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Don’t Foget Who You Are

Miles Kane

Columbia

Miles Kane’s debut ‘Colour of The Trap’ bypassed FLW which was to our detriment. Latest album, ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’ thankfully readdresses this unfortunate oversight as second chances do not always reveal themselves. Resembling a younger Paul Weller, and possessing the same ability to write numerous hook-laden songs, Miles Kane revels in a 60s sound that is given a modern day indie sheen perfectly highlighted by the delightful handclaps and rousing chorus of ‘Better Than That’. Title track, ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’ manages to skew in elements of fellow scousers The Coral before riding a gloriously uplifting wave of a chorus the sort The Verve used to conjure up with relative ease. ‘Out of Control’ even recalls Richard Ashcroft, and is a clear indicator of perhaps where he should be, while ‘You’re Gonna Get It’ is a relentless ball of energy and nicely complimented by the more Stones-esque darkly induced rock of ‘Give Up’. ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’ is not breaking any new boundaries but is definitely welcome when others are failing to live up to former glories.


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Lost Ships Sinking With The Sunset

Gillian Carter

Dog Knights Productions

Palm Bay’s Gillian Carter is really on the brink of subsiding into a state of nothingness with the clues being hidden in such lonely vessels as ‘Waking Up (Lost Ships)’ and appropriately titled ‘I’ve Been Forgotten And So Have You’. There is time for reflection, despite facing the inevitable, when the brakes are applied during ‘Recently’ whereas ‘Time (All That Is Left Is Fading)’ suggests a sense of humour with the band enjoying their last supper together before the diminishing light finally fades. It is left, however, to the penultimate, and almost title track, ‘Sinking With The Ships’ to really tower over the preceding content as it’s an absolute colossus of a song ending in a wafer thin line of feedback and fading pulse of accompanying drumbeat. Bleak yet utterly compelling, ‘Lost Ships Sinking With The Sunset’ signals out Gillian Carter as one of the serious contenders in their field.


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Supersonic Pulse

Ralph Myerz

Sony

Formerly of The Jack Herren Band, Ralph Myerz has set his course on a solo mission in terms of latest album ‘Supersonic Pulse’. Despite this being a Ralph Myerz album, the number of willing volunteers lending their services gives the impression of a band at work as everyone from Snoop Dogg, George Clinton, Da Youngfellaz to Diana Ross and The Supremes weigh in with invaluable experience. Despite the high level of collaborations, the consistency and flow of ‘Supersonic Pulse’ remains unaffected but can be attributed to its four year gestation period allowing room for experimentation and no doubt numerous retakes. Highlights include ‘Do The Damn Thang’ with Snoop Dogg, ‘Something New’ featuring Diana Ross and The Supremes peeling back the years with some beautiful vocals and the central narrative of the entire album ‘A Dream U Can Feel’ seeing Myerz in reflective mood and brought to life by Da Youngfellaz and K-Quick. However, the abrasive surface and gruff tones of David Banner’s ‘So Romantic’ and dark tinges of ‘Take A Look At The World’, with its appropriate sounding sense of detachment, bring home the prizes overall when it comes to ‘Supersonic Pulse’.


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Somewhere In Time

Ilias

Untitled

Despite its misleading imagery that will no doubt have the rockabilly fraternity salivating in droves, Sydney based producer and songwriter Ilias has constructed an album’s worth of material best suited to the genre of indie. The end result is ‘Somewhere In Time’ which lives up to its moniker as the whole album gives the impression of fleeting memories rather than detailing the intricate parts of a succession of broken relationships. Such emotions are given credence due to the dreamscape atmosphere wafting through nearly each and every song from the opening hazy shimmer of ‘Never Utter The Word Never’ to the delicate strumming and texture running through ‘One Of A Kind’. ‘This Life’ provides a bit more meat on the bones in terms of the central protagonist only to head straight into the same cryptic tunnel once more with  ‘Lonely’ despite a more robust tempo. Clearly one to not give too much away, Ilias has conjured up an album that is beautiful in its execution, recalling elements of Radiohead, Travis and even more encouragingly the sparseness of a latter-day Talk Talk, and remains equally beguiling in terms of its scant narratives.


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Raise The Alarm (single)

Rayne

Untitled

One of the definite highlights from an otherwise patchy debut album, ‘Raise The Alarm’ opens in what sounds like a mass of sprawling guitars before settling down into something of a melodic and melancholic indie-rock number à la Muse. Nothing wrong with that of course as Rayne seem to have a knack of being able to conjure up wonderful anthemic delights that pull at the senses long after the player has grinded to a halt. New single ‘Raise The Alarm’ will definitely do their cause for indie-rock stardom no harm, especially with such lovelorn lyrics as, ‘And days roll into one, since the day you had gone, I’ve missed you forever’. Likely to be among the contenders next year.

 


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An Autobiography

Old Gray

Dog Knights Productions

Far from being a laugh a minute as songs muse over fears of dying and the curiosities associated with this very subject matter, Old Gray release ‘An Autobiography’, their debut album on Dog Knights Productions. The gradual encroachment of ‘Wolves’ with its delicate strumming and choir-esque vocals literally sensing the doom-laden content encircling before a Who-esque guitar jangle reminiscent of ‘Pinball Wizard’ provides a temporary lull before collapsing into a heap of gut wrenching emotions, marks the start of this full-length album in compelling style. The foreboding ‘Coventry’ (not about that one, although…) is full of self-loathing and hanging by the barest of threads only to be surpassed in the emotion stakes with the desperate escapism of ‘The Graduate’. Where ‘An Autobiography’ differs from several of its contemporaries’ efforts, however, is the scope and vision given to songs ‘Show Me How You Self-Destruct’, which allows for a differing tempo and instrumentation as does the enthralling structure of ‘I Still Think About Who I Was Last Summer’ giving the impression that Old Gray will be confronted without difficulties when it comes to developing their sound for album number two.


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Random Access Memories

Daft Punk

Columbia

Daft Punk returns after a lengthy absence of some eight years with ‘Random Access Memories’, the band’s fourth studio album, which has been causing much discussion within various media circles. The reason for such hot debate is due to the French duo’s innovative thinking that has redefined pop and electronic music, as well as leaving a lasting impression with their unique videos captured best with the unforgettable ‘down on his luck’ of ‘Da Funk’. ‘Random Access Memories’ will continue these discussions as it certainly lives up to its pre-billing with the catchy disco of single ‘Get Lucky’, to the slowed tempo of ‘The Game of Love’ replete with its electronic vocal and closing refrain ‘I just wanted you to stay’ recalling the album’s thematic. It is the breadth of musicality present throughout ‘Random Access Memories’ that truly impresses, running a scale from funk/disco, indie-esque electro-pop (‘Instant Crush’) to completely outrageous theatre dramatics (‘Touch’) and therefore providing a wonderful kaleidoscopic of sounds literally plucked from the memory banks of Daft Punk. ‘Random Access Memories’ is the sound of a band once more leading the way.


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London With The Lights On

Stooshe

Warner Music Norway

Spilling forth in glorious fashion, London-based three-piece Stooshe reveal their debut album to be something of considerable depth, setting it high above sea level of the overpopulated run-of-the-mill formula of girl bands. ‘London With The Lights On’ is anything but formulaic as Stooshe open up their world in a sassy ‘Supremes-esque ‘Slip’ and complimented with the quasi-Motown sounding ‘Love Me’, complete with spoken worded exchanges between band members and in the process revealing their sense of humour in the broadest of London accents. The knockout blow arrives, however, with the sublime ‘Black Heart’ showing the girls can play it straight and oh boy, what a song! At your own peril, avoid prejudging Stooshe on face value as you will leave severely empty-handed because ‘London With The Lights On’ is a glorious treasure-trove of stunningly good songs.


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Secondhand Rapture

MS MR

Sony

‘Secondhand Rapture’ could very well be a contender for album of the year if it were not for sounding like the smaller sibling of an already established act. Right from the off former single, and opening track, ‘Hurricane’ tugs at the senses with its pendulum beats and confessional lyrics delivered in a near detached execution and setting the stall out for a promising encounter. However, this is where the problem lies, despite being a more than solid effort, as nearly the majority of the album has more than a whiff of prime Florence & the Machine about it. This is something MS MR will have to get used to as ‘Bones’, ‘Ash Tree Lane’, ‘Head Is Not My Home’ et al prise up this more than worthy comparison and while there is nothing wrong with that, it just feels that the world is not in dire need of this right now which, unfortunately, the album’s title adequately sums up.


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What I Saw

Maia Hirasawa

Sony

By some transcontinental journey, Maia Hirasawa’s ‘What I Saw’ landed in the lap of FLW and what a stroke of good fortune that was due to being completely dumbfounded by the quality of the eleven glorious indie electropop and ballad-esque ditties on display. Hooked from the beginning with the irresistible emotional pull of ‘You’ that lives long in the memory even after the events of the unreciprocated love has fizzled out, Maia Hirasawa has a knack of constructing infectious melodies whether shifting tempo with the more upbeat ‘Lights Out’ or coming back down again with the sparse offerings of ‘Still Think Of It’. There is definitely talent at work here, and ‘What I Saw’ is one of those rare unexpected finds that will still have a place in your heart in some years to come.


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Take A Look At The World (single)

Ralph Myerz

Sony

Preceding forthcoming album ‘Supersonic Pulse’, Ralph Myerz offers a timely reminder of his craftsmanship with the persuasive dance tones of ‘Take A Look At The World’. There is, however, a darker undercurrent to this floor-filler not in the sense of the bleakness projected by many an indie band but more in conjunction with a notion of time running out. Incorporating the electronic pop nuances of fellow Norwegian Annie into the mix reveals further astuteness as her almost ethereal shades perfectly compliment the driving beats. ‘Take A Look At The World’ is a promising precursor to hopefully an even more promising long player.


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Tidal Lock

Old Soul

Dog Knights Productions

As first impressions go, don’t be dissuaded by the artwork because Old Soul muster up a guitar fest that is as epic as it is dense. Despite being only four songs in length, the opening sprawl of ‘Ethereal Faultless’ is a perfect example of this grand vision as it stretches for little over ten minutes. With ‘Tidal Lock’ being Old Soul’s third output, clearly the Michigan band has progressed their sound considerably as there is a painstaking attention to detail as second in line ‘Ghost Incomplete’ is full of claustrophobic rage before fizzing out into obscurity. The complex structure of ‘Paradigm Pendulum’ is awe-inspiring in its audaciousness, and the final declaration of ‘Watermouth Mirage’ burns out in a raging intensity leaving one to ponder the merits of ‘Tidal Lock’ and the realisation that they will take some beating.



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