Uncategorized

Edwyn Collins’ Gorgeous George is as Old as Me. Yet Unlike Me, It’s Timeless

                                               Edwyn Collins- Gorgeous George

The only thing that this album and I have in common is that we were both born in 1994 meaning that we will be linked in time forever being the same age (at the moment of writing this is 22).

First off  we need to address the elephant in the room, A Girl Like You. There is a reason why the song is so famous and that is because it is a masterpiece. A hefty weighted word to use indeed. So how about this? It is one of the greatest songs in the history of popular music. Why? Well if you have heard it then you already know. But if you have not then here are a few reasons:

  1. The iconic guitar riff.
  2. Xylophone intro and pre-chorus lick.
  3. Lyrically great case and point: ‘I’ve never known a girl like you before
    Now just like in a song from days of yore’
    .
  4. Use of  wah-wah, fuzz or as I call it squelch pedal effect.

Collins’ skill and class shown on A Girl Like You permeates through the whole record. Instantly being shown in the very next track Low Expectations. Quickly becoming a personal favourite of mine after hearing it because it is a phenomenal number. A singer-songwriter style that juxtaposes the presiding smash hit having finger picked acoustic guitar were he displays his technical ability, harmonica and organ all completed with Edwyn’s deeper singing and again lyrical nous.

The former Orange Juice front man shows his jazzy side with the fifth number If You Could Love Me. Simply strumming a jazz guitar part that would fit in any other jazz band that would be played or play in a cigar smoke filled bar in Chicago. With the bass backing up the feel alongside some great trumpeting.

Another shining moment lyrically is North of Heaven with the chorus being which I appreciate the uplifting subject matter. That of someone who is optimistic about the future and that bad things can be changed by you making action by building ‘A place just north of Heaven’.

Moving to the title number that the album is named after is on par for another great radio hit that will get in your head. You’ll be humming this one all week due to the the memorable melody’s of the vocals and keys. Mixing acoustic and electronic guitars the song shifts after the verses into a more distorted drive for the chorus. Taking a swing at people who think that they’re the business and how they should realise that they aren’t. What makes this song so good is the backing vocals which are reminiscent of the 1950’s.

It’s Right Infront of You again highlights the versatility on display. A spacey chilled out approach was applied to this one with it incorporating synths, wiring affects and psychedelic keyboard sounds. But I have to take note of the bass (expertly put down by Clare Kenny) really shines through and for me is what I hone into when I put this on. If you appreciate a great bassline then this is one I am sure you’ll enjoy.

Opening up with a great lead guitar line and words that have described me on many occasions:

‘Five twenty five on a Monday morning, 
And I’m lying on my unmade bed, 
Outside these walls there’s a new day dawning, 
As the sky turns from black to red, 

‘But I can’t sleep a wink, 
Am I losing control?
I’m doubled up in agony, 
Won’t you help me unfold?’

Fitting easily alongside every other song the other outstanding compositions that make Gorgeous Gorge the top album it is. Explaining the impact that special someone can have on you.

A gritty bluesy riff is at the centre of the piece that most accurately described me  when I gave this album a listen I’ve Got it Bad. A straight forward love song. It is a guitar line that all fellow players would be proud to have made. A guitar part that makes others wish that they had played it is a true sign of a magical tune.

Gorgeous George is one of those albums that every artist strives to create. Edwyn Collins is a special artist that is loved by those who know him and have dived further into his back catalogue. Gorgeous George has the wide array of styles keeping it exiting, the prowess of Collins song writing, producing ability (he self-produced it as well) and musicianship really do make this a timeless collection.

Advertisements
Standard
Check 'Em Out

Check ‘Em Out: WHITE

 

                                                                     WHITE’s YouTube Page

WHITE is quickly becoming one of the most exciting bands around. Formed from three members of the great group Kassidy (2009-2014), Chris Potter, Hamish Fingland (both next to each other on the right, they’re the guitarists) and Lewis Andrew (on the end to the left) were a part of the folk-rock group. Who split up when Barrie-James O’Neill left because he started dating Lana Del Ray and set out on his solo project Nightmare Boy even though they had a decent following and a good record deal lined up. With Leo Condie (middle) fronting art-rock band Low Miffs and Kirsten Lynn drummed for Garden of Elk before they became members of WHITE.

The band released their song Fight the Feeling on 11/5/2016 as a forth single. It follows the very high standards set by the previous singles. Though it does sound different to those prior tracks but still keeps the essence of the WHITE sound. Which is a modern art-rock infused disco style, intrigued are you not? Well you should be this band are damn fantastic and refreshing. Fight the Feeling opens up with the funky swirling guitar then into the chorus lines straight off the bat and it does not stop for the rest of the song. It is fun in sonic form, the band resonate this throughout their short amount of recorded releases to date.

Following the great line of bands that have come out of Glasgow (Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, Franz Ferdinand and Texas) the band is full of energy both on recordings and as a live act. I had the pleasure of not only seeing them and interviewing Leo himself (alongside Tom Fuller), what a lovely and insightful interview it was (you can listen to it on Bailrigg FM’s Mixcloud: https://www.mixcloud.com/BailriggFM/bailrigg-fms-interview-with-white-at-the-soup-kitchen-in-manchester-2621016/). In the interview Leo informed us all about the band’s beginnings, styles (both clothing and musical) the process behind their videos. In particularly the video for the single Living Fiction directed by Ciaran Lyons (also done videos for Slaves and Baby Strange) the video is shot in a way that makes it look like it a series of photos (flip chart-esc) due to the higher frame rate. Not only is this different but it is a very smart way to create a video in an age where videos form mainstream artists are becoming a tad dull and predictable. Either being simplistic or really, really wacky and weird to stand out but Living Fiction and all of the groups videos for that matter are done in a very tasteful way that fits perfectly with the music and look of the five piece. They are one of the most colourful bands out every member has a flash of colour or something that draws the attention, Condie has his neon red leather jacket and many more in various other bright colours to fit, Kirsten has her red hair, Hamish has the snazzy shirts and so on. They counter the name of the band with colour, All the Colour!

Not a group of musicians that stay in their comfort their zone the newest release Step Up still feels like a WHITE song but it was recorded after the band had been awake for 3 days and were far past the tired point and delusional. It is an octane fuelled 3:15 and really leaves you guessing what they will release next due to the wide array of different sounds across the WHITE collection.

WHITE truly are a band that you must listen to and if you can see them live I have and am aiming to do so again on the upcoming tour, for the release of a debut EP named Cuts That Don’t Bleed. That should be out very, very soon. Follow the link through to their SoundCloud, YouTube and all social media platforms where you can hear more of WHITE’s stuff. The only problem is that there simply is not enough of them out there. The sooner it is released the better. Check ‘Em Out.

Standard
Uncategorized

Night Verses- Into the Vanishing Light is Masterfully Hectic

On the 8th of July Night Verses released their second album which is eleven tracks in length and produced by the eternally great Ross Robinson (Korn, At the Drive In and Slipknot to name but a few).

His input is certainly felt in every visceral second, all the hard hitting punches as well as in the slower moments. It is those slow songs that had a few fans on edge and worried. But hearing the complete record all of the doubts and worries those fans had have well and truly been eradicated. In an interview Aric Improta (drums) said that this album would be divisive plus he mentioned that Ross Robinson actually suggested that all four slow songs should make it onto the album (interview for Punkvideosrock.com: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCM0G1CMD9E). Not only are they great songs but it completely differentiates this album form their first.

That effort and conscious move to do something new and not do a Lift Your Existence Part 2 is something that I fear a lot of bands have. It is better to keep it safe, but why would you want to create the same or a really similar album than before? The point made by The Independant’s Remfry Dedman in an interview with Douglas Robinson (singer) notes that the band ‘would rather have 100 people love their record than 1,000 merely liking it’ (http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/night-verses-into-the-vanishing-light-exclusive-album-stream-a7122786.html). The approach is refreshing and it certainly seems to be ringing true so far with the reception being mixed from fans.

The very beginning of the album is polarising as it is unsettling in a way. The distorted guitar starts which is more in line with what people expected, then when the vocals kick in it gets a little strange with the guitar becoming erratic adding slides. But there is a breakdown at the 1:15 minute mark that adds weird electronic sounds that remind me of being under water for some reason then at the end of that there is a woman’s voice that leads back into the pre-mentioned erratic proceedings.

One of the slower tracks that quelled those fears that some fans had was Vantablack. It is a very atmospheric song that gives the band a break from the fast paced songs. But this stripped back formula shows that all four of the members are able to create a contrasting sonic aspect to this ever growing group of musicians. Mix in the vocal melody, echoed guitar and mysterious female singing Vantablack shows why there was no reason to worry in the first place. Trust the artist.                       

The ending of Phoenix III: Into the Vanishing Light loops back into the noises/fade in of Introducing: Rot Under the Sun the intro track off Lift Your Existence. Genius I tell you, genius. It’s the little things that show how hard the band have worked and thought about everything they tracked for the album. This closing number which is a ten and a half minute epic shows that with a blend of the new sound with the harder more metal elements from their debut the Night Verses have outdone themselves.

Just as Douglas Robinson penned the lyrics for the chorus of Blue Shades of the Sun this album does not let the listener stand straight or sit still nor does it want to. The fact that they did not compromise and made the album that they wanted to make elevates the album to greater heights. They have made a bold album that stands out in the watered down musical landscape that we find ourselves in, one where artists feel as if they should tailor music to what the fans would like to hear. Not Night Verses, which is the beauty of Into the Vanishing Light.

Standard
Uncategorized

Flock of Dimes- Semaphore

                                          Flock of Dimes-Semaphore

Jenn Wasner is on a hell of a role at the moment recording and releasing two albums in the space of four months, Wye Oak’s, Tween (on sale from the digitally from the 9th of June and hardcopy on August 5th.With her solo projects first ever full album, named If You See Me Say Yes which is due to be released on the 23rd of September.

Artwork for the album and single is beautiful; I am currently attempting to find out who did it.

The first taste we have been given of the record is the song Semaphore. It has the stamp of a Jenn Wasner song with her unique vocals with its uplifting elements from the clean guitar coupled with electronic upbeat drum rhythms gives it a freshness that certainly fits the season. The lyrics are sung in an airy manner with the line, ‘won’t you liven me up with colour’, expressing the feel of the song in a sentence. It is just so sonically spacious and that is a quality that Wasner has honed over the five and soon to be six albums.

Standard
Uncategorized

toe

                                toe- The Book About My Idle Plot On A Vague Anxiety

The Japanese masters have only recently come into my life through the Spotify ‘what you might like’ list. They did so because I have been getting into the ‘math’ side of music (including fellow Japanese band Lite, then there is This Town Needs Guns, Foals [to an extent] who are both from Oxford. Coincidence?).

Their amazing musicianship is complex yet does not get showy or in your face. There is a skill in the bands attitude to the music. As a band that is put into the ‘Math-rock’ genre, which some people believe is too flashy and boarders on being obnoxious. I personally disagree whole heatedly with that.

toe are THE band to show that opinion/mindset is wrong. Just because this type of music is complicated and very technical does not mean that it is created for those who are also just as talented or make similar music. Nor do you need to be educated in music theory at a degree level. It is music that is accessible to all if you choose to listen to it.

Just what is that music? Well it is beautifully crafted melody’s backed by some of the best drumming you will find played by Kashikura Takashi, which is delicate but very precise. The clean guitar sound is crisp and perfect complimenting eachother are Mino Takaaki and Yamazaki Hirokazu on the six string instruments. Rounding out the group is Yamane Satoshi on bass guitar who’s link with  Kashikura Takashi is an example to all other rhythm sections on how it should be done.

Mostly an instrumental band, toe have become the go to band for me to listen to when I needed to relax. But where the band that helped me power through my Dissertation and finals of University. There are some similarities that can be drawn between this music and classical, well I believe there are. Both are intricate in structure with varying parts that dip and expands. Plus many people listen to music that have no lyrics as they get distracted by them and end up singing along. Obviously the instrumentalists fit into that category and should be added to anyone’s revision or just relaxation playlists.

toe are a band that play with ease and because of that they are easy to listen to. Even the songs that have lyrics transcend the language boundary (as music so often does) and can simply be put on and enjoyed. Creating idyllic imagery through the blissful sonic constructions.

Standard
Uncategorized

Why are Night Verses so Important to Me?

                                                                  Night Verses’ Website

My Father had The Jam (and everything Paul Weller) and the Mods, my Mother Rod Stewart and the New Romantics. I have never really had a scene, group or something that could be named a subculture (unless you count being weird?). But I do have a band, a band that is my Father’s The Jam or Mum’s Rod Stewart and they are Night Verses.

As you’ll know if you have met me Night Verses are one of my favourite bands who I listen to everyday without fail yet I have never really explained why. So I thought I would give it a go. I have said that they are masterful musicians and waxed lyrical about them every opportunity I have and will do for the rest of my life. But there is an additional reason and that is that they are ‘Me’. Sounds odd I know but you hear people say that this band’s music connects with them on a higher level, it speaks to their spirit and soul, and well I can’t say that they have spoken to my spirit or soul, instead they have become my spirit and merged with my soul through the massive impact they have had on my life over the past three years.

