Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wave Pictures crashing onto UK shores

WYMESWOLD band The Wave Pictures are playing a handful of UK tour dates in April ahead of the release of their latest LP, If You Leave It Alone.
These include dates at Coventry's The Tin Angel on April 8 and Nottingham's Rescue Rooms on April 9.

Some good stuff up their Sleeve


DANCE duo Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve's Re-Animations Volume One sees the group breathing new life into a selection of uber-cool tracks.
The album from Erol Alkan and Richard Norris is value for money, weighing in at an hour and twenty minutes, and the playlist ebbs and flows brilliantly over the course of it - something a lot of remix collections can't seem to do.
Through a mariachi-introed reworking of local heroes Late Of The Pier's The Bears Are Coming to a stomping version of Peter, Bjorn And John's Young Folks to a laid-back remix of Badly Drawn Boy's Promises, Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve constantly prove to have a magic touch.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Omega Code oh so mega

ONE sure to come good in the end is Brazilian prog metal outfit Omega Code.
A mixture of Tool-style metal music, ambient electronica and visual art, the Sao Paulo-based band are aiming to create an entire sensory experience, not just a trifling bit of music.
Better still, they plan to give away their debut album free later this year, which should be good if the demo track Shine is anything to go by, as well as a number of limited edition posters.
They also have a book and DVD planned as well as a number of interactive art installations in Europe, the USA and South America and a remix album to boot.

New acts for Download

FIVE more acts have been announced for the Download Festival line-up.
Billy Talent, Dream Theater, The Blackout, Anvil and Buck Cherry will all be making an appearance this year.

Get Lost


THE Long Lost's eponymous debut is the product of husband and wife Albert and Laura Darlington finding a musical common ground together.
So as you can imagine, the couple's album is a lovely, cuddly, warm piece of work - a mess of gorgeous acoustic strumming, exquisite vocals and the sort of oddball electronica that is to be expected from Mr Darlington, better known to the general public as Daedelus.
Unfortunately, whatever the merits the constituent parts of these tracks are, the overall effect is still a mess.
There are some amazingly beautiful moments on this LP, but for the most part they're sadly adrift in the Darlingtons' wandering experimentation.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Gaye African


HAILING from Langa, the oldest township in Cape Town, South Africans Abavuki aren't your average chart fodder.
Africa Got Soul, the subject of a chin-stroking BBC documentary, sees the group of youngsters with a passion for traditional African music and contemporary Western pop covering soul classics such as Let's Get In On, Say A Little Prayer, Tears Of A Clown and Ain't No Sunshine in the African style.
And the result's are pleasantly surprising, with some transitions sounding extremely natural - such as the tribal Papa Was A Rolling Stone - although there are some odd results, such as the almost unrecognisable Tears Of A Clown.
Refreshing to listen to, Africa Got Soul is well worth searching out if world music rocks your world - although at the end of the day the originals are still the best.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Shinedown lacklustre


SLOW burning Florida-band Shinedown are set to carry on upwards with their third LP, The Sound Of Madness.
As the album, the band's third studio effort, kicks into gear, the group deliver track after track of fist-pumping, crowd-pleasing, wrestler-soundtracking, radio-friendly hard rock in the vein of Disturbed, who they toured with last year.
But then, for some crazy reason, The Sound Of Madness all goes a bit, err, soft.
The formulaic clichéd cheese rock is what makes Shinedown shine - and there is enough of it here for the Jacksonville band to continue their upwards trajectory - but for me, the power ballad ratio is all to cock.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Roach approach

WOAH momma! Papa Roach have self-confirmed themselves for Download Festival.
The nu-metallers let slip to Metal Hammer magazine that they had been pencilled in for a slot at the Castle Donington event this summer.


ASHDOWNE'S debut album A Warning to The Curious is set to be released online on March 9 and physically on March 30.
The LP is a stirring collection of pop rock in the vein of Snow Patrol and Coldplay - look out for a full review here soon.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ashdowne on the up

LOCAL band Ashdowne are on the up - having signed a record deal.
More news on the group, who hail from various Charnwood villages, and their debut album's release should follow here soon.

Prodigy grow up


I DON'T know about invaders, but I'm gunning for the Loughborough Echo postman who decided to deliver the mail a few hours late this Monday, while I waited impatiently for my Prodigy promo to arrive.
On listening, this full-throttle dance-punk album is unlikely to be associated with Monday morning - this is prime after-dark material - but it certainly blew away my sniffles for an hour or so.
A reinvention of the group's rave roots - most evident on Take Me To the Hospital - with beats meatier than Ron Jeremy's lunchbox, Invaders Must Die is an aggressive, organised assault on the senses.
Layered levels of thunderous basses and skittering electro dominate, melding with the returning punk spits of Keith Flint, making this the group's best work since Fat Of The Land.
An essential dance album sure to take over the airwaves, if you let Invaders Must Die pass you by, you'll be making a grave mistake.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Kit out


TOMORROW sees hotly-tipped Swedes First Aid Kit slinging out their debut release.
And despite hailing from Stockholm, the duo sound for the best part like Russian pianist-turned-New Yorker Regina Spektor playing country and western music.
As the duo's name implies, their sound is a soothing one, residing in a strange halfway house between lo fi strummer and stirring epic.
The result is an intriguing one, but for me, this needs addressing - the bones of brilliance are there, but First Aid Kit could do with the aid of a band for their full-length debut.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Try Athlete

TOP pop rock band Athlete will be jumping into Loughborough Students' Union this May.
The group, whose album Tourist hit number one in the UK charts in 2005, play the venue on May 30.
Tickets cost £12 and £10 for NUS card holders, and are available here, here and here.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Recent Decent

FOR surfers in a hurry, I've added a new feature to the Isaac Ashe's Sound Advice sidebar.
The Recent Decent is made up of the three must-have albums of recent weeks, so if you haven't got time to read through all the latest posts since your last visit, you can rest assured the very best will be listed.
The first additions are The Century Of Self, Join The Q and The Bronx III - so if you haven't heard all of them yet, get on it.
Must haves? Let me know.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Unholy trinity

THREE big name acts have been added to the Download 2009 roll call.
The newest additions to the Castle Donington festival's line-up are Marilyn Manson, ZZ Top and Killswitch Engage.

New New Rhodes


BRISTOL-based band New Rhodes tread a path oft-travelled with their jangly indie rock.
I hate to be overly critical of what is overall a pretty decent outfit, but the group's debut album, Everybody Loves A Scene, fails to stick with you.
Admittedly there are some great singles here to help establish them - in particular the brilliant The Joys Of Finding And Losing That Girl - but over the course of the LP the hooks just aren't sharp enough to lodge themselves firmly in the listener.
I sincerely hope I'm proven wrong, because all the elements to a slick, sharp indie rock band are there, but I just have a niggling feeling that New Rhodes will be old news quite soon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Anvil forge ahead with Donington date

CANADIAN heavy metal veterans Anvil, whose story has recently been made into a Spinal Tap-style rockumentary, have announced they have been invited to perform at Download Festival.
If it is confirmed, the show will be the first appearance by the band at Donington Park for 27 years.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Single brought back to life

CASTLE Donington band Late Of The Pier are among acts appearing on Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve's remix compilation album Re-Animations Volume One.
The album, out on March 2, features the remixers' reworking of the single The Bears Are Coming.

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of pen


ATTENTION to detail seems to be a bit if a trait of Texan rockers ...And You Will Know Us By Trail Of Dead.
If you need evidence, consider for one moment that the above artwork was drawn by singer Conrad Keely single-handedly with a biro.
A ruddy biro!
Beats my doodles, I can tell you.
So it's surprising that for their sixth LP, The Century Of Self, they decided to abandon their meticulous nature and try to record the album as off the cuff as possible in the studio.
The result is that their epic dirges sound more organic than ever before, and are given room to breathe, where before tracks like the six minute-plus Isis Unveiled may have been overcooked with self-indulgent studio twiddling.
Instead the dense rock soundscape that is The Century Of Self isn't a selfish record - in fact it seems to give a little more on every listen.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Phwoar! More Erasure


