31 Mar 2016

Iggy Pop / Post Pop Depression (album review)


Very few people have done more for the music of the counterculture than Iggy Pop. Right from the off, in 1969 he practically invented the angsty teenage rock on the snarling snotty debut Stooges record, set the blue prints for punk in 1973 with Raw Power and from 1977 he released some of the most memorable rock records spawned post-Morrison - oh - and he wrote the centrepiece to the soundtrack of Trainspotting, one of the greatest subcultural films of them all.

29 Mar 2016

ENTRODUCING #15 - Let's Eat Grandma

A duo from Norwich, Let's Eat Grandma are an incredibly fascinating East Anglia indie curiosity - given a mention in my Great Escape post -  and after releasing only a couple of songs they're already among the bands I'm most excited about. They're a minimal band, and because of the extreme promise they've shown on their first two songs Deep Six Textbook and Sink, I'm glad to be able to finally sit down and ramble about them for my geeky Entroducing column.

28 Mar 2016

VAYA FUTURO ARE MEXICO'S PREMIER SHOEGAZERS

Vaya Futuro are a Mexican noise-pop/shoegaze band from Tijuana, but currently based in Mexico City. With two released albums, a single produced by Ben Allen (Deerhunter) and a long list of shows, they’re making their fanbase grow faster and faster. There’s no doubt, they’re killing the Mexican indie industry right now. The band is formed by singer/guitarist Luis Aguilar, drummer Miguel Ahuage, guitarist Aldair Cerezo, bassist Lou Ros and keyboardist/chorist Armando Aguilar. Last Saturday, they offered a gig with A Love Electric and San Pedro el Cortez, and we had the chance to chat with them about their guilty pleasures and favorite things.

27 Mar 2016

End of the Road : A Preview

One of the shining jewels of the southwest corner of England is Larmer Tree Gardens in Dorset, a location like something from Alice and Wonderland only more picturesque. Every September it’s taken over by performance artists, comedians, and musicians for End of the Road Festival, one of the country’s most idyllic and magical events hosting a huge bill of creatives from across the globe. 

ENTRODUCING #14 - Sunface

Fully formed straight from song #1, the music of the fairly teenage DIY-pop master craftsman Sunface (aka Dan from indie rising stars Trash) is something you need in your life this very second. Over the past week, he's uploaded his first 2 tracks to Soundcloud, and they're primary examples of sun kissed bliss of the highest order - one a self-titled song and the other by the name of Summer Holidays.

26 Mar 2016

Phobophobes / No Flavour (single review)

Psych-heads Phobophobes are part of the politically charged Brixton underground scene that's given us such genii as the Fat White Family, Meatraffle and Paranoid London in times of late, so instantly in the new band obsession stakes they're off to a good start. Like the Fat Whites, they have a sound dependent on a rampant drum stomp and a cosmic organ, but that's pretty much where the comparisons end - well, their drummer used to be in the Fat Whites, but anyhow. Phobophobes are their own brilliant band; they play with menace, they sound determined and self-assured with their dirty Detroit 70s punk meets neo-psychedelia strut, and with this first single they already sound ready to tear the world a new one. It's called No Flavour, and it's already been picked up by 6music as well as basically anyone with a functioning pair of ears that's come into contact with it.

Matt Corby @ Birmingham O2 Institute (live review)

Matt Corby returned to the O2 Institute on Tuesday 8th March to play a triumphant, yet strikingly humble show.

25 Mar 2016

The most Sacred of Bones - ten essential releases from the NYC label's astounding catalogue

In the past, it used to be the case that a primary way of getting new music you liked would have been to avidly follow the releases put out by labels you love. In an age though, where there are millions of labels, many more ways to obtain music recommendations, and everything's just a bit more fragmented, y'know? But there's one label that's head and shoulders above the others in putting out records consistently incredible and that is Brooklyn label Sacred Bones, who feature so prominently in my record collection that they're the closest thing imaginable to a 80s 4AD or a 90s Creation Recs equivalent in the modern day. Here's [an unordered list of] my favourite 10 of their releases - singles, albums and EPs - all of which you need to hear before you die.

Public Memory / Wuthering Drum (album review)

Atmosphere: that's the word that most concisely summarises the dark, brooding sounds made by Brooklyn's Robert Toher aka Public Memory on debut album Wuthering Drum. Formerly of the group ERAAS, on Wuthering Drum Toher masterfully weaves together dark atmospherics with an incredible sound extracted from a 70s analogue synth to make one of the best albums to have come outta 2016. One look at the cover's all you need to know that this record is bleak and mysterious, it sounds throughout like a sonic interpretation of a Francis Bacon triptych.

