punk reviews

EP Review: Frank Iero and The Patience - ‘Keep The Coffins Coming’

Frank Iero is truly a force to be reckoned with. The musician has been on the punk rock scene for seemingly his entire life (which is a feat in and of itself). Iero began his musical journey with raw and emotional Pencey Prep in the early 2000s before being recruited by My Chemical Romance as a second guitarist. He released four monstrous studio albums with MCR before the inevitable end of the run in 2013. All in the throes of this, he fronted hardcore band Leathermouth, which managed to shred plenty of faces in and around the New York / New Jersey area for about three short years. He’s also dabbled in industrial hardcore with his project Death Spells, alongside James Dewees of The Get Up Kids and Reggie and the Full Effect. 

Needless to say, Iero dips his toe in whatever suits his fancy at the time, so it was only natural for him to establish Frank Iero and the Patience in 2012, a shambolic and noisy punk rock outfit that has managed to separate itself from the emo undertones of Iero’s previous projects. They’ve released Stomachaches and Parachutes respectively since their beginning. The project has a little more bite and a lot more heart. Especially so on the band’s most recent EP, Keep The Coffins Coming. Recorded with Steve Albini, it’s the “missing link” between 2014′s Stomachaches and 2016′s Parachutes

It starts off with “I’m A Mess” which occupied the track listing of last release Parachutes. The song puts all insecurities under a microscope and celebrates them energetically – it’s an elaborate and jarring introduction to an equally spooky and fun EP. It begins with some beautiful feedback before punching you square in the face with a punk riff and an addictive melody. It’s not far off from the Parachutes recording, but it certainly has a more stripped down element that is immediately noticeable in contrast. 

“BFF” was written with Iero’s kids. Hardcore fans have heard it before (and probably seen the video). It’s cute and well-meaning but I have two differing opinions on the track that I can’t pin down. The sentiment makes you want to sigh aloud because it’s adorable. On the other hand, it feels out of place on an EP that gives off a “spooky” and haunting vibe. It would have been better suited as a b-side, but it’s understandable why The Patience went with “BFF” as the second track – it buffers the zone between “I’m A Mess” and the punk rock party that is “No Fun Club.” 

Wow. What can I say about “No Fun Club” that won’t be said by every other rock critic in the realm? It’s so good. This track is absolutely badass. As someone who has closely monitored Iero and his musical career since the MCR years, “No Fun Club” captures exactly what he’s been all about sonically for so long. It’s a quick-witted and spunky punk track that pulls you in and then pushes you out the backdoor and right on your back. If I don’t see fans annihilating each other to this song in a live setting, I’m gonna be disappointed. It begs for a good pit. This song is the climax to the EP, and it strikes me as the epicenter of a release that screams to be, well, screamed. 

Last but not least is the closer “You Are My Sunshine” which is a song so old that it’s tough to credit to the original writer. It rocks and rolls in it’s own way and it’s as dreary as it is magical. The harshness of the guitars work so well here, and it’s a joy to listen to. I’ve been fortunate enough to witness it performed live, and it was just as intricate and well done in this setting as this track is in studio. I had my fingers crossed that it would eventually be recorded in a studio setting, so I was psyched to see it as part of the track listing for Keep The Coffins Coming. It promises soothing rock, and it delivers. 

The artwork for this release sets a Halloween vibe, and the music itself carries it over. Keep the Coffins Coming is a beautiful selection of some of the band’s favorite back alley traits, from the highs of punk melancholy to the lows of slower and more lullaby-esque pieces. It’s a great introduction to Frank Iero and The Patience, but it’s also a much needed mainstay for the fan listener. I would recommend it to anyone who isn’t familiar with the band and it’s bound to be an adored addition to an already massive discography for Iero.

Keep The Coffins Coming drops on September 22nd via BMG / Vagrant Records.

Catherine Dempsey thinks the cover art is sick too. You can follow her on Twitter

Green Day - 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours

If you were to travel back to 1986 and tell the members of Green Day that they would grow into one of the world’s largest mainstream rock bands, still playing to sold-out stadiums worldwide in their 40s, they would probably think you were out of your mind.

Nonetheless, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool (who replaced former drummer Al Sobrante early on in the band’s career) were never shy about their ambition.

1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours stands as a great snapshot of the band’s hunger to get their music out there and reach out to a broader audience.

This release is a collection of songs sourced from the group’s earliest EPs: it is relatively unpolished (especially when compared to Green Day’s later output) and it is loaded with Pop-Punk anthems about girls and teenage boredom.

The deceptively simple sonic format adopted by the band actually betrays a broader range of influences that have shaped the band’s sounds and tone.

References to classic punk bands such as The Ramones or Sex Pistols are obvious, but the Californian trio allowed their love for cheeky 60s beat to creep into their music.

The basic, yet engaging guitar riffs have a lot in common with early recordings by The Who and The Kinks, while the vocal harmonies have a distinctive Beatles / Beach Boys vibe.

On the other hand, the aesthetics of the band’s sound certainly also mark the influence of some of their contemporaries, including Bad Religion, Descendents or Husker Du. - those hardcore bands who distanced themselves from the growing macho attitude that took over the scene by the late 80s.

The hilariously chaotic rendition of The Who’s “My Generation” and the cover of “Knowledge” by fellow Gilman Street alumni Operation Ivy are a great example of Green Day’s awareness of the music that informed their vision as a band.

The songs featured on this record are fast direct and concise, with the exception of “Rest”, a slow, hazy tune with a nearly psychedelic vibe.

1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours captures that naiveté that comes with being young, but more importantly, it also embodies the passion and energy that defines youthfulness.

3

Nothing Personal- All Time Low

Nothing Personal is an emo pop, pop punk album by American Rock band All Time Low. This is All Time Low’s third studio album. The album was released through Hopeless Records on July 7, 2009. This album released three singles during its time. They included “Weightless”, “Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)”, and “Lost in Stereo”. Nothing Personal was estimated to sell 60,000-75,000 copies within its first week. It sold 63,000 copies and reached number 4 on Billboard 200. That gave the band its biggest first week sales for any album ever that they had made. The album reached number 1 on the US Alternative Albums, US Independent Albums, and US Top Rock Albums. The album has reached Gold in the United States by selling over 500,000 copies. // Nothing Person is by far my favorite All Time Low album. Well, maybe the MTV Unplugged album beats it but still. It’s one of my favorites. Now, overall I’m not a huge All Time Low fan, but I love the songs and the vocal works. Just the beats to the songs get me every time. My favorites off the album would have to be “Stella”, “Therapy”, and “Weightless”. If you are going to listen to any All Time Low album, I recommend this one. Every song is a bop. Each one will get stuck in your head.
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as I’ve said before I’ve listened to Can’t Maintain a lot recently. The lyrics are dark but I think they’re really uplifting at the same time in a way, its a sort of “fuck you, this is me and I don’t care” type thing. I think this song is a good example of that. its about a absentee father, but its also thankful in a sort of bitter sweet way and not too spiteful towards that absentee father. Just read these lyrics:
“You played the trumpet and the drums
While my mom sang at funerals
I play guitar til my hands are numb
You two are where music comes from, for me

So thank you so much for not raising me
You spent your life on better things
And you would have been an awful dad
Thank you though for those genes you had“

after being friends with so many kids that bitch and moan about their okay parents (Hazel if you’re reading this, its not a jab at you, I get whats going on with you), its refreshing to hear somebody that doesn’t hate their shitty parents.
really though, its a bit corny of an album, but its really energetic and fun at the same time. its the type of thing that makes me want to thrash around and scream the lyrics. not that particular song mind you, im not screaming to that one

Live Review: Green Day @ Hyde Park - British Summer Time

Artist: Green Day

Venue:  Hyde Park, London, UK

Date: 1st July 2017

Rating: 10/10

Pyro! Flames! A t-shirt gun! Mass sing-a-longs! Chants of “fuck you Donald Trump!” Hey Ho, Let’s Go – it’s Green Day in Hyde Park and it doesn’t get better than this! The Oakland three piece have the tendency of turning the most enormous venues into the most intimate of settings and tonight is no exception; in reality we’re in a massive park in central London surrounded by 60,000 people but Billie Joe Armstrong and co work their socks off to create a spectacle that befits filling a vast space but with the unique feeling you could be crammed into a tiny basement club.

