James Leese

John Garcia – The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues – Review

John Garcia who many claim to be the embodiment of ‘stoner rock’ is set to release his sophomore record The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues on the 27th of January. This follows on three years from his debut album John Garcia, although this solo venture isn’t his only musical endeavor having hailed from bands such as Kyuss and Slo Burn. One thing does clearly stick out between the debut solo album and this new record, that being the fact that it is a completely acoustic album. Without further ado let’s break down this Sophomore album.

Opening up this record by John Garcia is Kylie and with a blistering introduction of instrumentation that feels like it has been ripped straight out of a spaghetti western film it does give a great feeling to this album from the off set. Then after a few moments Garcia’s vocal performance kicks in and at first it feels to cut through abruptly but soon feels to bring a new level of roughness to the track which is needed before the song drops off to its slower middle section. As a first track it does show a lot of promise for the rest of the album but does in comparison to the rest of the album feel like the weakest track on this release.

Following on are the tracks Green Machine and Give Me 250ML which do help the album from not sinking in to too deep water. First off with Green Machine, with it’s slower instrumentation and calmer vocals there is a sense of more peace along with this acoustic project, and with the more plucked accompaniment to Garcia’s voice there is a greater overall composition that goes with the track. This soon is changed with the intro to Give Me 250ML as the riff that intros the song it soon gets the head bobbing but then again come in the abrupt vocals that cut through the track. This also isn’t to say the track is bad as there are times these two combine beautifully and create a few moments of brilliance.

Following is a rally of three tracks. The Hollingsworth Session, Space Cadet and Gardenia. Starting off this trio is The Hollingsworth Session which is a very well constructed song in terms of both instrumentation and vocals, and with the beautifully orchestrated acoustic composition it is a track which is nice to listen to with it’s small intricate notes and well presented vocal performance. Following is what is truly the strongest track on this release, Space Cadet, during this number it is clear in terms of both instrumentation and vocal performance that everything has come together perfectly, despite it taking this long in to the album it is a great moment to just listen to as both vocals and instrumentation work seamlessly well together.

The final act in this trio is Gardenia. It’s a close contender for being the strongest song, but does miss something that Space Cadet had. This song is one of the slowest on the album and with subtle musical additions, like the minimal triangle and piano the song does show itself to have many different levels before it moves swiftly on to its final quarter in which we get this banjo and guitar outro.

El Rodeo and Argleben II follow on as the album starts towards it’s close. With El Rodeo there is this opening motif of stringed instruments hitting singular notes in quick succession which oddly feels dis-connected to the song completely, which is a shame as the addition would have been interesting to listen to, but soon the song kicks in to full swing and yet again shows itself to be of a higher caliber than what is situated before this.  As the song powers through with yet more well crafted acoustic instrumentation the song seems to almost end out of nowhere. This brings John Garcia’s album to Argleben II which is a great start to the albums ending as it is ending strong in both vocal performance from John Garcia himself but also instrumentally as the intricate riffs that sit in the overall composition work well together and with more subtle additions like the piano there is a great sense that everything is coming together beautifully for a powerful closer.

This brings the album to it’s close with the final track Court Order which is a great juxtaposition to the opener on this sophomore record, as with it’s slower instrumentation and lack of vocals it is the first songs complete polar opposite and is truly possibly one of the strongest moments on the record as with it’s well crafted and presented instrumental structure the switch between riffs and tone halfway through are easy to listen to. The only thing bringing this particular track down is the run time, there could have been more to offer with this track which does seem to end too soon.

Overall this album is a good listen, with some well constructed acoustic instrumentation and moments of vocal brilliance there are many highlights that can be found for fans of acoustic and psychedelic rock alike. However for what has been a three year wait for many John Garcia fans there doesn’t always seem to be enough on The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues to help warrant more than a couple of spins, despite the pleasant instrumentation and occasional flourishes of vocal prowess this album still does fall short.

