TMMP’s Top Albums Of 2016 [Feature]

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As the music industry slows down, its alternative end hibernating while the pop-enamoured mainstream hungrily ogles Christmas shoppers, the time has come to look back on a seriously strong year for organised soundwaves. For me, it’s been heavy, intense, and a hell of a lot of fun thanks to the releases listed below.

With so many exceptional contenders in the running for the top spot, the thought of ranking them in order of quality is plainly ridiculous. So instead, I’ve picked out three releases that had memorable impacts on me when I first heard them, and assembled the others in alphabetical order.

The Pretty Reckless’s Who You Selling For – along with previous effort Going To Hell – is conclusive proof (if it were honestly needed in 2016) that women belong in rock music, and are fully capable of kicking ass. The sexists of the music world are like Wile E. Coyote; they’ve run off the edge of the cliff, nothing surrounds them but empty air, they’ve looked down, and they’re panicking. Sonic Boom Six’s The F-Bomb picks up where that image leaves off – it’s cheeky, chirpy, happy and hard-hitting (sometimes simultaneously), addressing a wealth of gender-related issues and providing a great ska-fuelled party soundtrack as only Sonic Boom Six can.

Musically, Dissociation is The F-Bomb’s polar opposite. The Dillinger Escape Plan’s swan song is crammed with brutal and ultra-experimental mathcore – but it’s also Dillinger’s most delicate and diverse album. The Dillinger Escape Plan are living proof that you can achieve great things without compromise, by sticking to your guns and just going for it.

Beyond that point, you’re free to dive into an epic range of albums including solidly grooving rock sets, monolithic slabs of military-grade metal, and progressive masterpieces. Since I’ve not reviewed many EPs this year, I’ve also included a pair of extended-playing mind-blowers in the form of Dorje’s Centred And One and Toska’s Ode To The Author. Dorje specialise in utterly idiosyncratic rock tunes with added progressive spice, while to me, Toska (made up of Dorje’s backline, namely guitarist Rabea Massaad, drummer Ben Minal, and bassist Dave Hollingworth) represent the future of instrumental metal.

Both Dorje and Toska are bands on the rise – and they fully deserve to hit the same peaks enjoyed by the biggest names on this list.

There’s little more to say; for me, this list represents the top albums of 2016. Enjoy the full reviews linked below, follow TMMP on Twitter, subscribe to my brand new YouTube channel, and stay tuned for more world-class music next year!

1) The Pretty Reckless – Who You Selling For

1) Sonic Boom Six – The F-Bomb

1) The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation

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2) Read more…

Posted on 04 December 2016

The Jezabels – ‘Synthia’ [Review]

The Jezabels - Synthia

The Jezabels have a real knack for music that flows like water. Stand And Deliver pounds and washes like stormy seaside surf before the tide recedes, leaving rocky drums, the sparsest synthetic trickles, and a fiercely powerful vocal. It’s a beautiful start to a beautiful album.

Seething synthpop given guts and strength by frequent bursts of rhythmic energy and Read more…

Posted on 03 February 2016

The Black Queen – ‘Fever Daydream’ [Review]

The Black Queen - Fever Daydream

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Feel. Soul. Depth.

These words are ubiquitous in the music world. They pop up in press releases for everything from reality-shattering mathcore to surgically dehumanised bubblegum pap. They’re used to imply authenticity, whether or not it’s actually present in the music.

And what the hell is authenticity, anyway? If you define something inauthentic as “fake,” then that implies deception and dishonesty. Flip that over, and authenticity is really about honesty.

True honesty in art takes you somewhere beyond feel, soul, and Read more…

Posted on 29 January 2016

DNKL – ‘Otherside’ [Review]

DNKL

Strutting urbanized beats. Smoothly flowing synth melodies. Spacious and epic vibes. Sparsely and perfectly placed vocals. Music tailor-made for long city walks, laser-lit clubs, and bouncing beach parties on idyllic islands.

Sound like your thing?

Then Read more…

Posted on 15 September 2015

Twothirtytwo / Secret Black Boyfriend / The Small Society [Live Review – The Boileroom, Guildford, 15/4/15]

Twothirtytwo

Aldershot is on fire right now. Not literally (unless the football’s on), but in terms of incredible musical output. twothirtytwo look set to lead a fresh horde of fucked-off Aldershotians into the future, fuelling that rush with levels of theatrical passion which  Read more…

Posted on 16 April 2015

twothirtytwo – ‘Stray’ [Review]

Twothirtytwo

twothirtytwo (no capitalisation required) are an intriguing prospect. Stray takes in traces of Hell Is For Heroes, Rage Against The Machine, Middle Class Rut, and classic mournful synthpop, leaving a sour but moreish aftertaste. Knowing how hard twothirtytwo go when Read more…

Posted on 04 April 2015

Man Without Country / Princess Slayer / Tusks [Live Review – The Boileroom, Guildford, 1/3/2015]

man without countryThis show may have been a hard sell for a Sunday, but a sizeable portion of local music fans still made it down to the Boileroom for this show. Earlycomers were treated to Tusks (aka Emily Underhill), a recent discovery who is fast becoming Read more…

Posted on 03 March 2015

Beardyman [Interview]

beardyman press

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Imagine you’re a beatboxer. You’re pretty good, so you enter the UK Beatbox Championships. You win. You eat, breathe, sleep and sweat beatboxing for a solid year before returning. You win again. Things get a bit crazy. A comedy video you made in a kitchen gets uploaded to YouTube (as freshly purchased by Google). In time, it will attract over 5 million views.

Over the next several years, you take solo beatboxing as far as it can possibly be taken. You play underground comedy clubs, TV shows, festivals. Your YouTube presence grows. You begin experimenting with live looping technology, battling not rival MCs but inefficient circuitry and user interfaces in the name of getting the ideas in your head into other people’s earholes. You find yourself in a studio, recording an eclectic collection of tracks that takes in everything from dubstep and hip-hop to almost every international folk music style recorded by history. Your debut album gets released; it sells nicely.

Finally, you hit on a pair of serious problems.  Read more…

Posted on 26 February 2015

Eliza Doolittle & THOS / Bat and Ball / Tweed & Hyenas / Tusks [Live Review – The Boileroom, Guildford, 9/1/15]

smile for hattiThe fact that this show even happened is a true testament to the strength and indomitable passion of its organisers. Few life experiences are as devastating as losing a friend or family member to cancer; when that happens, most of us would become too overwhelmed to function, and with good reason. Nobody would have blamed Tom Morley and the team behind Smile For Hatti (a campaign set up to support the courageous and inspiring Hatti Sandall, who sadly passed away only three days before this gig) had they rescheduled or cancelled this fundraiser – but they didn’t. For that, they deserve all the respect in the world – not to mention the sheer success of this awesome event, which raised over £2000 for Smile For Hatti (which is in the process of becoming a new charity, to which future donations will be directed) and Sarcoma UK.

As far as opening acts go, Read more…

Posted on 10 January 2015

TMMP’s Top Albums Of 2014

The “death of the album” has been declared many times in recent years – but nonetheless, musicians keep making them and are showing no signs of stopping (and thank God for that!). Almost a decade and a half into the twenty-first century, there still exist bands and artists capable of composing immersive, engaging, and fully satisfying collections of songs that stand up to repeated, unshuffled listens. Here are fifteen of them. Read more…

Posted on 29 December 2014

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