When Lindsey Jordan dropped her Habit EP as Snail Mail in 2016, it seemed as though the industry had a strong desire to make her the next big thing. She’s young and seems to have a better grasp of life than most of her seniors. There’s a relatable sense to her, the teenager we all wanted to be. She’s been supported from all over, from mainstream press to indie mags: she’s the artist that a lot of people think is needed right now, a superhero for the social media generation. This all adds up to setting a huge and possibly unfairly high bar for her debut record Lush.
A true masterclass in how to elevate a gig into a show. U.S. Girls took to Scala in a manner so committed that watching them perform was a surreal experience. After seeing hundreds of live bands over the years sometimes shows start to merge into one and separating the memories becomes tricky. I don’t think anyone who was in attendance at Scala last night will have such a problem. Intimacy between artists and their fans is nice, it makes you think you’ve gotten to know them a little bit. When this is flipped however the experience is so much more exciting. If the 4th wall remains solid, live shows become breathtaking. The whole band look incredible tonight, donning a pick and mix of vintage outfits looking like Mr Ben at a vintage kilo sale. Seeing such commitment to the look and sound of the show makes the music itself all the more exciting.
Before Wide Awake! was officially announced, Parquet Courts’ Andrew Savage had stated that their new album would be full of “Rippers”. Parquet Courts’ typical sounds of underproduction have been swapped for something more stereo. Now we have the final product, does it rip? Indeed it does, whatever that means.
There’s a suitable atmosphere of celebration for tonight’s informal show. As with any show that takes place in a rehearsal studio, there’s a feeling of peeping behind the curtain tonight. Brighton Electric studios are a beacon of the music scene in Brighton, anyone and everyone knows the place and the majority of the music-going population has found themselves there at some point. It’s the heartbeat of the city’s music, from the more famed likes of The Cure and Royal Blood to just about any band of any size and level, it has been called their home at one point or another.
7 is the seventh album from beloved Baltimore indie duo Beach House. 7 supposedly puts a bookend on the band’s previous output, starting anew. The new refreshed Beach House won’t shock you with a change-up of style so much; instead 7 sees a looser style for the band with denser instrumentation and a relaxed attitude that is prevalent throughout the album.
Jon Hopkins’ Singularity explores the connectivity of the human mind, balancing the organic world with the urban. Singularity reflects Hopkins’ emotional states at the time of writing, taking influence from his experiences with meditation and trance states. It’s a focussed listen and a rewarding one, something that silences other noises around you, creating a moment of clarity for the listener. It’s an album of light and dark, balancing ambient and delicate choral sounds with thick techno beats.
Tim Darcy is something else when he comes out on stage at The Garage in London. There are certain frontmen that stand out and their music is simply an extension of them. Tim Darcy is one of those. A character and an intriguing man, someone who you wonder what they’re like in a day to day scenario. A glimpse of him plugging in a microphone before the set is enough to ignite the crowd.
There’s much to be admired about Madrid indie band Hinds. With two albums under their belt, a strong UK following whilst somehow mirroring the same following in the United States, they seem to be unstoppable. A band so charismatic and enigmatic you want them to be your friends, being part of the audience is the closest many will get of course. Their performances and albums are so free from any kind of pretension, songs about the everyday without trying to decorate their lives as anything more than they are. Their second album, I Don’t Run, is full of more of this and they are gathering much more attention from the industry eye.
Poly-Math’s second album is probably the first album to leave me stumped before I’ve even put it on. It’s a double concept album that’s split into two, telling two halves of a story. The album is based on Baghdad’s 13th century House of Wisdom and its destruction in the Siege of Baghdad in 1258, a topic I’m virgin to. The experimental trio herald this album as their most ambitious yet. Just reading the press release I’d find it hard to argue otherwise. The album’s ambition and grandeur is almost intimidating.
A mixed bag of hits and very near misses. In 2015 Unknown Mortal Orchestra seemed unstoppable. They were a group that could do no wrong; who crossed over to a mainstream success that levelled with their critical acclaim. 2015’s Multi–Love was something emotionally endearing and warm which managed to be fresh and accessible whilst still sounding completely out there. Sex & Food, the band’s fourth release, sounds like Ruban Nielson unleashed, free to explore whichever avenues he pleased.