Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Shelly Soljaz video

LOUGHBOROUGH hip hop group Shelly Soljaz have produced a video for their track Street Life.
The song is expected to feature on their forthcoming album, due for a December release.
Check out the Loughborough Echo making a cameo at 1.25!

Hook goes back in the daze


ALL the hallmarks of trailblazing Manchester superclub the Hacienda's glory days are captured on Peter Hook's two-CD mix Hacienda: Acid House Classics.
There are throbbing, flanging keyboard melodies, piano stabs, whistles and horns, triangle taps, plodding retro house beats, crowd roars and 1990s-voiced female MCs saying things like: "Yo DJ pump the bass."
The trouble is, for myself and anyone of the same age or younger, this is as much a history lessons as a new release - with only the Josh Wink and New Order tracks jogging any kind of nostalgia for me.
But if you were there, Hacienda: Acid House Classic will be an enjoyable trip back in time - especially with a corresponding book from the former New Order bassist also coming out.

Give Me Fire is hot stuff


ON THEIR first tentative taste of the UK market, with their Mean Street EP, Swedish sensations Mando Diao dipped their toes - and now they're ready to take the plunge.
Give Me Fire, their debut on these shores, is actually their fifth studio album - and it shows.
The LP showcases a slicker version of their introductory EP's Hives-meets-Libertines sound, with rambunctious rock tracks like Dance With Somebody and Gloria containing enough of a whiff of cheese to trouble the charts over here.
Already a success in their homeland as well as Switzerland, Germany, Holland and Austria, Mando Diao could well be a hot property here too with Give Me Fire.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Deadmau5 in the hau5


DESPITE yet another appalling album title, Deadmau5's For Lack Of A Better Name, the follow-up to Random Album Title, is dead good.
Since his minor label compilation At Play Deadmau5, real name Joel Zimmerman, has been firmly on the Sound Advice radar - and since then the DJ's stock has risen faster than a loaf of Viagra bread in a helium-filled oven.
It's not really surprising that he's caught the public's attention, given that he makes most of his public appearances donning a giant red mouse head.
However don't be alarmed, this is a release to take seriously.
A complete album, the LP grows from the teaser of a drumbastic intro FML into hit single territory, mainly in the form of Ghosts 'n' Stuff featuring Pendulum's Rob Swire.
Then it's on through the deep techno and house of the likes of Bot, and into late-night anthems The 16th Hour and Strobe without a pause.
It's stunning work by the Canadian - in fact For Lack Of A Better Name will leave you lost for words.

Twi it out


SET for a return next week are The Twilight Sad - and it should be a happy occasion for fans of Editors-esque indie rock.
The group, who hail from Glasgow, Scotland, peddle a doom-laden brand of indie rock on second LP Forget The Night Ahead which is epic enough to match the apocalyptic vibe.
The tracks here, which are a honed as they come on the likes of I Became A Prostitute and That Birthday Present, are housed inside a dense wall of feedback that does err towards becoming a dirge of noise in places on the studio effort.
But unleashed live, I have no doubts that the furious Forget The Night Ahead would soundtrack an evening to remember.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Splitting heir


AFTER a massive wait, the massive Massive Attack return next week with their first new release since 2003's 100th Window.
And the moody trip hop of the Splitting The Atom EP, the prelude to the eventual release of the long-awaited LP5 which has been on the cards since 2004, is not a massive disappointment.
The four track teaser starts with the sedated groove of the title track, before TV On The Radio's Tunde Adebimpe features on the awesome, atmospheric Pray For Rain.
Two remixes follow - the Van Rivers And The Subliminal Kid Remix of Martina Topley Bird collaboration Pysche and the Christoff Berg Remix of Bulletproof Love, which sees the Bristol group fratanising with Elbow's Guy Garvey - which are therefore unlikely to feature on the full length, due next year.
Overall it's a tantalising return to the charts - Splitting The Atom may not explode immediately, but instead marks past masters lighting the fuse for a full return.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sea, it's all White


SONGS From The White Sea, the UK debut album by Swede John Alexander Ericson, is a real pleasure cruise.
The LP sees the singer songwriter, who also plays in bands Alberta Cross and Stjarna, sailing into uncharted territory, by combining indie rock with his first love, electronica.
The album was recorded solo by Ericson, and the results see his evocative Richard Ashcroft-esque vocals sitting atop muffled piano-based indie rock tunes delicately laced with computerised flecks.
Songs From The White Sea is an intimate and atmospheric album, and one well worth dipping into.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Poirier relays the reggae


CANADIAN electro dancehall beatmaker Poirier's new EP Run The Riddim sees four different MCs lining up on the tracks.
First off the blocks is Face-T on the pounding Enemies, which is a slow start for the EP, as despite the heavy bass there's little invention.
The baton then passes to Burro Banton for the furious Trust None Of Dem, but the pace is set by the final two tracks - MC Zulu's saucy Gyal Secret Pictures and YT's Let Them Hate.
Although the collection is big and bassy and reggae dancefloor-ready, you still get the feeling with this release that Poirier is still warming up.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Kalashnik off


KALASHNIK Love sees Speed Caravan scraping the melting pot.
On the album the Algerian-French group fuse traditional Arabic music with furious shredding oud solos and forthright electronica, and anything else that comes to hand.
You never know what's coming next - they rock out like The Stranglers, then they're grooving like the Dub Pistols, then they morph into Asian Dub Foundation, and the next they're pretending to be Q-Tip on their frankly unexpected Chemical Brothers cover Galvanize.
Amped up and aggravated, Speed Caravan need to stop thrashing about quite so wildly from genre to genre, or they're never going to land a hit.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

An education in Reuben


THE new two-disc plus DVD collection We Should Have Gone To University is a serious must for fans of Reuben.
But fans of the now-disbanded band probably don't need me to tell them that - in my experience they were pretty serious about cult act Reuben without being prompted.
I should know, I counted myself in that nerdy fanboy bracket - they were the first act I reviewed live, and I already own their three studio albums and a signed Let's Stop Hanging Out single - and yet this bumper collection is packed with material that's new to me.
Over nearly 50 tracks the group present a smattering of singles not on the albums, even festive effort Christmas Is Awesome, a host of b-sides and more rarities than you can shake a fist at.
And it all goes to demonstrate that the group had almost no peers in the middle ground between alt-rock and metal.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A yes for Yeah You's


Yeah you!
Do you like meticulously crafted saccharine indie pop like The Feeling?
Do you like soaring vocal harmonies that sound like Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams singing The Beach Boys?
Would you like the world to be a nicer place, even if it was a little twee?
Can you ignore the placement of an incorrect apostrophe in their name?
Then the Yeah You's' debut Looking Through You is for you.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Kelpe album revealed

KELPE, a Loughborough electronica artist, has unveiled his new LP's details - alongside a free mp3.
The album, Cambio Wechsel, will be released on October 19.
And you can grab a taster track, Eye Candy Bath, from here.
Kelpe said: "I hope you like it."

Fanfarlo fanfare


I'M A fan of Fanfarlo - I have been since coming across them back in January.
I can't get enough of their glorious, ramshackle folk sound on debut Reservoir.
Finally released through the London group's own label, following a 1,000-copy limited release earlier this year, Reservoir is brimming with stirring stomps and raucous brass crescendos.
There are obvious comparisons to be drawn here - Arcade Fire, Beirut, Sigur Ros, Snow Patrol etc.
However the only thing that Fanfarlo lack in comparison to those aforementioned acts is big label backing - so please take a minute to have a listen, and I guarantee you'll be a Fanfarlo fan too.

Anti-Pop back


FOLLOWING a seven-year split, rap group Anti-Pop Consortium are back - and they mean business.
Flourescent Black is a lean machine built by knob-twiddler Earl Blaize from bare, menacing beats and basslines laced with leftfield flourishes.
These skeletal structures match the New York rappers Beans, M. Sayyid and High Priest and sole guest Roots Manuva's intimidatingly tight flows.
There's no mercy here, and over 17 tracks this may be a bit much for many, but as a statement Flourescent Black shows that not many underground rap groups have shone brighter since 2002's Arrythmia.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fear of God put into Basement Jaxx

BASEMENT Jaxx have revealed that God isn't their biggest fan.
After a string of bad luck in the recording of Scars, their new album which is out today, former Loughborough schoolboy and vicar's son Felix Buxton says his religious sister told him it was a warning from the big cheese.
First Felix was mugged on his way to the studio, then his bike was stolen, and then the studio was flooded.
Felix's Basement Jaxx partner Simon Ratcliffe said: "It was like God saying 'You Must Leave!'"

