Colour

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Another band to add to the list of ‘bands which I love who weren’t popular enough to sustain a career for themselves’ are the magnificent and formidable Colour. Signed to Big Scary Monsters – a math rock focused label based in Oxford – the band, shortly before their break up, were convinced to put together an album which they titled ‘Anthology‘ – a bold title for a debut album. But a deserving title nevertheless. Their songs bounce, jump, soar, jerk and shimmy over vast realms of musical scenery. The Oxford accent shines through on the vocals and their live performances add even more energy to an already explosive and electrified sound which makes me sad that I never got a chance to see them play live for myself. Check them out!

Their album is available for the modest price of five English pounds – a bargain given the hours of jubilant ecstatic bopping you will get. And if you’re short on cash why not head on over to Ferratum UK – a pain-free way to get your hands on a little extra cash when times are tight. It’s not usually advisable to use these sorts of services, but if you’re confident in your budgeting abilities but just can’t wait to get your ears wrapped around what is in my opinion one of the most overlooked and neglected albums ever to have been made, then ferratum provides the perfect way to hear it!

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CHON

A band which recently came to my attention and I’ve been pummeling my ear-drums with ever since is CHON. Their name is a common acronym for the basic building blocks of life, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen. And to be honest, pummeling perhaps isn’t the right word. My ear drums feel less like the victim of assault and more like the victim of magical and benevolent blessings given from a kindle forest witch right out of LOTR.

The guys in the band are super nice as can bee seen on their Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) where they answered any and all questions from their fans. The band play a lot of angular music but it’s full of melody and personality. I recently bought their two EPs Woohoo! and Newborn Sun and can’t stop listening.

Their music is unique but technically hard. By that I mean the players in the band are accomplished musicians but, as I found out on their AMA, totally self-taught. When I learned guitar I simply found tabs from the Internet and learned the songs of my favourite band at the time which was Incubus. It’s such a good feeling see musicians making such accomplished music without any formal instruction or training whatsoever.

Their music sounds hard as fuck but I was happy to see that they can recreate it effortlessly live, as this video shows.

Alpha Male Tea Party

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In this post I’m going to talk about even lesser known band than the previous two.

Alpha Male Tea Party are three guys hailing from Lancashire who dub their music as Math Rock. If you don’t know what math rock is then lucky for you – I’m here to tell you! Math Rock is a sub-genre that doesn’t have a huge amount of popularity or mainstream coverage. The reasons could be many, but I think it’s down to one main thing. Math rock music is often an experiment in form and structure. Similar to Meet Me In St Louis (see previous posts), strange time signatures, jarring rhythms, dissonant chords and non-typical chord progressions can often leave listeners feeling disoriented and jarred. Also, it’s hard as f*ck to dance to. That being said, it’s still one of my favourite genres.

The reviews have been good and I whole heartedly recommend you give AMTP’s bandcamp a listen to. You’ll quickly, within the first 30 seconds of the opening track, see the math rock elements. What I love about this album is its bouncy positivity. It bounds along relentlessly like a giant, fluffy, happy, mentally challenged rabbit. Things which unashamedly embrace alternative styles, whether it be song structure or harmonic constructions, really appeal to me. As you can see from their video, AMTP aren’t afraid to fully be themselves.

MMISL – Part 2

There are a number of reasons this band will always have a place close to my heart.

They take their name from the 1944 musical starring Judy Garland. For a band so often labeled as ‘post-hardcore’ this certainly seems like an odd choice. Particularly so when compared against the names of their contemporaneous bands such as Blakfish, Tubelord and Pulled Apart By Horses. And, continuing the moving picture influence, MMISL name each of their songs after lines taken from a huge variety of films. Jaws lends the line ‘The Torso has been severed mid thorax’ and from Team America: World Police comes ‘Right This Way, You Maverick Renegade.’ Instantly film lovers can connect with the band, but their apparent silliness when it comes to choosing titles in no way reflects the content of their music.

The music of MMISL is unlike any other band I know. It’s angular, sporadic, spontaneous and disjointed but overall completely cohesive. In places it’s melodic and soaring and in other places it’s completely chaotic. And yet, their adoring fans marked 24th September as ‘Meet Me In St Louis Day‘ – a celebration to remember the release of their first full-length album which was crowd funded. Even though their life was brief, MMISL will remain in the hearts of many adoring fans for a long time to come.

MMISL – Part 1

I want to take this time to introduce another one of my favourite UK bands. It’s worth saying at this point that a lot of the bands I’ll be talking about on this blog are actually ex-bands. It seems to be a fetish of mine that the bands I often fall for usually prove too … shall we say challenging for most listeners, and so rarely manage to carve much of a long-lasting career for themselves. It’s hard to say why.

Lots of the music which draws my attention is rhythmically adventurous – this makes it hard to dance to and so could account for the difficulty which these bands face when seeking air-time. The band I want to introduce today are no exception to this. Hailing from Surrey, Meet Me In St. Louis exploded into the world of British post-hardcore in 2005 touring extensively and quickly building up a passionate and loyal fan base.

Unfortunately, their life was short lived. But the band members continue on separately with the role of vocalist still open. Give the following track a listen and see if you think you’ve got what it takes or know anybody who does. Previous singer Tobias Hayes’ shoes are big voids to fill, but there must be somebody out there with feet big and hairy enough.

Oceansize – Part 2 – Oceansize And Beyond!

This is the second part to my introductory blogs about the band Oceansize.

I recently played this live song Oceansize effort to a friend of mine:

 

“It sounds too much like Incubus, turn it off!” was his unenthused response. I can’t speak for the similarities with Incubus (another band I love deeply) but it’s a good example of how this sort of music isn’t for everybody. Oceansize, cover such a vast array of styles and sounds that it’s impossible to pin them down. Although with a little perseverance I know that everybody will find something in their back catalogue which they like.

And if you truly do struggle to find something you like then fear not, guitarists Mike Vennart and Gambler have risen from the ashes of the formidable five-piece and started a new project. British Theatre make a big sound for a duo and have so far released two EPs of melodic, atmospheric tunes with more of an emphasis on electronic sounds. Here they explain what they are trying to do in this new project.

British Theatre’s latest offering is an EP entitled ‘Dyed In The Wool Ghost.’ At once haunting and comforting, familiar yet eerily uncanny, it’s clear that whatever is next for the duo, it will be something like we’ve never heard before.

Oceansize – Part 1

Probably the greatest band I’ve discovered in the last ten years were Oceansize. Yes, you read that correctly, I said were. After a twelve year long career during which they supported the likes of Scottish alt-rock legends Biffy Clyro, lent their sounds to the likes of UK phone network super-giant Orange and had a song chosen to accompany arguably the most heart-wrenching scene of American Drama The OC, it was a kick in the nuts to read the announcement of their demise.

Don't let their stern expressions deter you, they're really a bunch of sweethearts.

Don’t let their stern expressions deter you, they’re really a bunch of sweethearts.

Creating ambitious sound-scapes like no band before them, Oceansize weren’t afraid to take a long time to say something. For me their music reflects life in all its forms; busy, bustling and belligerent on one level, yet peaceful, passive and perfect on another. The complicated patterns life generates from day to day seem to be encapsulated in the cross rhythms, layered textures and soaring harmonies in the music which can turn on a dime from aggressively overdriven guitar lines to delicate, soft melodies that sooth.

Oceansize will always remain special to me because they hit home more than any other music I’ve ever heard. First listening to the opening guitar riff of Everyone Into Position made me drop the book I was reading and listen intently for the full run of the album. It also had this effect on many others.