21 Dec 2016

Christine and the Queens @ Manchester O2 Apollo (live review)

About halfway through her set, Heloise Letissier, dressed in the masculine guise of her alter-ego ‘Christine’, looked out at the audience and said “This is a free space, by the way! You want to be a train, that’s okay. You don’t like your name, you can change it here. You want to be a different gender...’ she swung to the back of the stage and flexed her muscles ‘And I just feel like such a little boy tonight!’

Letissier describes Christine as ‘a better version of herself’, who is freer and more confident (Letissier struggled with social anxiety when she was younger). By dressing like a man on stage she is not only making a stand against the sexualisation of female musicians, but she is also communicating that it’s okay to experiment. ‘Experimentation’ is an important word for Letissier. ’Acceptance’ is another : she has two tattoos, one reads We Accept You and the other One Of Us. (Side note: I am going to refer to Letissier as Christine throughout the rest of this review. It only seems right, considering it is as ‘Christine’ that she writes and performs).

20 Dec 2016

2016: VAPOUR TRAIL'S TOP 50 RECORDS OF THE YEAR


Friends, enemies, people in between; it's that time again. The end of the year is a time for reflection, for thoughts on what we've done and where we can go. At the end of the year you should ask yourself; how did we get here? What went wrong? What went right? What's happened this year that prompts further reflection?

2016 has been a big year year for the human race. This time, we've fucked it and I'm not sure quite how we'll sort it out. A lotta cliche flies around this time of year. And I know that it's not exactly a hot take, the view that we'd fucked it, but we have; we've completely fucked it. Let's see. Donald Trump, Brexit, no more David Bowie, the rise of the far (alt?) right, the death of the Toblerone as we know it, surprise albums becoming the norm, Kodaline headlining festivals, James Corden being taken and appreciated by the America. Yep, we've fucked it.

But let's take a look at music for a bit; you can look at the political situation in your own time. There's been too many deaths of greats and lots of talented musicians; Bowie, Prince, Alan Vega, Leonard Cohen, Emerson, Lake, Phife Dawg, The B-52s' keyboardist, Inspiral Carpets' drummer, and Phobophobes' guitarist George Russell. All absolutely fucking tragic.

But the light at the end of tunnel, the silver lining of the cloud is the host of great records that keep the void at bay. There's dreamy records that act as an escapist paradise from the ensuing void. Others tell the void to do one. Others simply say, "void, this is not how it should be". And then there's some that just give it to you plain and simple; void. Here's a list of our favourite void-plugging records from this year; and because there's a lot, I put them in ascending order, because we're all busy and we all just want to know what the top 5 is and move on.

19 Dec 2016

The Wedding Present / Going, Going...

The Wedding Present's Going, Going… LP, their ninth studio record, hit UK shelves on the band's own Scopitones imprint, and this month on US label Happy Happy Birthday To Me. The indie indie rock legends' latest effort includes 20 tracks, whilst a limited vinyl run's available on HHBTM, the label of course known for championing indie talent from across the country and internationally.

18 Dec 2016

Desert Mountain Tribe: The Musical Equivalent Of A Hot Bath

Desert Mountain Tribe are a psych trio from Croydon-via-Cologne, that make some of the most effortlessly cool garage rock. Think maybe The Charlatans being beamed to you from the other side of the abyss; there's the nonchalant baggy vocals of Jonty Balls, which draw instant comparisons to Tim Burgess, laid bare on top of sheets of psychedelic garage rock noise reminiscent of the BJM or the BRMC.

17 Dec 2016

In Swell: Your New Danish Post-Punk Obsession

What is it with Denmark at the moment? Since Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg signed for Southampton, a handful of brilliant Danish bands (that aren't Iceage, FYI) have made their way into my life. Joining the insatiable no-wave of Pardans and the cosmic psych of The Wands in said obsession is In Swell, a post-punk band that have just released their latest single Miles To Go.

Winter Listening Essential: Ummagma and AR Kane Collaborate On A Beautiful New Track

AR Kane, recently reformed pioneers of the shoegaze genre, are a band very high up my 'need to see' list. As a result, most days I check their twitter to see if there's been any London dates announced. To my delight, yesterday saw the unveiling of this not-so-much-festive, but definitely timely gem of dream-pop:


16 Dec 2016

Babes Never Die: Honeyblood In Conversation

Honeyblood: Stina Tweeddale (vox/guitar) and Cat Myers (drums)
In a year dominated by disaster and pessimism in culture and politics, one unlikely duo have led a rampant musical charge on both sides of the pond, soundtracking this concerningly apocalyptic time with a message of positivity. Returning in October with an incendiary sophomore record titled 'Babes Never Die', Stina Tweeddale and Cat Myers of Honeyblood have spent 2016 blazing their way across the States and home soil, kicking up a storm with their raw and passionate live show, now kitted out with a host of stormy new tracks. Centering around a mantra of Tweeddale's embodied as much in her flesh as her songwriting, the album expands on everything the band's eponymous debut began. Consisting of ten songs with intro and outro tucked neatly either side, it's faster, louder, and less afraid to gnash its teeth where 'Honeyblood' was more reserved.

When I meet the band, they're nearing the end of three months on the road, relaxing post-soundcheck in the modest dressing room upstairs at Norwich Arts Centre. A couple of hours from now, the ornate church hall down below will be overrun with excited fans of all ages, pre-empted it seems by venue staff, as a barrier sits in front of the stage, almost unheard of for this space. Now, the atmosphere is notably calmer. As I get comfortable, Tweeddale produces a bag of carrot sticks from somewhere and tucks in, Myers offers me some free rider booze and we're on our way.

15 Dec 2016

Peter Doherty Live At Kentish Town: Wibbly Wobbly Brilliance

Dearest Vapour Trail reader, I owe you an apology and a confession. This review may not be entirely objective, or even entirely accurate. Instead I will be presenting you with a recollection of events that are pieced together with the help of a few fleeting memories and the shaky YouTube videos. I can however provide some decent context and circumstance, so here we go.

