Tag: Indie

November Roundup

We are getting towards that end of year list time again already, but there are still some choice picks to be had, last minute additions to that top *insert number here*.

 

fluke-13Fluke Fanzine #13
This is Fluke‘s 25th year, and issue 13 of this great zine;  as a bonus I was lucky enough to get my hands on a limited edition t-shirt to celebrate this momentous issue but would have been satisfied just to get my hands on the latest issue on its own.  I always look forward to a new Fluke; the enthusiasm that Matthew has for the scene and the great people he’s met over the years really shines through; he writes with a nostalgic edge but you get the feeling he is always looking to the future with excitement.  Perhaps its because we are the same generation that I connect with his world view so well, or perhaps its just the easy way he draws you in with his great writing style, but this issue of the zine is a fascinating glimpse into his life and the music and people that inspired him growing up.  Highly recommended.

 

cod-fanzine-2Cretins Of Distortion #7
I’ve been looking to pick up a copy of this fanzine for a while and having no luck with UK distros I ordered one from overseas. COD is punk as fuck; on first appearances it looks to be a random cut and paste of images and text, but of course things are more organised than the appearance of chaos. The zine is ‘dedicated to/and stands with everyone who has suffered from systematic violence’ and revels in the freak tag throughout.  This is a serious mag; a strong message carried by someone who clearly cares about the subject and it makes you sit up and take notice too.

I’ll be picking this up again for sure, I love reading whats going on in people’s local scenes and this mid-west view is fascinating stuff.

 

taman-shud-oracle-imageTaman Shud – Oracle War
Hotly anticipated sophomore album from the London (self-styled) necro-psych/cave-rock mob.  The Taman Shud image, one of mystery and darkness, is all pervasive, they never let the veil drop on their social media accounts, posting only reviews, upcoming information and darkly quirky pictures and words; not wanting to give away the personalities behind the controlled image.  This approach makes the music the only focus, you have to admire their commitment to the cause, and it really works to set up a heady atmosphere when you listen to the album.

As with Viper Smoke the record has a dream-like quality, repetitive droning loops of riffage and vocal chants lend the atmosphere a ritualistic quality, and you feel yourself lost in their world of smoggy, doom laden, psychedelic licks, meanderings, over the top vocal effects and satanic crooning; Taman Shud really are an entity all their own.

The production on this record is super scuzzy and distorted – imagine you’re in the cabin in the woods listening to the recordings of the Book of the Dead on that old tape machine;  half heard sounds appear out of the distortion, screams are muted under feedback and the melodies are hidden behind a wall of frenetic sound.  It’s a slightly different approach to ther last record, which, while it was not crystal clear or slick in any sense, did feel more minimal and have more of a focus on melody; each sound was identifiable in the mix and retained its own identity.  Here the wall of noise means you are constantly searching for a focal point and it makes for a more challenging listening experience, (tracks like Slime Litury may test casual listeners boundaries), however it is compusive and dramatic and addictive in a different way.  I’m sold on the intensity.

 

tough-tits-cover-image
Tough Tits – Hairless EP
Newcastle-Upon-Tyne all girl punk trio;  lo-fi production, shrill vocals, uncomplicated drums.  What this lacks in scope it more than makes up for with energy and attitude.

 

 

grieving-cover-imageGrieving – Demonstrations
There is something really charming about this EP from the Cambridge four piece. It’s been out for a while now and I’ve had it as part of my regular rotation since I first heard it.  I get Reuben and Million Dead vibes at times and then more of an indie feel with some sweet riffs; it is in essence very British, with a strong 00’s thing going on. I like that it’s minimal with an emphasis on some great melodic moments and a lovely clear guitar sound.

This band obviously has a ton of ideas to throw around as each track has a slightly different flavour; so overall its not hugely cohesive, but because it’s all so listenable they do pull it off over these 5 tracks. Doesn’t appear they have an album yet but I’ll be interested to see how they handle it.

