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'Broadcast One' - Dandelion Radio's 1st compilation album

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Artist Info

Thomas Tantrum

Thomas Tantrum
Image from Discogs
Powered by Audioscrobbler™Hey, as we’ve got a new album coming out we thought everyone would like to know the story behind what they’re going to hear, so here it is our new ‘Biog’….

“We used to be quite scrappy,” starts Thomas Tantrum’s bass player Jim Shivers. “Kid punk,” confirms frontwoman Megan Thomas of the nifty four piece’s earlier output.

Like it or not, but Thomas Tantrum’s scrappy days are well and truly over. The all new Thomas Tantrum are certainly just as fun as they once were, but they are now a slicker, deliciously mature offering. A polished, verging on perfect indie-pop proposition, the all new Thomas Tantrum come bearing scrumptious melodies, lyrical sophistication and, for the very first time, the occasional synth.

It would be foolish not to mention that this new instrument in Thomas Tantrum’s eclectic, electric arsenal came about through accident rather than design. “I kind of fell down a hill,” murmurs guitarist David Miatt mysteriously. “So I couldn’t play guitar for a while”.

The fabulous ‘Sleep’, the first single from their total ruddy charmer of a second album, ‘Mad By Moonlight’, was the triumphant result of Dave’s flirtation. Kicking off with a Lulu-worthy wail from a heartily lunged Megan, the strutting skewed-soul anthem and indie disco floor filler throws down the gauntlet for Thomas Tantrum Mk. 2. Far from chucking a Korg on everything as many acts in current musical climate have done, Thomas Tantrum’s new effort is a lesson in harnessing the power of sonic diversity. They’re part of the popscene – no doubt about it – but endearingly they still wear their beloved lo-fi edge and Sugarcubes shoegaze shimmer on their collective sleeve.

Releasing their self-titled, acclaimed debut album in 2008, the congenial quartet have seen some changes since Lily Allen feted them as her favourite new young gunslingers. Their original drummer broke ranks to become a father and was replaced by Dave Wade Brown. The eagle eared amongst you will also probably notice a difference quite a difference in Megan’s recorded vocals.

“It just so happened that when we were recording the first album we were touring – constantly touring – and I kind of lost my voice a little bit,” she explains. Her doctor advised rest but the band simply couldn’t stop touring or put a hold on laying down their first album. So Megan had to adopt a simpler, softer style of singing in order to get through the sessions without causing herself some serious damage.

Now though, she’s in full vocal fettle and singing like she was back in the days of the very earliest Thomas Tantrum demos. Yet while Megan’s ‘Mad By Moonlight’ croon is a more powerful proposal, her vocals are still laced with the wry innocence and deadly wit that shone through on ‘Thomas Tantrum’, stacked full of the kind of character and charm that eager A&Rs would snap their own fingers off to discover.

New drums and new vocals there might be, but something’s haven’t changed for the band, who are still based in the seaside haven of Southampton. “It has its pros and cons,” explains Jim. “It’s got the sea, seagulls…”

Scenic fundamentals of the UK’s coastline aside, the city is also home to a vibrant, collaborative music scene that also birthed Band of Skulls, who Thomas Tantrum headed out on the road with last year. In fact, Band of Skulls are such big fans of Thomas Tantrum that they remixed ‘Sleep’, giving it a thumping hardcore twist.

Finding inspiration in everything from classic country, British Sea Power and the melodic Lemonheads reaches of grunge to Blondie, Patti Smith, West Coast surf punk and Erik Satie, ‘Mad By Moonlight’ was recorded in four week long sessions in producer Rik McNamara’s Halifax studio. “He’s like the Master of big guitar noises,” says Jim. “We’re all lo-fi and tinny sounding and he totally upped the perspective on things.”

Bigger and fuller sounding than their debut ‘Mad By Moonlight’ is also much more melancholy, crafted with a delicate touch and laced with a subtle narrative. “It’s like David said the other day, it sounds like more of an album as opposed to a collection of songs,” says Megan.

Investigating themes of female insanity, insomnia and hearts that go bump in the night, wrapping them all up in a dream-like shield of sonic cotton wool, the 12 vibrantly varied tracks on ‘Mad By Moonlight’ are the result of the each member of the band’s interest in wildly different kinds of music. It’s these wide-ranging influences which come together to create Thomas Tantrum’s diverse sound, which pushes a whole host of different musical buzzers without being tied down to any one genre and its restraints. “Because we are into such different things, it comes together and it doesn’t sound like anything else,” grins Megan.

The aforementioned ‘Sleep’ boasts a big old baseline and sugary distortion to match the weighty synths as the folk-spun melody bops to Megan’s lyrics, which tell the story of a bed-ridden friend suffering from depression. It’s partner track ‘Cold Gold’, with its Bard-bothering talk of “taming the shrew” covers the same lyrical ground, but sonically had to undergo a studio reinvention as, in the words of Megan: “we thought it sounded a bit too U2!”

‘Hot Hot Summer’ might have been written at the last minute by new drummer Dave, but it’s far from a rush job. “It’s probably the most straightforward pop song on the album,” reveals David. “It sounds like there’s three chords in it, but there’s actually about five, maybe even six.” A prime example of swooning pop-punk alchemy in action, its killer chorus shows off the album’s inimitable appeal, which comes in its intelligent meshing of carefree pop and heartfelt emotion.

It’s hard to spot obvious reference points for the Thomas Tantrum sound, but the light which guides the perky ‘Face The Music’ is clearer. “I sent an email to everyone, saying ‘can you just write a song that sounds like The Cure?’” recounts Megan. There’s no denying that the song is a homage to the iconic ‘Friday, I’m in Love’, but there’s more than simple pastiche at work here. Showcasing Megan’s finessed vocals, the delicate track owes as much to Lloyd Cole and early B-52s as it does Robert Smith.

The aching acoustic ‘Supermodel’ sits in soft contrast to ‘Only Human’, which Megan wrote on the organ and was imagined by the band as a melancholy song about wearing the rose tinted spectacles of youth. Producer Rik though had other ideas, amping it up with an ABBA meets Beach Boys chorus and running a Twin Peaks guitar line through it, lending the track an Arthur Russell worthy avant disco edge.

Key track ‘Betty Blue (Crazy Lovers)’ pays its dues to the arty French, fork stabbing skin flick of the same name. “I watched it on a train with all these grannies walking past,” confides Megan. “The characters were just having sex and they thought we were watching porn!” thankfully the cutlery is kept in the drawer as Megan channels the title character’s descent into insanity, as spiky near-tribal drums hammer away underneath a dream-like chorus.

With lyrics just as razor-sharp as their luscious melodies, it’s true that thought the scrappiness has gone, the personality certainly hasn’t.

Glad to have you back, Thomas Tantrum.
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Artist biography from last.fm




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