Sunday, 31 July 2011

Vanguard #7: The Cheek

Grab your trench coat! We're gonna see 'The Cheek' because they are brilliant.
Their guitar licks and bashing drums set fire to anything really. Even non-flammable items.
Hang on. I'll slow down.
'The Cheek' are essentially an indie band, who find it hard to be average. They push boundaries and they sound very 60's, which almost suggests that they are trying to recreate the building blocks modern day pop and indie were formed on. That's not bad though. Someone has to reinforce what hasbeen forgotten, if not replace it intirely.
Being truthful, I really believe that 'The Cheek' have these capabilities. They are just a bit slow at doing so...

'Hung Up'
'Just One Night'

Vanguard Excitement: 7/10

Next Sunday's Vanguard: Barry

Review #60: White Denim - D

Mind. Blown.
It takes a strong willed man to experiment properly with music. It takes and even stronger one to do what 'White Denim' have accomplished. This isn't just some mess the Texas foursome has created. It's a controlled mess.
Think of the album as a piece of ripped cloth. It still has its jagged edges, and off centre feel. However, it feels trimmed, and as if it has been placed off centre on purpose. It is difficult to succeed in creating such a perfectly freakish record, without sounding insane, or having people shove their noses up at you, claiming you're a cynical band. But they have captured that essence needed and bottled it into a perfectly commercial jar of experimental jam.
It has taken a while for 'White Denim to reach this stage in their careers, but it was well worth the wait!

Best Tracks: 'It's Him!', 'River To Consider', 'Is And Is And Is'


Next Review: Wu Lyf - Go Tell Fire To The Mountain

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Review #59: Emmy The Great - Virtue

This is very literal music. It doesn't give the idea that it is particularly well thought out, almost as if she thinks of a line and just uses it. As she would normally speak. However, you can tell they have been thoroughly thought out. Which, in a way, makes it worse.
However despite the lyrics, it's not actually that bad. The voice of Emmy is beautiful. She knows how to stress her vocal chords, and I really respect her chord changes. They aren't just your simple G's, C's, or D's!
There is something captivating about her music. Not quite sure what it is though. When I am. You will be the first to know.

Best Tracks: 'Iris', 'North', 'Tellick Tower'


Next Review: White Denim - D

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Vanguard #6: The Draytones

What is this I hear? Good music?
Okay, they have an album, that was released three years ago, so they aren't exactly new, but does that matter? Their sound isn't unique, it's not amazing, it's not even particularly special, but it is good. It doesn't push boundaries but it reinforces them. It adds to the brilliance of British mod culture, without doing anything drastically different to other bands, they manage to make themselves feel fresh, even if they aren't.
I suppose they are a bit like a red apple. Same essential thing, yet they wear different coloured clothes. Well... They don't. But I couldn't think of a better analogy.

'Keep Loving Me'
'Turn It Down'

Vanguard Excitement: 7/10

Next Sunday's Vanguard: The Cheek

Friday, 22 July 2011

Review #58: Black Lips - Arabia Mountain

Listen up! This is the future of music!
The last thing I expected from 'Black Lips' was to find trumpets and various other brass and woodwind instruments, hiding in every nook and cranny on 'Arabia Mountain'.
However, despite this, I find the most magical part of the album to be the sound that the album is recorded on. It does sound like it was made in the 1960's and it hasn't been remastered. It is essentially 16 short tracks that don't mean anything, yet they are brilliant. Much like 'The Ramones'.
However, if I was to compare 'Black Lips' to anything. It would be my beard. Whether it is trimmed finely, or left to grow... It is amazing!
I am as vein as 'Black Lips' are good!

Best Tracks: 'Family Tree', 'Go Out And Get It', 'The Lie'


Next Review: Emmy The Great - Virtue

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Vanguard #5: GoGoBot

I'm not sure if i actually like these guys. They seem a bit like fake indie.
Don't get me wrong, it's good music but it seems too mainstream. I feel that they are trying to please too many people with their music.
It's clear that their music means a lot to them, but maybe it means too much. So much, that they feel the need to make sure they have a career in music. So they try to make as much money as possible through downloads, whilst still trying to stay close to their indie roots.
That's my theory anyway.
They do however have great synth riffs!
Thanks for listening.

'First Class Fool'
'Do You Remember?'

Vanguard Excitement: 6/10

Next Sunday's Vanguard: The Draytones

Review #57: Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones

Say in 200 years, Britain is recovering from an apocalypse of some sort. I don't know. Zombies? Well whatever it is, they are making a TV programme, and a character similar to Tony Robinson, is sifting through music archives, attempting to work out what the past civilians of Grande Britannia enjoyed listening too. Whilst going through the numerous albums, to his horror, he realises there is no Medieval music recorded. However, he does find 'Frank Turner's fourth LP. He sits there and contemplates about how this is the nearest he will ever get to experiencing what it would be like to live in the time of Medieval kings and queens.
Either that, or I just listened to 'Frank Turner' sing words from a history book.

Best Tracks: 'Peggy Sang The Blues', 'English Curse', 'Wessex Boy'


Next Review: Black Lips - Arabia Mountain

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Review #56: My Morning Jacket - Circutial

There is nostalgia.
Then there is 'My Morning Jacket'.
It just doesn't seem like anything special. It feels like it would have been an average album in 1984, but by it being released in 2011 it just needs to be that bit better to really make a mark. Which it hasn't done.
But it's not all bad. 'Wonderful (The Way I Feel)' is beautiful, and it almost sounds like it could have come straight off an early 'Simon And Garfunkel' album and the backing vocals are delightful. It's just a real feel good track.
However, just as this review is a bit rubbish. So is the album.

Best Tracks: 'Wonderful (The Way I Feel)', 'You Wanna Freak Out', 'Slow Slow Tune'


Next Review: Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Live Review #1: T4 On The Beach 2011

Such fun! Well, the camping was.
'T4 On The Beach' was... to say the least... utter balls. Filled with mainstream pop acts who couldn’t tell the difference between a soundcheck and a giant marshmallow being rammed up their arse, and many, many girls who seemed to think that 'Jason Derulo' without his top on, deserved a scream so loud it could have sent 1940's British civilians running to their bomb shelters.
You really could not have hoped for a worse main stage line up. It really was the dogs dinner. And by that I mean I would rather watch a dog eat its dinner that 'JLS' squeal into microphones. Not that they turned up to open the day. They left their hungry fans crying, and feeling suicidal, until 'Olly Murs' came onto the stage, and the world lit up with joy, and wonder as the magician weaved his magic and made everyones lives better.
I joke. He was shit.
Not even the supposedly good bands played well. Richard Archer of 'Hard-Fi' was so stoned that he probably thought he was the giant marshmallow Dappy was placing into his anus.
However, there were some highlights on the smaller Sunsmart sessions stage.

Top 3 Acts:

3. The View
I'm not gonna start this with 'Scottish rockers', like every other review of 'The View'. What I will say though, is that I was really impressed with how they managed such stage presence for such small people. Kyle Falconer took hold of the stage and expressed his enthusiasm through their small set as the heat of the day grew colder.
People weren't as willing as they had been earlier in the day to jump up and down and show their elation. However the view acted as a soundtrack to this relaxed atmosphere and made the winding down of the festival pleasant to be at.
'Same Jeans' on the other hand used up the last of the energy that the crowd still had, and for miles around it could be heard that a rather large number of people had been wearing the same jeans for four days.

2.Wretch 32 (And Example)
Don't judge me on this. They were actually really good together. Wretch did his bit about tractors and trains and then our good friend 'Example' joined the stage to euphoria. Of course I couldn't see what was going on due to a tall man in front of me. But it sounded good at least. And everyone else looked happy.

1.The Wombats
Let's not forget. The majority of the acts were crap. And 'The Wombats' are amazing any day of the week. So you can imagine how amazing I thought they were when all hoped seemed to be lost.
When Murph, Tord, and Dan took to the stage I literally went mental. All my pent up excitement to see them again came gushing out in one half hour set, and it appears that so did everyone else's. Their white suits brought the stage to life, and as the burst into 'Jump Into The Fog' my heart burst. They are proper musicians and stupendous performers.
The highlight of the set was of course 'Let's Dance To Joy Division'. The energy coming from both the audience and the band could have supplied the small township of Slough's electricity for a week. The continuous 'So Happy's almost aggravated the crowd as they knew the set was approaching its end.
However, as Murph jibed into the microphone 'It's gonna get a little bit rock', the crowd screamed louder than ever as 'The Wombats' broke out some amazing improvised riffs and shouting, that capped off the day perfectly for me. What do I mean by that? I mean that 'The Wombats' are bloody brilliant. 

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Review #55: Battles - Gloss Drop

I have reviewed 'Gloss Drop'. However, my review has been selected to appear in Welsh music magazine 'Plugged in'. Many apologies, but i will post the review on here as soon as I am allowed.


Monday, 11 July 2011

Vanguard #4: Two Wounded Birds

Last year we had 'The Drums'. Now we have 'Two Wounded Birds'.
'Two Wounded Birds' genuinely sound like a twisted sibling of 'The Drums'. I have dubbed them twisted purely because they have many faces to their sound. 'Summer Dream' is basically what it says on the tin. It sounds like a dream you would have. In the summer.
But then you hear 'Midnight Wave'. It seems to be very heavily based on the 12-bar blues, and it seems that when night comes, 'Two Wounded Birds' transform into this new, complicated, evil band. With equal amount of animation and energy, but facing the opposite direction.
So as Alex Turner of 'Arctic Monkeys' says 'Consisted of the strange, the twisted and deranged' about 'Crying Lightning'. I say it about 'Two Wounded Birds'
I really think that 'The Drums' finally have decent competition on their hands!

'Summer Dream'
'Midnight Wave'
'All We Wanna Do'

Vanguard Excitement: 7/10

Next Sunday's Vanguard: GoGoBot

p.s. I know it is Monday. But I have a first live review coming up for you. So do not fret one bit!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Review #54: Young Rebel Set - Curse Our Love

If 'The Courteeners' and "Mumford And Sons' had a love child. It would most definitely be called 'Young Rebel Set'!
They are very much a mix of 'The Courteeners' exuberance and 'Mumford And Sons' folky-ness. The singer even sounds like Liam Fray. The lyrics aren't as snappy, or any where near as witty as Liam's but that doesn't matter.
'Young Rebel Set' seem to be able to write songs. No, they aren't amazing. But... I don't know. It's just good.
I don't know why actually. Why is it good?

Best Tracks: 'If I Was', 'Lions Mouth', 'Fall Hard'.


Next Review: Battles - Gloss Drop

Monday, 4 July 2011

Review #53: Fucked Up - David Comes To Life

I have never enjoyed screaming in music before. 'Dananananaykroyd' is about my limit, and that is just shouting. But 'Fucked Up' aren't your average hardcore band. They have substance. There is something about them that lightens you to their musical ability.
But what makes it even better. Is purely the fact it is a rock opera. I really respect bands that are brave enough to record a rock opera. 'The Decemberists' made 'The Hazards Of Love' and now 'Fucked Up' have made 'David Comes To Life'. It shows real commitment to their music to be able to create a rock opera.
Perhaps my favorite element of the album isn't the indie riffs, or the breath taking drumming. It is the vocals. The mix between the male and female characters is perfect and it really epitomizes the album.
It seems like 'Fucked Up' cannot put a foot wrong!

Best Tracks: It's a rock opera. Get it all you cheap skate!


Next Review: Young Rebel Set - Curse Our Love

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Vanguard #3: Pegasus Bridge

I have just heard that Pegasus Bridge have broken up. My condolences to them, and this review should be read as if they were still together.

