What’s Hot In My House – July 2016

I am so damn busy. I mean, stupid busy, like every waking hour seems to be taken up with work or work related activities, which is no bad thing – but as a result my listening habits have been a bit, well, weird, I guess. Obviously there’s the stuff I’ve had to review, which has been OK to excellent, but there’s also been massive amounts of classical. Yes, classical, specifically Beethoven and Rachmaninoff, as it helps me concentrate when I’m translating. All my language functions get taken up by the work so I can’t possibly listen to anything with lyrics as my brain would stall, so it tends to be classical or ambient, classical’s winning that battle right now – getting old I guess! Nevertheless, my writing commitments have had me listening to some rather interesting new(ish) stuff that I find myself migrating back to on my day to day journeying around this fair city. So, here’s what’s been piping intermittently through my barely functioning headphones with the dodgy connection.

I’ve been working on a preview piece for http://www.alreadyheard.com on the upcoming Rebellion festival. It’s a largely punk affair and includes all sorts of acts with weird and wonderful names like Spunk and the Volcanic Eruptions and The Pukes, besides classic acts like Stiff Little Fingers and Buzzcocks. Anyway, excitingly, the great Dead Kennedys front man, political activist, Jello Biafra and his band The Guantanamo School of Medicine are set to hit the UK, so I have been checking out their 2013 album ‘White People and the Damage Done’. To put it bluntly, it’s fucking awesome and I keep going back for more. It’s like listening to the DKs only freshened up for this century – it’s as visceral a slice of politically charged punky hard core as you’re likely to find and Biafra’s distinct voice is as great as ever. Badass.

The debut album from Puddle Splasher, ‘Separate States’ has slowly grown on me. It has a real nineties feel to it, with a kind of Britpop grunginess not far removed from Stereophonics, only with more muscular guitars, better pop sensibilities and…ok they are way fucking better and a damn site cooler than Kelly Jones and co. Interestingly, they seem able to switch between the catchiest of pop melodies and the dirtiest of grunge, which all makes for an enjoyable listen – well worth checking out.

I’ve already talked about Evarose in the pages of Hard Pressed, but I’m finding the catchy grunge pop of these girls from Oxford unputdownable. Basically, every damn song on their album appeals on some level and the amount of earworms burrowing my brain is insane – talk about infectious. Check out their cover of Tatu‘s All the Things She Said.

In my explorations into classical music there is the stunningly beautiful ‘Spiegel im Spiegel’ composed by Arvo Pärt, which is of such sublimely compelling beauty that it never fails to move me.


Eight British Bands You Really Ought To Know About

Ever since I started writing about music I have had the dubious pleasure, and occasional outright torture, of listening to a plethora of new, old and downright ancient bands from the ragged cross section of multiple sub genres that exist in the world of rock. Basically, I have been introduced to the world of music far removed from the Coldplays, Mumfords and Adeles of the world – it’s a bit like that iceberg photo explaining deep web, where there is so much going on beneath the surface that the general public have absolutely no idea about, which is both glorious and heartbreaking in equal measure. Glorious because you discover that there is so much more talent in the world than radio, TV and record company executives would have you believe and heartbreaking because you know that most of them are fighting a losing battle. Nevertheless, there is hope, as many of these bands, most of whom are doing things on their own terms (or are even D.I.Y), are establishing fan bases way beyond the level of the thousand faithful and are gaining enough leverage to bother alternative chart lists and secure spots on festival bills. The quality of their music is surprisingly high and in some cases truly innovative. Anyway, having previously written about British rock bands that could use a break at the truly hard end of the music scene, I’ve now decided to put fingers to keyboard in regard to a bunch of upcoming bands that have released quality music over recent months and people really ought to know about.

Making Monsters
The Northern Irish alternative rockers have just closed the cycle of their superb EP, ‘Bad Blood’, by playing the BBC Introducing stage at T in the Park, prior to shutting themselves away to write their full length debut. In Emma Gallagher the Derry four piece boast one of the most talented vocalists around and with their emotionally charged, well constructed songs they managed to deliver a set of musically versatile hard hitters packed with bad ass riffs and winning hooks. They’ve got the talent, they’ve got the songs and they’ve got the style – watch them go places. http://www.makingmonsters.co.uk/

When you think of punk pop, you could be forgiven for thinking purely in bands from California, yet there is a bunch of rockers from Eastbourne putting a very English twist and injecting some life into an otherwise tired genre. With hard thrashing tracks like the excellent ‘Deadweight’ and the brilliantly worked ‘RIP in Peace’ there’s plenty to like about this band, whose talent, energy and hard work should see them making waves. https://roamuk.bandcamp.com/

There is a distinctly commercial edge to the alternative (dark) pop rock of this four piece from London. Margarita has a fine voice to supply the hooks and they are also blessed with quality musicianship; guitarist Dan consistantly delivering the goods. Debut album, ‘The Parts We Save’, offers up plenty of ear candy, as it is blessed with many a tight melodic rocker; ‘Nothing New’ being prime example of one of their many killer tunes. http://www.heelband.com/

The band formerly known as Baby Godzilla have already built up a formidable reputation for their stunningly chaotic live performances and on their debut album ‘Instructions’, they have managed to translate that wild abandon into a quite sublime record. They are seriously pushing creative boundaries with this gut wrenching collection of hard riffs and pure destructive energy – it sounds so refreshingly free it’s hard not to be infected by the raucousness of it all. Tracks like the punky ‘The Great Hardcore Swindle’ and the epic 15 minutes of ‘See The Old Lady…’ barely scratch the surface of what this band are all about. Go see them live, they have some festival dates coming up, including Reading and Leeds, before embarking on a co-headlining tour with the excellent Black Peaks. http://m.ents24.com/uk/tour-dates/heck-1

Speaking of whom…
Black Peaks
What a monumental sound this band has. Their debut album, ‘Statues’, also dropped earlier this year and it features a heady mix of naked aggression and progressive post hardcore melodies that pulsates with a controlled release of raw power that is nothing short of stunning. This band will be massive. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/statues/id1052921521?app=itunes

It’s been about a month since ‘Beneath the Spinning Lights’ dropped and its brand of smoothly crafted melodic alternative rock keeps winning new fans. Vocalist Will Alford is gifted with a fine voice and the band´s mature song writing approach provides the perfect vehicle. Tracks like ‘Rise’, with its massive hooks and soaring guitars, show precisely what they can do, – this is a band with enormous potential. http://witterquick.tmstor.es/

These four girls from Oxford certainly know how to deliver straight ahead hard edged grunge pop with massive choruses and killer hooks. Their exciting debut, ‘Invisible Monsters’, packs punch after punch of ear fodder on eleven slickly delivered songs of substance. Tracks like ‘Glitch’ and ‘Provoke Me’ are quite simply banging tunes and showcase just what this band is capable of – great vocals, quality musicianship and top songwriting – check them out.http://evarose.bigcartel.com/

Earlier this year Essex hardcore brawlers Giants finally released their long awaited debut, ‘Break the Cycle, which neatly showcases their brand of 21st century angst ridden punk. They’ve managed to put a modern twist on old school vibes and come up with a fresh and vibrant record with some excellently crafted tunes like the excellent hard edged ‘I’ve Been Low’ and ‘I’m Not Around’. Exciting, intense and with plenty to say. https://giants.bandcamp.com/