TRCH Hairspray

9 Nottingham Music Albums to Listen to This Month - May 2016

6 May 16 words: Music Reviews
With We Show Up On Radar, Future Shinjuku, Little Bribes, Merrick's Tusk, Michael Reddington, Snowy, Vandal Savage, Vincent Bella, and Wolf Club
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We Show Up On Radar
WSUOR
Album (Hello Thor)
Evidently, since we’re writing about him, We Show Up On Radar has shown up on our radar. The ‘him’ is multi-instrumentalist Andy Wright. His latest offering, the imaginatively titled WSUOR, continues his trend of strange yet charming music. The album starts off with Enough Butter, a song name that sounds like a Weird Al parody. A solid bassline is the song’s spine and all manner of instrumentation from guitar to piano fill out the rest of this uplifting dairy-anthem. Choke Me cheerfully puts a middle finger up to boring suburban life in a plodding, brass-filled number which wouldn’t sound out of place on Sgt Pepper – well, apart from when Andy explains that “you can choke me on my own fucking dick.” The prettiest and most folky he gets is with Today My Worry Is – a truly blissful Neutral Milk Hotel-esque track, sprinkled with guitar squeal. With lyrics plucked straight from Syd Barret’s LSD-ravaged mind, Picked By Imps is a hushed lullaby that threatens to put you to sleep, in a nice way. The Strangest Thing then makes you want to chuck your headphones out the window – the weakest track on the album, it’s a syrupy ballad with awkward, rushed breaks. The Surface Of The Lake marks the high point; it’s sixties French pop mashed with Pixies’ guitar wail. Rockety Rock ends the album on a slightly deranged kids programme tune about a man getting “shottedy-shot.” A delightfully weird listen, with a couple duff tracks, but enough good to keep it going. Nick Palmer

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Future Shinjuku
Red Dot
EP (Self-released)
Yes. A bang-on, brand new(ish) band to grace Nottingham. And when I say brand new, they are actually a bit Brand New-esque. A British Brand New, without all the guilty-pleasure, slurry emo ranting. This four-track EP is looming, with the feeling of wading through misty, dirty tunnels. Production quality is bob-on – a feat that’s reflected in their precise live performance. These accomplished musicians are doing something that feels classic but far from boring – easily listenable sound vibrations, injected with fresh gutter. Lead vocal rasps remind me of Stereophonics’ Kelly Jones, except our Brad from FS has a rounder voice with much darker and more sophisticated undertones. The standout track for me is Red Dot, White Flag. Dirty, body-slinging bass with guitars and drums crashing into breakdowns, championed with killer atmospheric effects. They call it futuristic, psychedelic, progressive pop. I call it schwang-dangging. Listened to it about twenty times. Bridie Squires

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Little Bribes
Obstacles
EP (Self-released)
Hoping for an uplifting ditty from a band named after a Death Cab For A Cutie track is akin to inviting a Mormon to an acid rave. Bleddy pointless. That being said, Obstacles is not all doom and gloom. Cartography is actually quite beautiful; almost compromising and gentle, it’s a proper first love mixtape tune. Raggy Dolls is a call to arms – riling up the skinny-jean clad army, and firing up heavy eyes from beneath floppy black fringes. With just a hint of screamo and the typical four/four beat that drives many an emo jam, it breathes mosh-pit pleaser. Living Room is lovingly crafted using the simple metaphor of being tucked away in the safety of what one assumes to be a loved one’s front room. Why they decided to plonk a Taking Back Sunday-esque shriek over the last quarter of the song I’ll never know. It’s somewhat disjointed and unnecessary, but otherwise an enjoyable listen. Lucy Manning

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Merrick’s Tusk
Regroup & Reform
EP (Mountains of Records)
For some people, emo will always be a dirty word, bringing to mind sad-looking teenagers wearing too much eyeliner and listening to bands like Fall Out Boy and Panic at the Disco; trying to look troubled and interesting, but only really succeeding in looking like Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 3. It wasn’t always this way, and back in the day, bands like Jimmy Eat World and Weezer were writing interesting songs with confessional, expressive lyrics and lots of guitars. Merrick’s Tusk hark back to a time when the eyeliner was optional and the music was everything. Formed in 2013, the band released Sonder, their well-received debut EP in 2014 and now return with this EP. Over the course of 6 songs and 23 minutes, the band demonstrate their grasp of subtle, sometimes intricate melodies, occasionally elegantly flexing their muscles and cranking up the volume. A classy return. Tim Sorrell

