Music reviews of bands and artists from Rockhaq
So to celebrate the last day of my academic studies, I decided to buy a ticket to one of John Mayer’s only two UK shows at the London O2 Arena. The agonising four hour drive to the venue had me constantly worrying about whether I would miss a bit of Mayer’s set since this was the first time I was seeing him live. When I finally got seated in The O2 just shortly after 8’ o clock, a sigh of relief washed over me as supporting act Andreas Moe was still playing. To my surprise he had five minutes left of his set so in the end it worked out really well because I only had 25 minutes to wait for John Mayer!
Supergroups are interesting ideas, but they’re often short-lived. Frequently, the members are each the creative force behind their respective bands, inevitably resulting in clashes of egos. Fortunately, Eric Pulido of Midlake’s new indie supergroup BNQT, consisting of Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses), Alex Kapranos (Franz Ferdinand), Fran Healy (Travis) and Jason Lytle (Grandaddy), have already lowered the bar by labelling themselves “the poor man’s Traveling Wilburys”. The thing is though, as shown in their debut release Volume 1, they’re not half bad.
Pond have a lot in common with Tame Impala. Both are neo-psychedelic rock projects from Perth, Australia. Both have recently progressed from fuzzy guitar driven music towards more synth oriented sounds. They’ve even shared members over the years, including Tame Impala mastermind Kevin Parker, who’s also been Pond’s producer since 2012’s Beard, Wives, Denim album. Yet they sound incredibly different. Parker’s project combines psych rock with gorgeous, melodic and intricate songwriting. Pond, however, freely serve up bonkers, disjointed and indulgent psychedelia. Their seventh studio album The Weather is no exception.
There’s no question that when Depeche Mode released their visionary album Violator in 1990, it firmly established four boys from Basildon as one of the most influential electronic groups in the world. The technical masterclass that was displayed in their predecessor would present Depeche Mode with the colossal task of trying to deliver something as innovative for their sophomore album; Songs of Faith and Devotion.
In 2006, John Mayer had already established his musical career quite comfortably with two successful pop rock albums to his name. However his third album Continuum would lean heavily towards more blues and soul influences. The burning question is would these genres translate well into his previous pop orientated sound?
Music For The Jilted Generation came two years after The Prodigy’s debut album, Experience. Although it was a debut very much of its time, Experience has so many layers and facets to it, so much awareness of the type of samples used, that you cannot just dismiss it as ‘kiddy rave’. AC/DC mingles with LuLu, Kate Bush with Aswad, Run DMC and Arthur Brown. It’s all chaotic, hyper experimental and very, very British. The large succession of single releases from Experience meant that critics did write it and the band off though.
Despite being barely seven years into their career, Australian septet King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are already one of the most prolific bands in neo-psychedelia. By the end of 2016, they had eight albums to their name. By the end of 2017, they’re planning to have five more. Flying Microtonal Banana is the first of these and it’s easily the most fascinating record they’ve put out so far.
As soon as I typed out the name ‘Babymetal’ in my word document, I immediately realised the amount of constructive criticism that I was going to receive from my Rockhaq peers. Babymetal are a Japanese pop metal group composed of Suzuka Nakamoto (Su-metal), Yui Mizuno (Yuimetal) & Moa Kikuchi (Moametal). The trio have somewhat grown to become a peculiar phenomenon within the metal community due to their controversial approach to the genre. Metal Resistance is the sophomore album to their self-titled record Babymetal.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of months, La La Land is one of the films that has been generating serious Oscar buzz this year due to the way it’s resurrecting the musical genre. La La Land’s theme is about two artists who are striving to achieve their dreams in life: Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) a pianist who is deeply passionate about jazz and Mia (Emma Stone) who is an aspiring actress.
Californian indie rock duo Foxygen is vocalist Sam France and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Rado. That’s excluding the Flaming Lips’ Steven Drozd, Brian and Michael D’addario of the Lemon Twigs and the forty-piece orchestra who’ve also joined them for their latest studio album Hang. Their previous studio effort – the sprawling …And Star Power – was regularly underwritten, poorly recorded and sloppily performed, never justifying its 82-minute length. Hang, however, barely exceeds 32-minutes, yet it packs significantly more of a punch.