letlive.: If I'm The Devil... - Review

letlive if im the devil...album art

LA punk heroes letlive. are a band agitated with the status quo. If you weren't aware of that before sticking on third album If I'm The Devil... you will be afterwards. 

A frustration at the severe and consistent abuses from those in positions of authority, coupled with an acknowledgment and acceptance of personal fallibles is the overarching theme of an album which takes an exciting leap forward both sonically and stylistically.

Famous for the energy in both their break neck live shows and studio recordings, If I'm The Devil... channels this hostile element in a more concise, focused manner. 

There are fewer screams and breakdowns than their last outing The Blackest Beautiful, replaced instead with a greater emphasis on melody, with frontman Jason Aalon Butler delivering his most impressive vocal performance to date. 

After all, a powerful performance doesn't just mean blowing out your vocal chords delivering a chilling death growl.

Tracks Good Mourning, America and Another Offensive Song deliver the most literal lyrical message to those between the cross hairs of their unrest. The first, a stand out song on the album, features a female choir, a blistering chorus and the most cutting lyrics on the album...

"We’ve got the right to take your life, so do just what you’re told”

There is enough raucous punk energy to keep the old fans more than satisfied here, but the album is at it's most exciting when it pushes the bands previous boundaries to the limit. Foreign Cab Rides, is a straight up stadium sized love song with a hook that will get trapped in your head for weeks to come.

And that's not the only love song either, Who You Are Not casually drops by with another show stopping chorus as if to emphasise that, yes, we can do this and do it well.

If I'm The Devil... puts its cards on the table from the get go, embraces the unique traits that have made this band what they are today and brings each one to the forefront to marvellous effect.

Delivering a powerful message whilst sounding better than ever. letlive. are agitated, and you know what, it suits them.

On Repeat: June 2016

letlive. good mourning america 2016

Technically, it's not June yet. So, this entire blog is something of a lie. What a farcical start to proceedings.

Moving swiftly on, here's a selection of tracks that have been stuck on repeat this month. As always, some are old, some are new, but every single one is a banger. Disagree? Leave a comment or tweet me, let's have a debate about music. Why not, right?

letlive. - Good Mourning, America

LA hardcore heroes letlive. are gearing up for the release of their new album If I'm The Devil expected sometime this Summer. A sneak preview has been released by the boys in the form of Good Mourning, America, featuring a not so subtle comment on America's problem with police brutality it has all the hallmarks of the bands previous sound, if not with an added soul edge.

While we're on letlive., let's all listen to another massive tune by the boys, Banshee (Ghost Fame).

Skepta - Man (Live at Big Weekend 16)

The top name in grime Skepta, brought his new album Konnichiwa to Radio 1's Big Weekend. His track Man is not only one of his best lyrically, but features a sample from Queens of the Stone Age track Regular John. What's not to like?

My Chemical Romance - Vampire Money

I found myself listening to My Chemical Romance the other day, and you know what? I really enjoyed it. More associated with teenage girls with too much eye make up, MCR have a barrowload of tunes in the bank, Vampire Money being one of my particular favourites. Give the boys another listen, it's good trust me!

Kill The Noise & Madsonik - Spitfire Riddim (feat. twowon) [Boombox Cartel Remix]

One of the most ridiculous pieces of music I've heard in a long time. There really are no words...stick it on and hear for yourself. \m/

Coldplay - Fix You (Four Tet Remix)

Quite possibly one of the greatest remixes ever made. This hypnotising lullaby of a reworking was created by producer Four Tet and was unreleased for ten years before being unearthed on Jon Hopkins radio show last year. Now it's out in the world and everything is better for it.

The Clash - Clampdown

If you don't like The Clash we can't be friends.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes Reveal Documentary Year Of The Snake

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes Year of the Snake

I love a good band documentary, especially if that band is one of the most exciting in the UK. Frank Carter has a good track history with these sort of things, back in his days with Gallows, Relentless released an "Lives of the Artists" piece about the bands experiences in the US on the Warped Tour. It was intense viewing, and at times a tad bleak...

This time things are a lot more positive, "Year of the Snake" covers the creation and rise of the band Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. From the first ever show at the London tattoo studio Sang Bleu, all the way through to their most recent tour, the video features both live footage and an exclusive interview with Frank. It’s a great insight into one of the UK’s most exciting frontmen and also how chaotic and riotous the band’s shows can be.

Frank himself has had a few words to say about the documentary...

“Year of the snake is a short documentary following the rise and rise of Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. It's been an intense year for us and we were lucky enough to have Max Horn document it all in a very intimate way. From the very beginning show at Sang Bleu tattoo, right up to this January when we went into the studio to start making something very special indeed. Thank you all for an amazing year, here's to the rest of them.”

The documentary ends with a hammer on filled riff and footage of Frank back in the studio. It's a tantalising teaser for the future and a strong indication that this band has a lot more to say in 2016.

You can watch the documentary below, it's worth it trust me.

Father John Misty Live @ Nottingham Rock City 15/05/16

Father John Misty Live Rock City
Photo Credit: Emma Tillman
On stage, J. Tillman, AKA Father John Misty, strikes a confident stance. Emitting an aura of calm, he appears at one with the stage, entirely overcome with the sentiment and power of each song he performs. It makes for an enthralling show.

With two LPs in the bag and a third rumoured to be on its way, Father John Misty is a big name in the states, but is still some what of a cult figure here in the UK. Not that any of that makes a difference tonight, the room is packed and the drinks are flowing, the universal recipe for a good night.

With a talented band behind him, the songs are performed with more edge than the studio versions, tracks such as Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings and Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow really come alive, crossing the boundary from great tunes into bring the house down essentials.

With the stage bathed in lights and the crowd braying for more, the band run through the best cuts from their past two records, highlights include the slightly spaced out Nancy From Now On and the dark romantic ode I Love You, Honeybear.

Everything runs according to plan until Bored in the USA, where an inebriated fan decides to break one of the tracks many pinta pauses with a high pitched screech. To which Tillman calmly (and very cooly) replies...

"You are an idiot".

Top draw.

Stepping off stage for a breather, the encore well and truly saves the best for last. A solo acoustic performance of I Went To The Store One Day successfully mellows the crowd to peak level, bringing a sense of romanticism in the air.

The mood lingers for a few seconds after the track before being promptly discarded as Tillman announces he's going to play his favourite love song, abruptly kicking in to a cover of Nine Inch Nail's Closer. It's quite the moment and the band are more than capable of doing the song justice.

The show climaxes with a raucous rendition of The Ideal Husband, proving the Father can deliver rock n' roll intensity just as well as heartbreaking blues. Tillman and his band have well and truly demonstrated they belong in music's upper tier to this crowd, and it won't be long until the rest of the UK recognises that too.

Introducing: Odonis Odonis

Odonis Odonis

As I write this, the sun is shining with the UK experiencing its first "Heatwave" of the year (and hopefully not its last). What better way to bask in this glorious weather then, by listening to some industrial sci-fi electronica?

Odonis Odonis are a three-piece hailing from Toronto whose new album, Post Plague, is released June 17th on Felte. Whilst many bands find inspiration for their music in the form of day to day activities or relationship issues, Odonis Odonis find their's in more obscure territories.

Let's take their track Nervous for example, which you can listen to below, here's what the band have to say about the inspiration behind it's dark atmospherics...

"Since the beginning of human existence, mankind has obsessed with creating perfection, but the flesh will always remain flawed. We now live in an era where we can selectively post on social media and create an idealised version of ourselves to present to the world. What if you could take that one step further? What if you could be the perfect version of yourself? Take a full body image scan of yourself at your favourite age and transplant all your favourite memories into a perfect Avatar of one's self. Sounds crazy but all of this is around the corner and things are about to speed up."

Oh yes, forget your traditional ideology, this is a band with big ideas and even bigger imaginations. The band agreed to answer the now infamous "Introducing" questionnaire, the answers of which you can read below. Have a read and then check them out, you won't be disappointed.

1. What is your favourite album and why?

Hard to say one, but... Ministry - Twitch was definitely a starting point for our new record. We listened to that record a bunch on tour it's such a killer weird experimental record. It rides a weird line between new wave, dark pop and early industrial dance.

2. What is your least favourite album and why?

I'm not a hater but if a another person tells me how good the new Justin Bieber is I'm gonna lose my shit. Gotta handed it to there PR team for re branding him to appeal to art school indie kids.

3. What made you start making music together?

I sucked at sports

4. Right now, what are you most looking forward to?

New record, new videos and getting back on tour. It's cool to see it begin to unfold

5. Favourite swear word?

You can never go wrong with Fuck

6. Do you have a favourite inspirational Quote?

There is no substitute for hard work - Thomas Edison

7. Do you have a favourite Kanye West Quote?

Here's a good one that I just Googled. If you have the opportunity to play this game of life you need to appreciate every moment. a lot of people don't appreciate the moment until it's passed.

8. If you weren't in a band, what profession would you like to attempt and why?

I already do post effects, composting and editing for TV and Film. Music isn't exactly a cash cow in 2016

9. What profession would you not like to attempt and why?

Telemarketing, Street marketing would suck hard I think.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

Fuk bud

On Repeat: April 2016

Manchester Orchestra - Cope

It's the end of April and it's been pretty quiet on this here blog. I'm blaming a healthy balance of work, coming down ill for a couple weeks and failing to take the many opportunities to sit down and actually write something.

To ease myself back into this lark, I thought I'd jot down a few tracks I've had on repeat this past month, some old, some new.

So without any further delay let's crack on.

Manchester Orchestra - All I Really Wanted

A bit of full throttle American alt rock from 2013, Manchester Orchestra are so good they compelled Simon Neil from Biffy Clyro to write his very own glowing review of their fourth album Cope.

"With a sound reminiscent of Pinkerton-era Weezer, heard through the ears of your bearded and stoned older brother, this album contains both splurge-gun riffs and heart-aching melodies. “Every Stone” passes in a glorious flash, as do many of these songs, but they refuse to leave the brain for days."

