Wednesday, 29 February 2012
We are delighted to present to you Team Morale, one of this year’s most exciting new acts, and a band we expect you to hear a lot from in the coming months. Gruff was lucky enough to be given the honour of popping this Kentish duo's interview cherry as they ran us through their thoughts about the last 12 months, and the year to come.
First up how are you (you both) enjoying 2012 so far, lived up to expectations?
George: 2012 has been pretty great so far. I am traveling at the moment, through the notoriously safe countries of Belize and Guatemala.
Oli: I have had a more humble year being all studious at university.
2011 was a bit of a mixed bag musically with some pretty amazingly high points and some pretty astonishingly low ones, what did you guys think about the acts that made the headlines over the year?
Couldn’t agree more. The big indie acts (Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes etc) put out slightly disappointing albums, and the hype artists didn’t fulfill expectations. Adele became a global superpower whilst Lana Del Rey caught the headlines over her big lips and a song about playing Mario Kart with her boyfriend, or something like that. OFWGKTA drew us in with passionate live shows and then produced Goblin, and the man you once revered as the future of hip-hop, Tyler the Creator, now stands before us as just another douche bag. Luckily the likes of The Antlers, Nicolas Jarr, The Field, A Winged Victory for the Sullen and Tim Hecker all produced incredible records, thus saving the year.
As for 2012, any artists already caught your attention? How do you think this year will stack up compared to the last one?
One act who we’re really digging is North Bay. I know you featured him on your site a few weeks back, and we too were very impressed by his ambient styling’s. We can’t wait for new records from Blood Red Shoes and Grizzly Bear. Another Kent based band, Tom Williams and the Boat, is in the process of releasing an LP which is shaping up to be mighty fine too. ATDI and Refused reformations are godsends as long as they drop by our little island.
You come from small town Kent, do you think you might suffer as a band being away from the musical hustle and bustle of the more musical metropolitans like London, Manchester, Bristol etc? Or has the internet allowed geography to become pretty redundant?
London kind of becomes a home away from home when we’re in Kent as we’re both obsessed by live music and take any opportunity we get to see a band perform. Although Tunbridge Wells serves a purpose in granting smaller and local bands a platform from which to build on, we usually find ourselves in the capital when our thirst for a gig needs to be quenched. We’re exposed to a lot of music through the internet and in turn we can expose a lot of people to Team Morale through the world wide web so we don’t feel left out in that respect, but when we look to start playing frequent shows our location may become problematic. It remains to be seen.
Your new single Pillow Talk dropped a couple of days back, and it seems to head in a slightly new direction from the tracks that appeared a couple of months back, is that intentional or natural artistic evolution?
A little from column a, a little from column b. We’ve always wanted to include vocal samples in our work, but we hadn’t found the right ones until now. It’s very important to us that we improve on our sound and try and go out of our comfort zone. The beginning of Team Morale itself was really an exercise in moving out of our comfort zone, as we originally played punk music at school together. When we started to write songs that weren’t punk, we dubbed our sound "the lovechild of Mount Kimbie and Warpaint". It’s an idea that we’ve been building towards ever since the death of our last punk riff and is an idea that is most noticeable on Pillow Talk. We feel like we’re closer than ever to our original concept of what the band would sound like. We’d like to think it’s a natural artistic evolution but it may seem to people like it’s been a bit contrived. We’re not sure.
You guys seem to draw musical inspiration from all over the place, who would you call your biggest influences?
It’s tough to say. As well as the previously mentioned artists, bands such as Tall Ships, Gold Panda, Olafur Arnalds, Kurt Vile and Wild Beasts all inspire us greatly, even if you can’t hear it in the finished product. We both love music so much (too much some have suggested!), and having such a wide range of influences is a blessing and a curse. We originally found it difficult to narrow ourselves down to one genre and still do now. Sometimes we’ll be jamming over an African beat with marimbas or doing a psychedelic thing, until we have to stop and say “this isn’t us”. Don’t be surprised when a pan flute and bongo drum side project appears in a few years time.
How do the two of you go about writing a new track? Is it a completely joint effort, or does one of you have a slightly more dominant role?
