by Ed Biggs Nominally beginning life as a black metal band in San Francisco at the beginning of the decade, George Clarke’s Deafheaven very quickly transcended the limitations and codes of the genre to win fans from all across the independent music community with 2013’s spectacular Sunbather. With massive arcs of impenetrable narrative, seguing from one discipline to another sprawling over ten-minute long tracks, Sunbather’s sound was a broad church –
by Ed Biggs East London three-piece Shopping, consisting of singer Rachel Aggs, Billy Easter and Andrew Milk, have that most elusive and vanishingly rare quality in modern music: that immediately detectable sense of ‘band as gang’. Their funky, punky 2013 debut Consumer Complaints was entirely self-released, and its small-scale, localised success has earned them a promotion to Fatcat Records, an indie with a more nationwide clout.
by Ed Biggs Having unexpectedly mis-stepped with 2013’s major label debut Dirty Gold, Angel Haze has decided to go back to the format of the mixtape for their next statement. Real name Raee’n Roes Wilson, Haze came out as agender earlier this year and prefers to be referred to by the singular, gender-neutral pronouns ‘they’ and ‘them’, which this review will respect.
by Ed Biggs Empress Of is the recording nom de plume of New York-based songwriter Lorely Rodriguez. She began her career in intriguing fashion, anonymously uploading a series of one-minute demos in 2012 which also had no titles, only distinguishable by solid blocks of colour. A handful of single and a debut EP, Systems, followed over the next couple of years, and after months of waiting it’s time for Rodriguez to
by Ed Biggs Is there anyone out there who doesn’t like Richard Hawley? Following his breakthrough to wider awareness with his Mercury-nominated fourth album Coles Corner in 2005, I personally cannot recall a single pundit, review or casual music fan speaking about the former Pulp and Longpigs man in anything other than glowing terms. For Hollow Meadows, he continues his long-standing theme of naming his albums after areas, landmarks or features
by Ed Biggs Baltimore duo Beach House have been one of the most heartening success stories of the decade so far, with their third album Teen Dream (2010) and its sumptuous follow-up Bloom (2012). Both albums echoed with achingly exquisite, sugar-sweet yet melancholic melodies, and were testament to the transportive power of all the best music. It’s somehow fitting that their fifth LP Depression Cherry should arrive right at the end
by Ed Biggs Nottingham three-piece Kagoule are the latest serious contenders to emerge from a burgeoning scene in that city. While Jake Bugg rocketed to superstardom seemingly overnight, Sleaford Mods have quietly grown a fanbase over the course of eight years. Vocalist and guitarist Cai Burns, bassist Lucy Hatter and drummer Lawrence English are doing things with a middle approach of those two success stories, spending two years building an impeccable
by Ed Biggs Leeds’ pysch-rock / post-punk resurgence has really begun to yield impressive albums over the last couple of years. The scene’s biggest names Eagulls and Hookworms have both produced quality records celebrated in these pages since 2013, and now a second wave of intense, guitar-toting young men has followed in their wake, including Forever Cult and AUTOBAHN. That Kraftwerk-aping name is a bit of a red herring – you
by Ed Biggs When his former colleague Ice Cube dropped the news at the end of July that Dr. Dre was imminently going to release a new album, the internet promptly lost its shit. Having done so much to sculpt the sound of hip-hop as we know it today – through N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton in 1989, which provided the genre’s Sex Pistols moment, his solo debut The Chronic in 1992,
by Ed Biggs Los Angeles’ electronic noise-pop outfit Health have experienced commercial success that they almost certainly couldn’t have anticipated over the last few years. Though they haven’t released a proper studio album since 2009’s Get Color, their 2012 soundtrack for Rockstar Games’ blockbuster shooter Max Payne 3 has sold in excess of four million copies.