Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Spotlight: The Ordinary Boys (30/09/15)

English punk rock / Britpop band, The Ordinary Boys are back with a new album, after a hiatus of nearly 10 years. The re-formed line up consists of the original trio - Preston, James Gregory (bass) and Charlie 'Chuck' Stanley (drums) - plus new member Louis Jones, whom Preston met stage-diving at a Cribs gig. Over the last year they've been busy writing and recording their new (fourth studio) album, eponymously self-titled, The Ordinary Boys; which is now ready for release on 2nd October (2015) and they've announced a 25-date UK tour in this October and November...

'The Ordinary Boys' Album Review:
‘About Tonight’ kicks off the album well, with striking guitar and intense chord progression underlined by a continuous hard drum. It’s a pleasant surprise to hear Louis’ (the newest member of the band) opening on the vocals, instead of Preston. The lead single ‘Four Letter Word’ is reminiscent of their earlier releases, with plenty of layers and thrashing guitar, bass and drum combos as well as intricate under riffs. This track is basically the perfect pop punk kind of song.
‘Panic Attack’ is a little repetitive but brilliant for singing along to and would probably be the song off the album that everyone can join in with on their tour, there’s also a really neat bass line in this song that rounds it off really nicely.
The album closes with ‘Disposable Anthem’, which has a slower pace throughout compared to others, but I think it’s one of my favourites from the release. It’s steady but it still has the trademark Ordinary Boys sound in the chorus.
Overall, this album is a welcome difference to their previous material, the songwriting skill is still showcased through the duration of the album, and there are fantastic layered melody led sections, with guitar, bass and drums all playing their parts and now with Louis up alongside Preston with vocals, the team work amongst The Ordinary Boys shines through. It’s a matured sound and it is very different from the well known sound found on ‘Brassbound’, but it’s been a few years and to be honest, who cares, this new album is wonderful in it’s own right!

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Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Feature: Off The Wall (29/09/15)

Off The Wall are a young band from Colchester, Essex. The band have been together for five years, but have known each other since infant school and even before that! They've self - released a debut single 'Red Face Tight', but as two 16 year olds and two 17 year olds, they're fighting the under 18 gig battle, but I'm sure they're going to breakthrough and do well as a band. 

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
6 or 7 years old. 

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
Reverend and the Makers at Norwich when Jon (singer) went outside the venue when the gig had finished and did another 'gig' outside to the crowd leaving. Dingus Khan at the Colchester Arts Centre. Royal Blood at Koko, and of course Kylie at the O2!!! 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
Jamie T / De Staat / Iggy Pop / first Arctic Monkeys album. 

3 Qs for Off The Wall:

1. You've been a band for five years now, how do you feel you've grown musically over that time?
Songs have got louder and bigger!! Got a new song on the go at the moment which is in a different tuning. We also write a lot faster now as well. 

2. Where would be your dream place to perform and why?
We would like to build it up, and enjoy each step, so maybe Koko, then Brixton Academy, then Wembley, then Glastonbury! 

3. What process did you go through creating 'Red Face Tight'?
Started with a riff at home, then one of us took it to rehearsal. We then added drums and bass along with a guitar part two to create a chorus. We sat and discussed ideas for verse and then it all just came together and words inspired by a Guy Martin documentary where he used the term 'red fact tight' aha! 

Random Q:

Favourite pizza topping?
Any pizza but it needs the following toppings - pepperoni (but not too spicy), jalapeños and olives. 

'Red Face Tight' Review:
Intense guitars start this song off, with drums crashing their way into the track. 'Red Face Tight' has the perfect flow of builds and stripped back sections. The perfect track to shout along to at a gig and there are some wonderful instrumental sections with gritty guitar riffs and heavier moments too, these guys could easily follow in the footsteps of the likes of Catfish and the Bottlemen with time. 

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Monday, 28 September 2015

Spotlight: Medicine Men (28/09/15)

Glasgow's Medicine Men have recently returned with their latest single 'Lowlands', which was released earlier this month. They've already caused quite a stir with their debut single 'Show What You're Made Of', released late last year, along with a coveted slot at Scotland's 'T in the Park' festival, pulling a huge crowd at only their fifth gig! They also graced the stage at this year's Isle Of Wight Festival and have played gigs up and down the UK. 

'Lowlands' Review:
The single starts off with a buzzing synth, and brilliant bass line, which continues throughout the track, with a fantastic guitar riff that'll easily get stuck in your head and the catchiness of the chorus is perfect for shouting along to at one of the live gigs. It's a brilliant end of summer track, to listen to anywhere and any when. If you're a fan of Tame Impala, Temples or MGMT, I can guarantee you'll love this! 

