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What? You don’t know about Strange Cages? <insert you name> Strange Cages, Strange Cages <insert your name>, I’ll just leave you to get acquainted…

 

 

Do you like contemporary music with a retro feel? Yeah? Awesome! Strange Cages are for you then! Hailing from the south’s seaside pleasure centre Brighton, sorry Bournemouth and New Quay, this trio make songs that sound like your favourite bands of yesteryear, but all modern and 2016. “How do they do it thisyearinmusic?” I can hear you ask. Well true believer the answer is simple. They write amazing songs!

 

 

Right, imagine if the Sonics, Music Machine, The Cramps, the Lemon Pipers, Count Five and Jimmy Iovine produced it and gave it a delicious pop sheen. OK, ok, there is more to it than that, but this is the crux of it. Loads of organs, loads of wayward guitars, filthy bass, unrelenting drumming and quizzical lyrics and all doused with a shambolic spirit, so you’re on the end of your seat as to whether they’ll make it to the end of the song in one piece.

 

 

But this isn’t the best thing. Oh no. Strange Cages are due to release their debut EP. Ego Killer is set for an early August release, which suits everyone at thisyearinmusic fine, and given the sneak peek we’ve heard, it’s going to define our, and possibly your, summer! Lead single Bam Bam Boom is three and a half minutes of what we’ve come to expect, catchy neo-acid-pop fuelled hysteria. A massive bass riffs kicks things off, and is the driving force of this three and a half minute juggernaut, until the rest of the band joins in and its descents into an existential freakout. Yeah, we knew you’d like it…!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Massa Confusa team up with the best vocalist you don’t know

 

 

Once upon a time there was a band call Retriever. They released some exceptional singles and EP’s and then, just when they looked set to release their long waited debut long player they called it a day. I’m not going to lie, it was a dark day. But now their lead singer, Jackie Purver, has teamed up with Massa Confusa to release a single that packs a musical and lyrical punch.

 

 

The opening sounds like a funky version of Kasabian’s 2009 single Underdog, but before it all kicks off like a night out in Wetherspoons, Massa Confusa bring things down a bit, thanks to some clever call and response vocals with Purver. Descension then follows this pattern until it’s gradually ends. The real star show however are the lyrics. “You’re a sceptic, I’m robotic”, “You’re neurotic, Yes You’ve got it” and “You’re hallucinate, Supersonic ” it’s an updated version of Spiritualized I Think I’m In Love, but you know, funnier and less lovey dovey.

 

 

Rumour has it that Massa Confusa should be releasing another album by the end of the year, which should be a high water mark of 2016. But let’s hope this gives Purver the impetuous and desire to get back in the studio and deliver another slice of forward thinking post-punk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wax Machine announce new single and launch night

 

 

Brighton is a melting pot of music. Every day you read about a new band forming or a debut gig. Sadly there aren’t enough days in the week to check it all out, so you have to optimise time. Some of these new avenues for music lead you to dead-ends, others take you to places that you didn’t think were possible.

 

 

The Wax Machine are one of these bands. This quartet have slowly been making waves with their 60’s garage rock inspired freak-outs. Earlier in the year their track Shades of Orange was featured on The Active Listener’s Great British Psychedelic Trip Revisited. Not bad for a band just starting to find their creative feet. Their next single, Red Room, is another slab of psych fun dressed up in an indie garb. In the words of Bachman-Turner Overdrive “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

 

 

While Wax Machine aren’t doing anything that ground breaking or original, at times their sound is reminiscent to that of the Zutons, shambolic indie-psych, idiosyncratic guitars, driving horns and syncopated drumming, all under a pop sheen, there is something primal there too, however they are doing it well! Through their brand of neo-psych you are transported to a time when all you really needed for a good night out was your mates and good house band. And why shouldn’t we want to go back to that place? Luckily through Wax Machine we can!

 

 

Wax Machine will be playing at BLEACH in Brighton on 3rd August for their Red Room release party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HEYROCCO just brought it….

 

 

Coming out of the traps at 100 miles an hour, HEYROCCO’s new track Yeah sounds like the personification of the teenage dream. Fast guitars, illegible vocals and incendiary drumming makes this two and a half minute belter melt into you psyche, faster than a Cornetto on a sun drenched pavement.

 

 

Whilst listening to it you can pick out references points including a punk intensity, Beach Boys melodies, a smidge of garage rock circa 2000-2003 all under an indie pop umbrella. It’s almost like Anarchy in the UK was covered by The Distillers, which was then covered by The Parrots, at their most visceral and lo-fi, while your best mate sings long and makes new lyrics in the car after a day of being day drunk and reading Generation X. This all probably stems from it being produced by Brendan Benson, yeah, it all makes sense now right?

 

 

Despite all its bravado and teenage ferocity, Yeah is actually full of tender lyrics that blight growing up in a world where the youth are never really listened to, despite it’s their future that is being affected by decisions that people old enough to know better are making. The lyrics also manage to evoke Voltare, whilst being catchy as hell “It’s never gonna go away, but everything will be ok, When everything says the same, I go insane”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Milo’s Planes and Howling Owl Records team up. What’s not to love?

 

 

Last year Bristol’s Milo’s Planes released an album, Aural Palate Cleaning Exercises. I lot of people didn’t hear it, but the ones who did were changed. It was an album full of visceral guitars, shouty vocals and an incessant desire to combine discordant music with catchy melodies. Now they’ve returned and their next long player, Delivering Business Success, will be released on 26th August on Howling Owl Records. This is a no brainer…

 

 

This is Milo’s Planes first foray in recording in a studio and Matt Sampson was at the helm. Don’t worry, it’s still chocked full of Milo’s rhythm heavy hardcore sensibility. However to announce the event, instead of releasing a single from the album Milo’s Planes decided to releases a cover of The Velvet Underground’s classic Sister Ray. Just like the original its chocked full of chugging guitars, drone like vocals and a total disregard for conventional production techniques.

