SINGLE: Miranda – Sam Hollis

Words by Charlie Culverhouse

Sam Hollis released his debut album, If Ever, Could You Imagine?, earlier this year and isn’t wasting anytime releasing even more music. His new single, ‘Miranda’ – featuring Harry Price, Lewis Pick and Nep, produced by Hollis and Ego Boy – doesn’t disappoint.

‘Miranda’ follows the same new wave/low-fi jazz genre that Hollis so effortlessly pulls off, the chorus effect that dominates the guitar works perfectly to create this atmospheric indie sound. The vocals are so incredibly smooth and soft; Nep and Hollis’ voices work beautifully against one another – a great collaborative sound that fits this song perfectly.

The drum pattern defines the change between verse and chorus, starting with minimalistic electronic percussion then transitioning into a more jazz inspired acoustic beat that complements the style of the guitar.

On his debut album, Hollis bought together people from across the globe to collaborate and create music – Nep featured on the track ‘All That I Want’. It’s good to see that Hollis clearly has a passion for involvement in music; Nep is a young American girl who has only released one original song as of yet, but has featured on three other albums and singles as well as ‘Miranda’. Hollis using his platform to share this girl’s voice represents one of music’s most important achievements – inclusion.

‘Miranda’ is incredibly relaxing whilst also being an interesting listen, something I think is relatively hard to achieve. The lyrics sang in this soft outspoken manner read very intelligently, the song writing telling a story that makes you think and feel – but not too much.

It’s easy to see and hear that Sam Hollis has a crazy amount of passion for music, which he backs up with great talent both in writing and performing.

Sam Hollis releases his latest single, ‘Miranda’, on Friday 2nd August – available through the usual online platforms. For more on Sam Hollis, visit www.soundcloud.com/samhollis-2

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NOT NORMAL NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual assault and aggression – from dance floor to dressing room.

To learn more about the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, click here. To sign up and join the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, click here.

If you have been affected by any of the issues surrounding sexual violence – or if you want to report an act of sexual aggression, abuse or assault – click here for information via the ‘Help & Support’ page on the NOT NORMAL NOT OK website.

SINGLE: In My Element – The Clause 12.07.19

Words by Lydia Fitzer / Pics courtesy of The Clause

The Clause came to my attention in May of 2018, as the first of five bands performing in one gig. You’d think I’d have been more excited for the later acts, right? I mean, The Clause were the support of the support of the support of the support. You’d be wrong; so wrong, in fact, that I went on to dub them the biggest highlight of the evening. I positively raved about them. They gave by far the most original and enjoyable set of the night.

The thing you need to understand about The Clause is that they are too cool. They are sickeningly cool. I think they were born cool. When I saw them in 2018 they were in their late teens and already cooler than I have been in my whole life, but now they’ve ascended to a new level of coolness. (I can’t help but feel that it’s a little unfair – young people shouldn’t be allowed to be that badass. After all, the rest of us spent our teen years flailing under ten layers of dream matte mousse and social awkwardness. However, I digress.)

The Clause’s latest single, ‘In My Element’, is truly characteristic of their style. It’s masterfully put together; the deep, thrumming guitar riff is a proper earworm on its own and had me grooving within the first few seconds. The Clause showcased ‘In My Element’ at the aforementioned gig back in 2018, and I stand by what I said in my review: it’s enough to ‘make any rinky-dink panther dance’.

That analogy makes more sense knowing that the band used to incorporate the Pink Panther theme into the beginning of ‘In My Element’ – an effective quirk for a live show, making the crowd giggle with novelty. With that said, I understand why they didn’t keep it as part of the recorded single, probably coming across as a touch gimmicky. The Clause certainly have a sense of humour but make no mistake – they are here to be taken seriously.

They may be young, but they channel old-school in every note. Listening to ‘In My Element’ I could almost be at a record store playing a cassette, the sound is just so slick. It makes me want to oil my hair and stride down the street in a leather jacket and shades. Frontman Peirce McMenamin (vocals and guitar) is an absolute dream for this style. He has a nonchalant tenor vocal which is somehow both mellow in tone and edgy in delivery, keeping his voice regional and unstudied so it doesn’t feel forced.

‘In My Element’ ends a on playful chant – the musical equivalent of a wink and a cheeky grin. The Clause are getting sleeker and more refined with every new record, but I’m glad to see that they’re holding on to the imaginative flair that makes them truly special.

‘In My Element’ (official teaser) – The Clause

 

On Friday 12th July, The Clause release their latest single ‘In My Element’ – available to buy online via iTunes and The Clause’s own website shop. For more on The Clause, visit www.theclause.co.uk

Coinciding with the release of ‘In My Element’, The Clause will be playing at Nambucca in London on 13th July, as promoted by This Feeling  – click here for event details and ticket sales

For further tour and live gig dates from The Clause, visit www.theclause.co.uk/live

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NOT NORMAL NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual assault and aggression – from dance floor to dressing room.

To learn more about the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, click here. To sign up and join the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, click here.

If you have been affected by any of the issues surrounding sexual violence – or if you want to report an act of sexual aggression, abuse or assault – click here for information via the ‘Help & Support’ page on the NOT NORMAL NOT OK website.

ALBUM: What Nature Gives… Nature Takes Away – The Membranes 07.06.19

The Membranes

Words by Abi Whistance

It’s 3am. You’re wired as hell, staring at the ceiling so intently that black shapes seem to appear and disappear, moving from one dark corner of the room to another. You’re feeling uneasy and slightly scared, but you’re not quite sure if you’re scared of the silhouettes or scared of yourself for seeing them in the first place.

That, right there, is what The Membranes new album feels like.

What Nature Gives…Nature Takes Away is uncomfortable and foreboding, riddled with the rants and ramblings of an inner-dialogue gone rogue. A collision course of material leaves you bumper car-ing your way through clashes of noise, new wave and the odd spoken word piece, all seemingly coming together in one (hefty) release. This album is a heavyweight; 16 tracks long and at times feeling like a bit sluggish, you really must go in with the knowledge that you’ll be stuck in this gloomy rabbit hole for a long time. And not because it’s a no-good bore, just because it’s weighty on the soul.

Post-punk with an added dramatic flair, The Membranes really have pulled out all the stops to make your skin crawl and body shiver – the addition of both a choir and orchestra feeling far too sinister to be listened to alone. Even for them this is dark; the album name almost as cynical as every song on it, human fallacy ripped to shreds track by track.

For a large chunk of What Nature Gives…Nature Takes Away, The Fall springs to mind. Not necessarily a perfect comparison as such, more the brain frantically searching for something familiar to make itself feel more comfortable. ‘A Murder of Crows’ is far more precise and gritty than the works of Mark Smith. Perhaps because, unlike Smith, they’re not so bugged out on drugs and booze that they can’t conjure up any emotion other than slurry nonchalance.  

The album itself doesn’t come with a warning, but I’m going to have to give one. This is NSFW: not suitable for wallowing. Avoid at all costs when you think life can’t get any worse, because The Membranes will remind you that yes, it can. And it’s probably your fault. Get ready to feel like your drowning deep in this record, and equally get ready to feel like you might drown yourself if it gets any murkier.

But if you are, on the off chance, feeling like you want to tip over the edge, then listening to What Nature Gives…Nature Takes Away is probably the best way to do it. Well composed, well written and well executed, The Membranes have created something that only the most addicted to unhappiness can listen to in one go, and the rest of us, feeble-hearted as we are, will keep trying because it’s just that good.

‘A Strange Perfume’ – The Membranes

What Nature Gives… Nature Takes Away by The Membranes is on general release from Friday 7th June – out via Cherry Red Records. For more on The Membranes, including links to online sales, visit www.themembranes.co.uk 

For more on Cherry Red Records, visit www.cherryred.co.uk

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NOT NORMAL NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual assault and aggression – from dance floor to dressing room.

To learn more about the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, click here. To sign up and join the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, click here.

If you have been affected by any of the issues surrounding sexual violence – or if you want to report an act of sexual aggression, abuse or assault – click here for information via the ‘Help & Support’ page on the NOT NORMAL NOT OK website.

BREVIEW: Clerks & Shooting Clerks (with Q&A) @ The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen 19.01.18

Clerks & Shooting Clerks (with Q&A) @ The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen 19.01.18

Words by Emily Doyle

On arrival, the foyer of the Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen is full. The waiting audience is abuzz with discussion of “the original”. As usual, the informal atmosphere at this indie gem leaves newcomers unsure of the etiquette: “Do we just go in?”

At 7:15pm sharp, a member of the cinema staff opens the door and welcomes us in. Shooting Clerks writer and director Christopher Downie is joined by producer Ryan James in front of the screen. The pair explain their last minute decision to reverse the running order, showing the original Clerks (1994) followed by Shooting Clerks (2016), and that they’ve never actually watched the two films back-to-back before. They ask if anyone has never seen Clerks. A smattering of hands are raised. The rest of the auditorium turn to give them encouraging looks – everyone knows that they’re in for a treat.

Clerks opens with the now iconic View Askew vanity card, and the audience settles into their seats contentedly. There’s joy to be had in enjoying this cult hit in a cinema surrounded by laughing fans, rather than half-watching it on a laptop at a winding down house party. The short scenes and quick dialogue mean that there’s always something new to enjoy; Smith packs so many witticisms into 92 grainy monochrome minutes that Clerks stands up well to multiple watches. Iconic lines (“What kind of convenience store do you run here?”) raise a hearty laugh from new viewers and certified Kevin Smith geeks alike.

On the surface, you’d be forgiven for thinking Clerks relies on smutty laughs and a DIY aesthetic, but its true charm runs much deeper. Even without much knowledge of the back story, everything about the film feels authentic. The cast have the chemistry you’d expect from real life friends, and the dialogue could only have been written by someone who really does work in a convenience store. An unacquainted viewer is left with some questions though: Why black and white? Is this as low budget as it looks? And who is this Silent Bob character?

The team behind Shooting Clerks have the answers. There is a short break to grab a beer and a bag of fresh popcorn from the bar, then Downie and James introduce their film, encouraging the audience to look out for the twenty cameos (with more still to be added in later cuts of the film).

UK screenings of Shooting Clerks have been long awaited – it only premiered last week at The Prince Charles Cinema in London. Rather than the obvious documentary style, the film follows a biopic format. It’s not often you see a biopic where everyone portrayed is still alive to pass comment, but Downie is lucky enough to have Kevin Smith’s support.Clerks & Shooting Clerks (with Q&A) @ The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen 19.01.18 The film tells the story behind Clerks, a tale which is now the stuff of indie cinema legend.

We see a young Kevin Smith skipping school to go to the cinema with his father (played by Scott Schiaffo, the Chewlies gum representative in the original Clerks). An older, more familiar Smith is excellently played by Mark Frost. We see him working in the real convenience store where Clerks was filmed by night. We see the fabled credit cards used to raise the $27,000 budget for a film that would go on to gross $3 million at the box office. We even see the birth of Jay and Silent Bob.

Shooting Clerks is a film with a lot of heart. After showing them working day and night, Downie concludes with scenes of the Clerks crew celebrating the sale of the distribution rights to the dubiously named Harry Weizmann of Mirimax Films. Shooting Clerks is a film about making a film with your friends – with whatever means you can get your hands on.

“Are you guys okay with a drunk Q&A?” James asks, storming to the front of the auditorium, wine glass in hand. He’s joined once again by Downie, and by Chris Bain (Jason Mewes) and Tom Sullivan (Jeff Anderson) from the cast. The group offer up a quick back-story, explaining that most of the film was shot in Scotland with a just a few scenes in the US. They address the Harry Weismann character, with Downie saying he was relieved that they didn’t include a portrayal on the actual producer in question in light of recent accusations. James tells the audience that the film is about 85% accurate, and that, “the truth is the truth – this is a very entertaining way of telling the truth.”

When asked about their favourite Kevin Smith film, it’s a surprise to see that the crew almost unanimously agree on Clerks II. Maybe another biopic is in the works, then? 

For more on Shooting Clerks, visit www.shootingclerks.com

For more from The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.mockingbirdcinema.com

BPREVIEW: Clerks & Shooting Clerks (with Q&A) @ The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen 19.01.18

Words by Emily Doyle

The Mockingbird are launching into the New Year with a whole evening dedicated to cult nineties comedy, Clerks.

On Friday 19th January, the Custard Factory based ‘cinema and kitchen’ will be screening the Kevin Smith debut, alongside Shooting Clerks – the feature length comedy/biographical drama about the making of the original. Doors open at 7pm, with tickets priced at £10 for entry to both films. For direct screening info, alongside links to online tickets sales, click here.

For the unacquainted, this black & white indie flick was made on $28,000 and shot by night in the convenience and video stores its director, Kevin Smith, once worked at by day. Clerks ended up grossing over $3 million.

Upon its release in 1994, Clerks was loved by audiences and critics for its deadpan performances and sharp dialogue. Peter Travers wrote in Rolling Stone that, ‘Smith nails the obsessive verbal wrangling of smart, stalled twentysomethings who can’t figure out how to get their ideas into motion.’ It ended up spawning two sequels, spin off TV shows, cartoons and comics.

Smith’s feature length debut also went on to win a slue of industry awards, including the ‘Award of the Youth’ and ‘Mercedes-Benz Award’ at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival, and being joint awarded the ‘Filmmakers Trophy’ at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival – along with Boaz Yakin’s thriller, Fresh.

The evening will start at 7:15pm with a screening of Shooting Clerks, a biopic shot in Dundee, Fife, New Jersey and Florida by the Scottish based production house, Auld Reekie Media. Director Christopher Downie tells the story behind Clerks, and how Kevin Smith went from indie crusader to cinematic icon. Embodying the underdog spirit of its muse, the documentary went from being only 9% funded on its original IndieGoGo fundraiser to winning the Orlando Film Festival Indie Spirit Award.

While Shooting Clerks had a US release in 2016 (including a special screening in Kevin Smith’s hometown of Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey) it’s only now getting a UK release.

After the screening, Downie will be joined by members of the Shooting Clerks cast. Following autograph signing and photo ops, a showing of the original Clerks (1994) will kick off at 10pm.

Clerks – official trailer

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Shooting Clerks – official trailer 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=111&v=_AV1aSmVjG4

On Friday 19th January, The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen will be screening a double bill of Clerks and Shooting Clerks, alongside a Q&A with crew and cast members from Shooting Clerks.

For direct screening info, alongside links to online tickets sales, visit www.mockingbirdcinema.com/event/clerks-and-shooting-clerks-double-bill-with-directorcast-qa/ 

For more on Shooting Clerks, visit www.shootingclerks.com

For more from The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.mockingbirdcinema.com