A sporadically-updated music collection blog. Send questions to twitter or email me.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Möngöl Hörde - Möngöl Hörde

Side-projects are generally known for being a bit of a hit-and-miss affair, and so a degree of caution is probably advisable when a new one is announced. This was kinda different though - Frank Turner and Ben Dawson, half of Million Dead, getting back together to form "a hardcore band"? Yeah, I have no shame in saying I got pretty excited about this. Then it came out in late May, and it has taken until now for me to write about it. Yeah, my bad.

I appreciate this artwork being solely black and white but honestly, this isn't really the style of artwork I enjoy. No mind.

For the first time in a long time - an insert with no lyrics! What a shame. What we get instead is a very happy-looking Frank and some thankyous, which kind of makes up for it? Except that it totally doesn't.

No complaints here though, a lovely white record to match the rest of the artwork. It looks slightly creamy here, but in real life it's a little whiter. I really like that picture on the back of the sleeve as well - my guess is that it's from when the band played Reading and Leeds two years ago, but I don't know any more than that.

This album was inevitably always going to be compared to Million Dead. Put Frank Turner back into a "heavy" band and that would always happen - adding in Ben Dawson only exacerbates that. What I'll say straight off the bat, then, is that this is not particularly like Million Dead. It's loud and it's aggressive and there are quite overt political references, but that's about all the similarities there are. Möngöl Hörde are a little heavier than Million Dead were, and a little more direct. What they also are, however, is a lot sillier - a look at those umlauts and the tracklist should make that clear. This album manages to be gloriously noisy and shouty, but also has a song about an uprising of tapeworms. It's actually about tapeworms, I don't think this is another Achilles Lung (which wasn't really about smoking) but instead seems to be a slightly ridiculous story about a tapeworm starting in Natalie Portman's insides. Like hell would Million Dead have ever done that.

Let's stop with the comparisons though - this is a great album on its own merit. The highlight for me is the almost-drunken swinging of the chorus to Casual Threats From Weekend Hardmen, a song that barely manages to contain its own seething anger beneath a tremendous riff and some reliably frantic drumming. Equally though, the aforementioned Tapeworm Uprising, Weak Handshake and Stillborn Unicorn deserve mentions as some of the best tracks in a quite consistently good album. Will this be the only album they make as a band? Possibly, but I certainly hope not.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Martha - Courting Strong

August in Edinburgh always ends up being a horrendously busy month. Not that I particularly enjoy the festival (population of the city increasingly rapidly with people who don't know where they're going? No thanks), but lots of things just seem to end up happening. As a result I've been relatively quiet and have ended up waaaay behind in terms of records. My bad. Let's start with something from the North East of England, picked up from Cargo Records.

This is a pretty great cover, isn't it? It feels so delightfully 90s, when cars actually looked like how I'd draw them. Check out those trainers as well, jealous.

Printed inner sleeves with lyrics, tick. Commitment to not eating meat, tick. Commitment to Irn Bru, huge tick. I like these people.

Some plain black vinyl, but with good bold labels. I'm a big fan of the font used throughout the release, and the general black and white aesthetic.

Martha, then, are a kind of power-pop band, They play catchy, cheery, slightly yelp music with strong accents and lyrics about the North East and I absolutely love it. The songs are really infectious and it's the kind of thing that makes me want to very politely flail around the place. The highlight of the album for me is the glorious Bubble In My Bloodstream - listen to it more than a few times and you won't be able to read the phrase without singing it at the same time. More, please.