New Release Roundup – 25th Jan 2019

Vampire Weekend – Harmony Hall: Vampire Weekend return with their first music since 2013 with 2 new singles, the first of which being ‘Harmony Hall’. They haven’t lost it – Harmony Hall is a great comeback single; an upbeat, Primal Scream-esque track with all the trademark VW touches. It’s nothing revolutionary from them, but it’s exactly what you want. 90%

Vampire Weekend – 2021: The second of the 2 singles, ‘2021’ is much calmer and understated, with Ezra reflecting on the future over a lullaby like soft synthy backing. Very nice. 80%

The Islas – A Generation To Forget: This is the debut EP from Norwich indie rock band The Islas, and it’s a great, punchy collection of tracks, with highlights being the short but sweet ‘Hits & Misses’ and the heartfelt ‘Somewhere in Between’. 70%

JK COLLECTIVE – Keep on Crashing: ‘Keep on Crashing’ is the debut single from Alt-Pop duo JK COLLECTIVE, and it is a low-key but really catchy synthy tune, with slight echoes of The 1975 and new Bring Me The Horizon mixed in. 75%

Pip Blom – Daddy Issues: So far, there have been no bad songs from Pip Blom. ‘Daddy Issues’ continues that trend; a really strong riff drives this energetic, punky track that sounds a bit like Courtney Barnett and Franz Ferdinand at the same time, which turns out sounding very nice indeed. 94%

Blaenavon – Catatonic Skinbag: This new Blaenavon track is a cool, punky cut that shows the group still have that driving energy that garnered our attention in the first place. Nice harmonies on the verses too. 80%

Crows – Chain of Being: In my opinion, Crows sound like a heavier version of Doves (I didn’t even realise the bird name connection until I finished typing that) That’s fine by me, and ‘Chain of Being’ is a brilliant piece of progressive rock. 83% 

Lauv & Troye Sivan – This will probably become a big hit because the chorus is so simple, but extremely effective. 70%

Malory – Blue Umbrella: ‘Blue Umbrella’ is a chill, breezy upbeat track with a really catchy chorus and clicky-clacky instrumental. It’s very pleasant and Malory’s vocals are really sweet and fit the track well. 70%

Diplo ft. Niska – Boom Bye Bye: This is just really, really annoying. 20%

Parekh & Singh – Hello: My favourite duo from Kolkata return with a really lovely new single. ‘Hello’ builds on the sound of their debut album with more complex production and songwriting, but still maintains the charm that made me love them the first time around. 95%

Dua Lipa- Swan Song: Taken from the upcoming movie ‘Alita’, this new song from Dua is a bit better than the quality of song you’d expect to be made for a movie, but it never reaches the levels of her bigger singles from the past few years. 60%

Feet – English Weather: The new tune from Feet is a brilliant, groovy cut with an almost annoyingly catchy chorus. You’d better pack an umbrella. 90%

 

 

 

 

 

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Dodie – Human EP Review

The latest EP from Dodie is her best project yet, with brutally honest and open lyrics paired with a selection of the best produced and written tracks the singer-songwriter has put out so far.

‘Monster’ is a brilliant track; it’s one of those songs that appear simple upon first listen, but the instrumental with its groovy synth pattern and developing layers is really deep and complex, and the backing vocals are lovely too. Her best one to date.

‘Not What I Meant’ has Dodie pair up with Lewis Watson, and the duo’s voices blend really nicely together for a really pleasant, chill folky ballad that reminded me a bit of Seth Lakeman. The Title track, ‘Human’ with Tom Walker is another example of how hard hitting her lyrics can be ; specific to her experiences but again so relatable they are especially effective paired with those vocals and haunting melody.

To me, ‘If I’m Being Honest’ sounds like a track that would fit right into ‘La La Land’ or ‘Mary Poppins’, and that’s in no way a bad thing; it plods along in the nicest way and I can picture her walking along in the rain singing it in some kind of musical.

A great EP that shows Dodie just keeps improving, and shows real promise for a potential full album; but if the quality of her EPs keeps up like this, i’m not sure she needs to do one.

85%

Track Review: Foals – Exits

Foals are back! This new single is the first taste of a lot to come from the lads in 2019, as they have two full-length albums coming out this year under the name ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost’, with part one coming in March.

‘Exits’ is a long first track, coming in at around 6 minutes, but it doesnt drag. It’s unmistakably Foals, with groovy riffs and Yannis’ powerful vocals, but as with between their previous albums there is a slight difference in their sound that has helped to keep them fresh; ‘Exits’ is a lot more synth heavy and dance influenced than their last effort ‘What Went Down’.

The more you listen to ‘Exits’, the more little layers of synths and guitars you pick up you begin to realise just how well produced this is, especially towards the tail-end of the track where everything is building up and with lyrics that reference the world being upside down and ‘all the exits being covered’, Foals prove they still have their fingers on the pulse.

85%

Kagoule – Strange Entertainment Review

The Nottingham three piece’s second effort sees them grow in confidence and scale, with ‘Strange Entertainment’ being a confident, varied album. Every track on the album is different in pace and tone, but it still flows really well and feels like one coherent piece.

Opener and album highlight ‘Egg Hunt’ starts off with just vocals and bass before developing into a really groovy track with a great, catchy jangly riff that hasnt left my head in a few days.

‘It’s Not My Day’ is another fave off the album it being one of the heavier moments on Strange Entertainment, with very strong vocals from Lucy over a slow but punky backing, with brilliant creative drum patterns on this track.

Monsieur Automaton is another great track, and another change of pace with this being perhaps the fastest track on the album, and I love the harmonised vocals on the verses a lot here. Closer ‘Strange Was the Time’ is another growing, progressive track that shows off just how good the trio are musically.

With great production, variety and just banging songs throughout this is exactly the album Kagoule needed to make, and they pulled it off.

80%

Kagoule have some upcoming UK tour dates:

Oct 31st – Leeds – Wharf Chambers
Nov 01st – Manchester – The Eagle Inn
Nov 02nd – Liverpool – EBGB’s
Nov 03rd – Nottingham – Rescue Rooms
Nov 07th – Margate – Tom Thumb Theatre
Nov 08th – Brighton – Prince Albert
Nov 09th – Portsmouth – The Loft
Nov 10th – Southampton – Heartbreakers
Nov 11th – Bristol – Rough Trade
Nov 19th – London – Moth Club

Kero Kero Bonito – Time ‘n’ Place Review

Time ‘n’ Place is the second studio album from experimental British 3 piece Kero Kero Bonito, who on their debut EP ‘Intro Bonito’ and subsequent first album proved themselves to be one of the most exciting, inventive new groups around. Drawing from a wide range of influences, ‘Bonito Generation’ was a bright, colourful record.

Based on the opening track ‘Outside’, it is clear that KKB have not just made a ‘Bonito Generation 2’, with it being more guitar based and instantly heavier than most things on their debut. Don’t worry, the band’s charm is still here in abundance on Time ‘n’ Place, with KKB developing their sound while not losing any of what made them great the first time around.

‘Time Today’ is an early album highlight, with Sarah happily singing about how she has a day to herself. The album continues very strongly into ‘Only Acting’ which details how Sarah feels while performing live over a nice pop-punky backing, that brilliantly self destructs towards the end.

The whole album is just as strong, most songs telling specific, on the nose stories over innovative beats and utilising Sarah’s unique vocal style perfectly, with ‘Dump’ being a nice little story about a rubbish dump, and ‘Dear Future Self’ being a letter to future self.

Closing track ‘Rest Stop’ begins sounding like the end credit music to an old Sega game like Nights or Alex Kidd before exploding into what is essentially a few minutes of noise music with Sarah faintly singing in the background before fading out to just Sarah. Odd, but it works. Good.

93%

You can buy Time ‘n’ Place here, or stream it below.

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/

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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