• Oppressed By The Line - Kiku

    4 Jun 2010, 1:29

    Jon Thompson’s Oppressed By The Line has been one of those finds Club AC30 has brought in to the musical kingdom of mine. His sui generis electronic work behind the desks have created a blooming ambiance giving this need of gazing at shoes if I may express the feeling roughly.

    As the name tells; Oppressed by the Line’s third release Kiku (out through Drifting Falling) is highly inspired by the enigmatic world of far eastern cult Japan. Speaking of; Kiku - chrysanthemum is the national flower and seal of the imperial in Japan.

    Album opener Mountain Mist is a come hither piece foreseeing the saturating ambiance coming up next. It is as if you are wandering over the hills of the rainy island, with the waves coming back and forth in your ears. Then comes the instrumental piece Sunset from the 16th Floor, bottoming out the etherealness to the bits animating that deaf mute Japanese girl Chieko’s balcony in the movie Babel. Rhythmical beats telescoping with repressed vocals; Paper Cranes promises to be the catchiest piece in the release. That relaxation feeling came through the repeating kicks keeps hanging on One Thousand Red Stars. This piece makes me recall very much beloved of mine Goddamn Electric Bill; which is also a shining one-man project hailing from Jason Torbert. Next song Shinkansen makes an appropriate opening filled with outdoor recordings off public stations, human noises…etc. Given that Shinkansen refers to that infamous Japanese Bullet Train. One can imagine the speed and darkness and blur traveling in their own private shinkansens. No matter if it has been experienced or not before.

    Final two tracks are remixes of Sunset From The 16th Floor by Tim Ingham’s Winterlight and Mountain Mist by Japanese electronica artist Taro Kawasaki. Especially the Winterlight remix is quite filtering and refreshing unlike ‘some’ remixes slaying the originality of musical pieces.

    Mixing that familiar ambiance into the oversea curiosity floating from the land of the rising sun; Kiku extends itself to be one fine seven-track pleasure.


    -Champers
  • The Album Leaf - A Chorus of Storytellers

    17 Mar 2010, 0:06

    Very much beloved Jimmy LaValle is back with his magic stick in hand. That magic he is generously spreading through The Album Leaf is entitled A Chorus of Storytellers this time. Such poetry! Been almost 4 years since Into The Blue Again has turned us upside down. Imagine the thirst we Album Leafers have towards new stuff. The dried stillness due to lack of LaValle in our lives! 4 years, I mean! (However a new Tristeza release last year helped me to whine less but still The Album Leaf is no Tristeza… Right?)

    Recorded by Ryan Hadlock in Seattle and mixed by Birgir Jón Birgisson of Sigur Rós in Reykjavik (Oh yes!); new album is released on 2nd February through Sub Pop family again. I love my Sub Pop more each day.


    First impressions; I am fascinated. As usual. There Is a Wind, We Are, Falling From the Sun and Stand Still are promising to become new Album Leaf classics; recalling On Your Way, Over The Pond, Eastern Glow…etc.

    The thing about this new album is that for the first time the whole live band have performed the songs together instead of LaValle playing them as he did for earlier releases before. LaValle is becoming more of an orchestra now sharing his spot behind the mixing desks and all that stuff. Bringing together the chorus of his precious touring team: Matthew Resovich, Drew Andrews, Luis Hermosillo
    Perro’s down to earth opening of the record is like giving a soft massage to one’s soul. Getting followed with bagpipe like sounding - cinematographic Blank Pages and more strings and horns attached soul breakers down the line.

    I guess Within Dreams, Summer Fog and Until the Last are few songs that Jón Birgisson affect is felt most. The strings, soothing catastrophe getting you déjà vu the calmest moments you have cherished back from Takk days.

    Most powerful and say charts-friendly tune Almost There and Thule-esque Tied Knots wrapping up this 11 piece of ethereal balance. Satisfaction. And beyond.

    Downtempo, piano, violin, sheltering vocals (some from The Black Heart Procession’s Pall Jenkins)… Same old beauty in the haunting ambiance, LaValle and co. are digging deep that sleeping desolation in mankind.


    -Champers
  • Vietnam, Fishing Trips, Italian Opera, Cold War Kids and Rock’n Coke

    23 Jul 2009, 14:42

    So controversies come and controversies go; with a year delay Rock’n Coke has revisited the town through the arguments, agreements, pumpings, disagreements. As usual… But that’s another story. I’d just like to say what I say on a brief keen set group of paragraphs with no touch to an affair. I will leave that to others. Plus it is fun to read people dissolving giving a mouthful to the breakdowns of now 6 years old organization. Even funnier if you agree with the riots! teehee

    So where was I… Monday, 19th July 2009. Killing hot and a long way to take untill the festival area which is known as F1 Istanbul Park. Yes, that F1 where racecars gun it up to the very loudest bit. Crossing the sea from European side to Anatolia and then taking the bus that is filled up with sticky people. Well, air conditioners can’t accomplish their missions if you fill the bus to triple capacity. Oh yeah, I said I was not gonna moan, right? Go on then… Busses, shuttles and bottles of water later; there we were eventually. In the festival area. The tired looking crowd at the entrance; those took shelter under some tunnel type of thing gave us a clue about the heat rolling over the area. But I still kept walking further in the most heroic way. Me vs. Heat! Heat was hitting under the belt using the asphalt-concrete advantage though. Not so cool. But hey, I was only a few minutes away from seeing my beloved Cold War Kids. I could deal with it. I did. I suppose.

