Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ruby sins prove frustrating


NEW Zealanders The Ruby Suns may have written some gems for their third album, Fight Softly, but then they've gone and polished them so much there's practically nothing left.
The group could be the greatest indie pop band to walk the face of the earth, but so much plodding electronica and computerised psychedelia and world music ornamentation is piled on top of tracks like Haunted House and Mingus And Pike, the listener hasn't a chance of knowing.
The results end up more like a poor Pet Shop Boys than a padded-out Peter Bjorn And John - with the rare chances that songs are given to establish themselves, such as the simple groove of Dusty Fruit, being the only glimmers of The Ruby Suns' previous promise.

Recommended Daily Allowance recommended


ORCHESTRAL indie band Recommended Daily Allowance, whose line-up hits double figures with all their cellists and trumpeters etc. taken into account, have worked extra hard on this, their self-titled debut album.
This is because they recorded it, lost it, and then had to record it again - and I imagine they don't recommend doing that.
Lucky for us they did, because Recommended Daily Allowance is sublime morning music, which sounds like Gomez waking up.
In fact the Londoners have crafted a tasty effort well worth sampling.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Blog hog

THIS is just a quick post to say that if this site just isn't enough for you, the Not Pop Jukebox has kindly let me guest post over at their blog today.
Click here to read my musings on cover versions, such as John Lydon's Dark Side Of The Moon masterplan, and have a listen to my jukebox recommendations.
And if anyone else out there is brave or foolish enough to let me guest post at their site, please drop me an e-mail or comment below - I dare you...

Tinashe can


SOUL newcomer Tinashe's Mayday EP, a prelude to a full album later this year, shows a lot of flair.
Sure, there's some faintly cheesy production here which brings to mind the computerised over-enthusiam of Frankmusik's music and the vocoder vocals of Mr Hudson, which means that the So Shifty Remix of the lead track ends up better than the original.
But the raw songwriting and vocal talents from Zimbabwe-born Londoner Tinashe on the likes of Mayday and Miss You mean the full-length may be well worth a look.

Featuring The Features


IT ALWAYS helps to have friends in high places - the Kings Of Leon's own Jared Followill said of The Features: "They’re one of the best undiscovered bands in the world."
Now I can't possibly comment on that, as knowing what undiscovered bands sound like is rather like knowing what the sound of one hand clapping is, but I can say Some Kind Of Salvation isn't bad.
The Tennessee band are a poppier proposition than Kings Of Leon, who are releasing their second LP as the first release from their new label, and I would expect some of these songs to feature in a chart near you.
Because while they are muscling into a crowded marketplace, alongside acts like Local Natives and Cold War Kids, and while the album may not blow you away, there's a selection of singles in the likes of Lions and Wooden Heart to stake their claim as Princes Of Leon at the very least.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Tunng get lost in music


EXPERIMENTAL folk band Tunng's new album is out on Monday - and you should be licking your lips in anticipation.
The folktronica on ...And Then We Saw Land, their fourth studio album, is rich with warm trad folk tinkerings and vocals skewed by subtle, thoughtful production and a wealth of unexpected instrumentation throughout.
And this exploratory streak is also shown in the group's disdain for traditional song structures.
As a result, despite the traditional basis of the sounds, the album is a meandering voyage of a listen, with the London-based band an intrepid guide to take you exploring down unexpected musical paths.

Here be Call Me Dragon


IF CALL Me Dragon is the name of These Monsters' debut album, then my god you call it dragon.
Because the group is a snarling beast which roars out of the speakers with a thunderously huge prog punk sound and goes straight for the jugular, and no arguments.
Forget convention - the Leeds outfit are a largely instrumental act, with the tunes on Call Me Dragon led instead by a dogfight of riffing guitars and growling saxophone lines, which jockey for position over a brutal rhythm section which delivers extended pounding soundscapes.
It's an intimidating sound and totally compelling - in fact, These Monsters will blow you away like you're downtown Tokyo.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kelpe a webslinger

LOUGHBOROUGH electronica act Kelpe has revamped his website.
He said: "My new website is now up and running. The old one was kind of hard to keep up to date but the new one will be maintained regularly-ish with news of some importance.
"If you like my music I'd appreciate if you'd sign up for the mailing list so I can let you know when there's something new coming out. Don't worry it won't be an overload of spam.
"There's a lot of free downloads there so I recommend you head there."



