Monthly Archives: May 2014

Paws – Youth Culture Forever Album Review

Paws are set to release their second album, Youth Culture Forever, on June 2 via FatCat Records. The album saw the band decamp to a studio in the woods just outside New York to hone and expand on the sound that saw their debut Cokefloat! acclaimed by the likes of Pitchfork, BBC music and nominated for the Scottish Album of the Year Awards.

Recording at Adam Pierce’s (Mice Parade/ Swirlies) studio in the woods outside of New York City, Paws produced the album themselves in an attempt to strive for the sound that they had always imagined for the band. As Phillip Taylor from the band says: “It feels like everybody considers our debut LP to be lo-fi which really bothered us as we felt it was the complete opposite by comparison to our early releases”. He states that he wanted Youth Culture Forever to be: “…bigger and louder, softer and quieter” and to “…present the potential of our dynamic range more accurately than the first album”. This can be heard right from the album’s opener, Erreur Humaine which opens with Taylor playing a gentle, lilting guitar riff and ruminating on the end of a relationship with typical searing honesty before the full band explode into life, sounding heavier, fuller and darker than ever before.

Paws

Paws

Tongues is a happy go luck tune with its upbeat, summery sounds and those pleasant harmonies that add something, making it more of a sing-a-long song. Tongues combines the elements of Cokefloat! that made it such a thrilling debut; an expert use of dynamics, an anthemic chorus and painfully honest lyrics while incorporating an increased use of texture and expanded instrumentation.

Someone New is that angry infused song that everyone needs after a relationship break down. Someone New speaks about seeing your ex partner with someone new, “Do you wanna the truth?/Do you wanna know the truth?/I’d rather pack my bag and leave this town/Than risk the chance of seeing you around…with someone new/You’d promised me we’d be friends/No I never want to see you again…” It’s grungy, powerful and angst ridden. Someone New is the perfect song for when you’re having a bad day.

Owl Talons Clenching My Heart is a solemn track with grungy, distant sounding vocals. They’re droning yet this song is surprisingly comforting with its swooning guitar riffs and jagged bass line.

Give Up explodes with the lyrics, “Tired of acting like I don’t care/You know I care…”. Give Up is another brilliant punk rock song which you are instantly able to sing-a-long to and jump around like an idiot to if you so wish. It would make an excellent live track. This song will lift you out of your seat immediately – your feet can’t help but tap along.

Alone is the ballad of album, it’s entirely different from the previous tracks. It appears just before half way through breaking the album’s lovable yet slightly repetitive sound. It allows the album to breath and introduces a completely different side to this band. Alone shakes up your opinion of Paws – you thought they could just do grunge and punk rock but they have this surprisingly gentle side. The vocals on Alone are outstandingly beautiful – they’re raw, exposing true feeling behind the words.

The title track YCF is so blissful in comparison to the other songs on the album. It’s acoustic and sounds as if it’s been recorded in someone’s bedroom on a whim. The vocals are gravelly, gorgeous yet grungy. As the penultimate track for the record, it has the perfect blend of everything.

Paws Youth Culture Forever is to be released on June 2 on FatCat records.

 

 

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Human Potential To Release Debut Record, Heartbreak Record, Out Next Month

Human Potential is the solo project of Andrew Becker; formerly the drummer for Dischord Records’ band, Medications and nefarious Brooklyn outfit, Screens.

After his latter group unceremoniously imploded in the summer of 2011, Becker consulted a high end, spiritual assassin who foretold a life just above the poverty line if he attempted to transpose the Bee Gees’ 1st into an aural nightscape of loss, regret and heartache. Needless to say, Becker was intrigued.

The journey began when Becker was bequeathed a nylon string guitar his grandfather had crafted out of the wheel wells of a Mazda 323 and some petrified sap from the famous, 1,500 year old Boab Prison Tree. Unsure of what a chord was, he sat and looked quizzically at the instrument for more than a week before rapping hesitantly on the high E string. He immediately tried to silence the songbirds in his head by externalising their Luciferian mandates; concocting extraordinarily supple sound sketches in a Brooklyn shack smeared with Isabelline parchment, before relocating to a friend’s haunted igloo in Granville, New York, where he amalgamated the tones of tooth decay, ghost apnea and icy Green Mountain winds into a chewy pop pulp.

