Albino: Night At The Chemist

Albino, ‘probably London’s greatest alcoholic garage rock band’, are back with their brand new album, ‘Night at the Chemist’. The band, consisting of Ben Tucker on guitar and vocals, Merv Salole on bass, Gareth Morris on guitar, and Don Gibson on percussion, and managed by Rocker Young, have easily performed over 250 gigs since starting up the band in 2005. Once a year, they even head out on an international tour, so those not from the UK will still have the chance to see this highly animated band of vintage-rock tendencies.

Albino can only be described as whisky obsessed Americana/garage rock musicians who can rock any venue using their incredible, often humorous original songs, including ‘Belinda’, the lead single off the new album, which displays the band’s energetic, light-hearted and passionate characteristics.

The strong beat alongside the catchy melody and lyrics, and the tremendous vocals from Ben Tucker, complemented by the extraordinary guitar solos, make their music incredibly satisfying and enjoyable for a wide range of listeners, making us dust off and tune our air guitars, ready to play along.

Check out more on Albino here:

http://www.albinomusic.com/index.php

https://www.facebook.com/Albinomusic

https://www.reverbnation.com/albino

https://soundcloud.com/al-bino-6

https://mobile.twitter.com/Albinomusic

https://www.youtube.com/user/Albinomusic

Childish Gambino – Awaken, My Love! : Vinyl Boxset Review. Is it worth it?

After 6 months, £70 and a whole lot of patience, Gambino’s latest project, Awaken, My Love! has finally arrived on gorgeous double heavy weight vinyl, complete with a VR headset, full colour booklet and download code. So, was it all worth it?

Words: Darius Azadeh

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Childish Gambino fan or not, there’s something for everyone in this latest album from multi-talented man-of-the-moment Donald Glover. Ditching the rap and hip-hop previously explored over the course of his previous albums, Glover returned under the same moniker in late 2016 with a new album so far off the beaten track of his career that it just went further to prove that the man can literally do anything. While not perfect, Awaken, My Love! demonstrated not only his extensive musical knowledge, but also prowess. It was a smooth, silky powerful funk/soul record that excelled past it’s peers with sheer inventiveness and influential adaptation that made a vinyl release seem inevitable, especially with it’s 70’s soul music vibe. So, when it was revealed that it would only be released as a limited edition, £70 boxset, which (expectedly) included two 180gram heavyweight records and (unexpectedly) included a Virtual Reality headset, anticipation and confusion grew and grew.

To think that his previous album, Because The Internet, came complete with a 72 page script, this level of ambition and exclusivity should really come as no surprise. And it’s very welcome. What other artist comes to mind when thinking of album releases that come packed with this sort of thing? Not many. As rumours of a shipping date and VR content poured through over the course of the next few months proceeding the pre-order of the record, excitement was reaching fever pitch. After a number of push-backs, a final release date was secured in April, and the end of the painfully confusing long wait was in sight.

Eventually, mid-June comes around. It is now just over 6 months since the initial pre-order of the record, and it’s finally awaiting collection at the post office. Once it’s home and unwrapped, a quick moment needs to be taken to simply appreciate that it’s physically here. After enough courage is mustered to open it, things are looking very promising. The full colour record sleeves present what are assumed to be unused album artwork, which are beautifully photographed images of various models in headdresses, similar to the stunning final album artwork. Next is the booklet, which is more of the same, yet more familial this time, with the headdress and model from the front cover in different poses. Though not sounding like much, it is actually rather beautiful, and thankfully as big as the records them selves, and not shrunk down to a flimsy booklet half the size. Finally, we get to the base of the box, which houses the VR headset. While lavishly decorated in what seem to be the tribal paint patterns akin to Gambino’s style during his live ‘Pharos’ performances. While looking great, however, it is still simply a piece of cardboard.

First off, the records play beautifully. The sound quality is really top notch, playing the record’s smoothest and grooviest tunes with a lovely, warm, subtle grain, perfect for this album’s sound. You can really feel the weight of the wax during slower grooves such as Redbone, adding to the timelessness and authenticity of the album. And if that wasn’t enough, a surprise bonus track, a live performance of the instrumental track The Night Me and Your Mama Met, is included right at the end. The VR headset, however, is a slightly different story.

Before use, the free ‘Pharos’ smartphone app is required to be downloaded, and then it’s off to the races. After slotting your phone into the opening, the content kicks off with a visceral 360 degree live performance of the album’s opening track, Me and Your Mama, from Gambino’s ‘Pharos’ showcase last year. While terrifically exciting, and offering a new dimension to the recorded track, the low frame rate and video quality does dampen the show. After awhile, the VR element slowly evolves into a gimmick that wears off.

