Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Forms - The Forms

This is the self-titled follow up to The Forms well received debut album, Icarus. Many have commented on the their increasing similarity in style with bands like Battles, Deerhoof and Dirty Projectors and in many respects The National. These comparisons can be considered entirely justified on the hearing of this album but they are more than this. They have crafted a distinct sound which is well honed in almost all aspects. Every note and every melody seems to have gone over with a fine tooth comb to give it the highest impact in each composition.

bristles with complex, forceful arrangements that ease into subtle and delicate vocals which allow caress the senses. The band clearly have developed a style where you can get lost inside tracks for the duration and come out the other side questioning reality and where all the time has gone, which makes it sometimes very unsteady listening. Bones bounces along with piano that produces the most carefree and beautiful moment on the album. Many tracks feature indiscernible segments which drive and drift in a complex manner. Creating something which few bands could pull off in such a conclusive manner.

is the finest moment on this album, its pulled along by excellent guitar work which frees it from all the other tracks and makes it the standout in this collection. One criticism you can aim at this sophomore effort is the confusing and almost unlistenable Blue Whale which while not diverting from their usual style features guitar work which makes you question their methods slightly. But only for a mere few seconds because what they have created here is an album which is unique while being extremely accessible and has clearly been a labour of love.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

I've always been confused by the name of this band, is it an order? Or merely a exclamation that they are in fact a piece metallic cutlery? I think I would prefer not to know, It maintains the aura of mystery. Something that can be said about this band for certain is that they are improving dramatically with each album, Gimme Fiction was a sign that this is a band that should be listened to. So with open ears and an open mind I picked up my copy of their newest album, eager to see whether they could keep up the magic touch which the now possess.

I was not to be disappointed the strangely titled Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga continues their rich vein of form. Underdog, the first single from this album a tapestry of a wonderful bass line and horns that puts it in line for song of the year. Its a celebration of how good they have become and a perfect choice for a first single. They have fine tuned their sound so well that every song jumps out you with lyrics and tunes that are unrivalled. Songs like Rhythm And Soul and Finer Feelings are a triumph of pop combined with studio ingenuity and anyone who dares them to produce these songs live should check out the performance of Underdog on the Late Show with David Letterman which can be found on youtube. So, what are you doing sitting reading this? Go out and buy this, you shall not regret such a decision.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Jai - Alai Savant - Flight of the Bass Delegate

I stumbled across this band through another of my favourite bands The Mars Volta whom they share a record label which. In many ways they are similar to the aforementioned band. They have produced a debut album which jumps around and flits back and forth through multiple influences, like a ten year old boy who's had far too much Haribo and Capri Sun and wont stay still. Despite the strong impact of other bands on them including the Mars Volta they have a very clear sound, that is very much their own. Its held together by the hushed vocals of Ralph Darden which are at times very reminiscent of Sting and the sublime drumming of Michael Bravine.

Scarlett Johansson Why Don't You Love Me jumps out and hits you on name alone and it doesn't disappoint when heard, its a song I could listen to all day without becoming bored. One of the best songs is the funky The Low and Frequent See which trips along and at over 7 minutes as by no means short but have no fear as none of that time is wasted. Sugar Free has to be my favourite song from the album and is without a doubt the most police sounding with is superb chorus. They are a band who can produce pop brilliance or self indulgent mastepieces and with that range they have the potential to become even better. Although quite a few of the songs seem to cut out just as they are getting going, that's a minor quibble over what is an excellent debut from a band who should be huge.

Feist - 1,2,3,4 (Single)

One of my favourite singers currently and the creator of the critically acclaimed album The Reminder is the lovely Leslie Feist. Not only is this lady intensely beautiful but also amazingly talented. Yes, ok I'm in love with her. Anyway, this is the new video to her second single from The Reminder and is entitled 1,2,3,4. See if you can get through the whole video without smiling once.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Kula Shaker - Strangefolk

They have always been a band that alot of people love to hate. But one thing for sure is that they are an exceedingly talented musicians and on this their long overdue third album they show how good they really are. Hurricane Season and Shadowlands are well thought out pieces of songwriting brilliance that allow you to wonder how you haven't heard them before. Sure, their music might not be fashionable in our Arctic Monkeys flavoured world. But they play without compromise and in doing so highlight how poor some of the songwriting is out there in the current music scene.

Politics rear their head once again with a song that featured on their The Revenge Of The King EP. Great Dictator (Of the Free World) has since had a slight reworking and I think its a very witty and humorous take on a subject that others have sang and died by, but in this case it works well. The title track as I see it seems to act as a divide for the album. Before it I see lighthearted and jaunty tunes and afterwards they seem to switch into serious mode, perhaps I am imagining this so called split in the album but its something which I will credit them with.

The first track following the break is Song of Live/Narayana which incorporates elements from the tracks Narayan and Climbatize, both from The Prodigy's album Fat Of The Land. Narayan was a co-written with Mills and it featured his vocals, some would see the use of this as a remedy for a lack of decent new material but its such a good reworking and they've changed it enough to make it an worthy track in its own right. They are a band of the 90's, but this music is timeless. If only more British bands were making such good music.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Verve Reunite For Tour

Excellent news music fans. The original band of Richard Ashcroft, Nick McCabe, Simon Jones and Pete Sailsbury are to get together for the first time in almost a decade to play dates this winter. It is thought that the band will be releasing new material in the form of a new album sometime in the near future.

The band are to play:

Glasgow Academy (November 2,3)
Blackpool Empress Ballroom (5,6)
London Roundhouse (8,9)

As a celebration of this wonderful news here is a live version of a song from the very start of their career, a live version of the song A Man Called Sun.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Smashing Pumpkins - Tarantula Artwork

The new artwork for the Smashing Pumpkins comeback single Tarantula makes one raise a single eyebrow. It's released in the UK on July 2nd but its already available to download. Make what you will of the cover which features the delightful miss Hilton holding a Blackberry with the cover of their new album Zeitgeist on the screen, against the backdrop of a nuclear explosion. Provocative to say the least.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Down Boy

A track from the delectable new york outfit with fiery, front woman Karen O. Its a track from their forthcoming Is Is EP. This band just keep on growing with each new record and with this track which is a marvellous piece of pop-rock. They appear to have expanded their branches even further.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band 40th Anniversary

What an idea, get contemporary acts to perform sgt pepper songs using the same recording techniques that The Beatles used all those years ago. This of course could be a recipe for disaster, with the utter destruction of wonderful songs by inferior acts. However I'm pleased to announce that in the most part this is not the case. The excellent performances by the Kaiser Chiefs, Stereophonics and Razorlight (Thankfully without Mr Borrell) are a delight to listen to. One track which I haven't featured here that really doesn't work is She's Leaving Home performed by the Magic Numbers. His voice really doesn't fit the song and it becomes a mess. If you really want to hear it, it can be found on Youtube. But in the meantime enjoy, Kaiser Chiefs - Getting Better, Razorlight - With A Little Help From My Friends and The Stereophonics - Sgt. Peppers [Reprise]


Another track to add to this collection. A heartwarming rendition of Lovely Rita performed by Travis

Monday, June 18, 2007

New Radiohead Material

At last some news of the imminent new Radiohead album. Its a montage of new tracks that should feature on the new release. It doesn't settle on each track for very long but from the little snippets you are given is enough to get you excited.

The Go! Team - Grip Like A Vice (Single)

The new song from The Go! Team played live on Channel 4's Transmission. It doesn't sound too dissimilar from their last album but they are truly one of the only real innovators in Britain at the moment but with America producing talent like Battles, we need to keep up. They have clearly now refined their live sound which they struggled with before and hopefully the new album will be just as good. Grip Like A Vice out in the UK on 2 July 2007


Here is the official video for this very song:

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Muse - Man Of Mystery

Here is a tasty little snack, recorded for the NME CD celebrating the Muse concerts at the new Wembley. A cover of an instrumental song by 60's band, The Shadows which has become a staple part of their live shows.