14 Dec 2016

The Megatron Man: On Patrick Cowley, Disco's Lost Cosmic Shaman

Image result for patrick cowley
Hello friends, it's me, Calum. A couple of months ago I wrote a post on the B-52's, and how they're better than't Beatles and that their debut album is one of the greatest albums of all time. Here I am again, championing genius that blurs the lines between great art and novelty; Patrick Cowley, disco's forgotten astral voyager. Patrick Cowley was a disco producer active from the late seventies til his untimely death in 1982 that released 2 seminal full length albums, porn film soundtracks, and a litany of bangers, A look over his discography might reveal nothing special about the man; not a household name, is he? Our Patrick. But give his 1981 opus Megatron Man a listen, and you'll be blown away; left with a grin so wide you might dislocate your jaw.

Originally I fell in love with this for it's colossal sci-fi novelty, before further sonic examination revealed that one Mr Cowley was a pioneer, one of the most forward thinking men behind a set of buttons. A master of 8 minute space jams that thrust the tried and tested disco format into spacey realms you've never heard before. So simple, yet so transportative, so 80s, yet so fresh-sounding today, Cowley's music sounds like a perfect mix of 80s sci-fi futurism and Frankie Goes To Hollywood hi-NRG bangers. When two tribes go to dream of electric sheep, Patrick Cowley is born.

13 Dec 2016

THE VELDT: A Chat With The Resurgent US Shoegazers

2016's been an odd one for the Veldt. The shoegaze band, most prevalent in the nineties announced their return with an EP The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur. Combining powerful alt-soul with whirring guitars, it was an extravagant statement that put them back on the map. It was produced by Rudy from AR Kane (he might've mentioned it, here), and is totally magnificent.

Fresh from a tour with our favourite band, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, we sat down with Daniel Chavis of the band to have a natter.

8 Dec 2016

A Lush Little Interview... Miki Berenyi talks art and noise

2016 has been a crazy year for Lush. A reformation, a record, and a breakup. The 90s shoegazers rose to prominence in the first half of the nineties for their beautiful ethereal melodies, and their ability to suck you in to a dreamlike state - a cliche, I know, but cliches like that exist only because of bands like Lush.

A couple of days after they played their final show at Manchester Academy, before the band disbanded. I caught up with Miki Berenyi, the band's frontwoman and guitarist, to reflect on 2016; a year that's been a bit crazy for everyone, but for Lush; completely and utterly batshit.

Image result for lush band 2016

2 Dec 2016

Childish Gambino / "Awaken, My Love!" (album review)

Childish Gambino's third album is a complete departure from anything that he has made before, with no rapping to be found and not a single guest appearance, it Glover showing us just what he's capable of.  This record is a vibrant exploration of the genre that looks forward, for example with the release of a 'virtual reality' vinyl,  whilst also delving into past with its 70s inspired funk and soul. There are so many influences at play on this album, from Pink Floyd to Prince to Parliament, and elements of Bowie on the track Zombies, all injected with Gambino's own sound and style.

Sex Swing / Sex Swing (album review)

So uncompromising are cosmic drone uber-group Sex Swing that every single aspect of their self titled debut album teems with the same unforgiving vitriol. Right down to the festering mucus of the cover art, Sex Swing is a complete artwork that brings to the fore the very darkest realms of the human psychee, transforming them into a kind of music that is so evil, so filthy, yet has the ability to transcendentally command the attention of the listener. When you put the Sex Swing record on, you can't turn it off; it's enthralling, bombastic and at this exact point in human history, just what we need.

Sex Swing are a force of nature; from the off, with 12 minute opener A Natural Satellite, they set the uncompromising tone for the rest of the record. Maybe a mix between the intense drone of the Melvins' Lysol and the bustling sci-fi futurism of Stereolab's Dots and Loops (a combination that sounds batshit on paper, but more so in practice). The sax on this track, sounding like the void itself being forced through a brass tube, kicks in midway through the droning composition and doesn't stop its incessant invasion of the sonic field until the very end of the last track.

24 Nov 2016

RIP George Russell - Phobophobes' New Video For Human Baby

You've all heard Phobophobes' new single, Human Baby, right? Well, if not, you haven't been paying attention and you should do that now. Well, I'll carry on with the article as if you answered that "yes". The Brixton garage band's brooding psychedelic garage stomp eases off for the most part of the track, bar a brilliant guitar-driven middle 8 and a rear end psychedelic freakout. Radiating the sleaze you'd expect, it's still a lecherous nugget of garage from Brixton via 60s Detroit, but Human Baby has a delicate sensibility to it otherwise forgotten about amindst the tides of nosie Phobophobes bring to the table.

22 Nov 2016

VAPOUR TRAIL'S ALTERNATIVE BREAKUP PLAYLIST

So, you’re back here again. Floating adrift, somewhere between voluntary starvation and violent binge eating, the notion of lost romance prodding you in the face like a needy toddler. You think: “if only I had the energy to lift my head from this tear-stained pillow. To find some songs that exemplify my cursed, sullen predicament.”

Well, look no further, because we’ve got you covered. Shut the blinds, make a brew and plug yourself in – it’s going to be a heavy 59 minutes.

21 Nov 2016

WILDE THING: We Talk the Past, Present and Future With Oliver Wilde

With three albums in three years, Bristol based songwriter Oliver Wilde has turned heads with his mind-altering creations of ambitious alternative pop. Speaking before his first show in London for over 2 years, Wilde opened up about his forthcoming album, set for release early next year.

Image result for oliver wilde

19 Nov 2016

Blaenavon, The Vaccines Share Exclusive Charity Covers

Photo: Press
Artists including Blaenavon, The Vaccines and Years & Years have unveiled exclusive cover performances in aid of award-winning charity CALM, the Campaign Against Living Miserably. To mark International Men's Day (November 19th) the charity has launched Torch Songs, to "celebrate the power of music to lift us out of life's low points".

The Suncharms' Comeback Interview: Sheff's Finest Shoegazers Talk Their Reunion


Formed in the late 80s, The Suncharms were a Sheffield band that combined dreamy shoegaze ethereality with crisp indie pop melodies to make some of the prettiest and most charming music of the era. The five piece released a handful of gorgeous EPs before disappearing off the face of the earth without any of the recognition they deserved. However, with the shoegaze revival in full swing, the Yorkshire quintet are back to settle some unfinished business; I spoke to Marcus Palmer, the band's frontman, to talk about the past, present and future of one of the 1990s best kept secrets.

