Little Indie blog

A little blog about indie stuff

  1. Live

    HMLTD + Hotel Lux

    Patterns, Brighton

    October 20 2017

    Words/Pictures: Steve Willcox

    On a damp and windy Friday night, prepared to spend it in front of the box with a few beers, I suddenly find myself instead heading for Patterns on the recommendation of friend Sam, who had found himself without a gig partner through his fiancé being ill. He had seen headliners HMLTD before and loved their energy - and thought I might do similarly. He wasn't wrong.

    The room is already full to capacity with young revellers expecting a great show as we arrive, and opening act Hotel Lux don't disappoint. This London-based (via Portsmouth) five-piece has already started to make a big splash in a very muddy puddle with their intense live performances of raw punk energy.

    Starting their set with ‘Wall Street’ you can tell these boys are hardened musicians: 70s psych-rock with gritty realistic spoken word vocals from Lewis Duffin. Dressed in an 80s Pringles jumper and looking like a Millwall football thug, he shouts intimidatingly to the crowd, "Come on Brighton, you paid eight quid!" as he works on getting the crowd where he wants them - dancing on their feet - which lucky for them the room responds agreeably. There's a touch of The Doors about Hotel Lux, but with Jim Morrison’s stoned words replaced with Lewis’s angrily barked rhetoric.

    ‘Daddy Issues’ - a set highlight - is full of wry wit and scathing lyrics, complemented with a great tune behind it. I’m very dismayed their Soundcloud account is emptier than my bank balance with only one song, ‘Envoi’, their debut single from the start of the year, displayed. This song, also came out live tonight, to a responsive and grateful crowd who were at one with its working class ethos: “Debt on his mind / his home’s up for sale and his job’s on the line… you’ve ruined his life” -though ruined was the last word to describe this thoroughly impressive set.

    I’d heard stories about HMLTD (formerly known as Happy Meal Ltd until McDonald’s lawyers had a word) after their Great Escape performance here in May, and the buzz surrounding them - such as being tagged the most thrilling new band around - has been electric. The crowd here seem to be well aware of this as they press against the crush barriers in expectancy.

    Frontman Henry Spychalski cuts a fine figure, dressed in an immaculate purple suit and sporting a magenta mullet underneath a military cap. This group is full of style ranging from glam punk to New Romantics, Sigue Sigue Sputnik to early Spandau Ballet. All the band in fact are dressed with enough campness and glitter to make Brighton weep in shame. James the guitarist looks particularly glam as though he’s raided Gary Kemp’s Eighties wardrobe. Okay, so this band has style with bells on but can they play? Er, as they say: is the Pope Catholic?

    As they embark on ‘Is This What You Wanted?’ with the simple electronic drumbeat start snd sparse guitar strums, it instantly moves the crowd almost en masse: like going from zero to 100 in a small cul-de-sac; very hair-raisingly scary.

    There’s an urgency about all the band's six members; lots of sampling going on in the background to add effect. The sound is glam punk at its best and nearly every song is so jaw-droppingly gorgeous, darling. Henry’s disaffected vocals reminds me of John Lydon's from PiL days, but can carry high notes with such songs as pop banger ‘Proxy Love’ and ‘Satan, Luella & I’, the throbbing disco number of bouncing rhythms and crashing synths. It’s a testament to this band’s performance that requires the assistance of staff members to hold up the metal barriers from collapsing on stage, unbelievably they manage it .

    One high point of the set was ‘Choo Choo’, a fun song which sets the whole room moving in a mutual frenzy like an out of control express train. Ending the set with the wonderfully edgy ‘Stained’, their first single which veers from a kind of camp rock into an all-out post-punk anthem, I left HMLTD’s gig thinking 'What the fuck just happened!' and smiled. As Henry said in the last song, "what’s the point we’re all the same, I think everyone’s a little stained." I couldn’t agree more. A piece of HMLTD madness has pierced my soul.

  2. Words: Sam Geary

    Out on October 27, guitarist with Sydney artist Kilter (Ned East), Timi Temple - real name Tim Lockwood - releases his own hazy, 60s-inspired psych jam, 'Sands Of Time'.

    Following his summer single 'What Are We Waiting For', 'Sands Of Time' draws on influences from Tame Impala, Jimi Hendrix and MGMT; kicking off in a big sonic style followed by a swathe of melodic guitars and washed-out synths, together with Lockwood’s flowing vocals,

    The song was inspired by an event in Lockwood's childhood, as he explains:

    “When I was a kid we had a fishtank in the house, behind the dining table, on a glass shelf. Underneath the tank was a heater, now, I don’t know whose bright idea it was to put the heater under the tank, but one cold night I thought I’d do the right thing by turning on the heater. A child’s first attempt at taking initiative. Unfortunately, no one from my family realised I had done this, so I was put to bed and the rest of my family retired for the night without turning off the heater.

    "I woke up to my family arguing about who left the heater on – the fish were pretty much boiled and floating across the top – and when I was asked, I feigned ignorance. It ate at me for a while, the guilt not washing off my consciousness. But soon it was ‘lost in the sands of time’ and forgotten. It hit me like a freight train when, at 15, I decided to buy my own ‘first pet’ and picked up a fish tank. I put my thoughts down on paper and I guess the song is my confession.”

  3. From their 'A Hundred Summer Days' EP, LA-trio The Rebel Light share the trippy, psychedelic visuals of track 'Where Did All The Love Go' - complete with creative use of the lyrics - influenced by the Sixties California pop sound.

    Watch and listen above.

  4. Words: Sam Geary

    After last month announcing they were to disband after 15 years, bowing out with a farewell EP, 'Punk Drunk And Trembling'.

    The EP is out now via Domino, with a limited 10″ vinyl version released on November 17. The record features three songs from the sessions for their 2016 'Boy King' album sessions - and you can stream now below.

  5. Words: Alison Mack

    As far as weeks go, this one has been a pretty dismal one for band splits.

    After Wild Beasts started the ball rolling last month, announcing their breakup after 15 years, it seems to have spurred others on.

    First of all, after six years and a raft of sonic tunes to their credit - including the new 'Drowning' and 'Until The Dawn' - Manchester's Embers announced the end of the road on Monday (October 16), posting this message to their social media:


    Dead Pretties

    Now today, we end the week with the news Dead Pretties have splitu - before many have even had a chance to get to grips with them.

    “It makes us very sad to announce that Dead Pretties is no more,” they stated on Facebook earlier this afternoon.

    It's been rather a short journey for the raucous London Pretties, only releasing their debut single, 'Social Experiment' this past February, followed by the more recent 'Confidence'.

    Will we make it through to the end of 2017 without more parting of band ways? Watch this space.