Sexy Single In Our Area - September 2018

A selection of music, new and old, that grabbed our attention during September 2018 from around the globe.

Omar Addis - Roll of the Dice

Our first single, and one of the sexiest, is taken from Omar Addis’ new E.P.: Double Digits. Released on Sept 19th, these tracks blend contemporary pop vocals with electronic rhythms and weaving, psychedelic guitar lines.

Listeners may hear references to Coldplay and recent Radiohead, but in a refreshingly well-produced and musically intriguing package.

Listen to more on Omar’s SoundCloud page, or keep up-to-date via Facebook.

KdotMelody - Windows

Here we have a brand new single from rapper KdotMelody, produced by Semantic ONE. Windows comes from their up-coming single SPECTRUM, releasing in October to all major platforms. This new music video, dir. Hattie Hughes, shows the duo enjoying the rare London sun.

KdotMelody has a smooth but clear flow, which is complemented by Semantic ONE’s track - contemporary flourishes with a satisfyingly 90’s feeling vibe.

You can follow KdotMelody over most socials: @KdotMelody.

Penny Mob - 21st Century Kids

In a similar vein to a Bad Religion track from 1994, 21st Century Kids is Penny Mob’s reflection on the millennial generation’s attachment to the internet, technology and all the associated superficiality, (crikey, that’s a good word).

Penny Mob believe themselves to be more than a band: “It’s the coming together of people, of anyone who dreams to be a part of something, and who carry the same feelings inside that we do and all human beings do.”

Get more info from the band’s Facebook page, or listen to more on SoundCloud.

ag. - All Falls Down

An artful collaboration between Ross Quinn and Andrew Goddard fresh off the back of successful DJ and production careers. Remeniscent of Bonobo, Maribou State, Burial and Four Tet, the duo’s latest track All Falls Down is an emotive and ethereal one.

Their debut single, Warped Minds, was very well recieved and recieved great support from BBC Introducing.

Listen to more on Soundcloud or stay up-to-date on Facebook.


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Sexy Singles In Our Area - August 2018

A selection of music, new releases and old, which landed in our inbox or otherwise arrive at our ear holes during August 2018 from around the globe.

He Arrived By Helicopter - Cold Damn Truth

A new single from the latest project by Christian Gibbs, formerly of Morning GloriesFoetus and Modern EnglishHe Arrived By Helicopter is a project leaning more towards the improvisational sound textures of guitar processing and loops with occasional synthesizers and samples. Sometimes Gibbs performs solo with a few amps or sometimes with a band, often instrumental. Cold Damn Truth is the exciting first single from debut album The Shiny Hostel.

Listen to more on SoundCloud

Michael DeLara - I Wish (I Could Have Known You Better)

A simply-arranged by very characterful track accompanied by an equally charming lyric video. This track is from the one man show Living Between The Lines, written by and performed by Californian Michael DeLara. Warning, this chorus is a real ear worm.

Listen on Spotify  or visit Michael's website

Ninja Sex Party - First Date

NSFW Warning - Ninja Sex Party are not for prudish. Imagine a blend of the biggest comedy and parody bands from Steel Panther to Flight of the Conchords, presented with charming animations and larger-than-life characters. First Date is taken from NSP's new album, Cool Patrol, in which they recruit TWRP as their funky, synthwave backing band. Having been active for nearly a decade, the band have hit the big time comparitatively recenty. As we've followed them since the very early days, we're excited to see where this takes them.

You can watch more, (like, lots more), on NSP's YouTube Channel or grab a copy of Cool Patrol over here.

HANNIE - Cheap Talk (Remix)

HANNIE deliver their high-tempo pop-funk vibe on their remix of LENN's Cheap TalkHANNIE is made up of pianist Hannah Koppenburg and guitarist Annie Wagstaff. They have a combined Instagram following of over 200k and have used their success on the platform as a launchpad for their own project. HANNIE have released three singles to date with coverage from Wonderland and KickKickSnare, as well as features on Spotify’s New Pop Revolution and NMF playlists.

Check out HANNIE's website or Facebook Page

Brian Owens - Ring Of Fire

The critically acclaimed album Soul of Cash features tasteful arrangements of Johnny Cash's classic tracks and is now available on vinyl. Owen's rendition of Ring of Fire caught our ear immediately - it's easy to go over-the-top when arranging classic tracks, but this rendition is pure and splendid. Co-produced by former Jack White drummer Daru Jones and featuring the skills of Robert Randolph & The Family Band, this album aims to show you where soul and country meet.

Visit Brian's website or purchase this disk from SoulStepRecords.com

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Jong SL - Driving Away

Toronto-based Jong SL tells us that "DrivingAwayis about wanting to run away from the reality of losing someone". The single was released this month and his musical influences are clear: Mac Demarco, Allen Stone, Coldplay. The artist's first E.P., Ice Cream, was bright and uplifting in stark contrast to his new release.

We strongly encourage you to listen to Driving Away and Jong SL's back-catalogue.

Visit JongSL.com or listen on Spotify

All In Orchestra - Fast&Smooth

The All In Orchestra are an interesting lot: live electronic music combining classical and contemporary instruments. This track, Fast&Smooth is from their upcoming live album performed New Stage of Alexandrinsky Theatre in St. Petesburg. All In Orchestra describe themselves as "multi-timbral Contemporary Instrumental Music from the Northern Capital of Russia."

Listen to more on SoundCloud or watch a full live set right here.

Julius LeVallon - Thinking In Curves

Don't let the simple video fool you - this gentle, ambience evolves into a complex and layered track. LeVallon's album Moraleda is out now on digital platforms, following the quick depletion of all physical pressings. The album was recorded last winter on the outskirts of a village in Spain, surrounded by howling dogs and endless olive groves.

Listen to more on BandCamp


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Sexy Singles In Our Area - July 2018

New and old music which we've discovered, or otherwise had thrust into our ears during the month of July 2018.

The Micronauts - Acid Party

The lead single from the new album by Christophe Monier’s left-field techno and acid house project, The Micronauts. Inspired by dark sci-fi series like Real Humans and Black Mirror, this acid house track tells the story of a female android who violently frees herself from her patriarchal imprisonment.

Listen to more on SoundCloud or visit the official website

Ryan Kinder - Stay

Ryan Kinder's new single Stay confirms his command as a triple-threat writer, powerhouse performer and guitar wizard. This hard-hitting ballad delivers a compelling emotional message. Kinder captures the intensity of the lyric and melody with a virtuosic vocal and high-impact guitar solo, all of which heralds his place in the spotlight as a newly unfettered and independent artist.

Listen on Spotify, or find more info on RyanKinder.com

Blue Alatar - Eesabigguntho

A boystrous, crunchy rock track layered with glitch FX and an eastern-sounding melody. The 2nd single from Blue Alatar's up-coming debut album, Irradiated Hamster Alert. Along with this single, we're treated to an abstract audio visualisation video that matches the intriguing audio.

Download the track for free from BandCamp, SoundCloud, Newgrounds

The Human Project - That One Percent

Promoting their new album, politically-charged tech-punks The Human Project revealed their new single That One Percent. The Human Project can be counted among the cream of the crop when it comes to European skate-punk and technical punk rock scene. Recently touring with the likes of A Wilhelm Scream and sharing stages with Less Than Jake, Mad Caddies, and Agent Orange, the band have attracted fans internationally from their touring efforts.

The album, Clarion Call is available on BigCartel now.

Powderhead - Mad Phil

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Powderhead represent one of the hardest working, most consistently gigging bands from our neck of the woods. Their debut album,Don't Let Them Win, is now available to the world, along with it the music video for Mad PhilPowderhead combine modern and classic rock influences to create a wall of sound you can smash your face into.

Get more info and watch the new video on Facebook or download the album via BandCamp

Sailor Beast - My Favourite Ex

An oddly hypnotic track from multi-genre producer Sailor Beast, heralding the release of her debut album this month - expect elements of reggae, trip hop, hip hop and funk. Sailor Beast represents the quirky, passionate, 100% independent music that we love to promote.]

More info on Facebook, or listen on SoundCloud.


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Blue Alatar - Irradiated Hamster Alert

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British Cinematic-Rock studio band, Blue Alatar, have revealed their debut instrumental album: Irradiated Hamster Alert. The 10-track album combines elements of heavy, modern rock with crunchy, psychedelic synths and cinematic sound design. Exciting tracks keep listeners on their toes with epic orchestras, groovy riffs and soaring guitar solos. The album has received praise from steampunk MC Professor Elemental, amongst others.

The bands cite a variety of influences: riffs and solos are influenced by classic and modern rock bands from Whitesnake to Black Stone Cherry; whilst Ozric Tentacles are responsible for inspiring the various synth textures and arpeggio patches. The big percussion, orchestral elements and sound designs are inspired by film composers Hans Zimmer and Bear McCreary. Of the new release, guitarist and project-leader Liam Taylor says: “Irradiated Hamster Alert has been an on-and-off project for several years. It tells the story of a radioactive hamster, Gilbert, overthrowing a tyrannical robot panda. Storytelling through instrumental music isn’t easy, but I found it a uniquely engaging challenge. Music isn’t meant to be taken seriously - I hope that comes across.” The music of Blue Alatar, whilst largely written by Liam, features long-time collaborator Si Pettit, (Subterranean Popular), on bass, 12-string guitar and as co-writer.

Based on Rise of Pandapoppolis, we are excited to hear the album in full. It promises to be an exhillirating blend of genres with creative sound design and flashy guitar-work.

Irradiated Hamster Alert will be available to the public on September 8th 2018, over Spotify, most streaming services including Blue Alatar’s BandCamp.

LINKS

Gad Zukes - Anyone Out There?

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Review by Liam Taylor. Today I'm listening to the new 5 track +1 bonus track E.P. from Gad ZukesFight The Silence. Opening with a satisfyingly crunchy guitar-driven stacatto, Take Another Shot is an upliftingly combative rocker. The combined female and male vocals put me in mind of Fletwood Mac and Steeleye Span, (if that's not a complement then I'm afraid we can't be friends), but with modern-feeling production, riffs and vocal harmony.

The reggae-infused Make It Happen has a Police-esque rhythm section and catchy vocals. Of particular note are the Stewart Copeland style drums. There's a slightly jarring electro 2nd verse which I imagine would work really well for live performances. It's not so effective on the record, (IMO), but it does serve to add dynamic variety to the piece. The chorus is charminly uplifting: "look towards the future; make it happen, make it happen."

Track 3 is the softer, low-tempo How Can I. There's some interesting chord choices which make this much more than a standard, formulaic ballad. The track features some gentle, tasteful guitar playing along with a steady rhythm section.

Electric Vibe opens with a vocal hook which quickly sets the tone for this memorable stomper. Some expert ukulele playing thickens out the rock ensemble to a degree you wouldn't expect of a ukulele, and also adds a unique sonority which helps the track stand out. Some deft drum fills and walking bass lines remeniscent of early Status Quo will get this track stuck in your head.

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Track 5 starts small - oddly, something in the lead vocals remind me of Jemaine Clements. Perhaps the aquatic theme is putting me in mind of the Moana Soundtrack. As the track progresses, it developes into the kind of massive anthem in which we'd usually expect cheap Millenial Whoops, but GadZukes manage to avoid such cliché.

We're graced by a light and summery bonus track, which keeps the aquatic vibe - in keeping with Loz's fantastic albm art. The Good Stuff features a charming acoustic guitar melody, country bass, simple rhythm and airy vocal harmonies. There's a bit too much too this track to call it "twee", and the cheeky lyrics keep it from feeling too dainty. I agree, we should all "make love... -ly cakes"

Altogether, Anyone Out There? is a solid disk. Fans of Fleetwood Mac, GooGoo Dolls and similar pop-rock acts will find plenty to enjoy here, especially given the diversity between the tracks. If you're lucky enough to get the opportunity to see Gad Zukes live, I highly recommend you take it.

If you like, you can read Mickey Nicholas' review of Gad Zukes' Fight The Silence.

Links


Oh, hi! Still reading? Well, that's helpful actually, because we have something to tell you: Stabbed Panda is an independent music blog, run by a handful of people for whatever trickle of ad money we can get. We hope we can keep uploading stuff here for a long time, and keep access to it free without resorting to hideous, intrusive adverts. If you'd like to show some support and help us do that, please take a look at our Patreon Page and unlock some rewards. Ta.

Professor Elemental - School Of Whimsy

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Review by Liam Taylor. This month sees the release of School Of Whimsy from Chap-Hop MC extrordinaire, Professor Elemental. Along with guests, frequent collaborators and Mighty Boosh-esque comedy skits, the Professor guides new students through the finer points of being whimsical.

