Sunday, 31 October 2010
Seeing as it's the season of Halloween it would only be fitting to play you this track.
Ps. In case you're all wondering why we aren't all out trick or treating. Well, we did that last night. Sort of..
Sonic youth, halloween
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Friday, 29 October 2010
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Glaswegian legends Mogwai have been hibernating this summer in Chem 19 Studios in Hamilton (mixing in their own studio Castle Of Doom) creating their seventh studio album Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will.
The new album which was recorded by long time producer Paul Savage will be released through Rock Action on 14th of February and in America on 15th February via their new American label Sub Pop.
Mexican Grand Prix
Letters To The Metro
George Square Thatcher Death Party
How To Be A Werewolf
Too Raging To Cheers
You're Lionel Richie
Following the success of their second album Public Strain, one of Middle Boop's favourites Women will be back on December 7, to play their biggest headline show in the capital so far at new venue XOYO. Make sure you check this one out.
Narrow With The Hall
Everyone here at Boop camp are very excited to announce that Animal Collective will be curating the only ATP in May 2011.
ATP promoter Barry Hogan said: "I always wondered what kind of mixtape Animal Collective would put together, so we are really stoked that they are climbing into the curating hot seat at Butlins next May where they will headline and curate the festival that includes the likes of Lee Scratch Perry and Gang Gang Dance from an already eclectic mix of 40+ acts."
So far the lineup looks like this:
GANG GANG DANCE
LEE SCRATCH PERRY
ARIEL PINK'S HAUNTED GRAFFITI
MEAT PUPPETS performing Up On The Sun
THE FROGS performing It's Only Right & Natural
THE BROTHERS UNCONNECTED
SUBLIME FREQUENCIES DJs + Films
with far more to be announced
Tickets on sale this Friday from www.seetickets.com
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
School of Seven Bells have been a band very close to our hearts in 2010 and have strengthened our love even further with the up and coming release of new single, and my favourite track from 'Disconnect From Desire' in the form of the stunning 'ILU' which will be released just in time for Christmas on December 6th.
Further more they are headlining Heaven in London on November 8th with support from Brian Eno collaborator Jon Hopkins. Tickets can be purcheased here.
Monday, 25 October 2010
Truly excited was I, when listening to the opening track, King Night and discovering a demented, electro version of that song from Home Alone. This is a breed of electro that I am definitely not familiar with; a brooding, gothic, haunting assault- like the very end of a trip, when the good times are fading into the abyss and the unwanted come-down is looming large. There’s is nothing particularly pleasant or uplifting about this style of music, but it’s an intense audio experience like no other.
The album in question is also titled King Night- a vicious debut from Michigan three piece; Salem. Categorizing this band is a somewhat hilarious experience, as they are associated with a number of bizarre genres, most commonly; Witch House. Announcing my love for a genre known as Witch House has been a dream of mine for some time now- it beats telling people that you dig ‘American indie’ and ‘Shoegaze’- right? Fuck it, I’m sold, Witch House is all I’m going to listen to. I have also heard them described as ‘Cave Crunk’ [Dazed & Confused], Celtic [their own MySpace page] ‘Goth Crunk’ and most controversially; ‘Rapegaze’ [only controversial because the dudes, who coined it, have apologised and tried to distance themselves from it]. There is an inherent darkness in all of these titles and this is not without motivation- the genre, and Salem in particular, embrace a world of skuzzy, underground art. King Night is better suited as a soundtrack for a snuff film, than it is as a club record.
Following the hugely successful opener, King Night follows with a string of tracks, mixing Trip Hop with minimalism, droning vocals with an occasional sense of black euphoria. If there was ever an album which requires a series of silly adjectives to describe it- this is it. Not an easy listen first time round, but boasting such exquisite artistry, whether you are blown away first time or not, you will want to listen again. Album highlight, Redlights, is the most accessible track by far. So, let this be your gateway into the record and listen to it as many times as need be. If you need a follow up single, try Frost, which boasts a pounding synth and enough bass to bounce a castle on.
Speaking of ‘gateway’, Salem are a band, constantly associated with drugs. I am not a detective, but this may have something to do with their first E.P; Yes I Smoke Crack. Or, it may have something with some of their notoriously painful live performances, especially at this year’s SXSW. Standing zombie-like without an ounce of stage presence, Salem don’t hide their drug use well. However, because of the genuine uniqueness of the music, it is still a spectacle to watch; spaced or not. The hit-and-miss nature of their performances can be compared to Girls, but when Girls play bad, it is a genuinely dull, miserable experience.
Forget the drugs, the darkness, the fear of Witch House causing witch burnings and human sacrifices [I did not make this up, there is genuine online concern about this]; Salem have released nothing short of a marvel. King Night will almost definitely feature in top ten lists of this year’s best, including this humble reviewer’s- I can’t articulate enough love for this record without sounding like a moron. It’s not all about gothic debauchery though- the band revealed in an interview for Dazed & Confused [read it here] that they still live in Michigan, because they like to be close to their families. How sweet?!
Words : David Campion
It's getting to that time of year now where going outside takes real sartorial forethought and it's dark by the time Neighbours has finished. Luckily, Frankie Rose And The Outs have just brought out an album that sounds like summer, with sixties girl-group vocals and Beach Boys guitar riffs funnelled through a pervasive reverb effect that mimics the feeling of intoxication. However, while there is a certain warmth to be shared in the band's affectionate recreation of that twee rock 'n' roll sound, the album is altogether a rather melancholy work.
Okay, that's not entirely true. Maybe it's the fact that the album is bookended by two tracks with a distinctly sombre feel, starting with the quivering church-organ sound of Hollow Life and playing out with the hymnal refrain and hypnotic drumming of Save Me. Such a circular arrangement makes it easy to overlook the upbeat hooks of tracks like Candy and That's What People Told Me, or the first thirty second of Don't Tred, which is deliciously authentic-sounding garage-punk.
Unfortunately though, it's not just their ranking in the track listing that makes these songs forgettable. More often than not, the songs here are lacking most keenly lengthwise. It's not only the case for the aforementioned livelier tracks: the gorgeous, bitter-sweet harmonies on Lullabies For Roads & Miles and on Arthur Russel cover You Can Make Me Feel Bad flaunt such potential but flounder then fizzle out without any real progression. With the majority of the songs clocking in at barely more than two minutes long, the melodies are rarely even afforded a bridge before being cut woefully short. Maybe this was this idea, but to me it seems that such editing does this album a great injustice.
Frankie Rose And The Outs have succeeded in creating an album that is affecting and emotive: occasionally insouciant, but more often solemn and almost ethereal. However, this reviewer will anticipate a follow-up in which their already-evident song-writing ability is given the space to more fully develop.
Words : Tegan Rogers
Before we delve into what made the album have such a prominent impact back in the mid 90s, you will be delighted to be informed that, as with most reissues that are floating about at the moment, this one comes with a second disc bloated with extras including select tracks from the band’s visits to the legendary Peel sessions which is where they gained much exposure.
You can definitely detect, from the poignant beginning of the opening track and the snarled vocals, that you would have found this band in their youth looking ‘doe-eyed’ at the front row of an Iggy Pop and The Stooges gig. It is a really impressive opening to the album but you can understand why this band did not get to the dizzying heights of their 90s Britpop contemporaries; Blur, Oasis and Suede to name a few. The Heads are clearly a band that is not comfortable fitting into a niche in the market, that niche being heavily indie-influenced back then. On the contrary, you will find this band jamming in the back surrounded by a haze of sweat and smoke, bucking the trend of the times.
The raw and untamed mood transcends seamlessly into track two, “Don’t Know Yet” where the group get their teeth into a grinding rock anthem complete with catchy riffs and a throbbing drumbeat that stimulates the need to nod and tap certain parts of your anatomy to its mantra.
“Chipped” certainly steps up the aggression a level with distortion effects ruling the soundwaves. Like an angst-ridden preacher, the vocals pulse underneath the rhythm of the music to a fantastic effect. The Heads are not afraid to experiment with their sound and although we may only be on the third track, you know instinctively that this group would be a force to be reckoned with.
We get to see a slightly mellower outing with ‘Slow Down’ where the rhythm coarses through the song like it is providing a soundtrack for a striptease scene at some shady club in Las Vegas. The band is certainly adept at evoking stark imagery where you can really picture what the track is trying to convey.
As soon as the bass notes of ‘U33’ ring out, you know that you are going to be treated to another grinding slice of rock and you do not leave disappointed. The beat is certainly catchy and once again, The Heads utilise their impressive arsenal of musical and vocal sound effects.
“Television” is a short and sweet outing and is made for the live stage. It cannot be denied that there are underlying grungy tones running through this track tinged with black comedy, it is certainly one of my favourites.
The following two tracks “Woke Up” and “Widowmaker” help to showcase the talent of the Heads further. The former brings together a snide song fraught with punk and metal sentiment before the latter relies on the bass once again to drive the music into overdrive with another headbanger which leaves you with nothing short of being impressed with The Heads’ diversity.
The penultimate song “Taken Too Much” carries on from where “Television” left off but I can only describe it as a meeting of the minds between The Doors and Nirvana as you are delivered a creative mish-mash of classic rock and grunge sound.
Now, what to say about the ending track “Coogan’s Bluff”? Well, the word ‘epic’ does not cover its magnitude. This jam clocks in at 45 minutes long as The Heads certainly leave you something to remember them by. I must admit that it is a pretty ballsy move for the band to do this as many of the music community could have seen this as a self-indulgent direction. However, it really conveys to you what the band is all about; being experimental, progressive, providing a raw live experience and giving the opportunity to get lost in the music.
Any of you followers of Britrock worth your salt should check out this reissue and familiarise yourself with an act that may have passed you by all those years ago. The guys are still playing to avid fans across Europe so it is not too late for you to experience it.
Words : Barclay Quarton
Friday, 22 October 2010
You can picture the scenario can’t you? You hear all this good shit about Gold Panda so you do some research on the guy and you think to yourself ‘oh here we go, yet another Electronica bedroom producer!’ and despite this form of dance music being very enjoyable to listen to there can’t be yet another up and coming, best new thing to come out of the scene can there? But as much as one imagines the predictably manmade house electronic beats and sampling, time and again one becomes mesmerised by the captivating multi talented, multi instrumental-sounding, warped dance fusion that is Derwin (No Surname) Gold Panda.
My first relocation of Gold Panda was a year ago when this buzz surrounding him started, having released the ‘Quitter Raga’, ‘Before’ and ‘Miyamae EP’s as well as various 7”. This followed on from me catching him on a live scale for the first time supporting the excellent Nite Jewell at The Cargo in Shoreditch and has since been performing many shows around London and across the world gaining a strong reputation. So here his debut full length LP. ‘Lucky Shiner’ has been eagerly anticipated by his band of followers and will no doubt rank him alongside fellow likeminded producers and musicians such as the already well established Four Tet, Caribou et al.
What this record does offer is a high scale sea of nostalgic emotions, all running through his Akai MPC2000XL sampler; the instrument that is the forefront of Gold Panda’s beauty. Opening with the albums first rendition of ‘You’, a track that later gets reprised at the close of Lucky Shiner, despite the fact both tracks contrasts in many ways. A track that involves various sped up renditions of the title word cut up instrumental loops to give us a standard setting album opener.
What makes this full length differ from his earlier EPs is how the sound expands its horizons across the dance music spectrum. American dance culture seems a prominent influence with the Chicago deep house reminding of ‘Vanilla Minus’, ‘Marriage’ and ‘India Lately’. Added to this, the Detroit Techno sounds of ‘Snow & Taxis’ in particular is reminiscent of The Field which is by no means a bad thing. So in that respect the album breaks away from the familiar hard hitting, sonic glitch production that we’re used to, and one that Gold Panda manages to portray so well. Further more, this release provides a range of tempo and dynamics, notably the relaxingly gorgeous acousticness of ‘Parents’ which gives ‘Lucky Shiner’ a chilled out album binding interlude.
Say what you like about the DIY aesthetic of electronic music. Gold Panda here has redefined the odds and created a masterful debut album that will put him up there alongside the big names in the movement. A record of pure bliss from start to finish that blends in a harsh, but subtle mix of experimental loops n beats. One last thing to add, and that’s if you get the chance to catch him in a live capacity. Do it!
Words: Freddy Rothman
Thursday, 21 October 2010
Mark Sultan is the voice behind King Kahn & BBQ Show (he is BBQ) and widely known as a pioneer in the modern garage-rock/doo-wop movement. With past releases on In The Red and Sub Pop he has gained a large underground international following.
Here is the new music video for 'Status' which will feature on Sultans new album titled '$', out on November 8th on Last Gang Records.
Chad Valley - EP - 04 Ensoniq Funk by CASCINE ">
Listen to Ensoniq Funk
having recently signed to the new Moshi Moshi label Not Even, Becoming Real has announced a string of dates supporting Salem on their hotly anticipated tour.
You can also download the track South London Congo here.
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
Four reasons as to why I was excited about this show: The first being it was my first time at East London’s latest hipster club/venue, XOYO, and ticking off new venues one’s attended is always fun, right? No? Just me then... Well in that case I better swiftly get on with the other three reasons and that was simply Abe Vigoda, London’s very own Male Bonding and headline act, No Age. Unsurprisingly, a bill as consistent as that meant the night was sold out and the packed crowd were getting stuck in to the loudness and intensity of all three bands from the start.
Despite initially thinking that Male Bonding were the opening act I was surprised to see Californian Tropicana punks Abe Vigoda take to the stage first (that will be the last time I’ll ever use the word ‘Tropicana’ to describe a band, I promise). They played a set that focused more towards their latest offering ‘Crush’, with some older tracks to boot. For an opening act I have to give kudos to the sound guys at XOYO for making their performance sound bang on.
Male Bonding have always had their hardcore followers but this performance showed that the Dalston trio have come on leaps and bounds in terms of popularity, not only in London but across the Atlantic as well. They launched straight into ‘All Things This Way’ and continued the next 30 minutes with hits from this year’s outstanding debut LP ‘Nothing Hurts’. It has been a pleasure to see this band improve with each performance over the past year, with this show being apparently the loudest to play at the venue to date, even surpassing tonight’s headliners, No Age. The sardine like moshing atmosphere showed that Male Bonding could probably headline a show to a crowd of this size without their being any awkwardness.
No Age was, of course, the final act, closing their mammoth world tour with Sub Pop label mates Male Bonding. The chaos amongst the crowd began as soon as the Los Angeles duo (trio in terms of the night’s live performance) took to the stage. Beginning with a massive build up into ‘Life Prowler’, which coincidently is the opener on this year’s stunning ‘Everything in Between’ LP. Even at this stage the crowd were bouncing around in sync to Dean Spunt’s drum pounding and scrawling vocal. They then followed this intro track with ‘Nouns’ ‘Teen Creeps’, which received a raucous reaction. The carnage amongst the London punk kidz didn’t stop throughout an intense set that was dominated with tracks from ‘Everything in Between’. Being located by the steps on the side of the stage it was refreshing to get a decent view of the crowd going crazy, as well as the band.
From a musical perspective No Age seemed to drift in and out of consistency in the tempo of this performance and you could tell that some of the slower cuts like ‘Valley Hump Crush’ and ‘Chem Trails’ vocally sounded a bit off key, in a not so deliberate way. Not that the majority of the spectators cared one bit, and in all honesty that barely lowered my opinion of the gig but if I was to make one negative point that would be it.
If I was to single out one particular highlight it would be linked to a week that had been dominated by the news story involving the heroic rescue of the 33 Chilean miners. Spunt and Randy Randell climaxed their set fittingly with ‘Miner’, added with Spunt’s continuous chanting of “We’re all fucking alive!” and constant stage diving featuring the band themselves made it a really epic moment at a pretty intense gig.
