Monday, 30 November 2009
It's been a crazy time in the music industry recently what with the Twilight Sad boys getting pulled over by people impersonating police officers somewhere in italy and getting robbed at gunpoint, we also saw Grizzly Bear having to cut their tour short due to a load of their gear stolen in Brussels. Now Ninja Tune new boy's Grasscut who were due to play the Lexington with Three Trapped Tigers on Friday (and were also due for an interview with Middle Boop) had to pull out due to their laptops getting stolen at a show in London on the previous night.
They are planning to reschedule the date early next year with their album due for release soon after.
Sunday, 29 November 2009
The crazy Washington three piece Trans Am are gearing up to release their hotly anticipated live album and with a catalogue of over thirteen years of undeniably classic tracks that, despite a constant search for progression could never deny their roots.
With recordings taken from three gigs, one in L.A. and two seperate shows in San Francisco the seventeen songs on show range back from the prog influenced 'Firepoker' from their debut to songs such as 'Tesco vs Sainsbury's' lifted from their 2007 album 'Sex change.' Whilst surpassing some of the fan favourites from a number of their early albums What Day is it Tonight? proves a valuable asset in showcasing the talents of a band that have an extraordinary live sound, whether they are parodying boy bands and writing spoof synth driven craziness or writing dark instrumental pieces Trans Am's varied and unique sound shines through well on this cd.
Each of the three tireless performances on show here are played with such intensity and flare with huge throbbing basslines and wacky synths mixed with their tongue in cheek, sometimes subversive lyrics and vocodered vocals sounding something out of a 60's sci fi, Trans Am have produced one of the best live albums I have heard heard for a while.
These performances have also been released as a double LP packaged with a DVD which is limited to only 1,500 copies. I can't wait to see it.
Thursday, 26 November 2009
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
The Silent League is releasing a new record, it's third, in Feb 2010, ..But You've Always Been The Caretaker. Originally formed in 2004 by Justin russo, a one time ketboard player for Mercury Rev the band has gone through many stages and worked with many different musicians with links to Arcade Fire, St Vincent and Beirut.
their first track is a mere sampler of what's to come next year.
Check it out here.
Eric Jackson’s Fruit Bats have managed to fly just beneath the radar for years, even as his moonlighting role with similar-in-spirit labelmates The Shins has seen his other band skirt their way delicately along the edges of the mainstream. In some ways it’s easy to understand why – whilst James Mercer’s grounding humanity and gritty line in self-depreciating humour lend his songwriting a more obvious wide appeal, Jackson’s musings are less heavy on black humour, dwelling instead on the tiny nuances of positivity that make each day that bit more bearable: witness him “blow the tiny spider off your wrist” on ‘Beautiful Morning Light’. Even as the music that backs both writers shares certain fundamental similarities, The Shins’ deft fusion of ‘we’re all fucked’ negativity to an almost comically positive melodic framework does a neat job of summing up the prevailing atmosphere of the millennium thus far.
So far, so neat discussion of Mercer’s appealing aspects. But what of the Fruit Bats? Their fourth album for Sub Pop, The Ruminant Band, may not be likely to buck any trends and expose them to wider mainstream appeal, but it’s an absorbing and pretty piece of work nonetheless. At times calling to mind fellow folk-explorer Jason Molina’s Magnolia Electric Company in its frazzled slide guitar and country-fried strum, Jackson manages to summon the spirits of a couple of hundred years of music tradition to craft an album that certainly doesn’t match up to the world we’ve been living in for the past decade. It’s almost as though the last few years of fear, war and Dubya never happened – a kind of sublime escapism that doesn’t so much try and avoid a difficult subject as much as simply ignore that it happened at all.
Its unabashed lightheartedness provides both The Ruminant Band’s greatest appeal and its greatest drawback. Jackson’s songwriting is at its best when at its most intimate – the keening acoustic strum of the aforementioned ‘Beautiful Morning Light’, as he escapes with a lover to the shelter of a tree’s branches at dawn, or the gorgeous lo-fi piano led atmospheres of closer ‘Flamingo’. Yet in the same way as relentless negativity can grate over time, over the course of an entire record Jackson’s childlike wonder becomes a little wearing. It’s hard not to mull over music’s role, at least to these ears. Just as the arrival of autumn triggers a change in listening habits to suit mood and season, so the rollercoaster of emotions the world throws at its inhabitants on a daily basis sometimes demands something a little more appreciative of life’s darker aspects. Not too much – but a little; it’s a delicate balancing act.
