Coming from the current musical hotbed that is the Medway area of South East England, it was perhaps inevitable that CRYBABY SPECIAL should spurn the advances of more, perhaps ‘established’ labels and record their debut album with the excellent ‘local’ The Preservation Presents … This after all is the label that broke long-time LOUD HORIZON tips, Theatre Royal and is current home of the equally magnificent Lupen Crook.
The freedom of expression afforded by such a label is worth its weight in gold to a band such as CRYBABY SPECIAL ( I see they’ve dropped the ‘& The Monsters’ tag) who espouse the true DIY ethic by scraping by on finances whilst still managing to play virtually every gig on offer and producing their own hand-made CDs and merchandise.
This ten track album runs to around thirty minutes and is filled with a sweaty blend of gypsy punk, ska and oom-pah – all delivered with a menacing snarl of punk.
The vocals throughout are rasping and at times rather manic in a kind of psychotic way. The style of music is completely different, but without seeing the band first hand, I think there are similarities in the ethos and ‘feel’ of the band to Glasgow’s Mummy Short Arms – if that means anything to anyone.
The album comes across very much as you’d expect to hear from a ‘live’ performance. There’s a genuine excitement about the production and you are left feeling slightly exhausted by its end – as if you’d been actually skanking it big-time down the front at one of their shows.
I know there’s a fair bit of gypsy punk around at the moment, so it takes something a little bit special to stand out from the crowd and I feel ‘No Excuses’ provides this. Every track is really’ meaty’ in its sound and where the ska influences merge, it’s with more of a full-bodied Capdown aggression than simply a twee, tinny backbeat. (Check out ‘One Thing Left To Try’ and ‘I Got It Wrong’ for starters!)
This is the style that more grabs my attention and for what it’s worth, is the direction I’d personally prefer the band to follow.
‘Murder In The Wall‘ though, despite the title, has more of a bouncy, ‘light’ feel to it, with the chorus and sax hook being more Bad Manners than skacore! ‘One Winged Bird’ features that stomped ‘oom pah’ refrain I briefly referred to earlier. It’s very dramatic, and with the main vocals more spoken than sung it more than simply doffs its hat to the vaudeville style. And in that respect, I could probably pay no greater compliment than to say there’s a wee hint of Alex Harvey in there – especially so when it comes to the maniacal laugh that ends the track.
The mere thought of a ‘Beelzebub Boogie’ tickles me and with this album-closing track, CRYBABY SPECIAL emphasise the fun side to their music writings. If I were to say there were shades of early Madness about this track, I’d be meaning that in a very complimentary way.
My only little niggling doubt about this album is that the style, for the moment at least, doesn’t allow too much room for variation, with their being a bit of familiarity running through the tracks.
That said, it’s still one heck of a debut, and as an advert for their high-octane live shows, it’s a definite winner!
(Released through The Preservation Society Presents … on 6th May 2013)
The group of friends that would eventually morph into the London band known as THE LAZLO DEVICE set out on their voyage of musical discovery back in the summer of 2010. Their course has altered slightly during that time, as have the crew, but they’ve now set a steady course that should see them leave visual traces on the radar of those that seek music with a bit of depth.
They have of course built a considerable following from playing around some of London’s established venues these past couple of years and just over a year ago they released their debut ‘Step Forward’ EP, which saw THE LAZLO DEVICE hone their sound and move in a slightly different direction with added synths and backing vocals. This in turn saw the lads garner further critical acclaim and with a fresh bunch of songs almost ready to be aired, the band have decided to issue two of the tracks from that earlier recording as a double-a-sided single.
The aptly named ‘Uncertain Beginnings,’ starts out in a very classical mode. The slow and rather downbeat piano is joined by hushed and slightly depressed sounding vocals for the first minute and a half, and despite the warm, gentle harmonies I was wondering where this was headed. The answer comes in the remaining two and half minutes where the pace perks up and the song develops into something altogether more dramatic. In fact, there are two further ‘movements’ to ‘Uncertain Beginnings‘: that initial change in beat gives the song a sort of deliberate and plodding feel for a minute or so before the piano arpeggios become more frantic, the music louder and the whole piece blossoms into a full-on final flourish that skirts the boundaries of gypsy-punk.
‘Cora,’ couldn’t be much more different!
I’m very much into my psych music and marvel at the various interpretations that bands come up with for this particular genre. You have some that present a dry, sun-drenched, stoner-type of desert rock; some teeter towards space-rock in their presentation. Others take on an altogether more trippy, psychedelic feel. THE LAZLO DEVICE seem to lean more towards the latter … but there’s something quintessentially English / British that’s difficult to explain about their delivery. The guitar effects are used to (um) good effect in supplementing the synths and the steady bass line and added reverb give the song great depth and atmosphere. The quieter vocals provide an interesting juxtaposition to the crashing sound of the instruments and this, without doubt is my personal favourite of the two tracks on offer here.
In fact, I’d say I would like to hear the band develop their sound around this particular style. Good stuff indeed!
As mentioned, both these tracks featured on last year’s EP release, but if you missed out on that, you can get hold of them both (again!) on THE LAZLO DEVICE’s debut album (as yet unnamed) which is due for release this summer.
(8.5 / 10)
CHEROKEE RED’s self titled debut album, self produced album is set to be released today.
The five piece indie group have really produced a great album with such beautiful vocals complimented by perfect musicality it is hard to find anything to moan about towards this album. The band had played a few shows to build up hype about this new CD & have been good enough to let everyone hear their first single off the album ‘Lonely Summer’. How do I describe how I feel about ‘Lonely Summer’? To be honest I am positive that every person who has been asked to describe their sound will say the exact same as I have. CHEROKEE RED and especially their new single sound like the music behind a montage of the happiest moments of your life so far. It’s hard not to have a smile on your face while listening to this.
Don’t just take my word for it. Have a exclusive listen to ‘Lonely Summer’
I Used To Be A Sparrow are set to release their new album ‘You Are An Empty Artist’ next week. That being said I am here to give everyone a wee taste of what to expect from the due hailing from Sweden. These guys have previously been compared to Death Cab For A Cutie & I could not agree with that any more. This Indie, Pop, Punk group have our attention with their raw, heartfelt music.
If their new single ‘Warpaint On Invisible Children’ is anything to go by, this album is sure to impress even the most stubborn music lover.
You can also listen to a remix of this single HERE
LOUD HORIZON likes to be among the first to tell readers of a ‘new’ or totally ‘undiscovered’ band, but of course there are going to be times when I am indeed very late to the party … and come across a band and their music that people have been raving about for ages.
Still – I’m not proud. Here’s one I missed earlier!
THE TRAVELLING BAND are obviously so well known that the Press Sheet I read says next to nothing about the band’s biography. But just in case there are others like me out there who sometimes miss the boat completely, here’s a little of what I’ve found out:
Marc Riley of Radio 6Music and the Eavis family (Glastonbury Festival) are counted as big fans. Early fans at that … both championing the cause even before the Manchester band had self-released their debut album ‘Under the Pavement’ in late 2008. Now, five years down the line, with over 400 shows under their belt, and their second album ‘Second is Something,’ appearing back in 2011, they are preparing to release their third LP ‘The Big Defereeze.’
As a taster, the ‘Hands Up’ EP has been released via THE TRAVELLING BAND’s Bandcamp page on a ‘pay what you like basis.’
(The following video, for any philistines such as myself, illustrates the otherworldly story of a man searching the wilderness for answers.)
I’ll know the next time ……
But if ever there was a band that deserved even more attention than it’s already getting, then it’s the Medway four-piece.
LOUD HORIZON has been championing the cause from way before the release of the band’s first album, and indeed wrote about them in ARTROCKER MAGAZINE some two and a half years ago! Since then (though not necessarily as a direct result of!) their stock and standing has steadily risen, with their two albums and other EP releases garnering ‘five star’ ratings from the afore-mentioned music bible, as well as broadsheet newspaper mentions and plentiful airplay on national radio.
Each release showcases the increasing maturity of song-writing (though I have to say it was of a pretty high standard from the off) and this new EP, featuring five previously unreleased recordings certainly highlights that fact.
I say there are five new recordings … though not exactly five new songs – the track ‘Three Ships,’ appears on the band’s last album, ‘At The End Of A River, The Sea …’ However it has been completely re-worked ( and slightly re-titled) for the this EP. This version ‘Three Ships (disappear here)’ has a more ‘confident’ ring about it; a sturdier feel. It’s more Seventies sounding guitar and stomp than the more acoustic and harmonica based original.It’s also about a minute and a half shorter. Better though!
‘Learning How To Be Idle,’ is dominated early on by piano and Oliver Burgess’s vocals, but then in comes the gentle twang of what sounds like a pedal-steel guitar, giving the track a bit of a bluesy, country feel … but not too much! There then follows an acoustic / solo version by Oliver of last year’s vinyl-only single, ‘Katherine’s Sleeping,’ and a similarly styled demo recorded (at the famous Sun Studios no less) by guitarist Robbie of ‘Orchard Song.’ Maybe because I’m biased, I still enjoy both although I have to say Oliver’s vocals are the better suited to this type of delivery.
‘(Just Like) A Sunny Day In June‘ is the type of song that made me think way back that THEATRE ROYAL are going to attract a LOT of positive attention
This is the first release from the band on their own Medlar Records label and is being made available on a very strictly Limited Edition, hand numbered CD format as well as the usual download. Both can be ordered through the THEATRE ROYAL Bandcamp page.
They say you can’t decide whether or not you’ll enjoy a book until you have read the first twenty pages. But I reckon that as regards music, I can make up my mind within the first twenty seconds … sometimes less!
And this track, from New Orleans duo, GENERATIONALS is one of them. Forget the video’s imagery for a moment, and feel the vibe from the bubbling synth mix with the hand-claps and the instant hook of the vocals. Time it – twenty seconds, that’s all. If you’re not sold on this track by then I’ll give you your money back. (Well, maybe not – but I am sure you’ll not switch off.)
Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer met as freshmen at High School in New Orleans, thereafter attending college at Baton Rouge where they formed The Eames Era with three classmates. When the band dissolved four years later in 2007, Ted and Grant then started writing songs as GENERATIONALS.
Now, with the experience of a couple of EP and album releases behind them, GENERATIONALS are ready to release their new long-player, ‘Heza,’ through Polyvinyl Records on 8th April. The following video for ‘Put A Light On,’ is lifted from the album.
THE ST. PIERRE SNAKE INVASION are a five musical mentalists from Bristol. They have been noising up the Bristol venues since 2011 with their wild stage shows, and having already released one EP (‘Flesh‘) they are about to burst onto the wider scene with the follow-up, ‘Everyone’s Entitled To My Opinion.’
Bass player Mark Fletcher says: ”This E.P is our reply to to a stagnant genre of music. It’s a return to a time when guitar music didn’t just mean characterless jangly Advant garde or overly macho chest beating chugging. The title itself represents the fact that even when you put your heart and soul into music you’re still only voicing an opinion and as much as you’re entitled to your opinions everyone else is entitled to ignore them.”
You’ll be able to assess what THE ST. PIERRE SNAKE INVASION are all about from the following video for ‘Call The Coroner,‘ and having heard the other four tracks on the EP, I can confirm their sound is both abrasive and accessible and laced with sharp, witty lyrics.
It’s not terribly often that I agree with the views of BBC Introducing, but this time around I think they’ve got every right to be excited!
(‘Everyone’s Entitled To My Opinion’ is released on 30th April 2013)
Last night LOUD HORIZON rather excitedly posted a comment about Edinburgh septet DELTA MAINLINE, and asserting that on the basis of the ‘highlighted’ track, ‘Florentine Regime,’ the forthcoming album ‘Oh! Enlightened,‘ is going to be something special.
Well, having now had a chance to listen to the album in it’s entirety the first thing I have to say is that the aforementioned track is not exactly typical of the remaining thirty-four and a half minutes. That’s not to say it’s potential to sell in healthy numbers and garner much critical acclaim is diminished – but maybe it was a little bit misleading as far as my personal taste goes.
I’ll qualify that comment however. Even though it may generally be a little ‘downbeat’ for me personally, you just know it’s one hugely classy album. It’s hard to say just why that is, but when you listen to ‘Oh! Enlightened,’ as a continuous piece, something intangible shines through.
Opening track ‘Tus Nua,’ opens quietly and the synth drone builds throughout its forty-four second duration before crashing straight into ‘Misinformation,’ which rages in a furious flurry of searing guitar and crashing cymbals. The vocals are slightly distorted and spat with a punk / rock ‘n’ roll rhythm. The tempo is unrelenting ….. this is an excellent start!
‘Stop This Feeling,‘ slows things down as it opens with the vocals taking on what I consider a slightly choked, Eighties goth style, then morphing into a latter day Jim Kerr style. In fact, even the superb big ‘wide-screen’ production cannot stop me thinking this track sounds like something from Simple Minds back in the late Eighties.
‘Dead Beat Blues,’ has a haunting feel to it. There are definite ‘traditional’ Scottish influences at work on this one and the image it conjures (for me) is of a motionless, dark loch with the mountains rising above it. (I tried ever so hard not to think this way … !!)
‘Fixing To Die,’ sounds a right cheery little ditty! Actually, it is a lovely song! I’m not big on ballad types, but starting out simply with piano and vocals it expands into a big, rousing production before dropping back down again. This followed by ‘The Church Is Up For Sale.’ Another slow one, but with reverb- drenched guitars rising and falling, shrouding the deep sounding, tremolo-enhanced vocals, it’s easy to see where the occasional comparison to Spiritualised comes from. (Perhaps a little Jesus and Mary Chain / Simple Minds in there too?) At almost six and a half minutes, it’s a bit of an ‘epic,’ and certainly one of my favourites on the album – one track that I think will in future become the band’s ‘standard.’
‘The Strange Fate Of Raoul Duke’ is a very short (sub one minute) and quiet acoustic song that leads into ‘Florentine Regime.’
‘Home To You,‘ is a downbeat blues inflected song that opens up into something altogether more expansive with the addition of a brass section before it finishes as it began, with quiet piano. Again, you can possibly hear a little bit of a Jason Pierce influence on this one.
The penultimate track is ‘Dark Energy,’ although I would have saved this one to last! (But then, what do I know?) The atmospheric start transforms into a psych / space-rock / shoegaze cacophony – much more up my street! The video of the live version perhaps doesn’t quite capture the same intensity of sound as the album track, but none-the-less gives a feel of what DELTA MAINLINE are capable of.
Closing track ‘Self Inflicted Ills,’ is a sort of piano led, blues / country hybrid – a nice enough song, but a bit of an atmosphere killer after the excitement of the previous one.
So, yes …. I’m still predicting big things for DELTA MAINLINE – they seem to have enough in heir armoury to go down either the raucous, psych route or the more introspective and moody road.
Personally, I hope it’s the former!
(‘Oh! Enlightened’ is released through Rehab Sound Recordings on 20th May 2013)
(8.5 / 10)
After over three years, I had almost given up banging on and on about the band from Nebraska with the weird name of UUVVWWZ. It had all gone quiet, certainly as far as news reaching these shores was concerned, and folk were severely doubting my prophecies of greatness that I assured would be bestowed upon the Saddle Creek signings.
In fact, it’s almost four years since their eponymous album release so captivated me with its quirky and unpredictable nature. Within that time, Dave Ozinga replaced Tom Ambroz on drums after the latter had moved to Australia, and the band spent two years apparently preparing for the release of ‘the trusted language‘ with all the songs being played in various styles to ascertain what would transfer best to live performances and what best suited a studio situation.
The band themselves have implied that the new album is more ‘grown up’ and mature sounding than their ‘screech-cronky, clubbier and babier’ earlier effort.
And that is certainly true – there is a massive difference in feel about ‘the trusted language.‘ There’s an altogether more ‘dark’ and heavy atmospheric to the newer material but thankfully there is still the sound that instantly defines UUVVWWZ, albeit more underlying than before. Key to this is the distinctive vocal delivery from Teal Gardner coupled with the rather individual guitar style of Jim Schroeder.
Opening track ‘No Apart,‘ rips in with sort of doom-laden guitar riffs that run throughout, offset by Teal’s bluesy vocals that veer off into shrieks at various points. Even at this early stage, you can tell this album has more ‘depth’ to it than the debut.
‘GRIPS,’ is a little nod back to the style of the 2009 album however. Teal’s voice trembles and yelps as the discordant guitar flits in and out over the top of the slack bass slaps. The time signature changes frequently and the song seems to pass through various ‘movements’ as would an old-style prog rock track.
‘Perfect House,’ is a little bit lounge-jazzy, surely with the potential of transferring to some kind cinematic adaptation, while ‘Broad Sky Blues,’ is a melancholic, rather introspective track. ‘Possible Project,‘ continues in the more downbeat mood for the initial third, picking up a little pace and higher range vocals as it progresses and the intensity level rises.
‘Open Sign,’ is my favourite. The pounding bass lines and floor toms give a real depth and tribal feel to the sound, while the buzz-saw guitar works beautifully in tandem with Teal’s more yelped delivery.
‘Charlotte’s List,‘ has a haunting lilt while the final, and title track ‘the trusted language,’ completes the album in a gentle blues style.
There’s no doubting that UUVVWWZ have moved on from their initial release. And yes you could indeed say this is a more cohesive and ‘mature,’ album. But much as they remain one of my favourite bands at this time and with so much more potential to develop, I’m just hoping they are not going to take themselves too seriously. For apart from the more jaunty ‘Open Sign,’ ‘the trusted language’ I think lacks the ‘fun’ and originality of their first album.
Still a great album – but …….
(‘the trusted language’ is available now – March 2013 – through Saddle Creek.)
It’s like winning the lottery: you’re rehearsing as a band for only the second time; you hastily record that session – and then somehow (?) that recording finds its way to Radio 1′s champion of new music, Huw Stephens. And then, from the hundreds of submissions he receives daily, he picks this particular one to play; and likes it; and plays it on his daily show!
The reaction’s great and you’re invited to play on the Radio 1 Introducing stage at Glastonbury – where your music is picked up by Tom Robinson who invites you down to Maida Vale studios to play a live session for his Radio 6Music show.
It’s definitely the stuff of dreams – but that’s the way it happened for VIENNA DITTO. The duo ( Hatty Taylor and Nigel Firth) garnered much critical acclaim from, amongst others, Artrocker, Q Magazine and The Fly for their debut single ‘Long Way Down,’ way back in 2009, apparently. (Is it really that long ago? Jeez, I’m getting old!)
I’m not sure what they’ve been up to in the intervening time, other than record the following EP which is due for release on April 22nd. Work is also under way on their debut album.
Perhaps it’s Hatty’s sultry tones, but VIENNA DITTO remind me a little of Dark Horses and in particular, vocalist Lisa Elle. The music’s certainly not as ‘dark,’ but I get the same feeling of something really classy when I hear both bands.
Looking forward to the album!
You know how sometimes bands have a sort of intangible ‘feel,’ to them; a certain ‘something’ about their whole being, the way they are presented and the general atmosphere they create – even for those who like me in this case haven’t seen that band play?
Good. So if I say that for me FAT WHITE FAMILY have the same sort of ‘feel’ to them as fellow Londoners Flowered Up did back in the early Nineties, then you’ll know what I mean. I don’t mean that there is any specific similarity on the music front (though there are little flashes) but …… ah well, I know what I mean! (It’s a compliment, by the way!)
The band have been around a year or so, tearing up the stages of their home city as they have built up a bit (a pretty damned big bit) of a cult following for their stage antics which apparently, planned or otherwise, involve various incidents of chaos, blood, nudity and general weirdness! It all adds to the FAT WHITES’ (as they are also known) notoriety of course. And ‘notoriety’ in turns leads to hype; and ‘hype’ in turns leads to big expectations.
And in this case, these ‘big expectations’ are most certainly fulfilled! This is one helluva debut album!
(I’m not too sure if my downloaded promo copy ended up in the correct track order, so don’t hang me if there are any discrepancies!)
Opener ‘Auto Neutron,’ is I suppose the closest musically to anything done by the afore-mentioned Flowered Up. Not that it’s so much ‘baggy,’ but it’s certainly got a trippy, psychedelic feel to it. The vocals are quietly sung and harmonised, but in an almost disinterested manner while the guitar provides a downbeat sharpness.
‘Raining In Your Mouth,’ is an amalgam of several sounds. The vocals are like a manic Johnny Cash morphing into more of a Johnny Thunders as the song progresses , while the backing has a Velvet Underground feel mixed with the Christmassy chimes of tubular bells.
‘Without Consent,’ features a thumping bassline running through the fast-flowing track that at points slightly echoes The Stone Roses with the shuffling drum rhythm and reverb on the vocals. ‘Special Ape,’ goes a little bluesy, in a FAT WHITE manner with a stomping beat and a bit of a background cacophony that lasts less than a minute and a half in total.
Next (in my order) is the current single (released on 18th March.) The video for the excellent ‘Cream Of The Young,‘ follows.
‘Wild American Prairie,’ has a kind of psycho-country ring to it. I can’t describe it any other way. It stomps and pounds its way through its three and a half minute duration with a twanging guitar riff and low-sounding gang vocals.
‘Borderline,’ continues with a sort of country theme. It’s more acoustic sounding and reminds me very much Canned Heat back in the Seventies – it has a sort of ‘jug band,’ basis to it.
‘Heaven On Earth,’ rips right into flow, the guitar riff raging incessantly with muffled sounding vocals being uttered like some mad, drunken jakey on a Saturday night. It’s all a bit of a distorted mess … but yet absolutely engrossing.
My favourite track is ‘Bomb Disneyland,’ so rather than try to describe it, I’ll share it here. Brilliant!
‘Garden Of The Numb,’ closes (my) album. It really just does as it says on the tin …. really bored and tired sounding vocals draped over a floor-tom beat and cabaret-blues-type picked guitar. (If Eeyore from Winnie The Pooh was to release a record, this’d be it!)
I love this album – and hopefully FAT WHITE FAMILY will be allowed out of London some time soon so that they can unleash their madness on the rest of UK. I for one will be waiting!
(Released on April 1st 2013 through Trashmouth Records)
Since then, I have managed to glean a little more information and background:
SPRING KING is indeed a new band and like all new bands – they are totally skint! This is why at the moment they have no decent photos or ANY PR material in fact! The band is basically the project of music producer and engineer Tarek Musa who started writing his own music last March and made available a track called ‘ Lets Ride,’ that landed a small sync with Adidas and was featured on Abeano.
Quite how this happened remains a mystery to Tarek, but it obviously showed the same sort of instant appeal that attracted me to the three tracks LOUD HORIZON featured … (and have done so again.)
