Misgivings – Delete History

I like honest music, which is why I despise most pop music that is out there with a few exceptions, and when it comes to sonic honesty there’s few genres that come across as genuine as punk. A perfect example for this are Misgivings, from England, who are about to release their debut EP Delete History on November 3rd!

The quartet’s style falls into the general vicinity of melodic punk rock, with mostly fast-paced guitars and matching drumming, and is deliberately held simple yet effective. Instrumentally it’s pretty straight-forward and there aren’t many, if any at all, surprises and that’s fine to me…but more about that later. Out of the six tracks, the last one, Stay Dull, was the one that stood out to me the most since it has this really neat intro and general good mood feel clinging to it due to its sing-along-inviting chorus.

As for the vocals and the lyrics: they are nothing to write home about, to be quite frank. Well-performed but the singer wouldn’t win an award for best voice in the world. Yet again though: I don’t give a damn. They match the music and round off the package quite well.

If you’ve read until here, you’ll probably think that I hated every second of these twenty-one minutes…but even though I hate to disappoint your expectations: nope. Because, as I mentioned in the beginning, Delete History just feels real: no bullshit, no over-complicated arrangements…just music that is heartfelt, made by a couple of friends who like to play their stuff and have fun while doing so. I’m down with that.

So in closing, would I recommend Misgivings to everyone? Probably not. I would say that they’re more of a band that you should discover for yourself, preferably at a random gig because, even though I haven’t had the chance to see them myself yet, I’m quite convinced that they deliver a stunning performance. If you do want to give them a shot in your own four walls, don’t be shy and listen to the song below and go to their Facebook page for more information.

Natas Loves You – The 8th Continent

Fellow lovers of good pop music, rejoice! Seven months and three days following the release of the Skip Stones EP that whet our appetite for more, the Paris-dwelling outfit Natas Loves You came out with their debut LP entitled The 8th Continent. To begin with, it is safe to say that the past two years have been fruitful for the five-piece band. Their lush indie pop/rock has been met with increasing popularity and they’ve had the opportunity to work with reputable people, like Chris Zane who produced their album and none other than Larry Clark who directed the video for their most recent single Got To Belong, and I have a feeling that we will watch this quintet skyrocket even further.

After the delightful foretaste that was Skip Stones, I was expecting 40 minutes of good vibrations with some profound and philosophical touches from the LP, and that’s exactly what I got. Natas Loves You have a knack for catchy melodies and lyrics that are irresistible to dance and sing along to, so unsurprisingly their 8th Continent is fraught with accessible and upbeat compositions that float somewhere between soulful pop, disco and psychedelia. In addition to the four tunes featured on Skip Stones, they delivered seven more songs that all have single potential and could stand comfortably on their own outside of the context of the album. Even so, there is a thread that runs through The 8th Continent that connects the songs and makes the overall recording an entity in and of itself as opposed to just a collection of individual songs: the whole is dunked in an airy, dream-like quality and there are recurring themes of feeling lost and disconnected, finding your place, and, of course, love and sensuality.

The album features a series of songs that could be interpreted as anthems for a lost or emotionally degenerate youth, most notably Got To Belong, Game Of Tribes and Go Or Linger. Got To Belong has decidedly motivational lyrics and evokes that euphoric “fist in the air” kind of feeling, the other two tracks seem more about catharsis and venting frustrations whilst still retaining an energetic, uplifting tone. One of the music’s defining characteristics are the three vocalists who do a lot of harmonising and take turns with the lead, which contributes to the infectious dynamic of the songs. Natas Loves You definitely isn’t the band to turn to if you’re looking for mopey and melancholia-laden music — even when tackling somewhat sombre topics, they seem to be dedicated to releasing positive energy out into the world first and foremost. You can take away a sense of hope or inspiration from every part of this sonic journey.

Natas Loves You have an active online presence on Facebook, an official website you can lurk, a couple of sweet videos up on YouTube including the one I embedded below, and The 8th Continent is available to stream for free on Spotify. If you dig what you hear, you are welcome to support the band financially by buying the album off iTunes. Enjoy and God bless!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEO2MMah8zM]

Mysteries – New Age Music Is Here

I am back with a review of something quite fundamentally different from what’s been featured in our music department lately! An obscure trio called Mysteries has appeared on my radar and I’m excited to present their upcoming debut New Age Music Is Here today.

