Courtney Barnett isn’t afraid to speak her mind on Tell Me How You Really Feel

By Michaela Barton (@MichaelaBarton_)

“I got a lot on my mind but I dunno how to say it” is a surprising sentiment from someone whose work is best known for smart lyrics, that always articulate relatable feelings so well.

Courtney Barnett’s recent release, Tell Me How You Really Feel continues her trend of brilliantly raw lyrics. No topic is too personal or taboo for Barnett not to include – such as mental health & toxic masculinity – she’s outspoken and this is her true talent.

Much like her lyrics, the instrumentals are often loud and unapologetic with flavours of grunge, garage rock and riot gurl. Barnett’s vocal stylings have retained her reserved and often sarcastic drone without tiring this sound out. However, this album is certainly not just a carbon copy of previous work. Barnett is growing as an artist and this album demonstrates this.

Dialling down the amps a little, Tell Me How You Really Feel had an even more intimate nature about it than previous work. The utter charm of Barnett is how relatable her music is – Tell Me How You Really Feel homed in on this feature more and has evolved her songs to feel like a private discussion, like she’s a confidante you can trust. Hopefulessness seems to directly address the listener, reassuring that “it’s okay to have a bad day” and you should “just get this one done then you can move along”. It’s gentler but doesn’t breach the territory of sappy. The song ends repeating “I’m getting louder now” as the music swells and starts to return to the usual volume of Barnett’s music. The song introduces the listener to a more confident album from Barnett – she has taken her broken heart and turned it into art and now she’s warmed up and ready to share it.

Barnett has always shined brightest when being brutally honest about her mental health. In City Looks Pretty, the chorus could be disregarded as simplistic with lyrics like “Sometimes I get sad, it’s not all that bad”, but in quintessential Barnett style, she delves deeper than the surface level lyrics and adds “One day, maybe never, I’ll come around”. Sung in an off-hand way, this deceptively simple lyric carries weight as Barnett fully accepts that she may never feel “normal” and this is no longer a paralysing realisation, it’s just a sad fact of life. City Looks Pretty also demonstrates her ever evolving musical maturity; changing up the tempo and experimenting with melody rather than continuing her usual steady grunge guitar instrumentals.

Quite a few songs on Tell Me How You Really Feel diverge from the expected Barnett sound and presents listeners with more interesting musical variations. Charity adds an unpredictable tempo whereas Need a Little Time is more laidback from her usual songs and adds background synth to the instrumental line-up. The album closes with Sunday Roast, which again like Hopefulessness demonstrates Barnett’s raw intimacy in this album in both lyrics and instrumentals. But no need for die-hard fans of Barnett’s original musical style to worry, this album still oozes that classic Barnett tone, especially in songs like Help Yourself and I’m Not Your Mother, I’m Not Your Bitch.

Nameless/ Faceless is a stand out single and is the epitome of Barnett. Directed towards sexism, the single is the audio equivalent of the middle finger. The verses are thickly layered with sarcasm perfectly performed with Barnett’s dry lilt, so much so it’s probable Barnett pulled a muscle rolling her eyes too hard during recording. Verses are reserved for calling out everyday sexism from men who probably spend their time tweeting insults from the bridge they live under. Initially, lyrics can be mistaken for genuine sympathy – “I wish that someone could hug you, must be lonely being angry, feeling over-looked” – but the punch of condescension reassures that Barnett has no time for that shit.

“He said ‘I could eat a bowl of alphabet soup and spit out better words than you’ but you didn’t” is clearly directed at any online trolls that try to degrade Barnett’s songwriting talent, all the while critiquing without showing any ability to perform themselves. The chorus really hits home, however. Borrowing Margaret Atwood sentiments: “Men are scared that women will laugh at them. I wanna walk through the park in the dark, women are scared that men will kill them”. Barnett addresses the stark reality between genders in everyday society, the fact that it’s not even safe for women to walk alone at night – “I hold my keys between my fingers”.

Tell Me How You Really Feel is a solid album. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it. Though some lyrics may seem simple, they still have a charm to them which allows this fault to go unchallenged. Song topics are addressed in an intelligent manner, without isolating the audience and though some instrumentals were softened in this album, there’s still plenty to tap along to. As with Barnett’s previous work, the lyrics were more impressive than the instrumentals, however, this album has hinted at a musical progression and it’s likely future work will continue to improve and experiment with the genre.

Our 20 Most Anticipated Albums of 2018

words and header by liam menzies (@blnkclyr) unless specified

Remember how phenomenal that one song you heard from 2017 was? That album that you couldn’t stop yourself from spinning as soon as it had reached the end of its vinyl? At this point in the year, it can be all too easy to look back with rose-tinted glasses at the year that has passed and while it was great, it would be idiotic of us to ignore what the next 12 months have in store for us. We may very well miss out on some of your hotly anticipated ones, whether that be the album being hidden at the time of writing or sheer ignorance, but the team has put their heads together to come up with this list of the records we can’t wait to get into our ears…

Black Foxxes – Reoli


Why: Another band that you REALLY should be listening to, Devonshire trio Black Foxxes will be releasing Reoli on March 16th. Their debut album, I’m Not Well, came out in 2016 to high praise, and whilst the themes in the album, including depression, anxiety & frontman Mark Holley’s struggle with Crohn’s disease are a heavy drink of water, the album is incredibly listenable and a must have on anyone’s playlist. Whilst only one song has broken cover from this album, the smart gambler would put a few chips on this being a dark horse in the album of the year contest. – oliver butler (@notoliverbutler)

When: 16th March 2018.

