sticky

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Album Review: The Howl & The Hum - Human Contact


The Howl & The Hum - Human Contact
01. Love You Like A Gun 02. Human Contact 03. Hall Of Fame 04. Hostages  
05. Murmur 06. The Only Boy Racer Left On The Island 07. Got You On My Side 
08. Until I Found A Rose  09. A Hotel Song  10. Smoke  
11. Sweet Fading Silver  12. 27  13. [Pigs]

Released 29th May 2020 through AWAL

I was first introduced to the The Howl & The Hum, a band named partly after an Allen Ginsberg poem, through their 2017 single Godmanchester Chinese Bridge. From its cathartic dispositions, its namesake based upon an eye catching landmark in a Cambridgeshire town, the York-based four-piece have finally emerged triumphant with their long anticipated debut album 'Human Contact' - something ironically craved in these undying times.

Three year's later, with a string of single's under their belts, the band holed up to record throughout 2019, and are now here to tell tales of heartbreak, longing and regret in the only way they know how - through gritted determination and bittersweet melancholy.

Showing signs from its opening moments that they're far from a one trick pony, the bands long established dynamic readily shines through. So it seems only fitting for the record to kick off with a stark change in direction as pummelling electronic sounds set alight the pulsating Love You Like A Gun. This perfectly sets the tone as their title track's subdued intro quickly dissipates and breaks off in to its charging guitars and driving percussion.

It's not until Hall Of Fame that we get the first glimmer in to frontman Sam Griffiths' soaring vocal ability. A cry of desperation set across a firework display of explosive instrumentation, the track swings in to action through euphoric melodies and flashing poetry. And that's exactly where they excel. The band's songwriting is an art form in itself.

As Hostages tells the story of a broken relationship through the eyes of two lovers, meeting upon a bridge to exchange their belongings, The Only Boy Racer Left On The Island has us floored with a longing nostalgia for our dying youth. "This song was inspired while we were on the Orkney Islands, when we saw one boy racer driving round and round the same roads overtaking our shitty little van, yet there was no-one else he was racing" explains Griffiths on its conception. "I had loneliness on the brain, so this song came together as an anthem of lost youth, while not looking on this young view of masculinity particularly lightly. This is a song about that guy with the monster-like revving engine roaring past you on the high street when you were younger, seeing him as trying to impress the girls, the guys, himself, and what happens to these young men as the years turn over: people leave, the town changes, but they refuse to grow up." 



At its halfway point, Got You On My Side shows the band feeling just as confident in breezy, fluctuating melodies and emotionally charged lyrics as they do in all out pop. But it's not long before they're firing up the pace once more with machine gun percussion and an aspirant driving force on Until I Found A Rose.

There's brilliance in every which way. From the touching mental health notes on Hotel Song to the vulnerabilities in Smoke, The Howl & The Hum's songwriting facilitates a craftsmanship like no other. Elsewhere, there's the harrowing Sweet Fading Silver. Recorded in one take and transcending from personal relatablities, it's a connection we can all make as Griffiths clings on to the fading memories of a past life - Its slow burning crescendo a poignant reminder to the band's emotionally grieving nuances.

As the record bows out with two equally contrasting track's, from 27's kaleidoscopic disco-felt melodies, alongside its tongue-in-cheek romanticised lyrics "you said it's not you, it's me", to [Pigs] displaying their incredible use of spacial intelligence, 'Human Contact' demonstrates the capabilities they behold to side-step any genre specific categories where so many band's pigeonholed and lets them truly break in to their own light.

The Howl & The Hum's 'Human Contact' will be released May 29th 2020 through AWAL.

