Single Review – ZHU feat. Tame Impala – My Life

The psychedelic tones of Tame Impala dip into the EDM scene in a link-up with ZHU, producing the bouncing yet atmospheric My Life. With repetitive lyrics and repetitive riffs, the track is nothing astounding, but brings the best of each artists’ genres to form something somewhat soothing and cleverly curated, with an electronic orchestra to liven up the echoic synths. The track jumps with bass and builds with Parker’s pleading to let him live his life to the tune of aggressive synth, before crashing with the strength of a small wave to close off a mediocre single; one that doesn’t really do anything much for either artists’ repertoire.

Ellie Chivers

Single Review – Syd Arthur – Sun Rays

The Oxfordshire quartet started out as a Psychedelic Jazz group and through that novelty has gradually worn away over the years, they remain an intriguing prospect. They have announced that their fourth studio album Apricity is out on October 21st with their new single ‘Sun Rays’ being the first taste of it. The song hints at a more open and powerful sound with high sweeping synths and a drawn out rhythm section that is pinned down by prominent percussion and ringing riffs. This is not to say that they have lost any of their eccentricity though; The close and gentle vocals deliver typically nuanced Psychedelic lyrics. They have previously been given the label of “The British Tame Impala” and they certainly operate in that Innerspeaker territory, but they have a more delicate approach and this will surely be appreciated come October. 

Owen Riddle

Sunday Suggestion – Kaleidoscope – Dive Into Yesterday

Kaleidoscope were another London band as part of the wave of psychedelic groups that took over the narrow streets of the ‘swinging’ capital back in 1967. Though they don’t hold the fame or the legacy of the old and the new ones, this group have offered a small, yet almost perfect encapsulation of the music and atmosphere of the time and place. It’s something of a drug-addled social commentary of it and care must be taken to avoid seeing them as a stereotype as much as they may fit one. The band’s first studio album was Tangerine Dream and everything about it from the style and the packaging just exudes psychedelia. A track from the album that equates to this is ‘Dive Into Yesterday’ with it’s crisp and rotating riffs, ringing lead riffs and a simple, yet sharp percussion to hang it upon. The vocals hold a slight distant and overarching quality about them that seep through the instrumentals and at times dictate their direction. The sense of rise and fall in this track is something that they use repeatedly and varyingly that gives a greater focus and isolation of the vocals and the outrageous lyrics they are delivering. Truly a gem of a track.

Sunday Suggestion – Crocodiles – Endless Flowers


San Diego’s Crocodiles are some of the best purveyors of Lo-fi, psychedelic noise rock in the sunshine state of California. A fine example of the talents of Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell in this field of musical endeavour, is their 2012 single ‘Endless Flowers’ that is from the album of the same name. The warping rhythms ring out relentlessly throughout with the buoyant bass lines and the hammering percussion. The vocal is standing the middle ground of the instrumentals and delivers the lyrics cleanly, yet still with a hint of the deliberately lethargic and attitude laden. A nice and easy bit of noise pop to get lost in.

Sunday Suggestion – Melody’s Echo Chamber – I Follow You

Melody’s Echo Chamber is the dream-pop and neo-psychedelic project of Melody Prochet of Paris. She released her debut self titled album back in 2012. The album featured Pablo Padovani of Moodoid on guitar and the familiar figure of Kevin Parker of Tame Impala behind the mixing desk as producer. These two figures were open minded and creatively inquisitive choices from Melody in combining the sprung and light cascading sound of Padovani’s guitar with Parker and his ability to create washed out waves of sound with acres of space and scope to grow and expand. This resulted in a delicate piece of psychedelia with the intricacy of Padovani’s riffs partnered with Melody’s higher pitched, yet calm whisper to guide the song slowly through the washes of lapping sound and space from Parker’s production. A song best encapsulating these concepts is ‘I Follow You’. It’s one of the more well known tracks off her debut and has the light hook and steady beat of the cascading riffs and simple snare beat. From this, the more distorted and drawn out guitars and synths allow the track to progress and fluctuate in different directions, but guided by the soft, reassuring vocal from Melody. A heavily distorted and grinding riff leads the song out while still interlocked with the song’s steady foundations. A method with produces a paradox of at times concentrating on the song’s light rhythm and whispered lyrics or just completely losing all thought in the expansive sounds it creates. A perfect track for those late summer nights.