Ian Brown's way


IT'S ALMOST sacrilege to talk down Ian Brown.
After all the monkey-faced legend not only fronted The Stone Roses, who practically invented the 1990s music scene, but he also has crafted solo albums to match his former outfit's output.
However he's had a greatest hits album out before - The Greatest - and there's very little here on his new album My Way that would command a place on that album.
Stellify at a push would get on, but the rest is Brown by numbers.
Now there's nothing wrong with that, but maybe he's done it his way for long enough now.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Killa material

KILLA Kela, a big noise in beatboxing circles, has a new album Amplified! out Monday.
And the LP, his third studio, demands to be heard.
The English beatboxer, real name Lee Potter, has struck a balance between the hip hop - Lateef - and the hip - Hadouken!, Does It Offend You Yeah? - and it works well.
My only query, shouldn't there be a bit more raw beatboxing showcased here?

Diogenetic material


AFTER listening to Do You Know How To Feel It?, the new EP from The Diogenes Club, I feel I do.
The previously instrumental act have enlisted vocalist Paul Giles for this four-track release, and he adds a Pet Shop Boys-esque melodic nonchalance to the group's pulsating synths, wonky instrumentation and chillout beats.
The result is a collection that you can file next to some of 2009's best dance releases, such as Empire Of The Sun's Walking On A Dream and labelmates Relation's Fear Of Night.
The Diogenes Club - where do I apply for membership?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Next We Bring You The Fire alarms


AFTER listening to Next We Bring You The Fire, I have a sign for Signer - a stop sign.
Maybe even a rude hand gesture as well.
Because the 10-track synthesizer extravaganza from electronic New Zealand artist Signer, real name Bevan Smith, is a self-indulgent waste of time.
It's pretty much the sound of a man mumbling in soft tones while pressing down too many keys at once on his organ - half of the time without the saving grace of a beat.
But if you think this is bedtime music, think again - because out of nowhere Signer awakes from his own slumber with penultimate track Don't Be A Forest Cow.
Will Signer please sign off.

Umek techno


MINIMAL techno? For an hour and twenty minutes?
If the answer's hell yeah, than the answer's Umek? Hell Yeah, the new mix by rising star Umek.
Melding the 24 tracks by the likes of Joy Kitikonti, Maxime Dangles and Quivver together seamlessly, the Slovenian DJ is workmanlike throughout, with a constant onslaught of housey beats and techno glitch noises perfect for whiling away the small hours.
But Umek's mixing is so clinical, there's a distinct lack of personality or stand-out tracks - meaning this compilation compiled for Italian label Hell Yeah is likely to gather a few hell nos as well.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Chat to Basement Jaxx

BASEMENT Jaxx will be taking part in an online discussion today at 1pm GMT for The Times newspaper.
The topic is: "Will dance music ever die? Basement Jaxx discuss making music in dark times, and Yoko Ono"
Anyone can take part and ask questions by clicking here.

Ire at Carolina Liar


CAROLINA Liar's brand of rock is sincerely epic stuff - if a little obvious.
Wearing its heart on its sleeve, the album, the debut from the Los Angeles group, sees a mixture of The Killers style rock numbers and piano-flavoured power ballads.
It's no surprise that debut offering Coming To Terms' soaring numbers have featured on slushy teen dramas like 90210, One Tree Hill and Gossip Girl, as well as romantic films like The Time Traveller's Wife and Post Grad.
Innovation or originality don't get a look in - but who needs those when you got a stadium full of people weeping and pumping their fists.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Reilly average


ORANGE Act Unsigned winner Tommy Reilly's debut album, Words On The Floor, will probably see a few tongues wagging about the Scottish singer songwriter.
Sounding like Paolo Nutini before his voice broke, the 19-year-old has a rocky outlook similar to compatriots The View.
However, despite being polished and passable pop, the album lacks the invention of the aforementioned artists' 2009 releases Sunny Side Up and Which Bitch?.
Nevertheless Words On The Floor is solid platform which Reilly really should be able to build on.

Shedding light on Quartershade single

LOUGHBOROUGH rockers Quartershade have a new single out on October 19, called Lights Out.
Spokesman Matt Sisson said: "Produced by Paul Tipler (Idlewild,
Forward, Russia) Lights Out is a thunderous ode to love found and lost, and confirms your faith in boys with guitars."
A second track is also pencilled in for a December release.

