Monday, 29 July 2013

Top 50 of 2012: No.30: Your Demise - The Golden Age (Visible Noise)

Another band on this lists last full album release, and this time it’s even worse because Your Demise have created a monster of an album, which is quite sickening that their last album has so much shit from some so called fans, sure there’s elements of skatepunk but this is still a punkrock monster of an album. Kicking off with the ferocious title track ‘The Golden Age’ with it’s statement of intent, “This Is Your Demise 2012 Bitch” and even second track which gave them so much flak ‘These Lights’ in one hell of a catchy song, which apparently Your Demise aren’t allowed to write. So you can listen to this album with your judgemental scenester head on, or you can slam it on and enjoy it for what it is, a great punkrock record with a shit ton of energy and some catchiness here and there, and if you don’t like it, go find another band that plays exactly the same music for every single album. I don’t know if some ‘fans’ attitudes contributed to the demise of Your Demise but if they did, they should be ashamed because the UK has lost another awesome band who weren’t afraid to be themselves.


Top 50 of 2012: No.31: Axewound - Vultures (Search & Destroy)

This is like having 2 Cancer Bats album released in 1 year, albeit this is quite stylistically different to Cancer Bats but the vocals stick out a mile. Axewound have created a fun metal album that doesn’t go too far with the cheese and ends up making an enjoyable listen. So yes the solo’s and histrionics aren’t what you expect from a serious heavy metal album but you get the feeling this was all about having some fun and the members letting their hair down, so if you listen to the album with that in mind you get to enjoy it more for what it is and tracks like title track ‘Vultures’ and ‘Burn Alive’ end up being amazing fun, and considering it even features an appearance by my most hated band Avenged Sevenfold I still enjoyed so that says a lot.


Friday, 26 July 2013

Hey! Hello! - Hey! Hello! (Pledge)

Technically this album is pulling double duty, it’s included in last year’s Top 50 and it’s just been officially released, so to those who already follow Ginger Wildheart pledge campaigns we’ve had a good 8 months of already enjoying the hopefully first of many Hey! Hello! albums. However now is exactly the right time to give this album a proper release, why? because this is the most perfect summer album you are ever likely to hear, soaked in pop melodies with enough rock to keep fans of Gingers other work happy. This was supposed to be a bonus album that even Ginger himself didn’t expect to become the monster it has, it’s actually the most refreshingly fun album he’s released in years. If Gingers gift for songwriting and choruses that fill your head for days wasn’t enough you also get the lovely Victoria Liedtke’s duet vocals that make these really good songs great.

Kicking off with lead single ‘Black Valentine’ an ode to all the non-romantics out there, with some of the funniest lyrics Gingers has ever come out with, or the insanely catchy ‘Swimwear’ which takes less than a full listen for various parts of the song to become firmly lodged in your brain, like swimwear (sic). The best advice any band can ever be given is contained in the lyrics to ‘How I Survived The Punk Wars’ and if you’re in a band or even thinking about starting one, you need to listen to this first. After multiple listens the main thing you can say about this album is that’s it’s as damn near perfect as a pop rock album can get, there are no lulls, every single song comes complete with killer choruses, witty lyrics, and more energy than my one year old on a rampage.

Considering this started as a bit of fun, the beast that it became is nothing short of amazing, this weekend all I want to do is crack open a few beers sit in the sun and shove the album on repeat, and it’s almost as if that’s what it was created for. So maybe it was never intended to be what it is, but here’s hoping there’s more to come, and when you put it on and open a beer, have a drink to Hey! Hello! and them taking the world by storm, it’s more than deserved. Special credit also goes to the amazing Frank Kozik artwork, which ties off the release nicely, albums like this make writing reviews and this blog worth doing. So don’t delay and get this album right now and help it keep climbing the charts.

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Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Huw Costin - Something/Nothing (Special Sound Unit)

After hearing Huw Costin’s ’09 album ‘Regrets’ and his previous band Earth The Californian Love Dream, I’ve been waiting with bated breath for more music to appear. Something/Nothing kicks off with quite a depressing number aptly titled ‘Doomed’, however following this ‘Move To The City’ straight away takes you back to the warm melodies that you’d expect from Huw’s previous work. ‘Evergreen’ is full of regret with the kind of lyrics that make you thankful for everything you have. Haunting title track ‘Something/Nothing’ ends the first half of the album perfectly, as things pick up tempo a little in the second half, not always in subject matter however, but more catchy at least. As you’ve guessed by this point, this isn’t much of a sunny album, but since when was good music always happy? Lead single ‘Disconnected’ featuring current and former members of Six By Seven is a stand out track with it’s sweet melodies, leading to closer ‘Butterfly Girls’ a former Earth… b-side, just as beautiful as when it was first released. Overall a beautiful album all round, however one day I hope to hear Mr. Costin’s bad side, the bad side he showed towards the end of his Earth days.

