Wednesday, 27 February 2008

6Shuffle - 27/02/08

In My Arms by Mylo from Destroy Rock and Roll
Okay, so we have a problem – I have never heard this track before and while I have the album in my library it was taken from a musical “society” where we share music from out respective collection, so I have not listened to the album or even the singles yet. This track samples Betty Davis Eyes as a good riff in the background, but in all action, nothing really happens, so I don’t know if it sounds better with the rest of the albums.

The Long and Winding Road by The Beatles from Let it Be… Naked
Recently I have been listening a lot to early The Beatles, from Please Please Me, With the Beatles, Beatles for Sale and Abbey Road, but have not started to listen to this later music yet. I love the early Beatles, they sound so fresh even today, and the albums, especially With the Beatles, are so funky and 60s sounding, with more melodies that the whole of the chart right now, they make for great early morning, and Monday morning music. This is a classic track, but the exact kind of Beatles track I hate – I know it so much more from everywhere else rather than my own discovery, it feels out of context. The production on this track is very scattered, and rather unsettling, and is taken from the re-released version of the album that strips away all the ridiculous production of the original.

Patty Lee by Les Savy Fav from Lets Stay Friends
I had heard this track well before I knew who Les Savy Fav were, I had even tried to learn it on the guitar. This, from their latest album, is very exciting, and has some excellent lyrics with exactly the kind of music I have been wanting to get into – critically acclaimed but still outside the mainstream. They are close to being a subject of a discovery post by either me or Colin – he included the track that follows this song in his first Monday Mix. I am still deciding on the band, but they seem like a good driving-song band. Along with a few other new recommendations, such like Neutral Milk Hotel, 65daysofstatic and Broken Records, these bands will make up fair portion of my listening homework of the next few weeks.

Airbag (WMA) by Radiohead from OK Computer
Radiohead have been subject to my ranting on my personal blog a few times, mostly about their more recent output – but this album, and indeed this track, even for an album that is 11 years old, still sound absolutely seminal, with songs that have still be to equalled, and a cohesive record that Radiohead have only last year came close to reaching again. It hints at the future of a band, that when you are reminded of the climate in music (Oasis, Spice Girls, Blur and B*Witched) you can’t believe the impact it had, who would venture in unknown and unwanted territory without even a sideways glance at the commercial successes they were achieving with their alternative rock, and gave 1990s rock its biggest question; Old Radiohead or New Radiohead?

Ways & Means by Snow Patrol from Final Straw
Another band who probably have more in a hand for the creation of this blog than I can really credit them with, this track is my favourite from their break through album. The slowly spoken and droning vocals have more in common with the band’s original ouput rather than their epic popness that the recnt album lends to. The dark song, with close to a lack of a tune, has a brooding melody hidden underneath the screaming guitars and crashing cymbals and a story is told using these in a way that stands taller than any other tracks on the album Run included.

68 State by Gorillaz from D-Sides
Taken from the outcuts album that followed Demon Days, this instrumental track is included in an album that not only is odd, but also has moments of sheer genius that shows just how much creativity is still bibbling underneath the surface in Damon Albarn’s repitore. I loved the first album, and love the second album also, and this, a sequel of sorts to G-Sides, the album that was released after the eponymous debut (G-Sides for Gorillaz, D-Sides for Demon Days). There are a few tracks on here that are sketches (like this one) and others that are stand out should-have-been-album-tracks, like We Are Happy Landfill, Bill Murray and People, a song that uses everything from Dare except the vocals, putting lyrics over it, giving a track that sounds more like 19-2000 than the original. Got Demon Days? Pick this up, it is a very interesting aside.

Bonus Seventh Track – It Takes Time to Build by Beastie Boys from To the Five Boroughs

Monday, 25 February 2008

Monday Mix - 25/02/2008

Every Monday it is my intention to share 5 tracks that I have been listening to over the past week and I feel that you should definitely listen to at least once.

