IDLES tackle everything from Brexit to gym lads on ‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’

Aggressive, political and raw is perhaps the best way to describe UK punk rock five-piece IDLES’ sophomore album, Joy as an Act of Resistance. The follow up to their 2017 debut Brutalism defied all odds for a punk band in 2018, shooting straight to number five on the UK album charts.

Opening with the raw and anthemic Colossus, the album really starts as it means to go on. Huge drum beats accompany the dirty, slow riff while the almost 50/50 blend of screaming and melodic vocals from singer Joe Talbot take centre stage. The repeated lyrics of “it goes and it goes and it goes” create an eery and intimidating listen throughout the whole track, making it a strange but equally enjoyable first listen. The track then slows right down, before launching right into a heavy riff and changing tempo to a much faster feel. The track encapsulates what this album is about, and sets the mood perfectly from the get-go.

 

The songwriting displayed on the tracks throughout this album is perhaps what makes it stick out. Poking fun at all aspects of life in modern Britain, the topics tackled by IDLES on this record range from ‘gym lads’ to politics and Brexit.

Never Fight A Man with a Perm is the second track on the record, and perhaps one of the best on the whole album. It’s the lyrics that particularly stand out on this one. Poking fun at those lads obsessed with the gym and going clubbing to pinch girls’ arses, Talbot sings “You look like a walking thyroid / You’re not a man, you’re a gland / You’re one big neck with sausage hands / You are a Topshop tyrant / Even your haircut’s violent / You look like you’re from Love Island”. 

The album continues to produce great tracks as it goes on. The brilliant chorus of Danny Nedelko is a song worthy of fans to mosh along to at gigs. The track is a strong punk track with a deep, political theme: immigrants. Written about a good friend of the group who is a Ukranian immigrant, the opening lyrics of “My blood brother is an immigrant / A beautiful immigrant” set the mood for the rest of the track. This is precisely what the band, and the spirit of punk, is all about: giving a big ‘fuck you’ to the system.

It’s safe to say the songwriting and vocal style are among the biggest reasons this album has achieved so much. Samaritans deals with toxic masculinity while Great looks at Brexit and scoffs at some of the more irrational reasons people may have for voting. Lyrics such as “Islam didn’t eat your hamster” and “wombic charm of the union jack, as he cries over the price of a bacon bap” work perfectly in this song. They are funny, while also showing how silly this whole Brexit nonsense is.

IDLES have done superbly in this album. While the instrumentation is perhaps not as strong as other records out there and the style is not for everyone, the meaning behind the tracks is what makes it great. This album has soared to number five in the charts and allowed the Bristol punk rock outfit to play massive sold out shows all over the UK. It’s safe to say they are going to continue to do so. – gregor farquharson (@grgratlntc_)

rating 7

Gig Review: Twin Atlantic @ Summer Sessions

words + photos fae gregor farquharson (@grgratlntc)

As cliche as it is, Glasgow is always the best place for a gig. Now, put a band who grew up in the city on a massive stage with 15,000 Glaswegians and you’ll be on to a winner. That was exactly the case last night, when Twin Atlantic were main support at Glasgow Summer Sessions.

Opening with the first song off their last album, GLA, the bar was already set high from the start. Lead singer Sam McTrusty graced Bellahouston Park with a beautiful patterned suit and the band stormed through hits from throughout the years. Going straight into Valhalla then The Chaser, it was hard to believe that the band’s latest album GLA has now been out for nearly two years and we can now start to look forward to whenever the band release new material for fans to scream live.

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Tracks from earlier album Free, despite now being 7 years old, still did the job of being massive festival pleasers. The ballad of Yes, I Was Drunk was a real crowd pleaser and had just about everyone screaming every lyric back to the band.

Going from slow to fast, the band dedicated the fast paced indie track I Am an Animal to headliners Catfish and The Bottlemen. The track went off, fans erupted and the atmosphere in Bellahouston Park was colossal. Other tracks from the band such as You Are The Devil and Brothers and Sisters felt like they belonged to be played in this setting: a massive gig in the city the band were born.

Closing with No Sleep and Heart and Soul, the crowd erupted into a sea of mosh pits and bouncing fans. The set was a perfect way to bring day into night, and everyone in the crowd that night would have went home with memories and stories to tell for ages.