By Rory Gibb
Monday, 23 November 2009
It isn’t very often that a band comes along and instantly manages to draw the attention of the listener through originality and sheer intrigue. So when I listened to Starless and Bible Black’s Shape of the Shape through for the first time I wasn’t surprised to find myself once again disappointed.
To simply sum this album up with descriptions of the genres and styles this band utilises would be a false representation of the finished product. A Manchester based jazz/folk band with a psychedelic backdrop that incorporates the sweet vocal tones of French Hélène Gautier. However, it is not as interesting as it sounds.
The first minute of the first track ‘Say Donny Say’ coaxes you in with the teasingly appealing dark sound of growling synths, off-key piano notes and a subsequent subtle build up to an emotive succession of touching, sliding acoustic chords. This immediately dissipates however as inappropriately ‘jangly’ riffs cut through the atmosphere closely followed by Gautier’s lacklustre vocals. The starting track and consequently the whole album feels uneasy and unsure of it’s own agenda and this intro alludes to a vibe that is not there. It just can’t decide where it is. The whole thing feels like a western, sci-fi B-movie soundtrack. A track doesn’t seem to go by without the band feeling the need to throw in what seems like a synthesised snippet from an ‘outer limits’ episode…I would even go as far as to say that Gautier’s uninspiring yet inoffensive vocals are actually an unwelcome distraction from the at least melodic music and everything constantly seems to be in and out of atmosphere. The harmonies are bland and shallow but at least this is in keeping with the simplistic ideals and slow pace of the whole album.
However, to give Shape of the Shape it’s due, although it is not breaking any boundaries, it is secure in the knowledge that each chord is confidently strummed and each plucked note is allowed to resonate poignantly and fully with clarity and charm, with its simplicity and safe rhythm and timing keeping it grounded. It is easy to be over critical of safe music and after a few plays you forget to listen so intently for faults. The whole thing becomes background music, which is where it works best and believe it or not, I did find this harmless album to be more of a grower than I had first expected and even found myself tapping my feet along a few times. The whole thing feels like one long sound without anything distinctive coming to light but once it has admitted its own simplicity this is easier to accept and the album becomes more appealing because of this. This is shown towards the end of the album with tracks 6, 7 and 8 where the instruments feel more definably folk and the vocals are suitably and consistently haunting. Track 6 ‘Country Heir’ is the first track that allows a steady and welcome atmosphere that lets you glide through without having to process any unexpected jumps in style. The band finally seems to work together with a mutual understanding of the desired outcome. Moody guitars are no longer hindered by whiney riffs and understated, brooding slide guitars and simple, undemanding riffs finally give some well needed and deserved stability. This seems to continue through to the end of the album.
I feel the 9 minute track 5 ‘Les Furies’ also has to be mentioned, as this is the band’s greatest attempt at, and comes closest to being, original and successful in use of different styles. Synths are in sync to the rest of the music, tense, eager, aggressive build-ups achieve a climax where they have previously been left dead and the vocals even attempt something new with echoed French verses. The song implies a greater ambition to the band’s potential and actually leaves you feeling energetic in ratio to the rest of the lethargic contributions
Don’t get me wrong. The vocals are pleasant enough. The guitars are rhythmic and well timed. The whole album is made well and with care. But it is all just so ‘safe’. I was hoping for ‘America’ collaborates with ‘Mazzy Star’. I didn’t get it, although at a stretch of the imagination there are a very few instances where this almost happens. Still, if ‘safe’ is your thing, and you’re not looking for the next step in expanding your involvement in the avant-garde, you could do far worse than Shape of the Shape.
Overall this is a solid enough album with reliable instrumentals and harmless, nice vocals but it needs to decide exactly what it wants to be. Shape of the Shape is not a breath of fresh air but it is breathable nonetheless.
By Adrian Booth
Friday, 20 November 2009
Baltimore noise artist Jason Urick has here an album that boasts 43 minutes of music with only four songs, just from reading that one line you can probably tell this offering is more Pink Flyod than Pink. Husbands is the debut from the former WZT Hearts man and I can tell you it sounds nothing like any of the chaos and craziness of WZT Hearts. Urick has taken a complete U turn in sound with an intricate collection of songs that compels the listener.
Husbands has a very ambient feel to it with layers upon layers of well crafted samples and drone building and whirring away somewhere in the background but when I say ambient, I don't mean ambient in the way that bands such as Air and Zero 7 would create ambient music, believe me this is not an easy listen, each song contains gentle melody yet with somewhat dark, tragic undertones. The seventeen minute 'National Treasure' is a prime example starting off with subtle layers building up with dark broody synth sounds swirling and warping adding a whole psychedelic essence about it.
Once listening to the finale 'The Eternal Return' you get the feeling that the last 30 minutes or so has been leading up to this point, with the album moving in a totally different direction and for me is where things really kick off, huge walls of fuzzed up noises and crackles ala Fuck Buttons are blared out over the top of some very strange samples, on first listen this is quite unnerving especially as the rest of the album has been so quiet but on another listen you begin to hear the melody which brings everything together very nicely.
Urick creates a very intimate atmosphere with these four tracks and has on show an album that given the right mood can really hit the spot.
Thursday, 19 November 2009
The Memories project is a brilliant idea conceived by Designers Against Human Rights Abuse (DAHRA), Subism, OneTenEleven Media and editor Garrick Webster as a means of helping the battle against cancer by creating a beautiful artbook with all of the profits going towards cancer support charity TBA.
They are welcoming written submissions to fill two of the positions planned for stories within the book.
They are looking for a great piece of writing that captures a memory you have that relates to cancer. Inside the book, there will be two kinds of stories. One section is going to be by people who have lost a friend or relative to the disease, and their recollection of a day or moments they spent with their loved one. The other is about people who have survived, and their reflections on the effects the disease had on them. They are looking for one story for each section of the book that will come via this open submissions process.
(For more on the overall idea of Memories see
There will be ten stories inside, each looking at one person’s recollection of a particular day in the struggle against cancer. For each of these ‘memories’ a dozen leading artists, illustrators and designers will be creating their own visual response with two further stories will going to ‘open brief’
That makes for 12 touching stories, and 144 smashing pieces of artwork
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
First thing's first, trains on a Sunday are annoyingly awkward at the best of times so if you are anything like myself who lives just outside of London gigs on a Sunday can often be a somewhat sordid affair which involves either a fair amount of running or waiting. In this case the way there involved a lot of waiting and the way back a lot of running so by the time I got there it was halfway through London six piece 'Sian Alice Group's' set which didn't surprise me as I have so far managed to miss this band live on about six different occasions. Nonetheless the songs that I did see the group play were very impressive, mostly showcased from their latest album 'Troubled, Shaken Etc' the songs took on a life of their own live, played with a lot more aggression tracks such as 'Close to the Ground' sounded purely hypnotic. They have a great live presence and it certainly inspired me to go back and give their album a full listen.
It's been a whirlwind few months for Mr Bradford Cox, what with Deerhunter's apparent hiatus and the loss of his Atlas Sound backing band going, as he said 'back to their....Jobs' it was just the man himself tonight which didn't seem to bother a single person in the sold out crowd. One thing that came to my attention straight away was his confidence and honesty, after watching Deerhunter in August I wasn't expecting much in the way of crowd interaction but totally surprised me, something Cox has done a lot of late, bouncing onto stage joking, and telling anecdotes about his ordeal of a journey to get here, how he might shit himself any minute or how he had probably annoyed the Breeders as he was meant to design their t shirts and hadn't. This sort of intimacy with the crowd fitted the mood perfectly and it was pretty much like you were having a beer with and a jam with the guy yourself, as Cox said "this is just like me being at home, this is pretty much what I do."
With a little worry in my mind about how the songs would turn out without a backing band any doubt in my mind was quashed in the first thirty seconds as he and Laetitia Sadier of Setereolab joined the stage and eased into the phenomenal Quick Canal with Cox starting off mixing at least three different guitar lines with a variety of pedals and effects before dropping the guitar altogether (with the loops still playing) and heading to the back to sing backing and play the drums.
Cox continued solo ploughing through Kid Klimax and Criminals, stripping them of all but his acoustic and a mouth organ which worked well.
This was a very special performance and Cox certainly worked well to make it feel that way, in between his amazing music and jokes he still found time to get a strange kid up on stage to dance to a number and take requests, where he tried and failed to play Pavement's 'We Dance.'
Owing again to the awful train service on Sunday I was unable to watch his whole set but word on the grapevine is that he ended the set with a song he pretty much made up on the spot about a real life incident involving getting high, looking for porn and finding a gun instead. Sounds just like something Cox would do.
Monday, 16 November 2009
Exploding Head has been out for a little while now but it is such a great album we I feel it needs a review.The aptly named 'Exploding Head' contains more noise than you are likely to hear at a Sonic Youth gig with the three piece easily earning themselves the title 'the loudest band in New York.' Their sound takes some of the best bits from shoegaze legends My Bloody Valentine and Jesus and Mary Chain whilst adding slight hints of punk and garage rock making for a relentless onslaught on the eardrums, thick walls of noise created by loud drums with a snare that thwacks so intently and guitars that squeal and screech so much it's almost deafening at times but it's the addition of those catchy melodies that really raises the bar from their first eponymous long player.
The production on this record is stunning, with a sound as distorted and dense as APTBS's there must have been so much work going on behind the scenes because it's a hard sound to get right on cd and believe me there have been a number of other bands who have tried before and failed. Lead singer Oliver Ackermann states that "Taking the listeners to different places-even in one song-is so important, whether it makes them cry or pissed off. If you listen closely, some of the riffs on this record are actually like Ramones or 60's bubblegum pop." Production Engineer Andy Smith who can quote working with the likes of Paul Simon and David Bowie really has taken the band to another level.
Their first album was more of a collection of demos and outtakes from jams over a period of three years whilst Akermann was making a name for himself creating custom effects pedals for the likes of MBV and U2 under the name Death By Audio. The album turned out to become one of the most sought after underground records in 2007 resounding in worldwide acclaim and a major record deal with Mute, so the buzz and expectation around Exploding Head was obviously high but what we have here is an album which showcases a more diverse range of songs and shows a band who have risen to the challenge.
A Place To Bury Strangers play the Garage in London tomorrow, bring earplugs.
Alt Folk rockers Vetiver are a band that have been on my radar for a while now and with a string of critically acclaimed albums including this year's 'Tight Knit,' I jumped at the chance to give their new single 'More Of This' a listen and whilst most of Tight Knit blissfully allows the listener to drift off into a mellow world of drowsy slide guitar and calming vocals, 'More Of This' evokes a much more upbeat and cheery feel to it. Jazzy guitars and a simple beat gives the song a much more pop feel.
Vetiver will be in London playing the Jazz Cafe on Thursday the 10th of December with Fruit Bats.
Friday, 13 November 2009
Thursday, 12 November 2009
Some 17 years ago on a wet, windy day a muddy field in Reading played host to one of the most historic gigs in recent times. Nirvana, who at the time were still adjusting from the big step into the world of multi platinum albums, amidst rumours of blow outs and overdoses take the stage. Cobain wheeled on in full hospital gown to deafening applause and jumped straight into Breed.
The year before this performance Nirvana played 6th on the bill on the first night, fast-forward a year and they're headlining the prestigious Sunday slot, despite the huge success and mainstream attention their set was anything but tame, songs such as Lithium and sounded gritty and raw and despite the addition of the Nevermind hits 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' and 'Come As You Are' this was by no means a crowd pleasing set.
The rumours that had been going on before the show seemed to only spurn on a performance that had such ferocious intensity from start to finish, there was no money spent on the huge stageshows and pyrotechnics that headliners have often invested in (in fact the only real addition on stage was the random dancer who popped up from time to time and went nuts, Nirvana's version of Bez or something) but none of that was needed for what would turn out to be one of the defining moments of a generation.