 

 

If you like your summer album full of airy compositions, lyrics about beaches and cocktails, this might not be the one for you. It’s a dense beast that at first sounds like a cacophony, but, like all great albums, the more you play it the more secrets it reveals.

 

 

Delivering Business Success is released on 26th August through Howling Owl Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In 2011 a Welsh duo Right Hand Left Hand released a debut album called Power Grab. This wasn’t just a clever title, the music within was full of clever ideas and forward thinking composition. In the intervening years Right Hand Left Hand have played countless gigs and festivals and supported Super Furry Animals, Future of the Left, Los Campensinos and the Mae Shi to name an illustrious few. Now they have returned with their second self-titled album Right Hand Left Hand.

 

 

Lead single ‘Tarts and Darts’ picks up from where Power Grab left off, but this time they have expanded their sound by adding layer upon layer upon layer upon layer of devastating riffs that starts to redefine post-rock. From the opening layered riff making Right Hand Left Hand sound like a different band. The time off appears to have focused them more and the math elements are more pronounced than on previous tracks. By the half way mark, when ‘Tarts and Darts’ starts to build toward its monumental conclusion, you’re totally swept along with its vim and vision.

 

 

The album doesn’t start this way however. ‘Seat 18c’ eases us into the album gently. There is a slight abrasive feel to the proceedings, but through layered guitars and lyrical drumming and percussion ‘Seat 18c’ moves forward until its delightful outro. This then leads in nicely to ‘Fermat’s Last Theorem’. In a matter of seconds the intensity levels have been heightened and there is an element of menace that the opener was missing. Another subtle difference is that there are lyrics. This lyrics don’t just tell a slightly surreal tale, but add a nice change of texture of tone to opening track ‘Seat 18c’. However this break is fleeting as the remainder of the album is mostly instrumental. If ‘Fermat’s Last Theorem’ was heavier and more erratic, ‘Jack Churchill’ is reminiscent of the opener. It’s a slow burner that has more in common with Kasabian’s third album than post-rock. Atmospheric guitars swell while synths throb and bass ripples all the while a massive repetitive beat keeps things moving forward. It’s like Kraftwerk played at 45 RPM!

 

 

The ‘War of Jenkins’ Ear’ is a stand out moment. The music acts like soundtrack to a B-Movie or pulp novel classic that never existed. Cinematic synths jostle with gangster-esque guitars to create a feeling of anxiety and danger. You can almost imagine the her Jenkins’ inner monologue pepper this score like Harrison Ford in the original Blade Runner. As the song draws to a close claustrophobic chines usher in the demise of Jenkins, at his own hand. His war, just like the song is over. The album closes with ‘Spring-Heeled Jack’, another cinematic beast. As the song progresses you get the feeling that Jack is creeping up on this next victim, and after he has struck, he flees into the night before anyone can catch him. This is the exact feeling that you feel after the album has finished. Right Hand Left Hand have stalked you, taken you on an exhilarating ride and finally vanished without a trace as soon as it is over.

 

 

While intensity underpins this album, but there are pop hooks that stop it from being something to endure to something that you can actually enjoy. The melodies and riffs are catchy and interesting arrangements stop things getting formulaic and boring. Basically Right Hand Left hand are Lightning Bolt’s little brother that followed their blueprint, but added a pop sensibility to it. This is what makes Right Hand Left Hand sounds like the neo-post-rock opus it is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brighton’s favourite live band returns with not only a new EP, but vision too

 

 

Since the release of Tano Dragon and thanks to countless gigs, Merlin Tonto have developed their indie prog sound thanks to Owen Thomas’ carefully arranged synth compositions and Miles Boyd and Stefan Eliades’ pulsating bass riffs and off-kilter drumming. But that’s not all, they have also grown not just as musicians, but as songwriters too. This is showcased in the themes of new EP Baotou. Not just content on setting some trippy synth loops to a beat, Baotou has a fully defined concept. When asked recently what Baotou is about, Miles said “The EP title is named after an industrial city in Inner Mongolia which has this huge man made toxic polluted lake, a by-product of all the industrial activity in the area. Apparently it’s created this dystopian, almost like alien environment which we thought really conveyed the sound and imagery of the EP”.

 

 

Although Baotou is made up of four songs, it needs to be played in its entirety and as loud as you can to get the full effect. Lead single Time Pilot kicks things off in fine form. It says “So you liked the last EP and have come back for round two? Good. We’re pretty much the same band, but you might notice some subtle differences…” These differences is that the rhythm section is tighter and the electronics more out there and ultimately it feels like a step up. Shimmering Mist opens with, well a shimmering mist of electronic drones and blips until the band comes together in glorious unison for a few moments and then a slow outro beings. Forest Primeval is chocked full of techno influenced pulses and bleeps, that show the bands influences aren’t just Kraut and Prog rock based. As it progresses it teeters on that brink of breaking and self-collapse, but luckily neither happen. Beat the Sun closes the EP with track that on one hand wouldn’t have been out of place on Tano Dragon, but shows how far they’ve come since then.

 

 

Over all Baotou sounds like Holy Fuck writing a twenty minute pop song, while Vangelis producers and orchestrates everything from his framework of synths. Their songs bustle with sci-fi motifs and lo-fi indie prog attitude, culminating in a sound that bustles and pulsates along while glitchy blips and hypnotic loops fire around you.

 

 

Rumour has it that the rest of 2016 will consist of gigging and writing and recording sessions for their highly anticipated debut album.

 

 

 

 

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