30 Jul 2014

Morrissey / World Peace Is None Of Your Business (Album Review)

He's back. The animal rights king and ex-smiths frontman with an incredibly successful career spanning over 30 years. Morrissey's 10th studio album was released on the 15th July 2014 with a beautifully Moz-esque title, World Peace Is None Of Your Business. 5 years after his last album, it was announced in May that he would be releasing this album and with the album reveal came the release of the title track. Of course the title caused some controversy, but it's Morrissey, what did you expect? A second single was then released, called Istanbul. Regarded by many as a better single than the title track and received with much less criticism, the buzz around this new album only grew. When it was finally released two weeks ago, the album went (almost) straight to number 2 in the UK Album Charts. Receiving mostly positive reviews and some people calling this one of Morrissey's greatest solo albums, the tenth solo album for Moz follows in the line of success that his other albums have generated. Here's our review and opinions on World Peace is None of Your Business.



Opening the album, the title track and first single contains some of the more controversial lyrics within this album. Morrissey wails "work hard and sweetly pay your taxes/never asking what for" over the shake and almost melodic piano and guitar chords which all all combine and form a wonderfully prolific album opener. Moving into the second song, Neal Cassidy Drops Dead the controversial lyrics stay the same, however this time the lyrics everyone has babies/babies full of rabies" are sung over harder, rockier riffs and more definite drum beats as opposed to the calm opening track. One of my personal favourite songs off the album, this song shows off Morrissey's musical range while encorperating an almost exotic and spanishy feel which is present on a collection of other songs on this album. The use of guitar plucking and flamenco-esque rhythms makes halfway through the song makes this a gorgeously unique listen. As the album continues, it quickly switches between musical styles, as the third track I'm Not A Man is a stunning ballad, with the vocals being overpowering and the melody playing behind being almost not needed until halfway through when a moody chord progression brings the slower song to life. A truly beautiful track. Istanbul was the second single to be released from this album, and it is my second favourite song overall. The song itself has an almost how-soon-is-now feel to it, with an exceptional combination of a first-rate band and a genius lyricist coming together in the absolute best way on this track. Once again including the exotic feel I mentioned beforehand, it is almost like a Smiths track which has been made in 2014, dragged around in some European culture and then been polished with witty lyricisms from the man himself. This Spanish mood is continued into the next track Earth Is The Loneliest Planet where it is possibly the most present. The opening chords sound like they have been stolen from a flamenco show, but with the lyrics "day after day/you say one day, one day" being warbled over the top in the most artistic way, it all works incredibly well. One of the strongest tracks off the album definitely. 


Tracks 6,7 and 8 are all wonderfully classic Morrissey tracks, and exactly the sort of album fillers you would expect. Not the strongest songs, but with his controversial lyrics and catchy indie melodies, they are just what's needed to fill up this album. A couple of brilliant songs, but nothing overly special. Track 9 however, is where it gets a bit weird. Smiler With A Knife sounds like it could soundtrack a tragedy in movie. An ironic reference to the unfinished film by Orson Wells or just a wonderful coincidence? "Smiler with a knife/it's your big night" are the haunting lyrics that stood out to me and although the song itself fails to ever really get going, it's still a great track for a middle-of-the-album track. The tracks that follow contain typical Moz-esque views on marriage on Kick The Bride Down The Isle,' and the following two tracks show off a range of genres and styles, but somehow all still feels incredibly Morrissey-like, which All in all, th final song Oboe Concerto which includes a wonderful wailing of "there's a song I can't stand/it's stuck in my head" during the chorus, brings the album to an outstanding conclusion.



However, this is a review of the deluxe album, meaning there are five bonus tracks, of which my favourite song is a part of. The first four extra tracks are nothing special, although all great songs, they are just once again typical album fillers. However, the final song is probably up there with my favourite Morrissey songs ever. It's my favourite song off this album, and it's called Art Hounds. Starting with an all-trumpet jazzy intro, before launching into an exquisite joining together of excessively pronounced and ingenious lyrics with one of the more energetic and rocky tracks. A sort of Everyday Is Like Sunday vibe comes from this song, but definitely manages to be totally unique aside from the resemblence.

Overall, Morrissey's 10th album has lived up to his extensive reputation and has not disappointed in anyway at all. Well done Moz, you still got it.

Vapour Trail Album Rating: 17/20 


(WRITTEN BY POPPY MARRIOTT)

Vapour Trail interviews... David Vachon and Jim Swainston of Black Moth



Black Moth are one of my favourite bands at the moment. Combining stoner rock, classic rock and metal, they're one of the most exciting bands on the scene at the moment. They played (what I believed to be) the finest set of the whole Truck Festival. Since, I've caught up with Dave Vachon (bassist) and Jim Swainston (guitarist) about all things Black Moth, Truck, and the stunning Leeds music scene... 


Hello! Did you see anyone else's set at Truck? If so, who were the best?

David -Myself and Nico (Carew, guitarist) managed to catch a glimpse of Deap Valley which are cool, kind of a mix of Jack White and country girl vibes. Also we managed to have a quick catch up with our pals DZ Deathrays who played an ace set.


How did the crowd, and the atmosphere of Truck's converted cowshed compare to other places you've played?

David -We have played some odd places before but a cow shed defiantly puts it up there. We once played an ex slaughter house in Germany and our dressing room was an old chiller room.

Jim -The Truck goers were great. Everyone was dead up for it and The Cowshed was suitably dingy for some rock and roll.


Hookworms - Leeds' finest
The Leeds music scene is pretty great right now, who are your favourite bands from that scene?

David -There are so many rad bands coming out of the Leeds scene right now it's hard to say. I always love to watch Hawk Eyes live and they are lovely guys.

Jim -Kings have a cool new E.P. out, and Bongcauldron are great for pure riffs. Blacklisters are awesome live and their debut album was great. That Fucking Tank have been favourites in the scene for ages. The two tracks Pulled Apart By Horses have just released suggests their new album is gonna be killer. Curious to know what Rent Boys are up to these days and I'm wishing Normal Man were still active. The Gin House (Leeds record label) artists are always cool to watch, with X-ray Cat Trio being my favourite (I'm biased of course as It's Nico's band). The list could go on and on.....


Are you fans of the band (my personal favourites) Hookworms at all?

Jim -Yeah I really enjoy listening to Pearl Mystic and seeing them live. Looking forward to hearing new material.

David -Because Leeds music scene is such a tight knit community you can often find us drinking together in bars.