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Review: Witching Waves Album

witching wavesLondon trio Witching Waves sound at times quintessentially British; there are nods to The Cure, My Bloody Valentine and many great shoegaze bands, in fact, all the good stuff of my teens, and this makes me very happy and keeps a nostalgic fire glowing in my heart.  But what I really love about this record is that it also feels set adrift from the Brit scene in some ways.  A modern European and American goth via indie-punk sound seeps through, reminiscent of bands like Neon Piss, Cadaver Em Transe and Silver Shadows.

As seems to be the way of the moment, Crystal Cafe draws on the late 80s goth-punk, post-punk sound; the tunes are injected with heavy doses of melody and darkness in equal measure so the comforting past is given a modern edgy twist.  The melodies are bitter sweet and the guitars are suitably scuzzy, but the production rounds all the edges, making the fuzz more palatable and helping the tunes shine through, which may help give the record a wider audience, as these are essentially classic pop tunes and really stick with you.

Crystal Cafe is out now in the UK via Soft Power Records and you can check out Witching Waves previous album on Bandcamp too.

 

New Year, New Music

Interested to see that John Congleton has an album coming out soon from his new band The Nighty Nite, this project has been floating around for what seems like an age, so it’s a treat to finally hear something new from him.  The new Deftones is also sounding pretty good and a record from Sumac is coming soon – so plenty of ear candy on the way.  It’s been a great start to the new year, with some quality records already released, I’ve been enjoying these:

 

Neurotic Fiction demo small
Neurotic Fiction – Demo

A new demo from Livi of Hell Money and Twisted, this is great – Livi’s voice is fantastic, and this low-key, low-fi release really suits her style.  Its not as loud and heady as the other bands I’ve seen her perform with but it works really well here.  I’m hoping this demo leads to much more.

 

 

Cayetana Tired Eyes Cover
Cayetana – Tired Eyes
New 7″ with two quality tracks of catchy, punky tunage.
Still can’t get enough of this lot.

 

 

 

Acid Fast Last Night On Earth small
Acid Fast – Last Night On Earth
I was worried I wouldn’t like this album as much as their last, but I needn’t have been, as its just as melodic and raw – a combination that I love.  Their catchy punky-indie tunes are addictive and distinctive.  Definitely one for my album of the year list.

 

 

Terrible Love cover smallTerrible Love – Change Nothing EP
Quality HC which interested me initially as the band boasts former members of Goodtime Boys, Bastions and Grappler.  The sound here is meaty and tuneful with a raw edge, and their experience shines through, but they’ve also managed to keep things sounding fresh. I really like what I’ve heard here and will be checking them out when they tour the EP in April around the UK.

Records of the Year 2015

2015 was a year. This is some of the music that got me through it.

 

Albums

Svalbard album cover
Svalbard –
One Day All This Will End
Svalbard produced the album I’d been hoping they would – richly layered and addictive, it holds moments of post-rock beauty, hardcore strength and pure melodies.  A positive, uplifting record and the clear winner this year for me.

 

 

Twisted Utopia
Twisted – Utopia
This album is so good, a close second on the list. It was released in January but I came to it later on. Again this one has great melodies, something I’m a total sucker for, it’s catchy and fun with strong female vocals and punchy punk attitude oozing through on every track.

 

Nervosas st
Nervosas – Nervosas
A more frantic and aggressive sounding release from the Ohio Punks but still with the dark edge and melodies I loved from their last record, the vocals are as goth as always with fantastic female backing, and their sound is as immediate and addictive as ever.

 

all dogs
All Dogs
Kicking Every Day
I love this band. Girl fronted high energy poppy punk tunes, they really know how to put together a great tune with edge and keep you hooked.

 

 

Brother Ghost buried coverBrother/Ghost – Buried
Cinematic, multi layered, genre challenging record, cleverly redefining the sound of this band.  Hints of psych, blues, indie and post-rock, make for an anthemic, rousing listen – it all hangs together so well too, never feeling disjointed or overly complex.  There is so much here to discover and keep you coming back, it’s a real gem.

