Tuesday, 15 December 2015
For the second blog of the day, I'm really pleased to be featuring a new artist who I have had the pleasure of featuring before, but not as you might recognise.
If you're a regular reader of the blog, you'll know way back at the end of 2013 I featured a wonderful group called Emperor the Stag. If you need a quick refresh, you can read my posts on them here
Fantasy to Bleak was a superb album and one that I listened to a lot during the months after its release.
A week or two back I was contacted by Nick Webb from the band who asked me if I'd consider giving his new track a bit of a play - I was more than happy to, and that is what I am featuring today.
First things first, here's a link to it:
It's very very worth a listen. This feels quite a way removed from Emperor the Stag and their music. Nick's managed to put together a track here that is gently wistful and dreamy, with a richly understated vocal. Again, if you're a regular reader of these pages and you remember me reviewing a band called By Toutatis - Nick's music has a similar feel - read my posts on them here. The Downs has that kind of edge to it, with more of a guitar based sound. Again, just like my last post, this is the perfect antidote to Christmas music, but something that is eminently worth listening to right now and into the new year too. It's a nice, mellow sound, one to chill out to and forget the world.
I'd love it if you made this part of your December playlist and gave Nick your support - this is a brilliant song and I hope we hear more from him in the months to come.
Good afternoon. Yes, it has been another month since thegeneral last graced your presence, and for that I am once again, truly sorry. Life really is what happens when you're making other plans. However, I am back for the first of two lightning strike entries (ooh er missus) today, which I hope you'll really love as much as I do.
Now then, up first are a band that I've championed for a long time on these pages and it really feels fitting I should be making a comeback by writing about them. It's a hearty welcome back to my lovely friends The Everglows and their excellent new track "Feet Walking".
Firstly, if you'd like to take a look at my previous posts on them, you can read on here. There are quite a few, but I make no apologies for that, as these guys are really worth writing about (and listening to).
So, here are the links to the places you can listen to and purchase their new single from:
I highly recommend that you do.
Released in time for Christmas, this is just what I needed to hear at this stage in the year. It's actually really fresh, jingly and upbeat - the guitars are fantastic and as always, it's got that brilliantly 60s psychedelic vocal, slightly off kilter and uber cool. I kept thinking about the Happy Mondays when singer Andy Smith yelled "Hallelujah" half way through...nothing wrong with that, at all.
All the tracks these guys release seem to be instantly memorable - you only need one listen to get them stuck in your head - to my mind that's one of the hallmarks of great music. This one is no exception. Utterly brilliant in it's composition and recording.
If you're jaded with festive music already and want something with a fresher edge to take you into the new year, I highly recommend making this single one that you purchase in the coming days. I love these chaps a lot - and I am really looking forward to hearing more from them in 2016. You should too.
Thursday, 12 November 2015
Today you're actually getting two blog posts for the price of one. Which, I think you'll agree, is better than a kick up the arse with an open toed sandal.
I realised that I hadn't done a Blast From The Past post in a long while and of late I've had the pleasure of sort of re-discovering and thoroughly enjoying a brilliant Scottish post-punk band called Josef K.
Reason I say 'sort of' rediscovering is that I'd known about them for a long time, but never really taken the time to listen to them properly - and now I have I could kick myself for missing out on them for so long.
So, who were they?
Well, they were formed in 1979 - and their work featured ostensibly on the DIY label Postcard records, run by the mercurial Alan Horne.
The band consisted of Paul Haig, Malcolm Ross, David Weddell and Ronnie Torrance and although they were only together for three short years, (79 thru 82), releasing one complete album in that time, they've greatly influenced many acts since.
To whet thy whistles, here is the track that got me into them - it's called 'Sorry For Laughing'
Isn't that just a big slice of fuckawesome?
I love the sound they make, the lo-fi feel and the interesting juxtaposition between what you hear and what you see. If you took that track in isolation and just listened to it, you'd think they were some moribund bunch of disaffected youths. Then you see them, and their appearance showed a lot more sprightly humour than you'd think.
If you like their label mates Orange Juice (fronted by the sublime Edwyn Collins) then you'll like Josef K. They're sort of the serious older brother, that you find all dark and mysterious - then discover he's a right laugh underneath the cardigan and glasses.
If you liked the previous track, have a listen to 'It's Kinda Funny'
This corking track was (I think) written about late Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis. It has that Divisionesque feel to it anyway, the bass at the beginning and the darkness of the vocal particularly reminiscent of him.
That's only two tracks. If you've liked what you've heard, I really recommend buying this anthology - which will introduce you to them some more:
I've had this on a loop all week and can't stop playing it. Totally amazing.
The one album they released 'The Only Fun In Town' is there alongside a lot of shelved recordings - which are all so worth listening to.
OK, so just another short post, but I'd love it if at least one of my readers discovered Josef K and gave them a chance. I'd loved a lot of the Postcard Records stuff for a long time and regret leaving it so long to listen to, and fall in love with these guys. Brilliant stuff.
It's been a long time, dear reader (s). Well over a month. Tempus, as they say, doth verily fugit. I mentioned that I might not be blogging as much and that has sadly come true. I'm hoping I might be back more in the new year, but for now posts will still be sporadic.
However, I am back today for a few short moments to let you know that one of my favourite acts from earlier in the year Leeds/London based Apollo Junction are back with a brand new song - and I really felt you all ought to know about it.
First of all, here's my post on them from earlier in the year: here
And as always, I'd like to share with you all the necessaries before we begin.
Here's their twitter feed:
Here's their Facebookz:
Here's their website:
I wanted to give this a feature as it is a PERFECT slice of electro-indie pop and listening to it has really given an otherwise exceptionally dreary afternoon a lift. It's got a brilliant vibe to it - a real anthemic feel, that gives you a buzz, and believe me, I really need one right now.
I really rate these guys a lot - and it seems I'm not the only one, BBC Radio 2's Janice Long has played this ruddy brilliant track 6 times, and not just because the needle was stuck on the gramaphone either!
You'll be able to preorder from iTunes here: itunes.apple.com/us/album/born-for-now-single/ and I highly suggest you do.
If your Autumn playlist has got decidedly dull and grey - then get this. You will not regret it!
Tuesday, 6 October 2015
Well. This is all a bit embarrassing isn't it? Thegeneral left in July, saying they'd be back in September and then...nothing...In truth, the last couple of months have been rather less festive than a jaunt to the abattoir with no sandwiches. But life must go on.
**Just before I launch into my first review since the moon landing, the blog is still on a sort of hiatus, just for the foreseeable future. I'll be doing very occasional entries and reviews - and these will be a little more sporadic than before. I could go into all sorts of reasons why - but it would turn into something a bit political and mercenary and I don't want to do that, cos this is supposed to be FUN FUN FUN**
Now. For something nice.
Way way back at the end of February I featured these guys: Bug Prentice with their brilliant single "Nicholas Ray".
Well, the band have now got their debut album together and the frankly rather marvellous Ally Craig (guitar, vocals) from the band contacted me and asked if I would put a little something together for them ahead of the release, which comes on 23rd November. I honestly couldn't think of a better way of bringing the blog back, than with this corker of an album, so I agreed.
First - and it seems like forever since I last did this - here are the necessaries:
You can find them on Bandcamp here:
On soundcloud here:
And their website is here:
Please avail yourself of the facilities, and remember to wipe your feet on the doormat.
This genuinely is such a superb album - not a duff track on it. I've listened to it twice, all the way through and it's a collection of songs that grabbed me by the jugular.
What stands out to me are the angular, discordant guitars and the spikiness of the music and vocals - it's a slightly off kilter album, but in a good way.
To align it with some of the great alt rock that came out of the US in the 90s would be to pigeonhole it and do it a disservice, but there are nods and shakes to some of the brilliance of that era, without it being a pastiche.
If you click on the bandcamp link you can have a sneaky listen to "Nebraska Admiral" and I really recommend you do. It starts with melancholy, wistful guitars and almost plaintive vocal from the aforementioned Ally.
"A Train and then a Train and then a Train" has brilliantly distorted and fuzzy chords - the staccato progressions they make are brilliantly jangly.
It's hard to pick stand out tracks - because I genuinely did love them all, but the Nirvana-esque "Moustache" is beautifully downbeat, "Nicholas Ray" from earlier in the year was always going to be a favourite of mine anyway and finally, if you're holding a gun to my head to make me pick then I would go for "Just Do Anything", a short, coquettish song with an almost French/60s vibe, which really fools you with it's start, then turns into something totally unexpected.
The album, as mentioned earlier in the post, is out on 23rd November, so not long to wait. It will definitely be worth it for you all, that I can promise. A huge well done to Ally, Ruth and Stephen - and keep up the good work. This will be high up on my Autumn play list - as it should be on yours too.
And now, with a swirl of my cape, and a twirl of my moustache, I'm disappearing off into the ether again, I'll return very soon - but I cannot say forwhen. Keep my seat warm, my pipe lit and the tea brewed. Pip pip.
