Jonneine Zapata's Cast the Demons Out came out of nowhere and managed to do what it said on the tin. And all indications were that live was where she excelled. Comparisons were bandied around from PJ Harvey and Patti Smith for there strong vocal ranges to Jim Morrison and Mick Jagger for their bold sexual stage presence. Apart from the smoldering mic stand gripping, her onstage persona also alternates between standing still with an ice cold stare, holding her arms aloft swaying like an eagle, and my favourite, lurching around the stage like a drunken marionette. Unsettling? Maybe but never boring.
You know you've had a good day when you wake up in a resort in Palm Springs and end up almost 24 hours later face down, literally face down, in a plate of tacos in downtown LA, head throbbing and ears ringing. There’s no way to rationalise it, nor the fact that between such decadent highs and lows, Webcuts was in attendance to witness the second night of Arcade Fire’s two night stand at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. On a night where the streets (well, one street) were filled with yellow NYC cabs and fake snow, Arcade Fire required no illusory set-dressing to impress Tinseltown.
"a polished genre grab bag record of mostly stale, completely innocuous songs". Kings of Leon - Win!
Just how many albums are Weezer going to release (or re-release) this year? What's one more for Christmas?
No Age push the 'mature album' button while still managing to shred and transcend on their third release.
Blake, McGinley & Love doesn’t have the same ring as Crosby, Stills & Nash, but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be held in the same breath or as widely known. These three Scotsman and the outfit they've steered for the last 20+ years have consistently made albums that rich in harmonies and heart-on-sleeve emotions. If Teenage Fanclub had a spiritual home, it would be a tie between Nashville or Los Angeles, or perhaps started in Los Angeles and ended up in Nashville (as found on their most recent album Shadows).
On an odd rainy night in downtown Hollywood, weather befit more for their homeland than ours, Belle and Sebastian, Glaswegian art school rockers of yore, played to a sold out crowd of mostly thirty-somethings, brave enough to stand outside...in not just any ordinary venue. Instead, they stylishly bowed and plucked their instruments amongst the mausoleums and graves of some of Los Angeles’ elite. Adding to the macabre setting was the screening of Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting that preceded the show. Taking the stage, B&S lead singer Stuart Murdoch asked “Did you see me? I was in the bar scene!”.
California girls. Beach Boys praised them, Katy Perry revived them, but Los Angeles' Dum Dum Girls are the kind of girls that either Brian Wilson or Katy Perry had in mind. Palm trees, bikinis and suntans aren’t their domain, in fact, it would be surprising if daylight ever graced their chalk-white skin, looking as they do Josie and The Pussycats meets Tim Burton. Making a return visit to London in the newly opened (and un-divey) East London venue XOYO, Dum Dum Girls are Dee Dee. The all-girl band she's assembled acts as both an extension of her psyche, and a mirror to how she dresses.
New Zealand's Die! Die! Die! make their third incision into the heart of rock n' roll but fall short of delivering the expected death blow.
Totally random, but a friend of mine once got "Chief" tattooed on the back of her neck and the tattoo guy spelt it wrong. There is no metaphor to be found here.
The stakes are high on Deerhunter's 4th album. Can they beat Webcuts album of the year 2008, their own magnificent Microcastle?
Touched by the somewhat friendly eclectic hand of The Charlatans for their tenth album in twenty years.
The Lights are on but the tunes aren't home on Interpol's disappointing fourth otherwise known as #4.
You’d be forgiven for having a sense of déjà vu here. Is it 1989? Did The Primitives and The Darling Buds really both play London within a week of each other? Having been absent from the live scene for most of the '90s and all of the past decade, for both bands to surface at the same time is unthinkable. Unthinkable, but pretty damn cool. It brings back memories of a time when the music magazines invented a scene called ‘Blonde’, where bands were lumped together purely based on the colour of the lead singers hair. Which by their way of thinking meant you were either a Blonde, a Goth or in Fairground Attraction.
Brooding psychedelic rock with some Zeppelin-esque undertones, Canada's Black Mountain let loose on their third.
How many times do you get given a record and for it to feel like a breath of fresh air? Here you are then.
Brooklyn's Suckers channel a little ADHD indie rock throughout their debut album, defying hype and maintaining interest.