Do you have any huge influences that aren't particularly obvious, or on the heavy side of music? (I think I hear a lot of High Rise and Mainliner in your sound)

Jim -It's hard to single out an obscurer huge influence as we all contribute to writing and are quite a diverse bunch when it comes to our listening habits. I can see where you're coming from with the references to High Rise and Mainliner as they sit at the heavier and more intense end of the garage spectrum. I reckon they're probably fans of The Stooges. That's a band I can say I have never wavered in being a fan of. Aside to listening to garage rock one of my most listened to albums over the past few years has been Advaitic Songs by Om.

David -I'm a huge Pink Floyd fan. I grew up on all my dad's vinyls, all mainly 70's stuff from Small Faces to Black Sabbath.


I've heard the second LP is out in September, are there any other details you could share?
Black Moth LP #2 - Condemned to Hope

David -Well the release date is set for September the 15th and it's limited to 500 copies on a special American style gatefold sleeve. Oh, and the artwork is done by the legendary Roger Dean!


The new songs sounded great at Truck, what were they called? (or if you still have it, what was the setlist for the Truck slot)

David -The new songs we played are; Undead King of Rock and Roll, Tumbleweave and White Lies!
(Tumbleweave is available for online streaming)


Are there any other albums out, or coming out this year that you're really into, or really looking forward to?

Jim -Our labelmates Limb released their debut earlier in the year and it's ace. The new track Solid Gold from Turbowolf is great and I think they should have a new album on the way. I've just been listening to Rapt by Karen O, which has got me excited for her new release. I loved Fever To Tell when it came out. Sleep have just released their first track in decades. I'm dead excited by the prospect of more from them!

David -Pulled Apart by Horses recorded their album at the same time as us and are releasing their album in September too. At one point it was a battle of studios and equipment because we used the same engineers who had to share out the gear. Looking forward to hearing the rest of their album.
A Soundgarden / Black Moth tour... you can dream


If you could tour with anyone as support, who would they be?

David -Soundgarden

And if you were in charge of a huge festival, and had to pick three headliners, who would they be?

David -Hendrix, Elton John, and Pink Floyd!


And lastly, who would comprise your dream supergroup, and why?

David -That's a tough one; Josh Homme, Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones! Oh wait, that's "Them Crooked Vultures".

Jim -hmmmm.... I haven’t thought too long and hard about whether this would work but I’d be interested to hear what Harriet Bevan, Jim Sclavunos, Warren Ellis and Q-Tip would come up with.



Black Moth played Truck on July 18th, and their second album, 'Condemned to Hope' is out September 15th! It's available to pre-order, and they still have some festival dates on the way; including Raw Power with Acid Mothers Temple, Teeth of the Sea, Younghusband and Bo Ningen!

(QUESTIONS ASKED AND EDITED BY CALUM CASHIN)

27 Jul 2014

EP Review: "And Everything Goes Still" by Slumber Girls

Here at Vapour Trail we are passionate about helping great new bands get the listens and the recognition they deserve, so we offer bands the chance to send up new EP's and we will review them and share it with our audience. Our latest review? Indie band 'Slumber Girls' new EP, "And Everything Goes Still.." 

Three piece Slumber Girls formed about a year and a half ago in Hertfordshire. They class themselves as a combination of genres including pop, punk, alternative, and have elements of shoegaze to them, although they have said that is it not their main focus to be a shoegazey band. However, a lot of the inspiration for this EP came from bands like My Bloody Valentine and Smashing Pumpkins and you can clearly hear the variety of influences in this EP, which is why it is so interesting and wonderful to listen to.



This EP is on soundcloud and contains three songs. The opening track; "A Bigger Splash" sounds like a combination of indie band Drowners, mixed with slightly punkier and huskier tones, making it totally unique. It keeps the upbeat, feel good, summery mood to the song without venturing too far in the dark, but it is enough to give them a fresh new sound.  The combination of the slightly-less-dominating verses with the bit-more-in-your-face chorus's makes for a fantastic pop track with a massive element of post-punk to it. 

The second song, "Creole" is much more chilled out than the dancey opener, and as the band play massively strong guitar riffs over self described 'slacker-punk' drum beats, lead singer Chris Scarbourough wails "How is it possible/that you could be so cool?" the mass of influences that this band take on becomes incredibly present. The element of post punk and punk combined is most present in final song "Melt."  

Stronger and grungier guitar riffs are combined with quicker and harder drum beats, bringing back the energetic feel to the EP that it began with. Full of angsty lyrics and a fantastic build up half way through the song with the repetition of lyrics "I'm ready to melt.." before a brilliant drum drop and continuation of the chorus takes you through to the end of the EP.

Overall, an amazing combination of genres and influences create a beautifully prolific EP which show off the up and coming talents of this band and their progression into an A* alternative band. With plans to tour in December time and an already-growing fan base, this band are sure to get big soon. Remember, you heard it here first! 

Check out the EP out for yourself here and check out Slumber Girls website here, where you can find links to all their social networks and download this EP. 


(written by Poppy Marriott)


-if you are an up and coming band and you would like us to review your music, then go to this page to get in touch with us-

Truck Festival 2014; a (probably too) big round up of the weekend...

For me, last year Latitude had the best festival line up. Nothing really got its foot in the door when compared to the 2013 bill that saw DIIV and Japandroids in one night consecutively and the booking of the likes of a pre-album Drenge, Temples, Hookworms, Glenn Tilbrook and the almighty Kraftwerk. In 2013 it would be difficult to believe that Latitude could be topped in 2014 by another festival, but quelle surprise! Truck Festival in Oxfordshire not only has what is potentially better than Norfolk's 2014 billing, but it took place on the same weekend. So the festival-goer was to be faced with a dilemma; Truck or Latitude. And despite the fact I just loved Latitude last year, Truck looked too good to miss. And, well, it was too good and as you've probably gathered if you're reading this, I opted for Truck. Well, maybe the lack of Slowdive wasn't the best, but what can you expect?
The site itself is fantastic; a great atmosphere is mixed with good facilities with everything being in close proximity to everything else. It was really close to a Co-Op, but the food wasn't actually that expensive on top of that, and there was a stall selling coffee for a quid as well as a Merchandise tent that sold a huge amount of vinyl. As well as that, the weather was genuinely great and it poised Truck to be a fantastic festival.


Friday - The Bands (in a probably slightly chronological but otherwise no particular order)

Friday was, for me, the most full on day of the festival. I saw an unusual amount of metal bands, and the crowd was really very up for it. Of course the show was stolen by the well selected headliners, but lots of great bands played throughout the day.


