Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Quality Not Quantity: Febria - Moddi - Brother Hawk

Febria - The End Of Something.

Background promo - Febria is a five-piece alternative rock band washed up on the banks of the river Usk. Originally formed in high school in Pontypool, and influenced by everything from prog, metal, grunge, indie and folk, they have recorded several EPs and a full-length live album, and have played many gigs around South Wales and the UK. Their music reflects a wide range of influences, varying from acoustic folk all the way through to dense prog, and they are proud of not easily fitting into one particular genre as a result. Their latest EP, 'The Sea Around Us', is their fifth recording, and they are currently working on their next release.
 
This EP represents an evolution in sound, carrying even further the complexity and rejection of traditional structure already shown in some of their previous releases adding multiple layers of vocals and guitars. One of the approaches to the songs was the idea of writing music which sounds like math/post-rock, but with vocals, focusing on the concept of introducing motifs and melodies in one section which then reappear in another section, over completely different chords - this occurs in every song. Despite all the repeating parts in many of the tracks, very little was looped artificially, but instead was played naturally from start to finish, to try to retain a sense of atmosphere and feel.


'The Sea Around Us' EP has been available on-line for sometime, with Nub Music recently releasing it. The first song and featured track 'The End Of Something' gives a good indication of the reasonably distinct sound the band create. Febria are clearly musically very competent and not afraid to test boundaries and experiment, whats more important is that they are also one very fine listen.

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Moddi - Army Dreamers.

Background details - “What a waste of Army Dreamers” – it’s an anti-war sentiment that was openly echoed through BBC play lists before its systematic suppression more than 10 years after release. Penned by Kate Bush in 1980, the Top 20 single was blacklisted during the Gulf War in 1991 – joining a list of 67 songs simultaneously banned from BBC airplay, including The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, ABBA and Queen.

It’s the latest track reworked by Norwegian singer/songwriter Moddi, from forthcoming album ‘Unsongs’ – released Friday, September 16 via Propeller Recordings. The album aims to uncover a collection of 12 songs that have, at one stage or another, been banned or suppressed, with the attempts to silence them as mild as an airplay ban (in the case of ‘Army Dreamers’) and as brutal as a murder. “Army Dreamers became one of Kate Bush’s most popular songs and was widely played on radio and TV until the First Gulf War in 1991, when it suddenly disappeared from all BBC playlists” Moddi explains. Despite on line records and a full list published by New Statesman and Society, in conjunction with Channel 4 [1991], “the BBC has had an absolute no-comment policy on this issue,” he says. “It has been impossible for me to verify that it has even been removed from radio airplay.”

‘Army Dreamers’ follows Moddi’s rework of satirical hymn ‘Punk Prayer’, that had Russian feminist collective Pussy Riot trialled and imprisoned in 2012. Watch it HERE. The track is partnered with news of Moddi’s European Tour to mark the release of ‘Unsongs’, including a one-off London show at St Giles-In-The-Fields on Monday, October 3rd.


I find the idea behind Moddi's planned album extremely appealing, so much so, that had his cover of Kate Bush's 'Army Dreamers' only been average, I would probably have featured it, to highlight this project. As it happens, his version is quite inspiring and also respectful to the original. The link for his Pussy Riot 'Punk Prayer' above is also worth checking. Moddi, is a very talented individual, who creates a beautiful sound both vocally and musically. Definitely an album to keep in mind.

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Brother Hawk - Have Love Will Travel.

Background bio - Brother Hawk puts on its morning jacket, unhitches its crazy horse, and gallops off in the direction of a big pink house somewhere over the hills and faraway. With this much horsepower at your command, why would you need to reinvent the wheel?

The four piece Atlanta band deals in raging riffs and huge hooks. Rhythms pound and pulse as serpentine guitar leads uncoil and slither, spiked with venomous licks that only a forked tongue could produce.

Their blend of Southern fried blues rock is firmly rooted in the earthy tricks traditionally traded for at the red clay crossroads but their live performances convey an electrified ebullience that blasts them into the stratosphere. On stage, they’re riding rockets fueled by a vicious cocktail of sweat and hellfire. An uncut, undeniable purity of purpose is palpable when the band is firing on all cylinders. Brother Hawk’s sound is the sunset that the hero rides into. It’s red hot white light. It’s honest emotion. It’s alive.

Having released the album 'Big Medicine' not that long ago Brother Hawk head out on a USA national tour this week (tour dates here). We feature the first track on the album 'Have Love Will Travel' which gives a flavour of their bluesy, soulful 'southern' rock. It's a little like early Black Crowes material, where you sense they are not trapped in any one genre, indeed as the album develops 'alt rock' seems just as appropriate as a description. Timeless and wonderful!

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