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Geek Maggot Bingo - Box 36

Thankfully there's a digital version online of the latest six-track release from Edinburgh's Geek Maggot Bingo, otherwise I'd have been unable to play it, having not owned a cassette player/tape deck/whatever for the past 20+ years. So much for technological advances, what does it sound like?

With each new release the band seem to channel more and more of the best bits of The Reverend Horton Heat (not in any way a bad thing). The title track here is a prime example of that as it pounds away for just over two minutes, Andy Maggot rawly vocalising all the way & bringing to mind the good Reverend.

'Hey Jackass' turns the pace down a notch but has the compensations of a harmonica & a guitar solo as the titular jackass is called out.

Third track 'I'll Still Be Here' is the triumphant soundtrack to one man's resilience against whatever the world has to throw against him & his firm belief in outlasting all who've ever wronged him.

The second half of the release continues on in the same vein as you'd expect (you'll need to shell out if you want to know how the songs go down though, no more spoon feeding). Of the band's releases to date I'll say this is the one which has had the biggest impact on me. Whether it's the production bringing out more of their sound, better quality writing or some other factor they've seemingly ascended to a new level with Box 36.

Box 36 can be purchased from bandcamp here.

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Marmozets - Habit

 

Marmozets have managed to do remarkable things and create a huge name for themselves, despite only having one EP and their well received debut album The Weird And Wonderful under their belt. So their return after a hiatus of 3 years has had a lot of people itching to see if they were able to blow everyone’s minds as they did all those years ago.

This second new single effortlessly showcases Becca Macintyre’s voice which has somehow become even more impressive over the past couple of years. However, Macintyre’s screams, that used to have the toughest of metal vocalists quivering in their boots, have sadly gone and been replaced by some seriously high notes. Whilst this rather dramatic replacement leads to the track losing some of their edge, it does showcase some of her other vocal qualities and leaves us questioning what other little gems could crop up on the second album.

Whilst it may seem like a rather repetitive and unoriginal track for the Weird And Wonderful bunch, there’s still some raw qualities that gained them some of their fans within it. The unnerving opening which then slips into a bass heavy verse, to a soft bridge which encapsulates Macintyre’s new found high voice perfectly, into an upbeat pop chorus and back into the grunge infested verse. This is a song that holds so many different genre elements, but only one that Marmozets could somehow pull off whilst still sounding as gritty as they do.

Whilst this track sounds much more pop and mainstream that any of their earlier tracks, it is one that still holds some tiny, much loved Marmozets elements. However, the transformation from teenage thrash to mature Marmozets appears to have led to them losing some of the harshness and gritty female fierceness that everyone adored about them. However this is only the second track to be dropped by them before their highly anticipated second album, so that harshness could still return. Watch this space.

Habit is available via iTunes now. The Album Knowing What You Know Now comes out in January 2018.

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Montauk Hotel - Sense Of Place

 

Montauk Hotel have garnered a reputation as one of Dublin's most exciting live acts, with shows including The Last Mixed Tape’s Lost Series, Bello Bar, The Sound House, Retro Revival Indie Club, and The Bowery, Vantastival and Sunflower Festival, as well as headline shows at Whelan’s, Sin E, The Harbour Bar and The Workman’s Club. The band were selected as RTE’s Irish Band Set to Rise for 2017.

Their debut single ‘Black Dress’ was released in late January to critical acclaim. Montauk Hotel launched their EP last March with a sold-out show in Whelan’s. Their launch gig for ‘Sense Of Place’ took place in Whelan’s in August. The buzz is spreading about this band and with this song it is easy to see why.

Shell Dooley’s guitar playing is heavily influenced by her compatriot The Edge, with chiming arpeggios throughout. The rhythm section of Aoife Hester (bass) and Karima Dillon-El Toukhy (drums) lays down a sweet groove while the voice of Claudia Verdecchia soars over the whole shebang. As well as the U2 influence, Talking Heads are audible in the song structure and in Verdecchia’s melodies. You can hear local heroes, Little x’s For Eyes and Tieranniesaur too. Check out the below to see for yourself.

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Esther Joy - Psychic Tears EP

It’s pop music, Jim, but not as we know it. Esther Joy is a member of Charli XCX's live band and her debut EP is what Charli would sound like if she were produced by Trent Reznor and Martin Gore. It’s atmospheric and trippy: utilising pop sounds and instrumentation to create something unsettling and occasionally nauseating.

Psychic Tears is her first EP and if there is such a thing as bubblegum noir, then this is it. Joy wrote, recorded, and produced it herself, and her individualist approach shows through in the end result. It’s a sound unlike anything else. It’s Marina And The Diamonds going shoegaze, and La Roux playing with The Cure. ‘Franke’ is a gothic synthfest with an Aphex Twin edge.

Recent single ‘Samgel’ teases with melody lines that beg for a big beat explosion but instead plumb the long dark night of the soul. Speaking about the song Joy said, “'Samgel' is the name I use for the dark presence I experience and write about a lot in my music. It is a part of me that has overwhelmed me so much in my life and been the root to most of my darkest moments. I named this track after it because as soon as I wrote that first synth line (the big intense one at the beginning), it was like I had found Samgel".” So she’s pretty much nailed it, I’d say.

New single ‘Friendless Necessity’ brings the EP to a close. It is haunting, hooky, and desperate; which sums up the record as a whole. Esther Joy shows the dark beauty of pop’s underbelly on Psychic Tears, but the most exciting thing about this release is the possibility of more to come.

Psychic Tears is available from iTunes.

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The Shakers - Guess Who

 

‘Guess Who’ is the latest single from Londoners The Shakers. Taken from their second EP, it follows the ridiculously titled 'Banana Tsunami'; a song which sticks in the head for it’s unforgettable moniker as well as the light breezy funk that is part Dodgy and part Spin Doctors, as long as we are doing ‘90s references.

The Shakers play a light funk infused brand of rock 'n' roll with influences of Prince, George Clinton, Red Hot Chili Peppers and, most prominently, The Rolling Stones. Jack Hawkins sings with a Jagger-like swagger and the triple guitar attack has the sharp Fender snap of Keith Richards. For a modern reference point, look no further than Monaghan’s Nix Moon.

On ‘Guess Who’ the influences move further north of the capital. The John Squire wah guitar that, first teases and then crashes into fruition at the 30 second mark is pure ‘Fool’s Gold’ and the post-chorus solo does nothing to dismiss the notion that The Shakers have made a southern tribute to the reunited Stone Roses. Hawkins’ vocals are the only indicator that this isn’t a gem recovered from the cutting room floor of the Mancunians', John Leckie produced, debut album. Add in some B-52’s style party sound effects and you’ve all the ingredients for a summer classic. It’s an unfussy tune in an unvarnished package.

 

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Wallflower - Splintered

South London alternative rockers Wallflower are certainly living on cloud nine right now, the five-piece have been making waves across the UK, playing festivals including Download, and they are just about to embark on a tour with Milk Teeth. Having had some major attention since releasing two singles last year; ‘Mas Eu Quero Mais’ and ‘Sleep Forever’, the huge anticipation lies with the follow-up EP to 2014’s Summer Daze, Where it all fell apart which is due for release in August.

Have no fear though, as Wallflower have just dropped the phenomenal ‘Splintered’ to sate your appetite until then, and it’s obvious that the boys have been working their arses off to drop one of the hottest releases of the summer.

It’s evident from the opening, which consists of an eerie guitar, a beating drum, and haunting vocals, as well as an equally haunting video, that you are in for one hell of a ride. As soon as the chorus hits you are already sold; the thrashing of the guitars, the smashing of the drums and the astounding talent of the vocalist lead to ‘Splintered’ possibly being one of the biggest tracks of 2017. It is a heavy wave of intense raw talent which leaves the listener feeling strangely euphoric and proves that Wallflower are one of the leading bands to watch in 2017. 

Check out 'Splintered' via iTunes. 

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