They used a mobile studio on their laptops, working overnight on their tour bus between shows on their 2007 European tour, before emailing it to NME. I think you will all agree that it really highlights what an exceptionally talented group they are.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

UNKLE feat Ian Astbury - Burn My Shadow (Single)

Now the new UNKLE video for Burn My Shadow. This is a stunning piece of work, quite reminiscent of the Radiohead video for Just. But this surpasses even that with direction and flow that fits so perfectly with the music. The song features guest vocals from Ian Astbury from The Cult and his dreaded vocals add to the panic and fear that is created with seemingly such ease. You are pulled into the chaos, tumbling into the scene, drawn in for the video's inevitable climax.

Tokyo Police Club - Your English Is Good (Single)

First of all I would like to compliment this band on a fine name choice Tokyo Police Club rolls off the tongue nicely. Secondly the song, this is a feel good summer hit as the video likes to suggest. Its a song that celebrates youth by its very nature. Quick and sharp sounding its a bright beacon for the young and oppressed. Almost a My Generation for our generation. Sure its not quite at the same level as The Who's classic but its clearly the goal and its good to aim high. To my mind this young canadian band sound like a mixture between The Strokes and The Cribs particularly on this new single, which is no bad thing. While I didn't really enjoy their previous single, this is a lively and jubilant piece of songwriting that makes Tokyo Police Club an excellent prospect for the future.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Glance Upon... Blackbud

A mixture between Jeff Buckley and Led Zeppelin they are Joe Taylor (guitar and vocals), Adam Newton (bass, backing vocals) and Sam Nadel (drums, backing vocals). Strangely signed to Independiente home to such bands as Travis and Embrace they are a breath of fresh air to a stale music scene. Their first album From The Sky was a fine piece of work, but it felt somehow incomplete. More of a sound which can be built upon rather than the finest article. With sublime tracks such as Barefoot Dancing which tantalise the listener with bright, confident guitar work and subtle vocals they surely have alot more to offer.

I await their new material which from the tasty morsels posted on their Myspace page should be epic. Now's The Time retains the soft feel of the first album but builds upon it to produce something which feels freer and less constrained. Have a listen and tell me what you think.

"Official Blackbud Myspace Page"

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Arctic Monkeys - The Bakery (Live)

My apologies but here is another slice of The Arctic Monkeys, this time the b-side to Fluorescent Adolescent. Follow the link below to your prize.

"The Arctic Monkeys - The Bakery (Live)"

The Arctic Monkeys - Fluorescent Adolescent (Single)

The music video was directed by Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd/Garth Marenghi's Darkplace) who is a funny man indeed. So its not surprise that the video which stars Stephen Graham (Scummy Man) as a clown, is of a humorous nature. Its a song that is well loved and no doubt will do well with its feel-good summer tinge. Although the video in my opinion is not as punchy as it could have been despite the band considering this their best video yet.

On a personal note I was on the same location as this video not long after. Helping with filming of the promo for up and coming new band Passenger and their song Do What You Like. The video can be found below.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Gossip - Listen Up (Single)

A brand new re-release from a band that I've heard far too much about. This is mundane effort, empty and uneventful . "1, 2 ,3 take it from me, 3, 4 so much trouble in store 4, 5 get it right,the first time" sings Beth Ditto seemingly not realising how awful the lyrics she is singing are. The instrumentation is unadventurous and they seem to rely to much on Ditto's strong voice which is undoubtedly impressive. They just don't have the quality of songs and if I'm honest I don't think they have the talent to write anything better than or on par with Standing In The Way Of Control. I won't be at all surprised to see them fade into obscurity once the hype has died down.

Smashing Pumpkins - Tarantula (Single)

Aren't we all glad these are back. Sure, they aren't all back but they are back in name. This is Tarantula, the firecracker of a comeback song that we all wished for. It's from their forthcoming new album Zeitgeist. This is a video of the Smashing Pumpkins reunion tour with Tarantula.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The White Stripes - Effect and Cause (Live on Later... with Jools Holland)

I rather enjoyed this comment from Web Sheriff, no doubt on behalf of the record companies. It tries to not be heavy handed but methinks its failed.

"Kindly remove all unreleased WHITE STRIPES torrent files / keys and links from this site / thread immediately, failing which - regrettably - a DMCA notification shall be forwarded to the site and take-down action shall follow : naturally, however, we hope that this shall not prove to be necessary.

