Monday, June 30, 2008

Real Ones

I am a huge sucker for banjos and when I heard the first pluckings of Every Dog Has it's Day' I knew I just had to write something about this band.

Besides the banjo pop perfection the songs are just so damn good! totally irresistible and will make themselves a prt of your life somehow. The amount of talent this band have is simply jaw dropping. Listen to the strings on the aforementioned 'Every Dog Has it's Day' or the sexy bass on outlaw and how about the psychedelic opening of Orlando. wowowowowow

yes I am using quite a bit of hyperbole here but this band deserve it. Furthermore there is an album out soon so their will be more tunes for me to drool on.

and did i mention that the band hail from Norway! excellent!

Real Ones Myspace

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Thomas Muller - Seduction/Crash

If you thought that the French were only capable of sounding like Justice ( I was about the say anything on Ed Banger but then I realised that they all sound like Justice) then think again. New signing Thomas Muller hails from aforementioned country and his sound is totally different. Taking his cues from minimal techno and microhouse Muller injects a more energetic feel into the two tracks of his second single. Seduction is a micro masterpiece. A snaking beat beat which gets shaken with a sound that's not dissimilar to marbles falling into a bowl. It's nine minutes literally fly by.

Crash is more heavy hitting and funky. It literally thuds its way across your speakers. I have to admit I found 'Seduction' more exciting but this one works perfectly, if not a bit too functional.

Will France start spawning tons of Muller copy cat artists? I personally doubt it but then who cares Muller is a talent worth checking out.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Darlings of the Day

Never has a band moniker been so misleading. DOTD create danceable, hip swaying guitar pop. Think of the early Long Blondes but with a better ear for a arm flailing tune. This is pure fun all the way. There's no shortage of great riffs or choruses. This band has it all. Did O mention that the majority of the tracks here are demos! If these caused damage then the fully fledged version will create a full scale disaster. Watch this group with a wary eye! Darlings for long time I reckon

Darlings of the Day Myspace

Friday, June 27, 2008

Modeselektor - Godspeed/White Flash

Modeselektor - Godspeed/White Flash (SINGLE)
Bpitch Control

I somehow guessed that the two best tracks on Modeselektor's sophomore album (called Happy Birthday) would see the light of day in the near future. For those who don't know Modeslektor are one of the best electronic acts at the moment. Not only can they shift to any electronic genre at the drop of a stylus but they don't really have any weak tracks in their repertoire . 'Godspeed' ranks as one of fan's favourites due to the fact that displays a more mature side of the duo. A slight beepy track which grows more layers and get more chunky as it proceeds, only to fade out in what sounds like the most sinister choir on Earth.

but that's only one side of the story.

The absolute standout of Happy Birthday is The White Flash, which features a certain Thom Yorke on vocals and STILL is the best track he's lent his vocals to ( including 2006's The Eraser)
It's an ethereal track and Yorke unleashes the full potential of his voice. It's oddly calming and creepy at the same time. I put it down to those swathes of noise (in the best sense) which crop up in intervals.

The whole package is rounded off by The White Flash remixed by the elusive Trentemoller. It's an interesting rerub of the track ( adds heavier beats, Keeps Yorke's vocals) but it doesn't surpass the original, although he does keep the same feel and it is more dancefloor friendly. It does it's job well.

Although two of these tracks already exist in c.d. format (and probably digital as well) it was good listening to them in a different context but it still makes me wonder what the group will pull off next time round?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Aleks and the Drummer

How the hell can one describe Aleks and the Drummer? you simply can't. One thing I can say is that this New Yorkian duo's music has got me glued to my seat. Listen to the first song, Closer. A Stinky sounding Farfisa, an errant drum and haunting female voice wrapping itself around the whole song. It's oddly arresting.

If you thought that was good then check out the other songs Alexs .... myspace page. All of them have that off beat pop feel. Most of these songs have been on rotation all morning and they just make me like the band more. This is powerful stuff. Furthermore they have an e.p. which was produced by no other than David Andrew Sitek (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, T.V. on the Radio, Scarlett Johansson) so hopefully in the near future we'll be hearing a lot more from them.

Alexs and the Drummer's Myspace

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ellen Allien - Sprung/It's

Ellen Allien
Sprung/It's (SINGLE)
Bpitch Control 2008

What can I say about Ellen Allien? Sure there are the cliches like innovative, techno's first ady yadda yadda yadda but what excites me is the fact that she has never taken a predictable route as an artist. All her albums are never developments of the last one but rather separate entities which stand on their own.

