Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Track Review: The Americas - 'Come On Out'


Channelling gospel influenced rock 'n' roll and based in the West Midlands, The Americas are aiming to fill your playlists for the next few months. Starting on the 1st of June, the trio will release a new single on the first Friday of every month. Got that, yeah? These singles will then form part of a six-track EP titled 'Guitar Music is Dead' released on the 7th of September. It's time to get to know The Americas because they aren't going away anytime soon.

From the off, it's easy to pick out the band's influences. With guitars sounding like The Rolling Stones and vocals nodding towards Bob Dylan, The Americas clearly draw from the 70s era. Even though the band wear their influences truly on their sleeves, their sound is rather quite original. There is a definite swagger in the way The Americas sound and it comes across brilliantly on 'Come on Out'.


This song is fun, catchy and brilliantly melodic. The bright instrumentation throughout complements the lead vocal perfectly and the added pianos and guitar leads add new textures when needed in the choruses. The band's use of dynamics is a triumph considering the song never really lets up over its five-minute runtime. It's an infectious track that is bound to keep people grooving and shaking.

This track is a brilliant statement from a band with big ambitions. It's surprising to hear they are unsigned because 'Come on Out' is a highly accomplished effort. Imagine listening to this track whilst driving an open top classic car and it'll take you to places you can only dream of.

Listen to 'Come on Out' below.


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAILING LIST BELOW




powered by TinyLetter

Follow our socials to keep up to date with new posts and features from Not Another Music Blog.
Follow us on Twitter
'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram
Follow us on SoundCloud

Not Another Music Blog's Top 25 Albums of 2018 (So Far)

We're halfway through 2018, and oh what a year it's been so far for music. The albums have been coming thick and fast and we're here to guide you through the best of the year so far. So grab a cuppa and dive into the only list you'll need this year (until our top 50 in winter). Check the Spotify playlist at the bottom of this article to listen to the best tracks.

25. Sons of Kemet - Your Queen Is a Reptile


Jazz quartet Sons of Kemet released their thought-provoking third album, 'Your Queen Is a Reptile'. The title refers to how the British monarchy doesn't represent black immigrants and the track titles refer to influential black women throughout history. Sonically dense and taking influence from all types of world music, the album is a vast musical adventure if ever there was one.

24. Beach House - 7

Dream-pop pioneers Beach House arrived with their aptly titled seventh studio album to much critical acclaim. They ditched longtime producer Chris Coady to create a more adventurous style whilst still writing one of their most accessible and enjoyable records to date.

23. Turnstile - Time & Space


Hardcore punk returned in a big way earlier this year with Baltimore's own Turnstile. Clocking in at just 25 minutes long, 'Time & Space' was Turnstile's first release through major label Roadrunner. It's brutal, sharp and wonderfully exciting. The energy of this record is palpable, making us return time and time again.

22. Ezra Furman - Transangelic Exodus


Ezra Furman's second release through Bella Union is an experimentally 'loose' take on the concept album. A cluster of stories centred around the narrative of inner conflict. A highly riotous album that sounds like no other. It will have you dancing, crying and rocking all at the same time. 

21. Young Fathers - Cocoa Sugar


2014s Mercury Music Prize winners released their highly anticipated third album in March. Charting at number 28, it became their most successful release yet. Combining elements of gospel, electronics and rap, Cocoa Sugar is possibly the Scottish trio's most accomplished work yet.

20. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Sex & Food


'Sex & Food' is UMO's fifth studio album and probably their funkiest. It's weird and wonderful and boasts some of the best riffs of the year. The nastiness of 'American Guilt' and the super funk of 'Hunnybee' make this record one of the most eclectic of the year.

19. Gengahr - Where Wildness Grows


With their second studio album, London boys Gengahr honed their sound to release one of the most melodically driven indie records of the year. Produced by Neil Comber, the band took great steps forward to make something unique and highly identifiable as their own.

18. Father John Misty - God's Favourite Customer


Produced by Foxygen's Jonathan Rado, 'God' Favourite Customer' took Father John Misty in a lighter direction compared to last years dense masterpiece 'Pure Comedy'. The record is more compact but still hilariously witty with FJM's grandiose instrumentals and poignant lyricism combining to create another fantastic album. Can this man do no wrong?

17. Jpegmafia - Veteran


Easily one of the most mind-bending hip-hop records so far this year, Jpegmafia's abrasive and aggressive style of music sets him apart from the rest of the hip-hop pack. The intense highly experimental production combined with a flow of brilliant precision ensures this is a record is truly one of a kind.

16. Kanye West - ye


What a bonkers year it's been for Mr West so far with Twitter rants, TMZ meltdowns, MAGA hats and inevitably some brilliant music. 'ye' is one of Kanye's most personal efforts lyrically whilst musically, the beats and production hark back to the Yeezy of old.  It's chaotic, haphazard and controversial. It's also like Marmite, and we bloody love Marmite. So, there you go.

15. Soccer Mommy - Clean


Sophie Allison aka Soccer Mommy released this beautiful dose of bedroom pop in a year that has seen some amazing music released so far from some super cool women. Her debut album 'Clean' is raw, compact and wonderfully melodic. That pitch bend towards the end of 'Cool' is one of our favourite musical moments this year.

14. Nils Frahm - All Melody


Musician, composer and record producer extraordinaire Nils Frahm used melody as an incredible tool on his ninth studio album. The singular piano tracks like 'My Friend the Forest' are haunting whilst his use of electronics on the title track make for pulsing, dense and vast soundscapes of such a beautiful nature it's hard to not stop and gasp.

13. The Voidz - Virtue


On 'Virtue', Julian Casablancas' current band The Voidz pushed the boundaries of what a major album release could sound like. The experimentation and psychedelia are prominent whilst still allowing the album to breathe. There are some serious if not super fuzzy, summer bangers on this record and it's completely worth its one hour run time.

12. Porches - The House


One of the earliest releases of the year, Aaron Maine's Porches brought in a whole load of collaborators including (Sandy) Alex G, Dev Hynes, Bryndon Cook and even his own father Peter. The album is a delicate and reserved allowing the emotions to run free. 'Goodbye' is easily one of the best tunes we've heard all year. Loop that one for sure.

11. MGMT - Little Dark Age


Expectations were relatively low when it came to listening to MGMT's fourth album. Despite a brilliant promotional single, the band's recent track record with albums hadn't been that amazing. Step up 'Little Dark Age'. Filled to the brim with psychedelic tracks and some brilliant pop hooks, the duo saw a stellar return to form, with challenging and eccentric tunes.

10. Pusha T - DAYTONA


Entirely produced by his pal Kanye West, and the first album to be released from the much publicised 'Wyoming Sessions', Pusha T returned to blistering form with his newest album since 2015's 'King Push'. Another seven track wonder, DAYTONA sparked an intense beef with Drake, whilst also cementing the fact that Kanye is one of the best producers of this generation.

9. Parquet Courts - Wide Awake!


On their sixth studio album, Texan indie legends Parquet Courts brought the fun. 'Wide Awake!' is an album of 'woke' punk hits including the incredibly groovy title track and also the super raw first single 'Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience'. The production is scratchy and raw ultimately making this one of the most endearing albums on the list.

8. Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino


Earlier this year we gave the new Arctic Monkeys album a respectable 7. Since then, 'Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino' has grown and become one of our most played records of the year. A proper body of work with no real singles, the album is best enjoyed as a whole. It's this confidence and bravado that we have grown to love. Keep it coming, Mr Turner.

7. Haley Heynderickx - I Need to Start a Garden


Haley Heynderickx honed her craft and musical style by mixing a love of jazz radio with 60s and 70s folk influences. Even though her debut album is achingly short (it clocks in at thirty minutes with only eight tracks), Heynderickx has created a beautifully concise and charming body of work that is easily one of the best folk records to be released in 2018 so far.

6. Shame - Songs of Praise


Since the release of their debut album, Shame have been on a world tour for what seems like forever. 'Songs of Praise' is an exceptional debut from a young band with a glowing future. The album itself was recorded in a mere ten days and with a total run time of thirty-eight minutes, it is brilliantly concise and to the point. The mainstream music world may not want them but South London's Shame are the guitar band Britain needs.

5. Hookworms - Microshift


Yorkshire-based psychedelic five-piece Hookworms ditched the drones and noise rock of their previous efforts to release a brilliantly well-crafted album of danceable rock and indie hits. Lyrical themes of depression and anxiety run throughout Hookworm's most musically accessible album to date.

4. Car Seat Headrest - Twin Fantasy (Face to Face)


The eleventh studio album by Car Seat Headrest, 'Twin Fantasy (Face to Face)' is a complete re-recording and reworking of the band's sixth studio album 'Twin Fantasy' which was released in 2011. A sprawling album of wit and cynism, the updated version is crisper and more direct, despite its one hour and ten-minute runtime. Will Toledo is a hugely talented songwriter and having the confidence and audacity to completely rework one of his most beloved bodies of work is a true statement of intent.

3. Ben Howard - Noonday Dream


The latest addition to this list, Ben Howard's 'Noonday Dream' is easily the most beautiful. It's dense, highly emotive, dynamically adventurous and a big step away from his debut release. The opening three tracks and first three singles of the album are incredible alone with Howard exploring new musical techniques and honing his darker style previously explored on 2014's 'I Forget Where We Were'. His latest album is a welcome return to form and one that will live long in the memory.

2. Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer


Packed full of incredible guests like Grimes, Brian Wilson and Stevie Wonder, Janelle Monáe's 'Dirty Computer' was an album that took us by complete surprise. One of the best pop albums we've heard in years, Monáe blends poetic lyricism with artful pop beats and catchy hooks. The album celebrates queerness, female power and self-worth in such a gloriously dance-able way that it's impossible to not want to revisit time and time again.

1. Iceage - Beyondless


Danish punk band Iceage take the top spot with their incredible fourth studio album 'Beyondless'. Their noisy, aggressive and brilliant style of driving punk has won them plaudits the world over. On this new release, Iceage embraced a more pop-influenced sound whilst still keeping their dark routes. Sky Ferreira's feature on 'Pain Killer' is a touch of genius giving the band a sense of wonderful melody and the added horn sections throughout add more dynamic and texture to each brilliantly raw and dark track. Iceage's grimy gothic tendencies coupled with hints of beautiful melodies and incredible lyrics ensure this record is our favourite of 2018 so far.

Check out our Spotify playlist below and listen to our highlights from each album on this list.


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAILING LIST BELOW




powered by TinyLetter

Follow our socials to keep up to date with new posts and features from Not Another Music Blog.
Follow us on Twitter
'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram
Follow us on SoundCloud

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Track Review: Krrum - 'Phase'


‘Phase’ is the latest single to be taken from Leeds-based producer Krrum’s debut album, Honeymoon. The track is a fantastic slice of moody yet danceable electronica with hints of experimentation throughout.

It opens with a dark and atmospheric synth bass, followed by swirling and tumultuous white noise, you know it’s building up to something big, and just when you reach the peak of your euphoria… cowbells. Oh lord the cowbells. Everyone loves cowbells. This track has multiple cowbells. Therefore, we instantly fell in love.


Cowbell bias notwithstanding, ‘Phase’ is an incredible journey into the world of NIN-style electronics complimented by dense sound design that fill all the right gaps in this lush synthetic arrangement. The aggressive bass pulses and grooves in the verses, contrasting the blissful vocal work before it all opens into an anthemic, pop-like chorus. Key changes in songs can be truly horrid, but the key change from the verse to the chorus here is expertly done, and Krumm deserves applause for this bold, stylistic choice.

What makes this track so great is that it features so many elements of experimentation, like the amazing, almost dissonant chopped horn samples, or doubling the lead vocal in one section with a scratchy, distorted guitar. The resulting song is a wonderful hybrid of melancholy and elation, subverting your expectations at every turn without reverting to overused musical clichés. Oh, also it has cowbells. Did we mention that already?

Krrum’s debut album Honeymoon is released on June 15th via 37 Adventures/+1 Records. In the meantime, listen to 'Phase' below.



SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAILING LIST BELOW




powered by TinyLetter

Follow our socials to keep up to date with new posts and features from Not Another Music Blog.
Follow us on Twitter
'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram
Follow us on SoundCloud

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Track Review: The Lulls - 'Good Night America'


American duo The Lulls have shared their new single 'Good Night America'. Splitting their time between New York and LA (lucky them), the band have been ridiculously busy touring the US, recording demos in the Idyllwild mountains and finally showcasing their talents at SXSW.

The track opens with shimmering guitars accompanied by a driving beat. The Californian sun comes to mind immediately as the instrumental cruises along with different textures and musical traits that scream of sunshine.

Credit: Evan Schell
The Lulls aim to encompass the whole of America through poignant, irreverent, and empathic storytelling. Vocally the melodies are quite subdued counteracting with the bright instrumentals throughout the track. These musical moments work well as it draws the listener in to really focus on their lyrics.

The choruses are super catchy making this tune the perfect soundtrack to summer. The Lulls have definitely created an intriguing sound that is only helped by the brilliant mixing skills of Kurt Feldman (DIIV, Pains of Being Pure at Heart). The final moments of the track are fantastic with the tune building as it transforms into a great indie bop whilst the title of the track is repeated.

Overall, this is a great summer tune. The Lulls have created a catchy, accessible and equally poignant song that will sit perfectly on any summer playlist. 


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAILING LIST BELOW




powered by TinyLetter

Follow our socials to keep up to date with new posts and features from Not Another Music Blog.
Follow us on Twitter
'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram
Follow us on SoundCloud

Live Review: All Points East Presents


Festival season is well and truly underway and this weekend we were lucky enough to sample the musical delights of East London's newest sun-drenched gathering, All Points East. After silencing most of their critics with their inaugural weekend headlined by LCD Soundsystem, The xx and Björk, it was the turn of the standalone APE: Presents shows headlined by Catfish and the Bottlemen and The National on the Friday and Saturday respectively.

The first band we caught on Friday were Sheffield indie boys RedFaces opening the North Stage. Ignoring the Alex Turner stance and speaking voice, Redfaces were surprisingly good. They were incredibly tight, highly professional and their anthemic indie rock tunes set the day up brilliantly.

Next, it was the turn of Not Another Music Blog. favourites Sports Team on the sweltering JägerHaus stage. The heat didn't stop frontman Alex Rice from tearing through his signature Jagger-esque dance moves as the band played crowd favourites 'Camel Crew', 'Stanton' and their newest pop hit 'Kutcher'. It's been a while since we saw Sports Team last and they've definitely grown as an outfit since then with their delivery proving to be sharper than ever before.



On the East Stage (main), The Magic Gang continued the success of their debut album by serenading the growing crowd with their soft rock indie tunes. Unfortunately, they came across as rather quite boring (a bit like their album) so, it was time for us to head to the bar.

After feeling suitably fed and watered, we headed back the short distance from the main stage to the ever sweaty JägerHaus to watch South London punk prodigies YOWL. Despite a few lineup changes since we last saw the 5-piece, they were predictably brilliant. Once again, 'Saturday Drag' had the rather large crowd up in arms and new track 'Warm', went down a storm.

Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes lit up the North Stage next. Their blend of anthemic rock and punk was lapped up by the ever-growing audience. The part when Frank facetimed his mum whilst performing was particularly heartwarming. Also, massive shout out to Frank's incredible leopard print coat.


Frank Carter and that lovely jacket. Credit: Patrick Gunning
Catfish and the Bottlemen closed the brilliantly sounding East Stage on Friday night. It's worth mentioning here how good the sound on the East Stage actually was. Everything was as crisp and clear as you would want considering the size of the stage and audience. Other than playing one new track titled 'Fluctuate', the lads from Wales played a setlist full of all their hits including 'Kathleen', '7' and 'Cocoon'. The audience loved it and we did too. It definitely got us excited for new music arriving sometime soon.

Saturday saw the arrival of the scorching sun and some pretty legendary indie bands too. First up for us was the ever-changing and growing Broken Social Scene. Their experimental and grandiose indie lit up the North Stage whilst the festival slowly but surely filled up. All female group Warpaint followed with their shoegaze influenced rock. Tunes like 'New Song' and 'Elephants' captivated the crowd even though they played a relatively short eight-song set.

The weather got even better as Future Islands took to the main stage. Songs like 'Ran' and 'Time on Her Side' went down a treat but the biggest cheer had to be for the modern classic 'Seasons (Waiting On You)'. Samuel T. Herring's stage presence and vocal delivery have to be seen to be believed, but his infectious moves clearly caught the imagination of the packed London crowd.

Up until this point, All Points East seemed to have got everything right. Unfortunately, they slipped up massively booking The War on Drugs to headline the smaller North Stage. Being stood near the back meant the sound didn't travel that far and it was unbelievably rammed. Everyone seemed to have the same idea; watch Future Islands on the East Stage, dash over for The War on Drugs on the North and then head back to the East for The National. The War on Drugs would have been much better suited playing the East stage before The National. Despite this slight error in judgement, The War on Drugs looked brilliant from afar. Their setlist was concise and they played all the bangers, it was just a shame that we couldn't really hear it.

Matt Beringer of The National
Closing out the Sunday was The National. The excitement was clearly brewing for the indie legends from Ohio as the crowd grew to be a lot bigger than the previous night's headline. The band opened well with 'Nobody Else Will Be There' before tearing into 'The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness' but from here on in it seemed to go rapidly downhill. An overwhelming feeling of boredom washed over as the band played monotonous track after monotonous track. It's safe to say that frontman Matt Beringer's vocal does not translate well live, especially over a ridiculously long two-hour set. Despite this, there were a few lovely moments, like when the band dedicated 'About Today' to the late Scott Hutchinson of Frightened Rabbit. Unfortunately, as a whole headline show, it lacked that magic and wonder that's so often what's needed on a massive stage like the one at All Points East.

Overall, the festival was a triumph. For a first time, it seemed organised, well thought out (bar The War on Drugs fiasco), and thoroughly accessible. The facilities were great, a load of bars, a load of food stalls and also many stages to keep peple interested. The sound was magnificent on the main stage and could have been improved on the second stage but these teething problems will hopefully be ironed out in time for next year. We'll see you again All Points East, that's for sure.

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAILING LIST BELOW




powered by TinyLetter

Follow our socials to keep up to date with new posts and features from Not Another Music Blog.
Follow us on Twitter
'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram
Follow us on SoundCloud

Friday, 1 June 2018

Track Review: Olive B - 'Joey Moon'


Toronto native Olive B (Nicole Olivia Balsom) has just released her latest single, the excellent 'Joey Moon', featuring production from Vancouver-based producer Chewy.

It's a decidedly spirited affair, featuring bouncy muted synth pads and a just-shy-of-funk mid-tempo bassline. The whole thing is brought together with a very relaxed and downtempo beat, which features just the right amount of subtle nuances in its percussion without distracting from the even more mellow vocal. God knows how these people managed to toe the line between laid-back R&B and mid-tempo funk, but they pulled it off wonderfully.


The vocal delivery is definitely the highlight, musing in an unhurried manner about meeting up with a friend (or maybe a potential lover?), before repeating the ever-catchy refrain of "fly me to the moon". Yes, it may be an overused lyric but goddamn she gets away with it. With style, no less.

Olive's vocal style skips over the beat in a most playful way, peaking where the music troughs and vice versa, sung in a quiet, almost husky tone. All the elements are so complimentary to each other it's hard to believe that Olive wrote the vocal melody by free-styling the first half of the verse. 

All in all, this is a sold lazy summer jam, a perfect soundtrack to drinking expensive cocktails whislt lying in the sun. If you like this, be sure to check out Olive B's debut album 'no(w)here', which was released May 29th last year.

'Joey  Moon' is out now on all streaming services.


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAILING LIST BELOW




powered by TinyLetter

Follow our socials to keep up to date with new posts and features from Not Another Music Blog.
Follow us on Twitter
'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram
Follow us on SoundCloud

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Track Review: Jessicka - 'Penniless Fools'


Singer/songwriter Jessicka has released her newest single 'Penniless Fool'. Signed to Light Organ Records, the Vancouver based artist blends atmospheric reverbs with hard-hitting beats and electronic sound design to create a sound that's sometimes epic whilst also being incredibly catchy.

First things first, the production of the track is fantastic. The overall sound is crisp, clear and of a brilliantly high standard. Each instrument is perfectly well balanced in the mix and to be honest, with this type of song the cleanliness is welcome. The track opens with cascading pianos and synths backed by heavily reverberated drums. Jessicka's wistful vocal contrasts brilliantly with the epic scale of the instrumentation. The chord progressions used in the opening verses are strangely unconventional giving the song a sense of unease and interest. Jessicka has combined her left-field influences with her love of pop to create a unique sound.


The chorus of the song is easily the highlight. Jessicka's songwriting and talent for writing a catchy hook is at the forefront here and the backing vocals and harmonies blend perfectly. There are similarities with North London duo IDER. Their vocal melodies and tones sound very alike, but Jessicka's sound is more organic and natural.

'Penniless Fools' is a brilliantly sounding track with sharp hooks, lush production and fantastic vocal performances that tick all the boxes. Jessicka has clearly honed her sound, drawing from all types of musical styles to create something new and highly exciting.

'Penniless Fools' is out on all streaming services now but you can watch the brilliantly cinematic video below.


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAILING LIST BELOW




powered by TinyLetter

Follow our socials to keep up to date with new posts and features from Not Another Music Blog.
Follow us on Twitter
'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram