Review: 'Field Manual' is the debut solo album from Death Cab for Cutie founding member Chris Walla. Known for his production work for his own band
as well as other similarly indie-minded recording artists (Tegan & Sara, Decemberists), as well as for his guitar work and arranging roles in DCFC,
Walla performs all the instruments on 'Field Manual' other than drums, which were contributed by Jason McGerr (Death Cab For Cutie) and Kurt
Dahle (The New Pornographers). After Walla enlisted the help of Canada-based British ex-pat (and Midnight Oil/The The producer) Warne
Livesey, the project hit an unexpected snag when a data hard drive containing critical album files was detained by U.S. Customs on its way back
into the US prior to final mixing. The story of this apparently routine detention led to extensive international press coverage. Ensuing media feeding
frenzies aside, Walla has delivered an extraordinary album of atmospheric and politically-minded alternative pop that displays his singular songwriting
vision while simultaneously showing the degree to which his aesthetic has informed Death Cab's sound over the years. Barsuk's release of 'Field
Manual' precedes the 2008 release of a new Death Cab for Cutie album on Atlantic.
Review: Delivering their second album of 2018 is Leicestershire's own The Wave Pictures whose legacy dates back to 1998, a solid 20 licks. The album, the band say, is dedicated to friendship, happiness and drunken party times and it's no surprise to read Look Inside Your Heart was recorded liquored up somewhere in Stoke Newington, North London. With harmonicas, the odd guitar, chatter of backup vocals and racketty drums abound, the album's that perfect reminder that two's a party, three's a crowd, but more is always merrier.
Review: A vibrant and zesty art-rock quartet from Toronto, Weaves have made a debut that brims with both intent and good old-fashioned fun, a demolition derby of punk-tinged brio and candysweet pop suss. The frenetic air of sonic brinksmanship - with restless rhythms and abrasive guitar scree holding court - might seem at odds with the colourful melodies herein, but Weaves appear to have the nous to make both spark off each other to provide a tonic as likely to appeal to fans of Romeo Void, Erase Errata or Patti Smith alike. Most importantly, in an indie milieu increasingly failling prey to rock classicism, this is band with quirky character and incandescent chutzpah to burn.
Review: Following last year's Volume 1, Hatch records bring us a second collection of live recordings by Leodensian indie rockers The Wedding Present, gathered from various sessions on Marc Riley's popular BBC Radio 6 shows. The set covers twelve career-spanning songs, even including a jagged and roughened cover of The Monkees' 'Pleasant Valley Sunday'. Marking thirty years since their iconic debut 'George Best', this impressive collection shows off how well they've aged, and highlights such as the particularly blistering renditions of 'Back A Bit... Stop' from 2012's Valentina, 'Birdsnest' from last year's 'Going, Going...' prove they've kept their capability and immediacy as a live act firmly intact.
Review: An unsung hero of American minimalism, Multiphase frontman Carl Weingarten sees his 1985 cassette now committed to delux, transparent blue vinyl. It's an album that sees classic strands of '80s synths blend and pair themselves with guitars that shimmer and sing to the point both instruments become one. It's a furturistic style of new age ambient exoctica that Weingarten purports, but not so much in the way of Pacific Island specialist Mike Cooper, but more the Brian Eno meets Jean Michel Jarre style. For a deep dip back into the sound of minimal synth, tape loops and processed guitars, allow Carl Weingarten to introduce himself to your collection like he should have done 33 years ago.