Wednesday, February 29, 2012

VIDEO// Mirror Lady: For Good / You Left Me

Mirror Lady have been shown a lot of love on Music Dissection, and for very good reason! The Los Angeles band records a brand of New Wave inspired bedroom pop that seems to gleam under a diffused lo-fi light, distorting slightly as dream refracts reality. It's a brilliant thing indeed, and one that easily warrants this double-barreled post. We can thank Indie Ambassador for the first half, a stripped back session recording of an unreleased number 'For Good'. Four and a half minutes of electronic-infused guitar, it's a song that reveals a humble story of love and all its beautiful belmishes. Lost love is a reoccuring theme for an incredible amount of music, but Mirror Lady's unique tone and soft sincerity sticks in your head for the longest, gentle percussion recalling the swelling tide of "Silver Lake"...

The next number was released earlier this month and goes by the name 'You Left Me'. An equally melancholic song, bigger instumentation builds a wall of ever-flowing sound. A few prolonged notes send shivers down your spine, recalling one of my favourite songs from last year, Perfume Genius' 'All Waters'. Threatening to crack but forever standing firm, an unpretentious vulnerability seeps from somewhere deep within the very fabric of the track. Neither the technical ability nor the stunning lyricism let such passion through. It is, I think, the lead singer's ability to convey without effort, the subtlest, and most fragile of emotions.

MP3// Being There: 17

Being There has returned triumphantly, with the triumphantly understated '17'! As the title suggests, there is a smattering of teenage angst here, mooting with melancholic nostalgia the flawless image of a seventeen year old girl. Wailing guitars and emotional drums back lead vocals that stun. Breaking into whispers, they compliment beautifully the restrained nature of the lyricism, the instrumentation revealing in all its passionate scope and classic execution Being There's true feelings. For a song that runs for just two and a half minutes I have to admit I was captivated from the off. Brilliantly constructed and composed, stream the wonderfully unassuming '17' below, then just let the sound smother you in satisfaction!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

REVIEW// Warm Weather: Looking Through EP

Last year we were treated to the brilliant EP 'Dances', a five track debut from Los Angeles and its resident pop trio Warm Weather. Fast forward half a year and here we are with the band's sophomore release 'Looking Through', and you can be sure of a full review rather than the undeservedly short paragraph we dealt its predecessor! The EP is composed of four heart-warming songs, layered with Beach Boys harmonies and easy comparisons to both Grizzly Bear and the infallible Paul Simon. Folk instrumentation and certain pop nous prevail, dipped in a unique sugary eccentricity and undeniably restrained rock passion! A surprising amount of variety emerges, without ever busying the final product more than is necessary. Dynamically, there is a subtle progression from 'Dances', and Warm Weather most definitely wear it well. My desire for a full-length album has, after this, just rocketed!

The EP opens with the relatively short 'All My Life', the vocals fluctuating between low and high in a manner not theatrical, but reminiscent of that same musical musing. Backed by a set of beautiful harmonies and the plucking of a humble guitar, the lyricism is stunning in its sweetness, an aesthetic helped by shimmering percussion and a reverberated veneer! A climactic finish leads into 'Stay', the fastest number on 'Looking Through'. Indeed, it is from these three minutes the title of the EP was plucked. Guitars and drums support with almost Mediterranean zest the soothing vocals, the catchy refrain a stand-out feature. An incredibly thick musical interlude harks back to The Who, classic rock lent a folk sensibility rushing into your ears. 'Bull Run' follows, fast arrangements contrasting the slower singing perfectly. An penultimate gem, the harmonies truly come into their own and a completely unnecessary but completely wonderful finish marks the beginning of the end. 'A Promise' succeeds 'Bull Run' and pushes the boat out regarding individuality and those trademark layered vocals. It's final six seconds of nostalgic piano is a little odd, but something about its nonconforming, soft rebellion is both refreshing and immediately intriguing!

Available for whatever price you're willing to pay, 'Looking Through's mere eleven minutes are enough to sustain a lifetime love. Genre and influence-blending, Warm Weather are a band that execute such experimentation with the utmost sincerity and grace, which is one of many reasons why they are worth your attention! Stream 'All My Life' down below, then get a copy of both 'Looking Through' and 'Dances' from Warm Weathers Bandcamp here!

Monday, February 27, 2012

REVIEW// Gorgeous Bully: The Young Obese EP

   Plymouth's music scene is close to non-existent, but that hasn't stopped Gorgeous Bully from blooming. The man behind the moniker is Thomas Crang, and 'The Young Obese' is his fourth effort abaft of such a pseudonym. His first release on Art Is Hard records, these five tracks succeed three self-promoted EPs, and retain a certain lo-fi, grunge-pop charm! Shoegaze sensibilities meeting garage rock aggression meet a fervorously fun pop nous, and the amalgamation of sounds is executed well. My complaints are with the word charm. This EP doesn't really bring anything new to the table, but its that nostalgic and carefree attitude that stops my attention drifting. It doesn't drive me to captivation, but then doesn't repel any contemplation either. It is, in all its satisfying fuzz, quite unbelievably charming!

