Wednesday, 28 January 2009

The Last Arctics?

A new track rumoured to be on the new Arctic Monkeys record dubbed Crying Lightning was leaked onto Youtube, after their performance at this year's Big Day Out in Australia.

Just a wee touch of Last Shadow Puppets maybe?
I have to say, considering I'm a huge Arctic Monkeys fan, this isn't the punchy, loud brawl I was expecting. Turner and co seem to have matured since Your Favourite Worst Nightmare and there's definitely more depth to their sound. Whether this will encapsulate the mood of the long awaited third album is something we shall have to see.

What do you think?

Ooh La La!

I'm afraid to say I will be absent from the rosy shores of England- and my blog- for a few days. In case you can't tell from the title, I'm off to grande Paris!

Believe it or not, I'm not off to the most romantic city in the world for a break, I'm actually going for a conference about something or other for college-fun. Still, I get to engross myself in French culture for a day or two, and what better way of embracing the culture than by listening to their music?

I actually have the same dress, love it.
Yelle is Julie Budet, a flourishing electropop Parisian from Bretagne. Her songs aren't exactly going to fulfill your life, but the short slices of sunshine that are A Cause de Garcon and Les Femmes are sure to put a bounce in your step. If you're into stuff with slightly more attitude, try Je Veux te Voir, a slick synth number in which Yelle rants at some bloke from hip-hop band TTC.

La Grande Sophie

I came across this Nerina Pallot/Feist hybrid whilst stumbling around on hype machine. These tracks ooze that sleek elegance of what I consider the essence of France. I've no clue what she's singing about; she could be lamenting about how late the bin men are this week for all I know, but it sounds damn sexy. The strings on Quand Le Mois D'Avril conjure up images of smoky French bars in the 40s, the epitome of the glossy French stereotype. If you want to escape from the realms of reality, then put these songs on and close your eyes: you'll soon be strolling down by the Seine, arm in arm with your significant other as the stars twinkle overhead.

'Course it's all light pollution and traffic nowadays, but one can dream.
Quand Le Mois D'Avril+Dis Quand Reviendras-Tu?.MP3 (Courtesy of Filles Sourires.)

Ah, Soko, Soko, Soko. An old favourite of mine. I first remember hearing her song I Will Never Love You More being played on Radio 1 and having to replay it to understand the bizarre lyrics. What first appears a sweet ditty about her boyfriend is in actuality a tongue in cheek retort that she even loves kissing girls (this was before Katy Perry mind) better than kissing her ex-beau. Soko is possibly the most edgy out of these three mademoiselles, there's a certain darkness in her innocent vocals and simple arrangements that leaves you wanting more.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Sweet or Stalkery?

A simple song full of remorse about years gone by, accumulating in a twee declaration of love for the aging genius that is Mr. Leonard Cohen (and let's face it, what's not to love?). Great to listen to over a cup of tea and a chocolate digestive.

Robin Grey-I Love Leonard Cohen.MP3

Robin Grey's Myspace

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Down with Thatcher and, errm, the rest of them!

Regular readers (if there are any) would remember that I have been studying about Government and Politics for my A Levels. Those who remember this would probably also remember me bitching about it at every given opportunity. So, after 5 months of sitting in class struggling to pay attention to the monotonous drone of my teacher moaning about Labour and the Tories and pretty much everything else in between, I decided to give it up. I have been struggling with it for some time now and as I'm already doing well in my other subjects I thought it would reduce my stress levels (god knows they're high enough these days). It's been a week since I handed in the foolishly optimistic course drop form (It's bright yellow, may as well have bloody smiley faces all over it, it still won't make me any happier that I'm having to lose an A level), and I have to say, I feel somewhat liberated.

Never again will I have to watch the news and try and attempt to take it all in, never again will I have to think twice about my grammar before speaking in class, never will I have to miss valuable break time rushing to get to class or worrying that I'm a minute late and get locked out.

Rather aptly, this song has been in my head all week, one of their least overhyped records that I still quite like, enjoy.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Balloons Everywhere..

I've mentioned them before but I still think they're brilliant. The Joy Formidable, aka Ritzi, Justin and Rhydian are finally releasing their debut LP, A Balloon Called Moaning, on the 16th of February via Pure Groove Records.

The 8 track limited edition album features some of the band's most successful tracks to date, like the dreamy pop of Austere, not dissimilar from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, (below) and the irresistible Cradle featured on many an ad for Skins. If I'm brutally honest, I think a tenner is a bit much for an 8 track LP, I know they're a newly established band but there's a recession on (apparently, anyone else miss the memo?) and it's a bit much for poor students like myself to fork out. Saying that though, you do get a lot for your money, a screenprinted record sleeve and 'goodies', whatever they may be, plus 8 well crafted and innovative tracks.

So if you have a few quid on you and feel like hearing something refreshing, you can pre-order their LP now at Pure Groove Records.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

You and Your Meddling..

I've been a bit dubious to post about UK producer Little Boots. At first listen of single Meddle I thought it was too derivative of Dutch electropop Alphabeat. However, since I downloaded it courtesy of Boom Boom Chik I've been playing it on repeat. I love this track.

So not only is Victoria (Hesketh, aka Little Boots) one of the hottest acts right now, with NME singing her praises left right and centre, but she's gorgeous too. Some people have all the luck. Meddle is a serious contender for the chart, a cheeky synth track that reeks of attitude and has a chorus as infectious as chlamydia. She's on tour at the moment, so catch a glimpse of this girl while you can, she's ready to explode all over the UK's dancefloors.

Here's the Ebola remix of this track, enjoy.
Meddle (Ebola Remix).MP3

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

To Lose My Life

In case you've been living in a cave for the past couple of weeks, you'll no doubt have heard that White Lies have been tipped as one of the bands set to cause a storm in the Indie circuit. Following on from the Goth chic of Glasvegas, White Lies are the latest band to get miserable. And it sounds great.

Take equal measures of Interpol and The Editors, mix in the morose baritone of Robert Smith and add an album full of desolate lyrics about love, loss and death and you've got White Lies' debut, To Lose My Life. As well as producing uneasy tracks with a sense of foreboding equal to that of pressing play on a Britney Spears album, there's also a few riffs in there that are Radio 1 Playlist worthy; E.S.T's rocking chorus and the Franz Ferdinand-esque Farewell to the Fairground to name but a few. At times it seems that the band are trying a little too hard to vie for our attention and I have to admit, a couple of tracks, Death and Unfinished Business left me somewhat bored. The title track, whilst failing in the mainstream charts entering at only #35, is the least gloom ridden of the lot of them and is impossibly catchy, definitely one to download if you haven't done already.

All in all, they may be one of the finest bands to emerge this year so far, but they have a bit of work to do before they surpass The Cure as my favourite sulk band.

To Lose My Life is out now.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Another One Bites the Dust..

So, it's official, London's Astoria is no more. The iconic gig venue, which hosted the likes of Nirvana, the Stone Roses and the Arctic Monkeys opened its doors for the last time last night.

Acts such as the brilliant Lightspeed Champion and the not so brilliant Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong (seriously, that's so much worse of a name than Biffy Clyro, don't you think?) played for the last time in the Astoria last night, before its demolition this weekend. It's such a shame that the venue is being demolished-for a railway station of all things.

I mean does London really need another railway station?

I haven't been to the place myself, what with being 16 and living about 100 miles away and all, but still it does seem sad that this place is closing. The Astoria is one of those venues that everyone talks about; one of those places that you hear every band seems to play at, where every comedian worth their salt seems to record their DVD's.

The scary thing is, the smaller, more independent venues aren't exactly thick on the ground either. If you want to go to a gig in Bristol you'd have to either pay god knows how much to go to the now garish
Colston Hall or go to the Academy with its sticky floors and watered down drinks. Saying that, I do rather like the Academy, but it's hardly got that wow factor; you don't really walk straight in and think that the setting of the gig will enhance the night, whereas for gigs at other venues like the Astoria there's more of a presence, so I'm told by my mother, a music veteran.

And all the smaller venues seem to exclude a large percentage of potential customers due to age restrictions, licensing laws,etc,etc. So really it seems that this is the end of an era, at least for London's music scene anyway.

Whilst I'm wittering on about gig venues, has anyone ever been to a really great and/or appalling venue? What was it like?

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Don't Upset the Rhythm

Don't Upset the Rhythm is the latest single from London Indie band Noisettes. Noisettes have been on the periphery of the Indie scene for quite some time now, having played SXSW and released 2 EPs and 6 singles thus far. English TV freaks will also know them from the Mazda car ad (the one with the bright green car). I think this band will do well this year, let me know what you think.

You can check out tour dates and Pre order a copy of their new album, Wild Young Hearts, set for release on March 30 at Noisettes' Myspace.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Down in Albion..

Wow. What can I say? The Shambles are definitely back with a vengeance and Daltrey shows he can still turn the crowd savage..

It's 7pm on a miserable, Monday evening. It's been raining all day and I've been revising Philosophy until the cows came home, leaving my brain well and truly frazzled. It's the dreaded month of January and all looks lost, the gloomy feeling is even somewhat present in the crowd I found myself waiting in outside the O2 Academy. Mutters of the atrocious ticket price and muffled bets of whether P. Do will actually show are rife in the air. Will he bother?

In our quest to find out, we saw support act Volts grace the stage with their Indie by numbers. Whilst not boring by any means (imagine The View but less Scottish mixed with a less bland Pigeon Detectives and you're halfway there) their '
oh no she left me' songs aren't exactly innovative. Still, as support bands go they weren't that bad.

Then there was the suspense filled wait with the all important moment of truth: would Mr Doherty and co. be able to grace the stage tonight? Well, as it turns out, he did, and it was truly mesmerising. In all the gigs I've been to in my little life thus far, I don't think I've ever been in that energised a crowd. Within the first 10 minutes three people had been hurled away by security and cups of lager were flowing freely into the crowd. Now this is what I call a gig. Almost every song was received by stadium like rapture, some of the crowd even going as far as chanting the instrumentals, which Doherty and his merry men lapped up nicely. Playing all classic Babyshambles songs with a truly spectacular
Albion leaving the crowd hanging on Pete's every word, and concluding in the laddish Fuck Forever, providing an emphatic start to the new year.

If that wasn't enough,
Roger Daltrey of Who fame joined the lads on stage for a singalong of some of The Who's hit singles, My Generation and a duet with Pete on Magic Bus to name but a few. For an old dude, Roger still emanates coolness, if that's a word, even managing to send the crowd into a frenzy with his mad harmonica solo. The legend also performed seminal track Behind Blue Eyes, dedicating it to a mutual friend of Pete and Roger's who lost his life to cancer, hearing the hundreds of inebriated people in the room cheering and applauding the memory of the young man was nearly enough to make a lump in my throat.

So after all the worrying and hassle of getting the tickets at the last minute; paying god knows how much for them, having to give up valuable revision time and nearly getting knocked out by a dozen 7 ft students, seeing Babyshambles and Roger Daltrey play in Bristol was absolutely one of the best performances I've ever seen. Fuck revision, that was ace.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Throwing His Arms Around What Now?

After about 7 months of waiting, Stephen Morrissey has finally let us hear his next offering from forthcoming new album Years of Refusal. The track, dubbed I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris, is available to hear on his Myspace music stream as from this week.

I have to admit I was a little put out when I heard that Morrissey's new album was being held back for release until February, but then with his and Marr's Sound of The Smiths record also out towards the end of last year it didn't really make for good marketing. For those unsure if the Mozzfather's still got it, one need only listen to this track to know that he may be getting on a bit (Moz will turn 50 this year) but the witty, poignant lyrics are still there, not to mention the simultaneously wistful and catchy melodies.

And to all those lucky buggers who got tickets for his upcoming UK tour; I hate you.

Listen to his new single here:
Morrissey's Myspace
I'm Throwing.. is out on February 9th, whilst Years of Refusal is set to be released on February 23rd.

EDIT: Now there's a video too!

Morrissey - I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris

Thursday, 1 January 2009

One for the Comedown..

Hope everyone had a wondrous New Year, I myself celebrated by having some friends over for a party where I got to spin my very first 12" Vinyl, Ladyhawke's debut that was gifted to me by my best friend. Who needs MP3's?

Since everyone's probably rather dead today, here's a mellow track to ease your hangover..

I HATE Youtube.