2013 was the year the gimmick that was Bring Me the Horizon wore off. They went from being a pedestal for frontman Oli Sykes’ bizarre views and various Drop Dead paraphernalia to one of the most vital bands in British metal at the moment.
Their fourth album is undeniably the moment where BMTH came of age. It’s such a clichéd phrase, but it’s obvious Sykes and co. have a found a sound that truly epitomizes where they are as a band on this record. On ‘Antivist’, we have a trademark display of BMTH bile and vitriol, as Sykes does his best to use the F and C bombs as frequently as he can in one song. Meanwhile, ‘Shadow Moses’ is a beast of a different order, showcasing a BMTH embracing a spot of synth, while still remaining fierce in their breakdowns.
If there’s a British metal band who can translate domestic success in to a worldwide brand, it’s BMTH. Sykes remains the marmite frontman and their back catalogue, augmented by the phenomenal ‘Sempiternal’, is as formidable as any band gracing the dusty Texan venues come March. I was lucky enough to experience the mass carnage that was BMTH’s Reading set this year, where Sykes manipulated the crowd into one of the biggest circle pits I have ever seen. With around 2,000 boozed up teenagers roaring around the tower, I dread to think of the levels of mayhem they will cause in a small venue in Texas. SXSW 2014, look out.
By Mary Chang on Friday, 6th December 2013 at 12:00 pm
What never ceases to amaze me is the number of electronic and DJ acts that get shouts to SXSW. It makes sense though: who else will keep the bodies, in their various states of inebriation, moving, bumping and grinding into the wee hours, but these titans of technology? One such whiz is Tourist, the electronic brainchild of one Londoner William Phelps.
Having been signed late this year to 2013 Mercury Prize-nominated and fellow electro heads Disclosure, Phelps has already made waves on both sides of the Atlantic. While it might have been a no-brainer for Disclosure to have Tourist live at their Warehouse Project night in Manchester last month, Phelps’ appearance at the inaugural Mountain Oasis electronic festival this autumn in October 2013, alongside heavyweights Nine Inch Nails and Gary Numan, is no small feat. NPR recorded his performance in Asheville, North Carolina, and you can listen to it here. I guess he made a big enough impression, as he’s been invited to showcase at next year’s SXSW in Austin.
With two EPs to his name – the ‘Placid Acid’ EP in 2012 that you can get for free from this previous MP3(s) of the Day post and this year’s ‘Tonight’ – he certainly has the talent in him to put out an entire album of new material. How to describe the music? While title track ‘Placid Acid’ on his debut EP is exactly as advertised – a gorgeously chill slow build-up of epicness – the otherworldly charms of ‘Jupiter’ and head boppiness of ‘Forgive’ prove he’s not a one-trick pony. The ‘Tonight’ EP sees Phelps taking a turn to more upbeat (handclaps!) and sounding more industrial than the debut, though for sure based on these releases alone, the kind of dancing I’m thinking you’re likely to see at Tourist shows is of the languid, fluid, beautiful creature variety. Then again, track ‘Together’ revealed from upcoming EP ‘Patterns’ seems to indicate for his next release, he’s going into higher octane, faster tempo territory. Either way, you’re in for a good show if you see him when he stops in your town. Or, if you’re lucky like us to be going to SXSW, if you have the good fortune to catch him in Texas in March.
A band who started out gigging and recording in 2007 are probably seen as a strange addition to a list of the bands whose sounds will sculpt your 2014. But 2014 will be the year in which everybody and anybody has their heads turned by this Kingston Upon Thames three-piece.
Arcane Roots screamed their way in to my attention with their cover of Nirvana’s anthem ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, which provoked a mixed reaction from the twitter/blogosphere: a spread of opinions that ranged from utter revulsion in the way only commenters on a YouTube video can (Joe Jordano says, “Nice way to make a hit into the worst song I ever heard, the lead singer should consider taking some shotgun mouthwash. NIRVANA RULES, THIS SUCKS!!!”, to some people commenting that they felt it was a great take on an original classic. Covering a classic song, by a band with a cult following like Nirvana is always going to bring you in for criticism, but being ballsy and having a bit of flair while doing it is a definite way of getting in my good books.
