Thursday, 22 June 2017

Review - Equinox - It's Hard To Be Happy When Your Head Is Full Of Sin

Equinox - It's Hard To Be Happy When Your Head Is Full Of Sin (Recordiau Prin)

DL / Ltd CD

26 June 2017


Review by Amy.

The debut album by Equinox is a collaborative effort which sees various artists, some familiar, some not so come together to produce a body a work greater than the sum of its parts.  There's some amazing talent onboard and one can only imagine how much organising the logistics of a project like this must have taken, but it just goes to prove what a labour of love this has been (and still is). 

The opening line on any album should set the entire work up, draw the listener in, even provoke them if you can,  'I know what I'm doing is wrong, but, I just can't help myself' is a bold statement and about as honest an exposition as you can get and begins a theme that continues throughout.   'It's Hard to be Happy when your Head is full of Sin' is a collection of poems that doesn't cover the world with the rose tinted filter we've all become so accustomed to, no, this is more likely to peel your eyes open to reveal the real, gritty world that really goes on around and amongst us, weaving it's truths - pretty or not - between our ears.   The listener is taken on a journey through the darker side of human nature, exposing not only the poet's innermost private thoughts but the listener's too - it's unsettling and that's what makes it so good.

The voice of Equinox is sincere, desperate, accusatory, resigned, self-loathing, raw, visceral,  spitting one minute then yearning to be noticed by his subject the next.  There's  a battle raging throughout all the pieces, tangible in places, almost like the poet is tussling with himself, never quite satisfied, always feeling like there's something more, always hungry, ready to devour anything including himself if it means he might get some peace or some kind of resolution.  This unsettled discontent will probably make the listener feel uneasy, it's something that will rattle around your head for days, this unknown voice that seems to know exactly who you are  -  there is a familiarity and warmth to the voice but you've been warned it will reach down into your soul and latch onto your very core with every sinewy finger it has, good luck shaking it loose.

 'Somebody Too' (featuring Rosie Bans) really stands out, the instrumentation lets the words breathe, luring you into a false sense of security by lurking quietly in the shadows before pouncing at you with an almost heartbreaking instrumental, it really captures the essence of what this project is about.   Vince Clarke provides an hypnotizing, daze inducing soundtrack to 'Goodnight Vienna' which makes it very difficult to move onto the next piece.   'Mule' is interesting, musically speaking it's the lightest sounding track on the album, almost trespassing on Shoegaze territory, however, don't let that fool you - those light fuzzy guitars meandering in the background provide  a stark contrast to the bitter and self-depreciative 'this stubborn old mule has nothing to give' line.

Overall, considering how many different artists and styles that feature on this album it still feels very cohesive.  This is an album of contradictions and of contrasts, whether that be the words of Equinox himself or the soundtracks that accompany them - some tracks are drenched in noise while some are barely noticeable. There are apocalyptic, mechanical almost verging on Krautrock riffs from Deux Furieuses one minute then a simple atmospheric piano provided by Will Harris the next - I could easily write a standalone review for every single track as they're all so different but, just trust me when I tell you to just listen to the damn thing and let it strip you of any previous conceptions you had of yourself - the profundity of the words/themes/subject matter will (or should) resonate with a lot of inner narratives.   Prepare to see yourself and the rest of the Human Race very differently.

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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Listen! - Analogue Electronic Whatever - Surf Radio

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Watch! - Man Forever Feat. Laurie Anderson - Twin Torches

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Listen! - Equinox - Goodnight Vienna (feat. Vince Clarke)

Equinox Bandcamp
Equinox Soundcloud
Equinox Twitter
Equinox Facebook

Very Records website
Very Records Twitter
Very Records Facebook

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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Review - Alison Moyet – Other

Alison Moyet – Other (Cooking Vinyl)

LP / Cassette / CD / DL

16 June 2017

8.5 / 10

Other is an extraordinary album even by Alison Moyet’s high standards.  Co-written with producer and songwriter Guy Sigworth (Bjork, Madonna, Goldie), the album sees her in several different styles all held together by the unmistakable voice and an ever present bass throb that pervades throughout.  It is fascinating straight from opener I Germinate, a deep-toned underpin which works superbly against Alison’s constantly scale moving voice.

Always energetic and lively each track stands out on its own merits, this could be some of her finest work to date.  Released two days before her 56th Birthday is displays an artist that has risen, fallen and climbed her way back up to the pinnacle once again.  Other is often faultless and not without her typically dry humour – is The English U really a reference to the grammar aficionado  or is there a deep routed tale hidden somewhere?  Either way, it weaves its way through some quite wonderful wordplay almost creating an instrument in itself with a backdrop of angelic harps – “I’m pretty sound with tenses, with when and which and whences”.

And does, Beautiful Gun hide have more euphemisms than you can wave a great big *ahem* at?  A guitar riff that screams out of the song like uncontrollable rifle rounds and pounding percussion akin to cannon fire.  Alison sings like the maestro that she is, truly a legend and most certainly one of the greatest voices that this nation has ever produced. 

Pop safety is a thing of the past.  Recent single Reassuring Pinches has a cold almost freezing feel surrounded in chilling triads and some nearly out of control synth squeaks and screeches.  It almost sees her experimenting bizarre and unconventional sounds pitted against her sublime enunciation.  The biggest surprise perhaps comes in the form of April 10th, a spoken word track with a wonderful ambient drone which sends the listener into a complete tailspin and wondering what direction will be next.

A lone piano accompanies on the haunting title track which is nothing short of stunning and Happy Giddy briefly reminds of her past with a nod in the direction of Yazoo’s State Farm – a no nonsense electro funk pop racer with some curious 70s disco jingles.  Intense drama closes the album with Alive, another heavy bass number with some gorgeous sweeping synths and cinematic flirtations.

Other isn’t just another safe album from a singer trying to re-ignite past glories.  Other is an adventurous collection from an artist seemingly getting better and better as years advance and one well capable of showing the new kids on the block a thing or two.  Other is quite often stunning in its simplicity and exhilarating in its complexity, and all the time offering moments of to take your breath away.

Published on Louder Than War 07/06/17 - here

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Sunday, 11 June 2017

Watch! - Golden Curtain - Amen

“It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too),” Charles Darwin once wrote, “that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”
Darwin may have had the origin of species in mind when he wrote this, but he might as well have been referring to the collaborative relationship between an indie rock band from New Zealand and a California poet.

After striking up a friendship with Hawkes Bay’s Golden Curtain around the time their debut album came out in 2011, Alex Green and Golden Curtain front man Andrew Mckenzie started collaborating via Skype on a truly transpacific musical endeavor.
The idea to work together came from Mckenzie, who was a fan of Green’s prose poem collection Emergency Anthems. “We had been talking in particular,” Mckenzie recalls, “about stuff that had been rejected by his publisher as being a bit too much. I suggested he send the rejects to me, and I could try to use the material as lyrics.”
Instead of sifting through b-sides, Green decided to write all new material that was intended solely for Golden Curtain’s fourth album. “It was a rush of material that came out,” Alex recalls. “And as soon as I finished one piece, I’d send it over to Andrew and he and the band would do the rest.” 

Pre-Order: Underwater Gospels

The result is Underwater Gospels, a hook-laden ten-song cycle that brings to mind the indie pop charm of The Clean and the dark swagger of Exile-era ‘Stones. Rounded out by one of the best rhythm sections in the business—drummer Andrew Gladstone (Garageland) and bassist Brad Gamble, Golden Curtain have never sounded more cohesive and vital.

Although the collaborative process was natural and effortless, Alex admits it was also a bit daunting. “Well, it was only daunting in that Golden Curtain had put out three perfect albums and I didn’t want to screw up their streak,” Alex recalls.

Underwater Gospels ’first single is “Amen” a soulful blast of handclaps, nautical basslines and hypnotic percussion. “I had been thinking of a bass that had a bit of distortion on the top end,” Mckenzie says, “and sending that top end into a stereo reverb, which is usually a no-no for the bass. But as we are a three piece, and the bass part is as important as the rest, I made it stand out a little more as a melodic part in all the tracks, taking up a little more of the guitar’s space, giving more drive. The drums and claps needed to be very roomy, so we used the room mics, plus reverb.”
As for how that song came about, Mckenzie recalls: “The lyrics to “Amen” arrived like all the rest, written up on the page like a novel. As per usual, I read it through and identified a meter I could accentuate and use in song form. Every sentence would be re formatted as a new line, so I used the 'Return' button each time, and then it was on to the music. In this case I had to write extra lyrics for the chorus, hence the title. Alex would never write, 'Can I get an Amen?'”

“Well, I might write, May I please have an Amen, kind sir?  Alex says.

Underwater Gospels out June 9th, 2017.


1. Heart Attack Summer
2. Sharks and Stars
3. Amen
4. Hi Fi Heart
5. I Changed My Mind
6. So Easy
7. Etc Etc
8. The Captain
9. Submarine Shadows
10. The Pier

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Watch! - Ragweed - Silver Spoon (feat Coco Deville)

After 8 self booked tours the band released their debut AA single Rust Box on Milky Bomb Records in November 2016, receiving mutual praise from radio stations and blogs alike. Their second single Silver Spoon sees the trio exploring a much darker, sleazy and dirty corner of their minds, even more so when you see what they've cooked up for the video - starring burlesque sensation Coco Deville.

Their sound defiantly caught Alan Douches of West Side Music’s attention over in New York, most famous for his work with Motor Head, Cancer Bats, Every Time I Die and Screaming Females. With his mastering of the band’s second single Silver SpoonRagweed have never sounded more powerful!
Whatever you may think you have heard before from this Punk-riff/Noise-pop trio - Ragweed, now mix a healthy dose of heavy riffs, beats and breaks; whilst adding rock grooves with a healthy watering of pop hooks. All this sprouting from the fertile soil of Brighton, UK and not forgetting, Silver Spoon has 2 followers… 3 tracks in total!

PRE-ORDER: Bandcamp: Ragweed Silver Spoon  ||  iTunes: Ragweed Silver Spoon

Tour Dates:

9th - The Prince Albert, Brighton (single launch)
16th - The Good Ship, London  (single launch + release date)
24th - Asylum, Chelmsford
25th - The Smokehouse, Ipswich
29th - The Lab, Northampton

1st - Sonder Fest, Manchester
2nd - Vault, Leicester
7th - Spice of Life, London
8th - Purple Turtle, Oxford
9th - Louisiana, Bristol
14th - The Cavendish Arms, London

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Listen! - Equinox - Kiss (feat. Feral Five)

Equinox Bandcamp
Equinox Soundcloud
Equinox Twitter
Equinox Facebook

Feral Five Soundcloud
Feral Five Twitter
Feral Five Facebook

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