Hamfisted

News, Reviews, Features

Offset Festival headliners revealed, hundreds rejoice

Offset have announced the first few acts for their indie/rock/dance/art festival, again taking place in the Hainault Forest Country Park, Essex.

The Horrors (recipients of a rather overenthusiastic album review from yours truly last week – sorry ’bout that), Future Of The Left, Rolo Tomassi and Architects are confirmed as playing, along with appearances from post-punk legends The Slits and A Certain Ratio.

It all takes place on the weekend of 5th-6th September, with ‘super early bird’ tickets on sale now at £35-£45 a go.

(Last year was pretty good, actually. There are definitely worse ways to get rid of £35.)

30/04/2009 Posted by | Music, News | 2 Comments

…And he hit me with a surprise European Tour

Grunge legends Pearl Jam have announced a 4 date European tour, two of which will be UK shows. Although recent albums have been decidedly lackluster, the band still put on a good gig, with plenty of classics skewered throughout their set.

The dates are;

  • Rotterdam Ahoy – 13th August
  • Berling Kindl-Buhne Wuhlheide – 15th August
  • Manchester MEN Arena – 17th August
  • London 02 Arena – 18th August

Tickets go on sale Friday 8th may.

27/04/2009 Posted by | Music, News | Leave a comment

Kid 606 – Shout At The Doner

After the last couple of slow-burning albums, I had my hopes up for something approaching the glitchy masterpiece of ‘Kill Sound Before Sound Kills You’. It’s inevitable then, that upon first playback of this album, disappointment would be the overriding theme.

Whilst Shout At The Doner is certainly more upbeat than the previous efforts, one can’t help but feel Kid 606 is trying to capitalize on the recent resurgence of electro bands and nu-rave by trying to flit somewhere between the two, resulting in an album which sounds for the most part aimless and with few discernible memorable moments.

The album starts amiable enough, with heavy use of vocal samples, synths and minimal beats, which is strangely reminiscent of the original acid rave scene of the late 80’s & early 90’s. This wouldn’t sound that much out of place in somewhere like The Hacienda in it’s heyday.

It’s around 4 tracks in you start to wonder if this is really it? For another 6 or so tracks, it really is. The album starts to take on life as an amorphous acid rave pastiche, each song almost indistinguishable from the next.

What especially doesn’t help is the fact most of the tracks are far too long, very repetitive and meddlesome. With 17 tracks on this album, this doesn’t bode all that well.

Rather unexpectedly however, on the 10th track, ‘You All Break My Heart’ the mood of the album suddenly changes, with the tracks becoming more focused and to the point. The rave pastiche ditched in favour of the more traditional glitch Kid 606 is famous for. Whilst certainly not as raw and aggressive as some of the stuff on Kill Sound…, there’s a few standout tracks which are reminiscent of Dan Deacon’s poppier moments.

Unfortunately, this shift in mood is all too short lived, and the focus shifts back to the tiresome meandering. All in all, this is a very disappointing album from Kid 606, but maybe I’ve set my hopes up too high with wishing for another loud glitch album.

5/10

25/04/2009 Posted by | Music, Reviews | Leave a comment

Faith No More reported to be playing London & Scotland warm up gigs.

Faith No More

Faith No More

Along with probably what is one of the worst kept secrets of this festival season (FNM at Reading/Leeds), rumours are currently circulating that the rock/metal giants will be playing pre-festival shows in London & Scotland. If the rumours are confirmed, this is good news for fans who don’t want to shell out a fortune to see them at Download (along with other ‘greats’ such as Limp Bizkit and Korn).

The band will reportedly be playing London’s Brixton Academy and an as yet unnamed venue in Scotland around 10-11th June. There is as yet no news on ticket prices and if/when they go on sale. What’s especially surprising about this rumour is that Download were pretty insistent on letting us know their festival will be the bands only UK gig this year.

More news as soon as we hear it.

24/04/2009 Posted by | Music, News | Leave a comment

The Horrors – Primary Colours

Expecting a good Horrors album would be a bit like expecting a piece of quality investigative journalism in the Daily Mail, or a 48 page finance news pullout in the Morning Star. As far as I was concerned they were a total write-off, a one-dimensional cartoon punk mess of a band. Yet somehow they seem to have risen up as the indie equivalent of Peter Crouch – after spending so long slagging them off, I’m going to have to accept that they might really have something after all.

Primary Colours is an urgent, visceral album, with its influences taken from krautrock, shoegaze and the darker edges of late 70s/early 80s post punk, along with a billion other things that I’m nowhere near well-listened enough to have heard of. There’s plenty of melody and colour in there too, where other bands have borrowed from the same sources and come up with nothing but gloom.

