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SINGLE REVIEW: Homesick (Catfish and the Bottlemen)

16 Jun

Mixing an explosive chorus with a down-key verse can often sound contrived and incohesive, but Catfish and the Bottlemen manage to avoid falling into the trap on new single ‘Homesick’. The track clocks in at two and a half minutes but feels like it’s over before you know it, stopping and starting in bursts without needing to catch its breath. Despite the young age of the band, there’s no sign of immaturity or inexperience – instead, just potential. ‘Homesick’ they might be, but it’ll take a while before we’re sick of this ourselves.

SINGLE REVIEW: Upon The North (Eliza and the Bear)

18 Jan

Before anyone asks, Eliza and the Bear have taken the precaution of putting in their Twitter bio, ‘no one in this band is called Eliza.’ We’re going to assume that no one in the band is an actual bear either, although that’s possibly more disappointing than the lack of an Eliza.

Eliza and the Bear are a five-piece indie sort of band from London. I say ‘indie sort of’ because they’re one of those who are difficult to pin down and partly because indie is becoming a vague enough term these days that using it doesn’t really give any sort of idea what the music is actually like.

Their upcoming single ‘Upon The North’ – which you can listen to at the bottom of this post – is set to be released on 25 February, as part of a double A-side with their track ‘The Southern Wild’ (click here to watch a YouTube video of the band performing it live).

And it’s worth checking out. I hesitate to make the Mumford & Sons reference – their particular brand of fauxlk-rock is something I don’t hide my distaste of – and yet it’s along those lines, but with more sincerity and charm. While Mumford feel like a gimmick, Eliza and the Bear feel earnest, and there’s just the right amount of yearning in the song to make you lay back and think of wind in trees and walking around outside. You know the sort of thing.

I’ve seen it described as summery and yet it’s more of an autumn to winter song; not cold, but red-nosed and pink eared, kicking leaves about and feeling the sting of fresh air. The jangling guitars and cheerful cymbals have a resonating contrast with the almost reverent lyrics, and the breakdown at the end is definitely worth a mention – the band tread the line well between a big sound and an over the top one, and there’s a definite British take on the feeling of Americana.

They’ve spent summers away, according to the lyrics. But now they’re back, and ready to take you by storm. Just let them.

SINGLES REVIEW: House of Secrets (Weird Dreams), Golden Antlers (Glass Animals)

17 Jun

Weird Dreams – House of Secrets.

Put another log on the fire, because ‘House of Secrets’ – the latest track from chillwave three piece Weird Dreams – is nothing if not slow burning. Casting aside the mediocrity and overindulgence demonstrated on debut album ‘Choreography’, the band take it down a notch with their longest track to date. A cobwebby melody and a guitar line just the right side of sinister blend together well to create an uneasy lullaby, and the vocals manage to be both rich and languorous. Weird dreams ain’t gonna be the half of it after listening to this.
Listen here.

Glass Animals – Golden Antlers.

Dubstep infused ethereal pop sounds like the genre mash-up from hell, but for some reason Glass Animals make it work. Turn the volume up on your headphones, close your eyes and forget about The xx, because Glass Animals take what they started and push it even further. Mesmerising and darkly hypnotic with almost ambient waves of chilled dubstep, ‘Golden Antlers’ keeps the drums minimal and the mystery large. Add to that a perfect combination of acoustic and digital sound and you’ve got a winner in this one. Glass Animals’ time is now.
Listen here. 

SINGLE REVIEW: Enemy (Bear Driver)

14 Jun

Bear Driver’s Enemy is the perfect summer-fuelled slacker pop song. Full of sun and succinct nostalgia with tight melodies and an upbeat feel, Enemy‘s lyrics provide a much needed backbone – ‘you were always my enemy,’ insists vocalist Rich Harwood. 

Read the rest here.

SINGLE REVIEW: Aquababe (Azealia Banks)

13 Jun

It’s a little sad that 212 is the song that Azealia Banks will be fighting off comparisons to for the rest of her career, regardless of whether the new song is better or worse. Aquababe is, quite simply, different.

Once we’ve got that out of the way it’s a lot easier to focus on Aquababe, Azealia’s new track from her upcoming Fantasea mixtape.
After insisting on Tumblr a few days ago that she no longer wants to be labelled a rap artist, and prompting a surge of news articles about how Azealia Banks is ‘no longer a rapper’, it’s a little surprising that Aquababe has no shortage of rapping in it.

It’s also rather good. Azealia’s rhymes are as strong as ever, spitting them out one after the other over lazy, dance-edged beats. Slick production and wobbly (in a good way!) bleeps and bloops combine to create a thoroughly enjoyable track. Fantasea is definitely something to watch out for.

SINGLE REVIEW: Age Anti Age (The I.D)

12 Jun

Age Anti Age starts off shaky; the vocals sound oddly muffled and it feels almost sludgey. It’s also deceptively slow, but absolutely worth holding onto until the chorus – because that’s when it all kicks in.

Read the rest here.

SINGLE REVIEW: She Drowned (Damn Jammage)

17 May

Damn Jammage have always had two things going for them – an attention-grabbing name and unique, gravelly vocals. Latest single She Drowned doesn’t skimp on the vocals, combining them with music that sounds like it’s been lifted from a children’s TV show, twisted beyond all recognition and slotted neatly back into place.

Read the rest here.