TIGERCUB, Dilly Dally @ The Louisiana, Bristol, 26/01/2016

Dilly Dally - The TouchTaking on the UK live circuit for the first time, Toronto punk band Dilly Dally are in high spirits. They’ve just made a feature appearance on the new NME website, following a recent cover of Drake’s “Know Yourself” - a rendition of which they obediently perform tonight. With debut album Sore underneath their belt and whisky shots lined up in preparation for their set, it’s clear from the moment we step into The Louisiana, we’re in for a treat.

First up though are equally anticipated and well received support act, TIGERCUB. Hailing from Brighton, the trio perform classic punk pop with a riotous and highly enjoyable twist of energy on stage. In presence if not sound they’re reminiscent of Johnny Foreigner, putting absolutely everything into their set.

Between songs from their current mini album Repressed Semantics, TIGERCUB joke with the front row as though they’re long-time friends. Perhaps they are: Big Jeff dutifully presents. The set is only marginally spoiled by someone clearly known to the band but apparently no one else, who jumps on stage and turns the last two songs into Test Icicles style screamo. The slow jog towards shoulder jerking headbanging is put on hold a most back away and consider beating the queue to the bar.

Dilly Dally are in comparison low key for much of their set. The Partisan signees arrive quarter of an hour late, and take quarter of an hour to play the first two songs due to technical difficulties. Somehow it doesn’t matter. Front woman Katie Monks is so Canadian in her apology, her bumbling approach to stage chat provides endearing entertainment. Her band mates’ lack of involvement also perfectly suits the sulky teenage grunge stereotype (though Dilly Dally are past that phase of their life by a few years). Put together with their impressive back catalogue of sound – performing songs from Sore alongside their debut single “Candy Mountain” - the whole thing just works.

Towards the end of the night, predictably a mosh pit erupts in the centre of the room. We’ve always taken issue with this happening in the Louisiana, as the venue is so small bystanders are more liable to get hurt, and not be able to get away without leaving entirely. Tonight however something special happens. Pinned against the wall, two bulky men edge towards me and I think, “Fab, it’s expanding right into my lap.” Except these men do not advance to cause a bigger riot, they block the riot from enveloping me and those unwilling participants also nearby. It’s a pretty fab example of a mosh pit done right, by no small coincidence at a punk rock gig – and a damn decent one at that.

Dilly Dally boast raw emotion on Sore

SoreWith mounting critical acclaim and a devoted fan base already nestled securely in their quarter; Toronto based band Dilly Dally looked set to successfully conquer 2015 before details of their debut album, Sore, were even announced. Now with the record tucked safely under Partisan Records' arm, the four-piece stare wide-eyed at international dominance and a lengthy, prosperous career.

Tension has certainly built in the run up to the release of this full length. With lead singles "Desire" and "Purple Rage" putting in a lot of the leg work, and blogs bowing at their every whim, Dilly Dally have already carved out a reputation as a band who have mastered their craft and are ready to take on the world. As with the quartet's previously released material, Sore manipulates a loud/quiet dynamic with the sheer audacity of a band formed in a Seattle basement circa 1994. Influences such as Kurt Cobain and Pixies have predictably been bandied about, but Sore is simultaneously timeless and rooted in US rock culture. That Dilly Dally fermented over a twelve year period, beginning with the high school friendship of band members Katie Monks and Liz Ball, is testament to the longevity of their music.

Sore captures the spirit of Dilly Dally - something that should come as no surprise to those who have thus far followed the act. While "Desire" acts as an opener and touchstone for the established fan, following track "Ballin Chain" successfully connects with the grrrl party scene and bands such as Chastity Belt. Elsewhere front woman Katie Monks' vocal explodes and implodes all over "Snake Head", a nonchalant snarl that puts the singer in the same ballpark as Courtney BarnettSore does classic punk too, clearly demonstrated on the rowdy, chorus led "The Touch" and dual vocal "Green".

Taken in one dose this album is a strong punch to the gut of love and lust, but every now and again a sort of comfortable laziness infects Dilly Dally's sound. It shouldn't be overlooked, because it's just as much a strength as the empowering emotion so many other critics have touched upon. In Sore Dilly Dally have created a seminal slacker rock meets grunge punk album for the 21st century, and frankly we only want more if it's coming from them.

Release: 9th October 2015, Partisan Records

Interview: Dilly Dally bare their teeth

Dilly DallyHere at DrunkenWerewolf, we’re drunk on Dilly Dally, and everything surrounding their upcoming debut album, Sore. Last month, we licked the salt and took our first shot when the Toronto based indie rock band released their debut single, “Desire”, a fiery track about sexual release. Not long after, the Benjamin Dabu-directed music video for “Desire” premiered and left us warm and in touch with heavy and raw emotions. You know what they say about emotions – better drink up! And of course, we can’t forget that Dilly Dally most recently dropped “Purple Rage”, another exceptional preview of what is to come from Sore. Regardless of how drunk we are, let’s make one thing clear right now: Dilly Dally is a name to be remembered.

