Oxford based singer/songwriter Lewis Watson has grabbed musical opportunity with both hands. His first debut and self-produced EP, It’s Got Four Sad Songs On It, BTW topped the iTunes singer/songwriter charts, and now the young lad is back with a second EP, imaginatively named Another Four Sad Songs.
Watson has an immense amount of talent. Despite the EP being called Another Four Sad Songs, the music isn’t exactly what one would call wholly depressing. Melancholy, maybe, but it’s definitely not as sad as the title makes out. If anything, the songs are actually very pleasant to listen to, in fact, Sink or Swim is really quite wonderful.
Musically, Another Four Sad Songs is enjoyable if a little bit predictable. Lewis Watson has clear songwriting skill, but don’t expect anything groundbreaking – the singer/songwriter, guy-with-an-acoustic guitar thing isn’t exactly original. But, groundbreaking isn’t exactly the point, but instead the order for the day here is bags and bags of passion in the music. It’s easy to get the impression that Watson has poured his heart and soul into every song, and that he’s clearly enjoyed writing, recording and releasing the songs, songs that clearly mean a heck of a lot to him. And let’s be honest, that’s the point of music.
Bad points – there really aren’t any, unless a listener doesn’t like the sound of a well played acoustic guitar and a great singing voice. Those people are going to be few and far between, and so there’s really little to say against Another Four Sad Songs. If one were to nit-pick, it could be claimed that the songs sound too similar, but it’s one voice and an acoustic guitar, it’s pretty much impossible to stop that from happening, and Watsonplays so beautifully that it won’t be noticed.
Maybe the only thing that needs changing about this EP is the title itself – the music really isn’t that sad! It’s just great, relaxing and passionate music, with possible downhearted lyrical themes, but that’s really about it. What’s not to like?
Read the original article here: http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2012/11/lewis-watson-another-four-sad-songs-out-now-warner-records/#.UK_ZGIftR2A
Ironically named artist ‘Conformist’, the musical brainchild of 28-year-old Michael Simmons, releases his brand new full length studio album, entitled ‘Paid To Fake It’, and it has to be said, there’s easier things to listen to, that scare a listener a heck of a lot less. It’s ultra modern, ultra-apocalyptic, ultra terrifying and ultra heavy on the ears. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad.
Musically, ‘Paid To Fake It’ sounds like an odd kind of post-modern type of dance music, with samples absolutely everywhere to create a chaotic sound that wouldn’t sound out of place in a disused warehouse at 3am, pervading through an atmosphere of intense smoke, flashing strobes and lasers and a crowd who don’t really know where they are. ‘Paid To Fake It’ begins with ‘Savages Go Modern!’ which is full of hefty, apocalyptic dance sounds straight out of the eighties but with a more sinister twist to them. Think ‘Rammstein’ meets ‘Jean Michel Jarre’ or ‘Kraftwerk’ and you’re in about the right ballpark.
Good points – once a listener is completely over how strange it sounds, it’s oddly addictive. It makes a listener actually want to be in that warehouse at 3am, just so they can hear how this would sound in that atmosphere. It also borders on dubstep, without having to actually call itself that and therefore being tarred with the same brush as some other, rather worse artists (no naming names here.)
It’s not completely without its issues though. Some songs (for example, ‘Big City Buzz Band’) are all samples and no beat, giving it an obviously deliberate but still rather irritating disjointed feel that never really grabs a listener’s attention. It’s also very clearly not going to be to everyone’s tastes, it’s way too post-modern and psychedelic to be attractive to anybody except a few hardcore fans of the style and some very open minded listeners.
It’s not meant to appeal to the wide audience, though, it’s meant to do exactly what it does, and that’s raise a few eyebrows.
So overall, ‘Paid To Fake It’ can be called a good album in so far as it does exactly what it originally actually set out to do, and that’s cause a bit of a stir. It’s very strange, strange to listen to, strange to write about and strange to even accept as music. Saying that, though, if listened to with a (very) open mind, it has the ability to grow on a listener, especially if listened to within the right context.
Read the original article here: http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2012/09/conformist-paid-to-fake-it-out-now-sound-vision-pr/#.UJvX02996So
Let’s start this one with a sweeping yet thoughtful statement. Derbyshire-based electro-rock-pop duoCrushing Blows are extraordinarily hard to describe. Put it this way, they descrive themselves as ‘noise-pop’. That’s not even a thing.
There’s so much in their music, it’s impossible to listen to it all in one go without missing something. In fact, their latest EP, a self titled record is only four songs long, and yet it seems like they’ve managed to pack so much into it that they’re almost impossible to put into a genre without missing out a huge chunk of the music.
It might sound from this that Crushing Blows are too technical and too complicated for their own good. Cries of “it’s too complex and overpacked, it’ll sound a mess” would be well reasoned, justified arguments. But they’d also be dead wrong. Opener The People You Will Never Meet sets the tone for the rest of the record – it has a slow, plodding and yet peaceful feel to it, but there’s still elements from thrash (trebly sounding, distorted guitars) to psychedelic funk in there that mix up the sound nicely, don’t sound too complicated and make the music hard to classify. It’s really talented, and really well done, because this style of music is something that could be quite easily ruined if not properly paid attention to.
The rest of the EP continues in this fashion, I Dream of Becoming a Girl is a psychedelic, trippy masterpiece of crystallised sounding synthesizers and dance-track-esque basslines that have the capacity either get a listener lying back and relaxing, or on their feet bounding up and down like a loon. In some ways, the music is quite scary.
Issues – really not many at all, but there’s a couple. As a sound, the fact that it’s hard to classify(whilst a good thing when it comes to originality) means that some listeners might shy away from it (their loss) because it’s not what they’re used to. Going deeper into this idea, those who do dare to listen to it might find that it’s just too strange to listen to. In Lehman’s terms, the music is almost post-modern.
Overall, then a great EP, if a little bit weird and trippy. Nothing wrong with this, though, it will just take a bit of getting used to if Crushing Blows are to make it into the mainstream. Nobody is denying that the guys have songwriting talent, though, they’re really onto something that could make them very successful, as well as very expressive. Keep it up, it’d be great to hear more.
Read the original article here: http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2012/11/crushing-blows-crushing-blows-12-11-2012-super-heavy-weight-records/#.UJvT9m996So
With a tagline like ‘a savage colossus of sound’, anyone in their right mind would be eager to listen to the new single from electronic/rock artist ‘Hooray For Earth’, entitled ‘Never’. Released on September 24th, first impressions are that it’s going to be filling dancefloors everywhere the minute it’s released. But is that really the case? It’s certainly not David Guetta type music, put it that way.
It’s an uplifting, synth-heavy release, with a catchy vocal line and electronic-strings in the chorus that wouldn’t sound out of place if a listener was surrounded by a lot of people, flashing lights and lasers. But it’s not necessarily a club-anthem just yet. The drums don’t pulse almost painfully in the ears, as is the standard for a lot of dance music, and the focus on the vocals is higher than in a lot of club music, which focuses more on bass.
Problems – it might not actually be popular with the clubbers among listeners, purely because it’s not pure club music. That’s a bit unenlightened, though, and for every listener who dismisses ‘Hooray For Earth’, there will be ten who fall in love with them.
So it’s slightly different, but still fits into the dance scene. The most important thing is that it’s good. It’s like club music without the headache, and rock music with an added electronic twist that makes it slightly euphoric. It’s got a little bit of everything, and certainly does fit into that tagline – ‘a savage colossus of sound’ very well.
Read the original article here: http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2012/08/hooray-for-earth-never-24-09-12-memphis-industries/
Four piece rock/indie band Damn Vandals release their latest record, a full length studio album entitled Done For Desire. Out now, this album follows up on their last EP called Beautiful Mind, which was released in February this year. Done For Desire therefore has a lot to live up to, because the EP received rather good and passionate criticism from the press.
The best way to describe Done For Desire in one phrase is ‘pure rock and roll’. From the outset, it’s filled with low, buzzing bass guitars which punctuate some excellent guitar work and half-sang, half-chanted vocals that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Arctic Monkeys album. Therefore, it’s fair to say that Damn Vandals are really onto something here. Done For Desire is jammed full of groundbreaking, feel good rock and roll, filled to bursting with a groovy, crunchy sort of sound. It’s almost as if the backbone of each song is designed to be a bass guitar with a fair amount of electronic-sounding distortion added to it, with the other musical elements surrounding to create a fuller, busier ambience. It’s a revolutionary, unique and groundbreaking sort of sound, a shift in the indie-rock genre that really has the capacity to become the standard sound of the future.
Damn Vandals’ style of music is therefore a bit of an enigma. It squeezes itself in between heavy rock and roll and indie music. In fact, whilst some parts might sound rather like tracks such as Brianstorm, again by The Arctic Monkeys as mentioned before, the key thing to notice is that not all of it does. Instead, it builds on a sound that’s already made famous and improved on it, making it familiar and easy to listen to, and yet fresh at the same time.
There aren’t really any problems with it, either. Perhaps the unenlightened listener might assume that Damn Vandals are ‘just another indie band’ and that Done For Desire is ‘just another indie album’, which might reduce listener numbers slightly. Not that Damn Vandals should really care about this, they’re making fantastic music, which will appeal to a great number of people.
So overall, then, Done For Desire is a fantastic album. It’s not heavy, it’s not light. It’s not grunge, it’s not rock. It’s just feel-good music, and it’s great. Keep a close watch on Damn Vandals, they’ll be back very soon.
Read the original article by clicking here: http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2012/08/damn-vandals-done-for-desire-out-now-sexy-beast-records/
Let’s be honest, making music about feelings of sadness, loss and sorrow, either fictional or true, isn’t the most original or groundbreaking way of making music. In fact, ‘emotional themes within music’ as an entity has recently managed to evolve itself into an entire genre of its own.
Not that any of this matters to acoustic musician Paul Cook, who releases his latest studio album under the guise of Paul Cook And The Chronicles. In terms of this album it has to be said; it’s a sad one. The album itself is entitled ‘Volume One’, a snappy title that obviously pre-empts more ‘volumes’ as Cook’s career progresses.
In a nutshell, the entirety of ‘Volume One’ is full of sorrowful and eerily haunting vocals, which are laid almost lovingly over an extremely crisp and bright-sounding guitar. Mournful, sorrowful music and melancholy lyrical themes are the main ideas for the sound of this album, and happily it’s rather good.
The vocal tracks are consistently dripping with reverb, giving both the illusion that it was recorded in somewhere as cavernous as an empty Royal Albert Hall, and an eerie, ghostly quality that can send shivers up the spine. The guitar is recorded very clearly, with an almost pure sound that hangs in the air with a nice jangle, adding well to the ghostly style of the music.
Cook uses any sort of percussion in the background very sparingly, which means it has the ability to produce a massive effect on the actual sound. In fact, the percussion ends up shifting it from quiet, soft acoustic track to full-blown song with just the addition of some quiet snare and some maracas, which is both effective and clever. The lack of bass sounds also keeps that thin, melancholy sound going which was therefore a wise omission from the album.
The names of the songs seem designed to tell listeners a story as well, from ‘Girl Trouble’ to ‘Guilt’ to ‘I Forgive You’; the titles on ‘Volume One’ seem designed to be as progressive as possible. The problem with this is that the sound itself doesn’t really progress as much as the titles of the tracks would lead a listener to believe it should, but in fact remains the constant, mournful sound that the opener ‘Six Places’ falls straight into.
From the beginning to the end of the album, the sound is consistently slow, sorrowful and hushed, and never really gets going. Cook has obviously written it with the express intention of keeping it as slow, as melancholy and as quiet as a funeral procession, but giving the album semi-progressive song titles to create the illusion of story and progress, and then writing music that doesn’t progress at all gives off the impression that Paul Cook couldn’t really make up his mind on how to construct the album.
The standout track on ‘Volume One’ would have to be ‘Girl Trouble’ which cleverly moves through three and a half minutes of an almost, dreary, completely monotonous drone of a sound, and yet manages to both not get tiresome and progress through an actual song-structure (verses, chorus, etc). It’s really quite cleverly done, and really shows off Cook’s song writing ability.
So overall, Paul Cook’s album, ‘Volume One’, is an emotive and saddening release which is well performed and pleasant to listen to. There are certainly a few creases to iron out. Cook should focus on his production of an entire album. Each song is excellent but when put together on one release, the problems start to rear their ugly heads, like a musical game of Whack-a-mole. For the most part, though, ‘Volume One’ is a great and successful album.
Read the original article here: http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2012/08/paul-cook-the-chronicles-volume-one-27-08-12-grandpa-stan/
Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo ft. Frank Turner – Fields of June Single Review (Never Enough Notes Review)
A sure-fire way of getting noticed as a just-starting-out artist or musician is to collaborate with an already well known musician. Depending on who that artist is can, in a strange way, sometimes determine how successful the song released actually is. In this case, folk artists Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo chose to collaborate with successful punk/folk artist Frank Turner on this, their newest single, entitled ‘Fields of June’. In fact, there aren’t many better ways to get a career in music off the ground than to collaborate with someone so both a) successful and b) influential.
But, it’s more about the music than who wrote it, or who sang on it to promote it, though. To sum ‘Fields of June’ up succinctly as a song, before going into specific details, it’s a lovely, relaxing song, with a warm folky feel to it, and a great beat.
It’s smooth, with a satisfyingly ‘pure’ sounding vocal line that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Barker’s voice is gorgeous, very clear and clean-cut sound and it works really well with the gruff, deeper male vocal line. It’s an exquisite sounding song, vocally.
Musically, the folk edge is very obviously there, with the use of walking basslines and strings, in conjunction with both the vocals and the lyrics themselves gives it that punk/folk edge that Turner is so famous for, but with a different, softer and purer twist. It’s actually great, extraordinarily relaxing, really quite catchy and just that little bit different that makes it special.
Negative points – few. It’s a little bit specific to the genre, which means it’s a little bit specific to the fanbase it’s going to attract. That’s not the point though, and despite that fact, it’s such a pleasant experience to listen to ‘Fields of June’ that even people who aren’t particular fans of folk music will find something here to love.
