Review: Social Registry brings you Blood On The Wall's new album 'Liferz'. Having gone from hometown heroes to national fan favourites and critical darlings, the band has earned its reputation as top of the rock heap.
Putting out raucously fun records, this is a portrait of a band at the top of their game - somehow they have managed to get even more awesome.
Review: This Essex four-piece are purveyors of a stylish and succinct brand of guitar-driven indie rock that nods to the like of Royal Blood's heavy riffing and The Dandy Warhols' arch pop tunesmithery, arriving at a black leather jacket racket that makes its presence felt with hooks and swagger, arriving at a continuum that unites Britpop vim and vigour with a more twenty-first century brand of attack. The Bohicas style themselves as 'The kind of S-t that Marv from Sin City would listen to', and indeed the thuggish efficiency of 'The Making Of' is redolent of a band who have their sights set on mainstream glory and aren't ashamed to admit it.
Review: The evolution of Justin Vernon from the broken-hearted, falsetto-voiced troubadour who emerged from his cabin to deliver his debut eight years ago to the here and now may seem downright implausible, yet the facts of the matter are this - '22, A Million' is proof positive that he is one of the most multi-faceted and enigmatic and inscrutable artists we have at our disposal, still capable of delivering heart-rending beauty in song form yet also of marrying it to wilful abstraction in a way that not only offers emotional resonance yet reflects and refracts its surrounding era to offer succour and salvation. Sing it from the rooftops, this is little short of a complicated modern masterpiece.
Review: Charles Robuck may have left The Residents behind years ago, but his attitude towards music has barely changed. Eggs For Breakfast, described by the artist as "a collection of tiny tunes", is every bit as eccentric, experimental, giddy and forthright as you'd expect from a man who spent decades sticking two fingers up at the art establishment. The tracks are by and large short and sweet, with Bobuck exploring one clear idea - be it manic drum & bass/synth-pop fusion, drowsy vocal ambience, mutant electro, freakish psychedelia, outer space Afro-futurism, Nine Inch Nails style moodiness, tongue-in-cheek electro-reggae, skuzzy rock or neo-classical/noise fusion - before moving on to the next one. It's a schizophrenic kind of set, but also hugely imaginative and fantastically entertaining.
Review: It may be debatable whether B-sides still exist in the here and now, yet beneath the very slightly prosaic title of this compendium lurks the work of an outfit who - despite having essentially surfed along a very definitive wave of sun-dappled languour since their inception - are capable of delivering offcuts that are every bit the equal of most folks' hits. True, the Spinal Tap insult of 'the musical growth rate of this band cannot even be charted' could be applied to Beach House, but when their catalogue over the ten years of their existence esentially consists of a variety of themes on opiated bliss, we're only too happy to embark on the ride.
Review: Thirteen studio albums in, and 'Colors' sees Beck maybe at his most playful and upbeat since the late '90s. Title track 'Colors' opens the albums with an immediacy that bursts out like a heavily polished 'Devil's Haircut'. The album veers off in all kinds of pop directions, from the anthemic 'Seventh Heaven', to the almost trap-like 'Wow', Beck shows he's willing to experiment and wrangle as much as possible into an album. It might not be his most contemplative record, but it's definitely his glossiest and most entertaining in a while, and promises a rollercoaster ride from start to finish.
Review: Lying dormant for eight years has evidently provided Brand New with enough reinvigoration to return guns blazing on this powerful and engulfing record. From the haunting samples that open the album in 'Lit Me Up', through to the resonating feedback and field recordings on the tail end of closer 'Batter Up', 'Science Fiction' follows a brooding path through contrasting passages of loud and quiet, confessional introspection and frustrated aggression. The band's well tempered control makes the more surprising moments, such as the bluesy desert rock of '451' and the pared back folk of 'Could Never Be Heaven' fit in seamlessly, making this an impressive, engaging and well-rounded return to form.
Review: 'American Utopia' is the first solo record in 14 years from iconic polymath David Byrne. The album comes as part of a larger project entitled 'Reasons To Be Cheerful' - a series of works that strives to antidote pervasive social and political anxieties. In keeping with this, 'American Utopia' questions realities of contemporary culture with playful writing that shifts perspectives and favours optimism over despairing pessimism. Being the product of working with 25 collaborators, 'American Utopia' feels like something of a sonic patchwork, but doesn't ever feel sprawling, neatly tied together by Byrne's inimitable sense of melody and harmony. 'American Utopia' doesn't offer any transcendental conclusions on how to save the world, but advocates positive and unusual ways of looking at the world around us, and with a career underpinned by a singular and indescribable quirkiness, Byrne is the ideal candidate the job.
Review: In the aftermath of the Brexit vote the question on many people's minds is 'what's going to happen'...well an answer for some, at least, was a new BC Camplight album, fittingly named, Deportation Blues. Recording in Liverpool's Whitewood studios, Brian Christinzio is said to have locked himself in a windowless studio and recorded all songs almost exclusively in the dark. With title track Deportation Blues its most illuminating result, the album overall is a more electrified opus, musically speaking, than his previous long players How To Die In The North and Blink Of A Nihilist. Featuring Luke Barton on guitars and synth, alongside guitarist Tom Rothery and multi-instrumentalist/ backing singer Ali Bell, BC Camplight lights it up again.
Review: Listening to the awaited full length of The National's Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon's (Bon Iver) Big Red Machine project and it's hard not to think they've invested themselves in discovering deeper strands of electronic music, or production... if the sporadic drum machine work of "Deep Green" is anything to go by. "I Won't Run From It" however sees the pair back in their full choral beauty, presenting a song for thousands to potentially wave their hands this summer. This Big Red Machine was produced over the past two years involving many-a collaboration from New York and its artistic community, with the band themself saying: "this feels like something new-the process felt different and the outcome felt different." Check it.