Friday, 27 December 2013

Albums of the Year: Part One

We're showing our hand pretty late this year and honestly, there's not that many good reasons. But for now, here's some words from Braden.
Hi there, before I begin, let me explain. Toby figured out some form of algorithm that I found to be really very complicated, but, I trusted him and his unwavering vision of some form of democracy and frankly, the results speak for themselves. They're the reason he's in charge around here; why he's asleep somewhere whilst I'm writing the albums of the year introduction. I could write anything...
This year, Robin Thicke made me lose my faith in the public and Miley Cyrus' press made me lose faith in sanity. Luckily, our team here are better than both and they've outdone themselves this year. We're still a small fish in a big ocean, but this year we put a show on on the underground, we talked to some amazing musicians and got allowed to hang out in some of the most amazing fields. This job's not made worthwhile by the money we earn from it; because we earn none. No, this job's made worthwhile by the fact that we get to listen to music, new music, basically every day. It's made worthwhile by you coming to us and telling us that you liked something we wrote/shot. It's made worthwhile by someone at a gig saying they've read your site. Heck, it's even made worth while by the occasional staff gathering for drinks/burritos/records/gigs.
The only thing that's left to ask really is; what happens when music, which is entirely subjective, gets listened to across a year, by people that you trust to bring it to you?
Answer? A top 50.
Shout at us, praise us, point us in the way of something new. Most of all though, incase I don't get the chance to say it again in 2013, thank you.

Braden Fletcher (Co-Editor)

50. Nai Harvest – Whatever
A key factor in Nai Harvest's force is their clear understanding of the genre they are in, their representation of the other genres that represent them and their unabashed enthusiasm to create something passionate and distinctly their own.  
With a few years under their belt and a chance to settle into themselves comes the release of 'WHATEVER', their album. In truth, this album is the album they were supposed to make.
Elliot H


FIDLAR are a four-piece punk outfit from Los Angeles and I use punk in the official sense, not as some kind of fashion campaign by Topshop. They took their name from the skater saying ‘Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk’ and although they won’t change the world on this first outing it is evidence that there is still room for a dumb and brutal rock album. This is a venture into feedback and riffery that isn’t particularly vogue at the moment but clearly doesn’t give a shit.
Paul S

48. The Knife – Shaking the Habitual

47.  Lorde – Pure Herione

46. Jessy Lanza – Pull My Hair Back

45. Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus

44. Anamanaguchi - Endless Fantasy

Anamanaguchi also feature in our Label of the Year feature for Alcopop Records!

43. Daughter - If You Leave
If You Leave proves that Daughter have gone from creating music focused on pain, to creating music that encapsulates pain and acts as medicine. Some may call it depressing, I’d argue they’ve not listened hard enough.
Braden F

42. King Krule - 6 Feet Beneath The Moon
The Zookid's come a long way. He's been on Letterman and he's been around the world. Not something you'd expect from an album so sparse and honest. That Archie's still got such a great buzz around his name after years of toying with the idea of putting a record together, is testament to the pure enjoyability of a record built around the sound of a crumbling capital city. King Krule has the capacity in him to create a life out of this record and he's hardly the kind that's going to get carried away by fame.
Braden F

41. And So I Watch You From Afar - All Hail Bright Futures
Cementing their place as one of the UK's most exciting acts both on record and stage, ASIWYFA's third record is a jubilant celebration of post-rock and alternative music as a whole alike. Swelling from it's beginnings, it quickly becomes the kind of record you can soundtrack only the most enjoyable of lives to. In contrast to their second, darker record, AHBF is magnificent.
Braden F

40. Of Montreal - Lousy WIth Sylvianbriar

Label of the Year: Alcopop! Records

They harbour SI favourites Johnny Foreigner, YouTube Music Award nominees Anamanaguchi, Jurassic Park themed act Jurassic Pop and have the same logo as alcoholic lemonade brand Hooch; but that’s not why they’re our label of the year this year. 2013 has seen one of our favourite EP’s from Katie Malco (think The National, now make it one person, live on a piano) and two of the most fun records of the year from Stagecoach and My First Tooth. 

The former’s debut and sadly only album ever took a decade to form and along the way kicked up some of our favourite live shows at the Great Escape and Alcopop shows across the country alike. It’s Surrey’s answer to Weezer and it’s a shame that they've split just last week.
The latter made the indie-folk album that the public needed. If you’ve come across it this year, it’s hard to deny your want to singalong and dance in a barn whilst burning that Lumineers record your aunt who’s not really your aunt bought you.
Alcopop’s year has produced some of the finest live shows at a host of festivals and joined by Big Scary Monsters on those dates has made both an unstoppable force of the underground. Here’s to 2014.
We were lucky enough to go to the pub and interview label head 'JackPop'. We may have had a few bottles of Hooch; as such, we're presenting our questions and Jack's answers in the professional way... unedited.

We (the SI editorial team) have penned ourselves up in the top alcove of Spoons Tottenham Court Road. We may or may not have a Hooch to hand. I think we're ready if you are?
Lets go you Hoochie mammas

SO! Talk us through, in a Tweetable 140 characters; how you think 2013 went for Alcopop!
It was a whale of a year thank you! We got invited to more free bars than ever before, which is a strong measure of moving the right way I feel

And the drinks of choice at said bars?
Hooch. Natch. Where available. Otherwise, we're not particularly discerningBlue nun champagne with gold sparkles in it was interesting

Excellent! In terms of alcohol and music, there's been plenty to shout about. There was of course the Pav Tav's ever interesting Great Escape and we're about to encounter the world famous £101 round in Brixton this weekend. What were the blurry highlights of the year for you?
Oh man! Big times... I think winning the AIM Award for best small label was a personal highlight, so unexpected, but the stages at Truck, 2000 Trees, Y-Not, Southsea and TGE were massive too! Best festival summer season ever Also loved being on XFM live with John Kennedy who's a bit of a hero, and putting out The Crimea's final album was very humbling
 Couldn't pick with releases though mind you. They are all my children and i love em equally

Great stuff, the stages this year were shared mostly with BSM; how deep is the bromance at this point?
Ah man - Kev... Well, he's very mean and I hate looking at his generic face. But in all honesty, he's bloody brilliant to work with!I think we gel well together

One of the boldest signings you made this year was Anamanaguchi; how did this all come about and how did it make you feel watching them sell out the Garage?
Well Kev knew their manager, they sent us the album and it was one of the best things we'd ever heard - so we had to work with them they're such a lovely bunch! We sorted some shows, they came over and were unbelievable. Sold out show with JoFo, Axes and more. 700 people loving every moment!!! That was a real fun day.

It was incredible. What's next for Anamanaguchi?
They're currently on a massive tour with Dillon Francis in the States, then back over to the UK in Feb Headlining Heaven in London which is gonna be huge along with shows in Manchester, Glasgow, Dublin and Belfast!
xpect a new single too

Looking forward to it, anything you can tell us about it?
Wish i could but no deets till the new year sorry sworn to secrecy

Secrecy accepted. Radstewart; now Rod's most likely had some babies conceived to his music in his time, but how do you think Radstewart's 2014 is looking? Any baby making music on the way?
I imagine that any bump in population in 2014/early 15 will be pretty much solely down to the sweet, sensual grooves of Radstewart's new hits! These boys are sensational.. Very excited about them next yearThey've only been gigging a year, and everyone seems to be getting VERY excited about them! It's going to be a super year for them.

Yeah, it's been a pretty quick rise even to this point for them. Who else is on the horizon for you; anything you've got your ever eager eyes on?

Well we've got two new signings to be announced in the next month, one super new and the other something of an indie household name. A new JoFo album in the offing, Fight Like Apes and Radstewart EPs, annnnnd Alcopop100 - our 100th releaseWhich is OBVIOUSLY going to involve a lot of booze.We're in for a massive start to the year.

