Reminds us of:
My Bloody Valentine, Neu! The Chemical Brothers, Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, Roykssop, Faust, Death in Vegas, Boards of Canada, Sonic Youth, Loop
Links to music in blue.
I’ve always been a fan of music that you can get lost in. One minute I’m focussing on a task with music on in the background, and the next that music has completely enveloped me, and I’m lost in some beautiful cacophony and completely detached from everything. Pure escapism in a hectic world. That moment comes very early for me in Gnoomes latest album ‘MU!’
The band come from Russia and are signed to the wonderful Rocket Recordings, home of Josefin Ohrn and the Liberation (who I’ll be writing about on this site soon) and other artists such as Teeth of the Sea, Lay Llamas, Goat and the Utopia Strong, the experimental minimalist collaboration between (Snooker) Steve Davis, Michael J York and Kavus Torabi.
MU! was released last month. Opening track Utro heads straight into ‘Loveless’ My Bloody Valentine territory, which quickly grabs your attention before shifting into early Chemical Brothers with Sword in the Stone and Irma. Next up is the brilliant Glasgow Coma State and Sine Waves are Good for your Health. By this stage by the way, anyone or anything trying to get my attention is out of luck – I’m completely lost! The rest of the album is equally impressive, more epic noisiness follows on Ursa Major and Progulka, before the music really gets its chance to stretch its legs on How do you. The closer Feel Now brings you back into reality, probably a good thing, and it’s a noisy little beast.
I was blown away by this album when I first put it on, and as is often the case with me decided to plough through their back catalogue. Their first album Ngan! was released in 2015 and only has four tracks, although two of those are about 15 minutes long. Pleasingly it’s also great, particularly on the long tracks Roadhouse and My Son, both lovely bits of tripped out Neu style Krautrock, or Komische, as I should probably call it. In between these two epics are Myriads and Moognes, the latter of which has that some great dirty fuzz overlaid with that shimmering guitar so reminiscent of the Cocteau Twins and more recently Slowdive’s eponymous comeback album.
Ngan! Was followed in 2017 by ‘Tschak! – again very good although not to the standard of the two albums that it sits alongside. Super Libido Awake starts the album off with aplomb, a noisy loop that gently builds in the background. Maria follows – starting like Brittle Head Girl by Loop before morphing into something that Royksopp might have put together. After another couple of synth led numbers we get the title track, all very Chemical Brothers style techno. In the Park is a nice Reich inspired piece and the rest of the album continues happily in the electronic vein.
Unfortunately I missed their UK gigs last month but hopefully they’ll be back on these shores in the near future. In the meantime we have their music, which I think is enough!
Reminds us of The Fall, Can, Neu, Faust, Devo, Talking Heads, the Sugarcubes, the Comet is Coming, Moloko, Joy Division
Links to music/videos/interviews in Blue
My mate Mark, who lives in Brighton these days, recommended Snapped Ankles to me. He slightly put me off listening to them however, as he cited their key selling point as ‘they’re brilliant live’ which I took to mean as ‘they’re not so good on record’. Thankfully they’ve made two excellent albums and if you want to quickly get the ‘brilliant live’ reference, have a listen to, or watch the video of ‘I want my minutes back’ here.
The band were formed in 2011 in East London and they operate with no names, use loads of visual art in their performances and wear Ghillie suits on stage so you’ll never know what they really look like. Musically they are like Krautrock ravers, producing a pretty relentless groove that clearly takes in lots of musical influences but commonly channels the spirit of Mark E Smith, Devo, Neu, Faust and Can. Unlike those artists I can however sit through a whole album (or two) by Snapped Ankles, who clearly plan their music in that format so that the pacing and sounds don’t get too relentless or overbearing.
The band released their first EP True Ecology in 2012 but it wasn’t until 2017 that they released their second (which features the excellent ‘I want my minutes back’), with their first album ‘Come Play the Trees’ also released that year. Come Play the Trees is a worthy debut, lots of tribal rhythms working alongside the more obviously Krautrock tunes like Johnny Guitar Calling Gosta Berlin which also reminds me a bit of ‘She Sells Sanctuary’ – maybe that’s just me though.
A couple more EP’s followed last year before their second album was released in early 2019. ‘Stunning Luxury’ is less tribal, more manic disco, kicking off with Pestisound and then heading into Tailpipe, which manages to blend Moloko’s ‘Pure Pleasure Seeker’ with the Fall and Devo with a bit of ‘Age of Love’ thrown in. Latest single Letter from Hampi Mountain again sees that Fall influence coming through, but this time calling on Hexstatic. Rechargeable jumps into Joy Division territory before the pace of the album is slowed by the Neu-like ‘Three Steps to a Development’. Lead single Drink and Glide starts off like ‘A Forest’ by the Cure before jumping back into Devo and Faust, and the album concludes with ‘Dream and Formaldehyde’ It’s a dizzying but enjoyable ride.
The live experience I’m yet to sample, but I have got tickets for their gig at Village Underground in October, which forms part of their tour. I’d recommend giving the albums a listen and then buying a ticket to see them if you like what you hear, those gigs should be very good.
If you want to find out more about the band, have a read of these interviews in M Magazine and the Quietus, they are a very interesting bunch. And if you fancy one of those Ghillie suits click here!
Links to Video Clips from the Day in Green
It’s been quite some time since I went to a proper music festival, and the All Points East line up on Saturday 25th looked pretty irresistible so I got myself a ticket.
First band on my list to see was Demob Happy who I profiled a month or so ago here. They had just returned from the States and although it was great to see them, I thought they looked a little out of place as just the three of them on a massive stage, and the sound was pretty ropey to start with. I exited as they were playing their closing number (last single ‘Less is More’) to get over to the Yala stage, but hope I’ll get to see them in a more intimate setting next time.
Next up was Egyptian Blue, a bunch of young upstarts who’ve released 3 tracks thus far including latest single ‘Collateral’ and have a vinyl EP out in June. Despite the fact that they didn’t look as though they were particularly enjoying themselves I thought they were excellent - they have some really exciting material and all of their songs were well structured, so I’ll be straight onto that EP when its released and hopefully they’ll be gigging (and preferably not mid-week) before their next published London night in October.
As soon as that was done I shot back over to the main stage to see Viagra Boys. You can’t help but watch these guys with a smile on your face, so much energy and stage presence, and they rattled through their set, with ‘Sports’ the highlights of the set. I was chatting to a random stranger later on in the day and we both agreed on how good they were - ‘sick’ was his description.
I then went back to the Yala stage to see Feet. I’ve stuck a couple of their tracks on my playlists but didn’t have any major expectations of them, but I have to say I was bowled over by their set. They all jumped around the stage like a bunch of loons, played a lot of good stuff and ended their set by bundling on each other. Pure showmen are hard to find, so when you have a bunch of them on stage together it makes for great entertainment. A couple of days after I remembered that they are supporting Cage the Elephant at Heaven so I’ll get a chance to see them again in a different environment, which I look forward to.
Having seen four bands that I really wanted to see, I thought I’d check out the Fat White Family. They’re a band who I’m not that familiar with, but their set was entertaining and lively. Next up was Parquet Courts, again a band that I don’t know too well, but who were also entertaining, and it’s easy to see the appeal. I had wanted to go on to Psychedelic Porn Crumpets after them but they were playing in the indoor Jagerhaus stage which attracted a huge queue. I hope they ditch this stage next year, it was really annoying. Looking for an alternative I meandered over to see Johnny Marr. I didn’t get the chance to see the Smiths when I was younger so it was wonderful to see him cranking out ‘How Soon is Now?’ There was nothing wrong with what I saw of his set but it was a bit of a come down after seeing such consistent quality earlier in the day.
So by this stage, I needed a lift…and what better place to find it than back at the Yala stage with Yak . I am unashamedly a massive fan of Yak, who were my original inspiration for creating this blog site. I saw them at the Dome in April and they were outstanding, so I was curious to see whether they could replicate that performance here. Although a festival can’t compare with a venue I thought they were superb, Oli Burslem encouraging the crowd to ‘make a circle’ which gave a whole bunch of people an great opportunity to pogo and chicken dance to their hearts abandon, before he himself laid himself aloft the mosh pit playing his guitar on their shoulders. The band were again accompanied by brass and keys, not sure this worked as well as it did at the Dome but it certainly didn’t detract. Brilliant stuff.
Beyond this, it was kind of downhill. The Raconteurs were good, but the sheer volume of people watching them didn’t make for a particularly comfortable experience, so I went over to see Interpol who I wasn’t particularly impressed by. Finishing off the night was The Strokes. Again I’m not a huge fan and I managed to leave fairly early into their set, fighting my way through the massed numbers. Apparently the sound was really bad for the Strokes and some of the other bands but I really didn’t notice it – it seemed OK from where I was.
Concluding thoughts on the day – I loved it, particularly the earlier part w ith the young and up and coming bands. The event was brilliantly organised, I thought there was a really good atmosphere and it was really well laid out. For me the Yala / Ray Bans stage provided the best experience for all the bands that I saw there, mainly due to the fact that it was a smaller space, had crisper sound and you were much closer to the bands compared to the other stages which had about half a miles’ clearance. But overall I have no complaints, and if they continue to keep their finger on the pulse of all the latest up and coming talent as they did on this day I’ll be there again next year.
Reminds us of: The Stooges / Iggy Pop, New York Dolls, Dead Kennedys, The Damned, The Fall, Jesus and Mary Chain, Pere Ubu, Devo
Links to music in Green
I’m not sure where the best place to start is when describing Viagra Boys. The name? The music? The live experience? The attitude? Perhaps the easiest one to get out of the way is the name, so I’ll start there. Like the subject of another blog (the Nude Party), it’s not a good name but don’t let that put you off, they just don’t take themselves too seriously.
The music? Dirty. A bit punky, a bit rocky, pretty noisy and with lyrics that are firmly tongue in cheek. They released their first EP in 2016, and followed this with another EP in 2017. Debut album ‘Street Worms’ kicks off with Down in the Basement about a man with a fetish who hides his habits from his wife:
And now you're down in the basement, All dressed up in latex, One red light bulb hanging from the ceiling, And a live goat standing on a small chair in the middle of the room, Now how you gonna explain that, man?
Lead single from the album Sports (have a look at the video) parodies the alpha male, another single Just Like You celebrates not being a psychopath, Shrimp Shack chronicles their ‘I couldn’t give a..’ attitude and in between each of these there are other salubrious tales. The album originally came out last year but has recently been re-released with some extra tracks.
Live they are something special. Pure entertainment, all six of them. Lead singer Sebastian Murphy roams around the stage with his top off revealing pretty much all over tattoos (he is a tattooist by day), supported by what looks like a bunch of mean assed bikers. I wouldn’t mess with them. There’s so much energy on show that it’s infectious. It quickly gets the crowd growing and you can’t help but enjoy yourself. Have a look at my Instagram for a clip of them doing ‘Sports’ at All Points East, and have a look at their Instagram which shows a bit of footage of a gig in Hackney a couple of nights before which looks absolutely mental.
Having just toured the UK they’re not back over here from the looks of things until August for the End of the Road Festival, and then they’re supporting Sleaford Mods in November. Hopefully they’ll get some headline gigs either side of these dates – if they do, go and see them, you won’t regret it.
Reminds us of: The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Black Sabbath, Cream, The Byrds, Hawkwind, Motorhead, The Oh Sees, Faust, The Allman Brothers
Links to websites and music in Green.
If you’ve had a look at the newmusicsocial Instagram account, you’ll have noticed that I like to celebrate my vinyl collection, and in particular bands that remind me of artists that I profile on this site. It has been quite some time since I actually bought vinyl though, as my existing collection takes up a considerable amount of space, and substantially adding to it would bring logistical challenges. Something however impelled me to buy the latest 7 inch Green from Swedish Death Candy, and I will certainly be purchasing the 40th anniversary copy of Joy Divisions’ first album ‘Unknown Pleasures’ when it’s released next month. Why buy ‘Green’ then? Well, I do have something of a fondness for the band, but I also I really miss the unconfined joy that you get with receiving music in such an aesthetically pleasing format, so I took a punt.
Green also comes as a package with A Date with Caligula which is a great tune and one that appears on my latest playlist for May. If you’re tempted to purchase, be quick as there’s only 300 for sale on their Bandcamp page. I generally tend to like the odd psych-rock tune, but often find a lot of the artists from this genre a little too heavy for my liking. Whilst very part of that movement, Swedish Death Candy stand out for me as they balance heavy Sabbath like rock with more frequent nods toward Jimi Hendrix, and technically these guys are phenomenal musicians who can write well-structured songs.
Their debut EP ‘Liquorice’ was released on Hassle Records in 2015 with the lead track Living Your Life Away also appearing on their first album. Excellent stand-alone singles Won't be Long and Oh My followed in 2017 alongside a further 2 singles.
Their eponymous debut album was also released in 2017: it’s a joyous cacophony from start to finish, channelling Black Sabbath on songs like Last Dream (interesting video for this by the way) and Broken Engrams, Cream on like Love You Already and Living Your Life Away (another trippy video), the Oh Sees on Pearl and even the Byrds on tracks like Avalanche. In amongst all of this the spirit of Jimi Hendrix looms heavy throughout. I’ve always thought that the best place to start learning the guitar would be Hendrix and it seems like Lead Singer/Guitarist Louis Perry agrees with me, as his playing is superb. Check out their session for KEXP here.
Last year saw ‘A Date with Caligula’ released on download, again with a heavy nod toward the Oh Sees, and Green came out last month. They are regularly gigging - as with a lot of bands that I’m uncovering as I go along I am yet to see them play live, but I am assured that they are excellent and will make sure I catch them as soon as I can, and will post my findings on Instagram
I recommend listening to the album loud from start to finish, and like me I expect even if you’re not particularly into head-banging you will find your head going (probably by track 2)!
Guest Article by Peter Smith: Impress Your Teenage Daughter! “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” by Billie Eilish
Reminds us of Lana Del Rey, Sigrid, Grimes, not many older artists actually but at a pinch Tracey Chapman, Suzanne Vega, Sinead O’Connor …
For those (like me) who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, the musical generation gap was huge. Our parents grew up pre the whole rock music era, so even Merseybeat or the pop tunes of the summer of love sounded strange and threatening to many of their generation. By the time I was watching Bowie doing Starman on Top of the Pops as a 14-year-old, I was literally getting the “I can’t tell if he’s a boy or a girl” comments from my parents. Luckily (for them, anyway), I was off to university just as the Ramones, then the Pistols, Jam, Clash, Elvis Costello and more formed the punk soundtrack to the next few years of my life.
Today, things are very different. Teenagers are likely to be combing through their parents (or even their grandparents) vinyl collections for obscure gems, and whilst some of us might struggle a bit with grime, it’s nothing like my Dad’s vitriolic reaction to Hot Love by T.Rex (OK, I had played it 6 times straight through …)
While I was frequently asked to “turn it down”, today’s parents may be puzzling over the enigma of Billie Eilish, who is now the 6th most listened to artist in the world on Spotify. But today’s parents will be saying, “can you turn it up? Why is she whispering? Can’t she sing louder?”
Eilish has come up through the YouTube route, putting songs online since she was about 13, and now aged 17 her first album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? is out, and is already huge.
Much of the time, Eilish sings gently, mutters and whispers her way through this collection of resolutely low-fi pop songs, although my parents would have appreciated the fact that her vocals are generally comprehensible. Her older brother Finneas is a co-writer and producer, but she seems to be her own woman rather than the front for a back-office Svengali. Whoever is responsible for the sound has interesting ideas though – it is very minimalist, and often Eilish sings to just a sparse rhythm track, with some multi-tracking on her vocals to keep her company and maybe some occasional keyboard interventions.
It can get a little cutesy at times – “8” is particularly annoying with its ukulele and little girl vocals. But it can also work very well – “when the party’s over” features vocal harmonies and a simple piano accompaniment and is genuinely lovely. Occasionally a heavier dub-step feel creeps in, before a song reverts to softness. Vocals can be distorted, but the tunes are generally pretty strong, and her voice is pretty and naturalistic, conveying emotion successfully without vocal histrionics.
Eilish has built her huge following by being a spokeswoman for her generation of young woman. She sings about their concerns, and it can be quite dark at times – growing up, the pressures of friendship, first boyfriends and so on. But there is some humour and irony too. “wish you were gay” for instance is about liking a guy who doesn’t reciprocate her feelings, so she wishes that his sexual orientation was the reason for the rejection.
Whilst those of us who aren’t the target market may not relate to that (!), I found the album surprisingly enjoyable. It is unusual particularly in its soundscape, but the songs are at heart “just” good pop songs, and it is a whole lot better than what many teenage girls listened to in my era (Bay City Rollers, Donny Osmond…). There’s much to admire and little to dislike here, and I’m looking forward to seeing her at Reading Festival in August, although I suspect the huge Radio 1 tent may be packed to overflowing with excited kids who will I’m sure know every word of the songs! She is low key in her dress, appearance and demeanour too – the polar opposite of the Kardashian culture, so credit for her on that front too.
It’s hard to relate Eilish to acts of a previous generation given the modernity of the production – I’d just sum up by suggesting that if you like tuneful, clever pop, female singers, and don’t object to the occasional bit of electronics, then you’ll be fine …
Reminds us of: The Rolling Stones and therefore Primal Scream, The Velvet Underground, Sonics, Inspiral Carpets, the Doors, the Mysterians, Stephen Stills, the Byrds, Gram Parsons, loads of other 60's bands
Links in Green
Back in the days before instant access to music via the internet, I broadly had two options when it came to listening to albums for the first time – buy or borrow. The buy option could be from new or second hand, and the borrow option would normally involve taping the album if I liked it (or getting a friend to tape the album and giving me the tape). LP Hartley was certainly right when he said that ‘the past is a different country, they do things differently there’.
If the album was a new release, I’d normally have heard, liked and possibly have bought a single from the album, and have read a review in either the NME or Melody Maker. This degree of familiarity would ensure that I’d be happy to part with my money. ‘Classic’ albums (either referenced by one of the artists I liked as an influence or championed by the music press) were however a bit of a lottery. I remember clearly buying ‘Horses’ by Patti Smith and The Clash’s eponymous first LP second hand from Romford Market, getting them home and putting them on, only to be hugely disappointed with what I heard. In fact I think I took them both back either that day or the next.
One album does that sticks out in my memory as a good find however, was Let it Bleed by the Rolling Stones. A great album from start to finish, I still love this album, as well as its predecessor Beggars Banquet and the follow up Sticky Fingers. ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ was also a big Balearic tune at the time which gave the Stones kudos. I also actively sought out music by bands like the Byrds and the Velvet Underground, having realised pretty quickly that I liked certain music from this era. As music has become more accessible I’ve continued to hunt down classic albums of that time and also from the early seventies such as Manassas. Which brings me on to the Nude Party.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: the Nude Party is a terrible name for a band. They started playing gigs in the buff by all accounts, which is how they came across that moniker, but have unsurprisingly had to curb their naturist tendencies when they started to play regular venues. It’s not as bad a name as the Viagra Boys, but it’s not far off. Bad name withstanding, the Nude Party (let’s call them TNP) make good music that sounds very similar to that of the Stones, late period Velvet Underground, Byrds, Gram Parsons etc and on this basis they get the thumbs up from me. Their quirkiness also reminds me of the wonderful Colorblind James Experience, who wrote I'm Considering a Move to Memphis which if you’ve not heard you should – it may bring a smile to your face.
TNP come from Boone, a town situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina and a centre for Blue Grass musicians and Appalachian storytellers. They released their first ep Hot Tub in 2016. Their self-titled debut album was released last year and they’re about to embark on a few UK gigs, including a stint at the ‘All Points East’ Festival. Songs like Feels Alright which I put on my April playlist could fit right into the Velvet Underground’s third album or Loaded whereas Records could easily have appeared on ‘Exile of Main Street’ with the vocal performance uncannily close to Mick’s. The use of organ on tracks like Water on Mars and Live Like Me make for an Inspiral Carpets/Doors/Mysterians type experience. Elsewhere you can hear shades of the Byrds and the Sonics as well as probably loads of other 60’s bands. There’s a good review of the album in Pop Matters which I fully agree with and you can read about here.
If you’re a fan of any of these bands or of this mid-late 60s period music, give TNP a go. It’s not ground-breaking, but it is a decent listen and the songs are well crafted. The other great thing about TNP is that they should remind you to dig out all of those old classic albums again. Obviously if you haven’t heard those albums you are in for a double treat!
Reminds us of: Loop, Jesus and Mary Chain, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Killing Joke, Joy Division, Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, Can, My Bloody Valentine, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
Links to songs in Green
There’s something about guitars generating a wall of sound that I find completely satisfying to listen to. It is immersive and allows you to get lost in the music. My first exposure to this came through listening to Loop when I was a teenager, and Crows provide a similar experience, albeit the musical structures used by these bands differ, with Loop favouring repetition and Crows slightly more song based.
Crows’ first single Pray was released in 2015, and it’s an excellent introduction to the band, sounding like a cross between Head on and Heavens End by Loop. Pray was followed by the ‘Unwelcome Light’ and ‘Cold Comfort’ EP’s in 2016 - both records are absolute quality, with lead tracks on each Goodnight Evelyn and The Itch stand outs. After this the band stayed quiet (at least on the release front) until 2019 with their debut album Silver Tongues released in March, preceded by the ‘Chain of Being’ and Wednesdays Child singles in January and February.
The album starts a bit sluggishly with lead track ‘Silver Tongues’, which doesn’t make for an easy start to the listening experience, but picks up quickly after here. Lead singer James Cox’s vocals seem to veer between sounding like Ange Doolittle, John Lydon and Ian Curtis at times, with the sneering Lydon-esque tones coming out by the frantic second track ‘Demeanour’. ‘Empyrean’ soars majestically while ‘Wednesday’s Child’ and ‘Hang me High’ channel early Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. ‘Crawling’, which originally appeared on their first single continues the pummelling of your senses, and seems to incorporate a Boards of Canada drum pattern.
The excellent, stand out Chain of Being is perhaps the most accessible track on the album, with the bassline very reminiscent of ‘Age of Consent’ by New Order. ‘Tired and Failed’ follows, this time evoking the Ian Curtis vocal and a riff that sounds a little similar to ‘Classic Girl’ by Janes Addiction. We drift into Nick Cave territory initially with First Light//False Face but the track builds and builds into an epic crescendo, and the album’s closer ‘Dysphoria’ feels like a noisy cousin to Joy Division’s ‘Atmosphere’.
The album was released on Balley Records (owned by IDLES) and recorded in the dark. At times the production feels a bit muddy, and it’s undoubtedly not an easy listen, but Silver Tongues is ultimately an excellent album.
The band have just completed a short UK tour, and then playing some gigs in the states and Europe as well as festivals such as Latitude. They also have an impressive and eclectic taste in music – have a listen to their playlists on Spotify to find out more.
Reminds us of: Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Pixies, Beck, That Petrol Emotion, The Raconteurs, Arctic Monkeys, The Rolling Stones
Links to videos are in Green
Cage the who? Remarkable as it may sound for a band that have been releasing albums since 2008, I was completely unaware of Cage the Elephant until February this year. If this astounds you and you’re familiar with their stuff you should probably stop reading here, but if they’re similarly unfamiliar to you then I’d suggest you read on and click on some of the links below to give them a listen.
Have gone to see SHEAFS play earlier this year, and having had the opportunity to chat with Charles and Lawrence from the band they told us that Cage the Elephant were one of their main influences, so I thought it would be rude not to check them out. They’ve just released a new album ‘Social Cues’ this month and are playing a couple of UK gigs in June so now seems like a good time to do a profile.
Their first eponymous album reminds me of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and features the excellent top 40 single Ain't no rest for the wicked. 2011 saw them release ‘Thank You Happy Birthday’ where they manage to sound uncannily like the Pixies, particularly on tracks like Aberdeen. A live album followed in 2012 before the release of Melophobia, featuring Come a little Closer which was apparently a big radio hit (clearly not on my radio though). Fourth album ‘Tell me I’m Pretty’ was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys (but don’t let that put you off) and won the Grammy for best Rock album. I like all of these albums – their sound from Melophobia onwards has become more mainstream but the song writing is good and it’s the sort of stuff you can easily put on without annoying the rest of your family, particularly those that are inexplicably unappreciative of squalling feedback (the heathens!).
So, onto the new album. There are basically loads of reviews of the album knocking about so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel, but I’m inclined to agree with the one here by Consequence of Sound which talks about the album being pretty safe throughout (continuing the mainstream theme) and slightly sombre tone given the many references to lead singer Matt Schulz’s divorce. First to air from the album was Ready to Let Go which really sounds like Static by That Petrol Emotion to my ears, followed by House of Glass, then the Thievery Corporation-esque Night Running (with Beck), and just prior to the album release the lovely lament Goodbye. Each of these releases adopt different styles, and the album throughout takes on a fair few guises, although it does feel a little let down by the washed out production. It’s a perfectly good listen however, and definitely a grower, so do open your ears.
Overall I really like Cage the Elephant – well constructed songs and pretty consistent throughout.The fact that I hadn’t heard of them until this year, also fills me with immense excitement for all the other artists that I really should be aware of, but haven’t as yet come across. If you’re of a similar disposition to me in this respect, make sure you keep coming back to this website, and feel free to list any of your own recommendations in the comments box below!
Reminds us of: Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys, Oasis, David Bowie, T-Rex, Bob Dylan, The Jam, The Redskins.
Some bands are destined for stardom: the Blinders are one of them.
Quite a bold statement but I remember hearing ‘I bet you look good on the dance floor’ and ‘Shaker Maker’ and thinking the same, so I don’t think I’m too far off the mark. In fairness, this isn’t too venturesome a claim really given that that they’ve already had a top 20 album, one of their songs (Brave New World) used for a betting advert shown at half time of most premier league matches this season, and they have developed a sizeable following.
A three piece originally from Doncaster, the Blinders make music that is forceful, well-crafted and politically aware. In a recent interview with John Robb (which is well worth listening to or downloading) they cite musical influences such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, David Bowie and Bob Dylan, alongside more contemporaneous artists like the Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian. It’s hard to believe that an album like ‘Columbia’, which was released in September last year was made by three guys aged between 20 and 21 at the time, such is its maturity. Columbia is a remarkable record, with Gavin Monaghan’s excellent production really coming to the fore.
Columbia is named after the utopia that Charles Manson promised his family – perhaps a metaphor for the utopia that Donald Trump promised his own followers, inflated Brexit claims as well as the general premise that seems to exist in politics today that you can outright lie about most things and face no consequence. That certainly seems to be the case with songs like L'etat C'est Moi (I am the state, a subject’s all you are…I’ve got divine right) and Brave New World (‘in come, the Idiot King, he build a wall, and he built it high But did you know that it's made out of pie?).
Columbia has an almost film like structure – Gotta Get Through kicks off the album, designed to make you sit up and pay attention and very reminiscent of Miserlou from Pulp Fiction. The next five tracks provide the exposition – social commentary, frustration and contempt on matters such as police brutality (I Can't Breathe Blues) before culminating in despair with the Dylan-esque Ballad of Winston Smith. The album shifts into its turning point, beginning with Et Tu and concluding with latest single Rat in a Cage, At this point hope is restored and defiance prevails, before the reflective closer Orbit comes along, providing the denouement. All in all it’s a powerful album that gets better with each listen.
By all accounts they are well on their way to completing the second album, and they aim to take on new directions with their music. It will be interesting to see how they develop, and hopefully they will resist the pressure to compromise and dilute their music that bands on the up seem to face.