Tag Archives: EP

Review: Wooden Arms – Wooden Arms EP

22 Nov

Wooden Arms

Certain types of music just feel right at a certain time of year. Bright brash colours and upbeat melodies full of urgency and rhythm suit the summer months, while slower more considered sounds tend to fit the colder, autumnal and winter months. The debut EP from Norwich based Wooden Arms falls very much into the latter category which is possibly why, having been released in July, it now feels like a perfect listen on these darkened, ice-laden evenings.

Full of gentle, ebbing melodies that drift and glide like birds on a breeze; this eponymous release is often balletic in feel. Ambient sounds; be they deep cello or light violin, music box light or portentous dark piano, ripple and flow like a mountain stream. “Chariclia” in particular is an evocative and fantastical tune. Like crawling through a tiny gap in a bramble laden hedgerow to discover a hidden and wondrous world beyond. A world that opens out and up, where trees reach beyond the sky to the stars above and snowfall drifts down slowly to enchanting woodland floor.

In fact, snowfall would be an appropriate visual accompaniment to all of the Wooden Arms EP, it’s that serene and enchanting. The violin opening of “Noah” is that moment as daybreaks over a silent an undisturbed winter morning, snow covered fields lay dormant, immaculate and beautiful. “Hollow” could be a walk through a Christmas market, ruddy cheeked and full of mulled wine and mince pies, cold outside but warm and contented within.

Elsewhere, “False Start” has a more reflective feel to it; like a wizened old man rocking gently in a chair on his porch looking out at the vast expanse of countryside before him. The sun is dropping beyond the horizon and the sky is turning orange and pink, the world is his but he sees only the past, memories and regrets floating on the breeze of reminiscence.

Yes, some music suits certain times of year better than others, and as winter is coming, Wooden Arms may prove to be the perfect soundtrack to those long dark nights.

The ‘Wooden Arms EP’ is out now and available to buy digitally or on limited edition hand-printed CD.

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Review: MYPET – Reflex EP

14 Aug


A few weeks ago we fell head over heels for Brighton-based Us Baby Bear Bones and their glacial electronica. LA duo MYPET is sculpted from a similar ice block but one that has been seeped in a different kind of darkness, shadows cast not by the macabre but by hitherto unknown creatures. Great mythological beasts from a time long since forgotten that have been frozen for centuries and just recently been thawed out and unleashed on the world.

Comprising bold and compelling rhythms, glitchy electronica and lyrics that are delivered with (bordering on maniacal) relish by singer Amy, MYPET have a sound that feels tribal and animalistic in places. It is exciting, vibrant and full of life. Sinewy electro noodles wind their way around grand, cacophonic beats as vocals rise up, like an arm bursting forth from the grave, seeking liberty from its earthen prison. An arm attached to a magical being that will bring forth the devastation of the world, bathing it in a vast, all encompassing light. It is an eruption of sound that will sweep away all who stands before it.

The high points on their debut EP, Reflex, are numerous and varied. There’s the old Commodore 64 shoot ‘em up style sounds of “Pays To Know”, the skittish and chilling tone of “Bodysnatcher” and the way “Move It Or Lose It” embraces even more glitchiness as it undulates and cavorts salaciously, just to name a few, Each track has three or four moments on their own though and each has an addictive pulse at its core. A tempo that is so hypnotic, beats so compulsive that you will find yourself twitching and moving involuntarily, whenever you hear it, wherever you hear it. Even on a crowded train.

The ‘Reflex’ EP is out now and available on a ‘pay what you like’ deal from the MYPET bandcamp site.

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Review: Garnets – Towns EP

12 Aug

Garnets Towns

It seems to be that, for whatever reason, when we come to write about Garnets, it is usually a few months (at least) after we originally intended to. So it is that here we are in August, talking about their debut studio EP, Towns, which came out in May. As is always the case with Garnets though, the quality of the music is so high that frankly it doesn’t matter when you get to them, just as long as you do.

We begin with previous single “Fruit”. Five minutes of fragile beauty, with Sam J Delves’ ethereal vocal floating like a feather on the breeze over delicate piano strokes and hushed electronic murmurings. Made from the finest and thinnest porcelain, were you to try and hold it, it would shatter in your hands. The simple toy-box-sounding piano outro is sublime, so effortless and evocative it feels like a flash of colour in a monochrome world.

“Mother and the Daughter” too blends muted piano with haunting, minimalist melodies that brush over the beatless rhythm like snow being blown across the arctic plains. Here the vocals take greater prominence, giving the track an ever-so-slightly more traditional pop song feel, but still they float and swirl within the misty music.

“Arches” on the other hand is a couple of minutes of barely-there-fragility. Sporadic keys dwell amongst almost imperceptible sounds of static, or ocean waves and the occasional sound of doors opening and closing. This is juxtaposed with the altogether more explosive finale of the title track.

Of each of the four tracks “Towns” feels the most like a pop song. The vocals act as much more of a focal point, an anchor for the melody which is then raised as the ship sets sail for more vibrant waters. These waters are of very real, very energetic guitar riffs which swell and crash against the rocky shores of drums and cymbals. It is entirely unlike anything else on the EP, splashing life and realism into an otherwise mystical world of aural fantasy and splendour.

That is Garnets though, able to blend the most delicate of sounds with the most raw. On Towns they give us wistful, elegant beauty, both intimate and expansive, but they also allow us a moment to rock out and get our juices going. Almost as if they want to stir our body as well as our mind.

’Towns’ is out now and available either digitally or on limited edition CD from the Garnets bandcamp site.

