FIRST LISTEN REVIEW – THE RIDE//CATFISH AND THE BOTTLEMEN

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On Friday 28th of May Catfish and the Bottlemen released their highly anticipated second album ‘The Ride’ on Island Records/Capitol Records and pretty much went straight to number 1 on the UK album charts. And of course, being major Catfish and the Bottlemen fans, we got the album straight away. Here are our thoughts after our first listen of ‘The Ride’.

The album starts strong with the fantastic ‘7’. Anyone who managed to catch The Bottlemen on tour last November will recognise this track, as it was the first taste of a new song on the live set lists. This song is nothing short of great and sets high expectations for the album to follow. Varying beats and tempo create energy throughout the track, as Van McCann’s passionate vocals bring an exciting edge. The track is topped off with sweet guitar riffs and solos. This gripping track is a powerful way to kick off the album!

This is then followed by two more familiar tracks that were both released ahead of the album – ‘Twice’ and ‘Soundcheck’. Both of these tracks follow the bar set by ‘7’, being powerful, big tunes with catchy choruses. It seems that every song on this album are incredible stand-alone anthems, but are also equally as powerful as part of the flow of the album.

Next up is ‘Postpone’ and Van’s voice grabs you immediately. His vocals sound almost isolated which showcases his unique tone, which sounds simply stunning. This is the first unheard track for us and it’s incredible.

Anything’ is a track that gets you moving. Its strong beat and arresting guitar solo adds a more rocky edge to this track.

Glasgow’ is the first acoustic track on the album. Catfish and the Bottlemen do acoustic tracks brilliantly, as they earlier proved with ‘Hourglass’ from the debut album. This track is stripped back and allows those strong yet sweet vocals to take over. This track is soft, but still just as powerful as the tracks that surround it.

Probably our favourite track on the album after one listen is ‘Oxygen’. It’s actually extremely hard to pick a favourite from an album like this, however for us, ‘Oxygen ‘proves how Catfish and the Bottlemen’s sound has developed and grown stronger following the success of their previous album ‘The Balcony’. We really like the strong beat to this track and the catchy chorus. Here is a song that will sound absolutely incredible live!

Red’ acts as another example of how their music has developed into an even bigger being. This track is strong with a big sound and sweet guitar licks

The last two tracks on the album are ‘Heathrow’ and ‘Outside’. Heathrow is another acoustic track, which makes your hairs stand on end. This track again features amazing vocals. ‘Outside’ is another huge track that could easily be an arena-filling track, making an extremely fantastic end to the album.

Overall this album is simply incredible. Each track is powerful and the album flows so well. The reaction to ‘The Ride’ has been phenomenal too, proving it to be a very successful album, and further proving that Catfish and the Bottlemen are one of the most exciting and popular bands around right now. Catch them on tour this November (if you are lucky enough to secure yourself a ticket) where they play their biggest show to date at Wembley arena!!!!

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SPOTLIGHT : THE TWITCHERS

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We have most certainly told you about these boys before, but we can’t help but spotlight them this month. Let’s face it – we love The Twitchers! Their sound boasts fast paced energy that gets you moving with catchy choruses and a captivating, raw lead guitar riffs. Their influences stand clear in their tracks, channelling early Arctic Monkeys vibes that we adore. This four-piece hail from the North West and have managed to make waves in Cheltenham following their earlier appearance at Glos-tone-beret. They have 2 brilliant EP’s up on Spotify for your listening pleasure so check them out!!

 

Tracks to check out : Skint, Where are they now? and Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants

19.05.16 TEN TOMBS//OPTIKAL

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You may remember from previous issues Cheltenham based hip-hop/alternative trio, Spoils. Last Month it was revealed that the trio had decided to move on and go their separate ways. Danny Thomas (bassist) and Lewis Abbot (Lead singer/synth) re-branded as ‘Mass Spectrum’ with drummer Josh Waterfield joining them. As well as the band Mass Spectrum being formed, Tom Westcott, previous Lead singer and member of Spoils, has joined forces with Joe Dixon to form Optikal.

Friday 19th May saw Optikal perform their first gig. Although Dixon was absent from the set due to lack of rehearsal time, this didn’t stop Tom Westcott from performing an energetic and enjoyable set, which is now the talk of Cheltenham town.

The 20-30 mins set saw Westcott showing off his ability to spit bars, with his lyrics making people cheer and laugh in enjoyment.

It was nice to hear one of the old Spoils tracks ‘Need to Know’ played, although the trio are no longer its great to see that both bands are still playing the tracks that the people of Cheltenham loved and know.

Over all Optikal delivered an insane set of catchy beats, energetic jumping around the stage and brought with them one of the biggest crowds of the night. We can’t wait to hopefully see these guys again and hear more of their stuff over the next year!

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As always Ten Tombs played an incredible set. Dom’s great hair was bouncy as always, and the tightness of the 4 of them and their energy seems to develop every time these guys step on stage. We were treated to hearing one of their new songs due to be released over the summer. Their new track consists of a catchy sound that is hard to not dance along to; it has a summery feel and feels like it could be the theme tune to a compilation of good summer memories.

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Overall the gig was brilliant and a great way to send us all off into the summer break!

 

Photos : Lily Maggs

SPOTLIGHT : VIRGIN KIDS

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This band hailing from London have really caught our attention this month with their ‘lo-fi’ scuzzy sound, which blends garage rock with punk with indie great-ness! NME has described Virgin Kids as the UK’s answer to Black Lips, who they are often compared to.

Virgin Kids began as a bedroom project and they are now storming the UK with their debut album ‘Greasewheel’ (which is pizza by the way). The album is fantastic and flows so well. The sound is so deep, it’s hard to believe that they are just a three-piece band and the tracks would sound perfect in small sweaty venues as well as bigger spaces and festivals due to the quick tempo and catchy hooks. Their tracks are energetic, fun and will have you moving along to them in no time! Be sure to check this band out and catch them on the festival circuit this summer!

 

Tracks to check out : Be Your Friend, Bruised Knees and Cracks In Colour

 

24.05.16: COURAGE MY LOVE//ALL EARS AVOW// FLOORBOARDS // MASS SPECTRUM

We recently returned to the Frog & Fiddle for a tremendous and well-anticipated line-up consisting of Rivers, Mass Spectrum, Floorboards, All Ears Avow and headline act Courage My Love.

Fortunately we managed to catch the end of Mass Spectrums set, and as per usual these guys were nothing short of great, their unique and catchy sound radiated through the crowds and set a great mood for the night.

Floorboards were on next, and wow what a great performance they put on. This four piece definitely know what they’re doing, integrating emo with rock sounds to put on an unforgettable show. ‘Whiskey’ balanced passionate vocals and catchy guitar whereas songs like ‘Feel’, a personal fave, were more stripped back allowing those hard-hitting vocals to take you back to those emo routes. Engaging with the crowd from go, with vocalist Jay even joining the crowd, these guys are a must see for a tight and passionate performance.FLRIMG_1139 copy.jpg

Following up with All Ears Avow, I know we mention them a lot here at Spilt Milk but we just can’t get enough of their infectious songs! Starting off with well-loved ‘Wings on Butterflies’ bought in the crowd with it’s familiar and catchy sound, much like other popular songs like ‘I Can Help You To Bend’ which involves the memorable egg shaker! Mixing old and new songs, what a great gig to start off their tour and set up high spirits for the headline act.IMG_1298 AEA.jpg

This is the first time hearing Courage My Love and it’s clear this emo rock 3 piece, female fronted band are onto a good thing! Mixing upbeat songs with melodic vocals got everyone moving, their onstage chemistry radiated into the crowd leaving their fans wanting more. It’s sure to say this Canadian band are going on to big things, we hope to see more of them in the UK!

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Overall a really great night, with highly talented artists and a range of music styles, be sure to check all of the bands out!

 

Photos : Becky Woods

Spotlight: Beans On Toast

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Beans on Toast is a British folk singer from Essex, who has so far successfully released 7 albums, all of which capture his brilliantly honest insight into uplifting music. He’s on Xtra Mile Recordings alongside other equally inspiring artists like Frank Turner. His raw approach is totally refreshing and bound to get you hooked on his comedic but soulful music. Also so great to see an artist support small music scenes, as Beans has recently played Cheltenham on his ‘Small towns’ tour!

Check out: ‘A Whole Lot of Loving’, strongly recommended!!!

SIOUX FALLS EP PROMO SHOW : 12.05.16 W/ TEN TOMBS//AS THE SUN SLEEPS//FLOORBOARDS

 

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After Sioux Falls showed up on our radar last month, we were really excited to hear that their debut EP ‘All Talk Is Small Talk’ would be released very soon, and we were even more excited to finally catch this pop-punk four piece live at their EP promo show! And of course they were supported by strong line up of ridiculously talented bands!

The first band that we caught were Spilt Milk favourites – Ten Tombs! Lets face it, these guys always sound amazing. Each track is strong and gripping with their raw, grunge-tinged sound and a lot of character. Even without a pre-written set list, these boys powered through a mix of tracks effortlessly, including EP tracks as well as a couple of new ones! They ended the set on old much-loved ‘Demons’, which sounded as great as ever! With excellent, sharp guitar riffs and a big sound, Ten Tombs always deliver an amazing set!

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Next to take to the 2pigs stage were a band that Spilt Milk hasn’t caught before, and we are slightly saddened that we hadn’t seen them until now, because now we are enlightened! Perfectly pop-punk and Swindon based – As The Sun Sleeps! They brought a fantastic energy to the stage, which had the audience bouncing along with them. We really like As The Sun Sleeps, they obviously know what they’re doing, performing a tight set and they clearly have a great chemistry between them. A stand out track for us was ‘Nostalgia’ – a pop-punk anthem about growing up. It’s fast paced with catchy hooks and group backing vocals of “ooh-ooh-ooh-oooooh”, which had the crowd singing back at the band! It definitely made us feel nostalgic for being young and listening to bands like Jimmy Eat World and Sum 41 amongst others… They performed a great set and now we’re hooked!

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Floorboards were next, and they were incredible! This Cheltenham based four piece give a fantastic blend of emo and post-hardcore sounds for a captivating show. Their tracks vary from fast paced and energetic to stripped back and raw with passionate vocals that draw you in. We are definitely hooked on these guys and are desperate to hear more and catch a gig again soon.

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The headliner Sioux Falls were really who we were all there to see! The room filled with fans and friends as the atmosphere buzzed with anticipation for Sioux Falls to enter the stage.Despite there not being a lot of material from these boys online yet, they have built up quite a following from the sheer amount of gigs that they have been playing.

All tracks from the upcoming ‘All Talk Is Small Talk’ were on the set list tonight mixed in with a few very well executed covers including ‘Growing Pains’ – Neck Deep, ‘Cherry’ – Mooseblood and ‘Dammit’ – Blink 182. These tracks had the audience singing along and kept their interest throughout the set. The band clearly has excellent chemistry that translates in their music and stage presence. Halfway through the set came a few acoustic tracks, performed by Callum alone, and creating a connection with the crowd. Overall the band played a very well constructed set with a lot of energy! One of the standout tracks for us was the first single off the EP –‘I Fell Faster’. It has a great rhythm to it and strong, emotional lyrics that are relatable to the audience. This one is sure to get stuck in your head! Check it out online now!

Overall it was a fantastic night with an array of very talented local bands! It has left us in anticipation for the release of ‘All Talk Is Small Talk’, which is bound to have great success. We feel like this has only scratched the surface of Sioux Falls and we can’t wait to hear more from them!

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Sioux Falls played;

-Pitstarter

-Far Gone

-Empty Space

-Growing Pains

-Stutter

-In the Back of My Room

-Cherry

-I Fell Faster

-Heart and Home

-That’s How It Seems To Me

-Dammit

 

Photos: Courtney Brock