Tuesday, 13 November 2007

We Lykke Like it a Little Bit

Swedish chanteuse Lykke Li reminds us of a beautiful fusion of Kylie Minogue and Feist. Merging the pop princess diva attitude with a charismatic but awkward charm Lykke has all she needs to catapult herself into a throne currently occupied by fellow ice queen Bjork.

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Recently the Scandinavian songstress teamed up with Peter Bjorn & John over at CMJ to do guest vocals on the inescapable whistle driven anthem ‘Young Folks’. With a blossoming relationship developing between the two acts Bjorn has recently produced
Lykke’s debut EP titled ‘Little Bit’ and the two have set to work on her full-length album. The title track from her EP, ‘Little Bit’, will be her debut single and the lyrics encapsulate her blend of self-assurance and vulnerability flawlessly.

"And for you I keep my legs apart / and forget about my tainted heart ... / I will do it, push the button, pull the trigger, climb a mountain, jump off a cliff 'cause you're my baby / I love you love you a little bit."

This infectious single is a current favourite of ours and is a song that everyone will find themselves humming giddily. The video to accompany the single is directed by Mattias Montero. Other tracks on the EP such as ‘Everybody But Me’ show a more delicate, pleading Lykke and make it impossible for any listener not to feel a warmth to her and get drawn into her susceptibility.

Already hugely popular act in her home nation Lykke will be over in the UK supporting fellow Swedes The Shout Out Louds at The Borderline on Nov 26th having supported them across their European tour.

(William Street)

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Young GUN, Bad Pun - Jay Jay Pistolet

London is heaving with acoustic singer-songwriters. There is practically one on every street corner. Even for a massive fan of anything acoustic like myself, it is becoming too much. No matter how many demos I listen to or iTunes previews I test, I always find myself double-clicking on Dylan, Elliott Smith, Ryan Adams, Nick Drake or any other standard acoustic pornography you can think of. It seemed like nothing could ever compete with them. Until I found Justin Hayward-Young.

Justin (aka. JAY JAY PISTOLET) is nothing out of the ordinary…he doesn’t wear ridiculous clothing, he doesn’t have a shady past, he is neither a drug-addict nor alcoholic like the aforementioned artists and to my knowledge, he has never attempted suicide. He is merely a good-looking lad from The Lake District who dropped out of University to play his captivating brand of acoustic storytelling to deathly silent audiences around Britain.

“I really miss that spring in my step, the one that I contracted from the bed in which we slept”

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Most songwriters around seem to have forgotten the importance of lyrics. I’m still trying to figure out how on earth sucking on lemons makes you a bitter person…and more importantly how critics can claim these thick as shit lines come from a ‘voice of our generation.’ Jay Jay doesn’t give us too much reality and thank God for that. Its nice to have a bit of escapism for once, like on "Holly" - the B-Side to his new single "We Are Free" - Where he tells the story of a girl he fell in love with who moved to Hollywood, fell into drugs and consequently passed away. It’s a gruelling 5:21sec but you feel like you have awakened from a strange dream when it ends, lulled into another sense of consciousness by the strings, occasional syncopated drum beat and Marcus Mumford’s backing vocals. I certainly don’t believe this can happen when listening to some stupid girl talking about riding around London on her bike all day.

“Whilst I’ve always dreamed of making it in Hollywood…I knew if she had a second chance then Holly could”

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It’s a nice change, listening to stories about Hollywood, not Hoxton. Or just listening to coherent stories. You feel like you’ve finished a good book when you listen to a Jay Jay Pistolet song.

Anyway, I have rambled on far too long. You get the idea…ChessClub like Jay Jay Pistolet. Well, we do, a lot…and that is why we decided to release his debut single! After many drunken meetings with his manager Jay aka. Beans On Toast (yes…same name, hilarious I know) it has finally happened.

