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.
31 Oct 2016
29 Oct 2016
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
|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.
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
25 Oct 2016
|Photo: Press / Charlotte Patmore|
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
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 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
21 Oct 2016
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.
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
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 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
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.
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
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.
16 Oct 2016
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
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.
14 Oct 2016
13 Oct 2016
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%.
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
11 Oct 2016
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 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
"What's this album about Jenny?"
"It's about vampires..."
"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
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
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.
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
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.