Sunday, 19 July 2015
Have a KitKat
thegeneral is taking another short break from the blog, just for a few weeks. she needs a refresh, a recharge and some time away to reflect on the meaning of existence (current thoughts: bring me another cup of tea)
Be excellent to each other while I'm gone - I'll hopefully be back sometime in September.
Bye for now.
Sunday, 12 July 2015
Here's a little post to see out the weekend with, in case the last one left you wanting more (and it bloody well should have done)
I'm really pleased to be featuring my lovely pals The Everglows once more, always a pleasure to have them upon my pages (and to also write a blog about them too - arfarf). The chaps have a new single out called "2 Minute Hero" (which of course made me instantly think about The Selecter's "3 Minute Hero"). Before that, you can read all my previous mentionings of the group HERE.
You can Twitterise the band here:
You can have a look at their Soundcloud here:
"2 Minute Hero" is yet another corker. It's actually 3 minutes though, lads. I think you were sat at the back, like me, during maths lessons, chewing gum and scratching my name on the desk with a compass.
It's got a really nice, laid back Britpop feel to it, though the band do still retain their mod/psychedelic goodness for anyone who worries they might miss out on that. I love these chaps heaps, their sound really appeals to me and I like their slightly off kilter vocals and guitars. This is another exceptionally pleasing listen and is perfect for lazy summer days. Get it on your playlists this instant.
The guys also tell me they've another track due for release on 17th July, through the NYCFactoryFast label - so watch this space. In the meantime, be a 2 Minute Hero and give The Everglows some support.
Hello and Happy Sunday to you. Another week has flown by like a nun on steroids and here I am bringing a review to you, written once more by my faithful compadre theexistensialist, who is boldly treading where I wanted to, but just didn't have time.
Today. they're bringing you a brilliant new act called The Contravenes, who we were both hugely taken with. In fact, I was a bit well-jell that I didn't get the time to do the review myself, but still very happy to get to feature them anyway. So, without further ado, here's an intro to a fabulous new band.
The Contravenes – Loaded Gun
For this blog, I am bringing you another fabulous new band, The Contravenes. Unbelievably, The Contravenes are yet to properly release a single or EP etc. However, they do have a few tracks on soundcloud for your listening pleasure:
I was totally shocked when I heard these tracks. They are not rough cut demos, the sound of a band finding their feet. They are fully-rounded songs, the sound of a band that have landed and found a musical style of their own. The Contravenes arrive fully formed. First the necessaries:
You can find them on Twitter here:
and on Facebook here:
The highlight is Loaded Gun. The band presumably know this is the standout track, as it is the first song they have created a music video for. Go over to YouTube, and check out the vid:
Loaded Gun is an absolute corker of a song. It has a heavy, hard rock riff, thunderous bass, and perfect rock vocals. And the fury of punk and scuzzyiness of garage give a real raw energy to the sound. There is just a slight stylised, nod and wink, knowingness to this band as well.
The Contravenes really could break through into the big time – they have already attracted some prestigious involvement for their project. Loaded Gun enlisting top producers for the recording of the track, top directors for the video, and a starring role for a top model to stand around in a rather haunted way, looking super-cool. The band are not to be out done, and look super-cool and pure rock ‘n’ roll, which is a definite achievement given that the video was filmed on 30th and 31st December. Us mere mortals stand around looking shiveringly cold, not super-cool, in the middle of winter.
Whilst Loaded Gun is the standout, it is well worth listening to The Contravenes other tracks on soundcloud: Her, Headspun and It’s Ideal Being Idle. These are four well-polished little gems, just waiting for release as an EP….
Sunday, 5 July 2015
Hello again amigos. We've just got time to sneak another post in before the working week comes up behind us, gooses us and batters us into submission. After the excitement of my earlier post today, we're keeping up the Manchester theme and staying in this most hallowed of cities with a review of a fantastic new single by a band that are very new to me, Hey Bulldog.
I'm once again handing over the blog reins to my trusty compadre theexistentialist, who has managed to put his tea mug and nail polish down in order to write the following review...
POST UPDATE: 19.07.15 - Short update to post to include theexistentialist's review of the band's back catalogue.
Hey Bulldog – Makin’ Friends Not Millionaires
theexistentialist is hoping to fill your day with joy, by introducing you to an absolutely fantastic new act, called Hey Bulldog. I must admit I felt a slight aversion to their name, but it was well worth getting past this, since Hey Bulldog are one of the best groups I’ve heard in ages.
