Tag: Post-rock

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: Svalbard Album

Svalbard album coverSvalbard – One Day All This Will End, Album Review

This may be their debut album but you know you’re listening to a band already totally in control of their sound,  elements of post-hardcore, post-rock, metal and doomier genres combine seemlesly with fantastic melodies and classic structres meant to draw you in.  The result is a poweful and positive record which is easy to connect with and come back to.

A listen to the band’s earlier EPs reveals a leaning more towards post-hardcore, a route they could easily have gone down and still been a great band, but they have gradually edged into more interesting territory.  So, by the time their split with Pariso came out last year, their sound was much more complex and rewarding and they were poised to hit us with this beautiful beast.

There was no doubt this record was going to be huge, but it is also dreamily epic and for such a heavy album, very uplifting.  Take the opener, Perspective, the melody running underneath soars and takes you with it, all the while those aggressive vocals add edge. Mid-way a slower section reigns you back in before the build towards the horizon.  Yes, yes yes.

Svalbard know how to work their listening audience, wringing out goosebumps and closed eyes and pounding fists. Disparity is richly layered and addictive, the kind of track you want to put on repeat. There are moments of post-rock beauty like measured and melancholy track The Vanishing Point and more straightforwardly hardcore moments like The Damage Done but all are bound in that unmistakable Svalbard feel.  This is the record we’ve been hoping they would release and it doesn’t disappoint, put it on your christmas wishlist.

The record is out now through Holy Roar Records.

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.

Album Review: Tyranny Is Tyranny

Tyranny Is Tyranny – The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism

Tyranny Is Tyranny coverI was pleased to see this record arrive in my inbox as I was a big fan of the United Sons Of Toil record I reviewed for Roomthirteen back in the day, and this is a new band featuring the same folks. I was impressed with their activist spirit and their mix of alt-rock, punk rock and doom laden metal amongst other sounds and whilst this new record is something different it’s still very much the sound I would have expected. I was also pleased to hear that for a group of people with such strong ideals the lyrical messages still come across; they haven’t lot any of their anti-Capitalist edge.

Tyranny Is Tyranny still employ technical riffage and a dark feel as they once did under that different moniker, however this has a more post-rock, post-punk feel with moody atmospherics taking centre stage rather than a scarred angsty edge.  I love this change in direction, especially since they have kept hold of their uniqueness, that rootless melting pot of ideas and noises, but this record feels more relaxed and subtle.  The melodies are strong and the whole feel is expansive with widescreen orchestral moments in evidence.

“The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism” was released on 13th June 13 through Phratry Records. I haven’t heard Tyranny Is Tyranny’s 2013 debut, but I feel compelled to check it out having heard this, if you’d like to do the same head over here to their Bandcamp.

 

Album Review: MAKE, The Golden Veil

Make album coverMAKE’s new album (out 20th July) is a serious, doom laden affair but it has a gentle heart.

In the three years since I reviewed their debut album, MAKE have been busy evolving their sound – they are stlll making epic metallic post-rock but this new record feels infused with a wider set of influences.  Although the record has a greater scope it somehow sounds more refined; a softer side to the band has emerged and with it a dreamier soul, taming those hard edges and bringing everything together to create a more satisfying mix.  Where Trephine was more direct and sludgy The Golden Veil feels less grounded, drifting wonderfully, concerned more with atmosphere and beautiful expansive guitars than with power chords.  As with their previous releases there is a cinematic aura at the core of the record with a  widescreen feel still in evidence (on tracks like The Architect), but this record brews more slowly, giving you time to enjoy the view.

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 and is sure to feature in my records of the year.

Review: Brother/Ghost Debut Album

I first encountered Brother/Ghost back in 2010 when I covered their debut six-track EP Black Ice, a beautiful post-rock record that left me wanting more.  Since that initial release however it’s been four years since we’ve heard from them (due to line-up changes and a hiatus), Buried, their debut full length, is such a great record though that it totally makes up for the wait.

