• Come back to...

    26 Abr 2007, 15:12

    So I'm listening to iTunes on Party Mix (stuck for exactly what I want to listen to right now), and apart from the usual flotsam that crops up and is immediately skipped, Come Back To Camden popped up, and got me thinking.

    There are few tracks around that really grab me like this, something to do with the way they seem rooted in a certain time and place for me. Station Approach does this for me too, being originally from Manchester and missing the place terribly. The line 'I haven't seen my mum for weeks' still gets to me, even at 29.

    So back to Morrissey. I'm not a huge fan of Camden, having like, y'know, grown up a bit and gotten into showering regularly of late. That aside, this track will always mean LONDON to me, and with a move to New Zealand on the cards I'm starting to appreciate this smelly, overcrowded, expensive and yet utterly loveable place more and more. There's so much in the very fabric of this track that'll drop me right back in the heart of Soho, wherever I am in the world.

    Funny how a piece of music can jump into your awareness, cut through anything else you might be doing and demand your FULL attention RIGHT NOW. I reckon that, along with the two above, I can add Still Fighting It to that list, for reasons I'm not totally sure of.

    They say that smell is the sense most closely linked to memory. I'm not so sure.
  • Oh. My. Good. Grief. New Pharoahe Monch.

    20 Abr 2007, 11:37

    I am currently listening to the forthcoming album from Pharoahe Monch, Desire, and sweet child of mine is it ever astounding.

    There's a single out at the moment, Push, and yes it's ace, but the whole album really takes it to another level. The whole rap / hip hop genre to my mind is about 98% bullshit, 2% genius, and this fits firmly in the 2%, along with the likes of NWA, Public Enemy and Method Man.

    It's out on June 26th. Seriously, whatever you're into, buy it - this is an example of when a piece of work is such a high standard, it transcends genres.

    Edit - I originally wrote this having listened to the first four or five tracks, which are indeed brilliant. Most of the rest isn't quite up to the same standard, I've come to the conclusion having listened to it all a few times over. Still well worth getting hold of though.
  • Year Zero - NIN are back

    9 Mar 2007, 14:29

    Way back in 1995, I heard Closer in a friend's car, and it was one of those eye-opening moments where you're hearing something that completely changes your outlook on music. How does bass get that tight and heavy? Percussion that precise and punchy? How can anything sound at once so dark and yet so polished?

    So I'm a bit of a fan then.

    Yesterday I was lucky enough to hear the forthcoming album Year Zero (rel 16th April) from start to finish (through a set of kick-ass speakers as it happens), and disappointed I was not. They're back and in full effect.

    I'll be the first to say that 2005's With Teeth didn't quite do it for me, and although this isn't perhaps quite up there with The Downward Spiral, it's certainly approaching that standard.

    There's a whole lot of back-story to this album which I'm sure is available elsewhere for those who care. It's a concept album of sorts, what Trent calls 'a daydream about the end of the world', and the word Apocalyptic certainly seems appropriate to describe the truly massive sound he and Alan Moulder have achieved here.

    Those drums have got tighter, the bass is bigger, and Trent's vocals seem to have gained more texture. He talks about the record being something of a 'sound collage' and although this is something of a loaded phrase these days, Year Zero is a more abstract work than much of his other stuff. It's hard to describe, but suffice it to say I wouldn't want to be listening to this on acid.

    With tracks like 'The Beginning Of The End', Meet Your Master' and 'The Great Destroyer' there's a real portentous tone to the album, which never veers into mawkishness, but serves to underline quite how dark the whole thing is.

    Anyway, since I first heard NIN, I've grown up, and I'm pleased to say that it sounds very much like Mr Reznor has too - this is a real evolution and well worth a listen. Only 5 weeks to go...
  • More on OEP

    5 Mar 2007, 19:29

    So following on from my hastily scribbled entry on the forthcoming Maxïmo Park album, I've finally stopped listening to it for long enough to write a bit more. Trust me, for those of you who don't quite warm to it at first, it grows.

    I've said before that it's a little less angry than A Certain Trigger, but on further listening that intensity and frenetic energy is still very definitely there, it's just refined and slightly more deftly handled.

    I'm seeing this (and I know disagreement will follow in spades) as a bit of an evolution, which is about the most amazing thing that can happen for a fan. Naming no names, but a few bands have recently put out second albums which can be most generously described as pallid imitations of their former selves. Not good.

    So, the 2nd album hurdle over with, what of the tracks? The single ( Our Velocity) stands out as possibly the most familiar sounding track on the whole thing, but once you scratch the surface to gems like Karaoke Plays and especially Sandblasted, the way this lot have moved forwards as musicians and songwriters really becomes apparent. Parisian Skies is the only one that doesn't really grab me, yet, but in a 12 track album that's a pretty admirable hitrate.

    I'll have to refer to my earlier post for my out and out favourite - the opener (Girls Who Play Guitars) is one of those tracks that convinces you to stick the whole album on repeat, listening to it... just one more time... just one more time... and so on. Top stuff.

    So to all those grumpy old men who huddle at the back of ULU with their arms folded mumbling about how they don't make 'em like The Cure or The Smiths anymore, ferchrissakes get yourself down the front of the next Maxïmo Park gig and have yourselves proved oh so very wrong.
  • Few sound issues but ace nonetheless

    23 Feb 2007, 18:00

    Thu 1 Feb – The Shins

    ... that pretty much says it all really. It looked from where I was standing like the PA wasn't entirely happy, but once they got going (about 2 - 3 songs in) it was sounding pretty good. Top version of Australia, too.

    Just goes to prove that if you're a top-notch bunch of properly professional musicians, a few plugs being looses won't stop you turning out a brilliant gig.
  • Our Earthly Pleasures

    23 Feb 2007, 12:47

    Well well, this could be my most eagerly anticipated album releases of 2007; the new Maxïmo Park album.

    I've been a bit of a fan since hearing an early promo of Trigger and seeing them at ULU, and I'm really liking the new one.

    It's not quite as angry as Trigger is in places, possibly even slightly more mainstream (and I don't mean that as a criticism), and definitely sounds more mature.

    Stand out tracks include Books From Boxes and Girls Who Play Guitars - although as I listen to it I'm sure others will creep out of the woodwork.

    Difficult second album my arse. Expect much more from this lot...
  • New LCD Soundsystem

    19 Ene 2007, 18:17

    One more today - I'm currently listening to the new LCD Soundsystem album and I have to share with the world that it's absolutely astounding.

    Track 3 - North American Scum - is about the best of the bunch so far, but then I'm only on track 5... the best may be yet to come...
  • New stuff

    19 Ene 2007, 18:09

    Interesting crop of new music today - heard a couple of tracks by The Enemy, a bunch of gobby lads from Coventry (and so defiantly *from* Coventry) who're shaping up to be something pretty big this year. Shouty singalong choruses, hummable guitar lines and one of the best indie drummers I've heard in years. I can't remember when the single's out but should be in the next month or two.

    Better songwriters than Oasis, but as they're in a similar vein I'm sure they'll be lumped in with them at some point.
  • Odds n Sods

    16 Ene 2007, 18:42

    A short while back, We Are Scientists released Crap Attack in the UK, basically a collection of B-Sides and so on.

    It's ace. The lovingly arranged version of Sigur Ros's Hoppipola is worth buying the album for alone. The physical version comes with a DVD full of interesting nuggets, too. I've shamelessly not posted this for any other reason than to encourage people to buy it cos it's brilliant.

    Future posts will be more interesting. Promise.
  • Astonishingly good remix

    10 Ene 2007, 18:26

    From the special edition of Antics, I've just been listening to the Daniel Kessler remix of Interpol's Not Even Jail, and to be honest I'm staggered. It's rare that a remix takes an already brilliant track to another level but this is one of those instances.

    Top stuff: Not Even Jail (Daniel Kessler remix)