The St. Pierre Snake Invasion

TSPSI were the first band I saw, taking to the Barn in the early parts of Friday afternoon. A four piece from Bristol, they mixed hard, stoner rock with full-on metalcore on a conquest to spite the landfill indie of the 00's - Razorlight and co. being particular targets. TSPSI's highlight had to be the venomous but pure Say No To Stop Motion - a heavy ode some of the greatest bands ever, demonstrating that TSPSI had a much greater cannon of influences than almost anyone I saw over the weekend. Lines that stuck and resonated were 'you should be listening to Billie Holiday', 'You should be listening to Shellac' and 'You should be listening to The Fall/You should be listening to The Fall'. I mean, how many metal bands can show a taste in music that great? The singer too, full of passion and hatred used the slots in between songs to give anyone that left the Barn the finger and to address those into 'indie shit' that didn't appreciate TSPSI. Although I'm very into my indie shit, I thought they were just fucking brilliant.
Rating - 16/20

Canterbury

Again, Canterbury are more to the metal-side of the radar than I'd normally favour, but they were pretty special. I only went to see them because my illegally-downloaded-Clashfinder times got theirs and Black Moth's sets muddled up. With the small-ish crowd in the converted cowshed knowing a lot of their lyrics, Canterbury's energy fuelled set was very well recieved, and they delivered much more than you could have expected.
Rating - 14/20

Fickle Friends

Fickle Friends were a very tight five-piece, championing the South Coast for the likes of me. But whilst their sound was calculated, they sounded a bit like 50% of the other bands, in that they were sort of the missing link between The Kooks and Foals. Still, they were energetic, talented, and frontwoman Natassja Shiner had a good voice on her. They're certainly future darlings of the music press, and ones to watch for the future, probably.
Rating - 11/20




Black Moth

Hailing, like my two favourite contemporary bands Eagulls and Hookworms, from the fantastic Leeds music scene, the stoner rock five piece known to us as Black Moth were quite possibly the best band on the entire Truck bill. Turning up later than billed, Black Moth took to The Barn at almost 5 o'clock, clad in their compulsory all-black, even if only one of the five members wasn't topless. "You're the Oxfordshire heavy contingent, right?' the frontwoman rallied, before they rattled through two polished heavy numbers. The beautifully-blood-curdling-voiced frontwoman Hazel Bevan then called for, in her simply gorgeous speaking voice, a mental mid-afternoon moshpit. But of course they were Black Moth, so unlike the previous bands in the Barn, the crowd happily obliged for the rest of the set turning the part-time cowshed into a battleground for some part-time bloodshed.
The band then careered into what is probably their finest song; the Brain Donor-come-Sabbath anthem Blackbirds Fall, showed off riffs to rival High Rise and vox that vanquish almost any other vocalist in the metal-genre. Bevan's prowess as the perfect frontwoman was on show, for not only did her otherworldly stage presence direct all the eyes in the house to herself, but her voice was a thing of sheer metallic majesty. But not only was the obvious Blackbirds Fall great, but the new numbers for their forthcoming sophomore album - Condemned to Hope - were really mesmerising, and Black Moth LP2 is a really quite exciting prospect. But of course, you can't forget the rest of the set, which was made up of their quite possibly perfect debut album; The Killing Jar; the LP that announced the presence of The Moth to the world way back when in 2012. So, quite naturally the Truck set was elegantly crafted to perfection, and from the murky beginnings to the energetic endings, Black Moth stunned.
Rating - 20/20

Catfish and the Bottlemen

Stumbling amply out of the greatest set of the weekend, I took a walk to the main stage to see NME's buzziest buzz band; Catfish and the Bottlemen. Not really knowing what to expect, I wandered towards the Main Stage to see Catfish and his Bottlemen entertain the crowd. I've been told time and time again that their music is supposed to be the next big thing, and although Sidewinder was quite catchy when it came out, I've really not understood the hype around the band. Catfish are by no means terrible; their music isn't dire; it's just faceless, dull and inoffensive. Which might be worse. They are, to put it bluntly, the missing link between 2013's AM and Coldplay. The frontman, Van McCann (is that his real name? If I was choosing my name it wouldn't be that bland. He sounds like a member of Spinal Tap V2.0) took centre stage, and the backing group kind of stood in the shadows, unnoticed. However, unlike when Echo & the Bunnymen and such bands adopt similar stage presence policies, Catfish and the Bottlemen's 'Catfish' lacked the charisma needed to be such a figure. Whilst the crowd really dug them, I couldn't quite hack their middle-of-the-road indie pop, and the prospect of everyone raving about them and their album later this year is genuinely terrible.
Rating - 8/20


Peace

After Catfish, well, no after Black Moth wiped me out completely, I had a bit of a break before watching perennial favourites Peace. I first saw Peace at the Joiners, in 2012 and since then they've evolved wonderfully, from a promising Eevee into a . awe-inducing Flareon of psych majesty. They subheadlined Truck, and as the evening drew in they took to the stage. When they opened with the stunning Follow Baby, the first bit of music they ever put out back in mid-2012, the crowd were just as animated as they'd been all day. Wait. No, more animated. Fuck it, twice as animated. The atmosphere was electric (honey) and even through Cali Daze and Float Forever there was persistent moshpits, that couldn't bow down even for the slow melodic numbers. Even the new songs, that aren't really THAT great sounded fantastic; Money reached bubonic levels of catchiness, and World Pleasure was just. It was just. Well, it was brilliant, but on top of that it was just a prelude for the almighty Bloodshake, which even though I've seen it live a host of times already, was the highlight of my week. Even the fact that they didn't play 1998 couldn't ruin Peace's set
Rating - 19/20


The Cribs

Whilst making a band The Cribs' size headline was an absolute no-brainer, The Cribs' rattled through a whole host of their biggest and best songs. Just as they go about their career, they started their set in a suitably low-key manner. They just walked out, and played the songs without making that big a deal of it. With a set heavily built up on Men's Needs... The Cribs' hour long set sounded pretty fantastic. They were extremely tight, and with the help of a shadowy second guitarist they sounded strong - Another Number and Come on Be A No One were two of the weekend's highlights. HOWEVER, Be Safe played live wasn't to be the expected out-of-body interstellar experience, because the sound guys seemed to have cocked up the monologue so that it couldn't be heard over the crowd. But to make up for that, Men's Needs was every bit as great as expected as the band gave it a lengthy instrumental prologue. Whilst they lacked the headliner-status stage presence, hardly speaking between songs, their sound and their songs made the Cribs arguably the best headliners of the two.
Rating - 16/20



Saturday - The Bands (in the same "I think it was that order but I don't know" kind of chronology)

I didn't start on bands that I knew who they were til mid-afternoon on Saturday, and it was a day awash more with indie than anything else. As well as the mentioned bands, I saw a  bloke do a really stunning Neil Young cover, Woahnows sounding pretty great and experienced a rave. Saturday was mabye as great as Friday.

