Cabbage

Cabbage – Torture

In the run up to their debut album, Cabbage played a string of shows where, for half a set, they would blow crowds away with their wobbled synth-punk-psyche. The other half, would fall flat. Sadly, this filtered into the album too. The early menace of the ‘Le Chou’ and ‘Uber Capitalist Death Trade’ started to dissipate, and so, this comeback single is a big moment for them. Can they recapture the glory?

In short, not exactly. The fire and wobble of guitars and synths as faded to a new take on Phil Spector pop. Clearer and more distinct, they’ve found a way for their lyrical bullets to be fired without anyone really noticing.

History often repeats itself in some form or another. ‘Torture’ has the hallmarks of Pulp’s 1996 classics ‘Mis-Shapes’ and ‘Common People’. The target is firmly on the Tories and their years of austerity. Like their Sheffield peers, they’ve shrouded their attack in a singalong masterclass. SO vibrant, so catchy, and armed to the teeth bombs to attack the “6 toed born to rule pony fuckers”.

Musically though, just where have they plucked this 60s girl group meets Manchester psyche classic from? It’s not that weren’t capable, its just so spectacular good. Please let this be the single that breaks through on to Radio 1 a-list. Let this sit in-between Khalid and 1975. Some will say this is distorting the norm, we say bollocks! This was always the norm! ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’ meshed in between Ace of Base and Whigfield, splice of life!

Grasshopper - Stricken EP

Grasshopper, a Brighton/Manchester four piece are made in the image of national treasures Joy Division, The Fall and Bauhaus.

Their new EP 'Stricken', was released at the end of November and has been gaining well deserved attention. At a glance, the desolation is striking, but, as their introspection washes over you, a bond forms, an intimate sense of us vs the world.

With the huge of success of Editors in the last decade, Javi Fedrick's vocal will inevitably draw parallels to Editors’ Tom Smith. However, EP opener ‘Grin’, with its long a Capella section, gives Fedrick a chance to clearly define himself so that, when the crisp jingle jangle guitars collide with his brutality, a new world has truly opened up.

'The Hand On The Knife’ and 'I Think It's Time To Wake Up Now' both contain the razor sharp rhythm of Bauhaus and the emotive power of The Chameleons’ Mark Burgess. It allows the merest chinks of light to creep into lyrics such as “the ceiling screams: you won’t get through today” and “I see you shaking, fury making”.

This kind of rebellion and dystopian landscape creation, opened up by Cabbage and The Blinders in 2018, couldn’t feel more appropriate at the beginning of 2019. The bleak grey skies of Brexit loom over us all like some giant morose dog turd, this is the aggressive despondent release needed.

*Image courtesy of Jim Federick

You can buy the EP here: https://bandgrasshopper.bandcamp.com/album/stricken-ep

The Blinders - Columbia

It’s here. The Blinders’ album stream has landed. Awash with fear, we hit play. What if it doesn’t replicate the power of their live shows? This isn’t 1994, they won’t get three re-records like Oasis. They have to get this right, the world needs them.

Thankfully, ‘Columbia’ is a triumph. It’s the crowning glory of the punkadelic movement to date. Cabbage may have nudged the door open, but The Blinders, have taken the hinges of, they are this scenes Nirvana.

Johnny Dream’s vocals, at times, are shamanic. His DNA fuses Morrison and Cobain through a prism of English sarcasm, angst and wit.  The rage and despair of ‘Brutus’ is a mesmerising display of rock n rolls spirit. There is no element of pretence. No attempt to be cool. This is desperate and oozes from the gut.

‘Columbia’, for all its raw purity, is packed with crowd pleasers. ‘Brave New World’ and ‘Gotta Get Though’ howl and hiss in their dank metropolis but, have scream pop music too. The tornado of punk and psyche are breath-taking, a fine display of style with substance. ‘Rat In Cage’, showcases a Charlatans circa ‘Us and Us Only’ moment the harmonica but, they as they euphorically decree ‘come together we need each other’, you feel bigger things lie ahead.

In 2002, The Strokes and The Libertines reset the wheel. It was perfect tonic for a bloated Britpop world and it reenergised a generation of bands. In 2018, bands are a non-entity. Marginalised more than ever (Kings of Leon headlined Reading and Leeds ffs!), it was going to take something special to buck this trend. Three childhood friends from Doncaster have proved, that music is still as powerful as Dylan, Beatles and the Stones.

Cabbage Live: 100 Club

With their debut album ‘Nihilistic Glamour Shots’ just around the corner, the Mossley outfit are back on the road. With no material in tow, can they pull off their status as a headline act?

At their best, Cabbage are that thing you have been waiting for. They have innate ability to pull together all the Manchester legends mentioned on ‘Tell Me Lies About Manchester’ with the volatility of the punk greats. ‘Terrorist Synthesizer’ combines the swagger and stagger of the Mondays circa ‘Bummed’ with the snot and snarl of The Libertines and the Pistols. This continues on ‘Kevin’ and new single ‘Arms of Pleonexia’ and, in this groove, the brilliant Idles, Shame and The Blinders cannot compete.

However, when they stray into the straight up rock n roll numbers ‘Indispensable Pencil’ and ‘Preach to the Converted’, their power fades slightly, and puts them back into the pack. it

What brought real hope was the undeniable ‘Necroflat in the Palace’. To witness such a young crowd lose its shit as one unifying entity, screaming the lyrics 'I was born in the NHS / I will die in the NHS’ has to be the most beautiful thing ever seen.

Cabbage live at Old Blue Last

For 20 minutes of this 30 minute set, Cabbage are the best band on the planet.

They open with 'Uber Capitalist Death Trade' and hone the ramshackle beauty of The Libertines via the oddball genius of the Happy Mondays.

With barely time to draw breath, they launch into ‘Kevin’ cause everyone to question everything they know about music. A pulsating channeling of The Sonics via Bo Ningen provides a superbly violent anthem for this small but adoring set of fans.

Some light relief comes in the form of the decadent 'Fickle'. It strides drunkenly wherever the fuck it wants before a warped guitar solo chimes out like an acid ridden four minute warning siren.

Closing the show out are ‘Necroflat In The Place’ and ‘Free Steve Avery (Wrong America)’. The intensity remains, but, the quality dips ever so slightly as the peculiarities of ‘Kevin’ fade. What you are left with, is another dose of Palma Violets or Libertines b-sides. To be clear, they are matching their quality, no mean feat!

Cabbage, at their best tonight, are setting the agenda and blowing all their peers away. Be sure to be on their tour in the New Year.

Cabbage – Uber Capatalist Death Trade

There should be no doubts right now, Cabbage are the best band in the UK right now. Here’s our track by track review of their scintillating EP:

 

Uber Capatalist Death Trade

Danger lurks around every corner with an unerring confidence and originality, the like not seen since The Libertines in 2002. The power and ferociousness on display here will make recent excellent work of Palma Violets seem old hat.

It has everything to unite the alternative world. Blistering guitars for the mainstream Radio X crowd, feral post-punk vocals a la Lydon with PiL, and biting lyrics to boot.

Fickle

All the stomp and pomposity of the recent Arctic Monkeys albums is made to look irrelevant in this 5min affair. This is a fragile juggernaut rampaging its way around town with a bottle of port in one hand a sledgehammer in the other hand.

The opening is a death storming stomp, the lyrics are dark humour at its best and the guitars, well, they are crazed and escapist, they raucous and offensive. This does it all!

Tell Me Lies About Manchester

Hilarious from start to finish. A tale of a monster bullshitter, bigger than Jay Carwright and Del Boy put together who claims:

“I've had a pint with every member of The Fall”

And

“Rowetta rubs my feet”.

BBC6 stalwart marc Riley recently told the NME that Cabbage are the rightful heir to Happy Mondays throne. He is not wrong. The music grooves along with the wayward effortlessness embodied by the Mancunian icons and embodies the wit and charm of Shaun’s great lyrics on ‘Bummerd’.

Free Steven Avery (Wrong America)

Musically, this is most light hearted on the EP. It’s a spritely thigh slapping pub song. Fittingly then, the lyrics are cutting and profess to killing Donald Trump.