Reverend & The Makers – Black Widow review

Reverend & The Makers are back – not merely released-a-new-single back, but fully back. We’re talking a new album, new music, a short film with director Roger Sargent, a book of lyrics and poetry with illustrations by Horace Panter of The Specials, and a single. Black Widow was premiered last night on BBC 6 Music with Lamacq, ahead of the new album Mirrors to be released on October 9th and produced with Youth. Standing by the all-new-everything, they’ve taken their sound in an entirely new direction and announced a twelve date UK tour for the end of the year (full dates below).

The three minute sixteen number comes off with the thick, boisterous sound that Arctic Monkeys seemed to take a stab at with AM – only Black Widow pulls it off a lot more authentically, with vocal work that reaches out to snatch your attention.. Rustic, a little rough around the edges and very old school, this is a first offering that’s setting the bar high for what’s to follow. Featuring a video that suits the music perfectly, again the oldy-worldy vibe pushes through with striking confidence.

NOVEMBER
FRI 13th Manchester, Ritz
SAT 14th Sheffield, Academy
MON 16th Wolverhampton, Wulfurn
TUE 17th Portsmouth, Wedgwood Rooms
WED 18th London, Koko
FRI 20th Leeds, Stylus
SAT 21st Liverpool, Academy 1
SUN 22nd Glasgow, King Tuts
WED 25th Newcastle, Riverside
THU 26th Bristol, Bierkeller
FRI 27th Lowestoft, Aquarium

DECEMBER
THU 3rd Nottingham, Rock City

You can watch the video for Black Widow below.

Yeallow – The Trick review

In 2010 in Strasbourg, France, Brit rockers Yeallow were formed. In the same year, they released their debut album 2891 Seconds, which got the band spotted by a US promoter, leading them into a tour of the legendary clubs of the country. After more success in both France and the UK, the quartet set themselves about composing again at the end of 2013, and last year released Clocks; earlier this month the band released their new album, Homebred.

The forthcoming single from the band, The Trick, is released on May 1st, and comes thick with force and fiery riffs. Fred’s (aka PMGM) vocals trace along the track and combine with the instrumental for a polished, old school Brit rock sound, that though sounds a little out of place among modern rock bands, has a Foo Fighters-esque edge that makes it catchy as hell.

Listen to The Trick below.

We Are The Ocean interview (April 2015)

Last Wednesday we headed down to check out We Are The Ocean supporting Lower Than Atlantis at Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms – check out our interview with LTA here, and our live review of the show here. Before the show, we had chance to catch up with Jack from We Are The Ocean about the upcoming album and how it’s different to their previous work. Check it out below

I am Jack from We Are The Ocean and we are in sunny Nottingham on the Lower Than Atlantis tour a few hours before we play.

This isn’t the first time you’ve toured with Lower Than Atlantis – long ago, they supported you. How  much do you remember from that tour, were there any stand out moments from it?
It was only a five show tour so it’s hard to really get into it in five shows. We’d known them before and after through festivals and just general knowing. Um, no. It was a big tour for us, it was our biggest headline tour at the time and all the shows were great, but it was very short. I think maybe somebody got in a fight at one of the shows… that’s a memory, which isn’t very clear, because I don’t know who, or if it happened at all.

You’ve got an upcoming record, dues out later this year. How much can you tell us about it?
I can tell you everything.
Tell us everything.
It’s called Ark, it’s twelve tracks long, we recorded it in Devon where we’ve recorded the last two albums, and we’re excited for everyone to hear it. It’s a bit of a step out of our comfort zone on some songs, but on other songs it’s the normal kind of We Are The Ocean sound. We think it’s got something for everybody, and we’re looking forward to people hearing it.

This is the longest you’ve had to work on an album as well, before it’s sort of been one per year. Has that changed how you’ve written it?
Having more time has meant we were less stressed for a start, and we just had more time to explore different avenues, I think perhaps before when a song was finished we had to be like, “yeah, that’s good”, and we didn’t have time to really explore a song that was kind of straying from the path a bit, whereas this time we’ve let the songs take their natural course. Now we could spend a week on a song and just go, “nah, let’s scrap it, it’s not working”, we had the time to try things out. Sometimes it paid off and we used the songs, sometimes we didn’t. But having more time really meant less stress and more time to explore every avenue and making sure it was as good as it could be, which I think made a better album.

