Anna Burch has finally made her steps into the solo world with the complex pop of Quit the Curse. The Detroit singer/songwriter has been visible for the better part of her years-long career singing in Frontier Ruckus, or more recently co-fronting Failed Flowers. Yet, within all this, a vibrant collection of solo material began taking form. The result is a collection of deeply personal snapshots into her life which show the vulnerability but also the marvellous songwriting knack she possesses. It still has some of her folkier leanings but there is also an affiliation to some early 90s indie-pop.
High school friends drop out of school and catch a New York City bound bus with dreams of starting a band. Frenzied press hype soon follows, along with label bidding wars, a debut album, and a global tour. The story of Public Access T.V. is one from the music industry of yesteryear and not this current digital age. Yet this is what makes it even more remarkable and enthralling.
Whether or not they mean it, ‘Always Ascending’ is exactly the mind-set Franz Ferdinand have embodied throughout their career. Never looking back, they’ve continued to focus on new material and evolve their sound, whilst their indie peers of the 00s have lived off early albums and failed to explore new territories.
Exhibiting elements of trip-hop, post-rock as well as a multitude of others, Son Lux have proved to have numerous strings to their bow since the release of their 2008 debut. Brighter Wounds further exemplifies this, with Ryan Lott’s project transformed again.
History has taught us that some of the best music stems out of times of struggle. Exile on Main Street is one example, with The Rolling Stones having to move to France as tax exiles. Kanye’s 808s & Heartbreak emotional core was there for all to see, whilst The Beatles famously weren’t the best of friends for their latter releases. Meanwhile, Blood on the Tracks is seen as one of Bob Dylan’s finest works and the songs were all linked to tensions in his personal life, including estrangement from his then-wife Sara.
Childhood have reinvented themselves for their sophomore effort Universal High. It’s been over three years since their indie-rock 90s throwback debut LP and the London band has ditched the giddy melodies for something a lot more soul-infused. Playing a set made up of tracks mainly from the July release, they’ve shed their shoegaze skin and veered into a psych-pop direction with hints of Motown and northern soul sprinkled in there. The addition of a trumpet and saxophone player makes it more of a reinvention rather than evolution, and it sounded great on a cold Monday night in Patterns.
Ahead of their headline show at The Hope & Ruin and the release of their double EP Eight I caught up with bassist Josie McNamara of the enigmatic Brighton-based five-piece White Room. Their radiant, self-aware brand of psych, meshes the sound of British 60s guitar pop with Hacienda-sized levels of danceability and it’s seen them support the likes of Paul Weller on tour.
Former Brighton resident Bonobo’s rise has been unstoppable, and Simon Green, the man behind it all, is now one of the biggest electronic artists in the world. As a DJ and with the Bonobo live band, he’s now played to millions of people across the world in shows and festivals, and each album has been bigger than the last, with 2017’s Migration making the top ten. For the final night of his world tour he returned to his roots to play a mesmerising show of carefully crafted beats and an audio-visual spectacular to what was a sold out audience.
If the name wasn’t enough to manage on its own, this year King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have released four distinctly different records, with Polygondwanaland being the most recent. Despite this unusually high output, this last release of the year from the Australian group displays them at their most thought-provoking and instrumentally obscure best.
Producer, engineer, or multi-instrumental musician, Lucas Oswald has his fingers in many pies. After years performing as a touring musician with Shearwater and The Appleseed Cast, he embarked on a long and cathartic songwriting and recording process that resulted in the songs that now make up the deeply personal and rewarding Whet. Growing up on a farm outside of Missouri, his initial interactions with music were driven by both boredom and a sense of exploration and, with instruments surrounding him growing up, it allowed him to take a multitude of sonic explorations during his formative years, which come across perfectly in this LP.