Diagonal People - ArmageddingItOn! (single review)


Diagonal People are a collective from my hometown of Swindon, and without exaggeration, they are possibly the best thing to come out the place since Billie Piper. This is a band whom don't fit into anything even resembling a box, they are a vicious concoction of passion and attitude. With tracks full of beefy baselines, screeching electronica and enough reverb for days, Diagonal People are kicking a hole in the music scene and forcing themselves into it.  Their back catalog is fairly diverse, songs of swirling psychedelic soundscapes and others with lashings of punk, Ty Segall-like vocal stylings. Diagonal People are darkly hypnotic, they push you away to draw you right back in, smirking as they do so, behind their masks and face paint. This is a highly interesting group of people, making fascinating sounds in an unusual way, I'm all for it.

Latitude Festival Announcement | Comedy Line-up!

Latitude Festival has revealed it's comedy line-up for 2016 and it's a real corker. We've got the full list of names here, and brace yourself, there's a lot! Check out the full announcement here:

24 Mar 2016

Declan's Hipster Hovel #3 | Gretschen Hofner - Betty Page Is Back

It seems odd, to me, that “Gretschen Hofner” are about as well­known as the really early short films of Jan Svankmajer (hipsterness intensifies) since they have a sound so uniquely distinctive, like a sort of punchy ­funky post-­post­-punk jazzy ­violiny shot of caffeine straight to the eyeball, that you’d think, hope, it would catch on. Alas, it was not to be, until your humble Hipster ­Hovel harbinger bought them to your attention. The albums I’ve reviewed before have had their fans, but not this one, bar one exceptionally lengthy MySpace post that I include here. They seem pretty much lost at sea, and that’s a great shame, because all hipster pretensions aside, this is excellent music, sincere, catchy, witty, strange, challenging, and, most importantly, complete; as John Peel said of Teenage Kicks, there is little that can be taken away, or added to, this band to alter or improve it. It’s such a whole (and such a /good/ whole) that, as I say, it confuses and saddens me that there’s not more of a fanbase for these folks. They deserve a revival.

Glaciers / Vivid (single review)

Warped, glitchy garage guitar rock, Portsmouth's Glaciers are one of most exciting bands on the south coast at this minute in time - and their debut single Vivid is an evocative example of just that. Angsty vocals come deep from within a colossal guitar based soundscape - visions of Primary Colours Horrors and Spiritualized are brought right to the foray during the sun-drenched instrumentals. It has a mystical quality, the frontman Brad Dorey's voice is a dreamy commodity you can lose yourself in during the verses and a powerful burst during the choruses.

Gabriel Bruce / Freedom (single review)

You might remember last week we ran a massive feature on London's premier "disco Leonard Cohen" with regards to his comeback. After laying dormant for a few years (following a pretty dark time), he released his first song, Metal Soul last week. It seemed to showcase Bruce at his darkest, most forlorn, eminating a deep sadness that was only really brushed on over his brilliant 2013 debut Love In Arms. It was described upon release by Bruce as a red herring, something not representative of the rest of the album, so left us intrigued for whatever the man would put out next.

23 Mar 2016

Top 5 Vaselines Songs

THE Vaselines are a five piece alternative rock band from Glasgow, Scotland. Lead on a roller coaster of success by their two front men, Eugene Kelly and McKee they have been present on the music scene since 1986 and continue to perform gigs around the globe. Infamous for their influence on the Nirvana singer, Kurt Cobain, the Vaselines found most of their recognition in the hands of Nirvana fans worldwide. The subtle truth that had it not been for Kurt Cobain's ultimate devotion to the Vaselines and his openness about how much they impacted him and his fortold style of music, I don't think I'd have ever heard them - once again, thanks Kurt and thanks to the Vaselines for all the groovy music you've blessed us with over the years. To highlight this gratefulness, here are my top 5 favourite songs by the Vaselines themselves:

A reformed AR Kane are taking to the Summer's stages! Who are they, what did they do, and what do they want?

