JAGWAR MA – ‘Every Now and Then’ Album Review

Australian band Jagwar Ma drew comparisons with dance rock artists such as Happy Mondays and ‘Screamadelica’ era Primal Scream upon release of their 2013 debut ‘Howlin’. The band’s second album is another collection of dance-y, psychedelic songs guaranteed to please fans of the band. The band (now a trio with the arrival of bassist Jack Freeman) have just finished the UK leg of an international tour and released ‘Every Now and Then’ in mid October. The album was recorded in several locations spanning more than one continent – including a studio the band helped build themselves in a rural French farmhouse. It also features several special guest appearances from Arctic Monkey’s producer James Ford and Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa amongst others.

Immediately apparent upon listening to the album is a sense of fun and playfulness.  Lead single ‘OB-1’ is named after the Oberheim OB-1 synthesiser, whilst seven minute epic ‘Give Me a Reason’ features an extended outro involving the band giving instructions for a dance move called ‘The Amoeba’, a moment that could be characterised as both sublime and ridiculous. Whilst these songs, along with ‘Slipping’ are stand-out tracks, this sense of lightheartedness continues throughout.

Despite its many influences, ‘Every Now and Then’ manages to be strikingly original. This is perhaps actually because of these influences: there are so many of them, from such eclectic sources, that if one track reminds you of something, the next certainly won’t. The album moves between electronica, psychedelic rock, soul and numerous other genres – in the case of ‘Give Me a Reason’ often in the same song.

In comparison to their first album, ‘Every Now and Then’ leans slightly more in the electronic direction. However, there are more than enough similarities to ensure that anybody who enjoyed ‘Howlin’ will also enjoy ‘Every Now and Then’. Meanwhile Jagwar Ma’s lengthy touring schedule, which has included support slots with fellow Aussies Tame Impala may help bring ‘Every Now and Then’ to a wider audience.

 

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LIVE REVIEW : MISFIRES//YVES : LEVEL3 : 13/10/16

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YVES//LEVEL3

We may or may not have mentioned just how great the underground indie scene is in Swindon at the moment. You may not believe it, but it is true – trust us. We headed to local club venue Level 3 where Yves and Misfires were supporting Lancaster hailing – Lake Komo.

If you read Spilt Milk on the reg, then you should know how good Misfires are, and they are on the up. The small venue filled up quickly for these boys opening set where they showcased their high-energy sound, blending a few old favourites with some new material too. A sing along surged during ‘22’, which is a track that put Misfires on the map! Its sunny indie feel got the room bouncing and crowd were singing and moving along through their set and it definitely set the atmosphere. ‘Coming Home’, Misfires newest single, ended the set with power and no doubt left an impression on the crowd. Check out Misfires if you haven’t already!

Next up were Yves, and to put it simply, we were really looking forward to see their set. After narrowly missing them opening the Truck festival main stage due to the manic traffic going into the site, we were itching to finally see these guys play live. And they delivered!! Their sound live is a perfect match to how they sound recorded. With carefully constructed tracks that are very well put together and incredible energy, you can feel their passion. Their tracks are exciting, layering an infectious beat with a commanding bass line and fast paced indie pop guitar that captivates the audience. Unfortunately the crowd here was a little bit lacking, but the ones who were watching Yves certainly were engaged and hooked on their sound. Overall we thought they were fantastic! And what’s better is that they will be supporting Public access TV in London very soon, so keep an eye out to catch Yves in the future!

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MISFIRES//LEVEL3

 

LIVE REVIEW : THE PIGEON DETECTIVES W/ FOSSETTE : THE LOUISIANA : 10/10/16

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Flashback to December 2008 at the Oasis leisure centre in Swindon; I was 13 years old and I saw one of my favourite bands, The Pigeon Detectives, live. This was a turning point gig for me for a few reasons. 1. It was the first concert that I had been to which was standing not seated (and therefore a proper concert in my eyes – I felt so grown up). 2. It was on a school night (absolute rebel). And 3. The Pigeon Detectives were one of the best live bands that I had ever seen. And they still are. Talk about nostalgia or what? 8 years and 2 albums later, here we are – The Pigeon Detectives announced a small tour, playing some of the most intimate venues in the UK, including the Louisiana in Bristol. Most, if not all, of these dates sold out pretty quick and Spilt Milk were lucky enough to get a ticket to the Bristol date!

The small venue hadn’t filled much before the show; a few twenty-somethings walking around the pub in old Pigeon Detectives t-shirts was about it, leaving a fairly sparse crowd for opening band Fossette. Fosette are a Bristol based indie rock band, and a perfect fit as supports for The Pigeon Detectives. Despite a cold holding them back, they still powered through their set and impressed us! Their sound is upbeat and fast paced with tenacious energy and euphoric guitar licks. Their set contained a back catalogue of strong indie anthems that had the crowd moving. Be sure to check these guys out!

Next up were The Pigeon Detectives themselves. The intimate venue filled up and anticipation grew. For most of us, this gig had been a long time coming. The Pigeon Detectives opened strong with ‘Animal’ sparking an instant sing along and had frontman, Matt Bowman, springing around the stage and off of monitors. Next followed classic track ‘I Found Out’ from the first album –this was guaranteed to get the rest of the crowd moving, moshing and chanting. This track carried powerful energy with commanding guitar riffs and strong beats wrapped up in a 2008 throwback frenzy. The next track ‘What Can I Say’ gave us a moment to catch our breath as the tempo slowed a little. That dominant drumbeat had us moving in time before the guitars ripped in creating a deep, layered sound. The next track brought back the chaos – ‘Romantic Type’. Another early anthem from these boys, following suit in their guitar fuelled indie rock. Once again Bowman was all over the small stage, bursting with energy, and took to the crowd for a spurt of crowd surfing. Two new songs came next; ‘Wolves’ and ‘Lose Control’, which gave us a taste of future pigeon Detectives tracks. They presented a developed version of the sound that we know and love. They powered through some more classic anthems, including ‘Emergency’ and ‘I’m A Liar’. ‘Bowman invited one dedicated fan from the front row to duet during ‘Emergency’, which highlighted the intimacy and how special this gig felt – and this kid was pretty good so fair play! A few newer tracks from recent albums followed, and the energetic disorder followed its pattern too, before peaking during the encore. Crowd surfing, moshing, dancing and singing filled the Louisiana from the front row to the back row and the energy was reflected on stage. The encore included some of the Pigeon’s biggest tracks – ‘Everybody Wants Me’, ‘Take Her Back’ and finally ‘I’m Not Sorry’ which saw an lively midway stage invasion and had Bowman climbing up over monitors and amp stacks.

This gig certainly delivered! Great tunes and a great atmosphere matched with the excitement of future tours and music from this Leeds five piece! And what’s better is that they are touring again so get on that!

Long live indie rock yeah?

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SPOTLIGHT: BIG SPRING

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We saw Big Spring bring their alternative rock sound to the Main Stage at Underground Festival this year, where we got hooked on their energy and melody driven sound!

This 4 piece from London are rising stars on the rock scene, with talented song writing, driving guitars and big sounds that combine a mix of metal and indie influences perfectly to produce a unforgettably unique sound.

Currently on tour with the talented Black Foxxes these guys are earning a great name for themselves all over the UK, we also had the pleasure of catching them in Cheltenham, passionate delivery and high energy showed us what these guys are all about.

Get yourself along to one of their shows and be sure to check out tracks:

‘On A Bamboo Sleeping Mat’ and ‘Buzzards Leave the Bones’

SPOTLIGHT : PINEGROVE

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This is a really interesting band, and I can’t put my finger on what drew me to these guys, but whatever it is, I like it!

Pinegrove are an American indie rock band hailing from New Jersey, according to Wikipedia… Their sound definitely fits this label, but I feel that it’s a little less ‘rock’, but is injected with tinges of it. Their sound is layered with beautiful guitar strums; a melodic hum from keys and a drum beat like a heart beat. Their tracks vary in pace, some being slower with a slightly sleepy feeling and others grasping that rock label and pulling in electric guitars with a past tempo. The vocals are raw and evoke emotion, with that American country accent that draws you in. In fact, Pinegrove remind me a little bit of The Tallest Man On Earth, in terms of the sunny, hazy pace and in the vocals for sure – just with a bigger, deeper sound.

Pinegrove are certainly making their mark following a UK and European tour! Be sure to check these guys out, and catch them next time they head over!!!

 

Tracks to check out : Size Of The Moon, Old Friends and Angelina

 

words: Courtney Brock

RADAR: RORY INDIANA

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On this months radar after we saw an incredible performance in Cheltenham, for Summer Fest, earlier this summer. These lads are oozing with talent; their vast spectrum of sound takes influence from a range of genres making their fresh Brit rock sound appealing to all!

Tight riffs flow into intricate melodies combined with punchy rhythm with distinct vocals that bring it all together, touching on a similar sound to artists like Royal Blood and Biffy Clyro.

These guys have been captivating audiences all over the UK with a summer full of great festival slots such as: Truck and Y Not festival! As well as this, the Brighton four-piece will be embarking on a small UK tour this October with support from the talented MassMatiks and wonderful chaps in Big Spring.

If you don’t already know about these guys then you’ll be kicking yourself for missing out on such a catchy and well-rounded sound! Go see these guys at a gig; you’re bound to fall in love with them and their exciting potential!

Check out tracks like: ‘Leave Me’, ‘Ruling Class Crooks’ ,‘Sanctuary’

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WELCOME TO UOG//FIRST GIG OF THE YEAR

Hosted at The Frog and Fiddle, Cheltenham, the Welcome to UOG music night is always the curtain raiser that cuts the red tape of the University band season, with a new batch of fresh faced culture kids armed with their beer tokens.There is no better event to provide right amount of student and graduate acts to give you the customary dipping toes treatment that should only wet your gig night appetite for the next 9 months, until May finally sticks its nose in.

Starting off the evening event was Demi Marriner accompanied by her band, with a set of pop/country originals that saw her debut EP reach the top spot of Apple’s UK country charts.

Having performed with her band across cheltenham frequently in the previous year, as well as on her own for a wealth of summer dates, Demi showed that she is consistant performer more than capable of handling an audience. Tracks like Pretty and C You registered as fan favorites to a crowd of familiar university faces whilst tracks like My Church and Don’t Put Dirt On My Grave Just Yet gave the set a heavier slant that worked well given the environment. Issues that stood out for me was the consistent playing of piano throughout most of the tracks which i felt cluttered most songs, perhaps less playing via this instrumentation would add to the set’s dynamics. Again, switching the stage piano to a warmer electric piano would add a degree of warmth, with less attack to soften its impact in the live scenario.

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Eden In Progress continued in the barn, with a style of heavy american rock with frequent strangs of emo slipping in via the bassist’s backing vocals. These screamo style backing vocals struggled to really cut through the mix which made it difficult to maintain their sound effectively, with a front man who appeared to be a bit much to be frank. All his crowd interaction seemed overplayed, acting as if he was to cool to be there. Most tracks were okay but the main vocal couldn’t quite hold its own to make chorus’ singable, as well as being very Americanised which can become an annoyance. General structuring was also amiss, with a few ill placed breakdowns that arrive out of nowhere which hindered the overall outcome.

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With a switch up in musical styling OPTIKALL took to the barn with a remedy of hip hop beats, asserted by a wealth of positive strutting and songwriting. The vocal performance from this solo act was calm and collected with each line really registering well in its phrasing, but would benefit perhaps from pre recorded harmonies to bed in certain lines and structural changes – this was felt particularly during Open Door with the chorus’ final two lines being effectively catchy but could be bettered by a bit more vocal bedding. Further tracks such as Stand With Me and Colours provided a more than the ample amount of head nodding and foot tapping needed to keep the barn moving, with a bit more bass needed perhaps via some 808’s during Stand With Me. Best song of the set was Unfair which really rattled the front of house with an acute sharp vocal delivery to match, this rap styling is something I would like to hear more frequently from this artist as it felt as though it is something OPTIKALL understates. I would say this act was the best of the evening, being an easy character on stage to warm to – with lines such as ‘It’s great to be back, I’m a KP and its shit’, allowing a trustful giggle from those at the barrier. What I would say is stage wise there needs to be something else, perhaps a bit more kit to play with to keep the audience’s focus or a visual via stage lighting or some form of projection to really cross all those t’s.

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Finishing up the night was All Ears Avow, who I have previously covered live via this magazine. Still doing what they do best, AEA delivered a polished display and sounded as big as their now weighty local reputation expects. Their ability to build dynamically into clearly established chorus sections allows for a rounded full sound, with tracks such as Better Now and Weight Of The World being the standouts. It is difficult to criticize this act given their relentless schedule and the determination these guys have, with what seems like a continuous gigging roster that covers the length of anywhere not restricted by sea. One thing I would say is it sometimes feels like you only need to see these guys once, which is especially harsh to what these guy do, but I’d like to see a new four track release for them to battle round with in the live environment. These folks are professionals in their own right, with huge kit and the move into a mostly digital backline to stop all those live variables – But for me, all these guys need is a bit more variation.

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Words by Lewis Abbott//Photos by Lily Maggs