A band that's been around almost as long as the actual Afghan
war, and their grungy 90s Sub Pop guitar grind has worn fairly
well although it takes them a minute or two to get things moving
properly, or is that just me missing where the tune actually starts.
The video features their sound engineer Vince miming to the song
at about 15 different gigs, and when it gets to about 3.02 listen
out for the short but inventive instrumental break that proves
the Whigs have something to show us even yet.
Den - 'Think Of England'
It's a grey day round at Bear's Den's pad, and there's a strange
hint of the influence of Arab Strap somewhere in this moodily
paced tale of a songwriter with a hangover wondering what happened
after he got back from the pub last night: 'do you lie back /
and think of England / with fireworks flashing' he asks his partner,
repeatedly. Sounds like a cue for a Beautiful Southesque duet
I thought, but the question remains a rhetorical one.
Daydream - 'Easy Pleasures EP'
'The sound of Teenage Fanclub working their way through Bare
Trees era Fleetwood Mac' says the PR and, I don't quite get the
Fletwood Mac thing but there's certainly a flavour of Fanclub's
pared down guitar histrionics, apart from the weird high pitched
vocal that nearly ruins first track 'Canyon Rose'. Second track
'Glass Ships' is a bit more focused and while it's last track
'I Knew You Would Come' that most resembles vintage Fanclub, Animal
Daydream are also channelling Big Star and Green On Red with an
enthusiasm that carries the day for them. https://soundcloud.com/animaldaydream
Purple Lights – Pressure
It’s always good when a band does their own thing and doesn’t
worry too much about slotting neatly into any specific slot at
the local record store. The Purple Lights have guitars and drums,
a punk ethos, some reggae overtones and a fantastically catchy
yelpy vocal ‘Under Pressure!’ That’s all in just one track. 7/10 https://www.facebook.com/purplelightsmusic
Caravans – Bootmaker’s to the King
There’s an instantly gratifying lo-fi sound to this track which
instantly reminded me of some of the bands who were kicking around
Leeds years ago. The it dawned on me that the vocals were very
reminiscent of Being 747’s Dave Cooke. But overall there’s no
747 frivolity here in ‘Bootmaker’s to the King’, it’s a crackingly
moody alt-country indie mash up with some great guitar work. 8/10 https://www.facebook.com/fightingcaravans
The Sea Kings – Decadence & Decline
Decadence and Decline, ahh, we’ve all been there. Well, maybe
not but The Sea Kings do sound like they actually have been there
and this is their survival song. No pretence, just straight up
rock n roll. A pleasant change in this age of complexity. 7/10 https://soundcloud.com/theseakingsmusic
– Nowhere EP (Club.The.Mammoth)
After favourably reviewing Ghxst’s ‘Dead Town’ last year I was
looking forward to this one and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
There’s certainly plenty more of the ludicrously bruising doom/sludge
guitar drones and big echoey drums in ‘Slow Down’ and the title
track but there’s also evidence of further emerging dynamics in
the song writing which at places give off a deep, if admittedly
distorted, blues vibe.
There’s also the happy intervention of the much more up tempo
(well, it’s all relative) ‘No Luck’ which sees the Brooklyn natives
inexplicably kicking a football about during a power cut – still,
good to see the beautiful game represent. Then we’re back into
full-on sludge noise mode for close ‘Galaxia’, a monstrous wall
of noise which very much lives up to its epic title. This EP won’t
be to everybody’s tastes but it certainly tickles my fancy. 9/10 http://www.ghxstmusic.com/
We Are - 'Stone'
Ever since their I heard their debut ep I've had kept All We
Are within my hearing and while they're now a slightly different
band to the folksy troubadors they started out as they've lost
none of their charm, although tour slots with the likes of London
Grammar and Warpaint have provided them with a kind of generic
Foster The People sound which is what 'Stone' is about. They hold
too dear a place in my mp3 player for me to turn greatly critical
but it would sadden me a little to see them slide off into soundtrack
anonymity, although they are doing it really well.
Quiet Band - 'Battery Human'
Frenetic nouveau folk stylings that are perhaps the result of
a tour bus collision involving the Levellers and Franz Ferdinand.
Strident stuff from this Reading quintet whose choral vocalising
brings added depth to their acoustic reveries. Fairly sure I've
heard something of them before now which proves that the Quiet
Quiet Band are something memorable, and their inspired folk rock
does deserve a wider hearing.
Hex - 'Don't Wanna Lose'
Nobody likes to lose, Ex Hex, and with so many kudos from the
media already gracing your press release (starting with the Guardian
and working downwards) plus your smartly poised retake what resembles
one of the lesser known songs of the Runaways, and the roller
skates, you're already winners, leaving me to wonder what exactly
I can add to the praises already heaped upon you. So I'll just
say that Ex Hex are all female and play their instruments like
men. Which is what someone once said about the Runaways.
- 'Levitate Me'
Some musicians are content to just write a song and release it
as a single. Saveus has written about four songs and crammed them
all into one very bewildering three minutes in which 'Levitate
Me' is alternately a ballad, a club track, a car advert and a
stadium rock anthem. Can't wait for the album.
- 'Open Heart Surgery'
IIt's a first person account of my grandmother getting a triple
heart bypass in her 80s, and the inherent worries about death
that come with it." says Elevant frontman Michael Edward.
I misread that as 'in the 80s' but naming a song after a Brian
Jonestown Massacre track is perhaps nearly as complicated as the
actual medical process and Elevant don't sound a lot like the
BJMs', their 'Open Heart Surgery' is melodic hard rock with a
neatly turned acoustic midsection although anyone who has ever
spent any amount of time in a hospital would probably prefer that
the surgeons listened to Classic FM while doing what it is that
surgeons do their patients. Michael Edward, I hope your gran is
much recovered from her ordeal.
Go - 'The Writing's On The Wall'
... and the paint and countless dominos and other objects are
strewn across the floor of the OK Go studio again. No one can
dispute the invention, care and hours of fine tuning of their
absurd contraptions that OK Go continue to baffle us with, but
they then go and just sound a lot like New Order (you'll need
to close your eyes to really catch that) which, fair enough if
you like New Order but I wouldn't mind if they put as much invention
into their songwriting as their videos.
- 'Clock Hands'
If Mogwai had a female vocalist, they might sound a bit like
Hawk. 'Clock Hands' is a post rock track given a dreamy otherness
by the Beth Gibbon's inspired vocal of Julie Hawk, who also wrote
'Clock Hands' and is obviously a significant talent with much
to say to us. Which I hope isn't why the rest of the band buried
her up to her neck on a beach and then played the video backwards.