So overall it’s a great song, where the collaboration effectively helps the song both musically, and to make it heard by the masses. But it importantly doesn’t overtake or overshadow the original artist at all. Excellently written, performed and produced. Wonderful.
Read the original article here: http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2012/08/emily-barker-and-the-red-clay-halo-ft-frank-turner-fields-of-june-13-08-12-xtra-mile/
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/
Fusing two different music genres can, at the best of times, either go really well, or really, really badly. Therefore, it’s always a bit of a gamble for bands to try it as the backbone of their sound. Most bands, therefore, stick to the standard ones, pop-punk, punk-rock, etc. Whilst Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun is probably one of the most obscure names for a band to have been come up with in recent times, their music isn’t to be sniffed at. This, their latest single, entitled England’s Dead, is plenty evidence of that. It’s emotive, well written and really something quite special.
Musically, the first impression is that it’s acoustic based funk, pure and simple. And this impression continues until well over the one-minute mark of the song. In fact it’s at 1:15 (oh, spoiler alert) that the instruments really kick in and the true colours of this song are revealed. Alongside the soft, acoustic vocal sounds are a hard hitting, distorted, crunchy electric guitar sounds that sounds more like punk-rock than folk. It’s a good fusion, actually, giving it an emotive and unique feel, yet with some degree of familiarity at the same time.
Vocally, Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun sound a lot like what one might call a ‘British Billie-Joe Armstrong’ (Green Day, just in case you were wondering). This does even more to ram home idea of the punk-edge to this song, alongside the hefty distortion (very hefty for folk, anyway) and well-placed marching snare. In fact, a folky-sounding, British Green Day is a pretty good way to describe the sound that Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun go for on this track.
One single isn’t long enough to point out anything wrong with this song, it wouldn’t be fair. The only thing to improve is to make more of it. Hopefully, an album or at the very least an EP should happen soon, because this band really have the capacity to go far. That’s really the only advice this reviewer can offer.
So overall, England’s Dead is a great fusion of folk-punk, which sounds like the musical equivalent of putting peanut butter on a digestive. It sounds gross, but it really works, and it’s really, really good. Try it, (the music, not the biscuit), because you might just be pleasantly surprised.
Check out Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun in more detail at http://www.myspace.com/jimlockey.
Read the original article here: http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2012/08/jim-lockey-and-the-solemn-sun-englands-dead-out-now-xtra-mile-recordings/
Pop-rock act General Fiasco are a rare gem of a band, the type of which, sadly, aren’t discovered very often. This album, their latest full length studio release entitled ‘Unfaithfully Yours’ showcases that perfectly, as it’s a perfect mixture of musical talent and, music that’s actually good (as talented music isn’t necessarily good).
It’s hard to describe the music on ‘Unfaithfully Yours’ without resorting to very overused phrases, phrases which don’t do the album justice particularly. It’s rock music, with a melodic vocal overtone and an excellent, shoulder-bop-inducing groove to it. Brilliant, that describes just about every indie-rock album out there. See? That just doesn’t do it justice. This album has got that little-bit-of-something that makes it slightly different, slightly special, and, overall, that little bit better than every other indie-rock album.
Looks like there’s no alternative. Overused phrases it is. To put it on a basic level, the music style and especially some of the verses have the capacity to remind one of indie bands such as The Hives, or similar. On top of that, there’s extremely catchy choruses, melodic vocals and an excellent rock/indie groove that gives this album a solid backbone with which to work.
Now for the tough bit. That extra bit that’s tough to put into words. Well, this album has a little bit of everything, so that’s a good starting point. From melodic, sing along pop-punk songs in the form of ‘Closer’ to a harder rock style on ‘Bad Habits’, which is a song that instantly makes a listener want to start headbanging like they’re fifteen again. That’s an example of that little something that makes this album special compared to other albums. There’s even a classic-rock esque guitar solo on ‘The Age You Start Losing Friends’ that can only bring a smile to a listener’s face, unless they’re completely without musical feeling, in which case they need to be locked in a dark room with a full iPod and not let out again until they’ve listened to everything on it.
Bad points–that’s even tougher. There’s enough variety on this album to keep everyone happy, except possibly hardcore metal-heads. If one were to nitpick, it could be said that some of the solos are a little unnecessary, and some of the songs a little repetitive. That’s not really noticeable though.
Overall, an extraordinarily well put together album, lyrically heartfelt and musically talented. It has ups, downs, fast music and slower, more emotive music, as well as lighter, indie-pop styles and harder, rockier sounds. Something for everyone, and everyone will be happy. Excellent.
Read the original article here: http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2012/07/general-fiasco-unfaithfully-yours-30-07-12-authority-communications/
- 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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