Sunday, 15 December 2013

thegeneral's 2013 Round Up Award Ceremony With Optional Sausage On A Stick - Part Two.

Welcome back my darlings. That was rather a longer advert break then I intended - but I had to hoover the remnants of the ready salted off the rug and refill the kettle before we could commence with part two. It's been all go backstage, I can tell you. I had a huge hissy fit when I realised no-one had pointed out I'd almost done a Judy Finnegan as I presented the last award. I don't think anyone noticed though, and if they did they kept manfully quiet to preserve my dignity (and my raspberries). 

Anyway, here we are, reassembled and ready to go. Have you all done toilets and remembered to wash your hands? I shall be awfully cross if anyone has to leave this blog page to have a wee just as I'm warming up. There's nowt more annoying than getting into your stride and then being thrown off by someone walking past you in a dinner jacket and bermuda shorts. Or was that in my dream about Matt Berninger...? 



Let's plummet on with part two shall we?

Award number six:

Band That Make thegeneral Most Very Excited For New Music In 2014

Arcs and Trauma

This Place That I Love / Lost Spirit cover art

This again, was a very easy choice. Arcs and Trauma have simply rocked my world with their new single. This Place That I Love is a total joy - it's backed with another utter beauty of a song called "Lost Spirit". Both tracks are very different, yet still full of properly rocky, rampant energy and exuberance. Since their initial "2011EP" and the follow up "White To Violet" came out in 2012, they've continued to develop and hone their talent and these two new tracks show just how far they've come and just how far they could go. Hopefully 2014 has great things in store for them - and for their fans too. Thanks for a great end to the year, A&T (oh and also for the T-shirt, which I wear with total pride - and which I did pay for, in case anyone thinks I took a bribe...)

Award number seven:

Solo Artist That Makes thegeneral Feel The Same As For The Above Award But Totally On Their Own And Stuff:

Joe Allan

Joe Allan - September (DEMO)

Lovely lovely Joe. I was totally surprised by his song September, which he sent to me last month to have a listen to. I sometimes feel like a passe old mid-thirtysomething cliche maker when I review young bands and artists and try not to make too many "music's all changed from when I were a lass" comments, but as with Arcs and Trauma, Joe displays a real talent and a maturity in his music that can only improve over the coming year or two. The fact he is just preparing his debut EP for release in 2014 gives me great hope his music will reach a wider audience and that he is recognised for being a really great songwriter and musician. 

Award number eight:

Gramaphone Record That I'm Most Getting My Drawers In A Tangle Over For 2014

Emperor The Stag - Fantasy To Bleak

The Red Admiral's Daughter cover art

When Emperor The Stag sent me their debut album - which is due out in February next year, I listened with relish and feel as though it's going to offer a great musical start to 2014. It's still top secret and hush-hush for now, but I can tell you that it will give so much to the discerning indie fan and really will be a treat to see the Spring in with. I'm hotly tipping both it and the band themselves for GOOD THINGS during the next year and can't wait for everyone to hear what they've come up with. 

Award number nine:

Best Record Label And Band Collaboration That Totes Made Me Go All Emosh And Shit

Tiny Lights Recordings and Tissue Culture

Saint Waleric cover art

Couldn't go to two nicer lots of folks. Just a few weeks ago I blogged about how Tissue Culture had won the Hit The North East and Tiny Lights Recordings Top Twenty Hit List thingy with their song "Satellites". When I played it, I could totally understand why. What you need to do is go over to their bandcamp page and have listen to their EP Saint Waleric and see/hear for yourself. They're a hard working, gutsy, intelligent and thoughtful group and Tiny Lights have really worked hard to bring out the best in them. Just like all the other acts I've featured over the last night or so, they deserve stellar success in the coming months and beyond. Good luck to the finest band of shouty, stroppy bairns there is and thank you to Tiny Lights for bringing some of the best music I've ever heard - not just from TC, but from all the other acts you've helped along the way this year. While the label itself is on a hiatus for the time being - you really should check out what they have to offer because you will not regret it.

Award number ten:

The Really Difficult To Pick Last Award, You Know The One That Includes A Montage On A Video Screen And Features Shots Of Everyone In The Audience Wiping A Solitary Tear Away And Then Checking Themselves Out To See How Good They Look Crying:

Every artist featured on the blog this year

So I know I like a laugh and a joke and to take the piss out of myself quite a lot. I also know that trying to pick ten acts who've really changed the way I think about music in 2013 has been really terribly difficult. The truth is that if I've featured you on here it's because I do genuinely love you and think you've got something to offer my small but perfectly formed readership - so, as cliched as it sounds, you're all winners in my eyes. 
This blog came back from an extended hiatus in August and the first post featured the awesome Kill The Captains with their album "Sounds Mean", it was a fucking brilliant album to stage a return with. In the months that followed I've been lucky to hear some really great EPs and singles from really talented bands like PALACE and Lionhall. thegeneral was also incredibly lucky to witness one of the greatest comebacks in rock history - by going to see the mighty, mighty CUD in Manchester at the start of November, a band for whom it's been a twenty odd year ambition to see and who didn't disappoint. All the bands who've contacted me directly have been a pleasure to work with and a joy to help promote. So I'm hopeful that moving into 2014 I've got plenty more great new music to bring you.

I'm now taking a short break until the new year, to recharge, refresh, reboot and restart my life after what has been a difficult couple of years, but I'll be back and raring to go very soon. In the meantime, thank you to everyone for reading and thank you to the bands I've written about for giving me some music to cling on to when things have been mind-shitty. I wish you all a safe, happy Christmas and a peaceful and bright new year. 

Much love
thegeneral xx

Saturday, 14 December 2013

thegeneral's 2013 Round Up Award Ceremony With Optional Sausage On A Stick - Part One.

It's the night of the year literally none of you have been waiting for. Perhaps even fewer of you than that. The red carpet has been laid out (well, it's a purple rug from Ethel Austins), the champagne (PG Tips) is ready to be popped and the canapes (a bag of Morrison's own brand ready salted) have been organised in an attractive crescent on the table. 

Yes, that's right, it's thegeneral's 2013 Round Up Award Ceremony With Optional Sausage On A Stick. The reason the sausage is optional is that I only had six in my deep freeze, so it's on a first come, first served basis. I've also just realised I've no sticks - I've got a box of Swan Vestas in an old shoe box under the stairs though, so we'll make do. 

The glitz! The glamour! The high life! ...Are all somewhere flick the kettle on, get settled and read on to find out what the musical highlights of the year for this little blog have been. Try and enjoy it, even if you don't, just lie. It'll make me feel much less inadequate than I already do. 

