29 March 2009

>>>The Killers>>>Four Winds>>>
This is possibly the most unexpected cover of the year (unless The Saturdays decide to ruin "Master Of Puppets" next). The rather liberal Bright Eyes being covered by closet-Republican Brandon Flowers. Never saw it coming, but somehow it works. It's basically "Human" but obviously with the lyrics changed. The synths are set to classic New Order setting (I presuming all keyboards have that built in) as with most Killers tracks and it seems set to be a club hit, which is suprising considering it's a song about society advancing and eventually destroying itself. And all this on a b-side! It's worth buying the single for just to get this.

28 March 2009


FROM: Stockton-On-Tees
GENRE: Alt-rock/Noisy racket
SOUNDS LIKE: All the best North-East bands but angry as fuck and turned up to 11. But with quite a catchy pop edge.
BEST TRACKS: "She Didn't Know", "Sound Of The Radio", " Like A Million Dollars", "The Kids Are Not Alright" (debut single, out on 27th April)
SIMILAR TO: The Futureheads, Joy Division, Bloc Party, Manic Street Preachers
ALSO CHECK OUT: Singer Kingsley's frequently chucklesome blog.

25 March 2009

TRACKS>>>25.03.09>>>The Big Pink, Asher Roth, The Enemy, Hot Knives

The Big Pink - Velvet
Two piece The Big Pink won the Phillip Hall Radar Award at this year's NME Awards, a title that is an indicator to the next 12 months' big indie hope and has previously been given to the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs, Glasvegas (all great), The Long Blondes (bit meh) and The Twang (what were they smoking?). Out of those acts, TBP are most closely linked to Glasvegas, not just for their shared affection for leather jackets and looking moody. Both bands share epic walls of sound and more than a whiff of melancholia in their music, but whereas Glasvegas use shimmering guitar effects, TBP opt for heavy electronic backing and an equal amount of distortion on "Velvet". The song itself is droney and mournful enough to pull in fans of the shoegaze sound, but has a prominent pop sensibility, as well as hooks, to make it stand out. Definitely worthy of the award.
[>>>The Big Pink MySpace]

Asher Roth - I Love College
Yeah, dismiss him as a second-rate Eminem wannabe. He may be white as they come with blonde hair and a voice as nasal as they come but Asher Roth "refuses adamantly to embrace rap's fixation with violence, drugs and material possessions"...well according to the man himself anyways. "I Love College" may not be completely original in sentiment or sampling (using a remix of Weezer's "Say It Ain't So") but if it isn't the best party track to come out in years, then I'm Dr Dre. Laidback but demanding of your attention, Roth provides the perfect guide to college in the US (I'm guessing so at least) and who can argue with a chorus of "I love college/I love drinking/I love women"?
[>>>Asher Roth MySpace]

The Enemy - No Time For Tears
The Hobbits return! That may be a tad unfair, as the bassist is probably around the same height as me. It's the other two letting him down, especially Tom Clarke, a prime example of "little man, big guitar" syndrome. He's just got to tell it how it is, since noone else is doing it apparently. The Enemy's second album is entitled "Music For The People" which is a grand, sweeping statement if I ever heard one. On the basis of its lead single "No Time For Tears", it would appear the lads from Cov are aiming to go even bigger before. A dash of sombre piano, thunderous drums, a backing choir and Led Zep-esque guitars all point towards sky high ambitions. Whether they achieve this is another matter. The song is catchy, and an improvement on most of their debut, but despite having made enough money to go buy great big houses in Cheshire, you'd think they'd stop banging on about wanting to "get out the city". Evidently not.
[>>>The Enemy MySpace]

Hot Knives - Out Of Touch
Nope, not a Bright Eyes-covering supergroup made up of members of The Hot Melts and Young Knives. Hot Knives have only been around for a matter of months, but they're still garnering attention from all over the place. The Manc band have received radio play on BBC Manchester and KCRW (pretty much the premier indie station in America, for those not in the know), they've had offers to support The Whitest Boy Alive and Broken Records and a lot of interest from the blogosphere and various management companies. In their own words they make "pop music to soundtrack the apocalypse", which is pretty damn accurate. At first "Out Of Touch" seems like a mish-mash of ideas that don't appear to fit, but as it grows every part slots into place to create an ambitious, dark pop song that builds to a huge sounding finale, complete with horns. Extremely impressive, for a band that has only publicly been in existence for a month, along with their other two tracks "Cold Morning" and "Solstice"
[>>>Hot Knives MySpace]
[>>>Zip Folder of all 3 Hot Knives tracks]

