Big Ups' second LP, Before A Million Universes, is at once a fist in the face of complacency and a sonic affirmation to, in Walt Whitman's words, "let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes."
Pretty heady subject matter... Joe Galarraga (vocals), Amar Lal (guitar), Carlos Salguero Jr. (bass), and Brendan Finn (drums), met studying music technology at NYU. Five years later, the city's notorious crucible of garbage, money, and humanity has had a profound and delightful impact on their art.
"Tell me what you're worth / Salary, two weeks off work?" Galarraga screams on "Capitalized," as the bassline frantically roams our conscience like a wet-nosed dog. Galarraga's vocals burn with the heat of a thousand day jobs.
Yet all this righteousness is worth as much as a Che t-shirt if it lacks humility, and more than any of the band's previous work, Before A Million Universes plumbs the depths of self-deception in wickedly clever ways. Who doesn't own a coat made of "The Feathers Of Yes"?
"Count the ideas in my head so I can love every one," our protagonist coos before Lal's guitar tosses lightning bolts through his cloud. "And it feels so warm / wrapped in self-righteous truths."
"Yawp" unspools the exercise in futility that is the overexamined life to the tune of a lumbering giant stomping across a field of insecurities. "How many times can you be poured through the still to the point of perfection? / I've dropped myself through the coils so many times but always come out with something missing / And the proof's so high it makes me dizzy."
The album's emotional and musical core lies in "National Parks," a song Galarraga wrote as a tribute to the sacrifices his mother made to raise him.
We're led through the anger and bewilderment'at his mom's solitary walks through their neighborhood and the selfishness inherent to childhood'and into a coda where you can almost see the sun streaming through the trees of Galarraga's park, drums steady and swelling, a transition in tone and mood that this band has nearly perfected. "I think I saw her say to herself / This is everything I've missed."
Before A Million Universes is Big Ups at their most sincere, urgent, and vital' a salty kiss from the wet lips of Brooklyn's bard.
Tracklisting: 1. Contain Myself 2. Capitalized 3. Posture 4. Feathers of Yes 5. Meet Where We Are 6. Negative (intro) 7. Negative 8. Hope For Someone 9. Knight 10. National Parks 11. So Much You 12. Proximity Effect 13. Yawp
Limited edition coke bottle green vinyl comes with download code and poster. Black vinyl comes with a download code. CD is a digipak CD.
The sixth album from Still Corners is “Dream Talk”. Beautifully arranged, elegant and wistful, Dream Talks is a set of ten carefully crafted classic songs. From the autumnal opener "Today is the Day" to the hot summer night finale of "Turquoise Moon", Still Corners have created a sound that is focused, stylish and seductive.
Tessa Murray says, "The genesis for a lot of these songs came from dreams. Every night I would write down the dreams I could remember. While recording I would pull out my book of dreams and sing over various looped phrases Greg had been working on, the repetitive nature of the looping and singing almost felt like going into a trance. A lot of the songs came from that process, it was fun and what I thought were sort of ramblings ended up surprising us with their various meanings and imagery."
Tracklisting: 1. Today is the Day 2. The Dream 3. Faded Love 4. What is Real 5. Lose More Slowly 6. Secret World 7. Let's Make Up 8. Crystal Blue 9. The Ship 10. Turquoise Moon
‘Elephantasia’ is a glorious folk opus from 1972, long lost and attaining a legendary reputation for its candour and creativity, from the late Bangor-born singer/songwriter Dave Evans. Finally, the LP sees the light of day again via Earth Recordings, it is a true gem from the vaults of British folk history. For fans of Nick Drake, Bill Fay and Davy Graham – with a touch of Michael Chapman, Bert Jansch and Fahey for good measure.
Dave Evans’ story is like a Pinter play; he sailed the seas in the merchant navy, was taught guitar in a brief interlude by the “mythical” Morocco John, wound up sharing a room with Steve Tilston in 1963 when they attended Loughborough Art College and ran the local folk club, while learning to make stringed instruments, the art of wine making and ceramics. Over the next year, Dave got a domestic 2-track reel-to-reel tape recorder and experimented with its two speeds to produce the tracks ‘Elephantasia’ and ‘Lady Portia’. He pulled in members of local prog band Squidd, including latter day Hawkwind member Steve Swindells on keyboards, John Merritt on bass and Rodney Matthews on drums, who also designed the ‘Elephantasia’ album cover, and went on to become a renowned fantasy artist.
‘Elephantasia’ the album was originally released in 1972, fully exposing Dave’s finger picking style, lilting vocal and his dalliance with the tape manipulation. It sold around 2000 copies and over the years became a talked about rarity, deemed too progressive for folk, too folk for the new prog heads. In best plot-thickening style, Dave tried two more releases and then disappeared. The scant sleeve notes recounted the songs’ creation, featuring tales of experimentation in sound inspired by elephants, old memories recounted with all of the unpleasant bits edited out, storylines for escapists, the residents of St Agnes Park, broken beauty queens and a fat feline. It’s an eclectic but beautifully fluent narrative from a finger picking maestro with a warm and engaging vocal style that wowed Peel and Whispering Bob back in the day.
Dave Evans sadly died in April 2021. Earth Recordings is proud to reissue ‘Elephantasia’ for the first time in over 50 years, in collaboration with his estate and original Village Thing producer Ian A. Anderson.
