Friday, 28 November 2008

Think of England

I know I'm a bit late off the mark on this one but I haven't had much time to put it up here until now. I'm warning you in advance I will be a bit swamped for the next few days so I may not post as much, isn't college life grand?

Anyway, here's the new offering from one of my favouritest bands of the moment,

(One of these days I'll work out how to actually put songs on here)

For those of you still oblivious to this wonderfully quirky electro outfit, IAMX is the latest project from
Chris Corner of Sneaker Pimps fame, and is already unleashing their wave of darkness infused synth pop in Europe as we speak. The band are noted for being somewhat controversial in their song title and lyric choices; 'Spit it Out' is one of their most popular tracks, whilst on 'The Alternative' there's a lyric that slightly disturbed me; 'We all wanna fuck ourselves and rape the world-' no, I don't know either.

If you want to hear songs that are fresh, sophisticated and edgy, then check these guys out. Think of England is out now on free download at If you live in Europe then check out their Myspace for tour dates:

Think of England?
If they were really thinking of England they should get their arses over here ASAP!
Tour plsthx :)

Think of England

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Where's the Support?

We've all been there. You've had the week from hell, stacks of work to do and everyone you know is pissing you off. So, in an attempt to cheer yourself up you book tickets to see the gig you've been dying to go to all year. After weeks, months even of waiting, that fateful day arrives and you're buzzing with anticipation for the moment the beloved headliners grace the stage.

But then..

What's this? Some small, obscure band whose name you can't even pronounce sidles onto the stage and starts playing tracks swallowed by synths and bizarre vocals that conjure up images of dying kittens. What do you do?

I recently ran a poll asking if there was any actual love for the support band. The answer, a resounding no, seemed to confirm my suspicions. People, it seems, just don't care about the opening act. 'I paid good money to see the headliners' I hear you cry; 'Why would I want to hear some band I've never heard of, they're just wasting my time.' Well, maybe because, for all we know, that small obscure band being attacked by synths could be the next big thing.

Today's support act is tomorrow's stadium act.

A couple of years ago my parents went to see
Stellastarr * perform, with some quaint American band known as The Killers. Now, can you tell me for a brownie point, where are Stellastarr now, and what have The Killers been up to recently? With a new NME cover (out tomorrow) to add the heap of other magazine articles and hundreds of festival appearances, it seems to toil of being a support band paid off.

Also, whatever happened to just having a good time and trying something new? It saddens me that, in an age where new music is only a Myspace search away, it appears that not many are actually taking advantage of having it right there in front of them. I've been to many 'a gig recently, (purely research of course) and when observing the crowd during the support act, most of the crowd stood, cross armed and bored, whilst large portions oft he crowd hadn't even bothered turning up yet!

Surely, in these times of economic turmoil you want to get as much out of your tenner as possible, rather than just an hour's set from the big guys? The only exception to the rule I've noticed was at an electro gig, with
Asobi Seksu (pictured) supporting the magnificent Ladytron. I'd almost given up hope on a supportive crowd but, lo and behold, the NYC band actually got people moving. But then, taking a second glance at the crowd, you can see why. Most of those here tonight are gig veterans, not some indie/scene kids who think they're 'too cool' to listen to more underground bands.

Trust me, you ain't.

So, if you've gleaned anything from my rant, let it be that support bands can make you feel as giddy as any headlining band could. The next time you see that small, obscure band shuffle onto the stage, dance like a madman and give the new kids a chance.

What are your support act experiences? Let me know, the weirder the better.

Friday, 21 November 2008

World Shut Your Mouth

November 21st marks the third annual 'No Music Day,' an article on the MSN homepage informs me.

Are you fucking kidding me?!

Bill Drummond, former KLF Drummer, is promoting a day dedicated to the absence of our omnipresent best friend- the first thing we hear when we wake up, the person we confide in during times of misery, the one we live vicariously through in an attempt to 'live the dream.'

But no, today is a day where music should be banned, according to this bloke.