I (George) tend to have a more dominant role as I’m the one who has logic (the music program we use) on my laptop. The writing process is as follows- one of us will have a riff or chord sequence and we'll play around with it for a while. We then record the bass and guitar parts on the computer, and over countless nights I’ll craft a song out of the individual parts. Often the song will change its sound/style
countless times, but we’re always pretty chuffed with the end product. The way we write songs really works for us, and we need it to because Oli is at uni, so it’s hard for us to get together whenever we want (sob). Skype jamming just isn't the same.
Am I right in saying you guys have never played out as Team Morale before? Are you waiting for anything in particular before heading onstage for your live debut?
That is correct. We haven’t played yet because we want to make a show we can really be proud of, and one that’s memorable for us and the fans. Our songs are like onions (they have layers) and because there’s just the two of us we want to make the show dynamic and interesting without just hitting the spacebar on a laptop to play parts for us. We will be playing live in some capacity in the summer, and from there we aren’t going to stop. At the moment we just want to get our music to the people, but this will change soon.
If you could have any vocalist to sing over one of your tracks who would be your dream collaboration?
George: Oh, that’s a toughie. Lots of my favourite singers wouldn’t really work on our songs (I'm looking at you Dre), but I’ve always wanted to get someone from the world of pop and take their sultry tones out of context. I dunno, maybe Pixie Lott or someone. But Robin Pecknold or Sharon Van Etten would be a genuine treat. Plus Oli would leave the band if Pix or The Saturdays were featured in our music.
Oli: I would be hard pushed to stay… First off, if we’re talking hip-hop legends I’ve always been an Eastside man and so Biggie would be appearing fo sure. But he'd be hard to book being dead and that, so if we’re talking about bringing living vocalists into the studio (George’s bedroom) you can’t go too far wrong on a track with Thom Yorke can you? A man can only dream.
What do you see the next 12 months holding in store for Team Morale, where do you see the band standing this time next year?
This time next year the apocalypse will have come and gone, so we'll no doubt be standing in a heavenly place of rainbows and jellybeans, or wherever those crazy Mayans believed in. However, apocalypse allowing, we’d like to put on a few live shows, debut some new material, and release an EP. Maybe get signed, that’d be just swell. If we ever get to a stage where we can say our full time occupation is writing and playing music we’ll die happy men. In the much nearer future, however, we’ve got a mixtape coming out March 16th, which will be a free download, so there’s no excuse not to get it. Although we're only putting it up for free so our Mayan Karma would be balanced out before the end of the world...
Pillow Talk by Team Morale
The first track is one half off the new double A-side from Airhead on new label R & S Recordings. This is due to hit the selves mid March, and watch out for the album that is currently in the works.
Airhead - Wait by R & S Records
The second is ancient by the blogospheres standard having first come out all the way back in 2004. It's a remix by our longstanding favorite Belgium producer Styrofoam of French act Margo. It comes off their 2004 remix album 'The Catnap Remixed'
Margo - My Cat (Styrofoam Remix) by Styrofoam
And the final track comes from Brighton's Caspar Wilson.
Follow Home by Caspar Wilson
01 Silver by RxGibbs
01 Silver by RxGibbs
Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Three tracks today.
The first comes from Forest Fire, a act signed to easily one of my favorite labels at the moment Fat Cat.
Forest Fire - Born Into by Fat Cat Records
The second comes from Munich based Gender Bombs, with their song about a river. It’s a lot better than it sounds.
Danube (Demo) by genderbombs
And the final track is a slight diversion from what we might normally post with this small taste of pure unadulterated folk from Marc Scibilia.
Better Man - Marc Scibilia by marcscibilia
Monday, 27 February 2012
We are still offering you the chance to win a free signed copy of their debut EP ‘Issues’ on Vinyl, so if that sort of thing interests you send us an email before the 1st of March when 'lines close'.
Three tracks today.
The first comes from yet another band who call Oxford home Left of Manila, it is slowly becoming surreal just how much talent this city is producing.
Asleep In Stone, by Left of Manila by Left of Manila
The second is actually a bit of an oldie having first pop up 9 or so months ago, it didn’t really get all that much attention back then so I thought I would give it a bit of an airing now. It comes from London's Box of Ghost who sounds almost eerily similar to SBTRKT.
Mile's End by Box of Ghosts
And the final track today is also a bit on the older side. It's taken off Sydney’s native, Big Dumb Kid's 2011 debut EP Vanilla, of which lead single Dumb Luck did gain some traction back when it was released.
Amidst The City by BigDumbKid
Friday, 24 February 2012
Three new tracks today.
The first comes from Vivid Monk a Shoegaze/dreampop act based out of Bath.
Wizard's Sleeve by Vivid Monk
The second comes from a fellow Shoegaze duo Stagnant Pools based out of Bloomington, Indiana.
Consistency by Stagnant Pools
And the final track is more Indie pop then Dreampop and it comes from The Hobbes Fanclub who call Bradford home.
The Hobbes Fanclub - Outside Myself by stevefan
Thursday, 23 February 2012
First track comes from Young Magic, a band we first mentioned back in January when they released the video for the then single Night In The Ocean. I have been listening almost nonstop to their album Melt since it became available to stream over on their soundcloud. The track bellow Sparkly is the opener off Melt.
Sparkly by Young Magic ☾
The second comes from the slightly mysterious Vordhosbn, I couldn’t really find out anything about him except that he comes from Kettering. What more do you need to know I guess...
They Came Down by vordhosbn
The final track today is actually a bit of an oldie having come out in mid 2011, I completely missed its original surfacing and only just had my attention drawn to it by a friend. Hope you enjoy.
Bruise by Kitteh Fur
He has returned, and is better than ever.
Willy unleashed this absolute stunner of a track a couple of days back on the Guardian, but locked it all up some I wasn’t able to post it till just now, hence an unusual one track posting. I think I may go as far as to say this is his best track to date...
It's amazing to finally hear so new material from Willy Mason, a artist a fell in love with once again when I caught him playing a stunning stripped back solo set at the Oxford Glee back in September of 2011.
Willy Mason - "Restless Fugitive" by willymason
Wednesday, 22 February 2012
Another three tracks to follow up the earlier post.
The first comes from Periastron, a producer based out of Aberdeenshire.
Haze by Periastron
The second comes from Ori, a folktronica soloist coming out of Jerusalem. The track bellow is actually about 4 months old.
Haman by ori
And the final track comes from Kyson, a simply stunning electronic producer from Berlin; the track bellow Forest Footsteps is perfect.
Kyson-Forest Footsteps by Kyson
Going to be another two post day today, as I having being stumbling over amazing tracks left right and centre the last few days.
The first track today comes from a fellow Oxford native of mine Poledo. I really can’t stop stating how musically on fire my home town is these days, and Poledo is yet another amazing string to its bow.
You Can Have It All by Poledo
The second track comes from San Diego duo Crocodiles, and can be grabbed as a free download. Lovely.
Crocodiles - Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9) by souterraintransmissions
The final track comes from the ever phenomenal Violens and is a free download cut of their follow up LP Truth, expect it mid May.
Unfolding Black Wings by Violens
Posted this song a couple of days back, and only just caught the video. Safe to say I am currently in love with both.
We want to start posting more videos then we have in the past, so see something beautiful that accompanies a great track? Send it our way, really can't express how much we love it when you guys get in contact with us!
Tuesday, 21 February 2012
As anyone who has been following us for any length of time will know we are huge fans of any music coming off continental Europe. This love really blossomed back in August when I spent a summer in my favorite city of them all Berlin, it was a incredible few weeks, but the real musical highlight of my time in the kingdom of dance and electro came when I caught an incredibly stripped back solo set by Vince from Foool. It was spontaneous, cut back and it highlighted the special kind of freedom and magic that seems to so often go hand in hand with live music in Berlin.
Fast forward more than 6 months and an interview with Foool later, and they have finally fully finished and mastered their EP Issues, easily one of my favorite shorts of the last 12 months. It includes the never heard before track I Can See Things, which they have been kind enough to let us host on our soundcloud. And the entire EP can be downloaded from their website.
Foools - I Can See Things by Gruff Trade
To celebrate the occasion Vince has also offered to give away a copy of the Issues EP on vinyl to one lucky winner, so for your chance to win it simply send us an email, bonus points if it includes a lovely little track you think we should feature. Send it over to email@example.com. Look forward to hearing from you all.
