NME Review-Hot Hot Heat

3 09 2010

Here’s a reprint of my review of the Hot Hot Heat record that ran in the NME a while back.

Hot Hot Heat

Future Breeds (Dine Alone)


After releasing four albums of varying quality over the last decade, we think it’s fair to say that Hot Hot Heat’s career has turned rather tepid of late. Still, the Vancouver-based geek-funk group are making a good fist of it on their fifth opus though and for the most part it crackles and fizzes with electro-punk tinged invention. The jerky ‘Implosionatic’ cranks the temperature up a notch and is easily the best cut on the record, but if you’re looking for ‘Bandages Part II’ then you’ll have to join Theo Walcott on the “bitterly disappointed bench.” Edwin McFee

 DOWNLOAD: ‘Implosionatic’

NME Review Of The Joy Formidable Live In Belfast

25 06 2010

The Joy Formidable

Spring and Airbrake, Belfast, Saturday, May 29

Shuffling onstage amid a wall of ear-buggering feedback, Welsh/English trio the Joy Formidable roll up their metaphorical sleeves and get straight down to business this evening, quickly serving up huge slabs of suicide rock “like they used to make in the ‘90s.” Yeah, their recycled sound borrows heavily from Veruca Salt and the Juliana Hatfield Three’s songbook, but the pure power pop suss of ‘Cradle’ and crowd favourite ‘Popinjay’ ensures that there’s more to the band than furious riffs and a front-lady who looks a little bit like (whisper it) Kim Gordon in her youth.

And while they’ve yet to unleash their debut offering (that’ll be happening later on in the year we’re told), a respectable smattering of the crowd sing along to every word of EVERY song as the pit heroes at the front throw the kind of mad shapes you’d expect at a party round Leatherface’s gaff. ‘Austere’ in particular (culled from their mini-album ‘A Balloon Called Moaning’) is a portent for the greatness to come and it boasts a sugar sweet melody coupled with a riff that’s fuzzier than a billy-goat’s bum. If Ritzy Bryan and Co. can make a record full of songs as good as that, then surely superstardom beckons. Either way, as it stands right now, we’re mad about the Joy. Edwin McFee

Trash Talk NME Review

22 06 2010

It’s safe to say that this morning I was a bit grumpy, but a quick blast of ‘Explode’ by Trash Talk sorted all that out quick sharpish. If you haven’t heard their new record yet it’s well worth checking out for blowing the cobwebs off your brainbox. Here’s my review of it that ran in the NME.

Trash Talk

Eyes & Nines (Hassle)


In many ways Sacramento-based sludgecore outfit Trash Talk’s third album is a master-class in sonic violence. Majoring in decapitation by guitar, the much talked about mob’s 60second assaults could give Bruce Banner a run for his money in the rage stakes and the record as a whole features more short sharp shocks than a dodgy kettle. Yes, we could have done without the plodding, church-baiting ‘Hash Wednesday,’ but songs like ‘Explode,’ and ‘On a fix’ more than make up for it and are so abrasive that the album should carry a government health warning. Edwin McFee


Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders NME Review

1 06 2010

Here’s a reprint of my review of the Taylor Hawkins record that ran in NME a few weeks ago.

Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders

Red Light Fever



Boasting performances from Queen and Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters tub thumper Taylor Hawkins’ second solo effort is more of a work in progress than a complete and finished article. Comprising of classic rock riffs that will probably appeal to viewers of Top Gear, the record is a raspy, glam rock tinged effort that comes off as half-cocked as John Wayne Bobbitt. While the likes of ‘Way Down’ and ‘James Gang’ are solid enough, this is one time warp we don’t want to do again. Edwin McFee


NME Review-Iron Man 2 Soundtrack

13 05 2010

Crikey, it’s been a hell of a few weeks, workwise. Thankfully today things are starting to calm down a little. Florence and the Machine in Dublin was awesome (my review/news piece is either in this week’s NME on page 8. In the meantime, here’ s my straight news report of the show- http://www.nme.com/news/florence-and-the-machine/50928) KISS were amazing on Friday (the review’s in next week’s Hot Press), Decade of Aggression was fun (review will be published in a well known music mag next month. Will let you all know who it was for when it’s printed) and going two rounds with Metallica was hella good (again, a review will be published next month in the mystery magazine).

As well as all the work, I managed to fit in a viewing of Iron Man 2 and I was in Fanboy heaven. As well as being true to the character, it set up the Avengers really well and the soundtrack was ace too. Speaking of the soundtrack-here’s a reprint of the review I penned for the NME.


Iron Man 2 Soundtrack



Serving as both the score for Shell-Head’s second silver screen outing and AC/DC’s first ever “Greatest Hits,” the Iron Man 2 soundtrack is a 15song rock ‘n’ roll education. Granted, every track is about booze, balls and ladies with large breasts, but why change something that clearly works (are you reading this MGMT?) Plus, by re-releasing the likes of ‘Let There be Rock’ and ‘Shoot to Thrill’ wrapped up in a kiddie friendly super-hero cover, the ‘DC look set to warp a whole new generation of young minds. Think of it as a sonic fuck you to Justin Bieber. Edwin McFee


Pledge: A Tribute To Kerbdog Liner Notes

7 04 2010

Last month saw the release of Pledge: A Tribute To Kerbdog via Stressed Sumo Records. Now regular readers of my blog will know that I wrote some liner notes for the disk and I thought it’d be cool to reprint them up on the blog. The record itself is ace. Some of the renditions of the likes of ‘Dry Riser’ and  ‘Mexican Wave’ are great and I urge anyone who was into the band to pick it up.

Anyway, enough of the hard sell. Here’s my liner notes plus a video for ‘Mexican Wave’ from the lads themselves. R.I.P.

In Memory of Kerbdog

I’ll always remember the first time I met Kerbdog. It was via a long forgotten late night rock show on ITV called Noisy Mothers and despite the god awful moniker, it was actually a great way to keep up with new acts (don’t judge me). Anyway, on this particular night my brother and I caught the clip for ‘End of Green’ by Kilkenny’s finest and while the video itself won’t win any awards, the song was a revelation. It was the vocals that struck me first-all impassioned and seemingly out of sync with the rest of the band. Then that sledge hammer riff really kicked in and I knew from then on in that my diet of Maiden, Lizzy and Ozzy just wouldn’t be enough to nourish my bones.

 I remember playing the song to my band at the time and demanding (yes, I was one of those teenagers) that we cover/rip off the track. Our version sucked harder than Annabel Chong of course, but it didn’t really matter, we were having fun. A few weeks later I sold some unwanted tapes and comics to the nearest mug I could find and bought the band’s debut. It was one of my first introductions to so-called “Alternative” music and I couldn’t get enough. Hell, I even took my love for the band as far as hunting down some dodgy specs and cardigans to ape the unlikely style icon that was fellow short-sighted leftie Cormac Battle, but that’s a story for another time…

It’s no secret that Kerbdog never really got their day in the sun (despite their punchy follow up ‘On The Turn’ seeming to have “success” stamped all over it) but to the lucky ones who actually make the effort of hunting down the true hidden treasures, they leave behind a legacy of potent and perverted pop rock songs that will live on long after their untimely demise in the late 90s. In a perfect world we’d all love to hear another record, but for now I’ll settle for those all too rare reunion gigs where I can dance just like those cheesy dudes from the ‘Mexican Wave’ video. Ok, now you can judge me…

Edwin McFee is a music journalist and writes for NME, Hot Press and AU

Two Door Cinema Club NME Review

2 04 2010

Here’s my review of Two Door Cinema Club’s debut that ran in the NME a few weeks ago-

Two Door Cinema Club 

 ‘Tourist History’ (Kitsune)


Up until about six months ago, the world at large could be forgiven for thinking that the only bands Northern Ireland ever churns out are of the “punk” and “rock” variety (we’re forgetting about Snow Patrol on purpose). Bangor’s Two Door Cinema Club are apparently hell-bent on proving otherwise, peddling the kind of awkward electropop that could score a million broken-hearted teenage romances given half the chance. Already bigged up by the likes of Kanye West, their debut album is a short, sharp shock to the system. Yeah, they may look like a band that would steal your library books rather than your girlfriend, but that just makes us love them even more.

Two Door’s stuttering yet spiky songs are tighter than a snake’s bumhole in a sandstorm. Each track is an economical three minutes or so and, barring the frankly barmy trumpet-led break-down at the end of album opener ‘Cigarettes In The Theatre’, the trio wisely decide to rein in their youthful exuberances for the rest of the record. Listening to the likes of the thrillingly optimistic ‘What You Know’ and ‘I Can Talk’ makes you feel like you could wrestle former WWE slaphead ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and win (of course, he’d beat the shit out of you, but it’s nice to pretend).

