6 Sep 2017

LCD Soundsystem - American Dream (album review)

LCD Soundsystem may have disbanded in 2011, but it never, really, felt like they were away. The documentary Shut Up and Play The Hits, chronicling their last ever concert at Madison Square Garden, came out in 2012; a five-LP, three-hour-plus, meticulously mastered behemoth containing almost every moment of that same concert was released in early 2014. Then in Christmas of 2015, they released their comeback single Christmas Will Break Your Heart. Not long after, they announced a new album would come along soon.

And here it is; what’s most immediately interesting about it is that it doesn’t sound like a vaulted comeback effort, or the sound of a band cashing in on a sound that made them famous (and rich). There are no wheels spinning here. Instead, it sounds like a particularly emotionally fraught “what I did on my holiday”. This is the most introspective disc of their career, which says a lot about a band who burst onto the scene with a spoken word track detailing band leader James Murphy’s fear that he’s no longer ‘cool’, before listing his record collection. But this introspection works, partly because there’s no question of Murphy’s sincerity, and partly because it sees the band using their abilities to construct tight, punchy, dance-punk cathedrals like they’re a group of builders, to deliver an album of deep emotional scope. It’s not the kind of music that could aptly be described as fan-service (it’s too morose for that), but it does have running through it a sense of accountability to the people listening, a wise move given the (perhaps justified) controversy Murphy found when he chose to reform the band.

5 Sep 2017

HMLTD: Pop Music's Eureka Moment

Sometime while I was hiding from my Earthly troubles in the corner of an English Field at End of the Road this weekend, London six piece HMLTD released their fifth and sixth songs unto the world. Their radical restructuring of pop music, their unparalleled commitment to looking ridiculous, and their insatiable live performances make them the most unique new band in the world today. So fully formed after just three singles, it has to be said that just how big this band get is going to be down to how ready for them the world is, rather than how much they can develop.

Flyte - The Loved Ones (album review)

Three years ago, I was lucky enough to see Flyte support Bombay Bicycle Club, and I fell in love with their sound. Then it was all jittering, bouncy pop and as they released tracks like Please Eloise, I got more and more excited at the idea of their album. Since then, the four piece have been crafting a newer, perhaps more mature sound, and it's utterly gorgeous. The Loved Ones pulsates with beautiful melodies, swirling harmonies and thought-provoking lyrics.

Go Chi Minh - Lusty Taste for Noise (EP review)

Photo: Justin Drew

Go Chi Minh are a freakoid rock 'n' roll quartet from the outer reaches of South London, whose reptilian sleaze rock oozes with all the depravity and fucked-in-the-'ed hilarity you could ever ask for. Their new EP, A Lusty Taste For Noise strings you along for a wild ride, the band like a tour guide cackling madly to himself as you pass the monuments. Swampy garage rock guitars saunter, drum machines tick, synthesisers glitch, and vocals holler, mutter and ritualistically tut-tut.

22 Aug 2017

Introducing The Dolce Vita...

The Dolce Vita are a brand-new quintet hailing from East London comprising of members of Hunck, Yoofs and Death of Pop so if you’re sat there thinking ‘yeah, this band sound like they’re going to be really good,’ then SPOILER ALERT, you’re very much right. Congratulations.

The new outfit have just dropped their second single following Outside with Brand New Bathroom off of their debut EP out August 25th. Dolce Vita's newest offering is a joyous, reverb-soaked tsunami of stunning noise intertwining between fuzzed-out 60’s psychedelia and shoegaze.

'Brand New Bathroom' is out now on Major League Records via digital and most streaming services and will also be released on a limited run of cassettes. The band will be celebrating the release of the EP at The Waiting Room in London 24 August for the Be A Body folk.

20 Aug 2017

Toria Wooff - Drako (EP review)

Debut EP from Manchester based Toria Wooff is a collection of four ethereal ballads driven by whimsical vocals backed with twangling guitars. The EP’s instrumentation is relatively skeletal with Tori’s vocal melodies being simultaneously melancholic and infectious particularly on tracks James Edward and the title track Drako.

10 Aug 2017

925 TIL I DIE: Vapour Trail Meets GANG To Discuss Their Debut Long Player

GANG are an almighty trio from Brighton who've just released one of the best debut albums of 2017. 925 Til I Die is an odyssey, a slow, sludgy heavy rock odyssey that travels through angular grooves and torturous howls on its path to documenting what this here Earth will be like in 925 years time.

For this record, the individuals that power GANG became the Doppelgang, green life forms from an altered future; they preface the record's release with this.

“The Earth is a skull and you are the headlice, where will you go when the hair isn’t so nice? The year is 2942. 925 years since strange beings consolidated their grip on world power. Each Monday the people will gather to receive their weekly plant ration and to watch the content on the screens. The plant will keep each individual subdued and prevent any uprising. The content on the screens will keep their brains working to a sufficient level so as to prevent their minds descending into a vegetative state. During this ceremony, the masses will show appreciation to their supreme leader, the Chancellor, and the Home Secretary.”

Armed with a fierce DIY ethic, some evil guitars, and a huge imagination, GANG's album came out a couple of weeks ago on their own M8s Records label (more on that later).  Truly one of my favourite albums of recent times, I was chuffed to get the chance to chat with Eric Tormey (who sings and shreds in the band) about the record, the label, and the altered sphere they've carved out for themselves.

PREMIERE | The minty fresh dreamy debut single from London's TOOTHPASTE

A London based four piece, Toothpaste enter the equation with their debut single TV Years. A shimmering example of gorgeous dream pop, it's a hazy thoroughfare of meandering guitars, glowing, pulsating synths, and the misty voice of cosmic slacker Amol Prabhu.

