Brother Goose – What’s What review

WHATSWHATBack in the very beginnings of summer (well, May), south coast quintet Brother Goose released their latest single, Lone Ranger, a fiery blast of electronic rock which we absolutely loved. Now summer is finally here, we took a minute to look back on the band’s last full offering, their 2014 What’s What EP. This four track release is one of several successes on Brother Goose’s ledger from last year, including live sessions for various local BBC radio stations.

A sparkly, electronica intro to Shapeshifter commences proceedings, flaring up against the raw instrumental that plays its part as the song progresses. Although the music seems dying for vocals that are slightly more inclined to soar across the track for a powerful, surreal live show execution, it’s a solid opening and with catchy hooks it’s an easy favourite as an earworm of a single.

Though Full Speed is a modern, snappy, and punchy track, the sub-three minute number manages to hold a hint of a pre-millennium electronica vibe about it and boast a classic, timeless sound to the track that you’ll wish you could request in a club. If the closest you can get is learning all the words and belting the track at a gig, give it a shot for the sake of the old-school temperament.

Keeping up the contrasts and jumping forward a little, I Don’t Want To‘s noughties sound beats up against clean, deadpan, Ghouls-esque vocals to show off the indie clash of electronics and live band, whilst the riffs and percussion that open final Brothers In Arms flip the focus. Again, there’s a feeling that the vocals would benefit from having more bite, and the end result sounds like a live session for the subdued edge, not what the band are fully capable of. The 30 seconds that close the EP wind down with an acoustic guitar, reaching as far from What’s What‘s opening as possible.

It can be a tough one to make music in the crosstide of rock and electronica, though the scene is gradually bustling up with the likes of PVRIS. Brother Goose’s have done a good job to keep the balance neat and polished, but most of all this is a summery release that deserves your attention if it didn’t get it last year.

You can stream Shapeshifter below.

The Gorgeous Chans – Marina & I review

In Nottingham, we know a thing or two about what sounds good with indie music in its truest sense – we’ve got out hands on creating and encouraging a lot of independent acts, adding their own quirky to a genre. One of the latest examples of this is six piece The Gorgeous Chans, whose By The Highway previously featured as our track of the week; this was a B-side to their debut single Marina & I, released on Monday.

At three and a half minutes, the indie rock outfit take inspiration from TV’s Stingray’s Mermaid, and have already had a lot of attention; I suppose a good way to top playing Bestival is having your live set then aired on Radio 1 by Huw Stephens.

Comparisons to the likes of Eliza and the Bear spring to mind in the track’s opening seconds, but these are brushed away with the spectacular introduction of the sax – maybe Mystery Jets’ Two Doors Down would be a more apt waymarker. It’s got a sound that encompasses the fresh faced, buoyant optimism of new bands, with all the classic moves and original slants that any act needs to stay afloat.

You can stream Marina & I below.

Brigitte Aphrodite – Creshendorious review

At a first glance, Brigitte Aphrodite seems like your classic, glorious show-woman who’s capable of anything; singer, poet, songwriter. At a further glance, there’s so much more to her than that. Creshendorious comes from her debut full length release, which is set to appear at Latitude and Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer. Yes, Creshendorious comes from a musical – My Beautiful Black Dog pioneers a style of “gig theatre”, drawing on the influences of rock ‘n’ roll as much as of the stage, creating a work that challenges mental health stigma.

This single is set for release on August 7th, coinciding with the Edinburgh Fringe, and can be streamed below. From humble guitar beginnings swells a Kate Nash-esque piece (it’s no surprise Brigitte’s previously supported her), switching deftly from passionate spoken word to fluid singing in the intricately linked lyrics of the chorus. With all the enchanting madness of the dream which opens the narrative, Brigitte creates a boisterous four minute delight.

Stream Creshendorious below.

Wolf Alice – My Love Is Cool review

MYLOVEISIf you read up at all on Wolf Alice, they’re likely to strike you as a child with extraordinarily long legs finally learning that they’re excellent at hurdling. Let me explain: self described as a “gang of lovable jerks”, enigmatic Wolf Alice strike up a mix of baffled excitement, polite recklessness, and unapologetic nervous enthusiasm. At the start of this week, they released their debut album My Love Is Cool, a work recorded in five chaotic weeks last November with the help of producer Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys, Foals). They might have doubted themselves at times, but the wait and the work has paid off.

One of the greatest advantages of being such an undefinable genre is that no one can tell you you’re doing it wrong; anything goes, and Wolf Alice have truly allowed themselves to let go and see where the music takes them. It’s very refreshing.

Such is the flow of the record that I’m reluctant to break it down into the tracks and pull them apart with much vigour, but key elements demanding heightened attention, it’s almost a must. Take the subtle, ethereal opening to the album, Ellie Rowsell’s vocals as captivating as the likes of Birdy or Regina Spektor, making Turn To Dust an atmospheric and enchanting number, supported by only the simplest of instrumental, a craft that gradually thickens as the song progresses.

Fan favourite Bros picks this up into minimalistic rock, the vocals remaining the crowning joy of the track through the distortion, and lyrically referencing the literary influence the band take their name from – not the only time this crops up on the record, touched on again in percussion punched Lisbon. By third Your Loves Whore, the understated rock vibe has dissipated, instead blossoming to a fuller and more experimental edge, stop starting and ebbing like a tide.

You’re A Gem continues the variety by appealing to a 90s, stripped back grunge atmosphere, whilst Silk boasts easily the most powerful and alluring opening, with layered vocals that alone could crown this my favourite of the album year, let alone my favourite song off the album. Freazy hints in the general direction of HAIM influences, whilst thick riffs in Giant Peach push into the unapologetic, determined side of their style.

Switching vocalist, five and a half minute Swallowtail allows the band to branch out further, a one-man-and-his-guitar gradually lifting above this humble beginning – very much feet on the ground and head in the clouds. Ellie returns in the home straight for the eclectic and glittering Soapy Water, a sharp contrast to penultimate Fluffy, full of the biggest riffs of the record and guitar solos and screeches that add a kind of appealing madness to the track. Winding down the earthy The Wonderwhy, there couldn’t be a better way to provide an understated finale, touching on the occasional outburst.

I cannot urge you to listen to this album enough; from delicately carved out vocal spectacles to huge crashes of instrumental, there’s a friendly chaos to Wolf Alice’s My Love Is Cool.

Listen to Giant Peach below.

Heartless Bastards – Restless Ones review

Back in 2005, Ohio’s alternative rock quartet Heartless Bastards released their debut album via Fat Possum Records after The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney passed along a demo he received from vocalist Erika Wennerstrom. The album, titled Stairs and Elevators, received high praise from music publications throughout the US and led the band on their way to stardom. Ten years later, Heartless Bastards are back with their fifth studio album, Restless Ones, released on June 16th via Partisan Records. Upon the album announcement, Wennerstrom hinted that Restless Ones may mark a departure from their usual sound, stating, “We took a lot of chances, taking the sound in a different directions in order to grow. I don’t ever want to make the same album twice.”

While Heartless Bastards’ earlier tracks may have leaned towards an indie folk sound, but things really have changed this time around. Wind Up Bird opens the new record with deep, mesmerising vocals and soaring guitars, bringing in a much heavier grunge atmosphere. The melodies in this track are almost comparable to that of British band Big Sixes, but deafening baselines soon dismiss that idea. Next up, single Gates of Dawn kicks off with an acoustic riff, similar to the opening riff in Semisonic’s Closing Time. Heartless Bastard’s influences really shine through in Black Cloud, with hints of the Pixies and the Flaming Lips making an appearance, while Hi-Line takes us back to that original folky summer sound that made us fall in love with Heartless Bastards to begin with.

The halfway mark greets us with the spectacular Journey. Wennerstrom’s vocals sit perfectly between the likes of Florence Welch and Amy Macdonald, while the guitar work has a distinct Americana feel to it, before Pocket Full of Thirst makes the transition into a warm, echoing ballad. Into the Light takes the form of a jazzy rock ‘n’ roll masterpiece that neatly sidesteps rockabilly, while The Fool and Eastern Wind sees Heartless Bastards take on an impressive Cranberries-meets-No Doubt sound, before the record closes with the haunting Tristessa.

Check out Gates of Dawn below: