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Pumarosa Live Review – Manchester, Soup Kitchen 19/04/2017

Over the years, we’ve seen our fair share of indie bands succumbing to the cliché cycle of intense hype, endless tours and ultimately an average debut album. This archetype leads to inevitable fatigue and, before we know it, the destined ‘saviours’ of guitar music are gone and now work in your local Asda.

One band who haven’t conformed to this stereotypical nature of today’s indie psyche is Pumarosa. From their sprawling 7 minute saxophone harnessed debut Priestess, to their limited live dates and material, Pumarosa have seized control of their own path and it has resulted in them becoming one of the UK’s most intriguing and sonically interesting guitar bands.

Their debut record The Witch is set for a May 19th release and, in turn, Pumarosa embarked on a short tour in showcase of said album. With the already popular tracks Honey and Dragonfly in their arsenal, would their upcoming material match up with what fans have come to expect from them? And, more importantly, will Pumarosa be able to summon the magic that they first conjured up when they arrived in 2015?

As each individual member made their way onto the stage, the London outfit filled the room with a illuminated krautrock rhythm. Transforming into Dragonfly, Pumarosa’s musical prowess outstretched and infected every corner of the room. Culminating with a all-consuming wall of sound, Pumarosa were here to make a statement.

Cecile and Honey followed, with the former exploding with a brooding saxophone solo from Tomoya Suzuki during it’s climax. However, it’s Lion’s Den that takes the limelight early on in the set. One of band’s unreleased tracks off of their album, Lion’s Den sees Pumarosa at their darkest. Starting with haunting piano keys and ghostly vocals, this eerie track becomes draped in chilling guitars that begin to wail and moan. All this darkness and gloom results in a finale that has the sonic vigor of a doomgaze band.

As for other new music, The Witch sees frontwoman Isabel Munoz-Newsome hanging like a puppet on a string as she looks on to the crowd glassy-eyed. This is then juxtaposed later on in the set when she is prowling around the stage with passion similar to that of Jenny Beth of Savages. An intoxicating leader, Munoz-Newsome’s zeal grips the crowd and refuses to let go.

Elsewhere, other offerings from The Witch range from Warpaint-esque spacey atmospheres to an anthemic set closer that is guided by a wonky feverish beat. However, it’s Priestess that truly owns the night. Cascading into a flurry of tropical beats, akin to that of Jagwar Ma, this tribal ritual has an almost Madchester feel to it. Spell-binding, spiritual and stunning, Priestess still sounds as fresh as it did 2 years ago and maybe even better.

To put it bluntly, Pumarosa are a special band. Uncompromising and bursting with ideas and creativity, tonight showed that Pumarosa have crafted a wonderful debut. Masterful in their live execution, this album release will surely spark their immediate rise and there is nobody who deserves it more.

Liam Egan

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‘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

‘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

Introducing Crimsons

Formed in 2015 and boasting “more flower power than your local bakers” (a direct quote from the band themselves), Crimsons are one of the most intriguing bands to come out of Manchester’s recent musical surge. Consisting of Sam Cartwright (Vocals/Guitar), Lucas Berry (Bass) and Adam Kenny (Drums), the self-confessed “melody makers [and] hip shakers” have just released their debut single I Bring The Rain.

A dark and brooding dose of psychedelia, drummer Kenny drives the track along with unrelenting force. At times being almost theatrical, I Bring The Rain is aided along with haunting piano chords and gothic undertones. Frontman Sam Cartwright’s breathy vocals are effortless and ooze style. Flashes of guitars are scattered throughout and add to the track’s dramatic and unpredictable nature. Bassist Berry’s full-bodied bass revels in its own menacing and ominous aura, which creates another instrumental dynamic to Crimsons. Culminating with a burst of scuttering guitars and frantic percussion, I Bring The Rain ends with spectacularly arranged chaos.

Listen to I Bring The Rain below.

Catch Crimsons at the Kings Arms Festival on the 16th-18th of September, and also supporting Johnny Lloyd on the 4th of October at Manchester’s Gullivers.

Liam Egan

American Football – I’ve Been So Lost For So Long – Track Review

Piece written by Nothing Left Unsaid’s Liam Egan for The Black Wax, check it out!

The Black Wax

14063952_10154314394361285_8379540696100183115_n (1)Photo by Shervin Lainez, http://www.shervinfoto.com/

“We can’t just keep playing the same nine songs for people…” Mike Kinsella of emo pioneers American Football recently spoke to Pitchfork in lieu of the announcement of their much awaited sophomore album, American Football (II). Their self-titled debut was released over 17 years ago and, even though there has been an official announcement, it still feels impossible to think they’d actually release a second record now. Their 1999 release has gained such a mythical status over the years, American Football’s whole existence seemed to be for them to create that record and that be it. Alas, with cautious excitement, we’ll have a new album to dissect, listen to and possibly cry over come October 21st. But before then, I’ve Been So Lost For So Long is the first glimpse the world has inside of the project.

After 17 years, Mike Kinsella returns…

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‘Jagwar Ma – OB1’ Track Review

After a relatively busy year so far with their own UK tour and Tame Impala support slot, Jagwar Ma are in the process of ‘reintroducing’ themselves into the global music scene. It’s been three years since Howlin’ was released and, with the way the industry works nowadays, it can be easy for a relatively ‘small’ act like Jagwar Ma to slip through the cracks of the wider audience. However the Sydney psychedelic dance trio (yes they are officially a trio now) are back with their latest track OB1, which will feature on the band’s Autumn sophomore release Every Now & Then.

Still donning the Haçienda/Madchester aesthetic that the band have become so heavily associated with after their debut, OB1 is unmistakably a Jagwar Ma track. With the assistance of Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa on the drums, OB1 bounces around like it’s wearing Shaun Ryder’s trousers. With layers upon layers of Acid House beats, the track progresses over the course of it’s run time with a substantial amount of groove. Gabriel Winterfield’s vocals are less dependent on reverb compared to previous work and it results in a really immediate and catchy chorus. Jagwar Ma have always been about capturing that baggy sound that gets your head bopping without you even realising it, and they have succeeded once again.

OB1 is Jagwar Ma refining their craft and they sound better than ever. Back in 2013, Jagwar Ma were cited by many as one of Australia’s finest musical exports. This is however no longer applicable in 2016, as they are the best act Australia has to offer right now.

 

Liam Egan

‘Sweet White – Tides’ Track Review

What’s that I hear? You want to listen to a band that’s been described as having “Funky grooves lined with darker tones” or “Sharp indie-rock numbers guided by pop sensibilities.”? Well looks like you’ve clicked on the right link that Liam Egan has shared multiple times… Sweet White are a 5-piece indie band from Peterhead in Scotland who have been described exactly as this and have just released their fantastic new track ‘Tides’ to the world.

Entering the fold with a baggy beat and biting guitars, Tides is laced with reverb and thick notes from bassist James Butcher. Creating vast amounts of space and imposing ambience, Sweet White have clear high ambitions.

As Tides progresses into its chorus, it bursts with zeal and determination. Transforming into a maelstrom of thrashing guitars and ferocious drums from Shaun Wilson, it becomes a full blown assault on the senses.  However, frontman Jake Cordiner delivers his vocals in such a calm manner throughout and the result is a perfect contrast between him and the hysteria that’s happening all around. With a slight gruffness and a Scottish twang, Cordiner adds a whole new element and dimension to Sweet White.

Tides is maleficent and unforgiving but also somehow manages to be brooding and tranquil at the same time. With exemplary guitar work from Kyle Drysdale and Ruairidh Sandison, Sweet White’s Tides is certainly one of the the new indie tracks you’ll remember when we come to the end of 2015.

If you like all things Scottish then you’re in luck because you can catch Sweet White supporting Baby Strange at their Aberdeen gig in October, tickets can be bought below.

http://www.seetickets.com/event/baby-strange/the-tunnels/900852

Liam Egan