Tag Archives: band

Pago Pago – Song Of The Day

Neoton

Can’t go wrong with Neoton Familia. You can always count on the Hungarian disco/pop group to deliver upbeat catchy tunes and hilariously cheesy videos and performances. “Pago Pago” was the first song from their self-titled 1983 album and it was pure kitsch Summer bliss complete with steel drums and one hell of a headspin (see below).

It Dawned On Me – Song Of The Day

Calla

That North Texas-based indie rock band Calla haven’t released a new album since their 2007 effort Strength In Numbers is a shame seeing as that one and Collisions were both good enough to suggest that Calla were one cool, different band to look out for. One of the best tracks from Collisions was “It Dawned On Me” and it’s our Song Of The Day for today.

Vlad – Song Of The Day

Vlad

One of the best and most unique bands to grace the UK with its presence these days is alternative rock band The Vultures, a hypnotic, often very atmospheric blend of the gothic, the weird and the poetic. “Vlad” is the first track from their first album Three Mothers Part 1, which is available for your listening pleasure on bandcamp, and it is a dark, uptempo, violins-led ode to Vlad The Impaler, of all people. Like with all their other songs thusfar, The Vulture’s “Vlad” sounds beautiful and is just the right amount of twisted and moody to remain fascinating throughout.

You can also download “Vlad” for free on bandcamp.

Gimme Chocolate!! – Song Of The Day

Babymetal

Babymetal is no ordinary metal band, that’s for sure. For one thing, its three singers are under 18, and the music is kind of a weird mix between heavy metal and teen-friendly J-pop. “Gimme Chocolate!!” is the third song from the band’s first self-titled album and while it is a genuinely pretty awesome song, one has to watch the live performance to really get the full experience. Expect flashing lights, loads of red, bizarre lyrics, unexpectedly upbeat choruses and some of the best dance choreography EVER.

Ready?

Ok then.

(Kom Så Ska Vi) Leva Livet – Song Of The Day

Leva Livet

Our Song Of The Day for today comes from Swedish pop group Gyllene Tider: “(Kom Så Ska Vi) Leva Livet” was released back in 1981 and can be found on the band’s second album Moderna Tider. It’s a fast-paced rocky track that’s a lot of fun from start to finish and it boasts a catchy chorus you don’t even need to be Swedish to sing along to.

Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime – Song Of The Day

The Korgis

Released back in 1980, The Korgis‘ “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime” was a bittersweet tune and a big hit for the pop group. It was much later revived by Beck in the Michel Gondry film Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind but the song has been covered by many other artists over the years including Yazz and The Dream Academy. The original, however, can be found on The Korgis’ second album “Dumb Waiters”.

Lex Hives – Album Review

Lex Hives

After exploding onto the scene with Veni Vidi Vicious and best-of Your New Favourite Band, Swedish rock band The Hives delivered a couple more solid records before coming back in 2012 with Lex Hives.

As their first self-produced album post-fame, Lex Hives had the pressure of popping up 5 years after the band’s last effort and, by that point, UK and US audiences pretty much wrote off The Hives as little more than two-hit wonders who kicked ass back in the early Noughties so this one needed to be something special.

And something special it certainly was!

The first track, “Come On!” has simple lyrics to say the least. In fact, the words “Come on!” are basically it. Luckily, the song is a short and sweet adrenaline shot of punk energy that opens things on a perfect, fun note and leaves you wanting more straight away. If this playful minute-long opener doesn’t hook you in right there and then, then you are one hard person to please. I mean… come on!

“Go Right Ahead” is the first single to be released from the album and it’s an enjoyable track with a 70’s beat, a catchy repeated backing hook and a rockabilly-ish chorus. The whole thing has an old-fashioned feel, in a good way. The fun continues with a faster-paced and, therefore, very Hives song, “1000 Answers”. This one is a cool, punky tune with a killer chorus which elevates it to one of the best tracks on the album. Also look out for some experimental distorted electronic sounds creeping in the background.

“I Want More” is a slower track with lower-toned vocals and a paced beat. It’s another old-fashioned one and although it’s not as catchy as the tracks preceding it, it’s still very entertaining and should be a fun one to jump up and down to at concerts. The single “Wait A Minute” is next and it’s another instantly spot-on track: loads of fun and catchy as hell. The song develops beautifully, with creative bridges, breaks and key changes throughout. It’s easily one of the best of the bunch.

