Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Iceage - Plowing Into the Field of Love

Iceage's change of sound seemed at first to shock fans that would have possibly expected new material reminiscent of the ravishing punk noise of last year's You're Nothing. However once the initial shocked haze had cleared it became easy to see links between tracks like 'Jackie' and 'Morals' and those on the band's new album Plowing Into the Field of Love

Opening track 'On My Fingers' begins with a simple but weighty bass introduction not dissimilar to that of 'Morals'. 'The Lord's Favorite' however, has a more country and western feel to it despite frontman Elias Bender R√łnnenfelt's vocals retaining their rough punk charm as he grumbles "I do believe I'm the lord's favourite one". 

Iceage use a wider range of instruments on this album including a viola and a mandolin, however what really stands out is Asger Valentin's Trumpet cameos. As 'Forever' closes the brass kicks in with a flurry that puts the icing on top of an already deliciously dark cake. "I lose myself forever" Elias calls out amidst a sea of whirring guitars enticing us to jump in with him. 

The highlight of the record is perhaps the beauty of 'Against the Moon'. Piano keys twinkle as a heartbroken R√łnnenfelt sighs "Softly she put her hand on my mouth/Softly, so that I/In the silence/Only heard breathing/Closed in living". However there is a darker side to the track as the gentle melody and lyrics are juxtaposed with it's one line chorus, "Pissing against the moon". 

Iceage clearly knew it would be hard to better You're Nothing for pure aggression so they've written an album that is more experimental and more complex. Despite being less abrasive than its predecessor, Plowing Into the Field of Love still an example of the rage fuelled post-punk that we've come to know and love. 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Musical Love Affair: Alvvays - Archie, Marry Me

I've decided that whenever there’s a song that I can't stop listening I am going to write about it, an original idea I know. The feature will be called 'Musical Love Affair'. The reason for this is because these musical flings tend to be over in a week or two. Here is the first one:

I first laid my hands on 'Archie, Marry Me' on a CD that came with the NME quite a while ago now but I have only just got round to listening to it properly. I did know about Alvvays but wasn't overly familiar with their music before I'd given the CD a listen. However I've come to adore this song.

The track comes from the Toronto band's self titled debut album and is jam packed with indie pop goodness. The song comes with the standard jangling indie guitars, which combine exquisitely with Molly Rankin's agile vocals to make the song float along irresistibly. 

I like this song so much I might even have to buy the rest of their album!

Pond - Elvis' Flaming Star

Pond's 2013 album 'Hobo Rocket' was a roller coaster of psychedelic rock. Not only were the songs great but also the album slotted together like a jigsaw puzzle. It was clear that the Aussies had learnt a thing or two about writing albums in the short time between the releases of 'Hobo Rocket' and it's predecessor 'Beard, Wives, Denim'. Now as we move towards January 2015 and the release of Pond's new record 'Man It Feels Like Space Again', new songs are beginning to show their glittery faces.

The first single to be released from the album 'Elvis' Flaming Star', is typically crazy. Jamie Terry tickles the keys while Julien Barbagallo's bass weaves it's way though the song. At times flutters of Bowie can be heard in front man Nick Allbrook's vocals.

The song was recently performed on Seattle's KEXP on which the band revealed that the new album took only two weeks to make. Pond didn't treat us to any other songs from the new album in the performance, preferring to give outings to 'Don't Look At The Sun Or You'll Go Blind' from the band's first album 'Psychedelic Mango' and 'Midnight Mass' from 'Hobo Rocket'.

The record will be released in the UK on January 26 and if 'Elvis Flaming Star' is anything to go by Pond have created an album to get excited about. 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Yesterday was an exciting day...

Yesterday was an exciting day for lovers of live music as the line up for the 20th annual NME Awards Tour. Topping the bill are Palma Violets who's raucous live show never fails to live up to it's reputation. The band will hopefully being playing some new material along side tracks from their debut album '180' such as 'Best of Friends' and 'Rattlesnake Highway'. Joining them will be a band best described by Georgie Rodgers on 6 Music as "the rabble-rousing fans of nakedness and danger" Fat White Family. Glasgow rockers The Amazing Snakeheads and Kent punks Slaves make up the line up which will no doubt bring both joy and havoc to the eleven cities it visits.

