RADSTEWART – INSANE PARTIES

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Preamble: Radstewart dropped their second track from their upcoming EP about a month ago, it’s called ‘Insane Parties’, and during my completely planned visit back to the UK I went to see them support Mowbird in Brighton and the Cardiff-based show-stealers were really great and nice guys with well-priced band t shirts.

For like ever, Indie Rock in some form or other has been fundamentally linked to the mini subcultures of US colleges and high schools, so I guess it was kind of inevitable that the British university system should be tackled at some point, and who better than articulate lo-fi rockers Radstewart to do so?

As far as the lyrics are concerned, the sentiments expressed in the lines

They go to those parties/ they’re totally insane, man

and the more direct

If you go out and get drunk/ in a Native American headdress then you’re a cunt

make Radstewart’s ‘Insane Parties’ an antidote to all of the attitudes embodied by how ‘Fresher’s Week’ is sold to British students. ‘In a Native American headdress’ could be changed to anything from ‘as a Smurf/Where’s Wally’ to ‘tightly and brightly’, but the song rings true to anyone who has stood the wrong side of a university accommodation window, looking out and wishing everyone would drop the act.

The song opens with a seductive lead guitar waltzing over the tricky pickings of its accomplice, the vocals come in, the listener is addressed, and it’s unmistakeably Radstewart; we get our ears around the exposed workings of a song that refuses to hide behind excess production values, or something. Ultimately, however, ‘Insane Parties’, is Radstewart’s beefiest tune to date (even though ‘Garage Faery‘ is ‘shoutier’) as the 4-piece drop a scuzz bomb in the chorus; they come at us with that straight screw-faced head banger brutishness, punctuated by a more precise guitar line, but one that eventually loses itself in the debris of the post-scuzz bomb landscape.

Radstewart are releasing their 5 track EP, ‘Wiccans and Beatlemancers’, in a couple of weeks and no doubt their take on ‘the state of things’ will continue with titles like ‘Student Wiccans’ and ‘Graduation Blues’. Their song, ‘Fix The Roads’, which is also on the EP, proves that Radstewart are not only on the frontline of student’s battle against students, but also student’s battles against the council:

 ‘They’ll never the fix the roads because they know that students don’t pay tax’

‘Insane Parties’ is available as a free download on Soundcloud – DON’T LOOK A GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH

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OSOOSOOSO – NEIGHBORS

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Osoosooso is a project led by the not ‘ex’ but current State Lines member, JD, which is important because State Lines are still a band. Next month Osoosooso are releasing a 7-track EP from which ‘Neighbors’ is taken.

The first moments suggest that Osoosooso exhibit the stripped back pop-punkyness which was present in parts of State Lines’ second album (which is super great); it’s thudding palm muting ahoy, but then the drums and the other guitar twitch into action and the lyrics twist towards the tangible with the lines  ‘I thought I heard your voice in the back of my head/turns out you’re next door’ and suddenly you’re wrapped up in a full bodied, purposeful pop-punk tune as you figure out why frontman Jonathan hates his neighbours so much.

I tried to be the nice guy’ (either that or ‘I’ve been such an asshole’) is so often the call of the pop-punk; the world turning on them despite their best efforts, and Osoosooso is no exception and it turns out that bummed out guitar music is still the best way for smart, frustrated American late teens and early twenty-somethings to communicate their vulnerable admittance of emotions, often drawing from the mundane world they are surrounded by and about which they’re so cynical; ‘I hate the neighbours’, for example.

It’s just Osoosooso good (haha) and I’m really looking forward to the EP. Since I started writing this (I know right), the band previewed another of the songs from the EP, the intimate and twinklier, ‘Safe’ and it’s hard to decide if it is better than ‘Neighbors’ or not but it was never supposed to be a competition.

‘It lets me know I’m safe’

MOWBIRD – BROMPTON // HAPPY ACTIVE HORSE ORGAN

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Wrexham garage Wrockers, Mowbird, have been bouncing around on Wales’ DIY scene for several years now, and they are releasing their debut full length LP on Cardiff’s Shape Records in six days. The 2 song preview of the LP currently streaming on Mowbird’s bandcamp has got me and the gang here at RATTLD HQ sitting down and typing with anticipation. But no, seriously, it’s gonna be great.

First up, it’s organ-led stomper, ‘Brompton’. Mowbird shine in their expansive use of their synth organ, and on what will be the album’s second track; the blaring organ riff provides a demented energy, similar in some ways to the frenzy of 8-bit synthpop, as the song veers towards the more surreal side of lo-fi garage rock.

The second song in the preview is ‘Happy Active Horse Organ’, and with a title like that it goes a long way to describing itself, the song ‘gallops’ along, for example. It is a pepped up re-recording of a song that has been with the band since their genesis (get the 1st version here 4 free) and despite its rerecording it still revels in being charmingly lo-fi, and obviously it features Mowbird’s organ blasts to navigate itself through its twists and turns.

