New Music: Rolo Tomassi - Aftermath

Rolo Tomassi Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It

Sheffield math metallers Rolo Tomassi are back, not in pog form, but in a form that even the most ardent fan might not anticipate.

New single Aftermath is a soaring uplifting affair, which showcases Eva Spence's more tuneful vocal range, replacing the death growls which she is more synonymous for. Whats more, it also strips back the math rock approach, replacing the weird time signatures and breakdowns for a more traditional delivery, and guess what...they knock it out of the park.

In contrast to previous songs slated for inclusion on fifth album Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It, its a real left turn, but then again Rolo Tomassi like to keep us guessing. In an interview with Clash Magazine, co vocalist and keys player James Spence revealed they had been trying to put together a song like Aftermath for some time.

"Whilst it may seem like a bit of a departure from the other singles we've released so far from this album, I feel like there has been hints to this melodic side to what we can do across our last few albums.

We really tried to push ourselves to the limit with what we can do as a group and I think this song demonstrates another persona we can take on, whilst still remaining true to what we do".

You can take a look at the video below, and you catch the band at the following dates!

Catch Rolo Tomassi at the following shows:

- 03/04 Glasgow Audio
- 04/04 Manchester Deaf Institute
- 05/04 Birmingham Asylum 2
- 06/04 Bristol The Exchange
- 07/04 London The Garage
- 08/04 Leeds Strangeforms Fest
PUP: Live @ London Shepherds Bush Empire 03/02/18

PUP Live 2018 Shepherds Bush Empire

Support bands get a bad rub of the green at times. For many concert goers, the main event is the only reason to turn up and so the other acts on the bill can be pushed aside, or worst yet ignored.

This is a short sighted strategy for music lovers, because everyones favourite band at some time or another was in that support slot paying their dues. That's just the way things are. So, why miss out on the chance of catching the next big thing, just because they haven't caught your attention yet?

Sometimes however, a bill is stacked with quality from start to finish. Last weekend, I was lucky enough to witness such a show in London. Headlining were punk staples The Menzingers and first on were Philadelphia trio Cayetana, but it was the second act on the bill that stole the show.

PUP were a tour de force at the Shepherds Bush Empire. Having released one of the albums of the year back in 2016 in the form of the brilliant The Dream is Over, this was the first time the band had graced UK shores in over a year, and with the album well and truly having found its audience within that time, the crowd were eager to see some of the hits in action.



From opener Doubts, the energy levels emitted from the Canadian four-piece were through the roof, crashing around on stage they immediately had the audience in the palm of their hands, inciting riotous scenes from both the moshpit and the balconies.

The bands older tracks get a lot of love tonight as well, Guilt Trip delights with its jagged underground lead riff, whilst Dark Days is the nights pop moment, although you wouldn't have thought it from the crowd reaction, who go absolutely ape shit during its run time.

Whilst their self-titled album tracks go down a trip, the second album delivers the nights most memorable moments. My Life is Over And I Couldn't Be Happier gets its harmonies delivered back at the band twice as loud, whilst Sleep in the Heat emits a chorus of woah-ohs from the crowd which carry on long after the track has ended.



The show ends with a string of four tracks which encapsulate the bands sound nicely. Familiar Patterns is an alt-rock anthem with a strong chorus and colossal ending and Old Wounds is a snarling punk monster, with lead singer Stefan going full rock star and stage diving into the throng of beings lapping up every note of this tune.

If This Tour Doesn't Kill You, Then I Will and DVP close out proceedings, the first inspiring a singalong detailing the not so happy feelings that life on the road can unfortunately inspire, the second giving everyone in attendance one last chance to dance before the curtain falls. An opportunity that is not wasted by anyone.

PUP aren't unknowns, and should have arguably been headlining this gig, so they aren't your atypical support band. However, this is still a lesson for anyone thinking of skipping out on bands lower down on a bill, because you could end up missing a classic.