 

Taman ShudTaman ShudViper Smoke
Viper Smoke creates its own space; an all encompassing spacey zone: the production, epic yet almost claustrophobic at the same time, the distorted vocals, twin bass and gothic atmosphere, create a place you don’t want to step out of, a space away from the banal and mundane, something all the best records manage.

 

 

EnvyEnvyAthiest’s Cornea
Envy are one of my all time favourite bands, so its always a huge treat to get my hands on a new album from them. This record is, dare I say it, more accessible than I’ve heard from them in the past – shorter tracks, very melodic, some actual singing rather than all screams or spoken word, however, none of these are negative observations, this is as huge and dreamy as they’ve ever been.

 

 

ParisoParisoPariso
Pariso’s final record unfortunately – it’s unashamedly shouty male hc, they batter you with noise, but have some great moments of technical finesse, which, along with the heady nastiness is what drew me to them in the first place. The tracks are dark and meaty but with an underlying core of something more dreamy; some of the riffs really soar. Really solid, a fitting end.

 


Hag face rip

Hag Face
R.I.P.
New Hag Face is never a bad hing, The Candadian all girl punk band don’t mess about.  Attitude and a clear message combine with memorable vocals and some great tuneful touches, good stuff.

 

 

drug church hit your headDrug Church – Hit Your Head
The first of two appearances on this list for Drug Church.  The EP below made my list early on and this full length was released in October; so the band managed to bookend my year nicely.  Drug Church are so easy to listen to – melodic, gruff and full of class riffs, but thematically and lyrically they stay pleasingly off centre, giving them nicely rough edges.  Love them.

 

flesh world
Flesh World –
All The Wild Animals In My Life
I consider this a grower compared to their 2013 record, but after a few play-throughs I’m now fully on board.  Abrasive yet melodic post-punk gems, dark and scuzzy yet also quite accessible in its own way

 

 

fist city
Fist City – Everything Is A Mess

This is a very accessible and immediately memorable sophomore album from the Canadian indie-punk four piece. Melodic songs, with excellent off-kilter clipped vocals, are backed by sometimes jangly, sometimes fast and spiky guitars and hypnotic rhythms; the combination is just perfect for rocking out to.

 


steve von till album cover

Steve Von Till –
A Life Unto Itself
Steve Von Till‘s fourth solo outing is a beautiful journey into Americana with his distinctively gruff vocal delivery leading the way along with sparse acoustic guitar sounds.   It is a powerful record, a warm and comforting set of songs.

 

 

Make album cover
Make –
The Golden Veil
Its great to hear an album that plays out as a whole experience, something I seem to come across less and less – this is old school post-rock, taking me back to the days of early Godspeed, Envy, Pelican – a no nonsense, moody record full of all encompassing tunes; huge, heady and powerful, it’s easy to get lost in.

 

the good life
The Good Life –
Everybody’s Coming Down
I’m a total sucker for anything by Tim Kasher, no secret there, this is a great album though despite my predisposition.  Pretty minimal but sporting plenty of fuzzy off-kilter guitars; it doesn’t go as far as dischordant but certainly skirts around it and the guitars ride over some nice melodic touches.

 

Hell Money
Hell Money
Discography
Hell Money are a local Punk/Hardcore band, this was their final offering as a band and It’s a great collection.  The band featured Livi, front woman of Twisted and Leigh from Goodtime Boys, so as you can imagine, it’s scuzzy punk of the highest order. 

 

Employed to ServeEmployed To Serve – Greyer Than You Remember
Greyer Than You Remember is a dark ride; quirky, technical, hardcore with metallic riffage which thunders and squeals under Justine’s powerful screams.  The sound is meaty and often verging on dischordant, not an easy listen then, but this isn’t pop music so you get what you signed up for, on balance it’s nasty and powerful but also full of surprises (in a good way).

 

Asunder Sweet and other Distress
Godspeed You! Black Emperor –
Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress
Not their most spectacular album but still very beautiful and worthy of a place on this list.  Godspeed have been constant companions of mine for so long I can’t imagine not getting excited about new material from them. I’ve played this album many times since its release and wouldn’t be without it.

