Sunday, 14 April 2013

The Violets - A Long Lost Band....

The Violets, comprised of Alexis Mary, Joe Daniel and Andrew Moran, formed in 2003 in London, around the time that Joe founded their recording label, Angular Records, with his friend Joe Margetts. The label have had mild success signing bands such as Klaxons, These New Puritans and This Many Boyfriends despite losing stock when the warehouse was cruelly burnt in the 2011 summer riots. The band spent the first few years gigging, releasing their first single ‘Feast On You/Come Home’ in 2006. ‘The Lost Pages’ appeared in 2007 but due to a cruel twist of Fate it would be their only album as the band disbanded the following year after touring the album to “got their separate ways”. Joe went back to his label while Alexis threw herself in various musical projects.

The album opens how it means to go on with ‘Shades To Be’. It’s haunting and frantic as drums pound like running feet, guitar occasionally squeals a cry of help and Alexis Mary’s deep Siouxsie Sioux esque vocals wail and croon. 2006 single ‘Descend’ is just as crazed and chaotic. Comparisons flow easily, early Cure, Siouxsie and The Banshees and Sonic Youth, but do not be fooled as The Violets do have their own unique way. Their last single ‘Troubles of Keneat’ opens with dissonant electronic squeal, scratches and threatening bass as Alexis passionately cries out into the shadows, buzzes and crashes will occasionally descend. It’s unpredictable, like a thunderstorm. The album then seems to calm down, in a weird still jumping wildly screaming in black leather and eyeliner way, but the songs have clearer melodies and are a tad more accessible.

 ‘The Lost Pages’ is dripping with that 1977 London atmosphere, DIY and basement gig, that would continue to inspire generations of lost youth for years to come. ‘Co-Plax’ is cheeky and fun, filled with fuzz, an almost industrial drumbeat and this lovely little guitar hook to end. Their most famous single ‘Foreo’, inspired by the Alfred Hitchcock film ‘Marnie’, which included a horse named Foreo, contains all the bands best tricks; smooth time changes, feedback, harshly crooned vocals and riffs that rush by as if it’s being endlessly chased by an unknown creature. ‘Half Light’ proves to be a refreshing change, it’s a much softer melodic track with almost jangling guitar and the guise of innocence, until midway it goes back to form as deep bass takes control and guitar becomes more frightened; it’s a seamless shift. ‘Parting Glances’ is practically poppy, with its bouncing electronic opening and harmonica but don’t panic the track as cheerful as a black and white war photo and ends with ominous chants and feedback. Closing track ‘Nature Of Obsession’ is a sweet empty acoustic track, a lovely calm way to end such a frantic, frightened and chaotic album.

It’s a true crime that The Violets vanished for ‘The Lost Pages’ is a fantastic debut and filled with potential for a stunning follow up. - Troubles Of Keneat - Half Light

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Beatastic – GLI3TCH3S

Beatastic – GLI3TCH3S – Out Now

We’ve met the man behind the music now let’s meet the music that makes 
the man.

Well, it’s an interesting album for sure. It mixes industrial, dance, acoustic and grunge, with mostly success. Opening track ‘Glitchy’ is raw, with thick fuzzing guitars backed by electronic samples that tweet and swirl as Nico dreamily croons; the song fades out into a sonic mist. The album has a strong start.

‘Together Forever’ mixes Sonic Youth feedback with a dance beat, and Nico’s wonderfully soft vocals. It is a strange sound that I’m not entirely sure about. ‘Let’s Make Today About Today’ featuring Global Graffiti mixes violin, raw guitar and rap, I like it. ‘Lctr’ continues this electronic grunge sound, which is an interesting mix, angry guitars over a pop dance beat. Like a strange modern Nirvana. All I would say is the vocals need to be louder on the first few tracks. ’26 Years’ is more straight forward rock song; it’s reflective and reminds me of Yuck, while ‘Bedtime’ certainly contains some pent up anger, it’s dirty and aggressive.
Than we have tracks like ‘Give Up’ featuring Ayla which is a dreamy space dance track. It’s minimalistic and sweet, almost innocent sounding with its swirling sonic sounds dancing round like clouds of smoke. ‘Hightide’ featuring Jenny Thomson is similar but has a busier sound. The synths and united vocals wash in and out like the sea and guitar twinkles like the sun catching the waves. ‘DreamCatcher’ is a song filled with longing with its bare metallic beat, soft acoustic guitar and, finally, clear loud vocals! Reminds me of Goyte. While ‘If You Want To Be Mine’ is a lovely little acoustic sung conversation of love between Nico and Brook Gulliver.

‘Addiction’ is another ‘eh’ track. I want to like the style he’s attempted, its very Nine Inch Nails but something’s just not quite right, it doesn’t sound like Beatastic or very good for that matter. ‘How Fast The Fog Comes In’ rebels against the last track by opening with slow heartfelt piano, joined by fuzzing synth and violins. Again I’m unsure. I think the tracks a little too incongruous with itself. Having said that, ‘Every Monday Is Fine’ gets the balance between buzzing electronic and violent guitars right. It’s all learning curves.
The album ends with ‘Comets and Nebulas’. It’s magical as it shimmers, piano chimes, drums build and fuzzed guitar joins, creating a sense of euphoria and achievement.

The album has a surprisingly professional sound to it; I was expecting a more obvious bedroom feel from the album. But, I can see why the album has received mixed feedback so far. Then again, isn’t music also an art form designed to be experimented with and created for expression or simply fun? I like the style Nico’s played with and on the whole, the result is successful. It’s not chart material, but for me that only adds to its charm and is a compliment.

Beatastic: not fantastic but enjoyable and interesting. - single 'Glitchy'

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

How To Destroy Angels – Welcome To Oblivion

How To Destroy Angels – Welcome To Oblivion

A project between Nine Inch Nails Trent Reznor, his wife Mariqueen Maandig, Atticus Ross, and Rob Sheridan, who is also responsible for the amazing glitch photography. ‘Welcome To Oblivion’ is their album debut as they have two EP’s, ‘How To Destroy Angels’ 2010 and ‘Omen’ Let’s 2012. In short; moody glitch industrial genius.

‘Welcome To Oblivion’ is a desire laced nightmare; it’s brooding, experimental, sensual and plain bizarre at times. Single ‘Keep It Together’ is a perfect example with its panted vocals, suggestive bass and haunting atmosphere. ‘And The Sky Begins’ is disorientating and crowded as layers of glitched sounds buzz round, at odds with its self, over a simplistic dissonant organ as Mariqueen and Trent occasionally croon. ‘Welcome To Oblivion’ is more of an organized track but no less threatening and dark as it pounds and screams at you. ‘Iceage’ is a surprise. It consists of out of time and tune plodding guitars with Mariqueen’s smooth soft vocal as the perfect contrast. It’s strangely a lovely calm little tune, until the screaming feedback takes over and concludes it, very Sonic Youth. 

Single ‘How Long’ is metallic and minimalistic with heartfelt gospel vocals for the chorus, as close to a ‘pop’ song as these guys get. It’s a very intimate, brooding and even harsh album, but all in the best of taste. It switches effortlessly from chaotic experimentation to organised industrial electronica. ‘We Fade Away’ opens with a repetitive ‘beep’ and piano; backward samples and muffled vocals join creating an ominous atmosphere as it fades in and out, like a shadowed creature creeping up on you than retreating into the mist as you turn your head. 

The ending track ‘Hallowed Ground’ has a mix of angelic vocal samples, backwards whirring fuzz and piano, I can’t decide if it’s relaxing or disturbing. The song fades out leaving you with an empty feeling and with a sense of confusion, over who knows what? Although I think I’d be almost disappointed of Trent didn’t leave me feeling this way. - Iceage - Keep It Together