Tuesday, 26 February 2013

#46: Top 5 Unsigned - 26/02/13

After an increase in the number of bands contacting me in regards to reviews I thought it was time that I start a weekly “Top 5 Unsigned” in an effort to cover more bands, more often. There's a multitude of bands that are trying to break through and it's only fair that the time and effort these acts put in to their music is reciprocated and people put their time and effort in to listening to these bands and getting their music out there on a larger platform.

Military Arcade

Military Arcade, like all the bands featured this week, are a band I've been meaning to get around to covering for a while now. Coming from Newbury, the band originally started life as a hardcore act, however, after a slight line-up change and a change in direction musically Military Arcade were born.

For a three piece band, Military Arcade make a big sound. Their song 'Reptilia' was featured on yesterday's Music Monday courtesy of Rock'n'Roll in my Soul Blog and is a no-holds barred anthem. However the song  I want to highlight takes a softer, more melodic approach. 'Fountain of Youth' is radio-friendly, catchy and will have you singing along before the end of your first listen.

The Bedroom Hour

Formed off the back of a break-up of two moderately successfull bands, The Bedroom Hour are a five-piece from London currently in the process of writing and recording some new material. Drawing their inspiration from the likes of Pink Floyd and Elbow it's easy to see where the band's sound comes from. Vocally Stuart Drummond is comfortably within the realms of one Guy Garvey while the guitars soar in a manner of which Dave Gilmour would be proud of. There's a couple of songs I really wanted to include here but will have to settle for one. 'Escape' is as uplifting as it is emotive and a really fine example of Drummond's vocal capabilities. That said. be sure to check out 'X Marks the Spot' for an earlier but just as cracking song.

Coming from North West England is always going to draw comparisons with one band or another. As a result vocalist of The Forgotten Saints, Peter Kirwan, has been compared to one half of Manchester's most over-rated exports, the Gallagher brothers. Fortunately for Kirwan his voice has more to it than a colloquial drone, however there is a grain of truth there, but certainly nothing more than a passing glance. Their music is a mixture of shoegaze and your typical guitar based indie. The more shoegaze inspired tracks such as 'Shifting Sands' are where the band really excell themselves and show that they're not afraid to be that little bit different. It is only slightly different, but it's enough to make them stand out.

Just Mammals

Hailing from Grimsby, Just Mammals are upholding a sensibility that will be familiar to fans of The Libertines' jangly guitars. Good old fashioned indie pop that isn't afraid to emphasise the importance of guitars in a scene that's populated by synth-obsessed 80s nostalgics. The band's song 'On Your Own' featured on this weeks popcast from Mr Peeps and is an excellent excellent example of Just Mammals overall sound. The song I've included here 'Up All Night' is an older song but again reiterates the overall aesthetic of the band and will appeal to fans of The Libertines and Little Man Tate.

The Cottonettes

Guildford-based The Cottonettes are the most recent band to come to my attention after following me on twitter. The band claim that they will get "stuck in your head like a penny thrown from the Eiffel Tower"; a bold statement but one that nevertheless proves itself to be true.

The bad sound somewhere between Sham 69 and The Buzzcocks and are keeping a sound alive that any thought was dead. The fact of the matter is, Punk like this has been missing from the music scene for years now. It's this balls-to-the-wall attitude and a "drink now, think later" mentality that makes The Cottonettes as refreshing as they are. They aren't obsessed with overt production qualities and synthesiers. They make music they enjoy, and say "fuck you, we don't care" to any naysayers that might stumble across their awesome cacophony.


In a band or a solo artist? Don't hesitate to get in touch if you want to be featured. It may take some to get back to you but I will do my best to reply. Just because a band is featured here doesn't mean to say they won't get featured in their own post. Finally, despite the title this isn't just for unsigned bands, if your band is signed but still wants some more exposure feel free to drop me an email with a link to your stuff. Let's keep the scene afloat!

Monday, 25 February 2013

#45: Palma Violets - 180

Album review: Palma Violets - 180 (2013)

This article was originally written for Muso's Guide. Clink the link above to read the full review and more.