Song number 6 is “Patrolling Days”, a punky track with some welcome Ramones-esque attitude crossed with some Iggy & The Stooges-style energy. It never feels too derivative, thankfully, and never forgets to be purely a Hives song. All in all, it’s edgier and pretty damn cool. As for “Take Back The Toys”, we’re back in classic Hives territory and the track is like an updated and frankly better version of their classic “Hate To Say I Told You So”: it’s grittier, more varied and boasts just as much charm as their old hit.

“Without The Money” follows and, after opening with a strangely sexy beat, it then turns into more of a simple march, going back to that original beat near the end. It’s a short transitional track with some brilliant lyrics which show the band’s dry sense of humour perfectly. This leads us to “These Spectacles Reveal The Nostalgics”, a two-minute-long fast-paced punk track with lots of attitude and lots of energy. What more could you ask for?

“My Time Is Coming” is a little different. After a low-voiced, dramatic intro evoking Tom Waits and The Smashing Pumpkins somehow, the song develops into some kind of screamy gospel rock tune almost. An odd direction for it to go, granted, but it works. The next song is “If I Had A Cent” and that one’s simply all about the fantastic chorus. Parts of this one have a weird Oingo Boingo quality in terms of Pelle Almqvist’s mouthy vocals but, mostly, this is another kickass, rough rock track.

“Midnight Shifter” has a 60’s soul quality and its lighter feel makes it a nice breather after such a punchy and relentless album. This is a dancier tune with a “Roll Over Beethoven” kind of melody and a catchy hook. Oh, and trumpets. Gotta have trumpets.

Two bonus tracks are featured as B-sides to the album including covers of Alex Carole And The Crush‘s “High School Shuffle” and The Dragtones“Insane”. Though the latter is enjoyable and the former is an intriguingly structured track, neither is entirely necessary.

So that’s Lex Hives and, honestly, this is one of the most fun albums I’ve listened to over the past couple of years and it’s probably my favourite from the band. It’s The Hives back at their best and, should they keep this momentum going, they might actually deliver something so good it’s ground-breakingly good next time!

As it stands, I do love it and give it 4 Teary Punks out of 5.

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Come on now, check it out.

The Sea Of Memories – Album Review

Sea of Memories

Kinda like the UK’s answer to Pearl Jam or Soundgarden, Bush showed up in the early 90’s, bringing some welcome grunginess to the charts with singer Gavin Rossdale’s gruff tones swaggering away in songs like “Swallowed”, thereby proving that you don’t have to be from Seattle to excel at grumpy rock.

Yes, grumpy rock.

I’m renaming “grunge” as a genre: deal with it.

After a 10 years-long silence, Bush returned in 2011 with the album The Sea Of Memories armed with a new studio and an updated sound. But was it worth the wait? Did the album remind us about how worthy Bush were as a band back in the day or did it cement them as “past it”?

The album received some positive review but the response was mostly mixed, which means that it could have gone either way.

The Sea Of Memories opens with “The Mirror Of The Signs” and, right away, you notice that Bush have introduced a more electronic touch to their established style. As it turns out, Gavin Rossdale’s grungy vocal tones work beautifully with this new, fuller sound. The song itself is a perfect album-starter with its fun, catchy build-up and atmospheric payoff. The great thing is that, as different as Bush’s new sound is, it still sounds very much like them, their identity remaining intact during the entire album, luckily.

“The Sound Of Winter” follows and, although it’s a grungier track as a whole, it also has a lighter, more poppy chorus. It’s a solid single with some great guitar work. The album then gives us “All My Life”, which kicks off with a rockier, sleazier rhythm then delivers another catchy chorus. It’s a simple song but it works.

“The Afterlife” is next and, right off the bat, it’s a more upbeat tune with a build up reminiscent of Oingo Boingo‘s “On The Outside” of all things. The song boasts the best chorus so far and it’s actually one of the best, most accomplished and memorable tracks on the album. It just develops quickly into a really cool tune with a genuinely nice melody.

From upbeat, we soon go to melancholic with “All Night Doctors”, a softer, slower, piano-led song with a pretty melody and great lyrics. The electric guitar kicks in later and the track develops at a perfect pace. It’s a break from the faster songs preceding it but it makes sense seeing as the album’s main hit, “Baby Come Home”, is next and kicks in straight away. This one feels like a win from the get-go: you’ve got cool, moody, well written verses leading you to a very catchy chorus executed with just the right amount of heart and energy. It’s just a great track.