In the opening rap of the opening track, Words from the Headmaster, what strikes me the most is the Professor's flow. He's never been a slow or unskilled rapper, by any means, but the skill with which these vocals are performed makes an impact very early on. A short track, but impressive nonetheless.

Downside Up is a summer romp in which Ella Jeans's vocals put me in mind of Lily Allen / early Sia -style pop. Especially in the vocal harmonies, skanky guitars and horn section, all of which contribute to the summer vibe. The Professor is great at creating lyrics that make you think for a moment: "like Clark in a crisis, time to go change" (really now, I can't spell it out for you).

Now we're on to my favourite track from School of Whimsy - One Too Many. The combination of humorous concept, catchy chorus and deft vocal performance make this track for me. Lyrically the track is about the trials of being on tour, the logical solution is to clone oneself. In a whimsical twist, the Professor ends up dueting himself. The pacing of the chorus is particularly fun - it feels like it's on the cusp of going too fast, but that's most likely intentional to suit the mood of the track.

Track 7 is essentially the British, more accurate version of Macklemore's hit - especially given The Spoken Herd's similarity to Macklemore's vocal style. Jumble Sale features a jaunty piano loop, horns, organ and lyrics that imply this lyricist has actually attended a jumle sale, (or been in a Thrift Shop), at some point. Our guest rapper's flow is particularly impressive and entertaining.

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It's become a fad in recent times to embrace your anxieties, or at least to publicly declare them, (or maybe that's just my snowflakie echochamber?) It can get a bit gross after a while, but the subject is elequently handled in track 8, Nervous. A swinging romp through the Professor's apprehensions, which could be a nascent theme on this album.

Make Good Art pt2, (the follow-up to a track on the most recent Menagerie album, which we also reviewed), is similar in tone and rhythm to it's predecessor, but is more of the timid, younger brother. Timid isn't a bad thing, it's still "Good Art".

SQRL is a down-tempo whodunnit, (well, it would be if the title wasn't a massive clue), where the Professor awakens to find one of his shoes missing and his cuppa spoilt. Storytelling is one of Professor Elemental's strengths and this is a track in which he's able to create an immersive and engaging world in only a few minutes.

Tom's House is a sweet track, ostensibly dedicaed to Tom Caruana. Sabira Jade's simple but catchy chorus elegantly compliments Elemental's descriptive rap and the summer reggae vibe of the track.

Track 16, (and the final vocal track of the album), Good Morning is another example of Professor Elemental's rapping ability and punneriffic lyrics are certainly enough to get me out of bed in the.... well, maybe not the morning. Equally skillful is frequent collaborator, turntablist Nick Maxwell, who lends his aid to close the track - no baby scratching here though, these skills demonstrate precisely why Maxwell is on the Professor's roster. Good Morning got it's own video as well, embedded below for your viewing pleasure.

Sunskip, is an instrumental number by Tom Caruana featuring sampled vocals that get inside your head despite being hard to decipher, along with a driving rhythm, subtle but acid-like synths and charming flute, (or clarinet?), loop.

Overall, School of Whimsy is a fun, witty and unique album, which you can stick on repeat and still find engaging. Trust me, I have tried. The timing of the release is impecable, being as this is the first sunshine I've seen in months and the album perfectly matches my current mood. This will be my 2018 summer album, I'm sure it'll be yours too.

You can enroll in the School of Whimsy yourself through Elemental's website,

Links


Oh, hi! Still reading? Well, that's helpful actually, because we have something to tell you: Stabbed Panda is an independent music blog, run by a handful of people for whatever trickle of ad money we can get. We hope we can keep uploading stuff here for a long time, and keep access to it free without resorting to hideous, intrusive adverts. If you'd like to show some support and help us do that, please take a look at our Patreon Page and unlock some rewards. Ta.

The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing - Double Negative

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Review by Liam Taylor. Fantastical Victorian Steampunkers, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, are releasing their new album Double Negative this Friday, (March 9th). Pre-orders can be acquired through Bandcamp, where you can also stream the lead single and opening track, Supply and Demand.

This collection of tracks are all focused on the grim realities of life in Victorian Britain - track 1 is no exception. Supply and Demand puts vocalist Andy Heintz into the shoes of bodysnatchers Burke & Hare. Musically, it's a punky shout-along which is self-aware enough to not last longer than 2 minutes.

Our 2nd track, Baby Farmer is about Amelia Dyer, infamous for drowning unwanted babies in the Thames. The vocals are reminiscent of classic English punk - Sham69 and the like. The guitars here lie somewhere between traditional punk and NWBHM, especially the edgy intro riff.

Hidden focuses on guitarist & vocalist Andrew O'Neill's Magick obsession. It even features O'Neill performing The Bornless Ritual towards the end of an instrumental section.

Disease Control features a jarring coutnerpoint between "normal" and shouty vocals. It grows on you though, it's just a bit unexpected at first. Lyrically, the track looks at one of the Victorian period's scientific advances: John Snow's discovery that 1854's Soho cholera epidemic was waterborne.

Track 5 focuses on the gluttony and depravity of Prince Bertie, Queen Victoria's massively overweight son. The humorous lyrics in Obscene Fucking Machine appeal directly to the anti-monarchist in me, who doesn't get as much air time as he should.

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Occam's Razor remains prevalent in some way throughout the track. The track becomes even more intriguing when we reach a fast-paced vocal section, almost rap-like in it's deftness. Perhaps surprisingly,  this is is the first track the band have released about Jack The Ripper - although they're not fantasising about the mythos, rather pointing out the grossness of it being used to sell books.

God is in the Bottom Line is about child labour, which was commonplace during Victoria's reign. Fittingly, this is an aggressive track, especially with Jez Miller's frantic, hardcore punk drums.

The hillariously on-the-nose title of track 8 gives some hint as to it's content. There She Glows is a dissonant love song addressed to scientist Marie Curie, who pioneered experiments with radiation. Bassist & Vocalist Marc Burrows tells us “Her actual recipe book is still radioactive. You have to handle it with special gloves.

It's hard to work out whether the impassioned finale, There's Going to be a Revolution, is about historical unrest or the alleged Commie uprising we're, (apparently), living through. It's an odd choice to close the album - ending with a cavalcade of distorted guitars over a very repetetive riff and electronic-sounding drum loop. Maybe that's the point, they're making some kind of statement? A rare miss judging by the rest of the disk.

Overall, there's something on Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing's new album for punks, metalheads and anybody who's sick of the rose-tinted glasses through which Steampunk views a pretty unpleasent era. Musically, we're not breaking any boundaries but that's fine - the tracks are well-written, well-constructed and well-produced. They do much more than support the lyrics, which are compelling from both a poetic standpoint and a comic one. Worth a listen: 8/10.

Tour Dates

  • MON 12 MAR - Nottingham, Rescue Rooms

  • TUE 13 MAR - Newcastle, Trillians

  • WED 14 MAR - Edinburgh, Bannermans

  • THU 15 MAR - Birmingham, Castle & Falcon

  • SAT 17 MAR - York, Fulford Arms

  • SUN 18 MAR - Milton Keynes, Craufurd Arms

  • MON 19 MAR - Cardiff, Globe

  • TUE 20 MAR - Chester, The Live Rooms

  • WED 21 MAR - Leicester, The Shed

  • THU 22 MAR - Exeter, The Cavern

  • FRI 23 MAR - London, The Dome

  • SAT 24 MAR - Southampton, Joiners

  • SUN 25 MAR - Bristol, The Exchange

  • TUE 17 JUL - Detroit US, Motor City Steamcon

LINKS


Oh, hi! Still reading? Well, that's helpful actually, because we have something to tell you: Stabbed Panda is an independent music blog, run by a handful of people for whatever trickle of ad money we can get. We hope we can keep uploading stuff here for a long time, and keep access to it free without resorting to hideous, intrusive adverts. If you'd like to show some support and help us do that, please take a look at our Patreon Page and unlock some rewards. Ta.

Navajo Ace - Five Turnings

Review by Si Pettit. Worcester isn't a place people normally associate with any particular genre of music. That's not to say that the musical output of the city itself has been lacking. Rather, it seems harder for any bands to really stand out there.

I've never been, so for all I know there's a thriving indie scene that is just waiting to be taken advantage of by the ears of thousands, if not tens of thousands. The only two notable musicians to hail from the county that spring to mind, (or are the first two people on Google), are Dave Mason of Traffic, and Karl Hyde of Trance duo Underworld. If, however, and this is a relatively big if, there is a new act out there that can show the rest of the country that, yes, they do have a scene and it's just as good as anyone else's, then Navajo Ace are most likely to be the band that does it.

Navajo Ace describe themselves as a "new dynamic indie rock band from Worcester, UK". Boldly sallying-forth with their claim that they're "garnering themselves a reputation as an interesting underground band that make music with power and soul". I can't personally verify this, given that I don't live anywhere near Worcester, but I'll happily take their word for it (for now). Remember kids: Self-belief in your own brand is crucial. Today we're listening to Navajo Ace's 5-track debut E.P. Five Turnings.

As soon as first track, Tiger in the Tank, starts I'm struck with how much vocalist Adam Barnes sounds like head Decemberist Colin Meloy in the first 14 seconds. Consisting of Adam and his guitar, before drummer Crag Sharpe informs the rest of the band that the song has started properly now. As soon as Alex Stobart and Christian Burton chime in, (guitar and bass respectively), I was instantly recalling the subtly tempered rawness of British Sea Power. In particular, the breakdown at roughly 2 minutes in being very reminiscent yet not derivative, as the band make good use of dynamic changes to accentuate the energy with which the track had started, including a very self-reflective outro normally only heard in the music of established indie stadium acts from 2008.

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Navajo Ace have managed to tap into a particular thread of post-millenial Indie rock acts like Abandoned Pools and The Tender Box , whilst retaining a little bit of the early 90's angst that recent Alternative Rock was all too eager to shed, deciding instead to try and 'mature'. Both Underneath Cars and Awkward Places take me back to 2006, (specifically 2006). Both tracks seem to be to halves to the same overall theme, though with their own unique configurations.

Even the music video for Underneath Cars (which is helpfully embedded at the bottom of this article), is reminiscent of the era it's emulating so well, even going so far as to set fire to Ernie and Elmo toys from Sesame Street. Either way, they directly connect with the angst that all of us have coursing through our veins whether we like to admit it or not. These songs perfectly capture that bittersweet prelude to adolescence, too young to care, old enough to know better, and everything's just happening around you all the time regardless of your input.

Five Turnings, for me at least, is the stand-out track, and that's not just because it shares its name with the E.P. It has a wonderfully triumphant-sounding vibe that you'd be forgiven for thinking was a lost My Vitriol track from 2003. The vocal line sounds almost nursery-rhyme-like as it follows the main guitar riff. The band have chosen to use a lot of elements often found in other acts of their ilk, including but not limited to the rhythmic patterns found on albums like Bleed American by Jimmy Eat World or British Sea Power's Do You Like Rock Music?, and riffs that would feel at home in a Doves setlist.

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The final track, Drop The Needle, seems to follow on quite well from Five Turnings. That may just be the fact that they're in the same key, not unlike Underneath Cars and Awkward Places,  whilst Drop The Needle seems to relate well to its predecessor, it doesn't really distance itself enough to stand out. Especially after having heard the anthemic nature of Five Turnings once already. It does, however, end the E.P. on a high note, almost as if to say "yeah, things can be difficult, but pain is always temporary, and things do get better". That, or I read far too much into these things. Look, music is subjective, alright?

Overall, Navajo Ace's first E.P. is a well-constructed debut release, and the band themselves show a lot of promise. They seem to take themselves just seriously enough to write music reminiscent of the Power-Pop renaissance some of us experienced in the late 00's. Like any band just starting out, they're quick to show off their compositional ability, and they showcase it well. My only real gripes are that, whilst there's plenty of varied compositional elements in each song, they all share many of the same qualities that make it difficult for any of them to stand out on their own individually.

Despite that, the E.P. is well mastered, not succumbing to the same kind of overproduction that so many casualties of the loudness war have suffered in recent years. Regardless, Navajo Ace are well worth keeping an eye on whilst they navigate their journey through the Indie scene, and those of you that are inclined to do so can check out the links below.

You'll like this if you're a fan of: British Sea Power, My Vitriol, Doves, Jimmy Eat World.

Overall score: 7.5/10 - Shiny


Oh, hi! Still reading? That's helpful actually, because we have something to tell you: Stabbed Panda is an independent music blog, run by a handful of people for whatever trickle of ad money we can get. We hope we can keep uploading stuff here for a long time, and keep access to it free without resorting to hideous, intrusive adverts. If you'd like to show some support and help us do that, please take a look at our Patreon Page and unlock some rewards. Thanks and that.

The Menagerie - Odd Beast

 Odd Beast album cover by The Menagerie

Odd Beast album cover by The Menagerie

Review by Liam Taylor. Quintessentially British rap super-group, The Menagerie, have returned with a new album on Tea Sea Records. Crickey. Their 4th album, Odd Beast, contains witty lyrics, dizzying turntable, and odd beats, (oddness is to be embraced, as we'll learn whilst listening). The Menagerie comprises of MCs Professor Elemental, Dr Syntax, producer Tom Caruana and DJ Nick Maxwell, who have all met with success in their own right. We also have some guests along for the ride, including Al, the Native of Rizzle Kicks fame, Clev Cleverly and vocalist Sabira Jade. Odd Beast opens with a short but jaunty track, Walking With Canes. It's hard to listen to without imagining our MCs already walking with said canes. We learn of their adventures between this release and the previous, Irregular Spirits back in 2013, before progressing to the 2nd track. Dr Syntax's lilting flow, reminiscent of Aesop Rock and Gorillaz-era Del TFH, takes centre-stage for Make Good Art. Syntax leads by example here, as does DJ Nick with his exemplary scratching.

Stand-out jauntiness by producer Tom Caruana in Stampede, which may be a more familiar tone to Elemental fans out there. Syntax takes over at a mid-track tempo change, which descending into a minor quarrel between our MCs - an actual laugh-out-loud moment, even the 7th time listening to the album. It's a bit soon for Brexit references though chaps, some of us are still a bit sore.

An old school horn loop signals the start of Come On, (featuring Clev Cleverly). A jovial and energetic number, with a Goldie Lookin' Chain feel, references to dad dancing and H.P. Lovecraft. Seriously though, if you're not sold on the album with that sentence alone I don't know if we'd really get along.

 Image of Dr Syntax & Tom Caruana

Image of Dr Syntax & Tom Caruana

Rappers Don't Want To Be Our Friend is softer, much more solemn, which puts me in mind of some of the more serious Scroobius Pip / Dan Le Sac numbers. The track itself is "LeSacian", (new term, I hope it catches on), opening with an oddly endearing glissando synth melody, (like a robin swallowed an elastic band), and gritty drum loop. It's evident that our MCs have, many times, faced the dichotomy of wanting to "fit in" whilst not wanting to conform to uncomfortable social norms. I feel like we have some shared experiences. I'd like readers to remember it's possible to be a hip-hop fan without being a prick. The same goes for rock subcultures by the way... and jazz...

Track 7, She's Gone, explores our MC's relationship difficulties, and opens with a drunken sing-along refrain. If I take nothing else away from this album, I'll certainly never shift the mental image of the Professor throwing up on himself, Rick Sanchez style.

I've tried to understand football. I swear, I really have, but I just don't get it. Luckily, I can always count on nerd-core and steampunk subcultures to back me up. There's a lot of talk about "echochambers" these days, so perhaps I should be more open to opposing views... No, no... It's the footballers who are wrong. Anyway... Only A Game, is a Madness-esque dig at football, hooligan culture, and the questionable behaviours of sportspeople. This is a hugely enjoyable tune, especially if you enjoy certain episodes of The IT Crowd.

 Image of Prof. Elemental

Image of Prof. Elemental

TheRain,stands out with it's pleasantly sung chorus from guest vocalist Sabira Jade, which is in contrast to the bulk of the vocals present on this disk. We're not actually talking about the weather here are we chaps? If you're the kind of person who can't handle politics in music, feel free to skip Track 11. Accompanied by repetitious piano and a haunting horn sample, our hosts point their fingers directly towards British politics and make their problems clear.

I have no words to describe Bears, the closing track. "But Liam, you're writing a review, why would you tell about a track you're not going to tell us about?" Because I want you to buy the album.

I don't want to re-open any old hip-hop wounds, but I always felt that Professor Elemental had the lyrical edge over his chap-hop contemporaries. Odd Beast "professorie" enough to keep chap fans engaged, whilst embracing that part of the rap fan's brain that wants to hear some harsher language. Syntax, on form as ever, stands out with his skillful flow, catchy rhymes and sing-along choruses. There's elements of Britpop and British Big Beat to my ear, along with the humour, groove and social commentary we've come to expect from The MenagerieOdd Beast is funny, intelligent, and worthy of your attention.

The Menagerie elsewhere:


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Empty Lungs - Don't Get It

Review by Mickey Nicholas. Commonly espoused by short people with inferiority complexes, the old saying that good things come in small packages tends to be spotty in it’s applicability- you end up with a plethora of creations made by people who heard the idiom and decided to focus on the "small" rather than the "good".

Belfast-born Empty Lungs have, with their new E.P. Don’t Get It, bucked the trend and gone down the less-travelled route of quality over quantity. It’s only three tracks, and was released by Canadian label Hidden Pony Records earlier this month. Despite it’s brevity, it’s an album packed with indie-rock, angsty punk and nineties pop influences- after having given it a listening to on repeat for an hour solid, it still hasn’t gotten old. It sounds like what would happen if Britpop legends Pulp married Rise Against, and together they produced a musical lovechild that had just come out the other side of puberty and wasn’t best pleased with what it had encountered thus far.

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The first song Don’t Get It, has an excellent intro with hard punk riffs and pounding drums, a shouty chorus and lyrics about the benefits of clear communication between the sexes. The boys know their way around their instruments, and the vocals are excellent. It’s a short song, but a fantastic one to introduce themselves with. We’ve got Kev Jones on guitar, Mykie Rowan on drums and Conor Langan on bass. All of them contribute vocally, lending to a layered sound that’s pretty fun to air guitar along to, if you don’t know how to actually play a guitar.

The second song Losing It. Finding It sounds like something I would have listened to when I was younger, in the distant green summers of yore. The song is brilliantly structured, moving from slow to fast in nice smooth transitions- it doesn’t sound jerky or poorly timed. Also, the song has "woahs" in it, and everyone and their mother knows that if a song has "woahs" in it, it’s probably a winner.

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Fragile, the last track on the E.P. starts with a nice dirty bass-line running underneath some pretty dark lyrics- dark, but not pessimistic, it may sound at first like an angst-ridden track, but it’s not. There’s some excellent guitar on this track, taking from the bass and running with it, adding a whole new dimension of sound to the song alongside the vocals. It’s the slowest song out of the three, not really one for jumping around to, but still good for a groove.

It’s a fantastic E.P. that shows off the band’s talent- three different songs with similarities, but not in anyway samey. Empty Lungs are on the last stretches of a UK tour, but if this E.P. is anything to go by, I’d put money on them being back soon enough.

