by Rowan Gavin
Sunflower Bean are a band who know what they’re about. Sitting down with the trio of 22 year old New Yorkers ahead of their show at Norwich Open on March 26th, it becomes immediately apparent how certain they are of their musical and political convictions. Drummer Jacob Faber, guitarist Nick Kivlen, and bassist & vocalist Julia Cumming made quite a splash with 2016’s debut Human Ceremony and its fresh-yet-eerily-familiar blend of indie, punk, psych and alternative sounds.
Having previously visited the Fine City when they supported London alt-rockers Wolf Alice, they returned to headline here for the first time at Open off the back of their entrancing second album Twentytwo In Blue, which was already making waves when I spoke to them three days after its release.
By Rowan Gavin and Liam Hawkes
“We break the rules”
So says lead singer Amy MacKown on Simple Tune, the penultimate track of the debut album from Oxford’s current premiere Reggae outfit, ZAIA. We wouldn’t say they break the rules so much as blend and bend them, juggling genres and playing with preconceptions throughout this fascinating and infectious summertime record.
by Mike Vinti
Are you hungover and full of existential dread? Do you have a crippling fear that life will never be the same? Have you said the phrase ‘let’s face it, we’re fucked’ in the last 24 hours? If you have, then boy, do we have just the songs for you.Continue Reading
by Chris Jarvis
Last week, Music That Matters looked at the 40th anniversary of punk and how our understanding of its history is typically one which erases the efforts and achievements of women musicians and people of colour. Today, the scene is often still seen as a male and white space, with punk shows frequently having male dominated crowds queuing up to see white men thrashing on guitars in shabby venues.
But it looks like things are changing. 2016 feels like it is becoming a rebirth of women in punk, and critically, as if it is women of colour who often are leading the way. More women are touring, more are getting bigger stages and longer sets, and more are getting the media coverage that they deserve. Among the nostalgic reflection, this year, dozens of punk albums will be released. Some will become instant classics, others will fade from memory as quickly as they came. Here are 10 bands leading the British punk scene this year, and the women that are making them shape the future of the genre.Continue Reading
by Carmina Masoliver
I have a strange memory of Christina Aguilera performing Genie in a Bottle on Top of the Pops and my dad asking if I liked her songs. Strange, because it’s so unremarkable to be kept inside my head. At this stage I her career, she had made her big break, and soon enough I was listening to her album, with hits such as What a Girls Wants and Come On Over (All I Want Is You). Yet, it was three years later, when she released what I will always think of as her best album: Stripped.
I was having a hard time at school, and listening to this album was the very definition of empowering. I had been pushed out of a friendship group during a time where looking back, I honestly believe I was depressed, and this escalated to the extent where I felt I was a target for lots of different groups at school. I did make some new friends, and remember connecting with one of them through a shared love of this album. This was before we had learnt to talk about why it is that Beautiful holds so much resonance with us, but fourteen years later and we are still friends, now sharing a love of bell hooks.Continue Reading
by Chris Jarvis
February 12th saw the release of St Lucian born musician Taj Weekes’ fifth full length album Love Herb and Reggae – a collection of fourteen bouncing, mellow reggae tunes with his band Adowa. In 51 minutes, Taj’s lyrics cover the full assortment of reggae’s lyrical history, touching on politics, human rights, marijuana and love. And yet from the opening hook, to its final, fading gasps, it never slips into cliché or stereotype, proving itself to be original and unique and without doubt their strongest record to date.
By Chris Jarvis
In November, Muncie Girls announced the release of their debut album From Caplan to Belsize, set for a release in March 2016. They followed up this announcement with two singles – Gas Mark 4 and Balloon, and kicked off the New Year with vocalist and bassist Lande being featured on the cover of Kerrang! Magazine as one of the ‘Stars of 2016’ as well as being interviewed and played on Daniel P Carter’s Rock Show on Radio 1. It looks as though 2016 will be the breakthrough year for Exeter based indie-punks Muncie Girls. Having been part of what is so often a political scene, The Norwich Radical spoke to Lande about the new album, the politics behind it and how she sees the role of political music our series Music That Matters.
by Mike Vinti
This review was written over the weekend, when David Bowie was still alive. In light of his death last night, much of the meaning of this album has changed and one can’t help but see this album, released just three days before his passing, as Bowie’s final gift to the world. In this review, no great weight is placed on the allusions to death or nagging sense of dread throughout, the aspects of the album that stand out most today. In my naivety I guess I thought he’d live forever. Listening in light of the news, ‘Lazarus’ especially feels like a resigned goodbye, lines such as ‘I’ve got scars you cannot see’ and ‘just like that bluebird, I’ll be free’ seem to warn the listener of Bowie’s fate and one can’t help but feel like a fool for missing them. Continue Reading