Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Do Make Say Think - Scala - 22/10/09

It became apparent very quickly that having been listening to DMST for a number of years now it had never struck me just how much of an impact their music had made on me until the eight piece ensemble appeared on stage and ploughed through such beauties as ‘The Universe!’ with energy and passion. I was completely taken aback with how amazing they sounded live, they are not as in your face as some instrumental bands, their sound builds up and materializes gently gaining momentum through any number of different instruments creating beautifully euphoric parts mixed with epic riffs and heavy bass.

I was a little weary of the sound for what I saw of the last support act and knew for DMST it had to be loud and thankfully much to my concern from the first note my worries were over, the sound quality was great and catered well for the eight musicians on stage. The tracks ‘Do’ and ‘Say’ showcased from their new album ‘Other Truths’ went down a treat which was great to see as Other Truths is by far some of their finest work to date. Their encore, a hark back to much earlier material such as ‘1978,’ the opener for their self titled album introduced by the bass player stating ‘for anyone on acid, this one’s for you’ received huge applause from the crowd and changed the pace from the intense 45 minutes or so that I had witnessed before that.

The Scala was totally rammed for tonight’s sold out performance with people packing in tightly down the front eager to get a glimpse of the wondrous spectacle that was unravelling before them.
This was the second gig in as many nights that completely blew me away, bands like Do Make Say Think are pretty special and I'm sure the thousand or so fans that were there would agree.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Middle Boop interviews Errors

There has always been a steady flow of amazing music coming from Scotland and now it feels more so than ever. Middle Boop caught up with three bands who have been flying the flag recently for their country, Errors, Twilight Sad and We Were Promised Jetpacks, all of which have been producing some of the most original and interesting music around at the moment to talk about how Scotland has influenced them and their music. This week we talk to guitarist Greg Paterson and Drummer James Hamilton from Errors about growing up in Scotland, their influences and the art scene in Glasgow

MB: What bands have you been into recently from back home?

James : There are a lot of cool bands at the moment, there is a big scene with bands like Frightened Rabbit, We Were Promised Jetpacks and Twilight Sad who are all in a league of their own.
Greg : There are a lot of bands who are still underground from when we were growing up, bands like The Ballad of Mable Wong, kind of jazz post rock stuff who I’ve been really into.

James : Actually one of the main bands I’ve been into for some time now is Titus Gein, so metal it’s unbelievable. Also Remember Remember, I’m not biased even though I played drums on their album...

MB : How would you say the Scottish music scene has changed over the last few years?

James: There are a lot more venues now than there were, it’s almost anywhere that has a space and a bar. This isn’t necessarily a good thing as lots of them are ‘pay to play.’ It’s been ever since Franz Ferdinand got big people have been saying things like ‘Glasgow is the new Seattle,’ which also seems to encourage more bands to play.

Greg : There is a huge DIY element to it. There is definitely a backlash against the whole maximum production thing. There is also a DIY element to the gigs, bands will turn up and sell their own tickets, things like that.

MB : When growing up, were you influenced by any Scottish bands? Or was it mainly bands from other countries?

Greg : I was a big Grunge fan back in the day, anything by Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, that sort of thing.
There were a few underground Scottish bands who kind of stayed underground, then obviously people like Mogwai who have gone on and had a pretty decent career, at least I’m sure they’ll say they have.

MB : What do you think to the Scottish arts and music scene compared to other countries?

Greg : There is a great scene that has opened up the last few years or so, if you look beneath the surface there are a lot of DIY galleries and boutiques which have some awesome things going on. A friend of mine just started a night where they do life drawings but in a pub, so you get these people who come in for a beer and end up doing life drawing. Things like this are pretty cool.

MB : Finally, is Errors something you have always wanted to do?

James : It’s something we’ve always been into, the music and stuff, we all got into it around uni which was kind of the wrong time as we were busy with other things but we all really hope to do it for as long as we can, we do it for the fun of it.