Friday, 22 February 2013

#44: Ballerina Black - BLÅ (EP review)

Described on their website as “mope-rock” or “grave-wave”, it's fair to say that LA's Ballerina Black relish in their own blend of melancholia. There music is an eclectic mix of 80s inspired synth hooks, ephemeral vocals and chunky bass lines that blend together to create something darkly atmospheric and strangely uplifting. Their new EP entitled 'BLÅ' is the second in a series of extended plays called 'Injureless' and features 4 tracks spread across 15 minutes. Each track manages to sound somewhat distinct from the others while still giving the record a concomitant feel with each track transitioning smoothly in to the next.

This article was originally written for Little Indie Blogs. Read the rest of the review, and others, by clicking here.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

#43: Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse

Frightened Rabbit have until now been relatively unknown in Britain, despite Pedestrian Verse being their fourth studio album. This is somewhat surprising given the success of fellow countrymen Biffy Clyro to whom they will doubtlessly draw some comparisons to, even if the similarities aren’t as prominent as some critics would have you believe. What makes their obscurity over here all the more confusing is their popularity across the pond, regularly playing to American audiences in the thousands. Breaking America is usually a test of a bands staying power. As it happens, however, it’s fallen to Pedestrian Verse to be the album that breaks Britain, hopefully transporting them from relative obscurity in to the mainstream.

This article was originally written for God Is In The TV Zine. To read the rest of this review, and others, click here.

#42: Firesuite - Red World (EP Review)

EP Review: Firesuite - Red World (2013)

This article was originally written for Unsigned Bands Online. Click the link above to read the full review and more.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

#41: Introducing...Smky

There's no denying that there's been a rise in the popularity of UK hip-hop over the last three or so years. Rap battle league Don't Flop has spawned some of the hottest young rappers that the UK has ever seen and SBTV continues to do more than it's fair share for the ever-growing scene. Once just a platform for inner-city youths to articulate their 'beefs', UK rap has come on leaps and bounds since the days when Dizzee Rascal could be considered somewhat credible. There's been a distinct shift away from bars about “gats”, “straps”, and “nines” in to the kind of lyricism that transcends the stereotypical gangster ethos normally associated with hip-hop. Now we see an increase in societal awareness, eloquent verbosity and wordplay previously unseen across the genre. 22 year old Smky is no exception.

Stockport, South Manchester, isn't the first place that would come to mind when discussing UK rap it's probably not even fifth. However, being voted as one of the worst places to live in Britain given it's perpetual grey skies, grey Brutalist architecture and the ashen-faced denizens that reside within, it's no surprise that growing up there allows a pervasive sense of social responsibility to manifest itself across the ideologies of anyone sensible enough to not have a child by the time they're 16; this can be seen really quite emphatically within Smky's lyricism and across the ethos upheld by his non-profit label/media enterprise Crowd Reaction.

Coming four long months after the release of Crowd Reaction's début mix-tape Dirty Anti Fiction, Smky's Most recent track 'Demon Talk' is a step in a heavier, more aggressive direction than that exhibited on across the mixtape. Thanks to an introduction that features a sample of Jack Nicholson's Joker the darker mood is immediately set. Lyrically the song addresses “militant atheism” and overbearing religious ideology in the first verse before finding itself expressing less than amorous views towards rappers who still harbour a “guns bitches and bling” mentality. While the chorus punches a little below par for Smky's usual lyrical talent it's a damn fine hook that will undoubtedly get stuck in your head. The instrumental behind the vehemence features haunting vocal harmonies and some excellently produced drum sounds which when coupled with the lyricism provide a fantastic if not long-overdue track.

While 'Demon Talk' might not be the most socially aware of trecks 'Prejudice' is a post-modern protest song that really hits home and could only have been written by someone with first-hand experience of the bigotry harboured within working class neighbourhoods. Featuring a fantastically used sample of the woman who gained nationwide notoriety in 2011 for her rather unintelligent and explicitly right-wing views expressed on a tube train, the song brings to light serious issues in an intelligent and forthright manner. The lyrics within 'Prejudice' take hip-hop back to it's roots proving it doesn't always have to be supercilious and egotistical; instead it addresses the wider social issues that have metastasised themselves through contemporary society and his music is all the better for it.