The subsequent videos to accompany the rest of the tracks get even more confusing. As well the as live performance audio, the accompanying videos feature lavishly decorated alien landscapes, with purple hills and wild green creatures. Oh, and of course a Star Wars-esque holographic projection of Glover himself performing amidst the extraterrestrial environment. It’s at this point in the experience when one will likely step back and say, “Okay… what?”. It can only be assumed that this is Gambino’s idea of what should be envisioned when listening to the tracks. While an interesting and innovative thought, it doesn’t, and can’t, hit the mark, as this is too subjective. As well as the underwhelming video quality, this most ambitious element of the release, while thankfully ambitious, isn’t something that warrants much repeat usage.

So, overall, is it worth it? Hell yes. It’s a beautifully designed boxset, with embossed features, brilliant artwork and records of absolutely top sound quality. Worth the money and wait? Well, if the VR feature is indeed what jacked up the price tag, then no. It was probably the most anticipated element of the release during the 6 month wait, and for it to be revealed as a cardboard gimmick is rather disappointing. Nevertheless, the level of ambition that sparked it’s inclusion in the set is a very welcome breath of fresh air to the industry, and hopefully an inspiration to artists everywhere. At the end of the day, it could’ve been an overpriced, flimsy single record release with nothing else to it, but it wasn’t. It was, yet again, proof that Glover really is one of the most forward thinking artists working today. It’s undeniable that whatever he does next, in whatever field, is sure to be unlike anything else.

 

The Numbers:

Record – 10/10

Booklet – 8/10

VR – 5/10

 

Check out the VR video for Me And Your Mama here –

‘Land of Hope’ by Beldon Haigh

Check out the new video for protest song writer, Beldon Haigh’s track, ‘Land of Hope’.

His latest single uses classic pop/rock intrumentation, as well as a spine tingling string section from Smith Street Strings and the piano work of Ted Sweeney, to fittingly address the world’s current refugee crisis.

There’s a poignant message behind the beautifully crafted track, which makes this a must listen for any discerning listener, or activist.

 

Find out more on Beldon Haigh here:

Links:

https://twitter.com/beldonhaigh

https://www.facebook.com/Beldon-Haigh-Freedom-An-Anti-Trump-Protest-Song-1270990246327550/?fref=ts

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/freedom/id1195525999?i=1195526008

Bully: A Live Review

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So today I found out what you guys call a French fry sandwich…chip butty”, smiles Bully lead singer, Alicia Bognanno, before bouncing into 2014 single ‘Milkman’ which is best known for its appearance in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 – the soundtrack being played in the background whilst shredding the streets and inevitably falling off your board.

Bully, in Cambridge for the first time in their career, the Nashville band (completed by drummer Stewart Copeland, lead guitarist Clayton Parker and bassist Reece Lazarus) had a more close knit personal gig at the Portland Arms, as well as another London date at The Garage in Highbury. The crowd of young fans headbanging at the front and cheering throughout like they’ve been waiting for this event all year.

Part cool-new-sensation, part Kurt Cobain-reincarnated-screams, with sounds reminiscent of 1991, Bully’s ‘Too Tough’ sounds like a nostalgic grunge dream and is certainly representative of the rebellious youth in the south, struggling in the liberal Christian surroundings in the rural areas.

Bognanno guides the band through this era with the roaring vocals of ‘I Remember, as well as the mixture of soft and harsh melodies in their most popular song ‘Trying’. Then there is the mesmerizing drum and guitar riffs of the band’s breakthrough single ‘Brainfreeze’ which was released in 2013 as a casette single (adding a unique vintage quality)  which certainly hasn’t set them back, as they had CDs, vinyls and tons of T-shirts in the back, showing how far the band has come in just two years.

Bully are far better to be seen up close and personal as the clarity of the style can be seen to be expressed more clearly. 100% a must see whilst they are touring Europe.

 

Written by Zak Rosewell

‘Silent Communication’ by The Outside Illusion

Pioneering a guitar-led rock sound, with an experimental edge, The Outside Illusion are releasing their second album, Silent Communication.

Normally, guitar based music can be very narrow in its scope, often only appealing to guitar players themselves who appreciate the skill of what has been written, but lead guitarist, Denis Salgado, is trying to make The Outside Illusion’s form of guitar music more accessible to those not involved in the ‘guitar world’.

