Launching their first campaign outside of their native Turkey, Oceans of Noise are the kind of rock band it’s easy to get along with. Despite having an outrageous amount of success in their home country, Eurovision Song Contest victories and a loyal fan-base, rock fans should have no concerns about language barriers or unusual stylings – this is epic, landscape, quadruple-gatefold scale symphonic rock, with arresting imagery, oodles of musical skill and synths and guitars working in tandem to scramble your brains before you’ve even got to the bar.
Talking of the bar, Oceans of Noise are holding a launch party for their self-titled EP at London’s ultra-fashionable, Omeara Bar under London Bridge. Should you be lucky enough to get an invite, do the right thing and ask the barkeep for a couple of shots of Turkey’s national drink, raki to toast the band and yourself for having such good taste. Tempting as it may be, we wouldn’t recommend oceans, seas or even lakes of the stuff, though we’re fairly certain you’ll find the music intoxicating enough.
If there’s one thing the Brits are good at it’s complaining and making loud music, and who better to prove this point than heavy rock outfit, Anarchy Reigns. Led by the already iconic Hitch, the band have already got an army of fans before they even released a note of music – their social media campaign which throws down the gauntlet for followers to takes photos of minor examples of anarchy (walking near “don’t walk on the grass” signs and the like) has garnered thousands of followers and zillions of shares. Now embarking on stage two of their bid to conquer the world, they release the video to Liars, Liars, a no-nonsense (or possibly all-nonsense) diatribe against politicians. Not specific politicians but the whole lot of em. In for a penny!
Though with an element of humour which has long enjoyed a tradition in British rock music, the musicianship is top drawer with proper, honest to God riffs and drum pummeling. With a call to arms which is already selling merchandise to their army of fans (hand grenade stress-relievers, anyone?), another single and an album are just around the corner. Join up or look daft.
So, what brew to select to go along with your Anarchy Reigns listening experience? Well, we were sorely tempted to go for copious pints of Trooper, in honour of the mighty Maiden, but it would surely be wrong not to swig back some JD whilst flicking the horns?
Midweek drinking is a terrific thing, until you bring work into the equation. No matter how good an idea it feels to keep putting off the ‘one last drink’, there is something about a midweek hangover which is a crime against humanity. Numbness and pain somehow managing to co-exist for a day which lasts far longer than 24 hours. Heavyball know this and share our pain. Their latest album, “When Can You Start?” is a concept album relating the final week in the life of an office worker whose hopes and dreams are quashed at every turn. Hope springs eternal but sometimes, the refuge of the pub is the best option.
Though several of the tracks have a jaunty, two-tone feel, the mood across the album varies from both joyous to despairing, perfectly summing up the lives of many stuck in a dead-end job: it’s a means to an end but it can soon become a pit it’s impossible to escape from.
To accompany a suitably mood-swinging listen to the album we suggest a proper pint – no American IPAs or fizzy 3% stuff, go for something which tastes lovely but quickly turns into a terrible mistake without you realising until it’s far too late (probably the following day). Can’t go wrong with Black Sheep. Look, posh Black Sheep!
As you might imagine, we strongly oppose drinking and driving at the best of times. To clarify, we have the same view of flying a plane and drinking, not as abstract a comment as you might think, with Ikkarus frontman, Javier, having a secret life as an airline pilot. Ikkarus have elements of contemporary rock, alongside an early 90’s sound, which evokes aural memories of Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers. The funk elements is an odd addition to the mix but for the most part works well, cutting through the guitar and vocals and changing the structure of the songs enough that each track has a very definite personality of its own.
Though based in Mexico, Ikkarus have a sound which is typically alt-rock American, with dashes of Linkin Park more than a little liberally scattered through the tracks. Lead single from the album, 01800, showcases the band at their top speed, a punky, vicious track which grabs hold quickly and refuses to let go. It’s a primer for an album which varies from bouncy rock to atmospheric washes of sound which go beyond mere genre sterotypes.
What to drink with Ikkarus? Well, no alcohol, so that’s tequila out – here’s an alcohol-free margarita, livened up with jalepenos!
As we tremble in the corner of the pub, waiting for the inevitable nuclear apocalypse, it’s comforting to know that some brave souls are picking up their guitars and setting them to stun.
Splitting his time between the US and London, Cholesterol Jones is both an animator and a musician, using these skills to set the brains of sensible members of society whirring into thoughts of action, and the dumber elements a slap around the ears. Satan’s in Heaven, the lead track of a forthcoming EP of the same name, is a case in point: tricky to pigeon-hole musically (a bit country; a bit singer-songwriter; a bit gospel; a bit TV advert jingle), it uses the cleverness of the lyrics and outstanding animated video to convey a message which, although easy to understand, is in no way condescending or preachy to its audience.
Impressively, the song sticks in your head for days: the simplicity makes you realise exactly how hard many artists try to cram as much into three minutes as possible, yet by stripping away the flotsam and jetsam, the true genius can ring out. There’s a nagging feeling we should have been following Cholesterol way before we heard Satan’s in Heaven, but, as they say, it’s never too late. But what beverage to celebrate this discovery? We reckon something unassuming but deadly, so what better than the green fairy herself? Chin-Chin!
As the nights draw in and the opportunities for settling back in the rocking chair with a glass in one hand and the gramophone needle in the other grow, we’re finding ourselves more inclined towards the soothing storytelling, as opposed to the death metal we occasionally happen upon.
Praise due then for Julia Mascetti, a harpist in the Joanna Newsom mould but with the added strings attached, if you like, of being a Brit abroad – in Tokyo, no less. As well as being a prolific blogger, she has grown an audience of local music fans who have been attracted like moths to an open fridge to her shadowy indie folk world of longing and warnings, combining her harp prowess with local musicians playing Japanese instruments. It’s a combination which is both creepy and invigorating and with a sudden thirst for mead. That’s why it says mead in the title. Here’s a picture of some mead, some places to find Julia and a video. Chin-chin.
Ms. Mohammed’s debut Alibi see’s her bring her feisty side right from the go. A mix of tribalistic dhol drums and a traditional kit give her rocky sound an etherial, exotic edge. Her Alibi EP explores this world music and rock mix to great effect, also dipping into Indie and in the last track on the EP ‘Written in Time’, a samba break down. Give the Alibi video a listen below.
So… Ms. mohammed plays traditional punky, PJ Harvey styled rock music BUT, all importantly, she infuses her music with a splash of the etherial and exotic. This this why I would compare Ms. Mohammed to Deperado’s. Traditional Larger with a tequila twist!
The NaveBlues are a new blues rock band hailing from Norwegian, however their strand of Blues Rock instantly conjures the image of a US bar in Tennessee (clue no.1)
Their new EP is something to behold. Searing harmonica tones fit for all the great blues players coupled with rocky outbursts. They feel as though you should be sat in a little ark bar drinking whisky (clue no.2) with a toothpick hanging out of your mouth, watching head Naver; Nave Pundik play the s*** out his harmonica while you nod in approval.
I feel the track from their new EP which captures this image best is The Ghost Collector, 4 minutes of pure jamming; guitar and harmonica melting faces all over it! Its like hearing Joe Bonamassa shred a Harmonica. It ROCKS man, I want to see them live.
NOW what drink would represent this bluesy, rocky harmonica, guitar greatness. It has a great rocky energy, but it harks back to old blues classics, and when blues is done like this, it’s aged well… Its an old classic but it feels fresh, timeless. Got to be a bottle of extra strong aged Jack.
Modiwo are a Romanian band, though are more like a solo project with lots of musical helpers. Their figurehead, singer Oxana Gherghel, is eminently likeable, just like the band’s music – it’s traditional europop on one very basic level but clings to your brain far more than flotsam you might watch on Eurovision. Perhaps it’s the combined musical prowess; perhaps the slightly ethereal vocals with their subtly exotic twang; perhaps it’s the super-trippy video which accompanies it, leagues ahead of anything else we’ve seen recently. Maybe it’s the exotic folklore which continues to flow from their Transylvania base. So, what to gently sip whilst drifting off to their honeyed pop?
We’ve opted for a couple of shot of palincă, a spirit brewed in the Carpathian basin, in the shadow of Dracula’s castle. Made from plums, apricots, apples, pears, or cherries, it originated in Hungary, though it has a very similar variant in Romania.
Sweden’s Pink Milk are a male and female duo who excel at contorting deafening sound into strange and wonderful sculptures. Their sound is both hypnotic and bewildering, as much influenced by the spectral Gotland backdrop in which their album was recorded in as the dark ideas spewing forth from their minds.
Their earlier singles have received rave reviews from the likes of Clash and 6Music, in particular their disarming song and video “Detroit” and their slowly unraveling cover version of Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is”, which is turned inside out and becomes both a lowing lullaby and sinister entreaty. As an entity, they are a testament to how minimalism can actually be huge, expansive and incredibly powerful, and their album, Purple, a rare treat. And that drink to accompany your listening experience? Oh, yeah…