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Review: TV Girl – Lonely Women EP

9 Aug

TV Girl Lonely Women

Loneliness, depression, feelings of worthlessness; these subjects are often dealt with in music, usually communicated by a heartfelt or stirring ballad, an emotionally overwrought tune dripping in self indulgence and melodramatic melancholia. It needn’t be this way though as evidenced in TV Girl’s third EP, Lonely Women, five tracks full of wry humour and warmth for their subjects.

The EP feels a little Ben Folds-ian in nature (but better) with lyrics that are whimsical but real, observational, humorous but touching. You may recall back in 2009/10 Folds worked with author Nick Hornby, releasing an album together, Lonely Avenue, that was full of sardonic observations of life and the world around them. Had Folds chosen to work with someone like Dave Eggers and focus on women of the world instead of ‘avenues’, then thrown in some fuzzy guitars and hip-hop infused beats, then he may well have come up with something closer to the Lonely Women EP.

Each of the five tracks introduces us to a different lonely woman and their various idiosyncrasies and foibles. Lead single “She Smokes In Bed” is a fantastically upbeat piece of throwback indie-pop, just perfect for summer with its lo-fi sounds. It sounds so upbeat and even jolly that chances are you may miss the fact that the focus of its narrative, Mary, is about to inadvertently set fire to her house due to the lack of self regard she has for herself.

“Laura” sounds like it is about a loved one which is kind of true, but this Laura is an object of affection that has been appreciated from afar. It was written for and about late singer Laura Nyro, whose track “Lonely Women” also provided the name of the EP. It too is an upbeat and summery affair and possibly the most catchy and accessible of all five tracks, with a danceable hip-hop style beat entwined with cascading piano melodies and twinkling xylophonic sounds. After such a vibrant and bright start, the tone does shift slightly thereon in.

“My Girlfriend” might the most understatedly poignant, subtle and deceptively beautiful track of the year. Telling the tale of a girlfriend overwhelmed by depression from the point of view of her boyfriend and the eggshells he walks around on. Musically the tone is more downbeat than predecessors, “She Smokes In Bed” and “Laura””, but it’s all relative. The beat skips along at a reasonable rate while the sounds of a glockenspiel dance around above it, all while the narrator conveys affection and love for his afflicted partner. Even though she always leaves a mess, comes home drunk or just doesn’t bother to get dressed during the day. The narrative is so simple but utterly real and evocative, the images of the scenarios come so readily and easily that it’s almost like reading a book. The tune itself is soft, warm and manages to touch the listener, bring a tear to the eye and chuckle to your lips.

“Easier to Cry” picks the pace up a little more but the narrative tone shifts down further still, moving from depression to suicide considering overwhelming sense of loneliness. That the duo are able to wrap such a dark package up in such bright and catchy paper without ever losing the song’s meaning and depth is testament to their evolving and improving songwriting.

The EP closes with “Melanie”, a track about a girl we have all known or known of. The ‘life and soul’ as it were but whose effervescent bubbliness and willingness to live and love everything and everyone is born from a crippling insecurity.

The EP sounds fantastic, as have all TV Girl EPs so far, and they really are an act that are growing and improving with every release. With Lonely Women TV Girl has given us a gloriously sardonic and enjoyable look at the darker side of human emotion that they have deftly crafted with humanity and affection, and there isn’t an ounce of melodrama to be found anywhere.

The ‘Lonely Women’ EP is out now and can be bought from theTV Girl Bandcamp page. You can even get it on a limited edition (only 150) cassette if you so wish as well as picking up a very smart looking t-shirt as well.

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2013 Preview: Listen Out For – Seasfire

3 Dec


In our 10 previous Listen Out For posts so far, we have spoken about the varying busyness or not of the acts we have featured. Some have been quiet release wise, focusing on gigs and studio time while others have put a lot of tracks out and gathered radio play and blog support. Seasfire haven’t chosen one or the other; they have been doing it all.

The band itself, comprised of four like-minded gents from Bristol, has only been around for just over a year so to have crammed in so much in such a short period of time is impressive. There have been singles, videos, blog love and gigs a-plenty including a slot at the Guardian’s New Band of the Day Live and a number of support slots on tours (they are currently on tour with Bastille). In the last few weeks the excitement level has hit 11 for the band as “We Will Wake” rocketed to the top of the Hype Machine chart, they recorded a session for Radio 1 and today, they release the We Will Wake EP.

As you’d expect, it is full of atmospheric melodies, and dark glitch electronics. Josh Thorn’s vocals are whisper like they are so soft, adding another haunting layer to the sound. There’s something a little new here as well, be it a further evolution of the band or wider influences seeping through. Their live performances offer a slightly rockier edge than you’d expect and such elements are now making their way into the studio. “You Won’t Be” for example features some fairly angular guitar sounds butting up against the smooth electronic polish. “Human Sacrifice” too, an early Seasfire demo that has been re-produced and tarted-up (technical term) for this EP, is rougher around the edges than perhaps we are used to. There’s even a little bit of Foals-esque funky math-rock creeping into “How Do You Sleep”. It’s good to hear.

The band clearly aren’t prepared to rest on their laurels and keep producing the same song time after time, nor are they stupid enough to jettison what has fast become their trademark sound. On We Will Wake, the blend is spot on not only does it show Seasfire are capable of living up to the hype, it bodes really well for what promises to be a pretty big year for the guys.

The We Will Wake EP is out today via Cheap Thrills.

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Read More: Listen: Seasfire – “We Will Wake” / Watch: Seasfire – “Heartbeat”