Sorority Noise Release New Song

After a haunting EP and a beautifully crafted split last year, Sorority Noise aren’t missing a beat with their new album You’re Not As ____ As You Think being released in March. Today the band have dropped the first single No Halo which is hot off the upcoming album. No Halo is great indicator for what is in store on this album. With the flawless vocal delivery of Cam Boucher and excellent instrumentation it is definitely a track worth checking out. You can find No Halo by Sorority Noise below.

Gorillaz Release New Track

After The Fall which released in 2011, fans have been waiting for the Gorillaz to release something new. Following the buzz the band had created toward the tail end of last year, Gorillaz have today released their first track since The Fall, which features the beautiful voice of Benjamin Clementine. Hallelujah Money is a great comeback for the band and although it is a change of pace, it is a welcomed one. Although there is still no confirmed news for any new album fans are willing to wait patiently for the next project from the animated band of Jamie Hewlett and Damon Albarn. Check out their new track below.

Coast To Coast Announce Tour

Following on from two explosive tours at the tail end of 2016, Coast of Coast are set to take to the road again for another string of dates with Oxford based Better Than Never and Pine. Alongside this tour Coast To Coast have teased the first single off of their highly anticipated new EP, the single is set to drop this Wednesday and is guaranteed to be something to keep an eye out for. Check out the tour poster below.

Get tickets to a show HERE.

The Imaginary Family – Puppet Karaoke EP – Review

The Imaginary Family are a duo from Cheltenham and are very muss branching under this Experimental branch of Rock whilst dragging influences from Math and Jazz. This being said their debut EP Puppet Karaoke which was released on the 4th of January this year. But without further ado let’s break down this debut EP.

Opening up Puppet Karaoke is the track El Classico which is great introduction not only to this EP but also the band as a whole. With the very Jazz influenced instrumentation the song starts off strong and travels along at a steady pace. This is when the vocals of James Chuter cut through and add an extra element to the already interesting track. With both parts now complimenting each other nicely the track shows more of this Math Rock influence as the timings, although appearing off show the bands knowledge and ability to construct a track so cleverly. As El Classico starts to move towards it ending the duo display even more of the heavy Jazz influences that are so prevalent in this EP alomng with a bit more of this more simplistic Math Rock bridging over the top the track soon hits its end and flows in to the second song on this debut EP.

Following on from El Classico is the Counting Fingers which yet again shows the duo in a very positive light only from a vocal stand point but also from an instrumental stance also as the overtly Jazz and undertones flow through this track also but then are cleverly juxtaposed by the off timing vocal introductions which although can be disorientating show the understanding of both Genres that influence The Imaginary Family. Just after the main body of the song we get this moment of calm where the track slows down before being picked back up again and moving the track briskly to its conclusion.

Ending off this three tack debut is The Future, Again and it starts off very differently to the different tracks feeling almost like an uptempo pop track but quickly flips that image and becomes a far more slow track with these interesting and simplistic riffs as James Chuter sings and harmonises on top. However it is long until the track moves back in to this opening riff and then drops in to a more Math Rock influenced section, which not only shows the duos versatility but ability to move from one musical motif to the next. Now although this feels like the weakest track on this debut that by no means is bad as this is still a great track to listen to not only for the instrumentation present but also the vocal performance.

Overall The Imaginary Family have not only started off the year strong with Puppet Karaoke but also started off the year strong musically, especially against all the other EP’s and albums that have dropped already. Despite them needing a little bit of work there is a lot of potential and enjoyment that can be found in this EP not only through the well constructed songs but also through the interesting vocal melodies that are present on the top of each track,  and if you are a fan of Jazz and Math Rock then there is definitely something in this for you.

Eric Gales Announces New Album

Middle Of The Road is the new album by legendary guitarist Eric Gales. The guitarist’s new album is set for release in February of next year and is said to resemble Gales at his most expressive and connects with him on a deeply personal note.

Eric Gales has spoken about the album saying “It’s about being fully focused and centered in the middle of the road. If you’re on the wrong side and in the gravel you’re not too good and if you’re on the median strip that’s not too good either, so being in the middle of the road is the best place to be.”

Alongside the announcement of this album Eric Gales has released the first track to come off of the record Carry Yourself. Check out the track below.

YES Being Inducted in to The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame

Founded in 1968 Rock and Roll group YES are set to in inducted in to the legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. The group who have been responsible for tracks like Closer To The Edge, Roundabout and Starship Trooper are another name in a long line of influential bands to be graced with this honor.

Guitarist Steve Howe spoke about the induction saying “What an honor this is for us and all involved with the history of this band, We thank all the Yes fans who have been so passionate over the decades, and helped us to keep the flag flying. It is the fans who have constantly demanded our inclusion. They have been heard.

Steven Battelle – Exit Brain Left – Review

The debut album by LostAlone frontman Steven Battelle has been out for a little while now since it’s release on the 2nd of December, and coming off of a band like LostAlone who were praised not only by critics but fans alike there is a lot riding on this to prove that Steven Battelle can make it on his own. But without a moments hesitation let’s break down this debut album Exit Brain Left.

Kicking off this debut is the track Powers Of Denial and is a great opener to this debut and truly strikes and impressive note leaving not only a lasting impression but also setting the bar very high for what is remaining on this album. However focusing solely on this track not only through the very simple instrumental construction but also powerful vocal performance there are many positives to this tune. Throughout the run time of this track one thing does become apparent and that is the fact that the ending vocal part does truly exemplify the range that may continually be used throughout this record, and it is something that instantly impresses about this debut solo venture.

Moving on from this are the songs The Jump and the track named after himself Steven Battelle which allow him to show something that does run throughout this entire record and that is the sense that there isn’t one definitive style. Although sometimes that works, especially when flowing between these two tracks; with the Orchestral undertones of The Jump and far more pop based and electronic influenced Steven Battelle, it isn’t something that always sticks on this album as there are times where this experimentation feels forced. But in terms of these two tracks the fact that this orchestral undertone is here truly brings an extra level to the track and by comparison around the 3:08 mark in his self-titled track the instrumental break not only shows the musical prowess of Battelle but also how well constructed these songs are.

A quick rally of three songs follows and they truly do move by quickly and depending on where you are in these three is either a good thing or a bad thing. As during the first of these three Christmas Cartel, there are many high points from the very blatant change to straight electronica to the subtle holiday themed additions like the sleigh bells during the start of the song. However as the track drags on with it’s very powerful vocal performance the instrumentation becomes somewhat of a mess and it is hard to pick out which part is causing the issue, as individually there are most likely amazing highlights of each part.

Then with Last Night On Earth the heavier instrumentation truly bring s a new dynamic to the album and is something that could have continued on past the tracks very short run time, short being comparative to the other lengths that sit on this album. And then we get The Ocean Chorus, a track which feels like it could slip easily in to a David Bowie album, yet possibly a budget version. As although there are massive highlights to the track not only through the vocal melodies and again simple instrumentation there is also through the lyricism that truly make this track one which should have been replicated more on this debut album.

Police and Thank You then graces the album, which is possibly the strongest track on the album, with an amazing sample of Marv from Home Alone gracing the track there is quite a bit of charm to the track which not only pleases instrumentally with a strong construction which sings grandeur, which although is a consistent idea is perfectly implemented here. Alongside an almost flawless vocal performance there is not much if anything wrong with this track, and truly does show how far Steven Battelle could go on his own due to the fact that his musicianship shows that he knows what he is doing. Alongside this fact, the underlying factor that he is polarizing the usual first solo venture of a man or woman with a guitar Battelle is showing he has the potential to go very far.

Two more tracks move in to the foreground which although are solid and have their individual highlights are nothing special as Nine Miles of Light and Silent Movie Scream simply just sit in the ether with not much about them. However there is something that does truly stick in the mind from both of these tracks and that is the fact that one amazing track could have been made from the two, with the instrumentation from one and the vocal presentation from the other there is so much power that goes in to these two tracks but together they would make a one perfect track, but sadly this ins’t the case.

