Monday, May 31, 2010

Lesser known Download

CASTLE Donington metalfest Download is pending, with the home of metal celebrating 30 years of festivals at Donington Park from June 11-13.
A huge number of bands will be appearing this year representing all types of rock and metal, from Aerosmith to Zebrahead - and it would be impossible to see them all.
Now you don't need Sound Advice to tell you that AC/DC's set might be worth catching - so here are my top five lesser-known bands worth seeking out on the smaller stages.

5 - 3 INCHES OF BLOOD - Ronnie James Dio Stage - Sunday
4 - STARSEED - Pepsi Max Stage - Friday3 - FUNERAL PARTY - Red Bull Bedroom Jam Stage - Friday2 - THE BLACKOUT - Ronnie James Dio Stage - Saturday1 - YEAR LONG DISASTER - Pepsi Max Stage - Friday

To hear the five acts, as well as nearly all other acts playing the festival, listen to this Spotify playlist.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Killswitch to engage the Castle Donington faithful

KILLSWITCH Engage have been confirmed for this year's Download Festival.
The melodic hardcore legends will take the slot vacated by Wolfmother, who have pulled out of the event.
To hear the acts heading to the festival, listen to this Spotify playlist.

Trentemoller is a great Dane


GREAT Dane Trentemoller is set to rise on Into The Great Wide Yonder.
The previously minimal electronica producer has boosted his icy sound on the new LP, adding vocals and tinkering with his previously cold and intricate formula to embrace a wider spectrum of dance.
But the biggest difference shows in the sheer intensity of each and every track here - whether the more traditional Trentemoller of The Mash And The Fury and Tide, the sparse trip hop of ...Even Though You're With Another Girl, or the breakbeats of Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider Go!!!.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A bit of Ruff


SAY It may be a bit ragged around the edges - but what else would you expect from a band called Born Ruffians.
The Canadian band have a raw, demo sound, with low production values and a bare-boned indie rock sound - but this is no throwaway LP.
The result of this approach is a band that sounds like it's enjoying their craft and this comes across on excellent tracks like Nova-Leigh, Sole Brother and The Ballad Of Moose Bruce.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Hawkins and more for Download

MORE than a dozen new bands have been named for Download Festival.
A spokesman for the Castle Doington festival said "Taking time out from his usual gig with the Foo Fighters, Taylor Hawkins brings his Coattail Riders to Donington to showcase the band’s new album Red Light Fever.
"Kerrang! cover stars My Passion make their Download debut.
"Also confirmed are progressive/ambient metallers Devil Sold His Soul, atmospheric rockers Anathema, death metallers Trigger The Bloodshed, UK riff-makers Enemo-J, modern British metallers The More I See and Sondura.
"We’ve also got Rising Records signings Everything Burns, melodic rockers Starseed, ‘porno rockers’ The Dirty Feel, new Thin Lizzy vocalist and ex-Almighty frontman Ricky Warwick and 80s influenced rockers Jett Black.
"In addition to playing with Michael Monroe, The Wildhearts’ Ginger will also be playing a solo set, as will Tyketto’s Danny Vaughn, plus there’ll be an exclusive DJ stand off set from Classic Rock editor Scott Rowley and Metal Hammer editor Alexander Milas."
Sum 41 were also due to play but have since been forced to pull out of the festival.

Sartain raiser


HAILING from Birmingham, Alabama, experienced rocker Dan Sartain's career is sure to survive into a second decade with latest LP Lives.
Rightly assured in his talent, Sartain has a matter-of-fact punk attitude to the icy deadpan delivery of his incisive lyrics.
There’s also a prevailing stomp to each track, whether the glam feel to Bohemian Grove, the rockier Voo-Doo, or the Vincent Vincent And The Villains-esque ‘50s vibe on Ruby Carol.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A crowning glory


TEN-piece band Kings Go Forth's debut album deserves to see the contemporary R&B band making giant strides towards the charts.
With all the soul of the Motown-era classics, and with the verve of a live funk band captured on these studio sessions, The Outsiders Are Back should see Kings Go Forth labelled as outsiders no more.
With more energy than a red bull drinking Red Bull the band power their way through vintage-sounding tracks like One Day, I Don't Love You No More and High On Your Love - all of which could have come out of R&B's heyday.
Plus variety is added by the fact the group boast not one, not two, but three singers, all equally adept - surely the group are set to go down as modern funk royalty.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A brush with The Foxes


THE title of indie rockers The Foxes' EP Depression, Joy And A Moment Of Fame is almost a review of the contents.
There's joy at the quality of opener Get Me, a bouncy strummer which deserves a fair slice of airplay - leading to the aforementioned moment of fame.
Then depression, that the other three tracks just aren't as good, and should really have been packaged as B-sides rather than on an equal footing.
Nevertheless, overall The Foxes are well worth a brush with.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wake up to Sleepy Sun


JUST as the sunshine finally arrives in the UK, so do sunkissed Californians Sleepy Sun.
And their latest LP, Fever, is the perfect soundtrack to Summer excesses, bulging with psychedelic rock, stoner rock and classic rock influence.
Led by groggy duel vocal lines and a fug of guitars, the San Franciscan band - whose motto is "let's get weird"- frequently take this sound on extended acid-soaked six-minute freak-outs of songs.
A swirling stupor of a rock album, you should catch Fever as soon as you can.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ono not again


DANISH band Oh No Ono's disappointing last album Eggs was a no go for me - so I approached Internet Warrior with reservations.
The main problem with Eggs was the density of the sound - and some of this mess has been cleared away in every remix by the likes of Caribou and Zambri, making it easier to connect to individual tracks.
But as a collection, there's no flow, with chillout and heavy bass jarring from track to track.
So although the lead track to the EP is one of the better cuts from the album, and in most cases the remixes here are improvements on the originals, I'm not likely to navigate back to Internet Warrior any time soon.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Classic forty six - Baby love


NEW York band Made Out Of Babies' The Ruiner is a sledgehammer of an album.
Led by the distinctive primal vocals of Julie Christmas, who can shout, scream and even sing like a female Daryl Palumbo, the music here is unquestionably a brutal assault on the listener.
However each churning hardcore track here carries enough melody to make it stick.
An intense experience, 2008's The Ruiner has all the makings of a cult classic.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Anything That Moves will move you


SNOW And Voices album Anything That Moves may be cold, but it speaks to the listener nonetheless.
The LP starts with a country soul sound, like Phantom Limb, behind a delicate Beth Gibbons, Lou Rhodes voice.
However the brilliantly handled production soon begins to creep in, adding a strange, almost sinister element to proceedings.
And this cyborg ballad approach - matching the unsettling effects with innocent vocals, like Dido singing OK Computer - works really well.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bag Teej


CANADIAN DJ James Teej's tech house is bare.
The Toronto-based beatmaker's new LP Evening Harvest is cavernously minimalist to begin with, like a bare whitewashed room.
However slowly delicious ornaments begin to furnish his skeletal house grooves - Fink-like vocals on Greenback, organs and sitars on The Rain Awakening, sleigh bells on All We Have Is Time.
It's a slow start, but it swells to become a fantastic effort, possibly the best house release since his compatriot Deadmau5's For Lack Of A Better Name.
By the end of the album, you'll agree with me that James Teej deserves to be decorated for his service to clubbers.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Goaltastic launched

NOTHING musical about this, but just to let you know, I have launched a new football blog at the Loughborough Echo website, called Goaltastic.
Any clicks would be most welcome.

Talking Trash Kit


TRASH Kit's Trash Kit is far from rubbish - but it could do with a tidy-up.
The group's 17-track LP reverberates with Vampire Weekend style Afrocentric attention-deficit jangly guitar licks, Brothers And Sisters indie stomps and Blood Red Shoes male-and-female dual vocals which frequently imitate howler monkeys.
So far, so good - the problem is in the fact that these recordings sound more like a collection of demos by the aforementioned acts rather than finished tracks.
What Trash Kit needs is a producer to smooth off the rougher edges and throw away the excess - and then Trash Kit could be a hot tip.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

We Are The World a global disaster


DESPITE sharing a name with a massive 1980s benefit single, We Are The World didn’t leave me feeling very charitable.
The LA group’s LP Clay Stones instrumentally is worthy - with consistency demonstrated over 10 sturdy, stomping dance tracks laced with pulsating electronica-rock-hip hop not dissimilar to an Americanised These New Puritans.
If they’d kept it instrumental, I’d be swayed by the likes of Goya Monster and Lord Have Ass.
But vocally the group are plain irritating, so it's all ruined for me.
There’s a love of vocal effects which is a bit grating, but the main problem is the lead is provided by a vocalist who sounds like someone doing a really bad impression of Kelis - and I hate it so much right now.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Longcut, only cut up


AFTER last year's Open Hearts, which hinted at a love of electronic music fluttering beneath the full-on rock of Longcut, a slew of guests indulge this passion on their Broken Hearts EP.
Remixes come courtesy of the likes of The Earlies, Toro Y Moi, Outputmessage and Borland - and when they say broken, they mean it.
This collection is a real departure from the group's heart-on-sleeve rock, instead trying out a selection of hazy chillout, bass-heavy dub and bassy electro reworkings.
Broken Hearts may beat to a different, unexpected rhythm - even from track to track - but there's as much to love here as with their studio efforts.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Taylor Hawkins at Download?

IT LOOKS likely that Foo Fighters drummer's band Taylor Hawkins And The Coattail Riders will be appearing at this year's Download.
This evening, Festival booker Andy Copping tweeted: "Hello Taylor Hawkins... welcome to the party! That's another band to add to the list."
Well, judging by that it's either going to be the band behind the excellent Red Light Fever or the mighty Foos themselves...

Blues Explosion bang on


BOOMBOXES at the ready - Dirty Shirt Rock 'N' Roll, the first attempt to condense the freewheeling talent of early Jon Spencer Blues Explosion recordings into a best-of, bursts into stores from Monday.
And anyone currently enjoying the likes of The Dead Weather or The Black Keys's superb recent LPs who's not had the pleasure of Jon Spencer and his $17 guitar ought to spare a minute to listen to the band that lit the touchpaper and blew apart the blues two decades ago.
Almost disrespectfully rough around the edges, the band forcefeed the blues with overdriven punk and garage rock to craft a raw, scuzzy, primal sound.
If a drunken Elvis had fronted The Stooges, they'd have sounded a lot like this - and who wouldn't have wanted to see that.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sound selection

EVERY now and then, a song just won't leave you alone - at the moment Darwin Deez's Radar Detector is burrowed into my mind like a musical parasite.
Over at my Last.FM page, these tracks are logged as my Loved Tracks, and for your aural pleasure I have converted the list - well, nearly all of it - into a Spotify playlist.
It's a mixed bag - tracks on the list include Rocket From The Crypt's On A Rope, Massive Attack's Paradise Circus, Maybeshewill's The Paris Hilton Sex Tape, Michael Jackson's Rockin' Robin, and many more.
To hear it, click here.

Show My Ass for free

HERE'S a cheeky freebie from Florida's Dominique Young Unique, Show My Ass.
The up-and-coming 18-year-old hip hop and electro singer has a new EP, Blaster, out this month, ahead of a UK tour.
And you can grab a taster in the form of Show My Ass absolutely free by clicking here - how's that for a bum deal.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tiesto resistance


DUTCH DJ Tiesto's best-of Magikal Journey is just that - a spellbinding voyage through his extensive back catalogue.
A household name in trance circles after a decade-and-a-half, it's no surprise that every track here is meticulously crafted.
Sure, some of the singing is a little corny, but on the instrumentals and behind the "uplifting" vocals are genuinely moving trance tracks like Traffic, Elements Of Life or his take on Barber's Adagio For Strings.
And with this backed by a second CD of remix work, if you're a dance fan with a collection currently missing some of his work, you'd better Tiestify.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thom's up


ON MERCHANTS And Thieves, Scot Sandi Thom has begged, borrowed or stolen a new sound from somewhere.
Because all of a sudden, the once pop-folk singer - who most famously wished she was a punk rocker with flowers in her hair - has transformed into a rockin' country blues singer.
It's quite a departure, and undoubtedly an improvement - although to be honest an hour of gargling syrup while being poked in the sides would be on a par with listening her previous work.
No wonder she's got the blues.
So although a little trite and very Sheryl Crow in places, with a little help from the likes of Joe Bonamassa this is a sturdy effort which sees Thom making steps to prove herself after seemingly getting off on completely the wrong foot with the record-buying public.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Faith in Loughborough

A STAR-studded line-up has been confirmed for Loughborough Students’ Union’s Graduation Ball on July 16.
Paloma Faith is topping the bill for the Alice In Wonderland-themed event, alongside X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke.
Briatin’s Got Talent contestant Stevie “The Regurgitator” Starr will be wowing the crowds, while Subfocus and Jaguar Skills will perform DJ sets.
For more information on the student-only event, click here.

