Review: ‘Froot’ (2015) – Marina & the Diamonds

The wonderful Claire Roberts gives her thoughts on the new Marina & the Diamonds album. Have a read, would ya?

Shrewology

-by Claire

The voice of Welsh-Greek singer-songwriter Marina Diamandis is an acquired taste. Reviews of her first two albums demonstrate its divisiveness; to some, Diamandis’ voice is ‘resonant, operatic’ and ‘expressive’, and to others it has a ‘horrible vibrato’ that indicates an ‘unquenchable desire to shriek’. Froot may not be Diamandis’ most instantly ear-catching album, but the listener who takes time to absorb the lyrics will notice a vulnerability that softens Diamandis’ usually melodramatic vocals. The album’s playfully-contrived title is misleading; this is not another The Family Jewels (2010) of eccentric indie-pop, nor another high-concept attack on the American Dream like Electra Heart (2012), but a wistful expression of heartbreak that is weakened by a few forgettable tracks.

Froot opens with ‘Happy’, a ballad which initially sounds discordant and under-produced but progresses into an interesting ballad about loneliness and the quest for self-actualisation. There’s not much time to…

View original post 484 more words

Fortitude Magazine Reviews Latitude Festival 2015: The Best Bits

'Ow do, Latitude?

‘Ow do, Latitude?

It’s been ten years since Latitude Festival was brought to life, and we haven’t looked back since. In celebrating its tenth birthday, the wholesome seaside town of Southwold threw one hell of a party, featuring the likes of headliners Alt-J, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Portishead. Here, Fortitude takes a look at the highlights of the Festival.

The Headliners:

All three headliners played sets worthy of fronting any festival, let alone Suffolk’s own baby Glastonbury. Alt-J provided a dazzling show of off-rhythms, tangled synthesisers and a drone of guitar laden tracks. Mixing their two albums together perfectly in the set, Thom, Joe and Gus have come a long way since playing the Lake Stage in 2012. As for Portishead, there’s not much else to say other than wow. Just wow. Both politically cutting (look away now, David Cameron) and mellow, Portishead were joined by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke in a standout set on the Obelisk stage, featuring classic tracks like ‘Roads’ and ‘Sour Times’ from the seminal 1994 record Dummy.

Finishing the festival off in typical charismatic fashion, Noel Gallagher and his exceptionally dapper High Flying Birds burst out a spectrum of tracks to an excited crowd that had already been suitably warmed up by Warpaint and the Manic Street Preachers. Ending with a mass singalong to Oasis classic ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’, Latitude blew the candles out on its birthday cake. Mocking the often discussed middle-class demographic of the Festival, Gallagher comically noted “this is like a Guardian readers’ rally”. Backed by a more than accomplished band, Gallagher made himself comfortable on stage, and topped off a stellar weekend.

Portishead (via latitudefestival.com & Marc Sethi)

Portishead (via latitudefestival.com & Marc Sethi)

The Gems:

Even more so than the three headliners, no band got more chins wagging than Scottish electro outfit Django Django. After receiving a chorus of boos for accidentally and hilariously exclaiming “hello Glastonbury” to a bemused crowd, the four piece played a mind boggling excellent set in the BBC Radio 6 tent. Future headliners? Edith Bowman and Shrewologists Claire Roberts and Emily Smith seem to think so. Once again, the tightly hidden away diamond in the rough that is the iArena brought a plethora of artists of all genres to the Festival. From the gloomy depths of Glasgow’s self proclaimed “miserable bastards” The Twilight Sad, who played an emotionally charged and visceral set full of beautifully stitched together melodies, to Australian band of seven King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard (what a name, by the way) who blasted out an energetic trip of psych-rock anthems, the iArena brought a lightning bolt of alternative energy to the Festival.

(via Gigwise)

The list of those who impressed over the weekend is nearly endless: from the slick and soulful jives of Unknown Mortal Orchestra and the rocky undertones of Wolf Alice, to the gentle harmonies of Jose Gonzalez and the hard-hitting riffs of grunge duo Drenge, this year’s Latitude line-up lived up to the hype. As Fortitude’s Founding Partner Tom Satchwell put it:

“Latitude was a triumph – the atmosphere, line-up and setting in a little Suffolk forest made it a beautiful place to be… highlights for me were Jack Garratt at the iArena as well as the cool class of Leon Bridges. Savages were also spectacular, their presence just took up the entire tent”.

Marika Hackman, Rae Morris, Years & Years, Kwabs, Zola Jesus, Lonelady, and Badly Drawn Boy also provided noteworthy performances.

The Secret Sets: 

Now, there couldn’t have been birthday celebrations at Henham Park this year without a couple of surprises. Strolling from down the road came a local singer-songwriter by the name of Ed Sheeran (you may have heard of him), who played a secret set at the iArena on Friday night, and another little set on the Saturday night hidden away in the Other Voices stage. Stringing out hits like ‘The A-Team’ and ‘Thinking Out Loud’, Sheeran also found time to cover the likes of Stevie Wonder and Elvis Presley. And it was more of the same on Saturday night. Following his surprise cameo appearance with Portishead, Thom Yorke played to another 1000 people in the iArena. Although his set was fraught with technical difficulties, he performed with his usual weird grace. The only sour note caused by the secret sets was that each set was capped at 1000 people. For a Festival that holds a capacity of around 35,000 people, there were a lot of disappointed faces.

Thom York - Latitude (via NME)

The bad bits:

Although Latitude Festival had celebrated its decade of existence in sublime fashion, there were a couple of artists that failed to live up to the standards set by other artists. Reckless folksters Sun Kil Moon played a hot and tuneless set in the BBC Radio 6 tent, as a visibly disgruntled Mark Kozelek declared “I’m fuckin’ sweatin’ to death”. Still, at least fans got to see Thurston Moore make a surprise appearance on guitar. Likewise, the delicate sound of Laura Marling felt all too small on the Obelisk stage, in what was a surprisingly lacklustre set from the songstress. And whilst their catchy indie tunes caught the attention of the audience, London’s Gengahr gave a nervous performance in the iArena, and seemed reluctant to want to fill the stage and make it their own.

After another Latitude weekend to remember, Monday morning saw 35,000 very hungover faces streaming out of the Festival gates. It was a blast, Latitude. See you next year.

1544560_10153492290924375_8250963132841507225_n

For Fortitude Magazine: http://www.fortitudemagazine.co.uk/music/latitude-festival-2015-best-bits/25850/

Fortitude Album Review: Tame Impala – Currents

The Perth outfit's third studio record (Via Consequence of Sound)

The Perth outfit’s third studio record (Via Consequence of Sound)

Right, let’s get this straight. We’ve know for a while now that Tame Impala, the same band that brought the raucous guitar sounds of ‘Elephant’, ‘Desire Be, Desire Go’ and ‘Half Full Glass Of Wine’, have all but ditched the guitar based stuff for synthesisers and pastures new. Step into the mind of musical illusionist Kevin Parker and you’ll find the word ‘dance’ written over and over again on the inside of his brain. In big, shiny, fuck off letters too. He’s made no bones about it: Tame Impala have gone groovy.

Tame Impala are rebranding themselves, and it’s a step in the right direction. Currents, their third studio album, is a boogie-down kind of record, filled to the top with swirling synths, carnivorous feedback and captivating dance hooks. Teetering on the edge of insanity, Kevin Parker has nurtured Tame Impala’s sound like a child from birth. As he told The Rolling Stone, “I wouldn’t say making psychedelic music is my focus. That’s not the modus operandi for Tame Impala. It’s about making music that moves people”. Moving organically on from tracks like ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’, Currents tapes together a mosh-pit of dance hits that become more and more dizzying with every listen.