    Cold War Kids: 15.20. The sun edging in like an awfully glowing sword. A lady holding a hosepipe near the front; sprouting the water all around to see the miserable crowd wooing for more… Although some couldn’t help counting their blessings (!) to her that she was losing herself in the game of single-sided-water-fighting. Me on the other hand waiting with a divine patience for the Californian quartet that have made me a devoted fan from about 4 years ago. (we love la-underground!) Memories of me begging on forums for them to come and play Istanbul one day which seemed to be a distant dream at the time. Years of stalking any review on them, turning that amazing Robbers & Cowards CD to one “worn out from overplay” state… Putting them in my untouchables list of bands no matter what else they release afterwards. There they were at last! Nathan and Jonnie and Matt and Matt. The men who blessed my rock’n roll spraying the prudent blues on it. Because the weather was torturing and I was disorganized and got numb to find a pen to write down the tunes played; I don’t remember the whole setlist in the correct order. But I do remember the upbeat opening with Mexican Dogs. It was a balanced set between Robbers & Cowards and Loyalty to Loyalty. In no particular order it went like – Something Is Not Right With Me, I’ve Seen Enough , Relief, Dreams Old Men Dream, Hang Me Up to Dry, Tell Me in the Morning, Rubidoux, We Used to Vacation and Hospital Beds. Feel free to fill in the blanks if I have forgot any. They definitely didn’t do Passing the Hat and Saint John though. No matter how hard I screamed “Passing the Hat please” from down the front, it didn’t work. Yes I even said “please” and got ignored. Or even unheard. Oh well…

    I will pass the bit for complaning about the sound problems as we Istanbulers are so used to this thing for years now and these years have tought me no matter how much you complain nothing will change. I am just saying it would have been so much greater if the guitar in I’ve Seen Enough could be heard rather clearly. Jonnie’s super awesome participation and Nathan’s top vocals covered it all though. Fulfillingly. Dreams Old Men Dream is one of my favorites from Loyalty to Loyalty and is apparently a top tune! But still wasn’t expecting this good of a live performance for such a lowdown tune! The highlight of the show was Rubidoux with no confusion though. The noise and harmony coming out of those four guys on the stage got me hypnotized. Jonnie was incredibly cool all along. He was standing very close to where I was watching so I could observe him better than the rest. It is like he plays and sings with his heart and soul jumping around with his guitar in his hands. Especially the tunes from Robbers & Cowards and Something Is Not Right With Me were heard to be the most fueling performances. Matt’s rhytmic bass beats clinging to the cantabile melodies of guitar in Hang Me Up To Dry was when the band got the best reaction from the almost-literally melted crowd. With the final couple tracks the contentment reached to the climax: We Used To VacationHospital Beds. It was not only my voice I lost over singing aloud there but my senses too. As the Hospital Beds began rearing up through Nathans’s fingers on the keyboard I wondered if it was any possible to appreciate them more for writing such a beautiful beautiful song. Kept on singing aloud: Vietnam - Fishing Trips – Italian Operaaaaa…..

    So despite early hours of the day, awfully high heat, partly numb crowd (it wasn’t crowded at all actually) and the relatively short set; Kids made their best. Some might see this as a subjective judgement but hell yes; Cold War Kids were the best act of the day; following me.



    After CWK’s line, there was two hours until We Have Band shows up in the alternative stage. So two hours long eating, drinking, fooling around and a bit of nostalgia thanks to Cartel. Never been a fan of them but it was really exciting. There shouldn’t be a single peep from my generation who don’t know their hit’s lyrics by heart. They had some impressive entrance and the reaction of the crowd (this time it was much more crowded yeah) was impeccable. Except the younger kids staying confused to see big bros rapping out all along to that distantly familiar melody. Yeah it was fun but rap has its limits in my life. So couldn’t stay for more than two songs. Got our drinks and found some place to sit under shadows until the time for We Have Band.



    We Have Band: 18.10. Before all else, isn’t that a cool name for a band? Inviting, attracting, energetic… And this is also what you get once you start digging this jolie trio. They smell fun, moving and British. Well, they are. I have heard the story about this three coming together (getting sacked from EMI and forming a band…etc. Still unsigned…etc. etc. etc.) and had listened couple of their tunes in the near past but getting into them seriously was leaded by a precious recommendation from a precious precious friend Mr AndyWOS. He urged me to get around to catch them live right after he saw them live in Glastobury this year. Apparently they were one of the best acts of the festival and the word seems to be have spreaded already. Further proof is that these peeps have won the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition for 2009. They wouldn’t have let this award go anyone else if we had some similar type of competition in Rock’n Coke as well. I mean it. Performing at the alternative stage was a good start already. Nicely decorated background and shades! Keeping us away from boiling sun (which put a big fat block to CWK live pleasure!). Darren Bancroft, Dede WP and Thomas WP all dressed in white shining through the stage, playing and singing in the most harmonious way. Darren’s neverending energy was worth to see. He would dance, sing, jump, drum, let the show go on no matter what. With naked feet and smiling face he looked like a born-to-perform. I caught some of the vocals coming from Dede were recorded samples but won’t have a go at that. Naturally I won’t. As that would be asking too much from a three piece that won’t stop moving even for a second. Plus she sounded great all along! Critics have a point introducing her as the new Nico! I can tell Istanbul loved these guys and I suppose we all expect to see them with a longer set in a smaller venue in the following months. Here here!…



    After about one hour gambolful playing in the lead of We Have Band, we felt thirsty and tired. You only know how tired you feel once you sit on the grass and have a cold sip from your beer. There left about 20 minutes before Razorlight come up to the main stage. And we decided to wait untill just on time. Lucky thing we had a great spot on the grass where we also could see the stage and the giant screens on the side of the main stage.

    Razorlight: 19.20 Actually I wasn’t all excited for Razorlight. And eventually we didn’t even bother to get up to find a closer spot in the crowd. All in peace, sitting on the grass with beers I watched their performance from afar. I was expecting some joyful acts so that we wouldn’t help ourselves but jump in the crowd to enjoy. But nothing was special about them. Nothing was inviting there. It was ok. Just ok.

    Giant drink cue and even a gianter food cue later, it was time for Kaiser Chiefs on the main stage.

    Kaiser Chiefs: 20.50 We were still feeling lazy to leave our comfy pillows, getting up and waiting in the crowd. This is I never do at festivals. I always wait afoot no matter how long it takes. This time I was feeling lazy. Maybe because I am getting old. Or it was simply the sun effect crashed on our brains all day long. I am not considered to be a Kaiser Chiefs fan. I even barely listen to them. And let’s be honest, aren’t most of us have had a mock on them all these years? Haven’t we all made a little joke using the words “I predict a riot” since the time it hit the charts? Me and my friends have at least. Why? Dunno. Just did. There was something not sincere about them. But, a huge but I want to insert here… with their non-stop energy and enthusiasm I have to tell Kaiser Chiefs have been one of the best acts of this music day. Their full throttle opening and reaction to the crowd eventually made us move our arses to join in the gang. I even sang along!!! Ricky Wilson is such a showman! He was full of action all along the show. Running side to side, climbing up the stage columns, making the big crowd participate oftenly. I was impressed. I have a different vision for Kaiser Chiefs from now on. I surrender!