Two Wings – A Wake Review

Two Wings are a great mix of British folk varieties, big American riffs and a hint of psychedelica for a curious and intriguing combination of sounds and styles. They formed in Glasgow and their second album A Wake is out tomorrow on April 14th.

‘Peace Fear’ is a song that opens with slowly falling synths before immediately taking an unexpected turn with the large, cascading lead guitar riff taking over with the springed rhythm guitar and synths make up that section. Those synths and the echoed percussion draw out and expand the sound slightly and this is done even more so by the vocal of Hanna Tuulikki which floats up around the higher tones of the song. A vocal that evokes such delicateness yet emerges with moments of cool and easy power. They are backed up and manipulated well by the backing vocals and the whole vocal arrangement fits into the musical arrangement seamlessly. The most delicate of vocals tone occurring when the music is at it’s most stripped back and the moments of power and harmony as most of the elements are at work. ‘A Wake To The Dream’ is musically rather simple with the trickling riffs and acoustic parts. These are a sideshow to the vocal harmonies and combinations in how they act as the instrumentation themselves. The soaring higher reaches, the deeper anchoring vocal bound together by the hanging harmonies in-between. Combined, they pull the song upwards and take it down with minimal input from instrumentals which seems like a pretty good call.

‘Adieu’ opens with those highly charged licks from the lead guitar which do seem to evoke a little bit of power ballad cheese before introducing us to the vocal quality. This generates a light, sweeping and swooning quality that gives the big, powerful guitar parts more use and connection in terms of the feel of the song. ‘You Give Me Love’ is cool and easy sounding track with the songs fell and tempo rooted in the low lying bass line. More of a simple nostalgic foray that anything else with the nice contrast of the vocals sitting across the bass line. ‘Loveless’ is one of the more instrumentally involved tracks with the guitars and percussion leading the vocals onwards to those heavier hits of sound that breaks up the verses. The vocals sweep, soar and slice though it all with great ease and the music just goes on to enhance this with a lavish but delicate feel. The album as a whole is full of those nostalgic and warm events but there are time when they really do go beyond that with grasping vocal forms and harmony. It is a solid album nonetheless. Every track is delivered faithfully and crisply and from this I think they can really build and grow from what can be a tough second album, but one they’ve encountered well.

Two Wings – A Wake =7.5/10

Take a look at an interview I did with them last month

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Two Wings – Interview

Two Wings are a highly intriguing and talented group from Glasgow whose wonderful single ‘Peace Fear’ I looked at just over a week back. They kindly answered some questions on their origins, influences, playing outside the U.K and about recording their upcoming album ‘A Wake’.

Who makes up Two Wings and what are  you about?

Hanna Tuulikki, Lucy Duncombe, Kenneth Wilson, Owen Curtis Williams and myself (Ben Reynolds). Hanna and Lucy do the vocals, Kenneth bass and vocals, Owen drums and me guitar and vocals. We’ve also very recently added an extra guitar to the band in the shape of Jody Henderson!

What we’re about? We’re about rock n roll and all the good things. We also like songs about love and death… both happy and sad ones.

How did Two Wings form?

We formed after Hanna and I were playing for a while as a duo and wanted to develop the songs we’d been playing with a full band. We asked Kenneth and our original drummer David Hayward to come and jam with us, and it instantly felt like the way forward. After that Lucy joined us and we started working on fuller harmony arrangements for the vocals. Thus Two Wings was born!

What are the main influencing factors to Two Wings sound?

Hanna and I as songwriters have a lot of love for classic pop music of every era up to the present. This combined with our background dabbling in traditional folk music, blues and experimental music came out with the ‘Two Wings sound’ I guess.

How would you compare your first album to ‘A Wake’? Was it more difficult to get a second album made?

‘A Wake’ for me is a much fuller expression of what we wanted Two Wings to be than our first record, ‘Love’s Spring’. There was quite a long ‘post-production’ period with ‘A Wake’ where we were able to try different things within the mixing process to capture the sound/feeling we were going for.

It wasn’t more difficult especially. I think we knew better what we wanted this time. The writing/making of the first record was a learning experience for us all and second time round things seemed a lot clearer (for me at least).

Where was the album recorded? Was the recording process a good experience?

We made it at Farheath Studios in the beautiful Northamptonshire countryside. We spent a week bunking there while we got the basic tracks down, which was a great experience… being cut off from the world in the middle of nowhere concentrating on nothing but the music. We then took the tracks back to Glasgow where we worked on overdubs at Diving Bell Studio… that was when the brass and a lot of the keys got put down.

What is ‘Peace Fear’ about musically and lyrically?

Hanna wrote the lyrics to this one and in her words they are “broadly speaking, about the difficulty and hopes of overcoming our various fears, to find some kind of peaceful way of being”. Musically it’s got quite a lot of drama (I hope)… we wanted it to have a lot of power and impact rhythmically so we did a lot of work on the drums in the mixing stage. Also the heavy synth atmospherics were a big part of capturing the drama of the song.

What would you say has been your favourite gig/venue to play at?

We love playing live, so it’d be hard to choose a favourite. I enjoyed playing at Kings Place in London. I’m usually more of a basement rock n roll venue kind of guy, but on this occasion I really appreciated the incredible quality of the sound etc. We also enjoyed our trip to Toronto last year to play at the NXNE festival. This was our first trip out of the country as this band, and we were really lucky to meet and play with some great musicians.

Is there anywhere you’d like to like to play at that you haven’t visited yet?

We’ve not yet played on the continent as Two Wings, so that’s something we’ll hopefully get out and do this year or next. Playing anywhere is always a pleasure though! Of course it’s always fun to see new places in the process…

What’s next for Two Wings?

Lots of writing and playing live we hope. As I said earlier, we’ve just added Jody as a new guitarist, so we’ll be developing the songs along with his contributions in the coming months. And hopefully we’ll be back in the studio to record album number 3 once we’ve got these new songs on the road!

Thanks to Two Wings for the answers! Look out for their second album A Wake on April 14th.

Single Review – Two Wings – Peace Fear

Two Wings are a great mix of British folk varieties, big American riffs and a hint of psychedelica for a curious and intriguing combination of sounds and styles. They formed in Glasgow and are looking to reveal their second album A Wake on April 14th and if their initial single from the album is anything to go by, then it is well worth a listen. The song opens with slowly falling synths before immediately taking an unexpected turn with the large, cascading lead guitar riff taking over with the springed rhythm guitar and synths make up that section. Those synths and the echoed percussion draw out and expand the sound slightly and this is done even more so by the vocal of Hanna Tuulikki which floats up around the higher tones of the song. A vocal that evokes such delicateness yet emerges with moments of cool and easy power. They are backed up and manipulated well by the backing vocals and the whole vocal arrangement fits into the musical arrangement seamlessly. The most delicate of vocals tone occurring when the music is at it’s most stripped back and the moments of power and harmony as the most elements are at work. The mix of genres matched with considered production and structure; results in a fantastic track that bodes well for next months album. If you want to see Two Wings live then head to The Sebright Arms in London on May 31st.

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Single Review – Moodoid – Je Suis La Montagne

Moodoid is the solo project of Pablo Padovani who is the guitarist for fellow French Psychedelic wonder Melody’s Echo Chamber. So you already know that he’s pretty skilled in that area. ‘Je Suis La Montagne’ very much evokes the sound he helped create for Melody’s Echo Chamber with perhaps a slight reduction in the production effects but they are still there in a big way. The song is refined, at ease with it’s self and has several area’s of depth and space to it. At times all the layers creating the sound are recorded in such an isolated way that feels like nothing else could be heard and creates a heavy wave of sound while at other times it’s more echoed and spaced out and subtle. Is it any wonder then, that it’s been produced so well with Kevin Parker lending a hand in the recording. He is really expanding the Australian psychedelic sound well and deserves much credit for it. Naturally, if you like Tame Impala, Pond, Melody’s Echo Chamber etc. then you will be drawn to this and enjoy it all the same. This song is part of an EP which will arrive on 9th September so be sure to keep an eye for that amongst all the other releases from the Rock band heavyweights.

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Jagwar Ma – Howlin Review

It’s became clear that in the 21st century it’s painfully difficult to create something new or fresh or to go against the norms of music that have been recycled since the the 60’s in it’s various yet fantastic forms (in some cases). To be innovative you have to challenge the principles of music itself like The Knife did earlier this year or you have take all these great movements and sometimes conflicting movements in music and weld them together while dragging it into the 21st century. Tame Impala did something a little like that last year with Lonerism and it’s happened again down under with Jagwar Ma. The debut album from producer Jono Ma with vocals from Gabriel Winterfield has even got the most ‘obscure’ music lovers talking, of course the hipsters have jumped on-board and it’s rumoured that a mutual love of the band may have got the Gallagher brothers on talking terms again with Noel claiming in NME that he’s too busy talking about Jagwar Ma to reform Oasis and that “The future of the galaxy depends on the Temples and Jagwar Ma records, If those two records are right, the imperial forces will be defeated.” Meanwhile some but not all of those at the Guardian proceed to only hand out five star ratings in their reviews if it’s complete and utter silence as they spend most of their time trying to compare credible artists to One Direction and Bieber and then going on to say that they are better musicians which is really ‘far out dude’ and really challenges music as a whole…. not. (Rant over). The first thing you may think of upon listening to Jagwar Ma is of the Madchester scene of everybody’s new favourite band The Stone Roses or Happy Mondays etc. However there is much more on offer here including 60’s psycedelica from Sgt Pepper to Pet Sounds, some electonica elements as well as some modern neo-psychedelica from Tame Impala. All in all the range of influences is a good one and boy do they utilise them.

‘Man I Need’ is one of the standout tracks from Howlin which instantly sets the tone with the psychedelic whirring along with the wide scope and relaxed urgency of the percussion which is pretty typical of a psychedelic style. The slight echo on the drums allow it to fill alot of space on the song and it acts as the primary element. Guitars enter in a subtle way in the chorus to gradually construct a wall of sound with some little synth flicks in between. Winterfields vocals in their tuneful yet shouty sytle work especially well in the chorus to punch through the subtleness of the instrumentals. The song has been very considered and methodically puzzled over as all the elements of the song feature at the exact amounts at which they are needed and despite being all a little soft aand subtle, they combine and work with each other to create the big wall of sound. Such attentivness to detail and to get the exacting amounts of each element spot on is a very skillful thing to do. Even more so when Jono Ma has chose these knowing they would combine effectively on the chorus. ‘The Throw’ contains much more space with a lot of echo of all elements this time. Winterfields vocal are the centrepiece here and are slightly echoed and drawn out themselves but blend in well with the almost industrial churning of the percussion and all electronic elements that are all complimented by an occassional guitar riff which trickle into a collective instrumental of all the elements which more floats along on it’s own echo to complete the tune.

‘What Love?’ may sound familar to anyone who plays FIFA 13. It’s a very synth driven song of which the song becomes a collage of different synth sounds with a very basic beat and the vocal is effectively a repeat of the same line but in this song the synth sounds even take preference over the vocals so this isn’t really an issue. Each synth element again is subtle and considered and the song has a very relaxed and steady feel about itself because of it. ‘Come Save Me’ is very rythmic and more pop-like in terms of the vocal style and lyrics. The instrumentals progress much like a sophisticated pop tune with even the drums changing to a more march like approach. The melody is great though and the bass is excellent in this song. The muted, bouncing synths of ‘Uncertainty’ become less muted and turn into more open ended sounds. The songs percussion at times makes it feel like some sort of late 90’s dance tune and the vocal harmonies complete the picture there. Other songs such as ‘Backwards Berlin’ softly lap back and forth with every synth key and acoustic contributions feature very minimalistic vocals that are deliberatly woven into the gentle sounding track and it pretty much shows the depth and scope Jagwar Ma. They have justified all the fuss about them for sure to create a very ‘trippy’ album but an album that is almost perfect on a technical level and Jono Ma’s understanding and meticulous attention to detail on getting the right amount of each element in their songs is a great skill to have. The album too does go beyond the combination of their past influences to create an album that sounds familiar yet also new and exciting. All this and it’s only their debut album of which many others have very safe and rather dull debuts with perhaps too much focus on the singles. This is not the case with Howlin. Therefore it shows that Australia is fast becoming a hub for new idea’s and fresh approaches when it comes to music and several Australian and some New Zealand acts don’t get the attention they deserve because they aren’t from the U.K or the U.S which is massively frustrating but when albums as good as this are coming from down under, then they can’t be ignored forever and now this is starting to change.

Jagwar Ma – Howlin = 9.5/10

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