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singles/eps - september 2015


 

no: carrier – ‘The Boys Of Summer’ (feat. Kalib DuArte)

Songwriter and producer Chris Wirsig and singer Cynthia Wechselberger have joined forces as the electro-pop noir duo no:carrier. The San Francisco-based pair recently released Ghosts of the West Coast, an EP comprised of dark-take covers of California-themed songs. Each of the 4 covers has a different guest singer contributing vocals, including Cynthia herself on ‘She Moved Through the Fair’. Melissa Harding appears on the cover of Belinda Carlisle’s ‘California’ and Lauralee Brown makes her mark on Tony Carey’s ‘A Room With a View’.

Kalib DuArte, lead singer of Audio Terrorist, adds his vocals to Don Henley’s ‘The Boys of Summer’. It’s a tough sell, however, especially as the lead-off single of the EP, for 3 reasons: the song is not representative of the rest of the songs on the EP, it’s extremely difficult to make such an iconic 1980s song with Don Henley’s distinctive vocals your own, and Kalib just doesn’t possess the menacing and/or haunted vocals that would make this cover memorable. no:carrier takes a lightweight approach on ‘The Boys of Summer’ with brightening piano notes and percussion, wordless vocal swooshes, slight synth scintillation, and Kalib’s sing-talking vocals that are devoid of intense emotion. The other 3 covers on the EP stand out more strongly with electro-industrial sonics and passionate, emotive vocal deliveries, especially Melissa Harding’s fireworks on “California”.

https://www.facebook.com/NoCarrierMusic

Jen Dan


The Sunless Sea – ‘No Ghosts’

Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Witte Crosby, the main man behind the Charleston, South Carolina indie-rock/indie-pop music project The Sunless Sea, has recently released his debut EP titled No Ghosts. The 6-song EP was co-produced by Manny Sanchez who’s had a hand in producing material from Fall Out Boy. The titular lyrics-centric track, which commences No Ghosts, is a brief, carnivalesque take on Witte’s skewed view of indie-rock. It sways with a Merry-Go-Round-type synth notes motif, horn bleats including pumped tuba, and triangle tings and doorbell dings. Witte sing-talks emphatically in the foreground his somewhat cryptic, or at least convoluted, lyrics, intoning “I’m only here to take what you don’t need / The tiny little part of you you never thought you’d be.” Witte’s vocals are similar to many an emo singer of the 2000s - urgent, whiny, and plaintive and they stand out even more towards the end of the song when it’s only Witte backed by piano notes for a short spell. Then the instrumentation from the start appears again, but this time in a prolonged fashion of drawn out, vivid horn notes and tuba-like toots, and Witte’s expressive wordless vocals. He even fleetingly lets loose with some falsetto uplift, injecting some much needed free spirit into an otherwise highly choreographed number.
http://thesunlesssea.com/track/no-ghosts
https://www.facebook.com/TheSunlessSea

Jen Dan


Vile Display of Humanity – ‘When You See the Light’

Seattle, Washington-based (by way of Chicago), 100% DIY, thrash metal/punk rock band with hardcore influences Vile Display of Humanity aims to shed light on the dark recesses of the American Dream, dredging up the social, economic, and political injustices and inequality that seem to have become an everyday fact-of-life in the USA. Doug Mitchell (vocals), David Foster (guitar), Jake Youngberg (guitar), Marty Petrick (bass), and Aaron Hatch (drums; has since had to leave the band) rail against the violence, ignorance, and greed that bleeds through American culture on 20 ferociously raw and rapid tunes that make up their debut self-titled album.

One of the highlights of Vile Display of Humanity is the slightly more reflective number ‘When You See the Light’. It blazes by with a double-time drum beat, cymbal bash, incendiary guitar distortion, and Doug’s skuzzily croaked out vocals. Amid the bleak lyrics, there’s a shining beacon of hope on the lines “Dreams of which you strive / Reasons to survive / Good things that you have / that make you feel alive / Hold on to them tight.” A moody lull envelopes the whirlwind at the end of the song where keyboard/piano notes float by briefly before being impinged upon by an audio clip (from the film The Angriest Man in Brooklyn) of a man (portrayed by Robin Williams) at the end of his rope, exclaiming that “Anger is the only thing they left me. Anger is my refuge, it's my shield. Anger is my birthright!” Hopefully this dark mindset isn’t the only legacy that’s left of the American Dream…
http://viledisplayofhumanity.bandcamp.com/track/when-you-see-the-light
https://www.facebook.com/VileDisplayOfHumanity

Jen Dan


The Pocket Gods - 'In Search Of The Divine'

I looked for this on The Pocket Gods 'Curse Of Oak Island' album which I reviewed a month or two ago and it wasn't there. I haven't ever seen a flying saucer either, which is what 'In Search Of The Divine' is about, a song that appears to have emerged fully formed from a time capsule buried under somewhere near Reading in 1990, with its looped vocal samples from 1950s sc-i fi films and its indie dance vibes going off like Jesus Jones were headlining. Yet another history lesson from the (now signed to very big label Universal) St Albans based musical obscurantists.
http://www.last.fm/music/The+Pocket+Gods/_/In+search+of+the+divine

JG


Girl Friend - Poison

What the hell is going on? are these lot for real? Imagine Mika shitting off a blimp graffiti’d by George Michael; only to land directly in the mouths of every member of Maroon 5, only then you would be somewhere close to their excrement. The singers voice would make a goat want to shit in its own earlobes, before jumping off a mountain! I played The Haunt in Brighton last year with a band that sounded just like this. They were called Farra and I honestly thought they were taking the piss. Well to be fair, they pretty much were.

Gavin Tate


The Shaker Heights - Body

I remember discovering a group called The Knife around 2006 when I was living in Brighton and their concept and theatrical delivery more than caught my attention. After a couple of seconds in listening to this single from the Oxford quartet, I realize that they’ve just gone and stolen every Knife idea in the book. Even the video shows them wearing the very same masks! If you’re wanting to see a half decent Knife tribute band, look no further.

Gavin Tate


Wardance - Free Radicals

I’m liking this from the word go! There’s reminiscence of The Black Elevators “Insideout” as soon as the vocal rolls in, with elements of Jack White on the “Oh Oh’s”. The music echo’s moments of Smashing Pumpkins and Hole. There’s some immense guitar work going here and I’m loving the prominent bass as the 3rd verse stabs its way through a mountain of angstyness. The one thing that grunge displayed back in the day was catchy songs as well as a noise induced racket. Wardance have definitely gone down the path of Mudhoney’s “Touch Me I’m Sick”, which to their credit has more than worked out in their favor here.

Gavin Tate


Rusty G’s - Taking Over

This is beyond dreadful. Uninventive, abysmal and his voice makes me want to hurt myself. Surely they listened back to this in the studio and thought “we’re shocking” ?? Your typical generic alt-rock bollocks, singing about absolutely nothing. They sound like the little sisters of a bad Soundgarden tribute band. Sorry, I have to turn this off before I smash a mug off my own head in the hope of dying of a much needed brain hemorrhage.

Gavin Tate


Karis - Tyllo EP

There’s a Tracy Chapman feel to kick start track “Turn Your Love Light On” from Jersey’s folkster Karis. She borders Sandy Denny and has more atmosphere to her voice than the ozone layer has to the Earth. “Back To The City” is pick happy and jangle laden; backed with uba-lyrics, more subtle than a calm tide at dawn. “One Way Romance” is filled with emotion and bliss. She has possibly got one of the most unique voices I’ve ever heard, soulful and hits the hairs on the back of your neck. “These Are The Times” is Joni Mitchell re-incarnated and has a pace that will rock you back and forth in a motion that is more than hypnotic. “Love Like A Fool” ends this menu exquisitely and more than captivates. If you enjoy acoustic music played from the depths of the heart, find her on iTunes and bang this on during a come down.

Gavin Tate


We Came As Strangers - Still Life

An atmospheric vocal drowns poetic lyrics in ambiance carried across a wall of sound. Not really my cup of tea, but I can appreciate the effort. I’m almost reminded of the group that is Braids, with whom I’ve reviewed in the past; except her voice isn’t as unique, but that’s not saying it isn’t good. I like mostly the pace of the drums as everything else flows with a hypnotic and captivating energy. The title “Still Life” has probably been used a dozen times in recent years, but Suede’s epic outlet will always catch my heart.

Gavin Tate


Vagus! - Gutsty

Judging by their logo, these chaps are massively into Krautster innovators NEU! and the minimal drum machine intro more than backs up that theory here on their debut single; backed up with an ultra funk post-punk bass line, that would have PIL’s Jah Wobble pissing out poptarts until the cows come home! The line: “My enemy, my friend. At the same time” surfaces a mix mash of scatty CAN-esque guitars and progressive improv. Straight outta Jersey, Vagus are set to revive the Krautrock movement and set in stone the art conception of music.

Gavin Tate


The Neighborhood - Afraid

Musically there’s reminiscence of Interpol, though the vocal has a sad yet ballad laden power to it. The atmosphere builds and builds throughout, followed by minimal bass signatures laced in ambiance. Standout lyrics: “When I wake up I’m afraid, somebody else might take my place”, will be stuck in your head forever after hearing this. Moving Units “Scars” springs to mind during the middle eight before fading out into melancholy.

Gave Tate


The Bohicas - Swarm

I’m feeling this right from the opening bars. String bending and general indie mayhem as though Marion have just tipped their hats to the early day’s of the The Icarus Line. I’m not overly keen on the vocal, but that’s not to say the music isn’t there. Jaggered guitars bolt over tightly structured rhythms, with an ending that sounds not that far off that of The Coral’s epic outlet “Goodbye”. I’m watching this East London quartet live in a couple of weeks time, so will probably bop around to this until my tits fall off.

Gavin Tate