Mowbird are also doing a semi-comprehensive UK tour (most of them with Radstewart!!) so go and see them in your town or your gran’s town and you can sleep on her sofa afterwards. Someone has decided that The Orwells, Drenge and Mowbird are all playing in Brighton on the same night in 3 different venues, so if anyone wants 2 Orwells tickets I bought a few months ago, text me on 0784013, cos I’m going to see Mowbird! (hopefully).

ACCIDENTE – ¿A CAMBIO DE QUÉ?

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Female-fronted Accidente are another slice of Madrid-based brilliance. Last Saturday they played a sold-out show at the irresistibly named Rock Palace, with support from local bands who are equally inspired by 80’s hardcore punk: the excellent El Pardo, Los Putos Frimans and Perras Salvajes. Stealing the show, with an almost charming take on frantic punk rock, were Accidente.

Their self-titled debut LP was released back in 2011 and a fortnight ago their follow up was released into the wild for the first time. 2011’s ‘Accidente’ set them up as an openly political and socially relevant punk band, addressing themes which are continued on ‘Amistad y Rebelión’, but they’ve returned with brasher, more confident guitars to accompany their ‘rebelión’ and ‘insatisfacción’. Addressing social conditions and employment, the album opener laments:

‘Toda nuestra alegría, toda nuestra energía/ ¿a cambio de qué?’

(‘All our joy, all our energy / in exchange for what?)

‘¿A cambio de qué?’ finds the band sounding impressively magnificent, seemingly transcending their DIY punk roots with an uplifting take on time-honoured punk structures and chord progressions, incorporating the kind of melody that was only hinted at on the first LP to incredible affect, whilst losing none of the frenzied punk energy. ‘Las Victorias Más Bellas’ and ‘Policía No’ are two more of my favourites from the album. Both albums are available free on the group’s bandcamp, so don’t wait up.

Accidente are reclaiming Madrid’s musical identity; Spain’s pissed-off but beautiful capital lives again.

LOS NASTYS – MADRID ES UN CEMENTERIO

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Madrid is keeping it super real. Later this month Madrid’s Los Nastys are set to release their new EP ‘Me Lo encontré Así’. The rock and roll 4 (or 5?) piece have been on the scene for a while, shouting about Jägermeister and generally getting wasted. ‘Madrid es un Cementerio’ is the first single from the EP, and is a fitting tribute to the capital’s past. It’s a demented garage punk thumper and comes complete with an 80’s style kitsch horror film music video. It almost seems that local madrlieño garage-punk groups are staging a revival of Madrid’s famous pleasure-seeking, self-expression movement of the 1980’s, or at the very least their aesthetic and the hedonism they revel in bears a resemblance to that period. Madrid isn’t dead.

As far as the record’s sound goes, ‘Madrid es un Cemeterio’ is notable in its fidelity to the 1960’s garage rock sound, but Los Nastys step it up a notch, harnessing the aforementioned madrlieño spirit and creating their very own haunted, jittering rock and roll out of their melting pot of influences. The single is available free on their bandcamp and the EP’s release should mean a few live shows so we can all go and see Los Nastys freak out and jump around a lot.

CHUMPED – SOMETHING ABOUT LEMONS

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Oh wow Chumped are amazing. The Brooklyn 4-piece released their debut EP in October and came out swinging right for your heart. They are pop-punk straight from the gut and their EP is a writhing, restless masterpiece or something. There is barely a pause for breath on the EP as lead singer Anika Pyle heaves up feelings for 20 minutes over full-bodied orchestrated guitar chaos. Listening to Chumped makes me want to run away from everything else and completely fall in love knowing all I’m going to get is heartbreak. I love you Chumped.

‘We keep running from our problems/Not going anywhere we really wanna be

All of their 6-track self-titled EP will blow you away. Buy it on Bandcamp or text me and I will come and hand-deliver a burned CD of it to your door and fall into your arms crying

forever.

TWEENS – DON’T WAIT UP

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Trash-pop trio TWEENS are just lo-fi enough. Lo-fi at its most trashy can drag itself into the uncertain, murky and musically existential gutter of ‘noise’, but TWEENS’ distortion pop is uplifting and feel-good. They are a bubble-gum flavoured noise assault, and at their best that is with a pinch of assault and a double helping of bubble-gum. As far as heavily distorted guitars go, ‘Don’t Wait Up’ is really listenable, which is thanks in no small part to front woman Bridget Battle, her bratty lemonade vocals are all shaken-up sugar rush, and shimmer over her fuzzed-out guitars.

‘Don’t Wait Up’ is one of a handful of demos on their Soundcloud page and the band are set to release a self-titled LP on Frenchkiss Records in a month or two. They have already supported The Breeders and The Black Lips in their short career, so the sky is the limit for the glucose-fuelled pop bottle rocket that is TWEENS.