Monday, 31 October 2011
Friday, 21 October 2011
As readers of RB will know, we are very keen in supporting festivals that offer something unique; wonderful memory generators. With summer sadly far behind us, the end of year period was once a long hard slog up til xmas… but not these days. One of the reasons to stay merry is the excellent Constellations Festival which, after a roaring success last year secured its place on RB’s ‘must go to’ list.
This year sees Constellations score a massive scoop by booking Stephen Malkmus (Pavement), which in itself will come close to warranting the £30 or so entry fee. Elsewhere, Yuck and Wild Beasts promise great things aswell as smaller but equally exciting prospects, such as Spectrals, Vessels and Ringo Deathstarr. Some of the bands on the lineup are new to RB but judging by the company they are keeping, it should be a day to remember.
And the Exhibition Hall will be expanded from last year to include a load more interesting diversions. Well, diversions is unfair, with WARP Films no less working with Constellations, it may well eclipse the main event. Specially commissioned works, a pop up cinema and the chance to purchase some unique art sounds like a winner to us
As well as all that, there are several pre-fest shows in the days leading up. Check the website for details, but Los Campesinos! at The Cockpit and a couple of Brudenell shows should certainly whet your appetite.
Constellations really does offer something different. The lineup is a spot on mix of leftfield big names and quirky unknown curios that are surely destined to make their way to the top of your Christmas list. More details can be found on their website
Monday, 10 October 2011
Post War Glamour Girls formed around a year ago in
It’s always a good start when 30 seconds in I’m thinking; there’s nothing else on my ‘to review’ pile that’s going to sound like this. ‘Spitting Pearls’ is a sprawling, subterranean claw through queasy
The flipside is ‘Ode To Harry Dean’ which starts off as a far more discordant beast, crunching, fire and brimstone ranting driven by rumbling tom and snare crashes and super fuzzed up lead guitar. And then it’ll cut to a sweet vocal and guitar part. And with 4 minutes down it cuts to something else that could even be described as an anthemic chorus. It works though. Similarly to SP it’s a journey, unorthodox structures surprising at every turn and it takes a while to settle in. So, a bizarre combo leaving us with; an in-your-face-slow-burner. I’ll take that.
There’s a lovely reverberating sound across the record - plucks and clicks and ghostly backing vocals - mixed with over distorted drums and crunching, abrasive vocals. It’s a massive, full sound that benefits from repeated listens. So, if you splash out for the limited edition 7”, I can assure you, it won’t be one of those that gets played once and sits on the shelf. Post War Glamour Girls just keep drawing you back for more, albeit in a rather sinister and disturbingly pleasing manner.
Thursday, 6 October 2011
Misconceptions. Rhubarb Bomb works hard to promote
During Rob’s period at the helm, Rhubarb Bomb released a compilation. My old band appeared on it, alongside many others, including The Spills. Since the tailend of 2007, my band split, side projects were formed and duly split or ignored. I started a record label, disbanded a record label and then restarted it 2 years later. I started writing for RB and then took control – it’s been two years now. I met a girl, fell in love and we’ve lived together for 3 years. It’s been a hectic time. One constant in all that time has been The Spills. Same lineup, just getting better, slowly but surely. The sick thing is, the part that blows MY mind is that they only finished Uni this summer. How they manage that?
Recorded mainly over two days, live on to 2 inch tape, it perfectly captures the wonderful energy of a live band. The drums ring and smash wonderfully. The bass rattles along, the guitars, clean as summer streams or raw as horse flesh sushi, fly out of the speakers, directly into your frontal lobe. But don’t be mistaken, it’s not a live cut of the band. So much care has been taken over every detail. Flourishes appear all over, little harmonies, breaks; it’s a great sounding record.
Things open with the lovely ‘Lockets’. A step on from last year’s opener ‘Fish Eye Lens’ (from Smoke Signals EP) it begins in a relaxed, laid back pose, as Guitarist / Singer Chad warmly draws us in, with an engaging, up close feel reminiscent of Russell from The Research. A couple of minutes in, the more familiar scream of singer Rob Slater arrives and all hell breaks loose; anthemic, bittersweet hell. This moment of interplay between
Special moments are plentiful on this record. ‘Summer Vibes’ – wisely chosen as the free download prior to the albums release – is symptomatic of The Spills great leap forward. Equally hook filled pop and hard rocking melancholy it encapsulates the dusk of childhood summers disappearing into an unknown future; at once terrifying and thrilling. ‘Heat Death of The Universe’ channels some ‘In Utero’ heaviness for it’s grand opening and ‘
As with Runaround Kids, also on Philophobia Music, I am equal parts pleased, surprised and impressed that a debut album has been released that is this well formed and thought out. It’s a true ‘record’ – meaning it ebbs and flows over its running order. It has hidden moments, it has immediate rushes; it is effortless yet honed to perfection. Yet this shouldn’t be a surprise because though this is their debut, these four people have been playing together for an awful long time. They have worked their craft. The sense of four people in a room coming together and creating something great is palpable. Each plays their part. On some tracks I would say the drums are almost the lead instrument. It’s a perfect balance of musicianship that adds additional layers of sensed excitement, as well as emotion to the overall experience.
So how did a
This is a really cool compilation from Rock & Roll Circus, a rehearsal space in Armley,
‘Men Only’ deliver some C86-esqe scuzzy Indie Pop with ‘Bored Bored Bored’ that is fun and brisk, which is a good thing, of course. ‘Buffalo Bones’ grind out some sleazy riffs, a lot more raw than their recent EP. ‘Black Water’ and ‘Die Hards Divide’ work a much more traditional hard rock groove. ‘Honour Before Glory’ are a definite standout with an organ led, doomy post rock workout, a cross between ‘
There are some great tracks here that are quite out of the ordinary. ‘Post War Glamour Girls’ is at turns dark lounge pop and scuzzy, epic
As with all comps, it is difficult to take in at once. But aside from the sheer variety here, the consistent quality of all the bands here shines through. I didn’t have to skip one. And I like the thoughtful approach to the track order too. A great little DIY release that is celebrating something great; a community of diverse but great musicians. Awesome.
Wednesday, 5 October 2011
Another first for Philophobia Music; a 12 inch Vinyl. Sweet. And Protectors too, one of Rhubarb Bomb’s fave bands. A perfect combo?
Protectors feature members from a range of classic
The Protectors sound is so ingrained into my understanding of
Basically we have beautiful, weaving vocal melodies snaking their way around energised, direct, smart and heartwarming songwriting, delivered in a super sweet guitar pop package. I say ‘basically’… Protectors do a great thing of being incredibly pop and accessible but never, ever boring. You want to bounce around and go nuts, but closer inspection reveals a genuine life affirming heart at its core, working in perfect harmony with a clued up punk Brain. Like I said, timeless and of the moment, at the same time.
There, I’ve tried describing the experience. With more a specific look at what we have, 2 of the tracks here appeared on Protectors debut album ‘Cant Shake The Moves’. As much as I enjoyed that album, it felt rather like a means to release their first batch of tunes – get them out there for people to hear. This feels much more a thought-out, purpose built piece and the 2 tracks already released benefit greatly from their remixes. The new tracks work in the anthemic qualities that made Pylon (oops! I couldn’t resist) such a joy; the pounding thrill of ‘Overtime’, the uplifting drive of ‘The Carousel’ and the gentle melancholy of ‘Shake The Moves’ all combine to successfully convey the essence of what makes Protectors so great.
It’s a great package and I cant wait to get hold of one (Yes I have a promo, but I wanna actually, y’know, buy it too. I’m sure that’s hard to understand). Solid Gold Hit, as they maybe used to say.