Opening with 'Never Cry', you can almost hear the seaside hidden in Crang's vocals. Phil Spector's wall of sound is built up around him, trapping you in a memory of summers past. A peppy guitar melody and beautifully dissonant drums back question after question, few answers emerging from ambiguous and child-like "Ba da dam"s. Its lack of a specific event means its easy to simply fall into and groove along with, and that's what makes it so great! 'Stamp' follows, an upbeat reminiscence offset by the refrain "I just want to tear it down". A sense of lost love prevails, a sad melody and toned down singing quietly despondent. The rocking nature of 'Who Do You Think You Are' jerks you back to life however, noise and a pounding drum beat supporting reverberated vocals that recall the Arctic Monkeys. There is a pop song in among the riffs, crushed into the mix with an abrasive hand yes, but there all the same. A Yuck influence and comparisons to both Bos Angeles and Art Is Hard label mates The Black Tambourines can be picked out from between its sheets, and ultimately, from the final two tracks as well.

The EP was released physically as a cassette in a handprinted cigarette-pack style case but it looks as though the small quantity has already sold out. While 'The Young Obese' is promising when it comes to full-length potential, its not for my repeated listen. Five tracks of charming lo-fi rock might be enough for some, but for me, the vague, hazy recollection made me squint, a little too much. Stream 'Never Cry' below, then explore the full EP here!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

MP3// Anne-Marie Sanderson: Endless Eyes

Cumbria's Anne-Marie Sanderson just has one of those voices. Her acoustic guitar pop is soothing, folk sensibilities seeping into the song's very fabric to form a track so beautifully unassuming and humble and uncomplicated you cannot find fault. Her vocals are perfect, intertwining with every unblemished guitar pluck and provoking with every surreal lyric and every dreamy thought a sense of complete satisfaction. Backed by the ethereal notes of a shy female voice most likely her own, Sanderson sings with unparalleled ability. Every one of the words here is relayed with meaning, flowing into the next and often prolonged in an innately mesmerising fashion. Slight, shudder-inducing changes in pitch recall voices like Norah Jones or Laura Veirs, though perhaps stronger. There are no breathy whispers on this track. Instead we're given a vocalist who is truly, undeniably comforting. The build that leads into the conclusion is executed without batting an eyelash and it's this that highlights what I love about Anne-Marie. It is without doubt, her effortless ability to make me feel. Go and stream 'Endless Eyes' above, then grab a free copy at Sanderson's Bandcamp page!

MP3// Cheerleader: Do What You Want

Where I am cold is not an oddity. After the winter blues and the siege of woollen garments that we've had to endure over the past month or so, todays sun and heat offered pleasant respite from the chill. And what better soundtrack to such delight than the ever-delightful duo Cheerleader. Donovan Rex and Max Friday's latest number 'Do What You Want' is an escapade of child-like proportions, whistles and handclaps remeniscent of a childhood on the shoulders of life, the hero of every adventure and the vanquisher of all and every evil! Looking back with a grin, these two guys have crafted a tune as memorable as any, subtle undertones throbbing with their trademark nostalgic longing. Perfectly executed and, with undeniable ease, perfectly uplifting! Stream 'Do What You Want', and let out that sigh!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

REVIEW// Kapowski: Boy Detective

    We first caught wind of Kapowski back in November, when the Perez Brothers sent over their spectacular video for the track 'Section 8'. The first number to drop from the Oakland quartet's debut album 'Boy Detective', those four minutes retained a romantic individuality that refused to leave my head, off-kilter drums and an enticing keyboard melody harking back to a long-forgotten era. And yet I remained, eerily focused on the future in a manner quite unnerving. Staring out into an impenetrable fog only to make out grinding, hulking shapes ignorant of everything bar a goal I failed to acknowledge. Kapowski's utilisation of piano and drums and organ and bass makes for a varied listen, the absence of any guitar an intriguing exemption. Taking note of the band's influences, their vintage inspiration is both admirable and undeniable, reaching back into the early 90s to pull George Gershwin from his piano and set him alongside composer Harold Arlen and The Kink's Ray Davies!

The lead singer and lyricist Jesse Rimler's vocals are similarly fascinating, recalling artists like Conor Oberst and The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne. It's quirks and lilts carry with ease the bands unique perception and smile-inducing indie-pop ambition, aching with an innate emotional anguish. While Rimler often sounds fun and carefree, as though at any moment some surprise might be sprung upon him, subdued tears seem to well up often too. That incredible contrast between happiness and despairing sentimentality is the equilibrium in which Kapowski exist. Its a place all their own, and one 'Boy Detective' lets you explore!

Preceded by 'Look Alive's beautifully warped piano warble, 'Section Eight's magnificently antiquarian percussion and spaced-out keyboard melody stun. Layered over vocals that become progressively entwined within the sound, breaks of cinematic suspense keep you forever on the edge of your seat. Musical theatre makes its influence known on the track 'Picture of Health', slow and yearning and backed by a humble big-band. A brilliant finish feels both personal and epic, the vocalise reverberated and truly, unbelievably wondrous! 'Late Last Night's darker, hypnotic theatricality emerges from its melodic beat. High notes and fluctuating horns and deep harmonies contrast perfectly. Come the midpoint however and the video stalls. The tape crackles before lurching back into life for another eccentric round. 'Errata's evening musings shiver behind a frosty window, street-lights an amiable warmth as they glow. A blues hum and slow jazz groove prevail, tender and poignant and a comfortable lead into 'Boy Detective's concluding numbers.

The drums and whistles of 'The Underling' float over keyboard phrases as classic as any we're heard so far. Backing singers hum to certain moments of the perfectly constructed track, a distorted scale bringing reality crashing around our ears. The lyrics take the form they've always taken, focused on story-telling and all the better for it! The jaunty 'Shut-In On the Go' continues with the style, faster percussion and avant-garde organ sections an unusual amalgamation. A slow mid-track interlude refracts the vocals, now bubbling below a layer of silky vibration. And so we come, sadly, to the final song. 'Reel to Reel' opens with a fantastical sonic swirling, a lone piano plucked out from its imagination. Moving and benevolent, its lyrics ponder the humorous but watch with sad eyes. A stunning trumpet concludes the song and indeed draws the entire album to its last blameless breath. 'Boy Detective' is superb, orchestral instrumentals humbled by Jesse Rimler's voice and the band's collective ability to transcend seemingly time itself. It goes without saying that you should stream 'Picture of Health' and buy the full record from Kapowski's Bandcamp here!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

REVIEW// Trailer Trash Tracys: Ester

  Trailer Trash Tracys first caught my ear in 2010 when I happened upon No Pain in Pop's compilation from the year before. Their track 'Strangling Good Guys' featured, and luckily did nothing of the sort to smear the fascination I had with what was an intriguing number. It was comfortably nostalgic, reminiscent of bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain and Still Corners, but also a herald to groups like the infallible Smith Westerns and Best Coast. A whole year later and we were handed 'Candy Girl', another stunning track. My anticipation for a full-length debut grew, Trailer Trash Tracys' vintage experimentation the seemingly perfect sound with which to push forward a musical career. A number of influences and an artistic sensibility emerge on 'Ester', but for me, the latter is the outfit's major shortcoming.

It is often cited that being accessible and being experimental are mutually exclusive values but in many cases the presumption is wrong. I've often highlighted Radiohead, but I'll do it again. 'Kid A' managed to do what many people though impossible. Throw something truly different out there and do so in such as way that people 'got' it. Trailer Trash Tracys fail to grasp this concept. Instrumentals following a 'solfeggio scale' are densely layered on the album, indulgent and pompous and refusing to recognise that having a structure does not detract from the uniqueness of a record. Throughout 'Ester' the band's tendency to overcomplicate a melody and over think a musical phrase makes such elements dry and dull and lacking in any sort of immediacy. Simply put, the LP sounds as though whatever potential the tracks had has been removed by constant alterations and the resulting holes patched by layers of lo-fi production and unnecessarily flatulent effects. It's disappointing.

Perhaps I'm being overly critical though. There are a few nice numbers on 'Ester', one of which is the re-recorded version of 'Candy Girl'. Just as infectious as it was when it was first dropped, the drum beat carries a consistent rhythm, the shoegaze guitar moody and subtle and forgiving. Susanne Aztoria's vocals swell and swoop, at their sweetest and at their most surreal. Evocative of Emily Kokal from Warpaint, there is a self-assurance here that appears lost in the majority of the tracks and their frustrating and indecisive nature. In the number 'You Wish You Were Red' there is a pleasant simplicity, the reverb not overly annoying as it softens a ballad-like lament. Strong guitar and bass allow the music to in many ways, simply breath, which is a formula I wish the band had followed a lot more.

While 'Candy Girl' survived its inclusion within the album, I fear 'Strangling Good Guys' did not. Sapped of its vigour by numerous futile revisions, the initially refreshing drums have been drowned in reverb, the guitar suffering a similar fate. The psychedelic 'Rolling Kiss the Universe' and its complexity brings a headache rather than an immersive and thought-provoking listen, the cluttered 'Dies in 55' offering no respite. The distractingly fast guitar on 'Engelhardt's Arizona' creates a nice contrast between vocals and instrumentation, but it's an accidental combination. The remaining few numbers did nothing for me. 'Starlatine' and 'Turkish Heights' brood pointlessly, indistinguishable lyricism musing their own warped sensibilities, and 'Black Hole's similar form lacks any relative variation.