Blood Orange – LP4


Why: Having released one of 2016’s most underrated records Freetown Sound, Dev Hynes is set to follow it up with his fourth full-length album this year. It seems set to be a challenging, introspective listen if his 2017 interview is anything to go by: “A lot of the new songs on the new album deal with growing up and childhood in England [..] looking at the country that made me”. Admitting that it’ll be a little dark in the same piece, Blood Orange LP4 is set to be an important listen.

Proof: Image above as well as this DIY article.

Brockhampton – Team Effort


WhyAfter the, let’s be honest, far better than it had any right to be SATURATION trilogy, you’d be forgiven for being a bit burned out on the best boy band since One Direction. But it just seems that that isn’t the case at all. Now free from any continuity restrictions that the Saturation trilogy enforced them to, this next album will hopefully see even more innovation and surprises from BROCKHAMPTON. ethan woodford (@human_dis4ster) & jake cordiner (@jjjjaketh)

Proof: This tweet right here from the boys themselves.

Car Seat Headrest – Twin Fantasy


Why: Before you rush into the comments to tell us that Twin Fantasy was released in 2011 – we know, you’re not special for knowing that. The reason this Car Seat Headrest album is included on our list is down to Will Toledo mistakenly announcing via a now taken down listing that a re-release will be happening. However, as opposed to the traditional meaning, Toledo has the benefit of a bigger budget, a full band in fine form, and endless time to tinker, meaning what we’ll get seven years later will be the album he really wanted to make.

When: Feb 16th.

Codist – LP2


Why: Sleep? Who needs it?! The Codist boys certainly don’t seem to need any as they’re set to drop the follow up to their 2016 debut Nuclear Family (which was pretty fucking good). Having dropped an EP last year on the newly founded LP Records label, we’re psyched to see what this Glasgow rock outfit have tucked away for us.

When: This lil video right here.

Courtney Barnett – LP3


Why: After a successful collaboration with Kurt Vile on Lotta Sea Lice, fans of Courtney Barnett are eager to see what the up and coming Australian artist is going to ramble about on a new LP. Sometimes I Sit And Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit was one of the best albums of 2015 due to its undeniable charm and with some well-earned experience from subsequent ventures, we’re excited to see what changes she’ll be making on this record.

Proof: Barnett chatted to Zane Lowe about the new album on his beats1 station.

Danny Brown – LP5


Why: If the fact that this Detroit rapper’s last album Atrocity Exhibition was our 2016 Album Of The Year isn’t enough to get you pumped up then what’s wrong with you? Danny Brown crafted one of the most exciting and wholly original hip-hop albums of the century alongside Paul White and with this new album set to be “produced by one producer, who’s legendary in hip-hop“, we can’t wait to see what path Danny leads us on.

Proof: Brown admitted on Twitter that he’s working on a currently untitled new album.

Dorothy – 28 Days in The Valley


Why: Dorothy are probably the best band you’ve never heard of. Or, if you’ve heard of them, one of the best new bands on your radar. Signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label, the bluesy brawlers will be releasing 28 Days in the Valley this year, their follow up to 2016’s ROCKISDEAD. Mixing heavy, bluesy rock with frontwoman Dorothy Martin’s swelling vocals, Dorothy have a crunching modern sound that’s full of classic influences. – oliver butler (@notoliverbutler)

Proof: The band admitted the album is set to drop in early 2018.

Drenge – LP3


Why: Hopefully set to return after almost a 3-year absence, Sheffield trio Drenge will look to return with a vengeance. Looking to combine the best aspects from their different but both excellent albums so far, LP 3 will no doubt be well worth the wait. – ethan woodford (@human_dis4ster)

Proof: It exists (unless the guys were in an Edgar Wright mood).

Gorillaz – LP5


Why: While the critical reception to the band’s much-anticipated comeback album Humanz wasn’t what anyone was hoping for, that doesn’t mean we aren’t any less excited for what’s to come. Not much is known about it at the moment but if it’s a Gorillaz record, expect it to be grandiose, entertaining and ignite a lot of discussions.

When: The group’s Jamie Hewlett admitted the album’s existence.

Grimes – LP5


Why: Explaining in an Instagram video she’s been “in the studio every day trying to legit make something you’ve never heard before”, Canadian artist Claire Boucher has consistently impressed since her 2010 debut and her upcoming LP seems to be no different. With a focus on being fresh and exciting, Art Angels managed to win Grimes a lot of new fans and whatever she has next will, regardless of quality, keep them as well as old enthusiasts surprised.

