The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

Category Reviews

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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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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REVIEW: Waxahatchee – ‘Ivy Tripp’ (Wichita / Merge)

by Ed Biggs Since her 2012 debut American Weekend, Alabama-born New Yorker Katie Crutchfield has quietly become one of the most compelling solo performers of the new decade. The home-made acoustic qualities of that debut were electrified on the following year’s excellent Cerulean Salt, but until now Waxahatchee material has always been able to be performed with minimal help from others. Ivy Tripp is, by contrast, a lot less single-minded

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REVIEW: Drenge – ‘Undertow’ (Infectious)

by Ed Biggs Drenge’s self-titled 2013 debut absolutely dripped with aggression and ennui. The Loveless brothers’ directed their boredom at their formative teenage years spent stuck in grey rural Derbyshire. But as impressive as that racket was, it risked pegging them as a one trick pony, as many similar bands in the recent past who have relied so much on stripped-down volume have struggled to project in other directions and on other

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REVIEW: The Wombats – ‘Glitterbug’ (14th Floor)

by Matthew Langham Listening back to The Wombats’ 2007 debut A Guide To Love, Loss & Desperation with the benefit of eight years of hindsight, it’s aged horribly. Granted, it did host a few big tracks which you could guarantee would be on at every shit student indie night – ‘Moving To New York’, ‘Kill The Director’ and their most well-known hit ‘Let’s Dance To Joy Division’ – but the appeal

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REVIEW: Circa Waves – ‘Young Chasers’ (Transgressive)

by Matthew Langham It’s been a whirlwind two years for Liverpool’s Circa Waves. An opening slot on Glastonbury’s Other Stage and build-up of a now very large fan base has now left the four-piece in a strong position in the first quarter of 2015. Their debut record has been a long time coming – fifteen months since the word started getting out – and it makes no bones about its

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REVIEW: Lower Dens – ‘Escape From Evil’ (Ribbon Music)

by Ed Biggs The third album by Baltimore’s Lower Dens promises to see Jana Hunter move them away from subjects like evolution, chemistry and science fiction towards affairs of the heart and soul. 2012’s Nootropics, while it took a while to penetrate, grew into one of the most rewarding albums released in the last five years to revisit, a mix of post-rock and pop that left plenty of space for

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