From their self-titled second album, due in April, comes this
beautiful and provoking single, Line of Fire. It’s a song that
suggests that you do not take advantage for granted “What would
you say if you had to leave today…even though, for once, you’re
shining?” It is very refreshing to hear their material again as
Jose Gonzalez’s voice makes the sound so vibrant and deep. It
is slightly more beefy than his solo efforts but just as solid
as Junip’s debut. Junip often write records that entice you in
and will often introduce more instruments or emotions as songs
continue, and Line of Fire is no different. What I particularly
like about this song is its ambition. As it is almost six minutes
long it leaves plenty of room to engage with it, and, importantly
as the title track, it makes me want to hear their new album.
I suggest you download this single for free on their Soundcloud
page, and whilst you are at it, listen to Junip’s last album and
see what I mean when I talk about their comparative beefiness.
and the Cowards – Diary
of a Liar (Sotones)
I think I’m fairly confident in saying that
you probably won’t hear too many tracks like this in 2013. ‘Diary
of a Liar’ is sprinkled with pixie-dust harpy sounds, breathy
vocals, lo-fi drum machine and just a little bit of brilliance.
Please listen. 8/10 http://www.facebook.com/followthewheel
– House of Deer
Although not as immediate as their last single
‘Upstairs’, ‘House of Deer’ is possibly even more arresting, even
a little bit disturbing due to its combination of wide open spaces
but deep thrumming basslines. It just gently simmers along with
a beautiful simplicity that sends you back for more and more.
– Monet (Criminal)
It took some getting to (god bless Virgin
Media and their unlimited but flakey internet connections) but
it was worth the wait. Eerie Cure-esque guitar and no recognisable
song structure – all big ticks in my exercise book. And then it
was gone..you’ve got to admire the Argonauts wilfulness. 7/10 www.argonaut.info
in France – Flexin
Awesome awesome awesome. Of course it helps
you to have an Ikea backed ad campaign behind you but make no
mistake, ‘Flexin’ is the kind of weirded electro direction that
Hot Chip occasionally venture brilliantly towards before veering
back towards normality. Just a pity that the whole of Soundcloud
seems to have crashed while I was listening to it. 9/10 www.facebook.com/mastersinfrance
Nuts – Angelina Jolie
Monkeys-esque fun from Littlehampton’s The Nuts. I like it – it’s
not pretentious or trying to be cool, it just rattles along and
brightens up two and half minutes of your day. 7/10 https://soundcloud.com/thenuts
Dinosaur – How to Feel EP (Artillery)
This one from Brighton’s
King Dinosaur sees an interesting mix up of British Bass and two
step with a more poppy, even chill out Balearic vibe. The result
might leave hardcore fans of both camps unhappy but to me it both
makes the urban sound a lot more accessible and injects some much
needed vigour into the chill out seen. I’m surprised Ninjatune
or Big Dada haven’t been sniffing around this one. 7/10
Jr - Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know (Jagjaguwar)
Second single and opening track from the band’s tenth album “I
Bet on Sky” which shuffled it’s way quietly into the record shops
last September. Possibly quietly because there’s no shitting record
shops left. Anyway, it’s jangly Dinosaur with mellotrons, not
the heaviest thing they’ve done and shows shades of J Mascis recent
work with the not-too-dissimilar Hush Arbours. Lyrically, he hasn’t
felt any great particular need to address anything other than
his usual favourite topic - getting fucked about by someone. All
that said, I like this a lot. An infectious minor ascending chord
sequence, with Mascis crooning over the top about feeling a bit
let down. Again. What's not to like? 8/10
Wolf Club – Strange Letters/A vs E
Since I reviewed Dead Wolf Club's début album last year,
it was one of my favourite albums of last year, they haven't done
anything to change my thought that you should watch out for them.
This double A-side continues that trend.
Strange Letters is lively and intelligent, while A versus E is
brooding and cheerily dark, the double A-side has whetted my appetite
for their forthcoming album. I'm dangerously close to eulogising
about Dead Wolf Cub, really I just think I keep being proven right.
They're really good and you should check them out. In a side bar,
they also write a decent press release (a rare thing) and I'm
a fan of anyone who counters a suggestion that you shouldn't damage
your guitar by saying that they sacrificed them to rock.
Firstly, this isn't really what you'd call
an EP. Six tracks makes a mini album in my book. Secondly, how
does anyone wanting a copy ever find it unless they're within
the Graveyard Band's immediate vicinity? Unless you were gig going
around any of the Scottish venues where the GB's are establishing
a reputation for themselves then you'd probably miss out on some
neatly performed alt. folk that's yet to find its way south of
Carlisle - look them up on Bandcamp is the likely answer but if
there's ever an actual graveyard for new bands ...
