Wednesday 31 July 2013

Cmn ineed yr hlp - It Came Without Warning...As Most Disasters Do

As the overwhelming success of the wonderful Public Service Broadcasting has demonstrated, people react incredibly positively to music that utilizes vocal samples from the past in order to successfully make the music of the present and future. Although there are bands on this side of the Atlantic who are doing this to great effect (like Fold, who recently remixed the aforementioned PSB), it's even nicer to hear bands doing the same on the other side.

Enter Cmn ineed yr hlp (sic), a trio hailing from Chicago. Their 2nd release, "It Came Without Warning...As Most Disasters Do", was launched earlier this month, and just like PSB, they use vocal samples as the basis for their music. However, that is largely where the similarities end. Whilst the samples used by PSB are largely used in context, the samples employed by Cmn ineed yr hlp have been taken from various public domain movies, newsreels, television shows and radio dramas in order to create an original, sci-fi influenced narrative. To quote the band:

"The album tells the tale of a gentle sea monster trapped and kept against his will for the amusement and profits of his oceanfront captors. Our protagonist becomes frustrated with his predicament and sets forth on a plan to escape, regardless of the cost in human life."

And in keeping with the epic scale of their narrative, the band's sound is found firmly within what is perhaps the most epic of all rock genres - post-rock. With it's uncompromising peaks, misleading troughs & complex guitar patterns over the release's 24 minutes, it calls to mind the darker moments of fellow post-rockers And So I Watch You From Afar.

"It Came Without Warning..." will be somewhat an acquired taste for those who aren't big on post-rock, but with its sea monster anthemics, it's hard to deny that there is unlikely to be another album like it released in 2013.

"It Came Without Warning..." by Cmn ineed yr hlp is out to download now, both in a 5 track version and as one continuous song.

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Joshua Burnside - If You're Goin' That Way E.P

Following on from yesterday's artist who has taken folk in interesting directions, it's time to looking at an artist a little closer to home who is deconstructing the genre. Well, as long as that home is in Northern Ireland, and more specifically Lisbane in Co. Down, for that is the location of singer/songwriter/producer Joshua Burnside. He's released two E.Ps over the past few years, debuting his most recent one, "If You're Goin' That Way", last month.

"If You're Goin' That Way" should act as a good introduction to Burnside's sound, a mixture of deceptively lo-fi folk and sonic experimentation. The E.P's short opening track "Desert Wine" sets the scene for the E.P, mixing plaintive vocals and guitar playing with deep beats and hi-hats which could be best described as "curiously mad indeed." This is followed by "Black Dog Sin", a track which takes Tom Waits' saloon rock archetype and gives it an Irish traditional twist.

"Little Blind", the E.Ps strongest track, is one that plays fast and loose with structure. The first 2 minutes follow the standard angst-y folk pattern, before taking two abrupt generic shifts, firstly into jaunty, Duke Special-esque piano-pop, then switching into a cataclysmic ending with distorted vocals, giving off a slight Grandaddy vibe. The final two tracks on the album are more standard fare, "August 1973" being a decent interpretation of Nick Drake circa "Pink Moon", and "Half Holmes" being a straightforward folk-rock song. Decent tunes, but nowhere near matching the interesting ideas of the first three tracks on the E.P.

There are a few decent ideas floating about on the E.P, and whilst it might not be to everybody's tastes, it is nice to see a local artist attempting to do something different within a genre which is slowly reaching saturation point.

"If You're Goin' That Way" is available to download on a pay what you like basis.

Monday 29 July 2013

Gibson Bull - Skin and Bones

It's a real pleasure to hear an artist taking a genre/genres so familiar and doing something rather different with it. London based singer/songwriter Gibson Bull has taken the folksy sound that has proved so popular over the past few years and mixed it up by sampling old jazz and classic records to create trip-hop inspired soundscapes. "Skin & Bones" is the most recent song of his in this style, and with its jazzy bass and beats and sincere delivery calls to mind the turn of the millenium material of 4hero, as well as bearing a striking similarity to Noah & The Whale circa "Last Night on Earth".

"Skin & Bones" is available as a free download.

Sunday 28 July 2013

Drenge - Face Like a Skull

Of the many ways that an upcoming band can gain their first piece of  mainstream attention, being personally recommended by a resigning politician is probably not the most obvious, nor coolest.

Earlier this month, Labour MP Tom Watson resigned from his party's campaign team. In his parting letter, he advised Ed Miliband to listen to Drenge, a Derbyshire duo made up of brothers Eoin and Rory Loveless. Hopefully this isn't the beginning of a trend where music PRs start lobbying politicians in order to get the artists they mention name checked in Prime Minister's questions, get Acts of Parliament named after groups, and ensure that certain politicians don't mention their band altogether (and given how vociferous Morrissey and Marr have been about David Cameron mentioning The Smiths in parliament, there might be some good money in it).

But anyway, Drenge are lining up to release their self-titled debut album next month, with "Face Like a Skull" the latest single to be taken from it. It's a rather enjoyable slice of primal, garage rock built around a simple yet effective guitar riff.

"Face Like a Skull" is released on August 26th, and is taken from their self-titled debut album, out on August 19th.

Thursday 25 July 2013

Ivry - Love It Takes

On "Love It Takes", Year Of The Tiger noisemaker and Brooklyn resident Henry Ivry (recording just as Ivry) attempts to do to soul/blues music what Sleight Bells did to girl pop and what Curxes are currently doing to synth-pop - namely stripped it down to its essence, then distorting it beyond the red. Just because he can.

It might be a little sugary or straightforward for some people's tastes on first listen, but beneath the veneer it showcases an interesting take on mashing two disparate sounds together.

"Love it Takes" is taken from the self-titled debut E.P "Ivry", which is available as a free download.

Wednesday 24 July 2013

The Metaphorical Boat Is 2 Years Old Today

Today marks the 2nd anniversary of the moment that The Metaphorical Boat first set sail on the choppy waters of the blogosphere. It's been a pleasure being able to write about so much great music over the past 730 days, and I truly hope that I will continue to be able to do so for the next few years. I'd like to thank every one of you who have taken time to read and visit this blog, even if it's only been for a few seconds, as well as every artist who has written some of the fine songs that have featured on this blog since it's inception in July 2011. If it wasn't for all of you, this blog wouldn't have made it past the first week.

Here's to several more years of music that floats my Metaphorical Boat, as we continue to dwell upon the biggest musical questions of the day, such as "what makes music such a universal experience?", "will there ever be a better album than "Coming Up"?", and "if you are at a festival wearing a band t-shirt, and whilst walking about the festival site the lead singer of said group comes over to you and points out that you're wearing their band's shirt, what is the appropriate course of action to take?"*

Here are some of the notable posts that have appeared on the blog since our last birthday, a mixture of both the most popular posts and those that I'm most proud of:

The 1975 - Sex - the most clicked-on post in the site's history by a country mile.

Album Review:  Little Comets - Life is Elsewhere - most popular album review of the past year.

Little Bear - Night Dries Like Ink/Killer - most popular post about a Northern Irish artist.

6 Reasons Why The Artist You Love Isn't in the UK Chart - the blog post I am the most proud of.

The Metaphorical Boat's Albums of 2012 - so many great albums released last year.

Album Review: Suede - Bloodsports - probably the most difficult album review I've had to write, although in hindsight I was probably a bit more vicious that I should have been.

And now the celebrations can begin. Battenberg and Caramacs for all. And by all, I mean me.

*Inspired by my recent attendance at the Glasgowbury Festival. To save my blushes, I'm withholding the name of the group in question, although if you saw me at the festival you'll know who it is. In any event, my reaction was probably incorrect. 

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Steaming Satellites - Another Love

This blog's entire knowledge of the great country of Belgium consists of Soulwax, Tintin, Poirot, truffles, a well regarded music blog,  and former Manchester City striker Émile Mpenza, so it's nice to broaden our cultural horizons a little by adding something new to the mix.