Bill says that by abstaining from listening to music today, only two days away from
St Cecilia's day, we can cleanse our musical palette in a world where, apparently, music has "run its course." Now I'm all for trying new things, so in an attempt to try to understand what he means, I'm writing this post without my usual musical buzz in the background. I tell you what, it's bloody hard to write cohesively without music. Maybe it's because I've conditioned myself to work at optimum efficiency when there is a faint hum of electro in the air, but I genuinely am struggling to put into words, well, anything. Studies into the correlation between listening to music and work have showed that those listening to calming music like Classical music have achieved better exam grades than those who have sat the same test in silence.

And they say silence is golden?

And whose to say music has run out of steam anyway, to me it's still got the same cosmic grip on me like it's always had.

Yes, I know I published a post ranting about the state of music in the charts the other day, but surely that's better than nothing? And, to be fair, that seems to be the music that is making people happy (why I'll never know). So, according to Mr. Bill, we now need to decide what we want from music. That's easy. People listen to chart rubbish because it has the same impact on them as to the first time an angst ridden 13 year old puts on Slipknot, the same effect that a church goer has when listening to the heavenly voices of the choir; it's relateable and invokes emotion. Or maybe I've got it wrong and people only listen to music these days for something to do; if that is the case then, begrudgingly, I will have to agree with Bill. Although I find the idea of no music atrocious, I find the lack of musical appreciation a more horrifying prospect.

Although we're living in a time where music is only a click away, it couldn't be more of an exciting time for music. Yes, the basics of music have been done, but you only need to listen to bands like
Vampire Weekend, Glasvegas, Lightspeed Champion, et al to know that times are a-changin' and music has turned into a party that everyone's invited to, music styles have been shaken up and reworked to create fresh, exciting new sounds. We shouldn't be mourning music, we should be having a kick ass wake if anything!

What do you think? Should we go without music for one whole day? Does any of it really matter?

'A day without music is like a day without sunshine.'

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Kerching:The Sound of The Smiths?

So I got the latest of a series of Smiths' compilation albums, this one entitled 'The Sound of The Smiths' today; as an avid fan of the seminal band I thought I'd better. When I first heard about the new record I, like countless others (probably) held a faint glimmer of hope that the Gods of Gloom would reform. Now to be honest, I think the day they do reform will be the day those crazy CERN guys wipe out the planet with a black hole. Still, as much as I love The Smiths, hearing this album I can't help but hear the distant ding of cash registers.

The double album boasts 45 Smiths' songs, including classic such as Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now and William it Was Really Nothing, as well as live tracks and 'rare' B sides, and all this for £15 (!). I actually really like this album, the tracks have been slightly remastered and not sound so clangy as on other versions, and the album art of their previous album art looks quite good, (you can tell who was in charge of picking the pictures can't you?) but I have this nagging feeling in the back of my head that this is all rather unnecessary. I like that it's out as it gives those unlucky (or lucky if you count the Thatcher years) enough not to have been around whilst they were still together, but it's really just a very unsubtle attempt at making a few bob.

Although this album was remastered by Johnny Marr and Moz had the arduous task of thinking of a name for it, a part of me wonders if really this album was executed by Warners in an attempt to shift a few more units in an era where album sales have declined. I don't mean to get all conspiracy theorist on you, but it would make sense:

  • When the band did join Warner Bros. it was at the very end of their career, so they can't have made that much revenue from them. Some also signalled the point that they joined a 'mainstream' label as the beginning of the end for them. The band were already struggling with management issues amongst alleged internal squabbles, and there had already been two compilation albums since the extraordinary Queen is Dead, it seemed that they were running out of steam.
  • After numerous failed attempts at getting the band to reform, a reunion didn't ever appear on the cards. Morrissey even went as far as saying he'd "rather eat my (his) own testicles than reform The Smiths," and although he can be a bit melodramatic, he is a strict vegetarian so he must have been serious.
  • So, it would seem apt that now, in an age where the likes of Take That and The Verve have reformed that the label would want to release another compilation in order to boost sales and potentially propel the rumour mill into thinking that they too are jumping on the bandwagon and have kissed and made up.

I'm sorry for being so cynical, I must say I do adore this band, you just have to take a look at some of my earlier posts to know that they've influenced me in a strong way. I promise that if The Smiths ever reform though, I will publish a post declaring that I will prance about in the centre of Bristol wearing a jam jar costume complete with Gladioli, and I will do so gladly.

The Sound of The Smiths is out now, on Physical copy, 12" and download.

What do you think:

Is this album purely for the dosh?

Or is there something more to it?

Do tell.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Everything is Average Nowadays

Is it just me or is Chart music getting progressively worse lately?
I listen to Radio 1 in the mornings for the lovely Chris Moyles (love him or hate him he must be doing something good, with millions of listeners, something XFM would probably kill for) and today I swear with each song, excluding Oasis' Lyla, (one of their weaker songs in my opinion) the quality got more and more dire. I mean, have you heard that TI song that's currently the second biggest download on iTunes?

Live your life?

Christ, this song make me want to take my life.

It's utter bilge, and yet more people have downloaded this song this week than
Kings of Leon or Guns 'n' Roses. How is this possible?

Now I'm not a huge fan of either of those bands, very much overrated really, but surely their music is much more original and musically interesting than a song whose best bit is the riff they borrowed from O Zone? Elsewhere, you've got songs like Womanizer by Britney Spears, albeit not as terrible as some of her songs released in her bald headed psycho phase, but still, where's the substance?

Each to their own and all, and I know the same could be said for some of the gazillion white guitar bands out there, but there's nothing new here. Nothing to excite me, nothing to make me stop what I'm doing and actually listen to it. Not on the radio anyway, unless you go to stations like NME Radio (and Kerrang radio to a certain extent, though ever since they played Scouting for Girls I have abstained from listening to it, rock my arse) or 6 Music, which offer some alternative. Still, what's evidently clear is that the above is the type of music that appeals to the mainstream, teenage i.e. downloader's market who will actually purchase the songs; altogether a very depressing thing.

Am I wrong? Leave a comment and tell me what you think of the state of the Top 40, if you want and have nout else to do.


Some decent Radio stations:
NME Radio
Triple J
Think of any more? Let me know, I'll add them here.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Embrace the Darkness

And no, I don't mean give the catsuit clad novelty rock band a cuddle.

Siouxsie Mark 2?

Cheesy it may be, but she really has a great voice, and the lyrics certainly carry a sinister undertone.
P.S I know my posts are a little thin on the ground this week, but I will have a glorious post a'waiting for you soon, just you wait!

Friday, 7 November 2008

Glasto Update!

In case some of you dim witted fools haven't noticed, Glastonbury tickets for the first time are being sold now. Well, technically they've been on sale since the first week of October, but I digress.. Anyway, is anyone else excited about next year already?

I know it's the equivalent to getting all giddy about Christmas in April, but still, now that the first act has been confirmed for the annual
partay at Worthy Farm my head's already buzzing with images of all night mayhem at Trash City and watching the sun rise at the Stone Circle...

That's how life should be.

Anywho, the very first act to be announced are some indie troupe called
Major Major. The Liverpudlian band managed to wing a slot at the prestigious festival after winning the Rockstar Bands' Competition. The band are somewhat familiar with the venue, having played with The Ting Tings and Franz Ferdinand at the Glastonbury party gig for the residents of the town. The group also won a trip to Genesis front man Peter Gabriel's recording studio, the lucky buggers.

Maybe I'm not giving them much credit, but to me they do sound slightly generic for a guitar band. However, there are some definite hooks in the songs guaranteed to make you bop your head and the vocals remind me of a slightly edgier
Mystery Jets. Still, by the time you see them play at Glasto, you'll be too drunk/stoned/relaxed/all of the above to care, so enjoy.

Check them out:

EDIT: Actually, I take it back, their track Iberia is rather moreish, maybe I will take a gander at them next year..