Thursday, 29 January 2015

News - The Skints Reveal Title And Artwork For New Album




Following the announcement of their signing with celebrated label Easy Star Records, reggae-dub four-piece The Skints are excited to reveal the title and cover art to their highly anticipated third album, ‘FM’,due for release on 9th March.
 
Set on the hottest day in the city on record at imaginary London pirate radio station The Big FM / Frequency Murderation, 103.Skints, the album is inspired by a time when the young band used to drive around in guitarist Josh Waters Rudge’s car, tuning in to the radio and trying to find new music.
 
Pulling from various influences ingrained in the group while growing up listening to a number of different styles and sounds, ‘FM’ is The Skints’ fitting tribute to the radio culture they love as music fans. Progressing through the bubbling sound of grime and garage to summertime sound system reggae, roots, dancehall, traditional rocksteady, Motown soul and punk, the East London-based group takes listeners on a whistle-stop tour of the capital’s underground culture in their latest venture.



 
With Prince Fatty back in the producer’s chair adding his signature take on the genre, the album also features a host of exciting guests including reggae legends Tippa Irie and Horseman, grime MC Rival(all playing alter-ego roles as the station's DJs), and even a surprise vocal cameo by comedian Rufus Hound.
 
Having finished 2014 in style, taking to the road on the J√§germeister Music Tour alongside Me First and The Gimme Gimmes and performing at London’s historic Brixton Academy in the process, 2015 promises to be another heavy year for the four-piece. With a headline tour of the UK, France, the Netherlands and Germany confirmed for April, including a date at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, plus the band's debut USA venture booked for May, The Skints show no signs of slowing down upon the release of ‘FM’, for which further details are soon to be unveiled.



The Skints have a website here.  They are on Twitter here and Facebook here.


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Music - Part 385 - Jape




Jape – This Chemical Sea (Universal Ireland)
LP/CD/DL
26 January 2015


Irish Alternative Pop band release their fifth album.  

Opening with S√©ance Of Light, a cross between the Lightning Seeds and Faithless with hints of Erasure and New Order, there is a sense of sure-fire success just around the corner for this Irish band.  Fronted by band member Richie Egan in 2003, Jape bring a fresh and entirely enjoyable sound with many an unforgettable hook.  The track is bouncy and squidgy and nothing short of 100% enjoyable.

Second track and previous single, The Hearts Desire has vocals wedged somewhere between Ian Broudie and Hot Chip, and maybe sounding how the later wish they did if they weren’t a little bit boring.  It should come as no surprise that husband and wife duo Peaking Lights are also fans of the band as there are similarities in their clean, wholesome sounds.  In fact the duo remixed the last single and were happy to wholeheartedly spread the news via all streams of social media.


So aren’t Jape just another poppy band inflicting their infectious beats on the general public?  Well, the last comment is certainly true.  Their melodies will just simply not escape your grey matter, each one is instantly compelling and worthy of being given copious amounts of radio airplay.  Take third track, Absolutely Animals where there is probably a veiled story (although the collective feel of the song supersedes any individual praise), a song so catchy that it will become the days earworm.  Even the most static of dancers will feel the need to get up and wiggle an appendage.

There are harks back to classic 90s tunes with Metamorphosis, but given a modern day twist it becomes entirely relevant.  Their synth sound is clinical but not overly so and there are maybe hints of musical influence from the likes of Vince Clarke and Daniel Miller.  Tracks are simply, but not barren.  Full but not overly complicated.

Breath Of Life momentarily sounds like the intro to Mind Of A Toy (Visage) before its semi-moonstomp drumbeat controls the track with some sumptuous echoes and possessive bass line.  Richie’s vocals are soft, gentle and completely entertaining.  Love On The Crest Of A Wave is yet another track worthy of single release.

Featuring Conor O’Brien of Villagers, Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon begins with a house-like beat and provides the perfect prequel to the album closer, title track This Chemical Sea.  The finale is a low-key, forgiving end to a truly special album.  With a few oriental sounding notes it glides effortlessly and beautifully to a calming end.

This Chemical Sea is an album for not only lovers of alternative pop, but also connoisseurs of very special music.

8.5/10

Links
Universal Ireland
Jape website
Jape on Twitter
Jape on Facebook


Published on Louder Than War 22/01/15 - here



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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

News - Gaunt Story Stream New Track And Free Download




Gaunt Story is the project of Lancashire based multi-instrumentalist Rob Ashworth.

His blend of inventive, often experimental, but simply beautifying music is well worth a listen and Seas Of Life from the forthcoming Nothing Holds You Like A Song gives and indication as to the joys that wait in store.

Listen to and download Seas Of Life below and remember the name. 





The Gaunt Story website is here.  Follow on Twitter here and like on Facebook here.




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News - Shanty Unveil New Video




London-based party-reggae collective Shanty released their debut EP, ‘Leave Me Out’, on 22nd September 2014.
Showcasing cross influences which range from soul, electronic and hip-hop, all embedded in a signature sound characterized by pulsing bass and intricate horn-lines, the seven-piece's four-track EP received praise from the likes of BBC Radio 1Xtra's reggae don David Rodigan, M Magazine and Louder Than War.

‘One More’, the fourth and final track, brings the EP to an emphatic end. The ‘end of the night’ feel to this track justifies its placement on the record, whilst still packing a reggae-fuelled punch, with soaring vocals combining with the regimented rhythm section to create a thumping classic.




The Shanty website is here.   Follow them on Twitter here and like on Facebook here.




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News - Snippet Streams New Track From Forthcoming Album




It's no secret that hiapop Blog likes Johnno Casson (aka Snippet, aka Old Tramp).  In fact, we LOVE him. 

The master of the perfect pop song (check out last years Sunshine EP) is currently preparing his third album and has given the world a sneaky peak of no track Wait!!! (that's three exclamation marks folks).

Clocking in at exactly three minutes it's poppy, it's infectious and it's yet another damn fine tune.




Links
Johnno Casson website
Snippet website
Snippet on Twitter

The Sunshine EP




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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

News - Affairs Release New Single




Originally from Hull where they caught the attention of BBC Introducing DJ Alan Raw and Amazing Radio's Bethan Elfyn with previous releases Cressida and Elephant, Indie / Electro band Affairs have now relocated to Manchester and release Blood Science, the first single from their upcoming album.

Blood Science is produced by Ed Buller (Suede, Pulp, Courteneers etc) and its colourful synth-drenched sound play against the baritone vocal to create a track of uplifting optimism mixed with tinges of melancholic charm. Lyrically the song takes inspiration from Dan Brown's Angels and Demons among others, being about two brothers, and the juxtaposition of one moving through life at an explosive pace, reaping all the rewards, but never stopping to relish the moment, and the other, savouring the present so much that he is succumbed to stay firmly behind barriers. 

Initial support for the single has come from Shell Zenner on Amazing Radio, XFM's John Kennedy who had them as one of his Tips for 2015 on his New Years Eve show and Little Indie Blogs who featured Blood Science & included it in their January Hot Top Ten.




Affiars are on Soundcloud here.  They are also on Twitter here and Facebook here.


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Music - Part 384 - Futsu




Futsu – Body Island
CD/DL
Out Now


Indie Rock quartet release their debut album.  

According to Wikipedia, Futsu is a Japanese squash, a blend of Japanese sake or a town in the Minamitakaki district of Japan until 2006.  The group emanate from Australia via Japan and the UK, they are based in Paris.  That’s quite a continental mix.

The Japanese angle is occasionally represented in the songs that Futsu have brought together to give us Body Island.   Opener Body Island Body Shapes has a few Eastern influences and combines with madcap music, highly infectious melody and an overall sound not dissimilar from that of the B52s.  They’re a little bit bonkers, this is good.

The World needs a bit of off-the-wall attitude, and the band led by singer/songwriter Mike Marques certainly provides that. Current single Mechanical Bride is wonderfully loud punk-pop with a decidedly 80s twist, and whilst other groups try (and fail) to capture the essence of that decade, Futsu seem to ‘get it’ with ease.


Over just thirty-seven minutes they manage to breeze through ten tracks, some better than others, with hints of surf and funk thrown in for good measure.  Descending Circles sounds like it could have been one of Duran Duran’s bigger hits from their heyday.  It’s powerful and is a well-constructed song, it may even have a guitar solo which is given the vocoder treatment.  Seriously inventive, seriously imaginative.

Occasionally the band veer into MOR rock which isn’t a particularly good move as the Bon Jovi’s of this World are almost emulated in a slightly directionless rock ballad.   What Futsu are good at is building songs, lifting them to compelling proportions and constructing good ear-worm choruses.  Gift Horse is such a beast.  Slowly rising until it just won’t leave your head.

Body Island isn’t a classic, but it’s a mighty fine listen.  If the band keep on these tracks then you’ll hear much more from them in the future.  As Bombay Royale have a slightly whacky appearance and representation, so too do Futsu.  Above all else it’s fun and harmless and well worth your cursory attention.


7.5/10


Links
Futsu website
Futsu on Twitter
Futsu on Facebook
The Bombay Royale album review

Puhblished on Louder Than War 19/01/15 - here


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Friday, 23 January 2015

Music - Part 383 - Thrashing Doves




Thrashing Doves – Bedrock Vice (Cherry Red)
CD
19 January 2015


A re-release of the London based quartet’s 1986 album.  

Like it or not, there can be little argument that the early 80s spawned an unprecedented number of what are now termed ‘classic’ singles.  Take a look at the charts from 1980 to 1984 and it will guarantee at least one such track on every week of the Top 40.  It was in the late 80s that this changed, the amount of lesser known but critically acclaimed acts who failed to whet the appetites of the UK public were many – The Bible and The Big Dish were prime examples as were Thrashing Doves.

Thrashing Doves (in)famously signed for A&M after a flurry of activity involving many of the majors to obtain their signatures.  Not unheard of, but the group hadn’t even recorded a demo at that stage and the interest was purely based on their ever growing reputation as a live band.  Recording the promised two albums for the label of which Bedrock Vice was the first, they had just one sniff of chart success when third single Beautiful Imbalance reached the dizzy heights of number 50.  The single brought about the phrase ‘the curse of the Thrashing Doves’ after a certain Margaret Thatcher expressed a liking for the song on Saturday Superstore and has been used ever since to indicate a turn in fortunes for any band endorsed by politicians.

Containing five singles, the bands debut album somehow managed to attract the talents of the eras most in demand producers and remixers – Chris Thomas, Bruce Lampcov, Jimmy Iovine and Bob Clearmountain – who between them had the likes of The Sex Pistols, Bruce Springsteen, Tears For Fears and Simple Minds on their CVs.

So what of Bedrock Vice?  The stark truth is that it was a stunning album.  Coarse but clinical drums, sumptuous jangly guitars and unforgettable keyboard hooks with the semi-punk vocals of Ken Foreman, coupled with impressive quiffs and highlighted cheekbones were a perfect combination.  Album opener, Beautiful Imbalance despite its ‘fan’ provides one of the finest alternative singles of the 80s.


Thrashing Doves weren’t airy-fairy lyrically either.  Listen to Matchstick Flotilla and its veiled comments on immigration or Rochdale House with references to drug abuse. The thing with The Doves (as they were named for their USA only album Affinity) is that they were probably ahead of their time.  Like On-U Sound, they turned regular sounds on their heads and pumped out something that absconded fans of the early 80s charts craved.

Despite supporting the likes of the Ramones, Big Audio Dynamite and Squeeze the UK’s loss was the USA’s gain as the band embarked on a headline tour as Je$u$ On The Payroll entered the Top 20 of the Billboard Dance Chart.  The remaining singles The Grinding Stone and Biba’s Basement (ironically referencing the Iron Lady) provided further evidence of the bands prowess. 

Admittedly, the album isn’t all killer, as Rochdale House demonstrates, but it’s far from filler too.  Northern Civil War Party was another track screaming for single release.  Giving way to Balearic beats and loops, Bedrock Vice is a largely undiscovered gem.  Has it aged well?  Perhaps, but that’s mainly down to the fact that the 80s weren’t ready for it.

The bonus tracks include remixes and stunning b-sides (check out Self Infliction Crew) together with a superb live version of The Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil making the cd an essential addition to any music collection.

8/10


Links
Cherry Red Records
Thrashing Doves website
Thrashing Doves on Twitter
Thrashing Doves on Facebook


Published on Louder Than War 14/01/15 - here


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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

News - The Pop Group Release New Single in February




The new single from The Pop Group will be 'Mad Truth' and is taken from the Paul Epworth produced 11-track album Citizen Zombie, their first album in 35 years, to be released through Freaks R Us on Monday February 23rd 2015.




