Saturday, 31 March 2012

Marina and the Diamonds - Primadonna

Marina and the Diamonds straddles a line between intensely satirical or painfully truthful and it is sometimes hard to discern on which side she means to fall. Her latest single ‘Primadonna’ sees her start off sickly sweet, showcasing her criminally underrated vocals, before pounding out enough synthesizer to make any club DJ proud. She’s certainly not slow about her output, as ‘Primadonna’ is already the third song she has released off her forthcoming album ‘Electra Heart’, and all of them have been huge unabashed pop songs. Her voice retains a caustically bitter tone as she spits out lyrics which manage to simultaneously mock and worship the greedy world we live in (get what I want because I asked for it/not because I’m really that deserving of it), something which is becoming a common theme of her songs. Subverting pop music one single at a time, Marina and the Diamonds is clearly not a lady to be messed with.

Jessy Parker        

Thursday, 29 March 2012

La Sera - Sees The Light

I was ready to hate La Sera. For they are (or rather she is, what with La Sera being the solo project of Katy Goodman) yet another girl group throwback, a Vivian Girl and a resident of Brooklyn. It may as well have come with a “99% more fuzz than the leading brand!” sticker on its cover. But despite the odds being stacked way against her, Goodman’s done good and produced an album that’s short, sweet and direct whilst never lapsing into familiarity or mediocrity. In part it’s down to her background as a drummer which leaves punchy and accomplished beats at the heart of all these songs, as opposed to the fuzzed up guitar overload that’s defined the scene that she is (in part) responsible for. Couple that with her unexpectedly varied vocal range, which glides from lovelorn to understatedly raw, and Sees the Light suddenly seems very capable of standing on its own.

Sees The Light’s 10 tracks rarely sound like anything Goodman has had a hand in producing previously and for the large part are more akin to the retro pop of Cults or the breezy nonchalance of Real Estate. Please Be My Third Eye is rough and ready with garage rock influences counterpointed with sweetness and killer melodies, whilst I Can’t Keep You in My Mind has a grungey stomp and perfectly executed swathes of stern but dreamy guitars. 

Only once does the album fall flat, on penultimate track How Far We've Come Now, which buries the gorgeous vocals of the rest of the record in a needless whirr of distortion and Black Tambourine aping percussion, it sounds anachronistic when following the tropical stylings of Real Boy, what with its omnipresent cowbell and lilting vocal line. But even a dud like this serves as a sign that Goodman doesn’t need to rely on old tricks and tread familiar ground to sound good and although she’s only breaking her personal musical boundaries, the breadth of styles and sounds on Sees The Light indicate that La Sera are onto something good, and given that they released their first album only a year ago, it wouldn’t be surprising to expect much more in the near future.


Ned Powley

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

El-P - The Full Retard

A Wu-Tang sound replete with New Yoik accents and record scratch noises, an incessant noise that lingers in the background akin to the ones Left brain scatters about his beats, pitched up vocals and the fact that beat never really drops, instead existing on a perpetual knife edge, it threatens to push forward and stop you dead but chooses to pull back at the last minute and return to scaring the shit out of the listener. It’s got the looped vocals and all over the place instrumentation of Death Grips and doom-mongering lyrics. The Full Retard is the sound of hip-hop’s history being blown apart and stitched together freehand. The song doesn’t sound like it’s been recorded, more that it’s just appeared from thin air and El-P is manipulating it as he goes, twisting it and exploring every corner and crevice of it. In its glorious final 30 seconds, The Full Retard strips itself back to a ferocious flow and a hammering hair metal guitar sample that burns into your head. Like the rest of the track, it’s a juxtaposition of horrific and humorous that doesn’t sound deliberate or obvious.

Ned Powley

Cursive - I Am Gemini

Cursive seem to be me of those bands have passed me by, for whatever reason, and whilst undoubtedly a solid album, the band’s 7th album 'I Am Gemini' has failed to make me fall for them.

Switching between heavy Bright Eyes-esque folk rock and post-hardcore infused sounds, but rarely pushing the boundaries of either, it rarely gets dull but scarcely thrills either. A concept album about two brothers, one good one evil who meet after years of being unaware of the others existence, frontman Tim Kasher'a story telling is captivating for sure, yet potentially too cryptic to draw in the casual listener.

It appears to fall into the same trap as most "concept albums", being that the concept is a little hard to access without putting in solid listening time, and it is the concept that makes it work. It flows well musically, with many themes recurring, yet as with the rice, it takes time to get your head around these themes, time few but already hardened fans of the band are, unfortunately, likely to give it.

There's a great record in here somewhere, one that it is clear a huge amount of work has gone into, it's just a record that takes a lot of work. On a brief listen it is unlikely to draw you in, but persevere, it's worth it.


Sean Collison

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Sigur Rós - Ekki Múkk

Sigur Rós are definitely one of those bands that you just cannot predict. They'll spend nearly 15 years releasing (arguably) more and more accessible records, from the sparse electronics of 'Von' through to the summery sounds of 2008's 'Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust' and then fade away into suspected hiatus and then out of no where release a track like this.

Ekki Múkk is the first track to be take from the bands 6th album 'Valtari', released May 28th, and it is wonderful. A nearly 8 minute dark soundscape, through which Jonsi's distinctive vocals crack with their usual ethereal beauty. Over the course of their career they have varied their sound greatly but still carved out a sound that is obviously "them", and this track is no exception to the pattern. It points towards a record that will hold far less melody than their previous offering, but providing it maintains the level of magic this track holds it should be a comfortable contender for album of the year.

Sean Collison

Monday, 26 March 2012

Hunx - Hairdresser Blues

I’ve been listening to this album for over a week or so, and I’ve been in odd places over quite a simple album. I am a fan of Hunx and his other work, so I had a bias when going into this solo release (and given that his main project is named after him too, I still haven't exactly figured out what made this album that ‘solo’). However, when I first heard the singles ‘Always Forever’ and ‘Private Room’ prior to hearing the whole album, I was skeptical. They didn’t catch my attention in any way in which I liked. Eventually when it came for me to review the whole album itself - Hairdresser Blues -my first initial impression was this: what a fucking lame-ass album.

I found it to be a very simplistic, under developed and lazily written album. The lyrics were formulaic, their delivery poor and unenthusiastic, the chords were not only simple but seemed to be rushed. The whole album just felt as if it was written in a day’s jam session, and just proved that Seth “Hunx” Bogart’s talents lied in being the icing on the cake of songs written by Shannon out of Shannon and the Clams (Hunx & His Punx’s lead guitarist).

However, it did grow on me. There’s a charm in Hunx’s slacker nature that eventually becomes endearing. And the album itself is very much a feel-good, summery album. It’s an album that you’d expect to be played over montage scenes in cool indie films about hanging out. I can imagine it being the misunderstood classic in Hunx’s catalogue in about 20/30/40 years time, that people gravitate towards. It’s not a perfect album, but it doesn’t try to be. And in fairness, I’ve listened to this album far more times than 'Too Young To Be In Love', H&HP’s last LP. So, what do I know?

Grab a copy of this album (it’s available on LP and CD from Hardly Art) and give it a try. It’s quite inoffensive and breezy. Although, it may take you 4 or so listens to think highly of it.


Eliot Humphreys 

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Blood Red Shoes - In Time To Voices

First things first. Things I am not going to mention in this review: Twitter, You Me At Six, the boring album art. Now that’s understood, I can talk exclusively about this band and record.
This is now Blood Red Shoes’ third album. The album that will realistically decide whether they’re going to remain a mid-size, slightly cultish band, or whether we’re going to be seeing a lot more of them across larger spaces for the foreseeable future. Judging on the tour size they’ve got coming up, they’re not entirely sure themselves, so what does the music have to say?

