Album Review – The Drums


The Drums – ‘Encyclopedia.’ (Minor Records)

Their third album, and first music for almost three years, Encyclopedia now sees The Drums reduced to just the founding duo of Jonny Pierce and Jacob Graham. Hotly tipped when they emerged five years ago, this American wore their love for the British eighties scene on their hearts.

And while they still have that love, it’s clear that they’ve become ever more aware of the darker elements of their influences. Sure there were songs like ‘Down By The Water’ on their debut which showed that it wasn’t all effervescent indie pop, but right from the way the albums slowly fades in on ‘Magic Mountain’, this is not simply a re-run of their debut and nor is it an easy place to be at times. If it’s a magic mountain, that’s magic with dark possibilities as well as good.

If their last album Portamento saw a downturn in their fortunes (was I the only one who found that cover off-putting, rather than funny?), then I hope Encyclopedia will go some way to restoring it. While it’s still not the amazing album that I would still like to think they hinted at was a possibility five years ago, it’s a sign that they shouldn’t be written off yet.


Encyclopedia is released by Minor Records on September 22.

Album A&E #1 The Drums

A new occasional feature on the blog where I pick up on albums that have dropped off the radar…

Back in 2010, The Drums’ released their debut self-titled album (read my review here). They got a lot of coverage, much of it positive, but when their second album Portamento wasn’t as good, they seemed to slip off the radar.

Now they’re about to release their third album, Encyclopedia – and you can find out more about that over at their website. I’ve been listening to the first album again today – if you’ve never heard it or haven’t played it in a while, give it a listen. I realised just how much I enjoyed it at the time of its release -and still do. If you’re just up for cherry picking, try ‘Let’s Go Surfing’ ”Down By The Water’ (no, not the PJ Harvey song!) and ‘Me and the moon.’

Yet more great music from the Drums


I’m still loving the Drums’ debut and last year’s Summertime! EP.
And it seems like hardly a week has gone by without yet another email with an exclusive cover or remix. Sure, there’ll be those who grumble that they’ve heard it all before. But, dammit, this album is just so much fun.

And they’re heading over the pond very soon, too…

So just in case you’ve missed these, first up this track is available on some versions of their self-titled debut but not all:

The Drums -‘When I Get Home.’ mp3

This track is on all versions of the album -and shows a different side to the 80s’ indie-pop that they proudly wear on their sleeves:

The Drums -‘Down By The Water.’ mp3

Meanwhile, this cover is of a track from the latest Arcade Fire album, which I have to say I’m enjoying hugely:

The Drums -‘We Used To Wait (Arcade Fire cover).’ mp3

And if this has whetted your appetite for more free music by the Drums, try here:

2010…so far


Me on the decks at Pin Ups, Glasgow

It’s been a great start to the year, musically, and I’ve been trying to hear as much stuff as I possibly can. There’s been some wonderful stuff, some not so good stuff -and no doubt some stuff that I’ll rant about, and yet possibly even change my mind about.

So what’s floated my boat this year so far? Well, I’ve really, really loved the latest eagleowl EP Into The Fold, the closing track ‘No Conjunction’ is without a doubt my song of the year so far. I’ve also been knocked for six by Delorean’s latest album, Subiza, and the Call to Mind EP, all of which got five stars here.

Sure, the scots have had some excellent albums so far this year, what with the sophomore from Meursault, All Creatures Will Make Merry, and debuts from Kid Canaveral and Mitchell Museum. To say nothing of a slew of excellent releases from the likes of Burnt Island, The Scottish Enlightenment, Cancel the astronauts and Fear the Fives.

Further afield, I’ve been loving The Drums, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Dum Dum Girls and the Soft Pack, and the Futureheads have returned with what is clearly their best record since their debut. It’s not all been indie round these parts, though, as you’ll see when I post my review of the latest M.I.A. album, and releases from Konono No.1, Four Tet and Yeasayer have also kept their place around here. I was less than impressed by latest offerings from the likes of The New Pornographers and The National, though…

There’s still another six months left to go, of course, but it’s been great, so far…

Delorean -‘Stay Close.’ mp3

Dum Dum Girls -‘Jail La La.’ mp3

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti -‘Round and Round.’ mp3

Meursault -‘Crank resolutions.’ mp3

The Drums -‘Let’s Go Surfing.’ mp3

Soft Pack -‘C’mon.’ mp3

Yeasayer -‘O.N.E.’ mp3

M.I.A, Born Free from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on Vimeo.

Album Review – The Drums


The Drums -‘The Drums (Moshi Moshi/Island-Universal)

If music can be considered to be more-ish, then that’s what this debut album from The Drums is.

Having given us a handful of singles and an EP, many of which appear here. And whatever the indie-hipsters may say or not say, I think this album may well end up soundtracking my summer and quite a few other people’s. Much like the debut album releases earlier this year from the Dum Dum girls and the Soft Pack, this is an album by a North American band who may not win many points for originality, but win more than enough points by producing an album that’s fresh, fun and so goddamn tuneful. In the Drums’ world, the spirit of The Cure’s The Head On The Door, New Order’s Lowlife and the seminal c86 tape aren’t copied but proudly worn.

‘Let’s Go Surfing’ enters the lexicon of great pop songs featuring Whistling (see also ‘I Love Your Smile’ and ‘Young Folks.’ From start ‘Best Friend’ to close ‘The Future’ this is the sound of four young guys having fun, listening to their favourite tunes, and sounding like they’ve made an album for the sheer joy of it (this may be very clever production but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt). The nineties revival may be around the corner revisiting Alice in Chains and Stone Temple Pilots, but I’ll hold this album to my heart and up like a shield.

Brilliant stuff, folks, this is an album to enjoy from start to finish and not just cherry-picked on the iPod.


The Drums is out now on Moshi Moshi.

Get free and legal music by the Drums here

Presenting…The Drums


So, having spent the last month or so discussing the best of 2009, talk invariably turns to what 2010 has in store.

This week, on the cover of NME are American band The Drums. It’s easy to be cynical, after all, music magazines can sometimes fall flat on their faces. Menswe@r or Terris, anyone? Thought not.

However, I hope you’re prepared to put aside your prejudices, because the fact is that The Drums are very good indeed. Hailing from the US; Jonathan Pierce (vocals), Jacob Graham (guitar), Adam Kessler (guitar) and Connor Hanwick (drums) have combined a love of both the Beach Boys and The Cure and come up with something that sounds fresh and exciting. On myspace their influences includes The Shangri-La’s and Joy Division. Oh, and if you think they sound like a 80s goth copycat band, you’re wrong. Very wrong. I hear You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever and The Head On The Door. As well a reminders why in recent years I have fallen so hard for the music of both X-Lion Tamer and Swimmer One. Proof? Well, I’ve had their seven track EP Summertime! on almost constant repeat all day. Yes, they probably own Psychocandy, as we all should, but they’ve taken notes and done their own thing.

Don’t let the Hipsters put you off, this band are the real deal.

The Drums -‘I Felt Stupid.’ mp3

The Drums -‘Let’s Go Surfing.’ mp3

The Drums’ website/The Drums’ myspace

Want more free, legal mp3s? See here