17 Nov 2016

The Wands / Faces (EP review)

The Wands first sauntered into our earholes in 2012 with an EP called Hello I Know The Blow You Grow Is Magic, which really set a precedent for what the band would go onto. The band are authentically as weird as that title suggests, and on new EP Faces their sound is more batshit than ever. The band are probably my favourite psych-pop revivalists, with their 2014 debut The Dawn being one of my favourite psych albums ever, so boy! It was a relief to find this gem of a new EP in my inbox.

16 Nov 2016

Baba Naga - Sheffield Lads Making Experimental Guitar Music To Usher In The Apocalypse

A cocktail of Eastern acid rock, hard-riffing garage and drone-pop are served to you on da house with Baba Naga's second 10' EP, Plna Krvy/DeificYen. Considering they're from Sheffield, the dreary Yorkshire town that's birthed Cabaret Voltaire, Arctic Monkeys and The Human League (whose earliest work is as perfect a portrayal of the concrete jungle you'll ever hear), you'd think maybe they'd call themselves something a tad less, uhh, pretentious, and maybe give you song titles in English. But maybe that doesn't matter; after all, this presents you with two choices. The not-so-hard option of putting the music on and not staring longingly at the vowel-less titles onscreen. Or the slightly more challenging narrative the artist sets out for you; you can believe that DeificYen is a "portrayal of a godless soul seeking genuflection from celestial others. A paean call to the limacine masses.” And if you choose the latter, and just for a bit, jump on Baba Naga's magic carpet, then the ensuing rewards can be more mind expanding than George Harrison's first little go on a sitar.

14 Nov 2016

BLACKASH: Shamanic Psychedelic Warriors That'll Take The Midlands By Storm

Seeing as its been more than 10 years since the last Broadcast album (RIP Trish), Black Sabbath are just a tribute band, and Swell Maps stopped existing long before I was born, it feels like it's probably time for a great band to arise from Birmingham. Considering it's meant to be the UK's self styled 'second city', its artistic output has been about as good as its football teams' in recent years - so it's about time the Midlands gave us another brooding, invasive group of cathartic noise-mongers, again, isn't it.

Portsmouth Psych Fest: Bring The Noise To The South Coast

Only two names have been announced for Portsmouth Psych Fest, an inaugural noise-celebration hitting the South Coast next April. Taking place at the Wedgewood Rooms and The Edge of the Wedge, and bringing a double figures amount of bands to the city, the festival's looking to be a key event in making 2017 a better year than this one.

13 Nov 2016

2017: The Year Of King Gizz

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are the gift that keep on giving. Just a handful of months after their eighth album Nonagon Infinity, they've announced that 2017 will see the band release five albums. Five. Five albums of actual, real music. F-I-V-E.

11 Nov 2016

Death Grips: The Weird and Wonderful

When we look back on some of our favourite bands, we don't just think about the music: You don't look back on Queen without gushing over Freddie Mercury's flamboyancy; you don’t look back on the Beatles without associating them with the revolution and change of the swinging 60s; you don't look back on Nirvana without considering Kurt Cobain as a spokesperson for a whole generation of wannabe individuals. All these bands were able to capture the zeitgeist of there defining generation.

So Long, Leonard. A Short Musical Tribute

Image result for leonard cohen
1934 - 2016
Leonard Cohen was ready to die. We knew, just as well as he did, that this was coming. But that doesn't make it any less sad. The master of erotic despair, Cohen's art eternally be remembered for its debauched romanticism, and raw, honest beauty. Much like Bowie's Blackstar, his last album You Want It Darker - title track especially - is the perfect omniscient sign off. "I'm ready, my lord" the Canadian growls, greeting death like an old friend. Leonard Cohen's one of my favourite singer-songwriters, and I don't have a huge amount more to say here other than my heart is just a tad broken right now.

10 Nov 2016

The Moonlandingz / Blak Hanz (EP review)

Black Hanz EP - 10"I said it in an earlier, less pretentious primer for this EP, and I'll say it again: The Moonlandingz are not only one of *the* great bands operating in the world today, but they're the Vladislav Surkovs of guitar music. Maybe to explain what this quite possibly contrived metaphor in its full glory its best I explain what a Moonlandingz is. And what a Vladislav Surkov is. Sure, there'll be unanswered questions; why does it end with a Z, Cal? Is it necessary that you've churned out nearly 2000 words, Cal? Are you sure its that deep, Cal? Can't you just enjoy the fact that it's good music and get on with you life, Cal? Well, if the fact I can't answer these questions phases any of you I suggest you tune out, pick up the closest NME to hand, and skim through Noel Gallagher's Top 7 Psychological Thrillers. This is not an EP for those that need everything in black and white, and well, if you've ever ordered a carpet sample. this EP is not for you.

So where to start? What are The Moonlandingz? Well, to wholly understand this we've gotta cast our minds back, to the distant past: early 2015 to be exact. A time when Donald Trump was just a satanic businessman, with a lot of blood on his hands for non-party political reasons. A time when an EU referendum was just an electoral tactic. And a time when we didn't know whether there'd actually be a sequel to Blade Runner. Et cetera.

May 2015. Avant-garde northern type experimentalists The Eccentronic Research Council have just released their fourth album, which is called something to the effect of Johnny Rocket, Narcissist and Music Machine, I'm Your Biggest Fan. It follows the narrator - resident of fictional Yorkshire town Valhalla Dale - on her spiralling journey into debilitating Humbert Humbert obsession with Johnny Rocket, lead singer in a band called "The Moonlandingz". Maxine Peake, your humble narrator, describes them as a "cosmic synth krautabilly group doing fuzzy Joe Meek-style pop", a description that is bang on the money. But instead of letting The Moonlandingz be a mere footnote, a namecheck in Peake's twisted allegory, the ERC enlisted the help of the most shamanic songwriting duo this side of Lux Interior's death; Lias and Saul of South London's Fat White Family.

For said LP, Lias adopted the persona of Johnny Rocket; "godlike troubador" and frontman of The Moonlandingz and the biggest thing to hit Yorkshire since Heaven 17 stepped up stage with and got everybody moving to the groove groove for the very first time. The Moonlandingz' cameo appearances almost manage to singlehandedly steal the show from the ERC themselves, on their own album.