At the time I found them I was not too happy, thinking of quitting university and doubting almost everything. Yeah I know a lot of people struggle similarly and I am not the only person to have felt or feel this way and like the majority of these people I don’t know when to ask for help, or talk to someone. It was through this period that as I first heard Night Verses.

Though I do relate to all of their songs (Whatever Makes You Hate Me, From the Shadows Where I’m Low and the rest [Night Verses’ YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/user/NightVersesOfficial]) there are a few, Rage (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UC18dtty2xc), I’ve Lost My Way Back Down and Cathexis which in particularly mean a lot to me. Rage may seem apt because I have been known to lose my cool every now and again (that’s what happens when you bottle shit up) however that is not the reason. It is because I always worry about losing people (when playing the board game Atmosphere/Nightmare where you had to write down your biggest fear, I did not write spiders though I hate them. I wrote my Parents dying). I am the sort of person that puts a lot of effort into trying to make people happy and I am happier when I make people laugh or smile. So the friendships I make are very important to me but I often feel as though I am wasting their time or bothering them. People may think this is dumb or irrational but that’s my fear. Lyrically, Rage is expressing that in the chorus especially;

‘Cast out, I wanted to please you,
and now you’re not around,
Am I losing myself?
Am I losing myself?’

There has never been a song that has resonated with me on the level that it does.

Again reinforcing this are the lyrics from the closing song to Lift Your Existence (2013), Phoenix: I. Rising II. Falling, ‘And now, I’m giving you all that I got even if it’s not enough.’ Links to my need/endless attempts to make people happy hit home so much.

As for I’ve Lost My Way Back Down (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1E2nPKMG10) it is a simpler answer than I thought it would be after some contemplation. It expresses the fear I have outlined; I do not want to lose people even though it is inevitable. I guess Night Verses just reflect that, especially in the ending of the last song off the Out of the Sky EP where layered clean vocals sing over the most heartfelt and painful release of feeling that I have ever heard. It resonated with me for some unknown reason, and it has the same effect on me every time I listen to it. That song made me realise that whenever I felt down or lost I just needed to ask for help talk about stuff because though I thought I was/am bothering people with telling them they will listen. After all what harm can it do? None.

Cathexis: the concentration of mental energy on one particular person, idea, or object (especially to an unhealthy degree). It may not be to an unhealthy degree, well I hope not, but I have and do spend a lot of mental energy on certain things. I am that type of person that keeps things, leading to countless sleeplessness nights and long bouts of insomnia, just because as my head hits the mattress (I am odd and do not use a pillow) all thoughts, many of which I didn’t think bothered me come along and are determined to keep me awake. Cathexis (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vs-vh8_TuWU) was not only a new word to add to my vocabulary but a word that I have found myself identifying with.

Their newest song A Dialogue in Cataplexy (https://soundcloud.com/equalvision/night-verses-a-dialogue-in-cataplexy) released 26/05/2016, came again at a time that I needed it to. I had just found out a disappointing result on some course work and was trying to figure the FUTURE out (still am and will be for a while). I was super excited for not only the new song but for the album (out on the 8th of July, why isn’t it here yet!?). When I heard the viciousness and raw power of the song I grew emotional and listened to it umpteen times. It has a similar ending to I’ve Lost My Way Back Down in both the fact that it is aggressive and full of emotion showing there is more to it than just anger.

Then there are the next couple of singles Drift (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1718pBuNr8s) and Panic and Pull Your Heart Out (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55VO0V8bQg0) two songs again that align with my life. I thought that it is weird but I guess it solidifies my ever growing bond to them and their music. Drift came out at a time of political unrest in the UK and when I am also leaving Lancaster University and going into the big scary world, well I would describe it as more leaving Bailrigg FM and not Uni. Anyhow, Panic and Pull Out Your Heart fits into the same bracket, as this has been a time of massive uncertainty and genuine panic. I have no clue what is going to happen but even though Night Verses may not read this, they are there with me, and yeah they do not know it but it means the world to me that they are.

Even the tracks of the band’s new album shows their diversity and risk-taking change in their sound, surprising many with what they have released. Has spurred me on and has inspired me to take on that same way of thinking and approach to life as they have to Into the Vanishing Light. Even if they blow up in your face at least you had a go or went for it. So Night Verses are even helping me form ever evolving self and the changes I am going through and will go through in the future.

The very deep emotional attachment that has been built with this band is one that I cannot explain fully in words. After all they have made me very happy and cry in one five minutes track. Think about myself and made me want to change for the better. So the one word that attempts to articulate my feelings towards Night Verses is love, and that I truly do.

 

Standard