The Academic | Why Can’t We Be Friends?

“Don’t leave me here, especially not with her.” How many times has one of us said or thought this? I can think of at least a dozen women (and at least 50 blokes for that matter) who I would not want to be left with. Whether that be for my physical safety or otherwise. The Academic, Irish ragamuffins that they are, begin their three-minute dissertation on the matter with that very statement. Dissertation might be a bit grand, perhaps potential hit single entitled “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” is closer to the mark.

The track is a classic example of post-good-NME indie guitar music. Driven but clean sounding guitars bounce off thickened bass loops that flip the momentum of the track that seems to be all pervasive ever since “Pumped Up Kicks” hit. The Academic manage to have a more descendent momentum where bass guitars pick up threads that are allowed to lose themselves in endeavour by driven guitar leads twist, riff and staccato into place.

Indie music is one of those things that’s easy to do but fucking hard to do well. Sure you can learn a few chords get some mates over and write a terrible song about that girl you fancy (note this is what I did), or you can craft a pop masterpiece that layers itself expertly throughout. Like 5 sewing machines producing a single tapestry, it all comes together in the end.

Why Can’t We Be Friends? is out today so grab it on all those usual platforms eh?

War On Drugs @ Alexandra Palace 14/11/2017 [Live Review]

My Dad really likes “War On Drugs.” Ever since I made the mistake of introducing him to them on one of our many car journeys from university to the family home, he has been practically obsessive in his listening history. Almost to the point where any further recommendation requests beginning with the phrase “Like War on Drugs but…” So, when he got a spare ticket to go see them at Ally Pally, I wasn’t surprised.

Inter-generational, at least genuine ones, are rare. They normally have to speak to something universal in music. An escapism of desire perhaps. I dunno, I’ve never really thought about it as I’m a rockstar in progress myself. For this, War on Drugs scores points. A diverse crowd with a full age range created a simple environment for people just going to see live music. No pretension, no bullshit, no rubbish.

I saw War on Drugs in Edinburgh at the very beginning of 2015. I had soem criticisms then and sadly, similar ones remain. War on Drugs as a band produce excellentely crafted albums with unwavering atmosphere punctuated by guitar solos, breakdowns and rock n roll escapism. They are inter-generational as mentioend and consistently well reviewed.

Yet live, it’s a resounding shrug. Imagine plugging in a War on Drugs Spotify playlist into a really godo soundsystem and you generally get the idea. Every track is expertly crafted and sounds great but as a spectacle and show, is there any point? Maybe I have my standards set too high but I think the live experience should be about taking a risk on someone you’re unsure of or being treated to somethign beyond the record. Having said this, there was the odd moment of greatness that shone through, including the performance of “Red Eyes” but they were too few and far between for me to wholeheartedly recommend the live show.

I’m probably just grumpy and this is just my opinion so don’t get your knickers in a bunch.


The Dunts | Dimitri

I really miss Scotland. As a place, it has such a thriving grass roots creative collaborative reservoir. Edinburgh and Glasgow, for all their much lauded rivalry, are two major cities an hour apart that have two of the greatest UK Art Schools in the heart of the population. Factor in the relatively low-cost of living (compared to London and it’s frankly disgusting house pricing) you have a perfect primordial soup for creative endeavour.

The Dunts are a band at the forefront of a whole new wave of Scottish guitar music that has run in regular cycles of brilliance every 5 or so years. We have been gifted Frightened Rabbit, The Twilight Sad, Teenage Fanclub, etc etc. The list goes on. The Dunts new single, Dimitri, is a marker in the sand for an incoming wave of classic-style bands ready to liven up the musical landscape. In a world of bedroom producers, access to hyper-polished samples, and the contemporary fashion for crooning vocal lines, the classic band has seemingly lost relevance.

The Dunts, however, disagree. Perhaps it’s my former life in a punk band but The Dunts showcase a pace and energy that can only be developed via four people locked in a room with their instruments, a few cans of Tenants (king of beers) and a really good idea.

Dimitri is a banger, make no mistake, and was released today.

IDER | Body Love

I have been a little out of it haven’t I? Sorry about that. I don’t know about you, but when you’re working unpaid internships, maintaining a cross-continental relationship and attempting to at least look after yourself (and failing due to my seemingly unending addiction to Diet Coke) it can be hard to find the time to post regularly when it is a singular enterprise here.

I have been trying to stay on top of things and have been slowly sifting through things to post until IDER dropped into my email inbox this afternoon. I actually went to university with these two. First time I saw them play was a showcase of the Popular Music students for the BA Photography students on a joint project, although if I remember correctly (and I probably don’t) they were in different acts at the time. However, I was there for 2 more years and saw them form a delightfully well-crafted partnership that saw them become the darlings of a small but talented musical well in a sleepy seaside town in Cornwall.

Life goes on and I never really gave it much thought, after all, I didn’t actually know them just saw them pop up in bars and venues around the town throughout university. So, when you’re sat on your tod at work and big ass full reds jpeg comes in of two people you recognise you have to listen.

IDER are a London based duo who immediately juxtapose folk structures with a thoroughly contemporary production sound. Their new single Body Love released on their new home Glassnote Records is a stunning, cascading single that evokes a meditative reflective viewpoint on love lost, attraction and belonging. Expertly harmonised vocals fulfil a host body that allows keys and falling melodies to construct the subject matter of the song.

See IDER at the following live dates:

25 November | DiCE Festival, Utrecht
2 December | CBE, Cologne*
3 December | Lido, Berlin* SOLD-OUT
4 December | Knust, Hamburg*
5 December | Paradiso Noord, Amsterdam*
27 March | Rich Mix, London

*with Ibeyi