Trouble is, this now raises the bar as far as musical surprises go. Susan Boyle recorded by Steve Albini, anyone? Make it happen!

8/10

24/04/2009 Posted by | Music, Reviews | Leave a comment

…And Stars Collide EP

...And Stars Collide EP

...And Stars Collide EP

Being a fan of instrumental post rock can be quite a challenge at times. As much as I adore the work of Mogwai, they have inspired and spawned an alarming amount of bands (or downright plagiarists). The challenge lies within trying to sort the wheat from the chaff from aforementioned bands.
Listening to countless boring and uninspiring copyists, however, all seems worth it when you come across a band who not only take the stark, brutal beauty of Mogwai, 65daysofstatic, EITS etc at their angriest, but toy with it and mold it to fit their own ideal and create something else entirely. It is with great pleasure I announce that …And Stars Collide will, that’s undeniable, will go on to great things.
Bearing in mind this is a debut EP, it sounds remarkably accomplished, almost like they’ve been playing together for years and understand each others nuances down to a tee. Opening track ‘Every Step Takes Me Further From Home (Part II)’, opens with a riff reminiscent of early 65daysofstatic before exploding into a wall of melodic guitar work. This later gives way to a cacophonous rage which heads straight for the jugular.
…And Stars Collide are also more than capable of quieter melancholy moments also, as proven with 2nd track ‘See The Opening Morn’, which maintains a heartbreaking tone throughout it’s reverb and cello laden intro through to it’s crescendo, which leaves the hair on the back of your neck on end.
3rd track, ‘Your Winter Night Spent In Disguise’ is the weakest of the EP. What is meant to be an angry, brooding piece of music much like Mogwai’s ‘Like Herod’ falls just a bit flat in it’s steady build up and then back to the meandering noodling.
The 4th and final track ‘We Are None Of Us Long Of This World’ however, is a remarkable piece of work. Agonizingly beautiful melodies begin the 10 minute opus, with a gentle drum pattern being slowly filtered in underneath it. Neat and tidy bass playing is soon brought into the mix and this combination steadily builds up over 5 minutes (which doesn’t seem like any time at all when you listen to it) until the beautiful wail of the guitar kicks in and the listener is left awe-struck at just how much of an epiphany it sounds.
Overall, this is an incredible debut for the Nottingham based band, griped only by the meandering 3rd track and just how low down in the mix some of the heavier parts are. I’m genuinely interested in seeing how well they transfer the more successful parts of the EP live, and also what they can cook up with a full length album.

8.5/10

23/04/2009 Posted by | Music, Reviews | Leave a comment

Valve release FREE Left 4 Dead DLC

800px-left4dead_promo

Left 4 Dead creators, Valve, have released free downloadable content for our favourite game of last year. The DLC will include multiplayer versions of the two campaigns which were previously only playable solo. However, the inclusion of an entirely new mode of play, Survival mode, is the part of the DLC that has provided the most interest.

In Survival mode, you and up to 3 others will try and fend off a never ending horde of undead for as long as possible. We can only assume this has been made as a catch up to the Nazi Zombie mode in Call Of Duty: World At War and Survival mode in Resident Evi 5.

Having only had a brief couple of plays on the DLC, we can’t wait until we can fully immerse ourselves in the frantic zombie apocalypse simulator.

The free DLC is available for Xbox 360 & PC version of the game

Left 4 Dead was released to critical acclaim late last year. Gamers and critics alike instantly hailed the games heavy reliance on team work and co-operation to create one of the most fun and interesting multiplayer experiences we’ve seen in a long time.

23/04/2009 Posted by | Gaming, News | Leave a comment

The Phantom Band announce Tour

Knights of Suburbia

Knights of Suburbia

Hamfisted favourites, The Phantom Band have announced a short 4 date tour due to take place in May. Presumably these are Festival warm up shows and will take in Cardiff, Bristol, Liverpool & Glasgow. The dates are;

  • Sat 16th May – Clwb Ifor Bach – Cardiff
  • Tues 19th May – The Cooler Bristol
  • Sat 23rd May – Stag & Dagger – Glasgow

The Kraut/Folk rockers will then perform at The Outsider Festival, Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival and Green Man Festival. They have also announced a one off London date for 12th December at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen.

Their album, Checkmate Savage, is one of our favourites of the year already, and we highly recommend catching them live if you can.

Tickets are available here;

http://www.ents24.com/web/artist/90306/The_Phantom_Band.html

22/04/2009 Posted by | News | Leave a comment

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22/04/2009 Posted by | News | | Leave a comment