Review: The best thing since the Klaxons or Bloc Party have arrived. black midi! The student art rock band are bringing a new youthful energy and slight of malice back to the arena of post-indie inspired alternative guitar and synth music. They make this overtly known from the start with the supercharged opener that is "953", introducing an album that is said to have laid down eight of the record's nine tracks in just five days. Drums are fast and skittering, rhythms are dancey and guitars keep it Madchester jangley. "Speedway" (is that a wry Prodigy reference?) is among the album's highlights alongside the punk-funky "bmbmbm" and the short but trippy "Years Ago". With a 100 per cent backing by UK music institution Rough Trade: meet this generation's newest sensation.
Review: After years of what has seemingly been live record after live record - (not to mention their debut Broken Boy Soldiers album haunting our Juno offices for nearly a decade) Jack White's inspired troupe are back with a bang - exploding with Help Us Stranger. Think the amplified epicness of The Who. The album twists and turns through telephone amplified blues ("Help Me Stranger"), the dandy piano ballads in "Shine The Light On Me" to the rolling, western, country drums of "Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness)". Regardless of the tracks, this album teems with an energy that rock music has not felt for some time and there's no denying the future classic that this will become. Rock on The Raconteurs!
Review: The last ten years have seen no shortage of bands with their delay pedals set to stun intent on capturing an aura of dreamlike radiance. Yet Texas 'pop-noir' troupe Cigarettes After Sex are no ordinary shoegazers, for a variety of reasons - frontman Greg Gonzalez' androgynous and dulcet tones may be part of the appeal, yet moreover it's the quality of the songwriting here, which never falls prey to the style-over-substance traps of their peers. Indeed, this debut is more than enough to justify the considerable hype around this outfit, being a collection of ditties as sultry as they are atmopsheric.
Review: Zru Vogue is a two man post punk avant-pop group from Palo Alto, California, combining the talents of Andrew Finkle and Rick Cuevas. The band began in 1980 as a four member group: Rick, Andy, Tom Sanders and Nancy Miller. Tom and Nancy left the group shortly after the first single, "Nakweda Dream", was released by independent San Francisco label Adolescent Records in February 1981. Inspired by rave reviews and heavy airplay on alternative radio stations, Andy and Rick went back into the studio, now as a duo, to record some new ZRU tracks. The self-tilted LP was released on the band's Zero Risk Records in 1982. It contains eight compositions blending African tribal and Middle Eastern rhythms, avant-garde rock, minimal electronics, and funk-rock guitars. The duo's sound is inspired by the art and anti-art movements of Dada and Surrealism. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. Each copy is housed in a replica of the original jacket, which features artwork by the group members, and includes the original 2-sided lyric sheet.
Review: As Radiohead tour the world and then regroup to record their new album, Thom Yorke releases his own record, 'The Eraser' on XL Recordings. A collection of nine new songs, the record was written and played by Thom and was produced by Nigel Godrich. Variously hailed as "The Best Band In The World" (Q Magazine), "Rock's Best Live Band" (Rolling Stone) and the band were placed at number 1 of Spin Magazine's 40 most influential artists, Radiohead has arguably become the most acclaimed and adventurous force in modern music. Over six studio albums the group have proved that it is possible to make massive creative leaps whilst continuing to grow in worldwide stature. Their records set new benchmarks for others to aim towards, whilst their live shows reach levels of intensity and exploration that few can match.
Review: Atina 'Mattiel' Brown is a 60s psyche-pop inspiration from Atlanta, Georgia, giving the ears of a modern age a new way to appreciate a lo-fi, garage rock style of storytelling. Satis Factory presents the band with its second album since debuting in 2017 with a self-titled LP, and Brown's voice for Mattiel still reigns supreme in its bluesy, telephone filtered manner. Co-produced by Randy Michael and Jonah Swilley and recorded in their native Atlanta, the vintage touches applied to the band's music sees an authentic blend of deadpan vocals, jangly guitars meet with a touch of spaghetti western, subtle touches of folk and rockabilly, with that perfect smattering of dusty sundown blues.
Review: There's plenty of anticipation around Big Thief's third record U.F.O.F., and we can say with confidence that it delivers on every front. A solid expansion of their last record, Capacity, U.F.O.F. for the most part goes deeper into diverse sonic territories that's emotionally raw and rich, calling to mind Elliott Smith, Joni Mitchell and various other accomplished singer songwriters especially in songs like "Contact" and "Cattails". Elsewhere, "Strange" and "Orange" provide a backing that seems more upbeat on the surface, yet the varied vocal technique of Adrianne Lenker, ranging from a whisper to a vulnerable bellow keeps us firmly captivated. The album really shines through when it reaches for slightly louder soundscapes, best heard on "Terminal Paradise" and "Jenni" (with the latter reminding us of "Washer" by Slint). All in all, U.F.O.F. will be a record that entrances you with its subtle yet haunting charm.
Review: Harriette "Hatchie" Pilbeam has been in the incubator of London label Heavenly for roughly two years now, with the label slowly establishing the artist before this debut with a slick run of 7" singles and promo material. Colliding breathy synth pop with reverb-drench folk, a touch of trip hop and good old-fashioned indie, Keepsake presents the debut opus from an emerging talent that's helping define what Shoegaze can be for 2019. Highlights include the Enya-like "Secret" and the melancholic two step beats of "Stay With Me". With touches of Boards Of Canada to be found in Hatchie's music too, there's a deep musical brain behind these beats and it should not be slept on. Check. It. Out.
Review: Like a slightly in-tune Nico from her collab with The Velvet Underground, Natalie Mering's vocals have a unique quality to them that shouldn't go unheard. There's an undeniable country music beauty to the notes and instrumentation in both tracks "A Lot's Gonna Change" and "Andromeda", with Mering hitting those high notes more like Father John Misty and Roy Orbison than Dolly Parton. It's here that it becomes obvious why she is such a trusted collaborator with Ariel Pink. Her album as Weyes Blood, "Titanic Rising", dips and dives through a sequence of emotions that from the halfway point soars like a bird in "Everyday" and the Enya-like "Movies" before making its own crescendo down again on "Picture Me Better" and "Nearer to Thee", closing the album with nostalgia-inducing tales.