While we wait for the album to be released, our writer Lanny Lieu speaks to lovely lead vocalist, Katie Monks, about Sore, Dilly Dally's aesthetic, and the ongoing movement for equality in the music industry.

Hey Dilly Dally! What have you all been up to recently? I saw you have some US dates lined up for tour next month! 

So, so excited for tour. Just gunning up all our gear. All our songs. Saving cash for our relentless journey into the States.

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I was listening to Sore last night and couldn't stop thinking about how consistently strong the album is as a whole. It's easily one of my favourite albums to be released this autumn. How are you guys feeling about the release?  

Feeling anxious, and excited. It's been a long journey, to get here, so there is a great sense of accomplishment. But mostly, there is this huge underlying truth behind it all that's saying, "This is just the fuckin start."

One of the first things I noticed about your forthcoming album is the art that's been associated with it. There's the cover art for "Desire" with the bloody ice cream and pink backdrop as well as the album art with the gems and the bloody tongue. What inspired you to use these two pieces?

What I can mainly speak of is the cover art for the album. It's really close to me.

I was lying in bed with one of the most free-spirited artists I know. We were in love, but also on the verge of breaking up. This image came to mind. And yeah, it was just like a vision. The oversized hunk of jewelry on a girls tongue. Pink glossy lips. Almost like a make-up commercial gone wrong. Very empowering, and sexy to me. I knew it had to be the cover of our album.

As this relationship fizzled out, we agreed to stay in touch specifically for the sake of making this image come to life. It was a really beautiful and cathartic time. Almost like we channeled whatever energy we had left for each other into this piece. And then it was over.

Dilly Dally has been together as a four-piece for a while now. How did you narrow your last couple of years worth of material into the 11 songs that made it on to Sore? Was it a difficult process?

No. It's easy for us to cut the fat, because we had such a potent vision. We could all see it. We all knew which songs were the strongest. But I guess there's this one song about falling in love with a dinosaur that I really wanted on the record. It's called "Dino-song". Haha too bad!

How did you get in touch with producers such as Josh Korody and Leon Taheny and what was it like working with them?

We knew them because we had recorded with them before. From our earlier sessions with Josh and Leon, a friendship had spawned. I really love and respect them as artists so much. When we went to mix the album with Rob in LA, it felt scary at first, like leaving the nest. But it ended up being an amazing session. Plus LA has great kush.

Are there any messages you'd like your audience to take away from listening to this record?

Listen to your gut.

Anger is positive.

Loud music is fun.

Everyone has a voice.

Look after your friends.

But seriously, there are many undertones. Many messages. If you can't understand my voice, we will be posting lyrics once the release is out.

As you might have heard, music journalist, Jessica Hopper, recently started a conversation on Twitter about misogyny and oppression in music. As a female fronted band, what are your thoughts on the marginalization of minorities in music? What do you believe can be improved upon in this industry? 

There is a movement happening. There is a change. And that is incredible to be in the midst of. So happy to be making music at this time. What can be improved upon is the tone in which we are able to discuss these issues. A person who speaks out against oppression is not doing it to get attention, or stir the media pot. They are doing it as basic self-defense, and it's not a fucking headline.

Dilly Dally will release their debut album Sore on 9th October 2015 in the UK. Check back for a review soon, and find out more about the band here.

Top 10 Songs about Black and Gold

Sparkles. We all love them, right?

There are few things better in life than wearing inappropriately glittery clothes, with the small but mighty exception of the colour black. Together this power couple of colours rule the roost at DW HQ, and probably will for a very long time. So when we were presented with these awesome black gold headphones from Pryma, our world was shaken to its very core. We drooled, we danced, and finally, we were inspired to compile this comprehensive yet bespoke list of songs.

You are welcome.

10// Mary Epworth - Black Doe

Launching straight into the fray with Ms Epworth's "Black Doe", a solid dirge of glorious noise if ever there was one, this track is taken from her often overlooked but still fantabulous debut solo album.

9// Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Gold Lion

Duh.

8// Du Blonde - Black Flag

Our outfits very often result in smeared red lipstick also, Beth. You're okay in our books.

7// Buffalo Clover - Fools Gold

Those lungs! Buffalo Clover's Margo Price is now a bona fide star on her own ground, and quite right, too.

6// Tilly & The Wall - Pot Kettle Black

An oldie, but great black song nonetheless: here Tilly & The Wall once again prove that stomping about in a piss is the best way to relay your feelings via the medium of song.

5// Dilly Dally - Next Gold

Screaming? Check. Gold reference? Check. Penchanting for wearing black t-shirts? Check.