You’ve so far released one song off it; how representative of the album do you think it is?
It’s quite an eclectic album, no one song would really represent the whole album, and even in terms of the themes of the songs and stuff it’s all quite varied so, there’s no one song that would sum it up, we picked a handful – there’s some more songs coming out – between four of them you get a picture of the whole album and how widespread it is. Ark, we think it’s an important one on the album and we’re really pleased with it, and there are other songs like it and others that are quite dissimilar. It is and it isn’t really, I think it’s a sign of progression and how we’ve stepped out of our comfort zone a bit, but in terms of the genre and the style of it, it’s not all as proggy, not in that way.

This single’s already been on Radio 1 – do you think any of the other singles off the album will have the same success?
It’s funny, ’cause that song was never meant to go to Radio 1, it was just like, it was a song that we really liked but it was never a conventional single. It was like four a half minutes long, the chorus wasn’t necessarily the strongest art of it which is a staple point of single, so we never really planned to take it to them, we just released it as a free song on our website and gave it away and our radio plugger thought they’d try our luck with it and then they liked it, so it kind of exceeded expectations. But based on that, a song that we think might do really well on radio possibly won’t, so it’s really hard to tell what can work. It also depends what’s out at the time, it’s not the kind of thing that’s planned a year in advance like. They pitch it and they’re like, “this is what you’re up against”, sometimes you’ll get played, sometimes you won’t, I mean we’re confident that the album appeals to the masses, probably more than what’s been released so far, so fingers crossed.

What else have you been up to the past three years?
We all have our own outside interests so it’s been good to take those up a bit, but a lot of writing, a lot of behind the scenes stuff, we’ve got a new manager, a new label, all of the boring bits that no one really cares about but that are important to progress, lots of meetings. But yeah, we did spend a lot of time writing, we didn’t just sit around on our arses killing time, we were writing a lot of songs, then scrapping and rewriting, months before we went down to the studio. It was nice to be home for a while, because we could say, “let’s have a week off and just go and explore whatever else we want to explore”. We were busy, time kinda flew by to be honest, it doesn’t feel like it’s taken so long.

And what else have you got planned for this year?
This year is hoping looking to be the opposite of last year, playing shows and festivals. We’ve got dribs and drabs of UK runs, a few headline shows, a few in stores and things like that, and the it#s festival season, so we kinda of jump between UK and Europe everyone weekend to do festivals, mainly those to territories. And then after festival season, another UK tour of some description, to be confirmed and announced… it hadn’t even been organised yet, so I can’t tell you anything. The main plan is, because the label really emphasise on the UK and Germany and France and few in Western Europe, the main focus of this year is hopping back and forth between these places and promo in Europe, and then look at other continents next year, I think.

Lower Than Atlantis at Rescue Rooms, Nottingham

2014 was easily the easily the biggest and most successful year of Lower Than Atlantis so far – it saw them release their top 20 self-titled album, head out on a headline tour and support tour with A Day To Remember, and play Reading and Leeds. Is there any way they could top that? Well, it might be difficult, but heading out on their biggest headline tour to date across the UK and Ireland is some step of the way, especially considering every show was sold out and several dates had to be upgraded, as much as three times over.

Later this week we’ll be posting our interview with Declan and Ben of the band, as well as one with Jack of We Are The Ocean. Back when both bands were in their earlier days, Lower Than Atlantis had headed out on tour as support to We Are The Ocean, so seeing this reversed several years down the line held a touch of sentimentality among the two smashing performances. Opening for the pair were PVRIS (pronounced “Paris”), rock electronicas making their UK debut, a real one to watch.

Set for the release in the imminent future, We Are The Ocean’s ARK would seem set to explode the band much the way the headliners did last year, with a tight, clean show to back up their music. Only a marginal lull in the show came from a guitar tech issue, which in turn allowed the band to come back as melodic and determined as ever. Mixing up the show with a few (pretty funky) as of yet unreleased tracks, and closing on well known The Road, Young Heart and The Waiting Room, the band proved their back and ready to make their mark on the year.

If you’ve ever been to a Lower Than Atlantis show, you’ll be well aware that the tracks don’t sound exactly as they do in the studio versions – this is no criticism, ’cause if you’ve just gone along to see how the songs performed exactly, well… why? The impassioned and comfortable performances Lower Than Atlantis deliver add an in-the-moment feeling that live music should bring. Take, for example, strutting on to the Star Wars theme tune, and bursting straight into Criminal – though half a verse seemed to be skipped, it’s as much about the energy as the technical accuracy.

