Advanced Single Review :: Tom Williams and The Boat – Get Older

The debut single from the debut album of Britain’s latest alt pop/rock champions prepares to sprout its wings and soar.


Tom Williams & The Boat

Capturing a violent and deeply malevolent sense of dread with indefatigable talent comes Tom Williams and The Boat’s first single from their upcoming album. “Get Older” is a track in which frustration and anger capture a country voice, indeed the sound of a love/hate relationship has never quite had its jugular torn out so violently.


Taking a much more numerous and now, sadly, overlooked approach to rock and alternative pop, Tom Williams and The Boat consists of a number of artists who contribute to the much bigger and overall huge sound of a band that is screaming for a chance. Having spent the last twelve months touring and receiving “critical” acclaim from the likes of Zane Lowe and other turgid spinners on the BBC, this band seem set for a major spike in popularity when their debut album Too Slow out on February 21st hits the general public.

As for the debut single from the album, “Get Older” is a stomping juggernaut of alternative rock. With the menacing vocals of Tom himself combined with a rapturous backing “orchestra”, the thumping drum beat of an unrelenting bass drum acts as a high octane pulse to this lament for lost love. The haunting acoustic guitars and fiddles ghost around the track, their spiritually lost sense of wonder acting as a fragile dance partner to Williams’ rasping vocals as the sad story of the play is acted out in a savage ballet.

In all as a debut, “Get Older” is as strong an effort as any rock and alternative pop act could produce in the current climate. Their popularity is established with various tours, festival dates and the aforementioned BBC radio treatment. It would seem that Tom Williams and The Boat have a prime opportunity on which to build themselves up and find a voice amongst the shouting.

Jonathan Whitelaw


The band’s debut album is released for download on February 21st, physical copies 28th February. More info can be found at their website: http://www.tomwilliamsandtheboat.co.uk/

Advanced Single Review :: Lanu – Beautiful Trash

Off the cuff Australian pop gears itself up to cheer up our miserable February.


Lanu

Lanu - Beatiful Trash © TruThoughts

Combining an immaculately clean production and bouncing, happy go lucky tempo, the latest single from Lanu and first from an upcoming album, “Beautiful Trash” is about to descend on the public. Featuring the vocal talents of Australian Megan Washington, this appears to be a good omen for the previously mentioned album, Her 12 Faces’ set for release later this year.


The brainchild of producer and guitarist Lance Ferguson, the mastermind between the Australian band The Bamboos, this solo project sees the combination of Ferguson and the lead vocalist of The Bamboos Megan Washington. This combination of talented young Australians has created a wonderfully eclectic mixture of funky, jolly pop that tries not to take itself or life in general too seriously.

A toe tapping, plodding melody combined with Washington’s wispy and enchanting vocals, “Beautiful Trash” feels more like a throwback to the carefree, hopeful days of 90s summer rock. Drawing comparisons to work like Cornershop’s “Brimful of Asha”, “How Bizarre” by OMC and more recently Goldenhorse’s “Out of the Moon” it is thoroughly pleasant to hear such an upbeat and fragrant song such as this during the darkened, grim months of a British winter.

Due for release on the 7th of February, “Beautiful Trash” is a significant and enjoyable forerunner for Lanu’s upcoming album. As a strong outing, hopes and expectations are now high for these Australian fun runners.

Jonathan Whitelaw


The single goes on sale on the 7th of February. More details can be found on Lanu’s official site: http://www.lanu.com.au/

Single Review :: Pendulum – Crush

Pendulum – Once a Production trio, then a live DnB act that most people hated, then a live Rock/DnB act that people accepted. As far as first impressions go, Crush is, well. It’s very Pendulum – it’s got the same kick and snare sound – AGAIN – and as far as the guitar work goes, it’s uninteresting at best. You can’t help but feel that the whole band would be about 4359663 times better if they just explored the music a little bit, maybe a bit of riff work, even just some drum fills would probably do it. I didn’t calculate that by the way, I just mashed the keyboard.  Crush is, basically, Propane Nightmares again, and from a band with massive potential, it’s unfortunate. Immersion saw collaborations with In Flames and Porcupine Tree, the haunting ballad of Witchcraft and the band bridging as far as dirty electro. It’s a little disappointing that Crush was chosen to be their fourth single – it’s the safe bet, quite honestly, and I would have taken The Fountain over it any day. Hell, I would have taken their remix of the ABC Theme over it.