Rocket From The Crypt - On A Rope
It's not often that I get excited when I discover a new band but finding out about Rocket From The Crypt through the Drowned In Sound forums has definitely created an exception to this rule for me. Someone had posted a message thanking members for recommending him/her At The Drive-In and I simply asked about any similar bands that people knew of later in the post. RFTC was mentioned along with a few others that I have still to investigate. This song comes from what I regard as their best album, Scream, Dracula, Scream! an album that I will review in the near future. A post-hardcore / punk song is what to expect from this song although it still has the catchyness of a regular pop song - definately worth a listen.

The Icarus Line - Slayer
The Icarus Line are a band I've been meaning to listen to for a while and I'm still undecided on what I think of them. This song comes from their 2007 album Black Lives At The Golden Coast, an album I will be listening to more this week. I do like this song, it's very different to the harsh opening of the album, this song is far more melodic and mellow which I think I prefer from this band.

Les Savy Fav - Fading Vibes
Okay, so I'm posting another Les Savy Fav song. I've been listening to them again this week and I'm delighted that Mark has now got into them too, which is part of the point of this blog - sharing music interests. This track is off their 2004 album, Inches, which is a bit hit and miss but with it consisting of 18 tracks you can't expect every song to be a masterpiece. This song is one of the better tracks, a catchy almost pop-y kind of song. I'd recommend giving Inches a listen after trying their 2007 album Let's Stay Friends.

Rocket From The Crypt - Carne Voodoo
This track is from their earlier album, Group Sounds. Just like On A Rope this song is very Punk-pop, with a catchy riff that you begin to expect from this band. Definately worth a listen after you have played Scream, Dracula, Scream! to death...

Drive Like Jehu - Human Interest

My final choice of the week, Drive Like Jehu are another band I have picked up on recently. Their album's are notoriously difficult to find, I managed to download Yank Crime after waiting for about 4 days for it. They're more heavy than my previous choices, but still very post-hardcore. I'm still undecided on the album, some songs are a bit hit or miss and some appear unnecessarily long. However, this song along with Golden Brown are definately worth a listen.

Review - British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?

British Sea Power have always promised lots, and the hype each time they get close to releasing some new material sometimes reaches fever pitch, and the last few times it has not really delivered, meeting the thin line between good indie and bad indie - think first album Coldplay and the latest album from Embrace. Can they survive an unfavourable situation created by them this time?

In a small way, yes, but not without a few mistakes here and there. The opener All in It is very epic, and sets the tone, for an album that depicts the universe, expansive and wonderful, but with the problem that it is viewed from earth. Instead of the full universe, with all the supernovae and the planets, we get a few blurry pictures, the promise of space and amazing new worlds, and a few comets every so often.

The following tracks have worrying tones that at any moment they might break into twee or stadium-epicness without needing to, see Atom for one that does fall into this. The over blown production allows it to seem epic with going into the stadium chorus staple, and the problem is that it does use the wall of sound and higher-pitched guitar and individual notes of U2, but wrapped in a warmingly indie package that transcends the rest of the song. Think Arcade Fire during a volcano eruption, and the alarming thought of world war and the album will feel like it should.

But, herein lies the problem with British Sea Power, and in essence, with Do You Likes Rock Music?; it promises much, gives a lot, but allows just never reaches where you want and expect it reach. The feel of a band exploring its reach, and the boundaries their musicianship allow them to go for. The album does lull slightly after the first listen but initially, if this was based on first listen only, the album would have got full marks. Listening to it again and again, and wondering where that feeling I had achieved the first time was, reminded me of the question that the title asks: Do You Like Rock Music? I do, and I like this – but, in actuality, and infinitely, is this even Rock Music, capitalised?

This is a journey, a great, warm, epic, stunning, sometimes universal, most of the time life assuring, and all the time fantastic journey, that whilst the first time you make it you will be impressed and surprised, the returning journeys will be less exciting, like returning to your favourite holiday destination from when you were a child as an adult. British Sea Power have always promised lots, and wile this does give, it just falls slightly short, and, cripplingly, over stretches what it does have.


