While some astute members of the music press picked up on it (the album was nominated for Rock Record of the Year by the Scottish New Music Awards, as well as being praised in The Sun by veteran music man Jim Gellatly), the four-piece have yet to join 1990s, Twilight Sad, Biffy or Twin Atlantic at the top table reserved for the Scotland’s rock royalty.
Well, they’re only young. And while ‘Indecency of the Few’ showcased genuine promise and originality, their new EP, ‘Chances of Life‘, sees them widen their gaze, turn the Marshall stacks down a little and craft some truly memorable melodies. In fact, from the offing, ‘Chances of Life’ resembles a studied sophomore album, a band full of beans but wanting more than to just bludgeon the listener with fat riffs and eager electronica.
No, just run with me for a second. The sun is popping off the horizon and the soft heave of the wind is rustling the sundress the artist wears as she lollops through the Indian grass, beholden to no one, singing to herself, perhaps chewing a stalk or looking skywards, a little girl lost and found all at once.
The decision to pit Sheffield rockers Def Leppard against Motley Crüe seemed a strange one from the offing. The election to put the latter on first seemed downright ludicrous.
Why was it ludicrous? We’ll get to that in a little bit. As for why it seemed strange, it shouldn’t be too difficult to fathom. Though Leppard are veterans of the rock game, their live set is crucially devoid of the bombast, energy or attitude their counterparts so readily disseminate.
It’s something of a prerequisite for so-called emo bands, certainly bands that sail under the ‘post-hardcore’ banner in any case, to carry on their backs a particularly dedicated following. If this gig is anything to go by, after five albums and several changes in personnel, Welsh rockers Funeral For a Friend have some of the most committed disciples in the whole country.
Before we dive headlong into recapping the finer points of FFAF’s set, a word first on the support acts. The Bunny The Bear kicked things off at Glasgow’s QMU on an utterly raucous note, building the tempo for the subsequent acts. If you’re not familiar with this New York septet; both frontmen don plastic masks that obscure much of their faces, adopting characters of, you guessed it, a bunny and a bear. Employing screaming vocals, sweaty stage strutting and between-song banter, TBTB didn’t quite bring the roof down, but certainly knocked some slates loose, pounding through tracks from their just-released debut ‘If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say’.
Formed in London in 2009, Dead Social Club are a sextet of musicians who fuse genres as diverse as electronic art rock and post-punk. While still to break into the national conscience, the band have been gigging steadily across Europe, and have recently released debut EP ‘Syrian Kisses’, prompting airplay on BBC 6Music and Absolute Radio.
Let’s first say, it is refreshing to hear a band so unselfconscious as Dead Social Club. Electronica? Check. Keyboards? Check. A sound that pitches itself somewhere in the interstellar region between Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode and Simple Minds? Closer still. It is pop, and it’s not pop. It’s rock, and it’s not even rock. Guitars don’t seem to matter to DSC as much as good song-writing and nifty fingers at the effects station, though when they come to the fore there are some striking riffs on ‘Syrian Kisses’, particularly on single ‘Let Love Die’.
Twenty years ago this month, Nirvana’s sophomore album ‘Nevermind’ was released. The band’s major label debut (first record ‘Bleach’ had sold on modest independent Sub Pop), it unexpectedly came to define a generation of disaffected youth and sell 30 million copies.
Many view ‘Nevermind’ as being responsible for bringing alternative rock crashing into the mainstream, with its usurping of Michael Jackson’s ‘Dangerous’ at the top of the Billboard charts in 1992 signifying a dramatic shift in popular music among the masses.
In some ways Red Hot Chili Peppers have everything to lose on this album. The recent departure of creative polymath John Frusciante, at whose door much of the plaudits for 2006’s ‘Stadium Arcadium’ (and, let’s be honest, all of the band’s best albums, from ‘By The Way’ right back to ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magick’) can be laid, could easily have seen the band struggle to produce the goods as they move into their fourth decade of hip-popping guitar-based funk. A struggle it may be, but they’ve produced here an album not without some enduring fresh material.
The latest release from Little Vegas Lies‘ wonderfully titled EP ‘A Truth Not Far Away’, ‘All You Need’ boasts a guitar riff as purely hallucinogenic and dreamy as anything to be found in the back catalogue of Arthur Lee or Slowdive.
Accompanied by its video – footage of Evil Knievel making one of his seventy-some, ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps and then racing toward a dusty horizon – the lads making not so much as a cameo – this single is the kind that blooms in the brain, nags at you, persists until your mumbled, wordless hums become verbatim reconstructs of Simon Moore’s broody lyrics.
After an interminable recording hiatus since 2006’s beastly double album ‘Stadium Arcadium’, the world’s favourite ragtag crew of L.A. slackers Red Hot Chili Peppers return with new single ‘The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie’.
Following that record should be no mean feat. The Rick Rubin-produced ‘…Arcadium’ bagged five Grammys, including Best Rock Album, and debuted at number one on both sides of the Atlantic.
Fresh from a blistering set at T in the Park, during which Ed Macfarlane’s David Brent-esque dance moves stirred the crowd into a surging frenzy, the second single from Friendly Fires’ sophomore album, ‘Pala‘, sees release.
‘Hawaiian Air’ is a somewhat hilarious, fun song that is accompanied by an equally blithesome video with the theme of ‘bonkers flight’ (‘Takin a ride to another clime, knees in my back as we’re flyin high’). Funky and harmonious, the music is quick and falls into the same category as many of FF’s previous songs – roughly dubbed dance-punk, with a deft samba touch to boot.
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