NAOTD #6: Hear Sad Palace's Dreamy Debut 'Rainbow Melt'




On their debut single Rainbow Melt, south coast four piece Sad Palace give noughties rock vibes a refreshing twist. Zesty guitars flicker around a fuzzy vocal before melting into a washed out breakdown. With all the feedback driven charm of 'EP Delicious' era Peace, it's a bold opening statement and surely a sign of bigger things to come. 

Shame / The Lick/Gold Hole (single review)

Brixton boys lighting the capital up with their own filthy, filthy garage rock, Shame have built up a huge following and a lot of hype with their stripped down sound and their raw energy. Essentially a shit hot garage punk band, their energetic live performances have led to live slots with Fidlar, the Fat Whites and The Garden. It's hard to believe their debut single's only just coming out, yet they're already so poised for world domination.

9 Nov 2016

NAOTD #5: SWEAT Want To Make Music Better Than Abbey Road

SWEAT are Dante Traynor (vox), Gamaliel Traynor (keys), David Noble (bass), Joe Minden (guitar), Matt Barnes (drums)
In a year of division and upset, Brexit, Trump and more, one South London quintet are making music to soundtrack the apocalypse. From Peckham, SWEAT are pioneering a new movement in independent dance music, bringing elements of pop, rock and more with every ear-melting belter they release. It's sexy and sultry, but with industrial themes that conjure images of glitter and grease, spilt perfume and androgynous strangers being filthy in shady looking night clubs. Backstage on tour in October, we got the low down on their inspirations, aspirations and everything in between. 

Marching Church / Telling It Like It Is (album review)

Following on from 2015’s fantastic 'This World Is Not Enough', which really cemented Marching Church as a more than just a mere side project of Iceage frontman Elias Rønnenfelt,  their new sophomore album 'Telling It Like It Is' contains a more subdued and relaxed sound whilst still retaining the physicality and rawness many have come to know and love. Rønnenfelt’s vocals are undeniably still the stand out feature around which the record's songs are written, but perhaps unsurprisingly due to an increase in membership of Marching Church, there is a more collaborative feel to 'Telling It like It Is', with its multitude of instrumentalists creating an almost orchestral depth in places.

7 Nov 2016

Shamanic Attack! The Moonlandingz Are Back

The Moonlandingz is a probably-semi-fictional side project of Lias and Saul of the Fat Whites and the vintage synth-lovin' experimentalists The Eccentronic Research Council. The ERC released an album last year of wandering dark allegory called Johnny Rocket, Narcissist and Music Maker, I'm Your Biggest Fan (or something to that effect, I'm hungover), where the protagonist (Maxine Peak!) falls into an infatuated cycle of obsession with the singer of a fictional band. That band are The Moonlandingz, brought to life for the purposes of art, and kept alive because they're better than any non-fictional band in the non-fictional universe.

Last year saw the band release the Moonlandingz EP, which featured the ineffably perfect Sweet Saturn Mine, a fuzzy nugget of astral garage-rock that was equal parts pop perfection and weirdo freakout. Part of me was a bit (a lot) worried that that would be it for the band - why would they exist any longer than they need to? They don't exist, do they? No one's really sure.

New Tunes For November: Part 2

Woah there. Another new music playlist? Yeah, it's that kind of month. With tons of great stuff out last week from a host of acts I'm sure will be both familiar to you and brand new, another compilation of some of the best new tracks seems fully in order. If you missed part one, check it out here - featuring Dream Wife, Dog is Dead and more.

6 Nov 2016

Husky Loops: A Chat With London-via-Italy's Post-Punk Experimentalists

Husky Loops are a post-punk band that are fast becoming London's most exciting prospect. Last month they turned heads with their newest track Fighting Myself, which combined thundering post-punk with industrial darkness. Their sound draws parallels to everyone you might want beamed into your ears; think a more accessible This Heat, a more immediate Modern English, a Joy Division capable of turning internal turmoil into sonic thunderstorm. It's hard to pin down the band's sound, but where utopia meets dystopia; where discord meets melody; where pain meets beauty; that's Husky Loops.

A three piece of Italian musicians who've come to the gloomy city of London to further their musical ventures, Husky Loops are everything you've been craving. Noisy and dangerous, but danceable and musically interesting, they're everything we need right now. Fascinated by their first couple of singles, I sent a few questions in the way of their frontman Danio, about everything and anything that crossed my mind.

3 Nov 2016

TOY / Clear Shot (album review)

Image result for toy clear shot
TOY are a band who have always been a near perfect post-modern psychedelia pastiche. On TOY, they enveloped psychedelic pop curiosities with fleshed out krautrock song structures in a way that was pretty pleasing to the ear. On Join The Dots, they furthered that sound, and climaxed with maxed-out 10 minute jams that started with a savage pace that didn't slow down. The London day-trippers burrowed away in the studio a bit longer before the release of album number 3, and whilst it probably sees them forge out a sound of their own more than ever before, you can't help but feel that what it misses are driving NEU! drumbeats and a bit more raw power.

2 Nov 2016

Angel Olsen / My Woman (album review)

Image result for angel olsen my womanI can safely say that this is one of my favourite albums, ever. My Woman permeates an eclectic mix of genres, including dream-pop, garage and rock. And yet, there is no sense of clumsiness or confusion - Angel expertly weaves the mix together to create an album that, even in it’s most serene parts where Angel - doing what she does best - engulfs the track in her steely, shivering vocals, is exhilarating.

It is obvious that on this album Angel is exploring a more electronic sound (she names Brian Eno as one of her leading inspirations), which is immediately established by the synth-pop opening track Intern. If there was ever a song to drift through the depths of space to - it’s this. It’s as if it has been recorded underwater or in a large, grand hall, producing a very different sound from tracks like Unfucktheworld and Stars on her previous album Burn Your Fire For No Witness.

1 Nov 2016

Your New Mexican Garage Rock Obsession: Has A Shadow

There's very few things in this life you can be sure of, but here's a short list. That fairy lights will always make a room look nicer. Pasta will fill you up. A cup of tea will make you feel better. Jose Fonte and Virgil Van Dijk are *the* centre back pairing. Putting The Stooges on in the morning will make the morning less bleak. Curry sauce on chips. Anything that comes out on Fuzz Club records will be good.

