Album Review: IDLES – Joy as an Act of Resistance

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Artist: IDLES 

Album: Joy as an Act of Resistance 

Genre: Post-Punk/Punk Rock/Hardcore Punk

Rating: 10/10

 I don’t think anyone expected Bristol Post-Punk band “IDLES” to follow-up last year’s breakthrough album Brutalism so soon, but here we are with a new “IDLES” album titled Joy as an Act of Resistance. Their previous album Brutalism was a groundbreaking release for Punk Rock, and in a genre that has become stagnant and quite predictable, the band brought fresh new life and ideas with a new kind of rebellion against things that even the most hardcore punks wouldn’t rebel against, dragging the genre kicking and screaming to it’s much needed next level. On Joy as an Act of Resistance, the band have pushed the envelope even further. It’s got the same punch as their previous album, with hard hitting instrumentation and lead singer Joe Talbot’s razor sharp vocals and straightforward lyrics that disrupt societal norms, but this time around the band showcases their eclecticism by incorporating some elements of Noise Rock and dark melodies that at times echo Gothic Rock, and even Swans-esque cinematic buildups like on the colossal opening track appropriately titled “Colossus.” Talbot’s lyrics are even more impactful on this album, tackling topics such as classism, toxic masculinity, homophobia, and immigration, and he exposes problematic negatives all while keeping a positive and hopeful attitude, and considering how most aggressive music delves in the negative in a cynical manner, being progressively aggressive in a genuine manner isn’t easy, but “IDLES” make it look easy. This is an album that also isn’t afraid to be vulnerable, like on the personal and haunting track “June” where Talbot expresses his right to be a father despite the tragedy that has befallen him. “Samaritans” is a powerful takedown of toxic masculinity with Talbot shouting “Man up. Sit down. Chin up. Pipe down. Socks up. Don’t cry. Drink up. Just lie. Grow some balls he said.” These are all things men often hear from day one due to the irrational idea that men aren’t allowed to be emotional or sensitive, and on the same track Talbot shouts “I kissed a boy and I liked it!” referencing Katy Perry’s iconic “I kissed a girl and I liked It” lyrics. This is a topic not a whole lot of men are comfortable talking about, but Talbot speaks on it fearlessly and in a way that is extremely thought provoking. This is one of the many topics included on this album, and they’re all passionately expressed equally like the track “Danny Nedelko” which is named after the Ukrainian frontman of the British Punk band “Heavy Lungs,” and this track speaks on how we’re all equal beings regardless of our race or origins. “Scum” finds Talbot owning all the names and labels people throw at him and defending his left leaning beliefs. “This snowflake’s an avalanche” Talbot claims, and you better believe it. This whole album is beyond perfection. It is a groundbreaking release that not only Post-Punk, Punk Rock, or Rock in general needs, but what the whole music world needs. The boys have made an instant classic with important subject matter that everyone needs to hear, and they do it without being too political or preachy. It’s a mirror they hold up to us, and it’s time for us to start thinking and loving.

Written By: Steven Sandoval 

Date: 09/04/18

Tropical Fuck Storm and Liars Announce New Split 7″

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Australian band “Tropical Fuck Storm” released one of the year’s most enthralling and deliciously bizarre albums back in May, and now the band have teamed up with Experimental legends “Liars” to release a split 7″ titled LAMC No. 18, which will be released on September 28th. This will be part of Famous Class’ Less Artists More Condos series, with all proceeds donated to the ACLU. You can listen to the new “Tropical Fuck Storm” track “The Happiest Guy Around,” as well as pre-order the 7″ below:

https://famousclass.bandcamp.com/album/lamc-18

Protomartyr and Spray Paint Announce Collaborative Split Single

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“Protomartyr” and “Spray Paint” have been friends as far back as 2013 when the two bands toured together. It was then where the two bands came up with the idea to collaborate. Now that idea has come to fruition. The two will release a collaborative 7” Single on August 17th titled Irony Prompts The Party Rat. Side A will feature lead singer of “Protomartyr” Joe Casey on vocals while “Spray Paint” provides the instrumentals, and Side B will feature “Spray Paint” on vocals while “Protomartyr” provides the instrumentals. You can pre-order the 7” as well as listen to Side A below:

