10 December 2018

The ATTIWLTMOWOS Top 40 songs of 2018

It's that time of year where everyone is posting their end of year blogs!  Well, I'm no different in that front, as you will well know!  In association with Attention Please on NE1FM, this is the All The Time I Was Listening to My Own Wall of Sound Top 40 songs of 2018!  It has been a corker of a year, to be honest with you ladies and gentlemen, I could have made this list 500 tracks long.  But, I have condensed it down to the top songs which have rocked, soothed and enlighted ATTIWLTMOWOS towers this year!  Now, in a difference to most end of year charts of this nature, the songs don't need to have been released as a single.  They also don't need to be off albums that qualify for the Album of the Year poll.  No, they just needed to be cracking tunes and these (for my money) represent the best work from these artists. Enjoy! - Eddie

PS - You can listen to the live reveal of the top 30 which was done on Attention Please on NE1FM on the link below:

Attention Please: 10th December 2018: Song of the Year Show

PPS - If you like your music streamable, here is a Spotify playlist.  However, I post this with one word of caution.  As The Custodian version of "On the Ropes" by Miles Hunt is not currently available on Spotify, I've used the original on the list.  Also, purchase the damn songs from the artists, Spotify is criminally ripping them off.

The ATTIWLTMOWOS/AP Top 40 of 2018 (sort of)

40 - Layfette Regency - Helen is a UFO (Taken from the album The Story of Helen (The Rise and Fall of an Impossible Love))

Sounding like a long lost Progressive Blues anthem from years gone by, French trio Layfette Regency released this anthemic song about a lady who is beyond human comprehension.  It's a track that can make the hair on your neck stand on end and it goes by so fast that you don't realise you've spent over seven minutes under its spell.

39 - This Wild Life - Positively Negative (Taken from the album Petaluma)

This Wild Life are (in my opinion) the happiest band with a depressive view of life I've ever heard, it's great that they're back again.  It's even better that they sound as glorious as ever.  "Positively Negative" is another slab of negatively drenched in sunshine, a song about trying to break away from a black hole in your life.  I love that they can make something sound cheerful, but also let people know that others are suffering in the same way.  Depression rarely sounds so bright, God bless their cotton socks.

38 - VOLA - We Are Thin Air (Taken from the album Applause of a Distant Crowd)

A lot of people still claim that Rock is dead.  Well, I think VOLA missed that memo.  We Are Thin Air is a stunning Progressive Rock/Metal number that gives the genre as a whole a kick up the arse.  It's heavy and light in equal measure, heavy and gentle with a kick-ass riff!

37 - Sick of It All - Bad Hombres (Take from the album Wake the Sleeping Dragon)

Sick of It All are angry at the moment, they see bad stuff happening and they shout about it!  And rightly so, Hardcore has always been a litmus paper for the state of the world, at the minute it's going down the shitter.  Bad Hombres is a damning condemnation of Donald Trump's stupid idea of a wall at the Mexican border.  Whilst I try to stay out of politics, they are spot on here.  Listen to it, it's a great hardcore number for 2018!

36 - Childish Gambino - This is America (Non-album Single)

If there was a blog about music videos in 2018, this would have won it hands down.  In fact, that is what I'm going to post here.  My words won't do this song justice, you need to see this video.  This song is important and this is why.

35 -  Therapy? - Wreck It Like Beckett (Taken off the album Cleave)

You can't keep a good band down and Therapy? are one of those acts that keep grinding away.  The opening track to Cleave is a blast from the past in some ways, but it's not a nostalgia trip.  This is Therapy? in full flight, in the zone and creating a monster riff!  It's such a loud number, best listen to with your speakers at full volume!

34 - Le Butcherettes - spider/WAVES (Taken from the forthcoming album Bi/Mental)

In a change from the sound of A Raw Youth, spider/WAVES represents the first new material of their forthcoming new album.  It's a sinister and hypnotic track, one which sounds fantastic when played live as well.  If this is an indication of what their next record will sound like, it could be a world beater.

33 - Alkaline Trio - I Can't Believe (Taken off the album Is This Thing Cursed?)

As much as I enjoyed Matt Skiba's involvement in Blink-182, I've got to say it's brilliant to see Alkaline Trio back again.  They are (and always will be) one of my favourite modern Punk acts, they just have the right combination of drama and noise, which combines to create another anthemic moment like I Can't Believe.  A song about someone who is falling to pieces, it sounds as if they've never been away.  This is just one of many highlights on Is This Thing Cursed?, with its massive hook in the chorus that drags you along, willingly or not.

