When Githead appeared in 2004, many doubted the band’s longevity. Mainly due to the the fact that their formation was part of their label’s ten year anniversary celebrations, but also down to the eclectic nature of the line-up, which features members of Wire, Scanner and Minimal Compact. Indeed, incorporating the influence and aesthetics of such a diverse handful of musicians might well yield something off-kilter and more experimental than most listeners could stomach, but the fact remains that, ten years on from their inception, Githead have managed to hone their sound to a razor, crafting nine tracks of sleek, slightly experimental, ambience on this their fourth LP.
Thursday, 18 December 2014
2014 has arguably been the best year for shoegaze in the last two decades. The reformation of bands such as Ride and Slowdive has proven the public still has a taste for “the scene that celebrates itself”, whilst the emerge of ‘nu-gaze’ has afforded bands such as Whirr a popularity they may not have enjoyed otherwise. What’s certain though, is that music is cyclical, and shoegaze, in whatever guise, is very much enjoying a revival.
As music, in the wider scheme of things, becomes more and more commodified, the genuine musicians, those who convey emotions and artistic expression, often get overlooked in favour of a quick buck and sex appeal. As a direct result of this, however, there are labels that are interested in more than just the music, labels committed to sourcing artists that transcends the medium irrespective of genre or location. It’s labels like this which are the lifeblood of the UK indie scene, and I mean that in its purest sense, not the skinny jeans and trilby kind.
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Music has always told stories, and whilst a lot of those stories reflect the personal experiences of the artists recounting them, there are those which tell the stories of the past, recounting timeless, historical events over personal emotion and experience. And it’s this kind of historical yarn-spinning which runs through the course of the latest EP from Sean Grant and the Wolfgang, ‘War Machines’. And whilst Grant’s last EP dealt with the situation of the working classes of the first half of the 20th century, ‘War Machines’ looks to the unsung heroes of the World War II, whose actions were pivotal in an allied victory. Not only that, but Grant delves in to both his family’s past, and his own subconsciousness on ‘Fairground Fighter’ and ‘Freedom of the World’ respectively. As such ‘War Machines is an intriguing insight in to both the singers personal family history, and the stories of those which made our present day what it is; not to mention the fact the release (almost) coincides with an especially poignant year of remembrance, making ‘War Machines’ both a timely and timeless release.
Wednesday, 10 December 2014
There's a certain majesty upheld by White Rooms, the second record from Edinburgh's Graveyard Tapes, a not-so-quiet melancholy that pulses through the album's veins, providing listeners with a level of emotion made all the more prominent thanks to the carefully constructed soundscapes on which the lyrics are drabed. Indeed, the music itself is tantamount to the lyricism and often even goes further than the lyrics possibly could, tracks such as 'Exit Ghosts' for example, conveying the emotional tumult of grief and loss (the album's predominant themes) by means of off-kilter and even jarring instrumentation.
Maybe I'm the villain. Or is it you?' questions Ella on the Run, in the opening line of new single 'War of Words'. Obviously this is Ella addressing the two sides of a failing relationship, but with a vocal delivery that couldn't melt butter, we're hedging our bets that the villain in question probably isn't her. Throw in a sharp, yet understated, synth-pop backing and you've got yourself one of the sleekest and most intriguing pop releases of the year.
Encapsulating a somewhat trans-European identity, LYTTET, are a band for whom geographic boundaries mean little. Taking their name from a Scandinavian word, the pair, originally from County Kildare, now bounce their ideas back and forth across the English Channel, since producer Peadar Kearney relocated to Toulouse. A somewhat atypical production method this may be, but for LYTETT, it works, affording them the ability to craft soundscapes that feel both sparse and sonorous, luscious yet managing to uphold a foreboding feeling of isolation, offset only by the respective vocal tracks, which, in turn, bring almost tangible levels of emotion to delicate, yet otherwise desolate backing tracks.
In future when people try to tell me that guitar music is dead, I will point them in the direction of The Jacques debut EP. Not often enough do records, even from the most seasoned of musicians, jump out and fill you with the same kind of shit-yourself excitement that came over me when I first heard the Pretty DJ EP. Yes it's loose, yes it's scrappy, but that's the beauty of it. This is a record that's been recorded live and as a result of that, is filled with the infectious clamour and clatter of what I can only imagine a Jacques gig would encompass.
This feature was originally written for Shout4Music. Click here to read in full.
Saturday, 6 December 2014
Known for their inventive and off kilter garage-rock as much as their anarchic live performances, adopted Brightonians Demob Happy have seemingly reached a new level of depravity with their most recent single 'Succubus'. All angular, discordant guitars, clattering percussion and a deranged vocal delivery, it comes off like Cursive suffering through a particularly nasty acid trip; the video an archaic, somewhat suitably hallucinogenic forray in to the collectively warped minds of Demob Happy.
Though the recent Yes campaign in Scotland might be a distant memory for many of us South of the border, once the film crews rolled out and the news coverage died down, the whole thing didn't just blow over. For the Scots, and in particular those who voted yes, it's still very much in the forefront of their minds; a more accountable country was a piss-width away. It was, however, taken away from them at the last hurdle, the taste of freedom replace with resentment. Once the film crews did roll out, so too did the platform for dissent, the voices of thousands sent packing to the message boards of the internet, instead of reaching the 6 O'Clock news. Or so they thought.
Scotland has obviously never been the hotbed for commercial hip-hop in the same way that the States has, and even when cities such as London or Manchester found themselves at the forefront of the UK grime scene, even still, Scotland was left out in the cold. Why? Conditions for inner-city youths there aren't automatically better than London, unemployment and youth crime are just as synonymous with Glasgow as they are Peckham. For whatever the reason, Scottish hip-hop hasn't ever been in the public eye, until now.
When Morning Smoke emerged from Brighton’s sea-mist a little under two years ago, they were two fresh faced teens with a penchant for noise and little apparent direction. That didn’t mean they were without potential however, and whilst their first release left plenty to be desired in terms of its production, it did manage to embed the band’s name in to the forefront of our mental jukebox and we’ve followed them ever since.
Wednesday, 3 December 2014
It hasn’t taken the band long to find their footing either, earning praise from the likes of Clash, DIY and NME for their debut single ‘Sour’; four minutes of clattering early ’00s garage pop that brings to mind The Strokes circa Is This It or early Kings of Leon.
Whilst you might not be familiar with the band yet, you will be soon. Animal House head out on their first UK tour this week, keeping the momentum going that’s allowed them to make a name for themselves in such a short space of time.This feature was originally written for Louder Than War. Click here to read in full.
Tuesday, 2 December 2014
Being a fan of Frank Turner is a hard job. With all his album and EP releases, the endless touring schedule, guest-appearances and all manners of other auditory wonders he bestows upon us, it really is difficult to keep track his latest endeavours. Then there are the times it’s really hard. The times you have three people trying to get tickets for his latest spit’n’sawdust toilet circuit tour to no avail, the times you ardently defend the man to his harshest critics even though you know, deep down, that some of the criticism is just. Then there’s times like this...
This review was originally written for God is In the TV Zine, Click here to read in full.