Words: Freddy Rothman
Pissed Jeans have announced details of a brand new 7". The new tracks which are not necessarily linked to a new album, but are still new none the less. 'Sam Kinison Woman' / 'The L Word will be officially released on November 1st, which you can pre-order HERE.
In the meantime, check out the awesome video for 'False Jesii Pt. 2.' taken from their last album 'King of Jeans'. And yes its been 2 years!
The sharply dressed pop wonders of Brighton's Mirrors are to release new single and video for 'Hide And Seek' which will be released on November 15th on Skint Records.
The single, available on 7” and download features the extra track ‘Tow The Line’ and also mixes from House of House, Leo Zero and Kwes, which will be taken from their forthcoming debut album 'Lights and Offerings', set for release in February 2011.
Monday, 18 October 2010
Opening song ‘Perch Patchwork’, highlights this to a tee, beginning with a low horn blow that gives way to a bright eyed string-based riff, accompanied by a playful vocal harmony that’s wonderfully realised, comparable to Bon Iver at his best. The melody on display, in a similar fashion to numerous melodies throughout the record, is infused with an enchanting polyphony and lively pluckings that are almost antique in their tranquillity. Slowly but surely, the group finish the introductory track with faint juxtaposition, slowing everything down into a warped Beach Boys harmony that holds something eerie in it’s heart.
Then comes ‘Was', an instrumental bit of folk rock feat that replicates 70s sentimentality with a tangible tinge of modern psychedelic pop. Such is the rambling wonderment phenomenon of Maps & Atlases, who lay their music out candidly on one long platter that stretches from one end of the musical spectrum to the other without breathing space. The record continues in this way, peaking and pausing for breath intermittently via a host of sounds and landscapes. ‘If This Is’ begins to echo the chart friendly folk of Mumford & Sons before a rollicking jerk takes over to break the sound up around the halfway mark.
They love to start heading quickly in one direction and then swerve all over the road, sweeping any preconceptions away with a sudden refrain, before finishing what they started somewhere a few hundred miles away, upside down. This collage of music is what will ultimately drive away many listeners who, upon a first or casual glance, could easily and quickly become disconcerted by the diverging styles. For those with more perseverance, there is something so captivating in the ever interesting little riffs and melodious utterances that pepper themselves generously for the duration of ‘Perch Patchwork’
However hackneyed it is to try and pun off of the name of an album or band, ‘Perch Patchwork’ seems to play into the music critic’s supposed sense of literary association. Maps & Atlases provide a true patchwork of voices, sounds and ideas, stretching themselves into this and that with a rare confidence and flair for such an attempt. Themes typical of various genres surface and submerge every now and again, from afro-pop on ‘Pigeon’ to math rock on ‘Carrying The Wet Wood’. In regards to the term Perch, I feel at a loss to attach the word with the music in any scholarly manner but I did somehow imagine a little fish swimming his way through this record (grinning the whole way, if fish can grin). Give it a go and grin along.
Words : Adam Parker
Thumping percussion introduces us to the record and such a pounding sound persists throughout, forming the rhythmic backbone of an utterly primordial baroque pop production. The voice of Glasser, as it seeps into opening track ‘Apply’, resounds with an ominous sentiment strongly reminiscent of the wavering chanting of avant-garde pop genius Bjork. Glasser appears to have experimented with percussive force throughout the recording process, and with incredible success judging by the finished product. The end of ‘Plane Temp’ sounds like a class full of musically gifted primary school kids let loose in the percussion box, such is the drifting, boundless quality to the amalgam of instruments fading in and out. Wooden pings, bells, oriental jangles and sonorous bass booms haunt each and every track on ‘Ring’, forging a beautifully uneasy and unearthly tone.
The modestly titled ‘T’ is a surge of astral curiosity, consisting of a gorgeous tinkling of the cosmic ivories and a bewitching vocal pattern that twinkles in and out of existence. The grace and elegance inherent in Glasser’s approach to melody and music evokes spiritual narratives of old, conjuring up a delightfully disconsolate undercurrent, strengthening the association between her music and the tribal religiosity of ancient cultures. Very rarely does this album falter but the robotic echoing vocal effect that materialises towards the culmination of ‘Mirrorage’ mars the guttural sense of deep-seated, inherent introspection that pummels it’s way through the drum beat and ambiance of cosmological awe.
When an artist uses their specific medium to address something avant-garde, tribal and insightful, so many factors can veer away from the aura of authenticity that embodies such a cultural creation. It’s high praise to declare that Glasser circumnavigates the majority of possible problems, using an array of fundamental instrumentation, an almost spectral voice that imitates the time-honoured power of the choir and a mood which entrenches itself firmly within tremendously transcendent mysticism.
Words : Adam Parker
Noise rock, garage rock, Japanoise; call them what it what you want but you would have to be a corpse not to enjoy it. It is the genre of music that was made for the manufacturing of chaotic live performance and there are few bands in the business that encapsulate the spirit that this type of sound demonstrates.
Yes folks, we have recently been handed a new offering from that crazy cauldron of Japanese chaotic musicality that is Afrirampo. However, let us get the sad news out of the way first. Whilst this may be a welcome addition to this groups great repertoire, it may ultimately be their last. As of June, both Oni and Pikachu have decided to hang up their microphones until a ‘higher power’ calls upon them to reunite and blast the crowds away with their psycho-garage antics.
