Saturday, 31 January 2009

Peel Sessions

I have picked up a habit recently of trawling through the old Peel Sessions and have funnily enough found some absolutely brilliant music. Two favorites that I have literally been obsessed with are Arab Strap and Explosions In The Sky. Being a huge fan of both bands, to hear the live sessions of tracks like Arab Strap's 'Drinking Eye' and Explosions in The Sky's 'With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept' brings it all back. If you can pick these up check them out. Breathtaking.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Vinyl Countdown

As I was kneeling on my bedroom floor yesterday organising my CD’s and records (yes, that’s right I’m that kind of record nerd) it suddenly occurred to me that in this age of downloaded music people might never have this again, a record collection.
We’ve all been aware of the take over by digital download media over the last few years but it wasn’t until yesterday that I began to think to myself, have I wasted my time? All this time, effort and money finding and buying all these records, was it all a waste?
My answer is, of course not! I love record shopping! I love finding new, interesting bands and albums. If anything I think it’s the digital download kids of today that have lost out.
When you consider that whenever you download music, legally or illegally, you miss out on the package that comes with owning a record, you miss out on the sleeve notes, the artwork, any hidden messages etc. I know you can get artwork when you download music but can a grainy JPEG really be a replacement for holding a record in your hands and seeing the artwork right in front of you rather than on a computer, you wouldn’t want to see the Mona Lisa on a computer screen for the first time, would you?
As for the case of the liner notes, did you know the Johnny Depp played guitar on the ‘Be Here Now’ album by Oasis? It this kind of little, fun factoids that people will miss out on if they download music. The liner notes can also serve as a great gateway to discovering new music, take a look at the liner notes in CD or record it lists the producer, sound engineer, where it was recorded, when it was recorded, who played on it, who did the arrangement and lots more information, all which is not included on a download (go check your iTunes now if you don’t believe me). This is particularly true with electronic music when you read the liner notes to a dance album the thank you list is as long as a crying actress who just won an Oscar!
The point I’m to make here is in this age of digital downloads, which has undoubtedly revolutionised the way that we consume music, are we really gaining more music knowledge? In order for us to get this new music surely something has to be lost? If you look at the case of Pat Mawhinney, who has the largest record collection in the world, when the US library of congress examined his collection they determined that of his records between 1948 to 1966 only 17% of those records were now available to the public. Do you still think we’re gaining music?
The thing I love the most about CD’s, records and record shopping is the rummaging through stacks of records in store and friends houses to see what they have, what new records they bought that week and seeing them all lined up on a shelf or piled on the floor and the thing that scares me most is having that image on rows and rows of records lined on a shelf being replaced by some big, bulky and ugly hard drive sat on the corner of someone’s desk.

Essential Selection:

Return of the Space Invaders – Kiss My Shiny Metal Ass
TTA – Neo Violence (Laidback Luke Remix)
Hamonic 313 – Dirtbox
Sky Larkin – Molten
Tame Impala – Desire Be Desire Go

Middle Boop - New Work

Middle Boop has just done a piece for fellow zine maestro's Supra Boring.
Check it.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Steven Wilson - Insurgentes

The first thing that amazed me about prog rock legend Steve Wilson's Insurgentes, was that it was actually his first solo album. He has had his fingers in many a progressive pie before now, apart from the amazing Porcupine Tree he has worked with Opeth, Marillion, Andrew Liles to name a few. So how does this compare to his already vast career?
Very well in fact. There is a real variety of songs here, from the detuned, heavy, groove ridden riffs of songs such as Harmony Korine and Veneno Para Las Hadas giving way to well produced ambiance, jazzy freak outs and classical arrangements. The guitar solos, frantic, reminiscent of early Mars Volta. The tracks interlace nicely into each other, the highlight being track 3 'Salvaging' building up the whole way through before track 4 'Veneno Para Las Hadas' kicks in with huge drums and a string section going as mental as a string section can get.
There will always be that Porcupine Tree essence with Wilson's very distinctive vocal harmonies but this album strays away from what you have come to expect from them. There are some real gems on this album, the production is first class. The album is out via KScope on the 9th of March. This is well worth checking out.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Designers Republic Close Their Doors.