24 March 2009

LOVING ITManic Street Preachers - Journal For Plague Lovers
Released 18th May.
The best news of the week/month/virtually the entire year.
  1. Peeled Apples
  2. Jackie Collins Existential Question Time
  3. Me and Stephen Hawking
  4. This Joke Sport Severed
  5. Journal For Plague Lovers
  6. She Bathed Herself In A Bath Of Bleach
  7. Facing Page: Top Left
  8. Marlon J.D.
  9. Doors Closing Slowly
  10. All Is Vanity
  11. Pretension/Repulsion
  12. Virginia State Epileptic Colony
  13. William’s Last Words
Okay so the song titles are mostly awful, but most early signs (or tweets and blogs from people who have heard it) point towards an amazing piece work. If only they'd have had a tour date up here.

17 March 2009

Oooh look! It's a new feature/article type thing. It's basically me going on about whatever artist/band has been taking over my brain recently. Along with the "Obsession of the week" bit on the sidebar. Predominantly new bands, since if I did a SOTD on The Beatles, it would be rather pointless. Anyways....

FROM: Blackpool
GENRE: Electro-pop
SOUNDS LIKE: What Madonna's been striving to get with her last few re-inventions; massive slabs of electo disco heaven
BEST TRACKS: "Stuck On Repeat" (the normal version and the Fake Blood remix), "New In Town", "Meddle"
SIMILAR TO: Lykke Li, La Roux, Kylie
ALSO CHECK OUT: Her cover of Hot Chip's "Ready For The Floor", her MySpace, and her blog
>>>The Horrors>>>"Sea Within A Sea">>>

I used to hate The Horrors. Serious hate. The bone-tight jeans, the Shoreditch haircuts, just the general shit-ness surrounding them. They were awful live too. Why Arctic Monkeys picked them as a support, I'll never know. But it appears the 20-odd months since their last release appaears to have done The Horrors the world of good.

Gone are the hair-sprayed back-combed birds nest hairdos. Done away with are the silly "goffick" stage names. The Sonics ripoff guitar sound have been abolished and Faris Badwan's guttral howl has been replaced with a sombre, mournful croon. In short, it's a world away from anything on "Strange House". There were some influences on the debut that pointed in this direction, but it's tottally unexpected that they'd ever produce this. An 8 minute comeback single, that effectively chucks the sound of Echo & The Bunnymen, Neu, Bauhaus and so many more post punk bands into a melting pot and comes out with something brilliant.

"Sea Within A Sea" sounds almost ethereal in places, verging on Joy Division territory. In fact, Badwan's vocals are errily similar to Ian Curtis in places. The shoegaze feel to the song makes it all the more enchanting, especially at the four minute mark, whilst avoiding being utterly downbeat and depressing. All of the instruments compliment each other and make the song a likely target for a remix or two, If the rest of sophomore album "Primary Colours" follows this route (and accroding to NME.com, it most likely will) then The Horrors will have gained at least one more fan.

Check out the video at www.thehorrors.co.uk (watch out though, it is rather flashy)


16 March 2009

Apologies for the month without anything being posted. General merriment (eighteenth birthday) and toil (coursework) stopped me from being energised enough to write anything. In that time, I've built up a backlog of stuff that I shall pile upon you all in one big post. A few are just initial thoughts at first. I'll update some to full reviews if needs be. Enjoy.