32 - Stand Atlantic - Lost My Cool (Taken from the album Skinny Dipping)

Australian Pop-Punk three piece Stand Atlantic are a band on the rise.  With their barely contained anger and easy style, they're a band who will go from smaller venue to places like Brixton Academy very quickly.  Lost My Cool is a song that was stuck in my head for weeks, it was also one that required a radio edit to play on my show, but don't let that stop you listening to it.

31 - Bloods - Bring My Walls Down (Taken from the album Feelings)

Another Australian band!  This time it's Power-Rock/Pop outfit Bloods, making a nice bit of fuzzy racket with Bring My Walls Down.  A song that sounds like a beefed out, female-fronted version of early Teenage Fanclub, Bloods make great little three minute anthems to dance around to, "Bring My Walls Down" is a great example of how they do this!

30 - Miles Hunt - On The Ropes (Taken from the album The Custodian)

"On the Ropes" is a reworking of The Wonder Stuff classic by its creator on acoustic guitar, taken of his double album, The Custodian.  The original of this song is one of my favourite songs ever, seriously, it still takes me back to that place in my late teens.  So when I heard "On the Ropes" had made the cut, I was looking forward to hearing this version.  Miles has not disappointed, taking an Indie fist-pumping track and re-working it into a heartbreaker with his characteristic touch.  I doth my cap to the good man and recommend you all checking the album out as well.

29 - Sad Hill - New Warden (Taken from the album Good if it Goes)

"New Warden" is taken from the debut album of Australian Emotional Punk act Sad Hill, the album is called Good If It Goes.  They are a relevantly new band to be honest, but you'd think they'd been together for much longer.  "New Warden" is the sort of song which gets under your skin and stays there for such a long time.  It's quick, to the point and sounds amazing.  Sad Hill are definitely one of the act to that you should keep your eye on in the future.

28 - Man Make Fire - One Hand Friend (Taken from the Forthcoming album Man Make Fire)

With a sound like the Crazy Gods of Endless Noise, Man Make Fire deal in the fuzzy end of Rock between Alternative, Grunge and Retro.  Taken off their latest album Man Make Fire, "One Hand Friend" is a song that hits all the right spots for me.  It's one that feels as if it should be heard live, with a catchy chorus and a great riff as well.

27 - The Winter Hill Transmission - How Could We Ever Know (Taken from the album The Winter Hill Transmission)

"How Could We Ever Know" is a song which is taken from an album about ten years in the making, The Winter Hill Transmission.  This song (for my money) is a perfect representation of what The Winter Hill Transmission are all about.  A bit of melancholy, a slice of regret, an untold story and huge degree of talent, "How Could We Ever Know" is a song that feels ready for breaking hearts in a moments notice.  It's also one that could only have been created in the North East of England, it might mention Paris, but its heart is from the heart of the Tyne.

26 - The Virginmarys - SOS4UNI (Taken from the album Northern Sun Sessions)

Sounding as if they're playing for their lives, The Virginmarys have come back late in 2018 to lay claim to their throne once more.  "SOS4UNI" is a stomping number, one which shows that people who think Rock is dead are full of shit.  This song has all the key components required to be a classic, an easy chorus, a massive hook and it sounds like the devil is on its heels.  A cry for help has rarely sounded so inviting.

25 - Richard Thompson - The Storm Won't Come (Taken from the album 13 Rivers)

"The Storm Won't Come" is a song about expecting damnation and an escape from depression, but nothing is happening.  The desperation is vivid in the mind of the audience and the protagonist of the song as well, but there is to be no sweet release.  I love this song, the brooding manner of the music, the aggression and impatient longer is so inviting.  This song stunned me upon hearing it, I keep forgetting how powerful music can be, it doesn't always need to shout.  Richard Thompson is an artist that I will be investigating further (and to my shame, I should have done a hell of a lot sooner).

24 - Not Scientists - Orientation (Taken from the album Golden Staples)

Coming across as an Indie version of the Descendents, French Indie Punks Not Scientists burst into my life earlier this year with a band.  Taken off their latest album Golden Staples, "Orientation" is a song about not being able to move, losing a sense of self and a friend, mixed with anxiety and depression.  It's a moody number, with pounding drums and massive guitars.  The energy coming off this song is amazing, easily one of my favourite Alternative songs of 2018.

