B Shells-Silver

b shells.jpg

B Shells are a three piece who formed in Leeds, however the members of the band are now dotted around the country. They were originally a side project of people from The Voltaires who featured on this blog back in 2013 and have self-released their debut EP, Silver.

Kicking off with slacker pop tones of Be There Soon you can immediately here a huge and welcome difference between B shells and The Voltaires. The soft, dreamy intro to Figurine makes for sumptuous track that really allows you to lose yourself in its majesty. Although there are influences taken from past eras on this record as can be heard on Black/White, which is glazed in wonderful nostalgia straight from an 80’s indie disco, the B Shells also put enough of a modern take on it to keep things sounding extremely fresh. The social commentary that is part Two More Years makes for an intriguing end to Silver whilst also giving off a huge feel of community, making sure that this is a band that we’ll hopefully be hearing more from in the future.

You can get the EP here.

Advertisements

Dead Slow Hoot-No Reunions

dead slowSheffield four-piece Dead Slow Hoot have released their debut album, No Reunions, via independent label Philophobia Music.

No Reunions opens up with the tender, melancholic tones of Each Day Disaster with superbly sets a theme of poignancy which runs throughout this record. The intro to Hysterical Strength has a much more traditional rock feel to it, however the raw, emotive vocals still soar on this brilliant track before you’re hit with the sucker punch that is the beautifully mesmerising and yearning An Island Keen to Float.

The wonderfully brooding and introspective Below is a real slow burner that by the end of its five-minute duration has truly encapsulated as well as leaving you hanging on for more. The albums title track is a perfect example how although Dead Slow Hoot’s music is tinged in sadness that they still leave you with an extreme sense of hope. The smooth, illicit tones of Returning to Ruin round off this sublime album in excellent fashion, while also leaving you feeling there could be great times ahead for this band.

You can get the album here.

Dealing with depression

 

skull.jpg

In recent years awareness of mental health issues has become much better in addition to be more widely accepted as something that is as prevalent as physical health. Throughout most of my adult life I have been one of many that have suffered from depression as well as other issues. I’m going to use this time to tell parts of my story and I do realise that this is very different from my usual posts and carries little interest to a lot of people. Writing this has also been something I’ve deliberated over for a long time but thought it could put into perspective how the output from Impropaganda sometimes goes from prolific to non-existent. Parts of this feature will also in around in time which may sometimes not make a great deal of sense so thank you for your patience.

It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact time por moment in my life when I started to feel as though something wasn’t quite right and really a lot of it stems from being incredibly socially awkward. Along with this a have always felt a huge shyness which I have masked in several different ways and having spoken to other people I finally realise how many people suffer from similar things. Some people who know me may find that a surprise but to fight that feeling in social situations I have more often than not used alcohol and recreational drugs as a crutch to step over these hurdles.

Abusing my body for so many years took its toll and over the past couple of years I suffered some pretty serious physical health issues. These conditions led me to feeling the worse I’ve ever felt mentally and subsequently led to an attempt on my own life in December 2017, which pretty much thanks to a good friend was unsuccessful. Suicide is without doubt the biggest killer of young people and all I can say if anyone reading this feels that low please get in contact with me, like I’ve said I understand talking is not easy so we could sit in a room in silence because speaking from experience even that helps.

In relation to writing blog posts sometimes I just haven’t felt up to publishing anything there has also been times when I’ve put a piece together only having deleted the whole thing at the last moment. suffering from a massive lack of self-confidence at times I have more unpublished articles than ones I have put out there and this is something that I am trying to work on because despite the way it sounds this blog is one thing that does make me happy. Hopefully this will give some understanding to my lack of response to emails and submissions at times and all I can do is apologise for material I haven’t featured that I really ought to have.

Until recent times I have also found it incredibly difficult to speak to anyone about any of these things and looked at it being somewhat pointless, however having sought professional help I couldn’t recommend gong to see someone. I would also say that there are a number of different methods of receiving treatment as I for one am not someone who is great with the spoken word and can far more easily eliquate my thoughts and feelings onto paper. The most helpful method of treatment for me has been where I exchange emails with a therapist then meeting monthly to discuss the previous correspondence, a form of counselling I never knew existed until it was suggested to me. So if traditional methods of treatment don’t suit you please don’t despair and there is help out there and so many people that want to help you, it really is just a case of sometimes letting someone in.

I have always had the support of family and friends and knowing these people are there is most certainly a source of great comfort. My immediate family in particular have been extremely patient over the years when I have not always been the easiest person to live or communicate with. I also have a great bunch of friends who I can’t thank enough especially one of my old house mates in particular who long after we lived together I was going through an especially shit time and that person opened their door to me despite some of my behaviour being questionable to say the least.

Social media is also a powerful tool and I realise that it has drawbacks it has definitely helped raise awareness of mental health issues as well as giving some people a platform to speak about their own mental health. I have a friend that openly talks about their battles with mental health especially whilst studying a law degree and I have to say I found this an inspiration to seek help for my won issues. Through social media this person and myself also discovered that we share many of the same interests and personality traits which has seen us go from being people to kind of know each other to now being good friends, which again emphasises how the internet is not all bad.

