28 Apr 2017

Table Scraps: Savage Garage Rock Explorations In Retro 3D

Garage rock at its most confrontational and savage, Table Scraps are Birmingham's “most respected (and feared) fuzz merchants”. The trio’s latest effort My Obsession is their first since lead singer Scott’s skeletal surgery sees them back with a vengeance; an old skool 3D video sees the band returning even more savage and deranged than on their 2015 debut album More Time For Strangers.

Californian Light: Childhood's New Single Sees Them Come Of Age

Ethereal noisemakers Childhood are back, and dreamier than ever. If the name doesn’t ring any bells, the London-based quintet were first catapulted into relevance when they supported the godfather of jangle Johnny Marr on his 2014 tour. Since then, their triumphant debut album Lacuna (and subsequent collaborations) ensured that they’d never stray too far from the spotlight. After some time away to re-group and evolve, the outfit have returned with this tremulous ode to South London.

27 Apr 2017

Ibibio Sound Machine - Uyai (album review)

Arriving from London-via-Lagos, Nigeria, Ibibio Sound Machine are an 8-piece that make escapist disco referencing everything from frontwoman Eno Williams' own rich Nigerian musical heritage, to the Human League, to LCD Soundsystem, to Motown floor fillers. They've just put out their second record, Uyai, a powerful record full of pounding rhythms, jagged synth lines and Ibibio (language of Nigeria) chants to make it one of the most unique records of the year so far.

25 Apr 2017

LICE!: on Human Parasite, the Bristol art-punks' first seminal record

LICE are off the fucking wall. A depraved strut, a manic Mark E. Smith style vocal, and searing lyrics, they are well and truly one of the most exciting things to happen in the history of Western art. Finally, they've got a song to match their unhinged live shows, their debut single Human Parasite. It revolves around a strutting bassline and frontman Alastair Shuttleworth's deranged vocal performance. I'll be honest with you, normally when I review a track I give it two or three whirls and that's enough, I don't need to hear it anymore. But Human Parasite. I can't stop listening to it.

From The Stone Roses Bar to Valhalla Dale: in conversation with Jellyskin

Jellyskin are a Leeds three-piece that make pop from beyond the void. They self describe as "a long lost Stereolab/Suicide collaboration", and that certainly rings true on their new track Eater; a warped, frantic 2 minute burst that sounds like an underwater Ghost Rider. Dysphoric cosmic pop, Jellyskin create noises on guitars that shouldn't be possible, juxtaposed with the glacial vocals of Zia Larty-Healy. Fresh off supporting The Moonlandingz, I had a word with one of the most exciting upcoming musical outfits in the north.

24 Apr 2017

Las Cobras: Uruguay's Next Big Psychedelic Export

Hi friends, for those of us that don't know, I spent pretty much all of the month of March slaving away over THIS; Echo Chamber, a magazine which me and a bunch of friends put together. Among the stars are Las Cobras, an upcoming band from Uruguay that channel small-town frustration into druggy psychedelic escapism. You should read it (pages 20-25), because there's a good interview with them, alongside a pretty amazing photoshoot.

Gorillaz - Humanz (album review)

Damon Albarn and his animated band are back with their highly anticipated come back record Humanz. It’s loaded with clangers, but even more bangers.

Mental Health and Musicians: A Few Words On Crim3s

There’s something both reassuring and beautifully progressive about the recent wave of musicians, actors and those that stand on an industry-pedestal publicly speaking out about mental health.

More and more people with a social platform are sharing their experiences with depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (the list goes on) and this is a hugely important thing. It is not only minimising taboo’s about whether or not it is deemed acceptable to share these things openly, but it's also showing that those whose lifestyles appear perfectly desirable at first glance are in fact not always going as smoothly as you’d imagine.

23 Apr 2017

Hang: Some Late Thoughts On The Return Of Foxygen

Foxygen are a band that’s known for producing a blast from the past. Their second album We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic (deep breath), was a brilliantly put together 60s pastiche and a great collection of work.

Predominately, lead singer Sam France applied his clear admiration for The Rolling Stones to many of the songs on the album with his Jagger-esque foibles. The record was filled with elements of pop, psych, soul and of course classic rock, with multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Rado helping to create an album that fans of the The Kinks and the Stones would more than appreciate.

22 Apr 2017

GAS - Narkopop (album review)

On Narkopop, Wolfgang Voight - a.k.a GAS - situates his brand of sonic naturalism away from the pastoral. In his dense, foreboding forest, the shadows of trees morph into spectres; moonlight pierces the eye, projecting vivid, lysergic imagery. Narkopop is the first GAS release since 2000's Pop, yet as a project, his work appears to have only grown in impact over each passing year. The sound has always been a singular one, akin to rippling lakes in the depths of pitch black woodlands, whilst the distant reverberations of industrialised towns seep in across the still air. Most exciting of all is the fact that it reignites a lineage of experimental German music, connecting the dots between modern electronic meddlings and the Krautrock forebearers of the 1970s.  

The Veldt's new double A-side Symmetry/Slow Grind reviewed

Ride and Slowdive are releasing their first albums for 20 years over the next couple of months, so as is seemingly recently par for the course, hype around a shoegaze revival is tangible. Alongside the big-hitting English names of the genre, the revival has paved way for under-appreciated American anomalies The Veldt to return all guns blazing. In fact, a few months ago we were lucky enough to interview them, but in the present, they're releasing new music.

21 Apr 2017

Lost Classic Album of the Week #2 | Litmus - You Are Here

WHAT? A full throttle space-rock attack on the senses, interstellar nihilism

MORE DETAILS: London band, their 2004 debut album.

FOR FANS OF: King Gizz, Follakzoid, Hawkwind, Syd's Pink Floyd

Ploughing Through The Haze With The Drug Store Romeos

Drug Store Romeos are a hazy psychedelic three-piece from Hampshire that make the perfect kind of misty-eyed dream-pop for 2AM heartbreak. At the end of the month they're bringing their celestial sounds to Portsmouth Psych Fest, and already have a load of gigs under their belt all around the south. Set to put out their debut single on Strong Island (a label that hosts Vapour Trail favourites Melt Dunes, among others), they're a young band with a lot in store. In preparation for their return to Portsmouth (more on that later), I shot lead guitarist Charlie a few questions over.

20 Apr 2017

10,000 Russos - Distress Distress (album review)

10,000 Russos make nasty music. Horrible music; distorted and contorted drone psychedelia, giving a sound equivalent to the vision of Francis Bacon's triptychs. Never before has a trio been able to make such an evil sound, or create such jarring imagery with just guitars and a taste for blood. On their second album, the Portugese trio sound harder, darker, and more scathing than ever; ever wondered what 2017 sounds like? Well, Distress Distress is the answer.

The Only Regressive Thing That Could Kill Guitar Music? CHAUVINISM.

Ah, Lee Broadbent from Cabbage. Shouting loudly about your anarcho-commie politics is all well and good (it’s so hot right now!) but it is shown up as utterly false when you allegedly decided to take your grotty dick-wipe hand to a girl who had made the unfortunate error of queueing all day just to see her favourite band from a good spot. At a Kasabian gig, the kind of environment already dominated by masculinity, you decided to thrust your knob in a girl’s face. A girl who was there with her dad. Christ. Where to begin with this one, eh?

19 Apr 2017

"Aryan Nation", Introducing the Political Fuzz of Erika M. Anderson

The world is baying for political music, and the fuzzed-out noise-pop of EMA might be what we all need. Aryan Nation may be on the nose with its politics, but it's instantaneous guitar thrills and Anderson's own raucous, husky voice provides the perfect sonic backdrop for such a commentary.

BALL - Heavy Swedish Psych Occultism

The brainchild of Swedish rock 'n' roll enigma S. Yrék Ball, BALL are a hard rocking brown acid psych band that combine insane musicality with depraved howling and a self described occultism. With their new song Speeding,  they up the back breaking insanity of their music, as well as announce a record for release later this year.

Vocals are a depraved bark, gunslinging guitars alternate between obnoxiously technical hard rock soloing and evil-tinged psychedelic noodling, making for an intense psychedelic cocktail that could summon satan himself. Indeed, the track breaks down with a satanic voice croaking: "Come down and join us, come down and join us down here, I wish you would", before the track's handed a new lease of life in a I Am the Resurrection style return to life. Obviously Speeding is better than I Am the Resurrection, though.

18 Apr 2017

Shamir - Hope (album review)

Shamir Bailey’s sophomore LP is a fascinating progression for the Vegas based multi-instrumentalist. The infatuating electro house beats off his debut Ratchet have been traded for lo-fi guitar recordings, but the quirky infectious vocal leads which made the Ratchet one of the greatest debuts of the decade are carried over to his second album entitled Hope.

The music here shines a light of vulnerability on Shamir as an artist and the context given from the moving description attached to this album on soundcloud makes me feel like I shouldn’t be listening to this at all. Hope is clearly very personal to Shamir and I feel privileged to hear it.

16 Apr 2017

Clarence Clarity - Fold 'Em (track review)

Ever Wondered what The End Of The World sounds like? It’s glitchy synthetic and drizzled in Clarence Clarity. London-based singer-songwriter, producer and the genius behind one of the most futuristic records of the decade (No Now) Clarence Clarity is back and he has yet again delivered a song which is infectious fun and pop flavoured when it really shouldn’t be.

Eat Yrself Fitter! A Playlist of The Fall For Beginners

Image result for the fall band

People often ask me; "Cal Cashin, you're a music journalist; who do you think the greatest band of all time is?" The answer, something I'll share here for the purpose of contriving an introduction to this piece, is obvious. The answer to this is The Fall.

John Doran, editor of the Quietus once said: "There are only a few things that separate us from the rest of the animal kingdom... the most important of these attributes, is an appreciation of the music of The Fall. This means if you do not listen to such albums as Hex Enduction Hour, This Nation's Saving Grace and The Unutterable you are worse than savage. The solution to what ails us is clear -- be less beastly, listen to The Fall."

15 Apr 2017

Blaenavon - That's Your Lot (album review)

The Hampshire based three piece have been creating a buzz for quite a while, and their debut album That's Your Lot is magical. The twelve track journey contains the early singles Orthodox Man and My Bark Is Your Bite, along with a version of Prague differentiating from the early KOSO EP. Ben Gregory sings vocals and plays the guitar, and his poetic lyrics are a collection of imagery and feelings which could stand alone as beautiful poems.

Lost Classic Album of the Week #1 | Kaleidoscope - Kaleidoscope

WHAT? Stonking, skronking garage rock with a hazy, twilight zone feel to it.

MORE DETAILS? 1969, Puerto Rican five piece making some of the era's most futuristic sounds.

CAN I THINK OF A FUN FACT OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD? The original vinyl copies of this are worth THOUSANDS. There was only 500 pressed and it's notorious as piss.

FOR FANS OF... The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, Electric Prunes, anything vaguely psychedelic, or even vaguely good...

14 Apr 2017

Arca - Arca (album review)

Arca’s last album Mutant felt like it was of another universe. This album feels like Arca’s soul has been exiled into dead space millions of light years away. Arca has become one of the most exciting electronic producers of the decade, and his extra-terrestrial textures have lead him to huge collaborations with FKA Twigs, Bjork and Kanye West.

His latest project is understandably self-titled. This record feels infinitely more human than his previous LPs; this is probably down to the addition of vocals, and the nature of it as self-titled implies all kinds of things about this as a statement of self-reflection. Arca’s voice glides blissfully through a thin line between beauty and monstrosity.  The opener Piel is unsettling and a fitting introduction to the lonely and heartbroken reality that Arca invites the listener into. Anoche is a highlight on the record Arca sings “I dreamed you last night, your figure and your arms” on this staggeringly beautiful art-pop opus.

Lights Out: Why Royal Blood's Return Proves They Might Have Even Less Imagination Than We Thought

Last year, I think the nastiest band I got my reviewer claws on was sneering Denace The Menace punk duo Slaves, a pair that well and truly proved that in a post-White Stripes, post-DFA1979, post-Japandroids, post-uhhh [are Fuzz a duo? They sound it on their debut] age, there really is seemingly nowhere you can go as a two-piece rock band. Every avenue for this one dimensional setup has been walked down, all the water has gone from well. All the chickens have gone home to roost and the metaphors are all mixed up.

13 Apr 2017

Husky Loops - Husky Loops (EP review)

Husky Loops' take on hard-rocking post-punk is refreshing, their debut EP is testament to the fact that the more diverse your influences the more you'll be able to bring to your music. There's all the trademarks of rock and post-punk as we know it; Jah-Wobbling basslines tight and high up in the mix, piercing guitar tones from all over the sonic field, and lyrics of darkness and the nature of the human condition. That's undeniable. But the crossrhythms of the drums, the bass motifs that wander, and some of frontman Danio's guitar absurdisms make this far more interesting. In short, with their debut EP, Husky Loops have made something so astronomically better than all the Joy Div and New Order copyists, and have already poised themselves as an exceptionally exciting propositions.

A Few Thoughts On "A Sign Of The Times"

Zayn Malik dropped a surprisingly decent solo record last year so the time has finally come for everyone's favourite wannabe rockstar to follow in his ex-bandmates footsteps. Or maybe not.

12 Apr 2017

Top of the Interplanetary Class: How The Moonlandingz Went From Fiction To Releasing The Best Debut of 2017

Image result for the moonlandingz

2015 saw the release of one of the most ambitious British records of the 2010s so far: The Eccentronic Research Council’s Johnny Rocket: Narcissist and Music Machine, I’m your biggest fan. A 40 minute allegorical album that combined the visceral story-telling narrative of Maxine Peake (of Shameless fame) atop eerie atmospheric pop songs made on brooding vintage synthesisers. The Johnny Rocket album told the narrative of Peake’s deranged and twisted character, the archetypal obsessive fan gone too far; from the fictional town of Valhalla Dale, a northern township a simple bus ride away from Sheffield. She becomes infatuated with Johnny Rocket; frontman of local rock and roll band The Moonlandingz. When the narrator’s infatuation becomes too much, the album reaches a heavy literary climax and-