Dates of the 'NME Awards Tour With Austin Texas' are as follows:

Sheffield, Leadmill (19)
Leeds, O2 Academy (20)
Newcastle, O2 Academy (21)
Glasgow, O2 ABC (22)
Nottingham, Rock City (24)
Manchester, Ritz (26)
Oxford, O2 Academy (27)
Birmingham, Institute (28)

Bristol, O2 Academy (2)
Portsmouth, Pyramids (3)
London, Forum (4)

Rodents - Do Nothing

"A gnawing mammal of an order that includes rats, mice, squirrels, hamsters, porcupines, and their relatives". Google's definition is far from flattering and its true, rodents are often unwelcome visitors. However there is a new breed of rodent on the loose and they are more than welcome.

Rodents's bouncing bass line on the track 'Do Nothing' gives the song a character that is easy to warm to. The repeated chorus of "I wanna do nothing" only adds to the composition's friendly and likeable appeal. Robert Eyres, formerly of Areca Grove, is the mastermind behind the band’s slacker rock sound on the track, which was released as part of Art is Hard Record's 'Pizza Club' in March this year. Luckily this means the track is free to download along with tones of other fantastic new music on the label's website.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Blessin' - Do You

Art is Hard Records had never "properly" released an American band before the release of Blessin''s 'Do You' EP and they've started with a cracker. Five super chilled out indie pop songs make up the Texas band's latest release which came out in March this year.

The band's guitars jangle their way though the EP accompanied by gentle vocals which lull you into a dream-like trance that you won't want to end. It's not hard to spot what Art is Hard see in Blessin', the catchy pop hooks, which could draw comparisons to King of Cats (who's debut album is soon to be released party by AIH) is right up the South West England label's street.

 "It feels like heaven" can be herd drifting above the band's silky instruments on track 'Splat!'. It really does feel like the band are in heaven making the music they love and you can't help but nod your head along with them.

Bad Breeding - Chains

Just a few weeks ago on a mild October night, I found myself entering a small room in Bristol's O2 Academy. As the door swung open it hit me. A wall of punk rock noise. A room of forty or fifty people stood, heads bobbing, watching a shirtless man lashing at a guitar and another man, screaming into a microphone, rolling around on the floor. Its fair to say seeing Bad Breeding is an intense experience but with it comes an excitement, a rage fuelled adrenalin rush.

The latest single from the Stevenage band, 'Chains' contains the same intense anger as previous songs 'Age of Nothing' and 'Burn This Flag' and is accompanied by a suitably horrific video. The track's heavy bass line creates a bleak undercurrent while wailing guitars screech in the foreground. The single is to be self released via eBay on November 26 and will also be available as a free download on Soundcloud.

Watch the video for 'Chains', which was directed by Roger Sargent and shows guitarist Matt Toll in the centre of an industrial estate car park wrapped in cling-film, below:

Caves - Leaving

Bristol's Caves know how to do punk. 2013's 'Betterment' LP was packed full of blistering guitars and energetic vocals and it’s follow up 'Leaving' is no different. With eight high intensity songs, none of which break the three-minute mark, the album is a burst of excitement that does not disappoint. 

Title track 'Leaving' is one and a half minutes of pure bliss on which the band's sound is reminiscent of Weezer's debut 'The Blue Album'. Meanwhile on penultimate track 'Dull' the group flutter between loud and quiet with the confidence of early Pixies.

Possibly the best thing about 'Leaving' is final track 'Sadder' which slowly builds into one of the records highlights before plunging into a pit of feedback that can't help but leave us wanting more.

Welcome To My Blog!

As an introduction to the blog I thought I would share a few music related videos that I like so here they are:
Birdskulls are a four piece based in Brighton, Bournmouth and Exeter. 'Rolling tounge was released by Exeter's 'Art is Hard Records' in December 2013 and since then they have gone from strength to strength. I deal for fans of Nirvana and Dinosaur JR, you can check them out on Facebook, Soundcloud and Twitter.

Mac Demarco is a 24 year old canadian singer songwriter creating beautifully jangly indie pop. Since his first release, Rock and Roll Night Club, Demarco has gone on to release two albums, and Salad Days. Directed by Jon Leone, this 'Macumentary' follows mac and his band as they tour China and introduces us to the place the magic happens,  Jizz Jazz Studios!