Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Musical Mathematics // Zine #5 Christmas Special // Pre-Order


For 50p you can pre-order our special Christmas issue, which comes free with an A3 screenprint of original artwork from Matt The Horse.

In the issue, we have Johnny Foreigner, This Town Needs Guns, Big Success, The James Cleaver Quintet, Cloudkicker, Michael Kiwanuka, Munroe Effect, Blacklisters, and many more. As usual, I also have my column, Free Music For All, with this particular one focusing on math pop.

You can pre-order it HERE.

It comes out on December 19th. Put that in your calendars, people.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Album Review // Tubelord - Romance

After almost exactly two years since their quite excellent debut album, Our First American Friends, Tubelord are now releasing their long awaited follow-up under the Big Scary Monsters/Holy Roar/Blood & Biscuits record label collective, Pink Mist. 

As was hinted in their Tezcatlipoca EP, this was never going to be OFAF Mark II. They’ve moved from a math rock, Biffy Clyro-esque, ‘pop song for rock kids’ sound to a more indie math-pop vibe, a change brought about mostly by the addition of James Elliot Field on synths/keyboard. Nowhere is this more evident than ‘4t3’, a guitar-free, synth-dominated affair that plods along with quirky grace. 

Read the rest of my review of the album on Musical Mathematics, with links to buy the album. 
This review is from the print edition (zine #4) of Musical Mathematics

Friday, December 2, 2011

Review: Dad Rocks! - Mount Modern

You know that feeling when an album you've been waiting so eagerly for the past few months for actually turns out to be utter crap? Well, that feeling can go suck a line of asses because that's not what happened with Mount Modern, the debut album of Snaevar Njall Albertsson (Mimas frontman) under the moniker of Dad Rocks! [Read my interview with him HERE]

At the core of it, Mount Modern retains many of the traits that make Digital Age the successful record it was: the cynical, ironic lyrics, the light-hearted yet slightly mournful music, and the earnest yet incredibly thoughtful tone the whole thing is packaged in. While his Digital Age EP was an absolutely wonderful piece of work with instant classics such as the incredibly titled Aroused By Hair and the cynical yet superb Kids, Mount Modern is several steps forward in Albertsson's maturity as a songwriter. Mount Modern dwarfs Digital Age with its depth and songcraft.

It is less of a lo-fi offering than his EP, with a myriad of instruments complementing his intriguingly idiosyncratic fingerpicking style. Mount Modern attempts to pose questions and tricks you into giving some thought into the grievances he brings up, when all you probably wanted was to listen to an acoustically-led album to spend your lazy weekend with. 

Dad Rocks!'s songs are sunny days that come along when the world is slowly going to shit. It works as well when you're having a lovely cup of hot chocolate and there is a thunderstorm outside as it does when you're having a picnic at the beach while warships and battleships occupy the horizon.

Mount Modern is without question the album of the year so far, in my honest opinion. Every listen only convinces me more and more of this. It will take an absolutely special record to come out in December to topple Mount Modern off its high pedestal.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Review: Ornament Tournaments - Tacheles

Ornament Tournaments, with an excellent name which rolls off the tongue, have released their debut album Tacheles, and it’s a corker of of an introduction to the three-piece from Horsham. Last month I interviewed the band, talking about the album, the band, and all sorts of other good stuff. You can read the interview here

The record starts with ‘Crab Face’, which is reminiscent of melodic punk bands such as The Attika State and Grown Ups. This is true for most of the album, with jangly, twinkly guitars aplenty and math pop playing a heavy influence in their sound. ‘Flower’, which was previously an exclusive download from Musical Mathematics, is a familiar favourite. The extra instrumentation on the song adds welcome depth to what is arguably the best song of the record.

Then we move on to ‘Bungee Scream’, which - suggested by its title - starts with a bang, and then as quickly slows down and vocal harmonies come into play. This is before it erupts into a gang-vocal, riff-tastic segment interjected by the classic ‘parappa’ moment, and then concluded with syncopated riffs and glockenspiels.

‘Brass Buttons’ goes for a different approach, with a more conventional alt pop rock sound. Keep in mind that when I say ‘conventional’ here, I mean it in a relative sense compared to the other songs. ‘Avoid it’ slows the pace down slightly with its vocal harmonies and alternating quiet-loud-quiet structure. 

Title song ‘Tacheles’ is surprisingly not representative of the whole album. It’s a fine, slow-burning instrumental piece that’s maybe too short for its own good, and probably would’ve served better as an introduction or a closer. I would love to hear this song fleshed out more, because it deserves its own explosive climax.

Alas, ‘Tacheles’ is not a closer, ‘Alas’ is. At five minutes and seven seconds, it’s by far the longest in the album, and it uses that length well. Meandering guitars, driving basslines, tight drumming and woo-ohs are put to excellent use. 

Tacheles by ornamenttournaments

It’s an excellent record, and at ₤3, is an absolute bargain. Get it, listen to it, love it. I know I did.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Musical Mathematics // Review// Yes We Canada - ‘Hector Oswald’

I was pretty gutted when Folkstone’s finest, Elephants, decided to call it a day. So imagine my delight that certain members would be teaming up with ex-members of another animal band (Wolves). So what do you get when you breed an elephant with a wolf? What, you don’t think it’s possible? Oh you skeptic, hear us exclaim in unison; indeed it is possible. Indeed, Yes We Canada.