23 - Manic Street Preachers - Hold Me Like a Heaven (Taken from the album Resistance is Futile)

Whilst I found Resistance is Futile to be a tad disappointing, you can always count on the Manics to have an anthem or two up their sleeves.  "Hold Me Like a Heaven" has a sing-along chorus, one that could make a grown man cry and look moodily at the horizon.  It might represent their youth, but it does represent their current form in the best fashion.  Its melancholic worldview is the sound of people who are wondering how to fight, wanting to feel loved and to rest.  It's a strange one, but I love it so much as well.  Tragedy and regret in one moment.

22 - Laura Veirs - The Lookout (Taken from the album The Lookout)

Taken from the album with the same name, "The Lookout" is a song to a lover who acts as an anchor to its creator.  It's about feeling that you have someone fighting your corner, a fear of what might have happened, a sense of vulnerability and determination to be faithful to that lover.  It's short, sweet and gentle, and at first glance, it might seem a bit of a contradiction on this list.  But I love this song, it sounds like a call from home and I also love the album that bears its name.

21 - Antarctigo Vespucci - Freakin' U Out (Taken from the album Love in the Time of E-mail)

Pounding their way through this sound in just under three minutes, Antarctigo Vespucci will have you moving around the room like your pants are on fire.  This song is about trying to explain your deepest feelings and fears, but also you don't scare people away with your intensity.  "Freakin' U Out" is a crazy, beautiful Indie song, mixed with a Punk DIY spirit and a sense of reckless abandon that makes it sound so good!

20 - Middle Kids - Mistake (Taken from the album Lost Friends)

Another band from Australia (it's been a very good year for Aussie acts), this time it's Indie three-piece, Middle Kids.  Whilst I found Lost Friends to be missing something, I always had time for "Mistake" as well.  It's a song that latches onto and it doesn't let go, not for anything.  The loose story of the song is open to interpretation and it's all held together by a driving drum beat from drummer, Harry Day.  Also, since seeing them live (and conducting an interview for NE1FM), I have figured out what was missing from the album.  It's their live presence, as they are fantastic at their gigs.  I'll be following them in the future as well, I recommend you do the same.

19 - Portugal, The Man - Feel It Still ("Weird Al" Yankovic Remix) (Non-album single)

It rare that a remix reaches these lists, even rarer when it's from a band I've not really encountered.  I've no idea of anything about Portugal, The Man; to be honest, apart from this remix, I still don't have any real idea.  However, I know a lot about Sir Yankovic the Weird.  This remix has his trademarked Oompah band sound, with a manic energy and style that can be heard from the depths the oceans to the skies themselves.  It's a great song, one day I'll probably listen to the original as well (Sorry P,TM - I will check it out).

18 - Young Fathers - In My View (Taken from the album Cocoa Sugar)

Minalmist, driven and captivating.  These three words best describe the first single released from Cocoa Sugar, the third album from Young Fathers.  After the success surrounding their work on the Trainspotting 2 OST, as well as their previous two albums, they still sound hungry and that second best is not their aim.  "In My View" was released in January 2018, it's still a powerful statement almost 12 months on.

17 - Peter, Bjorn and John - Living a Dream (Taken from the album Darker Days)

I'm forever getting the name of this song work! I keep writing or saying "Living the Dream", but it's "Living A Dream".  It doesn't help that they use the phrase "Living the Dream" in the chorus as well!!!!!  However, my dyslexia and confusion aside, this song is an Indie Pop dream, a song about achieving your goal and running with it.  I love the chorus, I love the verses, I just wish I could get the name right!

16 - We Are Scientists - Your Light Has Changed (Taken from the album Megaplex)

To be honest, I could have picked any song from Megaplex for this list.  "Your Light Has Changed" shows the punk side of We Are Scientists, with a massive bass hook to the song.  Dealing with a problematic relationship, "Your Light Has Changed" was the second song I heard from Megaplex, I loved it from the first drum click to the last note.  If these guys ever split up, it'll be a sad day at ATTIWLTMOWOS.

