Tuesday, 5 June 2018

A quick run through some recently released stand alone singles.....

First up Shovels & Rope with America, Great. It's the most lyrically toothless anti Trump song since Roger Waters dared to call him a nincompoop. However it's still good to hear a stompin' track from this duo

Next up are Peter Yates (Nephilim) and Evi Vine (Eden House) with two minutes of basically nothing. All the People consist of a couple of guitar strums and a plaintive vocal and that's it. Rather inconsequential

Happy Axe is a young woman from Australia and the single Seven Sounds is weird but in a good way. Strident violin and I think a saw (!) give way to skittish electronic beats. Worth keeping an eye on

Finally kudos to AWS who decided to try and win the Eurovision contest for Hungary with a full on metal track. Viszlát nyár comes complete with half shouted/ half screamed chorus and a hard riffing instrumental section. Turn up to 11.....

Went to see a gig very recently and it was quite depressing... Not the music or the band but rather the fact that only 13 people turned up to see it

Midas Fall play a very listenable form of post rock but with the added stardust of some soaring female vocals. Evaporate is their debut album as a duo and it's fantastic piece of work

The song has elements of Blueneck and possibly Russians Circles but the vocals give it an identity of its own. My favourite tracks are Glue (with some delicious guitar lines as the song gathers pace) and Soveraine (most affecting vocal on the album)

Special mention also to the vinyl version of the album - The artwork is beautiful and the clear blue vinyl with the encroaching blackness is inspired

I think there is a more aggressive album in them but for now this is just perfect

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

It's been 14 years since their last album but finally A Perfect Circle return...

It's difficult to say musically what Eat The Elephant sounds like but the sound does seem very in tune with the Emotive album from all those years ago. I suppose an more airy, less dense version of Tool is the best I can do

First single, The Doomed, was a bold, funereal-like march in which we are told that all there is to look forward to is being screwed over by the rich and powerful. Disillusioned is a melancholy lament about the world's technological obsession.

So far all very APC and then they slap you out of your complacency with the wonderfully off kilter So Long and Thanks for all the Fish. From namechecking the Douglas Adams book and including references to dolphins this track practically bounces along like a playful Cure (Think Friday I'm in Love). The line about the death of childhood heroes - "Willy Wonka, Major Tom, Ali and Leia have all moved on" is genius. Never has a song about the impending apocalypse sounded so fun

The amazing artwork is also some of the best this year so far

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

May have found the best album of the year so far....

Over a couple of EP's and singles Bryde has built up to her debut album, Like an Island

Nowadays singer-songwriter means the trite, over polished likes of Ed Sheeran but this is raw guitar led rock. The opener Brave is my favourite track of the year - A study in being told to keep smiling after heartbreak. The ending where the spoken monologue overlays the chorus is very reminiscent of Under the Gun from the Sisters of Mercy

Less is full of squalling guitar which given airplay would have students pogoing in every Uni Bar across the country.

A couple of tracks are taken from the earlier EP's including the beautiful Transparent which should have closed the album. The ballad like Steady Heart is one track too far (album's should always be 10 tracks long...)

Desire does what it says in the title and is the soundtrack to (not so young) lust and if you get to see the video, it's amazing

Considering Sarah plays everything apart from the drums this is a phenomenal effort from a very talented artist

Monday, 23 April 2018

April is turning out to be a very busy month for new releases....

Winterfylleth have taken one of those left turns that can completely alienate a metal fan base (Think Paradise Lost with their Host album)

The Hallowing of Heirdom is an totally acoustic collection of English folk. Slightly choral in places with strings and not a black metal grunt in sight. The songs are based on poems by Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh and various Anglo Saxon myths.

This should appeal to anyone who liked the seminal Liege & Lief. The only difference is Fairport Convention approached traditional folk by adding electric guitars and Winterfylleth  have approached the same goal by removing all their electric guitars

The albums lacks a bit variation but it's a bloody good folk album from an unexpected source

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Bands of a certain vintage always have a few tricks up their sleeves to prolong a career....
  • First is tour a classic album in full, record the tour and release a live album
  • Second record a covers album, usually of "songs that inspired us.."
  • Finally record an acoustic album of your hits
The Levellers have finally succumbed to the third option and bring us We The Collective. This seems a bit odd as the band are fairly acoustic anyway and this sounds like their Drunk in Public persona that they occasionally take out live

As with all these type of albums it's rather hit and miss....Subvert sounds like a muscular version of Kitty Jay (by Seth Lakeman) but with lyrics advocating direct action protest. Exodus works remarkably well with an orchestra and the spoon playing percussion in One Way is rather inspired

Dance Before the Storm doesn't work as it's no different to the original and Liberty Song lacks the urgency that makes it a live favourite

There are a couple of new tracks of which Drugs Bust McGhee is the best - a tale of undercover policing which begins with "I stole my name from a dead baby"

Still a band that works best in the live arena

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

So the NME has finally given up and will no longer be printed..... Can't say that I'm in any way upset by that. The snobbish indie ink rags had no appeal to me even as a student and derided most of what I enjoyed (metal, goth, etc.).

The Levellers summed up how I felt in the lyrics to 100 years of solitude:

"The NME was nothing to you,
And the Maker well the maker of who?"