75 items found for ""
- A Gut Feeling by Cassels | SuperfanNews
A Gut Feeling by Cassels Chris Peters 4 Feb 2022 If the Streets' Mike Skinner had gone to art college and fallen in love with punk but always been too scared to commit to a mohawk or an earring his music might have sounded strangely similar to this current era of Cassels. This week see's the release of the Oxfordshire duos third studio album and their first full length release since 2019. Will Jim and Loz manage to tear your spotty, public school face off with A Gut Feeling or will it barely draw your attention away from that second hand Jack Kerouac you are pretending to read? Only the most confident of artists would open an album with an 8 and a half minute experimental, garage punk saga but that is what the Beck brothers have done with A Gut Feeling. Opening track Your Humble Narrater incorporates grimey guitar riffs, repetitive drum breaks and an oddly thought provoking spoken word that is so out of place you start to question whether you heard it at all. An achievement not to be overlooked here is managing to stretch the delivery of the word 'Lesson' over 17 seconds. It has to be heard to be believed. Lyrically Cassels have taken a third person narrative approach to the majority of this record. Track names such as Family Visits Relative and Dog Drops Bone give a flavour of some of the complex subject matter addressed. Joking aside the lyrical content is relateable and mostly light hearted. For what is essentially spoken word the majority of the time the vocals actually keep the listener quite engaged and Jim really does a great job of mixing up the intonation and delivery. Jim's guitar approach throughout is to lean heavily in to the riffs. Pete's Vile Colleagues has a grunge-esque, distorted sound with a simple muted motif repeated under the verses. A similar technique is applied in the garage rock powerhouse Charlie Goes Skiing whereas on Sarah Misses Them the notes ring out to provide a much fluffier, melancholic tone. Loz Beck makes a fierce impression from start to finish by jumping between countless styles and rythms proving that this young drummer has got the versatility and skill to carry Cassels in to the bigger leagues. Much like his brothers vocal performance Loz continually surprises with unexpected breaks, fast fills and double time choruses. Cassels have clearly shaped their identity with this record and if there is one consistency throughout it is their own unique style. Most tracks on A Gut Feeling are 4 times too long to be considered punk but they are clever arrangements that are captivating both instrumentally and vocally. It's a thoroughly enjoyable listen that will put a smile on your face more than once. Any wordsmith that can successfully stitch the word 'self-flagellate' in to a song deserves at least some of our attention. The album is out now so please take a listen and let me know what you think. Chris Peters
- Still Bill by Bill Withers | SuperfanNews
Still Bill by Bill Withers Tom Radigan 11 Jul 2022 For Withers second album "Still Bill" which was released in 1972 showed Withers wide collections of songs. Like the first album, the song had a mix of interesting topics and sophisticated lyrics. Withers wrote all the songs on the album and collaborated with Stanley McKenny on “Who Is He (And What Is He to You)?” He also collaborated with guitar player Benorce Blackmon on “Another Day to Run.” The personnel on this album, like the first, has a mix of talented musicians. Musicians include multi-instrumentalist Ray Jackson on guitar, piano, horn and string arrangements. Also on this album is Benorce Blackman on guitar, Melvin Dunlap on bass, James Gadson on drums. The album produced two commercial hits which were “Lean on Me” and “Use Me.” The first track on this album is “Lonely Town, Lonely Street.” It is a great opener. It has such a funky vibe with Withers heavy vocals carrying this song. Once you listen to it, it’s hard to believe Wither just started in the music business a few years back and wasn’t born gifted with the craft or specially trained. He is able to be a role model for anybody who desires to be a musician or singer. He represents that anybody can be who they want to be; they just have to work for it. When I hear this song I just can’t stop thinking how soulful he really is. His music really made an impact and could touch people deeply especially with a song like "Lean On Me" that happens to be an uplifting song about friendship. When you hear the song it really puts you in a calm state of mind and just gives you peace. The opening lyrics really focus on how there are times in our life where we need that support or a shoulder to cry on. I think this song also is very useful and relevant in this day and age. It really does give a sense of hope to someone that lets them know it’s going to be ok. This song brings mixed emotions every time I listen to it. Sometimes I smile and at times it makes me want to cry due to how beautiful the message is which shows you how powerful music really is. This album has a lot of funk on it. One of my favorite funk tunes would be “Use Me” which I stated was a commercial hit for the album. Withers has an interesting way of approaching songs. His storytelling is simple and is easy for a listener to understand and can also be attached to the words that he is singing. In this song the singer focuses on a woman he is seeing who all his friends and family believe is just using him but he doesn’t care because as he says in the outro “It ain’t to bad that you using me because I sure am using you to do the things you do” I think what I love about this song is that it focuses on relationships where both partners are using the other for a specific reason. Sometimes it’s money and sometimes it can be due to sex. As much as I love the studio version of this song I also have a huge appreciation towards the live version that is on his “Live at Carnegie Hall” album. Another funky tune on this album would be the song “Kissing My Love'' which has a solid drum solo starting it off. And then the funk emerges with the other instruments kicking in just makes this song a complete head bop. I love Withers' use of repetition in songs. In this case I like the use of the line “Put your foot on the rock” which really makes you want to shake your leg. This song is a good example of Withers's positive songs. What song is an interesting twist in the mood of the melody is the slow blues number “I Don't Want You On My Mind.” This is similar to his first album where a happy go lucky song plays and for this album it would be "Kissing My Love" to a few tracks later to dark eerie songs like “I Don’t Want You on My Mind” or “Who Is He (And What Is He to You).” “I Don’t Want You On My Mind” has a Sonny Boy Williamson or Lonnie Johnson vibe to it. The guitar work is what makes the song sound like an old blues song but also is able to put a 70’s groove that can make it a memorable aspect to the listener. A song like “I Don’t Know” is a sweet love song that brings so much emotion but what I love about this song is that it’s about not knowing for sure how to define love to an individual. This song just has a positive approach on love and can give an individual a happy feeling when listening to this song to someone and I like how it focuses on just being able to not really know the intense feeling of love. I like the line delivery of “you got me feeling like a young man" just captures that intensity in romance and how the love for another can make us feel invincible but sometimes we just don’t know the answer or the outcome in a relationship. A song that sticks out to me on this album is “Another Day to Run.” What I like about this song is how it focuses on insecurities and is based on a feeling a lot of people have probably felt. This focuses on feeling lost with no direction. I mean I definitely feel I can relate to this song as I'm sure someone reading this can too. It focuses on mixed emotions from an individual like how people deal with rejection but also focuses on drugs and poverty. It’s a song that focuses on how we as people can hide from our problems but the issue is they will come back and haunt us eventually. Withers really does represent real life struggles that I’m sure he had. It’s so interesting to me how a former vet and assemblyman was able to have enough talent and a voice that needed to be heard to the public.
- Inglorious Eastern Cowboy by ALI | SuperfanNews
Inglorious Eastern Cowboy by ALI Chris Peters 25 Feb 2022 Every now and then a band comes along that completely shatters genres and manages to entirely birth it's own sound. The last thing we are ever going to be able to do is pigeonhole the Alien Liberty International, more commonly known as ALI. Members have come together from multiple continents to fuse their varied backgrounds, influences and expertise to create a colourful melting pot of funk, jazz, hip hop and a seasoning of just about every other style you can think of. Inglorious Eastern Cowboy is ALI's third EP and their shortest to date at only 16 minutes. The speed and power of the opening track Teenage City Riot certainly suggests a wild adventure is about to begin so it is a shame we only have three other tracks to get lost in. With that minor criticism out the way though there is a whole lot to love about this record. From the needle drop you are suddenly transported in to the opening scene of a Japanese Baz Luhrmann film. A drum roll foreshadows an impressive horn section that eventually parts to make way for vocalist Leo Imamura's dramatic opener drenched in emotion, satire and oceans of energy. Imamuras flexibility is showcased from multiple angles in just this one song. He moves between sharp whispers to grandiose concert hall projections whilst varying his tempo and character constantly. His fire is really symbolic of the whole band who all individually are at the peak of their game. A short bridge brings with it a 1950s style guitar solo at three times the speed before the horns slam us back in to the main rhythm with vengeance. Whole Lotta Love and Found Blue show a marginally softer side to ALI. The latter moving along a much lazier tempo and with piano playing a more central role. A melancholic trumpet solo from Takuya Kuroda sits upon the plateau at the top of this tune and layered vocals add depth and atmosphere. This