DAS KAPITANS – Big Muff / MTV

After hitting upon the stupidly ambitious idea to release an album every month, UK noise rock/indie punk band Das Kapitans found themselves insanely busy throughout 2021. Not only did they achieve their goal, but they also left the world with a body of work that was of a much higher quality than such bulk, rush released product would ever suggest. Just using the ‘Fall’ and ‘Happy’ albums to gauge the band’s sound, the quickly amassed catalogue is a treasure trove for lovers of noisy, guitar based rock/punk, with tunes like ‘Boney’ and ‘Cranberry Sauce’ whipping up a very 90s punk sound indebted to Wipers, and the more melodic ‘Blue’ coming across like a supercharged blend of classic Sonic Youth and the more contemporary sounds of the early Arctic Monkeys. Twelve albums is a lot to take in by anyone’s standards, but it’s fair to say you can drop into the dozen pretty much at any point and discover some great, hook driven noise.

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CAT DOWLING – Animals

The former vocalist with Irish electronica/alt-pop band Alphastates, Cat Dowling strikes gold on her 2021 release ‘Animals’. With its mix of jangling guitars, occasional dreampop-ish haze and a few busy rhythms, the core of the album’s best material shifts restlessly, but never in a way that seems showy, or ever feels directionless. Most importantly, Cat’s desire to constantly move between moods never detracts from some deftly written songs. Whether at the helm of loud-ish rocky numbers, or lending a sultry vocal to an ambling 90s influenced tune, or even tackling jazzy pop, the performer shines throughout, and her unshakable presence is vital in taking a genuinely mixed bag of tunes and turning that into something that sounds like a complete and coherent listening experience. The vocals are recognisable as being those from the Alphastates singer, but musically, so much of ‘Animals’ is a different beast; if you were feeling flippant, you might consider it a “grown up pop record”, but it’s so much more than that.

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KRUPOVIESA – Default EP

There are two kinds of music fan in the world: those who get The Fall, and those who don’t. Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that their sharp edged sounds, lyrical barbs and willingness to challenge didn’t change the punk/post-punk scene. The influence they had on other alternative bands – particularly in the 90s, with the slacker movement spearheaded by Pavement – is often glaringly obvious but, occasionally, there comes a band willing to take The Fall’s influence and use it to create something a bit different. This short tribute from Argentinian band Krupoviesa is a curious affair. They’ve taken four 90s era Fall compositions and reworked them in their own punchy image, repackaged them in a homage to The Fall’s ‘Slates’ – a seminal 80s work – and shared the spoils for free.

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REAL GONE GOES OUT: Martin Rossiter – Kentish Town Forum, London 20/11/2021

Goodbyes can be drawn out. None more so than the arrival of Martin Rossiter’s farewell London show. The ex-Gene frontman’s final curtain call was originally set to take place in June 2020, but it shifted date – and venue – more than once, before finally settling into its final resting place at the Kentish Town Forum in November 2021. At this point, larger gigs still haven’t made a full return following months of Covid related restrictions and cancellations so, understandably, for some, this night comes with a certain amount of unease. Fortunately, Rossiter quickly puts that right, firstly with a self-curated playlist in place of a traditional support band (his choice of tunes, heavily weighted to rarer Northern Soul bangers is excellent) and then the main event.

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LITTLE THIEF – Under The Patio

When Little Thief appeared at the Ramsgate Music Hall on a four band bill towards the end of 2019, they played to fewer than ten people. Regardless of the sparse crowd, they gave the kind of performance deserving of a packed house. With only a couple of digital singles behind them at that time, the set was a great showcase for things to come. For the few people smart enough to be there that night, memories were made watching Rhii Williams approaching the drums in a really rhythmic yet heavy fashion, while frontman Charlie Fitzgerald cranked out fuzzy riffs as if his life depended on it. There was no doubt that Little Thief were destined for future greatness.

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