That said, the chorus in this track is absolutely belting. Rob Swire’s once again got the doubling vocal effect going on, one of the band’s trademarks – and the keyboard, slightly Van Halen in its existence, delivers just what’s needed to bring the track together – a dark, awesome melody, and one that’s no doubt going to reinforce Pendulum’s main aim – to be one gnarly ass live band.

Whilst I’m not one to slate tracks (well, not much anyway,) Crush doesn’t have a whole lot going for it. I’ve no doubt people will enjoy it, but releasing a track with a sound that’s quickly tiring itself out doesn’t sit well with me. It just feels like – album filler.

That said, I’m looking forward to their new material, and hope things get really interesting. You can’t deny they’re doing something very original, and when they lay down a big track, it truly is terrifyingly good.

Single :: Skream & Example – Shot Yourself In The Foot Again

It’s not often that an artist duo create a song title as ironic as this. WHOOPS!

Okay, I might have badmouthed dubstep once (I’m sure at least a few of you remember this, thanks to 35+ replies calling me a “shit twat” etc) but I was rather naive then. Hey, it’s a new genre, there’s new dubstep artists emerging all the time, and there’s a lot of quality material out now. To these I previously offended, I’m not afraid to admit I was wrong, and I apologise to you.

Sadly, this is not the case for Skream and Example’s, or as I like to call them, Daphne and Celeste’s latest offering “Shot Yourself In The Foot.” For those that were unaware of Example in his early days, he was something of a legend. He was a bug-eyed white rapper with a fetish for parody tracks, and some serious stuff every now and then too, which wasn’t too bad. I’ll never forget his Britney Spears “Your breath’s fuckin’ Toxic,” and quite frankly, he was somewhat respectable. He could make you laugh. You could listen to his album and not tie your hair in knots, fair enough. It’s all gone a bit wrong since Kickstarts, although it did make for a half decent friday night track. This, for me, is Example’s “last straw” record. It’s clear with Shot Yourself In The Foot Again that he’s not going to bother trying to write decent music any more, so, bleh, I’m done. And stop singing through your nose.

Skream has showed huge potential in recent months. As 1/3 of Magnetic Man, arguebly the world’s first big live Dubstep act, he, along with Artwork and Benga have totally smashed dancefloors, selling out gigs around the country and landing headline spots at next year’s festivals, and with good cause. The music’s good, the live element is good, their vocalist is – well, not bad, and it’s great to see a group branching out to new extremes in electronic music. Tracks like Shot Yourself In The Foot make you wonder what exactly Skream contributes to Magnetic Man aside from a couple of  “pewww pewww” sounds, a bell sound not unlike those you find in FruityLoops’ standard setup and an Amen breakbeat.

Sorry guys, but it’s just, you know – Wop wop wop and a couple of bell noises again. It’s got an original vocal, but that doesn’t make it fantastic. The sad state of it is, too, this WILL do well and it WILL be played at every club I fucking go to, because tracks like this make it easier to pretend you like a genre of music. And on that note, I’m off to listen to, I dunno, punch my cat in his annoying keeps-me-awake-at-5am face until he screams to cleanse my ears. Until next time, “enjoy” this clip. Ergh. BLERGH!

Skream & Example – Shot Yourself In The Foot Again

Album Review :: Jamiroquai – Rock Dust Light Star

Jamiroquai have been around for 18 years and have produced some dancefloor classics. Now, they are back after a five year break but does ‘Rock Dust Light Star’ live up to any expectations we might have had after their previous albums?

Jamiroquai’s music has rarely fallen outside the “acid-funk” genre that best describes their sound and has generally been a hit across the board with young and old listeners alike. The changing faces of the collaborators have always been fronted by the effervescent Jay Kay and his outlandish hats. It has been argued that Jay Kay is best known for those hats, his love of fast cars and his penchant for famous (or not so) women, however, in terms of his music, there’s no denying there’s some clear songwriting ability, knowledge of how to seduce people with some of the best bass riffs around and some sustainable funk that’s maintained the band’s presence in the music industry for almost 2 decades.

Rock Dust Light Star has echoes of early 80’s disco combined with the synthesisers and technological tricks of today’s electric generation. Jay Kay’s vocal is, as always, up to scratch and the lyrics are (mostly) imaginative and interesting.

The majority of this album, the 7th for Jamiroquai, has a Saturday night pre-drinks vibe with a whiff of a lazy Sunday afternoon; a good album for the weekend. It’s the kind of album that may grace the Radio 2 playlist or an ’easy-listening for the over 30’s’ album but you’ll probably hear a track or two track on Radio 1 or have seen Jay Kay’s (awkward – after insulting the show’s judges) performance of “White Knuckle Ride” on the X Factor. All things considered, Jamiroquai seem to know how to create music for the masses and are understated but seemingly popular, with this album debuting at number 7 in the UK album chart.

After listening to the album a few times, the band have certainly found comfort in the familiar disco-ball funk that we would expect from them, with songs such as ‘White Knuckle Ride’ and ‘All Good In The Hood’ combining funky bass-riffs, falsetto vocals and sultry saxophones but unfortunately, songs such as ‘Blue Skies’ and ‘Never Gonna Be Another’, which stray from the usual dance-material and creep into the clichéd-pop category , fall short of the mark.

The opening and end of the album are good, with catchy songs and memorable instrumentals but there is a slight dip in the middle. Jay Kay singing cheesey ballads isn’t something I would expect and for me, doesn’t work, but the typical Jamiroquai funk will make me listen to the album, just not on repeat.

Perhaps it’s time, after 18 years, for the funk-veterans to move over and let new dubstep and electro bands take over the dancefloor? [J]

Thanks to Mercury Music for sending the album for review.

http://jamiroquai.co.uk/

Album Review :: Tinashé – Saved

Tinashé’s debut album, released earlier this year, would best be summarised as a colourful and varied collection of indie-pop tracks, lyrically reflecting the geographical journey from his birthplace in Zimbabwe to locations in the UK and his experiences throughout.

I first saw Tinashé last year when he supported Noisettes at the O2 Academy in Liverpool.  Some supporting acts blend into the background and are muted by mindless chatter from the crowd as they eagerly await the main performer but with Tinashé, I found myself listening intently and making a conscious effort to remember his name and follow his progress long after the gig was over. Not only was he an animated, confident and engaging performer; he showcased a selection of soulful, catchy and upbeat tracks that left me intrigued as to what material, if any, he’d released, what he was working on and his music in general.

Disappointed, after the gig, that I couldn’t find much of his music online, I sat tight and waited for his debut album and what an album he produced…’Saved’ is a triumph of a debut.

Although difficult to compare Tinashé to one specific musician or artist, a cocktail of comparisons may give you an idea of his sound: If you added a cheeky dash of early Hoosiers to a pint of Jack Penate, poured it over ice, slipped in a bit of Bloc Party and added a thick slice of Jamie T to your glass for decoration, you’d get a taste of Tinashé.

Bearing those comparisons in mind, Tinashé’s drawn his sound from a blend of many musical influences, which are hinted at on the album, from artists such as Prince and Michael Jackson, who Tinashé enjoyed as a child, to the story-telling of 90’s RnB artists like the Notorious BIG who intrigued Tinashé whilst growing up in London.  This fusion of classic musicality and great songwriting is what gives ‘Saved’ an edge. It successfully binds traditional concepts like strong guitar riffs, pounding pianos and some strategic strings with an upbeat and captivating vocal performance throughout.

‘Saved’ would easily please pop-lovers and certainly intrigue the indie-folk. There’s elements of hearty RnB lyrics and noughties experimental indie-pop. You could read into every single line of all the songs on the album, or delve into the “About” section on Tinashé’s website (linked below) which will tell you the ins and outs of his varied upbringing and specific occurrences that influenced him but I think it’s best to listen to the album and read into it what you will; apply it to yourself or listen freely to the music without thinking too much. Either way, I guarantee you’ll find yourself nodding along or subconsciously remembering the catchy refrains.

