Archive

2015

Three minutes of skiffle soul from Trudy and the Romance

 

 

Trudy and the Romance is a name that will stick in your head. Whether it’s for the right or wrong reasons is down to your tastes, but you will remember their name. Musically this trio are all over the shop. A bit of skiffle here, some Louis Armstrong and Tom Waits there, a dollop of the Coral and all wrapped up with a Libertines sounding bow. There is an infectious bounce, which all the best music has, to He Sings that makes it hard to get it out of your head once you’ve heard it. The stand out moment are the instrumental sections. Here the band show off their dextrous musical talents while never boring us through ‘incredible’ riffs and licks.

 

 

The two problems with He Sings are that the band influences are far too pronounced and the lyrics feel a tad flat. Instead of subtly teasing us with their collective loves they’ve rammed them down our throats. The inclusion of the skiffle is a nice break from what’s currently happening, but He Sings might have been better as a full on skiffle belter! And the lyrics feel a little two dimensional. This will hopefully change in due course, as Trudy and the Romance are still a relatively new band having only released a few singles. Putting these picayune errors to one side, He Sings is cacophonous, cavernous, carnivalesque and catchy! More of the same please!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/thisyearinmusicxx

 

 

@thisyearinmusic

 

 

thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

Bedsit pop just got better thanks to California’s SWAIN!

 

 

One thing about lo-fi music that helps sell it to the listener is its immediacy. Due to the nature of the recordings, usually cheap guitars recorded through cheap microphones, they have a ‘found’ or ‘field recording’ vibe to them. This added level of surface noise, be it floor boards creaking, neighbours talking, car alarms or even house mates banging about the noise, help the listener believe that the recordings have been made solely for their pleasure.

 

 

California’s SWAIN’s music falls into this category. Since February he has released three scratchly recorded EP that showcase not just his mastery of the guitar, but also his panache at song writing. Each of these nine tracks transports you to a place where SWAIN at arms-length regaling you stories of love loss and redemption.

 

 

On his latest EP All My Friends are Vegan and Complain When I Eat People, he’s upped his game. Everything is far more frenzied and immediate. There is a dirty grunge vibes that has hitherto be missing from his previous releases. Simple chord progressions are repeated and repeated and repeated and repeated until they’ve hypnotized you into submission. Thinkin Bout You is the stand out track on the EP.

 

Basically it’s a song about loss, but not in a ‘woe is me’ or ‘I’m so alone’. SWAIN is basically thinking about an past relationship/friendship, but so much time as past this is isn’t painful. The lyric “I’ve been thinkin bout you, do you think about me still?” sums everything up perfectly. The past still effects his emotions, but as he’s reminded of the past, he questions if they are thinking about him too. This is something that we’ve all thought, at one time or another, but rarely admit not only to ourselves, but to others. Through these times lines SWAIN is discussing the past, present and the future. Not bad for some bedsit pop eh?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/thisyearinmusicxx

 

 

@thisyearinmusic

 

 

thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

Dorset’s hidden heroes PoweredCows are about to release their opus. You have been warned!

 

 

Back in 2012 I went to a gig in a pub in Bournemouth with friends. It was just a load of local bands playing and given previous nights I was looking forward to it. I can’t remember the full line up, but a fledgling band was taking its first steps in to the live circuit. That band was PoweredCows. They were great and on the way home we chatted about seeing them again soon.

 

 

Fast forward four years to 2016. Whilst having a well needed cuppa today I saw that PoweredCows had released a new single PoweredCows from their forthcoming album Ways the Universe Could End. I pressed play and the next five minutes were a blur. So pressed play for a second time and again I’d lost another five minutes. We’re not talking X-Files pilot episode here, but due to the glorious noise that emanated from the speakers everything else faded into the ether.

 

 

Don’t Lie in the Sun is neo-revivalist-shoegazing. The guitars are big and woozy, the bass swoons all over the like a teenager walking to the bus stop after an exceptional first date and the drums cascade around you like lumps of hail.

 

Basically it’s amazing.

 

Basically it’s amazing.

 

Basically it’s amazing.

 

 

The lyrics, at first, wash over you but as you listen more they start to come to the forefront, until you can’t really hear the music at all. At first you think they are about the usual love, loss and rejection that all the best songs are about, but with a heavy lean on the pathos side. Then, after they have sunk in and got under your skin, they start take on new connotations. Is it about a breakdown of a relationship, losing something special or a bereavement? Personally I don’t want to know, but I think I have an idea.

 

 

Don’t Lie in the Sun is the first song that PoweredCows have released that fulfils the early promise that was on show in Bournemouth four years ago. 2014’s Laguna showcased how far they had progressed, but Don’t Lie in the Sun, and Ways the Universe Could End, are pushing their sound, and lyrics to new unchartered waters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/thisyearinmusicxx

 

 

@thisyearinmusic

 

 

thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

Henrik the Artist and Activia Benz team up for new EP

 

 

Friends are the hardest things to find, but the easiest things to lose. That’s what I was told by an Uncle when I was a kid. At the time I didn’t agree with him and now, thirty years later I still don’t. One things I do argee with, however, is that I do like Henrick the Artist. Last year Henrik released Perfect Workout as part of Activia Benz’ ilovesingles.club series. It was a hyperreal journey into a surreal gym where the instructors are Chip and Dale, the music sounded like it was made out of steel drum samples, Haribo sweets, day-glo cyalume’s and a load Jagerbombs. Now Henrick has returned to Activia Benz with the Friendship EP.

 

 

Despite only lasting sixteen minutes there is plenty to engage with. The Prologue is a short sharp burst of epic trance. It is the perfect launch pad for the EP. My Friend Follows on the heels, desperately trying to catch Prologue in a game a tag, but never quite getting the required hit. Massive synths fill your ears and a feeling of euphoria, usually given to sporting events and sugar rushes sweeps over you. As the music builds you look to the sky and nod at passing clouds, this could be an effect of the sugar rush, but everything makes sense. When the beat and the panpipe sounding loop kicks in you wonder how Henrik can match this? Where is there to go? Fret not. Lose You take this blueprint and adds a seductive vocal to it. This combination works so well that you wonder why he didn’t employ it on My Friend? The Moment and Miss Me are as bouncy and ridiculous the previous tracks, but they are also filled with a level of musicality that makes them totally infections. Epilogue closes the EP, with a slightly melancholy and haunting vibe. This level of empathy shows that Henrik isn’t a one trick pony.

 

 

But this isn’t the best bit. You can either buy the download, or you can have the physical. Activia Benz have never been ones for conventional releases. Everybody remember Sega Bodega’s tracksuit from last year? This time they’ve released a double sided poster. One side is a picture of an oil painting of someone who looks a bit like Justin Bieber, and on the other side a collection of Henrik’s poetry. Sweet!

 

 

From the faux trance intro, Jerusalem-esque in places, The Friendship EP gets off on messing not only with your head, but body. Part of you wants to laugh, part of you wants to dance and part of you wants to go out with mates and get some KFC, while you blare this in at full volume so the bass shakes buildings into rubble. Then on the rubble you eat your bargain bucket watching the sun set with your ragtag band of bass, and chicken, loving friends.

 

 

The Friendship EP is out now on Activia Benz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/thisyearinmusicxx

 

 

@thisyearinmusic

 

 

thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

Brighton’s indie noise outfit The Emperors of Ice Cream emerge from their winter hibernation with new cassingle

 

 

Last year The Emperors of Ice Cream released a Double A-Side 7” and an EP. These releases were chocked full of clever biting lyrics and inventive musicality. Needless to say they were both on a heavy rotation at thisyearinmusic towers. Then, as a lot of bands do over winter, they went quiet. This level of public inactivity isn’t anything to get worried about, as it usually means the band is holed up in some studio/bedroom/lounge writing and rehearsing. Then as the clouds parted and the sun beamed down, there was a note from the band, “New EP out soon”. The digital version of this EP, titled This Thing, has now been released, a physical cassette, or cassingle will be released in June. Joy!

 

 

This Thing kicks off with (The Night((Just Gotta) Make It Through)). The pace is fast, jaunty, primal and raucous. Instead of the usual verse-chorus-verse pattern, TEOIC subvert it by having a continuous chorus interspersed with a few verses/variations. This is refreshing to hear, as it shows that TEOIC understand popular music and at the same time don’t care. Clever Caveman follows this similar pattern. The main vocals are “Clever Caveman, Banging the rocks together”. They are catchy and coupled with the music, again primal and raucous, it works well to create an image of the band on the beach performing interspersed with them bashing the rocks and pebbles together. It’s the stand out track on the EP.As this is a semi live recording, Clever Caveman then segues into Took a Taxi with a peel of feedback. The title suggests this is about getting a taxi, but this isn’t actually true. Like the subverting of musical templates, now they’ve named the song something it has nothing to do with. Here TEOIC revert to more standard song writing, well in a verse-chorus-verse kind of way. Musically they seem fixed on pushing everything to it’s more basic and elementary. Overloaded bass and drums, with distorted guitars screeching everywhere they can find a space to penetrate the dense rhythm section. Middle Ground closes the EP. On a first listen it sounds like an extended outro of Took a Taxi as there isn’t much variation between the two. This is the weakest song on the EP, and feels like an afterthought after they realised they only had three songs.

 

 

The main problem with This Thing is that its either brilliant or blasé. While the lyrics are catchy, they aren’t really anything much apart from making it through the night, our ancient relatives were clever and it can be fun to walk around drunk in foreign towns. Which is a shame, as TEOIC have our attention, why not say something? Clever Cavemen seems to be the perfect analogy for the band. The lyric “Clever Caveman, Banging the rocks together” sums it up perfectly. Through their sneering vocals and troglodyte rock, is the joke on them?  Are they the cavemen banging the rocks together or are we punchline as you’re sitting listening to it now? Whatever the answer is it will require more listens and ultimately isn’t that the point of this thing?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/thisyearinmusicxx

 

 

@thisyearinmusic

 

 

thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

Air Max’97 just joined one of the most elusive and forward thinking groups of producers going!

 

 

The phrase “A picture says a thousand words” is true. When I look at the art work for Air Max ‘97’s new single FD1 I just hear “THIS IS GONNA BE AMAZING!” two hundred times. Before we get into why this is an amazing cover lest just dissect its elements a first. Straight away your eye is drawn to the explosion. What’s caused it? Was it a freak natural occurrence, or did something plan it under the rock porous rock that is now about to enter the stratosphere? Next we notice the black and yellow hoop. This brings perspective and scale into the mix. Like how big is that thing? Is it croquet sized, or like the Wembley arch? Does that mean the rock is actually just a big bit of dirt or is this a meteor sized chunk? Our eye is then drawn to the mushroom. This is the mysterious instigator of the initial explosion or just a harmless bystander, and what at the other mushrooms doing? Has one thrown itself on the other to protect it, or is there a slightly ruder answer to their embrace? Then lastly we see the rock in front of the hoop and why is it wearing a shining green medallion? The answers to all these questions will sadly never be answered, but one thing is for sure, this is my favourite Activa Benz cover to date!

 

 

As the artwork is an introduction to the track itself FD1 more than lives up to it. In fact once you’ve played it a few times it all starts to make sense. The minimal techno leanings that kicks everything off plays into the dark starkness of the back ground. The stuttering, glitching nature could be rock blasting off in slow motion. By the half way mark you think you’ve got FD1 all worked out. It’s a masterclass in minimal production. Then, as your eye is drawn to medallion, a haunting repetitive loop enters the mix and things start to get a bit Philip Glass/Terry Riley. FD1 has mutated into something that wasn’t expected from its minimal salvo. The outro is a thig of beauty and its only flaw is that it isn’t longer, but better to keep us wanting more than be bored right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/thisyearinmusicxx

 

 

@thisyearinmusic

 

 

https://uk.pinterest.com/thisyearinmusic/

 

 

thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

∆N†i vØx Aи L†D releases a concept album based on the Blair Witch Project, and like the film it’s a dark brooding masterpiece!

 

 

In the pantheon of music and concept albums one that hasn’t really been touched is the Blair Witch Project. This is a shame as when you think about it, as the Blair Witch Project is fill of emotional energy that could relate perfectly to a musical project. Well now Japanese musician ∆N†i vØx Aи L†D has!

 

 

The Blair Witch Project is a collection of ten tracks that tell the story of the film. The title of each track relates to a moment in the film. It opens with [Octobe20,1994] interviews. Musically it is all white noise, reversed loops, vocal samples and muted beats. It conjures up the eerie, jubilant and slightly sinister nature of the start of the film. [Octobe21,1994] Black Rock Road has more of structure to it, and it follows a more conventional song structure. Hypnotic beats interlock with a driving bass and everything has a slight punk vibe to it. [Octobe22,1994] Valid Rock has a more tribal atmospheric quality to it.

 

 

As the album progresses it jumps around musically from what the first three tracks offered and goes off into more unchartered territories. Lurid soundscapes rub shoulders with full on bass and beats. The album closes with [October16,1995] CP-16 filmcamera. Shards of static are juxtaposed with synth blips and throbs. There is an underlying feeling of malice and confusion. As the music picks up pace it starts to music gets more and more aggressive and like the film the conclusions are all your own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/thisyearinmusicxx

 

 

@thisyearinmusic

 

 

https://uk.pinterest.com/thisyearinmusic/

 

 

thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs