January, 2012

Jan 12

The Maccabees: Given to the Wild

You’d have to be living down a very dark hole not to have heard that The Maccabees have a new album out this month.  Their third offering, ‘Given to the Wild’ has attracted huge attention in the music press, with mixed reactions.

Some have hailed it a ‘renaissance’ album within which the band has found its artistic groove, while others worry that their marked change in sound might be an attempt to please bigwigs looking to cash in on the fail-safe mass appeal of the likes of predictable crowd pleasers, Coldplay.

Whatever your opinion, there’s no denying the fact that it is a finely crafted and musically accomplished record, with a number of stand-out tracks that keep you listening right to the end, including Feel to Follow and Pelicans.

We imagine these could sound rather spectacular in a live setting, and we’ve not long to wait to find out as the band will be playing Camden’s Koko tonight, at MTV’s Brand New for 2012 show.

Jan 12

First Aid Kit: The Lion’s Roar

Today sees the release of First Aid Kit’s shiny new offering, ‘The Lion’s Roar’. The precocious pair already have one very charming album under their belts, in the name of 2009’s ‘The Big Black and The Blue’, so we’ve been intrigued to hear how their sound has developed since then.

On first listen, they still do a great line in compelling sisterly harmonies, and the frequently haunting lyrics remain. Yet their overall sound has taken on a greater depth with the support of a new band, and their clear affection for Americana pervades in a host of country styled songs, in particular the ode to their heroes Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris – the video for which was filmed in Joshua Tree on Parson’s birthday. We’re pretty smitten with it.

It sounds like an album that could be the stepping stone to even greater things, so we’re looking forward to seeing them perform live in the Camden borough at The Scala on February 23rd.

Jan 12

Tribes launch debut album in Camden

At long last, today’s the day! Monday 16th January is the official launch date of Tribes’ hotly anticipated debut album, ‘Baby’.

As Camden’s most recent breakthrough act, you’ll have been hard pushed to avoid these guys over the past year. Spotted at pretty much every festival going and with their own headline UK tour, the band have been peddling their wares in earnest to gain poll position across a plethora of ‘top tips for 2012’ lists.

The album comes packed full of ready-made indie rock anthems designed to appeal to the children of Britpop, with highlights including We Were Children, Sappho and When My Day Comes. Whack these tunes on your personal play-list now to give your Monday morning an immediate boost.

The band are playing  a special show on their home turf tonight at Camden Barfly, with tickets reserved for some very lucky competition winners. Don’t forget to drop us a tweet (@thecamdenstore) if you’re in the audience tonight!

Jan 12

The Craven Braves at Camden Barfly


Tonight we’re looking to shrug off the January blues, and we’ve found just the boys to help us on our mission. The Craven Braves are one of the latest additions to Gary ‘The Libertines’ Powell’s label 25hr Convenience Store and are blazing a remorseless trail for rock and roll. They’re keeping it in the family this evening with an appearance at Carl Barat’s Jubilee club night at the Camden Barfly.

We’re in need of a good shake-down, and with a debut single like this on the horizon it’s looking like a forgone conclusion that The Craven Braves will deliver the goods:

The band will be back in Camden with the launch of Rough Diamond at The Bowery on February 8th, and will be following that up with a show at Bar Solo on the 17th.

Jan 12

Bear Driver at the Wheelbarrow 5/1/12


I make no secret and offer no excuses in relation to my absolute adoration of Bear Driver, having first seen them at a Best of Myspace gig at The Bull & Gate about a year ago. Since then they’ve slimmed down by one member (losing Cassie to her solo work), played to great critical reviews at both SXSW and the Camden Crawl, and supported The Joy Formidable at Koko.

Their back catalogue is still impressive beyond belief, the debut album is imminent and tonight, despite my aching familiarity with this band and its music, I am blown away by their ability to write and perform what I can only describe as inspirationally bloody good songs.

Guitarist and sometime-singer Harry Dean finds more ways to fall off stages, disconnect cables, break guitars and cause ear-shattering feedback than anyone I’ve seen. Tonight however, he’s restrained; he doesn’t fall off-stage. Since last summer’s back-breaking crash at Dingwalls, Harry has sworn never to repeat this particular trick. Tonight he succeeds, just… but only just. Sharing guitar and vocal duties, Oli Deakin has the sort of voice that both melts concrete and then woos the driver of the concrete mixer into bed. He’s the perfect calm to Harry’s destructive enthusiasm and it works brilliantly.

While I still think that Enemy was the song of 2011… well, I’ve nothing left to say about it – it may yet become my song of 2012 too. It’s a perfect piece of pop and just the right antidote to ensure that tonight’s frozen bones are frozen no more (repeated airtime on BBC 6 Music means you don’t just have to take my word for it).

The wonderful attraction and explanation to Bear Driver is that you love them but can’t find the words for why. You listen to them but can’t explain the reason for it. You smile, but only because laughing seems out of place. They are a mind-filling, brain-freezing, spectacular way to bring in the New Year and now, more than ever, they deserve the critical acclaim that will surely flood their way this year. Prove me right. Their time is now.

Words and pictures: Dan Aitch