Tag: Rock

Records Of The Year 2016

Here it is, my list.  make of it what you will.  2016 has been a strange kind of year but one thing it hasn’t lacked is a soundtrack.

 

LPs

Japanese Breakfast – Psychopomp
Michelle Zauner (also of Little Big League) impresses with an emotive album of beautifully crafted pop songs dedicated to the memory of her mother.  Her vocals are sugary sweet bubbles carrying track after track of excellent, joyful melodies. At times the record can be difficult to process without tears threatening to come, and the line between celebration and melancholic reflection is finely balanced.

 

Touché Amoré – Stage Four
Painful subject matter is balanced with great melodies, memorable riffs and moments of raw emotion on this fantastic album, (another record sadly dedicated to Mother), the band bring a new twist to their sound here with tunes leading the way and screaming sometimes giving way to sung or spoken vocals letting the listener experience the impactful lyrics in full.

 

Witching Waves – Crystal Cafe
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, giving the pop tunes a chance to shine through.

 

Taman Shud – Oracle War
The record has a dream-like quality, repetitive, distorted, 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.

 


John Congleton and the Nighty Night – Until The Horror Goes

In another incarnation John Congleton produced some of my favourite albums, ever, The Paperchase is unfortunately no more, however this album is an interesting transition into a more slick, electro style for him, still with a slightly disturbing lyrical content and packed with great melodies.

 


Svin – Missionær

Quite a chilled, low-key release fom Svin this time, a little less bombastic and epic sounding than I’m used to from them and with a dark, cold tone, this record is as experimental as ever though and has some sweet moments which have had me coming back for more.

 


Towanda – Plaything

All girl punk from Canada, attitude and tunes rule here in equal measure; they featured on my list last ear with the cracking EP Black Sheep and proving they have plenty more offer, this full length really hits the spot.  I just love their brand of distorted, rockin’ punk tunes.

 


Belgrado – Obraz

Dark post-punk from Barcelona in true 80s style but with a modern, experimental twist, Belgrado are consistently solid and this album delivers on atmosphere and tunes.

 

 


VHS – Gift Of Life
The Seattle Punks are consistently solid.  This album hasn’t been off my playlist this year; with a minimal lo-fi sound, class riffs, great vocals and some really memorable tunes its a winner.

 


Télédétente 666 – Karen

An intriguing album of industrial-electro, noise-punk; the riffs are what keep you coming back to the record, fantastic distorted and melodic scuzz, darkly moody but super rockin’ stuff.  Love it.

 

 


Behaviour – 375 Images of Angels
This record, released through Iron Lung, reminds me, at the back of my mind of many things but none that I can pinpoint successfully.  It is an off kilter, dramatic (at times), minimal (at times), darkly droney and very addictive punk (ish) album.

 

 

Also in the running were:

Acid Fast – Last Night on Earth
La Luna – Always Ready
Deftones – Gore
Planes Mistaken For Stars – Prey
Make – Pilgrimage of Loathing
Mannequin Pussy – Romantic

 

EPs

Neurotic Fiction – Demo
A 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.

 

 


Solids – Else
Canadian guitar rock with heart.  Solids have the knack that all great duos have; their sound is much bigger than it sould be, the guitar distortion and dual vocals fill every moment with lovely noise.

 

 


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 – Demonstrations
There is something really charming about this EP from the Cambridge four piece.  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.

 

Terrible 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.

 

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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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Fanzine Roundup

We just moved house and I’ve been finding it hard to concentrate long enough to string a sentence together, luckily though a collection of great Fanzines landed on my doormat just before the move, inspiring me to put fingers to keyboard again.

As well as those quality publications mentioned below I also really enjoyed the recent Fanzine issue of Maximum Rock and Roll;  it was super interesting, to read interviews with some of the zinesters responsible for the fanzines I’ve been enjoying the last couple of years.  I’ve also recently picked up issues 16 and 17 of Nuts! which I’ve read about, but not managed to source previously;  the leaflet style layout is a touch awkward to read in the wrong setting but it stands out because of this, I may get around to covering it in more detail at some point.  Vernacular Visions, a photo zine which was put out as Degenerate #18 and features flyers and slides of found images, is also well worth a look.

