17 May 2019

Thoughts and Current Playlist - 15th May 2019


Thoughts

  • Enjoyed Hit the North over the first May Bank Holiday weekend! I got to see some great bands.  The first one I saw was Pip Blom from Holland at the Think Tank; a Dutch four-piece who had a fantastic vibe and energy on stage.  They have a bit of a Stereolab vibe about them, which is not a bad thing to be honest.  Next, at the Think Tank Underground was Swimming Tapes, they sounded like a laid-back Teenage Fanclub.  Their music was good, but for a five-piece band, they were very quite.

    Next was a rapper called Sweets at the Head of Steam.  It was crowded, the audience seemed to be well into the music and then he started to rap.  I lasted a few tracks and it was not for me.  If you like it, more power to you!  After this was Sophie and the Giants at the Boiler Room, who turned out to be the revelation of the day.  Four piece Indie Pop with who will appeal to fans of Florence + the Machine, which is not a bad thing.  The best thing was singer Sophie Scott, her vocals were stunning.  I was down there with a couple of friends.  One guy is a Guns 'N' Roses fan, the other wishes he was Barbara Streisand.  All three of us agreed that they were the band of the day.

    After this, I flew solo for a little bit.  First up I saw Spielbergs from Olso, Norway.  I bumped into my former NE1FM colleague John from the 145, which is always a good sign for a band.  It was held at the Brewdog and I had an issue with this venue.  It was one where you could get in without a ticket for the festival, which meant that you had stag do's and people generally being arseholes.  There were doormen, but they were as effective as a dead frog in a rainstorm.  If you have a venue as a festival venue, keep it for the general public.  Anyway, Spielbergs were spot on, their post-punk/new Hardcore/Indie hybrid is infectious, such a good band who I'll see again when they return to Newcastle.

    The final act I watched was The Lake Poets, back at the Think Tank Underground.  Now, The Lake Poets are a Sunderland act, one of their songs, "Shipyards", was used to great effect on the Netflix documentary Sunderland Till I Die.  So, they came on stage and were full of great banter, mocking the Toon fans and the fact that the sound from the other venues was bleeding into the venue.  Originally, this set was supposed to have been played at Newcastle Cathedral, but it was changed at some point.  I think it might have worked better there, but it was still a wonderful set.

    After that, I headed home.  There was no-one I was aching to see, but I heard that other sets went off so well.  I'm already looking forward to next year's, obviously no idea who is playing, but it's a great event for the city!
  • It's been my birthday recently, which was a nice and gentle affair.  I went to Tynemouth for a bit, finally saw Avengers: Endgame (more on that later), bought far too many records (given) and had a great time off work.  Livin' small is a much better way to celebrate, took me a long time to learn that lesson.
  • Avengers: Endgame.  What a movie, I mean that was an event.  I'm not going to go into too much dealt (in case you've not seen it).  But I can say the following:

    The scene with Thor and ***** was heartbreak, wish I could have a similar conversation with my ***.

    The first half of the movie was a disaster survivor film, it's a fantastic piece of cinema.  Once you reintroduce Ant-man, the tone of the movie changed.

    It does get silly (even for a Marvel Movie) and it feels like a victory lap at times, but never at the expense of the story.

    The send-off for ********, *************** and ********** were a mixture of heart break and beautifully framed. 

    The handover at the end was brilliant and in keeping with the comics.

    It's not the best Avengers movie, not even the best Marvel movie, but it's a fitting ending to the Infinity Saga.  I would recommend seeing it in the pictures.
  • I'm hoping to go to the This Is Tomorrow festival.  Not for the headline bands too much, more for the local acts early on in the day.  Should be a laugh.
  • My ex-Duma colleague, Mr Chris Jermyn has a new band called Green River Messiah.  He's trying something new and I wish him all the best.
  • If you get to hear one album this year, make sure it's the new one by The Wildhearts.  It's called Renaissance Men, it's a real grower of an album.
  • Why the living fuck is M+S selling something called Porn Star Martinis?  This is a place where the average age of the patrons of these stores in their 60's, what do they want from porno! ;-)
  • I've got some ideas in my mind for BGM, it should be a laugh.
  • Also, the first recording of Then There Were Two with Mr Andrew Oyston, more on that once we start to post them.
  • I'll be posting a blog soon which I wrote in the aftermath of leaving NE1FM.  It's not a gritty detail or full of bad press, just how I was feeling at the time.  I never got around to posting it, but I still feel that I need to get it up.  At least for a milestone for that era of the show.  As I've posted in other places, I have a few things on cooking radio wise.  I'll be presenting a show called Across the Pond on Flytrap radio which is going to broadcasting out of Nashville in America (at least I think it is, Keith - can you confirm?).  I've also been doing some Open Mic slots on Nova Radio North East in the UK, we'll see how that goes.  If both start running, it's worth pointing out that they'll both have two slightly target audiences.  Across the Pond will be a show with a Parental Warning, the show on Nova will be your standard "no swear, no issues" show.  Musical, sort of similar, but one will be edited to a degree.  That is something I'm cool with, but I'm also excited for both opportunities
  • My family life is sorting itself, thanks for messages and all that jazz.  Looking after loved ones is hard, but very rewarding too. If only there was less Game of Thrones. ;-)
  • Well, that's all the points I wanted to raise here.  Until next time, take care!
Current listening:

David Bowie - The Next Day












The Cranberries - Everyone Else is Doing It, So Why Can't We?