Hope you all had a lovely presidents day weekend, even after having experienced my first one I am still not really sure how you are meant to celebrate it.
Three tracks for now.
The first comes from James Blunt, and was brought to my attention by the Boiler Room's soundcloud (a bit of a must follow).
Dean Blunt - 'The Narcissist ft. Inga Copeland' by BOILER ROOM
The second track comes from Mineral Beings who are signed to the ever exciting Zoology Records, based out of the Netherlands.
Mineral Beings - This State by Zoology Records
The final track comes from LA based Stereo Alchemy.
A Rapture by Stereo Alchemy
Friday, 17 February 2012
All three songs in this post have all gained some traction on the hype wagon over the last few days, so chances are you may have heard some of them already.
The first track comes from Rhye, an artist based out of LA and signed to Innovative Leisure.
Rhye- Open by Rhyemusic
Second track comes from super hyped Labyrinth Ear, who dropped their pretty stunning EP 'Apparitions' onto hypem back on the 7th. Amber is the opener.
Labyrinth Ear- Amber by prettypretty
And the final track comes from Terranova, a pop/dance dup based between Berlin and Paris.
Terranova - Question Mark (Radio Edit) by Kompakt
We try for the most part not to talk about songs ever people are talking about, nothing annoys me more than blogs that simple re-spout the Hypem top 100 tracks of the day right back at you. However on that note that means we are pretty guilty of overlooking a lot of incredible music. So we are coming to a bit of a compromise, we are going to try for a week or two to get a couple of posts a day up, meaning six tracks. The plan being that 3 or so of these will be super unheard of, stuff yet to have really been talked about on other blogs, whilst the other half may be slightly more hyped music, but don’t expect us to bang on about Gaga or Del Rey anytime soon. If this really doesn’t work then we may just move back to what we were doing before. Let’s see.
The first track comes from Barbara Panther, and is pretty old in our terms, having first appeared about a year. We completely missed it at the time and finally had our attention brought to it by a friend a couple of days back.
Empire by BarbaraPanther
The second track comes from Sylver Tongue a band who has been getting their fair share of hype over last couple of months especially when this track first dropped.
Sylver Tongue - Hook You Up by Miilk
And the final track of this post comes from Silence Moon, a one women project from Sofi, who actually runs one of the best music blogs out there, especially if you love the darker side of synth and pop, go check it out -Here-
Moon Talk (Demo) by Silence Moon
Thursday, 16 February 2012
20.00 On a Wednesday evening and the lower deck of Thekla in Bristol is sweating, lights are flashing, the guy on stage sets off a large confetti popper and the crowd reacts like a group of over-excited kids. Orlando Higginbottom (aka Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs) puts on one hell of a show - a part of my brain is still mesmerised by the cross-dressed dinosaur dancers, whoever does their choreography deserves some serious props. The most amusing part of the gig was the exodus of a good third of the crowd after Garden, apparently the Lumix 800 advert is worth ten quid and a sweaty ship but there's no point in hanging about for the rest of the set because well, it hasn't been on tv has it? I was predisposed to warm to Orlando, being an Oxford lad born and bred, and having first caught him live way back at Truck in 2008. He was quite right in his observation that doing an encore is 'like, so contrived' I felt I had been stripped of the false excitement of 'earning' the last part of the set just because he didn't pretend to go away and come back again. Don't musicians enjoy the ego trip? Or maybe TEED's a wee bit too cool to even have an ego.
Garden [Soundcloud edit] by T-E-E-D
He's in Southampton then Brighton and then off to Zurich so if you have the chance, catch him and his fantastic head dress. You never know, he might humour the crowd and do the little encore farce. Fingers crossed.
Tapes & Money [Soundcloud edit] NEW SINGLE 02/04/2012 by T-E-E-D
This is the second post of today. We normally try and focus on posting three new tracks a day, plus interviews, features and random posts as we see fit. But due to the fact we failed to post anything on a couple of days surrounding the weekend, we are going to try and throw out a few days of double posts to catch up, finding good music permitting...
First track here comes from Polar Kid, an electronic musician based out of Brighton. The track Norsk is the title song from his debut EP. Written after a drip up to Norway, each song acts out a memory of his from the trip.