The track I’m reviewing today is Makin’ Friends Not Millionaires. You can listen to it here:
You can visit the band's website here:
You can follow them on Twitter here:
You can find them on Facebook here:
If you like what you hear (and I’m not talking to you again, if you didn’t like what you heard) you can download the single for free, by going to their website, and signing up to their mailing list (which is precisely what I have done):
Hey Bulldog have a rather clever marketing and promotional tool for this single. The listener gets a free download of an absolutely corking track, and the band get the fan’s e-mail address, so they can keep them up to date with new releases and gigs.Since Hey Bulldog produce such wonderful stuff it is very exciting to hear what they’ll do next, and I am looking forward to receiving their mailings.
So, what can I say about Makin’ Friends Not Millionaires? (Are there enough superlatives in the dictionary to complete this review?) Well, Makin’ Friends Not Millionaires is a very retro sounding song, in all the right ways. It is pure psychedelic blues-rock, and would have sounded very at home in the late 60s/early 70s. However, for those of us not old enough to remember that far back (insert the joke: and if you do remember the 60s, you weren’t really there), Hey Bulldog might possibly remind you of The Stone Roses. I like The Stone Roses, but I never really went nuts for them, so (and now whisper this very quietly) Hey Bulldog are actually a lot better than The Stone Roses.
Makin’ Friends Not Millionaires is a muddy noise song – true psychedelic stuff, but with a bluesy groove which produces an almost dancey feel, and makes it accessible and hooks you in.
***Hey Bulldog – Back Catalogue***
Last week, I had the joy of introducing you to a new band, called Hey Bulldog. Well, I was so enthralled by the track Makin’ Friends Not Millionaires, that I decided to buy their back catalogue.
Thus far, it comprises of 5 EPs:
First was New York City Blues EP, back in 2007
Second was The Meaning of Loyalty EP, from 2008
The third was Desperado EP, in 2009
The fourth EP was Rip It Up EP, in 2012
And the fifth release was Numb EP, in 2014.
All their releases are available from bandcamp:
The 4 earliest EPs are only available as digital downloads, whilst Numb EP is available both as a digital download, or in olde fashioned physical format – a CD, as well as a Hey Bulldog pin badge and lyric sheet (sweet).
There is quite a bit to get your teeth into, and like being held by a bulldog, once you’re bitten by the psychedelic blues-rock it doesn’t let you go. However, this is an intensely pleasurable thing to bite hold of your soul and it is very nice to be pinned down by them. For a glorious, swirling, mesmerizing bit of retro psychedelic blues-rock the band make for a wonderful summer playlist. And, there is no need to make hay while the sun shines, just lie back, and be a lazy dog, and nod along to the riffs of Hey Bulldog.
Thanks to theexistentialist for another great review - and I have to say, I heartily concur, this is a single of epic proportions. We loved it! Get it now now now!
Hello and a very Happy Sunday to you. Another week has whizzed by like a pensioner on a mobility scooter and I'm here again, feverishly putting finger to keyboard to bring you a BRAND NEW REVIEW OH MISSUS.
Regular readers of the blog (YO MUM) will know that up to now I've solely covered brand new music and left it at that, but I'm branching out like Twiggy today with a review/interview that strays into another arena that I absolutely adore. Comedeh (that's "comedy", if you're not a regular internet user, or you're from anywhere south of Sheffield)
I'd really like to introduce you to the brilliant stand up comedian Red Redmond, who very kindly agreed to be gently probed by me last week. He also agreed to an interview, after. Well, he couldn't refuse really. I'll share the gentle probing later, but first here's how you can get in touch/find his debut show, which is called "BLUE".
You can find Red on Twitter here:
You can find him on Facebookz here:
You can find the Dead Cat Comedy Club website here:
And from that you'll be able to find a link to buy Red's stand up show here:
and you can also buy the audio only version here:
Right, that's all the necessary linkage done. Firstly, I urge you to buy and support Red's show. I discovered him quite by chance a few weeks ago, and was blown away by not only how funny he is, but how self effacing and genuine the material in BLUE seems to be. (I related to a lot of it - but that's for a whole other psychiatry session). He's got a real warmth and flamboyance which resonate through the act - and you also feel you're watching someone who is an exceptional and naturally talented performer.
I also really admire the way he's gone about producing the show and one of the main reasons I wanted to feature him on the blog is because, like so many of the bands I write about on here, he's doing it the DIY way - funding and releasing his own stuff, no agent, no manager etc. It's heartening to see.
So without further ado, here's my interview with Red. I hope you enjoy it and will support his show.
