Wednesday, 29 June 2011

New Video : EMA - Milkman

'Milkman' is the new single from EMA's debut record 'Past Life Martyred Saints' which is out now through Souterrain Transmissions. Check out the rather swanky video above. She has just announced a full European tour with UK dates in Brighton, London, Bristol, and Manchester during September. Make sure you check her out as she is rather awesome! Also look out for our full review of her album coming early next week!

EMA // Souterrain Transmissions

EMA - Milkman by souterraintransmissions

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

New Music : Trim The Barber

London based Trim The Barber describe themselves as 'wailing fuzztone pyschedelic post-punk shoegazers'. Fancy huh? Fortunately they do actually fit the bill.

'All We Can Be', which is available now, is a dark, swirling, gloriously understated pop song which is orchestrated by a ghostly guitar and some rather gloomy yet oddly uplifting vocals from Matt Potter.

It's a tantalising opener which bodes well for the Autumn release of their forthcoming as yet untitled debut EP. Look out for the band playing gigs in and around that time too.



Monday, 20 June 2011

New Video : The Joker and The Thief - I Do Too

London's The Joker and The Thief release their debut EP 'The Secret Ballroom' on July 25th. 'I Do Too' is taken from the record and the video for which you can see above. It was shot by the bands fans using their iphones (who'd have thought...). The song is a lovely chilled out yet noisy retro number which encompasses many styles and ideas. Catch them playing the Strummerville Campfire at this years Glastonbury.  

The Joker & The Thief - Be The Boy by Strummerville

Friday, 17 June 2011

Album Review : Everyone To The Anderson - The Man Born From Inside Of A Horse

Out this week through Unlabel is 'The Man Born From Inside Of A Horse', the debut album from Brighton's Everyone To The Anderson. Having already garnered support from bearded guru Huw Stephens, as well as BBC 6 Music's Tom Robinson, alongside supports shows for the likes of Blood Red Shoes, Rolo Tomassi, and Biffy Clyro, it looks like the band have all the chess pieces in play to take things to the next level. However as we all know you can't play chess without a board (you probably can, in the sand or something, but I digress), anyway their record needs to stand up to the hype or else they will look silly.

Kicking off with 'High Brow, Low Brow, No Eye Brow' (possible reference to 'High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive' by Pulled Apart By Horses? meh...) the band launch into their mathy guitar driven noise, with yelpy stop start vocals from Ben Gregory, supported by driven yet understated drums. Instant comparisons can be drawn with Foals ('Antidotes' era), and contemporaries such as Future Of The Left and Les Savy Fav. 'So You're Saying There's A Chance' carries on in much the same vain, with the track starting off with a throbbing bassline before being led by distorted and angular guitars. This time the vocals have more melody though, an interesting change up which helps break things up and build intrigue for the rest of the record.
With the album clocking in at just over 26 minutes, and with 11 tracks, there's certainly no time to relax with the majority of the songs being less than 3 minutes long. That makes the longer tracks such as 'Danzig High Flyer' and  'Lets Take This To Smithereens' really stand out, with the band allowing themselves the space to develop their ideas and hint at a more progressive nurtured sound for the future.

'Computermen', 'People Person', 'Face Like Centurion' and 'Knuckle Supper' in particular are all made for the band's live shows, containing the sort of riffs that just make you want to move awkwardly yet rhythmically. 'Hope In The Valley' is a nod to the doom metallers, whereas 'Wake When Some Vile Thing Is Near' shows a more brooding mellow melancholy side band similar to artists such as Zoo Kid.

This is a confident, direct, and assured debut record from a band who are always hinting that there is more to them than meets the eye. Check mate.

'The Man Born From Inside Of A Horse' is available right now through Unlabel, go get it. And say hello to Everyone To The Anderson.


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

EP Review : Quick and the Dead - For The Rhythm

Quick And The Dead are a pop punk-tinged emo quartet from Jersey, the Channel Islands. Yeah I know, there are far too many bands matching this description (the ‘pop punk-tinged emo’ tag, not the bit about them being from the Channel Islands – no one is from the Channel Islands. Interestingly enough though, my mother is actually from the Channel Islands…). Perhaps it is the fault of the music journalism biz for, A, trying to pigeonhole every band that comes along, and, B, not creating enough pigeonholes. But alas, separating bands by their sub genres and their influences is just part and parcel of music writing. And Quick And The Dead display both the traits of a pop punk band as well as those normally associated with emo.

So, does the UK (I say the UK, but it’s worth noting that Jersey isn’t actually part of the UK – rather, it is a British Crown Dependency) need another pop punk-tinged emo band? We do have quite a few bopping about the charts (Kids In Glass Houses, You Me At Six etc.), and there are certainly more and more popping up on the underground touring circuits. The short answer is that although we may not need another band of this sort, Quick And The Dead sound so damn good, and have just enough edge (just!), that they may just be able to cut themselves out a place in the charts. The reason they sound so damn good is down to a fine mixture of decent production – handled by Jason Wilcock (Fightstar, You Me At Six) – and enduring practice: the members spent four years together as a different band prior to Quick And The Dead called Marvel.

For The Rhythm’ is the name of their new EP, and it is a blistering collection of skilfully structured emo tunes. Opener ‘Get Scared?’ sets the pace with a wicked riff and galloping drums before slipping into a dance-rock vibe for the verse. That dance-rock element is fleshed out a bit towards the end using some electronic burps and mild synths, and together with the vocal repetition of the end section, it winds up sounding a little like The Automatic (at their up-tempo best). They follow this up with the weakest track on offer, the radio-friendly indie-pop of ‘Sparks,’ which, despite containing a memorable hook, winds up sounding as flat as The Wombats.
However, after this dip in style and substance, the EP gets back on track. 'Carry On Reaper’ kicks off with a hefty riff and continues with some sharp guitar parts and the EP’s strongest melody – the immediacy of the clean vocals and ‘whoa-ohs’ of the chorus are very, very (very!) reminiscent of Kids In Glass Houses. ‘Savaged’ – filled with stabbing riffs that partner agreeably with the urgent vocals – continues with the same force. The closing title track, which just has so many components to admire, is the best of the bunch. There’s the building, epic nature of the song structure, the fuzzy effects of the huge bass line (perhaps influenced by the bass line of Taking Back Sunday’s Carpathia’), and, particularly nearing the end, the yelps and gang vocals of heavier, post-hardcore bands like Funeral For A Friend. Absolutely thrilling.

This is music made to be danced to and moshed at. Huge pop melodies thickened with perfectly pitched harmonies designed for mass sing-a-longs are expertly matched up with intricate riffs destined to provoke bouncing and/or headbanging. It maybe nothing new for the UK alternative scene (even though it may sound fresh over on the Channel Islands), but ‘For The Rhythm’ is just so, so, so catchy, and Quick And The Dead just sound so, so, so tight, that this release is hard to overlook.

It’s out now on Hairy Wolf Records. Go get it.

Quick and the Dead - For The Rhythm by Music Liberation

Monday, 13 June 2011

EP Review : To Disappear - Into

Hailing from Whistler, Canada, To Disappear are a dynamically talented indie-rock group. Looking deeper into the history of this band, however, it reads more like a U.N. peace envoy, with the lead vocals coming from Spain, a guitarist from Australia, a drummer from Blighty and of course a talented multi musician/producer from Canada. The variety of different nationalities and their own individual influences amongst To Disappear is widely reflected in each track of their ‘Into’ EP. As a result of this each track flows effortlessly into the next, each bringing a beautiful melody and vocal that you can’t help but drift away to.

The record kicks off with 'Carousel' an upbeat track that makes you eager to hear more from the band. But if you’re expecting a ‘safe’ listen, with generic indie guitar riffs and a standard drum beat to accompany then you’re in the wrong place. ‘Carousel’ and ‘TBC’ are both easy listening pieces which are followed by a deeper introspective look into what else To Disappear have to offer, with ‘To Be By Your Side’ and ‘Amourette’ respectively. 

Sure some of the lyrical content of this EP is difficult to understand at times, but I put that down to a Spanish vocalist, who for all I know could be singing some of the verses in Spanish. But I won’t let my ignorance wane my opinion of the band, afterall I can only understand 50% of what Foals have to say on 'Total Life Forever’, and that has to be one of my favourite LP’s of all time. And for me To Disappear have that same ability to lose you in their music, they let you appreciate how music can take you to places nothing else can.

