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Updated: 2016-10-27T16:03:35+01:00


DJ Shadow - Endtroducing (20th Anniversary)

2016-10-27T16:03:45+01:002016-10-27 16:03:35 +0100

This package is totally unnecessary as anything except a cash-grab Part 1: Best Foot Forward ... Endtroducing as an essential record Endtroducing was the first hip-hop record I bought (closely followed by Wu Tang's Enter The 36 Chambers). To be honest, at first it didn't quite make sense. The idea of sampling appealed to me but it took a while before I could apply this aesthetic appreciation to an actual love and understanding of the music itself. I remember listening to the record over and over again, trying to make sense of its collages of drums, movie samples and guitar fragments. Even if this wasn't your first hip-hop album, it can be a difficult record to get your head around. DJ Shadow is an aptly-named phantom as his tracks have a melancholic, often bittersweet feel rare to much other hip-hop (one notable exception is Clams Casino who provides a remix here). These are tracks full of reverb, delay and empty space. Shadow is not unlike the first dub producers who removed vocals from their tracks. They all realised that by removing something, they could paradoxically add something to their music. Without a rapper taking centre stage, these tracks are able to become something else entirely. Hip-hop's in-your-face extraversion becomes a haunted introversion. In the documentary Scratch, Shadow looks around the basement of Rare Records, the album cover's record store, wondering aloud about the failed careers of the forgotten bargain records he uses as his primary material. Shadow's lament for these forgotten voices seems to be something he tries to capture on his own record. Shadow has often been frustrated with his placement in 'electronica' rather than 'hip-hop' categories - this placement makes both perfect sense and perfectly little. The album is clearly hip-hop in its composition of dusty breakbeats and sampled movie dialogue. At first it sounds like something of a cousin to RZA's production style. However, the way these elements are used suggests something totally non-hip-hop as we previously understood the term. The effect is closer to Simon Reynolds definition of post-rock in relation to rock: post-rock uses the same instruments but to create a totally different effect. These aren't block (party) rockin' beats but a sort of home-listening for b-boys and, more likely, bearded hipsters like me. Part 2: Why Reissues Suck in 2016 (it's the money) This 'deluxe' edition adds two discs of extra material. The first disc of extras was already featured on previous deluxe editions and was inessential even then. As with almost all packages of alternative versions or demos, they're of basically little interest to anyone who isn't currently rifling through the artist's bins. The disc itself is entitled 'Excessive Ephemera' which I appreciate was titled in an ironic, self-deprecating way but is probably a much smarter criticism than anything I could come up with. The most interesting part of this disc is the set of Shadow playing live in Oxford on the BBC in 1997 .If this disc was made up of more things like this, it could've been more interesting. Although if they do have more material like this in the vaults I'm sure they'll save it for a different, unrelated package. The remix disc adds remixes from a host of artists including two of the most influential (and inconsistent) producers in all of modern hip-hop: Clams Casino and Hudson Mohawke. But Shadow's work on Endtroducing feels so multi-dimensional and difficult to pin down, these remixes end up feeling stuck in the framework that Shadow's music gives them. That being said, this disc is much better than the last (but, then, remix discs as a 'genre' are generally much better than alternative versions discs). Again they're largely inessential, but remixers like the Teklife crew, Salva, Teeko, Bondax & Karma Kid provide worthy remixes to the originals. Overall this package is totally unnecessary as anything except a cash-grab. In some ways, though, I feel harsh criticising it as this is just the sort of thing the music business has to do sometimes [...]

