22 Jun 2017

Strange Cages - The Cracks (EP review)

Strange Cages might be, in fact probably are, the best musical thing occurring in Brighton at the moment. A garage rock trio that hark back to the most savage end of sixties psych garage, their reptilian rock 'n' roll is Earth shatteringly good, a tour de force of snotty guitar music that shakes you right to the core. The Cracks EP is their best release to date, and does an extremely good job of capturing their scintillating live shows on record.

21 Jun 2017

Enter the woozy garage rock stylings of L.A. Witch

L.A. Witch are a three piece from the city of Los Angeles, but as I'm reliably informed by the press release, do not partake in any kind of witchcraft. Which is kinda disappointing. But they're a fantastic trio that have a woozy garage rock sound that'll instantly thrill fans of the BJM, Willie Nelson and PJ Harvey alike. Far from the gold paved streets of Hollywood, L.A. Witch's music festers in a much murkier realm, a darker, more twisted realm. Sounding more like something brewed in William Burroughs' basement than  the glam commodity fetishism L.A. has become a beacon for, the band's raucous garage sound pummels into the void, whilst getting up its momentum in an impassioned burst of rockabilly momentum with a tambourine stomp in tow.

Introducing... Gaygirl

A lot is made of the south-London scene at the moment, and whilst I agree that the likes of HMLTD, Shame, Goat Girl and co are very much worthy of such plaudits there are a few bands that are slipping under the radar who are just as worthy of your attention. One of these is Gaygirl, a post-punk meets shoegaze meets grunge quartet hailing from Brixton.

20 Jun 2017

Richard Dawson - Peasant (album review)

"This is about the future. If people think this album is about the past then I have absolutely failed."

(Richard Dawson interviewed in Loud and Quiet)
What a mess we're in aye? If only we could only retreat to the times of yore, "when it was all fields round here". One listen to Richard Dawson's breathtaking opus, 'Peasant', should vanquish all of this cosy but destructive nostalgia, smashing our rose smothered glasses with a single mighty blow. Yes, it is true that if you were in the lucky position of say... a nobleman, then chances are your life would have consisted of nothing but bountiful splendour. However, if you were in the far more likely scenario of say... being anything but that, then it's a whole other story entirely.

Kirin J Callinan - Bravado (album review)

Kirin J Callinan is a eccentric as they come as a lyricist and vocalist and the instrumental work on his sophomore record live up to the over the top persona that bleeds through all of his music. Bravado is a perfect concoction of cheesy 80s Pop, Euro dance, emotive American dad rock… Oh wait you don’t think that sounds good? Well it is.

16 Jun 2017

Lorde - Melodrama (album review)

What did Lorde’s debut Pure Heroine tell us about her? It told us she was one of the more introverted members of pop’s elite, it showed she has a fixation with minimal, crisp, raw R&B flavoured beats. It also showed us that as a lyricist Lorde is very thematic; although each track on that album did unfold with its own unique narrative, there was an underlying theme throughout it was about being a teenager and all reveries of that inevitably come attached to the naivety of a 17 year olds mind. Lorde’s sophomore effort holds on to the quintessential elements her music and amplifies them with help from better producers and a lyrical diversity.

As you can probably tell by the cover art,Melodrama is a break up album, but no need to for any tissues here. This album is about finding solace in independence. It’s gloriously triumphant as a whole - however it does throw in a few tearjerkers take like Liability, for instance - sounds like a modernised reincarnation of a track from David Bowie’s Hunky Dory or Lou Reed’s Transformer. Not only through the piano, but through Lorde’s singing style cramming vast amounts of information into each verse and then giving a heart melting chorus which will ooze through the cracks in a broken heart. This song is a lonely ballad about Lorde returning home only to be comforted by her own self “I do my best to meet her demands Play at romance, we slow dance In the living room, but all that a stranger would see Is one girl swaying alone Stroking her cheek”.

13 Jun 2017

The Horrors Return...

They’re back! The Horrors are back! Time for journos and scribblers everywhere to start digging out their tired old chiches and saying things like ‘shimmering’, ‘Southend’, ‘kaleidoscopic’, and ‘neo-psychedelic’ (*yuck*) again. Anyway, the band have released the first single, ‘Machine’, from their as yet untitled fifth album, that will follow on from their superb 2014 effort, ‘Luminous’. The track proves, thank heavens, that they’ve still got it.

10 Jun 2017

Black Lips - Satan's Graffiti or God's Art (album review)

In 2014, The Black Lips released what was critically described as a last gasp swipe for the mainstream, Underneath The Rainbow, a fairly solid yet ultimately characterless affair. In all honesty,  a Black Lips record in 2017 seemed like the last thing that would cause any kind of intrigue to me. Lo and behold though, what we have here in their 2017 effort Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art is a conceptual, clever, but ultimately wild and uncontrollable record that is bafflingly good.

Chugging Gun Club fuckabouts like Lucid Nightmare might seem the most sonically appealing at first; this is classic Black Lips, why people fucking love them. But instead, no; the appeal of this record comes from the obnoxious amount of sonic ground they cover throughout.

9 Jun 2017

Into Beach House's World... Chariot

This dream pop band has released a new single called Chariot last month. The band which began in 2004, I see as being the catalyst what far shoegaze is all about today. Their previous albums Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars were so dreamy and mystical, I didn’t believe they could get better. There is a common consensus, that dream pop and shoegaze is all a bit dim and depressing, but in fact this is the complete opposite (well most of it). This music leaves you stroking your hair and face and feeling a bit fragile (in a good way tho) - exactly what Beach House have achieved.  The lyrics of this track merge into one another, the soft and luxurious voice of Victoria Legrand hides under the surface, allowing the melodies of Alex Scally to seep through, transcending the listener. In a time of stress, Beach House is the perfect band to invite your ears to; they relax and calm your senses. If the quality of this track is mirrored within the upcoming album then ooo its gonna be good. It's the kinda tune which you would’ve slow danced to in an 80s disco, really.

Football is the only sport, Guinness is the only drink, John Cooper Clarke is the only poet

A gift to a nation out of darkened places in cheap streets where murder breeds and cars collide and colours clash. John Cooper Clarke stands to deliver Beasley Street. As he does with many of his poems, he blends satire with thought provoking statements with his unique touch and produces a timeless poem that stands relevant today, to his adoring crowd. When I grow old and sat with regrets, I don’t want one of them to be that I did not succeed in turning everyone I know into nearly a bigger advocate of Cooper Clarke than myself, and witnessing this live.

6 Jun 2017

Driving Blind: A Chat With Ride Ahead Of Their First Album in 21 Years

After a successful couple of years of reunion tours, the almighty shoegaze band from which this blog takes its name are gearing up to release their first album in over 20 years. The rather excellent Weather Diaries is a forward looking explosion of energy, a record that stands up to their best. On a sunny day in a pub in Shoreditch, where the speakers played deep cuts from Blur's much-worse comeback effort Magic Whip while I waited, I met with Andy Bell (guitar, vocals) and Steve Queralt (bass) to talk about everything from politics, producers and pictures.

1 Jun 2017

HUMAN PARASITES: A chat with depraved art-punks LICE

Bristol band LICE have been cropping up all over London recently, and for good reason. Their live shows brim with bloodthirsty, shamanic performances, whilst choppy, searing instrumentation sets them way above the Fall comparisons people make. Garnering fans across the city have taken them in as part of the emerging crop of amazing bands springing up over London, (Charlie from Shame said “of course LICE are part of the scene” when I interviewed them earlier this month for CLASH) they’re a band with so much potential to unleash great song after great song of obnoxious, misanthropic, ugly social commentary.

Catch up first by reading our review of their single, Human Parasite, right now. 

29 May 2017

Jlin - Black Origami (album review)

There’s a scene in Toy Story where Buzz and Woody are trapped in the Sid’s bedroom; he decapitates toys and switches their bodies creating Frankensteinien monstrosities who are introduced as terrifying, but in the end they play a key part in the protagainsts escape. The various snips and snags and jagged fluency of Jlin's sophomore Black Origami sounds like it is a collection of compositions created by these unlikely heroes. It’s a dark and completely shattered form of unique beauty.