Joe Goggins

Music Journalist

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Criticism and interviews on popular and alternative music in print and online

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The Line of Best Fit
Belle and Sebastian's latest London turn is a deep dive into their back catalogue

After wrapping touring in support of Write About Love in 2011, they effectively went on hiatus to allow frontman Stuart Murdoch to work on his directorial feature film debut, God Help the Girl. Since returning with Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance in January 2015, they've seemed hell-bent on making up for lost time.

The Line of Best Fit
Ben Gibbard pays tender, revealing tribute to Teenage Fanclub with his own take on Bandwagonesque

After all, this is the guy who's consistently poured his heart out, record after record, as the frontman of Death Cab For Cutie. It's always been something he's done in straightforward terms, too; whether it was their early records, where he liked to shroud things in metaphor, or their more recent efforts, on which he's openly cited Randy Newman as an influence, heartbreak's been the name of the game nine times out of ten.

The Line of Best Fit
Progress in Process: Sampha, Live in Manchester

He's cultivated a reputation over the past few years for being the guy that everybody wants to work with, having been tapped for contributions to recent records by Beyonce, Kanye West, Drake and Solange, but it wasn't until earlier this year that he was finally able to make a statement of his own, with his intoxicating debut full-length Process.

The Line of Best Fit
Playing to the Crowd: Spoon Return to Manchester

That might seem like the very definition of playing to the crowd on the part of 's frontman, Britt Daniel, but in his defence, there might have been pangs of guilt behind his comments.

The Line of Best Fit
Progress in Process: Sampha, Live in Manchester

He's cultivated a reputation over the past few years for being the guy that everybody wants to work with, having been tapped for contributions to recent records by Beyonce, Kanye West, Drake and Solange, but it wasn't until earlier this year that he was finally able to make a statement of his own, with his intoxicating debut full-length Process.

The Line of Best Fit

The Line of Best Fit
Progress in Process: Sampha, Live in Manchester

He's cultivated a reputation over the past few years for being the guy that everybody wants to work with, having been tapped for contributions to recent records by Beyonce, Kanye West, Drake and Solange, but it wasn't until earlier this year that he was finally able to make a statement of his own, with his intoxicating debut full-length Process.

The Line of Best Fit
So It Goes: New Order, Live in Manchester

The conundrum does apply to tonight's show, though, perhaps more so than it does to any other event in Manchester International Festival's programme this year. From the outside looking in, the contradiction is not a difficult one to understand; that a city so prone to revelling in its cultural history is also home to one of the world's most pointedly progressive arts festivals.

DrownedInSound
06/23/2017
Parklife Festival 2017: the DiS review

The buildup to this year's Parklife Festival felt more fraught than usual; between the fallout from the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena just a few weeks earlier and the very real possibility that the weekend might have ended up without one of its two headliners at very short notice, there was a sense that perhaps, after finally having settled into its new Heaton Park home, things might go less smoothly than they had for the past couple of years.

The Line of Best Fit
Radiohead's OKNOTOK is an unsettling reminder of OK Computer's prescience

It's nowhere to be found on this twentieth anniversary reissue of 's third album. OKNOTOK lends us an interesting, but ultimately incidental, new perspective through its inclusion of three previously unreleased tracks, but as far back as 1998, there was Meeting People Is Easy, the documentary that followed the band over the course of their tour for the LP.

DrownedInSound
06/01/2017
Parklife Festival 2017: The DiS Preview

Now in its fifth year north of the city centre at Heaton Park, Manchester's Parklife Festival has solidified its reputation as one of the jewels in the city's musical crown.

DrownedInSound
05/12/2017
Album Review: Paramore - After Laughter

Most reviews of the new Paramore record that have run across this writer's desk seem be under the misapprehension that the band have 'gone pop'. Where those critics have been for the past 12 years is mystifying.

The Line of Best Fit
Spoon's Britt Daniel talks about Hot Thoughts

Earlier this year, they scored through another item from it, playing for the first time at London's iconic 100 Club. The inevitable sweatstorm that ensued evoked memories of their early days in Austin, Texas, long before they'd hit one of the most scintillating runs of form in rock history.

