The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

Posts by Ed Biggs

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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CULT ’90s: Pavement – ‘Wowee Zowee’

by Ed Biggs The initially unloved Wowee Zowee’s twenty year journey to being considered a masterpiece is a curious thing to consider. Possibly because it had to live up to the astronomical expectations built up by its predecessors Slanted And Enchanted (1992) and Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (1994), which had seen Pavement hailed in some quarters as the new Nirvana, the next great hope for American alternative rock. Songs like

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CLASSIC ’90s: Public Enemy – ‘Fear Of A Black Planet’

by Ed Biggs The late eighties saw a couple of seismic events that had same sort of effect on rap that punk had on rock music: those events were N.W.A. and Public Enemy. Just like the brutal basicness of punk’s dictates, these two groups left a profound sonic legacy upon the nascent rap scene that changed it forever. But if N.W.A. were The Sex Pistols in this analogy – with

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REVIEW: Young Fathers – ‘White Men Are Black Men Too’ (Big Dada)

by Ed Biggs Celebrated Edinburgh trio Young Fathers have wasted no time following up their Mercury Music Prize-winning album Dead. That album was a frequently disorientating assault on the senses, stuffed so full of competing elements that it demanding revisiting simply to take everything in. But, crucially, it had heart, something the likes of Flying Lotus or Everything Everything are sometimes accused of not having in their all-out rush to

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REVIEW: East India Youth – ‘Culture Of Volume’ (XL)

by Ed Biggs Last year, William Doyle aka East India Youth was plucked from the burgeoning and anonymous mass of Britain’s bedroom music makers and into the limelight when his debut album Total Strife Forever was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. It was a record praised for its evocative qualities, of urban loneliness and atomisation, much like The xx’s debut which also gave the illusion of space through its

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REVIEW: The Mountain Goats – ‘Beat The Champ’ (Merge)

by Ed Biggs Having been a proper ‘group’ for over a decade and a nom de plume for singer-songwriter John Darnielle for over two, The Mountain Goats are now on their fifteenth album. It’s a project that has long enjoyed a dedicated fanbase but has never really bothered the mainstream, and that’s unlikely to change with Beat The Champ. Not that that’s a bad thing, mind. For this album, Darnielle

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