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.