Frank Zappa - Chunga's Revenge













Dunes - Take Me To The Nasties








Ben Folds - Rockin' the Suburbs













Lovely Wife - Audible Beef









Puppy - The Goat













The Wildhearts - Renaissance Men













Massive Wagons - Full Nelson













The Mute Gods - Atheists and Believers













Brad - United we Stand













Logic - Supermarket













Marvin Gaye - What's Going On













Andrew Bird - My Finest Work Yet













Most of these should be available on streaming sites, apart from Dunes and Lovely Wife which is out later in the year.  That one is a belter!  Here is a Spotify playlist with my favourite moments.

Eddie (currently melting in this global warming heatwave - Newcastle upon Tyne, 16th May 2019)

29 April 2019

State of the Blog Address - Why I've not been blogging so much, changes and other such things


Hello,

Well, it's been a while since I posted anything, just under a month since my last blog.  How times flies when your busy and such things.  There have been a lot of changes in my life, personal ones which I won't go into.  One change I can confirm is that I have left NE1FM (this happened in March as well).  Nothing big or groundbreaking to say about it.  I posted a full thank you on the Attention Please Facebook Page (you can read it here), it was just time for me to step aside.  But to be honest, everything that has happened, I've come to the realisation that I need to change some of my pursuits.

Firstly, let's look at my radio career.  Whilst I've left NE1FM, I am not going to vanish from the world.  One of the things that starting to become an issue was the amount of time I was having to spend on what was a two-hour show.  You spend time creating the show, travelling to and from the station, the social media postings, working on editing the show (had to be done by myself, not by a clear system) - it was all time-consuming.  So, when I had a family emergency, it was a way of stepping aside and take stock.  I truly miss doing the show, but not everything that was happening as well.  When I finished the show, I was not expecting to go back to radio, at least for a long while.

But, they say you can never keep a good man down, or in my case a hairy man.  Well, I can announce that I have been asked to supply a two-hour radio show for a station in America called Flytrap Radio.  The station is being run by Keith Chandler and Cody Gaisser of Oceanray/Lucy Stoner, it is based in Nashville (I think, never asked to be honest).  The show will be called Across the Pond, which will air on a Thursday evening UK time, as it will be available online (it will also be on the airwaves over in the USA).  It will be a heavier show compared to Attention Please, I don't have to edit the songs for swearing for one thing.  Also, the shows are going to pre-recorded!  So, no travel time required, I can also be home for my family.  A win/win situation for your's truly.

This is not my only announcement radio wise though, but the other one has to wait until I have something solid to say.  Let's us just say, I'm not gonna be quiet about it when I can say stuff.  One thing I can announce is that I will be releasing a podcast with my old blogging pal and sometimes Attention Please presenter Andy Oyston!  It will be called Then There Were Two...., each episode will focus on a general theme (films, movies, the lack of running water in Leadgate unless it's downhill), that sort of thing.  It will be a monthly podcast, with the theme tune being provided by Waheela! The first set of shows are to be recorded shortly and I will keep everyone posted.

Now, to the blogs.  The amount of time I can give towards blogging has been decimated, it's not getting any easier posting here or with Beard Gentlemen Music.  I love posting here and there, love every moment about it.  But, I can only do so much,  something has to give and it's going to be this blog.  I'm going to post exclusively with BGM now, I love being part of that team of brilliant writers, I have the freedom to pick the reviews I post and it makes so much sense to post my reviews there.  But that does not mean that I'm closing this blog down.  I'm going to change it into a general blog, posting stuff to do with my various shows and posting links to the BGM work as well.  Anything I promised for here will be posted soon, I like to keep my promises in that respect.

Running ATTIWLTMOWOS has been a pleasure, I truly mean that.  If it were not for this blog, I would not have been able to do all of the above.  I would not have discovered so many bands, made some great friends, got into online debates, been asked if I really got music, watched so many cyber attacks.... this blog will always have a special place in my heart.  But it's not vanishing, remember that.  It's just evolving, as my pursuits are changing direction.  You've not heard the end of me, not by a long shot.

