June 2017- What I’m Listening To

A month of festivals, tour announcements and new music (thank God).

Firstly, Rat Boy are finally releasing their debut album. The record is called Scum, which we already knew after Jordan Cardy (Rat Boy) teased it at Reading Festival last year. The record is out on the 11th August 2017 and features the previously released singles ‘MOVE’, ‘GET OVER IT’, ‘REVOLUTION’ and ‘FAKE ID’.

The Killers are back with a new album and single. The band are set to release their sixth sutdio album, entitled Wonderful Wonderful, later this year. The band released the catchy lead single, The Man, simultaneously to the record announcement. The single channels Two Door Cinema Club’s funky 2015 album, whist remaining iconically infectious, like most of The Killers songs are.  They’re also set to tour the UK in Winter this year, following their surprise Glastonbury set.

Everything Everything have announced a new album, A Fever Dream, which is due to be released on August 18th. The band also released lead single ‘Can’t Do’, which is equally as fascinating, mad and marvellous as their previous material. I love the absurdness of Everything Everything songs, which often include one absolutely brilliant, strange line, which is madly catchy.

Mystery Jets are set to release a remix EP, called The Electronic Earth EP. Key tracks have been remixed and reimagined from their 2016 album Curve of the Earth, especially to dance to and “shed new light on the material”, according to the band’s website.

Wolf Alice have released the raucous ‘Yuk Foo’ (or, err, “Fuck You”, as the song’s lyrics transpire) as the lead single from the second album, Visions of a Life, which is due to be released later this year. The single is explosive, angry and intriguing. You can’t tell a lot about how the album will pan out on just one song, as usually their songs are vastly different throughout- and that’s what makes them brilliant.

George Ezra has also released the lead single from his imminent second album. The single- which he debuted on his recent UK tour and is now a staple on his 2017 festival setlists-  is called ‘Don’t Matter Now’. It’s infectiously happy, upbeat and filled with summery, laid back vibes. It’s gloriously optimistic and I love it. I was lucky enough to hear his 2017 festival setlist at Wildlife Festival (his first festival of the season no less) and at Glastonbury and it’s great to hear our George performing such wonderful new tracks. I can’t wait for the album.

Lorde has announced a September UK tour, which includes a date at London’s prestigious Alexandra Palace, as well as dates at the Brighton Centre and at a string of O2 venues across the country. She will be supported by Khalid.

Reading’s Sundara Karma have also announced a September/October UK tour, which features a HUGE date at the O2 Academy Brixton. It’s so exciting watching Sundara Karma get bigger, especially after the release of their triumphant debut album earlier this year. The band are on their way to big things.

Blaenavon have also released a tour (with The Night Cafe). The tour kicks off in November and features a date at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. These dates are set to be special, especially after the success of their debut album, That’s Your Lot, which was released earlier this year.

Just when you think there could be no more tour announcements… The Libertines released details of a seaside stop UK. The tour features dates in Brighton, Blackpool and Scarborough. I’m hoping the band showcase some new material, as a follow up to 2015’s Anthems For Doomed Youth.

Reading and Leeds festival have announced details of their Alternative Stage line-up. The stage offers a break from the music, with comics, speakers and DJs.  The line-up features DJ sets from Blossoms, Circa Waves and The Big Moon, as well as a Transgressive Takeover. The line-up also features comedy sets by Bill Bailey, Katherine Ryan and Joe Lycett.

Glastonbury Festival announced earlier in the month that Liam Gallagher and Johnny Depp were amongst the latest faces to join their mega 2017 line-up. The festival itself has since gone by in a flash and was a huge success. The festival was headlined by Radiohead, Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran and featured secret sets by the likes of The Killers and Elbow. Highlights across the weekend include the spectacular Lorde, Scotland’s finest Biffy Clyro and Blossoms. A full review will follow.

In July, I look forward to Finsbury Park’s first Community Festival (headlined by Catfish and the Bottlemen, with The Wombats, Slaves and Fickle Friends amongst loads of great acts) and the long awaited release of Declan McKenna’s debut album. There’s also Haim’s new album, which is set to be good.

This month I’ve listened to a lot of Anne-Marie’s brilliant ‘Ciao Adios’, which is already soundtracking my summer, as well as the Clean Bandit hit she features on- ‘Rockabye’- having seen her play at BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend. There’s also the summer hit that is Little Mix’s ‘Power’, which I’ve been enjoying (in various layers of guilty pleasure) since Big Weekend. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Everywhere’s latest single, ‘Man Up’, who are my new band of the month in June. I’ve also been loving Declan McKenna’s ‘Paracetamol’, as well as bit of Blondie. There’s also a lot of Lorde on this playlist, especially ‘The Louvre’, which I recommend you listen to at full volume on repeat for full effect.

