the finest kiss: Cold Pumas Haunt in Overdrive

cold pumas

The cover for the Hanging Valley, the second album from Brighton band Cold Pumas, looks like it is inspired by Salvador Dali. If you caught a glance of it in a record store or on line you might think that it was made by a group with prog rock tendencies and a penchant for mind altering substances. That take wouldn’t be entirely wrong, but if you were hoping for flutes and butterflies you might be in for a surprise. Long narrow shadowed bathtubs pink soap and odd falling vases aside, the Hanging Valley is a study in what happens when you start with angular post punk that gets co-opted by a motorik groove and then sometimes is doused with some ethereal washes of guitars.

LP number two is a decidedly stronger record with better songs and more varied sound. The band are clicking on this record and deftly pummel you with songs like Fugue States, the Slump and Slippery Slopes and then turn around an caress on A Change of Course and The Shaping of the Dream.  Like the best post-punk records the Hanging Valley has intensity about it that nearly overwhelms, but pulls back when it’s just at the brink.

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Filed under: Albums, Music, Post-punk Tagged: Cold Pumas, Faux Discx, Joy Division, Sauna Youth, Soft Walls, Tense Men, The Church, The Sound, Wire

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GIITTV: IN CAMERA: Green Man 2016

Earlier this month GIITTV made its annual pilgrimage to the Black Mountains to immerse ourselves in the glory of Green Man. From Meilyr Jones‘ late night show on the Walled Garden stage to Charlotte Church‘s Pop Dungeon spectacular and Hot Meal Ltd‘s startling Green Man debut, 2016 turned out to be another vintage year in the history of our favourite festival. Here are some our favourite moments. Enjoy and see you next year!

Photo credit: Stephen Sibbald

Read full Green Man 2016 FESTIVAL REPORT.

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GIITTV: Five Hartlepool bands you need to hear

The North East is a breeding ground for new music talent at the moment.   Many of the region’s towns and cities seem to be having their own little renaissance and one place delivering some interesting goods at the moment is Hartlepool, which has a healthy burgeoning music scene, waiting to be unearthed.   Apart from its picturesque marina and strange dealings with Monkeys back in the day, Hartlepool isn’t synonymous with anything spectacular. But there’s definitely something in the water at the moment, musically speaking.  Here are five Hartlepool-based bands from you should keep an eye out for…

Future Horizons

Math-rock enthusiasts Future Horizons have been knocking around the North East scene for a little while now, but it’s not till lately that they’ve shown how much of a brute force they can be.  Guitars attack each other in the fiery, technical battles of recent single ‘Yoshimitsu,’ before dropping into spacious post rock soundscapes of the most ear-tingling kind. With a UK tour supporting Glasgow’s Donnie Willow in the in the bag and another in the pipeline, the band have established themselves as an exciting local export and a one to watch in the coming months.

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PLAZA

After getting their single ‘Totem’ spun by the likes of Huw Stephens back in February and releasing their latest single ‘Blood Orange’ into the blogosphere to positive response, it’s fair to say PLAZA are pushing all the right buttons.  They’ve been hard at work over the past year, playing various venues across the North as well as venturing further south with the likes of Chesterfield’s TRASH.  They’re an angsty indie bunch, with some brilliantly diverse tunes to boot.  Conjuring up bright, daydream indie with a post rock punch seems like second nature to PLAZA, a band that are looking stronger with each release.  The lads have recently been back in the studio and are about to drop some brand new material which will no doubt be something to behold.

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James Leonard Hewitson

More of a solo act than a band, James Leonard Hewitson plays music that he describes as “Pavement but not as good.”  It’s not the most accurate description of his music, though, which is full of clever lyrical quips and solid slacker rock hooks.  Hewitson has recently started up his own label/promotion company and is putting on a ton of gigs in Hartlepool, but it won’t be long before he extends his reach a lot further afield.  His self-depreciative and funny demeanour is a genius guise for an artist who takes his trade seriously.  Debut tracks like ‘Dream Person’ and ‘Care Less, Love Less’ have been doing the rounds on blogs and both show an artist full of ambition and talent, with a bright future.

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Para Alta

With some very strong releases already under their belt, including an online premiere for their single ‘I Get Mine’ by one of the biggest blogs around, it’s all looking up for indie shoegazers Para Alta.  ‘I Get Mine’ is awash with the kind of shimmering guitars mastered by the Cheatahs and Splashh and provide catchy chorus’ and winding guitar hooks aplenty.  With new material set for release, expect the Hartlepool five-piece to be popping up on your new music radar very soon.

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Armpit & The Glitterbabies

All-female band Armpit & The Glitterbabies are all about the live experience.  Since meeting at Sixth Form College, the young band have played a handful of well-received gigs throughout their hometown and released their first single, in a matter of months.  Heavily influenced by America’s femme-punk Riot Grrrl movement of the 90s, the young band are looking to send a message as well as forge some great music.  Things are moving fast for the five-piece and they offer something a little more lyrically engaging, allowing them to stand out from some of their more sonically-driven peers.

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Photo credit: Nick Wesson

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GIITTV: We Used To Make Things – We Used To Make Things (Wave 365 Media)

This 8 piece band from Hackney, London (via Yorkshire) have quite the history. Having gone through hardships to get this far, it is surprising that they even exist! Their 12 Track Debut is released on the 9th September.

From the opener ‘We’re All Fucked Up’ you get a real feeling of what this band is about. They have great instrumentation, a brass section and female vocal harmonies that lift the songs to a different plane. Second track ‘Stillness Of An Actor’ again uses the brass section brilliantly and the lead singer seems to be singing through a megaphone. The combination is great. This track has a real theatrical ‘musical’ feel to it as well as some ‘doo wop’ elements.

I Like, Therefore I Am (The Google Song)’ is again a masterclass in harmonies and song writing. With the refrain of “I couldn’t see the value in you”, the track motors on and you can’t help having a grin on your face. ‘Colin Is Unwell’ is another big song with clever lyrics. It’s very Blur like. Or perhaps what Blur always really wanted to sound like? Perhaps. “Careless talk costs lives”…

Yes Man (No No No)’ is again another fantastic pop song in the vein of The Divine Comedy. The harmonies are at it again. Especially the female vocals. ‘Riley’s Keeping Faith’ starts off with a hilarious answerphone message that forms the bulk of the song’s content. I get a real Badly Drawn Boy influence creeping in here. Great stuff!

CUNext Tuesday’ is a cracker of a song. It is perhaps the most ‘different’ of the collection on offer here as it is quite avant-garde and experimental, yet it still remains melodic, while ‘Love In A Minor Key’ is just that. A brilliantly crafted love song in minor keys that is sung to perfection.

What We Are Fighting For’ is a slower, more measured affair with acoustic guitar throughout. Again it is beautifully sung, but once the female vocals come in the mood changes.  The strings come in and lift the sound to a poignant song that may well be the standout. ‘Gravity’ is another jaunty track that yet again relies on the brass section. This culminates in the last two minutes being quite free-form and experimental and sounds like the band really enjoyed themselves!

Last track ‘Manchester’ is another slow, beautifully measured track with acoustic guitar and slide guitar accompaniment. It’s a gentle and sublime end to an often upbeat and bombastic LP.

At times it reminds one of The Feeling or Scouting for Girls in its poppiness. Yet its lyricism is stuff of The Divine Comedy or My Life Story. It’s an unapologetically optimistic LP. And it even ends with the refrain “everything will be fine.” Oh i do hope so!

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Digital Inspiration Technology Blog A Better Method for Embedding YouTube Videos on your Website

It is easy to embed a YouTube video but you’ll be surprised to know how much extra weight that embedded YouTube video can add to your web pages. The browser has to download about half a Mb of extra JavaScript files (see screenshot) for rendering the YouTube video player alone. And these files are downloaded even if the visitor never plays the embedded video.

The embedded video not only increases the byte size of your web pages but the browser has to make multiple HTTP requests to render the video player. This increases the overall loading time of your page thus affecting the page speed score. The other drawback with the default YouTube embed code is that it isn’t responsive. If people view your website on a mobile phone, the video player may not resize properly for the small screen.


The story, A Better Method for Embedding YouTube Videos on your Website, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 31/08/2016 under Embed, YouTube, Internet.

GIITTV: Devin Townsend Project – Transcendence (Century Media)

Devin Townsend‘s always been something of a musical chameleon. His discography has evolved through the years, from the brutality of Strapping Young Lad in his 20s, to various solo albums either under his own name or The Devin Townsend Band. But it wasn’t until The Devin Townsend Project that some sort of order was brought to the chaos. Obviously all of his output is very much from himself, but you get the sense that the reins of control were loosened somewhat on this album, and that there were more collaborative aspects to it.

Opener ‘Truth‘ is a re-recording from the Infinity album, given here an extra sheen of celestial ecstasy, and closer ‘Transdermal Celebration’ is a Ween cover with an added ambient outro. But everything in between is classic Devin Townsend Project, it’s a testament to the longevity of his co-conspirators, that the album has the cohesion and trademark qualities that is does, the line up having been steady since 2009. Which is almost an infinity in the ever changing world of Townsend.

All the boxes are checked here, uplifting wonderfully produced songs, beautiful guitar work, moments of tenderness counterbalanced by crushing metal grooves. Everything that a DTP fan would crave and while still retaining the odd surprise or two.

Failure‘ the first single off the album, has melodies aplenty over a sludgy Meshuugah like riff, with Townsend either coo-ing in a falsetto or doing his best ‘Phantom of the Opera’ impression. It’s theatrical, yet you can bang your head to it, it’s catchy yet has a 2 minute guitar solo in the middle of it. A bundle of highly polished contradictions, classic DTP in other words.

A quick word about the production; courtesy of Adam “Nolly” Getgood, he’s breathed air into what is usually a dense wall of sound, and the album sounds terrific; punchy, distinct, basically massive. Not that previous efforts were shoddy, the fact that they were able to layer so much is an epic task in itself. But this time around the layers are there, but they seem to have more room to breathe.

Elsewhere ‘Stormbending‘ is another epic journey, only a handful of the album’s tracks come in at under 5 minutes, which allows the band to stretch out and build to climaxes much the way a movie score would. Similarly ‘Higher‘ which comes in at almost 10 minutes has enough stand out moments that would fill many a lesser band’s entire album. The title track ‘Transcendence‘ sees the Interstellar Metal offset by Choirs and Townsend’s female counterpoint Anneke Van Giersbergen, who has been providing the Yin to his Yang for many an album now. ‘Offer Your Light’ sounds like a heavier Muse, with anthemic choruses a plenty. ‘From the heart’ manages to be genuinely touching without falling into the false earnestness that would trip up many lesser bands.

In short, a treat for fans, and as good an introduction for anyone who’s not had the pleasure of this multi talented metal maestro.

‘Transcendence’ will be released on September 2nd 2016 through Century Media.

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GIITTV: NEWS: Cassette Store Day to return with releases from Pixies, Courtney Barnett and more

Founded by UK indie labels Suplex Cassettes, Kissability and Sexbeat alongside Americans Burger Records in 2013, Cassette Store Day returns for global celebrations of the cassette tape on 8th October.  Burger Records said of this year’s event:  “When we completed Cassette Store Day 2015 we went back to the drawing board.  We said ‘We can rebuild it. We have the technology.  We have the capability to make the world’s best Cassette Store Day.  2016 will be that year.  Better than it was before.  Better… stronger… faster.’”

The first wave of UK releases for the day has been revealed, and it includes a raft of big names being given the cassette tape treatment.  Pixies’ Head Carrier, Courtney Barnett’s Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit, Pile’s First Other Tape Gonjasufi’s Callus and two EPs by Fake Laugh (Ice and Great Ideas) are all being released.  Among the big names, there’s also a range of compilations from record labels such as ZyNg tapes, Blak Hand and 37 Adventures.

Click here to see the full list of releases confirmed so far.

Deadlines for artists and labels to submit their recordings for the day have been extended until 5th September.  To submit a release, head to the Cassette Store Day website.

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