14 June 2013

Louise Distras: Shades Of Hate

This is the best song I have heard this year so far, and I've heard so many many songs up to now  Glorious fucking perfection! Especially great is her raw, throat shredding vocal delivery at 1:50, the primitive grit-edged roar breaks to a harmonious 'oooh', and all within a 5 second timescale. A stand-out moment.


3 June 2013

New Model Army Album & Tour

New Model Army, the legendary global underground cult band from Bradford, have announced the title of their hotly anticipated 12th Studio album. The self-produced set was finished earlier this year in Los Angeles with Joe Barresi mixing, (Soundgarden, Queens of the Stone Age, Tool) Whilst New Model Army have always been noted for encompassing a wide variety of musical ‘styles’, the record still marks a major evolution in their sound.
Entitled “Between Dog and Wolf” the album is filled with multi-layered drums and atmospheric musical textures while sacrificing none of the band’s famous passion and song-writing skills. The album is scheduled for release in September.

Lead vocalist and founding member Justin Sullivan said "“After a series of purist ‘rock-band-in-a-room’ albums over the last eight years, we felt it was time to do something a bit different and sonically this is the best album we’ve ever made. The title comes from a medieval French expression for dusk – when it’s hard to distinguish between dog and wolf, friend or foe. That sense of contradiction represents the band very well and there’s also something of this sense of transformation in the album”.

They have also just announced their biggest tour since the 30th Anniversary shows.


1st - Münster Jovel
2nd -  Hamburg Markthalle
3rd - Berlin Huxleys
4th - Hannover Capitol
5th - Rostock Mau
6th - Gdansk B90
8th - Warsaw Proxima 
9th - Krakow Kwadrat
10th - TBC
12th - Dresden Beatpol
13th - Prague Lucerna
14th - Budapest A38
15th - Vienna Szene
17th - Darmstadt Centralstation
18th - Nürnberg Lowenzaal
19th - Stuttgart LKA
20th - Munich Backstage
22nd - Zürich Komplex 457
23rd - Geneve L'Usine
24th - Lyon Kao
25th - Barcelona Music Hall
26th - Valencia Rock City
27th - Madrid Caracol

12th - AberdeenGarage
13th - Glasgow Garage
14th - Leeds Acadamy
15th - Buckley Tivoli
16th - Manchester Ritz
17th - Bilston Robin 2
19th - Cambridge Junction
20th - Frome Cheese and Grain 
21st - Falmouth Princess Pavilion
22nd - Brighton Concord
23rd - London Forum
28th - Larissa Mylos
29th - Thessoloniki Block33
30th - Athens Gagarin205

14th - Nottingham Rock City
19th - Paris Divan du Monde
20th - Paris Divan du Monde
21st - Köln Palladium

Album Review: Buzzbomb


An electric storm of blaring incendiary defiance!

The unrelenting punk-fused rock & roll is a plunging dagger of raw, fevered intensity bulging with the creative muscle of assured perception. It's a straightforward avalanche of sound, slick in it's manner, hungry in its howl, unfaltering in its charge. Buzzbomb are a Frankenstein rhapsody built from the parts of different bands and various genres – a versatility that deserves recognition for the one trick ponies they are far too accomplished to ever be. From within the insubordinate whirlwind of their music comes massive hook-drenched chords (from major to minor) rattling drum beats and shout/chant openings that are adrift on the arterial bleed of clever new wave harmonies and quick-burst punk aesthetics bolstered by a quick/quicker/fast/faster rock speedball. They are hybrids of Therapy? of The Ramones and The Clash of Green Day,The Members, but most importantly, of themselves They are capable of being whatever they wish to be and being twice as good at it anyway.

Stand out moments are plentiful and can be located almost anywhere within seconds of playing the album. The savouring of youth, the heavy drip drip drip of a glorious sense of freedom whirling from every guitar riff, every jagged chord change and every seamless transition that time and again proves them to be masterful creators of their distinct sound. The frenetic opener 'Disconnected' is worth the nod, as is the disciplined instrumentation that marches through their interpretation of Valves song 'It Dont Mean Nothing At All' Infectious old school tinged retro anthem 'Collateral Murder' and the flawless craftsmanship of 'Creepshow' could face anyone's best efforts and trash the greater majority with considerable ease. It's very much all killers and no fillers with Buzzbomb. No epic never-ending-ness songs that would pad out a records length considerably – we leave those tricks to the jaded merchants who lack imagination, moral fibre and fucking credibility – for we know who you are, ok? Buzzbomb occupy the time by launching a tirade of tunes, launching themselves forward, always forward, blasting their way through the cloying mass of dead wood and to the front where this album clearly states they belong. And I tend to agree. This is a band growling with life and pounding with energy and they have the skills to back that up so move out the way and let them through or you'll forever be spinning hopelessly in their slipstream one day.

2 June 2013

Album Review: Scott Walker

Scott Walker
'The Collection 1967-1970'

Together for the first time, Scott Walker’s first five solo albums on vinyl and CD. Cut and mastered from the original tapes and presented with their original artwork, The Collection showcases Scott’s self-written material alongside his much documented interpretations of composers such as Jacques Brel. 

The career of Scott Walker is an assemblage of chapters as diverse as they are plentiful. He has experienced remarkable success and disappointing failure, incomprehension, veneration, obstinate dismissal, philosophic respect and been the receiver of more than his fair share of frivolous conjecture provoked by the reclusive nature of his long periods spent disengaged from society. This inclination to retreat from view is quite likely a consequence of earlier successes and not, as some will have you believe, another enigmatic link in the esoteric chemistry of the man. During the mid-60's he fronted pop trio The Walker Brothers who very quickly shot to stardom with their brooding symphonic pop tunes bolstered by his outstanding baritone vocal. Their biggest hit 'The Sun Aint Gonna Shine Anymore' earned them a fan base bigger than that of The Beatles and they became teen idols overnight. Artistic differences and internal squabbling soon reared into view which sent Scott Walker into a heavy depression and ultimately ended the band in 1967. Scott proceeded onwards as a solo artist and between 1967 - 1970 released 5 albums.

(Sept 1967)
His debut solo album displayed the first real examples of just how good his creative impulse was. A collection of original songs and cover versions which completely broke away from the limiting constraints of The Walker Brothers pop formula, he unravelled a myriad of free thinking concepts and a highbrow lyrical prowess to match. The sweeping wall of orchestral arrangement threading its way through each song varies from bombastic theatre to subtle proclamation. The distinctive baritone croon is achingly perfect especially so on the majestic 'Montague Terrace' and equally impressive 'Always Coming Back To You'  His brooding melancholy picks out each song and dresses it in magnificent finery until they all radiate equally and reinforce the power and sheer proficiency at work. His passion for the work of Belgian singer/songwriter Jacques Brel is given a clear nod here with 3 of his songs 'Mathilde 'My Death' and 'Amsterdam' translated into English and covered by Scott.

(March 1968)
His second solo album, released in 1968, was to become his biggest commercial success so far but without any visible difference that might have set it apart from the rest. He sticks to the same formula of his debut, another collection of covers and original compositions and again the sensual Baroque pop sound of lush melodies and fine orchestral arrangements drenching each part of the record with cascading overtures and elements of brass and strings kept in time by occasional jaunts of drumbeat and scattered acoustic guitar. Once more Scott Walker unfurls his art within the creations of Jacques Brel (Jackie, Next, The Girl And The Dogs) amid a reading of the Bacharach & David song ‘The Windows Of The World' and  a muscular interpretation of 'Wait Until Dark' from the Henry Mancini film. The self-penned inclusions though stand-out from the rest, his almost epic 6 minute creation 'Plastic People' gushes with orchestration across the sometimes perplexing lyrics. The ever flowing tribute to suburban serenity in bizarrely titled 'The Amorous Humphrey Plugg’, cantering carousel waltz 'The Girl From The Streets' and heartfelt lament 'The Bridge'

