Monday, June 30, 2008

Hard rock from the Stone Gods

RISEN pheonix-like from the ashes of The Darkness, Stone Gods really know how to rock.
In true Spinal Tap style, the East Anglians play with a fist in the air and a tongue in the cheek.
And at points this LP, Silver Spoons And Broken Bones, is laugh-out-loud funny - particularly on Burn The Witch and Start Of Something.
And like fellow mock rockers such as Three Inches Of Blood the group can clearly also play.
The problem is that although a funny one at first, the joke soon wears thin, and I have my doubts if, like The Darkness before them, Stone Gods will be the rock of ages.

Hot Sauce

G LOVE And Special Sauce’s latest album Superhero Brother is a case of if it ain’t broke...
For following 2006’s fizzing Lemonade LP, the trio of G Love, Jimi Jazz and Houseman are back with more of their trademark super smooth grooves.
And why not? It is the summertime after all.
The LP is another slab of their inimitable brand of blues, hip hop and surf rock, while opening combo Communication and City Life, as well as band manifesto Who's Got The Weed, show a funkier streak to this album.
In fact, Superhero Brother is something of a marvel.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Catch The Subways

WELWYN Garden City's most rockingest band The Subways first album Young For Eternity was produced by former Lightning Seed Ian Broudie.
All Or Nothing sees former Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins producer Butch Vig take the controls.
No surprise then that on this LP, the trio is a heavier proposition than before - and riproaring tracks like Girls And Boys and Alright show The Subways are on track, heading along the right lines.
And if their invigorating new producer decides to stay on board, The Subway's next stop will likely be a truly great album.
It's just a shame that the band didn't literally go All Or Nothing when putting the LP together, as in fact, it's the slower numbers such as Move To Newlyn that are holding this album back.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Dirty Pretty average

NOT only does The Libertines hang round Dirty Pretty Things' frontman Carl Barat's neck like a lead weight on Romance At Short Notice, but the former Pete Doherty right hand man is also charged with trying to outdo debut effort Waterloo Or Anywhere's success.
And although this effort fails to scale the peaks of his previous outfit, it's a surprise to this reviewer that he has even made it to base camp 'Listenable', let only penned a few sizzlers.
After a stuttering start in Buzzards & Crows the album picks up momentum, and although single Tired Of England is a bit lame, the ska-tinged Clash-style indie exhibited on tracks like Chinese Dogs, Best Face and Kicks Or Consumption is some of Dirty Pretty Things best yet.
Romance it ain't, but I still like you Carl.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Carpet flawed?


KID Carpet is a very apt name for this keyboard-wielding singer-songwriter.
No, not the Carpet bit, the Kid moniker.
For Casio Royale, the Bristol-based Kid Carpet’s second LP, is clearly product of a man having a lot of innocent, wide-eyed fun with his computer-beeps and beats art.
The overall sound may be a little one man fiddling with his organ for his own pleasure at times, but funtime tracks like Can’t Stop The Pop and Solitaire make the likes of Mika look like an old grumpy boots.
That said, other’s like So Much Fun and Hitting The Wall show a heavier edge, making an interesting if contradictory switch from subject matter like kiss chases to packets of fags.
Perhaps he’s just going through an awkward phase...

LOTP album named

CASTLE Donington goofball indie dance act Late Of The Pier's forthcoming album has been named Fantasy Black Channel.
The Erol Alkan-produced album, out on August 11, will feature 11 tracks including Hot Tent Blues, Space And The Woods, The Bears Are Coming, Focker and Bathroom Gurgle.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Feeder on the menu

TOP rock band Feeder have announced a Loughborough date in their first full UK tour in nearly three years.
The Welsh rockers, known for their hits Shatter, Buck Rogers and Lost And Found, will be kicking off the tour on October 20 in Stoke On Trent, before heading to Loughborough University on November 1 via gigs including Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham, Llandudno, Bristol, and London.
Tickets go on sale from today for the tour, which has been announcined following the release of Feeder’s sixth studio album Silent Cry, which reached number eight in the UK album charts.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Seth bomb

THE folkin' hot Seth Lakeman is not only the posterboy of folk music - probably by default by being the only person in the folk music scene without a bushy beard, a tankard of Goblins Twaddle and jingly little bells on his shoes - but he is also a damn fine songwriter too.
Okay, I concede Eliza Carthy doesn't have a bushy beard, but she can down a pint of Twaddle with the best of them, so I've heard.
Poor Man's Heaven, Lakeman's fourth solo LP, is more of the same rhythmic folk demonstrated on debut The Punch Bowl, the Mercury-nominated Kitty Jay and the top-40 charting Freedom Fields.
Here Seth's sound is punchier, slightly rockier than before, and throughout the album more consistent than Freedom Fields, though it perhaps lacks the emotional peaks of its predecessor.
Nevertheless, if Poor Man's Heaven is this enjoyable, thank God I'm on a crap wage.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Day job

IN CASE you weren't aware, blogging about music is not my full-time job - I in fact spend most of the time between 9am and 5pm writing for the Loughborough Echo.
Part of that daily grind is spent compiling The Guide, the entertainments section of the paper, and now you can see some of the fruits of that labour at the Echo's spanking new website.
That's right, I said spanking new.
To cynically get more hits on Google.
Anyhoo, click here for the website's entertainments section for examples of my work - that should be enough to tide you Isaac Ashe-aholics over until I get back from holiday next week.
It can't always be all work and no play for us hacks y'know.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Rascals are cheeky Monkeys

MILES Kane, ertswhile Arctic Monkeys colloborator, is back to his day job The Rascals.
And listening to the Wirral group's debut effort, it seems that working with the Sheffield prodigies has rubbed off on the group.
A lot.
The album, Rascalize, sounds like the product of a fumbling one night stand between Arctic Monkeys and The Coral.
But although it is a raw sounding effort, this is not a shambles by any stretch, and fans of the aforementioned groups will find a lot of merit here.
However Rascalize is nothing new, and what there is rarely raises above average.
Basically, if are the sort of person that is likely to buy an Arctic Monkeys b-sides compilation, then go ape.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

With A Buzz In Their Ears They Play Endlessly


SIGUR Ros's fifth studio album Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust is exactly what you expect from Sigur Ros.
It's an acheingly beautiful melange of ambient, classical, indie and folk influenced post-rock and a worthy addition to their back catalogue.
However, although the album is, as the artwork suggests, a slightly stripped down version, this is nothing desperately new from the Icelandic four-piece, despite Nine Inch Nails producer Flood on board.
Ultimately Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust - which translates as "With a Buzz in Our Ears We Play Endlessly" - pushes as many envelopes as an unemployed postman, which is disappointing for a group which were so fresh and inventive five undeniably spectacular yet spectacularly-similar albums ago.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Isaac is Pleased

I WOULD like to say a quick "thank you" to Pat Ashe for donating a cassette tape to the Isaac Ashe's Sound Advice Ashemobile Soundsystem Appeal.
That brings the grand total of tapes received to one tape.
Pat kindly donated At Your Table, a tape by Southampton's Please Will, an electro acoustic artist with a real DIY ethic not unlike Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly or Jamie-T.
Copies of the tape, which I highly recommend, are available to buy from Please Will's Myspace page at the link above.
If anyone else has any cassette tapes they no longer want, they can donate them to the Isaac Ashe's Sound Advice Ashemobile Soundsystem Appeal by either dropping them off at the Loughborough Echo offices or posting them to -
Isaac Ashe's Sound Advice Ashemobile Soundsystem Appeal,
Isaac Ashe,
Loughborough Echo,
Princes' Court,
Royal Way,
LE11 5XR.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Kaki King rules


"THERE are some guitar players that are good and there are some guitar players that are really good.
"And then there's Kaki King."
That is the view of Dave Grohl - you may have heard of him - on Atlantan guitarist and songwriter Kaki King, whose fourth album Dreaming Of Revenge is a real confirmation of a major talent.
Kaki King packs each track with more layers than an onion, creating a rich tapestry of fret tapping, string slapping, picking, strumming and even drumming her guitar.
With a more accessible sound and her vocals more evident than on previous outings, and less of the ponderous virtuoso tracks which although impressive were sometimes a chore to sit through, Dreaming Of Revenge is sweet.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Cage The Elephant are heavyweights

WITH thier eponymous debut, Cage The Elephant deserve to be the musical mammoths their name would suggest.
With this raucous rabble-rousing party album, the Kentucky band sound like a cross between G Love And Special Sauce and Arctic Monkeys.
No seriously - imagine that Liam and Noel Gallagher had formed a band in sunny LA instead of drizzly Manchester, and you're somewhere close to Cage The Elephant's sound.
Their mix of Kings Of Leon-style rock with Beck-style hip hop comes out of the speakers like a stampede on tracks like In One Ear and then struts around like it rightfully owns the place, as on current single Ain't No Rest For The Wicked.
Quite frankly, if you haven't heard this summertime classic yet, then 'tusk, tusk' to you.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Cassette in my ways

WHAT with my high-flying journalism job at the Loughborough Echo and my evident love of music, you would probably guess that I drive around in a flashy car with an even flashier stereo.

Sadly this is not true - I in fact am driving a car that would have been mediocre in the 1990s that is equipped with a soundsystem that would have been even more mediocre in the 1980s.
That's right, I still rock cassette tapes in the Ashemobile.
Now you can't just stroll into Zavvi and pick up the latest sensation's new chart-busting album on cassette.
Instead I am forced to mostly tape my own stuff, or beg, borrow and buy cassette tapes from every available source - Matt Jarram, that includes that big bag of tapes you promised me...
For the best part that means charity shops, car boots and table top sales, and the stuff you pick up is either brilliant or just plain ridiculous.
For example, recent acquisitions include Rollins Band - Weight, Alanis Morrisette - Jagged Little Pill, Reef - Glow and The Simpsons - Sing The Blues.
I'll leave you to decide what is what...
However it's not all bad - this strange black market of music has fulfilled one of my longest-standing musical ambitions, one that as a small child I never thought I would achieve.
That's right, I am now the proud owner a copy of the soundtrack to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Herbaliser is mint


HAVING been around for some time, since 1995 in fact, English hip hop duo Herbaliser are grand old sages of the scene.
So it's no surprise that the former Ninja Tune outfit's sixth studio album Same As It Never Was is a slick affair.
Mixing their trademark abstract hip hop and breaks with good time funk, sassy soul and a splash of contemporary jazz, Same As It Never Was is for the best part a Mark Ronson-style party album.
The album, amazingly for a group so long in the tooth, sounds fresh and is, quite simply, mint.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Big Mac

RADIO One DJ Annie Mac will be having a One Night Stand at Loughborough Students' Union on June 17.
Organised by Shivoo and Just Insane Music, the BBC DJ will be playing a very rare two set show of house followed by drum and bass.
Playing alongside Annie Mac will be The Count & Sinden, DJ Fu vs Jungle Drummer, Sigma & MC Master X, The Qemists & MC ID, Transit Mafia and Samiad.
Edd Kiggins of Just Insane Music said: "Dance music has never been so exciting in Loughborough, and this is the last showcase at the Loughborough Students' Union until the new term starts.
"So book Wednesday off work and put on your dancing shoes."
Tickets available from here or here, as well as Zavvi in The Rushes and the Custard Bar in Ward's End in Loughborough.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Wavey Davey

SINGER songwriter Cathy Davey could be Ireland's answer to PJ Harvey.
However, at other points on this, her sophomore album, the follow-up to 2004's Something Ilk, the Dublin songstress sounds like Ireland's answer to Katie Melua.
Blessed with a voice equal parts cutesy and sultry, Tales Of Silversleeve soars on tracks like Collector and Reuben, and you can see at these highs how Davey picked up the Meteor Award - Ireland's answer to the Mercury Music Prize - and a nominee for an Irish Choice Award - Ireland's answer to the Brits.
However whether or not the album's patchiness ruins the LP overall is the question...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Cutting edge TV

FOLLOWING on from the ferocious fingerbiting incident involving Castle Donington's Late Of The Pier on The Nokia Green Room on Channel 4, Belton boys The Young Knives made an appearance this weekend.
You can find out more at superblogger Chris Neadham's site here or by looking for a repeat of the show in your copy of the Loughborough Echo, which does have a TV section you know.

Fratelli show


HEY you guys! The Fratellis are back.
The Scot rock outfit have compiled another LP of their trademark indie with more hooks than a Peter Pan convention with Here We Stand, the follow-up to 2006's fantastic Costello Music.
But sadly the chart-troublers have suffered from the dreaded second album syndrome.
Although tracks like Lupe Brown and Stragglers Moon have hit all over them, the overall album suffers from too much forgettable filler.
As a result Here We Stand sees The Fratellis literally at a standstill.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Ash you like it

SMOKIN' rock band Ash will be hotting up the area with a headline gig at Loughborough Students' Union and a spot at Download Festival this weekend.
The Northern Irish group, known for hits such as Burn Baby Burn, Goldfinger and Girl From Mars, are playing the second stage at Download in Castle Donington on Saturday, June 14, just before headliners HIM.
And the following day the band, named after the first word they liked in the dictionary, are playing at Loughborough Students' Union alongside Krish and Penfold Gate.
Nikki Shipley, Loughborough Students' Union spokeswoman, said: "The band Ash, made up of vocalist Tim Wheeler, Mark Hamilton on bass and Rick McMurray on drums, formed in Northern Ireland back in 1992, having all attended the same school.
"Ash have just released their latest album Twilight Of The Innocents, which they have planned as their last album.
"Denying rumours that they intend on splitting, they have started a new tour including the Download Festival 2008, this sounds like it could be one of your last chances to see Ash as we now know them.
"Whether you're a fan of the original '90s sound, or the newer retro vibe, Loughborough Students' Union promises to deliver a night to remember."
Tickets to see Ash at Loughborough University are available here and here and cost £12.50 with an NUS card and £13.50 without.
To see the band at Download, log on here.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Rock and roll call

FOR the thousands of metallers converging on Castle Donington on June 13 for Download 2008, here is Isaac Ashe's Sound Advice's top five must-sees this year –

Biffy Clyro
Main stage, Saturday
Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro's last album, Puzzle, was a career-best that launched them from unknowns to one of the brightest lights on the metal scene, and are one of the best live acts I've ever seen. Mon the Biff!
Dillinger Escape Plan
Third stage headliners, Friday
For pure primordial metal mayhem, escape the crowds and catch this brutal band's headine set, before nipping across to catch the end of Kiss's show, just so you can say you saw them.
Coheed And Cambria
Main stage, Sunday
Forget music with a message, Coheed And Cambria's entire back catalogue is based on a novel penned by the group. This concept band's expert musicianship is without a doubt Sunday's highlight.
The Subways
Second stage, Friday
The Hertfordshire band's sophomore album, All Or Nothing, is released later this year, so expect a taster of the album in their Download set. I have had a cheeky sneak listen to tracks from the new LP, and if they're half as good live as they are on record this will be a blinder.
Second stage, Saturday
Drum and bass act Pendulum – whose latest album In Silico is a scorcher – will surely be worth going along to, whether you're into drum and bass or not, just to see people's reactions.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Goldie looking plain


NEVER one to be shy, drum and bass legend and part-time Bond villain Goldie - real name Clifford Joseph Price - has joined the likes of Groove Armada's Tom Findlay and The Scratch Perverts to put together his own Watch The Ride mix.
And the results, although ground-shaking, are not ground-breaking.
An enjoyable yet forgettable hour-plus of furious drum and bass for ardent drum and bass traditionalists, it is just a little disappointing that a mix entitled Watch the Ride ultimately doesn't go anywhere in particular.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Do not Disturbed


HARD rockers Disturbed are back with a fourth effort, Indestructable.
Demonstrating the Chigaco group's trademark pummelling riffs and throbbing bass-heavy beats as well as a frontman as powerful vocally as ever in David Dreiman, on paper Indestructable is hard to beat.
Indeed, fans of the band will lap up tracks like the brutal Inside The Fire and the incendiary Perfect Insanity like a baby on a teat.
However for me the group, who are appearing at this year's Download in Castle Donington this month, despite the riffing and postering and scary artwork, remain too safe.
The same way that being strapped down on a rollercoaster dulls the excitement, Disturbed are so polished you can see your face in them, where they need to retain a rawness and a sense of danger.

Sweet Dreams


WELLER, Weller, Weller, huh? Tell me more...
The Modfather and all-round Britpop father figure Paul Weller is back with some of his favoured familiars - Oasis' Noel Gallagher, Little Barrie, Ocean Colour Scene's Steve Cradock and ex-Blur guitarist Graham Coxon - for a lengthy excursion, his first in three years.
And 22 Dreams has rightfully been hailed as the Jam man's best work since the '90s' Wild Wood and Stanley Road.
Tracks such as Echoes Round The Sun and Have You Made Up Your Mind demonstrate a reinvogorated Weller back at the top of his game.
That said, you an have too much of a good thing, and 22 Dreams could still have benefitted from being trimmed down to a refreshing snooze rather than an entire duvet day.

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