#bestband

Setlist

1. Doubts
2. Back Against the Wall
3. My Life Is Over and I Couldn't Be Happier
4. Guilt Trip
5. Dark Days
6. Sleep in the Heat
7. The Coast
8. Reservoir
9. Familiar Patterns
10. Old Wounds
11. If This Tour Doesn't Kill You, I Will
12. DVP

*I did not take the above photograph. I got it off the bands Twitter page. If you'd like me to give credit, or take it down please let me know.
You Should Be Listening to...Marmozets: Major System Error

Marmozets Knowing What You Know Now

Say what you want about mainstream radio nowadays, but it does come up with the goods every now and then. Just the other day I was driving along minding my own business, when this slightly unhinged piece of alt goodness graced me with its presence on Radio 1. Big up Greg James.

I'm already a fan of Marmozets. I thought their debut offering was exciting and their comeback single Play had a great vibe about it. This track however is on another level.

Major System Error is a track with a pop foundation, which then heaps a whole host of alternative layers on top of it, resulting in a modern slice of rock goodness that sounds otherworldly compared to some of the more conventional sounds floating about.

There's a big chorus, a brilliant guitar tone (that is neither clean nor crunchy) and features a vocal performance from Rebecca Macintyre that really does steal the show. And the lyrics aren't bad either, filled with not so subtle nods towards the slightly worrying state of affairs the world currently finds itself embroiled in.

The bands second album Knowing What You Know Now is available THIS FRIDAY (January 26) on Roadrunner Records. I reckon its worth picking up.

There's nothing really more to say. Check out the video for Major System Error below.

 
The Top Five Albums Of 2017

The top five albums of 2017

It's almost tradition on this blog to post my album round-up unacceptably late...but I might be pushing it a little too far this time round.

Anyway, another year has been and gone! Plenty of stuff happened, good and bad, but more importantly some artists put out some pretty incredible bodies of work. So before we get into February comes around (when this whole thing would look more worrying than lazy) lets have a peruse through my top five albums of the year!

Starting with...

5.  Death From Above 1979 - Outrage! Is Now

Death From Above 1979 Outrage is Now

Having rejoined the alternate rock roster back in 2014 with the release of The Physical World, the death disco duo from Toronto Death From Above 1979 were quiet for around 12 months, and with the gap between their first and second records being 10 years, no one was really sure when we were going to hear some new music from them.

Luckily for us, the band weren't interested in radio silence for anything like the same amount of time and so Outrage! Is Now was born. Filled with melody, vicious riffs and alt rock bangers, it's pretty much wall to wall quality.


4. Vince Staples - Big Fish Theory


Vince Staples Big Fish Theory

Vince Staples marked 2017 with a record which defined him as one of the leading lights in US hip hop. Never short of a word to say or an opinion to share, Big Fish Theory takes Staples razor sharp commentary and layers it on top of an EDM/electronica enthused soundtrack.

Whilst on first listen, this record could be mistaken for a collection of club bangers, it's much more than that. To quote Pitchfork this album is like an art installation installed in a night club. Bleak lyrics and often dark themes are explored in an up tempo environment, which come together to create an incredibly effective and very enjoyable listen.

Come for the party, stay for the beauty.



3. Enter Shikari - The Spark

Enter Shikari The Spark

Enter Shikari
 have a certain formula to how they do things. When word came from the grapevine that this album was more "poppy" than the last, it was almost redundant, because this band operate on a different level.

Softer melodies and extended ideas are present, but in a format which will have rock and pop fans alike appreciating the craft behind these nine tracks. The Spark is arguably Shikari's finest work to date and is a gamble which has paid off in spades.

 The band have taken their fans into new and exciting waters, and instead of sinking under the expectations founded by their previous output, are succesfully surfing on a new wave creativity.

 
2. Sorority Noise - You're Not As _ As You Think


Sorority Noise You're not as as you think


The topic of mental health and depression has been discussed a lot this past year. The idea that as a society we may not be giving enough credence to the struggle these afflictions put people through seems to be finally sinking in, although we still have a long way to go.

Sorority Noise have never shied away from confronting the realities of living with mental health issues, lead singer Cameron Boucher lives with manic depression and is honest and open about the condition and what it can do.

