Single Review – WILD – Throw Me In The Water

Los Angeles Trio WILD release new single ‘Throw Me In The Water’. A mix of gentle building folk sounds and indie-pop synth that seem to produce a feeling like’ Monsters and Men’ surrounding you in nature. Lead singer Lauren Luiz and guitarist/vocalist Zach Daegatano sweep you along a narrative of self-loathing preventing a relationship from progressing, with lines like; ‘anybody else would do, throw me in the water I was never really good for you,’ but with such an uplifting instrumental mix, provided by producer/bassist Tyler Thompson, it’s difficult to leave the track without feeling a glimmer of something resembling hopeful.

Hayley Miller

Single Review – Glass Animals – Agnes

After the release of debut album ‘Zaba’ two years ago, it was hard to be sure exactly where, Oxfords answer to Alt-J, Glass Animals might take things for their second offering. With a few years of touring the world, including the obligatory breaking of America, under their belts, new single ‘Agnes’ reveals the answer is a little more human. A tiny step away from the band’s fascination with strange sounds, and bongos, ‘Agnes’, taken from the band’s new album ‘How To Be A Human’, is a lesson in embracing an emotional side. Where ‘Zaba’ was insular and abstruse, ‘Agnes’ see’s the band looking outwards, examining the mess that is humanity. Pulling in every direction from the opening layered notes, where a subtle melody builds with the slightest hint of Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ whispering into your eardrums, and a melancholy piano envelops frontman David Bayley’s lyrics of a self-destructive character, your heart is swept from sadness towards a rousing atmosphere that makes ‘Agnes’ addictively captivating. 

Hayley Miller

Sunday Suggestion – Grimes – Flesh Without Blood

Sunday Suggestion returns with a track from one of our favourite albums. Grimes released Art Angles in 2015 without much promotion and after a couple of weeks it was out there. In a year that featured many strong albums, Grimes shook things up with a piece of heavy Pop indulgence. The album came third in our very first Album of the Year two years ago and received widespread acclaim in general. The lead track from this album was ‘Flesh Without Blood’. This track has a genuine Rock Pop slant entwined with those prominent elements of intricate industrial electronica and this is lightly glossed over an echoed production which is only enhanced with her lightly distorted vocals that glaze over the instrumentation. The track is cleverly produced and shifts and alters it’s focus almost constantly throughout the track whilst being catchy and melodic, but also maintaining its prominent rhythm and hooks. A real energiser of a track. 

Owen Riddle

Single Review – HAIM – Right Now

HAIM are an American pop rock band formed by three sisters. Danielle Haim as the lead vocalist with the other switching up depending on the song, and guitarist. Alana Haim plays the keyboard, the guitar and and Este Haim is on the bass and takes care of the harmonies. Haim means ‘Life’ in Hebrew. After performing with a few groups, the sister founded ‘HAIM’ in 2007 but they didn’t consider it a serious career yet after releasing their first EP ‘Forever’ and performing at the ‘South by Southwest’ Festival they scored a deal with Polydor Records and a management deal with Roc Nation in 2012. They released their debut album ‘Days Are Gone’ in September 2013 and they just confirmed their long awaited new album, called ‘Something To Tell You’, will be released on July 7 this year. 

HAIM debuted their new song ‘Right Now’, which will be part of the album, and it’s great. This track is different from their rockier previous songs and is a ballad a of broken promises, misplaced hope and a strong backbone. The minimalist arrangement, the drums and guitars sound absolutely huge and achieve a perfect harmony. The lyrics are right to the point and will give you goose bumps and the vocals just touch a part of you we mostly want to keep hidden deep down. The arrangement keeps hinting that it’s going to build to this huge rock song, but your expectations won’t be met, the music perfectly reflects the lyrics which are all about promises never fulfilled. A very brave choice on their part.

There also is a pinch of irony in the text. The lover had her ‘feeling foolish for ever thinking this could be the one.’ Danielle keeps singing ‘I wasn’t even in the running, already had your mind made up. You left me searching for the reason, why’d you leave, left me in the dust’. But then, in the chorus, and presumably a while later when she was starting to make a sense of what happened and getting over it this person comes back! ‘And now you’re saying that you need me babe, (Right now, right now) and now you’re saying that you love me, love me babe (Right now, right now)…’ 

She proceeds remembering how she was wronged and hurt, how she put everything on the table and how she had to leave empty-handed. ‘Gave you my love, thought I could trust you. You let me down at every turn. You had me hanging on a dream you never believed. You gave me your word’. So, even if the betraying lover is trying to come back now, she’s not having it. She’s strong, she is taking care of herself: ‘Finally on the other side now and I could see for miles…’ Basically she realises that what this person is doing is too little, too late and sings: ‘Saying that you need me, not now, not now. I know you heard me through an open window, whispers can’t read to your ear, whispers sounded so clear’.

This will be an exciting year for HAIM and they definitely are a band to keep an eye on. In the summer the band will be very busy on the Festival circuit all over the world and you can see them in the UK at Glastonbury Festival, Reading, Leads and many more. We can already hear the crowd singing ‘Right now, Right now’!

Lea Fabbrini 

 

Sylvan Esso – What Now Review 


The North Carolina electronic duo of Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn make up Sylvan Esso. After a generally positive response to their ethereal and subtle self titled debut, dubbed ‘Folktronica’ in 2014, they have released their attempt at the difficult second album. What Now was released at the end of last month and the duo have already teased a bolder and pop/dance influenced sound with singles such as Radio released last year. It looks to be a braver sound that the duo are embarking on and they have a lot more to say too. The problem is everyone thinks they’re being bold by their second album so is their substance to this beneath the surface?

 ‘Die Young’ is a more controlled sound with an element of depth though no less infectious. Here they have you hanging off bold and opaque electronica with light whirring sounds in between. It is a way of emboldening their sound whilst also slowing things down a bit. As they sound progresses, charged 80’s percussion slams in the background as the component parts of the song gradually to come together for a satisfying and rich conclusion. Excellently produced and arranged and expertly delivered. ‘Radio’ is a pulsating piece of Pop music with a bouncing bass beat that forms the foundation for a shimmering array of electronica. Amelia Meath balances the task of controlling a driving Pop song with the same consistent vocals albeit with a few shots of power to guide the song through sheers drops and shifts in sound. The lyrics tell of falling for the desperate and flawed media as everyone does whatever they can for a piece of fame and where those who do can even end up with unbridled power in one way or another. ‘Just Dancing’ opens with popping beats and deliberately contrary tuned vocals. As the verse transitions to the chorus, the instrumentation falls away,  whilst at the second time of asking, the song bursts into a purposeful phase. The synths become more prominent, the vocals more powerful. The song comes to fruition in an unusual way, but it’s worth the wait for even more electric Pop.

‘Kick Jump Twist’ opts for a light and sparked out set of popping beats with Meath’s naive vocals for a soft and simply nice piece of music. This is distrurbed during the chorus as the sound is dropped into a grinding, distorted set of drops and from there the song’s purpose is to serve these bold changes of sound that are just as stark once they end as thy are when they begin. Shimmering electronica opens ‘Signals’ before a dull beat acts as a base from which Meath can deploy her vocals. The spliced effect rhythm and the assertive electronic instrumentation command the songs appeal here, though it did seem to lose its way half way to its conclusion, before driving the song home to a well executed finish. ‘Rewind’ closes the album and has similar features and it is here that these ideas may have been applied a little too heavily across the album. Those monotone beats arrive when you expect them too and whilst this song in isolation is another good track, in the course of an album that has already had similar and better moments; you end up hoping that rearrange their instrumentation somewhat. It is a sound that works though and for the most part is well produced, delivered and infectious. 

Sylvan Esso – What Now = 8/10

Owen Riddle 

Single Review – Weezer – Feels Like Summer

Weezer, arguably one of the best bands to come out of the “MTV generation” return again this year with their eleventh album in 20 years and their first taster track ‘Feels like Summer’ is clearly something quite different to the usual. This track comes hot off the back of arguably their best album (the White Album) since Pinkerton which dropped last year.

The LP and it’s predecessor Everything Will Be Alright In The End, saw a return to the core Weezer sound of heavy ‘cock’ rock guitars, intricate and often silly lyrics as well as it’s typical teenage angst. The band’s first single of this return, ‘Back To The Shack’ promised fans this return with the words ‘I thought I’d get a new audience, I forgot that disco sucks / I ended up with nobody and I started feeling dumb’. Fans of this rebirth will undoubtedly be disappointed with Feels Like Summer in which the quartet mix their stadium rock edge with more electronic and dance elements: contrary to their usual they are reinventing their wheel.

​How well the band do it is up for debate however. The track with it’s unimaginative lyrics and lack of any distinctive riff or hook makes the track a forgettable one in their large discography. The change sonically is understandable given that the White Album felt like an accumulation of their 20 years in the industry where they could show off the mastery of their sound, here however the track feels unoriginal and disappointingly uncreative by their record. Whilst the hope is that this single is simply a blip or that when put in the context of a full-length album the track makes more sense or has some added weight, at the moment however, the feeling has to be a little disappointing. Here’s hoping.
Callum Christie

This Weeks Music Video With The xx, The New Pornographers, James Vincent McMorrow and Glass Animals

This Weeks Music Video with Lorde, Future Islands, Marika Hackman, Ahonhi and Sylvan Esso 

Single Review – Father John Misty – Pure Comedy

We’re hardly a week into the Donald Trump presidency and we’ve already had anti-Trump songs from the Gorillaz, Arcade Fire and YG but this one is perhaps the most thoughtful of them. Joshua Tillman, or better known as Father John Misty, has released the titular track of his new album which releases on April 7th. Father John Misty’s previous LP, I Love You Honeybear, was one of the best released in 2015. Filled with witty, funny and odd lyrics as well as a more diverse and energetic production style, saw Tillman experiment more with electronic (on ‘True Affection’) and rock (‘Ideal Husband’) music alongside his more honed ballads and what might loosely be labelled Americana given his unique style. Although it was interesting sonically it was the lyrics which set it apart as a great album. If Joshua Tillman on Letterman sat on a piano singing ‘Save me white Jesus’ (on ‘Bored in the USA’) can’t get you interested in this album then I’m not entirely sure what can. With his new track he follows a similar piano ballad style, presumably no longer ‘Bored in the USA’, Tillman resorts to finding humour in the chaos of American politics. Taking aim at religion as he often does, he compares priests to the cult of Donald Trump when he sings, ‘Oh, their religions are the best /They worship themselves yet they’re totally obsessed /With risen zombies, celestial virgins, magic tricks, these unbelievable outfits /And they get terribly upset /When you question their sacred texts / Written by woman-hating epileptics’. He goes on saying that these people have ‘horizons that just forever recede/ And how’s this for irony, their idea of being free is a prison of beliefs /That they never ever have to leave’. It may not be as original as his previous work on a musical basis but with these insightful lyrics, Joshua Tillman shows he hasn’t lost his touch in the two years between his last LP and his next. Everybody get excited. 

Callum Christie

Single Review – Slowdive – Star Roving 

Reading’s finest Shoegazers are back with their first new song in over two decades with ‘Star Roving’. Now signed on to Dead Oceans, vocalalist and guitarist Rachel Goswell confirmed that an album was in the works and this single is the first product of it. Stylistically, it’s their sound and it still rings out with an energy that dozens of young Shoegaze groups fail to pick up on. Shoegaze is a hazy and washed out style, but who told this generation that it was slow and indistinguishable from its constituent parts? This song has a driving rhythm which only highlights the quality of the delivery. Certainly nothing to set the world alight, but a pleasant blast from the past. 

Owen Riddle