Saturday, January 31, 2009

Download rumours continue

SHINEDOWN and New Found Glory are two more acts being tipped for a Download performance this year - although no groups have yet been confirmed by organisers.
However Isaac Ashe's Sound Advice has a finger in the Castle Donington festival's pie, so keep checking this site for the first official announcement on artists very, very soon.

Fanfarlo fans

ONE to watch in the coming months is alt-folk group Fanfarlo.
With an Arcade Fire, Sigur Ros sound, the currently unsigned group have been chosen by Snow Patrol to support their forthcoming tour - which is guaranteed to whip up a bit of interest in the group.
You can have a gander at tracks from their debut, Reservoir, at their myspace site.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Looking up for The View


THE same genius that saw singles such as Wasted Little DJs and Superstar Tradesman eyeing up the charts a couple of years ago is back with a new album.
However it seems that Dundee rockers The View have matured a little with their latest album, Which Bitch? - unsurprising, considering that there are things under my sofa older than they are.
They still have singles a go-go such as the supurb Shock Horror and although some of their new-found creativity misses the mark - such as the rapping on One Off Pretender - most of the album has an insidious quality to it that means Which Bitch? stands up strong to repeat listens.
As a result, Which Bitch? is both bewitching and bitchin'.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Better living through Qemistry


BRIGHTON-based band The Qemists, who have been going for over a decade, have hit upon a winning formula with their debut album Join The Q.
The three-piece have blended thumping drum and bass beats with rock riffs and hip hop, dancehall and grime vocals from select guest speakers to create a simply stunning album - not surprising as they started out as a rock band moonlighting at night as DJs.
Demonstrating their crossover appeal, which echoes last year's Pendulum hit In Silico, rocker Mike Patton shares space with the band as well as drum and bass vocalist Jenna G, grime star Wiley and brilliant beatboxer Beardyman.
Join The Q at shops from Monday - this album is well worth the wait.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Perverts in town

TURNTABLE legends The Scratch Perverts are playing at Revolution in Baxter Gate, Loughborough, on Sunday, February 8.
Tickets to see the stellar line-up of Prime Cuts, Plus One and Tony Vegas cost £5 and are available from 07729 932993 and 07861 681961, or from the venue itself.

Fetch the new Rex The Dog single

THE next single to be taken from Rex The Dog's pounding The Rex The Dog Show LP is Bubblicious, out on February 23.
The Yazoo-sampling track will be backed by remixes from Felix Da Housecat, Familjen, Jesper Dahlback, Congo Rock, Zoo Brazil and Hoo Dat.
And you lucky Isaac Ashe's Sound Advice readers can download an eight-minute mash-up of all these remixes, simply by clicking here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The NME are the future

CASTLE Donington band Late Of The Pier have been nominated for the NME awards for Best New Band, Best Dancefloor Filler and Best Video.
The local lads will battle it out with Glasvegas, White Lies, MGMT and Vampire Weekend for the new band gong.
Their track Bathroom Gurgle will compete with dancefloor fillers by Bloc Party, Crystal Castles, Friendly Fires and Calvin Harris versus Dizzee Rascal, while their Heartbreak video is up against promos by The Last Shadow Puppets, Oasis, Vampire Weekend and Radiohead.
The awards will be handed out at a ceremony at the Brixton Academy in London on February 25.

Emmy the so-so


HONG Kong-born Emmy The Great, real name Emma-Lee Moss, is riding on the tsunami of support for indie folk following last year's folk explosion with her debut LP.
First Love is a delicate collection of strummers, mixing rich, traditional sounds with Emmy The Great's delicate vocals and lyrics filled with personal touches and pop culture references - there's an entire song about Sri Lankan rapper MIA.
However it's the lyrics that let it down for me - when it works it works well, such as opener Absentee and Dylan, but at times it's just a bit toe-curlingly specific, such as the uneasy-listening of We Almost Had A Baby.
It's this trait that makes what is at times Great, grate.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Young Knives pointing at Loughborough

BELTON boys The Young Knives are heading to Loughborough this spring as part of a tour to support their third album.
The trio will be playing at Loughborough University on March 24, and then coming nearby again on March 31 with a date at Nottingham's Rescue Rooms.
Support for the Loughborough date, which is open to the general public, will be given by Leicester band The Heroes.
Tickets cost £10 plus booking fee. For more information click here.

Killer Kweller


IT WAS a turnip for the books when former Radish Ben Kweller said that's shallot and took a new root with his solo career.
For the grunge posterboy turned country singer, and now, four albums after veggin' out on the grunge scene, Kweller is still hot to trot and as Changing Horses proves, he's just got better and better.
Tracks like the touching Old Hat sit nicely alongside the upbeat tracks like Sawdust Man and the brilliant Wantin' Her Again that pepper the tracklisting, lending it impetus.
Simple in its one-man-and-his-guitar approach, the unashamed Americana of Changing Horses is well worth a listen.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tame Impala set to send them wild


AUSTRALIAN group Tame Impala's self-titled EP is a blast from the past from a new band.
Over its five tracks the Perth-based group play psychedelic rock that sounds like a supergroup made up of Eric Clapton circa Cream, Carlos Santana and The Doors' Ray Manzarek.
Although quite a rarity at the moment, Tame Impala is one worth hunting down.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Caught in its web


SUPERGROUP side project Spinnerette's first outing, the Ghetto Love EP, had a pretty subdued release last year.
The group, led by Distiller Brody Dalle alongside bandmate Tony Bevilacqua, former Red Hot Chilli Pepper and Pearl Jam drummer Jack Irons and Queens Of The Stone Age and Eagles Of Death Metal collaborator Alain Johannes, put the four-track release out over the web at the end of last year after negotiating themselves out of a contract with Sire Records.
But despite the low-key release, this brilliant EP - with its mixture of Dalle's powerful vocals and bludgeoning grungey stoner rock riffing - is sure to slowly gather a cult following, ahead of the expected LP later this year.

Friday, January 23, 2009

LOTP on Filthy Dukes album

DIRTY dance DJs The Filthy Dukes have announced that their debut album Nonsense In The Dark, which features guest appearances from Castle Donington's Late Of The Pier as well as The Maccabees, will be released on March 16.
The first single from the album is This Rhythm, featuring Sam Eastgate of Late Of The Pier, which hits stores on March 9.

Classical jazz not a classic


BEST known as a virtuoso jazz saxophonist who moonlights as a classical composer, Tim Garland has gathered a stellar line-up for Libra, a double album attempting to bring together these two spheres.
With his pedigree and obvious talent in combination with the ultra tight Lighthouse Trio and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, this LP - split into Sun and Moon - should've been out of this world.
But truthfully I found a lot of the original compositions a difficult listen.
Tim Garland has balanced the jazz and classical well on Libra, but in the process forgotten to make them enjoyable to listen to.
It's not until the collective is awarded some freedom on the live cuts of jazz standards on the Moon section that you realise this album could have been off the scale.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Rifles hit the target


WITH their new album Great Escape, The Rifles are sure to be shooting up the charts.
A retro rocker which doffs its cap towards the likes of Carl Barat and Paul Weller, there's nothing here particularly new or innovative - it's just straightforward British indie rock.
Luckily it's done pretty well by the London four-piece, who deliver energetic tracks like The Great Escape and Fall To Sorrow with both barrels.
There's some dips in quality over the course of the LP, but for fans of the simple pleasures of indie rock this is well worth a shot.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Spun out


THE Detroit Spinners, also known as The Motown Spinners or just plain old The Spinners, give their greatest hits a whirl next week.
And of course their heavily-rotated turns are undoubtedly worth coming round again - the catchy It's A Shame, the funky Are You Ready For Love?, the Motown classic Working My Way Back To You/Forgive Me Girl medley.
It's just that after a few tracks, the playlist starts to wobble - and still it's spun out for a whopping 21 tracks.
At the end of the day this is definitely The Very Best Of The Detroit Spinners - however it's a lot more besides.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ready to rock?

HERE comes the rumour mill - some of the biggest names in metal are being bandied around as possible acts to play at Castle Donington's Download Festival this year.
Among the latest names to be mentioned - although nobody has yet been confirmed - are ZZ Top, Limp Bizkit, The Prodigy, Def Leppard, Dream Theater, Motley Crue, Rammstein and Faith No More.

Diplo focus


DJ AND remixer Diplo has had higher peaks than most in his career.
Since 2003 the Philadelphia producer, real name Wesley Pentz, has worked with leftfield artists such as Bonde Do Role and MIA as well as heavyweights such as Radiohead, Kanye West, Gwen Stefani and Justin Timberlake, and his work is credited with raising the profile of Brazilian funk music in the US and Europe.
This Collected Works compilation, titled Decent Work For Decent Pay, reflects this blend of good time South American vibes with drum and bass and breaks beats and a pop inkling - and it will come as no surprise to fans that it's ruddy fantastic.
There are a few disappointing tracks here - Kano missing the beat and that infernal kangaroo song - but cuts such as the Daft Punk, Spank Rock, Sandra Melody and MIA collaborations show Diplo's is a back catalogue worth dipping into.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Xfm factor

FANTASY Black Channel, the debut album by Castle Donington's Late Of The Pier, has been nominated in a poll by radio station XFM to find last year's best first-timers.
To vote for the album, which was released in the US this week after reaching number 28 in the UK in 2008, log on to before January 23.
A shortlist of 10 albums will be revealed on January 26, with the overall winner picked by a panel of judges and announced on February 3.
Last year's winners were The Enemy, for their LP We Live And Die In These Towns, and this year nominees include Foals, Adele, The Ting Tings, Glasvegas and The Last Shadow Puppets.

Stonking Bronx


THE Bronx, a Los Angeles-based punk band named after a New York county, are set to release The Bronx, the follow-up to their previous two albums The Bronx and The Bronx, in the UK on Monday, January 26.
But forget all that confusion and just listen to the group's straightforward hardcore punk brilliance as soon as you can.
Because this album, which is unofficially known as Bronx III, is a rare, raw, swaggering, impassioned brand of rock and roll we could really do with a bit more of in the world - whether that's in LA, NYC, or Loughborough.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Buckley's no Burke


MUSICALLY, there's really no way that any collection of the late Jeff Buckley's work could be anything other than full marks - the incredibly talented singer, who drowned swimming in the Mississipi while working on his second album, had an ethereal, exquisite voice and songwriting ability.
But in his lifetime he only released one studio album, Grace, and a smattering of EPs, and his second album, Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk, is also available as a work in progress - so why is this LP needed?
Grace is the obvious starting point for newcomers, and fans will already have nearly everything here in their collections already - and although the Smiths cover is worth a listen, there are glaring omissions such as Yard Of Blonde Girls.
And to top that, the title of this compilation, So Real, doesn't even feature on the front of this hurredly re-released LP - now it just says "featuring Hallelujah".
It seems to me someone is cashing in on Jeff's obvious X-factor...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

White hot


THERE'S not been many hotter tips for 2009 than Ealing trio White Lies.
Luckily, their debut album To Lose My Life justifies the hype which saw them finish second on the BBC's Sound of 2009 poll behind Little Boots.
The group's cool, calculated alternative rock - best exemplified in the soaring single To Lose My Life - is a halfway house between the darkness of Joy Division and the synth rock of The Killers.
The three-piece, who previously tasted minor success under the name Fear Of Flying, should take off with this album.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Nangijala lands on CD


SWEDISH EP-specialists Jeniferever's latest, Nangijala, is now available to buy on CD and not just as a vinyl release.
Hurrah, I say.
For the ambient band, who take their lead from groups like Mogwai, have created another brilliant record of drowsy post-rock drenched in rich horns and slow-burning guitar work.
Nagijala, named after a fictional land in Swedish children's book Broderna Lejonhjarta, does take a good five minutes to crank into gear to begin with, but it grows into something sublime.
The effect is like climbing into a cold bed on a winter's night - at first it's a struggle, but it settles into an warm, comfortable experience that you never want to end.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

No, Atoms


WITH Laura Marling and Noah And The Whale storming around the charts leaving critics agog last year, you would expect 2009 to be a prime time for the folk-pop of Oh, Atoms to break through.
Indeed, with the saccharine single Sugar Mouse featuring on rom' com' Angus, Thongs And Perfect Snogging's soundtrack and a few more hits such as the delicate This Is Not Your Song in reserve, the boy-girl duo could taste a little commercial success.
But for me their folk-pop LP, You Can't See The Stars From Here - which led to the group being described as the folk Ting Tings - falls short.
The nucleus is there, but at times the harmonies of band members Gwen Cheeseman and Marc Withecom can jar, and some of the songs can be a tad lightweight.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Kind of new


MORE than 50 years after it was recorded, Miles Davis's seminal jazz record Kind Of Blue could be set to hit the top 40 in 2009, thanks to the new Legacy Editions release.
And it's astounding to me, considering this recording is nearly twice my senior, how fresh it still sounds.
What really stands out over the five semi-improvised tracks is the freedom that the all star line up - which includes Miles himself as well as legends such as "Cannonball" Adderley and John Coltrane - seem to have.
Nothing here is pushed too far, there's no over-the-top exhibitionism or frenetic playing that turn off the casual listener - just the kind of cool, laid-back jazz that made Kind Of Blue set the standard for jazz standards ever since.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mother Motherly love

THERE must be something special in the water across the pond and up a bit, judging by the production line of amazing bands spawned by Canada.
Following in the footsteps of Arcade Fire, Tokyo Police Club, Black Mountain, Rural Alberta Advantage etc. are the fantastic Mother Mother.
The group, from the remote Quadra Island, mix their indie rock with the experimental sensibilities of Battles and the grungey hooks of The Pixies, and despite only hearing the six songs posted on their myspace site so far, I can't get enough.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bon Iver back


AFTER Bon Iver had such an amazing 2008, releasing what was regarded by many as the album of the year in the form of debut For Emma, Forever Ago, it's hard to imagine how you could be negative about follow-up EP Blood Bank.
The Wisconsin-based folk singer's latest, a collection of tracks that didn't quite fit on his LP, has a warmer feel, and the full band backing on title track Blood Bank, that just wasn't available in the remote log cabin where his debut was recorded, is impossible to resist.
This all-to-brief return by Bon Iver, real name Justin Vernon, tests some other technical waters too - such as the a capella vocoder layering of Woods - and if he can create an album as good as For Emma, Forever Ago in a log cabin, listen to this and imagine how good a full studio album could sound.
But for now, lie down, have a cup of tea and a biscuit, and enjoy Blood Bank.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Heaven And Hell?

HEAVY metal band Heaven And Hell have announced they will be appearing at this year's Download.
The group, made up of Black Sabbath musicians Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice, claim as part of their 2009 tour they will be taking to the stage at the festival, on at Donington Park from June 12-14.
No official confirmation of acts appearing at the festival has been made - but also rumoured to be taking part this year are Lamb Of God, Biffy Clyro, Enter Shakiri, Spineshank, Metallica and Slipknot.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Classic twenty four - Animal magnetism


AS WELL as inevitably leading onto the "who's the hardest animal" debate, disbanded band Bear Vs Shark penned a true champion in the form of their 2003 debut Right Now You're In The Best Of Hands.
The Michigan-based punk metal band's first LP, fully titled Right Now You're In The Best Of Hands. And If Something Isn't Quite Right, Your Doctor Will Know In A Hurry, was a raucous, shouty slice of joyous post-hardcore, with tracks such as Campfire and Buses/No Buses making up for what they lacked in production with sheer exuberance.
For the record, my money's on the bear.

Friday, January 09, 2009

It's armless


BRISTOL'S Phantom Limb released their eponymous debut album under the radar of most people - including myself - last August.
Having heard the beautiful single Don't Say I Word, I was on pins and needles for the album's release, but it passed me by until I finally laid hands on a copy this week.
Luckily, I wasn't disappointed.
Phantom Limb is a collection of poignant lo-fi country-tinged tracks laced with soulful vocals from singer Yolanda Quarty - who is tipped to feature heavily on the forthcoming Massive Attack record LP5.
A sumptuous record, if you don't get the opportunity to listen you should feel like you're missing something.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Lambs Anger worth a gambol


MR OIZO, real name Quentin Dupieux, shot to fame on the back of Flat Eric's "theme" Flat Beat in 1999, and a decade later Lambs Anger demostrates the same knack for making heads nod with his fuzzy synth work.
The electro producer's latest LP, his fourth studio effort, is a grimy slice of dirty, funky, menacing dance that sounds like a drunken Daft Punk disco-dancing.
Although unlikely to see the producer emulate the success of his collaborations with Flat Eric - who is name-checked here and even appears on the cover art - tracks like Positif and Steroids, featuring French rapper Uffie, show that Mr Oizo is anything but one-dimensional.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Classic twenty three - Directors' cut


IF YOU'RE a fan of hip hop and you haven't heard Gravediggaz's dark debut, then get with the plot.
When the horrorcore supergroup - made up of Prince Paul and Rza alongside Frukwan and the now-deceased Too Poetic - released 1994's Six Feet Deep, originally titled Niggamortis, a true classic was born.
With a mixture of black, black humour, lyrical flow akin to Wu Tang Clan's seminal Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), and brutal old school production you would expect from two all time great producers, this is one LP worth resurrecting again and again.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Chilli cold


HOW little I know about country music would break Billie Ray Cyrus’s heart.
Then again, as the music’s southern US cultural references don’t translate well to the setting of north Leicestershire, it’s not surprising I grew up listening to Garbage and Blur rather than Garth Brooks.
So it’s disappointing for me listening to Londoner Chilli Gold’s new album Waterfalls, as despite being the UK’s finest country export for the last decade, there’s not a hint of her hailing from these shores in her middle of the road music.
Quite frankly it’s a cheesy listen, and a mild cheese to boot.
Obviously this will be perfect for some listener's appetites, but I expected something a little more stimulating from someone with a name that could be used by both a porn star and a curry house.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Secrets out

NEW wave indie band Official Secrets Act are playing at Loughborough University Students' Union on February 28.
The gig, open to the general public, will see the London-based group supported by rockers The Daves and local funk and hip hop band The Rugged Soundsystem.
And also confirmed for the venue this year are girl band The Saturdays, who will be playing the student-only End Of Term Party in March.
For more information on the two events click here.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Mraztounding effort


FOLLOWING Folie A Deux, Jason Mraz's third LP We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things arrived at the Sound Advice office.
And although prone to cheese, schmaltz and melodrama at points on the album, I'm pleased to say that the regrettable Mr A-Z was just a blip and the Mechanicsville-based singer is back to his Waiting For My Rocket To Come best.
Singles I'm Yours and Make It Mine are sunny good time openers while the slinky Only Human and frenetic The Dynamo Of Volition are up there with his best.
So beg, steal or borrow a copy and have a litle sing and dance of your own.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Folie cool


HAPPY New Year!
Now, as soon as I had promised myself a fortnight off blogging over the festive period while the Album Of The Year vote was running, two top notch releases landed on my desk.
So I'm playing catch up, and the first of these is Fall Out Boy's latest LP, Folie A Deux.
However here Pete Wentz and co. are more like Fall Out Man - as this is the group's most mature outing to date.
The Chicago group's unashamed pop streak is still in evidence on Folie A Deux - named after a psychological condition in which two people share the same delusions - demonstrated in tracks like totally Sweet glam stomper I Don't Care and and the tacked-on Michael Jackson cover Beat It.
However with stunning numbers like America's Suitehearts and Disloyal Order Of Water Buffaloes smattering the track listing, you be mad to miss this one.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Five favourites back for 2009

One to get in a flap about is the impending arrival of folky jazzy indie artist Andrew Bird's fifth studio LP Noble Beast, which is pencilled in for a January release.

Heavy metal heroes Mastodon follow up their mammoth Blood Mountain album in 2009 with their third outing, Crack The Skye.

Folk experimentalist Patrick Wolf returns with a double album, Battle, in 2009.

Rumour has it that electronic indie pop pioneers The Postal Service will finally deliver a follow-up to 2003's Give Up this year...

Dance behemoths The Prodigy will release a new album, Invaders Must Die, this year, with a March release date pencilled in.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Five to find in 2009

If the album from quirky singer songwriter Florence And The Machine is half as good as her single Dog Days Are Over, then you should go with the Flo' in 2009.

Following in the footsteps of peers Laura Marling and Noah And The Whale, the indie folk gorgeousness of Mumford And Sons is sure to win a few hearts this year.

Canadians The Rural Alberta Advantage are poised to break through across the pond with their simply stunning debut Hometowns, and a UK onslaught can't be far behind.

The least commercially likely of my five to find, nevertheless London math rock outfit Three Trapped Tigers deserve to be as big as Battles with their engaging output.

Aussie rockers The Temper Trap may be minnows at the moment, but they'll be filling stadiums with their slick schtick before 2010 comes a-knocking.

Portishead ahead

THE lines have closed, the votes have been counted, and the winner is...
Portishead, who scooped more than a third of the votes with Third, are the readers' choice for the best Album Of The Year 2008.
Second were Black Mountain, followed by Late Of The Pier in third place.
Thanks to everyone who voted.

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