Thursday 30 December 2010

Musical Instruments

Took some photos of our piano and my sister's flute:

More on Flickr.

Despite Christmas barely being out of sight, I have actually spent a lot of time attempting to get on with some coursework, since I'm 'losing' a few days next week by spending them in Rome taking more photos with Photosoc. I say 'attempting' as I spent the majority of today fiddling about with that piano in the photos above, arranging a couple of songs by Fightstar and Alexisonfire. Perhaps you may hear something new from me on piano soon...

Saturday 25 December 2010

Gallows cover

I arranged Abandon Ship by Gallows for piano a while ago, finally made a decent recording of it. Check it out.

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Westonbirt Arboretum

Back in October, I went on a trip to Westonbirt with UBU Photosoc. Autumn is pretty much the perfect time to visit somewhere that's full of trees! Despite it being a gloomy day, we all managed to capture some great photos. As is typical, the sun decided to appear just before we left, sparking a last minute rush to get some shots of rays of light poking through the maples. As well as wandering around taking photos of leaves, Alex and I ran a couple of SLR basics workshops for members. Here are some photos:

Click here for more!

Thursday 9 December 2010

Livesoc Gig Night

Last week, Bristol LiveSoc held a gig in the University of Bristol Students' Union. Here's some photos:

asinglebiteofcherry (this time with a backing band)

Max Parker

Studio Arcade

Scout Killers

More here!

Monday 29 November 2010


For Joe's birthday, Josh had the idea of filling up his room with lots of balloons...and so a packet of 100 balloons was obtained. The valiant efforts of Jamie, Josh and Tom (I had to stop helping because I ran out of breath) were rewarded with a room full of floating orbs, which were transported down the corridor into Joe's room.

Joe surrounded by balloons.

Later, the balloons started randomly bursting in the middle of the night so they were moved into the corridor.

A veritable sea of balloons!

More here.

Friday 26 November 2010

Bristol Student Protest

On Wednesday students from the University of Bristol, the University of the West of England and various 6th forms came together to protest against the rise in tuition fees.

I was at the protest for a couple of hours, so here's some shots. As per usual, more on Flickr.

Protestors making their way up Park Street.

Joe and Josh watching the protest.

A protestor being arrested on Park Street.

Saturday 20 November 2010

Alexisonfire – Dog’s Blood

Alexisonfire – Dog’s Blood
Following the more atmospheric Old Crows/Young Cardinals album, the Dog’s Blood EP sees Alexisonfire head to heavier, more experimental territory. The title track kicks off with a fast punk guitar intro, complementing George Pettit and Wade MacNeil’s brutal vocals. Dallas Green’s melodious singing cuts through the frenzy, providing the perfect contrast to the turmoil and adding more emotion to the outro. ‘Grey’ features a laid back guitar solo that builds to an epic conclusion, with a clear post-rock influence in the guitar line throughout.

The explosions of noise continue in ‘Black As Jet’, which has intense instrumental sections that are just as frantic as those with screamed vocals. EP closer ‘Vex’ is a six minute journey into sonic fury and is entirely instrumental. Although it is great to hear the band trying something different, this record would be much better if Green had a more prominent role in the vocals. His style would fit the intense instrumentation perfectly. Dog’s Blood is a record borne of immense skill and Alexisonfire have seriously upped their game since the last album. Far from alienating fans, as Pettit feared, this EP will surely gain the band a slew of new ones as well as providing old fans with a glimpse into a more evolved sound.

Listen to them here.

The Bees - Winter Rose

The Bees - Winter Rose

From The Bees’ recently released fourth album, ‘Every Step’s A Yes’, ‘Winter Rose’ is a relaxing indie track with a reggae feel. The bluesy guitar riff goes well with the syncopated rhythms. The range of influences shows off the strong songwriting skills of a band that have developed their sound over the years.

Listen to them here.

School of Seven Bells – I L U

School of Seven Bells – I L U
This dreamy track from two-piece School of Seven Bells is a fairly standard female-fronted alt pop affair. ‘I L U’ lingers halfway between ethereal and edgy, failing to immediately grab the listener’s attention, yet the song is definitely a grower. Alejandra Deheza’s delicate vocals and Benjamin Curtis’ electro-influenced instrumentation work well together.

Check them out here.

