Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – “Push the Sky Away”

“Push the Sky Away” is the fifteenth studio album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Fifteen studio albums and a few side projects later, Cave proves he can still deliver a great album. The album is somewhat confrontational with subtle experimentalism and song writing similar to that of Leonard Cohen. Cave has stated that the songs from this record are about “the tension between the male and the female.” One track that particularly stands out for Nick Cave’s signature lyricist style is “Higgs Boson Blues” in which Cave deals with several aspects such as the Faustian bargain between the devil and Robert Johnson, the shooting of Martin Luther King and Miley Cyrus – all of which question the value of internet based “truth” or simply, Wikipedia.

“Push the Sky Away” is certainly not Cave’s best work but it is certainly one of his most interesting works with standout tracks being “We No Who U R”, “Mermaids” and “Higgs Boson Blues”.

“Push the Sky Away” is out today (Monday 18th January 2013) and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds will be doing a UK tour in support of the record in October and November. Details below:

Buy Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Push The Sky Away” on Amazon

London Hammersmith Apollo (October 26, 27)
Manchester Apollo (30)
Glasgow Barrowland (31)
Edinburgh Usher Hall (November 1)

22 Years Later…

The next chapter in the life of My Bloody Valentine is now available to listen to online under the title of “m b v”. It may be 22 years later since the release of the critically lauded album “Loveless”, which is regarded as one of the most essential records of 1990’s, but fans need not fear as the new album “m b v” will most definitely not disappoint. The new release has been anticipated for years from fans and critics alike as Kevin Shields has often teased the world with statements such as “we are 100% going to make another My Bloody Valentine record unless we die or something.”

Now at 2013 sees the release of My Bloody Valentine’s third studio album sweetly titled “m b v”.

“m b v” is very similar to “Loveless” in terms of the way it was recorded; vocals being buried under a thunder of distorted and woozy sounding guitars. However, this does not suggest the album is not a step forward. If anything, this is a triumphant return for the band whom most definitely have the most patient fanbase in the world. There is an element of warmth in the production which is somewhat signature of My Bloody Valentine.

The opening track “she found now” delivers My Bloody Valentine’s signature fuzzy sound in spectacular fashion with Shields singing in such a quiet tone over deep strumming. One would recommend buying the album and listening to it through a quality set of headphones.

Standout tracks include “she found now”, “only tomorrow” and “wonder 2”.

My Bloody Valentine’s third studio album “m b v” is available to purchase online via http://www.mybloodyvalentine.org/

Buy ‘My Bloody Valentine’ on Amazon.

Introducing: Merchandise

Finding solid information on Florida based Merchandise may prove to be a task of difficulty. Their second proper LP to date “Children of Desire” may have been released in July 2012, but it is only recently I have made the discovery of them, and what a discovery it was. As part of the Florida punk scene, Merchandise are used to keeping a somewhat low indie profile but with the release of this record, lying low no longer seems feasible. The band is considered to be at the forefront of Florida’s rising punk and hardcore scene but this album is certainly not a straight up punk record. It is a very difficult record to categorize in terms of genre though one can clearly recognise post-punk and shoegaze influences throughout.

Pushing the 10 minute point is the album’s personal highlight for me “Become What You Are” which boasts an urgent and ambitious sound and is instantly memorable. The track sounds like an indie classic of sort which would be appropriate for both an underground gig and an arena show. “Children of Desire” is no doubt an ambitious and elaborate effort as Merchandise have proved they have the ability to innovate and channel various influences without reiterating them which many bands are guilty of today.

Listen to “Become What You Are” below.

Introducing: Eastern Hollows

Do you like shoegaze, dream pop with a twist of indie? Then you have come to the right page. Brooklyn based Eastern Hollows are just that. ‘Summer’s Dead’ is the lead single from their forthcoming self produced LP. The sharp drumming, stadium sized guitars give the track the mix of the indie/shoegaze with lethergic full toned vocals giving ‘Summer’s Dead’ its dream-pop distinction. Its a full and thorough accomplishment from start to finish, only slowing down a full two minutes and thirty seconds into the song to release you from all of its endorphin releasing qualities.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/easternhollows
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/easternhollows

Live Review: Fidlar @ The Cathouse, Glasgow

Whilst many hold the opinion that punk is politically motivated, the musical catalogue of punk band Fidlar shows they do not follow this philosophy as their songs are primarily about partying and drugs. This was something the front man made clear throughout the entire set introducing every song with a reference to a different substance which became quite monotonous very quickly. On a positive note, the band when playing delivered a high level of energy and a good vibe which did please a somewhat half empty venue where many a beer was spilled and some moshing occurred. Furthermore, they did play well musically together.

However, I raise the question… Is good punk rock inspired only by politics? By breaking social barriers? Causing anarchy? Can it be simply about getting fucked up on “cocaine, acid, weed, heroin…” and partying until the wee hours? It probably could but the continuous drug references and frat boy banter with the crowd was tedious and it let down what could’ve been an excellent punk rock show as their energy level and spirit was impressive and considerably rare to find nowadays with modern music.

Personally, highlight of the night for me came from the supporting act Secret Motorbikes who, despite sound problems and a small turnout, delivered a good vibe and displayed excellent musicianship. A Glasgow based band whom are well worth checking out to say the least.

Favourite Rock Tracks of 2012

Many say that rock and roll is a dying breed… I say they’re wrong. Here is a list, in no particular order, of some of my favourite rock tracks from 2012.

Jack White – Sixteen Saltines
From the album “Blunderbuss”

One thing I have realised when it comes to Jack White is that the minute I hear of any musical project of his taking place, I get pretty excited for it. Before actually attending his gig in Edinburgh, it was the extent of my conversation for weeks prior to it. His second solo single “Sixteen Saltines” packs a guitar edged punch with a catchy hook and along with the entire album “Blunderbuss”, is arguably some of his best material to date. He recently revealed that the song’s lyrical content was inspired by his young daughter who asked him for “16 saltine crackers” to which Jack replied with a firm no. Like much of the White Stripes material, Jack White has adopted the musical philosophy that less is more as despite the simple riff throughout, it is very powerful and it boasts excellent musicianship.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtxG3Z810OU 

Tame Impala – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
From the album “Lonerism”

Tame Impala’s critically acclaimed second studio album “Lonerism” was crowned “Album of the Year” by NME and has received unanimous praise worldwide from fans and critics. What I loved about the record is the fact that there are no bad or mediocre songs; the album consistently delivers which in my opinion makes Kevin Parker one of the most talented and most important songwriters of this generation. There are very few albums nowadays which are consistently good throughout.

Arguably, my favourite track from the record is “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”. The track caught my full attention when I saw Tame Impala perform at the O2 ABC Academy as they delivered it with such intense emotion and a powerful stage presence. The track along with most of Tame Impala’s catalogue compares to the musicianship of John Lennon during his Magical Mystery Tour and Sergeant Pepper days, and Syd Barrett.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wycjnCCgUes

The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Panic in Babylon
From the album “Aufbehen”

No list of mine is complete without the Brian Jonestown Massacre. “Aufbehen” delivers their signature psychedelic vibe, colliding both eastern and western influences through the use of smoky sitars and clever musical arrangements. The album’s opening track “Panic in Babylon” is somewhat of a “in your face” opener. The instrumental track conveys psychedelia at its finest and the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s musical philosophy which they have remained true to since their 1993 debut album “Spacegirl & Other Favorites”. The track transcends the listener with its mixture of instruments delivering something dream like and intoxicating which flows with in and out of the consistent unrelenting beat; the Brian Jonestown Massacre at their finest.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FR3H8TY3iGg

The Black Keys – Little Black Submarines
From the album “El Camino”

