Strange Waves 2016 Review

What do you get when you mix various musicians, a hand full of DJs, sweltering heat and enough beer to kill a large heard of cows? Well Strange Waves of course! The lovechild of Manchester promoters Strange Days and Now Wave, this new metropolitan festival promised punters the best in up-and-coming music. Topped by psych-garage rockers King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Strange Waves certainly had all the right ingredients. But should it become an annual staple in Manchester’s music calendar? We at Nothing Left Unsaid decided to head down and see what all the buzz was about.

Beginning the night was Manchester’s very own Charlotte Cannon, who was opening up The Ritz’s basement stage. Up in the main ballroom, Methyl Ethel’s spaced out dream pop was filling the air with infectious precision. Almost channelling shoegaze at points, Methyl Ethel’s set was powerful and spiritual.

Back down at the basement stage was London punk outfit Shame. Praised by the likes of Loud & Quiet and NME, Shame have already been making quite a name for themselves. Beginning on Tasteless, Shame erupt with energy and uncontrollable power. As frontman Charlie Steen howls like Ellery James Roberts of LUH and WU LYF fame, he slaps his face like a man hell bent on his own destruction. Climbing up speaker stacks and making his way into the crowd, Steen is one of the most fascinating and primal frontmen around at the moment. The spoken word The Lick is unforgettable as Steen rolls off line after line, with the rest of the band clanging away and enveloping the crowd in their menacing sound.

strange-waves-scandals8-3Photo by Saesha Blue Ward, https://www.instagram.com/saeshablue/

Described as a “love song of sorts” by Steen, Shame proceeded to play a track about everyone’s favourite lady. “Theresa May, won’t you let me stay, just for one more day” is sung around the basement, whilst everyone sways their arms to the sound of post-Brexit blues. With Steen finishing the set shirtless, and donning a rainbow coloured feather boa and sunglasses, Shame end as they started. Visceral and engaging, Shame aren’t just a success for Strange Waves but also for UK music.

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Photo by Saesha Blue Ward, https://www.instagram.com/saeshablue/

The Big Moon followed Methyl Ethel in the main ballroom, playing fan favourites Cupid and Silent Movie Susie. Meanwhile Madrid heroes The Parrots were closing the basement with unprecedented chaos. Tracks such as Let’s Do It Again and No me gustas, te quiero had fans crowd-surfing and absolutely losing themselves in the moment.

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Photo by Saesha Blue Ward, https://www.instagram.com/saeshablue/

Headliners King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard were up next, and what a performance they gave. Starting on Nonagon Infinity’s Robot Stop, King Gizzard played over half of the album without stopping. After a blistering twenty-five minutes, which saw the 7-piece play Robot Stop, Big Fig Wasp, Gamma Knife, People-Vultures and Mr Beat, King Gizzard announced that they’d be playing some new tracks. Going by the names The Balrog, Lord of Lightening and Crumbling Castle, these tracks are sure to turn up on the band’s inevitable 2nd 2016 release.

The collective I’m In Your Mind, I’m Not In Your Mind and Cellophane came along and melted the brains of everyone in The Ritz. Invoking mass hysteria, the audience was a sea of flailing limbs and manic screams. King Gizzard were causing utmost carnage and it was spectacular. Even Trap Door from their acoustic album Paper Mâché Dream Balloon had everyone goggle-eyed and insane.

Ending on the rest of Nonagon Infinity, with Quarters!River thrown in for good measure, King Gizzard showcased why they are considered one of the industry’s most hard working bands. Not only do they have a prolific output of material, but they also back it up with an incredible live show. They’re truly remarkable.

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Photo by Saesha Blue Ward, https://www.instagram.com/saeshablue/

Ending the whole night was everyone’s favourite surf-rockers, The Wytches. Showcasing tracks off of their upcoming album, All Your Happy Life (released 30th September), Kristian Bell & co didn’t hold back. The new material sees the band at the heaviest they’ve ever been, with the recent addition of new fourth member Mark Breed certainly adding another dynamic to the group. Even older tracks such as Digsaw and Wide At Midnight have received the more heavier treatment, giving them a new lease of life. Twisted, wicked and downright amazing, The Wytches proved once again that they are a formidable live act.

