Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold Review


It has been two years since one of the worlds biggest bands released their last set of material with their St. Cecilia EP in 2015 and another year since their last album Sonic Highways from 2014. When they released the first single from Concrete and Gold; ‘Run’ took some people by surprise and since then a steady steam of material and details have emerged from upcoming ninth studio album. Most notably is Greg Kurstin as producer. In recent years he’s worked with Adele, Sia and Ellie Goulding. Despite having little to no experience recording Rock music prior to Dave Grohl seeking him out, he described him as “a fucking genius” and the key to unlocking a larger Foo Fighters sound. Greg has now worked with The Shins and Liam Gallagher. Given how Sonic Highways proved a better documentary series than an album, the band wanted to come back strong with a proper album crammed full of ideas and influences.

Echoed, ringing riffs open ‘Run’ before a pacing percussion signals the start of a rabid and snarling piece of hard rock. From Dave Grohl’s screeches to the wiry lead riffs ahead of the grinding rhythms, the song kicks and screams and kicks hard. In an instant, they have the ability to turn melodic with echoed harmonies, backing vocals and Dave’s typically easy tunefulness. It is not going to be the best track you’ll hear this year, but the Foo Fighters have typically delivered a high octane track with added aggression whilst retaining the ability for melody amongst the heavy sounds. ‘The Sky Is A Neighbourhood’ has a different sound to it, an essence of composed and considered music that is given away with the Beatle-esque harmonies that open and signpost the track. The song is restrained, whilst still packing a punch within it’s steady confines with grinding riffs driving the chorus and strung out pieces in the verses. It is within this space that you get a greater feel for Dave Grohl’s songwriting. In this case ‘The Sky Is A Neighbourhood’ ponders all the life out there in space and how “we have to get our shit together” on earth “to survive this universe full of life” ‘The Line’ is the group plying their anthemic sound with this sing-a-long track; a matured ‘Times Like These’ if you will. It continues the trend along with the other singles as each offers up a subtle change in sound and delivery. The latest single opens with spread riffs echoing into the background with Grohl’s hushed tones before bursting into light with a steady, but full six piece arrangment of clear, distorted and lead guitar parts entwined with a charged bass and siren-like keys. As ever, Taylor Hawkins holds his own behind the drum kit to back up the fuller sound the band now deliver. 

‘Arrows’ is a track that rings out into the open space the instrumentation generates via a more distant recorded sound. Though it is still a typical piece of Hard Rock, it is less immediate in nature and this gives lisence for Dave’s vocals to be recorded in a whirring fashion to fade back into the instrumentation. An example of the difference created from small production changes. The title track is an intruiging one. It hints at an Industrial sound with grinding and dragging guitars with the distorted, gentle vocals. This is set up to calmly open up into a lighter sound of harmonious backing vocals and more open riffs. These steep changes in tone are something that they accentuate as the song goes on. A nice shift in tone and great way to close the album. ‘La Dee Da’ has verses of swagger and shuffling progression that meets with a screeching chorus. Tracks like ‘Dirty Water’ are reminiscent of Greg Kurstin’s The Bird and the Bee with their breezy melodies and light harmonies. The track then bursts into a driving piece of distorted electronica and guitar. Both sound good in isolation but prove to be an unrecognisable pair in the same track. That sums up this album. All of the ideas for the album provide results, but these emerge in the wrong places or only for fleeting moments. When paired an ever confident delivery and with the strong set of singles you have a good album, yet you know that the Foo Fighters are capable of making a great album again; they’ve just got to get their ideas in order. 

Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold = 7/10

Owen Riddle

Single Review – Foo Fighters – The Line

With their ninth studio album Concrete and Gold due for a release on Friday, we’re taking a look at the band’s final single before this. ‘The Line’ is the group plying their anthemic sound with this sing-a-long track; a matured ‘Times Like These’ if you will. It continues the trend along with the other singles as each offers up a subtle change in sound and delivery. The latest single opens with spread riffs echoing into the background with Grohl’s hushed tones before bursting into light with a steady, but full six piece arrangment of clear, distorted and lead guitar parts entwined with a charged bass and siren-like keys. As ever, Taylor Hawkins holds his own behind the drum kit to back up the fuller sound the band now deliver. This album certainly has a greater focus than their last project and though not wildly different, they’re utilising their bigger sound to good effect. 

Owen Riddle

Single Review – Foo Fighters – The Sky Is A Neighbourhood

The Foo Fighters will release their ninth studio album Concrete & Gold on September 15th. ‘Run’ was the first single from the album and saw the band letting go of all restraint to produce the musical equivalent of a Michael Bay film. It was still a great track, just one that we all know they could produce in their sleep. Their latest single has a different sound to it, an essence of composed and considered music that is given away with the Beatle-esque harmonies that open and signpost the track. The song is restrained, whilst still packing a punch within it’s steady confines with grinding riffs driving the chorus and strung out pieces in the verses. It is within this space that you get a greater feel for Dave Grohl’s songwriting. In this case ‘The Sky Is A Neighbourhood’ ponders all the life out there in space and how “we have to get our shit together” on earth “to survive this universe full of life”. I hope for more of these ponderous tracks for the upcoming effort of this giant of a band. 

Owen Riddle

This Weeks Music Video with The Killers, Foo Fighters, Phoebe Bridgers, The War On Drugs, LCD Soundsystem and Weezer

This Weeks Music Video with Foo Fighters, Lana Del Rey feat. The Weeknd, Arcade Fire, Liam Gallagher, Metallica, Radiohead and MØ

Single Review – Foo Fighters – Run

It has been two years since one of the worlds biggest bands released material with their St. Cecilia EP in 2015 and another year since their last album Sonic Highways from 2014. Their new single ‘Run’ took some people by surprise though people have been expecting some new material and is likely to form part of an upcoming ninth studio album. It opens with those echoed, ringing riffs before a pacing percussion signals the start of a rabid and snarling piece of hard rock. From Dave Grohl’s screeches to the wiry lead riffs ahead of the grinding rhythms, the song kicks and screams and kicks hard. In an instant, they have the ability to turn melodic with echoed harmonies, backing vocals and Dave’s typically easy tunefulness. It is not going to be the best track you’ll hear this year, but the Foo Fighters have typically delivered a high octane track with added aggression whilst retaining the ability for melody amongst the heavy sounds. 

Owen Riddle

EP Review – Foo Fighters – Saint Cecilia

The legends that are the Foo Fighters only go on to further their on-going perception as the nicest band around with their new free five track EP. St Cecilia is named after the hotel in Austin, Texas that they recorded these five tracks at and the Saint is the patron saint of musicians of course. The band also dedicated the EP to the victims of the Paris attacks, something which Dave Grohl’s friend Josh Homme was caught up in at the Bataclan theatre that night.

 

The EP in general is the band at their classic best with euphoric song progressions and heavyweight melodies and this is demonstrated best on the title track. The track swings from the rhythmic hooks of the chorus to the bulkier sections of the verses where the guitars are given a more free reign. Dave and Taylor Hawkins team up again for their trademark harmonies that run through the whole track to complete a optimistic piece of music. ‘Sean’ is a track echoing their earlier, rapid sound with an added kick behind it. ‘Savoir Breath’ is a keen play on words and is a track bordering on Heavy Metal which the band relishes in as we’ve seen in their documentary album Sonic Highways from last year. ‘Iron Rooster’ provides a change of pace in a more simple acoustic setting for a more considered and reflective track with Grohl’s vocals accompanied by a neatly places riffs and piano chords. ‘The Neverending Sigh’ is brilliant piece of unrestricted hard rock music with the riffs hitting peak after peak and the rhythm unrelenting in it’s pace.

 

For a free EP, Saint Cecilia is well worth getting your hands on as the Foo Fighters deliver some nuggets of their classic sound and indulge in a few variations too.

 

 

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

MUSIC NEWS – Foo Fighters Photography Policy Tackled by French-Canadian Newspaper and Albert Hammond Jr. on Going Alone

Foo Fighter’s Photography Policy Under Fire

The Foo Fighters policy for taking ownership of any photographs taken by them at their concerts was recently labelled as “exploitative” by The Washington Post and Quebec newspaper Le Soleil made a stand by sending a cartoonist to the gig in Quebec City as photographers “had to give up all their rights” according to the paper. Here’s an example of the gig from the view of the cartoonist. http://www.lapresse.ca/le-soleil/arts-et-spectacles/dossiers-arts/festival-dete/201507/11/01-4884847-photos-des-foo-fighters-lart-de-contourner-des-exigences-trop-strictes.php

This controversy comes after Taylor Swift was branded a “Hypocrite” for practicing a similar policy, but her management later stated that images could be republished with their permission.

Albert Hammond Jr. on Being a Frontman

Yesterday The Strokes guitarist spoke of his confidence that he could be a frontman and that he “feels like I have good songs”. He also spoke at his frustration over the slow progress of The Strokes new material saying that “After a while you feel drained from because of how much you love and care for it.” His doubts were raised over a month since Julian Casablancas stated the band were working on new material so perhaps we’ll have to wait a little longer than we think for that. Albert’s upcoming album Momentary Masters is out on July 31st.

Sam Smith Favourite to Record New Bond Theme

Sam Smith remains favourite to be the performer of the new theme for the latest James Bond instalment Spectre. This is despite him recently suggesting that the song would be performed by Ellie Goulding. Smith is very similar in style to the last performer of a Bond theme which was Adele for Skyfall in 2012 so perhaps someone a little different is needed for the sake of not repeating themselves with a similar track. Duran Duran who recorded the Bond theme in 1985, suggested being more original in recruiting acts such as Daft Punk or Kanye West to record the theme. Lorde, Ed Sheeran, Lana Del Rey and Noel Gallagher are the other favourites to record the film’s theme song.

50,000 ‘Torontonians’ Sign Petition to stop Kanye West Performing at Pan-Am Games Closing Ceremony

Those creating the petition cite their opposition to Kanye being chosen as opposed to a local artist, but Deputy Leader of Ontario Green Party, Mark Daye claimed he was an “obnoxious no talent a**hole”. This comes after West was ridiculed by some of the British Press after his Glastonbury set in the face of a petition of 100,000+ to prevent him from headlining the festival. Despite this, those such as Noel Gallagher and Jack Black have came out in defence of Kanye but I think it’s likely that whether positive or not; Kanye West doesn’t really care what people have to say and will continue to go in his own direction.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Glastonbury 2015 – Who To Catch Up On

If you were busy this weekend and didn’t feel like being surrounded by the mud, the Tories or the wannabes at Glastonbury, then here’s a small guide about which acts you should catch up on…

Lionel and Pharrell spread the joy

The Soul and Pop legend that is Lionel Richie attracted the biggest crowd of the festival with over 100,000 moving to tracks like ‘dancing on the ceiling’ with thousands all decked out in what was the most popular merchandise of the festival. It’s almost like they missed a trick not making him a headline act given his reception. Similarly Pharrell got the crowd going in an enthusiastic fashion and both provided the simple feel-good factor.

Ronson and friends provide the funk

Mark Ronson went all out in his efforts to wow the audience with his set. He did just about played and tampered with everything available and rolled out a varied list of artists to give him a hand from Kevin Parker, Kyle Falconer, Boy George, Grandmaster Flash, George Clinton and Mary J. Blige to name a few! Outstanding effort from Ronson to give the audience more than their money’s worth.

Florence Substitutes

Florence + The Machine delivered a high energy performance verging on the insane as she belted out her simple yet sophisticated catalogue of music and paid tribute to the missing Foo Fighters with her own rendition of ‘Times Like These’. The fact she’s back to number one in the album charts should tell you all you need to know about the impact of her performance.

Reliably Amazing acts deliver again

Future Islands rocked out another fine performance, despite feeling the fatigue slightly in what has been a non-stop year and a half for the band. Samuel Herring still amazed and frightened the life out of people with his now trademark stylish aggression, passion and ridiculous dance moves. In a similar but wonderfully sleazy way, Father John Misty thrust and launched himself just about everywhere, but delivered every track at album level quality. ‘Bored in the USA’ was just as theatrically trashy and even unnerving as you’d expect and was a sight to behold. Meanwhile, Courtney Barnett made herself feel at home at the Pyramid Stage of all places whilst effortlessly and breezily rolling through set in her typical laid back style. Glastonbury veterans delivered their set as if it was 1993 again and even stole a lot of the crowd away from Kanye’s headline act. The Who rolled out a hit feast for the fans and delivered also delivered a performance like their famous seventies gigs, but at a slower pace, still worth seeing despite their advancing years.

Kanye…

He was causing controversy before and after the his headline slot with many signing petitions to get him removed, but he was there in defiance and the opening stages of his set delivered some of his biggest tracks and was almost space age in it’s opening and set up for his ego with him and the lights on him. As simple as that. It worked wonderfully as a statement, but for the whole show it’s novelty wore away and he really should have took a leaf out of Ronson’s book for the middle and latter stages of his set. Not even Kanye can do everything on his own. The fact he claimed he was the biggest rockstar in the world is of no concern to me… it’s that sort of musical conservatism that stifles music and similarly threatened to stifle the festival, but Kanye was always going to be there and divided the majority of the audience straight down the middle. The Libertines were also left high and dry by being moved up the billing thanks to the Foo Fighters absence and their disjointed and worn set did nothing to get anyone shouting.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Sunday Suggestion – Foo Fighters – Everlong

Everlong Foo Fighters Album Foo fighters

Back in the Christmas of 1996, Dave Grohl was starting work on a new track based around a new riff that he’d been formulating and a lyrical material on departing previous relationships and entering new ones. By August 1997 one of the greatest Post-Grunge and Alternative tracks of all time was born. The eleventh track from the Foo Fighter’s second studio LP The Colour and The Shape opens with a fade in of the lightly rotating rhythm section riffs that are swiftly layered over with a loose distortion and these are swept over by Dave’s smooth and out of focus vocal that is charged into a rough and churning chorus through the soaring guitars and the growing snarl of the vocals. It’s a track with energy, yet depth and varied production from the slightly dazed to the rough. A faultless track.