Author: Matthew Barlow

Swervedriver — Future Ruins

Swervedriver Future Ruins Dangerbird Swervedriver came of age in the great early 90s era of British shoegaze music.  Originally hailing from Oxford, from whence the greatest of the shoegazers, Ride, came, Swervedriver relocated to London early on.  In all honesty, though, they were never really a shoegazer band, rather, they were a rock’n’roll band that had some shoegaze elements, particularly in tracks like ‘Rave Down’ from their 1991 début, Raise, and ‘Duress’ from 1993’s Mezcal Head.  The latter introduced a much harder edge to their music, more grinding and chugging guitars and bass.  And the rest of their 90s output saw the band gently move towards a more basic rock’n’roll sound before they split following 1998’s 99th Dream.  They were burned out from the record/tour/record process, to say nothing of the heavy drug culture that developed around their studio, Bad Earth, in Farringdon, London. Frontman Adam Franklin bounced around here and there, did some solo work, another band called Toshack Highway, and a few other things.  He and the other remaining founding member, guitarist Jimmy Hartridge and bassist Steve George and drummer Jez Hindmarsh (both of whom joined for Mezcal Head) decided to reform in 2008 with a well-received performance at Coachella.  This led to more touring, which led to more touring, which led to being on Fallon, which lead to the first reunion album, 2014’s most excellent I Wasn’t Born to Lose...

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Smells Like Teen Spirit

Sometimes classic rock is so deeply embedded into our consciousness, we forget what it actually sounds like.  We all know ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ but when was the last time anyone actually listened to the song.  It’s hard to do this with something we’ve heard 456,091,149,885 times, and that was just last week.  It gets worse, of course, when you can actually remember when the classic track was new and fresh and mind-blowing.  But we can never return to the first time we heard it. So last week, I was at the gym and was sick of whatever I was listening to,...

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The Dogs — Before Brutality

The Dogs Before Brutality Drabant Music The Dog are a punk band from Oslo.  Formed away back in 2011, they released their début album in 2013, and ever since January 2014, they have put out a new album every January. In Norway, frontman Kristopher Shau is celebrity of sorts, engaging in performance art, hosting one of the country’s biggest podcasts, and even hosting a TV show on the Seven Deadly Sins that stirred up a bit of controversy.  But in the rest of the world, they’re a little less famous.  They did win Little Steven’s Coolest Song of the Year...

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Red Rum Club — Matador

Red Rum Club Matador Modern Sky Red Rum Club are from Liverpool.  Also from Liverpool is Echo & The Bunnymen,  Why does this matter?  Because Red Rum Club sound like an updated version of the Bunnymen,  Shimmering guitars, quick beats, and frontman Fran Doran sounds a bit like a cross between Ian McCullough and Noel Burke (the temporary frontman of the Bunnymen c. 1990).  And yet, this is a brand new bag.  RRC also have this bizarre mariachi horn.  You’d think this would be a bad idea.  It is not.  In fact, this is some seriously good shit. Doran...

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The Best Music of 2018, Part II

This is the second part of my completely subjective best of 2018, music-wise.  Part I was published on Monday.  Music is a central part of my life, there is almost always music playing in our house, in our cars.  Or I am playing music.  I have a collection of musician friends, I am always amazed by their creativity.  And in the dark times we live in, I find I need music more than ever to give me some balance.  So, without further ado, the best of the second half of 2018: Wooden Shjips, V (Thrill Jockey) Essential psych rock from San...

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