Saturday, 30 July 2011

Everyone's favourite pretentious electro outfit IAMX are back with another shiny track from recent album Volatile Times.

Supposedly written about "a child of the infinite," Bernadette sounds like the soundtrack to some twisted fairground scene in a horror film (or at least a particularly creepy scene from Scooby Doo). While catchy and sleek like much of IAMX's work, the strings and rather trippy theramin just send shivers down my spine. If I were Bernadette I'd be a bit freaked out.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

LCD Soundsystem and Lego, what could be better?

The talking lego men creep me out a bit though.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Day 2- Parkway Drive

Parkway Drive
Bits and pieces taken from their various albums

So after a day reliving my youth with some Maiden, I now find myself in uncharted waters. This is where I begin to crawl out of my comfort zone and into the deep dark depths of metal, and already I'm missing the safe comforts of the xylophone. Still, onwards and upwards to my next recommendation.

For a band with such a quaint and unassuming name, Parkway Drive are certainly anything but.

Parkway Drive don't seem like a band for the fainthearted. Each song is like being shoved against a wall of sound and then screamed at for 4 minutes; something that shouldn't seem all that appealing, but surprisingly, is (though maybe that's just me..). This is most definitely the yang to Maiden's yin.
Although I was expecting something perhaps more measured in terms of vocals and at times it sounds like the poor man needs a soother, overall I was left mildly impressed.

Nevertheless, I can't say they've managed to convert me to the dark side just yet. The guitarwork, while strong, just feels a bit relentless and samey at times: there's just not much in the way of dynamics (aside from loud). But then I suppose that's kind of the point. What they lack in subtlety though they make up for in atmosphere and consistency, making it the kind of metal you can dance to without necessarily killing yourself.

All in all a very interesting, if striking band. I don't think I've quite found my metal band yet, but it's a jolly good place to start.


Monday, 25 July 2011

Noel Gallagher's new solo stuff may sound a bit like Oasis 2.0, but having been in such a successful and influential band it's not entirely surprising to see. What is noticeable here though is, shockingly, a touch of class; something virtually non-existent in Noel's previous incarnation. I'm certainly intrigued by Noel's upcoming solo stuff, it's already sounding a thousand times better than anything Beady Eye have done thus far.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

I think we can all agree that the past week or so has been difficult to stomach. After a couple of days of 24 hour news coverage and watching everything seemingly implode, I'm about ready to crawl inside a cave and stay there until the alien invasion, or at least until things calm down a bit. One of the two.

It's so easy to lose faith in the world when you see what some people are capable of, but it's worth remembering that for every barbaric Nazi twat there's a calm stoic Norwegian there to remind us just how strong the human condition really is. And for every moment of desperation and Justin Bieber there's a band that can elevate your soul to an entirely different dimension and make even the darkest day that little bit brighter.

So make a cup of tea, play this song and hope for a better week. It's about all you can do really.

My heart goes out to all those who have been affected by the atrocities in Norway, the famine in Africa and the train crash in China. You can donate to the disaster relief fund for Africa here. The world is a scary place, thank God we've got music there to soften the blow.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

A talented woman taken way before her time.

Amy Winehouse
14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011

Friday, 22 July 2011

This is stunning in its simplicity. Makes me long for the cold marble floors and unearthly acoustics of the cathedral more than ever. It's amazing how just a few voices and an organ can create such a beautiful sound.

Not Standing Still

If you haven't heard the new album from The Horrors yet then you're missing out. Having not been tremendously impressed with Primary Colours, I was a bit unsure whether to give the band a second chance. However, after one listen to Skying I'm firmly back in the fan club. As difficult as it was to accept the new dreamy style the band have adopted since the days of Strange House, it seems to work well here. Each song is distinctive in its own way, making something much more memorable than anything on their last album. There's more than a touch of The Stone Roses here as well, a factor which certainly works in their favour. The combination of synth and reverse guitar work manages to create a trippy yet optimistic atmosphere which, unlike their previous work, leaves one feeling happily dazed rather than seasick.

The Horrors are a band who have been constantly evolving since their conception. It's clear that after a few initial teething pains, the band have grown up to become one of the post punk scene's strongest players.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Happiness- 0 Sadness- 1

To celebrate the release of eagerly anticipated fourth album Happiness V Sadness, Robots in Disguise were due to throw yet another raucous electro riot down in good old Brizzle this evening. Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, the venue cancelled the gig at the last minute, leaving one very disappointed music blogger in our midst.

One is not amused..

You can't help but really feel for these guys, they seem to be constantly fighting an uphill path. Despite this being their fourth album, the band have never quite achieved the levels of success they deserve. With tracks more energised than a toddler on crack, Sue and Dee have managed to capture the essence of what it is to be young and carefree, making them the perfect soundtrack to teenage debauchery and house parties gone wrong. And yet I'm still met with a resounding 'who?' when I mention them. Honestly, some people!

But despite their underground status and the difficulties they've faced in terms of funding the new album, what's really great to see is that after all this time and effort they're still just as wired as ever. Robots in Disguise are a band that works hard and parties harder, check them out if you want to join the fun.

