Tag Archives: grunge

The Kut – Valley Of Thorns

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Perseverance. In my opinion, probably the most important quality an artist should possess, aside from talent, if they want to be successful. A little bit over eight years into their career, The Kut are finally unleashing their first full length record on the world tomorrow and I had the opportunity to have an early listen to Valley Of Thorns, so let me give you my first impressions!

For those unaware, the trio’s sound is best summed up as grunge, with an attitude. Especially the guitar sound is very reminiscent of the good old nineties with the fuzzy distortion and the bite that stems from the interplay with the bass. The drums also pack a punch when it is appropriate, but they never try to outshine the stringed instruments; a fact that strongly works in favor of these thirty-nine minutes.

While this is the first full-length of the Brits, it is worth mentioning that they have released two EPs in the past four years, and that half of the ten songs on here are from the previous releases, which I personally find a smart move. Only slight downer is the fact that the songs were re-used exactly as they were, rather than being re-recorded or freshly mixed, but since they were on a very respectable level to begin with, it doesn’t impact the entirety as much as you would fear.

While die-hard long-time fans of the band might yearn for more new material, including a, so to speak, greatest hits of the old material is a good introduction to newer fans, which I’m sure this record will attract. On the bright side: the new songs showcase an interesting evolution in the band’s sound by being more guitar-driven and generally heavier, especially the song I Am Vain.

All in all, I consider Valley Of Thorns a well-rounded record, which merges the old with the new and should open quite a few doors for The Kut in the near future! You can find more about the band on their Facebook page and get an impression of their sound below.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5RxiauMXhg]

The Kut – Rock Paper Scissors

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Only seven months after the release of their previous EP, the gals from The Kut are back with a new EP, entitled Rock Paper Scissors, and show how much a band can evolve in such a short amount of time! Let’s dive in!

The trio stays true to its grunge sound but in terms of songwriting the four tracks feel a lot more mature and, dare I say, infinitely catchier. Soundwise, they took everything I loved about Make Up and fine-tuned it: while the bass still plays a major role, the guitar has moved further into the foreground and serves as more than just support for the four-stringer.

The drumming is still rather basic, but also in that department you can notice an improvement, especially when it comes to groove. The biggest addition to these twenty minutes, however, are the screams that add a lot of musical depth, due to their perfect use: just enough to still remain faithful to the genre, but at the same time prominently enough to distinguish the EP from its predecessor.

In closing, I think it’s safe to say that “Rock” won every match in the EP’s title, and that The Kut have successfully added another chapter to their hopefully long band history. Be sure to check out the video below and head to their Facebook page, and last but not least give the EP a listen when it drops on April 14th!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epBOpXw3LHE]

Basement – Further Sky

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Sometimes, even when you’re sad when a band you like disbands, it’s worth keeping an eye on them. While it’s not always the case, some of them decide to reunite and release new music. Such was the case with the hardcore/grunge band Basement a few weeks ago since, after two years of being gone, they unleashed Further Sky.

The five guys originally from the UK have recorded two new songs, Summer’s Colour and Jet, as well as a cover of the Suede song Animal Nitrate. All three songs sound exactly like what you’d expect from the band and still make me want more, even after having listened to them at least thirty times.

The dreaminess that defines the band’s sound is ever-so-present, while still keeping it straight-forward and engaging. Especially the main riff of Jet just showcases why I fell in love with the previous record, Colourmeinkindness, back when it was released.

While this isn’t really a typical review of the eleven minute-long EP, I just felt like I had to mention that BASEMENT ARE BACK! I know that I’m not alone when I say that after this sweet little cock-tease, I’m willing to throw my money at the guys if they decide to make another full-length. Be sure to click play below and visit the band’s Facebook page!

The Kut – Make Up

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I wanted to start this review with stating something, but then I read the band’s bio and thought to myself: let’s not. So let me skip that sentence and move on straight to the introduction: The Kut from lovely London are a three piece band that plays, as they like to call it, basement rock but to the uninitiated I’ll just refer to it as grunge for now. Their new EP Make Up was released in mid-August, however due to our break here at El Gore, I’ll just give you my impressions now.

The first interesting point that struck me about the trio is that, partly due to their low number of musicians, the bass is nice and strong in the mix, providing a groovy line throughout the five songs. As a matter of fact, the guitar is for the most part underlining the bass guitar, which is something I have rarely heard, but I absolutely dig it! The drums didn’t strike me as anything particularly special, but they do provide a fitting backdrop to the stringed instruments during the five songs, so nothing to argue there.

The vocalist has a nice rough and powerful voice, as is fitting for the genre, and has no issues whatsoever with busting out sweet melodies throughout the almost twenty minutes with her vocal chords. My favorite one being on the track Mario, which reminds me of something but I can’t, for the life of me, put my finger on it.

This about does it for Make Up, since it’s pretty straight-forward music but still well worth your while, so give it a listen below and in case you are truly curious what my opening statement could have been, head on over the band’s Facebook page!

Pink Frost – Sundowning

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The sun goes down and Mr. Shoegaze meets Mr. Grunge who both decide to do a jolly pub tour until the early morning.

Ruins sounds like a collaboration between The Smashing Pumpkins and Torche with its grungy guitar and amiable but in the same time sneaky rhythm that knocks you out of your socks when you don’t expect it.

Destructive grunge vocals and bass lines take you right back to the 90s from time to time, but it’s hard to define Pink Frost’s sound in just a few words, due to a certain love of experimentation which unhappily gives an impression of unnecessarily erring on a straight line.

The Difference then makes a difference (*bu-dum-ksh*) by turning down the volume and the noise. This unfortunately sounds like a boring version of some melancholic Foo Fighters summer hit. Just let the fury out guys, you don’t need this stuff! The listeners will be glad that the next song resumes with screeching guitars and dirty, non-pop sound. This doesn’t mean that more sensible tunes don’t work on this album, which is proven by Maybe It’s You, the secret star of Sunddowning.

Occupy within then suggests the intro of a punk song before changing into a rambling oriental psych-song. Blue Light, the last song, again strikes a calmer note, giving a warm and chilling feeling to your ears and letting the album slowly float towards the dawn of a new day.

Personally spoken, Sundowning should have more courage and let unfold itself and the power of shoegaze, but this certainly is something for fans of good-mood-grunge or alternative rock, shoegaze à la Torche (but more moderate), and maybe for lovers of California X.

Skincrack – …and Here Comes The Steamroller!

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In fact the steamroller comes a little slowly, but those machines aren’t really known for being race cars but for their power. Power is the quality Skincrack want to broadcast with their debut album, although the opener seems to have a few problems, being a more punkish song compared to the coming outbursts that float somewhere between punk, metal and stoner rock. Walk Away’s refrain melody nevertheless is pretty catchy before a harder riff disrupts it and leaves us with the way darker New. Sombre vocals (I guess there are two singers sharing the vocal parts on the LP) guide trough a solid rock song that doesn’t fear to combine metal-like screams with melodic parts.

One feeling that won’t vanish throughout …and Here Comes The Steamroller! concerns the impression of having heard lots of those parts already in the 90s. Cut Into Pieces then very clearly opens the metal stage for the listeners, and in the beginning you may think that a different band is screaming at you right now. Before coming to a slow end, the song is very straight, making it the strongest of all the coming outbursts in which one often gets the impression of a band trying too hard instead of just mercilessly jumping trough the wall.

The fact that even the feeling of good old grunge arises sometimes just confirms the 90s spirit mentioned above. The vocal style of the “main” vocalist (correct me if I’m wrong) unfortunately takes a lot of power away, being a roughly barking dog that would perfectly fit into an aggressive punk band.

The songs off the second half sometimes offer an impression of crudeness or portliness, which often destroys the flow of the first songs. Celebrity may be considered as an exception, displaying a similar directness as in Cut Into Pieces. The heaviness doesn’t disappear, mission “power” is at least accomplished. Skincrack seem to still be looking for their own style and there surely is much to improve considering song composition and creativity. But you can give these guys a chance in those minutes you just want to be crushed by a steamroller or something.

Pity Sex – Feast of Love

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Fear not, gender fascists! Michigan based band Pity Sex have what it takes to be politically correct. Having both male and female vocals Feast of Love provides variety in songwriting for not drifting into boredom. Pity Sex could be described as a lo-fi college rock sounding band that reminds one of Jimmy Eat World on benzodiazepines, which can be pretty cool, actually.

The opener Wind-Up and the second track Keep are the right kick in the face to start your day right. Uncompromising, catchy and short. Are Pity Sex able to keep that pace up?

The answer is mixed, frankly. Honey Pot and St. John’s Wort keep the rhythm of the opening tracks and really suit my mood for this time of the year. What I really dislike, are songs like Fold and Smoke Screen but that’s not Britty Drake’s fault. She’s a good singer but the tone of her voice reminds me of Dolores O’Riordan from The Cranberries and that really destroys me. Call it a trauma, but I rely on my preconception that there really is no good band from Ireland, and no, Two Door Cinema Club are from Northern Ireland, but they still suck and yes; I am that obnoxious and luckily, Pity Sex are from the US.

I have to admit, in all fairness, that the songwriting is really good, though. It varies from powerful, bassdriven parts with a slight gothic note to parts with a more post-grunge a.k.a. “I don’t give a fuck” attitude. It’s just the slower songs that don’t really attract my attention.

You can get the album on Bandcamp for 5 quid, I say the album is still worth the money despite the parts that remind me of that one band from Ireland…

Basement – Colourmeinkindness

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I think it’s time for a little variation, which is why I’ve decided to review the British band Basement and their new release Colourmeinkindness. Let me start by giving you a little back story: in 2011 I saw the band at a hardcore show here in Luxembourg and I was immediately amazed by them because, not only did they stick out with their style but they also laid down a killer performance. Needless to say I went home and bought their back then freshly released EP Songs About The Weather which I still listen to every now and then because of the raw and honest feel it has to it. A bit more than year later I saw that the band had released a new full length album, so I bought it without even thinking about it: a wise choice.

The album has a different feel to it than the previously mentioned EP, in the way that it feels more mature and also more diverse. But it has also become a bit softer in the process, which doesn’t bother me all that much since the songs have gained a lot in structure and recognition value.

The guitars will surprise you with catchy riffs that might sound familiar at first, but more of that later. The same goes for the drums: a clean, organic sound with catchy beats and interesting fills. The vocals range from clean to slightly screamed and perfectly fit the ensemble since they add the right amount of melancholy to the whole thing.

The thing that stands out the most, to me at least, is that I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve loved this album before I even knew it was released. The reason for this is that I’ve encountered a lot of elements that remind me of bands that I used to listen to ten or more years ago and still listen to from time to time. I’m going to go out on a limb here and just say that it sounds like Nirvana‘s In Utero meets Foo FightersColour And The Shape meets Bush‘s Golden State and a touch of Pixies thrown in for good measure. I’m aware that I might get death threats for that statement but that’s my honest impression and that is also the reason why I was so awed by this release. It just struck a little nostalgic nerve in me and sucked me in.

But instead of trying to explain it to you, you should just check it out for yourself. Especially since the ten tracks can be legally downloaded for only 5 bucks on Basement‘s Bandcamp page. For more info you can check their Facebook page and I strongly urge you to listen to the song below and tell me if you think my description was accurate.