Tagged: appletop

Interview: Appletop

All the way from Toulon, in the sun-kissed South of France, Appletop have been pleasing our ears lately with their forthcoming album, Brave Mountains which will be released through Armellodie Records, on March 10th. Drawing on influences from Teenage Fanclub to Pavement, this is alt-rock at it’s most catchy. It’s easy to see why not only I love it, but also why 6music have taken an interest too.

Appletop - Promo 3

We had a chat to singer Pierre (in impressive written English, très bien!) who told us a bit about their music, their forthcoming album release and details of a Glasgow gig which is happening in April (further details to follow soon). You can also grab yourself a download of Madonna in Love, taken from their forthcoming album, at the bottom of the interview.

This is your first UK release, how long have you guys been making music together, and how did you meet?

We have been making music together for a looong time. We’ve been friends since high school, and released our first EPs in 2008/2009 and our debut album in 2010. Quite a classic story. Friends before bandmates, meeting at schools and gigs we were going to.

What’s your local music scene like?

It’s…unexpected. In the south of France, there is not quite a genuine rock n roll tradition. To be honest, not many people are into indie music or just music (if they are, it’s mainly reggae/rap), so it’s quite hard to find an audience, and in this respect, we’ve been relatively lucky I’d say. On the other hand, we’ve seen some quite amazing bands (in quite different styles), coming from our hometown, writing/playing fantastic music : Mina May, Mystik Motorcycles, Hifiklub, Tatiana Sauvage and Bokanosvky. Well, okay, even if they have remained (for now) rather confidential, these are brilliant bands, we grew up amongst them, which is definitely an inspiration.

On top of this, we now have good festivals, and in particular two great festivals directly in our hometown (Midi Festival and Rockorama) with outstanding line-ups every year.

You’re co-releasing the album on A Quick One Records in France and Armellodie in the UK. How did the link with Armellodie come up and why did you want to work with them?

Our first album was released on quite respected French label, but for reasons beyond our control it closed. At the same time, we were playing our first gigs in the UK, and somehow, we felt like we really wanted to give it try over there. Olivier Cancellieri (bass), who has also been mixing most of the album, is a total nerd. He’s often buying and selling gear online, and I think at some point he traded something with Scott Maple from Armellodie, and we started checking out their roster, so finally sent some sounds. They were cool enough to give us a shot.

We reckon we can hear a bit of Teenage Fanclub in your sound, which for us is never a bad thing. Are they an influence? Who else influences your musical style?

There is probably no point hiding that we are HUGE Teenage Fanclub/Pixies/Breeders fans. Well, we grew up in the 90’s, and it’s definitely the kind of music we all love, and where we met. At the same time, I don’t think we are really trying to write/play/produce music from the 90’s. We don’t make music to pay tribute to the past. To us, we are just trying to make music we like, it’s not like we thought about it and gathered saying “let’s make this kind of music”. Its just what happened, it’s selfish : us making music we like!

What are you listening to right now?

We all really dug the latest Mac Demarco, all three of us fell in love with St Vincent, so we’ve been checking out her new album. I heard Olivier (Cancellieri, Bass) is into Holograms, and Nicolas (Faou, drums) really enjoyed the latest Kurt Vile and Violators. (I also recently discovered Vampire Weekend, years later, so it’s a bit in my ears right now)

Have you got any plans to visit the UK? What about a summer holiday to Scotland?

This is happening pretty soon. I heard we might play Glasgow on Monday April 14th – check out www.appletop.eu, we’ll put that on very soon!

Finally, we have to ask, where does the name come from?

This is too silly to give an honest answer. For the most curious reader, the answer is inside our new album “Brave Mountains”, so I guess if you purchase it, you’ll know. HA! (Or maybe I’m just lying, and then you’ll never know. I guess you’ll just have to give it a try)

Brave Mountains is released by Armellodie Records on March 10th. You can pre order your copy here.

Appletop will also be playing in Glasgow on April 14th but as this is just ‘hot of the press’ news, we’re not entirely sure of all the details, I think it’ll be in The Roxy though! So yeah, keep your eyes peeled and definitely go along.

I made you a mixtape…fourteen

Invigorated after the new year? Nope, us either. To do lists are growing by the second and whilst good times are afoot there’s also a bit of trepidation around here about just where we’ll start? Thankfully, music seems to bring us a bit of respite so we’ve chucked together a menagerie of tunes that are helping us get into gear for 2014.

Malcolm Middleton – Red Travellin’ Socks []

Kim: If there were ever a song to make me light of step, it’s Red Travellin’ Socks. Amidst a haze of trekking around Scotland to work on far too many gigs over a short space of time, I have a very vivid memory of watching Malky and band play this live. Some uptempo honesty regarding the tidal push and pull of life on the road was elevated with added violin at the time. As noted above, we’re needing a bit of momentum right now and this is the perfect instigator. Malcolm will be bringing his mostly melancholy sound to Celtic Connections, playing Platform on 25th of January. 

