Saturday, May 31, 2008

Shake your rump to the Plump

LONDON'S Plump DJs just got even plumper - thanks to the release of their fourth album, Headthrash.
The duo of Les Rous and Andy Gardner have always been among the greatest creators of breakbeats around, but sometimes they lacked the accompanying tune for their club-thumping 'choons'.
However on Headthrash, out June 2 on the brilliant Finger Lickin' Records label, there is some real meat on these always exquisitely crafted bones.
On System Addict they bake emotive swells and hip hop vocal samples into their already-tasty nu skool breaks pie, Shifting Gears sees funky, soulful string samples come into play and SNAFU sees the group's trademark beeps and squelches go into skittering overdrive.
Quite simply, Plump DJs are the phattest around.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Ladytron electronica a tonic


VELOCIFERO, Liverpool-based Ladytron's fourth album, is the sound of a computer that's turned on.
Here the electro poppers have crossed sultry, sleazy vocals with mechanical drones and dark, industrial beats, while retaining adding an aloof air of mystery - for example on Kletva, which is sung entirely in Bulgarian.
The group have clearly picked up the baton of edgy, sexy, dancey, indie-y pop from Goldfrapp - who decided this year with Seventh Tree to go sunbathing instead.
In contrast Ladytron's Velocifero is music for the nighttime - and a dark night at that.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wombat ball

STREWTH! The Wombats are coming to Loughborough.
Liverpool three-piece breakthrough indie band The Wombats will be bringing their chart-busting sound to Loughborough Students' Union on June 10.
Admission to see the band, best known for hits such as Moving To New York, Let's Dance To Joy Division and Backfire At The Disco, costs £15 for non-students, or £14 with an NUS card.
Nikki Shipley, Students' Union spokeswoman, said: "With the UK tours selling out fast, here at Loughborough Students Union we promise not to disappoint.
"In our 1,600 capicity room we fully intend to have a fully packed venue all adding to an amazing, one off experience that is not to be missed.
"It is certainly going to be an awesome start to the summer months and promises to be a highlight of the year!"
Tickets are available online here, or from Loughborough Students' Union reception.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Royworld out of this world

ECCENTRIC indie poppers Royworld, who take their name from a Welsh bowling alley, are ready to strike with their debut album Man In The Machine.
For this Buggles-esque release of 80s inspired melodrama is top of the pomps - epic, dynamic and full of more hooks than the classified section of the Angling Times.
Singles like Elasticity and Dust are both radio-friendly and challengingly complex, and completely different from their contemporaries.
Even the band's structure is a little off-the-wall, with their poignant songs co-written by singer Rod Futrille and his brother Crispin, who is not even in the band.
Ultimately these songs are big compositions, and it would be an injustice if by the end of the year, Royworld are not playing the arenas they would be so at home in.
In the meantime, you can catch them near Loughborough in Nottingham's Rock City on June 3, and Leicester's Summer Sundae festival on August 8.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008



CUT loose and lay back this summer with Loose Salute, music's answer to the lobotomy.
For the band's goodtime surf indie is like sunshine encapsulated, but like The Shortwave Set's album earlier this Spring, the result is just a bit gormless.
For some people sitting on a sandy backside jobless and grinning in a VW campervan is an idyll.
For me this image is not as nice as Loose Salute would have it.
Sure, it's nice for a break, but not all the time.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Lab ab fab

THE Lab's One, a 10-track sampler from the Manchester-based label, is a successful experiment.
Compiled under the "naive notion that good music will prevail," the selection is a mixed bag, from the driving rock of North Dakota's The Wooden Sky to the acoustic tinkering of Vandaveer's Crooked Mast.
Some of it is forgettable, for instance The Panda Band's effort which just doesn't gel for me, but with the likes of the We Are Scientists-esque Secret Broadcast, Snow Patrol-style Soft, the simply awesome Snowden and the star in waiting that is Rod Thomas, The Lab may well have lined up several of my new favourite bands in one fell swoop.
The CD is available from June 2, or you can listen to it here!

Hold a candle for Wax Tailor


FRENCHMAN Wax Tailor's blend of trip hop and hip hop, thrip hop if you will, that is Hope And Sorrow finally gets a UK release next month.
The Tailor-made sophomore album from Wax, whose real name is the decidedly Gallic Jean-Christophe Le Saoût, sees a select group of carefully-selected collaborators - such as funk vocalist Sharon Jones and rappers The Others - join the DJ for a slick, cinematic outing.
The result is a mixture of rich, textured, string drenched beats and head-nodding hip hop that proves there's life for trip hop beyond the city limits of Bristol.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Kraak & Smaak traaks laaking


DUTCH dance collective Kraak And Smaak's breakthrough album Plastic People has plastic bagged them some attention in this country since its release earlier this month.
And deservedly so, as their unmistakably European brand of souped-up house with a funky slant in the vein of Etienne de Crecy or Cassius is made for the dancefloor.
Tracks like Squeeze Me and Man Of Constant Sorrow show a group clearly having fun plying their trade.
However not all the tracks have such an appeal, and when the melodies or vocals are less demanding of attention, such as on California Roll or Thinking Back, the drumbeats need to step into the fray more.
Unfortunately they don't meaning that by the end of the LP, attention can stray - but don't just listen to a haak like me.
Plastic People is still a craaking album, and one of the best dance albums to land on my desk so far this year, so why not go Dutch.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Yoav to check him out

THE star of last night's Later... With Jools Holland was undoubtedly Yoav, the Israel-born South African one man band.
I've had a quick listen now of his 2008 album Charmed And Strange, as he only got to perform one track on the show, and the Kaki King meets Timbaland meets Incubus sound, all done on one guitar and attached pedals, is definitely one to check out.

Just Radiohead

AT LEAST the compilers of this remarkable band's Best Of had the sense to produce it over two CDs.
For Radiohead, since 1992's Creep, have forged a name for themselves as one of the greatest, most innovative and creative and yet consistent makers of music since The Beatles laid down their instruments.
There is nothing I could write here about individual songs that you don't know already, suffice to say all the band's big hitters are here - Just, Street Spirit, Paranoid Android, Pyramid Song, etc. etc. - minus the latest LP In Rainbows' tracks, as EMI didn't hold the rights.
So as a companion to In Rainbows for anyone who doesn't know the band's back catalogue intimately yet, this would be as good a place to start discovering the Oxford five-piece's songbook as any.

Friday, May 23, 2008

36 Crazyfists' album lacks kick


CONSIDERING The Tide And Its Takers is Alaskan metalcore outfit 36 Crazyfists' fourth LP, you would think the band would be able to go with the flow a bit more.
Because all of the elements of a great album are here, they're just not put together quite right, as if the Anchorage rockers are trying a little too hard.
With the band's over zealous guitar shredding, bludgeoning bass and frontman Brock Lindow's savage, primal growls almost ever-present throughout the album, the band's obvious knack for a sly hook here and there is almost always lost.
It's this balance that lets the band down - there's too much going on, too many skipped or added beats scattered throughout preventing the listener from grabbing hold.
And it's a shame, as during the moments on The Tide And Its Takers it comes together, 36 Crazyfists pack a real punch.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Spiritualized in good health


AFTER the disappointing new release from The Charlatans comes another Britpop also-ran from out of nowhere.
Yes, sorry to say it, Spiritualized fans - and Charlatans fans for that matter - but they were never colussusses like Blur, Pulp or Oasis in their heyday.
Who next - Spacehog again bringing home the bacon? Menswear back in fashion? A Sleeper awakening? Please, anything but a new Space odyssey.
The reason behind the absence, of course, is frontman Jason Pierce's near death at the hands of a severe bout of pneumonia.
And new LP, the aptly-medical Songs In A&E, shows a band that has never been in better health.
Songs In A&E is an epic, warm, human and rich yet at the same time harrowing, eerie and intense.
Floaty compositions such as new single Soul On Fire and Death Take Your Fiddle are linked together brilliantly with string and piano 'harmonies' to create an opus that should prove to be a real shot in the arm for the band.

Later Of The Pier

Just in - Isaac Ashe's Sound Advice has learnt Castle Donington-based indie rock-electronica crossover outfit Late Of The Pier have postponed their gig at Loughborough's Rapture Nightclub from May 30 to sometime in October this year.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pendulum swing into town

PENDULUM will be headlining a double drum and bass extravaganza at Loughborough University on May 27.
As part of their promotion for sensational new album In Silico, the group are playing alongside MC Verse and local DJs to an expected crowd of 1,000 under-18s at the Students' Union from 5.30pm, and then again to an adult audience later that evening.
Tickets are on sale at £10 for the under-18s gig and £5 NUS, £7 or £10 VIP for over-18s at the Students' Union Reception and Zavvi at The Rushes.
For more information about the event or ticket sales, please Edd Kiggins on 07729 932993.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Son Of Dave top of list

JUST a quick pointer for anyone dashing down the A6 to the inaugral Leicester City Blues Festival 2008 later this month.
Sitting on Saturday, May 31's line-up alongside more well-known acts such as Gary Moore is the absolute must-see Son Of Dave.
One bluesman band Son Of Dave, real name Benjamin Darvill, has to be seen to be believed - creating rich, hip-hop influenced blues completely on his tod onstage - you can see an example of this, a performance of Hellhound from his latest album 03, here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Classic seven - Maggot Brain pretty fly

FOR 1971's seminal Maggot Brain, funk legends Funkadelic decided on a stark departure from their previously groove-orientated sound.
As a young pup I can only imagine what die-hard fans of the band made of it when they whacked the album on for the first time to hear 10-minute long opener Maggot Brain, where the group wander around spaced out in the realms of psychedelia.
However with George Clinton at the helm, Maggot Brain was always going to be funky - and from track two, Can You Get To That, onwards, the mould for the funk rock genre was set.
On Hit It And Quit It, the guitars roar, and You And Your Folks, Me And My Folks sees a soulful gospel side added to the mix.
Fans of any modern rock band that every slapped a bass string in anger should not hesitate to add this blistering collection of formative funk rock to their collection.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sparkling gig for Young Knives

VETERAN pop rock act Sparks have enlisted local band The Young Knives as support for one gig of their 21-night stand at the London Astoria.
Belton brothers Henry Dartnall and The House Of Lords and Ashbien Oliver Askew will perform on Saturday, May 17, before Sparks perform, in its entirity, their 1972 album A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing.
The gig forms part of the group's back-to-back performances of their entire studio album back catalogue in order, including 1982's Angst In My Pants and 1995's Gratuitous Sax And Senseless Violins, ending with the group's 2008 LP Exotic Creatures Of The Deep.
Ah well, it can't be the Venture Theatre, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, every week.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Foxboro Hot Tubs are lukewarm


IMAGINE Green Day dressed as Austin Powers and you've got Foxboro Hot Tubs, the pop punk pioneers' latest side-project.
A swinging '60s inspired take on the band's distinctive sound, Foxboro Hot Tubs' Stop Drop And Roll album is a refreshing outing from the once-goofy band, especially after the decidedly serious American Idiot.
However, were it not for The Reverend Strychnine Twitch AKA Billie Joe Armstrong's unmistakable vocals and the mojo-growing drumming and bass work, song wise this would be a pretty forgettable affair.
Stop Drop And Roll is a pretty groovy collection of '60s-inspired rock, but I'd still prefer to see Green Day doing what Green Day clearly do best, not doing what McFly do better.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hello Holloways

CELEBRATE the music that makes you feel better this Saturday when top 40 band The Holloways come to Loughborough.
The band, best known for their smash hit feelgood summer song Generator, will be playing at Room 1, Loughborough Students' Union, alongside town act The Voom Blooms.
Bryn Tremayne Fowler, bassist for The Holloways, told Isaac Ashe's Sound Advice: "When we started playing live we decided to try to get around a many places as possible, especially where people don't get to see as many top bands, although I think this will be the first time in Loughborough.
"I'm sure people are going to be up for it.
"We heard one or two songs by The Voom Blooms before we gave them the thumbs-up – they sounded good and we're looking forward to seeing them live."
Tickets to the gig, open to anyone, both students and non-students, as long as they're aged 14 years or over, cost £10 and are available online here and here or from the Students' Union Reception.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Keeping Múm


MY MOTHER told me to steer clear of strange folk - how wrong she was.
As although experimental electronic folk music makers Múm's output is definitely unconventional, it is sweeter than an illicitly-offered double dip.
Rerelease Yesterday Was Dramatic Today Is OK, first issued as the Icelandic band's debut in 2000, is a gorgeous soundscape of ambient electronic twitters and rich yet sparse instrumentation.
The ponderous yet enthralling tracks stretch into one another, equally at home with melody as silence, and the result is a journey you'll want to take over and over again.
Obviously Múm do - next Monday is the album's third release date, and in 2005 they even toured the album in its entirity as a live set!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Oceansize should make waves

THE mere words "prog rock" are enough to make toe-curling images of grown men in fancy dress fiddling about with their organs spring to most people's minds.
Well, it does to mine...
However Oceansize, whose third album, Frames, is set for a rerelease next monday, are the bright future of this much-maligned genre.
Mixing the heavy metal prowess and technical wizardry of Tool with the emotion and sheer Manc-ness of Elbow, Oceansize's critically applauded Frames was pretty much ignored first time out last year.
True, the band aren't exactly radio-friendly, with the album clocking in at over an hour and the average track length around the eight minute mark, but tracks like the slow-burning Trail Of Fire and Savant are pure genius.
So if you're a fan of 65 Days Of Static, Biffy Clyro, Tool, Elbow or Mogwai, why not take a dip?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Opposites attract


ODD couple Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan return on Monday with Sunday At Devil Dirt, the pair's second collaboration.
And it's no surprise the duo of Belle & Sebastian singer and cellist Campbell and former Screaming Trees singer Lanegan are back - Mark Lanegan has proven to be one of the hardest working men in music over the past 12 months.
However here the grizzled singer is not as firey as on electronica outing Soulsavers or the rockier The Gutter Twins - instead on Sunday At Devil Dirt Lanegan has a wistful Leonard Cohen quality to his voice.
And backed up by Isobel Campbell's irresistably sweet vocals, tracks like Salvation and Back Burner are like walking through the set of a spaghetti Western movie.
This outing is ultimately more of the same from the unlikely pairing, but as the Mercury-nominated Ballad Of The Broken Seas was such a resounding success, why not?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Date with Destiny for Late Of The Pier

CASTLE Donington rockers Late Of The Pier will be appearing on The Nokia Green Room on Channel 4 at 1.40pm on May 11.
The show, which features diverse acts mingling backstage between exclusive performances, will see the local lads hobnobbing with indie group Guillemots and former Destiny's Child Kelly Rowland.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Pendulum swing high

WHEN drum and bass group Pendulum were announced for Download Festival I imagine more eyebrows were raised than tradional devil horns.
However after listening to the group's second LP In Silico, the Australian outfit have clearly developed the kind of crossover appeal not heard since The Prodigy's Fat Of The Land was released.
Where on debut release Hold Your Colour the focus was straight down the line Andy C style drum and bass, with the emphasis on bass, Pendulum have now added detail to their song structures.
Tracks such as Visions and new single Propane Nightmares demonstrate there's real talent hiding underneath the traditional junglist beats and pulsating buzz basses.
While the group are still a little rough around the edges, this could well unite the two disparate genres, if only for the duration of their half-hour onstage at Donington Park this Summer.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Fair Maiden


RUN to the hills - Iron Maiden are back!
Sort of.
Somwhere Back In Time is the latest "best of" from the band, who have racked up double figures of compilation albums, let alone studio efforts, since their inception in 1975.
So I won't bore you with the details - surely you've heard the group by now.
For some they will live up to their name as sheer torture, for other's the Leyton band are thoroughbred rock gods, and for the rest of you they're pure comedy genius.
This outing, covering 1980-1989, has nearly all the household hits - Run To The Hills, The Evil That Men Do, Number Of The Beast, Can I Play With Madness - although I would still say Edward The Great is a better "best of" bet.
However if the album increases interest in Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson's new movie Chemical Wedding, which has my brother Jared Ashe in it, then rock on.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Young Knives Live

ASHBY-de-la-Zouch was the town where local band The Young Knives first plyed their trade – and a secret homecoming gig was held at the Venture Theatre on May 6.
The three-piece band, made up of Belton brothers Henry Dartnall and Thomas "The House Of Lords" Dartnall alongside Ashby's Oliver Askew, admitted onstage: "We never thought we would do this."
However after a riotous set the band, who have just released their second album Superabundance to critical acclaim, were making suggestions that it become a regular slot – if the venue invested in air conditioning "for the fat boys on stage".
The opening salvo of the night, organised by Gaymers cider for a select crowd of competition winners who had travelled to Ashby, press, TV and the band's family and friends, was the blistering She's Attracted To.
And with the splendid Counters and recent single Terra Firma following on, the small theatre was shaking as the crowd began to move.
Also standing out from the Young Knives' songbook of quirky, angular rock were Fit 4 U, the thumping Up All Night and the always-exceptional Weekends And Bleakdays.
The band also excelled with their new single Turn Tail – in the shops now, kids – where they were joined onstage by four "string people" for a passionate rendition of the song.
"Grim" Loughborough Suicide got an outing, before the sweaty set concluded with the anthemic The Decision.
The Young Knives may not be back to their old haunt for a while – on this form stadiums and TV studios may will be the next step.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Young Knives' old haunt

TONIGHT The Young Knives performed their socks off at a secret gig at the Venture Theatre in Ashby-de-la-Zouch - and very exciting for the good folk of Ashby it was too.
Here are some pictures from the evening - look out for a full review here, in the Loughborough Echo and in the mighty Ashby Trader And Echo paper too.
Queue the audience...
Failing to prepare...
Cam on, cam on.
Rock and or roll

The super Dartnall brothers

Henry Dartnall

The House Of Lords and Oliver Askew

With some "string people"

Monday, May 05, 2008

Classic six - Need Naveed

INTERNATIONAL readers of Isaac Ashe's Sound Advice - yeah right - may be more familiar with Our Lady Peace than Brits.
For example Naveed, the band's 1994 debut album, was sadly only a minor hit in their native Canada.
This alternative rock album, which spawned five singles, did provide the springboard for the group to go on to write five more studio albums and do good work in the US and Canadian album and single charts - yet it is unlikely many of you will be familiar.
Time to correct that, I say.
For Naveed is a grungey and full bodied affair, showcasing the band's proficient Pearl Jam style musicianship and a singer, Raine Maida, blessed with a gift of a rock voice, equally at home growling down low or soaring up high.
To this day the group still open and close their live shows with Naveed and Starseed, which demonstrates the lasting quality of this album.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Vine and dandy

IN A strange sequence of events, Australian garage rockers The Vines are releasing their The Best Of... compilation ahead of a new album, Brain Dead, this summer.
Compiled by the band for release by their recently-dispensed with label Capitol Records, it is a testament to the group that a greatest hits of this quality can be made with just three albums of material to pluck from.
Showcasing the groups' trademark mix of Beatles-style '60s pop and Nirvana-style '90s grunge, fans of the group will be able to predict the obvious album highlights in the likes of Outtathaway, Get Free and Ride.
And if you're not yet a Vines fan, what better place to start before their fourth album is released, on a new record label, later this year.

Up, up and away...


MATMOS really is a labour of love for San Francisco duo Martin Schmidt and Drew Daniel - as not only are the pair a romantic couple, they go to extreme lengths together to get the sounds they need for their experimental electronica.
In the course of their work, Matmos have - among many, many things, some too lewd to be listed here - sampled amplified crayfish nerve tissue, the pages of bibles turning, slowed down whistles and kisses, chin implant surgery, rat cages, tanks of helium, human skulls, cards shuffling, field recordings of conversations in hot tubs, frequency response tests for defective hearing aids, a steel guitar recorded in a sewer, Polish trains, aspirin tablets hitting a drum kit from across the room, life support machines, solid gold coins spinning on bars of solid silver and the sound of a frozen stream thawing in the sun.
It really is "all" in a days work for Matmos.
So for Supreme Balloon to be a studio album, albeit entirely composed on synthesizers, is daring for the group, whose work normally straddles the grey area between pop music and conceptual art.
This time out the songs are more instantly accessible and sound like extracts from a 1970s Tomorrow's World special on the music of the future.
The results are still, as you'd expect, more chin stroking than foot tapping, but Supreme Balloon is more of a pleasure trip than previous outings.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Classic five - General brilliance


BEING Fatboy Slim's boss, Skint supremo Damian Harris - AKA Midfield General - knew his 2000 release Generalisation had to set a good example.
Perhaps that's why Generalisation was five years in the making...
Either way, it's no surprise that the album, which seamlessly shifts from big beat and breaks with housey soul samples and old school hip-hop, is sheer dancefloor brilliance from start to finish.
However a few tracks really stand out on the album - Reach Out, the album's biggest single, is a dreamy, soulful slice of blissed out house, Devil In Sports Casual is a scowling breaks classic, and Stigs Inn Love is a drum and bass track with more unexpected twists than a pole dancer with no bones.
However the track you'll be telling literally everyone you know to listen to - just like I'm doing now - is Midfielding, featuring The Mighty Boosh's Noel Fielding.
A second album, General Disarray, is out this month, and with it being eight years in the pipeline surely the best is yet to come.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Album falls Short

THE Shortwave Set's second offering of what they term "victorian punk" is the musical equivolent of lying in a field in the sun with a gormless expression.
With Dj Dangermouse at the mixing desk you would expect an album chirpier than a cricket that's just found a £20 note on the floor while walking back from making sweet crickety love to a rather gorgeous lady cricket.
However the Londoner's sun-kissed album Replica Sun Machine is like listening to The Magic Numbers, but with chronic fatugue syndrome.
Like Goldfrapp's similar laid back psychedelia experiment Seventh Tree earlier this year the album has a summery, good-time vibe that never really gets going throughout the course of the LP - why have a Replica Sun Machine when we'll very soon have the real thing out for the summer, albeit with a bit more oomph.

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