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Monday, 17 July 2017

#648: Life, Oh Life, Oh Life


Going back even to before American folk legend Woodie Guthrie emblazoned his guitar with the slogan ‘This Machine Kills Fascists’, musicians have been using their platform as a means to speak out against political and social injustices; acting as mouthpieces to those who otherwise wouldn’t have their voices heard, or providing a way to reach out to disenfranchised demographics.

#647: Introducing...TUSKS


While lazy comparisons might well lump London’s TUSKS in with the likes of London Grammar, look past the electronics and bold female vocal, and a vastly different aesthetic reveals itself. While the aforementioned deal in grandeur and bombast, TUSKS opt for a less is more mantra, resulting in organically evolving soundscapes that are as beguiling as they are beautiful, yet always subtle in their delivery.

#646: Arms & Hearts - Too Much Sleep, Not Enough Dreams (EP review)


While it feels almost impossible to go anywhere in Manchester without rubbing elbows with one of the city’s singer/songwriters, very few do little to distinguish themselves from the ever-growing masses of ‘Wonderwall’ covers and trilbies. Fortunately, there are those who manage to keep their heads above the water in what’s often a sea of mediocrity.

#645: Iron Chic, Rebellion, Manchester


Once harbouring a reputation as one of Manchester’s premiere metal venues, Rebellion, thanks in part to its new management, is beginning to shake that image by not limiting itself to any one scene. To prove that point, tonight sees Long Island’s Iron Chic take to their stage almost exactly a year since their last Mancunian sojourn.

Monday, 26 June 2017

#644: Rancid - Trouble Maker


It’s difficult to know where to begin with Trouble Maker, the ninth album from Californian punk stalwarts Rancid. On the one hand, it’s everything we could want from a Rancid record. Organs and upstrokes? Check. Buzzsaw guitar solos? Of course. Tim Armstrong’s breathy drawl juxtaposed with Lars Fredrikson’s biting bark? Naturally. On the other hand however, it’s also everything we’ve come to expect from a Rancid record and as such, does little to break a framework the band established albums ago.

#643: Kamikaze Girls - Seafoam


If there was a single track that managed to encapsulate the frustrations and optimism of Seafoam, the debut LP from Kamikaze Girls, it would be the sprawling final track ‘I Don’t Want To Be Sad Forever’. Coming at the end of the record, the track plays out as a cathartic culmination to all that comes before it. And while cathartic is certainly the right word to describe the track, and indeed the record as a whole, it’s not strictly the optimistic brand of catharsis one might expect.

#642: Tycho, Albert Hall, Manchester


Walking into Manchester’s Albert Hall, it’s hard to imagine a venue more suited to Tycho’s ambient electronica than a converted Wesleyan chapel. Arriving fashionably late, with the fading sun cascading through the venue’s stained-glass windows, it’s clear that this is one of the rare occasions on which the venue’s aesthetics boost the atmosphere tenfold.