Track Review: The Good, The Bad & The Queen – Merrie Land

Another project from the man who never stops making music, Damon Albarn, is on the Horizon, with the second The Good, The Bad & The Queen releasing in November. ‘Merrie Land’ is the title track, and the first new music from the group since 2007.

Sounding halfway between early Blur and The Magic Whip, this first glimpse of the album is a very promising one. Melancholy lyrics about the state of post-brexit UK set to a carnival-esque instrumental. No idea how he had the time to make something this good whilst being on tour non-stop for the past few years.

The Good, The Bad & The Queen have been gone a long while, but they came back at the right time.

90%

You can pre-order Merrie Land here.

They have some upcoming UK dates in December, on sale Friday:

Dec 1st – The North Pier, Blackpool
https://www.seetickets.com/event/the-good-the-bad-the-queen/north-pier/1272677
Dec 2nd – SWG3, Glasgow
http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/event/3600554FD1925A60
Dec 4th – Hackney Arts Centre, London
https://www.seetickets.com/event/the-good-the-bad-the-queen/earth-hackney-arts-centre-/1272679
Dec 5th – Hackney Arts Centre, London
https://www.seetickets.com/event/the-good-the-bad-the-queen/earth-hackney-arts-centre-/1272681
Dec 6th – Hackney Arts Centre, London
https://www.seetickets.com/event/the-good-the-bad-the-queen/earth-hackney-arts-centre-/1272682

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Ash live at Sheffield Leadmill Review

Ash played at the Sheffield Leadmill on Tuesday 16th October, with support from Death by Unga Bunga.

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Death by Unga Bunga

Death by Unga Bunga were one of the most entertaining opening acts I had seen in a while, with non-stop energy throughout their set, while still performing great musically. Check them out if you can.

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Northern Irish rock trio Ash performed a lengthy set, but at no point did they show any signs of drifting off, with even their new album tracks pleasing the crowd.

The earliest highlight for me came in the form of a blistering rendition of ‘Kung-Fu’, and the whole set was filled with hits, reminding me just how many they’ve had over the years, with the likes of ‘Oh Yeah’, ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Angel Interceptor’ all coming thick and fast in the first half of the set.

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This tour is in support of their latest album, ‘Islands’, and while they did play a fair number of new tracks (6), they slotted in perfectly with their greatest hits and fan favourites, especially ‘Confessions In The Pool’ and ‘Did Your Love Burn Out’.

 

Ash put on a memorable performance, and the quality of the whole set is a real testament to just how good they still are. They seemed to be enjoying themselves on stage too, which is the most important thing.

90%

You can check out all of Ash’s upcoming tour dates here: http://www.ash-official.com/shows/

Gallery:

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New Release Roundup 9th October 2018

Charli XCX & Troye Sivan – 1999: An over the top, 90’s inspired pop track with a really irresistible hook, and great production. Exactly what I expected, and wanted from a collab between these two. 90%

Anderson .Paak & Kendrick Lamar – Tints: Great performances by Anderson and Kendrick on this effortlessly smooth synth-funk track, that fittingly sounds like driving round a city at night. Very nice. 93%

Jaden Smith – Goku: An unexpected banger from Jaden here. I didn’t realise he could actually rap, but this new cut from his upcoming ‘Sunset Tapes’ project is actually pretty solid! 80%

Mutual Benefit – Come To Pass: A really pleasant, breezy track with a melancholy undertone taken from Mutual Benefit’s new album, Thunder Follows the Light, which is out now. Love the vocals on this too, 85%

Roses Gabor – Stuff: ‘Stuff’ is a dark, synthy cut from Roses, and the minimalist beats and production on the track really fit well with her echoey vocals. Very vibey. 80%

Kiran Leonard – Unreflective Life:  A great new track from Kiran, giving me a kind of Mystery Jets meet Doves vibe, and i’m really here for it. Always a good sign when a 6 minute long song keeps my attention. 80%

 

New Release Roundup: 14th September 2018

The 1975 – Sincerity is Scary: Another new single from upcoming album ‘A Brief Relationship into Online Relationships’, another completely different sound. The chillest cut from this album so far, this is a jazzy, smooth track making great use of a choir for backing vocals. A slow burner, but it really shows that the 75 are pushing the boat out and really trying new things. Good. 90%

Django Django – Swimming at Night: Taken from a new upcoming EP, this new track from the Djangos is nothing unexpected or new, but it’s never a bad thing to have another good quality, groovy, catchy Django song out there. 70%

Estrons – Body: A really great, punchy riff and another great vocal performance from Tali makes this new Estrons track really stick in your head, and makes me look forward to their upcoming album. 80%

Dizzee Rascal & Skepta – Money Right: This is good. ‘Money Right’ is a  classic grime track with two of the genre’s biggest voices on top form, and bouncing off each other effortlessly. What feud? 83%

Lana Del Rey – Mariners Apartment Complex: This sounds to me a bit like Lana doing a version of a sad Arctic Monkeys cut but also at the same time like a sad ABBA song when the harmonies come in. Surprisingly good. 92%

Sarah Close – Crazy Kind:  This new track from Sarah is a great, well produced pop track with echoes of Rae Morris, which is definitely a good thing. Her latest singles are looking very promising for a full length release. 80%

