IDLES – Meat EP Launch

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Idles are a band from Bristol that I have been a casual observer of for the past 5 maybe 6 years. I’ve watched them transform and evolve from a band that I was blowing hot and cold about on any given day, through to a band that I have personally come to love and admire.

On Wednesday night I saw them give one of the most euphoric performances I have seen from any home coming gigs in quite a while. They played to a crowd that was packed to the rafters in the Louisiana, launching their brand new Meat EP. It felt like it was real moments occasion at a time where the bands musical direction was more needed then ever.

The one thing that Idles have always had going for them is big stage personalities, which has been matched recently by the more consistent quality of the songs. They felt a lot more hungry sounding with Joe Talbot at his doe eyed teeth gnashing best. They had the urgency of the likes of Joy Division, driven with hefty riffs that bore reminiscence  to Wire’s Pink Flags and personally evocative and emotive lyrics.

It was one of those classic shows that could have gone one of either two ways, luckily it went the right way. A punk rock sweaty steam hole of a show, not often do I see sweat pouring off the ceiling in vast bucket loads like I did at that show.

They really are evolving into quite something, especially with their album due out next year, its a bit early to say, but 2016 might just be the year of IDLES as the press might say.

You can order the Meat EP from this link below.

http://idlesband.bigcartel.com/product/meat-ep

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Hollow Hand – Ancestral Lands

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Hollow Hand isn’t a name on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but those who come across him will his output will cherish him for his warmth and love of psychedelic folk.

I must admit that I don’t really know how I came across him, it was maybe like some coincidence or some happy on line accident. Because I first heard the song Chariot at the beginning of this year. I’m still non the wiser as to who Hollow Hand actually is despite having the odd twitter conversation, I’ve still yet to meet him.

Ancestral Land is Hollow Hands debut album, and it is something of gorgeous beauty. Songs packed with rich post autumnal haze, whilst being drenched in the psychedelic sunshine of classic Crosby Stills and Nash.

Yes there are comparisons that can be drawn to CSN, with nods towards Donovan, Gene Clarke and Jethro Tull thrown in, but it doesn’t feel like as if he is longing for the past, but maybe re-imagining it.

Ancestral Land kind of feels like the album Fleet Foxes forgot to make. The tone of the album has real analogue quality to it. Each listen is like peeling an onion, the deeper you listen to it the more you’ll find in it, from the twisting melodies to the 4 part vocals. Its rich in depth on every level. This could be one of the great lost albums of the year.

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Mark Wynn – Battenberg

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Mark Wynn may not be a name widely known by the general population but those who have come across him have come to love him for his eccentric performances and hysterical lyrics.

Hailing from Yorkshire the Punk poet manages to recall the tragic comedy of working class life. Coming across like a modern day John Cooper Clarke or Half Man Half biscuit mixed in with elements of Sultans of Ping or Jilted John. The great art of English humour within his  lyrical style.

There is nothing more English then naming a song after a traditional English tea cake. Also lyrically it feels like as if Mark is telling as many different stories as humanly possible in the 3 minutes of this song. Much like the scatter shot approach to song writing that Nigel Blackwell of Half Man Half Biscuit specialised in.

Mark is currently on tour with Sleaford Mods and Steve Ignorant and is almost the perfect antidote to their anger.

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Groundhogs

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The other night in a tiny sweaty little underground club in Bath, the St James Wine Vaults to be precise, I saw the launch of the newly revitalised line-up of the Groundhogs featuring founder Groundhog, drummer Ken Pustelnik.

Through out the 60’s the Groundhogs were very much a staple of the psychedelic rock movement playing along with the likes The Rolling Stones, Clapton, Cream and Hendrix. fronted by guitarist and singer Tony Mcphee, who had to unfortunately retire last year due to his ill health.

This was their first headline show since making it public that Ken had formed a new version of the Groundhogs, and what a better place to do it then an underground club that reeked of Rock n Roll and had sweat dripping from the low tunnel ceiling. with space for only 100 people. It was close and comfy experience that rock n roll really thrives on.

The new Groundhogs played with real affection for the songs as the piled through a set of materiel from the Albums Scratchin’ The Surface, Thank Christ For The Bomb, Who Will Save The World? The Mighty Groundhogs, Solid and Split in an hour and a half of pulsating riffs.

The longer they played for the wilder and more intense it got, with Kens killer rhythmic playing wild eyed stare. infact the wilder he stared the more the jamms flowed, with Cherry Red desending into an orgy of guitar solos. It was frickin great

Groundhogs are here wether you like it or not.

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Robocobra Quartet – I Wazaru

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Robocobra Quartet are alternative post punk Jazz outfit from Belfast who put the alternative into the the Jazz. Treading a wilfully free spirited fusion, mixing the attitude of punk with the subversive humour of grunge and the avant-garde playfulness of free Jazz.

Taking nods from a wide variety of influences from Ted Milton and Blurt through to Steve Albini and Shellac, whilst channelling something of the inner Marke E Smith. Fusing heavy distorted bass with hooky horns and tight driven rhythms with subversive lyrics.

I Wazaru is taken from a little limited edition lathe cut 7″ via independent Music, the link to order the 7″ is at the bottom of this blog post.

http://www.independentmusic.com/products/559224-robocobra-quartet-iwazaru-mizaru

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Spectres – Spectre

So everyone has heard the syrupy lead song from the new James Bond movie Spectre from everyone’s favourite lung hugger Sam Smith. here’s Bristol based shoegasers Spectres own attempt at writing a James Bond theme.

It has all the elements of 90’s indie croon feel and sweeping strings that have dominated Bond soundtracks over the decades. They manage to mix elements of Rides long drawn out fuzzy guitars and Cowboy Junkies style grit with a big bombastic pop feel.

Joe Hatts Voice definately feels at home with the very dream like production, stripped back rhythm holding the song together, kind of has a reminiscence to David Gedge’s Cinerama.

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The Evil Usses – The Evil Usses

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The Evil Usses are an instrumental Jazz rock outfit from Bristol, fusing together psychedelic rock with the playful elements of free Jazz. ?The sound is born out of a group of ragg n taggle Bristaliens and genuine outsiders. Taking on the free spirits of John Coltranes Acid trips, Marshall Allen inspired sax riffs and fusing with 60’s Magic Band free feeling psychedelic guitars.

They are one of the most exciting live acts coming out of Bristol, their shows are wild and extremely different to a lot of other bands out there. But they do show enough similarities to the likes of Get the Blessing and Melt Yourself Down, in the fact that they play heavily upon syncopated grooves.

Signed to Bristol Psych label Stolen Body Records, who have put out releases by the likes of Factotum, Taos Humm, Tara Clerkin, EBU band and The Bad Joke That Ended Well. Their debut album really is truly enthralling listen taking the listener on many different journeys. Its great to see a label like Stolen Body Records being willing to look outside of the standard psych garage rock and the excitement of where psychedelic jazz can take you.    records

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