Now reduced to a trio from a four piece (with two remaining original members) the band has reconstructed their sound, yes, it’s thankfully still unashamedly post-rock, but this release is also richer in texture and more varied than I would have expected.  Where Black Ice was quite low-key and went in for gentle, long slow builds, Buried brings out the big guns straight away, with fuzzed out distorted riffage and a huge cinematic sound on the opening track Satan; it’s a killer opener, one you can’t help but pay attention to.

The album holds more than just the cinematic sinew of tracks like the opener and the dreamy Cripple, (although just that would keep many of us happy), as you move through the record layers of other styles and genres start to make themselves known; a flurry of psychedelic synth at the tail end of the epic Harpies turns your expectations upside down, the bluesy riffage and gruff vocals of Pendulum will have you headbanging and the top notch folky indie of Causeway, with its jangly fuzz and rousing anthemic vocals, again brings a new layer to the record – 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, its real gem.

Buried is released on June 15th 2015 through Shelsmusic and comes highly recommended.

Review: Caravels/Octaves Split EP

Octaves Caravels Split EPReleased via Topshelf/Bridge 9 Records on 27th January, this looks to the be last release from Caravels as they have just announced they are to split; it’s a shame as I haven’t checked them out before and I like what I’ve heard from them here. The two tracks they put forward are beautiful dreamy post-hardcore; shouted vocals (reminiscent of mewithoutYou) over soaring, crystal clear guitars; the tracks have a sadness to them but at the same time the earnest feel is counteracted by the organic and dream-like structures and production, this is goosebump territory.

Octaves are as always punchy, intense and backed by some great technical riffage – compared to their Bridge 9 debut back last year these tracks feel more enthusiastic, embued with a renewed energy, and (cleaner production aside) reminding me more of their fantastic debut album Greener Pastures. The opening moments of Tom Petty Cash build exquisitely to a beautiful riff before the drums pound out their takeover and the vocals power in; great start. The track itself plays out with an almost prog-rock structure; little interludes and heavier sections woven together, along with changes of key and pace. Can’t get enough of it.  AM Traffic Control is darker with soaring guitars, more discordant and with a fantastic sax (?) freaking out in one section, this track is layered with powerful riffs creating an intense wall of sound.

With quality tracks from both bands this is an EP I haven’t been able to stop listening to since the stream came my way, it’s also a solid starting point for Octaves if you haven’t previously checked them out.  I’ll be picking up a copy come payday.

Looking Forward – Upcoming In 2015

I love the optimism of a fresh new year and there are already some great releases to look forward to in the first quarter of 2015.

Octaves Caravels Split EP
Octaves /Caravels – Split EP

Not long to wait for this first one,  a split from Octaves and Caravels which has an expected release date of 20/01/15 through Bridge 9/Topshelf; one for the post-hardcore mob. Check out the Octaves track Tom Petty Cash, taken from the EP below.

 

 

Swell-drug-church-520x520Drug Church – Swell EP
An expected release of 10/02/15 for this excellent new five track record from one of my favourite bands of 2013. The EP continues on where the album finished – husky vocals, playful lyrics, great melodies, heavy hit drums and rich well-rounded guitars. Opener But Does It Work? is a corker, closely followed by Ghost Dad, but again, the whole record is a great package of memorable and addictive tunes with no duds.

 

Pelican The Cliff
Pelican – The Cliff EP

Released on 23rd February, this is essentially a remix EP, reimagining The Cliff, a track from their 2013 release Forever Becoming. I’m not normally a fan of remixes but this one has piqued my interest with the addition of vocals and names like Justin Broadrick and Aaron Harris attached. The EP includes one new track too.

Also upcoming are new releases from MINE who have a new EP to be released but no date for this one yet and the debut full-length from Svalbard, both of which already have me salivating.

Pariso / Svalbard Split Album Review

Pariso/Svalbard Split LP Review

Pariso Svalbard splitIt’s not a huge surprise to see these two great bands coming together to make a split album – they’ve toured together many times in the last year (since meeting in Cardiff supporting Direwolves) 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.

The album opener Floating Anchors is one of these collaborative tracks and it goes so far as to feature all three vocalists from the two bands.  The tune certainly gives us 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.

Pariso have four tracks on the LP, these are filled with aggressive power, which won’t surprise you if you’re familiar with them. The guitar sound is all about meaty chuggs and downtuned riffs but there are variations; the excellent Helios, The Demise has a dreamy stoner edge whilst Delirium is darkly metallic in feel.  These tracks are just as intense as, but feel more straightforward than those on their recent album Consanguinity – or perhaps that should read, they feel less playful, as here it is the heady intensity that rules the day above all else.

Svalbard have three tracks here and I think this is the best they’ve sounded, melding lovely chiming guitars with aggression from the duel girl/boy vocals and fast/heavy drums – their tunes are epic and heavy and very addictive – wringing out an emotional skin tingling reaction from you. Ripped Apart will have you grooving and head banging at the same time – solid riffs and vocals you can scream along with as well as some really melodic guitar sections that soar. Greyscale is fist pumpingly heady and upbeat and Allure is moodier with a really epic post-rock feel bringing to mind scene heavyweights Envy a times but also retaining Svalbard’s own core sound at every turn – this is the sound of a band really coming into their own.

Svalbard / Pariso is released on 7th July through Tangled Talk Records in the UK.  The US release is through Holy Ground, for France through Swarm of Nails and in Germany via Through Love. Just Get it.

Goodtime Boys Live Review, Undertone, 24th May 2014

Rain

It would have been great to have heard the Goodtime Boys new album Rain properly before seeing them play on 24th May, but it wasn’t to be – our PC only came back from the shop a few days ago after breaking down with the album stuck inside its cold dead maw, leaving me sadly playing catch-up.

Honestly though, not knowing the tunes by heart didn’t take anything away from their performance, which was strong and fluid.  Since seeing them last in 2012 it feels like the Goodtime Boys sound has evolved gradually into something more melodic and varied and in a live setting the band felt tighter and more confident.  It was a commanding performance even in that small venue, and with no stage to separate them and us, they held our attention easily while they ripped through their set – playing pretty much the whole of the new album.

It feels strange that Goodtime Boys are still playing £5 gigs in tiny basement venues in the UK when they’re signed to Bridge 9 in the US, but Pennie explained to me after the gig that the band is not interested in being the next big thing; after all, he’s been there before and to me it seems right that they are getting to play with bands they love in front of smaller groups of hardcore fans like this.

Of course, it wasn’t just Goodtime Boys playing, before the headliners the excellent Svalbard opened the evening with their noodling envy style guitars over screamed girl/boy vocals.  This band are getting better all the time and I’ve read a few reviews where they’re being touted as the best upcoming band in the UK and it’s understandable – they sound fantastic live, arguably better than their recorded output. They are obviously well practised and pull off all those epic post-rock style moments with ease, sounding huge in the small venue.  They also pulled in a pretty sizeable crowd for first band on.

Next up was London hardcore mob Grappler; under the surface of weighty riffage and heavy hit drums there is a lot more going on – some complex guitar work and nicely melodic sections filter through and I imagine that on record the little touches would be even more evident. Their live show is all about their intense frontman though – he’s almost scary up that close – leaning in and screaming in our faces whilst eyeballing us with manic stares and then moving side to side, kicking out and flailing limbs in every direction catching the front row with glancing blows.

I’m going to recommend you check out all the bands mentioned here – Goodtime Boys debut full length album Rain is out now through Bridge 9 in the US or you can order from Palm Reader Records in the UK.  Svalbard and Grappler can be found and listened to on their Bandcamp pages (links in the band names).