4// Love Inks - Black Eye

Otherwise heard as, "YOU'VE GOT BLACK EYE ON YOUR EYE."

3// Bat for Lashes - All Your Gold

By now you've realised this slightly odd excuse for a playlist is actually jam packed with decent music, and Bat for Lashes is no exception.

2// The Rolling Stones - Paint It Black

There are only so many black songs you can reference before you get to this 60s hit. Plus, "Paint It Black" invokes dramatic flailing, and that's always a good thing in music.

1// The Horn the Hunt - Gold

When this song came out, we laughed until we cackled. This is the audible embodiment of the most flamboyant black and gold outfit out there, and it's all down to Leeds alt-pop pioneers The Horn the Hunt.

Sound City 2016 @ Liverpool, 28/05/2016

Sound City 2016Sound City has become a staple of the music industry in the North West of England, yet despite several connections to the area – not least of all that DrunkenWerewolf was founded in Liverpool – this is the first year we’ve attended the festival. Its history of central domination and move to South Bramley Moore dock is lost on us, but hushed whispers of the event’s development over the years are pronounced across the corresponding conference, Sound City+. It’s doing well, and people are beginning to pay attention on an international scale.

But wait, board talk alert: unfortunately the company does not capitalise on this business opportunity. The industry focused leg of Sound City is sterile and corporate in comparison to the far more community orientated and therefore better Live at Leeds, leading Sound City+ to draw comparison to larger scale events such as The Great Escape. The difference between Sound City+ and its competitive southern brethren however is that scheduled hangouts and industry prattle does not continue across the weekend, leading to a very rushed one day, a contrived atmosphere, and the sense that you only have one chance (if that) to make an impression.

There’s an even bigger problem than soul-related claustrophobia with this mode of operation. While on paper Sound City+ presents a great networking opportunity thanks to lauded critics and business persons from across the world committing to attend – it’s the northernmost city of Leeds that again prevails courtesy of its far more laid back and communicative approach to ‘getting together’. We do not meet Charlotte, the faceless lady who’s organised our own appearance. We're also not introduced to the other professionals in the room we occupy, despite being in there for two hours. The whistle stop tour orchestrated by Sound City+ volunteers means there’s no chance to get up and go to the loo, least of all introduce yourself to your peers, and no one knows who we are as we’ve not been included on the roster (but we're definitely supposed to be here). We're also the only member of press in the room. Some of the people who've signed up to speak to us work in promotion and want to know how to launch a marketing campaign/social media/crowdfund/generally do our job, which makes it seem like we've been asked to work for free for absolutely no gain on our part. When the session ends, we’re quickly moved from the room to make way for the following round of 1-2-1 meetings – and everyone disperses without saying a word. We’re probably all feeling the same isolation and misdirection that shrouds the event. In summary, the volunteers know what they’re doing, but nobody else does.

Rejected – quite literally – and with other talks largely filled due to the hour at which we're released from our speed dating chat, we leave the venue to prepare for the following day.

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While it’s disappointing we do not get the chance to meet a future DrunkenWerewolf stakeholder at Sound City+, we’re ultimately here for the music at Sound City 2016. The festival offers a plethora of talent from artists we’ve heard of and artists we’ve never encountered before; a perfect balance of exposing and exposed. It’s refreshing to be presented with an honest snapshot of local, national and international scenes, but it’s a disappointment to find the Sunday bill is better by a country mile – especially as we and many other press persons are not able to attend the second day. (This means among others no Shura, no The Dandy Warhols, no The Big Moon, no Dilly Dally, and worst of all no Foxtrott, which is extremely disappointing.)

Determined to make the most out of the experience we resolve to watch as many new and unheard acts as we’re able, and carefully plot out a strategy in our hotel room. This is immediately destroyed when we arrive at the venue to realise the crowds at Sound City’s self-governed space are moving very slowly, and that some of the stages are quite far apart despite occupying the same spit of land. Inevitably this results in us missing several of the acts we wanted to see: Violet Skies suffers thanks to a long (very long) queue to the toilets and the bar queue also interrupts sets from Oh Pep! and Fizzy Blood. In fact problems with Sound City 2016 are well documented on social media from start to finish: the lack of toilets, the aggressive looking security men, that press can’t access artists backstage for arranged interviews, and the highly priced alcohol do not go unnoticed by attendees. We have to admit though, we enjoy Sound City in situ, and this is largely because of the bands we get to see.

Starting our evening proper, following a decent warm up set from Kyko and a strange, audio-only tribute to Viola Beach from the main stage, is the ferocious Band of Skulls. An act due to grace many festivals this summer, the Southampton trio show off their spots with a loud, grizzly and growling hour-long set of rock’n’roll that embraces both the past and the future, namely their fourth studio album By Default. Having spoken to the band backstage at the event (interview soon) it’s a pleasure to find them on top form and providing a festival highlight for many, including ourselves.