As the name suggests, Mysteries have a deliberately enigmatic presence. I can’t work with real names, faces, personal backgrounds and concrete locations in this review, which seems to be part of a concept to let listeners focus on the music without drawing attention to the people making it. I recently read an interview with British indie rockers Alt-J, who apparently wanted to go that same route at the beginning of their career, but had a change of mind when their ever-growing concert audience started cluttering their Google results with unflattering cellphone pictures. So while I find the anonymous approach really refreshing, I feel it’s appropriate to cross my fingers that we will one day be able to put faces to Mysteries, as well.

For now, let’s ignore the mystery and move on to the music. New Age Music Is Here is a little out of my musical comfort zone and it took some serious getting used to the first time round, but boy, has it penetrated my brain since. With its spellbinding mix of industrial, electronic, ambient, post-punk and at times even trip-hop elements, it’s one of the more unique things to hit my eardrums as of late. It sounds like it might be inspired by the Blade Runner soundtrack, and the vocals have a Tears For Fears meets Future Islands vibe, which adds to the intense and dark nature of the album. All of this, coupled with sombre synthesizer keys galore, is a formula at a high risk of veering into cheesy territory (and not always in a charming 80s way), but these guys confidently lay it on thick and make it work with pure skill. They left nothing to chance, as this is an extremely clever, clean and calculated record.

Mysteries‘ carefully crafted ambient pop probably doesn’t hit the mark for everyone, but I encourage the curious sceptics to open up their minds and give it a spin, ’cause it really took me by surprise just how much I ended up loving it. They certainly venture out of the conventional indie box and take risks, and do it so well that I can’t help but tip my proverbial hat to them and spread the word!

New Age Music Is Here is out on the 28th of October on Felte. You can have a sneak listen on Bandcamp or Soundcloud, pay the band a visit on Facebook and pre-order the album on iTunes.

Wank For Peace – Fail Forward

Wank For Peace. If that concept was actually working, the recent celebrity nudes leak would probably have brought peace to the Middle East and, most of all: what a fucking amazing name to call your band! I won’t lie that the name of the French hardcore punks was the only reason that I checked out their new record Fail Forward, but in hindsight I have to say that I would have missed out…so good on them!

The second full length by the quintet is mostly past-paced, good-mood-inducing, melodic hardcore punk that simply managed to suck me in from my first listen-through. Quite frankly, the thirteen songs won’t win any awards for being the most technical, the most innovative or even the best written ones ever…however, they have something by far more important: genuineness and energy!

On the instrumental side, the dominant word is definitely speed; something that is present in both the guitar work and the drumming. The fact that the bass is clearly audible all throughout the thirty-four minutes is another plus in my book, since it provides that little extra touch with its groove.

In the vocal department, you are treated to heartfelt screams and the genre trademark gang shouts, so nothing groundbreaking here. On the other hand, I have to tip my hat to the singer, since he does an amazing job at actually making you feel the lyrics with his raw and powerful voice. Another interesting side-note: the song titles made me chuckle quite a few times. These guys don’t lack humor that’s for sure.

Wank For Peace have discovered the perfect formula of having an eye-catching name to get your attention and solid music to keep you interested, which is why I’m quite sure that they won’t disappear anytime soon. While I don’t expect them to headline any major music festivals, then again I’m pretty sure that’s not one of their priorities, I am convinced that they will manage to convince many more listeners out there of their talent. If you want to be one of those, be sure to go their Facebook page and listen to the record below!

Marmozets – The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets

Let me ask you: do you like female-fronted pop punk bands à la Paramore but always felt like there’s that extra little spice that is missing? Seek no longer, because you have just found your perfect sound in Marmozets! The fairly young band from England has just released its debut full-length The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets on September 29th and let me tell you: it’s a pure blast!

The quintet, which is composed of three and two siblings, has been around for a bit more than half a decade but has only recently gained wide-spread attention when they signed to Roadrunner Records. Naturally, with this there is a certain hype attached to them now but this is one of those instances where I can completely acknowledge and confirm that they’re absolutely worth it.

The thirteen tracks all have a very pop-punkey feel to them with beautiful melodies and great hooks, but just when you think you know what’s coming next they will surprise you with a massive groove-laden part or a super heavy riff that will stomp you to the ground while still maintaining a certain “happy” vibe. Naturally, there are also a couple of slower songs but even those stand out with their intense atmosphere.

The singer delivers a breath-taking performance all throughout the forty-five minutes and her vocal range spans beautifully sung clean vocals equally well as screams and a handful of growls. There are also some soulful parts thrown in as well as some naughty-sounding bits, which completes the auditive spectrum perfectly. Beside the brilliant voice, the lyrics are also slightly atypical since they deal with darker topics, as one is used to in this genre, such as alcoholism and similar issues. Definitely a nice change.

To sum things up, what can I say other than: Marmozets are a band to look out for in the future. They have a strong drive, a diverse sound and the necessary skill to execute it all flawlessly. Be sure to check out the song below and visit their Facebook page to keep up with what’s happening around them.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afX5kz9hfHI]

LIGHTS – Little Machines

Let’s get one thing out of the way before we start: I don’t like pop. Generally-speaking, the pop industry is filled with one-hit-wonders that perform songs they had no input in and desperately try to appeal to the masses…just not my cup of tea. There is, however, one exception that goes by the name of LIGHTS. The talented Canadian singer has just released her third full length called Little Machines and proves yet again that pop can be highly enjoyable, diverse and, for the most part, self-written.

Three years after her second record, during which she got married and became a proud mother, the young singer has further evolved her trademark synthesized sound and reduced the dubstep elements that were predominant on Siberia. The genuine-feeling drive and the dreamy vibe that, to me, made her music so agreeable in the past is still present and, frankly speaking, it feels good to have new material.

The eleven song record opens with the song Portal which achieves a feeling of full immersion due to its hypnotic rhythm and softly sung vocals. And after that you are greeted by mostly upbeat songs that will not let you off the hook until the album is over. I do have to admit that on the instrumental side there are less passages that will be imprinted in your memory from the get-go, as was the case on the predecessors. But then again, I believe that the aim was not to necessarily create “hit material” but rather an authentic listening experience.

Truth be told, my personal selling factor about LIGHTS‘ music has and will always be her brilliant voice. Despite the usage of slight vocal effects and minimal pitch correction, they sound real and heartfelt…and if you’ve ever checked out her acoustic material, you know that the girl can sing just as perfectly without any computer help. On her previous records, I was always able to identify with most of the lyrics in one way or another and this is still the case, even though it’s not as strong as in the past. However, I dare you to find lines as cleverly written as during these thirty-eight minutes on any other pop record.

There is not much more I can tell you other than: even if you’re not a big fan of pop, or actually have a strong aversion to it, Little Machines is worth checking out because it’s not your run off the mill pop record. Watch the video to get an idea of what her music is all about and head over to Facebook for more information. And, even though I’ve said it before: always give music a chance, even if it’s not your home turf, because you never know what can touch you.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFl7DhdGGzo]

Motionless In White – Reincarnate

When I reviewed today’s band’s previous record I mentioned that many fans would probably be outraged by the new direction Motionless In White took…and I was absolutely right. The amount of bitching I read on the internet was mind-blowing, and two years later it multiplied when they announced that their third record, Reincarnate, was to be released on September 15th…to my great delight.

Especially when the guys released the first single, I knew that they had ignored all the bitching from their “fans” and took the route they wanted to, which was mainly sticking to their new-found sound: electronic-industrial-black-metal-core. Yeah, I totally just made that genre up, but it describes the band’s sound so well that I don’t even feel bad about it. The Pennsylvanians have even further incorporated the above-mentioned styles into one delicious mix of a one-of-a-kind sound.

All the elements I mentioned in my Infamous review are still ever-so-present on these thirteen songs: two different instrument “tunings”, occasional breakdowns, diverse riffs, complex drum patterns and almost no repetition whatsoever. Even though I just mentioned it a couple of sentences ago, I have to repeat that the fact that the quintet stuck to this, admittedly, weird mix of musical styles makes them stand out from the vast amount of bands that are trying to get somewhere.

Two years later, the vocal repertoire on Reincarnate is just as crazy as before, with the addition of even more vocal techniques and effects. The variety in the singing gives each song its distinctive feel and guarantees an all-around enjoyable listening experience. Fun little fact: I talked to the singer a couple of years back when they played here in Luxembourg, and I can honestly say that I’ve rarely met someone as self-critical as him. The guy’s a true perfectionist and it can absolutely be felt during these fifty-six minutes. On top of that, MIW have gotten help from four guest vocalists: Dani Filth of Cradle Of Filth, Maria Brink of In This Moment, Dessa Poljak of Silencio and Tim Skold!

In closing, what can I say? Is Reincarnate a record that will please everyone? Sadly, no…it’s just too much “all over the place” for some. But for those that actually dive into the music and keep an open mind, I can honestly promise that they will have a pure blast. I, for one, did! Head on over to the band’s Facebook page and give the video below a spin to get an idea!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVQC3bx_AXs]