First Listen: Howler ‘America Give Up’ Review

Howler received a lot of attention and hype towards the end of last year and it is no surprise in a music industry littered with electronic outfits (this is not necessarily a bad thing), these five lads from Minneapolis daringly step out with fuzzy guitars which draws strong comparisons to The Strokes. Next week on the 16th the young band releases their debut album and here at NorthernRoom we are lucky enough to have heard it before its release. The boys release a strong album full of guitar hooks and noise which is very reminiscent of The Strokes. Each song is strong enough to stand alone, but place in a context of an album and it starts to feel like an 11 track compilation. The album isn’t original as well; it is like Julian Casablancas fronting The Vaccines or scraps from The Strokes debut, this could be down to the young age of the band and with time they might find their own sound (much like The Maccabees). The originality aspect isn’t a major hurdle that can’t be jumped because the songs are very catchy, and perhaps isn’t something the band themselves care about: “I keep hearing a lot of witch house stuff, chillwave, shoegazey keyboards with Casio drums. But not rock, so we wanted to make it dirty rock’n’roll” (Jordan Gatesmith); this is an album that does just that each song is punchy and mostly comes in under the 3 minute mark. This is a fine debut from a young band, but you just can’t help feeling slightly cheated by it.

The album is available for streaming at nme.com

Released: 16/01/2012

Essential Tracks: Told You Once, Beach Sluts & America

The Top 50 Albums of 2011

It is that time of year where you can’t escape from the countdown lists. You can view ours at the top of the page under the heading of ‘The Top 50 Albums of 2011’. View albums from Bjork, Foster The People, Bon Iver, Bright Eyes, P.J Harvey and many more (45 to be exact). What do you think of the list? Where are your favourite albums placed? Have we missed any?

You can also download a playlist for Spotify: Top 50 Albums of 2011

Band of the Week: Best Friends

Ever wondered what would happen if The Strokes met The Beach Boys well listen to the Sheffield band Best Friends. Their garage surf pop is sure to get stuck in your head. Check out their EP, in particular the tracks: Surf Bitches and Ice Cream Dreams, on http://bestfriendspartyhard.bandcamp.com/ .

Epic Birthday Playlist

In a few days time I will be celebrating my birthdayso I have created a playlist to pre drink/get ready too, and because I am a nice person I thought  I would share with you this epic playlist.

  1. Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl
  2. The Beatles – Twist and Shout
  3. Chuck Berry – Johnny B Goode
  4. The Rolling Stones – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
  5. Bruce Springsteen – Glory Days
  6. David Bowie – Rebel Rebel
  7. The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army –
  8. Oasis – She’s Electric
  9. The Libertines – Mayday
  10. The Maccabees – About Your Dress
  11. The Cribs – You’re Gonna Loose
  12. The Strokes – Under Cover of Darkness
  13. Primal Scream – Rocks
  14. The Vaccines – Norgaard
  15. The Clash – Rock The Casbah
  16. MGMT – Kids
  17. Metronomy – Thing For Me
  18. Kasabian – Underdog
  19. The Prodigy – No Good
  20. Plan B – Stay Too Long (Pendulum Remix)

Leeds Festival Review

So it was Reading and Leeds Festival last weekend and I was lucky enough to attend just the Friday (so I got a nice shower after one day in the mud). This review will concentrate just on the day I attended, as you can’t really judge when watching bands on the TV, however The Strokes and Pulp I am informed were amazing as were The Vaccines (which makes me more excited to see them in a few months time), so in this review the bands I will be reviewing are: Dananananaykroyd, Taking Back Sunday, Best Coast, Cage The Elephant, Chapel Club, Warpaint, Friendly Fires, Interpol, Elbow and Muse.

So firstly I will start with Dananananaykroyd, whilst their music is pretty average you can’t help but admire their enthusiasm particularly for one of the first bands on the NME stage; they were really enjoyable to watch live, however the screaming seemed to be turned up to 10. Now we will move onto Taking Back Sunday, I last saw these in 2008 and they were a massive disappointment, Adam Lazzara mumbled at best through lyrics and seemed more interested in throwing (and dropping) the microphone; well not much has changed since 2008 except the scrawny singer now bulges like the hulk (which makes me rather nervous for writing this review), on a slight positive he did seem more articulate but it was still a disappointment.

Next we will continue with the bad review of bands, as Best Coast, Warpaint and Chapel Club will get the bashing. Firstly Warpaint, now I hate their album (I hated their Exquisite Corpse E.P) but their album is to quite simply put: rubbish, now I suppose I have to back up my statement, well it is boring, at 47 minutes I feel like cutting up the road; however in a bid to escape the rain (and on my friend reassuring me that they are amazing live) we went to watch them. What did I make of them? Well, I hate them more now, I didn’t realize they could get more boring yet no interaction with the audience and remaining static on stage meant you felt standing in the rain was a better option. Now Chapel Club, what a fantastic album Palace is, I was really looking forward to this band and what a major disappointment they were, once again they were static on stage and you could barely hear Lewis Bowman vocals, which resulted in many hecklers shouting to “turn the mic up”; and they seemed to look like deer caught in headlights. Now Best Coast, these weren’t bad live (espcially compared with Warpaint) but they just weren’t amazing, once again I am not a fan of their album, it feels like it has been done a million times before and a million times better, such as Howling Bells.

I feel like I have rather bashed quite a few of the bands but I promise from here on out the reviews will good. Cage the Elephant (my personal highlight of the whole festival), I love both of their albums so I was looking forward to watching them live and they blew all my expectations, Matthew Shultz was charismatic as a front man, interacting well with the audience, who loved every minute of this tight band. Now onto Friendly Fires, whilst I am not there biggest fan they were very good to watch live and once again the snaked hipped singer, Ed Macfarlane, was charismatic and worked well with the crowd. Interpol were also a pleasure to watch, they looked just as dark as their albums, however Paul Banks wearing a trackie top next to the suited band seemed slightly odd.

Now onto the two big bands: Elbow and Muse. I was rather surprised to see Elbow on before Muse, because it is at this time when you start to lag and something more upbeat than Elbow I thought would be needed, but I thought they managed to keep the audience interested, even if it was slightly cheesy. I have seen Elbow before so of course knew that they sound very good and work the crowd well, but I was still slightly wary, however getting the crowd to chant “F*** the rain” and getting to them to raise their arms was somewhat cheesy but it worked well and quite frankly it was perhaps the only thing they could do to keep moral high with a band that only has a few upbeat songs. Muse however, are less about chanting crowds and more about stunning visuals and light shows. I had never seen this band before so of course I was very excited to see them after all the hype, and they were fantastic. I was glad to see them play their whole Origins of Symmetry album in full (as well as the hits), as in my opinion it is their best and after Absolution their albums become a bit sketchy with a handful of good songs. However you must hand it to these three lads, they put on a hell of show, the stage looked amazing, lights were good, sound fantastic; one problem they had to throw giant balls into the crowd (I can’t stand giant balls at concerts). Muse met every expectation and that was why my band of the festival has to go to Cage the Elephant as they blew my expectations as opposed to merely meeting them. I must know praise Leeds Festival for another epic year and will be looking forward to the next.