London based electro-pop/indie band Torches release their latest single, entitled ‘Sky Blue and Ivory’. It’s a very groundbreaking and unique release, with a lot of new ways of looking at traditional musical elements. But is it any good?
Psychedelic, trippy, expressive and progressive, Torches have managed to craft together a song with a lot of elements that sound very disjointed, and yet somehow they manage to work together extraordinarily well. One of the best words to describe it is ‘clever’. The deep, haunting vocals, enhanced by the presence of reverbed chorus harmonies behind it, sit perfectly on top of the echoing sounds of jangly guitars, also dripping with reverb that give it a great yet eerie feel. It’s a great way to make music.
It’s not without its problems though. It does come across as a little pretentious, and the style of music is almost post-modern, that is, weird for the sake of weird. It comes across as a little bit like it’s trying too hard. The only other issue with it is the fact that it definitely won’t be to everyone’s tastes. Despite the fact that it’s really talented and well crafted, the less enlightened listener won’t give it a second listen. It’s a shame, really.
So overall, it’s a great and expressive listen, progressive and experimental. Again, it won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but that’s not really the point, and for every person out there that won’t give it a shot (and they’re missing out), there should be ten people who will listen to this and they’ll love it. Very good.
Read the original article here: http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2012/08/torches-sky-blue-and-ivory-out-now-fractions-of-one-records/
Morbidly named and emotional sounding rockers Black Swans release their latest single, entitled This Looks Like Yesterday, taken from their upcoming debut album The Life We Chose. The Liverpool quintet have a pretty sounding style of emotional indie-rock, characterised by their uplifting, expressive vocals and excellent instrumental work.
This Looks Like Yesterday, the first single, has the capability to become a complete anthem. It’s a slow paced, almost ballad type song. Think roughly the same pace as Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls, but without the harsh, crackled vocals and with more of an electronic, uplifting, ambient feel and you’re pretty much hitting the nail on the head. Definitely emotionally driven, This Looks Like Yesterday has it all, echoing guitars, reverbed, soft vocals and the uplifting strings in the background, all designed to bring a tear to the proverbial eye. It’s good, too.
The other track on this single is the bonus track, Killing Time, which is slightly more upbeat than This Looks Like Yesterday, and it actually reminds me of indie bands such as The Killers or Kings of Leon, especially famous track Use Somebody. It’s still got that air of ‘being-played-in-a-large-hall’ about it, giving it an eerie, echoing quality, but the faster beats and more upbeat sounding guitars/drums make it less emotive than This Looks Like Yesterday, but it is still rather good.
Issues – the fact that it does sound a lot like indie bands already out there might deter some listeners from liking this band purely because they’ve heard it all before. There could be slightly more originality about them, which would make them stand out from the crowd a little better. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the music that Black Swans are making, but there’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about it either. Good, solid and entertaining, just not very original.
Overall then, two great songs, taken off of what should turn out to be a great album. For fans of the style of music that Black Swans are making, they’ll be another band to add to their list of favourites, and this reviewer has no doubt that some will love this. The fact that they sound so much like other bands, though, may well come to be their undoing unless they can find that edge to make them stand out. Other than that, Black Swans are great.
London-born folk musician Sam Lee releases his debut full length album, entitled ‘Ground of its Own’, an austere title that pre-empts the attitudes that Lee has taken towards its contents and the music on it.
It’s an apt, title too, because he’s right. It’s folk music, but it’s definitely, forgive the terrible pun, on a ground of its own. So, ‘unique’ is the word for the day here. It might even be possible to use the original meaning of the word ‘indie’ and call it ‘indie-folk’, although this might be reading too much into it.
Before getting onto the actual sound itself, it’s worthwhile mentioning that even the process of putting ‘Ground Of Its Own’ together has been unique and unorthodox. It was apparently originally sought through word of mouth and oral traditions, definitely something that hasn’t been done properly before. Lee is careful to mention where he sourced each song as well, definitely something that isn’t often done.
The music itself is imaginative, different and, on the whole, very pleasant to listen to. The unique way of thinking carries on throughout the whole album, it’s one of the only albums that this reviewer has ever heard where the sound of a guitar’s jack plate meeting the plug on the end of a cable, but not quite plugged in so it makes a “bzzzzzzz” sound, used as a constant effect, behind what sounds oddly like a banjo.
