Loose Tooth – Keep Up

Melbourne three-piece Loose Tooth dropped their album ‘Keep Up’ a couple months back, a bridge between punk and surf littered with pop riffs and addictive melody.

 

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The first full length record from Aussie band Loose Tooth comes to us courtesy of Courtney Barnet ran label Milk! Records, not a bad endorsement to have on your first outing, but there’s not doubt that it’s fully deserved, ‘Keep Up’ is packed with dreamy anthems rooted in post punk vibes through out with their jangly guitars and melody acting as an anchor.

 

 

 

Opening track ‘Keep On’ epitomises all that’s good on this record, driving bass, power steady drums with vocal melodies riffing with guitars to create killer tracks. The feeling stays the same on ‘You Say’ and, single, ‘All the Colours Gone’, these tracks are simple but effective in the sense that they seem so naturally written but still give a big pop energy with punk at the heart of it. The likes of ‘Butter Knife’ and ‘You Want It’ slow things down a little whilst still keeping this garage rock vibe that ties all the different sounds on this record together.  ‘Miss You’ show a completely different side to the album that bleeds a little deeper but a personal highlight for me is ‘Asteroid’ where the record really seems to find its feet and encompasses everything around it. And that’s the beautiful thing about ‘Keep Up’, it’s easy to call it a garage rock or indie album but there’s so many more influences in there that give it a rich sound but it has a constant direction all the way through. Listen to ‘Keep Up’ bellow: 

 

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Best Albums of 2018 So Far…

We’re way past halfway through the year now and it’s been a strange one, England played football, Trump went east and here in Manchester we began to miss the rain. But what’s kept me sane through all of this is the stream of awesome albums that have been pumped out this year already; comebacks, new comers and just straight up instant classics. It’s been impossible to choose but here are the five I’ve enjoyed the most so far in 2018:

 

 

5. Song of Praise – Shame

Londoners Shame are undoubtedly going to make it on to most top ten lists by the end of the year, having taking the UK scene by storm this and being every newspaper and magazines’ great white hope for the future of British Indie and still, somehow, managing to miss out on a Mercury Prize nomination. Their debut ‘Songs of Praise’ is a fast-paced, post-punk influenced storm of big guitar riffs and pacing drums with ‘One Rizla’ and ‘Concrete’ being the stand-out tracks, whilst tracks like ‘Gold Hole’ and ‘Tasteless’ give the album an added edge that make those ‘The Fall’ comparisons a little too easy. 

 

 

 

4. Somewhat Literate – Retirement Party

Chicago’s Retirement Party dropped their debut LP back in May on the back of a huge wave of praise from online press, and rightly so; ‘Somewhat Literate’ is a fine blend of emo vocals and big 90s guitar riffs that interwind like if J. Mascis had a summer job in Modern Baseball. Energetic from start to finish and undeniably angsty and heartfelt, it drags me back to being a kid at a basement show loosing my shit – I just wish those bands were this good. 

 

3. Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino – Arctic Monkeys

It’s split opinions where ever I ask: the biggest indie band in the world releasing a rock/lounge music concept album about a hotel resort on the moon was never going to please everyone. For me though it was a breath of fresh air, Alex Turner, in parts, seems to fudge the lines between this Sci-fi world and autobiography with his most compelling songwriting to date. Some of the best bass lines on an indie record ever, combined with smooth organs and Turner’s crooning vocal just make this album an absolute dream and people asking where the guitars are just aren’t listening hard enough with tracks like ‘She Looks Like Fun’ meeting somewhere between Humbug and AM. I love it, sue me!

 

 

 

2. Clean – Soccer Mommy

Sophie Alison, aka Soccer Mommy, has made a record that both musically and lyrically epitomise what we’re all thinking and feeling. Tracks like ‘Cool’ and ‘Your Dog’ are relatable, emotional and consuming all at once. Clean is a free-flowing ten tracks of softly stroked guitars that meet hooks and melody that touch on all emotion and a narrative ready to break your heart. Lo-fi in parts with hi-fi production it’s truly a breathtaking listen where I keeping finding something fresh with every play through. 

 

 

 

1. Lush  – Snail Mail

To release your debut album at 19 years old is pretty impressive but Lindsey Jordan’s debut is so good it’s hard to believe where all this unstoppable force of sound and melody is coming from. ‘Lush’ is an angsty, worked out, riff-driven album that twists and turns between indie ballad and guitar pop, but constantly delivering the same results;  heavenly hooks layered on well-written, thought out pieces of music that almost juxtapose the sweet and sour lyrics at times. Lush is a beacon of hope for indie guitar music bringing it back to its roots whilst, at the same time stripping it down, cleaning it up and adding something to it that was lost for a long time before. 

 

Blink 182 – ‘California’ Album Review

Back to their roots but not as you know them, Bradley Shea takes a look at how the new look Blink 182 album sounds post DeLonge with the bands first release with Matt Akiba, ‘California’.

Author: Bradley Shea 

In 1999, Blink 182 were on top of the world thanks to several high-charting singles from their critically acclaimed third album Enema of the State. Three friends from San Diego had managed to bring pop punk to the mainstream for the first time since Green Day dropped Dookie in 1994, but with each release the band grew further apart as their conflicting music tastes made making music together a chore.

Fast forward to 2016 and following a disappointing comeback album in the form of 2011’s Neighbourhoods, Blink 182 are back to take over the airwaves. Founding member and co-vocalist Tom DeLonge has since left/been kicked out of the band after repeatedly failing to meet deadlines in favour of chasing aliens in the desert – no, really – and Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio fame has stepped up to the mic in his place. It’s a creative decision that has done wonders for the band, their energy and enthusiasm fully on display across the 13 tracks that make up California. 

 

About 40 seconds in to opening track ‘Cynical,’ it’s clear that Blink are fully embracing their roots and delivering what fans have been hoping for in the build up to the albums release. Travis Barker’s frantic beats provide a solid backbone for the band to build upon, and the bouncy riffs that were more prominent in their earlier work are at the forefront once again. First single ‘Bored to Death’ shows the band at their most epic as it blends their untitled 2003 album and with the earlier work, while ‘Sober’ proves to be the stand out track on the record, complete with a series of ‘na na na’s that will bury themselves in to your brain for days.

The addition of Skiba on vocal duty with long term member Mark Hoppus adds another dimension to the band that they had previously been lacking. His delivery is much more effective than DeLonge’s even if it does lack the nasal tone he made his trademark, and his presence will no doubt make Blink sound much more professional when playing these tracks live. Songs such as ‘Home Is Such A Lonely Place’ and ‘Left Alone’ show just how much the band have grown with Skiba in their ranks and by the time the closing notes on 30 second closer ‘Brohemian Rhapsody’ ring out, you’ll find yourself completely forgetting that DeLonge was ever a part of the band.

 

 

There are weaker moments, however, in particular the predictable ‘Kings of the Weekend’ which is a fun pop punk tune but lacks substance, and the Alkaline Trio-influenced verse of ‘Los Angeles.’ Skiba’s was always likely to bring aspects of his other band along for the ride with Blink, but while the chorus in this song soars, the trio never quite nail the tone they’re aiming for in the verses. Nevertheless, California is the best that Blink have sounded in years and cements their place in the annuls of the genre.

It’s good to have you back boys!

Recommended Tracks: ‘Sober,’ ‘Cynical,’ ‘Left Alone’

Till Deaf Do Us Party Records present A Compilation in aid of CALM Part II

Lonely The Brave, The Xcerts, Tellison feature along with many more on the second compilation from Till Deaf Do Us Party in support of C.A.L.M (The Campaign Against Living Miserably), with a 20­track compilation featuring a collection of artists passionate about the charity.

 

 

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Author: Jake McGloin

 

A report last year found that more than 60% of musicians suffer from mental health issues, and that’s not a spot on the amount of people these illnesses affect each year. As an industry, the music business has, in the past, failed artist and workers in other sectors alike due to the high pressure of the industry we choose to enter. But there is help, and as someone who has suffered with depression for most of my life, with support there is a light at the end of what at times can feel like as suffocating and endless tunnel, despite this everyday it can feel too much for some people. “In 2014, male suicide accounts for 76% of all suicides and is the single biggest cause of death in men under 45 in the UK. ” , that really is a harrowing statement. C.A.L.M’s main aim is to prevent male suicide, offering much needed help to men in the U.K. that reach out.

 

In support of promoting and funding this vital charity, C.A.L.M, along with London based ‘Till Death Do Us Party Records’, have released a 20 track compilation album, that also acts to help people understand that the there should not be any stigma around mental health and there is a way out. Each band and artist has contributed to this album with a story to tell, bringing with them a view of what many of us deal with each day. I feel my self that every day it’s talked about, the stigma around mental health is cut away at little by little, albums like this embrace our ability to be free from mental prisons and should be celebrated. Hats off to both parties for that.

 

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It’s an album packed with big noise and a lot of energy from acts like The Xcerts, Max Raptor and Classically Handsome Brutes. Tellison and Nelson Can provide more soothing sounds on a compilation that’s track by tack brilliance for an amazing cause. Check it out bellow and download from the ‘Till Death Do Us Party Records’ Bandcamp.

 

5 Albums To Look Forward To In 2016

Welcome to 2016, and if it’s anything like the last year we’re in for an explosive, exciting and ground breaking year of new music. With all the emerging talent that 2015 had to offer we’re expecting some phenomenal debuts along with a whole host of come backs. So will it finally be the year we get a follow up to Frank Oceans ‘Channel Orange’? Or does a break out act steal the show? Here are the top five albums we’re looking forward to this year.

 

MONEY – Suicide Songs

Due out at the end of January (Jan 29th 2016) the follow up to 2013’s Shadow of Heaven has been heavily anticipated and with a handful  of recent shows building nothing hype. Tracks ‘I’ll Be The Night’ and ‘A Cocaine Christmas and an Alcoholic’s New Year’ have been met with nothing but excitement which leaves pure hopeful joy for MONEY’s sophomore album, which will prove to be flowing with buoyant melancholy.

 

 

 

Blossoms – (untitled)

It was an amazing year for the Manchester psyc-indie rockers, the build up has been unreal and with a ‘BBC Sounds…’ nomination and a support slot for indie Gods The Libertines there seems to be no stopping them. One of the breakouts of last year, they’re sure to bring a jaw dropping debut full of perfect pop with a psychedelic take.

 

 

Rat Boy – (Untitled)

Debut album in the works and on a pretty much every ‘ones to watch’ list this year, the new kid on the block, that everyone can’t stop comparing to Mike Skinner and Jamie T, is looking to take 2016 by storm and we’re expecting a killer album to back it up.

 

Ryan Vail – For Every Silence

Ryan Vail’s electronic shoegaze style is encapsulating and entrancing, but more importantly is getting more and more attention, so inevitably the debut is album will feel the same, ‘Recorded in his home studio on the north coast of Ireland using primarily analogue synthesisers and an inherited 90 year old upright piano’, expect an intimate beautiful work of art.

The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything You’ve Come To Expect

Alex Turner and Miles Kane’s return has been a long time coming while Turner has been taking over the world once again with his band the former ‘Rascal’ has been forging a pretty solid solo career. First taste, ‘Bad Habits’, isn’t the cinematic enormous sound we embraced on ‘The Age of the Understatement’. It’s weirder, sleeker and more Rock & Roll but what would you expect, these two artists have grown since the last time around and their latest collaboration shows that.

 

5 Albums That Shaped Us – Xylaroo

London based sisters Xylaroo talk us through the albums that shaped their emotional folk pop sound and themselves. Compare with their track ‘Sunshine’ (Below) and hear how the ages have devloped who Xylaroo are.

 

1.The Execution of All things – ­ Rilo Kiley

Rilo Kiley is a band we both grew up with. They continue to be a staple in both of our musical diets and though everyone of their albums has certainly shaped us, “The Execution of All Things” is, in our minds, the best of a fine bunch. It’s one of their earliest albums and like so many other bands in their infancy they suggest in it a willingness to be peculiar and to experiment, to be raw and to be intimate. One thing that draws us so closely towards Rilo Kiley is their lyrics. They are dark yet hopeful, always thoughtful and tinged with sadness. They taste bitter sweet and yet accompany in such stark contrast simple, joyous, blissful and even cheerful melodies. ‘A Better Son/Daughter’, which both of us agree to be one of the most hopeful and uplifting songs that we know, is pretty much an anthem to us. It is, in our opinion, a must listen to; especially when you’re having one of those particularly bad days for no good reason at all. Actually, Rilo Kiley is one of the reasons I (Holly) started writing music. I wanted to write songs and to tell stories that resembled the weaving narratives and shifting moods and subject matters of this album. It moves so effortlessly amongst the personal, even mundane observations of the daily grind and yet also rises above it towards the profound and the philosophical.

2.The Con – ­ Tegan & Sara

Although we don’t listen to Tegan & Sarah as much now ‘The Con’ was definitely an album that I (Coco) remember listening to as a teenager on repeat and it certainly influenced our early sound. Being sisters and singing such synchronized harmonies Tegan & Sara inspired us to incorporate more harmonies into our own music, as initially I (Coco) was a little hesitant and shy about singing. It did not come as naturally to me as it seemed to do for my sister. Listening to their sound inspired us to make the most of the similarities of our voices. I think what was really cool about Tegan and Sara and what I love about this album is their piercing and I would say androgynous vocals and also their angsty lyrics. It was cool to hear female singers who were so distinct and different to other female artists I was listening to at the time and that I could relate to. Tegan & Sara was one of the first big concerts I went to, actually on their U.K tour of The Con in 2008, and I remember thinking to myself after the show ­ wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to do that.

3.Pastel Blues – Nina Simone

There is no disputing that Nina Simone is one of the greatest musicians of all time. Everything about her ­ her voice, the way she played the keys, her lyricism and the way she interpreted covers was beautiful. Easily, I (Holly) could have picked any of her albums but decided to stick with Pastel Blues, as it includes some of my favorites and probably her most iconic renditions; “Strange fruit”, “Sinnerman” & “Nobody knows you when you’re down and out”. What I love most about this album and all of her music is her soulfulness ­ you can feel the passion pouring out of her. Her songs have a sense of grandeur about them; she commands your attention and guides you through her songs with a firm and almost tidal urgency. Musicians like her don’t exist anymore, at least not in our generation, she exudes an emotional honesty and intensity which seems to have been lost in this time. ‘Strange Fruit’ is by far the most intense, an amazing song in it’s own right. I’ve never been drawn to Billie Holiday’s version as much. Nina’s is so much darker, so much more understated and so soaked in injustice and pain and anger. If you haven’t already listened to it you should…it’ll send shivers down your spine.

4. ­ Elliot Smith – Either/Or

Between the Bars is definitely one of my (Coco) favorite songs ever and to be honest one of my go to songs when I’m drowning my sorrows; which is probably true in terms of my relationship with Elliott Smith’s music in general and for that I am extremely grateful. What I love about this album and Elliot’s music is the understated unapologetic raw production of it. What I really respect about Elliot Smith is his music, at least to me, doesn’t feel like entertainment or a performance but an outpouring and even sometimes a rambling therapy. His music is sincere and humble and seemed like it was for him more than it was for anyone else’s sake.

5.Tracy Chapman – ­ Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman is an another artist that we grew up with as her debut album was a routine pick from our parents CD collection. I (Holly) remember listening to the songs on that album over and over again. I loved every one of them and still do today. Tracy Chapman is the kind of musician that is not afraid to be serious and political or to tackle controversial and somber subject matter. She tells human stories with an unromantic realism delving hard into domestic violence in “Behind the wall” or the racial tensions and segregation that still pervades the “Backstreets of America.” In this album she shows how she is not afraid to make her audience feel uncomfortable or to make them think. I reckon her music influenced the subject matter of our songs quite a bit, especially her serious tone. However, despite this seriousness her music is also uplifting and empowering, it is earthy, humble and raw. There is a whole lot of hope and love in songs such as “Talkin bout a revolution” or “Baby can I hold you Tonight.” Her voice is also incredibly distinct and somewhat androgynous. The uniqueness of her voice makes a Tracy Chapman song instantly recognisable. Like her voice, this album is certainly one of a kind, a diamond in the rough.

 

Top 5 Albums of 2015

It’s always difficult for me to give my top albums of the year, but here it goes; I tried to be honest and give the albums I enjoyed the most. I couldn’t fit everything I wanted in so honorable mentions to Florance & The Machine, Courtney Barnett, Hop Along, TWIABP and yes I have to admit it, Justin Bieber. Look out for our top 50 songs of the year but in the mean time, here are the albums that I really took something from in 2015.

  1. Modern Baseball – The Perfect Cast EP

The Philadelphia Emo-Indie rockers mini album took the bands sound away from what we’re used to in parts but it worked so well. Tracks like The Thrash Particle take the band to a new level but there’s a different more focused feel through out, still lyrically intelligent while finding the perfect layers of noise all the way through.

 

 

 

  1. Horsebeach – II

Ryan Kennedy’s second outing was a more mature developed sound work with. It’s a gorgeous album that could go deeper in parts, but it’s full to the brim with great songs to while away hours dreaming.

 

 

 

  1. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly

When Kendrick dropped he was releasing this album back in February, it was already going to be a special album, but it was really going to live up to the hype. And it smashed it, between ‘King Kunta’ to ‘These Walls’ and ‘The Blacker The Berry’, there’s no weak moment on this album. Already one of the greatest Rap albums of all time? The best of 2015 at least.

 

 

 

  1. False Advertising – False Advertising

One of the most exciting things to come out of Manchester this year, False Advertising’s scuzzed up debut was jam packed with riffs, howls and mega beats. It was a master class in tearing up eardrums but coupled with elegant writing that’s carefully planned from open to close. They took a long time to perfect the sound and pulled it off to make one of the years finest albums.

 

  1. New Order – Music Complete

A triumphant return by Manchester Gods New Order, trumps anything they’ve done in years. It’s an album that all round really delivers, I feel like I should be giving this spot to a new comer but for me, Sumner and co really delivered a complete album that surprised me and many others.

 

5 Albums That Shaped Me – Lucky T Jackson

Josh Goddard of Manchester Retro Guitar Band Lucky Jackson Talks Us Through The Albums That Shaped Him.

 

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Mixing guitar pop, soulful vocals and an R&B edge, Lucky T Jackson are certainly making an impression with they stunningly cool style and retro sound. Front man Josh Goddard takes us through some of the albums that shaped his sound.

 

 

Otis Redding -Otis blue

This Album I think is one of the best of all time. Otis Redding is one of my favourite singers – he sounds like he’s crying when he’s singing (in a good way) which makes you feel like he means every single word. This album in particular has a few covers which I think are as good or maybe even better than the originals. He sings two Sam Cooke songs (another inspiration) ‘Wonderful World’ and ‘Change Is Gonna Come’. He puts his own take on these slowing them down and adding vocal ad libs and runs everywhere. He also covers ‘My Girl’ made famous by ‘The Temptations’ which in my opinion is better than the original. Not only does he smash these songs other people have already made famous he had plenty of his own on the album that are some of the best songs of all time – ‘I’ve been loving you too long’ for example. The soul man – gone too soon

 

 

 

 

Oasis – Definitely Maybe 

This was the album that got me into being in a band. My older brother used to play it and I used to sing along pretending to play my electric guitar. Eventually I learnt to play loads of Oasis songs, I think everyone in Manchester learns to play guitar covering oasis tunes. although soul and Motown is my passion, when an Oasis song comes on it makes me smile – reminiscing of 18 year old me in 42s with two doubles vodka Redbulls with my best mates going mental to rock and roll star.

 

 

Graceland – Paul Simon

This is a massive inspiration to all of us in the band… I grew up being forced to listen to Paul Simon in the car by my dad and back then I didn’t understand it and just wanted to hear Shaggy and Ja Rule – what an idiot. Graceland in particular has some great tunes on it – Graceland itself has one of my favourite lyrics of all time in there “loosing love is like a window in your heart, everybody sees your blown apart, everyone sees the wind blow” being made even better by an out of this world melody. The fact Paul Simon got the band he did to record and tour with the album makes it all even better – it just shows there are amazing musicians out there that haven’t been noticed and have never made a career out of music when they deserve nothing less. There are lots of examples like this around Manchester, people who I have played with that are mind blowingly talented and need to be 10 million times more recognised.

 

 

 

Spencer Davis group – Their first LP

Stevie Winwood is probably my main inspiration – white guy with so much soul. People who don’t know think some of the songs are sang by an old black guy from America but no it’s a white boy from Birmingham. His voice is amazing and he plays piano/organ like Ray Charles and guitar like Clapton. ‘My Babe’ comes in with an amazing guitar lick then sweet harmonies from the band followed by an outrageous screaming soul vocal from Winwood which really shows he’s got one of the best soul voices of all time. ‘Dimples’ – wrote by John Lee Hooker another song that Winwood made his own and the band changed it to a jangly blues. I went to see him recently and he’s still got it.

 

 

The Beach boys – The Beach Boys Today!

Today this is my summer driving album. Me and my mate used to just drive around with all the windows down in my Morris Minor thinking we were surfers from the 60s. Everyone song makes you smile and wanna go talk to pretty girls. Not only does this album have the massive dance hits like ‘Help Me Rhonda’ and ‘When I Grow Up To Be a Man’ but it’s got slower more intricate tracks like ‘I’m so young’ and ‘she knows me to well’, which in a hungover state my make you shed a tear. The sound they managed to get on the guitars by doubling up the same riffs was so original and never been done before and that I think with the harmonies makes the beach boys.

 

 

#TBT -Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

 It’s Thursday, which means we’re looking back at a classic album and what make’s it so good. This week we look at arguably Yeezys greatest work. Thomas Durkan talks us through Kanye’s return to form and reputation. 

