Saturday, 26 December 2009

Vampire Weekend

They're back!

After a short and well deserved break from the hard graft of promoting their astounding 2008 debut, Vampire Weekend are back with the same preppy, ethnically diverse indie with more than a spring in their step. With a first album globally heralded to be one of the finer LPs released this decade, many have doubted whether the NY boys would deliver the same result in their follow up. Thankfully, by the sounds of the tracks that the band have leaked thusfar, it definitely won't diappoint.

Vampire Weekend released tracks Horchata and Cousins as free downloads not too long ago, and have since been happily clocking up the plays on my iTunes with their moreish charm . Horchata is more of what you've come to expect from the posh so and so's: there's the same African drumming, crisp harmonies and off the wall lyrics ( 'In December drinking Horchata I'd look psychotic in a balaclava'-errm, ok then) but it still sounds as refreshing as ever. It's almost like they've never been away.

Cousins meanwhile, is possibly one of my favourite songs of the year, which for a late contender is quite impressive. It's bouncy and a proper feel good song, definitely what we need to warm up those icy nights of crap TV and stale Quality Street. Cousins also, oddly enough, manages to encapsulate both a Christmassy vibe and hazy summer ambience almost effortlessly, without so much as raising an eyebrow. Love it.

If you haven't heard their first album, put that on your shopping list in the January sales. Then go to www.vampireweekend.com and download Horchata for free. It's awesome.
New album Contra is out on January 11th.


Thursday, 24 December 2009

Just Like Christmas

So tomorrow will be Christmas Day 2009. Has it really been a year since the last one? If you're feeling all warm and full of Christmas cheer then I salute you. If not, then you find yourself in a similar position to myself. I've always loved Christmas but this year it just feels wrong. Not that I haven't tried to get in the mood: I've sung carols, made paper chains, listened to hour upon hour of Christmas music (The Real Group and Muppets' Christmas albums are both great to check out if you want to capture some of the Christmas spirit.) and even argued with my parents, and yet it doesn't seem like Christmas.

Still, I'm not going to be a Scrooge about it; Christmas seems to be the one time of year that everyone briefly forgets how crap their lives are in order to gather around a roaring fire and exchange gifts of socks and, well, socks. It's the one time where we can look to the future and not be terrified and/or angered by it: the year is nearly over and the days are going to get longer. There's something on the horizon at least. And if that's enough then that's fine by me.




In this year's audio stocking I have a couple of gems, definitely more chocolate coins than old satsumas. The first is a cover of Low's Just Like Christmas by new country/indie upstarts Kill It Kid. They've put their own unique twist to the song and conjures up the image of what Christmas must be like for those Southerners in the US of A. Or something like that. It's good anyway.

The next track is a choral version of my new favourite Scottish export (excluding whisky), Frightened Rabbit with their Christmas track they recorded last year, It's Christmas So We'll Stop. It's completely acappella and somehow reminds me of Santa laughing (the ah's at the start sound more like HO HO'ing to me). This track is brilliant for creating a festive atmosphere, it's so easy to lose yourself in this. I would also recommend checking out the original version of this track too, it's still chilled but has a subtle hint of bitterness that make this accessible to everyone, whatever their mood at this time of year.




The last track is one you may have heard on the radio over the past few weeks. Strokes' frontman Julian Casablancas has penned a catchy, rollicking Christmas song to rival Mariah Carey in the cheese stakes. I Wish It Was Christmas Today is what I imagine my little brother to sing in the first few weeks of December, though I think I can say Casablancas does it much better. I love pretty much everything he's ever done so I may be a bit biased, but I think this track is a cracker.

I'm sorry, it had to be done(!)

So, whether you're into the whole Christmas thing or not, forget about swine flu, ice and exams for a bit and have a good one. Eat, drink, be merry and listen to some brilliant tunes.

Merry Christmas from Yours Truly
x

Saturday, 19 December 2009

OCD Time

Ok, so this isn't exactly original, ground breaking citizen journalism, but I thought I should make the most of my OCD ninja powers and give you my interpretation of the year that was 2009.

So, I guess, this being a music blog and all, we'll start with the choons. Innit.
Lady Ga-Ga

Bands
  • Frank Turner- What can I say? His second album was phenomenal and has currently overtaken The Smiths in my most played. This should speak for itself. If you ever get the chance to see this man play live you'd be only foolish, FOOLISH I TELLS YE to miss it. Frank takes the singer songwriter niche to another dimension with shouty, rambunctious music designed to make you smile.
  • Lady Gaga- At the start of this year I really hated her. I mean, REALLY hated her. Just another boring talentless drone who loves making a tit out of herself. Now, in December, not much has changed (I'm actually stunned at some of the outfits she's come out with this year) but musically I think she's been one of the most refreshing artists to come out of this year and indeed decade. Say what you like, but we ALL know you've been singing along to Pokerface, don't try and deny it. But then who can blame you? Lady Gaga is an example of pop at it's weirdest and most wonderful.
  • Mumford & Sons- Is it wrong that I herald these guys as the Fleet Foxes of 2009? I hope not, I adore Fleet Foxes. For me they made the winter months at the start of this year that much more bearable with their warm, cosy melodies and beautifully folky harmonies. But Mumford & Sons have somehow managed to bring the whole low fi country to the kids. They're getting daytime airplay on both Radio 1 and 6, and it's only a matter of time until the NME jumps on the bandwagon and starts singing their praises too.