Award number one:

Gramaphone Recording Of The Year That Made thegeneral Squeal With Unbridled Pleasure:

Saint Max And The Fanatics - Saint Max Is Missing And The Fanatics Are Dead

There really was no way this was going to go to anyone else other than Saint Max and The Fanatics and their frankly beautiful album Saint Max Is Missing And The Fanatics Are Dead. I felt like I'd been waiting years for such an exciting, buzzing, thrilling collection of tracks to come my way and when they did it was everything I'd wanted and more. To read my original post, see here, but anyone that doesn't go and listen to it, and then buy after reading this is quite frankly a few scoops short of an Ice Cream tub. No contest for me, this was far and away the best long player I'd been presented with. 

Award number two:

Gramaphone Recording Of The Year That Wasn't Quite LP Length But Nearly Was And Also Made thegeneral Squeal With Unbridled Pleasure:

TUSK - Interrobang

Interrobang EP cover art

This particular award goes to a band called TUSK. I've mentioned them before on the blog, and they continue to be a band I champion and want great things for. Their last EP, called Interrobang came out in April this year, and as the blog was on hiatus then I didn't get chance to review it - so this is by way of apology to them and also to you, because many of you may have missed out on just how brilliant it is. Click on the link above to listen to it and download it. It's a genius mix of witty, urbane lyrics, chippy, dubby music and dark humour. TUSK are effortless in their brilliance and this was definitely the EP of the year for me. You absolutely have to have them in your lives. 

Award number three:

The One Single Track That Made thegeneral Want To Yell In The Street "WHY IS NOBODY TAKING NOTICE OF THIS BAND???"

By Toutatis - You Need To Know When It's Time To Leave

You Need To Know When It's Time To Leave cover art

Easy. Easy easy easy. This accolade is presented to the stellar By Toutatis. I'm listening to the track in question as I type this (I mean of course, as I stand at the podium in my dashing evening frock...) and I'm reminded of its painful beauty and the genuine emotion in it. Click the link to listen to: You Need To Know When It's Time To Leave. It is quite simply one of the loveliest songs I think I've ever heard and I can't say anything other than that; You need to hear it yourself to appreciate what I'm talking about and it really rankles with me that more people don't know just how talented they are. 

Award number four: 

The Most Blinding Bit Of Electronica You'll Hear All Year - That Even Made thegeneral Put Down Her Kraftwerk Records For A Bit

Discopolis - Falling (Committed To Sparkle Motion)

Oh this record. This was the soundtrack to my summer. Discopolis had the dubious honour of being the first band I wrote about on this blog way back last year. Over the last twelve months they've developed, matured and grown in their sound and this track felt, to me, like the cumulative effort of all the hard work. From the moment I heard it I was blown away and even now, all these months on it continues to be a staple of my regular playlists. You must also watch the Donnie Darko-esque video for it:

Which is beautifully intense. They are worthy winners of this award and I hope they come back in 2014 with more bleepy excellence. 

Award number five:

The "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo DON'T LEAVE, I'm Totes Emosh" Gong.

Blank Maps 

Lucky Dip cover art

You remember in the mid 90s when Take That split up? They had to set up counselling lines to cope with the numbers of screaming girls who were bereft at the passing of a boy band institution. I never batted an eyelid. Didn't affect me at all. Got through the whole thing without chipping my nail polish. I couldn't understand why there was so much knicker wetting going on over a few lads who'd decided not to make records anymore. I LAUGHED IN THE FACE OF THEIR SADNESS. Then, just last month, I heard that Blank Maps were to play their final gig and afterward split. Frankly, I was bereft. I had an adolescent hissy fit and Queeny strop and picked all my nail polish off. Incredibly gutted they've gone, but also extremely glad they've left us with a brilliant back catalogue of stuff to keep with us. You can download their hits here and love them as much as me, albeit retrospectively

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Knievel Dead - Psychosis

Psychosis cover art

PHEW. It's Tuesday. It's tea time. In the words of Gene Hunt "I'm 'avin 'oops". Except that was lunchtime. And it was 1973. And it was a fictional drama. And this is real life. And I'm a girl. Yes. I should stop this now. Anyway, it's Tuesday and we're almost teetering on the precipice of it being half way through the working week, but not quite. So what we all need is a shot of adrenalin to carry us over and see us right.

What have I got? I've got a mug of tea and my shattered dreams. That's it. Oh and I do have another excellent new musical offering for you.

I'd like you to take a moment or seven out of your boring days to have a listen to The Knievel Dead. First of all, hoik your gussets over to their bandcamp page:

...and have a listen.

Now then. Aren't they good? And I have to be honest (and I also have to stop starting sentences with "and", it's fucking annoying) totally not what I was expecting either. When the band kindly got in touch and sent me the link to their soundcloud page and their website, I was expecting something -  in the words of Monty Python - completely different to what I got.

I love this EP. I love it. It's just the right side of being too heavy, it's haunting, it's dark and and it's scuzzy. The opening track "Psychosis" (also their new single) is a real interesting juxtaposition - brilliant fuzzy guitars, a proper PROPER catchy hook, matched with a really surprisingly muted and beautiful vocal. I think that was what took me by the lapels and shook me the most, how the vox and guitars seemed diametrically opposed, but worked so well together.

The Knievel Dead seem to have a real great knack of nailing brilliantly catchy riffs, each song on here has them and they feel so natural, very progressive and easy. The final track on the EP "Coming After You", to me, in it's style had an almost mussed-up-glam-rock feel to it. It felt recognisable, as if it had come from that time, but the sequins were peeling off and the eyeliner had smudged - a bit dirtified (but nicely so).

So I urge you to go forth and buy their EP. I also heartily encourage you to visit their website and find out a little more about them:

And I also hope they come back very soon into the new year with more of the same. And now I really am going to stop starting sentences with "and".

Monday, 9 December 2013

The Ideas - Kicking Up Stones

The Ideas’s avatar

Yo! We've made it through Monday and not killed anyone with fire. I'd say that deserved a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake, don't you? There's always time for tea and cake. Always. Anyone who says otherwise needs a right good kick in the flaps.

Monday night is a great time for discovering a new band don't you think? I do. I have one to introduce to you today and I'm proud to be doing so. In fact I think this may very well be the newest band I've written about on this blog to date. Who are they? They are The Ideas. Co-incidentally they are also the last of my features on new music from Oxford and they are ending the series on a high.

First of all, here is the link to their great new song "Kicking Up Stones"

So go go go and have a listen.

Now come back to me and sit cross legged on the floor, otherwise there'll be no story before home time. Fingers on lips. On your own lips...cheeky.

