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9 Nottingham Music Albums - October 2016

8 October 16 words: Music Reviews
The only noise you wanna be filling your tabs with, this month
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Mannequin
Nobody’s Listening
EP (Louder City Records)
Perhaps it’s modesty, but it seems a little nihilistic for a band to pour their heart and soul into writing and recording six songs, painting some eye-catching cover art, only to then call the resulting EP Nobody’s Listening. Well, that is exactly what the three-piece Mannequin have done with their latest release. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if that prediction comes true, then frankly it’ll just be proof that everyone’s tabs are painted on. Mannequin is Ben on guitars, Joe on drums and Sid on bass, vocals and artwork. What they’ve created here is a diverse mix of styles that comes together beautifully into one coherent, 24-minute whole. On first listen, this seems to be fairly straightforward grunge: no one is accusing Sid of yarling, but there is definitely a touch of a yearning, angsty Cobain in the vocals – on the title track and Shark Eyes in particular. It’s not as simple as that, though. There’s some pretty substantial hard rock stylings throughout. Just check out the screaming solos on 1708 and Shark Eyes, and also more than a hint of psychedelia in some of the echoing, dreamy guitar. A high quality listen with great songs and excellent production values. If there is really nobody prepared to listen to this, then we might as well give up now and leave the world to Nickelback as it really isn’t fit for humans. Tim Sorrell

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Adam Prescott
Warrior
Album (Reggae Roast)
Adam Prescott, the brains and production whizz behind Warrior, has taken an old-school reggae sound and given it a bit of a modern day spit and polish. Fortunately, he knows not to mess with the formula too much, and keeps his tweaks on the down-low – for example, drum samples and sequencers have replaced their human equivalent. The downside to this, and it could just be my low-quality copy, is that the bass feels like it’s non-existent, which is a shame for music where the sound system is king. Minor gripes aside, Prescott has handed over his tracks to a variety of collaborators who excel with the material they’ve been given. Most Notts heads will be familiar with Karizma’s dulcet flow (The Vampires, Days & Times), but elsewhere, Jago’s gruff delivery adds fire to Push The Back, Papa B’s horn play jazzes up Throwback, and Brother Culture visibly relishes wrestling Warrior to the ground. Paul Klotschkow

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Adim
Spontaneous Monk
EP (Timeline Provision)
This marvellous homage to one of the forefathers of jazz, and perhaps the greatest pianist to have ever lived, is pure bliss upon the ears. Taking the listener on a journey of respect and raw originality; capable of taking the incomparable genius of a legend and revitalising it using simple yet wonderfully effective methods. Adim is a producer who breaks the mould, and this EP is the perfect example of how – stripped-back, simplistic beats in perfect accompaniment with that emotion-enhancing piano. From the off, the alleviating intro glides into the tranquilizing Tell Me What You See with the undeniably atmospheric vocals of Faceless. It’s one of the tracks that wouldn’t be out of place on a Funky DL album, with its melodic jazzy strokes that transport to a dreamlike state. For those who like their music with a twist of yesteryear but wholly refreshing and innovative, this is an essential. Exquisite. Jack Garofalo

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Bru-C
One of Them
EP (Phlexx)
Gun fingers are slung, rave-navigating eyes flash past. The bass chimes with a clock bell to signify it’s the grittiest hour of the night, where sweat drips from the noses of skankers and the final bangers are pulled up for the last boggers standing. Wonk scrapes the tune like a washboard. These are the sights of Bru-C’s new EP – a nostalgic trip back to the early bassline hype days of funny-smelling fags, hoods up and furrowed brows. The collection of tracks does the same tune – One of Them – five ways: there’s the original, straight Bru-C-laced track, the a cappella version, and the instrumental. Plus, there’s the absolutely grim Thorpey remix, and appearances from a plethora of Notts emcees. The main man has a consistently cheeky flow – a quick bounce of lyricism, occasionally ruffled up like a dirty rewind. The garage-y bassline selection has dropped, and it’s definitely ‘one of them’. Bridie Squires

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For The Girl
Shark Attack
EP (Self-released)
When you’re a five-piece indie rock boy band, it can be pretty difficult to stand out from the crowd, but For The Girl have managed to stick their head above the vast sea of similarity. And they’ve done it in a particularly ear-prodding manner. On Shark Attack, the band have created an upbeat EP with a more mature sound than some of their more sullen contemporaries. Tracks such as Earthquake and Raise A Glass really jump out at you, the lads showcasing their awesome musical skills throughout the entirety of the EP. Personality oozes from each song – the great use of synth, the singers distinct voice that demands your attention, and a load of catchy tunes that will have you dancing and wanting more. Shark Attack is full-sounding and multi-layered, full of addictive tunes that will grab you as soon as the first chorus kicks in. Hannah Parker.

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The Golden Troubadours
Portrait of an Autumn Queen
EP (Self-released)
Autumn, the best time of the year. The crisp morning air, the crunch of leaves under foot, the mix of browns marking the changing of the season, no more back sweat, when my birthday is… I could go on, but you get the gist. It also seems that The Golden Troubadours feel the same way as they release this soliloquy to the most poetic of seasons (just ask Keats). Wielding mainly acoustic instruments, Golden Troubadours aren’t your typical beardy, scrumpy-swigging folk band, though; blending blues and soul stylings into their finger-picked sound, Portrait of an Autumn Queen is full of warm, aching melodies and lilting rhythms. Friends of Treasure is the gentle opener, floating on top of some wonderful interweaving guitar lines. But it’s the closing double bill of Wave Song and Porcelain where the real magic lies, TGT channeling Elbow’s Newborn to create their own mini wide-screen misty epic. Paul Klotschkow

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Sea Monster Eyes’
Garlic
EP (I’m Not From London)
On their latest EP, Sea Monster Eyes prove once again that they're one of the most imaginative and enjoyable bands to come out of Nottingham area – Mansfield, to be exact – for a long while. Here, Sea Monster Eyes’s hook-laden, classic indie-rock sound, and charming boy/girl vocals is performed in the band’s distinct playful style. From the wobbly Boat I Row, the jangly REM-goes-country of Run Away, Girl, the rowdy psych-folk of Games, the sixties pop-inspired Simulator, or There She Blows which bounces around like Blue in the mid-nineties, the oddly named Garlic EP is a joy to listen to from beginning to end. Fun can be had for any listeners wanting to play a game of spot the influences, but what is clear is that Sea Monster Eyes’ are capable of writing songs of class and distinction. Paul Klotschkow

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Twin Kidd
Fold
EP (Self-released)
The newest ‘kidds' on the block have marked their arrival with a bang. Fold, the band’s debut EP, is hot on the heels of their debut gig – which was only earlier this year – and is the perfect showcase for the band’s strengths and sound. Writing and performing chilled-out, dreamlike indie-pop with subtle use of electronics throughout, the band sound both lively and dynamic; the bass is prominent and methodical, the drums keep it simple, while the keys and guitars help to gently shift mood and tempo throughout. Steff Wiliamson’s vocal delivery sounds effortless and unforced, perfectly blending with the instruments. In addition, harmonies are used perfectly. The four songs on this EP don’t necessarily stray too far away from each other stylistically, as Twin Kidd certainly know what sound they like and how to get it, and this gives Fold its own unique style. A peaceful listen, perfect for whether you are working or unwinding. Louron Pratt

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We Are Carnivores
Theodor's A Don, Bro
EP (Self-released)
You know that when a band has an official blue tick on their Facebook page, they probably mean business. After all, it is vitally important to make it clear to the world that you are the official We Are Carnivores, and not just any old band with the same name, eh? The complex rhythms, stop starts and somewhat angular melodies, quickly tell the listener that this is math rock: the whole EP lasts barely thirteen minutes, and yet there are more shifts of time signature here than your average King Crimson long-player. Coupled with those somewhat self-conscious song titles (You Can’t Argue With Sharks, I’m Not an Alcoholic, I Just Collect Bottles), if you were so inclined you could probably write this lot off as pretentious and self-absorbed. Thankfully, they’re far too good for that. This is complex, challenging and involved but also poppy, interesting and totally worth the effort. Tim Sorrell

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