Friday, 27 April 2012

of Montreal ~ Concorde 2 Brighton 27th April 2012

I've seen of Montreal 2 times prior to this show & both times the gig proved to be a neon psycadelic treat to all the senses. Not so much a gig as a fully realised trip an of Montreal gig always stands out in my mind with it's interesting choreography and use of projections, not to mention the band are just incredibly tight with Kevin Barnes commanding the stage as good as any certified pop star. This show blew even the absaloutly incredible performance at ATP 2008 out of the water with the real stand out was the stellar performance of 'She's A Rejecor' which totally blew me and the rest of the crowds collective minds. Words can never do an of Montreal show justice so I'm just going to say that this was one of the best gigs I've ever been to in my life, period. 

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Album Review: Death Grips - The Money Store

Ever wondered what a concussion in a night club would feel like? I'm pretty sure Death Grips have put out a definitive answer & I now introduuce you to the album that'll top many best of 2012 lists as well as many worst of 2012 lists. Polarising is a polite way to put this album, you'll either absolutely love it or simply be put off the moment the noise comes out of the speakers. This abrasive effort of Hardcore meets Hip Hop is loud, dirty and ugly and doesn't try to be anything else. Having said that 'The Money Store' is a hell of a lot more approachable then the first album 'Ex Military' with songs such as 'The Fever (Aye Aye)', 'The Cage' & 'I've Seen Footage' perhaps easing people in but even if it's a major label release calling anything on here mainstream or truly approachable would be foolish. As it is the dirty & loud controlled chaos  on show here really appeals to me & I think this album is nothing short of incredible. But as I said you'll either love it or hate it, so don't take this review as a definitive recommendation

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Album Review: Moonface - Heartbreaking Bravery

It comes with much regret to say that the latest Spencer Krug is yet another in a long run of disappointments, what happened? Krug has gone from a guy that used to produce several good to great albums/EPs a year but as of late it's all been so mediocre. I came into this album really wanting to love it, what with the EPs showing some promise and all & the fact Spencer has produced 3 of my favourite albums of all time with Sunset Rubdown and Wolf Parade but this LP commits one of the great sins, it's totally forgettable. Much like Expo'86 (the last Wolf Parade album) you forget you've even listened to it almost as soon as it's over, sure the lyrics here are heart felt and very strongly written but other then the quite fantastic and intense'Faraway Lightning' and the epic 'Yesterday's Fire' it all comes across as a watered down version of his previous outings & bands he's been involved in. It's not a bad album it just holds no real impact what's so ever, it's mediocre.

Label: Jagjaguwar
Recommended Songs: Yesterday's Fire, Faraway Lightning

Album Of The Week #2: Mike Patton - Mondo Cane

All that needs to be said is this album is Mike Fucking Patton lending his hand on Italian pop music from the 50s and 60s.... I mean after that description alone you should already want to listen to this and of course that's why I'm not going to say anything more then that. It's Mike Patton doing Italian pop songs! What's not to love? And if you think you've come up with an answer to that question then sorry, go away, I don't want to know you.

Spotify Playlist: 100 Of My Favourite Songs From The Past 10 Years (2002 - 2012)

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Album Review: La Sera - Sees The Light

This is the second album this year I've listened to from the Vivian Girls camp & whilst I've never been much more then a passing fan of the band I really enjoy this. Frankie Roses effort 'Interstellar' hooked me in with it's rather catchy and excellent song 'Know Me' but turned out to be lacking in any depth, it was kind of repetitive and really didn't offer much in the way of ideas. Now this album doesn't offer much new to the table but what it does do well is it does both Girly guitar pop and straight up Indie rock very well with songs such as the excellent 'I Can't Keep You in My Mind' etched into my head already and receiving several plays on this here computer. In essence an album about love, a girl pop band album at it's core that follows a very melodic traditional Indie rock formula which often harkens back to bands such as Weezer & the Pixies, if that sounds good to you, you'll probably enjoy this album.

