Friday, 1 March 2013

Oh My Days, I forgot to review everything that came out in February!

I promised this would happen. I promised you that I would turn eighteen, start going to parties, get a mass increase of University work and lose the energy to do blogging, so this has become all I can really offer to you nowadays. I know, life sucks.

Except it really doesn't. I've been having so much fun over the past few weeks with amazing friends that I can go drinking and watch films and stuff with. It really puts writing about music out of your mind. Yes, I feel guilty in the long run but, honestly, I don't think life has ever been better than it is right now. Life's good.

I should say that things in the world of rock music are going fairly swimmingly as well. One of the main events had to be the showing of Sound City in UK cinemas for one night only. Who knows if Dave Grohl knew that his song My Hero would become about himself in the eyes of many listeners when he wrote in 1996? After watching his documentary on one of the most infamous recording studios that hosted the recording of some of rock and metal's most famous albums, he and the rest of the Foo Fighters have probably gone beyond hero status and are now religious figures in my eyes. Plus, I may have had some sort of epiphany while watching Grohl jamming with Josh Homme and Trent Reznor. It's not like they haven't before, but watching it unfold in front of you on the big screen gives it this whole new sense of class. So very excited for when Sound City: Reel to Real comes out in March.

But until then, it's fair to say that we got some good music in February, even if I wasn't exactly around to talk about it. Expect that throughout 2013. Here's some albums worth shouting about.

Pure Love - Anthems (Mercury)
On first listen, I couldn't agree with Pure Love. What, Frank Carter has left his place as charismatic frontman of one of the most influential modern British punk bands Gallows and is making songs that sound like The Darkness without the extreme high pitch vocals while his former band become a black hearted hardcore beast? No this can't be right. But of course, upon listening to Pure Love's debut offering Anthems, it turns out Carter and former Hope Conspiracy guitarist Jim Carroll make a great job of writing uplifting punk songs that will unite punk and indie fans alike, thus marking a new chapter in the beginning of both gentlemen's ventures in making music where hardcore laced beatdowns and screaming about how awful life is is replaced by lush melodies and charming vocals. It's Anthems by name and anthems by nature. Frank Carter is back, but not as you know him.

Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse (Warner Music)
Damn, I was missing out all these years when people in my school told me that I needed the music of Selkirk quartet Frightened Rabbit in my life. However, it's now that the band show us what they're really made of with their fourth full length Pedestrian Verse, a set of songs that revel in the classic Scotsman tone of self-depreciation and poorness set inversely to rich musical textures and backdrops. There's room for optimism amongst all this typical bitterness however, which resembles some evolution from the band being a group of bitter young men for bitter young men. But rooted in pure honesty, with a refusal to show any love that they so well deserve towards themselves, this album makes itself the lovable fool that always loves to insult themselves in front of everyone when it's really one of the most talented works around.

Coheed and Cambria - The Afterman: Descension (V2)
I don't even think I wrote down a full length review of The Afterman: Ascension when it came out. Well, good thing no one takes this blog seriously, I guess. The Afterman: Descension sees Coheed and Cambria follow up in their most ambitious set of albums to date continuing in the story of the Amory Wars that documents the travels and experiences of the album's protagonist Sirius Amory. More importantly, as the character expands, so does the musical influences and grandeur of the band's performances. The emotion  that Claudio Sanchez packs into his vocals is nigh stunning, a highlight on it's own. As a whole, this truly is a diverse, intelligent and an all-round great album to get lost within.

The Courteeners - ANNA (V2)
After the world was exposed to 2010's Falcon, some changes were made in the world of modern indie rock, where it seemed that some bands were wanting to progress from being quirky lads making jangly songs with guitars to heartfelt stadium fillers that could be taken seriously and have a crowd that reveled in the immense emotion of that they said. With that ambition mastered, Manchester quartet The Courteeners return with their third album ANNA, that sees frontman Liam Fray's anthemic visions taken up to as full a notch as possible. The result is a grand display of pump along choruses memorable sing-alongs and just more heart sticking out than a lot of their contemporaries. Quirky indie pop is over. I wish.

