Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Summercase - Day 2


So there we were rushing like madmen (well actually I was running) to the site in order not to miss Pete and the Pirates. Knowing very well that their songs last about 2:00, I didn't want to be a second late. Thankfully I arrived on time and the band burst into action.

On record Pete.... are very unhinged, messy and sloppy even. Live the band are tight, punchy and take no prisoners. They played the album in full with no chit chat or banter whatsoever. One thing I noticed was how loud they are, the fact that they have two bassists (yes not guitarists) so they have this rumbling earthquaking sound to their music. Although it was boiling the whole crowd were jumping about, especially to an ear shattering version to 'Come on Feet' true i felt like a paedo king in the middle of tattooed, t-shirt/ bikini clad 18 year old brits and spanards but when a band sounded this good I didn't care.

After a three hour wait (i really didn't feel like seeing Ragdog and The Kooks) we gathered round the main stage to watch The Breeders Considering that this group tour every five years or so, I saw this as an opportunity.

One thing you notice about the Deal twins is their earthiness. In fact both of them didn't even bother on making a grand entrance and appeared on stage to check their amps a good deal (no pun intended) before their actual playing time. On stage the sisters crack jokes, make fun of each other and it is completely natural (Kim Deal talks A LOT). Setwise the show consisted of a spattering of songs from all four albums and some tracks from The Amps album 'Pacer'. The obvious highlight was Cannonball and their cover of the Beatles Happiness is a Warm Gun'. Another thing you notice is how instrumental Deal was in constructing The Pixies sound. While credit usually goes to Frank Black, you can see that Deal had her part to play as well. A very satisfying gig which left one warm afterwards.

As we were waiting for Kings of Leon to start we noticed two things. 1) there were enough lights to blind the human race and 2) there were tons of speakers littered all over the stage. This was going to be an almighty gig.

As soon as the band took the stage and started to play 'King of the Rodeo' I knew this was going to be one hell of a performance. I was partly right.

Although the band have the tunes. energy and noise they are surprisingly lacklustre when it comes to stage presence. Caleb Followill looked at the sky most of the time while the rest of the band just amble about. Mind you it was the most violent crowd i've met and my glasses were nearly crushed twice. It was the only gig I partially attended due to the fact that the next band clashed. So after 45 mins (each gig was an hour) we spent ten minutes going through the constant moshing crowd to watch ....

Mogwai! yes in the past i have berated post rock bands - but I have heard so much about Mogwai live that I was gearing to see them. Also they were playing their debut 'Young Team' in full and I know that album very well (and consider it their best one).

When the band took the stage, the silence was tremendous and it stayed that way till the very end of the gig. Live Mogwai are extremely tight and the chemistry between Stuart Breathwaite and John Cummings is very intense. Plus the way the band shift from mousey quiet to ear bleeding loud is something to be seen. The obvious highlight was Aidan Moffat appearing on stage to sing R U Still 2 it and trust me it was the most goosefleshy moment of a performance made up of goosefleshy moments. Even when John Lydon's caterwauling drowned out Mogwai fears Satan, the group were unfazed and even cracked a smile at the situation. The best gig of the evening.

CSS played directly after Mogwai so there wasn't any need to move around. After about 20 mins we were surrounded by 18 year olds, pervy looking men with pencil moustaches and a clutch of andrgynous looking people. However when CSS took the stage and lead singer Lovefoxxx beleted out, the new single 'Left Behind' the crowd united.

Live CSS are not great. In fact the group i was with had trouble deciphering the songs and we would recognise them whena distinguishable line would be sung. BUT Lovefoxxx has bucketloads of charisma, very energetic and tries to involve the crowd as much as she possibly can (she gave the mike to yours truly and I helped continue the song 'Alcohol'. In this respect CSS are a very fun band to watch live more than anything else and the hour sped by breezily. The most entertaining gig of the night.