    Sticky, tired with pain on our legs searching for a place to rest; we were all content with the show Kaiser Chiefs performed. The headliner Linkin Park was on the line. So the crowd got even huger with mostly younger kids all wearing Linkin Park t-shirts and stuff. I don’t think I should have a say on Linkin Park performance as I am totally stranger to them. Hardcore fans around me seemed to be happy so I will pass annoying them. I mean I barely have heard a few tunes of theirs and to me all sounding the same. Good thing – if there has to be – kids seemed to be enjoying. Yeah. Another one haour and half to spend on the comfy pillows. I was content too.

    Santigold: 00.10 Around midnight it was time for the last artist for the day and festival: Santigold (yeah, she apparently changed her stage name playing with one letter. She is not called Santogold anymore. Tipsy moods, relaxed bodies and the festival ambiance took us to the alternative stage to call it day with Santigold. It was fun! Decent closing for a day full of music and joy. With robotoic dancers – back vocals and shiny costumes it was nice piece of show. She said something about being ill at some point so maybe that explains why the set was shorter than usual. Or maybe that is what I thought because it was so fun and fun things finish quick you know. Don’t really know Santigold songs in detail so I just enjoyed the moment. We were in a cheerful group of people from all around the world. All dancing off their feet. Even watching that merry crowd was something to enjoy.



    So that’s it. I won’t again get into the details about way back home. The long cues…etc. Just hope it gets better each year. And because I couldn’t make it to the festival on Saturday I have nothing to say. But the word on the street is that The Twelves couldn’t make it either. So hallelujah as they were the main reason for me to go on Saturday. Coincidences are sometimes nice!



    Champers




    Fri 17 Jul – Rock'n Coke 2009
  • The Stills - Oceans Will Rise

    14 Jul 2009, 9:16

    You know how it feels when your favorite bands release new stuff. There is this huge excitement , happiness with expectations high. Some sneaky suspicion bugging you inside on the versus side. What if it doesn’t catch up with the previous perfectnesses? And it was what I had in mind once I got to hear about the album #3 from The Stills (Tim Fletcher, Dave Hamelin, Olivier Corbeil, Liam O’Neil, Julien Blais). With their second LP – Without Feathers coming out you know how the funs got split into two. Post-punker based hardcore fans acquired from the debut Logic Will Break Your Heartwere not happy with the new Americana-ish influenced sound where the rest was welcoming new experiments and Dave Hamelin’s moving forth up to guitar and more vocals from behind the drums. What it would gonna sound like this time, I was nervously thinking. Good thing happens when disappointment is far far away from what you get in the end and what even better is that the excitement you have keeps itself alive even though the release is not even “new” anymore.

    After two long-lengths released through Vice Records, the Canadian quintet have moved to Arts & Crafts for the third album. And the producer stays the same who is non other than Gus Van Go. There comes a work of collaboration!
    A darkly designed artwork with a skull on the cover of Oceans Will Rise(/album) had already implied some sinister would be going on through the record before you know. This omnious feeling even made its place rather permanent with the creepy videos coming out afterwards. See: Being Here, Don’t Talk Down, I’m With You...

    The Stills know how to make a dynamic start to an album. If Lola Stars and Stripes and In The Beginning still haven’t made you figure this fact, Don’t Talk Down will definitely do the magic. Upbeat, energetic with sorta aggressive lyrics this opener is clearly taking us back to The Stills’ rather 80s sounding post-punk sound ornamented in The Specials influenced ska rhytms. The pleasure this tune is submitting is getting even deeper as yet another Canadian greatness Brendan Canning showing up in the creepy video (Christopher Mills). Head is moving side to side, temperatures rises and we hear the Devil outside.





    Second track of the album Snow in California is one of my favorites by far. Partly new wave, partly shoegaze; penned by Tim Fletcher; this tune is full of good surprises. Moving beats, noisy guitars and Tim’s crystalized vocals rising towards climax of joy where I enjoy how the motionless lyrics turn up to end in the possible depressive way. This rang me some kind of dejavu we happened to have again with the rise of The DaysleepersRelease The Kraken; some 80’s sound bringing The Cure and Cocteau Twins together. Double thumbs up and bows!

    Don’t let the noise confuse you about how the rest of the record might be sounding though. The newgaze feeling is not to be felt oftenly again. Instead The Stills have worked on some varying sounds. Broadening the scoop, sailing towards some well pointed experimenting. The most obvious one being Snakecharming the Masses. An uneventful melody tiding through oriental rhytms again being dragged along Tim’s deep-in soul vocals. Clearly the Istanbul leg of their 2006 tour has inspired the band creating this tune. Tim’s lines going “Blind us with a calling to prayer, whirling dervish, dark black hair” seems to be an open proof for this proudful inspiration. I am so happy the time they spent around here have led them to write such a killer tune! Clearly one of the top tracks in the album!

    Next up Being Here is also the first single came out of [album artist=The Stills]Oceans Will Rise
    . I personally see no connection between the sound of Being Here and the The Stills so far. There is no Logic Will Break Your Heart type of post-punk nor Without Feathers type Americana. Being Here; could be classified in a specific group along with I'm With Youand Hands On Fire. All making a different new scene of The Stills with the heavily processed classic rock rhytms. Catchy and familiar just like The Smashing Pumpkins , U2, Rem kind of rock’n roll or a bit of Dinosaur Jr. maybe. Good songwriting, impressive singing. From this point of view it is not hard to understand why Being Here and I'm With You are selected to be singles. They sound to be kind of tunes that radios, charts and forums would like. I have to tell though that they don’t grab me as tight as the rest of the album. On the other hand both videos for Being Here (Teqtonik) and I'm With You (The Sanchez Brothers) are worth seeing. Creepiness is full back on track in shape of fire, mist, heads-off musicians... Good works.