While there are platforms in which up-and-coming UK rappers can exert their talent, the scene is still very much DIY, especially for those who choose to shirk radio-friendly pop-hop in favour of more dissident and antagonistic lyrical musings. There just simply isn't enough for support for local artists, which is all the more reason for people to spread the word of rappers such as Smky who challenge the status quo and refuse to become a product of the area in which they grew up.

Click here to read a review of Crowd Reaction's mix-tape Dirty Anti-Fiction

Check out Crowd Reaction at the links below:

#40: Funeral for a Friend - NQ, Manchester - 16/2/13

I often think that, as a band, it must be quite disheartening playing smaller, more intimate venues after several years of larger ones. It's almost an admittance on the behalf of tour managers/promoters that your fan base isn't what it once was or that your music doesn't resonate the same way it once did. However tonight's show at NQ proved that, forFuneral for a Friend at least, a downsizing in venue doesn't always mean a regression in career. In fact, the very notion that the band are still releasing albums and touring when so many of their contemporaries have fallen by the wayside proves that they're a band that still have a lot left to give.

The first band of the night are I Divide. Exeter's freshest five piece have been hotly tipped as a band to watch out for over the coming months and seeing them live it's easy to see why. Though they've only been a band since 2011 their music is as confident as it is accessible. Pop hooks punctuate heavy riffs throughout in a style that will no doubt appeal to fans of bands such as You Me At Six or Saosin. The band upholds a kind of youthful exuberance and despite playing to a limited crowd, it's transferred to those already at the front, foreshadowing what's expected to be an energetic show.

The second band to grace the stage are Major League, a pop-punk quintet from New Jersey. Despite this being the first time in the UK for the band, they have already garnered a devout following amongst aficionados of the ever-growing transatlantic punk scene. Capturing the lovelorn innocence of bands such as New Found Glory and The Ataris, it goes without saying that Major League will break a whole new generation of hearts in much the same way the aforementioned were doing ten years ago. You would be forgiven for thinking that Major League were the headlining act tonight. They give their all and the crowd reciprocates. Fans of the band already sing back every line and clamour for the microphone each time it's offered by vocalist Nick Trask. If the job of the support band is to warm up the crowd then it's safe to say that Major League go above and beyond the call of duty and have no doubt converted a slew of new fans (myself included) nationwide.

The final support are Such Gold, part of a new generation of pop-punk bands who take as much influence from 90s emo bands such as The Juliana Theory and Christie Front Drive as they do Blink 182 or Green Day. That doesn't mean their show is an exercise in self-pity or pop-punk cliché. Their blend of hardcore inspired gang-chants coupled with melodic guitar parts whips the crowd in to a frenzy. As they're a band who have already established themselves, a fair few members of the crowd are obviously here to see Such Gold above the headliners. Circle pits form at least every other song and fans are drawn in with reckless abandon. 'Sycamore' is a particular highlight of their set and is spurred on by vociferous crowd reactions, much to the chagrin of a security guard who overtly and perhaps unnecessarily felt compelled to make his presence known. However, over-zealous security can't detract from the fact that Such Gold who, despite being fairly new at the game, come across like they've been doing this for years. Their mixture of hardcore and pop-punk might not be to everyone's taste but they were a perfect choice for tonight's main support and only just overshadowed by Major League's ebullience.

At 8.30 Funeral For A Friend take to the stage to riotous applause. Despite it being 6 years since the release of their most commercially successful album, Tales Don't Tell Themselves, Manchester's NQ is packed to the unusually low rafters, confirming once again that commercial success counts for little when your fan base is a loyal as FFAF's. Opening with long-standing favourite 'She Drove Me to Daytime Television' causes the most raucous response thus far. Choosing to omit the more melodic tracks from new album Conduit was a wise decision given the bands limited time-slot and the hardcore enthused elements of contemporary tracks such as 'The Distance' and 'Grey' slot in next to fan favourites such as 'Roses for the Dead' and 'You Want Romace?' as if they've always been there. Front-man Matt Davies keeps the crowd entertained between songs, even going so far as to cheekily ask the aforementioned over-zealous bouncer if the crowd could “start a circle pit around the entire venue?” to which he understandably declines. Penultimate song of the night is the band's début single and my personal favourite 'Juneau'. Finally hearing this song live, a decade after it's release is something really special for me, and the majority of the crowd too given their reactions. However, the song that receives the best reaction of the night however belongs to 'History', taken from 2005s Hours. Davies is barely audible over the crowd who sing back every lyric as if it was their last night on earth and as the closing chords ring out, there's not a person in the room who can leave tonight doubting the staying-power of a band once tarred with the emo brush.