 

 

EPs

Octaves Caravels Split EP
Octaves/Caravels Split
A cracking split, released early in the year.  Caravels have now gone their separate ways but they certainly went out on a high and this is the best I’ve heard from Octaves in a while. 

 

 

Swell-drug-church-520x520Drug ChurchSwell
This EP continues on where the last album finished and seagues comfortably into the new one – husky vocals, playful lyrics, great melodies, heavy hit drums and rich well-rounded guitars; the whole record is a great package of memorable and addictive tunes with no duds.

 

 

Maths EP Cover ImageMathsThe Fires Courting The Sea
It’s been 4 years since we’ve heard from Maths and this return sees them in great form with a solid release; new EP The Fires Courting The Sea is 6 tracks in just 11 minutes, a fast trip through their brand of screamo/hardcore. It may pass quickly but the journey is a satisfying one – tuneful tracks with great vocal interplay, stop/start rhythms and off kilter riffage.

 

Kindling
Kindling
Galaxies
I love me a bit of scuzzy, dreamy shoegaze and this is top notch stuff from No Idea Records. I feel like I’ve warped back to the 90s and the time of Slowdive et al.

 

 

Alright EPAlrightS/T
Poppy, female-fronted indie punks, Alright, hail from Charlotte, NC and feature members of Late Bloomer and It Looks Sad.  Truthfully it was the Late Bloomer connection that drew me in, in the first place but this self-titled EP is a really sweet release with light fuzz on the guitars, simple yet catchy melodies and a breezy feel.

 

Towanda EP
TowandaBlack Sheep
The super crunchy guitar sound on this EP is brilliant, along with the bratty female vocals, I’m into this.   I thought I’d heard enough of this kind of thing recently but the Montreal trio have really got to me.

 

 

Fleabite cover smallFleabiteTTYL
Jagged yet melodic girl fronted punky pop tunes from Fleabite who are one of my new favourite bands. They have top tunes and this new record is, if anything, even more melodic than their last. Fleabite always have a layer of harsh blown-out fuzz over everything but on this new EP their sound is richer, a little easier on the ears and has a lovely surf-rock quality. Love this.

 

Telepathic coverTelepathicPowers Of Ten
The new 6 track EP from the Bleeding Rainbow folks.   This is not a million miles from their old rockin’ shoegaze sound, if you were a fan of the old band you’ll likely be in to this too.  The EP has great melodies and is nicely heavy on the guitars.

 

 

Rakta em Transe
Rakta Em Transe EP

A bit of a mash up between Rakta and Cadaver em Transe expect dark, dreamy post-punk, with danceable beats and great melodies. Two great bands do their thing.

 

Review: Shopping, Why Choose

Shopping
Admission time. I haven’t listened to Shopping before. They are a band that have been at the edge of my radar for an age, people mention them all the time and they often feature in best of lists but I’d never got round to listening to them before, so, the long and short of it is, that I won’t be making comparrisons to their old records.

Standing on it’s own this is a decent record of jangly, minimal Brit punk with a surf edge to the guitar sound and shouty, slightly bratty female vocals – all good so far but not particularly out of the ordinary.  It is charming though, the charm comes from the jagged rhythms and relaxed ‘spoken’ vocals – it’s a record that is impossible not to bop about to.  Opener Wind Up sets things up nicely, the surf feel bringing a fun and breezy Summer vibe.  Take It outside has some nice (slightly shambolic) gang vocals and Straight Lines mixes things up again with male vocals taking the lead – they keep you on your toes throughout the record.

The album has a minimal sound; they aren’t afraid to let you hear the spaces between the notes, resisting the urge to pack it full of feedback and distortion – it does feel very raw and real but also clean and crisp, letting you hear the great melodies in full.

A solid record, fun but also well put together.

