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ISLAND: A New Tale in the Alternative

The Work of Island: Problems from an ever-changing line-up whilst working in dingy London studios …

… Comes a new tale in the alternative.

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From the fibres of the alternative rock scene – loosely translated as a much more tame beast as opposed to its distant relative of hard rockISLAND are a prestigious band gleaming with prospect.

Inspired from their distant adventures on the road, the band released their 2018 debut, Feels Like Air. Since then, they have kept themselves busy with European tours, stretching as far as the coast of North America, even. Whenever they have had time off the road, they’ve been knuckling down in the studio, creating joyous tales once more. In 2019, they released coveted EP, When We’re Still with Editors-inspired plateau, Just That Time of the Night.

Prior to all this however, it seemed that regardless of their reverent line-up, the name of ISLAND would prevail throughout as 2015 was the year when they such things to be true. With feelings of maturity and a hope filling the air, they released Girl in 2015. Who knew the beautiful simplicity of Stargazer would rise the band to new heights?

Bringing a completely new set of tools and brand to the wares of alternative music that seem simplistically beautiful in creation, they are bringing a fresh perspective to musical songwriting and ask for those to join the congregation.

Forged from the inspired thoughts due to their extensive time on the road, Feels Like Air, champions exactly that.

Music that is so effortless and seemingly made so emphatically, it is equally fair to listen every bit the same, too.

I’m sure those echoic guitars first thrilled the studio when they heard them.

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Feels Like Air

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Ride (a powerful album start-up)

Try (For fans of Grizfolk and Circa Waves)

The Day I Die (for fans of Editors and Radiohead)

Something Perfect

Interlude

Horizon (for fans of JAWS)

Moth

We Can Go Anywhere

God Forgive (empowering moments make it my favourite amongst the list)

Feels Like Air (self-titled makes it a close second)

Lilyflower (light acoustics settle the album to a close)

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The Magic of Tame Impala: The Slow Rush

Flawless in creation, The Slow Rush is an episodic concept that draws on temporal themes of the unending cycle of life.

Similar to that of a slow rush in itself, we seemingly crash through our lifetimes – without actually having a sense of feeling about them at all.

I felt like I heard Tame Impala’s deep dive of The Slow Rush for the first time, in a fever dream. More so a surreal escapist than that of your generic music artist, it is no wonder his ravenous audience is lapping up every morsel Tame Impala (Kevin Parker) gives us to consume.

After all, we hadn’t spoken about Tame Impala (Kevin Parker) elusive acts of music since his commercial corner of Currents. That was back in 2015. 2020, and we have the return of said fever dream with The Slow Rush 5 years later.

Drawing on ideas witnessing your own lifetime whizzing by in a mere lightning bolt, The Slow Rush is a piece of work that praises the unending cycle of life. This unending – and simply unnatural feeling – is ever-present in its song names too, as it draws on elements of oxymorons with Instant Destiny, Tomorrow’s Dust and Lost in Yesterday, that as phrases, give you no feeling of resolve or – dare I say it – a formative ending. The album concept name itself Slow Rush, gives us an impression of these temporal themes, perceiving the problematic feeling of rushing our passage of time without actually feeling it at all.

The album even ends on Parker longing for One More Hour – despite seemingly wasting his time, as he originally requested a longer duration of time at the beginning of the album with One More Year. This emphatic illustration draws on us as humans to unduly ask for more and more time – despite already having it.

But, of course we come to the eventual realisation about it all with, Is it True and It Might Be Time – with Parker reciting, “something doesn’t feel right” when we do realise it is our time to eventually face the music.

With that said, Tame Impala’s ebbings and flowings of creating stills in music has been prevalent since his first experiment with InnerSpeaker in 2010. Giving the music project name of Tame Impala, insinuating that it is indeed a band behind the music, Parker’s approach to psychedelia, dystopia and surrealism has reached the breaking point of the genre we know it as, “psychedelic rock”, and ultimately smashed Parker’s music into a genre of its own.

Despite the disjointed efforts of Parker recording one half of the album in Los Angeles and his own home studio in Fremantle, Australia, the album concept is anything but. The Slow Rush just adds to the ever-existing beauty that fulfils Parker’s music already.

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Artist Spotlight: cleopatrick

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New rife rock middle-ages mafia.

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Fresh, bold and stark-raving mad, cleopatrick are a worthy accompaniment to murder.

Not a murder in the ordinary sense of the word, no. The murder of a genre we once knew as rock – a genre which had become far too complacent with the drip-tap of pop trickling through its cracks. The Ontario best-buddies hard rock duo are becoming the known from the unknown with their blistering slap-in-the-face boom that makes Royal Blood‘s new music work of Limbo sound like a pansy. Although dressed as the fashionable duo – similar to those as Royal Blood and the White Stripes – their music has a beautiful sense of youth, hostility and freshness that we’ve not really heard before.