Proof: This article right here.

Injury Reserve – LP2


Why: After impressing everyone with their debut studio album Floss and further keeping that smile on our faces with last year’s Drive It Like It’s Stolen EP, this zany and fresh hip-hop outfit seem set to keep the golden streak running with a follow up LP. “we’re about to go hole up in a cabin in northern Arizona and simultaneously put together the best tour of 2018 and the best album of our career so far” is what Parker Corey said recently on his Twitter so with their confidence so high, it’s appropriate to get suitably hyped for LP2.

Proof: New full-length album confirmed here😉

Interpol – LP6


Why: Marking 15 years since their landmark debut Turn On The Bright Lights, Interpol have performed the album in its entirety across a series of sold-out shows this year. Such a momentous occasion felt like the perfect time to wheel out some new material, which is precisely what happened at London’s Alexandra Palace. Included in the encore was Real Life, the first taste of what to expect from their follow up to El Pintor – a mouth-watering prospect as we wait to see what direction their post-Carlos D era takes them in. kieran cannon (@kiercannon)

Proof: The aforementioned performances of new material last year.

Justin Timberlake – Man Of The Woods


Why: It might be cool to hate on chart music but if there’s an artist who manages to make even the biggest of bucket hat wearing indie lads bop to a pop tune, it’s probably gonna be Justin Timberlake. With this pretense, you might expect another slick listen but from what has been teased so far, expect something more akin to Bon Iver than anything else – that might repulse some but for people like ourselves who wish to see big stars push themselves in interesting directions, we’re utterly intrigued to see what Man Of The Woods has to show.

When: Feb 2nd.

Kanye West – Turbo Grafx 16


Why: When you have the late, great Lou Reed praising you then you must be doing something right and the ever egotistical Kanye West looks set to continue his golden run with his new gaming inspired record Turbo Grafx 16. With the record set to feature sampling from the likes of No More Heroes and Super Mario Galaxy in addition to hosting appearances from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Chance The Rapper and Young Thug, Kanye may be set to deliver the oddest record of 2018.

Proof: gBzFazu.png

Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons – Age of Absurdity 

Phil Campbell.jpg

Why: After hitting the road playing a mix of originals and covers, plus a six-track EP in 2016, Phil Campbell and his band of bastardy men are ready to release their first full-length album; Age of Absurdity. So far, this band has proven that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as Phil’s sons Todd, Tyla & Dane are all incredibly talented musicians in their own right. – oliver butler (@notoliverbutler)

When: January 26th.

Screaming Females – All At Once 


Why: A band we weren’t aware of up until a recent Spotify recommendation, Screaming Females packs in one of the best rock/punk vocalists in the form of Marissa Paternoster who is just on the mic as she is on the guitar. First cut off All At Once, titled Glass House, is anthemic and builds up to a climax that blurs the line between shaky and untenable: if that’s anything to go by then this LP will prove to be one of 2018’s best rock albums.

When: Feb 23rd

Simon Neil – ZZC

GettyImages-597565480_biffy_clyro_simon_solo_album_630 (1).jpg

Why: Big Si dropped a track on Christmas Day, so that’s good enough for me to believe his long-teased solo effort is finally almost here. The aforementioned track, titled The Myth, is a 7 and a half minute long instrumental that goes from orchestral to mathy as fuck rock at the drop of a hat. It’s really, REALLY good, and if it’s an indication of the direction of rest of the album, it sounds like the untethered, mental Simon Neil that die-hard Biffy Clyro fans have been pining for is back, and back with a vengeance. – jake cordiner (@jjjjaketh)

Proof: Si has been teasing this for years now and with The Myth being the opening track, this surely means it’s sooner rather than later for his solo effort.

Vampire Weekend – LP4


Why: While the band members themselves certainly haven’t been slacking, whether that be contributing to anime or making their own solo album, it’s been a long ass time since Vampire Weekend last blessed us with some new music – half a decade to be exact. With the likes of Kanye West being cited as an inspiration for the yet untitled fourth LP, it’s hard not to be intrigued by what the New York lads have in store for us.

Proof: This juicy lil interview with Ezra Koenig.

The Xcerts – Hold On To Your Heart


Why: The three singles already released from this album are some of the band’s best work to date and, from what we heard on their live tour in October, the other tunes are certainly going to be a treat as well. gregor farquharson (@grgratlntc)

When: 19th January.


Album Review: Lotta Sea Lice by Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile

By Rory McArthur (@RoryMeep)rating 8

Despite being separated by over 10,000 miles most of the time, Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett and US multi-instrumentalist Kurt Vile have more than a little in common. Both adored by the Pitchfork crowd and sharing a love for a deadpan, 90s influenced approach to music, the two have always wound up on the same Spotify playlists; probably one ironically titled ‘Slacker-Indie’, or something like that. And while that label probably does a bit of an injustice to the songwriting and lyrical skill both parties possess, their music certainly doesn’t sound out of place played back to back. And now, like some kind of hipster avengers, the two have teamed up and traversed an ocean and most of the globe to bring us a new collaborative LP, Lotta Sea Lice.

