31 Jul 2017

Lend your ears to the Goa Express' rambunctious new double A-side

They sear and they surge, they pulse and they throb, the lysergic licks of The Goa Express' new double A-side flash and erupt like a psychedelic thunderstorm lighting up a puce night sky. GOA is but a fleeting 100 seconds, yet the havoc it wreaks across your whole body as it forces its way through your bones is electrifying; more a full scale Exorcist-style possession than a listening experience. 

These roaring, fizzing guitars are met by a frantic organ that powers the songs through like the heartbeat of a man that has just run miles to escape an all consuming forest fire. On both GOA and Kiss Me, this organ rallies amidst a thoroughfare of guitars; the former, it's a non-stop gnostic vibration, and the latter it subsides for an angular groove that emerges from a LOOP-style Spacemen 3-type thundergroove.

Crow Cries: Just In Case You Needed Proof Goat Girl Are -The One-

The hype garnered by Goat Girl off the back of their first single Country Sleaze/Scum was nothing but well deserved; here we had a London band who seemingly had everything from there very first single. A singer with a voice that can cut through sheets of metal, guitar lines that recall The Fall and The Fat Whites in their sleazy fervour, and a rhythm section that's just about as good as it gets.

Belle and Sebastian Return

Belle and Sebastian Are Back, Like, Actually Back, As a Band You’d Want to Listen To
I love Belle and Sebastian dearly; let’s get this out of the way right now. I discovered them five years ago by pure chance, a sequence of events that was a perfect storm involving accidentally buying Stuart Murdoch’s autobiography, a poke around the back ends of YouTube, and some fatherly advice from an old ethics teacher. They’re a part of my life, and I will always check in with them. They’re family.

So, it pains me to say that their last few releases have been… Iffy. Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance, their 2015 album, was a mixed bag, and that’s me being generous. It was laced with bangers, but also some truly wonky moments and decisions, and some of the finer moments were left off the album and relegated to dusty b-sides (like Piggy in the Middle, or a Politician’s Silence). Murdoch’s stated aim of the album sounding like Eurovision was admirable but misguided. For every “Enter Sylvia Plath”, there was a “Today (This Army’s For Peace)”. The band were working with reserves of energy, but not enough to see them over the course of an hour, a punishing runtime for an album like this. And sadly still, even on the best tracks there was an element of emotional detachment. Even on their most “produced” albums, like Life Pursuit or Waitress, there was still an engagement with feelings, an empathy for people, a desire to tell stories. None of that here; piercing psychological insights were replaced with blanket statements that don’t really tell us much about anything.

26 Jul 2017

Arcade Fire - Everything Now (album review)

This album has absolutely no merit. Seriously. The lead single is good. A fluke. A fluke, god damn. But listen no further, for your own safety. For your own sanity. I listened to it all, so you don't have to. Like Jesus dying for all of our sins, I listened all the way through.

24 Jul 2017

Introducing Anna Tosh...

London's Anna Tosh is an artist who's had a career in many bands; Wildhood, Love Nor Money, Hey Gravity and Shotgun Venus to name a few; but 2017 sees her jet off in the direction that is entirely of her own creative vision. On her debut single Weightless, what we have is gritty, metronomic rock, her cutting voice atop a lightning tight musical backdrop makes for something that sounds constantly on edge during the verses, constantly creating a taut and uneasy atmosphere before the sugar sweet catharsis of the choruses offer a breather.

18 Jul 2017

Pop Crimes: Revisiting The Film Noir World Of Rowland S. Howard

"Rowland was Australia's most unique, gifted and uncompromising guitarist. He was also a good friend. He will be missed by many." - Nick Cave

The Birthday Party set the world alight between their formation at the end of the seventies and the mid-eighties. Here we had a band that had the raw, depraved toxicity of The Cramps, combined with the lethal onstage energetic output of The Stooges and the oblique gloom of Joy Division, but a band that did this without compromising their literary prowess. The Birthday Party's focal point was the central duo of one Nick Cave, singer, screecher, squawker, and Rowland S. Howard, a guitarist whose fractured, splintered playing was delivered with such venomous vigour that he was able to share the onstage limelight with Cave, something that miscellaneous Bad Seeds could not quite match up to (whether they tried to or not). 

17 Jul 2017

Raw Power: an interview with the almighty Bo Gritz

Bo Gritz are a noise-rock band like no other; a pummelling screech of industrial guitar noise, their sound is invasive and unignorable. Indeed, if you've caught them as the support for the likes of Ho99o9, HMLTD, Table Scraps and Taman Shud, you'll be fully aware they deliver so much noise with such an intensity that you simply can't help but be engulfed. Last week, I caught up with them for a quick chat.

14 Jul 2017

Another Li'l Mid-2017 Post: Our 16 favourite songs of 2017 so far...

I don't have the strength to write another introductory paragraph, but you know what this is. Read the title. You've seen them before. Unordered list of songs what are good. Read list. Listen songs. Go forth and prosper.

13 Jul 2017

2017: The Best Records Of This Here Year So Far

Salutations dear friends, the halfway point of this year means that our little blog is now three years old. A lot of things have happened since then, but with a world that - despite the rise of Corbyn's Labour Party - seems bleaker by the day, maybe it's best to focus on the strictly musical things. From the exciting crop of new bands emerging in the capital, to Nick Cave reaching the peak of his powers, and Europe seeming alive with the most exciting psych music we've heard in a while, there's lots to celebrate. Here is our - that is me, Cal, alongside other Vapour Trail writers' - favourite albums of the year so far. Due to the fact that I'm working a lot over Summer, I haven't had the time to do this earlier, or write out a fleshed out description for each album, but there's so much great records that you should go through 'em all one by one. Without further ado...

5 Jul 2017

Joshua Jones/Scarecrow Boat - Fresh Prince of Nowhere (Split EP review)

A collaboration between two Southampton artists, Fresh Prince of Nowhere is a split EP arriving hot off the press. Dreamt upon between tourmates Joshua Jones and Dominic James (of Soton emo troupe Scarecrow Boat), it's a mixture of Jones' own stream of consciousness spoken word (delivered in a thick Welsh accent) and the caustic, reflective acoustic songs of James, as well as the EP's best moment, which is the title track and a collaboration between the two.