*****


f: www.facebook.com/TheHowlandTheHum

Monday, 25 May 2020

Thunder Jackson - Find Yourself


First introduced to their sound back in 2018 through Colours, LA-based outfit Thunder Jackson last week returned with their insatiable new single Find Yourself. Unapologetically pop, its huge choruses and infectious rhythms find the brighter moments in our darkened times. “As humans, we all seek to define our identity. It’s a lifelong journey. Some days we feel we know exactly who we are. Others, we don’t recognise the person in the mirror. And that’s what ‘Find Yourself’ is all about,” says Thunder Jackson. “It's a song for the lost, a song for the found, and a reminder that we are not alone in our struggles to find ourselves.” Take a listen for yourselves below.



f: https://www.facebook.com/thunderjackson/

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Album Review: The 1975 - Notes On A Conditional Form

Album Review: The 1975 - Notes On A Conditional Form

 The 1975 - Notes On A Conditional Form
01. The 1975   02.People  03.The End (Music For Cars)  04. Frail State of Mind
05. Streaming  06. The Birthday Party  07. Yeah I Know  08. Then Because She Goes
09. Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America  10. Roadkill  11. Me & You Together Song
12. I Think There’s Something You Should Know  13. Nothing Revealed / Everything Denied
14. Tonight (I Wish I Was Your Boy)  15. Shiny Collarbone  
16. If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)  17. Playing On My Mind  18. Having No Head
19. What Should I Say  20. Bagsy Not in Net  21. Don’t Worry  22. Guys

Released May 22 via Dirty Hit/Universal Music


It seems only fitting that The 1975 would release their fourth studio album amidst a worldwide pandemic. Having been pushed back throughout the year, it comes at a time no one could have predicted, and might just end up being the soundtrack to our summer spent indoors. That aside, it's a profound and ambitious step forwards for a band that have seemingly already achieved all there is to be achieved.

Recorded over 2 years, in no less than 16 different studios across the world, the final artefact has landed and it's certainly their most dynamic release to date.

Gone is the band's abstract and abbreviated oral sex visualisation that was their ever evolving self-titled intro track. A timely tradition, replaced by a call to action courtesy of activist Greta Thunberg. There's really no denying Manchester's The 1975 aren't well and truly head spinners. And what better way to showcase this other than in ripping up the rule book in their gothic return on People, a track that shocked us all when they unveiled it on a dreary unsuspecting August evening last year. It's often hard to believe its brash and raucous energy, a stark departure from their previous sound, sits proudly amongst happy go lucky boyband-esque nuances, as demonstrated so well in the gooey Me & You Together Song or the softly whispered Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America.



With most of the single's already in existence, the band make the album listening experience all the more real again as the record's interludes seamlessly blend between track's. With what is a large chunk already in the public domain, long before its release date, it begs to question "what else remains?". Yet they still have some tricks up their sleeve, even if it does take some grit and determination to get through. It is 22 songs long after all.

With that in mind there's certainly no denying the band's work-rate, however it does in places feel haphazardly pieced together. Maybe that's the downfall of having so many ideas and no clear indication of direction. It's a nagging feeling that often leaves it lacking in the same uniquely identifiable ways that each of their previous albums' identities worked so hard to build on. The only centralised underpinned sound on this incarnation is the arpeggiated electronic melodies that echo throughout Frail State of Mind and Yeah I know. There's also I Think There's Something You Should Know, with its sub-bass rattling backdrop and Shiny Collarbone, a true nod to the UK's rave scene as bouncy rhythms meet chaotic drum loops and cut up vocal samples. 

Elsewhere, again, the 6 minute Having No Head slowly builds in to another cathartic Jon Hopkins inspired monster, snarling in to life from a spacious ambient intro, all before retreating back to its softly played piano outro. From Matty's country/folk stylistics on Roadkill (with its all too real lyrics) to If You're Too Shy's sickly sweet synth lines, pop perfected sensibilities and dreamy introspective sax solos, the record's often scattered genre hopping approach to songwriting gives it far wider depth than we've ever had the pleasure of before.

What Should I Say is another curveball. It's anxiety punctuated lyrics coupled with over processed vocals and choppy electronic synth pads deliver a haunting address and could easily form a live favourite amongst their set. There's also to note that this the band's most collaborative effort yet with features from Phoebe Bridgers, FKA Twigs, Cutty Ranks and by no means least to mention the record's penultimate track Don't Worry, a touching ballad written by Matty's dad Tim Healy.

Whilst you need to set aside some dedicated time to bathe in its striking moments of brilliance, the record sees the band take on a new persona, sticking it to convention and normalisation. But when have they ever played by the rules?

The 1975's 'Notes On A Conditional Form' will be released May 22 through Dirty Hit. 

*****


f:  www.facebook.com/the1975

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

BILK - I Got Knocked Out The Same Night England Did


Essex-based trio BILK today share their real-to-life new single I Got Knocked Out The Same Night England Did. Tearing through the memories of a night out, blow by blow, Sol Abrahams recalls a fight he got in to resulting in a three night stay in a hospital bed courtesy of the NHS. "The song documents a true story of when I got into a fight on the night England got knocked out of the World Cup. I got knocked out myself and had to spend three nights in hospital with a fractured skull and a concussion. It definitely seems that violence on nights out has become a normal part of British culture, and more often than not is sparked by something insignificant like the result of an England game, so I wanted to make a song about my experience with that. I’d like to think that when pubs reopen everyone will be pleased to see each other, and there won’t be as many fights, but I don’t reckon anything will change". Take a listen to the high octane anthem for yourselves below.



f: https://www.facebook.com/bilkbandpage/

MAX RAD - Back Around


Following on from his debut EP ‘Save Me From Myself’ Part 1, Max Rad returns with his latest single, Back Around. Kicking off a whole new chapter, we see plenty more soulful melodies propped up by his signature laid back, emotive vocals and jazzy guitars. Speaking on new single, Max said: “It's the feeling of not being able to get out of a rut that you find yourself in - people not treating you the way you would like to be treated, or perhaps an emotion that weighs you down. You want to get moving and pull yourself up again, but something else that is either in or out of your control has other ideas. When you are ready to move forward, but you can't.” Take a listen for yourselves below. ‘Save Me From Myself Part.2’ is due soon and looks set to be "a little lighter, looking positively towards the future".



f: www.facebook.com/maxradmaxrad

Monday, 18 May 2020

The White Lakes - Summer (She Won't Wait)


Guilford via Oxford based four-piece The White Lakes have today returned with their euphoric new single, Summer (She Won't Wait). Wasting no time before getting stuck in, it cranks in to motion through a high sprung guitar line adding splashes of vibrant colour to its thundering percussive backdrop. Described being about "capturing the hazy summer days with mates", their innate ability for creating high energy, insatiably catchy pop songs proves true once more. Take a listen for yourselves below. For fans of Gang Of Youths.



The White Lakes are: Matt Ellacott (Rhythm Guitar and Vocals), Finlay Carson (Lead Guitar and Backing Vocals), Logan McQuirk (Bass) and Kyle Oliveira (Drums).

f: https://www.facebook.com/thewhitelakes

MAURITIA - Daydreaming


Seeking out new ways of creativity through lockdown, Northern-based five-piece MAURITIA return with their brand new single Daydreaming, accompanied by its very own home-made video. Underpinned by the track's infectious guitar lines, it's driving force packs in a euphoric backdrop of upbeat melodies, funky basslines and unrivalled energy as the band continue to raise the bar with their anthemic pop sensibilities. Check it out for yourselves below.



f: https://www.facebook.com/wearemauritia

Friday, 15 May 2020

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Falling Thunder


Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have recently returned with their latest single, Falling Thunder, taken from the band's forthcoming second album 'Sideways To New Italy' due out June 5th 2020 on Sub Pop. Speaking about the single, Tom Russo explains it's "about pushing on through the relentless march of time, against the constant cycle of seasons. And the way people change and relationships change. It’s set in that time when autumn is turning into winter and the trees are getting bare." Take a listen for yourselves below.



Rolling Blackouts C.F. - Sideways To New Italy // Sub Pop - 05/06/20

1. The Second of the First
2. Falling Thunder
3. She's There
4. Beautiful Steven
5. The Only One
6. Cars in Space
7. Cameo
8. Not Tonight
9. Sunglasses at the Wedding
10. The Cool Change

f: www.facebook.com/rollingblackoutscoastalfever