Monthly Archives: August 2012

Introducing…The Barrens

The Barrens is a five piece psychedelic rock band made up of Colin Fitzgerald (vocals, guitar, bass), Debbie Chou (vocals, keyboard), Mike Koene (guitar, vocals), Chris Gersbeck (drums, vocals) and Jay Sharp (bass) formed in upstate New York. They released their debut album last year and have been causing a stir in the underground music scene with their raw and powerful sound since.

Having been compared to bands such as The Flaming Lips, Radiohead and Jefferson Airplane, they have quite clearly made a good impression on most people and after just the first listen of the record it’s not hard to see why.

The Barrens have an older, more familiar sound to their music than most new bands around today. It’s a nostalgic sound for that of the 60s or 70s. Songs like Felt are reminiscent of bands like Led Zeppelin due to the guitar riffs which is why it is such a great second track after Claw Remains. However other tracks like Sagaminopteron Psychedelicum have a newer feel to them sounding at times like something The Foo Fighters would have produced. There are also tracks on there that are similar in sound and style to Feeder such as Yellow Cigarette.

The Barrens

Psych rock band, The Barrens

This record is a complete mixture of old and new which is fantastic. Their psychedelic influences can be heard in tracks like Claw Remains, Never Knew and Face the Eighth. The Barrens have placed the 60s and 70s into a modern world and given it just enough of a twist to make it work for them.

By having more than one singer being the main singer on different tracks it stops any of the songs from becoming plain and boring. With each song, you hear something new, something you hadn’t noticed in the previous track. There isn’t a song on here that sounds like anything out there at the moment or like anything else on the record. Each song is like a breath of fresh air.

The Barrens have produced a solid album that somehow manages to combine the best of the 60s and 70s folk, punk, rock and psychedelic scenes into a bundle of eleven outstanding tracks. Songs like Felt are rock, Bottom of the Well is more pop while tracks like Out of the Rain combine a Pink Floyd psych rock feel. It’s a truly magnificent album that will keep you nothing but entranced.

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Monks of Mellonwah – Neurogenesis EP

Monks of Mellonwah is a four piece alternative rock band from Sydney made up of Will Maher (vocals), Joe de la Hoyde (backing vocals/guitar), John de la Hoyde (bass) and Josh Baissari (drums).

They have won the “Best Indie Rock Act” award at the 2012 Artists in Music Awards in Hollywood and worked with Nirvana’s “Nevermind” engineer Howie Weinberg for their new EP titled Neurogenesis.

Monks of Mellonwah

Monks of Mellonwah

This EP was released in May this year and is an explosion of four tracks. Each member brings their own influences to every song making for a diverse listen in just four songs which is an achievement in itself.

With Richard Ashcroft-esque vocals and a unique rock sound, Monks of Mellonwah have produced a solid, interesting and original EP that will leave you wanting more. First track titled Neurogenesis kick starts everything off with a great melodic guitar riff and soft vocals before transforming into a fantastic alternative rock track. The drum beat is particularly appealing in this song when combined with the relaxing guitar riffs.

Second track Neverending Spirit is another track where no fault can be found as are third and fourth tracks, Kyoto and You Shine. In fact, Kyoto is the most punchy song in terms of it being the most melodic and rhythmic for a rock song. Kyoto will get you singing and dancing whereas the other tracks are interesting because they are different. Kyoto is a track most people will instantly like. The other songs may attract more of a niche audience.

Monks of Mellonwah are a fantastic alternative rock band and have produced an EP that will set their fans alight. Neurogenesis EP is available to buy/download now.

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Digital Antique – II

Digital Antique are an indie rock band from Austin, Texas but they are unlike any other indie rock band you will have heard. Progressive in style and tempo, Digital Antique produce cinematic arrangements and wonderful compositions of the most extraordinary kind, completely instrumental.

Digitial Antique are Travis Kennedy (guitar), James Parker Randolph (bass), Payton Holekamp (drums), Dixie Yoder (viola), Joseph Shuffield (violin 1) and Annette Franzen (violin 2, cello).

Digital Antique CD Cover

Digital Antique’s artwork design for II

Their album, II, is due for release on August 24 and is a must hear. With ten outstanding tracks on it, II is one of the best prog rock albums that’s been heard in a long time.

The record starts with a track titled Doomed Hero which is fantastic. It’s a great introductory number with some dialogue expressing opinions about our twisted society and Western culture before it breaks into a patriotic marching drum beat mixed with excellent dramatic violins.

After such a dramatic beginning track, The Heist comes in nice and softly with almost meditation music at the start before it goes back to its rock roots. Other superb tracks are NG, Cali and Nevemind. NG is great from the second it bursts through the speakers. The melody played by the violins is lovely. It has a traditional element in that respect before the rest of the instruments kick start bringing something new and original to it.