A solid performance of Love Someone Else followed suit, with the audience more than pulling their weight when it came to chanting along. Technical issues plagued the next few songs, and at moments only Eddy Thrower’s (drums) determination and a ridiculously enthusiastic crowd seemed to pull the set along. After a slightly hesitant Stays The Same, the band got themselves back on the straight and narrow for a top notch rendition of Emily, a consistently well-executed track.

Fan favourite Ain’t No Friend jerked a massive reaction from the crowd, even from the opening electronica seconds, and the line between mosh pits and rave tent became somewhat blurred. A few “cheesy” words from frontman Mike Duce, a manic circle pit and a pumped up English Kids In America later, and the snowballing power of the show seemed on a level impossible to stop. Words Don’t Come So Easily evoked an overpowering vocal effort from the crowd. Deadliest Catch proved the old work can still come out as strong as the newer tracks and then.. rather simply, they left the stage.

With hardly time for an encore, Mike and co returned to take the piss out of the “leave and reenter” trick, and to sing happy birthday to several lucky fans by the barrier. And then, probably widely accepted as the most memorable moment of the show, Mike parted the crowd and took to the floor for an acoustic (well, plugged in, but semi-acoustic) performance of best known Another Sad Song. Safe to say, he and the crowd carried the song in equal parts, and the room became filled with recording devices.

Recognising a member of the crowd and getting a photo with the sold out room added to the down to earth attitude of the quartet, before (“the security aren’t going to like this”) a crowd surfing worthy Beech Like The Tree and a manic Here We Go wound the night to a close.

Yes, they might not be as technically, painfully technically perfect as your friendly neighbourhood manufactured boy band, but Lower Than Atlantis will give you a bloody good time at their show. Remaining tour dates below.

APRIL

17 Dublin Academy
18 Belfast Queens SU
20 Bristol Marble Factory
21 Bournemouth Old Fire Station
22 Brighton Concorde 2
23 Norwich Epic Studios

Nai Harvest – Hairball review

From debut EP Feeling Better and full-length record Whatever to the game-changing sophomore EP Hold Open My Head, Sheffield’s answer to the likes of Ty Segall and FIDLAR are driving their energetic pools of sound forward to deliver 10 songs of sonic brilliance.

Having the ability to surprise people with each release is a skill that can be quickly lost – people will expect each release to be different. Nai Harvest focuses on their sound on their own terms without consideration of anyone else; and that is what makes Hairball so unique. It’s not a change in sound; it’s a natural evolution from the memorable hooks of cult-hit Buttercups.

Opener track Spin spits into a dreamlike affair between Ben Thompson’s clean guitar cycles and Lew Curries’ rhythmic drumming that is a celebratory pint full of fizz and fuzz before the explosive entrance of acidic throw-up second track Sick On My Heart which, if any of you have caught them live recently, would have definitely been dancing along to.

Releasing a split on flower-shaped vinyl with London mates Playlounge, relentless touring, signing to Topshelf Records and recording an album with legendary producer Bob Cooper (Sky Ferreria, Citizen, etc.), Nai Harvest have it all. Songs like Melanie are the reason why this duo is gaining recognition from the likes of Stereogum, who named the band as their ‘Band to Watch’ for being “fucking great”.

Full of bubbling artistic imagination, Nai Harvest’s hungover brand of garage rock flows through on a summer’s surf on each track. The new recording of anthemic single Buttercups transforms the song from a clean pop hit to a snarling monster of a track with clenched fists and dirty sounding reverb, all washed up in reverb and fuzz that leaves a taste on the tongue you can’t shake off.

There are a few parts of the album that sound truly magic. One particular highlight is Oceans of Madness which I first heard on Nai Harvest’s tour supporting Superheaven around the UK in the fall of last year. The song is fluid between live excellency and creating a special bubble away from the chaotic madness of over songs on the album. Oceans of Madness is nowhere near a precision cut diamond, but is more like waking up from a hard night’s drinking with a clear head.

The neurotic title-track Hairball closes the album on a successful theme of lyrical vomiting throughout the record. The album closer is five minutes of deranged rhythms and hooks, that sound both manic and tired; from acid to come-down to adrenaline jolt Hairball ends the record on a fiercely aggressive and glorious track.

Nai Harvest plan to spend this year much as they did in 2015: extensive touring and festival slots and selling out shows that’ll rocket them skywards off their best material yet. Catch them around the UK throughout April with Best Friends and don’t forget to buy Hairball on the 28th of April if you haven’t pre-ordered it already!

NHHTOUR