The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

Category Reviews

REVIEW: Mini Mansions – ‘The Great Pretenders’ (Fiction / Electromagnetic)

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

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REVIEW: Chastity Belt – ‘Time To Go Home’ (Hardly Art)

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

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REVIEW: The Tallest Man On Earth – ‘Dark Bird Is Home’ (Dead Oceans)

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

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REVIEW: God Damn – ‘Vultures’ (One Little Indian)

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

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ALBUM REVIEW: Best Coast – ‘California Nights’ (Harvest)

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

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REVIEW: Joanna Gruesome – ‘Peanut Butter’ (Fortuna Pop!)

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.

REVIEW: Django Django – ‘Born Under Saturn’ (Because Music)

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.

REVIEW: My Morning Jacket – ‘The Waterfall’ (ATO Records)

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.

REVIEW: Palma Violets – ‘Danger In The Club’ (Rough Trade)

by Ed Biggs Following the breathless reviews of their signature song ‘Best Of Friends’ that put them on the radar at the end of 2012, Palma Violets scrambled to capitalise on the exposure with the rushed release of their debut album 180, a record that displayed promise but was low on original ideas and ultimately undercooked.

REVIEW: Mumford & Sons – ‘Wilder Mind’ (Island / Gentlemen of the Road)

by Ed Biggs Unless you’ve been marooned on a desert island for the last two months, you can’t fail to have noticed all the talk about old-timey folk impersonators Mumford & Sons “going electric” with their third album. The formerly self-identified ‘gentlemen of the road’ have ditched the accordions, banjos, waistcoats and tweed and opted for leather jackets, electric guitars and keyboards.