Browsing All posts tagged under »pop rock«

Various Artists – Album Roundup

November 27, 2014

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This is a selection of records that I’d like to review, but for one reason or another, it’s not going to happen. Some (in fact most) of them just didn’t quite make the cut, in light of the extremely high standard and preponderance of physical submissions I get now (these were all received as digital submissions). Others have just been sitting in the queue for too long for a review to be meaningful now, with their release dates receding behind us into historical time… All of them are well worth listening to however, although I do appreciate that most people reading this won’t have tastes quite …

Various Artists – Album Roundup

September 4, 2013

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We’ve all seen some pretty rough justice in the wake of global capitalism’s recent crises, but Greece has suffered worse than any other part of the developed world. The Figures Of Enormous Grey And The Patterns Of Fraud appears to be a response to these circumstances, although it’s too complex an album to be pinned down quite so glibly. Choral voices are layered with a complex variety of rock textures, ranging from post-rock atmospherics, through mathy convolutions to heavy prog riffing. It’s the big epic sweep of things that tends to predominate, rather than the individual voice or the…

Diane Marie Kloba – It Is All An Illusion (avant-pop)

July 10, 2013

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Diane Marie Kloba’s music, on this and the four albums that have preceded it over the past decade, is made out of recognisable stuff, and works in a recognisable way. Imagine a house: it’s made of bricks, timber, roof tiles, glass, all the usual stuff; it’s structurally sound and weatherproof; it has features, like doors, windows, gables and all the rest of it, that look like those features usually do. But imagine that they all meet at crazy angles; that the doors are upside-down, or leaning on their sides; that the conventional notion of visual proportion, that makes almost every domestic dwelling …

Various Artists – Singles and EPs

May 8, 2013

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Positive vibes abound on this perfectly formed EP produced by the estimable Rich Huxley, whose main gig Hope And Social sits in exactly the same affective territory; clear-sighted optimism is the order of the day, and because the songs are notably lacking in trite sentiment or spurious closure the effect is genuinely uplifting. The musical engine that drives the feeling is a light but deep acoustic groove, which swings hard with an upbeat lift on even the most laid-back of the tunes. The band is locked in so tightly that it’s hard to credit how relaxed they sound, and the dynamics are shaded and weighted with real sensitivity; the mix strikes a perfect balance between separation and integration, or more to the point, it has a shedload of both, so although

Various Artists – Album Roundup

January 16, 2013

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Sufficiently independent not to sound ‘indie’, yet aesthetically straightforward enough not to sound ‘experimental’, Neurotic Wreck’s schtick is a pretty accessible art-pop stew; a predominantly electronic production mashes up trip-hop, electro, shoegaze and other downbeat sources, into a melancholy and and carefully textured soundworld, freighted with nostalgia and regret. The album is all about its songs, which is to say it’s as much about lyrics and melody as it is about production, but the creative textures and arrangements are a central part of the utterance; it’s moderately avant-garde, but it’s also furnished with a pop sensibility, and very well put together. It’s not party music, but it’s very listenable, and indeed re-listenable.

Straw Bear – Black Bank (folk-pop-rock)

November 17, 2012

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Songwriters are faced with a number of choices, regarding the weighting of significance towards the different parts of their practice. Many or most of those that might be described as singer-songwriters signal their emphasis on writing rather than performance, or on non-verbal aspects of composition, by ensuring that the ‘music’ doesn’t draw attention to itself. Leaving on one side the issue that the music can’t be effectively separated from the lyrics (at least not when speaking of anything that makes effective use of the conventions of songwriting), this usually entails staying well within the bounds of a stylistic safety zone; one wide enough to encompass the generic tropes of country, folk, blues, rock, swing, the tamer regions of punk …

Various Artists – Singles and EPs

July 18, 2012

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Schoolday nostalgia seems to be a current in many branches of music nowadays. It’s by no means a new thing, but it’s definitely growing. It’s curious how it lends historicity and distance to times that probably don’t seem at all distant to a greybeard like me; my theory is that it represents a re-appropriation, a staking out of territory in which an artist can feel rooted. It’s definitely not the dominant theme on NAM KYO, but it’s an important presence, and not just in ‘Were Still The Same’, where it is explicitly referenced. We live in an era where history is fragmented and recycled, and individuals are as disenfranchised from historical agency as from political agency. Asserting the significance of personal biography is one way to reclaim that agency …