Congrats on the release of your debut stand up show. It was an absolute joy to watch from start to finish. You touch on quite a few personal things throughout the show, so I'd like to start by asking if you think anything is fair game where comedy is concerned, or do you have a line you won't cross?
First off, thanks very much. I’m really happy with the show and I’m glad so many people have enjoyed it. That aside… I always like my comedy to be personal because I think there’s nothing funnier than the truth. For me, nothing is off limits as long as I can make it funny.
I've been thinking about adopting a rabbit, but your shit-eating story did make me do a bit of a sick-burp. Please can you convince me that it's still a good thing to adopt one?
Rabbits are the best! They also love eating their own shit. But, and here’s the twist, it’s not actually shit. It's something called cecals. Basically, rabbits have a large pouch located at the junction of the small intestine and the large intestine, this is called the cecum. Here the digestible portions of the intestinal contents are broken down by bacteria. Some nutrients are absorbed through the wall of the cecum, but most nutrients are locked up in the bacteria. The rabbit then produces bacteria-rich droppings called cecotropes, which are soft, sticky and green and have a stronger odor than their regular waste droppings. These cecotropes are eaten directly from the anus as soon as they are produced. The cecotropes are then passed through the digestive tract of the rabbit and nutrients such as vitamins, amino acids and fatty acids are released from the bacteria and absorbed into the rabbit's body. As a result rabbits have developed an efficient way of producing their own vitamin, protein and fat supply. Still wanna get one? They’re dead fluffy. (thegeneral says - I'm just gonna focus on the fluff...you've convinced me but I just need to think about the fluff)
I love the approach you've taken with releasing this show. The DIY approach is something I see a lot with the bands I support on here and it's refreshing to see a comedian adopting it. Is this the way forward for you - or do you see a time when you'll get a manager and do things in a more mainstream way?
Again, thank you! In comedy, managers and agencies can be just as villainous as the major labels of the music industry. But there’s still some good ones out there. Like everything, it’s better to work with people you trust. I’ve always taken a ‘never say never’ approach to my career and I can assure everyone that if I were to sign up to something it would be for the right reasons and at the right time.
Who are your own artistic influences? Or the people who inspired you to try this?
Punk Rock. Without a doubt. I’ve been a punk fan since my teens (yeah, baby!). I’ve always respected the DIY approach of artists like The Buzzcocks, Sex Pistols, Stiff Little Fingers etc... They understood that if they wanted to get heard they had to get out there and make some noise. BLUE is my noise. This is a show for the disaffected. It's a show for the nerds, the losers, the call centre employees. It's a show for my people. (thegeneral - I think you've just distilled why I identified with it so much, sitting here in my darkened room leaning over my keyboard fretting about my very existence and worrying about my day job tomorrow ...)
What does your comedy future hold?
Hmm… Well I’m going to Edinburgh Fringe this August to work on material for next year’s show which will of course be called GREEN. Which at the moment is mainly about yoghurts and my obsession with Taylor Swift. I’ve also taken a temporary position as the in-house comedy programmer for The Dancehouse Theatre in Manchester. As well as performing, I run a number of gigs in the Manchester area under the Dead Cat Comedy banner. Basically, if I’m not gigging, I’m running a gig.
Finally, Where can we see you next?
I’m in the midst of hosting a series of Edinburgh Previews at The Dancehouse. Next one is on Saturday 11th July. The show will star myself, Jack Campbell (English Comedian of the Year 2014) and Damien Slash (Over 10,000 subscribers on YouTube). Click here for tickets. I’ll also be at Kosmonaut hosting MACE (Manchester’s Alternative Comedy Emporium) on Thursday 30th July. This is a must-see show starring South African funnyman Cockey Falkow and comedy genius Mat Ewins. Tickets on sale soon. Hopefully see you there…
P.S. Thanks so much for getting in touch and letting people know about BLUE. I hope you have a lovely day. (You are more than welcome, Red. The very best of luck with all your endeavours)
Sunday, 28 June 2015
So, for my final SuperSundayBlog outing, I wanted to bring you one last post, and believe it or not, we're staying in Leeds. Leeds, we are still in you. Still in you we are, Leeds.
This is the first time I've featured my next bad though, and I'm really happy to be doing so. I'd like to introduce you to Apollo Junction, who have really sweetly sent me their brand new EP to take a look at/listen to.
As always, I'd like to share with you all the necessaries before we begin.
Here's their twitter feed:
Here's their Facebookz:
Here's their website:
And here, above *points* ^^ you'll find a link to watch the video for the quite motherfudging brilliant title track from the EP, "Blood on Hands".
I love this and to be honest, it was totally not what I was expecting to hear, so it's always nice to be a bit blindsided - especially when it has such a brilliant opening riff. I defy you not to want to rock out to it when you hear it.
What's surprising about the band is how much variety they cram into their tracks, without it sounding overdone or too much of a clash. There are some obvious rock out moments like the brilliant opening riff - but they also manage to combine this with some great tinges or electronica too, which stop them sounding like they're just treading one solitary path, second track "Woke Up" is a prime example of this. The tracks are topped off with really great, powerful vocals from lead singer Jamie, who sings like he bloody well means it...
So, another great EP for your summer playlists and out very soon, get some Apollo Junction on your gramaphones, people. Its what they were designed for.
So, here we are again as we continue with SuperBlogSunday - and this time we're heading in quite a different direction. No, not Cleethorpes...
Again, eagle eyed readers will remember I featured this next Leeds based band, Vendettas, earlier on in the year. If you'd like to go back and read my previous post (and check out how bloody awesome they are) then you can do so HERE.
As always, le necessaries:
You can find the band on Twitter here:
You can find them on Facebook here:
And you can find their website - to purchase the tuneage thereof, here:
And you might also want to look at their YouTubes Channel
Now then. Their new single - called "Long Island Iced Tea" will be out on 3rd July, via their website and via iTunes. I've been dead dead lucky and had a sneaky preview of it, and readers it is TREEMENDOSSSE. It's a perfect bit of mod-revival rock. It's got superb riffage, excellent harmonies and it's another of those tracks that you only need one listen to, to get totally stuck in your head. I've listened to it about 12 times, so you can only imagine what it's like in there now. If you like your music full of energy, with great guitars and perfectly rock-star-awesome vocals then on 3rd July spend some of your hard earned pennies on this fantastic track. You will not regret it. Vendettas surely are one to watch.
Hello and happy near the end of the weekend thank you very much where did it go I want my money back etc. Long time no speak. Well, its been about a week or so - so I thought it was about time I brought you another Super Blog Sunday.
Today's post features a band I've been lucky enough to post about before - Provincials. If you missed the post the first time round and want to check it out, you can read it HERE.
They're now back with a brand new EP and I'm lucky enough to be featuring it on these pages again, courtesy of the ace bods at PinDrop.
First of all, here are the necessaries:
You can find the band on Twitter here:
You can find them on Facebook here:
You can find their bandcamp page (which is where to download their new EP from) here:
Now then, if you want to watch the video for the song "Landing on Water" which is the opening track of the EP, here is the link:
This is another lovely EP from a band that have such a delicacy of sound and pure beauty to them, it makes them perfect, breezy summer listening. The songs have a jazzy, airy feel to them and vocalist Polly Perry has a stunning voice, which seems to run in perfect harmony with the instrumentation and complement the brightness of the music. This is an EP which is quite different to the type of music I usually feature on here, and is very welcome to listen to.
Also worth noting if you're a fan of Flights of Helios (and why wouldn't you be?) that tracks 3 and 4 of the EP are their remixes of an earlier Provincials track called "When The Light Changes" - both are really worth a listen if you're into both bands.
If its easy, warm, bright summer music you'd like - get this EP on your playlists now!
Sunday, 21 June 2015
Happy Sunday one and all. It seems like we've blinked and yet another weekend has gone by faster than a packet of ready salted lasts in my hands (about 30 seconds). It also seems like a long time since I (that's me, thegeneral) brought you a post of my own. Time has not been kind to me recently, dear readers, but thankfully, I find myself with enough free time to bring you yet another tres marvellouse band to listen to.
Now if you're a fan of the blog (once again "hello mum!") you'll know full well I've featured today's band before. But if you're not familiar with the blog (in which case, a thousand curses upon your person), here is my previous post on the rather fantabulous WhiteMoor HERE.
The band are back with their new album, called "Pause and Effect" - which has an offical release date of 25th July. Here are the necessaries:
You can Tweet them here:
You can Facebookz them here:
You can find their website here (and preorder the album)
However (and if you've read the news today - oh boy. Apparently Michael Gove doesn't like us starting sentences with However. He can fuck off), what can I tell you about "Pause and Effect"? Well, first of all it's cocking fabulous. Secondly, it does mark quite a departure for the band. This is perhaps their heaviest sounding album to date - and that is by no means a criticism. There's a darkness to these tracks and a feeling of isolation and depth that has found its way to the surface here, which is both surprising and a joy to listen to.
The band have added distortion, feedback and all round general fuzziness to these songs to give them an almost ethereal distance and space. "Codes" is a Mansun-esque masterpiece and previous to that the frankly brilliant "Be The Last" has an excellent stop-start feel to it about a minute in, which wrong foots you in a way you don't expect. "She Makes Me Fly" provides a break from the fuzz - it sounds still and quiet by comparison and comes at just the right time in the album, giving a relaxed and chilled feel. Last track from the collection "Until Tomorrow" is a super way to finish, it has an anthemic feel to it and provides a reminder of the sounds they explored in their previous record "Horizons" which came out in 2013.
WhiteMoor are a really under-rated band and this new collection of songs is a big departure for them, but not an unsurprising one. It's a superb album, definitely worth adding in to your summer playlists for those times when you need something with just an extra bit of depth to it. Get it pre-ordered now!
Tuesday, 16 June 2015
All hail Tuesday afternoon, a time for a tea break and a chance to unveil some more really great music on the blog.
I'm once again playing catch up - but today, happy to be bringing you another stellar review from my compadre theexistentialist, who has put down his tea mug to put finger to keyboard and bring you a feature on another brilliant act from my friends at PinDrop Publicity, The Dreaming Spires. I hope you'll agree that they're as good as we say they are.
The Dreaming Spires – All Kinds of People
Back in the day, when thegeneral and I were kids, a coveted slot on TV meant an appearance on Top Of The Pops. Well, TOTP has gone. But, The Dreaming Spires have gone one better… they’ve had an appearance on BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show! Get yourself over to this link to see them performing live on Sunday 7th June on said weekend programmage:
Further information on the band can be found here:
Their Twitterz, Facebookz, Soundcloudz and websitez:
Their performance on Andrew Marr is utterly superb, and totally justifies Marr’s introduction of them as “one of the best live bands in the country” – a truly brilliant live performance. The Dreaming Spires open their live performance of All Kinds of People with a fabulous, pounding bass line. This is a song that is chock-full of wonderful, chunky 60s guitar riffs. They are a band that owe a lot to the BritPop of the 90s. But they are not merely derivative, and embody all the best bits of the 60s nostalgia that provided the basis for the genre that me and thegeneral grew up with, and leave aside any of the more run-of-mill bits. You definitely do need All Kinds of People on your current play list, or a playlist of “the best live bands in the country as recommended by Andrew Marr"
You can find a link to buy the band's second album "Searching For The Supertruth" below and the single itself will be released on 10th July - review of the album will follow very soon:
Tuesday, 9 June 2015
Welcome to a special Tuesday afternoon blog post. Today, it's another in thegeneral's occasional "Blast From The Past" series in which an album or artist that really means something special, is put under the musical microscope and probed, for reasons.
Today, I'm once again handing over the relay baton to my compadre theexistentialist - who wanted to write a piece about an album that is, unbelievably, 21 years old this year - Manic Street Preacher's "The Holy Bible". Thank you, once again for another brilliant post and for talking about a record that means a lot to anyone who grew up in the early 90s.
Manic Street Preachers – The Holy Bible
thegeneral’s tea-drinking buddy (well, we do other things besides drinking tea, but I’ll not mention that here in case our mothers are reading), theexistentialist has decided to do a “Blast From The Past” post (whilst drinking a big mug of tea).
For this post, I’m going to tell you about the Manic Street Preachers 3rd LP, The Holy Bible. This is theexistentialist’s all-time favourite album… well, probably. I can think of a lot of other albums that I like a lot. But this is the one that I am always drawn back to.
The Holy Bible was released in 1994 – pub-quiz-type-music-fact-fans: In fact, it was released on the same day as Oasis’ debut Definitely Maybe. And, in 1996, the Manic Street Preachers reached their commercial zenith, with their 4th album, Everything Must Go, which latched on to the BritPop zeitgeist. However, prior to this, back in 1994, the Manic Street Preachers were in a self-destructive mood, and released this - one of the most uncompromising and harrowing albums of all-time.
It was, of course, the last album they recorded with Richey Edwards, and it is impossible to listen to it, without reading it as his suicide note. But, really, that is a shame, as it means the album is not appreciated for the astonishing recording that it is, since it has become wrapped-up in the myths surrounding his disappearance.
The Holy Bible is intense, and grabs the listener, and literally forces them into the dark, fearful and bleak world that Richey inhabited. It is ferocious, angry; but behind the wall of noise, it has an all too obvious tortured and tormented soul.
The Holy Bible is a work of art; since, in some ways, it is a concept record. This is an album that could never have produced a hit single, not just because the songs are uncompromising, harrowing, and unrelentingly bleak, but because they work best, and only really make sense and reach their emotional depth within the context of the album as a whole.
Like a concept album, the listener is drawn deeper and deeper into the world and sound of the record. Unlike a concept record, there is no overarching theme, linking each track. However, the mood and tone, and sequencing draw the listener into the tortured heart of the album. Rather than focusing on one single concept to hold the album together, The Holy Bible is held together by the sheer intensity of the atmosphere and its emotional depth.
It is the album I keep coming back to, because whatever mood I’m in, it seems to resonate. If I’m angry, the rage and fury of The Holy Bible provides a release. If I’m depressed, the bleak despair of The Holy Bible is a comforting expression of I feel. I love the album and it bears repetition, it probably is my all time favourite record.
Sunday, 7 June 2015
Howdy. Long time no catch up. Well, it's been over a week. I love what you've done to your hair while I've been away. No, it's OK, I won't tell your Mum. Just slip £10 in the envelope and post it through my letterbox - then we'll say no more.
OK, so in my absence I was contacted by a fantabulous act I was lucky enough to cover at the start of last year - Stereo Off. You can read my previous post on them HERE.
Stereo Off are back and my intrepid tea drinking, glittery nail polished companion theexistentialist has taken some time away from the kettle and the nail file to review it for me (thank you, once again!!)
Stereo Off - The Long Hot Winter
theexistentialist was excited to have the opportunity to review Stereo Off’s long-awaited 2nd EP.
Their debut, NY EP 5 Songs, was released way back in January 2014, and was reviewed by thegeneral (see above for linkage)
Their 2nd EP, The Long Hot Winter, is due for release in the coming weeks (thegeneral will update when it's properly due out). Here's their bandcamp page where you can go and download all their other stuff while you wait:
In the meantime, the band’s Facebook page and Twitter account can be accessed, by following these links:
Like their debut EP, The Long Hot Winter comprises of 5 tracks, each of which are excellent examples of the 3-4 minute pop (alternative pop, that is) song.
theexistentialist absolutely loved this EP. This is definitely an EP for the hip indie kids at the cool indie disco (an old curmudgeon like theexistentialist probably would not be allowed into one of Stereo Off’s shows). (*thegeneral chips in, "you're 31, shut up. When you're as old as me, then you can say that"... :D)
Stereo Off are pure electronic indie-rock - very cool and very danceable. This is an EP of these indie rock styles cut through with some icy overtones of electronica. Very danceable beats and clean rhythms coupled with crystal clear vocals.
It is an absolute delight to listen to, as it makes me feel like an achingly hip 18-year-old indie kid. And, despite the icy electronica its very warm and joyful, and a deliciously upbeat EP. Essential Summer listening.
Stand out tracks are opener "Hotel Mirror" and the brilliantly rocky, anthemic "Supercooler". Definitely one to get on your playlists when it is released.
Wednesday, 27 May 2015
It's still Wednesday. If I close my eyes and wish hard enough, weekend will bite me on the ankle, I know it. For my third and final blog of the day, I want to bring you another really really excellent split single release. I know, I haven't had one for ages - then two come along at once...
The wonderful chaps at PinDropMusic sent this most very brilliant two track collection to me to have a listen to. Coming via Lick Music (lickyogurt.com/music/) if you want to look at their site, this lovely single features two bands - Octopuses and Milk & Biscuits, both hailing from Brighton.
First of all, I'd like you to have a look at all the necessaries for both groups:
For Octopuses, here is their Twitterz
Here is their Facebookz:
and here is their Bandcampz:
For Milk & Biscuits, here is their Twitterz
Here is their Facebookz:
Now then. There are two very important videos to accompany this delicious split single. Here they are - firstly, Octopuses and their song "Pogo"
Secondly, Milk & Biscuits and their track "Towns are Concrete Holes"
In the greatest possible way, Octopuses song reminded me of Madness. Now for anyone who knows me well, they'll remember that Madness were (and still are) one of my all time favourite groups. This song follows in their hallowed tradition, even down to the brilliantly sparky video. It's got a superb catchy hook, it makes you really want to move around and it captures a time and sound that often gets very overlooked. It's a real corker of a song.
Similarly, Milk & Biscuits tread a really delightful 80s sounding path. It's a track which has a super vibe to it, cracking organ vibe in it. If Octopuses reminded me of Madness, these guys put me in mind of what might happen if Squeeze met with Stereolab in the pub one evening. It's another really great listen, slightly more muted - and provides a great contrast to the first.
The split single is out in June on the previously mentioned Lick Music. Check it/them out. I highly recommend both!