FFS Interview: The Woe Betides

Our attempts to be in the same room at the same time as the Woe Betides failed pathetically, so this conversation went on over email. Learn all about this terrific twosome, who will be touring in August and September.

FFS Schmercury shortlist announced. Get voting!

It’s been a tough weekend here at FFS HQ, but through bitterly fought arguments, desperate whittling down and some pretty poor attempts at using maths to help us choose, the FFS Schmercury shortlist for 2009 is ready for your listening pleasure.

Alessi’s artwork on show in Hammersmith

As many of you will know, Alessi Laurent-Marke, able captain of Alessi’s Ark, does much more than writing scintillating, magical folk songs. She’s the worthy purveyor of a delectable variety of handmade and lovely things via her blog, and she’s rather keen on having a scribble with the ol’ felt tips.

Martha Wainwright teams up with Liam Frost – free mp3 download

Mancunian rocker Liam Frost has enlisted Martha Wainwright to enhance and adorn a track on his upcoming album, We Ain’t Got No Money, Honey, But We Got Rain (after legendary beat poet Charles Bucowski). The Duet, entitled ‘Your Hand in Mine’ is available as a free download here, and gives listeners a thrilling sneak preview of the album, which is due out on September 28th.

Album: Dear Reader – Replace Why With Funny

South Africa isn’t renowned for providing us with too much music. In fact I couldn’t name you two that have broke these shores. Not even Wikipedia could shed much light. One South African act I can name, though, is Dear Reader – and now so can you.

Dear Reader is actually the Jo’Burg four piece’s new name. Originally, they were called Harris Tweed until the Scottish cloth company of the same name complained despite agreeing two years previous. A stolen laptop and one letter later, Dear Reader finally emerged. Anyway, petty name issues aside, Replace Why With Funny is their debut album, and you will fall in love with it.

Interview: Pagan Wanderer Lu

In a new foray into the world of technology FFS interviewed Andy Regan, AKA Pagan Wanderer Lu, over MSN. PWL’s first general release album Fight My Battles For Me was released recently on Brainlove Records, but Andy has been writing, recording and playing under the moniker for nine years. He is also a regular blogger – and wrote a series of blogs for the Independent in the run up to his album release, which are well worth a read. We’ve tried to ask him the sort of questions that’d get him talking cos, as you’ll see, he has something interesting to say on pretty much every subject. Now you sit back and enjoy the interview while we reflect on our realisation that we’ve effectively got an artist to transcribe our interview for us…

Live: Alessi’s Ark, Left with Pictures and Tristram aboard The Tamesis

Moonshine Jambouree started out a little under a year ago with free shows in The Slaughtered Lamb in Clerkenwell. The gigs have come a long way since then and now promoter Antony Chalmers is part way through a run of shows on the Tamesis. A split level boat docked on the south bank of the Thames.

It is in this picturesque setting that FFS finds itself watching Tristram. We first saw him live eight months ago and his delicate vocals and quiet acoustic guitar have since been transformed into assured jangly pop by his backing band of a cellist, keyboard player and percussionist. Tristram’s vocals have a lovely timbre and the cheery glock and pretty harmonies contrast with a melancholy in his voice reminiscent of Nick Drake. Although he seems almost embarrassed to be watched and applauded, Tristram is a real storyteller who had the crowd hanging on his every word.

Live: TV on the Radio @ Brixton Academy 13th July 2009

It stands to reason that as a band ages their popularity should take that natural ascension up into the stars. It’s exactly what all their fans hope for, to see the band with all that talent finally getting the kudos they always deserve. But the trouble is that when the band reaches that level of adoration from so many people they automatically lose some of that magic that made them so precious in the first place. This is the perilous ledge that TV on the Radio find themselves on as they take to the stage for their biggest show in the UK, following the mammoth success of their last album ‘Dear Science’.

First Aid Kit ask fans to suggest songs to cover

FFS first became aware of First Aid Kit thanks to the YouTube video of their beautiful cover of Fleet Foxes’ ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song’, which has been seen over half a million times. Following on from its success Johanna and Klara have decided to recording a series of covers suggested to them by their Twitter followers.

The Leisure Society sign with Full Time Hobby + free download

Ivor Novello nominees and all-round nice chaps The Leisure Society have signed to Full Time Hobby.

The record label announced this week that they’ll be rereleasing TLS’s lovely album The Sleeper as a double CD pack on 5th October. The second disc will be an eight track EP consisting of B-sides and demos including the band’s cover of Cars by Gary Numan, which they played at the Wilkommen Collective’s Union Chapel show.

Album: Tinariwen – Imidiwan: Companions

Surely one of the most unique and original ‘bands’ releasing music in the UK today, Tinariwen are a group of musicians out of Mali who came together in the 1970s to play traditional Touareg music. They formed around Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, who spent his early life in a Malian refugee camp and made his first guitar as a young child after seeing a cowboy playing a guitar in a Western.

Album: The Rumblestrips – Welcome to the Walk Alone

Fans of The Rumble Strips will have been shocked when they heard the hornless first release from the new album Welcome to Walk Alone. Given the band have teamed up with producer Mark Ronson, you might be forgiven for expecting it to sound like Grimethorpe Colliery Band covering the back catalogue of Dexy’s Midnight Runners. Instead it opens with the majestic ‘Welcome to the Walk Alone’ which is reminiscent of Scott Walker’s saturnine best.