Albums of 2015 #18 - This is the Kit - Bashed Out

This is the Kit
Bashed Out
Released April 7, 2015
Brassland

I'm going to start this post with a line from the press release from the album because it's the truest words I've heard to describe This is the Kit; 'This music is honest, human and humane—a folky-lovely slow-rumble'.

One listen to "Bashed Out", the title track to This is the Kit's third album and you'll understand why the band delivered of my most favourite ever memories in music back in 2012, a minimal, effortless beauty defines the gorgeous, lyrical folk that This is the Kit have delivered on the live circuit for a good number of years now. Here Kate Stable's serene vocals resonate full of soul and emotion as her pure tones complement sparse, delicate instrumentation and luscious harmonies.

It’s not the end of the spine-tingling moments either, “Misunderstanding” is simply divine and the impeccable "Silver John" swoons around subtle, smooth textures as lush instrumentation and Kate's gorgeous, intimate vocal guide you on the most serene of journeys. You'd be completely forgiven for ignoring that there's talk of not being ready for an impending apocalypse within the lyrics. With music like this, I'm certainly not ready to re-enact The Walking Dead...

"Magic Spell” is the heaviest, most experimental track on the record, with Kate Stables serene, relaxing vocal perfectly understated amongst toe-tapping guitar rhythms that sounds both more expansive then the band have even been before but just as natural and effortless as ever.

The whole album remains cohesive and pure and I could name check pretty much all, both "Spores All Setting" and "Nits" (as quintessentially English titles as you could ask for) sound like they'll offer nasty surprises but instead calm and sooth at almost every corner.

Bashed Out is the sort of record that can only help your mood, so go grab a nice stiff drink, turn your phone to silent and immerse yourself fully within. You won’t regret it.

etti/etta - New Music "Introducing"

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Another early 2015 bandcamp discovery, Italian/Canadian duo etti/etta and their blistering debut EP No? Yes. "Christa" is the first track I heard, so lets start there, a scuzzy, lo-fi noise-pop track that operates at a hundred miles per hour and firmly in the shadows, it sees a surging storm of guitars and punchy drum beats propel nonchalant vocals and the result captivates with ominous, brooding intent.

The glorious roar of "I Wanna Be a Writer" is arguably the strongest track on the five track release, a memorable guitar riff that surges against propulsive beats and the constant crackle and hum of the instruments, likewise "Seven Sisters" exemplifies the post-punk attitude, full of marvelous driving rhythms, noise/distortion and hazy vocals. 

It's not all doom and gloom, there's sweetness to on closing number "Yellow Flowers", offering the lightest moment on the EP with the rough, howling guitar frenzy joined by a softer, dreamlike vocal, a pure summery delight. 

You can download the EP now on a pay-what-you-like basis - go an get it hereMore is promised soon, I'll definitely be tuning in for that.

Albums of 2014 #12 - She Keeps Bees - Eight Houses

She Keeps Bees
Eight Houses
bb*island. Released October 13th.

Eight Houses, the fourth She Keeps Bees record sees the duo at their most devastating and exquisite yet, combining minimalistic and subtly intense song-craft, full of equal measures fiery passion and spacious intimacy with raw power and emotion. There's moments that bring goosebumps throughout (the devastatingly beautiful "Is What it Is" and "Radiance") and moments that will blow your mind with their gut-dropping aggression and life ("Raven", "Both Sides"), both are incredible. 

Those stark moments are outstanding, doing away with any abrasive soundscapes for full out spine-tingles, "Is What it is" gets under your skin as a beautiful, brooding piano led wonder, there's little else but the plaintive twinkles and gentle percussive skips, it allows Jess' vocals to radiate with pure, haunting emotion and similarly "Radiance" continues the sparse, never-rushed pacing, a luxurious wonder that draws in the listener with hard-hitting emotions and grace. “Wasichu” needs a mention too, highlighting their master of stripped back soundscapes with hypnotic guitar and an almost pleading vocal.

"Both Sides" on the other hand is an utter beast with a sound more akin to the She Keeps Bees' earlier live shows but with even more grit and ambition, there's a raw, bluesy guitar riff and big percussive beats that swagger throughout Jess' animated vocal. "Raven" is more of a slow-burn, a build-up release of brutal, jagged guitar and pounding percussion.

Ferocious and angry one moment, weighty and sublime the next, get drawn into the world of She Keeps Bees.


Albums of 2014 #20 - Honeyblood - Honeyblood

Honeyblood
Honeyblood
FatCat Records. Released 14th July

Honeyblood went through the unusual step of changing their line-up shortly after the release of their debut, self-titled album, a change in drummers should take nothing away from Shona and Stina's release together (or their live sound since the arrival of new drummer Cat, as a recent performance in Brighton highlighted). Honeyblood is a joy from start to finish, a minimal duo setup that sounds larger and fuller formed than many bigger bands.

There are highlights throughout and singles a-plenty, full of fuzzy, blazing guitar,  hard-hitting drums and nonchalant, sun-kissed vocals that is summed up perfectly by the brilliant “Killer Bangs”, a raucous, breathless that's almost as catchy as the infectious refrain of "nip it in the bud!" from "Bud", where a softer jangle guitar is filled with glorious melancholy and sugary vocals on a bittersweet pop gem that's sure to trigger any number of nostalgic memories. 

"Choker" sounds like a long lost indie's anthem from the 90's, a track which stand up to anything from The Breeders or Elastica as immediately you are introduced to some beasty guitar riffs and pounding drum beats, the result is liable to cause a celebration of mosh-pit bounce at gigs around call-and-response vocals while another oldie (but goody) is the venomous "Super Rat" which ditches the racing tempo and feedback for cleaner, slacker pop sensibilities, melodic vocals and lyrics about (presumably) someone who Stina doesn't like all too much "I will hate you forever, you really do disgust me". Ouch.

"(I'd Rather Be) Anywhere But Here" is another full of hooks and bounce. Charm is really what Honeyblood is all about, and in that respect the album is a complete success, here's awaiting album two.