 

Now Playing: August Round Up

This hasn’t been the best month; laid up, recovering from a dislocated knee, missing gigs I had tickets for and trapped in the flat because I can’t make it down the three flights of stairs I need to navigate to get to fresh air.  To avoid cabin fever I’ve been sprucing up the blog, catching up on reading (fanzines) and listening to some great music. Here are some recommendations from my recent binges:

 

Twisted UtopiaTwisted – Utopia
This album is so good. It was released in January but I only just picked up my copy from Specialist Records on the back of seeing them live – I urge you to check them out if they play anywhere near you. The album will be making my top ten this year because I haven’t heard a better example of catchy, scuzzy female fronted Brit-Punk in an age.  There are so many great melodies it feels unfair to pick favourites but if you want to check out a track look no further than Toxic Convener for a class example. It may be catchy fun but the record also doesn’t let you down on the punchy punk attitude, it oozes from every note. Fantastic.

 

the good lifeThe Good Life – Everybody’s Coming Down
I’m a total sucker for anything by Tim Kasher, no secret there, this is a great album though despite my predisposition.  Pretty minimal but sporting plenty of fuzzy off-kilter guitars; it doesn’t go as far as dischordant but certainly skirts around it and the guitars ride over some nice melodic touches.
If you’re looking for comparisons I’d say it walks the line between Tim’s solo work and his Cursive output, you can hear touches from both; folksy indie but with heavier blasts of guitar. As with other Good Life records though it’s more laid back and dreamy than both his other projects, some great female backing vocals on tracks like Diving Bell help to define the sound too.

 

Nervosas stNervosas – Nervosas
This new self-titled full length from the Ohio Punks feels more frantic than their previous records – they haven’t lost the dark edge or the melodies, the vocals are as goth as always with fantastic female backing and their sound is as immediate and addictive as ever but the pace is x2 and more aggressive.
Not very easy to get hold of a hard copy of this one in the UK unless you want to pay some epic postage but it is available on Bandcamp as a digital download.

 

EnvyEnvy – Atheist’s Cornea
Envy are one of my all time favourite bands, so its always a huge treat to get my hands on a new album from them. This record is, dare I say it, more accessible than I’ve heard from them in the past – shorter tracks, very melodic, some actual singing rather than all screams or spoken word, however, none of these are negative observations, this is as huge and dreamy as they’ve ever been.  This is of course an album of epic post-rock tunes, quiet/loud dynamics, beautiful strings and incredible crescendos of guitar to overwhelm.   I don’t think they have a bad record in them.

 

Towanda EP
Towanda – Black Sheep EP

The super crunchy guitar sound on this EP is brilliant, along with the bratty female vocals, I’m into this.   I thought I’d heard enough of this kind of thing recently but the Montreal trio have really got to me.

 

 

ParisoPariso – Pariso
This is Pariso’s final record, side A is new material which would have gone on a full-length and side B is essentially a rarities collection. Pariso are unashamedly shouty male hc, they batter you with noise, but, have some great moments of technical finesse, which, along with the heady nastiness is what drew me to them in the first place. The A side of this record points to what would have been a classic Pariso record in the making, it becomes tinged with melancholy when you know it will be their last release of new material. The tracks are dark and meaty but with an underlying core of something more dreamy; some of the riffs really soar. The B side is a nice touch, some gems to be had from their back catalogue, a nice package overall.

Now Playing: June 2015

There have been some great releases the last few months, I haven’t been able to cover them all in full so here’s a rundown of some of the records I’ve been enjoying:

fist cityFist City – Everything Is A Mess
This is a very accessible and immediately memorable sophomore album from the Canadian indie-punk four piece. Melodic songs, with excellent off-kilter clipped vocals, are backed by sometimes jangly, sometimes fast and spiky guitars and hypnotic rhythms; the combination is just perfect for rocking out to and will make you want to do just that.  The songs meld with dreamy/spacey rumbling instrumental interludes to add interest and what you get is an accomplished, well rounded record made to last.
(previously published in Buzz mag June)

flesh world
Flesh World – The Wild Animals In my Life

I consider this a grower compared to their 2013 record, but after a few play throughs I’m now fully on board.  Abrasive yet melodic post-punk gems, dark and scuzzy yet also quite accessible in its own way.