All together now.. GHOSTBUSTERS!

The World
So, we've survived Swine Flu, MJ's death hysteria and the biblical flash floods of Glastonbury; not to mention nearly being sucked into a black hole by those crazy guys at the CERN. It's been a good old year really. But what we really want to know is what have been the best bits according to a bored 17 year old blogger?

- Jedward: Coming soon to a Butlins near you.

-Trafigura-Gate: A major step forward in the fight for free speech and shows just how powerful 140 characters can be.

- AS Exams: If ANYONE says that A Levels are getting easier next year I will personally make them pay.

- Star Trek: Yes there were major plot holes, but I've been waiting for a really good, engaging Star Trek film for ages. My name is Madison, and I'm proud to be a Trekkie.

-Kanye West being, well Kanye West: Funny for about the first five minutes, but I'm as tired of seeing pisstakes of this on the interweb as I am of those blasted Lolcats.

- Growing Up: When you've reached the point where you'd rather stay at home and watch Come Dine With Me marathons instead of getting pissed in the park, you know you're not a kid anymore. Midlife crisis at 17, who knew?

-Sartre: I never thought I'd fall in love with a French, communist, existentialist Philosopher. But there we go. Being and Nothingness is one of the most demanding books I have and will possibly ever read, but when it comes to trying to explain our existence, he makes a good point. Be who you want, do what you want, just make sure you know you're responsible for it. Some may call it depressing, I call it bloody brilliant.

Jack Whitehall

TV, Films, ET CETERA..
  • Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince: Thoroughly disappointing: it seems the director has lost their original vision of creating the alluringly bewitching world of witchcraft that every child dreams of, into just another mega budget Twilightesque romp. I'll still buy the DVD though, of course.
  • Which brings me to Twilight. I haven't seen the films but I've read enough of the books to know that it isn't worth the hype that the swathes of preteen girls seem to be creating. Seriously, if I have to hear about Jacob and fucking Edward ONE MORE TIME there will be blood. And there'll be nowt sparkley about that.
  • Misfits: Think it's just another variation of Skins? Think again. Take the unconventional superhero style that Heroes does so well and mix with a large dose of comedic realism of what it's like to be a young offender in Britain. Both the writing and acting are superb: Nathan's character is brilliantly loveable and I've found myself warming to even the chavviest of them throughout the series. A definite must-watch.
  • Dave: The saviour of Saturday nights. Where would we be without endless repeats of Have I Got News For You from 2008?
  • Comedy: This year has seen the likes of Michael Mcintyre, Russell Howard, Marcus Brigstock and Jon Richardson finally get the recognition they deserve. Jack Whitehall has also shown that us yoof can be funny too; I'm hoping that he will rise to the same heights that Howard and Frankie Boyle have over the past 12 months.

2009 has been one hell of a year. The lows have been gut wrenchingly grim, the highs have been utterly unbelievable and it's made me fucking RELIEVED I only have a few more months left before I can finally unleash the bonds of Bristol and see what lurks beyond the veil of childhood.

Monday, 14 December 2009

I really hope it snows this year; gives me the chance to play Laura Marling's new track, Goodbye England, to my heart's content.


I've never been a huge fan of Marling for some reason. As much as I tried, her debut album just didn't do it for me. I couldn't see what all of the fuss in the blogosphere was about. This song, however, has finally made me fall under her spell a little bit. It's poetic, wistful and just a touch Christmassy without even a hint of a sleighbell. I love it.
(The Powers that Be have declared I have to take down the track, sorry!)


Killing In The Name Of.. Good Music

Ok, I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon. You may have heard of a reality TV programme called the X Factor. For those not in the know it's an annoying show where contestants compete for who has the biggest sob story, the judges fight over who can be the most controversial and Simon Cowell sees how much money he can rake in through week upon week of phone votes. Oh, and there's also a bit of singing thrown in too.

Now, every year that the X Factor has been on, the winner has gone on to receive the 'prestigious' title of Christmas Number One in the mainstream music charts. Bit boring really. Where's the competition if we all know already that whatshisface is going to win with his sappy vomit inducing cover of a Miley Cyrus song? Miley fucking Cyrus. Has it really come to this?!

So, there's this little campaign to offer an alternative to the X Factor winner's single, in the form of Rage Against The Machine's Killing in the Name Of. Of the millions of alternative songs that could have been chosen, I'm not too sure why they chose this one, but even so it'd be quite refreshing to see if it ends up in the chart- alongside that slushy song by the Soldiers and Mariah Carey.