One of the most influential and well known design companies 'Designers Republic' closed for business on Tuesday with all of its nine staff being made redundant.
After a combination of losing some big name clients, a couple of pitches and a huge tax bill they had no choice. This is a big blow for the design world as they have been creating amazing work for clients such as Coca Cola, Orange, Nickelodeon, Warp Records and artists such as Supergrass and the mighty Autechure. Their work will be missed.

Squarepusher Free Download

Those lovely people over at Warp are offering a free download of the latest single from Squarepusher's latest ep 'Numbers Lucent' entitled Illegal Dustbin.
Please Yourselves.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Mt St Helens Vietnam Band - Self Titled

This Seattle five piece are really starting to create a buzz about them. With the bouncy indie rock opener, 'Who's Asking,' giving a two and a half minute taste of exactly what they are about. Fast, happy indie, perfect music for its spring release. With Scott Colborn, knob twiddler for Arcade Fire and Boop favourites Animal Collective behind their array of danceable indie hits, 2009 could well be a big year for them. Take the vocal harmonies of Wolf Parade and mix it with the fast paced, intense drum and guitar work of The Thermals. All good.

Polar Bear Club

Just thought I would upload some ace new images for Polar Bear Club's gig in Southampton designed by MiddleBoops own Simon Stroud. Get some.

Bon Iver - Blood Bank

This four track ep is as I have come to expect from Bon Iver, brilliant.
Every one of these tracks display the heartfelt, emotional, well layered vocals that send shivers down your spine. From the electrifying opening, 'Blood Bank,' to the finisher 'Woods' there is no change in the quality from last years 'For Emma, Forever Ago,' but they are making the most of the new equipment and recording facilities that have been made available to them since the success of their debut. The songs are left to build up to more climatic finishing and vocal effects that were made famous by Cher's 'Believe.' So although still sounding amazingly stripped down there is a little tweak here and there that shows a really interesting progression. It has just come in at 37 in the charts. Not bad going.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Erased Tapes - Free Download

The record label Erased Tapes have released a free download compilation of their music containing such greats as Kyte, The British Expeditionary Force, Olafur Arnalds etc. You also get a free track with each new release.
This one is not to be missed.
Check the link underneath.

Password: MY-FREE-ERATP010

Three Trapped Tigers - Buffalo Bar 22/01/09

Where do I start with Three Trapped Tigers? These guys have an immense amount of talent and it really shows. They create the sort of intensity that draws you in so that all you can do is watch in awe as these three guys absolutely go for it. Its the sort of sound that can only be developed with a lot of time and effort, each member playing off of each other mixing effect laden synths and guitars with the kind of aggressive drumming that really brings their whole sound to another level. A lot of people have already compared them to Battles, but I would say they were more like 65daysofstatic if they listened to a lot more jazz. The highlight for me was mid set when the drummer produced a mini kit and cow bell, then moved on to his drum pads, then to the full kit.
They weren't headlining last night but they should have been, they blew away both other bands on the bill, the headliners had to be thinking 'How the hell are we going to outdo these guys?' They didn't. Straight after TTT finished the venue looked and felt about half the capacity it was a few minutes before.
Their first ep only touches on their live performance. They have to be seen to be believed.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion

What a way to see in 2009! This album is a sign of the times. Bringing together hugely echoed, synth laden soundscapes, crazy beats and vocal harmonies with the ridiculously catchy pop hooks of tracks like 'My Girls' and 'In The Flowers.' There is more attention on the vocals and Avey Tare's amazing voice, the harmonies are subtle and show a lot of care and consideration making their sound more accessible to wider audiences. This truly is Animal Collective at their best, there is so much going on in any one track you find something new every time you listen, you just get the feeling that these songs will sound amazing live. Even the album artwork takes a minute or two to get your head round.
Even though we are only in January will surely be one of the top albums of the year
for many critics.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Pictures On Walls

Here we go guys, the photos from the Pictures on Walls event from a month or so ago. We were really glad to be a part of it and sell our zines with some of the best creatives/artists in the country. Special thanks to Mark for inviting us up and Maya for the photos!