Melissa Auf der Maur - Meet Me On The Dark Side

Melissa Auf der Maur - Meet Me On The Dark Side

Layered vocals lend an eerie air to the latest single from Melissa Auf der Maur’s second solo album. This ethereal rock track is well worth a listen and typical of Auf der Maur’s mature take on the genre. If you enjoy this, the rest of the album is definitely one to check out.

Listen here.

The Phoenix Foundation - Pot

The Phoenix Foundation - Pot

New Zealand band The Phoenix Foundation return with a new song from their forthcoming album, ‘Buffalo’. ‘Pot’ is a seemingly ordinary slice of folk pop along the lines of Mumford & Sons, with added handclaps. Halfway through, some interesting electronic bleeps kick in, elevating the song from an indie standard to something more innovative.

Check them out here.

Sunday 14 November 2010

The Concretes - WYWH

The Concretes - WYWH

The new album from The Concretes is a dreamy alt-pop affair, which slides into electronic territory at times. Although the press release describes this record as having “added disco shizzle”, that isn’t quite the case, as is evident from the first track. ‘Good Evening’ is a sumptuously spacey song, with delicate vocals. Disco really doesn’t show up at all, though there is a nice electro beat that makes an all-too fleeting appearance. The vocals may not be to everyone’s taste, remaining fairly monotonous throughout the album.

It is difficult to see how an eight-piece can produce quite pedestrian music. There are interesting ideas explored on WYWH, but the band members simply don’t push the boundaries enough. Tracks like ‘All Day’ are relaxingly pleasant pop songs but need an extra edginess to make them worth listening to. ‘What We’ve Become’ does this successfully, the funk-esque guitar chords contrasting perfectly with the bass line. Overall, WYWH is a fairly average record.

Check them out here.

My Chemical Romance - Na Na Na

My Chemical Romance - Na Na Na

The first single from My Chemical Romance’s fourth album is a complete change in direction, taking the relentlessly upbeat mood of songs such as ‘Dead’ and ‘Give ‘Em Hell Kid’ to the next level altogether. The catchy refrain repeated throughout the song makes this a perfect live anthem. Despite being a clear departure from the more pensive ‘The Black Parade’, this song already shows that My Chemical Romance are back on form and set to make an explosive return to the music scene.

Check them out here.

Saturday 23 October 2010

UBU Photosoc Scavenger Hunt

As a member of the UBU Photosoc committee, I had to take a group of members around Bristol to take pictures for 15 different categories, including "What is this?" and "Caught in the act". Here's a few shots I got of my team in action:

I photographed a Mooting Launch for Bristol Law Club earlier this week so I'll put some photos from that up soon. I am currently working on a roll of black and white which I hope to process myself, but that may take a while to appear. I've got a roll of Reala to develop. Goodness only knows what I took pictures of with that, since I started it back in the summer!

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Orbital Comedy Night

Back at uni now, in terms of photography I have been rather busy with the UBU Photosoc Events Team, which I jointly manage along with Alex. Here's a couple of shots from a comedy night that Bristol Orbital hosted:

Event Compere Mark Olver

Rob Broderick of hip-hop stand up duo Abandoman

I have also been trying to improve my people photography, which is aided by some willing (and some not so willing...) subjects:


Jamie - I was trying out a Yashica flash (which came with my film camera) on my Canon. You can't adjust the intensity. This results in manically overexposed photos!

UBU Photosoc hosted a scavenger hunt last night, despite it being incredibly cold we had a good time and managed to get some interesting photos. Some of the themes we had to fit were "FLASH!", "The Most Permanent Thing In Bristol" (our submission was a photo of the old classic, Jason Donnervan) and "What Is This?" which resulted in some rather bizarre interpretations.

Monday 13 September 2010


I've finally got round to sorting through my photographs from a family trip to Paris last month! I've still got a lot to go through, but I have started uploading them to Flickr. I didn't bother taking the 40D along, so they're all from Little Canon (Powershot A700) and unedited (mainly because that would take time, and they look fine as they are I reckon).

The sun was just about to set as we got to the Eiffel Tower. By the time we'd ascended to the top, the sun was setting and the views were amazing.

Some lights in a building at Disneyland Paris.

More here.

Friday 10 September 2010

Funeral for a Friend - The Young and Defenceless EP

Review is up on Hype City.

