After a couple of successful EP’s, Huddersfield’s Knuckle have unleashed their debut album, Life Is Hard When You’re Soft Inside, via the independent label Philophobia Music. Starting out as the duo of Jonny Firth (guitar/vocals) and Ben Wallbanks (drums) they then later were joined by Rob Crisp on bass who opened up a whole new dimension to the band.
You can can’t help but get a great feeling about this record when you hear the roaring riffs in the raucous all out punk affair that is opening track Spilt Milk. Knuckle manage to seamlessly transcend genres as can be heard on the more polished indie rock Cardboard Cutout which is gloriously followed by the smooth bass on Cash and Carry. Dripping in delectable, fuzzy guitars, which have become something of a signature of the band, Jarhead tells an intriguing tale of people who have a very misguided, elevated opinion of their selves.
Despite all the fun and games of Knuckle they are also a band that aren’t afraid to tackle sensitive subjects like where Jonny sings about the discrimination that a friend suffered from for being gay in the 80’s in Wakefield on Rewind The Feeling. The albums title track also delves into the struggles of trying to deal with mental health issues in a small mining town along with the stigma attached to showing any kind of weakness in such a community. Being a mixed race person from Wakefield myself these two tracks really resonated with me as I have witnessed first hand this small town mentality and ignorance, however it has to be said these people are very much in the minority and I have and to continue to meet some fabulous people from there.
Oh Mother paints the picture of a typical city centre, night out before 2n2 hits you like a sucker punch to the gut, in addition to this these tracks display Firths almighty vocal range which really elevates Life Is Hard When You’re Soft Inside to another level. There is a delicacy to Spinning in the Gutter whilst also telling you to try and remain positive despite the bad times before the endearing poignancy of Knuckle Will Catch You ties things up superbly on this utterly enthralling album.
You can get the album here.
Electronic music producer Max Morwell AKA Morwell has followed up a host of singles and remixes with their self-released debut EP simply entitled EP1. I listen to as much electronic music as I do other guitar driven stuff and everything else, however it’s very rare I get sent stuff like this EP so I was more than interested to attempt to get down some words about Morwell’s debut EP. The glitchy, experimental techno infused beats remind me of the more accessible moments of Aphex Twin, whilst also starting the EP brilliantly. Morwell continues to raise the bar with some big industrial tones on Living, before the morbidly titled, yet fascinating And Then You Die 🙂 brings the pace down a bit, before hitting you with an incredible dark and brooding bassline. EP1 also takes the best parts of dub beats and taking a unique slant on them and coming up with the enigmatic All The Time, which brings this great record to a close.
You can get the EP here.
Get Bored is the latest EP from the four-piece alt-rock band, Climbing Alice from Wakefield and has been released on independent label Philophobia Music based in the same city. After having gone through several line-up changes over the years including over ten past band members Climbing Alice have now found themselves with a settled act which has provided a stability that has been lacking in their history.
Climbing Alice are one of the Philophobia acts that I know the least about, however opening track, Hips acts as a fantastic introduction to the band with its scuzzy vociferous riffs that build a platform for what’s to come for the rest of the record. The band have an openness and honesty about them which only makes you like them more and this can be heard especially on tracks like where they show their disdain for modern dating culture and the empty relationships as a result of inline dating apps. Get Bored is certainly an EP that mostly contains gloomy tones but the intro to Toothache sees them have their most accessible moment before being driven along by the anxiety and tension that surrounds it, whilst also being accompanied by a brilliant bassline. The suborn, grittiness of Climbing Alice is on display throughout this superb record and closing track Wound sees the band take a more aggressive sound, encapsulated by wonderfully by some menacing guitars and vocals that ensure Get Bored come to the perfect conclusion.
You can get the EP here.
Fifteen years after they split up South London three-piece, Tempertwig have released Fake Nostalgia, a collection of lost songs, courtesy of Audio Antihero and fledgling DIY label Randy Sadage Records. Two thirds of the band were made up of brothers Ben and Adam Parker who went on to be part of acclaimed cult groups The Superman Revenge Squad Band and Nosferatu D2, the latter of whose debut album inspired Jamie Halliday to form Audio Antihero in order to get the record out there.