Be that as it may, tonight wasn't without it's drawbacks. There were some minor issues with the sound quality across the board, this was particularly noticeable during FFAF's set which is a massive shame; this however can be attributed more to the location of the venues sound desk (the side of the stage) as opposed to the bands overall performance. In fact any complaints on tonight fall at the feet of the venue as opposed to the acts. 
NQ feels more like the club it is than a venue that plays host to some of the biggest bands of yesteryear and ending on a negative feels somewhat ill-fitting given the quality of the music on show tonight. Sure there were some songs which felt a little flat when compared to the singles, but that’s the perils you face when playing newer material live. All in all this was a solid show and one which cements FFAF's place as one of the top contemporary British bands. It doesn't matter whether they're headlining the Apollo or a backstreet dive such as NQ the passion and the heart that went in to their previous records is back with a vengeance and as long as Davies and co keep making music like they are doing, long may their hearts stay broken and permanently on their sleeve.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

#39: Introducing...The Grafham Water Sailing Club

Coventry-based quartet, The Grafham Water Sailing Club are causing a stir across the midlands. Their bizarre blend of dark industrial post-punk won't appeal to everyone; that much at least is clear. Their unique brand of melancholia will however attract attract it's fair share of supporters. Sounding somewhat similar to bands such as Joy Division is always going to work in a bands favour and this case is no exception.

This article was originally written for Little Indie Blogs. Read the rest of the review, and others, by clicking here.

#38: Introducing...The Revival

Having recently taken a look at The Revival's impressive new single entitled 'Supercollider' I was more than willing to come back and write a few words about one of the UK's most promising unsigned bands. Forming after meeting at Cheltenham University in the summer of 2009, the band have slowly but surely built up their fan-base and repertoire through a series of intimate gigs and recordings.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

#37: The Flight - Hangman (single & video review)

'Hangman' is the titular track and leading single from the début EP from East London's The Flight. Comprised of a duo of producers Joe Henson and Alexis Smith, this EP, also titled 'Hangman' is a concept record that retells the story of 'Pretty Polly' a traditional folk song which tells the tale of a girl who is seduced and murdered before being buried in a shallow grave in the woods.

This article was originally written for Little Indie Blogs. Read the rest of the review, and others, by clicking here.

Friday, 15 February 2013

#36: Dead Sons - The Hollers & the Hymns

Being from Sheffield, UK, Dead Sons are obviously going to draw comparisons with that other band. It's inevitable. Thankfully though the Steel City 5-piece prove to be more than just another Arctic Monkeys. Featuring two members of the ill-fated Milburn, Dead Sons make music that is as sleazy as it is heavy.

Eschewing the conforms of generic indie, in favour of a 'desert-rock' aesthetic, their début album The Hollers and the Hymns is a bourbon-soaked, bar fight of a record. Sharp angular riffs perpetuate themselves across almost every track while occasional moments of melody permeate the aggression.

Vocally the comparisons to Alex Turner will be rife, something that can't be helped given they share a home-town. However, more often than not the music will find itself in Black Keys territory, making you wish that just once it would be acceptable to wear leather pants and rock the fuck out.

Opening track 'Ghost Train' is an immediate kick in the ribs which sees the band sounding particularly Black Keys like. At only two and a half minutes long, it's a short introduction to the band, but one that stamps their name firmly in to your min.

Track two 'Shotgun Woman' is fast and frantic. Here singer Thomas Rowley sounds particularly colloquial which will undoubtedly lead many to make further comparisons to the aforementioned Turner, however his vocals are particularly confident on this track and when coupled with the angular riffs really make this song stand out.

The Hollers and the Hymns rarely takes it's foot from the accelerator. Track 6 'Temptation Pool' offers some brief respite in the form of a rolling drum beat and some delicate guitar work. Here Rowley's vocal work really shines and sees him sounding particularly haunting. Soon though the tempo is picked right back up in the form of 'Room 54' which is no-holds barred, back to basics rock 'n' roll at it's dirtiest.

After achieving a number two slot in the singles chart in Turkey, Dead Sons aim to break in to the mainstream closer to home. A support slot with the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Reverend and the Makers has done nothing to hamper their credibility amongst the indie contingency and I can only imagine that after the release of The Hollers...the success that found the aforementioned will find them as well.


The Hollers & the Hymns is out Monday Feb 18th. 
Dead Sons are currently touring the UK in support of The Hollers & the Hymns, visit their website for tour dates.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

#35: Matt Pond - The Lives Inside the Lines In Your Hand

Album review: Matt Pond - The Lives Inside the Lines In Your Hand (2013)

This article was originally written for Muso's Guide. Clink the link above to read the full review and more.

#34: The Spins - Never Let It Go (single review)

Italian indie-pop outfit The Spins are injection of the Mediterranean in an otherwise bleak English Winter. Formed by Alessia Mattalia (a previous session drummer for Jeff Beck) with the addition of Michelangelo Alesso on lead vocals and Silvia Cernicchiaro on bass and backing vocals completing the band.

Their most recent single 'Never Let It Go' is an expertly produced lesson in indie-pop. The keys (Marcello Giordano) effortlessly carry the song forward on a Keane like melody. The guitars are clean serve only to accompany the keyboard which is essentially the backbone of the song; Alesso's vocals however are certainly the flesh and blood. Sounding not unlike Adam Levine so it's no surprise that 'Never Let It Go' exudes a kind of camp flamboyancy that will appeal to fans of, of course, Maroon 5, but also bands such as Scouting for Girls and The Hoosiers.
This kind of family-friendly pop is surely going to have it's critics. There isn't anything particularly new or edgy about The Spins. But not every band needs controversy to stand out from the crowd. There is overt sense of passion that goes in to their music (what more did you come to expect from an Italian band) and they obviously have a great time doing what they do and have built up a loyal fan base both on the continent and here in Britain.

'Never Let It Go' is a solid pop song, laden with melody and a chorus that will undoubtedly get stuck in your head. The unashamedly camp veneer will deter people looking for something with a bit more balls but otherwise this shiny made-for-radio track will certainly win over the hearts of some people.


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

#33: Foals - Holy Fire

Finding success off the back of the ill-fated nu-rave scene of 2007/2008, Oxford's Foalsmanaged to avoid the break-ups that many other bands suffered and yesterday released album number three: Holy Fire. Gone are the progressive math-rock beats and off-kilter angular guitars that populated earlier releases and in their place are gentle, ambient synth patterns, jazz influenced guitars and silky smooth vocals. It's a far cry from the days of 'Cassius' and 'Hummer' and a direction that won't please everyone,

The first single taken from Holy Fire is 'Inhaler', a song which aims a little too high with what it wanted to achieve. A messy breakdown halfway through the song hampers the quality and seems somewhat out of place given the steady plod of the verses. There's an attempt at utilising shifts in dynamics here, which unfortunately doesn't work well and leaves the song feeling erratic.

Track four on the album 'Bad Habit' fortunately sees an increase in quality. As a gentle drum beat slowly gathers momentum and instruments until it breaks out in to a chorus reminiscent of New York's Black Kids.
Late Night is the sixth track on the album and features a disco tinged breakdown towards the end which is completely out of character for the band and really doesn't help their case any.

Holy Fire is an album which has lost all the youthful energy and urgency that made Foals earlier records so fresh and exciting. It's a natural progression for a band to feel that they need to move away from their initial sounds, it stops their sound becoming formulaic, even boring. But the idea is to keep it fresh and interesting; to bring an element of maturity to their sound, not retirement. Foals have made an album that is essentially all fluff with the occasional moment of quality. Rarely does Holy Fire rise above anything more than just an 'okay' album. The production quality is first-rate. But that doesn't help when everything can be described as beige at best. Unfortunately Foals have fallen victim to an overt case of 'all filler no killer' and would do well to revert back to their exuberant party tunes before they alienate fans further than Holy Fire might well do.


This article was originally written for Listen Up Manchester. Click here to read more reviews from LUM!

