Wednesday, 29 February 2012

NEW VIDEO: THERAPIST - SUICIDE BOX

We first discovered Californian trio Therapist at the back end of last year with the release of their debut EP 'Heart Beats' through Indian Gold Records.

From that record is the track 'Suicide Box', which has the honour of being the chosen song for the band's first music video. Shot and edited by Adrian Carmona, it's a relatively simple video yet still manages to ooze cool and show off a band full of punky energy and desire.

THERAPIST / INDIAN GOLD RECORDS

Monday, 27 February 2012

SINGLE REVIEW : CRUSHING BLOWS - HIDING PLACE

We've been following the progress of Derby based twosome Crushing Blows for quite some time now. Last year saw the band release their debut self titled EP, a four track record which showcased a mind inducing blend of intricate guitars, pinpoint drumming, and ghostly vocals, which all hinted at great potential and was certainly heightened when we caught them playing Londons' Old Blue Last to much crowd and critical acclaim. 

They return in 2012 with a slightly different sound, which is much more complete and demonstrates a band who have clearly been working hard at their game. The results of which are presented in the shape of a double A side single, 'Hiding Place' and 'You Will Always Be Lonely' which is to be released later in March. It's more pop orientated than their previous work, but maintains an infectious quality which seems to grow and grow with each listen.

There's a great video too for 'Hiding Place', which is directed by Mark Duggan, and produced by Kate Atchison, and for the band's debut appearance on screen turns out to be pretty fucking cool. Certainly a band to keep an even closer eye on in the months to come! // Crushing Blows



Tuesday, 14 February 2012

EP REVIEW : ALBY DANIELS - THIS DAWN

Alby Daniels is a 22 year old self taught musician and producer from London, with his debut EP 'This Dawn' showcasing his abilities in the electronic music genre.

As a record it doesn’t fail to deliver, however you can’t help but feel that something is missing and it doesn’t leave you completely satisfied. The track 'Loss of Ego' can only be described as an outro, which is something that I can only associate with Hip-Hop albums of the early 2000’s and they were just as infuriating back then. The three preceding tracks showcase Alby Daniels abilities in both music production and mixing...

This Dawn’, the opening title track on the EP contains RnB vocals integrated into an electronic groove, known as blurbstep to some, see James Blake et al. But as insulting as this genre may sound, Alby Daniels is in good company and it is a genre that has helped bring many other areas of dubstep and electro into the mainstream. The track is filled with echoes, loops and fades that keep your ears interested in this mellow sound. However, this track is not quite at the crest of the electro wave and is not breaking any boundaries with a sound which is a couple of years past its use by date.

Her About Something’ is the second track on the EP, which brings perfect tempo to match the cool backing vocals,  and despite nothing really coming to the fore, it actually doesn’t need to. This is a track which grabs your attention for being subtle and pretentious in its style and delivery. Without a doubt the standout track on the EP.

Voodoo Holiday’ is the third offering on the EP which has smooth beats containing nonchalant pulses and tones. The dreary and wistful vocals contained in this track would be at home on a chillout anthems compilation (I imagine), but compliment the ‘Voodoo Holiday’ bass notes just as well.

Overall this is an EP I would recommend to friends to check out, but I am looking forward to seeing what else Alby Daniels has up his sleeve and believe this EP is an example that shows he has the potential talent to deliver.

'This Dawn' is out next week through Black Acre Records. // Alby Daniels

Friday, 10 February 2012

SINGLE REVIEW: DEAD WOLF CLUB - RADAR

Dead Wolf Club are pretty energetic. Single ‘Radar’ starts with a lone guitar line that sounds like the song is going to explode into a raging flurry of head-nodding, chaotic rhythms and riffs that will make you want to lose track of space and time in a dingy indie club somewhere off Charing Cross Road as you slowly inhale tequila and cover yourself in a thin balm of stale beer and sickly sweat on a packed dance floor.

It’s unfortunate then that such a hypnotic climax seems just out of reach for the ambitious teenage foursome. When ‘Radar’ does kick in, it’s less explosive than expected and instead is a brooding ride that tips its hat firmly at Interpol. Vocals are angsty wails that sit over minor key progressions whilst propulsive drums stimulate the snare-to-neck nerve endings a treat. Proceedings are rudely interrupted however in the form of a stuttering bridge that means that when we get to the soaring chorus, intensity is lost. A minor nag perhaps but enough to break the spell, put down the tequila and think about work tomorrow.

In all honesty, the intro of ‘Radar’ might be ‘Last Night’ by The Stokes, the middle Interpol and the end stolen from ‘Banquet’ by Bloc Party but so what? Dead Wolf Club make a bold enough musical statement here that this song has a charm of its own. The band call their music “dark punk” but this single is a no nonsense slice of indie rock nostalgia. Couple this with an apparent reputation for vitriolic live shows and smashed guitars and it starts to become impossible to not like this promising bunch.

Dead Wolf Club are smashing guitars and being vitriolic all over the UK with a tour to celebrate the release of their debut self titled album, which came out earlier this month through Scene Not Herd. // DEAD WOLF CLUB

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

LIVE REVIEW : Lucy Rose at the Jazz Cafe (Camden, London, 4th February 2012)

Having made the Music Liberation 'Future Sounds of 2012' list, Lucy Rose was a name we were always going to look out for during the year ahead. So when the opportunity came about to catch her playing her largest gig to date at the Jazz Cafe in Camden, we jumped at the chance. Not even the 'heavy onslaught' of snow which decided to engulf the capital the moment we set off could dampen the spirits and anticipation of checking out the young lady from Warwickshire, who in a relatively short period of time has gone from being that girl who joins Bombay Bicycle Club from time to time, to being recognised in her own right as an artist with much integrity and a clear desire and confidence to put out her own ideas.

Taking to the stage with a collection of musicians who intermittently appear from one song to the next, Lucy gets things going with 'Middle Of The Bed', a track we reviewed last November, and a track which neatly demonstrates how infectious her music is. I suppose you could put her in the 'acoustic' bracket, however there is a growing sense of intensity that builds within her songs, emanating from the different instruments which surround Lucy's own fine guitar playing. Whilst her vocals steal the headlines, both from a songwriting perspective and sonically, the music behind her is also of such a standard and complexity that the combination is really quite mesmerising. With the Jazz Cafe completely sold out (and apparently over sold with some ticket holders turned away at the door) the atmosphere inside was for want of a better word, special.

Lucy seemed to grow with confidence as each song went by, not surprising with this being her biggest show to date, and a gig at which she thought 'only 20 people' would show up at! Mixing some older songs with new, highlights included 'Gamble' (for the record Lucy confirmed she does NOT have a problem with gambling), 'Rocking Newbie' (a working title for a song which had its debut live airing), and 'Don't You Worry' (a track which you might have heard during the latest episode of Skins, if you're like me and still watch it that is). My favourite track of the night would have to be 'Shiver', a beautifully simple song that really puts the spotlight on Lucy's ethereal vocals which draw you in and capture your attention, in much the same way as her contemporaries of the moment Daughter, Gabrielle Aplin, and Kyla La Grange.

All too soon the show is over, finishing with her latest single 'Red Face', however we do get treated to what Lucy says is her first ever encore, with the time stopping 'First' capturing everyones attention one last time. To emphasise how enthralling the gig was one member of the crowd even asked Lucy to play 'Middle Of The Bed' to which she replied "that is a classic but I've already played that one!" This is actually another side to Lucy which developed during the show, her ability to communicate with the crowd on a level that was quite endearing, with her strong stage presence being quite refreshing for someone so young. So all in all a superb gig, and the subsequent battle getting home with the snow and apparent inability of the tube network to deal with it seemed to matter little after witnessing such an enthralling performance.

With her debut album currently being recorded and a trip to America supporting Bombay Bicycle Club to look forward to, Lucy Rose has a very exciting year ahead of her, and we at Music Liberation are certainly looking forward to hearing and watching more of her in the months to come.

Lucy Rose // The Jazz Cafe  // LucyRose.Net (excellent fansite for Lucy)



Monday, 6 February 2012

Music Liberation and ooShirts.com

A little while ago an emerging apparel company from the USA called ooShirts.com got in touch to find out whether we would like some Music Liberation tshirts printed. They specialise in creating custom tshirts for their clients, with a user friendly website which makes designing your own professional looking shirts easy. So we gave it a go and were super pleased with the results!

The material of the shirt is of a high quality and the logo itself doesnt feel as if it will peel off in the first wash, something which other similar websites are guilty of. Despite being shipped from the States it arrived quickly too. All in all the process from start to finish was fairly effortless and I'm sure we'll go back to create more designs in the future.