Following a close encounter with a group of people who seem to think having benches at a festival is “dead posh”, we unwittingly make our way towards Violet Skies via the toilet. This is the one totally avoidable disappointment of the night, as despite sensibly heading to the VIP area to use the facilities, we’re still confronted with an hour long queue. We speak to a nice Scouse lady about how our Auntie lives in Manchester (poor us, she says, clearly aware of the stereotype but doing her best not show real mirth) but how we live in Bristol (good for us, she says, apparently Scousers associate with Bristolians, something for which we are very glad) before we finally get to relieve ourselves.

By the time we're back at Violet Skies’ stage, not only have we annoyingly missed her entire set, but the following band are half way through their own, plus Fizzy Blood are dangerously close to availing me too. The scuzzy indie pop band’s set is justifiably chaotic, not literally (though they are on a boat) but audibly. They successfully blast out the cobwebs that have formed over the course of my toilet excursion and returning to me to festival mode.

Although we were was initially concerned by the site’s layout, and there are sound bleeding issues from one stage to the next, one good thing is that wherever you are, you can hear music. Because of this we manage to catch several unexpected artists, including rhythmic electronic artist The Hearing, whom we did not intend to see. The Helsinki based solo project of Ringa Manner, she uses a swirling, pulsing vocal loop and rampant percussion to build a wall of sound you can’t help but stop and gawp at. Likewise on another toilet trip we stumble upon Koala Voice, a 90s basement rock hybrid fronted by the iconic sounding Manca Trampus. We highly doubt we would have been introduced to either of these artists had we not attended Sound City 2016.

Overall then a success, and with sets from Feral Love and The Spook School to round off a pop meets punk night, Sound City 2016 has impressed. Whether it’s impressed enough to drag us away from the easily accessible Dot to Dot in 2017, we have to say, we’re not sure. But if you’re based in the North and can’t be bothered to make the trip South, Sound City is more of a lover than a friend.

Ones to Watch at Liverpool Sound City 2016

Sound City 2016Let 2016 be known as the year that DrunkenWerewolf was invited to attend events - not least of all Sound City 2016, which will take place in Liverpool between 27th and 29th May of this year.

Not only have we been invited to attend the three day festival, but yours truly has been asked to speak at the business to business event on Friday. Quite what this entails I do not know, but at least I can rest safe in the knowledge that a ton of decent music will present itself to me and many others the following day, as Sound City 2016 takes over its own stadium on the Merseyside dock front, nearby the Titanic Hotel.

With no further ado, let’s take a look at 10 of the best acts performance at music showcase Sound City 2016.

Band of Skulls

Headliners at many events elsewhere this summer, at Sound City Band of Skulls take a back seat to enjoy mid-to-top placing. Needless to say this won’t present an opportunity to get up close and personal with the band – they’ll more than likely draw a large crowd despite their placing on the bill – but it will offer a chance to see the Southampton three piece perform music from their brand spanking new album, By Default.

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Shura

Alt pop darling Shura has wowed the underground with her swish, uber cool take on synth music while also gaining favour from the BBC towards the beginning of the year, when she was nominated on the Sound of 2016 long list. The fashionista of the music industry will no doubt turn up for the London star’s set on Saturday despite her commercial misdemeanour.

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Dilly Dally

Canada’s loudest contemporary band return to the UK for a guaranteed set of ferocious noise. Having toured the country earlier in the year Dilly Dally already have a strong following, and it’s sure to get stronger once everyone at Sound City 2016 realises quite how loudly front woman Katie Monks can scream.

The Big Moon

Touched with twee, The Big Moon have been making a scene since heads turned in their direction last year – and their charming indie pop is well deserving. DrunkenWerewolf also reported a frantic energy exuding from the four-piece last month at Start the Bus, which we hope will be replicated at the festival this May.

The Anchoress

The Anchoress, aka smart feminist singer songwriter Catherine A.D. bolsters her position on the bill with songs from her long awaited debut album Confessions of a Romance Novelist – a full length that documents an almighty struggle with life, loss, love and a car crash. We expect her live performance to be equally as dramatic.

Feral Love

Having recently introduced the band on the website, it would be a crying shame to miss out on local Liverpool band Feral Love, whose single “Like the Wind” is enough of a reason to attend. Sleek synth pop, just the way we like it.

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Foxtrott

This is reason enough to travel to the North West, and rest assured we’ll be at the front banging an imaginary drum along to Foxtrott’s explosive, cathartic, hypnotic alt pop. Take the genre constraint lightly – this lady is experimental to a tee and positively unmissable.

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The Spook School

As long term fans of The Spook School, the Edinburgh band are an equally exciting prospect at Sound City 2016. Head over to their stage for LGBTQ related fun, lots of laughter and probably a shit ton of glitter (provided by me, at this point I’ll be on motor mark 100).

