28 Apr 2015

The Brian Jonestown Massacre / Musique De Film Imaginé (album review)

The camera pans in on old, lonely man, hard at work in the rarest of professions. He's focused intently on his next cuckoo clock, a job he does in a small, picturesque wooden building with three or four noticably happier, younger clocksmiths. Oh wait, is that what really happens? My girlfriend pictured the humble cottage beginnings of what escalated to be a Florentine time-shifting film.


So wait, what is this film we're talking about? A film so blurry that you can't actually tell what's going on? A film that's so dark you can't tell what's going on? NO. As it happens, we ARE talking about a film, sort of, it's just also a film that doesn't exist. How can it be? Well, the mainly-mellotron based new album by culty San Fran psych legends The Brian Jonestown Massacre is the soundtrack, to a film, that's also a film that doesn't exist, and essentially, it's left for the listener to imagine the film. It's potentially a concept that can either go the way of being a beautiful, insular trip, or it could simply be OTT-tosh. It's safe to say however good this album is depends wholly on the execution of it, and as you can probably tell by the vividness of my intro, the Musique de film imaginé is the perfect imaginary film OST.

Through vivid mellotron-based mini-symphonies, it has a really great feel to it all the way through. A lot of influence comes from the soundtracks of early French cinema, and the film music influence is noticeable. However, bits and bobs do sound like a bits of pop music. Well, sort of. L'enfer ('The Inferno'), the track that drew me first to the album after hearing it on 6music, has that same forlorn swirl that Spanish Air by Slowdive has, but on a much grander scale even than Slowdive do.

It sounds big, and throughout the soft low mix vocals that crop up on a few songs are deep set in thick, dreamy music. It's on these songs, where it feels a tad more Twin Peaks than any pre-Lynch French films. This is far from a criticism of the music, in fact, it's here that the soundtrack is even more beautiful to listen to, and float off into a dream.

And another minor criticism, which I'm not sure is of myself, or the album's cred as imaginary film OST material. Sometimes the end of a song jumps to another piece of music really different, and I (as well as maybe some others) lose the picture of the film I have in my head, and picture an entirely different landscape with little or no relevance to my film about the misadventures of the Bavarian clockmaker.

But despite, musically it's such a powerful record. There are times, when listening to it, you will, as planned, be confronted by vivid, aesthetically pleasing imagery, and be thrust into the middle of a world that is entirely of your own imagining. And sure, sometimes you'll listen to it as the score to your mundane life and be too preoccupied in something else to let your imagination run wild, but ultimately, if you're prepared to lie down, and actively listen to 40 minutes of symphonic BJM brilliance, you'll certainly be rewarded.

9/10

Musique de film imaginé came out in the UK Monday, pick it up from here. Hear it below



(written by calum cashin)

EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE - Rain Maze stream debut single 'Anyone Else'

Beautiful, melodic, and ethereal, London band Rain Maze are this week bringing out their debut single Anyone Else. Available as a cassette and a download from DIY label HoneyPeace, it also contains the b-side Real Worlds, which is also - we're delighted to say - is streaming below.

You'd really have to try hard to miss the large scale shoegaze revival that the contemporary music scene is undergoing. Obviously, recently My Bloody Valentine have released their first record in 20 years, and you've only gotta look as far as this blog to see how great Ride and Slowdive's reunion shows have been. And there's a wave of incredible bands making new music in the vain of the early 90's. On America's Captured Tracks record label you've got the polished dream-pop of DIIV, Craft Spells and Wild Nothing, whilst in the UK you've got the rougher, more psych-driven shoegaze of Dead Rabbits and Cheatahs. 

As well as those though, the UK's home to some amazing upcoming dream-pop bands that aren't named after slightly frightening animals, and one of those is Rain Maze of London. This Friday, 1st May, their debut single Anyone Else is coming out via cassette label HoneyPeace. It's the perfect dream-pop song, centred around a fuzzed out slacker guitar line, which beautifully cloaks rasped, low-mix vocals. 

Although they've got their own sound, Rain Maze sound somewhere between the lazy psych of the early Brian Jonestown and Dandy Warhols LPs, and the out and out ethereality of Slowdive and the Cocteau Twins. Their debut single is one of my favourite tracks of the past few months, and I'm sure everyone else will love it, check it out, alongside b-side Real Worlds below



Anyone Else is out Friday via HoneyPeace recs. Pre-order the special cassette bundle/mp3 here.

[written by calum cashin]

27 Apr 2015

Tyler, The Creator / Cherry Bomb (album review)



"I'm not a fuckin' role model, I'm a 19 year old fucking emotional coaster with pipe dreams" rapped Tyler, on his 2011 album Goblin's title track. But whilst four years down the line, maybe the emotional coaster's still there, Tyler, you'd think, is nigh on everything to look out for in alternative hip-hop, right?

Cherry Bomb is the OF man's fourth solo record, and it's potentially his most ambitious yet, in terms of the fact it spans the most genres; some tracks have a strong smooth jazz feel, while one or two at least allude to the dreamy beach-pop championed by the likes of the Creator's fave, Mac DeMarco. It remains musically strong throughout the most part, with Tyler's rap very strong. But in the past Tyler's been shouted down for using slurs, covering (rightfully) taboo topics, and generally immature themes. Whilst he's cleaned up his act a bit, the listener is still barraged by obscenities, and it's all too often just way too much to handle.

It does have it's highlights though. 2Seater is a driving song that starts off pretty standard, before some discourse interrupts, and the listener's sent away in a kind of dream-pop-esque balloon of tranquility. But whilst bits are a lot softer than any of his work to date, Cherry Bomb's title track, alongside some others, is a incessant, owing more to the hammering psychosis hip-hop of Death Grips than anything else. It's a furious mix of blocky synths, Tyler's vocals at his vicious best, and some stomping drum beats. However, the highlights aren't as much as a comodity as you'd like for one of the leading lights in hip-hop, and whilst his rapping is much more articulate than it has been, bits of what he has to say leave a lot to be desired, to say the least.

I think, perhaps it's more than just difficult to get behind all Tyler says on this record though; repetition of the homophobic slur 'faggot' is not needed, as a barrage of it comes out on Buffalo, especially degrading because it's used so casually. And the songs (take Blow My Load as an example) all too often portray women in a way that is sexist and degrading. I'm not enough of an aficionado to comment on whether it's all part of an act or a persona, because the rapper uses his larger-than-life appearance to great effect, but whether that's the case or not, Blow My Load would make anyone actively listening want to spew. Mind you, choosing to listen to a song called Blow My Load is asking for trouble.

