If you were to emulate a musical Bruce in a highly-conspicuous manner, would you go Eagles with Hornsby, Iron Maiden with Dickinson, or my preferred option, Anfield Rap with Grobbelaar? On "Holding On", Adam Granduciel sings, 'When we talk of the past,/ What are we talking of?' Considering the rich seam of retrospective Brucey options open to him, Adam Granduciel chose the Springsteen option. Again.
If the album's title is inviting us to develop a 'deeper understanding' of the band, we are expected to gain that through a lengthy exposure to their music (seventy minutes). Of the ten songs, only "Knocked Down" comes in under five minutes forty. There's a lot of 'space' on these tracks, but it's more akin to how there's a lot of 'space' in space than pleasant lebensraum. Granduciel is a known perfectionist and the album never sounds anything other than thoroughly fussed over, but if more of the songs had dynamism and variety, rather than orbiting around the same chords and riffs, we'd be able to generate a deeper excitement.
"Up All Night" begins with some "Tango in the Night" synth action, whilst "Pain" epitomises the guitar sound on the album. It gives us the first soaring Granduciel solo, whilst also abounding with the beanbaggy, soporific guitar bed upon which the album luxuriates. Early single, "Holding On" provides the high point. Thrust onwards by drums and one of Dave Hartley's many stand-out basslines, with its twinkly glockenspiel, it examines how love and nostalgia can walk awkwardly hand-in-hand. A similar urgency can be found on "Nothing to Find", as well as growling harmonica and some closing Dire Straits "Walk of Life" synth loops.
Continue reading: The War on Drugs - A Deeper Understanding Album Review
The full daily schedule has now been announced for Forecastle 2015.
Forecastle Festival has finally completed its 2015 line-up and announced the full day-by-day schedule for the coming event, which is set to hit Louisville, Kentucky yet again in July. Plus, you'll very soon be able to purchase single day tickets for each day.
Joining the stellar line-up headlined by the already announced Sam Smith, locals My Morning Jacket and Widespread Panic are The War On Drugs, ZZ Ward, Robert DeLong and Mariachi el Bronx among a handful of others. With such talent expected every day between July 17th and 19th, 2015 is shaping up to be an important year for Forecastle.
Jim Pusey's Top Albums of 2014
I'm still unsure what this decade will be seen as in years to come with regard to music, 2014 despite offering up some seriously great records has done little to cement a trend that will define the musical landscape in the public consciousness. Yes, artists continued to experiment with how to release their material, but there doesn't seem to be an alternative model that has been entirely successful. Thom Yorke's second solo album Life's Modern Boxes employed an innovative BitTorrent release three months ago, but for the most part failed to make a real impact. It's an ok record, nothing more, but suffers mainly because it doesn't feel like it's pushing the sonic envelope in the same way as the Atoms For Peace record did. Meanwhile U2 decided to drop an album out of nowhere to everybody with an Apple account. Self-aggrandising or an altruistic gesture to fans? Whatever your view the column inches it generated won't have hurt the band, even if Songs Of Innocence wasn't quite the re-invention that many were hoping for. To my ear it's a record with some redeeming qualities and some good song writing, but the handful of tracks that may be a welcome addition to the quartets body of work are outnumbered by filler.
Elsewhere it's been a strong year for Pop, Lily Allen and Katy B continued to produce interesting albums. However Taylor Swift's 1989 was a particular highlight, although in the same way as recent offerings from TV On The Radio (Seeds) and The Smashing Pumpkins (Monuments To An Elegy), I haven't lived with those records long enough for them to make my top ten of the year. I'd also have liked to have seen mainstream Hip Hop recover from a lull in 2013, but aside from Run The Jewels second record (Run The Jewels 2) and The Roots concept album (.And Then They Shoot Your Cousin), nothing really jumped out at me.
Continue reading: Jim Pusey's Top Albums Of 2014
Dom Gourlay's Top Albums of 2014
10) Soft Walls - No Time
Multi-talented musician-cum-producer Dan Reeves divides his time playing in several bands with running a record label. This effort, his second as Soft Walls ranks as his finest collection to date. Although heralded as one of new psychedelia's finest releases, 'No Time' owes as much to Phil Spector and Suicide as it does anything else, and sounds all the more accomplished for it.
9) Temples - Sun Structures
Having spent the best part of two years touring the songs that would eventually go onto become 'Sun Structures', it was perhaps somewhat inevitable that the album would be every bit as good as we'd hoped. What happens next will be key to Temples long-term future, but for now 'Sun Structures' is a fitting document of the band's inaugural stages.
8) Cheatahs - Cheatahs
This cosmopolitan four-piece might display their influences quite brazenly. However, this debut bears all the hallmarks of a classic. Referencing the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Swervedriver and Teenage Fanclub at regular intervals yet retaining a distinctive edge all the same, 'Cheatahs' is the sound of a band discovering an identity and using it to their advantage.
Continue reading: Dom Gourlay's Top Albums Of 2014
The Zombies, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The War On Drugs are among this year's dynamic Austin Psych Fest bill.
Shield your eyes as Austin's most vibrant music festival marks its seventh year from May 2nd-4th 2014. With The Zombies, The Horrors and Temples on this unique bill, are we looking at Austin Psych Fest's best year yet?
Founded in 2008, the Austin Psych Fest started off as a tiny event; a one day blast of sensational independent bands at The Red Barn venue. It took just one year for it to expand into three whole days of psychedelic magic and will this year take place at the Carson Creek Ranch playing host to some of the most well respected bands of the genre in the business. We've had six years so far of this inimitable energy and with old lucky number seven comes a line-up that is arguably the festival's most interesting yet.
Continue reading: Does Austin Psych Fest 2014 Have The Best Line-Up Yet?
The War on Drugs' third single, Brothers, is the latest to be taken from their critically acclaimed second studio album, Slave Ambient, which was released in August 2011, through Secretly Canadian. Brothers follows on from Baby Missiles and Come To The City. The War On Drugs will embark on a tour of the UK and Ireland.
Continue: The War On Drugs - Brothers
Having spent a significant amount of time with ex- War On Drugs guitarist and co founder Kurt Vile, touring with Vile and the violators, the ex members' solo project, it took Adam Granduciel longer to generate The War On Drugs' second album, Slave Ambient. After the success of Kurt Viles solo material it was inevitable that it would be hard for Granduciel to write a record that wouldn't be immediately discounted by critics and cast under Viles now well established shadow.
Continue reading: The War On Drugs, Slave Ambient Album Review