#32: Veronica Falls - Waiting for Something to Happen

Album Review: Veronica Falls - Waiting for Something to Happen (2013)

This article was originally written for Muso's Guide. Clink the link above to read the full review and more.

#31: Tiny Phillips - Lumiére (Single Review)

Tiny Philips write songs “for the dancers and the drinkers, the lovers and the fighters” which is just as well given their home-town of Manchester has an abundance of all four. Their blend of jangly indie-pop brings to mind bands such as the sadly-missed I Was A Cub Scout and the XFM championed Bastille.

New single 'Lumiére' starts with a crisp sounding drum intro before layering a catchy and upbeat synth loop over the top, that has you nodding your head before you even realise you're doing it. The lyrics are candid yet have an accessible radio-friendly overtone which will appeal to the masses, especially during the chorus which you can imagine being sang back to DJs in any number of indie-clubs across the country.

There as been a recent influx of bands becoming ever reliant on synth loops of late. You only need to listen to the recent Dutch Uncles album to understand what I mean. Tiny Phillips do use a lot of synth, something that really doesn't appeal to me; often. In the case of this band however it really does work in their favour. Instead of being obsessed with the 1980s like most synth-orientated bands, Tiny Phillips have kicked electronic music in to the present; thankfully without a sniff of dubstep in their music. They bring to mind the ill-fated Go:Audio or Saving Amy without upholding the neon-clad teenie-bopper aesthetic that the aforementioned harboured so vehemently.

Radio-friendly; upbeat; fantastically produced. All words which would describe 'Lumiére' (and the band as a whole) perfectly. This is certainly music you can drink, dance and love to. As for the fighters, I'm not really sure where they play out in all of this. But you'll be having too much of a good time to notice their absence anyway.


Monday, 11 February 2013

#30: The Suicide of Western Culture - Hope Only Brings Pain

Album review: The Suicide of Western Culture - Hope Only Brings Pain (2013)

This article was originally written for Unsigned Bands Online. Click the link above to read the full review and more.

#29: Parenthetical Girls - Privilege (Abridged)

Album Review: Parenthetical Girls - Privilege (Abridged) (2013)

This article was originally written for Muso's Guide. Clink the link above to read the full article and more.

Friday, 8 February 2013

#28: Man Without Machines - The Kreuzberg Press

Forget your Biffy Clyro and your Frightened Rabbit, Dundee's Man Without Machines might just be the next big Scottish export to brighten the festival circuit this Summer. Their début album 'The Kreuzberg Press' is comprised of 12 tracks of radio-friendly electro-pop that has been influenced by the likes of New Order and Human League. 

#27: Fiction - The Big Other

Three years after their initial 7” 'Curiosity', London 5-piece Fiction release their first full length album, The Big Other, a record which capitalises on current 80s resurgence and fuses it with the traditional jangle of indie-pop in to an amalgamation of sugar and sunshine.

#26: Fat Goth - Stud

Album Review: Fat Goth - Stud (2013)

This article was originally written for Unsigned Bands Online. Click the link above to read the full review and more.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

#25: Delphic - Collections


This article was originally written for Muso's Guide. Clink the link above to read the full review and more.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


Born off the back of a skate-punk resurgence, LA's FIDLAR are living life to it's fullest and creating the kind of booze-fuelled skate-sleaze your parents warned you about. Their self-titled début album is a balls-to-the-wall surf-jam influenced by So-Cal punk bands such as The Offspring and Blink 182 as much as earlier punk bands such as T.S.O.L and Social Distortion.

Clocking in at just over half an hour long Fidlar is a short, sharp kick in the ribs. Songs such as 'No Waves' ooze So-Cal attitude and paint pictures of the holy trinity of Californian punk. Surfing; drinking and girls. While track six, entitled 'Max Can't Surf' is full of sleazy guitar-licks and a surprisingly Weezer like chorus.

Unfortunately the album isn't without it's downsides. About halfway through, it does seem to get quite repetitive, as if you've heard it all before. The lo-fi vocals, while suiting to the overall archaic sound of the band, do seem to be slightly over used and would benefit from some respite every now and again.

There are occasional moments where something particularly special shines through, although they are few and far between. One such moment is the shortest track on the album '5 to 9' which is a fantastic minute long stomp-along that is bound to go down well during live shows. While 'LDN' sounds like The Ramones meets The Beach Boys in a lo-fi surf amalgam which is surprisingly inoffensive given the drug-addled subject matter of most of the other songs.

Fidlar is an album that will almost certainly have it's critics. On the surface it's an aggressively hedonistic portrait of Cali life steeped in punk history (two members of the band are children to the guitarist from aforementioned T.S.O.L). Beneath an obnoxious exterior however is an album with promise and potential. Perhaps a second album will reveal a maturity in their song-writing. But for now the lads are more inclined to drink and snort their way through the royalties, but where else would they get their subject matter for album number two from?


#23: The Ninth Watch (EP review)

Having just reviewed The Ninth Watch's new single 'Forever Is A Long Times' for WordsForMusic, I thought it only fair that I did a full EP review given how much I enjoyed the aforementioned single. Whilst not strictly an EP exactly, the CD is more of a sampler given out by the band at request and features four tracks, including 'Forever Is A Long Time'

Track One, 'Concrete Boots' is a Kasbian-esque riot of a song that benefits from a guitar riff that without a doubt will get stuck in your head almost as much as the chorus. Singer Ahern's voice is one part Ian Brown and one part Tom from The Enemy. Something which works to his advantage rather than detract from the overall sound of the track.

The second track, 'Apples of My Eyes a much mellower acoustic number, in which Ahern shows us he's not just a one track pony. His voice is fantastic throughout 'Apples...', managing to hold notes that you would be forgiven for thinking he ought not attempt, without it once breaking. The drums on this track are brilliantly recorded, with every high-hat audible and complimentary of the understated guitar which carries the song almost as much as Ahern's vocals do.

'Forever Is A Long Time' is the third track on the album, and a stand alone review can be found by clicking here. It's a strong track, and not dissimilar to 'Concrete Boots' and one sure to go down as a live favourite given it's danceable nature.

Track Four entitled 'The Optimist' is fairly self descriptive. Mellow and uplifting throughout, Ahern's voice once again steals the show and allows the song to reach dizzying heights not before exhibited by the band. At times sounding like both U2 and Keane might be enough to deter some people; however fortunately The Ninth Watch manage to sound enough like themselves not to be considered too derivative of other bands and what they've done with 'The Optimist' is create probably their strongest song yet.

I've said it before, and will no doubt say it again. The Ninth Watch are a band destined for bigger things. Their radio-friendly indie pop is mellow enough to appeal to fans of all ages and secure them a future place in the charts while still upholding buckets of individuality. I urge everyone with an interest in underground music to check this band out while they're still able to play smaller venues.

Friday, 1 February 2013

#22: The Revival - Supercollider (Single Review)

Coming from together from “three corners of the UK” The Revival are a band with plenty going for them. Now in their 4th year together, 2013 promises to be a “big push” for them, and if the rest of their material is like new single 'Supercollider' then we can expect that be true.

Clocking in at just under five minutes the song is a little on the long side for a single, however when you hear the song the length seems irrespective as the band are seasoned and practised at what they do and it makes listening to 'Supercollider' a true joy.

Blending elements of bands like The Enemy and The Twang, The Revival do sound familiar, but they have a charm and energy about them that refuses to go unnoticed and allows them to stand out from their contemporaries. Singer Arfyn Ryhs Ruhonah has an ambitious voice which (for the most part) hits home perfectly. The chorus has an air of the Foo Fighters about it which will appeal to, well, pretty much everyone and even though the ending is quite a drawn out affair, by the time the songs finished you know you've just listened to a true indie-pop gem which could fit snugly on a radio play-list besides the likes of The Pigeon Detectives or early Courteeners.

While not a perfect record the potential the band has is fantastic and is evident from the get-go. Despite hailing from all over the UK there isn't a hint of the colloquial in Arfyn's delivery, which is something we can be thankful for given that almost every indie band out there these days exaggerates or contrives an accent in an attempt to appeal to fans in their hometown.

Definitely a band to watch out for during their 'big push' try and one I'm almost certainly try and catch live before their inevitable big break. Keep it going guys!

The band also feature on the new sampler from Hour Glass Recordings, along with Life's A Beech favourites  Velocets and Mama Roux