"Kicking Up Stones" is a great number. It is, to my mind, a pure out and out classic with incredibly catchy lyrics and vocals. It's nicely lo-fi in feeling, it doesn't sound overly produced, it's got nicely chime-y guitars and it breaks into something that has great style and rhythm.

While you're there, click on the link above and listen to "Between The Rain" a gently haunting song that will get under your skin straight away. Highly recommended listening.

The band are planning on releasing this as a single, hopefully in February 2014 through a newly formed label called "Chilli Rose". It'll come out as a digital download first, then physical hard copies will follow in March. Both will be worth the wait - and I'm reliably informed that the band are also working with Chris Brown (not THAT one...) who mastered The Beatles Anthology and has also worked with RADIOHEAD (swoooon) and Rod Stewart.

So, I heartily urge you to keep these guys in mind as I've a feeling that they will make big waves over the coming months. They've a genuinely great sound and to cap it all off are jolly nice people to boot. You may well have heard them here first - so take them and run, run like the wind my children. The Ideas. Give them some.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

The August List - High Town Crow

The August List High Town Crow

Well well well, what's all this then? Well you know damn well what it is, it's a final blog post before we wave out Sunday and flip the bird at Monday (from behind the wall obviously, don't want to hurt its feelings too much).

Of course, you'd expect nothing less from thegeneral, but we really are going out on a high with something refreshing, different and oh so lovely.

So, for the final installment of my features on acts supported by PinDrop Publicity, please to be very much welcoming you with The August List.

Now this really is somewhat of a departure for me - because as yet I don't think I've featured a truly out and out alt-country act on here yet, something for which I should hang my head in shame, because it is a bit of an overlooked genre all told.

So what can The August List offer you? Well, how about you have a look at their soundcloud page to see what all the fuss is about...

...see what I mean? They're great. bluesy, country-y, vocals to DIE for and outstandingly clean guitar sounds, that turn into something outright dirty half way through.

I was blown away by this track and so, naturally decided to investigate them further. Here's what I found, if you can please make your way over to their bandcamp page:

You'll find their first EP from earlier this year and I HIGHLY recommend you give it a listen. It's four tracks of similarly bluesy-rocky-country-y tinged delight - there is something quite heartbreaking and yearning about the lyrics and the way they're performed. The songs all feel like instant classics, proper foot tappers - you really can actually pick them up after one listen and find yourself humming the melodies and they're a duo you feel really ought to go places with just the right break.

Standout tracks from this EP for thegeneral are "Death Penalty" and "Forty-Rod Of Lightning". They offer something intense, brooding and emotionally charged. Simply a great sound.

So, my final clarion call - please go investigate The August List, download their music and give them your time. If you like alt-country with balls, you'll love this duo.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Grudle Bay - Colder

Colder EP cover art

Welcome to Saturday - and a second blog for the weekend. I know. I like you to all think I've got some semblance of a life, but the reality is quite the opposite. Today has mostly consisted of flat-hunting and trying to actually figure out what planet estate agents actually frequent (answer - not earth). So to say I'm feeling a bit fracticatiously overwhelmed is an understatement. Fracticatiously is another word I've just invented. No, there's not a thing you can do about it.

I am therefore in need of some music to really cheer me along and I believe I've found the very thing to share with you. This is the third in my mini series of posts showcasing PinDrop Publicity and it features another Oxfordian band called Grudle Bay.

First of all - here's their bandcamp page:

Which contains their mighty fine EP called "Colder", which was released in October. So, please hop on over there and give it a wee listen.

I lamented earlier on in the week that I didn't cover much electronica on these pages - so this has come at the right time. Although I LOVE my guitar music and am a big folk fan, there is something to be said for the delicate persuasion of anything dancey tinged in thegeneral's eyes. Although this isn't entirely electronic, it has got one foot firmly in the pop/upbeat/dance category and it's a perfect example of a record that explores both genres in a worthy and workable way.

This three track EP is really great. The opening track "Colder" is so reminiscent of everything that was great about 80s music, yet retaining a distinctly up to the minute feel. Although the name doesn't suggest it, it's the kind of track I'd imagine listening to in warm Summer sunshine, lying back on the grass and feeling happy. Well, that's how it feels to me brought a bit of cheer to a chilly, dark early evening.

The second track, "Running" is mellow, harmonious and a delight. The vocals are floaty light and dreamy. In some ways, I'd compare Grudle Bay to another one of my favourite acts, Scottish popsters Django Django, especially with regard to this song - they've got that same way of creating tight harmonies that really seem to draw you in and make you focus on the lyrics.

Final track "Fool Around" is a great way to end the selection. It is a gentle, breathy effort, with a kind of circular feel to it, it's calm, its relaxing and again with a real nod to the 80s. In fact, here, have a look at them performing it live


..and you'll see exactly what I mean...

So there you go. Grudle Bay. Another excellent act from Oxford to look out for on your travels. In the meantime, get on over to bandcamp, download their shizz and give them a lift...aye thank you.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Toliesel - Contours

Contours cover art

Not to shout, but IT'S FRIDAY. Yes, yes it is. That statement was brought to you by the Ministry of Stating the Obvious, now back to your regular, scheduled programming.

If, like me, you're that tired you could snort Nytol off the convent railings with gay abandon then you'll be needing summat quite nice to see the evening in with. As per I've got just the thing and again, it involves another great act from Oxford/London based PinDrop Publicity...

Here they are, they're called Toliesel, they are from Oxford, and this is their latest EP, called "Contours". First of all, here are the necessaries you need. The link to their bandcamp page:

What can I tell you about this EP? It's polished, it's slick, it sounds pretty damn fabulous and it really is the perfect antidote to a week of mither and maul.

Immediately, I was struck by the purity of the vocals on the songs, they're beautifully clear - folky sounding without tipping into arran sweater and cords territory (not that there's anything wrong with that), but they're alt-country tinged, and have a really nice Americana feel to them, that's not forced. In fact, the band do describe themselves as being of that ilk.

There are great, tight sounding harmonies on these tracks and combined with the sharp guitars and wispy percussion it makes for a very engaging and different listen. Standout tracks for thegeneral are the opener "Whispered Half Asleep" and the deceptive "Brothers" which is a song of great contrasts, gently tender, with a rock hard centre that then softens again and chimes out at the end.

It's un-indie, it's different, it's poignant, focussed and is probably a bit different to many of the other things I've covered on here before. And that's a very good thing indeed. Toliesel are a band to watch over the coming months if this EP is anything to go by. My clarion call is as always, give them a listen, give them your support...and enjoy...