(March 1969)
The nonchalance and the poetic reflection cloaks the mournful balladeer in his melancholy. Scott Walkers third album bristles with evocative ferment and occasional wretchedness which sees him begin to move on from the variety of styles his previous two albums were built upon. A concerto of cynical contemplation almost, as the man slowly begins to find himself, to finally unearth his true identity from within the confines of his restless expeditions. This album isn't heavy on romance but instead seems to be driven by a plundering need to reminisce for what’s gone, a desire to serenade the past and the ghosts of regret which still haunt the soul searching for closure. His soothing baritone delivery on 'It's Raining Today' is coupled with violin and cello at its middle which further promotes an atmosphere already hypnotic in its depths. A promiscuity lost to advancing years now feels tarnished and shameful, a tale told on 'Big Louise' as, again, the glance backwards is felt    'she's a haunted house, and her windows are broken and the sad young man's gone away'. The meticulous attention to detail has never been compromised and the subtle string arrangements on ‘Two Ragged Soldiers' is just one of numerous little flourishes that constantly build from the back without ever being glaringly apparent. Although this was the first of his albums that contained far more original material than the others he still made room for the customary Jacques Brel eulogy giving it the space of the last 3 tracks – 'Sons Of' 'Funeral Tango' and 'If You Go Away'.

(November 1969)
The fourth album, released in 1969, is an entirely self-penned collection of originals with not a Jacques Brel cover to be seen. On the back cover of the album appears the quote "a man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened" Again the voice is flawless throughout, soaring, hovering and diving through, between and underneath the music which is equally as volitant in manner traversing through a selection of gernres, profoundly folk, country and soul. A restrained violin/bass guitar backdrop punctuates opener 'The Seventh Seal' while 'The Worlds Strongest Man' gets its identity from the lounge-esqe vocal he spins onto it. Indulgent war story 'The Old Man’s Back Again' unveils a new level of intellectual lyricism when ploughing into the subject matter of the Neo-Stalinist Regime. 'Rhymes Of Goodbye' distributes soul filled pop evenly and with a considerable pastiche. David Bowie and Radiohead have both named the album as a huge inspiration on their work.

(December 1970)
The disappointing and surprising lack of commercial success for Scott 4 was a huge impact on the 
confidence Scott Walker had been flying on when making these records and now his creativity found itself wondering where it had went wrong. This, his fifth solo album, feels a little unsettled and imperceptive compared to previous work and, as if to make up for the failed Scott 4, staggers around grabbing at commercialism and settles in the main for playing it safe with a return to the originals/covers formula he had only just ditched on the previous ‘Scott 4’ in a clear attempt to regain the momentum. That said this is still a fantastic album. Orchestrated instrumental ‘Epilogue’ with it's echoing door slams and the voices of children leads us out onto the terrace of a great record, standout tracks include ‘Thanks For Chicago Mr James’ the jazzy zing of ‘Joe’ and the sardonic-wit fuelled ‘Jean The Machine

My landlady said Jean's a commie spy
And each time I asked for the reason why
My landlady said it's a front
She bumps and grinds codes
To an audience of immigrants
The title track, a joyless break-up ballad, is equally as laudable. The 15 track album includes 5 insignificant and easily forgettable cover versions of songs, among them the Michael Legrand favourite (What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life) Classic IV’s (Stormy) and Jimmie Rodgers (It’s Over).  This was to be the last solo album of original material would make for 8 years.

Scott Walker, the epitome of sixties nostalgia - from teen idol to rich voiced baritone crooner. A hugely inventive and massively talented individual with the greatest legacy spread out behind him. Intriguing and perplexing he may be but his songs, particularly the songs of these first 5 albums, are emotive heavyweights still.