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By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 31st January 2017 at 6:00 pm
Incredibly, Manchester alt-rock veterans Elbow will be releasing their seventh studio album at the end of this week. ‘Little Fictions’ will be available starting Friday from Fiction Records. Just ahead of the release of the new LP to the wild, they’ve revealed a promo video for ‘Gentle Storm’, starring frontman Guy Garvey, whose friendly, avuncular face morphs into a variety of the band’s friends, including Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch.
This video was directed by Kevin Godley (of Godley and Creme fame), who’s been getting around lately. Godley also directed Tom Chaplin‘s claustrophobic promo for ‘Still Waiting’, which coincidentally also features a monochromatic color palette. Garvey has explained that the song reminded him of Godley and Creme’s ‘Cry’, so he decided to take a chance and ask Godley if he would be keen on directing their newest video. Luckily for Elbow, he agreed, and you can watch the fruit of their labour below. Check out this link to get to all of TGTF’s past coverage on the Mancunians.
We love a bit of Frank Carter here on TGTF. Well, I do at least, so a new album from Carter’s best project to date – Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – was always going to cause a bit of excitement. But was it worth all this getting hot and bothered over? Absolutely.
‘Modern Ruin’ presents Carter and co. at their absolute best, Carter displaying the full length of his ability. Interestingly for music from the man, it’s a far cry from a brutal incessant constant attack: it ebbs and flows like a good record should. For instance, take the album opener ‘Bluebelle’, a reserved and slow track dredged in reverb with Carter singing softly below the music. You wouldn’t expect this approach to begin a second album, but it works a treat because come track two, ‘Lullaby’, the brute force of The Rattlesnakes is put into action. Written to his daughter, musically its not quite as aggressive as much as it is melodically encapsulating. But lyrically Carter creates a personal touch that you probably would never have expected from him.
‘Snake Eyes’ is another powerful attack, but with a bit more spirited life to its lyrics, such as the contextualising line in the choruses, “what did I do last night and will I be ashamed?”. It should be noted Carter’s lyrics mostly come from larger stories that he writes, so this isn’t Carter necessarily exposing a sordid lifestyle, though also it may very well be. The idea of a writer is to paint a vivid picture that blends both reality and fiction, something he definitely has nailed down. Carter has the ability to craft words that are both violent yet deeply seductive, brutal with an edge that you just can’t help but fall for.
While this trend continues through ‘Vampires’, it’s on ‘Wild Flowers’ where the loving assault kicks up a notch. It’s super melodic in the chorus and the lyrics are particularly romantic, a strange concept if you’re used to Carter’s back catalogue with Gallows and Pure Love, but it flows so naturally. ‘Acid Veins’ and ‘God is My Friend’ are a bit closer to what you would’ve come to expect from a natural follow up to the Rattlesnakes’ 2015 debut album ‘Blossom’, if that’s what you’re really looking for. But that’s not what this album is about. This album is about Carter doing whatever he wants because he can, and we love it. What we’re hearing is his fully formed ideas coming to life with the power and focus of a freight train.
After the two previous tracks, there’s just a little bit more absolute savagery in less-than-a-minute long ‘Jackals’, which is a torrent of drums before breaking into a rapid punk track and then simply stopping. Perfectly placed, this small brash punk attack takes us nicely into the more developed Rattlesnakes sound. Concerning the war-torn state of the world, with poignant lyrics such as “killed in beds where they should be safest, they’re all mothers and fathers and children too” and “I’ve seen a woman buried to her neck, stoned for disbelief, I’ve seen a man thrown from a tower because he loved another man” show Carter will not only approach the harder-hitting topics but will call out all the bull the rest of the world idly lets happen. Soundtracked by a building crescendo, the power behind the words is met by the band’s aggression. Straight after this, he hits us again with another emotive wrecking ball in ‘Real Life’. It’s soon one-upped by title ‘Modern Ruin’, a fast paced track with Carter at his best: screaming and backed by music faster than you can say the word ‘brutal’.
Album closer ‘Neon Rust’ is perhaps the icing on this solid cake. It’s a tune that begins in the most reserved way of all of them on this record, with Carter’s vocals being tender to the point of unrecognizable. However, they build into a crashing repetitive post-chorus, with Carter howling, “we don’t belong in a wasteland”. The album ’Modern Ruin’ is perhaps the best encapsulation of the last few years in the real world. Filled with frank (no pun intended) lyricism and crashing music, it’s a solid album that deserves to be marked as Carter’s magnum opus. Though he’ll surely come back even stronger, it’s important enough to be taken as a stamp of our social time.
‘Modern Ruin’ by Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes is out now on International Death Cult via Kobalt Label Services. For more on Carter and his band on TGTF, including an interview Steven did with Carter at Leefest 2016, go here.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 31st January 2017 at 10:00 am
Header photo by Kane Hibbard
To say we’re getting inundated at TGTF Towers with emails and media related to SXSW 2017 is putting it mildly. It is, incredibly, now less than 2 months away. You’ll be pleased to know all of us here at TGTF are busy beavering away at plenty of amazing previews to get you geared up for the big week in Austin, which will post in due time ahead of the festivities in the Lone Star State. And don’t worry: even if you won’t be joining us in Texas from the 13th of March, there’ll be plenty of new music for you to sink your teeth into and feel like you’re right there with us. When we’ve got more than enough videos to go around, we’ll be posting them at odd hours outside of the usual Video of the Moment spots at 6 PM on weeknights. Melbourne, Australia’s Alex Lahey is just one of many new musical discoveries I’ve made personally while trawling through the ever-growing shout list.
Lazy journo comparisons are already being made between this young singer/songwriter and fellow Melbournian Courtney Barnett. True, they’re both extremely talented young ladies from the same city, but that’s where I find the similarities end. While Barnett favours the lo-fi and at times grating approach to her brand of rock, while also seeming perpetually bored, Alex Lahey’s manner seems more fun and more childish (in a good way). Her song ‘You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me’ cracked the triple j Hottest 100 this month, and it’s easy to see (and hear) why. If you live in the UK, you’re in luck: Canadian indie twins Tegan and Sara have picked Lahey as their support for their UK/Irish tour in February. The Aussie will also be touring in the U.S. before and after appearing at SXSW 2017; all her live dates for the next 2 months are listed here.
Less than 24 hours ago, she released a music video for ‘Wes Anderson’ and okay, so it does kinda sorta sound like Courtney Barnett. However, Barnett would be less likely to be hanging round town with a plywood friend. Makes you think of Blur‘s promo for ‘Coffee and TV’, and in a nice nostalgic way. And for its namesake, it shouldn’t really be any other way, should it? Watch the video from Alex Lahey for ‘Wes Anderson’ below, and stay tuned for my write-up on her as part of my best bets of the Aussie bands scheduled to showcase at this year’s SXSW coming soon.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 31st January 2017 at 9:00 am
Jordan Cardy, a Hip-hop and punk artist and producer better known under his pseudonym Rat Boy, has announced his biggest UK tour to date. And we mean biggest: this series of dates culminates in a massive show at London’s Roundhouse on the 6th of May. Why all the fuss? We hear that new Rat Boy material is on its way to being unveiled, so keep your ears close to the ground. (You know, because you know, rats, they have short little legs…I know, bad joke.) Tickets to this tour go on sale this Friday, the 3rd of February, at 9 AM. To go back through TGTF’s back catalogue of coverage on Cardy’s project, use this link.
Tuesday 25th April 2017 – Glasgow ABC
Wednesday 26th April 2017 – Leeds University Union
Thursday 27th April 2017 – Newcastle University
Friday 28th April 2017 – Stoke Sugarmill
Saturday 29th April 2017 – Oxford Academy
Monday 1st May 2017 – Norwich Waterfront
Tuesday 2nd May 2017 – Birmingham Institute 1
Wednesday 3rd May 2017 – Bristol Bierkeller
Friday 5th May 2017 – Manchester Academy
Saturday 6th May 2017 – London Roundhouse
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 30th January 2017 at 6:00 pm
Following a guest spot on the Glass Animals track ‘Holiest’, Tei Shi aka Valerie Teicher has released some really strong singles – including the streaming phenomenon ‘Bassically’ – and EPs ‘Sausade’ and ‘Verde’ in the last few years. We’re really pleased to announce that the Vancouver via Bogota, Colombia artist will be releasing her long-awaited debut album in March.
‘Crawl Space’ sees its release on the 31st of March on Downtown Records/Interscope. Ahead of that and an appearance at SXSW 2017, she’s unveiled the music video to ‘Keep Running’ from the record, in a sultry karaoke form. To read more on TGTF’s coverage of Tei Shi in the past, go here.
We at TGTF first experienced the stark fragility of Donegal-based singer Rosie Carney’s songwriting about a year ago, when she appeared as a showcasing artist at SXSW 2016. Though her performances in Austin were breathtaking in their beauty, there was also a feeling of reluctance about her then, an air of uncertainty about her own ability and her place as an artist. Carney’s hesitation was undoubtedly due in part to a previous difficult record label experience, but in the intervening time, she has also revealed a personal blog which chronicles her simultaneous private struggle with depression and anorexia.
Now, at the still tender age of 20, Carney seems to have found surer footing with London indie label X Novo and a newly-released single dealing with the emotions surrounding her mental illness.Titled ‘Awake Me’, the new track is both an austere expression of self-awareness and an appeal for compassion from those around her. The song’s opening guitar ostinato is both rhythmically hypnotic and harmonically vague, and Carney cleverly exploits its tonal ambiguity as her intensely personal narrative unfolds through the key phrase “I’ve been a fool for more than half of my life / I’ve tried too hard”. The simple plea of the chorus, “awake me, don’t break me” then grows into a soaring bridge section, where the harmonic progression and stunning agility of Carney’s singing voice become suddenly, startlingly clear.
If ‘Awake Me’ represents a fresh start for Rosie Carney after the difficult first years of her singing career, she would seem to be taking bold and very deliberate strides in a positive direction. Her understated lyricism and ethereally ambiguous musical style were well-established (as incongruous as that statement may sound) in her youth, but ‘Awake Me’ demonstrates an added element of maturity in her songwriting, and it serves as a promising pivot point for her future artistic endeavours.
Rosie Carney’s new single ‘Awake Me’ is available now via X Novo and, according to Carney’s official Facebook, will appear on her forthcoming EP release. TGTF’s previous coverage of Rosie Carney is back through here.
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