Gordon Smart's Choice Cuts
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About This Box
Gordon Smart is our Head of Music at VinylBox - he has lived and breathed music all his life, hosting shows on Radio X for 10 years between 2011 and 2020. He is also a partner of This Feeling, a music platform covering the indie scene.
What you’ll be listening to...
Your box will include a handpicked selection of two or three albums from this collection of eight:
The Amazons return bigger, bolder and with more riffs on second album, Future Dust
There are songs on Future Dust that are largely content to ride their groove-laden riffs, but there are also plenty of embellishments, from the falsetto backing vocals to sleek rhythms that shimmy and twist like a slightly less slippery Queens Of The Stone Age.
Matt Thomson’s crystalline vocals are a high point, and are put to particularly good use on the more melodic moments. Dark Visions is the finest of these, not least because of the juxtaposition between the dark lyrics and the shiny pop hooks. Elsewhere, the rampant 25 comes complete with an acoustic reprise, while Georgia breaks out the classic rock solos like a mini-Freebird.
This is smart, sexy and it rocks like a wild thing. When the Future Dust settles, The Amazons might just stand as a band worth all the hype and more.
A2 Fuzzy Tree
A4 The Mire
A5 Doubt It
A6 All Over Town
B1 End Of Wonder
B2 Dark Visions
B4 Warning Sign
Twin Atlantic - Power
Glasgow sons Twin Atlantic return with a bold reinvention on Power…
Indeed, Power is an album that covers a lot of emotional ground, which is all the more impressive given its short run time.
From the bass-led grooves of Volcano, to the elastic synth-pop of lead single and album high point Novacaine, Power finds Twin Atlantic relishing the freedom to be daring, and becoming the band you suspect they may have wanted to be for some time.
The reward is a group of songs that feel big and important at almost every turn, and, if the album doesn’t prove to be too much of a left turn for fans, it points towards potential exciting times ahead for a band recharged and reborn.
A1 Oh! Euphoria!
A4 Mount Bungo
A5 I Feel It Too
B1 Ultraviolet Truth
B5 Praise Me
This is Your Life
Augustines - This is Your Life
A big, emotionally naked, and relentlessly melodic blast of anthemic indie rock that does everything but ask the audience to go ahead and pump their fists, This Is Your Life aims so far past the nosebleed seats that it may as well be bouncing off of a satellite.
The third outing from the spirited Brooklyn-based trio formerly known as We Are Augustines, TIYL bristles with unabashed earnestness and Springsteen-inspired colloquialisms.
Fevered frontman Billy McCarthy, whose heated delivery invokes Glen Hansard, Craig Finn, and Eric Bachmann by way of Neil Diamond, is constantly imploring wild-eyed lovers to hold on, wait, fuck, fight, and get the hell out of Dodge, "Thunder Road" style.
Recorded in Los Angeles and New Orleans with Peter Katis (Frightened Rabbit, Interpol), the ten-track set is a simmering cauldron of stadium rock cliches that more often than not, rises above its myriad trappings by sheer force of will.
1 Are We Alive?
2 When Things Fall Apart
3 The Forgotten Way
4 Running In Place (featuring Pape & Cheikh)
5 May You Keep Well (featuring Pape & Cheikh)
7 Hold Me Loneliness
8 No Need To Explain
9 This Is Your Life
10 Days Roll By
Love, Death & Dancing
Love, Death & Dancing
Garratt’s latest offering is a triumphant return. It is an album that does not ask you to relate to his pain, nor tells you to dance over your problems. It is an album that tells a story and ultimately, holds no fear.
Garratt’s second album, Love, Death and Dancing, is the tale of what happened between then and now, in every brutal, excruciating detail. There are songs that take your breath away through their production. A level of production that effortlessly and effectively sways between a manic energy and euphonious beauty.
Garratt’s musical talent and eye for a sensational pop melody has only strengthened. First single “Time” felt like an anthemic return upon first release, a subtle grandeur to ease Garratt in that also sits well in the track nine placement of the finished product. Follow-up single “Better” acts as the beating heart of the party, a track to dance to and one that bleeds light and embraces life.
A1 Return Them To The One
A2 Get In My Way
B1 Doctor Please
B2 Mend A Heart
D1 She Will Lay My Body On The Stone
D2 Old Enough
D3 Only The Bravest
The Centre Won't Hold
The Centre Won't Hold
This is an album full of friction: between bodies, generations and, it turns out, the band themselves.
Propelled by sharp, angular sounds, ‘The Center Won’t Hold’ craves connection above everything else in a world that can often seem desperately lonely. Each dirty and distorted throb (unlocked to full potential by Annie Clark’s gift for making guitars sound positively devilish) seems to yearn for another body to hold onto.
A1 The Center Won't Hold
A2 Hurry On Home
A3 Reach Out
A4 Can I Go On
B3 Bad Dance
B4 The Future Is Here
B5 The Dog/The Body
‘Language. Sex. Violence. Other?’ is an excellent modern rock record. Dense, intelligent, user-unfriendly and challenging, its sparse artwork and one-word titles give it the feel of an early Factory release.
There’s no gentle easing-in, either. ‘Superman’ is jarring and bilious. An opening line of, “You don’t know what it’s been like/Meeting someone like you” signposts from the off that cuddly Rod Stewart covers will not be with us this evening. Ugly guitar slashes and agonised falsetto take their place, and they sound fantastic.
‘Language…’ finds the Stereophonics sexy, angry, hungry, focused and (generally) intelligent. And, wonder of all wonders, it finds them seriously good.
A1 - Superman
A2 - Doorman
A3 - Brother
A4 - Devil
A5 - Dakota
B1 - Rewind
B2 - Pedalpusher
B3 - Girl
B4 - Lolita
B5 - Deadhead
B6 - Feel
Open Up Your Head
Open Up Your Head
Melancholy and realistic about the modern youth's struggles, Sea Girls' debut does enough to avoid indie's usual hedonistic pitfalls
Rather than play up to the eternal teenage escape that is being in a band, Sea Girls try to twist that tragic trope into something more meaningful. “I’m not going to live forever, why would I even try?” asks Camamile ‘Forever’. “Kill the past, forget the future,” he demands on the desert runaway of ‘Weight In Gold’ as the band try to embrace the present, while ‘Ready For More’ laughs at rose-tinted nostalgia (“Learning to drive, first time getting high…best time of your life, how shit if that’s right?”).
‘Open Up Your Head’ is an accomplished debut that takes Sea Girls’ brand of indie-rock on countless new adventures, and leaves plenty of doors ajar for further exploration for a genre in dire need of a kick up the backside.
A1 - Transplant
A2 - All I Want To Hear You Say
A3 - Do You Really Wanna Know?
A4 - Lie To Me
A5 - Call Me Out
A6 - Closer
A7 - Forever
B1 - Weight In Gold
B2 - Ready For More
B3 - Violet
B4 - Shake
B5 - Damage Done
B6 - You Over Anyone
B7 - Moving On
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