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)

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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 R√łnnenfelt - 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.
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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..."




"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.