But then we reach Absent Magic Part II, one of the most beautiful moments on this album. As Battelle sings about the passing of Bowie. Overall this track is one of great instrumentation and possibly the best vocal performance on the album with the introduction of the choir that perfectly compliments the instrumental of the track as Battelle’s voice soars on top and truly creates a moment which could be played time and again by any perspn who is simply listening to this for the first time or someone who is revisiting it for the hundredth time

Coming off the end of a track which is packed with emotion is a tune which really misses the mark in comparison to the rest of what is sitting on this debut as it is weak. Violent Voices truly does bring this album down as although there are points where this track could be amazing it never hits that next level and ends up being a lack luster display on this debut album, even with its individual highlights.

This brings the album then to a close with I’m Still Finding Out What I’m Going To Be, which does bring this debut of highs and lows to a tight and concise ending despite the ending of the track feeling like quite a mess as it doesn’t have an apparent reason for some of the samples that sit on the tracks tail end. However that isn’t to say the track is bad, as with it’s beautiful instrumentation and perfectly constructed vocal melody the track does hit with quite a lot of power and prove the fact that Steven Battelle has a lot to offer in the future as a solo artist.

Overall, this album is interesting, despite it being a solid debut album which will allow Steven Battelle to solidify himself as a good solo artist there is nothing that truly makes this album stand out. Although you has great tracks like Absent Magic Part II and Police and Thank You it almost feels as Batelle is like a budget Bowie and after having an album by the sadly departed great at the start of this year, it seems to pale in comparison. However if Steven Battelle continues to work on the ideas, instrumentation and vocal performances that are present on Exit Brain Left then there is a chance for him to truly make it big on his own.

Luke Rainsford Announces Sophomore Record

This year has already been a huge success for Wolverhampton local Luke Rainsford with the release of his first solo album Nothing Like My Dad Turned Out To Be and the year has only gotten bigger with his signing to Scylla Records and having been in the studio already for his second album. Today Luke Rainsford has officially announced this second album and its release through Scylla Records on the 17th of February next year. This soppomore album, I Feel At Home With You, is now up for pre-order with two varianrts of tape and a CD. Along with pre-ordering you get two tracks from Luke one of which is the first single. Before you do anything else today definitely check this kid out.

scy064cdandboth_1024x1024

Support Luke Rainsford and pre-order the album HERE

LIVE REVIEW – Counterparts – Manchester – 3/12/17

A night of high-octane energy and powerful instrumentation organised by Counterparts was ready to unfold in front of the crowd that was sat waiting in Sound Control and after a few murmurs from the audience and some very juxtaposing music to what everyone was about to see, the lights went down so the night could begin.

First on during this packed evening was Ohio-based Knocked Loose, and not only did their set pack a punch but it started the evening off strong which truly left an impact on the near-sold-out room. Starting off with Oblivion’s Peak, the band kicked everything into gear explosively with massive amounts of energy getting the crowd fully engaged with their tight instrumentation and stellar vocal performance. After a very brief introduction, Knocked Loose dropped in to All My Friends which yet again not only showed the prowess this band has in terms of their instrumentation, but also in their ability to get a crowd moving within a matter of seconds. One unfortunate aspect of Knocked Loose‘s set was how short lived it all felt, though next came a blistering rally of tracks starting with Billy No Mates – one of the major highlights of this set – and ending up at Small Victories.

Coming in next for the Ohio band was No Thanks which was possibly the only song in their set which seemed to land less successfully than the rest which was a true shame especially as Counting Worms came through the PA with a massive surge of energy from band and crowd alike. As Knocked Loose‘s set came to a close, two more tracks flew by in the shape of The Rain and Deadringer. The latter truly solidified why this band’s following is so strong in not only the UK but Europe and US alike. Even though this was Knocked Loose‘s first ever string of UK shows (on this Counterparts tour), it certainly didn’t feel like it. With the band’s pure amount of energy and the fact that there was never a moment without at least a good handful of the audience moving, it seemed as if this band have been here many times before. With a set as strong as this in not only energy but instrumentation alike, they showed themselves to be a tough act to follow. [8/10]