    The most crestfallen moment of this very upbeat record is being Everything I Build; served with perfect song writing in the incisive hands of Dave Hamelin. I guess it takes a huge heart to write some line like “I built it with all of the things that I'm not”... Another meltdown moment: Dinosaurs is considered as a filler tune by some. I will beg to differ to say it is rather like a peaceful – heart breaking breathe in between the moving chords shaping up Oceans Will Rise all along.

    With the anxious and fearful lyrics comes Panic. Highly moving built on classy drum beats. The fierce drum solo just before the second verse is reminding us old school metal beats. Can’t help but give some thumb up to Julien Blais here. Transition between this loud part and the rest of the tune is something to praise for. Sensation shall last untill the end all through this piece.

    Eastern Europe is another Fletcher penned tune with upgoing melody. Fitting vocals on immediate rises and ups have made this yet another favorite from the album. Surely the energy coming out of this song promises this to be an absolute crowd fueler for live gigs.

    Inspired by an African drink and days spent in Turkey again; Rooibos/Palm Wine Drinkard is a top tune makes you want to move wherever you are. Sitting in the boat, metro, walking down the busiest street of the town; doesn’t make a difference. You at least find a finger on your hand air dancing to the noise coming out from your speakerphones. The rock’n roll at its best is finding an end in an aloud gazer way fading out to a familiar melody inherited from Without Feathers. See: In The End. Final notes sound to be a reference to that lovely tune. I say cool! Yes, this definitely should be seen live, something tells…Another point deserving a praise about this brilliant tune is that it is positioned perfectly in the track listing. Following a kinda classic melody I’m With You and smoothly leading to the mellow closer of the 12 track long trip; [track artist]Statue of Sirens[/track]. In which you simply fall in love Tim's vocals. More than ever.

    Releasing three LPs, Oceans Will Rise eventually earned a Juno award to these Canuck five piece. Clearly this award, new label and touring with good friends Kings of Leon have brought them more publicity and recognition. Having experienced seeing them live once, I can tell how this band becomes an addiction once they get you in their web. Completely satisfied, delighted and rejoiced with the album number four and still can’t get this album out of my player; hoping to see these wonderful guys live again. Not only superb talented and fun they were on the stage but also one of the nicest – kindest musicians I have seen up to date. Based on the recently published blog post by The Stills, they have already started working for the next album and here is me hoping maybe Istanbul has more in the cache to inspire them for new songs. So why not making a late-tour over here again. Just saying. Tee hee

    -Champers
  • Love Is Verve

    1 Abr 2009, 8:14

    There are melodies you never get sick of hearing and personally feel attached to in both nostalgic and dazzling ways. Voices giving shape to those melodies, instruments and noise giving life to those notes. Bands forming that magic in spirit with bone, blood, skin and feelings. No matter how long it does take for the years to get worn off over the melodies, they constantly manage to reincarnate themselves processing into stories of lives and memories. And this feeling is what it crowns a piece or an artist or a band as a classic even though it could be on some personal basis.

    The Verve have been one of those classics of my personal world of taste that has been growing up with me, getting worn off against the tide but keeping young and proud despite break ups and long awaits. Ashcroft’s devout voice transmitting the magical planet of his earthly lyrics; McCabe’s, Jones’s and Salisbury’s crafted hands and souls coding this four piece into a classic in my humble liking. Should be why I had gone extremely excited and full of joy back in 2007 when it was announced that Verve were getting back together again. Army of thoughts and expectations traveling back to the haunted world of memories in my mind reincarnating them in the blurry corridors of noise. Should be why it felt just like being home again the moment I figured that I started digesting the 10 track Forth that is the fourth gift Verve have granted into the world of notes and chords.

    All the expectations and curiosity drifting towards me; it surely wasn’t simple to have Forth digested immediately. Verve gazing through the lines of noise needed at last three patient listens for starters. But then aren't most of those brilliant albums we adore are also growers too? (Ask me and I shall name many.)

    And the voyage to the Forth starts in a blurry noise drowned in the uptight beats of Peter Salisbury as if the misty ambiance taking one over the grey clouds; howling "give me some light". Ashcroft’s hilly vocals slipping upwards and then downwards collapsed in the psychedelic corridor of pedals. That almost 7 minute – confusion, breaking and entering into the scapes of mind.

    The first released single of the album; Love Is Noise also be the apparent star of the record given the success it has driven on charts and the fan reaction embracing back. What truly makes the star shine even prouder is the deep down meaning between the lines. Richard Ashcroft’s beautiful mind getting inspired once again by William Blake and turning Blake’s ‘Satanic Mills’ to ‘Prosaic Malls’ where ‘England’s mountains’ get turned to the ‘soles made in China’. Absolute gem molded in a massive arrangement and genius along with the biting reality. Chalk one more up next to Lucky Man, Drugs Don't Work, Bitter Sweer Symphony, This Is Music, Sonnet…etc. The Verve has yet another classic now!

    Decreasing the spacey speed is Rather Be: the second single out of Forth. A little slow tune mirroring a typical Verve sound telescoped with softy piano. Quite an Urban Hymns sort of sound bringing back the good old times of us dreaming to the magic of Verve on high school desks.

    The slow sound leaves its place to sort of a chill ambiance by Judas rising on the horizon to have its say on feelings and dreams. Crafted guitar handling oozing off Nick McCabe’s fingers winks its eyes modestly.

    By the Numbness comes out of shadow in a relaxed-depressive way the melody and the delicious arrangement tastes a wee jazz tangled in the blues. Ashcroft’s effortless singing ‘numbness on my brain’ delicately, almost makes an effect of hypnosis on the train of thoughts.

    Just when I was yearning for the violins Verve have acquainted us about more than 10 years ago, I See Housescomes to help; getting swayed in the route of violin’s beautiful world. Only in a bit more of an Oriental way this time. And the things the song says impress me in a bizarre way reminding me of Malvina Reynolds’ big time classic Little Boxes just lyricswise.

    The title for the next song tells it all in the most accurate way. Noise Epic is exactly what it promises for over 8 minutes in the sea of noise. The darkness, the obscurity, the deep reflection of Simon Jones’s beats on the bass, echoes and everything… every single element forming this track contributes what is needed to create a literal epic of noise. It is like post-punk meeting shoegaze in the haziest way. Like Joy Division’s legendary Autosuggestion being transformed in the Verve’s magnificent space of noise. The band describe this track as a selected bit from a jam lasted over an hour. Bless that jam for the gem it leaded to create. It is by far one of my most favorites in Forth.

    The misty ambiance hang on the air getting complemented as the Valium Skies rising up. Amazing track gazing behind the impressive arrangement; dark chords and Ashcroft’s unique noise suppliying sort of some imaginary valium to your blood through your ears.

    With the melodic valium processing in your blood the other epical 7 minute session on Forth begins; Columbo! It is said that Love Is Noise was created when the band was making of Columbo. I can relate the atmosphere invading the chords. The reverbarotary use of vocals by Ashcroft; just like every other instruments knitting the melody bahind the mist presents you some kind of noisy heaven. Love is shoegaze!

    The powdery voyage finds an add in an engrossing way of lyrics building up Appalachian Springs around only a few simple chords. The jamming into Ashcroft’s singing and the simpleness inscribing “took a step to the left, took a step to the right” into ones brain that would lead to a moment of amaze yelling out “Does anybody know where we're really gonna go?” at its most innocent phase.

    Taking a deep breath following numerous times of listens, numerous seconds of confusion and absolute satisfaction. May The Verve never leave us without the noise this long again!

    -Champers
  • The Day Is The Day For Dancing And For Singing: Travis Live in Istanbul

    28 Jun 2008, 19:47

    A beautiful Saturday afternoon. Sun is shining gloriously processing into one's bones. I am lying down here on this couch feeling the breeze flowing in from the window - trying to rest my feet-legs on a linen cushion. Can't help asking to myself, was it real what happened last night? Is it possible that a dream came true? A dream I have been growing in my heart for nearly 10 years...

    Then I check this funny crack in my voice, sweet pain on my legs, signed ticket on my desk and the photographs ornamenting dear mac. It was real! Following almost a 10 year await, Travis were there, in Istanbulland, right one meter before me playing by their hearts, singing, smiling, galvanizing, rocking!... Giving me and hundreds more fans a day of miracles.

    It was 5 PM when I arrived to the venue to see the almost never-ending queue trying to enter with an enthusiastic patience. I was truly baffled with this image as I have never seen such a big queue in a festival in stanbul before. I remember awfully crowded shows, festivals but at 5 PM meters long of a queue - now that was totally new to me. It took nearly 45 minutes for me to get in and once I was in I saw the whole font row was already taken. Yes, Istanbullers love Travis and anyone could tell there was a years of thirst to their heart-melting music, a deep hunger to their 'live' existence so that hundreds of people were there waiting under the burning sun for hours. Just joined to the crowd sitting on the ground until live music starts. In the mean time, I had to take some disturbing music running through the place. Don't mean to throw any crap to anyone as music itself is precious all the way but what is the point of playing hard-rock almost metal tunes before TRAVIS?!?! Well, life is all about experiencing, right?

    Anyway, it was the longest 4 hours and a half of my life. Time was just not passing. Under normal conditions, I would be enjoying the moment, drinking, eating, singing along, finding friends around...etc but it was different this time. I and Travis 'we all were under the same sky' and I had to wait cemented to where I was to see them as close as I could. And very luckily once the first supporter came to stage, I found myself standing on the front row by people standing up and making room for the ones waiting backwards. Two supporter bands and a long sound check later, the time would have come. I was counting down the minutes, even seconds and it seemed like forever. My excitement ran to top the moment I see the guy from the Travis team (apologies, I don't know his name) with a fancy 'Ode to J. Smith' t-shirt. My oh my! They were there. Right behind the black curtain while the soundcheck team was placing Andy's banjo right in front of me. I see, the banjo was telling me that there would be some 'Singing' going on.

    One last effort to keep patience and right on time, 9.30 PM, with a steaming up noise The Magnificent Five arrived on the stage shining through a fancy mist covering the stage: Istanbul was welcoming (in order of appearance): Claes Björklund, Dougie Payne, Fran Healy, Andy Dunlop and Neil Primrose.

    Because the whole event was skinning me off in the dreamiest way and I was constantly having short-term 'is it happening?' spasms with my heart beating at its fastest I can not remember the exact order of the setlist. But I remember all of the songs (I think) in no particular order. As far as I can recall, they opened with this brand new Dougie song Something Anything from the upcoming album "Ode to J. Smith". Later in the night, they did three more new songs back to back. J. Smith (Fran), Long Way Down(Dougie) and Song To Self (Fran). All of them sounded good to me keeping my expectations even higher on the new album. I already knew J. Smith by heart and it was incredible hearing this brilliant tune live and sing along. One of the best songs Travis have ever written up to date! I was curious about how they would gonna make the chorus section or whether they would skip it. Thankfully they didn't. With a little sample back up, it was - like Fran defines- a 3 minute rock opera! Excellent! He also told the brief story behind the J. Smith guy: as it is the most random name in English language, how many J. Smith you could find only with one shot in the phonebook. He told these all in the blogs before, yes but still it was super awesome hearing it once again from the man himself.

    I couldn't take my eyes off stage even for a second. Neil in cool shadies looking smashing good behind the drums, Andy smiling, winking and rocking as usual (and a special wink came to me once I opened the Scottish flag autographed by Travis -the one came to all the way from Japan thanks to lovely Hiromi!) , Dougie doing his special figures, shaking, smiling at everyone and making everyone smile in the mean time. I thought, if he could get any cuter than that!! Each time he caught my eyes looking at him with a wide open mouth, he was smiling at me with an even wider open mouth! Legend! And Fran; as always as bright as the sunshine, running from one side to another singing by his heart, smiling and ruling the night...

    After playing the first four songs in the set, Fran said a huge hello to Istanbul making the sweetest excuse on earth when saying 'it took us 10 years to walk all to way to Istanbul - anyone good at foot massage?'

    The crowd was amazing with one word. Almost everyone was singing along as loudest as they can. Holding umbrellas, 'all we want to do is rock tonight' pancartes... Absolute hits such as Sing, Side, Love Will Come Through, Selfish Jean, Closer seemed to be the true fuelers triggering the audience to shout and singing like they mean it! And I was happy with these songs as well. Yet, I was wondering if there would be any b-sides, Turn, Blue Flashing Light, Slide Show, The Fear, Afterglow, Last Train, She's So Strange, Happy To Hang Around, Midsummer Nights Dreamin', Re-Offender,..... and the mighty All I Want To Do Is Rock moment where Andy does the original amp climbing. Having said that, I know it is impossible for them to play all these in such a limited time. They would be in need of 5-6 hours at least. So fair enough, if they didn't play some of those most anticipated ones. Next time hopefully. :-)

    Anyway, before long there was Turn: one of my most favorite Travis songs also one of my all time favorites. Fran going 'Tuuurn tuuurn tuurn', reminiscing me how encouraging, touching this song has been to me ever since the first time. If I could set myself free, I am afraid I could even cry. This very special piece becoming even more special with Dougie's doing the vocals in the second part. Yes my life was about to be complete. Following this meaningful moment, that long-awaited Andy moment was on the way. AIWTDIR - aka the legendary stage/amp climbing moment where Andy screeching his solo with high distortion. It is like life stops and the only thing alive is Andy with the guitar. For the first time ever I could experience this precious moment live! Everybody should have some Travis in their life. I am telling you...

    A fulfilling set was coming to an end and they were saying goodbye only to come back for a breathtaking encore in short. Fran with the acoustic guitar, the whole Magnificent Five are arm in arm around him singing along Flowers in the Window. Then they make this warmest music cooperation: Fran singing and holding the guitar, Dougie beating the strings of the same guitar, Andy hitting the chords, Neil and Claes playing tambourine. Picture of perfection, 'they are one in a million'! You could just die happily that moment. Right after FITW, there was a big surprise for me... well big two surprises actually. Slide Show and its equiry Blue Flashing Light distilling in the air to stroke my madly happy ears. Just shouting the loudest as I can and enjoying the moment, thanking Travis TONS in my mind for this moment! As every good thing has to end at some point, this had to finish too. Closing track was none other than our beloved Why Does It Always Rain on Me? that made me think if it would going to start to rain but come on it was one of the hottest nights of the summer. Gotta be more realistic, right?

    That was it. But the night from out of this world was still kicking and alive. Right after they left the stage -thanks to SIna's tips-I headed to the stage room with my friend. There was a huge crowd trying to meet the band and quite a quarrel was going on there. But I was patient, cause Sina told me to be so. :-) After about an hour I saw Fran walking and just gave him a shout and he recognized me. It was so surreal to me that I asked him if I can pinch him and then myself to see if it is happening? It was great. The nicest guy and the band on the planet. Here I say! Even though we were with Fran the guards were still acting nervecracking but hey we were in thank to Fran the GREATEST. I had a lovely conversation with him on the concert, new album, J. Smith, Istanbul, Fran's SWEET boy- Clay, the Flag from Hiromi and more. He even told me that 'I played Slide Show for you'. What a treat?! I was pinching myself even harder to make sure I was not dreaming! :-D Pictures were taken and autographs were given. Then he took me to the rest of the gang: Andy, Dougie and Neil. It was incredible when Fran introduced me to them and Dougie went like ' Oh Champagneeee' with Andy and Neil following him. :-) Neil even noticed my 12 Memories badge and there I was again proudly praising that top record. he hee Very very very lovely and superb and nice and great and fantastic and magnificent people; once again made me realize why I LOVE Travis THIS much!!! The fairy tale ended by Fran walking us to door (probably to protect from the annoying guards tee hee) and saying goodbye. Thank you Fran and thank you TRAVIS for everything you have contributed in my life. I will see you all again soon!

    -Champers x




    Fri 27 Jun – Binboamania
  • Travis - Ode to J. Smith

    4 May 2008, 13:02

    It's not been a long time since the beautiful Scots - Travis released their long-time anticipated 5th studio album The Boy With No Name which to me has been underrated within the ocean of new records drifting all around in 2007- and maybe due to the not spot on single choices. Fans would know how long we had to wait for that rescue record to take Travis out of shadow after more than 3 year of wait following 12 Memories (aka musical perfectness no matter what 'they' say). A year and a few has been past and the nicest band on the earth who is known as Travis are now releasing a brand new album -number 6 -expected to be out in summer of 2008. One year lap might look a little short especially to those who have had long yearnings for Travis in the past, yes. But the band have achieved many things during this little time. World touring for The Boy With No Name, teaming up with Claes Bjorklund in both touring and making of the new record, three singles - with praiseful videos, calling it a day with long-standing label Independiente, recording brand new songs for the new album from London to NY, Portland; working with the producer emery dobyns in due subject, publishing plenty of studio blogs on the recording session frequently and -this one is for Dougie only- becoming a father to a little blonde boy!...

    A new song J. Smith from the upcoming new album Ode to J. Smith is debuted on Nic Harcourt's KCRW Radio Show - Morning Becomes Eclectic on May 1st to receive handful praises from the fans already.

    J. Smith is about a nameless character like the rest of the whole album. Hence a very common name such 'J. Smith' is chosen to bless odes along. It is a well rounded, versatile tune with too much happening in; those missed Andy solos as in the debut album Good Feeling, imaginative - melodramatic lyrics distilling through the dreamy chords as in The Man Who, catchy chorus echoing with Fran's colorful singing Oh-Ohs as in The Invisible Band, a unique heroic choir section presenting a charming fest to ears, an over 30 secs captiving outro, noisy riffs, noisy riffs and noisy riffs...! In the studio blogs Fran describes the birth of this song like: 'This song is, for me, where the whole record turned a corner during the writing process. It came from a riff I played whilst trying out a guitar pedal, sitting on the bust up old sofa in the vintage and rare guitar shop in Denmark Street, London.' It is good!

