If boredom really does breed creativity, then Nova Scotia weirdo pop-rock sophisticates mauno must be four intensely bored individuals. “Halifax is a weird little town,” says frontman Nick Everett of the Canadian peninsula they call home, where life unfolds in a slow-drift of tiny moments never more than a stone’s throw from the sea. “At times, it’s really boring, which I find useful for writing songs—not being distracted. I arrived here on a failed hitch-hiking trip and just keep getting drawn back.” rough master, the group’s smart, intricate new album, has at least this in common with the city where it was forged. Full of familiar and charming shimmery guitar—and less-familiar, somewhat absurd stories written over rueful meals in empty apartments—rough master is a record you too will just keep getting drawn back into.
Formed in September 2014, mauno – pronounced mao-no, and named after bassist Eliza Niemi’s adamantly unmusical Finnish grandfather – have a wandering sound that refuses to be pinned down. Over the course of rough master it strays from twisting grunge-pop on ‘Again’, to a breezy lilt on ‘champs’, to piano ambience (‘pulses’) and string-accompanied haze (‘reeling’) elsewhere. But then, what do you expect when Eliza has a background in classical cello and old R&B, while Nick boasts a record collection jammed with choral and folk? The result is an album that sounds like a windows-rolled-down summer road trip with the cast of Seinfeld. Elaine doesn't want to listen to music, George is very focused on the road, Kramer is sporadically buzzing through his iPod listening to half-songs from every genre possible, and Jerry is reading whilst eating spicy Cheetos. “It’s Seinfeld, but what the hell isn’t?” says Nick, adding they “pull a bit from everywhere.”
Completed by live drummer Adam White and live guitarist Scott Boudreau, mauno’s rough master is a journal of "the kind of music that's churning in our minds when we’re not focused on grocery lists.” Opener ‘reeling’ sets the tone: a gentle lament at growing old that descends into a loose yet lush release before the chaos of ‘manitoba’. ‘nothing’ meanwhile is “about moving on a beautiful, sunny day. You've bought pizza, a case of beer and everything's packed. As expected, none of your friends show up to help and you're left schlepping boxes alone all day, getting a bit too drunk,” the band explains.
Starcrawler are a Los Angeles rock & roll band formed one year ago when Arrow de Wilde first met Henri Cash on the high school yard in Echo Park. The rhythm section of Austin Smith and Tim Franco, found on the streets of Hollywood, soon followed. They play rock & roll music heavy and loud, and their incendiary performances resemble the the children of the Cramps, the Yeah Yeahs Yeahs, and Alice Cooper.
Batsch are an indie pop quartet based in Coventry, England. Their smart, groove-oriented dance-pop takes nods from classic art rock like Talking Heads as well as modern contemporaries, such as Little Dragon and Dutch Uncles. The band formed in 2013 but the collaborations of singer/guitarist Mason Le Long, bassist Joe Carvell, drummer Matt Rheeston and keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Andy Whitehead date back further. A previous incarnation of the band, DON'T MOVE!, released its only album, 'The New Pop Sound', on Tin Angel Records in 2009. All four members have also toured extensively with other artists, including Laetitia Sadier, Marker Starling, Devon Sproule and Nicholas Krgovich, many of whom are also on Tin Angel's roster, putting Batsch at the epicentre of the British label's cult international scene.
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