Monday, 1 September 2014
Presumably that was the sound that 'Hail Lucid State' was trying to capture.
With Death In Vegas' Richard Fearless on production duties, this second bite of the black cherry rapidly bears down upon the release of Dark Horses' debut album just last year, and with ten tracks that clash a very British penchant for doom-laden gothic pop in the style of The Cure headlong into a swirling whirlpool of psychedelia, cascading beautifully into an abyss of bleak hypersensitive bliss, then why wait any longer to unleash more of your tainted jewels upon your adoring public?
Whilst the cold, sparse electronica of 'Sevens' poses a clear indication of why Crystal Castles chose to sign Dark Horses to their Last Gang Records imprint, it is the rest of the album and the reverb drenched echoes of Siouxie Sioux cavorting with Kate Bush against a backdrop of roots rock and guitar riffs that would resonate with fans of The Cult that show why names such as Tame Impala, Kasabian, Sigur Ros, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Noel Gallagher, The Dandy Warhols and Beck have all seen something within Dark Horses that they identify with and felt fit to invite them out on tour as handpicked guests.
It is at a meeting point between all of these bands that 'Hail Lucid State' exists, surely anyone that has caught Dark Horses on one of their numerous support slots for the aforementioned acts will have been mesmerised by the bands wide-ranging scope, and yet it is these numerous touchstones the band evokes that will also be winning them new fans, not only amongst audiences but amongst touring artists, and also amongst a record buying wider fanbase if there is any justice left in this crazy, mixed up world.
Thursday, 21 August 2014
Franz Ferdinand are here to tell a Late Night Tale.
And where other artists in these series of compilations have a tendency to kick back and recline in the fine company of some chill-out records, the veteran Scottish Art-Rock group have committed to this mixtape the sonic equivalent of being invited back to their very own decadent multi-roomed 'Stately Home'-party.
Picture the scene, perhaps a raucous post-gig after-party has spilled out of the venue’s own late bar, and all the liggers and groupies and hanger-ons and drug dealers are treated to a private performance as Franz keep the night going in spectacular fashion, in the lavishly decorated smoking room you catch the band indulging themselves with a set of eclectic cover versions before you follow the faintly sweet smell that definitely isn't nicotine to the attic full of stoners commandeering an old record player and putting on a lazy, hazy run through of the Beatles 'I'm Only Sleeping' before laying back on their beanbags and floating upstream...
As you shake off the lightheadedness and venture back to the party in full swing you stumble and pass through different rooms and differing vibes, each housing a small soundsystem in full swing, from happy clappy hippies to loud and lairy rock'n'rollers, you throw shapes to funk and reggae, a mixture of seemingly disjointed styles reminds you of drinks you have been mixing all night and into the wee hours of the morning.
You've popped, you've rocked, you've skanked, you've pogoed, you've puked and you've pulled and you've had the time of your life in this maze-like house, but the light has been trying to stream through the heavily curtained windows for at least a few hours, and maybe you should try and get out now, go home, sleep it off.
But with the grand oak front door finally in sight you make your way past that same smoking room from earlier, where Alex Kapranos now holds court over a room of cross-legged or passed-out former revellers, reciting poetry and telling tales and providing the perfect counter to the debauched and divergent party that you thought would never end.
His soothing accent lulls you away from the hectic night and the fuzzy memories of frivolity, it lulls you deeper into the pile rug on which you share with the most fastidious Franz followers, and finally his soothing accent lulls you into errant sleep.