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Photo by Saesha Blue Ward, https://www.instagram.com/saeshablue/

So was the Strange Waves a success? In short, yes. It’s a night to celebrate the work that Strange Days and Now Wave do for the city. Week after week, they both bring in the best names in music to Manchester. Without them, Manchester’s music scene wouldn’t be the same. So here’s to another year of amazing gigs and Strange Waves 2017.

Liam Egan

The Rhythm Method Release ‘Home Sweet Home’

London duo The Rhythm Method have just shared their fourth ever released track Home Sweet Home. Speaking with i-D, ” It’s a bitter sweet song, part love letter, part lament for the city we’ve grown up in.” And with the closure of London’s Fabric, Home Sweet Home couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. Keyboardist Rowan sings about “with every closing bar, there’s hollows in my heart”, later followed in the track by lyricist Joey saying “London’s home, but it is no longer.” For many London millennials, it’ll become their musical accompaniment and antidote to all of the recent bastardisation of London’s culture.  

So with times seemingly getting worse and worse for today’s youth, at least we can find solace within The Rhythm Method.

Listen below

 

Liam Egan

‘Baby Strange – Want It Need It’ Album Review

Since their inception in 2012, Baby Strange have become the revered heroes of Glasgow’s music scene. Known for their raucous and rowdy live shows, the trio have achieved almost cult status through their constant touring and dedicated fanbase. Johnny Madden (vocals/guitar), Aidan McCann (bass) and Connaire McCann (drums) have backed this up with a constant stream of tracks over the years, which have never left either fans or critics disappointed. This immense graft has reached its inevitable resolution, with the Glaswegian indie punks now releasing their debut record Want It Need It. But does it live up to the wait?

Fan favourite Pure Evil begins the album and, after all these years, it still sounds as wicked and malevolent as it did back in 2013. Benefiting from being re-recorded for the album, Pure Evil’s opening riff is unforgiving and cuts into you deep. The bass from Aidan is angsty and captures the magic of Baby Strange’s live shows. Throughout the chorus Madden sings “Ooh ah, tired of my generation. Ooh ah, I only wanna be alone. Ooh ah, I’m tired of my own throne.” This is the perfect example of Baby Strange doing what they do best, writing lyrics that are begging to be chanted at the top of your lungs. Pure Evil’s chorus is so infectiously catchy and it is just the beginning of the trio showcasing their incredible songwriting capabilities.

With great group vocals and the urgency of a band who want to conquer the world, Nude is a perfect slice of traditional punk that harkens back to the early days of The Clash. This is then followed by 2015 single Pleasure City. A swaggering ballad that is topped off with a sweltering guitar solo that invokes uncontrollable hysteria.

California Sun is a shimmering piece of west coast garage rock. Madden croons about how he’s had his heart broken into two, whilst the sun-drenched melodies glow with ambition and prosperity. Then juxtaposed by the sultry VVV, Baby Strange turn into this threatening goliath. Carried along by an imposing and gooey bassline, McCann dominates the track as he looms over you like a nightmare that can’t be shook. Documenting someone who is in a relationship where their partner “just violates me” but also makes them “feel so high from this”, VVV is one the LP’s most interesting songs lyrically. Reassuring themselves that they’re “not sick, i’m just trying to find my new thrill”, VVV is a track that is worth taking some time to think about and dissect.

Another track that has gone under the re-recording treatment is Friend. With fuzzed out vocals , Friend comes and goes before you know it. Raw and bloody, Friend is Baby Strange at their purest and it’s fucking fantastic. Next is Trouble, another Baby Strange classic. A mix of early 2000s nostalgia and Baby Strange’s bite and prowess, this post-punk revival track is flat out fun and totally compelling.

2014 release Distance Yourself makes it onto the album, and what an addition it is. Madden’s guitar wails like it’s possessed, whilst the McCann brothers build the song’s minacious foundations. The choruses are rapturous, as Madden sings “They try to take our night, they try to take our fun”, which leads into the frenzied finale. Electrifying and hectic, Distance Yourself is one of Baby Strange’s best.

Human, a standout moment on the tracklisting, sees Baby Strange with their most driven and developed track to date. The chorus is anthemic and is ready built for big venues. Alternatively, the track’s intensity will excel in the small and sweaty boxes that Baby Strange have come accustomed to. In their four years of being together, Human really shows how far Baby Strange have come along as a band.

Finishing on the title track Want It Need It, Baby Strange close the album in classic punk fashion. Claustrophobic and fierce, Want It Need It bullies you into submission. As Madden sings about drugs and how “this comedown is messing up my head”, drummer Connaire performs with such power and momentum that it totally exhausts you. With abrasive guitar and an unapologetically mean bass, Want It Need It perfectly ends the album with deranged pandemonium.

Coming in at just under 30 minutes, Baby Strange have done something truly remarkable on Want It Need It. It’s an album where every track has earned its rightful place and all ache to be heard. It’s a tour de force of indie fused punk that gets everything right. One of the finest and most well deserved albums of 2016, exciting times lay ahead for Baby Strange.

9/10

Liam Egan

Slaves Share Title Track Off Of Their New Album

2015 Mercury Prize nominees Slaves have just released the title track off of their upcoming album Take Control. Available for download as a single, or when you pre-order the album, Take Control is also getting a 7 inch vinyl release with WONK UNIT. WONK UNIT, who have toured and are good friends with Slaves, will be having their track We Are The England pressed on the 7 inch.

On top of this, Slaves have shared the track’s music video. The video sees Laurie and Isaac going on a “ROMANTIC BIKE RIDE IN MOTE PARK”, whilst playing Take Control through an old ghetto blaster.

Their album Take Control is set for release on September 30th via Virgin EMI.

 

Liam Egan

Photo by Jordan Curtis Hughes

Pumarosa Release New Single

After the success of their two previous singles, Priestess and Cecile, London based outfit Pumarosa have delivered again with their new single Honey. After being premiered on Huw Stephens BBC Radio 1 show last night (6th September 2016), Honey is now available on iTunes, SoundCloud and Spotify. Honey also comes with Sinking Heart (Demo), which acts as the track’s b-side.

Liam Egan

Photo by Hollie Fernando, http://www.holliefernandophotography.com/

JAWS Announce New Album, Also Share Single

It’s about ‘time’ ey? (pun intended, we’re not sorry)

Birmingham three-piece JAWS have just announced their latest record Simplicity, which is set to be released on the 4th of November 2016. After their 2014 debut LP Be Slowly, this will be the band’s first album as a trio.

Along with the announcement, JAWS shared the album’s second single Right In Front Of Me. After previously releasing What We Haven’t Got Yet late last year, Right In Front Of Me is JAWS’ most focused and developed track to date.

Listen to Right In Front Of Me below.

Simplicity 

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1. Just a Boy
2. What We Haven’t Got Yet
3. Right In Front Of Me
4. 17
5. Cast
6. Interlude
7. On The Sunshine
8. Work It Out
9. In The Morning
10.Simplicity
11. The Invisible Sleep

You can pre-order the record here, and receive What We Haven’t Got Yet and Right In Front Of Me straight away.

Physical: https://www.musicglue.com/jawsjawsjaws
Digital: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/simplicity/id1144501976?app=itunes&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Liam Egan

Photo by Morgan Tedd

‘Dose – Bloom’ Track Review

“Maybe it’s popular because the world seems like a really sad and alienating place to be in right now. Maybe the discord of ‘shoegaze’ is an auditory mirror of that. A confused reaction in sound.” This slice of wisdom comes from Jonathan Relph of Toronto based shoegazers Indoor Voices. Nothing Left Unsaid interviewed him shortly after the release of his band’s latest EP, and this quote is something that has particularly stuck with us over these past few months. The idea that shoegaze is gaining recognition and momentum once again because how fucked up things are at the moment, truly is a unique way of looking at the revival. Now with this release from Dose, we believe this concept to be even more true than ever.

The Newcastle quintet have just shared the debut track Bloom and, if it’s anything to go by, Dose could prove to be one North-East act to keep an eye on in the coming months. Bloom begins with subtle and idyllic melodies, that weave and interlock as they are soaked in ambient effects. Initially reminiscent of 90s shoegaze, the more you listen, the more you realise that Dose actually hide something much darker. The guitars are intoxicating and you feel like they are corrupting you, as they slowly bed themselves into your consiousness. In comes a pulsating krautrock beat and, before you know it, you’re swept into what feels like the second half of DIIV’s 2016 album Is The Is Are. The melancholy vocals are moody and add so much to the already striking soundscape that Dose have created.

Jonathan’s idea of shoegaze being an auditory mirror to the world is displayed through Dose’s Bloom perfectly. Our world is seemingly so beautiful but also so depraved in its ways, and that’s exactly what Dose have displayed here.

 

Liam Egan