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
It is indeed a divine thing, the part of us that we all possess inside, deeply written into our DNA, the energy that unconsciously makes humans want to vigorously move our bodies and strut our dance floor prowess to a thumpin’ tune!
The latest effort from Auckland based Julien Dyne evokes just that gene, almost every track on his new record ‘Pins & Digits‘ has just that incredible hypnotising effect. I’m vigorously tapping my foot under the desk to opening track 'Steel Legs' which leaves me up for a ‘rumble in the jungle’ as the quantised kick and snare pattern feature heavily.
I can't sit still and I find myself jigging all the way to the kitchen for a cup of morning brew. Contemplating turning the volume to eleven at this point although no doubt this level of amplification would create a kafuffle with my neighbourito’s judging by the time of day, although I’m enjoying this progressive house effort and of course I do not live in a music venue!
‘Incredulous’ lives up to its name, Julien must have sampled some of these noises from Atari computer games of the past. ‘Stained Glass’ has that good time summer feel with vocals to shiver your goose bumps, while ‘New New Zealand’s’ break beat itchy scratching DJ sample provides a stark contrast, a theme prevalent throughout the whole record. I can see the flyer now as Mr. Dyne would be caught headlining a Whirly gig chill out room and a Raindance arena on the same club night!
There is such an element of class to Julien's sound as he creates a visual significance of original soul infused Jazz crescendo, as for the main part of the album retains a hefty amount of influence from House music of the future and with stunning live Drum samples (the uber-talented Kiwi has recorded himself incidentally) creates his own style of Progressive Djembe laden grooves fused with instrumental hip hop freshness.
Don’t get me wrong, this album is as dance-y as it is chilled, but this is the late naughties and is the sound of new music today that breathes so much life into the electro dance scene. Get your ears around this belter my good people, enjoy the mood and move to the groove…
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
The work of Jessica Walsh mixes classic and contemporary graphic design. With her clear and striking graphics and style so diverse it caters brilliantly on so many levels, she is one of the best new designers I have found for a while and I'm not the only one who thinks so. She recently came in at number one for the most promising designers this year in this month's Computer Arts.
Check out her site here
Crazy dance/Rock, freak out mentalists Three Trapped Tigers released a video a little while back for awesome track 6, from their second ep. Naturally the video is as crazy as their music.
If you haven't seen these guys live yet, make it your highest priority to get to one of these dates. It will be worth it.
25 - Glasgow, Nice 'n' Sleazy
26 - Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
27 - London, The Lexington
So it looks like New Order could actually have split this time with Bernard Summer claiming that "this time it got a little nasty" but fear not, Mr Summer has a new project and he's taking fellow New Order members Stephen Morris and Phil Cunningham with him.
So how different are Bad Lieutenant from New Order or any other side project for that matter? Well they are certainly missing the trademark basslines of Peter Hook and the euphoric synths and dance beats that pretty much inspired and continue to inspire legions of people all over the world. Summer and co have concentrated their efforts much more into making a rock record, with new vocalist Jake Evans (whom Summer discovered singing at a wedding) adding his own touch 'Never Cry Another Tear' has vibrancy and charm and although it's nothing new there is still enough here to keep the New Order fans happy for the moment.
The album starts off strong with the infectious single 'Sink Or Swim' there are a number of great songs on 'Never Cry Another Tear' with all the hype about New Order's split and the comparisons between the two bands, it's almost forgotten that Bernard Summer can actually write a damned good pop song, it may not stand up against 'Power, Corruption & Lies' or 'Movement' as unique and groundbreaking music but it's a good album and worth a listen for any fan.
With so many bands hitting on the Krautrock influenced button these days it's getting hard for the really talented bands to stand out in the huge haze of synthetic pop and catching people's attention involves actually having something different to bring to the table without ending up sounding like a retro band that would have been ok in the 80's but by todays standards just sound tired and insanely average.
Thankfully Cold Cave have that little extra flare that makes them a cut above the hoards of electro nonsense around at the moment (I'm naming no names) with ten synth pop songs that meet somewhere in the middle of 80's influenced dance and the dark brooding analogue sounds ala Gary Numan and early New Order. Love Comes Close, Cold Cave's debut album was originally released as a limited run through Wesley Eisold's own North American label earlier this year but demand was so high it sold out almost immediately.
They are a super group of sorts, starting out as a solo project for Wesley Eisold, a man who prior to Cold Cave had played for eminent American hardcore bands such 'Some Girls,' 'American Nightmare' and 'Give Up the Ghost' with it quickly evolving into a three piece with members Dominick Fernow (Prurient) and Caralee McElroy (Xiu-Xiu) making their mark. With huge amounts of influences seemingly ranging from any genre but electro or Krautrock it seems strange that these three have actually come out with an album that is full to the brim of catchy tunes, 'The Trees Grew Emotions and Died' and title track 'Love Comes Close' are prime examples of Cold Caves buzzy synths and duel vocals combining to make infectious songs free of pastiche. This is the sound of three unique individuals taking a complete U turn in their musical direction and succeeding.
November not only sees the release of the All Tomorrows Parties film to buy and Nirvana live at Reading, the new film about Mogwai created by Vincent Moon premiers in Copenhagen. It's starting to feel like Christmas has come early.
Monday, 9 November 2009
What’s in a title? One of the central tenets of pop music’s legacy is a tendency towards arbitrary naming, as an afterthought to the main event, a necessary piece of decorative icing on the cake. Broadcast are as ‘pop’ a phenomenon as anything of this mixed-up decade, digging through our sandpit of cultural detritus to extract tiny nuggets – a folk melody here, a sampled wash of crackling noise there – and piecing them into strangely familiar assemblies that simultaneously evoke childlike nostalgia and the knowing wink of adult humour. Initially seen as an anomaly on Warp’s beat‘n’bleep-riddled roster, in the wake of the label’s expansion into fields hitherto unexplored they seem more at home there than ever, slotted between Boards Of Canada’s sepia-tinted imagery and the wistful folk-jams of Grizzly Bear’s Yellow House.
So, to return to this piece’s opening gambit: in the case of Broadcast’s new collaborative mini-album with The Focus Group, an awful lot. In a recent interview with The Wire magazine, singer Trish Keenan revealed that the theme and title came first, followed by a swift gestation period and even faster final delivery. It shows; Investigate Witch Cults Of The Radio Age is drenched in a sense of half-remembered joy, yet masked behind the crackle and interference of an ancient signal, finally picked up fifty or a hundred years after its original transmission. Very few of its 23 tracks are fully realised songs – instead, during the sketches between isolated nodes, The Focus Group’s Julian House draws lines between the fairground lilt of ‘The Be Colony’ and the gently plucked Euro-pop of ‘I See, So I See So’ in delicate shades of feedback and angular sample-play.
During the same interview, James Cargill compared the end result to Mikhail Bulgakov’s mercurial masterpiece The Master And Margarita. The parallel couldn’t be more apt. The diabolical antics of Bulgakov’s misfits as they terrorize Moscow are cheeky and mischievous even as they retain the power to shock and horrify. The same is true of Investigate Witch Cults Of The Radio Age. ‘Mr. Beard, You Chatterbox’ paints a genuinely unsettling landscape in circus instrumentation, and the rise and fall of crowd chatter during ‘A Quiet Moment’ brings to mind Margarita’s place as guest of honour at the devil’s grand ball as swiftly as it does Jack Torrance’s descent into madness in the profoundly empty corridors of the Overlook Hotel.
As with all of Broadcast’s music, there’s a profound sense of cognitive dissonance at play across the album’s run-time. They skirt the fine line between what memory tells you and the reality of what occurred by obscuring the mind’s obvious landmarks in a dizzying whirl of synaesthetic colour and activity. The results are sometimes difficult to pin down, but frequently spectacular.
This beautifully crafted stop frame video come courtesy of Glenn Z Taunton and
Simon Taffe who make up some of the team that bring you the End Of the Road Festival.
This peaceful little number is a great way to ease yourself into this very autumnal week.
Saturday, 7 November 2009
Friday, 6 November 2009
Despite a career spanning nearly ten years and three albums behind their belt with Chimeric being their fourth this is the first time Radian have found their way onto my radar, not too surprisingly as this band are so un radio friendly they would have a hard chance finding their way onto Radio 6's Freakshow, there is no question about it this is certainly an album for proper music lovers, not the sort of people that when asked 'what music do you like?' they reply 'everything' this is music for the type of person that when asked that very same question, they reply with a long and carefully structured and well thought out answer.
So in case you hadn't guessed already, this is a particularly challenging album, one that has had me pondering over what to write for some time as the first time I put it on in the background on a nice sunny day and that really wasn't working. Chimeric is an album that needs your full attention, it needs to be played loud and preferably when it's dark outside because there is a real atmosphere created as you delve deeper into the wonderful world of Radian.
It's almost like you are listening to the soundtrack to a horror film, in fact I've heard horror soundtracks that make you feel less on edge than this but the album as a piece tells a story. After their last album Radian took a long break before moving back into the studio to record Chimeric and they wanted to come back with this record and not get stuck into any sort of routine, enter new territories which is something they have certainly achieved with this record.
First track 'Git Cut Noise' merely eases you in with odd timings and a loud fuzzy bassline, after that the album consists songs such as 'Feedbackmikro / City Lights' and 'Chimera' which between them are nearly twenty minutes of eerie squeaks and hazy, odd ambient noise running through building layer upon layer of raw samples and loud drums.
This is certainly not one for the faint hearted, there is a hell of a lot going on here from electronic to organic sounds. If you think Battles are too mainstream give this a try.
Jimmy Turrell has been a busy man of late, with his recent works for the Guardian and Glastonbury he has managed to get his work accross to a huge new audience.
Turrell states his work is “combines handmade collage, drawing and painting alongside digital mark making.” His clients include Nike, Dazed and Confused and The Observer.
See more of his work here
Thursday, 5 November 2009
Twilight Sad are a band that have featured quite regularly on the Middle Boop site recently, mainly because they play truly brilliant music, also because they are damned nice guys and we are certainly not the only people who think so judging by the fact that a mere few months ago before the release of their publicly lauded second album 'Forget The Night Ahead' they were playing The Lexington and the ICA which, although no one could fault that these are both great venues they are half the size of the Scala, a venue which they have packed out pretty well for tonight's show.
Missing the first band 'Talons' we arrived just in time to watch Airship, who showed promise with their first song, an atmospheric number that built up to a heavy distorted chorus but sadly the rest of the set transcended into radio friendly indie pop and although it was pleasant to listen to, it was nothing new.
After a fair old wait we were finally graced with the presence of Twilight Sad who have clearly become a lot more comfortable playing their new material live since the last time I saw them, opener 'Reflections Of The Television,' singles 'I Became A Prostitute' and 'Seven Years Of Letters' were played with such intensity it was hard not to become completely immersed in their sound.
Twilight Sad have an interesting presence on stage, considering the aggressive music they play, the bass player and keyboardist hardly break a sweat with the most movement seen by either was to take a swig of beer between songs which I'm sure is mostly due to their high levels of concentration in making sure every song is note perfect but nonetheless the showmanship is left to lead singer James Graham who tackles this task in a rather unorthodox fashion, singing each song without any eye contact on the crowd and slamming his mike stand repeatedly with the music whilst occasionally grabbing some drum sticks and basing the hell out of a snare along with the drummer, he is still generally humbled by the crowds participation and affection for the music.
This was a benchmark performance by a band who are most certainly going from strength to strength, the pounding drums and screeching guitars were affluent from start to finish and with their finale 'I'm Taking The Train Home' making sure that if anyone hadn't been deafened up until that point, they certainly were after that.
Thanks to these guys I have now started to wear ear plugs at gigs.
Having received acclaim in their homeland of Belgium through winning the country’s most important rock contest, the Humo Rock Rally in 2006, The Hickey Underworld have since followed in the footsteps of fellow native bands such as Das Pop and dEUS. Three years on, the Antwerp quartet release their self titled LP.
It is an album that musically kicks straight in from the off. Launching into upbeat guitars, bass and drums on ‘Zero Hour’ where instantly we can grasp a familiarity of rock n roll bands like Death From Above 1979, and a pre-electro Soulwax.
Approximately five or six tracks into the album we recognise that ’THU’ is a kick-ass party record fuelled with sharp hooks, lush melodies, and heavy beats despite lacking in any real variety. However, for me the stand out track on ‘ The Hickey Underworld’ is the 6 minute ‘Of Asteroids and Men… Plus Added Wizardry’. Two and a half minutes into the track the direction moves towards a guitar and vocal jam that begins to slow the tempo down, where even though it still claims its ‘in yer face’ punk-rock charm it then speeds the tempo up further to deliver a song of epic proportion. The album draws together nicely as the aggression cools down whilst still producing its raw and fuzzy sound.
What I personally like about this record is that it brings a sense of nostalgia, reminding me of some fond teenage music listening experiences of this decade. Bands such as Muse, Nine Black Alps and the Mars Volta all spring to mind when listening to ‘THU‘.
This album has the potential to be a success for the four-piece, where four or five years ago this would have almost guaranteed to be an Indie chart smash. However, a part of me thinks that perhaps this record would have been more in place around 2002 to 2005. But then another part of me thinks… who cares!
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
Papercuts released album number three, You Can Have What You Want, earlier this year and they recently stopped by the Yours Truly studios to perform a couple tracks from that release. They've also been working on new material, and will release a new 7" and digital single for the brand new song "White Are The Waves" on Nov.
Monday, 2 November 2009
Heaven is probably the last place I would have ever expected to see one of the most interesting, challenging and loud bands of the last few years but then again if Surf Solar (out last month) is anything to go by, Fuck Buttons proving to be are full of surprises.
After missing Andrew Weatherall's set deciding to grab a few cheap beers before hand we made it just in time to see the legendary Clark on stage, the Warp Dj was a brilliant choice for support blaring out his stunning array of loud bassy beats and crazy mixes which got the packed crowd moving more than I have seen for a support act for a long time, especially right at the front where there was a conglomerate of about 20 people going nuts like it was three in the morning on a Saturday night as opposed to around nine on a Tuesday.
Now onto the main event, Fuck Buttons have built up a huge following over the last few years with their reputation for intense, live shows that have people watching in amazement with their vast swathes of electronic craziness, euphoric melodies and huge pounding beats generally leaving people feeling pretty humbled.
Word of their magnificent showcases have obviously got around as Heaven, their biggest headline show in London was completely sold out.
Finally squeezing my way to the front past a mixed crowd of anyone from proper ravers with their neons and sunglasses to fat middle aged business men, I watched as Fuck Buttons ploughed through material from Tarot Sport, to which working with producer Andrew Weatherall they have somehow managed to make their sound a little more accessible without losing any of that visceral noise that they are famed for. 'rough steez' and 'olympians,' two of my highlights from the album were quite breathtaking to watch and the guys themselves looked absolutely lost in the music, staring at each other over their table full of pedals, gadgets and toys. The finale came in the form of 'Sweet Love For Planet Earth' the opener from their debut Street Horrsing, a fans favourite which starts minimally and ends in a haze of distortion and noise.
I left the venue as many did with my ears ringing and feeling pretty disorientated. The sign of a very good gig.
Sunday, 1 November 2009
With this charming, delightfully chirpy number Camera Obscura once again hark back to their roots with their 60's-70's influenced blend of indie pop. Tracyanne Campbell's wonderful vocals shine through and are backed up by a string section which adds even more depth to this insanely catchy song.
The B side is a very interesting take on Bruce Springsteen's 'Tougher Than The Rest' and the well produced video emphasises even further their homage to 70's culture with every band member dressed as their favourite artists of that period.
The Sweetest Thing which is the third single to be released from their latest album 'My Maudlin Career' is another fine example of a Camera Obscura's knack of being able to write a brilliant pop song.
London based freelance creative Radim Malinic has updated his website at
www.brandnu.co.uk with projects from summer 2009 spanning worldwide from
Melbourne to Stockholm, London to Vancouver. See the Showcase for more the
diverse portfolio update.