We were buzzed up and in an excellent mood and we trundled up to the Walkman stage to catch Kaiser Chiefs. Needless to say that we got bored after 15 mins so after buying a burger the size of my baby finger we found out that foals and Neon Neon were playing at the same time. After debating the pros and cons we decided that Neon Neon would be the best choice.

I have spoken on these pages about the band but i'll expound again.

Neon Neon is the oft talked about collaboration between Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys and electro wizard Boom Bip. The debut album is a concept record on the life of barmy scientist John Delorean (his car can be seen in Back to the Future). There are a lot of guest stars on the album and I didn't expect them to show up.

when we arrived Gruff and Boom Bip took to the stage and started playing the intro and then after gruff explained the concept of the album.

Four songs in and s far things were going smoothly till Har Mar Superstar arrived.

For those who don't know Har Mar Superstar (aka Sean Tillman) enjoyed some fame in the early 00's, mostly due to the fact that he would perform in his Y fronts and do headstands while singing. He plays a crucial role in Neon Neon and I was surprised to see him.

That's when things started to go wrong. The sound went completely and neither musician could hear their instruments so this lead to a lot of improvisation.

Har Mar started to ad lib and did his headstand act, went into the audience, stole a t-shirt off a punter , wore it then ripped it off and stripped to his waist.

finally things got working again and har mar lead the whole crowd ( 200 + ) into a big sing and clap along. When the group left, the audience were still clapping and whistling,

it was a first class gig and we were buzzed up on that too!

I also caught bits form other sets as well
Foals - tight band
Maximo Park - paul smith is a showman
Juan Mclean - very dfa-ish
Tiga - so so
Kaiser Chiefs - Boring
The Kooks - Mediocre
Ragdog - even worse
Verve - dull as dishwater
Los Planetas - I can see why they have a great following in Spain. They also attracted the biggest crowd of the night.

Best Gig of day 2 : Mogwai
Worst (full) gig - None

In all my one and only complaint about summercase is that it should have given more prominence to younger bands (in fact the only newbies were pete and the pirates, Los Campesinos and rex the dog) - but benicassim did clash so guess that's the reason. I had a blast and hopefully i'll go next year.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Summercase - Barcelona Day 1

Last week I went to Summercase in Barcelona and here's my experiences.


After the routinely nonsense involving wristbands, tickets,security checks, we finally were let in the site and just in time to see one of the first major acts of the day : Ian Brown. Now admit i'm not a huge fan of Ian Brown's solo work, However I did know that he's been including Stone Roses songs in his sets and I was waiting for that. After being ten minutes late, Brown sauntered on staged, To be honest he looked worse for wear and was dressed in a pink and black tracksuit and burst into the turgid songs of his recent solo album. During these awful songs I kept wondering if this guy actually penned she bangs the drums and other songs which i listened to in my youth. Plus the crowd, consisting of English people yelling FOOKIN MAN FOOKIN CHESTAAAAA and FOOKIN' IAN BROOOOOOOOOOOOOON didn't really help.

then it happened.

Brown introduced his band and then Mani (ex Stone Roses bassist) came onstage and they burst into Waterfall, Made of Stone and I am the Resurrection. Every single person cheered jumped and clapped.Thankfully he ended his set with another of his better solo songs F.E.A.R and that was it. Started weakly but came out strong.

After brown departed, there was a 20 minute wait, then out of nowhere Jim Sclavunos, Martyn Casey and Warren Ellis all take their places and start and an almighty racket,in this mad rush, Nick Cave runs in an bursts into song. A great introduction to the Grinderman experience. To say my jaw dropped was an understatement. The man captivated the whole audience for his one hour slot and whether he played a vox insanely, wore a t-shirt as a skirt, screamed at the audience he kept everyone's attention. The man is a natural showman (and so is Warren Ellis for that fact), even when there's a technical fault he took it coolly and made it seem as part of the act. He also debuted (or so he said) a new track from the forthcoming second album (out late this year or early next) which was called Dream, which sounded like a sinister version of U2's 'One'. Obviously the highlight was 'No Pussy Blues', which started a violent bout of moshing. Personally this was my highlight of the day.

Due to hideous timetable clashes I had to miss out Blondie so instead I opted to stay at the main stage and watch Interpol. Now I have slagged this band a lot in the past due to the fact their last two albums did not reach the heights of their glorious debut. However once they opened the gig with 'Pioneer to the Falls' I got gooseflesh and everything single thing about them made a lot of sense. First of all the band's stage presence is amazing. Paul Banks has a stare which can kill at 50 miles and guitarist Daniel Kessler is the complete opposite, his goofball persona provides a great counterbalance to Banks steel stance and he was the only one who didn't freak out when technical difficulties occurred. Also their fans are dedicated and sang along to nearly all the songs in their set.
First the group started out with rockier numbers such as slow hands narc and so on but towards the middle of the set they played the lighthouse and wrecking Ball and then closed their set with more energetic numbers, last two songs being evil and obstacle 2.
in a word the gig was hypnotic and there was a heavy moshpit to boot.

After feeling quite high after Interpol we trundled down to the other side of the area to watch Cornelius On the whole, bar maybe five songs, I'm quite unfamliar with his work. In fact I thought it would be one guy and a laptop.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

When the dropcloth fell down (yes they played behind one for a couple of minutes) I saw a six piece band, a movie screen and lights all in sync with the group's trademark poppy noodling. It was an eye popping hour. The star of the show was not lead singer Keigo Oyamada but the awesome drummer that seemed to have total control over the band, in fact it was the only show I saw during those two days that did not have a technical difficulty and pleased both the eyes and the ears.

After Cornelius relaxed every bone in our body, we decided to bring up our energy levels again, so why not go over to the walkman stage and check out Primal Scream.

I have heard and read over the years about how the Scream are a thrilling live band and since i know their discography quite well, I was looking forward to the gig.

tha band started off with a ripping version of new single 'Don't go back' and equally eart quaking version of Miss. Lucifer and then a great rendition of sonic sister love. Bobby Gillespie was in his full lanky glory, dropping the mike prancing across the stage and looking cool.

then the decline happened.

for the rest of the gig, PS previewed four new tracks from their new album and they didnt sound good AT ALL, in fact they lulled the audience to sleep. Maybe they were still trying the stuff out and it will sound better in the future but here it created a lull.

finally they got the pace back up playing Swastika eyes, an ultra fast version of rocks and closing with a rousing version of 'Country Girl' A song i never really liked until now.

on the whole it was a good gig but I felt there was something lacking, anti climatic even. The mid gig lull affected me and I couldnt really get into the band, even when the strains of Swastika Eyes could be heard.

and thus ended the first day

Band of Day 1 - Grinderman
Worst band of Day 1 - Ian Brown
Nice Surprise of day 1 - Cornelius

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mercury Prize Shortlist

So once again the Mercury Prize Shortlist has been announced, and there are quite a few surprises, Mostly the addition of Burial (finally Dubstep is being recognised!) and Neon Neon to the list and, for once there isn't a huge focus on first and second albums. There seems to be a bias on women led pop such as adele and laura marling but there's nothing wrong with that. On the whole it is more diverse than in previous years. Anyway here's the list :

Adele - 19
British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?
Burial - Untrue
Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
Estelle - Shine
The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age of the Understatement
Laura Marling - Alas I Cannot Swim
Neon Neon - Stainless Style
Portico Quartet - Knee-Deep in the North Sea
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
Radiohead - In Rainbows
Rachel Unthank and the Winterset - The Bairns

Monday, July 21, 2008


Talk about urgency! 0.1 seconds of logging on to London's Enl I am greeted by an onrush of thumping drums and music that sounds so fast you feel that the band were making their very last album! not to mention that the melody is so infectious that putting it in quarantine is an absolute must

And when THAT first song is over, you won't even have time to breathe as the next track (Mrs.Madame) still has that 'play as fast as you can' feel (with added bouncy bass) and is better then the last.

and this happens another three times.

Enl just reek of youthful energy, guts and blood, To believe that these five songs are demos is a definite sign that the fully developed version will make you run for cover, or at least to the indie dancefloor.

now clear your room, listen to Enl and pogo about. This is not an option!

Enl's Myspace

Sunday, July 20, 2008

From the vaults: The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes are a dark horse

The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes are a dark horse
(Jagjaguwar, 2007)

The release of The Arcade Fire’s debut album woke the world up to the fact that Canada is not all about Celine Dion, Nickleback and Bryan Adams. It seems the quality of these Canadian bands is far from reaching its expiry date.
Its also impressive how incestuous the Canadian scene is. Bands swap members like there’s no tomorrow and the Besnard Lakes are no exception. A super group with members of (or contributions from) Stars, The Dears and Godspeed You Black Emperor, their music has all the elements from these bands too.
Sound-wise they are like an apocalyptic Beach Boys. Think of everyone in the band singing in perfect harmony. Now stretch those songs to seven minutes and add lots of whooshing noises and extended jams.
Its remarkable how this album will take over your senses. Take third track ‘And you Lied to me’ which will transport you to another dimension. The spacey sound and those lovely voices take over your body and give you an inwardly joyous feeling. Few bands can do that ……
Dark Horse is an album of two halves. The first has the core of the post-rock influence, but as you go along the songs become more structured and bring you back down to reality. Cedric’s War is a stand-out, and I know I shouldn’t say this but it does sound like some long lost song from Pet Sounds. Quite a way of closing an album of unconventionally structured songs: with a conventional track!
Can I heap more praise on this album? Let the record speak (in harmony) for itself.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

From the vaults: Tap Tap – Lanzafame

Tap Tap – Lanzafame (Catbird Records/Stolen Recordings)

Whenever I listen to Reading’s Tap Tap (aka Thomas Sanders) I really have to resist the urge to pretend that I’m part of some kind of gospel choir. You know - waving my arms and exuberating joy. Hey, I’d even don a gown if given the opportunity! Tap Tap’s music inspires this sort of call to arms and celebration atmosphere. Let’s face it, British music is dominated by Britpop or post-punk imitators so its refreshing to find someone who shrugs off the trends and does his own thing.
Tap Tap remind me of Clinic, and they even share the same influences: Beach Boys, early Pink Floyd and Velvet Underground. However, whereas Clinic turn these influences into a down and dirty trash, Sanders will churn out a sweet and cheery mixture instead. You could say that the former take their cues from Sister Ray while the latter uses Pale Blue Eyes as a template.
Tap Tap keep things simple throughout. Its a home recording and proves that a lot can be done with the simple guitar and drums format, especially on the ultra-contemporary To Our Continuing Friendship and I am a Kite. Anderson’s Spencer Krug-like (of Wolf Parade) vocal delivery is particularly effective.
Lanzafame could prove to, erm, tap into people’s consciousness. A perfect debut!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Poverty Beat

I get obsessed by new bands/artists very easily. But I say if I like the music then I don't care and trust me here, The Poverty Beat's (aka Kin Pitchford) music hit me in a million different ways. This guy's tunes have all the components of something great. I simply love the fact that each song is different from the last and yet still holds on to a unique style (kudos for the rhyming clever song titles as well' April Showers, Mayflowers! - Hah). I'm reminded of Ariel Pink albeit Pitchford has a much better ear for a tune. Also notice how the tracks have an adhesive quality to them. I know you'll be thinking about a song like 'In Orbit' or 'The Singularity' long after it has been heard.

If I go on it will be nothing but lavish praise so let's wind down and we'll go straight to the links

The Poverty Beat part 1

The Poverty Beat part 2

enjoy - I have!


Oh man, the urge to quote a certain Smiths song with William in title is soooooo tempting but i will try to resist it. Thankfully there is nothing remotely Smitsh-y about London band William. In fact their rough, ragged sound is like a breath of fresh air to these ears.

combining the quirky art rock of groups like Sonic Youth, Pavement and No Age and then there own special twist, William are a treat to listen to. The proof? listen to the four tracks on 'William's' myspace page and it's a true testament to something different. You have never heard a British band like this for eons and now with a debut album out i'm sure that they will make waves among people who are simply bored of nearly every UK second band sounding like The Libertines.

erm William, it was really nothing! (sorry)

William's Myspace Page

Monday, July 14, 2008

When Feist went to Sesame Street

Come on don't you know that you really hit the big time when you appear on this show! Counting has never been so fun!

Feist teaches us how to count to 4

From the vaults : Kieren Hebden and Steve Reid - Tong

Kieren Hebden and Steve Reid – Tongues

Domino (2007)

Kieran Hebden can barely put a foot in the wrong place , whether producing or remixing and making music under his Four Tet ( there’s his band Fridge as well) moniker, the results are usually perfect. One very admirable thing about him is that he is totally unpredictable in what he does. Honestly who produces Adem, and Sunburned Hand of the Man and has top ten chart albums?

At the moment though its seems that he is focusing quite a bit of his time on his collaboration with legendary drummer Steve Reid who’s thumped the tubs for Fela Kuti, Sun Ra, James Brown (and trust me to be James Brown’s drummer is a feat!) and Martha and the Vandellas, to name a few of the more famous stints. The duo met in 2005 and collaborated on an album called Spirit Walk for the Soul Jazz label.

This led on to 2006’s double album ‘The Exchange Sessions’, which was essentially music built upon improvising ( or if you want to be blunt 15 minute jams). Sometimes it was great and sometimes it was dull. But the effort itself was admirable and face it, not too many artists do this sort of thing and (sort of) get away with it.

This time round Hebden decided to take the idea a step further and use a vague melody as the basis of the music and then improvise with Reid around. The catch being that it had to be done in a relatively short space of time.

Does it work?

Well like the exchange sessions, there are some fine moments. The opener The sun never sets’ is the duo working at their best, creating some catchy, highly rhythmic music. ‘Rhythm dance’ is another eye opener as it evolves from an ambient drone to a full funk workout’ even the version of ‘Greensleeves’ is not too bad. But there are the fair share of stinkers. ‘Superheros’ is plain awful, ‘Squid’ isn’t to great either, a number of tracks are ok but they don’t have a punch and meander too quickly. On the whole it is an album with a bit more tweaking and care, could have yielded better results. Considering Hebden’s near impeccable output this is rather disappointing but I wouldn’t brand it as unlistenable or something to discard.

Like all talented guys now and then they slip up a teensy bit. I would consider Tongues to be a minor blip at the moment it’s quiet on the Four Tet front so I’m assuming that there is something brewing in the future that will open eyes once again.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Dent May and his Magnificent Ukulele

Charm. I love it when an artist exudes bucketloads of it and believe you me Dent May and his Magnificent Ukulele are the kings of it.

Go on and listen to the (unfortunately) two songs on his myspace page. 'Meet me in the Garden' is a lovelorn ditty with the ukulele his moniker mention, a wonderful backing choir and then there's his plaintive voice going la la la la (of which i am a sucker for). Listening to him makes one feel like they've lost a piece of their past and should recover it asap.

The other song, Pierce Avenue features the uke much more and has the same swaying charm as Meet me in the Garden. Really what makes these songs great (besides the charm factor) is that
they are so honest sounding and it helps you relate to it.

Hpefully there will be more releases by Dent May in the future for I feel this is one talent that should be noticed and loved by everyone.

DMAHMU's Myspace

Death By Kite

It's seems that today's band also hails from Denmark. Copenhagen's Death By Kite manage to combine intense guitars with a sky high melody. You'll dance and reflect at the same time. It's very powerful stuff. Whether it is the chiming 'Scared of Heights' or the turbo charged, menacing 'Sweet M', Death by Kite will make inject some emotion into you.

However I'm saving the best for last, which is the awesome 'Pills'. In a parallel universe this would scale the charts and become an anthem that will haunt people's memories forever. Excellent!

Death By Kite's Myspace

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Today's band hail from Denmark, They are called Velour and they simply have tunes bursting from every seam. You could call them Suderdiscofrothyguitarpopalicious. Not only that but their knack for creating a cute song makes one wonder if they made an evil pact in order to achieve this.

Enjoy the music!

Velour's Myspace Page

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I've this a million or billion times but i just am in seventh heaven when I listen to a band for the first time and the tunes just slap you in the face and keep you stunned for 3 minutes or so.

Welcome to Operahouse.

Songs that stick out for a mile, make you want to dance and just are great. There's no other words to describe the tracks here, unless you want a long line of superlatives.
just check them out

Operahouse's Myspace

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Imagine I take a pencil and shove it in your eye. Then after ten minutes I do the exact same thing and in the same eye too!

This is what Manchester's Lonelady sounds like.

What i'm trying to get at here is that her music is stark, direct and straight to the point. No mucking about. Just a drum machine and a guitar so angular that it would have to be studied in Geometry class and great voice too. Somewhere between PJ Harvey and a less yowly Scout Niblett. It's feral but listenable.

The best track on the myspace page is definitely 'Intuiton, with it's upfront melody and catchy drum machine beat.

I like!

Lonelady's Myspace.

Monday, July 7, 2008

James Yuill

Man James Yuill is so cool that a pair of sunglasses should accompany each release he unleashes onto the unsuspecting public. Two singles under his belt and just KNOW that there's a great future up ahead.

Why am I making a fuss? It's not everyday you meet a guy who can effortlessly mash bruising beats with folky sounding guitars AND make it sound so damn easy oh and so damn danceable. In fact i've been so hooked on these tracks that i've put off mentioning this guy on the blog for a few days. The five tracks on Yuill's myspace are worth checking out, especially the amazing 'No Pins Allowed' which shows Yuill at his best. Trust me they will make your day better!

there's only one last thing left to say

License to YouILL?????

James Yuill's Myspace

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Joy Division (dir Grant Gee)

After the quite good 'Control' I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical of a second feature film on Joy Division. I mean, how many things can be said about the band. Unlike Corbijin, Gee takes a different route. You will not learn anything new from watching 'Joy Division' but you will feel more satisfied.

The format is not dissimilar to a documentary a la Don Letts. (i.e. every member of the band is interviewed and cut with scenes from Curtis' life and various places where the band played) Here Bernard Sumner , Peter Hook and Stephen Morris present themselves as serious people who are ready to bare all, and they do as well. It is a very personal documentary, with a lot of reflection. The other interviewers ( The late Tony Wilson, Paul Morley, Peter Saville , Pete Shelley, Annik Honore etc) all give their slant and views on Joy Division and Curtis' descent into epilepsy.

Yet I am finding it difficult to write something about the film itself, mainly cause it has all been documented before. I know the ex members of the band should give a new perspective but in retrospect they don't, so the fan of the band will just have an entertaining, well filmed and visually interesting documentary. It will blow the mind away for the Joy Division virgin though and it is better than Corbijin's (he's interviewed as well) effort has it provides a much wider spectrum of the group.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Vivian Girls

Once again good old New York donates another one first class band to the music world. This time round it's Vivian Girls.

Imagine all the greatest mid to late 80's guitar rock bands, That loving lo fi sound, a punchy chorus, a prominent drum and that shambolic but thrilling guitar sound. To top it off all girls sing in harmony woo!

Now give all these elements a noughties sheen and maybe you're close to this band's sound. Vivian Girls are like the best rollercoaster ride you've got to experience one day in your life!

and yes, there is an album hitting your record shelves very very soon. A must have!

Maybe this paragraph is a bit on the short side
but really it's a case of the music speaking for itself - and it does that in volumes!

Vivian Girls Myspace

Thursday, July 3, 2008

One Little Plane

There is something about One Little Plane's voice that will grab you from the the start. It's dreamy but with an edge that makes you how both vocal qualities work so well together.

and then there's the music.

think of some sort of tapestry unfurling in slow motion. It's a beautiful electronic kalaedoscope with some homemade sounds chucked in for good measure.

The track that is the most immediate is Sunshine Kid. A hip hop beat melded with an acoustic guitar and a very pretty doe eyed chorus. This music designed for watching sunsets and sunrises with a lover by your side. Gives you chills and warm feelings at the same time. OLP's debut album will erm.. be landing soon so make sure to doouble erm.... book early! (sorry for the flight puns)

one helluva talent here.

OLP's Myspace Page

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fleet Foxes

Fleeting Moments

Fleet Foxes – Self-titled (2008)

Sub Pop/Bella Union

Back in June 1999 I bought an album from the now defunct Virgin Megastore. The record was by a group called The Flaming Lips and the album was called ‘The Soft Bulletin’. I had never heard of this band before, nor did I preview the album as mp3 technology was still in it’s infancy and it would take a week to actually download a substantial amount of tracks. It was on the strength of a very positive NME ( it was surprisingly credible back then) review. On my first spin I was amazed and flabbergasted. The orchestral magnificence, the overall warm fuzzy feeling and the ability to make the listener go into another dimension.

Fast forward to June 2008 and while listening to Seattle’s Fleet Foxes debut proper (there was an e.p. preceding this album) and I’m going through the same feelings as that fateful June day in 1999 (well there was a moment in 2004 when The Arcade Fire’s debut made me feel the same way to but that’s another story altogether).

Although Fleet Foxes Modus Operandi is totally different to The Flaming Lips, both manage both manage to evoke a sense of warmth through the use of harmonies and strings (although Fleet Foxes use this effect sparingly) and both have a lead singer with a distinctive voice. In essence the band take their cues from the classic age of Americana (The Band and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, are without doubt big signposts to their sound) but add on a bit of medieval music and some psychedelic flourishes and you can see why this quintet are going to be slobbered on by everyone. Unlike most bands though, Fleet Foxes do not wear their influences on their sleeves (say like Kings of Leon) and thus as a result this debut record stands alone as an original piece of work. In some places it is bare and acoustic (Tiger Mountain Peasant Song, Meadowlarks, Oliver James) and in other areas there is a grandeur splashed among the songs (White Winter Hymnal, Your Protector, He doesn’t know why) Either way within the all too brief 40 mins of this record your skin will crawl, you will feel like curling up with a loved one, you’ll feel harmonious with this world and see the beauty of all that’s around you. I’m not exaggerating. Fleet Foxes is that good and although I have searched for some kind of flaw here, I can’t. It really is a perfect album. Give a few months and Fleet Foxes will be band that will (rightly) be loved and embraced by the many.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Joy Formidable

It seems that lately i've been coming across monikers that describe the band well. The latest in this series is London based band, The Joy Formidable.

The music is all about textures. Synths weave in and out, heavy drumming and a wall of guitar noise dominate their latest song 'The Greastest Light is the Greatest Shade' it's a HUGE tune in every way and then just as you thought that the song could not go further there is a spine tingling multi tracked choir of Ritzi ( the lead singer) concluding the whole thing. Breath taking.

the remaining two tracks are early songs ( I assume) 'Austere' (the band's first forthcoming single) is bouncy tune which plays on quiet/loud dynamics perfectly. It's also a breath taking song, but only cause you'll jump around to it till actually run out of air to breathe.

last track 'Cradle' is all pretty cooing and buzzsaw guitars. It's cute and bruising at the same time.

The Joy Formidable? oh yes! Definitely!

The Joy Formidable's Facebook Page

The Joy Formidable's Myspace