Six. By Seven - Love and Peace and Sympathy (Borrowed Tune Motion Pictures)

6 years since a proper six by seven album release, has it been worth the wait? It barely takes a minute of opener ‘Change’ before this question is soundly answered, finally Chris Olley has recorded a follow up worthy to his opening trilogy of albums, not that the albums since those 3 haven’t been good, but not in the same league sonically. Songs on the new album like ‘Truce’ are almost cinematic in scope, brooding along until it erupts into a fury of guitar, this is music to sit back and listen to, letting it wash over you, and I’ve been hearing more bands creating albums like this these days, this is no background music. You’d be hard pressed to even pick a song from this album if you were to make a mix for someone, because you’d just want to put the whole album on it. Will this be the album that finally propels Chris OIley and Six By Seven to the heights that they’ve always deserved, unfortunately probably not, and that’s whats sucks about being in band these days, so why bother? Everyone has their own answer that question, but listening to an album as good as this, you just need to count yourself lucky that bands like Six By Seven do. Songs gracefully flow throughout the album, songs like ‘Colder’ with it’s repetitive beat and guitar line send you into musical bliss, while ‘Crying’ is as close to having a single as this album gets with its massive chorus and the closest song to sounding upbeat, despite the rather downbeat subject matter. Album closer ‘Fall Into Your Arms’ is the albums heaviest track full of reverb and those repetitive beats, finishing things in a sprawling mess of noise, which really is how all the best albums end. Musical Bliss.

The Ghost Riders In The Sky - Death EP (Pledge)

Another Carter brother flies the Gallows nest, this time with a little less fanfare, judging by their debut EP and Pure Love’s output you’d be shocked that both Carter brothers were in a hardcore band in the first place. Kicking off the EP with ‘Burial Song’ a beautifully catchy female fronted tune that even had my one year old dancing along, you already get the feeling that Ghost Riders are going to be something special. ‘Bonnie & The Clyde The Death’ is the first of the tracks with a male/female duet that interweaves perfectly like Johnny & June gone bluesfolk. ‘Lovely’ is just that, a lovely female vocaled dreamy song if not a tad forgettable, however following that you get the completely unforgettable ‘What Could Be’. Bouncy as hell, the whole song is like one long memorable chorus all finished off with a classic rock’n’roll feel, can’t wait for the album.


Top 50 of 2012: No.32: Bleeding Through - The Great Fire (Rise)

It may sound like a cliché but a cliché is a cliché for a reason (nicked that from Hey! Hello!) but heavy metal does sound much better louder, to prove this I tried listening to this album last week and I had it on a lower volume, and I just couldn’t get in the mood for it. Today I slammed it up to full and it blew me away like it did last year. Unfortunately since then i’ve found out that this is to be Bleeding Through’s swansong, and it’s a hell of a way to bow out. Back in 2003 there were 2 bands that showed promise, one was Avenged Sevenfold with their ‘Waking The Fallen’ album and the other was Bleeding Through’s ‘This Is Love, This Is Murderous’, one band went on to become a joke and the other got better with each release. I don’t have to tell you which one Bleeding Through went on to be because they’re on this list, blasting out metal as heavy it can get, with a viciousness that you don’t get even on metal albums these days and that will be sorely missed.


Thursday, 18 July 2013

The Icarus Line - Slave Vows (Agitated)

It’s been a long time coming but The Icarus Line are finally realising the potential they’ve shown since 04’s Penance Soiree and have put out an album that could easily be contender for album of the year. Slave Vows is the sound of a band just letting loose and playing discordant rock’n’roll, no fancy tricks just pure rock drenched in feedback that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand-up. Joe Cardamone has already stated this is a more relaxed record as he’s come to terms with the fact that he’ll be making records for a long time to come, judging by the results, he’s doing something right. It takes balls to open with a 10 minute plus track, and somehow they’ve managed to take some of the best influences you can, Spiritualized, Primal Scream, The Stooges and distil these into a record that rivals all of the above, and I say that knowing full well how great those bands are/were.