    Can't help thinking how moving and energetic this tune will sound live! Speaking of live, as part of the new tour for the new album, Travis have announced plenty of new dates most of which are places they are to play for the first time ever. What making me thrill on an excessive level is that they are starting the tour in Istanbul at the end of June. First ever Travis show in the town that has already started driving hundreds of fans happily crazy! Years of thirst to Travis to be filled only in less than two months from now.

    Here are the recent dates added to agenda:

    27 June - Binboamania Festival - Istanbul, Turkey
    4 July - Terre des Neuvas Festival - Brottany, France
    10 July - Montreux Jazz Festival - Montreux, Switzerland
    16 July - B-1 - Moscow, Russia
    18 July - Positivus Festival - Salacgriva, Latvia
    25 July - Fuji Rock Festival - Neaba Ski Resort, Japan
    26 July - Pentaport Rock Festival - Incheon City, Korea
    16 August - V Festival 2008 - Weston Park / Staffordshire, UK
    17 August - V Festival 2008 - Hylands Park / Chelmsford, UK
    30 August - Døgnvillfestivalen -Tromsø, Norway

    And only to show how rocking Travis turns on the stage, here is a short clip made by one and only Nigel Godrich.




    Beware ladies and gentlemen! Travis on the way. Coming full throttle to rock some fancy socks!

    -Champers


    P.S. For further information check Travisonline. Don't miss out on the blogs posted by Fran and Dougie. Pleasure to read all the way.
  • Efterklang: Caravan

    31 Mar 2008, 12:09

    Good news! New Efterklang video is now avalibale to see on Youtube. It is for the new single Caravan and delicious. For the millionth time I declare Sigur Rós - Glósóli being one of my favorite videos and I have to say Caravan being a very much look alike to that one. Green green grass, warrior moulded kids, chilly ambiance and all that. There is an additional sunshine visible in Caravan though. I think it is possible to give some socio-political meaning to the images but I don't know if I would have gone much deeper in that case.

    Fantastic tune, great video fitting with the majesty of the glorious melody, directed by Anders Morgenthaler.



    Caravan is out by 31st March through Leaf - Rumraket.

    Tracklisting:

    01 Caravan
    02 The Romance on Mammoth Hill
    03 Caravan (Max de Wardener Remix)
    04 Mirador (Vincent Oliver Remix)

    And if you still have not checked the latest Efterklang album Parades yet, no worries. You can still get it, see what you have missed all this time and adore..

    -Champers
  • Elbow: The Seldom Seen Kid

    14 Mar 2008, 16:40

    Don’t you think it is one of the most annoying questions to come under: Name three albums to take with you to a desert island? Yes, an utterly nightmare question for music buffs in particular. A never-ending anxiety state due to the fear of “being have to leave something out” with a broken heart. As much absurd this list making is, as much irresistible in the mean time. Me, that is why every now and then I can’t help getting lost within hundreds of records only to figure which one I’d need more than others if I “ever” happen to fall in a desert island. And my long-term observations have proved that each time Elbow release something new this masochistic anxiety state of mine relapses. Every new Elbow release plays havoc with my sacred list of “Desert Island Discs”.


    Once again my statement is avered by those glorious Mancunians. Once again the whole thing is subversively turned upside down with them giving birth to album #4: The Seldom Seen Kid. A long time anticipated, god send (so to speak), life restoring record falling off into the year of 2008 promising to be lasting in listeners’ minds-hearts for life-long. One hour journey-that you never want it to end- into the genuine world of Elbow; bracing, destructive, inflammatory, traumatic, soulful, rebellious, loving, harrowing, emotive, whiplashing, depressive, soft, blatant, sad, direct and indirect…


    During the long wait for the new album, I remember the word about Elbow on the street was like “the new release is going to be a return album to Asleep in the Back era”. I thought then “very well”. Not because I had any complains about Leaders of the Free World or Cast of Thousands as I love them both equally almost as much as I idolize Asleep in the Back. It’s just that the idea of “traveling back to the said album (which is known as one of the best debuts ever!)” got me thrilled in dense. But to speak candidly; the real expectation I was feeding within was on some album combining all three breathtaking records Elbow have granted to music planet up to date. When the day has come, I would have seen my humble expectations generously coming true. What a treat?! Both for me and the desert island!


    First song Starlings is the way to start such a laudable record. A still and silent intro split into pieces by noisy and multi-faceted intervals. Starting with a witty line “How dare the Premier ignore my invitations? He’ll have to go...” you wonder where this song is leading you. Before long, you see the truth rising above from behind the walls of emotions. A ballad for the woman of perfection from sort of an insecure man: “You’re the only thing in any room you’re ever in. I’m stubborn, selfish and too old.” Yet another crashing line to be imprinted in one’s memory. It’s just the first song so far, and don’t you feel already melted away with Guy Garvey’s mastery play with words? Needless to say as always…


    Then comes The Bones of You part of which has been started streaming on the official Elbow website few months prior to the release date. This is most definitely one of the most moving and recollective tracks in The Seldom Seen Kid. Gitano-esque beats take us one album back, to those cheery moments where we sang and clapped to Mexican Standoff. Garvey’s hilly vocals reviving a man who is sticked to the memories of five years ago again in his finest poetry scraps our hearts into breaks: “… I love the bones of you that I’ll never escape. …and I can’t move my arm through the fear that you’ll wake… and I’m five years ago, three thousand miles away”. Adorned with the desirous drum beats and guitar contributions, this is one song you can hardly get enough of.



    The show goes on with a typical Elbow sound: Mirrorball. Emotionally immense, full of love telling about a satisfactory termination at its darkest through Garvey’s soft and calm voice like a millpond. Just admire the powerful lines so to say setting off from heaven, floating in the air clinging to the gentle exposure of strings, piano and outstanding bass. “…the street is singing with my feet and dawn gives me a shadow I know to be taller…


    Being settled down with Mirrorball; Elbow have some ripping tune in their cache, Grounds for Divorce. Blended with enthusiastic blues and country strains, this tune leaves you no chance other than singing along and sharing the joy especially in the gripping chorus where the guitar is distorted highly. Grounds for Divorce is the first single from the album and is also entitling the album by the phrase “The Seldom Seen Kid” past in the lyrics. “The Seldom Seen Kid” addressing to Bryan Glancy; a Mancunian musician and a friend of the band who tragically lost his life in 2006. Elbow have dedicated the whole record in memory of their good friend Glancy.


    An Audience with the Pope is a smooth, soft uprise against being religiously conservative about sex. It’s a cleverly written personal clearance confessing “the world is turning at her pace” as in love beats anything. “I have an audience with the Pope and I’m saving the world at 8 but if she says she needs me, everybody’s going to have to wait” Mild percussion beats in harmony with the velvety piano sound so real and mellow that you feel an artistic stroke over your ears.



    Weather to Fly, one of the most Asleep in the Back sounding songs in the album is simply about the band itself. Guy Garvey asking questions to listeners examining life and then turns the mirror into their selves, zooming into the way they stand. “…so in looking to stray from the line we decided instead we should pull out the thread that was stitching us into this tapestry vile…” This is some kind of a monotonous melody with powerful lyrics and personal approach requiring at least few listens until it grows on you. Just like many other Elbow songs, actually.



    The familiar Elbow sound keeps breezing through The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver, five beautiful minutes on loneliness. Insinuated referrals to the life that looks isolated enough to be considered as a joke: “Now I live off the mirrors and smoke. It’s a joke, a fix, a lie…” With biting words on loneliness and ultra-amazing vocal show of Guy Garvey – rises and going downs between verses – I can say it is one of my favorites in the album. Again, give it few listens. You’ve got to get deeper and deeper to feel the real blast!



    Next song, The Fix has been the biggest surprise from The Seldom Seen Kid for me, especially at first listen. Not only with the different path that the song is leading comparing to the rest of Elbow discography but also with the magical contribution of legendary Richard Hawley. I transferred into an unidentified dimension as soon as I heard someone other than Garvey going “The Fix is in…” and figured out that this person being Richard Hawley. Amazing track bringing us to vineyards, getting us soaked in a vine showering up in the hills. Letting us to dream! Guy Garvey teaming up with Richard Hawley and Hawley getting his guitar talk like he means it giving a glorious ending to this excellent piece of music. Kudos all around!


    Some Riot starts gently bringing the ethereal feeling back. A great piano work accompanying a covered monologue, sang in depth with profound vocals.

    One Day Like This seems to be one of the most liked tunes in the album. I think the peaceful intro of strings and the catchy chorus gets the credit here. And I have to mention that the strings going noisier in an oriental way towards ending hand in hand with impressive guitar sprinkles and the spiritful lyrics make this one a winner. I’d definitely love to hear this one live.

    Final track Friend of Ours is an extremely powerful, touching tribute to the good friend Bryan Glancy. It is a solidly sensitive piece of poetry floating through the sea of longing. Bitter lyrics as large as life and the way Guy singing, so deep that you can’t help feeling it by heart. A crafty homeage and a sentient farewell to The Seldom Seen Mate. Guy’s from the heart singing “love you mate…” makes you live the song, it drives you get lost between emotions, piano and strings.


    Way to finish such a life-changing good record. I feel devastated. Positively devastated. In a good way. I am musically gratified and emotionally overset. Once again, I am gladly grateful to Elbow; one of the best, nicest yet underrated bands on earth – that they have given us an hour of musical voyage to directly hit the climax. Anything I was expecting from them has been met dreadfully and I am sure many more fans are with me here. Special congratulations to the keyboardist Craig Potter with all the work he has done in producing. A musical blast from head to foot. Some record to pass life with even in a desert island, with ultimate satisfaction.
    All left to be said now is I guess, I hope new tour dates shall be announced soon and they don’t leave Istanbul debarred from their lovely selves. As I know they are awfully missed around these parts…

    -Champers
  • M83 – New single, New album, New tour

    25 Feb 2008, 14:43

    Couleurs: http://puddlegum.net/m83-new-single-new-album-new-tour/

    M83 aka Anthony Gonzalez is back on duty with a brand new album: Saturdays=Youth to be released on April 15th on Mute. The very first single Couleurs is to be digitally out by February 26th including an exclusive remix by Jori Hulkkonen.

    Couleurs sounds like a fulfilling first impression accelarating my positive expectations on the new album. Gonzalez who has worked with producers Ken Thomas (Sigur Rós, Sugarcubes, Cocteau Twins, Suede and Clinic) and Ewan Pearson (Tracey Thorn, The Rapture, and Ladytron) is heroicly fomenting the divine shoegazing feel seething out through the melodramatic noise density collapsed with the under cover soothing vocals. This is good!! Both summery and dark; moving and tranquillizing at the same time. Just like Ulrich Schnauss. It shall probably give you a moment to respectfully commemorate the Cocteau Twins whose spirit has enriched the music to touch our skin and inspired such great bands up to date.

    In support of Saturdays=Youth, M83 has announced the new North American tour dates and the live band including: Loic Maurin (Drums), Pierre-Marie Maulini (bass and guitar) and Morgan Kibby -of The Romanovs (vocals and keyboards).

    Tue 5/20 - Los Angeles @ Echoplex
    Wed 5/21 - San Francisco @ Great American Music Hall
    Fri 5/23 - Portland, OR@ Doug Fir Lounge
    Sat 5/24 - Vancouver @ Richards on Richards
    Sun 5/25 - Seattle @ Neumos
    Wed 5/28 - Minneapolis @ Triple Rock Club
    Thu 5/29 - Chicago @ Empty Bottle
    Fri 5/30 - Toronto @ The Mod Club
    Sat 5/31 - Montreal @ Cabaret Music Hall
    Mon 6/2 - Cambridge, MA @ Middle East Downstairs
    Tue 6/3 - Brooklyn @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
    Wed 6/4 - NYC @ Bowery Ballroom
    Fri 6/6 - Philadelphia @ First Unitarian Church
    Sat 6/7 - Washington, DC @ Black Cat

    Anthony Gonzalez seems to be quite excited with the new album and the new tour: "I'm really thrilled about going back to North America!” So we are!
    You just get ready to be dazed and dive in this ethereal ocean called Couleurs.

    -Champers