An Ayr Rise Festival 2018 Review…

words fae liam menzies (@blnkclyr)

It’s not often mentioned but the state of music festivals in Scotland is rather depressing. Sure, TRNSMT is doing awfully gid for something that just began last year but when you look at some of the countries heavy hitters, you’ll come to the startling realisation that the days of Rockness and Wickerman Festival are far behind us with most being sadly cancelled. Hell, even TRNSMT itself is the continuation of an annual festival that sadly dipped in quality before reaching its anti-climatic end.

That being said, we’re beginning to see a rise (no pun intended) in smaller festivals that relish in giving smaller acts a chance to show off and bring their sound to an audience that may have previously passed them by. It makes total sense considering that the likes of Tenement Trail use established venues in order to host the acts, meaning the razzle-dazzle of your usual festival is left to the wayside in order for the music to be the real selling point and with tons on offer, and plenty to drink, it’s an ideal situation.

Ayr Rise definitely seems keen on bringing this to an area that, while rife with talent, often doesn’t generate a blip on the musical radar due to its location. Taking place in local nightclub Furys, a venue which is often the go-to for local gigs, it was an event that was not only important for those involved but one that would ultimately serve as a determining factor for whether or not something of this magnitude could work.

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Things were off to a promising start with Molly Eliza taking to the stage. While she may have been filling in the slot left vacant by Atlas Run, it ultimately gave Ayr Rise some variety which benefited it greatly: she may reference the likes of Nina Nesbitt as an influence but you wouldn’t be mistaken for noticing hints of Sophie Allison or even a vocal resemblance to pop heavy hitter Lorde. Her music wasn’t only just pleasant to listen to but also offered some interesting insight lyrically, meaning she could end up joining the ranks of Young Fathers in politically aware Scottish music. Some songs may have been screaming for some backup, specifically some drums, but the minimal performance from Molly left a good taste in the mouth – keep this one on your radar.

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Keeping the momentum going were Ayr-based rock outfit Anna Conda and right off the bat, we were hit with remnants of what could easily be mistaken as demos from the fictional Scott Pilgrim band Sex Bob Omb (a high bit of praise fae us). As the act continued on, the band’s influences became increasingly obvious (someone or all involved in the act definitely has a soft spot for The White Stripes as shown by their Fell In Love With A Girl cover) but it by no means detracted from the enjoyment Anna Conda provided: infectious harmonies rolling over some octane performing culminated in what was easily a hugely entertaining set from the boys who we’re sure we’ll see more of in the future.

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A band still very much in their infancy, only emerging at the tail end of 2017, Honours. were up next. In terms of stage presence, it was a little lacking (which may be totally down to either nerves or the sheer variety of chords that they’ve bolstered in promotion) but there was definite moments that showed they’ve got the foundations laid to make some really interesting alt-rock.

27545489_381304295674464_7592854196806952831_n.jpgThere would be no prizes for guessing what acts have paved the way for the sound ZANG are going for but oh lordy, did they put on a show. Frontman Bunny Wood channelled that rock and roll frontman attitude both in his vocals, that were reminiscent of another funky, bluesy rock and roller Robert Plant, and the mannerisms he showed off on stage. The argument could be made that the band weren’t quite as varied as we would have liked them to be but for what they’re going for, and for how they managed to keep our attention, ZANG did exactly what they needed to do and then some.

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Positioning themselves as an alt-rock riff machine, Zola didn’t disappoint with a rip-roaring good rock time. While the audience at Rise were rather timid (myself included), this didn’t stop the band from interacting with the crowd and trying to get everyone right into the gigging spirit. There were a fair few moments where I found myself reminded of Queens of the Stone Age, a comparison I may throw around a bit frequently but the layered performances and the synergy between and the vocals means I feel justified in that bit of acclaim. Showing off their latest single to finish things off, Zola are certainly going places and we’re looking forward to seeing how they evolve.

21949833_822681854604537_7924578189341822206_o.jpgOur last act of the night (family ting), The Mawb are an act we’ve discussed a fair bit over the past year and a bit but for good reasons. Front-man Ewan McCulloch was the head honcho of tonight’s operation so the fact he had the energy to balance both organisation and performing all on the same day has to be commended. On the related note of said performance, The Mawb were the best they have been yet and hit me with that familiar feeling of pride, not only for the fact they’re an Ayrshire based act doing it proud but for constantly shifting their sound.

Everyone in the act was on phenomenal form, Callum McIlwaine being the devilish chap on guitar we’re all used to and incorporated a wireless device so he could prance about the club while playing, picking up a pint in the process. The aforementioned Ewan continues to impress with those pipes of his and bassist Harry Mawb still radiates that effortlessly cool as a cucumber attitude about him without breaking a sweat. Drummer Paul Nally seems to have totally come out of his shell at this point and it definitely added it all, his commentary during the break between each track adding a certain charm to it and by the closing track, he was clobbering away at his set with the energy of a man who had just went through a botched exorcism. To put it simply, it was a bloody great end to our night.

So Ayr Rise was an overall success, showing that a local festival can definitely work when the right management and acts are brought in. If there’s any feedback we could give, it would be that next year’s event (which we hope is on the cards) tries to shake up the genres on offer: every festival has their strong point but we’d love to see some more bands that don’t fit into the alt-rock mould. From an optimistic perspective, money permitting, it would be exciting to see Ayr Rise branch out amongst some other venues in the town: West of the Moon may no longer be with us but places such as Soundmagic would serve as a nice alternative stage and Big Sparra Vinyl potentially acting as an acoustic one for some stripped back sessions. Of course, this is pure speculation but Ayr Rise, much like the acts playing it, is brimming with potential and we’re crossing our fingers that we get to see it return in 2019 and beyond.

Guessing the Reading & Leeds 2018 Headliners

by oliver butler (@notoliverbutler)

The only enjoyable thing at the start of any year is that festival line ups are now starting to break cover, like springtime buds shooting through the freshly tilled soil. As the low winter sun burns through the clouds, bands are added to line ups, either to the excited squeals of diehard fans, or audible gulps of disappointed punters who’ve bet their summer on this.

Me, you ask? After completely blowing my load at the Download headliners for different reasons, I’ve wanted to blow chunks at everything past that. Volbeat? Fucking VOLBEAT? Furthermore, with no Glastonbury to get wet and wild at this year, I am technically festival freelance and will be calling 2000Trees my home this year.

However, what say you, dear reader? Are you holding out on the Reading & Leeds lineup being announced? To help you out, I’ve put together a little list of who you might find topping the bill over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Disclaimer: The probability for each act comes down to how likely I think they are to headline, something that is entirely subjective – I believe each artist here is more than capable of headlining.

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Arctic Monkeys

Well, it just has to be, doesn’t it? Every other fucking festival in the known universe has managed to bag these suave simian songsmiths as a headliner, so for Andy Copping to miss out on these boys as headliners would the biggest musical foul-up since St. Anger. It’s been five long years since AM, and most of the Arctics have kept busy; frontman Alex Turner dicking about with Miles Kane in the Last Shadow Puppets, Matt Helders has been dicking about with Iggy Pop and Joshua Homme in Post Pop Depression, so all in all, a lot of dicking around has been done since AM and their 2014 headline slot at R&L.

With a whole plethora of festival dates announced for AM, plus constant tongue cluckings that new material is but a hair away from being released, don’t be surprised if the Monkeys take to the coveted Main Stage Sponsored by Tuborg – Liquid Soundtrack to the sound of a new album. Do bear in mind though that the boys have already confirmed their festival dates for 2018 and R&L is weirdly absent though this could merely be a case of keeping things under wraps for an announcement extravaganza. 

