Thursday, 21 April 2011

EP Review : Gunning For Tamar - Deaf Cow Motel

Having formed just over a year ago, Gunning For Tamar are a very young band – which is very, very surprising considering just how tight and accomplished the four members sound together. This Oxford quartet play the type of melodic post-hardcore that too many upstarts try and smash out – this is the kind of music anyone who listened to Thursday in their heyday, and Hopesfall before their demise, decide (or desire) to play. But whereas the guitars and melodies of most other bands trying to emulate their post-rock/hardcore heroes fail to stir any kind of real emotion, Gunning For Tamar are competent, professional and create a substantial atmosphere. Which, as already pointed out, is astonishing considering they only formed just twelve months ago.

Deaf Cow Motel’ is their new EP, which boasts a clear and crisp production quality very few low budget releases can claim to feature. Opener ‘German Treasure Island’ kicks off with a building, energetic riff and punching drums before the tone relaxes for the verse. The second half of the track then picks up the pace again, with a huge, harmonious chorus and layers of post-rock guitars. The bass on ‘Running With Scissors’ gives the track a grumbling groove, and the quick-fire, almost off-kilter drumming provides a math-rock element. ‘God Made Colours’ continues in the same vein, minus the heavier, emo-riffing of the opening couplet.

A big feature of Gunning For Tamar’s post-hardcore that sets them apart from the competition is the epic and emotive vocals – containing both gentle vulnerability and commanding strength. These (scream-free) vocals, together with the general intricate nature of the layered guitars, recall the intelligent emo of Funeral For A Friend’sMemory And Humanity.’ And just like FFAF, Gunning For Tamar are able to sound both progressive and accessible through their soaring melodies – showcased no better than on closing track ‘Bonfires’.

Deaf Cow Motel will be released through Walnut Tree Records on 30th May 2011. Music Liberation urges fans of emo, post-hardcore, post-rock, math-rock, blah blah, to check them out.

Gunning For Tamar - German Treasure Island by abadgeoffriendship

Gunning For Tamar // Walnut Tree Records

Monday, 18 April 2011

Album Review : Mazes - A Thousand Heys

Categorically one of Music Liberation's albums of the year so far comes in the shape of 'A Thousand Heys', the debut long player from London's Mazes.

Released last week through the equally impressive FatCat Records, the album is a quick fire trip through rock and roll history, checking in with The Kinks, The Beatles, The Buzzcocks, as well as modern day counterparts such as The Cribs, No Age, and Tokyo Police Club.

With the thirteen tracks clocking in at just over thirty minutes, there is little time to draw breath, but then why would you want to when the intensity and sheer fun of this record pulls you one way and then the other over and over again.

Album opener 'Go Betweens' sets the tone of the record, with simple, pacey drums interspersed with scuzzy energetic guitars and playful yet punchy vocals from frontman Jack Cooper. 'Surf & Turf / Maths Tag' demonstrates the bands ear for tempo changes, where as 'Most Days' is them at their most ferocious. 'Cenetaph' reveals a deeper more emotionally tinged sound for the band, and album finale 'Til I'm Dead' must be emphatically fun when performed live.

A Thousand Heys is a fun, chaotic, frenzied, emotional roller coaster of a debut record that will have you hitting the repeat button throughout the forthcoming Summer.

Check out the interview we did with Mazes frontman Jack Cooper last month here.

Buy the album // Mazes // FatCat Records

Mazes - Most Days by FatCat Records

Friday, 15 April 2011

Event : TEMPO CLASH presents...DJ Cheeba DVD Launch

Tonights see's the very first Tempo Clash event at the Rhythm Factory in East London. Tempo Clash for those who don't know is a beats orientated music blog come promotions company, set up in 2010 and run by Joe Foote. The opening event has DJ Cheeba launching his new DVD 'Revenge Of The Nerd', where he'll be serving up a set of audio visual delights, as well as DJ Moneyshot, and live graffiti artists doing their thing. 

Looks set to be awesome night and one not to be missed! For full details head over to the facebook event page. See you at the front!

Cheeba's 5 Minute Needle Breaker (2001) by cheeba

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Single Review : Jumpings Ships - Heart and Hope

It sounds like Jumping Ships are an emotional bunch, which probably goes some way to explain why they’re doing their level best to squeeze themselves into the outmoded and overcrowded emo genre. They call themselves alt rock but there’s no fooling us lads. Move over Lostprophets, room for one more?

Unsurprisingly, new single ‘Heart and Hope’ sticks rigidly to the emo blueprint. Technically it’s tighter than a mallard’s rectum but the song writing is so obvious it’s like I’ve heard it before. In 2003. Filled with angular guitar riffs, epic choruses and a vocalist that flits from composed, melodic singing to neurotic, snotty screaming, Jumping Ships tick all the necessary boxes. There’s even that bit where the entire band shout the clichéd line “heart and hope!” over and over again. What’s more, everything feels forced. The emotion, the passion, the anger. You can practically hear the producer saying “once more with feeling”. The song’s about as raw as an overcooked carrot.

But before you think this is the worst single since Aqua’s last chart topper, it’s not. For all its cliché ridden failings, bloated production and damn obviousness, like some Derren Brown mind control technique, I caught myself mouthing the chorus within three minutes of listening. Somehow ‘Heart and Hope’ has a main line into the subconscious, burrowing away with its poppy hooks and anthemic choruses. Of course, I’m not suggesting for a moment that this is a reliable barometer of quality, but some bands will struggle for years to be as accessible as this one song. And for the Brighton foursome at least, that’s something.

‘Heart and Hope’ is out now. // Jumping Ships

Heart and Hope - Jumping Ships by alcopop

Monday, 11 April 2011

Single Review : Spring Offensive - A Stutter and a Start

Spring Offensive are back with a brand new single and a rather smashing video to go with it. 'A Stutter and a Start' brings the Oxford band's usual blend of melodic indie pop with mathy time signatures and repetitive guitars, alongside their collaborative vocals.

It's fair to say this single is slightly more radio friendly than their last 14 minute epic 'The First Of Many Dreams About Monsters', but the basic progressive principles from that track are all still present on this new offering. The real beauty in this track comes in the tempo, with Spring Offensive almost effortlessly transforming the pace to reflect a particular mood or emotion, through the intricate interplay of their instruments, as well as Lucas Whitworth's intelligent vocals.

The single is out today, go grab it digitally or physically, and if you're about go check the band at the Lexington where they are supporting Jeniferever. Also check out the video for the single, which was shot in just one take with no cuts!

Spring Offensive - A Stutter and a Start by PopNoodleRadar

Friday, 8 April 2011

Single Review : Team Me - Dear Sister

As I sit back and try to indulge any new piece of music I can’t help but feel Team Me are just another indie-pop band trying to pedal the same brand of music that is becoming all too frequent on the airwaves. However, this band has got a fantastic blend of instrumentals and harmonies that draws you in and makes you want to hear such an enthusiastic and feel good sound over and over again. The single ‘Dear Sister’ is no different either and you can’t help but feel the 6 piece outfit from Norway have really got a catchy loop that won’t be out of place on the radio.

Dear Sister isn’t going to bring you anything that’s breaking the genre of indie- pop, but will have teenagers queuing in their masses to get a part of the chino wearing culture. The sound and energy in this song is addictive and you will find yourself in the middle of a very enjoyable listen that makes you want to hear more from the band. Although with harmonies similar to that of Arcade Fire and the powerful beat of a drum that you would associate with The Temper Trap, you can feel that the band has its own identity and a unique sound that will help define them amongst their saturated genre.

Produced by Tom Mcfall, Team Me's new EP will be released April 18th, with a full length due in the Autumn. Catch the band at this years Great Escape Festival in Brighton.

Team Me - Dear Sister by Music Liberation

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Interview : Surreal

We recently caught up with Surreal vocalist Laurence Allen, to talk about their recent remix for Jamie Woon, a Trevor Sinclair hat-trick, and of course find out what his favourite sandwich is...

Q1. Describe your music in three words?

"Electronically Poetic Intelligence"

Q2. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

"Musical – For vocals and lyrics it would be Joe Strummer, Mike Skinner (early stuff) and would you believe it Kate Bush (the vocal acrobatics aside her lyrics are on another planet!) For production Massive Attack, Cinematic Orchestra and Radiohead.

Non-Musical- My Dad (Even in hard times his commitment to writing is staggering) and Trevor Sinclair (did you ever see the over head kick he scored for QPR!?!?!?)." (ED:

Q3. What's on your agenda for the next 12 months?

"With the album 95% complete, the target would be to crack the remaining 5%. Gain as much live experience as possible (a support tour for us right now would be ideal, hmmm someone like the Gorillaz would work, maybe u can hook us up…?) We would like to do some more collaborating the whole Jamie Woon redub is going down a treat. Release the album in the summer to keep the surrealists happy. Oh and win the mercury."

Q4. Any new artists you recommend us checking out?

"I'm a big fan of the shadow orchestra right now! I’m loving their orchestral glitch. Plucking and bowing is a must listen. I’ve also recently rediscovered 'signs of a struggle', which was Mattafix’s debut album form about 6 years ago, and if you haven’t had the pleasure of grooving to tracks such as Passer By and Gangster Blues, please do so immediately!"

Q5. If you could tour with any two artists, past or present, who would they be and why?

"Nina Simone – When I was a kid I believed all song lyrics came from outer space and must have been created by Martians. As surely humans couldn’t create such things. I now know this not to be true, but I still find it hard to believe when I listen to Nina Simone. I mean I would happily just be her roadie!

Gorillaz - I went to one of their shows a few months back and at one point on stage they had, a string quartet, a brass section, Kano, Bashy, Little Dragon, De La Soul, Mick Jones, 2 drummers, Damon Alban and Bobby Freaking Womack!! I mean there’s showing off and then there is that! All I could think about that night was what must have been going on, on the tour bus….? Make it happen!"

Q6. If you had unlimited funds, what 3 things would you have on your tour rider?

"Kate Bush (we sample her vocals in one of our tracks so would love the real thing). Arundel Trident Ale (the worlds greatest ale on tap in the dressing room please). Plunge Pool/Hot shower (we sweat buckets on stage, i'd love to come off and jump straight into the plunge pool then take a hot shower wrap a bath robe around me and pore myself an ale then head back into the club for a dance. (Again make it happen!)."

Q7. What's your perfect sandwich?

"Wow hardest question yet! Thick white crusty bread, butter, Sunday roasts beef, rocket, horseradish sauce, salt, pepper and chillie flakes!"

Q8. How can we find out more about you?

"Help yourself to free downloads via soundcloud and look out for our tour dates on facebook, also follow us on twitter. You can also find live footage from some of our shows online, youtube - 'surreal jamm' to see our Brixton show."

Jamie Woon - "Lady Luck (Surreal ReDub)" UNOFFICIAL by surreal