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Slightly weirdly I came across this band through the current Trivago advert. It sounded promising so I investigated their album and it’s been the perfect soundtrack to post-university recuperation and the beginning of Summer. This song now has over a million views on YouTube. 

It’s called ‘Never’ and is by Irish trio All the Luck in the World. With an interesting tuning and a raw plucky guitar sound it’s immensely compelling. 

'But these ships, these ships / Don't sail away / They wait, they wait / For another day /  And they will float again/ Oh no we lost the words again / Oh no we lost the words again

The other songs on the album are similar melodically and pleasant listening. The guys have great harmonies, beautiful string accompaniments, riveting lyrics and deep, rich vocals. It’s a slow-burner in the best way. ‘Haven’, about finding a haven and clarity in another person, and ‘Settle’, which has a powerful ending section, are two others that have stood out thus far. It’s refreshing to hear something that doesn’t feel produced but natural and homemade, yet still clear and resonant. 

Album Review: Passenger – Whispers

This is a grower - particularly tracks like ‘27’ and ‘Scare Away the Dark’ - the line ‘we’re scared of drowning, flying and shooters / but we’re all slowly dying in front of fucking computers’ is stuck in my head. It’s weird because Passenger has such a sweet, warming voice even when what he’s singing about is bitter and serious so it takes a few listens before it hits you.

EP Review: From the Black and Blue - MisterNothing

This is a revised version of my review of MisterNothing’s new EP, ‘From the Black and Blue’ which is published on YorkVision (I got mixed up with the track order and one lyric, but it’s otherwise the same as http://www.yorkvision.co.uk/scene/album-review-misternothing-from-the-black-and-blue-ep/16/06/2014)

EP Review: From the Black and Blue – MisterNothing

Having written, recorded and produced one of the most promising and energising alternative-rock debuts largely from his own bedroom, former Voice contestant Mitchel Emms and his band MisterNothing are back with staggered EP releases throughout the rest of 2014. With the band now signed to LMC records, the first of these, entitled ‘From the Black and Blue’, lands digitally on the 28th of June. 

 

The title reflects a chaotic and sometimes turbulent year for the band, which has seen fluctuating line-ups. ‘It represents everything that’s been going on with us this year, with the band and also personally’, Emms admits, ‘I don’t think many people realise how difficult it is to be a band in 2014 trying to achieve something different than most other bands who follow what everybody else is doing currently. It’s exactly what songs like Destinations on the EP is about’.

Opening with a motivational quote about overcoming fear and doubts and embracing risk, Final track Destinations embodies this theme with scintillating but well-paced guitar riffs and progressions. An anthem-in-the-making this is one of the most exhilarating and hopeful tracks the band have made thus far, not sitting still for a minute. On a lyrical note Emms reflects on the ‘sacrifices we’ve all made to be where we are’, clearly a core theme of the band’s progress which is marked in this release. The chorus is memorable with its risk-embracing call to ‘jump into the abyss / jump into the unknown’ and ‘fall away from the places you call home’.

These three tracks, Emms admits, are a ‘little heavier musically and lyrically than before but still maintain big choruses and melodies. Hopefully this will be a good introduction to people who have never heard of us before’. Energy, sweat and blood exude from every guitar-infused chorus and Emms’ voice is of extraordinary power and calibre for someone so young, reaching every note with fervour and magnetism. It could plausibly grow to be one of the defining rock voices of a generation if the band’s raw talent is anything to go by.

Opener ‘Goodbye Hello’ is in a similar vein to ‘Destinations’ in terms of melody with the penchant solo riff to open before the layers come crashing in. The lyrics of ‘can’t think, can’t hide, can’t sleep no more’ make for another pounding chorus but ‘Improvements’ contains the most fire and grit. A little more despondent lyrically, it cascades furiously towards its climax as Emms screams develop from ‘only you know me better than I do’ to the repeated ‘you don’t know me’. It burns and rages, leaving you wanting more. The live performances of these songs would be something to behold. While the band are mainly booking gigs in Birmingham, they are likely to venture further afield later in the year with the second EP likely to arrive in September and a third to follow. For an introduction to one of the most exciting new and raw voices in alt-rock (coupled with their incredible instrumental skill, and more than enough passion) look no further. They will only keep improving.

Katrina Northern

'Walk Me to the Bridge' is the first single from Futurology, the Manic Street Preachers’ new album. Excellent ‘post-punk-disco-rock’ as Nicky Wire likes to call it. The synth in the verse takes a bit of getting used to but the chorus is fantastic and epic, energised and uplifting guitar solo and more thought-provoking lyrics. Another intensely atmospheric and European video.

It’s easy to read Richey into the lyrics in this song (the connotations of bridges and suicide and saying goodbye to a friend of great intellect) - that’s how powerful and enduring a figure he is but Nicky Wire has explained in an interview with Gigwise that the song is about the ‘Oresund Bridge that joins Sweden and Denmark… a long time ago when we were crossing that bridge I was flagging and thinking about leaving the band (the “fatal friend”). It’s about the idea of bridges allowing you an out of body experience as you leave and arrive in different places.’ (http://www.gigwise.com/news/90527/Manic-Street-Preachers-unveil-new-video-announce-Futurology-details)

 

I saw Josh Doyle (the very first post on this blog) live in London the other night and this song ‘Zombieland’ really stuck with me. I had only heard it once or twice before and it wasn’t ever officially released. It’s one of the most goose-bumpy, emotionally haunting songs ever and was amazing and intense live.

Getting to hear an array of songs from Josh’s career - the DumDums, solo EPs, to the recent album was amazing. I think his songwriting has matured alot but it’s always been so emotionally perceptive and a great comment on modern life. He is also hilarious, he never stops talking (in a good way) and everything just felt nice and informal. It was a very unique experience. He was a pleasure to watch and listen to. 

I recommend you all have a listen to ‘Zombieland’ above, it is ruthless and dark - sheer brilliance. It is about the Anoka High School suicide epidemic. 

'You texted in the night that you'd made up your mind / You couldn't stand for anymore this time / Stole your grandfather's shotgun and walked up to the schoolyard / To play out your endgame, to play out your endgame / I think how I could have stopped you when I play it back in my head / But I just stood there paralysed by fear / If I could have said just something to talk you off that ledge / To show you there were more of us in here. / I wish you would have known all the places you would go / And the people that would love you and see you as beautiful / And I wish you'd seen the future, how everything worked out / When we got away to college, got a million miles away from zombieland'

'Barbed wire world' is a particularly brilliant lyric:

And ring the funeral bells, fire the guns of war / Pray this barbed wire world won’t hurt you anymore’

I think anyone fighting private battles of any kind will be able to engage with Josh’s music. But he is also tremendous fun in person and makes an effort to really connect with everyone listening. 

These are some of my pictures from the evening: 

Thoughts & Babble: Manic Street Preachers - Brixton 12th April

I had an incredible, energised time at the Manic Street Preachers gig in Brixton on the 12th of April. Got to share it with one of my best friends. You realise what a special band they are. Who writes lyrics or guitar solos like that these days? They are relentlessly honest, perceptive and so intelligent it’s refreshing. No songs about ex-girlfriends or love-lives here. All politics and existence and real-life. They played stuff like ‘Your Love Alone’ and ‘It’s Not War (Just the End of Love)’, which are good anthems but they’re not the real Manics to me. Futurology is sounding great and the Rewind the Film tracks had resonance and depth. Missed ‘30 Year War’ a bit - would have been fun. 

From The Holy Bible they played things like ‘Die in the Summertime’, ‘Archives of Pain’, ‘Revol’ and ‘This is Yesterday’ which was beautiful. Wire was on good form when he spoke up. They talked about ‘Everything Must Go’ being named on of the top Britpop anthems… to which Wire said something like ‘during shit-pop I was wearing skirts and eyeliner’.

The background video segments were great and thought provoking with some footage and images of Richey, he is still very much a part of the band. I really admire how they keep hold of the important things - not that they get sucked in to nostalgia or trapped in the past - but they choose what matters and they take it with them to the future. Personally I was disappointed there was no ‘From Despair to Where’ and, although they hardly play it, ‘Postcards from a Young Man’ would have been sensational. The guitar solos were blistering and electric and I would not hesitate to see them again. There truly is no other band like them and I feel like they will always be relevant because they are always evolving but keep their integrity and the core of who they are with them through highs and lows, they don’t lose it. I am working on an article on The Holy Bible now so that should be up soon and that’s why this is a bit of a babble review!

These are some of my pictures - wanted to capture some of the most special moments.

Album Review: Going to Hell – Pretty Reckless

The link is my review of the new Pretty Reckless album. I have one or two issues with some aspects of the band but musically I still find them pretty compelling and Taylor Momsen’s voice has one of the best female rock/metal vocals I’ve heard. I just find the image they construct to accompany that a bit distracting from how awesome they are. (Taylor Momsen says of the album cover that ‘we are all naked when we’re born’ - yes, but we don’t have arrows pointing to our butts…)They could be more than just sex, drugs and rock and roll. 

I want to highlight two truly great songs - I guess two softer, more restrained ones from the album. (There are several other great songs on this album too but these are my personal favourites)

1. House on a Hill (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJeWrvgP6fM)

I love the staggered impact of this song, with the musical arrangement kind of gaining force as it goes. The lyrics also carry more weight for being less in-your-face than preceding tracks. There’s a resonant profundity as Momsen sings ‘somewhere in the end we’re all insane / to think that light ahead can save us from this / grave that’s in the end of all this pain’. I kind of feel a little Kurt Cobain reference in the lyrics 'I won't burn out in this place / my intention is to fade and I will, I will'. I really like her voice in these kind of songs, there’s a compelling darkness and a world-weariness that still has a lot of power. 

'But the children are doing fine / I think about them all the time / until they drink their win and they will, they will'

2. Burn (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uv_5HMhEvgc)

A simple, short acoustic number with an abrupt ending but still with a dose of agony and defiance. I guess the ‘you want me to burn’ sentiment could be a way of addressing her critics. Most of all it’s a darkly compelling listen with a vocal which lures you in. 

'Here comes the darkness / it's eating all my brain / now that the light / has driven me insane / this fire is blazing / and I'm still inside / this fire is blazing / and I'm still inside / I just want to die here / you won't let me out alive'

I genuinely really like a lot of the rock music these guys make, especially when there is a bit more subtlety - it’s just enjoyable, has great variety and it’s nice at least to see a really strong female fronted heavy rock band with such a vocal range and versatility but who’s also trying to impress some kind of identity on the industry. I just want them to be more than edgy and to avoid caging themselves within that quite narrow image. 

Album Review: Louder – Lea Michele

I don’t listen to many pop albums but was curious about what kind of thing Lea Michele would come up with. The link is my review of the whole album. I will say the last track, ‘If You Say So’ is very moving (regarding the events of the last year). I have a lot of respect for Lea, but stylistically and lyrically the album was disappointing.

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