As always The Icarus Line don’t release a collection of songs, they have and likely will always release albums, albums that you need to listen to the whole way through, albums that you want to listen to again as soon as they’ve finished. So from the slow build-up of ‘Dark Circles’ through the mental spazz out on ‘Marathon Man’ ending with the offensively beautiful ‘Rats Ass’ there’s not a dud track here, and unless something amazing gets released in the second half of 2013, I’ve found my album of the year.


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Top 50 of 2012: No.33: We Are The Ocean - Maybe Today, Maybe Tommorrow (Hassle)

Sometimes change is good, for instance We Are The Ocean were a really good band, however with their new album they’ve made a change and transcended into a great band, Sadly that meant removing former vocalist Dan Brown, but the results speak for themselves and the decision was right, because the new material is much tighter and I actually prefer Liam’s vocals. We Are The Ocean are now a more straight forward rock band bringing to mind bands like Brigade, New End Original and even Nirvana at times, and the choruses are huge, just listen to lead single ‘Bleed’ for proof of this. UK rock is seeing a real surge of great bands these days and with songs as huge as ‘Young Heart’ and ‘The Road’ file We Are The Ocean alongside bands like Mallory Knox in the next big thing category.

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Saturday, 13 July 2013

Top 50 of 2012: No.34: Phantom Limb - The Pines (Naim)

It says something about the music industry and music fans in general when a band as good as Phantom Limb are not absolutely huge by now, and sure there's plenty of bands playing a blend of country and soul these days but as stated before it's how you play it. On second album 'The Pines' the band have really upped their game, supermassive melodies that swirl round unbelievably crafted musicianship, this is the closest a band can come to sounding like they've literally walked in from the 70's as you'll get. There's so many songs that could and should be huge singles like title track 'The Pines', 'Harder Than Stone' and the beautiful 'Gravy Train' and now it's getting to summer again, this is perfect album for chilling in the garden with friends and a few beers. I know some people might read these reviews and think he likes pretty much anything, all i can say is if you check out any band that you read about on this blog, make it Phantom Limb.


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Friday, 12 July 2013

Top 50 of 2012: No.35: Social Suicide - A Genetic Hoax (Unknown)

For a lot of bands the replacement of a singer can be their death knell, especially as the first Social Suicide album was so well received by critics, luckily for them, they’ve got the tunes and if anything an even better vocalist to sidestep such an early demise. It must be something they put in the water over in Norway but Social Suicide reel out the hardcore with a viciousness to rival early JR Ewing, and with country mates Kvelertak could well lead a Norweigan revolution. Songs like ‘The Ghost Returns’ and ‘Heavens Only Hope’ are full of rage but with enough melody and exuberance to rise them above generic hardcore and into something special indeed. There’s a ton of amazing bands coming from Europe at the moment and Social Suicide could very easily be leading the pack.


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Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Top 50 of 2012: No.36: Pulled Apart By Horses - Tough Love (Transgressive)

Another example of a band that showed early promise and have gone on to become bigger and better, Pulled Apart By Horses were supposed to be a small noisy Jesus Lizardesque band, not a band that match Nirvana at their fevered Territorial Pissings peak, but they’re from Leeds so of course they managed it. Tough Love is not only a step up for them, it’s a step up for rock music in general, it’s the sound of a band going full throttle, and it shows how working hard as a band and constant touring pays off. There are many things I love about this album, the songs like ‘Wolf Hand’, ‘Night Of The Living’ tear it up beyond belief and opener ‘V.E.N.O.M.’ sets the tone perfectly, and it does what a lot of albums these days don’t, it makes you want more when it’s finished, luckily Pulled Apart By Horses were prepared for this and there’s the Tough Love Sessions release with a whole shedload of bonus tracks. So for up and coming bands out there, take note, Pulled Apart By Horses are showing you how to do it.


Friday, 5 July 2013

Future Of The Left - Love Songs For Our Husbands (Prescriptions)

Unlike most dicks who seem to spend way too much on rateyourmusic, I will be writing this review with no reference to the ‘m’ word, mostly because Future Of The Left have accomplished enough and been their own band for 6 bloody years, respec people, Respec! Not sure if this is a precursor to the forthcoming pledge album, or a standalone release, knowing FOTL it’s likely to just be a one off as they do seem to be quite the prolific bunch, but if it’s any indication of what to expect then I can’t wait for my fanboy signed copy of the new album. Kicking off (literally) with ‘The Male Gaze’ it’s FOTL at there best, all angular rhythms and sarcastically spat vocals. Second track ‘Perpetual Motives’ is the first time I’ve ever heard them sound like another band entirely, the track has such an Undertones feel it’s eerie, again knowing FOTL this is highly likely to have been on purpose. ‘The Bisexuality Of Distance’ returns to form and stands up as one of their best, and while closer ‘An Idiot’s Idea Of Ireland’ is again brilliant it’s entirely too short and should have been made into something much bigger. So after 10 minutes of frenetic rock FOTL are spent, readying for their next attack, as the band themselves have put it, It is about TEN MINUTES in length. It is GOOD. If you don’t like it you can FUCK OFF.

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Top 50 of 2012: No.37: Pigs - You Ruin Everything (Solar Flare)

This album should come with a warning, if already pissed off do not listen, could cause tendencies to become homicidal, that is how brutal this album really is, not so much in heaviness as I’ve heard much heavier but in pure grimness. You just to have to look at the sleeve alone (which by the way easily makes my album sleeve of the year), everything about this album screams grim, from the constant bass noise assault to bleak lyrics. You really wouldn’t expect anything different from members of Unsane, and this album definitely wouldn’t have been out of place in classic era Amphetamine Reptile everything about it is just an assault to the senses, you almost need to wash the hatred off you after each listen. Obviously this kind of music isn’t to everyone’s taste, but sometimes when you’re pissed off, you just need someone else to agree with you, PIGS are your friend!!! #grimrock (you heard it here first)

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Top 50 of 2012: No.38: The Men - Open Your Heart (Sacred Bones)

There’s a fine line between showing your influences and plagiarism, The Men have just shat all over that line, opening track ‘Turn It Around’ kicks off with a very familiar Stiff Little Fingers riff and throughout the album, there are huge nods to the Buzzcocks, Rolling Stones, Spritiualized, Sonic Youth and more, is this a bad thing? Not really it just sounds like the greatest mixtape ever made, and while elements are extremely similar, The Men do not simply re-hash another bands songs, rather they just slam it into their own music and create something of their own with it. It’s an argument I’ve had with friends before, what would you prefer? A band who sound completely original but the songs are awful, or a band that wears it’s influences on its sleeve but have great songs, I know which side I go with and that’s why The Men make the Top 50 this year. So go listen to your Alt-J or whatever, I’ll be happily rocking out to the fuzzed up multi-layered infliarism of The Men. #infliarism (you heard it here first)

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Live Review: The Wildhearts / Eureka Machines / Baby Godzilla - Leeds O2 Academy 30.06.2013

As with anything I write I try to make sure it’s from a personal perspective, otherwise it’s not a blog it’s just a music news and reviews page, So to start this update I’d like to give a shout out to Leeds Academy for doing their bit to make sure people aren’t too hammered at gigs these days by charging £4.50 a pint!!! You are robbing fucking bastards!!! Rant over, onto the review of the concert.

First up is one of my personal favourite new bands Baby Godzilla, not a band for everyone’s tastes as the best description really is the aural equivalent of a baseball bat to the head but they sure do put on one hell of a show. As usual they spend as much time in the crowd as on stage (or in tonight’s case climbing around it), we’re also treated to a stupendously long ‘Powerboat Disaster’ ending with an acapella rendition of the sea shanty screamed microphoneless in the middle of the crowd. They also played a new song which shows that we can expect much more riffage in future, and closer ‘Three Legged’ sounded great, my ears were literally numb for a while following this performance.

Second up to entertain us, literally, was Leeds own Eureka Machines, as far away from the sound of Baby Godzilla as you can get, the closest band they remind me of is Honeycrack, probably because of the sugar sweet pop that runs through their music. Opener ‘Champion The Underdog’ kicks things off in true style and it’s great to see this band getting the warm reception they deserve, I have a feeling throughout this tour they’ll have picked up a number of new fans, and well deserved as well. Chris Catalyst is a born performer on stage, bouncing around like he’s possessed and keeping the crowd entertained with some cracking between song banter. They run through all the best tunes like ‘Pop Star’, ‘Affluenza’ and an awesome version ‘(I’m) Wasting My Time (Yet Again)’, Welcome home the heroes indeed.

