Monday, 31 January 2011

Locrian Singles
Rating: 4/5

So, judging by site stats a lot of people saw my end of year list, which also means you will have seen that the British Brains EP by Bostonians RIBS got a sneaky peek in at the 'honourable mention' level; well, they are back, with double- A side download Locrian Singles

I'm not going to lie, 'Please Don't Go', the 'A' is not the greatest thing they've ever done. It's got grind and drive and yadda yadda yadda, but my basic problem with it is twofold- the heaviness has been overdone by both NIN and their multitude of imitators, and the general atmospherics remind me of any number of bands from Manchester that perenially play the Joy Division card (of which I am very tired). That said, it's saving grace, as always is Keith Freud's fantastic vocals, which are always enough to bring it back from the brink. 

The 'AA', 'Cosmos' is an entirely different proposition, however; a cracking atmospheric number generated from cavernous guitars and shot through with a paranoia that reminds of Manc electro wizards The Narrows, albeit crushed through RIBS' more trip-hoppy alt rock filter (seen on the EP most notably on 'Silencer'). It's a fantastic track, and serves to remind that RIBS have ambition enough to come up with a variety of sounds and styles. A lot of bands and even more press packs promise that, but RIBS actually deliver. With Russian Blood (in theory at least) in the pipeline for this year, these singles serve to whet one's appetite for what is surely to come, and to remind those wont to forget that RIBS are to be ignored at your peril. 

If you're not given to my slightly bipolar, hyperbolic reviewing, then download the singles free below, and decide for yourself.  

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Friday, 28 January 2011

New podcast....

Right, so exams are over and I'm gonna get back on it ASAP. In the meantime, here's something to keep you all occupied:

Monday, 24 January 2011

Here in my room...

... the final 'revisioncast', if you will.

RIP Exeter

So Dan from Exploding in Sound was kind enough to fill me in on space rockers Exeter, and well, they've broken up. Not surprising, really given the paucity of updates on their part, lack of website and obscure myspace but there you go. Members of the band have gone on to other things, all of which (if truth be told) seem rather mediocre, save for this courtesy of Kevin:

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Vex Red LP

Right, so anyone that's read this blog more than once (or maybe even less than that, it's probably pretty obvious) will know that I've got a pretty big crush on everything that Terry Abbott has done as a musician. Above all of his projects, however, still stands the single, brilliant album by Vex Red. Now, Discogs and a number of websites will tell you that the album was only released on CD by Virgin, but while procrastinating from revision I appear to have got myself a vinyl copy. I don't know how. A little bit of research after the fact seems to suggest that a few internal promos were printed for employees, but beyond that educated guess I'm not really sure. What I am sure of is that I'll be waiting by the front door at post-time every day until this baby comes. Gradually I'm getting there: Now Here is Nowhere, Finelines, See This Through and Leave, Siamese Dream... bit by bit I'm building the perfect record collection. I'm so excited I may have to go and lie down.

In other news, I've got the new Vessels album, Maybeshewill single, Harrys Gym album, Deerhoof, and Phoenix Foundation on my reviews pile next to me, so expect a whole heap of HV reviews (as well as that RIBS review for this blog) to go up as soon as exams are over on Thursday. Did I mention that the SSD page is getting a make-over too? Well, it is. We've got a new logo courtesy of boneface, and finally, this weekend (29th) is Pangaea, where between 9 and 12 in Academy 3 you'll find dune, Wingman and Charlie Barnes & the Geekks, all of whom I've raved about on these (virtual) pages so much that I've practically got fucken arthiritis.

Here's a Failure video to get you by until then. 

Thursday, 20 January 2011

RIBS - Locrian Singles

Right, so I've just had word that the excellent RIBS (check the tag on here to see a review of their first EP, British Brains as well as an informative interview) are releasing a digital double A side on January 25th. Not only that, but it's going to be free. If that doesn't convince you, I'll have a review on here as well as a download link then, so. In the meantime go here to listen to their previous efforts.

I think it's pretty fair to say that I wish these guys were from Manchester instead of Boston.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

8 Days Left...

...of exams, then you can expect more of my prog-based jackassery (yeah, I made that up, fuck you etc.). Oh what will you do in the meantime? Well, my Octopus and Trojan Horse reviews are now live on HV and from the masters-at-amps themselves comes this:

Friday, 14 January 2011


... this blog will be one year old. I only attached Analytics to it in April, so I can't do full stats, but at a conservative estimate about two thousand people actually took time to read (not just view) this in its first year. That makes me very happy. Thanks, if you're reading this.

Monday, 10 January 2011

From the label that brought you Wingman....