Let's face it, music today is more about making money than acute craftsmanship. More about shifting units than penning beautiful, catchy melodies, at least when it comes to pop music (Lady Gaga being a possible exception). So why not have some fun with it?

If you want to join in this experiment that's already received praise from the likes of 6 Music and NME Magazine, then go buy it on iTunes or Amazon THIS WEEK.


Tuesday, 1 December 2009

A MUST Listen

Are you sitting comfortably?

Good, then I'll begin.

Just a quick one from me, (I've a million and one things to do this week) but I felt compelled to share this with you, my lovely readers on this cold winter's eve. Get some chocolate, sit by the fire if you can and just let yourself slowly become transfixed by this beautiful sound. If this doesn't chill you out, nothing will.

This has genuinely made my day.












Oh and while I'm at it, today marks
World AIDS Day. Just 40 cents/pence provides one day's treatment for a person suffering with HIV and AIDS. Whatever you can give will no doubt be very much appreciated and help to save the lives of those suffering with this horrible and rather unnecessary disease.
To donate click here.


Friday, 27 November 2009

Midwinter Lullabies

So, it seems at long last this year has taken its toll on me. College is becoming a living nightmare and I find myself embroiled in a pathetic teen drama that isn't even Hollyoaks worthy and, lets face it, it's not that difficult a depth to sink to. Still, amongst all the teenage angst I've managed to uncover some delicious music for you to sink your teeth into.

Well, maybe not 'sink your teeth' so much as caress it gently, for these guys are more hypnotising than heavy. Nevertheless they're just what the doctor ordered in terms of mood and style on a cold winter's eve. Whether or not you've yet succumbed to the hype of Mumford and Sons, you should know that they are possibly one of the finest acts to emerge from 2009. They are everything Fleet Foxes were last year and more: their songs pack a punch in terms of lyrical content, as well as having numerous singalong choruses (definitely at least half of the album is single worthy; not an easy feat for a band only two years into their career). However, the punch is soon negated by an overwhelming sense of warmth protruding from nearly every crevice of this album.


Sigh No More has been on repeat for the past few days, I find it's the perfect wind down to a stressful day. Winter Winds and a nice cup of tea- what more could a girl ask for?

Seriously though, if you download one album this year let it be this one, it's brilliant.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Rabbit in the Headlights

I really like this track, imagine it would be a great song to drive to.




Frightened Rabbit are one of my new favourite discoveries, definitely one of the more exciting bands the Scottish isles have spoiled us with this year (and lord knows there's been a few). It's only a matter of a time before these guys reach the same dizzy heights that fellow Scots Glasvegas effortlessly climbed to in 2008 (was it really that long ago?).

If you prefer the softer side of Biffy Clyro and Fleet Foxes but still like their fatally catchy choruses then Frightened Rabbit are your new best friends.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Definitely Not S.A.D

Let's be honest, this isn't exactly the most wonderful time of year. There's a chill in the air that doesn't yet hold that familiar festive excitement of winters past- more misery than merriment. The night engulfs us with an ever increasing vehemence and it's not even acceptable to be humming Fairytale of New York yet for fear of eternal ridicule.

Isn't November great?


However, there is a somewhat hazy light in the darkness in the shape of electro titans Asobi Seksu.



This is 3 minutes and 49 seconds of trippy, cathartic beauty. The song just screams summer and takes us back to the good old days when we actually saw the sun for more than half an hour and didn't have to dress like the Michelin Man everytime we ventured to the shops. The melody is gorgeous and has more than a hint of self-indulgence, (Yuki Chikudate's light and airy vocals make this track what it is, sends shivers down my spine) making this a very welcome antidote to the rather stodgy, heavy music that finds itself in the mainstream charts at the moment.

The video is also a perfect fit and makes one feel a certain sense of nostalgia, reminiscent of many a lazy sunny afternoon spent wandering through fields of wildflowers and blossom.. or at least a muddy field full of thousands of sweaty festival folk.
Same diff.

In terms of their previous stuff Transparence is very laidback which I think works quite well for them, allowing the vocals to truly shine. I for one definitely prefer this calmer, more pensive side to Asobi Seksu.

What do you think?

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Ignore the Applause and Set the Theatre on Fire

Here's the brand new video from my favourite Punk/folk hybrid Frank Turner.




I have the pleasure of actually being in the video, having been in one of the many savage crowds Frank has had to contend with during his most recent UK tour. (Actually, not that anyone cares but at 0.27 you can actually see my 'interesting' face at the front of the crowd for his instore appearance at awesome music shop Rise).


The gig itself was truly something to behold- one man band Beans on Toast offered an unconventional yet inspired support, I don't think many were expecting to see a folk singer from London dancing and rapping to the sounds of an accordion and someone playing the Gameboy. And as for Frank, I have to say I was utterly impressed. When you hear the words 'singer songwriter' you immediately conjure up images of demure pretentious prats who play your typical folk-by-numbers stuff (see James Blunt or that other one). What you actually get in the case of Frank Turner is a raucous, heavy mess whose songs are almost brutal in their honesty.