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Friday, 25 September 2015

Feature: Rodney Cromwell (25/09/15)

London's Rodney Cromwell, is the solo project of Adam Creswell, founding member of indie-folktronica band Saloon and one half of electronic two piece Arthur & Martha. He recently released his debut LP 'Age Of Anxiety', with multiple tracks having been premiered on BBC6 Music, Soho Radio, and Phoenix FM, as well as already gaining repeat airplay on national Radio 3 in Spain. This LP introduces the modern electronic lover to some epic retro future synth music...

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
Unlike some I didn't come from much of a musical household. Growing up my Dad listened mostly to classical and jazz, my Mum, stuff like Warren Zevon and Elvis Costello. For years we didn't have any musical instruments in the house other than a Fisher Price Xylophone and Casio PT-80. One day I went over to my friend Sean's house and there was an acoustic guitar in the corner of the living room; to me it seemed like the most radical and rebellious thing ever, to own an actual guitar. So I started a band with Sean, we were called Cosmic Onion and we played mostly Joy Divison and Pixies covers (the easy ones). I was about 17 at the time. 
We plugged away for a couple of years until I moved to Reading and formed Saloon in 1998, which was my first 'proper' band. We played folk-tinted indie Krautrock with moogs. We were fairly successful considering that we didn't fit into any neat pigeonhole or play the industry game that well. And I suppose that really was the start of my love / hate relationship with the whole music scene. 

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
Probabl Kraftwerk on the Tour de France tour, or Mahogany in 2000 back when they were using a reel-to-reel player for the rhythm sequencing. Or Stromae who we've seen several times over the last year. Basically, I find most inspiring anyone who can pull of an exciting live show without use of a drummer. 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
I've had 'Clearest Blue' by CHVRCHES, pretty much on repeat since they dropped it a couple of days ago. 

3 Qs for Adam:

1. What is your favourite track from your LP 'Age of Anxiety' and why does it stand out to you?
Well, as the title suggests, the album deals with my own battles with anxiety, so a lot of the themes on the records are pretty dark, about depression, panic, paranoia and so on. (I hope that doesn't put anyone off of listening to it - the music itself is actually quite cheery and danceable - it's not a Goth record or anything.)
There is one track though, the instrumental 'Baby Robot', which to me is a joyful celebration of fatherhood, so I suppose that is probably my favourite track. Although admittedly, when the kids are screaming their heads off at three in the morning, or attacking my laptop (like they are as I type) that sense of joy can be somewhat tested. 

2. Who would you most like to collab / work with and why?
Well there are countless bands I would love to remix or tour with. To be honest though I'm massively happy with all the people I'm working with at the moment. I've got a couple of remixes currently in the pipeline for the awesome bands Meter Bridge and The Leaf Library, which is all very exciting. 
I suppose the collaboration I would most like to happen would result in a second Arthur and Martha album. Arthur and Martha was a band that I was in with my friend Alice Hubley, who also plays and sings on several of the 'Age of Anxiety' tracks as well as playing in the Rodney Cromwell live band. We released one Arthur and Martha album called 'Navigation' way back in 2009, but we drifted onto other projects afterwards and she's now in a fab indie band called Cosines. 'Navigation' is a great album though and I think a few people would enjoy a follow-up. So if I could persuade Aice it would be ace, and hopefully if she reads this, it might convince her further! 

3. What process did you go through creating 'Barry Was An Arms Dealer' and did it differ to other tracks on the LP?
For me every song I have written, whether it be for Saloon, Arthur and Martha, or Rodney Cromwell, has to have an idea at the heart of the process; it can be a really simple idea like 'this one will be in 5/4' or 'this one will be Spanish-Punk-Flamenco', but ultimately it needs that initial spark to drive it forward. So, the idea for 'Barry Was An Arms Dealer' was to write a disco song based around the motorik 'apache' beat used in so many great Krautrock records. 
What I generally do is record the ideas for a few hours, mix them onto my iPhone and then over the next few days, weeks, years (!!!) listen to them on the train or around the house, and come up with extra melodies or lyrics for the next time I'm in the studio. 'Barry' was a song that came together trlatively quickly for me - i.e. it only took about six months. 
I am quite a slow worker. I once did a remix for an upcoming US indie band but by the time I'd got half way through finishing their remix they'd split up. Rod Cromwell fans can probably expect the follow up to 'Age of Anxiety' in about 2035! 

Random Q:

A movie you can watch over and over again?
'La Jetée'. Directed by Chris Marker. Unfortunately the film I have watched over and over most recently is Alvin and The Chipmunks 2... not my choice. 

'Age of Anxiety' LP Review:
This release unites the best of 80s electro music with todays; and despite the topic of anxiety and depression running throughout this LP, the music itself contrasts that with a cheery, upbeat and hopeful tone throughout. 'Barry Was An Arms Dealer' taps into the sound of the 80s, but is still kept far enough away from the likes of Kraftwerk for it to still be unique and original. 'You Will Struggle' is a stand out song for me from the LP; the duet features Alice Hubley (other half of Arthur & Martha), the pair compliment each others vocals and the synths and robotic elements make this a song to get stuck in anyone's head. Baby Benedict Cresswell's gurgles feature on the instrumental track 'Baby Robot' which adds to the childlike cheeriness to this particular song, chimes of a xylophone can be heard and it just holds a meaningful innocence, listening to this one put a smile on my face. The last track on the release is one of the other songs that really stands out to me, musically it is a little more emotional in some way, and the lyrics explore the metaphor of 'Black Dog', it closes 'Age of Anxiety' summing it all up in a brilliant way. 

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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

What I'm Listening To... (23/09/15)

These are always my favourite blog posts to put together and it feels like ages since the last one, it's only been two months, but so much has happened in that time, lots of exciting meetings, emails etc. all of which will slowly be shared and announced on our social media, so make sure you're following us on Facebook or Twitter! Recently, I've been really into chilled electronic music, so there's a fair bit of that in this month's WILT, however, there's the usual random mix of music - so enjoy! 

1. Landslide - Oh Wonder
I've been following Josephine and her projects for a while now, but when I found out she'd teamed up with Anthony, I was excited to hear what they'd release. Originally, releasing one song a month, it grew into a debut album and a flipping incredible one at that! There isn't one song on the album that I don't like, all the tracks are musically and lyrically phenomenal, but I settled on 'Landslide' because it's the one stuck in my head right now. 'Plans' is my favourite from the album though, so please check that song out too :) 

2. Grow - Frances
A couple of weeks ago, I got a message from my friend, telling me to listen to this song. Needless to say I did and it's one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. Stunning and simplistically powerful. I'm going to let the song speak for itself, because Frances really brings it to life. 

3. This May Hurt - Auction For The Promise Club
I mentioned this track in one of the check it out sections back in June, but over the last couple of months it's been on repeat and been in the majority of my playlists, so it needed to be included in this post too. Auction For The Promise Club are one of the most promising bands at the minute in my eyes and I really hope they get the recognition and support they deserve. 

4. Throne - Bring Me The Horizon
Bring Me The Horizon are back!! Granted they've taken a step away from their previous 'heavier' material, but this album is just as good as the rest of them! 'Throne' is the latest single from their now released fifth studio album 'That's The Spirit'. The intricacies within this track, and the layered instrumentals make it brilliant musically, and then vocals and lyrics are on point. 

5. Ship To Wreck - The Beach
Taking a step down again, pace and volume wise; recently I've really got into The Beach and just over a week ago they released this cover of Florence + The Machine's 'Ship To Wreck' (one of my favourite songs from this year). It's the perfect evening track, chilled enough but with enough power to still keep you singing along and getting stuff done. 

6. Roman Holiday - Halsey
Another debut album that has smashed its way into the charts and most of my playlists, is Halsey's 'Badlands' - I'm obsessed. Again, there are so many songs on this album that are brilliant, making it hard to choose just one - so be sure to check out the rest of the album too! This album shows that indie pop and electropop music isn't all repetitive and identical, this is creatively individual and I'm really excited for more to come from Halsey!

7. Mind Over Matter (Acoustic) - PVRIS
Over the last year and a bit, PVRIS have been growing and now after a really successful debut album release, they're touring all over the place and gaining recognition and support from all around the world. I have their album on repeat most of the time, it's in my current top five favourites and I've loved everything they've done, covers, live performances, recorded material etc. However, I keep going back to this one track in particular. It's from their Acoustic EP (the whole EP is brilliant) and just proves that they don't have to have all the layers and electro-pop/post-hardcore, they still sound brilliant stripped back. 

8. Weathered - Jack Garratt
This is Jack's latest single, and it's just as good as the rest of his music, and it's one of my favourites, alongside 'Worry' and 'Chemical'. He has this wonderful way with words and music and this particular song sums that up well, it's also got a really wonderful music video to compliment it well. 

9. Books - Swiss Lips
Swiss Lips have had to call it a day after suffering from 'Major Label Syndrome' and I'm honestly gutted! I was sent their album to review and interviewed them for their album released earlier this year, and there were some real gems in there - this is one of them. 

10. Naive - The Kooks
We're going back a few years for this one... This track has only just been added to my WILT playlist, but thinking about it, it is constantly coming on shuffle on my iPod or I'm playing it on band hero. However, my friend Tom and I have been venturing around a couple of open mic nights locally and checking out the local talent to us - for some events - and one guy did a wonderful cover of this song and it's kinda stuck over the last couple of days, so enjoy being nostalgic for a moment! 

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