The New Medicants – This Time

Phil: As we alluded to on Monday’s post, The New Mendicants hit Glasgow next weekend as part of Celtic Connections, this track is taken from their Australia EP out last year. Their new album is released on January 27th, two days after they play the aforementioned gig at The Arches.

FOUND – Mullokian (Toad Session) 

Kim: Song By Toad Records are celebrating five years of releases with a very special . Amongst the mass of material contained on the five 12″ albums is a Toad Session recording of FOUND’s debut single Mullokian. It’s a soothing rendition with beautiful rippling guitar; stripped back for the tech tinkers. This was the song that began my love for FOUND. This love can be traced all the way back to 2006 when I was, in my ever delicate manner, shoving the song in the face of Mr Elba (Author’s note: Phil, this is your name now so please expect to be addressed thusly forevermore). Such Elba history makes for a more than solid reason for inclusion on our current mixtape. 

RM Hubbert – Bolt

Phil: A favourite track from 2013, ‘Bolt’ was taken from RM Hubbert’s third album, Breaks and Bone. It’s a reply to a Nicola Roberts song don’t you know which incidentally Hubbert will advise that everyone should own, along with any Minutemen album. RM Hubbert plays the Mitchell Library next Tuesday as part of Celtic Connections

Appletop – Johnny’s Theme [DOWNLOAD]

Phil: Armellodie Records’ latest signing Appletop, are French. They also seem to like Pavement and Teenage Fanclub. You should probably know this pleases me greatly. With a hummable chorus, this song hasn’t left my head so far this year. I’m really looking forward to their album which is due out in spring.

Tideland – Dinosaur

Phil: There’s not too much that I know about Tideland, but I’ve been really enjoying their punky slacker rock sounds over the last few weeks. Hailing from Sterling, Virginia, Tideland released their album, ‘Lull’, on Russian Winter Records last year. Dinosaur is one of several tracks I could have put on the mixtape but being that my compadre, Kim, has a bit of a thing for dinosaurs, this was the obvious choice.

Janelle Monáe (feat. Prince) – Give Em What They Love

Kim: I am intensely drawn to Janelle Monáe’s artistry. There is an almost extinct ambiguity in contemporary music between performing persona and personal life. Where there have been pushes and prods by the media to pinpoint if any of her lyricism is reflective of her character, Monáe has managed to retain a great amount of mystery. Gender and sexuality load what she creates, more so here than on most other tracks. Just as Eryka Badu brought such energy to Q.U.E.E.N., Prince helps to layer on the filth in Give Em What They Love. The bass and melodic synch are core in the first half of this song before it breaks and you can happily lose your shit over the joy of brass, organ, solo guitar and some controlled yells and rasps from The Electric Lady herself. The track flutters out on an orchestral coda, the suite nature of Monáe’s debut returning once again on the 2013 sophomore album.

I made you a mixtape…fourteen by Elbasessions on Mixcloud

Sampling Samplers 13-14

‘Tis (has been) the season to download free samplers from labels, ‘zines and other such online outlets. So as well as unwrapping Christmas presents, we’ve been unzipping folders best essay writing service reviews of mp3’s and giving them a listen, and the nice thing that we’ve found, is that it makes you remember some of the great music from last year as well as getting you excited for the year ahead.

Case in point #1 comes from Armellodie Records [FREE SAMPLER HERE]. An assortment of what’s to come as well as some older gems and some ‘rarities’, make this a pleasing listen. I hadn’t listened to The Douglas Firs or Conor Mason in a while and it was very nice to become more acquainted with their newest signing, Appletop. They’re from France, which the label tells us most helpfully, is in Europe. The following track has really whet my appetite for their album, which will be released in March.

Another album that I’m rather looking forward to, which is due out this year, is by Now Wakes The Sea. We put on what I think was their first gig as NWTS back in 2010 and I still remember some of the cool shit they did with noises and looping a transistor radio with a cassette player (i think that’s what it was anyway). They’ll be releasing the follow up to ‘Fluoxetine Morning’ this year on Edinburgh’s mini50 records who handily also give you a bit of an insight into their label with a sampler [DOWNLOAD HERE]

Another local label dishing out the free stuff (well, this one came out in Nov) is Olive Grove Records [FREE SAMPLER] who seem to be going from strength to strength, indeed, their release of Jo Mango’s ‘When We Lived In The Crook of a Tree’ EP and her subsequent performance of it at The Glad Cafe were two highlights of a very good musical year for us at Elba in 2013. In fact, if you’d like to see this sampler in the flesh (sort of), then the Olive Grove roster will be putting on a label showcase at the Oran Mor on January 25th. (Yeah, we know this track is not on the sampler!)

Finally, we couldn’t really leave it without mentioning the ever delightful Asthmatic Kitty seasonal sampler. Just look at the cat gif on the download page! [FREE DOWNLOAD HERE]