The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

Posts by Ed Biggs

REVIEW: Built To Spill – ‘Untethered Moon’ (Warner Bros.)

by Matthew Langham It’s been a long time coming for Built To Spill. The Portland-via-Idaho grunge-rock favourites’ last release was in 2009, their seventh studio record There Is No Enemy. The record didn’t generate a great deal of attention at the time, and by 2013 came along lead singer Doug Martsch complained that he felt “directionless”.

FROM WORST TO BEST: Blur singles

With only a couple of days to go until the release of The Magic Whip, their first album in 12 years and first since 1999 with Graham Coxon, what better time to look back at the history of Blur. Starting life at a shambolic yet entertaining art-rock band called Seymour, they signed to indie label Food Records and released their first single ‘I Know / She’s So High’ in October

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REVIEW: Speedy Ortiz – ‘Foil Deer’ (Carpark)

by Ed Biggs When Massachusetts native Sadie Dupuis first began Speedy Ortiz as a casual recording nom de plume four years ago, she can’t have presumed that the indie world would be anticipating her third album as much as this in 2015. After an internet release that year called The Death Of Speedy Ortiz, her group attracted the attention of the national rock press in 2013 with Major Arcana, the kind

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REVIEW: Passion Pit – ‘Kindred’ (Columbia)

by Ed Biggs Electronic pop outfit Passion Pit, the brainchild of Massachusetts native Michael Angelakos, have delivered an eagerly awaited third album. Kindred follows three years after the well-received Gossamer, which achieved the interesting balance of sounding musically upbeat but thematically bleak. In it, Angelakos frequently lamented and berated himself about how he tended to let down people close to him. In the aftermath of its release, he revealed his

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REVIEW: Alabama Shakes – ‘Sound & Color’ (Rough Trade)

by Ed Biggs With their 2012 debut Boys & Girls, Alabama Shakes pushed their way to the front of the most recent retro-rock revival, alongside the likes of The Black Keys. Using authentic American soul and rock influences, from Curtis Mayfield, Otis Redding and recordings from the Muscle Shoals studio (located in the state which gives them their name), it was a fun, stripped-down experience. At the time, some pointed

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PREVIEW: Live At Leeds 2015

by Matthew Langham So it’s nearly upon us – Leeds’ city-wide music festival returns for its 2015 edition on the first May bank holiday (1st-4th May), spread across 23 stages throughout the city. Let’s hope the weather’s nice! In years gone by, Live At Leeds has hosted the likes of Disclosure, George Ezra, The Maccabees, Clean Bandit, Sam Smith, Royal Blood and Catfish & The Bottlemen before they broke it really big.

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REVIEW: Villagers – ‘Darling Arithmetic’ (Domino)

by Matthew Langham Literate Irish folksters Villagers return with their third album, their first since 2013’s Mercury nominated {Awayland}. Primarily crafted near Dublin, this is Conor O’Brien’s most intimate and revealing record to date, and probably his most accessible. Although it deals with heartache, its all-encompassing sense of melancholia is strangely uplifting and cathartic, achieved through O’Brien’s ability to pull off some tremendous literary references. This is much more of

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REVIEW: Wire – ‘Wire’ (Pinkflag)

by Matthew Langham It is rare for a band with a forty year history to sound contemporary, but with a back catalogue of over a dozen records, Wire’s self-titled album fits in nicely with their forward-thinking oeuvre. Two years on from Change Becomes Us, they still maintain their edge with an intriguing experimentation in motorik-driven electronica. The quartet have taken the post-punk riffs and engrained them into sophisticated guitar pop,

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REVIEW: White Shadows – ‘Secret Of Life’ (Wicked Nature)

by Ed Biggs White Shadows is a collaboration project between The Vines’ Craig Nicholls and Empire Of The Sun’s Nick and Sam Littlemore. Those with long musical memories will recall The Vines’ soul-destroying mediocrity in the pursuit of three-chord glory, writing songs pitched at sheltered suburban teens whose sentiments were as shallow as an O.C. plotline. But Nicholls has pitched Secret Of Life as an entirely studio-based project, with no

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REVIEW: The Slow Readers Club – ‘Cavalcade’ (Extenso)

by Ed Biggs Manchester four-piece The Slow Readers Club are now on their second album, looking to break out and reach an audience outside of the city that loves them so much. Cavalcade is much more consistently down-beat fare than their 2011 debut. Judging by his lyrics, lead singer Aaron Starkie seems to be in a permanent state of Proustian lamentation for the lost days of carefree early adulthood. ‘Forever

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