Reviews

Review: Metronomy live @ Warsaw, NYC

Review: Metronomy live @ Warsaw, NYC

Posted on 22 Sep 2014 at 11:07am

Metronomy love New York and, from the look of back to back sold out shows at Irving Plaza (photo) and the Warsaw on Friday night, New York loves them right back.

Visit our full gallery of Metronomy @ Irving Plaza.

The UK outfit took to the stage at Brooklyn’s iconic Warsaw venue clad in matching white suits – indicative of the almost mechanical synchronization which would underpin the entire performance. Opener ‘Holiday‘, with Joseph Mount on bongos and lead vocals led into ‘Radio Ladio‘, both ‘Nights Out‘ singles which immediately locked in Metronomy’s groovy trance, a trance propelled by the mesmerizing, tight low-end licks of bass player Gbenga Adelekan and drummer Anna Prior.

Love Letters‘, the title track from the band’s most recent album, concluded a distinctly dance-heavy portion of the set, strong with on point full-band backing vocals that continued to support Mount’s easy voice throughout.

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Review: Gruff Rhys @ Royal Northern College Of Music, Manchester

Review: Gruff Rhys @ Royal Northern College Of Music, Manchester

Posted on 17 Sep 2014 at 3:11am

Gruff Rhys has never been short on ideas, so much so that his sustained level of inventiveness has over the years begun to be taken for granted. Yet time and again he seems to reappear with something even more wild and outlandish, and you cannot help but marvel at what has just happened.

So the expectation for his show at the Royal Northern College Of Music in Manchester is merely for the usual balance of wonderful music and fantastical visuals. This, however, is not to be. This is the new and really inventive Gruff Rhys.

The gig is presented as a lecture on the topic of the travels of John Evans, a pioneer who went in search of a mythical Welsh prince who had discovered America long before Columbus ever set sail – so nothing like setting yourself a challenge.

Review: Catfish & The Bottlemen - 'The Balcony'

Review: Catfish & The Bottlemen – ‘The Balcony’

Posted on 16 Sep 2014 at 7:11am

“Yeah, that rock’n’roll. It seems like it’s faded away sometimes but it will never die. And there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Alex Turner’s Brit Awards speech earlier this year now appears to be somewhat of a Mystic Meg style observation of the potential renaissance of rock’n’roll.

Garage rock/blues duo Royal Blood recently topped the UK Album Chart at the first time of asking, while Llandudno’s Catfish and The Bottlemen now look to further tighten a grip on the public’s rekindled adoration for the genre with their own long awaited debut, ‘The Balcony‘.

The band’s story is one that belies a seemingly juvenile surface aesthetic, consisting of sperm-themed logos and a name which sounds more like a fairground sideshow. The reality, however, is a refreshingly humble, against-all-odds tale which began with the inception of lead singer Van McCann as a test tube baby in Australia, before his parents relocated to the sleepy North Wales seaside coastal town of Llandudno in which the group have relentlessly traversed from the A55 for gig duties in recent years, in the hope of one day escaping small town isolation.

This unlikely dream now appears to be hovering into view from tantalising fantasy to a genuine hive of excitement across the country; an impending sell out UK tour cementing a steady accumulation of Zane Lowe and Steve Lamacq certified radio and social media buzz the likes of which has not been seen since the launch of Arctic Monkeys’ debut ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not‘ almost a decade ago. Is this the band our newly impassioned generation has been crying out for? They certainly make a rallying case.

Review: Avi Buffalo - 'At Best Cuckold'

Review: Avi Buffalo – ‘At Best Cuckold’

Posted on 12 Sep 2014 at 6:59am

Live4ever last saw Avi Buffalo at Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club, a gig at which he/they premièred new material and reprised his/their critically well received eponymous début album.

This was in July 2011.

Since returning home to his base in California after that tour, the silence has been deafening. After about eighteen months it became clear Avi Zahner-Isenberg just wasn’t working with the standard record-tour-record career path; after three years, it could be argued that he just hasn’t been working at all.

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Review: Robert Plant - 'lullaby and...The Ceaseless Roar'

Review: Robert Plant – ‘lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar’

Posted on 10 Sep 2014 at 7:05am

Right first things first, there’s likely nothing contained here that has not already been said of Robert Plant.

So with expectations suitably lowered let’s set about raising them again, based solely on the power of Plant’s latest album, ‘lullaby and…the Ceaseless Roar‘.

This requires us not getting bogged down with the fact that this album is by Robert Plant, which is easily done.

