Friday, 30 September 2011

Album Review : We'll Go Machete - Strong Drunk Hands

We’ll Go Machete are labelled as a post-hardcore band. The problem with the term post-hardcore is that by the end of the 90's it (the term itself) became greedy, and started engulfing all sorts of bands that should have been left alone, safe and sound, within the confines of some other category. Either that, or journalists just got lazy (yeah, as if that’s possible). We’ll Go Machete, however, are actual post-hardcore – the way it sounded in the mid-90s, and the way very few modern day post-hardcore bands sound.

Strong Drunk Hands’ is the debut album from the Texan quartet, and it consists of 10 tracks of the aforementioned kind of post-hardcore. To clarify, this is punk-infused post-rock – aggressive enough to be punk rock, but too melodic to be considered straight hardcore. The guitars wrap layers of experimental spiking and noodling around raw and erratic punk riffs. The drums are solidly mid-paced. The bass is heavy and fuzzy. If We’ll Go Machete have an air of nostalgia about them, that’s because they unashamedly do, intentionally bearing likeness to their inspirations – they sound like they long to belong in the 90s, alongside Quicksand, Fugazi, Jawbox, Jesus Lizard etc.

There’s no point in tiptoeing around the obvious reference point (as I have done thus far) – We’ll Go Machete sound like At The Drive-In. That’s chiefly because Paul Warner has the same kind of vocal delivery as Cedric Bixler – that unnerving, impassioned yelp that’s not quite singing, but not quite screaming. Their song structures and guitars don’t sporadically fly off the handle with quite the same brilliance as At The Drive-In, and some of the melodies lack impact, but with a little chisel work We’ll Go Machete may actually be able to fit those At The Drive-In shaped holes in our hearts.
Highlights include the opening couplet of ‘Miser’ and ‘DM Barringer,’ the short and sharp ‘Hayward,’ and the brooding closer ’40 Feet.’ There are, however, two nit-pickety gripes I have with ‘Strong Drunk Hands.’ The minor one is that there is little in the way of variation on the record – so it’s a good thing the album is short, because by the end a degree of regretful repetition emerges. The other is that the record is lacking a real power to it, and that, I think, is down to the production. Don’t get me wrong, it’s adequate, but the guitars don’t squeal sufficiently, and the drums sound a little thin. But we must remember that this is the band’s debut, and with that in mind, those little gripes fade to irrelevance. We’ll Go Machete have reminded me that it’s not always a bad thing to sound nostalgic.

DM Barringer by gomachete

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Competition : Aloft Hotels - Turning Up The Spotlight

Attention! Achtung! Une Attention! Atención! Aandacht! Attenzione! Atenção!

Right, have I got your full attention? Good then I shall begin.

Here at Music Liberation we're all about supporting new music from across the world, and we also support those who share the same ideas. That's why we're happy to point you in the direction of a competition that Aloft Hotels are currently running over on their facebook page.

For those who don't know about the Aloft Hotel brand I'll leave it up to them to explain:-

"Aloft Hotels is the new a-list destination sensation! We’ve created an affordable alternative for the tech-savvy, design forward crowd, with jet-setting style and a real social scene that has everyone abuzz. From our easy-breezy touch-n-go check-in kiosks to our spacious 9-foot-high aloft rooms and our always-hopping w xyz (SM) bar featuring signature cocktails and a snack-attack menu, it’s no surprise that everyone’s all abuzz about Aloft, the new tWist (SM) in travel."

Fancy huh?! And what better way to enjoy a cutting edge hotel than with some awesome new emerging music? Here's where the competition comes in. To celebrate the opening of Aloft's 50th hotel this year in London's Excel, they are offering the chance for someone and their mate to win a VIP package to Brussels to sit on a panel to judge emerging bands alongside new music guru Huw Stephens and Mark Collins (The Charlatans).

Alongside accommodation in the Brussels Aloft Hotel, the winner will get the chance to sit on the panel who decides who goes through to the live London Turning Up The Spotlight final in November.

Confirmed at the Brussels show (Oct. 7th) are Fastlane Candies, The Mash, and Epic Lane.

To enter this rather brilliant competition you need to watch a video on the Aloft facebook page, and then answer two simple questions about it. So if you're interested then head over there now.

The closing date for entries is tomorrow at midnight, so, GET ON IT!

Fastlane Candies - Wound Me by JauneOrange

Monday, 26 September 2011

New Video : WATERS - For The One

Out last week through City Slang is 'Out In The Light', the debut album from WATERS, the new project from Port O'Brien's Van Pierszalowski. To get you in the mood we thought you might like to check out the rather wacky video for 'For The One'. For a full review of the album why not head on over to the FADED GLAMOUR site where our chums there have checked it out.

We checked out 'O Holy Break Of Day' a little while ago and were suitably impressed, and would go as far to say the album is one of our favourites of the year so far. So we urge you to head on over to City Slang's soundcloud for a full stream of the record right now!  // WATERS

WATERS - O Holy Break Of Day by cityslang

Friday, 16 September 2011

Single Review : Johnny Foreigner - (Don't) Show Us Your Fangs

I’ve got a Spotify playlist called ‘Hey Scenesters!’ that is full of songs that I’ve stumbled across that fit perfectly into an ultra trendy pigeon-hole of my own definition. The basic criteria for each song in this list are as follows: Jangly indie guitars playing angular riffs over jaunty disco drumbeats whilst a slightly drawling vocalist who sounds too cool for all this singing malarkey wails emotive lyrics accompanied by slightly out of time yapping backing vocals. Sounds familiar? Stick a bit of floor-tom drumming by the rest of the band in there and you’ve got every hipster box ticked.

Anyway, I put Johnny Foreigner in this pigeon-hole. Their twee, high energy indie rock is perfectly executed adolescent angst set to a whirlwind of guitars, shouting and a cascade of drums. Their on-trend chaos might be irksome to some - the male-female vocals a bit too six form and grating - but I’ve always found them fantastically charming. There’s a naive honesty to their songs such as ‘Eyes Wide Terrified’ and the two minute explosion that’s ‘Choose Yr Side and Shut Up’.

So when new single ‘(Don’t) Show Us Your Fangs’ starts like a Bombay Bicycle Club song (which of course is no bad thing if that’s what your fans expect) I start panicking that they’ve lost that charm and chaos I so loved. But lo! Eventually, in comes the jaunty drums and the yapping backing vocals. Within two minutes the guitars ramp up and I’m strapping myself in for another JoFo spectacular. But then it ends. The spectacular never comes. For a band that plays the indie rock equivalent of Peter Pan music, they seem to have done the unthinkable and grown up. I want my sixth form disco back dammit, not this fence-sitting anthem with Belle and Sebastian chimes in it. It’s a good enough song in it’s own right, but it’s not what the fans will be shouting for at their gigs. Alas, in the bands’ own words ‘Your life is a song, but not this one’.

(Don't Show Us Your Fangs is out this week through Alcopop! // Johnny Foreigner

Johnny Foreigner - (don't) show us ur fangs by alcopop

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

New Video : Pengillys - Toby's Hill


Well this is something quite special. Every now and then something will drop through the Music Liberation mailbox that just makes the whole process of this thing called blogging we do even more worthwhile. Today that  something is a band called Pengilly's from Leeds and their track 'Toby's Hill' with its associated video.  

I almost don't quite know where to start, with the song itself which is sparse, bleak, but strangely uplifting, or the video produced by Brown Bread Films, which is beautifully shot and features the band themselves. The music has that stripped backed feel not too disimilar to James Blake, The XX, or Jamie Woon, with the melodic yet detached sound still being full of emotion. The video transcends the journey of a leader and his followers, with the associated perils that this can entail, and its all shot and cut together with quite stunning visuals. All in all its pretty glorious and sets up great anticpation for the bands debut EP which comes out through Good Foot Records on September 26th. // Pengillys

Pengilly's - Toby's Hill by Music Liberation

Monday, 5 September 2011

Single Review : Pale Seas - Something Or Nothing

Pale Seas (formerly Netherlands) are a five-piece who were born in Southampton, but are now based in London, and will soon be releasing their debut EP 'Places To Haunt'. Expectations are high with productions duties coming from the duo of Jimmy Robertson and Demien Castellanos (of Anna Calvi, Big Pink, and Florence & the Machine fame). A taster of the EP can be found on the band's website.

Ahead of that record however comes the single 'Something or Nothing'.

Beginning with some fluttering wind chimes and muted guitars, the track gently floats into pop/folk motion with the vocals of Jacob Scotts. His voice is delicate and vulnerable and fits the tender music just perfectly. If you don't end up swaying along to this one then you've got serious balance issues. The harmonies are infectious, and repeated listens only further the addiction your bound to get with this band and their sound.

Catch them supporting Big Deal on 7th September at Tamesis Dock in London. // Netherlands

Netherlands - Something Or Nothing by Netherlands