Tracklisting: Side A 1. Only Blue 2. Elephantasia 3. Lady Portia 4. That's My Way 5. On The Run
Side B 6. St. Agnes Park 7. Beauty Queen 8. Ten Ton Tasha 9. Earth, Wind, Sun & Rain 10. Take Me Easy
Sal, Bea and Raquel aka Shooting Daggers, are fast becoming a fiery beacon at the beating heart of the burgeoning UK hardcore scene. Their first EP 'Athames' hinted that there was something special here, and left folks gagging for more.
Their debut album will not disappoint. Titled ‘Love and Rage’ it’s a huge leap forward from their EP, in fact we believe Daggers have recorded something of a corker in terms of modern hardcore in fact ... a potential minor classic debut maybe.
Whatever way you spin it, there is no doubt that ’Love and Rage' is an album of jaw dropping depth and melody as well as blinding energy, feminist fury and angst. There are kick ass buzzsaw punk bangers of course, blistering shards of pent up fury, like ‘Dare’ and ‘Not My Rival’ ‘Wipeout’ and ‘Bad Seeds’.
Daggers ‘as you might expect, but here, more catchy, more direct, more focussed than before. However, things start to get even more interesting with songs like ‘Smug’ and ‘Tunnel Vision’ a big hint that this is no ordinary punk rock record. A grungy intro bangs into stuttering riffs and chorus with harmonies that will lock itself into your head.
Then the band drops ‘A Guilty Conscience Needs An Accuser’ and you go well what is this? A sort of 90’s shoegaze grunge infused soaring ballad, that is as breathtakingly bold as it is unexpected and a real standout.
As is the album’s title track ‘Love And Rage’ with its Dinosaur Jr meets Lush vibe. It all fits perfectly. The final track ‘Caves/Outro’ is just vocals and piano … it can only be described as ‘lovely’. Wow. The influences never overwhelm, it’s always unmistakably ‘Shooting Daggers’ pushing that hardcore envelope big time.
With ‘Love and Rage’ Shooting Daggers could quite possibly become your favourite band.
Tracklisting: 1. Dare 2. Not My Rival 3. Smug 4. Wipe Out 5. A Guilty Conscience Needs An Accuser 6. Tunnel Vision 7. Bad Seeds 8. Love & Rage 9. Caves/Outro
NUBIAN ROSE, the Melodic Rock sensation of the early 10’s, is back after a long hiatus. Their new album, AMEN, will be released on the 26th of January 2024.
On AMEN, Nubian Rose show a more progressive side of the band, but with their trademark foundation of strong melodies, great hooks, big guitars, and the powerful voice of Sofia Lilja. While writing AMEN, Christer and Sofia wanted to challenge themselves to take Nubian Rose to new frontiers.
“AMEN sounds very different, but hopefully in a good way”, says Sofia. “As people we are constantly growing, so why wouldn’t our music grow? And what would be the point of making another ”Mountain”, or ”Mental Revolution?” They wanted to cut all ”obligations” that creators very often feel because of outside expectations. “We wanted to let the music flow through us, not forcing the music out of us”, says Christer. We wanted to make a dynamic album and let all our sources of inspiration have a seat at the table.
The list of inspiration for AMEN is long and diverse, with everything from Judas Priest, Rainbow and Cheap Trick to David Bowie, John Carpenter, Dalbello, Stevie Nicks, and the amazing album ”The Wanderer”, by Donna Summer.
AMEN is packed with analogue, vintage, synths. The gain level on the guitars is turned down a bit. Some of the songs don’t even have a traditional chorus and for the first time Nubian Rose has written a song that is almost 10 minutes long.
But the more classic rock songs are also in the mix. The story of NUBIAN ROSE started in 2012, with their self-financed, low-key release of their debut album, ’Mountain’. With practically no pr, the album spread like wildfire in the world of Melodic Rock and soon they were featured in some of the greatest rock publications in the World, like Classic Rock Magazine, Burrn!! with outstanding reviews. Rockers like ’Ever see your face’ and ’Mountain’ together with the majestic power ballad, ’How am I', became fan favourites. In 2014 the band released their Sophomore album, with a slightly heavier sound.
Classic Rock Magazine: “MENTAL REVOLUTION tears out the speakers” 9/10 / Fireworks Magazine: “I personally think that MENTAL REVOLUTION rates as the best mainstream Female-Fronted album of recent years”
Powerplay Magazine: “If the debut was good, then this has been necking steroids since that release” – 9/10
NUBIAN ROSE chose Pedro Ferreira to record and mix AMEN in his SpinRoad studios outside of Gothenburg, Sweden. It was a perfect place for the huge analogue sound that they were looking for, with a Neve console, tape machines, a huge room for thundering drum sounds and a beautiful grand piano. Among a lot of other things, Pedro Ferreira produced the multi-platinum album, ”Permission to land”, by The Darkness. Some highlights from the album: ‘Memorial’. A short, emotional piece, where Sofia is experiencing her own death and funeral in the lyrics - ‘Dramatic Days’.
The album’s first upcoming single, with thunderous drums, big guitars, and catchy synth hooks, made for the arenas - ‘Break Down The Walls’. A high energy heavy rock tune, where Sofia brings out her inner fury - Bright Light.
For the first time, Christer shares the lead vocals department with Sofia - Lost In The Mist. A powerful, progressive track, almost ten minutes long.
Tracklisting: 1. Memorial 2. Dramatic Day 3 .Break Down The Walls 4. Running 5. Lost In The Mist 6. Red Sky 7. Desert Night 8. Holy Roar 9. Bright Light