Opener ‘Let It Happen’, for instance, captures the traits of a Kavinsky bootleg. Built around a foundation of twiddly keyboards and CD-skipping production – a sound that is inherently rhythmic in itself – Parker’s new found dance philosophy beautifully comes to fruition. Likewise, the punchy snares and irresistible electro harmonies continue on tracks like ‘The Moment’ and single ‘Cause I’m A Man’, a song that Parker has defended as not sexist, but lyrically “tongue-in-cheek”. Whatever you make of it, it’s mesmerisingly catchy, flavoursome and unhindered. Parker must be sick of the cliche comparisons by now, but his undeniably John Lennon-like voice meshes the drunken dance sounds together wonderfully, as he bellows “I’m just pathetic, that’s the reason why, in desperation, all that you can do is ask me why, cause I’m a man, woman”.

Although Tame Impala have veered away from the heavy guitar riffs that threw them into the limelight with 2010’s Innerspeaker and 2012’s Lonerism, guitars do make a couple of cameo appearances on the band’s new album. The tightly strung ‘Disciples’ breathes an air of Ariel Pink and Atlas Sound about it. Melodically driven, Parker still knows how to capture the imagination of a 30-something year old veteran stoner. Again, tracks like 1980s-esque ‘Past Life’ and ‘Eventually’ conjure up images of cracked kaleidoscopes and hazy Sunday afternoons. In this new step forward in Tame Impala’s evolution, the band are starting to filter out the heavy bass guitar for more robotic, synthetic bass lines. Again, the crunchy jazz bass lines of Lonerism are still apparent on tracks like ‘The Less I Know The Better’, but it’s on tracks like on the melodic ‘New Person, Same Old Mistake’, ‘Nangs’ and ‘Past Life’ that the ferocious, whirling bass lines come into their own.

Embracing change, rather than shying away from it, Tame Impala continue to grow from strength to strength. As their timeline inevitably continues, likely by riding on some sort of pink unicorn, their journey becomes more enthralling and euphoric. Much like how the Yeah Yeah Yeahs ditched their predominantly guitar sound in 2009 with the electro game changer It’s Blitz!, Tame Impala seem to have taken to the challenge of adapting their ways to something newer, fresher and distinct.

Whilst there is room for debate as to whether Tame Impala are abandoning guitar music for more commercially appealing ideas – an argument that is fraught with complexities and musical politics – the quality of their new album is undeniable. More mature than Innerspeaker and more daring than LonerismCurrents is making itself at home in the UK album charts. And trust me, it’s a sound that’s here to stay… for now, at least.

For Fortitude Magazine: http://www.fortitudemagazine.co.uk/music/album-review-tame-impala-currents/25852/

DrunkenWerewolf Album Review: The Maccabees – Marks To Prove It.

Marks To Prove It (via http://www.drunkenwerewolf.com)

Marks To Prove It (via http://www.drunkenwerewolf.com)

 

From the youthful undertones of 2007’s Colour It In to the award-winning Given To The Wild in 2012, The Maccabees have become known and adored for crafting melodic, emotionally-charged indie songs. Given To The Wild was particularly spellbinding, a movement miles apart from their earlier works. It was a bold and naked journey through heartbreak, death and existence; it was where The Maccabees really came of age.

But where does one go when near perfection has been reached? The Maccabees’ answer to that is sewn within the flesh of their latest album, Marks To Prove It. Dubbed by The Guardian as “the last of the great guitar indie bands,” The Maccabees do little to reject that label with this album. It’s a guitar-soaked racket box, amplified by songs like “WW1 Portraits” and the title track. Coming full circle, The Maccabees have rediscovered the virtuoso guitar work that initially plunged them into the limelight. Lyrically, frontman Orlando Weeks still knows how to feel, as he whispers out “drinking when you’re drunk to chase down the evenings” on the eerily sour “Kamakura”. Once again, Weeks has a lot to say about love, and a lot of it is said on this record.

Marks To Prove It is more delicate than the first single release suggests, with piano and softer instrumentation prevalent throughout. The deeply sad “Silence”, to which guitarist Hugo White lends his vocals, captures a Noah and the Whale-like sobriety. Likewise, the bass-heavy “Ribbon Road” channels a darker, more submerged sound compared to the group’s earlier work. The fluctuation between the gentle and the prickly is the cornerstone of the album, and is beautifully captured by the plummeting guitar drives of “Spit It Out”.

However, the album’s muted tone confuses itself in some instances. For example, the jittery twists of “Something Like Happiness” fall between their first and second albums, awkwardly placed in relation to the rest of the record, especially when wedged between wonderfully candid and brassed out “Slow Sun” and “WW1 Portraits”. The Maccabees’ cutie-pie story-telling style of indie-pop is best left on their first album. Nostalgic in one sense, but completely perplexing in the other, “Something Like Happiness” excludes itself from the mood of the rest of the album completely.

No, one shouldn’t tie albums together with such a close comparison: each record should be judged on its own merit, yes. But, as Marks To Prove It shows, The Maccabees are caught between a step forward and a step back. Some songs suggest a new vision coming to light, as in the cinematic “Pioneering Systems”, “Dawn Chorus” and “Spit It Out”. But some suggest a regression to their earlier years: sounds that have seen their time in The Maccabees’ story. All in all, Marks To Prove It is a very good album. It carries the feeling, fire and the fury of a real guitar band. It just could have been so much better.

Release: 31st July 2015, Fiction

For DrunkenWerewolf Magazine: http://www.drunkenwerewolf.com/reviews/maccabees-marks-to-prove-it/

 

DrunkenWerewolf Introducing: Pavo Pavo.

From the backstreets of Brooklyn come Pavo Pavo (via thedelimagazine.com)

From the backstreets of Brooklyn come Pavo Pavo (via thedelimagazine.com)

From the backstreets of Brooklyn come the sublime synthesised strides of experimental pop band, Pavo Pavo. Formed at Yale University: Eliza Bagg, Nolan Green, Ian Romer, Oliver Hill and Austin Vaughn have made their trade in creating dream pop anthems like no other. Happily, the band’s debut album Young Narrator in the Breakers will be released later this year.

Since their formation, the five-piece have collaborated with acclaimed acts like Roomful of Teeth and Luke Temple. Their debut single “Ran Ran Run” breathes an air of freedom and joy, and paints a picture of a summery afternoon on the coast. Filled to the brim with swirling vocal harmonies, shining melodies and a whole lot of fun, Pavo Pavo marble the folky dispositions of bands like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Grizzly Bear with the electro hook of Future Islands. The combination of classical instrumentation-like violins with the modern use of synthesisers and modest electric guitars is subtle yet effective. In turn, the timbres the band produce are wholesome but not overpowering.

Pavo Pavo’s sound is both romantic and grounding. Although their sound is dreamy and energetic, their lyrics are brimming with maturity. A band that promise much more to come, Pavo Pavo’s debut record will feature more than just music, but meaning as well. Tackling the magic and panic of adulthood and life, Pavo Pavo will do their best to shed light on a topic that most of us, if not all of us, have struggled with at some point. Teaming with dreamy textures and a poppy disposition, Brooklyn’s latest gem look like a sure thing for 2015.

For DrunkenWerewolf Magazine: http://www.drunkenwerewolf.com/blog/introducing-pavo-pavo/

DrunkenWerewolf Introducing: Quigley.

She's gathering hype... (via zippykid.net)

She’s gathering hype… (via zippykid.net)

Making a name for herself has come quite naturally to Minneapolis based singer songwriter Quigley. Gathering hype from press outlets like SPIN magazine, The Line Of Best Fit and others; Quigley’s oracular synth-pop sound is certainly something that warrants such attention. Mashing up the strong vocals of a pop artists with the rhythms and electro hooks of a modern day dance floor filler, there is much to enjoy about Quigley’s succulent songwriting.

Quigley takes the blueprint of electro-pop and dresses it in a plethora of genres ranging from soul, synth-pop and dance. As she herself describes on her Facebook page, her music comes under the genre of ‘pretty’. Her new track “Beginning Of Anything”, a collaborative piece with fellow Minneapolitan and producer Sombear, is a spring of electronic waves and poppy arpeggios. Taken from her debut EP Lnitium, “Beginning Of Anything” is a good place to start in discovering Quigley’s broad sound, as one of her more commercially moulded tracks. In a similar vein to the likes of FKA TwigsBanks, and Goldfrapp, the alluring “Lost Again” is a more fragmented and dynamic track to sink your teeth into and to get a grips with Quigley’s style.

Surpassing the press hype, Quigley is beginning to make waves with a sound that is both creative and refined. Keep your ears open for more from this captivating songstress. Her style, image and persona ooze charisma. And her music isn’t half-bad either.

For DrunkenWerewolf Magazine: http://www.drunkenwerewolf.com/blog/introducing-quigley/

Fortitude Album Review: Gengahr – A Dream Outside.

A mammoth debut album (via Transgressive Records)

A mammoth debut album (via Transgressive Records)

Writing weird songs is never straightforward. It’s as complicated as it sounds, and it’s been doubly complicated for London’s alternative rock foursome Gengahr. Unfazed by the hype, undeterred by naming disputes with New York rappers, and no longer content with playing second fiddle to bands like Alt-J, Gengahr’s debut LP ‘A Dream Outside’ is a roaring sphere of experimental guitars and a pristine, provocative sound. Floppy fringed, rakish and refined, Gengahr are ready to take the music industry by the balls.

On first listen, there’s something distinctly fairground about the band’s debut album. The slowly-but-surely carousel of ‘Bathed In Light’ and bumper-car ‘Heroine’ sum up the hooks and handy guitar work that resonate an Unknown Mortal Orchestra style sound. ‘Heroine’, in particular, coughs up a number of influences, from the lowly riffing of Sparklehorse and MGMT to the folky undertones of Avi Buffalo. Veering away from the more pop orientated tracks, the likes of ‘Dark Star’ takes an instrumental digression of rattling drums and delayed guitars that both inspire and boggle the mind.

“Sharp in tonality, broad in scope and tightly knitted together, Gengahr’s sound burns like a solid blue flame.”

As is the case with most great albums, behind a tangible backdrop of skilled songwriting beats the heart of a true lyricist. As abstract as their musical friends Alt-J, ‘Embers’ is a romantically confused frag grenade of feedback and poetry: “Restless you’ll cry to cold, the wind through the trees leaves you raw.” Indeed, one gets the impression that these lyrics are designed to be sung at you rather than with you by the eerie tenor of frontman Felix Bushe. The most vibrant and interesting part of the Gengahr’s songwriting within ‘A Dream Outside’ is, however, the fractions between guitars and bass. Intent on making a racket, tracks like ‘Powder’ and ‘She’s A Witch’ play with the sun-drenched soundscapes of psychedelica and alternative rock, whilst the bass lines steer the bands rhythms and harmonies into a patently pop direction.

‘A Dream Outside’ does not just lay on a jumble of rampant guitar hooks though. The delicate rumbling of ‘Fill My Gums With Blood’ takes a sideways acoustic step into something a little more folky. Stripped back, Gengahr’s sound really begins to shine; because, lets face it, any band can hide their songwriting behind a wall of reverb and feedback. With more naked styles of songwriting, a band’s true sound can be formed. Built around jazzy drums, choppy guitars and a rolling bass line, ‘Fill My Gums With Blood’ gives of the free-cut vibes of a jam session turned into an album recording. Moreover, in the same way ‘Lonely As A Shark’ rings a level of intimacy in Gengahr’s sound. Touching on idea of isolation, Bushe again sounds of lyrics packed with meaning: “Soft in the middle, melting away, lonely as a shark in dark room, counting away”. In his own candid way, Bushe has found a way of reaching out to his band’s listeners.

‘A Dream Outside’ is, in every essence, an album to relate to, to lose yourself to, and to come out again breathing a little heavier. Driven by a desire to make music that is weird, different and exciting is exactly what is keeping this band on the tongues of the industry and press alike.

Speaking to DIY Magazine, the band confessed that their curious brand of alt-rock was “building up to something”.

What it has built up to in their first album, then, is something quite spectacular. A mountain of sound that slowly but violently collapses on itself with every listen. This is weird music, and it’s fucking brilliant.

You can download Gengahr’s debut LP ‘A Dream Outside’ from iTunes by clicking here.

For Fortitude Magazine: http://www.fortitudemagazine.co.uk/music/alt-indie/album-review-gengahr-dream-outside/25623/

Fortitude Album Review: Wolf Alice – My Love Is Cool.

Rock's modern day saviours, Wolf Alice. (Via DIY Magazine)

Rock’s modern day saviours, Wolf Alice. (Via DIY Magazine)

It seems like we’ve been waiting for a Wolf Alice record forever. After a number of EP and single releases, Ellie Rowsell and co. have finally walked out of the recording studio holding a full length album in their hands, ready to tear rock music a new one. 

But with great excitement comes a sense of fear too: seldom do bands have as much buzz around them than Wolf Alice do. As such, there is perhaps a lot riding on the London four piece and their first LP.

Rather than bursting through the front door with a no holds bar rock and roll anthem, Wolf Alice’s ‘My Love Is Cool’ starts slowly with the dulcet ‘Turn To Dust’, before dazzling into ‘Bros’, a song Wolf Alice fans will no well. “Take your beady eyes off me, to make sure I don’t turn to dust”whispers Rowsell, over a tonic of electronic percussion and shimmering guitar arpeggios. The coupling of these two tracks, if anything, underscores the melodic drives that screws together the nuts and bolts of their dynamic sound. The other side of the coin signals tracks like ‘Lisbon’and ‘Fluffy’, two songs that harness the band’s raw energy and ferocious rock and roll ethos. They are both grungy, captivating and bursting at the seams with cool.

In that very fashion, the vigorous driving bass lines and power chords of ‘Your Loves Whore’carries the album forward. It’s a love song entrenched in sad harmonies and lyrics, as Rowsell whispers “And when we grow older, we’ll still be friends, we’ll could still be lovers” through the picked chorus. A real head banger of a track, it crescendos into explosive life in the final chorus, as the band chime together “Keep me hardly breathing, but I can only love you more” repeatedly.

“A sign that the band’s transition from EP recording to LP recording has been nothing short of natural. Not too miserable, but not cringingly hopeful either, Wolf Alice are striking a balance in songwriting.”

Not merely content on penning anthem after anthem, the substance of ‘My Love Is Cool’ is a heartfelt and angry one. The beating synths and drums of ‘Silk’ is dressed in a dark costume of youthful moodiness. A more prominent bass line keeps the band in check, and Roswell burning lyrics continue to grow from embers to roaring fires. As arguably the record’s stand out track and midway, ‘Silk’ pays testament to the band’s versatile style.

Whilst the public have been fed anthem after anthem in terms of singles, Wolf Alice have turned their vehement sound into something much more visceral and intimate. Unlike a number of rock albums released this year, ‘My Love Is Cool’ doesn’t bark on about anything in particular; it’s not trying to make a “ooh, look at the world we live in” statement. Instead, it takes the essence of songwriting and amplifies it into something much bigger, and much more meaningful.

As mentioned, whilst the album captures examples of Wolf Alice’s brutal guitar handy-work, as shown on the heavy ‘Giant Peach’, the LP is much more stripped back than some may have expected. The focus is really on the melodies, as demonstrated by the poppy ‘Freazy’. Likewise, the mainly acoustic ‘Swallowtail’ is a ballad that conjures up noticeable influences of band’s like ‘Gish’-era Smashing Pumpkins, and My Bloody Valentine, before tailing off into an onslaught of punky guitars. Overall, ‘My Love Is Cool’ has most of everything you can think an album should have: potency, catchy tunes and something to ponder over.

Rather than saying something ironic about the world we live in, moaning on about things that barely matter or teetering on the edge with despair, Wolf Alice have produced one of the records of the year so far. Armed with a sound that gives you a lot without leading you on, ‘My Love Is Cool’ is a mammoth of a record that fills your head with songs that you’ll be humming for days. There is no surprise that this album has peaked at number one in the charts. Let me tell you, Wolf Alice’s love is cool. Very, very cool.

Wolf Alice’s album ‘My Love Is Cool’ is available to download from iTunes here.

For Fortitude Magazine: http://www.fortitudemagazine.co.uk/music/alt-indie/album-review-wolf-alice-love-cool/25673/

Fortitude Feature: 10 Highly Anticipated Albums We’re Still Waiting For In 2015.

James Blake. One of many to (hopefully) release a new album this year (via http://wp-images.emusic.com)

James Blake. One of many to (hopefully) release a new album this year (via http://wp-images.emusic.com)

So, we are halfway through 2015 and we’ve seen a fair amount of brilliant records released this year. 

From a new hip-hop game changer with Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, the return of Bjork with the oddball Vulnicura, and the mesmerising In Colour from Jamie XX, 2015 has shaped up nicely so far. But what about the second half of the year? With festival season just around the corner, what albums can we get excited about?

Tame Impala – Currents

Perth’s psych-rockers Tame Impala are set to ditch the guitars for a full on synthetic blow out of dance rhythms and synthesisers. After building their success on a sound that goes hand-in-hand with Kevin Parker’s John Lennon-esque vocals and equally trippy sounds, Currents will certainly be one of the most lucid and palpable albums of the year, as well as one of the bravest.

When: 17th July.

Label: Interscope Records.

James Blake – Radio Silence

How do you top winning the Mercury Award Prize? Following the massive commercial and critical success of the tangible Overgrown, James Blake’s third record will hopefully calm the storm caused by the strange on-off, will-they-wont-they live collaboration with Frank Ocean on the 1-800 Dinosaur UK weekend run. Looking forward, however, Blake’s fluid jazz vocals and unmatched production style will surely push the Frank Ocean fiasco into the dark.

When: TBA.

Label: A&M and Polydor Records.

The Maccabees – Marks To Prove It

After 2012’s heartbreaking and clever Given To The Wild, The Maccabee’s have gone back to their raw guitar-based roots. Title track and single ‘Marks To Prove It’ has been the public’s only glimpse into what the Orlando Weeks and co. have in stall for their fourth album. The single itself was hard-hitting and unrestrained, whilst their second release, ‘Something Like Happiness’, was a gentle cry of acoustic guitars and fluffy textures. There’s a lot to look forward to this July.

When: 31st July.

Label: Fiction Records.

Foals – What Went Down

HOLY SHIT! Foals are back! After 12 seconds of nothing but noise and barely any music, Oxford mathletes Foals are being as enigmatic as ever. With not much to go on, it’s hard to say what the band’s forthcoming album, What Went Down, will sound like. Come Tuesday the 16th of June, however, we’ll finally have a taste. In an interview with the NME, frontman declared that the “taps were on” for the band, and that their latest LP will be a little bit different: “Van Gogh cut his ear off in the next town and was put in a psychiatric ward in the same village we recorded in, so we wanted to suck in a bit of that madness”.

When: 28th August.

Label: Transgressive.

Frank Ocean – Boys Don’t Cry

Oh Frank. How much longer must we wait? Another one who enjoys a cryptic clue here and there, R&B sensation Frank Ocean has been teasing that he’ll release a follow up to 2012’s Channel Orange for a while now. Expected to feature the demo-like ‘Memrise’, Boys Don’t Cry has already got fans chomping at the bit. Please, Frank. Put us out of our misery.

When: TBA

Label: Island Records.

DIIV – Is The Is Are

Shoegaze meddlers DIIV’s latest album promises to be just as, if not more, dreamy as their first. After already playing a large proportion of the record whilst on tour over in the States and in Europe, suitable hype is gathering for the release this fall. According to frontman Zachary Cole Smith, the album was inspired by events such as his drug arrest in 2013 as well as the following media scrutiny of himself and his girlfriend Sky Ferreira.

When: October (expected)

Label: Captured Tracks.

Grimes – TBA

A record that has been in doubt for a while now, it finally looks like Claire Boucher is about ready to release her fourth album this year. After initially cancelling the album for being “too depressing”, a string of non-album singles and clues have now led to the announcement that an album should be ready for release later this year. The things people do for art. And who cares if Rihanna isn’t a fan?

When: October (expected).

Label: Arbutus.

Wolf Alice – My Love Is Cool

It seems like we’ve been waiting for a Wolf Alice LP for ages. Following since their 2010 formation, Ellie Rowsell and co. have been heralded as one of Britain’s best guitar bands. My Love Is Cool, then, should do nothing to dispel that idea. Raw, edgy and deliciously grassroots, the debut album from London’s Wolf Alice looks set to be a headbanger and a half of an LP. And the good news is that you can stream the album in full ahead of its release.

When: 22nd June.

Label: Dirty Hit Records.

Mac DeMarco – Another One

Charismatic, charming and just the right amount of weird, there’s pretty much nothing to not like about Mr Mac DeMarco. After the roaring success of Salad Days, the the blue-wave pioneer has announced the release of a mini-LP, titled Another One. Recording in his NYC apartment, DeMarco’s scruffy-haired style will surely enthral listeners on another sublime collection of fuzzy guitars and sleepy vocals.

When: 7th August.

Label: Captured Tracks.

Disclosure – Caracal

After the mammoth success of their debut album, Settle, much hype has understandably gathered around the two Lawrence brothers. In a statement, Howard Lawrence explained the meaning behind the new album’s name: “A caracal is an incredible wild cat that I became fascinated with while on tour last year; I just love the way they look, their physical capabilities and their anonymity”. If Settle is anything to go by, then Disclosure’s second LP promises to fill up dance floors across the UK for years to come.

When: 25th September.

Label: PMR and Island Records.

Fortitude EP Review: Native People – Tapes.

(Via Tumblr)

(Via Tumblr)

Raking in the sun kissed sounds of the seaside, indie-dance quartet Native People’s new Tapes EP is a sentimental digression of romance, youth and dancing. 
 In all its vibrancy, what instantly springs to mind is just how full sounding the guitar work it is. Not enough guitar-based bands explore the genre’s groovier side nowadays, but Folkestone’s Native People are one exception.

As the summer festival season inches ever closer, theTapes EP fits the summer spirit perfectly. Despite the band’s age, Reuben Todd (21), Luke Cowie (20), Connor Tagg (18) and Hudd Smith (18), the quartet boast a mature sound beyond their years. Tracks like ‘Morals’ and ‘Tapes’ are dream-dance anthems dressed in indie-pop clothing. The group’s chemistry is highlighted by the clean rhythms, hazy harmonies and blossoming indie racket that seems to simmer throughout the EP. Courtesy of The Citrus Cloud and Lua Sonique, the Tapes EP also cuts two remixes that capture the filtered vibes that Native People so happily project.

Released independently, one can take pleasure in the fact that the EP is solely sculptured by the visions of the band themselves. Harmonically interlocked by rolling bass lines and a cull of flickered melodies, Native People have produced a real sweatbox of an indie-dance EP. Their sound is one that oscillates between routinely rhythmic to glitteringly wholesome. ‘Costume’, in particular, works in a similar fashion to the mathematic jitters of artists like Egyptian Hip-Hop and New Navy, whilst the lyrics are as esoteric and deep as bands like JAWS and Good Shoes. Despite the spectrum of influences, Native People provide a style all of their own making.

Keep your eye on these boys in 2015, as the Tapes EP signals the start of something exciting. More than just a tingle of seaside sunshine, Native People are the newest embodiment of indie-dance done right: summery, springy and a whole lot of fun.

For Fortitude Magazine: http://www.fortitudemagazine.co.uk/music/alt-indie/ep-review-native-people-tapes/25507/