Welsh rockers Funeral for a Friend return with an incendiary new EP, ‘The Young and Defenceless’, funded by fan contributions via PledgeMusic, a website which describes itself as “a collaboration between modern online marketing and old school music biz know how”. Fans were given the opportunity to ‘pledge’ for various Funeral for a Friend related delights, from a download of the new EP to the opportunity of recording gang vocals on an EP track. The limited edition EP is not going to be available in shops, so those who have not pledged have missed out. This is an incredible shame as these four songs build on the more mature sound of previous album ‘Memory and Humanity’, reintroducing the brutal edge that was present on debut ‘Casually Dressed & Deep in Conversation’.

The ethereal electro-infused introduction of ‘Serpents in Solitude’ quickly builds to an explosion of classic Funeral for a Friend riffage, the guitar line interweaving neatly with the vocals. Right from the first track it is evident that Matt Davies is at his best; an incredibly talented vocalist who has the capability to switch between styles while conveying just the right amount of emotion. ‘Vultures’ features a moody bassline and brutal drums, marking a contrast with the soaring chorus of this ode to the futility of life.

Stepping up the pace, ‘Damned If You Do, Dead If You Don’t’ hits the listener with more insane guitar-playing, reminiscent of B-side ‘Lazarus’, from the ‘Hours’ era, coupled with relentless drumming. Final track ‘Sixteen’ rounds off the EP nicely, with beautiful vocals that are supported by a melodious guitar line.

‘The Young and Defenceless’ is classic Funeral for a Friend; maintaining the band’s established sound and managing to be as fresh as breakthrough single ‘Juneau’ was back in 2003. It is a testament to the band members’ songwriting skills that they can come up with new music that is more or less guaranteed to appeal to existing fans. A new album is currently being recorded and if this EP is anything to go by, it will be another storming record worthy of a place in any rock fan’s collection.

Friday 3 September 2010

Bournemouth Air Festival and !!!

Mikey's started a new online 'zine and my first review for it, of !!!'s Strange Weather, Isn't It?, is up here. Enjoy.

In photography news, I went to the Bournemouth Air Festival last month, with Alex, who had a lens that was way more appropriate for taking pictures of planes with than my 50mm! It was a fairly miserable day and we got rained on constantly. Some of the planes weren't able to fly due to the weather, which was a shame, but we did see some fantastic stuff. Here's a picture of a Breitling Wingwalker:

I had to borrow Alex's ridiculens to get decent photos. If you ever plan to take photos of planes, make sure you have a lens that goes to 100mm at the very least!

I still haven't got round to looking through my photos from Paris yet, which is rather lazy of me. I shall eventually!

Friday 20 August 2010

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta and Grammatics

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta
Last week I was in Bristol for the Balloon Fiesta. We walked up to Ashton Court Estate on Thursday to see the Night Glow, which was pretty fantastic. I have to say that I think my photos taken during the walk up were more inspiring, though. We found a skip with an assortment of oddments in and Josh got out a pair of scales. Alex and I spotted a photo opportunity!

Here's a balloon picture:

More here.

Unfortunately the balloon flights were cancelled on a few occassions, but we didn't actually intend to head up to Ashton Court again since it was an hour long walk as Clifton Suspension Bridge is closed during at certain times during the festival.

Grammatics + The Heartbreaks + Kill Cassidy
On Saturday we headed to Start the Bus as Lis wanted to see Grammatics, since it was their farewell tour. I hadn't really listened to Grammatics before so I wasn't sure what to expect.

Kill Cassidy were really excellent; the whole band had a cohesive energy that was infectious. The violent nature of their music worked well in the small venue. Definitely a band to check out live.

As I was expecting more heavy punk-pop, The Heartbreaks were fairly disappointing. Generic, hipster indie rockers, The Heartbreaks' performance was mediocre at best. The drummer was incredibly over the top; it was as if he'd sucked all the energy out of the other band members, as they limply plodded through some uninspiring tracks. At one point the guitarist remarked it was a "tough crowd", which didn't help the atmosphere.

Finally, Grammatics took to the stage with a large dose of disillusionment. The bassist often made pessimistic comments, a detriment to those trying to enjoy the music. Some of the songs were phenomenal, while others weren't nearly as enjoyable. The cello seemed superfluous on a few tracks, but really added a lot to the performance on some of the songs. Vocalist Owen Brinley's somewhat theatrical demeanour added extra zeal to his delivery, which was hampered by the fact the band were crammed onto a tiny stage while the support acts had performed on the dance floor. Grammatics were really quite phenomenal at times, and a more discerning view when choosing the set list would have helped.

Overall ratings:
Kill Cassidy - 7/10
The Heartbreaks - 4/10
Grammatics - 7/10

Tuesday 17 August 2010

London & New Lens Photos

Hallo again, I've just got round to processing the photos from the London photowalk I did last month with Sarah, her sister Anna and Lara.

Here's a generic taster:

We did an awful lot more walking than picture taking, but you can see more pictures I've taken in London here.

This next one is some roses in my garden, taken with my 50mm f/1.8. It's a nice lens, especially in low light, and does bokeh magic. Erm.

I was back in Bristol for a (long) weekend and we headed up to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta so I'm going to hurry up and process those soon!

Tuesday 10 August 2010

A New Mission Review: 3 Colours Red - Revolt

3 Colours Red - Revolt
Revolt was the second album from UK rock trio 3 Colours Red. It was released over ten years ago and takes the frame of a standard rock record and raises it a level; a number of tracks are tempered with beautiful strings. "This Is My Time" is a modern classic, commencing with a quiet verse, swelling in volume to the epic chorus. It is a shame that the band broke up at their peak, but they created this excellent record and it is worth a listen.

Final verdict: 7/10, not something essential to a record collection, but well worth checking out.

Listen to them here.

More about A New Mission.

Something Exciting - Film!

I had a roll of Fujicolor C200 developed, yay! Unfortunately the double exposures Sarah and I attempted did not work; for some unknown reason none of my pictures appeared. You can see what Sarah took here.

Here are a couple of shots:

This one was taken at the YMCA Hawker Centre in Kingston; there was some sort of event to promote sporting activities for kids and Glo performed.

More from the roll here.

Later this week I'm heading up to Bristol Balloon Fiesta so I'll hopefully get some interesting pictures!

Monday 26 July 2010

Sky Larkin - Kaleide

Sky Larkin – Kaleide

The second album from Leeds three-piece Sky Larkin is a neat progression from last year’s The Golden Spike, with a vibrantly eerie atmosphere. Album opener ‘Still Windmills’ sets the scene, with Katie Harkin’s strong melodic vocals complementing the rough meandering guitar lines well. Title track ‘Kaleide’ is a pretty pop song with distorted guitars and clashing cymbals adding enough punch to grab the listener’s attention, while ‘Tiny Heist’ builds to a fierce conclusion tempered with creaking chords. The sparkling guitar parts of ‘Landlocked’ herald the transition into a more sinister set of songs. ‘Anjelica Huston’ is appropriately spine-chilling, with soaring vocals that are elevated by the use of piano. This is followed by the similarly atmospheric ‘Spooktacular’, an incredibly catchy track that is a definite highlight of the album.

Synths come to the fore in ‘Year Dot’, a more dance-punk flavoured song which has wonderful moments of gang vocals and percussion in the form of clapping that add a more frenzied air to the music. This contrasts with ‘Coffee Drinker’, a more laid back track that incorporates interesting jagged guitar fills. ‘ATM’, ‘Shade by Shade’ and ‘Guitar and Antarctica’ are also low-key, sharp-edged pop songs that greatly benefit from Harkin’s variation in vocals. Final track ‘Smarts’ is a pleasantly moody exercise in pop music, which sums up this record perfectly.

Check them out here.

Monday 19 July 2010

New Lens!

My new lens (Canon 50mm f/1.8) arrived today! I tried it out, seems to be working fine. I went on a photowalk with Lara, Sarah and Sarah's sister Anna in London last week. A lot of walking was done, but very little photo taking was completed.

As I no longer have access to the Lightroom beta, I'm currently using Photoshop Elements to play around with RAW files and it takes a lot longer, so here are some pictures I took not so long ago:


Thursday 8 July 2010

Shameless Self Promotion...

I decided to upload the song I recorded to my old Myspace musician page but was disgusted to find they brought in a feature that automatically approved all friend requests, meaning I had 200 new besties in the form of spam accounts. Wonderful. After resetting this, deleting the spam friends and uploading my new song, I set about trying to modify the profile layout. I couldn't figure it out. There was a jumble of CSS in the Artist Bio section so I changed the background colour and then the songs vanished. So, I decided to make a page on Facebook instead:

Click to hear my lovely music.

