Archive for September, 2010
Classic 90’s geek rockers return with some more terrible artwork!
Weezer – Hurley
Hurley sounds like a band who have finally realised that what people loved about them in the first place has been long neglected. In doing so they have rejuvunated their flagging album standards by producing their best album in what seems like decades. Rather than experimenting, they have concentrated on making this a fun filled record packed with damn cacthy pop rock. It may me a regression for Weezer, but it is a long overdue one.
The opening track Memories sets out their intention for an optimistic upbeat rock orientated album full of their unmistakable catchy vocals and pop melodies. They follow this with another fist pumping sing-a-long punk-pop tune Ruling Me before turning the noise down for the impressive ballary of Trainwreck.
Beyond this the album becomes a bit hit-and-miss, but there are enough hooks to keep up interest even if you have to ignore some all too familiar, unfunny, tongue in cheek lyrics. This is not a masterpiece on par with Blue (Mauve at a push), but it is a step “back” in the right direction .
Mr Flowers Says:
That keyboard bit the plays during the chorus on Memories doesn’t sit too well for me. It’s a fast paced jolly, but lacks a bit of soul. Unfortunately, the dodgy 80s film soundtrack theme wasn’t some cheeky experiment and continues through to Ruling Me and Trainwrecks. This pretty much soured the experience of those songs for me, maybe I’m allergic or something.
It doesn’t really tone down until Unspoken, which starts off as an acoustic number with backing strings before the guitars kick in for a rock out which sounds pretty good. On a side note, doesn’t the bass line from Where’s My Sex sound a bit like a slowed down version of the one from Green Day’s Hitchin’ A Ride?
The Casio keyboard demo drums come back on Smart Girls, but somehow this time they’re less obnoxious then before and it’s a fun romp with a slow-fast mechanic which lets the pop melodies breathe a bit more.
There’s no real standouts on the album really. Don’t get me wrong because I loved almost everything Weezer did up to and including Maladroit, but Hurley isn’t quite the return to form I was hoping for. I don’t know what they’re missing, but it’s not the same – I guess we’ll have to let Rivers and boys work that out for themselves.
DoesItRock Overall Score: 6.25/10
Listen to Weezer – Hurley now on Spotify!
This punk turned pop trio return with their latest fuzz filled offering.
The Thermals – Personal Life
The Thermals have always been great at crafting punky rockers which are sugary sweet with a soft pop centre. This album is no different. Lost is a ot of their vigour and punk bite, but they have made up for this with a number of catchy melodies.
These pop numbers however do not have the immediacy of some of their more rawkus numbers, in fact the highlight of this album is just that. I Don’t Believe You, is a cracking punk number with a trademark Thermals riff that rifles deep into your head, as does the rather similar Your love Is So Strong.
It’s the slowing down which causes this albums main fault, which is that there are not enough headline grabbing songs. There is alot of goodness, but not an awful lot of greatness.
Mr Flowers Says:
The album starts promisingly with those pop melodies we’ve come accustomed to from The Thermals hitting the sweet spot, with openers I’m Gonna Change Your Life, I Don’t Believe You and Never Listen To Me not letting you down in that respect.
About midway through the album the slower paced songs start to take a hold with Only For You and Alone, a Fool – Alone especially being difficult to get into with it’s 1 note riff and single drum beat. Sadly, those two songs seem to signal a metaphorical stagger to the finishing line for the album, with the melodies and riffs never quite reaching the highs and energy of the start. It leaves you thinking back to those blissful few minutes at the beginning of the album and wondering what could have been.
DoesItRock Overall Score: 7/10
Listen to The Thermals – Personal Life now on Spotify!
7th September 2010 @ City Arts Music Project, Old Street, London
It’s not often that you can wander up for a chat with the lead singer of a band before the show, but tonight wasn’t any ordinay gig. Tonight we are underground at CAMP basement (City Arts Music Project) on Old Street, a dilapidated bar venue which needs a few licks of paint. yet this provides the perfect place for our one and only band of the night, Monotonix. Underground is exactly where Monotonix belong, far from the mainstream, far from officials who ban them from their venues and so close to the fans they adore.
This power trio have a style which is unlike any other i’ve witnessed. Most bands shy away from their crowds…not Monotonix. In fact they insist on playing at eye level with the crowd. So that’s where they were, on the floor with the rest of us as they cranked up their bluesy garage rock up mega loud and started the mayhem by continually throwing water and beer over the encircling crowd (I was hit by an ice cube between the eyes too, not pleasant).
Up close and personal
This was one of the craziest shows I’ve been to, with the band moving every 10 minutes to a new location throughout the venue including on the bar and in the toilets. Lead singer Ami Shalev was manically exuberant with his dancing, aping from the ceiling, crowd surfing & bar diving which finally resulted in him sat on a stool held in the air by the crowd playing the drums (also being held aloft). Still a lot of the credit has to go to the following music makers who obediently follow him round the venue (and up onto the bar) chucking out the rock like possessed demons as they go.
Ami Shalev Crowd Surf-Drumming
You only had to check the faces of the audience, with permanent smiles goes some way to showing just how fun it was to be here tonight. Audience participation of course was encouraged and simple, but avoiding the sweaty hairy chests was less easy.
Rock on the Bar
Monotonix are easily one of the most brilliant live bands I’ve ever seen! The amazing thing is that every one of their shows are just as crazy as this one. So unless your repulsed by 3 sweaty hairy beer-soaked Isrealis, playing raw garage rock in their boxer shorts (I can see this isn’t everyones tastes), you must check them out!!
We find ourselves back at the Brixton academy once again. However this time unintentionally. Sadly there was a venue upgrade which caused a switch from north to south London. From the relatively small surrounds of the Kentish Town Forum to the Huge Brixton academy benefited the bands ticket sales more than crowd intimacy.
Taking advantage of the larger crowd were tonight’s support band, playing probably to their biggest audience ever. Twin Atlantic played a wide range of styles which swung from Progressive rock to Pop-centric radio friendly tunes and back with indie ethics and punk attitude. I enjoyed their set, although sometimes a bit too long was spent building up to their splendid crescendo’s. Their best song of the night was the beautiful indie prog glory of Caribbean War Syndrome.
Headlining were a band I have been a long term fan of ever since discovering them in 2007 after their debut album Sink or Swim and ivIe been following ever since. Seems this band has now firmly etered the UK public’s hearts as their arrival cued rapturous applause.
The Gaslight Anthem‘s sound is distinctive, with plenty of retro vibes dominating their live set-up. Plucking most of the nights material from their most successful albums (The 59 Sound & American Slang) was a sure bet for a great set. They played with a professional sheen, singer Brian Fallon’s vocals were sung with great heart and the ever present crowd-chorus backing.
The Gaslight Anthem
Yet my gripes with their show was too serious to overlook tonight. The band seems to have totally abandoned their early day punk influences & energetic power chords having their guitars being tuned firmly to pop. They seriously lacked enthusiasm, vigour and bite which I would have expected from them as their played a lacklustre run through of their hits.
I’m taking nothing away from their song writing talents which is as always superb with cracking tunes like the roaring Great Expectations, soaring upbeat strummer The 59′ Sound, bitter-sweet balladry on Here’s Looking At You Kid and set closer The Backseat. But yet I felt let down. Only playing 1 song from their début album (We Came To Dance) signals even clearly their direction into radio-rockcountry. Yet this New Jersey band selected a brilliant, but rather odd song for to cover tonight, The Who’s Baba O’Reilly. It was played truthfully, full of heart with plenty of passion.
Overall yhough this was merely an entertaining set which for most of the crowd was excellent! Maybe the old time fan miser in me got the better of me tonight. Hey, you can’t win them all!
12th July 2010
Taking position in the barely occupied back room of the Monto Water Rats, I felt a rather strange feeling drift past me. For a short while I stood in disbelief! Wondering whether my mind was playing tricks on me. After a quadruple check and third person verification, I can now say with glee that Monto Water Rats air conditioning system is finally working! With such an amazing revelation, tonight was bound to be great!
However The Raid made a rather shaky start to the evenings sonic glory. Wearing a stupid neck-scarf the lead vocalist was an instantly disagreeable fellow, who only served to prove our assumptions correct throughout the set. His aloof, almost Liam Gallagher sized ego, his self importance and grandeur was projected without a glimpse of irony. It’s a shame really as the band were pretty handy at crafting some standout indie rock tunes scattered amongst their generic brit-rock fare.
Danko Jones doesn’t mess about, he’s here to rock, no questions asked. Strutting to his mic stand he picks up his axe with warrior like adeptness, before blazing a trail on the fret board from the opening power chord to the last kerrang. As a power trio this band really have an abundance of energy as they fire off frantic hard rockers which are based in their punk influenced past.
Their riff hungry tracks are both aggressive and melodic at the same time, all the while being rooted in firm pop principles of rousing chorus’s with boundless energy. These guys clearly take their rocking seriously as they ploughed non-stop through the first 20 minutes barely giving the crowd time to think as they assaulted their ears with high octane power chords and emphasised riff-ettes. So much time this power trio spent rocking, that when they did stop to chat with the crowd everyone was listening attentively. Lead singer, the actual Danko Jones loves his life and he loves to rock and this comes across in his machismo attitudes and desire to want to put on the best show of the year! After launching into a passionate tirade of how hard they roll, how fast they play and how loud they crank, Danko announced
I AM ROCK AND ROLL!!! …and next a pop friendly Radio Hit
Before strutting into their upbeat rocker First Date.
The quality of their set was superb as they played the choice cuts from their 4 album back catalogue including Lovercall, Play The Blues, Forget My Name, Code Of The Road. The new album material from 2010’s Below The Belt stood up well with its bigger pop hooks. Danko clearly just loves to play and hence it wasn’t a big surprise when he rants about his record company which ended thus…
…they put out this next song as a “single” (cue cheers), they want it to get “rotation” (cue cheers), preferable “heavy” (cue cheers)…
The real high points of the show were where they went back to their roots and played their super-fast punk rockers at breakneck speed which sparked some mini moshing and over enthusiastic dancing. These showcased their raucous energy as they played with such unrelentling fury within these 2 minute outpouring of guitar chaos.
After listening to Danko’s extended speech during Mountain It’s clear to see that this guy is a real trooper with rock and roll spirit coursing through his veins. I just hope he keeps on coming back, as London loved him tonight in what was one of the best shows of 2010!
(P.S. Apologies for the terrible photo quality)