Gotta have Faith, Faith, Faith, bay-bee


I HAVE a sneaking suspicion that Paloma Faith, whose album Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful? is looming, is actually a music industry-created cyborg.
She sings a bit like Duffy, she's got cool hip hop beats and brass like Amy Winehouse, she's as energetic as Alesha Dixon, has a dress sense to rival Lady Gaga and even got hair like Elly Jackson from La Roux on her album cover.
And she's got some great songs as well, like opener Stone Cold Sober.
There is a mechanical feel to some of the album, like she's got a pop song production line going on, but nevertheless, Faith has crafted an album to rival her rivals'.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Muse amuse


I DON'T normally stoop to reviewing albums that have already been released, being a supercool journalist with his finger on the pulse and all that jazz, but resisting The Resistance is futile.
Now the new Muse album isn't their best ever, but it is absolutely essential listening.
Because the album is theatrical and political, pompous and outrageous, silly and overblown and experimental, glam and opera and rock, and totally unique in 2009.
What The Resistance is, ultimately, is an album that's got people talking for all the right reasons - Trending Topic anyone?
What I will say, however, is if they persist in making music this overblown, at least they should start wearing capes or masks or wigs or something befitting - just a thought, lads.

Indisco out

LOUGHBOROUGH'S Nick Corelli currently has a single out, Indisco, alongside Tom Piper.
The release precedes a new album from his MYNC project expected later this year.

Hockey OK


MIND Chaos, the new album by Hockey, is a jolly old affair.
The Oregan-based group's pop shtick is a cross between the pummelling rock of The Strokes and the witty electro disco of LCD Soundsystem, best demonstrated with the glorious opener Too Fake.
There are plenty of diversions from this though, with self-proclaimed '80s grooves, Bob Dylan impressions and sparse funk rock segments a-plenty - although these tend to see a dip in quality too.
It's not a cerebral listen, and the erratic nature of the LP stunts the flow a little, but if you like mainstream rock, and you don't mind chaos, try Mind Chaos.

Goody goody Kid Cudi


I FOUND Kanye West protoge Kid Cudi's highly-anticipated Man On The Moon: The End Of Day a frustrating listen - even though I liked it.
The rising rapper clearly has the talent to eclipse a lot of his rivals, but this album just doesn't rock it quite as much as it should.
For example, the flagship single Day And Night's ponderous album version is a shadow of the single version which launched the Jay-Z and Mr Hudson collaborator.
There is some brilliant production work here, some tight flows, and a guest list including Common, Kanye West, MGMT and Ratatat - which gives some idea of the esteem Cudi, real name Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi, is held in.
And tracks like Simple As..., the Lady Gaga-baiting Make Her Say and Alive (Nightmare) back this up - but overall, the album still wanes as much as it waxes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Toast to Beth Jeans Houghton


BETH Jeans Houghton is a folky female singer songwriter brimming with youth.
However unlike the likes of Florence And The Machine and Alessi's Ark, the Newcastle artist's indie folk melange is utterly free from angst, instead with guitar work and jolly strings a go-go demonstrating nothing but wide-eyed exuberance.
This scatterbrained EP, Hot Toast Volume One, sees her flitting between five fleetingly-short and wildly-differing tracks.
If someone can pin her down long enough to make an album, it could be quite a prospect.

Heavy going strong


WHEN The Heavy released their first album, the brilliant Great Vengeance And Furious Fire, in 2007, a lot of people took them lightly.
But with their second effort, The House That Dirt Built, the group's grubby funk rock demands attention.
The funk element is retained, while singer Kelvin Swaby has added grit to his soulful vocals.
And musically, the band have been augmented by a dearth of choice samples - such as the brilliant rejigging of Screamin' Jay Hawkins on single Sixteen - which add a variety they lacked, while their beats have been beefed up.
For example stand-out track Short Change Hero sounds like Curtis Mayfield jamming with Gnarls Barkley on the set of a spaghetti western.
On this form, there's a weighty argument that The Heavy have crafted one of the albums of the year.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lost in translation?