Silverstein - This is How the Wind Shifts (Hopeless)
To some extent, you could say that Ontario quintet Silverstein got a raw deal during the entire rise of emo post hardcore and metalcore bands, having to watch more people pick bands like Atreyu and Escape the Fate over them probably because those two had darker album artwork.However, with sixth full length album This is How the Wind Shifts and new life being brought into the band with new guitarist Paul Marc Rousseau, the band seem to be picking up their momentum once more. New life breaks into the band with more chuggy breakdowns and tempo changes replacing standard verse-chorus structures and interesting conceptual ideas are found across the lyrics. And as the American post-hardcore of the early 2000's  becomes a less desirable proposition, this is the sound of it's practitioners moving on gracefully.

Ocean Colour Scene - Painting (Cooking Vinyl)
I'm confident that there's nothing revolutionary or mind blowing I could say about Ocean Colour Scene. They thrived on the success of Britpop in the 1990's and opened for the bigger bands that had made it in that time too. So with their heyday behind them they're always around to give us some jangly psychedelic rock song. Needless to say, tenth album Painting is hardly something that resembles a radical comeback in any way but there's something nice about settling into a recording done with assurance, confidence and a lifetime of experience. Much of it is awash in a truly British sense of spite and dourness, while also making a balance in toe tapping hooks and melodies. And I bet you've heard that kind of thing in every one of their album reviews. Here it is again.

The Bronx - The Bronx IV
Yeah man, this is how it's done. Although there will be some long time fans of LA punks The Bronx that will take displeasure in how less aggressive an album this is in comparison their their first three albums, there is so much about The Bronx IV that still makes it a fantastic rock album. Maybe it's as a massive Foo Fighters fan that I love the balance between aggression and melody. Matt Caugthtran's rough-clean vocals meld with massive riffs that collide into action at the perfect moments to lay into listeners with fullest enthusiasm and demands for heads banging and fists pumping. There will be a lot of people that view the abnd as selling out for doing an album like this, but those who don't will see them now as being one of the finest names in modern rock. Honestly.

Pissed Jeans - Honeys (Sub Pop)
When you see those two words "Sub Pop" on a CD, you know the next few minutes of your life are most likely going to be dangerous. And Pennsylvanian noise merchants Pissed Jeans absolutely nail this on their fourth full length Honeys, the album that is finally gaining them all the attention. It's a ferocious affair dealing with all the inner frustrations and inner rage of those that made it in a world where men can't understand woman and lose all their joy and hair, delivered through immense distortion, juggernaut drums and a sincerity in Matt Korvette's vocals and lyrics that can only come from the experience of real life. It's an intense ode to some of the most visceral names in alternative rock, with enough of it's own terrifying personality to be nothing but the twisted creation of frustrated aging men.

Johnny Marr - The Messenger (Warner Bros)
Indie kids, this man is your God - but you already knew that. A solo album from Johnny Marr has been a long time coming, what with so many growing tired of the constant controversy spread by Morrisey, it seems like the time that the more vital member of The Smiths takes his time in the limelight. And so, two days before receiving a "God Like Genius" at the NME Awards, he unleashes his debut solo offering The Messenger, which really sounds nothing like a Smiths record, but definitely hones the sound of a man that done much exploration of the modern world of indie rock and throughout continued experience has taken the form into his own hands and delivers stunning riffs through shining production with lyrics that contrast to Morrisey's, , displaying little time for drippy emotions and more on the business of modern life. And maybe hearing such thoughts from a man that much of modern rock's musicians have taken influence from is interesting, enlightening and highly entertaining. The God of indie is back.

Foals - Holy Fire (Warner Bros)
Ah, save the most hyped up for last. The amount of critical appraisal that Holy Fire, the third album from Oxford quintet Foals has meant that checking it out is essential. Which was a scary proposition at first, ever since I tried to get into them at a younger age for seeing them receive similar amounts of praise and probably being put off by the lack of hooks. But indeed this album is a big step up from the previous dealings in odd tempos and metaphors into the construction of choruses that blow the band's music into stratospheric heights. Yannis Philipakkis' falsettos command the listeners every move and lures you into the full captivating band performance as big riffs come out of nowhere. Once again, it's the sound of a band adapting their sound into a more mainstream format, but if that's selling out, then selling out has never sounded better than this.

Well, that's the best I can do for now. There are more brilliant albums out there that I will probably never get a chance to write about, but that's life. For now, I must return to the life of being a busy student and do some work. Or go back to sleep, sometimes I get the two mixed up. Most times however, I just sleep while working, man I'm so responsible. Anyway, this is probably what my blog posts will look like nowadays, I bet that's really disappointing. Man, this was easier while I was still in school. Oh well. Seeya. 

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