The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Third World Pyramid

2016-10-27T15:49:32+01:002016-10-27 15:48:00 +0100

'Third World Pyramid' could be renamed 'Business As Usual' As one of the most consistently prolific songwriters of the past 25 years, Anton Newcombe needs little by way of introduction. In the last 18 months alone he's he's either written, contributed to or overseen the release of four records, three of which were with his band The Brian Jonestown Massacre, themselves on album number 15 since putting out debut Spacegirl And Other Favorites back in 1993. While the psychedelic rock scene continues to thrive, many of its successful incumbents deeply in thrall to The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Newcombe and his band continue to move further away from what's fast become the traditional sound of psych. Looking to both the past and future for inspiration, Newcombe isn't known for resting on his laurels and Third World Pyramid consummately demonstrates that. width="540" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> As with many of its predecessors, particularly those more recent entries into Newcombe and the BJM's canon, Third World Pyramid enlists an array of sounds, styles and ideals across its nine pieces. Inspired in parts by last year's Musique de Film Imaginé - Newcombe is currently working on the score for the new Philip John directed flick 'Moon Dogs' - as well as the more conventional elements of psychedelia. Third World Pyramid represents a diverse assortment that stretches the imagination somewhat while ensuring Newcombe's status as one of the psychedelic rock scene's most pivotal innovators remains firmly in tact. While Third World Pyramid's cover artwork might closely resemble the Spacemen 3 logo, that's the closest it gets in comparison to any of the bands whose influence undoubtedly had a major impact on Newcombe and his band's earliest incarnation. As well as the aforementioned cinematic soundscapes, Third World Pyramid also incorporates a fusion of traditional folk coupled with Eastern and South American influences that channel the notion of psychedelia as it was originally intended to be. Forward thinking, cohesive and intrinsically mind-expanding. Opening with the solemn 'Good Mourning', long timer collaborator Tess Parks taking the lead vocal on an acoustic lament that's part Nico, part Country Joe And The Fish in its make up. "Dying faces all I see" she intones over a wistful, if occasionally pastoral arrangement that sets the scene enigmatically for what follows. Both 'Government Beard' and 'Don't Get Lost' find themselves bathed in orchestral arrangements. The former's symphonic sound not that dissimilar to the most adventurous moments on My Bloody Valentine's mbv or even The Beatles' mid-late Sixties fusion of brass with traditional elements of rock and roll. Meanwhile on the latter, once again ignited by a similar fusion of styles it could easily sit on any Brian Jonestown Massacre record from Their Satanic Majesties Second Request onwards. Indeed, it's been Newcombe's constant refusal to confirm that's made them such a prodigious outfit and there's little in the way of uniformed conformity here. At nine-and-a-half minutes long, 'Assignment Song' stands tall as the centrepiece of the record. An elongated folk number that depicts sadness and melancholia yet oozes tenacity all the same. The Eastern tinged instrumental 'Oh Bother' follows suit, its stomping rhythmic underbelly made for the dramatic scenes of an updated take on film noir. Likewise 'Lunar Surf Graveyard', another instrumental piece that bears all the hallmarks of a celluloid soundtrack in waiting. Better still is the title track, a piledriving psych rock headrush similar in feel to Dead Skeletons' 'Dead Mantra'as Ricky Maymi and Ryan Van Kriedt's guitars take control while a collusion of male and female remain eerily low in the mix. 'Like Describing Colors To A Blind Man On Acid' is perhaps the nearest Third World Pyramid gets to traditional BJM - if there is such a thing. Combining three minutes of classic rock and roll with Newcom[...]

