Tag Archives: indie

ALBUM REVIEW: Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life // The Wombats

In case you hadn’t heard, The Wombats are back.

They’ve been spoiling us over these last few weeks with singles such as Turn, Cheetah Tongue, and, most recently, Black Flamingo since their initial single release of Lemon To A Knife Fight off this, their fourth studio album.

But now, finally, their album is upon us as of Friday. Three years after their last album was released, was Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life worth the wait?

In short, yes.

The first four tracks on the album are the four singles: instant recognition, guaranteed head-nodding, potential lyric belting (especially on Turn, an indisputable feel-good, sing-along tune). For me, this was a very strong start to the album, although also a bit risky: once these four tracks are over, I am thrust into the album proper, with no hope of an upcoming track whose familiarity I can take comfort in.

It’s lucky, then, that the first unknown track, White Eyes, is catchy as all hell, featuring familiar Wombats-esque playfulness with their new ‘grown-up’ edge which they seem to have adopted for this album, no doubt a consequence of trading in Liverpool for Los Angeles, something which Murphy touches on in I Only Wear Black.

While we’re on the subject of catchy tracks, which by now we all know is The Wombats’ bread and butter, some notable mentions must be made for Lethal Combination, Dip You In Honey and Ice Cream, with all of these tracks having successfully nested into my brain after just a couple of listens, and Dip You In Honey quenching my thirst for some twangly guitars, falsettos and Beatles style riffs.

As far as moodier songs are concerned on this album, you would think I Only Wear Black would be a contender from the title, but this one is surprisingly upbeat and dripping with their usual sardonic lyricism. Instead, I would say their moodiest track on the album is the finale, I Don’t Know Why I Like You but I Do. But, think less Isabel from Glitterbug and more Anti-D from This Modern Glitch. Its lyrics are heartfelt and candid, but the track is still punchy, with the mounting guitars and drums from verse to chorus being one of those things in music that you can’t quite put your finger on. Something about the way the highs and lows marry together, the way the tension builds and the song’s identity transforms from one thing to another creates some sensation that you can’t vocalise. I don’t know why I like it, but I do.

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PLAYLIST: Festival Season

So festival season is fast approaching with Download under a month away, and Glastonbury kicking off not too long after. Following on from these come the medium sized ones such as Truck Festival and Y Not, with the end of the season leaving the likes of Reading & Leeds and Bestival.

Festival Season is in my opinion the best time of year… we get to wind down to some of our favourite bands, crack open some bevs and spend some quality time with our pals. Whether you’re camping out for the weekend, or just going for a day, this playlist will be filled with some summery bangers to add to your festival playlist. Get your portable speakers ready.

1.Kids – MGMT

As a track I’ve always loved, this is an energetic tune which everyone knows – whether it be from FIFA 09, or from your mates sticking it on towards the end of a house party. Although it was released back in 2008, Kids will always be a timeless classic; sure to get you hyped for what the day holds.

2. T-Shirt Weather – Circa Waves

As cliche as this may seem, how could this track not be on this? Undoubtably Circa Waves’ biggest hit, it will forever bring me happy memories of my first festival experience, and all that came with it.

3. Lost on Me – Peace

Indie-rock quartet Peace have released plenty of catchy tunes to wind down to. Lost on Me is a funky track led by dreamy vocals and groovy instrumentals; perfect for the sunny evenings.

4. Waterfall – The Stone Roses

This is just another timeless classic which makes me quite nostalgic and happy from the opening riff. It’s a stellar hit that will be sure to get the vibes moving.

5. Something Good Can Work – Two Door Cinema Club

Two Door are set to perform at a number of festivals around the UK this year; they make for some classics hits to warm you up for the weekend. Something Good Can Work is one of many up-beat, vibrant tracks from TDCC to start your day off before you head to the arena.

6. She Changes the Weather – Swim Deep

As one of the slower tracks on the playlist, this classic guitar driven tune is so happy that it couldn’t not be on the playlist. My take on the track is that it’s about love, and spending time with someone and forgetting about the reality of everything. Not dissimilar to how festivals bring you away from the real world for a few days and often, you’ll find mates for life.

7. Your Soul – Coasts

If you’ve heard of Coasts before, it’s most likely from their biggest hit Oceans, but be assured there’s plenty more where that came from. The Bristol based indie-rock band make arena-ready tunes filled with surfy, summery riffs and rhythms; Your Soul is one. Check ’em out.

Other tracks include: Machu Picchu – The Strokes, Be Slowly – Jaws, Fire – Kasabian, Dreaming of You – The Coral, Limousine – Beach Baby

If you think there were more deserving of a mention, drop a comment below but listed are a selection picked from the playlist put together.

Listen to the full playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/emilyrobbinspugh/playlist/1AcQCau2b57A3la0NJG5Rs 

MUSIC VIDEO: SPS – Wax Colour

Essex lads Wax Colour have released a fresh new music video for one of the tracks from their DIY EP; SPS. The track takes a slightly different approach to others on the lineup, giving off a blues kinda feel and highlighting the versatility of their sound.

SPS brought me visions of walking down the street while the sun is shining, fitting to the opening line “People walking in the street”. It’s an incredibly infectious tune and I found the lazy guitar sounds running through my head after just my third or fourth listen. The imaginative, slightly jazzy riffs are accompanied by faint percussion and Charlton Paine’s distinguishing vocals; which can be recognised in any one of the bands tunes.

The video fits with the DIY name of the EP, set in the lads hometown Witham, it takes you on a journey through the town and shows a day in the life of the band. It uses impressive ideas, with lyrics discussing the ‘overrated talent’ in the music industry nowadays, scrolling through the official charts’ website as these play.

Watch the video here:

Download the bands debut EP for free, or order a Limited Edition physical copy here.

NEW MUSIC: Dreamboat Picture – The Empire Police

Indie-rock four-piece The Empire Police have laid out yet another belter of a tune, Dreamboat Picture, which came out earlier this month.

The Lancashire lads released their self-titled debut EP back in January, combining a mix of raw and melodic indie-rock sounds, with influences such as The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys and The Libertines. The EP release got them large recognition, seeing them play a hometown gig supporting INHEAVEN and start gigging further afield.

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Setting off with a single drum roll Dreamboat Picture quickly erupts into a dynamic mix of raw bass, harsh percussion and melodic riffs.  The track combines powerful vocal hooks, filthy guitars and punchy rhythms giving off an alternative vibe which only makes it all the more infectious.

Frontman Jordao Bassa told us the meaning behind the track, saying:  “It’s about a relationship or friendship that’s sort of going downhill fast, you can see it happening and you know it’s inevitable,  but you try to see the bright side and get on with it regardless.”

Bassa’s smooth, slightly raspy vocals are the perfect tone as he belts out  lyrics like:  “Guess it was chaos intertwined with love, I’ve got my hand in glove”. and “She still beats me dry, my dreamboat picture very nearly has capsized”.

 Dreamboat Picture not only combines elements of many indie tunes we know and love, but also brings a refreshing, distinctive voice to the scene.

Listen to the track below:

The Empire Police play the final of Last Band Standing at Preston venue The Ferret this Saturday (April 15th).

Jacaranda – Liverpool, 28th April

They’ve also got some huge summer dates planned in Preston, Bolton, Manchester and Sheffield. They’re keeping quiet about these for now so make sure to watch out across their social media for any updates:

Twitter

Facebook

Soundcloud

NEW MUSIC: Lost (and Found) – The Seamonsters

The Seamonsters are a six-piece indie group hailing from Sheffield in Yorkshire. The indie glitter girl-gang formed in 2013 and are now set to release their debut single Lost (and Found) on April 14th.

The group combine catchy guitar riffs, melodic tunes and distinctive keyboard sounds. So far their material has brought them comparison to the likes of The Wombats, Wolf Alice and Black Honey. They’ve already played a number of headline and support gigs as well as playing festivals such as Outlines and Tramlines.

After hearing news of the debut single release I was super excited to catch a listen and share my thoughts on the tune with you all.

Almost from the get-go Lost (and Found) had me hooked. Opening with a single riff, followed briefly by a heavier mix of instruments that steadies out just in time for the introduction of the verse.

Naomi’s pleasantly ethereal vocals portray a dreamy-pop vibe; highlighted particularly by Naomi and Lauren’s backing vocals throughout the chorus. It’s a euphoric combination of drums, guitars and keys; combining beautifully with the vibrant variety of voices.

As a track that evokes memories of late summer nights at festivals this is one to add to your Summer playlists.

Talking about the track and the release, The Seamonsters told us:

“We’re so happy and very proud. The production and recording quality is a huge step up from the demos we put up … We’re honestly thrilled with how it sounds.”

They are hoping to play some gigs across the UK off the back of the single. Keep an eye on their social media which can be found below!

Twitter

Facebook

YouTube 

INTRODUCING: Strangewave

Indie-rock quartet STRANGEWAVE are set to release their brand new single Out All Night later this month.

The Brighton band led by Darius Zaltash chatted with us ahead of the single release, along with revealing details of their next few gigs & even touching upon where their name idea came from. Check out what they had to say…

Hiya guys! Can you tell us a bit about yourselves? 

[Darius]: So I moved to Brighton from Reading for Uni in September, met Stewart as he’s my housemate and straight away we wanted to work together, Stewart and Harry used to be in another band back in Maidstone and so did I back in Reading. Although it was fun both bands weren’t really going anywhere so we thought why don’t we give it another crack here.

[Luke]: I’m from Burnley and moved Brighton for the same reasons really and I’m on the same course as Stew so he said come for a jam one day, we’re looking for a new guitarist and here we are!

 Where did your name come from?

Saw it on the back of a dolphin.

What artists influence you?

[Harry]: Too many! I’m rating The Orwells at the moment though.

[Darius]: Our influences come from all over the place but I’m really digging the new Palm Honey EP, they’ve just got a wicked sound deffo check em out!

[Stew]: I’ve been listening to a lot of Dinosaur Pile-Up, they just sound so grungy I love it.

[Luke]: – Picasso is still decent tbh.

So you’ve got your first single coming out soon (exciting!!), can you tell us a little bit about it? 

[Darius]: Yeahh boii, so the single is called “Out All Night” and it is about exactly that to be honest! I took a trip to Budapest last summer with some of my closest friends and it ended up being one of the craziest experiences I’ve ever had! Met some of the best people so the song is kind of a tribute to those 10 days if that makes sense, I think its got a kind of “you and your mates vs the world” vibe aswell which is cool.

When will the track be released and where will it be available to download/buy?

[Stew]: The song is coming out next month and will be released on Apple Music,Spotify and Soundcloud.

What gigs are you going to be playing in the near future? 

[Luke]: Our next gig is at Bleach on the 16th of March with Sisteray and The RPM’s, then after that we’re playing Jumanji’s single launch party at The Hope and Ruin on the 19th of April which looks like its gonna be huge! The rest is all hush hush for now.

Who would you say is the funniest in the band?

Harry!

Have you guys got any gigs you’re attending in the near future?

[Harry]: Maybe Jagwar Ma

[Darius]: Seeing The Amazons at Patterns next month, they played a gig in my house once back in Reading and been a huge fan of their work ever since!

Are you more of a cat or dog person?

[Harry]: Cat

[Darius]: Dog

[Stewart]: Cat

[Luke]: Cat

Do any of you have pets?

Harry has a cat, Stewart has a bunny.

Did you have any New Years resolutions and have you stuck to them?

Not that we can remember haha!

Favourite album of all time?

[Harry]: Nevermind

[Stewart]: the hurting by Tears For Fears

[Luke]:  Wild Cub – Youth

[Darius]: Fortune Drive – A Modern Question.

Cheers guys!

As of yet the band have just one demo track on Soundcloud after forming late last year; you can listen to Run below.

Strangewave are playing a local gig at BLEACH / Brighton on Thursday March 16 along with The RPMs, Sisteray & HAKE. Tickets are available here.

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Facebook: @wearestrangewave

In photos – The 1975 at the 02 Arena

2016 proved to be a remarkable year for The 1975. The Manchester indie rockers smashed last year, proving themselves to be one of the most current exciting forces in music around.

Beginning with the release of their second album ‘I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet Unaware Of It’, the band now boast Brit Awards, Mercury Prize and NME nominations, as well as topping both The UK and US charts.

To top it all off, the band then embarked on a huge arena tour, selling out the 02 within just 3 hours! I was there to capture the event. (15th of December)

As a photographer, I tend to notice the things your usual concert goer wouldn’t see. The 1975’s visuals were a true work of art, the stage lit with an extravagant light show of skyscrapers and those now iconic ‘glowing rectangles’ hanging above. Matty himself was rocking a strange combination of a suit and slippers, wine glass in hand, creating a real spectacle of a show. Something truly eye-catching and memorable, a hint of edginess alongside an unforgettable performance, compromising odd dance moves with dark and atmospheric instrumentals.

The 02 was a truly beautiful night and emotion in the venue was clear. Fans cheering and crying, expressing a strong love towards the band and for music. Matty addressed a shroud hanging over many young people’s shoulders, delivering a powerful and motivating brexit speech which created a dynamic sense of unity throughout the venue. A night where everyone could feel accepted and as one.

To say that the band have had a successful past year may be somewhat of an understatement and I’m sure that we’re all looking forward to seeing where 2017 takes The 1975 next.

The band are playing a sell out show as part of BRITs week in aid of War Child at The Dome, Tufnell Park London on the 21st of February. More info can be found here: http://www.dometufnellpark.co.uk/all-events-1/2017/2/21/the-1975

Six good things that happened in 2016

Last year wasn’t great, but don’t let that overshadow the revitalisation we saw in the indie music scene.

To say last year was a weird one would be, well, an understatement.  It’s hard to talk about the year past without jumping on the ‘that’s so 2016’ bandwagon, but in terms of inconceivable political victories and mind numbing celebrity deaths it is hard not to.

After all, this was the year Trump came to power and the year Britain voted to leave the European Union. It’s the year which bowed down to ‘social media influencers,’ inciting them as role models and provided them with their own Netflix series; it’s also the year a silverback gorilla was killed which fuelled the fire for increased ‘meme culture’ and ridiculous hashtags. 2016 also saw T in the Park announce it was, after 21 years, ‘taking a break’ and the Oscars had a slight race issue when a grand total of zero black actors were nominated.

However, with all that in mind, it is important to highlight that last year wasn’t a complete down and out. In fact, in terms of indie music, 2016 actually produced some of the best comebacks, new albums and live performances for decades.

So just in time for the beginning of a new year, we’ve counted down the good things to happen in 2016 from an indie music perspective, completed in the spirit of Auld Lang Syne.

1.      Firstly, The 1975 bestowed their ‘difficult second album’ upon the world which propelled the Manchester lads to worldwide critical acclaim and a UK arena tour. The band famously promoted their album with a string of pink neon storyboards of song titles from the tail end of 2015 until its actual release date. From there; they have went from strength to strength; with headline festival slots and sold out performances both in Europe and across the pond in America. They have become quite simply the band of the year with I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it winning the Q award for best album.

2.      The Stone Roses returned with an admittedly underwhelming new song, but that’s not the point; they’re back. The veterans hadn’t released any new music in over twenty years so this was a huge deal for Roses fans and music in general. Their first release ‘All for one’ only has a mere 59 words in it, however, those words are intended to demonstrate the unity they have with each other; a metaphorical ‘water under the bridge’ to the years where they didn’t record or perform together.

The Roses, went on to release a second new track ‘Beautiful thing’ which was met with a higher critical acclaim, however, it was their captivating live performances in Manchester and T in the Park that they would most likely be remembered. In September they released tickets to their UK stadium tour; which predictably sold out in hours and only stands as proof that the desire for lemon tasting music is still as high as it was in 1994 when the boys left us.

3.      The Courteeners finally received the credit they deserve and were awarded with an arena tour for their new album Mapping the rendezvous, which peaked at number four in the official album charts. The lads set every festival they played over the summer alight, and Liam’s famous: “Every single one of ya’s” during Not Nineteen Forever has become somewhat of a cult following in itself.

4.      Blossoms, well, blossomed. Last year the boys’ self entitled album was the best-selling debut album of 2016 and they became a true force to be reckoned with in the music scene. Their lead single ‘Charlemagne’ became an indie classic and the boys can only be excited for what they have set their selves up for this year.

5.      Catfish and the Bottlemen released their second album and subsequently travelled on tour to promote it. The album included the new classics ‘7’ and ‘Soundcheck’; the record also provided the people of Glasgow with an anthem dedicated to their home city; which naturally went down an absolute treat in their gig at the SECC.

6.      Finally, Jake Bugg returned after two years out of the limelight with his third studio album On My One. The Nottingham star brought out singles ‘Gimme the love’ and ‘On my One’ during the summer to a welcomed reception by fans, he also performed at many festivals; including T in the park where he surprised the crowd by bringing out Red Hot Chilli Peppers drummer, Chad Smith, to play Slumville Sunrise.

Follow me on twitter @bdoncook

 

Smoking Gun EP – Dead Natives

London four-piece DEAD NATIVES released their debut EP Smoking Gun in November 2015

Brought together through a love of psychedelia and grunge, with influences such as Nirvana, Arctic Monkeys and Joy Division… Dead Natives formed in the January of 2015, and their first EP is finally here.

Dead Naties pic emilys blog

The opener is the rather steady-paced and moody sounding track, Smoking Gun. Listening to the track you can certainly hear the Arctic Monkeys’ influence shining through. Next up is the much faster, filthier, Feel Alright. Filled to the brim with explosive guitar riffs, and hazy vocals, which complement each other perfectly.

The final track, In Spite of the Rain is both lyrically and vocally strong. This track certainly has a lazy feel to it, and I love the relaxing, chilled vibe it gives off. This is a good Friday night, belter of a song!

The band’s self-titled, follow up EP will be released on the 20th April 2016, with 4 tracks very similar to those from this EP, but also with a little difference. They’re also playing 4 gigs over the coming months:

  • 10th March – Fiddlers Elbow, Camden
  • 18th March – The Good Ship, Kilburn
  • 2nd April – Dovers Castle, Brighton

You can find the band on social media here:

Twitter

Facebook

Soundcloud

https://soundcloud.com/blacksailsclub/sets/smoking-gun-ep

Shut Me Out – The Clause

The Clause are a 4 piece indie rock band from Birmingham, made up of Pearce Mcmenamin, Niall Fennell, Jonny Fyfee and Liam Deakin.

Inspired by the likes of Catfish and the Bottlemen, The Kooks and Arctic Monkeys, they have developed a substantial following on Twitter, and in the last few days have released their debut single Shut Me Out which has sparked excitement throughout social media. The single gained over 1,000 listens on Soundcloud in just two days.

This track reminds me largely of Catfish & The Bottlemen, however certainly has an original sound to it, and fits right in with the indie rock scene at this moment in time. From the guitar playing, to the drumming, accompanied by the distinctive tone of the vocalist, it really is indie rock at its best!

The band have got two gigs coming up, one on February 6th at the 02 Academy Islington, and another on March 4th supporting The Taskers at The Rainbow in Birmingham.

From the response the track has got already, I can tell it is going to be a big success, and The Clause are definitely a band you should listen out for!