TV Years saunters beautifully through it's ethereal five minute runtime, yearning lyrics float atop the glittering soundscapes whilst the drums drive the song on into spiritual bliss, like the marriage of Slowdive, Pavement, and NEU! A beautiful debut from a band to get excited about, they play The Lock Tavern tonight (and are giving out some pretty nifty merch, which I'd be insulting your intelligence by telling you what it is).

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(I might add, we're having problems with the embed players at the minute, so hear it HERE, you won't regret)

6 Aug 2017

Introducing... FUSS, Liverpool's next big psychedelic export

Meet FUSS, a new-ish band that formed back in that crazy year of 2016 who make wonderful psychedelic-space rock meets shoegaze and hail from Liverpool - the home, of course, to that really famous band who are the greatest of all time.

2 Aug 2017

Madonnatron - Madonnatron (album review)

Madonnatron's debut album came out on Trashmouth last week, and although it's a record I've been living with a while, I'm still finding new aspects of their self titled album to fall in love with. A four piece from South London, Madonnatron are: Stefania, Charlie, Beth and Joanie. I'm not sure what they're like as individuals, but when these heads assemble in a certain formation and go into battle armed with guitars and the name 'Madonnatron', they're a ruthless, dangerous and bewitching prospect.

The vast majority of the singing is a beldam chorus, intwining harmonies and dis-harmonies from all corners of the band to create a terse, sinister and stark atmosphere. These vocals sound more like spells, longform hexes being repeated to summon demons, than they do song lyrics. Snippets like the depraved barking of "Sangue neuf! Sangue neuf!" do very little to dispel any rumours that Madonnatron are in fact Wiccan sorceresses that just so happen to have done an album.

1 Aug 2017

Ulrika Spacek - Modern English Decoration (album review)

London based Ulrika Spacek are making a dynamic move into the world of shoegaze. After releasing their debut The Album Paranoia in early 2016, they are back with an ultra-melodic and fuzzy affair of an album.

 The album begins with Mimi Pretend which sets the tone of the entire album, a ghosted and airy tune. The track slowly builds, enticing and building a listener with a simple guitar riff, to synthesisers and the intertwined magnetic fusion of drums, followed by the rich and imperfect vocals of Rhys Edwards. There is an evident influence of the likes of Sonic Youth due to the undertone of warming vocals against a soft melody.

Do Whatever: A Look At The North-East's Thriving DIY Scene

Photo creds: Nick Wesson, NARC magazine

At one time, the only musicians from the North East of England with any sort of national significance were Prefab Sprout and Dire Straits. Whilst the former’s 1988 album From Langley Park to Memphis was something of a hit (peaking at number 5 on the UK albums chart), it goes without saying that for a number of years, the region was pretty under-represented in the UK’s popular music scene.

31 Jul 2017

Lend your ears to the Goa Express' rambunctious new double A-side

They sear and they surge, they pulse and they throb, the lysergic licks of The Goa Express' new double A-side flash and erupt like a psychedelic thunderstorm lighting up a puce night sky. GOA is but a fleeting 100 seconds, yet the havoc it wreaks across your whole body as it forces its way through your bones is electrifying; more a full scale Exorcist-style possession than a listening experience. 

These roaring, fizzing guitars are met by a frantic organ that powers the songs through like the heartbeat of a man that has just run miles to escape an all consuming forest fire. On both GOA and Kiss Me, this organ rallies amidst a thoroughfare of guitars; the former, it's a non-stop gnostic vibration, and the latter it subsides for an angular groove that emerges from a LOOP-style Spacemen 3-type thundergroove.

Crow Cries: Just In Case You Needed Proof Goat Girl Are -The One-

The hype garnered by Goat Girl off the back of their first single Country Sleaze/Scum was nothing but well deserved; here we had a London band who seemingly had everything from there very first single. A singer with a voice that can cut through sheets of metal, guitar lines that recall The Fall and The Fat Whites in their sleazy fervour, and a rhythm section that's just about as good as it gets.

Belle and Sebastian Return

Belle and Sebastian Are Back, Like, Actually Back, As a Band You’d Want to Listen To
I love Belle and Sebastian dearly; let’s get this out of the way right now. I discovered them five years ago by pure chance, a sequence of events that was a perfect storm involving accidentally buying Stuart Murdoch’s autobiography, a poke around the back ends of YouTube, and some fatherly advice from an old ethics teacher. They’re a part of my life, and I will always check in with them. They’re family.

So, it pains me to say that their last few releases have been… Iffy. Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance, their 2015 album, was a mixed bag, and that’s me being generous. It was laced with bangers, but also some truly wonky moments and decisions, and some of the finer moments were left off the album and relegated to dusty b-sides (like Piggy in the Middle, or a Politician’s Silence). Murdoch’s stated aim of the album sounding like Eurovision was admirable but misguided. For every “Enter Sylvia Plath”, there was a “Today (This Army’s For Peace)”. The band were working with reserves of energy, but not enough to see them over the course of an hour, a punishing runtime for an album like this. And sadly still, even on the best tracks there was an element of emotional detachment. Even on their most “produced” albums, like Life Pursuit or Waitress, there was still an engagement with feelings, an empathy for people, a desire to tell stories. None of that here; piercing psychological insights were replaced with blanket statements that don’t really tell us much about anything.

26 Jul 2017

Arcade Fire - Everything Now (album review)

This album has absolutely no merit. Seriously. The lead single is good. A fluke. A fluke, god damn. But listen no further, for your own safety. For your own sanity. I listened to it all, so you don't have to. Like Jesus dying for all of our sins, I listened all the way through.