When DevilDriver burst onto the scene almost a decade ago, alongside Lamb Of God and Hatebreed, they provided the perfect soundtrack for the young metal fan who, typically, hated the universe (or at least school).
Consisting of Jonathan Noonan (Guitar and Vocals), Fraser MacDonald (Bass) and David McCallum (Drums), Pseudo Satellites were in the studio recording their first EP before they’d even played live. Cutting all four tracks in a mammoth thirteen hour recording session in Erskine (see our feature elsewhere in the magazine), these guys are Scottish born and bred but rather than chasing on the coat tails of the likes of Twilight Sad and Biffy Clyro instead they go for the riotous energy of Feeder and the potent alt-rock of Smashing Pumpkins.
The advent of the Arab Spring sent a democratic surge through the Middle East, inducing hopeful protests and fearful repressions in equal measure; a chronicle of approximate successes, such as Egypt, and abject failures, as in Syria. Ever since this populist flood, it has been the prerogative of pundits to speculate as to whether the consequent waters of electoral politics are of a fresh liberal nature, or possess a salty religio-fundamentalist aftertaste. Into this metaphor, and the region, have crept the self-interested shoals of foreign powers – China and Russia have staked out critical positions, the former quietly penetrating the Middle East’s precious economic currents, whilst the latter exerts itself in more obvious maneuvers. Meanwhile the allegedly endangered Leviathan of American interventionism lies dormant in the deep, preoccupied with internal affairs, excepting a small coterie of interested Senators (eg: John McCain, Lindsey Graham) who rumble President Obama into incremental actions.
The second album from the Scottish sextet sees them further developing their folk-rock sound whilst dropping the ‘Fistful of Fivers’ part of their moniker. Their great strength is their talent for diversity; darting straight from the rollicking ‘Roll For Me’ into the more contemplative ‘Courage’, a track channels the world weariness of Nick Cave, backed by acoustic guitar flourishes. Though their trademark brass section is still in place ‘End Game’ manages to looser and more dynamic than their debut. The arrangements on the likes of ‘King’s Liar’s celtic-soul are more complex, bringing to mind the likes of Dexy’s Midnight Runners but there’s still a sense of spontaneity and excitement.
Volume 3 is, predictably, the 3rd Album from the duo of Zooey Deschanel and M.Ward but first of all I have to confess: I love Zooey Deschanel. I love her quirky stubbornness in New Girl; I love her style, her square glasses and little dresses but most especially, I adore her hair. That fringe, which occupies 50% of her face, somehow escapes looking ridiculous and instead gives her an allure of glamour and individuality. When she appeared without it at the Met ball, I knew that my own fringe will have to be grown out over the summer in pathetic tribute.
Politics is very serious business in the UK. No, really. Apart from The Thick Of It, through what medium do we have to satirise and engage with politics? The most exciting thing we have at the moment is hoping that one of these days David Dimbleby is going to snap on Question Time. Remember when he called Robin Cook “Robin Cock” by accident? That’s about as good as it gets, without Malcolm Tucker storming around.
Ever since The Smiths, the NME-prescribed ‘god-like genius’ Johnny Marr has earnt a reputation as the professional talent bike of the UK indie scene. Nonetheless striking out alone ‘The Messenger’ goes some way to proving his genius; delivering the jangly guitar-rock for which he is known and loved.
Compared to its immediate predecessor, 12 Gauge, Finnish melodeath stars Kalmah have toned down the thrash influences and returned to a more traditional melodic approach but nonetheless, Seventh Swamphony doesn’t fail to pack a punch.
It’s an inescapable fact that we live in a celebrity-centric culture, and although it is easy for us to turn up our noses at this supposedly less than intellectual interest, we have to acknowledge that the power of celebrity to enthral us can do a lot of good.