Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Albums of 2010 part 5 - Beach House "Teen Dream"

"Teen Dream" released way back in January is Beach House's third album to date and is their best. A band that have hit their stride and know their voices and instruments inside out. The duo open the album with the stunning "Zebra," with chord progressions and melodies that feel like sand in the wind. Dream pop at its best. Victoria Legrand's vocals on "Lover of Mine" has shades of Nico in parts. Her voice seems to have gone down an octave from previous albums, her husky, battered tones add to the charm and resonance of the record. This album will last beyond the year and decade a modern classic.
Click here to listen to "Zebra"

Albums of 2010 part 4 - Warpaint "The Fool"

Another great debut record was from all girl LA four piece Warpaint, with "The Fool". They have been gigging for 6 years and if this record is anything to go by it was worth the wait.They create an eerie sensual laid back gothic sound, with out straining a note. If you liked the XX this should have been on your radar too (They were on tour together). There are moments on the self titled track "Warpaint" that give shades of Type O Negative. The beautiful "Undertow" & "Shadows" would make anyones heart melt. This is an accomplished record which sounds effortless, brooding & complete. I'm a big fan.
Click here to listen to "Undertow"

Albums of 2010 part 3 - LCD Soundsystem "This is Happening"

James Murphy's LCD Soundsystem came back with another mix of cool, witty dance-able tunes. The second track "Drunk Girls" is a Blur esc indie sing along. "I Can Change" could have been a hit at Club 54 with it's retro synth and casio beat. A cool record for sure, saving one of the best tracks "Home" till the end.
Click here to listen to "Drunk Girls"

Monday, 6 December 2010

Albums of 2010 part 2 - Foals "Total Life Forever"

My second album of the year is Foals' second, "Total Life Forever". Washed away are the attempts at dance floor fillers and the band have moved on from there obsession with Battles. This albums premise is to build songs without giving the game away to early on. The album opens with "Blue Blood" which sets the record up perfectly, followed by the immediate  "Miami". Even if this album was dross "Spanish Sahara" would be reason enough to give it a listen. "Spanish..." Is easily Foals at there best. A tender opening which builds and builds until the listener is carried to the heights of the finale. The album revolves around the 5th track beautifully. A big step in the right direction. If continued their third could be something special Click here to listen to "Spanish Sahara"

Albums of 2010 part 1 - The Phantom Band "The Wants"

As the year draws to an end I thought it be a good chance to go over the best albums of the year. Starting with Glasgow group The Phantom Band and there second album "The Wants". Percussive like Battles in parts and with strips of The National's big anthems, this record feels diverse without breakings a sweat. Industrial with primarily folk based songs, it evolves with each listen, a really interesting mature album. Stand out tracks "A Glamour", "O" & "Mr Natural". Click here to listen to "O"

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Sofia Coppola's "Somewhere"

With "Somewhere" Due for UK release next week (10th Dec), Sofia Coppola's new film looks to be the next part-confessional work after "Lost in Translation". Based on stays with her father at the infamous Chateau Marmont.

The basic premise of the movie; Hollywood actor Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) resides at the Marmont, living the party dream, girls, booze and all that goes with the lifestyle. He then is given sole occupancy of his 11 year old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning), and tries to fit her into his way of life.

What really interests me about the movie is, firstly the Hollywood hotel (Chateau Marmont) where the film is based. Steeped in folklore and mysteries of Warren Beatty's sexual escapades, Jim Morrison losing 8 of his 9 lives trying to jump from a roof to his room, and the tragedies, most notably John Belushi's drug overdose in 1982.
It is the most Hollywood location to set a film, with more gossip columns written about it's residents and going-on's than anywhere else, it certainly adds to the realism of the movie.

Secondly Coppola's integrity to make films she can empathize with. It is well known that she is Francis Ford's daughter. Her formative years surrounded by the Hollywood lifestyle, and the isolation it brings. It gives further weight to the subject matter for me. Telling human stories from glamorized situations.


Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The Concretes - WYWH

Stokholms 8 piece indi-pop band The Concretes have produced a beautiful record that is going to get me through the winter, tender vocals with a disco beat. "I Wish We'd Never Met" is one of the most beautiful songs I've heard this year. "What We've Become" is another stand-out track with an absolutely brilliant chorus.

Get wrapped up with this record for the cols snap.

Mark Sultan - $

Mix up The Cramps, Iggy, Bowie, New York Dolls, Ramones, Dick Dale, T-Rex, Captain Beefheart, & The Kinks and you get a fair idea of what this record is all about. The first track "Icicles" splitting at the seems with drugged out repetitions the later stages are Beafheart through and through. This record is a tour de force of the weird, depraved and everything that is good about Rock n' Roll. "Ten of Hearts" is a slow number that could have been written for John Waters Cry Baby. "Status" is a Ramones style surf rock tune that absolutely rocks click here to listen. I love this record it's more than homage to icons of old, great vocals, guitar playing and most importantly great songs.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Girls - Broken Dreams Club

San Francisco duo Girls are back with their 60's drenched ep "Broken Dreams Club". This is a wonderfully produced record, filled with shimmering guitars, lazy trumpets and catchy heart felt melodies. Christopher Owens vocals add to the 60's vibe with a well equipt vocal range. The album reminds me a little of The Flaming Lips (Soft Bulletin) in the use of instruments and atmosphere they build.
"Heartbreaker" is a wonderful song, it opens with a phased guitar and you know it's not going to dissapoint when the bass line kicks in. This is a move in a really interesting direction for Girls, I'm a big fan I hope to hear more.
To listen to "Heartbreaker" Click here

Grinderman 2

So it seems that Nick Cave can do no wrong at this period of his career. Long gone are the ballads, now we are back in the horror movie of Cave's mind. Whether with the Badseeds or Grinderman, it sounds dangerous and intoxicating.
Grinderman 2 opens with "Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man," a mellow bluesy guitar starts then crashes in with stabs that could crack the skulls of babies. Every instrument on the record sounds beaten up, you could imagine them recording it in a convicts shack in the outback with dust spitting out the amps.
This record is great from start to finish. Heathen Child one of the singles brings an awsome chorus with it. The haunting "What I Know" lets the listeners ears soothe before "Evil" assaults them once again. Great great record!!

I've seen Cave with the Badseeds twice now, both blowing me away. I hope to see grinderman while they are still in full swing of this project. Check them out on their site. If you got the stomache for it. http://www.grinderman.com/

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Guards "Don't Wake The Dead"

"Don't Wake The Dead" is a fantastic track off Guards debut ep "Guards". A great lo-fi fuzz bomb! I absolutely love it! The vocals sound like they where recorded in a submarine.
Guards is Richie Follin of Willowz solo project, and I actually prefer it.
The rest of the ep though is not as upbeat but by no means does it let up on quality. An absolute belter and I can't wait for a full album. WTS!!!!
Click here to listen too "Don't Wake The Dead"

Twin Shadows "Forget"

George Lewis Jr. aka Twin Shadow has put together a fantastic debut "Forget". Highly influenced by Bowie in his "Station to Station" era, "Forget" is stacked with heavy bass lines, sharp steep synths and emotive melodies. It is very stylised in sound but the quality of songs take it beyond the materialistic.
Dark and Dreanmy "Shooting Holes" is a stand out track, it has a wondertful chorus which at the right time can send shivers down your spine. I hope to catch him when he plays in Bristol in Feb next year.
Click here to hear "Shooting Holes"

Wild Nothing - "Gemini"

Wild Nothing's (Jack Tatum) debut album "Gemini" is another example of the great music coming out of America at the moment. Full of reverb and beautiful melodies this is definetely one of the top albums of the year. And with great live performances backing them up, they are creating a hell of a buzz.
A wonderful track is "Summer Holiday", shimmered guitars, falceto harmonies and a real hint of The Cure makes for great listening.
For me "Gemini" has a real tenderness, that is full of hope. It sounds natural, and none of the songs feel forced or conceited. A real gem that should be listened to in one sitting.
Click here to listen too "Summer Holiday"

Monday, 22 November 2010

Frank O'Hara - Animals

       Have you forgotten what we were like then
       when we were still first rate
       and the day came fat with an apple in its mouth
       it's no use worrying about Time
       but we did have a few tricks up our sleeves
       and turned some sharp corners
       the whole pasture looked like our meal
       we didn't need speedometers
       we could manage cocktails out of ice and water
       I wouldn't want to be faster
       or greener than now if you were with me O you
       were the best of all my days
From The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara. Copyright © 1971 by Maureen Granville-Smith.
Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Friday, 19 November 2010

PIL - Public Image - The best way to start the weekend

Lets get to know The Vaccines

London 4 piece The Vaccines have got a lot of hype around them at the moment and it's easy to understand why. With their single "Wreckin Bar (Ra Ra Ra)" to be released  on the 22nd November. A track that has a lot of guts and guile and shows off their 3 chord punk ethics, will no doubt take them stratospheric. They have other great tracks such as "If you Wanna" the demo that started it all & "Blow it Up". Their debut album should be released early next year and has been recorded as pretty much as live album! No fancy production techniques.

The Vaccines live @ Captains Rest Glasgow
Click Here to visit their website where you can see video clips of them rocking 'Later with Jools...'

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Beach Fossils - Beautiful

Beach Fossils are one of my favorite bands of the year, and this album is for anyone who's summer didn't go according to plan. Dustin Payseur's lo-fi vocals mixed with a distinct jangly guitar make for a good record. This band feels like they've maybe got a bit more behind them, than a lot of the other no-fi bands at the moment. With hypnotic melodies and a considered manner check out one of the stand out tracks "Daydream".Click here to listen to "Daydream"

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Happy Birthday! Martin Scorsese winning an Oscar® for "The Departed"

Happy Birthday Martin! Was a long time coming.

Surfer Blood - "Swim" - Teenage Anthem

What a great teenage anthem!! Has got absolutely everything you want in a punk track. I have to see them while their in the UK! Big up Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood UK Dates

'Surfer Blood' who are touring with Interpol at the moment, will be hitting the UK on the 24th November for a string of dates. If you haven't heard them, I guess they sound like a mix of Weezer & Dinosaur Jnr. Great US indi-rock, plaid shirts and fuzzy guitars. Love em. Check them out on the link http://www.myspace.com/surferblood

Kisses - People Can Do The Most Amazing Things

This is my favorite track by 'Kisses' it's dark & dreamy with an indi-disco beat. Based in Los Angeles and comprising of Jesse Kivel (Princeton) and Zinzi Edmondson, 'Kisses' are becoming a bit a phenomena. Kivel's vocals remind me of Jens Lakemen, this is a band I want to see live! Check them out on the link below.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Smith Westerns New Single - 'Weekend'

Smith Westerns new single "Weekend" is fantastic. With a T-Rex style riff and some beautiful dreamy melodies this is gonna be on my winter playlist for sure. Taken from their new album 'Dye It Blonde' I can't wait to hear the rest of it. Listen to the track on the link http://pitchfork.com/reviews/tracks/12032-weekend/

The Pains of Being Pure of Heart - New Single!!

Listen to the new single from 'The Pains of Being Pure of Heart' on Pitchfork (on the link below)
The track still contains the same attitude as the last album. But I think if the new album is anything like the new track, we'll see a little bit more of an edgy side. With a more obvious synth line in the latter stages of the track and an up-tempo beat , their is a definite move in a new direction.http://pitchfork.com/news/40593-listen-new-pains-of-being-pure-at-heart-single/

Best Coast - Boyfriend - Great Video, Awesome track

Great video from Best Coast from their album 'Crazy For You' This is their big hit off the record.

Monday, 15 November 2010

The Pains of Being Pure of Heart - upbeat shoegaze

NYC band The Pains of Being Pure of Heart, play beautiful upbeat shoegaze songs filled with hope and a splash of melacholy. I saw them play a couple of years ago in Bristol, UK and they sound as good live as on record. Creating an awsome atmosphere amongst the crowd. I've never seen so many people smiling at a gig (Ok maybe Blur at Glastonbury). Catchy yet subtle melodies my favourite track of their's is "Young Adult Friction" which I posted the video for on my blog a few days back so scroll down the main blog page for a look.

Punk: Attitude - The most comprehensive punk documentary

Don Letts' Documentary on the history of punk covers both sides of the Atlantic, and for parts focuses on "who" started the movement. It captures the mood of both countries at the time. The US was much more about personal freedom and Heroin, than the UK's anarchic climate, spitting and shocking. But it's main focus is on the attitude of the movement and the ethos of "Punk".
The film is comprehensive in it's coverage of pioneering bands and also the bands that didn't make it but still changed the face of the movement.
With a host of great interviewees including the brilliant Henry Rollins, Jello Biafra, Jim Jarmush, and Captain Sensible I strongly advise anyone who is even partially interested in punk to watch this. It doesn't get any better.

Directed by Don Letts

Jim Jarmusch - Coffee and Cigarettes

Made up of 11 shorts, shot in B&W all linked by the rituals of coffee and cigarettes. With a host of stars playing themselves, as well as weird and wonderful characters this film is a joy to watch. From Steve Buscemi, to the 'White Stripes' it offers complete coolness.
One of my favorite scenes is "Somewhere in California" Shot in 1993 with Iggy Pop & Tom Waits, deciding that as they no longer smoke they should reward themselves with a cigarette. The conversation is brilliantly awkward and it seems the only thing they have in common is their lust to smoke.
 Another great scene sees Steve Wright & Roberto Benigni baffle and confuse.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Deam my first love

Releleased in 1993 this albums sonic sound caught my imagination at the age of twelve. I would go round to my friends house an here "Quiet" booming out of his brothers bedroom, and remember thinking what is this! My friends brother kindly made me a tape of "Siamese Dream" and that was it hooked through my early teens on whatever Billy Corgan would produce.

But with time and other bands coming on my radar the Pumpkins fell to the back of my record collection and their relevence became less and less. Until I heard the opening bars of "Cherub Rock" on the radio. A huge wave of nostalgia hit me. And I was 12 again with my tape deck.

Though "Melancholy and the Infinate Sadness" has it's high points, it's  "Siamese Dream's" pure tonal sound that captures my imagination so much. It is one of the greatest albums to come out the 90's and though chucked in with the other grunge bands of the time, the Pumpkins did something exceptional.