It’s that spirit of adventure, of innovation which reminds me (WARNING: inevitable comparison because the bands are mates and the lead singer looks a bit like Simon Neil, oh, and they sound similar) of Biffy Clyro, in their ‘Blackened Sky’, ‘The Vertigo of Bliss’ and ‘Infinity Land’ eras. Songs like ‘Energy Is Never Lost, Just Redirected’ and ‘Million Dollar Question’ would fit nicely in any of these records, whilst the anthemic choral hooks of ‘You Are’ and ‘Slow’ wouldn’t be amiss in ‘Puzzle’, ‘Only Revolutions’ and ‘Opposites’. However, it should be noted that Arcane Roots err on the heavier side of the post than the bonny Scots, bringing a more fret-wobbling sound then Biffy.
With tour support slots with Biffy Clyro and Muse, their obvious potential has been seen. 2014 will be a year of consolidation after the release of ‘Blood And Chemistry’ in 2013, but with a relentless work ethic and a live set which brings a mound of carnage in their wake, they most certainly will be one of THE rock bands to watch in 2014.
By Mary Chang on Thursday, 5th December 2013 at 3:00 pm
Marika Hackman is releasing her new four-track EP ‘Sugar Blind’ next week. Ahead of that, we’ve got a stream of the entire EP so you can have a listen now. Like/love it? Buy it next Monday, the 9th of December, on Dirty Hit Records.
Hackman will be coheadlining an English tour with Sivu starting next Tuesday; all the details of the tour are here.
By Mary Chang on Wednesday, 4th December 2013 at 12:00 pm
Brighton’s The Hundredth Anniversary placed at #10 on our 10 for 2014 list. Guitarist Eleanor Rudge from the band was so kind to answer our TGTF Quickfire Questions. What song did she and her best friend choreograph an entire routine when she was small? What album would she be chilling in Heaven with God? Read on…
What song is your earliest musical memory?
I think probably something from the Beatles‘ ‘Live at the BBC’ tape that we used to play in the car all the time, I loved it.
What was your favourite song as a child?
‘Boom Boom’ by The Animals stands out as a particular favourite. Me and my best friend choreographed a pretty brilliant routine to it one afternoon in my front room, only our lucky Mums got to see the outcome.
What song makes you laugh?
Probably the same song, thinking about our amazing routine.
What song makes you cry?
‘When the Ship Comes In’ – Bob Dylan.
What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
‘Jesus’ – The Velvet Underground
What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
The only music that I associate directly with feeling angry is music that I hear that has been made cynically. It’s the opposite to how I feel about music.
Which song (any song written in the last century) do you wish you’d written yourself?
There are plenty, but one that springs to mind is ‘Lamb’ by Lower Dens, the melody is amazing.
Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Marjane Satrapi makes my heart feel soft.
If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
Building real things.
If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
I think I’d be too surprised at the existence of a God to decide on my favourite album. But saying I managed to get over that I’d ask for ‘Graceland’ by Paul Simon. Me and God would have a great time listening to that.
By Mary Chang on Monday, 2nd December 2013 at 9:00 am
Adorable singer/songwriter Dan Croll has announced a tour of the UK for March 2014. Tickets are on sale now. Listen to his new single out today, ‘Home’, below.
Tuesday 18th March 2014 – Newcastle Think Tank
Wednesday 19th March 2014 – Manchester Ruby Lounge
Thursday 20th March 2014 – Glasgow King Tut’s
Friday 21st March 2014 – Leeds Cockpit
Sunday 23rd March 2014 – Birmingham Temple
Monday 24th March 2014 – Nottingham Bodega
Wednesday 26th March 2014 – London Scala
Thursday 27th March 2014 – Brighton Haunt
Friday 28th March 2014 – Bristol Thekla
Saturday 29th March 2014 – Liverpool Kazimier