With basic structural architecture completed, Becker contacted local engineering stalwart, Jeremy Scott, about capturing the velvety fistful of grotesqueries he’d been fastidiously woodshedding. The two spent many months absorbing Becker’s pernicious guitar scum, pugnaciously pounded keyboard stabs, wanton trashcan bashing and strident yelps which they then refined, mixed and overnighted to the astral plane for enhanced sonic sheen.

Borne out of these sanguine sessions is Heartbreak Record, a ten-song juggernaut that spits in the pristine, black eyes of the Illuminati and also provides a tender score for your rainy afternoon copulation. It’s an album that embraces the oppressive, celestial sphere of longing while simultaneously trying to thumb it into a rhombus shaped origami of ecstasy. They are songs to inspire a feeling. The sound of a future imperfect. You can listen to two of the tracks on Soundcloud here.

Heartbreak Record, Human Potential’s debut album, is out June 3 on Becker’s own, What Delicate Recordings.

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Introducing…Tundra

Tundra

Tundra

Brisbane four-piece Tundra have been a well-known fixture on the club scene since 2012, renowned for infectious pop hooks, original indie grooves and a dynamic on-stage chemistry which dates back to high school friendships.

After a short break away from the limelight, recording with rising producer Konstantin Kersting (Big Scary, The Belligerents) Tundra return with Tangled, the lead single from their soon to be released EP. High energy hooks, unforgettable melodies and instantly grabbing experimentation are what provide the foundation for this next release from a band that consistently deliver.

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The Blue Van Released Their Last Album…From Now On It’s Singles Only

The Blue Van’s fan base has a lot to look forward to as of now and for the rest of the year – The Blue Van will release singles only throughout 2014, starting with the release of The Beat Goes On which was released on May 12.

Lead singer and guitarist Steffen Westmark said: “It’s all about thinking in new directions and doing things differently – because the world is different now. At the same time, our approach to releasing music is very much old school; The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and all the others did just the same in the old days”.

A service such as iTunes has contributed to the dramatic changes of recent years in the habits of music consumers. Today the listeners have the opportunity to choose which tracks they want to buy from an album and with the increasing number of streaming services the focus is now on playlists, a format which more and more people use rather than listening to entire albums. In addition services like YouTube highlight music videos which again promote the individual tracks.

Consequently The Blue Van has chosen to do things differently than customary in the world of rock music so far – instead of releasing a traditional album, they will only release singles. This also means that you may expect a veritable flood of videos from The Blue Van in the near future.

Guitarist and organist Søren Christensen said: “The first single is called The Beat Goes On and you can see it as a comment on the turmoil we have seen in recent years in the music industry. External factors may change but the music will still be there. The song is an optimistic The Blue Van feel-good song, relentlessly pushing forward”.

This different approach to the conventions of the rock genre is also reflected in the creative work process. The Beat Goes On, the first in a string of ten singles, has been through the hands of the producer team Dan Hougesen and Mark Wills. This dynamic duo, also involved in previous The Blue Van album productions, was focused on the musical vibe at the time of the recording. The right here, right now focus makes sure that the different singles capture the band at the particular point of their musical development. Also, new and spontaneous ideas are allowed to blossom instead of being put away for the next album, meaning much less wait for The Blue Van fans.

During the summer 2014 The Blue Van will play at North Side Festival, Skive Festival and Skanderborg Festival and in the autumn, the band will go on an extensive club tour across Denmark. All the while new songs will be released.

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Introducing…Wrongchilde

Hopelessly romantic and just a touch emotionally twisted, like a John Hughes soundtrack, Wrongchilde (Mat Devine of Kill Hannah) has announced his forthcoming album, Gold Blooded, due for release on August 19 with a PledgeMusic Campaign.Completely self-financed and anticipating an independent release by principal singer/songwriter andKill Hannah frontman, Mat Devine, Wrongchilde has launched a PledgeMusic campaign to help raise funds for Gold Blooded. Fans can pledge and pre-order a signed copy of the album or nab an exclusive limited edition Gold Blooded ring or if they’re feeling more adventurous and especially generous, they can pledge for the Burn Notice Package or Procreation Package.

Gold Blooded sees Devine keeping his feet firmly planted in his rocker roots but with a flagrant nod to nostalgic pop, experimenting with synths and electronica to create a collection of anthemic tunes fitting for a new generation. From the acoustic sounds of, Falling In Love Will Kill You to the throwback synths of Dance To Your Heartbeat, Gold Blooded is a progressive step forward for the singer/songwriter. The album also features appearances from the likes of Morgan Kibby (M83 and White Sea) as well as guitarist and songwriter, Alain Whyte (Morrissey).

Reflecting upon the independent creative process, Devine said: “This has given me an incredible amount of freedom and artistically, it was beautiful for me to take a departure away from the bureaucracy of the music industry. To write songs for the reasons that I initially fell in love with songwriting, to disregard pressures and say what I would say if I knew this was my last day on earth.”

Lead single from the album, Falling In Love Will Kill You, a duet featuring My Chemical Romance frontman, Gerard Way, premiered on Alternative Press and is the perfect opener to the album. Stylistically, the track sees both artists move away from their traditional sound to a softly spoken track with an almost southern twinge, showcasing a mature shift in their craft and an insight to what’s to come from Devine Gold Blooded.

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Introducing…Black Light White Light

High Like A Hurricane is the latest single from psych-rockers Black Light White Light which will be released along with B-Side Sex And Fury on the 16 June 2014.

Black Light White Light

Black Light White Light single artwork

The psychedelic resurgence group Black Light White Light originally formed back in 2009.

US producer Chris “Frenchie” Smith (Jet, The Dandy Warhols) flew in from Austin, Texas, to live and work with the band on the single and upcoming album while additional production support comes from none other than Emily Lazar (Foo Fighters, David Bowie, Vampire Weekend, The Raveonettes, Morrissey) along with a significant guest appearance by Grammy Award wining string arranger Davide Rossi (Coldplay, Goldfrapp) on the track, And The Devil.

Following  the release of their debut album Infrared Daylight in September 2011 on their very own Record Records imprint, the trio are sure to make heads turn with their latest release.

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Alisha Zalkin Announces Release Of New EP, On This Road, This June

SoCal-based singer/songwriter Alisha Zalkin has announced the independent release of her sophomore EP On This Road on June 10. Alisha will celebrate the release with shows in San Diego on June 14 and Los Angeles on June 16.

Recorded in Los Angeles at both The House of Blues Studio and Sunset Sound and produced by Steve Greenwell (Joss Stone, Andy Grammar), On This Road captures Alisha Zalkin’s sweet yet powerful voice, catchy melodies and feel-good, uplifting lyrics. Woven into her beautiful sound is a down-to-earth sense of spirituality, elegance and grace, reminiscent of iconic female artists before her like Carole King and Joni Mitchell. Quite appropriately, On This Road begins with an homage to Carole King, a cover of her song, Way Over Yonder.

On This Road Alisha Zalkin

On This Road album artwork

Earlier this week, Alisha Zalkin partnered up with The Big Takeover to premiere the album’s single, Fearless, which is now available as a free MP3 download. Its accompanying music video, directed by Mike Dominic and produced by Timbre and Post, premiered on ARTISTdirect earlier this week as well. Fearless was inspired by Alisha’s brave childhood friend who was diagnosed with lymphoma. The song addresses the courage it takes to live every moment to its absolute fullest. In order to capture the beauty of living life fearlessly, the video brings together people from all walks of life to interpret and express their own version of this message.

On This Road follows Alisha Zalkin’s 2012 debut EP, March to a Different Beat, which landed her on the homepage of GRAMMY.com as well as features in American Songwriter, M Music & Musicians Magazine, Spirituality and Health Magazine. Since then she’s had a partnership with jewellery and lifestyle brand Energy Muse and the Playing for Change Foundation, and is currently heavily involved with the David Lynch Foundation, Children of the Night and the International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma.

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