‘A Healthy Earth’:Peaer Interview

I spoke to Peter from very good Brooklyn based indie band Peaer, about their imminently releasing second album ‘A Healthy Earth’, due out on the 16th of August. Here’s what he had to say.

First of all, I asked why they went with that title for the album.
“We went through a lot of titles when we were trying to finish this album and nothing seemed to really stick. “We wanted to imply on the concept of “scale” with the title, since the subject matter of the record goes between interpersonal and global ideas.”

“We wanted a title that could talk about the small stuff and the big stuff at the same time. “A Healthy Earth” is actually from a line in our song “Multiverse” – and once we started throwing that around it really started to stick, it was catchy and not too wordy, and it also works aesthetically with the rest because of the repeated “ea” lettering.”

“Conceptually, ‘a healthy earth’ sparks questions in my mind – what makes a healthy earth? do we live in one? is it possible to make one? Its a question, its a call to action, it provokes thoughts.”

 

The album art for ‘A Healthy Earth’ is a rather nice photo of a model railway, and I wondered what the significance of this was:

 

“The train set was built buy Thom (our bassist) and his father some of years ago. Thom’s dad has been part of the local model train society in Westchester, NY, and the train set still resides in the basement of Thom’s parent’s house.”

 

“When I first went to Thom’s house years and years ago and I saw the train set, I immediately started taking pictures and thinking “this would be perfect for the new album (3 or so years before it was completed).”

“Last summer Thom and I went back to the house with some DSLRs and took a bunch of photos with the intention of using them as album artwork. It works really well with the “scale” theme I spoke about in the first response, and its a very beautiful model.”

 

‘In My Belly’ from the album features Indie-Pop icon Shamir, and Peter discussed what it was like collaborating with them on the track, and it turns out they were already friends.

 

“Shamir and I have gotten super close since we toured together in December of 2017, so asking them to sing was something we were eager to do.”
“It was remarkably easy since their voice is amazing and they have an incredible ear for harmony. We simply sent them the song and they sang parts in a studio with their engineer, and we took those tracks and blended them into the recording.”

 

“We knew we wanted another voice to make the middle section of the song shine and Shamir was the perfect ask. I basically just told them to “go wild” and they did!”

 

Second albums are apparently difficult to make, but definitely come with a lot of attention and hype from critics and fans alike; did Peaer go about making their second album any differently? Peter said so and I have no reason to not believe him:

 

“The first LP was very much so a snapshot of time – the band had been playing a bit in college and had these 7 or so songs ready to go, and before we all graduated and lost access to the nice studios we had at college, we decided to lay everything down.”

 

“It was much more hands-off experience. We tracked it all and then I gave it to Jeremy (not in the band yet but still engineered the whole record) and just said “okay make this sound good” and he did!”

 

“This time around we were much more intentional. We took our time with the tracking and pre-production of it all, and generally spent more collective time with the album as it was being made. Editing, re-tracking parts, adding and trying out new sounds and things in order to make the record more involved. We definitely treated it as a more substantial piece.”

 

I asked Peter what artists were inspiring the band while making ‘A Healthy Earth’:

Off the top of my head it would be the production and careful writing of (Sandy) Alex G, Pedro the Lion, the non-chalant-yet-daring nature of The Dismemberment Plan, the eclecticism of Duster’s Stratosphere, Pinback, The Lemonheads, Life Without Buildings. A lot of the same sort of artists that have always been there for me.

‘A Healthy Earth’ comes out on the 16th August, and you can pre-order it here.

 

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New Release Roundup 2nd August 2019

Elbow – Dexter & Sinister: Manchester’s nicest band return with, as is usual for them, a nearly 7 minute long track. However, ‘Dexter & Sinister’ sees Elbow going back to the sound of their earlier albums whilst also sounding reinvigorated; Guy’s standard lovely vocals are paired with an instrumental that sounds spacious and cinematic but also a great deal of urgency, with the track’s long run time zooming by. 90%

Foals – Black Bull: This is the first track revealed from the second album of Foals’ ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost’ double album and they aren’t playing around. It’s an absolute banger, and one of the best tracks Foals have ever released. Heavy, angry and precise, this is what rock music needs right now. Very excited for this album. 97%

Ariana Grande & Social House – Boyfriend: Ariana continues her streak of great releases with this new single with help from her Thank u, Next co-writers Social House. ‘Boyfriend’ sees Ari and Social House both deliver very smooth vocals over an almost electro swing instrumental, with a catchy hook and great chemistry between everyone on the track. Will Ari release a bad song any time soon? Hope not. 93%
Haim – Summer Girl: The first new track from Haim since 2017’s ‘Something To Tell You’, ‘Summer Girl’ is a very chill, jazzy and aptly summery number which has an insanely catchy ‘do do do do’ based chorus that is very hard to shake from your head. Very pleasant indeed. 90%

Brockhampton – I Been Born Again: The world’s greatest boyband™ drop yet more new music, with ‘I Been Born Again’ being a straight up rap banger. As is usually the case, each member of the group brings a great verse to the track. This gives me more Saturation vibes than Iridescence so there’s no real telling where they will go next. 80%

Newmoon – Collide Into Me: ‘Collide Into Me’ is a rather lovely piece of dreamy indie-pop from Belgian band ‘Newmoon’. This is the first track to be revealed from upcoming album ‘Nothing Hurts Forever’, coming out in October. Can’t wait. 83%

Raye – Love Me Again: This new single from Raye is unfortunately a bit forgettable. It’s nice enough but doesn’t stand out from the crowd at all and sounds a bit like a bad Sam Smith song. 50%

Tove Lo ft Alma – Bad As The Boys: This sounds like a reject Marina & The Diamonds song & sounds like so many other tracks out there at the moment. Very forgettable. 20%
Mermaidens – Millenia: This is the second track to be released from Mermaidens’ upcoming album Look Me In the Eye, out September 6th, and it’s a great shoegazey, gloomy, groovy tune with captivating vocals and a really addictive drum beat. 80%

The S.L.P. – The Youngest Gary: Another great tune from Serge Kasabian’s upcoming solo project! ‘The Youngest Gary’ is a more synth-driven track than the previous 2 releases but it’s still got that trademark Serge groove and his unique vocals work really well here. Looking forward to this album a lot. 75%

Ava Max – Freaking Me Out: ‘Freaking Me Out’ is a solid, v catchy pop bop from Ava here with a really great vocal performance. 69%

Husky Loops – I Think You’re Wonderful: This is really horrible. The sample/hook on this is really abrasive to listen to and the verses sound over-sentimental. Sounds like Imagine Dragons and Lukas Graham at the same time. 5%

Who to watch at Tramlines 2019

Tramlines 2019 is just over a week away, and a wide variety of acts are going to be hitting Hillsborough Park in Sheffield on 19th-21st July! Here are my Top 5 picks for each day of the weekend.

Friday

Manic Street Preachers – 6:30pm, Main Stage

The Iconic Welsh band will bring their anthemic indie classics to the Main Stage on Friday Evening. Not to be missed.

Two Door Cinema Club – 8:15pm, Main Stage

The Northern Irish Indie icons will be headlining the Friday night of Tramlines, bringing tracks from their latest album ‘False Alarm’ alongside their biggest hits to Hillsborough Park.

The Seamonsters – 4:15pm, Leadmill Stage

The Seamonsters are one of the fastest rising bands in Sheffield at the moment, and will surely rise up the Tramlines line-up in years to come, so catch them here while you can.

Circa Waves – 5:15pm, Main Stage

Circa Waves will being their summery brand of indie rock to the Tramlines Main Stage on Friday evening.

The Futureheads – 8pm, Leadmill Stage

Sunderland legends The Futureheads are back! Catch them closing the Leadmill Stage on Friday with their punky, riff-filled set.

Saturday

Miles Kane – 4:30pm, Main Stage

One half of The Last Shadow Puppets and an Indie icon in his own right, Miles will be hitting the Main Stage on Saturday afternoon.

Reverend and the Makers – 5:45pm, Main Stage

Reverend and The Makers are Sheffield legends at this point. Their Tramlines set last year was pure madness and drew an enormous crowd, expect more of the same this year.

Johnny Marr – 7pm, Main Stage

It’s Johnny Fuckin Marr.

Anteros – 2:30pm, T’Other Stage

Upcoming indie-pop four piece Anteros recently released their debut album ‘When we Land’ and will be bringing it’s anthemic indie bops to T’other Stage on Saturday Afternoon/

The Japanese House – 7:15pm, Library Stage

A set filled with smooth, groovy indie pop is what to expect from The Japanese House, closing the Library Stage on Saturday night.

Sunday

Happy Mondays – 1:30pm, Main Stage

90s Icons Happy Mondays will be taking to the Main stage as special guests on Sunday afternoon.

Lewis Capaldi – 4:45pm, Main Stage

One of the biggest names in Pop right now, Lewis will be bringing his ballads and bops to the Main Stage on Sunday afternoon.

Doves – 7:45pm, T’Other Stage

Another indie reunion comes from Doves, who will be headlining T’Other stage on Sunday night.

Guest Singer – 2:45pm, Library Stage

Jake Cope aka Guest Singer is a real rising name in indie pop, and will bring his polished tunes to the Library stage on Sunday afternoon.

Nile Rodgers & Chic – 7:45pm, Main Stage

Nile Rodgers has potentially played on more hit songs than anybody else in history so this is not a set to be missed, with Nile and Chic bringing the weekend to a close in style.

 

 

 

New Release Roundup – 1st Feb 2019

Jaws – Do You Remember?: On this new single, Connor and co. have really stepped up the production value to a much grander, epic scale and it pays off massively, with the quality of the songwriting still being there; this sounds like Jaws on the scale of a band like Foals or Doves, and it bloody works. 92%

Billie Eilish – Bury a Friend: The beat on this song reminds me of a very, very low-key version of Kanye’s Black Skinhead. Pair this with some matching low-key spoken/sung verses by Billie and this makes for an interesting track, and it shows that Billie still has more variety up her sleeve. 85%

Wev – Find Yourself: A great piece of growing, developing dance music here from Wev; ‘Find Yourself’ has rings of early Disclosure and Jax Jones, but also it’s own, clear personality. 80%

Haiku Hands – Dare You Not To Dance: This new Haiku Hands track sounds like Warpaint, M.I.A. and Kero Kero Bonito all at the same time, and it’s absolutely brilliant. Slaps. 90%

Interpol – Fine Mess: I’m not sure what Paul Banks and the other two were going for here, but the production on the vocals is just TOO fuzzy and glitchy, making it a jarring, annoying listen, and underneath this is an underwhelming Interpol track. 20%

The Chemical Brothers – Got To Keep On: Can they make a bad track ever?? Standard Chem Bros stuff, but again it seems as fresh and relevant as ever. How do they do it? 90%

Circa Waves – Me, Myself and Hollywood: A lot more understated than their previous releases, this new single is my favourite they have ever released. Catchy, with great lyrics and a really controlled, focused performance. 80%

Sports Team -M5: The new Sports Team single ‘M5’ is Advert-Ready in the best possible way. Insanely catchy ‘ooh-oohs’ throughout the tracks and an incredibly powerful, blasting chorus make this one of the most exciting new singles I’ve heard from anyone in a long time. Sick. 95%

Ady Suleiman – Strange Roses: A really pretty ballad from Ady here, with ‘Strange Roses’ showcasing his really smooth, focused and controlled vocals that really make this track just.. lovely. 80%

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Cyboogie: Sounding like a mix between Bowie’s ‘Jean Genie’ and Daft Punk, this new King Gizzard track is a lot of fun, and very catchy, and of course with it being King Gizzard it’s well over the 6 minute mark in length. 75%

 

Bring Me The Horizon – amo Review

‘amo’ is the latest album by Sheffield, their first since 2015’s ‘That’s The Spirit’. It’s a varied but focused project that’s miles away from their much heavier beginnings, but this shows a band who aren’t afraid to take risks. I think they paid off.

Lead single ‘MANTRA’ is still as punchy and vital as when it first dropped a few months ago, with it’s personal, timely lyrics about mental health and instantly infectious guitar hook, it’s the one of the best songs they’ve ever written, not a bad start.

‘nihilist blues’ features Grimes. The existence of this collab is enough to turn heads in itself, and the track will probably do the same to long-time fans. A heavy dance number with vocals from Grimes alongside Oli sounds wildly different to Mantra on first listen, but in the context of the whole album it just works.

Tracks like ‘in the dark’ and ‘ wonderful life’ are two more cuts that contrast eachother in terms of heaviness but the great songwriting and production really tie everything together here, with even the glitchy instrumental tracks like ‘ouch’ and the very poppy ‘medicine’ all slotting in perfectly. There are touching moments on the album too, with ‘mother tongue’ and ‘i don’t know what to say’ seeing Oli really opening up about subjects like grief and love.

They took some big risks and have taken a lot of slack for changing their sound, but ‘amo’ is a great album, no matter what genre it is.

90%

 

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%

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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