London shoegazers’ S.C.U.M have announced their first single from the forthcoming album, Again Into Eyes (due in September via Mute).
‘Amber Hands’ comes hot on the heals of ‘Summon The Sound’ (released earlier in ’11) and treads a very similar path; mammoth shoegazey rock with slightly darkened arrangements and wistful sentiment adding to Thomas Cohen’s epic crooning drawl.
‘Amber Hands’ is out on July 18th and comes backed with mixes by Sonic Boom and Silver Apples and exclusive track ‘Fountains’. Their debut album follows in September. It’s looking very promising.
The Joe Strummer New Music Foundation, Strummerville, has teamed up with Brothers Cider to release a one-off free compilation, Songs For The Summer.
Strummerville is a not for profit organization was set up in memory of the late great Joe Strummer. It plays an important role in supporting and endorsing musical projects and upcoming bands in the UK and elsewhere. Latest project, Songs For The Summer is an eclectic mix of new music from some of the bands that Strummerville is supporting – 11 tracks by 11 different bands, all unique and diverse. There really is something for everyone here .
There are some rather stunning inclusions, long time favourites The Vagabonds don’t disappoint with highly charged rip-roaring punk rock goodness of ‘John Mellor’. Meanwhile The Welcome Committee drop the breezy and uplifting ‘Rich Kids’, La Rebla Fam the skank fuelled and grimey ‘A British Morning’ and Dark Moon, the dark and wistful ‘Blackbird’.
You can sample my personal picks below and Songs For The Summer is available to download for FREE from here.
Arctic Monkeys were on French radio station OuiFM recently to record a live session as they continue to promote their latest album, Suck It And See.
While at the station the band played a number of tracks before Alex Turner decided to cover his good friend and fellow Last Shadow Puppet Miles Kane’s ‘Colour Of The Trap’. It’s a mellow acoustic cover and Turner’s distinctive croon takes centre stage a la ‘Piledriver Waltz’ and ‘Love Is a Laserquest’.
Don’t forget both Arctic Monkeys and Miles Kane play Oxegen (Saturday) in less than two weeks.
Stef has just unveiled a brand new EP, On A Steel Horse We Ride which sees him embracing his punk Id and influences like The Things, Devo, Moldy Peaches, Jeff Lewis and Magazine. We are introduced to new side of Stef, trading his renowned penchant for gothic folk-rock in favour of DIY punk rock; stripped back, fuzzed up and feisty with an added dose of swagger.
It’s 4 tracks of brilliantly riotous rock n’ roll including a cover of Yeah Yeah Yeah’s’ Zero’ and was lovingly created using:
1 x Human Male 1 x Acoustic Guitar 1 x Fuzz Pedal 1 x Toy Keyboard 1 x Nasty-Ass programmed Beat
On A Steel Horse We Ride is FREE to download from Bandcamp.
Have you got enough riffage in your life? If not Event Horses are the answer to all your problems.
Formed in April 2010, the punk-pock and hardcore trio have already become a hot favourite within the North of Ireland music scene following some high-profile gigs and their critically acclaimed debut EP, Faces.
The Antrim 3-piece’s second EP, Dance With Devil serves up three savage slices of aggressive rip-roaring punk-rock fury. We are confronted with a relentless aural assault of gritty, raw and energetic songs as they screech their way through dangerously addictive riffs and foot stomping drum beats that are ‘Dance With The Devil’, ‘From The Start’ and ‘Desperate Times’
A caustic racket to be reckoned with no doubt, these guys are going destroy places with their live shows.
Dance With The Devil is out now on Generation Peace Records.
The Reading outfit’s forte remains well-observed, ditsy, easy on the ear and infectious indie although One Thousand Pictures is far less carefree and jaunty than its predecessor.
There has been a definite maturation, both lyrically and musically, with a real preference for slightly psychedelic, pithily whimsical songs about the British way of life. Sanders timeless songwriting ability of capturing the everyday ponderings and personal portrait we got from Ray Davies in his pomp. Encapsulated by ‘Come to the Bar’, a celebration and critique of drinking culture (you decide) or album closer ‘Half Moon Street’, a lovely, wistful ballad about a couple held together only a shared love of drinking.
Tom Sanders’ distinctive and emotive vocals triumph alongside the band’s often eccentric and downright peculiar music. As well as the touching and rousing there is an underlying sense of fun to One Thousand Pictures. be it the adorably infectious ‘Motorbike’, the more experimental ‘Winter1’ and it’s off-kilter synth channelling to the perfect pop of ‘United’.
One Thousand Pictures is both melancholic and beautiful, fragile and robust and rowdy and rousing without ever feeling forced or misplaced. Not since Mystery Jets’ 21 has there been an indie-pop album so close to perfection. They don’t come around very often so enjoy the moment.
English songstress Anna Calvi is releasing ‘Desire’ as the second single from her spellbinding eponymous debut album on June 20th.
‘Desire’ is pretty typical of what the album’s all about; wonderfully rich, brooding and dramatic gothic pop. It is accompanied by a moody video directed by Aoife McArdle and will be available on 7″ and via digital download, backed with a reworking of Leonard Cohen’s Joan Of Arc.
Calvi plays Vicar Street, Dublin on November 19th and The Empire, Belfast on November 20th.
For three decades Echo & The Bunnymen have been serving up some of the finest indie/post-punk on the planet and they can throw together a set list to rival any band. In recent years however, McCulloch & co. have taken to touring classic albums instead.
Do It Clean was recorded at a sold out show in their hometown of Liverpool, playing classic albums Crocodiles & Heaven Up Here. I have yet to get my hands on a copy but they have kindly made ‘Pride’, ‘Crocodiles’ and ‘Show of Strength’ all available via their facebook.
Also, The Bunnymen take their ‘Ocean Rain Tour’ to Dublin’s Olympia on Friday 23rd of September. The band will perform their classic 1984 album, Ocean Rain live, accompanied by a full string section. I’ve already got a ticket, it should be immense!
The sceál of 2011 so far has been one of ‘so much great music, so little time’. Managing to listen to so much music can be a daunting task not to mention writing about it. Here’s a quick round-up of albums I have been listening to a lot.
Pharoahe Monch – W.A.R (We Are Renegades)
Pharoahe Monch‘s latest offering is quite simply one of the finest hip-hop records of the past few years, let alone 2011. W.A.R (We Are Renegades) has everything; great rhymes, wordplay and head-nodding beats while lyrically it’s hard-hitting, intelligent and insightful, providing a scathing attack on the industry and society. This is hip-hop with something to say, a welcome relief from the hordes of bling obsessed industry spun celebrity pretenders.
Like his wordplay this one flows effortlessly slinking between the heavy gospel feel of ‘Let My People Go’, old school vibes of ‘Hitman’ and ‘Clap’ and the fiery anger of ‘W.A.R’ and ‘Calculated Amalgamation’. If one line could sum up an album it would be from the later, “No justice, no peace, no settle / We are renegades, fuck your gold medal.”
This is the work of a master, no doubt about, this is a going to be classic.
I must admit having consistently ignored and disregarded her output over the years, I am not best placed to write about PJ Harvey. But here I am, prepared to admit how wrong I was and heap praise on her latest album, Let England Shake.
It’s an enthralling collection of brooding and dramatic gothic scores exploring Englishness, perils of colonialism and the ravages of war. While there’s obviously a message here it is not preachy, preferring to explore rather than lecture on these themes of war, death and loss. All of which resonate today.
It’s an album which is both tragic and beautiful, rife with dark and horrific imagery of blood spilt battlefields. It is also one which needs to be listened to in full to be appreciated (that said ‘Let England Shake’, ‘The Last Living Rose’ and ‘The Words That Maketh Murder’ where the ones which sucked me in).
Let England Shake is a creative, emotional and fearless record which is an obvious contender for album of the year.
Gross Magic is the moniker of 20-year-old Sam McGarrigle from Brighton. He cites early Nirvana and Loser-era Beck amongst his biggest influences and it’s certainly prevalant on ‘Sweetest Touch’.
There is a massive 90’s vibes for sure, it is also one of the catchiest tunes released this year. There’s an overwhelming warmth to this one which (for me) is heavily reminiscent of early Super Furry Animals (circa Fuzzy Logic/Out Spaced).
‘Sweetest Touch’ it’s taken from his forthcoming Teen Jamz EP, out August 8th.