Sprung is the first taster off her new album Sool ( review will be on the horizon) and it's a more minimal and darker affair. Whereas her beats are a bit frothy, here they thud and unravel but not at a slow pace, rather at comfortable one. In the spaces inbetween there are flecks of electronic lashes. Sometimes during the song's progression it goes a bit spacey but resumes it's hypnotic pace easily.
Hypnotic is a good word to describe 'Sprung'. It's the type of track to grab hold of you, keep you seated and staring into a blank void for it's duration. Very clever.

The flipside 'It's' contains the same feel as the a side. I guess one can call this a spacious thumper as it consists of a heartbeat like thump pulsating quietly, again with speckles of beeps sprinkled on to fill in some gaps. It is totally mesmerising.

It seems that these two tracks have ushered in a new phase for Allien. Less clutter , less upbeat and mood creating. However there is tons of soul spread out in this 12 minute delight. Judging by Sprung and It's. Allien has once again proved that she can still make heads turn and eyes open.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Grand Pocket Orchestra

The first thing I noticed about Grand Pocket Orchestra is that I instantly liked the band title. It's like creating a maximum sound in the most minimal way possible. It turns out that I was right.

GPO contain every single trait that I adore in a band. An air of joyous abandon, harmony galore, silly song titles and bucketloads of tunes. Yes the happy button is pressed to the limit but other than annoying the listener, it ensnares you to a candy coloured world. From the glorious single 'Little Messy' to positively hyper 'Chongo pop' you' ll dance and bop till you faint with exhaustion to these four songs. This band truly want to brighten your day and they succed marvelously.

Now excuse me while i dash off to jump around to Little Messy again.

Grand Pocket Orchestra's Myspace Page

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Radiohead : The Best of : Music Videos

Video Killed the Radiohead??
Radiohead – The Best of : Video Collection
Parlophone (DVD)

Now that Radiohead’s tenure with their label Parlophone has ended, it seems that they are milking the band for all it’s worth. Within the past few months we have already seen a boxset, a best of and a double edition of said best of, and to be honest all have proved to be nothing except a source of filling up someone’s pockets. Now to add to the cash cow there is a dvd with all of the group’s promo videos.

I’m always a bit hesitant when it comes to video retrospectives, especially from nineties groups. True they are good snapshots of how a band has developed but then it also means that you have to sit through a lot of cheaply made semi tacky fair which doesn’t really do justice to the song or in some better cases the first half of the compendium is dull and the second half leads to the big name directors and more interesting fare and this dvd collection does take that route.

Radiohead were a band who’s first steps were quite mediocre and then as time passed they got better, eventually to become one of the most crucial acts in the world today and this is reflected in the 20 (plus one song performed live) videos in this collection. At the start we are on shaky ground but after the first half hour or so things improve and more or less keep on going on a regular high. The band are lucky to have a lot of memorable videos to their name and when watching the dvd as a whole it is definitely worth the wait (ok I know I can just skip to the great videos but then I like to see the whole picture)

The first four off the debut ‘Pablo Honey’ are very typical nineties-style budget promos. Cheap looking, garish with a hint of affordable weirdness (check out the iguana on Anyone can play Guitar or lead singer Thom Yorke singing in a coffin on ‘Pop is Dead’) the songs, with the exception of Stop Whispering and naturally Creep, haven’t aged too well. On a nostalgic level the first four videos work but for the virgin Radioheader this could be a bore.

Unfortunately this nineties aesthetic continues into ‘The Bends’ era. True the group had no managed to master the art of creating a belting tune with emotional resonance but the first videos of their sophomore phase are weak.

The turning point comes with Jamie Thraves video for the song ‘Just’ the simple but effective story of a man lying down on the pavement with a secret that scares humanity has puzzled viewers for over ten years now, not to mention it is an entertaining video. Add that to Jonathan Glazer’s slow mo promo to Street Spirit and you know that a creative zenith is on the way.

The material from O.K. Computer is Radiohead’s best and all three promos are the most striking of the Radiohead Canon. First up is Swedish animator Magnus Carlsson’s disturbing seven minute cartoon promoting Paranoid Android. Psychotic politicians, a man with a snake coming out of his belly and busty mermaids dominate this seven minute visual fest just don’t try to understand it. Next up is Jonathan Glazer’s equally weird Karma Police video, where Thom Yorke is chasing a man with his car, until the roles become eerily reversed and rounding up the trio is Grant Gee’s ‘No Surprises’ where Yorke sings into a helmet that is rapidly filling up with water. Every emotion is captured in these three videos and sadly one wonders if the band could live up to such high quality again.

In 2000 the band surprised everybody by releasing Kid A, an album without any singles or nationwide promotion whatsoever and showed the band ditching most of their guitars and focusing on computers and synths to make music. A year later the follow up Amnesiac was released and Radiohead got onto the promotional wheel again.

This time the selection of videos from Radiohead mk II are patchy veering towards brilliant and downright boring. Shynola’s Pyramid Song video is good but lacks the soul that the song embodies. Gondry’s ‘Knives Out’ promo is brilliant and one of the definite standouts out of this collection. On the other hand Sophie Muller’s ‘I Might be Wrong’ and Johnny Hardstaff’s ‘Push Pulk/Spinning Plates’ are so dull that they spoil the momentum of great videos completely.

Radiohead’s last album for Parlophone ‘Hail to the Thief’ was a mixed bag altogether. The stop motion meets Beatrix Potter clip for lead off single ‘There There’ is the last great video the band did and the remaining two are yield different reactions. The whole collection is rounded off by a rather good live performance of 2 + 2 = 5.

As a whole this dvd is a much better update on 1998’s 7 television commercials but I feel that there could have been more input from the company. I’m sure there are some performances that are worth sticking on as extras or how about 95’s ‘Lucky’ clip, which was only aired sporadically. Even a commentary would be nice. The whole package itself needs a huge amount of fleshing out and with dvd’s you need to give the consumer more. After all one can easily find these on youtube (even Lucky for that matter). However for those who have a tiny idea about the band or a music promo geek or even the casual Radiohead fan then avoid the best of’s and check this out as it does show a band’s beginnings and what happened afterwards.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Kid Canaveral

What is it about Scots and indie pop? the two seem to go hand in hand. Give a Scot a guitar and he will bash out a catchy as hell song that will make you pogo about in your room for days. Edinburgh's Kid Canaveral is no exception.

Couldn't Dance, the first song on this guys myspace page is simply great. It's a rocket of a song, just blasts off and keeps on going at full throttle.

and if you thought that was good, the next song is called 'Teenage Fanclub Song' and it's just as whimsical and fun. A good old fashioned guitar belter.

The Other two songs (Smash Hits, So CLose so Beautiful) are older but just as wonderful. In other words this band have a magic touch with music. As I know you'll never hear songs this honest and worm their way into your eardrums so quick.

Brilliant Brilliant stuff that needs to be heard! This is your new favourite band!

Kid Canaveral Myspace

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Stricken City - Free E.P.

I just love when I hear fresh music that's sounds fantastic from the very second when you press the play button. When i heard Stricken City's Tak o Tak I instantly gravitated to it. Honestly never has a song compelled me to press 'play' so many times. A simple beat and a soaring chorus and a catchy guitar line. It's a perfect recipe for a perfect tune. Listen to it and fall in love.

and that's not all, the remaining two songs on this downloadable e.p. keep up to the standard of Tak o Tak. Bardou is a slower tune but so sweet you can't help grinning and the Traveller is culled from a radio sessio. The recording quality isn't great but the song itself displays a softer side of the band.

Definitely a group to look out for

Official website (where you can download the e.p.)

Myspace Page

Tres Bien

When you call your band 'Very Good' (albeit in French) it can raise a few eyebrows but when I heard the rumbling bass in the song 'Catastrophe at Sea' by said band I did raise my eyebrows. It sounded great!

Tres Bien are indeed very good and the three cuts on their myspace page prove this, Deep bass, tinny keyboards, energy ( at least on the first two tracks) and most importantly melodies to boot. It's a great package.

good stuff - oui oui!

Tres Bien's Myspace Page

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Move over M.I.A. and Santogold, here's another cross pollinating artist with plenty of sass. She may not be known now but I assure you that Ghana artist based in London artist Thecocknbullkid will make huge ripples very soon.

The Music? a bit electronic, a bit pop a bit everything and she has on hell of a voice too! The sheer eclecticism of everything is brilliant and she has not preachy with her views and every arrangement just sounds natural.

There's a generous offering of tracks on her myspace page and they are all corkers. Do check them out.

TCNBK myspace

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pete Greenwood

Sometimes you hear a song and it stops you in your tracks, makes your jaw drop open and you listen to the song three dozen times a day.

I dare you not to do the same when listening to Pete Greenwood's Penny Dreadful.

A naggingly catchy melody, the sweetest guitar you've ever heard and a voice so charming that it draws you instantly. Excellent. Excellent. Excellent.

The remaining five songs are demos but they are enveloped in the same aura as Penny Dreadful and if they sound this good in their embryonic stage.... well then his forthcoming album will be a beaut!

Pete Greenwood's Myspace

Monday, June 16, 2008

Joy of Sex

If there could be one adjective used for U.K. group Joy of Sex, then it would have to be 'Crunchy' I swear the bass and guitar interlock so tightly it's difficult to tell the instruments apart. Add that to some more shards of guitar chucked about here and there, drumming so furious it would make Moe Tucker raise her eyebrows and you've got some potentially cool stuff on your hands. There are six generous tracks on the band's Myspace page and they are all great and have an oddball melodicism infused nicely in them.Weather Controller and Red Rocket being the stand outs

Joy of Sex Myspace

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Shearwater - Rook

Shearwater – Rook (2008)


Although Shearwater have been around for nearly ten years now, they have only been seen as an outlet for lead singer Jeff Meiburg to use the songs that didn’t quite fit in with his main band, Okkervil River (for which he used to co-write songs with mainman Will Sheff).

With 2006’s Palo Santo things started to look different though. The songwriting seemed more serious and more care was taken with the song arrangements. This was further emphasized when the band were signed to Matador Records in 2007 and they re-recorded an even more superior version of Palo Santo. In 2008 Meiburg left Okkervil River for good in order to focus on Shearwater.

One can say that ‘Rook’ is the result of the full time devotion that Meiburg has given it throughout the past year. It’s a more full sounding, haunting and beautiful album that will leech itself to your brain upon first listening and making you want to marry it by the third spin. I know comparisons to other bands reeks of cheap journalism but I’m heavily reminded of Talk Talk’s ‘Spirit of Eden’

It’s also a deeply emotional record and Meiburg makes his pain shine through the orchestral sweeps that color each song and it resonates deeply. Maybe there is some over emoting in some places (Lost Boys) but then the music creates a balance (The only exception to the rule is the in your face clanger ‘Century Eyes, which is out of place but an immense track in it’s own right)

Without doubt the standout in this all too brief 36 minute album is ‘The Snow Leopard’ at first it starts off with a piano motif, not dissimilar to Radiohead’s ‘Pryamid Song’ and then it evolves into this uplifting epic ballad. I have to admit that during the three weeks that I’ve had this record I always stop and listen to The Snow Leopard a couple of times before I progress to the final song.

With ‘Rook’, Meiburg has managed to shed the ‘Side Project’ feel of Shearwater and turn it into a band with a clear agenda. As a record it is unique and I doubt that anyone has heard an album that enraptures like this one, well at least till the next Shearwater release.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Retro Crooks

Since when have a band sounded this FUN. UK's Retro Crooks are stuffed with jumpy hooks, first class choruses and a rare feel good factor. All four tracks here are killers so enjoy them to the fullest! All I say here is :


Retro Crooks myspace

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A.A. Bondy

An excellent singer-songwriter who make a lot of others pale in comparison. I could listen to Vice Rag a million times a day.

A.A. Bondy's Myspace Page

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

Finally I'm writing reviews for another publication (unfortunately the previous place is on hiatus) Here's a sneak peek and one that will be published.

Winter Wonderland

Bon Iver – For Emma, forever ago ( 2007 – self released, reissue 2008)

4AD, Jagjaguwar

Back in 2006, when Justin Vernon’s (aka Bon Iver) life was going down the crapper in every single way, he did what no person would probably do ;

He went to a log cabin in the middle of the woods, for four months and recorded some songs describing his problems. Eventually these recordings would be the basis for his debut album; For Emma Forever ago.

The album as an outlet for one’s deepest darkest feeling does have many drawbacks. Usually the main offender is that the emote factor is so heavy that it prevents the listener from fully appreciating the album as it is difficult to relate to.

Luckily Vernon is fully conscious of this and adds accessible sounding melodies to his tales of woe. Don’t get me wrong, these are not tunes you kick your heels to, but neither are they songs which make you want to end your life for good. There is soul searching, there are moments of darkness and yet there are rays of light shining through this mire and it seems that Vernon is assuring you that life does get better.

It’s also quite cleverly crafted. Basically the album does consist of one man and his guitar, which creates a sense of intimacy, then the unexpected happens and sometimes a trumpet will appear out of nowhere (For Emma) or a thumping beat will sneak it’s way in (Lump Sum) or Vernon will double track his voice (Creature Fear) all which add to the type of coziness you associate with your favourite quilt on a winter’s day. Not to mention that the guy has one hell of a voice somewhere between a high pitched squeal and an angry bellow, he can fluctuate it (best seen on the track ‘Skinny Love’) and is what gives the record it’s distinctive feel.

Cliched conclusions like ‘album of the year’ and ‘you must listen to this record’ will abound a plenty here and to be honest Vernon deserves. Naked emotional honesty mixed with a clutch of good tunes. It all adds up if you ask me.

New Band - White Lies

Ok I know there are tons of bands which have an 80's alternative aura about them but there are groups that sound like a tribute band and there are others who actually manage to make it sound fresh. Thankfully British Band White Lies fall in the latter category. Although their myspace page has two songs you can feel that this band will win a place in everyone's heart. I recommend listening to the 'Death' Demo first.

White Lies Myspace Page