Saturday, August 19, 2017
The War On Drugs
A Deeper Understanding
August 25 2017 (Atlantic Records)
Words: Richard O’Hagan
One of the rather lovely things about the past couple of years in music has been the way that Philadelphians The War On Drugs have been taken to heart by the mainstream media. Having initially found the band’s name to be somewhat offputting, they seem to have won over the doubters by the sheer quality of their musicianship.
That musical ability is something which they are all too keen to demonstrate on ‘A Deeper Understanding’, their fourth studio album since their formation in 2005, and first in four years. Most of the ten tracks here are over five minutes long, with ‘Thinking of a Place’ clocking in at over 11(!). Yet for all of that, the music never becomes boring or repetitive. There are melodic guitars, lush keyboards and rich saxophones everywhere you look.
One testament to the sheer consistency of the songwriting of Adam Granduciel and co is that whilst there have been two singles released from this record – ‘Holding On’ and the recently-issued ‘Pain’ – neither really stands out as being any better than the other tracks around it. Indeed, the only time that the formula really noticeably varies is on ‘Nothing to Find’, which is markedly much more uptempo than the rest of the record.
Overarching all of this is are Granduciel’s gruff, cracked and at times almost spoken vocals. It is a voice which carries all of the ennui of someone who didn’t find success until his late thirties and who doesn’t quite know what to make of it all. On the evidence of this album, it is something that he is going to just have to get used to.
The Extended Play Of Cruelty
August 25 2017 (Skeleton Key Records)
Words: Richard O’Hagan
What do we think of Cabbage? The North-West’s not-so-new rockers have garnered a fair amount of adverse publicity in the past and, possibly for that reason, have been a bit quiet over the past few months. Now, just in time for festival season, they’ve emerged with a new five-track EP, ‘The Extended Play Of Cruelty’.
One thing to remember about Cabbage is that theirs is a rather studied form of punkish artlessness. The rough edges that you hear to their music are edges which were once polished down by years of grind around the North’s music scene in various bands (it’s no secret that two of the five were once in the much-loved Twisted Wheel) and then deliberately roughened up again to give some bite and guile to what they are doing. They are, in effect, the musical equivalent of a not-quite-new cricket ball.
The first three tracks on offer here on this James Skelly (The Coral)-produced work, are in some ways Cabbage-by-numbers, all chopping guitars and the interplay of co-vocalists Lee Broadbent and Joe Martin. But there’s subtle differences. Opener ‘Celebration of a Disease’ might see them get a bit carried away with repeating the title, but it is catchy as heck. ‘Fraudulent Artist’ is crisp and clear, evoking memories of The Clash’s ‘Jennie Jones’, whilst ‘A Network Betrayal’ is just kinda angry, a band railing against life.
To close, there’s a piece of pure chutzpah, with a track named after the band’s drummer, Asa Morley. It probably doesn’t mean anything to anyone outside of the band, and is the most lightweight number on offer here, but it’s a fun way to go out. Preceding that, ‘Ertrinken’ is the shortest and most startling part of the whole record. It is just over ninety seconds of stripped back music and the lines "I kept my feet on the ground/And hold you down until you drown". Spooky
Words: Linn Branson
The New Faith - who Little Indie featured a few months ago with 'Too Sad To Be Young' - have a way with a good tune, and equally watchable videos.
The Brighton seven-piece outfit precede their debut album, 'Me On You', out on October 6, with this latest single taken from it, 'Fritter Away', to be released on September 1.
Fronted by Will Charlton's melancholic baritone - part chamber-pop, part Kingsley Chapman, part hard to define - the orchestration and detail is warming and melodic. And you'll be hard-pressed not to want to sway along to the rhythm of 'Fritter Away', as you pleasantly fritter away four and a half minutes.
The New Faith play an album launch show at Brighton's Brighthelm Centre on October 13.
Words: Ellie Ward
Following their BBC Introducing stage appearance at Reading and Leeds Festival next weekend, TOUTS have announced a co-headline tour with Vistas throughout September and October.
The three young (aged 16 - 19) punk teens from Derry, Northern Ireland, released their debut single 'Sold Out' in April on Phil (Radio 1) Taggart's label Hometown Records, followed by the EP ‘Sickening and Deplorable’.
"They are one of the most insanely amazing live bands I've ever seen at such a young age. I caught them, by accident, over a year ago in a dingy cellar playing and signed them up on the spot," enthuses Taggart.
UK live dates:
27 Bath – Moles *
28 Brighton – The Joker
29 Reading – The Purple Turtle
01 Southampton – The Joiners *
02 Oxford – The Cellar
04 Cardiff – Transport Club
05 Liverpool – Studio2
06 Leeds – The Chapel
07 Manchester – Neighbourhood Festival
09 Leicester – The Cookie
10 Birmingham – The Sunflower Lounge
11 Stoke – The Sugarmill
12 Newcastle – Surf Café
17 London Thousand Islands
Friday, August 18, 2017
Words: Ellie Ward
Released today (August 18), new single ‘Annie’ from the wild and wacky Bradford glam-psychsters FLING, is as off-kilter and individual in its own way as their recent offering 'Just A Dog'.
The eponymous ‘Annie’ stands for each lost weekend love and nightclub romance, as enigmatic frontman Charles McSorley explains: "‘Annie' is a pure simple song of love and adulation. For the person you see across the room, for the young opportunist who falls in love someone new every weekend."
Scroll down for details of the band's autumn Get Flung tour - their biggest yet - running from September through October.
24 Dance To The Radio Stage Leeds Festival
15 KU Bar Stockton
05 Jumpin’ Jacks Newcastle
06 Sneaky Pete’s Edinburgh
10 The Green Door Store Brighton
11 Old Blue Last, London
12 Record Junkee, Sheffield
13 Hyde Park Book Club Leeds
15 The Sunflower Lounge Birmingham
17 The Hug and Pint Glasgow
19 The Adelphi Hull
21 Underground Bradford
25 City Screen Basement York
Words: Sam Geary
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart drop their fourth album 'The Echo Of Pleasure' on September 1 through their own Painbow label, the follow-up to 2014’s 'Days of Abandon'.
After sharing a couple of early tasters, including 'When I Dance With You', they now put out 'My Only'.
Frontman Kip Berman describes the big ode song - "Now that I said it / don't you forget it / you're my only" - as "the opposite of what a single should be - it’s sprawling and unconcerned with immediateness — because it’s about something that isn’t immediate. So many young bands sing idly of absolute devotion, and that’s cool. But I am not young anymore. I’m married, with a young daughter and an old Volvo. There’s something about my life now that makes this song feel honest in a way it didn’t before."