New To Me – New To You: Gentle Friendly

We talked about Sub Pop on Friday and today we continue our tour of the greatest independent labels out there looking at the  brilliant Fat Cat Records.

If Sub Pop made its name out of its influence on the worldwide output of grunge, Fat Cat has made its name by being completely unclassifiable. Take one look at their catalogue and you’ll see just how eclectic their releases are. To quote wikipedia “their output includes electronica, post rock, downtempo, minimal techno, noise and punk-pop” and if you ask me that’s a pretty good description of Animal Collective alone!

Fat Cat has become something of a feeder label if you will, taking small but perfectly formed bands, still wet around the ears and rough around the edges, shaping them, and often releasing their most exciting albums before passing them on to bigger things. The likes of Frightened Rabbit, Animal Collective and Sigur Rós have all passed through the Brighton based label before heading off to international acclaim. It’s a testament to the quality of their music scouting that despite loosing many a big name they’re still churning out fantastic records, the likes of Scottish gloom rockers The Twilight Sad, shoe-gazing New Yorkers Mice Parade and composer Max Richter showing both the quality and diversity of the labels output. And when you’re still signing bands as exciting as todays featured band, well Fat Cats future looks very bright in Brighton!

New To Me – New To You: Gentle Friendly

Who?
Gentle Friendly are the duo David Maurice & Richard Manber. Although the band are now fleshed out to a 3-piece live, which is certainly a long way from excessive I’m sure you’ll agree.

What?
Well according to their own label they have “a penchant for circular melodies, tidal fuzz and rapid junked rhythms” In terms of instrumentation they largely rely on casio keyboards, vocals and drums, and a whole lot of loop pedals, delays and reverb units.

Where?
The chaps call London home, and are based out of their own home studio they refer to as Deep House, along with fellow lo-fi artists Echo Lake & Way Through amongst others. It’s a very creative place by all accounts and the band credit it with helping shape their sound into where they are today.

When?
Their debut release came way back in 2008, when they released the 7″ single Night Tape on indie label No Pain In Pop. The band followed that up with their debut album Ride Slow on Upset The Rhythm, before releasing an EP catchily entitled  Rrrrrrrr (I think that’s the right amount of R’s but apologies if not) on the same label. They’re set to release their second full length album on Fat Cat later this year and have already premiered a track from that, entitled Autumn Nite.

Why?
If you like reverb heavy, lo-fi music with loops and plenty of fuzz they’re the band for you. Sonic cousins of experimental Los Angeles punks No Age, or perhaps a less aggressive Health. Live, as they showed at The Shacklewell Arms on Friday, they’re a thrilling prospect. Pounding drums matched with hazy distorted vocals and the blaring lo-fi electronics casio mastered in the late 80s are a thrilling sound that’s easy to loose yourself in.

Why not?
They’ll be far too lo-fi for some, indeed I was listening to them at work the other day and got asked on 3 separate occasions what that racket was…I consider that a good thing! The vocals also seemed to prove divisive with many at the gig, perhaps as much to do with their treatment as their actual tone. If you’re a fan of Animal Collective or No Age though the odds are you’ll love this!

Gentle Friendly will release their second album on Fat Cat Records later this year. Their previous releases are available on their bandcamp page now http://gentlefriendly.bandcamp.com/

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