It's a shame that kind of backwards thinking could really take the edge off of an album that's very musically progressive, but that's the way it is with Cherry Bomb. On this album Tyler experiences a lot more emotionally than the constant self-depreciation of his earlier material, and whilst he channels too much of it into lazy homophobia. Whilst musical talent is more than on show, and there are brilliant songs on this record, it's probably not for me, or anyone who naturally calls out sexism and bigotry. There's no malice to what Tyler says, and that's a huge positive, but really, you'd like someone only a few steps away from being a cultural figurehead to have much more progressive thoughts on some of the matters he comments on. This guy's seriously talented, and whilst this work might not be the real deal in many ways, once he sorts out his immature thought processes, he's going to be on to a winner.

6.1/10

(WRITTEN BY CALUM CASHIN)

26 Apr 2015

VAPOUR TRAIL'S TOP TEN ALBUMS OF THE SIXTIES

I've been listening to a hell of a lot of sixties stuff recently, and it's slowly becoming a problem. I think then was kind of when everything really took of for psych, prog, and even rock and pop music, because even I'd be hard pressed to name something great from the 50's that isn't jazz or Jerry Lee Lewis. As well as that, the whole counterculture around that time was amazing, with the free festivals and latter bit of the beats, and the colour television AND EVERYTHING. Anyway, I've been giving a lot of thought to my favourite albums of the sixties, and I think because a lot of people my age have a very limited scope of albums from that album that aren't The Beatles or Stones (both of whom are great) and I think it'd be great to introduce some people to new obsessions. Here's a mix of classics, obscurities, and everything in the middle, as well as a list of honourable mentions at the end...

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10. The Doors - The Doors (1967)
Ah, yes, let's get the ball rolling with something nice and simple. The debut album by The Doors is a bit of a mixed bag, but ultimately I think it's their most complete work; in that I mean I like almost every song on it, and generally, for me anyway, Doors albums were generally a bit hit and miss. Alongside Barrett's Pink Floyd, The Doors pioneered the keyboard/organ as a main instrument in guitar music, and the album's highlight Light My Fire is a stonking example; a 2 minute pop gem with a 5 minute organ-driven freakout bolted on, even the hook is absolute genius. As well as that, Crystal Ship is a totally seductive dream work, and The End is a disjointed mess in the best, most charismatic way possible. Maybe the bit people dwell on the most with The Doors is Jim Morrison, and whilst I think maybe his lyrics aren't the greatest, his voice packs such a punch here that it's hard to even find an angle to criticise from.

9. The Stooges - The Stooges (1969)
OK, well I s2g the album titles get better as you scroll through, but Iggy & co's self-titled debut is a fantastic record that didn't do so great at the time, but was revered years later because it was simply so forward thinking. This is, in it's rawest form, punk rock. Thick, heavy riffs, angst-ridden vocals, and all of it performed by the one of the greatest, most animalistic frontmen who ever lived. I Wanna Be Your Dog is the creme de la creme of sleazy punk rock love songs, with it's powerful, descending riff, and primal lyrics. 1969 is the voice of the bored teenager, and despite being masked by walls of distortion, two more of Ig's best pop songs can be found on this album; Little Doll and No Fun (later immortalised by Spacemen 3 and The Sex Pistols respectively). It's probably not the best Stooges album - that honour goes to the Bowie produced Raw Power of '73 - but the first Stooges album is a forward thinking masterpiece that you have to HAVE TO hear.

8. The Psychedelic Sounds Of... - The 13th Floor Elevators (1966)
Right, this album is another LP that was incredibly forward thinking that you've gotta hear at least once before you die. It's essentially psychedelic garage punk, done by one of the greatest, maddest, and most totally wired bands of the era - and in fact this era 'cos after nearly 45 years away they're back for Austin Psych Fest. Led by frontman and madman, Roky Erickson, whose voice is basically an un-nauseating version of Robert Plant, the Elevators have a brilliant sound to them. All recorded live, Roky's screams, thrashy guitars, and that wobbidy woobidy sound that's there all the time are all iconic sixties sounds, and if that wasn't enough for you, they're also credited with coining the term psychedelic rock, so like, they practically invented music. ...Psychedelic Sounds... is their debut album, and it's probably the best and cleanest sounding album the band put out. Their albums are recorded live, and this one is the one that comes out best for it; You're Gonna Miss Me is an immortal pop song that makes it for me, and Fire Engine and Reverberation are, well, BANGERS. This is so far from a polished effort, but largely, it's a raw psychedelic masterpiece. Oh yeah, this is also the bit of the post where the cover art begins to get good, like really really good.

7. Revolver - The Beatles (1966)
Ah, yes! The Beatles! An obvious choice for most, but in all honesty, I've always struggled to take to The Beatles in the same way I took to all the other great bands. I never liked Paul's voice, or the sound of them harmonising, and I just found them to be a bit, well, I just didn't understand why The Beatles were huge when the Rolling Stones were there, existing. But Revolver really swayed it for me. It's the right amount of pop and psychedelia. Apart from Yellow Submarine. That song is as bad as anything Bastille or U2 have ever done. My favourite two tracks off of this masterpiece are Taxman, a brilliantly worded attack on the taxman - although maybe it's all too easy to think 'hmmm, easy for you to say Harrison - and Love You To, which is a sitar driven dream (that was recently covered by one of our favourite new bands The Vickers). The common denominator here is that they're George Harrison at his best, and it's enough to change the opinion of any hard-shelled Beatle-cynic. Oh, but as well as that, this LP is home to Eleanor Rigby, which some people say is the greatest Beatles track, and I, uh, I'm happy to go with that. It's a stone cold classic, but one thought that follows me around is this; how did Eleanor Rigby die? It's not wholly specified, but my dollar is on Father McKenzie. in the church, WITH THE LEAD PIPE. Anyway, Beatlesian conspiracies aside, this is The Beatles' best work, and it has the right amount of psychedelic sounds and perfect pop punch to make it a great listen all the way through (which is something Sgt Pepper's and Abbey Road lack I think).