Superfood

Becuase the likes of Swim Deep and Wolf Alice so clearly cash in on the success of fellow Brummies Peace, I expected Superfood to be a similar affair. I'd seen them in an embryonic form in the earlier stages of last year three times, so I thought I knew what to expect from Superfood and sat down on the grassy knoll. Maybe ready to assassinate more purveyors of future landfill indie rock, like a demin-clad Lee H. But emerging from their (quite weak) zygotesque beginnings, Superfood were a fully formed, totally talented band in their own right, and they sounded absolutely stunning. As if The Mam EP has changed them significantly as a band. The teetering uncertainty of Melting translated superbly for the festival set up, and Superfood; the song that had been there from the very start sounded incredible. Through the indie-revivalists' set, I was almost in awe at the transformation they'd undergone to reach these levels of brilliance.
Rating - 16/20


Darlia

Darlia are another NME hype band that I thought weren't really up to much. With their look-how-Nirvana-we-are hairstyles and their tacky EP covers, I thought they weren't really up to much at all. But live, oh boy! They were on another plain to their studio stuff; charged with energy, hormones, and lager they hammered through a solid set to a Market Stage tent that was overflowing. Their energetic set, powered by their Nirvana-isms and their 80's college rock tinged indie sound, Darlia's amateurish lyrics were outweighed by the gusto with which they were belted out to a surprisingly huge crowd!
Rating - 15/20


Swim Deep

Like Superfood, I've seen Swim Deep a handful of times, and each time they've been the same; they've sung good songs badly, or good songs wasted, or something like that. At Truck, they did exactly the same but to an even more polarized extent; whilst Honey is one of the best pop songs of the last few years, it sounded weaker than Tesco's own brand cider here. It all just blended into one shallow wishy washy sound, like a cup of tea with too much milk in. Their summery sound did translate well, but poorly executed vocals and all that lark made them seem unprofessional and tacky. Unlike Superfood, they seemed very much a band in Peace's shadow, riding on the success of the four piece, and even dressing like a cheap rip-off. Still, King City sounded pretty good, and the crowd made it an alright thirty minutes.
Rating - 4/20

Gang of Four

One of the few true veterans on the bill, Gang of Four, or rather now Gang of One and some other guys as they're down to Andy Gill as their sole original member. But still they sound fantastic, with that Teardrop Explodes style bass tone and a new frontman that sounds and acts like Jon King they were scintillating. They played a few stunning new songs before ploughing through some great hits. Anthrax's twin-vox noise fest sounded stunning, with Andy Gill's guitar flying all around the stage. Third to last they played their stunning debut single Damaged Goods which was just on another planet, before being the only band to close their set with 2 songs banned officially by the BBC. I Love A Man In Uniform sounded brilliant, the song was of course one of a huge amount banned during the Gulf War, but what really stole the show was the anthemic closer; At Home He's A Tourist. Gang of Four were just brilliant, and you've got to question the sanity of anyone that missed them for Circa Waves really. course one of a huge amount banned during the Gulf War, but what really stole the show was the anthemic closer;
In an earlier post, I interviewed Gang of Four's only original member, Andy Gill HERE.
Rating - 18/20


White Lies

I was really quite cynical about the choice of White Lies as headliners, I mean I'd not listened to them much, but they seemed very much on the Bombay Cinema Club side of indie rock. But boy oh boy, with more passion than a Shakespeare soliloquy and choruses that you could sing on the second time round, White Lies were pretty brilliant on the Sunday night. Whilst they're not my thing at all, like quite a few of the bands on this list, White Lies were so completely mesmerising, and moving. I'm not nauseating enough to say they 'killed it', but BOY they were fantastic. They embraced the headliner slot unlike the Cribs, and whilst their songs probably weren't as strong they were really a great choice to headline.
Rating - 17/20


The Top Five
1. Black Moth (20/20)
2. Peace (19/20)
3. Gang of Four (18/20)
4. White Lies (17/20)
5. The Cribs (16/20)
= The St. Pierre Snake Invasion (16/20)
= Superfood (16/20)

(WRITTEN BY CALUM CASHIN)
Photography credit goes to James Polley Photography

24 Jul 2014

Latitude Festival 2014; best year yet?

With a line-up to cater for people of all ages and musical genres, this years Latitude promised to be one of the greatest years so far. As it is my local festival, this was my ninth year attending the festival, so I pretty much knew what to expect upon arriving. There was a small part of me that before this weekend wished I had opted to go to Truck Festival, but I cannot fathom how glad I am that I didn't. Don't get me wrong, the line-up was very good, and after hearing about it from a lot of people, Truck sounded like great fun, but Latitude is all together such a special festival. I would have been incredibly upset not to return to the scenic Suffolk countryside with a whole load of alcohol and a big group of mates, staying in a tent that leaked during the two night thunderstorms and gathered copious amounts of ants during the four days ...what was I saying? Overall, I think Latitude is one of the nicest festivals in the world, and although the lineup may not be the best, the whole experience is unbeatable; even if it was £2.50 for a bottle of water. Anyway, enough about the festival itself, I have a lot to talk about in terms of bands so starting with the headliners, here's my verdict on Latitude 2014. 





The Headliners:

Lily Allen: An incredibly last minute substitution for Two Door Cinema Club, this announcement caused a whole lot of controversy on social networks, including myself who is not the biggest fan of Lily Allen. I have nothing against her music, I think her earlier albums were a lot stronger and even if 'Sheezus' does contain a couple of good tracks, it is half the grossly misguided comments that Allen makes about a lot of very important issues such as feminism and sexism in the music industry. Enough about that though, I want to talk about her set and her set alone. Putting every opinion I have of her aside, Lily Allen absolutely crushed this set. Not only did she fit a cover of TDCC's Something Good Can Work into her set as a 'get well soon wish' to Alex, she commanded the audience like nobody's business. All the classics came into the set including my personal favourite, a hilarious rendition of Fuck You which involved the 35,000 person audience all sticking their middle fingers up to the stage and swearing at the top of their lungs. Not too inkeeping with the 'family friendly' ethos that Latitude is famous for, but a whole lot of fun. Overall, I think that Allen performed fantastically and was definitely my favourite Obelisk Arena headline act. (I still don't like half the stuff she bangs on about though, just stick to singing Lily, you'll be much better off that way) 

Rating: 15/20

Damon (yawn) Albarn: I listened to two songs before leaving the cancerously bland set. Apparently he was very good (yawn) but with his set list lacking Song 2, Girls and Boys & Parklife, I am very happy I left. Ok, Graham Coxon joined him onstage and they played Tender together, and Ok, he played two Gorillaz tracks, but the rest of it was his bollocks solo music which (can you guess?) I'm not a fan of. Sorry Damon, you really didn't rock the Obelisk.

Rating: 3/20

The Black Keys: I'm sort of torn between two regarding this set, because on one hand I really enjoyed it and I am utterly glad I got to see them live, but on the other hand, I got quite bored. I don't know whether it was due to tiredness and the lack of being in the mosh pit, but if a band's set is really that good, then it should be enough to get you wanting to dance and enjoy yourself. (much like Foals last year) The set contained all the greats, including my personal favourite, Lonely Boy, which sent the huge crowd into a beautiful frenzy of jumping and shouting. Overall, not a bad set, but would have rather seen someone else headline. 
Rating: 13/20

Roskopp & Robyn: The only BBC 6 Music Stage headliners I saw after leaving the ever so dull Damon Alburn's set, this weird looking, electronic, lets-get-everyone-feeling-like-they're-on-drugs, full of strobing set was utterly brilliant. I have never been an avid follower of this style of music, but I knew a few tracks such as Robyn's Dancing On My Own and The Girl And The Robot, both of which were equally amazing. Saturday night at Latitude had a lot to live up to after seeing the flawless Kraftwerk last year (mind blowing) but Royskopp and Robyn did it justice. Up there with my favourite acts of the weekend. 

Rating: 16/20




Friday:

Temples: The always sparkly, afro bearing front man James Bagshaw along with the remaining members of this wondrous band were the first proper act I went to see at Latitude this year. Not only were my high expectations met, but they were crushed. Absolutely fantastic show, played all the songs I hoped for with the perfect amount of album promo thrown in there. I had the pleasure of photographing this band in action, and I couldn't have asked for a better first band. Recommend going to see this band play live to anyone and everyone. 
Rating: 16/20

Childhood: One of my favourite up and coming bands, Childhood totally smashed their set. Playing the Lake Stage, this young band gathered quite a crowd with their summer ready songs like Solemn Skies and Blue Velvet. Recently announcing their debut album has caused their following to grow and this was apparent with the amount of people watching, even if it was about 4 in the afternoon. Can't wait for the debut album and the chance to see this band again, totally awesome.
Rating: 17/20



Slowdive: Writing about Slowdive is fairly difficult because I am still in utter shock. To quote someone I follow on twitter; "Seeing Slowdive live was like being in the biggest, spaced out sense of euphoria." I feel like that sums it all up perfectly. It was honestly the most mind-blowing, sense shocking, emotion twisting experience I have ever had at a gig. I came out of the tent after their set ended unable to talk for fear of ruining the moment. I also had tears in my eyes. I'm not even sure what it was that affected me so much, but honestly I have never ever been moved like that. Their set was cut short meaning the tracks they played live lacked one of my favourite songs, Alison. Opening with Slowdive & Avalyn there was no disappointment at all. They did however play my personal favourite song When The Sun Hits which is when I was in a total moment of infinite elation. Up there with the best gigs I have ever been to, and Slowdive only played 7 songs. They finished with a cover of Syd Barrett's, Golden Hair and in that moment I could not speak. I will 100% be seeing this band at their newly announced London shows, and I recommend to everyone to go, whether you are a big fan or not, Slowdive live is life changing. Highlight of the weekend, hands down, no question about it.
Rating: 20/20



Saturday:

Booker T Jones: Waddling along to see Booker T at 3pm in the Obelisk Arena with my mum was definitely one of my better decisions I made at the festival. He walked onto the stage, looking cooler than any other other 69 year old ever, and immediately conducted the crowd. He was cheery, energetic, and absolutely full of life. Of course, the absolute highlight was when he played a 7-minute long version of the classic track Green Onions which was brilliant. As the first chords were ploughed into the organ, the roughly-6,000-people-audience all broke into serious skanking with no concern for the sun's horrendously hot beams. What an experience. 
Rating: 15/20

Bombay Bicycle Club: I only saw a few songs by BBC due to a horrible clash with Catfish and the Bottlemen and the fact I have seen them live before, but from what I saw, they played a magnificent set. I spoke to a few audience members afterwards and the reviews were all positive, with a lot of people saying they were glad they played both classics as well as new album tracks. I wish I had been able to stay for the rest of their set, but I heard my favourite song off their new album (Feel) and a few others, so overall, a great set.
Rating: 13/20

Catfish and the Bottlemen: The indie rock quartet led by frontman Van Mc Cann (fabulous name) are about to break. Not only do they have incredible stage presence and a very loyal following, the singles that this band have put out are only getting stronger. With their soon-to-be released album and huge UK tour coming up, there is no doubt that this band will have massive success in the following months. This show alone was enough to convert anyone into a Catfish fan, they absolutely smashed it, and was a definite highlight for me. I would have happily ended my Saturday night with their set, it was phenomenal, and I cannot wait to see them live again at Reading and on their tour.
Rating: 19/20



Sunday:

Haim: The flawless trio of sisters with amazing hair and even better bass faces took to the Obelisk Arena for their third UK festival appearance this year. As they began, more and more people gathered to watch their set and despite some sound issues, they played brilliantly. Fitting in their 'jam session' where they play a terrific rendition of Fleetwood Mac's Oh Well, as well as their classic set-ender where the girls join forces to have a minute long 'drum battle,' alongside album tracks and their most known singles like Falling, The Wire and If I Could Change Your Mind. All these summer-ready songs got the crowd dancing and singing along which made for altogether an amazing atmosphere.
Rating: 17/20

Clean Bandit: Not my personal choice of an act to see, but I was pleasantly surprised. Going in only knowing one song, I seemed to not be alone. However, the dancey, electro-pop songs threw the crowd into a frenzy of jumping and dancing. I honestly enjoyed Clean Bandit's set a lot and I look forward to photographing them when they tour. A truly talented group with a couple of fantastic songs under their belts; including set closer Rather Be. 
Rating: 14/20



Overall, this years Latitude Festival was phenomenal. The combination of genres, ages and styles of all the acts meant that every festival-goer was catered for. No amount of mud, rain, overpriced food and excessive amounts short shorts and crop tops worn by twelve year old hipsters will keep me away. Latitude Festival, I love you, thanks for an impeccable weekend and see you next year.


(Written By Poppy Marriott)

Photo Credit:
Jack Pasco
Danny Payne
Poppy Marriott

23 Jul 2014

Vapour Trail interviews... Andy Gill of Gang of Four

As part of my coverage of Truck festival that will be up over the next few days, I interviewed one or two artists following immensely successful sets. Formed in the late 70's, Gang of Four were a politically empowered post-punk band hailing from Leeds. Despite many line-up changes, Andy Gill, the lead guitarist is the sole original member still touring with the band.


Hi, Andy
Hello Calum

At Truck this weekend, did you manage to see any younger bands you thought were really great?
I didn't manage it at Truck sadly...

Because you formed significantly earlier than 99% of the bands playing, did you feel your set was still really well recieved by younger people like me? What do you think the reception was like for Gang of Four?
Well I'm not sure what you're like! But I'm guessing you mean young. Yes, I thought it was a good reception but generally speaking it's better playing when it's a bit darker. It's one of the interesting things about Gang of Four that we really do have quite a young crowd.
There are still plenty of the older fans who have been fans for decades but we keep picking up younger generations.

The new songs sounded GREAT, when is new material on it's way, and are there any details of a new album?
I'm really glad you liked the new songs, I sometimes worry that people just want the old stuff. There is a new album on the way, it's called What Happens Next!

With the new stuff, is there any brand new influences that weren't there on Content?
I think with Content there may have been a thought that we should keep the sound very simple and, if you like, Gang-of-Four-ish, but with this new record I have kind of cut myself free, which I think is much more in the same spirit as- say Entertainment!

Are there any plans to smash up microwaves in the near future for live shows? Why wasn't there any anti-microwave action at Truck?
Microwaves throughout the land need to be fearful. We didn't at Truck because we didn't really feel like it...

Theoretically, if you could form a dream supergroup with anybody live or dead, who would the members be and why?
Supergroup. Robert Johnson (blues guitarist) with Baudelaire (poet), Erik Satie (classical composer and virtuoso pianist) on keys and Bernard Edwards on bass, obviously.

If you were in charge of a major festival and picking it's three headliners, who would be the three you'd want to headline?
That's tricky. Talking of tricky maybe it might include Massive Attack. Mariah Carey and Celine Dion. No, just joking. I think Daft Punk would be very entertaining. Also, Kanye West? The Mekons?

What do you think about Julian Cope (a personal hero of mine) and his most famous band, the Teardrop Explodes?
I know this is a bit weird but I really don't know what the Teardrop Explodes sounds like. Julian Cope seems to be an extremely entertaining character; my friend Mark Ellen has some quite good stories.

Gang of Four played Truck at 18.15 on the Saturday. They have a new album out soon, called 'What Happens Next'!

(QUESTIONS ASKED & EDITED BY CALUM CASHIN)

14 Jul 2014

A Look At ...LATITUDE FESTIVAL

Latitude Festival. Known as 'Glastonbury's younger sibling' this family-friendly festival is whats kicking off my summer in a matter of days. This year marks the ninth anniversary of Latitude and with Two Door Cinema Club, Damon Alburn and The Black Keys headlining, this year promises to be one to be remembered.



The Headliners:

A spectacularly summery band that form the perfect soundtrack to mud and excessive amounts of alcohol, Two Door Cinema Club's Friday night headline slot in the Obelisk Arena is the ideal set to get you in the festival mood. The energetic pop/dance songs that this band continue to churn out are essential to a summer playlist, and even better when witnessed live. I can't wait to experience TDCC's energetic tracks for the second time , as when I saw them previously, they were absolutely brilliant. I think this band will have no problem commanding the attention of 35,000 people as they take to the main stage on the first night. 

Saturday night headliner Damon Alburn is quite possibly the biggest disappointment for me. Not only has he been given the most important night to headline (of which the honour was bestowed on the mighty Kraftwerk last year) but his recent album is just as discouraging. Sure he's a great live performer, and if he plays any Blur or Gorillaz songs then the atmosphere will be brilliant, but I for one will not be taking the time to go and see a seemingly self indulgent middle aged man bore the audience half to tears. Sorry Damon, you haven't got my vote. 

The honour of closing the festival has fallen this year to The Black Keys. With funky new tracks Fever and Turn Blue being released prior to their new album, it seems as if this band will form a setlist of dance/indie/rock songs which will have the crowd up and dancing the whole night long. I cannot wait to see them play the anthem Lonely Boy as I know the atmosphere will be amazing. I have no doubts that they will fill the huge shoes of last years closing act, Foals, who smashed it. Definitely recommend The Black Keys being your final act to see at Latitude 2014.




The Obelisk Arena:

Other acts playing the main stage include Editors, Crystal Fighters, Kelis, Bombay Bicycle Club, Booker T Jones, First Aid Kit, Tame Impala, Haim and Chrissie Hynde, along with an extensive range of other artists. The acts I will definitely be seeing and recommend seeing are as follows.

Haim: This trio of sisters with good hair and even better dress sense are fresh off multiple tours, a number one album, a slot on the Glasto main stage as well as one at Coachella. Their catchy California rhythms are perfect for energising the crowd on Sunday when everyone is 'starting to feel it a bit.' Expect matching outfits, long hair and a setlist to entice the crowds.

Bombay Bicycle Club: Easily one of my top three albums released this year, the fourth studio album by this London band is so suited to a festival setting, it's almost like that was their aim. Being the penultimate Saturday night main stage act, BBC are they only hope to get the crowd going before they all fall asleep during Damon Alburn's set. Not only are these one of my favourite live bands, but this is not their first time performing at Latitude, so I have high hopes that they will know how to work the crowds and I have no doubt that they'll be amazing.

Booker T Jones: One of the first acts on Saturday, the Green Onions singing superstar is one of the acts booked to cater for an older audience. As a massive fan of Quadrophenia (where I first discovered Green Onions aka one of the grooviest songs EVER written) I am very much looking forward to seeing thousands of people skank along to the utter anthem. 




The BBC Radio 6 Music Stage:

Headlining this stage is Mogwai, Royskopp & Robyn and Lykke Li which is a fairly good combination, but it's the other acts I am most excited for. 

Firstly.. Slowdive. Finally reformed, the pioneers of the 90's shoegaze movement play this stage before headliners Mogwai on the Friday and I am most excited to see these out of every act playing. They have been touring and playing festivals all around the globe, and Latitude is their only UK festival this year. Safe to say, I am utterly ecstatic and couldn't be more happy that I finally get the chance to see one of my favourite bands. 

Also playing the Friday is Temples. The wonderfully glittery front man James Bagshaw alongside the equally sparkly remaining band members promise to put on a show to be remembered. Their new album 'Sun Structures' is laced with high-energy summertime anthems which are sure to get the Friday afternoon crowd jumping.

George Ezra. Playing the second slot on the Sunday morning, his acoustic melodies are the perfect cure to those of us who may be suffering slightly from the night before. His ever-growing fame will ensure that no matter how early he plays, the tent will be full to bursting with fans. Expect guitar riffs and lyrics to entice the senses and set you up for the final day in the best way possible.

Clean Bandit. Fresh off a Glasto slot and a chart topping album, this consistently energetic dance band are the perfect act to get you going for a night to remember. The number one single Rather Be alongside their other get-up-and-dance album tracks promise to get the crowd up and dancing and having a bloody good time.

Hall & Oats. 80's dance legends, Daryl Hall & John Oats take to the BBC Radio 6 Music Stage on the Saturday, and with a fantastic back catalogue of funky tracks including You Make My Dreams Come True and I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) this set it sure to be an unmissable one. 




The Lake Stage and the I Arena:

Catfish & The Bottlemen. The recent announce of their debut album and release of their new single Fallout has propelled this band into the public eye and really got them noticed. Their catchy tunes combined with great hair and skinny jeans form a perfect indie boyband, and I have no doubt that this Welsh band will be able to rock the pre-headline slot on the Lake Stage on Saturday Night. With the other choices for Saturday night being Damon (yawn) Alburn or dance group Royskopp & Robyn, (on later) Catfish & The Bottlemen make the best alternate option.

Circa Waves. Another band who channel summery vibes brilliantly, Circa Waves are sure to fit in swimmingly at Latitude this year. They take to the Lake Stage on the Sunday, so be sure to check them out when you are about to pass out from tiredness as they'll be sure to get to raring to go for the last night. 


Eagulls. Still riding of the fantastic success of their debut band, Eagulls are sure to put on an amazing show. Raw rocky rhythms and thrash drumming is exactly what you need to 'cure' that hangover on Sunday in the i Arena.

Childhood. Great hair, great songs, great personalities. Recently announcing their debut album has given these guys the boost they need into the public eye. Headline tours and support slots galore, these guys are soon going on tour with the legendary Johnny Marr. Definitely one to watch, as they take to the lake stage on Friday afternoon.




Overall, Latitude is such a beautifully unique festival, combining picturesque views with amazing music and hilarious comedy, filled in with film and caberat and topped off with it's family friendly section. It is my local festival, and I have attended every year, and every year it just gets better and better. I adore Latitude and cannot wait for this weekend, as it's my favourite place ever and is sure to kick off my summer in the most perfect way.



Arctic Monkeys @ T in the Park (ft a small rant)

Arctic Monkeys headlined T in the Park this weekend. As the closing act on the Sunday Night, the expectations were incredibly high. Fresh from a massive show at Marlay park in Dublin on the night before, playing to big crowds has become second nature to the Sheffield lads who started in a tiny pub in high green nearly 10 years ago. But sadly this set was not their best.. Where to begin? The fact alex Turner now has more grease in his hair than a waste facility at McDonalds, or maybe about the crowd who knew the words to about four songs? Probably the simple fact that AM was an incredibly mediocre album was enough to get me ranting.

The set opened with the classic Do I Wanna Know which is one of the only decent songs on the album. It is a brilliant set opener and ((usually)) gets the crowd excited enough to set the tone for the rest of the gig. However, as it moved on into the bloody brilliant Brianstorm, it became apparent that this crowd were not going to be overly animated. When I saw this band live at Finsbury Park in May, Brianstorm was one of the greatest experiences ever. Sure, I got kicked in the neck and thought I was going to die on more than one occasion,, but the atmosphere that the mental crowd created, tied together with the enthusiasm of the band was simply unmatchable. I strongly believe that Arctic Monkeys are a band that will always play the songs fantastically, I would never doubt them as musicians, but the gig itself will only be amazing if the crowd are. It's an incredibly crowd dependent gig and if the audience never get going, then you certainly won't have experienced Arctic Monkeys to their full potential. 
As the ever-so-greasy Alex Turner led the audience through a setlist of primarily 'AM' tracks (yawn) it's no shock that the twitter audience twitter started to get pissed off. The 'critical reception' was anything but encouraging, with tweets filling my timeline all complaining about the setlist being repetitive and tedious, and this was certainly not helped by an unenthusiastic crowd who didn't jump, didn't dance, just took pictures the whole gig and barely sang along. No wonder Alex and the rest of the band looked bored and disappointed, I was too.




Highlights of this messy set included Florescent Adolescent, Arabella, My Propeller & R U Mine? which are utter classics. Now that Arctic Monkeys have chosen to start playing My Propeller again, it does give fans a glimmer of hope that they may start playing some older tracks again. The setlist seems overcrowded with new album tracks, and it is missing some of their greatest songs like Teddy Picker and Pretty Visitors which (might I add) are phenomenal live. Before anyone says 'oh, you weren't there, you don't know, it could have been a lot better,' I have actually spoken to people who went, and although there were mosh pits and crowd surfing and surges etc, it's more about the fact that the band are not creating the atmosphere by themselves anymore and they seem to have lost the charming showmanship that they always had. You only have to look back at Glastonbury last year to see what I mean. Maybe it's because they've constantly been touring this album and they're sick of it? I know I am..




As I mentioned in my last post about Arctic Monkeys reviewing their Snap Out Of It Video, (check it out here) this band are pretty much on the verge of selling out. It's become a fashion statement to call yourself 'indie' and to 'like' bands like AM, the 1975, Bastille or Imagine Dragons. A lot of people know Do I Wanna Know? and Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High and think Alex Turner is some sort of sex-god and they decided that this makes them Arctic Monkeys 'biggest fan.' I have nothing against with people liking these bands, sure, each to their own, but do NOT pretend to like them to try and make yourself look different. By calling yourself 'indie' and pretending to like music like this, you are creating a rather foolish persona for yourself, because those four artists I mentioned are now all massively mainstream artists, so really you are the same as everybody else. We are now seeing new generation of 'fake fans' forming, which propel an artist into the public eye when they are not necessarily ready for it which usually results in a album being put out as fast as possible to keep the consumers attention, thus the band sell out. I am no way calling myself a 'real indie kid' because I'm not and I know I'm not, but I listen to music that I actually like and I don't pretend to like bands I don't, simply to fit in.

Who cares what music you listen to, just make sure you are listening to it because you actually like it. 




Sorry this post was a bit of a rant, I just had a lot to say about the set and it sort of snowballed into something I had been wanting to write about for a while.


Written by Poppy Marriott

11 Jul 2014

Royal Blood @ T in the Park

Royal Blood have had quite the year. A slot on the NME Awards tour, their own headline tour, two shows with Arctic Monkeys at Finsbury Park and Marlay Park as well as a ton of confirmed festival appearances and the announcement of their debut album. This duo from Brighton are about to hit the bigtime and they bloody deserve it. The sound that Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher create live is almost unfathomable when you find out it's only a drummer and a bassist. As one of my favourite live acts I have seen this year so far, I decided to review Royal Blood's set at T in the Park from today.



They kicked off their 9-song set with my personal favourite song, Hole, which is the B-side to their second single Little Monster. The deep and dark riffs and thrashing drums formed the perfect opener to a ever-so-energetic set before continuing on the badass rock and roll sound through the third single, Come On Over and in to new song You Can Be So Cruel. The next two songs were two fantastic singles, one being Little Monster and the other being new track Figure It Out.  and Little Monster which threw the audience into a wild moshing frenzy with the majority screaming along to the lyrics, and this continued all through the set. Teasing the crowd with another two new songs which are presumably present on their debut album before finishing the set off with two absolute belters; Loose Change and the single that started it all,  Out Of The Black. Mike Kerr's powerful vocals and phenomenal talents on the bass guitar combined with Ben Thatcher's drumming genius is enough to command an audience of any size and although fairly inexperienced in the festival area, they absolutely crushed this set. I have high expectations for them to do just as amazingly, and probably even better at larger festivals like Reading and Leeds later on this summer.


I watched the livestream of this and the atmosphere that this two piece can create and the sheer noise they make is enough to make you want to be in the crowd more than anything. Even though they were on a smaller stage at the early time of 4.55pm, Royal Blood managed to get the audience jumping and singing along. I am so happy and proud that these two boys are really starting to get somewhere, they really do deserve all the success and listeners that they get. I cannot wait to see them again at Reading and even more so for their debut album. 

Royal Blood's debut album called 'Royal Blood'  is due out on the 25th August 2014.

(Written by Poppy Marriott)

A forgotten classic album - Amon Düül II / Yeti (1970)


The seventies dawned, and thus spawned a revulotion in both German and western music; Krautrock. The genre most famously championed by the likes of early Kraftwerk, NEU! and Faust was also the stage for one of the most mystical, magical bands of the whole era. Amon Düül II, not to be confused with the Amon Düül - a terrorist affiliated hard rock band, were the coolest band of the entire Krautrock scene. Travelling usually as a seven piece (but expanding throughout their career), they were also part of a 'commune' scene in West Germany, so the band lived together throughout the majority of their career as a band.

From the fact their first record alone is called Phallus Dei (God's Penis) gives you an idea of the kind of band with which you're dealing with, but 1970, they released their second LP, the double long player of Yeti. Yeti is a psychic prog rock epic, split half and half between written songs, and perfectly orchestrated improvised epics that is quite possibly the greatest German album of all time.

From it's sinister, dark-energy channelling waves, to the cloaked grim reaper figure, the sleeve to Yeti is about as good a way to sum up Yeti as any words can manage. The figure is in fact Wolfgang Krischke - Amon Düül II's sound man, who died because he took too much LSD, dressed as the grim reaper, and due to the Krischke mysticism Yeti's cover is about as good as they come.

The shamanic genius of this, the most unusual of great records begins at the begin. For it opens with a mini psyche-symphony Soap Shop Rock, a four part long acid-drenched odyssey that would put Meddle-ing Floyd to shame! The free flowing first part, Burning Sister combines a Television pulse with a silky King Crimson quality, before the dissonant, shrill vocals turn Soap Shop Rock into something else entirely. The third part of the psyche-symphony that opens Yeti, Burn A Sonata, is just dark and unearthly, as a short instruemental, and the paranoia of Flesh-Coloured Anti-Aircraft Alarm brings the album's highlight to a close in the darkest, bleakest fashion. Vocals in a strong German accent caterwaul "They say you are the one!", as Soap Shop Rock crescendos, before disappearing into the eerie darkness of the rest of Yeti.

The organ driven psychedelia of She Came Through the Chimney is accompanied by a supressed, claustrophobic wind section, alongside bongo-led precussion. The next song, the opener to the somewhat normal-yet-still-pulse-racingly-exciting Side 2 is Archangels Thunderbird - the riff-driven hard rock tune that sees wailing female singer Renate's voice wavering up and down and up and down to a Tom Verlaine style guitar voice. The listener then hears a slurp, followed by tentative, sniping Salsa guitars; this is Cerberus, the folkiest offering from Yeti. John Weinzierl's tiptoeing guitar playing is accompanied at first by an oriental raga-style band, until a spaced out distorted guitar comes in and finishes the song Spiritualized.

The last two songs on Yeti's first of two LPs are both highlights; The Eye Shaking King and Pale Gallery.  The Eye Shaking King is Yeti at it's most out of control - and that's including the wholly improvised Sides 3 & 4, which are still yet to come. Stifled vocals and electrifying guitars, combined with a killer false ending leaves the listener breathless on the edge of their seat. Pale Gallery is luscious and sort of ambient, and carried along by a marching drum beat, before fading away to nothingness to give way to the second part of the album.

You wouldn't think it possible, but the title track sounds just like the sleeve looks, even more so than the rest of an album. In the beginning, there is evil, darkness, and nothing else. Amon Düül II build up such a suspenseful atmosphere at the beginning of the piece; clad in mysticism and flowing free, Yeti sprawls for over 18 minutes of dark, improvised prog mayhem. Whilst it lacks the edge of the first half of the record, it's certainly a cut above anything else that's meant to be improvised on a pop record. It even gets a bit 'I Am the Resurrection' six minutes from it's conclusion.

The other two instrumentals are along a similar vane; both topping the 6 minute mark, and both have names that don't look out of place on this record; Yeti Talks To Yogi is followed by Sandoz in the Rain. The first is relatively run of the mill, but with Sandoz in the Rain's guest musicians, Amon Düül II is turned into a krautrock supergroup! Amon Düül II are joined by Rainer Bauer (who has a brilliant voice throughout the piece) and Ulrich Leopold; both of them being from Amon Düül (the earlier mentioned band of anarchists) as well as the flutist from Tangerine Dream. Through these additions to the band, Sandoz in the Rain is an affair from a whole other planet; it is embryonic space rock. At nine minutes, the beautiful closer is, well a beautiful closer to Yeti.

But that's not quite it; if you buy the reissued CD, Amon Düül II exhibit an even better song title. I mean, who wouldn't want to listen to the Düül playing a song called Rattlesnakeplumcake?

But, overall the mystical, mythical magic of the commune that is Amon Düül II and their second album Yeti make for one of the most exciting and interesting albums of the entire Krautrock movement AND of the entire seventies too. This wonderful record is an amalgamation of all the prog sounds of King Crimson, the outstretching motorik of NEU! and the angsty drive of Television. Whilst it's not quite as well-known as say, The Faust Tapes or NEU! 75, Yeti is an artistic triumph of the highest order.

If you managed to read this post this far down, well done, and here's the album Yeti;

(Written by Calum Cashin)