Record Store Day 2017: Top Picks To Look Out For

Record Store Day 2017

It's Record Store Day on April 22nd! If you don't know what that is...well it's a day celebrating record stores. Pretty self explanatory, and in the age of the digital download, it's a nice nod to the sanctuaries of the physical format which rely upon music fans dedicated custom.

Artists always put out limited edition releases to celebrate the date, and 2017 is no exception. In fact 100s of artists have committed to putting out some new merchandise this year, and I've decided to support the cause and tell you all to GET DOWN TO A BLOODY RECORD STORE AND BUY THESE, YEAH?

The Cure's Greatest Hits & Acoustic Hits

Goth pop rock icons The Cure are releasing both their greatest hits and acoustic hits (which I can only assume is the greatest hits...but played acoustically) on vinyl. You should own the greatest hits already, but picking it up in alternate formats is always recommended.

Gerard Way - Into The Cave We Wander

Laid back, sleepy vibes from the former My Chemical Romance pairing of Gerard and Ray Tovo. This is brand new music from the guys, and is being released alongside another new track Pogi's Cavern, both of which were created to accompany the comic book series ‘CAVE CARSON HAS A CYBERNETIC EYE’.

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression Live at the Royal Albert Hall

How good does that sound? Well the rest of the concert sounds just as good, so go buy this. It features classic tracks such as the above, as well as cuts from Post Pop Depression, which was pretty great. And yes that's Josh Homme and Matt Helders up there with him, amongst other notable names.

The Lumineers - Seeds 1: Long Way Home and Angela

One of the more creative releases this year, this exclusive 10" inch vinyl shows the progression of two of the bands most popular tracks from their No.1 sophomore album Cleopatra (Angela and Long Way From Home) from initial demo, through recording to the live entity.

Placebo Feat. David Bowie - Without You I'm Nothing

This will be the first ever pressing of Without You I'm Nothing, the Placebo single featuring the vocals of David Bowie. Originally released in 1999 on CD only, it will be released for the first time on vinyl exclusively for Record Store Day 2017. A track which has only become more poignant with time.

Toto - Africa/Rosanna

Two massive 80's hits and it's being released on AFRICA SHAPED VINYL. So...well there's nothing else to say really. Interesting fact, a friend got married to a panpipe version of Africa. It was good.

Introducing: InTechnicolour

InTechnicolour Band

On this somewhat overcast Easter weekend, what better way to celebrate than with a slice of groove orientated stoner rock, compliments of Brighton-based quintet, InTechnicolour.

Comprised of members from the likes of Delta Sleep, LUO and The Physics House Band, here are a fully formed band of technically gifted musicians cutting loose and playing music that’s about as far removed from their day jobs as it’s possible to get, and doing it better than a good portion of their contemporaries.

New single Doomer features an explosive riff which evolves into a dark, hard rock rhythm reminiscent of Era Vulgaris Queens of the Stone Age, with it's complex song structures and melodic vocal delivery.

You can listen to the track below.

The band have previously been quoted as saying that they "literally have nothing to say about themselves", but they were kind enough to answer the now infamous introducing questionnaire.

They explain the beginnings of their journey into the world of music, the influences on them and their sound and recall an incident concerning a sought after album in a record shop in Lisbon.

You can read it in full below, enjoy. Oh and pick up their new single, yeah? It's out now.

1. What is your favourite album and why?

Dave: I'm really enjoying King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard at the moment, I stumbled across their album 'I'm in your mind Fuzz' on holiday in Lisbon. I walked into a really nice record shop (can't remember the name) and I asked the gentleman behind the counter what was playing on the turntable, he explained it was 'King Gizzard' and I asked if I could buy it. He then proceeded to tell me it was the only copy in the shop and he hadn't heard it all the way through yet... so I asked if I could buy it immediately and then left. I think he was a little annoyed...

Tobie: Mine has to be White Pony by Deftones. I grew up with that album consistently bouncing back into my mini disc player (yes I was THAT cool). Its got all the aspects of what I love about music rolled into one album. It's angry as fuck in places, in others is haunting and beautiful... it's just an awesome album from start to finish!