S SATAN (released 20th April 2009)
I wonder who would win that duel. Judging by Eddie Argos' mob's third effort, Beelzebub is a dead cert. The Brut's debut "Bang Bang Rock N Roll" was full to the brim with simple, yet ingenious punk rock witticisms. Follow up "It's A Bit Complicated" was dull as dishwater to be frank. Whilst there are a fair few lol-worthy toe tappers here, it would appear the spark has gone from a once brilliant band.
ESSENTIAL TRACKS: "Alcoholics Unanimous" "DC Comics And Chocolate Milkshake" "Summer Job"
FOR FANS OF: The Wombats, The Rakes, Young Knives

BLOOD BANK (released 20th January 2009)
Fresh from being darling of the uber-indie gang with last year's debut "For Emma, Forever Ago", Justin Vernon returns with this four-track EP. It's more of the same really; the title track is a typical example of Vernon's sound over his last few albums but is up with his best, as are "Beach Baby" and "Babys". Final tracks "Woods" is probably the most experimental track of any beardy-folksy type to sprout up in the last few years. An a cappella tracks using a Kanye-esque auto tuner (betcha never thought you'd see Bon Iver and Kanye West in the same review), once it gets going it's a thing of eerie beauty.
FOR FANS OF: Fionn Regan, Fleet Foxes, Ray LaMontagne

A NEED A BIGGER BOAT (released 6th January 2009)
Or just more talent. It may be snidey to dismiss this album in the first sentence, but it's really that poor, considering who is involved. Jamie T, David Byrne, Dizzee, Iggy, Martha Wainwright feature, all being orchestrated by that well known musical genius Norman Cook aka Fatboy Silm. Apparently, according to interviews with Cook, the album is a "lost classic" from the 70s and the tapes have just been found. I think I'll point out that Cook was admitted to rehab for alcohol addiction just after this album was released. Coincidence? All this album can represent is an immeasurable waste of talent and creativity. Apart from "Toe Jam" featuring Dizzee Rascal and David Byrne, which is quite the choon.
ESSENTIAL TRACKS: "Toe Jam (featuring David Byrne and Dizzee Rascal)"
FOR FANS OF: Fatboy Slim

(released 9th February 2009)

Slightly over-presumptuous, if I'm being honest. As with The BPA up there, this appears to be another one track album. The title track is a cute folky ballad, with a slightly odd ending and a blatant steal from "Hallelujah", but apart from that there's nothing else here to sink your teeth into. Just samey sub-Laura Marling folk-pop. Yawn.
FOR FANS OF: Laura Marling, Noah & The Whale, Lightspeed Champion

(released 6th April 2009)
Certainly does what it says on the tin. The whole album feels like one big warm shoegaze-y hug. A hug that makes me want to abandon any sense of professionalism I have by using smileys and emoticons to describe it. C'mon, it even has felt in the artwork! It's twee and I love it. "Inside Your Guitar" walks the line between droney yet heartfelt melancholia and unbridled, joyous dream pop, mixing bits of both with aplomb. "Work Day" is a prime example of this, and is as great a single as any major label corporate indie whores will release this year. Nothing against major label indie, it just that IHB are a rather underground indie band, so hating the mainstream feels appropriate. Should you happen across this album anywhere, from record shops to HMV to the interwebz, grab it immediately and immerse yourself in utter happiness. In album form.
ESSENTIAL TRACKS: "Q", "Work Day", "Forgotten Song", "Remember", "Now & Again"
FOR FANS OF: The Love Language, The Little
Ones, Pete & The Pirates

ON CALLED MOANING (released 17th February 2009)
As previously seen being raved about by me on here a few months back. The Welsh trio have the perfect dreamy pop melodies at their disposal, only buried under walls of mountainous feedback, massive riffage, thunderous drums and (just to cram one more cliche in) widescreen vision. There's something slightly reminiscent about Holy Bible-era Manic Street Preachers about the ten songs here, but I can't quite place my finger on it. A more obvious way to describe them would be Pixes mixed with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, if only for Ritzy's punkish Karen O-aping vocals. Most tracks are surprisingly danceable too, with impressive fuzzy bass work being at the core of the album. Hyped festival appearances await, surely
ESSENTIAL TRACKS: "The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade", "Cradle", "Austere"
FOR FANS OF: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Pixies, Red
Light Company

(released 24th February 2009)
Somalian rappers are not a regular feature of anything really. But my guess is K'naan wants to change that. Not strictly from Somalia as he's lived in the US and Canada for 18 years, but still, the influences of his home country shine through. Looking like Crabman from My Name Is Earl and roping in an all-star cast of Mos Def, Adam Levine, Damian Marley and Kirk freakin' Hammett(!) "Troubadour" is a fun, summery hip-hop album (well apart from "If Rap Gets Jealous" which Hammett plays on, which sounds a bit like a good rap-rock band (I seriously can't think of any)). Not exactly revolutionary or life changing, but highly enjoyable
ESSENTIAL TRACKS: "If Rap Gets Jealous", "Wavin' Flag", "America"
FOR FANS OF: Common, Wyclef Jean, Kid Cudi

(released 17th February)
If I'm being honest, then this is basically The BPA's album, all over again. Even down to having David Byrne feature. But it's actually much, much better. "The Spirit Of Apollo" is in the same vein as "Troubadour"; cheerful, summer BBQ hip hop, although with a slightly more famous cast list (David Byrne, Chuck D, RZA, Karen O, John Frusciante, Santigold, Lykke Li, Kanye West, George Clinton, Tom Waits, Lovefoxxx, The Cool Kids, M.I.A and more) being used by DJ Squeak E. Clean and DJ Zegon . The songs range from amazing tunes ("There's A Party", "Gifted") to half baked ideas that plod along with no direction ("The Mayor", "O Pata"). Once again, it's not going to change your life, but it's still worth parting with your hard-earned cash if only for a Kanye/Santigold/Lykke Li collaboration
ESSENTIAL TRACKS: "There's A Party", "Gifted", "Whachadoin?", "Money", "N.A.S.A Music"
FOR FANS OF: Kanye West, M.I.A

Fook me. I know most people wouldn't be able to sit through one track that lasted 22 minutes, let alone an Oasis track that went on for that amount of time. But this is mind blowing. Okay, to begin with it is a rip-off of "Tomorrow Never Knows" by, you guessed it, The Beatles; all sitars, eastern flavouring and slightly complicated drumbeats. But as it evolves it becomes an epic piece of music, more ambitious than Muse, Radiohead, Blur and Klaxons put together. Yes, it may get a bit tedious to listen to the same lyrics repeated for 22 minutes albeit by Noel, Alisha Sufit (the singer of Magic Carpet...nope, I dunno either) and a creepy young girl. But the swirling paranoia and sudden bursts of orchestral arrangements just keep building on an already brilliant track. This may sound like hyperbole, but it really is an astonishing remix. According to Gallagher Sr. himself "It changed the way I think about music....life has never been the same since" Now if that isn't reason enough to download it from iTunes, then I don't know what is.
FOR FANS OF: Oasis, The Beatles...obviously

I'm not sure how many of you remember P,B&J. You'd know "Young Folks" a mile off if you heard it, with it's irresistible whistling hook. Well this latest single is a world away but just as brilliant. Once again the trio have dreamt up a great hook, albeit quite the opposite of "Young Folks". The electronically distorted voices slowly worm their way into your head, but in a good way, backed up by a funky bass to make the indie kids dance. Oh, and the video is a work of genius. Look out for it on MTV2 or NMEtv, seeing as YouTube and Myspace Music Videos are being utter idiots.

(released 16th March 2009)
Ahh, old crackhead Pete. The tabloids' favourite non-political-or-sporting whipping boy has brought out his long-threatened solo album....and it's not bad. Not bad at all. In fact it's better than all of the ex-Libertines efforts after the breakup. "Grace/Wastelands" shifts from finger-picking Dylan-esque opener "Arcady" to the dubby "Last Of The English Roses" (which has grown on me immensely and works much better in the context of an album), The lyrics may not be the amazing poetry that Pete... sorry, Peter is known for amongst his fanboys (there's even a line stolen from Carl Barat on "A Little Death Around The Eyes") but with the help of Graham Coxon and fellow Babyshambler Drew McConnell, the album is a triumph. All he has to do now is stay of the bad stuff, turn up for shows and be a rock star. Simple.
ESSENTIAL TRACKS: "Last Of The English Roses", "Salome", "I Am The Rain", "Palace Of Bone"
FOR FANS OF: The more acoustic moments of The Libertines and The Courteeners

Finally finished....for now.