SAMBASSADEUR, with these albums, you are really boring us.
Okay, maybe a bit harsh on European, the Swedish group's third LP, but hey, once I thought about that Ferrero Rocher advert I couldn't not write it - I'll try and be a bit more diplomatic from here on.
Because their twee pop sound does have some fantastic elements to it - such as the glorious production, with bathes the whole album with lush, dreamy orchestral arrangements and tinkling pianos.
The problem is this sheen is stacked on the foundation of the below-par trio of their over-enthusiastic drummer, their under-enthusiastic singer, and the relentless strumming of their rhythm guitarist who sounds like he's been salvaged from some '90s indie band like Lightning Seeds or Dodgy.
The result is that while Europe is a pleasant experience, it's doesn't even border on being interesting enough to be anything other than background music.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tamikrest assured


SAHARAN sensations Tamikrest, much like the successful Tinariwen, have made it their aim of bringing the Tamasheq culture of countries such as Mali, Algeria and Niger to the world.
And I have to say, it's a pretty new sound to me - with only the aforementioned Tinariwen to compare and contrast with.
And in juxtaposition, Tamikrest's mixture of Tamasheq music is a more youthful, more traditional take on the music of Saharan Africa, with less blues and rock influence than trailblazers Tinariwen, and more energy to the rhythms, as well as those distinctive throat calls - which I really wish I knew how to do.
As a result, to my Western ears, it's the more bluesy section in the middle of the album, the pick of which is the foreboding Aratane N'Adagh, I found the easiest to connect with, sitting here in snowy Leicestershire.
Thta's not to say I wouldn't like to become more familiar with these sounds - and now with a two pronged attack on Western ears, Tamasheq music could be poised for a boom over the next few years.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Knives are out

NEW material from the Young Knives will be showcased at new gigs announced today.
The local group will preview tracks from the forthcoming album Royal Sunlight at three gigs in Keele on May 6, Aldershot on May 7 and Leicester on May 8.
A band spokesman said: "I bet you have missed us, we have definitely missed you.
"We have been keeping our heads down and our noses clean in our Oxford studio and the next album is well underway.
"We can't wait to play you some new songs - these are the only dates we have planned for 2010 so if you like the idea of an intimate setting and a special preview of our new smash hit songs before anyone else then get some tickets fast."

Free Donut for every reader

NOISE merchants Castrovalva are set to release a new album We Are A Unit this April - and the album sees a new sound for the group.
The raucous grinding experimental sludge-punk of their previous self-titled release Castrovalva has been cranked up, with thunderous junglist drums and primal chanting thrown into the mix.
And you can sample the delights here with a tasty taster in the form of non-album track Donut.

Rabbit on form


THE Winter Of Mixed Drinks sees Frightened Rabbit as emotional as ever - although perhaps anguished rabbit or tormented rabbit might be a more appropriate moniker.
Because every ounce of the Scottish indie band's third album is drenched in sweat and tears and feeling.
And since their breakthrough The Midnight Organ Fight the group's rock, with its subtle tinges of folk and even subtler hooks, has grown so big that I'm unsure whether the CD will fit in my rack.
As a result there's no room for any acoustic interludes here, bar the Man/Bag Of Sand reprise of the awesome Swim Until You Can't See Land - just draining epic after draining epic, with mournful vocals, marching rhythms and thrumming guitars, strings and organs.
So I'll raise a toast to The Winter Of Mixed Drinks, which sounds like a band in season - just lay off the spirits while listening to it or it'll end in tears.

The Hits and the pits


IN MY last encounter with Lemar, 2008’s The Reason, I drew comparisons with the South American beast of burden the llama, because they’ve got similar names.
I know, I know, brilliant, wasn't it.
And judging by his greatest hits package The Hits, Lemar can still carry a tune with the best of them - he’s just been not given them enough.
Lemar’s vocals are impossibly good, with a husky tone and a diva-like ability to showboat - perhaps the biggest compliment you can pay Lemar is that he’s almost never referred to as a product of reality TV, he's grown into an artist.
The problem is that for every soulful It’s Not That Easy or If There’s Any Justice, there's a The Way Of The World or a Time To Grow - resulting in a patchy listen, about 50/50 you might say.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Classy video

THE video to Castle Donington's finest Late Of The Pier's new single has been released.
Check out Best In Class using your eyes below -

Eyeing up Polar Bear


YOU really should keep 'em peeled for Peepers release next week - because post-jazz band Polar Bear's sound should have 'em out on stalks once more.
After their expansive, experimental and eponymous Polar Bear in 2008, the London group have put their blinkers on and crafted as honed a collection as their breakthrough Held On The Tips Of Fingers, which earned a Mercury Music Prize nomination in 2005.
Gone are the spacey sound effects and ten-minute inpenetrable freak-outs - replaced by tight grooves on Peepers and Hope Every Day Is A Happy New Year, frantic interludes like Bump and Scream, and evocative explorations like Finding Our Feel and A New Morning Will Come.
As a result, whether you're a purist or more experimental in your vision of jazz, Peepers is an LP that's worth a look.

Barrowman all on show


DO YOU like musicals?
Are you a fan of John Barrowman?
No, I'm not questioning anybody's sexuality, the reason I ask is 'entertainer' John Barrowman's self-titled new album sees the 'personality' covering a selection of songs from the shows.
There are covers of tracks from Copacabana, Cats, Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia! and more - although the only cover I'd like to see here is the final curtain fall.
Because these overproduced, pointless recordings are so cheesy they should come with a warning for the lactose intolerent - you can visualise Barrowman's smug face churning these out in the studio as you listen.
So basically, if you like musical theatre and Barrowman's smug face, this is the album for you.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Brian Dronestown


THE Brian Jonestown Massacre, although led by one man, Anton Newcombe, have had more than 40 members in their 20 year run - so as you can imagine there's no shortage of ideas here.
In fact it's rare on Who Killed Sgt Pepper? to find two similar songs back to back.
Opener Tempo 116.7 (reaching for dangerous levels of sobriety) is bongo-led primal dance, followed by Tunger Hnifur's psyche rock, ambient in White Music, the soiled jangle pop of This Is The First Of Your Last Warning (Icelandic), and so on.
The problem with Who Killed Sgt Pepper? is that despite this inventive streak, most tracks have one thing in common - they all start off promisingly but become a dirge very quickly, adding up to a monotonous feeling overall.
As a result despite the album being a killer on paper, Brian Jonestown Massacre's latest just ends up poking and prodding you a bit.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Krystle shines


ON THE evidence of Circles, up-and-coming act Krystle Warren deserves to be around for some time.
Because her laid-back singer-songwriter soul, which has parallels with artists like Ani DiFranco and Jason Mraz, is as assured as they come, if missing that killer hook.
But as confident as Circles is musically, the star of the show is without a doubt Missouri-born Warren's unbelievable voice - I defy anyone not to be shocked the first time they see her warm, fulsome Stevie Wonder-meets-Fink tones coming from her mouth.
From that point on, it's obvious to the listener that Krystle is a 24 carat talent.

Toro so so


WITH Causers Of This, experimental pop group Toro Y Moi have been compared to Animal Collective and their critic-slaying Merriweather Post Pavilion.
I would say that's an unfair comparison - Causers Of This is far more enjoyable a listen than what was last year's most overrated release.
The LP, the first of two this year from the Carolina-based act, is a swirling, hazy psychedelic dreamscape of cut-up snippets.
There's hints of electronica, indie, psychedelia and more here, all swirled round to create something that, although difficult to get a grasp on, is original and intriguing and no doubt a taste of many things to come in 2010.

Friday, February 19, 2010



THEY may not sing gospel, and most of the time there's only one person singing - but if you don't check out Minnesota group Retribution Gospel Choir, you'll regret it, mark my words.
2, the Low side project's unimaginatively-titled second album, pays the listener back with a guitar slinging psychedelic rock selection akin to Black Mountain or Sleepy Sun, with Jimi Hendrix-esque blues influences, all propping up the sturdy soul of vocalist Alan Sparhawk.
Less grindingly slow as slow-as-they-go slowcore act Low, the group instead have Terminator-like unstoppable feel to their sound - dubbed "mediumcore" - trudging relentlessly through guitar solos, riffs and sonic explorations until they get you, and Retribution is served.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Loughborough Uni gigs lined up

A NEW line-up of acts have been announced at Loughborough Students' Union.
DJ Zane Lowe appears at the venue tonight (February 18), with Britpop band Ocean Colour Scene playing on February 27.
Then on March 6, up-and-coming indie band Egyptian Hip-Hop, who are produced by Late Of The Pier's Samuel Eastgate, visit the venue.
Then hip hop Chipmunk gets his teeth into Loughborough on March 11, and Mr Hudson performs on May 1.
For more information on the gigs, all open to the general public, click here.

The Quickening slow but sure


KATHRYN Williams
, the woman behind the "token folk" Mercury Music Prize nominee Little Black Numbers in 2000, is refusing to drop the pace with The Quickening, her sixth album in the years since.
Not that the Northern singer-songwriter has a fast-paced sound - it's more low-key folk akin to Joni Mitchell.
And her trad folk leanings and wry lyrics are counterbalanced with canny production, resulting in a thoroughly pleasant listen.
The Quickening hardly sets the pulse racing, but is still music with a warm heart.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Free for all on Friday

CASTLE Donington band Late Of The Pier are DJing at the In The Woods free party at Cargo in London this Friday, February 19.
Also performing DJ sets are The Invisible, Laurel Collective, Innercity Pirates and Clash DJs.

Trail a trash


TO GET to this point, London rock band Trail have travelled a scenic route.
To record their debut To The Rest Of The World, the group raised the £20,000 needed from donations from investors via website rather than from a label cash injection.
Not that this is a home cooked affair - the tracks here are polished, mature, big sounding classic rock numbers, filled with flavours of bands like Elbow, Del Amitri and Coldplay.
The problem is despite their industry innovation, musically Trail take a path that is so well trodden the council have probably put down put down decking by now - leaving the listener to wander off in more interesting directions.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rage Against The Machine and Aerosmith for Download

ROCK legends Aerosmith and Rage Against The Machine will join AC/DC at the top of this year's Download Festival bill.
The line-up, which marks 30 years of rock festivals at Donington Park, has also been augmented by 30 Seconds To Mars, Stone Sour, Lamb Of God, Five Finger Death Punch and Billy Idol.
Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello said: "Due to the insane demand for tickets for the free Rage show in Finsbury Park, we have decided to jump on this year's Download Festival as well and spread The Rage Factor around the country a bit. Here we come!"
Of course, you can celebrate the news by listening to this hastily-expanded Spotify playlist.



LONDON group Nedry's debut LP Condors sees the trio flying high.
Nevertheless the album's sound is decidedly down - with the most obvious comparison being the menacing electronica of Swedes The Knife.
To this they add swathes of dubstep beats, as well as touches of brooding, neurotic trip hop courtesy of vocalist Ayu Okakita and a splash of post-rock invention.
Much as The xx did last year, Nedry bring the sounds of the London scene to a new market - and if Condors is the sound of dubstep preying on other genres, post-dubstep if you will, long may it continue.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Envy's Nadine video out

RAPPER Envy's video to her forthcoming single Nadine, out on March 15, is now available to view.

Knives cut up Driver Drive Faster track

BELTON based band Young Knives have provided a B-side remix for the new single by Driver Drive Faster.
The release, They May Talk, hits the streets on February 22.
Young Knives bassist House Of Lords said: "It is pretty snazzy, as is the original, so check it out."

Fogg it

SCANDANAVIAN sensation Mr Fogg, who fashions traditional singer songwriter fare from less-than-traditional building blocks of fuzzy electronics and subdued drum machines, has a new album coming out later this year.
And to celebrate this, the Brit-born artist is offering a free download of the Jakwob Remix of new single Moving Parts, out on April 5.
Click here to grab an mp3.

Pieces fits the bill


I DON'T mean to pester you, but if you like mining the acceptable face of pop, then Erik Hassle has crafted a shiny nugget for you.
Because the flame-haired Swede's album Pieces, repackaged and renamed for release in the UK after Scandanavian success, is crammed with sweeping, epic pop songs.
Word-of-mouth success Hassle's vocals bear a resemblance to the soulful tones of Sam Sparro, with standout tunes such as Hurtful and Don't Bring Flowers straddling the work of Miike Snow and Mr Hudson - apart from the corny McFly-esque closer Amelia.
With Pieces, Erik Hassle should have no bother getting into the charts.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I heart Bass Clef


IT'S Valentine's Day, and I'm in love - with Bass Clef's new album May The Bridges I Burn Light The Way.
The Bristol and London-based artist's LP is a perfect marriage of downbeat dance styles like IDM and dubstep with brass and floorfilling booty bass that would make even the most discerning badonka go donk.
As a result Bass Clef, real name Ralph Cumbers, has a party atmosphere, while still delivering an Autechre-like depth to his tunes.
A dozen red roses, a box of chocolates and a teddy holding a little red heart to Bass Clef, and no mistake.

Tiger barmy for Chinese New Year

TO ALL my Chinese readers - and, according to my website tracking software, there are at least 25 of you - happy new year!
What better way to celebrate the start of the Year of the Tiger, than by having a listen to this specially created, tiger-themed Spotify Playlist.
It's grrrrrreat!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dead Presidence


I TAKE exception to experimental Brooklyn six-piece Excepter's new album, Presidence.
Imagine if Animal Collective were a collective solely of mutilated, suffering animals...
Opening track in earnest "The Anti-Noah" is 10 minutes-plus of nothingness, Teleportation: KAL is like someone having a mental breakdown while trapped inside the workings of a traction engine, while the weeping and wailing of Teleportation: GOL is how I imagine purgatory sounds.
Only occasionally does music break out - such as the unnerving When You Call.
Now if you're going to create psychedelic, ambient noise, fine - but why you'd want to create an ambiance as deliberately unenjoyable as this, I do not know.

Draw a Line


ON THE evidence of Persistence In This Game, Straight Lines will need persistence in this game.
Because for all the vitriol and vigour of their rock, their debut LP is undeniably immature.
The building blocks are there, for sure, and the fact that although this is a label release it was recorded as an unsigned band is commendable.
But although it's easy to draw parallels between Straight Lines' sound and other bands, they always fall a little short - The Automatic have catchier hooks, Lostprophets are far more polished, Billy Talent's sound is bigger, and Fighting With Wire brim with more angst.
That said, if the Welsh group have the tenacity to match the promise then when they finally get in a studio, the results will be well worth forming a queue for.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Free These Monsters

AHEAD of their debut album's release on March 1, These Monsters are offering a taster in the form of the LP's title track Call Me Dragon.
A mammoth prog rock pounder, you can grab the roarsome track here.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Yawny Owl


NOW I must put this review in context - I really wasn't having a hoot when I came to review Ocean Eyes, the breakthrough Owl City album.
Sitting at my desk, it felt like the left side of my jaw was rotting away, such was the throb coming from the gaping hole in my tooth.
So while on first listen I was tolerating the synthpop, despite the vocal stylings of Adam Young, the track Dental Care was a bridge too far, with it's corny "I know the drill" type wordplay - I felt like throwing my laptop across the room before breaking down in tears, but that's not entirely to do with the the music.
Not to be unfair to Owl City, further listening revealed the album to be a compacted pellet of catchy choruses, jingly keyboards, warm synths and soft drum machine beats, the obvious peak being the worldwide smash Fireflies.
Overall Ocean Eyes is a pretty schmaltzy, corny, unchallenging, inoffensive collection - should be eyeing up top spot in album charts across the world then.

Errors can't fail


MAKE no mistake, Errors new album Come Down With Me is precision stuff.
From the ambitious Bridge Or Cloud? to the engineered dance of Supertribe to the ruthlessly efficient Germany, the Glaswegian band's distinctive sound is played with pinpoint accuracy, like a finely-tuned Battles or Foals.
However the group's shtick is still hard to pin down, so much so that their instrumental electronica-soaked post-rock has seen them drafted in to support the wildly-differing likes of Underworld, Mogwai and Franz Ferdinand.
And you can see why, with equal measures of hooks, beats and grooves on show - the excellent Come Down With Me should see a rise in stock for the group.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nice folk


MARRIED couple and folk duo Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou are touring village halls including Quorn's on February 12 to promote their self-titled album.
And these venues couldn't be more apt - as the music here evokes vivid memories of a rural England, of market towns and of allotments and country walks, memories that you can almost smell.
Not that it's all as twee as that sounds - although the opening trio of Allotment Song, One Wednesday In June and England really are.
For as the album progresses a mournful tone creeps in, with Hannah-Lou's warble and Trevor Moss's Bob Dylan-ish tone intertwining over acoustic, slow folk compositions - although I'm still uncertain after several listens how well these sounds gel.
Nevertheless, I would be very surprised if the likes of Quorn Village Hall has a better gig on this year.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Class act

CASTLE Donington rockers Late Of The Pier are hoping their next single will register in the charts.
The group plan to release Best In The Class on March 1.
Also, rather tantalisingly, the group have announced that they're also planning "something very special and very secret".



GET yourself a glass of water and lie down in a darkened room - The Sickness is returning.
And on Volume Four, German producer Sicko's strain of dance is as playful as it is disturbing.
Ever fond of a sick joke, the elusive Sicko always performs live in disguise - with previous appearances as a geisha, Fred Flintstone, Jesus, a stormtrooper, a witch, Dolly Parton, Abe Lincoln, a boy scout and more under their belt.
And this twisted outlook carries through the music here, ranging from the juddering jungle breakcore of Happycartoon to the puerile electro of Turdbj, which is like Radiohead's Kid A with tourettes, and even expansive ambient sections like Curdledurine, which is literally like being caught in a gunfight in a warehouse.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Free booty from Basement Jaxx

THOSE old romantics Basement Jaxx have put together a song for the lovers just in time for Valentine's Day.
The duo, of Simon Ratcliffe and former Loughborough schoolboy Felix Buxton, have crafted a Booty Shaking Remix of ABC's classic smoochathon The Look Of Love.
A band spokesman said: "Valentines Day is approaching fast.
"Worried about what to get for your loved ones ? Don’t panic! Basement Jaxx provide the perfect romantic gift."
Click here to grab a copy.

Measured stuff from Field Music


IT IS testament to Sunderland's Field Music that what was originally a side project for former Futureheads drummer Peter Brewis and brother David became the day job after two excellent LPs, before spawning The Week That Was, it's very own side-project.
Fear not, fans, as Field Music has failed to fall fallow - and instead the siblings have returned with a new crop of oddball indie on their second self-titled album.
Subtitled Field Music (Measure), so as to avoid confusion with their self-titled debut, the album is a glorious, sprawling collection of the experimental pop furrow the pair plough, based on angular indie rock tempered by a hatred of overdrive and a penchant for unusual orchestration.
Obviously, with 20 tracks here there's a little chaff in amongst the wheatier tracks, but overall 2010 has proven to be a particularly rich harvest.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Some Mavis, some Mavisn't


THE Mavis project couldn't be more up and down if you listened to it while trampolining in a lift.
Because each track on the LP, made up of subdued Ashley Beedle and Darren Morris electronica compositions inspired by soul singer and political activist Mavis Staples' music, is fronted by a different guest vocalist.
And you can tell which ones are going to be worth a spin by looking at the singer involved.
Ed Harcourt? Superb.
Cerys Matthews? Embarrasing.
Candi Staton? Soulful.
The only exceptions to this pattern are the unknown quantities, such as Sinful Love's Disa, who all acquit themselves well.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Joy a joy

LOUGHBOROUGH Librarian Wilkie Wilkinson, of Mr Hudson fame, features on the new single from Joy Joseph.
The glorious Our Love Is Taking Us Through is out now - with the singer, the Nanpantan-born drummer and others currently working on a full album.