15 - Houndmouth - This Party (Taken from the album Golden Age)

"The Party" by Houndmout is an Eighties-inspired synth song, all about wanting to leave a party, missing a lover and wishing they were attending so they could get it on.  It's an incredibly simple, but an effective number.  The chorus alone will have Depeche Mode and Erasure checking if they wrote it first, the hook is destined to be used for some Summer Anthem compilation, it just has everything I want from a modern Indie Pop song.  It's shiny, silly and fun!

14 - MGMT - When You're Small (Taken from the album Little Dark Age)

For me, until hearing their latest album, MGMT have always been a colourful act, all sparkles and shinning.  "When You're Small" smashes that view of the band, but it such a fantastic style that I can't complain.  It's a cautionary tale, about looking after one's self, as you can fall from a great height if you're up in the clouds.  Also, it's about not to ignoring the little guy.  They have a sense of community, love and family some people will never have.  Also and above all else, nothing to really lose.  It's a depressing song, you don't put it on for pleasure.  But it's a stunning song as well.

13 - Idles - Colossus (Taken from the album Joy as an Act of Resistance)

At the moment, Idles are the band on everyone's lips.  They're selling out shows all over the place, moving up venues and sounding as unrepentant as ever.  "Colossus" is the stunning opening to Joy As An Act of Resistance, with a menacing style that has always been their calling card.  When I first heard it, it was a stop still moment.  Whilst it's missed out on the top ten, it's still a standout moment in 2018.

12 - Editors - Magazine (Taken from the album Violence)

I don't know about anyone else, but I tend to something think of music in a visual way.  Making my own videos in my mind, which is a sign I'm head over heels for a song.  "Magazine" is one of these numbers, it would be a Vegas-style production that is mocking the nature of celebrity culture.  It would have been great, but alas, I'm not a video director.  "Magazine" is a tale of defence, of fighting and underhanded tactics.  It's also a song that was in the top ten until a few weeks ago.  The fact it's no longer there is not a sign of my interest waning, but a sign of how strong 2018 has been for songs.  I love "Magazine", if I don't get to hear it once a week, it's a poor week.  I still class it as another one of the standout moments of 2018!

11 - Bad Rabbits - Dollar and Change (Taken from the album, Mimi)

Whilst I might have had issues with some aspects of Mimi, I'll never deny that Bad Rabbits are one of the most exciting bands I've heard in the last few years.  "Dollar & Changes" is a love song about spending your last coins to make their lover smile, which makes the world a better place.  That is such a simple and effective song, a beautiful thought and a song that will make Prince nod in appreciation from the stars.  You cannot fail to smile when you hear it, it makes the world a better place by existing.

10 - Elvis Costello & The Imposters - Burnt Sugar Is So Bitter (Taken from the album Look Now)

Elvis Costello is a man who has been known to write a great song in his time, his work with Burt Bacharach is legendary as well.  Well, he can add this joint composition with Carole King to the list.  The third track on Look Now, "Burnt Sugar Is So Bitter" is a song about a lady who feels life has not ended how it should.  It's a beautiful song, a warm and wistful number, with a sense of irony as well to the music. 

09 - The Temperance Movement - Children (Taken from the album A Deeper Cut)

The Temperance Movement have slowly, but surely, been working their way up the chains of the British Rock scene.  It's a number that made a great impression on me when I first heard it, mainly down to the stark beauty and refreshing voice of singer, Phill Campbell.  Taken from their album A Deeper Cut, "Children" is a song about wanting to return to an innocent state, before a love affair went sour.  It's a gentle number, piano-led with a slide guitar playing throughout.  You'd need a heart of stone not to be moved by the beauty of this song.
08 - A Perfect Circle - So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (Taken from the album Eat the Elephant)

Let's all be honest with ourselves here: We might be happy hearing new songs from A Perfect Circle, but we all want the return of Maynard's "other" band to become a reality (and no, we're not talking about Puscifier).  Taken its name from the Douglas Adams fourth instalment of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the song is a sarcastic look at the meaning of modern human existence and the absurdity of what humanity has inflicted on the world.  It sounds like you would have a massive "USA on a Navy boat" concert, mixed in with images of famine, war and the destructive nature of man.  One of the brighter moments of Eat the Elephant, it was destined to be in the upper end of this list.