knocked-loose-2

Landscapes took the stage next and unfortunately was a somewhat underwhelming performance. Coming off the end of Knocked Loose‘s energetic and almost flawless set it mean they needed to bring their A game which instrumentally they did, but one thing that was evident was their lack of crowd interaction that Knocked Loose had. Starting their set with Aurora, the band very quickly showed that they new not only how to construct a song but how to portray their musical ability through their tight and well calculated instrumentation. Moving on through their set, Landscapes powered through their tunes with very minimal talking to the crowd through the majority of their time on stage; but songs like Radiance, Embrace and Death After Life spoke volumes for them. One noticeable thing between these first two bands was the amount in which the crowd felt the energy and were generating, and for whatever reason it wasn’t as powerful or as energetic as it has been with Landscapes‘ past performances.

Coming next in this set was a track which did partially rectify that issue as Neighbourhood managed to get many in the crowd moving and yelling back words. It was this moment and many like it in this second half of Landscapes‘ set during songs like No Love and Heaven Ascended that helped truly reflect what this band is actually like in terms of energy. Closing off their set was Escapist – yet again a track which shows Landscapes‘ musical knowledge and flawless instrumental ability. Overall, Landscapes did give a very entertaining set full of strong vocal performances and tight instrumentation, but after following such an energetic set it almost felt a little lack lustre in execution with not many people getting as involved as there were for openers Knocked Loose. [7/10]

landscapes counterparts

Last up before headliners Counterparts was Expire, who despite nearing their final days brought their usual energy to Manchester. This may have been the last time many people in the room would get to see them but Expire brought everything they had. Kicking off their set with Bark, Expire were quickly displaying the right musicianship and high-octane energy many in the room were accustomed to. From the offset, the crowd were moving along with front man Joshua Kelting making it a night to remember not only for Expire but for the audience too.

expire counterparts

As Expire powered through songs like Regret, Pretty Low and Just Fine, there was a clear indication at how much this meant to them as they spoke about how Manchester is almost like a “second home”. However, there was an issue that was evident as with Knocked Loose – as they powered through their set things seemed to almost pass by as tracks like Reputation, Forgettable, Old Habits and Fighting The Slip started blending into one.

As Expire continued to exhibit the level of hardcore that they have been putting out since their humble beginnings in 2009, and after plowing through Spit Out, Focus, Sleep Lost and 3:65 the band were now drawing to the end of what was an explosive and well-planned set. With Abyss, Expire‘s set was nearly done to make way for Counterparts and it was hard for many people in the room, especially with it being Expire‘s final Manchester date. However, it was a set to remember not only for how well Expire played in every aspect of their set, but also how the crowd got behind them like they have many times before for a mosh full of energy. [9/10]

Closing off this night of emotional and energetic highs were Counterparts, the band who many in the room push to the front for. As the band took the stage, it was clear that the audience were ready with many moving around and shouting before they had even struck their first note. Kicking off with Compass, the band proved themselves early on and started off strong – not only in terms of their instrumentation but also in terms of the energy they were displaying.

counterparts

After a few quick interactions with the audience, Counterparts were soon, similarly to every band on this show, crashing through numbers old and new all the while keeping the audience engaged and moving – either by shouting words or moshing. After blasting through Wither, Outlier, Slave and Stranger, the band were truly bringing there all in to the show especially when the band brought out members of Knocked Loose, Landscapes and Expire to help them out on a few tracks at this point and later in the set.

Coming next in their set were songs like Witness, The Constant, (You Think You’re) John Fucking Locke and Choke. These just continued to portray the amount of skill and energy Counterparts were putting out during this set. This is something that continued not only through the rest of the set but as something that was consistent throughout the entirety of the night. As the night closed with Burn, it brought Counterparts‘ set to a well-deserved and almost perfect conclusion. Overall, a set of old and new songs which showed not only superb musicianship but also fantastic energy and interaction that made an electric atmosphere. [9/10]