You know you can leak some sort of clue to the indie household name and POP100 surely?
Haha - you can search for the hows and whys of the band but I'm not gonna tell you! I will however let you know that PoP100 is going to be more of an experience than your average release.... It's not just going to be your standard record

They never are! First a bike and now an experience? Where are you taking us mr Pop?
To fuckin' indie heaven and back Actually, not back... Let's just stay there

I'm content with that!
Then we have achieved!

Now, to wrap this up, a quick fire round?
hit me

Top three releases you're looking forward to from Alcopop in 2014?
eek, I can't discriminate dude. I'm looking forward to every single one!

Your opinion of My First Tooth as a live band in less than 6 words?
Absolute engagingly wonderful sugar coated bastards

How much Akabusi would Kriss Akabusi Busi if Kriss Akabusi could Busi?
If Akabusi could Kris Kross? How many hits would make Kriss Kross?

If Lomana Lua Lua could do anything for Alcopop in 2014, what would it be?
To Acknowledge my many letters I'd just love him to know that without him we would be NOTHING...

Congratulations Alcopop!
See you in the new year.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Sound InPhotos: Public Service Broadcasting - The Forum

Public Service Broadcasting have had one hell of a year and you'll hear a lot about that in the interview we've been saving for you since August, later in this month. They topped it all off last week with an incredible show at Kentish Town's Forum, the venue we usually see artists playing Greatest Hits sets. With just one album under their belt, PSB took to the stage with quiet confidence and played to a hugely diverse crowd as if this was every other show. Of course, it was the "Ruddy Bloody Forum" to them and the clincher to what must have felt like a life-changing year. Here's to another one like it!

Friday, 22 November 2013

DADS - Old Blue Last

Emo seems to have crept back in. There’s no way to tell if it’s just long enough since the heyday or if it’s the lots of student loans and not a lot of jobs problem most college kids have right now, but sad music with twinkly guitars is good again (just try Modern Baseball and TWIABPP’s latest releases).

One of the most discussed bands in this revival is Dads, a two piece from New Jersey, who are currently on their first UK tour whose sound is clearly influenced by the arpeggiated guitar and math rock drumming of American Football/Snowing. However, there’s an added intensity that makes them brilliant live, seamlessly shifting from confessional lyrics over wandering guitar to an intricate cacophony of screams, distortion and explosive fills.

What makes these transitions work so well is the borderline telepathic understanding between Scott (guitar) and John (drums). Dads have clearly thought extensively about how to convey each song live and can completely switch the atmosphere in a strike of the snare. The one thing that is sometimes lacking is a bass, but if a third member disrupts their connection then it’s not worth it.

Throughout the show there was a sense of something building which came to the fore in the ominous tones of the ferocious My Crass Patch. That track and the fan favourites that followed (Dan’s Christopher Walken Impression, Shit Twins, Pass Me The Ball) turned the standing area into a ripe tide of crowd surfers and screamed lyrics, because on top of everything else these guys also write a killer hook (“When you told me you loved me, I imploded from the stomach out” / ”You’ll say it’ll be just like the old days, but it won’t be the fucking old days”).

Emo might be back, it could be post-emo or it could be whatever you want it to be. Regardless, twinkly guitars and sad screaming is back, and Dads are leading the charge.

Tom Gane

Free Sound Fridays: LeTrouble

It's Friday, and that means a new thing for you. This Friday and every Friday from now on, we'll be bringing you a shed load of free music. Rob Bramhill's presenting the first week with a band called LeTrouble.
Mission Bell, by Rob Bramhill
"I've always wanted to ride that thin line between Meat Loaf, Hall and Oates, and punk.” – Le Trouble
Montreal garage-rock band Le Trouble are on the brink of releasing their sensational debut EP Reality Strikes. So what better way to celebrate the occasion than with some free noise for those eager ears of yours?
The bands raucous FREE single, ‘Mission Bell’ is an impressive introduction to the group. Their fiery energy is made up of a punk-based concoction infused with a dancey, lo-fi charm that you’ll find downright alluring.
"This is all about having a good time for us” explains guitarist Bao­Khanh. "We want to be so catchy that you feel like we're a guilty pleasure."
Only there’s absolutely no reason to feel guilty about enjoying Le Trouble. Their abundance of catchy riffs and hook-filled tunes will keep your headphones fixed firmly on to the side of your head and we can guarantee that you’ll be happily nodding along in no time.