 

June 2017- What I’m Listening To

The Libertines- Anthems for Doomed Youth (Album Review)

Finally, The Libertines new album is upon us. Anthems for Doomed Youth was released on the 11th September on Virgin EMI records 11 years after their last release- The Libertines. The album release came after a stint of shenanigans leading up to the release entitled “Somewhere Over the Railings” and a short- yet cancelled/postponed due to a medical emergency- run of intimate venues shows around the country. It also followed their triumphant Reading and Leeds headline set and their 2014 Hyde Park gig and is their first record since reuniting for Reading and Leeds in 2010.

The album was a risk, obviously. Why ruin a legacy 11 years on? Well, Anthems for Doomed Youth destroyed any previous scepticism and preconceptions surrounding the new album and adds another cluster of songs to the bands collection which all live up the Libertines name. 

The album begins with “Barbarians”. It seems fitting as an introduction to the album. It’s music seeps hype. It almost seems theatrical. It’s quite classic and interesting and it’s hook is catchy. I can imagine it being sung by large crowds. The last 30 seconds build up and lead perfectly into Gunga Din.

“Gunga Din” was released as the first, and comeback, single for the band. It starts off with Doherty singing in a somewhat reggae-rock style. It’s unique and captivating. It’s one of the strongest songs on the album as it’s upbeat and adds a twist on traditional Libertines. The chorus is extremely catchy and you’re almost guaranteed to be singing “la la la la la la la la la…” (from the chorus, in some variation) all day!

“Fame and Fortune” follows Gunga Din. Doherty and Barat seem to take on a somewhat theatrical role as though they’re telling a story. For some reason, I imagine a somewhat “Artful Dodger”-esque character due to the mesmerizing verses which seem to offer advice into finding things like “fame and fortune”. 

The title track “Anthem for Doomed Youth” is again captivating. The lyrics are extremely fascinating and well crafted. It’s like listening to someone tell a story.

“You’re My Waterloo” is metaphorically bitter-sweet and somewhat melancholic. It’s honest. It’s well composed and it’s one of the slowest songs on the album. It features a piano and some strings which add to the mood of the song being a love song. It’s mostly just Doherty singing and it feels honest and intimate as a song because it’s a love song. It’s one of my favourite songs on the album.

“Belly of the Beast” and “Iceman” follow this. Belly of the Beast is lyrically exciting. It features lots of poetic lyrics and even a choir, perhaps a gospel choir, at the end singing “Hallelujah day” which is unexpected but exciting. This adds to the feel of the song on the whole. “Iceman”, again, tells a story, this time of “she” and “him”, and Doherty and Barat’s voices work together, cooperatively, in harmony.  The verses alternate between the pair. I love how well their voices work together as it sounds so natural.

After this is “Heart of the Matter”. I like this song a lot. It’s catchy and the chorus is simple and easy to remember. It could potentially be a single on the album.

“Fury of Chonburi” and “The Milkman’s Horse” follow this. Fury of Chonburi is one of the rockier songs on the album. The verses seem fragmented, much like in “Gunga Din”, yet it’s still somewhat classic. The Milkman’s Horse is a slow song. The chorus rhymes and, again, seems very poetic, but I like this in the song and the way it’s crafted.

The penultimate song on the album is “Glasgow Coma Scale Blues” is bluesy, as the song title suggests, and features Barat and Doherty alternating backwards and forth in singing turns and answering each other’s lines taking alternate lines as though they’re singing to each other, this can be seen in older material like “What Became of the Likely Lads”. I love how cooperatively the pair work. It’s as though they’re again comfortable in each other’s company and at ease. It’s relaxed. I like this song because of that.

The last tune is “Dead for Love”. It starts with the sound of something like an old movie roll running accompanied by a piano. It’s slow. It seems as though it’s concluding the story seen throughout. It’s triumphant and rounds the album off well. It aches with longing for love and foolishness for everything he did for love. The last (just under a) minute, features a piano playing and a guitar. Faintly in the background you can hear talking which seems to be reciting some sort of poetry or conversation.

What I love about the Libertines is their incredible song and lyric craft. I love the poetic feel of the album and how it uses rhyming and metaphors in order to build up stories and characters throughout- it’s almost theatrical. I know Pete is a published poet and Barat, too, has notable links to poetry. I think this album reflects the true skill the band possess in terms of writing music and I love the cooperation between Barat and Doherty’s voices.

The highlights for me are definitely Gunga Din, You’re My Waterloo, Heart of the Matter, Glasgow Coma Scale Blues and Dead for Love.

Overall, I think the album is a success and is perfect for a comeback album. It was a risk well worth taking for the band. It shows how the band has developed over the years and after everything that’s happened between then and now. The Libertines are doing an arena tour in the UK early 2016 covering venues like the O2.

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The Libertines- Anthems for Doomed Youth (Album Review)