Friday, 22 February 2008

Retrospective - Starsailor

The new acoustic movement was hailed as the next big thing, and the left overs are a bunch of bands with albums that at the time were monumental to the listening public but today seem to have been left languishing at the bottom of the late 1990s early 2000s pile, forgotten about when comparing genres.

A few survived, some spectacularly, some less so. Coldplay are the forever eminent, becoming the superstars they probably were never supposed to be had they released the albums outwith this rather amazing moment in UK rock.

One band that today can still make me smile while listening to their records is Starsailor, a missing member of the Acoustic movement. The debut is stunning, beautiful, and acoustic beauty with the warm vocals from James Walsh and the little guitars licks really light up an rather depressing album. Love Is Here has not only one of my favourite vocals, but one of my favourite songs as well, and probably will be for a long time to come. The massive choruses were tamed by the crowds, and the emotion heard in some of the tracks can be at times of weakness overwhelming.

The follow-up might be one of the best 2nd albums of all time, with the same intimate tracks, such as Shark Food and Fidelity, but adding the stadium fillers that their counter parts Coldplay mastered. The stadium fillers don’t sit so well, but the song Four to the Floor is a great tune, with a rhythm that will get you taping your feet, especially it being book ended in an album of intricate music and lightly played chords that seem to exaggerate the rockiness of a track that is stand-out on this record.

The reason for this misty eyed feeling is that while I know the first two records very well, the third, On The Outside, is less well known to me – in fact, I don’t think I had it properly. Later this year I hope Starsailor return with an album that they deserve, and the commercial success that they deserve too – but the scene has moved on, and other misfits from that period, like Turin Brakes and Elbow, are having to deal with that fact too. I wonder what the years have done to the voice and music of the band – I am awaiting their fourth album with mild anticipation.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Discovery - Thrice

Thrice are an experimental rock band founded in 1998 while the members were still in high school. This is clearly evident when you look at at their early work, it is full of immature songs that have a very harsh sound to them. Yet I find this harsh sound strangely compelling and I must say I find their earlier work far more enjoyable. I wouldn't call myself an expert on this band, they have 5 full length albums and I've listened to 4 of them rather infrequently. However, I can spot a good track quickly and sadly of the 4 albums I can find only 5 or 6 songs that I really enjoy. However, these tracks are really good and hence I feel that Thrice are a band definitely worth listening to.

Who are they like I hear you ask? Well, even though they aren't classed as 'emo' I still think of emo bands when I think of similarities and The Used immediately spring to mind mainly due to the high pitched singing they both feature. However if you enjoy a bit of post-hardcore music definitely give Thrice a listen.

Here are 3 tracks you should listen to - the first two are nothing short of brilliant...

Don't Tell and we Won't Ask
The Artist in the Ambulance
Ultra Blue

Six Shuffle – 20th February 2008

In this, a new feature, I will click shuffle on my rather large and unwieldy music collection, and discuss the first six tracks that come up, not able to skip any tracks. Discounting podcasts and other such non-music tracks, this should fling up some rather unusual tracks and “not listened to in ages” albums.

Into this wild yonder, we go.

Shatter by Feeder from The Singles
- This is not set up in anyway, but Feeder are the first track to come up in a totally random way. I have enjoyed Feeder for the last few years and have kind of fallen away with this type of music, so I am not really anticipating the new album which is due out this year. Sure, their older stuff holds a keen part of my heart that I have, and is a good stepping stone to leap from pop to rock, but recently they have gone all sickly emo. This track has the louder style of the previous album but it feels too over produced and relies too heavily on a simple melody and chords to get me too excited these days, but I do enjoy it and appreciate a good tune and catchy chorus, which this does have.