Well, from the start onwards, it becomes apparent that whilst there’s no bold and daring moves, Blood Red Shoes still do their thing better than their pretenders. Opening track 'In Time To Voices' is reminiscent of 2:54 (who supported them on their last tour) yet manages to exude power that just isn’t there with a lot of the new act. 'Lost Kids' seems to be a return to the Blood Red Shoes of old, but with more maturity. It’s a fuller sounding 'Say Something, Say Anything' whilst lead single 'Cold' just screams a rugged live atmosphere at you.

This then is the “grown up” record from the South coast duo. At times, making indie rock grow up can seem a bit boring, 'The Silence And Drones' and 'Night Light' are questionable examples of a struggle in the transformation, but that’s all dispelled with 'Je Me Perds'. It’s erratic yet somehow in control and it kind of turns the record’s borderline morosity around.
Sure it’s a bit Kills, a bit Cage the Elephant, a bit Cribs and a bit reserved towards the back end, but it’s Blood Red Shoes and it’s going to make their live show something even more dominant in it’s genre.


Braden Fletcher

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Hot Chip - Flutes

I have banned myself from listening to Hot Chip in public places, such as the bus or on the street. I find it really hard to restrain myself from dancing in a robotic, idiotic way. After listening repeatedly to their latest offering, I can pretty safely bet that the new album (released on the 11th of June) won’t change my ‘no dancing in public’ rule in any way. ‘Flutes’ is a pretty goddamn funky track from start to finish, and within seconds I found myself doing that dance, the kind of embarrassing dance that only dads do in order to humiliate their children.

Starting with weird, repetitive chanting, it builds, nay evolves into a danceable, beautiful, brilliant track. It involves Alexis’ distinctively beautiful voice weaving harmonies over typical Hot Chip beats with some 80’s noises thrown in for good measure. As usual, I have no idea what the lyrics are or what significance they have (if any), but what I do know is that this is a perfectly catchy, addictive oddball comeback as only Hot Chip could do. As one YouTube comment says; ‘great to hear Hot Chip come back with such a blinder.’ I eagerly await the 11th June, and hope the rest of the album is as bloody brilliant as this!

Holly Read-Challen 

Friday, 23 March 2012

Odd Future - Rella

Similar to previous releases from Odd Future, “Rella”, the first track released from ‘OF Tape Vol. 2’, is overshadowed by controversy, this time for its accompanying video. In a nutshell, Hodgy Beats fires lasers from his crotch that turn people into cats, Domo Genesis slaps a woman so hard she changes race, and Tyler, The Creator appears as a cocaine-snorting centaur. Nothing out of the ordinary for Odd Future, and nothing that will please anybody they have offended previously. Then again, did you really think they were going to behave themselves this time around?

As for the track itself, “Rella” is nothing out of the blue. Left Brain provides the music, a bouncing, attention-seeking, adrenaline shot of a backing track that runs out of steam after three-and-a-half minutes. As for the lines spat out of all three mouths; Marilyn Manson and Speedy Gonzalez are amongst the name-checked, all three talk about sex in a misogynistic way, and there is the usual mention of “swag”. Yet again, exactly what we expect from Odd Future.

“Rella” is used as a nickname for someone who does crazy things and feels no shame. Whether this is a direct reference to Odd Future themselves is up for debate. Yet there is something about “Rella” that is just so incredibly addictive, whether the video was created to shock or to amuse, it’s difficult to pry yourself away from it’s madness. And despite this being nothing groundbreaking from the rap collective, who really cares when it’s this intriguing? However, if they are expected to stay afloat in a sea of emerging rap artists, they might want to try something different. Even the most disturbing things they can dream up wouldn’t be as shocking as a new musical direction.

Calum Stephen 

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Sound Inbox #4

Hello again!
This is Sound Inbox, the feature where after leafing through email and soundcloud submissions, I pick the top bunch of new artists eveyr week giving information on the artists' sound, and where you can find more information. This week features Honeycomb Bones, Madeaux and Bam Spacey!

Honeycomb Bones

First up this week are Hull duo Honeycomb Bones. Don't be fooled by the name, their music isn't crumbly and sweet, instead dealing with reverb-laden DIY punk and psychedelia. 'Catherine Wheel' taken off the group's new self-titled EP is a blistering introduction to what the group are about. It's noisy, rough around the edges and leans heavily on gritty guitar riffs and the kind of nonchalant vocals you might expect from Ian Curtis. The track also delves into more bluesy White Stripes sort of territory and pulls it off with astonishing ease. All in all Honeycomb Bones serve as a mildly twisted all out aural assault, delighting and impressing equally throughout.

Find them on facebook here


Hooray! A mysterious electronic producer who doesn't make you want to claw your own eyeballs out! Madeaux's 'song #2' is an interesting prospect, a blending of Anticon style chopped up beats, chillwave melancholy and more atmospheric beach-funk elements topped off with looped soulful vocals which could be ripped off a Weeknd track. It's wonderfully disjointed, like what you might expect from a Baths track but with a soothing quality more apparent in someone like Balam Acab's work. It's not entirely original, but definitely has its place amongst a plethora of others. 

Find Madeaux on facebook here and check out their NeuroPlastic label's bandcamp here

Bam Spacey

Bam Spacey is the project of Swedish producer Magnus Johansson, who specialises in minimal electronic sounds, the kind of spacious night-bus music with less of a dubstep inflection than artists like burial and mount kimbie. 'Vi Delar Samma Grav' or 'We share the same grave' in English, is a luscious piece of percussive electronica, capped with echoed atmospheric synths and wispy light as a cloud vocals. It's not a game-changer but acts as a pleasant piece of electronica, best enjoyed on cold winter nights. Bam Spacey's Land EP is due for release on may 22nd via Ceremony.

Check out Bam Spacey on facebook here

Fancy being featured on the next Sound Inbox? Send your tracks to or put them in our soundcloud dropbox!

Toby McCarron

Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball

It would appear that since the release of Magic in 2007, Bruce has regained much of the popularity he lost during the late 90s. I will state this outright, 'Wrecking Ball' is a fantastic album, one that incorporates everything that makes Bruce one of the biggest recording artists ever with modern touches that brings a new variety to his music. It is also considerably more focused than any of his recent work, tackling the question posed in the open track, do we ('we' being Americans but it works on an international level) take care of our own.

Bruce has always sought to address the gap between the American dream and reality through his music, and Wrecking Ball approaches this through telling the stories of characters in the recent economic crisis. The man in 'Easy Money' who has decided to steal because there is more money to be had in theft, or the man in 'Jack Of All Trades' who is willing to take whatever work is going to support his family. It paints a bleak picture of modern times.

It is surprising how well the blend of different styles of music work on this record. The combination of Irish folk, gospel and almost hip-hop style synthed drums makes the record feel all-encompassing in its approach to the topics at hand. Despite this however, it is the most stereotypical anthem tracks that stand out. The title track challenges the system to bring down our homes, and the stunning Land Of Hope And Dreams is about the promise of a better life, one that is out there if we a willing to search for it.

Wrecking Ball really does feel like Bruce back to his best. It may lack the classic feel of the likes of Born to Run, but it's him at his most honest and passionate for decades. It's Bruce for a new age, the questions posed in his classic records brought forward into the modern day. It's brilliant.


Sean Collison

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Titus Andronicus - Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape with the Flood of Detritus

Not content with touring themselves senseless and maintaining the best Twitter account this side of the Based God, Titus Andronicus have decided to release some new music. Upon Viewing… is a slab of heart-on-sleeve indie rock so gloriously cathartic and teeming with ideas that it could only come from the mind of Patrick Stickles. Bolstered by a chunky guitar line that verges into almost surf-rock territory, this is Titus firmly in “righteous fury” mode and it’s a sweet relief for it. Whilst 2010’s sprawling and glorious second LP The Monitor consisted of a bunch of really long tracks interspersed with explosions of guts and glory punk, here they’ve found a mid-tempo middle ground that suggests their incoming third album will tread a more straightforward (but most certainly not boring) path. It’s a testament to their skill that this, the first piece of new music they’ve released in two years, sounds neither stale nor regressive, instead it would appear that they’ve found the feet they always knew they had and written a song that is equal parts unbridled triumph and uncensored emotion, a statement of intent, a war cry and a fuck-you to anyone unready to join in.

Listen to the track via BPM here

Ned Powley

Dry The River - Shallow Bed

Do we all remember Stornoway? They were a timid band who released their debut about a year ago and made placid folk music which while not terrible, always sounded like a particularly large gust of wind would blow the band away. Dry The River initially seem quite similar to Stornoway but I expect that it would take a tornado or at least a hurricane to blow them away. Tattooed, one of them formerly homeless and photographed with nosebleeds, DTR are not your typical folk band.

‘Shallow Bed’ is their first album after several EPs released over the past couple of years. Falling into the folk rock category which has seen bands like Mumford and Sons storm to main stream success it wasn’t long before they were involved in a label bidding war. So you would be wholly entitled to assume that the album was arrogant, over produced and not as good as their early releases; that after all is the story of most up and coming folk bands at the moment. But ‘Shallow Bed’ is different, mainly due to the seemingly tough nature of Dry The River. Re-recorded versions of older songs like ‘Weights and Measures’ and ‘New Ceremony’ are delicately produced and choose quietly contemplative over out and out bombast. Sweeping violins make it easily comparable to Noah and the Whale’s ‘First Days of Spring’ album and Dry The River manage to combine melancholia and euphoria with great success. Latest single ‘The Chamber’s and the Valves’ is one of the bigger songs from the album, more fast paced than some of the other tracks with impressive instrumentation which would make most composers jealous.

In a world, where folk music seems to feel less genuine the more popular it gets, Dry The River are a breath of fresh air from their snare drum rhythm patterns to broken hearted lyrics via brass and strings. Hopefully they will retain their integrity and Dry The River won’t just be the next Mumford and Sons.


Jessy Parker

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

OFWGKTA - The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2

The sequel to the Odd Future Tape begins with ‘Hi’ an enlightening insight into the members and history of Odd Future or “dusty ass motherfuckers” as L-Boy refers to them as. And of course the usual hijinks are there! Plenty of insults, plenty of swearing and of course, the obligatory mention of “Free Earl”

Quite a lot has changed since the first Odd Future Tape came out in 2008. Earl’s come and gone and come back again, they’ve matured a hell of a lot, and realised that they don’t have to rap about violence and misogyny to entertain people! They’ve also increased in members which makes the Tape Vol.2 feel more like Radical then the first Odd Future Tape. And like Radical, The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2 is ideal for new fans as it showcases each individual of the group perfectly and as a collection of songs, is totally unique.

At times The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2 comes across as repetitive with songs like ‘Bitches’, ‘We Got Bitches’ and ‘Real Bitches’ (notice a pattern there?) sounding a little too similar by following the traditional, misogynistic, aggressive Odd Future approach. Those songs will also help rile up us feminists with lyrics such as “I need a real bitch who can make French toast and suck dick”. Misogyny in hip hop? How cutting edge. It’s a tired format that makes Odd Future come across as ignorant and just plain stupid. Or maybe I’m just being cynical and taking them too seriously…

But amidst the hyperactive rapping about ‘bitches’, drugs, the Pope and the stress of fame, Frank Ocean comes crooning in with ‘White’, a chilled interlude, which would be more fitting in the middle of the 18 tracks than towards the end. But that doesn’t matter because it’s perfect. Along with ‘White’ tracks like ‘Sam (Is Dead)’, ‘Doms’, ‘NY (Ned Flander)’, and of course ‘Analog 2/Wheels 2’ – a summery follow up to tracks off Goblin and Bastard – prove that Odd Future are capable of great things.

The album ends with ‘Oldie’, a 10 minute rap free for all that features verses from every Odd Future rapper. Even Earl! That’s right, Earl is back. Tyler sums up everything that Odd Future are about in the last few seconds “So instead of critiquing and bitching, being mad as fuck just admit, not only are we talented, we're rad as fuck”. And maybe we should.


Eden Young

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Slow Animal - Slow Animal

I got into Slow Animal a year or so ago, after their first initial demos were plugged on Pitchfork. They soon became a firm favourite, playing a distorted, loud, and fierce blend of garage rock and surf rock. Of course, I can hear your inner monologue from here chirping ‘oh jeez, another surfy garage band? like that hasn’t been hammered into the ground’ And I know. But they’re not mock imitations of Wavves and Jay Reatard like Bleeding Knees Club or something. They’re special. Honest.

What makes them worth checking out is that they pack the virtual aggression and energy of a punk band with the breezy and hazy chords and simplistic beats most associated with garage/surf bands. Plus, they’ll go from that to suddenly transferring into crashing cymbals and powerful power chords. They’re very much an energy building band. They bring more to the floor than most ‘friend’ bands that can only play major bar chords and get sporadic claps from mildly amused audience members who are politely trying to remind themselves that high amounts of energy isn’t always key to a good band. And even if that is true, Slow Animal aren’t a band that leave you waiting for loud attacks and catchy riffs. They give it to you from the start.

With their self titled debut album, it is evident they have progressed since their initial demos. The energy is higher, the drumming is fiercer, the songs are more detailed. A lot of the initial demos seemed to centre on small helpings of chords that often repeated. Not to say that is a bad thing, a they’re still great songs, but with their debut release, the songs are a lot more fleshed out and mature. The band have evidently progressed.

In the new stuff, there are repetitive elements, sure, but there is still a clear feel that the band aren’t focused on rewriting the same songs. And sure, there are typical calling cards, such as there use off their distinctive harmonies and hazy demeanour, but they still write bloody good songs. Songs like ‘Teenage Strange’, ‘Liar’ and ‘Rather Have My Eyes Closed’ stand out in particular - their unusual, yet catchy chord usage and playing styles, going from passive to intense, ultimately fill the songs out well.

Overall, I was very pleased with SA’s debut release and I know I’ll be returning to it in the future. A nice start to your forthcoming summer.

Oh, also, they’re giving their album away for free on their website - - so there really isn’t an excuse not to check these fuckers out.  
Eliot Humphreys

Friday, 16 March 2012

Water World - Interview

Water World released one of the most fun and energetic EPs of last year, and in hope of capturing some of that emotion, I spoke to Eric Carlson about The Mae Shi, punk music, and bucket lists. I wasn’t disappointed. 

Let’s start with the basics: how do you guys all know each other?

Just through shows and mutual friends who play music, so we decided to play music. I guess it was actually Bill Gray from The Mae Shi who introduced Miles and I, way back whenever.

So you've got friends in The Mae Shi? That's not a bad place to start

Now that I think about it, The Mae Shi was really the genesis of it. They’re our mega bros and we came together through that.

What bands did you all bond over then?

From there, it was a deep appreciation for silly stuff... Nirvana, Deerhoof, Youtube, the usual... 

I guess (like Deerhoof) you cram infinite amounts of hooks into your music, and often in a really short space of time (Born Young, for example). I guess this is why you describe your music as ‘extremely pop’?

Totally. Probably that and a cripplingly short attention span that's the result of being a 90's child.

...and I guess a lot of 'punk' songs are under 2 minutes or so?

Yeah, it's also like...people's attention span is zero these days, so I feel an urge to pack as much rhythm and melody into that 60 or 90 seconds as I can - to give people the most bang for their buck (or internet click or whatever)

When a song is short it drives people to play it over and over again... it makes something more infectious. Maybe that's more suitable for the modern world, where jingles and ringtones are pretty much as important as music nowadays.