It’s the way in which Billie Joe Armstrong commands the gathered masses in-front of him that creates such an event – throughout the 2 hour-plus show, the consummate frontman has the London crowd eating out of the palm of his hand – instigating constant call and response chants, huge sing-a-longs and general pandemonium. Even before the trio finish their first song ‘Know Your Enemy’ – Armstrong is pleading to Hyde Park for someone to get up on stage to belt out the final verse. A plucky punter is pulled out of the heaving throng to enthusiastically yelp through the dying moments of the track. Classic Green Day song ‘Longview’ will see another lucky fan hauled onto the stage to confidently strut their stuff, whilst rubbing shoulders with their idols. For those Green Day diehards out there, they know when the Californian’s crank out Operation Ivy’s ‘Knowledge’ this is the point where Armstrong will amass a band from the crowd to blast out the old school punk belter – tonight is no different…well, with a twist – we only just about get someone who can play guitar. Upon getting a plucky guitarist on stage, it appears the willing volunteer doesn’t quite know her fretwork, so Armstrong has to drag out another fan to do the business. It’s not quite the same as past fan versions of ‘Knowledge’ but that matters not – blurring the lines between band and fan is where Green Day excel.

Green Day are appearing in Hyde Park as part of series of gigs under the banner of British Summer Time and today’s rosters pays homage to London and UK punk – the kind of music that helped fuel Green Day’s lust to pick up instruments in the first place. Joining the LA band are punk stalwarts The Damned, Stiff Little Fingers and The Stranglers, along with current touring buddies Rancid. It’s not all about those that have helped form Green Day’s sound though – fledgling groups such as The Orwells, Culture Abuse and Armstrong’s son’s outfit SWMRS are also part of Hyde Park line up. The latter two do a sterling job earlier in the afternoon, putting on their own incendiary performances. Culture Abuse straddle the lines between pop-punk and hardcore and pull a good size crowd at 1pm, just as doors open. SWMRS surely have been taking notes from Billie Joe Armstrong’s outfit, as frontman Cole Becker sure knows how to whip up a crowd. At 3pm on a little side stage, there’s crowd surfers, circle pits and lung bursting sing-a-longs – headliners in the making? Time will tell but given this mid-afternoon slot, SWMRS cut the shape of a confident outfit with killer songs to boot.

Given the title of Green Day’s 12th LP ‘Revolution Radio’ and previous records ‘American Idiot’ and ‘21st Century Breakdown’, Armstrong will make a handful of political statements during his band’s headlining show but he also calls for unity too – in amongst the “Fuck You Donald Trump”s, the pintsized punk troubadour urges us all to embrace love and diversity – no matter your skin colour, sexual orientation and religious beliefs, the message is clear and simple – choose love over hate.  You would expect a show with pockets of societal and political diatribes to dampen the party spirits but this doesn’t happen – there are guffaws a plenty especially when the band delve into the fancy dress box to adorn silly hats and wigs to sprint through ‘King for a Day’ and a melody of ‘Shout/Always Look on the Bright Side of Life/Teenage Kicks/ (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction/Hey Jude”.

With a track listing pushing nearly 30 songs, picking a stand out moment is a tough task but special mentions need to be paid to a blistering version of ‘Basket Case’, ‘Hitchin’ a Ride’s grating stomp, ‘St Jimmy’ spirals like a firecracker hurled down an elevator shaft, ‘American Idiot’ takes on a new resonance with Trump now in office instead of George Bush – swapping one incompetent buffoon for another one – albeit with a bad toupee and a spray tan, and ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ is a fitting end to the first encore. Out of the newbies, ‘Young Blood’ and ‘Bang Bang’ prove to be future classics and the double whammy of ‘Still Breathing’ and ‘Forever Now’ close the main set – propelling them to almost cult status.

With ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ still fizzing in our ears, Armstrong will grace the stage once more, for 3 acoustic renditions of ‘Ordinary World’, ’21 Guns’ and of course the sublime ‘Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)’. Although stripped of all the theatrics, bells and whistles of the full band set up – Billie Joe still commands his gathered masses with just a guitar and his voice, just going to show that all the extra facets aren’t smoke and mirrors, when it comes to the power of Green Day’s songs, the barebones are just as alluring as fireworks and water cannons.

They came, they saw, they won hearts and they fuckin’ well conquered – Green Day, London 1st July 2017, kings for a day. Give ’em the keys to the city.

Photography by Naomi Abbs-Williams

5

Marauders Youtube AU

James Potter- @potterprongs: Really famous gamer, frequently collabs with his flatmate/partner-in-crime Sirius- @ItsTheBlackSheep, really notorious for their public prank videos, sometimes talks about quidditch. Both have a huge fanbase of shippers. 