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Oh, The Guilt

If and when I need to calm down (if) a cold shower won’t do it – neither will a chilled pint of whatever cider the North caters up these days. Instead I’ll head over to Bristol band Oh, The Guilt’s set – a sombre and undeniably dark set from an act so loud all the cobwebs will be flung to the rafters upon the first beat.

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Oh Pep!

…And then back to pop fun times, courtesy of Melbourne band Oh Pep! Indicative of how international Sound City 2016 has become, the Australian duo present a booming music scene on the other side of the world. Let’s hope they do their fellow Aussies proud!

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Writers Albums of the Year 2015

Albums of 2015The Best Albums of 2015, according to a poll conducted by participating DrunkenWerewolf writers.

The same thing happens every year. Our writers have such a broad and varied taste in music; it’s unavoidable polls such as this will boast mainstream hip hop artists alongside alt pop DIY princesses, doom laden electronica, and ethereal bedroom folk from Totnes. Our Albums of 2015 Writers' Poll is no different.

What is perhaps interesting is that once again an artist from a genre DrunkenWerewolf doesn’t usually cover takes precedent. Previously, this position was held by Kanye West in 2013, with the admittedly more coherent Warpaint taking the title in 2014 - but that says more about the state of chart music in the year previous than it does changing tastes, in my opinion. There was simply not a blatant spoken word-based artist to champion in 2014.

Perhaps when such an artist does take the reigns, our writers rebel from their indie constraints. Perhaps hip hop and rap artists are simply more appealing to the masses, and therefore liable to top any polled vote - while guitar loving votes are spread thin(ner) across multiple genres. Perhaps hip hop artists are awarded bigger PR campaigns, and are therefore more accessible to the majority of our writers. Perhaps we just have the wrong people writing for us (sorry, you guys). Honestly, I don't really know enough about hip hop or rap (I'm not even sure I know the difference between the two) to make an informed judgement.

Whatever the case, I’m not one to bend the truth to suit my own agenda. The releases included below appear in the order they were voted for. In some cases, artists have received the same amount of votes – when that’s happened, I’ve prioritised releases that were voted for by more than one writer. Fortunately no album within our top 20 received the same amount of votes from the same amount of writers, or else I would have been stuck.

Here’s our Top 20 Albums of 2015 according to DrunkenWerewolf’s writers. Have at it!

20// Elvis Perkins - I Aubade (Mir)

"Elvis Perkins’ third album I Aubade started with him playing around on a shortwave radio in his trailer, recording the results like a sort of white trash John Cage. This then became the sonic backdrop for a meticulously crafted collection of homemade recordings by a lovable eccentric hermit. Perkins seems to have a slightly unhealthy obsession with fellow genius eccentric Syd Barret and to a lesser extent morose Canadian bard Leonard Cohen. It’s also easy to see this album fitting into the tradition started by Bon Iver with For Emma, with Love - crafting obscure, fuzzy folk pop gems in the solitude of a log cabin on his parents’ land. Regardless of these comparisons, Elvis Perkins very much marches to the beat of his own drum." PV

19// Swim Deep – Mothers (RCA)

"Swim Deep marked their long awaited return with new single “To My Brother”, a luscious pop landscape that hints at what’s in store. After a self-imposed hiatus that saw the band take a step back for almost a year, Swim Deep has emerged stronger than ever." CM

18// Cemeteries – Barrow (Snowbeast Records)

17// Pretend - Tapestry'd Life (Topshelf Records)

16// Titus Andronicus - The Most Lamentable Tragedy (Merge Records)

"Totalling an enormous 29 tracks, Titus Andronicus' new album is billed as a rock opera detailing the dissent of a lone protagonist into mental illness and his transformative odyssey. Even for Titus this is a bold concept. Songs such as "Lonely Boy" swagger with bravado rarely exhibited by Stickles and Co., and are reminiscent of The Rolling Stones in their pomp. Meanwhile lead single "Dimed Out" could very well be the most infectious pop gem the group have ever recorded. Even the stiffest punk aficionado will find it impossible to listen to the track more than once without belting out the chorus with arms a-loft." BS

15// Hooton Tennis Club - Highest Point In Cliff Town (Heavenly Recordings)

14// Grimes - Art Angels (4AD)

13// Marika Hackman - We Slept At Last (Dirty Hit)

"Marika Hackman is a confirmed DrunkenWerewolf favourite. The London based artist has taunted us with a talent that would be unbelievable were it not for the strong catalogue of songs that followed 2013’s “You Come Down”. Now, the time is finally upon us to unwrap the present we’ve been tantalised with for years. This, the Charlie Andrew produced full length, is We Slept At Last, the arrow to Hackman's bow. With it she provides the world with the forbidden fruit of the underground scene, and we’re all too happy to gorge upon its contents." TD