How’s that for a long-winded, totally unnecessary introduction? Anyway let’s move forward, forget that atrocious piece of writing and listen to Yes We Canada’s new single, Hector Oswald.

Read the rest of my review and the link to listen and buy on Musical Mathematics.

Musical Mathematics // Review // Ed Wood Jr - ‘Silence’

Ed Wood Jr was a man who became a cult figure, not because he was a great director or writer, but because he was so utterly shite at what he thinks he does best. But what does this have in common with his French duo namesake? Not a whole lot, as I can tell.

‘Silence’, their upcoming EP, is an exercise in loops, syncopated rhythms, samples and some fine drumming that drives the whole experience forward. Maybe I can blag it and say that the layered rhythms and use of samples are reminiscent of Wood’s recycling of footage, sometimes creating jarring, stuttered stories that made little sense to anyone but himself. Sure, that sounds credible. And it might even be true. But unlike his films, the Lille duo has actually created something rather competent.

Read the rest of my review and the link to buy the LP on Musical Mathematics.

Musical Mathematics // EP Review// Bombers - ‘Film Fanatic’

Bombers. What an apt name. They come, they drop a bomb on you, and they’re gone. With songs that range from 1.30 to 2.30, you can listen to the whole EP in your fag break. Post-punk with a pinch of Art Brut-ish indie, it combines a frenetic sound with witty, dark lyrics sung with devil-may-care vocals. These Brummies rely on a very rate of high hooks per minute to pull you in into their sweaty brand of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it doom punk.

Read the rest of my review and the link to buy the EP on Musical Mathematics.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Musical Mathematics // Review // NGOD - Bait Head

Musical Mathematics favourites NGOD have come out with their brand new single ‘Bait Head’, and it’s a corker. Made up of tracks ‘Probably Not’ and ‘Bait Head’, it’s an excellent alt pop rock offering reminiscent of the likes of The Xcerts and The Attika State.

‘Probably Not’ starts proceedings in fine fashion. It’s a wonderfully crafted track, so much so that you completely forget that it’s over 5 minutes long.

Read the rest of my review and find listen/purchase links on Musical Mathematics

Sunday, October 16, 2011

EP Review // LA2019 – ‘Deco’ // Musical Mathematics

What if, as food for thought, instead of Daft Punk we had Sigur Ros do the soundtrack for Tron: Legacy, or instead of Vangelis, we had a very synth-obsessed Explosions In The Sky soundtrack for Blade Runner? What’s that? You’ve been wondering the same thing too? Well, wonder no more, for LA2019’s Deco EP will satisfy that curiosity.

This EP debut from London-based producer and multi-instrumentalist Tom Skyrme is ambitious in its scope, with its far-reaching, cinematic songs basking in memories of when 80’s electronica ruled supreme. The most obvious influence here is the aforementioned Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis, even down to the name (referring to the film setting, Los Angeles in 2019).

Read the rest of my review on Musical Mathematics.

This review was taken from Musical Mathematics Zine #3. Buy it HERE.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Interview: Ornament Tournaments: Christmas Trees, Omnichords, & Scandinavian Math

Not too far in the recent past, Musical Mathematics released Ornament Tournaments's Flower as a free download. Tacheles, of which Flower is a part of, is Ornament Tournaments's debut album, released last month. It's an excellent first effort, with math and pop rock influences driving the whole record (review coming soon). A recommended buy, and at a mere ₤3, it's a bargain.

Ornament Tournaments have kindly granted us an exclusive interview, in which we discuss the album, future plans, and the origin of names.

I: First of all, what is an ornament tournament? Is it like some kind of Antique Roadshow deathmatch? If it’s not, what’s the story behind the name?

Joe: An antique roadshow deathmatch would almost be more easy to explain than the real story, but sadly that is not the case. In fact, on Boxing Day about 3 years ago, two of us were sitting round the Christmas tree and drinking brandy. Inevitably, someone got out a guitar and the improv which ensued was heavily influenced by the array of Christmas decorations (ornaments) and how they should have a fight (tournaments). It was stupid, but it's kind of poignant because it's the first time we were together and thought 'hell yeah, let's start a band'.

I: Do the three of you share the same tastes, or do you all listen to different types of music?

Joe: Musically, we've all come from pretty much the same place and grew up with the same kind of bands in our stereos.

John: Joe's into a lot of growly American bands like Bear vs Shark which is definitely an influence from his part. I'm quite into dance/electro artists which can only be a good thing for bass I guess. Dec's into The Saturdays, apparently.

I: How does that affect the way you write your music? Does it make easier or harder?

Joe:There's obviously loads of emo, math and trendy things like that which affect our sound, but I think we've ended up sounding up a lot more like the bands we were all in to a few years ago when we first started really listening to music. Reuben, Hundred Reason, old Biffy Clyro, etc. I think the fact we were all in to the same stuff makes it a lot easier to understand what the other one's thinking when we write now.

John: Yeah, definitely. We can give the most obscure explanations of an idea, something like 'nah that intro should have a wide sound but like actually quite narrow sounding', and we'll know exactly what each other's saying.

I: I see there’s been some controversy over a blog making your music available to download for free without your permission. Would you mind elaborating?

Joe: Basically, we came across a blog from the USA which had posted a few words about the album and we were really flattered that our music had met the ears of someone so far away. But we realised they'd pirated the record and had been hosting it for free. I kind of overreacted and sent them an email because we weren't the only band who they were doing this to, and the labels of the other bands would probably be even less pleased than we were. They chose to post the email we'd sent to them on their message board and lots of people said very mean things about us. We retaliated via social media, and the whole thing just got kind of out of hand and childish. We did some damage control and made our apologies for dealing with the situtation so badly.

John: What was most frustrating was that we were obviously happy to get mention from a blog across the pond, and so wanted to reblog it etc, but how could we give a link that gave our release for free when we'd been advertising it for a small price to the same people. It was went about in the wrong way for sure, but from the way the blog's reacted, they seem to have the wrong idea about the whole free music thing.

I: Carrying on from that, the internet has been both a blessing and a curse for bands. Does the good outweigh the bad, or vice versa?

Joe: I think it's an argument that I'll never be able to figure out on a personal level, but I think its helped us as a band particularly beyond measure. We live seperately in Plymouth, Sussex and Nottingham for most of the year and that makes the immediacy of that internet vital in keeping the band going. When the album was being recorded, I finished the lead vocals then left the country for a couple of months whilst Declan was already halfway through a 4-month round the world trip. Meanwhile, poor John and our wonderful producer Sam Hanlan were sat in a basement in Surrey playing harmonium and omnichord for days on end trying to get everything finished. I remember being sat on an island in Asia and sending feedback on the mixes back home, and this album most probably wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for the internet.

I: You’re a relatively new band (unless I’ve missed something). What’s been the hardest part of starting out in the business?

John: Well really we've been together for nearly 2 years, but this answers your question really; the hardest part is being together for long enough to progress. We've been separated by university and travels etc so that hindered the possibility of a proper release for a good while, and also it meant our gigs were spread far apart, meaning we werent nearly as tight as we should be and could be quite embarassing, really. We had a good run this summer though what with Tacheles and a few great gigs in a row.

I: What’s your view on the importance of record labels nowadays? Is there anyone in particular who you would love to sign for?

Joe: It certainly helps having people to promote stuff on your behalf to a bigger audience, but I think we're just as keen to get management or booking agency representation. The music business is so much bigger than pushing records, and it'd be awesome to get our name out there in other, more creative ways, so we'll probably be doing bolder things with our next release.

I: What’s the music scene like in Horsham? Do bands stop by there to play often?

Joe: It's strong but is very cyclical. When we were about 13, there were local gigs every weekend that were completely full of people of all ages just dancing like mad. It was an awesome time. I remember a show at the legendary Extra Time Bar of the local leisure centre which was headlined by Enter Shikari with Exit Ten as main support. Floors and Walls, Devil Sold His Soul and, more recently, People in Planes played pretty grotty venues to a couple of hundred local kids. At the moment, it's a lot more a 'family' scene with local music festivals and battle of the bands. It's all ridiculously well organised and the sound and crowd is usually great. We haven't had many biggers bands pop-in recently, but with local bands like Tied To The Mast getting signed and moving up, hopefully the town's time will come again!

I: What in the world is a Tacheles?

Joe: This is gonna sound outrageously pretentious, but when me and John were in Berlin, we stumbled across this department store which had been abandonded about 40 years ago. Squatters moved in and it became this international art house. There was a bunch of South American guys who lived in there and they let us play their instruments. Sam Hanlan (our good friend/producer/engineer) played drums and about 30 people stopped by in this room and listened to us jam for about half an hour. It was the most fun I've ever had with music and everything we do is now is sort of based around that kind of jam format, but in a very contrived kind of way. The arthouse at some point acquired the name 'Tacheles' which is a yiddish word meaning straight-talking. It seemed like an apt tribute to the venue which has now been taken over by commercial developers and a really great and pure thing has been lost (fuck the system and such).

John: There's that enigma gone. Hah, nah adding to what Joe said, a lot of things happened around that time that probably influenced the songs on the release. Tacheles just fitted well.

I: If there’s any band you could tour with, who would it be and why?

John: Some sort of Scandanavian math band who can drink you under the table and introduce you to the most beautiful women in the world. If not, maybe

I: What are your plans with regards to future releases? Any plans to re-release Tacheles on vinyl/CD?

Joe: We're thinking about recording an EP for release some point early next year, but that's still up in the air and dependent on when we can get in the same town for long enough to write and record a few songs. Perhaps release a split, but that's all pipe dreams right now. Tacheles will probably live as a digital release for the rest of time.

I: Favourite venue to play in/watch a band?

John: The Prince Albert, Brighton, hands down. We opened the Big Scary Monsters Xmas tour last year and although most people had come to see Tangled Hair and Tall Ships, everyone watched us openers, so we played to pretty much a full house. We're playing there in December supporting Look Mexico which we're so excited for. It has a great vibe. Spanky Van Dykes in Nottingham is probably the most aesthetically pleasing venue we've played, though. Seriously cool.

I: What’s been the best thing so far about being in a band?

John: Free beer and good times.

I: Describe Ornament Tournaments in three words.

OT: Choice, bonza, scramscram.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Musical Mathematics //EP Review// Living Commontree - ‘A Stone’s Throw Away From A Rock Fight’

In my desire to simplify everything, I have concluded that all post-rock bands are members of one or two schools of thought: the slow-burners, or the head-bangers. In the slow-burners camp, you’ve got the likes of Explosions In The Sky, Jeniferever and 65daysofstatic, and in the headbangers side, you’ve got …And So I Watch You From Afar and Talons. Whether you agree with this or not is irrelevant to the point I’m about to make: Living Commontree are more ASIYFA than Explosions In The Sky. Note: I should probably stop using these two bands as two opposite ends of the post-rock spectrum.

