Monthly Archives: August 2012

Can Palma Violets… [insert cliché here]?

palma violets best of friends

So today band-I-caught-at-Reading-thanks-to-Bill-and-then-discovered-they-have-massive-internet-hype Palma Violets have (finally) actually recorded a song and put it onto the internet.

This takes from the realms of a band the nme can tell you are great to an actual band that you can judge for yourself. The end result: we can now see If Palma Violets Are Any Good.

And… It’s good. Really Good. Good enough that the nme can brand it ‘one of the catchiest guitar songs in years’. Which is all fair enough but the nature of the band, a british guitar rock group with two equally talented and charismatic frontmen means that the easy comparison to go to is The Libertines, not to mention that there’s plenty of room to call in Joy Division too.

And all of this means that the inevitable ‘Can Palma Violets… [insert cliché here]’ articles are just around the corner from the music press that must be the best in the world for overhype. Only last year it was proclaiming The Vaccines the saviours of Rock’n’Roll and Arctic Monkeys-esque working class heroes (until they found out they were actually comfortably middle class).

So before a good new band is suddenly shoved on magazine covers and asked to rescue us from some sort of musical lull where Only They Can Save British Music, let’s hold back on the hype. Do we really want to have to face another awkward moment where we sit back and go… “well they were alright”.

The most ironic thing in all of this, is that any hope there is of a British Rock Band repeating the success of a band like The Libertines or the Arctic Monkeys is if we just leave them alone, let them gather their deserved following online and at gigs, and then when the band is ready and developed and mature, it can put out that album that will Save British Rock.

And can Palma Violets make that album? Maybe in two years, yes, they probably could.

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All The Best Free Music (BTS, Angel Haze, She Makes War, Entrepreneurs, Childish Gambino)

The crazy way the music industry works means that a lot of bands are desperate to get their music out there at any cost. As a result, there’s a huge amount of great free music released every week. This post is a collection of the proper releases that you only need to click a download link, be it a mixtape, and EP or an album. All of these are worth your time and space on your mp3, and all are 100%, no strings, free.

Balance and the Traveling Sounds – Lost Luggage EP

You may remember BTS from the very first review I did on this site, and they’re back with another free EP for you. In the time since ‘Departure EP’, BTS have been honing their skills and they tear out of the block with the raucous ‘Jump To It’, a perfect blend of funk, soul, jazz and hip-hop (SoulHipJaFunk) trumping anything they’ve done on Departure. They keep up the pressure with ‘CREAM/No Diggity’ and ‘Shakedown’, both returning to the smoother sounds that were a highlight of Departure. Next comes ‘You Just Ain’t Right’ which is downright epic, a SoulHipJaFunk-mini-opera, that rises and falls with a crazy plot. ‘Make Your move’ turns in a more hip-hop direction, reminiscent of early OutKast, before ‘California Love (BTS Mix)’ closes things up bringing the EP back to the fusion that makes ‘Jump To It’ so great.Balance and the Travelling Sounds - Lost Luggage EP

The EP is classic BTS, showing a group of insanely talented musicians playing at the top of the game, but more importantly, bringing all these talents together to create focused funky hits that cross genres as easily as any of the greats. Click on the album art above to go to the bandcamp page where the EP can be downloaded. For free. There’s no excuse not to get this.

BONUS – BTS Beatsman EBO has put out a free album of his beats, sick, old-school sounding instrumentals. The perfect backing music, or ideal for chilling, you can get it again, FOR FREE, by clicking here.

Angel Haze – RESERVATION (mixtape)

I don’t normally put much up about rappers’ mixtapes, but this needs spreading. This is N.Y. rapper Angel Haze’s debut mixtape and it puts her straight into the best I’ve heard this year. This is a whole other league to the big female rappers like Nicki Minaj or even Azealia Banks, mainly cos this mixtape just oozes pure class. Haze offers a bleak look at her influences: “I didn’t really have many. I’ve only been inspired by destruction, sadness, & experiencing what it is to suffer. Honestly the strongest influences in my life & my work have always been whomever it is that I love.” If she isn’t absolutely massive this time next year, then the world is just wrong. Many of the songs on RESERVATION are highlights, particularly the poetic second track ‘Wicked Moon’, but ‘New York’ is likely to be the most succesful. Not only because it’s a killer flow over one of Gil-Scott Heron’s coolest songs (‘N.Y. Is Killing Me’), but also hearing her reference Nas and Lil’ Kim hints at the league she could enter if she keeps up work of this quality.