The slow burning intro of Bratpack Film Philosophy draws you in before breaking into some soaring post rock guitars that immediately set the tone for Fake Nostalgia. Unsurprisingly the record has a sound that has more than a nod towards the past, however brilliant alt-pop tracks like Falling Apart make sure that if you heard it with no knowledge of the back story to Fake Nostalgia you would have no idea that it wasn’t something brand new. Films Without Plotlines features loud quiet that mesh together perfectly through the contrasting sounds before degenerating into a superb wall of sound. The vocal delivery from Ben is also very different than on records from other acts that came after this seeing him take a much softer stance giving this record a divine introspectiveness, which can especially be heard on tracks like Comfort Blanket.
The soft harmonies of Everything Can Be Derailed belie its dark brooding undertone, which is expertly tied together by some huge, crunching guitars. Tempertwig are far more than a one trick pony though and along with all the pomp and circumstance of their colourful indie rock come tracks slower, yet utterly endearing through its heartfeltness, This Means Everything, This Don’t Mean a Thing. The poignancy of Heartfelt Letter To An Ex-Friend feels like Tempertwig have retrospectively written this tune to themselves and makes sure this wonderfully encapsulating record comes to a deserved end.
You can get the album here.
Clue Records have recently announced the signing of Camden based Locals and to mark this occasion they have released new single, Talkboy. Locals began life as the solo project of singer/songwriter Peech Panko, who has since been joined by bassist and best friend Olly Croft, they are also currently seeking a drummer to help bring their songs to life in a live environment. Talkboy is a truly outstanding introduction to the band, reminiscent of all the best lo-fi slacker rock bands whilst maintaining more than enough originality to ensure Locals are far more than a copycat act. Full of scuzzy guitars and deceptively catchy hook lines this track can’t help but you leave you excited for the forthcoming EP, set to be released in the summer, from Locals.
You can get the single here.
Leeds’ Buen Chico are back with their first major release since the 2016 LP, Working For A Free Future. This latest EP has been released by the Wakefield based independent label Philophobia Music and having been a long-time fan of both label and band I can’t help but feel the two compliment each other perfectly.
The swooning opening track, Guys All Say, is a great start to the thing whilst also carrying an important message of how some blokes shrug off criticism of their offensive behaviour from women. The utterly engaging and charming, Every Fucking Time is a particular stand out moment on a record full of highlights, which has a smooth groove that expertly contrasts the lyrical content describing the charms of treacherous preacher. Buen Chico’s 2016 album was their most lavishly produced, however on Crooks they took the opposite approach and recorded it in one day which takes absolutely nothing away from the songs as can be heard on the sleek, I Am Only Sleeping. The illicit tones of I Gave build up superbly into some rousing, dramatic vocals that give the EP a wonderful finality making sure that Buen Chico close proceedings in a fitting manner.
You can get the EP here.
Witching Waves have been an ever-present force in London’s DIY scene since 2013. Founded by Emma Wigham (drums/lead vocals) and Mark Jasper (guitar/vocals), the band are known for their frenetic live shows, relentless tour schedule, and their distinctive nouveau post-punk sound. Persistence is their third album, the first on Specialist Subject Records after their two previous ones were released by the brilliant however now sadly defunct Soft Power Records. The band have also had to endure a frustrating number of line-up changes but were joined by permanent bassist Estella Adeyeri, who is also a member of Big Joanie and Charmpit
With the writing, recording and mixing process taking place at various stages of a two-year period you can definitely see how Persistence is an aptly titled record. Maintaining the DIY ethics that have been at the forefront of the band’s philosophy with many of the songs recorded live and straight to tape in Mark’s London studio. By recording the album on their own, also with minimal help with the mixing meant a lot of distortion was left on the guitars which gives Persistence a superb authenticity which can be heard immediately on opening track Disintegration, a rip-roaring track that sets the tone for what’s to come.
Best Of Me and Eye 2 Eye were the first two singles to be taking from the album and together they magnificently encapsulate Witching Waves’ sense of urgency that purveys throughout this glorious record. There’s an intensity to the repetitive guitars on tracks like Shipping Container which features a brief pause in the middle that lulls you into a false sense of security before returning to hit you like an unexpected sucker punch to the gut.
There’s an openness and honesty to Witching Waves that can’t help but endear this charming band to you as can be heard on Money, stating how unaffordable the nations capital is becoming, which starts with jangly guitars which slowly develop into something much more menacing. The distinctive melody on Underachiever and Inside Outside would see these lustful tracks become instant pop hits in some sort of parallel universe. Waiting For The Sun brings the album to a close and it’s slow drawl makes sure this flawless record is brought to a fitting close, leaving Witching Waves to prove that Persistence could indeed mean perfection.
You can get Persistence here.