A LEADING light of the African musical powerhouse that is Mali, Bassekou Kouyate's forthcoming I Speak Fula is the follow-up to Segu Blue, the album that launched him internationally.
And on top of his success, Kouyate is now well-known outside Africa's shores for his work with artists including Carlos Santana, Franz Ferdinand and U2.
However despite the pedigree, the latest LP from the ngoni player and his backing band Ngoni Ba remains relatively impenetrable to my ears.
Though pleasant, the combination of the banjo-like ngonis and Fula singing, energetic as it is, fails to move me quite as I was told it would.

Total Madness


TOTAL Madness?
I'll give you total madness - giving somebody a 23-track greatest hits package and asking them to write something original about a band that's a household name.
Because if you don't know 2 tone chart pioneers Madness from tracks like Baggy Trousers, Our House, My Girl, One Step Beyond, It Must Be Love, Driving In My Car and Night Boat To Cairo, you've most probably already been taken to the asylum.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New video under the microscope

LOUGHBOROUGH electronica artist Kelpe has a new single, Microscope Contents, out on September 21.
The video for the single has just been revealed.
Kelpe said: "Thanks to everyone who let me film their throats!"

Kid rock Brit pop


YOU'VE heard of dad rock - upstarts Kid British are more lad rock.
Like a cross between The Streets and The Twang, on It Was This Or Football... the group sing of playing football and birds and living in the city and that sort of thing, with poor annunciation coz they're yoofs, innit.
There are some interesting touches in the upbeat ska-tinged indie pop here - such as the Madness sampling on Our House is Dadless - underneath the posturing.
But mostly It Was This Or Football... never really kicks off quite as it threatens to.

Dark Knight


IT IS pretty much undisputed that stalwart soul singer Beverley Knight is one of the finest British voices of the past decade.
So will somebody please write her some decent songs.
Although 100% sees the singer running at full capacity vocally, trilling and warbling and belting magnificently, her self-penned songs here are staid, stagnant and never a showcase for Knight's singing abilities.
Each track is obvious, sounding like Michael Jackson number circa Off The Wall shamelessly regurgitated - soul with no soul.
100%? Pffff - this is more like 35% or 40%.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wish on


OSTARA is the second album from the fruitful Wishing Tree project.
A mixture of folky leanings and prog rock, Ostara is blossoming with meticulously crafted songs - not a surprise as songwriter Steve Rothery is one in Marillion.
His effortless guitar work coupled with the glorious vocals of singer Hannah Stobart make for an enjoyable listen, if a little unchallenging.
However I have to say it's all a little "hey nonny" for my liking - though it could never be, I picture Ostara's recording session as Rothery with a wizard-like beard playing guitar in a chainmail suit, with Stobart dressed as a medieval princess singing while dragons soar and swoop overhead.
I wish.

Disney make a lasting impression


ONE man mission Windmill, real name Matthew Dillon, penned his new album Epcot Starfields about a childhood visit to Disney's Epcot Centre as a child.
Obviously the memories of a great family holiday weren't the only thing he brought back from Florida.
Because Dillon's vocals sound like a cross between Kermit The Frog and Neil Young - certainly not how young men from Newport Pagnell usually sound.
This really stands in the way of what could be a great LP for me.
Added to that, there are virtually no drums on the record, which helps lend a nebulous sound to the record - an expansive approach that ultimately leaves a lot of his well-crafted work just hanging there, without the thrust to really thrill.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Porcupine three out of five


I'LL say one thing for Porcupine Tree - they give you value for money.
Their latest LP, The Incident, is so expansive, it's spread over two CDs - disc one is the 14-part opus The Incident, with a further four tracks on the second instalment.
And while predominately a prog outfit, there's swaths that recall Pink Floyd circa Dark Side Of The Moon, ambient wanderings and even Nine Inch Nails-style industrial sections.
But here's the barb - Porcupine Tree are jacks of all trades, but masters of none.
Despite the prog rock vibe there's not a shredding guitar solo in sight, and it all feels laboured due to the sheer scale of the band's ambition.
It should come as no surprise that the best part of this album the EP-style second disc.

Lott property


BRIT hot property Pixie Lott has a lot of hype to back up with her album, Turn It Up.
And the tabloid-botherer, real name Victoria, manages for the best part to justify this with her pop shtick, reminiscent of a one-woman The Saturdays.
As always, the singles, such as the infectious Mama Do, which burrows into your head like a parasite, are slick.
And although the tracks are broad, unashamed pop, the quality of these doesn't sag as the album progresses - the mark of a good pop album.
Unlikely to be back on my stereo for a long time, if at all - it's just really not my scene - nevertheless there'll be a lot of listeners out there waiting for Turn It Up to turn up.

