Tag Archives: album

REVIEW: PLAYLOUNGE – PILOT

Band – Playlounge

Album – Pilot

Label – Dog Knights Productions

It’s around this time of year that I start to wonder what album will be the soundtrack of my summer. What album, for years to come, will always remind of awesome memories from these upcoming summer months. I know you shouldn’t force these things, overthinking everything is a bit of a habit and tends to take the edge off spontaneous moments but I can’t help it. Ever since the long hot summer of 1997 when my best friend got his first car and we spent the whole time driving around listening, pretty much exclusively, to 2 tapes he had in the car, ‘Everything Sux’ by the Descendents and ‘sublime’ by Sublime. Now, I haven’t listened to Sublime in forever but ‘Everything Sux’ still gets regular plays and always takes me back to being 17 and enjoying the freedom having a car brings with it. An early favourite for what will be my soundtrack of this summer has to be ‘Pilot’ by Playlounge and let me tell you why.

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The first time I listened to this album was in my car on a stupidly sunny day so from the word go I had a summery vibe going on. But the music itself is so upbeat and catchy that it would’ve given me that same vibe had it been cold and miserable that day. Playlounge are loud, their guitar sound is as distorted as it could possibly get yet their songs are full of melody and poppy happiness. Like the way Dinosaur Jr can manage to be unfeasibly loud without being classed as heavy. Their grunge heavy sound has a lot in common with Dinosaur Jr, it’s so great to hear a new band that you can say reminds of great grunge bands past without having to label them as ‘nu-grunge’ or lazy Nirvana rip offs. ‘Pilot’ starts with a blast and doesn’t back down one bit until all 10 songs have reached their completion.

‘I am a lion’ kicks the record of with thumping drums, you’re drawn in by the hazy, dream like vocals and when the guitar literally doubles in sound you’re completely sold on this Brighton 2 piece. They then follow this punch in the guts with a massive right hook, ‘Skulls’ is catchy, infectious and will make you happier than most songs you’ll hear this year. The rest of the record follows a familiar pattern which in now way gets stale or old, Playlounge play amazingly good, grungey noise pop and don’t feel the need to introduce gimmicks or other elements. And, hey, when they’ve got their sound absolutely nailed as good as this why the fuck should they??

I’m pretty convinced that I’ll have this record on constant repeat all summer long and far beyond that too. They seem to pretty much be constantly on tour so make sure you go and see Playlounge slay it live. I get to see them live this week and cannot wait to go all out crazy to their incredible noise!!!

You can buy the album HERE

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Thanks for reading. Come say hi: http://www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog.com, twitter @alex_itto or ittoblog@gmail.com

 

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Review: Basement – Colourmeinkindness

Band – Basement

Album – Colourmeinkindness

Label – Run For Cover Records

Coming up in tonight’s review:

“Holy fucking shitballs why the hell has this band split up!!?!!?!???!”

Last year Basement released one of my favourite records of that year, ‘I wish I could stay here’. It was a solid album full of Title Fight-esque melodic hardcore that I played time and again. I also got to see them play a show in Margate which really showed me what a great band they are so when news came that Basement were going on indefinite hiatus (splitting up) I thought it was a real shame. Now that I’ve heard ‘Colourmeinkindness’ I think this news is a fucking travesty.

This record is getting me all kinds of excited. If someone had said to me that all my favourite musical sub genres (grunge, punk and emo) would someday be combined together by bands to amazing effect I would’ve wanted to believe them but known that this’ll never happen. But to my disbelief it is happening. Playing ‘Colourmeinkindness’ and I’m suddenly transported back to that 13-year-old kid who lay in bed thinking my brother was a lying cock for coming home from his paper round with the news that Kurt Cobain was dead, or to the 17-year-old sitting in my friends flat being played Sunny Day Real Estate for the first time. Times when music seemed to be all that mattered, Basement make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and make me wanna get up and dance like an idiot the way all my best-loved bands do.

The album blasts in to life with ‘Whole’ and it’s an incredible start to the album. It shows Basement’s intentions from the start, they’re here to make a career defining rock album and they ain’t mucking about. The briefest of guitar intros quickly make way for the full band to kick in and already you’re left blown away by how loud and full on it is. What a way to start the record. The chorus makes you wish you were in front of the band in a packed venue screaming along with them and then the massive riff at the end makes you wish you were in the middle of the crowd going every kind of ape shit.

