Month: November 2014

Unsigned City: Birmingham

Features, Music November 26, 2014

Originally published and still available on Gigslutz (19/11/14).

Promoting unsigned artists is something we at Gigslutz feel extremely passionate about, with our regular ‘Unsigned Act Of The Week’ and ‘Ones To Watch’ features, as well as a wealth of reviews and premieres. Celebrating new artists, or even people who’ve been making music for years but not got the recognition they deserve, is something we pride ourselves on and feel is an integral part of what the world of music should be about. We therefore thought it would be a great idea to focus on the array of unsigned artists in different cities around the country and spread the word about the huge amount of talent that is out there! 

– Mari Lane, Assistant Editor & Unsigned Artists Editor

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This week, Kayleigh takes a look at the unsigned scene in Birmingham… 

YOUTH MAN: Like your music coated with menace? If so, look no further than Youth Man and the pummeling punch that this trio’s noise exudes. From early 2012, the band’s aural and visual assault have torn through a swathe of inoffensive ‘indie’ rock of the city, standing out like a sore thumb for all the best of reasons. Fronted by Kaila Whyte – an impressive guitarist and committed vocalist – their raucous recent single ‘Joy’ is the best place to start. Sporting scathing lyrics and the riotous energy that their live sets are renowned for, this is blood and spit music. Be ready for it.

Read the rest of this article (feat. Table Scraps, UUOO and more) over on Gigslutz, along with more of my writing.

Hinds – ‘Barn’

Music, Reviews, Singles November 16, 2014

Originally published and still available on The Girls Are (14/11/14). Deers changed their name to Hinds in Jan 2015.

Winter may already be resolute in its chill, but if you are already longing for the far away summer heat then you would do well to bask in the warmth of the dulcet tones of Deers. The band, hailing from the sunny capital of Spain, have doubled in size since they first appeared a year ago, with the original duo of Ana Garcia Perrote and Carlotta Cosials enlisting new cohorts Ade Martin and Amber Grimbergen in order to expand their originally minimalist sound.

Even in their most recent incarnation, their songs are very ‘bare bones’, but it is that implied childish naivety that makes them so charming. The two tracks that make up ‘Barn’ bring to mind the beach tones of Best Coast, the care-free slacker observations of Mac DeMarco and the garage sound of The Black Lips. ‘Barn’ builds on their popular demos, ‘Bamboo’ and ‘Trippy Gum’ but offers a more realized sense of where the band intend to take their sound, especially now this is their first installment as a four piece. The drudging first moments of ‘Castigadas en el Granero’ transform into a potent slice of upbeat pop, vocals ricocheting back and forth conversationally, whilst the lo-fi nature of ‘Between Cans’ marries girl gang vocals with a slumberous riff.

The camaraderie between the fours girls is palpable throughout their songs and with the band still being in a very embryonic stage, it will be intriguing to watch them grow further from their influences and more into themselves.

 

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Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways

Album, Music, Reviews November 12, 2014

Originally published and still available on Gigslutz (10/11/14).

It has been three whole years since the last Foo Fighters album, and as any music fan is made to be very well aware, the ‘nicest man in rock’ is not one to hang around. In that space of time, Dave Grohl has dipped his fingers in a few more pies – to name a few; filling in on drums for Queens Of The Stone Age and RDGLDGRN, directing a documentary about the studio, Sound City, and the HBO television namesake of Sonic Highways, covering the gestation of the band’s eighth album.

At a mere eight tracks long, it is definitely a short effort for the comeback of one of the biggest bands on the planet. Taking previously constructed ideas, lyrics were written in the city where recording was taking place; the eight, great American cities in question being Chicago, Washington D.C., Nashville, Austin, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Seattle and New York. The idea of making songs in part-homage to the musical meccas of choice is certainly a novel one, especially in conjunction with each song’s HBO counterpart unveiling the process behind each song, and even more so when you consider the guest features on each track. Joan Jett, Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, Joe Walsh, Bad Brains, Zac Brown, Gary Clark Jr, Rick Nielson and Preservation Hall Jazz Band, each help pay tribute to their birthplace or adopted hometown under the eye of esteemed producer Butch Vig, who also worked on the Foo Fighters’ previous album, Wasting Light. 

What quickly becomes apparent is that without prior research, which track pertains to which city is near unidentifiable. That statement alone would be enough to undermine the whole project, but it is worth remembering that Foo Fighters have always had their own unswerving sound. Crowd-sating, anthemic, stadium rock has always been their thing, and it is certainly delivered in spades on Sonic Highways. None of these eight tracks could be considered filler, with opening track and lead single ‘Something From Nothing’ being a full-bodied affair, its dramatic riff (uncannily akin to Dio’s ‘Holy Diver’) building to a loud climax. ‘The Feast and The Famine’ is a similarly helter-skelter ride whilst ‘Consequence’ is more radio-friendly, and the most intriguing the album gets is the emotionally evoking guitars in ‘I Am A River’.

Any of the songs on Sonic Highways could be successful singles, but that does not conditionally make them forward thinking. It is, therefore, a shame that in embarking on their most zealous project yet, the Foo Fighters have ultimately failed to succeed on their promise. Sonic Highways is good but it is neither as great or as aspiring as its premise, and what is left is a formulaic collection of songs that loyal fans will no-doubt adore, but which offers little more than momentary entertainment to the casual listener. To say that this was an ambitious venture would be an understatement, but to call it bloated and overblown would be crass, and Grohl and gang’s love letter to the United States is unfortunately overshadowed by the documentary series that it is twinned with.

More of my writing can be found over on Giglsutz.