Originally, the "band" was called AndSoDexterFell because this amusingly - or so I thought - abbreviated to ASDF. When I realised this was nuts, I changed it to Angus and his Rats, which was also fairly silly. The new moniker is January Nights, taken from Takeoffs and Landings by The Ataris.

More A New Mission reviews coming up soonish. I've also got to figure out what has recently been released to review for Intuition, hm.

Friday 2 July 2010

A New Mission Review: ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Source Tags & Codes

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Source Tags and Codes
Source Tags and Codes is the Texan band's major label debut. Despite opening with a delicate piano introduction, this songs are generally a combination of vicious music and jagged vocals. The addition of sparkling piano lines to the fierce rock is a wonderful touch, further charging the songs with emotion. Although the music isn't always entirely obscure, the band have an edge that sets them apart from typical radio rock fare.

Final verdict: 7/10, personally wouldn't listen to this much but it's a solid record.

Check them out here.

More about A New Mission.

A New Mission Review: And So I Watch You From Afar - And So I Watch You From Afar

And So I Watch You From Afar - And So I Watch You From Afar
From start to finish, this record is packed with intricate guitarwork of an exceedingly high quality, contrasted with heavier chordal attacks. The general absence of vocals is not a detriment to the music at all; And So I Watch You From Afar have merely stepped up the game in terms of musicianship in order to draw the listener in. This is epic, (mostly) instrumental rock that is incredibly enthralling.

Final verdict: 9/10, must buy.

Check them out here.

More about A New Mission.

A New Mission Part 1: !!! to And So I Watch You From Afar

I have a ridiculous number of artists in my music collection, 1191 according to iTunes. This is basically because I end up with a lot of solitary tracks from compilations, so I don't actually own full albums by all of these artists and in many cases have never listened to one of their records in its entirety.

This is going to change. I'm going through my music library and seeking out albums to listen to. To begin with I'll be using Spotify, and once I get through everything I can I may turn to purchasing music.

First up, !!! - yes, that is their name and it is pronounced "chk chk chk". I've only got one song by them, and they're not on Spotify.

Next, :( - again I've got one song and they're not on Spotify.

This is going to be a bit of an issue as a lot of these artists aren't exactly mainstream!

And So I Watch You From Afar - bingo! Self titled album is available, finger is poised over the play button. I'll let you know how it goes. I own the first two tracks from this album, "Set Guitars To Kill" and "A Little Bit Of Solidarity Goes A Long Way".

Thursday 1 July 2010

More mini reviews!

More stuff I thought looked interesting in Rock Sound...
Apologies, I Have None: These Londoners play punchy alt-rock that is catchy and instantly likeable. While these songs aren't groundbreaking, Apologies, I Have None are definitely capable of penning something as epic as the Get Up Kids' Holiday.
Basement: This is hardcore punk with a tender edge; while the vocals are typically rough, the music conveys more emotion than the average hardcore band.
fun.: Featuing Nate Reuss of The Format, fun. express themselves with avant-garde pop music that incorporates a variety of instruments.
Boy Jumps Ship: An energetic burst of pop punk; really refreshing.
William English: It sort of feels like the vocalist is in a different band...the scratchy growls jar a little with the polished riffs. Altogether William English play very, very heavy music that isn't particularly innovative.
Verses: Epic, hard-hitting rock.
Blacklist Royals: Classic no-nonsense punk, skilfully executed.

There's a few more but I'll check them out later. My sister is practising piano; she has her Grade 3 exam in a couple of weeks.

I'm still uploading to Flickr, here's a couple more tasters:

View many more here.

I've also been trying out various ways of coding an online portfolio; I think I've finally hit on what I've been looking for. I'll stick a link up when it's complete; you really don't want to see the atrociousness of my first two attempts.

Sunday 27 June 2010

New (rather whiny) Dashboard Confessional cover...

I learned this song at the start of uni, it's pretty fun to sing but I'm suffering from an unknown illness (which is refusing to be cured by antibiotics) so the vocals are kinda whiny. Oh well. Have a listen here.

Saturday 26 June 2010

Some (very brief) mini reviews...

I've been catching up on reading Rock Sound, scoured the new music section for some likely looking artists; here's the verdict:

On Off Switch: female-fronted synth-rock. This is edgy pop, reminiscent of Cobra Starship.

Goodtime Boys: high-energy visceral hardcore punk, with some insane guitarwork and equally epic drumming. This is absolutely wonderful stuff, if you're a fan of Gallows, The Ghost of a Thousand or anything like that then this is definitely one to check out.

Wounds: Interesting, heavy sounds, but the vocals on one track are a bit too droney and don't really tie in well with the music. The vocals on the other track are more expressive and work really well.

(I need to stop using hyphenated words quite so much...)

In terms of photos, I've finished processing all the night walk photos and gradually adding these to Flickr. Here's a couple:

More here.

Wednesday 23 June 2010

A Selection of Recent Work

Quick update: Not been doing much on the music review front, due to exams (which I got the results for last week, ended my first year of uni with a 1st, somehow!)

I've been on a bit of a Britney/Alexisonfire splurge. Curious mix, but Britney's self-titled album is packed with excellent pop tunes. Alexisonfire are an incredibly skilled band, it's quite enlightening to see how their sound has developed over the years. I've just ordered a copy of vocalist Dallas Green's album, under the name City and Colour. It should be good. I've had the City and Colour track "Confessions" on repeat a lot too, beautiful stuff.

I have been processing piles of photos in the past week; I've still got a couple of hundred to finish off, but here are a few shots from the last three months or so...

Night Walk with Alex

This is back from the start of summer term; I wanted a light painted shot of the word "PLAY" for Helicon, the uni arts magazine (the theme for the issue was 'play') so Alex and I went on a wander around Bristol. I was pleased with this shot in particular since it's got all three of the lights on, achieved with a long exposure.

Photosoc Tea Social

I was just sitting and musing with a cup of tea when I caught a glimpse of Matt through Alex's glasses. Not very well executed; perhaps I'll follow it up with something properly staged at some point.

Visit to Bath

Visited Bath for half a day. It rained on us. Luckily we were able to seek refuge in a coffee shop, but we had a look around the Abbey and it was phenomenal.


A lot of my coursemates were at Durdham Hall and they had a festival a couple of weeks ago. This is a shot of Jon from Null Pointer Exception. If I'm honest I think it's just his awesome hairstyle that makes the shot.

Photo Walk featuring Tom Sturdy

Alex and I organised another night walk, which was unfortunately poorly attended. We took Tom (a non-photographer) along with us and played around with lighting arrangements. This particular shot was Alex's idea. Tom held a flash, providing the light on his face. To be fair, a torch would have been more ideal; this way we had to take a whole bunch of shots and hope one of them captured the moment the flash went off. Unfortunately Alex's shot vanished from his CF card and was unrecoverable, but I've still got mine, and here it is.

As always, many, many more photos up here

Friday 14 May 2010

Ash at O2 Academy Bristol 30.04.10

I was intending to write a review of this gig, but unfortunately I have been fairly ill and had to get coursework extensions so I never got round to it. I was actually meant to be interviewing the band for Burst, but I had a huge pile of work to finish and was barely able to stand for a week, so I unfortunately was unable to do so. ):

Ash played a phenomenal amount of songs and the new tracks sound excellent live.
Here are some photos:

More: click.

I'm currently on a Reuben kick...just got through 'Very Fast Very Dangerous' and I've put 'In Nothing We Trust' (which for some reason isn't on Spotify) on now. I learnt 'Moving to Blackwater' on guitar, pretty fun to play. No idea how Jamie Lenman manages it singing at the same time though. Skills.

Thursday 22 April 2010

Four Year Strong - Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)

Four Year Strong – Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)

While it isn’t as heavy as some of the other songs on the latest Four Year Strong album, ‘Wasting Time’ is a momentum-filled pop punk anthem that has a strong melodic line. This incredibly catchy track is an excellent song for the summer.

Cancer Bats - Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones

Review is up on Intuition:

Monday 29 March 2010

Foals - Spanish Sahara

Foals – Spanish Sahara

‘Spanish Saraha’ is a crescendoing whirl of abstract music, with a fresh atmosphere. Foals have paired beautiful electronic sounds with a gentle vocal line, which melts into a rougher guitar riff. While this may not be single material, it is a superb piece of music that has many layers of instrumentation.

I have also edited my photos from Lostprophets:

(Single decent shot of Sharks...sadly Kids In Glass Houses had mental lighting that my camera could not cope with, no pictures of them.)

More here!

Saturday 13 March 2010

LA Shark - A Weapon

LA Shark – A Weapon

‘A Weapon’ is a decent indie-pop single. Whilst the vocal technique isn’t brilliant, the group vocals meld with the 80s beats and throwback bass riff. The structure of the song is a bit random, with sudden loud sections, but this works quite well.

The B-side isn’t as enjoyable, featuring a strange accompaniment that sounds rather like and electronic harpsichord, which jars with the standard rock drumming. The vocals are a bit tuneless in places, which detracts from the fairly catchy refrain.

Monday 8 March 2010

We Are Scientists, Ash and more...

Some new reviews...I do write these every week, so I'm going to make more effort to get links/text up on here.

Ash - War With Me
The keyboard introduction to this song is rather difficult to listen to,
sounding somewhat like an eight year old's attempt to play the
piano. The vocals seem a bit too languid and don't fit well with the
deep tones of the piano. The chorus is slightly more listenable that the
verse, with a laid back guitar riff that melds well with the vocals. It
seems that Ash would probably have been better off creating an album in
the conventional style, rather than rushing to record a collection of
sub-standard singles.

We Are Scientists - Rules Don't Stop
This is a funky, catchy track that shows the New York band haven't
dropped their game. It maintains the more relaxed atmosphere present on
second album Brain Thrust Mastery, but is as catchy as debut single Nobody
Move Nobody Get Hurt. Even after five years, We Are Scientists are
continuing to produce quality material.

And now some links to reviews I've written online in the past few weeks:
Straight Lines - Persistence In This Game
Owl City - Ocean Eyes

I went to see Errors on Saturday, they were absolutely phenomenal. The venue was a bit strange; the "stage" was absolutely tiny. It's one thing listening to their records at home, but they really excelled themselves live and it was great fun to watch.

I also (finally) saw Lostprophets last weekend, that was epic and wonderful, which is all I have to say about it. (:

Sunday 7 February 2010

Band Of Skulls – Baby Darling Doll Face Honey

Band Of Skulls – Baby Darling Doll Face Honey

Baby Darling Doll Face Honey is a laid back, retro-esque album which is a strong debut. Guitars are used well melodically, especially on the first track, ‘Light Of The Morning’, where the guitar line runs in parallel with the vocals. The jagged, bluesy timbre of the instrumentation adds character to the songs, turning them from folk music tunes into more expressive pop masterpieces. Highlights include ‘Patterns’ and ‘Blood’, which are both full of attitude. The combination of male and female vocals is something that makes this album stand out, especially on ‘I Know What I Am’, which is incredible catchy. While a few of the tracks are just pleasant background music, overall, this is a record that really captures the spirit of alternative rock music in an accessible way.

Monday 1 February 2010

Hadouken! - For The Masses

I know it has been a while, but I have actually been writing all this time! Here is a review of the new Hadouken! album:

Hadouken – For The Masses
The latest offering from crossover band Hadouken! is quite simply not up to the same standard as debut Music For An Accelerated Culture. Album opener ‘Rebirth’ displays the band’s attempt to step up their game, including a choir and Prodigy-esque electronic tones. Unfortunately, this falls flat and sounds fairly hyperbolic. Having set the tone for the rest of the album, the songs that follow are incredibly repetitive and the lyrics lack any of the social cynicism that made Hadouken!’s debut stand out. The pedestrian nature of lyricist James Smith’s words meets the turgid instrumentation in an entirely underwhelming amalgamation.

While some of the tracks could pass for club music, when compared to older material such as first single ‘That Boy That Girl, they pale in comparison. The intelligence and social commentary that was a major part of the band’s older songs is clearly missing, with tracks like ‘Evil’ and ‘Mic Check’ merely sounding like attempts to emulate Dizzee Rascal. The youthful energy of the band is still there, with a darker, more atmospheric edge to many of the songs. Despite the lack of direction in the lyrics, the band members display technical competence and their effort should be admired. They may have improved as musicians, but is remains a shame that there is nothing with the same wit and tenacity of songs like ‘Liquid Lives’ to make For The Masses a record worth buying.

I also did a spot of gig photography last week:

Lots more here: