Captives On The Carousel

Captives On The Carousel are my latest (and most favourite) Sheffield discovery. I had been hearing the name drifting around for a while, but I finally managed to catch them live a couple of weeks ago at a charity gig where they were playing alongside fellow Sheffield bands Young Peculiar and Screaming Maldini. For me, as a committed fan of folk music (and especially folk that errs on the side of ethereal), it was pretty much love at first listen.

Singer and guitarist Sarah and cellist Ben have been playing as a pair since 2008, when Ben started joining Sarah at her solo shows. In 2009, they decided to make things official and Captives On The Carousel was born. Together they sing haunting folk originals, in which delicate strings and dark-edged prosaic lyrics soothe you into a dreamlike and otherworldly existence.

Since the middle of 2011, the duo have been, as their website puts it, ‘taking things more seriously’, and with the help of friends succeeded in putting out a self-released debut EP. This was followed by another, ‘The Garden’, in 2012. They’ve been busy working the folk festival circuit in the summertime, as well as securing stage-time at Tramlines, Peace in the Park and Off The Tracks, and have recently spent some time touring to promote their latest EP release.

If you’d like to find out more about the wonderful folkiness of Captives On The Carousel, visit their website or their Facebook page. There’s also plenty of gorgeous tracks to listen to on their Soundcloud profile – go check them out, you won’t be disappointed.

– Georgie

Hey Sholay

When I wrote my blog for Gola about Sheffieldian indiepop trio Standard Fare last week, I said that they’d been one of the two bands I’d seen perform at the live recording of the Steve Lamacq show at the Sheffield Crucible. Well, I could hardly mention one without mentioning the other, now, could I?

Hey Sholay are an example of Yorkshire’s finest – hailing from Leeds and Sheffield, this five-piece of filmmakers, artists and (importantly) super-talented musicians make a beautiful brand of psychedelic pop that’s got them making some serious waves in the music press of late.

On September 14th they released their debut album ‘((0))’ – no, that’s not a typo – and it’s been getting rave reviews left right and centre for its upbeat tempo and catchy rhythms interspersed in places with a darker, more emotive undertone. The band make the most of all their musical talents, creating a complex and stirring musical tone using strong beats, edgy riffs and lots of delicious synth. When you inter-weave this with the distinctive vocals (touch of Bombay Bicycle club, dash of Villagers, and a huge dollop of something exquisite that I can’t quite put my finger on), you’ve got a band that are taking British indie, turning it upside down, shaking it up a bit and putting it down again in the shape of something nobody’s ever seen before.

If you think you’d like to have a little bit of Hey Sholay for your very own, there’s a free track you can download via their Facebook page. For more information, and for the full Hey Sholay experience (art and film included – the music video above is one of their own DIY projects) visit the blog on their website – it’s a little bit crazy and a heck of a lot awesome. In fact, I’m off to have another look…

– Georgie

Standard Fare

This week, I was lucky enough to be able part of the audience for Steve Lamacq’s BBC 6Music radio show, which was broadcast live from the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield as part of 5live’s Oktoberfest. Even if there had been no live music I would have enjoyed myself immensely, being both a massive radio nerd and a committed Lammo fan, but I’m very glad there was as it allowed myself to get acquainted with delightful and upbeat stylings of Standard Fare.

Standard Fare are a three-piece comprising of Emma Kupa (vocals and bass), Dan How (vocals and guitar) and Andy Beswick (drums). All three hailing from Derbyshire, they played and practised around the Buxton area until 2007 when they decided to up sticks and move to Sheffield’s Yellow Arch Studios, where they’ve been based ever since.

Drawing on the influences of soft rock and punk, Standard Fare’s indie pop ditties tell tales on as diverse themes as nuclear holocaust (“Suitcase”), divided families (”Half Sister) and missing a lover from the other side of the Atlantic (“Philadelphia”) . Their songs have a relentless momentum and an infectious and endearing buoyancy ; this is not a band trying to change the world, but it is definitely a band that want you to have a dance and bloody good time. Kupa’s chirpy, regional vocals (of which she professes a stunning range) contrast beautifully with How’s softer, smoother tone, giving them a quirky quality that really sets Standard Fare apart from other “golden triangle” (drums, bass, guitar) indie bands.

To date, Standard Fare have release two studio albums, 2010’s ‘The Noyelle Beat’ and 2011’s ‘Out Of Sight, Out Of Town’, and have had national air-play from the aforementioned Steve Lamacq and Radio 1’s Huw Stevens. In light of this, you might be surprised to learn that the band members have to maintain their day jobs in the midst of an ever-demanding tour schedule. Therefore, I propose a plan; if we all go out and buy their record, they’ll have enough dollar in their pocket to give up working and to concentrate on what they do best; making excellent and danceable indiepop magic.

To find out more about Standard Fare, visit their website.

– Georgie


Screaming Maldini

The best phrase I can think of to describe Screaming Maldini would be “sonic explosion”, because that’s what it feels like when you listen to them: an explosion of pop, with soaring five-part harmonies and an epic musicality bursting in at you from all sides which you absolutely have to fall in love with.  Inventive, enticing, intelligent and, above all, stand-out awesome, surely it cannot be long before this band take over the world.

Based in Sheffield, Screaming Maldini have been making their eccentric and endearing quirk-pop (that’s their chosen genre-word, folks) since 2009. Comprising of six phenomenally talented musicians, who between them demonstrate stunning proficiency in strings, glock, guitar, drums, percussion, bass and piano, their passion, enthusiasm and commitment to musical individuality (not to mention their incredible songs) has seen their popularity grow and grow, in Sheffield, Britain and beyond.

After two critically-acclaimed EPs, the band released their first (eponymous) album on Alcopop in Autumn of this year, to glowing praise. “Life in Glorious Stereo”, the first single to be taken from it, has been received a similarly rapturous response from the music press, with the Guardian commending their “beautiful yet hyper over-the-top melodies” and 6Music’s Tom Robinson simply describing them as “WOW!”

It only takes one quick scroll down the Screaming Maldini Facebook page to see that they are going to serious places. Every day there is news of the latest accolade. Just the other day, they posted that Matt Berry has offered up a remix of their next single “Summer, Somewhere”, released October 15th. Yes, Matt Berry, the very same Matt Berry that plays Douglas Reynolm in the IT Crowd. I know! If Dr Lucian Sanchez off’ve Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace remixing your tunes isn’t a sign that you’ve made it, then I don’t know what is.

To find out more about Screaming Maldini, visit their website. Oh, and so convinced am I that this band will continue their rise to musical greatness that, should they not, I solemnly swear I will eat my blogger’s keyboard. And that’s a promise.

– Georgie

(Feature Image Photography by Paul Cantrell)