As the world begins to stir, gently putting the gears back into production, and steadily adjusting weary eyes to the bright new horizon of 2019 (I mean, it probably won’t be that different, other than some cases of lingering hangovers, apparent nationwide incense about a vegan sausage roll, and more than likely international condemnation of whatever Donald Trump does next), we at least have a period longer to contemplate how good a year of music 2018 really did provide us with. However the longer it took to mull over how a good year of music it was, the more frustrating it became to whittle down and distil the ten best. It’s very safe to say EVERY album about to be mentioned was in contention for a top ten position. Tantrums happened and tears were nearly shed. An iron resolve and persistence eventually paid off, and in the settling dust, lay the final ten chosen to represent the best of 2018. Just one of them became the victor and declared ‘the undisputed favourite.’ Continue reading
Well, 2015 has reached its close, December slowly fading off into the distance as we leave behind a year of fantastic music and a year of fantastic bands, in the public knowledge and waiting to be discovered. What awaits us into the next calendar leap year? Hopefully more of the same and whatever craze next to infect the minds of the impressionable as it cracks the charts. I’m pretty sure 2015 was the year of big room house, or bass house, or whatever. I didn’t care enough to pay attention. But what I did care about, and what I very much care about, is hearing the rumblings or public declarations in some aspects of 20 under-the-radar, underrated, unsigned and underground bands making music in the new year that I’m excited about, and hopefully I can make you excited about too. After all, this is what I want to do for life. If I can’t make you excited about emerging or unearthed music, then I may as well quit here and now.
I’ll give it my best shot. So, in no particular order, 20 bands with new material in 2016, you might want to pay attention to:
Well, this is a first for me and this blog. The track of this week has never before been released upon the general public, or anywhere, even. So… I guess this kinda makes this a world exclusive first reveal from an album yet to be released. No pressure then.
That said, I am incredibly happy to be able to showcase one track from a forthcoming album, from a band at a local level that deserve a larger following for their unusual but ultimately endearing sound. And obsession with crabs. Music definitely needs more crabs. Which follows along the lines of what attracted me to these gentlemen in the first place: What constitutes as an actual crap crab, and what exactly does that mean in terms of musical pedigree? Well, the four-piece hailing from Hitchin in the UK play a mixture of self-dubbed post roller-disco and instrumental party jams since their humble beginnings at the tail end of 2011. Through sporadic shows, trickling of recorded material and constant murmurs around the crustacean race, their four years as a musical outlet has culminated in the advent of their first long-player: The appropriately titled Volume 1. Likely being one of the only recipients outside of the band to have heard the album in full, courtesy of the band themselves, I can safely say that the album is a mirror image of their quirky but very likeable personalities. Though balancing more on the side of the instrumental party jam state of affairs, the jerky but intricate rhythms of indie and math rock butt heads and absolutely litter Volume 1’s running time, but each track bar the keyboard-commanded interludes, does take on a personality of its own, much like an incarnation of a musical crab-like Mr. Benn, changing outfits or disguises depending on the cue cards. In fact, the happy-go-lucky nature and optimism radiated from the combination of instruments essentially gives an air of the cartoon-esque to their music, fitting this comparison perfectly.
One of my personal highlights on the album of which there are many, including the song titles (Breaking Crab anyone?), may just have to go to Death Crab For Cutie, also hands down my favourite song title. Though I mentioned the instrumental party jam label earlier, this track states a better case for a short heist film soundtrack. The beginning introduced by bold interplay from the two guitars and bass, almost acts as a dialogue, leading into the intricacies of sneaking around and breaking into a bank vault. There’s a sense of pride and power made in this early statement, that Crap Crab are excellent in portraying in their music. The diagetics of each riff or tremolo could symbolise an action of the break-in and tasks of opening the vault. Drums do a spectacular job, no tom, snare or cymbal is wasted in strengthening and building that complexion of a tense, risk-filled atmosphere. Near the end however, the pace changes to a strut of confidence, or that the thieves have been caught, with the guitar sounding more than a little awkward, if intentional or not. Boy you can hip-shake to that groove though. That said, not all of Crap Crab’s guitar work focuses on tight rhythms and grooves, they can throw the hammer down with some force, evident at given moments, both guitars at their most aggravated three minutes in. What it boils down to is how much fun can you have in four and a half minutes. And that really is what Crap Crab is about, a deliriously entertaining voyage of melodies, hooks and grooves, filled with clever little touches that trap you in its vice-like grip and won’t release you until start dancing. Compelling, creative and charismatic.
Many thanks again to Crap Crab for entrusting me with their album that has been a long time in the works. Their next gig will be at Club 85 in their home town of Hitchin on the 12th September. Volume 1 has a proposed release date of this autumn, available from their Bandcamp page in digital and physical format. Some odd songs of theirs can be found on Bandcamp and on their Soundcloud with a couple of free jams to download from there. And of course, go like them on Facebook, because social media is fun and whatever.