For a long time I actually really wanted to get involved with writing jingles and that kind of morphed into the first few Water World songs. I think Andrew W.K put out a record of ringtones in Japan. That's awesome!

Punk music is typically considered to have anarchist or anti-establishment influence. Whilst you don’t (seem to) follow this stuff, do you try keep it all quite ‘punk rock’? I mean, you’ve covered Misfits and remixed Black Flag and you put out Water Wonderful World on cassette...

Yeah, I dunno... we grew up in the punk and hardcore scene, and I think it's one of those things; if you spend your entire teenage years in the trenches, it's going to pop up in everything you do. We have tapes and tapes of punk covers in the closet... more Misfits, the Wipers, a Minor Threat tune. We record constantly and those things inevitably happen spontaneously after we fuck up a take or whatever. It's a cleansing process.

I guess that's part of The Mae Shi influence then?

Yeah totes, with that first Water World single, Water Wonderful World
, the mindset going in was: ‘Ric Ocasek from The Cars produced Bad Brains' Rock for Light. So, what would a Cars record produced by Bad Brains sound like?’

In that case: if there was a fire and Pop and Punk were trapped and could save one, and only one... which would it be?

Is Blink 182 a twofer?

Let's put them in 'Pop' - I mean, they're considered 'Pop Punk'.

I’ma go with ‘Pop’.

So you just let Henry Rollins and co. burn away!?

I'm taking him with me. I'm going to claim all the classic punk records as highly evolved pop pieces. I believe in pop. Maybe we'll do a record called the Shape of Pop to Come. Maybe not.

Punk derives from Rock n Roll, which derives from the Blues; but so does Pop. So what would a Bad Brains Blues album sound like?

It would sound like a 1000 conflicting emotions surrounding your heart.

Perfect. Whilst we’re on Pop: the Water World Facebook page says that at some point in the future, you chart at #-1 in the Billboard charts. In that case, what current chart artist, out of all of them, would you collaborate with if you had to?

Oh man that's tough. I really like The-Dream. I love the way he writes melody and harmony. 

He also wrote Single Ladies.

Dude knows what's up.

It aso says on the Facebook page, you apparently die not once, but twice in the future? Aged 35 and again at 39. Are you going to make a bucket list to fill those four years?

Yeah, but the only thing on it is to watch the movie the Bucket List, so I'll be fine.

So what's in the name? Water World implies fun, and that translates completely into your music. What is it all about for you?

Water invokes a lot of spiritual emotions in me. It's the great wide open. It's a purifier in many religions. It's what we're made of, ya know? Evidently, there was a movie in the 90's with the same name, but I'm not very familiar with it.

Haha, yeah, my dad told me about that film. It was, at the time, the most expensive film ever made, however it didn’t do well in the box office and was critically panned.

Apparently. I mean, I don't know about you, but I drink water every day, so it seemed like an appropriate namesake for a band.

That's true, but how would you justify Fuck Buttons? - That’s ridiculous.

Again, I don't know about you, but I fuck buttons every day.

How about Anal C*nt?

That's personal.

You played with Real Estate in London recently, right? What do you think of Real Estate?

Housing is important. I like to live in houses. It's all part of the game of life man.

Surely water is more important? Shouldn’t they be supporting you?

Well, you're wading into boat house territory, see, that's the ideal situation; you get the basic elements for survival in one mobile package.

What do you think of London?

I think London is rad. I think my roommate is in London right now. You’re in London, right?

Hell yeah, I missed your show though...

I just found out that I missed Signals first show back in LA. Mega bummed right now.

As Wavves once said, “life sux”.

Truer words.

Ok, let’s not finish on a downer. Tell me a joke.

A pedophile is walking through the woods with a child, and the child says "these woods are scary", to which the pedophile says "you're telling me. I have to walk out of here alone".

Thank you and goodnight!

I’m here all week.

Interview by Will Hall

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Alex Winston - King Con

The criteria for liking this album is rather transparent. You'll enjoy this album if you like Alex Winston's voice. For me personally, I quite like her voice which falls somewhere between Ellie Goulding and Joanna Newsom so this album is not such a struggle for me as it surely will be for some. 

The whole record is very floaty and often twee musically, with a lot of twinkling piano and Alex's chirpy voice taking centre stage, not always to rousing effect. Luckily from what the album perhaps lacks in musical substance it makes up for in bizarrely intriguing lyrics and some occasional massive tunes. You will have heard 'Choice Notes' from adverts / tv montages, it was Winston's major introduction to the world and is likely to be what she is remembered for in the future. It's got the carefree bounce that a lot of the best pop songs have, and sticks rigidly in the listener's head with enough attention. 'Medicine' largely repeats the tricks of 'Choice Notes', with an added kind of banjo campfire hoedown feel to it as Winston sings "I wont take my medicine... Sell your house, sell your kids" without any sort of conviction, her voice completely throwing away any meaning behind the lyrics of what could have been a promising track.

'Velvet Elvis' too is flimsy, with lyrics like "Finger painting circle time, I'll love you to the day I die" detailing an attraction to an inanimate Elvis doll, it just feels a bit desperate to be kooky and different and doesn't carry enough of a melody to be remembered. It's not all forgettable pop dross, 'Guts' actually has some guts. It's a more full bodied track with Winston's voice allowed to flourish more than it has elsewhere, sounding like a more sprawling Laura Gibson track with tinges of Florence & The Machine. It's obvious from tracks such as 'Guts' that Winston is truly at her best when she makes bigger music rather than twee little ditties that could come come out of the bedroom of pretty much any American teenage girl. This moves me on to the album's absolute highlight, so much better than everything else it completely shows up the rest of the album. The song I'm talking about is 'Sister Wife' and it's amazing from start to finish. From the echoed drums and anthemic chanting at the beginning, to the impassioned chorus "hey there sister wife, get the hell out it's my life!", for one of the only times on King Con it feels like Winston really has some feeling and meaning behind a track, so much so it actually rubs off and leaves an impression. 

If King Con was an album with tracks as strong as 'Guts' and 'Sister Wife' then Winston could be seen as a definite competitor to the chart friendly likes of Goulding, Florence and Marina. And her voice is more unique and alternative than most, giving her a more interesting spin. But unfortunately with only a few stand out tracks, most of King Con just sounds like nonsensical floaty montage filler. 


Toby McCarron

Live Preview: Nathan Geyer

16-year-old South-East Londoner, Nathan Geyer, is emerging onto the electronic music spectrum. Although with only a few tracks to his name, the musically acute artist has already made some very free formed and natural sounds that are inspired by the ambient and house genres. Geyer is a name to watch out for, with an upcoming gig this month and further productions in the pipeline, rising credibility is not far out of sight.

‘We Are’ is Nathan’s second tune after ‘Rise Up’. 'We Are' begins very calmly and with a degree of subtlety, the lo-fi effect at the beginning greeted with what feels a very loose/lack of a time signature makes it feel quite anticipative. This melancholic sound is then wound up to a level that feels consistent, after a jolted changing of state from sustained synth and mysteriousness to a steadiness in terms of movement, it is clear to see the versatility that the young Londoner has. Imagery also plays a big role in the music; Geyer intended the video to have a reflection of urban contrasts, as recordings around various parts of London were added in to the music. The very short and sweet ending is met with the sustained synth from the beginning and the recurring voice samples, and really leaves the ears wanting more. Overall it’s a very solid and refined start in production for Nathan.

Free on the 30th March? Catch Nathan Geyer at the first Uncover Music event at The Albany in Deptford; alongside Lucy Cait, Mathlete, 2Morrows Victory, J’Danna and Endless. The first of (hopefully) many more dates in the future promise to expose new artists and producers, and is definitely worth checking out if you are in the South-East area! Tickets are £3 in advance and £5 on the door, check out the links below for more info and to buy a ticket.