As you will surely know, traffic on this (unreleased) album is being monitored and removed ... .. and not just by Web Sheriff, but also by Warners and their attorneys so, if you have to indulge in this activity (which Jack and Meg would rather you didn‘t), then do it off-line / do not ‘broadcast‘ it. Otherwise your details will be harvested and you may be hearing from Warners and / or the RIAA.

On behalf of the artists label, we do appreciate that - of course - you are a fans of / are promoting THE WHITE STRIPES but, by the same token, you must also appreciate that, by posting a pirate copy of the album or tracks from the album pre-release (or linking to pirate copies), you are potentially causing considerable inconvenience and we are sure that you would not want to be personally responsible (or liable) for all of the resulting damage.

Thank you for respecting the artist‘s and label‘s wishes and, if you want good quality, non-pirated preview tracks, NME magazine are offering 2 tracks by The White Stripes on coloured vinyl with next week‘s issue.

Whilst writing, we‘d add that we‘re not at all against free music but, at the end of the day, it should be (and is) the artist‘s decision as to whether or not they allow albums to circulate before release, as it‘s THEIR MUSIC !! For the avoidance of doubt, the Q101 broadcast was NOT authorised (so there are no double standards applying here).

As you will appreciate, this e-mail - containing, as it does, a position that is potentially prejudicial to our clients open / formal position - is written on a without prejudice basis and, as such, all of our clients accumulated, worldwide rights remain strictly reserved : please excuse this required formality."

To lighten the mood here is a live track from the new White Stripes album Icky Thump entitled Effect and Cause which was played on Later... with Jools Holland.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Jam - English Rose (Classic Song)

I felt the need to post this song. I think its the most romantic song ever written, even a person such as me with a heart of stone gets emotional listening to it. So enjoy and don't worry about holding back the tears, we are all friends here.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Polyphonic Spree - The Fragile Army

Stop the presses! The Polyphonic Spree make an angst ridden metal album! Only joking, of course this is another feel-good, skip through the summer fields, happy clappy, in your face celebration of being alive. Do these people ever have a bad day? Probably. Do they ever turn it into a song? Of course not! This another chapter in the musical saga that is the Polyphonic Spree.

Running Away
and Younger Yesterday are clear examples of how much they haven't changed. Running Away is a song that is a perfect representation of them as a band. It's like running away with the wind in my face, It's like flying, And you and I are open wide they sing with all the gusto and exuberance of a choir. We Crawl and Overblow Your Nest are the closest things your going to get to unhappy songs on this album, but even with them they manage to make into something grand and beautiful. They genuinely brighten you up with songs like Watch Us Explode (Justify) which is probably my favourite song on the album. It bubbles with joy and holds a more rocky undertone that their other work. Just listening to the album draws a smile on your face and that is a wonderful ability that they have as a band. I wouldn't change them for the world even if I had that kind of power.

Kid Harpoon - Colours (Live)

This is something from an artist you probably haven't heard of he's from the south east of England. If you truly like music then you'll enjoy this, a live version of the song Colours. Hes a real talent and I think you should all check out his Myspace page which is;

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Marilyn Manson - Eat Me, Drink Me

Eat Me, Drink Me which has been fashioned by himself as well as guitarist and bassist Tim Sköld. Manson has stated that he had difficulty cutting down some of the tracks but I don't think thats the obvious problem with this album. The quality of the album cover is my main concern.

Amongst the broken down trains and burning builidngs in this musical landscape songs like You And Me And The Devil Makes Three appear. This is kind of song where Manson thrives as its held together by a spikey drum beat and a good bridge to the chorus that make it the best track on here. Just A Car Crash Away is another high point of the album. It moves along with Manson's breathly vocal and Sköld's neat guitar rhythm seeminly achieving a rare moment of clarity. Mutilation Is The Most Sincere Form Of Flattery is another of my favourites which is as much a slice of bright bubblegum pop as the title allows. It's also another track for Sköld's guitar work. This is as much Sköld's album as it is Manson's its a gritty and abrasive and there are tracks here that are some of Manson's finest work. This is underlined with the last track on the album Eat Me, Drink Me which is a very similar track to the opening If I Was Your Vampire. It doesn't take you anywhere but really draws you in with some sparkling guitar work against a primal drum beat. It's an album thats produces moments of brilliance but doesn't produce them consistantly enough.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Klaxons - It's Not Over Yet (Single)

Heres a real treat for everybody. A Klaxons performance of It's Not Over Yet which is due to be their next single. Its a more chilled out version than the original, which isn't released until the 25th June. So lay back and relax to a different type of Klaxons performance.

Arctic Monkeys - Matador (Single)

Now for something slightly different, a track from the Japanese version of Favourite Worst Nightmare entitled Matador. I for one am disappointed that this isn't available on the British version. I hope that this is an insight into a possible new direction for the band because it has a very psychedelic zest to it. How refreshing it is to see them trying something different with no vocals from young Alex Turner till towards the end of the track. It's getting a limited release on 7" on the 18th June.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Paul McCartney - Memory Almost Full

Isn't it nice to see something written about Mr McCartney that isn't about his private life? This is his latest offering, Memory Almost Full. The first album on the new Starbucks record label. I wasn't envisaging to find anything new about him from this and so I wasn't suprised to find that this is the same material that hes been releasing for all of his career.

Sure, I don't know what I really, a rap album or a dance album probably. This is as far from that as possible. I want to like this album but find myself thinking the same things as when I looked at the lead off single Dance Tonight. Its not all bad though, Mister Bellamy mixes old with the new with McCartneys usual vocal delivery and a tinkery piano rhythm on top of a modern sounding drum beat. House Of Wax moves along like an ghostly presence reminiscent of the Manic Street Preachers track Intense Humming Of Evil. With Eerie vocals from McCartney and uncessesary guitar solos its a step above the rest of the material on this record. Most of this however you can find done far better earlier in his career. A pleasant trip if one that you've taken many times before.

The Bees - Listening Man (Single)

The newest single from the bands latest release Octopus. Its a jaunty summer melody that really has no place being released as a single, its reminiscent of much of the album though which was a tour de force. It features a very witty video that I think some of us can relate to.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Paul McCartney - Dance Tonight (Single)

This track from his new album Memory Almost Full sounds like it was written in five minutes. The gentle mandalin playing and lyrics are pleasant enough but its a song that really only this man could get away with.

It's almost as if he isn't trying anymore and in essence he doesn't really need to. Having said that its a fantastic video that accompanies the song directed by Michel Gondry that stars Natalie Portman and Mackenzie Crook.

The Horrors - She Is The New Thing (Single)

These fellows are darkness personified. But unfortunately this is one of the the weaker tracks from their debut album and not even a clever video that combines live action and animation can save it. It suffers from the ailment of not being quite different enough from the previous singles to warrant a listen. Something that plagued Strange House, they need to hide away in the shadows for a while and plan their second album.

Queens Of The Stone Age - Era Vulgaris

The first listen to the new Queens Of The Stone Age album I await with quivering fingers and an aching in my stomach. I really enjoyed Lullabies To Paralyze their last album, I thought it was the most significant of the Queens Of The Stone Age albums. It represents a point of change, they were evolving and the culmination of this change is Era Vulgaris. The album opens with a sensational riff on Turning On The Screw which sets you up nicely for what you will experience with the rest of the album.

When I first saw the track list I was pleased to see a favourite of mine from the Desert Sessions and the Queens live album Over The Years And Through The Woods. Make it Wit Chu which is very different from anything that they have produced before. It chugs along beautifully with a piano beat holding it together. My personal favourite has to be the Suture Up Your Future which has a moves along with a bouncing bass line in the verses and in the chorus descends into echoey guitars. You still get your churning, heavy pop tracks with 3's & 7's and Sick, Sick, Sick fitting the bill. But overall the songwriting and technical ability has upped significantly and they have allowed themselves to create a much darker and less mainstream effort where they experiment without losing their own sound. They've created an album which is without a doubt the finest of their career to date.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Kanye West - Can't Tell Me Nothing (Single)

Despite him being in the middle of nowhere for his new video he still manages to sneak in a gratuitous shots of a Lamborghini. This could only be Kanye West. For a rap video its very arty, a women dressed in long flowing dress and waves of psychedelic colour and smoke that float across the screen isn't the norm. Kanye likes to do things differently and this Hype Williams directed video is exactly that. Its a song that doesn't grab you like it should though, despite it having all the usual Kanye motifs like a lovely sampled vocal that rings through the track. Its not quite up to his usual quality and I hope this isn't a sign of him losing his magic touch.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The White Stripes - Icky Thump (Single)

The new single from The White Stripes new album of the same name. Its reminiscent of the earlier work of their self titled debut and second album De Stijl.

But once again they've mixed it up with wonderful sprawling Jack White solos on top of a very simple drum beat supplied as ever by Meg. This track is brash and heavy. It isn't for the weak of mind or for those who find Keane too noisy. A triumphant return to the fray for the Whites and definitely a contender for single of the year.

The video is below, its a strange fellow indeed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Marilyn Manson - Heart-Shaped Glasses (When the Heart Guides the Hand)

You mention Marilyn Manson to a person and immediately the reaction is either disgust or indifference. He conjures up the image of this grotesque image of resentment. But underneath all the make-up and showmanship there's a man who knows how to make good music . This the first single from his forthcoming sixth studio album Eat Me, Drink Me an album which was strictly a collaboration between himself and Tim Skold. "Don't break, don't break my heart, and I won't break your heart shaped glasses." Manson sings, this is quite clearly a pop song dressed up in rock clothing, its grimy its gritty but when the chorus comes in you can't help but sing along. Manson has been creating this kind of song all his career and long may that continue.

Bjork - Earth Intruders

The video for sublime Bjork single Earth Intruders which is taken from her new album Volta which is her sixth studio album.

I don't know about you but this video has a hypnotic effect on me. It feels as if my mind is being taken control of, its probably nothing. Must buy Bjork back catalogue.

Manic Street Preachers - Send Away The Tigers

The music in the early section of the manics career was filled with passion and they felt as if they had something to say to the world. Recently they've been trying to recapture that energy with the patchy Know Your Enemy which without a doubt would have benefited from a trimming down and now with Send Away The Tigers which nobody could say was too long with its 10 tracks. The opening track, which is also the title track is a brash piece of pop brilliance that features a lyrical structure not unlike that of a Holy Bible track and a James Dean Bradfield riff to die for. Indian Summer is another highlight which drifts along beautifully, with its subtle strings and James' guitar meandering through the duration. One track that doesn't work in the context of the album is the first single Your Love Alone Is Not Enough which ostensibly doesn't fit well into this collection of songs mainly due to its more heavily pop nature when compared to the other material.

They seemed to have recaptured some of that fire that drew them to create The Holy Bible. It appears that they have reached the stage of their careers where they are mainly influenced by themselves which speaks loudly about the nature of the Manics back catalogue They have created an album that bodes well for the future of the Manic Street Preachers.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Cribs - Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever

The Cribs are a band that I have a love-hate relationship with. While they lack technical ability they tend to make up for it with their sheer song writing ability. Sometimes this isn't enough though and their songs have the tendency to descend into a dirge of noise. Their new album Men's Needs Women's Needs, Whatever doesn't dispel this tendency and doesn't quite have the same quality of songs as The New Fellas. Saying that it has some absolute gems, one of these being Shoot The Poets which is a gentle acoustic track that is a real contrast with the rest of the album. You can download the track below.

Feist - My Moon, My Man (Single)

"How honestly my beggar should be, my songs out of key again" sings Leslie Feist on her new song My Moon, My Man from her new album The Reminder. Who is also in her spare time a member of the hugely talented Broken Social Scene. On the first listen to this you can't help but tap your feet to the fantastic bass line. Her vocals sit perfectly ontop of the basic song structure that bounces along with intent through the duration of the song. Such an infectious offering would in an ideal world go straight to the top of the charts. The marvellous video directed by Patrick Daughters is below for you to enjoy.

