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


Jan 9 2014

Cougar Microbes Top Album of 2013: Vampire Weekend – ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’

Vampire Weekend Modern Vampires Of The City Albums of 2013 Cougar Microbes Top Album of 2013: Vampire Weekend   Modern Vampires Of The City

Vampire Weekend showed inventive by the bucket loads on their eponymous debut album and 2010′s ‘Contra‘ but there was a feeling that Ezra Koenig and co. where at times too smug for their own good. ‘Modern Vampires Of The City‘ saw the four piece take the best elements from their previous work and focus it towards an album that is a pleasure from start to finish.

More introspective, less brash. Cryptic lyrics coupled with restraint gave way to perfectly formed songs such as the long-time-coming “Hannah Hunt” whilst the energy stored up could be released raw punk style in “Diane Young”. The intelligent observations suit Vampire Weekend as they set about maturing into adults rather than dying young” – SamI’ve already waxed poetically about this album here and 6 months later I still love ‘Modern Vampires of the City‘ just as much” – Roger Jao

20140107 034257 Cougar Microbes Top Album of 2013: Vampire Weekend   Modern Vampires Of The City

TRACKS:

doublecougar Cougar Microbes Top Album of 2013: Vampire Weekend   Modern Vampires Of The City


Dec 8 2013

Weekend Videos: Roo Panes – Home From Home

Last week we featured the video “Open Road by the poetic dreamer Roo Panes, this week we will be going to see his EP launch in Bush Hall, London. Cougar Microbes have been eagerly awaiting more of the guitar work tightly bound around much-thought-over lyrics and we got a glimpse of his new work when he release the video for “Home From Home” which is included in the new ‘Land of the Living’ EP.

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Post by Sam
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TRACKS:

doublecougar Weekend Videos: Roo Panes   Home From Home


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


Oct 28 2013

Weekend Videos: Klingande – “Jubel”

As leaves begin falling off trees and collecting underneath feet, there will be many people reluctantly accepting the declining temperature whilst longing for ‘just one more festival’. Klingande, 2 French students, responsible for the dance anthem which permeated my whole summer have recently released a video to accompany it.

The beauty of “Jubel” is in the continual nods towards feathers, which aptly symbolise the aesthetic fragility of the last days of summer. Making the most of the chance to explore, the friends adventure around fields, woodland and coast with such infectious, youthful optimism that it’s clear the changing of the seasons may take the long summer nights but won’t take their memories.

It is impossible not to smile when watching this video, if not by it prompting reminiscing of the summer just passed, then by the invoking pre-emptive nostalgia for next summer. So kick through the leaves on the pavement, and take one step closer to next summer, which will be full of new friends, places and memories. And the best thing: it’s only 8 months away and that will fly by, right?

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Post by Sam
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TRACKS:

doublecougar Weekend Videos: Klingande – Jubel


Jul 26 2013

Pretty Things 50th Year Anniversary

prettythings Pretty Things 50th Year Anniversary

With The Rolling Stones having played the most anticipated set of the festival season recently, it is remarkable to see how a bunch of mates can keep a band going through half a century whilst attracting generation after generation of new fans. 50 years as a band is something to be admired by everyone and so with all the publicity focussed on the Stones, I decided to focus on another band celebrating the big 50 with a series of reunion gigs this year, The Pretty Things.

Forming in 1963 The Pretty Things grew in infamy due to their visceral live shows playing electrifying Rhythm and Blues with a ferocious snarl. As The Rolling Stones began taking off with their excellent song writing skills and bad boy image, The Pretty Things had the skills but living the bad boy lifestyle hindered their careers. When Mick Jagger and co. were causing outrage by publicly urinating, The Pretties’ roadie was calming down a riotous crowd with a sawn off shotgun. As The Stones began breaking America on their tour, The Pretties received a lifetime ban from New Zealand whilst touring after drummer Viv Prince started a fire on an airborne plane. The Pretty Things caused enough scandal amongst the public to be discussed in the Houses of Parliament. There are enough stories which were not immortalised by journalists but clouded in the mists of time to create an air of legend and mythology around these deserving-of-the-title rock stars.

prettythings2 Pretty Things 50th Year Anniversary

Whilst the lifestyle may not have been granted the coverage from the press the stories merited, the music certainly was not appreciated by the number of people it so richly warranted, although a devout follower of the group was a young David Jones, who gave a polite nod to the influence they gave when he recorded “Rosalyn” and “Don’t Bring Me Down” as the world famous David Bowie.

S.F.Sorrow’ showed The Pretty Things’ forward thinking when they recorded the world’s first rock opera at Abbey Road studios whilst The Beatles recorded ’Sergeant Peppers’ and Pink Floyd recorded ’Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’ in 1967, yet the credit was given to The Who’s ’Tommy’, released a year after ‘S.F.Sorrow’. Frustrations grew and band members came in and out continuously. Their album ’Parachutes’ in 1970 being the highest charting since their self-titled début in 1963 gave the band critical praise which unfortunately failed to materialise into purchases. Further albums were released yet management unsuccessfully promoted them to the extent that The Pretties began fading from not only public consciousness but also that of the fans too.

50 years from the beginning of The Pretty Things, guitarist Dick Taylor, who was a member of a primitive version of The Rolling Stones surely could not have envisioned two more juxtaposed paths for two bands to have taken. But whilst he may be envious of the financial comfort of the Glastonbury headliners, surely it is a luxury he was willing to forego to be part of one of the best sagas in rock and roll ever. As he stands amongst his band mates on their UK dates, I really hope he sees fresh faces in the audiences, knowing they will take on the stories and music to the next generation and continue the legacy of The Pretty Things.

If there’s one gig you go to this summer, I implore it to be a Pretties one, you will not regret it.

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Post by Sam

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TRACKS:

doublecougar Pretty Things 50th Year Anniversary


Jun 5 2013

Trophy Wife/French Soul Party, sadly missed

Trophy Wife Trophy Wife/French Soul Party, sadly missed

It is one of life’s great sources of excitement to find a band from obscurity, having had and interest sparked from the bedroom demos and first singles and EPs all brimming with a talent yearning for more ears to listen to their tracks. It is then a privilege to watch the fire kindle the interest of more and more fans until a break allows them to explode into the hearts of many. It is however crushing to see such bands flicker out of existence as they begin suffocating due to a lack exposure to a wider audience they so richly deserved.

For far too many bands, this is the unfortunate fate they face and it is particularly sad to see two of the bands I had so much expectation for bow out in the same month.

Trophy Wife were first recognised by many back in late 2010 when the release of their first single “Macrolite” revealed subtly technical loops over swelling ambience accompanying morose reflective lyrics. Some fine EPs were released from the Oxford boys, including some produced by FoalsYannis, a favour returned when they remixed “My Number” into a scintillating ball of energy full of the characteristic traits of the Oxford collective Blessing Force. Solid tour performances consistently impressed the fans that turned up yet the big break never seemed to come and frustrations grew.

The bittersweet news then arrived on May 20th when they announced the release of their first début album ‘Trophy Wife’, available as a pay-what-you–like on Bandcamp would coincide with the news that they would be following their own creative paths and ‘putting Trophy Wife to rest’. Understatedly elegant yet powerful, the album exudes the delicacies of earlier releases yet also has more assertive moments such as in the potent synth lines of new single “Glue”.

French Soul party Trophy Wife/French Soul Party, sadly missed

150 miles further north in Yorkshire, the members of French Soul Party were beginning to accept the daunting realisation that their time left together was also limited. Playing their career spanning set, consisting mainly of songs written when they were just over 15, it is a shame to know that many of these songs are now confined to memories, as very few songs were ever recorded. “French Kissing” justified its right to be recorded as it made its way all the Radio 1 playlist and a wider audience was drawn towards the punching synth, interweaving guitars and tight drumming. Having many influences who mixed in the circles of Blessing Force, French Soul Party penned songs which were able to take their sound to increasingly further reaching places whilst they worked on the dreamy dance pop of their last single “Tropical Haze”. As thoughts turned towards the impending futures taking them to opposite ends of the country and beyond, the boys, some yet to turn 18, reluctantly decided to call a day on this adventure.

For these bands, and many others in similar situations, this may seem like the end. But all these young musicians have not given up music, their talents have just been turned to a different avenue, and there will still be plenty of good tracks coming from them all. So whilst the immediate future feels like closure to the end of an era, another age is just waiting to be built and it will be just as exciting as the last, so keep going to gigs, keep buying music and keep your ears out for that next wave of progression, because it’s already happening.

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Post by Sam

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TRACKS:

doublecougar Trophy Wife/French Soul Party, sadly missed


Jun 4 2013

Alt-J live @ The Academy, Leeds

20130604 165308 Alt J live @ The Academy, Leeds

Having sold out their academy tour very quickly, many were interested to see how Alt-J would be affected by yet another gesture confirming how popular they have become. Even at festivals they usually played in the smaller tents, so the deserved progression to the more expansive Academy venues provided an opportunity for the songs to grow and mature in sound and possibly suggest alternate motivations when played in a different context.

Medieval choral music provided gravitas to the shuffling entrance before the band took to their instruments, all lined up unconventionally along the front row allowing all members of the band to be as close to the audience as possible thus strongly conveying the message that each member of the band is as worthy as the next of the audiences awe.

The first three songs of the set were the first three songs off the album, with “Interlude 1 (Ripe& Ruin)” subtly nodding back to their entrance song whilst invoking a peculiar Middle-Ages fete sing-along dynamic.

The sets running order was diverted from the albums when “Something Good” became the first real chance for the band to coax the audience to dance, and small pockets of the crowd, each consisting of 5-6 people duly obliged, yet the majority of the crowd were too transfixed to risk interrupting their gaze and so opted instead to respectfully stand, much to the annoyance of the engetitic gig goers.

Buffalo” provided swelling chants which were harmoniously backed to provide an appropriate cinematic feel to the recently penned film score, which then gave way to the unmistakeable jagged synths of “Dissolve Me”.

As the livelier fans decided to opt for gentle bobbing amongst the rest of the songs, the cover “Slow” by Kylie Minogue let its pulsating synths widen the audiences awe whilst the lyrics “Come on and dance with me, yeah Slow” gently mocked as they glided in and out of consciousness like troubled ghosts.

Matilda” proved a nice sonical twist as piercing electronic synths cuts through an otherwise slow ballad, by which point the crowd have by this point all become too enthralled by Alt-J’s commanding performance to be perturbed by petty differences in ways of showing appreciations and mutual admiration for respecting each other’s ways grow.

MS’s” echoey throbbing tribal influence was punctured with the bassy riff which was complemented by intricate guitar work floating above it before “Breezeblocks” had the crowd aptly chanting “Please don’t go I love you so” as the band left the stage to relentless applause.

Returning to the stage to “Handmade”, the acapella cover of College’s “A Real Hero” followed displaying exquisite vocal harmonies.

Finishing with “Taro” crystallised everything great about Alt-J. The interesting technique of using tape by Gwil to get that now recognisable sitar sounding rhythm gave way to crowd singing back the well-crafted ending melody to justify how relevant and adored Alt-J have become for modern British music.

Alt-J have lived up to the musicianship expected and their ever growing fan base is testament to their ability of being a band capable of filling up larger venues both with fans and with their distinctive sound. It’s amazing to see how much they have grown in one year and we will just have to wait and see what this next year will hold.

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Post by Sam

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TRACKS:

doublecougar Alt J live @ The Academy, Leeds