Sound InPhotos: Swiss Lips @ Elekrtrowerkz Islington

One of our favourite new acts, Swiss Lips are winding up for their debut album. We can reveal that they'll be one of our acts for 2014 and we'll be posting an interview with them next month, but in the mean time; we saw them kick up a sweat storm in north London the other day and it was pretty special.

Fresh off touring with Bastille,  the boys have certainly picked up some tricks and the atmosphere was electric. Singles U Got The Power and DANZ went down a treat, but the likes of Books and a few tracks that were debuted on the night all sound like they're going to make the album one of the most entertaining ones you'll hear in the Spring.
Without further ado, here's Braden's photos from the night.


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The Sound Influx Playlist 18.11.13

We're a day late again. We're sorry, Mondays appear to have been a bad idea for us. Tuesdays however, during the England match; they're fine!
We'll cut straight to the chase here.

Featured Tracks

Alvarez Kings - No Resolve
by Braden Fletcher
Post Favourite Worst Nightmare, it's seemed almost impossible for Sheffield acts to catch a good break. Alvarez Kings however have powered through and stayed true to themselves. A string of great singles attached to EPs has made them a consistently entertaining force and fresh off the Warped Tour in both America and Ally Pally, the indie-rockers have treated us with this offering; their new single No Resolve. It's softer than their previous material, delicate and intricate, but it offers a huge amount of back-weighted power. 2014 may well, finally be their year. We'll be keeping a look out.

Nick Mulvey - Nitrous
by Braden Fletcher with help from Miles Joshua Groce
We should listen to our university radio stations more because, as much as the big time stations matter to music, it's at the grassroots that music means the most. Miles Groce presents a show called the Bare Necessities on Liverpool John Moores' own Looprevill Radio. It's on Tuesday evenings, usually when I'm building this playlist. He introduced me to the sounds of Nick Mulvey with this track and it's been stuck in my head ever since. Listen in when you get a chance.

Yearbook - Art Studentby Josie Faulkner
Hampshire alt-rockers Yearbook have been gaining momentum in the past year, after touring with the likes of The Xcerts and about to embark on a European Christmas tour. Their track, Art Student was released earlier this year and is punchy, witty, and sarcastic as hell, and bound to remind you of someone too-cool-for-school living in a town not so far from you.

Sound InPhotos: Nordic Giants - Brighton Concorde2

We're not sure if you've noticed, but we're fans of Brighton based band Nordic Giants. So much so that we left the urban sprawl behind for an afternoon by the seaside. The afternoon was cold, but we found refuge in the Pav Tav; oh the Pav Tav. When the evening came along, we thought we had prepared ourselves for Nordic Giants. We were wrong.
New light shows, new films and animations, a 12 piece orchestra and the loudest sound system we've heard in recent memory. Yes then, Nordic Giants were prepared for this huge homecoming show; we were merely willing spectators brought along for the ride.
In between being blown away by the audio visual monster that is the new 'Giants show, Braden managed to get some photos. They're below, along with their newest material. Enjoy.


Crywank - Tomorrow is Nearly Yesterday and Every Day is Stupid

James ‘Crywank’ Clayton is on his third record. He’s a DIY artist from Manchester and he’s written some of the most honest and frankly oft self-depreciating music of the last decade. Of course, in that time, Frightened Rabbit released Midnight Organ Fight, The National became a huge force and The Antlers became one of the cult bands of the new-sad revolution that saw us creased up into our own pillows in a way that ‘emo’ had only just seen us leave; but Crywank emerged in the anti-folk side of the spectrum, completely opposite the fictional creations of Laura Marling’s critically acclaimed records.