2. What is your least favourite album and why?

Tobie: I don't really have a 'least favourite' album. Lots of albums let me down and aren't as good as I was expecting them to be, but I cant say i've got a special reserved place in my head for the worst album of all time. Even St Anger had some redeeming features... only 1 or 2 though.

3. If you had to describe your music in three words, what would they be?

Dave: play.
Tobie: Loud as Fuck!

4. What made you start making music?

Dave: I grew up in a little village in the North East of England where, after the age of 12, there was literally nothing to do. But my path into music was definitely influenced by my father, he used to play guitar every night in the kitchen when I was trying to get to sleep.

At around 11 or 12 I went round my cousin's house and he had loads of Iron Maiden posters across his wall. A couple of weeks later he gave me all his Maiden, Megadeth and White Zombie CDs and I was hooked. From then on I started playing bass every night after school for about 5 hours, and now I'm trying to learn guitar properly...

Tobie: I won a singing scholarship when I was 10 to a private all boys choir school, which I promptly turned down as I was starting to discover my dads Skid Row and Ugly Kid Joe CD's. When I ditched the scholarship, I was pushed into being classically trained, 2 hour lessons twice a week with an ex army major turned singing teacher!

When I was stood learning how to control my diaphragm in a dated living room in Yorkshire, that's when I decided that instead of learning other peoples vocal lines it would be way more fun to start to make up some of my own. That's how it all started for me.

5. Favourite swear word?


6. If you could create a band from musicians (excluding yourselves) living or dead, who would you choose?

Tobie: For me, it would have to be Jon Bonham on drums, Bootsy on Bass and Stephen Carpenter of Deftones fame on guitar. Not sure how that little lot would work together but that's their problem to sort out.
Dave: Nick Oliveri (Bass), Stewart Copeland (Drums), Tom Waits (vocals) & All three guitarists from Cult of Luna

7. Obvious musical skills aside, do any of you have any secret talents?

Dave: It's the sort of thing you learn in the school playground when you're bored of playing cops n robbers, but I can burp the alphabet.

8. What is your favourite childhood TV show?

Dave: The Simpsons, it's a boring answer but its the best show out there.

9. If you weren't making music, what profession would you like to attempt and why?

Tobie: I would still be writing if I wasn't doing musical things. It just wouldn't be in stanza's and rhyme. Probably in thicker paragraphs with a little more obvious meaning to it. I couldn't do a career if it didn't involve me creating something. 

Dave: I'd quite like to be a carpenter.

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

Tobie: 'Eyy Up!' ... I'd love it if God was a Yorkshire man. 

Dave: Do you fancy having a couple of beers and listening to some Chicane?

You can catch the band at the following tour dates in May. (w/ The Physics House Band):

07/05 - Darwen, Sunbird Records
08/05 - Glasgow, The Hug and Pint
09/05 - Leeds, The Brudenell Social Club
10/05 - Bristol, The Fleece
11/05 - Brighton, The Haunt
12/05 - London, Kamio

New Music: Kendrick Lamar - HUMBLE.

Kendrick Lamar Humble video

If you're not a fan of Kendrick Lamar already, his new track which was released last Thursday might just tip the balance for you. HUMBLE. is a no nonsense straight up hit. With a hypnotic piano riff playing through out, it's aggressive and to the point.

Whilst stepping away from the live instrumentation of To Pimp a Butterfly, it manages to maintain that grandiose feel, despite treading on a more mainstream grounding.

Lyrically, it's up to his high standards, seemingly shouting down the loud mouths and show offs of the world, he asks them to "sit down, be humble". He also does his bit for the ladies expressing his distaste for the photoshop culture dominating the media nowadays. Which is nice, even if the way he does it is a little crude.

“I’m so fucking sick and tired of the Photoshop/Show me something natural like afro on Richard Pryor/Show me something natural like ass with some stretch marks”.

After declaring himself the greatest rapper alive on The Heart Part IV, he pretty much solidifies the claim with this track. And let's not forget to mention the video, which has got critics pawning over its art direction. He appears as "The Young Pope" sets fire to his hair and shows off his golf swing...all in one video!

If nothing else, that's worth a viewing. You can take a look at the video below.

New Music: Gorillaz - Saturnz Barz

Gorillaz Saturnz Barz

Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett's virtual band Gorillaz returned this week with four new tracks from their forthcoming album Humanz. They're entitled Andromeda, We Got The Power, Ascension and my personal favourite of the lot Saturnz Barz.

It's the groups first release in six years, and apparently includes a whole host of guest features. Not just any guest features mind, superstars. Some of the names rumoured include Grace Jones, De La Soul, Danny Brown, Pusha T, Noel Gallagher and Vince Staples.

This is part of what makes Gorillaz so great, the ability to welcome in a entire roster of musical guests from the entire spectrum of the sonic landscape. Which reminds should really watch this video on deconstructing genre by Youtuber KaptainKristian. It's good stuff.

Anyway back to the best song of the recent release! Saturnz Barz features Popcaan, a dancehall general over in Jamaica who lays down the vocals in this track, which goes together just brilliantly against the backdrop of heavy sub-bass which will have your ribcage rattling.

Add to that concoction Albarn's vocals in the chorus and the creepy synthesizers and you have yourselves one hell of a return. 

As if all that wasn't enough, it's also accompanied by stunning visuals, which is now the standard for Gorillaz. After all, a virtual band needs to be pretty good...virtually. The music video sees the band wander around a haunted house before being transported into deep space. Standard procedure.

All in all, Saturnz Barz is up there as one of the best things Gorillaz have done and should be added to your playlist immediately. New album Humanz is released on the 28th of April.

You can watch the video for Saturnz Barz below. 


Album Review: Pulled Apart By Horses - The Haze

Pulled Apart By Horses The Haze

"We wanted to get back to the spontaneity of the first record, to just hang out and have fun and see what happened."

Three years on and with a new drummer in tow, Leeds rockers Pulled Apart By Horses have released their fourth record entitled The Haze. With the ambition of re-discovering the spontaneity of their first record, as well as pushing themselves in new directions, it's an exciting time in the bands career. 

As it turns out, The Haze is the logical next step in this bands progression. With the release of Blood, PABH had found a happy home in the world of rhythm, slowing down the non stop frenetic tempo of their first two releases, and introducing some groove to proceedings. It gave the band a new lease of life, they became PABH 2.0 if you will.

If Blood was about re-invention, The Haze is about progression. The band have struck a bridge between the break neck antics of Some Mothers and the rock n roll vibes of Medium Rare. The result, is a superior album than the last, which adds twelve solid tracks to the bands ever increasing repetoire. 

Title track The Haze sets its intentions out from the get go. With thick guitars and a riff that will have hardened rockers nodding in appreciation, it combines the rough with the smooth to great effect. Next up is The Big What If which uses the same formula (but with the addition of a bigger chorus) and instantly relieves any worries that this album was not going to stack up.

Hotel Motivation shows what you can do with groove at a faster tempo, whilst Lamping highlights that...wait a minute? Can this band actually slow things down? Don't get me wrong, it's certainly not a ballad but it'll be enough to give gig goers a breather during their next live outing.

Elsewhere on the album there's more high speed groove (Flash Lads) as well as some dark moments (Evil Twin) that encapsulate nicely what PABH have to offer in 2017. Gone are the self-titled days of non-sensical song structures, and tracks about high fiving (which is a shame to be fair) but in it's place stand a band with attitude and serious ambition. 

The Haze is available to purchase now.

Introducing: Faux

Faux Hot Headed

It's been a while since we featured some straight up pop rock on this here blog. Too long in fact, too god damn long. So it's a pleasure to introduce you to UK four piece Faux.

Hailing from Southampton, the band released a four track EP last year and are about to join Counterfeit on their UK tour this April. They've also just released a brand new video for stand out track Hot Headed, which features a couple of vocal melodies that you won't be able to shake off easily.

“Hot Headed combines our love of intricate musicianship and pop melodies; lyrically it explores the struggle of big personalities in small tight friendship groups."

Singer Lee Male was kind enough to answer the now infamous introducing questionnaire below. He proclaims his love (and hatred) for Brand New as well as progressively becoming less coherent as the questions go on. Rock n roll ain't an easy gig though, so we'll let him off.

1. What is your favourite album and why?

Deja Entendu by Brand New, purely because it was the first album that I really felt was a single piece, not just a collection of songs.

2. What is your least favourite album and why?

Deja Entendu by Brand New, I've listened to it too much.

3. If you had to describe your music in three words, what would they be?

Indie. Pop. Emo.

4. What made you start making music?

I think just the idea of being creative with friends sounded really appealing, I went straight from being a bedroom guitarist to being in a punk band that only played originals so I didn't do the whole Green Day/Blink 182 covers band that most kids got to have fun with but maybe it's not too late?

5. Favourite swear word?

I'm going to have to go with shit.

6. If you could create a band from musicians (excluding yourselves) living or dead, who would you choose?

Me on lead Theremin, Elvis on Hornucopian dronepipe, Prince on Sharpsichord, Kurt Cobain on Cross-Grainger Kangaroo-Pouch Tone-Tool and The guy on second violin from the titanic on Drums.

7. Obvious musical skills aside, do any of you have any secret talents?

James is really good at looking like Ron Weasley oh and Luke can strawpedo a bottle of red wine.

8. What is your favourite childhood TV show?

Kenan and Kel for sure! Iiiiiiiii put the screeeeeeeew in the tuna!

9. If you weren't making music, what profession would you like to attempt and why?

I would like to be the Tri-Wizard champion, I know that it would be a very risky career path as the competition is strong and you only get one real shot but I feel the eternal glory our weighs that.

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

Everything you can see is made of garlic bread.

You can catch Faux live on the following dates:

18.4 – Leeds, Key Club
19.4 – Manchester, Academy 3
20.4 – Newcastle, O2 Academy 2
21.4 – Glasgow, Stereo
22.4 – Nottingham, Rock City Basement
23.4 – Birmingham, O2 Academy 3
25.4 – Bristol, Fleece
26.4 – London, Underworld
28.4 – Teddy Rocks Festival, Dorset
28.4 – Southampton, Joiners
29.4 – Brighton, Haunt

Sunday Night Ponderings: Linkin Park - Heavy

Linkin Park Heavy

When does re-invention start to hinder a band, rather than help one? This is a question that crops up every time a well loved artist takes a walk on the wild side, and decides to shake off an older image of themselves and hit fans with a brand new side of their musical repetoire. 

One band who have had to do this more than most is Linkin Park.

Starting out as nu-metal poster boys, they transitioned into a more straight up arena rock act with third album Minutes to Midnight, before playing around with electronics a bit (A Thousand Suns) and collaborating with EDM and dubstep artists "which was the style at the time" on Living Things, or more accurately it's companion Recharged.

However it has to be said, these flirtations seem restrained in comparison with their latest foray into R&B and pop with new single Heavy

Straight off the bat, it's not a bad song, but, and here is where things get a bit more complicated, is it a Linkin Park song?

That's a silly question, because yes it is... well technically. The band wrote it, so...who else's was it going to be? Justin Timberlake's? Of course not, plus it's not really his style...but then again, it's not really Linkin Park's style, so whats going on here?

In a sense, it's a question of branding (bear with me here) imagine if Pepsi started selling jeans. Now don't get me wrong, these are nice jeans, in fact in comparison with a lot of other jeans, they were better. Nicer material, fine stitching and the colour doesn't fade after a few washes. A solid product.

But...would you buy these jeans? Or would you look for an established provider of denim based products to fulfil these needs, because quite frankly, it's a bit strange for a soft drinks brand to start producing leg wear. 

Moving away from that slightly tortured metaphor, there's also the fanbase issue. Rock fans are a notoriously tribal breed. They're not as tribal as metal fans (death to all but metal and all that jazz...or metal) but they're still for the most part anti-pop. So does it make sense to release a track that is going to alienate your core demographic? 

In a way I have respect for Mike Shinoda and the gang for just saying "fuck it, we like it" and saying nothing more. After all, art should have no boundaries, right? Don't stay in your lane, do something different, go crazy!

However, I do think it may have been better released as part of a Fort Minor-esque side project, maybe this could have been Chester Bennington's first single as a solo artist?

Jamie Lenman once said in an interview that he played a record producer the Reuben track Freddy Kreuger and asked for his thoughts. He turned to him and said...

"Kid, that's a great song, just not for this band."

I just want the band to be happy. That's all. I want them to be able to play what they want on stage and not have the fear of people shouting "PLAY ONE STEP CLOSER" incessantly. 

You do you, guys. You do you.