Emma Ruth Rundle has become something of a favourite of ours over the years, with 2018’s On Dark Horses and her recent collaboration with Thou both getting enthusiastic thumbs up from Remfry and Steve on previous episodes. But her latest album, Engine of Hell, marks a stylistic change from all her previous work. Rather than the expansive, full-band, reverb-drenched sound she’s become synonymous with, Engine of Hell is stripped back and almost unbearably emotionally exposed.
It’s a somewhat somber episode this week as Remfry and Steve try to piece together the events that led to nine people (eight at time of recording) losing their lives at Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival in Houston, Texas.
A criminal investigation is under way to try and ascertain what caused such an unnecessary loss of life as well as the hundreds of injuries sustained during the melee last Friday night. We try to make sense of a tragedy that ultimately, should never have happened and discuss the potential factors that led to it. Is Travis Scott himself to blame? The promoter Live Nation? Security? Poor infrastructure? The fans themselves? All of the above? We look at all the factors that potentially contributed to the highest number of accidental deaths at an official US concert venue since the Station nightclub fire in 2003.
A lighter, somewhat more jovial second half of the show is a discussion of some of our favourite music media outlets, a chance for us to recommend other music enthusiasts and their podcasts, YouTube channels, documentaries, blogs and radio shows. Links to all the recommendations covered on this episode are below
The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0072ky7/episodes/player
Heavy Blog is Heavy
Howard Goodall’s The Story of Music
James Acaster’s Perfect Sounds
Pop, Collaborate and Listen
On this episode we review Diorama, the second full length album from Danish blackgaze crew Møl. Back in 2018 their debut album Jord was one of Remfry’s favorite release of the year, Steve liked it too… probably not as much if we’re being honest though. But, due to our hosts’ dual appreciation of the band there is certainly a high level of expectation for Diorama. Will the record live up to those expectations? Well, we’re not going to tell you that here! But, with artists as diverse as Darkthrone, Alcest, Iron Maiden… er… AC/DC, Oasis and Kings of Leon all getting a name check in this episode, you can at least expect some fairly surprising revelations.
Originally posted September 9th 2020 on https://www.patreon.com/riotactpodcast
Remfry and Steve discuss a record that features members of Sepultura (Max Cavalera), The Dillinger Escape Plan (Greg Puciato), Mastodon (Troy Sanders) and The Mars Volta (Dave Elitch). The rule of super-groups dictates that surely, despite the calibre of musicians, this would be a crock of shit … but no! By finding the time to flaunt each individual member’s skills, whilst still maintaining the sense of a coherent and (perhaps most importantly) ‘proper’ band, Killer Be Killed is actually mag-bloody-nificent. Steve admits that his response to the record might have been too tepid upon release whilst Remfry manages to (shock-horror) get a reference in about post-rock … whilst talking about a heavy metal record. #branddedman
Welcome to another edition of Riot Act Reviews, where Steve and Remfry look in depth at one of alternative music’s recently released albums of considerable note.
On this show we look at the new album from American singer songwriter Lana Del Rey, Blue Banisters, the follow up to her Chemtrails Over The Countryclub effort from earlier in the year. We’ve had a fair few follow up “lockdown albums” coming hot on the heels of a big release to listen to over the past year, and usually the artists releasing such albums tend to lean in on the first record, choosing a similar sonic palette and not making too many stylistic deviations and instead tweaking here and there and making a continuation of what we’ve just heard. It’s fair to say that, although there is much here that is relatable to Chemtrails…, there is enough on Blue Banisters to suggest that Lana Del Rey has made a point of trying to approach her latest effort with something of a different mindset. But, is it enough to get the thumbs up from our hosts?
Welcome to another week of alternative music news, reviews and opinions courtesy of us here at Riot Act. Steve and Remfry start, pretty much immediately, by excitedly reviewing the recent Biffy Clyro gig at the Forum in London, before delving into this weeks releases, discussing the news that U2 have released a rubbish song (much to Steve’s disappointment but not shock), Porcupine Tree have reformed and that some Slipknot fans have set fire to a mosh pit… or something. We also pay tribute to legendary music writer Malcolm Dome, who we were very sad to learn passed away this week. RIP to the man who coined the term thrash metal and who has given both of us literally tens of thousands of words on some of our favourite music ever.
We then catch up on some recent releases that we feel are worth talking about from a truly mixed bag; Limp Bizkit, The War On Drugs, Don Broco, Jónsi, JPEGMAFIA, Marissa Nadler, Teethgrynder, Rivers of Nihil, Tom VR and Can’t Swim all have their latest albums discussed and dissected. There’s a lot of chat about the saxophone too. Nice.
Welcome to a special Riot Act Reviews podcast, in this episode Steve and Remfry run the rule over one of the most anticipated metal albums to be released this year; Georgian prog metal superstars Mastodon’s 8th studio album Hushed and Grim.
The follow up to their 2017 effort Emperor of Sand, which divided the opinion of both fan and critics, but an album that both of our hosts were big fans of, mainly thanks to it reintroducing some of the more expansive and difficult elements of their sound. If that record tipped its toe back into proggier waters then it is fair to say Hushed and Grim happily powerbombs straight into the deep end, it being the first double album of the band’s career and thematically dealing with the loss of their longtime manager and friend Nick John in 2018. This is arguably the darkest, most challenging and yet simultaneously broadest record that Mastodon have concocted in their career thus far, and, as such, it has proven to be something of a slow burn for both of our hosts, but have either of them settled on an opinion on this most unique of metal bands new effort, or is even more time required before it fully reveals itself?
It’s been a busy week for both Steve and Remfry this week, both of our hosts have been beavering around looking for new music, and give you a comprehensive rundown of what’s out this week before discussing Sir Paul McCartney’s recent declaration that he will no longer be signing autographs for fans. The former Beatle instead will be happy to “Share stories” with anyone who comes across his path instead, it’s a lovely sentiment, but does Sir Paul really have the time to go through that whole “We were in India and Prudence Farrow wouldn’t come out of her room…” thing again and again?! He’s nearly 80 for Christ sake!
We here at Riot Act do have time to share stories though, and, armed with a series of your questions from Twitter, we set about discussing an Indie Download (won’t happen), would we now review a Pet Shop Boys album (We would), would Dave Grohl have ended up writing songs for Nirvana (Probably, just not straight away) and what the problem with Tom Hardy and Ted Lasso is (Silly voice and unrealistic penalties respectively).
We take a deep dive into the career of one of the most illustrious and admired artists of modern times; PJ Harvey’s fifth full-length studio album Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea is our latest entry into Classic Albums.
Released on 24 October 2000 by Island Records, Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea became the second major commercial success of her recording career, following her successful breakthrough To Bring You My Love (1995). Whilst it received generally favourable praise, placing 4th in Metacritic’s Albums of the Year list, there are a small but vocal crowd who bemoan the album’s shaved edges and melodic ‘pop’ sensibility. But Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea merely proves that Polly Jean Harvey is a chameleon who can take on any musical form whilst remaining at the top of her song-writing game.
New York plays a big part in the album as does the feeling of falling in love, a topic perhaps too romantic for those who revelled in the bleak, stark black and white vignettes of Dry or Rid of Me, but Harvey never makes the topic mushy or overly sentimental. Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea proved that indie and pop sensibilities could be bedfellows, an idea that seems obvious in 2021 but was often derided at the dawn of the 21st century. The album went on to receive acclaim from most music critics and earned Harvey several accolades, including the 2001 Mercury Prize.
This week’s Riot Act is brought to you by the letter B! Steve and Remfry take a look at the news this week, that has been dominated by some rather unsavory attitudes coming from the Bloodstock Festival camp, as well as looking at The Rolling Stones decision to retire one of their biggest ever songs, Brown Sugar, from their live set.
After the serious stuff is dealt with we move on to looking at the long forgotten art of the B-Side. What happened to them? What makes a good one? Who are the best at writing them? What exactly and specifically denotes something as being a B-Side? And, most importantly of all, in this digital streaming age, does the humble B-Side even exist anymore? We’ve picked 6 from the vaults to discuss that run the gamut of quality, as well as getting your thoughts on all of the above.