Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Everlasting Yeah – Anima Rising

Ex-members of That Petrol Emotion return for more manic pop thrills!

That Petrol Emotion were a band whose critical reputation was not matched by record sales. If anything they were a band out of time. For a band made up of former members of The Undertones, a smaller following did however mean the band had more artistic freedom after casting off the pop shackles. With a sound that was spiky and angular, but bolstered a solid rock-funk groove the band were out of step with the populist Britpop sounds when they split in 1994. It was a further ten years before Franz Ferdinand, The Futureheads, Maximo Park and the like cashed in with a style that owed much to TPE.

Twenty years on from their dissolution the final line-up of TPE return with a new name, a new outlook and no diminishing of their talents or enthusiasm. On their debut album as The Everlasting Yeah round all four members share vocal duties along with writing credits. Egos and genres are left at the door leaving the band free to go where the muse takes them. They describe their sound as Keltic Kosmische Musik on their website. While that may be a somewhat bold claim there is a sense of freedom, an abandonment of tried and tested routes, but with a remaining belief in the power of a good strong tune.

The Keltic Kosmische claim is most evident on closing opus 'The Grind' where the band stretch out into an extended hypnotic jam. Elsewhere top session saxophonist and indie music biz lifer Terry Edwards makes a guest appearance on 'Taking That Damn Train Again', a sterling lesson in skronk 'n' roll. There's even room for some indie-funk on '(Whatever Happened To The) Hoodlum Angels'. Fans of boundary pushing guitar music from Television through to QOTSA will find much common ground here, and much to like!

Click here for The Everlasting Yeah website.
Click here for Occultation Recordings.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

The Shifting Sands - Cosmic Radio Station

Antipodean shoegaze alert!

To title your 2nd album Cosmic Radio Station is a bold move but not if the sounds it contains can back it up. Fortunately New Zealand trio The Shifting Sands have concocted a pleasing mix of hazy shoegaze and indie thrum and chime which more than backs up the claim. Softly sung vocals and poppy melodies break through the wall of sound making the album as much about tunes as it is about textures.

Highlights include the moody 'Making It Through' where the band get a chance to max out their pedal boards, 'Coming Back', a pop tune in noisy wolf's clothing, and the short instrumental 'Whareakeake', a nod to where the album was recorded, its yearning folk melody adorned with baroque strings. Throughout the record noise is tempered by melodies, which break through the shimmer like sunshine through clouds.

Fans of Chaptehouse, Slowdive and the like will feel right at home, as will those of The Jesus and Mary Chain. Other signposts include The Psychedelic Furs, Kurt Vile, and Ultra Vivid Scene. That said, there ain't nobody around right now quite like The Shifting Sands. Check 'em out!

Click here for The Shifting Sands on Facebook.
Click here for Occultation Recordings
Click here for Fishrider Records.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The Optic Nerve - Penelope Tuesday / Here To Stay (Ltd 7")

Lost recordings from the Brooklynite's mid-noughties reformation.

Much like that other New York band The Velvet Underground, The Optic Nerve may not have played much outside their home city, or sold many records in their brief first flowering. But posthumous LP releases by Get Hip and Screaming Apple Records have resulted in a well deserved re-appraisal of the band's sound.

In 1985 on our side of the pond, bands such as Jesus & Mary Chain, Primal Scream, The Bodines et al were taking inspiration from mid '60s folk rock, dressing like Sterling Morrisson and finding an appreciative audience. In the US such back-to-the-garage mentality was out of step with what mainstream audiences wanted. Punk rock had yet to go overground.

Skip forward to 2005 and The Optic Nerve mainstays Bobby Belfiore and Tony Matura form a new line-up of the band to record an album's worth of material. These recordings ended up shelved for a further ten years. It's only now, that State Records are issuing two cuts from these sessions.

'Penelope Tuesday' is the upbeat, poppy A-side, sounding like a summer smash best heard on AM Radio. Flipside is a more considered moodier affair, big on jangle, vocal harmonies and descending chord sequences. Both sides are worthy of your attention though. Let's hope that full album will sometime see the light of day.

Click here for The Optic Nerve on Facebook.
Click here for the State Records website.