Sunday, 17 August 2014
Saturday, 2 August 2014
the email subject header promises a 'dancehall infused single', it apparently has a video of people dancing to the track on the streets of New York, i download the album and get a few tracks into a safe, and ultimately dreary, female vocalist and multi-instrumentalist going through the motions. did i hear anything 'dancehall infused' before turning off?
no. i did not.
and on to the next album in my hastily decided upon 'to review' pile. thankfully it engages almost immediately.
i skim read the premise of this album, in much the same way i skim read the press release of the last. the terms 'concept', 'dreary world', 'producer' were the initial hooks, enough for me to hit download. once the music has spoken for itself, there will be plenty of time to go back if i need any more info.
aurally, Groundislava's Frozen Throne boasts results that could have been cobbled together by an on-trend collaboration of Frank Ocean dabbling in production duties for Bastille, sheer gossamer future-pop that rides a wave of current trends without sounding like it tries too hard, a teaming of two 21st century chart-breakers would surely breed this strain of soul-synth-pop magic.
in fact, the collaboration is between the two LA based entities, producer Groundislava and band Rare Times, on 6 of the 10 track set, and the album is furnished with a wonderful eighties sheen that crackles with George Michael-eque big money charisma as it takes the retro sound to tell a tale of a man falling in love with a virtual girl and retools it with a new nobility lifted from beats, breaks and those three dirty letters.... EDM, as we follow the narrative into a digital world, to escape the bleakness of real life and embark into a constructed world that appears to be far more fulfilling.
(see, i told you i'd get round to ready the press release properly)
Despite sounding like the plot of an 80's special effects laden cult classic movie, the issues of what we truly perceive as 'reality' in a post catfish-effect world teaming with internet trolls are thoroughly relevant in a time when simply setting up an online profile can allow you to live your life as whoever you choose to be.
Past, present and future stories collide as Groundislava basks in the glory of his own terraformed landscape, welcoming travellers on a pilgrimage for new pleasures, greeting listeners that may have already discovered M83 after cutting their teeth on the familiar top 40 sounds of CHVRCHES, Aluna George and Disclosure.
In an uncertain modern world, Groundislava provides the perfect soundtrack.
Thursday, 17 July 2014
There are plenty of things that can be said to grab ahold of your attention.
When discussing music,the obvious touchstones of comparisons are usually first and foremost... if you like blah blah you will like so and so, and so on.
But when you have already been alerted to the fact that one line of a song is as follows...
“Then in a drunken haze, stabbed her in the parking lot of a TGI Friday’s”
The shock value certainly worker for me. I load up the soundcloud link and press play.
Thankfully the song works beyond the initial worm on a hook, regardless of the bizarrely violent imagery 'Earth On It's Axis' oozes well-worn and slightly rag-tag pop, it is utterly dreamy in the most jarring way possible. A beautiful nightmare.
And it turns out Xander Duell has past form. His debut solo album, entitled 'Experimental Tape No.2, Vol.1', was apparently a misunderstood masterpiece of musical brilliance filtered through a gritty reality that played out in a New York apartment, where Garage Band captured two years worth of drug damaged confessionals.
The lead single from what promises to be a more approachable sophomore effort smacks of so many fragmented musical geniuses that it is frankly quite embarrassing just reeling off the relevant 'sounds-like's yet there really is no greater praise when trying to put into words why you should spare a little of your time to listen to it if you haven't been convinced already.
It is a transposed 'Life On Mars', infused with a Beach Boys lushness, touches of Mercury Rev and even Blue Oyster Cult's 'Don't Fear The Reaper', entwined with the cracked-pop brilliance of Beck and Eels. All in one harshly enthralling, brazenly awkward and sublimely offensive song.
It appears that we may have just stumbled upon the Chuck Palahnuik of pop.
Tuesday, 8 July 2014
Monday, 3 March 2014
As part of Select All Delete Save As, a debut single is being readied for March, Modern Life is War is a wide-scope sweep of post-rock with a twist of Americana, serving not only as the next chapter of a developing band formed at university that started recording experimental rock, and now has a surer direction that seems suited to sound tracking that coming of age moment from your favourite hip indie flick.
Despite clocking in at a radio friendly three minute mark, Modern Life Is War feels more like a teaser than a complete song, leaving listeners with the feeling of unfinished business as it builds and sets the tone for the full length Ultra Cultura which is due in April. And whilst Select All Delete Save As have engaged me and piqued my interest, it is Emm's solo talents that picks at the heart strings.