Friday, 26 June 2015

#469: The Movielife, Academy 2, Manchester

Though it could be easy to dismiss The Movielife’s reunion tour as either pocket-lining or ego-stroking, a thought that unfortunately dogs any such tour irrespective of genre, the fact remains that it’s been ten years since the band graced a UK stage (post-Movielife projects don’t count, you pedants), and whether money was a deciding factor or not, there’s still 900 people here tonight who were more than willing to part with theirs in order to finally hear the songs which shaped their adolescence. Fortunately, not even three songs in and any such cynicisms are put to bed.

#468: Everything Everything - Get To Heaven

Where 2013's 'Arc' seemed to round off the angular art-pop of Everything Everything's debut, moulding it in to more digestible, bite-size chunks, 'Get To Heaven' sees the band returning once again to the the realms of ambitious song structures and time signatures, combining it with sharp, savvy lyricism, as opposed to the rich, open pop swathes of its predecessor.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

#467: Table Scraps - More Time for Strangers

Imagine if you will, Marylin Manson fronting The Stooges in place of Iggy Pop. Now imagine if that band was conceived in a garage in Birmingham, UK, instead of Michigan, and that the year is 2015 instead of 1967. Congratulations, if you’ve managed all that, you should be pretty close to knowing what the debut album from Brum-based duo Table Scraps sounds like.

This review was originally written for Louder Than War. Click here to read in full.

Friday, 19 June 2015

#466:Forever Cult - Antonio Banderas (Premiere)

As West Yorkshire continues to hold a monopoly over the current UK grunge scene, it’s of little surprise that bands from Leeds, Huddersfield and Halifax are harnessing what seems like an untapped supply of inspiration; the creative juices flowing as a freely through the county as opiates did through Seattle 20 years previously.

This feature was originally written for Louder Than War. Click here to read in full.

#465: Reptile Youth - Away (EP review)

Much like its title, New Age, the opening track from Reptile Youth’s most recent EP is a two minute intro of icy electronics so subtle they border on the ephemeral. It is just an intro however, and the subtleties of New Age soon morph into the title track (and current single) seamlessly, before the EP really comes to life in a way completely not suggested by the intro.

#464: Introducing...Bodyface

Whilst it goes without saying that the bite of New York’s Bodyface shares much in common with pessimistic punk staples like Jawbreaker or Alkaline Trio, such influences are merely one aspect of the multi-faceted trio. With a sound that manages to combine the deceptively technical intricacies of QOTSA, with power-chord driven riffs and anthemic vocal harmonies.

#463: Jenny Hval - Apocalypse, Girl

For those of you who are looking for an easy Sunday afternoon album, Jenny Hval's Apocalypse, Girl probably shouldn't be your first choice. Contrary to the breathy vocals and brushed percussion of tracks such as 'That Battle Is Over' or 'Why's This', it's a record that runs far deeper than background listening suggests, perpetuating a narrative that's both brazen and brave.

This review was originally written for Shout4Music. Click here to read in full.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

#462: Frog - Kind of Blah

The title of New York duo Frog‘s second album isn’t exactly one that inspires courage in itself, but we’re willing to bet it’s more of an ironic dig at the transience of that’s come to make up a large portion of the lo-fi genre, at least in its current form. Fortunately, what Kind of Blahdoesn’t want for, is substance. Where similar bands will strive for their music to be ephemeral or even transcendent, Frog are interested in nostalgia, in providing you with memories of experiences that aren’t yours, and in making you pine for romances you’ve never had.

#461: Orphan Boy - Coastal Tones

Whilst Orphan Boy’s first two records are best appreciated as products of their time (2007 and 2010 respectively) thanks to the clattering street urchin indie they contained, their latest effort Coastal Tones feels much less bound by the constrictions of any given genre, and as a result is a more matured and far less fragmented record than either of its predecessors. Gone are the up-close profiles of the council estates that leant their name to the band’s self-styled brand of ‘council-pop’, yet the romances, or rather sense of romance, that was forged within them remains.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

#460: Catching Up With...Arctic Lake

Arctic Lake build on the foundations laid by the likes of Bat for Lashes or London Grammar, whilst managing to never feel derivative.  They are a band whose emotion is close to being a tangible presence, and stems from introspection and the human condition behind those emotions. Their latest single, ‘Only Me’, feels more subdued than previous release ‘Limits’, though no less distinctive. It floats effortlessly on an airy bed of understated electronics. Icy, emphatic and rife with subtle nuances – it’s a quintessential sound, and one which will ultimately become synonymous with the band as their career progresses.