Friday, 23 October 2009

This Will Destroy You - Underworld 21/10/09

This was the first time I had been to the Underworld since a reasonably awkward incident involving myself and the lead singer of Akercocke some years ago and since then I have not heard it play host to many interesting bands so I was a little surprised as to why 'This Will Destroy You' ended up playing here as this is a band who are known for sounding absolutely out of this world live and that reputation was certainly cemented after tonight performance.
It was apparent very early on that TWDY obviously could be filling venues much bigger than this in London as it was rammed before the first support act had even come on. The first support slot was filled by local band who sound promising, a lot of finely tuned delays and echoes, the only problem was the singer, although obviously talented he reminded me of the chubby one from Keane which is never a good thing.
Next up were rising talent And So I Watch You From Afar who took a lot of the crowd by surprise with their highly energetic live performances and music that sounds something like a crossover between Slint and Slayer. They were tight and combined a mixture of influences ranging from Post Rock to Metal, I'm sure we will be hearing a lot more from these guys.
TWDY sneak onto stage quietly to a huge uproar from the crowd who are packed in tightly, filling every corner of this venue from front to back, all trying to get a look at the guys who it seems a lot of people have waited quite a long time to see. From the word go their set was played through with sheer intensity. The quiet parts for songs like 'A Three Legged Workhorse' and 'Threads' (my favourite) you could literally hear a pin drop as the crowd watched intently waiting for each song to build up to the loud, chaotic finishes with the bassist pounding each note as if it were his last whilst the two guitarists have at it with delay and reverb mixed with heavy distortion making for one hell of a noise.
I left the show feeling drained, I really got into their music and it certainly took it out of me, TWDY impressed a lot of people that night and I'm sure that given a bigger venue these guys would still be able to fill it very easily.

Neon Indian - 'Psychic Chasms'

The noughties have somewhat proved to be an underground success for the revival of the nostalgic electro sounds of the eighties. Ed Banger, Kitsuné and DFA are just three well acclaimed record labels that have produced and released successful artists that have fused electro and house culture to alternative and Indie music loving audience. And in the final year of this decade we see the turn of Texas duo Alan Palomo and Alicia Scardetta, aka Neon Indian release their eponymous debut LP ‘Psychic Chasms‘. There’s a noticeable influence in the godfathers of revived electro disco Daft Punk here, where these 30 minutes of filtered synth pop and lo-fi vocals from Scardetta also touch on some M83 style shoegaze appreciation. ‘Psychic Chasms’ cleverly produces an album of basic synth-pop that successfully manages to fuse together a varied selection of sub-genres from the European electronic scene, with French electronica and Italian Disco both prominent on the record.
The debut single ‘Deadbeat Summer’ lets the listener know what is in store for the next half hour, with the less than 1 minute skits binding the album together from the start. Other personal highlights include the arpeggio vocal loops of ’Laughing Gas’ and the synth pop sounds of the title track.
All in all, despite not being the most original release of 2009, it is still a fun piece of dance music where as we come to the end of another decade, ‘Psychic Chasms’ is a fitting representation of how electro music has evolved throughout the past 10 years.

Freddy Rothman

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Single of the week -Frightened Rabbit - Swim Until You Can't See Land

This is the first single to be lifted from Frightened Rabbit 's hotly anticipated upcoming album expected next year which is as yet still untitled.
After such a huge success with 'Midnight Organ Fight,' an album that hit the hearts of many including myself as a full on 'break up' album with many honest tales of heartbreak and anger the bar will certainly have to be raised even higher for their next outing but as it happens the signs are already here that their next will be an absolute cracker.
'Swim Until You Can't See Land' is a little more cheery than the angst ridden predecessor but that certainly does not mean a dip in the quality of music, quite the opposite in fact, it's a proper anthem, the sort of song that you will want stuck in your head which as we have come to expect has a lot of meaning behind it. This is a tale that lead singer Scott Hutchinson describes as "about losing your mind in order to reset the mind and body."
Featuring a class string accompaniment, a catchy chorus and the lyrical witticisms that Frightened Rabbit are famed for, it was no doubt that this would make Middle Boop's single of the week.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Broadcast And The Focus Group Present: ‘Broadcast And The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults Of The Radio Age’

Broadcast and The Focus Group have teamed up for a collaborative mini album due for release on the 26th of October.
With their first single and video to be lifted from the album directed by renowned designer Julian House who also happens to be core member of The Focus Group they have a really trippy video which fits well with the psychedelic song which has reminisce of Atlas Sound and label mate Bibio.

Lightning Bolt - 'Earthly Delights'

I can only think that the reason for releasing this album on a Monday is because of Lightning Bolt's ability and clear intentions to obliterate any hangover cobwebs from the weekends exploits. It is certainly not your potting about the house on a Sunday avo type o’ vibe. You will be blown to smithereens when it’s readily available for public consumption. And that is the only way to listen to this album; by consuming it!
Clutching your chest as if your ability to breathe slips away with a cacophonous concoction of blended bass. Big bold beats, bellows and booms a surging bolt of extreme sagacity and this is after two tracks.
A mellow bass line on track 3 'Colossus' building up and you find yourself holding your sides in just waiting for the impending drums. They forcefully emerge and I’m wondering just how many booster drinks one man can consume to keep this sort of energy intact.
Ironically 'Funny Farm' gets the album back on track, crunching a widdley rif that's a little 'too' cachy. I can hear the influences ranging from the samples dude from Slipknot, angst ridden vox of PJ Harvey to the grinding abstract noises of Animal Collective! Final track 'Transmissionary' caps off a finely mixed, obtruse & echoplex ridden record from the Rhode Island resilient duo...
With a tour of Japan and the Oceanic Islands coming up, Lightning Bolt are certainly a box of tricks I’ll be ‘experiencing’ when their tour comes to an end at this year’s ATP. I recommend you go and see what all the Fuzz is about!

By 'Outer Audio Joe'

Sam Green - New website

One of my favourite illustrators at the moment and lovely chap mr Sam Green has just got himself a new website online. With some great new work for the likes of YCN, Sony Bravia and even a piece for Middle Boop his wonderful new site is well worth checking out.

See his new site here

Monday, 19 October 2009

Sufjan Stevens - The BQE

The Brooklyn based songwriter Sufjan Stevens has built up a reputation for making music that is nothing short of boundary pushing with releases ranging from Lo Fi folk to Electronica and with 'The BQE' He once again takes things even further with what is described as 'a cinematic suite inspired by the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.'
Commissioned by Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), The BQE was originally performed in the Howard Gilman Opera House in celebration of the 25th anniversary Next Wave Festival in October of 2007 and finally makes the jump to cd.
This bold and very ambitious project which doesn't just take the form of an album, in fact this cd was created as the soundtrack to the film documenting
one of New York's ugliest attractions and how the industrial look and feel to the bridge is intersected by the many shapes and colour of the traffic crossing it. The film which is also shot by Stevens, among others was shot very DIY style and encompasses various editing and post production techniques. There is also a 40 page comic book based around the film.
The album itself is a bit of a strange one until you learn a little bit more about the huge amount of background information on it but the more I hear it the more I think that this is as I expected, a work of genius. Without actually watching the film you can fully enjoy this as a standalone album, with some absolutely beautifully orchestrated moments such as 'Movement II: Sleeping Invader' which fills me with joy every time I hear it and many more on an album that mixes classical woodwind sections with strange time signatures and some few and far between glitchy electro beats.
Mr Stevens certainly doesn't do things by halves and the BQE really takes things a few steps further than normal. Watch the film, read the book and listen to the cd, then maybe there will be an insight into the weird and wonderful world of Sufjan Stevens.

Middle Boop interviews Twilight Sad

There has always been a steady flow of amazing music coming from Scotland and now it feels more so than ever. Middle Boop caught up with three bands who have been flying the flag recently for their country, Errors, Twilight Sad and We Were Promised Jetpacks, all of which have been producing some of the most original and interesting music around at the moment to talk about how Scotland has influenced them and their music. This week we talk to lead singer of Twilight Sad James Graham about growing up in Scotland, his influences and what the future holds for Twilight Sad.

MB: How would you say the Scottish music scene has changed over the last few years?

JH: There are a lot more bands actually singing in Scottish accents now, bands like Arab Strap and Mogwai were kind of at the forefront of that, that sort of spurned me on and made me think about singing with a Scottish accent as well. To be fair we’ve not spent a lot of time in the ‘scene’ in fact we spend most of our time trying to stay out of it and since we’re on the road most of the year we manage to get away from it pretty easily.

MB: Have you been into any bands from back home recently?

JH: Yeah there are some great bands coming up at the moment, Errors, Remember Remember, oh and The Phantom Band who I keep meaning to see live, trouble is every time I’m back home they’re somewhere else. Also My Latest Novel. There are a lot of shite bands though. A ‘lot’ of shite bands, it seems there’s this formula like if you’re going to be really successful you have to be pretty shite, if you want to play decent music you don’t tend to be too successful.

MB:Do you feel you were influenced by a lot of local bands growing up?

JH: there were a lot of bands that I listened to and still do that had a big influence on the way I sing and our music, certainly Arab Strap and Mogwai were two of the big ones, it’s been great now because we’ve toured with Mogwai which was absolutely fantastic and I’ve got to meet Aidann Moffatt from Arab Strap, in fact my Girlfriend knows him pretty well, which is awesome.

MB: Has your music got any direct links to the area you grew up in?

JH: Definitely, most of our music relates to where we grew up and the experiences we have had whilst growing up there, most of us grew up in small town and villages just outside of Glasgow so we were a little cut off from what was going on in town but certainly where we grew up there really wasn’t a lot going on and that was a big inspiration for us.

MB: Do you think it’s harder for bands in Scotland to get noticed? Or is that not a problem now with the internet and such?

JH: I think for a lot of bands it could be pretty hard up here as labels are few and far between, obviously there are some great labels, Rock Action and Chemikal underground, who both put out some amazing music but we kind of lucked out as we sent our demo to Fatcat and they really liked it, they called us up and said we’ll come to your next show, which was great but at the time we had only played about two gigs as a band and hadn’t booked anymore shows, so we sorted one out quickly and they turned up with a contract. A month or so later we were playing gigs over in America. It was pretty crazy really.

MB: Do you feel there is a decent arts and music scene in Scotland? Something that could evoke inspiration?
JH: I wouldn’t really know, We generally do what we can to get away from Scotland and any scenes, plus we are away so much what with touring and such, we don’t really get a lot of time back home.

How has everything gone with the new album (Forget the Night Ahead out on the 4th of October)

JH: Yeah it was really fun recording this one and the response so far has been great so we’ll wait and see. You know we like it so people so far seem to. We’ve had some strange reviews in the past where people have called us things like Scottish ‘Emo’ which is crazy because we’re really not, I do find some of these articles pretty funny.

MB:Finally, what’s up next for Twilight Sad?

JH: We’re off touring America with Frightened Rabbit and We Were Promised Jetpacks which should be great because America is where we first cut our teeth so it’s always good to go back there and then back here where we shall be playing bigger venues such as the Scala in London next week, which is good I think... Is that a good venue?

photo by Jack Waddington

Dead Confederate MP3 Giveaway

5 Piece heavy psych rock outfit Dead Confederate are offering an awesome MP3 giveaway in the lead up to their debut album 'Wrecking Ball' which has already made an impact stateside. The band hav already toured with the likes of Dinosaur Jr, A Place To Bury Strangers and will be back December time with Meat puppets.