The blog is dead....long live the blog

Eddie

Current playlist

Adam French - The Back Foot and The Rapture
Amanda Palmer - There Will Be No Intermission
The Soundtrack of Our Lives - Behind the Music
PUP - Morbid Stuff
Brad - Shame
Logic - Supermarket
Andrew Bird - My Finest Work Yet
Babyscream - Fan Fan Fan
Cath & Phil Tyler - The Ox & the Ax
Helms Alee - Noctiluca
Vladopus9 - Expires on Tuesday

30 March 2019

Braddock Station Garrison - American Radio


Third times the charm between me and Braddock Station Garrison.  Earlier this year, they released their third album, American Radio.  It's been two years since they released Saint Stephanie and the Stones (our review is linked here), but it doesn't seem like five minutes have passed.  As with each new release from a band or artist, you expect one of two things - "complete change" or "more of the same".  Both options are important, depending on the genre/band in question.  I will look at more a little later on, but I really want to get onto the review, so let's get to it.

01 - Blockbuster

"Blockbuster" starts this album with a standard American Classic Rock track.  There are no frills, spills or notes wasted.  It's a focused track, with a catchy little beat and riff that can be a real earworm.  I like this song, it feels like a continuation of their previous records, which is not a bad thing at all.

02 - Small Town Scene

"Small Town Scene" has a real R.E.M. vibe about it, around about Life's Rich Pagent-era sound.  I like the energy of the track, it has a positivity to the music, with a brilliant set of lyrics too.  There were a couple of notes which sounded a little too high in places, but overall, it was another good song.

03 - Travellin' Bible Salesman

Another bouncing song, "Travellin' Bible Salesmen" is a song about an unwanted man, selling lies and slander.  This is one of my favourite song of the album, it's one of the louder numbers on the album, but it's keeps everything within the style of the album.  With each spin, it digs in a little deeper.  It's a quality tune.

04 - When You Say

"When You Say" is the first slower number of American Radio, but again, there keep everything in the tone of the record.  It's a song which has a little bit of fear about it, mixed in with a little bit of love for good measure.  The lyrics seem to be a tiny bit too long for music in places.  Almost as if they're saying everything, but with a limited space of time to do so.  But the song is still a solid, dependable number.

05 - Border Run

"Border Run" brings the mood down once again, adding further depth (again, within the fixed parameters of their sound) to American Radio.  Everything feels like a puzzle which has come together with this song, creating a track that have emotional depth and a great performance from BSG.  One of the highlights of this album.

06 - John Lennon in California

With good timing, "John Lennon in California" brings back the energy to American Radio.  This is a good thing.  Bands/artists often go down a slower path too long on an album of this ilk.  But not BSG, they've got their heads screwed on.  Thankfully, "John Lennon in California" is a good number as well.  It's not a larger than life number, but it's one that is in keeping with this album.  That is not a bad thing at all.

07 - Pretty Girls in White Cars

"Pretty Girls in White Cars" is a standard Classic Rock number, one that reminds me a bit of the Gin Blossoms in places.  It's a decent song, but it's the only one which I sort of could get into.  This can happen and it's no fault of BSG's, sometimes a song is not for you.  So, onto the next number.....

08 - Kathy's Eyes

"Kathy's Eyes" is a bouncy little number!  I have to admit, it's not my type of thing, but it's one that has my toes tapping and it's one that I've thought about long after it's stopped playing.  That's the sign of a good song in my books!  As you would expect on this record, it's a Classic Rock number, with a large slice of Heartland Rock in their as well.  It's a brilliant number, one of the best on this album.

09 - Jailhouse Bars

"Jailhouse Bars" is the penultimate song of American Radio, which contains a hard little edge. Whilst it's not a massive leap to their sound, it does feel a bit heavier than the other nine tracks on offer.  "Jailhouse Bars" is a good, solid number that keeps everything heading in the right direction.

10 - American Radio

The title track ends this slice of Classic Rock, with a slow lament to the past. It brings the curtains down, let's the clock wind down, places the chairs on the table, you know - that sort of thing.  It's a good ending track to this record, bring this album to a fitting conclusion.  As the song fades and the band is still playing, it sort of makes you wish they had have extended the ending.  But that is just me, I like to hear a final note.

The old adage goes, if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it.  Braddock Station Garrison deal is a very safe style of music, you're not going to have solos that go on for twenty minutes, drum solos or Death Metal grunting.  What BSG deal in is a Classic Rock sound with connections to R.E.M., The Beatles, Toad the Wet Sprocket and Gin Blossoms.  If you're wanting something Electronic or exotic, American Radio will not be for you.  But this doesn't mean that this album is an awful release or poor.  For their chosen genre, Braddock Station Garrison are a very good band.   Apart from trying to reach a few notes that are slightly out of their vocal range, American Radio is a solid, subtle and dependable Classic Rock album.  Now, you may remember at the beginning of this review, I said that all records from a band fall into one of two categories.  American Radio falls into the section marked "more of the same" and this is what I was hoping for/expected.  You need a record such as this at times, for each album one that explodes like dynamite in a quarry and changes everything, there should be the opposite.  You need an album that is a solid, unflinching example of the genre it represents.   American Radio fits this description like a glove, sometimes that is all you want out of an album.