A lighter effort, “Red Light” shows off some versatility from the band as they try out different beats and a somewhat more optimistic mood. It’s enjoyable but, admittedly, but if you’re hoping for something edgy, this isn’t the track for you. “She’s A Stallion” follows and manages to be the most forgettable song on the album due to its lack of shape. It opens with a couple of different beats before settling into a melody you can’t quite figure out. This is one of those songs you’re never sure is going anywhere and it doesn’t, really. It feels more like the type of track U2 would pull off, weirdly enough.

The much more entertaining “I Believe In You” gets us back on track with its more ‘Bushian’, slightly sinister-sounding verses and its paranoid chorus. It’s a solid, especially well-produced track that’s well worth listening to, especially if you’re a fan of Bush’s older sound as this doesn’t stray too far away from that. Song number 10 is “Stand Up” and its cool melody builds up to a hugely fun chorus. It’s one of the catchiest and best of the bunch so, by this point, the album is well and truly back to its heights. Another song that’s very Bush is the next one, “The Heart Of The Matter”: it’s rockier, grungier and altogether edgier. This one should please the faithful old fans, who’ll no doubt head-bang their way through this one at concerts.

And finally we have “Be Still My Love”, not only a beautiful ballad on its own but arguably one of the band’s best songs to date. Much like how Eddie Vedder can scream his head off one second then nail a softer, more poetic track, Rossdale delivers those heartbreaking lyrics in such a heartfelt way that the song can get pretty moving. It’s the perfect song to end on and should leave you on a teary-eyed high. It’s a gorgeous little track I personally couldn’t get enough of.

That this album received mixed reviews is understandable: every time a band disappears then comes back ages later with a slightly different sound, it’s bound to piss off a bunch of people, even die hard fans.

That said, The Sea Of Memories, while a bit of a twist on the band’s usual style, is clearly a return to form and a more than worthwhile vehicle for the band to come back with. It’s packed with catchy, fantastically well put together tracks and Bush somehow still manage to stay true to themselves throughout, never delivering a crappy song on top of it.

I’m happy to give this one 4 Happy Cobains out of 5 as it was a nice surprise and I find myself going back to it every so often.

Good stuff.

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The Rasmus – Album Review

Rasmus

Although in the UK and the US, Finnish alternative (read: emo) rock band The Rasmus are mostly known for a couple of tracks, they’ve been working since 1996 and are, in fact, a big hit in Europe and back home.

The band’s latest album, 2012’s self-titled effort The Rasmus, is their eighth and marks their first album produced by Universal. Which, I guess, is why they decided to name this one after themselves, to mark the occasion in some way.

The Rasmus is the kind of band you know right away whether you like them or not. They’re hardly for everyone: far too soft for true rock fans, they instead constantly walk a fine line between goth pop and emo rock, a type of music that’s particularly popular in Finland but tends to do relatively well pretty much everywhere. With this recent album, they introduced an electronic element into their now familiar style.

Did it work?

Well, if the album’s first song is anything to go by, not really.

“Stranger” was the second single to be released from The Rasmus and that’s really surprising since it’s, by far, one of the weakest songs on the album. It’s soppy, corny and the new electro sound just makes the whole thing sound like generic fast-food pop fare. It’s a really light track to kick things off with and doesn’t promise much.

The second song (and first single), “I’m A Mess”, is also very poppy but, at the very least, its chorus is undeniably catchy. It’s one of those ear-worms you wish wasn’t stuck in your head, though. And, with lyrics like “I forgot your birthday/I’m dressed in rags.”, this is hardly setting up to be a hardcore album at all. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Actually, the album is a bit of a pain to get through until the fifth song, “Someone’s Gonna Light You Up”, which is easily the best track on the entire album. It opens promisingly with an explosive burst of energy then delivers a rockier, heavier sound which is refreshingly reminiscent of the band’s earlier, better stuff. This heavier, cleaner sound feels like the right direction for the band to take but, alas, it’s one of the only songs on the album to go for that.

A fun, cool tune.

Instead of more of that, though, we’re made to listen through the likes of “It’s Your Night”, another poppy tune with an annoyingly catchy chorus. The beat in this one really gives off a weird boy band vibe, The Rasmus sounding less like The Rasmus here and more like The Backstreet Boys, with added whiny emo lyrics: “It’s a cruel, cruel world…”.

Urgh…

Take all the echoes out of that track, by the way, and it’s about a minute long.

The fourth song, “Save Me Once Again”, is, thankfully, a little better. It’s a slower love song with a welcome 80’s feel to it and an overall Muse-esque vibe. It’s cheesy, don’t get me wrong, but its melody is nice and its lyrics are bittersweet enough to work. Song number 6 is slow burn “End Of The Story”, another boy-band-like track. It’s slightly better than “It’s Your Night”, however, in that its melody and chorus aren’t actually too bad but it crumbles when you realise how repetitive it is. This one just won’t grab you.

“You Don’t See Me” is not bad, mostly thanks to its rockier start, its occasional pretty good parts and cool breaks. It’s not too memorable, unfortunately, but it’s entertaining and harmless enough. It’s followed by “Somewhere”, a light pop song which opens acoustically then devolves into an Avril Lavigne-type tune the minute the drums kick in. It’s a soapy, dull effort which, criminally, is over five minutes long. Good luck with that one…

Alright, two songs to go.

The Rasmus could still surprise us and save this album from a below-par rating.

Song number 9, the stupidly titled “Friends Don’t Do Like That”, has an OK melody but no real hook or chorus. It’s entertaining enough but pretty forgettable. Finally, the last song, which is simply called “Sky”, opens soft, gives us a decent build-up, then develops into something of a power ballad. Minus most of the power needed. Sadly, decent enough chorus-aside, this is another average track which should have tapped more into its darker side and delivered much more in order to truly stand out. As it stands, it’s not bad, but it’s nowhere near good enough to end this album on the high note it sorely needed.

That The Rasmus chose to name this particular album after themselves is a real shame seeing as it’s definitely one of their biggest misfires. Sure, there’s a couple of fair enough tracks on here, one of which is genuinely quite good, but it’s mostly a missed opportunity: the new electronic sound bogging down the whole album into commercial pop territory, never allowing the band to rock out or sound like themselves. I recommend going back to their three preceding albums and skipping this one altogether, frankly.

The Rasmus narrowly escape the dreaded 1 star rating this time thanks to a couple of worthy-enough tracks but they still end up with only 2 Happy goths.

Oh well…

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Devil Soldier – Album Review

Loudness

The first Japanese heavy metal band to be signed by a major record label in the U.S., Loudness was formed in the early 80’s and has since enjoyed a lasting career with a huge range of albums to their name.

It’s a shame the band isn’t as well known in the UK because they really do have a lot of good stuff in their discography.

Case and point: Devil Soldier.

The second album to be released by Loudness, Devil Soldier was a short one but definitely helped cement the band as one to look out for. It even won the Best Heavy Metal Album award in Japan back in 1982.

With all that in mind, let’s have a listen.

The first song, “Lonely Player”, kicks off the album Judas Priest-style with a whole lotta energy. It shows off singer Minoru Niihara’s range and develops in an eclectic, unexpected way that, somehow, kinda works like a weirdly improvisational, jazzy take on metal. The second song, “Angel Dust”, has more of a KISS-esque beat to it and starts off strong before delivering a fun, catchy chorus.

Good stuff so far.

“After Illusion” follows and slows things down a little after an explosive start by bringing in a rather beautiful, softer melody and slowly building back up to something heavier and more grand. It’s easily one of the best songs on the album (my personal favourite) and single-handedly should make you fall in love with Loudness’ creativity and melodic flair. It’s definitely a hard one to follow.

The fourth song on the album is “Girl” and, although it’s a fun, rhythmically rich tune with an annoyingly catchy repeating riff, it’s also a bit ineffectual and messy. It’s more of a transition track, really. It’s followed by “Hard Workin'”, an energetic, Iron Maiden-style ride with terrific, complex vocal work and a thoroughly entertaining vibe all the way through. A good time.

“Loving Maid” is next and, although its build-up is a tad forgettable, whenever the song speeds up, it gets genuinely really good. It’s a perfect concert song which should drive those lucky enough to party down in a Loudness mosh pit completely nuts. Not bad. “Rock The Nation” is a very cool song with catchy verses and a memorable anthem-like chorus. It could have done with a little more of a punch to it but it still works and gets the job done.

Finally, we have the title song, “Devil Soldier”, a seven minute-long experimental track which opens with a fab galloping rhythm packed with attitude and, after a short break, changes completely, becoming a different song altogether. You never know where this one’s going, calling back to the jazzy madness of “Lonely Player”, but it does brilliantly to keep your attention throughout. Eventually, the song changes once more to become a slower, sexier Led Zeppelin-style ballad with solos and the odd moan but it soon builds back up to a thrilling, epic finale.

That last song is all over the place but Loudness make it work remarkably… somehow.

Overall, while the band has much more to offer than Devil Soldier, it’s still a very solid outing for Loudness and, if you’re interested in finding out about this madcap Japanese 80’s metal band then it’s a pretty good place to start.

I give it 4 Drunk Hatters out of 5.

Check it out 🙂

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