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.

24 Jul 2017

Introducing Anna Tosh...

London's Anna Tosh is an artist who's had a career in many bands; Wildhood, Love Nor Money, Hey Gravity and Shotgun Venus to name a few; but 2017 sees her jet off in the direction that is entirely of her own creative vision. On her debut single Weightless, what we have is gritty, metronomic rock, her cutting voice atop a lightning tight musical backdrop makes for something that sounds constantly on edge during the verses, constantly creating a taut and uneasy atmosphere before the sugar sweet catharsis of the choruses offer a breather.

18 Jul 2017

Pop Crimes: Revisiting The Film Noir World Of Rowland S. Howard

"Rowland was Australia's most unique, gifted and uncompromising guitarist. He was also a good friend. He will be missed by many." - Nick Cave

The Birthday Party set the world alight between their formation at the end of the seventies and the mid-eighties. Here we had a band that had the raw, depraved toxicity of The Cramps, combined with the lethal onstage energetic output of The Stooges and the oblique gloom of Joy Division, but a band that did this without compromising their literary prowess. The Birthday Party's focal point was the central duo of one Nick Cave, singer, screecher, squawker, and Rowland S. Howard, a guitarist whose fractured, splintered playing was delivered with such venomous vigour that he was able to share the onstage limelight with Cave, something that miscellaneous Bad Seeds could not quite match up to (whether they tried to or not). 

17 Jul 2017

Raw Power: an interview with the almighty Bo Gritz

Bo Gritz are a noise-rock band like no other; a pummelling screech of industrial guitar noise, their sound is invasive and unignorable. Indeed, if you've caught them as the support for the likes of Ho99o9, HMLTD, Table Scraps and Taman Shud, you'll be fully aware they deliver so much noise with such an intensity that you simply can't help but be engulfed. Last week, I caught up with them for a quick chat.