Baseballs' Strike gold


ALREADY a massive hit across Europe, The Baseballs are striking out at the UK charts.
Now the group pitch pop hit after pop hit at the listener, but they do it with a curveball - every track here is a cover, but in the 1950s rock and roll style.
Can you imagine Elvis singing J Lo? Eddie Cochran covering Beyonce?
Sure, it's a novelty idea - yet another Mike Flowers Pops type act - but strangely it works, especially on the tracks it really shouldn't, like Usher's Love In This Club or The Pussycat Dolls' Don't Cha.
Maybe the German group will become major league over here just yet.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Classic forty five - USA! USA!


LET’S not beat around the bush, Presidents Of The United States Of America, on their eponymous debut, showed that when it came to rocking out, their peers had nix on them.
The trio hoover up the competition on Presidents Of The United States Of America with a sound lincoln punky rock with a wry sense of comedy - there can’t be many bands that compose lyrics like “I can’t get your body out of my mind” but are actually polking fun at a dead animal’s rotting corpse.
I grant you, it’s a corny approach, but it works - and chart-conquering hits like Peaches and Lump testify to the band’s mass appeal.
Quite simply, you can’t afford not to have this in your collection.
● You can listen to tracks from the Sound Advice Classic Collection on this Spotify playlist.

Soft Thorn


HAVING to listen to Love And Its Opposite was a Tracey Thorn in my side.
Because the Everything But The Girl vocalist's album had everything but the electronica which suits her so well.
Instead, with more trad singer songwriter backing, and only hints of her previously computer-dominated body of work, I found this collection pretty underwhelming.
In fact, a lot of it wouldn't sound out of place on a Beautiful South b-sides collection.
Love And Its Opposite - guess which one I'm leaning towards...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Eddy Current Suppression Ring masters


AUSTRALIAN act Eddy Current Suppression Ring's Rush To Relax comes speeding out after last August's awesome Primary Colours.
But you can rest assured that the group's straight-forward primal post-punk formula - which references classic influences from the Rolling Stones to Iggy Pop And The Stooges to The Pixies to the Sex Pistols - hasn't been messed around with.
Here the group retain a distinctive laid-back Antipodean voice - tracks like I Can Be A Jerk wouldn't sound right with a Brummie accent, trust me - and a real consistency to their output.
If they keep albums of this quality coming, it'll be hard to keep Eddy Current Suppression Ring down.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Squarefeet's first


FINNISH DJ Squarefeet's new album Flatfoot sees an assured producer stepping out for the first time.
The album straddles a fine line between club-centred breaks and basslines and lighter new age touches.
But despite having a foot placed firmly in both camps, he never strays too far either way, avoiding cliche to craft a sturdy album - whether on the heavier tracks like the pulsating opener Mirror Calm, or on the more hippified cuts like Rapture Roll.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Sound Advice Spotified

JUST a quick note to say that now Spotify has gone social, so has Sound Advice.
To befriend myself, send me music and browse my Spotify playlists, click on the green button on the right, or click here.

Fangs a lot


LOUISVILLE three-piece Wax Fang's LP La La Land is a little cuckoo - but in a lovable, endearing way.
The band, led by singer songwriter Scott Carney who began the band as a one-man project, play punk rock, but with a theatrical edge - for instance, to me opener Majestic has more than hints of Tom Jones' classic Delilah.
But rather than piling it on, the group retain thin lo-fi sound which although while still loud and shouty never becomes a dirge, even on the more epic, politically-charged tracks like World War II (Part 2).
Wax Fang have crafted a record to really get your teeth into - the only real criticism I have is why have they waited two years for this to get a UK release?

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Dead good


YOU can draw a line - or maybe a White Stripe - under this blog post, I've officially changed my mind about Jack White.
I still have my reservations about the consistency of his White Stripes work, but on side-projects like The Dead Weather, whose second album Sea Of Cowards is out on Monday, you get the feeling the weight of expectation is lifted and he really flourishes.
In fact, this is easily one of the best rock records on 2010 to date.
Taking its cues from the likes of Led Zeppelin, T-Rex and, with Alison Mosshart of The Kills pushed forward vocally, Siouxsie Sioux, the album is a raw, uncomplicated exercise in full-on modern blues rock riffing.
Dead Weather - the forecast's good.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Foals gold


