After a couple of singles, a five-track EP, and a controversial but award-winning video, Eagulls is about to soar to new heights with the release of their debut, self-titled LP on Tuesday (March 4). The Leeds, UK quintet’s self-titled album is rollicking post-punk music with a touch of shoegaze and goth. The album is absolutely relentless from start to end – 10 tracks coming in at around 45 minutes of non-stop hooks and guitar salvo after salvo by Mark Goldsworthy and Liam Matthews, the pounding drumming of Henry Ruddel, the throbbing bass of Tom Kelly, and hallowing vocals by George Mitchell.
The album opens with the terrific “Nerve Endings”, a song about anxiety and perseverance. “Hollow Visions” is a deep, dark thumper; “Yellow Eyes” is a slow burner (well, slow burner for Eagulls); and “Tough Luck” verges on the goth-rock of early The Cure. “Possessed” is the most hook-laden, formulaic song on the album, but Mitchell’s voice helps raise the song above the mundane. The finale, “Soulless Youth”, is a 6-minute, pulsating anthem, making it the perfect ending to the album.
The band’s loud, no-holds-bar style reflects their on- and off-stage personalities. Their live shows are known for their chaos, energy, and intimacy, as the band gets involved with the crowd early and often. They are opinionated, as evidenced by the open letter they wrote prior to their 2013 appearance at SXSW. In the letter, they basically insulted “beach bands” and those bands focused on making trendy music, using colourful language and analogies to talk about their lack of creativity and integrity.
During production of their video for “Nerve Endings”, which involved recording a decomposing pig’s brain in the cellar of Ruddel and Mitchell’s rental home, the police raided the home after a gas metre reader thought he had stumbled on a crime scene. Ironically, the video was recently named by NME as the best music video of the year, beating out the likes of Arcade Fire, HAIM, and Pharrell. Oh, the band recorded the album for a mere £200.
Eagulls comes out tomorrow. If you cannot wait, some tracks are below or you can stream the album on Pitchfork Advance until March 4 (here’s the link).
THE BRIGHT SMOKE
Rich regularly features female singer-songwriters in his features, including Angel Olsen, Marissa Nadler, Julia Holter, and Lady Lamb the Beekeeper. Melding together the greatness of these artists is The Bright Smoke, a musical project of Brooklyn’s Mia Wilson, who since 2012 has been working with producer/musician Q. Ledbetter.
Combining blues, folk, indie rock, and ambient, Wilson’s music is dark, haunting, and melodic and at times brooding and understated, yet deliriously beautiful. Her songwriting is unabashedly personal and endearing, thoughtful and poignant. On her debut LP, Late for War, which was released in April 2013 and is more of an indie-folk album, the title track is a sorrowful tale of a missed opportunity. “Better Than Me” is another song about a relationship, and it, too, is eerily gorgeous. “Come Out” picks up the pace a little bit, yet retains the haunting quality of the other songs.
In November, The Bright Smoke followed up with a 6-track EP, Virginia et al., which is more varied, blending in other genres with success. The lead track, “God Willing”, has a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds feel, from the melodic beat to the vivid lyrics. “Soul Burn” has a Beth Orton-quality – peaceful yet dreamy.
Both albums can be purchased on iTunes or on The Bright Smoke’s bandcamp site. They plan on going on tour this year, so check their website for the latest news.
Website – http://www.thebrightsmoke.com/
Bandcamp – http://thebrightsmoke.bandcamp.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Bright-Smoke/407399432659970
Twitter – https://twitter.com/TheBrightSmoke
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