Label: Hardly Art
Recommended Songs: I Can't Keep You in My Mind, How Far We've Come Now, Break My Heart, It's Over Now, Drive On

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Album Review: Bobby Conn - Macaroni

The is a lot that can be said about politically driven albums & fun/funky isn't often one of those things. This album takes Indie Rock & infuses it with funky disco vibes to make an album bursting at the rims full of character and identity. Given the subject matter this album could easily be self indulgent and ham fisted & whilst I wouldn't exactly call the lyrical content & message subtle it certainly isn't ham fisted in it's approach and most certainly doesn't get in the way of the music. The are huge choruses, excitable and dynamic vocal deliveries and brilliant interplay between bass, guitar, strings and synth which all seems determined as it might to make you dance & just forget about all your problems despite slapping you in the face with them. A surprise for me, never hearing of this artist before, but I'm almost certain to give this one plenty more listens once the dust settles, it just has so much personality! Think Devo meets Jay Retard after a date with !!! and a brief exchange with The Apples In Stereo and you've sort of got an idea of what this album sounds like & it's a whole lot of fun.

Label: Fire Records
Stand Out Songs: Macaroni, Govt, Face Blind, GREEED, Afterschool

Lets Rant About: Double Take - Hot Problems

This is simply one of those songs that just wish was satirical, like some sort of clever stab at the current pop culture trends, such as people with no talent and lots money getting songs recorded, putting them up on youtube & getting millions of hits whilst people with actual talent are getting dismissed all together. Last year we were introduced to 'Friday' & whilst that song was incredibly stupid it at least had an air of innocence to it, was in key & was catchy and to a degree fun, we all ended up having fun singing 'It's Friday Friday Getting Down On Friday' and people eventually came to accept it as a pop song that was possibly a lot better then some of the boring shit you get on the radio such as 'The Lazy Song'.
                                                                                       The main problem with 'Hot Problems' on the other hand is the is absolutely no charm to it what so ever, where as I didn't feel like punching a teenage girl in the face during the entire run of 'Friday' I most certainly do with this song. The lyrics are obnoxious and narcissistic despite being about how hot girls aren't perfect and have the same problems like you & me, at least this is the case until they say at the end 'just kidding we are perfect', which is contradicted by the fact they're off key when they simply speak. HOW THE HELL CAN YOU BE OFF KEY WHEN YOU SPEAK! That's right, these 2 girls don't even sing yet they are off key, again Rebecca Black could at least keep in the same key whilst singing. But still it's this kind of car wreck that we need to bring people together & whilst you could argue I'm feeding the machine by posting this, you're going to see it anyway, I hope we can all just sit back and share a laugh at these girls expense, they clearly deserve it & hopefully it'll help ground them a little bit.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Daniel Johnston/British Sea Power ~ St. Bartholomew Church, Brighton 16th April 2012

Well that was a bit special, the atmosphere & the venue chosen for this event was just perfect! This seated, dead silent, sold out 850 attendance really added a lot to this show, having seen Daniel Johnston at Matt Greoning ATP it sort of felt awkward & the surrounding where the were many bands putting on stellar show's we had Daniel Johnston on a gigantic stage on his own with his guitar stumbling threw his set & it made for quite hard watching (just make it clear it wasn't bad, it certainly had an aura to it but looking at the crowd they felt uncomfortable watching it) here, complete with backing band, it all sort of fitted together a lot better. So first of all we had British Sea Power doing an acoustic set for 30 minutes which introduced the show well, British Sea Power are certainly a diverse band adapting to this more church friendly sound well & whilst nothing special the ever dependable band put on yet another solid show, especially once the sound got balanced better. After a 30minute intermission we saw Daniel Johnston come out to a huge reaction as he played a couple of songs solo & much like the Matt Greoning gig it was met with some awkwardness from the crowd (myself included it has to be said) but after the first song people were starting to get fully invested, the gig really came to life once he and British Sea Power (his backing band for the night) joined forces and performed a repertoire of his hit's including 'Casper The Friendly Ghost', a particularly moody take on 'Walking The Cow', 'Funeral Home' & of course 'True Love Will Find You In The End' to close things off in the encore. A very short set, not exceeding 35 minutes but I think everyone in the church shared a bit of a moment. This wasn't a gig for anyone seeking a clinic in musicianship and stellar vocals but what you got was a spectacle and emotionally charged gig which will most likely stay with you for some time which was met with a standing ovation.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Album Of The Week #1: Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

Spoon are a strange one, for the simple reason that I often forger how much I enjoy their music, I always find myself going back & really enjoying their music but then forget about enjoying them so much and pass them up for a few months before it all starts again. Today I listened to 2008's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga and was once again gently reminded me that Spoon are one of those bands that can walk the line between Middle Of The Road and Interesting with the greatest of ease without ever fully going Coldplay on us. Their music is your basic American indie rock with piano & horns (think The National) but it's the overall song writing and the quality of such that helps Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga & Spoon as a band stand out from the crowd. This album isn't going to be the most adventurous, epic, life changing or even memorable album you're ever going to hear but with the songs here you are certainly going to have a lot of fun whilst you're on the ride. As far as Americana Indie Rock from the era goes, this is one of the better ones.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Laura Gibson/Gordelia[needs verification]/Do You Feel What I Feel Dear ~ Brighton Komedia 13/04/12 review

So as mentioned earlier in the Blog I was off to see Laura Gibson an was excited by it & by golly was my excitement justified! Whilst I enjoyed the new album 'La Grande' I wasn't totally bowled over by it, but now after tonight's show, I can say with confidence that I am in love with the new CD. So what element of the show stood out most for me? Was it Laura Gibson's fantastic and unique vocal delivery? Yeah that. Was it her charismatic band? Yeah that as well. Was it the quality of the songs in general? Yeah that as well. Was it the 2 guys clearly rushing their tits off and raving to very traditional folk music? Of course that would contribute. Was it the fantastic moment when she had the whole crowd provide the oooo's that make up 'Red Moon' & everyone in the crowd actually doing so? Yes that totally sealed it.
   Out of the support acts I got 2 names from the poster though I'm not sure the 2nd was correct. The first band 'Do you feel what I feel dear', despite the mouthful and somewhat pretentious name, came out very well with their sweeping 6 person orchestra and fantastic harmonised vocals had the crowd really paying attention. The 2nd act who I have down as 'Gordelia' (though as mentioned earlier, was never refered to as such during the set) was a solo female artist who had a stunning voice and did a couple of great covers, however her own stuff other then the 3rd track of her set totally went over my head, despite this I still I see a great deal of potential here and really wouldn't mind seeing her again. Overall though it was a fantastic gig & I really hope to see Laura Gibson and her band back down here soon, the support acts were functional with 'Do You Feel What I Feel Dear' coming off the better of the 2, who are a band I would perhaps like to get familiar with after tonight's performance. 

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Five of the best: March 2012

Xiu Xiu - Always

Guess this could be called Xiu Xiu's pop album? I personally think this is their most accessible record to date but it doesn't compromise on the miserable lyrics and the brilliantly disturbed track 'I Luv Abortions' will stop you yelling 'Sell Out' anytime soon.

Soap&Skin - Narrow

This album is just constantly beautiful & heartfelt and hosts a good number of tear jerkers, whether it be her incredible rendition of 80s Cheese pop 'Voyage Voyage' or the stunning 'Wonder' this album quickly becomes compulsive listening, the only downside is that it's too short, I highly recommend it.

Burial - Kindred

This EP is arguably the best thing Burial has put out, it carries his trademark sound into damned approachable territory here and it certainly has a lot more going on sonically then the previously sparse outings. The track 'Ashtray Wasp' is a particular stand out for me and takes you threw one hell of a journey threw it's 11 minutes but the fact that can be said about all 3 any of the 3 tracks found here is a real testament to how good this thing is.

Hawk Eyes - Ideas

This album is what would most likely happen if QOTSA of 2001 decided to add interesting time signatures to their music & yes it's most definitely rocks & rocks hard it most certainly does. This album is the sort that keeps you on your toes whilst you do all of that head banging & some of the riffs are very much worthy of some devil horns.

Kap Bambino - Devotion

Goes on the principle that distorted synths should only really make you dance and sway this album delivers plenty of incredibly catchy, noisy and pounding dance numbers. Very similar in sound to Crystal Castles in many ways only perhaps a little bit more melodic, whilst being that little bit noisier, this album is best played loud and proud.

Thoughts on: Tigercats - Isle Of Dogs

Genre: Indie Pop
Mood: Fun/Playful/Upbeat
Label: Acuarela

Tigercats are an East London Indie Pop band and this is their debut 'Isle Of Dogs', they've supported the likes of the Lovely Eggs, Wave Pictures and The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, and it plays exactly as you'd expect it to sound considering who they've supported with that of course being sugary upbeat indie rock. The first thing that came to mind when I listened to this CD in bold neon lit capital letters was Los Campesinos & I mean why not they do sound very similar. The album is a mass of major notes played in a very playful fashion with boy/girl call back vocals and is as a result Indie pop music that you can dance too, much like Los Campesinos did with their debut 'Hold On Now Youngster'
Not that any of this is to take away from this album which is great fun with an arsenal full of short & sweet pop songs. The first song that jumped out of me was 'Konny Huck' with it's really quite strange synth noise & jumping bass line it's just urges you to jump & shake along with a huge grin on your face. The next single 'Full Moon Reggae Party' unsurprisingly has a huge reggae influence on top of these very sweet duelling chorus vocals, again it seems to be written with the aim to make you dance.
The songs rarely stray away from this formula which does tend to show signs of straining towards the middle of the album where the songs simply aren't nearly as memorable or grabbing as the fantastic first 5 tracks, no this isn't to say they are bad, they are still good pop songs but seem to drop a lot of the momentum picked up at the start of the record. In fact I wouldn't say it's even the quality of the songs, on the own they stand up well, I just think the style started to wear a bit thin after a while & I was kind of hoping they'd show me something a bit different. Up until the fantastic 'Kim & Thurston', which is an incredibly sombre number named after the King & Queen of Indie Rock, it was all very much one paced. On the subject of 'King & Thurston' it is a truly pretty song with a very hypnotic and melodic bassline & sweetly sung vocals. The album ends very strongly as well,returning back to the pace found on the rest of the album, with 'East Island' and 'Banned From The Troxy' being 2 of the best songs on the whole record.

Overall I really enjoyed this album and it's energy & though it lost that little something for me towards the middle I still come out of this album with a huge smile on my face & that's what most albums from this genre fail to do these days as they often feel very insincere, where as this all seems completely honest and enthusiastic. Plays like a cross between Tokyo Police Club & Los Campesinos, but has reason to exist in it's own right, if you're looking for an album that's full of great catchy songs with a care free attitude then you can do a lot worse then 'Isle Of Dogs'

Listen On Spotify: Tigercats – Isle of Dogs
Stand out Songs: Konny Huck, Full Moon Reggae Party, Kim & Thurston, Easter Island & Banned From The Troxy
Upcoming UK Dates:
6th July [Indietracks Festival] 29th September [Nottingham Indie Pop All Dayer]

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Thoughts on: Yppah - Eighty One

Genres: Electronica/IDM/Trip Hop
Mood: Summery/Euphoric/Chilled
Label: Ninja Tune

Here we are in the UK just off the back of some glorious weather where this album would have worked wonders and in the pit of windy, damp & grey familiarity which is when this album decided to get released. Okay I am being a bit hasty as the Great British summer is now but a few months away this is one album I expect to be listening to heavily when Sun finally decides to come back to us. In essence this album is very 90s in it's sound, it's all very upbeat and shimmers with big sounds, light dance beats, reverb & the all important shimmery guitars which are so often the back bone of euphoric electronica.
The music is mostly instrumental with the use of vocal samples but the album also makes use of a frequent guest vocalist 'Anomie Belle' to add a bit of variety in the rhythm and structure of the music on display here & she does a very good job with her vocals, whilst not remarkably different or original, suit the sombre euphoric tones to a tee. Highlights include lead single 'Film Burn' which has an almost shoegazey feel to it, 'R.Mullen' one of the albums more up-tempo songs just sounds massive and slaps a smile onto your face.

On the whole then this album plays out a soundtrack to one of the greatest summers of your life, it's incredibly positive in outlook and very bright, it's got catchy melodies and the atmosphere to back it up, this isn't some shallow attempt to capture the innocence of unadulterated joy it fully embodies it & does it show.

Listen On Spotify: Yppah – Eighty One
Stand Out Songs: 'R.Mullen', 'Film Burn', 'Never Mess With Sunday' & 'Three Portraits'
No Dates In The UK Scheduled

Monday, 9 April 2012

Thoughts on: THEESatisfaction - awE naturalE

Genres: Hip Hop/RnB/Soul/Experimental
Mood: Chilled/Fun/Adventurous
Label: SubPop

An album I had very little knowledge of whilst going into the first listen turns out to be an incredibly catchy, well recorded and really interesting take on RnB/Soul/Hip Hop. This stuff is incredibly catchy but it has a very surreal/warped and weird feel to it but with enough familiar ground being covered to make it incredibly accessible with tracks such as 'Earthseed' & 'Sweat' being amongst some of the best songs I have heard all year, with their off-kilter approach to the genre, they sound incredibly fresh and full of personality.

For all that's good with this album I do find that it loses steam just the tiniest amount towards the end but overall I do really enjoy it and really love the blending of styles & every time the experimental and approachable mix in such a seamless way it's a cause of celebration, the highs make it hard for me not to recommend this album.

Stand Out Songs: Earthseed, Queens & Sweat
Upcoming UK Dates
20th April [Bristol] 24th April [London]