Why not have a go yourself over at www.ooshirts.com!!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

ALBUM REVIEW: CLOUD NOTHINGS - ATTACK ON MEMORY

Cloud Nothings used to be mediocre. Cloud Nothings used to be forgettable. Cloud Nothings used to be a solo-project. Of their show supporting Crocodiles at the Camden Barfly, this time last year, I referred to their “brand of jangly pop-punk” as “upbeat and energetic but exceptionally bland and generic”. However, Cloud Nothings' new record – 'Attack On Memory' – is the sound of a band revitalised. It is the sound of a band emerging as vital.

Ohio natives Cloud Nothings began as the vehicle for a lone Dylan Baldi, the frontman and principle songwriter who played all the instruments on their first two albums – 'Turning On' and the self-titled follow-up. The inadequacies of those first two flat records were hidden behind infectious melodies, with Baldi pushing for bright, DIY pop-punk (with the emphasis on pop) but failing to pen enough memorable guitar or drum parts. Basically, imagine a boring Mazes with irritating vocals. 'Attack On Memory' is the first album to be recorded as a full band, and as a result it sounds much...fuller. This may also have a little something to do with getting in Steve Albini to man the recording process (that guy who did Pixies' 'Surfer Rosa', THAT GUY WHO DID NIRVANA'S 'IN UTERO'). Although Baldi has stated that all Alibini did during the sessions was play on Facebook, and blog about food (hmmmm?!).

So, how have Cloud Nothings changed? Just listen to the opening couplet of 'Attack On Memory' – and you'll barely recognise them. 'No Future / No Past' is slow-burning, moody alternative-rock – not a million miles away from Pixies, with grumbling bass and eerie whining building to an exhilarating last minute in which Baldi screams “no future, no past” repeatedly. Darker, angrier, and a damn lot better than anything Baldi has written before. However, the second track 'Wasted Days' is not just the best song of their career, it's the best alternative song of the last few months. At nearly 9 minutes, it's much longer than anything else on the album, but it never feels excessively strung-out. Starting off as a simple garage-punk number with a massive vocal hook, it soon gets stuck into a progressive, vocal-less groove, with bubbling sonic textures and climbing, post-hardcore guitars. It’s sprawling, but the climb is never without precision, and the heavy conclusion features Baldi's best ever vocal performance – barking-then-screaming “I thought I would be more that this” over and over with some mighty, mighty passion. It is huge.

Too huge, in fact, as the record never really matches those impeccable heights. The simplistic, pop-punk numbers sound ten times tighter (and three times heavier) than pre-album three, with 'Cut You' and single 'Stay Useless' featuring Cloud Nothings' best ever pop-melodies, and 'Fall In' and 'Our Plans' incorporating an intelligent emo sensibility (like Drive Thru's The Early November, or Deep Elm's roster). These songs are good, great even, but one can't help wishing that Baldi had allowed the band to flesh out these tunes, in the same way they beat up 'Wasted Days' to perfection. You see, the only major gripe I have with Cloud Nothings is Baldi's voice. He basically sounds like a couple of teeny, tiny blocked nostrils, so his voice isn't particularly well suited to the melodic pop-punk that he seems intent on producing. His voice is much better suited to post-hardcore whines, barks and screams, or the groaning grunge of 'No Sentiment' – a brooding mid-paced number with splashy drums and distorted guitar work. The most exciting track actually comes in the form of an instrumental: 'Separation'. This ferocious punk-rock song is built around an insanely catchy, spiky guitar riff (catchier than any vocal hook on the album), and contains urgent, quick-fire drums, with snare, snare, and SNARE all over the place.

If it sounds like I found the album disappointing, then I have misled you. There is real quality to the record as a whole, with the vocals, drums and guitar parts having been considerably improved. The production is spot on, and the song structures are given enough room to breathe sufficiently, effortlessly, yet managing to retain Baldi's sense of sharpness. But just listen to 'Wasted Days' and think to yourself: what if Cloud Nothings produced a whole album of 'Wasted Days''...WHAT IF!? Nonetheless, this is essential listening for fans of any sort of melodic punk (post, pop, garage, etc).

'ATTACK ON MEMORY' IS RELEASED 6TH FEBRUARY THROUGH WICHITA // CLOUD NOTHINGS




Cloud Nothings - "No Future / No Past" Official Video from Urban Outfitters on Vimeo.