Archive for January, 2010
It’s not typically a good month for new music, but we’ve been scouring the new releases for the best new music of the new decade to bring to you. We have thrown in a few of our favourite tracks for good measure too!
Listen now >>> DoesItRock? – Jan 10 Mix
1) OK GO – White Knuckles … One of the highlights from a pretty leftfield release: DiR? Review
2) Motion City Soundtrack – Stand Too Close … Happy sounding / saddening lyrics wrapped in perfect sugar coated acoustics wth such an immensely catchy melody: DiR Review
3) TAB The Band – Left For Dead In Hilton Hotel … Blast of infectious garagey blues rock from Joe Perrys offspring.
4) Delphic – This Momentary … Big buzz band prove they ar up to the expectation heaped upon them: DiR? Review
5) Eels – Paradise Blues … Poppiest offering on E’s latest downbeat album End Times: DiR? Review
6) Adam Green – Goblin … Short Guitar ditty from anti-folks main man. DiR? Review
7) Citay – Fortunate Sun … Folk centred classic rock with a led-zep swirtling beauty and harmonious intrumental genious.
8) Cold War Kids – Audience of One … Piano stomp taken from their Jan released EP Behave Yourself
9) Spoon – Is Love Forever? … Spiked guitar line mark this lively indie rock tune from latest album Transference
10) Brilliant Colors – Motherland … Uplifting indie guitar rocker with scrambled blurbs of vocal action
11) Laura Viers – July Flame … Beautiful melody and an angelic voice, sit back, relax and drift away…..
12) Lost Prophets – Where We Belong … Thundering pop rock single from the returning welsh rock masters.
13) You Me At Six – Playing The Blame Game … UK pop punk is in safe hands with You Me At Six at the wheel.
14) Hadouken! – Turn The Lights Out … Nu Rave isn’t so much new anymore but can still pull off a catchy pop/electro/rock/rap crossover tune.
15) Manic Street Preachers – Me And Stephen Hawkins … Classic Manics from last years incredible LP Journal For Plague Lovers
16) The Wildhearts – Jackson Whites … Ginger and co. go all mettallica style on this cracking rock number!
17) Japandroids – Rockers East Vancouver … Alternative indie rock from superb sounding canadian duo.
18) Devendra Banhart – 16th & Valencia Roxy Music … The folk stalwart returns with a surprisingly upbeat pop song.
19) The Last Vegas – Whatever Gets You Off … Motley rock and roll from these superb sleazed up hard rockers.
20) All Time Low – Weightless (Acoustic) … Uber catchy tune superbly reworked, Pop Punk Anthem of the Month!
Motion City Soundtrack, the us pop-punk sensations release their 4th album with Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus on production duty for the second time.
Motion City Soundtrack – My Dinosaur Life
Pop punks modern torchbearer return with a album packed with outstanding riffs, infectious chorus’s, electro melodies and sublime songwriting. Motion City Soundtracks strength has always relied on their vocalist Justin Pierre’s ability to write the most idiosyncratic lyrics in such a wildly extensive vocabulary. On My Dinosaur Life he delivers this in abundance. “I never gave an honest answer, But I need a lot of angry organs, Are we copacetic? Are we behaving now? “, from A Lifeless Ordinary (Need A Little Help), being a one of a multitude of examples.
This album harks back to the guitar driven style of their debut album I Am the Movie. Its rockier sound leads energetic opening track Worker Bee, synth riffed Delirium and first single Disappear, all of which are incessantly catchy. The joy of each listen is that you find you missed: a cracking lyric brimming with comedic wordplay, more absurd abstracted metaphors, or just a crafty pop riff. Their optimistic sound fills the listener with fun and jovial lightness. Even when performing the somber ballad Stand To Close, they fail to be anything less than cheerful.
MCS have pulled out all the stops and satisfied its older legion of fans without sacrificing their eccentric pop rock sound. A pleasure from start to finish 2010 will be hard pushed to produce a more fun and enjoyable record as My Dinosaur Life.
Mr Flowers Says:
Motion City Soundtrack are back and are continuing to pull off their characteristically fun pop songs. However, a smattering of mediocre offerings means My Dinosaur Life doesn’t quite reach it’s potential: some of the songs can be forgettable when they can’t quite find that magical pop hook, most evident on History Lesson, Pulp Fiction, @!#?@! and Hysteria. There’s enough good songs here to fuel ardent MCS fans, though; ballad-y opener Worker Bee, the big chorus on A Lifeless Ordinary, and the excellent Stand Too Close are good examples of what they can achieve – we’ll just have to wait and see if they are capable of an album’s worth of this stuff.