Most notably Poetry of the Deed and encore Photosynthesis received an amazing reaction from the baying crowd, and with Frank and his band managing to produce some of the most upbeat yet heavy music to come from a singer-songwriter whilst trying not to sweat their gonads off in the near-tropical heat (what idiots put central heating on in a small gig venue?!), they certainly earnt it.

The track, from which his new album takes the same name, has all of the usual beautifully poetic lyrics that we've come to expect from Turner; the refrain at the end in particular always makes me smile. Poetry of the Deed is a stomper of a track that definitely deserves to score highly in the Top 40.

"Life is too short, to live without poetry
If you've got soul darling then come on and show it me.
But Life is too long to just sing the one song
So we'll burn like a beacon
And then we'll be gone."

Sunday, 1 November 2009

I Wish I Was Icelandic

Possibly the most beautiful song in existence. I prefer the live version of this track but for some reason it won't let me play it.



Had a bad day?
Work/school/college making your life hell?

Close your eyes, take a deep breath and just lose yourself in this.

This is why I love music.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Pulp For Glasto?



Will they?


Won't they?


I don't think I've ever heard as many people talking about 90s Britpop band Pulp as there have been in the past couple of weeks. Depending on which publication you read, Jarvis and co. may be likely to grace the stage of Worthy Farm once more at next year's festival, their first performance in over 6 years. The People have claimed that Cocker confirmed that Pulp were to reform and are interested in playing Glastonbury next year: "Glastonbury means an awful lot to me, I would love to play there again.” When asked if there were any plans in the pipeline to see Pulp potentially repeat Blur's success at playing a comeback gig at Glasto, he said; “We’ve talked about it, there we go, there’ll be a band reunion.”

However, in separate reports on both teletext page Planet Sound and in an interview with the front man himself on BBC 6 Music today, it seems that this is not the case. Cocker has dismissed these rumours, stating that he had never said that Pulp were going to reform in the first place, only that he was "interested in playing at the 40th anniversary."

So I guess we'll just have to wait and see. I think it would be great to see Pulp do Glastonbury, I was too young to see them perform live back in their heyday, so it would be a great chance for them to remind us all who the real diamonds in the Britpop crown truly were, as well as potentially widening their fanbase to those not yet in the know of this great indie band.

My biggest regret about Glastonbury this year was that I missed out on the chance to see a newly reformed
Blur headline the Pyramid, if Pulp do play next year- I shan't make the same mistake again.

In the meantime, here's one of my favourite Pulp tracks, recorded live at Glastonbury circa 1995, enjoy.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Morrissey was rushed to hospital earlier this evening after collapsing just one song into his gig at Swindon's Oasis.

Morrissey just minutes before he collapsed, taken from SwindonWeb

Reports state that in the midst of opening song This Charming Man, Morrissey knelt down and fell to the floor, to be taken offstage by members of his band. An hour and a half later, a representative from the venue said that Moz would not be returning to the stage as he is "seriously ill."

Sky News has stated that the former Smiths frontman has been admitted to the Great Western Hospital and is in a "stable condition". Ambulance personnel have since reported that Morrissey suffered from "respiratory problems" before becoming unconscious, but by the time they arrived at the Oasis, he had regained consciousness but was complaining of feeling unwell.

The 50 year old has suffered with various ailments over the past couple of years, having previously cancelled a string of London gigs on his UK May tour, due to a problem with his throat.

I really wanted to be at that gig, and if it wasn't for the price of the tickets and lack of transport I would have been. I hope Mozzer is ok, have been listening to the back catalogue of The Smiths all day and have been reminding myself of how truly amazing Mr Morrissey is both lyrically and vocally. So, since it's been about 6 months or so since my last Smiths track on this little blog of mine, here is the song Morrissey struggled through earlier, This Charming Man. One of their best I believe, showcasing both the virtuosity of Marr's musicianship and Morrissey's witty yet slightly poignant lyrics.

Get well soon Moz!


Sunday, 18 October 2009

Papillon

What's this- a CHEERFUL Editors song?!

Surely not, I mean this is the band who make Glasvegas seem like giddy Highland schoolgirls. But, lo and behold, it seems Editors have finally awoken from their melancholic slumber with new track Papillon.



Ok, so it's basically a New Order track and in that respect isn't exactly innovative, but at least it's a change in direction. If you ask me, I think the time has come for miserable lachrymose music to descend back into its underground lair for another year. With the days getting shorter and winter's unyielding grip on us starting to clench ever tighter, we don't need anything else to bring us down.

Gloom is SO 4 months ago.

What we need now is something upbeat, something perky, something- dare I say it- happy. What we need is something that we can bust a move to, or at least nod our heads along casually to without looking like the lame emo kid in the corner. And this is what the new offering from the Brummy band does, it makes us want to enjoy music again; because lets face it, not every song is meant to be a 3 minute therapy session. It is ok to actually listen to a song and not take any other meaning from it than the fact that it's just a great track.

So the new track from Editors may be a synth drenched Blue Monday rip off (in my opinion), but at least it's a GOOD synth drenched Blue Monday ripoff. And that's enough for now.

Papillon is out now, available on 7" and CD format.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Welcome to the Funhouse

I've been meaning to start my regular new bands feature for a while, but never had the time or energy to actually do it. Should this post actually manage to work, I will aim to make this a weekly/monthly thing, giving you my lovely readers a taste of the prime musical meat on the market at the moment. First up on the chopping block- it's the thoroughly mysterious Alex Gladwell.

This lovely chap may have titled his debut Fantasia, but there's something much more twisted about this carnival..


That is pretty much all I know about this guy. His name, the name of the LP and the producer. Ooo mysterious. On his site there is no further information, and when requested for a little bit of bio for this post was humbly denied- it seems to me that he is definitely in this for the music and not status of any sort.

A lot of the tracks on Fantasia are equally intriguing. The repetitive Intro draws you in, it's drone like quality almost hypnotic, quite the opener. Bluntly named Song has all the traits of a good Hip-Hop track; a catchy beat and simple bass line, not to mention Alex's slightly husky vocals. Song is the kind of, well, song that I can imagine being played in a rather upscale club a few years from now, definitely one of the finer tracks on the LP.


The only thing I did notice was just how synthesised the arrangement is. Whether he's trying to go for a synth vibe (which may not prove beneficial if he wants people to stand up and take notice, there's far too much synth these days; along with legwarmers and Thatcher, it belongs in the 80s) or it's just because he doesn't have the facilities available to create a more raw sound, I think the electronic feel to many of the tracks is quite overwhelming. It's clear this guy has an amazing voice and the lyrics are genuinely refreshing, but the sheer tinny timbre of some of the tracks, most noticeably Slowly Barely, slightly diminishes the wow factor. I do however like how it has an almost primal sense of urgency right from the start of the track, Alex's voice a splurge of emotion.

Contrastingly, Gladwell has also managed to show his lighter side with some of the more upbeat stuff. Tracks like Gospel actually made me laugh out loud. I was certainly not expecting to hear Weird Al Yankovitch on an acoustic LP! There are also flashbacks of Mickey Mouse in Alex's falsetto that amuse me to no end. Besides that, this song has a lot of promise, the xylophone riff towards the end of the track adds a touch of clarity, making for a rather recumbent outro. And I always like a good xylophone.

In theory, I shouldn't like Ain't that the Way: Accordions and I have never been the best of friends. Nevertheless, I actually adore this song. It's the least synthesised track on the album; the accordion riff almost wistful, and although sounding a bit like background music to a Final Fantasy game, it's quite beautiful and the vocals manage to create a reflective but almost romantic atmosphere- of course its very use reeks of the French cliche. And I have to say, listening to some of his lyrics, he has a point.

Overall, I think this LP is a gem, albeit a rough one at the moment. With the different musical styles working together to form a uniquely fresh sound, (the only comparison I can think of would be Santogold based purely on musical diversity: African, Indian, Hip-Hop and Indie all feature briefly on this record) plus Alex's charming and slightly terrifying vocals, this album is a must for anyone who wants a breath of fresh air.
Go on, give him a go, you may be surprised..

Find the rest of his tracks here.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

My Secret Friend

Here's the new video from sleazy synth band IAMX, My Secret Friend.

Chris Corner makes for an oddly attractive woman.




I love it, it's as dark and sensual as ever, but isn't as primal as some of their other stuff, which makes for a nice change. I think it's definitely a track that will grow on you over time, as the lack of urgency that seems to be present in most of their other work isn't really a factor here; this isn't exactly a track that grabs you by the hair and spins you around in circles until you vomit. Nevertheless, I think it's a great track to relax to, mayhaps whilst drinking cocktails of some sort in a swish French discotheque.




What do you think?

Friday, 18 September 2009

The Art of Silence

I apologise for my lack of substantial posts, a lot's been going on lately so my mind has been elsewhere. Truth be told, for the past month or so I've become musically apathetic. Now, for any normal music fan this might seem a little strange but nothing out of the ordinary: people go through music phases all the time, but for someone who has music practically coursing through her veins, this struck me as a little odd when I came to think about it.

I've been obsessed with music from as young as I can remember; my mother never ceases to bring up the embarrassing tale of when I was but 4 years old, sat in the car in traffic with my mum, Radiohead's Creep playing with the windows down. I'd only really just got past the stage of singing nursery rhymes but appeared to have fallen in love with this band, as I allegedly started singing 'You're so fuckin' special' at the top of my lungs. To me that was my first rockstar moment, to her it was completely and utterly cringeworthy, the looks she got from other drivers stuck in traffic were a picture to behold, so I'm told, I mean what innocent blonde haired blue eyed kid would be expected to be a fan of Thom Yorke's?

I was raised on a strict diet of The Smiths (hence my Morrissey addiction, see older posts for evidence), Placebo and the aforementioned Radiohead, and when music wasn't playing, there was always something else going on in the background, I can scarcely remember a time of silence in the past 17 years of my life at home. Everything was always so up tempo and loud that it's made me wonder why I've always needed something to block out the rest of the world.

So, a few Saturdays ago, with nothing to do, I logged on to the interweb as per usual, but instead of blasting some Pixies through my pathetic excuse for speakers or aurally attacking my neighbours with some Peaches, I just listened. I listened to the stillness of the house, the garden, the dog, everything- just to stoic and calm. Instead of being mortified of this sudden exposure to the world around me, I indulged in the quietness for the first time. Obviously I've been in silent conditions before, living in one of the most tested countries in Europe, but this was the first time I'd chosen to just sit and hear the silence, and I have to admit, it was a lot more powerful than anything Thom could have written.

So this is my weekly routine now. Instead of coming home from college and putting the first song I can find, playing it full throttle on my iTunes, I just sit and enjoy the nothingness.

I know this sounds very airy fairy and state of the obvious, but to me it was some kind of epiphany. In order to really enjoy music you have to be able to relish the silence that goes along with it. For if there was no silence, then the music wouldn't be half as fulfilling.

I'm taking a break from my blog, a mini hiatus if you will. What with college work and a thousand and one things to think about, I think I'll just enjoy the silence for a while.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

I'm Not a Robot

In a year awash with female singer-songwriters, it's difficult to tell the good from the bad. I'm sorry, but Duffy and Adele sound too similar to me to tantalise my ears much, and I'm still making my mind up about Lady Gaga (she has a couple of good tracks but I can't help but feel angry whenever I listen to her for too long), there's just so many of them about these days that it's hard to find something truly refreshing. Of course Florence and Emmy both do a great job at just that, but I've now found a cross between the two, and she goes under the pseudonym Marina and the Diamonds.

Marina and the Diamonds


Ok, so she's not exactly unique, but she manages to combine the quirky lyrical talent of Emmy the Great whilst still having a voice so powerful it could almost rival Florence's, not an easy thing to accomplish. She's still operating very much under the radar, with only one E.P. to her name, but has managed to bag herself a place on the NME Radar Tour alongside Golden Silvers and Local Natives.


If you're going to Reading then try and catch her playing Little John's Farm, she'll be definitely worth a watch.


Marina and the Diamonds' Crown Jewels E.P. is available on iTunes.
www.myspace.com/marinaandthediamonds




Marina and the Diamonds- I Am Not A Robot.MP3

Friday, 21 August 2009

Try This At Home

The newest track leaked by Frank Turner from his upcoming album Poetry for the Dead, set to be released on September 7th (the start of my final year of childhood education-eep!). I'm a huge fan of his stuff and this song fails to disappoint, as always. I'm so excited about this album that I've already pre-ordered it.


This track was performed at the prestigious SXSW earlier this year; it's one of his punkier anthems, I much prefer this to his other new one The Road (which, although equally good, isn't as memorable as Try This at Home, in my humble opinion). Enjoy.


Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The Wave Pictures

Heard these guys from my tent at Glastonbury this year and thought they were excellent. Should really have gone down to see them play the John Peel stage, but it was too early and the sun was out so I didn't want to jinx things. Still, it was the perfect background music to a lazy Sunday morning at camp.




The Wave Pictures make sunny Indie/Folk that definitely hints of the Beach Boys surfer genre, these guys definitely don't sound like they come from 2009. If you're in need of unconventional, mellow music to make you smile, check out We Dress Up Like Snowmen and We Never Motored West, which you can download below:

The Wave Pictures- We Never Motored West.MP3

Marmaduke Duke

Just found an interesting take on The Cure's Friday I'm in Love.' Not quite sure what to make of it, it's certainly taking it in a completely different direction, I'm just not sure where to.



Marmaduke Duke- Friday I'm in Love.MP3

I am definitely a purist when it comes to The Cure, so I don't think it has a patch on the original track, which was one of my favourites growing up. It's certainly not the worst thing I've ever heard though, I like the drum rolls though, gives it more of a military and slightly Bloc Party-esque vibe.


However, I am much more of a fan of Marmaduke Duke's new album. I quite enjoyed their debut but I love how much poppier their second outing is, definitely much easier on the ears than some of their previous stuff. I've been playing it on repeat all day today, and this song really sticks out to me as easily one of the best on the album. What I love more though is Jacknife Lee's Remix of the track, it's fat with a PH.



Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Bittersweet Silence


So, The Verve are to split- again.

Is anyone really that bothered?

Aaaaanyone?

Nope?

Didn't think so.

This is the third time in the band's career that they've decided to split, and I very much doubt it will be the last.

It is alleged that Verve guitarist Nick McCabe and bassist Simon Jones are no longer on speaking terms with lead singer Richard Ashcroft, following on from a statement on Myspace by McCabe saying that the and are on an "indefinite holiday." It's hardly a holiday if you're not going to come back, now is it? A source close to the band told the Sunday Mirror that the band haven't spoken to the frontman since doing V festival last year: "As far as Nick and Simon are concerned, Verve no longer exists," claiming that Ashcroft was using the reformation as an attempt to resurrect his failed solo career (though if you've heard any of his solo stuff, you know that it would only be the equivalent of flogging a dead horse).


Although the music industry is collectively rolling their eyes, the source also reputed that even if Ashcroft was to come back with his tail between his legs, the pair would simply tell him to "fuck off." But instead of filling their 'holiday' with sudoku and Tweeting, McCabe and Jones have formed a new band, Black Ships, with Goldfrapp violinist Davide Rossi. Let's hope their upcoming debut is better than the last Verve album, which was a bit of a letdown for me.


Still, nothing compares to the seminal Bittersweet Symphony. The song of my childhood, my dad would often play this in the car on family holidays, it still manages to bring a shiver down my spine and an overwhelming sense of hope.


This was my Glastonbury 'moment' circa 2008. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Songs to Make you go Aaaw..

Possibly the quaintest songs I've ever heard. Beautiful.


Coeur de Pirate

This week I've been obsessed with all things French; binging on Nutella and a whole lot of bread, and I finally got round to watching Persepolis which I'd definitely recommend if you want a bittersweet tale of war and, errm, Punk. I've also been lucky enough to find this song by Coeur de Pirate, a solo project of French Canadian Beatrice Martin, that's guaranteed to give you toothache with it's saccharine sweetness.

Coeur de Pirate- Comme des Enfants.MP3


I also managed to unearth an unfamiliar Soko track that absolutely melts my heart. I really am pathetic when it comes to music, aren't I?

Soko

This song is drenched in naive innocence and shows the usually blunt and cold Soko as a vulnerable girl in love. Aaw bless.


For fans of plinky plonky piano, I'd definitely check this out:

Soko- Take my Heart.MP3

Monday, 10 August 2009

Mystery of Le Mousquetaires

In an effort to prolong my boredom during the liberating but somewhat monotonous holidays, I've been delving into the underground realms of Folk Noir. Folk Noir (a branch of Neofolk) is described as music that shows 'dark undertones-' so like most folk then, I mean the genre has never been one full of chirpy prozac ridden harmonies and rosy cheeked youths playing xylophones, has it?
(Well, certainly not the type of folk I am accustomed to anyway).



Le Fils des Trois Mousquetaires

What strikes me as interesting about this band is that there is absolutely no information about them on t'internet; I found them on Last.fm which directed me to their Myspace page, only to have it tell me to go back to their Last.fm page, quite an odd promo tactic. And all without any trace of a bio. Strange. Infact, the only bit of information I have regarding this band is that they're from Belgium. Not that it matters a great deal, the music speaks more than any amount of biographical waffle.


There's something very distinctive and almost alluring about the mysterious gent's voice which suggests he's either a devout Doherty fan, or is his slightly more demure and possibly Belgian twin. But, for all we know, the guy could be your run of the mill butcher from Bruges who just happens to like a good singsong.


If this is typical Folk Noir then the Beatles must have been the emo kids of the 60's, there's not much in the way of sinister, brutal melodies here. The songs amble along at their own pace, slowly drawing you in before leaving you feeling thoroughly hypnotised. Although there are tinges of melancholy in wistful She Won't Be Home, it's certainly not going to be the music you'd top yourself to. I actually find the vocals to have a highly therapeutic effect on me, most notably Lullaby that plays up to its name entirely; gentle rocking acoustic chords over the top of the vocalists smooth as honey melody, perfect for chilling out and contemplating life.


Or just good to have a nap to, either way I like it.


Looking on the band's Last.fm page, there's one comment that pretty much sums up my opinion of these guys and Folk Noir in general: 'strange beauty.'

Le Fils de Trois Mousquetaires- Lullaby.MP3

Le Fils de Trois Mousquetairs- She Won't Be Home.MP3

Monday, 3 August 2009

New Florence Track

The follow up to Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up), Drumming Song is now available to watch on Youtube and Myspace.

Florence + The Machine - Drumming Song


I love Florence, it's no secret that she has an amazing voice and writes songs
catchier than swine flu at an old folks' home, and her new single is no exception. This track is one of the more melodramatic stompers on her album, taking the jilted drumbeat and using it to create something almost tribal. However, it does seem that there's no real chorus here, or at least not one that stands out amazingly, but since when do songs need a chorus to be great? Bohemian Rhapsody went down quite well so I hear, and that was obviously a collection of about 4 different songs meshed together, with not much of a refrain in sight.

Florence and the Machine's new single, Drumming Song, is available to buy from 7th September.

Her album Lungs is out now- well worth the pennies in your pocket!

Is This It?

I've been meaning to post this track for a while. I was lucky enough to see a surprise set from the quirky ginger hippy at the DirtyBoots stage on the Thursday night of Glastonbury, and as well as being pleasantly surprised at his wit between songs, this track in particular rekindled my love of his music.



This was the only video I could find as it's a new one, and for a live track the quality is pretty good.





If this has whet your whistle for Mr Newton Faulkner's blend of chilled yet uplifting 'pop,' then I'd also recommend downloading People Should Smile More and Massive Attack cover Teardrop, as well as his chart hit Dream Catch Me.

His new album Rebuilt by Humans is out on September 21st.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

It's About Time!

Finally after 3 long years since the release of the epic and grandiose Black Holes and Revelations, Muse are back with more mahoosive tunes. In the run up to the new album titled 'Resistance,' Muse have let the track United States of Eurasia out into the blogosphere.

There's definitely more than a touch of Queen here, with Bellamy's silky smooth vocals against the opening piano backing oozing elegance right up until the very Bohemian Rhapsody guitar riff is introduced. However, I would go as far as saying it packs more of a punch than the seminal track. There's something else at work here that I can't quite put my finger on- maybe it's the chromatic Middle Eastern vibe or just the amazing musicianship, but I think this track incorporates everything that is Muse: a sense of controlled urgency that draws you in, right before hitting you around the face with a lethal dose of rock.



So to sum up- I love this track.




What do you think, Queen rip-off or a sign of good things to come from Muse's next album?




United States of Eurasia.MP3

Sunday, 19 July 2009

In For The Kill

It's a been a while, I know, but I've been suffering from writing drought. That is, I've found tons of new music for you lovely people but just don't have the motivation to write anything amazing about them. Keep your eyes peeled though as I shall be letting you in on the bizarre realm of Alex Gladwell in the near future- watch this space...



For now, here's a much less annoying version of In For The Kill by the brilliantly named Fog Joggers.




It's no secret that the lead singer of La Roux's voice leaves me cold, so I much prefer this more mellow version, the husky vocals work tremendously well as does the low key vibe to the track; which is almost the perfect elevator music, don't you think?

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

It's Looking Like a Beautiful Day..

A possible Special Guest at Glastonbury?



Whether they play or not, this will be the soundtrack to my Glastonbury.





'One day like this a year could see me right-' More like 5 days like these will see me right.

To all those going, have a good one, look after yourselves and each other, first one to make it to the top of the Stone Circle will get a pint from me at the cider bus!



...Next year ;)

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Peaches and Cream

In my next Pre-Glasto post I will be focusing on my Sunday night headliner choice, and boy was it a tough decision: Blur and The Prodigy are both playing at the same time as this electroclash vixen, it was like Sophie's Choice I'm telling you, only without the Nazis.

I LOVE Peaches.



Now, if you're a newcomer into the realm of Peaches or Electro in itself, you should know that Peaches is one of the staples of the Electroclash genre, admired by many for making sexy, danceable songs with lyrics suggesting she really doesn't give a fuck. Peaches just seems to ooze that charm that is lacking in most of today's electropop twaddle (see Lady Ga Ga) : she is cool. She's also different to the sea of synthpop about at the minute, a refreshing respite from all the saccharine coated music coming from bands who just want their music to be on the next series of Skins. Think a slightly more rough and ready version of Little Boots and you'll start to get a glimpse of what Peaches' music is like.



Peaches is the matriarch in the electro dynasty , and at the grand age of 42 she shows no signs of abdicating any time soon. New album
I Feel Cream is just as edgy as one would come to expect from an artist whose previous tracks include Fuck the Pain Away (one of the best tracks she's ever done in my opinion). But it's not just about the innuendo; there are a few epic chooons in there too. Trick or Treat is one of the less explicit tracks and has an intensely catchy riff or two, designed to make for a great club track, whilst More is very 80's and reminds me of many a retro video game, which can only be a good thing.




She may be a Marmite artist, but I for one will definitely be as close as I can get to the front next Sunday, I think she's bloody brilliant.





N.B This video is a bit odd, but then so is the song so I guess it makes some sort of sense.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

The Diva Has Landed



I was shocked to find out that the diva extraordinaire and multimillion selling artist
Elton John is set to play a show in Bristol of all places today, in a return to the city after half a decade.


-Well Gloucestershire, but that's near enough Brizzle territory (my home city for those not from my neck of the woods).



Sir Elton has had some great hits,
Tiny Dancer and Your Song being only some of my favourites, I just hope his ego can fit into the comparatively small Gloucestershire County Cricket Club.


You may have heard this remix of Elton's Tiny Dancer on the radio lately, some may call it sacrilege, I call it bloomin' marvellous.