Grant Lee Phillips – The Bodega 27/06/15

“It’s been over twenty years since I was last here”, Grant-Lee Phillips told his audience. Back then, he was touring with Grant Lee Buffalo, known for their fusion of Neil Young style folk/country with modern American alternative rock. From 2000 onwards, he has been fashioning a solo career, and he has a fair bit to show for with seven albums on his belt.

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Everything Everything – Get To Heaven

Reviewed by James Lavender

Everything Everything appear to be a band that you can’t really pin down to any specific genre. The fact that you can’t put them in a box adds to their appeal. They are clearly a band who view their music as art and it has paid off for them with the success of their 2013 album Arc. They have stuck with this winning philosophy for Get To Heaven. However, there is an added contextual edge to this album with lead singer-songwriter Johnathan Higgs taking news stories such as the ISIS atrocities and using them in songs such as ‘No Reptiles’. Many of the songs have the feel of 80s post-punk and post-rock bands such as ‘Get To Heaven’, which could easily be a Talk-Talk song or ‘The Wheel (Is Turning Now) which reminds you of Joy Division spliced with early 80s synthpop.

The two main singles on the album, ‘Distant Past’ and ‘Regret’ reflect the dance and rock sides of their music. Distant Past has the feel of a dance song with Higgs’ rap-like vocals, fast tempo and polished sound effects which also includes bridge sounds from TV’s Star Trek. ‘Regret’ is a more traditional rock song with anthemic background vocals screaming “Regret, Regret”. Other highlights on the album include ‘To The Blade’, ‘Blast Doors’ and ‘Warm Healer’ with its funky bass rhythm.

If the album has any flaws, it is in that some of the songs just randomly stop like ‘Distant Past’ or suddenly change course as on ‘No Reptiles’ and ‘Warm Healer’. Part of me was thinking that the band were trying to be a little bit too clever with some of the production techniques on the album. Nevertheless, Get To Heaven is a worthy follow-up to Arc and shows that the band are growing in confidence.

Rating: 4/5

Recommended Track: Regret

Wolf Alice – My Love Is Cool

Reviewed by Andrew Scott

It feels like My Love is Cool, the debut album from London-based quartet Wolf Alice, has been in the making for a long time. Having first come across the band after a storming set at Dot To Dot Festival in Nottingham 2014, a debut album felt just around the corner. However, it appears the band have gone away and developed their sound on the road and the results are definitely worth the wait.

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Muse – Drones

Reviewed by James Lavender

Innovative, creative and batshit crazy, Muse have revisited the political themes of their fifth album, The Resistance for their latest record, this time tackling the idea of drones. Matt Bellamy described the album as “the journey of a human, from their abandonment and loss of hope, to their indoctrination by the system to be a human drone, to their eventual defection from their oppressors”. The band wears their political messages on their sleeve. The album cover has a hand operating a joystick, like current drone pilots and one of the songs in named after the Reaper drones which inflict death from the skies.

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Florence + the Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

Reviewed by James Lavender

When Florence Welch and her band burst onto the scene in 2008 her willowy stage presence and impressive vocal range hadn’t been seen in music since Kate Bush had decided to take a long sabbatical from music in the early 90s. It is Welch’s stage presence; coupled with bold, multi-layered and multi-instrumental tunes, which have led to a globally successful formula.

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Slaves – Are You Satisfied?

Reviewed by Andrew Scott

There used to be only one ‘Dynamic Duo’. The Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder better watch their backs however as recent years have seen the proliferation of many dynamic duos in the world of rock music. Royal Blood, Drenge and Sleaford Mods are just a few who are currently enjoying success. Now Kent based duo Slaves have joined the party with their debut album Are You Satisfied?

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The Vaccines – English Graffiti

Reviewed by James Lavender

In a current pop scene dominated by dance and hip-hop, The Vaccines continue to fly the flag for rock music. The beginning of their third album, English Graffiti, is defiant in its punk sound. ‘Handsome’ is a fast-paced track which was made for an indie dancefloor. Likewise, ‘Dream Lover’ stands out as a classic rock/indie anthem and ‘Radio Bikini’ is an attack on the ears, in a good way.

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