Gurr's Track By Track Guide to In My Head

2016-10-27T14:20:11+01:002016-10-27 14:20:11 +0100

The Berlin-based duo talk us through their eagerly anticipated debut record Andreya and Laura Lee haven't taken long to cause a fuss; from a standing start and bonding over a shared love of literature and movies, the duo have already played several prominent festivals, supported the likes of Jimmy Eat World, and been booked for SXSW 2017. No wonder their upcomng debut and first UK shows are so highly anticipated. They gave DiS the lowdown on In My Head's eleven bouncy, fizzing budles of joy. width="100%" height="450" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=""> --- Breathless The weird sound you hear in the beginning is Laura moving the reel of the studio tape machine backwards. We recorded and mixed the whole album analog at Kozmik Sound Studio which was then located inside of Funkhaus Berlin. So these kinds of inherent “tape sounds” accompanied us throughout our whole session. We usually play 'Breathless' first in our live set, as well. The song has always given us a lot of energy so we knew it should be the opener for the album. #1985 This is supposed to be the 'Sex Beat song on the album. Laura was listening to Gun Club a lot when we recorded the album so that influenced the bass and drum recordings. The song is inspired by a lot of the characters we see in Berlin's nightlife, people who live in this fantasy Rock'n'Roll world and use a lot of ridiculous hashtags. Moby Dick We spent a lot of time on the vocals for this song – which is, of course, really draining and exhausting, but it really paid off. Throughout the song, we doubled Andreya's voice very subtly, so she had to do take after take after take, trying to sing exactly the same way as she did before. Digital editing would have probably made this one a lot easier! But we were all so happy when we finally got it and immediately knew it should be our first single. Walnuss Before we re-recorded this for the album, we had one version of this song that Laura recorded with Garage Band – and we really, really liked it. It had a lot of weird noises that came from doubling all of these cheap digital effects, but we tried to integrate this sound into our studio version as well. So we ended up shaking and bouncing Fender Spring Reverb Amps for the little “thunderstorm” in the beginning and the end of the song. This is also the only song in German on the album. We were kind of forced to write a German version to our song ‘Walnuts' in order to perform on a TV show called -Pfeiffers Ballhaus_. The concept is that young German musicians perform in front of old, retired people, but the condition is that the songs are in German. It was one of the funniest things we've ever done and the video turned out to be so funny because all the elderly people are ballroom dancing to our music. In the end, we really liked the German version and decided to put it on the album. Yosemite We both spent a year studying in the United States; Andreya studied in UC Santa Cruz and Laura studied at the University of Pennsylvania, so we were on opposite coasts. I think this year really inspired us both, musicially but also lyrically. 'Yosemite' draws from my flight over to the States. Andreya sat next to a professional climber called Dean Potter, who lived in Yosemite. After her year abroad she read on GMX News that he had died in a climbing accident. She never knew what to sing to this song, because it was more sad and dramatic than our other stuff, but that day the lyrics just came to her naturally. Free So actually we already had the perfect recording of this song, which we did at the Hansa Studios in Berlin. We were sponsored by Converse to record there for one day, and we just went crazy: We played Timpani's, Hammond Organs, you name it, and we put it all on this so[...]

"A dying star fading into a pinpoint…": DiS Meets The Dillinger Escape Plan

2016-10-27T12:43:35+01:002016-10-27 11:35:00 +0100

The New Jersey wrecking crew look back and forth on one hell of a run… Live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse; a fitting epitaph for a band as purely relentless and dedicated to (self)-destruction as The Dillinger Escape Plan. An ever-evolving outfit that has boasted as many as 15 individual members – including a brief run from a shy and retiring gentleman by the name of Mike Patton – since its inception in 1997, Dillinger represent the most hardcore runt of the litter and are damn proud of it, too. Radio play and mainstream success were never even the slightest of concerns, and a liberal attitude to health, safety, and the concept of sticking to a stage-decreed script at gigs meant that acquired bruises and scars made for badges of honour for those in attendance. It’s not like whichever iteration of the band you happened to catch were going home clean, either. This is a group that quite literally bleeds for its art. Go and see them live just once and I promise you’ll lament and celebrate their imminent passing as I do right here and now. Hurry, however, for next year it all comes to an official, defined end. Benjamin Weinman has been there since the very beginning, when a bunch of guys in New Jersey made a record, quit jobs, broke up with girlfriends, and hit the road to see what might come of it. Two decades and more than a handful of permanent physical reminders on, he sounds completely at peace with his decision to call it a day. “In one respect, it’s bittersweet,” he begins. “It’s weird to think that this time next year, I’ll be in a very different place in my life but at the same time it’s really great to discuss the band in a new way.” It was late last year whilst enjoying a much-earned break when the epiphany arrived, the belief that The Dillinger Escape Plan should scream no more. Kicking back in idyllic surroundings – two days on a beach in Mexico – led to the realisation that for all intents and purposes, Weinman, a man of seemingly boundless energy, was sitting still. “I was thinking about my life and how it’s been really exciting but ultimately, it hasn’t really changed,” he admits. “The albums are still fun to make, the shows are still really exciting, but my life hasn’t changed, the challenges haven’t really been that different, and life itself hasn’t been as fulfilling as the work. I just realised that if you want things to change you have to do something different. If you want more doors to open you have to close some doors. It was really that simple. It just came to me all of a sudden, it just snapped – ‘I think this needs to end. This is the last chapter; this is a book that needs to be closed.’” “In a way, I think that’s really respectable and cool, because the idea of doing this whole thing again and knowing it’s going to keep going in the same way? That isn’t exciting. It’s boring. Why fuckin’ do something if you know it’s going to be boring? Sure, I’m going to miss doing this but I’m also pretty excited and scared and nervous. The future is unknown and that’s exactly how it was when we started this band. It’s an interesting parallel.” width="540" height="304" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> Sixth studio album Dissociation closes the book, and don’t expect some kind of pro-wrestling retirement reversal here; you believe Weinman when he says this is The End. If a funeral was held for The Dillinger Escape Plan tomorrow, he reckons their own ‘One of Us Is the Killer’ should provide the soundtrack as the coffin goes up in flames. Frontman Greg Puciato, meanwhile, opts for either Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s ‘Crossroads’ or The Weather Girls classic ‘It’s Raining Men’, “just to really announce our arrival to the netherworld in the most fabulous fashion possible, since there's been like 200 members.” Suitably contrasting styles from two esse[...]

Chasing Ezra Furman

2016-10-27T10:54:41+01:002016-10-27 10:35:00 +0100

David Hillier describes a year trying to track down the Chicago-born singer-songwriter, and why he's a gift for modern music. I’d been trying to lock down an interview with Ezra Furman for months, and we’d been bouncing back and forth on the PR machine. I managed to get him on the phone once, but he cut it short after 30 seconds for totally reasonable personal reasons. Another time I got offered an interview slot, but wasn’t available. Then I was away for a month, and then he was perma-nently on tour. Finally it came to pass that we were both going to be at End Of The Road in September, and I was scheduled some time with him on the Friday afternoon. Except it didn’t happen again, thanks to a combination of ill communication and a leaky Phone battery. Was I gutted? Obviously. But the bit of me dealing with a belligerent hangover couldn’t help but feel guiltily relieved. What if the interview hadn’t have gone as I’d hoped? They say don’t meet your heroes, especially when you’ve had two hours sleep and got pupils the size of bowling balls. width="540" height="304" src="" frameborder="0" allowfull-screen> Fortunately, over the course of that weekend I got to see him three times: his surprise cover set on the Thursday night, a surprise acoustic set, and his emotion-racked ‘proper’ set, closing the Garden Stage on the Saturday. And what became clear over the course of these three gigs was I was not only watching an artist showing off every side of his personality - the happy, the sad, the rad - but that he has quietly carved a niche for himself as a definitive rock & roll star for 2016. The wider world - your writer included - locked onto him last year, with the release of Perpetual Motion People, his third album with his band The Boyfriends. His previous albums, including those with The Harpoons with whom he recorded between 2007 and 2011, had been closely indebted to garage-y rock & roll and the Velvet Underground; not a surprise when you consider Lou Reed is Ezra’s hero. Perpetual Motion People more readily adopted traits of doo-wop and soul, and songs such as ‘Lousy Connection’ attached radio-friendly hooks to relentlessly honest and smart lyrics like “The institution’s that I lean on have crumbled / I’ve got the world’s ear, I’m all fucking mumbles”. width="540" height="304" src="" frameborder="0" allowfull-screen> Additionally, it was nigh-impossible to ignore that here was a man often seen wearing a dress. Of course, in 2016 this is verging on de riguer. Many of the world’s most exciting artists are razing the traditional codes of gender identity; whether it’s the transgender Ahnoni, Mykki Blanco’s gender neutral feminist punk rap, or Young Thug modeling females clothes for Calvin Klein and declaring “there’s no such thing as gender.” Ezra describes himself as gender fluid - a term which, incidentally, just got added to the Oxford English Dictionary - that means he doesn’t identify with being a male or female. This is why sometimes you’ll see him in a dress and flashy pearls, and some-times he’ll be in skinnies and a t-shirt. He’s been unflinchingly honest regarding his battles with his identity, declaring in a blog for The Guardian that growing up he: “Felt imprisoned, as queer kids often do.” In the same piece he went on to say that: “This behaviour is not just part of an onstage persona, nor is it a gimmick to get people’s attention. Gender fluidity is very much a part of my life offstage, though I am still exploring what it means.” width="540" height="304" src="" frameborder="0" allowfull-screen> Fold in a deeply religious upbringing - he's a practicing Orthodox Jew who has refused to per-form on Friday nights - and get we another fascinating ingredient in the big E[...]