Despite being a well-rounded album, I think the stand-out tracks are: Saved, The Feeling, Good Times, Mr. Presumption & Every Single Day.

It was when thinking about my favourite albums of this year that I listened to ‘Saved’ again and decided to look online to see how it had been received. There was little in the way of reviews or opinions so I figured I would bring some to the table and hopefully invite others to give him a listen. The album was released in early 2010 so this article isn’t really a “Just released!” – “New Album Review!” – “Fantastic New Music!” type of post, more  “Why haven’t we heard a lot more about this guy?!”.

Tinashé is now continuing his journey, gigging in the UK following his debut release. If you get chance to see him, go!

http://www.tinashe.co.uk/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtfYWJFjS_U

Tinashé’s album is also on i-Tunes and Spotify.

[JC]

Advanced Single Review :: Films of Colour – Actions

The indie seen is flourishing so what does it take to succeed? Whatever it is, Films of Colour might just have it.


Films of Colour

Films of Colour

With an impressive resume that includes highly encouraging words from Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Films of Colour are about to make their mainstream, commercial debut this October with a rather interesting first single; Actions Having struggled recently with the very competitive market and highly dubious industry, Andy Clutterbuck and company deliver a performance that is sure to set the indie rock world alight.


As with many smaller artists in the current socio-economical climate, catching that one big break can be almost nightmarish to achieve, if not impossible. Never to be dejected however, there can sometimes be help in the strangest places, as Clutterbuck and his musical comrades found out. Of course it does always help when global superstar Chris Martin lives next door to you and, in a rather surprising act of generosity beyond the realms of his own stratosphere, gives your band a chance. This almost Cinderella tale of rags to (potential) riches is what has befallen Films of Colour, their music is not half bad either as it goes.

Kicking off this debut single, released on the 4th of October on Fandango Records, is the eponymous track “Actions”. With an eclecticly haunting mood, the tepid thunder of James Rees and James Hatcher in the percussion section announce the arrival of the band in a typically indie rock fashion. Clutterbuck’s vocals elict more than a few comparisons to his famous neighbour, his vocal range however delivering a competent and enjoyable trip through this master crafted world of remorse and potential life that the song undertakes.

On the B-Side of the album comes a much higher tempo, almost more upbeat track in the form of “Circles”. Once again Films of Colour’s deeply felt morose and indie flavoured sense of a pallid, non-caring world are very clearly stated. With the backing of a synth/electronica undercurrent, “Circles” once again demonstrates the band’s inept ability at story telling, imagery and artistic demeanour. The overall sound of the track has a chillingly cold sense of sensibility and pessimistic lethargy about it, lovingly crafted by the musicians. In particular, Jack Allinson on guitar is given full license to create a hauntingly beautiful guitar tone, its echoing resonance a microcosm for the overall themes of the song.

Overall this initial release from Films of Colour provides a deliciously tempting insight to what potential the band possess. In a market that is arguably overly crowded with purposely post post modern pessimism, Films of Colour appear to hold within their grasp individuality enough to perhaps create their own image and brand on an already successful genre. The single is released on October 4th on the Label Fandango.

Jonathan Whitelaw


Check out the band’s website for official release news and tour dates: http://www.filmsofcolour.com

Single Review :: The Magic Numbers – The Pulse

The latest release from The Magic Numbers as a preview of their upcoming album.


The Magic Numbers

The Magic Numbers © The Magic Numbers

Returning to their harmonious, country and vaguely indie rock roots, The Magic Numbers return with their latest single “The Pulse”. Also featured on the track are sneak previews of two songs from their upcoming album The Runaway scheduled for release later this year.


With a sound that made them traditional cult heroes with their debut album The Magic Numbers in 2005, the group was being hailed as the new champions of the folk and indie fusion that was sweeping the scene at the time. Through no fault of their own, The Magic Numbers were never truly able to conquer all who unfolded before them and by the time their second album, Those The Brokes was released in 2006 they had all but solidified their status as cult favourites and little else more. The true extent of this is the fact that they are currently still touring the country in a vague attempt at promotion for the album that debuted almost four years ago. However, with the prospect of the new album on the horizon, it would seem the band are preparing to stage somewhat of a comeback.

“The Pulse” itself is as interesting a single as the group could muster to release. A typically layered folk ballad, the soft, kindly spoken lyrics and vocals of Romeo Stodart encompass the listener within the fairy tail world that the band paint so very well in almost all of their songs. Coupled with the harmonic, almost spiritual backing vocals of the rest of the band, as musically sound as “The Pulse” is, there just seems to be a lack of kick and any real depth, or dare it be said, point to the song as it wistfully continues without ever really reaching a climax. Standing at almost five and a half minutes also means that listeners cannot really avoid the song, willfully waiting for an end that never really comes.

The other songs included on the single release, “Dead Mirrors” and “This Isn’t Happening” offer a much more focused return to previous form for the band. “Dead Mirrors” has a haunting, celtic quality, Stodart and his sister Michele coupled with percussionist Angela Gannon on vocals evoke the wonderfully crafted images. It is also worthy of note that a deep lineage of an almost country root running through the song. Drums from Sean Gannon pulse throughout the song evoking the image of galloping horses across a starry-lit prairie, sending a tingling shiver down the listeners’ spine.

“This Isn’t Happening” is much more of a single and suspected album filler track, the probable product of studio time spent that did not wish to be completely wasted. Once again the musical ability is without question, Stodart’s vocals here show particularly good range but the overall track once more feels like it lacks a purpose and direction. Its combination of a quiet ballad opening with a more up beat, more typically indie feeling chorus and second half feel clumsily put together that gives a less than convincing disjointed feel to the song. The thrashing symbols and drums also sound out of place, drowning out the remaining percussion and guitars at points which, coupled with the repetitive nature of the lyrics do not do much for the band or their product.

Overall the release of The Pulse is in general a good enough release to tease fans and occasional listeners of the band’s work. However it is greatly hoped that these songs are merely samples and not an overall representation of the album as a whole. That would be majorly disappointing as it would fail to spark the initial enthusiasm and pleasurable enjoyment that led to The Magic Numbers’ success. The single is on general release from 31/5/10.

Jonathan Whitelaw


Check out the band’s official website. The single is also available for download from itunes: http://www.themagicnumbers.net/

Electro Filth for 2010 :: Noisia – Split the Atom

Take a shotgun. Put barrel in mouth. Pull trigger.

Enter club toilets. Nod at freshen-up man. Slip across a crisp twenty. Take all in one go.

Buy a strobe light. Turn it to fastest setting. Stare at it for 3 days.

There are many ways to fuck with your head this summer, but buying Noisia’s new single is probably the easiest…


‘Split the Atom’ is a ridiculously filthy mix of electro and thumping bassline, awesomely catchy hooks and breaks to die for. The title-track off the Dutch trio’s critically-acclaimed album of the same name, this is gonna be dropping on dancefloors for sure. Single is out on 31st May.

Check out the sweet vid below which caused a little bit of bother on YouTube recently…


Noisia | MySpaceTwitterFacebook

Single Review :: B-Complex – Beautiful Lies

It’s one of those rare tracks that the more demented producers can only dream of – the image of tranquillity and anarchy in perfect harmony.

hospitality records

The pads scream dark and twisted, the chopped and screwed vocals form a haunting melody, and the drums pound on at a stupid level of intensity. The bassline heard and not just felt, because it’s more of a slap in the face than a subtle frequency filler – the rhythm jitters and drives, as any hectic drum n bass should, and the drums pound on at a stupid level of intensity. The fills turn your dancing sketchy, the ridiculous amount of reverb on the melody, the strings move in you, and the drums pound on. At a stupid level of intensity.

Beautiful Lies.

Label: Hospital Records Catalogue: NHS154 Format: 4×12″ Release Date: 15th June 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hb1NM5wZ1Q