Author Archives: Clayton Warwick

SHEAFS – Shock Machine [TMN PREMIERE]

I always scoff when people say “there aren’t any good guitar-centric acts right now.” I can certainly attest to plenty that are flying under the radar, while glancing over their shoulders at giants like Wolfmother, Eagles of Death Metal, and Queens of the Stone Age. Sure, I’ll concede that latter have been around for a minute, but that doesn’t absolve them from the fact that they exist and still draw crazy crowds worldwide.

You’re not here to read about them though, nor will you find me covering them. However, I will introduce you to an act you might not familiar with just yet, but they’re gaining some serious momentum. Enter Sheffield-based SHEAFS, a a riotous 5-piece that’s getting love from BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music and Radio X alike.

Today’s offering is on the airwaves already, but hasn’t come online until just now. “Shock Machine” follows up their breakthrough single “This is Not a Protest,” and it’s rife with ample attitude and a driving lead riff. Energy and edge aside, it boasts a intriguing structure that brings ripping hard, anthemic choruses and a wicked, psychedelic breakdown.

If you’re digging this tune, be sure to check their tour schedule. They’re currently in the midst of their debut headline tour, which includes 14 dates. You better act quick though, London, Sheffield, and Nottingham are already sold out.


Photo Credit: Lewis Evans

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Altopalo – Blur/Frozen [TMN PREMIERE]

Part R&B. Part alternative. Part electronic. Completely unique.

Comprised of Rahm Silverglade, a solo artist who’s also releasing material through Terrible Records, guitarist Mike Haldeman (who moonlights as a member of TMN-favorite Moses Sumney’s band), Jesse Blelenberg and Dillon Tracy, Altopalo is the breath of experimental fresh air you’ve been waiting for.

“Blur” is a wickedly wild ride, sandwiched up between a bizarre, yet ultimately comforting intro and outro. The musical influences and techniques vary widely, showcasing the depth of this young act’s abilities. Included in that set are spattering of guitar notes that perfectly jar against a backdrop of faded vocals, atmospheric hiss, and industrial percussion. While it is outside the norm, fans of the mainstream should be attracted to the eventual and warmly familiar R&B vibes.

The other offering on this two-track release is “Frozen,” which is delightfully avant-garde. A steady kickdrum is offset by a breakbeat-style piano sample, which provides an inventive soundscape for Rahm’s softly-sung vocals. The song saunters along beautifully with just those elements for quite some time, before coming together with more percussion, vocal chops, and sections of strings in a closing crescendo.

This is one of the more intriguing pieces I’ve heard in a while, the best part is — it’s the first offering from this burgeoning act’s full album, frozenthere. Be on the lookout for that.

’Blur’
’Frozen Away’
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#TMNMailbag #4: Sam Eagle – 15/8

Sam Eagle
15/8

This is actually the second time 18-year-old Sam Eagle has submitted music to the #TMNMailbag. This time, it stuck with me.

While I believe that he would benefit from a little refinement with his recording, mixing, and mastering, there’s something inherently charming about this Essex-based act. He’s lyrically adept, weaving in engaging storytelling through unique instrumentation. He goes well beyond “the guy with the guitar” stereotype, offering up playful, yet simplistic percussion work and intriguing song structures.

“15/8” has me head over heels, to be perfectly honest. And, we’re not alone. He recently got love from Spotify’s Fresh Finds: Six Strings playlist, and got some love from BBC 6Music and XFM. You’re catching on before almost anyone else, as this up-and-comer only has 50 soundcloud followers. Give him a follow, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

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#TMNMailbag #3: Flower Cult – Violet

Flower-Cult
Violet

Hailing from the Pelican State, Flower Cult is our latest addition to our #TMNMailbag series. Consisting of Dave Fol and Chandler Young, two producers from the pop/soul 5-piece OK Music, this developing act is following down a road of personal inspirations like Wilco, Yo La Tengo, and Local Natives.

It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with “Violet.” The calming and intriguing vocal harmony was the first thing that piqued my interest, calling on associations of TV On The Radio. Coupled with ethereal guitar work, smooth bassline, and a pronounced kick drum, it wound up hooking me in for the long haul.

With less than 50 Soundcloud followers, you’re coming in at ground level. Enjoy the ride as they continue to pick up steam.

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Seazoo – Trunks [TMN ALBUM PREMIERE]

Hailing from a deactivated nuclear bunker somewhere in Wrexham, Seazoo is the infectious, DIY, psych-pop act you need in your life. Just wait. Press play below and you’ll become a believer.

Recorded in bedrooms and the aforementioned bunker above, Trunks is the debut album from this up-and-coming act. Having previously received love from BBC’s Huw Stephens, Lauren Laverne, Steve Lamacq, Mark Radcliffe, as well as a handful of notable online tastemakers, this handful of charming numbers is sure to expand on the impressive reach this young band has already made.

Without digging too far into these cats, you’ll quickly see the outlined comparisons to the long-standing indie rock legends, Yo La Tengo. And, those associations are pretty spot on. The playful and carefree nature easily brings you fully into that frame, and it’s something that you don’t see too often. There are wonderfully poppy moments throughout — catchy hooks, unique vocal cadences, and grin-inducing harmonies — but it never feels forced, or overdone. It comes off with a nonchalant air that’s simply intoxicating and downright addicting.

If you’re in the neighborhood at any of these upcoming shows, we highly recommend stopping in and supporting them live.

February 10 -Telford’s Warehouse, Chester. (Album Launch)
April 1 – The Hug & Pint, Glasgow
April 2 – Leith Depot, Leith, Edinburgh
April 4 – The Musician, Leicester
April 6 – The Finsbury, London
May 10 – Focus Wales, Wrexham

’Hello Stranger’
’St Hilary Sings’
’Dig’
’Shoreline’
’Cyril’
’Roy’s World’
’Skulls’
’The Belly In My Brain’
’E Is For Excellent’
’Bad Day At The Polythene Plant’
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Ne.Hau – La dah dee ft. Katy Starr [TMN PREMIERE]

Ne.Hau Ft Katy Starr
Gypsy Woman Boogtlet

In my prime, Thursdays were the best night to go out. Yes, I still had to work, bright and early, the very next morning. Yes, I usually spent a good portion of my commute cursing myself for hitting the town, but there’s something to going out on a Thursday. The vibe is a bit more genuine. The people out are there for the music, not the scene. It’s real.

“La dah dee” is the type of track you’d hear on a Thursday night. Or at 5AM on a Saturday night, depending on how hard you’re going. Brought to you by the Austin/Denver-based producer duo Ne.Hau, it boasts sultry vocals from fellow Austinite Katy Starr, and should have you counting down the hours until quitting time.

Comprised of a wickedly dark and grimy, yet irresistibly welcoming nature, it’s not hard to imagine this original single encouraging people out to the dance floor. The driving, four-to-the-floor beat and gorgeously-crafted synths help support the latter, while a spattering of mechanical, industrial percussion provides ample intrigue for all the tech-heads out there. It’s well balanced, through-and-through.

Make sure to track both of these up-and-coming artists by clicking their links above. If you’re a true dance fan, which you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t, you’ll want to keep tabs on what they’re up to in the future.

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[Album Review] The Academic – Tales from the Backseat

You don’t have to look too far back to figure out that The Academic would end up coursing through the veins of the music industry, mainlining their highly contagious brand of alternative rock directly into our wanting veins.

Just two years back, this Irish four-piece came charging onto the scene with “Different” which proved to be the first few words of the proverbial writing on the wall. Two years later, Tales from the Backseat is here, and simply put, it proves what we expected from them back then.

Recorded in the City of Angels with producer Tim Pagnotta (you might recognize his work with acts like Dreamcar, Wilde Belle, and Saint Motel), this ten-track offering is filled with stadium fillers, anthemic in nature through and through. “Permanent Vacation” is the perfect example of how carefully they infuse pop sensibility throughout their work, focusing strongly on catchy hooks and plenty of vocal intrigue listeners will sing along to quickly.

Catchiness and instrumental talent can only carry an act so far, though. Lyrical quality, cadence, and familiarity need to do a good bit of the heavy lifting, and Tales From the Backseat brings in plenty of muscle. The collection is an audible coming of age story, one which tugs on the heartstrings of both the older, nostalgic listener, and those who are currently up to their elbows with the shocking tides of adulthood.

Have a listen below. Add it to your Spotify playlists. Share it with friends. Most of all, though, head out and catch these lads live. Aside from the surely stunning live performance, it’s truly the best way to support your new favorite act.

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