Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Band of the Week: Marmozets, McFly and more!

So, we'll kick off this week with Marmozets. Female fronted math rock. Very scrummy. For now, let's have their most recent single, Good Days, which you can download from their BandCamp page. There's also a great video to go with it which I posted HERE.

Then we'll have the pop-rock band McFly. Because I love them. Also, their new single is rather more awesome than their other recent material. So let's have the video to said new single, Love Is Easy.

Next up, this piece of... almost loveliness. It's a track by Neil Finn which is going to be included on the soundtrack to the upcoming film, The Hobbit. I wasn't too sure about it when I first listened, but I think it's growing on me. Have a listen - see what you think.

Finally, a band I found by accident courtesy of the latest episode of the excellent QI. They're called Maxillofacial Death Pyramid. Forgive the slightly weird name, they're actually pretty decent. Let's call it hardcore punk. Probably not quite the right genre, but that's what their Bandcamp says and I suck at genres.

That'll do for this week, I think.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Review: Silver Smoke, Star Of Night by Jill Tracy

It is November. Normally, I have a rule that says I musn't listen to Christmas songs before the beginning of December. This year, there is an exception to the rule in the form of the glorious Silver Smoke, Star Of Night from dark cabaret queen Jill Tracy.

Where to start with this album? Imagine some of the best classic Christmas carols then mix them with Jill Tracy's beautiful voice and gorgeous piano work. There's some tracks on here that immediately lend themselves for a dark interpretation - take O Come O Come Emmanuel and the Coventry Carol, for example, both traditionally quite dark songs. Here, given an added Jill Tracy twist, they somehow gain new meaning.

Then of course there's the delicious instrumental tracks. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is one of my favourite carols and this instrumental version is absolutely scrumptious. Carol Of The Bells also sounds amazing on piano.

While I'm struggling to pick favourites from this album - there are only 8 tracks and I would love more - I don't think I've ever heard such a deliciously dark We Three Kings. Outside of the final two verses ("sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying" etc), I never thought this would lend itself to being so... oddly creepy. And yet, it's still strangely uplifting. Beautiful work.

Thrown in amongst the carols is one of Jill's original songs, Room 19. Though not immediately obvious as a Christmas song, a quick look at the story behind it will reveal why it's on here. Even minus the back story, Room 19 fits in so well on the album that I would've taken it even if it wasn't even remotely to do with Christmas.

Six tracks down. What am I missing? Ah, What Child Is This? A song I'm not at all familiar with, but it sounds brilliant here. Hmmm... not sure what else to say about that one.

Finally, the album closes with a beautiful instrumental version of In The Bleak Midwinter. And I mean beautiful. I love this song. Gorgeously soft piano really suits this carol, although I would love to hear what it sounds like with vocals.

That's your lot then. Just over half an hour of gorgeously dark, beautifully haunting Christmas songs. If it doesn't already feel like winter, I suggest curling up with this album for a few hours. Go on. Indulge.

The album is available HERE as a download or CD with beautiful artwork by Trista Musco and portaits by Audrey Penven. And just because my copy arrived a couple of days ago: LOOK HOW PRETTY!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Band of the Week: How To Destroy Angels, The Grazing Saints and more!

My little spate of posting on a weekly basis got screwed up last week. Sad times. Let's see how long it lasts this time, shall we? On to the music.

We kick off this week with dark ambient/post-industrial-ness in the form of How To Destroy Angels. They have a new EP coming out soon (i.e. next week), or so I am informed by their website. Debut album is also apparently due out next year. For now, check out Keep It Together.

Keep it together by howtodestroyangels

Their debut self-titled EP is available for free download from their store HERE. Tis rather lovely.

Next up, some bluesy indie rock from The Grazing Saints. Their new(ish) EP Infernal Combustion Engine is a free download from their Bandcamp. Have a listen:

Then we'll have... hip-hop...ska...punk...rock? It's Sonic Boom Six. Make your own mind up on genres because I can't pick one. Have a listen to recent single Virus. I'm fairly reliably informed it's more electronic than older material, but I think it sounds pretty good.

Finally, we'll have Diablo Swing Orchestra. Again. Yes, I know I only posted about them a few days ago. Avant-garde, jazzy metal. Most delicious. And I think we'll have the same video again, because Voodoo Mon Amour is just so damn catchy.

As always, check it out and (hopefully) enjoy.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Current Love: Voodoo Mon Amour by Diablo Swing Orchestra

So, basically, I finally got round to looking up Diablo Swing Orchestra and now I'm bemused as to why it took me so long because they're bloody awesome. Avant-garde metal. Like, jazzy, brass-ridden metal. Seriously cool. Check out Voodoo Mon Amour below.

Also, apologies for lack of Band of the Week this week. Job applications are getting in the way, but it should be back next week.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Current Love: Good Days by Marmozets (video)

So, Marmozets just released their video for new single Good Days. So much goodness. Need to see them live again. Anyways, get yer lugholes round this:

God, it's good. You can get the single HERE from Venn Records. Comes as vinyl or download. You can also get it from Marmozets' BANDCAMP. Go go go.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Current Love: Epic new video from One-Eyed Doll

Title pretty much says it all. Brilliant new video from One-Eyed Doll of one of my favourite songs, Committed. Kimberly Freeman looking gorgeous as always, plus Junior makes an epic preacher. Check it out:

So. Much. Yum.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Band of the Week: Zoëtrøpe, Dana Jade, Verses and Hugh Laurie?!

What are we up to now? Three weeks of remembering to post Band of the Week? Hurray for regularity. Anyhoos, moving on to the important bits.

Let's kick off this week with the mad art punk of Zoëtrøpe. Here's the debut single from last year (I believe):

You can also check out their SoundCloud page, which has a whole bunch of other bits and pieces on it.

And now we'll have some punky rock courtesy of Dana Jade. Here's her recently released self-titled debut album:

You can also download her single Little Sister for free. Have a listen:

Next up, British rock band Verses. We're talking rock in the vein of Young Guns here. Good stuff. Actually, having said that... they remind me more of Emery. Minus the screaming. Anyhoos, I'm struggling to find a decent link for streaming, so let's have this little thing from YouTube of the track Who We Are from their new EP. I should probably point out that said EP (Come To Life) is being given away free with Rock Sound at the moment... Right, video.

You can also check out their Facebook page.

Finally, the loveliness that is the awesome Hugh Laurie singing. Y'know, Hugh Laurie of Fry & Laurie and Blackadder fame? And assorted other brilliance. Or, for American readers, House. He released an album of blues tracks last year. Much loveliness. Anyhoos, enough babbling. You can get a free download of Guess I'm A Fool from Laurie's site HERE. GO!

That'll do for this week. Check it out and pass it on.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Band of the Week: Mandala, Plurals, & more!

Well, would you look at that? I actually remembered Band of the Week for a change. Considered renaming it "Band of the indeterminate time period" but it just sounded silly... Anyhoos, onwards.

First up we have English instrumental duo Mandala. Scrummy proggy, metally brilliance. Seriously good. Here's new single Wind Secular:

Next up, more instrumental prog metal stuff! Woo! This time from Belgian project Plurals. Have a listen to the Inner Planets EP, which is currently a free download:

Then we'll have the new (ish) track from Aamir al-Loki because I only remembered it existed last week. New EP should be coming soon, so that's also pretty awesome.

Next, I think we'll have Harlequin Jones. Dark cabaret loveliness. Yum. Check out The Bad Beginning:

Finally, not really a band, but I just had to share because they're absolutely brilliant - the re-issue label Dust-to-Digital. They take old recordings, digitise them, then release them as CDs and I have found some most delicious stuff on their BandCamp. For the purposes of this post, let's have this, which is the first disc of an album of upright bass tracks:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Randomness: She Makes War - Minefields video

Just thought I'd share the video for the lovely She Makes War's new single Minefields. Here you go:

And while you're at it, why not check out the single on Bandcamp, which comes with a live album. If you really want to, you can download it for free, but I suggest you chip in a couple of quid at least. She deserves it.

God, it's posts galore this week, isn't it? Let's hope I can keep it up.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Band of the Week: Patricia Wake, Circus Contraption, Jill Tracy & assorted Minecraft wotsits

Oh my, Band of the Week? The joy.

Well, maybe not joy, but hey - Band of the Week is here again! It's now probably more like Band-of-the-whenever-the-hell-I-remember-to-post, but it'll do. Let's kick off with the glorious acoustic loveliness of Patricia Wake - a little dark, sometimes sad and some odd references to entropy... Inner geek is loving the entropy references.

Following that, the joyfully sinister madness of Circus Contraption. Let's call it dark carnival - very jazzy with big chunks of cabaret and an overall circus vibe as helpfully hinted in the name of the band. Check out their awesomeness HERE.

Next up, the ever wonderful Jill Tracy. She's just released a Christmas album. Yes, I know it's only October. Trust me, you need to listen to this. Christmas songs + Jill Tracy = hauntingly beautiful magic. Have a listen, you'll see.

Finally, some assorted Minecraft-related goodies. Minecraft is a game. It's awesome. Even more awesome - THIS:

 And THIS:

And finally, this:

Does that make up for the lack of posting? Probably not but check them out anyways and pass it on.

Current Love: The Tin Box Boys

Oh, the joy of accidental discoveries. Just thought I'd share this delightful cover of Sufjan Stevens' "For The Widows In Paradise And The Fatherless In Ypsilanti". Gorgeous stuff.

For the Widows in Paradise and the Fatherless in Ypsilanti - Cover 2 by Graham Vincent

You can also find The Tin Box Boys on MySpace HERE. Folky bluegrass loveliness. If I manage to find any more, maybe I'll do a Band of the Week for them, but for now this'll do.

That is all. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Seriousness: Save Scartho Baths

Long time no post and this one's not even music related.

My local council are... a bit stupid? Ridiculous? They seem to operate on the basis that "if-we-say-we're-going-to-do-something-no-one-can-possibly-object". The latest example of which was their recent announcement that they plan to demolish my local swimming pool, Scartho Baths. The plan is to replace the pool with a new one at the Leisure Centre. Said new pool will be 25m long and have no diving boards. The current pool is somewhere short of Olympic standard (i.e. 50m) and has diving boards. It's on a lot of major bus routes, unlike the Leisure Centre, which is on just one bus route.

Problem, much?

Many years ago, I learnt to swim at that pool. I imagine most people in my area learnt to swim there. In the wake of the Olympics and Paralympics, demolishing a decent-sized pool and replacing it with one that's half the Olympic length seems ridiculous. What's happening with the Olympic legacy?

I should point out that the council claim that the pool is structurally unstable. Something about draining it would make the pool collapse. Now, this seems unlikely to me as I'm sure that up until fairly recently the pool was drained once a year for cleaning anyway. Obviously I know nothing about engineering. That said, the engineering report or whatever it is hasn't been made available. I'm half tempted to demand it be released so we can see how much truth is in the council's claims.

Anyways, enough ranting. I've probably missed important things out. If you're local to Grimsby, signing THIS PETITION would be vaguely helpful. And if you happen to be from the council and reading this, please think back to when you tried to shut down our nursery schools. That didn't entirely go in your favour, did it now? And I see that there's already been progress, which is also viewable at the same address as the petition.

"We won't stay silent - we'll make as much noise as we can." Enter Shikari - Tribalism

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Band of the Week: The Runaways, earthtone9 & Bitter Ruin

Soooo, first post in over a month. Not doing too well at keeping on top of this, am I? Ah well. Let's kick off this week's post with the classic all-girl punk rock group The Runaways. Y'know, Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Cherrie Curry? General awesomeness. Here's their brilliant Cherry Bomb.

Next up, British alt-metallers earthtone9. They're in the process of recording a new album, their first in about a decade. You can still donate to their PledgeMusic campaign HERE. For now, check out recent single Tide of Ambition.

Finally, indie-noir/dark cabaret duo Bitter Ruin. Deliciously dark, quirky and amazingly energetic. All of their material is available on their Bandcamp page, but for tasters, let's have the Hung, Drawn & Quartered EP/mini-album.

Only three today, that;ll do, right? Check it out and pass it on.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Current Love: Fight Like A Girl by Emilie Autumn

OK, so my plan to get this blog back to some sort of proper schedule seems to have failed epically. In good news, I still have a lovely long list of bands to write about so there's still hope. For now though, I intend to squee over Emilie Autumn's just-released new album. Hurray hurray.

Where do I start? Well, Fight Like A Girl is a great mix of styles blending the best bits of previous albums, faery-inspired Enchant and the more industrial Opheliac. It's important also to note that this is very much a concept album, regarding The Asylum, previously covered in her semi-autobiographical novel The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. It's dark (Take The Pill), slightly sick (Girls! Girls! Girls!) and sometimes downright creepy (Scavenger). Opening with the call to arms of title track Fight Like A Girl, the album descends into the depths of hell that is The Asylum, touching on the sinister goings-on of the resurrection men as it does (Scavenger again). All that darkness aside, the album finally ends on something of a lighter note, with the march of One Foot In Front Of The Other and in amongst the heavy beats there are softer, if rather sad moments, with the beautiful Gaslight. All in all, the album has shaped up to be, potentially, Autumn's best yet. It certainly lends itself to the theatrical style of her live shows and who knows, maybe she'll manage to fulfil her plan to write a musical.

Stand out tracks include the typically EA-style (if I'm going down, you're coming with me) If I Burn, the haunting Gaslight, the carnival atmosphere of Girls! Girls! Girls! and the creepily slow drone of Scavenger. And now I'm going to shut up, because I have a horrible urge to squee and gush about every single track. Go look it up HERE where you can also listen to samples of tracks.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Band of the Week: The Birthday Massacre, Chthonic, Sonata Arctica and more!

Soooo, might possibly have not posted for months. For anyone who does actually pay attention to and like my blog, apologies. On the plus side, I have an absolutely enormous list of bands to write about, so hopefully we'll get a few more posts out of me before I start forgetting again. Here goes.

First up, Canadian electro-rockers The Birthday Massacre. Delightfully creepy at times with excellent female vocals. Yum. Check out the video for Blue below and then go check out some more of their awesomeness.

Next, we have Taiwanese black/symphonic metal band Chthonic. So, OK, I can't decipher the lyrics to most of their songs, but the music itself is pretty brilliant. Have a listen to Takao from latest album Takasago Army.

Then we'll have a bit of Sonata Arctica. Power/symphonic metal from Finland. Check out recent single I Have A Right below.

Some Brit stuff now - metalcore in the shape of Sheffield natives While She Sleeps. At least, I'm pretty sure they're from Sheffield. Should probably check that... Anyhoos, their debut album This Is The Six is being released at the beginning of August, so for now check out the title track and then go have a listen to some more of their lovely stuff.

And finally, the loveliness that is InMe. Alternative rock/metal. Well worth checking out. Think we'll have Single Of The Weak.

That'll do, yes? Check it out and pass it on.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Seriousness: Running the British 10K for Women's Aid

No, not me. I'm unfit and have always sucked at running. My friend Lizzie, on the other hand, is being completely awesome and runnning the British 10K on July 8th for Women's Aid. The charity essentially works with victims of domestic abuse and is as such lovely. Now, I know that I personally am always loathe to donate to people I don't know, but I assure you that Women's Aid is worth it. Sooooo, if anyone is willing to donate a few pennies, you can check out Lizzie's JustGiving page HERE. I'm sure she'll really appreciate any support and obviously it's all for a good cause.

In unrelated news, Band of the Week will be back soon. Exams are over so hopefully I can get back to a regular schedule.

Short post is short.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Band of the Week: Sleepbringer, Silver Loves Mercury and more!

Why hello thar, lovelies. Sorry Band of the Week's been a bit AWOL the last few weeks - blame revision and my parents' poor internet connection. To make up for it, let's have a nice big BotW feature, shall we?

Let's kick off with some doom metal in the form of Canadian band Sleepbringer. Check out the only music I've been able to find by them, Compendium:

Next up,Texas-based hard rockers Silver Loves Mercury. Wonderfully dirty, female fronted sleaze. Just a Facebook link for these guys - HERE. Well, there's some videos too, but they're not the best quality, so that'll have to do.

Then, because I finally got round to looking them up a few weeks back, let's have the delicious Alice In Chains. Grungy goodness. Streams of some tracks can be found on their site HERE. Let's also have a video. Here's Would? from the album Dirt.

Following on, Ivyrise - pop rock loveliness from the main support band on McFly's recent UK tour. Here's latest single Line Up The Stars from their self-titled debut album.

And finally, the most awesome With Knives, a new(ish) project from Josh Newton (of numerous bands, including Every Time I Die) and Joe Trohman (yes, that dude from Fall Out Boy). Stoner rock? Probably. Not an area I'm overly familiar with, but I've just seen a comparison (from a trusted dude) to QOTSA and Baroness. I'm going to take that as a good sign. Here's their just-released debut EP, Schadenfreude:

Will that do, or would we like more scrumminess? More?

One more. Not exactly a band, but this is from the guys at Hat Films who do gaming videos on YouTube. They make pretty much all of the music for their vids and this materialised out of a recent Minecraft video.

Hopefully Band of the Week should go back to being regular now I have a decent net connection again.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

McFly at Norwich UEA, 3/4/12

McFly at Norwich UEA, 3/4/12 (support from Lost? and Ivyrise)

First off, I feel the need to point out that I'm still pissed that the early access I should have had as a member of McFly's SuperCity never materialised. Either I was being blind/stupid or it was very poorly organised/non-existent. Not impressed. I spent an hour standing in the pouring rain to get into this gig. Now, I don't mind rain, but I was informed early access would be half an hour before everyone else. Was it? Apparently not. Ugh.

Say hello to the queue!

Rant over. On with the review!

Kicking off the night's proceedings were local band Lost?, who won the opening slot in a "Battle Of The Bands" style thingumiwotsit on McFly's website. Their brand of pop-punk is pretty generic, but they seemed to be enjoying themselves and it went down well with the audience, so it's all good there. I'm struggling, though, to form a solid opinion of them given that their set was a grand total of 3 songs long. Three songs isn't really much ground to form a decent opinion. And I'm slightly concerned I've inadvertently offended them by calling them bland on Twitter...

Moving on from random worrying about who may or may not have taken offence at what, Ivyrise took to the stage as main support. Again, fairly generic pop rock, but good, catchy, sing-along-able stuff. Strangely, one of the heavier points of their set was a rather awesome cover of Adele's Set Fire To The Rain. One moment, I'll see if I can find a decent video, because it really does warrant checking out.

OK, so it's not a "live" live version, but it'll do. It's better than a poor quality version from one of the shows. Anyhoos, great set from Ivyrise - highly recommend checking them out. I believe they have an upcoming headline tour - dates are HERE.

And so finally, we come to the headliners. McFly. And oh how I love them. Where to start? Well, I was particularly happy that their set had a good mix of old and new, especially since I'm really not keen on most recent album Above The Noise. There were a few new songs thrown in - Do What You Want, Red and Touch The Rain - all of which sounded pretty good, especially Red. Stand outs among a set of fan favourites were Everybody Knows and its descent into a medley of covers and the set finale of debut single Five Colours In Her Hair which ended in a wonderfully funky outro. Given that Five Colours turned 8 years old a couple of weeks ago, this seemed pretty appropriate. However, my personal favourite part of the set had to be the medley of POV (intro only), She Falls Asleep and Down Goes Another One. This is largely because Down Goes Another One is my favourite McFly track. It's a beautiful song and I was so happy it was included.

There was also plenty of banter. The only other time I've seen McFly live was on their first ever tour with Busted back in 2004, so it was great to see how confident they are onstage now. Plenty of humour, although I'm not sure some of the parents present would have approved, what with the talk of teabagging and numerous mentions of cock. It's also hilarious to see how they encourage the fandom of slash pairings revolving around the band. I've rarely seen a band so (apparently) aware of what goes on in the more... mature... corners of their fanbase. All in all, a great gig and McFly certainly lived up to my expectations. My inner teenage fangirl is incredibly happy.

McFly setlist:
Nowhere Left To Run
One For The Radio
Star Girl
I Wanna Hold You
Transylvania (first verse only)
Do What You Want (new song)
Red (new song)
Sorry's Not Good Enough
POV/She Falls Asleep/Down Goes Another One (medley)
All About You
No Worries
Touch The Rain (new song)
Everybody Knows + cover medley (Livin' On A Prayer/We Found Love/What Makes You Beautiful/I Wanna Dance With Somebody)
Five Colours In Her Hair

Encore: Walk In The Sun
Encore: Shine A Light

Friday, March 30, 2012

Band of the Week: Marmozets, Hysterical Injury, & more!

Band of the Week time, my lovelies, so let's kick off with Marmozets. If you've not seen my review of their support set for Young Guns, go do that NOW. Anyhoos, really great young band - female fronted math rock. One sec while I find some sort of stream/video. Ah, the video for Lives, that'll do nicely.

MARMOZETS - LIVES from Sam Macintyre on Vimeo.

Moving on, we now have Hysterical Injury. Indie rock? Indie pop? Their Bandcamp tags say grunge and riot grrrl, which I'm not inclined to entirely agree with, but the tone is certainly there. Here's the album Dead Wolf Situation:

Following on from them, let's have Every Time I Die. Scrumptious metalcore/hardcore-ness. Aaaaand, I don't like any of the streams, so let's dig up a video instead. Wanderlust will do, right? I'd have preferred a good live video of The Marvelous Slut, but apparently it doesn't exist...

Next up, a couple of bands I've just found this evening, courtesy of looking up the support acts for The Broken Seas gig next month (you should check them out as well, by the way). So, here's a little bit of Faster Than Robots:

02 Jubilee by fasterthanrobots Followed by a little something from ...Of Diamonds: Weirdo - MP3 Version by ofdiamonds

 That'll do for this week. Check 'em out and pass it on.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review: Young Guns at Norwich Arts Centre, 24/3/12

Kicking off Saturday's show at the Arts Centre were young Leeds quintet Marmozets. Female fronted... math rock? I picked up on the post-hardcore side of it, but beyond that I'm not hugely familiar with the genre. One moment while I google...

So, Thrash Hits (ever reliable) has them down as "Dillinger Escape Plan x Paramore". For which read: math rock with great melodies and great female vocals. They've also been compared to Rolo Tomassi - take this as a good thing. I only ever here positive things about Rolo Tomassi. Getting side tracked here. What an amazing set. For such a young band, these guys really know how to put on a show. Throwing the audience straight in there with new(ish) track Onemanwolfpack, it was almost non-stop energy. Personally, (as a non-expert, I hasten to add) I think vocalist Becca could do with working on her unclean vocals a bit, but she still sounds amazing and her clean vocals were stunning. Brilliantly... twiddly? guitar work and overall just a hugely energetic set which ended with both vocalist and both guitarists in the pit. Folks really should have paid attention when guitarist Sam warned "You're going to want to back up, otherwise you're going to get a guitar in the neck" - or words to that effect. This was very much not what I'd initially expected at a Young Guns show, although at least I'd thought to look up Marmozets beforehand.

Moving on to the headliners. Well, awesome. Young Guns are pretty much straight up rock. Slight "emo" tendencies according to my housemate (lies). Diving straight in there with one of the band's heavier tracks, Elements, the set got off to a great start. There was a great balance between old and new material, something I'd been a little worried about given that the band are still promoting their most recent album and I'm not as keen on it as I was the debut. The crowd really got moving, although any attempts at a pit pretty much failed - Young Guns' music, personally, isn't exactly conducive to pit formation. Finishing with a trio of fan favourites in the form of Daughter of the Sea, Winter Kiss and Weight of the World, this was a triumphant return to Norwich for Young Guns and one that evidently went down well on this sold out night. The only thing lacking was an encore for this relatively short (45-50 min?) set. Ah well. Everyone seemed happy and that's what matters.

Marmozets set list (thanks to Josh MacIntyre for tweeting me this)
Onemanwolfpack, 9/10/11 - 12:13, Lives, Duels, The Perfect Beverage, Vexed

Young Guns set list (courtesy of it being on the sound desk right in front of me...)
Elements, Bones, D.O.A., Towers (On The Way), Crystal Clear, Brother In Arms, Stitches, Dearly Departed, Learn My Lesson, Daughter Of The Sea, Winter Kiss, Weight Of The World

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Randomness: Gig-going

Ah, the joys of posts purely out of boredom (and slight curiosity). The question is this: Is it really just me who is happy going to gigs on my own?

I'm just wondering, because, well, people seem to pity me when I tell them I go to almost all gigs on my own. Personally, I can't see the problem - I enjoy gigs just as much (if not more) when I'm on my own and I can't see how being with other people enhances that experience, apart from maybe discussing things afterwards. I have this blog for my babbles. And a bunch of poor, unsuspecting housemates who haven't yet learned that I will prattle madly at them if they ask me if I enjoyed a gig...

But: there are so many people who reckon going to gigs with other folks is better. So tell me, group-gig-goers: what makes going to gigs with your friends so much better than going alone?