ERASURE, the perennial Rolling Stones to the Pet Shop Boys's Beatles, are popping out next week with 20 more of their top synth-pop singles.
The duo of Vince Clarke and Andy Bell have been mastering their craft since 1985 - and their original best of collection was released 17 years ago.
In fact the first disc of this double CD is simply the original Pop! album - which contains humdingers such as Blue Savannah and Love To Hate You - and this has been augmented with 20 more tracks, bringing their story up to date.
The top new tracks here are the ballads, such as opener Always and Stay With Me, although the upbeat quota is filled, and there are covers such as Steve Harley And Cockney Rebel's Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me).
So if you like a bit of Erasure, double deck out your collection with Total Pop!.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A touch of classic

YOU may have noticed that this week there's been two Classic Collection additions, We Are Little Barrie and Graceland, taking up space instead of new releases.
Hopefully a few PR companies have noticed this, and have sent me a few promo CDs to prevent future holes from gaping...
Anyhoo, while reading around about Paul Simon's contribution, I stumbled across the fascinating United States National Recording Registry project in which it has been listed.
A sort of Government-funded Classic Collection, the archive at present contains 250 key cultural recordings - from early experimentations made by Thomas Edison in 1888, through to Nirvana's 2001 album Nevermind, and a mind-boggling array of things in between.
Click here to peruse the full registry.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Empire Of The Sun shine


AUSTRALIAN electro pop duo Empire Of The Sun look like extras from a new romantic remake of Star Wars, and make a sound that is out of this world.
The super group, made up of Luke Steele of The Sleepy Jackson and Nick Littlemore of Pnau, play a sort of warm, subdued disco that sounds like the Scissor Sisters, but curled up asleep.
Their dreamy '80s influenced electro pop is filled with more hooks than a Peter Pan convention, which bodes well for a chart invasion over the coming months.
However there's nothing cheesy here - just an LP that's well worth a listen.

Friday, February 13, 2009

New Download acts

TO COINCIDE with tickets to Download Festival going on sale today, four new acts have been confirmed as appearing.
Trivium and Limp Bizkit are the two big names being thrown into the Castle Donington festival's hat.
Also Def Leppard and Whitesnake, who let slip about their appearances, have been officially confirmed as on the bill.

Download tickets

TICKETS for Download are now on sale.
Get 'em while they're hot.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It'll be all White on the Sunday night

WHITESNAKE have become the latest act to self-confirm themselves for Download Festival - and have announced Def Leppard are also coming to the Castle Donington shindig.
In a post on their myspace site, it says: "Whitesnake are very happy to announce they have committed to playing a one-off UK gig in 2009 at the Download Festival on June 14 with Def Leppard.
"In these uncertain times, when it is economically difficult for some people to get to see rock shows in their major cities, then it is the responsibility of the artist to take their music to the people.
"Whitesnake's show at the Download Festival will mark the fourth time the band has performed at Donington Park - 1981, 1983, 1990 and now 2009."

Classic twenty six - Paul Simon's art


YEASAYER, Foals, Vampire Weekend - some of the coolest kids on the block have a deep debt owing to the 1986 album Graceland.
Paul Simon's classic creation fused perfectly crafted Western pop and a flavour of deep south Cajun music with swaths of African influences, making a continent's worth of music palatable for mass consumption.
Surely a lot of you will already know and love this record - it was a number one album in the UK after all - but if not, may I suggest bouncing into Graceland.
From the poetic Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes - which launched bean-floggers Ladysmith Black Mambazo's career - to the invigorating You Can Call Me Al, Graceland is an album well worth revisiting.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Postcards from Ferndorf


HAUSCHKA'S latest release, Snowflakes And Car Wrecks - which is aptly-named considering the arctic weather we've been having here in the UK - may be a bit of an afterthought, but I think it's a bright idea.
The German contemporary classical composer, real name Volker Bertelmann, crafted a cracking LP last year titled Ferndorf, based on his changing relationship with his home town of the same name.
And this follow-up, a collection of seven previously-unreleased tracks recorded during the Ferndorf sessions, bears the same rich, delicate beauty as it's predecessor.
From the subdued Tanz to the playful Wonder - which you can download for free here - Snowflakes And Car Wrecks really is a winter wonderland.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