'Into' is available right now, released independently by the band themselves. Download it for free on their website and say hello to them on facebook.

TBC by To Disappear

Friday, 10 June 2011

Technology Review : Hed Kandi - Discotheque Headphones

Better known for their dance compilations and global live music events, you may not know that UK based company Hed Kandi also now do headphones. They have kindly sent over a pair of their brand new range of 'Discotheque Headphones' for us to check out.

As you would expect with a brand who is known for their strong visual design image there is a wide selection of colours available. You can also choose between either the standard earphones, or what seems to be the latest fashion trend at the moment, the large over the ear can style headphones (of which this review will concentrate upon as that's what we were sent).

Our pair was predominantly turquoise in colour, albeit the headphones cable was bright pink, something which might not quite transcend both male and female consumers. However the range does come in both black and white so there's certainly choice for everyone. They are fairly lightweight and the soft finish around the ear cups means extended use is a pleasure as opposed to a chore, which can be the case with certain brands.

Here's the important bit for any audio lover; what do they sound like. Well I found that it seemingly all depended on what type of music you were listening to. I guess that it makes sense that as purveyors of dance house music, Hed Kandi would cater towards that crowd, and that seems to be what they've done with these headphones. The bass is dominant and works well, and the centralized feeling you get seemingly puts you right in the middle of the dance floor.

However as soon you switch over to rock music the headphones seem unable to cope with guitars, drums, vocals, and bass all at once, degenerating into a fairly flat, and confusingly treble heavy sound. It's a shame as for a casual electronic fan you can't fault them.

With a retail price of £19.99 these headphones are certainly a tempting purchase, and I would advise them for those of you who are fashion conscious dance fans. However you rockers might want to stay clear for the time being until a new and improved range is released which caters for a wider spectrum of music.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

EP Review : Is Shepherd - Songs For Sons

I’m not going to lie; I struggled with this review. The words weren’t flowing. The first mistake was starting with the obscure concept of Sturgeon's Law that states that 90% of any art form is “crap”. I thought this would be a good way to put Is Shepherd’s new EP 'Songs For Sons' in context with their lesser peers. It wasn’t.

In my ensuing procrastination, I went on to read about Bon Iver’s new album and then had the bright idea to do a bit of comparison between his music and this Newcastle trio as both these acts play heartfelt, whimsical folk. But that didn’t really pan out either.

Then I thought I’d write about the fact that these guys really do look folksy. One of them has a big beard. In the press photo, they’re all standing in the snowy woods and they all wear wooly scarves. I think I was just clutching at straws at this point.

But you see, it’s not me, it’s the music. Is Shepherd create beautiful, thoughtful songs made for the discerning, chin-stroking listener to immerse themselves in. But for all the beauty of opener 'Generations', for all the delicate introspectiveness of 'Garden', for all the off-beat, surf-rock charm of 'Pine Box', or for all the warm yearnings of 'Forever More' or the similar 'Disappointed', there is something missing. Even the distorted reprise of the opening track that ends this EP didn’t help.

This is a wonderful record, it really is. If you want some comparisons then think of Aereogramme or Lone Wolf, hell, even Bon Iver is a justifiable comparison, but this doesn’t change the fact that these songs, these wonderful songs in all their polished glory just didn’t deliver.

Why, I can’t say. This isn’t a logical statement I realise, but since when has music ever been about logic? Perhaps Songs for Sons is too perfect. It has everything immaculately in place, everything that is except for a soul; and all the studio trickery in the world can’t make up for that. Maybe you can find that warm fuzzy feeling on this record if you dig hard enough, but to this disenchanted reviewer it’s too much beauty and too little substance; and believe it or not that breaks my folk-loving heart to admit.

'Songs for Sons' is out now for immediate download on Is Shephard’s bandcamp.

01 Generations by Is Shepherd

Monday, 6 June 2011

Album On Repeat : Tom Vek - Leisure Seizure

Introducing a new little feature for Music Liberation, 'Album On Repeat'. This week's new album we have on repeat is 'Leisure Seizure', Tom Vek's second record and his first new material in over 5 years. We think it's rather special, check it out!