Limousine’s Wrestling ☯ Wave is a kitsch jaunt to a past that never existed

 

 

The opening track to Limousine’s Wrestling ☯ Wave sounds like someone is channel hopping until they land on something they like, and in this case it’s Golden Age WWF/WCW. Wrestling in the 1980’s and 1990’s were fantastic. The matches were well structured, the outcomes spit sofas and living rooms the world over and the heels were second to none. I’ve always liked heels more than the faces, but you’re meant to right? So what does all this have to do with a music review in December I can hear you ask. The answer is simple. Limousine has taken snippets from promos, interview spots, commentaries and crafted beneath them music that not only evokes that times, but compliments wrestling samples. Wrestling ☯ Wave is that album.

 

 

 

Throughout Wrestling ☯ Wave there is a feeling of nostalgia. It’s the kind of nostalgia that Douglas Coupland has spent a career explaining. But like Coupland, this nostalgia doesn’t really exist. While the music is sounds like ‘classic’ wrestling themes associated with the wrestlers in the samples, the crux is that these themes never really existed, apart from Excellence, which sounds exactly like Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart’s theme. Instead Limousine has taken the codes and conventions of vapour/chill/synth wave and created something different instead. Wrestle Wave.

 

 

Is Wrestle Wave here to stay or is this just a flash of kitschy brilliance? Who knows, but like the original art form there is a guilty pleasure derived from finding out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Slugpie are the perfect antidote to a day of Crimbo music and faux cheer

 

 

December the first is a day I look forward to and dread. The looking forward is always simple. Its just after payday and the thought of the Christmas break is so close you can taste it. The downside is that today marks the first in a long day of almost constant Christmas music at work. By rule Christmas songs are terrible by design. In three and a half minutes they cram in everything that sums up the period. Over indulgence, gaudiness and an underling vibe that if you aren’t enjoying it then you must be defective in a happiness gland. Today was one such day. I needed an alternative. Luckily I found it in Slugpie.

 

 

Slugpie are a sludge trio from Limoges, Limousin in France. They make the kind of music that can only be made when boredom happens, musical conventions have been thrown out of the window and a total disregard for decibels has been reached. Basically its loud, slow, repetitive and very, very good! Opening track, The Swamp, is the stand out track on the EP. As The Swamp starts an eerie and spooky vibe kicks in before a devastating riff kicks in that grabs you by the ears and doesn’t let go until the end. It sways and skews along its stoner rock way until a searing solo appears out of nowhere. It’s like the Misfits are being covered by Kyuss.

 

 

While the lyrics to The Swamp are little more than guttural screams and grunts there is a larger picture. Luckily Slugpie’s Bandcamp page gives you the lyrics. The second verse is chocked full of stalking terror and malice “Smell the stench, Something’s near, Lumbering. Coming for you, Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, No escape, The Swamp is coming to get you”

 

 

This is an EP that screams, literally, to be replayed and replayed. With each listen you peel back another layer to reveal some very clever compositions and inventive playing. The Swamp, and Slugpie, are coming to get you. I just hope you’re ready when they do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Allo Darlin’ bring their cult pop career to a close on a high

 

 

It is with a heavy heart, and a sad tone, that I write these words “Allo Darlin’ are releasing their last single”. Yup. It’s true. Elizabeth Morris, Paul Rains, Bill Botting and Mikey Collins are hanging up their guitars and microphones and calling it a day. But there is a silver lining. They are playing a few dates and new single Hymn on the 45/Wanderlust is about as good as they get. If this is the first time you’ve heard Allo Darin’ firstly that’s fine, secondly what have you been doing and thirdly, that’s cool.

 

 

Hymn on the 45/Wanderlust is released on December 9th through Fortuna POP! And the Hangover Lounge and comes on a delicious limited edition gold 7” single. Sadly it will only be on sale at their goodbye gigs, but if you want a digital version it’ll be on Allo Darlin’s Bandcamp page. The single is about moving on, starting a fresh and missing the people you’ve left behind. This is something that we’ve all been through, going to uni, getting a new job and moving away or just simply moving out of your parent’s house, but the intimate delivery is that makes these songs to immediate and touching. As usual there is a bright melancholy going on that gives you a warming hung while making you long for something past.

 

Allo Darling will play:

 

 

10th December: MOTH Club (2PM with Night Flowers)

10th December: MOTH Club (7PM with The Hayman Kupa Band)

11th December: Scala (7:30PM with Bill Botting and the Two Drink Minimums & Josie Long)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bloom Twins showcase their dark-pop charm on new single Set Us Free

 

 

Don’t worry, the Bloom Twins’ new single Set Us Free isn’t a re-work of N-Trance’s faux-rave classic. It is in fact something far more exciting and enjoyable. After moving to London the sisters Kuprienko returned to their native home of the Ukraine, but got stuck thanks to all that political unpleasantness that is going around at the moment. The Bloom Twins explain it thus “It was the first track we wrote after returning from the Ukraine where we got stuck for half a year during the uprising. The track is not political at all, rather a call for freedom, but it was certainly influenced by everything that was happening in the Ukraine and the fact that we couldn’t come back to our new home – London”. Despite the Kuprienko’s claiming the song isn’t political, there are dark rumblings, pulsating electro beats and haunting vocals that scream, as the title suggests, to set us free/let us go. Their debut album, which has been recorded and produced by Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes, will be out in 2017.

 

 

Basically the Bloom Twins are a less controversial, more music focused Let’s Eat Grandma and ultimately much better. Their music leaves you with a warm woolly feeling that makes you yearn for another shot of their slick electro pop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bagstiv are everything we ever wanted and ever asked for

 

 

It’s getting near the end of the year, so that means the predictions for the next year, 2017, are starting to get banded about. Most of these lists are filled with hype bands and are compiled by writers who have connections at labels and are doing their friends a favour. OK, this isn’t 100% true, but look at some lists from previous years and see how many of these acts ever really go as big as they’re predicted to. One band that won’t feature on many of these lists, luckily, is bagstiv.

 

 

In their native Danish bagstiv means when you wake up after a night out and you are still drunk, and in a weird way this is kind of what their music sounds like. On one hand there is a lurid, dream like quality to it. The guitars a woozy and wonky, but the drums have a harsh clarity to them, like the fresh morning sun waking you up after a big night out. But also just like waking up and realising you are still half cut, there is a waking nightmarish terror to the music that is hard to ignore.

 

 

So far they have only released one song, Blood, but this is all we need to hear to fall in lust with this band. Well that’s not totally true. This afternoon a remix of Blood was uploaded by The Neighbours Downstairs. This remix shares little with the original, save a few elements, but it is filled with the same vibe. Opening with tight beats and woozy basslines, The Neighbours Downstairs make Blood sound like an Erol Alkan remix of 1980’s New Order with Tom Meighan, from Kasabian, crooning over the top. This is the formula follows on throughout, but Blood gets more intense and trippy as it goes along until it’s a beautiful cacophony of blissed, sun drenched out electronic magnificence.

 

 

2017 looks set to be the year when Bagstiv remove themselves from their fuggy shadowed burrow and revel themselves to an un-expecting world and I for one cannot wait!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The sentence “Hello, I’m John Carpenter…” is a simple one when you break it down. All its doing is just saying a simple salutation, but its effect was devastating. It turned a few hundred people into a jibbeirng, shouting, frothing mess. Very similar after watching on of Carpenter’s films. But I’m getting a bit a-head of myself. Let’s rewind things slightly before we continue.

John Carpenter has been horror/action films since the late 1960’s. Films like Dark Star, Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween, The Fog, Escape From New York, The Thing Christine, Starman and Big Trouble in Little China really put his name on the cultural map. As well as writing, directing and producing these films he also wrote ground breaking scores. They were stark synth soundscapes filled with chilling motifs and eerie moments that really helped cement the vibe and feeling of these films. And it’s thanks to these scores that hundreds of people have braved a cold October evening in Brighton to watch a master of screen become a master of the stage on his debut UK gig.

Carpenter opted to open with ‘Escape from New York’. While ‘New York’ doesn’t have the bombastic opening of other themes, it did say to us “Don’t worry. While I’m opening with a classic, I still have plenty of bangers left in up my sleeves” and this is exactly what happened. As Carpenter, and his 5 piece band, played the theme shivers ran up and down my body as I was transported by to my mate’s parent’s lounge one summer holiday when we watched film after film and slow became obsessed not only with his films but his music. While the band belted out their opening number, there was a screen behind them playing a condensed version of the film. This really helped to hammer home not just not just where the theme was from, but where it fitted culturally.

Once Carpenter had finished we were in the palm of his hand. “Hello, I’m John Carpenter…” he said before launching into ‘Precinct 13’. Since I’d first seen this film as a 15 year old it has stayed with me. This is partly down to the exquisite minimal electronic score and its catchy theme. The footage that played in the background of deserted suburbs and inner city sprawl coupled with the heroes of the film slaying an unending army of gang members really helped ground the feeling isolation and violence that permeates through the score. I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t the highlight of the set.

Next up was the first of the sets low points. At the back of all of our collective minds was the thought “He won’t play any new songs will he?” The answer to this was yes. While there was nothing wrong with ‘Vortex’ and ‘Mystery’ they didn’t have the bite of the opening salvo. However when they finished Carpenter and co. launched into ‘The Fog’, ‘They Live’ and ‘The Thing’. These three films turned Carpenter from an underground hero to mainstream superstar, and this was down again, to their delicate, eerie suspenseful synth scores. As the footage rolled in the back ground, the songs took on even more sinister tones. ‘They Live’ was the first track of the set that deviated from an electro sound. The main component of the track is a blues guitar riff, while industrial beats recreate the sound, and feeling of loneliness of a major city. As the song started the band all put in black wayfarer sunglasses and the screen showed the “Obey”, “Consume”, “Submit”, “Conform” and “Money is You God” slogans that Roddy Piper sees in the film when he put on his sunglasses. These little touches really show that Carpenter had thought about how the set would look and feel, rather than just playing some ‘the hits’.

