Monthly Archives: June 2013

Dinosaur Pile Up – Nature Nurture

The cover of this album illustrates what Matt Bigland might have thought Dinosaur Pile-Up would end up doing on their second album. Flat on their faces they ain’t though; instead, they are kicking and screaming. This album would actually be better suited to the title of their debut: Growing Pains.

Where the first album was full of slacker fun, Nature/Nurture has a slightly more direct and serious approach. Well, okay, not super-serious but serious enough for a band hailing from Leeds who sounded like a Seattle post-grunge band.

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Hollis Brown – Ride On The Train

There are two main reasons you should check out Hollis Brown this summer. The first is that they have enough pop and soul to entertain; the second is how breezy, yet spirited, their playing is. As debuts go, you couldn’t ask more from these New York boys.

Ride on the Train isn’t too full of itself or too cocky, offering enough fun to go with the serious art of making music. ‘Down on Your Luck’ injects some blues fun, mixing classic rock with some Nashville heritage. The shimmy and shake of ‘Nothing & the Famous One’ is full of love and an the honest tinkle of piano, The Beatles clearly being a shared influence of all members.

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Cut Yourself In Half – Mekkanizm

For this heavy, slightly stoner-metal band hailing from… Bradford, there are promising shoots of green growth. The key to Mekkanizm is the schizophrenic singing, going from smooth mystique to throat-tearing noise at a whim. Once the balance is lost, however, so are their powers.

‘Little Misadventure’ sees that combination put to great use, recalling the chemistry which Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri once had in Queens of the Stoneage. The riffs are heavy, the lyrics dark and inventive and there is an abundance of melody to be found covered in the dirt. ‘Viracocha’ is where the album turns, the psycho is let totally loose on the world, and the results sound like a chainsaw in a blender – the perfect advert for throat lozenges if ever they should need to cash in.

The desert rock fun in the first half of the album is good enough to stick with you, particularly on the driving ‘The Song Remains Unamed’. And while tracks such as ‘You Carry the Curse’ and ‘Spider Legs’ have hot, turning, buzzing guitars, they give way all too often to some truly loud and off-putting yelling. Lyrically, they play things by numbers, the titles of each track giving away the game long before you hear the song.

The fact a UK-based band possesses these kinds of riffs, and an inventiveness beyond their geographical basis, is a testament to the diversity bred by the 90s and 00s heavy rock and metal scene. It is the small musical flame Cut Yourself In Half should hold aloft and surge forward with – that is if they can resist swallowing it and exploding into a mess.

Picture: Cut Yourself In Half Facebook

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Queens Of The Stone Age – …Like Clockwork

So much has changed for Queens of The Stone Age since they set pulses racing with the phenomenal Songs for the Deaf. Not that they didn’t have two decent albums before and after that, ut the 2002 release saw the alignment of Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri, Mark Lanegan and Dave Grohl – a hard album to beat. …Like Clockwork sees all those old members return, but if you were hoping for the same desert heat you’ll find your hopes dashed and stomped on.

The returning ensemble feel like they have been drafted in to plug the gaps. Most notably, Dave Grohl drums on about half the tracks in Joey Castillo’s absence but you wouldn’t know it. Only on ‘I Appear Missing’ is there a hint that Grohl is present, though it’s not anything near as good as Songs for the Deaf‘s opener. A personal gripe would be that the world’s best voice in Lanegan (or voice-for-hire as he now seems) is wasted on what is essentially just breathing on a chorus. QOTSA albums used to be a joy for the myriad voices of maniacs but Homme lets no one take over his solo vocal duties for more than a moment.

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