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - Se Dice Bisonte, No Bufalo

The culmination of recordings made in 2005 in California and Amsterdam. Its an album consisting of mainly instrumental tracks. Only three of the ten featuring vocals provided by his Mars Volta band mate Cedric Bixlar-Zavala. Rodriguez-Lopez is not one to shy away from experimentation and this is no exception it flits and darts about and your never quite sure what you might hear next. Its an album that has great togetherness. Its alot lighter and simpler than his Mars Volta work, hes evidently trying to create something which while not overly different from the aforementioned band, is rawer and produced to a lesser degree

His brilliance shines through on many of these tracks and its the instrumentals not featuring Bixlar-Zavala's vocals that shine the most. Boiling Death Request A Body To Rest It's Head On is one of those tracks which incoporates a killer hook. Luxury Of Infancy is a statement of intent at the start of the album, with his guitar creating a soaring intro to Rapid Fire Tollbooth which would make an excellent Mars Volta track given a reworking which I believe is their intent.

Its an album that is obviously a time filler before the next Mars Volta album. Its a fine piece of work taken for what it is. But I would be interested to hear Lopez working with musicians out of his comfort zone. Other vocalists with a different style might give him a whole new different set of fans.

The Clientele - God Save The Clientele

I was unsure how to approach this album, I'm familiar with the Clientele's style and sound and from the song posted on their Myspace page it was obvious that not much had changed. The Clientele create music which rewards repeated listens, it doesn't grab you and senselessly shake the life from you. That just isn't the way that they make their music. It rocks you gently from side to side in its comfortable arms until you realise what you are listening to is pop music of the highest order.

Songs like Isn't Life Strange can make you drift away into the clouds losing hours of time that can't be accounted for. These songs haven't been made in a factory that throws bass lines, riffs and drumbeats together. They're been handcrafted lovingly with the care that is so often forgotten about. They feel personal and fresh despite their obvious influences. Standout tracks Bookshop Casanova and Here Comes The Phantom ooze with sunshine brilliance. The latter bouncing along beautifully oblivious of the world around it. Songs like Winter On Victoria Street make you glad to be alive lifting the heart and allowing the soul to sing.

Beatles and Beach Boys comparisons are obviously going to be made. But The Clientele are far beyond these creating music that doesn't shy away from these influences but injects so much of their own style that they don't seem to matter.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Bloc Party - A Weekend In The City

Bloc Party have this ability to make you get genuinely excited about their music. But I was disappointed by some more incredibly lazy and uninteresting artwork not unlike that of Silent Alarm . In this case it resembles very much the cover of the Supergrass -Road to Rouen album. While the artwork hasn't improved, their music clearly has. They have changed their style and are experimenting more with electronic sounds and compositions. Which create a real wholeness and a continuity about the album. With more focus on the guitars than before they have given some of their songs a real epic quality. They have also upped the quality of songwriting with Okereke declaring that "In every headline we are reminded that this is not home for us" In the political Where Is Home? This step towards varying their songwriting has made them less of the lightweight indie band that they were before.

The second track Hunting For Witches is one of my favourites from the album with the opening section of voices and sounds collaged together to produce something quite stunning. Their are occasional lapses where they return to some of the mundane, slow songs of their debut which don't sit right. But with songs like The Prayer (The first single) and Song For Clay (Disappear Here) they are really pushing on and have made something which is political and in places quite a tough listen but if you have patience then you will enjoy.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Little Barrie - Stand Your Ground

Their debut effort We Are Little Barrie was a fine album but it seemed to be more of a stepping stone to better things. So with great interest I bought Stand Your Ground. What can be said about them is they have a huge amount of technical ability. They have a new drummer in Billy Skinner but they retain much of the same sound if verging more towards straight rock and roll. Their songwriting and confidence has definitely grown and this is a much more complete affair than their debut.

Why Don't You Do It features Barry Cadogans eloquent guitar playing with prowess not seen properly since Jimmy Page or Clapton. On the single Pay To Join you can notice the real change. They are clearly aiming for more commercial success however you don't seem to lose anything from the overall Little Barrie package. They are much wiser than they once were and I will be intrigued to see what they will produce next