The Pop Group website is here.  Follow on Twitter here and like on Facebook here.

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News - The Everglows Stream 'It's Alright'




The Everglows are Andy Smith guitar and vocals, Ray Brodrick drums and Steve Perkins bass.

The Everglows are a powerful three piece band from East London taking influences from the 60's sounds of Mod, garage and psychedelia as well as new wave and Britpop. They create catchy songs with a retro vibe and a sound that has been described as somewhere between Elvis Costello, Weller and the Black Keys.


The band got together in February 2013 and spent most of the year perfecting their sound and getting the song 'right'.  They performed a handful of open mic nights and ended the year doing a gig at the legendary Ace Cafe in London. In 2014 they played a handful of local shows and had two live radio sessions for Krystal Radio and Croydon FM.  They made their London debut at the Sebrite Arms, Bethnel Green and ended June supporting Britpop ledgends Dodgy at the Cambridge Junction. On June 28th they make their festival debut at the Chingford Village Festival.  In July they passed 2000 listens to our Soundcloud page and made their London West End debut at The Comedy venue in Piccadilly. 






The Everglows are on Bandcamp here.  Follow them on Twitter here and like on Facebook here.




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News - Sam Prekop To Release New Album In February




Sam Prekop’s music is always imbued with a sense of wide-eyed discovery and exploration, regardless of the style he is working in. As the singer and guitarist of the acclaimed indie rock group The Sea and Cake, Prekop has incorporated elements of traditional styles from around the world, expanding the public perception of what it means to be the leader of a pop band. In recent years, he has also established himself as a modular synthesist, building his instrument meticulously to find the perfect combination of oscillators, sequencers, limiters and filters to create a system that allows him to create sounds that are surprising and inviting.

His new solo album, The Republic is his latest synthesizer work, following 2010’s Old Punch Card and showcases Prekop’s talent for creating expressive music through mechanical patterns, repetitions, and chance. Prekop’s innate gifts of melodic turns of phrase that have made him a revered songwriter are transferred into new forms in his synthesizer work, aided by the unpredictable melodic capabilities of analog sequencers, and The Republic is an exciting new chapter in his development as an accomplished synthesist.






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News - Get A Room! Announce New EP




Parisian DJs/producers Get A Room! proudly present their debut EP ‘Inbetween’, set for release on February 2nd 2015 via Partyfine, the label founded by Pierre-Alexandre Busson, better known as fellow French producer Yuksek.
Although this is their first EP, Get A Room! – the moniker of Aurelien Haas and Jeff Lasson - are certainly no novices to the Parisian music scene. They have been active for years: digging through crates to find and edit hidden gems before reintroducing them to the movers and shakers of the French capital through concept store Colette and their own imprint Small Time Cuts.
The duo are already celebrated for their remixes, which have been released through some of the best electro labels around including Kill The DJ, DFA, Ed Banger, Tigersushi, Labelle, and Meant. Their sleek sound is also the toast of fashion labels: they can often be found behind the decks at Paris Fashion Week and are responsible for the sound design of both Melinda Gloss and Paul & Joefashion shows.
This debut effort showcases the quality production of the pair and their willingness to explore a variety of genres and tempos. EP opener, lead track ‘Agony & Pain’, is a peak time number that skillfully combines disco basslines with dubby analogue fx to create a versatile dancefloor winner. The original is accompanied by a remix from experimental producer The Emperor Machine, who has previously turned his hand to remixes of giants like Moby, Daft Punk and Royksopp. With his edit of ‘Agony & Pain’ he creates a strong hook with chopped up vocals and trademark synth arpeggios for a decidedly 90s spin.





Listen to Get A Room! on Soundcloud here.  Follow on Twitter here and like on Facebook here.


