Wednesday, February 25th, 2009
Review of Sky Larkin's The Golden Spike and live video from Amsterdam
FabChannelAfter considerable listens, I think I’ve twigged on to why I’m so taken with The Golden Spike, the debut album from Leeds’ Sky Larkin’s. The crackling pop-punk energy, barely contained in the power trio configuration, the odd and wiry yet undeniably accomplished guitarwork, the raspy vocals that can’t quite conceal the sweetness underneath – they remind me of Land Of Talk. A more youthful version, to be sure, with more exuberance and less anxiety, but the parallels – now that they’ve occurred to me – are obvious.
And, of course, after I’d written that, I did a little archive digging and discovered that in my first post about the band, way back in August 2008, I said the first taste of the band “grab(bed) me in a way that I don’t think I’ve been grabbed since I first heard Land Of Talk”. Technically, though, I was only using LoT as a chronological reference point and not necessarily as a stylistic one, as I’ve now done. But I actually completely forgot I said that and the preceding paragraph was written completely ignorant of that original observation. Okay, I’m boring the life out of me now. Moving on.
Band comparisons notwithstanding, I’m also totally taken with The Golden Spike because it’s a superb bit of guitar pop. Katie Harkin, she of the aforementioned guitarwork and vocals, is a forceful presence and her songs are unconventional and elliptical enough to encourage intensive listening, yet remain utterly melodic and hummable. It’s a corker of a record, and surely one of the finer debuts we’ll see this year. As previously mentioned, their label Wichita Recordings are setting up North American operations and The Golden Spike will be one of their first domestic releases – you can be certain I’ll let you know more about that as information becomes available.
FabChannel webcast the band’s show in Amsterdam this past weekend but don’t have it up in their archives for your eternal enjoyment just yet. They have, however, prepped a couple of songs from the show and have graciously allowed me to share them with you. Please enjoy.
MP3: Sky Larkin – “Fossil, I”
MP3: Sky Larkin – “Molten”
Video: Sky Larkin – “Beeline”
Video: Sky Larkin – “Fossil, I”
Video: Sky Larkin – “Molten”
Video: Sky Larkin – “One Of Two”
MySpace: Sky Larkin
Details on the debut full-length from Florence & The Machine are still forthcoming, but this pre-order listing at CDWow seems to hint at July 6th release date, or thereabouts. Much more confirmable is the April 28 release of the A Lot Of Love, A Lot Of Blood EP, which collects her singles to this point and an unreleased track.
Exclaim! has a feature-length interview with Neko Case and have also assembled a timeline tracking her life and times. Her new album Middle Cyclone is out next Tuesday and the title track is now available to download. Her label is also giving away autographed copies of the record. She’s at Trinity-St Paul’s on April 17 and 18.
Maria Taylor has a date at the El Mocambo on April 17, tickets $10. Her new record LadyLuck is out April 7. $10
Ladyhawk return for a show at the Horseshoe on April 23, tickets $12.50.
And finally, an incredulous shout-out to Zoilus’ Carl Wilson, who will be appearing on The Colbert Report next Wednesday night to talk about his 33-1/3 book Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey To The End Of Taste. All instigated, if you didn’t know, by the Green Goblin 2. What a strange, strange thing.