Killer Finales: Albums That Finish With Their Strongest Tracks

Whether your album goes on for an hour or ten minutes, the general rule of thumb is to finish things with a bang rather than a fizzle. Sure, there are a handful of albums that could be considered one of the greatest whose best track is somewhere in the middle (hell, maybe all the tracks are so great it’s hard to pick a definitive one) but that’s not what we’re talking about today. So strap yourselves in folks because today, the good folk of blinkclyro are going to go through a host of favourites that made sure to bow out in the best way possible.

The Velvet Underground – Sister Ray
White Light/White Heat

17 and a half minute long epitome of the legendary band’s sophomore avant garde quest to create something new from the thunderous noise rock they hammer out via tribal drums, buzzing organs and melting guitars – so brutal the producer walked out half way through the recording, but so very good.

Josh Adams (@jxshadams)

The National – Mr November
Alligator

The ultimate send-off for the album which represented a turning point in their careers, the twilight zone of a band on the verge of critical and commercial success. An explosive 4-minute distillation of everything they’ve done up to that point, Matt’s voice nears breaking point as he yells “I won’t fuck us over / I’m Mr November” with steely conviction.

Kieran Cannon (@kiercannon)

Carly Rae Jepsen – Roses
EMOTION SIDE B

WILDCARD BITCHES! Nothing omitting a cheeky wee b-side album, not as long as I’m running this site, which means the once meme turned queen of Partrician can make an appearance with this stunning track. If you’re gonna title two of your albums with EMOTION then you gotta show it and Roses just oozes heartbreak, whether it be the flower imagery or Jepsen’s vocals that at times sound like she has a legitimate lump in her throat. 

-Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

The Clash – Train In Vain
London Calling

Initially elided from the track listing and kept as a secret cut on the record, The Clash opted to close out their sprawling, genre-swinging double album London Calling with a modest breakup song. Detailing the dissolved relationship between vocalist Mick Jones and Viv Albertine of The Slits, the band turn their politically keen focus inward. Easily the most personal song on the album, Jones reaches an invaluable epiphany in the throes of his heartbreak: “You don’t understand my point of view/ I suppose there’s nothing I can do.”

-Sean Hannah (@shun_handsome)

Fatherson – Foreign Waters
I Am An Island

Just sums up Fatherson and their debut in every way possible. Slow, sad moments mixing with huge chorus and drum – throw in the addition of the wee 2 minute hidden track at the end and you’ve got a superb finale.

– Gregor Farquharson (@grgratlntc)

Radiohead – Motion Picture Soundtrack
Kid A

So much has been said and written about the icy atmosphere of that record and MPS continues this to the n-th degree with the chilling organ backdrop, however the twinkling harp that comes in combines with some of Thom’s best ever vocals to bring a beautiful sense of humanity to the record, and “I will see you in the next life” has to be the best album-closing lyric ever.

-Andrew Barr (@weeandreww)

Gaslight Anthem – National Anthem
Handwritten

An album that shows so much ‘in your face’ guitar angst is closed perfectly with a delicate, emotional ballad. It shows the versatility of their sound & that they have much more to offer than riffs, hooks & drum fills – for me, this is the peak of the most rounded album The Gaslight Anthem have ever put out.

-Callum Thornhill (@cal_thornhill )

Biffy Clyro – Now The Action Is On Fire
Vertigo Of Bliss

It (somehow) manages to condense everything that made very early Biffy so special into one song. It has a bit of everything, a frantic string section, some of the best vocals the trio had ever and will ever put down, some gloriously heavy instrumentation and weird as fuck lyrics that were fast becoming a signature part of the Biff’s repertoire. It’s bombastic, loud and by all accounts it shouldn’t work but THAT’S why it’s so good. In a word, masterful.

-Jake Cordiner (@jjjjaketh)

Arctic Monkeys – 505
Favourite Worst Nightmare

At this point in their career 505 was the most emotionally bare Turner’s lyrics had been and still today remains arguably their best song and suitably ends most of their sets with that unforgettable riff sounding better each time you hear it. On an album where the band improved in every way, 505 embodies that change during its climax.

-Ethian Woodford (@human_dis4ster)

Muse – Knights Of Cydonia
Black Holes & Revelations

The epitome of bombastic rock and roll grandeur, from the giant opening stabs to the infamous “No one’s gonna take me alive” bridge/ending, it could be used as a blueprint to end an album. It’s overblown, in your face and pompous, making it the perfect song for the credits to roll.

– Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

Death Grips – Hacker
The Money Store

Described by cuindependent.com as “the moment when all shit breaks loose and all that’s left to do is riot”, Hacker is the point in Death Grips’ career where they realised that they were the shit and wanted everyone to know about it. They’re in your area, whether you fucking like it or not. 

-Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)
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The More, The Merrier: Are Regular Releases Detrimental?

By Connor Moore (@OddRonald)

It seems great at first – you’ve got into a band, you love their sound and they’re constantly releasing music. In a world where many music fans are left waiting years for a track that may or may not be dire, you’ve got a band that’ll keep you more than satisfied quantity wise. They make headlines with new music regularly and stand out as eccentric for it. It makes the urge to see them live too much to bare so you grab a ticket to their next show in DefaultVenue and…they play nothing from that one album you love. Bitter and disappointed, you’re left asking yourself one question: am I getting too much of a good thing? 

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Before we dive in, we need a notable example and who better than the most well known culprit for their regular output King Gizzard And The Lizard WizardThe Australian Psych rockers are renown for crazy antics both in the studio and live, often releasing an album almost two albums a year since 2012. They’ve said this year that five albums will come out, a statement that was picked up by almost all major music press and has certainly given them publicity and a wider fan-base. In 2013 they released Eyes Like The Sky and Float Along- Fill Your Lungsboth of which are interesting psychedelic albums on their own but feel similar together and this reoccurs with many of their same year releases.

Stu and the boys have tried to tackle this with taking each album as a project; especially this year with Flying Microtonal Banana. Focusing on eastern influence and micro-toning, it was an interesting and fantastic project and felt different to their other work. The second album Murder Of The Universe sounds completely different looking at prog rock and almost feeling slightly metal in comparison. News of the third album of the year Sketches Of Brunswick East (due out on August 25th) tells us it’ll be prominently jazz based; yet another different venture. The thing is their most celebrated and widely acclaimed album, Nonagon Infinity came out in 2016 by itself, which for me says a lot. It suggests that albums standalone better, they’re talked about for longer and get more listens over time. It feels as if sometimes a band is forcing new work down your throat before you’ve even properly heard their last project. Only time will tell if this ambitious feat will play into the band’s favour. 

Car-Seat-Headrest-2016.jpg

Car Seat Headrest is another fantastic example of albums properly released in orthodox time proving to be superior. Will Toledo was and still is a Band-camp favourite after released 12 albums on there, yet his big break and most successful work came when he was picked up by Matador Records and spent a good amount of time creating 2016’s Teens Of Denial, the sequel to 2015’s Teens Of Style. Featuring new material that felt tweaked to near perfection and not in the slightest bit rushed, it’s easy to see why many regard it as his strongest work yet – Rome wasn’t built in a day and this album stands as an example of patience working in an artist’s favour.

Image result for ty segall 2017

Much like this piece has foreshadowed so far, there are problems other than quality that regular releases can cause. Ty Segall is a talented American artist who is in numerous bands, such as Fuzz and Broken Bat, and is well known for his output of an album or EP a year since 2008. I got into the album Melted in 2013, three years after it came out, and since then it’s remained my favourite. I’ve enjoyed albums since, such as 2014’s Manipulator, as well as albums before Melted.

