by Matthew Langham Paul Weller; ‘The Modfather’; the changing man – he’s back with his twelfth solo album Saturns Pattern, and it’s pretty far removed from the classic Weller sound. So much so that this literate and passionate artist has forgotten to include an apostrophe in the title, which refers to the persistent hexagonal cloud formation around the planet’s north pole. The nine-track album encompasses the experimentation taken from records
by Ed Biggs I must admit, I find it slightly surprising that Hot Chip have remained together long enough to make a sixth studio album. Groups with this many creative individuals within them – singer Alexis Taylor with his solo album Await Barbarians; Joe Goddard’s side project The 2 Bears; Al Doyle and Felix Martin with their project New Build, which released a record just six months ago – tend to
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 Since their 2005 masterpiece Z, My Morning Jacket have been enjoying a status in America similar to that of The Cribs in Britain – probably the country’s biggest ‘small band’. They’ve got a significant cult following, critical adoration and a small impact in wider popular culture, even once appearing in an episode of Seth Macfarlane’s ‘American Dad!’, but they’ve never really broken through into the mainstream.