Lily Evans- @redLilies: Vlogs stuff from general political views to DIY-baking-cute-muffins. Frequent book reviews. Plant enthusiast. Collabs with Remus mostly.

Remus Lupin- @rjlupin: Collabs with Lily or other youtubers for doing cheesy DIY videos. Runs a life advice channel. Popular for his sarcasm and hipster-dad look.

Tonks- @punkTonkx: A young prankster, punk at heart. Vlogs concert diaries, shopping haul, make-up/hair for punks, and album reviews. Popular for humor and music taste.

Peter Pettigrew- @PeterTheBatman: Regular vlogger. Likes to interview other youtuber celebs. Huge comic book enthusiast. Reviews Marvel/DC movies, tv-shows, comics. Meme enthusiast.

TBC?

Rise Against: Wolves

Okay, today it is time to get that Rise Against album that i’ve been mentioning for a bit reviewed for you. With The Black Market i was worried that the band was taking a bit of a step backwards in terms of creativity and were playing things too expected. On this album they do keep their typical sound but reinject that high dose of life that made prior albums so remarkable. I was actually impressed with this one when it came out and immediately saw it as a promo album that i have to get done for you guys. Stone Sour snagged that position as well and really upped their game on their new album Hydrograd.I’ll get that one done soon when i’m in the mindset for a lengthier album review. Let’s get this one started and see if it can dethrone Appeal to Reason for top Rise Against album on my blog.

Wolves: The album begins with the title track and seeks to start the album on a rather quick punk note. The opening vocals have a nice style of radio crackle and the guitars work with the quick drum beats to create a cheerful and energizing template for Tim to deliver some rather beautiful lyrics. The chorus is full of energy and the instrumentals do well to keep the energy going with a nice jam component; while still being mindful of taking moments to stretch out for the listener to remained well balanced. The solo is decent but a bit familiar; though the melodic texture of it helps to impress upon the listener that the band is going to be giving them a much more livelier album than their last one was. 8.5/10

House on Fire: This second track begins with more of those cheerfully energetic guitar instrumentals but fade off for a soothing bass/drum rhythm so that Tim can expertly recite his impacting lyrics. The chorus does well to impress a sense of urgency in the background without taking away the positive sound of the instrumentals. The more rhythmic approach of the instrumentals is a fresh approach for the band and really excels at supporting Tim’s vocals; while keeping a pleasant degree of energy going. Towards the end there is a very emotional breakdown that Tim uses to impress upon his listener the urgency in his lyrics. The instrumentals support it firmly during this segment and provide a smooth ending for this song so that is it quick; meaningful and memorable. Like i said before; It sounds like typical Rise Against but has that something extra that makes it stick out with more life than i was expecting. I’m mainly basing this off of their previous album before this since i was worried that they had peaked with that one. Luckily this album shows that with tough political times; they can find the right motivation to put out some powerful music. 8.5/10

The Violence (Single): So far this is the only single for the album and it opens with a simple guitar riff before the drums and bass enter to give it a very lively rhythm. It is going to be a nice live track that will get an audience up and dancing with ease. Tim’s vocal delivery continues to impress with his careful outpouring of emotion that refrains from sounding commercially forced. The backing vocals are a good touch that help to spice things up at times and prevent the instrumentals from losing their freshness. The guitars definitely take on a supporting jam role for this album verses previous ones; but the change up will do well to make this album stand out among their older fan base. The lyrics are going to be a strong focal point as this song progresses. 9/10

Welcome to the Breakdown: Soft yet quick guitars begin this one and join with some more dominating drum beats to develop a quick and raw jam instrumental. Tim with this raw support is equally raw himself but doesn’t sacrifice coherency  to deliver a more garage style track. He does lack a bit in the melody department but the chorus has enough catchiness to help the listener find something to appreciate in this song. The guitars provide a few interlude moments so that the song can refresh slightly and Tim can work the song’s intensity into some harder moments; where he treats you with a few near screams from himself. This one is a bit rougher in my opinion but it will be a good offering for their fans from day one. Other than that, this album is moving by pretty smoothly and we really haven’t even hit the cream of the crop with this album yet. 7.5/10