November 19th - "We Are Free/Holly 7” is released through Chess Club Records (YAY!)
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Pre-order it here

He has a big single launch party at The Borderline on November 19th with other exciting new talents (and all previous Chess Club performers) KING CHARLES and ALAN POWNALL so get your tickets now BY CLICKING HERE

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(Max Knight)

Wednesday, 10 October 2007


It was way back at the start of the soggy British Summertime (JUNE) that I first heard about YEASAYER. I was lucky enough to receive an email from their record label WE ARE FREE (an off-shoot of the fantastic MONITOR RECORDS) asking whether they could get a slot at one of our Chess Club nights at The Social while they came over to London for a short run of 5 or 6 dates. Due to my ignorance of their brilliance at the time, I took it upon myself to do a bit of research. In this age of information I took an obvious route - First stop - their myspace. I had been told that their first release was to be a song called "2080" - a song which is rumoured to have got them signed after it was heard only once by the label - backed by the B-side "Sunrise" so that seemed like a good place to start. "2080" is an instant classic, drawing influences from some of the biggest bands of the 80's. The song rumbles along ominously, driven by a repetitive bassline and a distant drumbeat, while singer Chris Keating rants about the perils of the distant future - "It's a new year and I'm glad to be here". The point that defines the song though, arrives when all four band members let the rhythm drop and join together in a rousing chant - the words of which I'll never be truly sure of. Its an exciting moment, with the passionate shouts of the vocals riding high on the twisted synths and occasional tom hits. Needless to say this song, and the more groove heavy but equally-strange-instrumentally track "Sunrise", pointed towards a pretty special live performace.
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The live show is really where Yeasayer come into their own (see above photos by Max Knight from Yeasayer @ The Social in August). Everything sounds like its been practiced to perfection, and there is a sense of full control and poise that underpins the clashing and crashing of sounds, synths and cymbals. Singer Chris is positioned on the floor rather than the stage due to the lack of space at the Social, and the amount of large instruments Yeasayer have flown over with them from New York. This apparent handicap seems to work in his favour though as he hunches over his keyboard, occasionally leaving it to jump to the stage, bending over double, eyes closed and finger pointing to the sky like some kind of apocalyptic preacher. He stumbles, trips and falls his way through songs without ever losing track. It seems one of the most refreshing things about watching Yeasayer play, is that they appear to be a band of four incredibly talented front men. It doesn't matter that singer Chris is based on the same level as the audience - the rest of the band have the audience captivated, as they rock backwards and forwards trance-like, held together by the rhythms they're thumping out. These rhythms are created by the huge amount of percussion the band play with, every member acting as a percussionist at some point in the set. Hand claps, bottles of rice to shake, real shakers, tambourines, wooden blocks, crickets (a wooden thing that goes "click") and tribal drums are all present. Drummer Luke is the conductor of this percussive onslaught. He plays a mixture of acoustic drums and electronic drums through a drum pad, which he has delayed causing each hit to resound about 4 times. This could easily sound like a mess but it holds together flawlessly, coating the audience in multi-layered rhythms. With tracks like "Final Path" and "No Need To Worry" the band show their full potential for skewed prog-pop. By the end of the set I felt thoroughly drained but completely excited by the innovation and finely tuned talent that Yeasayer display. There is a lot to be learned by new up and coming acts from performances like this.

Make sure you see them when they return to these shores very soon. Heres where they'll be at in November:

7 Brighton Barfly
8 Nottingham Tuned @ Rock City
9 London Barfly
10 Exeter The Hub
11 Cardiff Buffalo Bar (Swn Festival)
12 Liverpool Barfly
13 Manchester Jabez Clegg
14 Edinburgh The Hive
15 Leeds Cockpit
16 Bristol Bar Academy
18 Birmingham Bar Academy
29 London Koko with Electrelane

Their debut album is out early November. Track listing looks like this:
1. Sunrise
2. Wait for the Summer
3. 2080
4. Germs
5. Ah, Weir
6. No Need to Worry
7. Forgiveness
8. Wait for the Wintertime
9. Waves
10. Worms

Album Cover looks like this (WEIIIIIRRRRRRRRDDDD):
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Exciting stuff. Time for a resurgence of the 80's influenced NYC pop band. See also MGMT, Vampire Weekend and Ra Ra Riot.

[Jack LB]