Moon Duo Announce Their Return With A Satanic Banger

It seems like only yesterday *audibly laughs* we were posting our live review for Wooden Shjips' cataclysmic show at the Scala, but it looks like the band's kingpin Ripley Johnson is back again with some killer new music. This time, it's with his other equally phenomenal project Moon Duo, who today announced their new album Occult Architecture with their first material since last year's Shadow of the Sun.

Kick November Off Properly With These New Tunes


It's November. It's cold. Halloween is over, and, despite what the shop fronts may want you to believe, Christmas is still a bit of a way off. In this dismal time make your ear holes happy with some new music - here are some picks to get you on your way.

31 Oct 2016

Wooden Shjips @ Scala (live review)

During their seventy minute long astral voyage through Central London's Scala venue, San Fran drone-pop outfit Wooden Shjips looked, sounded and radiated thus; they're the ultimate psych band. Fronted by Ripley Johnson - the only man in music cool enough to rock a beard - they combine omnipresent organ, pulverising basslines and hypnotic tones to create something that sounds like Les Rallizes Denudes, Suicide and Hawkwind freaking out together. Their live show not only lives up to this comparison and their stellar back catalogue, but adds intensity, deafening noise, and of course, psychotropic visuals, to make sure that seeing the band live is the same transportative experience that you want a psych band to be.

29 Oct 2016

TRAAMS Are Back With Their Best Song To Date

Eight minutes is a lotta time to fill if you're a three piece alt-rock band who deal primarily in fast-paced three minute nuggets of thrashy garage. But on House On Fire, TRAAMS have really blossomed into a great band.

Introducing The Amazons

Since the Reading band exploded onto the music scene early last year the quartet have made quite a following for themselves. After touring with the Kooks in Germany and playing festivals like Dot to Dot and Live at Leeds, the band have rightfully earned a Q Award nomination for Best Breakthrough Act, alongside the likes of Spring King and Nothing But Thieves.

Diagonal People / Odyssey (album review)

This is a fascinating and enticing debut album; Diagonal People have curated their own style and stuck by it, not falling into the easy trap of typical indie band trying to sell records (which is by now, overdone and dull). Diagonal People have provided us with a brilliantly mixed and produced album of art-noise with jazz undercurrents and plenty of funk, and it's quite honestly fantastic. The sound of this album is indescribable, but there are so many influences at work, but it is also exceedingly original. Odyssey is sonic, with heavy, groovy baselines, swirling synths and electronica and smatterings of post-punk ingredients. It's a jigsaw of an album, made with pieces from many different puzzles that have be jammed together in an oddly perfect way.

28 Oct 2016

Welcome Living Leg-end - The Fall, Hookworms and More To Hit Up Kentish Town

Set to take over Kentish Town Forum in January, Club The Mammoth - a successful independent promotions company - have announced their line-up for their kickstart to 2017. The Fall are gonna headline it, playing their London shows since their storming 4 night residency in April at the Highbury Garage. Obviously, I don't need to explain why The Fall are the perfect climatic close to an all-dayer - after nearly 40 years, Mark E Smith and his band are as great as ever; last year's Dedication Not Medication is one of their strongest songs in years.

Minor Victories Are Up To Something Really Exciting

Hey! Hey! You! You! Remember MINOR VICTORIES? A group that burst onto the scene earlier this year. Well, a supergroup, I might add. Members of Slowdive, Mogwai and Editors combining to make something that sounds exactly like their parent bands fused together in some kinda shoegaze Frankenstein experiment. They released their self titled debut earlier this year, and have already announced a return; January 2017 will see the band release an album of orchestral variations of their debut, and as pretentious as this sounds, you can already tell with the inception of first track Cogs that the album's just begging to be handed over to an orchestra.

Neuicide! Al Lover's Psychedelic Pastiche Will Leave Your Head Spinning

Is the name Al Lover familiar to you? No? Well, take a second to take in the double entendre of his name, and we'll begin. Al's one of American psychedelia's heavyweights having released maybe ... 6 ... ish ... albums this decade. Like those other psych artists, you know, the ones we don't shut up about, Al Lover grips you with an uncanny knack to grip you and pull you into his own little world with his music. However, unlike lots of other bands, our boy Al doesn't really use guitars, and instead opts for a hypnotic blend of synths and drum machines and anything he can get his hands on. As you'd probably be able to deduce from one listen to Brian Jonestown Masochist, one of his best known songs, Al's self aware and knows that psychedelia is in itself a pastiche of influential bands and sounds.

27 Oct 2016

NAOTD #4: INHEAVEN's Music Will Take You Places, Man

Photo: Press / Niall Lea
Being around London quartet INHEAVEN is a sensation like no other. Mid-soundcheck at Norwich Arts Centre, they look majestic in their coolness, like a pastiche of every iconic band portrait that's ever been tacked up on a teenager's bedroom wall. They've been on the road for more than a month - it's their first proper headline tour - and, though they're not top of the bill tonight, tonight's performance promises to be a real experience. Their pre-debut repertoire, which draws from shoegaze, Britpop and noise rock styles, is already sublime, and decked out in leather and velvet with an equally magnificent array of hair colours, they've got the look nailed too. A bit later in the bar I'm joined by frontman James Taylor and bassist Chloe Little to get the low-down on being at the tipping point of greatness.

Just In Time For Halloween: Black Pope's Sinister New Single Makes Rock 'n' Seem Good Again

Rock 'n' roll romanticists hark back through rose tinted specs to the seventies, with their Lead Zeppelins and their Sabbath Blacks, and often overlook contemporary bands trying to do the same thing. You like The Stooges, why don't you like Kings of Leon? You like The Cramps, why don't you like Pvris? Why don't you like any of the modern day rock bands, huh? Well, for me, the answer can be summarised in two syllables; danger.

26 Oct 2016

NAOTD #3: The Big Moon, Lucy Rose And More Tip Acts For 2017

As the living nightmare that we call 2016 draws finally to an end, it's time to turn to the future, where the grass is always greener and the music always louder. Setting our sights past Christmas and into next year, we've enlisted the help of a few familiar faces to name and fame their new band picks for 2017. Have a listen to them all below.

25 Oct 2016

NAOTD #2: The Big Moon Are All Set To Go Interstellar

Photo: Press / Charlotte Patmore
Okay, I'm not suggesting you haven't heard of The Big Moon because frankly if you haven't turned your ear to this rampageously charming four-piece, where the hell have you been living? No, this post is more a word of encouragement for you to get your butt to a gig venue very soon to catch Juliette, Soph, Fern and Celia in a small venue before they inevitably hit it big time come 2017. This month at Cambridge Junction, we got personal with frontwoman Juliette Jackson. Be warned, it gets naughty.

Watch Formation Get Noisy In A Church For Dr Martens #SFSTOUR16

 

South London electro outfit Formation brought the noise to a church in Liverpool this month as part of the Dr Martens Stand For Something Tour, in which a series of venues across the UK host gigs to celebrate identity in style and music. Watch the exclusive video here, and read more below.

24 Oct 2016

NAOTD #1: Shits And Giggles Backstage With Blaenavon

Photo: Press
30 nights into a 33 date support tour with likes of The Hunna, DIIV and Mystery Jets, Hampshire trio Blaenavon are knackered. Slumped in swivel chairs backstage at Norwich Waterfront, they're the embodiment of either rock and roll in its purest form - with faces coolly obscured by caps and collars - or just pure exhaustion from crisscrossing the UK non stop for the last five weeks. In a matter of days, their biggest headline show to date will take place at London's Scala. It will be phenomenal. But for now, before they bring their thunderous and mighty live show to the unsuspecting Hunna fans of East Anglia, there's time for a casual Q&A about booze, birthdays, barks and bites. 

The Last Shadow Puppets / Is This What You Wanted (single review)

All mop-top and clamour, in 2006 Alex Turner wittily denounced the inauthentic in pop: ‘He talks of San Francisco, he's from Hunter's Bar/I don't quite know the distance but I'm sure that's far’ – and yet, to look at him now, he is from San Francisco. Turner’s transformation into finely referenced baroque’n’roller has rankled with some; but in the video for The Last Shadow Puppets’ new cover of Leonard Cohen’s Is This What You Wanted, we see it at its most self-assured. In their dispatch from inside the lava lamp, everything frames him: the spotlight he first measures up to, the stage lights that flare as he walks past, a schmaltzy skyline, a silhouette string section, and Miles Kane in a dress. That face that once looked like it might nick your fillings has become a jaded Elvis snarl. And did you know Gucci did velvet tank tops? Kane seems happy enough to just crouch back and be older brother to Alex’s mocha-rocker. Besides, he has a mean grin on him, and he gives the band a muted edge.

23 Oct 2016

Phobophobes / Human Baby (single review)

Phobophobes are part of the Brixton music scene, a wonderful Fat White Family-centric collective of musicians that make some of the best alternative guitar music in the country. On their first single, No Flavour, the Londoners blasted their way into way with unashamedly confrontational, if not simple and tried and tested, garage rock, but with Human Baby, their second single, the band are developing their sound, being less Stooges, less MC5 and more Phobophobes.

22 Oct 2016

The Allah-Las / Calico Review (album review)

The Allah-Las are very good at making music that is stuck in the past, as well as being timeless, the sweet melodies of old-school psychedelic rock 'n roll soar through Calico Review. It's easy to imagine this music drifting through an open window in California whilst people smoke and waste their time in the best way possible. There are undertones of melancholy to this album, which is quite new from the Allah-Las, it adds another level to their sound. 

21 Oct 2016

PREMIERE | Riot Grrrls Peach Club Bring The Noise With New Single 'Gr8'

Norwich based newcomers Peach Club are putting the grrr back into riot grrrl. Their debut EP 'The Bitch Diaries' landed earlier this year, and 'Gr8' is the first taste of new material from a driven quartet ready to have their voices heard. Listen to the track exclusively below.

Nick Cave / Skeleton Tree (album review)

Image result for skeleton tree nick cave

In January of this year, David Bowie’s final album Blackstar saw the subject of his own death confronted head-on and eerily prognosticated his end. Then in April, London-based singer-songwriter Thomas Cohen - widow of Peaches Geldof - released his post-S.C.U.M debut solo record, Bloom Forever. He musically confronted the death of his wife with heart-wrenching songs that went into detail as graphic as discovering her 'stone cold' body. So, for Nick Cave, whose teenage son Arthur died tragically in an accident last year, and his ever-present backing band The Bad Seeds, the bar is set pretty high for albums that tackle the taboo subject of human mortality.

20 Oct 2016

Blossoms/Cabbage @ Cambridge Junction (live review)

It’s 5pm and I am positioned directly in front of the double doors to Cambridge Junction in a way that clearly states ‘I am first in line. Do not even dare try and come before me. I arrived here precisely two hours before for a reason’. Why Imogen, are you sat at a venue two hours before the doors open, I hear you ask. Well, I am here to attend Stockport five-piece Blossoms’ gig on the current leg of the UK tour in support of their recent eponymous debut album. My early arrival is also slightly to do with the fact that I’d like to position myself on the barrier directly in front of frontman/dreamboat Tom Ogden, so as to allow myself plenty of opportunity to also fall head over heels in love with him. As if the damage hadn’t already been done. I am enjoying my position on the floor. The line lengthens rapidly as groups of boys and girls wearing, predictably, Doc Martens, their faces smeared with glitter, giggling happily as they clutch their tickets, eagerly await 7pm. I try to suppress the nagging feeling of thinking I need a wee.

The Growlers / City Club (album review)

The Growler's sixth album was produced by a certain Julian Casablancas off of The Strokes, and it's easy to tell, especially with the eponymous track, which could have come straight from a Strokes album. It's a decent album, but for me, it certainly isn't a Growlers album, there's nowhere near enough fuzz or feeling.

18 Oct 2016

YAK - Their New Double A-Side Single Reviewed

Today marks the complete unveiling of Yak's new double A-side single Heaven's Above/Semi Automatic, the latest in a list of artistic triumphs for the band. Complete with the band's trademark Neo-Expressionist cover art, it's business as usual for the band - as always, I really appreciate the notion of the first post-album single being new music rather than an album track fluffed up and given a music video to get it onto Radio 6. But is this just because the band had a bunch of tracks lying about after the release of their debut album Alas Salvation? The answer is thus; yes, probably, but that's no terrible thing.

Pardans / Heaven Treason Women (album review)

Arriving fully formed on their debut album Heaven Treason Women, Copenhagen-based no-wave band Pardans are a more than intriguing proposition for any fans of The Birthday Party or Sonic Youth. An average age of just 20, the sextet combine the narcotic, dark sound of Nick Cave's old band with the blaring free jazz sax of Ornette Coleman - their debut record is a splurge of darkness well beyond the band's age, that just commands the ears of the listener, begging you to give it the utmost attention. 


With any Danish band - same applies to Lower - it's hard to escape comparisons to ATP favourites Iceage, probably the country's most successful musical export of the past ten years. And true - there's a bit of that in their sound, and the singer Gustav Berntsen's a soundalike for Elias Bender Rønnenfelt - but through their raucous abandonment of all things pop structure, Pardans are something entirely of their own.

17 Oct 2016

The Oscillation / Almost See (track review)

Atmospheric, gloomy, gothic. Almost See by London freaks The Oscillation a prime example of brown acid psych at its menacing, hedonistic best. Synth-driven whirrs whisk you in to the neverworld that this guitar band create, before a rumbling Bauhaus bassline, bleepy keyboard bloops and tyrannical squeals of guitar feedback throw you into the not-so-distant dystopian future - it's like a (good) sci-fi film crafted sonically by a band finely tuned in to the deepest realms of the human psychee. Jenny Hval might have her own genre in 'soft dick rock', but The Oscillation serve up a hefty 6 minutes here of Phillip K. Dick rock.

Spring King @ Manchester Academy (live review)

Photo: Twitter
Last Friday saw me rushing through the busy streets of Manchester to see a band I've had a certain feeling about, ever since they supported JAWS back at the start of 2015. The breezy northern boys Spring King are currently in the midst of the lengthy Tell Me If You Like To UK tour in support of their magnificent debut album; with dates everywhere from Portsmouth to Edinburgh, the quartet are certainly giving the people what they want and more, undoubtedly attracting more fans with their infectious, high energy shows.

16 Oct 2016

Gang's 'Dead' Is Their Most Confrontational (And Brilliant) Track Yet

GANG are a loud, confrontational sludge rock band from the south coast, who've always seemed a bright prospect. But with their latest number, the caustic Dead, the band have actualised their dark, doomy sound. Dead is a dark song, arriving after a self organised tour of the UK and the smashing grebo 7' Animalia, and is almost certainly Gang's best song yet. GANG have a sound just like The Wytches, but replace the almost cinematic imagery of the Peterborough band with unashamedly dark lyrics that sound every bit as rough as the Sabbath-style guitar riffage.

15 Oct 2016

It's About Time We Started Talking About The B-52's As One Of The Great Bands

Right, hi, hello, let's start this piece with a confession. Until about 2 weeks ago, the image I had in my mind of The B-52's was such: I thought they were a gimmicky pop group, whose canon only extends to Rock Lobster and Love Shack. You probably agree. As if they're one of those party-pop bands that have bangers you can only enjoy ironically at shit house parties as you sip at your blackcurrant squash-vodka cocktail. If you've not listened to Rock Lobster recently, (firstly, how are you happy with you life?) you might find it all too easy to forget that other than Fred Schneider's zany crows of "THERE GOES A NARWHAL!", there's sections of ridiculously technical, raw Gang of Four style post-punk guitar and a fucking brilliant sounding organ part. Fast Forward to 4.42 and be knocked for fucking six - a mish mash of Schneider's howls, motoring surf-rock guitars, and a killer bassline. Phwoar. Rock Lobster must be one of the greatest songs ever written. It's been in my head for years. Years.
Image result for b-52s

14 Oct 2016

Cabbage / Uber Capitalist Death Trade (EP review)

Cabbage are the most exciting new band in the UK. With their debut EP, which came out earlier this year, they set the tone for their future filth with songs like Dinner Lady (a modern day masterpiece about a dinner lady that gets apathetic towards private school pupils so has "a wank in the quiche") and White Noise (chaos). With this EP, Uber Capitalist Death Trade, the band snarl and jibe with some of the sleaziest and most self aware punk rock we've heard in a while.

13 Oct 2016

Husky Loops: Probably Your New Favourite Band

Husky Loops arrive in London, students of music, 15 years after the members of the three piece first met at school in Bologna, Italy. Uncompromisingly experimental for a three piece guitar band, they're one of the capital's most exciting emerging artists, and it's only a matter of time before you fall as in love with them as me. A mix of outta control guitars, rumbling basslines and invasive sampling, they create what are essentially panic attacks you can dance to. Not sound like a suitable description to you? Listen to their latest track below, and you'll agree with me 100%.

Sleaford Mods Put A New Track Out Ahead Of EP Release, And Boy Is It Good

Ahead of tomorrow's release of TCR, Sleaford Mods' next EP, which will feature 5 new tracks from the duo, the Nottingham band have shared a new track called I Can Tell. And oh boy is it a banger. A marauding synth bass part and repeated scowls of "pulled apart and pushed!" set a tone of absolute claustrophobia for what is one of the band's most uneasy sounding songs.


12 Oct 2016

Dead Rabbits / Everything Is A Lie (album review)


Image result for dead rabbits everything is a lie
Look at Southampton shoegaze extraordinaires Dead Rabbits' first two albums, Time Is Your Only Enemy and The Ticket That Exploded, with their bold geometric sleeve designs that contain music that is clear cut garage rock with a lean towards shoegaze. Now look at the front cover to their latest record, Everything Is A Lie, with its ethereal grey avant photography - blurs and light tricks aplenty. That development is pretty much mirrored by the music contained on the vinyl disc. A much smoother, refined sound awaits, and frontman Tom Hayes' vocals are propelled into dreamy euphoria in a way they never were before. This is an album that sees the Southampton band at their shoegaziest (is that a word?), and is all the better for it. 