Far from Perfect: The guitars begin this one immediately on a happily energetic note that quickly brings elements of Social Distortion to mind. Definitely not a bad comparison in my opinion and makes me wonder when the latter band is going to put something new out. Tim’s vocal delivery is smooth and cheerfully blissful with a high degree of emotion pouring from his strong lyrics. The guitars and drums do a phenomenal job of pushing Tim’s voice to high levels during the chorus. It brings out a climatic feeling of urgency that will garner high praise from a live audience. It would actually make a strong case for being a single since it is radio friendly and has ballad qualities to it without appearing to look overly commercial. Tim tosses in a few neat growl vocals at times to spice things up; but the instrumentals are really what make it so that this song can do no wrong. The keys towards the end provide a surprisingly beautiful interlude so that Tim can deliver a few echoed verses before bringing his melodies back to close this song on a remarkably high note. This song is a pure sign that this band is back in business and ready to dominate the punk rock scene. 10/10

Bullshit: Now this song is a pure favorite and one that i hope becomes a single or gets a music video one day. We all know for sure that they didnt care about the commercial friendliness of this song ha ha! Guitar distortion enters to set up a raw opening before the guitar riffs clean up and the bass signals for the band to deliver some energizing moans. Tim sings over some rather groovy guitar riffs to deliver a high sense of swagger to the listener. His lyrics prove to be very impacting and the chorus will produce a high degree of catchy moments that will be impossible for the listener not to sing along to. The guest backing vocalist does sound unnecessary and forced to a good degree but that’s really the only drawback to this song. The live potential for this song is very high and will likely be an easy fan favorite for this album. I can’t say that i’ve ever heard of anyone that has made the sentence “This is Bullshit!” come off as beautiful and empowering as these guys ha ha. Towards the end of the song you really get sense of how much effort they put into these songs. That chorus is pretty hard not to fall in love with and is easily one of my highlight tracks on the album. 10/10

Politics of Love: The guitars begin with some blissful melody and more of that Social Distortion rhythm that is proving to be a nice hidden gem for this album’s sound. Tim pours some nice energy into his voice without making things pass by quickly and keeps a smoothly balanced pace till the chorus enters. The chorus focuses on urgency and Tim’s voice is perfect at getting that taking care without sounding jaded by any means. The lyrics are very straightforward and will be a good focal point to follow as the instrumentals keep a steady pace for their jam support. The drums stick out nicely in the background and have a good degree of force that sets up well for a strong solo to enter. This solo is a strong piece that breaks things up before the bass enters to rumble with the drums; and the whole band delivers some melodically echoed moans. This makes this song another strong point for the album that i’m sure will do well live. 9/10

Parts Per Million:  Guitars begin with a nice dose of high octane energy and the jam tone of them does well to open this song before fading off a bit for Tim to enter. His lyrics are decent and the vocals do a good job as a focal point and especially stand strong during the chorus. The instrumentals appear to take on a more basic approach with a stronger bass presence than on previous songs; but the back to basics approach will serve a understandable role in further emphasizing the lyrics in this song. As such this is probably a weaker song in the lot but by weak its a comparison factor; and not a condemnation of its strength in general. 7.5/10

Mourning in Amerika: The bass begins the song with a very cheerful rumble and Tim uses this to deliver a very positive tone into this song despite its gloomy subject matter. The chorus is full of genuine emotion and smoothly balance support from the instrumentals. The backing hums are another good touch that will help to keep Tim’s voice floating in the cosmos without appearing so grand that the instrumentals suddenly appear basic. Its a good balance in terms of complexity and focus that will make this another strong track for a listener to fall in love with. It’s interesting how filler free this album is and while taking the top spot on my Rise Against section of reviews will be hard; it has a good chance of taking second maybe. 8.5/10

How Many Walls: The guitars begin this one with more dire sense of urgency and Tim matches it effectively with his more tense but clear delivery. The subtle jam tone of the guitars in the background does well to establish a good relationship between the vocals and their support elements. The chorus is very straightforward and pretty much sounds like casual verses due to how long it proceeds. The bass and drums do keep a prominent place in the mixing with the drums slightly overpowering everything  else in the song to an acceptable level. 8/10

Miracle: This finale track begins with a dire sense of urgency. The instrumentals are full of energy and manage to use their melody to bring forth a high degree of emotion into the track before Tim even utters a work. The lyrics prove to be simple but highly effective and Tim delivers a powerfully positive chorus that is everything that could be asked in a farewell track on this album. The instrumentals continue to provide remarkable support with their balanced bass/drum rhythm components and subtle melodic riffs from the guitars. As they approach the end they will begin to hit you with a new touch in their sound. It breaks into a highly aggressive but cheerful breakdown that is very new for the band. It is only a taste at fist but as Tim concludes the song the breakdown returns in all of its jam glory and i’m nearly positive that it is going concert closer for the band. 9.5/10

Overall album rating:8.8/10

Sweet! it actually took the second spot by a margin of .2 and gains the band their fist B+ score from me. This was an important one to get out off of my new list and is something that you guys must check out. I still got quite a few to get off and the list happily seems to never stop growing ha ha. Tomorrow if nothing comes up; i’m planning on getting another one to you guys. I’m planning on it being a lesser expected album like Seether or In This Moment but we shall see what my mood is when the time comes. Hope you all enjoyed it and if you do share/like or whatever it is you can to help others find these reviews to read. If anything hopefully it will at the very least make them aware of the hidden gems out there in the cluttered musical landscape lol. Peace everyone!

*Reviewer’s Pick*

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(via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5ChzAUMBS4)

How did OK Computer’s doomy, alienated alt-rock become one of the most acclaimed albums of the 1990s? The strength of its songs had something to do with it, as this reissue plainly reveals

Radiohead
OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997-2017
XL

★★★★★

In a recent 6Music interview, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke sounded like a man mortified. He explained his first impressions re-examining the lyric notebooks he kept during the recording of 1997’s OK Computer, now freshly reissued with a bonus disc of b-sides and unreleased tracks, plus various extras alongside its vinyl release. His point of entry was “going through my notebooks at the time and making friends with whoever this nutter was”, his cadence placing pointed emphasis on the word “nutter”. It raised a chuckle between himself and interviewer Matt Everitt. “Oh my god,” Yorke gasped. “You think I’m bad now… [there were] just pages of ‘Seriously, mate, you need to take a break’”. It was a greatly endearing moment, yet you couldn’t escape yourself thinking that a large portion of the general public came to that same conclusion. Twenty years since its release, the album has since crystallised Yorke in the public imagination as a kind of chronic sulking, cheerless depressive, a man whose twitchy debut album addressed climate change and David Kelly, the whistleblower who allegedly ended his life after he expressed doubt to the press whether or not Saddam Hussein actually had the weapons of mass destruction that provided justification for the 2003 Iraq invasion. OK Computer itself brims with Y2K paranoia, suspicion and utter despair.

There are songs with names that hint at modern life malaise and sixth-form poetry: Subterranean Homesick Alien, Electioneering, Paranoid Android. The lyrics cover such cheery topics as social alienation, consumerism in the age of globalisation, faceless corporations and shady oppressive regimes (“When I am king, you will be first against the wall”; “This is what you’ll get when you mess with us”; “Bring down the government, they don’t speak for us”), technophobia and environmental disaster (“I keep forgetting the smell of the warm summer air, I live in a town where you can’t smell a thing”; “A handshake of carbon monoxide, no alarms and no surprises”), best epitomised in the lachrymose yet lovely No Surprises. It finds room for a two-minute spoken word diatribe – the doleful experimental ambient piece Fitter Happier – as if narrated by a depressed robot, the antithesis of Ewan McGregor’s “Choose Life” speech in Trainspotting. Even one of those previously unreleased tracks from the OK Computer era, the gorgeous, rousing ballad I Promise, at first looks like an earnest love song about devotion, but a slight undercurrent of uncertainty in the lyrics complicates things. Soon after OK Computer, the band were the subject of the 1998 documentary Making Friends Is Easy, its ironic title barely hiding its apathy and contempt, an fine example of the exhausting routine of touring, the pressures of fame and how petulant and antisocial it can make you. Regardless, it managed to sell millions of copies and topped the UK Albums Chart.