BOTH The Prodigy and Slipknot have been named on this year's Download Festival lineup.
Iowa's finest Slipknot will be headlining on the Saturday, while The Prodigy will be following the success of returning act Pendulum by bringing dance music to the moshpits of Donington Park.
Mötley Crüe are set to make an appearance, and Korn have also been confirmed.
Other acts named in the first glut of acts include Dragonforce and Devildriver.
Andy Copping, spokesman for the festival in Castle Donington from June 12-14, said: "This year more than ever before, Download Festival celebrates the history of Donington and all that is ‘rock’.
"With acts such as Slipknot, The Prodigy and Mötley Crüe already confirmed to play, this just shows how varied and diverse the rock genre can be and we are delighted to reflect this with our 2009 line up."

Classic twenty five - Little Barrie, big impression


NOTTINGHAM rockers Little Barrie's 2005 debut We Are Little Barrie is the musical equivolent of absolute zero - as in, it's very, very cool.
Overseen by '90s legend Edwyn Collins, the LP is made up of clinically cool blues rocker after clinically cool blues rocker.
With no record deal, so no external pressures to rush the album, the band took their time - 23 weeks in fact - to make sure everything was perfect.
Frontman Barrie Cardogan's guitars are effortlessly crisp throughout, over a rhythm section tighter than Lenny Kravitz's trousers, effortlessly flowing on tracks like Well And Truly Done and Greener Pastures - although sadly the album failed to tickle the charts.
We Are Little Barrie - you have been told.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Balky Mule Wireless transmission

AHEAD of Australian one-man act The Balky Mule's album Wireless being released on March 9, FatCat Records have kindly offered up a tasty little taster of the album.
Click here to download Range and whet your appetite for the LP.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Larkin around for good


THE debut album from leftfield punk trio Sky Larkin has been compared to a lot.
With names banded around including Bjork, Ida Maria and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, you might think the weight of expectation would hold them down.
But The Golden Spike is an effervescent collection of pop punk that constantly confounds expectations as you listen.
The Leeds-based band are bouncy one minute - as on Somersault - and epic the next - Octopus '08.
The result is an enthralling listen, and I can't wait to hear more Larkin' about from this quirky, sharp group.

A big hand for Random Hand


YORKSHIRE band Random Hand's LP Inhale/Exhale is a rabble rousing collection of high energy tracks that straddle the happy horny world of ska and the scary hairy world of metal.
The group have been gathering quite a name for themselves with recent touring, and this collection seems to have been designed with one word in mind - moshpit.
From the pogo-inducing Devil's Little Guinea Pigs to the harder tracks like Mass Producing Monsters, this revival of bands such as Less Than Jake and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones is worth a few spins on record, and, I'm guessing, unmissable live.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

JFK makes noise about tinnitus

TOP trance DJ JFK has teamed up with NHS Leicestershire County And Rutland to urge victims of tinnitus not to suffer in silence.
The dance legend from Loughborough, real name Jason Kinch, has suffered from tinnitus, a constant ringing in his ears, for nearly 20 years.
He believes he got his tinnitus - one of the most common health problems in the UK today, affecting almost one in 10 people - from playing in a Greek disco for five years.
He said: “I was one of the world’s top DJ’s. I was travelling all over the world to work, Australia, Europe, Russia, all the top Ibiza clubs in Spain - but the noise in my ears was driving me mad.
“My head was ringing. I couldn’t share what I was going through – because no one else could hear it.
“It got so bad that I couldn’t hear the television and I broke down to my wife in tears. I thought no one could help me. I felt I just couldn’t go on.”
That’s when JFK, now married with two young children, aged five and 10 months, sought help.
He said: “It never goes away, but I’ve learned to deal with it.
“It made me lose a lot of confidence. At one stage, I thought I was going deaf. But now I’m in control of it and I’ve learned how to live with it and got my life back.
“The worse thing was that I thought I was totally on my own. I thought no one else knew what I was going through. I felt totally isolated.”
National Tinnitus Week runs from February 9-15.

Friday, February 06, 2009

All hope is on

MASKED metalheads Slipknot have self-confirmed themselves for this year's Download Festival in Castle Donington.
Although no official announcements have yet been made by festival organisors - with the first names expected on Tuesday, February 10 - the group have listed a Donington Park appearance on their tour dates to promote their 2008 album All Hope Is Gone, on Saturday, June 13.

Sole sensation

AXEMAN Steve Burchell of LA rockers ZanKoma, but formerly of legendary Leicestershire band FX-15, has offered the up the cracking Foot Massage for download.
Thanks Steve, all those times we jammed, I never imagined that one day you'd be giving me Foot Massage.
Still, it's very nice of you.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Take it or leaf it


COMPOSER Nathan Riki Thomson's Under Ubi's Tree is a breath of fresh air in musical form.
Influenced heavily by traditional African music, the album seamlessly fuses influences from jazz to roots to classical to funk to flamenco and much, much more.
However the airy debut album, pleasant as it is, comes across as a bit lightweight overall, and tends to slip into the realm of being mere ambience if you're otherwise engaged.
But don't that put you off - why don't you log on to his site, have a listen, and Ubi the judge?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

ZanKoma wake-up call

ALMOST a year ago I wrote a post mentioning a few of my now disbanded bands, including one called FX-15.
I am pleased to be able to tell you that while some of the band's former members are languishing in obscurity writing news and entertainments for quality regional newspapers in the East Midlands, others are currently kicking out the jams in rocking bands based in sunny LA.
So please click onto this website and check out FX-15's former guitarist Steve Burchill and his new bandmates' totally brilliant Guns N' Roses-style hard rock band ZanKoma.
Sigh, always the bridesmaid...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Wave Pictures take it easy

YOU may have heard bands complain about making that 'difficult' second album - but Wave Pictures frontman David Tattersall has spoken out about the ease of recording the band's new album, If You Leave It.
He said: "We recorded all 12 songs live in one big session, over a period of maybe 12 hours.
"There was a lot of drinking and we just wanted to keep playing songs.
"The next day we did a few overdubs. Then we left Berlin, and left the recordings in the hands of Clemence Freschard and Stanley Brinks.
"One day I woke up and Stanley had mailed me the finished album.
"One of the reasons I like this album so much is that it wasn’t hard work at all.
"I’m not sure that there is a single instance in the whole of my life where I can say that I benefited from hard work.
"But I can think of lots of examples where taking it easy was the right way to go, and this album would be one of those."
Following a smattering of UK live dates in March, the Wymeswold group plan to release their sophomore album on April 13.

New Wave

WYMESWOLD band The Wave Pictures are set to release a new album this spring.
The digital-only LP If You Leave It Alone, the group's second album following last year's Instant Coffee Baby, will be released on April 13, with the title track released as a single a week earlier.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Hauschka leaves a Snow track

TWISTED pianist Hauschka releases a new album this month, Snowflakes And Car Wrecks.
To celebrate the impending release of the LP, which is made up of extras and outtakes that didn't quite make it onto the contemporary classical composer's stunning 2008 album Ferndorf, Fatcat Records have teamed up with Isaac Ashe's Sound Advice.
So as a taster, click here to download Wonder, one of the tracks on the forthcoming release.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

A Camp doesn't rock


NINA Persson of The Cardigans is back with intent, in the form of her side project A Camp.
The sideline's second LP, following an eponymous effort in 2001, Colonia is a complete vacation from the ice-cool pop of her day job.
Instead this is a collection of ponderous, ornate chamber pop nuggets, with some delightful moments - such as Here Are Many Wild Animals.
However the album lacks that instant gratification that marks Persson's Cardigans work, and as a result this album really drags.
I'm sure it's a refreshing break for her - but as a listener, I just hope that A Camp isn't a permanent home for the Scandanavian singer.

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