Apr 22 2014

Y Not Festival preview

dave portass y not sign 1024x683 Y Not Festival preview

Picking off the mud from last summers wellies, Cougar Microbes and are getting set yet again for Y Not festival. Set in the picturesque Peak District, the award-winning festival boasts a line-up as expansive as its surroundings.

We can’t wait to catch bursts of new talent like Nordic Giants’ thunderous soundscapes on display alongside the established acts. White Lies promise to bring their grandiose anthems to Derbyshire whilst wellies will certainly be re-muddied whilst going bonkers to Dizzee.

Check out the full line-up for yourself here Hope to see all your fancy-dressed, welly-wearing, smiling faces there.

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Post by Sam

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doublecougar Y Not Festival preview


Mar 31 2014

Bleach Blood release free EP ‘Darling Don’t Dive’

Darlingcover 1024x1024 Bleach Blood release free EP Darling Dont Dive

Manor House boys Bleach Blood, fronted by former King Blues man Jamie Jazz, are seemingly on a mission to keep music in London exciting and alive. last month BB released a four track EP titled “Darling Don’t Dive” and sat back as new and old fans alike downloaded the tracks with gusto. Having already featured their video for “Anything Anything” in the past I kind of knew what I was getting into but I have to admit the end product blew me away.

Drawing a clear and intentional line with everything the frontman has been involved with in the past, these tracks are not only unexpectedly upbeat for the most part but also pack a veritable punch and hooks galore. Inspired by a mix of the Buzzcocks‘ energy, TV On The Radio‘s eclecticism and LCD Soundsystem‘s warped pop sensibilities there is a real sense of potential about what is to come from this exciting outfit.

EP title track “Darling Don’t Dive Without Me” literally kicks off proceedings at full pace resembling Los Campesinos having an altercation with Art Brut at a speakeasy while James Murphy is doing chasers on the bar blissfully unaware. It all sounds effortlessly cool and full of confidence with a carnival chorus and multiple harmonies that will have even the most hardened cynic tapping along.

In case you were getting too comfortable “S.O.U.L” rears it’s head  just to make sure you are still paying attention. Sounding like Refused playing an old The Strokes b-side the track is intentionally abrasive but scratch underneath the distortion and you will find a beautifully fucked up pop track. “S.O.U.L” shows BB has more than one weapon in it’s arsenal and more importantly have not entirely turned their backs on the British punk scene that served them so well in past endeavours.

Next up is the aforementioned “Anything, Anything” revisited for this release. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what has changed in this new recording but it seems more bullish and ends up sounding fuller for it. Once again that chorus is worth shouting along to anytime of the day with Linda Harrison‘s guest spot proving to be a total delight.

It’s a sign of how good “Darling Don’t Dive” is that just 9 minutes in I hit the final track wishing there was a lot more left to hear. Fortunately what is possibly the best, or at the very least the most complex, track has been left for last. “The Circle And The Square” begins unassumingly enough before venturing into a stirring crescendo that culminates in a terrific chorus filled with haunting melodies and harmonies over one another. Back before the term emo became a negative slur bands like Braid and Jimmy Eat World were producing this kind of affair regularly and on “The Circle And The SquareJamie Jazz and co show they can be just as ambitious and successful at it.

Just like it begun  ’Darling Don’t Dive‘ ends on a high note. Over the course of 4 tracks the band surpassed my already high expectations and I I can’t wait to hear more material.

Bleach Blood are currently on tour across the UK and Europe with Natives and Arches. Catch them at their homecoming show at The Borderline on the 3rd of April and get your free copy of “Darling Don’t Divehere.

TRACKS:

doublecougar Bleach Blood release free EP Darling Dont Dive


Jan 12 2014

Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2013: Disclosure – Settle

 

Disclosure Settle albums of 2013 Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2013: Disclosure   Settle

Disclosure were making the right moves on the British scene releasing an EP on hip label Greco-Roman and being championed by DJ Annie Mac along the way but  even they couldn’t have been prepared for the massive success enjoyed by ‘Settle‘.  Ultimately irrespective of genres brothers Guy and Howard released one of the albums of the year.

This album captures the essence of where house, indie, and hip-hop are converging these days. A stellar debut that is clearly more than just a “dance” album, but actually provides surprises in it depth, as well as some killer features. Like ‘Channel Orange‘ last year, the variety of different songs that have been listed by publications and listeners as their favorites of the year shows how the density of this LP’s impact” – Daniel Benny

Not quite sure if living in London influenced me on this one, but I felt like Disclosure deserved a well ­earned spot in my top ten this year for the simple reason that their debut album was the perfect soundtrack to this summer.  For ‘Settle‘, the Lawrence brothers collaborated with some of the hottest names in the British music scene right now including ‘AlunaGeorge‘, ‘Jessie Ware‘, ‘London Grammar‘ and this results in what I think to be best dance record of the year” - Olivia

I can’t believe these brothers are only twenty or so years old. ‘Settle‘ draws on so many influences and genres, some far older than they are: 90s R&B, old school and acid house, garage, dubstep, 80s synth pop, soul music, etc… The result is an instant classic dance record that is as forward thinking as it is an homage to the past. Their DJ sets are ace, they put on a killer live show, and they even rock In-N-Out Burger t-shirts when they tour through Los Angeles. They can do no wrong!“ - Roger Jao

Disclosure’s ‘Settle‘ arrives on the scene as one of the best dance albums of the year. Leave it to two British 20-year-olds to make a deep house album poppy and effortlessly spoon feed it to mainstream America. With guest spots up the wazoo, the vocals alone help make this album the pop sensation it is – most notably, the seductive tenor Sam Smith on “Latch.” Their exceptional electronica beats, on tracks such as “Stimulation” are what keep their sound fresher than anything you’ll find right now” – Jabes

Jamz for party time, jamz for sexy time, jamz for home time. straight jamz” – Ledewitt

By far one of the biggest debut’s of the year, this pair of brothers brought house music to the masses with their breakout single, “Latch” featuring silky, smooth vocalist Sam Smith. A bonafide hit brigade, nearly every track could be a single. High-profile collaborations with fellow of-the-moment artists (Jessie Ware, Alunageorge, Flume) catapulted this record to the forefront of electronica and into American audiences“. – Nicole

20140107 034257 Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2013: Disclosure   Settle

TRACKS:

doublecougar Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2013: Disclosure   Settle


Dec 22 2013

Tears For Fears offer covers of Arcade Fire, Animal Collective and Hot Chip

tears for fears logo Tears For Fears offer covers of Arcade Fire, Animal Collective and Hot Chip

In a refreshing twist from the up and coming band throwing out a cover of their favorite 80′s track Tears For Fears have been gearing up for the release of their first album since 2004 ‘Everybody Loves A Happy Ending‘ with a series of well curated covers.

By selecting tracks by the likes of Arcade Fire, Animal Collective and Hot Chip The New Wave pioneers place themselves side by side with some of the bands they’ve undoubtedly inspired.

TRACKS:

doublecougar Tears For Fears offer covers of Arcade Fire, Animal Collective and Hot Chip


Dec 22 2013

Arctic Monkeys live @ The Forum, Milan

Arctic Monkeys AM tour Milan 1 Arctic Monkeys live @ The Forum, Milan

 Arctic Monkeys swung through Milan for the only Italian date on the ‘AM‘ tour playing to an excitable Milan Forum crowd. The fact that half of the audience were barely in their teens when the Sheffield lads released “Whatever People Say I Am…” was further evidence that this outfit are as relevant as ever.

As soon as the band hit the stage, opening with an epic rendition of this summer’s first single “Do I Wanna Know?“, two massive AM letters lit up behind offering a glorious technicolor backdrop and literally taking center stage for the duration of the show.

Arctic Monkeys AM tour Milan 3 Arctic Monkeys live @ The Forum, Milan

With a multitude of highlights populating their already impressive body of work this really took all the semblance of a greatest hits show with early airings of  ”Dancing Shoes“, “Brainstorm” and “Teddy Picker” deserving a particularly rousing receptions.

Sporting his new demi-Elvis look Alex Turner finally took a bow a few numbers in and introduced himself in talk show host fashion: “Hello Milan! We are Arctic Monkeys and my name is Alex Turner”. He would be taking particular joy throughout the night introducing the rest of the band in similar fashion and this new suave stage persona showcased a man brimming in confidence. As such, even the tracks where he temporarily abandoned his guitar possessed enviable amounts of energy.

Arctic Monkeys AM tour Milan 2 Arctic Monkeys live @ The Forum, Milan

Once he did return to his instrument the frontman showed he could shred with the best of them reeling off solos with the greatest of ease. This is particularly evident on “Arabella” where a casual switch to the chorus from Sabbath‘s “War Pigs” is featured without missing a blink . Newbies “Fireside“, which Turner dedicates to “the ladies“, and ”Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High” get offered on a plate to much adulation. Meanwhile the underrated “Cornerstone” spearheads this decades equivalent of lighters in the air with thousands of smartphones being waved in the air.

Closing with their the powerful trio of “Snap Out Of It”, the classic “Mardy Bum” and stormer “R U Mine?” , it is clear that the 2013 version of the Arctic Monkeys is a band comfortable within the confines of mega arenas and the likes. It’s been a long time since these  four shy teenagers from the North of England were finding their feeting but in Alex Turner, now like then,  they possess one of our generation’s great lyricists.

TRACKS:

doublecougar Arctic Monkeys live @ The Forum, Milan

 


Dec 1 2013

Weekend Videos: Roo Panes – “Open Road

In Roo Panes‘ aptly titled music video “Open Road”, some of his close friends decided to take a tuk tuk around the world. Throughout the perma-sunshine which only exists when you are constantly chasing the horizon, the joyous faces they see on their travels compliment the wonderful anthemic, optimistic soundtrack.

This video was released seven months ago yet the intrepid explorers continued their travels much further to the extent where just last week they passed the world record for ‘the longest journey around the world in a tuk tuk’ albeit having to push their motorised vehicle for 70 km through Peru to achieve the record. The grand mission of their goal, which has taken them through 37 countries and over 23000 miles, is to raise money for children in poverty and to promote development through education. To be officially awarded the record they must make it to Rio de Janeiro.

Closer to their original home, Roo Panes will be releasing his new EP ‘Land of the Living’ on December the 2nd which is one that Cougar are certainly looking forward to.

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Post by Sam
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TRACKS:

 

doublecougar Weekend Videos: Roo Panes   Open Road


Nov 26 2013

Cougar Microbes interview with Oi Va Voi

oivavoi Cougar Microbes interview with Oi Va Voi

Oi Va Voi are a London based band spearheading the fusion of Balkan and Klezmer influences with contemporary pop and electronica. Making powerful, emotionally resonant music with worldly overtones, their first release ‘Laughter Through Tears’ (2003) won over critics and fans alike. They have been touring internationally since their third album, ‘Travelling the Face of the Globes‘ hit the shelves in 2009, to great critical acclaim.

Cougar Microbes caught up with Oi Va Voi‘s Josh Breslaw ahead of their sold out London show at Hackney Round Chapel, before the band headed back to the studio to record their fourth album, out early 2014:

CM: Hi Josh, We hear you have a new album due for release early next year, what musical direction are you taking?

JB: Couldn’t say even if we wanted to. We know what kind of sound palette we will be using and we know what new sounds we want to add but you have to leave space to develop things and follow your instincts. You can never be sure exactly where you will end up and that’s what is exciting about playing in a band.

CM: You have a huge following in Turkey, and have expressed your solidarity to the current unrest – does Turkish music influence you in any way?

JB: We were so shocked to see what was happening in Turkey. It made us realize just how many friends we have out there. We were really worried for them and the thousands on the streets. It’s quite rare for a modern band from The UK to use the instrumentation that we do. The violin, and clarinet are very important in Turkey and people out there love the fact that we are a UK band using those instruments.

Oi Va Voi Cambridge 2009 Cougar Microbes interview with Oi Va Voi

CM: been a while since your last London show, what are you most looking forward to about playing at home again?

JB: We spend so much time playing abroad and it’s easy for our OI VA VOI experience to become separated from our home lives with our friends and family. It’s almost like a secret life, it can get disconnected. It’s great to be able to share it with them here in our home in London. We are also looking forward to playing new music that has never been played live before, music that we haven’t even recorded yet, we don’t normally do things that way round.

CM: We really like your new track, ‘Strangers‘ – what inspires you, and how do you write your music as a group?

JB: Our writing process is quite a long one and there isn’t really a formula that we could explain. If we could explain it, it would probably mean that the music we were making could be made by anyone. We have unique players and a fairly unique mix of instruments for a contemporary band. We stay focused on our sound and the stories we want to tell and try not to get influenced by the latest thing. We are always searching for a timeless sound.

TRACKS:

 

doublecougar Cougar Microbes interview with Oi Va Voi


Aug 26 2013

Festival Review: The Great Escape, Brighton

20130826 171534 Festival Review: The Great Escape, Brighton

Nothing cheers the British like blue skies and sunshine, and what better way to enjoy a sunburn than head to the coastline, bathed in the cacophony of greedy seagulls and 300 up and coming musicians? The Great Escape in Brighton has been filling the British music industry conference void for the past 8 years, and is sort of SxSW’s envious, less popular cousin – but if we overlook the fact TGE is more modest in size and scope, there are some pertinent parallels: the UK music industry is here en masse, schmoozing and drinking to the early hours; there are queues everywhere; the unofficial side shows are often more fun than the main attractions; and of course… …THERE IS MUSIC!

With venues spread all over town, resistance is futile: one must arm oneself with comfortable shoes and go with the flow. Cougar Microbes kicked things off with Elisapie’s seafront gig. Perhaps a midday show wasn’t the ideal setting for the Inuit Canadian’s electro pop, but it was sultry nonetheless. The songstress spoke seductively of love and nature and all sorts of hippy stuff, yet with her intense presence she made you feel she could eat you alive. Her set was sunny and apres cuit like sea foam washing on the beach, but as she delivered her songs there was fire in her eyes.

Next up was the indie rock of fellow Canadian bearded lads, Foam Lake. Their strength lay in the balance of guitar laden grungy overtones, melodic synth detailing and 4 piece harmonies. Almost 20 years on from their formation, the Foo Fighters’ resonance in this kind of music has become a little clichéd – but it is no slight on Foam Lake to say they occasionally touch upon the finer moments of the Grohl – it in the best possible way.

After a flurry of free drinks and a long succession of panels pondering the demise of the music industry as we know it, and the future of digital marketing, piracy, streaming, blogging and good ol’ insiders’ gossip, CM decided to sample the delights of the unofficial parties… Keston Cobbler’s Club played an intimate set at the Fiddler’s Elbow, rousing the crowd with their quintessentially British brand of perfectly adorable folk. Led by brother and sister Matthew and Julia Lowe, the Cobblers’ star is on the rise and their set was heartwarming and fun, conjuring up village fetes and sunny playgrounds and all things nice. A real treat.

20130826 171616 Festival Review: The Great Escape, Brighton

In contrast, it was a stinging disappointment the talented Tarq Bowen’s set was cancelled – his otherworldy onstage intensity would have provided a contrasting flavour in a lineup that could not help but cough up some forgettable bands.

Deap Vally, of course, were not the latter. A wild tousle of hair and legs, chunky riffs, sexy growls and a truckload of badass attitude had the audience entranced. Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards ooze the kind of cocksure sexuality that got Robert Plant armies of groupies, but the crowd’s uncertain whether to be aroused, afraid or both. Probably both. This is scuzzy, filthy garage rock with clever riffs, powerful vocals and a delicious nod to highest calibre Riot Grrl. I was left daydreaming about getting a DV tattoo on my ass.

It is an unintentional side effect of all the aimless wandering from venue to venue that these highlights have a strong female element – also from Canada, The Balconies blew the Green Door Store away at 2am with a dose of ass-kicking rock’n’roll, topped off by tantalising frontwoman Jackie O’ Neville’s impressive set of pipes. With much headbanging and whoo-hooing, she delivered a pitch perfect concoction of meaty riffs and melodies. Like a whippet on speed, O’Neville didn’t stand still for a split second and revealed that behind her sweet smile and delicate frame lies a force of nature. Zooey Deschanel gone an enticing kind of bad.

20130826 171606 Festival Review: The Great Escape, Brighton

Next in line was the Nordic electro folk of the atmospheric singer/songwriter Farao, strumming a guitar serenely from an Airstream van. Graceful and full of poise, she sang whimsical tracks on her finger-plucked acoustic, rendered by carefully measured synths. Just what everyone’s hangover was calling out for. One of the downsides of such a sprawling event is that you end up missing so much, and the headliners are all on at the same time, at different venues, with neverending queues.

20130826 171546 Festival Review: The Great Escape, Brighton

Even so, having a bumper ticket (for an extra price) to watch Everything Everything in the Corn Exchange felt like an anti-climax. Perhaps it was the free-spirited sun soaked unbritishness going on outside – despite the bands best efforts, it was more fun being in the open air. The Great Escape was finalised by late night boozing in the Queen’s Hotel, followed by a 5am escape to Sticky Frog Mike’s – the last bar standing.

To top things off, Deap Vally were there knocking back drinks and dancing to Hole. And what better way to heal tired aching feet than a cold sea dip at sunrise? While Britain’s answer to SxSW could be improved by wider musical diversity, it still stands as the place to see ‘the next big thing’ and is a fantastic way to kick off the extraordinary UK festival season – for those who have the stamina!

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Post by Karen aka @housegirlfriend

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TRACKS:

doublecougar Festival Review: The Great Escape, Brighton