Monday, 2 December 2013

Flights of Helios - Star//Crows

Star//Crows cover art

Are you absolutely bloody shattered and can't wait to crawl into your bed? I am. It's not even approaching duvet time yet. If you're feeling tiredfractiousmondayesque then what you need is some lovely music to make it all better and, would you Adam and believe it - I've got JUST the thing.

First of all, a speshul announcement. Over the next week or two thegeneral is running a series of posts in conjunction with PinDrop Publicity. You can have a look at their interwebspage HERE. I've been lucky enough to be sent four absolutely cracking acts to share with you - each of them very different, so hopefully there will be something to suit the musical tastes of anyone who reads these pages. Unless you only like Val Doonican. Then you're possibly a bit fucked.

Anyway, tonight I'd like to share with you the first of these acts and we're starting on a right big high, so we are.

Flights of Helios. There we are, straight in...first of all the necessaries. Here's the link to their bandcamp page so you can check their music out for yourself:

The band describe themselves as "ambient cosmic folk drone pop" and yep, that's really pretty apt. These two songs are pretty glorious and kind of provide a nice backdrop to a chilled out evening if you've been feeling a bit brittle and worn out.

The first track "Stars" is an ethereal stonker. The vocals and harmonies work so well together - there's a nice feeling of space, of dream like trippinesss to it as well. It's nicely paced and you feel like your shoulders are going to drop when you listen to it, like you can breathe properly and shut your eyes. I often feel that on here I don't cover enough electronica - and it's a genre of music I really adore. This kind of nicely addresses that.

The second track "Crows" follows in a similar vein, of the two tracks, it's got a slightly more insistent percussive element to it, an industrial feel - kind of like a mellowed out Cabaret Voltaire. Half way through it picks up pace and turns into something a bit more unexpected, it opens out, it gets noisy, frantic and becomes a harder soundscape. A nice contrast to the opener.

Of course, you know what I'm going to say - you need to give these guys your support. If you buy this single from bandcamp they'll put the proceeds towards creating their debut album and I think that's a great thing that really should be encouraged. So, Flights of Helios, I insist you put them on your to-listen-to-list. Go go go.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

The Broken Broadcast - How Not To Cut A Buffalo

How Not To Cut A Buffalo cover art

Howdy, bitches. I know, two blog posts in one weekend? Aren't you a lucky set of buggers?

Keeping the momentum going before Monday kicks us all in the capri pants and flings us headfirst into yet another week of terminal decline and tea breaks.

Today's feature is about a release from earlier this year - a record that was put out while thegeneralmusicblog was on hiatus (thegeneral herself is still on a hiatus from life, but that's a whole other story, for which you'll need a family pack of Mars Bars, Valium and earplugs). However, the band in question very sweetly tweeted me last week and asked if I'd be willing to give their latest gramaphone record a listen and I heartily agreed.

Now then.

The Broken Broadcast. How Not To Cut A Buffalo. Well first of all, how could you not love an album with a title like that? You're already onto a winner. But of course, it's the music. It's all about the music. So what can this treasure trove offer you?

Quite a very big lot as it turns out. It's such a warm  record with a very good vibe to it. Vocalist James Riggall's voice struck me straight away - reminding me immediately of the not-very-often-mentioned-but-should-be Andy Spearpoint from the late, lamented 1980s Madchester outfit New Fast Automatic Daffodils. Such a chilled out, laconic sounding voice which marries really well with the great musical mash-up of guitars/bass/drums/brass and glockenspiel/cello.

The music is inventively chippy, intrepid and swingy. Some of the songs - I'm thinking in particular of "Swim" here, have a delightfully childlike insouciance to them, helped along with the gently tinkling percussion and again, by the lulling juxtaposition of the vocal performance, which gathers in strength and power as the song progresses.

Stand out tracks (for thegeneral) are the abovementioned and also the second track "This Is My Wilderness", which has a belter of a guitar part, quietly driving percussion and really actually quite moving lyrics. The nicely harmonised "Silence is golden when I'm with you" is the take home line, repeated throughout, to great effect. A wise sage once said to the thegeneral that you know you've cracked it with a member of the opposite sex when you can sit in silence with them, it feels comfortable and doesn't matter that you're not nattering ten to the dozen. However, that's all by the bypass, but the line did strike me as prescient.

Each track, in it's own right has something special to offer - whether it is folky banjos (not a euphemism), lo-fi indie style or moving pianos (as in the case of mid point track "Sea Coal Collectors").

So, although this album has been out since the Summer, I'd really recommend you hopped on over to the band's bandcamp page here:

And checked out what they have to offer, because as I always say, you won't regret it. And as anyone who knows me, knows - I'm very rarely wrong, and even when I am, I'm still usually right.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Joe Allan - September

Joe Allan - September (DEMO)

A very happy Saturday to you, and if it hasn't been happy, then cheer yourself up with the fact that it will soon be Monday again and you can sink further into your pit of despair. I bet that's cheered you up no end.

What can I offer you today?

Joe Allan. That's what. Over on the Twitters I usually put out a weekly clarion call for bands/singers to get in touch with me and send me their shizz to review. If it's good, I'll do it. If It isn't, I send them away with a flea in their ear, a U grade and a note to tell their Mum they must try harder (I sometimes take bribes if you want to get round me with money/cake/declarations of undying can only try)

Anyway, Joe was one of the many folks who contacted me this week and you'll be pleased to know he passed muster with an A*. So today, I'm going to introduce you to him and also tell you why you need his music in your life.

He was kind enough to send me a demo of his new song "September", so please afore we go any further, have a watch/listen to his track:


If you want to listen to the music without the video, visit his Soundcloud page via Tumblr:

I was actually going to start this paragraph by saying "I'm incredibly excited by this young man", then I thought it sounded a bit odd, not to mention wrong, but now I've typed it out and made us all blush anyway, so what the hell. But Joe's music is lush and he's genuinely a really nice chap.

"September" is such a wistful, piece - the music lulls you, but the lyrics definitely have edge to them. You cannot possibly ignore (or not love) a song which opens with the line "Fuck you, everybody" - when you hear it, it's a little bit of a jolt, given that the guitars have such a gentle feel to them and the overall sound is very dreamlike. Joe, in the description for the video says he will make a less half-hearted version for his new EP when it comes out. I think that kind of does his own work a wee disservice. This is a lovely track, with a great promise to it and it is perfectly pitched.

I have to admit a real soft spot for the video - the music is set to various video clips from the USA in the 1960s. It actually felt as though it accompanied the song really well - and reminded me of my own family, some of whom were out there at that time. It made me think of the photos they sent home to us here that I loved flicking through as a kid in the 1980s. So yeah, nostalgia, expletives and lovely music - all things that make thegeneral go boom.