A friend and I planned to see Ty Segall in London last year on his tour, yet sadly after seeing the setlist we saw that he hardly played any of the songs that we’d grown to love and got us into him. Instead, he had stuck to more recent releases, especially concentrating on Emotional Mugger. This year he plays End Of The Road Festival and I shan’t be seeing him due to his set clashing with Father John Misty, yet I don’t mind because I know he will play even more new tracks – especially considering this year he’s released a self-titled album and the Fried Shallots EP. This is great for fans who love every venture of an artist but for those like myself who have a connection with a certain album, it can make going to see an artist a gamble that is far too risky.

Related imageObviously this criticism can be made for any band when they don’t play many songs from your favourite album, yet with most bands their releases aren’t so often that an album that came out just a year or so ago are considered “old”. Radiohead don’t play anything from their 1993 debut Pablo Honey apart from “Creep” but that isn’t because it was ages ago or that they’ve released twenty odd albums since, more so that they’ve moved on to something different and undoubtedly better. Despite this, even Thom Yorke and co. can fall victim to this much like they did with Amnesiac which dropped a year after 2000’s Kid A – while it got flack for being “rushed”, it’s still regarded as a great album and does support the argument that it’s not impossible to create regular music without sacrificing quality.

I still find it odd that an artist can be praised for focusing on getting as many albums as possible out rather than working on the one record at a time. At the end of the day, if you like an artist and they release music often, you’ll be happy, but there’s a chance the quality might have fallen due to it being rushed or the setlist when you finally get the chance to see them may fall short for you; clogged with new songs you’ve barely had a chance to listen to. I love all three of the prolific examples I’ve mentioned, the only difference being I got into Car Seat Headrest with his latest release and the other acts with their earliest ones – the main point to take away is that you can still spoil your fans without overwhelming them with constant releases.

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Top 6 Acts of TRNSMT

By Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr

Now that the dust has settled, the rain soaked clothes dried and the hangovers somewhat cured, it’s time to have a look at TRNSMT. A festival that seemingly came out of nowhere with the feat of filling in the shoes of T In The Park, the odds seemed against the Glasgow based event yet it managed to leave everyone in attendance more than pleased. Glasgow Green was the perfect location for a festival like this, not too out of the way and full of beautiful scenery – unlike it’s predecessor, stages weren’t miles apart yet the sound was never compromised by the distance.

Were there mistakes? Of course – sound at certain stages seemed to flicker in quality repeatedly, the Saturday was weak with some misplaced acts and things like food and drink were ridiculously priced. Despite that though, the atmosphere was incredible and was worth every penny. Then there’s the acts who made it all worth the sore feet and being hit by multiple cups of questionable fluids: some are big and some may not have been on your radar prior but regardless, these are the artists that don’t so much need your attention but demand it.

6. The Vistas

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A band that we’ve covered extensively since they first came onto the scene with their hot indie rock single Sign LanguageVistas were oddly low on the King Tuts bill considering the success and crowd they have accumulated. Starting off with the aforementioned breakout track, the Edinburgh pop-rock outfit had the crowd chanting and moshing along to their catchy infusion of noughties indie and their own wee touches. Teasing a new track due to drop in August, Vistas made sure not to waste a single second when it came to their set, playing some classic tunes (yes, a band this new have somehow managed to make a classic tune) at breakneck speed.

With the sun shining down, the band were the perfect way to start the day and with the reaction they got from the audience, I won’t be surprised to see this band become a regular sight at festivals all over the UK.

5. The 1975

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If you had asked me a few years back if I would seriously enjoy a 1975 gig then I would have laughed in your face (then swiftly apologised ofc). Now that the actual scenario has occurred, and now that you’ve seen its placement on this list, I have to admit how shocked I was by the sheer quality of this set. A lot of fans, mainly Twin die hards, complained that they were on before Biffy instead of Twin Atlantic though when you put down the facts (The 1975 are a bigger act, more critically acclaimed and put on a real visual spectacle in their shows) then you can’t really complain.

The 1975 for sure justified their position on the line-up, frontman Matty Healy, love him or hate him, showing why so many people tend to call him one of the best showmen around at the moment. From the clunky, oddly nice dancing to how well his vocals translate from LP to the stage, it was an easy to love gig – even if half the crowd in front of you had their phones up. This in addition to the visuals going on stage as well as the chat between the band and the audience, even a wee cringe line about a ‘ballroom dancing pit’, made the whole performance feel so wrong yet so right. The music itself may range from bland to amazing and back again all too frequently but with the show the boys put on, their place on this list is undeniable.

4. Stormzy

If we’re being transparent, we tried our best not to go anywhere near the main stage today: a bunch of samey, indie rock bands that seem to do more harm than good to the genre they claim to care about so much. Stormzy was on our must see list though and boy, he somehow still blew our expectations out of the park.

The energy of a cheetah and with the same instinct, he put on the show of a lifetime and managed to convert the sceptics in the crowd. There was no moment to catch your breath bar Cigarettes and Cush and even then, most of the crowd were singing along in typical festival fashion. Even when he covered Ed Sheeran, something that on paper should have made us wince in pain, the lord of the mic still made a positive mark – it almost begs the question of whether or not Stormzy can do any wrong. As he closes the set with the classic Shut Up, the flood of charisma and gratitude radiating from the man is undeniable. Now that Grime has solidified itself in the public sphere, it’s safe to say that Stormzy will be at the top of his game for the foreseeable future.

3. The Vegan Leather

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Who would have honestly thought that one of the most exciting sets of the entire day would have came from a wee glitzy group from Paisley? Well, those who were aware of The Vegan Leather before today certainly did and even their expectations were blown out of the water. With frontman Gian-Luca walking out in a wee, glimmering disco jacket wielding his guitar and a silver looking (fake) peacock, the feeling of the band’s performance was firmly set.

Tracks like Shake It, while still in their infancy, still got a reaction from the crowd with a lot of people near the front dancing and chanting along: when you have Talking Heads meets Yeah Yeah Yeahs meet LCD-Soundsystem as the closest to a description of your band’s sound, who can really blame them? Out of the lot though, This House gathered the biggest reaction out of the band’s setlist, even literally bringing the audience to their knees just for that eruptious climax of both the song and the band’s set. If The Vegan Leather weren’t on anyone’s radar before this gig, then they for sure as hell are firmly placed at the top now.

2. Biffy Clyro

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Did you really not expect to see this band land highly on this list? We could talk all day about the quality of the band’s music, recent LPs compared to the original trilogy and what not, but when it comes to the live shows there’s one thing that everyone can admit – Biffy Clyro try to make every gig their best.

Sunday night was no different and you really couldn’t pick a better band to end your festival with – from the pyros to confetti to fucking fireworks, the band didn’t hold back when it came to the miscellaneous splendour that they have a knack for. Of course,the real attraction is the band themselves and it’s hard to think of a time that Simon Neil acted more giddy: “Thanks for not kicking me out of Scotland for wearing sequinned trousers” the front-man quips at one point, managing to keep that down to earth appeal that you wouldn’t expect from a band who have “achieved so much more than you possibly thought they could”. The setlist was exactly what you expect from a festival but there was some gems here and there: All The Way Down has only been played once since 2014 so it was a total shock to see it played last night and There’s No Such Thing As A Jaggy Snake has a similar track record, unsurprisingly making them the highlights of the night.

“This might sound like I’m blowing smoke on your balls, but tonight has been our favourite ever show in Scotland” says Neil towards the end of the set. He may very well be doing so but from last night’s performance, the smiles on their faces and the sweat dripping down, if they’re lying they deserve a bloody Oscar for it.