A loose feeling and breezy project, the album sees the pair cover each other, cover others, and just generally have a lot of fun. Never totally emulating the sounds they’ve dealt in before, these 9 tracks are the sound of two immensely talented musicians just throwing ideas at a canvas and seeing what sticks. And luckily for us, what did stick is rather fantastic.

Originally written a few years back, Over Everything opens the record with an ode to songwriting itself. ‘I wanna dig into my guitar, and bend a blues riff that hangs over everything’ drawls Vile, with Barnett soon responding with her own densely packed lines. While not quite hitting the golden bone dry witticisms these lyricists are capable of, there’s still a lot to enjoy in the conversation-esque structure of the track. Barnett and Vile exchange observations on their own creative processes like they’re chatting backstage at a gig, their voices almost tripping over each other at times, as if they’re excited to find someone who understands the trials and tribulations of being in the business. It’s not a vintage track by the standards of either artist, or by the standards later set later on the record, but as a route into the album, it sets the tone beautifully.

The loose and casual vibe of the opener is carried through the entirety of the remaining 40 minutes or so, with lyrics largely sticking to the somewhat meta-themes of song-craft, touring, and musicianship. It’s certainly an interesting route to take, what with Barnett in particular usually specialising in themes more relatable to the average listener, but its a slight risk that pays off for the most part. Rather than feeling alienating or smug, the lyrical content serves as an endearingly honest peek inside the creative minds of the pair. Whether singing about tinnitus (Over Everything), writer’s block (Let It Go), or touring (Continental Breakfast), the sheer skill these two have when it comes to words makes every last detail sound poetic. Instrumental wise, there’s not too much to shout about, but it provides a more than pleasant enough backdrop for the lyrics and vocal melodies to unfold over.

And anyway, there’s some slide guitar on closing cover Untogether (originally by Belly), and it’s bloody lovely.

Clocking in at 45 minutes across 9 tracks, each song is fairly chunky, shall we say. No song dips below the 4-minute mark, with a couple running over 6. And while this is sometimes welcome as it allows as much to be packed in as possible, it does reveal the records biggest flaw. With fairly little sonic variation, there are periods of the album that drag a little. The previously discussed opener certainly outstays its welcome by a good two minutes, and if giving the whole thing a close listen, you may find yourself longing for some of the shorter, lighter packed tracks Barnett tends to break up her own records with. It’s an album to revise to, an album to write to, an album to chill to, but it’s not necessarily always the greatest album to sit down and concentrate on and pick apart. The phrase ‘too much of a good thing’ perhaps rings true every now and again.

While Lotta Sea Lice is flawed and unlikely to be viewed as the pinnacle of either artist’s career, it will certainly go down as an experiment well worth the undertaking. It may not really pushing any new boundaries but it can’t really be sincerely criticised for playing it relatively ‘safe’. This just feels like two friends just writing whatever came into their heads, simply wanting to have fun. And what fun it is! For fans of Kurt and Courtney, it’ll be a genuine thrill to not only hear the two writing songs together but also to see such genuine appreciation and respect for each others work. The rambling, ‘yeah-sure-why-the-fuck-not’ attitude on display here is genuinely heart-warming, with the covers of each other’s tracks, and of Barnett’s partner Jen Cloher, providing an even deeper personal resonance than was already present. Kick back, relax, and get ready to add a few more tracks to your ‘chill’ playlist.

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Best Tracks Of The Week (9-15/10/17)

John Keek – If & When

To say that the latest offering from John Keek has a Bon Iver vibe would be putting it lightly: sombre lines floating over beautiful piano riffs with bursts of instrumental entrancement, If + When feels like it would fit perfectly into the band’s most recent record.

Radiant and soothing with its injections of beautiful sax, this song is the perfect companion for any relaxing playlist and will no doubt help Keek nestle his way into the hearts of newcomers.

-Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Fear Is A Forest 

Three tracks into a record predominantly comprised of understated, breezy folk rock, Fear arrives as a counterpoint to both the rest of the album and the original version of the song penned by Barnett’s wife Jen Cloher. Guest drummer Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint) provides explosive drumming to accompany the brooding guitar riffs, building up to an uplifting crescendo two-thirds of the way into the song.

Barnett’s vocals take centre stage here, adding a certain poignancy to the lyrics considering her relationship to the original songwriter; however, Vile’s backing vocals add a welcome depth. Overall, one of the standout moments of an excellent, nuanced album and a successful first-time collaboration between the two multi-talented songwriters.

-Kieran Cannon (@kiercannon)

Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein – Walkin In Hawkins

People may know the show for its Stephen King meets Stephen Spielberg influence or its various catchphrases but one of the crucial elements of Netflix’s surprise hit Stranger Things is its music. There’s an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to the first tease of the phenomenon’s second season OST but it’s by no means a disappointment.

The first season was fairly simple with its music and while there’s a definite similarity, Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein have subtly tinkered with the dynamic to create something that feels big but familiar – much like Stranger Things itself.

-Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

Roam – While The World Keeps Spinning

Cementing itself on their sophomore album as one of the strongest tracks on offer, this belter of a track goes to show that Roam are constantly pushing boundaries to become an utter behemoth in their field.

Featuring a very catchy chorus, along with some hard-hitting riffs and drums making it a total head bop, the fun and feel good factors of While The World Keeps Spinning goes to show the progression of the UK pop-punk scene, and how it’s continuing to avoid stagnation. 

-Gregor Farquharson (@grgratlntc)

King Krule – Emergency Blimp

Not to spoil the upcoming review of his third album, second under the King Krule moniker, but Archy Marshall has delivered what may very well be his magnum opus. Emergency Blimp is undoubtedly one of the most unique songs on The Ooz, a spine-chilling song about depression that manages to evoke this further with an eerie chunk of feedback that is reminiscent of Aphex Twin’s 90’s horror single Come To Daddy.

With his trademark vocals really delivering the anguish and angst in a way many other artists would struggle to replicate, Archy has not only managed to surprise himself but those who have been there since day one.

-Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

Track Review: Courtney Barnett – How to Boil an Egg

By Patrick Dalziel (JoyDscvryPaddy)

It seems we’re getting quite a bizarre insight into Courtney Barnett’s live rider in her latest singles. First we heard of her ramen noodle addiction in Three Packs a Day, and now we have this yolk titled oddity. Although thankfully, this isn’t just Barnett’s progression into releasing “foodie” music. It is instead a reworking of one of the first songs the ridiculously talented Australian singer/songwriter ever wrote. 

Telling the story of life in her early twenties, How to Boil an Egg may be less humourous than Barnett’s breakthrough singles such as Elevator Operator or Avant Gardener. But, the rework has introduced her atypical guitar style to great effect. A garage spin on psychedelic/surf rock, which creates a sound that is borderline inimitable. Even if it is played with slightly more caution here than in previous entries.

This is knowingly done however, to reflect on what was clearly a tough time in the singer’s life. With lyrics such as “Every morning I feel more useless than before, trying hard to see the point in anything at all” It’s one of her most self deprecating songs undoubtedly. Yet this harshness acts as one of the song’s most clever devices. We’re given an extremely intimate insight into the life of a struggling musician. Through the trivialisation of difficulties young artists face on a daily basis.

With a less talented writer than Barnett at the helm, this could have come off as heavily misjudged. Thankfully this isn’t the case here, as each verse gives only the slightest insight into the lifestyle. Reflecting upon the monotony of trying to break through in the industry, as days fall into the repetitive nature of playing gigs and waiting to be noticed. This existential theme plays perfectly against the garage psychedelia mentioned before. The result of which is a joyously contrasting sound, that allows How to Boil an Egg to stand out amongst Barnett’s already very impressive back catalogue.






Thoughts On: Coachella 2016

There’s an ongoing joke about the cleanliness at Coachella: compared to the rugged, filthy conditions that music lovers at UK festivals thrive in, the California located event is the aftermath of a cillit bang advert. This, in addition to the near soulless crowds, results in people brushing off Coachella as nothing but an overhyped fashion show that also happens to have acts playing there.

That’s where this post comes in. Whilst I’d love to jump on the Coachella slagging bandwagon, it would be unfair to forget the fact that the festival has some of the best acts in the world performing at it, year in, year out. What follows is a list of some of my favourites from this first weekend that should, hopefully,display the diversity the festival has to offer.

Run The Jewels

My hands down favourite moment of the entire festival, Run The Jewels managed to steal the show despite performing early in the afternoon. Not only did hip hop heavyweight NAS come on stage to perform with Killer Mike and El-P but MOTHERFUCKING BERNIE SANDERS INTRODUCED THEM ON STAGE. Who says socialism and rap can’t be friends? (Well no one but I’m trying to pad this out as much as I can.)


Was I really gonna pass up the chance of talking about Foals? Even in the face of severe technical issues, a broken PA is gonna do all sorts of damage to your sets quality, the band still managed to get the crowd going. Just look at the image above: attendees helping someone crowdsurf? Who’d have imagined it! Any worries about Foals not deserving that headline slot at Reading and Leeds can be laid to rest.

Death Grips


fuck me up #deathgrips

A video posted by Jasmine Bahremand (@dogluver007) on Apr 18, 2016 at 2:05am PDT

It isn’t only an honour but a privilege to be able to see Death Grips perform live. Not many can claim to see the experimental hip hop act play their deafening discography in person and the audience at Coachella were aware of this, documenting the night which allowed for some clips of Hacker, I’ve Seen Footage and Hot Head to surface online. Don’t watch any unless you want to be left green with envy.

Courtney Barnett

Everyone’s favourite Australian gal entertained an enthusiastic Coachella crowd with some fantastic tracks off her fantastic 2015 LP Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit.

LCD Soundsystem

Out of all the headliners, one act stood out as a real attention grabber (before they got confirmed for pretty much every festival on earth): LCD Soundsystem. After reuniting this year, the James Murphy fronted act put on a great show that included a touching tribute to music icon and wonderful human being/alien David Bowie in the form of a cover of Heroes. Beautiful stuff.

So what do you make of Coachella? Got a favourite performance? Let me know what you think in the comments down below and follow this blog for more news and reviews.





Girl Power: Favourite Female Musicians #1

Today is March 8th and if you haven’t been on any social media (which you will have, how else did you find this) then you’ll be unaware to the fact that today is International Women’s Day, an event where females all over the world celebrate their identity and go to great lengths to empower one another. It’s undoubtedly an important day and I couldn’t let it go by without doing something about it which is what resulted in me writing these very words that you’re reading and listing my favourite current female musicians .

From successful solo acts to women fronted bands, there’s no exceptions to who gets included though I feel the need to state that I’m only choosing five, just so I don’t ramble for too long as I could do it for days. Throughout this post I’ll be including all of your favourites that you suggested via Facebook and Twitter but anyway, let’s get down to business and start this list!


Who is she?
Claire Elise Boucher is a Canadian singer, songwriter who is best known for her stage name Grimes and her unique, inconsistent sound that ranges from hip hop influenced to medieval music to sweet, infectious pop. At the age of 27, Grimes already has four LPS under her belt, her latest two receiving serious critical acclaim and multiple album of the year accolades.

Best work?
Art Angels is Boucher’s magnum opus: a vibrant, varied and vicious piece of work that displays her creativity as well as her beautiful vocals that soar through her well polished and glistening synths. California is a sickeningly sweet and catchy track that will infest your mind with its positive aura while songs like laughing and not being normal and Kill V. Maim show that side of Grimes which remind you why she stands out from the crowd





Who is she?

BBC Sound of 2015 nominee SOAK, real name Bridie Monds-Watson, is an Irish singer songwriter who just last year released her debut LP Before We Forgot How To Dream to positive reviews. Her dream pop sound is perfectly accompanied by insightful lyrics about teenage struggles, most notably one’s image of themselves.

Best work?

While she may have only released one studio album so far, quality over quantity is a rule that applies to SOAK. New listeners are best going for B A Nobody that features this aforementioned insight, showing concerns about never amounting to anything and battles with depression. Who said dream pop had to be happy?


DH Kim GordonMMPD St judePWSM St Vincent



Who is she?

Singer, songwriter, rapper Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam is best known for her song Paper Planes that everyone will know for its catchy chorus and register noises rather than for its tale of murdering thieves. One of the most important artists in the world right now, MIA injects her activism into her work whenever she can and does so in a masterful way that shows her passion for not only what she makes but for what she believes in.

Best work?

M.I.A’s fourth LP Matangi’s name is not only a nod to her own name but also to the hindu god of music and learning which is clear as day on this album. Recorded at various locations around the world, Matangi is fresh and full to the brim with infectious beats and the makings of a well crafted electronic but with the perfect touch of M.I.A herself.




Courtney Barnett

Who is she?

Grammy nominee and hailing from the land of kangaroos and koalas, Courtney Barnett is the first woman on this list to not use a stage name and another great example of a woman in music who never ceases to amaze. Although she’s only released one album, the album in question Sometimes I Sit And Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit was one of the best debuts of 2015, gathering lovely critical reception in addition to this.

Best work?

You can’t really go wrong with Barnett as her witty songwriting capabilities and deadpan delivery are prevalent on both her debut LP and previous EPS, making her entire discography worth a listen due to the abundance of well crafted tracks and self contained stories.




Karen O

Who is she?

South-Korean born Karen O is best known as the front woman for American rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, an act that emerged during the noughties new york rise that included The Strokes and Interpol. Not only that but Karen has a successful solo career with her first album Crush Songs being released in 2014.

Best work?

A tough choice as her work with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is exceptional but it would be a sin not to recommend her collaborations with Spike Jonze, most notably the song she provided for the Her soundtrack The Moon Song. There’s no real way to go wrong but the best starting point is most likely It’s Blitz, the third LP by her band with an ever present synth punk sound that makes the album one you’ll have on loop.





Top 25 Albums Of 2015

It’s time.

List season. It’s odd how something with such a boring name could cause heated debate amongst many, though that’s nothing new for the internet. So as I’ve always done since 2013, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite albums of the past 12 months, ranging from heavy rock to pop to grime to rap, there’ll no doubt be something here for you. Disagree with me? Well you could always contribute to my Best of 2015 post which is coming next Thursday, just message me on Twitter or Facebook and you’ll be sorted!

I hope you enjoy this list which took far too much time to make than I’m proud to admit. So put the pitchforks down for now and let’s dive in.

25. At. Long. Last. ASAP – A$AP Rocky


Following up his 2013 debut Long Live ASAP, Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky gets even more experimental on this sophomore album. While there’s significantly less chart gems present than his last outing, the same charm and production value can be felt on every track.


24. Purpose – Justin Bieber


Time for all those awfully spelt insults and memes we made about biebs to disappear. He is back and with a totally transformed sound as those who once slated him are now praising him as tracks like Sorry are pop perfection. While his vocals might be a bit lackluster and too safe, the influence Kanye, Skrillex and co. have had on the lad has paid off.

23. Back On Top – The Front Bottoms


While Talon Of The Hawk felt like a AAA version of The Front Bottoms’ self loathing lyric fueled sound, Back On Top feels like the beginning of a new chapter for the band. Historic Cemetery just screams Weezer and other tracks like Cough It Out are as catchy as a cold (albeit more enjoyable). A near flawless amalgamation of emo & pop-punk.

22. Every Open Eye – CHVRCHES 


There’s no denying that CHVRCHES are one of the best new bands to come out in quite a while, breathing new life into the synth pop genre and yet again reiterating how vibrant the Glasgow music scene is. Every Open Eye is like the Empire Strikes Back for the band: more gritty, more epic but faithful to what made the band what they are.

21. For All My Sisters – The Cribs


West Yorkshire band The Cribs might have hit out with their best album yet, full of the indie punk greatness that put them on the radar in the first place. See Pink Snow for a chaotic crescendo closer that results in another classic album for the band’s discography.


20. Currents – Tame Impala


Despite constantly being compared to the likes of Radiohead for their album rock genius, Tame Impala somehow manage to merge frontman Kevin Parker’s uncontrollable love of pop and their trademark psychedelic sound to craft something truly special. A breakup album disguised as a feel good, funky gem, Currents is only as good as the sum of its parts and those parts are undeniably brilliant.

19. Sometimes I Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Sit – Courtney Barnett


Courtney Barnett has proved time and time again why she deserves to be put on a pedestal, despite what she might say on Pedestrian At Best. Sometimes I Sit.. has an unprecedented charm to it and is insanely listenable. Absolutely exceptional.



18. Art Angels – Grimes


As abnormally appealing as they come, Grimes returns with a record which is far more pop orientated than anything she’s ever made before yet it still retains all her trademark characteristics. California is a radio friendly hit that never verges into sell-out territory. She may have scrapped an entire album before this but when the replacement sounds this good, we’re not losing any sleep.

17. Cherry Bomb – Tyler The Creator


While the ever controversial Tyler may have had a bad 2015 (OFWGKTA is no more, fall out with best pal Earl Sweatshirt, banned from UK), he can end the year knowing his latest album is arguably his best yet. A Frankenstein’s monster of sorts, Cherry Bomb fuses Tyler’s influencers (N.E.R.D, Stevie Wonder) and his own own dubious rap style to make a distorted masterpiece.

16. Another One – Mac DeMarco


It really is testament to how talented Mac DeMarco is that a mini album manages to stand above full LPs. In his own words, Another One is about “different kinds of facets of being in love, being out of love, wanting love, not wanting love”. This concept never grows tiresome over the record’s eight track length and further refines his already sublime laid back sound.

15. Happy People – Peace 


Peace know what they are: floppy haired indie royalty, just like Arctic Monkeys before them. They’re not ashamed of this in the slightest though as they embrace this wholeheartedly. Happy People has exactly what you’d expect from the guys who brought you bloodshake as well as some even heavier tracks like I’m A Girl, showing the band are still as capable as ever to fire out some more indie-rock gems.

14. What Went Down – Foals

Foals (1)

It’s hard to recall an album this year that has managed to balance balls to the wall heavy rock and cordial little tracks all on the one LP. Foals have proven yet again that it’s not in their DNA to make a bad album.


13. Are You Satisfied – Slaves

81rIWd69XNL._SL1417_The debut album is often a record which most bands would play it safe on to be more approachable by the public. This isn’t the case for Kent punk duo Slaves who showcase their silliness on Feed The Mantaray while also trying to get their message across of “doing something with your lives” to listeners. Regardless if they succeed in doing so, the boys manage to stand out from every two piece band around at the moment, no small feat at all.

12. The Mindsweep – Enter Shikari


2015 was undoubtedly one of the most important years for UK politics and no band knows and represents this better than Enter Shikari. From the feedback heavy track Anaesthetist dealing with the privatisation of the NHS to the unsubtly commentary on the corruption of bankers on Bank Of England, the band make their voice well and truly heard and it’s never sounded so good.

11. If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late – Drake


For a man who is worth millions, if not billions, Drake’s latest album is surprisingly minimalistic in comparison to other rapper’s records. However, this surprise release benefits from this, managing to hit out with the anthems you’d expect from Drizzy while managing to be retrospective. A man that can’t be stopped.


10. Too – FIDLAR


Los Angeles band FIDLAR love drugs (despite just getting out of rehab), drinking and self loathing. They lay all their cards out on the table so that they and the listeners can get down to business and have a good time. Wouldn’t you know it, they do exactly that. Heavily inspired by the 90’s teen angst bands like blink-182, Too is a 42 minute record that is all about having fun and provides just that. Simple yet amazing.

9. My Love Is Cool – Wolf Alice


Is it any surprise that Wolf Alice are the biggest new act of 2015? The band have built up a hype hurricane since their very first EP which hasn’t been helped by the likes of NME naming them a “band that will change your life” and being nominated for multiple awards. Thankfully this hasn’t derailed the band who deliver a record bursting with heart and grunge-lite sound. One of the greatest debuts of the past decade.

