Singles/Songs, Song of the Day

Song of the Day: The Maccabees – Kamakura

                                                                                       Kamakura

The Macabees have been disbanded earlier this year playing their final gigs in July admittedly I was never an avid follower however the music did cross my ears via my twin brother playing them from his room.

So knowing that they had a good number of decent songs it was a nice reminder when they popped up on my Spotify suggestion playlist. This song from the final album Marks to Prove It (2015).

In short I have had this song on constantly there is just a wintry quality that is fitting with the changing seasons. The lyrics are sombre throughout but in particular of not ‘saying a word because it breaks her heart’ add to the melancholic feel to the track. Furthermore the stripped back verses are gripping and then loosen up into a more expansive chorus with a thin string like sound backing creating a shift that is very effective in moving you.

I guess it is one of those instances where you find a song that fits not only your mood but the weather and environment around you increasing your level of enjoyment.

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Singles/Songs, Vinyl

Vinyl Vindication: Wye Oak – Spiral/Wave is Not the Water (7′ Special Adult Swim Singles)

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                                                                                                     Spiral

There are fewer things I have bought as quick as this very special 7 inch. Spiral is one of my favourite tracks so much so that when I heard them warming up with it at The Soup Kitchen back in 2014 I threw my arms aloft and made a instinctual gleeful noise of some kind.

Upon seeing the limited pressing it was a must have. Visually a striking red vinyl with a  tripy cover and a contrasting white border matches the music. Spiral is a wonderfully captivating spiraling track. From the effect layered vocals that echo and delay swirling around your head, the pulsing bass alongside the guitar add to the sense of surrealness.

Spiral ends by adding a beautiful glockenspiel, keyboard or synth(?) sound that joins the familiar instrumentation then after it has been playing for around a minute it is interrupted by static before coming to a close on a lone glockenspiel(?) or keyboard line.

Wave is Not the Water flows just like its title suggests there is a very natural feel that comes across from the totally man made electronics. Vocally it pulls from the same place as the A side but they are not delayed but just as serene.

Instantly this 7′ has become a prized possession of mine and a piece of music that I do and will cherish for as long as I am breathing.

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Singles/Songs, Song of the Day

Song of the Day: Trivium – The Sin and the Sentence (Single)

                                                    The Sin and the Sentence (Official Video)

This is the best song they have released in the last 4 years plus it’s more memorable than everything on the whole of Silence In the Snow (2015).

It’s the lead track of the forthcoming album (out 20/10/2017) of the same name. Packing a hell of a punch with Heafy screaming again after not doing so for the last LP, because he put his voice out on tour and he was worried of the potential damage caused. But to many ‘fans’ the screaming is welcomed with open arms since it was a sore point for many when it was no longer present. Some complained about it and are still irritated that they have changed. As bands always should. Change is what Trivium do. Get over it ‘fans’ who don’t like how they sound now and go listen to Ascendancy! If that is your Trivium stop moaning and stick to that record it isn’t going anywhere (sorry that is something that really irks me).

The Sin and the Sentence has killer hooks that come in multiple forms, both the clean vocal melodies and harsher have their contagions. As ever the riffage is layered on super thick from the guitars, leads, rhythm rule (provided by Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu). New drummer Alex Bent really frees the band up as he can do everything. He and Paolo Gregoletto are a great duo instantly playing brilliantly as a rhythm section. Many of the passages will stick with you.

The Sin and the Sentence is a stupidly triumphant return that will please every Trivium fan no matter which Trivium they prefer.

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Singles/Songs, Song of the Day

Song of the Day: Good Foxy – Easy Money (Single)

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                                                                        Easy Money Single

New single from the Clitheroe greats is as joyful and summery as they come. The vocals are a delight to the ears light over the clean crisp upbeat rhythm guitars, bass happily plays along with the drums are a perfect match as ever. The solos are as ever air guitarable reverbed and all more awesome for it.

The single is just as good a quality as all their 1970’s influenced psychedelic music is, which is music that is missing from a lot of peoples libraries and Good Foxy are there to fill that gap in. Even if you don’t know that there is a gap once you listen to this single you’ll know that there was.

Easy Money is easy listening.

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Album Reviews

Nadine Shah – Holiday Destination (2017)

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                                                          Nadine Shah’s BandCamp Page

I have been rather unmotivated recently not really being spurred on to write much other than Brand New and Everything Everything’s albums (the later review is on the way but has taken longer than it should) then I found this stupendous creation (I found it this past weekend and have bought it twice).

The production of this record is the best I have heard all year. It sounds like it was created in a post-apocalyptic studio where all the instruments are radiating, vibrating and sort of off ear twitching frequencies. It could not be any more perfect. It really enhances the music and sad real themes which very much incorporate what a sorry state the world is at the moment (just as Brand New’s Science Fiction and Everything Everything’s A Fever Dream do in their own ways).

The tone of the guitars throughout the record is twisted, fuzzy and spiky often backed by buzzing synths/other electronic sounding keys in 2016, Ordinary or Relief to point out a few instances. Relief also is blessed with amazing saxophone/horns another is The Way Out where they are steady then the way they are used for both endings are inventive. Due to the saxophones application The Way Out has a dystopian jazz feel that climaxes in the most satisfying of ways. A track about the movement of refugees around the globe ‘Where would you have them go, A generation searching for a home’. Reinforcing that Shah is commenting on/critiquing major political and social issues of 2016/17.

