Album Review: The Golden Age of Not Even Trying – Dead!

“It’s punk, but it’s not just punk – there’s straight-up rock at times”

Guitar music certainly isn’t dead, as Dead! prove in their explosively charged debut album. It’s been a long-awaited album, not just for the band’s fans (of which I definitely count myself amongst the ranks of, and even more so after the release of their first full-length record) but for the band themselves as well. By all accounts it’s not been the easiest road for the band – in the announcement for their debut, they list ‘two guitarists, five drummers, four broken bones, two crushed wrists, a van wiped out by a truck’ as things they got through to reach the point they’re currently at, but they’ve shown themselves to be the epitome of what DIY is about, and produced an absolutely incredible debut record.

I first discovered Dead! when they were the support band for Blondie’s gig at the Roundhouse last year, and I instantly loved their music – it was exciting and something I knew I wanted to listen more to, and I’ve been waiting (not very) patiently for their debut album ever since, and it certainly did not disappoint. It’s punk, but it’s not just punk – there’s straight-up rock at times, riffs that resemble the best of ‘90s grunge, and even an almost indie feel in the case of the track ‘Jessica’. It’s a perfectly imperfect mix of styles, and ambitious though it might be, it certainly pays off and culminates in the band’s distinct sound, and what is already one of my favourite albums of 2018, even though we’re a mere 28 days into the year at the time of writing.

It’s difficult to pick the standout songs of the album, when every single track is as good or better than the next – the band self-released a number of singles before the album, and in all reality they could have released track from their debut album as a single because they genuinely are all that good. ‘Enough, Enough, Enough’ is definitely one of my favourites, with its heavy, driving riffs, as is ‘You’re So Cheap’, a song which although it starts off comparatively slower than a number of tracks on the album, ends up becoming something you instantly want to head-bang to. ‘A Conversation With Concrete’ also stands out and is one of my favourite tracks, which is a definite compliment when considering every song is a standout. The Golden Age of Not Even Trying is a superb debut album, and if it’s anything to go by, then Dead! have big things ahead of them.

Dead! play the 100 Club in London on the 1st February, tickets available from https://www.theinternetisdead.co.uk/tour.

Review by Phoebe Hagan

Concert Review: The Killers

“The Lads Are Back.”

Bright lights reminiscent of the Las Vegas strip beamed from the sold out O2 arena’s main stage. The Killers front man, Brandon Flowers, stepped out with his band mates and the 20,000 strong crowd went wild, hysteric screams filled the arena to welcome one of the biggest rock bands of the 21st century.

The dazzling backdrop was nostalgic of Glastonbury’s pyramid stage which baptised the boys to legendary status back in 2007, a stage shared with the likes of the Rolling Stones and David Bowie. The support act Juanita Stein didn’t particularly exceed expectations but eager fans lapped it up as they anticipated the stars of the night.

The first track ‘Wonderful, Wonderful’ and title of their 5th studio album which came out in September turned the viewers suspense into delight. Flowers had the entire arena hooked on his every word, charming and flamboyant he embodied the rock and roll front man that saw his rise to fame. Chic from head to toe; Ted Sablay who stepped in from Dave Keuning as lead guitarist on this tour seamlessly soloed over polished visuals. The band were on top form, not falling into the pretentious trap of only playing new material, they bellowed out nostalgic songs ‘Somebody told me’ and ‘Spaceman’ Intertwined with new material ‘The Man’ and ‘Life to Come’ seats were left empty as the crowd stood in apprehension for the next number.

Three female backing vocalists, each adorned in sequined floor length dresses captivated the left of the stage. A low intergalactic bass line absorbed the silence, a few teaser symph notes, and Drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr aptly placed at the top of a glistening staircase kicked off a drum beat that reverberated through the arena. Blue strobe lights met the electric guitar, smoke machines filled the stage; another classic ‘Smile like you mean it’ bought the term hysteria to a whole new level.

Energy went from high to higher ‘Mr. Brightside’ an anthem performed at every Killer’s gig saw Flowers return to stage in a head-to-toe gold sparkled suit oozing Vegas, baby. Entire generations of families, standing in seats not only for the encore but for the majority of the concert; The Killers rocked London like it was their home town.

Review by: Nici Ridge

ALBUM REVIEW: Gumboot Soup – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

“Every song exemplifies an aspect of what makes King Gizzard and their sound so great”

Well, the psych-rock seven-piece from Melbourne, Australia, only went and did it didn’t they – they held fast to their promise, and released five albums in 2017. Yep, you read that correctly – the band released five full-length albums in one year, each with its own concept and unique sound, ranging from the psych-jazz collaboration with Mild High Club, Sketches of Brunswick East, to the dark and apocalyptic Murder of the Universe.

Gumboot Soup, released on New Year’s Eve, is unique out of the four as whilst the album does undoubtedly have some form of flow to it, it doesn’t have its own specific style – it’s a mix of songs that didn’t quite make it onto the previous four albums released earlier in the year. That isn’t to say that it isn’t an incredible album, however – the album is something of a greatest hits album for songs that haven’t actually been released yet. Every song exemplifies an aspect of what makes King Gizzard and their sound so great, and so unlike anything else around at the moment. These are not reject songs – they’re songs that just didn’t exactly fit the strong concept of the album they were originally intended to feature on, and it’s a testament to King Gizz’s commitment to creating high-quality concept albums and knowing their own music that they knew when to sacrifice songs from appearing on a record for the sake of the album as a whole.

The album never comes out and exactly says that it’s a miss-match of songs from the band’s previous albums, and guitarist and vocalist (also keyboardist, AND flute player) Stu Mackenzie has said that they had focussed more on the individual songs rather than an overall concept or theme or their latest album, but fans of the band can easily tell which album each song was supposed to have belonged to. Many of the songs have a sound reminiscent of the band’s third 2017 album, Sketches of Brunswick East – opening track ‘Beginner’s Luck’ is a blissed out, ‘70s psych folk/rock jam, with ‘Barefoot Desert’ very much leaning towards the jazz end of things. My favourite tracks from the album are those that share the sound of Murder of the Universe, King Gizz’s second album from last year and arguably the band’s most conceptual work, telling the story of the destruction of the universe by a vomiting robot in three defining chapters of the record. It’s my favourite out of all King Gizzard’s albums so it’s not really a surprise that ‘Greenhouse Heat Death’, ‘The Great Chain of Being’, and ‘All Is Known’ are my standout tracks from Gumboot Soup. They’re heavy and dirty and it’s alternative and psych rock at its absolute best.

Gumboot Soup was a hell of a way to end what was already a ridiculously strong and successful year for the band, and they certainly don’t look like they’ll be stopping anytime soon.

Review by: Phoebe Hagan

ONE SENTENCE REVIEW: “I Can’t Quit” – The Vaccines

The music team review the first song to be released off the Vaccines new album, Combat Sports, “I Can’t Quit”. The short, punchy and high energy song has made waves in the indie community but what does the music team think of it?

Libby – Very catchy and easy to listen to! Can’t say I understand the video entirely though

Jake – Another catchy classic from the Vaccines, hope the album is as good as this!

Nuray – it’s good, but not as tuneful as their other songs (sorry..)

Jamie – Catchy, singable, sure to be played a many a pre-drink

Ryan – Upbeat and catchy, a good song to walk to, I’m a fan

Eamonn – a nice stocking filler but nothing to write home about — the vocal ‘oohs’ in the chorus manage to come off as pretty and nostalgic rather than dated though, which is something

Pheobe – It’s very Vaccines-y, not my favourite of theirs but it’s very much in keeping with their style of indie music best played at festivals

Maddie – With such a catchy hook, you’re going to find yourself humming this around the house – definitely one for the waking up playlist!

Harry – The Vaccines always produce great music and this single is no exception. Excited for more!

Madeline – A classic Vaccines tune. Beautifully catchy and upbeat, with calmer interludes

Chloe – Having listened to the song “I Can’t Quit” by The Vaccines, I found myself swaying from side to side singing the ‘oohs’ from the chorus; it has that kind of effect

Looks like I Can’t Quit will be entering a lot of peoples playlists in the future. This is just what we think, go and have a listen to the track and see if you agree!