Album Reviews

A sweet third album from The Little Kicks. A dreamy indie soundtrack as we start to come out of winter and think of the summer sun

Ten tracks that flow nicely, the opening ‘Theme’ is wide screen reverb guitars. ‘Sing About Something Real’ that follows, has punchy indie guitar and keyboard and flows beautifully,

‘Don’t Get Mad, Get Even’ goes into Keane/Coldplay territory, a sweet song and just like ‘Let’s Get Lost Together’ festival fields this summer could do worse than ring out to this band. At the moment their website does not show any dates outside of Scotland .... So festival promoters, look up these guys!

The band hail from Aberdeen but wrote the songs for this album in a lodge by Loch Ness then recorded in Edinburgh and then mastered at Abbey Road.

Lead singer Steven Milne said “This new album is a collection of songs that means a lot to me and I feel it reflects a massive increase in both my own and the band’s confidence and abilities. There have been ups and downs personally since we last released music but I’m happy to say that on the whole we have grown to be more proud of what we do and to be less reticent to shout about it and our music. The themes of the record would be a feeling of happiness, gratitude and to be thankful with what you have and not take things for granted”.

The record is a joy, it is a pure, no worries, indie joy to be precise. A roof down on the car type of record.

Pete

8/11

Website

There are some bands that can just maintain a high level of quality output, lyrically and musicianship wise even with, lengthly gaps between albums. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are one of these bands with vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Alec Ounsworth as the lynchpin of the band, they have released their fifth album, 'The Tourist'.

Alec was apparently doing a lot of soul-searching as the songs came together for the album. “The album was a type of purge,” he says. “A purge of certain emotional confusion that manifested itself in the last several years. It was not an easy album to make, by virtue of the fact that it was an emotional time for me.”

It’s an album that sinks into you consciousness quickly, like a Steely Dan album, you know it is going to be a superb and quality listen all the way through.

Alec spent about a week recording The Tourist at Dr. Dog’s Philadelphia studio with a drummer and bassist. After that, he and engineer Nick Krill spent a few months “tidying things up” and recording additional material, backup vocals, keyboards, guitars and more percussion.

‘The Pilot’ opens the record, with a dreamy rhythm and sharp vocals. ‘A Chance to Cure’ follows within a hair’s width of the finish of the opener and, you find yourself surrendered to the rhythm of this album at the end of just the second song.

Alec prides himself on honesty across all aspects of the band, from live performances to the studio. “I am a relatively solitary person and seem to work best alone,” he says. “I do count on others to help the project as the process of making and releasing an album moves forward, but if it doesn’t match what I have in mind, it’s hard for me to really be there for it. I guess this is one reason why the project has been independent all this time. Trust me, I understand that thinking this way is both an asset and a liability.”

Live the band play lengthy shows and the addition of songs from the Tourist will make the upcoming live gigs something not to be missed. The songs are well paced, ‘Down (is where I want to be) picks out a funky pace, ‘Unfolding Above Celibate Moon’ is a song about life in LA. It's a record full of variations.

Ten songs, great musicianship and Alec’s trembling voice adds another fine album to the CYHSY collection.

Pete
9/11

Tracklisting:
1. The Pilot
2. A Chance To Cure
3. Down (is Where I Want To Be) 
4. Unfolding Above Celibate Moon (Los Angeles Nursery Rhyme)
5. Better Off
6. Fireproof 
7. The Vanity Of Trying
8. Loose Ends
9. Ambulance Chaser
10. Visiting Hours

Website

 

The day started a sunny and bright, spring like day in winter. Then the clouds grew darker and there was a chill in the air, we head indoors in need of some warmth. Easiest fix for that and some indoor sunshine is Jen Lekman’s latest album ‘Life Will See you Now’.

Like a solo version of Belle and Sebastian, he is able to create vital personal songs full of stories about life, love, and youthful insecurities with something to jar the memories for the older listener.

Musically sweet as syrup, disco, samba, bosa nova this record is a joy, front to back. It’s the the fourth full-length studio release from this Gothenburg based singer-songwriter. How is it the Scandinavian race seems to have such joyful pop sensibilities?

The album opens with ‘To Know your Mission’ which contains the lyrics:

"To have a dream
A GPS in your heart
A path to follow
Through the dark
Well, Jens says, "I write songs sometimes
But they're kinda bad"

Those bad songs didn’t hit this record for sure.

'Wedding in Finistère" has the waiting bridge bride saying;

"She said, "Like a five-year-old watching the ten-year-olds shoplifting
Ten-year-old watching the fifteen-year-olds French kissing
Fifteen-year-old watching the twenty-year-olds chain-smoking
Twenty-year-old watching the thirty-year-olds vanishing"

Every song has that depth of a tale to tell, Just a lovely record for anyday.

Pete

9/11

Website

 

British rock & roll at it's grungy, gritty best, The Godfathers kick off their 2017 with a new studio album - 'A Big Bad Beautiful Noise' and soon to be completed UK tour.

The London based band recorded the album last summer in Birmingham with a revitalised line-up of Peter Coyne - Lead Vocals, Steve Crittall - Guitar & Vocals, Mauro Venegas - Guitar & Vocals,Tim James - Drums & Vocals and Darren Birch - Bass & Vocals.

Even though this album sounds like a 'backs against the wall' sonic debut, the band was actually formed in 1985 with brothers Peter and Chris Coyne at the helm.

Bands like Spoon and The Mars Volta have both cited the Godfathers' influence and following live shows last year the band found themselves heading to the studio to turn out this a rock n’ roll cracker.

Guitars and a rumbling bass line open the album for the title track. A menacing vocal adds to the intensity. Then it's full steam ahead for the Stooges like ‘Till my Heart Stops Beating’ . ‘You Don’t Love Me’ has a jangly start and indie vibe throughout, here's the video. Then it’s back to the grunge with ‘Poor Boy’s Son’. 

The album is well paced and has a varied feel. ‘One Good Reason’ has a Lou Reed vibe whilst, ‘Miss America is a widescreen road song. “Black White, Stars & Stripes” reflects on a changing America.

It’s not until track eight that the paces eases with the Doors like ‘She’s Mine’. A few more tight rockers and the album is pretty much done. The finale is a big stadium sized ‘You and Me Against the World’ which, is a bit out of sync with rest of the album but that's a minor quibble on a very solid record.

Pete
8/11

Website

‘A Big Bad Beautiful Noise’ is available now from February on the band's own Godfathers Recordings2 label via Cargo Records in the UK & Europe & Metropolis Records in the USA, Canada & South America.

A dark debut album from a powerful metal band. Formed in 2014, this first full album for The Darkhorse’s foursome follows on from their earlier e.p. A Badge of Dishonor and Discomfort.

Like the grand physical presence of the band this is a huge wall of metalcore doom sludge and fury pulled from the pig sheds and muddy fields of their Northamptonshire homeland into a post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland, an improvement some may say. Claiming influences from the likes of Sabbath, Superjoint Ritual, The Chariot and Crowbar you know this will be a marmite covered decibel busting assault on the ears that you have no option but to love or hate, certainly no middle ground here.

With tracks depicting the messy demise of life as we know it there is pathos and fear vibe rather than a joy of redemption. With Trump and Brexit scare stories abounding this album could almost be the metaphor that strikes a chord with the politically astute Metal fan. Recorded at Neil Hudson's (Krysthla) Initiate Audio and Media studio, and released on Attic Records.

Having played Bloodstock in 2014, Mammothfest in 2015 and supported the likes of Raging Speedhorn, Heart of a Coward, Mage, Stormringer, Garganjua, and Brutai the band is a tight and exciting prospect for 2017 with a great album to tour with. Already announced for Hop Fest at The Prince Of Wales, Kettering on July 7th, I am assured more dates are to follow.

7/11 Iain
@docswallow

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