Sobriety get moody and murky on ‘Ronnie’s Song’

words fae liam menzies (@blnkclyr)

Having gigged away for the past year, brushing shoulders with some prominent bands in the Scottish DIY scene in the process, alt-rock outfit Sobriety are hitting out with their debut single and if Ronnie’s Song is any indication as to what the band are capable of, they’ve got an exciting future ahead of them.

While their approach to music would be enough to make them stand out from their up and coming contemporaries alone, shifting away from the pop/ indie rock sensibilities that are rife at the moment, there’s an emo vibe that radiates from this track which is certainly welcome: there are moments of immediacy for sure but Sobriety are more than capable of weaving a moody atmosphere, especially when they tell tales of narcotics and desire. It all culminates in a robust climax, the hazy vocals being overpowered by the backing instrumentals which take center stage. Right off the bat, Sobriety are aiming to be more than your usual rock band and with the potential on show here, it’s difficult to not see them achieving that.

Sobriety: Facebook 

Aja is out to kill on new track ‘Finish Her’

words by michaela barton (@MichaelaBarton_)

Anyone who has watched All-Stars season 3 knows Aja is a force to be reckoned with and whether she’s dancing or rapping, she’ll floor you faster than her flying death drop. Her new track is a grime rap stuffed full of attitude and a wit sharp enough to cut her haters.

Finish Her is named and stylised after the Mortal Kombat games with the official video playing into this, the track incorporating soundbites from the visceral beat-em-up games. Though the track can be enjoyed alone, paired with the video it’s a treat. Aja seeps attitude in her delivery and is utterly enthralling, clearly demonstrating how she has leveled up her performance skills since her earlier debut on Season 9 of Drag Race. In the video, her looks from season 3 All Stars become characters and she gets played against herself, moving up in levels with each defeat. Sound familiar, Drag Race fans?

The backing track is a standard grime loop – the timings alternate to keep things interesting and there’s some nice synth work but in general, there’s nothing too adventurous or experimental on offer. However, that just gives the lyrics their time to shine. In true shady queen fashion, she’s ready to spill the tea (or, as demonstrated in her video, completely destroy the entire tea set).

Aja isn’t afraid to call out anyone and no one is safe on this track. Most people know Aja received plenty of hateful comments from “fans” of Drag Race, especially surrounding her feud with Valentina and this track acts as one giant clap back. There are a few sly lines about people believing a ‘wolf dressed up in glam’ which are likely directly about Valentina. The biggest lyrical fuck you in this track though is definitely reserved for her haters. She makes it clear she doesn’t care what people think: ‘I’m getting my laughs, I’m getting my tan, I’m living my life abroad with my man. What the fuck did you amount to? Commenting on who looks like who?

There are so many brilliant lines that demand the listener’s undivided attention. Aja’s music doesn’t come across like a drag queen using her status to try out a musical career. Aja has real musical talent and is a killer rapper, she could easily stand alone as a musical artist without her drag career.

The success of RuPaul’s Drag Race may be helping some drag careers attract more fans, but the double-edged sword is swung hard by online haters. So, for anyone who thinks their opinion of a drag queen is worth anything, Aja leaves you with this:

If any fucking bitch got some shit to say, say it to my motherfucking face or else it ain’t fucking shit … If it wasn’t for a contract half of y’all would’ve been slapped.’

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)

3WW by Alt-J REVIEW

By Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)

Logs crisply burn as the intro to Alt-J‘s comeback single begins to unravel. The London alt-rock outfit has returned with 3WW, displaying the power the band possesses to make the most miscellaneous of sounds become a gateway to a mystic land. 2014’s This Is All Yours was a beautiful albeit flawed demonstration of this but this teaser from upcoming LP Relaxer alludes to a band that has spent the past few years perfecting their craft while slowly and carefully adding to their frigid formulas.

Image result for 3ww alt j

3WW is by far the most ambient track that the trio has ever produced: sparkling embers appear and disappear instantaneously while quiet, near silent, vocal rolls replicate the sounds of wildlife that surround this campfire serenade. While Alt-J has dipped their toes into sexual waters with Fitzpleasure and Every Other Freckle, 3WW finds the act at the peak of their seductiveness with lines such as “I just want to love you in my own language” being succeeded by a simple yet gorgeous melodic piano.

The inclusion of Ellie Roswell of Wolf Alice fame helps to tie this song up perfectly, further adding to this adventurous track which seems to be the most unfriendly radio song imaginable as the first single of an upcoming album. However, 3WW is very much trying to embody this on top of telling an abstract story about a lonely, venturing man through beautiful English landscape: an ambitious feat to say the least.

In a newsletter sent out today, Alt-J remarked that they “think it could be the best thing we’ve done to date”. With music as sensual and encapsulating at this, no one would be willing to deny such a statement.


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TRACK REVIEW: Vistas – Feel Alive

By Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)

It seems like one of Scotland’s hottest up and coming acts has taken on the mantra of “new year, new me” with their latest single. Yes, Vistas, who just a few months ago delivered their first EP Medicine that I said cements their bright future, have come out with Feel Alive which, on name alone, feels like it’s going to deliver funky rhythms left, right and centre. While the track never does so, it does enough to reassure fans that Vistas aren’t going to stagnate anytime soon.

Feel Alive may not be the band’s strongest track but it definitely incorporates some interesting elements that seem to outweigh any of the negatives such as the fuzzy guitars and gang vocals that will adapt effortlessly to a gig environment. The lyrics, which never are the main draw of a Vistas song, are still solid as always and demonstrate that there is focus and attention paid to each moving part of the band’s audio body. The very polished nature of the song, which isn’t necessarily bad, is possibly the only gripe with Feel Alive as it stops the song becoming a huge leap into the evolution river rather than a dip of the toes.

Despite that though, Vistas have made the wise choice of attempting to breathe new life into their constantly growing list of songs which is admirable and the band manage to do it with only a minor hitch. Most important of all, though, is that the Edinburgh pop rock outfit are just as ambitious as they were when Sign Language dropped last year and it seems like they will do for the foreseeable future.


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NEWS: Yeezy Streams First Single Off TLOP

Controversial Chicago rapper Kanye West has finally released his first single almost two months after his seventh LP came out.

The song in question Famous began streaming on Spotify and Apple Music yesterday, contradicting West’s promise to only offer The Life Of Pablo on Tidal. Famous stirred up a lot of controversy following the comments West makes about pop sensation Taylor Swift, stating that he thinks the two might still have sex cause “I made that bitch famous”.

This isn’t the only activity from West this past week as just this Easter he shared Ultralight Prayer, a play on words of TLOP’s opening track Ultralight Beam which is sampled. Yeezy isn’t going on  hiatus any-time soon either with Turbo Grafx 16 set to be released this Summer though no details about the LP have been given.

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TRACK REVIEW: The Last Shadow Puppets – Miracle Aligner

“It’s about a yoga teacher” Alex Turner says in his Yorkshire heavy tone when Zane Lowe asks what his and long time friend Miles Kane’s latest single is about. You’d think considering the weight of the situation, promoting their upcoming second LP as the duo The Last Shadow Puppets named Everything You’ve Came To Expect, that he would take it a bit more serious but that’s arguably the charm of the Arctic Monkeys frontman: he doesn’t give a fuck.

https://embed.itunes.apple.com/us/embedded-player/idsa.52dd5ecb-f501-11e5-9be2-1efaae453174

It’s all fine and dandy to have the care free attitude as long as you’re delivering the goods. Turner could afford that whenever AM came out as regardless of how divisive their new sound was, it sold a fuck ton meaning he could wear that slick back hair and leather jacket without breaking a sweat. Unfortunately it seems like the ego has got the best of him as we get a track that feels like a retread with very little attention paid to it.

Whilst it’s not a horrendous track by any means, Miracle Aligner evokes all the low points and issues I had with the Arctic Monkey’s last outing (slow tempo with an uninteresting vocal delivery and very little in the way of variety) and from what has been presented so far, this LP seems more like an Alex Turner solo project than a collaboration with little to know influence from Kane’s music whatsoever on here. Very safe and borderline bland, it’s a shame that years and years of waiting for The Last Shadow Puppets to return has resulted in a mess of singles which, while all different from one another, feel like this upcoming album has been rushed rather than polished.

Miles Kane and Alex Tuner of the Last Shadow Puppets.

That could arguably be the charm of this record, an album that may reek of carelessness but is fueled by two artists that have a great chemistry and work off one another. Time will tell if that’s the case but from what has been delivered so far, that third album we’ve been teased about may have to go back to the drawing board.

Fingers crossed.

TRACK REVIEW: Modern Baseball – Apple Cider, I Don’t Mind

Pennsylvanian emo, punk rock act  Modern Baseball showcase new material from their forthcoming album

Back in the 90’s, pop punk was fairly content in delivering jokes about fucking mums, getting drunk and farts, perfectly accompanying any and every party you could ever attend due to its catchiness and simplicity that made it accessible to pretty much everyone. After a while though, the same acts who made the genre what it is got sick of it and in turn  wanted to move on to better things: blink-182’s best album so happens to be their self titled release, their first non pop punk LP.

As the army of screaming teens will tell you though, pop punk isn’t dead and in fact has went through a sort of second wind. While we may have our goofy acts like blink-182, they are self aware to the fact that they are exactly that. With that comes another breed of acts who thrive on the loneliness, inner conflict and anxiety life throws at you: that’s where Modern Baseball come in.

Coming off the back of their well received sophomore record You’re Gonna Miss It All, Modern Baseball have spent 2015 recording their upcoming LP Holy Ghost, most likely listening to Weezer and crying in the process. Apple Cider, I Don’t Mind, released alongside Everyday to promote Holy Ghost, carries on the same tales of heartbreak that we’ve expected to see from the band and we find this out from the get go with a query about “did you ever love me” from a very forward Brendan Lukens.

Lasting just under two minutes, this track perfectly addresses trust or the lack thereof when it comes to relationships. In Lukens’ own words;

Trust is something every growing relationship needs. Without trust, all your conversations are just questions and doubts. I lost my best friend and partner, and didn’t know who to blame. “Apple” is a toast to looking at past mistakes as a chance to move forward.

Lines like “truth’s betrayal, I find it in the heat of the moment” paint the picture of this topic of trust being between Lukens and someone quite personal though it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for this to be him talking to himself like he did on The Waterboy Returns.

modernbaseball
Modern Baseball (L-R): Sean Huber, Jake Ewald, Brendan Lukens and Ian Farmer

Lukens has never been afraid to discuss his battle with depression and certain bits on this song like “I wish I felt the same way I did then” hark back to Fine, Great off the band’s last LP where Lukens addressed that all his problems are based off what has happened to him in his past. On this track, it seems like Lukens and co. have endured their grief and denial and are now onto accepting the now.

With what has been provided so far, there will definitely be more than a few smiles.

8/10

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