 

 

valet
Valet – Nature

A nice bit of super-dreamy shoegaze which also touches on many other genres here and there and has lovely floaty vocals and 90s sounding riffs.  The opener, Sunday, is a favourite, reminding me of Slowdive (if they were covering the Cocteau Twins perhaps).  A decent change of pace.

 

annabel album coverAnnabel – Having It All
While I don’t think this is Annabel’s strongest release,  a new release from them is always welcome so it doesn’t take long for me to get lost in their emo, indie-rock tunes.  This record feels slicker, less immediate and quirky,  however there are still some great tunes here and it is worthy of your time.  The jury is out on whether it will stand the test of time for me against their other records, but I’ll worry about that later.

sweet john bloom
Sweet John Bloom – Weird Prayer
Short melodic punchy tracks, ranging in style from indie rock to post-punk and power pop the album is certainly diverse but not erratic.

 

 

Fleabite cover small
Fleabite – TTYL

Jagged yet melodic girl fronted punky pop tunes from Fleabite who are one of my new favourite bands. They have top tunes and this new record is, if anything, even more melodic than their last. Fleabite always have a layer of harsh blown-out fuzz over everything but on this new EP their sound is richer, a little easier on the ears and has a lovely surf-rock quality. Love this.

 

Telepathic cover
Telepathic – Powers Of Ten EP

The new 6 track EP from the Bleeding Rainbow folks.   This is not a million miles from their old rockin’ shoegaze sound, if you were a fan of the old band you’ll likely be in to this too.  The EP has great melodies and is nicely heavy on the guitars.

 

 

Temple cover
Temple – Kill/Let Die

Just two tracks here but really decent (emo) indie-rock tunes and getting repeated spins from me.  I love the punchy, jagged guitars, strong bass lines and the mix of sung and shouted vocals running over eachother.

Review: Alright, Self Titled EP

Review: Alright, Self titled EP

Alright EP
Poppy, female-fronted indie punks Alright hail from Charlotte, NC (USA) and feature members of Late Bloomer and It Looks Sad.  Truthfully it was the Late Bloomer connection that drew me in in the first place but this self-titled EP (released on 24th March via Negative Fun) is a really sweet release with light fuzz on the guitars, simple yet catchy melodies and a light, breezy feel.

The more straightforwardly poppy Mixed Signals opens the EP, bouncy, with a punk edge, it’s fun, catchy and easy to sing along with.  Cold Feet is fuzzier and slightly reminiscent of (the recently defunct) Bleeding Rainbow in that it has a more indie/shoegaze feel and unfussy production.

Watercolors is my top pick, it has a cracking melody and doesn’t rush to get going, but when it does it transports you. This track has a moody tone compared to the others and the instrumental section midway wrings goosebumps which continue with the vocal refrain at the close.  The mood is successfully lightened again with Pollen & Allergies for the end of the record, making you want to re-spin it straight away.

This isn’t groundbreaking stuff but I’m hooked;  the sweet, simple honesty of the tracks combined with great vocals and melodies is perfectly balanced.

Records Of The Year 2014

Records of the year 2014
It’s almost the end of the year again, time to share with you some of the records I’ve enjoyed in 2014. I’ve tried to keep it short and sweet, only including those records that I still have on regular rotation; I could also have included albums I enjoyed reviewing – Dikembe’s Mediumship, Hoax Hunters’ Comfort and Safety and numerous others, but I’d be here all next year putting that list together, so I give you my top (random number of) albums with a few bonus EPs and singles to check out – enjoy.

RainGoodtime Boys – Rain
The first full length from this UK hardcore band realised the potential of their previous EPs and singles and expanded their sound, refining the raw heady hardcore into something melodic, well rounded but still with plenty of bite. The album manages to be instant and easy to listen to but doesn’t scrimp on the meaty riffage. Easily makes my best of the year list.

 

acid fast cover imageAcid Fast – Rabid Moon
Released early in 2014 this was an immediate addition to my best of the year list and didn’t get forgotten in the shuffle. The lasting appeal of the album comes from a core of excellent melodies and a backing of solidly hooky bass lines and sing along vocals rounding things out. There is a strong 90s influence, which is reminiscent of bands like Jawbreaker, Superchunk and, to a certain extent, The Breeders, making the album sound like it was released an age ago and has just been discovered in a dusty attic somewhere; never a bad thing in my opinion.

 

Late Bloomer Cover ImageLate Bloomer –  Things Change
Knowing nothing about this band and having no expectations, apart from liking the great cover art, I put this record on, and was instantly drawn in.  North Carolina trio Late Bloomer make me reminisce – bringing back memories of albums I loved in the 90s by Dinosaur Jr. and Galaxie 500 amongst others.  Things Change successfully melds the fuzz and distortion of a classic indie/shoegaze outfit with the melodies, riffs and vocals you’d expect to find in catchy indie-rock.  However, it must be said, that the joy of the record comes not from the nostalgic feelings created, but the way the band have brought these sounds bang up to date, by mixing in many other things; from warm gruff punkish vocals, to new wave emo and hardcore, there is nothing they’re not afraid to blend in but it’s all constructed in a sympathetic way making many of the tunes here instantly likeable.

 

Cayetana coverCayetana – Nervous Like Me
I’ve made no secret on this blog that all girl Philly trio Cayetana became one of my new favourite bands as soon as I heard their Demo back in January 2013, so it’s probably no surprise that their debut full length album features high in this list.  In the simplest terms, Cayetana write songs that make me feel glad to be alive and I’ve come back to this album over and over again since its release  and it never fails to lift my sprits with its raw edged but instantly likeable melodies.

 
SolidsSolids – Blame Confusion
This Emo duo from Montreal use plenty of fuzz and rock pretty hard on their debut full length; they’re one of those bands that leaves you wondering how two people can make so much noise. Their sound recalls 90s indie-rock and perfectly straddles the line between shoegaze and punk, but they also lace each tune with a hooky, melodic edge which makes for an addictive album overall – it’s certainly had me coming back for more.

 

Pariso Svalbard splitPariso Svalbard Split LP
It’s not a huge surprise to see these two great bands coming together to make a split album – they’ve toured together many times  and musically its clear they are on a similar wavelength, but even for a split record, Pariso and Svalbard have produced a truly collaborative effort here – going one step futher than most and writing and performing two of the tracks as one band; like a gnarly supergroup of sorts.  All three vocalists from the two bands play a part and there is a healthy amount of the heavy duty power you’d expect from these two, with meaty riffage a feature of course, but there are also some nice lighter touches throughout balancing the sound well.

 

Flesh World cover imageFlesh World – MLP
I read many great reviews for this record this year and quickly found out that all were well deserved – this is a fantastic album.  Post-punk with memorable melodies, wrapped in warm fuzz; it’s dark and moody but also catchy and infectious and I haven’t been able to stop listening to it throughout 2014 and no doubt through the year to come.

 

 

Hag Face, Rag Face Cover ImageHag Face – Rag Face
All girl Canadian punk band Hag Face released this great record in April – it’s only $2 on Bandcamp so no excuses. I’ve been totally won over by their raw edged charm – melodies hide under blown out riffs, feedback squeals and screams.  I love the angsty energy, fantastic vocals and rock and roll rhythms – it all hooks you in so easily, making this a totally addictive record.

 

Bleeding Rainbow Interrupt Album Cover
Bleeding Rainbow – Interrupt
Classy shoegaze from this Philadelphia mob; hooky, melodic and memorable tunes pepper an album with no filler. This band has been around for ages (previously under the Reading Rainbow moniker) but only just made it on to my radar, for shame.

 

The Good Wife Cover Image
The Good Wife –  Love Songs

This is available for free via Bandcamp in an unmastered format as unfortunately The Good Wife is no more.  Apparently the band split up shortly after recording this album but even in its unfinished form it holds some monstrous tracks and serves as a reminder of how great this Brit noise-rock band were.

 

Svin album coverSvin – S/T
Another great record from the Danish avant-garde instrumentalists. This one feels more robust due to some meaty riffage and heavier duty drumming than I’ve heard from them recently.  Less of an emphasis on melody gives the record a more hypnotic, psychadelic feel, with a hint of the industrial in the drum patterns.  They haven’t lost their delicate touch however, the minimal track Alt is heartbreakingly beautiful.

 

Brain F#
Brain F# – Empty Set
Fast, bratty punk from Carolina with great vocals; this is fun and catchy stuff you can dance to. Not entirely sure it has the staying power of a classic album but it’s been a blast to listen to this year – sometimes all you want to do is rock out.

 

 

 Generacion Suicida Todo Termina
Generacion Suicida – Todo Termina
Hardcore punk from Los Angeles with Spanish lyrics. This is an addictive record, the tunes are super catchy and the riffs get you moving. It reminds me of that fantasic Neon Piss album from a couple of years ago – punchy, snappy tunes with heart and melody. So good.

 
Up River - UndertowUp River – Undertow
The first thing you notice about this new record from Brighton post-hardcore four piece Up River is the excellent production, it brings out every nuance, making for a crunchy and raw sound but it also makes the record sound huge rather than minimal – it’s spot on.  Honestly I wasn’t sure what to expect from the cover art, but as soon as you put the album on you are hit with the rich guitars pumping out hooky riffage and emotive yet controlled vocal screams – this is hardcore done very well and it makes you remember what you love about it.

 
Iceage album coverIceage – Plowing Into the Field of Love
This new third album from Iceage sees a change of style for the band – the scuzzy punk seems to have taken a back seat to more indie experimentalism, with a darker, inward looking mood taking over.  While it feels like a band throwing open the doors musically to new avenues and stepping outside their comfort zone to bend those ideas into something different, there has been a backlash of bile from existing fans, accusing the new album of being being a Nick Cave clone.  I’m not in agreement with this pointless name calling and would recommend the record.  It is a change of direction, yes, but the melodies are very much Iceage, the vocal delivery and lyrics are not much altered and above all this is a collection of great tunes that deserve to be heard.

 

EPs and Singles
Broncho – It’s On 7″
Hysterics – Can’t I Live EP
Beach Slang – Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken?
Everyone Goes To Space – Demo
Gag – Locker Room 7″
Primetime – S/T EP
Rakta – S/T 7″

Iceage – Plowing Into The Field Of Love Review

Iceage – Plowing Into The Field Of Love Album Review

Iceage album coverThis new third album from Iceage sees a change of style for the band – the scuzzy punk seems to have taken a back seat to more indie experimentalism, with a darker, inward looking mood taking over.  While it feels like a band throwing open the doors musically to new avenues and stepping outside their comfort zone to bend those ideas into something different, there has been a backlash of bile from existing fans, accusing the new album of being being a Nick Cave clone.  I’m not in agreement with this pointless name calling and would recommend the record.  It is a change of direction, yes, but the melodies are very much Iceage, the vocal delivery and lyrics are not much altered and above all this is a collection of great tunes that deserve to be heard.

To my mind this is the sound of a band still experimenting, here they have reigned in their reckless side and used that exhuberant experimentalism to create something chaotically ordered, teetering on the edge but firmly rooted enough to never fall over. Complex structures and discordant riffs sit comfortably alongside perfect country slide guitar and gently sexy brass or keys.

Each track is different – they haven’t done away with the punk completely but it is now just a layer in the sound on this record, in fact at times this album reminds me very much of their Escho label mates Lower and their recently released record Seek Warmer Climes.  Iceage have a greater aptitude for melody and hooks however; instillng each track with a vibrant glow – thrilling the listener with a range of feelings – the instant nature of the melodies roots them in your musical memory but the fleeting, dreamlike quality is nicely at odds with the catchy tunes, like smoke, transient yet leaving its mark.