Author Archives: Anna LeBeau

Needle Drop: Tokyo Taboo, 6th Street Psychosis

Tokyo Taboo are kicking and screaming their way into the year with their debut album 6th Street Psychosis. The London duo, Dolly Daggerz and Mike, may present themselves as yet another post pop punk band “with attitude,” but never judge a band by their hair dye.

Front woman Dolly Daggerz snarls through each song, with an opening to remember on track “Make It Out Alive”—“Will I make it out of my life alive, I’ve got twenty-three hours when I wanna die.” The album is full of the energy of youth, the wonder and confusion of being a twenty-something, and is a little näive at times but, despite this, each track on the album is a rollocking ride through Dolly Daggerz brain.

Ending with “Pussy Power,” Dolly concludes the release on a powerful, feminist note—unashamed to wear her feminist heart on her bloodied sleeve. Politics is explored a little on the album in between the Dolly’s impassioned musings on life and hopefully “Pussy Power” denotes the tone of what’s to come.

6th Street Psychosis is a little young in places and doesn’t quite hit the mark all the way through, but when you cut through the clashing colours and high-energy pop punk, there’s a lot more to Tokyo Taboo than meets the eye. Dolly has survived her mid twenties blues but she’s done analysing herself, instead she’s beginning to look at the world around her and she’s incensed at what she sees, and it’s through music that the band will make their statement. And all power to them.

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Needle Drop: Crash Club, “C.C.101” EP

Glasgow’s Crash Club are giving the electro genre a bit of a shake up with their own unique brand of electro rock on their latest EP “C.C.101.”

“Pennydrop” is a track with hard edges and melodic grooves—there’s a touch of Prodigy about the first half but the vocal melody provides a tremendous “come down.” Meanwhile on “Chemicals,” the band opt for a more disjointed approach, but it’s the vocals that let the side down here. There’s something very masculine about the music that would most likely be elevated by more ethereal vocals, something which the band experiment with on “Last Dance,” which is by far the stand out.

There’s a frenetic energy about Crash Club’s music which will no doubt be felt live. However, with the sheer amount of sophisticated electro acts out there at the moment, Crash Club fall ever so slightly by the wayside. Somewhat dated in attack, the band would have no doubt hit it big in the mid ’90s, but unless they alter their approach to fit these more sophisticated times, it’s doubtful whether we’ll see them headlining a big festival anytime soon.

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UK Artist of the Week: Architects of Grace

It’s been five years since we’ve seen Architects of Grace, aka Duncan Robert. In 2011, he released the album Moments In Time, a dark take on indie rock, and with the release of the “Outsiders” EP imminent, it feels like this is Architects of Grace’s rebirth.

In terms of sound, there’s a more refined feel to the textures Robert created on the debut album. Elements of ’80s indie are present and the edges feel somewhat sharper than before. The black and white visuals of the video “Stay To Say” have the same gothic feel as before, but there’s an added avant-garde shade to proceedings and a maturity to the music.

In five years the scene has seen the resurgence of vivid ’90s pop, shoegaze, and elements of grunge, but as the tide ebbs and flows, it may be just the right time for Architects of Grace to step out from the shadows.

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UK Artist of the Week: Crash Club

Scotland’s Crash Club are making waves in their homeland and they end the year on a high with their EP “C.C. 101,” out December 2nd. The offbeat four piece make raucous electro rock, roughing up the edges of the scene, ready to rock the new year to its very core.

Their EP features an array of guest vocalists bringing a different flavour to each track but what remains true is Crash Club’s ability to create high-octane songs that come to life live. The band have already graced the stages of Isle of Wight Festival and T in the Park and have gained a reputation for their killer live shows.

With Crash Club already receiving rave reviews and praise from fans, peers, and press alike, it feels like 2017 could be their year to bring electro rock back to the fore.

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Needle Drop: We Came From Wolves, “Places Unfamiliar”

In only two short years, We Came From Wolves have released an EP, a debut album, and a slew of singles and videos. The band have endured a line-up change and have toured up and down the country amassing a strong following on and offline. They embody the spirit of true heart-on-sleeve alternative rock and have grown to become one of Scotland’s best unsung heroes of the underground.

WCFW are one of the many bands to have sprung from the post early naughties Biffy Clyro era. However, as Biffy have matured into a more corporate, shiny version of their former selves, it’s now left to the younger generation to carry the baton.

“Places Unfamiliar” is the sound of a band who understand how to capture the raw, unabashed energy of their live performances but convey a message we all understand—a feeling of isolation and loneliness that eventually turns to hope. Frontman and guitarist Kyle Burgess opens with “this isn’t a game for me”—this single is his mission statement about his passion for the band. We Came From Wolves are all about their fans, all about the music, and 100% all about the feels and they want you to know it.

The single is a cascade of early Biffy and My Chemical Romance with a chorus that will make you want to punch the air with excitement and scream with untethered passion. The first of hopefully many new songs in the coming year, with single “Places Unfamiliar” it feels as though the band are beginning to really hit their stride.

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Needle Drop: The Duke Spirit, “Serenade” EP

Not long after the release of their album KIN this year, The Duke Spirit have returned with EP “Serenade.” The EP continues the band’s ethereal touches and wistful indie directions, but there are a few surprises here.

“Serenade” is the real meat and bones of the EP, with Liela’s dreamy vocals tenderly floating above the buzz and drone of heavy synths. It’s this clever opposition of tones that keep The Duke Spirit’s sound inventive and fresh, even after more than a decade.

“Make It Alright” is absolutely spine tingling—the turn of the melody as the verse melds into the chorus is chillingly beautiful. The last half of the EP takes a gentler pace with “Steel Love” followed by “Throw The Water On The Fire”—within four tracks it feels as though you’ve taken an exhilarating emotional journey.

The Duke Spirit continue to produce music that is meaningful, showing they have many strings to their bow. With their last album KIN and this latest EP “Serenade,” it feels as though the band will be sticking around for a long while yet—and thank goodness for that.

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Needle Drop: Newtimers, “EP One”

Alternative R&B infused pop is a genre that’s become a little bloated as of late and it’s hard to see where Newtimers fit in to all the noise.

The EP itself is a bit of a mixed bag, there’s a confusion of sounds from the upbeat summer hit feel of “Best Of Me” to the downtempo, comedown vibe of “Flower on the Moon.” This blend of different sounds isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it’s where the Swedish duo may find themselves a little stuck in terms of a focussed direction.

“Flower on the Moon” is a really strong track, drawing its sound from a retro core, but “Perfect Ten” swings back around to the slow, smooth R&B vocals of the ’90s before we’re treated to two remixes of single “Best of Me.”

There are glimmers of promise in each track but at times the release feels a little confused and lost. Newtimers are undoubtedly an interesting proposition but their next moves will have to be a little more focussed if we’re to feel the full force of what these guys are truly capable.

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UK Artist of the Week: Rootwork

Rootwork may appear like three mild-mannered office workers, but don’t let looks deceive you.

Since the release of their EP “Gallows Humour” last year, the London-based trio has been receiving steady praise for their tight riffs and abrasive sound. They’re a heady combination between Queens of the Stone Age and Mastodon, bringing both the heavy and melodic elements of metal together in glorious harmony.

They recently released the video for track “Code Talker” (also available on the aforementioned EP), and whilst it may not be the most spectacular visual accompaniment, it shows a band that are slowly finding their feet on the scene—these boys can certainly make some noise. Who knows what they’re capable of next and, quite frankly, we cannot wait to find out.

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Needle Drop: We Came From Wolves, “Ruiner”

Rousing rock four-piece We Came From Wolves return with their latest single “Ruiner.” This is the final single taken from their self-titled debut album, which was released last year and it’s an epic melodic bookend marking a successful 12-months.

Despite the highs, the band recently announced a change in line-up with new members Andy Donaldson and Michael MacKay joining founding members Kyle Burgess and Robert Whytock. It comes as a surprise as it seemed WCFW were riding a wave of strong support, but it feels like a new start for the band and “Ruiner” marks the end of an era as a new chapter begins.

“Ruiner” is full of trademark We Came From Wolves’ impassioned, soaring rock vocals and jilted beats that give the single a sense of youth, hope, and excitement. With two new members in the mix and (hopefully) some new material planned for release later this year, it’s a thrilling time for the band as they have a myriad of possibilities in view ahead.

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Needle Drop: Lowla, “Reckless”

Pop duo Lowla have arrived with their debut single “Reckless,” due for release on March 31, 2016. The single is Lowla’s take on the dark side of a break-up and the band’s first steps onto the scene. It’s a promising start.

The video for the track gives you an idea of where Lowla are coming from—straight from the ’90s! Think stonewash jeans, chokers, and neon—Saved By The Bell meets ’90s trip pop. “Reckless” is sparse at times and you can feel the emotion behind the music, but ultimately the girls are all about having fun.

Lowla are playing with the genre and mixing it up with “Reckless.” Sure, the look is a little forced and somewhat derivative, but this is something that can be forgiven as the pair hopefully mature into artists who learn to take inspiration from their influences as opposed to copying the look and style.

Musically, Lowla have made a promising first release and whilst the single isn’t perfect, it’s moving away from the dream pop that has dominated the genre for the last few years and brings a new edge to things that’s a welcome breath of fresh air.

Lowla’s single ‘Reckless’ is out on March 31st via DIY.

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