Neon Indian - Terminally Chill

Neon Indian, who start a lengthy tour stateside this week is an interesting new project from composer Alan Palomo. With their song Terminally Chill which you can listen to here
is a nostalgic mix of dreamy synths and beats.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Nirvana Reading Festival 1992 CD/DVD

Here is the first sneak peak at the upcoming legendary Nirvana 92 performance at Reading. The cd/dvd set will be released on November the 16th. This is an epic performance of 'School' from their Bleach era

Saturday, 17 October 2009

booooooom - Where The Wild Things Are forts

Awesome site for all things creative booooooom have set up a new competition inspired by the upcoming film 'Where The Wild Things Are' to create a 'fort' using anything and everything. There are some great results so far.

Jessica Allan - New site

London based illustrator Jessica Allan has a new site up, there are some great illustrations to check out. here.
Allan is also the Director of a creative network known as Wolfbite where the site is currently under construction.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Atlas Sound - Logos

It's been a bit of a crazy year for Bradford Cox, the man behind Atlas Sound and the mighty Deerhunter, if he's not been selling out venues as big as Koko he's been sharing the stage with the likes of Kim Deal and co and after the huge critical success of Deerhunter's Microcastle last year, things keep getting better and better and now with the imminent release of his second solo album under the moniker of Atlas Sound Cox pushes boundaries that have been touched on in the past even further and with collaborations with some extremely highly regarded musicians such as Panda Bear of Animal Collective and Laetitia Sadier from Stereolab people are bound to go nuts for Logos.
The album itself has a fragile intimacy that makes you think this album could have only come recorded straight out of his bedroom, creating a very personal feel although Cox states the lyrics are far from autobiographical and concentrate on a more panoramic view of life. Logos is a project that Cox has worked through on and off for a while, recording songs over the course of two years on tourbuses, backstage at venues and God knows where else, you can see where the influence of his peers has aided in the creation making Logos a huge cut above the usual generic 'solo' albums. I must admit it took a few listens to really latch on to the textures and sounds that are on offer, with the first few tracks easing the listener in rather than grabbing them by the balls, the real turning point for me was when I heard the eight minute 'Quick Canal' with vocals coming from the wonderful Laetitia Sadier who Cox quotes as one of his idols, the track is truly euphoric, it came out of nowhere, it is one of those songs that is a perfect late night chill out song all that's needed is to let the vocals and glitches flow and echo majestically and let the distorted guitars build up ever so slowly.
That was my gateway into an album full of surprises and although the collaborations are more of an instant hit, give the rest of the album time and you will find yourself discovering more and more with each listen.

Part Chimp - Thriller

Wow! Part Chimp are loud, in fact the only way you can possibly listen to this album is with the volume up so high the neighbours phone the police (possibly what my neighbours are doing as I write this.)
Thriller, Part Chimp's third studio album is a hit of no nonsense noise with a haze frantic sludgy guitars and heavy basslines but the real selling point is beneath the layers and layers of finger tapping and distortion each song is actually pretty catchy, it's an album I can listen to over and over again and find new parts every time I do.
Signed to the ever popular Rock Action (Mogwai's record label) who also put out Errors and Envy, Part Chimp are made up of members from a number of cult bands including Ikara Cult, Ligament and Sawyer and can now boast a pretty sizeable cult following themselves built up from their extensive touring from the last two albums and a live show like no other.
There are some absolute class moments on Thriller, one ofthe highlights is the move from the pummelling of track two 'FFFFF' straight into the dirgy, riff heavy 'Dirty Sun,' two brilliant tracks seemingly merging into one. There isn't really a break in the noise until the six minute 'Tomorrow Midnite' which builds up slowly but the calm doesn't last for long.
Part Chimp are a very rare breed, it's great to hear an album as heavy as this played so creatively.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Battles perform new songs

At the Warp live event in New York last month Battles treated us to three crazy new songs. The quality isn't great but this is a taster of what looks set to be another amazing album.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Fuck Buttons - Tarot Sport

All Tomorrows Parties Recordings’ Fuck Buttons have been entertaining noise lovers over the last couple of years with their sporadic dance drone feedback on debut ’Street Horrrising’ as well as their worldwide live performances and at many of the recent ATP festivals. The Bristolians return with more noise, more shoegaze and a lot more Techno-like dance music that many fans had been hoping they would develop in a similar vein as debut single, ‘Bright Tommorow’.
In ‘Tarot Sport’ we follow on from a similar structure as their debut, with their meaty drones, synths and simple chord sequences. But the production of iconic dance music producer DJ Andrew Weatherall helps Fuck Button display a progression in sound that should continue to build their demographic.
Debut single and opener ‘Surf Solar’ sets the tone of the record with its familiar fuzzy Fuck Buttons sound added with the 4/4 electronic beats which will become a common feature throughout the LP. ‘Tarot Sport’ seems to have a more melancholic feel in ‘The Lisbon Maru’ and ‘Olympians’ with it’s strong use of the minor key and marching rhythms where as with the latter features a notable influence of one of Weatherall’s former production clients, New Order.
The album still shows a glitch-y dirtiness in the only two short tracks (and by short, I mean just under 5 minutes). ‘Rough Steez’ and ‘Phantom Limb’ fall perfectly as tracks 2 and 5 respectively which break away from the epic, progressive jams but close off into their follow up tracks before they get too intense. The penultimate and album closer, ’Space Mountain’ and ’Flight of the Feathered Serpen’ could easily be mistaken to the naked ear as late nineties Trance anthems but leave us with an enjoyable sense of emotion that fans of Alternative music wouldn’t feel out of place listening to.
So how far should Andrew Hung and Benjamin Power go musically? In theory now, this second album could fuse together two sets of musical audiences, where ‘Tarot Sport’ might just possibly allow both the arty drone heads and techno ravers to expand their tastes even further. As a full length recording, it is by no means perfect. But this record could may well be the start of a small Tech-Noise phenomenon.

Freddy Rothman

Friday, 9 October 2009

Russian Circles - Geneva

I first heard of Russian Circles a few years back when Tool gave them the nod to support them at Brixton on the latter half of their 10,000 tour Days which is a pretty big stamp of approval if ever I've seen one but for a while after that things seemed to go quiet on the Russian Circles front.
That is until October the 20th which will see the release of their third album 'Geneva' which could easily be their best album yet. The instrumental Chicago based Post Rock aficionado's have a sound of two halves, one half is sheer metal brutality complete with hoards of finger tapping and big beefy riffs and the other is calming and ambient, the sort of music that you could close your eyes and just let wash over you.
What amazes me about a band with such a heavy, textured sound is that they are only a three piece. For a sound that has so many layers of well produced guitar riffs, mental drums, sludgy bass lines and all sorts of ambient noises Russian Circles could easily be mistaken for being a five piece and with production coming from the overly talented Brandon Curtis (guitarist for School Of Seven Bells) and engineered by Greg Norman (Electrical Audio) that is no surprise. Russian Circles combine the ambiance of 'This Will Destroy You' with the less sludgy side of 'Pelican,' in fact every track on Geneva offers something quite different, from the dirgy basslines of title track Geneva to the epic ten minute outtro 'Philos' this is an album that gets better with every listen.

Kurt Vile - Childish Prodigy

I have certainly been pretty taken by Kurt Vile (that is his real name) and his wonderful world of Lo Fi, garage rock recently. Childish Prodigy, Vile's debut on Matador which claims a higher fidelity than his last album on the cult American Indie label 'Woodsist' has a lot more to it than a lot of the general 'Lo-Fi' albums that are coming out, mainly because Vile adds a sense of nostalgia to a lot of his songs, a hark back to blues inspired rock which, when blended in with his echoed vocals and strange drums beats makes for a really interesting listen.
The album's opener 'Hunchback' is a perfect place for anyone new to his music to start, with a catchy pop hook delved somewhere deep in the chorus and a beefy riff running through out the song caught me straight away and enticed me to listen to what else the album had to offer. What it does in fact offer is a diverse range of tracks that sound as if they were straight out of the 70's rock/ psychedelic scene with songs such as the seven minute 'Freak Train' and it's guitar / sax solo's but played intimately as if you were watching him play live straight in front of you.
Vile has obviously spent a long time experimenting with rudimentary recording techniques and the outcome is a surprisingly refreshing album that I haven't stopped listening to since I first picked it up.
Vile will be playing a rare one off show at the Lexington on the 15th of December, highly recommended.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Johnny Foreigner - Criminals (Single of the week)

After trawling through a pile of singles Johnny Foreigner's 'Criminals,' the first song to be lifted from their upcoming second album 'Grace and the Bigger Picture' was the one that really got my attention. After hearing a lot about the Birmingham trio, this is in fact my first taste of what Johnny Foreigner have to offer, they have an essence of that sort of happy, British punk that was popular eight or nine years ago but with an added twee indie feel.
Criminals is three minutes packed full of upbeat indie with fast paced punky drums and a catchy pop hook. Good way to get over the Monday blues.

Vault 49 new work

As always there is some amazing work coming from the Vaults of 49, including a pretty spectacular campaign for Blackberry.
More can be seen on their site.

Monday, 5 October 2009

The Twilight Sad - Forget the Night Ahead

Finally the wait is over, 'Forget the Night Ahead' is out today. The Twilight Sad have been one of my highlights this year, being properly introduced to them earlier in the year at a One Little Indian/Fatcat night at the ICA where they played with We Were Promised Jetpacks and I was blown away by everything I saw.
Being a keen follower ever since the gig I gave this album a little bit of time to properly sink in because I wanted to give it the justice it deserves.
These guys are all about the live sound which is something I felt didn't come across as well in their first album but that was only after witnessing the spectacle of The Twilight Sad's live show and seeing just what they offered. With Forget the Night Ahead whatever they've done in the studio is working because this album is brilliant!
I don't know how they've done it but they've actually got an album of Post-Rock songs that are catchy, the mix of James Graham's (now trademark) vocals with Andy MacFarlane's multi multi effected guitar get me on every song on this album. Aggressive in parts, beautiful in others, from the first song 'Reflection of the Television' starting with those pounding drums building up to the delayed, distorted, reverbed and god knows what else guitars and then moving straight into their latest single 'I Became A Prostitute' (Middle Boop single of the week a while ago) which is five minutes of epic guitars the likes of which you may well have never heard and the strangely catchy chorus that you could just play all day and still want to listen to more. But they are not always about the heavy effects and loudness, track six 'The Room' is one of the highlights of the album and the main focus is much more on the melancholy piano lines and the emotional (not emo) lyrics and strong vocal talents of James Graham.
Twilight Sad are a band that people are really starting to catch onto over here and it's no surprise, there just isn't anyone else playing music this good at the moment.

Died Young, Stayed Pretty

This awesome film delves into the underground scene of gig posters and the people who create them, it looks awesome and is being shown at the ICA from this Friday.

Do Make Say Think - Other Truths

Do Make Say Think are back with 'Other Truths,' their sixth full-length album with a sound that shows evolution from their last few but stays true to the DMST roots by producing an album that quite possibly could not sound anything like anyone else.
Their career so far spanning 13 years has seen a constant change in their sound and Other Truths is no exception with a much more upbeat sound that packs more of a punch than the last few albums ‘You’re a History In Rust’ and their self titled.
The whole album comprises of four songs all weighing in at well over ten minutes which might be enough to put a number of people off but as with some of their old albums there are no sections comprising 5 minutes of minimalist noise, the album is pretty much full on from the word go and continues that way until the final track 'Think' which has a much more ambient feel.
Do and Make are both pretty fast paced, featuring huge amounts of heavily reverbed chords and delayed guitars which build up to horn sections giving their sound a lot more depth and emphasising that epic feel. It's the truly magical track 'Say' which steals the show though, it's a slow build up but by the time the slide guitar and drums kicked in I was enthralled. Other Truths is an instrumental journey that is full of surprises, Do Make Say Think have yet again proved why they are so highly regarded.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Invada Invasion, Bristol Colston Halls

Invada Invasion, a days worth of music, film and art curated by Invada Record's label boss and Portishead member Geoff Barrow set at Bristol's legendary Colston Hall venue, really intrigued me and with a lineup featuring rare performances from bands such as Italian noise trio Zu, Crippled Black Phoenix and Team Brick, not to mention two of the best live bands you will ever see, Mogwai and Fuck Buttons and artwork from some brilliant artists and designers such as Andy Council I felt it would be too good to miss.
Colston Halls which has recently been extended, adding a brand new 30 million pound building onto the existing structure was a great place to check out such a diverse lineup, as soon as we walked in we were greeted with music as one of the stages was set up in the foyer, after sampling the delights of what Bristol had to offer on the Friday we turned up just in time to see local three piece Thought Forms take the stage and blow the minds of everyone watching. Their heavy instrumental post rock proved to be one of the best opening acts for a festival I have ever seen, their loud and very epic sound managed to entice crowds of people three floors up. I hope to see a lot more of these guys as they really put on a brilliant show.
Next onto the main stage which saw a collaborative effort between a number of local bands and the Emerald Ensamble Orchestra who stayed on stage throughout the sets of Team Brick, Joe Volk and Crippled Black Phoenix. We caught up whilst Joe Volk was running through a number of his solo acoustic numbers, aided quite stunningly by the Orchestra but things really took off when Volk was joined onstage by Crippled Black Phoenix and Dominic Aitchinson of Mogwai who played bass on CBP'S last album. Playing through material from their recent success '200 Tonnes of Bad Luck' they wowed the crowd with their Pink Floyd esq sound and with the orchestra subtly adding even more depth to their sound this proved quite special.
Headliners Mogwai, of course proved to be band of the night, you could feel the anticipation from the crowd before they came on, this was obviously the band most people had come especially to see. They eased their way on stage playing the slow classic 'May Nothing But Happiness Come Through Your Door' which was an odd song to start with but nevertheless went down a treat. The set comprised of songs from the latter part of their career with highlights including 'Scotlands Shame' and 'I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead' from their latest album The Hawk Is Howling sounding loud as ever, the older songs included the beautiful 'Cody' and 'Helicon 2' which is quite honestly one of the best songs you will ever hear live. Mogwai are without a doubt one of my favourite bands so maybe I'm a little biased but as always this was a fantastic show, ending with Batcat which was so loud it hurt.
The final band of the evening were Fuck Buttons back in the foyer, coming out with new material from their eagerly anticipated second album Tarot Sport which went down an absolute treat, with most of the material sounding a little more accessible than the last, more emphasis on electro and beats than the truly amazing debut 'Street Horrsing.' They were probably the only band on the night to get the crowd dancing playing an intense set which seemed to fly by. Playing after Mogwai is probably one of the toughest jobs in the industry but if there was one band who could follow them, it would be Fuck Buttons.
Invada Invasion is one of those events that will always attract the proper music fans (I mean I ended up in a conversation with a guy wearing a Slint hoody, where else on earth would that happen?) its events like this that are purely about the music and arts, it was well worth the trip down the M4.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Middle Boop in Digital Arts

Just a quick note to say my work has been featured in this month's Digital Arts magazine out now.

Siggi Eggertsson video

As if it wasn't enough that Siggi Eggertsson is one of the most unique and highly regarded illustrators at the moment, he has now been venturing into the world of animation.