So, how about some inventive and intelligent indie rock that defies the generic guitar/bass/drums attack and throws in a realm of psychedelic trance-tastic electronics, travelling in the realm of The Beta Band, a band who capitalised on the electronic accessibility in the late 90s to meld this burgeoning indie rock ideology to glitchy glimmers and shuddering robotic shimmers. Since then, the likes of Fiery Furnaces and Destroyer have expanded, exploded and explored this, which continues beating and building in the hearts and minds of the fivesome known as Montage Populaire.
‘Break Up The Band’ utilises a steady, driving beat until a frantic central riff starts winding towards a muffled vocal lead and a wonderful chant-like cheer. A carefree ethos with the concept of vocals are vital to the fantastic frivolity this band exude, utilising a varying degree of effects and ideas to showcase their lyrical spurts. ‘Reject Reinstall’ is a brooding, burning flame of a track, using heavy handed backing electronics with surprisingly chipper synth to craft that concise contrast that brings about repeated listens. There are (albeit warped and bolder) bursts of Britpop in the likes of ‘Attraction Repulsion’ and an Of Montreal-like series of flurrying dashes weaving a rugged path through the majority of their work, standing out like a firecracker in the monstrously madcap ‘Simon Says’.
Hip-hop is a genre that has many many detractors who primarily focus on the mainstream mush of so-called ‘Gangster-rap’ which ignores the huge swathes of interesting, innovative and alternative rap music being produced nowadays, and comedian Donald Glover falls into the alternative rap bracket, he has also found fame as part of Derrick Comedy (check them out all over Youtube), as a writer for 30 Rock (check it out if you get the chance) and as part of the cast of Community. .
Donald uses the pseudonym Childish Gambino, keeping his comedic and musical stylings seperate to distinguish the distinct differences between his two immense talents. He uses his word weaving abilities to craft intelligent, geeky hip-hop that echoes Das Racist and the current wave of alternative hipster-hip-hop breaking through. His unique style of self-conscious boasting namedrops references from Tina Fey to Spider-Man.
Most of his work explores his inner thoughts as a young, gifted and black rising star, ranging from worrying explorations of his early years through to diatribes on his attraction to the beautiful women surrounding him thanks to his highly-earned success. Slow R&B-esque grooves take over on the likes of ‘So Fly’, with Childish sounding sweet and gentle as opposed to his charging masculinity on ‘Put It In My Video’. Here he clearly states that every kind of female can come and appear in his video, using an amazing sample of The Stylistics (pushing my soul buttons) and blurting forth a wondrous line that accurately describes my every thought when in NY this summer in “Mixed girls from Williamsburg, that’s my fucking Kryptonite”.
Strangely, a sample of Adele forms the backbone for ‘Do Ya Like’, a sultry seduction song that oozes sex appeal and her soul voice works exquisitely over the stop-start style utilised by Childish on the aforementioned track (whether she knows it or not). There is a vulnerability in the music here yet somehow a sincere sense of bravado alongside the nervousness, with Childish Gambino managing to tread the line with flair, eloquence and a wisdom beyond his years.
Check out the music of Donald Glover (along with every damn thing else he does) before he goes skyhigh and becomes the new Kanye (quite possibly ego and all). Oh, and he also mixes the likes of Sufjan Stevens into oddly pitched dub and dance remixes. He couldn’t really get any more awesome…
HEINALI AND MATT FINNEY
Every now and again, two artists come together to form something spectacular. A great duo can produce something that digs into the musical soul of a listener and wrench or raise the spirit. Heinali is a Ukrainian composer whilst Matt Finney is a poet from Alabama, and the power of technology allows them to construct a sound that blurs the lines between poetry, spoken word, ambience, classical and cinematic cacophanies.
Heinali crafts a resonance that echoes the likes of Vangelis, Clint Mansell and Explosions in the Sky, but twists everything into a skewered sonic perspective of audible distress and emotion. The power lies in an intelligent minimalism, such as taking a simple, rapid piano line on the likes of ‘Lemonade’, the title track from the ‘Lemonade EP’, and overlaying it with an aura of distortion and some hushed unexplainable booming.
Matt Finney uses words with wanton precision, creating deep chasms of thought and deliberation with mere mutterings. And these chasms are dark, dank places that dig deep into the twilight of the mind, wrenching at the heart and tormenting anyone with a sense of empathy. This doesn’t stop them reaching out to you though, beauteous and powerful in form and stripped of all shields.
Go ahead and sit in silence with nothing but Heinali & Matt Finney for company, and go ahead and purchase the two records on offer, including the bold, bleak fuzz of new release ‘Conjoined’. It is a pay as you wish plan but a few quid thrown their way is much, much, much deserved, and I hope you music lovers agree.
Written by Adam Parker
GOBBLE GOBBLE are insane. Possibly actually literally. They appear to be Canadian and are touring all over North America this year. They make music that is strained through a psychedelic blender at high speed, warping and twisting everything until it makes no sense and sounds FANTASMIC! ‘Wrinklecarver’ is such perfect psych pop, it synths itself into a sexy little black hole of freakout. And their devastating destruction of Pixies’ ‘Where Is My Mind?’ (self described as blasphemy) is wondrous and evokes the spirit of losing ones mind after a healthy dose of hallucinogenic drugs. I would love to see these guys go all out live but will either have to adventure to America (which I am happy to do if someone GIVES me money) or await a British tour….
Check them out below and more info here
Written by Adam Parker
A math rock sensibility feels very much part of an outdated fashion, from a mid 2000’s scene that flourished and faded as quickly. The likes of Foals have gone on to develop their sound into something with longer, less noodly abstractions, garnering acclaim and new fans in the process. But, and it’s a big but, in music (as in all art) consider no form, genre or style dead. A fresh approach, process or even just a slice of something damn good can bring back whatever you assumed lost.
Which brings me to Yamon Yamon, a Swedish band who peddle a relaxed math rock, resembling a stoner parallel of Minus the Bear. They tread the line between pop and post rock, managing to evoke the memory of a handful of bands from your adolescence whilst maintaining a distance up and away from those teenage addictions. The smoothly nonchalant pace feels like a mature act honing their musical talent after years of practice, evident in the subtle overdrive, fingertapping percussion and sparky guitar riffs, jabbing and poking in when suddenly required.
Vocally, lead singer Jon Lennblad possesses an aural quality that sedates and subdues in equal fashion, effortless underneath the delicious array of chords and hooks. ‘Alonso’ opens the new album This Wilderlessness and lays bare the sheer expression, understated emotional punch and drifting peacefulness that make Yamon Yamon utterly listenable at any point of the day. Album highlights include the ridiculously rhythmic ‘Fast Walker’ and the impeccably restrained ‘No Depression’.
Check out Yamon Yamon
Continuing from our piece on North East illustrator Sarah Hall we thought we may as well continue on our journey through the North and would introduce you to Denise Humphrey.
Denise Humphrey is a Newcastle based Graphic Designer/Artist who likes to dabble in the world of Anglo-Japanese Geisha Art, who currently has some of her work on exhibit at The Biscuit Factory in Byker and The Saltburn Gallery, Artsbank in Whitby.
Howl Club caught up with Denise and she gave us the low down on her work:
“Inspiration for most of my digital art comes from my fascination with the mysterious world of the Geisha. I am interested in visually fabricating the emotions, mystery, beauty and tradition of Japanese Geisha, Geiko and Maiko. My creative process begins with a drawing as sketching allows me to visualize and imagine the completed work. My creations are heavily influenced by manga and especially by some of the artists of the Superflat movement (Chiho Aoshima, Yoshitomo Nara and Makoto Muramatsu). This can be seen in some of the more surreal geisha images.
I am also intrigued and influenced by the wood block artists of 17th Japan (Katsushika Hokusai, Hishikawa Moronobu and Kitagawa Utamaro) and pictures of the floating world (ukiyo-e ). I adore the evanescent, impermanent, fleeting beauty and simplicity of this style. I try to recreate the intensity and colours used in these pictures in my own artwork, using the medium of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop with the help of Bezier curves to create my characters. The wonderful thing about using this method is that my artwork can be transferred to anything which has a printable surface.“
To see some of Denise’s work head to here or have a look at some of our favorite pieces.
Our first illustrator we’re bringing you goes by the name of Sarah Hall, who resides in the suburbs of Newcastle singing in Let’s Buy Happiness. We thought it was only apt that she became our first Art based post and we gave her a mention, as not only is she a fantastic illustrator, but she has also recently agreed to become the resident illustrator for Howl Club.
You can check out all of her work here and see some of our choices below.
A3 Posters for Let's Buy Happiness new single 'Fast Fast'
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