DrownedInSound
06/01/2017
Family Values: DiS Meets Manuela

In July last year, Nick McCarthy announced he was leaving Franz Ferdinand, of which he'd been a founding member back when they emerged from a scene that was centred around the Glasgow School of Art in the early noughties.

The Line of Best Fit
Heart and Soul: How Manchester International Festival is bridging the gap between past and future

They were the first events officially commissioned by Manchester International Festival, which wouldn't take place in earnest until 2007. As much as the focus of the festival has always fallen on a broad range of the performing arts, from theatre to dance to exhibitions, it feels significant that it all kicked off with an alternative rock band bringing near-unique concerts to the city.

Theskinny
Alexandra Savior: Belladonna of Sadness - review: The Skinny

For a 21-year-old putting out her first record, Alexandra Savior already seems to have made some major strides. She's releasing Belladonna of Sadness through a major label, Columbia, and has enlisted the undeniably A-list talents of James Ford, he of Simian Mobile Disco, and Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner to handle production duties.

DrownedInSound
05/05/2017
Album Review: Blondie - Pollinator

Rumours of an uptick in the Blondie work ethic might yet turn out to have been exaggerated. It's now a full two decades since they reformed after a 15-year break, and Pollinator is their third album in six years - a marked improvement on a return of just two records between 1997 and 2011.

The Line of Best Fit
Balancing care and chaos: Deftones live in Manchester

The universally loved 'nicest guy in rock' famously soldiered on through a leg injury in the summer of 2015 after an ill-advised descent into the photography pit ended in a fractured fibula. Last week, frontman Moreno experienced a similar situation; he dived down towards the fans at Groezrock Festival in Belgium, and came away with a broken metatarsal.

Theskinny
Gallops: Bronze Mystic - Album review - The Skinny

It always did feel a little premature when Gallops called it a day in 2013, just a year after the release of their debut full-length, Dr. Hardcore . Happily, the Wrexham noiseniks have recognised the rashness of that decision and duly reversed it, returning as a three-piece with a record that takes the moody post-rock of their first effort and imbues it with electronics.

Theskinny
Maxïmo Park: Risk to Exist album review - The Skinny

There's always been a bit of a political slant to Maxïmo Park's songwriting. That said, you suspect that there's a couple of presumptions that are going to be made about Risk to Exist that will need dispelling straight out of the gate. For a start, this is not an aggressively political record.

Crack Magazine
Guided By Voices - 'August by Cake' review: A work of sprawling ambition

August by Cake is the 100th original studio record of Robert Pollard's career, which began in 1986 with Forever Since Breakfast. That staggering figure apparently "emphatically excludes" live recordings and compilations in order to avoid comparison with The Who, because Pete Townshend "hasn't written or recorded a decent song since 1978".

DIY
Karen Elson - Double Roses

Perhaps it's turned out to be a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth, because 'Double Roses' feels weirdly half-baked.

DIY
Driving from the Back Seat: Weyes Blood

Natalie Mering made waves with 'Front Row Seat to Earth' last year, and now - supporting Father John Misty, and linking up with Perfume Genius - things are only getting bigger. "A lot of people are scared and ashamed to admit how things have changed. Especially baby boomers."

DIY
The New Pornographers - Whiteout Conditions

Over the course of nearly two decades together, the transient nature of The New Pornographers' lineup has led to a kind of constant state of creative wanderlust; no two of their records have ever really sounded the same and, accordingly, things have never ended up feeling stale at any point.

Loud And Quiet
04/24/2017
Gorillaz Humanz - Album Review - Loud And Quiet

Whatever you think of Damon Albarn, he clearly isn't a subscriber to the old idea that too many cooks spoil the broth. His appetite for joint creative endeavours has never been clearer than in his output with Gorillaz and when the deeply impressive list of collaborators for their fifth album leaked a few days before it had even been confirmed that the record existed, nobody really questioned the validity of it.

Theskinny
Forest Swords' Matthew Barnes on Compassion - The Skinny

At the end of March, Matthew Barnes was bored. At least he knew how his fans felt. He'd spent four years keeping his proverbial finger in as many different pies as possible, but what his followers really wanted was another record as Forest Swords - his second.

Theskinny
Duglas T Stewart on BMX Bandits Forever: The Skinny

Duglas T Stewart is one of indie-pop's great survivors. Glasgow's collection of bands and artists that fall under that description have always upset the odds, whether it was Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian fending off M.E. to produce two classic LPs in 1996 or The Pastels emerging from years of hibernation in 2013 to return with the glorious Slow Summits.

Crack Magazine
At The Drive-In - 'in*ter a*li*a' review: A superficial embodiment of the band's sound

The ironic thing about At the Drive-In's 2012 reunion is that the prospect of a new record seemed further away, not closer, once it was actually underway. Guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez admitted to NME that the reformation was driven by a desire to ascend to a higher tax bracket, that nostalgia played a part, too, and that there were no plans whatsoever for new music.

Theskinny
Live at Leeds 2017: Festival Review - The Skinny

In the popular imagination, the phrase Live at Leeds is always going to evoke memories of The Who's legendary 1970 recording at the University's Refectory, but the festival that shares its name is unequivocally a forward-facing affair, aiming to showcase primarily new acts across the city.

DrownedInSound
04/22/2017
Album Review: Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall

When this writer reviewed Iggy Pop's Post Pop Depression for another publication last year, the advance copy of the record came complete with an excitable note from the editor. 'They've been billing this one as his last,' he wrote. 'Certainly has an air of finality to it.

The Line of Best Fit
Wavves make a welcome return to self-determination on LP6

Ahead of the release of 2015's V, the Californians signed with Warner Bros. and apparently found the experience a hellish one. Frontman Nathan Williams cited widespread organisational failures as being behind their fallout with the label, as well as more specific post-recording difficulties; the release of the single "Way Too Much" on Soundcloud before Warner Bros.

DrownedInSound
06/17/2017
Album Review: Lorde - Melodrama

Lorde's debut record remains a startling listen. It's so self-assured in its minimalism, so supremely confident in its icy takedowns of superficial obsessions, and so carefully crafted and well-executed for somebody on their first try.

Theskinny
Brendan Canning on the return of Broken Social Scene - The Skinny

"You're sitting having a beer, and all of a sudden, the memories flood back. 'Hey, remember that time we were in Peterborough? Or Stoke-on-Trent?'" Today's a turning point for Broken Social Scene. On the one hand, it marks the end of the long road back; they're in Manchester to play their first full headline show, anywhere, since 2011.

The Line of Best Fit
Run The Jewels: Kill Your Masters

They didn't meet until they were both in their mid-thirties, when they were introduced to each other by a mutual friend - an executive at Cartoon Network. At that time, both were gearing up to make their latest solo records.

Theskinny
Future Islands' Samuel T. Herring on The Far Field: The Skinny

"This is me being an insane person who can't stop." Samuel Herring catches himself. Over the course of a breathless hour, he's just run through pretty much every minute detail of Future Islands' fifth full-length, The Far Field , and is now on to the next one, which doesn't exist yet.

DIY
New Tricks: The Jesus and Mary Chain

With the hatchet buried, Jim and William Reid are looking to the future on their first new record in nineteen years. "After each tour we wanted to kill each other, and after the final tour, we tried." Back in 2006, that was Jim Reid's take on the demise of The Jesus and Mary Chain.

The Line of Best Fit
Elbow eschew nostalgia with a strikingly vital hometown run in Manchester

Forgive the indulgence for a minute. After all, he's now very much a part of this town's musical heritage; the bar up in the circle at Manchester's iconic Apollo is bedecked with huge, backlit images of local heroes. The usual suspects are all present and correct - Liam Gallagher, Morrissey, Ian Brown.

The Line of Best Fit
So Now What? The Shins' James Mercer on new record Heartworms

Their debut, Oh, Inverted World, probably didn't impact much beyond the local indie scene in Albuquerque, New Mexico when Sub Pop put it out in 2001. By the time Chutes Too Narrow followed a couple of years later, the group had a following, one carved out via the usual route - relentless touring and canny promotion from their label.

Theskinny
Foxing live review: Manchester, March 2017 - The Skinny

Whatever you might have made of tonight's Foxing show, let it not be said that frontman Conor Murphy isn't unfailingly polite. He thanks the audience after the first song, the as-yet-unreleased Nah Man, for having the patience to listen to a new one, and we're only two tracks in before he pays tribute to the evening's support acts, Oyama and Fog Lake.

DIY
Back to the Fuck Yeah? Pulled Apart by Horses

The Leeds noiseniks balance chaos with control as they return with 'The Haze'. The last Pulled Apart by Horses record, 'Blood', saw the Leeds band breaking with tradition; in a whole host of ways. For a start, it was their first effort after signing with a subsidiary of Sony, making them one of the less likely major label bands of recent years.

The Line of Best Fit
Kid Cudi's biggest demons, self-indulgence and indecision, are alive and well on his sixth LP

It's hard to gauge the exact degree to which the genre has actually embraced Cudi, but they certainly haven't done so whole-heartedly. For every step forward, every seal of approval - getting to narrate his first record, or being signed by Kanye - there's been two backwards, whether because of Cudi's mercurial stylistic approach or beefs that increasingly seem summoned up for the sake of it.

Loud And Quiet
01/06/2017
The Flaming Lips - Oczy Mlody - Album review - Loud And Quiet

Understated is not a word readily associated with The Flaming Lips. There's more than three decades' worth of evidence to back up that assertion, but let's look at their recent endeavours : after 2013's ' The Terror' , a vibrant exercise in stereoscopic psychedelia, their last full-length release was ' With a Little Help from My Fwends' a year later, on which they covered ' Sgt.

Loud And Quiet
01/05/2017
Brandon Can't Dance - Graveyard of Good Times - Review - Loud And Quiet

On recent evidence, there's apparently plenty to be said for bombarding your audience with plenty of music online before committing to a traditional label model. Car Seat Headrest and The 1975 are two success stories of late on that front, having crafted a fanbase through myriad Internet releases before putting out a debut album proper.

Theskinny
Invisible Boy - Invisible Boy album review: The Skinny

The fact that he's the bass player for Poliça is probably the quickest route into Chris Bierden's catalogue for the uninitiated but just to call him that would be a disservice to his prodigious work rate. He's contributed to records by Har Mar Superstar and been a driving force behind the likes of Pony Trash, Heavy Deeds and Bones & Beeker.

Loud And Quiet
12/21/2016
Virginia Wing: 'A performance can be anything you want it to be' - Loud And Quiet

The forward motion of Sam Pillay and Alice Merida Richards "Ultimately, you're driving for what you've got in your head as your own perfect idea of what music should be." In a Manchester cafe, Sam Pillay of Virginia Wing is picking apart his band, their new record and the public reaction to it.

DrownedInSound
03/31/2017
Album Review: Fleetwood Mac - Tango in the Night (expanded)

Any kind of contemporary reflection on Fleetwood Mac is going to necessarily make reference to the band members' endeavours off the field of play. That's not because they were better known, or even as well known, for their extracurricular activities as their music, but rather because the individual members' personal lives seeped into the songs with such frequency and ferocity as to render the two worlds inextricable.

DIY
Julia Holter - In The Same Room

Live albums are divisive by their very nature, so it bodes well for Domino's new series that they've managed to find a novel way of approaching the idea.

The Line of Best Fit
Balance and change: Laura Marling live in Leeds

Sure, on a purely superficial basis, this sixth album in nine years, Semper Femina, looks for all the world like a feminist statement - the title was drawn from a defiant excision of the early words from the old Virgil quote 'varium et mutabile semper femina', meaning 'fickle and changeable always is woman'.

Theskinny
Sleigh Bells live review: Manchester, Feb 2017 - The Skinny

Anybody who caught one of Sleigh Bells' early Manchester shows might have been forgiven for wondering if the duo would still be around in 2017. Even those who liked their debut record, Treats, would at least concede to the failings of its translation to the stage.

