The Balcony – Catfish and the Bottlemen

the balconyFrom the opening notes of “Homesick” to the flourish at the end of “Tyrants”, Welsh band Catfish and the Bottlemen take you on a whirlwind of vignettes of drunken nights and flirty banter with their debut album, The Balcony. Van McCann as the singer/guitarist and lyricist tells a story in each song, leaving enough specifics to visualize a scene or person, but also making it so personal with such a limited view that the story remains completely his – ungeneralizable.

With their sound, Catfish and the Bottlemen have managed to create a classic and full-sounding rock album – clean guitar melodies, galloping drums, easygoing bass, and frustrated vocals – but with pop potential (a versatility that became readily apparent by the ease with which they were able to cover a bonafide pop single: Rita Ora’s “I Will Never Let You Down”). Even the songs that had previously been released (from Kathleen and the Other Three – EP) have been reproduced and fleshed out to have more clear impact, thanks to producer Jim Abbiss, who has worked with Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian among others.

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BØRNS: Free Candy Y’all

Borns photographed by Indira Cesarine for The Untitled Magazine

Photo by Indira Cesarine

Hardly one day into 2015, and we guarantee you’ll be seeing more of this guy throughout the year. We were first introduced to BØRNS in October of 2014 when he released his single “10,000 Emerald Pools” – an immediate, light, dream-pop gem sparkling with guitar riffs and graced with Borns’ ethereal, feminine voice. In an interview with The Untitled Magazine, BØRNS (né Garrett Borns) explores the weightlessness behind the song: “You can feel weightlessness underwater, or in space, or in this case, it is in love. It’s equating being underwater and everything kind of being in slow motion – being in love with someone and diving deeper into love with this person.” He’d smashed it with just a song, shined with his debut at CMJ in the same month, and released his infectious debut EP, Candy, just a month later. Continue reading

The Giggs’ Best of 2014

the giggs best of 20142014 was the year that The Giggs truly found a home, whether we were in NYC or SLC. For Sydne in New York City, that ranged from getting tickets at the door to sold out shows like Ben Howard, to standing side-by-side with Aly in an empty Terminal 5, moments before the fan girls rushed in to see the 1975 play a sold out show. For Aly in Salt Lake City, a defining moment from 2014 was finally meeting one of the most important musicians in her life – Jack Antonoff (of Bleachers and fun.) – and watching him perform a unique acoustic version of “I Wanna Get Better”, in addition to working behind the scenes at concerts in the Salt Lake area. We’re just as college as ever, but we’re growing up a little bit.

Below are the 50 songs and albums that we chose as our Best of 2014 – the music that has shaped and colored moments from our year. Cheers to even greater moments in 2015!

– Sydne & Aly

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Mating Ritual

mating ritual

If you’ve never heard of the band Pacific Air, you have never A) listened to The Giggs, or B) been in my car. Early last year I went to my favorite local venue, Kilby Court, to see Walk The Moon. However, the opening act Pacific Air made a lasting impression. I anxiously awaited the release of their debut album, Stop Talking, a breezy beach-y album that hit all the right notes and quickly gained popularity in the Alternative world. I’ve been patiently awaiting new music from the California-based duo, only to find out earlier this week that Pacific Air is no more – for now. Continue reading

Helios – The Fray

ImageLast Tuesday, The Fray released their album Helios which follows what many considered to be their best album, the 2012 release Scars and Stories. Unlike my first listen to Scars and Stories, with Helios, I was less than impressed. Scars and Stories was such a strong, cohesive album that it was almost a work of art. Because of high standards set by The Fray’s previous releases, it was expected that Helios would live up to these expectations. Unfortunately, it did not.

It pains me to write this review because I really do like The Fray, but I found Helios disappointing. The main reason this album is such a letdown is the loss of the sheer quality The Fray normally brings to the table. Continue reading

“Little Monster” – Royal Blood

royal bloodIf you thought Rock ‘n’ Roll was dead, you thought wrong. And we’ve got the song to prove it. “Little Monster” is the second single to be released by the Brighton two-piece, Royal Blood. They’re basically the male equivalent of Deap Vally – a back-to-the-roots rock band comprised of only a singer/guitarist and drummer. The song is on fire all the way through with lyrics like, “Got love on my fingers/ Lust on my tongue” and a flourish of a drum solo near the end to top it all off. Not to mention, the immediate, aggressive guitar hook that lures you into the song. The grainy black and white video isn’t groundbreaking – simply footage from a live show – but it captures the raw energy of the crowd and the men behind Royal Blood. To quote Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys) in his cocky acceptance speech at the Brits: “That rock ‘n’ roll, it just won’t go away…it’s always waiting there, just around the corner, ready to make its way back through the sludge and smash through the glass ceiling, looking better than ever.” No one demonstrates that better in this moment than Royal Blood. Be on the lookout for their debut album later this year!

– Sydne

Distraction – Bear Hands

bear hands distraction actual

Bear Hands got our attention with their promising single “Giants”, the first single off of their sophomore album, Distraction. Their second record is chock-full of singles and catchy hooks that you’ll end up mindlessly citing throughout the day; tidbits of wisdom such as, “Who needs a bed anymore?” (from “Sleeping On The Floor”) or my personal favorite to decontextualize, “The lies/ The lies/ The bullshit and the lies” (from “Bone Digger”).

The opening track, “Moment of Silence”, warms you up to the fast-paced album with an accapella-esque intro leading into some chaotic keys and galloping percussion. The album version of “Giants” then sidles its way in, followed by the humorous “Agora” (a reference to Agoraphobia – a psychological disorder defined by the fear of public spaces).

Distraction excels at those hard/soft moments. Continue reading