But there’s obviously more to it than that. Living Commontree’s ‘A Stone’s Throw Away From A Rock Fight’ is much like Adebisi Shank without all the fancy effects. They’ve got the punchiness, pace, playfulness and fun that’s everpresent in the Irish trio’s armada of material, and yes, this Mancunian outfit runs a pretty tight ship too. With only three songs on the EP, it’ll be quite a stretch to compare their quality to the likes of Adebisi Shank and Don Caballero, another influence of theirs.

Read the rest of the review, listen to the EP and get the link to download it from Musical Mathematics.

New Music Video Time: Talons - Impala

Talons's Hollow Realm was, in my opinion, the best album of 2010. Released on Big Scary Monsters in the UK and Topshelf Records in the US, it sounded like what the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse would listen to get themselves pumped up for their tasks at hand.

The video for Impala, directed by Frederick Lloyd, employs animal masks the band have been known to wear in live performances. The song is one of the best from the album, and though I would've liked to see more action in the video, it certainly gives off a creepy vibe.

One thing still puzzles me. Is Buff Orpington a real person, or did Talons just make him up? (see their songs Commisserations, Buff Orpington and The Tragic Decline Of Buff Orpington)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Album Review//Squarehead - ‘Yeah Nothing’ // Musical Mathematics

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not very knowledgeable on the recent revival of the American surf pop sound, influenced mainly by The Beach Boys, and spearheaded by the likes of The Drums. But from just listening to Irish three-piece Squarehead’s Yeah Nothing, I can only surmise that it’s a good thing.

Infectious rhythms, vocal harmonies and sing-along choruses are provided in very generous portions, with the overall effect akin to watching montages of attractive youths under the summer sun doing whatever it is attractive youths used to do in the sixties (play volleyball and adjust their bikinis all day, I believe).

Read the rest of the review on Musical Mathematics.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New Music Videos: Three Trapped Tigers - Reset / Tubelord - My First Castle

It's the Big T Music Video Weird-Off! Well, not exactly, but it easily could have been. Two of my favourite bands starting with the letter T have both come out with quirky videos that complement the songs they accompany perfectly. Three Trapped Tigers feature a surreal origin story of a Superman/prophet-like Matt Berry, and Tubelord has gone for a showcase of household items with a running text which sort of explains what the video is about.


Tubelord ≈ My First Castle from Sean Roy Parker on Vimeo.

Who's the winner? I'm leaning towards Three Trapped Tigers and Matt Berry. It's just so incredibly insane it works.

Free Downloads: Wake Me Up When All The September Cliches End

As per usual whenever I haven't posted in a while, I make a post apologising for my long absence and then I provide you with a list of legal free downloads for you all to greedily click away and listen without spending a dime AND being guilt-free about it.

Shapes - The Pasture, The Oil 

While Shapes's Monotony Chic is one of the best releases this year, let's not forget their excellent EP The Pasture, The Oil. Shapes is a noisemongerer of progressive hardcore, and The Pasture, The Oil is a fine showcase of that. Six tracks of heavy-as-you-like Brummy mathcore owing to the likes of Blakfish, Meet Me In St. Louis and Glassjaw, it was a bargain when you had to pay for it (the CD is just GBP 5.00), and it's completely unmissable as a free download.

Download Shapes's The Pasture, The Oil HERE.

Joshua Keogh - Keepsake

  Joshua Keogh - Keepsake - EP by youngexeter

Joshua Keogh is a young singer-songwriter who mixes soulful folk with elements of acoustic pop. While that's not the usual stuff you'd expect to read about here, it's certainly one of my favourite chilled out EPs of recent times. For fans of Joseph and David and Bombay Bicycle Club. 

Download Joshua Keogh's Keepsake HERE.

Sun Buffalo - The Friendly Pyramids 

Remember Sun Buffalo? Well, they've come out with another EP, and again it is available to download for free. The Friendly Pyramids has a more defined sound that takes its cues from the best of shoegaze and grunge, with garage pop vocals (and the welcome introduction of woo-oohs into the mix) at the forefront this time around. If that doesn't entice you, then please, just check out Ghost Part II.

Download Sun Buffalo's The Friendly Pyramids HERE.

Big Scary Monsters September 2011 Sampler

  Weapons by Dad Rocks!

You can stream the whole sampler on Punktastic's Soundcloud HERE.

IRPAH worships Big Scary Monsters. Without Big Scary Monsters, I would't have nearly as much love for weird time signatures and jangly guitars as I have now. So a free sampler from them is like godsend. Here we have a varied mix of music. New signings Algiers and Hymns (Sam Manville of ex-Blakfish) share the stage favourites such as Dad Rocks! and Kevin Devine. If you're a fan of BSM or just wondering what the fuss is about, this download is really, really recommended.

Download the Big Scary Monsters September 2011 Sampler HERE.

Bottlesmoker - Let's Die Together In 2012 

I cheated on this one a bit. I've already included this on my Free Music For All column on the third issue of the Musical Mathematics zine. But I'll excuse myself by saying this is a preview for you all to make you buy them zines. Well, rumours are the third issue might come out free anyway, so, urm, yay? 

Indonesian folk poptronica (I've completely made that genre up) mixed in with dream-drone hazy pop, it's a b-sides album with a quality exceeding most bands' actual albums. Experimental yet accessible, Let's Die Together In 2012 is a surprising success that deserves more than it's b-sides label. 

Download Bottlesmoker's Let's Die Together In 2012 HERE


So there you have it. Five excellent free downloads to keep you listening through the weekend. It's certainly a very varied mix of bands, so I hope there's something there for everyone. Enjoy! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Review // B>E>A>K - ‘The Yellow Edition’

Sunderland-based B>E>A>K is fun, fun, fun. The Yellow Edition, the latest in a series of releases by them titled The Life Of Birds, follows that theme of danceable instrumentals layered with trumpets and organs, flowing guitar lines and some groovy bass.

The core members in B>E>A>K consists of members from Coal Train, The Lake Poets, Field Music, Razmataz Lorry Excitement, This Ain’t Vegas and Boxed Roomer. With such a dizzying array of musicianship, it’s tempting to label them as a ‘supergroup.’ But far from just an amalgamation of all these bands, B>E>A>K is a fresh offering that soars the skies on its own merit.

Read the rest of my review of B>E>A>K's The Yellow Edition on Musical Mathematics

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Review: LightGuides - Samba Samba Samba // Musical Mathematics


Glaswegians LightGuides are a recent signing of one of my favourite labels Alcopop Records, and as with all things Alcopop, there is an emphasis on the ‘pop’. Taking their cues from fellow Scottish rockers The X-certs and Biffy Clyro, LightGuides play loud anthemic rock with admirably tight execution and contagious bouts of energy. This is the sort of sound that could fill arenas. Samba Samba Samba is massive pop rock at its best.  

Read the rest of my review on Musical Mathematics

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

35 Albums You Should Buy From PIAS-Affiliated Labels

I have no doubt that you have indeed heard about the riots in UK that started out in London. In the midst of that, the Sony/PIAS warehouse was burned to the ground, destroying catastrophic amounts of physical records stocked by independent record labels. The full list of record labels affected are available HERE.

Countless people’s livelihoods are affected here, not to mention the prospect of the creation of awesome future music by bands under these labels. Keeping that in mind, please help these fine people cope with this loss by buying digital downloads or any in-stock physical records.

This list is directly inspired by DevilMatt’s own list of 30 Ace Albums You Should Buy From PIAS-Affiliated Labels
, which I suggest you check out. Echoing his sentiments, this is not a ‘best-of’ list from a critical point of view. These are simply records that I have enjoyed over the years. You can buy them either directly from the record labels’/bands’ websites, or independent record stores such as Banquet Records and Rough Trade.  

Please also follow @_label_love_  on Twitter for details of and how to get involved with a fundraiser for those affected by the PIAS fire. 

Hassle Records
65daysofstatic - We Were Exploding Anyway
Trash Talk - Eyes And Nines
Blakfish - Champions
Tubelord - Our First American Friends
Rolo Tomassi - Hysterics
Rolo Tomassi - Cosmology
Cancer Bats - Birthing The Giant
Alexisonfire - Crisis

Young Turks:
Holy Fuck - Latin
The xx - XX

XL Recordings:
Discovery - LP
Gil Scott-Heron / Jamie XX - We’re New Here
M.I.A. - Kala
The Teenagers - Reality Check
Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend

4AD Records:
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Efterklang - Magic Chairs
TV On The Radio - Dear Science
Beirut - The Flying Club Cup

Best Before Records:
Dananananaykroyd - Hey Everyone
Johnny Foreigner - Grace & The Bigger Picture
Johnny Foreigner - Arcs Across The City
Johnny Foreigner - Waited Up Til’ It’s Light

Xtra Mile Recordings:
Crazy Arm - Born To Ruins
Dartz! - This Is My Ship
The Xcerts - Scatterbrain

Rough Trade:
Antony & The Johnsons - Crying Light
Arcade Fire - Funeral
Warpaint - The Fool

CSS -Cansei de Ser Sexy (Sub Pop)
Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping (Polyvinyl)
Youthmovies - Good Nature (Drowned In Sound)
Forward Russia - Give Me A Wall (Dance To The Radio)
Enter Shikari - Take To The Skies (Ambush Reality)
The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic (Matador Records)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Free Download: B>E>A>K - The Red Edition

B>E>A>K is a strange one. Alter-egos of the Sunderland-based Coal Train (including an ever-expanding 'nest' of other musicians), the band has gained a reputation for the their theatrical, visually arty shows with their members wearing masks that resemble a familiar group of irreconciably angry avian characters. To add to this somewhat bonkers experiment, the band members have gone under monikers such as The Blue Tit, The Red Rooster and The Green Gannett and do their interviews talking in subtitled chirps.

But hey, this is a music blog. It's the music that really matters. So it fills me with great pleasure to impart to you that B>E>A>K has not ignored their musical sensibilities for artistic mad-hattery. The Red Edition is the first part of a series called The Life Of Birds, and if this is a sign of things to come, I can only wait in feverish excitement as they prepare for their next release The Yellow Edition.

