Upbeat Vs. Downbeat

This week I have mostly been listening to..


Im not sure if LATFH have got torn these guys to shreds yet but it's only a matter of time...

Listening to Fang Island is like listening to all your favourite hair metal without any of the attached shame, allowing the Pitchfork generation to enjoy a guilty-pleasure free music library with as much cheesy twin guitar harmonies as Van Halen’s back catalogue.  How do they do this I hear you ask? Why, that’s simple by featuring an ex-member from uber-credible noiseniks Daughters, thus counterbalancing any undesired 80s metal references…


This is the kind of band that makes you want to be 14 again so you can get ludicrously exited about without feeling a little bit ridiculous.  ‘Daisy’ is about as anthemic as it gets with awesome (yes I have used this twice in rapid succession but it fits) palm muted riffs and guitar harmonies that would make Iron Maiden weep with jealousy.

Of course, there’s a lot more to Fang Island than NWOBHM nostalgia- there is a certain euphoric dreamy element, particularly in the reverb drenched group vocals that are primed for a sing-a-long.  Math-Rock (though I loathe the term..) also appears to be an influence; the  layered interweaving of guitars and truncated riffs of Don Cab  make many an appearance.  I really can’t recommend this band enough, so go and listen to them!

On the other end of the musical spectrum are MRR-ADM and their mysterious  ‘Untitled EP’.  There is precious little information on this group, other than that this EP features the talent of drummer Malcom Catto (Coveted collaborator of Madlib/DJ Shadow/Quantic. Hopefully this shameless namedropping will prick your ears..)

Enigmatic details aside, this is trip-hop at its atmospheric best- jazzy groovy drumming coupled with wierd psych  guitar and krautrock synths and of course a healthy amount of reverb/delay.  It is Catto’s breakbeat drumming that really makes the songs (i call them songs, but they are all instrumentals..) shine, reminding me in parts of Luke Flowers’ drumming with The Cinematic Orchestra which was in all honesty their main attraction for me anyway; I always found myself revisiting ‘Work it! (Man With A Movie Camera)‘for this sole reason.

So if you’re a fan of Portishead or any of the other jazzier trip hop acts keep your eyes peeled for their upcoming album on the excellent Now Again records, a subsidiary of Stones Throw.

If Fang Island wasn’t enough awesome for you, check out this epic Suicidal Tendencies clip from way back..



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