Cali is a favourite purely because of the melody again. It’s repetitive and soothing. This is one of the melodies that will be going round and round in your head leaving you wanting more. It’s a fantastic and mind-blowing track.

Nevermind is the most acoustic track on the album which is a welcomed break after all the prog rock. The violin playing is amazingly soft and peaceful. It has very traditional elements in it. These are a group of extremely talented musicians, not only being confident and capable on their instruments but also in the composition of each and every track on II. There isn’t a bad track on there.

II was independently recorded mixed and produced by Travis Kennedy (guitar). Kennedy is currently working under world famous mixing engineer Tim Palmer who mixed such records as Pearl Jam “Ten”. The album was also recorded at several of the top studios in Austin including Churchhouse Studios, Yellow Dog Studios, Studio 1916 and AM Stereophonic. It was mixed at Tim Palmer’s private studio (’62 Studio). All of these credits are probably what make the production of this record also outstanding.

Digital Antique

Digital Antique live

II and Digital Antique themselves are not something to be pushed aside. They are doing something that many other bands wouldn’t even be brave enough to attempt. This group of talented musicians have produced something musically superb in each and every way. II is available from August 24.

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EndAnd – Adventures Of Fi In Space

Three piece rock band EndAnd have released their new CD Adventures Of Fi In Space. Coming from the heart of Brooklyn, this trio sure know how to produce grunge garage rock in style.

Starting in early 2011, EndAnd began as a rock duo with Daniel Fern (guitars/vocals) and Mike Morales (drums). After a show at Williamsburg’s Public Assembly, Dan and Mike asked bassist Bill Fitzgerald if he’d sit in at their next practice and that is how the story goes. Fitzgerald helped turn the project into a band.

EndAnd

EndAnd performing live

Adventures Of Fi In Space is a combination of Adventures Of Hi Fi and Adventures Of Lo Fi In Space which are the band’s two EPs consisting of pristine studio recordings and a collection of DIY recordings.

EndAnd have been compared to the likes of Cloud Nothings but this is a loose comparison. While Cloud Nothings disappoint vocally, EndAnd don’t. Ferns has a powerful rock voice that seeps control as well as impulse. On each and every song his voice exposes something unheard of in the previous track.

Far In Between is the first track on the album. Lyrically, this band isn’t anything outstanding but musically they piece together songs which are instantly pleasing and memorable. Far In Between is a perfect example of this talent.

EndAnd have a strong grunge guitar sound which seems to be a little absent in the music scene at the moment. With all the electronic music dominating the charts as well as the more alternative scene, it’s great to hear a band basically making tuneful, melodic noise. EndAnd are slightly reminiscent of Nirvana in respect of their grunge sound.

EndAnd CD cover

EndAnd artwork design for Adventures Of Fi In Space

Commando, Legend and Sweet are the other interesting stand alone tracks on the record. Commando has a kick-ass guitar riff at the beginning that will set your pulse alight. Legend is a welcomed acoustic break from all the heavy rock which dominates the beginning half of the album. Ferns’ vocals on Legend are also intriguing, showing a softer and gentler side to him and his abilities as a singer. Legend is probably the best track on the record. Sweet is again a more acoustic rock number which feels refreshing towards the end of the album.

The only fault which springs to mind has to be the fact that some of the songs do sound repetitive and extremely similar to each other on a basic level. If you looked deeper musically it would show their differences but to those who tune in quickly, the songs will sound similar which is a slight disappointment.

EndAnd have produced a fantastic and interesting grunge rock CD but in some respects it doesn’t showcase anything new. It’s a well rounded record with loads of good tracks but it doesn’t blow you away. If you like rock and attitude this is the CD for you. If you’re expecting something utterly original, you may want to give it a miss.

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Scissor Sisters – Let’s Have A Kiki Instructional Video and The 2 Bears Remix

Scissor Sisters have released an instructional video to accompany fan favourite, Let’s Have A Kiki hot on the heels of single release Baby Come Home. The video is self-directed and filmed at the ‘Kiki Institute of Mental Instability’ and was originally debuted on LetsHaveaKiki.com, the band’s Tumblr page dedicated to the Kiki phenomenon.

Scissor Sisters

Scissor Sisters having a Kiki

Since the release of their album Magic Hour, Let’s Have A Kiki has become somewhat an anthem among Scissor Sisters. The band’s choreographed live performance of the track has spurred dance tributes from around the world. To encourage participation, the group decided to produce their own instructional video with sing-a-long lyrics for fans to enjoy.

Not only has a brand new video been produced but the 2 bears have also produced a remix of the anthemic track. The British dance duo made up of Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard and Raf Rundell have taken the song to new extremes and turned it into a purely electronic version perfect for those Kiki’s you may want to hold.

Listen to the remix here.

Scissor Sisters will be on tour in the UK in October:

1st Dublin Olympia

2nd Belfast Waterfront

15th Portsmouth Guildhall

16th Leeds O2 Academy

19th Glasgow Barrowlands

20th Manchester Apollo

22nd Bristol Colston Hall

23rd London Roundhouse

24th London Roundhouse

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Two Wounded Birds Release Video For To Be Young

Two Wounded Birds released their new single To Be Young Sunday so in celebration of this, they have also placed the new video for the single online.

Two Wounded Birds

Two Wounded Birds

To Be Young is the first single to be taken from their self-titled debut album. The video is now available to watch online following it’s premiere on NME.com last Wednesday.

The video was filmed in a 100 year old Carlton cinema in Westgate-on-Sea near the band’s home town of Margate. It was directed by Dom Bridges and boasts bold colours, slick lighting and projected cartoon images that soften the bright backdrop.

With it being filmed in the old building it helps to reveal the song’s nostalgic and romantic tones while still maintaining the band’s rebellious nature.

This is what guitarist Joe Stevens had to say about the shoot: “We made the video in the Carlton Cinema in Westgate On Sea. It’s one of the few places that uses analogue projection. The seats are velvet and the whole place has the feeling of another time.  The cartoons are also from a different time. One of them is a journey through space and all the planets have the faces of Gods on them, they look like marbles.

In the video at one point you can see cows leaning out of the window of a space shuttle and dancing with each other. In another two poor kids in rags go to sleep and wake up in paradise together. Reality is something you don’t consider when you’re young, things like this make total sense and the world’s a better place for it.”

Two Wounded Birds are also planning to launch their first headline UK tour this October and will be playing the following dates:

SEPTEMBER

1st: PORTSMOUTH Southsea Festival

OCTOBER

3rd: BRIGHTON Green Door

4th: MANCHESTER Night & Day

5th: DARLINGTON Inside Out (free entry)

7th: EDINBURGH Sneaky Pete’s

8th: GLASGOW Captain’s Rest

10th: YORK Stereo

11th: NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms

12th: LONDON Lexington

Two Wounded Birds’ debut album is out now to buy.

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Willie Ames – Night Owl

Stemming all the way from San Diego, California, is a folk artist unlike many others. Willie Ames blends his own unique folk sound with those that are more recognisable and make you nostalgic for the past. He takes his inspiration from 60 and 70s popular rock/folk artists like Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac), Tom Petty and Bob Dylan among others.

Willie Ames has just re-released his debut album, Night Owl, for his independent US tour. You can listen to the title track here.

Willie Ames

Folk artist Willie Ames

Night Owl is a track filled with deep, croaky vocals reminiscent of Bob Dylan mixed with a more modern folk sound. Ames plays the guitar and banjo but instead of playing these in traditional ways, he aims to create new sounds with them. He never uses a plectrum to play the guitar and prefers finger picking – the sound of which can be heard distinctly in Night Owl.

Ames manages to make his music feel raw. It sounds pure. There’s no touch ups to his vocals or instruments. This allows the whole album to breath and to gain its momentum. Willie Ames has been known to sing and play his instruments simultaneously when recording adding that great live element in his music.

A few other favourites on the record have to be the instrumental tracks Black Widow, which has some superb banjo playing on it, and Walk In The Park. Although Black Widow is repetitive, it succeeds in not becoming boring due to such talent. Walk In The Park has a similar sound to Paul Simon’s guitar playing on the Simon and Garfunkel album, Bookends. It’s a great relaxing track. Having purely instrumental tracks allows Ames to showcase his fantastic talent in melodies, rhythm and timing.

Dance With You is reminiscent to the sound of John Martyn particularly the beginning riff. This is a sound which is sorely missed in the music industry. Although no-one can quite replace what John Martyn achieved, it’s comforting to know he is still influencing the folk artists of today.

The single Night Owl has landed Ames a nomination for the Hot AC Single of the Year in the 22nd Los Angeles Music Awards (LAMAs) 2012. He’s also won the latest award for Instrumental Artist of the Year in the 21st LAMAs 2011, Best Male Performer in the eWorld Music Awards 2011 at SIR Studios in Hollywood and the National Solo Artist of the Year and Performer in the Phoenix Music Awards 2011 with recognition of his touring of all 50 States.

Night Owl is a 10 track album including a cover of Lindsey Buckingham’s Never Going Back Again.

Willie Ames is definitely a folk artist to look out for in the future. The album Night Owl is available to buy online in physical form or digitial download and on iTunes. For more information on tour dates, visit willieames.com.

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