Tag Archives: indie

REVIEW: REIZIGER – KODIAK STATION

Band – Reiziger

Album – Kodiak Station

Label – Birch & Broom

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A wise man who makes a podcast about emo recently stated that ‘No band ever splits up’ but bands reuniting and reforming has been quite divisive amongst fans. Some view it cynically as a money grabbing nostalgia trip whilst others are happy to relive their past with them or hadn’t seen them first time round so are overjoyed to get the chance to see them play. For me it really depends on who the band is, when I heard that Reiziger were back playing again and working on a new record I felt a surge of genuine excitement.

In my opinion Reiziger are one of the defining bands of the late 90’s/early 00’s, if I catch a glimpse of any of their album covers I’m instantly transported back to hanging out in a friend’s bedroom as a teenager in the 90’s discovering new music, reading fanzines and shouting ‘I MISS MY RECORDS!’, (little Reiziger joke there for you). I never got to see them play live and may not get to this time around but they have done the right thing and made a new record so I get to be a part of it again by sitting in my house with Reiziger on my headphones once more.

‘Kodiak Station’ is either an album, a mini album or a long EP, to be honest I’m not quite sure what category it falls under. Basically it has 7 tracks but one of those is a spoken introduction, so really it is 6 songs although it does have the feel of a proper full length record. It’s been at least a decade since the last Reiziger record so things are bound to change and one of the things that strikes you at the start of the first song ‘Yuma’ is the production of the record sounds a lot different. There is more of a polish to the sound whilst at the same time retaining the old Reiziger charm. It’s hard to define, maybe you could say that this is more of a grown up record with a mature sound but it is still Reiziger, they still sound like a 90’s band but one with todays production values. It’s not quite what I was expecting but don’t get me wrong, this is a brilliant record.

‘Yuma’ kicks the music off with distorted, discordant guitars at a slow, slacker indie pace with sweet vocals languidly drifting over the music. When the bass kicks in as the song veers in to the second section, I won’t say chorus but I suppose that’s what it is, you are on board and interested. The second track ‘Grizzly People’ then turns this on its head and takes you in a different direction altogether. I didn’t think I would ever write this but it really reminds me of fellow Belgian heroes Deus, I hope that is taken as the compliment that it is. It’s a big, catchy indie pop song which sounds more 90’s than anything else on the album, it has a feel good vibe but the lyrics counteract that by protesting the fact that it’s ‘All about the contacts’. ‘Transgressions’ then kind of continues in this vein although there is a looser feel to the song, it brings to mind the amazing Smart Went Crazy which is definitely a massive compliment. Reiziger return to more familiar ground with the second half of the record, things are a bit bleaker and less poppy. There is no drop in quality however, in fact I’d say my two favourite songs are kept for last both ‘Bended Trees’ and ‘Shy Reptile’ are beautiful songs that build up, each in their own way, to steal the record.

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At the end you’re left wanting more certainly but at the same time content with what you’re left with, this is a record that gets better and better on each listen. It’s also a record I can whole heartedly recommend to old Reiziger fans and those that never had the pleasure the first time round. Hopefully they will make the short trip over to the UK at some point so I can say thanks in person. Thanks for coming back Reiziger and thanks for making it so good.

You can download ‘Kodiak Station’ as well as their entire back catalogue from Reiziger’s Bandcamp page HERE

You can buy the CD in the UK from these two sites:
http://www.allagesrecords.com
http://www.wearereiziger.com

Thanks for reading, come say hi on Facebook; www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog or on twitter @alex_itto

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Q & A WITH MOOSE BLOOD

The UK is full of some incredible new bands playing the kind of music I love to write about but one band seems to be creating the biggest amount of buzz recently. Moose Blood come from my neck of the woods and play bright, poppy indiemo and I thought now would be a good time to do a quick Q&A with the band before they get too big to answer emails from dumb blogs like this one. Eddy from the band was kind enough to answer some questions, here’s the results:
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Is this thing on? –  Quick obvious question to begin with; When/How did the band form? Have you known each other long, were you in previous bands together etc…?
Eddy – The band started with me messing around with some demos after moving back home with my folks. After I had a few songs finished, I got in touch with the rest of the boys to make it a full band. We had all played in bands together in the past so it came together pretty easily.
ITTO – You come from Canterbury, which was famous for its Hardcore scene some years ago. What is it like now? Would you say there is much of a scene?
Eddy – I’m not too sure about Canterbury so much, but there are some fantastic bands around Kent at the moment. And with people like Jay from FITA putting on so many great shows, I am sure things will pick up again.
 
ITTO –  On your song ‘Carbis Bay’ you name check American Football and Dashboard, what other bands are the biggest influences on the band? (That song, ‘Carbis Bay’, reminds me of ‘Very Emergency’ era Promise Ring btw)
Eddy – There are so many.. We all love Brand New, Tigers Jaw, Will Smith. I could carry on all day.
 ITTO – With the internet now you can build a fan base without leaving the house but you seem to be gigging a lot and on a very regular basis, have you found that you have to still have this ‘old school’ approach if you want to make anything of your band?
Eddy – I think that without the Internet we wouldn’t be anywhere. But yeah, we love playing shows. It’s always great to catch up with friends, watch new bands and play in front of a bunch of new people.
ITTO – There has much written about you guys being the next big thing. Are you aware of this? Has this affected the band or yourselves in any way? Or is it something you can just take with a bit of salt and get on with it?
Eddy – We have read a few little bits. Things like that are crazy to us, we are just a bunch of friends that play music together. It means the world to us that people like our record so much, but we are just going to take it day by day.
ITTO – What better time to be in an emo band than right now, what current bands (both locally and not so locally) are you in to right now?
Eddy – As I said before, there are so many. From around Kent there are bands like Coastline, Chewing Gum and The Reason I Failed History. And the new Daylight record is fantastic.
 
ITTO – Speaking of emo, it used to be a cardinal sin to label a band an emo band. Are you happy to be described that way?
Eddy – We are more than happy to be called an emo band. Emo is a gang after all.
ITTO – You have a new single out, what else is next for Moose Blood?
Eddy – Well the single is out at the end of this month, and then we are just going to be writing for the record. We have a few tours lined up in the summer that we are pretty excited about. And it’s looking like a couple more release before the end of the year too.
ITTO – And finally, (a question I for some reason feel the need to ask every band), if you could’ve been in any band from the 90s, who would it be and why?
Eddy – I would have loved to have been in Jimmy Eat World when they wrote Clarity. That record is incredible and to be a part of that would have been amazing. Cheers
ITTO – Thanks dude
Thanks for reading, come say hi on facebook – www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog or on twitter – @alex_itto
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INTERVIEW WITH FOOTBALL, ETC.

Just over a year ago a countdown on this very blog declared ‘Safety’ by Football, etc. to be the 79th best emo song of all, this is something that I now regret… Because it should be much higher!!! Football, etc. are one of my favourite bands from the last few years, these indiemo heroes have a new album recorded and a UK tour booked so I  thought this would be a great time to catch up with Lindsay, Mercy and Ed and fire some questions in their general direction.

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Is This Thing On? – Hey!! You’ve just recorded a brand new full length, how did it go? What stage of the process are you at now?

Lindsay – We recorded it 2 weeks ago, we tracked everything in 4 and a half days and it went really well, we had a great time. Currently it’s being mixed, we’re reviewing some mixes right now and it should be mastered and sent off probably in the next month or so.

ITTO? – So, you recorded it with Ed Rose who has recorded some legendary emo bands, how did that come about? Did you seek him out? And did he have much influence on how the record sounds?

Lindsay – Some time last year our friend, his name is Andrew Mcshan and he plays in an acoustic act called Emo Side Project, he tracked a song at his studio. He lives in Kansas, quite near it and so he posted about it. I looked up Ed Rose, I actually didn’t know who he was immediately, saw what he had done, was blown away then went to his blog page and saw that 2013 is the last year that he’ll be doing records so when it came around time for us to find a studio, when we were ready to record he immediately came to mind. We contacted him, he had the time available and we went for it.

ITTO? – Is there a reason he’s stopping recording bands?

Mercy – He seemed to be just looking for a more 9 to 5 type of a job; he really wants to sell the studio that he’s at currently. I think that he just wants to move on to a job that’s a little bit more stable, I suppose, then trying to record bands all the time.

ITTO? – Empire! Empire! Are recording now with him

Mercy – Yeah in a couple of weeks

Ed – Recording with Ed Rose was my first time in an actual, professional recording studio, so I was undoubtedly nervous. He was so easy to work with and everything went so smoothly, and that made the process enjoyable for all of us. At least personally, I never felt stressed or pushing too hard to get a certain sound or certain parts absolutely perfect, so that definitely left so much room to actually enjoy the recording. The enjoyment of making a record and just having fun with all aspects of the process is probably his biggest influence.

ITTO? – Cool. Did he have any stories about when he recorded bands like Appleseed Cast/The get up kids that were pretty funny?

Lindsay – I asked him about Appleseed Cast a little bit because, you know, one day we were in the mixing room I just for some reason said “Appleseed Cast Low Level Owl Volume 1 & 2, that’s like my favourite record ever!” and he kind of chuckled. I asked, you know, how did that go? What was the deal? The only thing I remember is that he said it was recorded in 18 days which I thought was pretty cool, it was a long album

ITTO? – What both volumes recorded in 18 days?

Lindsay – Yeah

ITTO? – Wow

Lindsay – Yeah, so, that was neat. And he had good things to say about projects that he’s done and he seemed to have fun.

Mercy – Yeah, but he had some crazy stories too one was of this band that I don’t remember the name of. But it was one of those bands that were on a more major label that was kind of put together, sort of not organically. None of them really knew how to play their instruments or anything but they go in and they sign up to record with him and it’s just a total mess, the label ends up dropping the project and in exchange the band they were so angry that they stole the whole of his dvd collection that was at the studio.

ITTO? – (laughing) you didn’t do that?

Mercy – No, there was nothing left!

ITTO? – It’s been nearly 3 years since you recorded your last full length. Did you approach this record differently? Do you write songs differently now?

Lindsay – Well as far as the studio goes we wanted it to be similar as in tracking everything live other than doing vocals and a couple of extra little guitar and bass things here and there, so that process was similar. And working with Ed Rose was great. As far as writing I guess the biggest difference now is that we have a new drummer. I guess the approach hasn’t necessarily changed.

Mercy – Yeah maybe not the approach to writing songs but I think that we’ve been writing songs a lot more quickly since we started up with Ed.

ITTO? – Do you write songs as a band? Do you come to practice with an idea for a song and then flesh it out or are they pretty much written by one person and everyone just adds their own parts?

Lindsay – All of the above, some of them start with something I have written, some of them start with something Mercy has and then there’s the songs that just happen on the spot.

ITTO? – And what bands have you been listening to a lot lately and did they have any influence on how the record sounds?

(Lindsay & Mercy both laugh)

Mercy – I think we’re both laughing here because we continue to just listen to like all of our same favourites, you know, from like the past 10 years or whatever. I think I’m still spending a lot of time listening to Fugazi and stuff like that, I don’t know.

Lindsay – (laughs) I got a new car so I’ve been listening to satellite radio so I will say my favourite station is ‘90s on 9’ hits from the 90s, gosh, especially in the past couple of months writing the record, finishing that I kind of go on like a music hibernation sometimes. So I haven’t been listening to much, I know that’s a terribly boring answer.

ITTO? – No, that’s cool. How long have you had the songs for this record? Have they been written over the last few years since the first record or have they been written pretty much in the months leading up to recording?

Lindsay – All in the last year, one of them we wrote sort of in the in-between time before we found Ed and the rest of them we wrote, a couple of them we had before, but most of them we wrote with him and we even finished one at the studio so they’re all in various levels of completion leading up to recording. But, for example, there are 2 songs we wrote like a week or 2 before we went into the studio and one that Mercy and Ed wrote 2 days before we went into the studio and I wrote my part there.

ITTO? – Do you write the lyrics in advance, do you have an idea of what you’re going to sing about or are they more last minute?

Lindsay – I have a couple of journals that have stuff on the ready and once we have a song written I’ll kind of flip through and say hey, this might fit and kinda tweak it from there. Most of it I have written already.

ITTO? – Will it be coming out on both Count Your Lucky Stars and Strictly No Capital Letters again?

Lindsay – Yes.

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ITTO? – Ed is the newest member of the band, how did him joining come about? Had you know him long? Has he had any influence on the sound of the band or what direction you’re going in?

Mercy – We came in to contact with him, just like our last 2 drummers by putting up an ad on Craigslist and I think that is again a testament to like where Houston is like maybe not so heavily concentrated with people who like this type of music where we’re unable to find a drummer. I think he has changed the dynamic, he comes from more of a punk rock background than the last 2 drummers and he also likes all this kind of emo revival stuff. So I think overall he puts a lot more energy in to a lot of the songs.

Lindsay – And writing with him has been a lot of fun. It’s interesting, when we found him on Craigslist he had seen us before. We had never met him per se but he had seen us and liked our band, I thought that was really cool and we ended up having some mutual friends in Houston. He lives about an hour away right now, but it’s neat how we had kind of crossed paths.

ITTO? – You guys played the Topshelf/CYLS records showcase at SXSW, how was that? It looked like a pretty awesome line up?

Mercy – That was a fun time, it was really great to be able to see a lot of the, you know, a lot of the bands on CYLS really are our friends and we see them every time we go on tour and we see them we then come through so it was a great chance for all of us to be in one spot, we had a really good time.

ITTO? – Rumour has it that Chris Simpson of Mineral was there, did you see him at all?

Lindsay – Yeah, he was there. He did a surprise acoustic set, we played with him last year, he played with Zookeeper. And actually our band Tin Kitchen, our band before this, booked a show for Zookeeper in New Brunswick in like 2006 maybe or 2007. So we’ve crossed paths with him a few times which is pretty cool.

ITTO? – Awesome. You are coming back to the UK this summer to tour again and that will be your 3rd time in 2 years, what is it you like about the UK and what keeps bringing you back to come and play for us?

Lindsay – I don’t know, I really like it over there. The shows, I don’t wanna say they’re more fun, but in a way it’s like, I don’t know, people seem really in to us and in to the shows that we play and it’s a different vibe. And after the first time, of course being in a new place and being just in awe of everything, everything’s a little more fun and a little more interesting and making those friendships and wanting to do it all again, we’ve been lucky enough to be able to just do it.

Mercy – I would just add that a lot of the bands over there are bands that I really like and so that’s really fun and exciting to play. You know, it’s different from the US because we’re covering a smaller territory, you can have dates with a band like Human Hands like a couple of days in a row even though you’re not officially touring together and that’s fun too.

ITTO? – Like you say it’s a smaller territory but do you still find a difference between playing a show down south as opposed to playing in Scotland or the Midlands etc..?

Lindsay – That I did not really think about although I will say different places have their different personalities.

Mercy – Yeah, for sure.

Lindsay – Brighton was fun, like really energetic fun. Swansea…

Mercy – Is amazing!

Lindsay – Surprisingly amazing. It really seems that they have a really cool thing developing right now and there’s this venue that looks like it used to be a restaurant and we’ve played there twice and we’re playing there again. It’s just a really cool spot; I’m excited about what’s going on there

ITTO? – Excellent. When you play ‘Safety’ and everyone sings along with the guitar melody at the beginning, is that something that only happens here or does that happen every time you play?

Mercy – I don’t think that’s ever happened when we play in the US.

Lindsay – Maybe after people saw the videos from ‘About Time’. That was a UK thing, it started in Manchester.

Mercy – Yeah, we were totally caught off guard by it but it definitely caught on.

ITTO? – The so called ‘emo’ scene is really vibrant and exciting at the moment, is that true of where you are in Texas or do you have to tour to feel a part of it.

Lindsay – I think right now there are some bands in Houston that are…

Mercy – Going for that sound or whatever…

Lindsay – yeah, that are in a nutshell a part of it but not necessarily leaving town and connecting but they’re definitely a product of it, newer bands. But it takes travelling to somewhere like Chicago or a lot of different places where like you’re ‘in’ it.  I wouldn’t say in Houston it’s a cohesive scene but its happening.

Mercy – I think it’s in the early stages right now, whereas like in other places like where we moved from, New Brunswick in New Jersey, it was already going by 2007/2008. I think here it’s just sort of beginning to develop and I’m not really sure exactly why that is but…

ITTO? – Yeah, where I live, in Margate, we had a massive scene at the end of the 90’s that my band was a part of but we don’t seem to have that now but there’s so much in other areas of the UK. It’s weird that in some places it’s really caught on and come back but now I feel I have to go online/write my blog to feel a part of it, rather than just having it locally like we used to.

Lindsay – I really think it pops up in bubbles, I mean if you think of it that somebody starts a band, they play with their friends bands and then it creates this thing. I feel like these bubbles pop up and they move and then they settle down again, you know, there are towns like you said in Margate that used to have something but just right now nothing is really happening. Yeah, I definitely think in the US it’s like that.

ITTO? – Yeah. And with ‘emo’, historically bands hate being labelled as ‘emo’ bands but that doesn’t seem to be such a problem anymore, bands seem to accept it. Do you have any objections to being called an emo band? Or does it not bother you at all?

Lindsay – It doesn’t bother me, I still feel like we are slightly, I don’t know, different.

Mercy – Yeah, I see what you mean. So, like, I don’t mind our band being called that but sometimes I don’t want anybody to be misled in to thinking it’s going to sound more like something else or whatever and I’m not talking about the Hot Topic thing, I’m talking about feeling like we’re exactly like the poster child of this whole emo revival thing. I mean, we don’t always adhere to the model.

Lindsay – And certainly if some layperson asks me what kind of music my band plays I would not say emo first because then I’d have to like give some sort of history behind that, I usually just say ‘Indie rock’. But I also feel like we’re a punk rock band at the core through just the way we do things.

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ITTO? – And finally. If you could’ve been in any band from the 90’s who would it be and why?

Lindsay – Well I would say Rainer Maria is the obvious answer as it’s my favourite band. I think through playing music I’ve really come to appreciate how much they do as a 3 piece band. It’s just cool to think about the things that they do and how that might influence me or inspire me. Also another would be Sonic Youth because it’d be really fun to, first of all, play loud in humongous places but also to do all that crazy shit with the guitars all day would be…

Mercy – Really fun!

Ed – My love for Metallica makes me want to say them, but I think I’d love to have been in No Use for A Name. I remember listening to them in ’97 in junior high and, although not really realizing what “punk rock” was, completely loving them. Melodic punk rock has always been one of my favourites. It broke my heart to hear of Tony Sly’s death this past year – we were actually on tour when it happened, and I made it a point to dedicate our set to him that night

ITTO – Football, etc. Thank you so much!!

Links:

http://footballetc.bandcamp.com/

http://footballetc.wordpress.com/

Thanks so much for reading. Get in touch here, on twitter @alex_itto or Facebook www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog/

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Review: Annabel – Youth in youth

Band – Annabel

Album – Youth in Youth

Label – Count Your Lucky Stars

If you’re anything like me then you’re the sort of person who likes to start figuring out your top 10 albums of the year from about January. Come November you have a pretty established idea of what that list is, who’s on it and in what order. And if you are anything like me then when you hear the new Annabel record, ‘Youth in youth’, you’re going to have to rethink that whole list. Let’s get something straight from the start, this album is brilliant.

Annabel are from Kent, sadly not the Kent in England in which I live but the one in Ohio, USA. This is their second full length LP and if you’re getting down about how cold, wet and miserable the weather is then you need this record. It may be horrible outside but one listen to ‘Youth in youth’ and it’ll be summer again. There is so much warmth, joy and happiness emanating from the music on this album it can’t help but lift your spirits. It’s hard to pinpoint an accurate description of the beautiful sound that Annabel creates but I will give it a bloody good try nonetheless. Think pop, but an indie pop and also think of the grand, lush emo that Appleseed Cast are famous for and now add a triumphant joy to this too. Imagine what it would sound like if the Polyphonic Spree covered the whole of ‘Mare Vitalis’, now scrap that thought and just go and listen to the record itself because I know I’m just confusing matters.

There is a theme to the record about growing up, what happens when you do and what constitutes being an adult. The first song on the album, ‘Young American’, begins with the line “So much for adulthood and all the things that I was looking forward to” and then continues in this vein. The lyrics which tell of confusion and disappointment juxtapose with the confidence and grandeur of the music. It gives the album certain openness, they’re not shying away and hiding at all, instead they’re choosing to stand proud. There are anthems on this record, ones you can easily identify with and ones that will get stuck in your head and refuse to leave. There is no letting up for the first four songs , these are some of the catchiest songs you will hear all year with ‘Anti-decisions’ and ‘Risk/reward’ doing battle with each other over which one you’ll not stop singing to yourself for days on end. The instrumentals ‘Theme from home’ and ‘Rapids’ offer the only and briefest respites on the whole album. The second half of the album has a drop in the pace here and there without the slightest loss of quality and with more potential for mass sing-alongs courtesy of ‘The dept. of mutual appreciation’ and ‘You could be living better’. The record finishes with the lovely ‘Our days were numbered’ which is pure Weezer. By which I mean good old Weezer rather than the more recent, mediocre Weezer. It’s a brilliant ending to an incredible record.

What more can be said? Annabel are a band that knows their craft, they write brilliant and beautiful pop songs and ‘Youth in youth’ is practically a faultless album. I say practically, I’ve yet to find fault with any of it but that could just be that I’m so blinded by the love I have for this record right now. I have played this record nonstop and can’t see myself tiring of it anytime soon. I hope it brings you as much joy as it has done to me. Well done Annabel

For more info click HERE for the Annabel site

Or pre order the record HERE

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Thanks so much for reading x

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Review: Dowsing – It’s Still Pretty Terrible

Band – Dowsing

Album – It’s still pretty terrible

Label – Count Your Lucky Stars

This album came out a little while ago on the amazing Count Your Lucky Stars label but I figured that it’s never too late to write nice things about an album that you really enjoy. I’m the first to admit that I’m a bit lazy when it comes to most aspects of being alive and writing reviews is no exception, if the album is good enough then I will get there eventually and you can be rest assured that this album is more than good enough.

With ‘It’s still pretty terrible’, Dowsing have made a pretty refreshing record. Refreshing in the sense that their straightforward take on making great quality songs makes them stand out from the crowd. They’ve taken the basics of what you need to be a really incredible band and perfected them. There is no gimmick or tricks to be found instead you have 10 tracks of catchy guitar led indie rock with a good slap of pop thrown in too. The guitars are (mostly) clean, the keyboard/organ sounds gorgeous and the songs are packed with plenty of heart and charm. This is the kind of record that The Get Up Kids should have followed up ‘Something to write home about’ with if they were looking to ease off of the pop punk and lean more on the indie side of emo instead of the disappointing ‘On a wire’. If they had things could have been really different.

Dowsing ease us in to the record with the gentle instrumental, ‘Get Dead’, it is pretty and lovely and all kinds of nice things. We then move on to ‘What did you ever do?’, which exemplifies what Dowsing do best. Some albums take a while to get in to or need some time to grow on you and some are so instantly likeable that you count yourself a fan on the first listen. A song like ‘What did you ever do?’, as well as others like ‘Wired for success’ and the fantastic ‘Terminals’, sees Dowsing’s ‘It’s still pretty terrible’ firmly in the latter category. And this is what you find throughout the rest of the album. Dowsing know how to write a good song, simple yet completely effective and loveable, and each one is a pleasure to listen to. The album is closed by the bittersweet ‘Somerset’, an alternative full band version of which was on their split with Parker earlier in the year. Here it is stripped back to an acoustic guitar and keyboards and sounds all the better for it, a real treat to finish the record with.

‘It’s still pretty terrible’ is a great record, it reminds me somewhat of the songs I used to try to write back in the day. Try and always fail. I will keep trying and one day I might get there (I won’t) but in the meantime Dowsing will see you good.

You can download the record from the Count Your Lucky Stars Bandcamp page HERE

Or if, like me, you live in the UK you can buy it on vinyl from the good, and very trusting, people at View From The Attic records HERE

Thanks for reading x

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Review: Dikembe – Broad Shoulders

Band – Dikembe

Album – Broad Shoulders

Label – Tiny Engines

I wonder, every so often, which albums out of this new wave of emo will stand the test of time. I feel as excited right now as I ever did about this kind of music and, like all good things, I don’t want it to end but one day it will and what will we be left with? When the world moved on to whatever it was that it moved on to before, I was still listening to Appleseed Cast or The Promise Ring on a very regular basis. So, what will be the records that stay with me when the scene no doubt falls apart like it did back then? Well I can say with a very certain amount of confidence that ‘Broad Shoulders’ by Dikembe will be one of those records. I don’t know if it’s right or not but I have only had the record for a few weeks and I’m already holding it in the same esteem as ’30 degrees everywhere’ and ‘Mare Vitalis’, or, to translate that for you IT IS REALLY REALLY FUCKING GOOD!

Since the release of their debut ep last year, the amazing 4 track ‘Chicago Bowls’ there has been much anticipation for Dikembe to deliver a full length record. They’ve taken a fair amount of time for it to get here, enough time for people on the internet to refer to it as the ’emo chinese democracy’ (which I think is to do with the amount of time it’s taken the record to come out rather than they have a guitar player who wears a KFC bucket as a hat, unless I’m missing something here). In fact it hasn’t been that long, it may seem like it just because you want it to come out so much and they’ve done well to take this time over it because what Dikembe have delivered here is a modern emo masterpiece.

Everything about this record just feels so right, the to the point indie production, the gorgeous guitar sounds, the perfect pacing of the songs where nothing feels rushed or hurried, just naturally brilliant. I read that singer Steven Gray said the theme of the record is growing up and you do see that throughout the record. on the Wavelets LP ‘Athaletics’ (his other band) he sang “I’m not mad I’m just fucking stressed out”, here on ‘Apology not fucking accepted’ he sings “I’m so mad I can’t fucking see straight”. Maybe he sees things different now as part of growing up or maybe those two are nothing to do with each other and no comparison should be drawn but either way they are 2 great moments of each record.

And great moments keep coming on ‘Broad shoulder’, like the chugging groove laid out at that start of ‘I watch a lot of Jackie Chan movies’ which turns in to perhaps the best song on the album. The album is equally as good in its more uptempo parts such as ‘We become river rats’ and ‘Librarians kill for that kind of quiet’ as it is in its quieter songs like the beautifully downbeat ‘Not today, angel’. By the end the album leaves you with a feeling of total contentment, this is what we’ve been waiting for and now this is what has been delivered to us, to put it a simpler way it’s like a having a perfect christmas. All the build up was overwhelmingly worthwhile.

The thing is with a revival of a sound, there are those bands that will do well by imitating what was there before and just bringing in to the current day and there are those that just get it. Dikembe are a band that just get it, this is the type of music they play because when they get together this is what comes out rather than thinking beforehand “hey, lets write a song that sounds like those guys”. They are a timeless emo band, one that has reaffirmed my love for this music for which I’ll be forever grateful. Cheers dudes.

Click HERE to go to the Tiny Engines bandcamp to download/stream the record.

Cheers again for reading xx

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Summer

Wow, who knew it would be so hard to combine the kids summer holidays with writing a blog about music? I have 3 boys, all of whom are now of school age and the amount of energy that these guys take out of my wife and I is unreal!! I’ve been to a couple of shows and have been listening to a number of great new albums and I’ve been wanting to write many nice things about them all yet it gets to the evening, which is my usual blog time, and I’ve barely got the energy or motivation to keep my eyes open let alone tap some words into my computer. We’ve also been preoccupied with the Olympics and Paralympics which took up more time than I thought ever would. It seems strange now that I would wake up and my first thought would be “better watch some Olympics”, a thought that would repeat throughout the day until I realised it was midnight and I was still glued to the tv. At the time it seemed perfectly normal.

Me at the Olympic stadium during the Paralympics.

So I thought I’d do a big round-up of all the stuff I’d been to and been listening to bring us bang up to date.

First, the shows I’d been to. Here’s where I would’ve been writing glorious things about how good Everyone Everywhere were on their recent uk tour. Sadly, money and time were both against me on this one and I didn’t get to go. My twitter friend Gary went and I’ve asked to write a very quick review of the show, here’s what he came up with:

“The gig was sparsley attended but still amazing, catchy, anthemic emo!!” I wish I had gone.

Something I did get to go to however was the last day of this years Hevy festival (with very special thanks to our good friends Chloe and Justin). The festival was in its 4th year and I’d been wanting to go since it started with just some bad luck preventing me before. Hevy is a small festival situated next to the Port Lympne wild animal park in Kent. I say small but one of the things I really liked about the day was the size of the festival, it was ideal and given the right line up i think it could be a great success. When we got there my wife, Hannah, and I met up with some friends who had been there for the whole weekend. They were wide-eyed with excitement about how much fun they’d been having so that instantly got me in the mood to stand in a field and watch some bands. During the day there were some great sets from Cruel Hand who delivered some hardcore goodness, 7 Seconds who in their fifties showed they could still entertain a big crowd and Suis La Lune who are always brilliant.

As it got towards the evening things started to get very exciting indeed. During Listener, who had packed out the tiny Red Bull tent and for good reason because they were spine chillingly good, our friends Chloe and Justin managed to get us to go backstage and I got to fulfill a bit of a lifetime ambition. I have always wanted to stand on the side of a stage at a festival to watch a band and during Hundred Reasons set on the main stage there we were and it was awesome. Now, I know we were hardly looking out over the crowd at somewhere like Reading where I imagine the feeling is even better but I loved how we could see the band up close and get to watch how the crowd were reacting and the crowd were loving it.

After that excitement there was still much to enjoy, Lemuria brought their charming pop loveliness to the festival to great effect and Vinnie Caruana made Hannah’s summer by not only playing an amazing solo headline set in the Red Bull tent but also stopping to have his photo taken with her when we bumped in to him later. Converge then came out and tore the place apart, the atmosphere was incredible as they launched into ‘Jane Doe’ but sadly my back was giving up on me and we made the hard decision to go. It was a hard decision because it meant that we missed out on watching Descendents who by all accounts played a super greatest hits set. My back is a bitch, I’ve gone on about it way too much before and it still pisses me off so I’ll leave it there. A fantastic day all in all and I really hope Hevy manages to continue on, I will certainly be going back if it does.

A week later we had the incredible privilege of Baroness coming to Margate to play an intimate show at the Westcoast Bar. It was a very special night as a pretty fair-sized crowd packed the basement venue. There were plenty of good friends there amongst the crowd and our friend Jason’s new band Harrowed played as support. They were loud, powerful and very impressive and were playing minus a bass player not that that made any difference to their set. Definitely seek them out and give your ears a good pounding. Baroness came onstage to a heroes welcome, they are obviously a band with a huge and devoted fan base and they lapped this up by playing a brilliant set full of songs old and new. Afterwards the band came out front to meet and greet with us fans, we got to chat a little with singer John Baizley who also posed for a photo with Hannah and our friend Emma. We were all extremely sad to hear the horrible news that 2 days later their tour coach crashed off a viaduct in Bath during torrential rain. Some of the band and other passengers suffered some horrific injuries and I hope that they will all make a full and speedy recovery.

The relentless onslaught of amazing music being released has also continued itself over the summer, some massive albums of which I’ll be posting some reviews of in the next few days. But for now I thought I’d roundup some really great records that you may or may not have recently missed.

Topshelf records release schedule has been as busy as always, including 2 records in particular that really caught my attention. The first being the new self titled album by the band Sirs. There is so much energy and joyous noise packed in to the 8 songs on the record that it leaves you little option but to fall instantly love with them. They are punk band in the best indie lo-fi kinda way, each of their incredible songs include hooks and melodies that leap out through the distortion and screams which will keep you coming back for more. Some songs last barely a minute and some stretch past 6 minutes yet all feel equally at home on what is a really, really good album that is absolutely worth your time, money and attention.

The other is the new album from Duck. Little Brother, Duck! ‘Don’t Take Our Filth Away’. If you like your music a bit more challenging and like songs to be messy and unpredictable rather than the standard verse chorus verse then this record will hold some appeal for you. The record starts out a bit Joan Of Arc but then soon enough comes across a bit more Sonic Youth whilst all the while sounding like neither of those bands. There is no set pattern to the songs on the record, the songs are interesting and inventive, a math rock wall of noise in parts with vocals way down in the mix to form another instrument of sorts. It again is a really great album with some brilliant song titles, ‘Flashes of Quincy’ and ‘Everybody Loves Screamo’ being a couple of my favourites.

A band that came to my attention recently thanks to someone mentioning them on this blog’s facebook page, (thanks Lee), is Sport from Lyon in France. Their album, ‘Colors’, is one of the best things I’ve downloaded from bandcamp in a while. It is an instantly likeable, summery album that never fails to put me in a good mood. Bright, poppy, twinkly emo of the best variety bringing to mind Algernon and Ape Up! and it is French which is always a big plus in my book. You can download it dirt cheap on their bandcamp page, the link is below.

The last band I’ll mention today is a very special one indeed, a band that have barely been off my stereo in the last month or so which is either due to laziness of the fact it’s really fucking good. And I think you’ll find it’s the latter. The band in question is Glocca Morra and their new record ‘Just Married’ is just genius. I could leave it at that but I won’t. Just as I was mourning the break up of Algernon Cadwallader this record comes along, slaps me around the face and tells me to get over and quick for I have some dancing to be doing. And dancing is just what I want to do when I hear this record for this, as the picture on the front cover suggests, is a party record. Glocca Morra know how to write a good melody, they may seem to want to make it messy and add a bit of grunge here and there but the melody always comes through. They also like to say ‘Fuck’ a lot but, hey, who the fuck doesn’t. This is a highlight in a year packed full of them, go and listen because you won’t be disappointed!!

Here are some links to the things listed above:

Sirs – Sirs

Duck. Little Brother, Duck! – Don’t Take Our Filth Away

Sport – Colors

Glocca Morra – Just Married

Harrowed – S/T Demo

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