After everything else is said and done this is a music blog so it would be very remiss of me to not speak about the subject at some point. I absolutely love listening music, especially hearing new acts from the independent scene, however when I’m feeling at my lowest I just don’t want to hear any sort of music which I can now see adds to my ill feeling. What I know now though is that I have to listen to some form of music every day and it doesn’t necessarily have to be relative to Impropaganda just something that makes me feel more at ease, sometimes for purely selfish reasons but something I have learnt that we need to take a brief amount of time for ourselves each day.

I realise this post has rambled at times and I really do thank anyone that has managed to get to the end of it, also if anyone has any questions they would like to ask please feel free or if you want me to expand on any of the things I’ve touched on I’ll try where I can. I’m going to leave some contact details of some charities as well as my email so anyone please do not hesitate to contact any of these people if you feel you have or if you are concerned about anyone you know.

Mind Infoline: 0300 123 3393
Text line: 86463

Samaritans: 116 123

My email: impropaganda@hotmail.co.uk
Matthill322@hotmail.co.uk

Philophobia Music-Sic Itur Ad Asta

phil

Independent label Philophobia Music have resurrected their 3×3 EP series, which sees them take three EP’s, consisting of two songs each, from three separate bands and putting them together in a limited edition package. The label is also planning on making the series an annual release which sees them provide material from three great acts this time round in the form of Slurs, JJ Swimsuit and Bad Idea.

First up are Newcastle trio, Slurs whose grungey, slacker pop riffs hit you straight away on Real Pressure before the menacing bassline of Mockery further tightens the bands grip on you. JJ Swim suit is another solo project of Tim Metaclafe who has featured on this blog in various guises over the years and the dream like soundscapes he provides embrace you immediately allowing you to float away into a world of your own. the differing sound of these two acts contrast each other perfectly as well as displaying

Philophobia Music’s willingness to showcase a whole variety of artists.
Some bands just seem to pass me by and I have to say that Bad Idea were one of those until I listened to this EP and I have to say I instantly regretted not hearing them sooner as soon as I heard the lo-fi, fuzzy intro to Better. This two piece from Leeds then wrap things up perfectly with the sweet melodies Bailing which make for yet another superb release from Philophobia Music in addition to being a great introduction to three impressive acts.

You can get the EP here.

Benjamin Shaw-Megadead

b shaw.jpgBenjamin Shaw recently released his latest album, Megadead, which also sees him team up yet again with the fabulous independent label Audio Antihero.

The smooth intro of Megadead Dot Party eases you into the beginnings of this record before the whole lo-fi goodness All Body Start Feeling Down reverberates superbly around you. Megadead also sees Shaw take on a far more experimental sound with electronics than I have previously heard from him as can be heard on tracks like PUSH IT DOWN and although he still carries a sense of melancholia there are still moments that shimmer with positivity like on the sublime Terrible Feelings!

The pace is almost brought to a halt on Blue Teeth Thursdays which has a subtle majesty that leaves you yearning for more before Shaw strips it back even more on the magnificent A Brand New Day which slowly but surely builds into a huge ball of feedback. Megadead truly does take you on an epic journey which bring you to a fitting end on the introspectively, haunting hole which goes through a whole range of emotions.

You can get the album here.

Mi Mye-The Mountain forces the Future and the Force causes the Rain

 

Mi Mye.jpgThe Mountain forces the Future and the Force cause the Rain (The Mountain) is the fifth studio album from Mi Mye. In addition to this Jamie and Emily from the band have also formed the independent label Coble Records of which The Mountain… will be its debut release.

Opening track Before the Storm sets the tone for the entire record in beautiful, mesmerising fashion which has soft understated tones that bring out an endearing fragility that immediately makes you stop in your tracks. Mi Mye show it’s not all-out low-key affair however on OK So which builds into an epic tune which has a grandiose feel that instantly surrounds you, previous single Your left side is a particular highlight on The Mountain…which yet again displays the versatility and charm of this band.

Although Mi Mye will always have a Scottish feel due to lead singer/songwriter Jamie Lockhart’s origins I, amongst many others, will always class them as hailing from my hometown especially the affinity that Wakefield and Lockhart seem to have. This album really takes you expertly through a range of emotions which can be heard on the wonderfully melancholic If you draw a Diamond which brilliantly combines soft, simpler sounds with subtle intricacies. Closing track That night in Thurso ensures things get off to a fitting conclusion, featuring a big group sing along which encapsulates yet another lovable album from the great Mi Mye.

You can get the album herehere.

Black Ribbon-Strobe

black ribbon.jpg

Black Ribbon is the latest project from Tim Metcalfe who has previously released material under various guises, as well as being part of several band. This record sees Metcalfe team up with the independent label Philophobia Music, of which he has been a stalwart since the label’s incarnation 10 years ago.

As soon as the screeching industrial synths of opening track, Receiver kick in you know your instantly onto a winner with this album before the darker, more brooding tones of Cowboy can’t help but remind you of Trent Reznor in his heyday. The infectious beat of tracks like Surveillance is a recurring theme throughout Strobe, the tune immediately lodges itself in your head before building into a rousing finale.

The distorted synths and guitars of Plug X make this a must hear, stand out tune that despite coming in at over six minutes long, I for one would have happily had it carry on for twice as long. Although I have spoken about how Strobe is dipped in nostalgia Black Ribbon do more than a good enough job of giving it a modern twist as can be heard on the understated, melancholic Cop Slang. This album really sounds like it could soundtrack a video game from my youth especially on album closer, Tulsa which feels like your preparing to face an end level boss, while also concluding what is truly an exceptional record.

You can get the album here.