Thursday, 16 October 2014

Music: The Sounds That Keep Me Sane

Haven't put anything up here in a while, so here's a bit about the stuff I've been listening to recently.

Marmozets The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets

Marmozets, a band formed of two sets of siblings from Leeds. Trying to describe their style is a difficult task where you have the vicious 'Vibetech', that could probably appease those at Sonisphere or Download, just a track away from 'Hit the Wave' - where the chorus is hard to listen to without picturing explosions and slow motion panning. There are a few tracks we're already familiar with, like the excellent 'Move, Shake, Hide' and 'Why Do You Hate Me?', and both stand out but for me the title track, 'Weird and Wonderful', sums up the album perfectly. Becca's vocals are outstanding soaring above the pulsating guitar riffs and it's exactly why this band are gonna go far.

Kevin Devine Bubblegum

Kevin Devine may not be the young upstart that Marmozets are, but that doesn't make him any less relevant to today's world. In a music industry that has lost any concept of lyrical substance it's refreshing to have 'Bubblegum'. 'Private First Class' is about the plight of Chelsea Manning, and trying to empathise with her situation. Even better is the fact that when played live KevDev actually bothers to change the pronouns which is amazing to me. Right next to it is 'Fiscal Cliff', which again shows how the content may be political, but his ability to write a killer hook for the chorus can still keep your attention. It's not just full of shouty semi-punk tracks though, 'Red Bird' builds beautifully over the course of six minutes into a cacophony of warm distortion, and 'Sick of Words' is much lighter but lacks none of the purpose. Bubblegum was actually released at the same time as another of his albums, Bulldozer, and both are well worth checking out.

Moose Blood I'll Keep You in Mind, From Time to Time

It's entirely possible for Moose Blood to become the next big thing in emo, and this album is quite capable of helping them do it. I've heard people say that this is the album they wish Brand New had made post-Déja. While I don't necessarily agree with that sentiment - how could I when TDAG is the best album in the history of time? - it certainly shows you the company that people are slotting MB alongside. 'Cherry' provides an earnest, yet melancholy opening but that's quickly forgotten as 'Anyway' kicks in. They haven't deviated from the formula that made Moving Home a 'hit', and both 'Boston' and 'Bukowski' are re-recorded, and welcomed back like old friends. Sadly for Mark Andrews and Junior they've not managed to corner the market on 'Kelly Kapowski' in time, although it's one of the weaker tracks on the album so maybe White Lightening's still in with a chance. Also a shout out for being the only band I've yet heard to fit 'nan' into a song [although I've lost where they say it so I may have made it up].

Blitz Kids The Good Youth

Blitz Kids are one of those bands that teenage girls like, and bearing that in mind probably a band that I should steer well clear of; but ever one to obnoxiously continue where others would falter - this analogy doesn't include any genuinely scary or even mildly anxious situations - I actually got to quite like Joe James and the gang. Another band signed to the never ending resource of money that is Red Bull Records there are, no doubt, plans for them to follow in Twin Atlantic's footsteps and go onto bigger things. The Good Youth is a great start, with newest single 'Perfect' being the standout track, but by no means the only positive. 'On My Own' and 'Sometimes' both employ the same characteristic big choruses with 'Long Road' proving to be a more relaxed, heart-felt ballad. Haters gonna hate, but this album is great.

Childish Gambino STN MTN / Kauai

There's not much going on in the world of Donald Glover that I'm not on board with; hell I even like 'Break Your Heart Right Back', and both STN MTN and Kauai are no different. One a mixtape, the other an EP. Not sure the actual distinction between formats other than that one was released free, and both can be streamed. Both link back to 'the boy' from Because the Internet, in STN MTN he's dreaming about having his own Gangsta Grillz mixtape, and then he wakes up in Kauai after his dad's died. I can't even comprehend where the 'Telegraph Ave.' video fits in, but I'm sure it's not coincidence that it also references Kauai. STN MTN is a little 'heavier'? I'm not sure how to talk about rap albums; but there's definitely more sawtooth waves either way. Kauai has a pretty nice 70s vibe, and the only thing I could do without is Jaden Smith talking crap - particularly annoying as Gambino's part in 'Late Night in Kauai' is particularly nice - but I'll take what I can get. Have a look at the 'Telegraph Ave' vid too, 90% of it is amazing. plsluvmeDonald.

Solemn Sun §

The first release under the [sort of] new pseudonym for Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun, occasionally it's these moves away from the tried and tested that can go horribly wrong, but not so here. 'Josef' quickly establishes the new order, but there are definitely remnants from their past incarnation. The EP's closer, 'I Saw', fluctuates between upbeat and moody, Jim's vocals almost sink into the wall of noise, while the background croons, "I saw, I saw you". The EP is streaming on Kerrang! and you can pay what you want from their site, hard to say no to that!

The Xcerts  There is Only You

Technically not out yet, but the first two singles have been released and I've not been this excited for a record in a long, long time. 'Shaking in the Water', which first made its appearance on the Brand New tour two and a half years ago and only just made the cut to be TIOY, is an upbeat grunge track. The hook of which won't be out of your head for days, and you'll absent mindedly find yourself bobbing down the street muttering, "I was shake, shake, shaking in the water". The next track, 'Pop Song' unashamedly bridges the gap between rock and pop, and it's clear that the bleak nature of Scatterbrain has been completely replaced. Mike Sapone's influence has faded and the band are back with Dave Eringa, who produced In The Cold Wind..., alongside Paul Steel, part of Cold Crows Dead. Maybe it's the latter's influence that has seen the production become such a vital part, taking them from a cult band to one that genuinely sound like they could fill arenas. Only time will tell how good TIOY will actually be, but I'm pretty confident.

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