Webcuts turns its attention to Stockholm’s charming Popaganda festival to lift our post-festival blues. Swedish local acts such as the electro pop Navet, folk sisters First Aid Kit, Stockholm indie stalwarts Shout Out Louds, dance kings Familjen and pop sensation Robyn rub shoulder to shoulder with Scottish indie legends Belle & Sebastian, elegantly dressed UK synth-pop duo Hurts, London indie-soul act The Magic Numbers and reigning electro-geek heroes Hot Chip.
Champion Shoegazers Slowdive get the back catalogue reissue treatment. We'll have the Souvlaki to go.
It’s shows like this which give birth to the very nature of rock and roll. The hip-swaying sounds of a band as they rock back and forth, eyes closed, mouths pressed against the microphone with their feet marking the beat. It’s an undeniably sexual thing. This isn't news. It’s why they tried to ban Elvis in the 50’s. He turned young girls on, and it wasn’t so much the man, but the music, the stage, the sweat, the motion -- the rock and roll of it all. Wedged together in this barely ventilated Old Street basement, Los Angeles' Warpaint are presiding over something that had this been the 50's, would've gotten them banned too.
A Brisbane bounty with trippy post-rockers The Hazards of Swimming Naked joined by Lofly math-rock legends Mr. Maps, plus the baroque charms of Lion Island and electronic wunderkind Hunz.
All killer, no filler, Joe Pernice and Co. turn up the volume and turn in one of their most enjoyable records to date.
Sounding like a counter-revolutionary, singer-songwriter Jonneine Zapata's task at hand is presciently hinted at in the title.
“You’re one of us, or you’re one of them“. Hamilton Leithauser, fist wrapped tight around the microphone as if he's trying to strangle it, is howling those words. The rest of The Walkmen, heads bowed (as they remain throughout most of the set) play complicit and provide the carnival-esque roar to ram Leithauser’s words home. It’s not so much a question or a suggestion but a statement. For better or for worse, for way back when the band were selling their own white label records at the Middle East in Boston in 2001, I’ve been one of "us".
As regular as clockwork, and now for the third year running, Webcuts returned to Slottsskogen in Gothenburg, Sweden for the annual Way Out West Festival. With so much eclectic talent spread across the three days it was impossible to walk away empty-handed. No matter what your taste in music were, all bases were covered. This year, Electro-wizards Chemical Brothers, alterna-rock heroes Pavement, living legends Iggy Pop & The Stooges, hometown boy Håkan Hellström, rap overlords the Wu-Tang Clan, and the mesmerizing M.I.A. were just a few of the acts to thrilled the sell-out audience, and to keep the photographers on their toes...
Send out the search parties -- Missing in action on the latest album from M.I.A. -- "melody, listenability, and some semblance of a point".
Named after the town they're from, Memphis has "some great songs, some brilliant moments", but not quite all adding up to Magic, Kids.
Touring off the back of their third studio release The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night, the Quebec-based The Besnard Lakes returned to London to treat us with some more of their epic Beach Boys meets Spiritualized jams. Given the massive sound present on ...The Roaring Night, there was some anticipation in how the band were going to pull this off as a four piece. With the newer tracks being a lot denser and harder to recreate live without either a 10 piece line up or a maze of effects and loop pedals, assistance came via laptop, which helped embellish the sound and keep true to their recorded material.
Releasing their soundtrack to 13 of Andy Warhol's screen tests was an opportune moment for ex-Galaxie 500/Luna star Dean Wareham to fully express his love for Velvet Underground and the stars of Andy Warhol's Factory. The screen tests alone, wavering between the visually arresting and the arrestingly mundane, were elevated into a new realm with the musical accompaniment provided by Wareham and partner Britta Phillips. Bringing the 13 Most Beautiful show to London (having frustratingly been given its UK premiere in Dunfermline last year) was a long-anticipated occasion.
From a Funeral to a Neon Bible and now out to The Suburbs, the long-awaited third album from Arcade Fire has Webcuts feeling right at home.
It's Summer festival time in Europe, but over in Australia it's Winter and Webcuts was there to brave the chill and celebrate Splendour in the Grass' tenth birthday with 32,000 others at the new Woodford location in Queensland. Over the three day weekend our reviewers witnessed a phenomenal selection of old and new favourites including -- Ash, Band of Horses, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Cloud Control, The Drums, Grizzly Bear, Jonsi, LCD Soundsystem, Paul Kelly, Pixies, School of Seven Bells, Scissor Sisters, The Strokes, Tame Impala, The Vines, Yeasayer, and believe it or not, a whole lot more!!
Gemma Ray found the best way to deal with the Christmas period was to record a covers album. Not a bad idea really.
A few nights before this Pixies warm up concert for Splendour in the Grass, I had a vivid dream. In it I was the tour manager or press officer for the band and they were being put up in a luxury hotel with a huge swimming pool which they were swanning around in and (in)famously not getting along and refusing to do the show. It ended with me giving them a “look all the great rock’n’roll bands are dysfunctional, but when you’re on stage for that hour and a half you come together, that's when you work, that's when you function!” speech. And then I drove them to the Zoo in a black hummer.
“Give me a minute and I’ll blow your minds“. The crowd laughs, so does the man who just uttered those words. The mood, somewhat quiet, respectful, shiftless, is lightened, and Mark Kozelek begins another master-class in tinkling the nylon strings of his Spanish guitar like Liberace would the piano. “I’m old” he breaks the silence again, “I’m fat, I need water, I need lyrics to my songs”. From my pew to the right side of the stage I have to squint to see if it’s not Neil Young sitting there complaining about his arthritis. To Kozelek’s credit, he’s still as ageless as ever, and that gut you were grabbing at? I’m pretty sure you’ve been carrying that for a while now.
Out of nowhere comes a near perfect album by a near forgotten band that rewrites their own history in one superlative-inducing swoop.
It took eleven years, three albums and a European tour for Melbourne space rockers Black Cab to broach Brisbane but they did and yes, it was worth the wait. Even the prospect of a half empty venue, an OCD stricken punter and the one colour Hi-Fi lights were not enough to dissuade Black Cab in performing anything less than a mesmerising set of original material and two stunning encores that paid homage to the whole space/drone/shoegaze rock genre. Able support was provided by Brisbane alt.rock kings Grand Atlantic.
From "Exile In Guyville" to exiled in general. It hasn't been smooth sailing for Liz Phair. In fact you could say things have been downright un-Phair.
When does standing in the front row give you a direct line to god? Just because your idol, or current object of interest, is able to look you in the eye while they’re singing doesn’t mean that this is your opportunity for some face-to-face "let's get to know each other" time. Really, it doesn’t. And it’s rare that a concert is marred by one asshole that doesn't get the hint and won’t shut up, but shit does happen, and it happened to Kaki King and to the respectful crowd who had to endure this one "fan" and his relentless pursuit in establishing a "connection".
The (Bloc) Party is over. Now, it's a dance party and there's nobody here, except Kele and a few diehard Bloc Party fans looking bored.
Impressive third album from these exemplary Scots. It sounds like the Winter Webcuts had... except more productive.
One of these albums is pure genius. The other went straight to #1. Bow down to The Boo Radleys, Britpop's forgotten heroes.
Critic proof Canadian indie-poppers release their fifth disc of tunes but like its subject matter we find it lacks substance.
There are people who write for this website who weren't even born when Devo last made a record. This is not for them.
We're now entering a phase of the year where great albums are in abundance and Villagers' debut is no exception.
As anticipation mounts for the release of their upcoming third album The Suburbs, Arcade Fire commence on a brief hit-and-run tour of intimate and out-of-the-way places in Europe, somehow finding themselves performing on a moat in the middle of a limestone quarry in Sweden. For a band like Arcade Fire, such inventive and idyllic surrounds seem apt, but it only poses the question -- How hard can a quarry rock?
More emotional missives from angry, intense, young American men. What steady diet do they feed you on?
Oh, summery shimmery albums. Why must you hook us so? Berkeley, CA's, The Morning Benders serve up a treat.
It's summertime twee pop hour and who better to soundtrack but ex-Heavenly and Talullah Gosh popsters back with their third album.
Fifth album from these Floridian punkers. File under "anarchy, unfulfillment and frustration".
"This is dance music that’s worth thinking about – or, more accurately, thoughtful music that’s worth dancing to". Agreed.