8. Life’s Not Out To Get You – Neck Deep


Pop punk has had its own sort of renaissance this year with Knuckle Puck mixing the emo sound of American Football with the appeal a genre like this brings. Neck Deep have filled the converse of blink-182 with an album that is full of the same polish and emotion as Enema Of The State. A band that are worth keeping your eye on.

7. Positive Songs For Negative People – Frank Turner


You’ll struggle to find a solo artist with the same raw passion as Frank Turner. After constructing a record about heartbreak that was enough to make the toughest person feel second hand remorse, PSFNP does exactly what it says on the tin. Any self professed cynic will find themselves drawn in by the snarling guitars and folk rock genius of certain tracks, showing that Frank is arguably the most talented Turner in the business.

6. The Powers That B – Death Grips


Sacramento experimental hip hop band Death Grips are…weird to say the least. This statement proves to be the most true when listening to Jenny Death, the second half of TPTB, which came out of fucking nowhere in traditional Death Grips fashion. It serves as a reminder to why many fell in love with the band: pure uncut anarchy with the staple MC Ride delivery. Although it isn’t as tremendous as The Money Store, it’s the perfect combination of rap and rock, especially on tracks like On GP.

5. Integrity > – JME


Just like pop punk, Grime witnessed a second wind this year, solidified by artists like Skepta breaking into the charts and a flamethrower extravaganza at the Brits when many artists from the genre joined Kanye on stage. While it may not have topped charts, JME’s latest record is the best record in the genre since Boy In Da Corner. Independently released, JME preaches about keyboard warriors, veganism and his disinterest in others opinions. Over the 16 tracks and countless video game references, it’s painfully clear that JME is loving what he’s doing, not having to answer to a boss and in the process he’s stumbled upon one of the most refreshing albums of the year.

4. Get To Heaven – Everything Everything


Bare with me here. Yes, if you had asked me a few years ago if I would ever enjoy an Everything Everything album I would probably have laughed you off. However, the Manchester act aren’t regarded as genre defying for nothing and their latest release is proof of that. Full to the brim with infectious pop and insanely danceable tracks, Get To Heaven is unlike anything to come out this year. It has political commentary so well hidden by its 60’s beats and weirdly catchy alarm clock samples that even if they were stripped away, the album as a whole would still stand on its own. Imaginative and unique, Get To Heaven can be three genres at once but still be described with one word: exhilarating.

3. That’s The Spirit – Bring Me The Horizon


After a brutal history with the drug Ketamine, Oli Sykes says he came out of Rehab feeling like he didn’t want to scream anymore, he wanted to “sing from the fucking rooftops”. Just as Sykes overcame his addiction, so to have Bring Me The Horizon overcame the troubles that most bands face when changing their sound. Although hardcore fans who have been there since their metalcore days may be disappointed about the transition, there is no denying the layered and evolved synths and atmosphere that come in hand with them are on an such a level of quality that it’s hard to think of a band that does it as well as them. Without a doubt, the best rock album of 2015.

2. In Colour – Jamie XX


It’s hard to fault Jamie Smith when it comes to his skills as a producer. Many felt like working with The XX was limiting his range, musically, and whilst members of the band make appearances throughout, In Colour not only stands on its own two legs, it stands out as an absolute juggernaut of a record. The brilliant thing about In Colour is how difficult it is to pigeon hole. It’s been described by some reviewers as a rave album and some tracks like the aforementioned Gosh could imply that it is such an album. However each track can be interpreted in so many and the term “electronic” is so vague that it’s almost insulting. Whether you think it’s a rave album, a techno one or even a semi reggae one for some reason, you’re both right and wrong. One thing is for sure though and that’s that you’ll definitely be in the latter if you decide to give this album a skip.


And the best album of the year is…

To Pimp A Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar


What else was it going to be? Let’s all confess for a minute: we were all worried. How on earth could Kendrick Lamar top the move-esque masterpiece that was Good Kid m.A.A.d city? We were anxious as fuck but once To Pimp A Butterfly dropped out of nowhere, all those worries were laid to rest.

Criticise me if you wish but Lamar is the new king of rap as his scope reaches a ginormous scale you’d expect from a firearm. Showing the rage of Kanye (Blacker The Berry), romantic nature of Drake (Complexion) and the unpredictableness that only Lamar himself can provide, TPAB could have been a lame, safe follow up. Instead it tackles integrated racism in America, staying true to yourself by turning down stardom and…talking to Tupac. Seriously though, Kendrick is a man who knows where he stands in the music world. He knows he’s one of the biggest artists in the world and he uses this position for good, asking for gangs to reconcile, calling out rappers for being shams and telling the listener to love themselves.

There’s not much I can say about To Pimp A Butterfly that hasn’t been said already but what I can say is this: it’s not only the best album of 2015, it’s arguably the best album to come out this century.

Big love, Liam x

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