Trio Steaming Satellites released their debut album "The Mustache Mozart Affaire" last year to great reception in their home country. The band are lining up to release their second album in September, and have made one of the tracks from the album, "Another Love", available to download for the price of an email address. It's a great little tune which glides along with an angular art-rock guitar riff that calls to mind Franz Ferdinand.

The album "Slipstream" will be released on September 2nd.

Monday 22 July 2013

Gaoler's Daughter - Cordelia

The way that London group Gaoler's Daughter been covered on this blog has been somewhat akin to a visiting aunt or uncle - dizzily exciting when they come to visit, yet largely forget about them until they return the next year bearing more delicious gifts. They first caught our attention nearly two years ago with the dark, brooding "St Peter", and then again last August when they released "When We Were Young", a tribute to unfulfilled childhood dreams.

Now hoping to catch our attention once again, the band have released "Cordelia", a track which will preview their long awaiting debut album. The song has already picked up quite a few fans on the blogosphere, and has found quite a few fans on the radio as well, with the song being shortlisted for 6music's Rebel Playlist. And it's not hard to see why, as it's their most infectious tune to date, mixing their doom-laden sound with an infectious chorus to great effect. With more material forthcoming next month, I think it's fair to say that it will be a little bit sooner than a year when we next have a visit from the lads of Gaoler's Daughter.

"Cordelia" will be released on 12th August, with their debut album "How To Make Time" following on August 26th.

Promo pic is © Damian Crobak

Friday 12 July 2013

Hillspeak - Reaching E.P

As you are all more than aware by now, those fellows in Mumford & Sons have made a pretty penny out of their upbeat indie-folk stylings, and like any group that enjoys global success, they've had their fair share of artists jumping on their bandwagon. However, in all that time I have yet to hear many artists do the obvious and take the raucous folk template and infuse it with Irish traditional music.

That is until I happened upon Dromore based quartet Hillspeak, and their impressive debut E.P "Reaching".  They've got the energy, the harmony vocals and production techniques of Mumford, Bellowhead, Of Monsters and Men and the ilk, yet add their own spin on it by apparently taking inspiration from the Irish folk tradition on tunes like "Eden" and "End of Me". It's an incredibly strong release from a band who deserve to be heard.

"Reaching" is available now on a pay what you want basis.

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Hentai Babies - Nice Little Story

Since catching our ears last month with the irresistible "One Potato Two", Isle of Wight based trio Hentai Babies have shot straight to the top of The Metaphorical Boat's list of British alt-rock bands with a name derived from anime terminology. Admittedly, the list only contains one band at the moment (the aforementioned Hentai Babies), but it's a rather great list to be on nonetheless.

This month, the group have released their latest song, "Nice Little Story", a song that has proven to be just as delightful as their previous offering. Once again, the band's love of 90s alternative rock shines through on this release, although on this release it gravitates more towards British groups like Manic Street Preachers than the American influences on "OPO". It's a heavily guitar-orientated track, yet one which has a pop heart hidden below its scuzzy sheen.

"Nice Little Story" is available to download for free.

Tuesday 9 July 2013

A Northern Light - Kill It

I've literally been waiting months to be able to share this song with you, so I'm sincerely glad to finally be able to post this song/video from Belfast trio A Northern Light. Since forming at the beginning of the decade, the group have released several singles and E.Ps, as well as building up a following on the local circuit

A couple of months ago, "Kill It"  received its premier on BBC Radio Ulster's Across The Line programme, where it was well received by the audience and presenters alike, being described as a "massive step forward" for the group. However, despite its instantaneous appeal, the song itself hadn't been uploaded to Soundcloud/YouTube or any social media, meaning that anyone wanting to hear the song would have to either listen to local radio in the hope that it comes on or trawl through the iPlayer until they found it.

That is until today however, as the band have released the song onto the net for the first time, and it is well worth the wait. "Kill It" is a song that should, nay, must catapult the band to the forefront of Belfast's music scene. The song takes the standard rock format and augments it with electronic percussion and trance synths to wonderful effect - think Enter Shikari, only less screamy and not rubbish. It's a sound that's sleek, professional, anthemic and perhaps crucially, very different to the sound of other groups currently plying their trade locally.

If there's any justice, "Kill It" will be the song that makes people sit up and take notice of A Northern Light. It's just a pity that it's taken so long for the wider world to be able to experience it.

"Kill It" will be released on August 5th.

The Deltahorse - The Guy Who Walks Away

The Deltahorse is a Berlin-based trio comprised of producer Sash, Australian singer/songwriter TJ Eckleberg and saxophonist Dana Colley, formerly a member of group alt-rock Morphine. Together, they create a rather distinctive sound, if "The Guy Who Walks Away" is anything to go by.

The sound of The Deltahorse is largely saxophone and bass led, calling to mind the David Byrne & St Vincent collaborative material from last year. The song also has a bluesy feel to it through the vocals of Eckleberg, and coupled with a production style which borders on dance, should make this song a winner for fans of Alabama 3.

"The Guy Who Walks Away" is available as a free download, and is taken from the band's forthcoming debut E.P, which is due to be released in the autumn.

Monday 8 July 2013

Fulhäst - What Do You See?

The humble classic Gameboy. Even though it hasn't been available to buy in your local Argos for over 10 years, its bleepy-bloopy charm is still the backbone of a generation of chiptune artists. Locally, it has been TeamRKT that have been winning us over with their quirky mix of handheld-generated beats and guitar riffs. 

On the other side of the Irish Sea, that role falls to Fulhäst (Swedish for ugly horse), the London based moniker of Nik, who was formerly a member of cult indie-poppers Ace Bushy Striptease. With a new E.P forthcoming, he's made the first single to be taken from it, "What Do You See?", available as a free download. The song combines 8-bit electronics with power chords and sardonic lyrics to great effect.

The second E.P from Fulhäst, "Broken", will be released on July 29th. 

(Update 9th July: I have been informed that Nik has never been a member of Ace Bushy Striptease, but was in fact a member of Moustache of Insanity. Apologies for any confusion caused).  

Thursday 4 July 2013

Dumb - Retina

With The Pixies releasing new material for the first time in nearly 10 years, it's interesting to hear that their influence still steeps into music's collective talent pool, even among those who weren't even born when the group were releasing their iconic material.

This blog has covered Birmingham teens Dumb earlier this year following the release of their debut single "Dive", and to help cement their status as member's of the Birmingham 'scene' (alongside rising stars Superfood, whom they are supporting at a sold-out gig this evening in the city), the group have announced the release of their latest single. "Retina". The song is more or less a 2 minute 54 second love letter to the quiet/loud dymanic that Black Francis & co pioneered over 25 years ago, so much in fact that if you were to play the song to the uninitiated, they would undoubtedly have no idea that it was in fact recorded in 2013.

It's a good song, but I still hope that Dumb will be able to produce a sound that is very much theirs and theirs alone by the end of the year.

"Retina" will be released on August 12th.

Superfood - Superfood

Birmingham based group Superfood are a name that has floated around this blog's peripheral vision for quite a while, but it is only now that I've fallen under their collective charm. The band have built up a following recently through support slots for some of the 'trendier' groups around like Peace, Tribes, Splashh and, umm, Fun..

Furthermore, the band have been called by some observers the leading lights of the emerging 'Birmingham scene'. Although then again, had they been formed in another city altogether I imagine they would still have been labelled the leading lights of the 'Hull scene', the 'Yeovil scene', or the 'Carryduff scene' respectively.

Of course, all that is meaningless if the music itself isn't up to scratch, which based upon their titular debut single "Superfood", is most definitely not the case. The song calls to mind both the playful energy and production values of Britpop coupled with the musical outlook of Kasabian, albeit not their sound. On top of that, the main vocal hook is rather reminiscent of the backing vocals of "Sympathy for the Devil", which is rather relevant given The Rolling Stones' recent Glastonbury headline sets. It's a strong debut single from the band, and crucially it is a lot of fun, which is something that has been MIA in a lot of mainstream indie-rock recently.

"Superfood" is available as a free download.