6. An Electric Storm - White Noise (1969)
Gather round music fans, this is the single most interesting, innovative and scary-as-fuck-album on the list. An Electric Storm is a deeply terrifying album that is so forward thinking that it can give nightmares to an audience raised on Sky TV and horror films. Basically, what this is is thus; it's the collaboration between some guys and gals, some of whom worked in the BBC soundtrack department, and some of whom just had an interest in pushing musical boundaries, and it's really the first electronic record. Throughout 7 songs, 40 odd harrowing minutes, and some scary other-wordly vocals, this sonic mindfuck pushes the listener to the very edge of sanity. According to my mum (although I can't find any proof on the internet), just listening to this album was enough to push many bikers and the like to suicide. Here's why. "Some sounds have never been heard by humans", the sleeve reads, "some sound waves you don't hear- but they reach you", it continues. The freakish, freakish sounds on this record and ominous feel of it can be blamed on that. People talk about bands like the Cocteaus being otherworldly (fair point, tbf), but this is genuinely something else, and it's hard to say just why with words, but I'll try. Although its on spotify, and if you want a harrowing audio horror trip, and a nice piece of musical history pie YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO IT. The album's masterpiece The Visitation is 7 minutes that kind of transcend all reasoning; it's a story about a biker who dies, and stuff. But the sounds are incredible; it's got a horribly haunting synth sound, ghost-type voice that will make you clench every muscle, and extended crying. It chills right to the bone. Firebird is a bit of an actual song that could maybe have come from the likes of the Cocteau Twins, but it still has that not quite right feeling to it and maybe the same with My Game Of Loving. Well, the bit that isn't 2 minutes of orgy sounds. And if you want to crank the WHAT THE FUCKING HELL IS THIS FUCKING RECORD factor up to 11-thousand, Here Come The Fleas sounds like Alvin and the Chipmunks or something from a kids' shampoo advert. But Black Mass: An Electric Storm In Hell closes the record, and boy is it fucking satanic. The darkest 11 minutes on record. It starts with some chanting, which again, DOES NOT FEEL RIGHT, it makes your skin crawl, before the piece explodes into a frenzy of African type drumming, on speed, that drums right into your soul. I can't explain it. I don't want to explain it. I'm scared even talking about it. So why is this horrorshow on my list? Well, I love it. It's got hypnotic narrative, and when I'm listening to this record it makes me more emotionally involved than any other album in the world. It's creepy, scary, dystopian, but it's so forward thinking - it still sounds like it's from the future. And it was recorded well before man walked on the bloody moon. It just doesn't add up, and it doesn't sit right, and that's what I love about the whole twisted affair.

5. The Seeds - The Seeds (1966)
More geeky psychedelic garage rock for the list, The Seeds had one of the coolest sounds in sixties music, and they probably deserved to make it a lot bigger than they did because they're probably my favourites of the bunch of Nuggets bands, except maybe The 13th Floor Elevators. They had a pianist, some guitars, and their frontman Sky Saxon (not christened as that, by the way), had a fantastic voice. This record shouldn't really work so well, because every song is nigh on the same really; it has a bit of a stomping start, increasingly dramatic lyrics with some Saxon songsmithstry at work, then a weird little organ solo, and then more guitars. All the songs follow this formula, and, well, for that reason many people shouted it down when it came out. But no! IT'S A BRILLIANT FORMULA, and contorting themselves into that formula are fantastic pop songs. Listen to that wonderful feel that Can't Seem To Have You Mine has, it's a total dream. And the same with the next song, No Escape. Organ-melodica aplenty. But that's what's most loveable about it; identical piano thing solos just get better every time, and, well. Pushin' Too Hard is on it. It's sorta cabaret-punk feel is nothing short of amazing, and thanks to various compilaitions it's now one of the generation's most iconic songs. This album is one of the best, most original sounding albums of the decade, despite sounding very formulaic, and I love it to absolute pieces. So now's probably a good time to give a big thanks to Julian Cope for writing about the Seeds (and in fact White Noise), Julian u r a god.

4. The Velvet Underground and Nico - The Velvet Underground, with Nico (1967)
A short introduction to anyone that thinks the soup cans or the Munroes are Andy Warhol's best work - HERE'S A NEWSFLASH FOR YOU - the man produced the VU's Heroin, which is one of the greatest artworks of all time, that should be seen as anyone's best work, right? This is an album that kind of speaks for itself, I won't bore you with the deets, but essentially this is a masterpiece that transcends any kind of wordsy description. The Velvet Underground's debut is a really versatile record, it's material is a great showcase to both dynamics of the band; beautiful, angelic VU, with the soft, assuring voice (more of which crops up on 1969's Velvet Underground LP), and then the aggressive proto punk thrash (more of which crops up on White Light... err, more on that later). On this album, Nico is probably, actually the weak link, her voice is a bit on the dull side IMHO, and if you've got the Velvets' Live At Max's Kansas City you'll know that her songs sound much more gorgeous at the helm of Lou Reed's voice. But whatever, of her offerings Femme Fatale is a perfect pop song, as is I'll Be Your Mirror, with All Tomorrow's Parties being a drag that takes the edge off the end of Side 1. But nahhhh, it's Lou's songs on this that are truly great - Sunday Morning is the most beautiful offering, a hot bath for the senses, and Venus In Furs is the opposite; a harrowing, sado-masorchistic bad acid trip for the senses. These songs are great, as in, great great GREAT will-last-as-long-as-Beethoven's-Pastoral-symphony-great, but what makes this album a forward thinking classic is when the Velvets really let their hair down. Scratchy, thrashy, and slightly angry in a kind of reserved art student manner, European Son is a complete frenzy of guitar scratches and the like. and it kinda paves way for their next, even more off the wall album. AND, finally, Heroin makes this record great, and I guess evidently so did heroin, but Lou Reed speedy-up slowy-down garage rock classic is a really harrowing song that kind of sounds more punk rock than any of their contemporaries, and more frail than them at the same time. I love it, and I think it's one of the greatest debut albums of all time.

3. In The Court of the Crimson King - King Crimson (1969)
So far on this countdown we've had some bloody great cover art, but this one is probably the coolest, most iconic, and most striking in the history of music. I've been wanting to do a post on cover art just so I could drone on about the cover art to In The Court of... It was painted by semi-professional artist Barry Godber, and what makes the cover art of it maybe a little more mystical is that it was the only cover artwork the 24 year old painted before his untimely death. But on to the music. Is this in our countdown purely for it's cover? Hell no brother. It opens with the electrifying 21st Century Schizoid Man, a track recently made popular amongst the modern day indies after notorious cover versions by Yak and Ty Segall's Fuzz, which is an incredibly powerful song. Although it has only two short, impressionistic verses, they're so strong; "Cats foot/Iron claw" is the non-rhyming couplets that kicks it off, and it sets the precedent for dystopian imagery, about the twisted, tortured soul from the not so distant future - the twenty first century schizoid man. Maybe the fact it's title prophesises the 21st century despite being a 1969 release adds to it's resonance today. Maybe it doesn't. Who knows? Oh, oh, oh, and the rest of the record is, whilst less confrontational, a work of brilliance. all the other four songs, I Talk To The Wind, Epitath, Moonchild and In The Court of... are full of cryptic, drug-fuelled lyrics, and really beautiful, mythical textures (no, really that works as a description, LISTEN). This album is a brilliant work of psychedelic rock mastery by some of the most talented musicians of all time.

