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Things Of Interest December 2012

Just to finish off the year, here are a few things that have interested me lately.

In zines – I’ve recently acquired and read A Short Fanzine About Rocking.
A Short Fanzine About Rocking Winter 2012 It’s been going since 2001 but is only the second issue I’ve managed to pick up of this UK punk/metal zine, the clean, uncluttered style makes a change from a lot of the cut and paste zines I read and I like the writing style – some great interviews. At 80 pages (or there abouts) it’s not just a five minute read and kept me going for a few days so it’s cheap at £2.  Visit the tumblr for more info.

I’ve been listening to this great new album by Annabel non stop:
Annabel Youth In YouthI had the vinyl as a Christmas gift and it’s rather lovely but had listened many times to the full album on their Bandcamp so it’s already a favourite.

Coming up in the new year to get excited about is the new issue of Degenerate zine. This is by far my favourite zine of the moment both aesthetically and in content so I’m very much looking forward to that. A new album from The Bronx is coming early next year too which is always something to look forward to and hopefully a new issue of Tastemaker zine from Matt Average under its new moniker Us Und Them I very much enjoyed issue #1 of that. So tons to look forward to in 2013.

 

 

Records Of The Year – 2012

This year has seen releases from some big names (Billy Talent, Cancer Bats, Deftones, Every Time I Die et al) and also from some of my favourite artists (Cursive, Latitudes), but for me it has also been a year for discovering great new music so there was so much to choose from it became a really difficult task to pick favourites. In the end though, after much deliberation, I did actually manage to whittle it down to this top ten album list.

Albums
Cursive – I Am Gemini
A new Cursive record is always going to be a big release for me and this album really delivered – again (how do they keep doing it). It’s an ambitious concept record carried by nicely meaty riffage, spectacular tunes and some of the band’s most complex song constructions to date. Tim Kasher’s lyrics are fantastic as always and here he focuses again on preoccupations with spirituality and good & evil which have often been an undercurrent in his writing. Just brilliant.      

Everyone Everywhere – 2012
Everyone Everywhere’s second self-titled album is a grower, not as instant as their debut but, as I’ve discovered, with repeated listens you’ll find it delivers as much on melody and hooks as the former. read more

Annabel – Youth In Youth
Annabel deal in the kind of tunes that make your heart soar; uplifting sing-along melodies, gang vocals, intense and rich guitar sounds and marching drum beats that make you want to move. They walk the line somewhere between indie and emo, a kind of jangly, emotional rock base with some nicely anthemic song structures and the odd twiddly guitar part thrown in for good measure. read more

Goodtime Boys – What’s Left To Let Go
This isn’t just a straightforward, in your face scream fest, Goodtime Boys hook you in with strong lyrical content, layered and atmospheric slow burns and technical proficiency, giving you plenty past the initial rush to keep you coming back to the album. read more

Neon Piss – Neon Piss
This one came out of the blue –  a really interesting punk-rock record, injecting some great tunes into a scuzzy backing, pretty full on but has you singing along after only a couple of listens. This one got some great coverage from Maximum Rocknroll this year too which piqued my interest in the first place but it far outlived all my expectations when I got my hands on it – thoroughly addictive. Check out their bandcamp for more.  

Slices – Still Cruising
Read about this album in MRR too and really liked the sound of it. I spent a couple of weeks listening to the album stream on their label’s Bandcamp before thinking sod it and ordering the vinyl. It’s H/C with a Fucked Up type sound and oh so listenable.

Blacklisters – BLKLSTRS
Blacklisters are superbly nasty; jagged riffs and intense untamed vocals, all underlined by the most compulsively danceable, distorted and rumbling bass lines and heavy hitting drums, OK perhaps not danceable but twitchable at the very least, this is a record that commands your attention from the opening bars and relentlessly batters you but it’s never just a wall of noise there is such a lot more going on underneath that scuzzy, hard exterior. read more

Deftones – Koi No Yokan
Not sure if this really nedds too much of a write up as its Deftones but I think this one deserves a mention in the top ten list. In my opinion this album is more well rounded than their last – a good mix of heavy and dreamy and it feels, finally, that they’re getting their groove back. Since Che’s been out of action there’s been a kind of desperate melancholic tone to their records but this one feels more relaxed and organic than they have in a while.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
A new Godspeed record was something I didn’t actually think would happen but here it is and it’s superb. A really epic sound and some great little snatches of melody – powerful and emotive. A great return.  

Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory
Cleveland based Cloud Nothings new Wichita released album (produced by Steve Albini) is a tuneful ride of jangly noise and melody with beautifully raw vocals; moments of post-rock, post-punk along with surf, garage and indie amongst others all feature (if we must label) – whatever, when it’s this engaging, who cares what you call it, all you really need to know is that it’s charming and memorable and addictive. read more

Read more

Everyone Everywhere Album Review

 

 

 

 

Everyone Everywhere’s second self-titled album is a grower, not as instant as their debut but, as I’ve discovered, with repeated listens you’ll find it delivers as much on melody and hooks as the former. Opening with I Feel Exausted, a track of two halves – starting slowly, gently building to a sudden shift in tempo and tone which opens the tune up with a more upbeat sound and their trademark playful guitars, it’s a great way to begin.

Tracks like Queen Mary II and Turn & Go & Turn have quickly become favourites; off kilter (but technically impressive) guitars and brilliantly catchy vocal lines – the former with hits of brass to mix things up and the latter inducing sing-along-at-the-top-of-your-voice moments.The whole album is warm and comfortable, like a cozy sweater in cold weather; fuzzy, full of super catchy melodies and great lyrics (see Big Hat for a great example of their approach which is amusing and touching without being sentimental) but always with that interesting edge of techy riffage to keep things sounding fresh. The four piece have come good on this new record, avoiding the difficult second album syndrome and giving us a satisfying album of warm and infectious tunes to play on repeat.

You can download the record from their Bandcamp for just $1 at the moment which is a complete bargain, but I’d still recommend you pick up the beautiful green/blue vinyl, as it sounds even warmer and richer spinning on your turntable.

New Year New Music

Here we go, 2012, lots of new music to look forward to not least the new Nada Surf record which is sounding great by the way, my review of that one should be live on Roomthirteen shortly .

Also looking forward to some fresh stuff from Narrows (Painted) and the new one from Cursive, (I Am Gemini ) which I already have on pre-order, of course, and this is just the first couple of months of the year. It’s all shaping up nicely.

November Albums

 

So November’s pretty much done, this month I’ve been listening to and can recommend:

 

 

Wolves In The Throne Room – Celestial Lineage
“It’s easy to see from this record why WITTR are so respected; their sound is impressive and so rich that it draws you in instantly. The atmosphere of the places they love is embedded in the tracks and they bring this to you so effectively that you feel that presence behind the music all the way through.”

Office Of Future Plans – Office Of Future Plans
“From the opening strains of ‘Salamander’ with its verging on melancholic but rousing tone, you feel the powerful emotional pull of this record and you know it’s all going to be great; catchy, punchy and you can rock out to it. Ripping quickly from one chunky tune to the next you are greeted with some pretty heady and sometimes noisy moments (‘The Beautiful Barricades’) but always the underlying melodies are strong and the beats grooveable with some fantastic bass lines and the odd blast of jagged guitars the result is an album that’s so satisfying you may wonder how you ever got by without it.”

Eaststrikewest – We’re Important And We Keep The City Running
“A couple of years back I reviewed the album “Wolvves” and was struck by the contrast between the epic instrumental and the tuneful vocal sections of the songs, in comparison this record feels more cohesive; the two worlds flowing comfortably together rather than butting up against each other, making this a more satisfying album which sits easily side by side with some of the biggest epic, anthemic rock albums in recent years.”

Johnny Foreigner – Johnny Foreigner Vs Everything
“Johnny Foreigner’s new, third album has been a difficult project for the band. Two years in the making and stripped of big name producers and contracts they’ve gone back to basics; just them and their great tunes and the result? Thankfully, they haven’t lost anything in translation, in fact this record seems to hold the essence of the band; their fantastic live sound has been captured here with all those dramatic dynamic changes really coming to life, sweet, gentle melodic starts leading to huge noisy blasts of guitar noise that lift you up.”

Roll on December!