That’s not to say he’s not had some success on the way though and Tomorrow is Nearly Yesterday and Every Day is Stupid, his third record has proven to be Bandcamp’s #1 selling record of the week just finished, at the price of just £1 (or more).

The music itself hasn’t changed much aside from appearing to gain some production value, if not a lot. The opening lyrics of “Everyone I love is gonna die and I will die as well” mixed with Crywank’s trademark acoustic guitar is now joined by the tapping of a wooden drum box and mild reverberation on James’ vocals.  It feels like nothing’s new here, but at the same time, James’ time as an artist has led him down a slightly more fluid path of songsmanship, making TiNY a much easier listen, even through track two’s Song For a Guilty Sadist which needs little description.

Overall, the record shows growth; from an artist that both revels in borderline juvenile emotions in a genre that’s never attempted to be progressive, TiNY… is a sign of maturity and for that, it should be lauded. Crywank is a shining example of why we so desperately need Bandcamp as a platform, even if he’s the most self depreciating artist we’ll listen to all year.


Braden Fletcher

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The Sound Influx Playlist 11.11.13

Okay, so we're a day late, and we took a week off. We're sorry, really we are. Sadly this isn't our day job and most of our day jobs are getting somewhat hectic as the Christmas break starts peering its chilly head.

Fear not though, we're back for a fourth edition of the Sound Influx Playlist.

This week we've gone very much remix and feature Monsieur Adi and Tourist as well as the likes of Sub Focus' track with Kele and Sudanim's working of How To Dress Well's &ItWasU. Without further ado, we should probably give it to you for your earholes to consume?

Featured tracks this week...

Sudanim - U Dont Have 2 Worry
by Braden Fletcher

How to Dress Well's record Total Loss feels like it came out ages ago now. It's been a year and it has definitely not dated. Conveniently, South London DJ/Producer Sudanim has reworked the highlight of the album &ItWasU into his own powerful beast. Keep a watch out for him and Her Records a lot in the future.

Grouplove - Ways To Go
by Braden Fletcher

They're finally coming back with their second record and with it will be doing a string of rather intimate shows in the UK so now seems like the best time to put the most recent Grouplove single, Ways to Go into the Playlist. It's huge sounding and with any luck, the band will finally erupt over here in the way they did in the US of A!

Bombay Bicycle Club - Carry Me
by Toby McCarron

A fantastic indie debut, a heart-felt acoustic album and a disappointing mis-match of a third album; this time Bombay Bicycle Club seem to be embracing their electronic side. Carry Me is Bombay's most dancey and arguably club ready hit to date. With swathes of synth and a particularly impressive high-budget interactive video. It's not there to be loved or remembered, simply to move your body to at 3am at club NME.

Well everyone, that's it for another week. We'll hopefully be back again next week and we hope you'll be with us.

In other news, the picture for this week's playlist is very much Movember themed. Grow them staches SI readers!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Sound Camp #2

Sound Camp this week is brought to you in the form of multiple single reviews from acts that are on Band Camp (and one that's a simple equation for why you should/will enjoy it.)
Sound Camp needn't be a rigidly structured feature in which we tell you exactly what to listen to and how it sounds and who dresses in what way, because at the end of the day, its your decision to get some new music; we're simply highlighting the platform.

Beach Skulls -
Eliot Humphreys talks about 'U Were Mine'
"a music video was usually the eyecatcher in the music industry when all the cool kiddies cared about was Kerrang!, MTV 2 and cheese nips; now that YouTube is where it's at, it can be a trial to wade through the sea of content, so sharing is the fair way of finding stuff." Beach Skulls' recent lift from their forming EP "A different kind of smooth", 'U Were Mine' throws a Japanese-Karaoke vibe over a lush and melodically climactic exercise in lounge surf and dream pop. Green screens; such possibility.

Julia Brown - Eliot Humphreys on 7"
Featuring ex-members of culty internet songwriter Sam Ray's (Ricky Eat Acid/Starry Cat/Heroin Party) former band Teen Suicide, Julia Brown's first vinyl release (out on Birdtapes) delivers a 3-track EP of lofi post-indie/emo gloom-pop, making waves in the blog-o-sphere. 'Library' rides through lusciously, its primary hook being a distinctive rival for any NME fodder. In a good way. Contrasting with the tender acoustic closer 'the way you want', a sad lullaby and nice way to close the release. I've been meaning to buy the release, but that shipping, man. Hey, it might be a cult classic in a few years, but, it morally pains me to part with that postage tax.

Courtyard - Elilot Humphreys on Demo 2013 in the current 'revival' or re-popularising (if you will) of emo has brought us to 2013 and a young band from London called Courtyard, embracing post-American Football style indie rock. The 3-track EP implements horns and atmospheric build ups, and gives a relaxing feel to the whole thing. The subtle and easing self-titled introduction, the melancholic and wailing horn almost emotionally providing replacement for the lack of vocals. the quality of the other two tracks is quiet astounding, despite how young the trio are, all under the age of 18. Their intelligent understanding of their medium is delicately distinct. Definitely a favourite for 2013 and one to watch for 2014.

Cofun -
Eliot Humpreys on We Practice Our Songs.
Along with the re-cooling of emo, screamo has had a lot more attention placed on it also, provoking young angsty punx to spazz-out (the PC term) again with dissonan and storming intensity in front of rooms of sparse attendance. Hitting the shores of internet-Japan, young band Cofun have been creating no-rules, Iwrotehaikusaboutcannibalisminyouryearbook /jeromes dream style screamo, forging emo-violence blasts with heart wrenching guitar hooks and intense vocals. A band like this really do demonstrate the versatility of the genre and how all a band like this needs to create something cool (to the key of screamo) is the intention and passion behind it. And like with Courtyard, it's great to see in such a young age.

RESPECT as looked at in depth by Rob Bramhill

Weezer + Titus Andronicus + Ireland = Squarehead

That's Sound Camp!
See you next time.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Sebastian Grainger – Yours To Discover

Believe it or not, there was once a time before The Ting Tings made two-piece bands a must for every major label roster. Now they’re ten a penny. Not all bad, but they are appearing in record numbers. The recent increase in popularity has probably got something to do with Japandroids ‘Album Of The Year 2012’ and the upsurge of positive exposure that soon followed.
However, back in the early 2000s, whilst Anastasia was explaining that she’s ‘Not That Kind Of Girl’ and we all wished Crazy Town had stayed in their cocoon, a Toronto-based noise punk band were starting to emerge that would ignite the upsurge of the duo.
Death From Above (the 1979 was added later) came and went faster than one of their furiously fuzzy riffs, and in the blink of an eye, with only one incredible full-length release, the band announced a hiatus. They didn’t resurfaced again until 2011.
Their eventual return was coupled with the exciting announcement of a new album; so how surprising it was to discover that Sebastian Grainger (the bands energetic drummer) was planning to release a record on his own. And more unexpectedly, it would be packed full of guilt free, fresh-faced pop songs.
Yours To Discover introduces a new element of musical expression for Grainger, and to be fair, it is most welcome. His seemingly effortless approach to producing an enticing pop song, without the need to lie to yourself about how much you enjoy it, proves to be very refreshing for the ears.
The hook-filled, 80s-esc powerhouse, ‘Going With You’ sounds delightfully glossy compared to Grainger’s past. But his distinctive grainy voice, coupled with a dishing of flirty, over-produced guitar solos and elegant pulsing synths forms a brilliant structure for the albums highpoint. There are moments that feel slightly disjointed, presenting a trivial unease (see ‘Waking Up Dead’), but those feeling are instantly overturned by tracks such as ‘The Streets Are Still A Mess’ and ‘Some People Are Ghosts Too Soon’. Which in comparison are constructed like the Shard, as appose to the Indian Commonwealth Games of 2010.
It’s clear that Grainger isn’t going to get a whiff of mainstream success from this album, despite its gratifying approach to the world of pop. But we are ok with that. Because what he has produced is something that is much more worth while for society; a pop record that holds firmly onto its own integrity, whilst providing an honest and genuinely enjoyable listening experience. Go forth and discover people. 