Lists, Plans by A Sunny Day in Glasgow from Scribble Mural Comic Journal
- How interesting, the shuffle throws up an album I have no been able to get into yet, but have planned on returning to it. Sunny Day in Glasgow are one of those bands that have appeared in recent years with tunes so different they are hard to categorise. Sunny Day are pretty much exactly like this, with little or now structure to their tracks, and hearing this out of the context of the album is a little surreal. It has an erie tune, slow meandering charm, the sort that these days I might be more inclined to listen to. The shuffle seems to be throwing up some rather interesting tracks. If I was choosing the tracks, I would have skipped this one.

Keep Talking by Pink Floyd from The Division Bell
- This is turning into a bit of a joke, you will not believe that this is random. This track, on of the best from The Division Bell, features samples from Stephen Hawking, of which I have just finished his startling book “A Brief Histroy of Time”. It details his theories on space and time, along with a fantastically written summary of where science is (well, was in 1987) and how and why he finds it so fascinating, and it really is exactly what he was trying to do – make a popular book that without the need for extensive knowledge in the subject to get a feel for the impact of the last few decades in space-time theory. The track has the usual Gilmour riffing and the production, but lacks what makes some other Pink Floyd tracks so special. It does have a good message and sounds great, but that, and Sorrow, from A Momentary Lapse of Reason, are the better of the more recent Floyd albums.

Autobahn by Anberlin from Blueprints for the Blackmarket
- A guilty pleasure they were introduced to me by Jonny, a staunch Christian, and tricked me into admitting that they were pretty good, before the big reveal – they are a Christian rock band. I shrugged – their heavy riffs and emo lyrics are the same as ever other band the same, the are also lyrically obtuse, and not explicitly singing about God and other such things that might have alerted me. I have fallen out of favour with them, though this track sounds good now, it has the produced sound that I am wary of now.

Tangled Up In Plaid by Queens of the Stone Age from Lullabies to Paralyze
- “Oh Yeah...” This is one of the tunes from QOTSA that I really enjoyed listening to and had totally forgotten about them – the album is still sometimes used on rotation, but if you had told me the title I would have no idea what the song was, even though I can quite easily drum along to it and sing every word. It creeps up on you, like almost every other song on that album. Burn the Witch is in my head now, even when I am listening to a different track from that album.

YYY/NNN by Soulwax from Any Minute Now
- This is one of the tracks from the album that I read a review of that suggested it was absolutely garbage, and taught me a good lesson – reviews are most of the time wrong. Any Minute Now is not LCD Soundsystem good, but it is still a good album, and this track is typical of the album, but to be honest, pretty rubbish. One comment I read about this album is the lack of “warm” sounds as it is mostly bass and drums mixed with some lyrics. I don’t know what that says for Metal, but it is a catchy tune, and probably a killer to dance to. Soulwax are more famous for the DJ incarnation 2many Djs, which I have to say I prefer. It is telling that when 2many Djs remixed Any Minute Now, as Nite Versions, the album was better for it.

Bonus Number 7 – I’ve Never Understood by The Reindeer Section

Note: I will endeavour at all times to give you MP3s to download, but when the player shuffles to a WMA, I will upload that.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Monday Mix - 18/02/2008

Every Monday it is my intention to share 5 tracks that I have been listening to over the past week and I feel that you should definitely listen to at least once.

Biffy Clyro - Joy.Discovery.Invention
Biffy Clyro are an excellent example of a typical Scottish rock band. They continually churn out catchy, upbeat tracks and their latest album "Puzzle" is no exception to this rule, I strongly suggest you give it a listen if you haven't already. Joy.Discovery.Invention is the 1st track of their debut album Blackened Sky, arguably the best of their 4 albums. This song comes across very dark, I'm not quite sure of it's meaning but it is definately an excellent 1st track on one of my most favourite albums of all time. If you like this track don't forget to give 57 and Justboy on the album a listen too.

Coldplay - Don't Panic
I've really been getting back into Coldplay lately, Parachutes has been getting a lot of air play in my car. Not much can be said about this song really apart from it being a very catchy pop song. I love the lyrics "bones sinking like stones, all that we've fought for, homes, places we've grown, all of us are done for" Very catchy.

