The Japanese House @ The Liquid Room, Edinburgh, 10 May

the japanese house

Originally published for The Skinny.


Amber Bain, aka The Japanese House, takes to the stage at Edinburgh’s Liquid Room looking like the fourth member of Hanson, with her denim on denim attire and wispy blonde hair covering her face, announcing that she’s ill but will “try not to cough.”

Luckily Bain’s vocoder masks any sign of illness in her vocal, as she plays through songs from her three EPs with almost no interruption. In fact, the only between-song chat we get from Bain is to introduce the next song. What Bain lacks in charisma, however, she makes up for in songwriting ability: particular highlights include Teeth, Saw You in a Dream and Clean. The performance of the latter is sadly ruined though by the distracting and unnecessary strobe lights, but the band seem to think it’s cool and headbang along to the track’s clichéd dubstep-esque break.

The difficulty with Bain’s music is that, at its core, it is bedroom music. It’s minimal, ambient and best listened to alone with headphones in; live, it just doesn’t quite have the same effect. But this doesn’t stop her droves of teenage fans, many of whom will be aware of her music from the 13 Reasons Why soundtrack and from her ties with The 1975, gazing up at her admiringly and singing along to every word.

There is something undoubtedly captivating about The Japanese House but if Bain intends to move on to playing headline shows in bigger venues then she’s going to have to come up with something more exciting than a few strobe lights.


Watch: The 1975 – Sex (Acoustic Wonderland Premiere)

Ride-or-die rockers The 1975 sing about doing the dirty in the sweetest, gentlest way we’ve heard this year. Watch their acoustic take on new single ‘Sex’ here.

Originally published for Wonderland.

Following the success of recent singles ‘Chocolate’ and ‘The City’, which received massive amounts of radio airplay, and support slots for Muse and The Rolling Stones already under their belts, Manchester-born The 1975 have solidified themselves as one of the year’s biggest breakthrough acts.

To herald the August 26th release of their new single ‘Sex’, the band have kindly provided Wonderland with an exclusive acoustic video of the song. The stripped back version is a much more delicate take on the original, with Matthew Healy’s vocals only accompanied by wistful guitar melodies. We’re saying this right now: the fangirls will love it.

The band are set to release their self-titled debut album on September 2nd, which was recorded at the Motor Museum in Liverpool with, Arctic Monkeys collaborator, Mike Crossey, who co-produced it alongside the band’s front man Matthew Healy and drummer George Daniel. If the singles have been anything to go by, the album is expected to be packed full of incredibly catchy indie-pop songs about being young, free and reckless (with frequent mentions of sex, duh).

Sex is out on 26th August on Dirty Hit/Polydor and you can pre-order their album