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Young ChasersThe first US single "T-Shirt Weather" has over 6M streams. The New York Times compares them to the "relentless rhythm-guitar drive of the Strokes." They were given the 2015 Best New Band Award by NME and fan voted #1 Glastonbury act in NME.1. Get Away
2. T-Shirt Weather
4. Lost It
5. My Love
6. 100 Strangers
7. Deserve This
8. Young Chasers
9. Good For Me
10. Stuck In My Teeth
11. Best Years
12. The Luck Has Gone
13. So Long
14. Talking Out Loud$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Different CreaturesTwo years on from their youthfully nervy debut, Liverpool's Circa Waves are showing signs of an assured maturity on their sophomore album, 2017's confidently delivered Different Creatures. On 2015's aptly titled Young Chasers, Circa Waves lead singer/songwriter Kieran Shudall cooed and sneered his way through a wave of kinetic post-punk that seemed born as much out of teen angst and a boyish enthusiasm as his obvious love of influences like Arctic Monkeys and the Strokes.
While still clearly carrying a torch for early-2000s neo-post-punk, Shudall and his Circa Waves bandmates are now road-hardened tour vets, indie rock prodigal sons returned home to reconnect with old mates over a pint, figure out how their relationships went so awry, and contextualize the insanity of the past few years. It's a vibe perhaps best expressed on the yearning Without You, in which Shudall sings, Finally getting some, thank god for home/So, shit food and sleeping pills/Cheap drinks and cheaper thrills/Oh pour me, pour me/And I and I, I will lead this parade/And I will travel for days to get to you. It's a catchy song, as are many on Different Creatures, reminiscent of their previous efforts but with an added layer of muscular guitar fuzz that brings to mind the bombastic '90s sludge of the Pixies crossed with the passionate alt-rock swoon of The Bends-era Radiohead.
It's probably no coincidence that, prior to working with bands like the Killers and Interpol, Different Creatures producer Alan Moulder made his name working on albums by such alt-rock icons as Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Smashing Pumpkins, and Nine Inch Nails. With Moulder at the helm, Circa Waves deliver a varied set of driving anthems that do recapture much of the convergent energy of the '90s Brit-pop and alt-rock scenes. Without overwhelming you with a sense of dÉjà vu, cuts like Out on My Own, Stuck, and Goodbye are massively hooky blasts of guitar rock that subtly draw cues from both older acts like Smashing Pumpkins and similarly inclined contemporary bands like the Killers and Kings of Leon. Elsewhere, Shudall showcases his stylistic range on the John Lennon-esque acoustic ballad Love's Run Out, and leavens the Killers/Kings of Leon influence with some Lindsey Buckingham-ish, Fleetwood Mac-level pop grandeur on the uber-catchy standout Fire That Burns.
Part of what makes Circa Waves so compelling is that they are able to match the sound of their influences while still believably making the results sound their own. They've grown into an assured rock entity, but they've retained their fundamental sense of working-class Liverpudlian blues. As Shudall sings on Old Friends, I can't believe I'm still up/I can't believe this conversation is still going/I need to really grow up/I drank so much I can't see straight son/What am I doing? Ultimately, with Different Creatures, Circa Waves sound like they know exactly what they are doing.
- Matt Collar (All Music Guide)1. Wake Up
2. Fire That Burns
4. Out on My Own
5. Different Creatures
6. Cryin Shame
7. Love Runs Out
9. A Night on the Broken Tiles
10. Without You
11. Old Friends$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Electronic Anthology Project Of Death Cab For Cutie
Limited Edition Colored Vinyl 7 Single
Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie) & Brett Nelson (Built To Spill) re-imagine 2 Death Cab songs as New Wave circa 1982, in the latest installment of The Electronic Anthology Project. Brett re-works the instrumental track with synthesizers & drum machine & Ben contributes new vocals. Features Soul Meets Body (Plans) & Champagne from A Paper Cup (Something About Airplanes).
Gibbard's newly recorded vocals sound right at home with Nelson's smeared synths.
A revved-up synth version of Death Cab for Cutie's 2005 hit single 'Soul Meets Body' has debuted online thanks to the Electronic Anthology Project. The new rendition comes from Built to Spill bassist Brett Nelson, who is spearheading the effort to update indie favorites with electronic bents.
Gibbard and Built to Spill bassist Brett Nelson have remade the first single from Death Cab's 2005 major-label debut, Plans, as moody synth-pop that isn't unlike a higher-gloss cousin of the Postal Service.
Fuzzed out versions of two cuts--'Soul Meets Body' and 'Champagne From A Paper Cup'--hand-picked by DCFC frontman Ben Gibbard, who also contributed new vocals.
-A.V. Club1. Soul Meets Body
2. Champagne In A Paper Cup$11.99Colored Vinyl LP 7 Single LP - Sealed Buy Now
SalomeMarriages is a new band comprised of Red Sparowes members Emma Ruth Rundle (vocals, guitar), Greg Burns (bass, synthesizer) and David Clifford (drums). Their sound is a singularly sensual kind of heavy, dramatic rock, but perhaps the most stark contrast to their other band, Marriages employs vocals in their songs. Their music is also considerably darker and more experimental, drawn from a wide range of styles and ideas. Emma's breathy, understated delivery provides a focal point, the eye of the proverbial storm. A haunting presence, as elusive as it is alluring, her voice is a shore upon which waves of overdriven bass, thunderous drums, and cosmic guitars and synths swell and crash.
Kitsune is their 6-song debut release, a short introduction of an album whose undeniably epic proportions suggest massive things to come. Recorded with the formidable Toshi Kasai (Melvins, Red Sparowes, Tool) at the controls, Kitsune presents a collection of poignant, emotionally-charged tracks that wriggle free of easy classification. The comparisons are diverse; Cocteau Twins and Zola Jesus would appear to be as influential as Boris and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The songs came together quickly as the band wrote and played their first shows in November of 2011 and wrapped recording in January of 2012.
Album opener Ride in My Place sets the tone, immediately revealing the undulating, reverb-cloaked darkness at the band's core. Sounding not unlike PJ Harvey fronting an overdriven rendition of Pink Floyd's Echoes, the fittingly-titled song arrives as a fully-formed companion piece for expansive landscapes, perhaps traversing the vastness of the American west. Hardly overstaying its welcome, the track soon gives way to Body of Shade, whose cryptic lyrics suggests a sort of transcendence echoed in the music itself while Clifford's steady backbeat, the tense rhythm and the swirling interplay of synth and cascading guitars recall the finer moments of The Verve's early recordings.
Opening with a celestial keyboard loop and quickly gaining weight, third track Ten Tiny Fingers builds upon a heavy dirge-like rhythm punctuated by Rundle's vocals, which by now clearly occupy a place among esteemed peers such as Chelsea Wolfe and label mate Lisa Papineau. The song's cryptic, claustrophobic lyrics, contrasted with a loose (but by no means less thunderous) atmosphere and sense of impending collapse bring to mind The Cure, circa Pornography. The next track, Pelt, is born from the decaying remnants of Ten Tiny Fingers. A menacingly hypnotic three-minute meditation on minimalist doom, it serves as the perfect introduction to the distorted, bass-driven hard rock and wailing psychedelia of instrumental track White Shape.
Seven-minute closer Part the Dark Again is a song whose cinematic scope recalls precisely the kind of grandiosity the Red Sparowes are synonymous with, taken to its logical extreme. The impassioned, struggling-against-the-odds sentiment of the vocals takes things over the top emotionally, culminating in a soaring, melancholic riff that grinds to a halt far earlier than you'd expect. Throughout, Rundle unassumingly steps to the forefront, showcasing her unique talents as a guitarist often overlooked within the Red Sparowes' three guitar onslaught.
Kitsune is an exciting debut release from a band well aware of their potential, harnessing the skills to fulfill it. Marriages are an expansive, visionary development, a unique combination of elements, a sound signposting the path ahead. Kitsune will be released courtesy of Sargent House.1. The Liar
3. Santa Sangre
4. Southern Eye
7. Less Than
8. Love, Texas
9. Contender$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
ADAD-EPI-7819xPianos Become The Teeth
Keep You (Awaiting Repress)Pianos Become The Teeth are from Baltimore, Maryland; the band made waves on the
scene with their 2009 debut Old Pride and gained national attention with 2011's The
Lack Long After. Their third album and Epitaph debut, Keep You, sees the band taking a
brave step forward to craft a musical statement that truly transcends genres. "There's
still the same amount of passion and energy inherent in this record, it's just presented
in a different way," frontman Kyle Durfey explains. The immediately noticeable difference is Durfey's vocal approach that sees him traded the throat-gutting screams of
the band's early releases with cleaner, more intelligible vocals. However anyone who
has followed the band's trajectory-specifically the song "Hiding" from their 2013 split
with TouchÉ AmorÉ-can trace the way the band's sound has evolved from a melodic
screamo act to a group that create heaviness and weight via raw emotion instead of
distortion and dissonance. Capturing the band's creative vision this time around, producer Will Yip (Circa Survive, Braid) enhances the band's new vision, bringing out harmonies and swelling strings that compliment these songs in exciting ways that even the
band couldn't initially predict . "I think it's a musical growth not a departure," Durfey
summarizes. "I wouldn't say we would never make another overtly aggressive record
again but this is the record we wanted to make."1. Ripple Water Shine
4. Old Jaw
6. Late Lives
7. Enamor Me
9. The Queen
10. Say Nothing$19.99Vinyl LP + CD - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
The GameQueen had long been one of the biggest bands in the world by 1980's The Game, but this album was the first time they made a glossy, unabashed pop album, one that was designed to sound exactly like its time. They might be posed in leather jackets on the cover, but they hardly sound tough or menacing -- they rarely rock, at least not in the gonzo fashion that's long been their trademark. Gone are the bombastic orchestras of guitars and with them the charging, relentless rhythms that kept Queen grounded even at their grandest moments. Now, when they rock, they'll haul out a clever rockabilly pastiche, as they do on the tremendous Crazy Little Thing Called Love, a sly revival of old-time rock & roll that never sounds moldy, thanks in large part to Freddie Mercury's panache. But even that is an exception to the rule on The Game. Usually, when they want to rock here, they wind up sounding like Boston, as they do on John Deacon's Need Your Loving Tonight, or they sound a bit like a new wave-conscious rocker like Billy Squier, as they do on the propulsive Coming Soon. But even those are exceptions to the overall rule on The Game, since most of the album is devoted to disco-rock blends -- best heard on the globe-conquering Another One Bites the Dust, but also present in the unintentionally kitschy positivity anthem Don't Try Suicide -- and the majestic power ballads that became their calling card in the '80s, as they reworked the surging Save Me and the elegant Play the Game numerous times, often with lesser results. So, The Game winds up as a mixed bag, as many Queen albums often do, but again the striking difference with this album is that it finds Queen turning decidedly, decisively pop, and it's a grand, state-of-the-art circa 1980 pop album that still stands as one of the band's most enjoyable records. But the very fact that it does showcase a band that's turned away from rock and toward pop means that for some Queen fans, it marks the end of the road, and despite the album's charms, it's easy to see why.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine (All Music)1. Play The Game
2. Dragon Attack
3. Another One Bites The Dust
4. Need Your Loving Tonight
5. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
6. Rock It (Prime Jive)
7. Don't Try Suicide
8. Sail Away Sweet Sister
9. Coming Soon
10. Save Me$29.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
StiffThree years on from their critically acclaimed "barbeque" record Corsicana Lemonade, White Denim are back with more than just a new album to commemorate. Their sixth record, Stiff - out 25 March 2016 via Downtown/Sony Red - is a return to the Austin quartet's frenetic rock band roots, and is both a jubilant thrill ride and joyous celebration of their past ten years. Heading into the studio with an external producer to oversee a whole album for the first time - and even writing a tune with Cass McCombs ('Thank You') - the band teamed up with the legendary Ethan Johns (Paul McCartney, Laura Marling, The Staves) to produce their first truly live record, one teeming with a cool '70s undertow, tumultuous riffs and a feverish energy that's resulted in arguably some of their biggest and brawniest songs to date.
With drummer Joshua Block and guitarist Austin Jenkins now pursuing other production ventures, vocalist/guitarist James Petralli and bassist Steve Terebecki spent a long time reassessing exactly what White Denim meant to them. "The big thing for Steve and I was trying to define what made us want to keep going," Petralli explains of the album's early days. "What's our partnership about? What's cool about this? We learnt a lot making D and Corsicana Lemonade. We wanted to take some of those lessons and apply it back to our original mission statement. We were trying to get back to some of the things that made us excited about the band in the first place."
Opener 'Had 2 Know (Personal)' is the embodiment of that mission statement. Described by Petralli as "a reassertion of our initial intent to make songs that satisfy our urge to play fast", it sets the tone brilliantly for the bulk of Stiff, right from its idiosyncratic, Red Krayola-sampling beginning to its huge, golden era chorus. While it remains distinctively White Denim, there's a reinvigoration permeating through its riffs via new guitarist Jonathan Horne and a beefed-up rhythm section thanks to the work of new drummer Jeffrey Olson. Every single high octane turn - from the tremendously fun 'Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)' to the outrageously shredding 'Holda You (I'm Psycho)' - sounds like a band re-energised and revitalised, resulting in what Petralli describes as a "high heat, high energy, good times record". Having previously sold out Shepherd's Bush Empire and having toured with Tame Impala and Arctic Monkeys, Stiff is full to the brim with songs that sound ready to now lift White Denim to similar heights.
For the most part, Stiff is an album crammed with adrenaline-fuelled sing-alongs that show off the band's staple technical abilities. But it's also one that sees some new shades that they've developed along the way, too. Citing new wave and the razor-sharp pop punk of Buzzcocks as influences this time round, there's an addictive Elvis Costello circa This Year's Model quality to 'Real Deal Momma', a tune that highlights the band's love for hummable synthesisers and curious, affecting oddities. Then there's the cow bell calm and backing vocals laden brilliance of 'I'm The One (Big Big Fun)', that along with 'Take It Easy (Ever After Lasting Love)' (a song Petralli says "wants to be on a collection of doo wop songs written in 2016") shows a softer and more intricate side to the band while fully emphasising Petralli's vocal excellence.
Of the artwork - which was created by collagist Eugenia Loli - was inspired and worked from the band's previous album covers and videos as a visual template. Ultimately, it's a fleeting visit to a place the band have been before, with the covers of Workout Holiday and D being collages too. Stiff was even originally stylised 'Stif', which when spelt backwards spells out the title of their second full-length Fits. Then there's 'Mirrored In Reverse', a nod to the Fits track 'Mirrored And Reverse'. "I mean, we're ten!" Petralli says in disbelief while explaining all of the record's throwbacks. "We did think about naming this record Ten and referencing the Pearl Jam cover!"
Recorded with nothing but equipment that Petralli describes as being "past a certain point in the '70s", he explains that Stiff is an album made "entirely the old way". "It was tracked live to 16-track tape with very little overdubs," he says. "It was very hardcore record making - traditional in every aspect." Recorded with Ethan Johns in Asheville, North Carolina over a twenty-day period, Petralli and the band had an intense but deeply educational time with Johns. "It was really cool. The guy had these stories that were just unbelievable. He started talking about playing with Jimmy Page when he was a kid, and he lived in the studio where The Rolling Stones and The Faces would just hang out. Having Ethan in the room pushing us really made it more of an 'in the moment' and a visual thing. Capturing live performances is what he does really well."
To make things even more celebratory, there was an extra ten day stint spent with go-to White Denim man Jim Vollentine, who Petralli describes as "my guy, man". He continues: "we've made a lot of records together now. When we left the studio in Asheville with Ethan, we thought we gotta work on this record some more, you know? Though it was really just mixing, which we did with respect to Ethan's arrangements and his recording. I feel like I really haven't made anything like this before."
Ultimately, Stiff is the sound of a band finding their feet again and having the time of their lives. It's a record that refuses to buckle under the pressures of life, instead offering up a soundtrack to sing, dance, shout and scream along to. As a White Denim album, it's a joyride through the past ten years of the band's idiosyncratic catalogue while simultaneously pushing things further forward into new territories. "It's similar to our first record [Workout Holiday] in that we found the initial energy and just went with that," Petralli says of the initial studio spark that started it all. "We thought, what's the fundamental thing that made us want to get into a van and quit our terrible jobs and start this whole thing in the first place? And it was loud, fast-playing, rock and roll."1. Had 2 Know (Personal)
2. Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)
3. Holda You (I'm Psycho)
4. There's a Brain in My Head
5. Take It Easy (Ever After Lasting Love)
6. (I'm the One) Big Big Fun
7. Real Deal Momma
8. Mirrored in Reverse
9. Thank You$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now