DoesItRock Overall Score: 7.5
Listen to Motion City Soundtrack – My Dinosaur Life now on Spotify!
A packed out Brixton academy greeted the DoesItRock crew this evening. Clearly the lineup had captured the imagnation of the attendees as they flocked towards stage to witness one of the under the radar indie bands who had a great 2009, Sky Larkin. Sadly I wasnt as eager as the rest of the crowd, hence I missed their set…oops!
I bustled through the swelling masses to catch an indie group with a big following and a bright future. Los Campesinos! are indie through and through, sweet twee melodies, an onstage army of members plus an astounding array of instrumets ranging from sythesisors to xylaphones and back via cowbells and whistles. Yet their performance was lacklustre and devoid of any heart. From the very begininng most songs seemed to meld into each other without distinction. The lead singer had the campest dance moves since Alan from the Rakes. His Jerky indie grooves were tiresome and iritating.
Playing to a crowd this big seemed to intimitade them at first, but as the set went on they improved playing more of their more recognisable tunes such as You! Me! Dancing! I can’t help but think that they would be so much better in a smaller venue. This evening they didnt have the special edge required to fire up and inspire an ample Brixton Academy crowd.
The Cribs have come a very long way since this reviewer first witnessed their simple riffing shambolic concoction of riotus indie rock at the Brighton Dome in 2005. Their next outing was a very intoxicated but brilliant one at Oxegen festival in 2006. Tonight they showcased a very different cribs to what has gone before. Tonight an grown up restrained group took to the stage with their latest member on parade, indie guitar legend Johnny Marr.
Right from the start you can tell they had 2 guitarists with a grander sound replacing the ramshakle riffing of their early years. Marr’s epic rhythm guitars were measured and restrained compared to lead singer Ryans loose riff based dittys. Music this evening was focused directly upon tracks from their recent albums with an unhealthy balance of songs from their latest underwhelming album Ignore the Ingorant. I can understand why, given as a 4 piece these tunes work better such the epic riffed single Share The Same Skies, but they lose their sense of identity as The Cribs. Gone also is the alcohol consumption and the feeling they were on the edge of a breaking the rock rule book.
As much as the performance was professional and acomplished, it was rather unremarkable. Standout tracks were few and far between with only Men’s Needs and Our Bovine Public being memorable. Cribs need to ragain their aura if they are going to keep up their traditions of great rock shows, but the way it’s heading at the moment, the average indie group label looms large.
Eels second release in quick succesion follows hot on the heels of 2009’s Hombre Loco.
Eels – End Times
Mark “E” Everett has that uncanny knack of being able to write deeply personal songs with such graceful melancholy. After Hombre Loco’s upbeat optimistic rock sound Eels have slid back into the beautiful melodies and acoustic strummers which are amazingly easy to listen to.
Just listing the song titles you can tell it won’t be the happiest release this year; Gone Man a bluesy shuffle, A Line In The Dirt a piano accompanied life tale, End Times gravel vocal driven ramblings, Unhinged one of the few upbeat tunes and Paradise Blues one of Eels effortlessly classic little melodies. Despite the subdued nature of the album End Times is an irresistible collection of beautiful understated tracks, which demand to be replayed!
Mr Flowers Says:
Mark Oliver Everett sings some sad songs in a lonely place, and puts together one the Eels’ best efforts in their career. It’s funny how an album full of such melancholy is full of pretty and simple songs… a joy to listen to.
DoesItRock Overall Score: 8
Listen to Eels – End Times now on Spotify!
This evening was a showcase of the old and the new, veteran aussie punk rockers The Living End headlining with a couple of young upstarts as support. Failsafe were the first of such support bands entertaining the early arrivals.
Failsafe were a complete surprise package, loud and fast alternative rockers who have plenty of cracking tunes. Their energetic performance was a joy to behold, plenty of impressive melodic guitars and high octane power chords. They were extremely engaging with a superb singer who was both a good vocalist and an energetic front man channelling raw rock spirit. Failsafe are a genuinely great band to see live, catch them while you can.
Succioperro had a tough act to follow but they also performed admirably. More melodic but less in your face, they seemed slightly static given their on stage predecessors. Still concentration on creating a huge sound of melodic rock worked wonders. They have a mix-mash of influences, all from the alt-rock genre with only Rage Against The Machine being immediately obvious from their sound. Catchy and epic in proportions their musical intensity was impressive. On any other night I’d be raving about these guys, but they were shoved down the pecking order by the sheer lineup quality tonight.
From humble beginnings as a Stray Cats style Skiffle band, The Living End have become one of Australia’s premier rock bands without really breaking upon the UK shores. With age they have moved away from their punk rock roots and towards the mainstream rock arena. Tonight however they turned back the clocks for a punk rock riot potent enough to provoke madness in any mosh pit.
The first spark was of the show was struck with the first chords of Raise The Alarm, a rampant flaring of punk influenced rock and roller which set the mood for the night. The pace was hardly to relent all evening with a whole bunch of classic old school, bad attitude punk tunes such as Prisoner of Society, West End Riot, Whose Gonna Save Us each firing off a scramble for punkin’ dance space!
Almost as impressive as the punk attitude was their more mainstream tunes, each a testament to their maturity and skill as musicians. White Noise with it’s a huge rousing chorus was matched by the impeccable blues riffing guitar hooks showcased on How Do We Know. Guitarist Chris Cheney played his vintage Gibson all evening with power and emotionally charged vigour, wailing solo’s and quickfire picking highlighted a superb musician who is a cut above his punk peers. Their bassist was a bit of a show off at times, I mean it must be hard enough jumping around on stage with a whapping great double bass in tow…but playing it while it’s balanced on your head is just plain showboating!
For guys who release their debut album 10+ years ago they still play with a intense punk ethos which barely gave the crowd time to catch breath. Only drawbacks would be the material from the poppier album State of Emergency which brought these guys to the forefront of my musical radar. All round a cracking evening of rock spirit pumped loud and proud to the Kentish town masses!
24 November 2009
Tonight the UK’s very own Heavy Metal legends head to the seaside for a gig of epic proportions. Wild, turbulent and stormy…this was just the weather upon arrival. The terrible weather did nothing to deter the huge crowds at the door bustling to get inside. Girlschool were just beginning their set upon my setting foot in the venue. A quick dash to the bar proved tricky with the entire length of the bar being packed 3 deep with beer thirsty motorhead fans.
The mix of people here was astounding, metalheads, bikers, geeks, teens, emo’s, grungers, the very old and the very young all mixing together sharing a good time. Plus there was enough leather in here to start a small sofa business.
After fighting my way stage-wards I managed to catch the final few tracks from the all girl hard rockers, Girlschool. They played their rock in a no nonsense fashion, loud, with simple repetitive lyrics. These girls have disregarded getting old and are still throwing their energies at being rockstars which is great to admire. If I’m to be honest, they were not at all bad. Simple as they were, what they played was catchy, plus the appeal of their hard rock style will never will go out of fashion! Going out of fashion is something which the next band are clearly used to (either that or they were never really in fashion in the first place).
The Damned are cited as a genre defining psychadelic punk rock group who alongside the Clash and Sex Pistols helped kickstart the whole Punk era. Personally I feel they should have stayed in that era! Their music wasn’t terrible, but it was only the punk riffs of guitarist Captain Sensisble (looking like a character from the beano) that stopped this set from being a total disaster. Lead vocals (from a guy who looks like your dodgy uncle who wont give up those shades and leather jacket) were badly spoken, monotonous and without change in tone. There was clealy a political message in there somewhere, one which is probably redundant these days, hence they fell on deaf ears. Nobody got even in the least bit excited, meanwhile the bar mob swelled to 5 deep (all 12 barstaff were kept busy at least).
It goes to show that attitude punk from old boys who are clearly way past their anti-establishment years have lost their message, diluted with age prehaps. Legends in the book they may be…but their time has past. The Damned did however have a spitting image of Susan Boyle on keyboards, seeing him attempting to bounce, jump and mosh were some of the funniest things I’ve seen!
Motorhead arrived to an enormous ovation which almost rased the roof of this venue which is more accustomed to xmas panto’s and all seated theatre productions. It was heaving in here as the metal legend Lemmy thrashed the first clubbing basslines which trademark Motorheads hard, fast and heavy sound. Within the first few tracks I could already feel my ears beginning to take the brunt of the extreme amplitudes. Lemmy was on fine form with his great (and apt considering its Movember) handlebar moustache circling one of the most distinctively rugged voices in the whole of the music industry, period. His soul breathes rock and roll and he is bursting at the seams with crazy loud, hard and fast attitude.
After a short while of skullcrushingly heavy riffs and wah-wah fuelled impressive guitar solo’s the formula was wearing a tad weak. Enter guitarist Phil Campbell who showcases his exemplary skill by performing a grand Steve Vai-esque instrumental solo in the spotlight which rang beautiful melodies and effect drenched hooks. After this short interlude its back on with the rock and roll. Notable tracks were One Night Stand, Bomber, Fast and Loose. The axe wielders of this rock trio then took a break and let the drummer Mikkey Dee take over. This was a solo of epic proportions, so loud that the drummer had donned a pair of heavy duty ear protecters before setting to the task of smashing the skins to within an inch of breaking point. Each and every thump was like a firework exploding . This was spectacular and massively impressive!
Back from a short break, they shook up thew formula with an old school blues number, with dual acoustic guitars and Lemmy playing the Harmonica…odd indeed! Lemmy then instucted in more traditional fashion… “Get up all you lazy Bastads sitting up there, Get Up!” as her waved at the all seater balcony in a menacing manner, they duely rose! Shaking off the mellow they thrashed out their only true classic track Ace Of Spades which had everyone headbanging along. Finishing on the epically noisy Overkill they faded into the night as did the crow. Each person reeling from the onslaught of tonights superb metal slaying at the hands of the legends that are Motorhead.
Adam Green, former half of The Moldy Peaches struts more anti-folk musings on his latest album Minor Love.
Adam Green – Minor Love
Minor Love is a flagship for simplicity, tiny guitar motif’s played on repeat form the backbone of each track. With each song coming in around the 2 minute mark , individually it’s difficult to bore you, collectively its a struggle.
With each track clocking in around the 2 minute mark, many disappear before they begin and without a glimpse of a memorable hook, they just fade into obscurity. Green’s melacholic spoken vocals do nothing to attract the listener either, leaving these stories only to be repeated by anti-folk fans and serious lyric book readers.
Mr Flowers Says:
Adam Green is generally best when his lounge singer style is combined with a hint of a pop melody in his voice or a backing track to contrast with his delivery, but it doesn’t happen nearly enough on this record making Minor Love quite a dry experience at times. A few of the songs are edging in the right direction; Breaking Locks, Give Them A Token, and Castles and Tassels are likeable, but Minor Love generally suffers from the feeling that it’s lacking a bit of something.
DoesItRock Overall Score: 4
Listen to Adam Green – Minor Love now on Spotify!
Debut LP from Manchesters Delphic, hotly tipped for big things in 2010.
Delphic – Acolyte
Step back to the golden electro era with Delphic and their huge array of techno samples matched to swooping melodies. When combined with their subtle guitar backed rhythms provide a superb euphoric backdrop. Clean cut vocals scythe through funk loaded synthesisers producing some seriously 80’s style!
When they ramp up the dance floor ante they come alive like on atmospheric trance clubbing vibes of sound that is the title track Acolyte. Sadly the majority of the tracks drift into floaty swirled masses of electro noise perfect for that lazy evening you had planned. Acolyte is an anthemic listen, it surely won’t be long before Delphic are the soundtrack to your friday night!
Mr Flowers Says:
An album of electronic blips and steady drums patterns. Many of Acolyte’s songs show a band deft at building music and sounds to a swirl of swaying keyboard noises and powerful drumming, backed by melodic lyrics. It’s a tried and tested formula which they stick to studiously.
It’s difficult to pick holes in an album so consistent in providing amiable songs; Counterpoint is instantly accessible and best demonstrates their appeal, yet looking back through the tracklisting album opener Clarion Call, Acolyte and Halycon are all equally good. All in all, it’s an assured debut album from Delphic with enough single-worthy material to make them one to keep an eye on.
DoesItRock Overall Score: 6.75
Listen to Delphic – Acolyte now on Spotify!
30th October 2009
Back in the bush, the entire DiR team descended this evening to catch a long term favourite and ‘finally’ rising star Frank Turner. Thanks to Radio One rotation he’s now into the mid-sized theatre venues, which is no more than what he deserves. Thankfully he hand picked his own support bands, the first of which was Beans on Toast.
I will admit, I never really gave this ‘future sound of London’ rapper much of a chance. I was busy not paying attention and from what I heard his reggae influenced rhymes were stylistically shabby and suitable focused on the vocals I was not listening to. Given a more thorough examination he may prove worthwhile, for now he’s just another support band.
Frank toured the US with offspring last summer and made firm friends with a talented DIY punk/alt/country outfit Fake Problems billed as “The best band in America” by Frank Turner himself.
Fake Problems are a strange combination, simple production ethics, country roots and pop destinations. Their combination is really special! Vocals drip true Americana and melodies were all toe tapping stomp alongs.
Pop rock is at the heart of what they do and with tracks such as Dream Team and Tabernacle Song you begin to see why they are here this evening. Some great songs here and there but for me they played too much unremarkable tracks from their first album. Having loved their latest effort It’s Great To Be Alive I was disappointed not to hear more. A fairly restrained performance but still highly enjoyable.
Frank Turner’s biggest headline show to date welcomed him to stage where he dived straight into the music playing to a massive fan outpouring of vocal support. It’s tough remembering when me and 200 others saw him not so long ago in Bristol when you look to the roofs and seeing them lined with Frank’s adoring fans.
This evening with full backing band his sound was much more grand than usual but here in the live area it worked a treat. His vocals were spot on, focused and impassioned he spoke from his heart and poured every ounce of life into each politically driven word. Epitomised by his ode to his friend passed away Long Live The Queen, tonight he transformed it from a sullen and emotional ballad, into an uplifting rocker with its heart on its sleeve.
His usual stage presence was lacking somewhat after a rapid fire first 3 songs he finally engaged noting that he’s just not used to there being so many people being there! Once into his stride though he was back at his storytelling best. Many a more pop classics followed such as Reasons to Be An Idiot, the political call to arms punk rocker dressed
in acoustic rags Try This At Home and the beautiful melodies of Fathers Day. His latest superbly infectious single heavily played by Radio 1, The Road, got the biggest reception with the entire venue hopping and singing as loud as they could. In fact I was shocked at the number of people in here who were mouthing every lyric all night, seeing as being a wordsmith is his biggest strength…I’m impressed!
He decided to ditch the band for a short while as he sung acapella a ye ol’ English folk song. Beautifully sung and with another political Peasants Revolt slanted mesage. Band returning he finished out the evening with his first commercial successful single, Photosynthesis. “I won’t sit down, and I won’t Shut up, but most of all I will not grow up” his message and for tonight everyone forgot their lives and were immersed in a cracking show full of superb song writing genius and pop rock masterpieces. The entire DiR posse departed all in the same thing on their mind. Can we do it again?
Here we start a roundup of the best new music releases. But were doing it with a difference! Multiple reviewers with drastically different tastes tackle the same albums to overcome bias and prejudice to bring the most accurate, fun and memorable reviews possible! We are not critics after all, just music lovers! Spotify is our friend, so playlists of each weeks releases will be available here too!
Starting off with the new albums from the quirky chicago quartet OK GO and Manchesters latest upstarts Delphic following shortly.
OK GO – Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky
Ok Go have risked it all! They have taken a huge step forwards from their happy punk-pop and rock days into the land of psychadelia with downbeat melodies loaded with effects. Some work brilliantly like the delightfully wierd White Knuckles, but more often than not they are shooting wide of the mark. It’s a brave leap forwards but I feel they have taken a hop, skip and a jump too far this time. Alienating your fanbase is going to bring mixed reactions, lets hope for their sakes the change is a well recieved one. For me they have lost their quirkiness and alot of their funtime pop! Thumbs up for accurately spelling colour though!
Mr Flowers Says:
OK GO may have expanded their pop influences to include a bit of “The One Who Was Formerly Known As Prince And May Well Still Be Known As Prince”, particularly on WTF and White Knuckles, but unfortunately for them it doesn’t lift this album from a general sense of disappointment. It’s like they had looked what their peers were doing and decided the best way to emulate success was join them and discard their catchy pop songs for a MOR Indie-band identi-kit.
The best song on the album, Last Leaf, comes way too late to save it. There’s flashes of good songs, but sadly OK GO live up to their name on this album and are rarely more than OK.
DoesItRock Overall Score: 5.25
Listen to OK Go – Of the Blue Colour of the Sky now on Spotify!