But let us not dwell on this solemn point and turn our attention to the quite fantastic ‘We Are Uchu No Ko’. From the helter-skelter opening track of ‘Miracle Lucky Girls’, you know you have been launched headlong into that crazy world that only Japanese bands of this ilk seem to encapsulate. As a music lover you will know instinctively that this track will be a force to be reckoned with if opening a gig with it. One of the things about Afrirampo’s albums is that you get the live experience in recorded album form, you won’t get to much production, this is raw music and energy.
The beginning to ‘Sore Ga Afrirampo’ may be construed as a nod to The Clash but soon revels in a myriad of sounds and psychobilly melody but it is, like all of the album, very infectious. ‘Tou Zai Nan Boku’ is what it is; an extremely fun balls-out Japanese rock tune meant to be sung along with and would certainly be a staple for any live performance.
‘Umi’ can certainly be construed as a nod to the rock epics of the past. It is a very interesting change of direction in the album as it shows the diversity of the band. They aren’t just willing to get their rocks off with a random cacophony of sound but can also produce something that flows extremely well with special notice taken to the chord structure and beat.
This thoughtfulness is carried on in ‘Egolo Island’ which continues the tuneful direction that Afrirampo seem to meandering with this album. Just like it’s predecessor, it is fairly lengthly and rather than letting the track go stale, the song has a rocky middle and finishes in the mellow way it began. ‘Whyto’ is wonderful quaint track which one can describe as cute, it acts more as a intermission allowing you time to relax before Afrirampo proceed to ply you with more of their unique energy.
‘Yah Yah Yeah’ does just as the title would suggest and bring a positive and happy feeling after listening to it. It is another one of those ‘chant-a-long’ tracks that would be completely at home at the end of a gig.
Did I mention that this is a double album? The guessing is that the girls wanted a long goodbye and it certainly is a welcome one. The first track on disc two, ‘Sunwave Dance’ just gives you a distinctly warm feeling when listening to it. Call it clichéd if you must but it is definitely a feel-good track. However, you can detect that bittersweet nuance underlying the album as the band knows that this may be their last album and they are both savouring and lamenting this fact to the last note.
The album concludes with what one can only describe as an grand curtain call. ‘Hoshi No Uta’ is separated into 5 parts. The atmosphere that is detected with these tracks is Afrirampo shaking off their shrieking, howling and chaotic image to create something really provoking and sweet to end on.
For those who thought Japanese girls bands like Afrirampo were linear one trick pony’s please, reconsider, and indulge yourself in this album, it certainly brought a smile to me.
Words : Barclay Quarton
The record begins, and continues, with a strong, pungent smell of stoner surf rock, thanks to 90s alt rock guitar drives that bring back memories of Weezer at their ‘Sweater Song’ summit. Even the title of the introductory track, ‘Back in the Saddle’, indicates an active return to the fray, albeit without any form of brash, bold bliss. It seems that summer may be over for the Boris Yeltsin boys.
Not that the summer sing along doesn’t stir at all anymore, rather that it lies dormant for the most part, materialising on the rare occasion. Most prominently, the shamelessly joyous indie rock ethos burns brightest on their initial single ‘Sink/Let It Sway’, which also emerges as the most mainstream indie effort here, revelling in the charmingly ditzy mood that has resurged in the West Coast rock movement forged by the likes of Best Coast and The Drums.
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin provide a sound that is a confused recipe of Local Natives, Pixies and Weezer, never shining brightly enough to fully manifest itself as the powerhouse of lazy rock that it should be. Odd turns, such as ‘All Hail Dracula’, seem a step out of synch with the rest of the record, detracting from the combined power of the bands ability to create toe-tapping riffs and surprisingly engrossing sing-along structures. The sheer amount of supposed sing-along moments did start to grate until I gave in to the allure, la-ing and na-ing the day away.
The disconsolate highlight comes halfway in, with ‘Stuart Gets Lost Dans Le Metro’, which eases its way into life with a doleful guitar that gives way to some simple piano to underline the crestfallen heart of the album. Even the vocals here drift into some drowned background, sounding like they come from a lost 90s cassette tape recorded in the bedroom of some elegantly poised heartsick adolescent.
I am sure plenty of people will still love Boris Yeltsin. They appear to have something inherently loveable about the radiant mirth they process, taking teenage emotion and melding it into, and throughout, their particular brand of modern pop rock. Nonetheless, it is possible that there could be some fallout in the form of a few previous fans of the foursome losing faith in the newly approachable approach to indie that some may see as an attempted charge into the charts (or at least into the more generic indie rock horde). I, for one, can happily sit back and let some nineties nostalgia take hold for a little while longer (though sooner or later, it will be time for some Nada Surf replacement scuzz).Words : Adam Parker
Upon the first listen of Happy Birthday's self titled début album, my thoughts were whether or not, in some surreal alternative universe, the Royal Trux had recorded a bunch of songs for Top of the Pops one hot summer. This is by no means a criticism, the combination of the trio’s jangly, lo-fi, hook driven guitar riffs infused with the distinctively dreamy, unrefined nasal vocals of Kyle Thomas make for a perfectly balanced listen.
The record’s chaotic opening anthem, filled with uncontrollable thoughts towards the opposite sex, ‘Girls FM’, is a perfect pop song; relentlessly upbeat, infectiously catchy, topped off with a repetitively fun chorus (“Everybody’s looking like a girl to me / Girls FM, Girls FM”). Two minutes in and we encounter Thomas’ coarse screaming of the track’s title whilst schizophrenically accompanied by Ruth Garbus' tender backing vocals.
The pace shifts dramatically with '2 Shy', slowing down to offer us a softer, hazy reflection on self loathing. The constant change of tone that appears throughout the record mirrors the bands raw, unpolished and occasionally grating take on introspective, twee-soaked pop songs.
'Maxine The Teenage Eskimo's dark narrative focuses on Thomas’ doomed affections for the unobtainable girl; sugar coated in lush backing vocals and masked by unthreatening strumming of the guitar. A less subtle approach is taken on 'Cracked' with its messy intro of pounding drums leading us into a tale of one girl's mental lament - "She's got an ice cold face / Machine gun music on her headphones / Her brain is damaged". In the same vein, ‘Zit’s repetitive, screeching ode to teenage angst and destruction flows like the polar opposite to the album’s closing track, ‘Fun’.
In true pop fashion, there are dark undertones brimming to the surface; unrequited love, social isolation and dreams of a better tomorrow. However, with such honest and direct delivery, it's easy to overlook the more sinister aspects of the songwriting. Chances are you’ll catch yourself harmonising to the naive sensibilities of tracks like 'Subliminal Message' ("I'm sending you a subliminal message / To your heart"), or obliviously tapping your foot along to the laid back yet menacing ‘Perverted Girl’.
With such a strong début, let’s hope Happy Birthday have many anniversaries to follow up with.
Words : Neil Phillips
Friday, 15 October 2010
Deerhoof have announced that they are to release their 11th studio album titled 'Deerhoof vs. Evil'. It will be released via ATP recordings in the UK and on Polyvinyl in the rest of Europe on January 24th 2011.
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
I am very excited to be posting this video, this is the accompanying video to LA quartet, Warpaint's first single Undertow.
Warpaint will be touring in support of their debut record 'The Fool' out 25th October
21 / 10 / 10 - Warpaint, Crawdaddy, Dublin
22 / 10 / 10 - Warpaint, Stereo, Glasgow
23 / 10 / 10 - Warpaint, The Kazimier, Liverpool
24 / 10 / 10 - Warpaint, Deaf Institute, Manchester
26 / 10 / 10 - Warpaint, Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
27 / 10 / 10 - Warpaint, The Cooler, Bristol
28 / 10 / 10 - Warpaint, Scala, London
29 / 10 / 10 - Warpaint, Brighton Digital, Brighton
Having seen Oceansize play as a punter very many times over the years, from small venues that no longer exist to crowds of about 30 people right through to packed out uni venues, but unfortunately never anything bigger. Despite being around for over ten years and having a rather large and loyal fanbase, I’m not sure why it’s taken them so long to find their way to headline venue’s as big as Koko when so many of their other British rock brethren have gone on to achieve huge success... or split up. Either way, they are here now and boy do they deserve to be.
We arrived a little way into their set due to the fact that Koko’s annoyingly famous clubnight on a Friday meant that the bands had to start and finish ridiculously early so myself and a number of other bewildered fans looked on having already missed classics such as the stand out track from third album Frames ‘Unfamiliar.’ Despite this hindrance, what I did see was fantastic. Oceansize have a sound that could easily fill out venues three times the capacity of Koko and played like it. The new album hasn’t exactly had the big push that, say ‘Everyone In To Position’ did five or so years ago but the new tracks sound quality, ... With schizophrenic dual vocals from Vennart and Steve Durose and ‘Superimposer’ showcasing the new album in full style. The band are certainly leaning much more towards a heavy, prog sound these days which fits their style well. The new music filtered well with old classics like Paper Champion. it has to be said Oceansize are one of the most underrated bands in the country. They’ve just never quite fit into any genre that’s been in vogue.
Mike Vennart who can now also be seen playing second guitar for old friends Biffy Clyro was on top form with the banter and looked so at home on a stage with enough room for the band to move, darting about whenever he had time off the mic. It was great after so many years to see the guys play a blinder to a massive crowd and despite a minor misunderstanding with Steve Wilson of Porcupine Tree (or ‘PT’ as he seems to call them) at the aftershow it was a great evening.
Words : Gordon Reid
Taylor Kirk’s Timber Timbre project sees his music decamp to a woodland cabin not a million miles from that previously inhabited by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, all brushed earth tones and rural charm. But while the location may be similar, the headspace is entirely different; where Vernon lost himself in deeply introspective melancholy and a largely bleak worldview, Kirk’s music is stained with a deep, black gothic humour. It lends his self-titled third album wonderfully lighthearted overtones, even as the delivery and sparing instrumentation provide a severe, and sometimes downright unnerving backline.
Central to everything is his voice – a soft, throaty croon that’s both immediately distinctive and strangely anonymous. Buried deep underneath its idiosyncratic touches, away from the sudden broken leaps it makes during ‘Until The Night Is Over’ or the quavering warble of ‘Magic Arrow’, there’s a baritone richness that places him in a lineage of singers stretching way back through US folk history. That Timber Timbre is tied to a similar heritage, offering a convincing modern interpretation of a fairly rustic musical form, merely serves to lend it a warmth and authenticity that belies its slight structure.
As much as anything else, Kirk is a dab hand at storytelling, as unafraid to throw in the odd pop cultural reference as he is to ramble at length about far less obvious subject matter. Opening ‘Until The Night Is Over’ with a direct steal from The Animals – “There is a house in New Orleans…” – before subverting that staple with a whispered “… where you woke from the coma and bit your cheek”, is a clever masterstroke, at once spooky and endearing. And opener ‘Demon Host’ is starkly confessional, with pleas of “Oh Reverend, please, can I chew your ear / I’ve become what I most fear”. Over the album’s length it blends into one perhaps more than would be ideal, settling quite comfortably in the background where others might grab for your attention with hearty crescendo or sudden upward shift. But then that’s a small part of this album’s soft-edged charm – it’s easy to slip into and as easy to slip out of otherwise, even as small fragments of Kirk’s voice lodge in your consciousness on the way out.
Words : Rory Gibb
If you haven't heard Esben And The Witch yet, this EP showcases faithfully and succinctly their talent for creating atmospheric, menacing and refreshingly unusual musical compositions. The title track, with the swelling then subsiding roar of feedback, its intermittent and fittingly hypnotic drum beat and its baleful vocal - along with an absolutely charming promo video in which the band don grisly costume make-up – demonstrate from the off that Esben And The Witch are a band who aren't afraid to ham it up in their mission to inject a bit of much-needed theatricality into the upcoming UK music scene.
The band were once described as nightmare pop, and it's a tag-line that I imagine will continue to dog their press for the rest of their career. It's misleading, though, as this EP proves. While the 'nightmare' part conjures (for me, at least) expectations of discordant, fists-on-piano noises and screaming, and the completely contradictory 'pop' part suggests catchy hooks and commercial viability, Marching Band defies all these connotations. The hazy synth sounds, echo-y vocals and restrained melody of 'Done Because We Are Too Menny' is a perfect example of how theirs is a sound that would be better described as 'dreamlike'. The EP is sombre, and at times the keyboards and effects on Souvenirs evoke kitschy horror movie soundtracks, but never is the sound macabre or disturbing enough to warrant the word 'nightmarish'. Meanwhile, the arrangement of each track, not least with nine minute long Souvenirs, is a master class in the power of delayed gratification, with every dramatic crescendo rendered all the more exquisite by the subtlety of the build-up. The songs aren't instantly memorable, but the effect they have on you will stay with you for a long time. Surely this is the antithesis of a typical pop song?
Semantics aside, Marching Song is an EP that more than justifies the buzz that has been gathering around this Brighton band over the past year. Mesmerising and complex; if this EP is anything to go by, their upcoming first full length release with Matador will surely provide hours of enchantment.
Words : Tegan Rogers
Tuesday, 12 October 2010
After a short hiatus, the ferociously fast noise punk duo, Ben Thomas and Ben Perrier, affectionately known as Winnebago Deal return with their third album. 'Career Suicide' will be released on November 15th on Cargo/We Deliver the Guts Records.
They are also playing a few dates this year.
13 - Delicatessen @ Rainbow Warehouse, Birmingham
26 - Delicatessen (special Records & Machines set), London
03 - Delicatessen @ Warehouse Project, Manchester
04 - Delicatessen @ Wax On, Leeds
Watch the Canadian Crazies Crystal Castles new video, Baptisim here.
Crystal Castles are on tour in November:
11/10 - Wulfrun Hall - Wolverhampton
12/10 - O2 Academy - Bournemouth
15/10 - Roundhouse - London
17/10 - Anson Rooms - Bristol
18/10 - O2 Academy - Liverpool
19/10 - ABC - Glasgow
21/10 - Rock City - Nottingham
22/10 - Academy - Manchester
23/10 - Metropolitan University - Leeds
24/10 - UEA - Norwich
If you haven't heard them yet, check out
November 29 London, Lexington 7.30pm, £8 adv
November 30 Bristol, Cooler 7.30pm, £8 adv
December 1 Glasgow, Captain's Rest
December 2 Sheffield, Plug 7.30pm, £8 adv
December 3 Manchester, Salford Lads Club w/Frankie & The Heartstrings
December 4 Leeds, Nation Of Shopkeepers
December 5 Brighton, Jam 8pm, £6.50 adv
the newest additions to the Wichita clan, Cloud Nothings have released an eccentric video to their fuzzy pop single, Hey Cool Kid.
Cloud Nothings are on tour in November:
05 - London Electrowerkz
06 - The Hope, Brighton (with Veronica Falls)
07 - Bristol, Thekla (with Veronica Falls)
08 - Sheffield, Harley (with Veronica Falls)
09 - Manchester, Deaf Institute (with Veronica Falls)
10 - Glasgow, Captains Rest (with Veronica Falls)
11 - Edinburg, Sneaky Petes (with Veronica Falls)
12 - Leeds, Brudenell - Constellations Festival
13 - Glasgow, ABC 2 (with Les Savy Fav)
15 - Brighton, Komedia (with Les Savy Fav)
22 - London, Electric Ballroom (with Les Savy Fav)
23 - London, Old Blue Last
Monday, 11 October 2010
I am pleased to say that, if you are a seeker of such enlightenment in your day, then the latest offering from acclaimed New York Indie-surfer-rock act, Mice Parade, should be right up your street.
Their new album “What it means to be left handed”, is the band’s eighth studio album to date is filled to the brim with a multitude of musical influences. From Brazilian Jazz to African rhythm to early 90s Americana grunge, you cannot but help be taken in by the overwhelming culture of the music and be impressed with the sun-kissed melodies that certainly help lift the mood of anyone who has the pleasure of hearing it. It can certainly be said that founder, Adam Pierce can definitely be pleased, as am I, with his latest work.