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Michael Reddington
You Find Out On Your Own
EP (Self-released)
It is Reddington’s strong vocals that make this EP, and although there are plenty of instruments behind him to create the indie-rock style, it is his voice that stands up on its own. The range of instruments – electric guitars, drums, and pianos, all played by Reddington – combine to make You Find Out On Your Own a fun listen. It’s probably not best to listen on the commute to work, cos it’s an EP that proper makes you wanna have a good jig about – apparently, buses aren’t the most accommodating of party hosts. Reddington’s talent not only oozes from his vocals and musicianship, but also his songwriting, creating tracks that would sit more than comfortably in the charts. Michael Reddington is one to watch. On the back of this EP release, it’ll be interesting to see if he not only breaks Nottingham, but the UK and all. Hannah Parker

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Snowy
Knots
EP (Red Bull)
Reading the ‘Lion’s interview with Snowy in issue #76, you got the sense that the Notts emcee felt like a big fish in a small grime pond. His latest EP sees him grow his claim as a contender in what is traditionally a London-centric scene, with six tracks of bombastic braggadocio delivered in a reassuringly Notts accent. Among the highlights are Trouble, Snowy’s sort-of response to Taylor Swift’s song of the same name, but the roadman talk, womp-womp baseline and gunshots were probably not the kind of trouble T-Swizzle was thinking of. The title track steps it up a notch, with cinematic horns and rising strings courtesy of producers Greeze Team, and Snowy ferociously spitting about how his mind’s in knots and his life’s in knotts. But this is only a thinly veiled reference to Hoodtown. “I thought I only had a Nottingham status?/See, I don’t even wanna be famous”. Well, at this rate, you’re not doing yourself any favours, Snowy son. Shariff Ibrahim

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Vandal Savage
Savagery Over Everything
EP (Self-released)
This seven-track EP by Vandal Savage, AKA Jordan Francis, showcases the emcee at his savage best, attacking the mic with ferocity over a plethora of wonderfully articulate beats provided by local legends Juga-Naut and Nads Buhdha. It’s the type of socially conscious hip hop that many would agree has become virtually extinct at the pinnacle of British music; combining jazz-infused hook melodies over poetic pop-culture references, from “Packing silver Rizla, Bruce Banner in the bag” to “Bars are raw washed, the Häagen-Dazs soft.” Big respect to Jugz for the captivating use of the JB’s-esque sample on Dark Ages which is in fact from rare seventies Danish funk artist Ravi Harris; that raw, stripped-back snare and bass combo, combined with the coolest guitar riff you’ve never heard makes for a track of pure marvel. Another classic EP from the Notts stalwarts, once again proving why this city has hip hop coursing through its veins. Jack Garofalo

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Vincent Bella
The Fragile Quartet
EP (Self-released)
Though the title would give the impression of a dainty group of string players, in reality it is a lone man and his guitar with the addition of a melancholic cello on some tracks. His vocals at times can wobble, but the melodies he has penned are very soulful and his voice has a certain Buckley-esque quality to it. Death at the Door is a bit of a slow start to the record whereas the next track I Died in the Night has a lot of potential and is reminiscent of Beirut. Coma is one of the best, as he uses the cello very cleverly, utilising the deep bass sound which reverberates through my speakers. More production and the addition of some percussion or another instrumentation would really help the sound of the whole EP, but even without this, Vincent Bella’s songwriting ability is clear. Alice Robbins

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Wolf Club
Restless EP
EP (My Hart Canyon Music)
Wolf Club’s sound is difficult to pinpoint exactly. On first listen, the subtle hints of Feeder and Thirty Seconds To Mars came instantly to mind, but upon reflection they have plenty more to offer. Archetypal nineties dance music shines through on tracks such as Restless and Still The Same to great effect, transporting you back to a time when thrills were cheap and the melting together of genres and sounds was all too common. The bubblegum pop aspect of tracks such as the opener Anywhere Without You gives the group a different dimension of chart teenage-friendly hysteria (I could only hear the high-pitched screams of thirteen-year-old girls all too easily) yet their prowess is ironically rather more mature than their music sometimes suggests. This EP isn’t for everyone, but there is potential for Wolf Club to make a name for themselves nationally. Jack Garofalo

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