The new single, also called ‘Silent Communication’ employs an ambient backing track, full of whirling, resonant synths that combine unusually, yet effectively with Denis’ expert guitar solos. Any fans of Joe Satriani will be sure to find a bit of what they like in the music of The Outside Illusion.

Unlike their first, self-titled album, which the band released in 2012, ‘Silent Communication digs deeper into the world of emotions by keeping its style much more simplistic, thus allowing listeners to form their own images and thoughts from the record.

As an instrumental album, Silent Communication is an expertly crafted piece of work that true music lovers will enjoy wrapping their ears around, as well as the guitar gurus out there.

Silent Communication is out May 5th.

Find out more here:

Links:

www.facebook.com/theoutsideillusion

www.youtube.com/theoutsideillusion

www.instagram.com/denis_outside_illusion

www.theoutsideillusion.com

 

 

Deep Purple return with ‘InFinite’

Deep Purple are back, packing as much punch as ever with their latest album ‘InFinite’.

Track listing:

Time for Bedlam
Hip Boots
All I Got Is You
One Night in Vegas
Get Me Outta Here
The Surprising
Johnny’s Band
On Top of the World
Birds of Prey
Roadhouse Blues – (The Doors Cover)

This record has been one of the most highly anticipated this year, as Deep Purple have kept fans waiting 4 years since 2013’s Now What?!. Although the band have been rocking since 1968, this new album does not show any signs of wear and tear! With a very familiar sound, and InFinite amounts of progressive rock energy, this album is definitely up there with Purple’s classics!

The band have enlisted Bob Ezrin for the record’s production. He has worked with names such as Alice Cooper and Pink Floyd throughout his career. It is therefore no surprise that InFinite has such a wholesome, and pure sound so typical of Deep Purple albums.

Back in March, we heard one of the album’s singles ‘All I Got Is You’. It provided fans with something to be excited about, with Ian Gillan’s storytelling lyrics and a head-banging riff that is typical of Deep Purple. Expectations were certainly met, as what was released on Friday is a record full of everything rock n roll!

We are certainly not eased into this album in any way. After a robotic-effect vocal intro, the band roars to life like a machine urging to run again after being idle since the last record. Soon enough, we are greeted with the well known sound of Deep Purple, fuelled by keyboard heavy riffs provided by Don Airey. The instrumental section in ‘Time For Bedlam’ reminds us of the band’s early days, as it instantly adds itself to the list of the band’s progressive rock classics.

“You can bury me up to my knees in shit”- Ian Gillan clearly has not lost any lyrical attitude over his 50 year career with Deep Purple. He fires energy at us right from the start, especially through this edgy opening line to ‘Hip Boots’. Additionally, Steve Morse showcases his exceptional talent through original blues solos, plucked straight from the days of Ritchie Blackmore.

To add to fans’ excitement: in support of this new record, the band have announced that they will begin a tour on the 13th May. With a line up that has not changed for the last five albums, the ‘Long Goodbye Tour’ will most likely be a huge event that tickets will not last long for.

Throughout the entirety of this album, we are gifted with riffs full of guitar and keys, punchy drums and lyrics that show the Deep Purple frontman to be performing at his best. After listening to the record, if you learn one thing: let it be that Ian Gillan does not “give a fucking damn”!

InFinite was released on the 7th April 2017 via EarMusic.

 

James Handler

jameshandler22@gmail.com

Joe O’Donnell’s Shkayla Reissue ‘Gaodhal’s Vision’

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Back in the 70s, Joe O’Donnell was known as one of the world’s best rock violinists with the bands East of Eden and Headstone, but now he performs alongside his band Shkayla (Gaelic for ‘stories’) who are reissuing Joe’s classic 1977 album Gaodhal’s Vision, to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

At the time, Gaodhal’s Vision, was ‘visionary’ to say the least, demonstrating Joe’s innovative and experimental playing which he combined with the guitar skills of fellow rock-legend, Rory Gallagher, who was a close friend of Joe’s too. Consequently, the record was met with critical acclaim then, and still stands the test of time now as one of the best celtic-rock concept albums ever produced.

As part of their 40th anniversary celebration, Joe and Shkayla played a double show at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre which will be featured as an exclusive DVD along with the reissue. The new remastered, enhanced and extended version of Gaodhal’s Vision is available from the band’s website with 20% off until the end of April:

http://joeodonnellsshkayla.com/shop/gaodhals-vision-40th-anniversary-edition/ 

Links:

http://joeodonnellsshkayla.com/

https://soundcloud.com/shkayla

https://www.facebook.com/shkaylaband/

https://twitter.com/shkayla

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHfqphCzdhiwEgpykm1SQyg