Monday 30 June 2014

Superfood - Right On Satellite

Having been out on tour this year with Wolf Alice and We Are Scientists, and having released new music in the form of the "MAM" E.P, Britpop revivalists Superfood have announced the release of a new single to coincide with a string of live summer dates. "Right On Satellite" has been mixed by Steve Osborne (who is much appreciated around these circles for producing Suede's rather unappreciated "Head Music" album), and continues the band's love of 90s guitar pop whilst updating it for the modern audience. It's already been streaming oodles of times since it went live 2 weeks ago, and if it continues at its current pace, it could help the band win over a new legion of admirers.

"Right on Satellite" will be released on July 28th.

Sunday 29 June 2014

Northern Ireland Tunes - Round-Up #28

When Northern Ireland isn't busy making horrifically shocking road safety adverts (soundtracked by a horrific cover of "Sweet Child O' Mine"), we're busy making some pretty great music for your aural pleasure. Here's a few songs from the north of the rockier persuasion that might float your Metaphorical Boat this month - 
FLAWS - Feels Like Home

Belfast trio FLAWS may be a brand new entity, but it's fair to say that they already have an impressive pedigree behind them. Two of the members were previously part of In Case of Fire, who won a Kerrang! Award for best newcomer in 2009 and were playlisted on Radio 1. (I'd offer a comment on how good their album "Align The Planets" is, but unfortunately I lent my copy of the album to a friend the day I bought it, and I still haven't got it back. But I imagine it's pretty groovy).

Their first release as FLAWS is the E.P "Harsh Words Through Tangled Wires", from which the single "Feels Like Home" is taken from it. It's a pretty fine example of noughties alt-rock, which should hopefully send the band to the same glory they previously enjoyed, and hopefully beyond as well.


R51 - Skelf

Last month, the Oh Yeah! Centre announced the names of the local artists that they would be offering support to in 2014 through their Scratch My Progress scheme, a scheme which has helped artists such as Katharine Philippa and Go Wolf in previous years. The five artists selected this year includes artists we've featured on this site before (Hurdles, Hot Cops), artists we haven't featured (Serotonin, Matthew Duly), and one artist who we are now featuring - Belfast quintet R51.

Although the band are more drawn to the alternative-rock spectrum, the one track that really grabbed my attention was "Skelf" the b-side to their recent single "Slowhound", which is a more introverted, acoustic track which is as beautiful as it is dreamy. I don't think it's a style they will be as drawn to in the future given the rest of their output, but I do hope they've still got a few tracks like this hidden out there.

Aquatramp - Gut Rock Blues

Taken from their E.P "Westworld: Talebearers of the Occident", "Gut Rock Blues" showcases the Belfast band's love of classic Southern rock and roll. It's a track that is devoid of any fat - it just gets straight to the point with its good old-fashioned fun.

Part Time Pilots - Tally Ho Amigo

And to conclude things this month, we've got Omagh-based punk rockers Part Time Pilots. They have just released their album "Tally Ho Amigo", and for your listening pleasure here's the title track. As far as opening lyrics go, you can't beat "Well the music today, it all sounds the same, we're no different but we had a go" for sheer self-awareness.

Saturday 28 June 2014

Blog Collective - God Is In The TV

Over the next few months, The Metaphorical Boat, alongside Drunken Werewolf, The VPME, The Blue WalrusGod Is In The TV, will be looking at some of the music that our fellow music bloggers have been raving about as part of the Blog Collective. Each month, we will be focusing on one of the music blogs in the Collective and picking out a few artists from said publication that we think you will enjoy.

In June, the focus is in God Is In The TV, one of the longest running and most respected UK-based music websites, so much so that they even have their own entry on Wikipedia. Edited by Bill Cummings, the site has a full team of writers dedicated to delivering the best new music, alongside features, news and interviewed. They've covered artists like Arctic Monkeys, The Joy Formidable and The Pains of Being Pure At Heart whilst they were in their infancy, so its fair to say they've got their fingers on the pulse when it comes to finding the hottest new artists.

Given the sheer volume of music the site covers, it was difficult to narrow it down to just five songs, but here are the ones that had the most appeal -

The Moons - Body Snatchers

GIITTV Dirty glam vibes combine with 60s keys, sturdy rumbles of bass, rousingly catchy hooks and hungry harmonies.

TMB - Sounds like a cross between "Elephant" by Tame Impala and "Boys Will Be Boys" by Ordinary Boys, in the best possible way.

AK/DK - Maxwell's Waves

GIITTV - 4 minutes of reality bending wooziness that manages to mutate mercurially lock grooving elements of Moroder’s ‘I feel Love’, Lipps Inc’s ’Funky Town’ and the ministry into an acid psychotropic sonic paint bomb.

TMB - An hypnotic slice of instrumental electronic bleeps and bloops that just builds and builds.

CuT - Time Traveller

GIITTV - ...the CuT lads...continue to play their laid-back slice of Surf-Punk and Garage, causing muso-hearts to jump to the beat of their fuzzed-up ‘cool slacker riffs’ married with melodic pop Psychedelia.

TMB - What else can I say? It's a ruddy great garage-rock song.

The Proctors - Kaleidoscope 

GIITTV - ...add in the delicate dusting of prime era Sarah motifs a la the Field Mice and The Orchids and the quietly euphoric rush that appears at the 2.51 mark and you have yourself an irresistible shy eyed classic in the making.

TMB - The kind of irresistible, dreamily sung indie-pop The Pains of Being Pure at Heart might have released in 2009 had they not recorded their debut album in a tin can.

Eels - Parallels 

GIITTV The quintessential elements that make the man compulsive are all there.

TMB - I guess including "Parallels" is a bit of a cheat, given that I've extolled the virtues of this song and its corresponding album elsewhere, but honestly, it's the greatest, most heart rendering song the band have released in years. I'm just glad to see I'm not the only person to agree.

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Johnny Lloyd - Pilgrims

Like everyone, I was absolutely devastated when Britpop revivalists Tribes called it a day at the end of last year, having given us two albums and great singles like "We Were Children", "Corner of An English Field" and "Dancehall", but unfortunately never breaking into the mainstream consciousness in the way they should have.

It's some consolation however to discover that their frontman, Johnny Lloyd, has decided to forge ahead with a solo career. He's just come off touring Europe with The Kooks (don't hold that against him), and has just released his first E.P. Its lead track, "Pilgrims", sees Johnny in a more sombre mood than the sound of his band, with guitars set to plaintive rather than loud, yet his knack for a melody is still present, even if it is more subtle than you might come to expect from him. It will be interesting to see if he keeps this kind of sound up down the line, as it does have a little bit of a demo-y feel to it (not that that's a bad thing), but it's great to know that he's still got a lot to offer us.

The "Pilgrims" E.P is available to download in exchange for an email address.

Monday 23 June 2014

Freak's - A Minute More

Freak's are fast becoming our favourite rather peculiar yet rather brilliant four-piece band from Strabane. Their last single, "Number 1", picked up a bit of traction off the back of its gloriously bonkers music video, and now the band have followed it up with a new single, "A Minute More".

"A Minute More" is a slightly more 'serious' affair for the band in comparison to their last single, which of course don't mean that it isn't a fun little single. It's a more dance-y effort from the group, with its bassline reminding us a little of "Heart of Glass" with a more indie-rock bent. However, it's the music video where they band's eccentricities really come to the fore, featuring a character who suffers from a rather bizarre clock and timepiece fetish. We don't have enough oddballs in Northern Ireland, so it's always nice to have a band like Freak's in our midst.

"A Minute More" is available to download for a very reasonable price.

Sunday 22 June 2014

Album Review: Wonder Villains - Rocky

(No Dancing Records/Third Bar)

I first heard of Wonder Villains all the way back in 2009, after the band won a competition to support Oppenheimer at their final ever gig in the Limelight. When I heard the song that helped them to win the competition, "Oh Peter", I became instantly smitten. This was an uncynical, highly enjoyable pop song at its finest, and the fact that the song referenced one of my favourite TV shows at the time, Heroes, didn't hurt either. From that moment on, I knew that there was something special about these guys, and the singles they released and the dozens of times I saw them live in the intervening period only hammered home that point. 

Now nearly five years after first falling for them, Wonder Villains have finally released their debut album "Rocky" (which takes its name from Rocky O'Reilly, who was involved in the production of the album). Having spent the last few years telling all and sundry about how awesome I believe the band to be (and believe me, I have done that a lot on this blog), there's always the worry that when the album is released, I will have set my expectations too high and as a result I will be underwhelmed by it. So, having heard "Rocky", how would I describe the album?

The answer - bloody marvellous. 

The album starts as it means to go on with the day-glo pop sound of "TV". This is then followed by the more measured sound of "Blonde" before plunging head first into "Zola", which is one of the highlights of the album. Why its chorus of 'the keeper said to Zola, you're dead when this is over, and you're out until October' hasn't been adopted as a nationwide terrace chant yet is a mystery, but given its recent re-release, there's still hope for it. The band's traditional live opening song "33" comes up next (quite surprising that it's track 4 rather than the opening song), before we get to what is quite possibly my favourite 'new' track recorded for the album.