You could be forgiven for mistaking the opening track, ‘Kupanda’ for a beginning of an Amadou and Mariam album. The rhythm of the congas, the guitar, the vocals and the infectious drum shuffle whip up a vision of being plunged into the African wilderness lugubriously watching the wildlife pass you by as the sun bakes the path before you.
After such a diverse opening we are then gifted something different. One cannot help pick up a hint of Sigur Ros in the track ‘In Between Times’. Then we are invited to mellow out once again as soon as we hear the tones and the beat of ‘Do Your Eyes See Sparks?’
This tranquil demeanour is carried on in ‘Couches And Carpets’. It is interesting to note that these tracks would not feel out of place on the soundtrack to an iconic cult movie. In fact, I would go so far as to say that any budding directors take note and do not let gems like these pass you by. Remember a soundtrack or a score can make or break a film.
‘Recover’ is a great hangover cure. I could imagine sticking this track on after a heavy night of indulgence and letting the vocals be a tonic for my ailments. The track tells its unique story and is one of my standout songs on the album for a myriad of reasons; mainly for the fact that everything comes together and ebbs and flows beautifully.
The pace of the album quickens with the introduction of ‘Old Hat’ and ‘Mallo Cup’. Both of these songs are different in their own right; the latter being a far raunchier and ‘balls out’ affair than its predecessor. However, the main point of these tracks is that they showcase the further diversity that Mice Parade has to offer.
‘Tokyo Late Night’ makes me feel like I have been sucked into a dream where I am living life in slow motion and I can imagine the Tokyo traffic whizz past me at high velocity. For a creative soul such as me, Mice Parade certainly can write music that evokes imagination from ever corner of the psyche.
‘Fortune of Folly’ is a further foray into finding that balance between rock and progressive movements that are much perfected by artists such as R.E.M. Whilst it is a solid effort, it is not one of the strongest on the album.
‘Pond’, ‘Remember The Magic Carpet’ and ‘Even’ can all be pigeon-holed as either being interludes or instrumentals. However, let that not detract from the fact that these tracks deserve their place on the album. I consider them an integral part of the journey that Mice Parade are trying to convey.
The album ends with ‘Mary Anne’ and whilst it is a quite a quaint song, I would not of ended the album with it. I wanted this album to go out with the same vigour and fervour of which it arrived. Instead it drifted away as it were the ending of a dream. That being said, let us not take away anything from Mice Parade as they, and record company FatCat have come up with something that definitely fills a hole in the music market and they can be go away immensely proud of themselves.
You can find this band performing their new material live at London Corsica Studios on the 13th of October.
Words : Barclay Quarton
Saturday, 9 October 2010
Next up, with their début single ‘Microlite,’ out in early November is Oxford three piece, Trophy Wife. Both A and B side show the signs of a band with true potential. The songs are softly built up around dancy drum beats and crisp delayed, jangly guitar lines with delicate vocals sounding very much like they’ve taken influence from their Oxford counterparts Foals, who they are indeed on tour with later this month. Trophy Wife are writing an EP due early next year so hopefully they will take this time to build upon the sound they are already creating and evolve it further.
Thursday, 7 October 2010
I think its fair to say that after a couple of years of solid touring playing every hole, hovel and toilet in and around our fair Isle, Pulled Apart By Horses are really starting to reap the rewards for all of their hard efforts and tonight’s exuberant performance demonstrated why. After a successful year playing some of the biggest support slots going, including gigs with Biffy Clyro at the Roundhouse and with Muse, the lovingly loud Leeds Lads have really started to develop a huge following and playing the now very highly regarded New Slang night, you are able to see just how many people are going nuts for Horses right now. The venue itself resides for most of the week as one of the most tacky, chavvy clubs I’ve ever been to, sticky floors, neon lights and a metal detector (sign of a classy joint) greet you on the way in, and as discussed with the band before hand ‘lot’s of dark corners for finger fucking!’ But the promoters have built up a good reputation and the cheapness and size of the venue means it’s always packed full of kids and in fact tonight was probably the busiest I’ve ever seen it.
Anticipation was high and it took about 30 seconds into their opener Moonlit Talons for the pit to open and people in and around it to go absolutely mental. Horses ripped through their set with pure venom, lead singer Tom Hudson screaming at the top of his lungs and darting about the stage with the energy of a teen with his first overdose on pro plus, this energy on stage really rubbed off on the punters who flew out of each other with such force it was like watching a scene out of 300, minus the swords. Theirs is a sound that really can cater for big stages and audiences and they were revelling in the fact that so many people were there, as Hudson grabbed the mike and launched into the crowd all I could see was a sea of kids charging towards him, before guitarist James Brown suggested they started a circle pit to which the fans were only too happy to comply.
Their self titled début album was played pretty much in the full with unrelenting heavy, bluesy riffs, with the noise of Get off my Ghost Train sounding like a hurricane directed straight at the ears, High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive sounding more vast live, in effect, the most catchy piece of noise to come from this country in a long time and the finale Den Horn, a 7 minute onslaught of beatdowns, riffs and dirgy bass was the only proper send off for a band seemingly getting bigger and better all the time.
Words : Gordon Reid
Photos : James Perou
Wednesday, 6 October 2010
The Thermals have today announced details of their 5th studio album. It will be called 'Personal Life' and will be available through Kill Rock Stars on November 1st.
To wet your appetite, check out the video for lead single titled 'I Don't Believe You' starring Sleater Kinney's Carrie Brownstein.