Browsing Tag

Live Review

Nadine Shah brought her broodingly veracious post-punk-tinged soul to the Barbican in a one-off performance of her seminal album, Kitchen Sink.

In our depressively dystopic times where nothing seems to hit the same, Nadine Shah made sure she was the exception from the ennui; from the moment she walked on stage to the tune of synthesised jazzy discord, the atmosphere became just as electric – despite the social anxiety that mostly muted the audience aside from rapturous applause.

In her one-off performance at the Barbican in London on July 18th, she played her jazzy post-punk record, Kitchen Sink, in its entirety before playing what she claimed to be (they are) her ‘hits’. The critical acclaim she received following the release of her album in June 2020 had little impact on her infectious humility that radiates from her unfiltered stage presence.

As a proud owner of all of her records, I still somehow managed to underestimate the immensity of her vocal talent. There are few things in life more visceral than hearing her resounding, Jazzy vocal timbre and Pete Wareham’s demonic sax solos complemented by the acoustics in the Barbican.

Within the male-dominated realms of post-punk, Shah’s misogyny-challenging latest album, as with all of her music, comes with a sense of vindication that feels like a nuanced extension of the Riot Grrrl era. If anyone can kick ass with class, it’s Nadine Shah.

The deliciously rich brooding tones in her fourth studio album are a far cry from the abrasiveness of most artists striving to inspire through their lyricism, and they are all the more efficacious for it.

Grab yourself a copy of Kitchen Sink via Nadine Shah’s website.

Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

LIVE REVIEW: Burning House “Anthropocene” London Release Show

Anthropocene by Burning House

Seabright Arms, London, 19th July 2019

Listening to Shoegaze-influenced bands on record and listening to them live are frequently two very different yet equally mesmerising experiences. Naturally, the run-up to a live set is spent juggling curiosity, uncertainty, and eagerness to witness the alchemy unfurl first hand. Southampton-based four-piece Burning House certainly didn’t disappoint as their melodiously melancholic rhythms transformed into blistering walls of guitar allowing their sound to come alive with more intensity than I could have imagined.

A mix of aural intuition and intrigue for an artist who orchestrates their sound with such an indulgently intellectual pensive approach left me with the compulsion to travel 200 miles to check out the launch show of their latest album “Anthropocene”. With lyricism which sits right in the eye of the metaphysical storm, sapiophiles can get the rare experience of being sated on music alone. Take the track “Mimosa” which was pre-released ahead of the album for the perfect anachronistically articulate example, “Icarus, Icarus, won’t cry anyway, unfurl two wings, your hurried waxen-wings of pride and shame”. Even if you’re dead inside you can appreciate the artful ingenuity.

The bar had definitely been set for Burning House after the three incredible opening acts Hether, Altergaze, and Yumi and the Weather who all brought distinctly different brands of melodic Alt Rock to the stage.

Yet, Burning House gripped the room with searing notes from the distorted guitars which resonated with stomach-knotting disconcertment. Each track independently circumvented sounding like an assimilation of any of the bands from the eras of their influence. It was a stylised smorgasbord of vintage Indie, Shoegaze, and fuzzy erratic Post Rock which anyone with a penchant for 80s and 90s Alt-Rock is sure to appreciate.

While the two guitars, bass and vocals all worked together to carve out magnetic and frequently caustic catharsis, the drums brought a totally new dynamic upon hearing them live. It wasn’t just how intricately and rhythmically the hits bounced from each skin and cymbal, it was the conviction behind each deftly timed aggressive blow aurally depicting an entirely new facet of existentialism. The rest of the arrangement allowed you to appreciate the tremulous nature of the inclination and the drums showed that existentialism often sits hand in hand with unrestrainable rage which spikes through the apathy. Nietzsche would have been proud, not that I can claim to speak for Nietzsche now, but the sentiment still stands.

You can check out the latest album from Burning House for yourselves by heading over to Spotify and Bandcamp where you’ll also be able to grab a copy of the album on CD or on a limited edition 2LP vinyl.

If you’re a bit gutted you missed the debut show, keep up to date with the latest tour dates via Facebook.

Review by Amelia Vandergast


ILL Live Review: The Alchemists of Infectious Aural Disconcertment

Saturday, March 2nd, 2019, Wharf Chambers, Leeds

Admittedly, I shouldn’t have hung around for so long before seeing the Manchester-based powerhouse of genre contortionists who go by the (very telling) name of ILL.

While they may have only played a short set at the Girl Gang event, it was still long enough to get an indulgent hit of their distinctive chaos

Each of the ten acts brought something unique to the stage at the event celebrating the best of Feminist/Queer Punk. Yet, ILL’s contagiously frenetic soundscapes resonated with a mesmeric concordance to the tune of ominous, candid humour. And if they left anymore of an impression on me, I’d be bruised.

There will never be any danger of them swimming in a sea of aural assimilations and clichés. They don’t stop at defying genre restraints; they blur the boundaries of music entirely, allowing their sound to fade into an artform perpetuated by virile well-directed anger.

Of course, there’s been politically relevant music before, especially from the Riot Grrrl movement. Whilst the importance of the pioneers will never diminish, the relevancy of ILL’s music will grant anyone stung by the current political disparity a sweet hit of catharsis. Consider them an antidote to the Daily Mail.

With tracks such as “ILL Song” the insanity of our crumbling NHS has been fed into the carnivalesque sonic layers of sound. If you could imagine the soundtrack to your own worst nightmare, you’d get an idea of how cleverly they use the guitar distortion, keys, and rolling rhythms in their tracks. That’s without mentioning the lyrical hysteria which gives an impression of how our collective mental health is waning as we watch the fabric of our society fray.

Check ILL out for yourselves by heading to Bandcamp, or their official website.

Keep up to date with their latest releases, tours, and news via Facebook

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Luv Dot Gov – Live Review: Electrically Sludgy Power Pop

15th August, the Salty Dog, Northwich, Cheshire

Is there anything more satisfying than catching a band in the uncertainty of their inception and knowing the inevitability of their destination? Probably not, and that’s probably why I didn’t hesitate in heading to one of Luv Dot Gov’s UK tour dates after reviewing one of their singles Pretty Enough earlier this year.

After recording their first studio album At Least We’ve Got This Madness in Edinburgh the New York based five-piece headed to the unsuspecting streets of Northwich to bring their uniquely vibrant brand of Electrically Sludgy Power Pop. Instrumentally, the band’s sound is synergistically electric, and the quality of the sound is so much more than what you’d expect from a band who only came together in 2016. Yet those are relatively minute reasons as to why I’ve come to hold Luv Dot Gov in such high regard in comparison to the other artists I’ve heard this year. It’s the raw emotional honesty of the lyrics which will hit you the hardest. When you get a complete separation of ego and pretence in the lyricism it’s hard not to let the resonance hit you hard enough that you’ll feel bruised. If it weren’t for the pull of the sharp hooks and punchy melodies, then I probably would have shed a tear. Streaming the music is one thing, getting to witness the palpably emotive compositions for yourself is quite another, I’m absolutely certain that no band I’ve seen this year has had that much fun on stage. The rapture was infectious. Morrissey may have had his time making sad songs for happy people. Yet, Luv Dot Gov are prodigally playful enough to take bitter-sweet anthems to the next level.

You can check out the album for yourselves by heading over to Spotify,

Keep up to date with their latest releases and tours by following the stunning collective of aurally veracious via Facebook.

Review by Amelia Vandergast