Fairewell - Poor, Poor Grendel

Fairewell

Poor, Poor Grendel

Released: Dec 5 2011

Genre: Synth Pop/Post Rock

Label: Sonic Cathedral Recordings

Rating: 6/10

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By: Dan Titcombe

Fairewell produce a melancholy and ambient endorsing sound intertwined with a traditional. 27-year-old Johnny White has been making music since the age of 9 and as a result has turned into a rather talented individual who appeals to a wide audience. With his new album Poor, Poor Grendel he really flourishes as an artist.

There are four melancholy-sounding tracks on his new album; but the one ambient track that seems to stand above the rest is ‘Wild Meadow/ I’ve Been Locked Away’, which is a compilation of emotions starting off timed and slow but slowly building towards a tremendous and awe inspiring mid section that will soon fade back to a simmer as the track concludes. This song may not be for everyone but if your looking for a calm relaxing song to unwind to this may just be the kind of thing you’re looking for.

‘Others of Us’ is the first song on the album that offers a more traditional approach to music with an upbeat melody and fitting rhythm those similar to the kind of music you would expect from the likes of ‘Norah Jones’ this song is one of the highlights of the album and would be the obvious choice for a single release.

One of the last tracks on the album ‘Born Under a Bad Sign’ is another upbeat traditional song but with a unique atmospheric riff created by keyboard adjusted to a strange effect that gives the song a truly unique feeling, those who enjoy bands like ‘Forest Fire’ would appreciate this song and defiantly Fairewell as an artist.

Fairewell can be referred to as a male Norah Jones who doesn’t just stick to the traditional style of music and as a result has produces some inspiring atmospheric tracks that share the same kind of tendency’s you would expect from the classical genre of music, a truly creative and talented artist.

Fairewell – Honey Street

Foxes! - Foxes!

Foxes!

Foxes!

Released: Jan 16 2012

Genre: Indie Pop

Label: Big Salad

Rating: 8/10

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By: Dan Titcombe

Foxes! offer a breath of fresh air within the indie pop music spectrum, through their captivating rhythms and simplistic, yet infectious melodies. Foxes! husband/wife partnership gifts them with an innocent aura which separates this straightforward indie pop from other upcoming bands.

Their self-titled album ‘Foxes’ is a compilation of 12 songs, each with their own atmosphere but with enough familiarity to defines Foxes! as a band with exceptional talent.

Amongst their many standout tracks is ‘The Panda Bear Song’ which flaunts an innocent and childlike motif, held up with a toe-tapping drum-beat, harmonic lyrics and an outstanding guitar technique which showcases the beauty that this band can achieve through their music.

‘Welcome to the Jivin’ starts with a style which sounds, as the title sounds, very close to that 1930s sound – a real slice of nostalgia and exceptional demonstration of diversity. ‘Welcome to the Jivin’ has a relaxing keyboard melody, a great drum beat and a fantastic rhythm section, which combined with the right tempo creates yet another beautiful song on this outstanding album.

Another admirable track is ‘Oh Rosie’. This song has an incredible guitar piece which closely eludes an almost chaotic atmosphere and when the song starts to break down you can really sense the emotions bursting at the seams.

Foxes!, with their eponymous debut, offer their own truly unique take on music with this record. This album could quite possibly kick start this band and place them on the path to success. Foxes! is most certainly a name to look out for.

Foxes! – The Panda Bear Song

Astrid Williamson - Pulse

Astrid Williamson

Pulse

Released: Aug 22 2011

Genre: Alternative / Pop

Label: One Little Indian

Rating: 4.0/5 

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By: Dan Titcombe

Pulse by Astrid Williamson is an album that creates a unique atmosphere that is quite indescribable yet captivating. If you think Dido meets Florence and the Machine you won’t be far off.

It has to be said that this type of music may not be for everybody (but that can be said about any artist) and there are a few tracks on this album that seem a bit anti-climatic but that is nit-picking – the majority of this album is brilliant.

There are a lot of tracks that stand out on this album; Dance, Pour, Miracle and Paperback to name a few. Each track offers a different and unique listening experience, but if you could only listen to one track from this album it would have to be Husk.

Husk has so much emotion interweaved into its composition – with an on-going piano pattern in the background. Everything about Husk makes it a perfect single choice.

Another song that should be mentioned is the album titled track, Pulse which sets the mood straight away with a soft guitar riff and steady drum beat. When Astrid starts to sing you are straight away transported to a place that’s so euphoric you can’t help but become indulged, as she sings about a young where her emotions truly shine through.

Overall, Astrid Williamson is a unique and enchanting artist. Pulse is definitely worth a listen. You’ll either love it or hate it – but if you love it you’ll be blown away.

Astrid Williamson – Eve

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Tomorrow Dies Today

The newest track to be released by 2011 pop sensation is Tomorrow Dies Today, the B-Side to The Body. In comparison to the A-side, Tomorrow Dies Today takes a slightly slower in tempo, yet equally uplifting approach. It seems the sound of TPOBPAH is becoming somewhat iconic – it’s impossible to mistake the soothing vocals of Kip Berman overlaying feel-good guitar patterns. TPOBPAH have definitely adopted the composition styles of their predecessors; as the retro style of Tomorrow Dies Today echoes memories of The Smiths and The Cure

 

 

 

Wolfette – Different Story

London based solo singer-songwriter Wolfette has been making her mark on the UK pop scene recently with the release of her latest single, Different Story. Wolfette creates straightforward no-nonsense pop music. Echoing the styles of recent successes such as Ellie Goulding and Ladyhawke – it’s quite possible that  Wolfette could find herself pushed straight into the limelight. Sooner rather than later the likes of Robyn and Ladyhawke may become her competition as well as her influencers.

 

 

 

Firesuite – Of Little Faith

Earlier this year Sheffield band Firesuite released their debut LP, You’re an Ocean Deep, My Brother. The opening track of this fantastic record is Of Little Faith, a fantastic alternative, progressive rock track that beautifully displays the vocal and instrumental capabilities of Firesuite. Although distinctively rock, what makes Of Little Faith such a stand-out track is its affinity to post-hardcore – the emotive vocals and rapid guitar riffs bringing back memories of greats such as YOURCODENAMIEIS:MILO and At The Drive-In.

Schnapps - Nasty Buffet

Schnapps

Nasty Buffet

Released: June 6 2011

Genre: Grunge / Pop

Label: El Rancho

Rating: 2.5/5

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By: Terri O’Reilly

The grungy, indie, loud playing, perhaps borderline miscreants with that ever so faint hint of rambunctious Scottish attitude (that can, letʼs be honest, make any girl swoon) are all elements that pertain to the Glaswegian four-piece Schnapps.

Their debut album Nasty Buffet, is one of nostalgic early 90s garage grunge with some interesting elements that make it new and relevant to this decade – It is very much looking into the present, only just slightly relying on the past.

With only nine tracks and clocking at just under half an hour one would think that Nasty Buffet would commence with a strong, semi-captivating song; yet that is not the fact. Though More To Life Than Peach has a vintage feel to it and has an extremely laid back quality, it doesnʼt grip as eagerly as Crossdresser — even the title makes one curious, to say the least.

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream” weʼve all heard that quotable rhyme. Ice Cream, the second track is only bearable in part because of the outstanding guitar that explodes mid song. The lyrics fall flat and have been overdone “when it all gets too much, I gotta scream” and replacing actual words with spelling “i-c-e-c-r…” is never a good thing -it just seems incredibly uncreative as a whole.

Continuing on this unfortunate trail is Walk Faster, although the cow bell at the beginning is quite an interesting twist. The garage grunge style of Crossdresser, clearly defines the groupʼs talent as well as No Contact, notably the albumʼs single. Here is where we find what it is that people have been raving about. A definite change from the aforementioned tracks, the only point (and this would be nitpicking) would be length, that’s never too much of a good thing.

Nasty Buffet ends with Schnapps, which commences with a ferocious electric guitar, which has now come to be the staple ingredient throughout the album and really keeps true to that vintage/old school feel. With their no holds barred attitude Schnapps are a  band likely to go far.

Schnapps – Crossdresser

The Good Natured - Skeleton EP

The Good Natured

Skeleton EP

Released: June 20 2011

Genre: Electronica / Pop

Label: Parlophone

Rating: 4.0/5

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By: Diether Scholten

The Skeleton EP is three fast-paced electro-pop songs with thriving drums that pretty much anyone can relate to. To take this pumped-up mix filled with ingenious metaphors even further, Sarah McIntosh, the singer and front-woman of the band, has added a little gothic flavor to the table.

The first track on the EP by The Good Natured trio is the playfully named Skeleton, an ode to the core of every human being.  This resembles what is left-over when one takes away all emotions and appearance of a human. When everything is “ripped off”, as Sarah sings it, you are left with a skeleton – yet this is sung so happily that it seems weird that Sarah isn’t doing “the robot” in the music video. As for the instrumentals, George’s drumming is very clear and simple – yet they give the song such a distinctive rhythm.

You might have guessed that the second song, Hourglass, is about time – it’s more profound, concerning time slipping away and extracting the good moments from life. Presumably Sarah is having a good time with somebody – but that will only last for an hour. The lyrics describe this situation in a very gothic manner. Both instrumentally and vocally Hourglass is a great song – sounding as if the instruments are having a conversation with each other. The only down-side to this song is that the chorus might be just a little bit too cheerful, and this contradicts the melancholic mood of the lyrics.

The third track, Wolves describes a pack of wolves “dancing in the fire” and being “lost in desire”.  Even the drums and the bass seem to captivate you overwhelmingly, as you feel as though anything could happen. After listening to this song a couple of times it evokes images of people dancing and jumping over a fire.

Sarah’s great accent and use of timing combined with George’ and Hamish’ instrumentals makes for a very catchy trio. These are the kind of songs which you don’t mind being stuck in your head for a while – so why not let the Skeleton EP run right through your bones?

The Good Natured – Wolves

Un

Un

Dan Black

Un

Released: Jul 13 2009

Label: Polydor

Genre: Indie/Electronic/Pop

Rating: 3.6/5

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Last year Dan Black’s ‘HYPNTZ’, a mash up of Notorious B.I.G’s ‘Hypnotize’ and Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ created a build up of some small-scale recognition in the direction of the pop-electro tyro; however, the album version of the track – ‘Symphonies’ takes away many aspects of the original’s raw rap vocals, replaced by even more-so melodic lyrics, drowning the track in generic unremarkableness.

The album is continuous in producing very melodic synth-vocal tracks, and succeeds in creating an album with varying tempo’s and moods, with the fast tempo of ‘Pump my Pumps’ in contrast to the very slow and somewhat phlegmatic ‘Ecstasy’. ‘Alone’ and ‘Yours’ are great dance floor tracks, making it practically impossible not to move about when played out loud. Furthermore, Black is a good live act, not leaving any aspects of his work left behind in the studio when performing on-stage.

Black’s ‘Un’ contains some good tracks, and is effective through its simplicity; as an album to remember, it’s not so successful, being more of an album to forget in the future, but nevertheless having some short-term appeal. As a whole ‘Un’ is a fairly Un-original, Un-exhilarating and Un-sophisticated release, however, more than successful in creating a final feel-good electro-pop album, which unarguably deserves much more recognition than the artist has so far encountered.

~ Article by James Murray