Thus the question arises: how did this most neurotic of albums become hailed as a modern classic? Maybe it resonated acutely with the times. You could point to the discovery of Dolly the Sheep in 1997 for the start of people’s fears around cloning. Or to IBM’s Deep Blue computer beating Garry Kasparov for the second time and cyberattacks on Microsoft Windows at the time for indications of early doomsday techno-scepticism. But that only tells half the story. Aside from all the eerily accurate portents and lyrics that read like crowd-pleasing sloganeering (“A job that slowly kills you”; “Don’t get sentimental, it always ends up drivel”), OK Computer communicates something more personal, more universal and more human, even if the band responsible for it appear to be fighting against it. Take for example, Paranoid Android, its relative ubiquity and accessibility obscuring how odd and ever-so-slightly pompous a song it is: equally dazzling, pretentious and exhausting, splicing together its disparate musical passages. It becomes easy to see why some thought Radiohead were really more the students of 70s prog than 80s post-punk and alternative rock: the headline for the Village Voice’s album review read “Punk Floyd”. It must have appeared perverse for a band who started life as a messy, grunge-ish outfit and were noted fans of the Pixies to end up producing stuff like Lucky, arguably the closest the band get to aping Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, with its echoing, soloing guitar, or Man of War, another unreleased track, pitched somewhere between an epic Bond theme and classic rock bombast – both songs where Jonny Greenwood unleashes his inner Brian May or David Gilmour.

This distinctly, wilfully proggy sensibility never truly lasts. Even at their most difficult, Radiohead can’t avoid writing a compelling tune. OK Computer contains an embarrassment of excellent songs, nearly all them laden with indelible melodies, from Let Down’s simple, twinkling prettiness to the lush, mildly jazzy, warbling sway that snakes and eddies about on Subterranean Homesick Alien. Sometimes they were able to keep that agitation in check, pressing it into the service of fantastic songwriting. Airbag’s bassline, like a murmur amid the tangles of overdriven guitars, interrupts drums that take their influence from DJ Shadow’s hip-hop plunderphonics. The spooked, sped-up-and-slowed-down samples that witter and groan away on Climbing Up the Walls sound like the shrill “flock of seagulls” sound effects on the Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows, albeit sullied by turn-of-the-millennium anxiety; the whole thing finally succumbs to distortion and the sort of detuned, atonal string arrangements that Jonny Greenwood weaves into his film scores. Electioneering’s sprightly post-punk racket recalls mid-80s R.E.M. if their sound attempted to match the weirdness of the nervy, dad-dancing Michael Stipe of their early years.

But mostly, everything here is all too human instead of cerebral, providing moments that aim for your gut and not your brain, like the moment Exit Music (For a Film)’s distorted bass riff and crashing drums take the reins – never mind that it conjures up the dreaded spectre of Muse, whose histrionic take on OK Computer, replete with worldwide conspiracy and grave intimations of Big Brother dystopia, was thoroughly unappealing. Something similar happens on the immensely enjoyable Karma Police, its almighty, cathartic second half coming through like rays of sunshine behind grey, brooding clouds; it approaches something like a colossal, anthemic, festival-singalong via Yorke’s soaring, affecting falsetto: “For a minute there, I lost myself”. You have to admit that’s a rather strange thing to do: to write a song about rueful, you’ll-get-yours rancour where the moment the protagonist suddenly rebukes themselves becomes genuinely life-affirming, but perhaps that’s the root to OK Computer’s genius and its success. Beneath all the fraught angst is a band cleverly and warmly examining the human condition.

Aaaaand… five facts about Louis, as promised! :D 
I got tagged for another of these things by @ultroslovesyou waaaaaay back in January, but for some reason I never actually managed to post my five facts D: sooo… time to make up for that with an UBER LONG post! :D 

…No, seriously, brace yourselves: a wall of text is coming .__. 

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“We’re going out soon, right?” Éponine says as she passes the bathroom. She knows Cosette is in there, doing her hair or whatever, even though Éponine has explained to her a million times that the whole point is to not do your hair.

Silence comes from behind the door, but Éponine doesn’t have time to think much of it, because she gets too distracted by the sight of Montparnasse in her living room.

“Wow.”

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Artist: The Adicts
Album: Songs of Praise
Year: 1981
Label: Fallout
Length: 37:51
Location of Acquisition: N/A (gift)
Price: N/A
Format: CD

Formed in 1975, The Adicts are probably the longest-lasting punk band that still tours. This album is their classic (though frankly I haven’t heard any others. It might be a MDC thing where this is their only good one), and if you have heard an Adicts song its probably from this album. It’s a total front-to-back, almost disarmingly positive, and captures the best of that 70’s British sound. There’s not much to say that this album won’t say for itself. Posterity practically demands that you give it a listen.

Recommended tracks: 1,2,3,5,6,7,9,10,12,14,15,16