Hoping to collate their work into a debut album this year – rather than the feral singles we’ve received so far – they’ve forewarned us not only to watch this space, but to start chipping away their mark within the rock halls of fame too, as they’ll soon be entering them.

Anarchic favourite hometown, explosive GOOD GRIEF, shrill-thriller of youth and doom-and-gloomy sanjake, top the bill of the band’s extent to writing future-cult classics – and we can only imagine there’s room for more.

Rock duo have known each other since they were 4.

More importantly, they have shown us they can’t just create quick-biters worthy of four minutes or so – but can create the dirty lingering types, too. Divining inspiration from the likes of Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, belly button blues is an instant favourite that tops the lot for me.

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My friends are wasted
And I don’t even care
I’m in my basement
Texting girls that aren’t even real
My youth is gone and I know it

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youth, cleopatrick

After hearing their most recent, THE DRAKE, which was released in early March this year, we can certainly expect their debut in the coming months – especially after picking up so much traction after their first EP via “14” in 2016.

Pulled straight from the archives of an old hometown gig they played, THE DRAKE‘s official video perfectly showcases the rampant display of their telling of a high-school bully story.

It’s all quiet in the cleopatrick camp for now … but we’ll hear the notorious thumps de thumps soon I’m sure.

Keep up to date with Cleopatrick HERE

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Ben Howard – ‘Collections from the Whiteout’ Album Review

Striking the distance between the strange and the curious, Collections from the Whiteout draws everlasting collaborations – but holds its own with Howard still prevalent as the inventive singer-songwriter.

If I told you that Aaron Dessner of The National had a major hand in producing and spinning his thoughts into Howard’s fourth successive album, you’d instantly understand it’s thought-process. A simply inventive piece of studio production, it merely avoids the dooming darkness that we saw on predecessors Noonday Dream and I Forget Where We Were, and brings a new intriguing oddity to his writing work.

Despite lacking its consistent catchy flings that we saw in amicable favourites Keep Your Head Up and Only Love, from his loveable debut, Every Kingdom back in 2011 – the elusive narratives, rustic thrills and heart-ache guitar pangs from Dessner make it an album worth writing about.

As he careens from his original path of the folk/vocal combo and instead diving into a distortion of electronics, it just tells us more about what kind of singer-songwriter Ben Howard is. Compelling, inventive and simply unafraid to embrace change.

With single stand-outs few and far between – as it’s best as a collectiveSorry Kid, Crowhurst’s Meme and Finders Keepers are some of my favourites from the 14-track album. With themes less thought-provoking but rather taken straight from snapshots of news articles, the album is rife with collaborations and inspiration from seven co-collaborators who all have a hand-in making Howard’s next masterpiece.

While it may veer away from Howard’s original sound and sometimes veer off too much, it still manages to keep itself grounded allowing Ben to still flourish in moments of bitter-sweet beauty. While it’s a saddening moment to not hear Howard again flex his own acoustic compassion and folky vibes from Every Kingdom, just the musical journey alone he is undertaking is good enough for me.

Other album reviews for this month:

Kings of Leon’s When You See Yourself

Aloe Blacc’s All Love Everything

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Kings of Leon – ‘When You See Yourself’ Album Review

Tennessee-bred quartet draw up eighth studio album that replaces swagger for subtlety that strengthens over time.

Reprising their roles as emphatic titans in the rock music industry, they have returned from their 2016 album, WALLS with their eighth release, When You See Yourself in early March of 2021. With less temper and angst to it than most other records compared to Find Me and Waste a Moment on their previous, it is ultimately fashioned with progressive playing, delicate sentiment and glossy productive finish.

Unfortunately – while this record is a blissful listen – it carries itself with not a lot of substance. Whilst dirty guitar hooks are present in pre-single, The Bandit and halfway-down-the-list Stormy Weather, the album soon becomes lost in itself and an intermingling of songs folding into one another seems to happen. For a while, while listening to this album, I did seem to forget where I was, who I was listening to and would often take a step back and play the record again. Nevertheless, it is still a confident and mature direction from the rock quartet that no doubt stamps their mark on their triumphs they have had throughout the years they’ve been active.

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For Kings of Leon, their legacy drives a hard bargain and majorly wins over your opinion for such a delicate studio album.

While it does seem to lose itself on rare occasions, it is a blissful listen with its glossy textures, playful guitar song-writing and exact ambiguity that was present on some of their first records like Because of the Times and Come Around Sundown.

Favourites from the 11-track selection include When You See Yourself, Are You Far Away, A Wave and Golden Restless Age.