 

Reckless Chants ZineFirst up is Reckless Chants #22, a wholly personal and nostalgic undertaking of remeniscences about the past, and very honest musings about, shitty families, sexuality, friends and music; in essence these are coming of age stories, memories put down in a way that inspire you to write your own history down.  This is my first time reading this zine but I’m already looking to pick up some more.  Jessie has an easy style which has taken years to perfect, it’s the way I always imagined my writing sounding back in the days when I turned out reems of poetry and kept a daily journal, but in reality, those scrawls were always cheesy; cliched angsty outpourings.  This however is an intelligent woman musing about important moments in her life and it’s very inspiring and touching.

 

 

Seven Inches To Freedom Zine

Seven Inches To Freedom Fanzine #13.  I am always a keen reader of 7″ and this issue doesn’t disappoint.  The writing is as emotionally charged as ever and there are a great selection of punk music and zine reviews.  The writing has insired me to check out the bands reviewed, in this issue as with previous issues there is plenty to check out and get excited about.  I always feel that 7″ has an edgy feel, as if the writer is about to jack it all in and this might be the last issue, but the books keep coming thankfully.

 

 

 

Degenerate 19 cover
Degenerate Mag #19 is still an off kilter gem, I managed to get this copy from UK distro Inflammable Material, cutting out the US postage issue.  Sam has a loose style which feels sometimes like stream of consciousnesses, like his inner thoughts are seeping directy onto the page,  I love that feel,  but the reviews and articles are so well paced and worded that this can’t be so.  Sam has the knack of making everything sound appealing, and I always read the zine with the laptop open next to me so I can check out the bands he mentions and listen as I read about them.  Another great issue.

 

 

 

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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.

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: Taman Shud Album

Taman Shud – Viper Smoke Album Review

Taman ShudThe London based purveyors of dark rock have created an addictive record in Viper Smoke;  fittingly, online research on the band tends to just throw up pages on the unsolved Taman Shud case from the 40s, which would no doubt appeal to the band’s dark sensibilities.

The four piece have an interest in the occult and this carries through to the sound on the album with the moody yet tuneful rock mixed with psychedelic drones and unintelligible lyrics punctuating the murky washes of organ and twin bass.  The feel is not otherworldly as such but certainly from the darker side of our world, somewhere infinitely more exotic than wherever we happen to be.

The record creates its own space, especially through headphones, 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.

This is a record that should be listened to in one sitting however there are a few tunes you tend to remember:  the superb The Hex Inverted with its pounding bass and drums combo wrapped in distortion and intense vocals is a highlight, as is the punkier I Tego Arkana Dei and Crime Cycle (previously heard on the split with Fat White Family) has a spooky, odd rumbling in the background that makes you think someone is talking behind you.  Fantastic.

Find the album on Bandcamp.

Review: Super Luxury Album

Super Luxury – Ten Solid Years Of Applause

digipak4Panel-DW.aiI don’t often say this, but Super Luxury’s debut album benefits from cleaner prduction, OK it’s not slick, but it is at least cleaner than their 2013 EP Mystery Thriller Teen Drama. The Leeds 5 piece have a warm and fuzzy noise rock undertone (with the odd blast of discord) topped by meaty classic rock riffage and shouty vocals – trust me it works. The production here really brings out the riffs but still lets you hear the tunes, and they do pen some corkers; take Constant Delicious where a hooky riff and hypnotic rhythm make for a catchy tune with classic rock undertones, it’s super catchy.

The record takes a little while to get going on the first listen, with opener 25 Meters’ harsh distorted wash of noise laden with squeals of feedback feeling oddly like a long intro, even at 4 minutes; but then when a foot stomping riff comes in you get a hint of what is to come later and the promise is good.

Ian Mckaye Made So Much Money Out Of Fugazi He Lives In A Solid Gold House… is one of the highlights, starting a run of excellent tunes for the middle section of the record.  This is where it feels like the album starts to pick up steam and everything begins to pull together. The best tunes include Golden Climbing and Milk Sauce. The former is initially marked by intense squealing before calming into a dreamy/sludgy but tuneful track. The latter produces a great menacing rock and roll feel with some serious downtuning and off kilter, distorted shouting.  Salem Tears is another worth mentioning, again, hypnotic drums which seem to force you to move and a simple vocal line, (this time dual shouts layer up) is easy to join in with.

There is some great stuff on this record, it seems to sum up the diversity of British rock at the moment; so many different styles and influences blending to create poweful yet melodic tunes you can rock out to.

 

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″

Hoax Hunters Album Review

Hoax Hunters – Comfort & Safety Album Review

Hoax Hunters Cover ImageThe Richmond trio’s debut album is a rousing treat; fast-paced guitars, vocal lines you want to sing along to and its all wrapped in a warm and comfortable blanket of scuzz and great melodies.

The vibe is very much late 80s punky indie rock  – think Minutemen, Dag Nasty and Husker Dü, so erring on the (old school) punk side although with a certain amount of restraint and finesse injected –  the album’s opening track Hoax Hunters is dynamic, upbeat and punchy, sounding like some long lost classic.  Breathe is another brilliant tune – an organic sounding melody flies over a tightly penned riff, bliss.  Perception of Choice remnds me of Dinosaur Jr. but this may just be the Feel The Pain-ish riff, as when the track takes off its all moody melodic punk again.

Other features of the record are the great bass lines and hypnotic drums – the bass is pushed high in the mix and often drenched in distortion giving tunes like Glitterbomb a richer texture while the drums are relentlessly insistent but with plenty of playful touches – often they lend the tracks a dreamy, hypnotic quality and in tunes like Riskless Business they are pushed to the front and are the clarity amongst the fuzz.

There’s plenty of genre mashing going on throughout the record, the little touches of this and that feeding easily into eachother and creating a lovely warmth –  the beautifully scuzzed out sound of 90s indie meets DC hardcore punk is addictive and balanced perfectly by the production (showcased brilliantly in the powerhouse track Erase at the end of the record if you still need any pointers). The album is available on Bandcamp and comes recommended by me.

Dikembe – Mediumship Album Review

Dikembe – Mediumship Album Review

Dikembe cover imageBack at the beginning of 2013, I reviewed Gainesville four piece Dikembe’s last album, Broad Shoulders, for Roomthirteen.com; describing it as having “a rough around the edges feel (in a good way), giving the sound an exposed and vulnerable edge – all raw scuzzy guitars and the occasional blast of distortion, but this is all laid over with a sweetness from the great melodies and emotion-filled vocal delivery.” With the release of their latest album Mediumship the band has in some respects kept hold of their essence – solid and often memorable melody is still at the core of each track but their sound has also evolved.

Comparitively, this new album feels like the late night version of Dikembe – where Broad Shoulders felt youthful and had an angsty, scuzzy edge this record feels like it was written in twilight. An introspective mood has taken over; the vocals sound more considered, with a softer tone and the tracks have room to breathe, to grow, and feel expansive, more organic.

The album is just as engaging as their debut, they may have smoothed down those rough edges to some extent but they show they have plenty left in their arsenal, and in fact, this album is more of an instant winner.  Meduimship focuses on the tunes rather than the angst and many of the tracks are instantly memorable thanks to their strong melodies; opener Even Bother, which builds to a glorious sing along melody, sticks with you long afterward and the excellent Donuts in a Six Speed mixes dynamics with a lovely dreamy open sound and strong vocal lines.

I think this is a stronger more focussed record than their debut; the expansive sound has leant the tracks an almost epic feel, but they are still very accessible thanks to that melodic core and the excellent vocals.  A solid second full length release.