Further evidence of this is Yes Men is aimed at the ‘Fascist in the Whitehouse’ (a lyric from 2016) which is an over exaggeration but still there are people who think that the current President is a bit too far leaning to the right on the spectrum. Title track Holiday Destination says that the, ‘Bad guys are winning’ it is all rather pessimistic but not to the point that it is soul sapping of all enjoyment the album really works around the themes chosen.    

Shah’s voice is extraordinary based in the lower to mid ranges it echoes across the album bringing yet more power to the lyrics, enhancing the music also. The use of her voice on Relief with the line that follows the muted guitars is one of many ways in which it is deployed to great effect.

Holiday Destination is a poignant album from all angles there is thought in every one of Shah’s words, the artwork is of a building with massive holes in it and a child peering out of one, the music mirroring this also. Nadine Shah has released not only a truly special sonic experience but more importantly a record that highlights the struggles around the globe with a blunt and mature approach.

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Album Reviews

Declan McKenna – What Do You Think About the Car? (2017)

                                            Declan McKenna’s Official Website

McKenna will soon be turning 19 the young man has been building to this release since he was 17 at least when he won the coveted Glastonbury Emerging Talent award at the 2015 festival. So it has been awaited by his fanbase and critics since then how does it sound?

Brazil is the single that seemed to begin his rise and McKenna being branded the ‘voice of a generation’ which is a weighty label to have put on you at such a young age. The reason that music critics stated that was because of the subject matter in a number of his songs including Brazil, a dig at Sepp Blatter and FIFA’s corruption/dealings with the 2014 World Cup. Aside from the lyrical content the musicianship is very good, poppy (the acoustic bridge especially), refreshingly indie and very modern sounding. Picking up on the reversed psychedelic guitar line reminiscent of the criminally under ratted Johnny Squire (The Stone Roses/Seahorses).   

Make Me Your Queen is a contender for the best song of the album certainly out of the tracks that are not singles (6 by the time of the release) here McKenna shows his artsy side as the chorus’ vocals are dowsed in reverb giving a grand dreamy quality. One that is echoed in his videos which are glittery and have him all face painted up (Brazil 2nd Video for example) Bowie-esc channelling the legend in both sound and visuals on a number of occasions.

Isombard again a large single that only drew more deserved attention to McKenna a fantastic performance of Isombard (can be found via the link provided) on the legendary Later With Jools Holland where he again added to that ‘he is the voice of a generation’ label by wearing a give 17 year olds the vote. A song that is very 1980’s with a great keyboard line, falsetto highs with oooohs following the sung title word. It is addictively and catchy it’ll spend a lot of time in your ears for sure.

Some have criticised the interjections between a couple of tracks from some of the children’s choir that sing on The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home when one child has questions about why the kids not wanting to go home, McKenna failing to explain it and giving up. There are a few parts in Brazil also bit I think that they are not irritating but I can see why some people would find them so.        

This debut is beautifully British Declan McKenna has come out with a really great album that is both sophisticated yet accessible it isn’t too arty or opinionated the balance is perfect.

But as he said in an interview with FaceCulture this is not going to be his best album. If that is true then going off the strength of What Do You Think About the Car? What comes next is beyond exciting.

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Album Reviews

Anderson .Paak – Malibu

                                                                              Parking Lot

Later with Jools Holland brought me to Anderson .Paak (& the Free Nationals, his accompanying live band) who I saw play on the show and they were tremendous, the mix of R n’ B, funk, neo-soul with a splash of hip hop caught my ear and more so as they are genres I have not listed to too much it exited me. My interest was piqued I naturally went and checked out his music on the interwebs.

Malibu was the album he was touring and the 4th of his career.  Checking it out was certainly the correct thing to do as it would have been a real shame if it had passed me by. Curiosity in this case didn’t kill the cat.

The album is smooth throughout from the opening The Bird which is more in the jazzy soul camp to the more R n’ B one like Carry Me the flow on the split song The Season/Carry Me is really interesting with .Paak showing one of the many aspects to his voice. The Season has one of the most memorable lyrics fro me in it ‘And fuck fame, that killed all my favourite entertainers’.  

Parking Lot is addictive the chorus is so darn catchy helped by the clapping that hooks you, oh and the pronounced bass on it is great also (rivalled a number of times admittedly by The Waters featuring BJ the Chicago Kid and Come Down man what a funky tune that is). I have linked it below the picture for a reason after all.

It gets all seductive on Room in Here which features The Game and Sonyae Elise (two of many great features from artists and musicians on Malibu) with  a simple backing beat and piano there isn’t much going on but it is still class and the playfulness side .Paak shows is more than enough to push the track forward. Playfulness also rears its head on track six Am I Wrong  a lyric to show this is ‘A I wrong to assume, If she can’t dance, then she can’t oow’ plus those horns.  

Make sure that you don’t let this quality collection of tracks go by without you listening to it, I promise that there is something for everyone. Be it if you are into soul, R n’ B and hip hop or not. It is does have its flaws though as some songs could have been cut to make the overall package more concentrated and tighter.

The cover of Malibu really does say a lot about this album in the fact that there is a lot of things going on, however at the focus is Anderson .Paak. Who is beyond brilliant merging all that busyness into a cohesive and explorative sound.      

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