07 - Steve Amber - What the Radio Plays (Taken from the EP From the Temple on a Hill)

Anglo-French band Steve Amber released their second EP, From a Temple on The Hill earlier this year.  "What the Radio Plays" is the final track on their EP From the Temple on the Hill, and what a track it is!  From the first note to the last, it doesn't rest or relent in its goal of getting under your skin.  It does a little lull, but that is only to build atmosphere before they launch into the final psychedelic ending.  It's a massive song, hopefully, it'll be played all over the world!

06 - The NX - Ladies Night (Non-album Single)

Hardcore?  A Cowbell??  The illegitimate son of Shawn Michaels on vocals???  Well, whilst two of those last statements are true (the last one "might" be a lie), "Ladies Night" is another reminder of how massive The NX are to the North East music scene.  Coming out with all guns blazing, "Ladies Night" is a mosh pit waiting to happen. They're currently in record mode for their next release (not sure if it's going to be an album or EP), either way, they've set the bar at a fucking massive height!

05 - Frank Turner - Make America Great Again (Taken from the album Be More Kind)

Ah Frank, he can make the heart swoon.  But, asides from my man-crush, he is also rather good at this song-writing malarky.  "Make America Great Again" is a song which is a damning condemnation of Donald Trump's current version of the United States, talking about the things that are great about America and also the things that are (for want of a better word) - shit.  I've played this so many times before I start my show on NE1FM, I've got a feeling I'll be playing it many more times until it finally happens.

04 - Amorphis - Amongst Stars (Taken from the album Queen of Time)

Featuring vocals from Anneke van Giersbergen, "Amongst Stars" is the best representation of modern Scandinavian Metal scene and the crowning jewel in the album, Queen of Time.  You have pipes, you have the voices of angels and devils, you have massive guitars, pounding drums and drama.  What more do you want from this sort of song?  It's a great song, so catchy and infectious.

03 - Dunes - Seapig (Taken from the EP Dunes EP2)

Dunes have been a massive influence on me this year, and I don't say that to blow smoke up their collective posteriors.   "Seapig" is taken from the cunningly title Dunes EP2, it was the second song to be released from the EP and was backed by a cover of Nadine Shah's "Fool" and a song called "Riverside".  It sounds as if they've brought the desert to the North East of England, with a Stoner vibe you could roll up and smoke.  When you get to the groove at the end of the song, you should be moving around like there is no tomorrow.  It's another song I've played a lot this year, and it's one I've never grown sick of.  I can't wait to see what they do next.

02 - Clutch - How to Shake Hands (Taken from the album Book of Bad Decisions)

Hot damn!  Seriously, that could be the review of this song. A song about how Neil Fallon is going to be president, how the files on U.F.O. are going to be released and how Hendrix and Hicks on the US bank notes.  "How to Shake Hands" is the best Clutch song for me since "Earth Rocker", to be honest, it's my favourite Clutch song ever.   You'd have to be dead to sit still when it's on.

01 - Ghost//Signals - Queen of the Oxygen Thieves (Non-album single)

"Queen of the Oxygen Thieves" is quite possibly one of the best titles I've ever seen, it's also the best songs of the year so far.  With each song, Ghost//Signals show a different side of themselves, a different facet of their soul.  "Trauma! Trauma! Trauma!" was the heavy artillery, "Start Families/Avoid Hip Parties" was the ground troops, this makes "Queen of the Oxygen Thieves" is the air force.  They followed it up with the equally massive "Hectoring", but I preferred this one, it has everything I want from a song.  A massive chorus, huge guitars and it sounds different to the rest of the pack out there.  It's a brilliant song, one that should be getting airplay around the world and praise from all corners of the globe.  It's a stunning single, still awaiting that EP or album lads....?

Congratulations to all the bands on this list and onwards to 2019 - Eddie!

PS - You can listen to the live reveal of the top 30  on Attention Please on NE1FM on the link below:

Attention Please: 10th December 2018 - Song of the Year Show.

30 November 2018

Bloods - Feelings

Damn!  Just found out about this band and it turns out that one of the members is leaving already!  Thanks to my good friend and former blog colleague (Mr Luke Dunmore), he introduced me to Bloods via his choice of Record of the Week for Attention Please (a radio show I present once a week on NE1FM).  The song he sent me was the title track to this alum, Feelings, and it floored me.  It was a nice and simple song, a good indie track with a decent beat.  But I've been listening to it more and more, s much so that I've decided to squeeze it into my rush for the end of year blog.  Then, I read that Sweetie from the band is leave and moving across their home country of Australia.  I wish her every happiness and I hope Bloods continue as well.  But who are Bloods (not to be confused with the LA Street Gang)?  Well, they are the aforementioned Sweetie, MC, Dirk and Mike, they are from Sydney, Australia.  They deal in Garage Pop/Rock and that is all I know.  Sometimes, you don't need more than a short introduction to a band.  It gives them a sense of mystery and that is sometimes hard in the internet age.  With all of that being said, maybe I should get on with the review and find out how Feelings sounds?

Feelings is a throwback album to the sound of my youth, it's a fuzz guitar Garage Rock/Pop album that feels retro and modern at the same time.  Mixing shoegazing ("N C C", Broken Heart!), grunge ("Talk"), Pop Punk ("Part of Me") and other styles, Blood power through this ten-track album in a quick thirty-two minutes.  Each song is a short, sharp, wam-bam tune that never outstays their welcome.  For the types of music that influence Feelings, this is a very good thing.  Unlike other musical styles (Prog for instance which should last longer than five minutes minimum), the Garage Pop/Punk of Bloods is perfectly suited to the shorter time.

Due to the short nature of Feelings, you can easily listen to it twice in an hour and not get bored.  If I have one complaint about Feelings, it's front-loaded.  The first five songs, from the glorious "Bring My Walls Down" to "N C C" are really good.  The second half, whilst not poor by any stretch of the imagination, it doesn't have the same impact as those initial five tracks.  This gives the album an uneven feeling, but not enough to sink the album.  It's just my own take on this record.  Overall, Feelings is a little ray of fuzzy sunshine, one that is making this winter in the UK a nicer place.  As I said before, I wish Sweetie good luck and I hope that Bloods release more albums.

8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart.

Top track - Bring My Walls Down

You can purchase Feelings from Amazon here. 

You can purchase Feelings from the Bloods Bandcamp page here. 

You can follow the activities of Bloods on Instagram here. 

You can follow the activities of Bloods on Facebook here. 

You can stream Feelings on Spotify here. 

You can stream Feelings on Deezer here. 

You can stream Feelings on Tidal here. 

Sick of It All - Wake the Sleeping Dragon

As legendary NYHC go, Sick of it All are quite high up the list of names.  From 1986 to date, Sick of It All (sometimes styled SOIA) have just kept out churning out albums, touring the world and caused positively charged mayhem everywhere they go.  Their gigs are cathartic releases of energy, they might look scary, but I've never felt safer out at a gig than at one of their shows.  They just seem to have a unity which is second to none, even with all that anger on display.  Wake The Sleeping Dragon is their twelveth studio album, which sees them return to Fat Wreck Chords (in the USA) after an absence of fifteen years.  Over in the UK, Wake the Sleeping Dragon has been released on Century Media.  The buzz around this album has been noticeable, the iconic image of the dragon on top of the Empire State Building, all King Kong style, is a fantastic Pulp Fiction style inspired image.  But what about the music?

Over the course of the seventeen songs and thirty-three minutes of Wake the Sleeping Dragon, Sick of It All sing, shout and kick their way through issues.  These range from the rise of the stupid right-wing white boys ("That Crazy White Boy Shit"), the lack of Brooklyn Dodgers ("Robert Moses Was A Racist" (they do say it at the end of the song)), stepping back up after being shoved down ("To The Wolves"), the fall of Trump and his wall ("Bad Hombres") and generally trying to keep your collective shit together in this clusterfuck of a planet ("Inner Vision").  The longest song ("The New Slavery") on this album is two minutes, thirty seconds long.  Each number is a powerful statement and sounds like it's designed to start a mosh pit at a moments notice.

Because of the nature of Hardcore music, Wake the Sleeping Dragon is a fast and furious release.  Now, whilst I truly enjoy this album, I also recognise it's an album that sticks to their guns.  Which is exactly how it should be.  If Sick of It All had of a suddenly changed even an iota, it would have sucked.  So, more props to them for sticking to that course they started years ago.  I love each of these songs, they never put a foot wrong throughout the album and it just goes to show, you truly cannot keep a good band down.  Sick of It All are as vital and alive in 2018 as they were when they first emerged on to the New York Hardcore Scene. Wake the Sleeping Dragon is a reminder that they've never been away! 

8.5 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart

Top track - Bad Hombres

You can purchase Wake the Sleeping Dragon on Amazon here.

You can visit the Sick of It All website here.

You can follow the activities of Sick of It All on Facebook here.

You can stream Wake the Sleeping Dragon on Spotify here.

You can stream Wake the Sleeping Dragon on Deezer here.

You can stream Wake the Sleeping Dragon on Tidal here.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - IC-01 Hanoi

Until a month ago, I had no idea that Unknown Mortal Orchestra existed, let alone was about to release a second album in 2018.  You live and learn though, so I've been doing a quick bit of catch up on their work.  Original from Auckland, New Zealand, but now based in Portland, Oregon, USA, Unknown Mortal Orchestra have been making music since 2010.  With a sense of mystery and style, Unknown Mortal Orchestra has been released four studio records, the most recent before IC-01 Hanoi being Sex & Food which was released in April 2018.  This album is supposed to be an additional bonus record, made up of instrumentals that were recorded around the same time as Sex & Food.  However, being the musical finding maverick that I am, I've come across IC-01 Hanoi first and it's the album I want to review.  So, that's what I'm going to do.....

IC-01 Hanoi is made of seven tracks, from "Hanoi 01" to "Hanoi 07", with a NeoPsychedlic/Avante Garde approach to the sound of this record.  With each track, you're treated to a little journey of sound, all with a Zappa/Beefheart sense of wonderment and a total disregard for the concept of timing.  There is also an atmosphere of the quieter moments of Death Grips to this record as well.  IC-01 Hanoi feels like a loose collection of out-takes, there is no overriding arc to them and you can easily become lost in the atmosphere of this album.   My favourite tracks are "Hanoi 04" and "Hanoi 01", both of these have a pounding energy which I adore.

If there were to be a criticism of IC-01 Hanoi though, it would be the quick nature of song of the songs.  Most of the tunes here are shorter than four minutes, which feels like a missed opportunity.  These could have been drawn out or extended to make some glorious noise.  But that's just me just being a greedy git to be honest.  IC-01 Hanoi is a great instrumental record, one which is making me want to explore the rest of Unknown Mortal Orchestra's back catalogue.  Check them out as soon as you can!

8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart.

Top track - Hanoi 04

You can purchase IC-01 Hanoi on Amazon here. 

You can visit the Unknown Mortal Orchestra website here. 

You can follow the activities of Unknown Mortal Orchestra on Facebook here, 

You can stream IC-01 Hanoi on Spotify here. 

You can stream IC-01 Hanoi on Deezer here. 

You can stream IC-01 Hanoi on Tidal here. 

Bad Rabbits - Mimi

Bad Rabbits were responsible for one of my favourite records of 2016 with the phenomenal American Nightmare.  That record was like a shot in the dark, I was floored by the passion and the performances on that album are outstanding.  Since then, I've been following their activities and I slipped and missed the release of Mimi in August!  That one is on me, so now I'll make up for lost time and get straight on the review.

If American Nightmare was the undercurrent of a wounded nation, Mimi is a reaction to that and it's time to party.  Mimi has more in common with Prince, which shows the diverse range of music within Bad Rabbits.  Most of the songs come across a little sex-crazed, especially the slightly stalkerish "F on the J-O-B".  That song sounds loud, but it doesn't quite work for me.  Elsewhere, we have "Mysterious" which is about a man who is trying to court a lady and is painting the picture of what could happen.  It's a song that feels like it's built for the clubs, with a massive bass and heavy synths.  Same with "Eyes on You", it feels like a throwback to the 80's synth of years ago, one that would fit right in with the sound of Prince and Bootsy Collins.  My favourite song is "Dollar and Change", a song which seems to talk about the cruelty of the world and how it can be tough.  I love the music here and it sounds fantastic.

I do have one issue with Mimi though, and no, it's not the fact it's not a continuation of the sound of American Nightmare.  If it had have followed that sound note for note, it would have been a poor record.  No, it's the lyrical content here, especially "F on the J-O-B".  In a changing world, it feels out of date and it just doesn't do them justice.  You can say your horny in a lot of ways, and some of the lyrics on here are just a little too obvious.  For me at least, it takes a little of the shine from the record.  However, that is just my opinion on the lyrics.  This doesn't change from the fact that musically, Mimi is a good record, just in a different way to American Nightmare.  At least they tried something else and I'll be interested to see where they go from here.

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

Top track - Dollar and Change

You can purchase Mimi from Amazon here.

You can visit the Bad Rabbits website here.

You can follow the activities of Bad Rabbits on Facebook here. 

You can stream Mimi on Spotify here. 

You can stream Mimi on Deezer here. 

You can stream Mimi on Tidal here. 

Dan Webster - Devil Sky

Dan Webster is no stranger to ATTIWLTMOWOS, but this is my first chance to review his work.  My former colleague Luke Dunmore reviewed his album The Tin Man (link to the review here), which was released in 2015.  Devil Sky is Dan Webster's second album with a full band, his fourth album overall and it's been released via Paper Plane Records.  The cover is a wonderful image, I've been told it looks like a sky on fire.  I'll have to take people's word for that, being colourblind, I can only see the blues and possibly the greens. However, enough about me being colourblind, how does Devil Sky sound?

We find Dan Webster in fine voice on Devil Sky, starting with the fast-paced "Playing Cards & Late Night Bars", a song about saying goodbye to the past.  You also have the danceable "Sand", a song that mixes an African style with Dan Webster's Country/Folk leanings, as well as the toe-tapping "Bo".  There is also a lot of melancholy on this album.  Songs like the heartbreaking "Nothing At All", the sad feeling "Home Again", the equally sad "Haul Away" and the sinister "Freedom in Suburbia".  Each song is played extremely well, you can appreciate the effort that has gone into creating each song.

For me, Devil Sky is a well crafted, well-performed record.  It had sunshine and shade mixed throughout the course of the record,  depression and joy holding hands and making strange bedfellows.  I can't say that it's my favourite folk record of the year, but I can say that it's certainly another strong entry in a year that has seen the release of some fantastic records for the folk genre.  Devil Sky is an album that sees Dan Webster progress a little further, making all the right moves and all progress can only be viewed in a positive light here.

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

Top track - Sand 

You can purchase Devil Sky from Amazon here.

You can visit the Dan Webster website here.

You can follow the activities of Dan Webster on Facebook here.

You can stream Devil Sky on Spotify here.

You can stream Devil Sky on Deezer here.

You can stream Devil Sky on Tidal here.

Man Make Fire - Man Make Fire

A few years ago, I review a compilation called You Heard It Here First, Rock Volume 1 (our review linked here).  On this compilation, there were some very good bands, some average and there was also Man Make Fire.  Hailing from Chipping Norton, I loved their submission on that compilation as it was a mixture of Alice Donut, Butthole Surfers and Dog Fashion Disco.  In the years since I last heard them, Man Make Fire have been slowly working on their debut album after three EP's.  However, a few months ago (sorry for the delay here), Man Make Fire got back in touch and asked if I could review their forthcoming self-titled release.  As they asked so politely, how could I refuse.....

Man Make Fire is an album that is stepped in Alternative sound, it harks back to the sound of my youth.  So, from the get-go, my interest is heightened as we're all looking for the sounds that remind us of being young.  Let's take "One Hand Friend", a song that reminds me of the sadly forgotten Crazy Gods of the Endless Noise.  This is a fantastic number, one that seriously makes me want to jump around (but I won't, as I'm British). "Jump" is another song which I really enjoyed, the introduction sounds great and it's a song that will definitely get stuck in your head.

You also have slower moments, such as "Low" and ending track "Better Way", which show that Man Make Fire have more than one gear.  Over the course of the ten tracks, there is enough substance on here to show that Man Make Fire have something special going on.  As I said, "One Hand Friend" is a favourite for me here, but you also have "Revelation" which just reminds me of Carrie so much.  They just seem to be able to hit the sweet spot for me on this album, making all the right moves.

But are there any issues here?  Not really, it's a great little album, a place to build from and to explorer further.  The only thing that might make people say no, is if this type of music isn't their sort of thing in the first place.  Whilst this is fine and an understandable position, they'll be missing out on a little gem of an album.   Man Make Fire is a ten-track wall of retro noise that sounds fantastic, I'm so glad Man Make Fire got back in touch and I apologise for the delay in posting this review.

8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart.

Top track - One Hand Friend

You can visit the Man Make Fire website here.

You can follow the activities of Man Make Fire on Facebook here.

At the time of publishing, Man Make Fire is not available for streaming or purchasing, but I'll update these links once it becomes available.

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