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News - Jahtari Launch Vinyl Sub-Label


Those wonderful folks over at the digital-laptop-reggae label Jahtari have moved into the vinyl market.  To quote:

"Together with Naram and the mysterious gentleman named Colonel Mustard we're
launching a new 7"-sublabel specializing in killer relicks and deadly original riddims,
directly inspired by ruffneck 1980s dancehall. The riddims are finding their way to
some of the wickedest artists from dancehall’s golden era – as well as brand new
talents to carry on the style and fashion. Watch the ride and don’t test, because
the Colonel is stockpiling serious ammunition!
The first two 7"s are seeing Daddy Freddy on a relick of the Bad Bwoy Wadat
riddim, and a soundkilling anthem by Face & Sheenyboo (out of Asher Senator's
Code 7 yard in Brixton) on a fresh Naram cut."


Who are we to argue?






All Colonel Mustard’s 7"s are strictly limited pressings.


The Jahtari website is here.



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News - Barry Blood Re-Masters By Son




Twenty-five years after Barry Blood's premature death in December 1989 at the age of 45, his master recordings are being restored and re-mastered for the digital age by his son Steve Blood (Bad Dads Club, The Hollow).

Barry Blood was a leading light in the Manchester music scene from the late 60's onwards when his band The Trixons supported The Beatles at the Pavilion Gardens in Buxton in 1963.  He also worked as a session guitarist for Shane Fenton/Alvin Stardust, and writing, recording and touring Europe with The Blood Band.

In 1985 his song 'Killing Time' was chosen by producer Malcolm Gerrie to feature in BBC's EastEnders to support the story line of the on/off love between Den and Angie.

She's the Queen of My Rock and Roll World was released as a 7" single on Barry's Wrechord Records label in 1982 and is currently attracting high prices by collector's for its rarity and it's classic blues-rock performance. 


Safari (1975) is an early instrumental recording from 1975 whilst Casino, from 1985, shows the development of Barry's writing and production technique fusing rock solos over a pop  production more akin to Trevor Horn (spot similarities to Frankie’s Two Tribes).



Steve will be releasing a full studio and live album of his Fathers re-masters later this year.



Steve Blood is on Soundcloud here.  You can follow Bad Dads Club on Twitter here and like Steve Blood on Facebook here.


Published on Louder Than War 22/01/15 - here


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Music - Part 382 - The Callstore




The Callstore – Save No One (Talitres)
LP/CD/DL
12 January 2015


French singer/songwriter releases his new album.  

Originally released in 2014, Save No One by The Callstore sees the light of day once more and quite understandably so.  The solo project of Brittany born Simon Bertrand is a refreshingly unique take on folk/rock-pop with a thick French accent and some quite interesting musical backing.

Written, recorded and produced by Simon it sweeps between lone acoustic guitars and full backing with (allegedly) all drum sequences made via a PlayStation.  Sounding at times likes a Jarvis Cocker speaking in the tongues of the original language of romance, the twelve tracks on show are competent and often entertaining.

Come On Down features just Bertrand with acoustic guitar and violin.  It’s gorgeous and well worth a half-hearted listen from anyone before it breaks into the madcap Thou Shall Be Broken with its excessive drum pattern and organs.


Now based in London for fifteen years, Simon has developed a knack for writing infectious and memorable songs with enough cross Channel integration to appeal to many an audience.  His style of semi-spoken, sometimes indecipherable drawl is full of intrigue, but sometimes becomes a little too much.  As standalone tracks they appear as mini masterpieces, but as a collection the formula could wear a little thin.

Make no mistake, we could hear a lot more of The Callstore and quite rightly so.  Sad Sometimes is nothing short of heart-breaking and on tracks like this the voice really suits the mood.  Sounding on the brink of breakdown and appealing to his partner he begs for understanding and the allowance to not always be obliged to feel happy.

In Between Tricks The Magician Bows again has a drumbeat which as times sounds slightly clumsy and maybe not in time, but over the track it all makes sense and Simon’s insight and vision should be applauded.  He clearly has no intentions of conforming and whilst he continues to make music like this then there is no reason why he should.

The Letting Go is tear-jerking as the effortless and minimalist approach to song-writing becomes entirely fruitful with a vocal that couldn’t be any more suitable to the instrumentation if anyone tried.

Save No One is an interesting album and certainly a grower as the eclectic Above And Beneath Your Feet brings the dozen tracks to a close.  Hints of blues guitar and gospel keys flutter in unison with a simple piano break.  All good stuff.

7.5/10



Links
Talitres
Save No One on Bandcamp
The Call Store on Facebook

Published on Louder Than War 13/01/15 - here


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