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Irish art rockers Bell X1 have just released a Soundcloud stream of ‘Careful What You Wish For’, which will feature on their upcoming album ‘Chop Chop’. The full album, recorded in Connecticut earlier this year, isn’t scheduled for release until June, but Bell X1 did perform a few of the new songs on their acoustic tour of Europe and America last autumn. ‘Careful What You Wish For’ was among those performed live, and Bell X1 haven’t strayed far from the acoustic version in their recording for the album.
The studio arrangement includes a string section and some electronic bits and bobs not present in the live version, but the distinctive piano melody, played deftly by David Geraghty, is wisely left unchanged. Paul Noonan stretches to the edges of his vocal range, and while his falsetto isn’t pitch perfect, the lower part of his voice is always easy enough on the ears to take the sting out of the words he sings. These lyrics, presumably also by Noonan, are as pointedly perceptive as ever, cutting to the quick with lines like, “these bulbs are the fluorescent kind / no-one looks good in this light”.
‘Careful What You Wish For’ is the second Soundcloud stream released by the band in advance of ‘Chop Chop’, which will be released on the 28th of June in Ireland. The band will premiere the LP live at the National Concert Hall in Dublin the following night, on Saturday the 29th of June, playing it in its entirety, before performing some songs from their back catalogue. The first song from the album available by stream, an ethereally beautiful track called ‘Starlings Over Brighton Pier’, subsequently included a breathtaking video, which we’ve embedded below as well for both your viewing and listening pleasure.
Since January 2010, ‘The Octopus’ has been dormant. After Amplifier’s attempts to create mass hysteria around the record had died down, ‘The Octopus’ lay sleeping… resting…latent.
For those unfamiliar with ‘The Octopus’, it was the name of Amplifier’s third studio album. An album lasting just over 2 hours and if you were lucky enough to have it (I was) accompanied by a 70-page ‘opus’. As far as prog rock sagas go, beating ‘The Octopus’ is going to be a challenge no Mars Volta or Fiery Furnaces will take lightly.
It seems timely, then, that at a time when prog rock seems to be going through the doldrums, that Amplifier return with their fourth record, ‘Echo Street’, scheduled to be released next Monday (11 March). First single ‘Matmos’ is probably the best way to get yourself stuck into Amplifier as a beginner to their sound. As make no mistake, the kind of rock operas that this band produce are absolute marmite rock at its best. If it’s your thing, you’ll hang on every chord, whilst if you abhor warbling solos and songs less than 5 minutes long then this kind of stuff will hit your eardrums like a baby crying.
‘Matmos’, available a free download from their record label’s Bandcamp here, as I mentioned is a fantastic marker for what the Manchester-based band are about. Sel Balamir’s provide the beginning to the wave of harmony and “nah nah nah nah nahs” that undercut the song, and his voice stays as haunting as it ever has been throughout ‘The Octopus’, 2006’s ‘Insider ‘and 2004 debut ‘Amplifier’.
Take note purveyors of prog; If you want to whet appetites, this is how…
‘Echo Street’, the fourth album from Manchester’s Amplifier, will be released on the 11th of March on Kscope and can be preordered here. The album is available on CD, double vinyl and as a limited edition, deluxe two-disc set. The deluxe edition is packaged in a 60 page-hardback book and also features the new ‘Sunriders’ EP an additional record of new tunes, exclusive to this release. Catch them on tour on the dates below the video for ‘Matmos’.
Saturday 16th March 2013 – Preston 53 Degrees
Sunday 17th March 2013 – Bristol Fleece
Monday 18th March 2013 – York Duchess
Tuesday 19th March 2013 – Glasgow King Tut’s
Wednesday 20th March 2013 – Nottingham Rock City
Thursday 21st March 2013 – London Garage
Tipped for greatness by the Radio 1’s new music head honcho Huw Stephens and producers of the ‘Music for Cars’ EP available next Monday, the 4th of March, The 1975 have released the official video for ‘Chocolate’.
Starting with some lovely undulating guitars in almost the style of Bombay Bicycle Club on ‘Shuffle’, the song moves on to the quick-fire lyrics of Matthew Healy telling us the rather clichéd chat-up line, that “her hair smells like chocolate”. The jerky-riffs continue throughout to create a brilliant little pop song that’s almost impossible to shake out of your head. And why would you want to? The song has such an uplifting quality.
The video almost fits perfectly to the song as Healy repeats how they’re “dressed in black / head to toe”, as the entire band clad in black leather cruise around in, yes, a video shot entirely in black and white.
You can’t make this stuff up, really, can you?
‘Music for Cars’, the 1975’s next EP, will be out on Monday (the 4th of March) on Dirty Hit. Catch the band at SXSW on Tuesday 12 March at 11 PM at the British Music Embassy’s home for the week, Latitude 30, and the ASCAP showcase at Red Eyed Fly on Wednesday 13 March, time TBA.
In 2009, Patrick Stump, Pete Wentz and the other two Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley of Fall Out Boy went on an indefinite hiatus. A (very literal) solo project by Stump, which looked and sounded awful, was short-lived, and Wentz’s solo efforts…well, never really materialised as anything, did they? Now this week of the 4th of February 2013, every ‘90s kid will be posting a Facebook status or Tweet (myself included) about how the teenage version of themselves, presumably wearing thick eyeliner, has been awakened by this new song.
‘My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)’, the band’s new release, features Def Jam rapper 2 Chainz and his posse doing away with all of Fall Out Boy’s back catalogue and an assortment of vinyl. Why, you ask? Well, their new album is called ‘Save Rock And Roll’, and I believe they are saying through their video that it’s time to do away with the old and bring in the new.
As for their new angle, it’s getting slated virally, but I’ll stick my neck out and say I like it. It’s edgy, and it’s not drenched in synth as some writers are purveying. But it most definitely shows the signposts of a Fall Out Boy re-branding. Less of the emo anthems, like ‘Take Me to Your Grave’, and a more ‘Folie a Deux’ kind of sound.
Emo fangirls, beware: you may not enjoy this.
Everyone else? Just enjoy the fact they’re back.
Fall Out Boy’s new album ‘Save Rock And Roll’ will be out on the 6th of May.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 23rd January 2013 at 12:00 pm
Words by guest reviewer Achal Dillon, Managing Director of Killing Moon Ltd.
I’ve always had a bit of a thing for Bring Me the Horizon (not in that way). Since the metalcore/hardcore/whateversolongasitissuffixedbythewordcore busted out of Sheffield at some point in the mid-noughties, bearing tattoos, wonderfully-articulate side partings and all the rest of it, fans of the genre around the world were delighted to applaud these guys all the way to the Kerrang Awards. Then again, some people didn’t like them so much; such is the inherent elitism that exists within a scene that ironically is supposedly regarded as more of a forward-thinking movement in terms of freedom of expression. The sonic energy and rather-striking image of the band had apparently proved too much for some people to digest and ultimately accept.
Since then, three LPs and a bunch of other releases under their belt-later, the opinionated have remained ever so opinionated. Yet this is a band that may as well have perseverance inked to their person along with a million other tattoos; vocalist Oliver Sykes in particular has been singled out for his very-much “fuck you” attitude to the amount of outright naysayers that had been accumulated alongside an intimidatingly-ever growing fanbase on the long path to the highly anticipated new album, entitled Sempiternal, which also represents the band’s major label debut; the departure of long-term guitarist Jona Weinhofen; and the introduction of keys/programmer Jordan Fish, formerly of Worship (for whom Killing Moon had released a single in 2011. Hopefully you’re getting the connection here).
The first single to surface from said-new album is ‘Shadow Moses’, which dropped on a relatively-unsuspecting world at the start of the year, on a rather-unexpected play during the daytime on BBC Radio 1 in January 2013. How can I begin to describe the utter joy I experienced upon hearing this beatdown-laden, wall of sound-lacquered, chuggy rhythm guitar-led bold slice of heavy rock? Other than saying outright that it made me have a joygasm?
Possibly the most refreshing aspect about Bring Me the Horizon, and indeed embodied within the powerful soundbites entrenched in ‘Shadow Moses’, is that rather than adapting to an ever-changing popular musical landscape, is that they prefer to remain honest. They are honest in terms of the way they choose to look, the songs they choose to write, and the way they choose to present them to the world at large. That kind of respect isn’t easily given; it is earned through the hard graft of taking the proverbial punches alongside the praises. “Can you tell by the look in our eyes/We’re going nowhere” sing the band gang-vocal style throughout the track. Sorry guys, but I think you’re wrong. I think you’re very much going somewhere. Just keep doing your thing.
Bring Me the Horizon’s fourth album ‘Sempiternal’ will be out on the 29th of April on Epitaph, and the band will begin their next UK tour on the same day (all the details here).
Having chosen the name Stornoway, after the Scottish seaport town as explained by singer Brian Briggs in this 2011 interview with us, this band seems to have been destined to write music with some kind of nautical theme. Their new album’s title, ‘Tales From Terra Firma’, implies the ocean by mention of its opposite (indeed, the album’s cover art features frothy waves).
But its first single, ‘Knock Me on the Head’, has a very definite maritime sound. A majestic instrumental introduction, with a pentatonic tinge suggestive of Oriental seas, blends seamlessly into the mellow guitar pop that Stornoway have become known for. While the intro has very little musical or thematic relation to the body of the song, it does provide a hook for the listener’s ear, drawing attention to Brian Briggs’ lilting voice and cerebral lyrics.
The song’s chorus is certainly catchy enough to hold its own; I found myself singing along with it after only one casual listen. The lyrical melodies and sweet vocal harmonies, along with Stornoway’s unique instrumental arrangements, will be pleasantly familiar to fans eagerly awaiting the band’s sophomore effort. But if the exotic orchestral sound of the intro is to be taken as an indication, Stornoway have bravely ventured into some new musical ground, and possibly new musical seas as well.
‘Tales From Terra Firma’, the follow-up to Stornoway’s 2010 ‘Beachcomber’s Windowsill’, will be out on the 11th of March on 4AD. Catch the band on their UK tour, starting in early March.
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