2. Piper At The Gates of Dawn - Pink Floyd (1967)
Don't listen to anyone else, this is The Floyd's bona fide masterpiece. This was the only album they made with psychedelic visionary, Syd Barrett before sacking him so they could make some fairly naff prog records (by that I mean their output from 68-70, not everything else they ever did). This album is a really quirky 40 minute ride, that has some early examples of psyched-out freak-outs, and some fairy-taley childlike lyrics that give an insight into Barrett's mind. Before this came the singles Arnold Layne and See Emily Play (omitted from the album), which were genre defining acid-pop gems; they also did well; Arnold Layne was banned from radio for being about cross-dressing, and still reached number 20, and See Emily Play gave the band a top 10 (#6) hit. But whilst they're absent from Piper, the album is very much in the same vane. Astronomy Domine sounds batshit crazy, because it is, with Gilmour's backing vocals flickering through what all the surfaces of the planets of the solar system are like. The Gnome and Flaming have really mad lyrics that are kind of childlike, that deal with the subject of LSD in a really weird way, and a way that is SO Syd. The two most well known songs on it though, and the two highlights as far as I'm concerned are Bike and Interstellar Overdrive. Bike is a real sweet, quirky love song that is also shot to pieces on acid. It clunks along in such a joyous carefree way, and the way Syd sorta says 'hey I don't have much (borrowed bike, pet mouse, gingerbread men), but I want to share it with you' is just the sweetest. Interstellar Overdrive, on the other hand, is just out of this fucking world. It's worth noting that it'd have sounded much better if was recorded how Syd wanted it recorded; live versions often saw Syd piling on the reverb, wah and distortion in a way that was out of anyone's frame of reference, and the band's 1966 live performances are stuff of legend because of it. But despite the fact that on Piper, it's a bit polished, it is still what it is; Interstellar Overdrive is a 10 minute instrumental, that blasts it's way through time and space in an acid-induced free form sonic trip. It doesn't have the precision of later Floyd, but Interstellar Overdrive is every bit as easy to lose yourself in. Piper At the Gates of Dawn is easily my favourite Pink Floyd album, and it was a formative piece of work in the sixties.

1. White Light/White Heat - The Velvet Underground (1968)
We've already had the first Velvets album on this countdown, and that is a masterpiece, but this is more experimental, more avant-garde, and because it has John Cale and Lou Reed at the controls, it's much more accomplished. When it came out, a contemporary audience found it unlistenable, it's out of this world. OK, it begins with a proper pop hit that The Beatles probably could have written, but White Light is the product of, probably, the greatest band of all time firing on all cylinders at once. So it opens with the title track, which is a 2 minute punk-rock call-and-response slap in the face, and I think everyone's lucky enough to be familiar with that because it's probably, bar Sweet Jane and I'm Waiting For The Man, their best out and out rock and roll track. But from their any hint of conformity is left behind. I Heard Her Call My Name is a ravenous cacophony of scratchy, angry guitars, and a furious instrumental garage freakout. Oh, and the lyrics are nigh on as explicit about sex as the sixties got. You can't help but feel that this song alone would be enough to get the Velvets burnt at the stake in 60's America, if they didn't inhabit the most progressive and forward thinking big city in the country. Elsewhere, The Gift is unlike anything you've ever heard before, bar a couple of Half Man Half Biscuit numbers, in that a rough guitar line trips over itself in your left ear, whilst John Cale's soft spoken Welsh voice tells you the tale of Waldo Jeffers - a bit of a cautionary tale that shows just how shit everything gets when no one pays attention to anyone else's wants or needs, because it ends in poor old waldo getting some gardening shears right through the eyes. But essentially, what makes this LP the greatest of the sixties, as well as it's charm, and it's marriage of raw power AND raw pop songs, is the fact that it's so experimental, and all the experimentation comes off so, so well. No less is the case than with album closer Sister Ray; an impovised 17 minutes of pummeling avant-rock murder ballad. It features John Cale giving it large on the organ, which is plugged into a highly distorted guitar amp (where he'd played bass on the most of their recordings), whilst Reed and Sterling Morrison chugged the song along with brilliant guitar parts. It's the Velvets' brilliant best, and like the rest of the record shows one of the greatest bands of all time with their strongest line-up, going all out. Although they do sound brilliant with their soft spoken balladry on The Velvet Underground and the verstility of The Velvet Underground and Nico is stunning, White Light/White Heat is a proto-punk album that was the blue-print for so many of the next ten years' albums - punk rock, post-punk, avant-garde and even various krautrock took it's lead from the bravery of The Velvet Underground on this album.



FURTHER LISTENING: the great albums that didn't quite make it
OK, so picking ten sucked because there are so many I wanted to include it, so before I stop geeking out, here are some more albums you might love if you love any of them on this list.

The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground (1969): The group's third album is their most melodic, and forlorn, and although it has rocky moments that are much better than any of their contemporaries, it's beauty lies in Pale Blue Eyes and Candy Says, which are two of the band's saddest, softest songs.
Space Oddity - David Bowie (1969): Bowie's second album has the eternally perfect Space Oddity on it (obviously), but people often forget about the ambitious gem Cygnet Committee and the lovely Letter To Hermione.
Here Are The Sonics - The Sonics (1965): Probably often considered the first (proto) punk album, it's a raw, rough LP that is 50% cover versions that sees the band screaming, distorting, and sounding utterly ahead of their time.
Electric Ladyland - Jimi Hendrix (1967): I got really stressed out tryna pick out a favourite Hendrix LP, 'cos the guy's such a genius, and sadly the live albums were reissued just out of the timespan that this blog-post covers - and those would be near the top of this list, because Hendrix's bluesy virtuoso genius would be enough to propel it to the top any day.
Strange Days - The Doors (1967): This is just a Doors LP I didn't quite have room for, it makes use of the keyboards better than the debut does, and parts of it still sound like they're from the future. Although I prefer the debut, for it's great song after great song mentality, I think the peaks of this album are a lot higher than they are on The Doors.
Scott 4 - Scott Walker (1969): Scott Walker released Scott 1-4, in the sixties (his albums after that had proper names), and of the 4, and of the four, this is the best. It was a commercial flop, but Walker's fantastic baritone, complimented by his most ambitious 60's songwriting were great to the Scott purists.
The Inner Mystique - The Chocolate Watchband (1968): The second Watchband album is a fuzzed out garage psych album, that sees the band (and on a couple of tracks, the original singer with studio musicians) roar through a load of cover versions and originals to make for a truly brilliant listen.
Electronic Sound - George Harrison (1969): I SAID HE WAS THE BEST ONE DIDN'T I? After a mainly sitar-driven Indian classical-inspired album, the soundtrack to the Wonderwall film, was credited to Harrison as a solo album (he did all the arrangements, and wrote the songs, etc), he returned with this. It's a really bizarre thing, that isn't exactly great, but the Moog being the only instrument makes this a really interesting listen.
Let It Bleed - The Rolling Stones (1969): This is maybe The Stones' most complete work, bar Exile. Because it has the masterpieces Gimme Shelter and You Can't Always Get What You Want, it might be best to explain why this didn't make it into the top ten. Well, it's got some incredible tracks on it, but ultimately it's flawed by one or two fillers too many. Tracks 3-5 take a lot of the punch out of the whole album, which would otherwise be a perfect masterwork.

(written by calum cashin)

23 Apr 2015

Who Is Going To Headline The Last Day Of Glastonbury?

Glastonbury is nigh on the only festival that shifts its tickets without announcing their headliners - we still don't know who is headlining the Sunday, and all the re-re-resale tickets have been sold out.

Already, we know two of them - that is Foo Fighters (more like the 'Boo!!!! Fighters, amirite?) and Kanye West (who is probably the best possible choice of all the headline-size artists in the world), which leaves just one slot to fill. It's all very simple so far.

So who definitely isn't headlining Glastonbury? Well, with their line-up announcement this week, they announced that Florence And The Machine, Pharrell Williams and Patti Smith (perhaps three acts big enough to top the bill) would be play a bit lower down than the top spot.

So they're not headlining Glasto's Sunday. Who else isn't? Well Emily Eavis has actively denied that Coldplay (thank fuck) and Prince (who'd be pretty cool to be fair), and Fleetwood Mac have denied that the Sunday could possibly be filled by Fleetwood Mac. As well as that, Morrissey's had a lot of contempt for Glasto in times of late, so perhaps it's safe to assume that he won't be there.

The best way to try and gauge the potential headliners, outside official artist/festival speculation is via the bookmakers - this is pretty much because these people are experts on shit like this, looking to profit from the whole affair by giving the favourites lower odds. And stuff. Whilst betting's now suspended, as little as four days ago the betting looked like this; The Stone Roses (6/4), Taylor Swift (7/4), Blur (5/1), Coldplay (6/1), Elton John (6/1), Chemical Brothers (7/1), Oasis (10/1), Radiohead (12/1), Paul McCartney (12/1), Madonna (16/1), Rihanna (16/1), Muse (20/1).

Maybe it's safe to say the headliner will come from this list - AC/DC are busy on the Sunday, and they've been favourites for quite a while, and in case you were worrying, U2 are in America at that time. Those you can maybe discount are plain enough to see - an Oasis reunion isn't going to fucking happen, and if it did, Noel Gallagher has said he isn't going to be there, and he's got HFB plans for the two days before it anyway. As well as that, Muse are at the Belgian Werchter Festival (according to their official site) on the day of the festival, so (maybe sadly) you can discount them. And and and, Britpop's most likely contenders Blur have very recently (via their drummer Dave Rowntree) that they're not returning as headliners.

Bar those though; all the other artists on the list have dates which allign with the Glasto schedule; The Stone Roses, Radiohead and Elton comply with that statement simply because they don't have any Summer dates this year. And Taylor Swift is playing nearly 100 dates before the end of the year, but she has her BST slot the day before Glasto's Sunday, so the dates allign perfectly for that. And all the other artists are somewhere in between. Dates here and there, that aren't particularly convenient or inconvenient to the Glasto slot.

So those are the possibilities. Who will it be? It could be any of them. Who do I want it to be? I'm not wholly sure - on the whole, none of those bands are really that special - obviously bar Radiohead - but they're more a band to see in an enclosed setting. It's not like I'd die to see Thom wailing neurotically to nearly 100,000 previously euphoric people. But bar that, I think the list serves to show how stale the music of all the bands that could potentially headline a Glastonbury are. Firstly, bands like The Roses (or Fleetwood Mac, so they can fuck off too) haven't released anything new in decades, so they should hardly be qualified to play the 'Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts). True, the likes of Swift has released some pretty good material recently, but it's so difficult to get really excited about her, especially in the context of headlining such a huge festival.

In fact, I struggle to think of an artist that seems both big enough and exciting enough to headline Glastonbury, and maybe that's a big problem in itself. Arcade Fire (although I thought Reflektor was garbage), The Cure, David Bowie, Massive Attack, and ummmm, maybe The Strokes, are the only artists of that size I'd love to see at Glastonbury. And if it were possible, Tom Waits too. And if Pavement are actually planning another reunion, them too, don't forget about that. And if all of a sudden, Ride became big enough to headline, I'd be right into that.

So on the whole, the most likely headliners are Taylor Swift and The Stone Roses, so maybe it'd be a good idea to check out whoever's on the John Peel stage. Or even better, force The Fat White Family or The Fall or Spiritualized or Todd Terje or The Pop Group or Courtney Barnett to that headline slot, because that would be great.

(written by calum cashin)

22 Apr 2015

5 GIGS, 5 DAYS (live reviews)

Round 1 : The Vaccines at Norwich UEA
Strutting confidently out through bright white and blue light, matching Levis donned and hair neatly combed, the Vaccines were greeted to a hero’s welcome, frontman Justin Young effortlessly commanding the room into a raucous singalong of Teenage Icon. The momentum continued seamlessly into Wreckin Bar (Ra Ra Ra) and the sense of youth from the audience was reflected in Young and guitarist Freddie Cowan’s playful stage personas, Cowan beaming ear to ear with a leg up on an amp, Young pulling faces at some of the younger fans in the audience. Ghost Town and latest release Dream Lover were more bassist Arni Arnason’s territory and underneath a brooding façade, the sheer power and volume of his sound were magnificent. A brief opportunity for breaths to be regained came from All In White where Young’s vocals were untempered and powerful, the sense of prowess was obvious; something special was being witnessed here tonight. Handsome and newbie 20/20 brought new spirit to the crowd as drummer Pete Robertson upped the pace dramatically, Cowan and Arnason backing Young enthusiastically for the infectious chorus “I’m through thinking ‘bout you / I’m through-ooh-ooh thinking ‘bout you”. Perhaps the most magical moment came during main set closer Family Friend when the crowd participation reached dizzying heights and Justin Young could not be heard over the screaming crowd. Bringing the whole gig to a close was the barely-2-minutes-long-but-always-crazy Norgaard, and it finished proceedings off perfectly. (8.6/10)





Round 2 : Courtney Barnett at Norwich Waterfront
Courtney Barnett makes the sort of music you would never associate with a 5ft tall, 27 year old Australian. Full of attitude and wit, her debut album blew me away and when presented with the chance to finally see her live, how could I say no? She opened with Elevator Operator, the first in a long line of fast-sung tracks that tell a story over the top of a killer riff. Primarily showing off the diversity present on her debut, drifting between dark and gloomy ballads such as Kim's Caravan and Depreston, which explores the horrors of a mediocre life; versus the much loved first singles like Avant Gardener and History Eraser. The main set came to a close with a song that I would go as far as to say is possible the best song released this year so far. Pedestrian At Best. The lyrics are as witty as anything and she whips through them faster than you can imagine. On record it's great. Live, it is something else, the atmosphere exploded and the crowd went crazy. 100% the perfect set closer. (8.5/10)



Round 3 : Superfood at Heaven, London
The second of Superfood's two headline shows in Birmingham and London took place in a gay nightclub on the banks of the River Thames. Hundreds of denim clad teens swarmed into the venue with high hopes of what the night would bring. Before Superfood even took to the stage, we knew the crowd was going to be a good one. Support came from Black Honey and Yak, both of who whipped up a major frenzy despite a large percentage of the audience being fairly clueless about who these bands were. Superfood came out and following a brief exchange of pleasantries, the chaos restarted as the opening chords to You Can Believe began. The set was full of their most adored tracks, with Bubbles, Melting and Right On Satellite spawning massive cheers and singalongs. "WHO TURNED OFF THE TV/IT WASN'T YOU/IT WASN'T ME"  rang throughout the entire venue as the main set came to an end. After rapturous applause and football chants galore, the band walked back on stage to play two more songs. Ending with their first -and possibly most famous- track, the oh-so-creatively-titled Superfood. This gig showed off just how far Superfood have come in such a short time and it was truly magnificent to see. (9.2/10)




Round 4 : Wolf Alice at Cambridge Junction
Wolf Alice round 10 took place in a venue I had previously seen them supporting Swim Deep in. But this was not the same band. The Wolf Alice I saw back then were a million miles away from the confident and independent band that strutted on stage to rapturous applause. Opening with your oldest and most adored single is risky, but as soon as the opening chords to Fluffy echoed through the venue at breakneck speed, the risk paid off. It didn't matter what songs Wolf Alice played that night, the crowd were up for anything. Striking the perfect balance between much-loved classics and teasings from their highly anticipated debut album, [My Love Is Cool] the band were on absolute top form and it's truly jaw dropping to see how far these four have come since I first saw them three years ago. Ellie's voice is breathtakingly powerful, especially on new songs such as Soapy Water and You're A Germ; and the musical talents within the boys have grown and grown and grown. Closing with Moaning Lisa's Smile and inciting one final burst of mania, Wolf Alice walked off stage to a heroes farewell, one they had certainly earned. Overall this gig was simply phenomenal and it is truly an honour to have watch this band progress in the way they have. (9.8/10)




Round 5 : Claws at Norwich Waterfront
Local band Claws caught my attention with their 90's sounding surf rock tracks when I saw them for the first time back in November, so when they announced a headline show at one of my favourite venues, I knew that it'd be the perfect way to round off our five gigs. The always-energetic four piece ripped through a short set containing old singles, new songs off their fantastic EP and even had time to throw in an un-named new track. Overall, Claws absolutely crushed it and the crowd full of their friends, family and fans created one hell of an atmosphere. Definitely a band to watch. (7.9/10)



21 Apr 2015

Cheatahs / 紫 (Murasaki) (EP Review)



Last year's debut album Cheatahs was what first put the London-based noisemongers on the map. Their fuzz-laden shoegazing long player was a bloody good introduction to the band, in fact, it was so bloody good that it came 14th on our albums of the year list.

Next Monday, the quartet are bringing out their latest EP, their second of 2015, and a worthy follow-up to the critically acclaimed Sunne. 紫 is the name of that EP, and in English it's pronounced Murasaki - sharing it's name with a 11th century female Japanese author and poet, Murasaki Shikibu, whose work inspired the EP in part.

Straight off the bat, the title track captures the beautiful MBV-Sometimes tone that the band imitated so beautifully on their debut album, and projects it over a luscious soundscape. It's that combination of guitars and synths that push Cheatahs' sound into all-consuming bliss. The rhythm section harry the track along quickly, and timidly, like little sonic people trying to escape the wash of a tidal wave, whilst the synth sound and the fuzzed out guitars give the effect that that wave's building up and up, before everything is covered in that euphoria that Cheatahs do so well.

Again, on Wash Out, the same tone is exercised, and laden with lo-fi vocals that give the track a really nice fuzzy quality that's both warm and comforting and glacial and distant at the same time, like the first Medicine album or the crunchier numbers on Ride's Nowhere.

However, it's not just 'gazing that Cheatahs do on this record - it also sees them adopt a more beatsy approach on the song 3D Milk - a song that's just as disconcerting and angular as it's title. Revolving around a bizarre stomping, loop, the track's one of the oddest, most-dystopian songs they've written to date - it's like Broadcast partaking in some kind of riot.

This EP, though, on the whole, sees Cheatahs both honing their classic cosmic shoegaze sound, and pushing new boundaries. Whilst half the EP fills the latter of those relatively satisfyingly, the half of the EP that sees Nathan Hewitt and co. smashing it with their shoegaze sound is musical brilliance, and you could say that the song 紫 is nigh on the best thing they've done. Another promising release from one of London's best upcoming bands.

Hear 紫 (the song) on soundcloud
The EP is out May 4th via Wichita Recordings - preorder it now

8/10

(written by calum cashin)

Baby Jesus / Baby Jesus (album review)


Some of its songs have had less than 10 plays on (public) soundcloud, it's only available as a cassette to 100 people, and it's come from the heart of a Swedish city you've probably heard of, but the self-titled debut by Swedish 5-piece is arguably (bar the Viet Cong and Surfjan records) the most essential album of the year so far. It's an uncontrollable explosion of psychedelic punk, that could genuinely have been recorded in 1968, because whilst it lacks any real evidence of modern studio wizardry, it's raw organ and guitar combo, and out-and-out firepower will blow you away.

10 tracks. 31 minutes. This album is a killer; each track is a cacophony of brutish guitars, Nuggets album organ, and a real chemistry between the members that results in a real hypnotic groove. It's essentially psychedelia in it's rawest form, 60's revivalism done in a way that is completely timeless.

Cry, Cry, Cry is a bombastic version of Run, Run, Run by The Third Rail, pulled backwards through punk rock, psychobilly and the 80's garage fuzz of The Fuzztones into the 21st century. It's maybe the best use of that incredible omnipresent organ, but that's a bit statement, because on Trembling Away it's savage, and on Nice Walk it gives the perfect surfadelic tone to make the number sound like a Del-Tones-on-acid affair.

But it's not all a 60's revival - well, it nearly is, and it's a perfect, authentic version of that - but on Deep Blue Delay it transcends even that, You're hit immediately by a killer wall of reverb, and Ride-esque amounts of whirling, screaming guitars, before that savage organ boots you along. It's the perfect marriage of shoegazing amounts of reverb, hypnotic psychedelia, and screaming vocals.

Ah! The screaming vocals, that's something I've not mentioned. Throughout, the frontman screams and caterwalls, like MJ meets Iggy (interpret the nameshow you want, but I'm meaning Iggy Pop and MJ of Hookworms), and it's something else. It blows you backwards on Haven't Seen The Light, and the raw power throughout the record is one of it's greatest assets.

But despite it's primitive, primal feel, Baby Jesus is a complete 21st century psychedelic gem. Even when they're not going for it (like the brassy Vansinne), it has that authentic charm that some revivalists (like maybe Temples) lack, but when Baby Jesus crank it up to 11, it has the mind-bending, ear-blasting raw power that only the Stooges and The Thirteenth Floor Elevators could muster. In 2015, it won't push the boundaries it would have in 1969, but let's just leave it at this; Baby Jesus is one of the albums of the year, and it's one of the finest works of psychedelic revivalism I've heard in ages.

Here BABY JESUS in full on their label's soundcloud HERE or scroll down to stream it
Buy it here (on cassette or mp3)
An LP version is coming out later this year (Date TBA)

9.2/10

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(written by calum cashin)

19 Apr 2015

Yak / Smile/21st Century Schizoid Man (song review)



Following the release of their debut single, Hungry Heart, which absolutely swept me off it's feet with it's visceral intensity, the London trio Yak have announced plans for their debut EP, Plastic People. It's a three song EP that'll come out next month, but to immediately gratify their following of psych-heads, they've released a new song, Smile.

Three and a half minutes of gothic rock, ripped straight from the mind of 1980's Nick Cave, Smile showcases the cockney croon of frontman Oli Burslem - his Nick Cavesque snarl, and refined voice dominates the first half of the song, his dark lyrics create a real dark atmosphere, and the band's woozy psychedelic tones of the band just build to it's smoky Whiskey Bar feel.

But what makes Smile a great track - greater than their previous goth-crooner effort Something On Your Mind - is the swirling intensity which builds up and up and up, before the repeated motif of 'look out and run for cover' powers the song into a furious climax. Uncontrollable, explosive, and mind-blowing, the close of the track is the perfect example of a song that builds and builds incessantly, great much in the same way that makes Patti Smith's Gloria or Parquet Courts' Stoned And Starving fantastic.



And of course though, it's not the only song that the power trio have put up this past couple of weeks - this week they also uploaded their cover of 21st Century Schizoid Man, which as someone who has seen the band live, was almost inevitable to me. However, it's also meddled into a medley, which sees the first half of the song a bit of a cover of The Gift, from the Velvets' White Light/White Heat, with uncharacteristically low-mix vocals and a whole lotta noise. But then, the noisey Gift makes way for the face melting riff of King Crimson's classic - 21st Century Schizoid Man has the kind of riff that hits you in the face like a brick wall, and at the helm of Oli Burslem and co, it hits harder, with a bigger wall.

Clocking in at over 8 minutes, it's out on a tour-only tape that you can buy at their forthcoming tour of the UK. Like Smile, their 21st Century Schizoid Man shows yet another side to the band, who are already proving they're immensely versatile. It's a noise-rock jam with some hard riffing, that compliments the rest of their discography - Yak have already put a lot of psych-punk, tidy fuzzy indie, and with Smile, some fantastic Cavey crooning. These two new songs, Smile especially, Yak have just made them and the prospects of their Plastic People EP a whole lot more exciting.

Hear SMILE and 21st CENTURY SCHIZOID MAN on their soundcloud - HERE

(WRITTEN BY CALUM CASHIN)

15 Apr 2015

Circa Waves / Young Chasers (album review)

Circa Waves' debut album somehow manages to capture the very essence of summer within catchy riffs and pop hooks without losing any artistic integrity in terms of lyrics. One of the most promising young bands, this album definitely does their ever-expanding talent justice.


Get Away is an explosive 2 minutes with a standout chorus you can sing your heart out to; much like many of the tracks on this album. T-Shirt Weather, Stuck In My Teeth and the other singles are of course the most memorable moments from this LP, but the truly striking moment comes in the form of the title track. "Make your mind up/And I’ll chase you through the seats/The chase will wind up/I got blood on the soles of my feet" is wailed over a thrashing chorus which simply screams summer in every single way. The album has a very definitive house style to it, with most of the tracks following the same structure and having the same rhythms and chords. Nonetheless it works within the context because of the happy and upbeat themes running through the thirteen tracks. 

This album definitely joins the ranks of fantastic debuts, despite being fairly similar throughout. It's fun, fresh and new and as long as Circa's continue to develop the sound in the way they have, then they have potential to stick around for a long time. 

7.9/10

13 Apr 2015

Girl Band / The Early Years (EP review)


girl band

It's little more than a compilation of early material piled together for US release, but The Early Years is an exemplary piece of work that shows Ireland's best (and one of the world's finest) upcoming band's high points. But more than just a comp, it's Girl Band's first release on the Rough Trade label, so you know that The Early Years is just the tip of what will seem a magnificent iceberg in a few years.

Opening proceedings, track 1 of 5 is last year's Lawman, a track which revolves around a surging, effect's pedal driven pulse that - like the most of their material, and their own brand of punk rock - combines elements of no wave noise rock with dancey techno. It's visceral, punk rock climax is reached when frontman Dara Kiely's voice screams 'HE STARTS EVERY SENTENCE WITH/I KNOW I'M NOT A RACIST BUT' (or maybe 'BOY'). Supporting that, a little later down the EP are other singles The Cha Cha Cha and De Bom Bom, which, as the name implies, don't take themselves too seriously (and are less dramatic than Lawman) but are still premium examples of Girl Band's sound - even though the former is only 30 seconds long.