All in all, 'Ester' is a bold opening statement for Trailer Trash Tracys to make. Whether or not they fail in relaying it, it is a bold statement. Sometimes their subtleties balance their complexities to form truly intriguing numbers, the instrumentation interesting and worthy of any listener's attention. Other times the band's need to constantly refine means some of the better elements are left on the cutting room floor, the resulting song flaccid and dreary in its execution. The fact that the album took two years to record reflects their indecision and makes you wonder. Is it worth waiting another couple of years for a sophomore LP? Stream 'Engelhardt's Arizona' below and grab the full album from the Tracys website here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

REVIEW// Mike Marlin: Man on the Ground

    Londoner Mike Marlin battled depression and alcoholism. An unpleasant fact, but a fact all the same. I cannot begin to fathom what life was like for Marlin, suffocating sadness an ever-present threat, but from the experience something wonderful has emerged. The wall of desperation stretched far, its abhorrent proportions a barrier to recovery. Marlin's new album 'Man on the Ground' is an acknowledgement of sorts, more so than even his debut. It admires the strange, twisting dimensions of depression's great hurdle, commending the sharp jutting contours of its vast, snarling fa├žade. Through adulation of the immeasurable, the incomprehensible can be comprehended, and its this heartfelt recognition that life isn't always kind that makes 'Man on the Ground' so fantastic. Its intelligent combination of the somber and the sincere is offset by a gloriously hopeful sense of unparalleled euphoria, a mixture of the disappointingly realistic and its acceptance forming a refreshing blend.
Released twelve months after his debut album 'Nearly Man', 'Man on the Ground' shows a number of small imperfections. Rather than a negative however, sometimes I listen and an innate human quality seems to emerge. An infrequent repetition of certain sonic phrases lends both a monotony and a comforting consistency, rough moments a reflection of life's lows rather than a lack of flawless refinement. Marlin's lyricism is a key feature of the LP as well, so the occasional predictable rhyme and unusual line is easily overlooked. It is probably true that given time to mature, 'Man on the Ground' would have flown above any criticism, but in being on the ground the relation you can have with the music is multiplied ten-fold. There can be bad errors and there can be wonderfully human ones. Marlin has recorded eleven tracks that try and succeed in ensuring they limit themselves to the latter.

A multitude of influences reveal themselves within said eleven tracks. The National's post-rock aesthetic and use of piano is emulated. Johnny Cash's lyrical style and David Bowie's voice are all recognisable within each number, Elbow's love for orchestral instrumentation layered over both. Lou Reed, Badly Drawn Boy and a number of other inspirations seep into the music too, but surely this leaves little room for individuality? Marlin's management of his influences however is an intelligent one, the amalgamation of sounds mixed in such a way as to deter the label 'tribute act'. Instead, a unique authenticity emerges from these layers, the complexity of their combination providing a style and personality all their own!

The LP opens with 'The Magician' and its downbeat vibe. A ticking sound carries Marlin's vocals, gruff and despondent, yet eerily familiar. They warm, climbing and building into an incredible chorus, harmonious and somewhat smile-inducing. 'The Town's 80s-inspired synths back catchy lyricism, melancholia a wistful constant. Verses are broken by deep, evocative interludes, a reverberated sample drowning out the finish only to coax forth the next number 'Steve McQueen'. A tribute to the late and great American actor, something about the words hits home. A subtle, teary-eyed instrumental fluctuates between vocals as humbling as ever. The personification of death is wondrous, if nothing else. 'Lost And Found's overwhelming emotion and gut-wrenching builds are followed by 'Left Behind'. Its vintage guitar and wild west sense of loss and emptiness mark the end of 'Side A'.

The start of 'Side B' is 'Hymn To Disappointment', one of my favourite numbers on the LP. Contrary to its name, these three minutes are highlighted by their upbeat nature. Hopeful and reflective, the fast-paced build from 2:07 is fantastic, adding a great deal to the hook that follows it. The catchiest refrain on the album, it leads into 'Better', The National and their influence at its most noticeable. The 'Girl From Chelsea Bridge' succeeds 'Better' as the bitter-sweet reminiscence of a past relationship. Nostalgic and yet strangely content, the slow drum and soft piano of 'Heart Beat' are subtly different. A more immediate sound rests upon your ears, warm and relaxed instrumentation mooting a floundering romance. I think the next song 'Grand Central Station' is relatively formulaic, and therefore it washed over me. It isn't bad per say, but suffers from that spate of repetition I mentioned before.

The final track 'Travel The World' draws 'Man on the Ground' to a perfect conclusion. An illustrious and suitably gratifying number, Eleanor McEvoy swaps violin for vocals, forming a duet as heartbreaking as a hopeless fascination. Strings lament a loss, the lyrics telling of unwilling rebellion. It's a truly beautiful song, and a truly stunning finish to the album. It's a record that outdoes Marlin's debut in nearly every way, despite being just twelve months older. Varied in all its influences but consistently magnificent, hear a sample from 'Steve McQueen' below, then go and download 'Man on the Ground' from Marlin's website here!

You might have noticed that this is the first post after a short and completely unexpected hiatus. Life seemed simply get in the way. Nevertheless, I apologise for not replying to any emails, the pile of which is now inexplicably large. Thank you to everyone for not unliking the blog in my absence, and for your graceful patience! You can expect a lot of reviews!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

VIDEO// Peachcake: You Matter

This will be the third time I have posted about this track on Music Dissection but what can I say? 'You Matter' is the opening number to Peachcake's EP 'This Wasn't Our Plan', and is absolutely fantastic. The video's playful nature reflects the summery carefree bliss that at this time of year seems but a distant memory. An interplay of synths, smiles and stunning pop sensibilities prevails, hooks and beats abound. Shot by the guys at Image Armory the film follows Peachcake as they shoot their own music video. It isn't as mind-bending as it sounds but instead offers opportunity for plenty of laughs, backed by a truly soul-warming tune! Be prepared to tap your feet and whistle along before streaming the film above, and if you live state-side, 'You Matter' premiers on the radio today, so check the stations here! If you like what you hear you can grab the full EP for free at Peachcakes Bandcamp page!

REVIEW// Chocolate Robots: P i Z z A f A c E

     If there was ever a record cover to catch your eye, this would be it. Batman and ice-cream and a frog all make an appearance on Chocolate Robots' cover for their second album 'P i Z z A f A c E'. A Canadian outfit composed of Matt, Mutt and Marco Giresi, the album's ten tracks were recorded via their fathers old tube and tape equipment, left over from his time as a 70s Italian singer songwriter. As if this band's backstory could not get any better it seems the three brothers work in their parent's pizza shop! Its almost too good to be true, but fortunately the Chocolate Robots live up to every one of my great expectations, crafting a record carefree and brimming with a psychedelic surf-pop sensibility worthy of acclaim. An innately irresistible image is conjured up, of three men completely content. Satisfied with life, an evening sun seems to wash obsolete the mere idea of sadness. Heartbreak and a certain amount of nostalgic reminiscence are explored lyrically, but are never in yearning! Rather, the instrumentation and execution of such lends the album an equilibrium, looking back at the past but never aching to depart from the present. Chocolate Robots' ability to recall events absent languish or lust is what makes 'P i Z z A f A c E so utterly magnificent!
     An abstract daydream devised during long summer afternoons, the album opens with a fun and unabashedly immature number. 'Impossible Princess' runs through a few different sounds, the innately electronic playing off off-kilter drums and interludes of slow teenage melancholia. Vocal harmonies pop in and out amongst sprinklings of fairytale-inspired and smile-inducing sonic detail! It plays with an over-used lyrical theme, but Chocolate Robots manage to inject it with an eclectic and eccentric individuality, so much so it feels both new and yet spectacularly vintage. 'xxCross The Linexx's build from whimsical vocal quirks to a commanding and reverberated refrain-fuelled finish leads into 'Young Luff', a track similar to the opener in more ways than one. 'Funny Feeling's tangible Black Lips inspiration is a wonderful one, attenuated singing and a perfect chorus brushing a garage-rock sensibility with a light-hearted tone. The drum phrases and instrumentation are technically brilliant, a lone guitar bringing the song to a delightful conclusion. 'dumb angel's enigmatic musings make 'P i Z z A f A c E's halfway point an intriguing one, coaxing forth the second half well! A Barry Manilow influence seems to hide in amongst the verses too, which is phenomenal!
     The sixth track on the album is 'Cotton Candy', a wistful number brimming with thought out lyricism. It lacks the energy needed to jump out at you but acts as a comfortable delay instead. 'Soul Shoes' rocks along, subtle chiptune melodies hiding beneath whirring effect and interesting compilation. The backing vocals here are particularly compelling, thrown into the mix to produce a track more definitively experimental. 'Ratical Powers' reveals and uncovers an interesting combination of electronic vocal alteration, lo-fi groove and crystal clear singing. Believe me it works. Easy comparisons to the Black Lips number 'Mr. Driver' can be made, before the captivating builds and stunning lyricism of 'Purrfect Sound' take hold. 'Summer Krushhh' closes 'P i Z z A f A c E', and does so with absolute ease. I tip my hat to these three guys, because I've had a blast with the record. Every strained note. All the charming vocal lilts. A seaside sample and a foot-stamping hook feel so adequate as a conclusion it really is unbelievable! Unique and authentic and undeniably enjoyable, go ahead and stream 'Impossible Princess' below before purchasing the full album over here!

Friday, February 10, 2012


After reviewing and loving Frid's EP 'Serving Time' I was thrilled at the opportunity to throw a few questions his way. Born in York and based in the Manchester, Frid's down-to-earth nature has resulted in a fantastically unpretentious and unassuming interview, revealing a man humble and honest and quietly aspirational. "An introspective and passion-fuelled lyrical conquest", his debut EP set about laying foundations for an undeniably long career in hip hop and one Music Dissection will be following all the way! Read the interview below and check out the EP afterwards. Thanks to Frid, and the team at Wenlock Music for making this interview possible and for executing it in the most graceful of manners! 

Music Dissection: First lets get the usual questions out of the way! How did you get into the music industry, and who or what inspired you to do so?

Frid: I have written poetry since I was at school and it's pretty much the only thing I enjoyed about school. The poems started becoming a little 'edgier' the more that went on in my home and personal life and without even realising, when I started getting more and more into Hip Hop, they naturally started becoming more like bars with a hip hop influence and it snowballed from there, really. My whole life inspired me to start writing verses and songs and then, later, recording them. The people around me in everyday life continue to inspire me. My little girl is only 8 months old and she is why I do this mainly. When I'm in the studio and start feeling tired, or frustrated that I'm not hitting a verse correctly or whatever, I just think about her and remember that I'm doing all this for her, and things seem to fall back into place again. She's a massive driving force. I just keep working to make sure that when she's 18 she is like; "Yeah, Dad made some awesome tunes when he was younger", rather than "That's properly fucking embarrassing!" [laughs]

MD: Would you say those inspirations influence your work? If not, who or what does?

Frid: Oh, without question. I mean, there is so much personal content on the last EP, that it's pretty much an audio autobiography, just, in reverse chronological order - which was intentional, by the way. There are so many references in the content of that project to things that have played a massive part in me becoming the person that I am, that it's pretty impossible to say my inspirations don't influence my work. Maybe they do a little too much sometimes, but I'm a passionate person and I wear my heart on my sleeve, so I have no problem with being 100% honest in my music. It's the way I vent, and sometimes things happen to me in my life and I'm like; "okay, if I don't speak about this, I'm going to go insane". I like that people find it easy to relate to elements, too. I got a tweet the other week from a fan who is having a hard time of things and she said that my song 'Hold On' was a real inspiration to her at that point and that it was helping her stay strong for her little girl... that kind of thing means more to me than any album sale, any money that comes my way, whatever. That there is real life stuff, and to be reaching someone on a level like that is incredible.

MD: Who are you listening to at the moment?

Frid: Well, I know this is going to sound stupidly self-obsessed, but I'm listening a lot to myself at the moment. Inbetween every project, I leave the project for 2 or 3 months and don't listen to it once, and then come back to it and listen solidly for like a month. That way, it's easier to spot where I maybe could have done something a little better or how I'm going to improve on things and expand as an artist for the next project. I know roughly where the next project is going already. I'm also listening to things that are in the works still; my guest spot on my mucker Uppacut's new album, etc. I've been honoured enough to have been played some of the new music he has coming, and people do not want to miss out on it, because it's ridiculously good. Aside from stuff that I'm involved in, I've recently re-ignited my love affair with 3 Doors Down, who are one of my most favourite bands ever. I never know how to answer this kind of question properly though, because I listen to a lot of stuff really.

MD: What are your plans, album-wise?

Frid: Well, The 'Serving Time' EP still needs promoting, and we are about to start filming for the videos for the singles from that, so there will probably be 3 singles to emerge yet. I've got a collaboration project with 7 Deadly from Grand Rapids which I've recently started working on, but that might take a little while because we want to make sure that we make the most of both the UK and US elements and approach it right. More immediately, I'm already working on a new, shorter EP which I intend to be the closing off of the Serving Time EP - almost the credits to the movie, if you know what I mean? Also, myself and Uppacut have started work on a joint EP which I think will probably be ready to drop around the half year point of 2012. I've been writing for it properly for three weeks and there are already probably four keepers in the locker. I'm starting to get very excited about that. Of course, Music Dissection will be the first to know about it, because you are so ontop of the game. In fact, I was shocked to hear you ask me, rather than already know before even I did! [laughs]

MD: We at Music Dissection loved your EP 'Serving Time'. Are we going to hear an evolution from that passionate and very immediate sound in the future?

Frid: Thank you, it was certainly an incredible and overwhelming review. Erm, [pauses], no, you're never going to hear me move away from a passionate approach, because I have too much passion for what I do. I mean, I could write a song about something completely fucking random, and it would probably be garbage, but I write about things that I love, so I have no choice but to pour everything I have into it. That said though, you will certainly hear an evolution with the Frid and Uppacut release, and maybe even slightly more so with the Frid and 7 Deadly release, because I've upped my game lyrically. I was talking to Uppa about this just a few days ago, and we're both keen to try a couple of 'experimental' things with the joint release, and I'm learning more about actual song construction, not just song writing. You know, more how to actually compose a piece, like, normally I might say "right, there's the verse, I'm happy with that, so we go into the chorus" but now I'm looking at a bigger picture and rather than just going with it, I'm assessing it like "Hmm, maybe we don't just go into the hook, maybe this is a bridge section?", you know what I mean? Maybe I haven't explained that very well, but either way, there is certainly an amount of evolution, but my fans don't need to worry about me 'doing a Black Eyed Peas'... I'm hip hop now, and always will be.

MD: Are there any new ideas, lyrically or musically, that you want to explore in the future?

Frid: Yes. but I don't really want to tell you what they are just yet because a lot of ideas I have sound amazing in my head, but actually, in reality, are really terrible. But, you'll hear the final product of the better ideas soon enough, of that I assure you.

MD: Is there anything on your EP that you dislike, or would like to change given the opportunity to revisit it?

Frid: No, not dislike. Never. I'd have scrapped it before it saw the light of day if that were the case. The only thing that I do wish, is that I had maybe been in a position to do it to that standard a few years ago, because, I truly believe that I'm the sharpest I've ever been now, and I can only improve from here, but it concerns me that I should maybe have been hitting this place two or three years ago, because there is going to come a time when I can't or won't do this anymore, and there is so, so much which I want to get off my chest and get out there that it's untrue. I can't rap forever, which is why I work so hard - I'd never be able to forgive myself if I got to 60 and thought; "Bollocks! I meant to try and tackle that such and such topic!"

MD: Flipping that on its head, what was your favourite moment recording 'Serving Time'? A collaboration you particularly enjoyed?

Frid: Wow, that's a massive question. Um, there is a hell of a lot about the EP that could be placed in the category of 'favourite moment', but there are a few stand outs. When we recorded 'Dear Daddy', I sat in the studio listening back to the vocals for the first time, and for the first time heard all the elements in one place, other than my head, and I just started to well up and got more than a little choked up. That song is 20-odd years of pain that I've never spoken about in the wider audiencce, and it took a lot for me to get it down on paper and then even more to put it out. But I knew that when it was, that particular subject in my life was boxed off that little bit more - never forgotten, but could be put to one side now. I think one of the other favourite moments was during the recording of 'Set it Off'. I ripped through the third verse and just stood there almost in a trance, like a fighter psyching himself up, the adrenaline was flowing big time and I was taking a minute to bring myself back. Then I heard the sound engineer's voice through my headphones and he just said, "Frid, that was a little bit special. you've found your sound...". I knew then we were onto a winner. As for collaborations, probably everything I've done with Uppacut. He and I bounce off each other so well - you know, we like the same music, similar artists, similar sense of humour, we're from the same City, his kids play with my kid etc, and that makes a massive difference to the music. Everything just feels more natural, and we're in a position where if I send him a new track, or run an idea by him or vice versa, we're comfotable enough with each other to just be like, "no, that's really wank mate", and that helps the music be the best it can be.

MD: What are your aspirations?

Frid: To be respected by my peers and to continue to be creative. I don't neccessarily want a huge fanbase and the riches of stardom - although I might not actually turn that down if you offered it to me - no, to me, the respect of peers and fans from keeping my musical integrity is the most important thing. That, alongside continuing to grow and push myself are the most vital things to me.

MD: Finally, we're very fond of the question: If you weren't an artist, what would you be and why?

Frid: I'd be what I am now - just an ordinary, working class guy. I'd still be my baby's Daddy, I'd still go down the pub once in a while to watch the football, I'd still get excited over stupid stuff like the release of the new FIFA every year, I'd just be 'Steven' on a full time basis. I'd actually like to think that if I wasn't behind this microphone, I'd be behind a different one, doing what you do, reviewing music and interviewing artists... I'd like to think I'd still be involved in music somehow, because, simply, I love it too much to not be. And I hope that comes across in my music to the listener, because it means a hell of a lot to me!

Find my original review of 'Serving Time' over here, and the nine-track EP itself over here!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

VIDEO// Exlovers: Starlight Starlight

I posted this outstanding track back in November, and I thought I summed it up pretty well! Read my quoted review below and keep an eye out for Exlovers forthcoming album 'Moth'! The video is a compilation of nostalgic clips sewn together with heart and an innate sense of love and passion and perhaps more profoundly, a tear-inducing feeling of sadness and loss. The realisation that times when you felt truly happy might someday fall from memory!
Exlovers. A London-based quintet. Four guys, one gal and just some seriously blissed out bedroom pop, lathered in shoegaze sensibilities, sweeping symphonies and humbling lo-fi charm. I was emailed 'Starlight Starlight' by two separate people, and I wasn't dissapointed with what I found! The first track from their debut album, it's currently being given away for absolutely nothing at all, so it's a delightfully easy reccomendation for me to make. Kicking off with some furiously summery drums, riddled with mellow vibes and bathing in that pool of satisfaction we all wish to find, Exlover's singing slowly emerges. The combination of the male and female vocals is a technique not unknown to the indie-pop outfit, but it seems on 'Starlight Starlight' that such harmonies has been perfected and an edge refined. Original.

VIDEO// Field Mouse: Glass

We covered and praised Field Mouse's track 'Glass' last month, but raise your hands in a fit of joy, for the official video accompaniment has dropped. Contained within an email was also a February 28th release date for the Brooklyn band's forthcoming 7" 'You Guys Are Gonna Wake Up My Mom', which, taking into account the fantastic quality of 'Glass', looks set to stun. The video itself consists of one long cut of Rachel Browne's decidedly pretty face being buffeted by tinsel and bubbles and wind, but I am not complaining! Stream the four minute video up above and then check out our coverage of the brilliant number here!

VIDEO// Gel Roc: Why's Are Real

The seventh track and third video from Gel Roc's LP 'Beautiful Tragedy', 'Why's Are Real' is a retrospective look at a relationship that broke down. Switching between colour and an attenuated grayscale, something innately soothing emerges from its nostalgic air, telling a story and stitching together the tear of a broken heart. Gel Roc's vocals carry aggression and passion in equal measure, lending the track and music video an honesty and human emotion worthy of admiration. Stream 'Why's Are Real' above and check out my review of that LP 'Beautiful Tragedy' (which is an outstanding, and extremely gratifying listen), here!

Friday, February 3, 2012

REVIEW// 1929indian: The Dreaming EP

      Australian quintet 1929indian recorded their debut EP 'The Dreaming' back in June and are all set to let it out upon the public! Five tracks and twenty minutes of unrestrained genre blending, its an EP that takes note of a number of sonic sensibilities, compounding them into an effort unsurprisingly unique in its execution. A New Wave ethos prevails, post-punk subtleties twisting from its complex and cascading pop-rock aesthetic. An experimental air hangs about the release, emulated by the band's ability to merge it with an accessibility often sorely missed by many on records that carry the label. The result is an EP that retains the catchy essence of pop, hooks and refrains abound, but perfects and refines it with scope and imagination that while not revolutionary, feels brilliantly fresh and admirably individual! Recorded with producer Dave Hammer, who worked with the fabulous Die! Die! Die!, there is an accomplished balance here between both an immediacy and nostalgic retrospection. It is an incredible emotional reminiscence, powered along by passion and technical ability!
    Opening with 'North into the Sky' and a solid chord progression, 1929indian slowly build upon that initial reverberated guitar melody, bass and vocals and attenuated drums falling into the mix. Surreal singing relays lyricism that muses the uncontrollable nature of love, a fantastically blue tone lending the track a forlorn and gloomy aroma. A climactic finish lead on from a memorable refrain, throbbing and growing before dying to a strong and glorious conclusion. Noticeably more upbeat, 'Women in Cages' follows, drum phrases pleasant in their technicality. Beats and keyboard synths throw an electronic twist in 1929indian's path without steering them off course, a suitably epic end leading blissfully into '0.1Lux'. Darker from the off, the vocals are at their best here. Backed by a steady beat and stunning keys that give the whole song something innately intriguing, I can't help but love it. The chorus is swamped by a guitar that harks back to an age forgotten by many. Dripping in reverb and refracted by an ethereal abstraction, that hook remains, persistent in its resolve. One layer after another of vocals flit between foreground and background, forming a scape too beautiful not to explore. The relatively short 'Six O'Clock Swill' endeavours to follow in its predecessor's footsteps, proceeding with a heavier electronic sensibility. A rebellious and outstanding penultimate number, prolonged notes and sinister lyricism made me shudder!
     The fifth and final song doubles as the title track, leading the EP to comfortably brilliant completion. Immediately deep and strangely soothing, a militaristic drum beat supports a set of vocals similarly profound. Built up into a Florence and the Machine-esque harmony, powerful and evocative and yet still intrinsically danceable. It's a chilled out finish to an EP that sets my anticipation for 1929indian's debut full-length extremely high. 'The Dreaming' however has placed within me a confidence in the Australian outfit that will not be quelled! I suggest streaming '0.1Lux' below and heading to the SoundCloud, to hear the EP in full!