Marmozets

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Been yonks since I did a band plug and quite a while since I wrote anything about music on here at all. Plenty of potential stuff to write about but nothing that’s quite captured me as much as this little band, Marmozets. Hailing from Yorkshire they deal in math rock, emo, and post-hardcore with an ear for a catchy chorus. Fronted by vocalist Becca McIntyre with a debut album due soon I think they’re ready to set the rock world alight for the first time in ages.

With two EP’s to their name so far and a handful of singles these guys have already shown a great diversity in their abilities. The first EP, Passive Aggressive shows a real pop sensibility with, dare I say it, hints of Paramore in their choruses Becca’s vocals sound so similar to Hayley Williams but she pushes it one step further with a scream that would put a lot of metal bands to shame. They show a real ability to experiment and throw everything they’ve got at us in a barrage of news and overall great musicianship. Their math rock influences shine through on a lot of tracks too, Onemanwolfpack has sections reminiscent of Rolo Tomassi and EP closer The Perfect Beverage at times sounds like The Fall of Troy. But never far away is this sense of mainstream rock and roll, I often pick up an aura of early Biffy Clyro and hence the potential for Marmozets to break out of a niche and perhaps one day headline arenas like the Biff. Their second EP, Vexed, is a lot heavier overall the title track is an absolute screamer. But again the collection is littered with catchiness and the final track, Arrive Alive, will have you repeating the chorus over and over in your head. With their latest singles we get a taste of what to expect from their debut LP, with a more polished sound the band have retained their heaviness along with the infective choruses that’ll get you singing along.

These guys are the most exciting British rock band I’ve come across in years and their record looks set not to disappoint check out their EP’s now, both of which you can get free, and let’s help transform this group into superstars.

The Sequel to the Prequel

Babyshambles-Sequel-to-the-Prequel-1024x1024Well it came as quite a surprise to me a couple of weeks ago that there was a new Babyshambles album out. After having heard a couple of new songs from the group a couple of months ago I didn’t come across any kind of hype for the new record and to be honest I forgot we were expecting one completely. Then all of a sudden and it’s upon us. Titled The Sequel to the Prequel, this third studio album is the first record the Pete Doherty-led band have made since 2007.

Unfortunately though I found this new record to be rather an underwhelming entity. In the past both of Babyshambles previous records have been some of my most played albums whereas The Sequel to the Prequel and dropped off my listening radar almost as quickly as it appeared onto it. There is a real lack of bite in this record not to mention a lack of Pete Doherty’s sharp lyricism. This perhaps the worst collection of lyrics by the controversial frontman I’ve ever heard and its reflected in the music. While I wouldn’t have minded if the group was changing direction to a prettier sound with a less rock-y feel it seems they are still trying to keep their old slightly punky image with none of the music to pull it off. There are some fun songs on here, the highlight being Dr. No, which has a ska feel to it and really doesn’t sound anything like the rest of the record. And perhaps actually listening to the album isn’t as bad as I’m making it out to be, I still wouldn’t be bored re-listening but overall it just lacks that little something extra to make it really worthy of being called a good record.

It’s may be an ok listen but The Sequel to the Prequel doesn’t have the required uniqueness of the first two Babyshambles records and for that reason fails to hold your attention. A disappointment.

Machina/The Machines of God

breaking-bad-cartoon-wallpaper-hd-wallpapersAfter the unusual, and much less successful Adore Jimmy Chamberlain returned to the Pumpkins and they obviously began to dream big again. The Machina project was originally envisioned by the band as a double-album heavy on concept. However due to the poor reception of Adore the label only allowed it to be released as single-album. There was a whole concept crafted around the record which saw the band made into cartoon characters but the whole story was never fully completed and there are only bits and bobs floating around as to what this was all about.

Musically Machina marks a further departure in style from the music that brought them mainstream success and the sound is more electronic based than even Adore. There is, however, heavier music to be found here than on it’s predecessor. The opening track, The Everlasting Gaze, is one of the bands heaviest songs with a great guitar riff but it also shows how production has become the main focus of Corgan’s vision as the sound is much less raw and in a way less real than their old style and while still a good track it lacks a personal feel that they always used to have. There is nothing inherently wrong with Machina, it’s still an album that deserves to be heard but its clear that the record was made without a clear aim, as the band was falling apart during recording and the concept was never fully realised people were reluctant to buy into it.

While you could not call Machina a poor record it was made during troubled times for the band and is probably the groups weakest effort overall. However it was never given the chance to be released as Corgan had intended it to be and perhaps it loses out because of this, as Corgan is working on remastering all the old Pumpkins albums and promises that this Machina package will be re-released in its complete form we may have something much more interesting on our hands.

Deafheaven

DeafheavenIt’s been a long while since my last band plug post and that’s mainly because there have been a lack of awesome bands that I’ve discovered. But when I heard Deafheaven’s new album, Sunbather, a few weeks ago the band immediately became something I needed to talk about. It’s hard to define the bands sound really as it combines elements of a huge amount of genres and also has something that is completely different from anything I’ve ever heard. Having originally been conceived as a two-piece, founding members George Clarke and Kerry McCoy have been through various touring and recording members but have always maintained their unique style.

It would be hard to describe Deafheaven as any one kind of music but due to their screaming vocals and the fact that they’re signed to Death Wish Records it may be they are seen from the outside as a metal band. The problem with this is that any pigeon holing of this band is vastly limiting their appeal. These guys are not a metal band, they’re not an indie band, they’re not even necessarily a rock band; they are a musicians with a clear cut artistic goal that have managed to create music that is so strikingly personal and raw that it can not be defined as a genre of a music only as the art that it is. There first studio album Roads to Judah didn’t have the sublime production that was to be found on its follow-up but it still holds the bands vision and signature sound that you will become accustomed to after listening to one track. It’s their new album, though, Sunbather, that really is nothing short of a masterpiece. It ebbs and flows through speedy metal beats and riffs swarming their way into psychadelic fades and dreamy waves of music. Its bold music that is both brutal and beautiful.

With two great studio albums under their belt and an ever-growing fan base let’s hope Deafheaven are a band that will continue to push boundaries and create great, unique music. If you scroll down I’ve put this new-fangled Spotify play button so you don’t even have to leave this page to get into perhaps the most exciting band of the year.

…Like Clockwork

queens-of-the-stone-age_like-clockwork-608x6083I have a strange relationship with the Queens of the Stone Age and for the most part I think they’re fairly over-rated. There are tracks of theirs I absolutely love but then their albums tend to be padded out with filler tracks that don’t really do anything other than make for a boring album. I’ll probably be gaining a huge number of enemies by writing this but Songs for the Deaf is one of the most over-rated albums of all time. The thing is though, with QOTSA, is that I really want to like them. I still would love to see them live and I think Josh Homme is one of the best vocalists out there. Although until now Homme’s best work, in my opinion, has been with Them Crooked Vultures. Well, for …Like Clockwork the group brought Dave Grohl back on drums as their drummer left the band during a troubled time for the group. It also ended up that the band would produce the record themselves, having originally planned for Trent Reznor to do the honours. It would have appeared that this album was going to be a bit a mess, thrown together while things going on around the group were falling apart, what QOTSA offer with …Like Clockwork though is their strongest, most consistent record to date.

The sound of the record is most similar to their last studio effort 2007’s Era Vulgaris but that was another album that had it’s stand out tracks, namely ‘Make it Wit Chu’ and ‘3’s and 7’s’, while the rest of the songs failed to deliver. What …Like Clockwork does is take that same kind of country-infused rock and throws in a dash of the Vultures magic. It’s really a document of how much Homme is improving as a songwriter and how much he has learned from being in the supergroup. It’s also just a simple fact that QOTSA have always sounded better with Grohl behind the kit, and this album is further example of that, it’s a shame he can’t be a permanent member of the band really but at least we get to enjoy him again on this recording. Where Clockwork succeeds is in its pacing, the speed is never slowed down it remains at a constant fast pace across a rapid ten tracks, placing the slowest two songs at the very end to round of the record. While it does have its quieter moments it’s always building up to something bigger and more explosive. They really have got the track listing just right here making the record flow and offer the listener a complete package that couldn’t be enjoyed as well when not listened to as a whole. For me, the trakcs build in greatness till the peak at tracks 6-8 with the eighth, ‘Smooth Sailing’ being, quite simply my favourite QOTSA song of all time, and my predestined song of the summer for 2013.

It really was a surprise to me that this record turned out so good. But thankfully the Queens of the Stone Age have moved one step further up the ladder to becoming a band I love rather than one I wish I could love more. Keep it up Homme.

 

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

4MellonCollieHighResWhere do I begin with Mellon Collie and the Infinite? Also what better way to celebrate Music, Movies, General Life and Such’s first anniversary than with a review than with a review of one of the defining albums of my life? I hope to come to you with the answer to both of these difficult conundrums. In the height of the Smashing Pumpkins glory days, hot off the heels of 1993’s Siamese Dream and the surprise success of the Pisces Iscariot mix-tape, the band dropped a behemoth double-album that amped up the scale of the groups, already huge, output. Mellon Collie, spanning across 28 tracks, was an album that not only set the bands career as one of grunge rocks pioneering sound in stone but also gave the world one of, simply, the greatest albums of all time and one that is still to this day underrated.

The records detractors would have that the Pumpkins were always a band whose ambitions was to be a stadium band and for that reason that this album, and all its predecessors, think they’re greater than they actually are. While it would be impossible to argue there’s a slight arrogance in the whole of the Pumpkins aura and that it shines through especially in Mellon Collie, it’s actually quite unfair to claim that said arrogance is misplaced. While the SP’s remain a band that sit just underneath the radar of the mainstream they cannot be denied as one of the most influential groups of all time. This record is a glowing example of a band at their peak of their, musical, song-writing and performing abilities, a group completely unafraid of just doing what they want. It rises and drops as record, flowing from the heaviest rock of any Pumpkins record to the calmest and most minimalistic music the band has ever recorded. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness really is one of the most diverse albums out there. And despite the records arrogance what also comes trough is a sensitive honesty on display of a band really wearing their hearts on their sleeves emotionally as well as musically through this collection of songs. For every, ‘I don’t need your love to disco dance’ there is a ‘Forgotten and absorbed into the Earth below’ to counteract it. And its clear to see that, as well as, wanting to show off they were also releasing a part of their lives.

The answer, then, to my first question at the beginning of this review is that it’s near impossible to know where to start when looking at this beast of an album. But the reason for that is that there’s so much great stuff about it while you try to explain you end up getting up in another. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness could well be, for me, the most perfectly complete album in the world. It remains, and will always remain, a record that I will never stop listening to regularly and will never stop loving.

P.S. In answer to my second question, no.