Local Band of the Month-The Indigo Project

Making my way back to my friends at Wolf Alice in Leeds, covered in blood (my nose had connected with a much bigger and much meatier shoulder and hadn’t been able to take it), I found them stood with Joe Spink, lead singer of one of the most promising new bands to emerge from Leeds; The Indigo Project. Although I had previously heard of the band, I had never actually got round to actually listening to them. This soon changed. Releasing an EP in early April, and since then playing several triumphant home town gigs at the Key Club and during Live at Leeds, The Indigo Project have gone from strength to strength. In the first of a regular feature, I choose The Indigo Project as local band of the month for May.I spoke to Joe, lead singer of The Indigo Project, to find out more about the band.

First off, what was it like to play Live at Leeds 2016?

It was a brilliant experience, playing to a packed Faversham was awesome, we loved it! We were very well received!

What is your favourite thing about the music scene in Leeds?

The brilliant network that is set up, it is good for climbing up the scene, working with Futuresound (the main promoter in Leeds) and having the chance to play some huge gigs.

Which other upcoming band would you most like to receive widespread success?

That’s a difficult one, we have lots of good friends in bands, but I think the band who deserve it the most would be King No-One.

How difficult is it to get a band going at such a young age?

Difficult, it’s hard to get in with the promoters, and the industry in general, never mind being able to afford your gear.

Which artists do you think inspire the band the most?

Catfish and the Bottlemen, Foo Fighters, King No-One, Arctic Monkeys and Circa Waves.

Where did the inspiration come from for your EP artwork?

It was inspired by the second track; Wise Man.

Which song are you most proud of on the EP?

We’d have to say the main single; ‘Taste It’.

I’ve had ‘Wise man’ stuck in my head since I heard it, what song has been on your earphones/in your head most at the moment?

Wolves of Winter by Biffy Clyro.

Have you got any plans for new music?

Indeed we do, we are recording our next single over the summer with legendary Leeds producer; Ed Heaton. We will be releasing it later this year, with a huge launch show.

And finally, have you got any gigs coming up?

We’re playing the O2 academy in Leeds for the centre stage final on 27th July.

The centre stage final will see The Indigo Project go into competition with many other great local acts for the chance to perform at Leeds festival, in aid of Martin House Children’s Hospice. It would be a great opportunity to see brilliant live music, and support a local charity, so get down there if you can.

You can visit The Indigo Project’s Soundcloud to hear tracks ‘Wise Man’ and ‘Taste It’ from the EP.

Thanks so much to Joe for talking to me and I hope to see The Indigo Project rising up through the indie music scene.

Black Honey-Headspin

The cloak of secrecy removed, Black Honey storm to another nostalgia soaked victory with their new EP-‘Headspin’. Although they have said that they wish to stay far from the mainstream, they are going the wrong way about it; surely it is impossible to avoid recognition when you release such good music. ‘Headspin’ is no different as each song is as brilliant as the last, surely propelling the Brighton-rockers into widespread recognition. After reviewing a teaser of this EP in my Flying Vinyl-April review, my excitement for this release has been sky-high, and, after listening to the EP solidly since it came out, I can now provide a more in-depth review.

‘All My Pride’ is the Black Honey we all know and love; driven by a punchy, rock-steady drum-beat throughout, it is sure to be the pinnacle of their live show. Izzy B Phillips’ woozy vocals overlay solid bass and guitar chords, which contrast perfectly, giving the essence that the song could have a melancholy message. However, as the song progresses, it develops into a more triumphant mood, confidently assuring all the doubters that Black Honey have nothing they need to prove.

The title track, ‘Headspin’ tones back on the grunge-feel, instead choosing to emit a more reminiscent feel. A late night bus journey, staring out of the window at the world, deep in thought, as ‘Headspin’ slowly builds in the background is what immediately comes to mind. Beginning with just guitar and vocals, the layering builds continuously, including tasteful bass and drums, before launching into a full-blown instrumental crescendo, led by fills around the drum-kit and soft bass, accompanied by single chords on guitar. Izzy’s haunting wordless vocals beseech the audience in the background as roles reverse and the guitar begins soloing, taking the forefront. The music fades into the distance.

Confidence returns with ‘On Your Time’; the bass-snare led drums are back, alongside the American-esque guitars which have been such a trademark of black honey on their previous releases. You know that every time the guitar cuts out to leave only the drum rhythm that a crescendo is sure to follow into a sing-along chorus, which is sure to get the crowd swaying. A short and sweet testimony that Black Honey can still do what they do best-make captivating indie rock.

Finally, we delve into the hazy and mysterious depths of Black Honey’s musical repertoire with ‘Mocking Swing’. Eerie guitar picking is ever present and I found myself making a surprising comparison between the vocals and that of the verses in ‘Supremacy’ by Muse-you are always unsure where this is going next. Izzy’s under the breath whisperings of ‘One, two, three, four’ leave you half expecting a thundering chorus, but this is never present; you never leave the edge of your seat. You may think that the barely audible birdsong towards the end would be comforting, but in fact it just adds to the suspense, the suspense of not knowing what musical direction Black Honey will take next.

‘Headspin’ is their second EP, and picks up from where their debut left off two years ago. It sounds like a continuation of the same movie soundtrack, joining the action at its climax with ‘All My Pride’ before reaching a slower pace through the falling action with ‘Headspin’ and ‘On Your Time’ and finally finishing with the denouement of ‘Mocking Swing’. Black Honey are definitely ready for an album (which they have said is already written), and their future looks as interesting as the life of their mascot-Jerry the flamingo.

Flying Vinyl-April

When the adverts for Flying Vinyl began appearing around a year ago, I initially didn’t subscribe. This was for two reasons-one, I had absolutely no money, and two, the idea of paying money for records which I may not even like seemed risky to me. However, after several months, as the reviews started flowing in, I finally put aside my apprehensions and joined Flying Vinyl. I can honestly say I have never regretted this decision. Its’ combination of pioneering music in its’ greatest format along with new music discovery is simply amazing. We join Flying Vinyl with their 11th issue; an issue that they hyped up brilliantly, heralded as their best issue yet. So lets see if it lives up to expectations.

First up, and I’m really excited about this, is Black Honey with ‘All My Pride’ and B-side ‘On Your Time’ (pressed exclusively onto light blue vinyl) from their new EP-‘Headspin’ which we are expecting this week. ‘All My Pride’ is led by Izzy B Phillips’ brooding vocals, tastefully interspersed with appropriate guitar solos and promises of great things for the upcoming EP. ‘On Your Time’ doesn’t let the side down either-a slightly slower paced song which swells to sing-along chorus’ throughout. All in all, the future looks bright for Black Honey and I look forward to bringing you a more in-depth review after the imminent EP release.

Next up is Skinshape with ‘Summer’ and ‘Mandala’. The first thing that strikes you is the beautiful artwork, and the next is the dreamy, relaxed drumming in the intro of ‘Summer’. This swaggering beat carries you through the song, over-laid with summery (how appropriate) psychedelic guitar and laid-back vocals. Second track, ‘Mandala’, is the first instrumental to feature in a Flying Vinyl package. Unlike many instrumental songs, it is musically diverse enough to make it interesting, and you can drift through the song on the wailing guitar lead without noticing the lack of vocals.

INHEAVEN are next with the strongly-messaged ‘Baby’s Alright’ and B-side ‘Meat Somebody’-another coloured record (ooh you do spoil us), this time green. If you look past the driving drum rhythms and catchy bass line in ‘Baby’s Alright’, you can hear the political agenda of the song; highlighting the war inclined attitudes of the west. ‘Meat Somebody’s rhythms and underlying guitar are just as driving as in ‘Baby’s Alright’, just with a slightly less hard-hitting message. INHEAVEN look to have a packed festival season ahead of them and we can hopefully expect more new music soon.

Another first now, as Sugarthief are the first band to appear due to a demo tape submitted to Flying Vinyl. First track ‘Crowning Youth’ features vocals that I can envisage being sung by many, laid over poppy-sounding guitar and has all the ingredients needed to make it in the indie music business. ‘New Ends’ leads with a punchy drum-beat before introducing wailing chords and once again catchy vocals. Out of the many small bands I have heard, Sugarthief are one which I believe have most potential and can see go furthest in the indie-pop scene.

Last is Oscar, another artist championed by DIY magazine alongside Black Honey. His style can be best described as quirky, and ‘Sometimes’ is no different. The main thing that strikes me is how perfectly Oscar’s calm and composed lyrics contrast with the manic guitar. ‘Gone Forever’ takes a slower pace-the crazy guitar is absent, replaced with a more vocally complex, minimalistic style. Still brilliant just in a different way. Whatever, Oscar is doing, it is catching on across the globe and I’m sure his career will continue to improve.

Seriously consider subscribing to Flying Vinyl, they are doing great things in the music industry and I hotly await the arrival of my next package.

PARTYBABY-I Don’t Wanna Wait

So here it is, my first proper blog post. And oh, what a coincidence, as soon as I decide to get this up and running, one of my favourite up and coming bands-PARTYBABY, decide to release new music. How convenient…

Noah Gersh and Jamie Schefman are PARTYBABY. Formed little over a year ago across the water in Los Angeles, PARTYBABY was the vessel in which they attempted to reinstill their faith in the music industry. And oh how they succeeded. Surprisingly quickly, they managed to come up with two of the best punk songs of recent years in ‘Your Old Man’ and Everything’s All right’. But they are so much more than just regurgitated punk, reminiscent of everything else that has been seen from America in recent years. The musical variation in both tracks, ‘Everything’s All right’ in particular, is spectacular. Changing pace between raucous Cali punk to rival that of FIDLAR, to sinister moans of “I feel good when you feel bad / I won’t be happy until you’re dead” before finally evolving once more to leave you wondering whether this is the same song, ‘Everything’s All Right’ is anything but boring. This looks promising for their new music then doesn’t it.

‘I Don’t Wanna Wait’ lacks the sinister overtones of ‘Everything’s All Right’ but this is just credit to how varied the produce of this American export is. ‘I Don’t Wanna Wait’ takes no time in getting started, exploding into your ears just to make sure you’re still awake to hear this. The verse builds up perfectly, drums cutting out for an instant, emphasising the power of the chorus through your earphones. We do see hints of the ominous in the subdued build up following the chorus through the tortured vocals and minimalist guitar-just enough to threaten but not enough to overwhelm. ‘I Don’t Wanna Wait’ is three short and sweet minutes long, concise, to the point, and brilliant.

I’m sure I speak for many when I say (avoiding the obvious song-title pun) that I look forward to hearing more from these guys.

Even better, PARTYBABY are making their first trip to the UK later this year so if you want to see them live here are the dates:

MAY-21 THE GREAT ESCAPE (BRIGHTON)

MAY-23 LOCK TAVERN (LONDON)

MAY-24 THE VICTORIA, DALSTON (SUPPORTING DIET CIG) (LONDON)

MAY-27 RFB CLUB NIGHT, THE FINSBURY (SUPPORTING DREAM WIFE) (LONDON)

Just a word for next time, you know we like you in the North of England too?

Music on life off

Hello, welcome to music on life off, an indie and alternative music blog run by a teenager who has finally decided to stop bombarding his friends with his ramblings about bands and has decided to bless the internet instead.

Expect new music reviews, gig reviews, random band spotlights and the occasional unrelated post when I feel too strongly about something to keep it to myself.

I’ll do my best to avoid the classic NME early 2000s cliches which have bogged down music reviews in recent years and try to bring you the pick of what’s on my earphones at the moment.

I look forward to getting into this blog and spreading the word about everyone and everything that I think you should have heard of.

Cheers,

Sam