Posts Tagged ‘Brutalism’

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The follow-up to 2017’s “Abysmal Thoughts,” which marked the band’s first release as a solo project from front man Jonny Pierce, “Brutalism” is quite possibly the best collection of songs in the band’s ten-year career.

Listen to the latest album single “Loner”. Pierce describes the track below:

Being a bit of a loner is sort of like being gay for me. When I was a kid, I would pray to be anything but gay – and now as an adult, I treasure the fact that I’m gay. I celebrate it daily. Being gay forced me to think differently, develop my creative side, and to carry a punk attitude. It also helped me define my values and find empathy for those who are marginalized. Being a loner is very similar to that. I don’t like hanging out in groups because I feel real connection is often sacrificed in those settings. Since most people seem to disagree and love a group hangout, that means I spend a lot of time along and listen to my heart. It helps me navigate my life, but it still offers sadness that is always there. You can’t be sensitive without carrying some sadness, and that’s okay.

Like Jonny Pierce, who co-produced the album, Brutalism is a bicoastal record – written and recorded between Upstate New York and a studio in Stinson Beach. Following a painful divorce and an incredibly difficult stint living solely in Los Angeles, Pierce decided it was time to face his demons, and the making of this record is a part of that process. “I was exhausted, depleted and sabotaging myself, partying so much but in reality running away from pain. It was a downward spiral.” Pierce knew it was time to go to therapy, and begin to reckon with his depression. “It was do or die,” he says. While he focused on his mental health, the making of Brutalism became an extension of self-care for Pierce, and makes for some of his most honest and relatable music to date.

On Brutalism, a lot is different. The album is defined by growth, transformation and questions, but it doesn’t provide all the answers. It’s rooted in an emotional rawness, but its layers are soft, intricate and warm, full of exquisitely crafted pop songs that blast sunlight and high energy in the face of anxiety, solitude and crippling self-doubt.  Pierce was more open than ever, keeping his control freakery at bay while working with others to produce and record the album. He brought in Chris Coady (Beach House, Future Islands, Amen Dunes) to mix it.  If there was a guitar part he wanted to write but couldn’t play, he brought in a guitarist. It’s also the first Drums record with a live drummer. Delegating freed up Pierce’s time to produce a more specific vision.

The past year has been transformative for Pierce, who may a permanent rain cloud above his head but is working towards a better, healthier headspace“I don’t think I’ll ever really find myself,” he says. “I don’t think people do. I don’t think there’s a day that you wake up and you go, Now I know who I am. The best way for me to be an artist is by taking a goddamn minute, being still and listening to what it is that I want and need.” It was a real year of growth for him, but growth towards what? “I don’t really know, and that’s OK.”

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Bristol punk band Idles have been toiling on the circuit for yonks I recall seeing them at Live At Leeds maybe four years ago, without ever getting a further up the venue listings , although they threatened a while back with a clutch of ferocious singles and the Welcome EP, but it wasn’t until last year that they found a new impetus to thrust them into the spotlight.

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Their next EP “Meat” saw a gang of snarling, foaming-at-the-mouth brutes amped up on adrenaline and rage  but it’s not pointless angst, not by a long shot. It has never been about waving a fist against nowt in particular . Idles have always focused fury into focus that burrows under your skin and leaves a permanent mark.

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On their debut “Brutalism” Idles have distilled their emotions into bite-size chunks of raucous noise. It’s punk, or post-punk, with bruised and bruising guitars flailing before grazed bass and drums hit so hard most people’d snap a wrist, but it’s crucially human. mini-hits “Well Done” and “Stendahl Syndrome” . But although Brutalism may have it’s downer moments, the boundless charisma of frontman Joe Talbot shines through and offers a weird kind of optimism. He is effortlessly poignant without pretence, speaking plain and diving deep into assaults on Tory cabals, British society, the downfall of the NHS, the cult of celebrity, drawing deep from his relationships with such topics and blasting them through the prism of wry punk while galvanised by the loss of his own mother.

Nothing is especially new here – punk isn’t new, nor is humour or political lyrics, but what Idles offer is a sincere view from a place of passion, and that is invigorating. They demand change with a smirk and a revolutionary fervour, some of the material on Brutalism is ludicrously catchy. Almost every track on the LP is a potent call-to-arms that beckons action of some kind.

There’s a thrilling danger ever present whenever Idles are around Idles are one of the most exciting British bands right now and “Brutalism” is such proof.

IDLES – ” Mother “

Posted: March 16, 2017 in MUSIC
Tags: , ,

Its an infestation of the senses, a roar on all our responsibilities, and a contagious noise fuelled trespass on everything in between. The debut album from British quintet Idles rips into personal and social issues with the insatiable attitude and defiance unleashed in the late seventies, its sound as much punk rock rage as it is a post punk/noise rock  enslaving of the imagination and psyche.

Each song from the Bristol five-piece of Joe Talbot, Mark Bowen, Lee Kiernan, Adam Devonshire, and Jon Beavis is such a creative growl, a visceral infectious edge and mischief just as bruising and incisive. Dedicated in part to the loss of Talbot’s mother, who adorns the record’s cover, Brutalism is stretched with such invasive treats, from start to finish a mordant adventure, challenge, and accusation as witty as it is vicious, as devilish as it is ferocious. With Idles in the early days of an UK tour, their first album is sure to see it’s already eagerly devoured.

Straight away band and album show uniqueness within a proposition which also swiftly inspires thoughts of bands such as The Fall, Swell Maps, and early The Horrors. There is so much more to it though as that originality shows, opener Heel_Heal cantankerously striding from an initial dispute with an nagging riff and rhythmic tenacity which alone lures keen attention as Talbot’s equally confrontational vocals snarl. Punk rock infested with crabbily textured noise, the track rumbles and grumbles; with band vocals as anthemically rousing and spiteful as the general character of the outstanding starter.

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Straight away band and album show uniqueness within a proposition which also swiftly inspires thoughts of bands such as The Fall, Swell Maps, and early The Horrors. There is so much more to it though as that originality shows, opener Heel_Heal cantankerously striding from an initial dispute with an nagging riff and rhythmic tenacity which alone lures keen attention as Talbot’s equally confrontational vocals snarl. Punk rock infested with crabbily textured noise, the track rumbles and grumbles; with band vocals as anthemically rousing and spiteful as the general character of the outstanding starter.

Being truly excited by something new or unique is a treat rarely found these days, Idles though have cracked that desire in fine style with Brutalism.

Brutalism is out now on Balley Records through iTunes and other stores.


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