Thirdly, who else was expecting a full blown Gothic noise assault
when they saw this turn up in the listings? Yes I know it's a
memorable name, but graveyards are places I tend to avoid and
I probably wouldn't hang around were I to hear music emanating
from one, even breezily pleasant songs such as the six tracks
on this release. Come to think of it, aren't there laws against
performing music in burial grounds? There probably are in Scotland.
Anyhow, don't let my initial thoughts put anyone off what's
a really quite accomplished debut release from a band a lot of
people are going to hear more of in 2013, and probably next year
too. None of my minor criticisms, which I'm sure I'm not the first
to raise, seem to have prevented the Graveyard Band from gaining
a bit of a following around Scotland and with an upcoming series
of headlining slots including Glasgow School of Art this spring
it seems certain the Graveyard Band are to make their presence
felt away from their usual haunts. The new Travis? Stranger things
have happened, Horatio (he says misquoting Shakespeare).
– Keep on Running (Sultanov)
I didn’t realise that Leo Sayer
was still putting records out. When you list the fact that Sultanov
is the grandson of internationally celebrated Azerbaijani painter
Tahir Sultanov as a key relevant fact on the press release, you
know in your heart of hearts that the music is not that noteworthy.
However, it’s got a sunny disposition so chin up. 6/10
Theo – Reborn
Recovering as I am from
a rather nasty cough and sore throat, Craig Gordon’s hoarse vocals
make me wince. That said, there are some nice dynamics at play
between Gordon’s guttural roars and guitar slabs of ‘To the Lions’.
Mentholyptus anyone? 6/10 www.facebook.com/wakingtheoband
Brooker – Heartbreaker
related to acerbic wit and general sociopath Charlie Brooker,
Daniela Brooker seems to have managed to do a cover version of
any one of a million soppy middle of the road 70’s girl next door
pop disco tracks. It’s the fuzzy guitar what does it but at least
the guitar is a bit quirky, unlike the remainder of the track.
Now go away. 4/10 www.danielabrooker.com
and the New Yorkers – The Way
it Was Before/Fall Into Me
None other than Huey Morgan of Fun
Lovin’ Criminals fame. It’s amazing how much musical latitude
you can be granted after selling a few million records. ‘The Way
It Was Before’ is nothing more, nothing less than a lazy bar room
drawl. It doesn’t really emote anything which is its main failure.
If nothing else you’ve got to admire Huey’s chutzpah. www.hueyandthenewyorkers.com
Bullets – Posterity
One half Air Traffic frontman Chris Wall
and one half US instrumentalist Dan Capaldi, Soft Bullets are
very aptly named. Very firmly keeping a foot straddled in both
the indie and electro camps, ‘Posterity’ fizzles along before
fizzling slightly more energetically towards the end before fizzling
out. Much like the fireworks we used to have in my back garden
as a kid and I enjoyed those very much also – things don’t always
need to end with a bang. 7/10 www.softbullets.com
For My Valentine - Riot
Following up on 2010’s Fever, Bullet For My Valentine are dividing
opinion ahead of the release of their fourth full length, Temper
Temper, this February.
According to the press release, Riot is the “first official single”
to emerge from the new record, which is odd because the single
that inspired the album title, Temper Temper, was given a digital
release, video, and national radio airplay in October of last
year. Oh Bullet, you crazy opinion dividers.
Anyway, Riot is everything that you’d expect from a band that
has shaped the UK metalcore scene for the best part of ten years,
except something vital appears to be missing. The production is
splendid, yet the track almost fades into obscurity even before
the only redeeming feature, the solo, blasts it’s way in.
It all begins with an open-note staccato riff, which is broken
up at the end of each phrase by a few melodic notes on a higher
string. Well it is metalcore after all. However, this riff makes
the unfortunate mistake of rearing its average sounding self several
times throughout the song. Even by BFMV’s standards, this is a
little too predictable. Oh, and whilst we’re on the subject of
predictability (thanks for bringing it up), the lyrics, and in
particular, the ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ style ‘whooooaaaaas’ do little
to add to the apparent weakness here. Did I mention the solo?
That’s pretty cool.
As a fan of Bullet For My Valentine, let’s hope that the album,
Temper Temper, has a bit more beefiness about it.
Red Paintings - Streets Fell Into
My Window (Bird’s Robe Records)
Released as a taster for their forthcoming album, Australian
based The Red Paintings have recently toured the UK and EU.
‘Streets Fell Into My Window’ could be described as an epic slice
of alternative rock. Sounding like ‘Album Of The Year’ era Faith
No More rocking out with Mew this track would feel comfortably
at home on many of the mainstream American rock radio stations.
The song is well polished and much time has obviously been spent
on its mixing and mastering. If the album reaches a similar quality
peak it could be a very enjoyable listen.