The highlight on The Early Years, that should leave any fan of noise rock, shoegaze, no wave, punk rock, or just music at all recoiling in a shivery outbreak of goosebumps is the 8 minute long Why they hide their bodies under my garage, which is actually a cover of obscure horror-techno outfit Blawan's. It has it all, a vicious whirlpool of feedback in it's introduction, all the guitar feedback in the world, and sharp, jagged stabs of rabid electronica. But maybe, more than all of that is the fact it only has one lyric - the titular lyric - which is repeated over and over in a frenzied bout of ever-increasing anger that hammers the listener into the ground like a tent peg. It's ambitious, but it totally works, and armed with the bonkers video that the 4-piece put up in support of this EP, it's bloody terrifying in that way that brilliant stuff always is.

So overall - yes yes, it's a compilation of earlier stuff, a bit of a limited, US only, vinyl 'ICYMI' for the noise-rock fan that likes to dance, but it also works the band's best 5 songs to date into a more than coherent order that's incredible to listen to, whether you're a first time Girl Band listener, or you're a restless champion of the band like 6music's Tom Ravenscroft. It's a shame that it's US only, and so limited, but The Early Years sets the scene for Girl Band to release some more brilliant music.

The Early Years is out 21st April via ROUGH TRADE.

9.5/10

(written by calum cashin)

Dead Rabbits, Maths & The Moon, Purple Heart Parade and SwordZZZ @ The Joiners (live review)

Believe or not (I certainly didn't at first), the coastal city of Southampton is quite recently becoming a hotbed for artists making music of the alternative and psychedelic - a few months ago I saw the grunge-influenced indie band Wild Smiles, supported by the scornful surf of FEVER and the shimmery indie rock of Bel Esprit (read our review here), and as well as that, Howland and The New Desert Blues are making more excellent indie rock, and Sleeping Tigers and Palms & Pelicans are releasing a lot of great dream-pop a la Captured Tracks. However, as well as these bands, specialising mainly in the soon-to-adorn-the-pages-of-NME, Southampton's psych bands are some of the best in the country. Fuzz Club Records' Southampton signing, Dead Rabbits played their first local gig of 2015, this Saturday, at The Joiners, and it was the perfect snapshot of some of Southampton's more psychedelic talent.

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Starting proceedings in a way that was Earth-shaking came mysterous locals, SwordZZZ. Their three-piece setup maximised their ability to make some of the loudest (and in fact best) support bands I've ever seen; their frontman's vocals were distorted by a range of pedals to sound like Hookworms' MJ in a bad mood, and his bass the same, whilst the guitar sound was drenched in reverb and fuzz. Their songs were all 2 and a half minute explosions of noise, screeches, and odd time signatures that was extremely experimental and utterly brilliant. Maybe like the Jesus and Mary Chain in 1984, amidst a wall of white noise they started playing, blew my mind, and stopped playing 20 minutes later, having played a fantastic set. Keep 'em peeled for more from this fantastic band, whose online presence is sadly lacking a bit (although their soundcloud's here and features a Slowdive cover).

Following them were the night's only outsiders - Purple Heart Parade had come down all the way from Manchester, making them distant travelers. They're a four-piece, fronted by Iggy Pop-like Peter Cowap, who make more classic psychedelia, sounding maybe similar to The Black Angels, Moon Duo, or the Fat Whites. Their set saw six pretty long, majestically swirling songs, and although the highlight probably came with the opener, Starfucker Blues, a fair amount of the rest of their set proved that, as well as being keen stargazers, their sound's more than prone to sounding like they're keen to gaze at their shoes.

Following them was more local talent; this time Maths And The Moon. Although for the most part, their sound was quite bog standard vanilla guitar rock, they did have a lot of interesting krautrock influences, which climaxed with an extended set closer that sounded like it could have been an outtake from Neu! 75. About 6 minutes of 4/4, fizzling guitar lines and jabbing repitition, the way in which M&TM closed their set was much more up my street than the rest of it, and ensuring that all 3 support bands had something great to offer from all the various realms of psychedelia.

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There was a short pause in proceedings, as Dead Rabbits set up their many effects pedals, keyboards, and other sonic apparatus - with the help of SwordZZZ, this gig made sure that a record amount of multi-sockets were left on stage over the course of the night (8). The local shoegazers took to the stage at about 10.30, and with their first two songs Heavenly Way and Pull The Trigger,  the opening duo from their debut record The Ticket That Exploded, they (as I geekily promised in this post for the Oxfam I work at) turned the Joiners into a sonic cathedral with their haunting, repetitive sound. As I'm sure you'd know if you've listened to their 2 studio albums, Dead Rabbits have a sound that has the stomping shoegazing influence of the first few Brian Jonestown Massacre records or Loop, which they combine with a more modern, cosmic atmosphere and arid vocals - and during the Joiners show, because of both excellent venue acoustics and the band being on top form, this sound was at it's absolute best.

The middle part of their set was made up mainly with music from last year's album, Time Is Your Only Enemy, as well as stuff that might well be new. For the most part, it was entrancing, the band's sound was rich, and hypnotic, and they showed that even though their music's very revivalist, they have a fresh sound all of their own, and the band were covered in psychedelic projections that looked like animations of their geometric album covers.

Dead Rabbits played about 9 songs, in an hourlong career spanning homecoming set, but it wasn't til the two closing tracks that the band reached their absolute pinnacle (or said any words to the audience). Their penultimate track was the dazey, 'gazey When I'm Blue from their debut record, which sounded just like something from a Sofia Coppola film, being impossible not to lose yourself in. Finally, bringing an end to their triumphant hometown gig, Dead Rabbits played the closest thing they have to a hard rockin', hard rollin', stadium fillin' anthem. All In Her Head saw the same hypnotic, formulaic sound that haunted the rest of the set beautifully, combined with raucous cries of "It's all in her head, 's all in her head" ensuring that the set was closed on a heady high.

Dead Rabbits are arguably the city's finest musical asset, and Saturday showed just why they've got a deal with one of our favourite record labels, have been booked to play some of the most prestigious psych fests in the world, and a couple of great albums under their belt. But as well as that, in the shape of SwordZZZ, I also discovered a new favourite band, so it was a night of highs for me, and I'm sure it's the same for everyone that went.

Stream and Buy Dead Rabbits' 2 albums here (and nab a free download of their early demos here)

(WRITTEN BY CALUM CASHIN)