Archive for October, 2010
October was a bumper month for cracking new releases. Here are some of our favourites we’ve heard over the last 30 days in a handy spotify playlist!
Listen now >>> DoesItRock.net – Oct 10 Mix
1) Foxy Shazam – Count Me Out … A crazy mix of Glam, Pop wrapped in alt rock . Creative, original and damn catchy!
2) Miyavi – What’s My Name? … This J-Rock hero gone solo seriously guy knows how to play guitar!
3) Ginger – Yeah Yeah Yeah … Wildhearts driving force displays just why he is such a precious pop maestro
4) The Pineapple Thief – Nothing At Best … Mega catchy & utterly creative Prog Rock number
5) The Phantom Band – A Glamour … Indie swooning gives way to a beautiful thudding riff
6) The Jim Jones Revue – Elemental … Imagine Jerry Lee Lewis plugged into a Marshall stack, playing during a drunken bar room brawl…genius!
7) Kings Of Leon – Pony Up … One of few high points from lacklustre latest album.
8) Superchunk – Crossed Wires … Testing the punk element in their Pop-Punk formula
9) Calories – Habitations … Jangly, scratchy guitars and indieness in abundance on this rocky number
10) Kassidy – Take Another Ride … Three country tinged acoustics make sweet pop music
11) Dinosaur Pile-Up – Birds & Planes … Outstanding opening to their latest album
12) Tame Impala – The Bold Arrow Of Time … Psychedelia with fuzzed up riffing and general dreamy meanderings
13) Bad Religion – Only Rain … Back to basics high ocatane punk is back in the hands of the genre’s masters
14) Murderdolls – Summertime Suicide … Big chords and choruses dripping with the sleaze rock vibes
15) Volbeat – Heaven Nor Hell … Scandinavians produce amazing album full of anthemic hard rock!
16) Bring Me The Horizon – It Never Ends … UK kids wrestle with many metal genres and come out on top
17) Tweak Bird – Sky Ride … Fuzzy, Bluesy, Noisy, Epic, Heavy, etc…
18) Joe Satriani – Light Years Away … God of guitar returns with his best studio album in years, a more chilled affair!
19) Jimmy Eat World – My Best Theory … Godfathers of emo return with another solid single
20) Anberlin – Impossible … Pop Punk Anthem of the month is a cut above the usual genre fodder
After an afternoon in a local public house we arrived to the sounds of tonight’s sole support band, Matthew P (and his band presumably).
This historic venue was already pretty heaving as we sneaked our way stage wards and as it happens, Matthew P is the perfect soundtrack for this covert positioning exercise. Mainly due to the fact nobody was paying attention to the stage. Idle chit chat and vacant stares were sweeping in waves over the crowd as this folkster and his ensemble poured sweet melodies through the speakers. For English folk influenced music it was soaked in plenty of high aspirations with songs soaring on a beautifully grand scale. They are a promising talent, but they failed to impress the crowd who were here for something a bit special.
Kelly Jones, with the rest of the ‘Phonics in tow wasted no time in getting started tonight leaving little time for breath in-between sets, showing high enthusiasm and giddy eagerness to perform to their fans. Tonight was most definitely a long term fans night, as the entire show was focused on their cracking debut album Word Gets Around. The fact that the show was set in the Hammersmith Apollo rather than Wembley arena was a superb addition!
Now I quite like the concept of these nostalgic nights of music. For starters you only need to be familiar with one albums worth of material, plus if you happen to love the album (like mysef) its a once in a lifetime opportunity to turn back the clocks and party like it’s 1997. Plus Kelly provided his own song by song commentary chronicle, giving us an insight into the record from the artists perspective (plus a few wild drunken tales to boot).
The Stereophonics really seemed to be reveling in the adulation of their career kick starting moment and they successfully returned to their former glory throughout the performance. Rekindling the spirit which brought them their first break and memories of recently deceased drummer Stuart Cable. They played with an almost teenage like intensity and a celebratory vigor what seems to be lost from their recent albums.
It’s tough of me to pick a favourite track tonight, but for sure their more chart successful singles were best received. Songs in the shape of A Thousand Trees, Local Boy In A Photograph & More Life In A Tramps Vest. Thrown in amongst the WGA track listing (which was interestingly played on shuffle) were a whole host of B-Sides, much of which were B-Sides for a reason. Although out of their out clippings a few sparks shone brightest, Buy Myself a Small Plane was a rampage of punky adolescent energy while She Takes Her Clothes Off made it onto Performance & Cocktails (incidentally being played here tomorrow night).
With the final chords of Local Boy still buzzing in our ears we turned to head home. However Kelly and the boys were not finished there yet. Returning for a second encore a video screen flashed dated past our eyes in a random selection which finally came to rest on 1999, accompanied shortly by an image of Performance & Cocktails album cover. Clearly we were in for an extra special night as the band kicked into the first of 3 tunes from this classic album, Just Looking, Pick A Part That’s New & I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio.
Continuing this run of outstanding pop-rock classic’s Stereophonics visited You Gotta Go There To Come Back to play Maybe Tomorrow, Just Enough Education To Perform for a rendition of Have A Nice Day before fast forwarding to probably their greatest hit Dakota before returning to satisfy the fans who were baying for Bartender & The Thief. As encores go this has to go down as the best ever!
Stereophonics were having the time of their lives remembering the good old days when making music was a way out, a new life. Some of this passion filtered though in tonight’s show and boy did they put on a cracking show! Yet another contender for Gig of the Year!
Grunge is back, riding on the young shoulders of Dinosaur Pile-Up’s debut LP.
Dinosaur Pile-Up – Growing Pains
Dinosaur Pile-Up kick off their debut with the exactly the kind of material which has brought them so many ‘next big thing’ column inches. Chugging slightly downtuned guitars drive forward the excellent album opening 1-2 combo of Birds & Planes and Barce-loner, both nicely polished heavy handed rock which is equally attractive to the pop and rock crowds.
When they lever themselves away from this winning formula just for the sake of variety, the cracks start to appear. Never That Together is plagued by a lethargic riff, Broken Knee and Hey Man are almost the same song, both plodding along to the loud/quiet structure.
Early days singles My Rock n’ Roll and Traynor reappear towards the back end of the album which ups the ante once more, before DP-U commit an act of sheer idiocy! Album closer All Around The World contains a barely listenable 2 minutes of amp reverb buzz! I thought I had contracted Tinnitus!!
Growing Pains is a solid debut album from these Grunge Revivalists. It’s not likely to spark a full scale nostalgic revolution, but the high points will definitely please those who were there the first time around.
Mr Flowers Says:
Despite the abundance of grunge, Nirvana and Foo Fighters influences, there just aren’t enough good songs on Growing Pains to spark a British-based genre revival. The album starts off well enough with Birds & Planes showcasing their best qualities: a thudding riff, great use of pauses and the rock scream out. And while Barce-loner follows the same blueprint it’s unfortunately also where some of the lyrical cracks start to show through.
Later, they start to show a tendency to drift into a repetitive drone when they don’t have the crutch of a catchy guitar part, which is part of the reason the songs Never That Together and Broken Knee seem much longer than they actually are. The self-indulgent, slow burning Hey You is also mostly a flop, finally getting going with a minute to go long after when I suspect most listeners will have fallen asleep.
They fare better when they get back to what they’re good at with the faster paced, punkier guitar riffs on Love To Hate Me and Traynor, which in the end just balances out an album which is more of a promising debut than a new dawning for grunge.
DoesItRock Overall Score: 6.5/10
Listen to Dinosaur Pile-Up – Growing Pains now on Spotify!
Fight Like Apes, Underground Railroad: 22nd September 2010
Tonight was the first time I;ve been to the Camden barfly for a gig, It seems to have been missed on our numerous outings thus far. Its a pretty standard small venue with decent enough sound, easily accessible bar and not too extortionate either. However it can tend to be very dark and dingy, but when the lights finally rose for our first band none of that seemed to matter much.
After hearing that Underground Railroad were the support for tonight I was hardly overcome with joy. After seeing them support for the Thermals a few years back, All i can recall of them is that they were diy punky frenchlings…playing English songs with not a great deal going for them. Since then they seemed to have switched sides and moved into noisy feedback loaded dreary indie land. Despite being supremely loud, I almost nodded off to sleep as they plodded their way though set which was best once it had finished. Although having a cello player to boost their musical interludes and soundscapes was a nice touch.
After keeping the crowd waiting, arriving 10 minutes late, Fight Like Apes soon made light work of dispelling any ill feelings towards them as they kicked off in spectacular style. Taking a huge step away from the seriousness of the support band, their lightheartedness and insane randomocity was exactly what was required. From the very off tonight, the crowd went bleeming bonkers. Very rarely have I seen a crowd this up for a crazed bounce-a-round! As soon as the first keyboard chime, snare drum snapped or bass line kicked of each song this was a call to arms that sparked moshing and pogoing on an epic scale. The only pause they managed was when the whole venue was summoned to kneel down (Which would have been easier if the moshers hadn’t spilt pint and pints of beer on the already treacherous floor) for the start of Battlestations..odd indeed!
Fight Like Apes
Lead singer MayKay is instantly likable with her cheeky Irish charm, quirky nature and ecstatic dance moves. She pours every ounce of energy she has into each and every syllable while manically flinging her body at all angles.Vocally she is so exuberant that you get entranced in her delivery and performance. Her voice is softly sweet one second, the next it’s out of control stopping at the edge of squawking.
Her and the rest of the bands in-between song banter is cracking, pulling out insults and jokes while rally interacting with those who have payed to see them. After a spillage incident, a slightly odd older (& rounder) gentleman donated his pint to which the response was to drag him up onstage to sing. Needless to say, he was having a whale of a time!
With the release of their new LP The Body Of Christ And The Legs Of Tina Turner just around the corner, plenty of new tunes were given an airing tonight, most of which were fantastically received. The pick of their new tunes were Jenny Kelly and Come On, Let’s Talk About Our Feelings, both upbeat electro bombs of high intensity genius. Yet FLA still found time to cram in all of their hits from their debut with the pick of the bunch being I’m Beginning To Think You Prefer Beverly Hills 90210 To Me with its fast/slow loud/soft dynamics & crowd chant of “You’re So Fired“, Jake Summers with its crowd chant of “Jake Summers is the Man” and Something Global with its crowd chant of “Give Me My Hook” (see a pattern here?).
For an encore they added more randomness into their already unique blend of punk/electro/newwave/whateveryouwanttolabelit by playing one of the most genius covers, an amped up Salt N’ Peppa’s Push It! A simply great way to end the show which has seem more than its fair share of high octane disco vibes, raucous electro-popping and outlandish quirkiness. A show which took me totally by surprise, cementing its place as one of the highlights of the year!
15th September 2010
Another night in The HMV Kentish Town Forum began in fury! Somehow, as if the drinks weren’t expensive enough, they have increased in price yet again! This brings the price of a standard lager over £4. Seriously, this is getting to the point of stupidity! By doing this they have priced out most regular gig goers, who like myself are somehow not tempted by the lure of alcohol when you have to take out a loan in order to cover the nights bar bill.
Away from venue woes we took up centre stage to see the totally unknown support act, Peter Kernel. The reason for this obscurity became apparent pretty early on in the set, as this boy/girl fronted guitar, bass, drum, trio were getting into their stride. Apparent because of the looks of dismay and despair on the faces of the crowd. Yes this music was experimental but really it was no more than a guy coaxing weird sounds out of his instrument without a hint of melody or songwriting prowess. It was a case of “look what I can do” as he bustled about making much a fuss about nothing. Critically this may go down a treat, but even the must weird sonic experimentations usually have an underpinning catchy formula, one that was sadly misplaced here tonight. We could only hope for better from tonight’s headliners Wolf Parade!
Not being household names it was tough to identify if the roadies we in fact the band members themselves. Many conversations went along the lines of “oooh he looks familiar…” & “my my there are a lot of roadies tonight”. Proving that setting up your own equipment isn’t only for pub bands, the ‘Roadies’ returned and armed themselves with their respective musical weapon of choice, before giving the crowd both barrels of soaring indie greatness.
Wolf Parade had a joyful habit of being extremely harmonious and bursting with melody at every opportunity, while exhibiting their own brand of slightly odd pop. There was barely a pause between wonderful little piano/guitar riffs which packed each song. They manage to toe the line between pop and indie so gracefully as they struck fuzz filled ramshackle guitar chords, fizzed outer space electro synthesizers and a well balanced rhythm section.
They played the pick of their back catalogue with the highlights being the rockier riffin of Pobodys Nerfect, the indie anthem Ghost Pressure harmonies and the singalong pop vibes of Palm Road. This was a lesson in how to write and perform slices of indie tinged pop with bundles of energy and buckets of melody.
90’s Indie rockers Superchunk return with first new material in 9 years.
Superchunk – Majesty Shredding
Superchunk have crafted a seriously fun record with Majestry Shredding! It’s chock packed with rampant rolicking rockers that are both full of energy and so very easy to sing all day. They manage to deftly toe the line between indie and pop-punk here, employing rocky guitar tones that really brings their melody making skills to the fore without straying too far from their pop ethics.
The high pitch vocals are somehow not annoying and their quirky lyrics such as “We laughed when the sinking pedalboats”, “Oh, my gap feels wierd” are enough to raised a few smiles. Its when these lyrics are merged with yet another superb melody and jovial vocal harmonies of the “Oh..Oh..Oh…” variety, Majesty Shredding shows its true strengths. This is showcased so perfectly on opener “Digging For Something”, pop mastepiece “My Gap Feels Wierd”, rampaging “Crossed Wires” and the fuzzy laid back melodies of “Fractures In Plasters”.
Amazingly Supechunk have maintained an incessant tempo and infectious immediacy throughout the course of record, with barley a duff song. An impressive album which blows alot of their peers into next tuesday!
Mr Flowers Says:
Digging For Something kicks the album off flush with pop melodies and with an “oh oh oh” chorus that makes it seem like they’ve hardly been away. Followed by the playful My Gap Feels Weird, you come to realise that this band still sounds youthful despite the intervening years.
Rosemarie is a slightly slower number but it’s chugging chorus is cool and there’s nice guitar bits dotted around the album, especially on Slow Drip, Learned To Surf and the closing Everything at Once. The pace of the album rarely relents, perhaps at it’s slowest on 5-minuter, Fractures in Plaster where, fittingly, the strings come in with good effect.
It’s classic Superchunk, full of good songs and while they might not reach the immediacy of tracks from previous discs like Skip Step 1 & 3, Phone Sex or Royal Fisticuffs, it’s perhaps one of their more consistent records and a welcome return for an evergreen band.
DoesItRock Overall Score: 8.5/10
Listen to Superchunk – Majesty Shredding now on Spotify!
10th September 2010
Walking down Wembley Way towards the home of football, it’s hard not to get excited at the prospect of what lies ahead inside this gigantic venue for live music. An already sizable crowd greeted the first band of the day, White Rabbits.
These NYC scenesters have carved themselves a decent fan-base and it’s easy to understand why. Their pop mentality shines through their impeccable instrumentation complete with well placed guitar twangs, chirpy keyboards and an impressing rhythm section. Having a percussionist alongside the usual drummer made them really stand out, with the combined drum beats being key components of their best tracks, such as Percussion Gun & Lioness. A well rounded performance which won over many fans here this afternoon which was incredibly lively and infectious.
The Big Pink
Things took a sharp turn in the direction of despair soon after as The Big Pink casually greeted the increasingly eager Wembley crowd. It was hard to ignore the fact they had painted their Marshall Amps PINK! Who in their right mind would take one of the male dominated, desirable rock icons and turn it into a my little pony accessory? Looks aside…Their music was nigh on awful! It was painful to listen to their hugely out of tune vocals and repetitive amp buzz that lacked any melody or appeal. Even their one hit Domino’s prompted many to plug their ears than rather listen to another round of ‘lager lout on a friday night’ drones of “Dominoooooees, Dominoooooees, Dominoooooees“. Things could only get better!
Thankfully then it was the turn of the outspoken, myspace loving, chirpy Londonite Lily Allen to brighten up the afternoon with her sugary pop songs. Being heavily pregnant didn’t seem to slow her down much, although her complaints of her pregnancy tights falling down were way over the line of Too Much Information! She bounced around on stage all evening showing off a range of quirky dance moves and even had time to giving young rapper Professor Green a cameo as they both sung their collaboration Just be good to Green. Her vocals totally surprised me. They were strong and well versed with a superb sweetness to them which blunts the edges around some of the mature language used. Song writing is where she excels and to prove it she sung plenty of hits such as the breakthrough single Smile, hometown tribute LDN, Wild West inspired galloping It’s Not Fair & media directed classic The Fear. A very entertaining performance from a girl who is giving up music (hmmm…ok lily, we believe you…honest)!
With the stage now lit up to its full potential, you get the feeling that tonight is going to be somewhat over the top from Muse. Out from behind the gigantic stage with its huge video wall surround strode a confident Matt Bellamy before greeting the crowd with the legendary “Hello Wembley” tagline. Wasting no time they quickly got down to the business of giving the crowd a sonic workout of interstellar proportions as Muse launched headlong into Uprising. The crowd chorus was is full flow all throughout the night. At some points they were louder than the sound system!
Now there is only one man who could possibly get away with wearing a tailored LED suit with alternate coloured lights flashing from head to toe and be taken seriously. Matt is this man, he looked out of this world as he rose high above the crowd on a huge revolving platform guitar in hand to the delight of those squashed in the middle of the crowd.
Tonight’s set list was pretty good, all of their major successes made an appearance, early wonder riffing New Born, funk loaded Supermassive Black Hole, huge sing-a-long anthem Time Is Running Out , pop crossover cover Feeling Good, riffmanic Hysteria, cosmic Un-natural Selection as well as plenty of other new material from their latest Sci-Fi fuelled record The Resistance. Sometimes their indulgence in playing these sci-fi opera style space odysseys wore a little thin, but Matt was constantly throwing in classic guitar hooks and lovely prog melodies which kept you hanging on his next move.
As an entertainer there is none finer than Matt Bellamy as he weaved his magic on his full sized grand piano & array of guitars, producing some incredible sounds from these humble instruments (plus thousands of pounds worth of digital effects pedals no doubt). He was blinding to watch and the guitar flair he showed was up there with some of the best I’ve seen.
Just to highlight the scale of the stage show they put on this evening…they managed to hide a huge great balloon behind stage and floated it out high above the stage, like a gigantic shining alien craft about to descend on earth. Which something shortly did…an acrobat who spun and twirled through the air with beautiful grace. Add this to the tonnes of dry ice, streamers and giant eyeballs and you have a spectale for sure!
Just to cap off the night Muse thought that they would play 2 encores! Leaving us slightly worried that they were not going to play some of their classics. They arrived just in the nick of time as the entirety of Wembley stadium bounced and sung their best falsetto’s along to Plug In Baby and rocked out on the incredible Knights Of Cydonia! Sad to see the house lights finally go up on this epic space adventure the stadium emptied…but it will be along time before this place sees a finer performace! A stunning show from the Noughties greatest band!
It’s a wonder how tonights venue has remained off my radar, as it has to be one of the most impressive spaces for live music in London. Unlike its East End, A13 neighbourhood, The Troxy is impeccably turned out, but practically it isn’t really up to the job. Its large renovated theatre scale, means that without a slanted floors much of the audience is left alienated behind a sea of tall heads. Plus the bar prices were more Harvey Nics than Queen Vic, absolute extortion!
With our outrageously expensive, puny bottle of beer (in a plastic cup) we caught up and coming buzz band, Yuck. There is substance to this group that i didn’t give the hype machine credit for. They have alot of good things going for them including a ever-present catchy melody underwriting each song, plenty of amped up noise used at the right moments & a heap of scenester appeal. I was quietly impressed by them in a “hmm…thats not bad” kind of way. Although when the melodies faded into floating feedback and amp buzz, their appeal lessened
Tonight’s headliners and American indie kings Modest Mouse were out to prove they are worthy of their crown. They played a huge range of tracks leading from older albums right up to their latest EP, proving their outstanding musicianship as they went. Their more recent offerings rewarded them the most with the crowd on tracks such as the slightly out of tune Dashboard, sing-a-long crowd pleaser Black Cadillac, indie anthem Float On and uplifting set closer The View. It is front-man Isaac Brock who really makes these songs come alive with his emphatic delivery, timely guitar chimes and quirky vocals.
For a reason I could not understand they had 2 drummers who seemed to be playing the same thing all night, plus during one song they has 2 bassists (one double/one guitar). In my eyes this was rather unnecessary and somewhat flamboyant! Turning away from their poppier singles they showed their indie heart here tonight with plenty of old retro tunes and a few prog-like jams. It is on these proggy weird-outs that the double drums came into play. On The Whale Song, the beautiful marriage of guitar effects and rumbling drums showed their true force, as you’re drawn into their dreamlike soundscape of wonder.
Far from being an exhilarating show, Modest Mouse retained their audience with astute layered music and brilliant melodies which made this show fly past in an instant. An impressive performance which reinforces their status as indie heavyweights.
After a months Hiatus, we are back with the best tunes released over August & September.
Listen now >>> DoesItRock.net – Sep 10 Mix
1) Carpark North – Just Human … Incredible Electro anthem with soaring feelgood vocals & huge melodic hooks! A classic in waiting!
2) The Sword – Tres Brujas … Thumping Hard Rock from the Sword’s latest Sci-Fi epic album Warp Riders
3) Weezer – Memories … The new Weezer album Hurley split the DiR team in two, time to make your own mind up!
4) Sweetapple – Do You Remember … J Mascis branches out from Dino Jr. on this famliar sounding pop-rock project!
5) Black Mountain – Let Spirits Ride … How to play a homage to vintage 70’s rock? Listen and learn!
6) Paul Gilbert – Plastic Dracula … Shredder extraordinaire revels on his latest Fuzz Universe album, instrumental guitar-work of their highest order!
7) Les Savy Fav – Dirty Knails … Ramshakle energy and spiky guitar riffs drive this cool rocker
8)The Thermals – Your Love Is So Strong … Last weeks featured record gets thumbs up from the DiR.net team
9) Oli Brown – No Diggity … Young British blues prodigy reworks this r’n’b classic, make sure you check this guy out!
10) Violent Soho – Jesus Stole My Girlfriend … Cobain followers do a good job at grunge revival
11) Manic Street Preachers – (It’s Not War) Just The End Of Love … Manic’s may have lost their bite, but their melody making is still as good as ever!
12) Interpol – Barricade … Gloom merchants are back with their latest Self Titled 3rd album
13) Goo Goo Dolls – Sweetest Lie … Yet another soaring pop-rock anthem from the genre’s most consistant performers
14) Eels – Spectacular Girl … ‘E’ shows that he does have a cheery side after all!
15) Blind Guardian – Tanelorn (Into The Void) … Legendary Power Metallers return with this fantasy war-cry.
16) Wavves – Super Soaker … Psychadelia twisted rock riffs with echoed vocals are strangley compelling.
17) Grinderman – Evil … Nick Cave goes scuzz blues. Slightly bonkers but vocal hook keeps this from falling apart.
18) Buckcherry – It’s A Party … One of few high points on rather uninspiring latest LP from these American Hard Rockers
19) Apocalyptica – End Of Me … Hard Rock on Cello’s, beautiful and brash…need I say more?
20) Rufio – Under 18 … Pop Punk Anthem of the Month!