"Golden Five" is one of the more complex songs on the album with it's many key and tempo changes, but at its heart is a fantastic pop song, one that sits somewhere in between "The Look" by Metronomy and "Boys Don't Cry", complete with irresistible "ba ba ba" hooks that have left it permanently lazered in my brain since I first heard them play it live last year. I've been lobbying for it to be released as a single since then, so even if it doesn't make the jump, it's still great to finally have a studio recording of the track.

The band's penchant for pop-culture referencing remains ever-present on the album. Aside from the aforementioned "Oh Peter", which has been re-recorded to make it more 'band' sounding, there's the Blondie-referencing "Debbie", a tribute to Jason Segal's character in How I Met Your Mother in the form of  the hyper-fun "Marshall", "Baby Don't Look So Sad", a song that takes the form of an open letter to Bruce Springsteen, and "Ferrari", a song that contains the band's most memorable lyric - I swapped my brother for a Pok√©mon card, a shiny Charizard."

Aside from a few minor quibbles (I do feel that "Linklater" sounds better when performed live rather than on record), "Rocky" by Wonder Villains is a fantastic debut album of fun filled, huperactive pop songs of the highest calibre. It is evertyhing I wanted in an album by Wonder Villains, and much, much more. Show me a better pop album released in 2014, and I will show you a liar. 

Release Date: 23rd June 2014

Highlights: "Zola", "Golden Five", "Ferrari", "TV".

Thursday 19 June 2014

Bora York - Let Loose

Simple, funky, danceable. Those are the three words that best describe "Let Loose", the new single from the Minneapolis based, husband & wife fronted five-piece Bora York. Breaking away from the more dreamy sounds of their first album, "Let Loose" sees the band seeking to take control of the dance floor, with its funky basslines and dual vocal harmonies making this one pretty wonderful track. It's quite reminiscent of the sound of local band Go Wolf as well, which is most definitely not a bad thing. Bora York seem to be pitching their claim for song of the summer a little early, so we'll see if it's the case when August rolls into September.

"Let Loose" is available to download now from all good retailers.

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Codes - Astraea

Now here's a band that are making a very welcome return to our earholes. Dublin band Codes made a few ripples back in 2009 in Ireland following the release of their "Trees Dream In Algebra" album. They then relocated to London a few years later and re-released the album (including the fantastic lead single, "This Is Goodbye", but since then there has been little noise from them.

However, they're starting to emerge from the shadows once more. They played  at The Great Escape last month, and are finally ready to release their much delayed second album this year. The first track to be taken from it is "Astraea", a track which should please the convince and pique the interest of the curious. As is the band's style, the song mixes indie-rock with electronic bleeps, bloops and other assorted noodling. It's a little less hooky and a bit more intense than their sound of old, but at its heart is the same old Codes we know and love.

"Astraea" will be released on July 7th, with their album "AALTERS" to follow later in the year.

Sunday 15 June 2014

Go Swim - Animal E.P

When Belfast band Go Swim released their single "Call Sign" back in February, we commented at the time that the band had managed to find their breakthrough song, one which would act as a new touchstone for their musical development, a song that would make even the doubters stand up and take notice of them. And thankfully for our sanity, we were proven right.

The track picked up quite a bit of blog love, got national radio play both in the UK and in Ireland, and they have secured an opening slot for the Kaiser Chiefs' open air gig in Belfast in August (and we're talking about muscular, rejuvenated 2014 Kaiser Chiefs here, not flabby, 2012, "are they really still going?" Kaiser Chiefs, so that's a pretty big deal). So what better way to follow up on the song's success than to release a new E.P which builds upon that track's sound? Enter the "Animal" E.P.

The E.P's title track, "Animal", follows on from the sound the band established on "Call Sign" (which incidentally also features on the E.P), with its boy/girl vocal interplay, evolving danceable rhythms, soaring guitar riffs and heavy bass lines. It might not be as strong as "Call Sign", but it's a much tighter beast (and at 160 seconds, much more conducive to airplay), and let's face it, not many song released this year will be. Elsewhere on the E.P, "Off The Trail" treads a similar musical path, whilst "Automate" follows a more electronic bent, with a more prominent use of synths and loops than you might come to expect from the band, coming off a little bit like fellow Belfastians Ed Zealous.

"Animal" is a great debut E.P from Go Swim. If you haven't had the chance to investigate the band, there's no time like the present, as the release is the best statement of intent that they have given us to date.

The "Animal" E.P will be released on June 27th. They launch it on the same day at Whites Tavern, Belfast, with support from Gavin Ferris.

Wednesday 11 June 2014

The Night VI - Wonderlust

I very much enjoyed The Night VI's performance at The Great Escape last month (as did the other wonderful music bloggers I bumped into during their performance in Brighton), so any new music coming from their general direction is going to be very welcome indeed in these quarters. Even more so in this case, as their new single sees the band approaching things in a different direction.

In comparison to the elegant pop that one might come to expect from The Night VI on the basis of their previous releases, "Wonderlust" sees the band veer head first into synth-pop territory. Although this aspect of the band has been hinted at before (c.f their wonderful cover of "Music Sounds Better With You"), it's nice to hear their own original take on it. It reminds me a little bit of when Goldfrapp went a bit synth-pop on "Rocket" (no bad thing indeed), and it's always lovely to see a band that embraces the lost art of the ruddy nice guitar solo.

"Wonderlust" will be released on July 22nd.

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Jana Josephina - Avalanche

Epic pop - that's the best way I can describe "Avalanche", the brand new single from Frankfurt-born Jana Josephina. So epic in fact that I'm a little bit surprised that there hasn't yet been an, ahem, avalanche of praise heaped upon it by excited music writers.

Nothing to worry about though, because the praise is sure to be on its way. Because who could resist its charm and beauty, a song that combines the vocal stylings of Lana Del Rey and Charli XCX with a production style that seems to sit somewhere between that of Foxes and Moby*. The end result is something that's immediately uplifting, charming, and above all, monumentally epic, like being hit in the back of the head my a sledgehammer of musical awesomeness. Keep an eye on this one, there's something a bit special about it.

"Avalanche" will be released on June 30th. A rather epic music video for the song is also available.

 *and that's high praise - Moby is awesome.

Sunday 8 June 2014

The Death of Pop - Whenever

If you're going to give your band as grandiose and statement-making a name as The Death of Pop, then you'd better mark darn sure your music is darn near perfect. Thankfully, the Bournemouth 5-piece have absolutely nothing to worry about, at least if "Whenever" is anything to go by.

The song demonstrates the band's self-described 'janglegaze' sound, that is a song that mixes the sonic onslaught and introversion of shoegaze with the chiming guitars of jangle-pop, like it exists somewhere in the netherworld between My Bloody Valentine & Teenage Fanclub (with a member of the band wearing a t-shirt of the latter band in the above profile picture with such gloomy pride). It is also somewhat ironic that in spite of their name, the song is incredibly poppy and accessible, as a result of the irresistible vocal hook that just implores you to listen to the band again and again. Sound of 2015, anybody?

"Whatever" is taken from the E.P "Fifths", which will be released as a Flexidisk & zine on July 28th through Art Is Hard Records.

Saturday 7 June 2014

Nick Raven - Nineteen Fifty Three

The post-punk revival bandwagon trundles on, this time in the form in New Zealand's Nick Raven. Nick's certainly ensured that his music has a certain level of class to it, getting in Manics producer to add his musical nous to his new single, "Nineteen Fifty Three".

If you've even a passing interest in the genre, you're unlikely to hear anything revolutionary in the song, but that doesn't mean that its devoid of merit, quite the opposite. It's a finely produced song which is surprisingly warm and uplifting in spite of its generic conventions. If one was to compare it to current bands, it would sit somewhere in between Girls Names and Swim Deep. There's nothing really new about "Nineteen Fifty Three", but what's wrong with that?

The song is available to download on a pay what you want basis.

Tuesday 3 June 2014

Kassassin Street - The Royal Handkerchief Ballet

Fun fact - Kassassin is the name of a village in Egypt, 22 miles west of the Suez Canal. Whether or not this is the origin of the name for Portsmouth band Kassassin Street I have no idea, but for the sake of argument, let's assume it is.

Their debut single, "The Royal Handkerchief Ballet", has already received mighty praise, both from the NME and fellow Portsmouthian Breaking More Waves, and listening to the song it's easy to hear why it comes much beloved. The song is built around an Arabian-sounding guitar riff,with its foundations being firmly rooted in the sounds of 90s indie-rock. It sounds like it meets somewhere in the middle between Kula Shaker and Kasabian, and unlike many bands that have adopted the generic tag recently, it really does have a real psychedelic feel to it - listen to it in the right (or wrong) mindset, and you might find yourself hypnotised.

"The Royal Handkerchief Ballet" is out now.

Sunday 1 June 2014

Lewis Hurrell - Ordinary Life

Originally from California but currently based in Colorado (via the UK), Lewis Hurrell  has just released his new single "Ordinary Life". The track calls to mind the anthemic alternative pop of Imagine Dragons ("Radioactive" was something of an influence on the making of the song), with its soaring choruses and expansive sounding production, in spite of the fact that it was recorded in his bedroom.

"Ordinary Life" is available to download now.