Monday, 30 April 2012

EP REVIEW : ES MUSS SEIN - ES MUSS SEIN

There is a bothersome trend at present for young girls with fragile voices to cover popular songs in a slow and maudlin fashion to flog records or to advertise department stores. As such, it’s becoming pretty darn easy to roll your eyes out of your head with cynicism when you hear yet another fragile voiced girl baring her soul on yet another slow and maudlin record. 

So it is in such a climate that Poppy Wilson aka Es Muss Sein finds herself brazenly releasing her self-titled debut EP. On offer are three sparse tracks on a record that is distinctly slow and undeniably maudlin. Yet these are her songs, her voice, her guitar and her angst as it becomes quickly evident that Wilson’s approach to this already overcrowded genre is distinctly uncompromising. 

Apart from the odd overdub, each track is a mere voice and a single guitar line. There is no semblance of song structure, there are no big choruses, just simple patterns of notes hypnotically repeated over and over, accompanying Wilson’s resonating vocals. The whole EP is a meditative experience as Wilson invites us to wallow with her in her woe. 

This simple record is nothing if not brave as Wilson’s self-indulgent approach to music may leave some frustrated. These three solemn songs could struggle for mass appeal as they are cyclical in nature, without the salvation of catchy hooks or crowd pleasing string accompaniments. Yet her basic – almost amateur – approach to writing and recording is her strength. In a genre full of cover songs and faux emotion here we are offered sincerity and truth on a plate with what feels like a healthy disregard for popular expectation. It’s refreshing.

DOWNLOAD 'ES MUSS SEIN' // ES MUSS SEIN FACEBOOK 

Friday, 20 April 2012

EP REVIEW : VICES - HOTEL MONSOON

Vices, a young 5-piece from London, have recently released their latest record in the shape of an EP titled ‘Hotel Monsoon’. Having supported the likes of Everything Everything and Band Of Skulls, as well as a well recieved debut EP produced by Jeff Saltzman, Vices could be on the cusp of something. Quite what that something is may well be explained after a good old listen of their newest offering.

Dying Day’ starts us off, a quirky track which has plenty of groove and layers of interesting guitars over which the vocalist shows off his rather varied range which works well to keep interest high and excitement building. Onto ‘Airports’ the tempo is slowed down giving the vocals even more space to show off the increasingly assertiveness, with the music behind taking on forms of jazz and funk rock to great effect. What is striking is that Vices are clearly confident in their own ideas, not afraid to slow things down, turn them up, and slow them down again multiple times, all in the space of a track; which allows their songs to breath and grow with each listen.

Deep Rivers Run’ carries on in a similar vein, albeit with a glorious wailing guitar throughout. ‘Human Being’ sounds somewhat like the early output of The Horrors, with the ghostly electronic elements doing much to further this claim. However  this early comparison cannot fully justify the song, as there are further introductions of saxophone, as well as slightly more comprehendible vocals to that of Faris Badwan. The EP finishes with ‘Hotel Monsoon (Go Up To Go Down)’, which is a wonderfully expansive song that not only hints of greater potential for this band but also really caps off a fine body of work. Just imagine a combination of Pink Floyd, Friendly Fires, Girls, and the aforementioned The Horrors, and you might have some idea of this grandiose song.

Vices are currently on tour throughout 2012, you can check their facebook for more information. And you can stream and download the excellent ‘Hotel Monsoon’ EP from their bandcamp page now. // VICES

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

EP REVIEW : TRIM THE BARBER - TRIM THE BARBER

It feels like its been a long time coming to hear this debut self titled EP from London's Trim The Barber. We first came across the the four-piece during the Summer last year with the single 'All We Can Be', and ever since we've been eager to hear more. So it was with great delight and anticipation when we pressed play on their shiny record that recently dropped through the letterbox.

Fortunately the long wait is soon forgotten as opening track 'Occupation' kicks in, with some dark atmospheric guitars and mind focusing drums, and we are swiftly reminded of our fondness for Mathew Potters swirling vocals which are equally moody and content. 'Autocue' carries on in a similar vain; expansive guitars, commanding drums, with the finale to the track being really vamped up leaving you feeling a bit claustrophobic but strangely happily so.

It is with the third track 'Digitalis' that the strides this band have made since that first single can be seen. Opening with a brash guitar, the tempo is slow and assured, building gently before Potters' vocals are introduced. As the track develops you are unavoidably sucked in, with your mind taken over by the ever increasing intensity and sheer power this group can produce.

The EP closes with 'Reality', a track which takes a slightly different tack for the band, albeit maintaining those filthy guitars, with the tempo increased a notch. It's an interesting insight into how the band could expand within a full length release, as well as demonstrating the potential to mix things up with their live shows.

This debut self titled EP from Trim The Barber is really something quite special, combining a sort of melodic shoegaze feel with ragged punk like guitars, whilst all the while lyrics deal with an altogether ill feeling towards the current state of social affairs within the UK and beyond. It's essential listening for those who require their music a little darker and can appreciate ideas that sometimes take you out of your comfort zone.

You can download the Trim The Barber EP for free all this week from the band's Bandcamp. // Trim The Barber
 

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

COMPETITION : FARAH VINTAGE - CITIZENS OF FARAH

We like to think here at Music Liberation HQ that we know our music, at least to a certain extent. Fashion on the other hand can be a little sketchy. Thankfully there are good guys out there like the fine people at Farah Vintage who can help point us in the right direction. 

Having originated in the 1920's, Farah Vintage have been about a bit and have certainly managed to create a cult status amongst their piers, as well as keeping a close association with the medium of music particular during the 1980's. 

Here's what they say:- "Farah is the Original Casual Company, the brand has remained true to its principles and true to its heritage. Farah is the rejection of formality, the repeal of conformity. Farah is an identity". Sounds good to us!

Right now Farah are running a competition for one person to be the star of their next ad campaign. Titled 'Citizens of Farah' the winner will not only be the face behind the advertisement but will also help out photographer Gavin Watson whilst he shoots. AND they'll be able to grab a load of free clothes! 

All you have to do to enter is to 'like' the Farah Vintage facebook page, and then upload a photo of yourself. EASY!

The competition closes on the 6th April.

Monday, 2 April 2012

ALBUM REVIEW : HYSTERICAL INJURY - DEAD WOLF SITUATION

Dead Wolf Situation is the debut full length album from Bath's Hysterical Injury, a band that should need little introduction to you Music Liberation regulars. For those of you who have yet to get acquainted, here's a quick recap:-

We first discovered the band early last year when we nominated them to play on the Emerging Talent stage at the Glastonbury Festival. We followed that up with an interview with the brother/sister duo, then tipping them for new year greatness on Tom Robinson's BBC 6 Music show, as well as including them in our ' Future Sounds of 2012' article. We concluded our in-depth 'research' with a recent visit to Brixton's Windmill to catch the band headlining a show as part of their album release tour.

So it's safe to say we know we're on to a winner here.

The album starts with 'Halo Alkanes', a song which contains the four main ingredients of Hysterical Injury's sound. Firstly the attack-minded drums from Tom Gardiner, which are swiftly joined by the second ingredient, Annie Gardiner's gritty bass guitar. Next are Annie's distinctive half pop, half rock, half something I've never heard before vocals (hang on, does that add up?), and lastly its the downright dirty attitude that this band has to conventional ways of producing and displaying their artistic talents.

'Icebreak' will get stuck in your head all day, with the opposites of Annie's dainty (ish) vocals colliding with the fierce, driving repetitive punk-esq music. 'Vex' demonstrates a greater depth, with the tempo brought down, whilst my second favourite track on the record 'The Works', is a delightful grungey slow/fast, stop/start affair. 'Visions Of Trees' is perhaps the most serious song of the LP, and 'Into The Cabin' the moodiest. 6 Music loved 'Maths' is the shortest track at just over two minutes, and is beautifully part accessible and part inaccessible.

My favourite song on the album is 'Bitch's Balls' (great title), a track which starts stripped back but is slowly added to with a growing intensity, made up of wild guitars, prominent drums, and far out vocals.

Concluding with the monstrous 'Rainbow Thunderclap', the 'Dead Wolf Situation' experience is one that leaves you feeling part exhausted, part overwhelmed, part enlightened, but in the end wholly satisfied and entirely captivated. As debut albums go its certainly sets the bar high, which will not only challenge those bands around them, but also will surely push the Hysterical Injury onto even greater things in the future. A thought which I hope you'll agree is more than tantalising...