Thursday, 30 April 2009
I can't stop listening to Ponytail. The collection of songs on Ice Cream Social, their second release is absolutely mental, showcasing amazing amounts of raw energy which really comes across in the recording. Ice Cream Social sounds like a band having fun, doing what they love and enjoying it, The best way to describe them would be a much louder and more energetic Los Campesinos.
Coming from that sort of Lo Fi scene that seems to be drawing so much attention at the moment, but these aren't short, sharp bursts of music, for instance one of my highlights is the 6.55 minute 'Celebrate the Body Electric (It Came From an Angel)'
The Baltimore four piece are still yet to break England but with their second helping sounding this good, it won't be long.
Ok so let me start with the fact that this was probably the best time I have ever seen 65daysofstatic. Which is crazy because I never thought they could top their ATP headline show a few years ago, but the energy and intensity of the new material would couple anything they have produced before and for a gig that was advertised as a showcase of new material, the surprise of old favourites such as Retreat Retreat and Radio Protector literally brought the house down. Tonight's performance only emphasizes the fact that 65daysofstatic are without a doubt, one of the most important bands in England at the moment. They are awesome guys as well.
Middle Boop also did a limited edition print for the gig which can be seen above.
I can't believe it. In as many weeks two of my all time favourite bands have released tracks. Last week Sonic Youth, this week Sunset Rubdown. If you haven't heard them yet, here would be a great place to start. New song idiot Heart is the 6 minute delight from their upcoming release Dragonslayer.
It really is shaping up to be a good year for new releases.
Sunset Rubdown was once the moniker under which Spencer Krug released low fidelity solo recordings. The project has long since evolved into a full band, and Dragonslayer is the third full-length recorded by the whole group. Besides Krug, it features the three musicians who originally signed on: Jordan Robson-Cramer on drums, guitar and keys, Michael Doerksen on guitar and bass, and Camilla Wynne Ingr on keys, percussion and vocals. And now, for the first time, newest member Mark Nicol can be heard on bass, drums, and percussion.
Tuesday, 28 April 2009
Yes that's right. After a few years of waiting, the magnificent Sonic Youth are back
with this first taste of their new album.
“Sacred Trickster” is a 2:10 out-of-the gate hardcore matinee track with Kim singing salutes to French painter Yves Klein and Western Massachusetts noise artist Noise Nomads. It sets the tone for ‘The Eternal’, which comprises twelve tunes that are a fireworks display of Sonic Youth touchstones. From the primal no wave attack of its earliest days, to the radical chording and song structures of its ’90s period, to the more focused and contemporary explorations of the last five years. This their 16th album, and their first for the Matador label, consolidates their move to a more lush, sensual sound as displayed on last album ‘Rather Ripped’ - but if anything punchier and cleaner, and now backstopped by the addition of Mark Ibold (Pavement, Dustdevils) on bass.
Check it out on the Matador blog:
Here is the long awaited interview with Upset The Rhythm, these guys run a very successful label, signing the likes of Lucky Dragons and Future Islands and have put on some of the finest shows around London over the past few years. More often than not if you are checking out a new and exciting band these guys will be behind it.
Boop:What was the idea behind upset the rhythm? What was your inspiration?
Chris: Claire was fundamental at the start of it. We came down to uni together and were bored with the type of gigs happening in London at the time.
Claire: Lots of people we loved were coming over but playing really bad shows and you'd speak to the artists and they'd be really bummed. London was getting a really bad reputation, we'd heard on the grapevine that people were missing out the UK on their European tours because of this. Then out of the blue I got a message from a guy in America trying to set up a tour for Deerhoof and I got in touch with him and said we would do it. It was only meant to be a one off party, we hired an Italian wine bar. People spoke to us all night saying what a great show it was and we realized there was an audience for it.
Chris: We had no idea how many people were coming, we only organized the show because we were in to Deerhoof.We thought there would be like 20 people but in the end about 350 showed up, queuing round the block. So from that we decided to put on more shows.
Claire:its always been a tightrope as we were turning up to shows with 100 quid in our back pocket not knowing whether people would show up or if we could pay the bands
Chris: We funded the shows in our first year or so by actually paying to get in ourselves. I don't think it gets more DIY than actually paying to get in to your own shows!
