Review: After six years, legendary Massachusetts group Sebadoh - friends of Subpop from back in the day - deliver a new album called "Act Surprised". It adds a revitalised bevy of local blues tales and happy go lucky songs to an audience that can be assured the spirit of American punk, grunge, shoegaze and rock is still strong in Sebadoh. That '90s movie soundtrack motif - whether the band wanted it or not - is still there and sounding unique and finely restored. With accents and sounds of both the music and voices giving rise to memories of when bands like Weezer, Pearl Jam and Tool were dominating the airwaves, it's good to know that the grungy low slung feels of Sebadoh are still in their melancholic, easy going, Massachusetts way.
Review: You pretty much know what to expect from Tacocat at this point - no nonsense indie-punk stylings and humorous, direct lyrical narratives, as well as their uplifting take on post punk, with clear inspiration from bands such as The Pretenders and Blondie. There's much to enjoy throughout, from the new wave, synth-driven stylings of album highlight "Grains Of Salt", the power pop of "The Joke Of Life" and "Rose-Colored Sky", concluding with some respite in "Miles & Miles". The socially conscious lyrics in places will no doubt provide some optimism, too. This Mess Is A Place is a triumphant album that will provide sing-a-longs and fun in great helpings.
Review: It's taken a while, but finally Thom Yorke's impressive third solo album, "ANIMA", is available on wax (and in a fetching shade of orange, too). A future classic that continues the legacy he started with XL Recordings back in 2006 (with his solo debut The Eraser), ANIMA is well worth picking up, as Yorke and co-producer Nigel Godrich offer up evocative, off-kilter songs built around the twin attractions of the Radiohead man's distinctive vocals and skewed backing tracks rich in layered electronic noise, body-bending sub-bass, discordant synthesizer parts and intriguingly jaunty drum loops. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the creepy, lo-fi ambient swirl of "Last I Heard (...He Was Circling the Drain)" and "Dawn Chorus" (a blissfully dewy-eyed early morning soundscape), to the low-slung, post-trip-hop hum of "I Am A Very Rude Person" and the fizzing, jazz-fired thrust of "Impossible Knots". Melancholic, yes. Deep and self-effacing, of course. Nihilistic, not really. Percussive futurist sub-pop is back.