Probability Rating: Andy Copping never usually misses a trick, so for him to let AM slip by would be a huge surprise. 8/10

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Guns ‘n’ Roses

The last time GnR headlined the Carling Weekender, it went pretty fucking wrong, pretty fucking quickly. A waylaid Axl Rose showed up some thirty hours after stage time and then incited a riot after they cut the power on him. However, reunited with Slash & Duff, things seem to be a lot smoother, and the ‘Not In This Lifetime’ tour seems to be the show of a lifetime. Guns are already headlining Download this year, but big mad Andy knows that booking this band is a licence to print money, and big mad Axl knows that this tour is a licence to print money. It’s a match made in heaven!

Considering that many people’s festival plans have been cemented, R&L needs to bring in some big marquee names to try and get day punters coming through the door, and a line up consisting of either GnR or Arctic Monkeys, or both, could be enough to tip the scales for a lot of people.

Probability Rating: Quite high, but should still be considered an outside bet. 7/10

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Paramore

Rumour has it that we’ll see a complete mirror image of the 2014 lineup at the top, minus Blink 182, and few bands are more deserving of top billing than Paramore right now. After Laughter was a smash hit, and they’ve been wowing UK arena crowds in 2018 already, so for them to carry that momentum forwards into an August headline slot would be of no effort at all.

R&L also needs a strong, female-fronted headliner too. Too many festival lineups these days are a boys club, and to overlook such a solid headliner as Paramore would be beyond the pale, you hear me, Copping?! Beyond the pale.

Probability Rating: 2014 was a good year, Donald Trump was just a television sex pest instead of a sex pest who could nuke Korea. Good times, lads. 9/10.

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Queens of the Stone Age

Are QotSA still cancelled? Joshua Homme kicked a girl in the face which is an objective dick move, but I genuinely think he needs some help to be less of a cunt his whole life. Either way, with the rumour being that we’ll get a mirror image of 2014, QotSA are in pole position to headline the festival, instead of a co-headline spot with Paramore, and cancelled or not, Villains was a world-beater of an album.

Further to this, Queens are holding a little festival of their own in Finsbury Park, featuring them, obviously, Iggy Pop, The Hives, Run The Jewels and many more! I see a lot of promoted ads for it, so I don’t think it’s sold or selling out. The Hives though, and Iggy Pop.

Probability Rating: 2014 was a good year, we’d not yet gone full Tory, instead of a full Tory that’s likely going to drive us off a cliff. Good times, lads. 9/10

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CHVRCHES

ALL CAPS! CHVRCHES are clearly a new band, because they’ve had to resort to alternate vowels to find a new band name, but since their debvt they’ve been vnstoppable, with Lavra Mayberry’s soothing silky voice settling like fresh snow on their ethereal beats. With a new album on the horizon, it’s a risky business to promote anyone as yet untested up to the headline scene, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Get two veterans, like AM and GnR for instance as the ‘safe bets’, then give CHVRCHES the Saturday slot to let them spread their wings.

We gave Biffy & Foals the same chances in recent years, let’s move another great British band up the ranks now.

Probability Rating: A woman?! Headlining MY festival?! It’s more likely than you think. 6/10

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Metallica

YEAHEAHEAH. As covered earlier, Copping needs some serious firepower to get people coming through the gates, and who better than 2015 headliners Metallica to add that star power? Metallica sell arenas out worldwide and could sell a day at Reading & Leeds out with the first bar of Enter Sandman. Metallica played an arena run in 2017, but haven’t headlined a UK festival since R&L in 2015.

I’d had them as surefire Download headliners this year, but as per usual, I was wrong. Metallica are metal, yes, but their uber-corporate image has allowed them to transcend the heavy metal label & become mainstream darlings. Do NOT count this band out.

Probability Rating: I’m pretty sure I’m just booking the lineup now. 6/10.

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Wolf Alice

Much like CHVRCHES, Wolf Alice are new blood, mere wolf cubs than big adult wolves, but have absolutely set the world on fire since their debut. Visions of a Life was one of the best albums of 2017, and Ellie Rowsell’s screams would gladly rock the foundations of the Main Stage Sponsored by Volkswagen – Liquid Soundtrack to its very core.

Same principal as CHVRCHES, sandwich them between two heavyweight veterans, get people along for the weekend, let them spread their wings and prove their worth on the main stage. Nobody ever got famous for being careful.

Probability Rating: It’s a good concept, getting two heavyweights, selling people into weekend tickets and give a young’un a chance, which is why it’ll probably never happen; 5/10.

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Royal Blood

Now, there IS an outside chance that could come true. Sold out arenas across the world, two hugely popular albums, Glastonbury sub-headliners, which is basically your ticket to headline any other festival, there’s no barrier to the Brighton two-piece taking the top bill.

Setlist wouldn’t be a problem, as their UK arena setlist was essentially the first two albums but slapped like all hell. You’d be an absolute sausage to rule out these boys taking the Sunday or Friday headline slot.

Probability Rating: I know you hate them, but you can’t hate them as much as Andy Copping loves money. 7/10.

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Lorde

Another outside bet, but if two juggernauts were to top the bill, rolling the dice on someone like Lorde could pay dividends. Plus, if you end up getting two male, rock headliners, getting a female pop sensation could offer balance and something other than a rock band on one of the nights. Melodrama was a huge, huge album & she headlined the Other Stage at Glastonbury last year but curiously only did a small hall/academy tour of the UK. If you’re good enough, you’re old enough is the saying, and Lorde is more than capable of taking a headline slot.

Probability Rating: Maybe this time I’ll remember to get fucking tickets. 5/10

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Chase and Status

Genuinely not the stupidest festival rumour you’ll hear this year, Chase & Status sub-headlined to Eminem in 2013, and have their new album, Tribes, just dying to be played. With a rock-heavy lineup, Chase & Status could be the tonic in the gin that this lineup needs, with international clout, an absolute armful of hits and guest stars, it’d be madness to rule out the kings of drum & bass this August.

Probability: Actually not a bad shout, well done me. 7/10

See also: Pendulum; that’s a 2/10 chance, but have that comeback clout behind them.

Gig Review: Queens of the Stone Age + BRONCHO @ Usher Hall, Edinburgh

By Josh Adams (@jxshadams)

On paper, the coupling of desert legends Queens of the Stone Age with the prestigious opulent nature of Edinburgh’s Usher Hall reads about as appropriate as a hand grenade in an orphanage, especially considering their stint at the O2 Arena in London only a few nights prior.  But in a twist of fate as bizarre as the rock group’s ascension to arena-ready status, you would be hard-pressed to imagine them elsewhere.  

Straying from their contemporaries’ aesthetics – Foo Fighters’ workmanlike anthems and Nine Inch Nails’ moody industrial touches – and forging their own path steeped in some warped form of glamour and attitude as filthy as their distorted guitars, Queens of the Stone Age have regularly proved themselves as one of, if not the, most interesting out-and-out rock band to come out of the United States of America in the past twenty years (even if they aren’t as weird as they would like you to believe – unusual song structures and angular guitar solos don’t consistently count as artistry, dudes).  

Live, they usually cement this reputation with a killer arsenal of songs and a maintained display of breathtaking musicianship.  Their performance at the Usher Hall, however, was ironically almost ruined by the man everyone came to see: frontman Josh Homme, whose rock-sleaze chic veered from humorous to unpredictable, inappropriate and worrying several times throughout the night.

More on that later, though.  Oklahoma indie darlings BRONCHO did a respectable job of introducing themselves and their sound, the latter of which was a fuse of melodic ’80s American indie with a dry, 1970s sheen, if not warming up the crowd for the headline act, and the impatience was becoming clear towards the end of the group’s thirty minute long set.  In particular, singer Ryan Lindsey’s high-pitched vocals became rather grating, aiming somewhere for Violet Femmes but falling flat at somewhere around a chipmunk version of a drunken Michael Stipe.  

Luckily, the changeover between each respective groups’ set of equipment was brief, and by the time the band came on stage, Edinburgh was hungry for the Queens.  Opening with the three-pronged salvo of “If I Had A Tail“, “Monsters in the Parasol“, and “My God Is The Sun” – peculiarly none of which came from their most recent effort – it was clear that the band were determined to make everyone, from the stalls to the rafters, groove with their intoxicating beats and hard-hitting riffs.

They followed up their extravagant entrance with a couple of one-two combos that showed off their powerful dynamics: “Feet Don’t Fail Me” and “The Way You Used To Do” from 2017’s “Villains“, and Songs for the Deaf‘s “You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire” and “No One Knows“.  The former sounded utterly massive in a live setting, stripped of the dull and flat production imposed upon them, whilst the latter were performed with a newfound urgency that set the crowd off like firecrackers.  From then on, though, the set hits a trough that it only occasionally rises above – the emphasis is put too squarely on a series of mid-to-slow tempo jams that at best serve as singalongs and at their nadir give everyone a chance to go the toilet.  “Make It Wit Chu” and “I Appear Missing” retain their emotional impact, and the likes of “Smooth Sailing” and “The Evil Is Landed” encourage appropriate dancing, but the energy levels significantly dipped for cuts such as “Fortress” and “Regular John“, making for a slog of a second third.

It was also around this time in the set that it became very apparent something was very not okay with Josh Homme.  The towering singer and lead guitarist for the group has found himself as an unlikely icon for contemporary rock music, what with his crooning voice, his unmistakable ginger hair, and his infectious charisma that straddles the line between charming and greasy, yet somehow always delivered with a sense of self-awareness.  But after perhaps maybe a drink too many, and less noticeably so a series of braces wrapped around his arms and legs, his persona became increasingly obnoxious, unbearable and discomforting for all in the room.  

At first, it started with a well-meaning but poorly-worded attempt at combating against sexual harassment at concerts; by the time he started throwing phrases around such as: “girls are the best thing in the world!” and “because guys, we all know there’s nothing better than getting laid”, you could hear the groans in the room.  Even more shuddering was his attempts to get an attractive woman sitting with her partner in the balcony to reciprocate something as innocuous as a wave in the midst of a rant about trying to spiritually release people – he became doggedly determined to get his way, constantly referring to the woman in question as “baby” and demanding her attention with an inebriated air, despite her clear discomfort with the situation.

It was a definite sign that all was not well in the Queens camp.  Looks of exasperation came over Homme’s fellow band members during these tense, prolonged periods of “stage banter” – even more so when he missed his singing cues, forgot lyrics and fumbled his usually impeccable guitar work.  For a band that prides themselves on being tighter than any rock ensemble – and the rest of the group did not disappoint, specifically drummer Jon Theodore’s work being consistently astounding – it was glaringly obvious that Homme was not up to the standard he worked so hard to create.  Repeated whisperings of “they’re never gonna tear us apart… never…” before “Villains of Circumstance” only confirmed that the frontman was in a dark place.  

Thankfully, he seemed to come to on the home stretch, starting with “Little Sister” and leading through the quintessential Queens of “Go With The Flow” and “I Think I Lost My Headache” amongst others.  The fury that was becoming increasingly pent up during the drab middle section was finally released by the band and the crowd respectively, with the mosh pits in the Usher Hall unparalleled except for perhaps when Mac DeMarco visited back in August.

Ending on “A Song For The Dead” long after curfew had been broken, there was an air of triumphalism about proceedings, the final song of the night playing no small part in bringing that about – its guitars jagged, its drums pounding, its tempo and metre changes fabulously arbitrary, you really would be hard-pressed to find a better end to a rock concert.  But the fact that Queens of the Stone Age made it to the last song at all was also a sigh of relief for everyone in the room considering Homme’s condition and outbursts.  

The crowd left with grins on their faces, yet I can’t help but feel if the band are running like clockwork at the moment – maybe the rock and roll excesses they so proudly listed on “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” are catching up with them.

 

Album Review: Queens Of The Stone Age – Villains

By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

Film fanatics! You know those films where there’s airy, dramatic synth as the protagonist walks across a high, barrier-less bridge, to meet their fate? Imagine that they’ve done that, and they’re about to open this grand, tall doorway, and instead of meeting their nemesis or Dumbledore or some bollocks like that, they open the door to find Queens of the Stone Age throwing a raucous, rowdy shindig? That’s exactly how Feet Don’t Fail Me opens their brand new record, Villains. Strolling out of the desert, this is an insanely dancey record that doesn’t put a foot wrong, and with Mark Ronson producing this record, you can really feel the groove as your feet start to move.

Unsurprisingly, firstly because it’s QotSA, the two singles released in the run up to the release of VillainsThe Way You Used to Do and The Evil Has Landed (the song titles don’t get shorter), were was very promising in terms of quality, and the sound that they’d be going for, which feels like an old-school rock sound, with that fuzzy, driven sound that’s synonymous with Queens of the Stone Age, along with epic, eerie and ethereal synth being thrown into the mix. Pretty standard stuff, but QotSA know a thing or two about high standards.

Compact in the number of tracks, it’s just nine songs long, but each one is a blockbuster, an epic or a dirty, funky groove that’s bound to get you moving. It’s been a long time since …Like Clockwork, but Villains makes the four year wait well worth it.

Killer riffs form a foundation for an album that’s actually… a dance album, if that sounds right? Not dance as in EDM, but the sort of dancing you’d find in Grease, except Queens of the Stone Age are the rowdy greaser gang, getting up to no good, punching people with guitars and what have you.

Two of the best tracks on the album are right at the start and right at the end, with Feet Don’t Fail Me being the epic opener designed to get you groovin’, with Villains of Circumstance being the long, slow, emotional ending. It moodily sits at the bar, sipping whiskey, sucking on cigarettes and suffering. It’s not the usual fare you expect from QotSA, but it fits into the same category as tracks such as Vampyre of Time and Memory and Mosquito Song; those heavy, emotional songs that bring a darkness into your mind. Lyrics like “Close your eyes and dream me home, forever mine, I’ll be forever yours” are dark, poignant and tell a tale of someone who’s lost their love.

Ronson’s Rowdy Rock Production has really added something to this album. It’s retained that classic QotSA sound, assumedly because Josh Homme is a man who takes no shit and would have easily chokeslammed Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch through his own decks if the tried to overhaul QotSA, but the funky feel to it, with the long, deep emotional songs turning every song into an epic on its own merits. For instance, Head Like a Haunted House feels like it’s come straight out of the 60s & the 70s, with a real surf rock vibe to it, but has that dirty, fuzzed up QotSA feel to it that funks you sideways.

Un-Reborn Again is a track with weird synth and punching guitar, and is, without getting too excited about this album, is another blockbuster. Hideaway is a driving, bluesy track, Domesticated Animals comes right out of the QotSA textbook, and Fortress is cut from the same cloth as Villains of Circumstance, a slow, emotional track that gets into your head whilst pulling at your heart strings.

More than anything, this is a front to back, side to side, up and down enjoyable album. Perfect? It’ll never be Songs for the Deaf, but it gets incredibly close to reaching that bar. And when a band’s being going for song long, it gets harder and harder to bring out a quality album, something Josh Home and the Dancin’ Queens have been able to do this time.

Pleasantly surprising, full of funk, dance, emotion, riffs and power, Villains might just be one of the best albums you’ll listen to this year. They needn’t worry about their feet failing them.

9/10

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Track Review: Queens Of The Stone Age – The Evil Has Landed

By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

Oh, like The EAGLE Has Landed. Haha. That’s funny.

Back with another single off the imminently arriving VillainsQueens of the Stone Age have treated us to another track, this time in the form of a classic QotSA slow-but-heavy, The Evil Has Landed.

As soon as that dirty, filthy, mmph yeah, octaved riff kicks in, you know that you’re planted firmly in Homme territory. It does, of course, help that Mark Ronson is producing this album, but nonetheless, it’s that familiar sound that feels like you’re getting a Thai massage from Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, and with QotSA, you know there’ll be a happy ending.

Whilst two tracks does not an album make, both this and The Way You Used to Do are very positive signs as to how Villains will look, sound and feel. The Evil Has Landed is a bluesy slow jam, with growing, whining guitar bends aplenty, ideal for getting that slow headbanging on the go as you tap your foot and slide down into the very depths of this song, sort of like a rough riding version of Alan’s Deep Bath from I’m Alan Partridge. Let’s just finish your neck off now with some final suds. Mmmmm!

But towards the end of the song, the slow jam pulls you out of the bath as you’re thrown into a hard ‘n’ rockin’ finish, making it feel like a song of two halves. The bluesy slow jam at the start, and the struttin’ rock-out-with-your-cock out at the end. You’ve literally been given two songs for the price of one here. That’s the kind of people Queens of the Stone Age are.

Not to paint this song in a negative light, but there’s nothing special about this song. There’s no real talking point, apart from a Spanish-ish rolled ‘r’ from Josh Homme towards the end. Sounds a bit like “Rrrrrrow!”. The ending of the song is great, even if the first half was bad, it’d be saved by the end of the song. Whilst there’s no massive talking point about this song, that’s not a bad thing, it’s just a rockin’ track from QotSA, the kind we’ve come to expect from them over the years. It’s just fantastic. It’s a platter of tasty riffs and mini solos to fill you to the brim. It sounds mean, somewhat unapologetic, like it’s about to take a swing at you.

If the rest of Villains sounds like the two tracks that have already broken cover, QotSA may just well top the brilliance that was …Like Clockwork, but at the very least, will bring out one of the most enjoyable albums this year. It might not be special, but The Evil Has Landed will certainly get you up, moving and rocking.

8/10

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TRACK REVIEW: The Way You Used to Do by Queens of the Stone Age

By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

Imagine the film Grease, oh yeah! Everyone’s clicking their fingers and dancing and woo, havin’ a good time! Now imagine the cast of Grease got dropped into an active warzone: everyone’s still clickin’ their fingers but oh shit, there’s a lot of bombs going off. If you can imagine that, you can imagine what Queens of the Stone Age‘s new swingeriffic lick The Way You Used to Do sounds like, the first single from their upcoming album, Villains.

The thing about a new QotSA album, or track, is that it only seems to come round when it’s ready to come out the oven, which means The Way You Used to Do, like many other tracks from Josh Homme and his crew of swingin’ ringers, is a stone cold banger. It really does feel like some fifties swingin’ blues took a load of Mr White’s blue meth and is now running through the town, kicking people in the genitals. If you did that dance where you grabbed your sweetie pie by the arms and swung them under your legs, you’d throw them back up so hard their arms would detach from their body, flying into the band.

The opening to the track really has a ZZ Top feel to it, just some proper foot tapping, finger clicking rock and roll, but with a QotSA garnish, which flows through the veins of this song, retaining the fuzzy sludge that’s become synonymous with Queens of the Stone Age, but at the same time, feeling incredibly classic, like one of those companies that make a modern Jaguar E-Type, and this song is as good as that.

Referring back to an earlier point, a QotSA album only seems to come out when it’s ready, and seeing as …Like Clockwork came out around four years ago, it’s high time we got to experience some brand new Queens of the Stone Age. Perfectly uplifting for the summer sessions, festival drives and balmy pre-drinks, The Way You Used to Do is business as usual from Josh & the gang.

8/10


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