Q-Tip top


THE new Q-Tip album, Kamaal The Abstract, sees him looking backwards while moving forwards.
Because the LP, the third from Q-Tip - real name Kamaal Ibn John Fareed - has a real retro feel to it, despite it marking a progression for the rapper.
For a start, he does as much singing here as rapping, over tracks that see old school hip hop melded with soulful, funky, jazzy grooves.
This is easily Q-Tip's best solo work - an album to put alongside A Tribe Called Quest's finest.
What's remarkable is that despite this, the album was actually written and recorded in 2001, but shamefully not released by his label as it was deemed un-commercial.
Thankfully, from Monday, it will finally be on the shelves - so buy it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fantasy land for Late Of The Pier

CASTLE Donington band Late Of The Pier's debut album, Fantasy Black Channel, has picked up the Neptune Prize music award.
The album was voted by readers of website Drowned In Sound as the best that didn't get a nomination for this year's Mercury Prize, won by Speech Debelle's Speech Therapy.
A spokesman said: "Congratulations gents, especially as you're one of the albums we assumed would make the Mercury list.
"We'll be in touch about taking you out for a fish 'n' chip supper and hopefully you can tell us about the forthcoming album, eh?"
Runners up were Rolo Tomassi with Hysterics and Grammatics' album Grammatics.

Killer and filler


FOR an album that boldly proclaims to be All Killer, Gaslamp Killer's mix is a mixed bag.
To give the superbly-named Gaslamp Killer his dues, the DJing on this release is technically amazing - you can see why the Los Angeles act is gathering a reputation.
And boldly abstaining from anything even close to a standard, or even a vaguely familiar track, his Finders Keepers Records selection plundered from vaults stretching back over the past 40 years, is a voyage of discovery for the listener.
But for every unexpectedly funky Bollywood blast or sultry soulful blues number, there's a corresponding lull somewhere on the list.
And it's this downtime that ultimately stops All Killer from getting its claws in.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Grand Hallway are landing


PROMENADE, the new album by Grand Hallway, is landing soon.
And hopefully this effort will see the delicious Seattle-based band making a passage into the mainstream.
After all, everyone should have room for delicate, layered chamber pop songs like these, which are decked out with interesting and arresting details throughout.
The eight-piece, who sing in a mixture of English and Japanese, adorn every track on their second album with tiny loveable details, little hidden rhythms here and unexpected flourishes there - meaning Promenade really should walk straight into your collection.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009



WHEN Chickenhawk play, feathers fly.
The Leeds-based hardcore band's new EP, A Or Not, is full-throttle rock from start to finish.
And the EP, the first new material from the band since last year's eponymous album, is also brimming with mental invention under the barrage of feedback.
My only complaint with A Or Not is that it's only three tracks long - hopefully the band can lay a golden egg in the form of a new album pretty soon.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Classic thirty eight - Haunted ressurrection


SWEDISH band The Haunted managed to spirit up something special with their 2000 release The Haunted Made Me Do It.
Brutal metal is the order of the day, and yet, the album is still eminently listenable.
Nothing here is OTT - slimline riffing, vocals that are just the far side of unintelligible, and guitar solos that rarely stretch beyond 30 seconds.
The result is an album which neither offends the purists or alienates the casual metal fan.
So I'm making you do it - pick up a copy of The Haunted Made Me Do It now.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Hot Envy track out

FORMER Loughborough University student Envy has a new track, Set Yourself On Fire, out tomorrow.
Check out the video below.

Flavour of the month


UNDERGROUND soul jazz act August have magicked up a full LP, It's Not The Wand It's The Magic, to back up the word-of-mouth hype.
Known for their exclusive reclusive live shows in London, August have gathered a reputation for free form musical meanderings.
However their sound here is much more modest than expected - composed of rich, soulful, orchestral and off-beat tracks mostly showcasing the vocals of Vedina Mose.
There are hints at the group's experimental leanings here, which no doubt come to the fore on stage, but the studio album is nevertheless bewitching.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Not a poor Relation


ELECTRONIC duo Relation sound like the prodigal spawn of an array of classic influences.
The Southend band's new album, Fear Of Night, sounds like the result of a coming together of Depeche Mode and New Order, with kinship with the likes of Pet Shop Boys, The Knife and many more audible.
But the duo of Andrew Leary and Oliver Keech are more than the sum of their parts, creating intelligent, throut provoking '80s style polished pop gems.
In fact, forget all your cheesy Lady Gagas and Little Bootsies, when it comes to reviving '80s electro pop, Relation are the daddy.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Jet need a rocket


ALTHOUGH never the most original band in the world, Aussies Jet are starting to run out of ideas.
All sorts of disparate genres are mercilessly plundered and tacked on for the group's latest, Shaka Rock - ska and disco on Beat On Repeat, funk metal on Start The Show, epic rock on Goodbye Hollywood etc.
The thing is, Jet didn't build a career on invention - and this mish mash of diversions merely leaves less room for the balls-out cock rock that made them popular in the first place.

Tomorrow today


SEAN Kingston's album Tomorrow is a smooth offering - too smooth for its own good.
Because while American-born Jamaican Kingston, real name Kisean Jamal Anderson, churns out polished reggae R&B tracks, they have a tendency to slip by due to a lack of hooks.
It's a shame, as there are some tracks worthy of attention on his second album - such as Fire Burning, unlikely Good Charlotte collaboration Shoulda Let U Go and Wyclef duet Ice Cream Girl.
But overall Tomorrow is unlikely to see Kingston's day come.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Welcome Hobo into your home


EVERY Saturday night from now until Christmas, Simon Cowell and his cohorts will be searching for a new pop star, somebody with the elusive X-Factor.
Much as I enjoy the programme, it's already blatantly obvious that the show will, once again, be won by a vacuous warbler who goes on to contribute the sum total of bugger all to music.
These aren't the pop stars the music industry needs - we need pop stars like Charlie Winston.
A mere sniff of Winston's charisma would likely kill Alexandra Burke stone dead.
Hobo, the debut album from singer and his backing band The Oxymorons, which is already making inroads into European charts including a number one in France, has epic songs, it has funny songs, it has serious songs and it has songs about being a duck.
It has orchestras and beatboxing and brass and pianos and guitars, and most importantly it is dripping with personality.
Now Winston may overegg his songs sometimes here, such as Kick The Bucket - it is his first effort after all - but one thing's for sure, on spin of Hobo has more X-Factor than a month of Saturdays.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Cat call for Jaguar Skills fans

JAGUAR Skills will be showing off his purrfect turntable technique in Loughborough.
The DJ will visit as part of his Vodka Ninja nationwide tour of Revolution bars, which arrives at Loughborough Revolution in Baxter Gate on September 28.

One is not amused


IF LOVE On An Oil Rig is anything to go by, I won't be applying for membership to Victorian English Gentlemens Club anytime soon.
Because the album, the Welsh three-piece group's second, is like an in-joke that I just don't understand.
It's deliberately obtuse but not funny, and the punk indie rock music on show is wonky to the point of being unlistenable, with only The Venereal Game actually passable as a standalone track.
Even the band's name, with its missing apostrophe, gets my dander up.
One is not amused.

Dot on the horizon


SCOTTISH singer songwriter Dot Allison has already had one swoop at the charts - as the frontwoman of '90s dance act One Dove.
And her new approach, the synth-free indie album Room 7½, has won the former Death In Vegas and Massive Attack vocalist a lot of people cooing over her once again - not least album guests Pete Doherty and Paul Weller.
You'd think that this might have cheered her up.
But for me, although Allison clearly still has a lot to offer, and I am salivating over the prospect of an album of duets called Collaborations she has in the pipeline, Room 7½ is just too dreary throughout for my tastes.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

New Basement Jaxx video unveiled

BELOW is the new video to Basement Jaxx's forthcoming single, Feelings Gone, featuring Sam Sparro.

Electric Orb


REJUVINATED and recharged, chill-out pioneers The Orb return with a new dance album, Baghdad Batteries.
However you'd be forgiven for not noticing straight away - because their ninth LP gives the listener almost nothing to go on until track four or five.
The effect is akin to being blindfolded by a lover, with these extended ambient sections emphasising it when the group stop teasing and lay on their 90s throwback beats hung over gigantic throbbing bass.
And as a result, Baghdad Batteries is electric.

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