Tag Archives: Liverpool

Låpsley – Understudy EP

Because you took something away from yourself
Come back to this world and take your heart to higher shelf

Is there such a thing as falling in love with a voice? Can you have a relationship with a person who you have never spoken to or seen in real life? I mean, can something like this really work? If it would, I’d totally fall for Holly Fletcher! The voice and brains behind Låpsley! Today she released her 4 track ‘Understudy EP’ and heck, it is one brilliant piece of music.

Lead track ‘Falling Short’ has been causing waves in the blogosphere for a couple of months now, and it was inevitable that some hot label would pick her up. It’s a tasteful recap of a breaking heart, completed by subtle piano chords, finger snapping and electronic beat fragments. Above all sits Fletcher’s voice. It’s so intimate that it could break the iceberg that sunk the Titanic. Second song ‘Brownlow’ picks up the same ingredients but adds haunting sounds and a life embracing organ sitting very low in the mix. Then there are added synth horns – if you ask yourself, if they can ever sound not cheesy, then listen to this track! – and swelling bassdrops that remind one of Jamie XX’s post-dubstep. 8896 turns to the darker side again without repeating the recipe of the opener. Dancing is a sad closer about a difficult relationship that slowly ascends into a brooding, almost noisy finale to the best four songs I have heard in the last couple of months.

The recent scouse exports seem to up the notch. I love that about my former home and the city’s music scene deserves a lot more credit and attention. It’s not all about London. What was true for guitar music is now definitely also true for the hip and cool electronic singer-songwriter stuff that keeps bubbling strong in the UK music scene.

I’ve always been an understudy
I know you would never love me

There’s something romantically looming and haunting in Låpsley’s sound that manages to set her apart well enough from other peers like Kwabs or her labelmate FKA Twigs to make her unique. It’s the perfect soundtrack for those dark winter days where sunlight seems to be a memory of the distant past and candles, wine and cigarettes are all that can comfort you to sleep.

If this is any indication of what there is still to come, her album should be hotly tipped for this years Mercury Prize. If it doesn’t arrive this year, then I will be heartbroken but I’ll already know what I’ll be looking out for in the year ahead!

Låpsley – Understudy EP is out now via XL/Beggars.
Pick up a copy here (physical) or here (digital)!

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Just Went Black – Embracing Emptiness

Some things just won’t go away. You can spend days, weeks, months or even years not thinking about them, but they will haunt you. Somewhere in the back of your head, they are stuck, left a brand or just vanish and reappear like a tiny ghost that haunts the abandoned building at the edge of your town. At some point it might even become a tale of the past, a fading memory of once cherished times. But in the end, it will never leave you.

Just Went Black

I remember moving to Liverpool in 2007. It was the first time I left home to live all by myself. All I took with me was a suitcase, a backpack, my electric guitar, a sleeping bag, and a brick of cigarettes and a bottle of Jameson I picked up at the airport before heading over to the UK. The first few hours in what was going to be home for the next year, felt awkward. It was a flat consisting of 8 bedrooms, a kitchen and a living room. I didn’t see anybody for two days. The first thing I checked after dropping my belongings into my tiny room (it was not bigger than 8 square meters, but the bathroom was about the same size, I even had to close the d00r to be able to open the wardrobe) was the fridge in the kitchen. I thought to myself that I might be the first person that had moved in. Inside was a packet of ready salted butter and a can of Fosters. So I wasn’t all by myself then.

My internet connection did not work until two or three days later. I did not have a clue what to do. I did not know anybody. I did not know the English – and believe me, Scousers are one particular bunch of people – or what they spend their days doing. So I turned to one thing, I was familiar with: My MP3 Player. It was the USB-type that you could directly plug into your computer. I bought it off one of my schoolmates a few months before. The storage was 2 GB, which wasn’t an aweful lot, and I had only five or six albums on it. I think one album was from Alkaline Trio, one was probably Fuel For The Hate game by Hot Water Music. I don’t remember exactly what else was on the little thing, but I do vividly remember one album. It was more of an EP, really. It was Embracing Emptiness by Just Went Black. I honestly cannot remember how I got hold of this EP, I guess some of the drinking that took place in the years that followed these first few days in the UK might have played a certain part in that, but this EP was like heaven.

we start to question our actions, question ourselves

I guess I could argue that hardcore music helped me a lot in taking a different approach to life. Maybe it is this analogy I could draw with my three years in Liverpool. I learned a lot about myself, I learned a lot about the adult life, about who I wanted to become and who I was at that time. I realised that I had made a lot of mistakes, that I behaved like a dickhead. One of the things that hurt most when growing up, is realizing what kind of a prick you were. I always thought of myself as being quite mature. Especially when it came to girls and relationships with them, I always thought, I acted humble and mature. I was very wrong. Truth is, that I was no better than any other guy at school. Maybe I was even worse. My inflationary use of the word “love” after a few weeks I had a crush on someone did not help anybody. To cut a long story short, I didn’t make myself a very popular figure with girls by the time I left school. I thought leaving the country wasn’t only a brilliant opportunity to study abroad and pep up my own CV, learn a language properly etc. I also felt it was an opportunity to start completely from scratch. No preconceptions, no horror stories about how I behaved like a dick, how desperately I was screaming for attention and so on and so forth.

Finally it did not change anything. Even though I might have changed over the course of the three years I spent abroad, I could not change who I was. Also I wished for it to happen, it didn’t. It did not come to me in a flash, nor did I only realise this just now. It was a slow process taking place deep within myself. I don’t think one can change the person one is. Not completely anyway.

it`s no compromise to trust regardless the burden of the past

After all i think I turned out quite a decent person. It took some time to get used to growing up. Now it takes time to get used to living an adult life filled with responsibilities and so on and so forth. It also took some time getting used to who I was.
What this has got to do with this records you might ask yourself (if you haven’t given up on reading by now). As I mentioned earlier, this EP was the soundtrack to the first days and nights. I spent them listening to these 6 songs waking up, slam-dancing in my tiny room during the day and before I fell asleep. The sheer power of the songs, the anger in the vocals brought me to life whenever I needed reminding that I’m not by myself. Besides the true hardcore moments this record cherishes precious melodic moments. The end of “Twice as Sure” is almost as powerful as the whole song even though it doesn’t consist of much more than a guitar reverb. It is the fitting end to a tour de force of anger, hope, compassion, friendship and solitude. Maybe you’ll think it’s depressing or sad, but it gave me so much hope and reliance.

I never got to see Just Went Black live, which I regret when watching the videos in this article. They broke up a little while ago. Head over to their bandcamp page to listen to their whole discography. If you’re hooked on that sound, visit their facebook page for info on their new bands. They’re well worth checking out!