On a side note: YOUNG GUNS SHOW TONIGHT. And yes, I am going alone. Hurray.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Band of the Week: Slowcoaches, Luminal and more!

So, I initially debated doing a weekly/monthly "Bandcamp Finds" type thing, but we all know I'm useless at actually remembering to post things, so we'll just stick with the semi-regular Band of the Week. With lots of Bandcamp-discovered goodness included.

This week's kicks off with lo-fi indie rockers Slowcoaches. Another band I found through the apparently excellent Tye Die Tapes. Their new EP is released tomorrow, after which they're going on tour round the UK. Check out said EP, We're So Heavy:

Next up, Maryland based Luminal. Indie rock with synths, mainly. The vocals can be slightly awkward in places, but the music's pretty cool. Check out the album Overdraft, which is free download from Bandcamp.

Following them, I think we'll have Special Benny, sort of ambient, indie-electro-ness. Oddly (or perhaps not), I found out about them through the hit BBC children's programme Horrible Histories. I figured I'd look up the cast, just to see what else they'd done and discovered that one of them was also in Special Benny. So I looked them up and pretty much fell in love. So here we have Toys:

In relation to this, I found that the same cast member, Mathew Baynton, also has a solo project under the name Dog Ears. Beautiful acoustic indie-folk type stuff. Mrs Winchester is a personal favourite, but let's just post the entire So It Goes EP:

And finally, let's have She Makes War, indie gloom-pop loveliness from Laura Kidd. Her new album Little Battles is due out at the beginning of April, but for now have a listen to last album Disarm. It's available for "name your price" download on Bandcamp. I.e., you can have it free if you want, but I recommend paying something for it - it's very much worth it.

Think that'll do for this week. Have a listen and pass it on.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Band of the Week: more random discoveries!

Not Bandcamp discoveries this week (well, maybe a couple), but hurray for random 'net treasures.

First up (and yes, I know I've mentioned her several times before, shush), the delightful Aamir al-Loki. Goth-electro-pop. Check out her video for Don't here:
Next up, Fairy Meds. Female fronted punk rock. Another random Bandcamp discovery.

(tis free download, by the way...)

And then... let's have letlive., who I've also mentioned a couple of times before in relation to their amazing live show. Progressive post-hardcore loveliness. Here's the latest video for Muther:

Next we'll have Cloudkicker, which is another Bandcamp discovery. Instrumental metal. Great for sticking on while working, I find. Let's have Discovery, since that's the album I actually have. There's loads of them though. The title track of this one is especially awesome.

(all of his albums are free downloads, if I remember rightly...)

How many's that? Four's not enough, surely?Ahh, I know what we can finish with. I rediscovered this piece of awesomeness last week and completely forgot to share. This is Pistol Youth's acoustic cover of Flo-Rida's Low. It's rather brilliant, as are Pistol Youth in general. Indie/alternative rock.
Off you pop.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Review: Emilie Autumn at Nottingham Rock City, 10/3/12

"Tell me no stories and I'll tell you no lies..."

(Please note that the beginning of this review was written earlier today while I was killing time waiting for the train. Hence any random asides. Feel free to ignore bracketed stupid comments. Anyone not wanting to know setlists should look away NOW.)

I attempted to draft this last night, but my pen died so here goes attempt 2:
Sitting in the sun outside Nottingham Castle (which looks nothing like the one in Robin Hood, by the way), the intensity of last night's show seems a long way off. However, given that my legs ache like hell and I'm still rather gig high, now seems as good a time as any to try to capture the emotion.

This show marks the first time I've ever really queued for a gig, which should be a good indication of how much I love Emilie Autumn. After queuing for two and a half hours for doors, then another hour and a half waiting inside, I was beginning to get fed up. I'm not a patient person at the best of times and combined with my fear of crowds, my patience almost snapped after a teasing false start. The situation was remedied ten minutes later with the most dramatic entrance I think I've ever seen. Against the electronic tones of "Best Safety Lies In Fear" the Bloody Crumpets took to the stage. The Bloody Crumpets being Captain Maggots, the Blessed Contessa and the Naughty Veronica. Emilie Autumn's... fellow cast? We'll get onto that. Last to grace the stage - Queen of Rats, star of the show, Emilie Autumn. As "Best Safety..." segued neatly into Four O'Clock, the show got well and truly under way.

(and now at Nottingham Station)

I'm tempted to to a run down of the whole show, track by track because it rather needs it to capture just how theatrical it was. However, that isn't how reviews are supposed to work, so let's just pick out the important bits. The set was heavy on new, as-yet-unreleased tracks from upcoming album Fight Like A Girl. Normally this irritates me, but the point of this tour is as a sort of album preview, so we'll let that slide. Besides, they were pretty great tracks. "Girls, Girls, Girls" has a wonderful dark carnival vibe, while Gas Light harks beack to EA's Enchant album. My personal favourite of the new tracks though has to be Time For Tea. Sounds lovely, yes? Dainty, yes? Think again.

What's different about Emilie Autumn's shows (at least compared to what I've personally seen before) is this: this is music as theatre. It's not just a group of people on stage playing music.

(and I think I just saw someone who was at the gig. Going by the attire, anyways)

Where was I? Ah, music as theatre.

(aaaand change platforms)

Music as theatre. Probably most noticeable on "Girls, Girls, Girls", which involved EA playing the role of guide in a tour of The Asylum, with the Bloody Crumpets as inmates.

(getting sidetracked by station stuff. Will resume once on train)

(ohmygod, I just saw a train leave the station exactly on time)

Ahem. It's now more than 3 hours since I got off the train and it's proving a little difficult to pick up my thread. Right, music as theatre it is. Well, we sort of covered that. Then there's the fact that not the entire show is songs. Each Crumpet got their own little segment. Captain Maggots introduced everyone (eventually. She rather struggled with Contessa). The Contessa lead the audience in a (supposedly) mystical chant involving something to do with fingers and toes which lead into the opening of God Help Me (wonderful track). Veronica, who has a background in burlesque if I remember rightly, performed a gorgeous feather fan dance to EA's instrumental track "Dominant" and then proceeded to 'corrupt' a pair of fans in the fan favourite Rat Game. (Look it up). Finally, Captain Maggots got a second shot at the limelight with some fantastic fire-hula-hoop-dancing-thing. There was fire. And hula.

This review has turned into a non-review and is in severe danger of degenerating into random babble, so let's bring it to a close. Closing the main set with new track One Foot In Front Of The Other (actual title? Maybe not.), the ladies left the stage to applause and shouts for more. So of course there was the inevitable encore, which consisted of two piano led tracks - the beautiful Mad Girl and then Thank God I'm Pretty which turned into an audience sing-along. Finally, the Crumpets rejoined EA on stage to perform a sort of farewell dance and when they finally left again the house lights came up to Monty Python's classic "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" which resulted in another audience sing-along and a lot of very happy fans. The only fault I can find is that the music was almost entirely played from a backing track, but given that it's very electronic based, I can just about forgive that. Besides, the theatrics more than made up for it and EA's voice is pretty much perfect live.

That'll do, yes? Here follows a just about correct setlist - some bits (in the middle especially) might be in the wrong order, but it'll do.

  1. Best Safety Lies in Fear (instrumental/sampled)
  2. Four O'Clock
  3. Dr Stockhill (spoken word) <- I'm informed this is the title, but might be wrong
  4. Fight Like A Girl
  5. Time For Tea
  6. How To Break A Heart (poem)
  7. The Art Of Suicide
  8. Liar
  9. Take The Pill
  10. God Help Me
  11. Dominant (instrumental)
  12. Girls, Girls, Girls
  13. Rat game
  14. We Want Them Young
  15. Gas Light
  16. One Foot in Front of the Other
  17. Encore: Mad Girl
  18. Encore: Thank God I'm Pretty
Spread the Plague...

Oh, did I mention there was tea, biscuits and cake flying around? What other reason do you need to go to a show?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Band of the Week: Emilie Autumn

Finally! Finally, I have got round to making a post about the woman who is quite probably my favourite musician EVER. And all it took was the fact that I'm seeing her live this coming Saturday. One second, flailing is required.


Ahem. Moving on. So, an introduction to the world of Emilie Autumn. There is much in the way of classical influences, electronic violin and romantic literature references. Oh, and tea. There is always tea. The music is self-styled "Victoriandustrial". Take this to mean electronic-based with a lot of classical influence as just mentioned. Do not expect to find any actual industrial, although she does come fairly close. To be fair, a lot of Ms Autumn's music is closer in style to darkwave or ethereal wave than to industrial (for which read: not close, but closer than industrial) and on the Enchant album, the style swings all over the place from jazz to tango to various rock elements. So, instead of tangling myself up in knots trying to define exactly what Emilie Autumn does, let's just have some samples, shall we?

From Enchant, check out How Strange, Chambermaid, Second Hand Faith, Castle Down and What If.

From A Bit o' This & That, check out By The Sword and the cover of Monty Python's legendary Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.

From the Liar/Dead Is The New Alive EP, check out Mad Girl.

From Laced/Unlaced, check out Unlaced, Manic Depression and Face The Wall. (not such a fan of the classical half of the album. Classical's not my thing.)

From the 4 O'Clock EP, check out Organ Grinder.

From the Girls Just Want To Have Fun/Bohemian Rhapsody EP, check out Gentlemen Aren't Nice.

And from the last album Opheliac, check out Shalott, Dead Is The New Alive, I Know Where You Sleep and Miss Lucy Had Some Leeches.

Think that'll do, yes? Oh, one last thing...

Not quite one last thing, cos I just remembered this.

Atrocious quality, but it's Emilie Autumn. Emilie fucking Autumn in a fucking bath. Singing. *fangirling*

Seriously done now.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Band of the Week: Bandcamp discoveries

Bandcamp is a wonderful website and a most amazing tool for finding new music. So I thought I'd share some of my favourite discoveries.

First up, Brighton's dark cabaret finest Birdeatsbaby. Scrumptiousness all round. Have a listen to their new album:

Next up, the ever awesome One-Eyed Doll. Female fronted punk-metal-rock thing. Here's their most recent album:

And then, I think we'll have Norwich locals Fever Fever. I'd forgotten that I found out about them through Bandcamp until I saw them supporting Fight Like Apes last year and realised I recognised the sound. They have a free download of their track Teeth.

Then we'll have the deliciousness that is Jill Tracy. More dark cabaret, this time with a more classical, jazzy feel.

And finally, I think we'll have Fawn Spots, because their new EP just arrived today. Hurray for cassette tapes. Lo-fi indie rock. All fuzzy and awesome.

Think that'll do, yes? Oh go on then, we'll have a pic of the pretty pretty tape.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Band of the Week: One-Eyed Doll (take 2)

I feel shit today. Guess what makes me feel better when I'm ill?

One-Eyed fucking Doll.

Given that it's just over a year since I first heard of them and they're still pretty much my favourite band (which is a big deal, given my fickle tastes), I thought they deserved a second Band of the Week feature. Prepare for video wall.

You're A Vampire
"Let’s go outside
And chase the squirrels
And drain their blood
Because you’re a vampire"

Nudie Bar
"Gonna rig up some propane tanks
Gonna light the fuse and kill some skanks
Gonna stand back and watch it burn
Maybe that will make him learn"

"Am I crazy
Am I deranged
Am I crazy
Or have things changed"

"To be a sheep; a blissful guinea pig
Ignorance is your god, too
Society awaits with open arms
We'll brainwash your demons out of you"

Hoochie Mama
"I don't care about
How much you can lift
And I don't want to hear
Your new death metal riff "

'K, so not as video wall-ish as I intended, but I figure those 4 videos are enough to explain just how awesome One-Eyed Doll are. But just in case you need a little more persuasion, just check out how very endearing Kimberly Freeman is in this doc (and PJ aka Number 3).

Aaaaand, that has positioned weird and I can't quite work out how to fix it. Blame my on-the-verge-of-passing-out brain. Ugh, bugs.

Basically, One-Eyed Doll are most awesome female-fronted rock with an insane amount of energy and totally worth your time to check out. Keep an eye out for the new album, Dirty, which should be releasing in the next few months.

Finally, have a shit-ton of links. I wonder how much a shit-ton actually is? Does anyone else actually use shit-ton as a term or is it just me?

Shutting up now. Linkies:

Is that enough links, d'you think?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Review: Kerrang! Tour 2012 at Norwich UEA LCR, 8/2/12

Kerrang! Relentless Energy Drink Tour 2012: New Found Glory, The Blackout, letlive. and While She Sleeps

Where to start with this wonderful gig? Well, the beginning would be a good place. Even better, let's start before the gig even kicked off. Two weeks before the tour, original headliners Sum 41 pulled out due to their vocalist having a back injury. All well and good, but the organisers then had to find a replacement at two weeks notice. Welsh post-hardcore guys The Blackout stepped in. Cue the shit slinging. Seriously, so much hate. Ah well, I personally prefer The Blackout over Sum 41, but I can understand that a lot of people were disappointed.

Moving on to the actual gig. Sheffield metalcore mob While She Sleeps kicked off proceedings with an amazingly slick set, powering through their tracks non-stop save for occasional instructions from frontman Loz to open up the pit or to engineer a wall of death or two. From experience, music of the While She Sleeps variety has a tendency to sound a bit messy live, but this really was brilliantly polished - great vocals, strong guitars and an immensely powerful rhythm section.

Next up was L.A. progressive post-hardcore crew letlive. who really got the crowd moving with their infectiously catchy, wonderfully raucous music. Once again, frontman Jason Aalon Butler got told off by security for climbing on the speaker stacks, but the highlight was undoubtedly the segue from a Black Flag cover to fan favourite "Muther". As I posted on my Twitter last night: words cannot describe how much I love Muther and it's infinitely more amazing live.

Following letlive.'s set there was something of a mass exodus from the LCR. I am going to put this down to the vast number of people who whinged about The Blackout playing and leave it at that. Personally, I'd rather people left than hung around and complained all the way through The Blackout's set as a group of guys next to me did. Incredibly irritating. But onto the actual set. This was my fourth time seeing The Blackout and they were just as wonderful as always. Launching their set with "I'm A Riot, You're A Fucking Riot", the crowd really got involved - evidently just as many fans as not. They followed this up with an assertion that "we're not Sum 41" and promptly covered said band's Fat Lip. And a pretty good cover at that. They might just have managed to claw back their position as "Zoe's Favourite Live Band", although that's largely because they slagged off all the people heckling them. To which I say, good for them and feel I must share this wonderful image.

Courtesy of deviantartsecret

And so finally we come to the headliners, pop-punkers New Found Glory. All in all a great set, but they're not a band I'm particularly interested in. Also, if anyone cares to comment, I'd really like to know if their vocalist is always quite so nasal. Anyhoos, I can't pick out individual songs (because I don't know them), but the cover of Green Day's Basketcase in their encore was a stroke of genius. Even people who hadn't really shown much interest earlier in NFG's set suddenly took notice and most of the crowd was singing along by the end. Overall a brilliant end to an awesome show.