7 out of ten - This is good and worth checking out

Top track - Kathy's Eyes

You can purchase American Radio from the Braddock Station Garrison Bandcamp page here.

You can purchase American Radio from Amazon here.

You can visit the Braddock Station Garrison website here.

You can follow the activities of Braddock Station Garrison on Facebook here.

You can stream American Radio on Spotify here.

You can stream American Radio on Deezer here.

You can stream American Radio on Tidal here.

25 March 2019

Vladopus9 - Expires on Tuesday


Vladopus9 have finally done it!  After a lot of talking about releasing new material, waiting and waiting some more, they've finally released Expires on Tuesday.  If you've not read my review of their last single, "Li-Alien Attack" (which you can do here), then you mightn't know much about Vladopus 9.  Well, here is the lowdown once more - (Information took is taken from their ReverbNation page):  "National Recording Artist Vladopus9-, is the accumulation of many years of eclectic musical experiences. Joseph Page's influences originate from the classic rock, hair metals bands, and heavy/speed/thrash metal bands of the 1980’ into the punk scenes that dominated the 1990’s and early 2000’s. While cultivating his techniques and musical agendas through writing, playing, and performing in various alternative, punk, folk, noise, and rock bands throughout the years-, the music that Page is now creating is a true reflection of what influenced him the most within all of those musical communities as well as the life experiences, and worldviews that drive daily life. Lisa Rau is the truest example of how a love for music can produce real talent. With her unique and honest approach to vocals, alongside her passion to never imitate another performer-, her vocal style is compelling, honest, and her own. While trying not to lose his mind and wondering where he is or going, Chris Simpson's drumming pursuits began influenced by the video age and by crawling under a rock and digging just enough to uncover the surface in order to see what was beneath it all-, Simpson developed an approach to music unique to himself. Previous projects range from heavy metal jazz and trainswrecks-, to straight-forward punk rock and Simpson continues these influences on with structured dynamic drums-, while playing the kitchen sink or campy, burned-out triggers/samples. Simpson plays to the vocals while setting the heartbeat of the songs with his driving raw/heavy/fast noise, to dropping stops/fallout silence with the true passion of all great drummers/artists."  Well, that is the band introduced (again), but what about Expires on Tuesday?

01 - Shovelhammer


Now, I love a good noisy beginning to an album.  Feedback can be so tuneful at times.  "Shovelhammer" sounds like the mutant child of Black Sabbath and Butthole Surfers.  It's mostly noise, doom riffs and strange noise, with a barbed vocal delivery laced throughout the middle of the song.  

02 - Enabler


"Enabler" sounds as if we're heading down the rabbit hole, twisting and turning toward oblivion on a drug-fueled rant.  It's part horror theme, part  Hunter S Thompson and all noise crazy.  It's not an easy song, it will terrify people and so it should.  It's not designed to be nice, it's designed with a macabre sense of pleasure and insanity.  Love it.

03 - Transparent Fences

"Transparent Fences" is a sludge/noise hybrid, with a constantly changing tempo, style and delivery throughout the short time it's on this sphere.  It goes from Beefheart, to Ministry (pace wise), they go Country, then Zappa and then it goes on a different route on the way back.  Backwards and forwards, never in a straight line and never easy.  When there is a howl near the end, I can truly appreciate it, but this is what you should expect from Vladopus 9.  It's in keeping with the album and I love how it sounds.

04 - Saynow Stravinsky

"Saynow Stravinsky" sounds like a back end of the band playing in the Black Lodge in Twin Peaks, but with a vain and self-absorbed person not getting the music.  It just repeats itself, as the story of the vocals repeat and the confusion descends to a bitchy ending.  This is one of my favourite songs on Expires on Tuesday, due to its simple delivery and droning mantra to the bassline that is stuck in my head.  Also, any song that has the line "sucking all the air out of the room" is a winner in my book.

05 - Tripnation

"Tripnation" is a strange one, and saying it's strange on an album such as Expires on Tuesday should be a warning of the strange nature of this song.  Once again, I'm using the word strange, but it's in keeping with the record as well.  This tale of a trip is a fast little number, with massive vocals effects over an alternative indie/metal noise.  It's over really quickly, so it's hard to take more than a quick impression from it, but it's still interesting.

06 - Molecula


So, after five fast, frantic and intense numbers, "Molecula" is a slower, patient and intense number.   The music is droning, the spoken word ranting the anchor which you cling onto as you swirl around and around.  With each spin, you're sure it's going to deviate, but it keeps the same course each time, fading out into a wall of noise.  It's amplifier worship, feel the noise and chill out.