Boop: So this leads into the second question, obviously being around for a few years now, who have been some of your favourite bands to work with?
Chris: For me its the shows that stay in my memory. I really liked working with Smegma. We helped Wavves come over on tour, that's been really awesome, No Age and Kit and Barr, also anyone on the Upset The Rythm label that have put on shows have been cool. A lot of the bands stay with us and we're good friends with a lot of the people we put on, which is kind of the upshot of all of this as we've ended up with like 900 friends that we wouldn't have otherwise.
Boop: If you could book any band, regardless of cost, any venue who would it be and where?
Claire: Alive or dead?
Chris: If I could book anyone it would be Eat Skull
Luke: I have no idea, I'd like to work with Ivor Cutler but he died...
Nirvana would have been good.
Boop: What were your top 5 albums of last year?
Chris: I really like the Women album,
Luke: The No Kids record was really good,
Claire: US girls - introducing, Was the Animal Collective album this year? because that was really cool.
Boop: With your 200th show recently, what have been some of the highlights from the last five years?
Chris: We did a few shows with Frieze art magazine where we did shows with Liars and and band called Sunn O)))
Claire: We bought Sun O))) two cases of wine, which they drank before the show and their tour manager told me before they came on that they couldn't walk properly with their robes on so we had to carry them with their robes down three flights of stairs.
Luke: Maybe, or that massive Italian dinner we had with Deerhoof and I guess that was the first time we were a bit star struck.
Chris: Another highlight would be South By South West
Claire: South By South West was great because it meant we got to meet load of people we were working with in one place. We expected it to be a kind of stuck up industry event and it really wasn't. I mean every show has something amazing about it.
Boop: If you could give advice to aspiring promoters etc what would it be?
Chris: We wanted to create an environment for people so that they could perform, providing help to those people that needed it. We try and give people as much inspiration as possible, we try to be as un cynical as possible.
Boop: In the last five years how do you feel that music has changed?
Luke: The biggest difference has been the internet. Even when we started people were sending us demos through the post on tapes and cds and now its all about Myspace, Blogs, Etc. In a way that's great because it means that the music is more accessible but equally makes it really hard for us as a label, so we make sure our releases are a bit more special, which is why we go down the route of Vinyl releases, really nice packaging, etc to try and get people away from the whole file sharing etc.
Claire: There has been a greater open mindedness, people cross over genre's a lot more, because everything is so 'online' what this has meant for us is that the expectation of an artist has become much greater, you can now take a band who are unsigned and they can become totally different within the space of two months, because the reaction will become so insane. A good example would be No Age, when we first got in touch with them no one was particularly interested in them and all of a sudden there was an insane bidding war and we didn't have the funds to work with them.
Luke: It just means we need to be even more ahead of the game.
Claire: In the UK there is no print media that will really cover us. The underground is a very strange place at the moment. The mainstream doesn't really know what it's looking for.
You have to know what you are doing all of this for.
Monday, 27 April 2009
Independent film maker Nick Jewell has made this short film documenting some of the highlights from last years amazing All Tomorrows Parties. Some of the Explosions moments literally sent shivers down my spine. Its a good one. Also the whole Boop team feature. All good.
All Tomorrows' Parties '08 from Nick on Vimeo.
All Tomorrows' Parties '08 from Nick on Vimeo.
After recently writing about artists signed to Ninja Tune such as the Long Lost who's sound really isn't what would normally be related to the label, here is another recent addition to their sterling roster that will raise a few eyebrows. After wandering in to the venue, a candle lit cellar below a restaurant just off Leicester Square, it set the scene well for the delightful sounds of Jono McCleery. The modest McCleery combines a unique vocal talent somewhere in the realms of Antony Hegarty with some very intricate guitar work. His set, showcasing some new tracks from his upcoming first Ninja Tune release was haunting and unfathomably entertaining. He was one of those artists I just couldn't keep my eyes off of, from the moment he came on the crowd was totally silenced, watching in awe.
With an album out produced by Flybe later on in the year, I predict big things for mr McCleery.
Thursday, 23 April 2009
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
When talking about Ninja Tune they are generally associated with some of the best and most hardcore Dj's, Rap, etc but delve into their vast catalogue of artists and you will find acoustic, funk, psychadelia, etc. This is where the long lost fit in. Husband and wife team Alfred A. Darlington and Laura B. Darlington combine to create a quaint album of acoustic melody. Each song is very delicate, and very intimate. This is a move away from what is usually expected of Alfred A. Darlington who you may also know as producer Daedelus but the married couple have created an album full of whimsical, fairytale tracks, with the highlights being 'Ballroom Dance Club' and 'Sibilance' where in both tracks they kick it up a notch.
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
It's perfect timing for Scottish band Camera Obscura's fouth album to be released, the sun is finally out, Spring is well and truly here and now all people need is some happy, summery music. Camera Obscura have been around a few years now, with John Peel and Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian early champions of their music. They are now regarded as one of Scotlands hottest exports. For me this is perfect summer music, which is crazy because, as always the lyrics are steeped melancholy, loves long lost, etc, but the music itself is far from that. Relating more to 60's style pop or swing, with the string quartets and upbeat tempos. After the first couple of high energy tracks the album slows down somewhat with a few ballads but as an album full of surprises the final track 'Honey In The Sun' is a well orchestrated, heartwarming song. My Maudlin Career is an album that I listen to and think how could anyone not like this?
If you haven't heard Camera Obscura already, My Maudlin Career is the perfect introduction.
Sunday, 19 April 2009
The first thing to note about this gig was the venue, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, an up market, reasonably pretentious gallery and restaurant just down the road from Buckingham Palace with a venue somewhere at the back. So right from the start I knew it wouldn't be just any old gig. After the opening act (who don't even bear mentioning) it was time for Blk Jks, a band who I was pretty curious about seeing live after hearing their new Ep. They certainly met my expectations and much more, each member showcased a diverse range of talents, the set was tighter than+ proving that they have spent a hell of a lot of time perfecting their intriguing sound the drummer was going absolutely mental throughout the whole set and their standout songs were elongated with carefully crafted jams, they were also being watched by Kate Nash and that guy from the Cribs. Their next stop is supporting Squarepusher at the Southbank Center.
Now on to Errors, a band that have been a favorite of mine for a while now. They played a blinder of a set, coming out to the theme of Jurassic Park and interacting with the crowd with comments like 'We're going to play some songs for you now. In case you hadn't already figured that one out,' showing a lighter side to the post rock/electro. Their set was a mix of most of the old favorites such as Salut! France and Toes which sounded brilliant and a showcase of songs from their upcoming ep sounding like a band who are going places. This was a great show performed by two great bands who I suspect neither will be playing venues of such capacity for much longer.
Thursday, 16 April 2009
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
In conjunction with Jason Quever's latest release 'You Can Have What You Want' here is the title track from that album as mere a taster of the excellence of his band Papercuts. With a good mix of epic, hazy pop and a strive to produce things without the aid of computers etc it adds a real charm to the sound.
Give it a good listen.
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
Boop friend Matt W. Moore has just released his latest project. A clothing line that tests the boundaries of street-level fashion.
We strive to create clean, timeless, thought provoking designs that carry a narrative deeper than today's limelight. We believe there is a void in the over saturated, exciting world of street-level fashion. Our mission is to learn from the rich history of graphic syntax and pioneer a forward aesthetic.
There are some really awesome designs here.
Monday, 13 April 2009
Recorded in their farmhouse studio, Headlights second album is a brilliant blend of alt Indie with a bit of pop thrown in. Just a little bit. So think Broken Social Scene rather than The Killers... There really are some instantly likable, catchy songs here, it already has the makings of a classic summer album. There is a lot less attention on the spacey, atmospheric side that revolved around their debut (although listen carefully and you can still hear some brilliantly delayed guitar work,) concentrating instead on crafting songs around a style of classic pop harking back to the sixties, check out 'Catch Them All' and opener 'Get Your Head Around It.'
Since their debut in 2004 they have pretty much been touring non stop, playing somewhere around 300 shows in two years and they aren't stopping there, with a month long tour over America just started 2009 could really be a big year for Headlights.
Thursday, 9 April 2009
After hearing the first track on her latest album I wasn't sure what to think as it gave the image of standard female singer songwriter, but after listening to a few more tracks and delving into her weird and wonderful world you find some real delights, songs such as 'Spill Yer Lungs' with a groovy distorted bassline and some crazy lyrics are only the beginning. The album switches from acoustic to garage rock there are some cool, light-hearted tracks. Perfect music when you fancy somethying that is actually happy.
For those of you who don't know who Crystal Stilts are their Daytrotter session is as always a great way to make their acquaintance.
Wednesday, 8 April 2009
BLK JKS could well be ones to watch out for this year, with a host of amazing support slots with the likes of HEALTH, Errors, and Squarepusher, and their debut ep Mystery produced by Brenden Curtis of Secret Machines the right people are certainly taking note and so they should. Their sound is hard to pin down at first listen, there are all sorts of different influences, from dub to post rock to frantic 'At The Drive In' style beats and the urban Zulu blues of mbaqanga. Paints quite a picture eh?
You get the feeling that this four track ep is only the beginning of something pretty special. I have certainly been left wanting to hear more of these guys and hopefully I will pretty soon with some extensive touring all through April starting on April the 9th at Adventures In The Beetroot Field night at Fabric, ending back in London in early May.
Underneath is a mere taster of the potential of BLK JKS.
Monday, 6 April 2009
The term Shoegaze seems to be surrounding bands like Asobi Seksu at the moment. I'm not sure I would agree with that, shoegaze being a term created when people in the late eighties had no clue how to categorize bands like My Bloody Valentine, etc. What ever genre or sub genre they might be all you need to know is that they are brilliant. Hailing from Brooklyn, which seems to be a hub for some exceptionally creative people (School of Seven Bells, MGMT, Kaki King, the list really does go on) they blend dreamy pop vocals with effect laden guitars and synths mixed in a lot more subtly than their previous outings you can tell there has been a different approach to recording this album. For instance, the album opens with the very mellow 'Layers' which straight away shows Asobi Seksu in a new light. They haven't totally mellowed out, far from it, for instance, the songs 'Sunshower' and 'In The Sky' build up to become very epic without the use of huge amounts of distortion and bass etc.
I can't stop listening to these guys at the moment, they are pushing all the right buttons.
Type "Brainfeeder" into itunes podcast search and SUBSCRIBE!
From the makers of Ong-Bak and The Warrior King comes the latest action sensation from Thailand, Chocolate (2008).
Available on DVD for £7.
Zen (Jeeja Yanin) is an autistic child with a special ability to mimic various fighting styles and movements. She is the daughter of an ex-mafia mistress Zin (Ammara Siripong) who is fighting leukaemia. When Zen’s best friend and carer moom (Taphon Phopwandee) discover an old list of contacts that owe Zin money. They set out together to collect the money to help pay for Zin’s hospital treatment. Driven by the desire and love for her mother, Zen stops at nothing to get the money. This opens up her mothers past and brings along a host of trouble.
Director Praycha Pinkaew along with action star Tony Jaa have brought Thai film into the limelight over the last couple of years with the films Ong-Bak and The Warrior King. These two films showcased the deadly martial arts form Muay Thai (Thai kick boxing) with devastating affect. The films went about creating no holds barred action sequences without CGI, wire’s and stunt doubles. With the idea of creating believable, realistic action, that saw the actors picking up a fair few injuries. No pain no gain! Not to mention real world champion martial arts fighters as extras! This has created some seriously tense and exciting action leaving you gob smacked at the amount of beating a human body can withstand!
Chocolate minus Tony Jaa carries on this trend with a petite autistic heroine played by Jeeja Yanin. With her gymnastic skills you’ll see her bend, stretch and spin her way out of trouble as if gravity had no affect. The action set pieces hit the heights of The Warrior King, with one fight scene-taking place on narrow ledges of a building three stories high. You’ll watch as Zen smashes the bad guys through windows and down the side of the building to the floor, without wires and CGI! Some of these action set pieces mimic classic Hong Kong Jackie Chan films where he used to mix his environment with the fighting chorography, along with not having a stunt double and getting himself into a fair few scrapes and knocks.
Chocolate like most action films does suffer from a weak plot. But this saves it from over complicating itself and frees up the immense action sequences from ruining the pace and flow of the narrative.
Praycha Pinkaew has set about an action Revolution bringing Thai films to the international stage. Setting new standards for action and martial arts films. Bringing about realism and doing things the hard way like the olden days. So if you want real bone crunching action and fed up with the over blown CGI of Hollywood (and Hong Kong of late. But they are starting to wake up) Chocolate along with Ong-Bak and The Warrior King are worth checking out.
Canadian’s Immaculate Machine have returned with their latest offering called ‘High n Jackson Hill’ and at times this album proves to be a hard one to pin down. Switching from folk-ballads to Pavement style alt-rock riffs with a slightly psychedelic, glammed up edge all underpinned with melodic vocals.
On this album the opted to hammer out the tracks on the spot rather than painstakingly polish every track in the studio. This, however, does give the album a fresh and raw atmosphere but this is most likely due to the band recording it in songwriter Brooke Gallupe’s empty parent’s house.
One of the stand out elements of the album if Gallupe’s odd, honest, and sometimes touching lyrics. From listening to some of them there seems to be a sense of loss that flows throughout the album and with the male/female vocal harmonies it adds an extra layer to the already beautifully textured music.
As a whole the album is quite relaxed even during the more rock orientated songs aren’t trying to blast your ear drums with a billion decibels of fast paced guitar riffs. At times it can have the feel of relaxed, lazy summer album and just in time too!
Essential listening: Thank Me Later, You Destroyer, I Know It’s Not Easy, Blurry Days
Available 27th April on Mint Records
Sunday, 5 April 2009
BLACK! BLACKNESS... is what we were greeted with after getting of the train in Vauxhall! A complete blackout of only the Vauxhall area, on the night not only that flying lotus is playing but playing in the lightbox - unique for having walls composed of a wraparound array of 15,000 programmable LED's!
But never fear after hour of pissing about it was all back on track.
Flying Lotus is from the very accomplished music family, the Coltrane's, stating them as one of his biggest influence you know you are in for something special when he plays.
The venues was a sell out the LEDs were flashing and kode 9 has successfully warmed up the crowed playing a series of great tracks including Joker, Harmonic 313 and his final tune, an untitled track by Burial!
After launching a few CDs out Fly Lo cracked on playing a selection of tunes form his back catalogue, RESET, 1983 and Los Angeles Part 1&2, but also some exclusive new tracks which of course sent the crowd into a heavy skank! From looking a Fly Lo from behind the decks you get a real impression he really enjoys what he is doing, he completely feeds of the energy created in the venue and then slaps it back into your face with a massive grin, as he said he always had a special place for London in his heart and it showed!
The combination of the killer sound system, the sick venue and the line up just made for a great gig from some of the world most forward thinking music producers!
If you haven’t seen FlyLo I can't recommend him enough so I expect to see everyone there when he comes back for London’s ‘09 Brainfeeder event this June!
Friday, 3 April 2009
Kaki King has built up quite a reputation over the last few years as being one of the most amazing contemporary guitarists, live she certainly does live up to this reputation. Its not just the fact that she's great at guitar, decent guitarists are ten a penny but there are few who can take that talent and apply it to write songs as beautiful and brilliant as the ones she displayed last night. This was the first time I had seen her and the first I had heard about her for a while but as soon as she jumped up on stage starting out with one of my favorite tracks '...Until We Felt Red' I was speechless. In the quiet parts you could literally hear a pin drop around the packed out Jazz Cafe everyone was staring, mouths wide open in awe. Every song sounded a million times better live, so much intensity and emotion involved, her session musicians complimented her amazingly, with some of the best drumming I have seen for a while and the other guy playing a crazy synth with a mouthpiece that you play like a trumpet (if you can imagine such a thing.) Her stage presence was also something to note she was really open with the crowd and at times it just felt like you were having a conversation with a mate at a bar. This was the last night on an extensive tour of Europe but everyone was still so energetic.
The whole gig blew me away. Phew...
Mi Ami really do have a unique sound, one that has to be heard to be believed. At first listen I didn't know what to do with myself, the eight and a half minute opener 'Echononecho' showcases their pure craziness, from screaming high pitched vocals to the hectic to funky guitar parts, it is a bold move to have it as the opener for their debut album I must admit but once you give it a few listens and get over the initial craze you can delve deep into the minds of three individuals who obviously don't do things by the book. Their raw energy and frantic distorted sound will make for an extremely exciting live show. They are just setting off on tour in the Uk on the 9th of April starting in Brighton. They will certainly be worth a watch.
One of my highlights is the 6 minute track 'New guitar' which we gave away as a free download last month, for those of you who missed it. Here it is again.