Goat - Requiem

2016-10-26T13:31:46+01:002016-10-26 13:31:40 +0100

They continue to make alluring, fascinating and significant music Goat have dealt in the element of surprise since their debut record World Music appeared in 2012. Little was known about them then, other than that they hail from Korpilombolo, Norrbotten County in Sweden - a place they also claim is a place with a history of voodoo worship - and little more is known about them now. Thanks to the tribal style masks they continue to wear when performing we don’t even know what they look like. Refreshingly, aside from these small details, the only known and tangible thing we have is the music. The mystery, in a culture that thrives on ‘personality,’ is really quite a liberating experience for the listener. Conversely, the scrap of information that refers to the voodoo practices of their home is a nugget that could be directly linked to the music, particularly their first record. Seemingly, their particular fusion of afrobeat rhythms, psychedelia and rock came out of nowhere, and it was unique, but you could certainly sense deep voodoo cadences. There was a dark undercurrent and heaviness to tracks like ‘Run To You Mother’ and ‘Goatslaves', from their 2014 follow up Commune. Perhaps in an effort to keep the mystery alive there is no such black magic on Requiem. width="540" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> Or, they’re just feeling really bloody upbeat at present. ‘Djôrôlen/Union Of Sun And Moon’ opens the record, and it’s as jolly a tune as you’re ever likely to hear. Rather fittingly birdsong is the first sound on the album, then vocals that sound strangely distant - then unceremoniously jangly beats and cheery pipes herald what sounds like an invite to a hippy jamboree. If you’re feeling oddly suspicious at this point, and are fashioning concern over the lack of ominous grit you have two options; either move on now or allow the particular charms of this record to seduce you. And seduce you they will, or at least they should. The following track ‘I Sing In Silence’ is a wonderfully laid back number that gets you with its gentle yet insistent groove. ‘Goatband' has some lovely guitar interplay and some jazzy sax that tips it into soul territory. ‘Try My Robe’s’ afrobeat rhythms are compulsive and those looking for a more familiar Goat sound will no doubt enjoy the distorted guitar riffage of ‘Goatfuzz'. And essentially, Requiem is not as great a departure as it might first appear. It is a gentler record, and one who’s overall vibe is less forbidding. Yet the more positive quality that it exudes is still rendered within the unusual mix of western and eastern musical tropes that Goat set forth with on their debut. If there is to be any criticism it that perhaps the band have settled into a groove a little too much. There is a certain familiarity on many of the tracks. Songs like ‘Alarms’ feels like it could have been made in the Sixties by any number of Haight-Ashbury haunting hippies, as lovely a tune as it is. And there isn’t anything that blows you away quite like hearing a track like ‘Goathead' for the first time. That said, they have made some really beautiful music on this record, like the impossibly lush ‘Goodbye’, and as ever the myriad of details they layer each composition with means that it is a record that can take heavy rotation. Goat haven’t set the world on fire this time around, but they continue to make alluring, fascinating and significant music. On their third they have assembled a warm and more open record that doesn’t sacrifice their inherent mystery. ![104198]( [...]

Hooton Tennis Club - Big Box Of Chocolates

2016-10-26T13:24:47+01:002016-10-26 13:24:39 +0100

As kitchen sink dramas go, this is the perfect soundtrack and one that's destined to occupy the top end of many "Best of 2016" lists come December. If the concept album was dead, Merseyside four-piece Hooton Tennis Club have discovered a way to resurrect it in style. Rather than focus on imaginary scientific formulas or overly complicated board games for inspiration, they'd much rather observe what's going on around them. The ins and outs of their living rooms. Literally. Fuelled by the literary stylings of Kurt Vonnegut and Henry Miller and inspired musically by a range of artists from Pavement and Guided By Voices to Lee Hazelwood and The Flying Burrito Brothers via a collective love of 'thinking man's Britpop' like Supergrass and Blur, they've managed to create one of 2016's most endearing – not to mention insatiably addictive – albums. Whereas last year's debut Highest Point In Cliff Town hinted at the future possibilities in store, Big Box Of Chocolates represents a band at the peak of their powers. Split into 12 individual chapters - because that's what each song on Big Box Of Chocolates feels like - its own chapter in a Miller-esque novel of vignettes. Hooton Tennis Club somehow manage to convey an array of thoughts and emotions each of us experience on a daily basis without resorting to over-sentimental schmaltz or unnecessary pseudo romanticism. Those already familiar with their previous works will know their attention to detail when focusing on a particular subject ('Jasper', 'Kathleen Sat On The Arm Of Her Favourite Chair') is paramount to their lyrical prowess. So it shouldn't come as any surprise that Big Box Of Chocolates is littered with numerous anomalies and eccentrics. Romanian mountain ranges, awkward looking people encountered at parties, former flat mates and even Lauren Laverne come under the spotlight here, and collectively it makes for a most delightful concoction of musical oddities yet one that's impossible to ignore or dismiss. width="540" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> It's produced by Edwyn Collins, himself no stranger to creating timeless musical pieces out of anecdotal passages both in his Orange Juice days and as a solo artist. What Collins brings to the mix is a cleaner sound than the rawer edge Bill Ryder-Jones engineered on Big Box Of Chocolates' predecessor. What that entails is Ryan Murphy and James Madden's lyrics automatically come to the forefront. When Murphy declares "It's an animal cry!" on opener 'Growing Concerns' and a sample of a a dog barking ferociously in the background follows suit, it becomes clear from the outset Big Box Of Chocolates has a narrative of its own surroundings not that dissimilar to The Kinks Village Green Preservation Society, The Small Faces' Ogden's Nut Gone Flake or even Blur's Modern Life Is Rubbish. What's most important is every one of these characters is clearly unique to its creators yet instantly recognisable elsewhere. We've all encountered a 'Bootcut Jimmy The G' at some gathering or another. The awkward, nerdy bloke that hangs around at parties or gigs without doing or saying a great deal yet is always there. Or someone you shared a flat with throughout University like 'Katy-Anne Bellis' only for them to get a good job and move somewhere classier. Or "Uptown", as the song suggests. It's difficult to select any one highlight in an album full of them but 'Bad Dream (Breakdown On St George's Mount)' comes close to being Big Box Of Chocolates' standout moment. Taking its cue musically from Blur's 13, James Madden's vocal is actually quite similar to Graham Coxon's on 'Coffee And TV'. The song's autobiographical style focuses about the narrator's experience at a music festival only to wish it had been a bad dream instead ("I had a bad dream about it, and now I'm stuck in my wasted ways[...]

Whatever Happened To My Vitriol?

2016-10-27T13:31:53+01:002016-10-26 10:01:00 +0100

Steven Morgan investigates the troubled saga of the band's mythical second album Over the last fifteen years, the relationship between artist and audience has changed immeasurably. Direct engagement with fans, particularly for artists without major label backing, can help forge a loyalty so strong they’ll still be around long after the hype train has moved on. Some artists keep their names fresh in people’s minds through a fertile social media presence. However if your passion is making music, this extroverted marketing may be an unnatural and unnecessary distraction. It’s arguable that broadcasting the minutiae of their lives can remove the mystique, reminding people that they are human after all. Those artists who are particularly prolific also run the risk of immortalising statements they may later regret. Intoxicated tweets, depressed rants, the internet remembers. Before Azealia Banks deleted her social media presence completely, her frequent controversies meant multiple journalists would track every post in the hope of being the first to write about the next scandal. They knew that when the mob mentality is mobilised, backed by the ease and swiftness of reaction that the internet allows, a well-timed story can result in masses of traffic directed to their sites. Pitchforks replaced with keyboards, shouting replaced with caps lock, it’s a click-counter’s dream. The guilty party at the centerpiece is treated as a moral scapegoat which though sometimes justified, is almost always disproportionate. Things weren’t always this way. Cast your mind back to 5 March 2001 when a self-proclaimed 'nu-gaze' band named My Vitriol released their debut album Finelines. Dido sat at the top of the UK albums charts, Tony Blair was campaigning for re-election as prime minister, and jokes about the overdue follow-up to 1993’s The Spaghetti Incident by Guns N’ Roses were already cliché. It was a musically transient time of excitement and unpredictability. Britpop had become passé while nu-metal bands were topping the singles charts. Amongst all of this an unexpectedly bold debut album emerged from a young British rock band that didn’t quite fit into those trends. Drawing more influence from bands like Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine than Spineshank and Mudvayne, My Vitriol had arrived. src="" width="300" height="380" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true"> Their rise was sudden and followed the path many aspiring musicians can only dream of. Their debut EP Delusions Of Grandeur was recorded over just two days before it got into the hands of Steve Lamacq, who played it on his unsigned show. They didn’t even have a full band at the time, recruiting two others as the hype escalated in order to be able to play live. A short time later Finelines was met with gushing acclaim as critics hailed it as uncharacteristically accomplished for a first album. Chino Moreno of Deftones was quoted as calling them the 'best band in the world', praise from Caesar indeed. They were on Top Of The Pops, and playing major festivals like Glastonbury and Reading. Their single ‘Always: Your Way’ broke into the UK top 40. Their trajectory was enviably cliché, not quite escalating them to a household name, but building the sorts of foundations that could set them up for an exciting future. Infectious Records milked the album for all its worth releasing a total of six singles. In 2002 Finelines was re-released with a bonus CD titled Between The Lines comprised of B-sides and offcuts. In an age where physical formats still ruled, this was frustrating to a fan base who would have to buy the whole thing again in order to get all of the new tracks. src="" width="300" height="380" frameborder="0[...]

DiS Does Austin City Limits Festival 2016

2016-10-25T09:21:34+01:002016-10-25 09:05:00 +0100

Everything is bigger in Texas Austin City Limits music festival, now celebrating its 15th year, has had to fight hard for relevance and identity when you consider how many festivals are now on offer. Despite its relative youth, it has a sense of history attached to it through its association with the ACL TV series, now in its 40th season, and in general with Austin's tag as 'the live music capital of the world.' Credit must go to C3 Presents, the company that also organises Lollapalooza, that the festival (albeit spread over two weekends) not only attracts over 450,000 attendees but also now has the pulling power to have a lineup chock full of legends and current chart-dwellers spanning the full gamut of genres. Problems with the two-weekend format have also improved; last year's headliners Florence And The Machine could only play one weekend due to a scheduling clash, but this year Chris Stapleton was the only notable absence on the second weekend. Austin is, of course, famous for its country music, but ACL falls into no such pigeon hole. It has always been a point of debate what music 'belongs' at a music festival ("I'm not having hip-hop at Glastonbury. It's wrong"), but just as Jay-Z roundly stuffed Noel's jibes back in his mouth, paving the way for hip hop to become a festival force to be reckoned with, now festivals must take account of the explosion of EDM in the charts over recent years. Against these trends and currents, however, the weekend has more than enough to succour the traditionalists; Willie Nelson's first performance at the festival in 10 years, introduced by Matthew McConaughey as the hype-man and then joined on stage by several of the festival's other headliners at the end, is a triumphant victory of classic craftsmanship when surrounded by laptop-centric shows that would have made Willie's plaits tremble. Indie rock is also of no diminishing significance despite these trends; When the line-up was released in May, Amy Corbin, who runs booking for the festival, claimed that ACL had been wanting to get Radiohead on the bill "since the beginning". Thom Yorke, celebrating his birthday on the second weekend performance, addresses the contrast between festival interests, when he tells anyone who wants to watch Major Lazer, playing at the same time at the other side of the field, to "bugger off". The debate should not be about what genre is worthy, though, it should be about the approach of an artist, both to creating music and to performing it. The best acts of the weekend, personally speaking, are those that clearly appreciate the impact of their music, and take just as great pleasure in giving the music as the adoring crowds take in experiencing it - performance should be a mutually symbiotic act. Up and coming Atlanta hip hop artist Raury is stunning on the opening morning. He is ludicrously charismatic, showing stage presence that is unparalleled for the rest of the weekend. His songs belie a vulnerability behind this bravado; minutes after getting the crowd to chant "We all need life", we are told in the chilling 'Butterfly' that "Sometimes I have visions of suicide". Saturday proves that Two Door Cinema Club are as euphoric as ever; a nostalgic return to 2012 through the likes of 'Next Year' and 'Sleeps Alone' followed by their new single 'Gameshow' renews excitement for their upcoming LP release. On the final day, New Zealand country artist Marlon Williams breaks hearts with a set that displays his remarkable vocal control alongside mature musicianship; the enjoyment that he takes in playing with the Yarra Benders is evident, hugging them before the set, and howling together through the foot-stompers. He's then left isolated onstage for a rendition of Leonard Cohen's 'Bird on A Wire' that pierces the souls and tear ducts of everyone watching. It is, in fact, in [...]