07 - Bored Dorian


Following on the slower path which was laid out by "Molecula", "Bored Dorian" is a Post-Grunge number which has a Shoegazer feeling to the music as well.  Imagine Stone Temple Pilots when they were at their peak, jamming with Slowdive and Ride, with more amplifiers that one ever requires.  I love it, it's my favourite moment of this record, it's a small pond of noise-based tranquillity and it's required to make the other tracks make sense. 

08 - Grown Punkins


"Grown Punkins" is another Post-Grunge number, but with more Butthole Surfers influence coming back into the mix.  The frantic drumming is the key to this song, driving Vladopus9 forward at a furious pace, with the guitars and bass in support of this number.  It's another number which has been stuck in my head for ages, it's got some great hooks.

09 - Expires on Tuesday


The title track is a dream-pop/Shoegazing breath of sunshine, a restful pool in the madness of the world that is Expires on Tuesday.  It has a Classic Rock sort of daydream, with a bit of distortion for good measure, then comes the drug-tripping monologue towards the middle and the end.  I love this one a lot, it's a little gem, but at the moment it's in a sea of diamonds.

10 - Li-Alien Attack


"Li-Alien Attack" was the first track I ever heard by Vladopus9, it was their lead single from this album, so it makes sense that it brings everything to a close.  My opinions on this song haven't changed, it's still a great little song and the bit about getting this bitch to land is perfect for ending this record.

Expires on Tuesday is a great album, a little Alternative gem in an age when Twenty One Pilots are considered to be Rock, in an age when people are more concerned about immoral connections, instead of finding out what is within you.  Vladopus9 are outsiders, they've looked in and signed out, taking their own road to who knows where. Is it an easy album?  I think so, I like the fact it's a little fucked-up and not normal.  Is it for everyone?  Hell no!  But Frank Zappa is not for everyone, The Smashing Pumpkins are not for everyone, some things are not for the great unwashed.  Those who get this will love this, that is all that matters.

9 out of ten - Almost Perfect, almost.....

Top track - Bored Dorian

You can purchase Expires on Tuesday on Amazon here.


You can visit the Vladopus9 website here.

You can follow the activities of Vladopus9 on Facebook here. 

You can stream Expires on Tuesday on Spotify here. 

You can stream Expires on Tuesday on Deezer here. 

You can stream Expires on Tuesday on Tidal here. 

15 February 2019

Bob Mould - Sunshine Rock


Bob Mould is one of the pillars of US Alternative Rock!  I mean, what else can you say about this man! How can you articulate something new about the man who was one of the driving forces in the phenomenal Hüsker Dü, the boss in Sugar (a band which seems to have sadly been forgotten these days) and a decorated solo artist in his own right as well.  Following on from Patch the Sky which was released in 2016, Sunshine Rock was first announced in October 2018, with recording sessions taking place in Oakland, San Francisco and Berlin.  I've been looking forward to this album a lot, but with no idea why.  I've deliberately kept away from anything released from the album, just for the joy of listening to an album without any preconceptions of the sound, songs or overall feeling of the album.  It's a rare thing in the digital age, to have a surprise.  However, will the album be surprising? Will it be the same old stuff?  Well, only one way to find out.....

01 - Sunshine Rock

Starting off the album with the title track is sometimes a double-edged sword as well.  It shows confidence in the title source, it shows a passion for everything to do with the album, it shows a single-minded attitude behind this record.  It's an old school alternative number, a love song with a fuzzy guitar, a few strings in the middle and a brilliant hook.  I love this song, it's a great opening track with a positive beat and uplifting music.

02 - What Do You Want Me To Do

"What Do You Want Me To Do" is Bob mould 101, it's a song that he's written many times before and will do again on future albums.  You have the loud guitars, the smashing drums and a song that you can loop in on itself to become a personal mantra.  It oozes sunshine, it has swagger and it sounds great.  So it might sound familiar, what's exactly wrong with that?  Nothing, nothing at all.....

03 - Sunny Love Song

Ah, the song which sounds like summer, but lyrically it's all gone to shit!  I love this sort of song, the dual nature of the music and the words are so enticing.   Whilst this is clearly an alternative rock song, it's also a Power-pop number.  It comes from both worlds, it has a great hook and a melody that can be stuck in your head for days to come.

04 - Thirty Dozen Roses

Well, we're still on the loud side of Bob Mould's musical palette.  "Thirty Dozen Roses" is a loud song, the distortion is in full effect and the misery is raining once again.  Now, if you're familiar with the previous works of Bob Mould, then if I said this one bridged the sound of the album Bob Mould at it's heaviest with Sugar, then you should get a good idea of how "Thirty Dozen Roses" sounds.

05 - The Final Years

"The Final Years" is the first slow number for Sunshine Rock, one that feels like the final track of a teen comedy from the late '90s/early '00s.  It's full of anxiety, wondering how things could have been different and wondering what went wrong.  There's a drifting sensation to "The Final Years", it goes by in a pleasant way, but it keeps on drifting away as well. It's a decent number, not doing anything wrong, but it's not an essential song on Sunshine Rock.