His achievements are only surpassed by his talents. It appears there has been no musical path he has not travelled, and every road is richer for his having been there. But this is not a review of Plant, it’s a review of ‘lullaby and…the Ceaseless Roar’.

So, artist aside, is it any good? Quite simply and honestly – yes it is. In fact it is very good.

Review: Pulled Apart By Horses - 'Blood'

Review: Pulled Apart By Horses – ‘Blood’

Posted on 04 Sep 2014 at 9:40am

A lot of words come to mind when trying to describe Pulled Apart By Horses’ latest record, but first among them is ‘complete’.

In every way ‘Blood‘ is a complete album. The band’s sound has matured and feels fuller, like all the elements have come together to fully form a wall of impressive sound.

Their writing too is now stronger than ever, the tracks are not just of quality, but seem cohesive and aligned, all combining to give the feeling of a complete record. In the context of their previous albums it feels like both a natural progression and a wonderfully bold step forward.

Many reviews will probably use terms like accessible, but quite frankly that’s just condescending and cowardly. In simple and honest terms it’s just full of strong writing and amazing performances, attributes that should win over any audience.

Quality is always valued.

Review: Interpol - 'El Pintor'

Review: Interpol – ‘El Pintor’

Posted on 03 Sep 2014 at 8:54am

Interpol have always looked to adapt and develop, never limited or marginalised to the 1990’s hype of post-punk bands they were first associated with.

The departure of bassist Carlos D and a solo project from frontman Paul Banks has led to the rediscovering of strength which is ‘El Pintor‘, their fifth album.

It is the result of a band banging heads until they explode in what can only be seen as their best album in the strangest of ways imaginable. We bear witness to a new group, playing to their strengths and channelling their love of guitar-driven, melodic melancholy through ten fantastic tunes.

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Review: Leeds Festival 2014 - Arctic Monkeys, Queens Of The Stone Age and more

Review: Leeds Festival 2014 – Arctic Monkeys, Queens Of The Stone Age and more

Posted on 01 Sep 2014 at 9:30am

The great British festival.

A right of passage if ever there was one. Music. Music and beer (copious amounts thereof, this is Yorkshire after all). Music and food (patchy quality and only two groups: meat and carbs, this is Yorkshire after all).

Music and friends (or just speaking to anyone who will listen, this is Yorkshire after all). Music and rain (well this is Yorkshire after all). And most importantly music and mud (again, this is Yorkshire after all).

Day after day of music and mud; the very essence of a British summer. After a while it becomes almost impossible to shake the feeling that you are constantly downhill from dysentery.

Review: Dry The River - 'Alarms In The Heart'

Review: Dry The River – ‘Alarms In The Heart’

Posted on 21 Aug 2014 at 7:07am

Folk music in all its guises is often an unforgiving genre to enter into.

Given the tendency for critics to label every contemporary iteration of a sound dating back many centuries, across a rich international tapestry, to the zenith of sleek production Mumford & Sons, or the commercialised pop leanings of Noah and the Whale, it’s easy to see why members of East London’s Dry The River have met such naive comparisons with understandable grievance.

As critically acclaimed 2012 debut album ‘Shallow Bed‘ can lay testament, beyond a penchant for soaring harmonies there is little evidence to suggest this band are merely carbon copies of their fellow folk rock luminaries, showcasing as it did Norwegian born lead singer and guitarist Peter Liddle vocally caressing a feathery instrumental blanket of violin and keys, leading into winding refrains blending the vibrant power of Brandon Flowers’ vocal range and dexterity intermingled with a White Lies aping ability to create a crescendo often teetering on the brink of unsteady foreboding in their fragile complexity.

This emotionally charged wrangling of instruments continues on ‘Alarms In The Heart‘, but with additional emphasis on sky scraping choruses and heavy guitars as an offset to the input violinist Will Harvey had on the previous record before departing earlier this year.

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Review: The Courteeners - 'Concrete Love'

Review: The Courteeners – ‘Concrete Love’

Posted on 19 Aug 2014 at 8:25am

Manchester’s younger sons The Courteeners have returned with a brave fourth album, ‘Concrete Love‘; they’re forever a youthful and inventive band that see the beauty in twisting heads, turning tables, and tearing out hearts.

Their experimentalism is exceptional, their madness amazing. The Courteeners can no longer be marginalised by the narrow-sights and small-sized minds of the judges of modern-day music.

Limited to pub jukeboxes? Not when they have the tunes to pack out palaces across the legendary localities of our globe with as much spite, snarl and seriousness as a real man whilst also being greatly brave, adventurous and innovating, providing some mystery beneath an ocean’s worth of prolific songwriting.

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