 

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Author: Thomas Durkan (@tomdurks)

The year is 2010 and Kanye West is public enemy number 1 in the music world. Having interrupted Taylor Swifts winning moment at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards with the now infamous line ‘Yo Imma let you finish but…’ Mr. West plunged himself in to a whirlwind of media hate. Even President Obama took time out of his busy schedule to call him a ‘jackass.’ Despite the fact that his first four albums were critical and commercial successes, things were not looking good for Kanye after his latest controversy. In light of this Kanye took a self-imposed hiatus from music and went to Hawaii to pursue his desire in fashion. However what was to come would be more spectacular then any shirt or trousers he could stitch together.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy dropped on November 22 and with that Kanye once again proved himself right when he’s said ‘Make music so good people can’t hate on it.’ The album opens with Nicki Minaj setting the scene for the whole album with a retelling of a Roald Dahl poem, indicating the ongoing themes of decadence and self-indulgence.

 

 

 

Minaj is the first in a long list of star studded collaborators on the album, which also features the likes of Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Rihanna, Elton John, Fergie and Bon Iver to name a few. Not are not that many artists in the world that could bring together such a plethora of people to help out on an album. But that’s the kind of response that West elicits. He’s an artists artist, people will do anything to work with him and he gets the best out of them.

There is something for everyone in this album. Kanye manages to bring together the best elements from each of his first 4 albums together in parts for a magnificent sound. Whether its the soul of his debut ‘The College Dropout,’ the orchestral side of ‘Late Registration,’ The Arena filling ‘Graduation,’ or the deeper, more emotional ‘808s and Heartbreaks,’ you’ll find it somewhere in MBDTF. This all merges together to give West his most complete and powerful sound. Some would argue it is his masterpiece.

 

 

The album spawned four singles; ‘Power,’ ‘Runaway,’ ‘Monster,’ and ‘All of the Lights,’ with the former winning two Grammy awards for Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 54th Grammy Awards. However, even though the single faired well at the awards show, it was the Grammy’s perceived snub of the album that was highlighted at the event. Critics around the world had praised MBDTF and reportedly it was the best reviewed album in years, finishing top of the pile on many publications best albums of 2010 lists. Yet the Grammys failed to nominate it for Album of the Year. Some people, including Yeezy himself, have put this down to Kanye’s joint effort with Jay-Z on Watch the Throne being released in the same year. But it also showed that there are still underlying negative perceptions and maybe a lack of understanding in the music world when it comes to hip hop.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was exactly what Kanye West needed in 2010 a return to form and a revitalised reputation. And it was also exactly what music fans needed, a game changing phenomenon and a reminder that Kanye is probably the artists for which our generation will be remember, and for all the right reasons.

 

 

 

Got a classic album you want to talk about? Send your reviews to Shopliftersuni@gmail.com

Horsebeach – II (Album Review)

Probably one of the most anticipated albums from a Manchester band in recent years, Horsebeach follow-up last years debut with ‘II’. Ryan Kennedys dream pop outing has been one of the most exciting sounds around of late, recycling 80’s vibes with timeless song writing.

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I was at most of the early Horsebeach shows; I booked some after meeting drummer Matt in a Manchester nightclub before anything really got off the ground. Even in those early demos he sent me, at those early shows there was something special about the sound Ryan was generating. Their debut ‘Horsebeach’ proved that beyond any doubt, the dreamy guitars and solid rhythms were an irresistible sound. ‘II’ is a more developed outing and prove Horsebeach is well on the way to where a band like this can be.

With an ambient intro that picks up into thick bassy guitars mellowed by a beautifully light riff it, ‘Intro’ track sets the perfect mood for the albums and lead track ‘It’s Alright’. The songs heavenly boy/girl vocals are to the tune of a song that is no doubt Kennedys best work melodically. ‘Andy’ is a powerful pop track draped in beautiful sounds from top to bottom, while earlier single ‘Disappear’ is work of magic weaving in and out with terrific guitar and vocals intertwining, for fantastic dream pop.

It’s fair to say there’s not a weak song on this album, but for me personally there’s a few that stray from the flow. Dana is a devastatingly beautiful song, but could stem a whole album of it’s own with much more keys and softer vocals that the rest of ‘II’. ‘Avoid The Light’ would easily have found it’s way onto the first album but to be honest it’s difficult to find too much fault this album.

Horsebeach has evolved in the past year since the self-titled debut that made people really sit up and listen; the sound is stronger and braver. It’s a gorgeous album that could go deeper in parts, but it’s full to the brim with great songs to while away hours dreaming and it’s easy to forget that it’s still early days, if we get a third album I can only see Horsebeach getting stronger.