Throughout the set Carpenter spoke briefly, when the mood took him, danced behind his keyboard. Now we spoke to the audience in a bit more detail. “I’ve made five films with my very good friend. The one film when we have the most fun was about some big trouble in little China’ the audience roared with delight and approval. This was one of the songs where the backing video really hammered home the music. Seeing Kurt Russell strutting about as Jack Burton on screen while the band played their hearts out remind me of watching the film for the first time as a child with my parents and being on the edge of my seat. As Carpenter and co played on I was back on the edge of my seat again, trying not to blink in case I missed something amazing.

Carpenter addressed the crowd again after ‘Big Trouble’, “I direct horror movies. I love horror movies. Horror movies will never die!” then he launched in ‘Halloween’. This is by far his most iconic song and the crowd responded with whoops, cheers and hundreds of devil horns were thrust in the air, to which Carpenter replied! The last song was ‘In the Mouth of Madness’. This is a lesser known work in Carpenter’s back catalogue, but possibly his last great film. And its inclusion at this point in the set made sense.

The band then bowed, applauded us and left the stage. However, after a short break, they returned to the stage. Their encore consisted of ‘Prince of Darkness’, new songs ‘Virtual Survivor’ and ‘Purgatory’. Before the final song of the evening Carpenter thanked us for coming out and said “Make sure you get home safety, as Christine might be out there…” then launched into the final song of the night ‘Christine’.

On the walk home, as well as looking out for killer cars, I played the night over in my mind, and although it had been a sublime trip down memory lane there were some downsides. Most notably the inclusion of five or six new songs. We all get that he is proud of both of the Lost Themes albums, but there are other themes that we would have rather heard instead. ‘Starman’, ‘Village of the Damned’, ‘Vampires’ and ‘Ghosts of Mars’. Yes the new songs were enjoyable, and sounded like cues from his existing films, but they missed that spark that all his themes have. This might have been done to them not having backing visuals, but they were the weaker points of the set. However, when Carpenter went back to the well everything was forgiven. Seeing John Carpenter is more than a cash in to watch edited versions of your favourite films with a live score. It’s a way to watch a legend at work. Carpenter look comfortable, and at times, like he’d been playing live for years. But as Jack Burton would say “It’s all in the reflexes…”

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“This is a show about journeys” Martin Green said “All of you had a journey to get here and will have one to get home”. Martin Green’s ‘Flit’ project explores the themes or travel, migration and home. After seeing his Grandmother to ask her for stories he could tell his children. Green then decided to talk to other people about why they’ve moved, and migrated, around the world. He then set about writing sounds based on the stories he was told/themes he picked up on in then. He surrounded himself with a band, and vocalists, to die for featuring Adam Holmes, Aidan Moffat (Arab Strap), Becky Unthank (The Unthanks), Dominic Aitchinson (Mogwai) and Adrian Utley (Portishead). As if this wasn’t enough, the animations throughout the list set come curiosity of whiterobot.

 

 

“This is something happens naturally. It’s universal, and it’s why there’s quite a strong focus on birds in the animations that illustrate the music. Birds are the perennial migrants, it’s what they do”. It’s the animations that hammer home the messages, and themes, of the songs. While we were seated waiting for the show to start, and after we’d witnessed Unthanks perform accapella with a banjo in the bar, screens of brown paper filled the stage, obscuring instruments. On these animated birds were projected. These birds were made of brown paper, through folds and rips. As the musicians took the stage these screen were rolled up. At various points throughout performance the screens were pulled out again, only to have them ripped in two at pivotal moments of the song. The symbiotic nature of music and animation gives off the feeling that both are connected, and playing off each other, rather than the animation solely being created as an after-thought.

 

 

After the band took to the stage, minus Moffat who wasn’t present, and launched into their first song, The Suitcase. After Moffat’s monologue a Post-Rock sound scape was constructed. Interspersing this was Unthanks beautiful vocals, that have to he heard to be believed, along with Holmes’ lyrical timbre set the scene perfectly. After this Green introduced the themes and objectives of the project with the timing and deliver of a seasoned stand up. “This is a show about journeys” Martin Green said “All of you had a journey to get here and will have one to get home”. This helped to hammer home that concept that even though it was a short journey, it is a journey none the less. Then he went on to play a clip of his Grandmother, and others, discussing their journey’s before launching into their next song.

 

 

The highlight of the set, apart from seeing this collection of musicians live on stage and witnessing the exquisite and thought provoking animations, was when they performed ‘Laws of Motion’. This is the stand out track on the album and live it was taken to another level. Extended from the four minute album version, it slowly meandered and skewed its way along. Aitchison’s bass drones took centre stage and raised it to another on another level. However it was when Holmes and Unthanks vocals joined, and soared, that we realised we were witnessing something special indeed. This, in itself, was worth the entrance fee alone!

 

 

What the live performance does that the album doesn’t is give everything context. When Aidan Moffat is delivering his monologue on ‘Flit’s’ opening track it has a sinister tone. What is he talking about? Animals? People? Whereas during the performance Green gives a brief introduction about the migration of animals and mentions the American Carrier Pigeon, then Moffat’s vocals kicked in. It’s little touches like that that helps the live performance flourish and move on to another level.

 

 

When the show finished and we realised it was all over, it was time for contemplation. In 90 minutes Green and co had told complex stories and tried to explain that migration isn’t a crime but, is in fact, a very natural part of human evolution. However there was a pang that not everything was tidied up. Throughout the performance Green had played snippets of conversations with various people. Some of these didn’t require an epilogue but others did. One of the voices was telling a story about how they had lived in a tent, the location was never stated, but we never found out what happened when they moved to where living in a tent wasn’t an option. Another character said that he had moved from Ghana, but there wasn’t any explanation as to why. Instead of have a handful of different voices it might have been better, thematically speaking, to have focused on two characters and told their complete story, rather than bits that suited the music. This is really nit-picking, but a conclusion, even if it was just a monologue, as Green had given throughout the performance, would have tied everything together neatly. Overall though the performance showcased why Green is lauded by his peers, and critics, alike and is allowed assemble one of the greatest super-groups in recent times to play some elegantly piercing Post-Rock while discussing uncomfortable issues of the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mind Rays announce signing to PNKSLM by releasing a new single. Cheers guys!

 

 

Punk will never go out of fashion. This is partly because people will always annoyed at their lot in life, so they will always need to vent this frustration. Another, more accurate reason, is that punk hasn’t really change much since the late 1960’s bands started player a faster, and harder form of rock and roll. Yes I know all about the sub genres Hardcore, Pop, Crust, Political, Ska, etc, but ultimately it all stems from that original ethos, fast songs, hard melodies and catchy shouty choruses.

 

 

Belgian quartet , Mind Rays, bring all this to mind with their new single Still and All as it’s fast, shouty and have melodies to mosh for. Its ninty seconds of blank generation genius. After a first listen it was reminiscent The Parkinsons, I thought that Sis Sevens was Afonso Pinto at first, but this is a good thing as The Parkinsons had strong songs and knew how to work a crowd.

 

 

Still and All is the first release on PNKSLM, Punk Slime Recordings, and if this is anything to go by they’ve thrown down the gauntlet. The track is taken from their debut album Nerve Endings, which will be released on March 24th. Rumour has it there will be a tour around this time too, which is great news, the only downside will be if they play near you or not!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OSCOB’s brand of retro-futurism is more than just a clever gimmick

 

 

There is a time when I think “What would happen if xxx hadn’t existed?” This is a fruitless activity and generally ends up with more questions than answers, and I end up in a Fatherland/Man in the High Castle/DC Elsewhere thing in my mind. Today this question goes something like “What would happen if Angelo Badalamenti and video games hadn’t existed?” While this might sound like a weird combo, when considered next to OSCOB’s debut album Eating Yourself Alive, it makes perfect sense.

 

 

OSCOB’s debut is full of the quirky nuances of Badalamenti, but it also has the retro-futurism of 90’s video game music. This music is made to be listened to on a TV than on a stereo. The Lo-Fi Hi-Fi-ness of it makes for more than a nostalgic trip to a time before the internet and MP3’s. If you want a short hand imagine Brian Eno’s Deep Blue Day being covered by S U R V I V E and you’re on the right tracks.

 

 

This might be banded in with the Vaporwave/Synthwave/Coldwave/Wavewave movements, but there is far more going on than that. The only difference is you need know where to look and how to listen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Raisa K has returned and her three year hiatus has done nothing for her quality control

 

 

Right, stick with me, but this is going to get personal. In 2013 Ninja Tune announced that they were starting a new imprint called Technicolour. I was incredibly excited. Then they released their inaugural 12”, Feeder by Raisa K. It was exactly what I needed that that time. Over it’s twenty minute duration Feeder was filled with inventive pop music with an alternative/lo-fi twist. Imagine M.I.A. covering The Fall and you’re on the right tracks. Then the unthinkable happened. Raisa K went quiet.

 

 

In the intervening years Raisa K has been a member of Mica Levi’s backing band The Shapes and DELS’ touring band, as well as remixing The Insomniacs Club, but there was no follow to Feeder. The longer Raisa K left it, the more unlikely it looked that a new release was on the horizon, but this week all this has changed. Raisa K has released a new single, Give Thanks!

 

 

Give Thanks picks up where Feeder left off. The music is upbeat and jaunty punk-pop. A hypnotic loop kicks things off while Raisa K sings “I don’t care cos this is who I am, This is you and this is me, I could never be like you and you could never be like me”. As the song progresses ad-hoc basslines and drum beats under pin everything while rave-esque synths keep everything moving forward. As you can tell from the lyrics Raisa K hasn’t lost any of her existentialist and absurdist flourishes. The B-Side is the slow jam Sleeping Under the Coffee Machine. Everything is much slower and levelled than the whistle stop of Give Thanks. Lyrically the song is summed up in the lines “Don’t take it to heart honey, Don’t take it to heart, You’ve still got my heart, Don’t make it so hard” The music is melancholic and morose and compliments the words perfectly.

 

 

We can all give thanks that this single that was well worth the wait and, fingers crossed, it won’t be another three years before the next one…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kauf releases another single from debut album Regrown

 

 

Ronal Kaufman, AKA Kauf, has been releasing music since 2011. IN the intervening five years he’s gone from strength to strength, with each release being a progression from the last. Now Kauf has released his new single, Pacify, which again takes his strain of electronic pop to hither to unknown and levels of enjoyment and production.

 

 

The themes of Pacify are simple, it’s a lament to the lost opportunities for closeness. The in-joke is that through technology we seem more distant and aloof than we were before we could be in touch with anyone in the world through typing a few keys. But there is an element of hope that run through the music. Lyrics like “I was training for a battle to the death, You Forced me into the sun” and “You’re carving soft what you don’t need, can I give you a hand?” show that Kauf isn’t just a dab hand at the production desk, but with his pen too.

 

 

Pacify is taken from Kauf’s debut album, Regrown, that is set for release in early 2017. So far four singles have been taken from it, A Ruin, Through the Yard, Key to Life and Pacify. The album is about when close relationships fracture and their aftermath. This is something that we can all not only relate to, but understand. Given the strength of these releases Regrowth has the prospect of being one of the vanguard releases of 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pavo Pavo show us their vision of psych pop

 

 

If you believe the media then New York is full of cupcake start-up shops, rap beefs and punks. One experimental pop quintet is trying to change all that. Their name is Pavo Pavo and they’ve just released one of the most eagerly awaited albums of the year. After meeting at Yale, where they studied music, Eliza Bagg violin/synth/vocals, Oliver Hill guitars/synth/vocals, Nolan Green guitars/voice, Austin Vauhn drums and Ian Romer bass started making skewed pop.  Their music is full of cultural signposts that show their collective influences. Vast alt-country soundscapes rub shoulders with indie sensibilities, 1960’s sci-fi motifs, psych pop synths and Beastles-esque harmonies. There are some big ideas at play here, along with some delightful melodies.

 

 

‘Ran Ran Run’ gets the album going in fine form. Sounding like Emmy the Great covering 10cc while Wendy Carlos produces, ‘Ran Ran Run’ is four minutes of delightful hooks, laidback rhythms. It sounds like a setting sun is emanating from your speakers washing your room in an orange hue. ‘Annie Hall’ is as neurotic and quirky as the film it is based on.

 

 

Now comes the first bump on the album. ‘A Quiet Time With Spaceman Sputz’ is a good idea, but it could be tighter and drags in places. Next to the sharp does of pop of ‘Wiserway’ and ‘Somewhere in Iowa’ it feels like ‘A Quiet Time With Spaceman Sputz’ is on the wrong album with its haunting instrumental laconic vibe. So far the music has been upbeat and poppy, but on ‘A Quiet Time With Spaceman Sputz’ Pavo Pavo push themselves, the problem is that the results are jarring next to what’s come before. It doesn’t quite gel properly.

 

 

‘The Aquarium’ is a dose of glossed out harmonies over a bed of wonky synths and ad-hoc basslines. In a lot of ways it feels like walking through an aquarium. When you look a certain the fish look normal, take a side step to the left and they resemble creatures from another dimension. This song is the same. Just when you think it’s a standard pop song, it moves slightly to the left and everything is skewed and twisted. ‘John (A Little Time)’ feels like Vangelis covering Wings/Paul McCartney during his Beauborg phase. All the elements of a pop banger are in there, but they’ve been moved about, cut up and reassembled so they resemble something new, fun and quirky. The album closes with ‘2020, We’ll have Nothing Going On’. This is where Pavo Pavo really show what their made of. At six minutes it’s the longest track on the album, but instead of a long and drawn out jam track, Pavo Pavo have created a song that twists and skews its way along that when it ends you are unsure whether to play it, or the album again.

 

 

This is the sound of a band finding their feet. Pavo Pavo know what they want to do and they know what they want to sound like, but it doesn’t all quite work 100%. Songs like ‘Ran Ran Run’, ‘Wiserway’, ‘The Aquarium’ and ‘2020, We’ll Have Nothing Going On’ are nigh on flawless full of shiny pop hooks and Beatles-esque psych melodies, that conjure up the past, while reminding us its 2016. However some of the other tracks aren’t quite as inventive. Next to them, their slight flaws are magnified. Saying that, this is a very strong and clever debut album and with a couple of tweeks it could have been the masterpiece we hoped for, but come 2020 we’ll have plenty to go on!

 

 

Young Narrator in the Breakers is out now on Bella Union

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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of Arrowe Hill’s latest instalment of the WWI EP is finally here!

 

 

of Arrowe Hill are half way through their World War I EP. Since 2014 they have been releasing a song to correspond with the hundredth anniversary of the First World War. So far 1914 and 1915 have been released. 1914 sounded like a field recording from the front that was encased in mud and boot leather until of Arrowe Hill found it, cleared it up and showed it to the world. 1915 was more conventional, but still echoed the ghosts of the past. Now they’ve retuned with 1916. This times it’s a full on banger that brings to be the best bits of T-Rex and The Who. As with all of Arrowe Hill songs the music isn’t the main event, that accolade goes to the lyrics. Adam Easterbrook, again, manages to say what the nation is thinking, but in a way that we didn’t realise.

 

 

We know you think you’re special.
Mummy and Daddy think you’re special.
But we don’t think you’re special.

You’re just a red-eyed soul boy
walking around in a bag of bones.

 

 

This playouts like a conversation you’d hear in any back street boozer after 10.30 on a Friday night. There is playful malice in the lyrics that only close friends, and drunk strangers, can say, and get away with. And this is the power of Arrowe Hill, they can get away with telling us harsh truths about ourselves as

 

 

1916 is out now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s remix of Roger Goula Pale Blue Dot makes me think “Why can’t she remix everything?”

 

 

Ok Roger Goula’s debut album Overview Effect is one of the albums of the year. Let’s not argue about this. It really is. Throughout its duration it mixes beautiful classic motifs with ugly electronic phases, then switches it, goes back to the original formula and then does whatever it wants. It’s a brave album that gets better with every listen, like all the best albums do. If you haven’t heard it, I implore you to do so.

 

 

Overview Effect is based on the psychological shift in awareness of astronauts viewing the Earth from orbit. Goula was inspired by the experience of looking at the Earth as it is in space, a small blue and green ball and how it transforms astronaut’s understanding of what it means to inhabit this fragile, yet strangely durable world. He explains it thus “The idea of a psychological shift of how we see our home – the Earth – interested me enormously as the central theme for this project, particularly the concept of a psychological journey. This focal point gave me a huge amount of inspiration from which to generate musical ideas that would develop to eventually become this album. Having internalised the idea of the overview effect, I began to sketch compositions for the album, using the concept to guide the material.”

 

 

But this isn’t a review of the album, this is all about Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s remix of Pale Blue Dot. For those of you who are unaware Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith is an American composure who uses analogue synths and keyboards to create lurid soundscapes that conjure up the past while bridging the gap to the present. Imagine if Wendy Carlos had started making drone in the 1970’s and you’re on the right tracks. Last year’s Euclid was full of delicate motifs and inventive ideas and this year’s Ears surpasses it. But Smith’s remix of Pale Blue Dot is something different all together. It takes the structure of the original, but fleshes it out with vocals chants and droney synths that resemble a bootleg of Philip Glass’s Koyaanisqatsi soundtrack with The Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir. The only real downside with this remix is that it eclipses the original. In fact when I played the original after a hour of listening to Smith’s work, I find myself enjoying it less that I did 24 hour before.

 

 

Overview Effect is out now through Cognitive Shift

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pissed Jeans have returned when we need them the most!

 

 

Five albums in twelve years is pretty good going. Especially when your talking about the group Pissed Jeans. Since their inception in 2004 this hardcore noise group have cut a swath through basement shows, the toilet tour venues and anywhere else they’ve played winning crowds over and playing incendiary sets. And their albums have been pretty good too. Next year sees that release of their fifth, and most immediate, album Why Love Now. It’s the sound of a band who are pissed off that the mundanity of life and aren’t afraid to let you know.

 

 

This is evident on latest single The Bar is Low. Frontman Matt Korvette says the song is about “about how every guy seems to be revealing themselves as a shithead”. As you’d expect this is as tongue in cheek as the lyrics and tone of the single. But there is an underlining feeling that they’ve had enough and are looking for the rest button to a place before selfies, wi-fi codes and vloggers.

 

 

At times it feels like this is the musical equivalent of a Douglas Coupland/Daniel Clowes novel or an episode of Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia, due to its absurdist nature. If you want proof, as well as The Bar Is Low, look at the other track names Waiting On MY Horrible Warning, Worldwide Marines Asset Financial Analyst, Have You Ever Been Furniture and Activia.

 

 

 

At the helm of Why Love Now was punk legend Lydia Lunch. Korvette said of working with Lunch “I knew she wasn’t a traditional producer. We wanted to mix it up a little bit. I like how she’s so cool and really intimidating. I didn’t know how it was going to work out. She was super into it, constantly threatening to bend us over the bathtub. I’m not really sure what that entails, but I know she probably wasn’t joking.”

 

 

 

Why Love Now will be released 24th February on Sub Pop Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Outblinker cover Neu! for charity, and yes it is as good as you hoped!

 

 

The words charity and single can sometimes send a shudder down your spine. For every Perfect Day there is a Sid Owen and Patsy Palmer. But when the band is Glasgow’s Outblinker and the song is question is Neu!’s 1972 classic Hallgallo you don’t really have to worry.

 

 

As with all Outblinker songs the emphasis is on the bass and drums. The bass bubbles along under the surface keeping everything moving forward while feedback and synths fade in and out of the mix. The drums are rhythmic and choppy, exactly as you’d expect them to be. Even though this is a cover Outblinker stamp their individuality on it and make it their own, not an easy thing to do.

 

 

This year Outblinker released the exceptional EP, The Remains of Walter Peck. Rumour has it that they are starting to work their next project. But before that is released they are about to embark on a five week tour. The fixtures are below

 

NOVEMBER

Wed 16th Beziers, Nashville Pub
Thur 17th Grenoble, Le BAF
Fri 18th Livorno, Surfer Joe Tiki Bar
Sat 19th Modena, Bar Perla Verde
Sun 20th Perugia, Free Ride
Tues 22nd Frejus, Monster’s Art
Wed 23rd Montpellier, La Pleine Lune w/ Total Eclipse
Thurs 24th Pau, La Ferronerrie w/ Total Eclipse
Fri 25th Madrid, La Faena II
Sat 26th Azkoitia @Festinale Bebarruko Jardunek @Matadero Ekintzak
Sun 27th Vitoria-Gasteiz, Gora Project w/ Los Nitxos
Mon 28th Barcelona, Sala BeGood w/ ZU
Tues 29th Toloso, Bonberenea
Wed 30th Bordeaux, Novo Local

DECEMBER

Thurs 1st Nantes, La Rumeur
Fri 2nd Tours, (venue TBC)
Sat 3rd Amiens, (venue TBC)
Sun 4th Bradford, Fuse Art Space
Thurs 8th Edinburgh, Leith Depot w/ DTHPDL
Sat 10th Glasgow, The Old Hairdresser’s

 

Hallgallo is released on Human Is Not Alone and all proceeds go to Marie Curie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grapell invited Kauf to remix Arrow. The resulting remix sounds like pop music from another dimension

 

 

OK, its Tuesday, there’s no need to get lairy and ram something balls to the wall down your throat. That can happen later in the week. Instead here is something a little different. Well not too different that you’ll be “WTF thisyearinmusic, we don’t come here for this…”, but different enough to allow you a few moments of quiet contemplation before you have to do something serious, like cook your dinner, send that awkward email you’ve been putting off all day, fill out that job application or some other serious adult thing.

 

 

Grappell have been around since 2013 and  have released a few things in Strangers Candy. This year they released an EP called Love Chamber. It was full of wonky pop songs that relied heavily on saxophone solos and laid back basslines, instead of neon synths and day-glo guitars. While Love Chamber followed the same pop rules of, well, every other pop song, it also didn’t, meaning that it stood out and got your attention. The stand out track was Arrow. There is nothing concrete as to why this stood out the most, but it did and I played it a lot. Now it has been remixed by Kauf.

 

 

Kauf has essentially sped everything up slightly and add a few more electronic layers. While this doesn’t sound that drastic, when you listen to the original and the remix back-to-back you pick up on all these subtle nuances. After a laidback opening, a funky bassline and burrows into your brain with rapid speed. Coupled to this is the haunting saxophone, with echoy vocals layered on top. It sounds like pop music from another dimension, where punk never happened and Ray Conniff is the biggest music star.

 

 

Rumour has it that Grapell are working on their debut album. Let’s hope that it’s as inventive as Love Chamber, because if it is we’ll have an album that will be perfect for commuting, entertaining and existential contemplation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Song Exploder dissects Flatbush Zombies on latest episode

 

 

This is a weird one as I’m not actually going to be talking about a song today, but a podcast that talks and deconstructs songs. The podcast in question is called Song Exploder and it is hosted by Hrishikesh Hirway. The idea behind Song Explorer is to talk about the creative process of each song, while breaking the song down to its individual parts. Hirway does this by interviewing the writer/composer of the song and getting them to explain it.

 

 

On the most recent episode Hirway picks the Flatbush Zombies track Bounce. After introducing who Flatbush Zombies are “a hip-hop trio from Brooklyn. They formed in 2010. Their album 3001: A Laced Odyssey came out in 2016, and debuted in the top ten on the Billboard charts. Erick the Architect is one of the three MCs in the band, and he’s also the group’s producer. In this episode, Erick breaks down how the song Bounce was made”.

 

 

Erick then starts to break down the track component at a time, starting with the Bibio remix that was the inspiration, then he discusses the break, basslines, and the vocal styles of Flatbush Zombies, and how the song doesn’t have a chorus. Once Erick has finished his break down the track is played in full.

 

 

 

 

The real power of Song Exploder is that after listening to the musicians explain the creative process, and then hearing the song in full, you get a better appreciation of the song. In the past I have listened to shows that featured songs that I never really liked, but now, due to the in-depth breakdown, I’ve gotten into them and found a new appreciation.

 

 

Song Exploder is uploaded bi-weekly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Leonard Cohen died at 82

 

Sadly another cultural heavyweight died this week. Looking back it had been on the cards, but you never really want to acknowledge these things at the time. I’ve been a fan since I was about 14, thanks Natural Born Killers soundtrack, but my parents didn’t really show much interest, at the time. Over the years I devoured his back catalogue, but my parents never showed much interest. In 2006 I start to work at Sony Music and a few years later when the chance to see his first live performance came up I jumped at it. That first night at the O2 was everything you’ve ever read about it. When the Live in London DVD came out I obviously got it. I don’t know why I did this but during one trip home to see my parents and friends I took the DVD with me. After a family diner I went out with my friends on a night of self-destruction at the local indie/rock club. While I was out my Mum text me saying “We get why you like Leonard Cohen now”. So the story goes, as there wasn’t much on TV they put the DVD on of the concert I had been in rapture about. And low and behold they loved it. Over next few years they poured over this back catalogue, but always went back to Live in London. In 2012, while visiting my now wife and I for the weekend in Ealing, we realised that Cohen was playing in Wembley. So as a surprise to them I tried to buy tickets for the four of us, but I could only get groups of 3 or 2’s, so we decided to just get 2 tickets and give them to my parents at a present. When they arrived, after the usual vat of tea had been brewed, and the conversations of “How was your drive?” “What have you been up to?” had passed, we presented them with the tickets. At first they didn’t know what to do, then the realisation dawned on them that they were going to see their favourite performer live. At first they wanted us to have the tickets, but we held fast and within an hour they were off to see Leonard. During the evening I wondered how it was going and if they were having fun, much like how they must think then I do to football. I had a smattering of texts “The seats are good”, “He just played this”, “It’s just like Live in London” so I knew it was going well. When they got in it was after 11 and I was pottering about online, it felt like the reverse of my childhood, me up late awaiting my parents save arrival home. As soon as they had sat down on the sofa they started gibbering and gushing like teenagers. I’d never seen them so happy, animated and emotional. It turns out my Dad had cried a bit during Bird on a Wire, I’ve never seen my Dad cry. They still talk about this gig to this day and when I told my Mum about the news of Cohen’s passing she actually thanked me again for allowing them to see him live that one time, when they had a totally personal experience in a huge un-personal venue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vintage Losers say “Whatever the weather, Always wear leather”. Who are we to argue with such logic?

 

 

Today we all need a collective pick me up. This week, and in all honesty, year has been a massive fun vampire. So many shining lights have gone off and everything has a very bleak feeling to it. While trying to be upbeat I stumbled across this indie punk gem. At the half way point I started to feel better and that everything might be ok.

 

 

As the band name suggests there isn’t much cutting edge stuff going on. Big guitars, fast drumming and Generation-X style slogan lyrics. What’s not to like? Sounding like a mixture of Bob Dylan and Paul Westerberg Dillon Michael, AKA Vintage Losers, powers through nigh on six minutes of chugging guitars, squealing harmonica and sardonic lyrics to deliver one of the most immediate and playable songs in recent weeks. There is a drone like quality to the guitars, it’s slowly draws you in until you realise that you are captivated by their harsh beauty.

 

 

Rumour has it there is an album in the works and let’s hope Always Wear Leather’s blueprint carries on as, let’s be honest, we all need something to look forward to…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Drab Majesty channel this season weather with Cold Souls, a slab of chilled euphoric electro synth-pop

 

 

Drab Majesty channel the 1980’s. I don’t mean they’re all jane neon fashion, Fonda work out videos sweat bands and out of control hair, far from it, but they take the vibe of 80’s synth pop, mix it with the integrity of Killing Joke/Cocteau Twins/Modern English and thrown in some 2016 social commentary lyrics. It’s pretty close to the kind of pop perfection that everyone at thisyearinmusic looks for in a song. Basically it has great hooks, chilling vocals, massive drums and an aesthetic that oozes sensual danger.

 

 

At times it sounds like a cut from a John Hughes 1980’s film. The hero/heroine has been jilted and they’re walking through a desolate ‘American’ town at midnight. We feel their pain as they are walking slowly with their arms crossed whilst wearing a scowl. Of course, this is my opinion, as all this is really, but if I can see it in my mind it happened right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kuro have the prefect track as the winter of your discontent kicks in…

 

 

OK, so today’s not been great. Actually, who I am to say, maybe today’s been your dream day, and if that’s the case, bravo! If you’re not having a great day, then Bristol’s Kuro might have the answer. Before we go any further let’s explain who Kuro are. They are a duo from Bristol consisting of classical violinist Agathe Max and noise artist Gareth Turner. On paper a classic violinist someone who likes to create abrasive noise soundscapes shouldn’t work, but, like a lot of things, it works perfectly. The school of thought is very similar for both back grounds. Layers and layers of sound and Avant-Grade noise is built up to create something breath taking and harrowing. Listen to John Tavener in the 1990’s and you’ll know what I’m getting at. This duo met at a ZamZam Records night. “At the end of the show we decided to play a jam together, and the improvisation went very well” Max recently said “Gareth and I had already a very similar approach to the sound, textures and layers with our solo projects so it was easy to connect and create a wider range of frequencies playing together. We met a few other times after this first gig and we carried on improvising together whenever we had the chance to. At some point we decided to record something so I moved to Bristol in October 2015 to spend time practicing and composing music together.”

 

 

Now they have recorded an album, KURO, and its set for release November 14th. KURO is full of dark chamber music with drone/psych jazz motifs, as you’d expect from a band named after the Japanese word for Black, but there is plenty of beauty and elegance going on too. Arashi, which kicks the album off, is about seven minutes of searing juxtaposition, organic strings vs. stark electronics. Incantation in C is a nine minute walk through paranoia, alienation and suspenseful, fingers down the black board, strings. The remaining four tracks follow suit, but you know, more full on. If you think Mica Levi’s Under the Skin score remixed by Mogwai and you’re on the right tracks.

 

 

KURO is released 14th November through Rocket Recordings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Luxury Death emerge from the ashes of Nai Harvest to deliver a thunderbolt of catchy riffs, psych-otic keys and a chorus of earworm proportions!

 

 

When a band you like, Nai Harvest, end you’re left wondering firstly what releases there are took forward to now? After you’ve realised that yes, there are new releases to count down to, you ponder if new bands will come from it. Luckily in this case yes, yes there will be. Luxury Death is just this band.

 

 

Luxury Death is made up of Ben Thompson on guitar and vocals and Meg Williams on keyboards and vocals. What makes Luxury Death an exciting proposition is they made music full of DIY glee and wild abandon. This is music full of inventive hooks and catchy choruses. Basically classic earworm material.

 

 

Their third single, Painkiller, lives up to their first two singles, Radiator Face and I Feel Your Pain, but it feels more immediate, but you know chocked full of bittersweet DIY pain that only fledging bands are able to capture.

 

 

Painkiller is released on Art is Hard as part of their ongoing Pin Pals singles club and was produced by Luke Rowland, who is part of the live set up, and mastered by Dan E Brown. This combo really helps shape the song in to another classic Art is Hard single.

 

 

Next year Luxury Death will release their debut EP due early next year

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MADA releases another slice of R&B pop

 

 

Since last year MÄDA has been releasing quality single after quality single. Her ability to mix a delicate blend of forward thinking music and confessional lyrics makes her at the top of pile of R&B’s future stars. She’s now returned with the instant classic single Lights Off. As its name suggests it’s about getting steamy in the bedroom with that special someone. MÄDA explained the creative process thus “Last November, I was introduced to songwriter Jazmyn Boodram by my producer, Thaddeus Dixon. It was mid-November and chilly outside, and Jazmyn and I were in the ‘cuffin’ season’ mood. We were sitting on the couch Indian style with the lights off, candles lit and the red wine was flowing … before we knew it ‘Lights Off’ was written.” This short genesis period hasn’t affected the music at all, in fact there is an immediacy that permeate its every fibre.

 

 

MÄDA is currently working on her debut album with Dixon. If this is anything to go by, MÄDA’s future long player looks set to be one of the albums of 2017, regardless of whether it’s cuffin’ season or not…

 

 

The singer-songwriter is currently working on her debut project, scheduled for release in early 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Natalie Bouloudis channels crap job syndrome into something positive

 

 

We’ve all been there. Having a job we don’t like just to pay the bills. You feel that you are stuck in a vicious, downward spiral or work, self-loathing and late night pub hopping. Hell, this is part of the reason thisyearinmusic was started. Someone who knows this all too well is Natalie Bouloudis. To stem off boredom Bouloudis wrote a story that formed the genesis of her debut single Burning Pier. Loosely based on Brighton, Hastings and Eastbourne’s burnt out piers, it reminds that disasters can make us question the future while evoking an idea of the past that never existed.

 

 

Burning Pier was remarkable recorded in one take, minus slight overdubs, and it captures the vibe of not only a band, but a person trying to find their feet in a world they didn’t ask for, but are trying wildly to understand. Bouloudis recently explained her song process “My songs tiptoe on the edge of fiction and reality. I like rich melodies, moody skies, dark romanticism, charged atmospheres that tell hard-boiled tales”

 

 

Sounding like Beth Orton and Lou Rhodes, Burning Pier manages to evoke classic British song writing sensibilities. While the music winds and intertwines around Bouloudis’ luscious, and soaring vocals. Despite this being her debut single, there is plenty to engage with and to get excited about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Motion Graphics has let Yasuaki Shimizu loose on Lense ahead of live debut

 

 

Remixes are easy to get wrong. Throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s singles and albums were littered with car-crash remixes. Granted some on paper looked like matches made in heaven, I won’t say the parties names out of respect, and others were just tosh, I’m still angry at Tony De Vit… When I saw that Yasuaki Shimizu, prolific Japanese composer, saxophonist, and producer, was remixing Lense by Motion Graphics I hoped the results would be good. I was wrong. The results are amazing!

 

 

The original version was filled with laconic synths, macabre basslines and adhoc beats, the remix has been smoothed out and doused with a pop sheen. At times it sounds like a totally different song. This is exactly what should happen on a good remix. You should be reminded of the original, but enough should be different to make it the remixer’s song. This is exactly what has happened here.

 

 

Joe Williams, AKA Motion Graphics, had this to say about Shimizu and his re-interruption of Lense “I’ve been a longtime admirer of Yasuaki Shimizu’s diversity in music. Each Shimizu record reflects a different sensibility, he cast such a wide net. I’m amazed to hear a medley that contains fragments of Music for Commercials, Utakata no Hibi, Seventh Garden, some of my favorite records ever sampled in this remix.”

 

 

After listening to this on loop for longer than I care to admit this is becoming one of my favourite, if not THE favourite remix of the year. It basically as it all. Luscious melodies, succinct basslines, crisp vocals and a synth hook to send me off on a rapturous soliloquy. Avoid this at your peril…!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frida Sundemo capitalises from last year’s Heroes and tees-up 2017 with new single

 

 

When I first started listening to Frida Sundemo’s new single We Are Dreamers I thought “Here we go. Another slice of Scando-Pop”, but after about thirty seconds these thoughts were replaced by “Wow! This is pretty good…!” At the end of the song my thoughts were “Yes! That was quality. Where is the repeat button…” and that, dear reader, is what my last hour has consisted of. Frida Sundemo’s We Are Dreamers on loop. For an hour.

 

 

We Are Dreamers is a follow up to last year’s Heroes, if you saw the film Kill Your Friends you should recognise Sundemo and the song as the film featured both. As with the former it’s a bombastic pop monster, but there is a progression in the song-writing and everything sounds tighter, more euphoric and immediate.

 

 

Next year Sundemo will release her debut long player and believe me this is something to get excited about. Pop used to be a dirty word, but thanks to Sundemo and her peers its becoming something far more positive and life affirming thanks to these dreamers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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West London’s BOYS keep the spirit of the summer alive on new EP

 

 

To quote the Stark clan winter is coming. Well, actually, it feels like winter is upon us. While we all knew it was coming, I do feel a bit like the grasshopper i.e. unprepared. I want it to be autumn again, so I can bask in the last rays of summer, while having plenty of time to get ready for the upcoming icy winds by finding warm jumpers and thick coats.

 

 

However help in reminding myself of these carefree days is at hand, thanks to West London’s BOYS. This summery dream pop quartet has finally released their debut EP, American Dream, and lives up to our lofty hopes!

 

 

American Dream consists of Off to New York City, Nice Guys and Ocean. Each of these three tracks contain undiluted sunshine, woozy-surf pop melodies and delicious harmonies. Out of the three Ocean has a starker sound than Off to New York City and Nice Guys, which showcases BOYS ability to not just write lo-fi bedroom pop.

 

 

The only real downside is when American Dream finishes you realise you haven’t been transported to LA in the mid 1960’s and are in fact still in England and its cold. Oh well, it’ll soon be spring right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rotten Foxes sound like Turbonegro covering the Misfits on a night out fuelled by Buckfast shandies!

 

Punk will never die. Neil Young said that. Well actually he said that rock ‘n’ roll will never die, but as punk is rock’s younger, cooler brother, it’s technically true. But all joking aside punk will never die, especially when there are bands like Brighton’s Rotten Foxes.

 

 

Their brand of visceral infused incendiary rock is a total breath of fresh air. The majority of their songs are about going out, drinking, a slightly unhealthy obsession with Danny Dyer and basically having a laugh. In all fairness what isn’t to like about this quartet?

 

 

So far there is only a four track demo, available on their Bandcamp, but this is enough to get me through the last hour of a painful Monday. They’re got a slew of shows coming up between now and the end of the year and if you can make them, you should as this is a band you need to see live!

 

Rotten Foxes fixtures:

 

Nov 12 The Globe, Brighton

Nov 19 T Chances, London

Dec 17 Prince Albert, Brighton

Dec 18 The Hope and Ruin, Brighton

Dec 31 Unicorn Camden, London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yip Man is counting down to the release of his new album Braw Power on Armellodie Records

 

 

Al Nero, AKA Yip Man, is a name that some of you familiar with Le Reno Amp and Armellodie Records will know him, but to the rest of you it’s just six letters. After Le Reno Amps ended in 2011 Nero has been running Armellodie, but not he’s returning as Yip Man with the album Braw Power.

 

 

If you like off-centre skewed guitar music, with a hint of Pavement/Dinorsaur Jr. then this is for you! But the main event isn’t the music, but the lyrics. Nero injects his lyrics with a spirit of existential angst, tongue in cheek black humour and a dose of sarcasm. In another’s hand this might come off as trite or tiresome, Nero makes us rock with laughter, while making us question the darkener things in life like Josef K. in the Trial!

 

 

Braw Power is the result of a man coming to terms, not only with himself, but with his place in an ever changing world. Sadly only this the kind of realisation come with age, travel and writing honest sons from the heart.

 

 

Braw Power is released 11th November on Armellodie Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Art is Hard get their PinPal singles club back on track with a fine addition from Holiday Ghosts

 

 

Holiday Ghosts, despite their name, do not make spoooooooooooooooky themed music. Instead they make vibrant, rhythm indie based guitar bothering music. But this is what you’d expect from a band made up with members of The Black Tambourines, Lost Dawn and The Red Cords.

 

 

On their debut track, Paranoia, the lyrics are full of millennial angst and hilarity, the best example being “I don’t know that to say, But I guess I’ll do it anyway”. How many times, almost daily, do I suffer this thought? Probably more than I care to admit. In anyone else’s hands this would come across as whingy, self-entitlement, but the Holiday Ghouls give it a throwaway, comedic slant, which makes Paranoia even more endearing.

 

 

As with all PinPal releases you receive another addition to your lapel, or coat pocket, badge collection. While the pin isn’t as spooky or haunting as their name belies, there is an element of supernatural fun to it. Imagine if the Man in the Moon was cast in a Woody Allen film and you’re on the right track…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Asda release the live album of the year. This in itself is cause for applause, but wait until you hear it in full!

 

 

Asda Live at the Death Disko is actually Sebastian Gainsborough and Chester Giles at their most visceral and devastating. Despite sounding like a live recording in a League 2 level supermarket’s carpark, it was actually recorded on Thursday 28th July in Cosies in Bristol. This small venue had no idea what was in store for it, and its punters, when Gainsborough and Giles took to the stage.

 

 

“Get Traaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaashed!” is Giles’ early battle cry. This sets the tone for the whole piece. This is a note of self-discovery and, possibly, revolution. One reading of Giles’ lyrics is to just go out, take dubious substances and lose control as asda’s basslines take over your body. But this is a simple reading. Another one could be that asda wants to try and bring down the cultural shackles that we are attached to. “Instead of just doing what we’re told, how about try something different, even if it’s just for one night. If you don’t like it, you can go back to normal tomorrow” is the under lying message. But it’s not all revolution self-destruction, there are also elements of total comedy on display. Lines like “I was drunk on poverty” show that it’s not as serious was you thought.

 

 

Although this set is mainly full or feed-backing microphones, deep bassline and disjointed breakbeat it does contain a few ‘hits’. The most enjoyable is Spud-U-Like. This is taken from their rare as 10” three track EP. Like with all Giles’ best work it is a damming indictment on society and its disposable nature. The “99p pizza slices, tastes like school dinners” line shows how even food, the life blood of a species, has been brought down to base levels. And that no matter where we do, we’re still stuck in the social conventions we grew up in.

 

 

This isn’t an easy listen, and at time it’s not even that enjoyable, due to the confrontational nature of Giles’ vocals and Gainsborough’s music, but there is something, lurking under the covers, that is immediate and important. This could be one of the most important releases of the year, but due to it murky sound and lurid subject matter it will be lost in a soup of torpidity and clinical studio production. I know what I’d rather listen to…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DTCV mix the Cramps and Eileen on new single Le Vampire

 

 

When listening to new music, apart from a wanting a cracking song, you need the cool factor. On DTCV’s, pronounced Detective, new single Le Vampire cool oozes all over your speakers. In fact there is so much cool ooze you feel like invoicing this Joshua Tree band for cleaning costs!

 

 

DTCV are ex-Guided By Voices guitarist James Greer and French musician Lola G. They met at a party in Hollywood and decided to form a band. That night DTCV were born. Basket of Masks was their first EP, quickly followed by the album However Strange. After extensive touring DTCV recorded and released the fantastic Uptime! This year DTCV have released Confusion Moderne. This is another slice of post-punk with French pop yé-yé leanings. The guitars jangle, the bass pluses and palpitate and the drums help ground everything with a an effortless cool

 

 

Le Vampire was originally recorded by 60’s French artist Stella. There isn’t much difference between Stella’s original expect DTCV had an extra level of filth to the proceedings. The drums are tight, the bass is dirty, the guitars are fuzzed out and searing, while Lola G’s vocals are delicate, but with a touch of eerie mystery.

 

 

Not only have they released this Halloween banger, but they’re just about to embark on a UK tour. Here are the fixtures:

 
Sat 29 Oct – Liverpool – Evil Eye
Sun 30 Oct – Glasgow – Flying DuckMon 31 Oct – Durham – The Empty Shop
Tue 1 Nov – Sheffield – The Harley
Wed 2 Nov – Brighton – Green Door Store
Thu 3 Nov – London – Shacklewell Arms
Fri 4 Nov – Cardiff – The Full Moon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Roger Goula delivers a luscious yet brooding album that requires repeat listens to crack its code, but first Goula has just released a new single too

 

 

Roger Goula is gearing up for this debut album, Overview Effect, to be released. This is a singular album that stands head and shoulders above a majority of 2016’s releases. The reason for this is that the music is exquisite. Beautifully crafted melodies jostle for your attention alongside electronic glitches and bass throbs. As this is a neo-classical album the subject matter is a bit deeper/complex than your standard pop/rock albums, whose themes generally run beteen boy meets girl, etc, etc.

 

 

Overview Effect is based on the psychological shift in awareness of astronauts viewing the Earth from orbit. Goula was inspired by the experience of looking at the Earth as it is in space, a small blue and green ball and how it transforms astronaut’s understanding of what it means to inhabit this fragile, yet strangely durable world. He explains it thus “The idea of a psychological shift of how we see our home – the Earth – interested me enormously as the central theme for this project, particularly the concept of a psychological journey. This focal point gave me a huge amount of inspiration from which to generate musical ideas that would develop to eventually become this album. Having internalised the idea of the overview effect, I began to sketch compositions for the album, using the concept to guide the material.”

 

 

New single Overview Effect opens it what sounds like sample of a chainsaw being manipulated before glitch electronics and delicate strings take over. As the tension slowly builds, through taught violins, and maundering synths, a complex, layered dance takes places between the musical elements, before everything slowly fades away and we are left with a haunting orchestral motif. Think of Digitonal being produced by MXLX and you’re on the right tracks.

 

 

After the introduction, and early portions of Overview Effect it feels like Goula is making us work for the beauty he has lined up. He’s almost saying “How much of this discordant noise can you take?” before pulling back the curtain to reveal what the track is really about.

 

 

Goula has crafted a song, and album, full of luscious orchestral melodies, but also rammed full of brooding electronics that requires repeat listens to crack its complex, yet transfixing code.

 

 

Overview Effect is released on 4th November through Cognitive Shift

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Many Voices Speak’s vocals usher us to a lurid dreamscape that is made of delicate hooks and melodies

 

 

Matilda Mård AKA Many Voices Speak s about to release her debut EP Away For All Time this Friday. While it may only contain three songs, each one is a beautifully crafted slice of pop perfection. Title track, and new single, Away For All Time features a stuttering beat, woozy synths that remind us of The Car’s classic Drive, poignant keyboards, throbbing bass and possibly one of the vocal performances of the year, that brings to mind John Lennon.

 

 

The music is low tempo, but this is down to the record sessions. Two years ago Mård left the bustle of Stockholm for Borlänge. Due to the lack of distractions, and slower pace of life that is reflected in the music, Mård flourished and thanks to the local karaoke bars found her voice. “It became a free zone, far away from my own self-doubts and prestige about music.” When asked what the EP is about, Mård replied “I’ve been told so many times I shouldn’t brood, like that’s something bad. I can’t see any harm in thinking, look back, remember things and hopefully learn some from that.”

 

 

Yes the tempo might be slow, and the tone of the songs similar, but there is something bewitching about Mård’s vocal delivery and ear for melody. Will Away For All Time be topping end of year polls come December? Sadly probably not, but that doesn’t take anything away from this storng body of work. In 2017 many voices will speak about Matilda Mård. Let’s hope you are one of them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cappa gets all neon pop on her debut EP, and it’s a joy to behold!

 

 

Carla Cappa has been busy over the last year. Firstly she releases a slew of singles that showcased her neon skewed pop. These songs tap directly in to that 1980’s retro vibe that is massive at the moment. But Cappa this isn’t just a genre jumper, she understands the codes and conventions of not only synthwave, but of contemporary pop music.

 

 

Cappa’s debut EP Queen of Hearts is a brooding coming of age story told with delicious pop melodies and hooks, but as Cappa herself explained “This is the kind of music I’ve always wanted to do, and the songs are mostly about discovering myself and also about how much I hate dating”.

 

 

Now her video for her recent single Next Ex has been released. Directed by Casey Cross, Ke$ha collaborator, and filmed in Nashville on a set that resembled a hibachi restaurant which a ceiling full of Japanese paper lanterns, Next Ex is a neon wonder that matches not just the sparkle of the song, but its power and elegance.

 

 

Queen of Hearts is out now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Koyl’s 5in5 on Silber Records shows what can be done with limited time, but maximum creativity

 

 

Silber Records have just released a trio of EP’s by Premature Burial, Cloaca and Koyl. Each EP is five minutes long and showcases the bands individual talents and tastes. The 5in5 series offers musicians a chance to experiment, but due to tight time restrictions they can’t go off on bizarre tangents. With giving the musicians a short time frame, every second counts. Like The Residents’ Commerical Album, Koyl doesn’t have time to waste before getting to the crux of the piece. Over five minutes Indian influences are merge with drone and walls of guitar soundscapes.

 

 

Although Fingerprints is a collection of five, one minute ones it’s actually a five minute suite divided into five parts. Each part seamlessly flows into the next, and when you play it on a loop, it becomes just that. A never ending loop of minimal noises, sounds, textures, melodies and sound. In all fairness, what could be better than that, what could be better than that, wh what could be better than that, at could be better than that, what could be better than that… ∞

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After going through personal trauma Tiny Dinosaurs releases an EP chocked full of hope and optimism

 

 

Some people make music because they want to, others because they are being told to, anyone with a connection to a major label will get what I mean, and others because they have to. Tiny Dinosaurs, AKA Julie Jay, make music because they have to. After awakening from a coma Jay was left without a voice. During this period she was successfully rehabilitated, and, thanks to encouragement from friends, was determined to start creating again. Tiny Dinosaurs was born out this period.

 

 

Awake is the first release, and showcases not only her gift at composition and arrangement, but her delicate vocals too. The EP’s stand out tracks are Shut out the Light and Shake. Shut out the Light is a low tempo number that is full of burning intensity and emotional out pouring. Its incredibly auto-biographical, but at the same time there is an element of hope and serenity that seeps from its pours. It also features Peter Silberman from The Antlers. Shake on the other hand is full of soaring melodies, pounding rhythms and a chorus tat screams “PLAY ME LOUD!” This juxtaposition shows that Jay is just as capable to release bangers as she is on subtle introspection.

 

 

The Awake EP is out now, and is the first instalment of a two part series. The second EP, Asleep, will be released in early 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hieroglyphic Being returns. All praise our rave saviour!

 

 

At times Hieroglyphic Being, AKA Jamal Moss, feels like a time travelling terminator. But instead of hunting down the mother our future robot slaying saviour, he’s brought back some unused ravey breakbeats, basslines and synth stabs and created a track that is reminding all of us older enough to remember how good we had it growing up. But like his recent releases Moss has added his own flair. Imagine Phuture being produced by Sun Ra and you’re on the right lines, or as the man said himself “Reinterpretations or a Revisionist’s retrospective of the early 90’s electronic music based in Chicago during the rise of Rave Culture from a sonic anthropological narrative”.
The A-Side is This Is 4 The Rave Bangers and it does everything you expect from the title. Maelstroms of noise swoop and lope around us, while and un-relenting beat hammers everything home. The star of the show however is the stuttering synth loop that not only holds everything together but keeps the track hurtling forward at breakneck speeds. At times it feels like watching the waves hammering a pier during a storm. The tide is getting hide and wave after wave of choppy surf are breaking on the shore. Its unrelenting, terrifying, but at the same time liberating as you know what happens is out of your control, so you can either worry about, which never does any good against a force of nature, or you can just enjoy it for what it is. A moment of controlled violence in a usually serene scene.

 

 

What This Isn’t Your Typical 90’s Era Techno / IDM Revisionist View proves again, even though it didn’t need it, is that Moss is at the top of his game, and is able to make music that borrows from the past/hints at a genres origins, but also manages to make it sound 100% contemporary and bang up to date. This is a rare quality in a world full of pastiche and scene robbing. While this 12” isn’t just for the rave bangers it certainly makes me remember those rave days fondly. Now where did I put my copy of Fantazia The First Taste…

 
This Isn’t Your Typical 90’s Era Techno / IDM Revisionist View is released through Technicolour on 11th November

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TheUse and Rachel Mason set Xu Lizhi’s poetry to send a message about consumer society

 

 

Michale Durek’s TheUse solo project have teamed up with Rachel Mason and the results are, well, impressive to say the least. The song is called On My Death Bed, and is taken from a 7” released by Aagoo. The music is murky but there is an element of hope there. The lyrics are taken from Xu Lizhi’s poetry. Lizhi was a factory worker who sadly took his own life. His death, however, has been used as a wake-up call to look at the conditions of electronic factory workers and what is actually costs to have a new phone in your pocket.

 

 

On My Deathbed will feature in the documentary Who Pays The Price?: The Human Cost of Electronics. Over the last four years director Heather White has followed the story of a Chinese activist with leukaemia who helps young workers poisoned on the electronics assembly line. The trailer has over 1.2 million, yes ONE POINT TWO MILLION, YouTube views. White said recently “Xu Lizhi’s poems underline the alienation and despair felt by those trapped in a dead-end existence, where work is the only measure of one’s daily experience.”

 

 

 

 

Mason describes Lizhi’s this “(Xu Lizhi’s) Poetry just really sung themselves to me, and miraculously matched the songs that Michael was crafting. Some poems just seem to have a melody built into them and you can hear it.” Ultimately On My Deathbed is a folk song that has been updated and re-jiggled. In a way this is far more interesting. The electro pops and blips juxtapose Mason’s soaring vocals in a way that would have been lost if the song had been recorded in the Norma Waterson/Eliza Carthy vein.

 

The work of White, TheUse and Aagoo Records to bring this diametric problem to our attention. Yes we want to be in contact with the world at the touch of a few buttons, but what does this gift actually cost? Maybe next time we collectively bemoan the lack of WiFi and short battery life we give a thought to the lives that make this a reality.

 

 

TheUse featuring Rachel Mason and Black Saturn will be released on 4th November through Aagoo Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Slugabed gives us everything we needed and didn’t realise were missing on new track Aww Man

 

 

Gregory Fedwick, AKA Slugabed, has been uncharacteristically quiet. Usually he releases tracks at an alarming rate. This means that he’s either really busy playing out or running the insanely brilliant Activia Benz, or he is working on his follow up to 2012’s Time Team.

 

 

But the fog has lifted, the veil has been dropped and a new track has emerged into the ether that is the interview, more importantly his soundcloud page. Aww Man, on one hand, is a diversion from his usual skewed electric pop as it sounds and feels like a late night Hip-Hop track, but on the other hand is it everything we’ve come to expect from Fedwick. The beats are slow and loping, the basslines are low rumbling and it is peppered with tongue in cheek vocal samples and motifs. The main vocal sample is all raspy, like the rapper in question is full of drank.

 

 

Aww Man shows that Fedwick is either working on something and will slowly be drip feeding us things until it is unveiled, or he’s realised he’s been very quiet, more than a western front, and is going to start making up by purging his hard drive of his odds and sods. Either way Aww Man is everything we needed and didn’t realise were missing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TRAAMS managed to stop to enjoyment from slipping on their new single

 

 

Fat Cat Records know a great band when they hear one. This is why they’re put out the latest single from Chichester’s TRAMMS. This trio have released two, nigh on flawless, albums since 2013. New single Slipping and its flipside Penguin were recorded in Brighton in July and August and had their origins on their March tour.

 

 

Slipping is five and a half minutes of wreathing bass riffs, ad-hoc solos, pontificating grooves, jaunty guitars. Imagine Black Rebel Motorcycle Club covering !!! (Chk Chk Chk) while James Murphy produces and you’re on the right tracks. The lyrics, at first of all don’t appear to mean much, but after repeat listens mean the world. The inclusion of the Pink Flag lyric is great. As soon as it is uttered all you can think about is Wire. Once that connection has been made, everything falls into place and you realise that TRAAMS are taking Wires’ post-punk blueprint, but instead of playing an entire album in one and a half minutes they’ve slowed it down and extended best bits to droney perfection!

 

 

The flipside to Slipping is Penguin. It is the polar opposite of Slipping. Instead of taking its time and layering droned out post-pop its rushes along at breakneck speed, pummelling you all the way. This is what all great singles should be like, and why this is a Double A-Side rather than A/B-Side.

 

 

Rumour has it there is another album in the offing. If this is true GET IT SORTED SOON as we need more and more of this kind of stuff!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Echochamber releases an album full of bass-bin swagger, electro blips and cultivated scoundscapes

 

 

Vaporwave is big at the moment. Like Stranger Things big. In part the comparison is part of the success. Stranger Things is one of the biggest television events in recent years. Part of its appeal, as well as it’s pastiche of the 1980’s was the score. Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein took the synth sounds of the ear, and that of John Carpenter, and mixed it with bang up to date production tecnhiques to create something that felt authentic and, at the same time, new and compelling.

 

 

Echochamber, on their new album, I’m Real, I’m Here, have done the same. Throughout its seventy minute duration you are confronted with sounds and tones that are familiar, but due to their context and composition they sound fresh and exciting. The use of vocal samples, some of Hip-Hop inspired, others Japanese, in classic Vaporwave style, is inspired and gives the songs a pan-international feel. This also adds to the mystique of Echochamber, as you can’t really put your finger on where they’re from. Mystique is always a great this music, and it is one of the most intriguing facets of Vaporwave.

 

 

At times during I’m Real, I’m Here sounds like echochamber is a contemporary side project of Vangelis. The music is full of his distinctive poignant synth lines and elegant composition, but there is that hard-hitting beat, cut up samples that reminds you that this isn’t the work of a 70 year old musician, but instead a synchronous electronic polymath.

 

 

I’m Real, I’m Here is another exquisite addition to New World’s already burgeoning back catalogue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Husky Loops are an exciting breath of fresh air and they have it. But what it is we’ll have to see!

 

 

After initially listening to Husky Loops your mind is going a million miles a minute. You don’t know whether it’s a one man project that samples and manipulates sound, or if they are a band creating the music they love, an art project making non-music or something else entirely. In truth they are a trio from, who are based in London but originally from Bologna, comprising of Danio, vocals and guitar, Pietro, drums and samples, and finally Tommaso on bass.

 

 

Fighting Myself opens with skittering samples, before a playful bass riff kicks in. The guitars are spiky, fun and full of a youthful abandon that if nigh on impossible to capture. Danio’s vocals, and lyric are sardonic, biting and has a Dario Fo sheen to it. There is a post punk meets dance vibe to everything, like Coldcut producing Radio 4 or The Rapture.

 

 

The meaning of the song is a bit deeper however, than just something to dance to at the indie-disco. Danio explained recently “‘Fighting Myself’ is about struggle and everyday hindrance that leads to an outburst of anxiety and energy sonically represented by the final part of the song.”

 

 

As this is only their second single, there is plenty more in store from Husky Loops, let’s just hope the next single, and the eventful album, isn’t that far in the offing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Leeches surges from your speakers like right foot shot from Toko Ekambi in the six yard box!

 

 

God things are a bit dour and depressing at the moment aren’t they? Every time you check the news there either is another gun attack in America, some idiot is dressed as a clown scaring children and the elderly, a politician is getting done for taking a bribe or a childhood hero turns out to be a kiddie fiddler. Dorset based Leeches have had enough of this too and have decided to write a song to pick our spirits up a bit.

 

 

Opening with a steady 4/4 beat and a sparse bass, reminiscent of Franz Ferdinand’s Darts of Pleasure instrumental breakdown, before a luscious guitar riff envelopes us. After a few moments soaring vocals wake us from this lurid reverie, before a shouty chorus brings us back to earth with a thump and a massive grin. This pattern continues for a bit then the middle eight slaps us about a bit before the chorus is reprised at the end. Wow! At just over three minutes this is getting in to pop-perfection territory and isn’t bad for a first release. Oh didn’t I mention that Leeches are so brand new still catch that new car smell on them?

 

 

Inside Voices is fast, dynamic, euphoric and incredible catchy. This is everything that we need at this, a time of doom gloom and scaremongering. More of the same please lads!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gang sounds like Spectres covering Butthole Surfers while King Buzzo produces!

 

 

Sometimes you don’t need to listen to a band to know what they sound like. Gang is one of these bands, but after looking at their artwork and photos you have to click that link. Band are made up of Joseph Hunt, Eric and Jimi Tormey and are based in Freak City UK, AKA Brighton, and are looking to claim the crown after the current kings, Wytches, left for Da Kapital. Given the strength of 2015‘s release Animalia, and recent single Dead, it looks like the thrown could be theirs.

 

 

Dead is four and a half minutes of unrelenting wonky bass, drill like guitars and guteral vocals. Imagine Spectres covering Butthole Surfers while King Buzzo produces and you’re on the right tracks. The lyrics are full of existential cries for help and witty bathos, culminating in the line of the song “I don’t want to feel better, I want to better feel”. Eric Tormey describes Dead as “Anything we do or think is inconsequential, and there is only one outcome. One day our earth will be gone, any trace of anything anyone has ever known will be gone. There will be no rights or wrongs, no alternate paths. All the glorious and tragic events of humanity will compress into one finite moment.” Then he explained “At first this prospect terrified me. I lay quivering on the floor until the following morning, holding my mother’s hand while my father proclaimed that I ‘had probably had some bad speed’. As the days, weeks and months passed I developed a sense of clarity. I realised that to focus on what’s important in one’s life is all there is to do. Don’t be governed by petty desires that are thrust upon you. You don’t need wealth, or love, or sex, or fame, or recognition. Look inside yourself and see what it is you desire. Anything else is fool’s play.” Yup that was exactly what I thought too!

 

 

But despite this seemingly nihilistic attitude the song is pretty upbeat. The main riff is full of spiky and jaunty verve and, despite the bone shanking bass, everything has been covered in a pop sheen, which makes repeat listens a delight, rather than the downer that you might initially expect. If this is feeling bad, then I never want to feel better!

 

 

Dead/Enough Nothing is released 25th November through Ra-Ra-Rok Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Arborist’s new single, Dark Stream, sounds like Josh T. Pearson covering Arcade Fire

 

 

When listening to the Arborist’s new single Dar Stream you are immediately taken to a place full of dusty vistas, babbling brooks, endless horizons, sleeping out in the desert and a general smell of horses. It conjures up everything that America was meant to be, land of the free, home of opportunity, basically Marlboro adverts from the 80’s and 90’s. But there is a twist. Arborist, AKA Mark McCambridge, isn’t American, though everything about his music would lead you to believe this, he is in fact from Northern Ireland.

 

 

There is a funeral vibe that pervades Dark Stream, mournful horns, shuffling drums, soaring vocals laced with melancholy, but underneath it all is a euphoric pop sensibility that stops you form buying a bottle of Wild Turkey and walking into the wilderness with shotgun. Dark Stream sounds like Josh T. Pearson covering the Arcade Fire, and who doesn’t, deep down, want that?

 

 

Since releasing his debut single, Twisted Arrow, last year McCambridge as been on a roller coaster ride of tours, song writing and recording sessions. Now he has recorded his debut album Home Burial. Given the title it’s easy to guess what it’s about. But as long as the songs are a fully formed and tackle the issues of man’s encounters with the truth of humanity and the vulnerability that comes from it, we should be in for a treat!

 

 

Home Burial which is released 11th November through Kirkinrola Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Maddock unveil their twisted and skewed take on indie-disco-pop

 

 

Maddock are a trio from Erie PA, consisting of Andrew Henderson on guitar, synth and vocals, Seth Wampole on drums and Evan Czulewciz on bass and synth. Together they make a skewed and sleazy disco-punk-pop. There is an element of danger about their latest single Underground Babe. This isn’t the creepy danger as a teenager dressed up as a clown hanging around supermarket carparks after dark, but the kind of danger that comes from people taking what they do seriously and not caring what you think about it.

 

 

Out of the traps Underground sounds like LCD Soundsystem covering Tom Waits with Connan Mockasin along for the ride. The main riff sounds like a creaky door opening slowly, the stark guitars during the chorus add urgency that most bands would choose to ignore, and the ad-hoc solo is pure Waits, but instead of the growly vocals, we are given a bawdy lilty delivery. Overall this hit the mark, and hits it high!

 

 

With their collective influences raging from LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture, Iceage, Interpol, New Order and Franz Ferdinand, you’d expect a knot of mimicry and pastiche, but instead you have a song that pops when it should pop and fuzzes when it should fuzz, and what’s more it’s a bundle of fun too. Give that they’ve only been releasing music since last May, and those were ESG-esque jam tracks, this shows real growth and progression, not only as musicians, but as arrangers and song writers.

 

 

While this isn’t the most polished or lustrous release of the year there is an awful lot to get excited about. Maddock’s debut album is out on Halloween, let’s hope it delivers the treats, rather than tricks…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The riffs feel as effortless as the pathos fuelled lyrics on American Wrestlers new single

 

 

American Wrestlers emerged from after Gary McClure’s previous, the underrated, Working For a Nuclear Free City broke up. After posting demos online American student Bridgette Imperial found them. After meeting up they started to date and McClure moved to St. Louis so they could be wed. This move to American has given McClure the chance to write the music that sounds like his first love. McClure recently explained it this “I’m always surprised by how each record brings me closer to writing simpler, heavier, catchier songs like those bands who gave me my musical epiphany: Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins, Hole and that first Foo Fighters record. I first learned how to write by copying them and got lost for a decade in intricacy and experimentation. Now, it feels like I’m heading back.”

 

 

New single Hello, Dear follows on from last year’s self-titled album with more anecdotes and musings on modern life, backed by lo-fi melodic rock. The guitar riffs feel as effortless as his pathos fuelled lyrics, the best being “I’d crawl through glass for a sign of life but lately I cannot sleep at night with my back to my telephone”. All the while the drums keep everything hurtling toward the abyss that is the end.  When asked what Hello, Dear was about McClure replied “The song is from the point of view of a person who is taking on the image of being an artist when they’ve never produced anything that could be deemed a work of Art on their whole life. It’s about feeling your time running out. In a panic you grab some cool pants and a canvas and spread on some abstract crap and ask the void “What about this? Will this do it?” It’s harsh and I’m a hypocrite. Who knows, historically maybe some of the best Art has been made that way.

 

 

The new album is called Goodbye Terrible Youth and is chocked full of these ideas, but keeping with McClure’s love of melody and visceral vocals. This is an album that has the power to choke hold you, but also give you something to think about while you recuperate from it devastating finishing move.

 

 

Goodbye Terrible Youth is released 4th November through Fat Possum Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Emmy the Great’s theme for Mystery Show has been released, just days after Starlee Kine’s show was cancelled. The game is afoot…

 

 

Right, this is written with a heavy heart. Mystery Show is no more. For some of you these are just words. Words that don’t have much meaning, other than some show called Mystery Show has been cancelled. In all honesty this is exactly what these words mean. But, like a lot of things, the deeper you dig the more meaning you get, and this, in a weird way is what Mystery Show is about.

 

 

Over six episodes, presenter Starlee Kine, solves mysteries, sometimes in a convoluted way. The mysteries aren’t big things like DB Cooper, or Amelia Earhart, as Kine mentions. These are mysteries that only effect a few people, but the fact they don’t have an answer drives them mad. Episode 1 is a prime example of this. Kine friend Laura became a member of a video store, rents a video, but when she tries to return the video the next day, the store is closed. Kine then sets out to solve this mystery. Spoiler alert. She does. Other mysteries that get solved are where a custom belt buckle came from, how tall is Jake Gyllenhaal and why an author’s book doesn’t sell, to name a few. Each episode is full of comedy, suspense, warm hearted charm and above all a joy of puzzles.

 

 

The closing theme was written and performed by Emmy the Great! Emmy is an artist that I have a lot of time for. Her music is unfortunately full of heart break and pathos, unfortunate for Emmy not for us, and is a reminder that in this overproduced world, there are still musicians out there who just want to write and sing songs about their life and experiences. Go Far is no different.

 

 

Musically the song is based around a guitar loop, that Emmy layers to the point of pop perfection. There is a clockwork, nursery rhyme quality to it. “Finally see what you always been sure, Hope that you find what you’re looking for. I hope that you find what you’re looking for” and the chorus of “Open your eyes. Open your eyes. You’ll go far. You’ll go far” help to get over the crux of the programme, while matching Kine’s ability at storytelling and delivery. Go Far end’s with a reprise of “You’ll go far”.

 

 

So the mystery of today’s song has been solved, but I think we might have to wait a bit longer to find why the #1 podcast of 2015 was cancelled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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