is the closest Imamura comes to sincerity on a record that is mostly underpinned with a lighthearted foolishness but he pulls it off well. A great achievement should also be recognised in what is clearly a naturally ferocious drummer holding back to a great extent to help drive this moody, soulful number without stealing the limelight. The EP closes at the pace and volume that it opened with the momentous jazz epic Dance You, Matilda. Here the band come across like a Japanese Mr Bungle with the drums and percussion ensuring we never really know where we are going. The guitar has a much more contemporary sound during it's solo that prematurely steps aside to give room for the bass to shine. All members are on top form for this progressive jazz adventure and although every listener is going to want 5 more tracks it is a perfect ending. Inglorious Eastern Cowboy is an absolute powerhouse of a record that will move you through different cultures and eras of music like a stage show with grand psychedelic sets and crowds of dancers. ALI are expressive and utterly entrancing with their style and overall approach with Imamura acting as their ringmaster and emcee. I honestly believe there are very few people that will dislike this EP so if you are breathing and have functioning ears then I strongly recommend you check it out. Once you have done that be sure, as always, to let me know what you think. Chris Peters
- Space Fruit Vineyard by Japanese Television | SuperfanNews
Space Fruit Vineyard by Japanese Television Chris Peters 16 Apr 2022 If 2022 has been going a bit too smooth and run of the mill for you then allow me to throw you well and truly off the rails. This week saw the release of space cadets Japanese Television's debut album Space Fruit Vineyard. This London four piece spend a lot of their time shooting through the Galaxy encountering the wonders of our Universe but when they do have some time off they record these experiences through the medium of Space Surf music. Ok, so most of the above is, unsurprisingly, artistic license on my part but the genre of Space Surf is something that Japanese Television do market themselves as and understandably so. Whilst this bands identity is a melting pot of colours and flavours, surf and space rock definately shine out brighter than the rest as heavy influences. It's often characterised by bizarre effects and unexpected instrumentation with heavily reverbed guitar melodies sitting in the foreground. At 37 minutes Space Fruit Vineyard comes in a little short but with only 10 tracks, all bar 2 are a good enough length to develop character. The opening title track enters with miles of reverb and echo backed by a beckoning drum beat that injects a certain intrigue and anticipation. Although devoid of any vocals the track employs a typical verse - chorus structure that is easy to follow with the busy rhythm of the chorus parts along with its catchier and more identifiable melody. The sound is fairly dense and that may scare off the occasional listener unfortunately. Mosquito Dance Routine, for example, is the first time on the record that, in places, the layers of effects laden guitars end up clouding their own output. Cleverly, this track is followed by Ghoul Rules that has much more defined instrumentation and ever so slightly cleaner production.. mostly. Around the belly of the album you will find Bruce Willis. Or rather a track titled Bruce Willis. Over the, now characteristic, drum play and guitar sound you will find sporadic laser gun effects from the early seasons of Star Trek. Another memorable chorus which is something Japanese Television seem to do a lot better than many of their space rock contemporaries. Snake Shake brings a very welcome change with an almost tribal rhythm beneath a simple repeated motif that has an Eastern vibe not previously heard on the record. The depth of the sound thickens heavily until it collapses in to the chorus that begins at such a density that the first second or so is hard to make out at all. The short closing number, Bumble Rumble, borrows that same Eastern sound along with an organ that typifies the choral melody. We are even treated to an electrifying organ solo in the last 30 seconds which is a pretty brazen way to end the record. Space Fruit Vineyard proves to be successful in its role as a showcase of the Japanese Television sound. After listening to this record a couple of times you will forever recognise a track of theirs as they do have a very distinctive personality and they are spot on to call it Space Surf. Unfortunately, this is also the biggest downside to the album. Although I really like many of the elements that make up these tracks they are simply not varied enough to keep the interest going. I would prefer to have far more defined peaks and troughs in the track listing with even some thoroughly unexpected curve balls to keep me guessing. The individual compositions do have clear structure but these do not vary enough track to track. I love the overall Japanese Television sound though so if they put together a more exciting record in future it may get more spins from me. Take a listen yourself and let me know what you think.
- Internet Folk Songs by Monkey And The Permavirgins | SuperfanNews
Internet Folk Songs by Monkey And The Permavirgins Chris Peters 18 Feb 2022 Now just hold on to your preconceptions a minute there will you! Sure, Monkey And The Permavirgins might sound like a high school talent show project performing covers of Blink 182 songs in their underwear with the sole purpose of angering their teachers, but this is something completely different. Monkey And The Permavirgins are less a band in the traditional sense and more a collective of musicians located around the world who share their love of music and their ideas over Discord. And why the hell not! It's 2022! Internet Folk Songs is the second full length release from MAPV but the first of completely original music. Although it is made up of 14 tracks, most fall well under the 2 minute mark resulting in a total running time of only 22 minutes. Since it takes no time at all to find yourself halfway down the track listing an observation can be made pretty quickly of the consistency of style that flows through the record. A wholly organic soup of adventurous instrumentation, ambient vocals and sweet folky melodies. The lo-fi recordings are of a quality that is to be expected when knowing the background of the record and the production is minimalist but effective. The overall clarity of the tracks is at a level that would normally irritate me but in the case of Internet Folk Songs it adds not only a certain amount of charm and endearment but also credibility to their artistic ethos. The record opens with a short, gentle piano statement that disappears in to the fade in of How To Forget Yourself, an airy folk song that works itself up in to a climax of shoegaze inspired distortion and depth. This ethereal, effects laden guitar sound is further explored in Where The Sky Meets The Sea and to a more sparing extent in Song About A Racoon. These denser tunes are split up by more delicate, modest numbers that vary from a simple solo guitar composition such as Uncertainty to the ghostly love letter to Zane the Sleepyhead. Some of the intentions are unclear and unfortunately the occasional compositional eccentricities leave me on the wrong side of indifferent by the second or third listen. Monkey Kids Theme, for example, ends with almost twenty seconds of train station sounds that breaks up what is otherwise a very smooth transitioning record and the end of Stardust feels like the outro of three different songs pushed together. These criticisms though are minor and it's important to keep a record in context. Sure, it fails at being a modern day Sgt Peppers but it succeeds in creating an interesting and enticing dreamscape of indie folk to soundtrack your next acid trip. Monkey And The Permavirgins, whoever they are in this particular iteration, have put together here a beautiful record. The quality of recording and production choices are not going to be for everyone but for those that scoure the fringes of independent music for hidden gems are going to find a sweet reward with Internet Folk Songs. I recommend a listen and please, as always, let me know what you think. Chris Peters
- From A Birds Eye View by Cordae | SuperfanNews
From A Birds Eye View by Cordae Chris Peters 14 Jan 2022 It's a risky move to open your long awaited second studio album with a track revolving around another rapper but it sets the tone of what will prove to be a boundary pushing and deeply personal record from Marylands own, Cordae. From A Birds Eye View has been greatly anticipated by those who were taken aback by the young star's 2019 debut which showed the world what potential he had in him. The way and speed the music industry is moving, two and a half years is a fair amount of time to wait for a follow up so have we been rewarded for our patience? Has Cordae become what we hoped he would? Shiloh's Intro is a short freestyle down a phoneline by Cordae's childhood friend Shiloh Young. Including this as the opener to the record is in keeping with the personal nature of this project but also nods to some classic nineties and noughties releases that no doubt inspired Cordae. When he eventually drops his first verse in Jean-Michel it's clear he has been doing his homework. The lyricism is much welcomed urban poetry that I thought had almost been forgotten in 2022. Elegantly crafted lines like 'consider this a venomous haiku' are going to earn this young rapper the respect he deserves among those he looks up to. His vocabulary and verse structure consistently hit the mark even when, as we will see, he bounces around various styles, tempos and themes. Super tells us all about Cordae's A list life and how easy it is for him to make seven million. With his upbeat vocal style and playful writing though this doesn't come across like his arrogant peers throwing bricks of cash at Ferraris filled with bottles of Hennessy. Although he did apparently have 'bad bitches in a new Bentley' so I could be wrong. Momma's Hood's first verse has the characteristic flow of Tical era Method Man and the beat of the following track Want From Me is screaming early Kanye. I don't think this is accidental. Cordae is not hiding his influences but instead showing the world what made him. For some that includes actual appearances on the album and although the number of features on this record is tasteful they are impressive in their stature. The moody down tempo Champagne Glasses boasts not only a tidy, complimentary verse from Freddie Gibbs but, amazingly, an outro by Stevie Wonder. Elsewhere we are treated to verses from Gunna, H.E.R and of course Lil Wayne on Sinister which was released as a single last year. Eminem fans will be excited to see the collaboration on Parables but unfortunately it goes on far too long for the quality of rhyming Em gives us. I understand Cordae wanted to show his appreciation to someone who helped shape him as a rapper but this collaboration felt forced and unnatural. Wearing his influences for everyone to see is in line with the way this record as a whole gives us a look inside Cordae's life. We have candid mention of how the death of his grandmother affected him, recordings from his incarcerated friend and even a track named after his High School. Parables touches upon some of the darker periods of his life and in Chronicles he tells us about love. It's all there laid out on the table for us. No one can deny that hip hop as a genre has been evolving since the days of Grandmaster Flash and it will continue to evolve with every generation. In recent years, especially with the growing popularity of trap and its own development as a sub genre, complex and sharp lyricism has become less of the main focus and sadly we often see the charts topped by artists whose lyrical capabilities could be entirely questioned. Then someone like Cordae comes along who keeps the listener fully engaged with his words alone. Kid Culture, Daoud and various others have done an impressive job of pulling Cordae's voice in to a number of different styles but not stealing any of the limelight from the main act. Its an exciting and refreshing listen that gets my recommendation. Check it out now and let me know your thoughts. Chris Peters
- Just As I Am by Bill Withers | SuperfanNews
Just As I Am by Bill Withers Tom Radigan 11 Jul 2022 The 1971 debut album "Just As I Am" by Bill Withers launched him into the success of the music business. It’s an album that was able to show off his soulful voice and prolific songwriting talents. Ten of the twelve songs are written by Withers with two covers which were the popular "Everybody’s Talkin" by Freddy Neil and the Beatles "Let It Be." This album has all-star musicians all over it with Stephen Stills on guitar, Booker T Jones on guitar, keyboard and who did string arrangements, especially on songs like "Ain’t No Sunshine" which was the well known hit for this album along with "Grandma’s Hands." The opening track "Harlem" starts the album with a good 70’s groove. It’s a good intro before we hear the well known "Ain’t No Sunshine." When you listen to the eerie guitar riffs on Ain't No Sunshine by Withers and Stills. It focuses on a singer who can’t seem to find his girlfriend and is lonely without her. Withers claimed he wrote this song based on the movie "Days of Wine and Roses." This is what Withers had to say about the impact that the film had on him. "They were both alcoholics who were alternately weak and strong. It's like going back for seconds on rat poison. Sometimes you miss things that weren't particularly good for you. It's just something that crossed my mind from watching that movie, and probably something else that happened in my life that I'm not aware of." The string arrangements by Booker T bring a melody that adds to the tragedy of how the singer feels. The song was able to make it to number 3 on the charts. This song got Withers a Grammy nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and earned him a Grammy for best R&B song. A song like "Grandma’s Hands" focuses on the important role Wither’s grandmother played in his life and when you hear that song the first thought is “Yessss.” I mean what a song. What can I say about this song that hasn't already been said. It’s bluesy, soulful, deep and authentic. You don't get much more real than that and this song really stays true to one’s roots. You know there is something unique about this song once humming from Withers starts and with the use of simple guitar work similar to "Ain’t No Sunshine." I also love how the drums just kick into the song to help emphasize the tone which is bittersweet about reminiscing his grandmother who has now passed on. It is pure poetry that focuses on one aspect of her which would be her hands and how he says “boy they really came in handy.” He looks back on how those hands defined her as the person he knew as a child. The song is an homage to a role model of someone who is no longer around but will never be forgotten. With the love of a family member Withers was able to create a soul classic. However it is a shame it only made it to number 42 on the Billboard Hot 100. A song that for me is a real ear worm would be "Sweet Wanomi." What was interesting about Withers' choice of topics when he wrote his songs was that he was basing these experiences on speculation and not that much