Browsing: Music

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Some Of Us Following on from the groove-heavy and eclectic “Fishing For Fishies” and the ode to thrash metal “Infest The Rat’s Nest” of last year, one of modern rock’s most productive bands have announced another album. Their new record “K.G.” once again delves into the microtonal music created by instruments like the Turkish baglama they explored on one of their 2017 albums “Flying Microtonal Banana”. “Some Of Us” stands as the highlight of the singles released so far; its hazy atmosphere alongside the typically catchy guitar licks and somewhat discordant piano creates…

Photo by Cian McKenzie Scottish duo HYYTS are redefining Pop music with their idiosyncratic style. HYYTS new single ‘Lonely People’ presents a delicate blend of club-culture and existentialism, resulting in not only a relatable song but an inexplicable need to ‘move your body on a Tuesday night’. From titling their first EP Eepee and reimaging their own songs in different genres, there is jovial nature to this duo that is evident in the way they discuss their work. I caught up with HYYTS in conversation on musical inspiration and continuing to keep a positive outlook while releasing and writing music…

Image rights reserved to Island Records The 70s was a period of huge success for folk rock in Western Popular Music. Following Bob Dylan’s infamous concert at the Newport Folk Festival in July 1965, the electric guitar found its way into folk music. The most notable band to adopt this sound across the Atlantic was Fairport Convention. Formed in a house called Fairport in London, the band took obvious cues from Dylan, often covering his songs. Musicians such as Sandy Denny, Ashley Hutchings and, arguably most notably, guitarist Richard Thompson became stars of the folk scene. Thompson in particular has…

Rights reserved to Warp Records. Emerging out of the synthpop and club culture of the 1980s, the 1990s saw a new era of electronic experimentation emerge. More systematic and cerebral than the scattered experimentation that preceded artists like Kraftwerk and Gary Numan, artists like Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada created meticulous artistic statements that inspired whole hosts of artists. This movement of, as many of the artists hated to be described, “Intelligent Dance Music” was seen at its most arty and strange in Manchester artist Autechre. Originally coming from the techno scene of the early 90s, the band have…

Art by Gianluca Grasselli, Rights Reserved to Southern Lord Records Coming out of the wave of dark and experimental music that has seen artists like Swans reborn in the 2010s and others like Daughters and Chelsea Wolfe rise to relative prominence, Anna von Hausswolff has been an intriguing outsider. Originally making records that took heavy cues from the 80s gothic rock of bands on the 4AD label, Hausswolff has since taken further steps towards the aforementioned experimentalism of Swans, whose last album she appeared on, with albums like the much-acclaimed “Dead Magic” of 2018. “Dead Magic” is much heavier and…

Photo by Alterna2 (CC 2.0) American Rock had an independent explosion in the 1990s. Whilst Grunge took most of the plaudits, the independent movement had also exploded by this point, with 80’s indie stalwarts such as R.E.M and Sonic Youth, to drastically varying degrees, experiencing mainstream attention. Also present were new stars from Pavement to Elliot Smith. Among these artists were The Magnetic Fields. Known best for their 1999 behemoth “69 Songs”, the band gave the lugubrious atmosphere of much of US indie an electronic sheen. Largely the project of Stephen Merritt, the early albums were dominated by his unique…

Photo by hinnik (CC 3.0) In the late 2010s, there has been an explosion in a new type of pop music. Glitchy, vivid and unashamedly synthetic, upcoming artists like Sophie, Hannah Diamond or more loosely Caroline Polachek, have imbued their pop sound with textures and ideas that couldn’t be further away from pop. Whether the industrial clatterings of bands like Nine Inch Nails or the glitchy, complex “Intelligent Dance Music” of artists like Aphex Twin and Squarepusher, the melodies of pop are contorted into something particularly alien. The experimental impulse driving this is certainly nothing new; pop artists have often…

Photo by Sophie Chappuy (CC BY-ND 2.0) For anyone not familiar with MIKA (also known as Michael Holbrook Penniman Jr.), he is a British-Lebanese singer-songwriter who rose to fame in 2007 when his first album Life in Cartoon Motion sold more than 5.6 million copies and he won the Brit Award for Best British Breakthrough Act with his song ‘Grace Kelly’ which topped the UK Singles Chart in January 2007. He has also gone on to be a judge on the Voice France, and is currently a judge on the Italian X Factor. MIKA announced on August 21st that he…

Photo by Greg Neate (CC 2.0) The early ’90s was an odd point of transition for British rock. The larger independent labels like Rough Trade and Factory that had fuelled post-punk were struggling financially and the indie movement was changing. Possibly the last clear development of the experimentation of the late ’70s and early ’80s, however, was “shoegaze”. Named as such by journalists describing the somewhat restrained and inhibited stage presence of artists like My Bloody Valentine, shoegaze comprised a vast amount of influences. You could hear elements of the heavy psych-rock of Hawkwind (or a decade later Spacemen 3),…

Artwork by Tiny Little Hammers Protean Threat, the new album from American noise rock band ‘Thee Oh Sees’ is a crazy musical venture as most of their works are. Within the first three songs, you will be very aware of how the rest of the album is going to be. Loud, piercing sounds which can switch to loud discordant instrumentation at a moments notice without hesitation. The highlight of the album is “Red Study”, which has strange and creepy vocals embedded within the guitars and drums which are consistently cut into by several short guitar pieces. The album is not…

Image from Strut Records After nearly 40 years away from music, Idris Ackamoor and his band The Pyramids returned with 2011’s ‘Otherworldly’. Ackamoor’s band was an under-appreciated part of the 70s jazz avant-garde. Incorporating the rhythms of African music, spiritualism and more expansive harmonic ideas; they followed on from trailblazers in the 60s like John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders. The result were albums like 1974’s ‘King of Kings’, a visceral yet transcendent piece of music, full of hypnotic grooves and raw, dissonant melodies. Now on their 4th album since returning, ‘Shaman!’ is certainly a smoother affair than their 70s work.…

Photo from Partisan Records As relentlessly rhythmic as it is surreal, Canadian punk band Pottery’s debut album is brimming with zany personality. Beginning with the hazy, psychedelic title track, ‘Welcome to Bobby’s Motel’ contrasts sharply between atmospheric anxiety and the raucous, bassline-driven post-punk heard most famously from Talking Heads, but also contemporaries like Parquet Courts or Uranium Club. The bassline’s thunders while guitar melodies rattle in response. The Talking Heads comparison is probably the most apt within the record. Anxiety seeps through the vocals of Austin Boylan in a way very similar to Talking Heads’ David Byrne. The lyrics, often…

Photo by Anna Wittenberg (CC BY 3.0) As the 1970s ended, so many of the most affecting and prominent songwriters of the previous decade were struggling to keep up with the radically different context. The combination of new, affordable technology and a radically different political context created a new style of pop and mainstream rock. Musicians from Bob Dylan to Joni Mitchell and Neil Young struggled with this reality, either desperately tacking themselves to the new trends or struggling to find a new identity. Whilst others like Leonard Cohen were enormously successful and critically acclaimed during this decade, there is possibly…

Photo by Joe Mabel (CC BY SA 4.0) The coronavirus pandemic since March has had a colossal impact across almost all walks of life, and the music industry is no different. Concerts have been cancelled, radio stations can no longer do sessions and many artists can’t even record. The way the industry has responded has produced some very interesting results, with many finding entirely new ways to consume or appreciate music. Podcasts Podcasts are a fixture in how people consume topics of all nature, and music is no different. With artists and journalists adapting to the new situation, many have…

Image Credit: Martin Schumann (CC BY-SA 4.0) It is now a popular rock legend that “not many people heard The Velvet Underground, everyone who did formed a band”, with the now-iconic New York garage rockers’ rough, unkempt experimentation directly influencing much of the next 50 years’ most enduring music. What is rarer however is bands who attempt to modernise much of this band’s most bizarre tendencies, something Dutch band Lewsberg have attempted to do on both their self-titled debut and new album, In This House. Opener ‘Left Turn’ greets the listener with the repetitive grind of dissonant guitar chords alongside…

Feminism and rock music have often had a somewhat fractured relationship. The often barely hidden misogyny found in everything from the blues that inspired rock to a huge range and history and worryingly persistent issues  of sexual harassment at concerts has hardly made this disparate set of scenes particularly inviting for women. Punk however is a notable exception. Whilst of course the crude sexism of much of rock can still be found in artists like The Stranglers, punk has more often than not been a riposte to rather than a promoter of misogyny. This began arguably with one of the…

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