1. Radiohead

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Here it was, the main event of Friday night. Radiohead‘s reputation precedes them though that changes from person to person: some will naively tell you that they’re a bunch of moaners, others will tell you they’re the best band of all time – funnily enough, both statements aren’t exclusive from the either. As the band began things with a curveball, Let Down starting off the night’s proceedings instead of the tour’s old faithful DayDreaming intro, the way tonight’s performance was gonna go was set.

There were too many highlights to count: Thom Yorke’s infectious da dancing to Myxomatosis had mulitple folk in the audience trying to replicate it, there was the sing-song loveliness of the band’s not so deep cuts like No Surprises and Paranoid Android, beautiful moments where the two infused like during Bodysnatchers that probably had the biggest reaction from the audience even though it’s not one of the best known tracks from the group. Repeatedly thanking the audience throughout the set, Yorke and co’s appreciation for both everyone in attendance and the fans who have got them there was honest and heartwarming.

It seems a bit obvious to have a headliner as one of the top acts of the weekend but if you were there, or caught coverage of TRNSMT, then you know that there really wasn’t anything like this all weekend. “This is what you get, when you mess with us” Yorke sings gracefully on closing track Karma Police: if this is the result then everyone should fuck with Radiohead more often.


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FESTIVAL REVIEW: TRNSMT Day 1

By Liam Menzies(@blnkclyr)

It’s finally arrived: after months of waiting and distortion fuelled trailers, TRNSMT has made its debut. Facing the feat of having to fill in the shoes of Scotland’s quintessential festival T In The Park, this weekend will be facing a lot of scrutiny both in its layout in addition to the music.

Friday was very much the “appeal to the auld yins” day though that didn’t mean it was gonna alienate anyone that was young by any means. In fact, it was arguably the strongest day out of the entire weekend and for good reason too: let’s dive in.

The Vegan Leather

19905019_1053017811499277_8538661191816263813_nWho would have honestly thought that one of the most exciting sets of the entire day would have came from a wee glitzy group from Paisley? Well, those who were aware of The Vegan Leather before today certainly did and even their expectations were blown out of the water. With frontman Gian-Luca walking out in a wee, glimmering disco jacket wielding his guitar and a silver looking (fake) peacock, the feeling of the band’s performance was firmly set.

Tracks like Shake It, while still in their infancy, still got a reaction from the crowd with a lot of people near the front dancing and chanting along: when you have Talking Heads meets Yeah Yeah Yeahs meet LCD-Soundsystem as the closest to a description of your band’s sound, who can really blame them? Out of the lot though, This House gathered the biggest reaction out of the band’s setlist, even literally bringing the audience to their knees just for that eruptious climax of both the song and the band’s set. If The Vegan Leather weren’t on anyone’s radar before this gig, then they for sure as hell are firmly placed at the top now.

9/10

Everything Everything


One of the first bands to play the TRNSMT main stage, Everything Everything had a lot of pressure on them to deliver the goods – they brought them first class by art-pop drone, attaching a big hug and some weird line about a fat child in a push chair along with it. The set’s highlights were undoubtedly the moments where the band played anything off Get To Heaven, an album which converted so many and affirmed the love of fans prior: Jonathan Higgs’ vocals are pushed to their very limits and just when you think they’re about to break, they metamorphose into these grandiose displays of sheer beauty. Some new stuff was shown off that’s set to appear on the band’s upcoming LP A Fever Dream on August 18th and from what we saw, we have more than enough reason to get excited with some dance elements surely being implemented into their latest song’s DNA. Sadly, we’ll have to wait until then to get a better feel of where Everything Everything are going but from this set alone, they’re already at the peak of Kilimanjaro in terms of quality.

8.5/10

Rag N’ Bone Man

The man’s voice has a likeable quality to it akin to leather or caramel. Spent most of my time at the main stage melting over it. Matched with a decent set. – Fraser Nunn (@badknitbearD)

7/10

Belle And Sebastian

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It wouldn’t be a Scottish music festival without having, you know, a Scottish band playing on its first day on the main stage. Question is, who on earth do you get to play before fucking Radiohead? The question was answered by a melodic and resounding “us” by Belle and Sebastian, one act that have managed to make it both here and over the pond though it was clear tonight that they haven’t lost their love of both Scotland and their roots.

Their was the back and forth patter between the crowd and frontman Stuart Murdoch who told stories of him walking through Glasgow Green after being at the old 13th Note and getting on the ferry to Dunoon to give some story to the tracks they were about to play. Oh boy, the tracks: not wanting to take from one album too much, Belle and Sebastian gave a diverse setlist with some unappreciated gems as well as some fan favourites, The Boy With The Arab Strap and Stars Of Track and Field getting an overwhelmingly positive reception by the audience. Even those who may have been in the crowd just to get a bit closer to Thom Yorke and co. were surprised by just how good the act were: hell, even fans like ourselves couldn’t believe the showmanship displayed by a band over two decades into their lifespan.

9/10

Radiohead

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Here it was, the main event. Radiohead‘s reputation precedes them though that changes from person to person: some will naively tell you that they’re a bunch of moaners, others will tell you they’re the best band of all time – funnily enough, both statements aren’t exclusive from the either. As the band began things with a curveball, Let Down starting off the night’s proceedings instead of the tour’s old faithful DayDreaming intro, the way tonight’s performance was gonna go was set.

There were too many highlights to count: Thom Yorke’s infectious da dancing to Myxomatosis had mulitple folk in the audience trying to replicate it, there was the sing-song loveliness of the band’s not so deep cuts like No Surprises and Paranoid Android, beautiful moments where the two infused like during Bodysnatchers that probably had the biggest reaction from the audience even though it’s not one of the best known tracks from the group. Repeatedly thanking the audience throughout the set, Yorke and co’s appreciation for both everyone in attendance and the fans who have got them there was honest and heartwarming.

“This is what you get, when you mess with us” Yorke sings gracefully on closing track Karma Police: if this is the result then everyone should fuck with Radiohead more often.

10/10


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Gig Review: Radiohead @ Old Trafford Cricket Ground

Written by Andrew Barr (@weeandreww)

After playing their first show on home soil in 2017 with a gargantuan Glastonbury headline slot, beloved Oxford five-piece Radiohead returned to Manchester to play a colossal headline show at Old Trafford Cricket Ground. It must be noted that this was not the band’s original choice of venue, they had been scheduled to play 2 nights at the MEN Arena, but after the tragedy that occurred at Ariana Grande’s gig there, the Arena could not re-open in time so 2 nights at the Arena became one night at the cricket ground.

If you know anything about Radiohead fans, you’ll know how religiously they worship the band, which meant many (including myself) had bought tickets for both nights at the Arena, and now the band had to essentially play 2 gigs’ worth in one night. In front of “a lot of fucking people” as Thom Yorke put it (26,000 to be exact). No pressure lads.

What has made the band’s A Moon Shaped Pool tour so special is the unpredictability of the setlist: so many tracks which the art-rock outfit have previously blacklisted are now highlights of the set, which changes radically from night to night. In Manchester, Radiohead relegated usual opener Daydreaming to the first encore, and opened on the long-shelved Let Down, my personal favourite Radiohead track which went down a treat live.


Let Down serves as a sign of things to come as the early stages of the set are dominated by OK Computer tracks, with 3 of the first 4 tracks coming from the 1997 masterpiece. Only after Airbag do the band start to shift through their esteemed discography. 15 Step and Myxomatosis in quick succession allow Thom Yorke to put his guitar down for the first time and start his truly unique dancing, which has reached true meme status now in the Radiohead fanbase, which the smirks and laughter in the crowd reflect.

The setlist seems crafted to stop the show ever finding one groove or mood, reflected by the fact that All I Need’s clap-along rhythm is followed by the sombre and stark (but beautiful) Pyramid Song. An early rendition of No Surprises soon follows, featuring Jonny Greenwood on xylophone, and generates the most satisfying cheer of the night, following the lines “bring down the Government/ they don’t speak for us”, which feels particularly apt in the shitshow of UK politics at the minute.

Towards the end of the main set, the band really build up a head of steam, with Idioteque, Bodysnatchers and 2+2=5 debunking the “Radiohead are depressing” myth and allowing the band to showcase their heavier side (and Yorke to showcase more dance moves, particularly on Kid A’s Idioteque).

The band walked off to raptourous applause, and returned with the subtle combination of Daydreaming and Nude, at which point the band are basically just showing off how versatile their discography is. Speaking of versatility, the highlight of encore 1 is Paranoid Android, the band’s wonky, heavy version of Bohemian Rhapsody, where Jonny Greenwood’s guitar solo is enhanced by psychedelic graphics on the band’s screen.

By the time the second encore comes, you’d expect the band to be in serious “greatest hits” territory but elect to begin with the drum-heavy There, There, from Hail To The Thief. If that wasn’t enough of a curveball, it is followed by unreleased OKNOTOK track I Promise and The Bends (the actual song The Bends!!) which Yorke jokes “This should be a treat, if we remember how to play it”

No surprises, Radiohead pull it off effortlessly and by the time final track Karma Police rolls around, Yorke et al have 26,000 people in the palm of their hands – or in Yorke’s man bun. Anywhere Radiohead want them actually, evidenced by the fact the crowd stayed put after the band had left, singing Karma Police’s iconic “for a minute there/ I lost myself” refrain. You wouldn’t blame anyone for a second if they had.

10/10


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FESTIVAL REVIEW – Gettin’ Glastönbutlered

By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

The key thing you need to take into consideration with Glastonbury is that it is not your common garden music festival. I mean, first of all, it’s actually a ‘Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts’, which is true, because no matter where you go in those trillion square acres of Somerset countryside, there is always something weird and wonderful going on.

Whilst yer da was at home complaining about how Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Sheeran was on his telly with 6,000 other available channels, there were a million other things happening. People were indulging themselves in ancient cultures, sampling some of the world’s hottest and most loved musical and artistic acts, and slightly overweight music writers were permanently sipping beer as they thought of what they were actually going to say about Glastonbury.

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Sorry to disappoint you, but there’s no perfect way to describe it. As soon as you sweep through the sleepy village of Pilton, Somerset, you’re greeted by sights that would put Disneyland to shame, and it really is Disneyland for grownups. There’s so much whimsy, magic and wonder as you stroll about Farmer Eavis’ Gigantic Farm of Banter, and the view at night from the hill on which the Glastonbury sign sits is unparalleled.

In every sense of the matter, this festival is huge, and the big name bands are merely just a side show. If you spend an entire Glastonbury weekend just watching bands, then buddy, you done fucked up.

However, my job for this website is literally writing about bands, so let’s talk about that, shall we?

Thursday

Old Dirty Brasstards

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ga25UP2Lt8

Ooooooooh I’m drunk, and these boys are the perfect accompaniment to any decent session. The tweed-clad army of lads play up-tempo covers of some of your favourite pop and rock songs, opening 2017’s set with a beautiful rendition of QotSA’s No One Knows, followed by Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off, David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, and of course, for the stars of Friday’s show, a cover of Radiohead’s Paranoid Android, all expertly communicated through the jovial means of brass and percussion. Without hyperbole, if these boys played a Friday, Saturday or Sunday night, there’s every chance I’d have sacked one of the headliners off to see them. The Brasstards are the perfect feel good start to a weekend of quality music.

10/10

BANDS SEEN: 1

BEERS DRANK: Got a bit hazy around twenty. Went to Pimp My Fries, then strolling around the legendary South East Corner, on the hunt for some good times. Threw up. A lot.

Friday

Oh God. Is it possible to be this hungover? I can just about move my body and that’s to poke my head out of the tent pod’s little window to retch the last of my pimped fries up. Damn you Pimp My Fries. This Friday at Glastonbury is going to suck even more as in the evening, Radiohead, Lorde, Sleaford Mods, Dizzee Rascal AND Clean Bandit all clash. Fuck this festival and the sheer amount of quality musicians on offer.

Nothing But Thieves

They’re nonces, Jim.

Royal Blood

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8AuiZ0O6Qg

Here’s another hot-as-bollocks band with a second album that’s come out in 2017, which, at first was a bit disappointing, but has grown on me, with live performances of Where Are You Now?, Lights Out, Hook Line and Sinker and Hole In Your Heart strengthening the love for How Did We Get So Dark? 

But it just wouldn’t be a Royal Blood set without jams like Figure it Out, Little Monster, and the almighty Out of the Black closing the set, with a massive cock tease as sticksman Ben Thatcher went into the crowd just before the final riff, only for the camera to pan to LARS FUCKING ULRICH FROM FUCKING METALLICA, maybe nodding to the fact that Lars took over the drums once before whilst Ben got closer to the crowd. However, it wasn’t meant to be, but Christ almighty, what a set!

8/10

The XX

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhZTexVqRCI

I’ll level with you here. I watched these guys from my chair back at the tent which overlooks the Pyramid, because I couldn’t face standing up for a few hours waiting for Thom Yorke and His Gaggle of Weird Lads to show up. But having never really given them the time of day before, they were very impressive, and their airy, synthy sound was the perfect relaxer for a man with a devastating hangover. However, I did have a can. Lovely.

Look, if you’re looking for someone who spent his weekend sober, whilst sticking religously to his itinerary, trying to review as many bands as he could, you’ve come to the wrong place.

7/10 

Radiohead

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGFg0FN2yBU

Bucket list band time here gang. Ever since I got my pubescent paws on a copy of OK Computer and The Bends whilst only really knowing the words to Creep, I’ve wanted to see this band, but in my heart of hearts, I knew they’d disappoint me because of how much I wanted this.

The first bar of Daydreaming and there was zero possible way that Radiohead could disappoint me tonight. I was stood around the WORST people, including a group of LadBible fanatics doing keys of MD, a man in slacks and a fleece taking photos of EVERYTHING, a couple who wouldn’t stop fucking kissing and literally Your Dad singing every word of every song but sulking through Creep.

However, the set was perfect, the notable highlight being the eerie silence during Exit Music (For a Film), turning that song from a 10/10 to a 20/10. Songs such as Ful Stop, Weird Fishes, Lotus Flower, Bodysnatchers and Nude made an appearance because I’m Thom fucking Yorke mate. A friend commented that they’ve got to play Pyramid Song because they’re on the Pyramid Stage, and they did! But probably not for that reason, probably because I’m Thom fucking Yorke mate.

Whilst some bands stick to their vanilla setlists to please all palettes, I can’t even work out what flavour this set was. Aged pistachio or something. But when you get Fake Plastic Trees and Karma Police as some of the final accents, it can be whatever flavour you want it to be. Truly one of the best sets I’ve ever seen. Ever.

10/10

BEERS DRANK: Two! Two!

BANDS SEEN: Four. Ish. 

Saturday

Fresh as a daisy mate. Fresh. As. A. Daisy. I’ve probably had 10 hours sleep, and I’m ready to have halloumi for breakfast. I think I had halloumi. Really it’s hard to work out what happened and when, but one thing I can tell you for definite is that Saturday started with…

Jools Holland and His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6naZMWemDs

No word of a lie, there were fewer bands I was more excited to see this weekend. When he’s not walking backwards in a studio introducing bands, he’s an accomplished blues pianist, bringing boogie to all the land, and with his full orchestra, oh my, it’s a party!

Jools and his guests played a variety of covers, getting an early afternoon audience up and ready, pumping them full of feel good, including a joyful cover of Enjoy Yourself by The Specials, and an appearance from my favourite, the Queen herself, Ruby Turner.

One thing I would recommend is getting tickets to go and see this man. You won’t have a better evening, I guarantee.

9/10

Craiiig David

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuUZh81B27I

Re-rewind, when I run back to the tent for more beers!

Straight off the bat, Craiiig David was a delight to see, playing a mix of orignal garage, soul and R&B classics, plus a few covers and a TS5 DJ set. It also led to the theory that Bo’ Selecta! did actually ruin Craiiig David‘s life, in that when introducing the stone cold banger that is Rise and Fall, he spoke about coming through adversity and how writing music helped him get through some tough times. Bo’ Selecta! came out in 2002, Rise and Fall came out in 2003. Your honour, no further questions.

But needless to say, Craiiig David had the last laugh, as he’s had a number one album, a UK wide arena tour, played the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury whilst Avid Merrion being about as funny as a haemmorhoid being Keith Lemon. So who won that round? Ya boi Craig did.

8/10

Jeremy Corbyn

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVGFi8balOM

“WOAAAAH JEREMY CORBYN! I don’t give a fuck about him, I voted UKIP” – those lads doing MDMA behind me at Radiohead.

Still never know which way Glastonbury leans. Whilst it’s an inherently left leaning festival in that it used to be a CND festival, it is chock full of Tories, and when they try to mosh, they endager the lives of everybody in that pit. That being said, worst you could do is give them a head injury and create a Lib Dem front bencher.

Oh yeah, Jeremy Corbyn.

It was a rapturous reception for the Labour party leader, with the field surrounding the Pyramid packed to the rafters (there are no rafters in fields, but fuck you) for his address, stirring the souls of every person in that field, giving a lucky young boy named Michael Eavis a signed copy of the Labour manifesto. Well jel. Whilst he was preaching to the many converted, undoubtedly there were a few who couldn’t help but be enthused by his message.

1 billion/10

Run the Jewels

Image result for run the jewels glastonbury 2017

Another tent special. Good guys, good sound, good message.

7/10

Liam Gallagher

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xo_GcOsp4k

Oh my God. This guy is literally Your Dad. He’s in his anorak, trying to sing Oasis coverOH it’s Liam Gallagher. If you were at that gig, please let me know if you were also there, purely for him to say “Oh and by the way, this is my brother Noel“.

In defence of the lesser of the two evils, sound quality plagued the Other Stage for the entire weekend, but the sound quality was still dire, as an anaemic crowd tried to pretend they gave a shit about Wall of Glass. Sure he played Rock n Roll Star, Morning Glory and Slide Away, plus an emotional rendition of Don’t Look Back In Anger, but there was little substance to this set, making the fact I ran out of cans even more upsetting. Jesus.

4/10

Katy Perry

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5vp6usKX_Y

Caught the last bar of Roar, because it takes 9 years to walk anywhere ¯\_()_/¯

The National

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBg9xysCYwU

Mad how Jurgen Klopp manages Liverpool and also fronts The National. Top boy all round. Being honest, I’ve got little to no interest in The National and couldn’t work out why they were sub headlining Saturday but the Eaviseseseseses are absolute r/madlads, so you’ve just gotta ROLL WITH IT, GEDDIT?! Oh wait, Liam Gallagher was the last act.

Yeah these guys sounded pretty good, and drew a decent crowd, but I can’t say I’d ever listen to them again.

7/10

Foo Fighters

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2ER7ChXX6s

The more I think about it, the more I realise Foo Fighters is a ridiculous name for one of the world’s biggest bands, but Dave Grohl could start a band named All My Fans Are Cunts and I’d still lap up every note.

Two years ago I was pencilled in to see the Foos twice in two weeks, once at Wembley, and once at Glastonbury, until Dave selfishly broke his leg. Bastard. So this, in many ways, was a redemption gig. Opening the set with Times Like These, dedicated to Florence from Florence and the Machine, who performed the same song two years ago in their headline slot, you knew it was gonna be a good’un.

The thing about Dave Grohl, much like Thom Yorke, means that little to no fucks are given about setlist content. Which is why cats like Cold Day in the Sun, Wheels and Skin and Bones were thrown in amongst the pigeons of All My Life, The Pretender and Monkey WrenchSonic Highways hit Something from Nothing also seems to be a setlist mainstay these days, which is good, because it’s a high-grade banger, along with medium-grade banger Congregation. Brand new banger Run also got a… wait for it! Run out!

The negative points on this report card? No guests. I’ve seen these guys perform motherfucking Under Pressure with goddamn John Paul Jones and christing Roger Taylor before, but there were no special guests this time. But a cover of Under Pressure performed with Taylor Hawkins doing the vocals so that counts, I guess?

The high point of this set? The Everlong ending. Because quite frankly, if anything could ever be that way forever, if anything could ever be that good again, my word.

10/10

BANDS SEEN: Seven. Ish.

BEERS DRANK: So many. At least thirty. Ended up at a silent disco and a communal sleeping tent that honked of incense. N.B. It was a communal sleeping tent, and not an invasion of someone’s tent. 

Sunday

Hungover as fuck, gotta go load the car, so the first band I saw today was in the late afternoon and it was…

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2oqXN06ffE

He’d be the first to admit it, but Frank Carter is a bona fide madman, and his Sunday teatime slot with The Rattlesnake just adds to that theory. Clad with pink hair, white jeans and a sheer white shirt, the punktastic prince angrily wrangled his way through Sunday afternoon, stopping to throw an entire bottle of piss back in the face of a lad who threw piss at him first during Juggernaut. A madman. A legend. An idol. Tried to start a circle pit through the whole of the tent. Killers fans weren’t having it. Mugs,

The beauty of a Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes set is that you’re guaranteed hits, and with Snake Eyes, Jackal, I Hate You and Lullaby being charmed out the snake basket, it was business as usual from an energetic and enthusing set. Another particular highlight was getting a girls-only crowdsurf during I thiiiiiink it was Devil Inside Me, threatening to decapitate any handsy male who tried groping them, stating that we are all equal, to which the Andy Dick looking motherfucker creepily rubbed his hands together when the subject of groping young women came up, and sulked when Frank said that we were all equal. I hope you do get decapitated, pal.

9/10

The Killers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRF0q6z60hc

Best part about where we camp is that we can hear about four stages clearly. I heard The Killers. In this same time period, I had violent diarrhoea. Go figure.

Chic

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2khokvlf_Y

I also heard funktastic disco legends Chic from our tent, which was much, MUCH better, for am I of the opinion that there are few finer guitarists in this world than Nile Rodgers. This set delivered by the bucketload, featuring, Everybody DanceGood TimesLe Freak, fucking He’s the Greatest Dancer, Let’s Dance, GET FUCKING LUCKY, and Good Times. Also featuring a funk off between Nile Rodgers and Jerry Barnes. Jesus Christ.

9/10

Biffy Clyro

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlPt8C5Fnxk

First things first. Biffy should have headline before Sheeran. They’ve got greater pedigree, more albums, more prowess and more fucking everything than someone playing a small guitar. There. I said it. Although someone leaving Chic was saying “I hate Biffy Clyro, he(?)’s shit, ooh, Courteeners are on”. Confusing.

But then again, Biffy were a wildcard. I’d have never painted a band of their demeanour as Glastonbury sub-headliners but they made sure that they secured themselves a second invitation. Definite 2019/20 headliners.

The set was a mix of old and new, opening with Wolves of Winter and ending with Stingin’ Belle,whist throwing Who’s Got A Match?Bubbles, Medicine, Re-Arrange and Animal Style in between those two delicious slices of bread. Also they threw in Puzzle album track 9/15ths because why not? It’s fucking brilliant.

Seriously though, Biffy delivered in a big way, and proved their worth as certified festival headliners.

9/10

Boy Better Know

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_BzqnpyVM8

My relationship with BBK is strained at best. Whilst I remember the days before JME and Skepta had albums and were world renown, I just can’t seem to enjoy a live set, and neither did Glastonbury, as barely anybody showed up. To be honest, the only song I really recognised was That’s Not Me, leading me to realise I’m quite behind on the times with BBK, but will forever remember playing songs like Serious and Doin’ It Again on repeat. Sometimes, the past is best left in the past.

6/10, I guess.

WEEKEND VERDICT

Yet again, this magical festival met my expectations and exceeded them. I had a fantastic weekend with quite literally, all my friends, having a laugh, getting drunk and mooching around the numerous exciting and interesting areas, sights, sounds and indeed, smells, this festival has to offer. Sure I could’ve spent my weekend religiously seeing a lot of bands, but there’s no fucking fun in in that. I could’ve been up, bright and breezy to see someone I’ve never heard of who might be alright, but I’d be on my own, or I could’ve gone for a greasy breakfast and had a few cans with my friends.

What I’m trying to say is that music is beautiful, it’s wonderful and it’s lifesaving, but it’s meaningless if I can’t enjoy it with my pals. They’re the real headliners of any festival, and the highlight of any set. I had a fucking great weekend and had gotten my money’s worth by Wednesday evening, because we were all having a laugh together.

So here’s my final review:

My Pals

A great set from the 14-piece roast-and-booze ensemble, notable highlights including Broken Chairs, Stone Colding Beers, Dancing to Bassline Junkie in the Tent and of course, Saturday Night Piss Up. Could never ask for more from an act.

14/10


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Do OK Computer’s Missing Pieces Fit?

Written by Andrew Barr (@weeandreww)

It goes without saying that Radiohead’s seminal OK Computer needs no introduction. The record’s place on countless “greatest album of all time” lists speaks for itself. However, rather than awards or reviews; one of the greatest tributes to the record has come from Radiohead themselves. The Oxford five-piece have been praised for constantly innovating over their 30-year career without ever standing still. However, when their landmark OK Computer turned 20 this year, it caused the groundbreaking Radiohead to look back for possibly the first time in their career, to release the OK Computer OKNOTOK reissue.

OKNOTOK’s tracklisting begins with remastered versions of the legendary 1997 album, but, in all honesty, the difference between the “remastered” album and the original is seemingly non-existent. However, the second half of OKNOTOK contains the reissue’s real treats – 11 b-sides from the OK Computer sessions – including 3 fan favourites from the band’s shows around 1997 which never saw the light of day as studio recordings – I Promise, Man Of War and Lift.

I PROMISE

This track was originally performed in 1996, along with other tracks which would make it onto OK Computer, when Radiohead supported Alanis Morisette on tour, and, until recently, was only known to fans via shaky phone-shot videos. With the studio version’s recent release, it’s easy to see why fans have been demanding it for 20 years. I Promise is perhaps one of the Oxford group’s simplest tracks from a songwriting perspective but revels in this simplicity. Guitar strums are complimented by beautiful strings as the track builds to a crescendo, capped off by Yorke’s stunning vocals at its very best, pledging alternate wedding vows to a partner in arguably his most romantic lyrics – “even when the ship is wrecked…tie me to the rotting deck, I promise”.

MAN OF WAR/BIG BOOTS

Man of War (previously Big Boots) dates as far back as 1995, around the time that OK Computer’s precursor, The Bends was released. However, this track differs from I Promise in that it received a semi-official release; a lo-fi version of the track could be heard in the Radiohead documentary Meeting People is Easy. The “proper” version though remained unheard until OKNOTOK. Despite the fact the band see it as a Bends track, it actually has more in common with the tracks which were selected for OK Computer. Man of War is almost overflowing with paranoia – a feeling which personified OK Computer – from the eerie, finger-picked guitar that opens the track to the cynical lyricism – “Search the whole world/ but drunken confessions and hijacked affairs/ will just make you more alone”. Not one to listen to with the lights off.

LIFT

Arguably Radiohead’s most popular forgotten track, Lift was also played on the Alanis Morisette tour, and was apparently the song which garnered the best audience reaction – surely that would guarantee its inclusion on the album? Where Radiohead are concerned, it doesn’t. Ed O’Brien recently confessed that they chose not to release it as it would have made the band too popular. To be fair, it’s easy to see why: the track’s intro seems to be the blueprint for Yellow by Coldplay (but that’s none of my business) and the chorus feels anthemic, a sound which Radiohead have always avoided. However, it also has mainstream appeal for a reason; it’s a fucking excellent track. Thom’s vocals in the verses have a soft lullaby quality to them, enhanced by more strings, and the chorus truly soars, underpinned by one of Ed O’Brien’s best renditions of his first name in the entire Radiohead discography.

With the release of OKNOTOK, Radiohead have offered even more insight into the legendary OK Computer sessions – and a glimpse into what the album could have been. Of the 3 unreleased tracks, Man Of War feels like it could have fit most snugly on the record, with its eeriness reminiscent of the nightmarish Climbing Up The Walls.

While it is a stunning track, I Promise feels a bit too simple and straightforward to have fit on OK Computer. It’s easy to see why people who aren’t fans of Radiohead would view Ed O’Brien’s comments on Lift as pretentious in the extreme, you have to agree it has “hit” written all over it, and the band wouldn’t have wanted a record as good as OK Computer overshadowed by a hit single, especially given Radiohead’s track record of relationships with their big singles (you know the one).

Regardless, Lift, Man Of War and I Promise are 3 unbelievably good tracks, written and recorded by a band in a purple patch on steroids – and deserve their own legacy, even if they differ from the almighty legacy that OK Computer has earned.


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Top 20 Tracks of 2017 (So Far)

While the end of year lists tend to give albums the most significance, these records are nothing but the sum of their parts which, in this case, is the songs. It doesn’t matter what the purpose of these tracks are, some are deep layered entities while others are just straight up lovable bangers, all that needs to be considered is that these songs have made 2017 one of the most exciting and interesting years of music that many of us can recall. Without further ado, let us go down the list of all the singles that we’ve had on loop and may or may not have been signing in the shower every morning for the past few months.

20. Royal Blood – Lights Out

While the album this track appeared on didn’t go down a treat with us, it’s undeniable that Lights Out hit a chord with one or two members of the blinkclyro team. It has all the traits that made Royal Blood one of the surprise big acts when they dropped their debut back in 2014 – that’s really all that needs to be said.

19. I Don’t Wanna Waste My Time by Joji 

No one was really expecting the mind behind the disgusting and ludicrous Filthy Frank to hit out with one of the most beautiful tracks of 2017 but Joji has went and surprised not only us but a lot of the music community.

REVIEW HERE

18. Manchester Orchestra – The Gold

An artist exploring two themes (heartbreak and family qualms) that have been done to death in an intriguing way (using the metaphor of mining work) isn’t something we expected to see pop up on this list but when the band in question is Manchester Orchestra, we really can’t complain.

17. Amber Mark – Lose My Cool

With Amber herself commenting on this track representing the stage of anger in the grieving process, Lose My Cool delivers this catchy yet simple production that lets the lyrics be the star while giving your ears something lovely to relax onto as well. A lot can be happening at once but considering the reaction of  bottling feelings up in this sort of situation, it couldn’t be more perfect.

16. The Kite String Tangle – Selfish

With a stylistic and extravagant use of synths and beats on display, The Kite String Tangle’s return seems to stand out even more with the recent surge of humility and stripping back. Transparent lyrics give the track an extra edge, helping it to differentiate itself from the countless others artists in the IDM genre. 

15. Sampha – (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano

Without even considering the tearful story behind the track, this was the last song Sampha played to his mother and was fitting performed at her funeral, Sampha uses nothing but the piano, his voice and a handful of near silent beats to deliver one of the greatest ballads not only of this year, but of this decade.

REVIEW HERE

14. Pronto Mama – Bottom Feeder 

Any of the 13 tracks that appear on Scottish rockers Pronto Mama‘s debut LP could appear on this list though it just so happens that it’s the intro track that we’ve happened to choose. Visceral lyrics, varied instrumentals and one of the best vocal performances you’ll hear all year, it’s the perfect way to introduce yourself to the Glasgow act.

REVIEW HERE

13. Sorority Noise – Disappeared 

Euphorically upbeat, yet meshing perfectly with the lyrical themes of mourning and death, Sorority Noise exercise their impeccable ability to approach a variety of situations in a way that only they can. Much like many of the tracks on YNA_AYT, Disappeared is gone as fast as it appears yet leaves an imprint in the few minutes its around.

REVIEW HERE

12. Father John Misty – Total Entertainment Forever 

Starting off with one of the best yet weirdest lyrics ever conceived (Bedding Taylor Swift/
Every night inside the Oculus Rift/
After mister and the missus finish dinner and the dishes), Father John Misty makes his mark right out the gate on Total Entertainment Forever, one that he definitely cemented on his recent LP Pure Comedy. Full of social commentary about technology and more, the track proves to be a witty, funny but equally smart song: something that, in this age of turmoil and tyranny, is definitely needed.

REVIEW HERE

11. The National – The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness 

The final refrain of System, “I can’t explain it any other, any other way”, sees Berninger stretched to the limits of his vocal capacity, similar to his end-of-performance outbursts on stage. If any of this is a reliable indicator, Sleep Well Beast, the band’s upcoming LP, threatens to be their best recording yet.

REVIEW HERE

10. Radiohead – I Promise

Both one of the oldest and most recent tracks from Radiohead, the song is one of three previously unreleased from OK Computer, I Promise easily nests itself into the band’s discography with Yorke’s haunting vocal performance and stripped back instrumentals. It’s a track full to the brim with devotion, leading to one of the band’s most romantic songs to date – whether or not that was Yorke and co’s intention.

9. Alt J – In Cold Blood

Channelling a lot of what has made the band’s past releases so great, In Cold Blood is brash, sleek and beautiful all at the same time with an unshakable familiarity to Alt J‘s sophomore LP. It’s just one taste of the unique cohesion of their various pop styles that Relaxer does so well.

REVIEW HERE

8. Wolf Alice – Yuk Foo

Venturing into mostly new territory vocally, Rowsell is known for the occasional scream on tracks such as Giant Peach, but on Yuk Foo, she is all out aggressive; the track relies on her to pull off the sentiment of frustration and she nails it. Wolf Alice deliver one of the most frustration fuelled songs of the year – the band may finally be shaking off the indie rock label for a more punk heavy one and we couldn’t be happier.

REVIEW HERE

7. Stormzy – Big For Your Boots

The best grime track on Stormzy‘s debut LP is lead single Big For Your Boots, which opens with a sample guaranteed to send shivers down your spine. This precedes the chorus which crashes in with Stormzy reminding any challengers that he has size 12 feet and “your face ain’t big for my boot” with a lightning-quick flow in the verses guaranteed to send festival crowds into raptures.

REVIEW HERE

6. King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard – The Lord Of Lightning vs Balrog

You would think with the band’s ambitious feat to release four to five albums in 2017 alone that King Gizzard would run out of ideas or fuel by now. Lead single for Murder of the Universe titled Lord of Lighting is enough to put those worries to rest, delivering the most insane song of the band’s career so far, referencing past releases not only by name but style as well.

5. Remo Drive – Yer Killin’ Me

Instrumentation from the intro of this Remo Drive track is reminiscent of bands like Gnarwolves or a heavier The Front Bottoms, the middle of the song sounds like it was influenced by Foals, the end sounding NOTHING like the rest of the song and vocal lines influences from bands like FIDLAR. However, the song still breaks down to be an emo anthem in the end: there aren’t many bands who could throw all of that into an album, let alone one song, but make it sound so effortless and downright beautiful.

REVIEW HERE

4. Frank Ocean – Chanel

Even though Chanel is suspected to have been written post-Blonde it still plays with the same themes, a lack of conventional ‘verse-chorus-verse’ song writing (with the exception of returning lyrics and motifs) and lush instrumentation. The most interesting part about this song is that even thought it was written within a year of the release of Blonde, it feels like it wouldn’t fit on the last album. The song from the start is a beautiful mix of piano, bass and jazz-influenced percussion, (drums and percussion being absent for the majority of Blonde, showing a progression in instrumentation).

REVIEW HERE

3. Francis & The Lights feat. Chance The Rapper – May I Have This Dance?

Remember during the intro when we mentioned that some tracks are just straight up tunes that don’t need analysis to shine? Well, here’s the track that inspired that: sounding like something straight out of a Disney Movie outro, May I Have This Dance is one of the purest songs to drop all year with one deliciously wholesome verse by none other than Chance The Rapper.

2. Lorde – Green Light

One thing that should always subtly remain with you when listening to Lorde‘s music is her age, and what she’s achieved by it. Around the age of 13/14, she was laying the groundwork for her debut album, Pure Heroine, and by the age of 16, she smashed into the face of the earth, becoming an instant success. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Green Light is an utter tune.

The chorus has a dancy, nineties feel as she’ll “get [her] things, but [she] can’t let go”, before segueing back into the sombre, minimalist piano beat as Lorde sometimes “wakes up in a different bed, too”, with the lyrical theme subtly, maturely and perfectly covering the protagonist’s heartbreak & the route to mending that patching up that poorly ticker.

Closing out with a beautiful, yet simplistic synth-style solo with the energetic choral backing vocals weaving in between it, Green Light offers a frank and honest account of a break-up, with the partying that comes as part and parcel of setting yourself right with a maturity, depth and energy that only someone like Lorde can offer you.

REVIEW HERE

1.Kendrick Lamar – Humble

Comparing yourself to a religious symbol is usually bound to result in you becoming an infamous figure. If you need an example then just take a look at Kanye‘s Rolling Stone Cover where he not so subtly recreated the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Unsurprisingly this made Mr West public enemy number one in the eyes of many Christians, something which has continued when he repeatedly announces himself as a god.

So as Kendrick Lamar donned pope robes for the music video accompanying new single Humble, his second track in the space of a week following The Heart Part 4, you would have expected him to maybe take a second to reconsider his attire. Throughout this track, though, Kendrick isn’t concerned with the thoughts of others as we get an abundance of braggadocious bars that the Compton rapper hasn’t really channeled since his second studio album Good Kid, m.A.A.d city. 

Accompanied by the punchiest 808 bass line you’ll hear this year along with a catchy piano riff, this is the first witnessing of Kendrick‘s departure of the jazz-fuelled sound that can be found all over To Pimp A Butterfly and untitled.unmastered. Not only this but the lyrics seem to channel a lot more of the narrative that carried the aforementioned Good Kid, m.A.A.d city with Kendrick spouting lines about his youth surrounded by gang affiliations and cheap grub before he begins to brag about money and sex with one of the wittiest albeit cheesiest lines of the year so far (parmesan where my accountant lives).

While some may feel a bit light changed by DAMN., though not us, Humble cements Kendrick as not only the greatest rapper of the 21st century but a serious contestant for the GOAT title.


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Looking Back At…OK Computer by Radiohead

By Harry Sullivan (@radiohedge)

Twenty years of OK Computer. THE OK Computer. Arguably the most influential alternative rock album of the nineties, and the top of many fans’ ranking lists. Where does one start?

Well, Airbag probably. A hugely underrated track inspired by a nasty motoring accident, the album kicks off with a bass riff and what sounds like sleigh bells, with the Radiohead stamp of uniqueness coming in the form of a punchy (albeit repetitive) beat from drummer Phil Selway and vocals which seem to be about an octave higher than anyone else the genre from lead songwriter and all-around god Thom Yorke.

The song fades out, being replaced by that iconic four beep transition into one of the greatest songs – nay, compositions – of modern music: Paranoid Android. It is described as Radiohead’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ since it is effectively a slightly-longer-than-usual track split into three distinct smaller tracks, and the fact that it’s their best-known song apart from Creep (though arguably leagues above it technically and as a song to listen to) – in fact, BoRhap is cited by the Abingdon five-piece as key inspiration in the songwriting process. The resultant sound is a surreal composition that is very technically skilled, containing seventeen-time signature changes. The accompanying music video is probably their weirdest, too, with the final scene involving a high-level politician head and torso sitting in a tree being fed fish by a bird.

A particular highlight is the following track, Subterranean Homesick Alien, which offers an outsider’s perspective on the human condition against Radiohead’s formula of a strong beat and some very open guitar work. Next is Exit Music (For a Film), written for the 1996 film Romeo + Juliet, which has one of the biggest crescendos on the album and is described by Thom as being something he was particularly proud of, the first track they had written which he ‘could turn up really loud and not wince at any moment’. Let Down is certainly not a letdown, providing one of the most emotionally engaging moments on the album, with the point around the two-minute mark where the drums are their strongest and Thom’s voice begins to quiver being a poignant struggle-not-to-cry moment.

Karma Police is arguably the best track on OK Computer, finding strength with simplicity, musically speaking and in the video, with ‘this is what you’ll get…when you mess with us’ being one of the most memorable lyrics on the album. It’s difficult to know what to think about Fitter Happier – at first listen it’s so jarring it’s almost unlistenable but after you take the time to get through it the lyrics (if you can call them lyrics?) are the most potent on the album. Conversely, Electioneering is much more jaunty, being the most energetic of the album and having one of the most political of messages. Climbing Up The Walls features one of Thom’s most harrowing vocal performances, and Phil’s use of toms where snares would usually be is particularly offputting. No Surprises is another big song from the album, performed in an almost lullaby-esque way, and echoes the strong simple style of Karma Police. The final tracks, Lucky and The Tourist both have relatively large crescendos during their chorus but overall are two of the more forgettable moments on the album.   

Radiohead were one of the first modern bands to create short compositions to as opposed to just songs that were jammed to, exemplified by OK Computer. Lyrically, OK Computer is a very clever critique of modern society. In fact, there is an element of foresight to this album that makes it more applicable in today’s climate than ever before, with themes such as political corruption and consumerism prevalent all through the LP. Musically, when compared to their previous efforts of Pablo Honey and The Bends, it is the first moment they break out from the generic of-the-era alt-rock style and became their own unique band. Following the 1997 release, Radiohead embarked on The OK Computer Tour which brought about exhaustion in the band. This caused the band’s entire mindset to change, with Kid A written almost as a reaction, turning out to be a huge change of direction but also a work of genius. And of course, you can’t mention OK Computer without mentioning the link to their strongest work to date: 2007’s In Rainbows, which forms half of the famous 0110 playlist.

A key point about Radiohead is that their work is so varied but counterintuitively, still niche. It is impossible to judge the band on one song alone, instead, their work begs to be appreciated as a whole, be it through a single album or their entire discography. This is why, when you ask someone whether they’re a Radiohead fan the answer is unlikely to be ‘yeah, they’re alright’. Instead, a more realistic reply will be either ‘haven’t listened to them’ or ‘YES I LOVE THEM OMG MARRY ME THOM ❤’’ because they’ve listened to their all their albums and B-sides a hundred times each. Some may argue that this lack of immediate accessibility is a reason to dislike the band as it is a barrier to getting into them in our busy 21st-century lives.

A better perspective to have is that Radiohead, OK Computer in particular, is the much-needed segue to a greater appreciation of music.

9/10


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TRNSMT Just Announced Their Lineup And The Internet Is Happy

By Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)

 

In stark contrast to the sub-par reception to the Reading and Leeds announcement, the reveal of the very first TRNSMT festival line-up has been received with sheer positivity. With the festival being hyped up as a replacement to T In The Park, more on that later, TRNSMT have one-upped the long lasting Scottish festival with three stellar headliners.

T In The Park’s organisers confirmed in November that the festival would be ‘taking a break’ in 2017 after a series of problems in recent years on site at Strathallan Castle and while TRNSMT is set to fill in the gap, DF Concerts boss Geoff Ellis insisted that TRNSMT should not be viewed as a “replacement” for T. Ellis hopes that eventually TRNSMT could exist side by side with T and make Scotland a real festival force and with the acts announced for the 7th-9th July, there’s a real chance of that happening.

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Friday will be fronted by musical pioneers Radiohead who have long been rumoured to be making an appearance and will not only be doing so but bringing along homegrown critical gems Belle and Sebastian in addition to London Grammar (meh) and Rag N’ Bone Man, packing in more diversity in just one day than R+L managed over two. The following day will see Kasabian, previously announced as a UK festival exclusive for R+L, lead Saturday night’s events with a whole host of acts such as Catfish & The Bottlemen and Circa Waves serving that niche indie rock/mod crowd that T In The Park slowly but surely started to pander to in its final years.

It wouldn’t be a proper Scottish festival without a native headliner and who else but Biffy Clyro would be chosen to take on the challenge having played out a stunning show at Bellahouston Park last summer. Not only that but The 1975 and Twin Atlantic will be preceding the bearded rockers, making sure that festival goers will be getting more bang for their buck considering many would pay upwards of £30 to see each act separately.

Not only will there be heavy-hitters but Glasgow will be staying true to its roots by displaying up and coming acts. “Something that we’re going to be doing at TRNSMT as well is the King Tut’s stage, which is going to be an emerging artists’ stage. To me that’s important because the King Tut’s venue has played an important role in the music scene in Glasgow and in Scotland,” Ellis said.

The reactions have been enthusiastic to say the least, as shown by twitter users here:

https://twitter.com/bbloodorange/status/826527713141858305

 

 

https://twitter.com/ellliot_wood/status/826517969081622528

With many seeing TRNSMT as a must go festival along with Parklife, Glasgow could be well on its way to cementing itself as not only a haven for gigs but festivals as well.


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