Louellen Breakout for the Maldives

Find my original article on Double Dance here

In a sticky Islington, bright new stars Louellen prepare to weave their twinkly, indie magic over an intimate, well turned out crowd.

The night aimed to showcase exciting new UK talent at the O2 Academy, the reward for one lucky band is a place in the final to headline at a Moldavian gig and a single released in Asia - not too shabby by any means.

Our Southern lads were on second, and with a small amount of gigs under their proverbial belt, they were ready to prove that new doesn't mean inexperienced but instead, compellingly fresh and exciting.

After a few technical hitches (through no fault of their own) the boys picked up pace and treated us to some well-executed, enigmatic tracks. Looking around, fellow skinny jean wearing boys and girls tapped toes in time and seemed fully immersed in Louellen's sound. Often being taken by surprise with the sudden burst of energy that appeared to come like shots from the dark, then pulling back on the reigns to display their full musical spectrum. An obvious favourite, and one which I'm sure will stylishly adorn the radio in the not so distant future was 'Bright Paint on a White Wall', emphasising frontman Christian's delicately fierce vocal.

On the rise: Clare Maguire

My original post for Double Dance can be found here

Trying to find information on a lady who seems to be eagerly anticipated yet very much under-wraps is extremely hard.

A single eery track of just over 60 seconds in length greets you when you enter Clare Maguire into your address bar. The chilling Are You Ready? is clearly going to be the calm before the storm for this Brummy lass, before she is catapulted forward like her Universal Records counterpart Miss Winehouse. Are You Ready? is pumping up the anticipation meter and clearly asking the British, siren loving public to brace themselves for another great success story. This mysterious misses, doesn't even have any official photos, a mere ten or so live shots weave through Google Images. Maybe she wants her audience to appreciate the powerful presence of her music, or maybe it's cleverly enticing a host of blogger types to increase the aforementioned anticipation meter.

If you're as enticed as I was, a free download can be found, available through her website and I can only hope it's released officially. Strangest Thing is hauntingly deep, yet softly peaceful, like Bat For Lashes colliding with Annie Lennox, spiraling into Norah Jones giving the hair on the back of your neck a tingly treat. Her song matter seems far wiser beyond her years, at only 21 I hope she isn't over-sold and exhausted before having the chance to really enjoy the journey that she definitely deserves.

On the rise: Muchuu

Find the original article on Double Dance here

If, like me, a quirky band name increases your heart rhythm and your ears prick up in excitement then let me introduce you to the unusually named Muchuu.

Probably not the best band name to use in a game of Hangman but probably the cutest band to listen to this summer. Muchuu ('moo-chew') which is the direct translation of 'dream' in Japanese are a brother and sister glittery-pop outfit hailing from Hereford, UK. The two play their very separate parts; Milky is the twee-indie vocalist whilst brother George is the techy, music master. There is no doubting the oriental inspirations in the majority of the tracks on debut album 'Adventure We Go' is proof that these two are fully-fledged musical explorers starting to make their mark on the indie-electro pop world. Each song has bundles of character and grabs you with two arms for closer inspection of all the experimental elements it boasts. You'll love Muchuu if you adore being completely immersed in a daydreamy state and yearn for long summery drives through country fields--the two aren't advised to take together. I caught up with the pair to discuss afros, unusual sound bites, disturbing dreams and general Muchuu magic.

You're brother and sister outfit, please tell me that you have Jackson 5 esq routines?

George: Unfortunately, no. I'd like to have an afro though.
Milky: We used dance around in the lounge and put on plays when we were little, to entertain our parents...but that's as far as it goes with dance routines!

Seriously though, how do you not end up tearing each others hair out after spending so much time together?

Milky: Well we do annoy each other slightly sometimes, but only slightly. In general we get on pretty well. We have quite different personalities but when were making music and practicing and gigging we kind of forget about that and just have fun. George: Yeah, we've got past the arguing thing. Just about.

Your music is often created by using various objects that you come across, what's the oddest thing you've used?

Milky: A ladder. And a digital camera zoom.
George: We also slammed a door a good few times to get the right door slam sound. That was pretty weird.

The music you write is about dreams and escapism, what kind of dreams do you have for yourselves?

Milky: I usually have rather strange and disturbing dreams. They're often just so odd and confusing I can't explain them! Sometimes I feel odd for the rest of the day...but sometimes they're really cool, like a mini movie in my head. As for my dreams for my future, I'd love to visit Japan and other cool countries, spread Muchuu music all over place and for people to really enjoy our album, move into my own little house and buy a pet pug!
George: I can see the future in my dreams. In terms of aspirations, I'd like to keep making different music, away from the boring clich├ęd music that is around now about sex and money and meaningless stuff just to profit people. Wow, I wasn't expecting to produce such a political answer.

You're playing Bestival this year, will you be partaking in the fancy dress parade? The fantasy theme is perfect for Muchuu surely?

Milky: Yeah I heard about this, I need to get something sorted, sounds fun, I don't often get the chance for fancy dress! So many options...a mermaid might be cool or just a big ball of glittery magic and cover myself in sequins and stickers. Or something out of the Neverending Story. Or Chii from Chobits...
George: Really? I didn't know about the fancy dress parade. In that case I'll get my giant dragon costume out. It takes 300 people to operate it.

It's clear from the sound of the album, not to mention the title, that you've had a lots of escapades, how do you put these inspirations into song?

George: I guess I try and show the inspirations musically. Milky is the lyrical one though. I've contributed in the past with a couple of sentences. So proud of myself.
Milky: Well I just jot down things that pop into my head when I'm out and about, or just sitting and thinking. I scribble ideas and lyrics down in my notepad or on my phone, then merge them all together to fit a song. I also love to experiment with different sounds to suit the mood or subject of the song. It's such a good feeling when it all comes together and the music really shows how I was feeling or what I was writing about!

With the first album out, what's next for Milky and George?

Milky: We really hope people like the first album, and that lots of people get to hear it and we get to continue gigging all over the place, including gigs overseas. We're already writing songs for the second album, which I'm also excited about.
George: We'll just have faith and see where the music takes us. We can't help writing more songs, so that will probably continue forever.

The album 'Adventure We Go' will be available for digital download and in stores August 31st. My favourite tracks include 'Somebody Tell Me', 'Dancing With a Ghost' and 'Patchwork'.