Tag Archives: sport

The Is This Thing On? Top 20 Records of 2014

Working out this list has made me realise that, although this hasn’t been the best year for new music (found myself at some points being much more excited by old music than new), there has been some flipping brilliant records this year. Deciding upon a top 20 has been harder than I first imagined, but I did it!! So here we go:

20. Hightide Hotel – Naturally

hightide

After announcing they would be splitting up in 2012, there was always promise they would release one more LP. Luckily we got it this year and it was worth the wait. A brilliant swan song record that reminds of how bummed you were when you heard they were calling it a day.

To stream/download click HERE

19. Gnarwolves – S/T

gnarw

I think Gnarwolves played a blinder not rush releasing their debut full length record. They have been relentlessly gigging for years but this year seemed the perfect time to put this record out and with it they’re likely to take over the world. Some bands have been trying to defend pop punk for ages but Gnarwolves have delivered a record which makes that an actual possibility. Fantastic!!

To buy click HERE

18. Playlounge – Pilot

play

I must start by saying that the 2 guys that make up Playlounge are two of the nicest people you’re ever likely to meet. It was an honour to put them on in Margate at the start of the summer, I listened to ‘Pilot’ so much around that time, when I put it on now it takes me right back!

To stream/download click HERE

17. Dikembe – Mediumship

dikem

That difficult second record handled perfectly with all the usual heart you’ve come to expect from Dikembe, backed up by a big slab of 90s grunge. A mix that works so well, ‘Mediumship’ is an album I’ve returned too lots over the last few months. It’s a really relaxed and easy listen, love it!

To stream/download click HERE

16. Three Man Cannon – Pretty Many People

threeman

American Indie music in the great tradition of bands like Pavement, Grandaddy and Built To Spill will always make me weak at the knees when done well. It completely bowls me over when done as well as Three Man Cannon do on ‘Pretty Many People’. I didn’t really know what to expect when I put it on for the first time and have been consistently blown away by it on each listen since. Great record!!

To stream/download click HERE

15. Cosmic Thoughts – S/T

CT

It’s been a really great year for Cosmic Thoughts and the local scene that they’ve had a big hand in reinvigorating. Their S/T debut record is infectious beat after infectious beat and far too good to be ignored. If you haven’t already please check the album out, you won’t regret it.

To stream/download click HERE

14. Cayetana – Nervous Like Me

cayeta

The early promise shown on their demo and 7″ is fully realised on ‘Nervous Like Me’. A lot of people had high hopes for this record and I’ve not heard of anyone being disappointed. Lo-fi indie punk in the form of 3 minute pop gems delivered to perfection!

To stream/download click HERE

13. Acid Fast – Rabid Moon

af

This was the first new record I got this year and I knew I’d be discussing it here with you now even then. ‘Rabid Moon’ bounces along with plenty of energy and not a fuzzy note out of place.

To stream/download click HERE

12. Baton Rouge – Totem

baton

Kicking myself that I missed the opportunity to see Baton Rouge on their recent UK tour, in fact this year has not been the best for me getting to shows, something that will hopefully be rectified next year. This album is an amazing progression from a superb debut record, it’s beautifully packaged and completely sets them apart from being just another French screamo band.

To stream/download click HERE

11. Prawn – Kingfisher

prawnn

Whilst never quite reaching the dizzy heights of their last EP ‘Ships’, ‘Kingfisher’ definitely cements Prawn’s position as one of the leading lights in the current wave of Emo bands. They have really made this post rock/indie Emo crossover sound their own and have been consistently brilliant on every release, ‘Kingfisher’ is no exception.

To stream/download click HERE

10. Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere else

cloud

Fucking ATP! Cancelling Jabberwocky just days before I was supposed to attend, meaning I missed out on seeing an array of incredible bands – namely Cloud Nothings. ‘Here and Nowhere Else’ is perhaps the catchiest and fastest indie rock album of the year. Love it.

To buy click HERE

9. Crows-An-Wra – Kalopsia

crows

It’s amazing that in 2014 bands can still push the envelope of what post hardcore is and how it sounds, but that’s exactly what Cornwall’s Crows-An-Wra do on their debut LP, ‘Kalopsia’. The result is terrifyingly brilliant. The electronic melody mixed with the vain bursting screams of 2nd track ‘Perseus’ make for one of my favourite songs of the year.

To stream/download click HERE

8. Sport – Bon Voyage

sport1

As I said in my review of ‘Bon Voyage’ at the start of the year, if you’re gonna include on one of your songs a sample of Steve Buscemi talking from my favourite film of all time, Fargo, then you’re gonna get me on side straight away. Sport did just that. Obviously it helps that it’s backed up by some of the best indie/Emo/punk music of the year. Still can’t believe they’ve called it a day.

To stream/download click HERE

7. Kind Eyes – It’s ok, It’s not ok

kind

I don’t even this has been or will be released apart from being made available on bandcamp, hopefully it will and if it does, buy all the copies you can. It’s fucking brilliant. Margate’s finest smashing out riff after riff, it just gets better and better throughout the record. Love these guys!!

To stream/download click HERE

6. Tigers Jaw – Charmer

charm2

Deep down, everyone knew Tigers Jaw would be just fine. They are one of the most consistently brilliant bands of the last few years, something which they further proved with the amazing ‘Charmer’ released earlier this year. They are the ultimate downbeat indie/Emo Rock band.

To stream/download click HERE

5. Human Hands – S/T

hh3

After being completely blown away by Human Hands when I saw them live for the first time in 2013, I knew their debut LP would be one of the highlights of 2015 and I wasn’t wrong. 6 songs so gut wrenchingly beautiful and heartfelt that they leave you exhausted by the end. The gloriously lo-fi packaging tops off what is a must have record!

To stream/download click HERE

4. Plaids – Plaids

plaids

Plaids recently called it a day, which is way more than an utter shame, but not before releasing a killer record. Channeling influences like Dag Nasty/Jawbox etc.. into what is an essential and relevant modern punk record. This band will be missed 😦

To stream/download click HERE

3. Braid – No Coast

braidno

I’m sorry but did Braid not only reform but come back with one of the albums of their career? Yes they bloody well did. It still surprises me (in a really good way) just how amazing this record is, in a year of disappointing ‘nu-emo’ records it’s a big relief that some of the forefathers of this movement can come back and show everyone how it’s done. Hopefully they’re here to stay.

To stream/download click HERE

2. Papayér – Boo

papayer

What could possibly make an Emo band even better? Well, one answer may be to take a huge Pavement influence and put out an album of incredibly well crafted pop songs. This is what Papayér have done and the results are astonishing. British independent music is in a really good place right now and, for me, Papayér are right at the forefront. And if they keep making music as good as this it won’t be long until they’re my favourite band. Incredible!

To stream/download click HERE

1. Empire! Empire! (I was a lonely estate) – You Will Eventually Be Forgotten

eeiwale1

They made us wait a hell of a long time for the full length follow up to 2009’s debut LP ‘What It Takes To Move Forward’ but 2014 finally bought the long promised new record. And what a blindingly brilliant record it is. Empire! Empire! (I was a lonely estate) are unique, not in the style of music they play which follows a great Emo tradition, but in the fact that they have made this sound completely their own. You who it is as soon as you hear the first notes being played. Also, switching to a straight, autobiographical narrative to the lyrics set this record apart from anything they have put out before. ‘You will eventually be forgotten’ is a really wonderful record, and thoroughly deserves to be album of the year. Thanks guys x

To stream/download click HERE

Thanks for reading. Get in touch. http://www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog, ittoblog@gmail.com, or Twitter @alex_itto

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

REVIEW: SPORT – BON VOYAGE

Band – Sport

Album – Bon Voyage

Label – Good Post Day Records (UK)

Bandcamp – http://sport.bandcamp.com/album/bon-voyage

sport1

Wow! 2014 has really hit the ground running. There is a huge amount of amazing records being released and previewed on an almost daily basis, I feel like I’m swamped already. If you’ve read this blog a lot before then you’ll know I don’t get to sleep much and we’re being made to move house at the moment so free time to write is very limited. But, so we don’t fall behind, I’m gonna try and write as much as I can about as much as I can in short, sweet bursts so hopefully nothing will get forgotten about. And where better to start than with the incredibly exciting new full length from Sport!?!

Ok, if you want some advice of how to get me on side with your bands album then you can pick up some very helpful tips from ‘Bon Voyage’ by Sport. In my eyes, these guys from Lyon, France are doing everything right. They play 90s emo, now I know that is beginning to be something that is putting people off so instead maybe I should say, they’re playing emo the way it’s meant to be played. With immense amounts of energy, heart and a great deal of skill.

They have packed so many hooks and melody into these 11 songs it’s unreal and what makes it better is that it is at no point samey. Sport are not one trick ponies, they deliver an album which takes influence from the entire emo spectrum. ‘Charles Lindberg’, one of the highlights of the album, takes it’s lead from Spraynard, the are echoes of Crash Of Rhinos type post hardcore on ‘Ulrike Maier’ and aspects of Braid, Algernon and Hot Water Music through the rest of the record. But, saying that, ‘Bon Voyage’ is not just a record where you can see a range of influences on display, that takes away the credit that Sport duly deserve for creating a completely brilliant album.

A sign that I know that this is a good record is when I’m playing it full blast in the car, every so often a bit will come up, it’s not always the same bit each time, and I’ll just sit back and think ‘Damn, this is a good record!!’. That may seem like an obvious sign but I thought it was well worth mentioning. I also have an annoying habit where I sing along, loudly, without knowing any of the words. It’s so catchy but the lyrics are quite hard to make out, even so, I don’t see this as a valid reason to not be singing along. This may get on your nerves when I’m doing it at their upcoming UK tour but that’ll be your problem for you to deal with.

This is the first, of hopefully many, truly incredible record of 2014. And one more tip on getting me on side with your band, include a sample, like Sport do on ‘Jacques Mayol’ from the film Fargo. It’s guaranteed to make me love your band forever, like I will Sport!!!! (You’ll probably notice a pretty sweet Stand By Me sample at the beginning too, which is cool, but it’s no Fargo)

Thanks for reading. Get in touch here, or on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog or on twitter @alex_itto or email ittoblog@gmail.com

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

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

www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog

Thanks for reading, feel free to comment/share etc.. More to come soon

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,