Tickets for the gig at Start The Bus are refundable if you contact the venue. At this time there is no news of rescheduling the date.

Day One- A Matter of Life & Death

Already being a fan of Iron Maiden I realise this is a bit of a cop out. But hey, I'm in for a long, loud month so just give me this one, ok? Truth be told, I haven't had a good listen to Brucey and co for far too long. I remember being given Somewhere Back in Time by my dad when I'd just started getting into music and playing it constantly; so much so that years later, after not listening to it since then, I still remember pretty much every word. Thinking about it, Iron Maiden was always going to be the perfect place to start my metallic escapade really, it just feels like coming home.

In order to widen my palette which is, afterall, the entire point of this, I opted for an album of theirs I wasn't too familiar with: A Matter of Life and Death. I'd say that for anyone wanting to get into this genre of music, AMOLAD is a fine place to start. It's clearly a well constructed album that seems to just flow from one song to the next without becoming too heavy. The contrast in dynamics throughout the album really help to draw you into the music and Dickinson's vocals just glue the whole thing together perfectly. For someone who's had no professional vocal training, his range is insane. There's also plenty of hooks here to keep those with even the shortest of attention spans entertained. Infact, the entire thing just comes across as incredibly polished. Whether this is actuality a good thing or not is up to interpretation, but for me personally, it works.

A Matter of Life and Death is an album that completely shatters any preconceptions you may have had about metal. Contrary to popular (ignorant) belief, it's not all angry shouting and insane amounts of distortion, metal can be as riveting and finely crafted as any other artform. This is pretty much everything I love about rock, so if my experiment yields no other benefit, at least I'll have rekindled an old flame.


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

There's something so achingly bittersweet about this, makes me want to give the lead singer a hug and yet hit him in the face at the same time.

That's normal, right?

After taking a seven year hiatus, Death in Vegas are set to come back with a bang.

Man at the helm of the electro krautrock ship Richard Fearless is back from a stint in Brooklyn and currently in the process of mixing new album Trans Love Energies. The album, the first since 2004's Satan's Circus, comprises 12 new tracks and also features guest vocals from one Katie Stelmanis of Austra fame. After producing albums from the likes of Dark Horses and remixing everything from The Horrors to The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, it's great to see Fearless back in the driver's seat.

Trans Love Energies is set for release on 12th September, but if you're keen to find out just what DIV have been up to, new single Enforced Peace is available to download from their official site. Fearless and Holmes will also be shortly announcing a UK tour in the autumn, so keep a look out for that.

Here's hoping the new stuff sounds as good as the likes of this:

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

A Wonderful Oddity- Music Challenge #1: Metal

Yes, you heard right. For the next 30 days I'm going to delve into a genre of music that's fascinated yet intimidated me for years: metal.

As those of you who've read my blog before will know, I'm not usually one for the meatier side of things. Sure I did the whole emo thing at 14 when I thought the world was out to get me (who didn't?), but since growing up I've settled into a rather hum drum complacency. One which, although comfortable, has stifled any curiosity I'd had in the past over anything that doesn't include whistling or sugar coated harmonies. So after a weekend being exposed to all things raaar, I've decided to check out some of what I've been missing.

For the next 30 days I'm going to be listening to one metal band a day, with at least one full album being clocked up on my page as evidence. I'm hoping that by throwing myself into the scene headfirst I may find something new and exciting to sink my teeth into. Plus it gives me the chance to expand my horizons a bit and that can be no bad thing.

I'll be checking in every few days on Irrelevant Twaddle to chronicle my adventures, but for those of you worried that I'm going to be growing a beard and joining the next circle pit I see, fear not. I'm going to try and keep this as a sidebar to my usual lo fi ramblings. That way everyone's happy.

In order to ease myself into the scene, I've been recommended a lovely acoustic cover of Black Sabbath's Paranoid. Not quite metal, but it's just too pretty not to mention.

In the meantime, feel free to recommend me some metal bands, I'm somewhat out of my depth here!

Monday, 18 July 2011

A great song for those post festival blues.

This is totally going to be in my head all day.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Everyone's Here

One of the stand out moments for me this summer, nay year, was standing in a sunny field, listening to some of the most beautiful, spine-tingling music I've ever heard live. No it wan't U2 and shockingly not Morrissey either (sacrilege I know) who reduced me to tears with their glorious sunset show, but Elbow.

Elbow's 2011 Glastonbury set had everything you could possibly ask for in a performance, with my only qualm being lack of older material (but it's not as if their new stuff is sub-par at any rate). Every song packed as much punch as the last, whether it was the psychedelic The Birds or something thrilling like Grounds for Divorce.

But what made this something truly special was the band themselves. If there's one act that knows how to work a crowd, it's Elbow. Reverse Mexican waves, a mass happy birthday singalong and even some Freddie Mercury style call and response; Guy Garvey totally had us in the palm of his hand. And what's better is that it wasn't just us who were entranced by the magnitude of it all, the entire band looked just as giddy as we did. For me, that's what makes gigs that little bit more special- the fact that you know the band are right there with you, in spirit as well as body.

There's a lot to be said for the setting here too, which could help to explain some of my gushing. If you've been to Glastonbury before you'll no doubt have experienced the 'sunset moment:' i.e. a period of awe and contentment with the world. It sounds pretentious and maybe it is, but those moments are few and far between outside the gates of Worthy Farm so you have to take what you can get really. Standing in the crowd, singing Hey Jude with thousands of people before the set, then listening to anthems like Lippy Kids as the sun went down- it just doesn't get better than that. It just encapsulates everything I love about festivals. They're a chance to escape and get back to what you love, whether that be watching music, making clay pots or even performing music, in the case of Mr Garvey. At any point across the weekend you'd hear the phrase 'we love Glastonbury' being banded about like nobody's business, but when he says it, you can tell by the look on his face that he means every syllable.

Makes me teary just thinking about it.

Elbow's 2011 Glastonbury set is a fine testament to the Glastonbury spirit, where musician and audience both share something that can only be found at a certain time of year (usually in a muddy field). At 20 years old, Elbow have certainly paid their dues and deserve the success they're currently enjoying. What puts the icing on the cake, however, is knowing that amidst the album sales and gruelling tour schedule, they still love what they're doing. Long may they continue to do so if these are the kind of performances they produce.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have something in my eye.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

It's been a busy few months for Radiohead. What with an impromptu album release, newspaper publication and even a 'surprise' set at Glastonbury (as if we didn't know..), they've clearly come out of their reverie and back to doing what they do best.

But it doesn't stop there. Fans of the band will know that Thom and the boys have also recorded a session from The Basement, long term project of friend and collaborator Nigel Godrich. The session features, among tracks from latest album King of Limbs; a new single in the form of The Daily Mail, which someone has been nice enough to put on Youtube for our delectation.

If there's any band perfectly suited for a Sunday morning, it's Radiohead. So sit back and enjoy.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Music music everywhere and lots of songs to, umm, drink.

There's more music around this summer than you can shake your Raybans at. Honestly, a bit of sunshine and all of a sudden every Tom Dick & Indie band crawls out of the woodwork to bury their electroindiedancerockfolk tunes into our skulls, never to escape.
After returning from a shall we say challenging Glasto (and falling into the mud at least once a day), I've come back with an increased lust for all things musical. Amidst my musical meanderings I've uncovered literally dozens of new tracks to sink my teeth in. Infact, I've bombarded myself with so much good music of late that I've needed a good sit down to accommodate the giddiness. In order to attempt to shuffle through the chaos, I've decided to make a list of my favourites and share them with you lovely folk. Aren't you lucky?

1. Bon Iver

I'm not sure why I've never bothered to listen to Bon Iver. Perhaps it was the name or maybe it was mere idleness, but they were always 'a band I'll check out later.' However, after caving into peer pressure, I eventually had a listen and what I heard left me wishing I'd checked them out sooner. They take the layered harmonies circa Beegees and meld them together with sprinkles of light jazz, elevator music and more than a little folk: an odd combination on paper, but somehow it works. Although at times coming across a bit too much like a Disney soundtrack (see Beth/Rest), Bon Iver largely produce very delicate, structured songs that seem to radiate warmth. Nice to have on in the background whilst watching the stars on a cool summer's eve.

See what I mean?

2. Fleet Foxes

I couldn't write about how great this summer sounds without including my favourite bearded friends. I've been championing this band since their glorious 2008 self titled d├ębut and judging from how great their second offering is, I don't intend on stopping any time soon. Those looking for the difficult second album may be disappointed as there's none of that here. Helplessness Blues provides more of what we've come to know and love from the Seattle quintet: good old fashioned American folk. Critics may claim this lack of progression is a coward's move, but when you've got the mixture of twee harmony and catchy rhythms, why bother changing a thing?

If anything I think this album really lets Peckinold and co shine, moreso than in their humble first album. They may not be ready to launch into a death metal number anytime soon, but they're definitely a lot more willing to venture into wilder terrain, whilst still managing to retain their softness. The Shrine/Argument is a fine example of this, balancing the two extremes beautifully (or as beautifully as a dying trumpet can sound anyway- you may not want to listen to it at full volume if you don't want a fright). Fleet Foxes are good, strong musicians who are willing to take chances, they're just taking baby steps.

After seemingly coming out of nowhere, Warpaint have become one of the hottest acts this summer. Why, you may ask? Well, for starters they're hot chicks with guitars. In a scene so starved of a feminine touch (at the moment anyway), it's rather refreshing to hear a band so seemingly dainty lead into a heavy, sprawling groove that can only be described as a wall of sound in one swift move. There's just something so effortless and cool about them, which I suppose has much to do with the hipster connotations they've accrued thus far in their tenure. Even the vocals sound like she's still half asleep, which only manage to provide a sleek, sensual sound that leaves you hanging on every word. This, combined with the dark, intense undertones make Warpaint the epitome of dreamy rock and the perfect soundtrack to a summer spent prancing around in fields of daisies. Or something.

I'll be adding to the list throughout the week, would love to hear what you think