Some sources recognise them as the first proper shoegaze group, so in amongst all the shoegaze hype around us at the moment, maybe it's not such a surprise that AR Kane are choosing to wire those reverb pedals back up. Formed in 1986, with the core duo of Rudy Tambala and Alex Ayuli, the London band's sound is based heavily around crashing drums battling with tumultuous amounts of noise, with some deep set vocals cloaked in effects providing the harmonic distraction.

22 Mar 2016

A comprehensive guide to every band you need to see at The Great Escape

The Great Escape takes place every year in May, in Brighton, and for me its line up is one of the more exciting lists of names to come out every year. Essentially, it's a festive that started off as an industry thing, and showcases the artists that lots of people tip to be big later on in the year. If you can think of someone big in indie, alt and even pop circles, chances are they've played this festival at some point. Here's a pick of the 10 bands you really gotta see at TGE, if you're going, don't know anyone on the bill and want to get a taster of what's to come... // there's a massive playlist at the bottom a-ready and waiting for ya...

21 Mar 2016

Cal's Cult Hero Column #1 / Anton Newcombe

Sometimes I get lost for ideas for posts fitting for my blog, and just really want to write about certain people and artists without just cause to do so. So, on this plain Monday morning, searching for an excuse to write about Anton Newcombe and Julian Cope and The Modern Lovers and Kathleen Hanna, so I thought y'know what; it's my blog, I can do just that, I can start a column on so-called cult heroes and have a full scale geekout as and when it suits me. So here's the first instalment in my Cult Heroes column, which I'll use both as an intro (with accompanying playlist) and exploration of someone that's really fucking cool and in most cases really fucking acclaimed - this one's on Anton Newcombe, of the Brian Jonestown Massacre.

20 Mar 2016

Top 5 LCD Soundsystem songs


I'M STRESSING FROM THE START: this is unordered. It's almost upsetting to pick my favourite five songs, and I'm really here because it's a challenge to snip out five cuts from the most formidable discography from the past 10 years. LCD Soundsystem are amazing, and if you're familiar with them you'll probably have your own bunch of songs you love to fucking pieces already. If you're not familiar with them, here's five of the greatest songs ever written, and here's the facts: 10 years, 3 perfect albums, enough great songs to fill a 3 hour set to the rafters with bangers and a colossal farewell show.

19 Mar 2016

AJ Cornell & Tim Darcy / Too Significant To Ignore (album review)

NNA089Ought are a Montreal post-punk outfit, renowned for their awkward melodies, quirky yet catchy post-punk pop songs, and above all, the tetchy vocal delivery and off kilter lyrical content of frontman Tim Darcy. Through Darcy's cuttingly sarcastic, post-modern and downright funny lyrics, Ought's first two records More Than Any Other Day (2014 - our #10 album of that year) and Sun Coming Down (2015 - our #2 album of last year) are notable for being probably the two best post-punk records of recent years. So if like me, you were yearning for more of Darcy's angular reinterpretations of modern day life, this record - going by the name of Too Significant To Ignore - provides them in the eeriest possible way - atop a cloak of dark ambient soundscapes created by Montreal avant-garde composer AJ Cornell.

18 Mar 2016

Gabriel Bruce - the rise, fall and return of London's vampiric crooner showman

It was around 8:30pm 6th December 2012, he was opening for the then near-undiscovered Brum rising stars Peace on a particularly rainy night at Southampton's premium 150-capacity musky pub, The Joiners - one of my first gigs, and certainly the first one where I'd uncovered the band myself on internet blogs and excitedly dragged a friend. Clutching a 3/4 empty bottle of JD, in a tight fitting waistcoat, London alt-crooner Gabriel Bruce took to the tiny stage, an air about him that implied thus; this guy was something special. A vampiric messianic figurehead, he was backed by a band of gothic London types, including two backup singers - he even brought his own tapestry backdrop. Whilst his band were setting up, Bruce knelt down to me, a punter leaning on the stage - "thanks for coming out," he said, "you probably won't like my music but give it a go." What ensued, however, was nothing short of shamanic; a twitching set belted out by an incredible performer, it was almost as if the Londoner was possessed by a higher power, as he electrically belted out poetic songs, it was genuinely life changing to me, an over-excited fifteen year old whose mind had just been blown by an overworldly creature.

ENTRODUCING #13 - Drawstring

This week scuzzy Kent college rock band Drawstring put out their stellar Three EP out digitally, and released the Clubhouse single, so now seems a better time than ever to hold onto the coattails of their inevitable success. Their sound is classic emo, we're talking American Football or Weezer vibes ripped straight from a coming of age film here.

17 Mar 2016

WOLF ALICE: YEAH, SERIOUSLY

You know who Wolf Alice are. A staple feature of the UK’s indie landscape since they came kicking and screaming onto the scene in 2012, their short but expansive career has seen them cover huge ground both literally and figuratively. Countless live shows, two phenomenal EPs and one chart topping debut album later, they’re in the midst of their most important tour yet. With a hugely successful awards season under their belts, and four sold out nights at Kentish Town Forum on the horizon, we were desperate to hear some words of wisdom from the kids themselves. Backstage at Norwich UEA, that’s just what bassist Theo Ellis and drummer Joel Amey gave us. 

16 Mar 2016

Factory Floor @ The Village Underground (live review)

There was change in the air at Factory Floor's first London show of 2016, as the band have seemingly transformed since they were the centre of attention a couple of years ago for their memserising self-titled debut album. The DFA-signed outfit played the Village Underground as part of the 10 day Shoreditch arts event Convergence, at a gathering that fell exactly halfway between 'gig' and 'rave' on the spectrum, with a mixture of E5 scenesters and burnt-out casualties of the first acid house explosion in attendance.

15 Mar 2016

Declan's Hipster Hovel #2 | Naked City - Radio

Naked City, the demented, frenetic brainchild of saxophone maestro John Zorn (and the second scariest saxophone player I can think of- I will write about the first later), is a jazz band like no other, melding jazz-fusion, noise, surf, doo-wop, and whatever else you want, often over the course of thirty seconds. They released a handful of albums over the nineties, and their fourth, Radio, has always stood out to me as their best.

14 Mar 2016

Exploded View / No More Parties In The Attic (single review)

Bursting out the traps with what is most certainly the best debut single of 2016 so far, Sacred Bones' (label of Follakzoid, Marching Church, Destruction Unit) new signing Exploded View are seriously a band to watch out for. A dystopic mixture of dystopic, industrial post-punk, icy escapist psychedelia and oddball pop music, the band fronted by journo/solo artist Anika have only just been birthed into the world via a press frenzy at SXSW.

13 Mar 2016

Eight Really Cool Bands You Should Give Some Of Your Attention To

A few months back, one of our new music extraordinaries, Rach, gifted unto the world a post introducing of eight of the coolest bands you've probably never heard of. Now, armed with a lotta coffee and spare time, something similar has returned - damn, Rachel, at it again with the new bands (and the established ones that you might not have yet had the absolute pleasure to experience yet). So plug your headphones in, we're in for a pretty bumpy ride through pastures sonically unexplored.

11 Mar 2016

Matt Corby / Telluric (album review)

Two years ago, in an LA studio Matt Corby decided to scrap his debut album, deciding that it wasn't something he has any desire to release. He retreated into himself, almost disappearing for two years to align his thoughts and start again. The result of this change of heart is the epic Telluric, a record laden with soulful melodies, psychedelic funk, startling jazz beats and gorgeous vocals. 

10 Mar 2016

Eagulls / Skipping (single review)

With the third song from their new record Eagulls have made it even clearer that album #2 Ullages will push the five piece guitar band into uncharted territory.

ENTRODUCING #12 - Cigarettes After Sex

If you still consume at least a li'l bit of your music via YouTube, like some of us still do, the instantly classic, instantly memorable cover to the I. EP by Cigarettes After Sex will have plagued your viewing suggestions every time you dare dip your toes into the waters of the hipster contingent. Since releasing their debut EP four years back to barely a batted eyelid, their perfectly calculated soothing dream-pop went by largely unnoticed - until a few months ago, when interest in the band and in particular the song Nothing's Gonna Hurt You Baby (9 million YouTube hits) suddenly built up and up and up. Now, the band that started off as a tiny bedroom-type thing have the demand to leave their NYC homeland to tour the world. Quite the anomaly, eh?

ENTRODUCING #11 - Briana Marela

The subject of today's column isn't a band, or guitar driven, or from the city of London or the country of England, like an increasingly alarming amount of my entries into this are. Instead, the subject is a Seattle based off-kilter pop rtist by the name of Briana Marela, who a friend introduced to me a few months back as "Seattle's answer to Grimes", which is obviously an obnoxiously bold claim to which I gave a bit of scrutiny, seeing as Claire Boucher is most certainly my favourite pop star on the face of the planet. But Briana lives up to that description. No. She's her own artist, notable for her own distinct traits and pristine pop records, which are simply unavoidably great by anyone's standards.

8 Mar 2016

International Women's Day : A Mixtape

International Women's Day is something I hold very close to my heart. As a gender-queer feminist obsessed with any band with a female vocalist, today was the perfect day to compile a playlist of my favourite female artists. Spanning across many genres, ages and musical status, this playlist is the perfect FUCK YOU to anyone who says Women shouldn't make music. Honourable mentions to a couple of bands who I couldn't find on spotify include Peach Club, BonesYonaka and FISH.


Sugarthief @ The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham (live review)

Fresh on the B'ham indie scene are Sugarthief, a 4 piece indie band with jangly guitar riffs, insanely catchy choruses and poppy basslines. After slots at other essential Birmingham venues including The Oobleck and Rainbow, the boys headlined The Sunflower Lounge with support from Pollen, Quarry, The Wools and Exhailers.

Declan's Hipster Hovel #1 | Mondo Cane by Mike Patton

We've got ourselves a writer called Declan who, rumour has it, has seen every single film. Since we refurnished the blog, we've given him a column to talk about a completely obscure album that you've definitely never heard but should one hundred percent listen to. Over time, the hipster hovel column is going to encompass noise/doo-wop crossover, math-rock and dreamy orchestral pop, but the first installment is on an album of Italian pop covers called 'Mondo Cane' by Mike Patton... Enjoy!

6 Mar 2016

Hookworms / Hookworms [reissue] (EP review)

We started this blog in mid-2014, and our first album of the year was the incredible Hookworms sophomore album The Hum, it's menacing toothy cover every bit as unforgettable as the Leeds' bands' roaring 21st century take on garage psych, noise rock and psychedelia. Now, as 2016 looks to be a pretty big year for the band and it's members, they've released the 2011 Hookworms EP, the catalyst for their career as one of the British underground scene's finest artists, and they've brought some bonus tracks with them.

5 Mar 2016

Kagoule / Pharmacy (single review)

Since bursting out the woodwork a year and a bit ago with their early singles, Notts-based power trio Kagoule have seemingly grown and grown as a force in both the studio and live environment. Pharmacy arrives as the first offering since their 2015 debut album Urth, and seemingly the band's sound has been polarised since the debut.

Flying Vinyl Festival : A Preview

Vinyl is back, and in a big way. Fronting the plastic revolution are Flying Vinyl, a company that sends its members a monthly box filled with the best new alternative music printed onto beautiful 7” singles. This April, FV are celebrating some of its most talented alumni with a special all-day festival at Hackney Shapes. Here’s our breakdown of the fantastic line-up, which hosts some old favourites as well as some fresh new faces. 

3 Mar 2016

BABE MAGNETS: CLEAN CUT KID

Clean Cut Kid are a happy-go-lucky, indie pop quartet from Liverpool. They’ve had airplay from the BBC, supported Shura and Circa Waves on tour and are gearing up to release their hotly anticipated debut album later this year. As it happens, they’re also industry savvy, self-aware musicians, and a totally lovely bunch too. We chatted to frontman Mike Halls, his wife and the band’s keyboardist Evelyn Halls, bassist Saul Godman and drummer Ross Higginson about the biz on a dark February night in Colchester. 

Latitude 2016, This Really IS The Best Year Yet

ENTRODUCING #10 - Dead Belles

London-based noiseniks on the verge of releasing their debut single, the band Dead Belles are the subject of my ENTRODUCING column today.

2 Mar 2016

A Playlist of Rough Trade Records Essentials

Rough Trade as a record label turned 40 last week, and it's impossible to downplay their importance in shaping indie music as a genre. Set up in the wake of punk, over the past 40 years they've propped up indie music, shaped its direction and released some of the most incredible music of all time. So without banging on about it too much, here's a playlist of tracks that you just simply need to hear.

1 Mar 2016

ENTRODUCING #9 - Scrambled Limbs

You've probably not yet heard of Sam Rodwell AKA Scrambled Limbs, but if you're a fan of psychedelia, then this bedroom artist is somewhere you're going to hear a hell of a lot more about in the coming months. One of the finest creators of psychedelic sonic tapestries in the business, Scrambled Limbs encapsulate everything that you love about Tame Impala and Pond in a way that's more rough, more psychedelic, and just generally more batshit.