You can’t fault the band’s sunny outlook though. After years of touring it looks like their number has finally come up, and they’re grabbing hold of their chance with the same vigour as a 13-year-old boy getting his first feel. “Let’s make this happen girl/ You’re gonna show the world that something good can work/ And it can work for you/And you know it will” offer the lyrics to recent single ‘Something Good Can Work,’ and by the song’s end we’re willing to believe it too.

So, by thieving a guitar sound from ‘New Romance’-era Pretty Girls Make Graves and putting it alongside synthesized drumbeats and hushed vocals TDCC have created their own style, but they’ve also got a positivity that is as catchy as chlamydia at one of Belle De Jour’s ‘parties’. Don’t believe us? Try listening to the powerpop of ‘Undercover Martyn’ or album closer ‘You’re Not Stubborn’ and not feel compelled to channel your inner Brian Blessed and go out and conquer Everest. We dare you. Don’t tell the emos, but it seems like being happy is the new being sad.

Edwin McFee


The Smoking Hearts

24 02 2010

On Monday one of my best mates emailed me, telling me about a band called the Smoking Hearts, figuring I’ll love them. Fast forward two days later and somewhat spookily my editor at NME has asked me to look after the band’s album review. So today I’ve been listening to their record ‘Pride Of Nowhere’ on constant rotation and I’m obsessed by it. It’s like Valient Thorr, Zeke and a scuzzier Hellacopters all rolled into one and it makes every other band I’ve heard over the last 6months look like dong bags.

Here’s a clip for ‘Give Em The Suit.’ It won’t be for everyone but I adore this band already.

HIM NME Review

10 02 2010

Last week my review of the surprisingly tuneful new HIM record ran in the NME, so here’s a reprint.


Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice



Seven albums in and panda eyed love metallers HIM have thrown us all a curve ball-they’ve made a record that we could actually give a shit about. Clearly pushing themselves out of their comfort zone, Ville Valo’s mob flirts with drum and bass (‘Like St. Valentine’) glam rock (‘Dying Song’) and electro pop (‘In the Arms of Rain’) to deliver tunes tailor made for the next Twilight soundtrack. Yes, the lyrics are still as vomit inducing as ever and make celebrity Jesus lover Stephen Baldwin look tactful in comparison, but then the Finnish five-piece have never been the most self aware. It may have taken them 19years to make a decent racket, but they got there in the end. Edwin McFee

DOWNLOAD: ‘Like St. Valentine’

Albums of ’09

8 12 2009

As things start to wind down, all the magazines are printing their lists of the year as not much else is happening. Last month you may remember I submitted my albums of the year for NME and Hot Press and as they’re now published I can post up what  I submitted (exciting, eh?). I haven’t seen Hot Press’ list yet, but I have seen NME’s and I think it’s quite similar so I’m on the same page as at least a few folk. Pick up this week’s copy as I’ve written some of the accompanying blurbs.

Anway-enough labbering-here’s my albums of the year (insert drum roll here)

Albums Of The Year (Edwin McFee)

1.      Gallows ‘Grey Britain’ (Warner Bros)

2.      Kasabian ‘West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum’ (RCA/Columbia)

3.      Yeah Yeah Yeahs ‘It’s Blitz!’ (Interscope)

4.      Therapy? ‘Crooked Timber’ (Demolition Records)

5.      The XX ‘XX’ (Young Turks)

6.      The Cribs ‘Ignore The Ignorant’ (Wichita)

7.      Morrissey ‘Years Of Refusal’ (Decca)

8.      Julian Plenti ‘Julian Plenti Is Skyscraper’ (Matador)

9.      Iron Maiden ‘Flight 666 Soundtrack’ (EMI)

10.    Lily Allen ‘It’s Not You, It’s Me’ (Regal)

11.    Amanda Blank ‘I Love You’ (Downtown Records)

12.    Karen O and the Kids ‘Where The Wild Things Are OST’ (DCG)

13.    Rancid ‘Let The Dominoes Fall’ (Hellcat)

14.    Spinnerette ‘Spinnerette’ (Anthem)

15.    Dananananaykroyd ‘Hey Everyone!’ (Best Before)

16.    Kill It Kid ‘Kill It Kid’ (One Little Indian)

17.    Paramore ‘Brand New Eyes’ (Fuelled By Ramen)

18.    Empire of the Sun ‘Walking On A Dream’ (EMI)

19.    Biffy Clyro ‘Only Revolutions’ (14th Floor)

20.   And So I Watch You From Afar ‘And So I Watch You From Afar’ (Smalltown America)