Rob Bramhill

Monday, 28 October 2013

The Sound Influx Playlist: 28.10.13

It's only ruddy week three! One day we'll look back on this with fondness, remembering the time we had a feature that lasted for three whole consecutive weeks. How we'll drink.
This week, we've had a host of curators of the playlist from across the site; great to see a team come together to collaborate on this project.
In this, the third installment of The Playlist; our three featured artists are MO, Findlay and Swearin'.

Let's get straight to it then!

Mø - XXX ft Diplo

This is, in classic mø style, a chopped -up track with layers of samples and beats and her pretty laid-back delivery. It also includes the almost obligatory trumpet samples which have come to make mø's sound so distinctive. Diplo also plays a part, although this is Mø's moment.
Holly Read-Challen

Swearin' - Dust in the Gold Sack

You'd be forgiven for confusing Swearin' with their tour-buddies Waxahatchee; mostly because lead singer Allison Crutchfield is Katie's twin sister. Where Waxahatchee deal in refined sounds though, Swearin', as their name may suggest, take it a bit more FIDLAR. There's a definite cross between this and many of Wichita's post-grunge releases from the last year and we can't quite get enough of it.
Braden Fletcher

Findlay - Greasy Love

Bursts of static and Natalie Findlay's sexy yelp usher in another cracking single from the young Manchester songwriter. "I know it feels good when he sucks on my blood" she shrieks as her backing band leap from popping bass to strident garage rock riffs that channel The Kills on a three day bender. It's short, sharp, sleazy and seductive. What more could you want?
Max Sefton

That's all for this playlist, enjoy.

Los Campesinos! - No Blues

They’ve changed their line-up multiple times and still headlined Shepherd’s Bush Empire and played festivals across the world. They’ve skirted with fame whilst existing exclusively outside of the top 40 and they’ve hidden from success whilst providing the soundtrack to not only a huge Budweiser commercial, but also the soundtracks to literally thousands of (mostly teenage) noughties’ lives.

So as Los Campesinos!’ fifth record No Blues fades in with For Flotsam then, its easy to think that this is it; maybe this is the moment that the occasionally crude but rarely cheap wordplay of Gareth Campesinos! mixed with the increasingly rich and full sound of the rest of the band, finally gets that break their output deserves. In just the opening track, depression, love, football, politics and maritime wreckage are all taken on and passed upon with ease before the natural lead single of the record What DeathLeaves Behind trounces through with the kind of definitive ‘recent’ LC! sound.

That sound however, has changed over time. It’s difficult to hear the band that created the chaos that ensued in parts of Hold On Now, Youngster in the refined build-up of Cemetery Gaits nor As Lucerne/The Low; although the slight touch of heartbroken pretence “There is no blues that can sound quite as heartfelt as mine” still remains.
Of course, when you mix this with the tongue-in-cheek footballing references of “Ex boyfriend, give us a song; ex boyfriend, boyfriend give us a song” in the album’s centrepiece Glue Me, and the name check of LC!’s repeated Doe Eyes in Avocado Baby, means that you remember the band they’ve been as well as the formidable force they’re becoming.

Gone is the filler that the predecessor to No Blues’ sound, Hello Sadness displayed in its second half (although, Let it Spill and the disappointingly un-M83 The Time Before The Last Time leave you somewhat bored before Selling Rope does little to appease). Gone is the identity crisis that made parts of Romance Is Boring feeling somewhat sonically schizophrenic, and gone is the somewhat juvenile charm that led the first years of their not-twee days.

It’ll hardly be their finest hour, if only because in individual tracks they’ve had multiple standout moments, but in terms of standing up on their many feet and declaring themselves a band to be reckoned with, Los Campesinos!’ No Blues exactly what it needs to be; them.


Braden Fletcher