Links and that


Oh, hello... Still reading? Well, that's helpful actually, because we have something to tell you: Stabbed Panda is an independent music blog, run by a handful of people for whatever trickle of ad money we can get. We hope we can keep uploading stuff here for a long time, and keep access to it free without resorting to hideous, intrusive adverts. If you'd like to show some support and help us do that, please take a look at our Patreon Page and unlock some rewards. Cheers.

Energy - Apparition Sound

Review by Mickey Nicholas. Energy are an across-the-pond punk quintet from Massachusetts, formed in 2006, with a relatively prolific body of work for such a young band. Their latest album, Apparition Sound, released in early February 2017, holds eight tracks for your listening pleasure.

 Review of Energy's album

Review of Energy's album

The first track is Renascentia, which opens with a heavy metal sound, hard bassline and a repeating hook. It’s short, being an intro track, but it’s mood setting, it’s a brief but dark and energetic piece.

New Worlds of Fear has a very metal opening, ripped through with a harsh growl followed by the most surprising vocals- It’s a good singing voice, but given the general feel of the intro to the song I was not expecting what I heard. I was expecting screams and growls, but instead got smooth, clean, vocals. There’s a little bit of screaming, but the transitions between the two are flawless. It’s a good solid track to really open the album with.

Another Yesterday, track number three, has distortion running through it’s intro, but it may be the poppiest sounding track on the whole album. It has melancholy lyrics, but the catchiest riffs and a good chorus for singing along to. The guitar-work from both guitarists is fantastic.

Track four is Dead in Dreamland, which has a slow start- almost reminiscent of The Used, (if anyone still remembers them), but the song quickly picks up in tempo, the pace really well set by the rapid fire drumming. It’s a catchy tune, with a decent use of sound effects to augment the vocals.

 Energy

Energy

The Infection starts with lonely piano, but leads into the drums and guitars. The vocals jump in with a new shift in pitch that takes you by surprise again. It’s got a kind of sombre sound, but it speeds up about half way through, with the guitars throwing riffs like shuriken. Its my favourite track from the whole album.

Pet Semetary, track number six, is a very pop-punk song with upbeat guitar, solid drumming and dark lyrics. It’s a fun little track, with a catchy chorus and a good melody to hum along to. A good example of the variety of sounds the band are capable of producing.

Number seven is The Shadowlands which sets the seen with a moody intro, marked by heavily distorted guitar and a heavy bassline. The guitar flips into a sharp riff and the drumming picks up and the whole thing starts to come together. It feels like a continuation of Renascentia and is probably the best song on the album to really hear the guitarists skill.

Final track, They, has a slow intro on the guitar gently easing into lonely vocals. The song stays slow for nearly two minutes before slamming into fierce shredding. The song sounds almost hopeful, at least compared to the previous tracks. It has a fantastic solo too, about a minute from the end, and nearly a minute long. An excellent album from start to finish.

LINKS & THAT


Oh, hi! Still reading? Well, that's helpful actually, because we have something to tell you: Stabbed Panda is an independent music blog, run by a handful of people for whatever trickle of ad money we can get. We hope we can keep uploading reviews and stuff here for a long time, and keep access to it free without resorting to hideous, intrusive adverts. If you'd like to show some support, please take a look at our Patreon Page and unlock some rewards. Ta blud.

blanket - Our Brief Encounters

Blanket Review by Mickey Nicholas. Hailing from Blackpool, Lancashire, shiny new four-piece blanket emerge into the purview of the musically inclined with their new LP Our Brief Encounters.

Ambient, atmospheric, weird. All these can tidily sum-up the five-track LP, and can tidily sum up each track. It would be wise not to interpret this as meaning it’s a bad LP, far from it. It’s a marvellously organic-feeling attempt at a kind of post-rock interpretation.

Review of Blanket

There’s a sense of scale, something big and grand underpinned by themes of human intimacy running through Our Brief Encounters. The whole thing feels like it’s trying to tell a story about human interaction in the form of a film soundtrack, if the whole film was the soundtrack.

Like all stories, you have to set the scene- establish the general tone of the narrative. The first song on the LP, Acacia, does exactly this- an atmospheric intro intertwined with a little piano, which forms the heart of the whole track as haunting guitar echoes over the top, gradually building, layering sounds onto each other into a coalescing crescendo, before delicately falling away, piece by piece.

Blanket Review

The second song, Tethered, starts with ambient sounds that rise and fall, layered with gentle guitar and a section of dialogue taken from the 2003 Sofia Coppola film Lost in Translation. It took me a little while to figure out where I knew it from, but the interaction between Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson’s characters kind of sums up what the whole film is about. The guitars build and sweep, the drums filling the background like a heartbeat.

Track three, Discoveries and Beginnings, opens with male and female vocals in harmony, cutting quickly to soft guitar that grows to fill the whole song, the same hook repeating, a little faster, a little louder. It’s the kind of song you’d expect to be included in a documentary about the environment as seen from space.

Starlight Filled Our Minds has it’s own music video, (below)! It starts big, vocals and guitars harmonising into a multi-layered choral sound. Gradually, gentle vocals come in, and the guitars rise up and fall away into a powerful piano hook. The whole song explodes around the three minute mark, every component crashing together harmoniously before the guitar steps up to the front to lead almost until the end of the song, before suddenly cutting away back to the starting harmonies, book-ending the track.

To the Skies comes in bright and loud with echoed piano and upbeat drums flashing in like sunlight through clouds. A guitar hook slips in, simple but effective, slowing the tempo a touch before picking it back up again with the drums in tow. The instruments slip away, the vocals come in, and the song layers up again into a grand sweep of sound, heavy guitar over soft piano and crashing drums rising and falling like waves.

blanket's debut album, Our Brief Encounters, is released on February 10th and is available for pre-order right now.

LINKS & THAT

 

Blunderbuster - The Legend of Hywel Evans

Blunderbuster Review by Mickey Nicholas. I’ve never been one to actively seek out folk music and it’s modern iterations. It’s not an active dislike of folk, but more of a passive disinclination. When I was younger, I always thought the only people who liked folk music to any degree were those kinds of people who talk about pre-industrial society as if it was infallibly better than nowadays. It was only better if you happened to enjoy hot and cold running typhoid, with free tapeworms for every subscriber.

However, as I’ve grown older and hopefully, wiser, I have taken some time out of my usual musical schedule to actually listen to folk-esque material, and I’m not as unimpressed with it as I expected. Most recently, I have been impressed by Staffordshire / Derbyshire quintet, Blunderbuster and their new album The Legend of Hywel Evans. The eight-track album constitutes folk-punk at it’s finest- earnest, loud and full of character. Blunderbuster ReviewThe singing across the board is enthusiastic, powerful and unique in it’s style, variations in pitch and tone give a rawer vibe to the music. I’m a big lover of violins and being a folk album I’d have been disappointed if the fiddling wasn’t up to par, but I wasn’t. The same can be said of all the band-members, who show a fervent proficiency in their selected instruments. You can hear the love that went into the playing.

The first song is Raggle Taggle, a steady intro into high energy story-telling. A good strong start out the gates for the album. It’s the kind of song that gets people stamping their feet and wondering if they should take up cider-fancying as a hobby.

The next song I’ll highlight opens with an accordion, and various sea sounds to build atmosphere, because it wouldn’t be a folk album without a fun pirate-themed song. It’s called Black Bart and it’s an interesting mix of paces and energies, moving between slower and softer traditional style instrumentals to fast punkier segments with explosive vocals.

Blunderbuster Review

Hywel’s Song is the heart of the whole album. It’s in this song you can really get to grips with the influences of the band, and the singer really flaunts his voice. It’s got a kind of Frank Turner kind of feel to it, with acoustic guitar, but there’s also a Dropkick glaze over the top. It’s a fun song.

The last one I’ll write about is the band’s own take on a traditional drinking song, Wild Rover. Kind of adopted by the Irish and the Scottish as a drinking song. Which it definitely is. It’s a fun way to end the album.

Links & That

 

GadZukes - Fight The Silence

Gadzukes Review by Mickey Nicholas,Photography by Jean-Louis Fressier at Bobital 2016

It’s cold, dark and wet. It’s nearly winter. Heavier coats, thicker jumpers and scarves aplenty. People practically mainline hot chocolate to stave off the winter blues. It’s not what I would call appropriate weather to be listening to cross-channel folk-rock family group GadZukes’ E.P. Fight the Silence. I don’t mean to say it can’t be listened to in the bitter months, rather that it deserves to be listened to in warmer weather, with bluer skies and shorter trousers. Maybe flip-flops. It’s made up of five tracks, and is an excellent showcasing of GadZukes’ musical talents, foot-tapping their way into ear-worm status with folk-rock anthems, edgy pop-rock hand-crafted for top-down driving and acoustic-fed dream-weaving.

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The first song, Ignite, is an indie-rock song that needs a little scene setting. Imagine, it’s spring break, you and four friends have decided to spend the holidays taking a road trip to an old hunting cabin. It’s a hot day- not unpleasantly so. You all climb into a sporty number with an open top, don your sunglasses and crank up the radio and feel the breeze running through your hair. It’s the song that comes before the creepy gas-station attendant gives you an ominous warning. It’s a driving song. It’s upbeat. It’s what happens when T-Rex and The Libertines have a holiday romance. It’s got a catchy hook, and has bits you can sing along to. A good, solid opener.

Gadzukes ReviewThe next song Getting It On, stars with a hard rock riff before moving into a catchy female-led track. It’s a little more country-rock than the first track. It moves like the tides, sweeping from mellow moments and building into foot-tapping territory with rapid fire lady-vocals.

Now for something a little different. Track three, In my Dreams is ethereal, atmospheric, a kind of semi-psychedelic folk track with haunting female vocals. It’s a pretty track, sweeping up from gentle to powerful, adding layers over the course of the song. It’s like watching someone build a puzzle, the colours, the shape is easy to see to start with, and as they go the larger picture takes shape. At first listen it comes across as a simple song, but that’s only because it’s so seamlessly structured.

Funk basslines and sing-along “yeah-yeah”s and “ooh”s mark out the fourth song on the E.P. Sweet Aroma. It’s probably the highest energy song out of the five, with it’s clean riffs and harmonising vocals. Folk rock put on it’s anthem suit, and took us out dancing.

Gadzukes Review

Before reviewing Fight the Silence, I was told GadZukes were 40% steampunk. Pirates in the Sky, the last song on the E.P., is a folky, pop-esque rock track that contains that 40%. It’s not any old acoustic track with gears glued on. It’s a story for the most part. Folk-pop swerves into a sort of dream-like narrative, gently winding it’s way into your head with a catchy chorus and acoustic guitar. It’s a good way to end the E.P.

Links & That

 

Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer - There's A Rumpus Going On Review

Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer review Review by Liam Taylor. I'm only 10 seconds in to There's A Rumpus Going On, new album from chap-hop superstar Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer, and I'm reminded what a pitiless worm Michael Gove is. How many albums released this year can claim to do the same? Spineless politicians aside, there is most assuredly a rumpus going on. If you're unfamiliar with the concept of chap-hop I'm going to let you take a moment to get up to speed, then I'll meet you back here shortly, yes? Finished? Grand.

13782189_10157116335000307_7066975891992065892_nSo Many Reggie Perrins In The Arse End Of Space has the kind of chorus you find yourself humming without fully understanding. It also includes the kind of jaunty bass-line and "rom-bom, bobbity-bom" hook you'd anticipate from a Chap-Hop L.P. with the seamless addition of an almost psychedelic bridge.

I get the impression that track 4, Hitler Gifs, was composed with the express purpose of having a a crowd chant "I love Hitler...  ...  ... gifs." You will find yourself chanting it as well after a sherry or five, so best be sure the curtains are drawn before striking that play button. Broadly these lyrics are about relaxation, and the inevitability that some will spend the small hours stuck in that part of the internet with all the memes.

Ollie And Stan opens with a Tom & Jerry-esque bombardment of sampled effects, beats and piano. Ostensibly, this is a track about Laurel & Hardie, (Ollie and Stan being their forenames), and even includes some sampling of their arguments, which makes the sound designer in me turgid with joy. This is a fast-paced stomper with a squishy bassline - can you imagine acid-dancehall-chap-hop? Well you don't have to anymore, because this is it.

We Need To Talk About Kanye is a tune which needs to be played from the highest rooftops, from the loudest of boomboxes. Aside from being a daringly accurate re-creation of a well-known Queen harmony, it also makes a necessary point about those creating "art" in the 21st century.  Is it art, or did they simply misspell "ego"?

National Trust is about as punk as a chap can get, whilst maintaining dignity. It also demonstrated that Mr. B isn't afraid of getting political, and displaying his vocal flow whilst doing so. Is that a distortion pedal on the banjolele? Well, why not.

Mr B the gentleman rhymer reviewTrack 9, Still Can't Play The Trombone, is a reminder that we shouldn't let lack of skill be a barrier to personal enjoyment. It's also at this point that I realised this album hasn't relied so exclusively on the banjolele. We have the occasional visitations from upright piano and double bass as we've come to expect, but they're now complemented with trombone, and a greater variety of  synths, basses, beats and effects.

I don't mind confessing that Last Of The Unknown International Flâneurs forced me to Google a phrase or two. Here we have an endearingly sloppy bassline, which reflects the wandering,  sauntering nature of the tune.

The Happy Song is scantily-clad compared to others on this track, comprising of double bass, banjolele and a simple beat behind Mr. B's vocal, later joined by piano. This allows for a bit of a light-hearted breather between other tracks which are a tad dense at times. It's much the same for this song's lyrics which suggest we should reflect on what we have rather than what we think we need and that maybe life isn't as terrible as it seems to be at the moment. It's possible that I'm putting my own feelings onto this song's meaning, but good music is supposed to make you think, dammit!

Ennui seems to be a reoccurring theme withing this album, but takes centre stage with Boredom. The track isn't boring however, spurred on by Mr. B's fast-paced vocals and compelling backing track.

The Secret Ingredient, as it turns out is "giving up" at least, that's what this self-proclaimed "defeatist anthem" declares. Although it's a perfectly satisfactory and entertaining tune, the simple rhythms and sparse sections seem to reflect the subject matter. This is a pleasant sway-along breather many seem to employ towards the end of albums.

The album closes with Youth, Truth, Gin, Vermouth and yes, I'm sure there are parts of the planet in which that title won't rhyme. Dark at times, this has a bit more movement to it than the previous track. You might still find yourself swaying, but you might also find yourself really fancying a Martini.

Mr B the gentleman rhymer review

I suppose you want some kind of summary now, don't you? Well, fine.

For a while, I'd not enthused about Mr. B as much as I had with the release of 2011's O.G. Original Gentleman. In my mind, the musical quality of 2012's The Tweed Album and 2013's Can't Stop, Shan't Stop was greatly improved, but at the expense of humour. There's A Rumpus Going On, you'll be glad to hear, is a great comedy album which doesn't, as they often do, sacrifice musicality. My advice is that if you've ever enjoyed Mr. B, for any reason, you should give this album a ruddy good try.

Links and that:

 

Jake Martin: We Take Them At Dawn

Jake Martin joined us in the Panda Shack again to record a few songs off his new album, We Take Them At Dawn.

Go over here to see our 2014 interview with Jake Martin: Link!

Jake Martin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jake's website: Website Jake's Facebook: Facebook More about Aaahh!!! Real Records: Real-Records.co.uk

Rusty G's - Low

Review by Joey StoateCheck out Joey’s awesome music blog right here.

After a brief stint supporting the seminal GUN last year, Milton Keynes based two-piece Rusty G’s are preparing to unleash their debut album, Low, upon the world this May, and the band were lovely enough to send us over a copy to review. Have the duo delivered on potential found on earlier releases?

Rusty G’sLow Review of Rusty G's Debut Album Low

1. Oh Yeah 2. Crawl 3. Taking Over 4. I Don’t Want This 5. Don’t Belong 6. The Killer 7. Waiting 8. Static 9. So Low 10. Losing You

Wasting no time, the record hits straight away with Oh Yeah, a perfect embodiment of the band’s style and overall mission statement. With the pompous alt-rock tones oozing all over the record, fans of bands like Superheaven and Dinosaur Pile Up will feel right at home here. The riffs on display are infectious, opting for a sleazy, run down feel that totally captures the more grunge-oriented leanings of the record in tracks like Crawl, and the subtle notes of psychedelia add an extra dimension to stave off familiarity for too long.

The sound here isn’t entirely perfected, however. Whilst instrumentals are strong, vocals can seem forced and begin to grate when hitting the higher notes. The hammy, artificial impression they unfortunately put across hampers the sound of several tracks, more notably those taken from the band’s E.P. Taking Over.

To find another criticism in the album, the most obvious issue here is song structure and length. Each of these songs kicks your ass for the first two or three minutes, but when they reach the four minutes plus mark, fatigue starts to set in and I find myself skipping to the next track, especially coupled with the uniform song structures utilised throughout the release.

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The band’s intricate and considered use of distorted ambience adds some much needed grime to the otherwise fairly lo-fi production, keeping proceedings from ever getting too neat and tidy, too clean. Instrumental performances here are absolutely stellar, with particular praise going to the tom-work throughout the record, accentuating the punchy, stomping elements of each track, especially the superb Static. When they’re found, solos are short, punchy and incorporated seamlessly, such as their use on songs like Crawl.

In Low, Rusty G’s have delivered on the promise given to us in the past and then some. With an album full of alt-rock delight, issues like vocals and song structures become lost in the positives. Powerful, catchy, and dripping with yet more potential, Rusty G’s deserve the mainstream attention they’re so inevitably braced to receive.

8/10

Links and that: Rusty G's Website Rusty G's on Facebook

Low  becomes available on 9/5/16

 

Flying Vinyl Subscription Review

This is an intriguing music subscription service, which will deliver a handful of specially pressed vinyl to your doorstep every month for £20. Check them out over here: Flying Vinyl

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Review from Joey Stoate

Whilst I’m a big supporter of the idea of the service Flying Vinyl are looking to provide, the tracks found here lack much in the way of variation. Whilst this certainly doesn’t condemn the collection, fans of other genres will unfortunately left out in the cold as the companies’ focus on fairly bog-standard electro-Indie seems to prevail throughout the ten songs offered.

However, as I mentioned, that’s not to say that some of the material here isn’t of high quality. Tracks such as The BelligerentsVoices & to a lesser extent, both offerings from Asylums provide some of the variation the collection so achingly desires, and the package’s physical representation is a true novelty itself. Otherwise, many tracks here will leave the listener with a fairly strong sense of deja-vu, as they’re treated to a relatively monotonous selection of tracks not quite suitable for the Drive soundtrack.

Sadly, given the steep asking price, this collection is out of the range of those looking to discover new music on a budget, and many will soon cease their subscription should the offerings continue to remain so one-note. An idea, perhaps, could be to curate specific boxes each month with themes much like those employed by other monthly box companies like Super Loot and the Z Box. But for those with a very strong love of Indie and a couple of quid to burn, you can’t go wrong here.

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