06 - Irrational Poison

"Irrational Poison", is another slow number, but one that wouldn't have been out of place on a Sugar album.  This tale of self-inflicted wounds, laced together with a small amount of distortion, loud drums and synth-strings over the end is an attention-grabbing number.  It's over a little too quickly for my tastes, but it's a good number none the less.

07 - I Fought

When I listen to "I Fought", I'm hearing the sound of a man paying tribute.  I'm not 100% sure, but in mind, this is his tribute to Grant Hart.  It's a raw number, the emotional carnage and broken ties laid bare.  But even if it's about someone else, this is still a beautiful, angry and emotive number.

08 - Sin King

"Sin King" is full of political overtones, with a mixture of sweet memories and regret about how things have turned out.  Again, it could be about something else, but I'm reading a political statement in this song.  Musically, this is another song that could have been on a Sugar album, with a hint of "Explode & Make-Up" to the music.  I love it's back to basics nature and loud guitars, it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up, it's a beautiful number. Mr Mould sounds at his best with this type of number, it's probably his strongest suit and one of the best songs on Sunshine Rock as well.

09 - Lost Faith

Now, this is an interesting song, one that has an '80s feeling to it, but not in a Hüsker Dü way.  It's very light, gentle as a lover's caress and it feels like a stripped back New Order number.  Again, its a song with a sad lament to it, a feeling of loss and anger, betrayal and frustration.  Each time I've put it on, I've found something else about it that I didn't notice the last time.  It's a bit of an enigma to me, but one that I enjoy all the same.

10 - Camp Sunshine

Sometimes, a song can feel a little too burdened, as if more instruments were added when less would have been more.  For me, "Camp Sunshine" is that type of song.  A gentle song about wanting to protect the past, maybe even go back to a favourite holiday destination, but awaiting to pass on some guidelines for the future.  Now, if this was just an acoustic guitar, it would have worked for me.  However, it has percussion, bass, keys and too many layers.  It's a good song, but it's had too much added to it.

11 - Send Me A Postcard

"Send Me A Postcard" is a cover the song originally by Shocking Blue, which was written by Robbie van Leeuwen.  To be honest, I'm yet to hear the original, so I can only give this review based on this version.  It's a quick punchy number, one that has a glam rock influence and it gives the album back some energy.  I like it a lot, it's another piece of sunshine on this record.

12 - Western Sunset

"Western Sunset" ends Sunshine Rock with a bang!  I mean, it's a Power-pop ending with strings, loud riffs and smashing drums.  You could easily overthink a number such as this, is there any hidden meanings to the words?  Well, this listener is going to enjoy the riff, strings and take it at face value.  "Western Sunset" is the perfect ending for this type of album, carefree and soaring above the waves, what is there not to love?

With Sunshine Rock, it feels as if Bob Mould has looked over his shoulder slightly.  There is a reflective feeling to this record, one that could be read in a couple of ways.  Is it yearning for a different past?  Or is it a man who is proud of his past and all the victories and mistakes in equal measure?  I think that once I've read some interviews with the man himself, I might have a better idea.  For now, I can only guess at the nature and mindset of Mr Mould.  But I can say that the music he has created on Sunshine Rock is fantastic.  It feels like a greatest hits compilation from many places in his career, but each of these songs is a brand new number.  Familiarity and that new exciting sensation all mixed into one, what is there not to love on Sunshine Rock?  Nothing, just go with the flow!

9 out of ten - Almost perfect, almost

Top track - Thirty Dozen Roses

You can purchase Sunshine Rock from Amazon here.

You can visit the Bob Mould website here.

You can follow the activities of Bob Mould on Facebook here.

You can stream Sunshine Rock on Spotify here.

You can stream Sunshine Rock on Deezer here.

You can stream Sunshine Rock on Tidal here.

Ten Eighty Trees - Lip Service (Review and Intervew)


Ten Eighty Trees have come a long way in a few years, which is a great thing to see in this day and age of DJ's and Rappers.  The Alternative Rock Power-trio from Newcastle upon Tyne have been causing a storm with their live sets supporting the likes of We Are Scientists, Dunes and The Virginmarys, wooing audiences into submission and terrifying the headline acts by having to follow their energetic performances.  "Lip Service" is their fourth single, following on from "Something Feral", "Stop Asking" and "Before the Fall".

"Lip Service" has already been getting radio play before its release, being played on BBC Newcastle, Spark FM and my own humble show on NE1FM.  Nathan from Ten Eighty Trees has been gracious enough to agree to answer some questions to go along with this review of their new single:
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ATT: So, Ten Eighty Trees, what is the meaning behind the name and how did you get together?
Nathan: The band name actually comes from something a friend of mine said whilst he was under the influence of magic mushrooms at Glastonbury festival. Whilst hanging out with a group of Bristolians dressed as legendary wrestlers, it quickly became apparent one of my mates had consumed a substantial amount of shrooms early that day. When I asked him whether he was alright, he replied he was seeing ‘isosceles grass’ and ‘Ten Eighty Trees’. After I’d finished buckling at the descriptions of my friend’s hallucinations, the realisation dawned that Ten Eighty Trees would actually be a great name for a band. The rest is history.

The band was actually formed out of necessity more than anything. A band I was in had recently fizzled out and, unwilling to drop out of a gig we had planned, I decided to reach out to some musicians I knew, throwing together a band that could play a selection of songs I’d been working on. I knew Michael from university and he introduced me to Lewis. Two rehearsals and one gig later, Ten Eighty Trees was born.

ATT: What I like about Ten Eighty Trees is the noise behind your music, everything seems to be turned up to ten.  Also, the three-piece rock band seems to be making a big return too.  What was this a concise choice to go in the three-piece direction? 

Nathan: I think that abrasive sound comes from the music I grew up on. I grew up on a diet of heavy rock and punk and, whilst my tastes have broadened and matured slightly, I think that’s never really left my song writing to some degree. Also, the idea of a three-piece band has always appealed to me aesthetically as well as sonically. Since forming my first band in my early teens, I’ve never actually been in a band that wasn’t a three-piece. There is just something so pleasing about three people really going for it on stage and creating a proper racket. The feeling of making music in this manner still gives me a real buzz

Picture by Issac Johnson, supplied by Ten Eighty Trees
ATT: The standard question here – who have been the biggest influences on Ten Eighty Trees?

Nathan: I think Biffy Clyro have been big for all of us. Especially, for me,  the albums Infinity Land and Puzzle. The maximalism and melodic, yet twisted, nature of Simon Neil’s guitar work really influenced me growing up and I think those influences still show in songs like Lip Service and Stop Asking.

ATT: I’ve only had the pleasure of seeing you guys once supporting Dunes at the Think Tank in Newcastle.  I was standing next to Ade’s from Dunes and we were both gobsmacked, he response (and I quote) was “Jesus, these guys are good”.  So, it’s fair to say your live shows are punchy.  How do you approach each gig?

Nathan: Haha, that is extremely flattering to hear Ade said that. We are all huge fans of Dunes and their sledgehammer brand of rock is truly captivating. Our preparation for a live show is actually quite minimal. A few vocal warm ups, a stretch here or there. A pint of Cola is part of my regular routine as I, strangely, find this helps lubricate my vocal chords. One thing that is worth mentioning is that we rarely if ever have a “proper” drink before we go on stage as the biggest buzz for us is playing our music. We don’t need anything to enhance the experience for us and I think this is definitely for the benefit of the audience too. If this forfeits our rock credibility then so be it. I’m not sure how much we had to begin with. 

Picture by Issac Johnson, supplied by Ten Eighty Trees
ATT: Looking at the people you’ve supported, I must congratulate you on a very impressive list (with the likes of We Are Scientists and The Virginmarys standing out).  When you support touring bands, is there any difference to how you approach the gig?  Also, what has been your best show to date?

Nathan: We try to approach every gig the same as we’ve all been gigging long enough to know what works for us and what doesn’t. The only thing that might change is the setlist and even then changes will be minimal. We try and give as honest a representation of our band possible regardless of the audience we are playing to. I think the fact we can gig with everyone from We Are Scientists to Virginmarys shows the broad spectrum of rock fans we find ourselves able to appeal to and the fact we tend to do this successfully without drastic setlist changes is a very rewarding experience.

Though the We Are Scientists show was definitely a watershed moment for a band of relative minnows such as ourselves, a show which sticks out as one of our best is a one we played at Nemix in Newcastle around late 2017. This was before we’d even set up any social media accounts or released music and I was just coming back from a rather horrific accident. We managed to fill the room and the atmosphere inside was electric. People were singing along to songs that hadn’t even been recorded yet. I think that was the moment we knew we might be on to something.

ATT: “Lip Service” is your fourth single, which is being released on 15th February as a self-released single.  What’s the story behind the song?

Nathan: Lip Service generally concerns a widely accepted obstruction of truth, especially when used by those in positions of power.
Being heavily involved in many areas of the music industry, we have all, collectively as well as individually, come in to contact with people that ultimately reveal themselves to be brimming with hypocrisy and false promises, exploiting their supposed positions of power for further gain and treating those that actually sustain their industry escapades as expendable. Whilst numerous experiences often go into the creation of our songs, these ideas definitely came to influence Lip Service, with myself and Lewis especially having hostile run-ins with less-than-respectable characters in our respective music roles outside Ten Eighty Trees. I think many musicians active in the industry can relate to the sentiments expressed in Lip Service.

ATT: Whilst you’re only just releasing “Lip Service”, are there plans afoot to release an EP or possible an album in the future?  Also, what shows do you have coming up?

Nathan: We have a number of releases scheduled for the rest of the year with an EP on the cards toward the backend. Whilst we already have an abundance of material written and recorded for that, preparations to return to the studio are already in motion. We don’t particularly like to rest on our songwriting laurels.

With regard to what shows we have planned, we have a smattering of shows booked around April including a hometown headline show at Newcastle Think Tank on 20th April. The line up for the show is looking well-tasty and we can’t wait to share what other acts we have lined up over the coming weeks. We also have a few shows lined up over Festival season, but, again, we are unable to say where we are playing just yet. All will be revealed in time.
 

Picture by Lewis Dodds, supplied by Ten Eighty Trees
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"Lip Service" is what I would call a new take on an old school sound.  This ode to the failings of the modern world when people talk a good game, but deliver a shit service (think Brexit if you will) is a song that reminds me of a combination of The Wildhearts, Biffy Clyro and a dash of Freddie Mercuyflamboyance.  The main riff is a thing of beauty; it'll be worth purchasing just for that alone.  However, the whole song is a total earworm, it'll be stuck in your head for weeks.  The best bit is near the end, I won't spoil the surprise, but trust me on this one!


Ten Eighty Trees are onto a good thing here, "Lip Service" is one of the most refreshing songs I've heard in an awfully long time.  If they play their cards right, I can see a bright future for them.  Thanks to Nathan and the guys for sending me "Lip Services" and agreeing to the interview as well, appreciated it!

5 out of five - I wish I had extra ears to love this more.

Top track - (As it's a one-track single) Lip Service

You can follow the activities of Ten Eighty Trees on Facebook here.

You can purchase Lip Service from the Ten Eighty Trees Bandcamp page here.

You can purchase Lip Service here on Amazon, but you'd be better off using the Bandcamp link.

You can stream Lip Service on Spotify here. 

You can stream Lip Service on Deezer here.

You can stream Lip Service on Tidal here.

All photos supplied by Ten Eighty Trees for promotional purposes, copyright is retained by the relevant copyright holders.

13 February 2019

Oceanray - Oceanray/War Plugs


Oceanray are an American Post-Rock/Shoegazing back from Nashville, TN; Swansboro, NC and Muscle Shoals, AL.  Formed with a few members of Lucy Stoner, Oceanray are described as Post-Post, Remedial Math-Rock, Puce Metal, Bragaze, Symphonic Doomchill, Anxiety Funk, Low Punk band.  I'm sure about three of them are made up, but they sound like interesting genres all the same.  Now, whenever I get anything from Sweet Sound Records, I get a little excited.  I don't know why if I'm honest, maybe it's because I know I'm going to find something that is not going to be normal.  They seem to only dealy in abstract bands, the misfits, the outliers and the outcasts.  All the more reason why I love that label, they have become a home or everyone that doesn't belong in the great unwashed.


Oceanray/War Plugs is the second release for Oceanray, following on from their 2015 release Worship/Eavesdropping.  Having over three years between singles is a bit of a wait, but sometimes that you have to do.  You can't rush things, as they tend to turn out shite if you do.  So, how has this single turned out?

01 - Oceanray

Naming a song after yourself can either be a ballsy move, or the sign of a mind going wrong.  Thankfully, "Oceanray" is a case of the former, rather than the later.  This swirling seven-minute droning Post-Rock/Shoegazing instrumental piece is a fantastic piece.  It reminds me of a few bands, but not in the way that you might think.  I hear parts that remind me of Placebo, parts that remind me of the Pixies, there is even a straight forward riff that reminds me of Frank Zappa (but everything reminds me of Sir Z these days).  This track is not too intense on the listener, it's rather a pleasant and comfortable piece to be honest.  It's also an earworm as I've had it stuck in my head for days.

02 - War Plugs

The longer of the two tracks on offer, "War Plugs" is a tougher listen than "Oceanray".  It contains a surfer/psychedelic vibe, with an intense period of repeating drums/bass as the guitar wonders off in about several directions.  But then they all seem to drift away every now and then.  However, they all come back to a central point, looping it further into itself.  Out of the two, I would say this is the one where I was expecting something else at the end.  This is not a criticism, just an observation of my own mind more than anything.

Overall, this is a great double release, with "Oceanray" besting the psychedelic "War Plugs".  I found both of these tracks to be engaging and strong tracks, each with their own strengths, as well as the ability to be stuck in your head for days.  If you're looking for a new band to lose yourself in, you could do a lot worse than Oceanray.

4.5 out of five - This is really good and well worth checking out

Top track - Oceanray


You can purchase Oceanray/War Plugs on the Oceanray Bandcamp page here.

You can purchase Oceanray/War Plugs on Amazon here, but you should do it from their Bandcamp page.

You can follow the activities of Oceanray on Facebook here.

You can stream Oceanray/War Plugs on Spotify here.

You can stream Oceanray/War Plugs on Deezer here.

You can stream Oceanray/War Plugs on Tidal here.

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