Comes this beauty. Fear and Records' other hot ticket, Masks, have got a track called '7 of 9', presumably a Star Trek reference, up for free download today. Apparently they are doing an album in the near future, which can only be a good thing. They are kind of like a heavier I Concur, and there's definitely a sludgy Soundgarden vibe about their louder passages. Check it out:

Edit: They are actually a lot like Failure around Fantastic Planet, aren't they? Cool stuff.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

WHAT THE FUCK all this hype about Brother at the moment? I mean, seriously, I know I'm out of touch with the mainstream in a colossal way; none of my top ten albums of 2010 (off the top of my head) were on the NME's 'best of', let alone anyone else's, and I really do try and bear this all with some grace, but for fuck's sake! Signed to Geffen after five gigs? ARE YOU FUCKING STUPID? THEY WERE FUCKING SIGNED BEFORE THEY PLAYED THEIR FIRST CHORD! IT'S ALL A STUNT! IT'S ALL A CYNICAL MARKET- ah fuckit.

I fucking hate Oasis.

Go listen to some Massive Attack. I command you.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Another form of procrastination...

Don't ask how I found this, but apparently I had a letter published by The Economist three years ago and didn't even notice. Idiot. It's about gun control, just after the Virginia Massacre, and actually all the responses are pretty interesting. As you probably guessed, the majority of the US respondents were anti- gun control and the rest of the world (ish) was pro. Nothing new there, then. 

Letters Page for May 2007

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

In Casino Out
Shields EP
Released September 2010
Rating: 4/5

I guess a little preamble wouldn't be such an evil in this instance. Way back in May 2009 (feels like a long time ago, right?) I caught a band opening for My Vitriol on their fan club tour called Connectingflight. Now, Connectingflight were kind of the style of music I thought Manchester would be full of- influenced by Biffy, Oceansize and a general desire to be as forward-thinking with a guitar as it is possible to be. Unfortunately, shortly after releasing the Fix EP (I've still got a copy around here somewhere), they broke up. Sometime later, they came back with a new band, with only singer/guitarist John Murray and (superb) drummer James Lorenzo retained from their old outfit. A few months later, they saw fit to grace us with this EP, and it's much to my discredit that I haven't reviewed it before now. 

Well, as I touched on before, it's influenced by that whole At the Drive-In post-hardcore sound, and at times it's pretty heavy going, certainly more so than Connectingflight, which was rather more lush in a kind of Effloresce sort of way. Opener 'This Year's Noise' is the obvious 'single' (read introductory) track, and serves as a kind of concise almalgamation of the various parts of their sound; the triple-guitar attack of Radiohead, the band interaction of Oceansize's 'Catalyst', the atmospherics of second-album Coopers, and the vibe of all those turn-of-the-2000s southern rock bands (Reuben, Redefine and Vex spring to mind). In fact, though it's only been released since then, their heavier moments (particularly on highlight 'Megan Fox') sound nothing so much as The Octopus; MF in particular has the same deep rumble as 'Fall of the Empire'.  'Plans' in all honesty sounds kind of like those scratchy, early Rage-inflected b-sides from the first Muse record, as well as obviously early Biffy Clyro. Belying their bandname, if they take from their post-hardcore uncles, I'd say the influence is more the raw energy of Acrobatic Tenement, even if I will concede to this being hidden under quite exceptional production values. Seriously, I often bitch on here about the unfashionability of heavy rock, but as long as musicians continue to make such exceptionally challenging loud music, who gives a fuck?

Keep an eye on this band- Oceansize are 12 years in, these guys are only the one. Who knows where they'll end up? 

Trojan Horse
Trojan Horse
Out February 2011
Rating: 4.5/5

There is really only one word that can truly describe this record: bold. Long would probably be easier, but then again that wouldn't in any way do justice to the sheer audacity of a (relatively) young band making this their debut release, even if it has been three years in the making. If that weren't enough, they brazenly describe themselves as 'Prog Nouveau', at a time where, Kscope Records fanbase aside, prog has never been more uncool.

With music like this at your fingertips though, who needs to be cool? From the demented pirate breakdown in 'Mr Engels Says' to the dinner-music feel of '...and the Lights Went Down' (probably my favourite cut), Trojan Horse keep shifting the mood, feel, style and genre seemingly every minute, or at the very least whenever it suits them. It's gloriously self-indulgent, at turns witty or coarse, heavy or dreamy, and I honestly can't remember when I heard quite so bipolar a record. In short, it's bloody brilliant.

I could go through track by track and analyse it to death, but I've been listening to this album all day and I'm still having difficulty making head or tail of it. As a result, my conclusion is that you should just go out, get a copy and decide for yourself. Somewhere, buried between 3:21 and 3:56 of a track you'll find, however fleetingly, something that blows your mind; it's inevitable, because there is everything you could ever want jammed in here somewhere, if only you have the patience to find it.

As long as artists are prepared to go out on limbs like the one that Trojan Horse are straddling, you've got to conclude that in spite of downloading, falling sales et al, rock n' roll has never been in better shape.

Freebies from Battleships...

It seems at the moment that there's a slew of bands coming out of Liverpool doing that At the Drive-In/Biffy/'Size thing, and it's just so fucking cool. Why can't they be in this city instead? Hmph. Anyway, I was distracted from revision by this offering from Battleships, a band I discovered through the simply exceptional In Casino Out. Up on their site now is their new video for track 'This Home', as well as a link to get an mp3 of the song. How about that?


If you want the mp3, I'd suggest that you follow this link.