The que started right down the other end of the road and stayed like that for the whole two days. Jokes

Ane Brun - The Treehouse Song

Scandinavian country/Folk singer Ane Brun has actually been around for quite some time but it has only been recently after a song for the recent Sky campaign that people have started to take notice. With a fine array of credible producers and composers behind her who have worked with the likes of Sigur Ros, Anthony and The Johnsons, Bjork etc, there is a lot to live up to but her voice, especially in songs like 'The Puzzle' with the backing of an orchesta behind her sounds amazing. Its very haunting, in a similar vein to Joannah Newsom. Her new siongle, 'The Treehouse Song' is out now. Its a lot more country orientated and stripped down then some of her other work but still sounds pretty good.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

sick mix 2009

"16 Tracks Flash Mixer Greeting Card, from Home K One and Nanozoom / Marseille - France"
Great fun! Happy New Year!

Get your Omega3 in!

Omega Code are a new band out to create pure extascy in the music and art world. In early 2009 they are planning to release their debut album for absolutely free! São Paulo's answer to TOOL, Nine Inch Nails, Mogwai, Sigur Rós, Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Opeth, The Mars Volta, all the greats! If this sounds good to you, you've not herd the rest of it...
Omega Code believe that in this modern day world, music should be tightly intertwined with visuals. So for this they are planning to co-inside the release of their LP with some live visual installations in some of the major cityies around the world.
Now if this isn't enough Omega Code have also gathered some of the best image makers around and asked them to produce a series of posters based on their 'simple yet effective' logo! The posters are limited to 2300 but again are absolutley free!

Friday, 16 January 2009

The Matthew Herbert Big Band - There's Me and There's you

Herbert is well known for his conceptual Dj work, delving deep into House music but his big band is completely different. Although there is still an inclusion of the collaged samples which brought him legendary status but they are mixed subtly into the background of which the foreground is taken up by very jazzy, big band music reminiscent of the sort of music you would hear at swing clubs in the 1920's. There is so much thought behind this with the lyrics striking against capitalism and the consuerist age we live in bellowed out by the extremely talented singer Eska, this is a very intense, passionate album and certainly one to take time over.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Erased Tapes

I was first drawn to this label at Latitude festival. I was walking around aimlessly after hearing the single most annoying sentence any band could say at a festival. "We are going to do a few acoustic numbers now." Always a killer. When I heard something coming from the BBC introducing stage that I wasn't expecting. Heavy, epic and melodic, which was more than enough to get my attention. That sound was coming from Kyte, whose emotionally driven post rock soundscapes managed to reach people the other side of the campsite and draw them in. a band that will be worth looking out for in 2009.
After this I delved into what the rest of the label had to offer and found that even though Erased Tapes has only been going a year. It already has a lot to boast about.

Their eclectic collection of bands move from the ambient, epic sounds of Code in The Clouds to Aphex Twin style break beats and glitches of Aparatec and Rival Consoles to the absolutely beautiful sounds of Icelands next big import
Ólafur Arnalds. Of course lets not forget The British Expeditionary Force, made up of ex Yourcodenameis:Milo guitarist Justin Lockey and vocalist Aid Burrows, of Fierce Panda creating delicately layerd electro Indie with a twist.
There is some stunning music on show here.

Check out.

Codes in The Clouds
Ólafur Arnalds
The British Expeditionary Force

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

drugs designed by SCENE

Going to be big in scene land, Designed Drugs are the enforced fit of avante garde dance music. Come on they've already done a remix of little boots! MP3
just liked the picture really...

Simon's Albums of tut year!

Flying Lotus - Los Angeles = Warp ave only gone and done it again! Instrumental, broken hip hop, basically, inspired by his home town - check the title - this record gives us an insight into whats really going on over the pond.

Benga - Diary Of An Afro Warrior = DUBSTEP! if theres one album that summed up dubstep last year it would be this. Even if you havent even herd of him chances are you would of herd 'night' possible the biggest tracks of 08 personally my favourite though gots to be '26 Bsslines'.

Santogold - S/T = Big! Big enough to be on all the adverts! A masterpiece in new world pop, i think the diplo mixtape is slightly better then the album if nothing just cos of the guns of brixton 'cough' brooklyn cover. But none the less the album is defiantly essential listening.

Black Ghost - Mix Tape = If you want to be technical about it, its not an album but its a fucking great collection of songs mixed in with a verity of remixes and of course there own tracks check: Shoreditch Vampires

Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours = Australia at its best New Wave Dance!

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly - Searching for the Hows and Whys = UK folk for the modern age!

others i cant be arse to write about or barry/gord have already:
Fleet Foxes - s/t
Mr. Scruff - ninja tuna
Nightmares on Wax - Thought so...
The Black Keys - Attack & Release
Mogwai - The Hawk Is Howling
Daedelus - Love To Make Music To
James Yorkston - When The Haar Rolls In
Jamie Lidell - Jim
School Of Seven Bells - Alpinisms
TV On The Radio - Dear Science
Starkey - Ephemeral Exhibits
Caspa - Ave It: Vol2
Death Cab for Cutie – Narrow Stairs
MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
Vampire Weekend - s/t
Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
Sigur Rós - Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust

Faunts - Feel.Love.Thinking.Of.

Faunts should have definately been added to my list for bands that are going to be big in 2009. Combining electro, Indie and Post Rock (I hate that term.) Their album Feel.Love.Thinking.Of. Literally doesn't have a dud track on it, and when I first listened to it I listened to the whole thing which is good for me as I normally get bored about half way through an album. The five piece can make intricate, complicated music but yet instantly likeable at the same time. Complexly layered guitars, soaring vocals with mathematic loops and synths creating some brilliant music.
You heard it here first, these guys are on the right road to sucess.
Check 'Out on a Limb.'

MiddleBoop on Juxtapoz

Just a quick note to say that some of our work is featured on the front page of art and design magazine Juxtapoz's website.

Check it.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Gordon's Albums of the year

A new year is about to begin so here at Middleboop we’re all selecting our favourite albums from the last year. Hope you enjoy them

Mogwai- The Hawk is Howling
Middle Boop favorites Mogwai have done it again. A brilliant album featuring tracks that are a lot longer and more stripped down than Mr Beast. Took me a while to get into as every album does but now that it's hit me I think its amazing. Especially 'I Love You, I’m Going To Blow Up Your School' and the epic finale 'The Precipice.'

Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
Ingenious Avante-Garde pop, dance, whatever.
This album is their biggest to date and has some really amazing tracks on. With a show at the Koko just sold out and a date at the Forum on the way, Animal Collective are starting to get
recognized for the geniuses they are.

Sunset Rubdown - Random Spirit Lover
The first release from the Canadian outfit is pure brilliance.
Made up of people from ... and Wolf Parade they seem to have incorporated the best bits from other bands to create some really interesting, catchy music. Check out Winged/Wicked things.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Dig !!! Lazarus Dig !!!
From start to finish this album features so many delights this could easily be
one of his best albums to date. This album tells many stories, with the big opener
Dig !!! Lazarus Dig !!!, to the more mellon collie, 'More News From Nowhere.' There simply is not a track to skip. I haven't stopped listening to it yet.

Sigur Rós - Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust
A much more upbeat approach from the Icelandic band. The only let down was the artwork which I felt could have been more exciting as their earlier albums. That said, the music is stunning and is only consolidating their status as one of the most breathtaking contemporary bands.

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Real Emotional Trash
The man just does not stop creating awesome music. Real Emotional trash has some real gems on and although certainly has the Pavement ethics Malkmus shows a different to his music. This album was stuck in my car for months. Check Hopscotch Willie.

Cinematic Orchestra -
Live at the Royal Albert Hall
absolutley breathtaking music from start to finish. My only wish is that I was actually there for the gig.
Amazing on cd, something else live.

Errors -
It's Not Something But It Is Like Whatever
These guys crop up quite a bit on our blog and rightfully so. They have a great mix of influences ranging from Justice to Explosions in the Sky. Creating a really cool sound. A band on the up for 2009.

MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
Bridging the gap between Electro Indie and the pop charts. These guys were the soundtrack to a lot of peoples summers and have got bigger than probably they even imagined in such a short time.

Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
What can be said about Fleet Foxes that hasn't been said before? They need no introduction.
Pick up any music magazine and you will find their album reviewed as one of the years greatest and rightfully so. You can listen to the album over and over without getting tired. In the little time they have been around they have done amazingly well.

Middle Boop in Brooklyn

Hi guys hope everyone is well. Just thought I would let you know that one of our limited edition prints has been entered into a competition for Brooklyn Arts Project, the best of 2008.
Underneath is a link where you can vote for it. It would be awesome if you had a moment to sign up and vote by adding the image to your 'favorites'.
(the option to add it to favorites is just underneath the image.)

Thanks guys.