It's easy to dismiss this as a gimmick, but then think of all the fun you'll be missing. Far from being pretentious, B>E>A>K> instead feels like a liberation from the idea of 'what's 'cool' and what's 'silly'. Abandon all your prejudices and let yourself loose. B>E>A>K> have, and they're all the better for it.

Official Website / Bandcamp / Facebook / Twitter

Here's the teaser video done for The Red Edition.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Free Download: Enemies - We've Been Talking


If there's such a thing as Tropical Math then Enemies's We've Been Talking definitely fits that bill. Upbeat with a fair amount of technical playfulness, you won't find many better debuts this year.

Think Brontide on their summer vacation at a pool party in the Carribean and you've got Enemies. Consistent but not repetitive, technical and fun... Enemies's debut album are those things, and more. This becomes all the more incredible as they've recently just decided to make this album available to download for free (on Bandcamp) until Tuesday evening (2nd August 2011) to celebrate getting 2,000 'likes' on their Facebook page.

Will they follow in the footsteps of their Irish brethrens The Cast Of Cheers, who released their debut album for free and has gone on to much bigger things (for example, supporting Two Door Cinema Club at Brixton Academy)? I don't know for it sure, but they don't, it will be a massive shame.

Review: Conquistadors - On Tape EP

Conquistadors (or Conks as they are affectionately known) – their third EP ‘On Tape’ is a pigeonhole-dodging, incredibly versatile record that aims to play with your expectations of genre conventions. The most specific term I can think of without being too narrow is melodic post-punk, but even that label falls short in describing Conquistadors sound in ‘On Tape’. 

The intro track is pretty much just a preview of songs so we’ll start with the second track ‘Black Swan’. In the songs first half it seems like we are treated to a brilliant mix of math pop and melodic punk, but then in the second half it excellently charges head first into Blakfish territory. ‘Homework’, with its pop melodies and wonderful harmonies, typify Conquistadors fearless, genre-surfing philosophy. 

Read the rest of this review and links to buy it on Musical Mathematics.This review also appears on zine issue #2, which you can buy HERE

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Musical Mathematics: Review // EDiLS Recordings - Bear Left

My review of EDiLS Recordings's free compilation, Bear Left, is up now on Musical Mathematics.

The DIY Liverpool label, EDiLS Recordings, has come out with its second free compilation titled Bear Left. The diverse collection consists of 12 bands from 4 countries (England, USA, Finland, Sweden), many of whom go under the label post-rock.

The End Of The Ocean’s (Ohio, USA) ‘Maybe For The Better’ combines the apocalyptic gravity of Talons with the startling fierceness of …And So I Watch You From Afar, providing a deeply satisfying vista of events that’s both optimistic and mournful. Cool World’s ‘Only Fooling’ is a toe-tapping indie pop tune from Wisconsin, USA, which will be your summertime indie-pop anthem of choice, even if the weather’s shit and you’re forced to stay in all week.

Third track ‘Dime & Suture’ from Gifts From Enola is riff-heavy post-rock imported from Virginia, USA, with faint but audible, muffled screams providing an eerie, pained undertone that takes it up a notch above many of their more straight-forward brethrens. Liverpudlian alt country duo, Go Heeled, fuses the quirkier side of pop and the dancier side of indie to come up with this gem of a song titled ‘Hugs & Misses.’

To read the rest of the review and download the whole compilation, go to Musical Mathematics.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Free Download: Musical Mathematics - Second Time Lucky


Musical Mathematics has released their second compilation today and it is available to download for free. You can check out the description of each song to see if they're what you fancy and listen to individual songs by clicking on their titles. You can also download the whole digital compilation and get the bonus track 'Shed' by Title Fight from the Bandcamp.


Richter Collective, IRL. Math rock/Post-rock/Tropical.
Upbeat Math-y instrumentals perfectly paced to tug your heartstrings from the Irish four-piece outfit 

Topshelf Records, Boston USA. Pop/Rock, Power/Indie. 
Fast paced powerfully addictive summer jams from a brilliant two-man music team. 

Godmonkey Recording, UK. Alternative/Progressive. 
Four friends from Birmingham making music without boundaries. Eclectic tastes and an unstructured style make for high-energy filled catchy songs. 

Topshelf Records/Doghouse Records, US. Pop Punk/Punk/Post Hardcore. 
Chicago based rockers Grown Ups create a unique blend of Melodic Punk with passion and precision with a fierce Post-Hardcore edge.  

Big Scary Monsters/Function, UK. Post-Hardcore/Rock. 
Big guitars with intricate drums and a vocal line that’s far from priest like. http://www.prayforhymns.tumblr.com/

Clickpop Records/Topshelf Records, USA. Math Rock/Math Pop. 
Intricate math pop with a triple guitar attack and sparse vocals from an ever- evolving Washingtonian four-piece 

hiphiphip, FR. Rock/Indie/Punk. 
MM favorites Heliport finally released their long awaited album this year and have a lot in store for the rest of 2011. 

Unsigned. Melodic/Punk-rock/Pop-punk. 
France’s relatively unheard of Sport should be playing the warp tour, fun yet powerful punk-rock.

Head Records, FR. Math-rock/Noise-rock/Experimental. 
Having made quite a name for themselves through extensive touring Choux Crane is just one example of the sheer brutality this manic duo can produce.

Big Scary Monsters (UK) Zankyo Records (Japan), UK. 
Loud Bursts of Alt-Punk. Three long term friends delivering the music they love to you!! http://weareshapes.tumblr.com/

Unsigned, UK. Fuzz/Alternative/Rock. 
This Brand new duo from the midlands smash distorted bass together with giant drum beats. BassVsDrums scenario. 
OnDryLand, UK. Experimental/Math Rock/Post Hardcore. 
Emerging from the flames that was once Blakfish to deliver a sound that will blow your mind. http://andyouandi.net/

Household Name Records UK, Kind Of Like Records US. Acoustic/Punk/Sing-along. 
Great Cynics and their fans sing about partying, sleeping on sofas and drinking beer with their friends. 

Topshelf Records/Fliff City Hit Squad, US. Midwest Emo/Punk/Indie. 
Fun, light and modest punk rock from the heart of the USA, full of outstanding sing-a-long moments. 

Big Scary Monsters, South East, UK. Indie/Math Pop. 
A band that started as studio based project and blossomed into something truly extraordinary.

Unsigned, UK. Math-Pop/Soft Rock. 
Stylish, smooth and subtle technical pop, full of sweet licks and harmonious tones. www.facebook.com/ngodband

Centurion Records, UK/hiphiphip, FR. Math-Pop. 
Ex-Haemostatic Picnic Racers hailing from Kent produce catchy pop-punk with a lovely helping of intricate tapping. www.pharaohstheband.com

Alcopop Records/This Is Fake DIY Records, UK. Rock/Indie Pop/Noise. 
Anthemic skateboard indie pop with a flawless mix of humour, brains and a knack for well-placed woo-hoo’s http://www.stagecoachuk.com/

PonyRec, DK / Paper Garden Records USA. Post-Rock/Folk/Indie 
Soaring mix of folk and post-rock and a potent combination of Americana and Scandinavia sentiments and sensibilities 

Holy Roar/Blood & Biscuits, UK. Experimental/Electronica/Rock. 
England’s answer to Battles - dark, synth-driven dance movements powered by incredibly tight and precise drumming.  

21. Title Fight - Shed (Only available when you download the whole digital compilation)
SideOneDummy Records, USA. Punk Rock.
Fresh out of Kingston, Philadelphia Title Fight play youthful yet passionate stage diving punk rock.

via Musical Mathematics

Monday, June 27, 2011

Stream: Lost From Atlas - Live Set

This is such a find I can't believe I've only just stumbled upon this live recording of a Lost From Atlas live set courtesy of Leeds-based Our Neck Of The Woods.


If you don't know Lost From Atlas, they're an instrumental (post-)rock band from Yorkshire whose penchant for ridiculous breaks, hard-earned musicianship and explosive live shows makes them a band you can't afford to miss, especially if you're a fan of ...And So I Watch You From Afar, Battles and 65daysofstatic. Their debut album was a slick, well-executed record that was both passionate and precise in its delivery.

 Tumblr / Facebook / Bandcamp

Friday, June 17, 2011

Musical Mathematics: Review//Canals - Marionnettes

Here's a review I wrote of Canals - Marionnettes for Musical Mathematics:

Canals are a four-piece, Canterbury-based math pop band who claims influences from the likes of Maps and Atlases, Tall Ships and Colour. Their track Marionnettes owes much to the latter, with its jangly guitars, sing-along vocals, and complex timing complemented with a bouncy, poppy exterior.

Marionnettes is very rich in its construction. It starts immediately with a wave of...

Read the rest of the review on Musical Mathematics.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Free Download: Rainbow Danger Club - Where Maps End


After quite an eventful weekend, I'm thankful that today has been quite the quiet Sunday, and what better way to celebrate than listening to this name-your-price album from progressive art-rock outfit Rainbow Danger Club. Based in Shanghai (yes, THAT Shanghai), their album Where Maps End is an atmospherically dense piece of work, littered with leitmotifs and vast sounds that give their music an extra dose of heart. At times haunting, and at its best absolutely magnificent, Where Maps End is an absolute beauty of a record. It almost feels criminal that they're allowing this to be downloaded for free (even though you have the choice of paying as much or as little as you want).

The album can be downloaded HERE.

Bandcamp / Facebook / Official Website / Soundcloud

Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Music Video Time: Three Trapped Tigers - Noise Trade


It's a little surprising how long it took for Three Trapped Tigers to finally come out with a debut album, but Route One Or Die was definitely worth the long wait. It's the Three Trapped Tigers we've come to know and love from their three EPs, imaginatively titled EP1, EP2 and EP3, with songs even more creatively named as 1, 2, 3 and so forth. I was genuinely surprised they didn't call their album LP1, to be honest with you.

Naming conventions aside, Route One Or Die is a great album, and Noise Trade is corker of a track, and the music video for it is great. You can download another track from the album titled 'Cramm' for free HERE.

New Music Video Time: Stagecoach - Jonah Lomu


How do you make a music video about Rugby superstar turned school bully? Why, with an attempt at a Guinness world record involving pizza of course! Yeah, that link was lost on me too, but the video for Stagecoach's latest single is still pants-wettingly hilarious. Pizza-related violence, yum. Click below to watch it on NME.


Read my review of the single HERE.

The video is up exclusively on the NME website.

EDIT: The video is now up on youtube.

Review: Well Weapon Compilation Volume 2

Well Weapon Records, a Northern England-based independent label, houses some pretty sweet bands in their small roster, most notably Lost From Atlas and Zefs Chasing Cara. Knowing this, I went diving into their second compilation with high hopes.

Read the rest of the review and the link to the compilation HERE.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

News: Musical Mathematics - Second Time Lucky Compilation

Leeds collective Musical Mathematics - I write for them - has announced the line-up for our second compilation, aptly titled Second Time Lucky.

Our compilation this time around will feature the likes of: Grown Ups, Stagecoach, Gallops, &U&I, Hymns, Enemies, Shapes, Tangled Hair, Sport, Rico Demitri, Pharaohs, The Clippers, and more to be announced. The compilation will be available to download for free and as limited edition CDs.

After a hugely successful first compilation which featured The James Cleaver Quintet, Talons, Olympians, Dad Rocks!, Mimas, Tall Ships, Noumenon, and many others, we hope you will enjoy this second one just as much.

Check out and download the first compilation HERE.

Signing out

Over and out

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Free Download: Aviaries - Ribbons


Leeds experimental post-pop outfit Aviaries has released their newest single, Ribbons, and it's available to download for free. Following in the footsteps of their Hydrology EP, Ribbons is all about soaring vocals and guitar lines to match. Shades of late 80's alt-pop and groove do nothing but wonders for the songs. The new single is also a lot more polished than their previous offerings. James Kenosha's mixing and Tom Woodhead's mastering have definitely added that shine to Aviaries's music.

Bandcamp / Facebook / Twitter 

Signing out

Over and out

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Listening To: Stellardrive - Amuptaum


Straddling between the ferocity of And So I Watch You From Afar and the quiet crescendos of Explosions In The Sky, Stellardrive packs a mighty punch with their brand of post-rock. They might not be breaking new ground, but the music is impressive nonetheless.

Official Website / Facebook / Twitter / Reverbnation / Myspace

Signing out

Over and out

Friday, May 27, 2011

New Music Video Time: Our Lost Infantry - I Love You Sandra Billson (The Last Dance)


Catchy, enormous-sounding, and energetic, Our Lost Infantry's latest single, I Love You Sandra Bilson (The Last Dance), is a track littered with pop sensibilities and a roaring chorus. Melodic with pop punk influences and an evident playfulness with time signatures, the song is filled with abundantly clever wordplay accompanied by rousing piano lines and rocking riffs.

Signing out

Over and out

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Music Video Time: Brontide - Sans Souci (Album)


Brontide - Sans Souci (Illuminé) from BeatCast on Vimeo.

If you can’t wait to listen to Brontide’s excellent new album, Sans Souci, then here it is in its entirety as an exclusive film for Beatcast. 56 minutes long with all 8 tracks from their album, it was filmed in Kent at Coach Road studios.

As it happens, a track from the album titled Jura is also this week's Big Scary Monsters '11 Collection track.

The album Sans Souci comes out on May 30th via Holy Roar.

Facebook / Myspace / Twitter

Signing out

Over and out

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Free Download: Minus The Bear - Hold Me Down EP

Seattle math rockers Minus The Bear is giving away their 6-track EP, Hold Me Down, for free through their website. It includes the title track and its live version, a b-side, a remix and two other live tracks. All you have to do is give your e-mail to them via this widget down here.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Myspace

Signing out

Over and out

Free Download: Rumour Cubes - We Have Sound Houses Also


We Have Sound Houses Also is the free to download debut EP from London-based ambient post-rock outfit Rumour Cubes. Think Explosions In The Sky with their built from the ground up soundscapes but with an industrial feel wrapped all around it. Cinematic, melancholic and epic, the three tracks on showcase here reveals an overwhelming potential that cannot be ignored by fans of the post-rock genre.

You can download their EP for free from their Bandcamp.

Facebook / Bandcamp / Twitter / Myspace / Tumblr

Signing out

Over and out

Friday, May 20, 2011

Musical Mathematics


Hi there. I realise I haven't updated in a while, but it's only because exciting things are happening. I've been writing reviews and columns for Musical Mathematics's zine issue #2. The zine will feature Conquistadors, Hymns, Brontide, The Cast Of Cheers, and many, many others. We will also cover the Adebisi Shank / &U&I / Shapes gig at the Brudenell.

There's also other brilliant stuff I'm not even sure I'm supposed to tell you about. You'll find out in good time, my friends. To make it easier, why don't you sign up for our Musical Mathematics mailing list? I promise you we'll not spam you, or give it to other people.


Check out Musical Mathematics from any of these links:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Bigcartel / Bandcamp

Signing out

Over and out

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Music Video Time: My First Tooth - Sleet & Snow


Folk indie pop outfit My First Tooth has come out with a new music video for their new single Sleet & Snow. Released as a free CD on Alcopop Records, it was quickly sold(?) out soon after. Their debut album 'Territories' was a charming,warm record that's both ambitious and understated at the same time. Sleet & Snow is no different. It's the My First Tooth we all know and love.

Exclusive acoustic video after the JUMP.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Free Download: Aviaries - Hydrology


One of the bands who I discovered during Live At Leeds are the experimental post-pop outfit Aviaries. Weaving elements of post-rock, pop and electronica in their debut EP, Hydrology, it makes for an exciting 4-track collection that sounds like if Vampire Weekend jammed with a stoned out And So I Watch You From Afar.

Aviaries will be playing at Beacon Festival in August.

Bandcamp / Facebook / Myspace / Twitter 

Signing out

Over and out