to get in and the bands start at 9pm.

Posted by The Ledge on 29th June 2008 at 4:05 pm | comments (5)
File under gig guide,gigs,manchester gigs,the cave singers.

Gig Review: Band Of Horses, The Cave Singers @ Manchester Academy 2, 24th February 2008

We arrived at the Academy 2 the Sunday before last, full of anticipation. Not just for Band Of Horses, who were excellent at the Music Box last year despite Ben Bridwell pulling a strop towards the end, but with The Cave Singers’ brilliant debut Invitation Songs being on heavy rotation at Indie Cred HQ, we were expecting as much from the support as from the headliners.

The Cave Singers @ Manchester Academy 2
We arrived in time to catch the last couple of songs from Tyler, who turned out to be a member of Band Of Horses and was very impressive, playing some beautifully laid back country rock and providing excellent vocals and guitar. I kind of wished we’d got down earlier to catch the rest of the set but The Cave Singers‘ set was soon under way and Tyler was forgotten for the time being as the Seattle threesome went about their business of more than living up to their promise and gaining a whole lot of new fans in the process. It’s incredible to think that this trio come from hearty indie rock stock as their backwoods country sound and look is so authentic. The repetitive, rhythmic guitar patterns of ex-Pretty Girls Make Graves bassist Derek Fudesco is perhaps the key element of their sound, driving the songs along in a such a way that the lack of a bass player in the band becomes irrelevant. Indeed, the guitar part on the opening, gorgeous, “Seeds Of Night” is essentially a bassline played on an acoustic guitar. They sounded just as good live as they do on record, and perhaps even more accessible as Peter Quirk’s voice sounded smoother and much less nasal than it does on the album. The instrumentaion on the album is so minimalistic that it was fairly easy for them to replicate the sound on stage, occasionally adding the likes of melodica, banjo and a hint of synthesiser to their basic drums-and-two-guitars set up. The audience lapped it up and there were huge cheers as they left the stage.

Band Of Horses @ Manchester Academy 2Band Of Horses were on imperious form. They started at a canter with a blazing reading of “First Song” and rarely let up as they blasted through a good selection of tracks from both albums. It was great to see a band enjoy themselves so much on stage; Ben Bridwell looked to be having the time of his life as he threw himself into the songs, while bass player Bill Reynolds – looking like he should be on stage with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in the 70s – wore a look of permanent glee. Their obvious enjoyment of the proceedings certainly rubbed off on the audience who grew more vociferous with each passing song. Even faced with a JJ Cale cover followed by an unfamiliar new song, sung by keyboard player Ryan Monroe, the crowd’s ardour didn’t relent, and when a slight lull became apparent during the quiet “Marry Song”, the band followed it up with full on versions of “Ode To LRC” and “Weed Party” that brought any wandering minds sharply back into focus.

There was some light relief in the abortive start to the encore of “Our Swords” when the guitar tech, whose birthday it was, fucked up Bridwell’s bass tuning – a mistake that might have had Bridwell bristling a year ago, but he was all smiles here. Then came the excellent “Window Blues” from Cease To Begin – the best song My Morning Jacket never wrote – and they ended the night fittingly with a storming cover of Creedance Clearwater Revival’s “Effigy”. Band Of Horses have come on leaps and bounds in the past year or so and, even if you were slightly disappointed by the MOR tendencies of their latest album, live, they are not to be missed.

The Cave Singers – Seeds Of Night

Band Of Horses – Ode To LRC

Posted by The Ledge on 6th March 2008 at 11:31 pm | comments (7)
File under band of horses,Gig Reviews,mp3,Reviews,the cave singers.

CD Review: The Cave Singers, Invitation Songs (Matador, 2008)

The Cave Singers - Invitation SongsI sat down to review last night’s Band of Horses gig for whom The Cave Singers opened, but it seemed wrong to write about that live set without first giving an assessment of The Cave Singers’ debut album, which has been glued to the CD player in our kitchen for about three weeks now, having arrived in our postbox, ostensibly delivered by the happiness faeries who thought we needed something uplifting and utterly remarkable to raise our spirits during a gloomy February.

The Ledge first spirited the album away to his car, as he does with pretty much everything good, thereby damning me to never hear any new CDs until weeks after I’ve seen the band in question live, struggling to get to grips with hearing new material live for the first time and take it in properly. I asked him what it was like and he told me it sounded a bit like Grant Lee Buffalo, which excited me. Then I got into his car and heard the album. It sounds nothing like Grant Lee Buffalo, thereby proving what I have suspected for quite some time – The Ledge is entirely deaf and only pretends he can hear music. It explains why he thinks the neighbours can’t hear it when he plays his guitar turned up to 11 at midnight and it also explains his extensive Stereolab collection.

The Ledge-bashing aside, however, as much as this album doesn’t sound like Grant Lee Buffalo, it does sound remarkably like the bastard redneck bearded child of Alex Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Mark Greany of JJ72 attempting to cover their own songs in the style of Bob Dylan. If that sounds awful, I apologise for the hideous mental image but quite frankly it works brilliantly.

The album is a collection of poppy folk songs that evoke feelings of sticky summer evenings, rural settings and romantic yearnings. The most noticeable aspects of these songs are not the somewhat unusual bittersweet, tender lyrics which continually reference nature, wildlife and the physical sensations of emotional connection, but rather the yearning tone of the vocals and the simple, captivating guitar melodies, picked out carefully, note-by-note, which overtake everything else. Despite being very minimal – only three instruments and vocals on most of the tracks – the record feels very full and lush to me, perhaps because it causes more of an overall feeling as a finished whole rather than its songs standing out on a track-by-track basis. Very rarely does an album manage to capture a sensation so wholly through the way in which the melodies, the lyrics and the rhythms all blend together like one organic whole, sounding as though they sprung fully-formed like some strange Siamese-triplet beast from the breast of a country-music-worshipping forest nymph to run naked through the woods of the deep southern U.S. before taking a lazy nighttime dip in the Mississippi river and setting up camp for the night on the edge of the prairie, wind whistling through the grass and wolves howling in the distance.

What can I say? Invitation Songs took a few listens to really get to grips with the unique nature of the vocals, but it is definitely worth the effort. It is both beautiful and shocking and is going to make a lot of bloggers’ top 10 lists come the end of 2008.

The Cave Singers – Helen

Posted by JustHipper on 26th February 2008 at 1:22 pm | comments (2)
File under CD Reviews,Reviews,the cave singers.