Dartmoor – The Blood Choir (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Described as a missing link between the first two albums and a planned forthcoming release, these four tracks have been talked about in hushed tones by those in know for a long time now. Having been recorded over a decade ago prior to debut album No Windows to the Old World, there is much here that resonates with the expectations of The Blood Choir‘s fans but also much that is wonderfully new and slightly unexpected.

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Mind Graffiti  –  I Am a Rocketship (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

I often read the influence section of an artist’s bio with a mix of amusement and interest. It can tell you so much about a band, though more often than not it tells you what a band think they are about, two very different things. With less seasoned acts it often echoes what the band aspire too, all too often a pipe-dream or maybe a template that they work from. With musicians who have been around the block a bit it is the more eclectic, seemingly scatter-gun references, to inspirations past and present that are the most interesting, hinting at strange sonic machinations and new ways of building and blending music. 

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Devil at the Crossroads –  Nights of Seth  (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Rock and roll has served us well for many a decade now and sometimes its direct and uncluttered nature is all you need. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for proggy shenanigans, intricate, mathy indie tunes and clever dance beats if the mood takes me but I do come from a foot-on-the-monitor, garage rock sort of place. Not that Devil at The Crossroads is merely a rehash of what has gone before, its better than that but you can certainly see its family tree, what its influences are and I could probably have a good stab at telling you what’s in Seth’s record collection.

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Ever New Joy – ImRam (reviewed by T. Bebedor)

I’ve never understood when people say, “I don’t really like music”, I mean, what is that all about? Music is made up of a series of pitches and frequencies that are pieced together to make a collective sound, add some rhythm and you’ve got what is essentially food for your ears. You rarely hear people say they don’t enjoy looking at landscapes or sunsets or looking up at the sky on a clear night and seeing the stars and planets that surround us. Vision is for the eyes, sound is for the ears.

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For The World –  Malibu Blackout (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Malibu Blackout adhere to both age old truths and totally modern attitudes. On the one hand they understand that if you don’t have a good song in the first place then no amount of studio trickery can polish it up and therefore groove, melody and accessibility are of paramount importance. On the other they take the line that music has gone beyond its once tribal inclinations and so write songs for this post-genre world we find ourselves in, ones that wilfully hop the sonic demarcations of old and defy easy pigeon-holing.

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Everything is Fine – Amigo The Devil (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

There are moments when the wonderfully named Amigo The Devil sounds like the dark, balancing counterpart of Damien Rice, times when he sounds like the alt-folk version of Danzig but mostly he sounds like Amigo The Devil. For all the space and drifting atmospheres of the former and the intense, diabolical edges of the latter, he manages to plough a furrow through murder ballad territory in his own inimitable style. This is Southern apocalyptic country music, gothic folk, blasted and blighted rock music…it’s the music that is playing as you wait for the world to end.

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Pipistrelle  –  Monkfish (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Monkfish make music as a soundtrack for a time and place that never really existed. It is one part The Old South, one part David Lynch soundtrack and one part dystopian future. A blend of what was, what is and what might be. And if the physical time and place that they cloak themselves in is a dark and mercurial one it is only because it mirrors the sonic landscapes that they build, more than the sum of its parts perhaps but some of those parts clearly falling into alt-country, rock and folk genres. But as always it is how you blend those familiar sounds together and more importantly what mortar you use as to hold it all together that makes you stand apart from the pack.

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Our Nameless Boy announce new EP

Bristol’s Our Nameless Boy are pleased to announce their return with their forthcoming new EP ‘Tomorrow I’ll Be Scared Again’ set for release through Beth Shalom Records on 1st March 2019.

To celebrate the news the band have revealed the video for new single ‘All It Is’ – an intense visual documentation of guitarist/vocalist Ian Gorrie’s recovery from an 11-month long battle with testicular cancer.

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Dadcore – Mozes and the Firstborn (reviewed by T. Bebedor)

If only parents the world over knew the impact their record collection will have on their children then perhaps they would think twice about what music to listen to. You hear stories of expectant mothers playing Mozart and Beethoven in close proximity of their swollen tummies in the hope that the complex arrangements will somehow boost brain activity so when the baby finally pops out he – or she – are geniuses.

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Headwreck – Press Club (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

What a glorious racket, and I mean that in the most constructive and positive sense. This is the sort of song that the more tribalistic elements of the scene will all argue over and try to claim it as their own. Punks will point to the inherent energy and edge that comes flying out of the speakers, the alt-rock fraternity will defend its four-four roots and foot on the monitor swagger, emos will make you aware of its angsty and pent up subject matter and indie kids will defend its effortless cool and accessibility.

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Songs from the Age of Ruin –  Twilight Fields (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

I have spent not an inconsiderable amount of time over the years morning the passing of the political song. It seems odd to me that at a time when the world seems more divided, more intolerant, more entrenched…that rather than such concerns be reflected in the music being made we instead seem to revel in the vacuous, the shallow, the easily digested and the effortlessly consumable. Luckily we have acts such as Twilight Fields to show me that things may not be as bad as I make out.

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Live at Texas Indie Fest  –  Tough on Fridays (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Whilst studio creations have the luxury of presenting the band which all the polish and glamour that the technology and time will allow, live recordings can be seen as a more honest representation of what a band really is all about. So this time as the latest offering from Tough on Fridays landed in the review pile we got to hear them in the flesh, as it were.

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I Am Not –  3Mind Blight (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

What’s interesting about 3Mind Blight is that you read through the accompanying bio and you find references to the Boom Bap Rap and Grunge scenes of the 90’s, which, at first, definitely seem out of keeping with the deft and dexterous slice of alt-rock that is I Am Not. But listen deeper and it makes perfect sense as the song seems to exist at a point where an infectious and driving dance groove collides with a darker, more desolate rock urges.

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Pretty Noise –  The Twelve AM (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Guitar music has to walk some pretty fine lines. Take rock music for example, there isn’t much daylight between a cool guitar-slinger with all the chops and swagger and a cliched buffoon with his foot on the monitor shouting “Hello Cleveland” at a stadium audience. Similarly for every 100 indie bands busily checking its hair in the mirror or alt-rock band making sure that it has just the right designer skinny jeans for the photo shoot, there is probably one or two that get it right.  You either have it or you don’t, some things are just inherent, unteachable, natural. Pretty Noise is the sound of a band getting it right.

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Do You Know Who I Am? – D.Ni.L (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

As was immediately apparent to anyone who heard Boy.Inside, D.Ni.L doesn’t work like most musicians. He is a collector of sounds, a collage-maker, an arranger and whereas most musicians chose to work with the tools of one or two genres to create their signature sound, here it is the very genres which are being bent to his will. But it is one thing to draw all of those disparate sounds together, it is quite another to find a way to splice them constructively into a working end product. It is D.Ni.L’s ability to weave these often conflicting and colliding sonic servings together that makes him stand out from the crowd.

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De Maria –  Sparkhouse (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

If grunge music has a reputation for being challenging and confrontational and more traditional rock forms seem rife with cliche and stereotypical sonic meanderings then maybe there is something to be had by taking the best of both worlds, to forge something in the middle ground of the two extremes. Music that is big, bold and boisterous, easily accessible but which is also dark, sharp-edged and intense. Anyone who could do that would surely find that they appealed to a wide spectrum of rock fans. Well, that is just what Sparkhouse does on De Maria.

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Maniacs From The 4th Dimension –  Paul Holda Band (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Anyone who states that “ brown notes, off-beats and noise are my friends” is always going to be someone who will capture my attention. After all in a world of conformity and polish it is those sort of things that make music stand out from the background mediocrity and line-toeing. Maniacs From The 4th Dimension is a tricky beast, it lulls you into a false sense of security. Considering what the aforementioned phrase might seem to allude to, what madness and left-field thinking it might suggest, Till We Meet Again heads off down some pretty conventional musical routes. But by the time you stop and take stock of things a minute or so in you realise that the simple acoustic guitar lines and straight four -four beats have actually cocooned themselves in some pretty “out there” sonic trappings. Psychedelic grooves are laid down, squalling guitars paint Paisley patterns in the air, rumbling baselines add rock muscle and the whole rocks with a retro infused intensity. It sort of sneaks up on you.  And as a calling card or way to announce your intentions, it is perfect.

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Mirror Song –  Burning House (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

It’s an odd combination, intensity and beauty, you feel that they should be mutually exclusive concepts but amongst the wall of shoe gazing guitar work, the driving drums, the pulsing bass lines and the half hidden vocal delivery, there is something beautiful indeed. For all its musical weight, its shimmering textures, its rawness and chaos, Mirror Song is also intimate and honest, speaking directly to the listener, half heard through the squalling sounds but still brilliantly engaging. 

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Sabbath –  Evi Vine (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Anything that puts me in mind of All About Eve is going to be good with me. That may be a lazy way to start talking about Eve Vine’s fine new single but it does come swathed in similar psychedelic meets gothic textures, the same translucent beauty, the same sonic elegance. But whereas Julianne Reagan and the crew quickly headed out into more pastel and Pre-Raphaelite territory, Evi Vine stays closer to the swirling dark riches that AAE’s early demos marked them out for.

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Laika  –  Angus McOg (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

There is something wonderfully Gilliam-esque about the video that accompanies Angus McOg‘s Laika, that same strange, surreal cut and paste style that used to break up the sketches of Monty Python’s Flying Circus all those years ago. But there is nothing absurd or throwaway about the music that it represents. Five years on from previous album Arnaut, Laika acts as a taste of follow up album Beginners, set for release in January next year.

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Can It Wait? –  Ignacio Peña (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

The joy of Ignacio Peña’s music is exploring the layering and depth of the messages involved. As an audio blast, the lyrics may be open to interpretation, even having meaning beyond the idea of social commentary that sits at the heart of the album Songs For the Fall of an Empire. But encounter the music with the accompanying video and the songs leave little doubt as to the subject matter that it is being discussed. Not only are there documentary images threaded through the live band footage, there are poignant  soundbites scrolling through the proceedings, quotes and important facts to really drive the point home.

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Altered Cinder –  Luxury Eviction (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

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.

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Modern Cults –  Holygram (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

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.

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Spielbergs announce debut album & UK tour

When Oslo’s Spielbergs brought their debut single We Are All Going To Die to the world in February this year, their impact was immediate. It was a rallying cry, an urgent and insistent examination of mortality that instantly exploded through the rafters and shot for the sky. It was a track that united rock and indie fans and writers the world over, topping the Hype Machine as most blogged about band in the world, making Lamacq’s Livener on BBC 6 Music and cementing the band as ones to keep a very close eye on going forward.

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Losing Form –  Polly Panic (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

As long as there has been mainstream music there has been an alternative scene. Sadly “alt” sub genres have become as calculated and predictable as those they claim to provide the escape from. Alt-rockers in particular with their complicated hair and skinny, designer ripped jeans seem to be the biggest culprits. So the obvious conclusion is that we have to create an alternative to the alternative rock scene and if it does indeed exist then Polly Panic is its leading light.

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An Elephant in The Room – Ignacio Peña (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

I think the thing that impresses me most about this artist, more than how well-crafted the songs are and how deftly executed they may be, is the fact that this is someone who remembers that musicians have a great platform from which to talk to a lot of people. Why waste that opportunity telling everyone that you are down because your girlfriend left you when you can actually instigate discussions by pointing people in the direction of topics of societal, political and cultural importance? Music as education, how great is that as a concept?

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