Tuesday, May 26, 2009

BARR


I think short hair gets the chicks these days but I'm not sure. I have a feeling if I take the plunge to shave my head people are going to think I'm weird.

But then again I'm not in BARR - a four-piece-formerly-solo-project-band fronted by founder Brendan Fowler (a man who may just be the center of hipster garabe in New York City) who play rather bouncy, poppy, tight-bass tambourine-filled tunes accompanied by some of the most strangely addicting vocals I've heard all year. The key to BARR is that they don't sing, they talk. I'm not even really a fan of spoken word, but this is totally awesome. Brendan's lyrics, in his own words, are about 'being super fucking stressed out, broken and angry' - 'totally violent, totally grabby. Huggy, totally pushy-pully punchy,' and I couldn't have put it better myself. I would rather like to hug him, as he would rather like to hold someone. I think it would feel good, man.

Think of them as those conversations you have with yourself late at night in your room, possibly at like 2 in the morning, where you think about all the stuff you've done in the past year, or how you regret messing things up with that one girl you'll always be in love with, with three people (probably dressed in brightly-colored XS tees and shorts) playing interpretations of Wavves songs minus the feedback. It's a bit complex, but like, really excitng, and radical, and all those words.

You can get the new album 'Summary' from iTunes, or check out a tune below.

MP3: BARR - The Song Is The Single
BUY: BARR - Summary CD from Amazon

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Snakeosaurus Rex


Steve reporting in. Today I'm writing a review of a band with a radical name: Snakeosaurus Rex.

On top of having a pretty cool name they also have some pretty crunchy tunes. Their new LP "Rhino" feels well thought out, and although not leaving you on the edge of your seat it's a solid 9 songs. The main influence for this album's sound isn't subtle; the whole album has an early Minus the Bear feel about them (a good thing as the early MtB work is their best). However they also incorporate elements of bands like American Football and The Appleseed Cast.

As you would expect their songs are basically made up of two angular guitar lines, stopping and starting then eventually layering to create catchy and emotion filled choruses. The singing is also not very disimilar to MtB's Jake Snider but with somewhat more edge (seen in song "Paved with Gold Pt. 2"); nearly harmonious, emotion filled with stretched syllables. All this equates to create a strangely chilled out sound.

They do show some good variety throughout the album, tracks like "Snake Killer" being more upbeat, contrasted by the more soft and deep tones of "Vodka". Those who struggle to listen to MtB may find this album difficult to swallow, but I'd definitely recomend giving it a try anyway as its an impressive first album.

MP3: Snakeosaurus Rex - Fireload

Friday, May 22, 2009

WEEKLY AWESOME - #2

Okay so it hasn't been very "weekly", maybe it's bi-weekly. But it's that time of the week/bi-week again.

1# - Situationists split up.
This happened a few weeks ago but I've only just found out and you probably didn't know either, but Sheffield lovelies Situationists have broken up! I got sent their EP but never got round to writing about it. But it was full of quality tunes. They recorded a cover of Digital Love by Daft Punk, they made a version of the song that I'd actually listen to. Ouch. But yeah they split up now which is a shame but here's the cover.

Mediafire: Situationists - Digital Love

#2 - The Muscle Club have a sale.
Cardiff gang The Muscle Club have got some shirts and vinyl on their Bigcartel, it's a bit cheaper. I bought a vinyl. You should too, but do it quickly because I don't think they have many left. I know this isn't really news but cheap vinyl is always good.

MP3: The Muscle Club - Damn These Circumstances

#3 - Rapturefest 3 announce new bands.
Rapture Promotions have just announced 4 more additions to their already epic line-up for Rapturefest 3. It now features Talons, Blakfish, The Tupolev Ghost and Mutiny On The Bounty, alongside already the announced This Town Needs Guns, Mimas, itch, Pennines, Youves, Brontide, Instruments (Make Music), The Great Eskimo Hoax and Venice Ahoy. Wow. It takes place at The Face Bar in Reading on 15th August. More info on their Myspace and the Last.fm event.

#4 - Dark Mean give away free EP.

Canadian 3-piece Dark Mean remind me of Tokyo Police Club, because of the bursts of synth and definitely the vocals, cos their both Canadian. I'm told they sound like The Postal Service too. It's got lots of folky bits too, a bit different to the normal stuff we post (basically just math and noise), but this EP is pretty good, and free. Head over to their website and get it.

MP3: Dark Mean - frankencottage


Wish I could find more news.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Patrick Wolf @ Wedgewood Rooms


After what has seemed like an eternity of having heard the name Ken's Fried Chicken (mostly via seeing the thousands of flyers that would come through my nan's letterbox), I finally had the pleasure of dining there. And what better time to try it than after a Patrick Wolf gig? Acutally it's a rather strange time, but I was none-the-less amazed when I saw their slogan was "Finger licken goodness". The only other chicken-related story that could compete with that was when I went to a real KFC after a Tubelord gig. Someone had written "chicen" on one of those charity donation boxes. There was something about how it looked and sounded that was so ridiculous and entertaining. Anyway, enough about chic(k)en.

We got to Wedgewood Rooms and picked up our tickets. There were quite a few people there, quite a high percentage of teenage girls. Saw a film teacher from my college as well as who I thought and still think was Max from Hollyoaks. The guy who got ran over, sucker. A few wierdos and guys in drag, but it wouldn't be a Patrick Wolf gig without at least one guy in drag would it?


[Photo of Yacht by Mattatoio Culture Club]

The support came from American duo Yacht, who's music seemed to be coming from nowhere, as their performance was more like a dance show or something. They still did the vocals on the music, and their dancing was in time with all the little parts in their music, was pretty interesting. Midway through their set they asked if the audience had any questions, some girl asked if they liked bananas. They said yes, picked up a banana from a table on stage and gave it to her. Weird. Their music was pretty basic programmed electronic stuff, but the music was only part of their performance, emphasising their choreographed stage movements and vocals. If they were supporting at any other gig it wouldn't have gone down so well, but because it was Patrick, people were expecting something a bit different from the support.

At around 10.20 Patrick Wolf came out wearing a red zip-up outfit with boxes on his shoulders and his forehead painted red. He and his band played a handful of classics including "Bluebells", "Tristan" and "The Libertine" (my highlight of the evening), as well as about a third of the tracks from his new album The Bachelor. Tracks like "Oblivion" and "Battle" went down very popular with the audience, and during the latter he was standing on the barrier commanding people to dance, and at this moment a herd of blokes appeared from nowhere and were jumping like it was an Enemy gig. Also, throughout his set there was a man who was basically moshing to him playing his ukulele. He had a bowler hat on and a very long, wet moustache which continually whipped me in the face. After a while Patrick started to actually talk between songs, and then he wouldn't stop talking, asking girls in the front row who they liked the most in Eurovision and how he wanted to run for it next year.

He returned for an encore of "Vulture" and a re-worked version of "The Magic Position" which seemed to emphasise the guitar chords over the violin/keyboard riff wearing this green leafy outfit thing, I think it's supposed to be a vulture but looks more like a tree. His set ended at about 11.40 which is really late of Wedgewood Rooms, and we got the Ken's Fried Chicken that a wrote a whole paragraph about and went home. What a rubbish review. Blame it on swine flu.

MP3: Yacht - The Summer Song (Feat. Claire L. Evans)
BUY: Yacht - I Believe In You, Your Magic Is Real. CD
MP3: Patrick Wolf - Hard Times
BUY: Pre-order Patrick Wolf - The Bachelor CD

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wonderswan

Wonderswan. Pretty odd name. Kinda like a kids cartoon super-hero. I could make some joke about them where they are the superhero and music is the victim they are saving or whatever, SO I WILL. Wonderswan are the savour of music. But srsly, they are like a big, warm, fuzzy teddy bear. That teddy bear could be interpretted as a metaphor for their sound too; they have the fuzzy warmness of noisepop bands Lovvers and No Age, especially in their demo "Cut It". However, their sound can best be described as lo-fi slacker pop from Leeds, not California.

Their track "Hey Nature" was released via Dance To The Radio on the first part of their new 4x12" series along with Pulled Apart By Horses, Broadcast Society and Bear Hands, which was how I found out about Wonderswan. You should buy the vinyl cos it's radical. Check out the tune below.

MP3: Wonderswan - Hey Nature
Buy: DTTR 4x12" #1