12// The Wonder Years - No Closer to Heaven (Hopeless)

11// Dilly Dally – Sore (Partisan Records)

"Taken in one dose this album is a strong punch to the gut of love and lust, but every now and again a sort of comfortable laziness infects Dilly Dally's sound. It shouldn't be overlooked, because it's just as much a strength as the empowering emotion so many other critics have touched upon. In Sore Dilly Dally have created a seminal slacker rock meets grunge punk album for the 21st century, and frankly we only want more if it's coming from them." TD

10// Beach House - Depression Cherry (Bella Union)

"Beach House’s music has always harbored an intimate atmosphere, though Depression Cherry serves to alter this intimacy into visceral, personal closeness. The record’s press release, written by Legrand and Scally themselves, is littered with chilling details covering everything from the anniversary of Roy Orbison’s death, to quotes from Banana Yoshimoto’s Kitchen, all of which serve to preface the record’s haunting human melancholia." SB

9// HOLYCHILD - The Shape of BratPop to Come (Glassnote)

"Downing Adderall, pursuing happiness through a feminist agenda and buying men for dollar. This is not your average pop album. Anyone who’s already had the good fortunate to encounter Liz Nistico and Louie Diller, aka Los Angeles power pop duo HOLYCHILD, will know this much already. With their debut The Shape of Brat Pop to Come, the band have defied modern convention with an almighty huff of girl power, doughnut dust and hyperactive adrenaline." TD

8// Wolf Alice - My Love Is Cool (Dirty Hit)

"Wolf Alice reflect the image of a band whose members have grown up with the same ideals in mind. With an era of indie rock bands seeking new techniques and approaches to use in their songwriting in order to really push the envelope, this is undoubtedly to the modern music scene's benefit. My Love Is Cool serves as an ode to rock music. It takes a broad range of influences from different decades, and adds the zeal of Wolf Alice’s candid delivery and desire to evolve sonically." JK

7// Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear (Bella Union)

6// Blur - The Magic Whip (Parlophone)

5// Joanna Newsom – Divers (Drag City)

"Five long years in the waiting, the release of Divers marked a sweet release for Joanna Newsom fans. Though many were still processing the unfathomable grandeur of 2010's Have One On Me (sprawled across a three-disc format more befitting a Final Fantasy saga than a folk album), the scarcity of live shows only added to the artist's mythical status." MN

4// Hop Along - Painted Shut (Saddle Creek)

"It takes a certain kind of band to sing about possible paedophilia, joggers running past a funeral procession and avoiding confrontation with your ex-boyfriend while serving him as a waitress. Hop Along pull it off with style on their new album, Painted Shut." TD

3// Sufjan Stevens - Carrie and Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty Records)

2// Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit (Marathon Artists)

"Melbourne native Courtney Barnett exploded onto the radar of music lovers back in the halcyon days of 2013 with the release of her split EP A Sea of Split Peas. She was instantly taken into the bosom of many thanks to her laid back droll vocal delivery and vivacious vernacular wordplay, something still very much prominent on new album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit." BS

1// Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly (Polydor)

Tiffany’s Albums of the Year 2015

Albums of 2015The Best Albums of 2015, so selected by Editor Tiffany Daniels.

All year long, I’ve found myself consciously bookmarking albums, determined each time that I’ve found ‘the one’. I’ve convinced myself there’s no possible way anyone can beat what’s in front of me, until another artist comes careering down the hill with something equally profound, intelligent, and ultimately unexpected.

Unlike last year, the ever-growing short list does not predominantly boast a certain type of musician. In 2015, major labels have pulled their weight, signing decent musicians who are independent in style, if not in business. That much debated genre of pop has also become far more dominant in general, with the marginally different sounding (though admittedly less corporate) alt pop dwarfing traditionally 'indie' genres such as rock and metal. Yet at the same time, alternative bands have begun to influence the otherwise tired 90s revival, and guitar music has arguably become interesting once again. The end result? A hodge podge of musicians, and none of them with a strong ethos discernible through their sound.

Because of above I’ve had to literally wring my hands and wrack my knuckles over the order of my selection. The difference between those in the top three slots is particularly slim, yet at the same time very large. At the end of the day, if my rambling below gets you to listen to just one of my favourite albums of 2015, I’ll be happy.

10// Esme Patterson – Woman to Woman (Xtra Mile)

Despite being signed to a reputable label, Denver-based singer songwriter Esme Patterson passed the UK by relatively unnoticed when Woman to Woman was release in February 2015. Nevertheless an outstanding album with an interesting concept; on her debut, the part-country, part-Americana musician addresses women made famous by other people’s work. The result is a highly intelligent, well considered feminist proposition, and the clear influence of other musicians doesn’t cloud Patterson’s unique talent.

9// Jemima Surrender – The Uninabited World (Self-release)

A Bristol-based self-releasing band who genuinely deserve a spot on any self-respecting music blogger's top 10: the only thing preventing Jemima Surrender from dominating the year is their lack of exposure. The Uninhabited World is a glorious concoction, with tales of anti-heroes and murderesses alongside an alt rock and progressive sound that doesn’t dive too deeply into experimental dirge. A very well balanced effort from a band we look forward to championing in 2016.

8// Du Blonde – Welcome Back to Milk (Mute)

Another musician to take on guitar music, this time by way of Los Angeles’ garage and glam rock scene; Beth Jeans Houghton performs here under her new pseudonym of Du Blonde. Having artists such as Future Islands’ Samuel Herring contribute guest vocals helps to cement an almost Rocky Horror style aesthetic, alongside frankly banging tunes from a genre too often assigned to men. On Welcome Back to Milk, gender doesn’t even come into it.

7// Foxtrott – A Taller Us (One Little Indian)

A late contender but extremely deserving of a last minute revision, Montreal based artist Foxtrott aka Marie-Helene Delorme explores rhythmic dimensions on her debut album A Taller Us. Unarguably underground, Delorme very successfully maintains an intelligent, coherent stronghold over her experiment throughout the album, despite its ultimately catch-y, electro pop sound. This is an extraordinary effort and I’m sure given the time to cement I’ll regret not awarding the album a higher spot.

6// Dilly Dally - Sore (Partisan Records)

Another Canadian act to bag a place on this list, Dilly Dally blew away cobwebs and misconceptions this year with a grunge album that puts their peers to bed. Sore is emotionally fraught, artistically astute and instrumentally perceptive; but best of all, front woman Katie Monks knows how to let out a gut-wrenching howl. It justifiably saw heads turn upon its release this summer, and we doubt ours will have been the only list to feature the full length by the end of the year.

5// CHAMPS - Vamala (Play It Again Sam)

I have to question the lack of all-male projects on my list this year, but that shouldn’t demean CHAMPS’ inclusion– they’re here for good reason. The Isle of Wight brothers had already impressed with their 2014 debut Down Like Gold, but less than a year later they returned with the decidedly vamped Vamala. Leaning away from CHAMPS’ original folk genre and towards electronica, it offers a refreshing example of musicians growing out of their boots into something far more impressive.

4// Marika Hackman – We Slept At Last (Dirty Hit)

Marika Hackman also appeared unafraid to develop away from her original sound on her debut album We Slept At Last. Initially presenting as a psych-folk artist, her professional partnership with Alt-J producer Charlie Andrew added new layers of indie pop to her sound and on her album, her sound flourished as a consequence. Some of our favourite tracks are still her most understated, but you could put this on random and be delighted whatever the result.

3// Laura Stevenson – Cocksure (Don Giovanni)

Ah, Laura Stevenson. Cocksure is profound; comfortable in its own skin and extremely confident, yet perfectly balancing the musician’s penchant for bluegrass, punk and indie pop. Her fourth studio album, Cocksure is the first to rank lower than #1, but that’s not to say it’s any less deserving of praise – there was simply stiffer competition, this year.

2// HOLYCHILD – The Shape of BratPop to Come (Glassnote)

Having to downgrade The Shape of BratPop to Come from #1 to #2 was heart-breaking. With their debut album, Los Angeles based duo and Hollywood-turned-pop act HOLYCHILD address all that is wrong with the world they live in: the cheap tricks, the nasty comments, the unreasonable demands. Empowering, sharp and clearly well versed in sociology and culture, HOLYCHILD have something to say – but they’re not afraid to match their lyrics with pitch perfect pop tunes. They are basically the reason I liked 2015.

1// Hop Along – Painted Shut (Saddle Creek)

Of course when I’ve found myself doubting the prowess of the year, my #1 album has been there to rescue me. Philadelphia band Hop Along initially came to the UK’s attention with the release of their debut album Get Disowned, but I personally found them through this, their sophomore, Painted Shut. Like Dilly Dally’s Monks, Hop Along front woman Frances Quinlan knows how to pull on your heart strings while making a racket – and on Painted Shut she milks the tactic for all it’s worth. With a loud/quiet dynamic and progressive noodling to boot, the post-punk band had me from the word go.

This Albums of 2015 list was compiled by Editor Tiffany Daniels. For the writer's poll, head over here.

Top 10 Songs for Halloween 2015

It's no secret Halloween is our favourite time of year. Not only did we found the blog on this hallowed day back in 2005; we've harboured a frightening affiliation with all things creepy crawly ever since then.

By no small coincidence some of our favourite musicians also like to get a little weird sometimes. Over the years we've gathered quite the collection of Halloween songs about Frankenstein cats, open crypts and burst blood vessels - sometimes couped up in silly, often edging towards unconventional, but always undeniably batty. About time, then, we put together a Top 10 of the best songs we've doused in dust already in 2015.