'Pegasus Bridge' drink coffee not just Ribena. And I like it, who cares if they like it.
With blaring synth riffs flying everywhere as if they are in abundance, and 'Pegasus Bridge have an unlimited supply, and the impeccable playing really sets them far from other bands who also may or may not drink coffee.
'Ribena' is amazing. The chord sequence sends shivers down my spine, and indie doesn't usually do this to me. It's one of those tracks where the lyrics aren't all grown-up and mature, yet you can still tell that there is a deep meaning and the balance between the music and words is perfect. My only wonder is that 'Pegasus Bridge' could be a one hit wonder with 'Ribena'.
But then I heard 'Yoko'. It is just as inventive, it is just as imaginative, and it is just as brilliant.
They may have just released their debut album, but their future looks brighter than anything.

Vanguard Excitement: 8/10

Next Weeks Vanguard: Two Wounded Birds

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Review #52: All Time Low - Dirty Work

I have two main problems with 'All Time Low'. The first is their needless, and unnecessary use of power chords on every song. The second is their shambolic, pointless, and tiring lyrics.
Let's start with the power chords.
Why? Power chords are the cheap way out of playing guitar properly and it doesn't even sound good! 'Panic! At The Disco' are about the only band who manage to pull off power chords well. It just sounds like some pointless repetitive note/sequence. It feels like someone is continuously hitting you on the head with a blunt instrument whilst singing futile lyrics at you. Which leads me onto their lyrics. (Like what i did there?).
Anyone that thinks 'I Feel Like Dancin' Tonight/ I'm Gonna' Party Like It's My Civil Right' are good lyrics, really need to take a look at their life, listen to 'Coldplay' and realise that their life has been wasted on meaningless pap thus far .
'Put Her Tongue All Up In My Ear/ Almost Made Me Spill My Beer'. Not only is this boasting, but it is also unlikely to have happened as no one is that outgoing are they? Especially to a man who sings 'I Think Some Dude Just Grabbed My Junk/ Now I Know How Ke$ha Must Be Feelin'. So first he boasts about a girl passing her tongue over his ear, to a man grabbing what I presume to be his dangley bits, and then comparing himself to his lyrically equal compare Ke$ha, because she may have experienced this before. If he does mean penis, then he is being very immature and suggesting that Ke$ha also has one, which is quite unkind.
I think these guys need to cool off, learn the instruments they claim to play properly, realise they aren't as wondrous as they think they are, and sing about things that actually matter.
Yeah, in case you hadn't already guessed. It's shit.

Best Tracks: None. Especially not 'I Feel Like Dancin'


Next Review: Fucked Up - David Comes To Life

Review #51: Tom Vek - Leisure Seizure

'You Look Aroused, You Look Away'. These six words of the track 'Aroused' sum up Tom Vek's second outing perfectly. The whole album acts as a breath of fresh air. It seems like a very natural album, even with the overlay of synthesizers on each track. The drum beats that line the LP are in the same league as 'Friendly Fires', and the almost monotonous vocals help create the originality and mystery that shrouds 'Leisure Seizure'.
It's hard to know what you want from music these days as there is just so much choice. But, when an artist such as Tom Vek comes along is is hard not to like the sound he creates, and even the people who don't like his music usually respect him for what he has done.
It is almost as if he has created his own genre. He really takes whatever genre it is to a new level. Tom really is at the top of his game. Don't say rubbish like he is 'Alternative' because everything is an alternative to something else. 'Leisure Seizure' really doesn't slide into any category.
Why does 'You Look Aroused, You Look Away' sum it up? Purely, because if someone gets interested by a piece of music these days, they often turn their noses up eventually because it is not popular enough. I hope Tom Vek can continue to defy this.
Is it groundbreaking? Probably not. Is it different? Yes. Is it good? Very.

Best Tracks: 'Aroused', 'A Chore', 'A.P.O.L.O.G.Y.'


Next Review: All Time Low - Dirty Work