The first time I saw The Wildhearts live was back in October 1995, at the very same venue, except it was called Leeds Town & Country Club back then (still is according to Chris Catalyst) and I’d managed to persuade a school teacher to drive me and a bunch of other 15 year olds to see a band I liked, 18 years on I still like this band. Now they’d already played the Earth Vs Wildhearts anniversary tour in April and I was gutted to not make it to the Manchester show, so when they announced another 6 dates ending in Leeds I was appeased. Now most bands who play anniversary shows will run through the album and offer a sort of best of set to go with it or a smattering of other hits, however The Wildhearts aren’t most bands so instead they offer an even longer set than the album and the crowd get to choose which songs they’d prefer to hear (mostly). What makes seeing The Wildhearts so amazing isn’t just the band themselves it’s also the crowd, You will rarely attend a show where the crowd has such a passion for the band as this, with almost every person singing along not just to the planned section of the show but also to the unplanned, the fact that all 23 songs played tonight are catchy as fuck helps a little also. Ginger & co. get straight to business and smash through the first 3 songs without a word, and what’s immediately apparent is that this is the tightest live the band have ever been, and in over 20 years, that’s some accomplishment. I used to listen to this album repeatedly and I mean till the tape barely worked anymore, but still, hearing it live is a real treat, especially ‘News Of The World’ one of my favourite songs which rarely gets a hearing live. So after listening to in my opinion the best album of 1993 live in its entirety, what could possibly beat that? Well a smattering of songs from the majority of their career might give it a try, 2 songs are offered to the crowd each time and the one that gets the loudest cheer gets played and a few slightly iffy decisions aside the audience got exactly what they wanted plus some. Highlights for me were ‘Hate The World Day’ which is a real rarity treat, or the mass sing-along to ‘Geordie In Wonderland’ the heavy as fuck ‘Urge’ or the most recognised b-side by any bands fans that they might as well have released it as a single ’29 x The Pain’. At the end of the day when all is said and done, that is what makes The Wildhearts great, the fact that they can throw in b-sides which are just as popular as the singles, they’re the Oasis of the rock world in essence, and after a 2 hour set they still leave you wanting more. This was by far the best concert I’ve ever seen, and wherever the future leads be it Ginger Wildheart Band or The Wildhearts, we can only expect bigger and better things to come.

Greetings from Shitsville
TV Tan
Shame on Me

The Miles Away Girl
My Baby Is a Headfuck
News of the World
Drinking About Life
Love U Til I Don't
Nothing Ever Changes but the Shoes
(vs I Wanna Go Where The People Go)
Just in Lust
(vs Got It On Tuesday)
(vs Dangerlust)
Hate the World Day
(vs Two-Way Idiot Mirror)
Caffeine Bomb
(vs Weekend (5 Long Days))
Weekend (5 Long Days)
(Played in error. Choices were … Red Light - Green Light or Beautiful Thing You)
Red Light - Green Light
(Winner of previous choice)
Vanilla Radio
(vs Sick Of Drugs)
Someone That Won't Let Me Go
(vs There's Only One Hell)
Geordie in Wonderland
(vs Mazel Tov Cocktail)

(extra song due to Lynn Vaughan's)
29 x the Pain
(vs The Revolution Will Be Televised)

Top 50 of 2012: No.39: Kevin Tihista's Red Terror - On This Dark Street (Broken Horse)

2012 does seem to have been the year of the comeback, and none more surprising than Kevin Tihista who seemed to have disappeared off the face of the earth 7 years ago, yet suddenly he’s back and in true witty style. 10 brilliant new songs kicking off with the self-destructive tale ‘Taking It To The Streets (Again)’ with my favourite lyric of the year “Now there's a million reasons why she is leaving / number one she hates the fact I am breathing" and throughout the rest of the album he barely takes a step wrong. This is easily my favourite KT album since ‘Don’t Breathe A Word’, because like that album it contains songs brimming with upbeat heartbreak that only Kevin can write, no other song writer manages to put a smile on your face while being so intricate in detail about their life falling apart. I really can’t recommend this album or indeed this artist enough, and amazingly he already has a new album due out, which I have just received and plan to listen to shortly, giddy.