12 September 2018

Soul Dissolution - Nowhere EP

You may remember, earlier this year I reviewed the fantastic Stardust by Soul Dissolution (you can read our review here).  That album was a tour de force, one that saw the union of Post and Black Metal reach (for my money) its creative peak.  It is an album which will feature high in my AOTY charts and rightly so.  However, what I was not expecting was a further release in 2018, but when it comes to Soul Dissolution, nothing is predictable.  As you'll probably already know a lot about them from our previous reviews, I'll get cracking with this one.

Nowhere EP is a two-track affair, featuring "Road to Nowhere" and "Fading Darkness".  Clocking in at just shy of twenty-five minutes, you need stamina with this EP.  Each track is a long and luscious assault on the ears, with gentle lulls, glorious highs and the howling vocals that will signal the death of someone close by.  The mixing and production job by Oliver Carell is stunning on this record, both tracks sounding crisp and brimming with tension.  Once again, Soul Dissolution have release another stunning monster, one which I would recommend you purchase/pre-order it now.

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

Top track - Road to Nowhere

You can pre-order Nowhere EP on the Soul Dissolution Bandcamp page here.

You can follow the activities of Soul Dissolution on Facebook here

At the time of writing, Nowhere EP is not available on streaming sites.  If and when this changes, I'll update the links here.

Buñuel - The Easy Way Out

Buñuel is a project combining the talents of Xabier Iriondo, from Afterhours, Pierpaolo Capovilla and Franz Valente, from Il Teatro degli Orrori, along with Eugene S. Robinson, from Oxbow.  The Easy Way Out was released on La Tempesta International Records and distributed by Goodfellas Records.  The Easy Way Out was released on  27th April 2018 according to the Buñuel Facebook page & Spotify, whilst Amazon has it down as 13th July 2018.  This is Buñuel's second album, following A Resting Place for Strangers which was released in 2016.

If you had to describe The Easy Way Out in one word, it would be aggressive.  It's not an album for relaxing to, it's not an album to put on to unwind.  You listen to The Easy Way Out for a challenge, as it'll never let you rest or feel comfortable.   You never know what is going to leap out of the speakers at any given point, from the aggressive opening of "Boys to Men", to the screeching vocals of "The Hammer the coffin" with its free-falling riff and intense drumming, to the final haunted curtain call "Hooker".

When you think you've reached a natural plateau and you're safe, there is another sucker punch around the corner.   Take "A Sorrowful Night" for instance, everytime it starts, I find myself taken sidewards with the everchanging nature the music.  It doesn't rest, it's fluid and in constant motion.  Then, Buñuel follows it on with the seven-minute beating in the form of "The Sanction".  It feels like the punishment/joy will never end, this can only be viewed as a good thing.  Then you have the short, sharp, female fronted "Shot", a delightful punk burst out of left field on this album. I love that "Shot" has the power to throw this intense album on its head for less than a minute with ease.  But it's "Whirlwind" that ticks all my boxes, with its swirling riff, aggressive drum and bass combo and intense words.

With each repeat of The Easy Way Out, you're no closer to understanding Buñuel.  You can say that you are, but that's a lie.  The Easy Way Out is a beautiful piece of art, an album that mixes the poetry of Eugene S. Robinson with the wondrous music of Messrs Iriondo, Capovilla and Valente.  Is it for mass consumption, no - not even close.  It's for people who enjoy music that confronts them, it's for those who want an album that will challenge them.  I've never come away from listening to this album without being impressed with it, or feeling as if I've been taken to school.  It's an enigma, a puzzle that I bring out of my collection to take away the grime of the day.

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

Top track - Whirlwind

You can purchase The Easy Way Out on Amazon here.

You can follow the activities of Buñuel on Facebook here

You can stream The Easy Way Out on Spotify here.

You can stream The Easy Way Out on Deezer here.

You can stream The Easy Way Out on Tidal here.

9 September 2018

Reggie & The Full Effect - 41

Ah, Reggie.  It's fucking good to have The Full Effect and Messr Reggie back in my life!  Reggie & The Full Effect is the side project of James Dewees, keyboard player from The Get Up Kids.  My first introduction to this project was "What The Hell Is Contempt" from Songs Not To Get Married To.  With its loud emo sound and a huge chorus which stuck in my head for ages, it's on my all-time list of top tunes.  During their first run between 1998 and 2008, R&TFE were a band who had a ferociously devoted following, I mean it was approaching scary at times.  Their first five albums were good records, my favourite being the aforementioned Songs Not To Get Married To, which is one of the fiercest emo records that I've ever heard.

41 is the second R&TFE album to be released since their return in 2013, following on from No Country for Old Men.  Released in February 2018 on Pure Noise Records, 41 has been on my list to review for an awfully long time.  Before I sat down to complete this review, I've not been listening to 41 too much. To be honest, I've only put it on every once in a while.  Not because I didn't want to or I disliked it straight away, it has just been down to lack of free time on my behalf.  I needed a chance to sit down with it properly, to give it a lot of attention.  However, now is the time to sink my teeth into it, how has it turned out?

The first thing that is apparent is that Reggie & The Full Effect are still trying to get through their emotional baggage and making it sound wonderfully painful.  With a heavier use of synths on most of the songs, 41 comes across as a hybrid record.  Take "Channing Tatum Space Rollerblading Montage Music" for instance.  This would not be out of place on a Pet Shop Boys record, but it's equally at home here.  You then have songs such as "Il Pesce Svedese", which has that trademark fury of R&TFE, but the synth is still there. Whilst the synths have always been there, it seems as if the guitar has taken a back seat on this record.

At fifteen tracks long and much like a lot of Reggie records, 41 comes in a bit heavy for my tastes.  You can have too much of a good thing at times, which is the case here.  Reggie is best in short and sharp bursts of noise and pain.  There is also a lot of 41 that feels as if it's been said before, as if there is a retelling of old pains and memories.  Which is why 41 is a decent album and not a great one.  There are some great moments such as "Off Delaware", "Alone Again" and "Maggie", but overall it's not one of their best.  With that said, an off R&TFE album is still listenable. Ah Reggie, still good to have you back though!

6.5 out of ten - Now, I see where you were going, but it's not quite there.

Top track - Alone Again

You can purchase 41 from Amazon here.

You can purchase 41 on the Reggie & The Full Effect Bandcamp page here.

You can visit the Reggie & The Full Effect website here.

You can follow the activities of Reggie & The Full Effect on Facebook here.

You can stream 41 on Spotify here.

You can stream 41 on Deezer here.

You can stream 41 on Tidal here.

droneroom - Jesus Year

droneroom is the stage name of one Blake Edward Conley, member of Lucy Stoner (and probably a few other bands if I'm honest).  It's been just over a month since I received this album, I've also received requests from Keith from Sweet Sound Records suggest I review a droneroom release. The first time I reviewed them on the Sweet Sound Records 2016 Spring Sampler (our review here; however, I need to fix the photos on the review), I was not too complimentary.  Not that I was trying to pick faults with droneroom, I guess I was expecting something else that didn't happen.  However, I'm more than willing to concede that I might have gotten this wrong.  For each track on a sampler is really a song out of its original context.  You're not hearing a song in its intended environment, as the artist originally envisioned it.  So, sometimes a song might not shine as it would when surrounded by its brethren. 

Jesus Years was released in March 2018, released via Banana Tapez records and also available on the droneroom Bandcamp page.  Something that I've learnt since I first started blogging, is the importance of finding the right time and atmosphere to review an album.  For example, a gentle guitar album is not going to sparkle on an 8am commute to work.  For Jesus Years, the first thing you need is the right head-space, you need to have a relaxed mindset to the idea of song structure.  If Sunn 0)))) are the masters of drone and noise, then droneroom are their equals with looping and the absence of noise.

Over five tracks, droneroom have created songs which remind me of R.E.M. (especially "Ladybird" which is a natural follow-on to "New Orleans Instrumental No. 1"), but with the steady build of Howard James Kenny (another guitar looping artist from the UK).  You also have harsh noise such as on "I Think I Know You", a song that reminds me of a stripped back Lucy Stoner track.  I love "Until the Water Takes You", with its beautiful repeating notes.  Each track is a little island of noise, an island of drone.  Together, they create an album of strange seas, but beautiful tides.

Overall, the main thing I'm getting from this album is the originality of the artist.  It would be quite easy to dismiss this (as I did in the past), but you have to hear this in its right setting.  For me, that is Sunday, a day where I just want music that builds up an atmosphere and I can drift away from reality for a few moments.  Jesus Year is a strange beast, it's not for everyone and that is fine.  But it's a beautiful record, full of deep pools of joy if you dig hard enough.  It also makes it impossible to give it a general mark out of ten.  Somehow, this seems fitting to me.  This is not an ordinary record.  But there is no denying how good it sounds - for people who need something more than mainstream.

Crazy cat symbol - This album cannot be marked, so here is a box of kittens

Top track - Until the Water Takes You

You can purchase Jesus Year and other droneroom releases on the droneroom Bandcamp page here.

You can follow the activities of droneroom on Facebook here.

Whilst Jesus Year is not available on streaming sites, you should just head to their Bandcamp page and get it there.  Just saying......

Steve Amber - From a Temple on the Hill

Steve Amber are a French-based band located in the Saint-Ouen / Paris / Brest region, with an English singer.  From a Temple on the Hill EP is to be released on September 17th and they're currently touring Europe at the time of writing.  This EP is the follow up to the 2016 Steve Amber EP (available on Spotify and all good streaming services, as well as available for purchase on Amazon).  From a Temple on the Hill EP contains five drops of psychedelic indie rock which will be perfect for fans of Radiohead, King Crimson & King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard.  Amongst the influences, there is also a cinematic feeling to their sound. I could imagine any of these tracks being used on any Europa film that is coming out soon.  Whilst you can spot the obvious influences, there is a huge factor in their sound which is unidentifiable with anyone else.  It's what they bring to the table, it's what makes them tick and that is all of their own makings.

Over the course of thirty minutes, you are presented with music to absorb yourself into, to forget the outside world for a little bit.  This gives From a Temple on the Hill EP an edge over a lot of the current indie records in the market today.  They stand out as they're trying something different from the current trends of the day.  To narrow it down to my favourite song is hard, I love them all!  But I keep returning to "What The Radio Plays" more often than not, it's a stomping song which gets better with each spin!  This is a serious contender for our EP of the year, check it out when it's released on Septemeber 17th!

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

Top track - What The Radio Plays

You can follow the activities of Steve Amber on Facebook here

At the time of writing, From a Temple on the Hill EP was not on general release or available on streaming services.  I'll update all links for purchasing/streaming once it is available to the general public.

8 September 2018

Athensville - Proper EP

Athensville are a Philadelphia based Alternative Rock/Power Pop band who recently got in touch as I was about to post this.  Proper is their first EP which was released at the end of August 2018.  It was recorded between March & July 2018.  Over the course of five tracks, Athensville showcase the sound of a strong band who have focused one five strong songs.   Musically, their sound is akin to bands such as Buffalo Tom, Feeder, R.E.M., with a good dose of originality as well. There no weak tracks on this EP, they all have their own identity but without variating too much to cause any confusion on their overall sound.  Anthensville deal in melancholic Alternative Rock, with a slight nostalgic atmosphere due to the lyrical content.  This is not a bad thing, as it suits the music perfectly.  Out of the five tracks, my favourites are “Something Real” and "And We Fell", but each track is a little gem.  It speaks to me in a way that harks back to when I was young, I was always an Alternative Rock kid and this slots right into that part of my mind.  Definitely a band I would recommend you check out.

4.5 out of five – This is really good, well worth checking out

Top track – Something Real

Various Artists - Singles round up

I've been a little bit lax in some departments, especially when it comes to single releases.  My apologies to all the bands who've been sending me singles, I truly appreciate them and I hope that this review as well as playing them on Attention Please on NE1FM will act as compensation for this delay.  Anyway, here we go with my singles review round-up!

Kovax – Cobalt


Kovax return with a noisy little MF called "Cobalt".  It is a stomping track which has a huge bass groove that is laced through the song like a snake slipping through the grass.  It’s a strong follow up to the tracks on the If There Was Ever Any Doubt EP, showing a heavier side to their sound.  The way “Cobalt” slows down as the song progresses is fantastic, with the bass taking most of the strain and smashing it out of the park.  A good addition to their sound, “Cobalt” a track that is worth checking out.

4 out of five – This is really good, well worth checking out

Granfalloon – Broken Things/Sleep

Granfalloon has released two singles since their wonderful release “Ambulance”.  The first of these two tracks is “Broken Things”, which is the lighter of the two tracks.  It’s a good, solid release which kept Granfalloon in the mind’s eye.  It had a punchy chorus and that sounds which I think they should trademark.  “Sleep” is the stronger of the two tracks, with a Euro-Cinema feeling attached to the song.  It’s a beautiful song that gets stuck in your mind, much like “Ambulance”.  They are just about to release another single and tour Europe, they've also released a tour EP with these songs and as well as "Ambulance" and a track called "Year of the Rooster".  Check it out!

Broken Things – 4 out of five – This is really good, well worth checking out
Sleep – 4.5 out of five – This is really good, well worth checking out

Ghost//Signals – Hectoring

Ghost//Singals are a band who are starting to get noticed, they are currently being played on the BBC, they recently performed as part of the Hit the North and Lindisfarne Festivals, as well as selling out shows around the North-East.  Their last single, "Queen of the Oxygen Thieves" is one of my songs of 2018, it is also on my all-time list and I don't say that to blow smoke up their arses.  "Hectoring" is another great song, one that mixes their love of all things Cure with epic sounding Indie.  I can see why it's getting them a lot of attention, it's such a catchy number and stays with you long after it's finished.  They are already in demand around the North-East and soon the UK, after that - who knows. 

4.5 out of five – This is really good, well worth checking out

Prey Drive – Pancakes

Prey Drive deal in Alternative Rock/Metal with a slice of pop added to the mix.  “Pancakes” is a small tale about how things change, and how nothing can be the same after a life event.  It’s a song that works on so many levels, with it being a cheerful number musically, but with its hidden depths underneath the waters.  Prey Drive will be a band to watch in the future.

4.5 out of five – This is really good, well worth checking out.

Youth Killed It – Great British Summer/Where Did I Go Wrong/What’s So Great, Britain?/Headbutt

Youth Killed It are a band that you should all be familiar with by now.   I first heard about after being offered an interview for Attention Please.  At the time, they were touring with the single “Island”, which was a catchy little tune about wanting to be left alone sometime.  During the interview, At the time, Jack from the band stated that they were writing some new material, which they’ve been releasing over the last few months.  I reviewed their new album What's so Great, Britain? (link to the review here), which has yielded these tracks.  They are “Great British Summer”, “Where Did I Go Wrong”, “What’s So Great, Britain” and “Headbutt”.  Each song is a fast indie-pop song that gets stuck in your head and won’t be shifted for love or money.  Out of the four, I’m digging “What’s So Great, Britain?” the most, but each song has the charm and cheeky nature of Youth Killed It that you’ve come to expect from the band.  Except them to feature high in our end of year chart!

Great British Summer – 4 out of five – This is really good, well worth checking out.
Where Did I Go Wrong – 4 out of five – This is really good, well worth checking out.
What’s so Great, Britain? – 5 out of five – I wish I had more ears to love this.
Headbutt – 4 out of five – This is really good, well worth checking out.

Sorry to all the band, I hope better late than never!  All the singles here are fantastic!  All songs are available on via either all good digital retailers, Bandcamp or streaming services.

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