It is nice to know that in this world were a lot of rap and hip-hop has been dumbed down to mumbling bedroom wannabes talking in street tough cliches over the same off the shelf meandering beats, that occasionally you can still stumble across something which reminds you of the golden age. Call of War has a wonderful swagger about it, like an old school hip-hop classic but is nothing if not forward looking, talking in the language of today and adding a real street edge and dark anticipation through the choice and flow of words. It is sharp, punchy and for a change revels in its own lyricism, something which seems to have ironically been lost from the genres which arose from a cappella street poetry. Throw in Gwali’s more reggae-vibe, vocal interludes and you have the perfect combination of styles, genres and eras.
Blackpool is famous for it’s Tower Ballroom, it’s illuminations and seaside rock, and boy do these lads from Blackpool know how to rock!
If you like your music to have prominent drums, distortion-heavy guitar, chugging bass and a singer giving it some welly, then read on, The Senton Bombs tick all those boxes. Add to that some very good songs and you’ve got a very brief idea of what expect from this band.
There are so many classic hallmarks and cleverly nostalgic moments to be found on Two that it is hard not to think that you have not been listening to John Lindsay’s album for decades. You can’t help but think that these songs exist on a well worn vinyl pressing, call a battered card sleeve home and both alphabetically and generically have the likes of John Martyn and Van Morrison for neighbours in a well-loved music collection.
With all the modern tricks and effects producers can add to songs to make the mundane sound fantastic it comes somewhat as a refreshing change to hear a song stripped back to a simple guitar riff, a steady metronome drum beat and a rock melody, this is what London garage band Ratts seem all about.
After recently becoming acquainted with Nandan Gautam‘s recent album, The King of The Sea we where driven to find out more about his fascinating back story, his struggle to find his own approach to making music and the revelation that opened the way for him.
You were driven to make music earlier in life, can you tell us a bit about that and why it didn’t really work for you first time around?
We approach that time of year again when supermarkets up and down the country take down the Halloween stock only to replace it with Christmas goodies. Endless boxes of chocolates and treats line the aisles, each with a variation of flavours and textures to help bring in the season of joy, which, ironically is the title of Nik Barrell’s new album; Joy.
I know enough about the mercurial musical maestro that is Jamit to realise that any new release from him could take you anywhere, musically speaking. Admittedly, the music will normally be found in the more hypnotic, ambient dance realms but this time out the wonderfully named Female Medieval Jester seeks to underline the hallmarks of his musical world. For hypnotic and ambient are the key factors here but instead of using those as the springboard and heading out to see just how far he can push those boundaries, instead this track sees him hunker down and play to his strengths. The result is familiar Jamit but also Jamit boiled down to his very musical essence. This is the beating heart and core ingredients of the Jamit sound.
Genres will only get you so far. They are fine for obvious music, derivative music, music which follows well defined templates. But when you get to artists such as Alison James you have to abandon such easy labels and dig a little deeper. It’s not that her music doesn’t resonate with recognisable sounds, its just that those sounds are better defined as classic or timeless rather than merely throwing them into a collective pool of similar sounding artists.
Although normally associated with more intricate and wilfully over-saturated music, and also best known as the powerful vocal presence in alt-rockers Absinthe Junk, Altered Cinder is part of a musical project that sees Blair B. explore a more minimalist musical landscape. Working under the moniker of Luxury Eviction, space and atmosphere are equal parts to the instrumentation, allowing for the music to ebb and flow gently around the single vocal lines.
It comes as no surprise that the wonderfully named Zebulon Krol is both a producer and a singer-songwriter. Often the drive behind a track, especially in such pop-soul-urban territory, is either one or the other. This usually results in either a slickly produced song with forgettable lyrics or a deft vocal turn with clunky and clumsy music to back it up. Calling on his wide-range of skills garnered from across the music spectrum, Hate To Say is the best of both worlds.
I’m always going to be attracted to artists with such cool and controversial names, after all it shows that they think outside the box, avoid niceties and are not afraid to ruffle a few feathers along the way. And if they are prepared to do that even before they have played a note, it means that the music is probably going to follow similar lines. JDDM is an east coast singer-songwriter with a fleshed-out, full band sound and Leave A Pretty Corpse is a great album of raw rock songs often taking an outsider or antagonistic stance. Why not, that’s rock and roll’s job after all.
A couple of weeks ago Simon Lynge’s brilliant album ‘Deep Snow’ popped into my stereo and a positive review quickly followed. The relationship between ‘Deep Snow’ and my stereo hasn’t ended, they get together on occasion and I have a cheeky listen to a few songs here and there, so it’s no great surprise that when the chance to watch a video of one of the songs from the album came my way, I took it.
Minnesota native Annie Fitzgerald has done something that not many female singer-songwriters are doing, and that is produce an album that is tender, thoughtful and emotional but deliver these songs with some oomph!
Most of us are suckers for a good love song but the path she’s chosen to present this type of song is supported by drums, bass, guitar and her voice (which will draw comparison to Tori Amos, Delores O’Rhiordan and Dido) and the songs feel so much stronger because of it. Don’t get me wrong, the opportunity to hear a singer stripped-back so the tale and the emotion is revealed is fine but if you have the talent and chance to bring a variation, perhaps that should be taken.
As the industrial white noise that kicks the album off descends into a searing, pounding explosion of shard-like guitars and cavernous atmospheres, oddly enough I have never felt so at home, so quickly. But then I grew up in the eighties. I grew up with clinical beats of The Sisters of Mercy, the beautifully washed-out and elegantly wasted soundscapes of My Bloody Valentine, the white hot riffs of The Jesus and Mary Chain, the demonic oppression of The Fields of the Nephilim and everything in between. And they are all, in some small fashion, pulsing away at the heart of Modern Cults.
You can see why none other than Joan Armatrading took a shine to this young artist when she saw him busking. It’s easy to hear the ghost-echoes of classic singer-songwriters and 60’s folk revival icons between the notes and words. It’s isn’t hard to become captivated by such a straight forward yet beguiling slice of timeless acoustica.
Take a simple and groovesome riff, underpin it with a confident, direct beat and a bass line that is content to drive rather than deviate into showboatery. Throw in a guitar solo that serves the song rather than the ego and top it all off with a vocal that is warm and evocative. Seems simple? Well, here comes the clever bit. You then take the sonic scissors and edit things down so that there are gaps between the beats, long pauses between the vocal lines and spaces between the instrumentation. It is these spaces that allow atmospherics to hang, anticipation to linger, for groove to build, for the song to stand out from the background.
Proving that pop can talk about the big issues in the world, taken either literally or metaphorically, Pallot’s classic still rings true, discussing the blind faith, greed and divisions in the world today.
Also the album that this comes from, Fires, her second album and released on her own label, is a real gem, mixed with great pop songs such as this, some dreamy and gorgeous atmospherics and deft indie brilliance. It’s also a testament to giving it your all, as she re-mortgaged her house to find the additional money to get the album made, an album which would reward her with a couple of chart hits , went on to put her on the map and secured a career for her.
As much as it is good to talk about how music moves on, evolves, finds new pastures to wander, there are times when you just want something familiar. After all, exploring exciting new fusion cuisine can be a lot of fun but sometimes you just can’t beat mom’s pot roast with all the trimmings. Honest, dependable and associated with fond memories. And the same is true of heavy metal.
Mancunian, Hayes & Y have returned with a brand new single, ‘Blue’. Described by CLASH magazine as “a moody dancefloor burner with a killer chorus”, it follows recent track ‘Always So Simple, Always So Cold’ which was featured on Spotify’s UK Viral Top 50 chart. Already picking up plays at BBC Introducing and BBC 6 Music, the group adds a little more insight into their latest creation;
The idea of just another young female artist folk-popping her way to chart success with an acoustic guitar and a chilled and minimalist tune might have collective eyes rolling and audible sighs of “here we go again”. Maybe it is a style that has been overdone of late, perhaps but rarely has it been done this well. For every hundred such artists using the format as a short cut to celebrity status you find one that really understands the genre and Charlotte Grayson, for all her small amount of years, understands it explicitly.
Occasionally an album comes along that delivers surprise and delight in equal measure, at times exciting and energetic and at other times brilliant and bonkers. Yves Lambert Trio’s ‘Tentation’ is anything but normal and definitely not what one would expect from a French-language folk album.
Batten down the hatches ladies and gentlemen, for tempestuous folk-punk renegades – SKINNY LISTER – are back with an explosive new single: “38 Minutes”.
Take it as a forewarning, for the London sextet today also lay out the incendiary plans for their long-awaited fourth studio album: ‘The Story Is….’, a record set to drop from Xtra Mile Recordings silo on 1st March 2019.
Lo-fi pop duo Malihini will release their debut album ‘Hopefully, Again‘ through Memphis Industries on 8th March 2019. Produced by Richard Formby (Wild Beasts, Ghostpoet, Darkstar), ‘Hopefully, Again’ was written in Sicily and recorded at the remote Giant Wafer Studios in Wales. Malihini, aka Rome-based couple Giampaolo Speziale and Federica Caiozzo, have unveiled the first single to be taken from the album, the soulful, superficially pretty ‘Hopefully Again’: its languid drums and woozy electric guitar hook-line usher in a sort of conversation between circling lovers – Caiozzo taking the first verse, Speziale the second, the two combining for the redemptive and addictive “Love is coming back” chorus line. “It’s about when you’re first really into one another”, explains Speziale. “When you try to be someone, as seen through the eyes of the other. It’s about flirting, and the moment when you come back from the slowness of depression, you dress up and you’re ready to confront with the fastness of love/life again”.
It’s easy to look at modern life and suggest we’re paying more for less, prices are rising while the service or goods we receive are the same. With Foghorn Stringband, that simply isn’t the case!
With an album listing 19 songs, you would very rightly think you’re getting a lot of ‘bang for your buck’ but with a bunch of unlisted songs added on to the end of the cd, you’re being properly treated.
It’s nice to be nice. It’s good to turn the other cheek. There is a lot to be said for dwelling on the positive rather than the negative. Sometimes though, you just have to get things off of your chest and say how you really feel. This is one of those times. Without naming names, it is fairly obvious what type of person this is aimed at and after all there is no need to be specific as there seems to be an endless revolving door of macho, alpha-male, would-be despots espousing greed and division, fear and hate to further their own ends, both political and personal.
There is a tendency to talk about such cool, dark and clinical music such as that found on Image merely in relation to a certain circle of bands who, driven by new technologies, new attitudes and new musical visions in the wake of the UK punk explosion, created a sound that reflected their stark, generally northern, surroundings. But such music, such art, such imagery has always feed a certain appetite in modern culture. From gothic romantic poets, Victorian horror novelists, Nosferatu’s black and white film appearance through to the dark Dionysian shamanism of The Doors, the post-punk experimentalist and on into the boom of comic book culture, cosplay and video games, society feeds off of it.
Despite the possible Talking Heads reference that makes up Jen K. Wilson’s nome de plume, Quick Beat Save leans much towards smoother, more subdued and languid sounds. If there is a connection at all it manifests itself in a similar non-conformist mind set rather than in the music itself. The same desire to merge the avant-garde with accessible pop, the same blurring of generic lines, the same exploratory nature but where Rhode Island School of Design’s finest were known for anxiousness and angularity, not to mention later world music dabbling, Quick Beat Save plays with dance vibes and minimalist synths, classical sounds and glitchy deliveries. Wrap all this in muffled and muted production, throw in vocals that seem to lie just out of earshot and her beguiling songs find their own unique spaces to inhabit.
Sven Jørgensen freely admits to being a a fan of nineties music but unlike many others enamoured with the era, instead of ploughing a singular music furrow, of trying to rework Brit-pop, resurrect the Seattle sound or wander some dusty alt-country byways, he takes a much wider approach. For whilst the sound of On/Off Generation is one that certainly tips its hat to the decade, he somehow manages to blend its genres together in to new forms, ones that are both fresh and familiar at the same time.
Washington DC’s most infamous label, Dischord Records has announced that its entire catalog is now free to stream on Bandcamp.
The label, co-owned by Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson, was founded in 1980 to release Minor Disturbance by The Teen Idles. Alongside other independent American labels such as Twin/Tone, Touch and Go Records, and SST Records, Dischord helped to spearhead the nationwide network of underground bands that formed the 1980s indie-rock scene.These labels presided over the shift from the hardcore punk that then dominated the American underground scene to the more diverse styles of alternative rock that were emerging.