If you like what you hear then why not consider having a listen/watch of this too:


This is such a well nuanced song, it's sweetly stirring and has such a tenderness to it, made all the more markedly pronounced by a beautiful guitar pick (thegeneral appreciates that, being a semi-professional rubbish guitar bore). It's seven minutes that feels like is passes in less than half the time - and, in the nicest possible way, it will haunt you afterwards - it will stay in your mind and you'll want to keep listening again. Joe's vocals have an ethereal quality to them and his words are wise beyond his years. All in all, it's truly magical stuff.

His debut EP is hopefully going to be out sometime in the new year - tentatively called "The City Ate My Brains", when it's out, I'll give it a thorough going over and make sure to let you all know about it. For now, take these two tracks and love them.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Tissue Culture and Hit The North (East)

Saint Waleric cover art

Hey and away we go on this tuneful Tuesday evening - and what a day it has been. I still have no proper chocolate and at tea time I realised there was no cake either. No cake? Unthinkable. So I obviously needed something to take my mind off my troubles. Here it is anyway.

I start with a small apology as I'd meant to do this post last week, but time ran away with me and I didn't get chance - better late than never and I hope you'll agree when you read (and listen, because if you don't listen, I'll find where you live and tell everyone what you REALLY keep in that tea caddy in your shed) that it was worth the wait. 

So yes. Ahem.

I've long been a champion of all the new and emerging acts from the North East. At the moment, it really is the best place to be if you want to listen to really fresh, engaging music made my keen-as-mustard folks with genuine talent. Quite a few of the bands I've featured on this blog since its inception last year have been from there and although I'm from the North West myself, I feel a genuine affinity and affection for the great music being produced over t'wall. 

Therefore I was quite excited when I heard that Hit The North (East) were getting together with one of my favourite wee record labels Tiny Lights Recordings to create The Tiny Lights Top 20 Records of the Year awards type thing. Tiny Lights have had some bloody fucking brilliant acts this year - in a few weeks time I'll be doing my own review of the year and there'll be lots of mentions of them again, so brace yourself, prepare for the emergency stop and don't forget to bang on the dashboard. 

You can see the complete run down of the top 20 here - it includes some favourites of mine, By Toutatis, Lionhall and BLANK MAPS (sobsobsob RIP etc)

However, the focus of tonight's long, rambling meander (cos God knows this is making the Domesday Book look like a pamphlet on condoms) is going to feature the winners- Tissue Culture

Oh Tissue Culture. On their Facebook page they describe themselves as "shouty, stroppy, bairns" and it's funny, but it really does them a total injustice. The last while gone by I've been giving their EP "Saint Waleric" some serious whelley on the auld gramaphone and I've really grown to love it a great deal. Before we go any further, I'd like you to take a look at one of the tracks off it - "Satellites"

Now you've done that, you must go to their bandcamp page and take a look at their EP in full

It really is so very beguiling. It's discordant harmony played out to a backdrop of scuzzy guitars and there is a painful beauty to each of the tracks. The seven minute opener "Bleak Northern Beaches" is a push-me-pull-you kind of song - on first listen it might scare you a bit, but give it a few listens and you realise just how much depth it has. Satellites speaks for itself, but songs like "Safe, Safe, Safe" are real emotional rollercoasters. All of the tracks on here are aching paeans, filled with pathos and real intensity.

So whilst everyone on the list was a winner in their own right, Tissue Culture grabbed the top spot for the sheer forcefulness and heart stopping gorgeousity of their sound (yeah, I just made a word up, no, there's fuck all you can do about it...). They are a band that simply warrant investigating and are deserving of a friendly ear. thegeneral really does hope they come back in 2014 with something else. In the meantime we've got Saint Waleric and their EP of 2011, "Cling To The Nostalgia" (and not mastalgia as I just typed...that's something totally different for another blog)

Tiny Lights might say they're DIY as fuck but their acts are a shining example of everything that is fuckawesome about the North East music scene. Once you've checked out Tissue Culture, you might want to have a look at what else they have to offer:

I say this a lot, but you genuinely won't regret it. Now then...about that stuff you're hiding in the tea caddy at the back of the shed...?

Monday, 25 November 2013

Emperor The Stag - Fantasy To Bleak

The Red Admiral's Daughter cover art

Goodness. We've almost made it through Monday and not killed anyone. I'd say that was pretty good going, though it was touch and go at 2.30pm when it was discovered the only chocolate left in the box was "the one that dare not speak its name" (I'll leave it up to you to guess, but I'm still shuddering now - didn't stop me forcing it down, like...) Anyway. That aside it's a brand new week and that can only mean one thing. A brand new band and a brand new blog post.

Today is another incredibly special one. 'Cos today I want to introduce you to a band called Emperor The Stag. thegeneral has been extremely lucky (not to mention verryy excited) to receive a preview copy of the band's new album which isn't actually due out until FEBRUARY 2014!! But yeah, I'm obviously so hip n cool that they sent it to me, so be totally jealous and all that.

What can it offer you? Oh, just about everything. It's lovely. It truly is. First of all, I'd like to direct you to one of the preview tracks on the YouTubes. It's called "Leaves" and you can watch/listen here:


It's immediately catchy, both the guitar sounds and the vocals are incredibly pure. One of the main things that stuck in my mind hearing singer Nick Webb's voice was, in a way, how he reminded me of Jaime Harding from 90s indie darlings Marion. He has that same, raw, emotional energy  that really reaches out to you. When he lets go, there is so much power there that it feels like it might take you off your feet. It's visible in all the songs and he seems to really know how to 'play' each track, matching his voice according to how gentle or hard edged the music is.

Of course, it shouldn't be about comparisons, these songs speak for themselves and are unique and individual in their own way - and on first and second play through this seems to be another album on which there isn't a duff track.

Stand out songs for thegeneral are the abovementioned "Leaves", "Swan" and "RAD" which is a lovely, gently lulling six minute piece of perfection - beautifully understated in many ways, a wonderfully catchy guitar hook is matched with delicate bass and drums, and again, a pure vocal that is a real delight, swooping and soaring to..well...I was going to say a climax, but fuck it, that sounds a bit wrong. You know what I mean anyway...(perhaps that afternoon chocolate was a bad idea...)

It's immediately followed by a complete change of pace, with the punchy, edgy, chippy "Venice", providing a nice contrast - most outstanding here is the thumping, driving drum rhythm that drives the whole thing along - giving it a sort of military feel.

