Single Review – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Here’s A Candle (For Your Birthday Cake)

On the back of his second studio album with his High Flying Birds, Noel Gallagher has started to release the B-Sides from the album’s singles and ‘Here’s A Candle’ is one of those. It’s a track that sounds like a cutaway from the self titled debut album of three years ago. Everything from the count-in, the rag-time pace and the general rustic feel of the track is evocative of his earlier body of work which instrumentally and lyrically is better than this years efforts. The wiry organ and resonator sound accentuate the song’s old fashioned feel and rhythm and is a strong track for a B-Side and Noel of one of the best producers of such, but the still wonders what that lost, experimental album might have been compared to what we got this year. Given Noel’s half-arsed promotion of this album we imagine he is thinking the same thing.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

This Week’s Music Video with Zola Jesus, Django Django, Eagles of Death Metal, Pure Bathing Culture and Destroyer

Beach House – Depression Cherry Review

Baltimore’s Dream Pop master duo in Beach House have just released their fifth studio album Depression Cherry and the name really encapsulates the rich yet fading sounds they produce and it seems a likelihood that they will do the same again here. The days when their music was pushing the boundaries was back in 2010 and since then they have maintained a steady course on the same path. Their sound is not one that should be faulted by any means, it is just the fact they’ve struggled to move on from it or have become tied down to it and so it will be intriguing to see which direction they move in now.

‘Sparks’ is a single that develops the sounds featured on their 2012 album Bloom. The washed out and faded vocals of Victoria Legrand are torn through by a shredding guitar riff before embarking on the awkwardly meandering rhythms of the warping organs. This rhythm is then met with the highly wistful and echoed vocals with the occasional shred of a riff leading the song on and in general the more noticeable electronic injection the song has had is a little more welcome. They are masters of the Dream Pop genre and just demonstrate it here. ‘Beyond Love’ opens in a more minimised fashion with the simple, warped organs accentuated by the ringing lead guitar parts and as the whirring sounds build around it, a sort of tragic and sombre harmony develops from Victoria’s vocals. They remain wistful and optimistic in tone, but their echoed and faded filter replace it with a more hopeless and lonesome feel. The emotive feel that is generated from this simple alteration is very noticeable and clever on their part. Tracks such as ’10:37′ work in a similar fashion with the vocal instrumentation adding to the lucidity of the track amongst all of the faded elements.

‘Wildflower’ features those warped organs again as they’re joined by a drum sample and airy riff in what is almost a Dream Pop take on a late Marvin Gaye track. Those vocal sweeps are something that you never tire of even if the warping organs are. The album opener ‘Levitation’ is a little more typical with more chiming electronica working from a warped and whirring foundation, but despite this the subtle fruition of the songs sounds at it’s peak has an element of delicate awe and power to it. ‘Space Song’ is very similar to ‘Wildflower’ with it’s structure with a more prominent bass within it and a more isolated, pop-like vocal for this swooning ballad. This ballad style is taken to an almost church-like level with the closing track ‘Days of Candy’. The album remains a beautiful creation and sees Beach House as graceful and sonically fluid as ever, but this album is only half a step on from their previous work and it doesn’t have enough to be one of the great albums of the year when they really have the potential to make such an album. It is album for a specific mood. If you’re feeling reflective or heartbroken then this is the album for you, but there isn’t much engagement beyond that.

Beach House – Depression Cherry = 8/10

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Sunday Suggestion – The Kills – Sour Cherry

The Kills are Alison Mosshart from Florida and Jamie Hince from Buckinghamshire and the duo released their debut album eleven years ago with Keep On Your Mean Side. Back in 2008 they released their third and most acclaimed album with Midnight Boom. It’s a album with a lot of heavy, fuzzy and scathing guitars that the song is formed around but these riffs are fluid and traversing. Not blocky and monotonous like may of todays pliers of such a trade. A fine example of this is the single ‘Sour Cherry’. Everything about this track has a constant buzz and tremble to it and this reflects on the fabric of the song. The distorted percussion is broken by fuzz enthused strikes of the guitar while Alison’s vocal; effortless in it’s delivery and close in it’s recording, rolls each line off with ease as she’s backed up by Hince’s equally laid back boasts. If the bold beat doesn’t hit you the brief blasts of the guitar will. The instrumental see’s Hince wrestle a sonically charged roar from his guitar before settling back into the thumping percussion section as it ends all too abruptly. An unconventional yet simple song in it’s drive and rhythm but a highly creative one at that. They make Royal Blood, Drenge or Darlia look like amateurs and all long before these groups set about their drab, droning sound. About six years in fact.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Single Review – Gary Clark Jr. – Church

Gary Clark Jr is an American guitarist/singer who was born in Austin, Texas who began playing guitar at an early age playing small local gigs in his teens before meeting Clifford Antone, propertier of the Austin music club Antones. Clark’s musical trademarks are his distorted guitar sound and smooth vocals citing a variety of different genres such as blues, jazz, soul and country as his musical influences. With his debut album Blak And Blu he has just become the first artist ever recognized by the Recording Academy with Grammy Award nominations in both the rock and R&B categories for the same album in the same year, winning the latter: Best Traditional R&B Performance – “Please Come Home”(from the album Blak And Blu).

Both a fantastic singer and guitarist his latest offering to tantalise with his slick vocals and distorted guitar is the single Church, with an expected release date of early September. A clear homage to his musical influences, Church is an excellent example of Clark at his best, sizzling electric guitars pierce through laidback, rolling drums underpinning the very essence of the track. Clarks passion and energy for the music he produces clearly transpires onto his latest track, creating an emotive ambience that pushes the boundaries of the stereotypical solo guitarist come singer, opening up a sense of limitless creativity that plays such as vital role in Clarks musical ethos. The smooth vocals perfectly capture the intensity of Clarks voice; only adding to the emotiveness created by the music and adds a whole new dimension to the song. Clarks vocal ability is exceptional and his lyrical prowess a real addition to his work, with the ability to put so much passion into his music, his lyrics making him stand out from other writers and musicians, making his music more and more effortlessly stylish. Throughout the track it’s clear to see that Clark has a passion for his music with his ability to portray his emotions through his songs making him a more and more popular artist. The track itself is emblazoned with instruments that clearly relate to his own musical influences, harmonicas are brought in and out throughout, creating that link to country, yet as always keeping with Clark’s own style. His ability to effortlessly create his own niche in an often over saturated singer/songwriter genre a key and unique ability within his work.

Throughout this track Clark offers up a fantastic piece of music that not only plays well but allows the listener to getter a deeper incite into the workings of the artist. The track clearly has influence of genres such as country and blues, but through Clarks unique style allows the artist to stamp his own mark on it. It is this ability to transfer his energy and passion into his music that allows it to stand out in an often over commercialized genre, that can become unoriginal and stagnant. With Church, Clark once more has proven his credentials as an excellent and emphatic singer and musician.

Matthew Kay

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