Posts Tagged ‘Dead Social Club’

An article I did introducing Dead Social Club for Call Upon The Author

This is the first time I have had something submitted for review and I have not completely adored it. I’m not saying it’s awful, it’s good pop music; I’m just saying it’s not quite up to the standard of Dead Social Club and Your New Antique.  Maybe I’m being unfair by drawing a comparison to previous reviews as Death in Texas is a very different type of band.

 This E.P. has some very good elements and the band members are clearly talented. All the tracks are pleasant but as I am not a fan of this genre they didn’t really grab my attention. Listening to this left me feeling about as excited as I would be if I just found out that Michael McIntyre was performing in my town. So basically it left me feeling indifferent towards what I was hearing. Previous submissions have left me feeling like I had just heard Louie Spence had drowned in a puddle caused by his own lisp, so very excited indeed.

I don’t want to be too critical because there are some good ideas and lots of potential there. The female vocalist has a good voice and the piano is clearly being played by someone with talent but I felt these four tracks were too safe and cautious for my liking.

They classify themselves as progressive pop and this is a very accurate description. I hate pop music but I didn’t hate this. This is far more clever and interesting than pop music generally is and it is pretty unique. I can’t think of anything similar. The best comparison I could make would be if you imagine Phantom of the Opera, but it has been written by Lana Del Rey and not Andrew Lloyd-Webber (I’m not calling him Sir). Each track is very well structured with some interesting changes in direction. The instrumentation is reminiscent of musical theatre combined with a female vocal which reminds me, on occasion,  of Shingai Shoniwa from The Noisettes.

Another point I must make is that Death in Texas are clearly very good at what they do but it is just not a style of music which I have a passion for. I’m sure they have a huge following and will do very well for themselves.

Don’t just take my word for it though have a listen yourself. Their E.P. is available as a free download, and includes the tracks “We Will Implode” “CC & Dry” “Dancers” and “Green”, just follow the link . If you enjoy the tracks, which I’m sure lots of you will, then check out for future tour dates and releases.

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Iv just got hayfever for the first time ever so here are ten songs helping me with being stuck inside this week while everyone else enjoys the sun.

1. The Cribs “Come On Be A No-One”

2. Wild Beasts “All The King’s Men”

3. Arctic Monkeys “R U Mine”

4. Art Brut “Bad Weekend”

5. Sound of Rum “Icarus”

6. Blood Red Shoes “Cold”

7. The Hair “Blood”

8. Public Enemy “Harder Than You Think”

9. Dead Social Club “Stockholm”

10. Immortal Technique “Hollywood Driveby”

This week I have conducted an interview with Ville Leppanen co-founder of The Animal Farm, which he runs alongside his brother Mat. The Animal Farm is a very interesting project as they are not just a label. They produce the records, manage the artists and run the label, as well as acting as a bookings agency and publishing company.  I was interested to find out more about this company, its history and its future plans.

Ville and Mat hail from Finland and were in the punk band Snowdogs. During their career in Snowdogs they were signed to Victory Records US and toured with Blink 182, Alkaline Trio, At The Drive-in, The Ataris and Less Than Jake amongst others.

After 20 years as musicians they began to tire of touring and the studio they had invested in was attracting interest from other musicians. The Leppanen brothers were also getting requests to produce and write music so they saw this as a natural starting point.

“This was around 2004-2005 when iTunes kicked off, broadband penetration happened, MySpace got popular. All of a sudden the way in which artists were discovered and developed changed,” Ville explains.

“No longer did labels have to sign a band, make a record and market it to find out if anyone liked it. They could just watch what was happening online. Neither were artists in a position where either they got a deal or they were fucked. It changed a lot of the dynamics that we’d grown up with as musicians.”

 They decided that if they were going to get involved with unknown bands they needed to be able to provide the whole range of services the band would need to get their career going. During their time in Snowdogs the brothers noticed that the relationship between the artists and the label needed to be more of a partnership rather than labels owning and exploiting the talent. They wanted to create parity and equality so that both sides were taking the risks and when it came good the profits were shared fairly.  

As their business grew they were able to offer more and more to the artists. The philosophy The Animal Farm adopts is simple but effective” if you work hard, work smart, write a great song and make a great record you will succeed just don’t ever give up.“

The name The Animal Farm came from the title of a Snowdogs album, inspired by Ville reading George Orwell’s book of the same name as a child. In the book the animals have chants about four legs being better than two. As the animal revolution changed so did the chants to fit the political angle the rulers were taking. This struck a chord with Ville and his views on the music industry.

“The music business is a lot like it in that people like to convince themselves about the merit of whatever they’re doing. Study the debates on giving away free music or not giving it away, how great Spotify is or how shit it is, and so on – all depending on who’s talking. I find it funny. The only thing worth thinking about is this: the music business is based on songs and records. If you have a great song and a great record you can enter the ring and be a contender. If you don’t, no matter what chant you bleat, you won’t get a career.”

In the very beginning the company was run by Ville and Mat who did everything between themselves, but now the company has grown they have a team behind them as well as international partners.

All the artists on their roster have approached The Animal Farm wanting to work with them, they do not use scouts. When they receive a demo they look for four main attributes in prospective artists- the ability to write good songs, the ability to perform them, commitment and a long-term attitude to their career and enthusiasm and drive.

In recent years the company/label has had a hand in the careers of acts such as Esteban, Everything Everything and The Dum Dums. Their current roster includes iremembertapes, The Manic Shine, Violet Bones, Athletes In Paris, Rocketeer, Your New Antique and Dead Social Club.

This label strikes me as being very artist friendly and not purely profit driven. I asked Ville if this was a fair assumption. “We’re very friendly guys and I think that comes across in what we do. Making money wasn’t high on the agenda in our childhood home. We were taught that there are more important things in life than chasing the dollar.” 

“When you run a business you have to make money. Artists sometimes think the music business operates as a charity designed to give them the opportunity to drink beer while people with connections make stuff happen. Or they think that it’s all evil and horrible and out to get them. The truth is perhaps somewhere in the middle.”

I consider The Animal Farm to be, in some ways, a modern day version of Factory Records (but with more business sense). There are definitely similarities in their attitude towards treatment of the artists and how it should be a partnership between both parties. When I asked Ville if they considered themselves to be similar to Factory Records he was incredibly humble, saying: “I’m chuffed that you should mention us in the same sentence as them. Honestly.”

During April iremembertapes will be touring and The Manic Shine and Violet Bones will be gigging in May and June. Your New Antique have an album launch on the 31st of March at the Parish in Huddersfield and the entire roster have albums and singles due out over the course of the year.  

So what plans do The Animal Farm have for the rest of 2012 and in the future?

“We’re expanding our publishing/sync side. Our booking agency has started doing well. We want to break a band nationally and take them to international markets. Here’s a goal: that when next we get mentioned in the same sentence with Factory, I won’t go red in the face.”

Before being asked to review this track by the band themselves I was unaware of Dead Social Club, although the name was familiar. Having listened to this track and some of their past work I am now a fan. “Stockholm” is a quality track which I liked from the first listen.

This song has a great structure to it. I love the way it builds leading up to each chorus. The breakdown in the middle builds so perfectly it creates a genuine excitement within me. I find myself willing the chorus to kick back in but also wishing to be teased for longer by the breakdown. The drums have a disco feel to them which works very well alongside the keys and funky bass. This is a very good indie track complimented with a compelling vocal performance; I particularly enjoy the way he sings the word “island”.

Dead Social Club are a six piece from London. They have already enjoyed a good start with radio plays on BBC6 Music and playing support for the likes of The Foals and Bloc Party. When listening to them I find some similarities to the Yorkshire band Alvarez Kings (, which I am a big fan of, but yet I find Dead Social Club to be pretty unique. I have been very impressed with what I have heard from them so far but don’t just take my word for it have a listen yourself (

They have upcoming shows in London and I hope they will soon embark on a UK tour so I can catch them live up in Yorkshire.