Tarek’s musical ethos is to write and record in the one day:
“I really like the idea of getting something done in a day and seeing if I can enjoy it. Obviously this means some songs aren’t as good as others but that’s fine – for me this project is literally about making something, anything.
The whole process is done internally by me. It’s all recorded in a downstairs bathroom which is disused due to disrepair: (its the only room I’m allowed to make noise in really!)”
There are four other people in the band along with Tarek, but owing to the lack of quality musicians in the area that are not already tied up with work, the line-up is currently subject to frequent change, with the exception being guitarist Peter Darlington who has been a part of SPRING KING since day one.
So there you go – a little more info on a band that LOUD HORIZON certainly feels even at this early stage has much to offer.
(If you like what you hear, please Tweet / Facebook links and let’s see if we can spread the word a wee bit!)
At that point, I had heard only one song by the band. ‘Last Night‘ was accompanied by a brilliantly shot video and the whole (little) package just oozed class.
Well, the lads have just this week released their startling debut EP. Initially, BLUE SUNDAY was just the project of guitarist Jeet Mukereji, recording his efforts on a knackered laptop in his bedroom. Through a friend he met guitarist / vocalist Fred Valentino and as the desire to play live grew stronger the two gradually became four with the addition of Peter and Lasse.
In effect, BLUE SUNDAY as we know them now really only came into proper existence in September 2012.When you consider how far they have come in five short months, I’m sure I’ll not be the only one raving about their prospects!
Toronto four-piece DECADES have been around since the tail-end of 2010 and have gradually morphed their sound from out and out punk-laced garage rock into something altogether more expansive. In many ways, especially as can be seen and heard from the video for ‘Tonight Again,’ they engender a feel of late Eighties / early Nineties shoegaze and Brit Pop which is then laced with a bit of an electro feel on some other tracks.
Having crafted their sound by playing with (supporting) the likes of Deerhoof, Tribes and Palma Violets the lads will shortly release their debut, eponymous album, three of which are available below as free downloads.
(‘Decades’ is released through White Girl Records on 30th April 2013)
Musically, FROM MESOPOTAMIA generally follow the psych route as tread by a couple of other bands (Follakzoid and Spiral Vortex) that have featured previously on LOUD HORIZON. Where they differ however is in that the trio of Daniel, Gonzalo and Fernando seem to rely more on processed beats than drums and there is more emphasis on the synth / keyboards. As a consequence, while the resultant sound still draws out big musical soundscapes, it is perhaps more in line with various Continental DJs of the late Nineties who produced some synth-led ‘trance’ tracks. For me, the lack of a genuine driving force in the drums means it lacks a real ‘guts.’ The music, whilst still a great listen however lacks real ‘balls.’ You know what I mean?
That said, there’s still a great deal to enjoy on this mini-album, and maybe it’s a little unfair to make any sort of comparison on the basis of the country of origin as I’ve just done! It’s certainly worth about eighteen minutes of anyone’s time!
(Available to download now via Bandcamp, see below)
(Firstly, apologies – there should be ‘acutes’ over the first and last letters ‘e’ in the band name…. but my laptop won’t play along.)
It’s a while since I’ve had anything ‘arty’ and quirky on LOUD HORIZON. So here’s the new video from French band (Lyon / Paris based) TEHESSE. The track is taken from their debut EP, ‘‘Toumrakata.‘ This is a charming seven-track mini-album, albeit a little on the quiet side for me personally.
The music is very minimalistic and the vocals pure and warm. I wouldn’t normally stream a whole album on the blog, but in this instance feel it better to do so rather than try to merely describe it! You can also purchase the tracks directly which would the band very happy indeed!
It was back in September 2011 that LOUD HORIZON first wrote about SPECTRES. The final words in that little piece were: ‘Bottom line is that I love this shit! Here’s the EP in its entirety. It’s the future!‘
And it was indeed!
Since then, the band have amongst other things, won ARTROCKER MAGAZINE’S title of ‘Unsigned Band of the Year.‘ (I may be biased, but THAT’S the reward they ALL want!)
Anyway – about a month ago their label, Howling Owl Records announced that SPECTRES would be releasing a new EP come March. Obviously knowing how to create genuine market demand, the canny people at Howling Owl decided on a Limited Edition release of only one hundred, 12″ vinyl, each with handmade sleeves & artwork.
Unsurprisingly, these have already been snapped up by way of advance orders and so a second pressing is now in production. (You can order a copy of that one here!)
Want to know what all the fuss is about? Well, here you go …… and remember where you heard it first ( I think I’m right in saying SPECTRES picked up their Artrocker award in September 2012 – some twelve months after LOUD HORIZON wrote the above!)
Don’t you just HATE a smart-arse??!
(… and here, just for the hell of it is a track from last year’s EP that kicked the whole thing off:)
Well, March 11th sees the release of their latest long player (only old people use that expression also!) ‘Echo Street,’ which will be immediately backed by a short UK tour – see below for dates / venues.
As a taster, the band have made the track ‘Matmos‘ available as a free download, and you can wrap your ears around it here.
I haven’t actually heard the album yet, myself, so please pardon the ‘copy and paste’ from the Press Release which will give you some background to the album.
Twenty-four months after the release of their critically acclaimed third album The Octopus, Amplifier are back with a brand new album called Echo Street – their first with the new four-piece line-up – and first for Kscope.
The deal sees the band come full circle. Sales of independently released The Octopus left them amazed and delighted, and encouraged them to headhunt the promise of Kscope (home to Anathema, Steven Wilson, Porcupine Tree) to now provide the best of both worlds – artistic freedom and commercial clout to take Amplifier to a new level. Such change is constant for Amplifier, who have always been a band that refuses to stand still. Now the band of Sel Balamir (guitars) and Matt Brobin (drums) re-emerge at the core of a very different animal – a four-piece line-up that has delivered a subtle shift in style allowing them to mix their epic space rock jams with accessible pieces boasting three-part vocal harmonies – sung by Sel, former Oceansize man Steve Durose (second guitar) and Alex “Magnum” Redhead (bass).
Sel: “I guess the people are going to be expecting something like a follow-up to The Octopus – but Echo Street isn’t like that at all. It’s important that people understand that not everything will be like what has gone before. I never want to repeat myself.” Nothing in life is completely black and white but if The Octopus was black, then Echo Street is white.
“Before I sort the sheep out into the order of the most beautiful. I like to put all the white ones over here and all the black ones over there. That’s a summary of my job – it’s a bit like being a rock shepherd”
Tending the flock has also seen him double-up as an archaeologist – delving deep into the Amp-archives with Matt to create this new Amplifier album in a brand new way. The pair first dusted down cassette recordings of ancient jams to uncover old gems and reinvent them for the new line-up.
“This was really exciting. I’ve never, ever made a record where we just sat down and said we’ve got to write something right now! Let’s just do it and see what happens… That could have been a nightmare for me. But we had a large body of tapes going back to the ’90s from which to cherry-pick ideas that could be developed.”
The results are startling. Echo Street opens with Four vast epics Matmos, The Wheel, Extra Vehicular and Where The River Goes, and then shifts into more subtle and reflective territory; the haunting Paris In The Spring and the classy, CSN-like Between Today And Yesterday, the Floydian infinity of the title track Echo Street before ending on the anthemic and uplifting breeze of Mary Rose.
“I think the diversity on Echo Street is a strong feature. It’s quite like the first album in that respect. All the songs on the first album sound quite different to one another… But it was a really difficulty album to sequence. There wasn’t anything that was really obvious. So we decided to go with the time tested method of giving the listener a sustained boot in the face, before following up with a nice stroke on the back.”
“We had no idea what it was going to be when we started. The whole thing from starting to write it to actually having a finished master was 60 days. You need to put that in context with the fact that The Octopus took 4 years…”
“We are extraordinarily pleased with Echo Street. We didn’t think that we could better The Octopus, but I think that Echo Street has a timeless quality about it. It’s probably the Amplifier album that most people will know with time. There’s something really special about it…”
And there you have it. In black and white.
16th March – 53 Degrees, PRESTON
17th March – The Fleece, BRISTOL
18th March – The Duchess, YORK
19th March – King Tut’s, GLASGOW
20th March – Rock City, NOTTINGHAM
21st March – The Garage, LONDON
Now, a year or so down the line the duo of Dick Pettersson and Andrea Caccese are set to build on that foundation with the follow-up release of ‘You Are An Empty Artist.‘ The pair have a no-nonsense approach to writing their tunes, and many hours of swapping music and stories has led them to this point. Their music doesn’t exactly fit into any specific genre, but from what I’ve heard so far, I’d likely have it filed under the ‘dream-pop’ tag – alongside bands such as fellow Scandinavians, Simian Ghost and Pinkunoizu.
The album ‘You Are An Empty Artist‘ is released on 15th April, and LOUD HORIZON will of course carry a little review – hopefully within the next week (or so!)
Meantime, here’s a taster of what to expect. Nice!
THE TAILLIGHT YEARS are an alternative rock band from Chicago. They formed in 2010 and have played around the various live venues of their home city, including a recent appearance at the iconic House of Blues. They list their ‘influences’ as the likes of Against Me!, The Gaslight Anthem and The Clash, and in the few tracks I’ve heard that is quite evident.
Initially I wasn’t too sure about the vocals, but certainly on tracks such as the two streamed below, they kind of ‘grow’ into the song and especially so in the faster-paced ‘Beat Surrender‘ they just seem so right. (The two songs are from the band’s previous release.)
A new EP is due for release in April of this year and hopefully LOUD HORIZON will carry a proper review closer to that time. Following that, the lads will embark upon their first tour of The States.)
I don’t have much else on the band at the moment, but thought they may be worth a wee plug here and now – so we can maybe see how they have progressed over the past year when the latest recording comes to hand!
Right now though, I’ll nail my colours to the mast and say that with a few minor adjustments, we could be hearing a bit more of THE TAILLIGHT YEARS in time to come.
MILWALKIE are a half Scottish, half German band now based in Berlin. Brothers Steve and Matt Morris had played with various bands in the Aberdeen area for several years before they accepted the sense of ‘not belonging’ in a cultural way and decided to up sticks and move to Germany…… but not before releasing their first eponymous EP in September 2011.
Unfortunately, just as the lads were ready to throw themselves into their music in the more culturally friendly environs of Berlin, their father became seriously ill, so the first few months were spent travelling back and forward between their and old homes. Sadly, their father passed away last summer, but throughout that whole traumatic period, Matt continued writing music, pushing on through the emotional pain to finish their first full-length album, ‘No Routes,‘ which is now scheduled for release on 28th February.
Given the circumstances then, I guess you could be forgiven for assuming that ‘No Routes‘ would be a rather introspective and possibly downbeat album. Far from it – while the two tracks featured in video format below, together with ‘Frozen Lake‘ and ‘The Stamp Collector‘ (which are all grouped around the album’s mid-point) may see the band in a more reflective mood, the album as a whole is pretty much upbeat and positive.
Songs such as ‘Surf, Surf Surf,‘ and ‘You’re Late,‘ are bouncy little dream-pop numbers as are ‘Milan‘ and more so, ‘Astraphobia’ which follow the more ‘experimental’ opener ‘Painolophone‘ which has gentle slide guitar laying over the top a pre-recorded loop run backwards. Or something like that!
OK, so the pace drops again for the closing two numbers, but nowhere throughout the forty-five minute duration of ‘No Routes’ do you get the impression of the writer(s) wanting to share their innermost grief.
On the contrary, it would seem that the relevant catharsis for the Morris brothers was to record a positive and uplifting piece of music that would not look out of place were it produced by any of the bands on the iconic Captured Tracks label.
(‘Back To The Snow’ is the band’s new single and is available now via their Bandcamp page – see below)
(‘No Routes’ is self -released on 28th February 2013)
(8.5 / 10)
Portland’s WAMPIRE (ostensibly Rocky Tinder and Eric Phipps) have worked the same circuit in their home-town as did (now labelmates) STRFKR and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Indeed, they came to the attention of the Polyvinyl label when they opened a show for STRFKR in Portland itself. And, as these quirks of fate would have it, their debut album ‘Curiosity’ which is due for release this May, has been produced by Jacob Portrait, bass player with Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
The album it seems carries a healthy variation in musical style, the title itself relating to the perceived curiosity of the listener prior to hearing the next track on the album.
For those, like me, who are unfamiliar with the band, the following track, ‘The Hearse’ which has been lifted as the first single from the long-player is apparently a good introduction with it moving from the big, dramatic opening through a bouncy, punk beat wrapped in swirling synths to a forty second ‘experimental’ / electronic breakdown before returning the listener to the infectious rhythm and melody.
(‘The Hearse’ is released on March 5th through Polyvinyl Records)
GALOSHINS are officially a three-piece, unofficially a four-piece, from Gourock (near Greenock) in Scotland. Their music is frenzied, sometimes discordant, sometimes melodic; sometimes freak-out, sometimes pure pop(ish.) Sometimes all within the confines of one song!
Earlier this week they released TWO EPs – innovatively named ‘EP1‘ and ‘EP2′ Combined, they amount to eleven tracks spanning some thirty-one minutes and sounding like …. well, like say Sultans of Ping doing The Dead Kennedys. Or, if you’re more familiar with the burgeoning Scottish scene these past few years, think along the lines of We Are The Physics jamming with Super Adventure Club.
Whichever way you look at it, or listen, it’s a quite spectacular way of announcing your arrival.
(I have only one track to stream here – if more become available, they’ll definitely feature.)
(‘EP1′ and ‘EP2′ are released through Armellodie Records and available now – February 2013)