Jitter Visions –  Cup (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

452744It’s very easy to throw comparisons around when reviewing bands, in his case make that one-man-bands, such as Cup, but as the short, sharp, opening sonic salvo of Runny Rummy hammers its way into your consciousness, all monotonous, industrial guitar riff and blunt trauma melody, you realise that none of the usual touchstones will really do. You hear fleeting suggestions of what Tym Wojcik’s record collection might contain and who his musical heroes could be, you hear the Pixies uncompromising weight, Pavement slabs of post-punkery and Dinosaur Jr’s blasted melodies but where others might plunder or plagiarise, he merely tips his hat, Cup is all about reference rather than repetition.

Jitter Visions even updates his own sound, previously happy to build his songs through simple punk aligned musical ethics, here, and used to great effect on songs like Eye See, analogue synthesiser is thrown into the mix creating odd and wonky backgrounds that somehow wander easily between whimsical and childlike one moment, and dark and menacing the next.

Songs like Cosmic Brain takes angular indie into even more off-kilter territory, Time Attack! is a white-noise, jagged edged slice of strangeness, Magic Planet is a sonic re-imagining of what New Wave could have been about and the title track is as odd and disjointed, restless and claustrophobic as anything you have ever heard.

As always Cup presents something new yet not new, oddly familiar and often just plain odd. It re-examines everything from punk to psychedelia to (very) alternative-rock, it takes in the fun and the frantic, the brilliant and the bizarre. As always with this wonderfully oddball artist, it is all about taking tried and tested sonic building blocks, the same ones that people have used for the last 40 years or more, and putting together in new and challenging ways to build a sonic monument to doing things your own way. And why the hell not?

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Canshaker Pi release video and tour dates

Canshaker Pi - by Julia Nalaskowski_preview.jpegCanshaker Pi have announced their ‘Naughty Naughty Violence’ tour for this May including a show at The Old Blue Last in addition to their previously announced set at The Great Escape in Brighton. They have also released their dark new video to ‘Put A Record Out’ in support of the upcoming album due this summer via Excelsior Recordings.

After impressing the likes of DIY, Clash, Drowned in Sound and many more at their Eurosonic performance at the start of 2018, Canshaker Pi are now set to release their new album, ‘Naughty Naughty Violence’. From supporting names such as Car Seat Headrest and Parquet Courts, to local friends Pip Blom, and indie legends The Cribs, the band have absorbed all the skill that surrounds them and poured it into the new record. The Amsterdam quartet burst into the world of indie-rock at such a young age and yet have been no strangers to the more mature sounds of Pavement – in fact, Stephen Malkmus helped to produce the band’s debut LP and in 2017 they toured 15 countries and played 27 shows with Scott Kannberg’s Spiral Stairs.

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The Gromble – Don’t Stand a Chance

grombleClosely following recent hit single ‘Slam’, The Gromble return with ‘Don’t Stand A Chance’ – a chorus-less allegory, orchestrally-backed inferiority complex, part nod to modern synth-pop, part nod to Siamese Dream-era Smashing Pumpkins, complete with a Randy Newman outro rip-off….

Listen to the track here: DON’T STAND A CHANCE

“I think the main sonic focus of the track is the marriage between old and new.” says Spencer from the band. “The artificiality of the computer curated drum beat, with the five piece string section played raw and very live, tracked all together on an indoor basketball court. The synth-pad juxtaposing a clean electric guitar, etc. As a stand-alone single, throughout its three movements it gives the best representation of who we are as a band. From the quiet stuff with the more grooving beat, to the heavy 90s alt guitar, and the big harmony stuff. Lyrically it’s about the ever-elusive nature of success, and the Sisyphean struggle to fit in that everybody faces in one way or another.”

Hailing from the warm shores of California, the five-piece have established the kind of rare synchronicity that has helped them carve out a charming blend of orchestral alt-folk and indie rock, honed live supporting such acts as The Lemonheads. With the classical intensity of early greats Pavement, Weezer and Neutral Milk Hotel and a taste for the heartland classics, they arrive somewhere between Grouplove, Miniature Tigers, and Vampire Weekend. They take their name from a character in Nickelodeon’s Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, a perfect indicator of their unashamed love for 90’s pop culture and for the sense of humour that runs beneath the surface of their songs.

For those of us who experienced the majesty of 90’s indie music this is a beautiful throwback, coming-of-age trip of musical nostalgia and rose-tinted audio memory.

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