Originally published and still available on The Girls Are (17/09/16).
Some believe in fate, others don’t. Fate suggests faith, and for those that don’t believe, perhaps serendipity would be better. From the moment they met some seven years ago, Still Corners have existed in a serendipitous cocoon, for their every decision seems to be a fortuitous twist of possibility.
Their well documented conception began in 2009 when Greg Hughes and Tessa Murray met by chance on a train platform on a commute to London Bridge where, when their train failed to stop at their destination, they bonded over a mutual love of books and music. She was now going to be late for choir whilst he, somewhat conveniently, had a position for a vocalist that needed filling. It was her turn on a double A-side that got the band signed, and since then they have been on a steady incline with their blend of electronica and dreamy pop.
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I’ve recently started blogging on Medium! Follow my profile for my latest uploads and discover tonnes of brilliant content on the website itself. My first entry took a detour into my teen years to discuss the value of music in the present day…
Every so often, I take a trip down memory lane. Musical Memory Lane, that is — I mean, you can’t beat it, if you’re doing it properly.
Lately, I’ve regressed to the nostalgia of my teenage years (that’s right folks, despite how deceiving this baby face may be, I’ve actually been out of that arena for a while). It may have been Suicide Squad that set the wheels in motion; all of that Jared Leto can spark memories of questionable hair and eyeliner and screeching ‘The Kill’ down the street with your emo-homies circa 2005 (yeah, we had a habit of doing that). We were obsessed, with that song, with Jared Leto, and we all had an artful interpretation of how eyeliner should be worn. Mine only came out on special occasions. Probably for the best.
At that age, music was my life, and just like every kid at that age, that statement was not an exaggeration.
It all began when I was eleven. It was definitely before I started secondary school (or middle school for the American amongst thee); at times when I would find myself in my home on my own, I would immidiately punch in the number of the rock channels like it was some illicit activity and flick back and forth between Scuzz, Kerrang! and MTV 2 (yes, pre-MTV Rocks. Rip, 2. How we miss you). Like many, Linkin Park was the gateway, though my thirst was solidified thanks to Evanescence’s ‘Bring Me To Life’. I wished I could sing like Amy Lee, I tried to sing like Amy Lee, I failed to sing like Amy Lee, but I still went and bought Fallen and listened to it religiously twice in the morning before school (I did this for at least half a year). I’m not joking when I say that this was a serious endeavour, but as an eleven year old rock and metal fan, I felt like an island.
Originally published and still available on The Girls Are (04/09/16).
Turmoil: a sense of unrest, disturbance, confusion. Two of these factors can apply to NOTS, though it’s safe to say that ‘confusion’ is certainly not one of them; there is no confusion here, just intent, attitude, and a shit-tonne of noise.
Memphis, Tennessee is not a place one normally associates with a bristling punk scene, but it proved the ideal place for the foursome to nurture their sound over the years, initially playing in multiple bands with NOTS themselves seeing members come and go via a near constant revolve of their door. Charlotte Watson, for example, shifted from the drums to wield bass only to find herself with sticks back in her hands once again shortly after, and – from an audience perspective, good! – for she certainly sounds at home there. The band could not claim to be the same were it not for her pummelling attack on their second album Cosmetic; it is, after all, the linchpin in their sound.
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Originally published and still available on The Girls Are (05/02/16).
Pause a little to reminisce upon your teenage hopes and dreams. Found them? Did you dream of being unfeasibly cool with the aesthetic of Debbie Harry, talent of Johnny Marr with a healthy dose of lyrical sentimentality to boot (or was that just me)? Transitioning from bedrooms to stages was of course, an inevitability (in your mind), yet if you were so inclined to research a little on East Coast export Sunflower Bean, you would find that their conception reads much like a screenplay of a romanticised, Americanised, coming-of-age drama (albeit, one of a akin to an indie daydream).
Hailing from New York, guitarist Nick Kivlen and drummer Jacob Farber met Julia Cummings when their previous bands Turnip King and Supercute! played a show together. As it transpires the stars did align, as fast-forwarding three years to the present day they are about to unveil their debut album Human Ceremony.
Garnering press with lucidly energetic pop, the trio make good on the promise of more of its ilk, alternating seamlessly between dreamy psychedlia and fuzz infused anthems. The dark, surfy tones of old favourite ‘2013’ sound just as good now they have been suitably weathered in, with the falsetto turn of recent offering ‘Easier Said’ recalling a fabled melancholy summer. Even in their scattier and more energetic moments, the trio deliver their songs in an unerringly accomplished manner; ‘Wall Watcher’ has a deft swagger tucked under its big, grooving bassline whilst the wriggling riffs and deadpan vocal of ‘This Kinda Feeling’ hint at a lurking aggression. Similarly, the delicate ‘Creation Myth’ descends into the remnants of short-lived metal phase before recouping once again.
Originally published and still available on The Girls Are (13/05/15).
In choosing to live life as a creative, it is pre-empt that change is not inevitable, but essential to survive. In her own battle, Beth Jeans Houghton has had nothing short of a metamorphosis, and whilst it is neither a Miley Cyrus-esque display of attention-grabbing tongue-wagging, nor the flat, faux curveball of radio-darlings Mumford and Sons, it is instead a far more authentic growth that brings Houghton closer to her finest form of superhero artiste provocateur.
Of course, a brazen project needs a strong name and Du Blonde fits the bill. Muscular, sassy and perfectly personifying Houghton’s new and ballsy sound, Du Blonde pejoratively slays her previous life as the psych-rock chanteuse of her band, The Hooves Of Destiny. Her first work under her new moniker is essentially a rediscovery, with Welcome Back To Milk being a bullet of spiky rock that tears through speakers. One listen to the audacious swagger of single ‘Black Flag’ proves that Houghton means business, the pound and squeal of various instruments permeating into the thunderous ‘Chips To Go’ where Houghton unveils her vocal dexterity in equal measure. She croons and screeches though a mere two-minute burst of energy, and talking of such, this collection is full of them.
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Originally published and still available on The Girls Are (06/05/15).
Many believe that when we push ourselves to our limits, great things are achieved. Whether it be latching onto something treasured, chasing our dreams with reckless abandon, or dissective introspection, fortune rarely favours those who don’t push.
With Sprinter, Torres is pushing. The Nashville bred songstress – also known as Mackenzie Scott – returns with an emotive second album that sees her challenge her psyche and channel her discoveries through her music. Sonically, her chosen medium is comprised of jarring extremes that, whilst at times they grate with their forceful dynamic, serves as a metaphor for Scott’s maelstrom of feeling.
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Originally published and still available on The Girls Are (29/03/15).
You can be forgiven if you have never come across pop-chanteuse, Lowell, for despite her bold sound, outspoken nature and collaborations (most notably with super group Appartjik and ‘90s heartthrobs, The Backstreet Boys) she has yet to stamp her name on her Canadian homeland. It is merely a matter of time however; as the potion brews with the release of her debut album We Love Her Dearly, the artistic promise of Lowell – real name Elizabeth Lowell Boland – is set to bubble over sooner rather than later.
Monikered as “We Loved Her Dearly”, it is immediately apparent that Lowell is still caught in the throes of murdering her one-time alter-ego in the the 2014 song ‘I Killed Sara V’ and the corresponding EP of the same name. In fact, still so attached to a poignant moment of her past, ‘I Killed Sara V’ continues to exist on We Loved Her Dearly, like a ghostly spectre that continues to haunt, but hey – when such spectres are so charmingly incandescent, who really minds them hanging around?
Read the rest of my review over at The Girls Are.