There’s a joy to writing a song that cannot ever be put in to words. The moment when, on your own in your bedroom or as a band amongst coffee cups and tangled leads, when you first play that song all the way through – you stop and you smile or laugh with each other at the vibration you’ve created.
That set of frequencies, words and ideas have the potential power to induce tears or energetic contortions, dig up buried memories or underpin friendships. Writing a song is a dangerous act for all concerned. Be warned. Performing it and recording is as nerve-wracking as asking someone to marry you. To take what is yours and make it theirs too. To own it and know it inside out. There’s a fear that the answer will be ‘No’ or ‘I’m sorry, but’. There’s an excitement that the answer will be ‘Yeswithout question.’
At a time when music has become more disposable and temporary than ever before – with adverts and lifts and mobile phones hissing out the fast-food fodder of fame hungry fools; it inspires those of us that take the time to look for something sustaining and distinct. It’s impossible to get to every gig, it’s tricky to breakout past the confines of our laptop screens and find something fresh and enthralling. Finding a moment to allow ourselves to be spellbound gets harder and harder as we fight off ever increasing distractions and settle for convenience.
Luckily, we have collections like this – filtered through a common goal to share, absorb and celebrate these little vibrations. Asking us to open ourselves up and take these small vibrations forwards and make them our own.
A collection of questions waiting for you to answer. I urge you to take time with these questions to try fidelity.
Grant Sharkey, August 2013
Forming in 2010 under the name Oresteia, Limbo Cabaret are an eclectic six-piece whose debut EP, Romancing the Damned (2012) received much critical acclaim. The band gig regularly in venues across the South Coast, in places ranging from London’s Old Queen’s Head and Brighton’s Pavilion Tavern. Limbo Cabaret are due to release their new single Aphrodite Plea in autumn. For more info visit www.facebook.com/LimboCabaret
Etao Shin is a weird rock band from Bristol/ Southampton. With an emphasis on improvisation, they are best experien- ced live in unusual settings; previously performing with a string quartet in the Medieval city walls of Southampton and touring independent bookshops around the UK. The band are currently working on a debut album. For more info head to www.facebook.com/etaoshin
Moulettes have been associated with Sotones since the beginning, and although they now release through ‘Balling the Jack Records’ the lively ensemble maintain a close relationship with us. Mesmerising live, Moulettes combine stunning vocals, impeccable musicianship and intelligent songcraft. Circle Song was released as part of their second album The Bear’s Revenge which features Ted Dwane of Mumford and Sons (an original Moulettes member). For more info visit www.moulettes.co.uk Moulettes appear courtesy of ‘Balling the Jack Records’.
Lonely Joe Parker‘s debut album for Sotones, The Tired And The Stunned, was recorded in a residential studio in the Bulgarian winter, and at London‘s Abbey Road in the stifling summer. His trademark raw passion shoots through every bar, but is now complemented by James Ewers‘ deft production, sumptuously mixed by Sam Miller (PJ Harvey). For more info visit www.lonelyjoeparker.com
German-American singer-songwriter and accordionist Anja McCloskey’s debut album An Estimation was released on Sotones in September 2012 and won her the Musician’s Benevolent Fund Emerging Excellence Award. Currently based in Hamburg, Germany, Anja grew up listening to her grandfather playing the accordion, picking up the instrument herself at the age of five. For more info visit www.anjamccloskey.co.uk
Woven Bird are an alt-pop band from Southampton with an agenda to craft off-centre pop with sharp edges. Their self-released EP in the Spring of 2011 garnered much critical praise. The band went on to release Saw You In Two in 2012 through ‘Folkwit Records’. The band are currently on hiatus, however we hope to release some of their album material recorded over the last year. For more info visit www.wovenbird.com. Woven Bird appear courtesy of ‘Folkwit Records’.
Caught between the concrete and the surreal, between British and Irish folk styles and American, comes Mikey Kenney and his Ottersgear alias. A multi-instrumentalist who prizes the fiddle above all else, Down in the Faery Glen comes from his debut LP, Quest for Rest. For more info visit www.mikeykenney.co.uk.
Jerusalem born Avital Raz has previously sung about anal sex in church, cursing God in a synagogue and has been banned from singing in pubs where people are ‘trying to have a nice meal’. Avital peforms both as a soloist or with her band The Chosen Ones and is set to release a new single in October. For more info visit www.avitalraz.com.
Industrial dream pop project from the former frontwoman of indie/pop rockers Thomas Tantrum. Music by Megan Thomas and Dave Pen. Lyrics by Megan Thomas. Produced by Dave Pen. For more info visit www.megathomas.co.uk.
The Widowmaker exhibits a folk, blues and groove-orientated craft, bookended and colourful with intricate fingerstyle prose. With two albums and slots at Glastonbury Festival and Bestival under his belt, The Widowmaker’s Ian Easton has received critical acclaim from the likes of BBC6 Music, Q Magazine and Rob Da Bank. More at www.thewidowmaker.co.uk.
Not Made in China combine a love of uplifting afrobeat melodies and a continuation of a Great British indie-pop lineage that began with the likes of The Smiths, Kirsty MacColl and The Stone Roses. Their EP Southernisms was released on Sotones Records June 10th 2013. For more info visit www.notmadeinchinaband.co.uk.
Andy Harris’ solo project comes in the form of Calico Cat and his single Aimless (and lead song on the subsequent EP, Reverie), kicking off a tour de force in melodic song craft. Catchy vocals are augmented by playful keyboards courtesy of Haunted Stereo bandfellow Ben Jennings and backing vocals from Dave Miatt. For more info visit www.calicocatband.co.uk.
Johnny5thWheel&thecowards are a six-piece band hailing from the North-West of England, who specialise in strange and beautiful pop music. They have been releasing music since 2010 with their debut album TalesOf The band released their second LP, Music to Shake’n’Shuffle To at the end of 2012. For more info visit www.followthewheel.co.uk.
A single from his E.P of the same name, Swedish born, now Berlin-based Fredrik Kinbom draws on influences from Balkan gypsy grooves and with guest appearances from the critically acclaimed Moulettes, Fred Kinbom is taking the lap steel into uncharted territories. For more info visit www.fredkinbom.com.
Campbell Austin, former frontman and principal songwriter of Moneytree brings us his new project, T.S Idiot. The Brighton-based singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist has previously recorded and performed with other Sotones artists including Lonely Joe Parker and Anja McCloskey. He is currently working on his debut LP and is ‘not willing to divulge much of [his] plan beyond that’.
Dave Miatt’s solo project showca- sees him in his most honest musical setting, exposing his personal songwriting and stripping bare the musician perhaps better known for his rock’n’roll side. Formerly one quarter of Thomas Tantrum, Miatt now plays guitar for Spectral Park. He is continuing to write and record demos. To hear more, go to: www.soundcloud.com/davemiatt.
William Ashbless is the solo outing of Matt Canning. Matt was part of local favourites Dead Dead Dead before forming Woven Bird. By The Morning is just a taste of what Matt has been writing. We very much look forward to hearing more
Toulouse Wolfe represents the partnership of Heather Britton and Clint Trofa, whose songs are melodic, intimate and understated. Their debut EP, Paper Moon, was recorded in 2011 at Q Department in New York by Julian Fane (Planet Mu). They have been in the studio again this year working on new material. To hear more go to: www.soundcloud.com/toulouse-wolfe
After playing for several years in various Southampton bands, Jim (vox, bass), Darryl (drums) and Lee (guitar, vox) formed LiquidSwordZZZ; a band inspired by their enjoyment of all things noise and post rock. LiquidSwordZZZ have recorded a live EP to showcase their energetic alt rock vibe, and are due to release a studio EP later in the year. For further noise go to soundcloud.com/liquidswordzzz
This song was a Christmas 2012 collaboration between the two acts.
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