Saturday, 13 February 2010

New Music...

This week I rediscovered radio! I've become way to reliant on the internet and those music forums I'm addicted to but never post on. Anyway heres some bands who caught my attention:

Broken Bells

Formed by James Mercer of The Shins and music producer, Danger Mouse, who has worked with the likes of Jay-Z and Gorillaz. The High Road is indie ambience with electronic squiggles and drum beats verging on R'n'B. It combines genres so successfully and not only that but the song is beautiful, the best I've heard so far this year. Vaporize is Shins-esque but with more of a kick, which is a good thing.

Two Door Cinema Club

This 3-piece from Northern Ireland are on this HMV Next Big Thing along with Marina and the Diamonds who offended my ears last week. Anyway this band are ok they sound a lot like Death Cab for Cutie and Phoenix. Do You Want It All? is quite a catchy tune but I can't see them being massive cos they're not original enough.

Holly Miranda

Tennessee's Holly Miranda has an ambient, folk sound and a beautiful subtle tone to her voice. The music has elements of Air and Radiohead. Waves is just a gorgeous song which you can lose yourself in whereas No One Just Is shows a darker side to her sound with dramatic violins and longing vocals.

Music Vs Silence

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Yeasayer - Oddblood

After Yeasayer's euphoric contribution to the Dark Was The Night compilation, Tightrope, great things were to be expected from their new album. Tightrope struck me as one of the best tracks of last year with its stunning melodies, strong drumbeat and anthemic chorus.

Oddblood starts off promisingly with The Children, a dark and moody electronic number. Clearly the most modern sounding track on the album with elements of Bloc Party and Battles. Ambling Alp, the first single to be taken from the album is quite a good pop song but doesn't do much for me. It is cheesy 80's pop with annoying lyrics about keeping your head up and retaining your pride in difficult situations. Maybe I'm just miserable but a song can be too happy and uplifting, I just find it patronising.

ONE sounds like it could have been recorded by Culture Club in the 80's. As a song it is very mainstream, with a bit of remixing it could be played in clubs, as could Love Me Girl, Oddblood's best track, especially the intro which is quite trancey but in a good way. Rome is quite catchy and has elements of The Cure's Lovecats but like Ambling Alp doesn't inspire me to want to hear it again.

It is just a matter of taste as I wouldn't say this is a bad album on song-writing or production terms. Its just after their first album, All Hours Cymbals, I was expecting something along similar lines, with more of an ambient, folky feel. On the plus side, the last track Grizelda is reminiscent of the first album. I don't mind Yeasayer changing their sound as in some cases, with the opening track and album highlight - Love Me Girl, it works. Heres hoping that with future albums they find a happy medium between their old and new style but being as experimental as Yeasayer are, they'll probably do something completely different.


Saturday, 6 February 2010

New Music...

Just a quick overview of some of the new bands I've been listening to this week...

Local Natives

Not letting the constant Spotify ads put me off I decided to give them a listen. Hailing from L.A, their sunny indie sound with hints of calypso means they could be a festival hit. Airplanes is the stand out track, an instantly memorable pop song. If you like Vampire Weekend check them out. The album, Gorilla Manor is out now.

Goldheart Assembly

London-based Goldheart Assembly have a retro sound to them, reminiscent of The Beatles. The vocal harmonies of Hope Hung High make the song almost timeless. So Long St. Christopher is a classic sounding ballad with a psychedelic twist. Worth a listen if you like The Beatles and/or The Coral.

Surfer Blood

I wasn't keen on this band from Florida when I first heard them as I was a bit unsure of the over the top distorted 80's sound. Swim (to reach the end) is power pop at its catchiest but could be seen as cheesy. Twin Peaks is quite a fun, summery listen whilst Floating Vibes shows a more serious side to the band.

The Strange Boys

This Texas band do back to basics, 60's rock 'n' roll with the style and swagger of The Stones and The Strokes. Be Brave is laid back and cool, it reminds me a lot of the rock standard, Louie Louie. Check out this band if you like The Strokes.

Marina and the Diamonds

Dubbed 'Next Big Thing' by HMV and performing on Johnathan Ross, there is a lot of hype surrounding this band. This year's Florence and the Machine? Maybe. Obsessions is a bit like Kate Nash's Foundations sung in an even more annoying, growly voice. Hollywood has a very nice chorus and will probably be a big hit. This is a lot more easy to stomach than the likes of Katy Perry.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Vampire Weekend: Contra

One of the most hyped bands of 2008, the self titled debut spawned festival anthems, Mansard Roof and A-Punk, their African tinged sound and educated lyrics separating them from indie contemporaries. New York's Vampire Weekend return with that difficult second album. But where many bands fail to emulate the success of the first time round, Vampire Weekend pick up from where they left off quite effectively.

Contra kicks off with the infectious Horchata which is a lot like their earlier material with African drum beats and catchy melodies. They keep the African sounds throughout most of the album, although swapping the heavy percussion for violins and intricate piano on the more mellow Taxi Cab.

Cousins is this album's A-Punk and clearly the most exciting thing on it, with its frenzied guitars and overall rawer sound. It stands out from the rest of the album which is very polished with 80's electronic beats. Diplomat's Son is a lazy reggae song which perhaps drags on too long.

The albums best track apart from Cousins is Holiday, a short pop number with quirky guitars. Its the pinnacle of the albums summery sound. But whether this album will still be played frequently on my stereo by the time summer arrives remains to be seen. It is definitely a good second album but nothing exceptional, they have played it too safe.

The good thing is Vampire Weekend are far from being one of those bands with a disasterous second album, there are quite a few decent songs on here and I reckon we've yet to see the best of them.


Saturday, 30 January 2010

White Rabbits : It's Frightening

Finally getting a U.K release, White Rabbits' follow up to the magnificent Fort Nightly should bring them in a whole new audience. Definitely more accessible than its predecessor, It's Frightening loses some of the honky-tonk and calypso in favour of a more commercial sound but still hangs on to what made them unique.

Percussion Gun gets the album off to an angry, stomping start. A strong drum beat drives the song, with deep piano joining the high pitched guitars. Its an exciting combination and with the almost desperate vocals- "You'll never come back, my god can't you see that?" makes this one of the albums highlights.

Rudie Fails, obviously paying homage to The Clash, is uplifting pop but with dark lyrics - "You could beat the living daylights right out of me, I don't care at all". It is powerful stuff. Lionesse, with its moody piano, droning vocals and heavy drums is the albums finest song but arguably ends too soon. The album's more ambient moment - Company I Keep provides a much needed lull after the storm of Lionesse.The album does lose some of its steam towards the end. The guitars of Midnight and I are a bit too similar to The Clash's Guns of Brixton.

In comparison to Fort Nightly, there is nothing on here as fun as While we go Dancing but It's Frightening is a great second album and the band's sound has matured. There is still strong evidence of their influences, The Walkmen and The Specials, in their sound but this is a good thing. The band's progression has made it all the more exciting to see what they come up with next.


My best albums of the noughties...

Lists, lists, lists everywhere! Yep another decade has just ended. This blog isn't gonna be full of lists so I'm gonna get them out of the way in the first few posts. Also it'll give you an idea of the stuff I'm into without having to read a boring essay about myself. Haha, here goes...

Best Albums:

1. ...Trail of Dead - Source Tags & Codes
2. Attic Lights - Friday Night Lights
3. Delays - Faded Seaside Glamour
4. The Leisure Society - The Sleeper
5. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
6. Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake Its Morning
7. Idlewild - The Remote Part
8. The Mars Volta - Deloused in the Comatorium
9. Coldplay - Parachutes
10. Franz Ferdinand - S/T

1 - A mixture of shouting, heavy drumming and thrash with beautiful orchestral moments. Best song - Another Morning Stoner.

2 - I don't know why this band haven't got more recognition. Just perfectly crafted pop songs, and vocal harmonies. Best song - Wendy.

4 - A wonderful listen, if indie folk is your thing, give it a try. The melodies will stay in your mind forever. Best Song - A Short Weekend Begins With Longing.