Birthdays is an underground venue in a bar in Dalston. Dalston is an area of London that seems to sport more mobile phone repair shops per head than any other part of the capital. It is real Eastenders country, although more grime than soap.
Before the gig started, I had a chance to share a vodka and slimline with the quick-witted and eagle-eyed Simon Williams, CEO of Fierce Panda Records. Simon is a walking musicologist, given that he was a staff writer at NME for over a decade back in the Brit-pop days and found fame as an early morning indie radio DJ in the ’90s. The roster of bands that recorded with Fierce Panda, and subsequently went on to greater things – is stellar, too – Coldplay, Keane, Ash, Supergrass, Maccabees, to mention just a few. So when Simon spots talent, people must pay immediate attention.
485C are one of Simon’s crop of up-and-comers. They are pretty prolific – he told me before the gig that they had already put out five double A-side singles. Their next single, “Hoppy”, is hitting the racks next week, and their eponymous LP follows at the end on the month. “‘Hoppy’ is a totalitarian suicide note”, according to singer Adam Hume. Blimey, that’s intense.
When I reviewed the band about six months ago, I mentioned that their name is a Pantone colour, which I thought was inspired by the SoundCloud play button. Not so. According to Simon, it’s the colour of the Russian flag and also British postboxes. Is there a link between those I wonder. Conspiracy theories abound.
485C still sound like The Strokes to me. (Or “Strokes meets Family Cat”, says Mr Williams. Interesting imagery.) They play jangly Komodo dragon-esque guitars with an urgency and whip through a set of perfectly formed indie-pop tunes.
Their penultimate track, “She’ll Lie”, was introduced as “Our most popular tune”. I’d agree with that. It’s an earworm and should be played with the lyrics from “She’s Lost Control” sung over the intro if you want to make it even more interesting.
485C is out on 27 April 2018 on Fierce Panda Records. You can pre-order it here.
My boys. My boys!
That’s how I’m starting to feel about Taunton’s October Drift. Since last reviewing the band in September, going to see OD is becoming a habit. Before Christmas, they were in the back room of a pub in St. Albans (a market town in London’s commuter belt). Then, somehow, they appeared in front of a packed Clapham Grand, supporting Editors.
Whether they’re playing to thousands (or tens) of people, they put on the same high-intensity show. Their songs are simply breathtaking and given the way that Kiran Roy, Chris Holmes, Alex Bispham, and Daniel Young perform, sometimes it’s easy to forget that there’s only four of them on stage. I’m sure that I’m not the only person who has wondered how they can make such a wonderful noise and jump about that much at the same time. No bum notes, just fiery porcupine-print guitar riffs.
The new single, “All Broken Down”, is bedding into their set nicely, and the recording captures some of the feel of the hypnotically absorbing live show. “Losing My Touch” continues to pulse and contract and could be straight out of the Ride album that never was. That song is definitely on the shortlist of tunes to play at my funeral. Along with “Robots” and “Cinnamon Girl”. Oh and not forgetting “You Are,You Are”. (“I’m not here…”). My family are going to have to be very understanding.
Fast slow, light shade
The opening of “Forever Whatever”, which Kiran sang unaccompanied, had the room fall silent. Indeed I was almost embarrassed by the noise made by my camera shutter that punctuated his intense, vulnerable, vocal. At the end of the intro, someone in the crowd shouted, “Beautiful!” It summed up what we were all thinking. Of course, the wall of shoegazey sound was swiftly rebuilt and the crazy diving and severe guitar thrashing resumed.
Kiran makes a point of wandering out into the audience during the set – something he also did during the Editors support slot. I’ve seen many a singer demand to be carried by adoring fans, but he just seems to want to see the world from a different place. Worlds apart, going nowhere in the dark.
October Drift must surely be the next big thing. It’s great to see that they’re being bracketed with those Editors. True, they’ve been about and actively building a fan base for a couple of years and they nod to a history of fine indie tunes, but they are the band of the future. It is only a matter of time before they are going to conquer. If you’re seeing Editors in Europe over the next few weeks. make sure you’re there early enough for the support band. And prepared to be blown away by October Drift.
And, oh by the way Mr Williams, do them a deal.
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