Banana has appeal


THE Remixed And Peeled version of Josh Wink's 2009 LP When A Banana Was Just A Banana has appeal.
Hah, get it, appeal, a, peel, brilliant.
Okay, before you all split, let me explain.
Wink, best known for his attempt to reach A Higher State Of Consciousness, has put out Remixed And Peeled, a housey collection of extended mixes best suited to DJs.
So while the slow-burning tracks here may not make for the best studio album to whack on at home, if you're out clubbing and Wink offers you a fruity bongo, a throbbing bleep or a warm organ, you'd be a fool to refuse.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Video exclusive Envy

THE video to Nadine, the forthcoming single from Envy, has been released.
As soon as I can post it here, I shall, but for now, to see it clicka linka.

Built To Spill doesn't fulfill


LONG-running rock band Built To Spill's new album is called There Is No Enemy.
And listening to the LP, the Idaho band's seventh studio outing, I would suggest that perhaps something to rail against might do them some favours.
Because the only track here where they group have fire in their bellies, the relatively-brief Pat, is the only one which stands out.
That's not to say that Built To Spill aren't masters of their craft - frontman Doug Martsch's distinctive vocals drip with character, while all tracks here are excellent vehicles for the group's extensive, serene David Gilmour-style classic rock soloing.
And I have to say, I really do enjoy this album.
The problem is that on There Is No Enemy, each track runs into another creating an amorphous mass of pleasant rock - the result being after the album draws to a close, the ability to recall any of it just runs away.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Don't resort to Those Thousand Seas


SWISS born singer songwriter Claire Tchaikowski's debut album Those Thousand Seas probably isn't worth a dip.
The LP, with waves of classical and electronica, starts off on a good footing, with a Tori Amos vibe to tracks like Those Thousand Seas and Undone.
But then it all goes a bit wet, with tracks like My Day and Yes Daddy making proceedings little sweet for my taste.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Yes to No/Noise


THE Parks Dept, an electronic project which grew into a full band, is a wonderful place to spend some recreation time.
Because the Northamptoners' debut album, No/Noise, is a wild landscape of electro and punk in varying combinations.
Openers French Hands Part One and Part Two are as close to Daft Punk as the following track, Driver, is to the Sex Pistols - with the closest touchstones overall being the rocky dance of LCD Soundsystem and the dancey rock of The Rapture.
What is consistent throughout, however, is a blinkered dedication to having a good time with their music - and when the closing track states OK, We're F*cking Partying Now, you know they most probably achieve it.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Unrequited Manilow


THIS morning, Barry Manilow sang The Greatest Love Songs Of All Time to me.
In the car on the way to work, he crooned he would "Love Me Tender", he told me "I Only Have Eyes For You", gave me The Look Of Love and even somewhat cheekily suggested "You Made Me Love You" to me.
Like the old pro he is, he sang: "I'll love you 'til the poets run out of rhymes."
I didn't believe him.
It felt to me like he was just going through the motions, like a wedding singer showing off at a karaoke night.
So fear not, sweet Nicole, light of my life, if you're reading this - me and Manilow, it ain't gonna happen again.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Nadine, bag it

RAPPER Envy has a new single Nadine out on March 15.
The former Loughborough University student's new single comes the week before the release of her album Set Yourself On Fire on March 22.

Heligo buy it


AS IS expected of a Massive Attack LP, Heligoland, the group's fifth studio album, boasts an all star cast - and the result is as stellar as the trip hop group have ever sounded.
Horace Andy, Damon Albarn, Guy Garvey, Portishead, Martina Topley-Bird, Beak>, Tunde Adebimpe and more line-up for the LP, each adding a distinct flavour.
The weight of expectation has hung heavy over this release, a brooding, late-night masterpiece - and as a result, it takes time for it to click just how stunning this record is.
But make no bones, it is a worthy and progressive addition to one of the strongest back-catalogues out there - each track a slow-burning epic in it's own right, the picks of the bunch being opening duo Pray For Rain and Babel, Paradise Circus and Rush Minute.
With time, in Heligoland, Massive Attack will be proven to have once more hit the target.

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