Thursday, 31 May 2018

Review - All Hail Hyena – Cubs In The Wild







All Hail Hyena – Cubs In The Wild

Vinyl?

August 2018


Garage psych-rockers release their new EP.  Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.

Apparently, you can’t keep a good thing down and that’s certainly the case with Lancashire trio All Hail Hyena.  We’ve been here before on these pages – big things beckon for the tireless work that they seem to put into this project including new EP, Cubs In The Wild which they are currently crowdfunding for a limited release as a 12” vinyl.

Why are they rated?  Well, it’s pretty simple really, they represent power and aggression all sewn together with a sprinkling of bonkers and whole lotta love.  Fronted by Jay Stansfield, the man who brought you the stunning Birth And Death album, the acclaimed video for Kiss by Equinox feat Feral Five and Dripping Tap Song on ITVs This Morning, they have more energy than a Duracell battery and as much  make-up as a Japanese geisha girl.

Their new six track EP doesn’t disappoint.  A few songs you may have heard before and some you may not, Cubs In The Wild is indie, metal and grunge in one highly entertaining melting pot with the odd (and odd) foray into skilfully crafted pop.  Take Annuva Runaway for instance, it roars along at quite a pace, screaming vocals and a delightful mainstream bridge see it difficult not to love.  The same can be said for A Strangers Song where you are challenged not to “Ooh, Ooh, Ooh” along to.

Damp Detector makes a return after being the title track from their 2015 EP and rightly so, raucous guitar and perhaps uncomfortably perceived lyrics wrapped in a tune that is difficult to shake off.  Licky Licky stops and starts and rocks again (with added roll) with a title surely designed for maximum audience participation at live events and the delightful Doing Yr Dole Wrong is a masterful lesson in how to write beautifully constructed pop punk.

All Hail Hyena are going places make no mistake.  Cubs In The Wild can be pre-ordered here and it’s strongly suggested that you do, one day it will be a collector’s item.











Published on Louder Than War 27/05/18 - here









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Review - Poptone - Poptone





Poptone - Poptone (Cleopatra Records)

LP / CD / DL

8 June 2018


Review by Jay.

Opening up with a gritty, almost Edwyn Collins guitar grit and Rock n Roll vocal delay ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ is a simple, driving tune reminiscent of a slower Suicide. ‘This Is The Pops’ has an almost Devo vibe to it with it’s chorus-driven bass and scratty guitar sound and the rough and ready feel to it is really appealing. The production is really good with some fantastic stereo effects and ‘Mirror People’ has some banging drums on it. It could even be a Timpani from the sounds of it and it chugs along like a Krautrock version of Shakin Stevens or The Sweet if T-Rex were playing their songs.

‘Movement Of Fear’ opens with a spacey saxophone wonk-solo before slipping into a slidey bass riff covered in creepy vocals and isn’t too far from some of David Bowie’s later experimental works. ‘Happiness’ brings things back up to a groove again with its marching snare drum and crazy percussion and walking bass lines. It sounds a lot like Bananarama’s ‘It Aint What You Do (It’s The Way That You Do It)’ come to think of it.

The only word to describe this album is eclectic and ‘No Big Deal’ starts out like Tom Waits with its distorted, fuzzy bass and standard blues structure. There are even slight similarities to Robert Smith’s vocals from The Cure in places and it chops and clumps along like an overdriven monster, whereas ‘Lions’ sounds like Portishead turned into a Nintendo game soundtrack sung by The Zombies. It’s not the most cohesive album this year but that’s charming in many ways and with ‘Love Me’ sounding like the closest thing to a single (it even has a gong in it), then it’s worth wondering what track is coming next.

There are synths, millions of guitar fx, delayed vocals, crazy production and track by track surprises which make this a great album to listen to if not just for the unexpected twists and turns it presents. Definitely worth a listen for those who enjoy cluntering, gritty, experimental pop music with distortion everywhere.











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Listen! - Martin Stephenson - Slaughterman









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Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Watch! - AMMAR 808 - Boganga & Sandia (feat. Mehdi Nassouli)







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Listen! - Nat Lyon - Mouse Trap







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Listen! - Benjamin Mason - A Residue Of The Great Computer Crash







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Listen! - Samba Toure - Yerfara









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Listen! - Breek - Oiwa (Massive Remix)








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Sunday, 27 May 2018

Listen! - Xqui - Paid










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Listen! - Lucy Mason - High And Dry









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Listen! - Edwin Organ - Royal Rumble









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Friday, 25 May 2018

Review - John Foxx – Metamatic Deluxe Edition








John Foxx – Metamatic Deluxe Edition – (MetamaticRecords)

CD / DL

25 May 2018


Pioneering synthesizer exponent re-releases his debut solo album. 

The beginnings of John Foxx’ musical career are well-documented.  A former member of the group Tiger Lily that would eventually morph into Ultravox (Ultravox!), John has been often cited as an influence on mainstream synth music for almost forty years.  Clearly a major inspiration on the vocal style of Gary Numan and with obvious parallels made to Kraftwerk (which synth act doesn’t?), his debut album has been re-packaged at a three disc, forty-nine track compilation almost forty years after its original release in 1980.
Make no mistake, Metamatic sounds dated and very much so in places but, given the advancing technology in its genre it is hardly surprising.  What it does show is a distinct ear for sound, experimenting and ultimately writing songs which had the ability to be commercial successes.  European hitchhiking in his late teens clearly left its mark as several tracks referenced automobiles and transport – Underpass, No-One Driving and Burning Car - and cultural references from France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Yugoslavia combined in his attempt to create a parallel future.
At the time, Metamatic was astonishing.  It fused the previously underground sound of electronic music from the likes of Cabaret Voltaire, pre-fame Human League and The Normal with chart potential via almost minimalist tracks which resulted from six-track recordings creating a sparse almost dystopian end product.
The album’s first single, Underpass is style commonly regarded as one of the most iconic of the synthesizer movement.  Robotic vocals and memorable electro strapline it also contains a sound not dissimilar to one used by Ultravox on their 1981 hit All Stood Still, not the first time that each other’s music had been ‘plagiarised’ with He’s A Liquid and Touch And Go previously being performed by John at Ultravox shows and the latter being adapted for Mr X on the Vienna album.
Opening with Plaza, the track contains sweeping synth sounds and light percussive accompaniment (a characteristic of the album) making it simple but addictive at the same time.  It creates an almost empty, echoing atmosphere filled with suspense and eerie proportion.  Underpass is grandiose in the extreme, a gripping bassline and single-word chorus of anthemic status, the track appears on many compilations of the era as a benchmark track.  For the teenagers of the early 80s it still holds special memories and significant importance in their musical upbringing.
Metal Beat holds an amount of irony as it feels anything but metallic, fluid in its feel it gurgles and reverbs with several interesting effects before giving way to No-One Driving, possibly the albums finest moment which is has a pure, classic sounding pop buzz.  Its perfect pop formula fused with enough originality to make it an especially memorable moment.  The album closes with Touch And Go, an almost unkeqsue  affair maybe akin to Cabaret Voltaire or A Certain Ratio in some respects – a funky, electro track which allows for blips and beeps to make it a catchy finale.
The bonus discs, maybe for Foxx purists, contain several b-sides, edits and alternative versions as well as non-album single Burning Car, whilst disc 3 concentrates on unreleased instrumentals from the Metamatic period which were ‘lost’, named and compiled to sound intentionally or not, like a movie soundtrack.  Some of it is crude but does hold a certain affectionate charm and interest to be able to stand by itself as a worthy Foxx collection.

In summary, Metamatic is a must for all electro connoisseurs.  It stakes its claim as an early landmark in the genre and whilst it has since been overtaken in sound by continuing leaps in technology (of which Foxx is still at the forefront), it will remain a reference point for many a year to come.











Published on Louder Than War 20/05/18 - here










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Thursday, 24 May 2018

Listen! - Qrauer - Mulchen









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Watch! - Liars - Liquorice









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Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Review - Near Future - Ideal Home




Near Future - Ideal Home (Blanc Check Records)

LP / CD / DL

25 May 2018


Review by Mikey.



From the deft and electronically assured minds of Bernholz and Neil Arthur comes Ideal Home,a sharp and sparkling album of futuristic beauty.Or is it a darkly horrific analysis of the shape of things to come for the human race?

The opening and title title Ideal Home begins with a quite unnerving and searing note.The lyrics are as unsettling,asking at one point, "Should I be full of regret for wanting things I do not have?" Clearly a question that plenty of people ask themselves every day.

Near Future make us glance at ourselves in an inquisitive,almost unearthly way.It is like being analysed by a robot version of ourselves,coldly digging away at all of the little secrets that we bury deep within our souls.It is a sound that comes from the future and the past.Simple,minimal and brilliantly frightening.

Field This takes on the baton and retains a steady and disturbing rhythm of doom filled beats and haunting vocals.

The choice of samples and sound effects is stripped and perfect throughout this entire collection.They have not only made us look at ourselves but given us an insight into their hearts and minds too.It sounds familiar because it is.It is about us all.Everyone washes up.Everyone gets fed up.Everyone gets pegged down by the daily drudge.Everyone gets Overwhelmed.

There is a sonic lushness to Ideal Home.At times it is lyrically comforting while somehow managing to also be musically angular and cold.It reminds us what it is like to be warmly welcomed and harshly rejected at the same time.

It is an electronic masterpiece that reflects not only the state of the nation but where it seems to be heading.Near Future have wielded a huge mirror at humanity with this album,it is now up to us what we do next.

Neil Arthur's staunch and fluid voice is the blood flowing through Bernholz' machines.The pairing and tightness of this duo is inspired and sumptuous.

An Ideal Home is what we have been led to believe that we should be toiling for and Near Future have brought us a shining example of what we can attain if we wish to dedicate our lives to the machine of life.






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Published on Louder Than War 17/05/18 - here









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Listen! - Greetings Music Lover - Audio Documentary by Steve Urquhart









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