Ben Folds - Fred Jones Part 2
I was excited to hear that Ben Fold's is playing at T in the Park this year, I'd really like to see him play live. However, thanks to fucking Ticketmaster I didn't get a ticket - I'm not impressed as my language suggests. Maybe I'll get to see him if I can buy an overpriced ticket off ebay, we'll see. Anyway, I've finished ranting now. Fred Jones Part 2 is a lovely song, very emotional and powered by really strong lyrics and vocals.

Ben Folds Five - Fair
Ben Folds Five is Ben Fold's playing with his group. Ben Folds Five only has three members but since "Ben Folds Three" doesn't have quite the same ring to it, he went with Ben Folds Five. This song is rather quirky, I love the piano work throughout the track, very catchy. You'll never get the chicken noises out your head after listening to the have been warned.

Ash - Polaris
Ash's main singer wrote the main piano part for Polaris while staying in Bono's holiday home in the South of France. It's the main piano part that really drives the song forward, if you like Ash you'll really enjoy this song.

Review - Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Tra-La-La Band - 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons

How do you review an album that is so unusual it sounds like nothing you have heard or experienced in your life? I have to admit at this point that whilst I have already mentioned that I have listened to Godspeed You! Black Emperor plus loads of thier contemporaries, I have not yet delved into the rather wild and intricate list of bands that were born out of the disappearance of Godspeed from the overall landscape. Their impact has been impressive, at least on me, but in the genre all round. So here, I picked up the lead over an album that when I looked online was not out yet - so sourcing a copy of it might have been a little dodgy.

So, this "band" are made up of Efrim Menuck plus six others (including Thierry Amar, Sophie Trudeau and Jessica Moss, the former two being members of Gospeed), is my first taste of Post-Godspeed music from them. This album starts out obtuse from the first play. It is almost like a shout out, a protest, at the MP3 generation, the album starts with a longish intro, but each part of the intro is split over 12 tracks, each 7 seconds long. It gives a mysticl and worrying start to a record that I was still feeling apprehensive towards - would it ruin my enthusiasm for a genre that literaly is about doing things differently?

Cataclysm-avoiding, this record is unusual, amazing, and at times absolutley startling. It takes your breath away at points, but it is one of the those records that is so different from anything else I listen to it might be hard for me to decribe it further without being pretentious and sounding like I have lost the vocabulary to write pieces about music.

The obtuse intro removes us from the comfort zone of a record we expect, and the album slowly places back into that comfort induced zone, but while laying us, tucking us back into bed, it whispers in our ear "Things will never be the same again" and you fall asleep, listening to same music, the chords, the structures, and the lyrics that mean nothing, but your dreams will be filled with bleak dark ladscapes and worrysome men, talking about the problems and the world ending. But in this nightmare that you will have there is hope. Hope that one day the world will leave this dark place, and in this hope, this album lies.

Morbid but uplifting, 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons is a triumph, though what kind of triumph, I might still be working out.


UPDATE: This, one of three pieces from the album starts slowly, before building to the climax that you can expect from an Arcade Fire track - it feels what Araced Fire would feel like if the world ended.
1'000'000 Died to Make This Sound

Friday, 15 February 2008

Retrospective - Weezer - The Blue Album

Weezer have been around for a long time. Since I was 7 actually, which is quite a scary thought. I've enjoyed their catchy beats and memorable lyrics since they released the album commonly dubbed "The Green Album" a number of years ago and I've been hooked ever since. As I do with lots of bands, I browsed through their back catalogue after listening to the Green album and was delighted with what I found. With "The Blue Album" every song flows prefectly into the next, from the catchy "My Name is Jonas" into the nice but forgettable "No One Else". The album also includes what could be regarded as one of their biggest hits "Buddy Holly", a powerful pop/rock anthem.

There's something about Weezer that makes it very hard not to like this album. It is accessible as a pop record yet has the solid guitar parts that make it acceptable to be a rock record too. I strongly suggest you try it out if you enjoy some of their later hits such as Dope Nose, Take Control and Island In The Sun. A few songs for you to sample:

Buddy Holly
Say It Ain't So
Surf Wax America

Monday, 11 February 2008

Review/Discovery/Blank Canvas - Post-Rock

Being offshore this coming few days my outpourings upon music have slightly limited as I have not had a chance to review anything new and to be honest, everything I do have is quite old and impossible to review without sounding a little stupid or out of date before becoming cool again – like liking Thomas the Tank Engine now, but not allowing it to be liked while I was 14-18.

So, what shall I review? Well, instead of forcing a post to fit into the restrictions that we have placed on this blog, I have recently become more aware of a band that somehow slipped passed me totally, and in action, a full genre that I am slowly becoming to love.

Post-rock. I suppose I should explain the genre in its boldest terms, considering that most of its alumni are dead against the genre as it is. Post-rock is basically a branch of rock music, that seeks to be different. In the same way that post hardcore is different from rock, post-rock is a definite difference. The genre dictates almost no real conformity, but the only thing that is guaranteed is that the songs are normally not based or regular Verse-Bridge-Chorus-Verse style that you can expect from regular pop-rock, and in most cases, almost every other type of popular music. Occasionally, you will find a post-rock band that use lyrics, but the ones that I have been listening to are mostly instrumentals, with voice samples. Repetition of key melodies, pieces of music and themes, such as Apocalypse, death, and loneliness seem to crop up a lot.

But on my other blog I have already mentioned Godspeed You! Black Emperor, who are the superstars of the genre, and recently I have started to listen almost exclusively to Mogwai, the Scottish equivalent. But in the same vein, the classical style of Godspeed – the structure of movements and continuous pieces of music linked by themes – is not adhered to by Mogwai. Their songs and pieces are much shorter, with less static or samples, clocking at around 4 to 5 minutes. This means that they are easier to digest as an album, but again, repetitive plays seem to unravel the music, in a web of entangled words that are never said through ever note and cymbal splayed.

The funny thing is, these are the tips of the iceberg. 65daysofstatic, Slint and others are further into the depths of Post-rock and are deeper into the dark underworlds of music so obtuse that I might be the only one I know that likes it, other thinking it is very laborious, with long and drawn out boring sections. These parts are the bits that make me smile, happy to like a genre that by definition is anything that they can’t fit into other genres.

Also, down that line is the discovery of true classical music, and with my other mutual blogger, a trip that way might be successful. I have already started to enjoy the Kronos Quartet.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Blank Canvas - Staying Power

"It’s always better on Holiday". I worry about the bands who have flooded our charts with un rivalled venom and totally horrendous harmonies and melodies. I worry for their future not as bands but as people. I worry for the pretenders to the crown, and I worry for when the big boys come back and start to play again. I worry for the likes of The Hoosiers, The Enemy and The Wombats, not because I care, but I can imagine how badly they will fall.

You see, these days bands have very little staying power for some reason, and also have a very slack work ethic. The Beatles released albums at least once a year in their heyday and to be honest almost all of them are total classics and seriously have titles and tracks that could be seen as some of the best music of any generation. These days it is very hard to get any band to make an album every two years. A good example of this is Coldplay, who seem to protract three years between albums. This is probably based on the fact the Mr Martin and Co. are busy touring the world, seeing millions of fans and playing hundreds of gigs and sure, I can see why that limit the time taken in the studio. But, as an amateur musician, I love to play and love the idea of playing in a band – and cannot see why I would ever stop writing, play, singing, recording at any point during success.

There are a few bands that seem to buck this trend, and in time will probably show themselves to have true staying power. Two bands such like this are my derided Arctic Monkeys, who whilst I commend them for being the Oasis of now, they are no where near are far reaching or as influential as Oasis, nor will they ever be. They just don’t have the zeitgeist that Oasis had. One band who did is Franz Ferdinand.

Released in 2005 their first record is a startling piece of all most perfect pop mixed with a great knack for a great tune and some brilliant drumming. It is music you can dance to and music that I can imagine listening to for years to come. But do they have staying power?

The quick release of the follow up album should probably not come as a surprise – if you had been playing the same 10 or 12 tracks for a year before the big break you would surely have some more music up your sleeve – and this is probably also why Arctic Monkeys also had a barrel of new riffs and lyrics hiding in their locker so soon after their album. I prefer this approach – not quantity over quality, but a measured, enthusiastic approach.

The problem I have with these new breed of bands is that they are identikit. They are the same band, just with different names and PR companies. I truly doubt that they will last longer than a few years in the limelight, and then have to play benefit gigs for a few years. It is worrying, as they probably have delusions of grandeur and think they are pretty good.

A recent band that caught my eye was Goodbooks – a band with an eye for a melody and for a good chorus, but they have not picked up in the way I expected. Also, Delays from a few years ago are excellent, but missed the boat in terms of fame, and I would much prefer it that way – it means they have the drive to continue to work, without the complacency that some bands who are “THE NEXT BEST THING” from the NME.

What I am trying to say is that sure, enjoy the pop, but think how many actual good and unusual bands that miss out when the world pays attention to three bands that are all the same. Why do they do this? It is quick consumption, over quickly, and if a band was as unique as they should be will last three to four times longer, because the exposure their music would have got would have kept the momentum going. The over exposure and eventual dismissal of the sudden explosion of music that all sounds the same mimics the full lifetime of a band, but plays out within a few months.

Hence, why Franz Ferdinand, whose contemporaries, have stayed clear of being mainstream (The Rapture), or why Muse have survived (who sounds like them now?), or even why Girls Aloud have survived (who is as good looking or has catchier tracks than them?) - their uniqueness sets themselves apart from all pretenders.

Also, see why Coldplay, Radiohead and Oasis have stayed at the top of the world – they have paced them selves as such to miss the extensive numbers of “me-toos” like Keane and The Feeling, to allow them time to burn up then burn out before returning with another solid album.

I will say good luck to them, these young bands – their own flaw is to be the same as others. "That's why we only work when we need the money."

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Discovery - Sons & Daughters

You should know... Sons & Daughters.

Well, they are from Glasgow, so anyone who is Glaswegian should automatically have an unrivalled affinity with them, as that is the case with most bands from the fair city. But, there is more than that. Infelcted with folk (no, keep reading!) they have crafted two impressive albums that I have found to be very dance-able and have genunely interesting music.

What makes them different?
They have a sound that is obviously Scottish - and dirty too. The songs feel of dirty, wind, rain, peat and whisky, and the coal smell of a fire. Inside the warm and perilous chords you can hear the roars of clansmen running through hills, chasing after the English. You feel scottish, and most importantly, you will be tapping your feet too.

How did you find them?
I was introduced to them in 2006 by mr MTV2, which is rare now. I bought the first album and was s impressed I actually wanted to see them live. Come Idlewild at the Barras a few times ago and they were supporting. Whilst my cronies where getting drunk (not to say I wasn't) I sneaked a little listen, to find most of the crowd very unimpressed. Idlewild have this folky types interested, but also attract indie lovers and they would have been slightly put off by the fierceness of the music. I feel though, that with the new album, they have pulled of what Idlewild seem to be missing - a Scottish indie record, that feels like Scotland should.

Okay, Ill try them.
Try these two from the new album, Gilt Complex and Rebel With the Ghost.

Final Word?
I don't know if these guys are going to be everyones cup of tea, but I suppose that is the charm...

Monday, 4 February 2008

Monday Mix - 04/02/2008

Every Monday it is my intention to share 5 tracks that I have been listening to over the past week or I feel that you should definitely listen to at least once. My thanks goes to Alex over at Wolf Lullaby for the idea, I hope you don't mind me using it. Without further ado, I bring you my mix of 5 tracks, give them a listen, you might be surprised at what you find...

Incubus - Make Yourself
I could talk for hours about how much I Enjoy Incubus. (A select few may see the pun there) This song is from the album of the same name and is arguably one of their best tracks. One of their more mellow songs, it is powered by a strong riff and some excellent lyrics not to mention Brandon Boyd's superb vocal talents. "If I hadn't made me, I Would've been made somehow.. If I hadn't assembled myself, Id've fallen apart by now."

Pezz - Fairytale
Pezz were forced to change their name for legal reasons a number of years ago, many of you will be familar with their current name - Billy Talent. If you like the energy of Billy Talent you should definitely try Pezz. It's notoriously difficult to get hold of their albums, but if you ask nicely I may share...

Omar Rodriguez Lopez - Rapid Fire Tollbooth
This song first appeared on Omar's solo album, Se Dice Bisonte, No Bufalo before he and Cedric Bixler-Zavala adopted it for the new Mars Volta album. They changed the song name and increased the tempo to create what is now called Goliath. This song is far more mellow but just as enjoyable. If you don't like The Mars Volta then give it a listen too, it doesn't sound anything like them par Cedric's singing.

Les Savy Fav - The Equestrian
Les Savy Fav are a band I've been listening to a lot recently and I've not quite decided what I think of them yet. They produce what could be best described as Punk, and this song is no exception to the rule. Tim Harrington's vocals in this track remind me of Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam - which is never a bad thing. This song sounds rather angry but has quite a cheery, catchy chorus. I'll do a feature on them once I'm more familar with their most recent album, Let's Stay Friends (2007). Watch this space...

Hundred Reasons - Kill Your Own
Hundred Reasons are a great band if you enjoy some heavy prog rock and this song off their 3rd album is no exception. A great band to see live, go and see them if you ever get the chance, they put on a great show. (Apologies for the m4a format - blame iTunes)

Next week will be a more mellow Monday Mix, I promise ;-)

Review - The Mars Volta / The Bedlam in Goliath / 2008

Cast your mind back to 2003 – remember any albums that stood out that year? If you are into the same types of bands I am, and indeed, Colin is, you might be thinking of one release in particular; Deloused in the Comatorium, the debut LP from The Mars Volta. Its exploded in a way that only keen progressive rock fans could understand, and for the rest, bemusement at the unusual song structures, the rather crazy and seemingly plucked from a dictionary lyrics. But underneath this bubbling mental scape of sound, was melody, music, and technically gifted musicaians enjoying a chance to show off, creating some the best stand out tracks in a long time.

Long intro paragraph, but for the last two Mars Volta albums, they have used that too using sound and noise to create walls of static, that to be honest, make me slightly annoyed to listen to Frances the Mute (2005) or Amputechture (2006) as this slightly indulgent use of sound to extend tracks beyond 6 minutes breaks up a flow of an album rather quickly. Goliath has no introduction. It blows away the cobwebs with a simple “Have you seen the living?...” shouted in alien voice so recognisable, and a drumsguitarbass implosion.

So, Bedlam in Goliath, is a return to form, if you feel they ever lost their form. They have no over arcing catastrophe, but the story plays out like a long winded fairytale, or an Indiana Jones film. The static is gone, and in it’s place is a groove so delicate in some, but so crashing in Cavalettas, that you suddenly feel like there is different songs here. Metatron is shocking as it uses melody, something they had seemingly forgotten about when it came to Amputechture, and by accident or design, no track is longer tan the prescribed 10 minutes, though Goliath and Cavalettas do come close to breaking the boundary.

This leaves us with an album of stand out tracks – Agadez sounds at times like At the Drive-in and others, like the short and sweet Wax Simulcra and Tourniquet Man are welcome respites in the rather ragged landscape given by frantic drumming and vocals distorted beyond comprehension.

So, I am enjoying it. It is very solid, cohesive, and feels like an album of ideas, rather than one idea stretched over 12 tracks, and 78minutes. It is a step back into the Comatorium days and that could be seen as a step back into an identity that they had banished, but the natural progression of a band cannot be faulted, especially the natural progression of a progressive rock band.


Try Metatron and Cavalettas.