It works, too. Sam Lee’s baritone voice is oddly soothing, so much so that it would send a listener to sleep, were the music less interesting to listen to. So it’s soothing, and it keeps a listener’s attention, as well as being unique. He is ticking a lot of boxes with ‘Ground of its Own’.
Points against? It might be slightly gimmicky, or at least that might be how some people see it. That doesn’t feel like the intention, but it might be how it’s perceived. Other than that, the vocals, whilst soothing, are quite deep, quite a lot of the time. A little variety wouldn’t go amiss, just to make them slightly less monotonous. Other than that, there isn’t really anything to gripe about on this album, it’s just generally rather good.
So overall, an experimental, expressive and extraordinarily talented album, taking a unique perspective on both how the music is made and put together, as well as the music itself, leaving a listener guessing what sound they are going to hear next, and wondering where the song and the sounds on it actually originally came from. Excellently done, wonderfully produced and great to both listen to and talk about. More of the same, please, Sam Lee.
Read the original article here: http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2012/07/sam-lee-ground-of-its-own-the-nest-collective-out-now/
Progressive, experimental rock band Arcane Roots releases their latest album Left Fire through Play It Again Sam Records. It’s an ambitious, motivated release, clearly put together with a lot of talent, but does that necessarily mean that it’s any good?
A listener could initially be forgiven for being a bit dubious about this album. The opener, Aus Blauderen Verederen, Dus Moet Ik, is completely without lyrics and, apparently, completely without song structure either. It’s, to use exactly the right word, unsettling. The new listener isn’t left with much hope for the rest of the album, if this song is the trendsetter. However, the more this album is listened to, the more Aus Blauderen Verederen, Dus Moet Ik begins to make sense. A listener realises that Arcane Root’s music is progressive and experimental, more than it is ‘rock’. In fact, ‘rock’ is just a word used because nothing else seems to fit.
It makes more sense when reviewing this album to talk about the aspects that stand out the most and what the music focuses on. To that end, it’s necessary to talk about the music itself first, before the vocals or the production, or anything else. Clearly, the instruments are the most important element of the music on this album. Arcane Roots seem to want to push the boundaries of how songs are put together, as if they have looked at a guitar, a bass and drums and how all of them are ‘ordinarily’ played and said to themselves, ‘How can we make that different?’ In fact, it’s a very similar attitude to that of rockers Incubus in the ways in which the instruments are at the forefront of the music and played with unashamed, showcased talent. And why shouldn’t they show off? It’s excellent, and very well done.
Vocally, the singing fits perfectly. It’s not too intrusive a voice, sitting perfectly behind the instruments, accentuating them just enough to give the impression of song rather than improvisation. The high pitched tones don’t get in the way of the music and are present enough to just remind the listener that they are there. Very well done.
Highlights of this album? You Are is complete genius. An amazing song, very well put together and performed. Overall, a stunning and talented release and hopefully the music scene will be seeing more of Arcane Roots very soon. There’s something for everyone here, Habibty will keep the more metal-inclined of listeners happy, whilst Million Dollar Que$tion, along with the rest of the album, really, has the potential to keep the softer listeners occupied also. Fantastic.
Read the original article here: http://www.contactmusic.com/album-review/arcane-roots-left-fire
Electronic maestro Room E, a producer from San Diego, USA, releases full length studio album entitled Penguin Child through label Kudos Records. It’s an ambient, chilling sound that Room E seems to have gone for with this album. Not a bad thing, although maybe slightly overdone.
There are some strong points on this album – as electronica goes, it definitely ticks all the boxes. It’s uplifting and obviously talented. The use of live drums also seems to set it apart slightly from other electronica, making it sound more ‘bandy’ than other electronic releases. There is also a pervading sense of it being completely saturated in effects that ‘twinkle’ their way through the album, again, setting it apart from other electronica that uses mainly synth riffs to create songs, rather than a mixture of effects all put together to create sound. It’s a different approach and it appears to have been a bit of a success.
Limitations – some vocals wouldn’t go amiss to break the monotony of the music, which can get quite ‘samey’ as the album progresses. It’s also, despite its differences, still electronica that’s been done before. Talented, yes, but not wholly original. Maybe that’s not the point; maybe it’s not meant to be completely original and groundbreaking. It is, however, still rather good.
So, overall, nothing special, but yet, importantly, it’s nothing terrible. The music is good, excellent to put on in the background when a listener is busy with something else or it’s particularly good when put on in the car on a long drive. It could be improved with a little more originality, but it definitely shows much promise.
Read the original article here: http://www.contactmusic.com/album-review/room-e-penguin-child
Irish quartet Funeral Suits are causing quite a stir. Talented, progressive and full of ingenuity, the follow up to their single Colour Fade, a full length studio album (including said single) entitled Lily of the Valley will be a true test of their abilities as musicians, putting to the test their originality and their range. Released in June, this album looks set to set the benchmark in all future releases from Funeral Suits. Let’s just hope it’s a success.
With ex-Blur and The Smiths producer on-board, a listener could be forgiven for expecting a lot from this album. And, it’s progressive to say the least, which was only to be expected. Rather than the album inadvertently testing Funeral Suits as musicians, it sounds more like the band have deliberately used this opportunity to test themselves as musicians. It’s unconventional, and intentionally so, as if the band have relished the thought of being challenged by writing an album, and have taken it one step further and written something that’s different to anything else.
Vocally, the inclusion of masses of reverb on the singing gives an impression of the desire to entrance and hypnotise the listener. One of the best words used to describe it would be ‘ethereal’, almost ghostly. Couple this with a lot of effects on the bass and lower frequencies (distortion, added ‘fuzz’, as it were) and Funeral Suits have ended up with something rather different and special.
Musically, again, the lower frequencies punch their way through the high pitched tones of the singing to complement it spectacularly, and a talented drummer adds that key offbeat element that throws a listener even more off guard. It’s the kind of music that a listener really, seriously enjoys listening to, but at the time it’s very hard to understand why. Nothing about this album is conventional, it’s just as if Funeral Suits have looked at the generic structure of songs, and relationships between notes and deliberately avoided them, and yet somehow it still works. In a way, it brings a whole new level to the concept of ‘indie’, because it truly is ‘individual’, which is what ‘indie’ was originally meant to be.
Limitations – not to everybody’s everyday tastes, although anyone musically inclined will be able to appreciate this album for what it is, a progressive, thoughtful and musical release. Funeral Suits are truly ‘about the music’, judging from the quality of this album.
So in the end, it’s pretty much brilliant, if a little off-the-wall. Not that being off the wall is a bad thing, in fact it’s probably a good thing in a saturated music industry. More from these guys is sure to follow, and everyone should be looking forward to it. Fabulous.
Read the original article here: http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2012/06/funeral-suits-lily-of-the-valley-out-now-model-citizen-records/
On-the-rise folk artist Gary Stewart releases his latest EP, entitled Year and a Day on June 18th; a follow-up to his debut album release Boy Cries Wolf.
As far as listening quality goes, this album is brilliant. It’s mellow but not depressing, perfectly atmospheric, good as background music or music to be listened to intently. Not a sound is wasted, from the subtle violin on Eve that adds to the atmosphere perfectly to the harsh, penetrating percussion on the opener Thorns that can make a listener jump. Even the haunting backing vocals on Blue feel absolutely essential, like the song wouldn’t be the same without them. Everything has a place and meaning.
Vocally, Stewart’s voice fits in with the style of music absolutely perfectly. It’s soft and high pitched, as close to an imitation of the sound that an acoustic guitar makes that the human vocal cord can reach, without doing a direct impression. The result from this amazing synergy between vocals and music is something very relaxing and enjoyable to listen to. Even when the upbeat Green kicks in, despite the drastic changes in tempo, the music still has that mellow quality to it, it doesn’t feel particularly hurried and it’s still very easy to get lost in.
There are few bad points to mention about this EP. The only one that springs to mind is that it’s too short. Four songs of this is nowhere near enough, any listener who gets their hands on this album will immediately want more. In a way, it’s understandable. This album hits the nail of its target genre on the head so successfully it’s easy to see why it’s not longer – it couldn’t be rushed. This is a good thing, really, as well, because it will definitely increase Stewart’s fanbase dramatically. Let’s just hope that he gets more out soon. Fabulous EP.
Stewart , having already played numerous shows across the UK on his latest tour, is set to play more shows over the coming few months. For more information, see http://www.myspace.com/garystewartband
Read the original article here: http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2012/06/gary-stewart-year-and-a-day-ep-18-06-12-babaganoush-records/
The first thing that strikes a listener is how emotive Growth and Squalor is. It’s a thoughtful, slow and almost melancholy sound that prevails over the release. It provokes silence and almost forces a listener to pay attention to it, purely because it’s on.