Khalid – Better: A fairly standard track from Khalid in my opinion, with his vocals sounding dull and uninspired over a normie beat, which is a shame as usually his great voice helps him to stands out from the crowd. 50%

Joji – Slow Dancing In The Dark: A dreamy, slow-jam synthy track from Joji here, with his vocals slightly eerily placed over the chill, almost lo-fi instrumental. It all comes together really well. 75%

Kiran Leonard – Unreflective Life: Taken from his upcoming album ‘Western Culture’, this new Kiran track is full of energy and it sounds massive, ringing similar to tracks by Doves and Elbow, which is no bad thing. 85%

Teleman – Family of Aliens Review

The third album from Teleman has  somehow managed to improve on their previous two releases; it being a more electronic, robotic and dance-able collection of songs while showing off more of their personalty than ever before.

When an album has a couple of very strong singles i’m always worried that the rest of the album will disappoint, and with ‘Cactus’ being an absolute banger and probably the best Teleman song to date I certainly had those fears.

They were quickly dismissed as soon as the opener, and title track ‘Family of Aliens’ began. The same brilliant Teleman as usual, but sounding even more energetic. ‘Between The Rain’ is a Paul McCartney-esque upbeat piano track, and ‘Always Dreaming’ is a slower, calm moment on the record. These two tracks show just how diverse Teleman can be while still maintaining a consistent sound.

Another album highlight for me is the very groovy ‘Twisted Heart’,with the opening synth riff sounding like a Pokemon battle theme gone wrong and it just generally being one of the catchiest tracks they’ve put out to date.

‘Somebody’s Island’ has another great melody throughout, with the song again being one of the best the band has ever put out, it being so well produced and full of emotion and personality. The album closer, ‘Starlight’, aptly sounds like a really dramatic end credits song for a movie, a fitting end to a great album.

This is Teleman’s best album to date, and one of the best albums of the year so far.

96%

Best Three: Cactus, Twisted Heart, Starlight

Venue Talk: Doe on Brudenell Social Club, Leeds.

I spoke to the indie trio Doe about their favourite live venue, which is Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club. The band are building up to the release of their second album ‘Grow Into It’ on the 28th September. Check out their latest single ‘Labour Like I Do’ below, and read what they had to say about the social club.

“After careful consideration, Brudenell Social Club in Leeds.”

“Leeds is generally a lovely place to play with a great music scene (special s/o to also excellent Wharf Chambers), so the audience is always really mixed and responsive. The sound at Brudenell is always good, the toilets are clean (extremely important) and there’s loads of space to chill / chat / hang out so you’re not cooped up in one intense gig space.”

Have you ever played there?

“Yes we’ve played there a few times on tour and are playing there again in October with Speedy Ortiz.”

Who else have you seen there?

“Only really the other bands we’ve played with because we’re not from Leeds, but they were all GREAT.”

Brudenell Facts:

  • Upcoming shows at the Brudenell include Albert Hammond Jr, Mitski and Teleman.
  • The Social club was established December 8th, 1913
  • Kaiser Chiefs, Franz Ferdinand, The Cribs, Four Tet and The Fall have all played at the Social Club.
  • It is a community ‘non profitmaking’ venue, that holds charitable status.
  • Photography, Film and even Origami groups meet up at the Brudenell.

You  can pre-order Doe’s album here, and check out upcoming events at the Brudenell here.

Venue Talk: Gengahr on The Astoria

I chatted to John from Gengahr about his fave live music venue. He chose the late Astoria in London. Watch Gengahr’s video for ‘Before Sunrise’ below, then check out the interview.

“Can I choose one that no longer exists? The Astoria. Saw so many great bands there, it was the perfect size and if you found the right spot it sounded great either downstairs or upstairs.”

“You could sit down upstairs if you were knackered. Also it was twinned with the Mean Fiddler and after many years we worked out how to get downstairs to the separate venue without anyone seeing so you could get two gigs for the price of one. This was only useful once when there was a great support band downstairs and a great headline act upstairs.”

“Unfortunately I didn’t make any music anyone would want to hear before it got torn down. The gap by Tottenham Court Road station still makes me sad.”

“I got to see loads of stuff there. A lot of US rock stuff as well as U.K. Indie. I think the last gig I went to was Rancid. I saw Death Cab For Cutie and my mate fell asleep upstairs on the chairs, entirely apt for that band. Saw Biffy Clyro at there last London show before they signed to a major and changed a fair bit.

“I saw a UK band called Seafood that was great, the album ‘when do we start fighting’ is worth looking up. I saw Regina Spektor there before she got really big, I think it was the only time she had a full band and she did some truly awful dancing, probably why she sat behind the piano the rest of her career. The video for Radioheads ‘my iron lung’ is shot there (I’m pretty sure), I wish I was around for that gig.”

Venue Facts

  • The Astoria originally opened as a cinema!
  • It was sadly closed in 2009.
  • Richey Edwards had his last live performance with the Manic Street Preachers in the Astoria.
  • Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Feeder and The Cranberries all had live albums recorded at the Astoria.
  • Nirvana, The Strokes, Prince, Blur, Bowie, Madonna and Oasis all played the Astoria.

Gengahr’s second album, Where Wildness Grows, is out now (and its bloody good.) Buy it here or stream it here.