All in all, this is outstanding and February can't come quick enough, because this is one album that any self respecting indie fan needs to have in their collection. If you'd like to know more about Emperor The Stag (and you bloody well should...) then have a look at their bandcamp page:

And check out last year's "Speedwell Drive EP" which has also been high up on thegeneral's playlist for a little while now. When February comes, don't hesitate - make "Fantasy To Bleak" one of your first Spring music purchases. You won't regret it.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Blank Maps - Thousands

Thousands cover art

It's with a really heavy heart thegeneral makes this post. In fact I almost feel like laying on a funeral tea and donning a mourning veil to write it (I look proper good in black though, so y'know, it's got it's compensations and all that).

You know how much I love and champion Blank Maps. Their last release, "Lucky Dip" has been without doubt one of my most played and obsessed over tracks of the year. Therefore I was wearing a massively sad face yesterday when I found out that the band were playing their last ever gig and as of today, are no more.

They're going out on a real high though and "Thousands" is their last, perfect release as a band - out today and available from their bandcamp page here:

So you've got to listen to it, support them for one last time and then buy. They leave behind them a really brilliant back catalogue of music which is so deserving of your time and attention and it would be criminal for you to ignore their brilliant sound just because they've shuffled off this musical coil.

Both tracks on "Thousands" offer ambient, trippy delicacy. They're alive, wide open and full of spacy charm. They are songs to lie back and dream to. You could actually dream that they WEREN'T BREAKING MY HEART BY SPLITTING UP. But that's not going to happen. I know that now. I've calmly accepted it and just have to try and move on.

Hopefully we haven't heard the last from Thom, Ben, David and Jake - hopefully in their own ways they'll come back and do something else. In the meantime, they've left us with a unique sound to treasure. So treasure it you must. Thanks for everything Blank Maps, it's been a blast hearing you and getting to know your music. You babes xox.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Super Adventure Club - Straight From The Dick

Straight From The Dick cover art

Are you nodding off after a really stressful day and feeling sorry for yourself? It is the start of the working week after all and literally aeons till the next weekend. Sometimes what you need is a shot of adrenalin. One so lethal it kicks you right hard in your turn-ups. Mind you, if you're wearing turn-ups, this blog really isn't the best place for you I don't think...

Anyway, what can thegeneral offer you? A right nice bit of musical filth, that's what - and it comes courtesy of Super Adventure Club.

Now this is a curious one to tell you about, because Super Adventure Club are more or less no more, more or less - and this album - their third, is a kind of last dirty weekend away, before they disappear off into the ether.

So first things first, you need to know where to get it from:

Click the link above and visit the Armellodie Records bandcamp page and have a little listen to the noisy, raucous preview track to get you in t'mood. They are GREAT. It's intricate, its loud, it's feisty, it's everything that a math rock-heavy metal-pop hybrid should be. It feels a little like the young, cocky, upstart offspring of Dick Dale has been let loose in the studio and told to run total riot and not give a shit about the consequences. If you like your music with more than a little bite then this is the album you need to be pre-ordering. If you want gentle whimsy, you'd better look somewhere else.

It's a shame they're not sticking around, but if you get the chance explore their back catalogue too - which you can find by simply following the link above. There are some real gems on their previous albums and they're a band well worth exploring and getting to know. You might not have heard them here first, but you'd be a fool to ignore them now.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

By Toutatis - You Need To Know When It's Time To Leave

You Need To Know When It's Time To Leave cover art

It's Sunday night. A time for reflecting on everything you haven't achieved over the weekend and wondering if sitting next to the window looking wistfully out like someone in an art-house movie will ever make things right. (Answer: No, but you'll look proper intelligent and a little bit sexy and anyone who walks past with their dog will think "Oh, she looks intelligent and sexy...". Possibly).



So, what can we see the weekend out with? You can see it out with this stunning new song from the frankly mesmeric By Toutatis. It is called "You Need To Know When It's Time To Leave" and it is the perfect thing to curl up with on a Sunday evening when the world is swirling inside your head and you're wondering what it's all about.

You can listen to it and download here:

The first thing you'll notice is the ever so slightly music hall opening it has. A delightful little piano melody which suggests times-gone-by instantly. The song has a wonderfully aged feel to it, it's got one foot firmly in the past and that, gentle readers, is a beautiful thing. The vocals have more than a hint of Jacques Brel to them - huskily baritone, deeply rousing and very moving indeed. It conjures up images of a singer, leaning on the piano,  or sitting close by, cigarette decorously in hand, pearls of smoke rising and falling in the air and a sepia atmosphere, quiet - hushed and reverential as the song plays out. The joy here is in the simplicity of the instrumentation. It's both uncomplicated and unfussy, yet filled with such tenderness and longing. It is three minutes of utterly heartbreaking perfection. There is no other way to describe it. thegeneral is in love.

"Tell all the people you can't bear to face, you need to know when it's time to leave".

If you have loved this and would like to hear more from this shamefully under-rated outfit, then please please please go to the Tiny Lights Recordings bandcamp page and look up their latest album "The Songs We Sang To Death"

It is a masterclass in beautifully understated elegance. You will not regret it. Give By Toutatis your support. A truly wonderful act.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Gig Review: CUD - Live @ The Ruby Lounge (09/11/2013)

See this is what happens isn't it? You wait ages for a blog post about CUD and then three come along at once. Anyroadup, here goes with this one.

I was lucky enough to get tickets to go and see them play their Manchester date on Saturday 9th November 2013. It hath verily been a long time since thegeneral let her hair down. So long in fact that I actually remember the lone violin player, the crowds of people trying to escape and the panic that the running buffet on the Titanic might run out of mini pasties (it didn't, but they weren't half damp).

It was therefore with a great sense of excitement that I sat at my dressing table applying ALL THE EYELINER IN THE WORLD, before slipping into my little indie frock and Hey Boots to make the journey into the entertainment capital of the world. Oswaldtwistle. No. No, that was another night out entirely. No, I really was on my way to Manchester. Getting old you see. Getting forgetful. Who are you again...?

The Ruby Lounge is a really nice, homely and friendly venue - warm and inviting, with a great atmosphere and a welcoming feel. After a quick scoot round the stage to get the above shot ^^ a little light reclining was partaken of on the comfy leather sofas whilst waiting for the evening to kick off properly.

At 9.30pm sharp (bit racily late for thegeneral, it has to be said...) CUD arrived on stage and struck up with one of my favourites - the brilliantly charming and sweet "Hey Boots". They must have known I was wearing my knee highs that night. Oh baby, etc. It really kicked everything off in great style and the gig sped by at a rate of knots. The whole set list was brilliant, but the stand out tracks were "Not Exactly DLERC", "Rich and Strange", "Purple Love Balloon", "Robinson Crusoe" and the wonderfully dirty "Neurotica". Special mention though has to go to the new single "Louise/Mexico" which you can read about here and then go and buy...please...go buy it! When they came back on and played "Slack Time" it was a proper punch the air and shout out moment, just thrilling.

I don't think I stopped dancing the whole time, it was impossible not to move and be moved by the brilliant sounds and the obvious joy in seeing the band really enjoying what they were doing. They haven't lost it one bit - and to be honest, put a lot of other, younger upstarts to shame.

The whole evening was like reliving my teenage years all over again - remembering how the music made me feel (...somewhat lusty it has to be said, I'll spare your blushes...) but the main thing I'll take away from the night was how good natured it was. How lovely the crowd were, what a friendly atmosphere it was and how the fans were up on stage dancing with the band and it just felt right. Someone on Twitter commented that it was the first time they'd seen an over 40's Mosh Pit, but bloody hell they were showing the rest of us how it should be done.

So, exhausted, but incredibly happy - it was time to leave and wend my weary way home, head and heart singing, body buzzing and fizzing with energy and a feeling that I'd witnessed something very special indeed.

Please come back to Manchester soon. This time it wasn't too circumspect to expect your special effects to effect. They did. Magic.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Richard Earls/Thierry Audousset - Older, Wiser, Harder

Well, we're almost at the end of the weekend and M***ay is looming like an overbearing fishwife with a frying pan and no inhibitions. What can we listen to to lull ourselves into the new working week?

How about this?

A lovely new collaboration between lyricist Richard Earls and composer Thierry Audousset, called "Older, Wiser, Harder". thegeneral was very happy to receive this little EP taster to listen to earlier on in the week - and I am reliably informed that this Anglo/Gallic collaboration will be released this month.

It's a really nice mix of thoughtful and stirring lyrics, combined with lush piano/guitar and each little piece is a like a vignette - a snapshot or moment, capturing a mood or theme, so it seems to me anyway.

Afore we go any further, clicketh ye on the linky below so you can sample the music for yourself:

For me, the standout track is the one which you'll find starts at about 1.40 in. The beautifully melodic piano combines with an opening lyric "Expressionless, that's what I've learned to be..." and is quite haunting in both it's simplicity and the emotion of the words.

There is a really good combination of styles and influences on here - with the potential for there to be something for everyone. There is a rawness to Earl's vocal performance, which is set off by the tightly constructed and intricate music. This is a collection of songs with maturity and experience behind them. Definitely worth a listen - thegeneral recommends this highly...

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Wiltz - The Nostalgia Tapes

The Nostalgia Tapes cover art

I bet you weren't expecting another entry so soon, were you? (As the bishop said to the actress) However, here we are again. It's Tuesday and thegeneral is in a little bit of a lather over another wonderful release that came to her inbox this very morning. Never refuse an entry in your inbox, by the way, as refusal often offends.

So today I'm going to introduce you to a really exciting group that hail from Wicklow, called Wiltz. thegeneral became aware of them late last year, when they released a rather stonking split sided single with another excellent act called Facing (from Dublin if memory serves) which you can download and listen to here:

It is very well worth a little listen.

Today sees the release of the band's full album, called, heartwarmingly, The Nostalgia Tapes. Before we go any further, here's where to get it from:

It's a great, great listen. Simple as that. First and foremost it's from one of the most exciting new genres of music around at the moment, maths-pop/rock. If you're like me and you find beautifully intricate guitars that seem to sing to each other, interwoven with lulling bass and melodies that sound so complex -  but seem to get stuck in your head straight away, then you'll love this.

This is an album of instrumentals, which can sometimes put people off, but please don't be. There's a really nice mix of styles and sounds on here to keep you interested and engaged, from really rocky rhythms to gently ambling pieces which feel calming and have a nicely chilled out feel. Sometimes, the tracks effortlessly combine the two - swinging back and forth between alive and dreamlike. The contrast between fast and slow pacing within the tracks is nicely played out too and there isn't a single piece on here that doesn't grab you.

Standout tracks are, for thegeneral "C" and "Not Bad For Doin-a-deh", the latter being brilliantly chippy and engaging and incredibly catchy.

Please give Wiltz a listen, go to their bandcamp page and download their album - give generously, they deserve it.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Charlie Big Time - Sale Or Return

PZL037: Charlie Big Time - Sale Or Return EP cover art

Welcome to a new working week (I'm not going to say the word Monda...shit...I just did...) anyway, here we all are and thegeneral has something really rather lovely to lull you into a dreamlike state. No, not a metric fudgetonne of drugs, but this brand new EP from Charlie Big Time.

Now then, my interest was piqued when this sweet set of songs arrived in my inbox for review (not a euphemism), not least because this band are from my neck of the woods in Lancashire - but because it genuinely wasn't what I was expecting to hear.

I think I wrongly assumed their name implied that they would be some kind of hulkingly heavy guitar band, but what I actually got was something much more ethereal, something much more lullingly gentle and beguiling and readers, it has captivated me.

Hands up if you remember shoegazing? That's three of you accounted for. This little collection of songs is a gently reminiscent nudge towards that, but with an eminently more poppy, indie feel and offers a very accessible take on a genre that some indie-kids found challenging.

The vocals are spacily intermingled with whispy, dreamy chords - the guitar melodies are never over played or over stated and the lyrics - sometimes determinedly edgy mix perfectly with the music. Stand out tracks are the opener "A Sunday Afternoon Well Spent" and penultimate track ""Pitiful, Delightful and Alarming".

The EP is available to buy on the extremely hipncool Seattle based Jigsaw Records:

Or you can get it for digital download from the Jigsaw Records bandcamp page:

You can also have a look at the band's website and their previous releases here:

And thegeneral highly recommends you do. Not just because they're a local band, but because they're really rather lovely and deserve some more fans. Charlie Big Time, you heard them here - now run with them, run like the wind my child.

Friday, 1 November 2013

CUD - Louise

Friday. Named after the God of Thankfuckits. Welcome to the weekend  and welcome to a decidedly excited edition of thegeneral. 

Long, long ago, in far away galaxy (Lancashire) there lived an impressionable teenager who was desperate for something new and exciting to listen to. This impressionable teenager was watching The Chart Show, one Saturday morning in the very early 1990s (remember The Chart Show? A load of bands you'd never heard of with some really bad graphics and ad breaks thrown in) and came across a band called CUD and their 1992 hit "Rich and Strange". 

Well, that was it. thegeneral was blown away, hooked, in lust/love, bowled over, captivated and much more besides. This is one of the many reasons why - have a listen to 1994's "Neurotica":

Moving back to 1992, though - pocket money was saved up and not long after, spent on a brand spanking new copy of the band's album "Asquarius" and to be frank, it was played and played and played until one day the cassette deck spat it out and said "There are OTHER bands you know. What about a nice bit of Dire Straits or some Status Quo?" to which thegeneral replied "You have no taste, you're a talking tape player..." before going to Currys to buy a new HiFi. 

thegeneral then spent some time exploring the band's other stuff, their back catalogue and finding out as much about them as possible and it was a very happy voyage through some truly wonderful music. Leggy Mambo, anybody? (That's not an's one of their records...). Even the covers of classic songs they did offered a very unique and quirky take on music that other bands at the time would have avoided at all costs. Case in point. YOU SEXY THING:

Of course, times change, bands come and go and as with everything good things come to an end...

Last year thegeneral was excited to find that the band were reforming and touring. A blog post was written by me, here - blast-from-past-cud. Worth a read...

Even more joy, when just this last week thegeneral discovered that not only were they touring again, but there was a bloody bloody bloody new single coming out - yes, a bloody bloody bloody new single! You can watch it here:

"Louise" is just lovely. It's three and a bit minutes of joy and happiness - such a really nice, pure yet sexy sound. Carl's vocals were always richer than the average, perfectly pitched and luscious, and they haven't lost it one bit, if this song is anything to go by. It brought back so many happy memories of first getting into the band, discovering their sound and realising there weren't many acts that they could be compared to. 

The single is out on 11th November and you can order from here: so please do, as it will be money well spent (and if people buy it and like it, they might stick around and record some more...)

In the meantime it is so nice to see CUD back. So nice. Long may they stick around to show the others how it is done. 

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

PALACE - All Of This Is Real

It's Tuesday, right? Don't argue. It is. Anyway, we're nearly at the midway point of the week and that calls for some more new music to wet your whistles with (or whatever you want wetting - your pants, your hair etc...I'm easy).

What can thegeneral offer you? PALACE is what thegeneral can offer you. A great band from Hartlepool who have been on my radar for quite a while and really do deserve great things. Last year, they released the beautifully atmospheric and haunting EP "Apology In Demand" which, as always, you can download and love from their bandcamp page here:

Highly recommend you do as as it's a great introduction to them. ("Collapse", in particular has the most brilliantly wide spacey chords in it...perfect).

However, that's not what we're here to talk about. The band have a new EP out - it was released at the start of September and at the moment you can buy it from iTunes here:


There will hopefully be a Spotify release date soon, though as yet no news on whether it will appear on the band's bandcamp site.

What can it offer? Intricate guitars, beautiful, beautiful dirty bass and nicely understated vocals/lyrics. That's exactly what. The eponymously titled opening track has such a great, other wordly feel to it. It's heartbreaking. It feels, like so much of PALACE's stuff, that it's both wide open and full of space, yet tightly woven and really well constructed. These guys are clever, smart and a joy to listen to and it's nice to find an EP in which every track offers something different - a change in pace, mood or tempo. The last track "The Rope" is an offbeat, slightly discordant finish and it's a lovely way to end it.

Please go and buy this if you can - and support another great emerging act from Hartlepool. PALACE are for sure one to watch.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

The Salient Braves - Somewhere Sordid

Somewhere Sordid: EP cover art

A very Happy Sunday to you all. Somebody somewhere is mowing a lawn (in the pissing rain, whilst getting the electric cable twisted round their feet and swearing a lot), somewhere, someone else is cleaning a car. In kitchens everywhere, the subtle ping of the microwave alerts families to the fact that a traditional Sunday roast hasn't been cooked. Meanwhile, in a little box room, far, far away, thegeneral is busy and gladly reviewing a new EP which delicately grazed their inbox this very afternoon.

Today, I'd like to introduce you to The Salient Braves. Afore I go any further, you can visit their bandcamp page here:

Hailing from Barnsley they describe themselves as lo-fi indie - and reader, that is a pretty perfect description. What you have here is a lovely collection of four original songs and one classic cover (The Kinks' Waterloo Sunset). The original material is imbued with subtle humour, nicely crafted lyrics which have a gentle "storytelling" feel to them - even though they cover dark subjects like mental health. thegeneral felt a connection with with "I'm Alright Now" (Thank goodness for cults, I'm alright now...) and "Out To Lunch" (beta blockers help to calm the nerves...). There's a gentle simplicity to the way the tracks are constructed and recorded and that makes them very endearing to listen to - and that is by no means a criticism, sometimes you can get locked into a musical battle that demands you seek out more and more complicated things to assault your senses with. This is a reminder that it doesn't always have to be so. The classic indie format, slightly punky and with the odd bit of brass thrown in lets you know that it is sometimes OK to cut loose and go back to your roots. The vocals have a slightly OMD-Andy McCluskey-esque lilt to them which also gives the tracks a great 80s feel too.

The EP is available to download in full from tomorrow (14th October) from the bandcamp link above and it's definitely worth a little listen if you want something pared back and beautifully uncomplicated in your collection. Give The Salient Braves a go.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Alpha Male Tea Party - Real Ale and Model Rail: The Lonely Man's Guide to Not Committing Suicide

Real Ale and Model Rail: The Lonely Man's Guide to Not Committing Suicide cover art

I know, I know. It's Tuesday and you weren't expecting another blog so soon, were you? What can I say? You're just a lucky set of buggers (or gluttons for punishment - I'd love it to be the former, but I think it's the latter).

thegeneral was highly excited when an e-mail arrived from another wonderful record label Superstardestroyer - home to some frankly fuckawesome acts, including Liverpool's Ninetails. This time, however, it was to announce that Alpha Male Tea Party have a brand new release out (well, it came out on 26th August, so strictly speaking not terribly new, but thegeneral can be a wee bit slow on the uptake sometimes).

Have you had the sort of day that requires loud, loud guitars to make it all better? Then let AMTP be your guiding amplifier. This is not, shy, retiring, mimsy indie flop (not that there is a thing wrong with that!) No, this is Kerrang style riff-roaring, ear splitting, brain fugging rock. Well, math-rock, but still rock - tinged with grunge, tinged with metal, tinged with all sorts of rough round the edges noise. If you do not like to feel as though your ear drums might perforate with the volume turned up, don't bother with this.

However, despite its loud, frenetic, blasting style, it is infinitely intricate. There are moments of real beauty within. See for instance, the opening of the wonderfully named "I Don't Even Like Hollyoaks Anyway". It's so lulling, so peaceful, before erupting completely. That, and "Go To The Ant, You Sluggard" are, for thegeneral, the standout tracks on this ramshackle bunch of excellentness.

Listen to and buy from:

Highly recommended for those moments when a pissy bit of piffle won't cut it. You have been warned.