TOTAL Life Forever, the second album by Foals, should see their names go down for posterity.
Cementing the promise of their frenetic debut Antidotes, the latest LP sees a calmer approach to their complex sound - almost Sigur Ros-like at times, such as on Spanish Sahara.
Into this space the Oxford math-rock group have given themselves within their music, they've grown in scope.
It's an epic sound, which grows on each listen - math-rock turning into physics-rock, maybe?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Taylor made


TUB-thumper Taylor Hawkins’s Foo Fighters side-project, Taylor Hawkins And The Coattail Riders, sees some famous faces in tow.
Appearing on his latest LP, Red Light Fever, are hangers-on such as Elliot Easton of the Cars, Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen, and bandmate Dave Grohl.
As you’d expect from this line-up backing the drummer, the results are a straight-forward fun-loving rock record, packed with classic rock posturing and Foo Fighters hookery - as Hawkins said himself, it sounds like him “having sex with his record collection”.
Unashamedly derivative, Red Light Fever was never going to reinvent the wheel - but its songs may well be rocking and rolling into a stadium near you this summer.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Throw on Javelin


BROOKLYN based hip hop duo Javelin hit the target with their latest release No Mas.
The producing pair have a penchant for the 1980s - even playing their live show through boomboxes - and it shows in their synth-soaked sound.
And they clearly enjoy their work - lacing their tracks with a happy, upbeat vibe which comes across like a laid-back version of The Go! Team, or a cheerful Neon Neon.
Album highlights include the raptastic Oh! Centra and the nostalgic Moscow 1980 - but nothing by Javelin No Mas is throwaway.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

New Download names

DESPITE The Used having to pull out of Download Festival, 12 new names have been added to the Castle Donington festival's bill.
Three Inches Of Blood, Napalm Death and Rolo Tomassi spearhead the announcement.
In addition, The Virginmarys, The Plight, Kadawatha, Sonic Syndicate, Jim Jones Revue, Switchfoot, Your Demise, TAB and Urban Voodoo Machine have been added.
A spokesman said: "Did someone say that they wanted more bands?
"Ah, go on then, as we’re in a good mood.
"It’s shaping up to be one hell of a ground shattering weekend of mayhem!"

Kris me quick


I'D RECOMMEND Please Don't Tell Me How The Story Ends, a collection of recordings by country singer-turned-actor Kris Kristofferson, to Kevin Costner.
A few days ago my underwhelmed criticisms of Costner's album Turn It On sparked a debate over whether his music matches his movies - a debate I very much doubt will take place in the comments on this post.
Because this collection of stripped bare early demos showcases an oft-forgotten songwriting talent who penned tracks adopted by the likes of Janis Joplin, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash.
Now better-known for films like Blade, Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia and Planet Of The Apes, Kristofferson's earlier work shows the likes of Costner how they should go about getting credit for both disciplines.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Gold Panda pop


YOU, the latest release from rising star Gold Panda, mixes dreamy hip hop beats with the music of the land of the rising sun.
Inspired by Japanese culture Chelmsford's Gold Panda - who echoes his namesake's reclusive nature and has not released his real name - reportedly once sold his entire record collection to finance a Japanese course and a year in the far east.
And this influence is all over the exotic Eastern samples cut around his glitchily beautiful beats on You and Before We Talked, with the title track further expanded by remix work from Minotaur Shock, Dam Mantle and Seams.
Why Gold Panda's work isn't already playing to a bigger audience is bamboozling.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

High Flying Lotus


WARP wonder Flying Lotus's third LP Cosmogramma is out of this world, full stop.
The LP by Flying Lotus, real name Steve Ellison, sees the Los Angeles-based producer knocking out 17 short and sweet nuggets of glitchy hip hop beats.
Floaty rather than thumping, these ethereal drums are have a forward-thinking, freeform feel, which choice live instrumentation lends a timeless jazz quality, while guests enlisted including moody Thom Yorke and soulful Thundercat to help Lotus take the sound in other unexpected directions.
A shape-shifting soundscape of unusual scope, Cosmogramma has the potential to grow into a classic - luckily for me it's going to take a lot of listening to decide whether it is or not.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Meat not a banger


CANADIAN rocker Hawksley Workman is hoping to bring home the bacon with his latest joint, Meat, part of a double whammy of releases in 2010 alongside Milk.
The album, the prolific performer's 13th studio outing, doesn't quite make the chop for me.
Production values here are high - with an impressive electronic sheen lent to his slightly glam, workmanlike rock.
But despite this Workman, real name Ryan Corrigan, is style rather than substance on Meat - coming across like a poor man's Bono.

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