So, with Growth and Squalor, Accents have hit the nail on the indie-folk head. It’s uplifting, atmospheric, punchy and, above all, catchy. Even those who don’t particularly like folk music but have an open mind will almost definitely find something to love about this album, it’s an overall indie-folk musical masterpiece.
Indie rockers All the Young seem to have burst onto the music scene with pretty much no warning whatsoever. Their debut offering, Welcome Home, a title that rather presumptuously seems to assume that listeners will immediately be captured by their sound and feel like they’ve been ‘missing out all this time’, is a bold and intrepid release, with a sound and a feel that’s sure to be taken notice of.
It comes as quite a surprise, in all honesty. It’s a very well produced album, in fact the production is astonishing, and that seems to draw attention away from the actual music. Surely it’s better to write music that’s enjoyable to listen to however it’s recorded, than to make music that’s produced brilliantly but is ultimately rubbish? Not that this album is entirely rubbish, but there are some problems.
The issue with this album is that it’s just not as unique as the band seem to want to be. They claim, in their own words that they’re a band with “the brains, brawn and balls to take 2012 and smash it into a brave new frontier of indie rock n’ roll”. The problem is, they haven’t really done that. It’s not a brave new frontier of indie rock n’ roll, in fact the album can immediately be compared musically to some other rather famous bands, especially Biffy Clyro. This really draws away from the “brave new frontier” ideology that the band seem to want to put forward, in fact it collapses completely.
Happily, on the plus side the excellent production means that, despite the problems that comes with it, every element of the music is clearly audible, and within it there are some redeeming features. The vocals are excellent, and the presence of massive amounts of echo and reverb on the guitars gives the music an eerie, haunting quality, that’s mournful in some places and uplifting in others. As an overall sound it really does remind one of Biffy Clyro, but whilst this puts paid to the unique ideology that the band want, it’s not actually a bad thing because it does sound rather good.
So, it’s not necessarily an entirely bad album, but it has slightly been overproduced which has given it the wrong angle to approach an audience from. With a little more care and consideration when producing the music, it might be received slightly better.
Read the original article here: http://www.contactmusic.com/album-review/all-the-young-welcome-home
Indie folk trio the Bowerbirds’ second full length studio album The Clearing is the follow up to 2009′s album Upper Air. After a turbulent couple of years fraught with break ups and reconciliations, it’s almost a miracle that the album made it to production at all. But we should be glad that it did.
Initially, the first thought is that indie-folk is a strange genre to put this album in. In fact, it’s a strange genre full stop. Folk is usually unmistakably unique, and therefore it’s odd to put the title of ‘indie’ in front of it. With The Clearing though, it all seems to make a lot more sense. It fits the idea of indie-folk quite perfectly. It’s not quite the same as other folk, there are other elements in there too, which makes it interesting to listen to, and makes it more unique to other folk releases.
It’s a relaxing sound, more than anything. Moore’s vocals are of a soothing and mellow sort, complementing the folk music excellently, and the vocals of the excellently named Beth Tacular are exactly the same. It’s good background music, well recorded and really quite pleasant to listen to. Musically it’s gentle and acoustic with the addition of some other alternative elements, like some dance drum beats and even some Spanish castanets that added variety to the album.
It’s not going to be without its dissenters, though. This album certainly won’t be to everybody’s tastes, it’s a bit slow and takes some getting used to, and the more impatient listeners might not give it the chance that it deserves. It has more depth than most new releases, and this might stop it from reaching a wide audience.
So, it’s an experimental and highly successful release, from a band with a lot of songwriting talent and a carefree attitude towards the music they make. It’s a refreshing take on music, with little care for the commercial side and an obvious love towards writing music that sounds like it has been written for the love of writing and playing music. It might not reach a commercial, widespread audience, but that’s not what it’s about.
Read the original article here: http://www.contactmusic.com/album-review/bowerbirds-the-clearing
- Biffy Clyro – Opposites Album Review (Planetmosh Review)
- When We Were Wolves – The More Things Change, The More We Stay The Same EP Review (Planetmosh Review)
- Alexisonfire – Death Letter EP Review (Bring the Noise Review)
- Lewis Watson – Another Four Sad Songs EP Review (Never Enough Notes Review)
- Parkway Drive – Atlas Album Review (Bring the Noise Review)
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