The mixtape is free from Haze’s website here. Any fan of any hip-hop at all has to get this.

She Makes War – Little Battles

She Makes War made waves in 2010 when she released Disarm, her debut album. Now she’s back with its follow up, Little Battles, and it’s no less impressive. SMW, real name Laura Kidd, has even been kind enough to offer fans the chance to pay anything they want for the digital release, which means you can get a whole album’s worth of grungey doom-pop for absolutely nothing. Kidd’s sound is a merger of heavy guitar rock with lilting melodies, layered vocals and drifting ukelele, securing a very unique style of her own. The only downside is that with the free download there is a live recording of track ‘Minefields’ which is so awesomely done, that it’s a shame the recorded song can’t match its power. It might just be me relishing the use of real drums over electronic ones though.

Little Battles can be bought for nothing from the She Makes War bandcamp page, where you can also reward Laura for her work by buying a physical copy or a kaboodle of extra bonus items. Also you can follow the links on their to get the cracking debut Disarm for free as well, and it’s an equally good record as this latest one.

Entrepreneurs – The Florida Root Canal

Entrepreneurs is the solo project of Adam M. Crisp, and if you’re likely to have heard of him it’s as producer of FOE’s fantastic debut album Bad Dream Hotline. While the moniker Entrepreneurs has put out some cracking edgey music, with guest spots of artists from Ghostpoet to the aforementioned FOE. However what features here is a beat tape called, bizzarely, The Florida Root Canal. What it is, is an Avalanches-esque race through tonnes of samples.

It can be downloaded directly from this word.

Childish Gambino – ROYALTY (mixtape)

Childish Gambino is another artists that I reviewed when I first started blogging, and it’ll bring delight to many to know that before this season of community started filming he was able to make a mixtape. Gambino is as sick and hilarious as always and there are some cracking guest appearances, the pinnacle of which is none other than Tina Fey on the final track.

It can be downloaded from any site, but here’s a link

Tina Fey raps from 4:99. This is not a joke. (also this song features my new favourite line: ‘we in this bitch like we fucking a dog or some shit’)

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Arp Attack – Devil’s Drop EP – Review

Savvy electro-pop from a band destined not to be ‘local’ anymore

I first caught Arp Attack at the Road to Blissfields – Winchester, where they were the teaser for what kind of talent Blissfields held in store. I made the foolish mistake of not purchasing then single Follow The Rhythm, but I’ve been saved by the release last week of their EP Devil’s Drop that is quite rightly acquiring plaudits across the blogosphere, recently being picked up by BBC 6Music DJ Tom Robinson’s fresh faves. For a band that has already played with the likes of Delphic, Too Door Cinema Club and Everything Everything, its the next step in a very promising career.

It’s a musical fusion of pop at its catchiest with jagged and fucky electronica. Singer Frankie Murdoch is both a force to be reckoned with live and a vocalist of great range on record. Drummer Kev keeps things pumping along with a fusion of acoustic drums and electric beats while guitar/synth man Chris earns their name with his layered parts.

The EP opens with a pop-hit in Amnesty. Plucked strings undercut a myriad of guitar, synth and vocal lines as singer Frankie Murdoch offers to ‘throw you an amnesty line’. It’s a great tune, and catchy as hell too, before murky bass brings in Lucky Man, an echoing sprawling track that keeps up the quality. A tinkling bell introduces us to Bicycle which is… a song about a bicycle. It somehow manages to avoid the ridiculous and actually becomes quite a funky song. That all leads into title track and key song Devil’s Drop at the end of the four-track EP.

All-in-all this is a more than convincing release from the group, proving that they are a band destined for success, expect to be hearing tunes for this invading your radio soon. It’s pop at its most inventive and raucous and not a million miles from personal favourite AlunaGeorge, although where that is more DJ based, Arp Attack still retain that core feeling of a band sparring off each other, coolly and confidently. It’s a cracking release and well worth the investment, as you get a killer remix of the title track bundled in too. Click the artwork to go to the band’s bandcamp page where you can buy the CD, or follow the links from the above soundcloud stream or just get it from iTunes.

For more from Arp Attack, check out their facebook, twitter, website or see their earlier two singles, Follow The Rhythm and Illusions below:

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