Norsk by Polar Kid
The second and third track comes from San Diego's Range Rover. Whose debut full length is expected sometime in the next couple of months. Their sound has changed a fair amount in the time between their first couple of singles, and their most recent EP. If I’m being honest I much prefer the sound of their earlier singles. Both of which can be heard bellow.
Mind by Range Rover
There's Nothing For Me Here by Range Rover
Going to be a double post day today as I try to make up for my absence at the tail end of last week and the start of this one. The first post (this one) is a little more pop-y in nature whilst the second is more minimal and less vocally driven. Hope you enjoy them both. Or at least one of them.
The first track comes from Minor Sounds, a Croatian born; Brighton based singer/songwriter Mirna Stanich. The track in question Humming first appeared about a year or so ago, but is set to be released on her new album, expected sometime around April of this year.
Minor Sounds - The Humming by FatCat Records Demo
The second track comes from London based solo project Alicemusic, who describes her musical process as "recording samples, manipulate them and carefully stitch them together using Logic Pro".
Glass by Alicemusic
And the final track is a bit more of a pop song then we would usually post. It comes from KODACROME, an act I know incredibly little about. Their website describes their music as 'Easy on the head and heavy on the pretty'.
The Bug by KODACROME
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Back from Europe so in theory regular posting should resume. We are also currently working on some interviews, and a potential collaboration, will be sure to keep you all updated with what we are up to.
Right so the first track today comes from Slow Down, Molasses an act based out of Saskatoon, Canada. Although the track first showed up a couple of months back, the band have just announced Bodies Of Water a album of remixes from their previous record, which is due for release on the 27th of Feb over at their Bandcamp.
Light by Slow Down, Molasses
The second track comes from Israeli soloist Efrant Ben Zur, who is currently working on her third release due for a 2012 premier.
Efrat Ben Zur - Robin by anovamusic
And the final track comes from Lovedrug an indie rock band from Canton, Ohio. They are set to release their fourth album Wild Blood, their first independent, on March 6th.
Dinosaur (single) by Lovedrug
I pre-wrote this post before I headed off to Europe with the aim of publishing it off my phone somewhere along the way, however due to mysterious circumstances when I went to post it all the content had been wiped. Anyway here is a post from the 'vaults' as it were.
First track comes from Jake Hart, and has a ever so slightly Bombay Bicycle Club feel to it, well at least in its vocals. Jack is an unsigned artist based out of London.
Make Your Mind Up by jake hart
The second track comes from fellow Londoners Severin.
High Shot by SEVERIN
And the final track comes from an act I know literally nothing about, except that he comes from Manchester.
Love Was Always Cruel, It Just Wasn't Cruel To Me by Jordan Bolton
Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Another post from the road, so yet again it's going to be short.
First track comes from The Runts Dark Band, who is an unsigned act from Lewisham (UK).
I Heat Pens (demo 2) by the runts dark band
Second comes from Shoegaze act Drowner who come from Houston, this track actually frist hit back in mid 2011.
Drowner - Single - A - Here by Drowner
And the final track comes from RAWT, one of very few Hip-Hop artists we have featured on here.
Devils Playground (Prod. Cliff Dweller) | Download by RAWT
Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Another super brief post today. I'm flittering around Germany and England at the moment and just really don't have all that much access to the internet.
The first track today comes from 19 year old French producer FELIX, signed to one of my favourite labels of the year so far Bad Panda.
FELIX - Shades by Bad Panda Records
The second couldn't come from a much more opposite artist. Winchester comes from LA based indie folk artsist Samuel Tucker Young and clocks in at a fairly mega 8.14 minuetes long. It is taken off his most recent release Timberwolf.
Winchester by Samuel Tucker Young
And the final track comes from The Echelon Effect, which in his own words 'came to life amid the long winter nights of February 2009, born from a burning desire to fall in love with music again.'
Branches And Constellations by The Echelon Effect
I head back to Europe for a week or so today and the likelihood is I will be away from a computer for almost all of that time, so chances are very few if any new posts until mid next week. Sorry in advance for that.
Anyway three new tracks today.
The first comes from Grg Byny, an act I know effectively nothing about.
Have It All Get High by Grg Byny
The second comes from Toronto based producer Radj, who is better known as one half of Adam K & Soha
radj - look into my eyes by illsound
The final track is the latest single from Nedry, a band you likely may have heard of before, especially since their EP Condors generated massive buzz for them back when it first dropped.
Nedry - 'Violaceae' (Single Edit) by Monotreme Records
Monday, 6 February 2012
Just a heads up for the new Single / Video from long time Gruff favorites and Oxford natives Jonquil. Really can't wait to catch these guys again when they are down in Austin for SXSW in mid March.
Jonquil -It's My Part by Jonquil
Three tacks today. All three working a very minimal vibe.
The first comes from Ohio native Ouisa Hound, who describes his music as 'tokens of an inner world struggling to exorcize itself'.
Gloom Roaming by Ouisa Hound
The second comes from British four piece based out of Bristol The Naturals. We first mentioned these guys all the may back in March.
Finishing Moves (7" MASTER) by T H E N A T U R A L S
And the final track is from Flowers or Razorwire, a man
days by Flowers or Razorwire
Friday, 3 February 2012
Another fairly brief post today, sorry for lack of interviews etc over the last few days, but I do promise that we have some pretty exciting new projects line up for the near future. Although due to some unforeseen circumstances I have to return to Europe early next week for a bit, and the likelihood is that there will be very few if any posts mid next week till around the same time the following week. Sorry.
Anyway, the video above comes from a new track by long time favorite of ours Arrange, we interviewed him a couple of months back, and aside from being a lovely guy, he also released by personal favorite album of last year Plantation. He has just started a funds drive to pay for the pressing of his new album onto Vinyl. Head over to THIS page to get involved.
The next track comes from yet another talented Oxfordian. Melodically delightful, North Bay has unleashed an incredibly competent debut with two tracks which offer an astonishing base to build off. I am known to speak in superlatives, but it has been a good while since a band or artist grabbed my attention so powerfully with their debut as North Bay, he is undoubtedly a act to keep a eye directed towards over the coming months.
Breath by North Bay
Echo by North Bay
The final two tracks today comes from two piece indie/electro act Team Morale based out Kent.
Sleep Deprivation by Team Morale
Namaste by Team Morale
Thursday, 2 February 2012
Happy Thursday. I got some pretty bad news yesterday which meant that I haven’t had as much time to sort this post out as I would normally have liked. It is actually the 200th Gruff post, pretty proud of making it this far considering how ridiculously lazy we all are over here.
Above is the brand spanking new video from Gruff favorites Is And Of The, and bellow are a couple of choice cuts of their tracks for those who may not have heard their stuff before.
did i say feel it? (demo) by is and of the
you told me you could swim through the waves by is and of the
This next track comes from minimal Japanese act Syless, it’s pretty oppressive dark stuff, but I have absolutely fallen in love with it over the past couple of days.
Painted Gloomy Sunset (demo2) by syless
And this final track is the B-side to the latest Fixers single. Fixers hail from my home town of Oxford, UK a city which is currently dominating the music scene with a myriad of talented acts including but by no means limited to: Wild Swim, Pet Moon, Trophy Wife, Jonquil, Chad Valley, not to mention heavy hitters like Foals, and of course Radiohead
Swimmhaus San Diego (B track to Iron Deer Dream) by Fixers.
Wednesday, 1 February 2012
Hope you like the new background, and the new take on the logo, I would very much like to thank the wonderful Shooting Ducks for coming up with those. She really is pretty amazing.
Due to a hyperactive work schedule I am suffering through at the moment I haven't had quite as much time as I would have liked to surf through the vaults of the internet, but here are some of the tracks I found in the last couple of days.
The first track comes from London based trio The Cry Baby.
I Just Got Smaller by -The Cry Baby-
The second comes from unsigned Sheffield based Rehearsed Living.
Maths by rehearsedliving
The third comes from Squalloscope, a new allies for Vienna based Anna Kohlweis, who is a one women factory, handling every aspect of her music production aswel as her art direction. She is currently signed to Austrian label Seayou.
SQUALLOSCOPE - DOMINO by SEAYOU
And the Fourth track comes from Squalloscope's label buddy Jools Hunter, a fellow Austrian female experimental pop act.
JOOLS HUNTER - SILVER BIRDS IN DANCE by SEAYOU