5 TRANSISTOR Writers On Their Favourite Music Videos

thumbnail and intro fae liam menzies (@blinkclyro)

While music is *shock* for your ears to enjoy, it was only a matter of time before it branched into a medium that could stimulate most, though maybe not all of your senses (only Spy Kids 4D can offer you that).

It’s been almost four decades since the first music video aired on MTV in 1979, aptly titled Video Killed The Radio Star by The Buggles, but since then, we’ve been blessed with experimental, haunting and evoking pieces of visual spectacle that have only gone to add to our enjoyment of certain music. Here are just five of these pieces, chose by none other than the writers of this very site – enjoy.


Isabella McHardy (@izzmchardy): Oblivion by Grimes

Oblivion is pretty simple in comparison to Grimes’ other more theatrical, character-based music videos. But somehow delivers the strongest message. Grimes puts herself in male-dominated spaces, reclaiming her body after sexual assault. Although such an intense topic, she manages to bridge the gap between her and the men in the video.

She breaks down the intimidating reputation sports arenas and male locker rooms have, as well as flipping the male-gaze on its head. The start shows her cautiously navigating unfamiliar places but the video ends with her standing tall amongst her male counterparts.


Gregor Farquharson (@grgratlntc): Lost Little Boys by Fatherson

The way this video follows two best friends dealing with the loss of one of their wives is beautiful – it shows the fun the three always had and the heartache of the man who’s lost his lover.

The feeling when we find out the best friend had an affair with the wife tears apart the viewer but when the two come together at the end and makeup, the emotion felt is unreal. Put together with a strong song, this music video is a real treat to watch.


Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro): Come To Daddy by Aphex Twin

While the videos so far have been about evoking empowerment or sadness, there’s one feeling we haven’t quick chatted about yet.

Seeing as it’s appeared on various “100 Scariest Moments of TV” lists, it should be no surprise that this one is a bit creepy. Filmed in the same estate that Stanley Kubrick’s classic A Clockwork Orange was, the video includes a gang of small children with Richard D James’ face wreaking havoc while an evil spirit emerges who’s face is very much nightmare worthy. Watch this one with the lights off.


Ewan Blacklaw (@Ewanblacklaw): Sabotage by Beastie Boys

The video for one of the NYC trio’s biggest hits really speaks for itself. The Beastie Boys took a much different approach to their videos in comparison to some of the more glamorous productions that became popular in the 90s. With that being said, the videos of the Beastie Boys were often just as extravagant, but took a less serious approach and implemented their unique style just as they had done with their music.

The video sees basically comes off as an 80s-cop movie, with plenty of moustaches and bad special effects. As their popularity increased, their music video budget seemed to stay the same as the video for Sabotage looks like a video made by the class clowns of a film class. This all plays into the Beastie Boys charm and makes for one of the funniest and most memorable music videos from the 90s.


Will Sexton (@willshesleeps): Sweetheart What Have You Done To Us by Keaton Henson

Keaton’s haunting musicianship alone is always enough to bring you to tears but the sheer vulnerability and simplicity of this music video bring it to a new level. The spacey guitar and vocals compliment the image of the open sea and staring straight into Henson’s eyes aren’t easy considering the pain and anguish expressed in the lyrics.

However, the climax of the song where it physically gets too much for the musician and he walks off set is hard to watch without feeling something at the very least. Whether it was scripted or not (knowing about his chronic stage fright and anxiety issues we would presume not) it doesn’t matter as the closing scene of him crying offset breaks your heart.

Gig Review: Casey Lowry @ Broadcast, Glasgow

by gregor farquharson (@grgratlntc)

Already appearing on the prestigious Radio 1 A-List, singer songwriter Casey Lowry has already made quite a name for himself; last night, Glasgow’s Broadcast acted as a bunker, hosting a number of ripe up and coming acts within its walls.

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It was set to be a cracking night, an assumption that was justified thanks to opening act Stop The Rain. Setting the room alight with their catchy riffs and huge choruses, the Perth rock outfit made sure the audience remembered them with set highlight Everend: a new track, it’s polished and packs in some huge riffs and gorgeous drum work, showcasing why the band are worth keeping an eye on.

Speaking of bands worth paying attention to, succeeding support False Friends were a surprising act. Incorporating an Irish tinge to an already established rock sound, the crowd lapped up every second of a strong 30 minute set, the band showing off an impressively strong catalogue of songs.

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With all the supports finished, it was time for the great Casey Lowery to step on stage. The young singer opened his set with Up and Down, inciting a wave of dancing and singing by the enthusiastic crowd and who can blame them? The catchy guitar and drum pairing sound just as good live as they do recorded. It would be difficult to ignore the cover of cult classic anthem All Star and, as you can imagine, it was an instant hit. It helps that Casey managed to add his own take on the song to create a really interesting moment.

Having only released three songs, most of his 30ish minute set was unreleased music that, for the most part, sounded great indeed. Confused was another huge song – the use of various harmonies throughout really worked well in creating a wonderful atmosphere. The huge bridge  really shined through before launching back into that dance along chorus. Casey didn’t take the reaction for granted, continually thanking the crowd for turning up.

For his last song, Trampolines, the singer made sure the audience boogieing that was a staple of his performance lasted till the final minute. It’s easy to see why he implored those in attendance to get down with it: it was an interactive experience, featuring the cliched but still fun moment of the crowd sitting down and jumping up for the final chorus. No matter how knackered everyone was, it didn’t stop them belting out the lyrics alongside Casey.

If there was major thing to take away from tonight’s performance, it’s the high caliber of young musicians showcased that make the future of music just that bit brighter.

 

A Flash Flood Of Changes: Stop The Rain Interview

photo and words by gregor farquharson (@grgratlntc)

Working with producer Bruce Rintoul (Twin Atlantic, Vistas, Fatherson), releasing a stunning EP and having a lineup change? That is exactly what life is like for Scottish rock outfit Stop The Rain at the moment. Catching up with Blair (Vocals, Guitar), Kyle (Drums) and new lead guitarist Leonard, we chatted about the last few months and how important they have been.

Coming from Perth, the five-piece don’t get to the city as much as they would like to. Glasgow is undoubtedly a hugely influential place for many young musicians and building a fan base here is important for the five-piece.

B: We’re still working on it. It’s taken us a while to sell the tickets for Glasgow as no ones wanted to travel over so we have kinda had to rely on trying to pack the places ourselves. A lot of that is down to having good support bands. I do feel we are finally starting to make Glasgow fans and are definitely making progress.

L: I actually moved to Fife a couple of months ago but a lot of my good friends are in and around Glasgow. I have a couple of them coming tonight so that’s always good. Thanks, guys! *laughs* 

Grinding and gigging is the best method to accumulate a fan base and while you may assume they’d rather be back home playing, that isn’t the case; as Kyle put it, the Perth scene largely consists of 18 plus venues whereas Glasgow is a lot more accessible considering they’re only 17.

While they might be a young band, Stop The Rain are already being presented with massive opportunities, such as getting to work with the aforementioned legendary local producer Bruce Rintoul on a single:

B: It was honestly one of the best studio experience we [as a band] have ever had. We have never had a producer who has been so hands-on – he was really involved throughout the process and such a cool guy to work with.

K: Yeah totally agree with Blair. It was nice how he threw himself into the track and just went that extra mile for us.

Moving forward, the band recently gained a new guitarist in the form of Leonard to add to the powerhouse unit. Gigwise, Leonard’s onstage presence, and skill didn’t go unnoticed – the enjoyment was easily seen on his face, as it was for the rest of the band. The boys are all very hopeful for what the future has in store with the rejuvenated lineup: 

B: I’m not sure it will affect us, but Leo has brought a new life into the band.

L: Yeah it will affect us man, I’m leaving tomorrow! *laughs*

B: He has brought funny vibes, good chat and he is an awesome guitar player so I think you will see our riffs become more technical. It seems we are going for a more poppy sound and I’m taking up all the vocals now so you will hear a lot more of me now.

K: Leo has brought a style to the band. We have never had a style, now we do. Basically, Leo is now the face of Stop The Rain.

L: That’s inspiring!

We wrapped up the interview talking about the bands’ EP Sinking (here’s our glowing review for reference) and how the positive comments made the band feel, and grow stronger as a unit.

B: It was great folk could hear a collection of songs rather than just singles, but all in all, we were blown away by the feedback we got. We gained a lot of true fans.

K: Yeah it was really nice to release more than one song. I mean, singles are good but having more than one song is better. It’s really great now to play more song people want to hear. Before we would play our set and people weren’t getting into it as much until we played Home Is Where My Heart Is, and then they would engage.

Being such a young band, Stop The Rain still have a lot to learn and a lot of time to do so. Yet, being a bunch of 17-year-olds and playing gigs in different cities, as well as having a full EP out, is nothing to roll your eyes out and is a dazzling achievement for the boys. The band are ready to take on whatever is thrown at them and with this new lineup, they show no signs of slowing down.

Catch the band at broadcast on the 6th of February, supporting Casey Lowery. Tickets available on the band’s website.

Top 10 Bring Me The Horizon Tracks

by gregor faruqharson (@grgratlntc)

It’s not uncommon for bands these days to have a huge change in sound from their early days, and Sheffield metal-core turned synth-rockers Bring Me The Horizon have perhaps had the biggest change over the years. Their debut EP This Is What The Edge Of Your Seat Was Made For and first album Count Your Blessings is perhaps some of the heaviest metal/death-core out there. Yet, the band progressed to the point where they’ve donned the huge, arena rock sound we adore the band for today.

BMTH’s extensive discography and change of sound throughout their career make them the perfect alternative band to critique and list the ten best tracks from the band.

10. Chelsea Smile

A live favourite and arguably the band’s breakout track, this wee metal-core banger is recognisable by not only fans of the band, but any fan of heavy music. The opening screams of “I’ve got a secret” and subsequent lines pave the way for the tremendous breakdown that awaits listeners at the end.

The screams on this song when were frontman Oli Sykes was in his prime and it’s clear throughout. The way he utilises his voice box to effortlessly reach the high and low pitches is exceptional and any fan of the genre should appreciate the skill of Sykes.

9 – Doomed

The first song on the band’s latest album, That’s The SpiritDoomed is an excellent example to show how the act’s music has matured since the early days. The beautifully produced track starts slow and builds up to that exceptional chorus that fans all over just love to shout along to.

The synth work by Jordan Fish really adds a different element to the track, with noises and lyrics fading in and out making Doomed a standout, utterly cinematic release. If you were to listen to this without knowing the band, you’d be baffled at the older material.

8 – Antivist

Antivist is just one of those songs that make you want to mosh and crowdsurf. Just listen to it; the built up anger on this track is apparent straight from the first line. The shouts of “Middle fingers up, if you don’t give a fuck”  are lyrics to make anyone stop, listen and subsequently lose their shit. The rebellious nature along with the harsh vocals and guitar truly sum up what BMTH stood for at this moment in time.

7 – Oh No

The closing song on That’s the Spirit, Oh No is one of those tracks that stands out as being truly unique amongst the abundance of other BMTH songs out there; tamer compared to others, but nonetheless astounding. The chorus alone makes you want to have a slow dance, and there’s no sign of mosh pits to be seen during this.

Overall, the song is a masterpiece and uses every member’s strengths to their advantage. The perfect close to a tremendous album.

6 – Go To Hell For Heaven’s Sake

Appearing on the album Sempiternal, the track is heavy yet has a softer side, no doubt due to the new additions on this record. The riff that opens the track is signature BMTH and the guitar and synth work go hand in hand, as does the drumming from Matt Nicholls which keeps the up the pace. It’s the final section of the song that makes it special – the repeated lyrics of the title with the performances behind driving it results in a sonic charged yet tense listen.

5 – Can You Feel My Heart

Another one from Sempiternal and perhaps the track that defines the modern BMTH sound, CYFMH is one of those songs that makes you go “wow”. The start with the huge synths, the distorted vocals, even the huge chorus and scream along moments, the song defines what this new age of BMTH was going to be like. Even live, the song is just as popular, with fans using it a cathartic method of letting loose.

4 – It Never Ends

The only song on this list to come from the bands’ third LP, It Never Ends is a glorious example of what the Sheffield rockers were going for on There Is A Hell. Blending the sounds of violins and cellos with metalcore seems unlikely to work, yet this song manages it. The massive bridge of Sykes screaming “every second every minute every hour every day” is enough to send shivers down your spine. Despite the track not being widely appreciated in terms of live performance, it doesn’t take anything away from the fact that it’s one of the best songs the band have ever produced

3 – Throne

This was the second single we heard from That’s the Spirit, and boy is it a cracker. Throughout the majority of the track, we’re graced with some glitchy yet lavish electronic noises, backed up by some monumental riffs and drumming. The song as a whole is huge and made for the biggest venue possible. While some may dismiss the band’s latest album as too poppy, Throne shows that Oli and co. are more than capable of going hard when needed be.

2- Sleepwalking

The biggest hit from their 2013 release, Sleepwalking is an outstanding example of when electronic and metal collide for the better. The huge rock chorus blended with the screams in the verses works brilliantly. This album was the first which used the ability of Fish and it’s easy to see why he was such an influence on the band. Sleepwalking is one of those songs that when you hear it, you couldn’t mistake it for anything other than a Bring Me The Horizon tune. Absolute belter.

1- True Friends

A controversial choice but this is arguably the pinnacle of BMTH’s attempt to balance their harsh origins, synthy rebirth and pop-friendly attitude. The isolated vocals, which are more in turn with the singing Sykes wanted to go with on this project, smack delightfully into a rip-roaring clash of chilling violins and guitars. 

Live, this song is beautiful as it really does exemplify the versatility and talent of the band, something that can be seen on the faces of everyone in attendance as they, once again, cavort and kick off. True Friends is the manifestation of elements that any Bring Me The Horizon fan will adore, and it’s why it’s the top pick for this list.

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check out the tracks above in this handy playlist

Album Review: Hold On To Your Heart by The XCERTS

by gregor farquharson (@grgratlntc)rating 9

If you know The Xcerts, you know the band’s knack for catchy songs and a firm sound. Latest release Hold On To Your Heart shows not only a step up for the band but blends the sounds of pop and rock together. Innovative tweaking and huge arena rock blasts through the record, but the emotion factor that many adore the Aberdeen/Brighton three-piece for remains there.

Opener The Dark has a similar feel to 2014 track There Is Only You with the isolated piano and vocals of Murray Macleod, a man who remains to be in impressive form. The beauty this song radiates continues until the very end, closing with Macleod belting the lyrics “Tell me when the worst is over”. Going straight into one of our top picks of 2017, Daydream, we already have a feel for this album – the high-school love story vibes are totally intended and blur the lines between cheesy and anthemic, easily allowing the act to stand out in a genre that can be too afraid to let their hair down and get a bit nostalgic. Lead single Feels like Falling In Love is much the same, the funky riff and chorus providing smiles and dancey moments, while still not losing that much-needed rock aesthetic which gives the album its edge.

First Kiss is an unapologetic feel-good cut off the album, in a way that it perfectly suits the Aberdeen rock outfit. The buildup to the chorus each time never gets old, featuring the elements that will be sure to make it stick out and become a huge favourite for the fans. It’s at this point in the record that it becomes apparent that the last three and a bit years have been put to good use, the constant grafting and new organic way of songwriting providing some stellar results.

Continuing with huge riffs and that pop-rock feel, Crazy fits in with it all perfectly. Title track Hold On To Your Heart was released as the third single and feels like one of the most innovative cuts off the whole album. Much like First Kiss, Hold On To Your Heart retains that feel good factor while packing in a beautifully crafted guitar and bass beat that is a total head bop. The chorus feels absolutely colossal and it’ll be no surprise if you’re struggling to scrape it out your cranium once the album’s done – it’s the band’s best song to date and stands out enough on this album while not screwing with the overall cohesion of it.

As the album progresses, The XCERTS don’t wind down: Drive Me Wild incorporates some saxophone which adds to the variety without bordering on being gimmicky. The huge guitar and sax solos in this track are astounding, perfectly intertwining and showing off the band’s great attention to detail, down to the tiniest of sounds. We Are Gonna Live sounds more similar to something off one of the band’s earlier albums, with the catchy riff paired up well with a dancey little chorus. It doesn’t feel quite as fresh as the rest of the record, but this doesn’t take away from how good it is.

The final two tracks Show Me Beautiful and Cry are much more slowed down and, sadly, the former isn’t quite as strong as what has come before. Cry, on the other hand, is a piano lead song, similar to that of older XCERTS songs of the same nature. Utilising the immense vocals of frontman Murray Macleod, the ballad closes the album wonderfully though, clocking in at a strong five and a half minutes, it may come off as a bit stretched for some.

An album that has undoubtedly had time and care put into it, Hold On To Your Heart delivers some of The XCERTS best work to date. There’s a great deal of variety on display that helps it to stand out as their most polished and impressive work to date: it’s a natural progression for a band that has put the work in and are finally reaping the benefits of their graft.