Taken from the critically acclaimed album 2011 “El Camino”, “Little Black Submarines” was released as the fourth single from the album in October 2012. Many fans and critics instantly compared the track to the sound of Led Zeppelin but favoured the track highly. Beginning with a quiet acoustic like prayer, the tracks later explodes with a simple yet thunderous chord progression played sweetly on an electric guitar; rock and roll at it’s finest. The track I believe is certainly more ambitious in comparison to the rest of the album and according to Dan Auerbach, it gives an idea to the listener what a Black Keys live show is really like.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F20zZKWeXyg

The Shins – Simple Song
From the album “Port of Morrow”

Prior to the release of “Simple Song”, The Shins had not released any material since 2007. Many fans were excited yet arguably nervous as they anticipated the new release from The Shins.  One thing is for sure though; the release of the “Simple Song” proved to fans and critics alike that James Mercer and his fellow band mates can still successfully deliver a perfect indie pop heart felt song or two.

“My life in an upturned boat,
Marooned on a cliff.
You brought me a great big flood,
And gave me a lift.”

Mercer delivers his signature brand of poetic lyrics throughout the track and refers to it as a much more personal effort in comparison to previous works. “Port of Morrow” was a triumphant return to say the least for The Shins.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyAJ4V06izg

Alabama Shakes – Hang Loose
From the album “Boys & Girls”

Alabama Shakes were arguably the most highly anticipated bands of 2012 and their critically acclaimed debut “Boys & Girls” soared into music charts worldwide. Fronted by Brittany Howard, a wildly soulful Janis Joplin like vocalist, Alabama Shakes has delivered an album which oozes with Southern rock and gospel influences and has earned them a considerably large and rapidly increasing following. Having caught the attention of musical legends including Robert Plant and Jack White, it is safe to say that Alabama Shakes will be around for a long time delivering more soulful music.

“Hang Loose” is a soulful and uplifting salute to living carefree which offers a classic rock melody which sounds beautifully timeless.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sSl11GMkMI

Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Walk Like A Giant
From the album “Psychedelic Pill”

Last but certainly not least is Mr. Neil Young & Crazy Horse who released the critically acclaimed album “Psychedelic Pill” this year. Like Brian Jonestown Massacre, no list is complete for me without Neil Young. “Psychedelic Pill” I consider to be one of Neil Young’s finest works as it beholds some brilliant musical moments; personal favourites being “Walk Like A Giant” and “Twisted Road”. These brilliant moments as such are typical of Young as the record furthermore, delivers a similar vibe and feeling to that of “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere”.

The epic “Walk Like A Giant” speaks of how his generation were unable to change the world. I get the impression that the album is a somewhat reminiscence of Neil’s colourful life as he recalls on the track “Twisted Road” his joy of listening to Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead on the radio.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bemz-7fofcs

I Dream in Colour – It’s Christmas Time (Don’t Let It Go To Waste)

So it’s nearing that time of year where everything gets dead jolly. All the kids are buzzing for the arrival of Santa Claus and all the parents are fretting whilst comparing their children’s vast Christmas list to their monthly bank balance. Also at this time of year, some bands step up to the plate and release a Christmas song and this year it’s I Dream in Colour’s turn.

Having began an ‘Advent Calendar’, where they are releasing new things every day up until Christmas I had wondered if a song of this nature was on the cards and low and behold in appeared. ‘It’s Christmas Time’ is a delightful little tune that really captures the essence of Christmas, instead of sugar coating it with Santa and reindeer references they’ve went straight and narrow and wrote about a standard family Christmas, and it works.

Of course, there is a vein of Christmas spirit that plateaus this song, on it’s release on the 17th December (selling for a mere £1 exclusively via their BandCamp page) all proceeds will go to charity; Crisis at Christmas. Here’s a little information on that: Crisis at Christmas provide vital services for homeless people in the UK, giving them somewhere to go on Christmas day, providing them with a hot meal, access to a dentist, access to an optician, help and advice and a sense of community.

So along with releasing another stellar song the IDIC guys are really getting into the Christmas spirit of giving, a beautiful sentiment.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/idreamincolourband