http://monofonuspress.com/store/protomartyr-spray-paint

E.P. Review: HMLTD – Hate Music Last Time Delete

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Artist: HMLTD 

EP: Hate Music Last Time Delete 

Genre: Synth-Pop/Art Rock/Post-Punk/Glam Rock

 Music fans have unfortunately been subjected to this ridiculous idea that “Rock is dead” from many music publications. Of course, that is completely absurd. The countless “Indie Rock” bands, “Post-Punk” bands, “Metal” bands, and “Garage Rock” bands all continue to breathe life into a vague term like “Rock.” An emerging scene that is completely enthralling and continues to disprove “Rock” naysayers is the South London scene. A scene that consists of up and coming bands such as “Goat Girl,” “Sorry,” “Hotel Lux,” the already revered “Shame,” and a unique as Hell band that goes by the name of “HMLTD.” What separates this band from their contemporaries is their huge ambition to incorporate elements of just about any damn genre that resonates with them, and like many of the greats, this leads to the band being impossible to categorize. This 6 piece band have been at it for a few years now, releasing ambitious single after ambitious single. The band have garnered a huge following of music fans who yearn to hear something new and innovative, but one question remains, and that question is “When the Hell are they going to release a full-length album?!” Well, we still don’t have a full-length, but we have been gifted a new E.P. by the band titled Hate Music Last Time Delete to satisfy our hunger. This E.P. opens with without a doubt the band’s most accessible song yet. Incorporating modern production that leans toward a “Trap” flavor, “Pictures Of You” might sound trendy on the surface with it’s catchiness and dramatic building up of the chorus, but the subject matter is far from friendly. It’s dark, but it is completely relatable in this Internet age we live in that is driven by social media. Lead singer Henry Spychalski sings from the point of view of someone addicted to pleasuring himself to photos of others on social media, and as much as this is a detailing of one’s shameful addiction, it’s also an important commentary on the loss of privacy thanks to everyone’s willingness to post photos of themselves online. Oh yeah, and if this isn’t dark enough for you, there’s also an even more disturbing music video to reflect this dark reality. The following track “Proxy Love” finds the band getting weirder but their attention to “Pop” structure keeps the band from going off into the deep end. This track is zany, it’s odd, it’s glamorous, and it features everything we’ve grown to love about the band from their previous singles. As bizarre as this track is, the “Synth-Pop” dominance and catchy vocal structures present to us how “Pop” music can have substance, and that’s one of the many reasons why this band is brilliant, their attention to catchiness. Their fearlessness to create a catchy chorus even after their descent into musical madness is immensely impressive. The following tracks “Mannequin” and “Apple of My Eye” carry a similar vibe, but this four track E.P. is far from being one-dimensional. The guitar riffs are very reflective of “Post-Punk.” The synth lines are laden with 80’s Glam, and the vocals heavily reflect “Goth” acts such as “Christian Death” or “Virgin Prunes.” The lyrical content doesn’t bombard the listener with hard to decipher metaphors, instead it’s blatantly obvious that these songs deal with self-love, addiction, and even the feeling of being in love with a mannequin and wishing it could do the things a living being can do (I hope Frank Zito was an inspiration.) Just four tracks in length, this E.P. proves that “HMLTD” are without a doubt the most intriguing band at the moment, and this is only the beginning of what may be a fruitful legacy.

Written By: Steven Sandoval 

Date: 07/07/18

 

HMLTD Release New Song “Proxy Love”

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UK band “HMLTD” will release their debut E.P. Hate Music Last Time Delete on July 6th, and following their stunning lead single “Pictures of You,” the band have released another track off the E.P. titled “Proxy Love.” The dance ready “Synth-Pop” heavy track is an infectious anthem about loving yourself, and it is addictive. There is also a fantastic music video to accompany it. You can watch the video below:

E.P. Review: Protomartyr – Consolation

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Artist: Protomartyr 

EP: Consolation

Genre: Post-Punk/Indie Rock/Gothic Rock

 On the heels of their brilliant album Relatives In Descent, Detroit Post-Punk band Protomartyr’s new E.P. Consolation solidifies their leading status in the Post-Punk world. This four track E.P. is just a little over 14 minutes in length, but the band astonishingly displays their growth in that short amount of time. Releasing an E.P. less than a year after a well received full-length album is a daring move considering that these tracks could have sounded like leftovers or a rushed attempt to remain in music nerd conversation, but that’s never been Protomartyr’s bag. In fact, this E.P. takes on a life of it’s own. Though the band is experimenting within the realm of the “Protomartyr” sound, the band still continues to add new life and innovation to their music. The most prominent display of this is on the final two tracks “Wheel of Fortune” and “You Always Win.” The first two tracks “Wait” and “Same Face In A Different Mirror” have all the signature qualities we love about the band. The mesmerizing guitars, the infectious bass grooves that draw from the best elements of Post-Punk or Gothic Rock, the percussion that goes in it’s own direction but somehow fits perfectly with what the rest of the band is doing, and the lyricism that is descriptive but very open for interpretation, it’s all there, but the final tracks offer what might be a glimpse of Protomartyr’s future sound. Kelley Deal of “The Breeders” contributes backing vocals that perfectly set a somber mood, and the incorporation of viola, cello, and bass clarinet add melodic beauty to the beautifully raw instrumentation. Though grandiose in presentation, a track like “Wheel of Fortune” finds the band remaining humble but at the same time putting importance on the lyrical content and vocal delivery. The gruff vocal style of lead singer Joe Casey forces you to pay close attention to the lyrics as he rants and rambles intelligently like a well-read drunk on a bar stool. It’s quite impressive that an E.P. just 14 minutes in length has so much to unpack, and if the band continues to work with other musicians then we’re in for some forward thinking music that can transcend genre trappings.

Written By: Steven Sandoval 

Date: 06/16/18

 

Protomartyr Share New Track “You Always Win”

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Post-Punk band “Protomartyr” will release their new E.P. Consolation tomorrow, and the band have shared the closing track off the E.P. titled “You Always Win.” Like their previous single “Wheel of Fortune,” this track features Kelley Deal of “The Breeders.” You can listen to the track below: