by Ed Biggs To listen to the glorious, classic pop stylings of Mini Mansions, you’d never guess that it was a Queens Of The Stone Age side-project. But it’s hardly surprising, given the highly eclectic nature of that group’s last album …Like Clockwork, that their members should be indulging in such varied musical disciplines. QOTSA bassist Michael Shuman set up the group in 2009 with guitarist and co-vocalist Tyler Parkford and
by Ed Biggs One of the most promising new American indie acts of the decade, all-female four piece Chastity Belt have moved up in the world with their second album, and their first for a national independent label. Formed in the small university city of Walla Walla, WA, they fit neatly into a lineage of intelligent indie from Northwestern America dating back to Sleater-Kinney and Beat Happening. Rather than stick with
by Ed Biggs Even at a time when folk is as prominent in the wider pop scene as it’s been at any point since its heyday, Kristian Matsson (a.k.a. The Tallest Man On Earth) still manages to seem like a man out of time, of a different era altogether. It’s not only that he never resorts to the cynical stomps, handclaps and “whoa-ohs” of his contemporaries who cynically use folk as
by Ed Biggs Highly acclaimed by Kerrang! magazine and backed by a fiercely devoted fanbase in their hometown of Wolverhampton, the ferociously loud duo God Damn unleash their debut album after three years of admirably hard work. Taking their cues from classic heavy rock and indie influences ranging from Nirvana to Neutral Milk Hotel, their powerful yet complex sound is all the more impressive when you consider they’re just a guitarist/vocalist
by Matthew Langham L.A.’s stoner-surfer rock duo Best Coast deliver their third record California Nights three years on from The Only Place, seeking to rehabilitate themselves from a classic case of disappointing second album syndrome. Most well-known for their sun-drenched 2010 debut album Crazy For You, its clusters of languid indie-rock nuggets and frontwoman Bethany Cosentino’s Twitter updates about her cat Snacks, their new record sees them take a now-familiar trip
by Matthew Langham Welsh noise-pop quintet Joanna Gruesome return with the follow-up to their 2013 debut Weird Sister. At just over twenty minutes long, it packs a lot into the record and certainly doesn’t disappoint in terms of content. Produced by MJ of Leeds outfit Hookworms, Peanut Butter has an element of urgency and anxiety about it also reflecting the angst rock of their debut.
by Matthew Langham Born Under Saturn is Django Django’s follow up to their successful 2012 Mercury nominated debut record. Following on from The Beta Band and Syd Barrett-influenced pop on tracks including ‘Default’, they have travelled further in the same direction into a darker pop psychedelia. The group’s leader David Maclean’s brother is a member of The Beta Band, which partly explained the left-field yet curiously pop-oriented nature of their music.
by Ed Biggs I Should Coco, the first album by Oxford three-piece Supergrass, is not only one of the crown jewels of the Britpop era but is usually thought of as one of the most deliriously fun debuts in pop history. Seriously, without listening to the album, just think of all its joyous moments: ‘Caught By The Fuzz’, ‘Strange Ones’, ‘Mansize Rooster’, and ‘Alright’… and you’re grinning already, aren’t you?
by Ed Biggs After beginning life after Joy Division with a slightly shaky start in the form of Movement (1981), an understandably downcast and introverted record, New Order began to spread their wings and capture the public’s imagination with 1983’s Power, Corruption & Lies, which is one of those peculiar records that is not only admired in spite of its flaws, but precisely because of them.
by Matthew Langham On the first Bank Holiday Saturday in May, The Student Playlist returned to Live At Leeds for a third year in a row. Having enjoyed vintage years in 2013 and 2014 with acts from all manner of musical disciplines, #LAL2015 seemed a bit thin on the ground in terms of established acts, at first glance at least. The bill was crammed with cutting edge indie artists familiar