New Borns: The Wombats, Lower Dens, Godspeed You! Black Emperor

With Coachella taking over our musical world this weekend, it was all eyes on YouTube as once again the festival was simulcast live and it was a weekend of some of the best live performances we have seen in recent years, including FKA Twigz, Jack White, Tame Impala and AC/DC.  We had to go a bit light on New Borns this week as we had a slight shift in priority.  Although, not entirely selfish, some of the lads still had time to review three albums.  Jakob, asked to review The Wombats latest offering and to get right to the point, A GOLDEN RAM.  Jerome reviewed the freshly released Lower Dens and if any readers are fans of Beach House and you dont know Jana Hunter, get listening to this.  Lastly, Matt spent the week listening to the instrumental soundscapes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor who stand by the trademark and EPIC tracks.  See you next week.

The wombats

Artist: The Wombats

Album Title: Glitterbug

Label: 14th Floor Records

Genre: Indie Pop, Post Punk, New Wave

Moments of standout: Track 07 – Isabel & Track 09 – The English Summer

After four lojameslondon_Jakob_solidcolorng, hard, torturous years filled with secret shows, promises of recording and a song dropped along the way, our favourite marsupials have FINALLY come out of the woodwork and presented us with their third studio album, Glitterbug. Being mainly inspired by lead singer Matt ‘Murph’ Murphy’s experience of living in LA for a matter of months, Glitterbug sees the trio fuse the two very different styles from previous albums; the raw, English garage indie rock band style from A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation and the more contemporary synth-led pop sound of This Modern Glitch brilliantly.

Prior to the release of Glitterbug, we’d already had a fair taste of what was to come, with five of the songs having been released as singles. These were; Your Body Is A Weapon (way back in 2013!), Greek Tragedy, Emoticons, Give Me A Try and most recently, Be Your Shadow. Having received a pretty great reception from music-lovers with each song being put on high rotation at triple j, it was the other eight songs which make up the rest of the album that were the focus point.

The album showcases Murph’s amazing lyric-writing ability, with most every song being very relatable and applicable to attach to memories and occurrences of every day life. Musically, it is predominately a pop sound, in that it every song has an extremely catchy hook that won’t leave your head ‘til it’s replaced with another. Saying that though, the lyrics are very well thought out and interesting stories, so they automatically have more credibility than other piece of shit pop songs like that Cheerleader one by Omi or something, which is three minutes of not actually saying anything. Some of the best pop hooks are delivered through songs like Emoticons, Pink Lemonade and Curveballs.

I have two standout songs, which I jump to and from trying to decide which is better. Originally, it was track 7, Isabel. Having been lucky enough to attend the Glitterbug Social album listening party whilst the band were in Aus, this is the one that stuck in with me the most, and I just knew this would be a favourite. It’s very stripped back, and more of a slow ballad, which is something we don’t hear from these guys. It really highlights Murph’s vocal abilities. It’s a song with feels, which I love. The other favourite of mine is track 9, The English Summer. This sees the guys go back to the style they started off with and the one that made me fall in love, a classic garage indie rock style, executed so awesomely.

Overall, Glitterbug is a musical journey, which fuses a lot of styles into a mystical, seamless experience. No criticisms at all, as a die-hard fan I am so incredibly happy with this after the four year wait. Entirely depends on your taste if you will enjoy it as much I did though, I can see it not being everybody’s cup of tea. However, I love everything about it, so I’m going to give it a golden lamb.

Golden Ram1

 

 

 

lower densArtist_ Lower Dens

Album Title_ Escape From Evil

Label_ Ribbon Music

Genre_ Krautrock, Indie-Rock, Shoegaze

Moments Of_ Depeche mode , Annie Lenox, Beach House

Stand Out_ I Am The Earth

Faceless 1A few years back a track called Brains was released rather quietly but much attention from “music know it alls”, a sound that was a blend of krautrock/electronics.  The band were called Lower Dens Led and written by the somewhat iconic Jana Hunter many of us were surprised this month to learn of the release of Escape From Evil and what comes across as a more personal album and a radical change.

