Matthew Caws’ Nada Surf continues to carry the torch for fans of that fine balance between alternative and classic pop-rock. With an emphasis on sophisticated melodies and intelligently crafted emotionally resonant material, Nada Surf may seem like an anachronism in this day of pre-fabricated pop formula but this is the perfect antidote modern music needs at this time.
It has taken a while for Some Kind of Illness to release their debut full length album but it’s definitely worth the wait! Consisting of brothers Mark and Paul Hinks, SKOI encapsulates a myriad of genres that have captured the lovers of indie-alternative rock for decades.
“… we wanted the music to embody the extremities of our current realities. Conflict, pain, anguish, heartbreak, discrimination together with moments of loneliness, gentleness, helplessness and melancholy. A perspective that is not just solely Singaporean, but human.” Leslie Low, The Observatory.
Pretty amazed at how much influence the music of the 80s post-punk/new wave bands continue to have on modern rock. Regular visitors would be familiar with my disdain for the Joy Division clones that continue to rear their ugly heads but it’s fair to say that there are legitimate artists out there who are doing great things with 80s music.
Well well well, what do you know – here’s some old-time rock ’n’ roll from Rick Springfield himself in 2016. The years simply melt away and it feels like 1981 again! It is certainly refreshing to listen to something that might have been made 35 years ago in this day and age.
“Nothing new under the sun” could be the concluding mantra for every single new album review in 2016. BUT that should not be the guiding principle. It’s not a question of “new” anymore but simply a case of how the artist assembles the work from disparate influential elements to create a “new” original piece of art.
Scottish indie pop has a rich history going way back to Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, Altered Images, The Bluebells and Lloyd Cole & The Commotions back in the heady days of the 80s. Say hello to Glasgow’s Tuff Love, who carry on this tradition with sunny, tuneful guitar pop that recalls a special time.
The joy of music discovery is never limited to merely new artists but even artists that have been around for quite a long while. Fact is, this is the first time I’ve even heard of Cloud Cult and the band has been in existence for over two decades! The Seeker is the band’s 10th album in that time and it is probably the ultimate hipster concept album, despite itself.
Right Hand Left Hand is a two-piece band: Andrew Plain (drums/guitars) and Rhodri Viney (guitars/ vocals/ drums) from Cardiff, Wales. “2 members playing 2 guitars, 2 drum kits, centred around a loop station”, as their official bio informs us.
Old school rock lovers will find much to savour on this new album from classic pop-rock revivalists Dr. Dog. And here’s the hook – the band has gone back to their unreleased debut cassette of the same name (from 2001) – to revisit the material and come up with new songs based on that vibe.
To be honest, Field Music has somewhat been under the radar for Power of Pop. Why exactly is a mystery, when you consider that the core duo of the brothers David and Peter Brewis have been making timeless/classic PoP friendly music since 2005!
Is rock ’n’ roll in 2016 a dinosaur? Yes a fucking T-Rex! And it’s coming to rip your guts out!
But seriously, boys and girls, Seattle trio Night Beats viz. Danny Lee Blackwell (guitar / vocals), Jakob Bowden (bass) & James Traeger (drums), do not quite care whether their music is relevant or not.
“Well, I’m a lion in the haze and the lamb in the lightning/Oh these spears and chains of flames around my neck are tightening/So line up your armies, burn down my home please/Take the part that’s in my lungs, and the song I’m singing.”
King Charles (aka Charles Costa) is a good old fashioned singer-songwriter – cramming flowery words into his straightforward indie rock songs. After all, in 2009, he became the first ever Brit to win the International Songwriting Competition in Nashville for his song “Love Lust” and he’s basically kicked off from there.
Here’s a recommendation for old school pop-rock lovers – the new Turin Brakes’ album is a definite winner. Filled to the brim with well worked melodies and hooks, coupled with appropriate instrumentation and arrangements, with a strong acoustic guitar vibe – this is a welcome addition to the best of the new year’s release so far.
Manchester trio MONEY received either acclaim or disdain for its debut album The Shadow of Heaven (2013) with folks either hailing them as the ‘next big thing’ or writing them off as ‘overrated’. In either case, it would be instructional to see where MONEY went with its sophomore effort.
The “difficult sophomore album” is a well-worn trope in popular music. It’s the rite of passage that proves that an artist’s early success was no accident. It’s proverbially difficult because it has to sound like the first album, yet different; it has to written in a shorter amount of time, yet be more expansive.
Most bands only have to go through this ordeal once. Britpop stalwarts Suede, however, have had to do it a second time.
I am trying my best to figure what the fuck are Fat White Family supposed to be? This South London outfit – which if legend will have us believe, formed in a squat – defies easy categorisation. At the moment, that might be their biggest advantage.
In general terms, the post-punk revival has overstayed its welcome – seriously, stop ripping off Ian Curtis and Joy Division already. But that judgement call does not fall on Savages. It’s fair to say that despite the band’s superficial association with this movement, the all-female quartet really are a class above and unlike their peers, actually have something to say.
The Besnard Lakes are a Canadian indie rock band from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Formed in 2003 by the husband and wife team of Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas, the band also includes Kevin Laing (drums), Richard White (guitar), Sheenah Ko (keyboards) and Robbie MacArthur (guitar).
To be honest, have never quite been able to connect with the music of Mystery Jets, for one reason or another. However, one has to admire the manner in which this English band has stuck to their guns and followed the pop-rock muse, wherever it might have led them.