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.
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.
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
I am really starting to run out of excuses arent I? Still, no better way to cease my lack of posting via something new. I covered Tusks a while back in regards to their upcoming debut album, and the latest track has just dropped. Let me tell you, it’s an absolute peach.
Created alongside producer Brett Cox, Tusks (aka Emily Underhill) channels the guitar-driven attitude of bands such as Land of Talk and the Joy Formidable to deliver a feisty and unapologetic track that, in her own words was conceived as a response to someone who had frustrated Underhill. “It was a bit of a fuck you to a person at the time who I’d invested loads of energy and time into who’d messed me around.” We have all fantasised about being able to react to these people in public with righteous indignation, so let Tusks take the mantle for you and deliver the inspiration necessary to give them a well-deserved kick up the backside,
Look out for the debut album Dissolve, coming out October 13th.
Honestly, if you were to go through my posts, there would be an inordinate amount of excuses based around my lack of posting. This time, it’s pretty straight-forward. My girlfriend has been in visiting me in London and I’ve been far too busy being in love. I have no regrets. Sue me.
In that vein, I’m really not in the mood to listen to my usual brand of misery-laden indie rock. Instead, I’ll feature up some Australian power-pop for those optimistic summer vibes that have been infecting my life for the past two weeks. The immediate reaction to listening to this track is similar to the same reaction to records by Telekinesis. Wesley Fuller, who by the way has the best surname in the fucking business, channels the infectious indie pop that is perfect for fans of Chris Walla, Telekinesis and Cruisr.
Taken from the upcoming LP Inner City Dream, you can catch the rest of this album on September 22nd via 1965 records.
I used to take myself really really seriously. When I was 19/20, I wrote about myself on my first artist website in the third person. I told girls I was an artist. I read Kerouac and thought it made me deep and I only used film cameras because it’s authentic darling. It got so bad at one point that when my first-year university lecturer (shout-out to the unstoppable Steph Cosgrove) asked us to define pretentious, the entire class of 70 agreed on her nomination of me as the perfect volunteer. My fault for drinking coffee black and reading Bukowski because I was haunted.
This extended to my listening habits. But, for every National album, there had to be some form of musical escapism. Motherhood inhabit that current space for me with their single Save Me. Think Sundara Karma releasing their summer club anthem. It’s unmistakably a song to dance to. Whether that’s with a beer at the beach, over breakfast in the kitchen or with that person you bought a drink for in your tragic home-town club. Eschewing complexity for simple pop hooks and syncopated guitar rhythms to imbue a carefree status, this Liverpudlian 4 piece transcend a listener’s pre-disposition towards self-congratulation.
Save Me is out August 10th (the same time my girlfriend visits from Florida so fucking about time for some joy right) and will be on their debut EP dropping this autumn.
Sorry sorry. I know I’ve been away for a bit. Alas, as this is not my primary money-maker, it’s far too easy for me to get lost in the day to day of all my other commitments and totally push back any sort of posting. So, first and foremost, I know I’m late with the July Mix and I’ll endeavour to get that done as quickly as possible. However, today I’m sharing the latest track from Brooklyn based duo, “Surf Rock Is Dead.”
I haven’t featured these guys in nearly 2 years, back in 2015 when I thought the best way to dress was skinny-fit hobo. However, whilst my ability to dress myself like an adult has improved, so has “Surf Rock Is Dead’s” output. Maintaining a guitar tone of wistful summer vibes, the minor chords though infrequent, run out like dischordant conflict against the subject matter of attempting to distance yourself from someone you love. Like the moment of weakness through weeks of strong stoicism.
As If is from the forthcoming EP We Have No Friends?, due to arrive on September 22.
When I lived in Edinburgh, I was in a punk band. I think I might have mentioned that once or twice here. If not, let me be clear, I was in a punk band. To be perfectly honest, we weren’t very good. In fact, my girlfriend saw some videos of us performing and the only word that came out of her mouth was “babe…” followed by an awkward pause as she searched for the best of way of telling me kindly that we were average at best.
But, the thrill of performing in dingy art school bars has never really left me. Prism Tats taps into the low-fi garage anthemic feeling of standing on stage with a guitar in hand and a microphone in hand. A garage aesthetic is mixed with well harmonized pop structures to create the feeling of a man recounting his glory days of being front and centre of attention in the art school bar
The new EP “11:11” is out July 28th on ANTI- Records.
The guitar is a wonderful instrument. It is the tool of entertainers, showmen, storytellers, healers and sinners. It is both a sex object and a confessional confidante. Portable in nature and individual in its playing style, it’s no surprise that it has become intrinsic to the confessional musician-poet.
Melbourne based singer, BATTS new single Little White Lies is the latest track to follow in this tradition. Carried along by a slow, simple, strummed chord pattern, the vocals tell the story of how our daily interactions are filled with duplicitous, secretive and selfish untruths. As the aforementioned “Little White Lies” escalate so does the music into a crescendo as the layers of our collective self-protection reach dangerous levels.
Having said that, the line that really hit me was the point in which the narrator tells her doctor “I don’t smoke.” The sheer amount of times I told my doctor I had stopped when I was younger, only to light up as soon as I was out of my sight was actually worrying. Guess I’m as bad as everybody else.
I’m better now though, honest.
BATTS debut EP is being prepared for the end of 2017 so look out for something potentially special.
I know I promised two track three days ago but fuck, life really catches up with you. I’ve been considering for a while to take this more seriously as a platform and an endeavour. Alas, with two jobs and a seemingly endless stream of commitments, it can get a little tricky. However, that’s no excuse and in the coming weeks I’m going to be attempting to professionalise my output including my inbox which is seemingly inundated daily. Not that I’m complaining, I just keep missing good shit.
Didn’t miss this though did I? Weird Milk have crashed a mature indie pop tune into the July listening stream. It seems that in the constant upstream of self-made electronic auteurs, the classic band setup is missing dearly. Weird Milk reminds me of when I discovered Fort Lean on “I Guess I’m Floating” years and years ago. The band has a slow R&B flavour to the classic indie track, eschewing the dream pop inspired material of their ilk. With a well-placed organ peering through the jagged guitar tone lends a 70s evening feel to the track whilst not allowing it to stray into retro chic.
All Night is out now and is the band’s second release with Camden based label Ra-Ra Rok.