1// Nadine Shah - The Devil

Taken from the Newcastle-via-London singer songwriter's new album Fast Food, "The Devil" offers Nadine Shah in her prime - and a great introduction to any hellish night in or out.

2// Hop Along - Sister Cities

It sounds like an upbeat, West coast inspired ode to the party punk scene: but Philadelphia based band Hop Along are actually singing about horses heads being dredged from the river, dogs dying and an uncle going completely bonkers while surrounded by pretty flowers.

3// PWR BTTM - Kill All Assholes

If you're looking to straight up freak out your worst enemies, PWR BTTM have got your back. Their track "Kill All Assholes" is also perfect for wearing the most fabulous Halloween outfit while screaming its lyrics down your local highstreet at 3am.

4// Dilly Dally - Purple Rage

Or basically any Dilly Dally song, but mainly this one because its tempo compliments throwing things around the room in a mock/serious Igor temper imitation. Also if you have high aspirations for your Halloween 2015 costume, the purple monster in this video is your friend.

5// Lionface - Vampire

Cutting out the cryptic, pseudo-Halloween bullshit and going straight for the kill; Bristol band Lionface hail the greatest monster wrongly done by Hollywood with their epic new single. True fact: someone on Twitter once accused me of naming the blog after the Twilight franchise. I developed PTSD soon afterwards.

6// Aurora - Running With the Wolves

Okay, it's a pop song - but what it lacks in snarled misery it makes up for in lyrics designed to be chanted up to the high moon. Norwegian singer songwriter Aurora released this song towards the beginning of the year, but it's still got a grasp on our heart.

7// JINGO - Ghost in the Machine

A chunky, clunky indie pop treasure - it would be easy to forget this song is about something that goes bump in the night, were it not for the band's seriously creepy video, premiered on DrunkenWerewolf a few months ago here.

8// Flight Brigade - The Phantom

Taking a leaf out of Arcade Fire's book, Flight Brigade are liable to charm the whole world over next year when they release their long awaited debut and by the sounds of it, electro album. In the meantime we'll have to make do with this, a song about a dancing ghost. We're okay with that.

9// New Desert Blues - Rag & Bone

It's the end of the night, the sun's nearly up and your make-up is running down your face/falling off in great clobs of foundation and sweat. But don't worry. New Desert Blues have a song for every occasion.

10// Du Blonde - Hunter

Bringing a healthy dose of glam rock to proceedings, Beth Jeans Houghton's new project Du Blonde offers the perfect night to call it quits - with a quick and likely drunken slow dance to a song that's essentially about hunting down and killing your prey. Night.

Frigs, Wolf Parade @ Thekla, Bristol, 18/11/2017

Wolf ParadeWhat a night for it. The skies open and a downpour starts just as we're due to leave the house to witness Wolf Parade's return to Bristol. Trudging towards the harbourside despite the weather, a steady trickle of music fans join us on our pilgrimage towards the floating stage of Thekla, which has recently become a member of the elite venues put under threat because of new development in the city centre.

For the EU leg of their tour, the Toronto-based giants are joined by fellow Canadians Frigs, who waste no time in beginning the night once doors are open. The early start time is due to the rigidness of Thekla's Saturday night club, which will ensure the gig is wrapped up by a measly 9:40pm. No bother. The atmosphere is electric and further charged by frontwoman Bria Salmena's impressive stage presence (though she does have a tendency to point at crowd members everytime she sings "you", which only really serves to highlight the repetitiveness of the lyrics). Growling with a guttural, Brody Dalle-meets-Katie Monks style vocal, there's an almost operatic element to Salmena's low voice which elevates them above a simple 'noisy band' status. Signed to Arts & Crafts but relatively unexplored in the UK, the band exit the stage having converted a sizable amount of new fans.

Frigs do their job well and the high energy they evoke continues throughout the interlude. Wolf Parade have amassed an active and dedicated fan base, and before they even hit their first note, audience members swarm the merchandise table. There's the babbling sound of excitement in the air. Coming on stage to the tune of Cry Cry Cry and playing a set that's 40% new record, 60% older material; the band admits they've had little to no sleep, but the ferocity with which they play their instruments doesn't echo their supposed low morale.

There are a few lulls and singing along is less fervent during newer songs (amongst them lead singles "Valley Boy" and "You're Dreaming) which implies the album hasn't yet had time to cement with fans. However, Wolf Parade are not the kind to stubbornly ignore previous work, and classics ranging "Dinner Bells" to "Cloud Shadow on the Mountain" punctuate the night. Combining technical prowess with high energy and gratefulness to be where they are, while no moment of the gig is unconsidered by the band - in the way that someone who really, really cares about their output will hold the reigns - the gig is also effortlessly enjoyable and organic. All hail the Wolf Parade.