You're Not As _ As You Think is the bands most open and candid record yet, detailing stories of death and addiction in a very raw way. Musically, the emo-alt sensibilities are still present, and whilst the overall tone of the record is understandably sad, the melodies and twin guitars inspire hope and remind the listener that no matter how tough things get, there is always a way forward.



1. Kendrick Lamar - Damn

Kendrick Lamar Damn

What do you do after releasing one of the most definitive hip hop records of all time? Not many people face a question like this, but Kendrick Lamar did after his seminal record To Pimp A Butterfly. His answer came in the form of Damn, an album which stripped away the funk/jazz sensibilities of its predecessor and installed his brand of social commentary across a more straight laced 2017 rap soundtrack.

Lamar doesn't waste any time getting down to business and, in the first three minutes confronts his own death, attacks the right wing drivel of Fox News and plays homage to his genetic heritage, proudly exclaiming "I've got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA".

If TPAB was Kendrick's rallying cry, Damn is his statement of intent. He's still here and it doesn't matter what tools you give him, the importance and intensity of his message will not be silenced. He already made an important record, and now he's made one which is radio friendly.


New Music: LA Priest - All I Want For Xmas Is Rock & Roll

LA Wise Man All I Want for Xmas is Rock and Roll

It's that time of year again! The most wonderful time of year, the season of good will, the bringer of joy to all men.

Christmas.

I'm a big fan of Christmas, and I have serious respect for anyone who can write a festive song which sounds new and exciting these days, after all, the framework has kind of been done. It's because of this reason that I've decided to write a post today.

Sam Eastgate or LA Priest as he is known within his new musical persona has put together a slice of fuzz laden festive frivolity, which is a nice change of pace to the seasons usual sleigh bell doused soundtrack.

Released under the more festive pseudonym LA Wise Man, this sub three minute blast of indie pop goodness starts off with a wall of bass, which doesn't exactly scream Christmas cheer. Give it a few moments though and Eastgate's silky vocals soon creep in and unveil a melody which is as cool as it is catchy.

This tune is very much suited for a more party/upbeat Christmas atmosphere, perhaps around 6pm after a few glasses of gin. Why not eh? Listen to All I Want for Xmas is Rock & Roll below!

 
Gorillaz:Live @ London O2 Arena 04/12/2017

Gorillaz O2 Poster

The most famous (if not the only) animated band Gorillaz strode into London this Monday past, and brought with them a technicolour musical experience which was quite frankly, an assault (a nice one) on the senses.

Damon Albarn and James Hewletts' cartoon creations have become icons in their own right, and as such a performance befitting of their name is one that needs to carry some considerable weight behind it. Whilst touring their third album Plastic Beach a few years back, the tour had an almost world music/jazz vibe to proceedings. A myriad of influences all colliding into each other like a particularly volatile biological experiment.

This time round, Albarn and co have opted for a much more rock n' roll/night on the lash vibe. As soon as M1 A1 kicks in with its Day of the Dead sample and heavy guitar filtering into the ear cavities of the crowd, it's clear this tours vibe is a far more heavyweight affair.

That's not to say the juxtaposition of musical genres isn't just as evident with tonights tour, it's just the tracklist seems to veer towards the heavier/dancier aspects of the bands catalogue. From the addictive groove of Rhinestone Eyes to the short sharp burst of the self explanatory Punk, to the reggae/trap influenced Saturnz Barz this is a setlist for people to get down.



It's also a night which proves just how big Damon Albarn's contact book is. Every other song it seems, a new musical star joins the band on stage, and with very little fanfare.Vince Staples injects a burst of Californian hip-hop energy on the brilliant Ascension, Shaun Ryder pops up for DARE and We Got The Power boasts not one but three big stars in the form of Jehnny Beth, Graham Coxon and old advisory Noel Gallagher.

Of all the guest stars however, it's upcoming grime prodigy Little Simz who impresses the most. Teaming up for the outstanding Garage Palace, she commands the 10,000 strong crowd as if it was the most natural thing in the world. One to watch for sure.


All in all, it's a night which ticks all the boxes. With every song being accompanied with show stopping visuals the band have managed to create a show which is a real feast for the senses. Add in some anthemic sing alongs and break neck hip hop tunes and voila, you get a Gorillaz show which those in attendance will not forget anytime soon.

Not bad for some cartoons, eh?

Setlist

1. M1 A1
2. Last Living Souls
3. Rhinestone Eyes
4.Tomorrow Comes Today
5. Every Planet We Reach Is Dead
6. Saturnz Barz
7. Charger feat. Pauline Black)
8. 19-2000
9. Superfast Jellyfish feat. Gruff Rhys and De La Soul
10. On Melancholy Hill
11. El MaƱana
12. Ascension feat. Vince Staples
13. Strobelite feat. Peven Everett
14. Andromeda feat. D.R.A.M.
15. Sex Murder Party feat. Jamie Principle and Zebra Katz
16. Sweepstakes feat. Mos Def and the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
17. Garage Palace feat. Little Simz
18. Punk
19. Broken feat. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
20. Let Me Out feat. Pusha T
21. Dirty Harry feat. Bootie Brown
22. Stylo feat. Mos Def and Peven Everett
23. Feel Good Inc. feat. De La Soul
24. We Got the Power feat. Jehnny Beth, Noel Gallagher and Graham Coxon
25. Hong Kong
26. Kids With Guns
27. DARE feat. Shaun Ryder and Roses Gabor
28. Clint Eastwood
29. Don't Get Lost in Heaven
30. Demon Days
And So I Watch You From Afar: Live @ KOKO London 23/11/17


For some bands, certain venues will hold more emotional weight behind them than others. For Northern Ireland's post-metal instrumentalists And So I Watch You From Afar, playing London's KOKO is a big deal.

"We used to read about KOKO in magazines growing up, so to play here tonight in front of you all, is unbelievable."

It's a beautiful venue, there's no disputing that, and as the band take to the stage in front of a baying crowd already whipped into a frenzy by support act (and bloody good one at that) Gallops, it feels like we're witnessing a moment.



And there are plenty of moments to witness in this set. With whirring guitars and arpeggios a plenty, it's a disorientating if not highly enjoyable affair. From the opening salvo of Search:Party:Animal to the anthemic BEAUTIFULUNIVERSEMASTERCHAMPION through to the audio assault of Wasps the crowd are dragged through soundscape after soundscape, the band stopping every so often to acknowledge how much they're enjoying the experience.

With new album The Endless Shimmering released a month ago, the new songs have had time to bed in with the fanbase and it's these new cuts which make a sizeable impact with the crowd. A Slow Unfolding of Wings and Dying Giants both go down a storm. You can't beat the oldies though, with the sing along to 7 Billion People All Alive At Once, sending shivers down the spine.


I'm a sucker for heavy guitars however so when Set Guitars To Kill comes around, I'm over joyed, and it's apparent I wasn't the only one. Pits, bouncing and head banging erupt and don't stop until the final chord has been rung. Where do they go from here? Well, by unleashing the best song in their arsenal the other worldly Eunoia/Big Thinks Do Remarkable. If you go away and listen to just one song from this band, I urge you for it to be that one.

By the time The Voiceless comes around and ends the show, KOKO is spent and so are ASIWYFA. It's been a night to remember, and as the band trudge of stage to the cheers of those in attendance an atmosphere of triumph lingers around the venue.

Until next time lads.

Setlist

1. Search:Party:Animal
2. S Is for Salamander
3. Like a Mouse
4. Terrors of Pleasure
5. BEAUTIFULUNIVERSEMASTERCHAMPION
6. Wasps
7. A Slow Unfolding of Wings
8. 7 Billion People All Alive at Once
9. Dying Giants
10. Don't Waste Time Doing Things You Hate
11. Marching Over the Coals
12. Set Guitars to Kill
13. Run Home
14. Eunoia
15. Big Thinks Do Remarkable
16. The Voiceless