Theskinny
Surfer Blood - Snowdonia album review: The Skinny

You shouldn't judge a record by its cover or indeed by the context surrounding its creation, but you might be forgiven for jumping to certain conclusions about the latest album from Surfer Blood.

Theskinny
The Hotelier live review: Manchester, Jan 2017 - The Skinny

"We had a day off here in Manchester yesterday, so I headed to the casino." The Hotelier frontman Christian Holden is regaling the audience with tales of his Sunday afternoon gambling exploits. "I got talking to this older guy, and I told him I was in town because I'm in a band.

men
02/09/2017
Review: Bloc Party at Albert Hall, Manchester

"It looks like we're rocking so hard that the roof's come down," says Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke, brandishing what looks like a small, foot-long piece of timber - or perhaps plaster - at the audience.

DrownedInSound
01/20/2017
Album Review: Joan of Arc - He's Got the Whole This Land Is Your Land in His Hands

It's hard to avoid the creeping feeling that, for one reason or another, the recent wave of emo nostalgia hasn't been especially kind to Joan of Arc, who don't seem to have been remembered as fondly amongst the retrospectives as contemporaries like American Football or, indeed, predecessors where Tim Kinsella's concerned - Cap'n Jazz, for instance.

DrownedInSound
03/02/2017
Fictions And Firebrands: The Rejuvenation Of Elbow

In the thick of a deeply unremarkable industrial estate, perched in a kind of no-man's-land between Manchester and Salford, Blueprint Studios has just opened for the day. Elbow are this place's most famous tenants, having cut every record since 2005's Leaders Of The Free World here, and they're nearly on time for rehearsals.

DrownedInSound
12/02/2016
Album Review: The Rolling Stones - Blue & Lonesome

Here's an illuminating quote from Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer, plucked from an interview with Ultimate Classic Rock a couple of years back. 'It would be great to make another record, but it's almost, "why bother?" Records don't sell, and they don't do anything.

DIY
Lucid Dreams: Cherry Glazerr

'Shagging her guitar' and ripping up Sunset Sound, Clementine Creezy's turned her bedroom project into a bonafide band. Clementine Creevy sounds as if the whirlwind pace of Cherry Glazerr's ascension to the position one of indie rock's most exciting prospects is beginning to catch up with her.

DrownedInSound
02/17/2017
Album Review: Ryan Adams - Prisoner

Ryan Adams once told the story of how he came to settle on the title of his debut record. After continually stalling on the decision, his manager called him, irate, and told him he had 15 seconds to come up with something.

The Line of Best Fit
J. Cole opts for quiet revolution on his subtlest, most affecting record yet

Back in 2010, on his breakout mixtape Friday Night Lights, he demonstrated immense promise, but did so imbued with no shortage of the archetypal cockiness that's part and parcel of being a young rapper; he swiftly claimed a place in the same bracket as with "Villematic", and channeled the willy-waving of his hero's "Hate Me Now" on "Blow Up".

DrownedInSound
12/26/2016
Album Review: Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 3

When El-P released his debut solo record, , it was widely misinterpreted as a treatise on 9/11. It was an easy mistake to make; this was May of 2002, and the album was awash with a brooding paranoia that tapped uncannily into the mood of a nation having its civil liberties torn asunder by the PATRIOT Act.

DrownedInSound
02/21/2017
Pete Turner's Little Fictions: Bedtime Reading & Twilight Tunes

Seasoned readers of this site will of course know Elbow as critically-acclaimed purveyors of booze-fuelled treatises on heartbreak, intoxication - both chemical and romantic - and sweeping optimism. Did you also know, though, that they're all dads?

The Line of Best Fit
Tegan and Sara love Manchester to death on Valentine's Day

Sara Quin's comments come just seconds after her twin sister has promised not to swear this evening, in a display of reverence to their surroundings - the Albert Hall was built as a chapel about a hundred years ago and, accordingly, the stained-glass and wood-panelling tends to place its performers in that frame of mind.

DrownedInSound
02/21/2017
Planet Gear: Elbow

Elbow have never wanted much for instrumental diversity but their seventh record, Little Fictions, feels like a different beast altogether from anything that's preceded it in the band's catalogue.

Theskinny
Avenged Sevenfold live review: Manchester, 2017 - The Skinny

Avenged Sevenfold are one of those bands who have spent most of their career teetering in the no-man's-land between hard rock and heavy metal. As much as they're well capable of booking a European arena tour in their own right - they long since graduated to the level of festival headliner within their own corner of the musical world - they've still opted to bring along an impressively heavyweight supporting line-up on this UK jaunt.

The Line of Best Fit
Cloud Nothings' new album is precisely the left turn they needed

Over the course of their first three full-lengths, the Cleveland trio adhered to a few basic principles; breakneck pace, chaotic instrumental landscapes and consistently noisy guitars. That isn't to say they hadn't been progressing musically; on their outstanding 2014 LP, Here and Nowhere Else, they began to flirt with the idea of heading into more experimental territory, particularly on the epic "Pattern Walks" and the psych-tinged "Giving Into Seeing".

Theskinny
Campfires in Winter - Ischaemia album review: The Skinny

Since forming in 2010, the Glasgow-based four-piece have released a clutch of EPs and gigged incessantly around Scotland and the UK, but are only now releasing their first record proper - Ischaemia, named after the medical term for a restriction in the blood supply.

Theskinny
Martha Wainwright live review: Manchester, 2017 - The Skinny

Martha Wainwright's proud tradition of refusing to do things by the book stretches back pretty much to the beginning of her career. It's fitting, then, that latest record Goodnight City should be comprised of six of her own songs and six offered up by collaborators, from brother Rufus to Glen Hansard to Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs.

Crack Magazine
Dutch Uncles: 'Big Balloon' review - Assured in its weirdness

Dutch Uncles claim to have taken their cues from impressive touchstones such as David Bowie's Low and Kate Bush's The Red Shoes for their fifth full-length record. Anybody familiar with the Manchester outfit will recognise their reliable blend of art-pop on Big Balloon, but might struggle to pick out precisely where either of those two icons come into play.

The Line of Best Fit
The Flaming Lips return to all-out maniacal psychedelia in Manchester

For a start, The Terror - their thirteenth full-length, released back in 2013 - was uncharacteristically brooding affair, the whole thing imbued with a sense of paranoia and melancholy as frontman Wayne Coyne tried to make musical sense of the collapse of his 25-year relationship.

DrownedInSound
02/21/2017
A Tour With Town's Poet Laureate: 24 Hours In Manchester With Guy Garvey

Lyrically, Guy Garvey is a man who deals pretty explicitly in the currency of romance, so it's a good job he seems so capable of finding it everywhere he turns: over the years, he's mined beauty from drinking, the beginnings of relationships, friendship, the joy of conversation, drinking, the middles of relationships, good company, Guinness, civic pride, the preciousness of family, the viciousness of global politics, Irish whiskey, the ends of relationships, sex, philosophy, more drinking,...

The Line of Best Fit
The 1975 finally ascend to arenas with a triumphant Manchester homecoming

February's second album - the outstanding record of 2016, for this reviewer's money - was a fabulously eccentric and positively sprawling statement of intent, from its ludicrous title - I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it - to its total lack of regard for traditional genre boundaries.

DrownedInSound
08/13/2015
"We've been dismantling the rules since Antidotes": DiS meets Foals

On the face of things, Foals pursuing hedonism shouldn't ever really be classed as a break with the norm; after all, this is the same band that told NME, as their live commitments for Total Life Forever were drawing to a close, that "we all have healthy drinking problems." In

DrownedInSound
06/09/2016
"Guitar music's become a fucking museum": DiS meets The Kills

In the early days of The Kills, it would've been difficult to envisage them going a full five years without putting a record out. There was always a palpable intensity to the relationship between Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart, enough to have even the most resolute of cynics think twice about whether or not everything's supposed to happen for a reason.

DrownedInSound
08/05/2016
"It was time to put the leather jacket on": DiS meets Wild Beasts

"I realised yesterday that we've become the band that we started out not to be. We're now the band that we've always kicked against. There's a beautiful synergy to that." What's the best frame of reference for Wild Beasts? Does one even exist?