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Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Homework

Review of Big Deal’s Lights Out

Photo via FacebookFacebookOn paper, London’s Big Deal doesn’t really bring a lot to the table. Two guitars – one acoustic, one electric – and two voices – one American male, one English female – and that’s about it. There’s not much in the way of virtuosity in the former and neither Kacey Underwood or Alice Costelloe’s vocals would stop anyone in their tracks either alone or in harmony. To hear it described, you’d be forgiven for expecting it to lean towards being rather conventional and/or pedestrian.

And yet their debut album Lights Out carries with it enough ineffable magic to demand you take notice, despite being rather determinedly low key. Some of that could be attributed to the duo’s backstory, assuming you know it (late-twenties Underwood taught the teenage Costelloe to play Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr on guitar and they ended up forming a band) and the questions about whether their relationship is strictly friends and bandmates or something more (a Guardian interview from last Summer rather firmly dismisses that speculation), but even without any of that colouring things, Lights Out is much more than the sum of its parts.

Both singers possess a certain intrinsic yearning and weariness to their voices that’s particularly effective for the lyrics that hint at (or even overtly reference if metaphorically) a bare, emotional intimacy. Combine that with the warm, wooly sonic blanket that’s created by Underwood’s lightly fuzzy electric guitar and Costelloe’s strummed acoustic – capable of switching to delicately interwoven guitar lines or rocking distorted leads for for punctuation – and out of these basic ingredients come a dozen tracks that don’t range too far apart but instead do their work by drawing you right in. Their band name might be a bit tongue-in-cheek but don’t underestimate for a minute how much Big Deal have to offer.

Lights Out is out on Tuesday. The Guardian declared them “New Band Of The Day” a couple of weeks ago.

MP3: Big Deal – “Chair”
Stream: Big Deal – “Homework”
Video: Big Deal – “Distant Neighbourhood”
Video: Big Deal – “Chair”
Video: Big Deal – “Homework”

NPR has a session and interview with Elbow recorded at WFUV, while Noise11 talks to bassist Pete Turner about their anthem for the 2012 London Olympics.

Loud & Quiet acts as an intermediary for Ghostpoet to interview The Big Pink.

Check out a session video by Beth Jeans Houghton, whose Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose comes out February 28.

Video: Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny – “Sweet Tooth Bird” (Lightship Session)

The Yorkshire Evening Post and The Courier-Mail talk to Noel Gallagher.

NOW ran an interview with Los Campesinos! ahead of this weekend’s two-night stand at Lee’s Palace.

Music News interviews James Graham of The Twilight Sad. No One Can Ever Know is out February 7 and they’re at Lee’s Palace February 29.

The Alternate Side has posted a video session and interview with Loney Dear.

DIY and NPR mark this week’s release of The Lion’s Roar by running interviews with First Aid Kit. They play The Great Hall on April 4.

Swedish electro-pop outfit Miike Snow have made a May 1 date at The Sound Academy in support of their forthcoming album Happy To You, out March 27. The first single is available to stream over at Spin.

Stream: Miike Snow – “Paddling Out”

Interview gets to know Iceland’s next great pop hope, Of Monsters & Men.

Filter marks their ten-year anniversary by reaching back into their archives for a 2002 vintage interview with Bjork.

And while on the topic of things Icelandic, check out this mini-documentary film on Iceland Airwaves. I actually think I watched a version of this on the plane on the way back from last year’s festival, but they’ve since spliced in footage from 2011. And I may even see myself at 7:00… In any case, watch it and then make plans to go. You know you want to.

Video: Iceland Airwaves – a Rockumentary

By : Frank Yang at 8:25 am
Category: General

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  1. New Music Releases – 1/24/12 « no country for new nashville says:

    […] Big Deal – Lights Out Cardinal – Hymns Chairlift – Something (Listen… doubt link will last too long) Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory Craig Finn (of The Hold Steady) – Clear Heart, Full Eyes First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar Gonjasufi – MU.ZZ.LE Grace Woodroofe – Always Want (listen) The Koffin Kats – Our Way And The Highway Laura Gibson – La Grande The Maccabees – Given To The Wild (listen) Madi Diaz – Plastic Moon (listen) – playing Nashville tonight at Grimey’s (6pm) & Revolver (8pm) Nada Surf – The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy Porcelain Raft – Strange Weekend Rhyton – Rhyton Rodrigo y Gabriela: Area 52 Share this:TwitterFacebookStumbleUponMoreDiggLinkedInRedditEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  2. Today’s Hotness: Big Deal, Whirr, Projekt A-ko | Music Blog List says:

    […] and hazy full-length Lights Out lives up to all that early promise. As Mr. Yang pointed out in his spot-on assessment here, yes, the London-based duo is working with a limited palette (two voices, two guitars), but through […]