Before you know it the second song, ‘Covet’, has begun and here you have the first major nod to the early 90’s grunge sound with a song that owes a massive debt to the Pixies. Maybe it’s because I am still so in love with the music from that era but I’ve found a mass of grunge influences throughout the record. Maybe intentional or maybe I’m the only one who thinks it but here are a few examples of what I mean. ‘Spoiled’ reminds me of Alice In Chains, ‘Control’ has hints of ‘Superunknown’ style Soundgarden, ‘Black’ puts me in the mind of a sleazy early Stone Temple Pilots, ‘Comfort’ has a Yellow Ledbetter-esque intro and ‘Wish’ gives a big nod to a ‘Gish’ era Smashing Pumpkins. All of which are meant as huge compliments and all the while still retaining that Basement hardcore edge which attracted you to the band in the first place. You could hear this record a hundred times and get none of the references I just mentioned but you should be left with the same feeling. The feeling that you want to scream “Holy fucking shitballs why the hell has this band split up!!?!!?!???!” again and again until someone rings the council to make a noise pollution complaint against you.

Amongst all this you also have a couple of indie pop gems thrown in to the middle of the album. ‘Pine’ and ‘Bad Apple’ highlight a band capable of writing incredibly catchy pop songs that still never compromise on what the band is about. It’s another reason to love Basement and stops the record from becoming too much of one thing, it refreshes you so when they’re ready to unleash more 90’s inspired heaviness on you you’re more than ready.

‘Colourmeinkindness’ is a real surprise of a record. Not a surprise in the sense that Basement have made a truly brilliant album but a surprise in how they’ve done it. It at the same time feels like a unique record whilst also wearing their influences on their sleeve. Just over 10 years ago a massively exciting post hardcore band released a genre defining record called ‘Relationship of command’ and subsequently broke up before their time. Only time will tell if this record has that same impact, it could well do. I just hope that if it does that Basement don’t reform in 10 years time to headline Reading and appear like ghosts of their former selves. But, sod it, if they do I’ll be there singing along.

I love this record so much I’ve paid actual money TWICE for it. Downloaded from the Run for cover bandcamp page HERE.

And bought it on vinyl from Banquet Records HERE.

Basement play 2 final shows but they sold out quicker than I could say ‘ah, I’d quite like to go to that’

November 16 – Leeds – The Well

November 17 – Camden London – The Underworld

Thanks very much for reading. xx

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Review: Title Fight – Floral Green

Band – Title Fight

Album – Floral Green

Label – Side One Dummy

Shouldn’t it be impossible to make a fresh sounding punk rock album in 2012? Hasn’t it all been done already? The fact that Green Day are releasing a triple album, having a paddy onstage and judging the Voice (?!?) you’d think that punk was a dead duck having been stripped bare and laid to rest many years ago. But yet, here come Title Fight to get you back in check. Punk rock is alive and well as long as you are looking in the right places.

Having taken forever to release their first full length studio album, ‘Shed’, they are back just one year later with their second, ‘Floral Green’. It’s a big ask to follow-up what was one of my favourite albums of last year but Title Fight are more than up to it. ‘Floral Green’ can even be seen as a huge step forward, Title Fight have taken the energy and excitement of ‘Shed’ and added a maturity to their sound which makes for a more diverse and extraordinary record.

The album blasts in to life with the incredible opener,’Numb, but I still feel it’, which builds up and fires in to 3 minutes of trademark Title Fight punk excellence. The next 2 songs, ‘Leaf’ and ‘Like a ritual’, continue in this vein taking us to ‘Secret Society’ which is definitely a standout track on the first listen of the album. It’s a straightforward and catchy as hell pop hit with its massive, rumbling, overdriven bass and huge chorus. It’s a nice setup for what comes next, ‘Head in the ceiling fan’ is a song that couldn’t be more different but one that has grown to be my favourite on the record. It’s slow, melancholic and utterly gorgeous and presents a shift in the album. This is the moment you realise how much Title Fight have progressed in the short time since ‘Shed’, it adds another element to the band without taking anything away. It kind of makes them seem more grown up without seeming any older, if that makes sense. I hate using this as a description because it can be taken the wrong way but it also introduces a bit of grunge to their emo tinged punk rock, I hope you get what I mean.

After ‘Head in the ceiling fan’ you feel a shift in the record, the song makes you see the rest of the record in a different light. You know now that what you are listening to is a classic record in the making and Title Fight don’t put a foot wrong. ‘Make you cry’ and ‘Sympathy’ hit out at you and make a lasting impression, ‘Calloused’ has a Nirvana-esque chorus which will always get me on side and ‘Frown’ is a certain contender for song of the record/year with the simplest yet best of guitar lines over the intro and chorus. When the album is brought to a close by another 2 really strong songs, ‘Lefty’ and ‘In-between’, you are left gagging for more. Especially because ‘In-between’ finishes with no rock star ending, no big stadium finish, it just ends and makes you shout “Holy shit, I must put this record on again!!!”.

‘Floral Green’ is one of the most completely brilliant albums of the year and one which I seriously cannot fault. Some of the songs may take longer to grow on you than others but given just a few listens you get over this. There is so much to enjoy like the added ‘shoegaze’ moments which were totally unexpected. If Title Fight keep this quality up then, in a few years, I can see them being viewed in the same way Hot Water Music are now. Everyone’s favourite scene heavyweights if you know what I mean. Go and enjoy the record now!!!

Click here to go to the Title Fight website.

Cheers for reading, any feedback is most appreciated.

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Review Roundup – Homelife, The Cribs, Le Yikes SURF CLUB, Dowsing/Parker

I have to admit I have really fallen behind recently, trying to make the most of the glorious sunshine we are currently experiencing has left little time to sit down and write. Which is BAD!! Mainly because there has been a sudden explosion in the amount of new records being released that deserve full attention. I have been like a kid in a sweet shop recently greedily trying to consume as much of the music as possible. Too much time listening and not enough time writing.

Time to rectify this.

To ge a little bit more up to date I thought I’d start by doing a roundup of some of the recent releases that have been taking up my time of late. This will then be followed by reviews of some very awesome full lengths by bands such as State Faults, Ape Up, Best Practices, Suis La Lune and many more…

Review #1 = Homelife – Translation

Translation is the first full length album from Homelife and it’s a really impressive debut. 10 songs of emotional Mid West punk rock joy, listening to this record is my first experience of the band and I knew inside the first 30 seconds of the opening track ‘Shapeless’ that I was going to be a fan. Bringing a sound similar in vein to that of Title Fight and Basement, it also brings to mind older Small Brown Bike and maybe a bit of Hot Water Music for good measure. Homelife is a band whose members have a background in hardcore which still comes through in their music, although now they have mixed emotion and sensitivity to the sound and the lyrics with great results. I like this album a lot, it’s one I’m sure to revisit time and again. Translation was co-released on vinyl by Black Numbers and Bermuda Mohawk on the 15th of May and can also be downloaded on a name your price basis HERE

Review #2 – The Cribs – In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull

My favourite UK indie band are back and it’s a blessed relief. The Cribs have returned with their 5th studio album ‘In the belly of the brazen bull’ and have dispensed with the dead wood that was Johnny Marr to make a record that marks a return to their best. Don’t get me wrong, I really like their last album ‘Ignore the ignorant’, how could you not with a song like ‘Cheat on me’ on there and I was only (kind of) joking about Johnny Marr, but it feels like the old Cribs is back. The fun, catchy, 3 piece Cribs who have come back to give UK indie bands a well deserved smack in the mouth. The sound is a lot dirtier on this record and really reminds me of ‘Pinkerton’ in several places, a lot of it was recorded with Steve Albini at his studio in Chicago and even though Steve Albini claims his input is minimal he always manages to record bands at their best and this record is no exception. The Cribs are the only band the NME should cover from here on, every other mainstream ‘indie’ band that magazine has tried to push on us are nothing but a footnote now. The record was recently released on Wichita Records and you can buy it from all good record shops if there are still any left.

Review #3 – LE Yikes SURF CLUB – LE Yikes SURF CLUB

Coming in June Grizzly Records will be releasing a limited edition cassette of the new LE Yikes SURF CLUB 5 track EP. I love that cassette’s are now making a comeback, it really reminds me of first getting in to music as a young teen although I no longer own a cassette player and will need to rectify this. Especially if there are gonna be awesome releases, like this one, that I’m not gonna wanna miss. LE Yikes SURF CLUB play fast and incredibly catchy surf punk in short one to two minute bursts. The retro surf sound is immediately appealing, along with the great cover artwork but LE Yikes also have the songs to back this up. Featuring members of punk band Dirty Tactics, each song is well crafted with a truck load of hooks and full of reasons to get you up and dancing. Trying hard to think of who you could compare them to, maybe Male Bonding with more of a punk edge. Maybe its best not to get bogged down by comparisons, if you like punk rock and 60’s surf guitar playing you will get a big kick out of this EP. Click HERE to go to their bandcamp page.

Review #4 – Dowsing/Parker Split 7″

New from Count Your Lucky Stars Records is this split 7″, 2 songs each from Dowsing and Parker. First up are Dowsing, with a full length record about to come out its good to be reminded of their enjoyable brand of good, honest, American indie rock. The first song on the record, ‘That Would Be A Lot Of Cool’, is a really great, heartfelt song that gets in your head. I like the simplicity of the sound, straightforward guitars, drums and bass which is then nicely complimented by the great overdriven sound on the guitar solo. The second song, ‘Somerset’, has a more gentle pace and is more of a grower but grow on you it does. Very much looking forward to the full length.

Parker are a band impossible to dislike, another addition to the many great bands spearheading an emo revival right now. Think early Get Up Kids/Promise Ring with a caP’n jazz feel to the vocals, with a description like that you know I’m a fan. Of the 2 Parker songs on display here the first one, ‘Make It Home Safely’, is the one that really stands out. The 2nd track, ‘Eleanor Roosevelt’, again is more slow paced but is really likeable, more arty than poppy emo, but the first one, to me, was an instant hit. I played on repeat John Peel style after my first listen and it just gets better. A full length from these guys is a very exciting prospect indeed.

Click HERE to go to the Count Your Lucky Stars bandcamp to stream/download

It’s not all been good music wise of late, I wrote a review of the very disappointing debut from Daytrader for bandbucket.com which you can read if you so wish by clicking HERE

To end on a positive note, my friend Tom at http://www.washedupemo.com reviewed the new Gates EP. Gates are another really great new emo band, check out the review by clicking HERE

Cheers for reading, more reviews to come in the next few days x

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Review: Pianos Become The Teeth – The Lack Long After

Band – Pianos become the teeth

Album – The lack long after

Label – Topshelf Records

If you have read my recent post about how much I love Pianos Become The Teeth then you probably already know how excited I am to finally have the new record. Sometimes it’s a bad idea to let yourself get carried away with anticipation and expectation, but not when it’s Pianos become the teeth. You know they won’t let you down. And they certainly haven’t.

‘The lack long after’ is one of the most powerful records I have ever heard. Emotionally, lyrically and musically. It manages to tear you apart as well as blow you away. The album is predominantly about the pain that vocalist Kyle Durfey has gone through/is going through since the death of his father. He is so open and honest about what has happened, the pain is on clear display throughout the lyrics but you can also hear it in his voice, he screams like a wounded animal with his voice cracking at times through the sheer passion that he’s emitting. There are heartbreaking moments where Kyle is trying to accept something that he doesn’t want to, when he sings “And i guess thats life” on ‘Good times’ or “I guess thats fine” on ‘I’ll get by’ you hear the voice of a broken man trying to put on a brave face for the sake of others. I first listened to album all the way through on my own in a dark room with headphones on and by the end I was in bits. Like their last record ‘Old Pride’, ‘The lack long after’ is just 8 tracks long but it’s completely justified, if it was any longer it would have to come with a health warning. The band have poured their heart and soul into this and have created something both stunning and brilliant.

Pianos become the teeth have made a more focussed album this time, ‘Old Pride’ had a chaotic beauty about it but here they have more of a structure to the songs. They have learned to refine the songs as to convey exactly what they want to. The music is still incredibly loud, heavy and brutal but also quiet, beautiful and passionate. The first song, ‘I’ll be damned’ is far catchier than other songs they’ve written in the past. And the subtle, post rock edge that ‘Old Pride’ had is explored in more depth on this record, ‘Liquid Courage’ for example, builds slowly and atmospherically whilst still never loosing any of the passion and power that the rest of the album has. I’ve always thought PBTT have a filmic quality to their sound and they still do, the songs can create movies in your mind the same way music by a band like Sigur Ros can.

‘The Lack Long After’ is certainly one of the best albums of this year. It’s a defining moment in a genre that is having somewhat of a renaissance at the moment. An album that will definately still be being talked about in 10 or 20 years time. I really cannot recommend it highly enough. Pianos become the teeth are probably the best band on the planet right now, and they have made a record which definately backs that up. Mind blowing, exhausting and downright brilliant.

You can currently download the album from itunes in the UK or order it straight from their brilliant label, Topshelf Records.

Thanks xx

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