on personal experience when it came to love due to the fact he was in the Navy for 9 years. He might have not lived what he was writing but he could feel it. And a song like "Sweet Wanomi" represents the love and affection you have for someone else. Especially with the repetition of “Sweet Wanomi resting in my arms.” The melody brings a mood of joy and happiness. The song captures beautiful imagery with lines like “a room with soft satin pillows. Cracklin’ fireplaces keeps us warm.” This is also a track where you can hear Stephen Stills's guitar really carry the song. What I love about Withers is his change of emotions in his songs. Like you hear a song about loving someone with a song like "Sweet Wanomi" and then the mood switches when a few tracks later you hear a song like "I’m Her Daddy." This song has a dark feel about the man in the song who reconnects with a woman named Lucy that he had a one night stand with and finds out she had a six year old daughter that he is the father of. The man in this song is upset by the news that he isn’t in her life and wants to meet her. The instrumentation brings a bluesy vibe of depression due to the fact he has no connection with her yet seems to want to be in her life. He has a lot of questions about how she is living. The line “did you give her one of my pictures?” makes him curious if she knows anything about him. The way Withers delivers the line “see that man that’s my daddy” brings a lot of heartbreak and trouble in his voice realizing this major event in his life. And even how he says “you should have told me Lucy” makes us realize he wants to be involved and also makes us wonder about his love for Lucy. I love that each song has a distinct mood and are not all about the glory of love. I do happen to appreciate and am fascinated by the dark songs of romance like "I’m Her Daddy" but I find the disturbing song "Better Off Dead" very interesting. This song is about a man who has an issue with alcoholism and his wife decides to leave him with their kids. He mentions how she tried to help him but he couldn’t stop his bad habits. He realizes he doesn’t want to live without her. He focuses on her unhappiness with him. A line that emphasizes their tough marriage would be “she’d sit and cry while I went out and pawned the things we owned.” What I love about this song is that there is a clear story that could be a movie or a play about a struggling married couple. I also love how Withers who was not married at the time and never was would be able to capture a dark situation that could unfortunately be the case for a specific family. I absolutely am engaged with the dark choice of symbolizing suicide by ending the song with the sound of a shotgun after the line “she’s better off without me and I’m better off dead” is used. It also is a different and interesting way to end an album. Especially a debut album. This album was able to help Withers receive a grammy nomination as Best New Artist of 1971. This album was able to reveal to the world who Bill Withers was and was able to be the start of something new for him and the rest of the world. Not bad for someone who had little music experience prior to this album.
- This is Alphabeat (International Edition, 2006) by Alphabeat | SuperfanNews
This is Alphabeat (International Edition, 2006) by Alphabeat Matt Crawley 11 Apr 2022 Many of us, no doubt, have a mental list of records we go to for a pick-me-up, like a sweet fizzy juice when the office tea always tastes like dirt. Let’s be open and proud about our guilty pleasures. 2006’s This Is Alphabeat, the debut by Alphabeat, is usually on my playlist for long monotonous car journeys, making the British rain sound like tambourines and motorway tractors like a thumping bass line. Yes, this all sounds very trite, but I can’t help it. This album is a 40 minute smile factory that more people need to explore. A 6-piece from Denmark (3 of which named Anders, which must make confusing conversations), Alphabeat created very European sounding dance-pop, and This Is Alphabeat gives us echoes of early Wham and The Pointer Sisters. Almost all the tracks are worthy of radio play, and impressively 6 of which became singles. It’s easy to hear why. Here the band show a great talent for writing stellar melodies while injecting everything with a party atmosphere. You will believe they are all best friends, and feel like a part of their club. The 2 lead singers, Anders SG and Stine Bramsen, play off each other in brilliant balance, like the male/female pairings in The Human League or The Beautiful South. This particularly shows in the songs “10,000 Nights, “Boyfriend” and “Touch Me Touching You”. The guitars and synths lock together wonderfully throughout, like a well-oiled machine having a bubble bath. The party does slump somewhat with later tracks “Rubber Boots” and “Public Image”, which lack the joy and fire of the rest of the album; it certainly doesn’t help that Bramsen is absent in these tracks, making them sound like another band entirely. Its a relief that it all ends on a high with “Nothing but My Baby”. In all, a pure delight that does not get old, even after hundreds of listens.
- King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime by Faith No More | SuperfanNews
King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime by Faith No More Matt Crawley 8 Apr 2022 The cover art of this overlooked gem by alternative oddballs Faith No More reminds me of a police officer I once met who had the image tattooed all over his forearm. It shows the power of music, that when I mentioned the album to him, he became relaxed and excitable, not like any police I had met before or since. It gave me hope that someone appreciated this album enough to take it everywhere they went. (I sometimes wondered if he would say the album’s name, “King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime”, to troublemakers or schoolchildren to explain why crime doesn’t pay. It probably wouldn’t work, but it might convert some into Faith No More fans). Faith No More’s catalogue seems to be split into 3 parts: the Chuck Mosley era, the Mike Patton and Jim Martin (champion pumpkin grower) era, and the era without Martin, in which the band’s popularity seemed to wane. King For A Day beckons in this 3rd era. Trey Spruance (from Mr Bungle) takes the guitar duties here while keyboardist Roddy Bottum was absent for most of the recording, due to personal difficulties. It takes a clear detour from the epic experimental album Angel Dust, which found a genius balance of catchy songs with ferocious walls of noise. King For A Day is a musical mystery tour that makes FNM sound like a much bigger ensemble. Star A.D. gives us smooth yet cartoonish horns, Evidence is a sleazy funk song complete with strings and soulful vocals from Patton. Just a Man elevates the band with a gospel choir. We also go into latin territory with Caralho Vaodor, complete with percussion section and a chilled acoustic guitar. Is this all the result of Martin’s departure? Likely, as he left the band unhappy with the creative direction Patton was taking it. We still get hard rock - thrashing guitars, Mike Borden’s always-impressive drums and Patton’s screeches and shouts. But the zany avant-garde of Mr Bungle has clearly creeped in here. Every track is impressive, entertaining and with unexpected turns. The stylistic changes throughout the album may unnerve some listeners, but the frantic yet goofy energy of FNM is ever present. King For A Day is an album that deserves more listens, more chances, as there is something here for people who won’t expect it.
- 12th House Rock by Narrow Head | SuperfanNews
12th House Rock by Narrow Head Chris Peters 21 May 2022 If, like me, you are in complete denial that the 90s ever ended then you may find that Houston based Narrow Head have developed a rather tasty medicine for you. Scenes come and go and genres, even when they do persist over decades, evolve in to mutations of their original sound. There are bands out there that move very careful within the confinements of a particular era's sound in order to keep the dream alive but often, 20 or 30 years down the line this can come across parodical or cheesy. What then will we make of a band that has taken not one but countless different genres and styles from a period in the past to create their own take on an era for a new audience that were never there? Narrow Heads second studio album 12th House Rock came out in August 2020 on Holy Roar Records. I only recently discovered this record and upon first listen there was no way I would ever have believed it came out so recently and was by a band that only formed in 2013. The opening number Yer' Song, after a teasing blip of feedback, falls immediately in to a purposeful, heavy, rhythm at a speed that contrasts with the weight and tone of the guitar. A simple melody holds out in the foreground with a background of fuzz and noise. When the initially slow and droning vocals kick in the sound is complete displaying elements of grunge, 90s alt rock, alt metal and even some the nu metal of the early noughties. The vocal harmonies of this opening track are initially reminiscent of Alice In Chains but the treatment of the voice varies throughout the track and the album as a whole. Stuttering Stanley features a Billy Corgan-esque breathiness in the bridge and Chino Moreno's influence can be felt all over from the screams on Hard To Swallow to the lazy melodic delivery of Emmadazey. The vocal effects and enunciation have been undeniably influenced by the mainstream alternative metal of the late 90s and whereas a faux megaphone is almost categorically tacky, here it merges well with the dense guitars and sits nicely engrossed in the mix. The character of the guitar on this album is, at its most interesting, a thick soup of effects inspired by Kevin Shields and other shoegaze guitarists of the time. Whereas bands like My Bloody Valentine are comfortable leaning in to that wash of sound, Narrow Head seamlessly drop in cleaner sections, space where it's needed and even solos that work against a backdrop that is not used to solos. Wastrel is an entirely unexpected acoustic track that unnecessarily fills two minutes before Delano Door. The latter features a lead bass riff and spoken word verses. The chorus screams Deftones again but not in a crass way, just a very clear influence. The album closes with Evangeline Dream, arguably one of the most accomplished tracks on the record. It combines the shoegaze backdrop with clean lead guitars, stunning solos and multiple defined sections with unique personalities. The delivery of the hook reminds me of Fuel's Brett Scallions but later in the track there is an airiness and ethereal nature to the vocal production that adds a whole new flavour. 12th House Rock is not only an adventurous and well written body of work it is a pool of memories for anyone that was working their way through rock and metal in the late 90s. The influences are clear but used sensibly and they are not trying to outright emulate anyone. If you have even a passing interest in that era of rock and metal I would recommend this album. This is a great band, a great record and a melding of genres that works almost too well. I can see other bands in years to come trying to sound like Narrow Head in an attempt to sound like the 90s. Give it a listen. Let me know what you think.
- 1999 by Prince | SuperfanNews
1999 by Prince Matt Crawley 9 Apr 2022 By 24, young genius Prince had already released 4 albums, all of which were self-produced and were almost entirely performed by the purple one himself. His 5th album 1999 signalled a tangent in his career by way of recording with his live band The Revolution. It was Prince’s first billboard top 10 album, catapulting him to new heights which would spiral further with the album Purple Rain which followed 2 years later. Clocking in at just over 70 minutes, 1999 is an epic album which is often impressive, but perhaps does not hold together as a coherent piece of art. It has beautifully crafted songs that infuse rock and soul seamlessly in almost radio-friendly packages (“Little Red Corvette”, “Delirious”, “Free”). Then there are the more experimental, obscure tracks (“All the Critics Love U", “International Lover”). The meat of the album however comes in the form of dance oriented jams that are frankly far too long. “Let’s Pretend We’re Married”, “D.M.S.R” and “Automatic”, while entertaining and edgy, feel overly repetitive and outstay their welcome, especially as they are grouped together around the album’s fatty middle. “Lady Cab Driver” is as long, but is easier to digest with its seriously groovy funk (be aware if playing this song in public, there is a sexy noises section that may be genuine). The title track is a Prince classic, but the radio-version we all know is almost half the length of the one here, which is much darker with apocalyptic undertones - that’s fine, but it can make it awkward on the dance floor when we hear the child’s voice asking “Mummy, why does everybody have a bomb?” Somehow this matches the tone of the whole album, as there is always an underlying sense of unease, like a dancer at a club realising they left the gas on at home, but continuing to dance anyway. Every track on 1999 is a feat of exquisite musicianship, but as a whole the album feels like a bloated myriad of ideas that are in desperate need of a trim. It teeters on the tightrope between sublime songs and elongated dance tracks - all of these would be fantastic on stage with Prince and The Revolution in the glory of their musical prowess and showmanship. Perhaps not as a studio album.
- Laryngitis & Getcha by Won't Say Rabbit | SuperfanNews
Laryngitis & Getcha by Won't Say Rabbit Muse BeeLove 29 Jul 2022 Won't Say Rabbit is a pop-punk band from New Jersey. They have been making music since the late 1980's and recently released two tracks on Bandcamp. First up is an instrumental called 'Laryngitis.' This song has a fun retro sound with a driving danceable beat. The other Won't Say Rabbit track is 'Getcha.' which showcases the powerful voice of their female vocalist, Beth, singing about a cheeky game of hide & seek. I asked the band what they want to accomplish on Bandcamp, since Won't Say Rabbit have been around for a long time. Bass guitarist, Tom told me they are looking forward to reaching new fans as well as reconnecting with longtime supporters of the group. Singer Beth said it's been a while and they need to update their collection of Won't Say Rabbit band tee-shirts and pin badges. The band's guitarist, Brian recently found a collection of DVDs of Won't Say Rabbit's live performances from over the past 25 years. The band is looking forward to releasing more videos and MP3s as they become available. You can find Won't Say Rabbit on their YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4mm-iojo8aX4pGk8PnAQ2g and their Bandcamp page at https://wontsayrabbit.bandcamp.com