Right on. I couldn't of put it better myself.

Father John Misty - Strange Encounter

Bluesy-folk enigma J. Tillman AKA Father John Misty is still something of a cult figure here in the UK. That's soon to change of course, it's only a matter of time when he releases songs like Strange Encounter. With cinematic strings accompanied by that classic blues vocal, it's four and a bit minutes of pure escapism.

The Last Shadow Puppets - Sweet Dreams TN

Speaking of cinematic scores and escapist atmospherics, The Last Shadow Puppets have well and truly returned. Alex Turner and Miles Kane have done a fine job of once again creating tracks which ooze grandeur, sparking images of desert landscapes presented in IMAX widescreen. No track does this more so than Sweet Dreams TN, an acoustic led call to arms which is an absolute joy.

Prince - When Doves Cry

2016 has been pretty brutal in terms of musical legends passing away. There's nothing more to say about the passing of Prince, gone far too soon he will be sorely missed. He leaves with us a wealth of musical riches, one track of which is When Doves Cry. A classic.

Deftones - Hearts/Wires

The heavy/quiet dynamic Deftones are famous for has been practiced to the nth degree on new album Gore. Critics are calling it one of their best ever, which has me excited. Unfortunately I haven't caught up with the full album yet, but if Hearts/Wires is anything to go by, things are looking good.

PAWS - No Grace/ Gone So Long

PAWS have been teasing their forthcoming album for sometime now. No Grace was the first taste of the album they showcased  featuring their new Mark Hoppus produced sound and it was great. However it wasn't until Gone So Long emerged that I got really excited. It's the same intensity displayed in previous PAWS albums, but with an added pop punk gloss that elevates the entire sound to a new plateau.

And like countless other classic tunes, they don't over stay their welcome. Get ready to hammer that replay button.

Weezer Live @ Brixton Academy 05/04/16 (Fever Review)

Just a slight disclaimer before you read any further. I was very ill at this gig and as a result may not be the best person to document what accurately happened...nevertheless let's give this a whirl.

Weezer hardly ever play in the UK, it was five years since they last played a London show and are not expected to return to these shores (bar the odd festival appearance) for years now. Having just released their tenth studio album, the band were ready to play some of their new tracks in front of a live audience as well as some old classics.

As is usually the way, the band start off with some new material, California Kids, a rock pop stomper in keeping with the sound of the "White Album" which consequently sounds like an aged version of the "Blue Album".

The venue was unusually hot that night, it was a sold out show so a capacity crowd, but god damn...anyway sorry we're off topic.

We get our first taste of classics in the form of My Name is Jonas and Hash Pipe, a double barrel that frankly levels the academy. At their best Weezer really are untouchable, they have rock bangers to spare and play them at a volume that makes the walls bleed.

Once the crowd jumping has subsided, the temperature has hit an all new level, I'm looking around to see if anyone else is troubled by this oven like temperature, but they don't seem to mind. I manage to make it through Back to Shack before retreating to the bar for a glass of water.

Water is annoyingly expensive, £2.50 for a bottle! Turns out you could have gotten tap water for free, but the bar staff assumed I wanted the expensive bottled stuff...which is nice of them.

Back to the gig and the band are rocking out to El Scorcho, which is extremely fitting considering the sauna like heat I'm standing in. Once again the crowd are going nuts, Pinkerton always was a cult classic of an album and the ovation this track receives proves the love for it is not going away.

Things start to get a bit wavy around this point, the band play The British Are Coming which doesn't go down well before launching into Pork and Beans which features a Spandau Ballet interlude and confirms that I must be losing my mind because of the heat.

By the time Do You Want to Get High? rolls around I'm in full on meltdown mode...not helped by the copious amounts of weed smoke slowly making its way through the academy.

I retreat for some more water, forgetting to make sure it's tap and lose another £2.50 for something I could literally have gone to the bathroom for.

Whilst this daylight robbery is going on the band have run through some more new tracks before breaking into one of their biggest hits Say it Ain't So. It's a track which incites one of the loudest singalong's of the night and breaks through my feverish blur and makes the world feel right again for three short minutes.

There are more highlights on the way, but are marred by the fact I've had to retreat to the back of the academy and watch from way back, out of fear I'll collapse otherwise. An appalling end to what I'm sure to a normal person was a great gig.

My first ill gig experience was not great, and I'd recommend anyone not feeling 100% to stay away from music venues altogether to avoid disappointment. Weezer, I'm sure we'll meet again and I promise to be fighting fit when that time comes.

Set list
California Kids
My Name Is Jonas
Hash Pipe
Back to the Shack
L.A. Girlz
El Scorcho
The British Are Coming
Pork and Beans
(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To
Do You Wanna Get High?
The Waste Land
Thank God for Girls
Say It Ain't So
The Good Life
You Gave Your Love to Me Softly
King of the World
Island in the Sun
Undone - The Sweater Song
Beverly Hills
Buddy Holly