11 Oct 2016

Meilyr Jones @ The Village Underground (live review)

Meilyr Jones, celestial baroque-pop deity, captivated the minds of the masses as he stormed through one of the most beautiful performances that will ever bless the walls of the Village Underground. Off the back of his critically acclaimed debut 2013, on which Jones channelled the pain of the break up of his last band Race Horses into a phoenix of classical-tinted art pop, the Welshman has played a series of dates up and down the country, bringing juicy trumpet motifs and bounding harpsichord to the people of Britain.


Goat Girl / Country Sleaze/Scum (single review)


Goat Girl have emerged out of nowhere over the past couple of weeks to bag support slots with Yak, Girl Band, Parquet Courts, and The Fall, and have done so before the release of their debut single, double A-side Country Sleaze/Scum. But now that both tracks from the song have been unveiled, I think we can all agree that the promoters that booked the four piece are one step ahead of the game. Both tracks are raucous, guitar rock dirges, that give off the same vibe as fellow South London filth-rockers Fat White Family.

9 Oct 2016

Jenny Hval / Blood Bitch (album review)

"What's this album about Jenny?"

"It's about vampires..."

"No."

"Yeah."

"What?"

"Well, it's about more than just that, but a large theme of it is vampires..."

"That is so basic! [giggling]"

Or so chimes a conversational intro to The Great Undressing from Norwegian avant-garde provocateur Jenny Hval's latest album, Blood Bitch, an album that is quite frankly as far from basic as they come. The perfect marriage of form and function, where perfect artsy pop is entwined with a ruthless, uncompromising feminist agenda. Jenny Hval has a lot to say, and what better way to deliver it than through this bloodthirsty beast of an album long experiment.

8 Oct 2016

Jono Ma's Sorted Out Warpaint's New Song With A Transformative Remix

Look, the new Warpaint album is really something that I couldn't feel more indifferent to if I tried. Warpaint are a cool band, who've put out lots of great records, but their latest didn't do it for me. It was decidedly less dreamy than Warpaint, and in parts literally sounded like one of those boring Maccabees-like indie bands, just with better vocals. And that ain't what I signed up for when I became a fan of the quartet.

7 Oct 2016

PREMIERE | Hear the dreamy debut from The Office inspired Lejon Brames


Lejon Brames is the latest of several projects from lo-fi newcomer Thomas Little. Based in Norwich but originating from Canada, his psychy, surfy numbers come inundated in dreamy effects, with melancholy lyrics giving a bitter-sweet edge to uplifting guitar arrangements. why do i hate summer so much epitomises this, as Little laments about seasonal misfortunes over a hypnotically hazy melody. 

There's An Actual Real Life New Rolling Stones Song And It Ain't Bad

The Rolling Stones - namely that Jagger chap - are two things above all others. They're really fucking cool, and really most definitely lizards. Seemingly of those bands that are definitely still doing it for money (see: The Who, Fleetwood Mac), it looked like they were never really gonna release any music. Yesterday, however, they did just that, and put out Just Your Fool. A 146-second blues rock stomp, and a cover of a Buddy Johnson track, it really ain't that bad. 

6 Oct 2016

Slaves / Take Control (album review)

Let's get a few things straight before we start this review. I've not listened to this album the whole way through. I've tried, I've really tried, but it's not happening. But that doesn't stop me from being in a position to review this album. In fact, the fact it's so fucking unlistenable that more than three songs in one go is a harrowing listen says more about this album than any carefully chosen words after careful listens could ever say. It really is as bad as the cover art.

26 Sep 2016

A Farewell to John Coffey

A farewell to John Coffey – one of the best punk bands around. 

In between The Maccabees breaking up, Bombay Bicycle Club going on hiatus and Augustines giving up the ghost due to financial troubles, you might have noticed we’ve lost quite a lot of promising, (relatively) young bands this year. That said, you’re probably not aware that Dutch punk band John Coffey are breaking up too. Well, consider this post your chance to rectify that, since they are (or as I should say in a few days, were) absolutely brilliant.

Skin / Lucid (single review)


After their great debut EP earlier this year as a two piece, Bristol outfit Skin have evolved. With the addition of a bassist, they're heavier, louder and meatier, all of which is evident on Lucid

18 Sep 2016

Best of Bestival #2 | Sunflower Bean

Sunflower Bean are a dream-pop band much in the same vane as DIIV or Beach Fossils; but don't let that fool you, and well, if you're not that way inclined, don't let that put you off - they're loud, intense and dangerous. Sunflower Bean are a fucking force. A power trio revolving around the shared vocal duties of ferocious bassist Julia Cumming and dream-pop dream boy guitarist Nick Kivlen, they take the wishy washy, dreamy melodies of their NYC contemporaries, and hammer them out in the most extreme, unforgiving way imaginable. During their 45 minute teatime Bestival slot, the band were just otherworldly, almost singlehandedly deafening me and hundreds of other spectators.

17 Sep 2016

10 New Music Gems You May Have Missed This Summer

Festival fields on lazy afternoons can be the perfect place to discover new music, but staying alert for up and coming acts is never really anyone’s priority during the rest of summer. So without further ado, prepare to feast your eyes and ears on 10 of the most exciting new tracks you may have missed over the last few months.
L-R: Girli, Lucia Fontaine, Oscar, Blaenavon, Clean Cut Kid

16 Sep 2016

Deap Vally | Femejism (album review)


Feminists around the globe rejoice. Deap Vally are back and more enraged than ever. Femejism is a modern day battle cry for girls, the perfect follow up to their 2013 debut Sistronix. This time round, everything is louder, angrier and dirtier. 

Little Baby Beauty Queen is reminiscent of early Led Zeppelin tracks (without the plagiarism) and Smile More is a mighty fuck you to the faces of misogynists everywhere. Midway through the record, Critic allows for a few calm minutes before Post Funk launches us back into the world of aggressive anthems we know and love. This record proves that Deap Vally had no problem beating the ‘difficult second album' curse; Femejism is the older, leather clad sister of Sistronix, who sneaks out in the dead of night and chain smokes in dirty bars. It’s empowering, it’s punk and most of all, it’s honest. Behind the face-melting melodies, this album tells of stories that all girls deal with, and that’s what takes it to the next level. Plus, it includes the lyric ‘snapchat, sex and cigarettes.’ A truly momentous record.
9.5/10

Words: Poppy Marriott