Monthly Archives: June 2011

Funeral Suits – Colour Fade

Dublin’s new trio, Funeral Suits, are set to release their debut single Colour Fade soon so I thought why not take a peek at the track?

The Funeral Suits

Funeral Suits

Funeral Suits have spent two years writing, rehearsing and occasionally performing as special guests for the likes of Franz Ferdinand, The Maccabees and Passion Pit. Now they are finally going it alone.

Colour Fade blends calming indie vocals with pleasant melodic electric guitar and rhythmic drums. Although the melody remains pretty much the same throughout the entire song, it doesn’t become dull. This is probably due to the hypnotic sound of the guitar in the background which, for some reason, helps to focus your attention.

One great bit about half way through the song comes when some harmonies kick in and the music breaks down, leaving only the unique vocals behind. These sound haunting and echo slightly bringing a new layer to the track which allows it to be worked back up.

To me, their music reminds me of a cult film. It’s quite unheard of and secret but once you get the chance to become involved in its fanbase, you want to show everyone how great it is. Funeral Suits are like that. Starting out relatively small, this trio will gradually have a snowball effect of fans following them. It’s not everyone’s thing but they will definitely get an acute audience.

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Hyde & Beast

Remember how terrible the White Stripes were? Well, now there’s a duo who make guitar and drums fit hand in hand while making a powerful, fully rounded song. This band is Hyde & Beast.

Hyde & Beast consists of The Futureheads’ Dave Hyde and ex-Golden Virgins’ drummer Neil Bassett. This duo know how to use guitar and drums to the maximum to make great 1960s inspired blues music.

Hyde and Beast

Neil Bassett and Dave Hyde

Their newest release is called (And The) Pictures In The Sky and gives the feel of American blues driving music. It’s the sort of the song you’d want blasting on the radio on a hot summer day driving along a long, dusty, American outback road.

The two drummers began producing such elegant blues music almost by accident when they experimented with some songs in Bassett’s Sunderland studio where they then decided to start their own record label, Tail Feather Records.

From this, they began to release music of their own with some help from a few friends from the North East music scene. And I think they’ve done a fabulous job.

Hyde & Beast have brought Blues back with something slightly different. Without making the music too depressing (as Blues is often thought of being), they’ve produced a great summer song through simplicity. The guitar is dominant while the drums take a back seat but nothing is too heavy or overbearing. Everything balances nicely.

Hyde’s vocals are relaxing. He’s not stretching any vocal abilities he has in this song, it’s like his vocals are taking a back seat too along with the music. There is something refreshing and really pleasant about this song that just makes it seem perfect. Nothing is too try-hard, everything is chilled out which I think is what makes it a winner.

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Thomas Tantrum – Mad By Moonlight

Southampton’s talented Thomas Tantrum have just released their second album titled Mad By Moonlight which uncovers the theme of female insanity, insomnia and lack of sleep.

This indie-pop group have combined their many different influences from the B52s, Abba and The Cure into their sombre yet, in parts, rather adventurous album.

Track one is titled Tick Tock and is a song that brings forward the relaxed tone of the record. The peaceful vocals from Megan Thomas are pleasant and controlled allowing the song to be smooth making it a great introductory track.

Face The Music, however, livens everything up just that little bit. While sounding very much like The Cure, it has elements which make it a brand new song of its own. Ignoring the rather cringey, repetitive lyrics of “I wanna take you on a love boat. If we go back it will be cut throat”, this song is one of the best on the album. It captures the sound of The Cure and brings it back in a style which can fit perfectly in today’s chart.

Mad By Moonlight album cover

Mad By Moonlight album design

Another great track on the album has to be Betty Blue which is about a crazy lover who has a breakdown one night. Bringing forward the cheeky side to the band with more upbeat melodies, Betty Blue features the album title lyrics ‘Mad By Moonlight’ in its chorus. This comes after a rather memorable and melodic bridge with the lyrics, “I don’t wanna burst your bubble but I’m a crazy lover, crazy lover yeah. I don’t wanna cause you trouble but I’m hard to love, a crazy lover yeah. I don’t wanna throw off the sheets and call you words I’ve never used before”. This is bound to be stuck in your head later.

It has to be said that Megan Thomas’ vocals have sharpened tremendously since their debut in 2008. You can’t find fault with them. While keeping her indie inspired twangs on the end of certain words, she has also developed the ability to hit high pitches, note perfect without any of the wailing once heard previously. Her voice also doesn’t sound the same on any one of the songs which is what makes her voice so interesting to listen to.

The first half of the album is cheerier than the second where things become a bit deeper and darker. All In Your Head and Supermodel are two of the more emotional songs on the record which are in fact needed to make that balance. They show the very mature side to Thomas Tantrum.

Although I’m congratulating the band on album, it’s worth noting not all the songs are worthy of a listen. Only Human leaves me a bit confused. The chorus is good and catchy like a pop song should be but the verses….well it sounds like Kate Nash has entered the room and this gives it a thumbs down from me.

Everything about this album captures the essence of sleep and how it can affect how you function. Listen to this record with low lighting, snuggled in bed and you will see exactly what I mean. Perfect bed music.

Thomas Tantrum have come a long way since their debut. Everything about them has grown stronger and matured. Mad By Moonlight is a brilliant album that combines many influences while making each and every song the bands’ own. A very pleasant surprise.


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The Black Ships – Kurofune

Former Verve members Nick McCabe and Simon Jones have made a return to the music industry in the form of their new band, The Black Ships.

The Black Ships is an outfit which is totally different from the sound and feel of the Verve. While the Verve produced ground-breaking music for the time, the band could still fit snugly within the ‘pop’ category at various times. However, The Black Ships doesn’t. It’s rock with a huge difference.

The four piece released their Kurofone EP for free two weeks ago. It sees them start out with a vicious rock sound blending in to calming, Pink Floyd-esque stillness before lashing out again into mayhem.

The Black Ships

The Black Ships

Instrumentally, the middle song is very explicit. It combines a range of relaxing yet almost dance inspired techniques. It makes your brain fell empty and sets you near enough into a hypnotic state.

The instrumental spreads across 12-13 minutes in the middle section, vocals completely absent. This may seem like a long time but when you’re listening to it, it’s anything but. It’s captivating and intriguing. It doesn’t become boring as it changes from one extreme to another and back again.

After this long period of solid music, the vocals start again but more in terms of speaking. This breaks the last section up and prevents the song from becoming drab. Accompanying this American accented speech is Rage Against The Machine inspired music with heavy guitar solos, strong echoing drum beats and distorted rhythm guitar. It’s cleverly done and while sounding familiar, they’ve made it their own as well.

This EP is great. As a starting point for the new band, they have successfully interested me and I’m sure many others will be dumbfounded by the layers and combinations shining on this EP. Looking forward to the LP album…

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O’Death Live Sessions

My new favourite band of this month (maybe even this year) have recorded some acoustic sessions for Violitionist in Texas.

Outside is a great album with tracks that are just begging to be played live due to all the crazy banjo, acoustic guitar and wobbling, emotional vocals.

The tracks performed in this session were Bugs, Black Dress and Pushing Out which are three of the strongest tracks on the record. Bugs was their first single off the new album while Black Dress and Pushing Out will give you a taster of what is to come on the rest of Outside.

Take a look…

Pushing Out

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The Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club – Bag of Meat

Now The Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club (TVEGC) are a band who are a well kept secret. Since 2009, things have been pretty quiet for them, that is to say until the release of their third album on June 13, titled Bag of Meat.

Bag of Meat sees TVEGC try new things. They’ve written songs filled with angst and energy about all sorts of topics such as heart attacks, beheading, car crashes, John Denver, Paul Daniels, meat, tribes and addictions to accident speculation. Quite a sporadic mix, I’d say.

Now with song topics such as those above, you would be expecting some rather strange song titles and indeed, lyrics, and that is exactly what you get. Here’s a few to tease you; Lost My Face In A Fast Car Race, Fire In The Wife, Card Trick With A Chimp. Need I go on?

The Victorian English Gentlemen's Club

TVEGC

TVEGC are definitely a lot crazier than other bands out there and I mean this in a good way. The album shows independence and confidence in what they do. With solid guitar riffs which make for great anthemic sounds, they have strung together a triumph of an album.

Vocally, both singers are good with strong rock star voices. Neither of them sound like anyone else in particular and this is fantastic. I can’t think of another male or female vocalist they resemble, just brilliant.

The album seems to be split in two. The first five tracks have loud, crashing music and vocals whereas the second half appears to be a lot more chilled out. Songs such as Bag of Meat, In Conversation and Lost My Face In A Fast Car Race have very dominant anthemic guitar riffs and wild vocals and harmonies. However, songs like Pistol Whipped, As Jungle Drums Rang Across The Amazon and John Denver’s Wife have more relaxed melodies, toning it done dramatically on the distorted riffs and heavy drum beats.

TVEGC have produced a fabulous, whacky album with Bag of Meat. The wildness of the lyrics and randomness of song topics makes it one of the most interesting artistic pieces to come out this year. I hope they remain a well kept secret though, it’s what makes them so good in the first place.

P.S. One little tip, do not listen to this album if you have a headache. It is bound to make it worse, what with all the crashing vocals and hard and heavy drum beats…

 

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Waters – For The One

Remember the days of Feeder? Well Waters has come along to replace that void in the music industry…

Waters is the solo project of Van Pierszalowski (from the band Port O’Brien) and is music full of grunge guitar, heavy drum beats and majorly distorted rock vocals.

Waters

Waters with a random dog...

Pierszalowski has the music of Feeder with more angst behind it mixed with the vocals of Billy Lunn (The Subways lead singer). To me, this is the perfect combination.

Sounding on first listen like a bit of a racket, For The One eventually allows everything to slot into place and the song shines. It is rock with strong vocals and manic guitars, just the way it should be.

Looking forward to hearing what else is to come from this sure-to-be popular artist.

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