Friday, 24 March 2017
Though the politics and nihilism of punk might well leave a lot to be desired in the scheme of things, the movement possessed a DIY spirit and sense of community that’s difficult not to admire. One band who seem to embody the very idea of those things, it’s Belfast’s Empty Lungs.
This review was originally written for Louder Than War. Click here to read in full.
The world’s going to shit. Plain and simple. You’re probably sick of hearing about it now, hell, I’m even sick of writing about it. Unfortunately, thin patience does little to change that, and the fact remains that the world is indeed going to shit. London punks Great Cynics are aware of this fact. Thankfully however, their fourth record POSI lives up to its name. Rather than getting bogged down in the minutiae of failing political systems and rise of the Right, its focus feels much more personal while at the same time feeling universally resonant.
With Kvelertak so entrenched in the rock and metal scenes of their native Norway, and indeed further afield, it’s easy to overlook the inherent melody behind their weighty riffs. With that in mind, that two members should conceive and eventually form a side project in which fizzy, pop melodies were intrinsic, isn’t all that surprising.
Having seen Simon Green’s DJ sets before, we were somewhat prepared for the sheer energy with which he performs as Bonobo. Seeing him tonight (2 March) with an eleven-piece live band however, said energy is magnified tenfold; a sold-out Manchester Apollo heaving to every bass note or flute trill.
When Conor Oberst released ‘Ruminations’ last October, it wasn’t quite the record he set out to make. Recorded in just 48 hours with nothing but his voice, piano, guitar and harmonica, what was originally intended as the record’s bare bones became its fully realised form. The result was arguably his most honest work to date, but while the world was singing his praises, he forged ahead with his plans to record with a full band.
Monday, 6 March 2017
With its working class playing such a huge role in the City’s musical history, it’s surprising how few of Manchester’s contemporary bands seem interested in the current social and political climate of the UK. And though there are a handful of bands with left-leaning tendencies, Cabbage for instance, they’re often overtly brash in their sentiment, all bark if you will. TYPES are an exception to this rule.
Sunday, 5 March 2017
“There are very few bands that formed in 2006 that are still releasing records now,” says Gareth David, frontman of Los Campesinos!. He has a point. In a testament to both the throwaway nature of indie-rock, and the lasting appeal of the band themselves, many of the acts they started out sharing stages with are now confined to the annals of history; remembered only in rose-tinted listicles and drunken YouTube sessions. Los Campesinos! on the other hand, have endured. But it’s not always been easy.
Punk in 2017 feels like a diverse, even contentious subject. Now approaching its 40th anniversary, there’s little doubt that what was once a moral panic causing act of youthful rebellion, is now accepted, even celebrated, by the establishment it once sought to rebel against (look to PUNK.London, for example, as proof). While the movement has become ingrained in British culture, often to the point of caricature, the general disenfranchisement felt across the social strata is crying out for another similarly motivated movement.
It’s been ten years since Los Campesinos! exploded on to the UK’s indie scene in a technicolour array of synths and suspicious looking stains they swore were cherryade. A hell of a lot has changed in that time, not least of all Los Campesinos! themselves, whose journey from indie-pop poster kids to genuinely skilled songsmiths is one of the most overlooked careers in contemporary indie.
While ‘English Tapas’ might literally refer to a menu item at “some random pub” visited by Sleaford Mods’ button-presser Andrew Fearn, it’s a fitting title for an album that’s predominantly interested in dissecting and digesting various pockets of society. At their strongest when pointing out the ironies and idiocies of modern day England, they’re a band who divide opinions while being unflinching in their own.