Bazooka Zero Hits LP Review

Single, EP and Album Reviews, Uncategorized
Bazooka; Credit Sarah

Athens-based psychedelic punk outfit, Bazooka

Bazooka shook us up last year with their turbulent psychedelic EP: ‘Zougla’ (‘Jungle’ released Nov 2017) – in case you missed it, here’s our review. Their chaotic and acidic punk 4-track EP has now given birth to this completely face-melting full-length record, Zero Hits.

Returning this January with their 3rd LP – and for the month that’s in it, it’s been the most well timed irreverent psych-punk record to lift those ominous clouds.

Their lead single: ‘Fylaki’ (‘Prison’) in the bands words: “..was born from the thought that we are seemingly free, yet we are locked up in our own mental cell. You know, we create our personal hell and we don’t even know it. And some of us even believe that it’s a place of love and happiness.”

The Athens based four-piece have irrepressible passion, and you cannot help but feed off their contagious energy. Singing entirely in their Greek mother tongue is of no barrier, sonically, you will appreciate just how ambitious and different their sound is; driving surf-rock crossed with new wave and laced with fuzzy guitar riffs. It would certainly find a fitting home on BBC Radio 6 Music – a refreshing spin for Steve Lamacq’s Roundtable we reckon!

Bazooka LP Artwork; George Chandrinos.jpeg

Bazooka LP artwork credit; George Chandrinos

Zero Hits (released via Inner Ear Records) is out now: Inner Ear RecordsiTunesBandCamp

Follow Bazooka on: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

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Mark O’Reilly L’Etre Politique Album Review

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Marc O'Reilly Band; Kirsty Burge Photography

Marc O’Reilly pictured with his band; Photo Credit: Kirsty Burge Photography

Marc O’Reilly is an artist that cannot be defined simply as folk or blues, but instead teases elements of both, achieving optimal emotional depth that is unwinding and stirring. He understands his power behind those versatile vocals and in his wake, balancing and challenging genres. And between the trio’s synchronised drums, keys and guitars, they maintain off the scale rhythms and impeccable timings. The standout guitar solos of Walk With Me and Be Alive almost rival the folk elements.

Yet when those folk elements arrive mid-way, it’s exquisite – the unwinding, acoustics  of Fire with its sweeping strings and echoing vocals provides momentary calm. Think White Denim at their most pared back on ‘Corsicana Lemonade’ with echoes of Nick Drake’s instrumentals on River Man (‘Five Leaves Left’).

The lighter, huskier, James Vincent McMorrow-esque vocals and barely there instrumentals of Solitary Ease and Walk With Me are absolutely sublime – we reckon a collaboration between the pair is long overdue.

On this record there are more contemporary parallels with American/Canadian artists to be drawn and it’s the sharp timings and garage-rock leanings of Quiet Place which give warm echoes of Jesse Mac Cormack. While it is Walk With Me that takes centre stage, channelling the Americana-Psychedelia of White Denim.

This fourth album: ‘L’Etre Politique’ is inspired (as it’s title hints) by the politics of human interactions and of being; capitalism, war and globalisation. The album opener: Enemy Of and the epic closer: Shadows are equally full bodied explosions of guitar and drums encasing a solid record, that frames O’Reilly at his finest.

L’Etre Politique is out now via Dox Records!

Marc O'Reilly L'Etre Politique; Album Artwork

Follow Marc O’Reilly on: SPOTIFY // TWITTER // FACEBOOK // INSTAGRAM

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Jeremy Tuplin Interview

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Jeremy Tuplin Profle ShotThere’s a lot to be said for good humour – and Somerset born singer-songwriter Jeremy Tuplin certainly hits the spot with a balance of poignant delivery on his latest single: ‘Long Hot Summer’.

Perhaps it’s the upbeat melody supporting his dark lyrics, but parallels can definitely be drawn with the legends, Belle and Sebastian.

Intrigued to learn more about the great initiative of partnering and sharing all proceeds of his latest single with the environmental charity; Friends of the Earth, we caught up with Jeremy to discover more.

Your new single hits on global warming, an issue that universally affects us, but in all reality, not enough of us are actively resolving – do you think many convince themselves almost into believing our damage to the planet is unrepairable and don’t consider beyond their lifetime? — What are your thoughts on the issue? 

I don’t see the downside in taking measures to be kind to the planet. No matter what school of thought you adopt on the issue – why take the risk in not being environmentally considerate? It doesn’t impinge on your freedoms as it’s a choice, but it will make you feel more connected to nature and therefore better about yourself. Seems ok to me. Plus Earth is by far the best planet out of all the planets we’ve come across. The idea of living on Mars might sound cool but the reality would be s**t. Kepler 452b could be ok, but that’s quite far away.

The charity you’re collaborating with: Friends of the Earth is a great initiative – how did this come about? — Do you work/volunteer with them or an Environmental charity? 

I think it’s a good thing to be a friend of Earth, and because the song touches on that in its own way I thought it would make me feel good about myself to donate some of the proceeds to that cause. All purchases of the track on Bandcamp will go to that.

Having a good sense of humour sure is an asset to life – your style of delivery, particularly on this track, has poignant humour — what books, films, plays or comedies do you enjoy? 

I like a lot of different stuff… a lot of absurdist humour of late, Toast Of London recently for example. Most things seem fairly absurd and ridiculous to me so I tend to be drawn to art that emphasises that. I’m reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath at the moment and I like her style.

Would it be fair to say that space and science fuel your musical inspiration – so you watched a lot of space documentaries during the production of your debut album: ‘I Dreamt I Was An Astronaut’ — tell us more…

It’s fair to say that I went through a space phase when writing and recording that album. I guess with the new stuff I’m going through more of an Earth phase. I will definitely return to space at some point though, creatively speaking.

How has country and city life compared as a musician – do you ever find London is so saturated with music that it’s maybe difficult to gain enough support – how is the music scene back home in Somerset?

I’ve been living in London for coming up to 9 years I think, so my only experience of the music scene in Somerset was when I was just starting out at open mic nights and small folk clubs. Haven’t really played there since but I would like to – if any Somerset promoters want to book me then please get in touch. I play a lot of gigs in London though, there are loads of good venues and gig nights. Possibly true that people are more receptive and up for buying merch in other towns and on the continent, but London is still pretty great.

Jeremy Tuplin’s latest single, Long Hot Summer is out now and available on all platforms.

Join us at their next full band gig on 20th September at The Victoria, Dalston – a double headliner with Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something, full details here!

Jeremy TuplinWebsite // Twitter // Facebook // Spotify

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Introducing // Shaky Shack

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Shaky Shack; Josh Byrne (copyright)

Shaky Shack (Alex Winter & Mateusz Kosnik) – Photo credit: Josh Byrne

You cannot beat the feeling of discovering new artists with incredible potential. The instant we discovered Dublin duo, Shaky Shack, we were mesmerised. Their home-recorded and produced debut single: “Selfish Fever” is a shimmery slice of electronica-jazz paired with harmonies that would melt butter, and lyrics of palatable sweetness.

The track is a perfect lead into their smooth and super-chilled genre-bending aesthetic. Having only emerged officially as a band a few months ago, everything is still very fresh.

We spoke to one half of the band, Alex Winter, who went onto explain: “We’ve been together the last year, but we wanted to get things right before we put ourselves out there. We met through friends involved in the Dublin music scene over a year ago and have been writing together ever since. We have a strangely unique creative chemistry that works so well and we both instantly felt that creative click. We definitely bring the best out of each other.”

They are currently rehearsing ahead of gigging across Ireland: “We are mainly focusing on the release of our upcoming single ‘Pavement’ from our upcoming E.P ‘Flaked’ that is set for release in the next 2 months.”

We could definitely see their acoustics thriving in a Sofar Sounds setting!

Their debut single: “Selfish Fever” is out now and available on all platforms.

Shaky Shack: Spotify // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

The Noise Figures // Telepath Review

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The Noise Figures; Photo Credit; Fotis Milionis.jpg

If you’re chasing down a new Psych-Blues band to add to your playlist then we recommend checking out The Noise Figures and their slow burning offering of a third album: ‘Telepath’. The Greek two-piece, George Nikas (vocals, drums) and Stamos Bamparis (guitar, vocals) combine intoxicating guitar riffs and tribal drumming that dapples in the bluesy grittiness, echoing the brilliance of Drenge.

You are destined to enjoy their fuzzy vertigo running through the album which has paved way to a heavier album than their previous two – their manically satisfying guitar work, shifting in its patterns are best highlighted on tracks: Telepath, Taste Like Time and Lethargy. Like me, you might even detect a slight 90’s edge, circa Madchester, running through some of their tracks, at times vocally (though I might be alone on this one) I definitely detect a reminiscence of The Charlatans.

All the while, you will be quickly taken in by the dark and primitive spirit of their raw guitar and drums, sitting somewhere between The Black Angels and BRMC, giving this two-piece not only an addictive edge but essentially flagging The Noise Figures as a band to watch!

The Athens-based rock duo released their third album on March 2nd via Inner Ear Records – tune into Telepath below…

THE NOISE FIGURES: WEBSITE // FACEBOOK// TWITTER //

INSTAGRAM

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Hanging Valleys // Fortaleza Single Review

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polaroid_Hanging Valleys_copyright

Heart warming ambient trio, Hanging Valleys

There is something altogether calming and comforting about Hanging Valleys – one song lends itself to the next seamlessly. The London-based three-piece first caught our ear a little over a year ago at the beginning of their formation in 2016 and have since gone on to release a successful debut EP (10th March 2017) and attain an unprecedented 1.2 million streams on Spotify – that pools in fans of Bon Iver and Sigor Ros to James Vincent McMorrow, continues to grow.

Thom Byles, began as a solo artist but quickly realised the ambitious project at stake needed more than one musician and subsequently recruited Mike Phillips (guitar, vocals) and Alexis Meridol (beats, synthesiser) to produce his complete work of art.

Their choice of geographical reference follows through from their band name, Hanging Valleys (an erosional landform) to their style of playing, which in itself, mirrors nature; it is serene, delicate and enduring, swelling and shifting in it’s ambient patterns and a reassuring accompaniment to your minds path as you journey through day-to-day life.

Just as a river runs through Hanging Valleys, leading to a tremendous waterfall – the band’s music is a voyage that opens your mind to adventurous opportunities – you feel genuinely motivated to abandon plans and instead, go travelling – even it that means a long hike across dense woodland and the moors!

Fortaleza (or fortitude, as it translates from Spanish) is the first single to be lifted from Hanging Valleys’ forthcoming second EP. The song is about staying strong, weathering storms and having courage in the face of adversity. You cannot resist pairing their filmic sound with a moving picture of cliffs and costal plains – their layered harmonies surround you in a protective aura, just like the sun as it hits your closed eyes, instant warmth and positivity rivers through your veins.

Check out their accompanying video for their latest single released today (9th February 2018), below…live dates to follow!

HANGING VALLEYS // WEBSITE // TWITTER // FACEBOOK //

INSTAGRAM

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Tango With Lions // The Light // Album Review

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THE LIGHT_DIGITAL; Tango With Lions; copyright

Nailing the mystical, and often minimal, is the Greek Singer-Songwriter, Katerina Papachristou and her band, Tango With Lions. Since we first heard their recent single: ‘Proof of Desire’ (lifted from their latest album: ‘The Light’) we were eagerly anticipating the records release. One of Greece’s biggest indie/folk bands mark their return with this third studio album, and on first listen the variation of styles strikes you as altogether madly intriguing and absolutely one of a kind.

The sparseness intensifies the records nine short stories of introspection. Darkness and light coexist steadily, sometimes more excessively than the other, better still, they are never alone, and that, is what gives it beauty – the acceptance of this reflects life itself, opposites cannot live without one another and nor can a decent record! By recognising the value and power of each other (dark and light) the listener attunes, and subsequently, bonds more closely to the music.

Tango With Lions; Press Shot; Eftychia Vlachou, copyright

Katerina Papachristou, the master-mind behind, Tango With Lions. Photographer: Eftychia Vlachou

Nine songs, each different in style, reaffirm that Tango With Lions’ music hinges on atmosphere, created through imagery and poetry. Tipping slowly on the albums eerily unsettling second track: ‘Proof of Desire’ and fully realised on the penultimate track, ‘The Go-Betweens’ is the symmetry with PJ Harvey – similarities lie within the eccentric art form of creating short stories through song craft and experimental instrumentalism.

The timing of this records release could not have arrived at a more apt time either – the light of New Year light nearly shadowed by the mid-winter bleakness until the irrepressible enthusiasm for the year ahead conquers all doubts of uncertainty: “…hush now between Winter and Spring…” Papachristou whispers on the penultimate track.

Concluding, with what sounds like, a cassette of French poetry playing alongside an accordion busker, alluring in it’s warnings and wisdom – this record grows on you as your intrigue unconsciously hits replay.

‘The Light’ was released via Inner Ear Records on 19th January 2018.

Tango With Lions // Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Words: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Bazooka Zougla EP Review

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BAZOOKA_COVER by Ben Fuog

We reckon the flourishing Athens alternative music scene is something you need to keep an eye on this year. Two acts that caught our attention in particular are Acid Baby Jesus and Bazooka (both psych-punk outfits) who have been producing a constant flow of material, alongside delivering consistently excellent shows across Europe leading to significant (well deserved) recognition.

Bazooka were formed in 2008, in Volos, (native to Centaurs) and consist of singer/guitarist Xanthos Papanikolaou, guitarist Bill Tzelepis, drummer John Vulgaris, Keyboardist Panos Papanikolaou and bassist, Aris Rammos. Within the same year they moved to Athens, the Greek capital underwent a severe economic crisis. Fortuitously, a multitude of DIY squat venues had given birth to an underground musical renaissance paving way to the city’s best punk and psych-rock bands, Acid Baby Jesus and Bazooka.

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One of Athen’s best psychedelic bands, Bazooka (Photo credit: Ben Fuog).

In follow up to their second LP: Useless Generation Bazooka have returned with a 4-track EP, Zougla (Jungle). And it’s exactly what you need for January – a truly fast, psychedelic and very raw record to lift those overcast skies and inject energy into your veins. Chaotic and passionate punk rhythms suffuse with acidic rifts, tipping on the tribal, accompanied by a fiery edged delivery of Greek verse which is, all in all, manically satisfying.

The opening title track (‘Zougla’) begins with a distant animal noise as distinctive as Plant’s wailing cry on Immigrant Song, and when the exceptional progressive guitar riffs kick in, it is suffice to consider this a psych-garage cousin to Led Zeppelin’s classic. Just as the second track (‘Exailosou’) outlines a filmic terrain; atypical desert acoustic guitar with distancing whistling and brass, we are led to the dizzy heady pang of the third track (‘I Diki Sou I Sira’) where subtle parallels are to be had with equal legends, Acid Baby Jesus’ single, ‘You Had It Coming’ (off their 2014 self-titled LP)!

The record is seen out by ‘Thelo Fisi’ a pending drum solo and returning bird noises that meet their mother tongue, culminating in a turbulence of distorted spaced out guitar – let Bazooka tap into your mind here, it’s a voyage through time and space!

“Zougla” [Inner Ear Records] is out now: Inner Ear Records, iTunes, BandCamp

BAZOOKA // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram 

Words: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

 

The War On Drugs // A Deeper Understanding // Album Review

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WOD-album art

It’s a Sunday evening and the feeling is ripe to finally disappear into The War On Drugs latest album: ‘A Deeper Understanding’ the long anticipated fourth studio album, and follow-up to, 2014’s ‘Lost in the Dream’. With a band that take a few leaf’s from America’s ‘Great Bards’; Dylan, Petty and Springsteen, the Philadelphian psych-rock band have been a longstanding favourite of mine. From start to finish where inevitable emotions run high, I’m addicted to this sadness, truth comes to light as I listen in, wholly invested in Granduciel’s every line; melancholy poetry that reaches it’s peak on Thinking Of A Place. The record is mediative in it’s dualism within a monologue style, a narrator questioning themselves, their relationships, love and life. The dual/duel within this character is soon at a peace, they are reunited with themself, life is reaffirmed: “Hold my hand as something turns to me; turns me into you” (Thinking Of A Place).

The soothing effect is achieved through the resonation with the listener attuned to the ‘deeper understanding’, we feel this confusion between love and pain, a perfect negotiation between light and darkness; “Is this love? Are you sure? Is it something you can control? I’m in chains, I’m in love” (In Chains). And it’s the pathos that provides the warmth here. A perfect musical antithesis arrives with the pensive piano melody of Knocked Down punctuated by the upbeat driving synths delivered by Nothing To Find.

As the journey sets out, there is initial distrust in love: “I don’t believe in the real thing” (Up All Night) to the closing song’s cathartic and reinstalled faith: “singing all my songs in the pouring rain…I can feel the change” (You Don’t Have To Go). Irony resides within an album of very much heartbreak and scepticism; this is in every essence a romantic record, akin to Ten Fé’s ‘Hit The Light’ in it’s arresting balance of chiaroscuro; love/light and dark/pain. Timeless. All our inner confusions are dissolved and a greater sense of self is achieved.

The War On Drugs: Website // Twitter // Facebook

‘A Deeper Understanding’ was released on 25/08/17 via Atlantic Records.

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

Pat Dam Smyth // Goodbye Berlin // Review

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PDS_PressShots_2017_Six07 Press

Without knowing anything about Pat Dam Smyth before listening to Goodbye Berlin it’s obvious that there’s a darkness here that comes from experience. For those familiar, Smyth’s music hinges on his direct experiences of growing-up during The Troubles in Northern Ireland. The imagery coming through Smyth’s music draws on the ‘reality’ of life, so to speak, the other side of that carpet. All the while, Smyth creates something altogether filmic. The vision might be dark, but there’s certainly enough progressive-rock magnetism running through Goodbye Berlin to bring you around to another full-circle listen. We listen in, to a storyteller akin to a Grimm’s Brother, to a narrator that sometimes uses female protagonists as way of either symbolising escape from violent situations (‘Juliette’) or life, as with ‘Emily’ where there’s a dual side to this actors life, where ‘performance’ and ‘truth’ are mirrored “…She dances on the screen, but nothing’s ever as it seems..”. What Smyth gives us, as with all his material, is what feels a cathartic release of divulging life’s sinister crevices. Like Cohen, Smyth is a poet and singer-songwriter, offering us words of wisdom worth lending your ears to.

Pat Dam SmythWebsite // Twitter // Facebook

Having enjoyed support from Cerys Matthews and Lauren Laverne on BBC 6 Music you too can soak up the ‘Goodbye Berlin’ EP (released August 11th)! Listen and buy physical copies now!

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)