And here comes the third! After releasing two albums ( Twin-Hand Movement in 2010 and Nootropics in 2012), the Baltimore band comes back in a renewed sound, leaving behind their dark and progressive style, the limit of the self-destruction to replace it with a more honest, open, brighter and pop album.

With its sound still assimilated to pop rock from the 80s, embroidered across keyboards and guitars, Escape from Evil, seems less tortured than their previous albums. The catchy riffs of their single To Die in L.A is a good example of the bands new direction with familiar lighthearted rhythms, while Nootropics carries lyrics exploring the matters of technologies, equally a new direction for Hunter who here, switches off her expected subject matter about the nature and the exploration into relationships. To me, this album is built on a succession of tracks that feel like an old school rock sound, just as I like it, with a touch of fantasy.

Sensitivity emerges from each song title and demonstrate that this album is her most personal, more intimate as if writing texts was a sort of confessional for the author-singer . A self-prescriptive poetry therapy.

Ondine for example, the begging for forgiveness to a lover for a past betrayed event or taek I Am the Earth, layered with some sublime atmosphere, it highlights the state of guilt from past mistakes.

With Escape from Evil, we enter Hunter’s sentimental world who, after struggling a long way before, seems to finally have found the light. The songs here breathe, they sometimes shine and delight in this more accessible that hopefully will see her win some deserved fans.

To be truthful, this is not an album that I will listen to every day, Escape From Evil is a very good album that really enjoyed listening to and their new direction is well-suited and will no doubt open musical doors for some definite musical leaps and bounds on future albums.

7

 

 

 

godspeedArtist Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Album Title Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress

Label Constellation

Genre Post Rock, Instrumental

Moments Of Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky

Stand Out Piss Crowns are Trebled

jameslondon_Matt_Hopkins_solidcolorInstrumental post rockers Godspeed You! Black Emperor have returned from a rather lengthy hiatus to release their new LP ‘Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress’. Having released some new recordings of some old songs in 2012, this album marks the first new music that he Montreal group have put out since 2002’s ‘Yanqui U.X.O.’ With live shows that include film loop projections, Godspeed attempt to capture the same theatrical elements in their audio works, making for some of the most challenging listening experiences you’re sure to have.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor have always been a fairly reliable bunch of musicians. Forming in 1994, the band released their first record in 1997 through Constellation, an independent label whom they have remained with to this day. With each release, you can usually bank on most of their defining musical elements being present without a whole lot of deviation from the ‘epic-drone-epic’ album arrangement. As much as we all enjoy a bit of variety throughout the life of a band, the tried and reliable formula always works well and doesn’t leave too much room for wanting more.

The album opens with the grandiose ‘Peasantry or ‘Light! Inside of Light!’’, combining majestic strings with loud, distorted guitars. This track has an incredible amount of personality and an evocation of feelings that are conveyed without the use of any vocals – an impressive feat. Following on is second track ‘Lambs’ Breath’, a soundscape of pure, unrelenting audio torment. ‘Asunder, Sweet’ is a somewhat softer version of its predecessor, communicating a tone that is more akin to uncertainty than sheer terror, although it does become quite jarring towards the end.

Ending with standout track ‘Piss Crowns are Trebled’ (what is it with post rock bands and weird song titles?) the LP comes to a climactic and satisfying end. Clocking in at just under 14 minutes long, it carries the soundscape seamlessly from the previous track before the drums kick in, unveiling a drone/stoner passage that wouldn’t go astray on a Boris or Red Sparrows album.

What I really enjoyed about ‘Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress’ was not only the variety in timbre and volume, but the vast changes in mood, occurring most frequently within the same track. Being veterans of the genre, it’s fair to expectthis from Godspeed, but the precision and sequencing of these changes is nothing short of astounding and sets the group in a whole new league from its peers.

‘Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress’ is most certainly a package deal and must be appreciated as a whole. I know that I say this a lot, but I feel as though it holds more weight when talking about a band like Godspeed, nor would this particular album make any sense in separate pieces. If you choose to embark, make time for it. You will get more from the experience if you give it your full attention and allow it to soak in. It’s desolate, heavy and all-encompassing walls of sound are sure to transport you far from your bedroom, if you let them.

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