INDIE ROCK MUSIC Reviews

Live4ever’s Best Of 2019: The Albums

Posted on 03 Dec 2019 at 7:16am

Album Review: The Flaming Lips – The Soft Bulletin Live At Red Rocks

Posted on 02 Dec 2019 at 8:50am

Pretty much everyone knows the background to The Soft Bulletin now, that its effectively unexpected success saved The Flaming Lips from being thrown to the lions of fate after prodigiously talented guitarist Ronald Jones quit, and how they responded by trying to redefine how music was made with weird, suit-frightening results.

The recording process was one in which Wayne Coyne and co. progressively surprised themselves, but even now recalling the sheer scale and audacity of such a total reinvention brings a smile to the face. Two decades on the album lauded as one of the nineties’ greatest remains a soaring flight of fantasy without which a singular voice may well have ended up lost to Oklahoma’s dive bars.

Album Review: Coldplay – Everyday Life

Posted on 27 Nov 2019 at 7:25am

Writing about Coldplay is on the one hand fairly straightforward.

They need little introduction, having spent the last fifteen years at the summit of British stadium rock. As a result they’re just about inescapable: many people have been to at least one wedding where either the ubiquitous Yellow or Fix You have been played, while Chris Martin’s decade-long marriage to Gwyneth Paltrow kept the sub-editors of tabloid tat mags fully occupied.

For every 100 million albums sold however there is, perhaps inevitably in our polarised society, an equal and opposite reaction. Martin’s admission that he might vote for the Liberal Democrats in the next UK general election drew scorn from dog-avatar’d extremists of all political colours on social media, plus what, they reckoned, could a forty something millionaire understand about Everyday Life?

The singer probably doesn’t know how much a pint of milk is, but he’s doubtless aware of the qualities which have kept brand Coldplay so popular, not least of which is their ability to translate musically across languages and continents. You suspect also that the febrile creativity amongst the country’s young artists which has been such a feature of the last twelve months will have escaped him, but whilst Everyday Life isn’t a bonfire for the band’s old ideas, it’s clearly the work of a songwriter who still very much feels the need to prove himself again.

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Live4ever Presents: An interview with The Clockworks

Posted on 26 Nov 2019 at 8:17am

Following your dreams is such an idealistic notion that it’s easy to be sneered at. It’s apparently unrealistic to expect your life to go the way you want it to, ‘that doesn’t happen’.

And yet time and time again, it does: footballers, entrepreneurs and social media stars have got where they are through belief and ambition. Musicians (despite some exceptions) are no different. Even so, to up sticks and relocate to a different country just to make your voice heard takes guts – around this time last year, a young four-piece from Galway decided to do just that.

The Irish music scene is in a healthy place right now: The Murder Capital and Just Mustard are playing to large venues in the UK, while Fontaines D.C. are the indie success story of the year. Yet these acts had an advantage, being in or around the Dublin area. The Clockworks had no such luck.

“We’re a funny one because I think if you asked the bands in Dublin, they do hang out, whereas we just don’t get to,” lead singer and lyric writer James tells Live4ever. “But that’s what made the decision to come here easier, because there was nothing tying us to Dublin.”

“There isn’t much of a scene in Galway, it’s all in Dublin,” notes drummer Damian. “If you’re not in the scene in Dublin, you’re not in the scene at all,” James agrees: “We just thought we’d come here and open ourselves up for some more opportunities.”

Live Review: The Chemical Brothers at First Direct Arena, Leeds

Posted on 26 Nov 2019 at 7:47am

About a third of the way through The Chemical Brothers’ Leeds set – during a seemingly endless drop in the middle of Got To Keep On – confetti begins to fall from the ceiling like snow, an endless blizzard of paper which turns most of the audience into five year olds again, waiting for Santa Claus and watching the skies.

90 seconds later and the moment is gone, erased by the track’s pumping chorus and a shooting gallery of lasers as they bathe the throng in tech-house euphoria: if there’s one thing you can say about Ed Simons and Tom Rowlands, over the years they’ve learned the value of the spectacle.

When they began life in the ashes of the late eighties rave scene, the idea both of recording albums full of those acid belches and then playing them in the sanitised environments of an arena was laughable, but as the idea of illegal partying has gone further underground, the duo have spent decades proving that yesterday’s impossible is just tomorrow’s progress and unrealised ideas.

Live4ever Presents: Shambolics

Posted on 21 Nov 2019 at 7:12am
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Album Review: Lapalux – Amnioverse

Posted on 20 Nov 2019 at 10:20am

Stuart Howard thinks big.

As Lapalux his previous album Ruinism went far beyond electronic music’s usual outliers, fusing philosophy with richly evocative collages of sound, a spiritual pan that emphasised the depth of thought his work is now routinely comprised of.

Amnioverse sees him make no retreat from chanelling a construct rooted in hypothetical premise (he describes the term itself as ‘a sort of portmanteau of the amniotic sac and the universe”’), but whilst Ruinism sat amongst the fractures created by dissolving personalities, here the producer falls back from its organic instrumentation into a world created solely by modular synths.

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Live Review: Sports Team at Bristol Thekla

Posted on 20 Nov 2019 at 8:12am

Sports Team are currently inhabiting that sweet-spot for a new band.

All the tracks so far have been met with a positive response, they’ve been on the road most of the year so have perfected their current live show, and in doing so built up a dedicated following. They’re accessible enough to capture a younger, statistically-likely-more-appreciative audience, and young enough themselves to look wonderful (the bastards). You can hear the swoons as singer Alex Rice takes to the stage.

They are also direct and honest, and not ashamed to use Robbie Williams’ Let Me Entertain You for their entrance to the stage before opener Margate, in all its glam-rock-with-Television-lead-guitar glory, bursts into life and whips the already highly-charged crowd into orgasm. Right from the off Rice gives it his all, heartily beating his chest and swinging his arms back and forth to demand undivided attention in what, as becomes apparent throughout the gig, is his trademark fashion. Margate is swiftly followed by Camel Craw, which has another crowd-pleasing trick in breaking down and then coming right back.

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Album Review: Omni – Networker

Posted on 19 Nov 2019 at 9:07am

Hiring a cabin in the woods is sometimes a bad idea, but when Omni – Philip Frobos on bass/vocals, Frankie Broyles on guitars/drums/keys plus long-time collaborator Nathaniel Higgins – decided to re-group for their third album, they pitched up at a place in Vienna, Georgia built by Broyles’ grandparents in the 1940s.

Writing and recording between tours, the trio have taken a calculated step forward from the material on 2016’s Deluxe and Multi-task, released the following year. To do so rather than stay lined up with the post-punk aesthetic of before, Networker has a subtly wider field of view, opener Sincerely Yours a marker for this more relaxed, sleeker feel – even having time for a nano-guitar solo.

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Live Review: Heavy Lungs’ Bristol Thekla homecoming

Posted on 18 Nov 2019 at 8:34am

For the uninitiated the Thekla is unique in the UK – a boat, moored on Bristol’s Floating Harbour.

However, by virtue of being a former cargo ship it has some design necessities that don’t fully lend themselves to gigs: when it’s packed it becomes very difficult to get to the front because of a bottleneck, and therefore it can be hard to fully hear and appreciate the performance, through no fault of the band. This was a packed gig.

Because it was a homecoming gig, and there’s nothing quite like one of those. After traveling the country or the world, bands may want to reconnect with their roots no matter how good a tour it’s been. The appetite from the crowd is not only more anticipatory but also more forgiving. You can feel the crackling. Essentially there’s just a lot more love in the room.

After playing their first European tour, Heavy Lungs have wisely chosen their hometown as the last night on a quick jaunt around the country, to play at one of its most famous venues and, having recently been refurbished, the Thekla may have to replace the roof that the band seem so intent on tearing off. Nor are they relying on the crowd reaction, they earn it on merit by giving it their all. It’s a suffocating whirlpool of aggressive rock music that demonstrates the true timeless power of the art form.

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