Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Bombay Bicycle Club // Bring an end to Earl's Court's 77 year history

This past Saturday, Bombay Bicycle Club put a period on the end of Earl's Court's history. After the likes of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin had played their over 30 times combined, it was Bombay's first time at the venue. It would also be their last, and the venues.

Raising an arm to the crowd, Bombay kick off their farewell to the venue


Whilst the venue is a great loss to those bands that haven't quite made the leap from small venues to Wembley quite yet (they aren't ginger and play half size guitars, after all - sorry not sorry Ed), it isn't going to be missed in terms of audio. I have been to Earl's Court for a few gigs now, and have always been let down by the echoey, muffled sound. If you have never experienced this, imagine the Chilean miners playing tunes off their iPods when they were stuck down there. Now multiply that a few times. The location isn't great either really, with venus like The O2 arena being far easier (for me) to get to, with restaurants surrounding it and better acoustics.

The history is crazy, though. Bombay were lucky enough to bring on David Gilmour halfway through their set, as guitarist Jamie MacColl introduced him as "the man who gave me my first guitar" and having "played here by my count 27 times". That's quite a feet, for any venue. Let alone a 20,000 capacity arena.

Moving on from the history and small talk, let's get to Bombay themselves, shall we?

They played a career spanning set, obviously. They managed to fit in their medley of The Giantess/Emergency Contraception Blues which is always received well by their loyal fans, along with hit singles from all of their albums. The new material blended... oddly with the old. The indian sounding "Feel" is so different to something like "Rinse Me Down", it sticks out.

Jack glares at the crowd


The show was certainly a spectacle, with firework sparklers, glitter confetti cannons as well as many buckets of the stuff falling from the ceiling. As graceful as the band took to the stage, to chants of "let it down" after the band aired their previously premiered spoof documentary, set in the future, looking back at the gig as a "peak" with the band having moved on. It's certainly worth a watch, with Guy Garvey's participation a treat, certainly!

Peace and Sivu provided support before Bombay took to the stage, with Peace boldly covering Led Zeppelin's "Since I've Been Loving You". Boy, did they get it *so* right. Harry's guitar work shon, with improvised guitar shining through, and certainly wowing the crowd. The new songs fitted in perfectly with their earlier efforts, and they are one step closer to sounding like Primal Scream every day with "Gen Strange". Sivu, was elegant and diligent in his performance, with Lucy Rose on bass and keys. The sounds his band produce are unique, as is his Finish stage name, for a man that goes by James on his bank statements. They both provided adequate support for Bombay, and I am sure many other bands would have jumped at the chance to play on Earl's Court's death bed.

David Gilmour takes to the stage to play "Wish You Were Here"


The band have since announced that they will be having a quiet next year, and with no dates planned so far, I can see it being very quiet. Why not? Afterall, they did just bring a fitting end to 77 years of music, with their own brilliance being the cherry on top. A very sweet, fun and perhaps a bit shy cherry. One of those ones.

Bombay played:
Overdone
Come To
It's Alright Now
Shuffle
Lights Out, Words Gone

Your Eyes
Home By Now
Whenever, Wherever
Rinse Me Down
Wish You Were Here
Ivy & Gold
The Giantess/Emergency Contraception Blues
Evening/Morning
Dust On The Ground
How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep
Feel
Luna
Always Like This
So Long, See You Tomorrow
What If
Carry Me

Monday, 8 December 2014

If Spotify ends free streaming, 2015 will be the companies last year

At this current point in time, Spotify has it's agreements in place regarding free streaming until some point in 2015. At this point, they will have to renew the contract - presumably for considerably more than what they are currently paying - or go entirely paid for. If it does this, they will be entirely pricing themselves out of existence.

Spotify do not pay per stream or play, as it is commonly thought. They pay using a calculation system that takes into account how well they are doing overall, their monthly revenue. This is times by the artist's spotify streams/total spotify streams. This is then multiplied by up to roughly 70%, to go to the record label or artist - this depends on each artists royalty rate. THEN, you get the final figure.



The first pitfall of this system is that if someone else releases a hugely popular album, you are shit out of luck. Due to their being more streams of that other album or albums, you get less. So essentially, the music industry is penalising itself as it thrives. Secondly, and rather important to this article, is that if the industry takes a dip overall, you get less too.

This is key. If Spotify does not renew it's contracts for free streaming, then there revenues will plummet, as there will be fewer ad listeners. Personally, I feel they should just charge £1 for ad-free listening instead of £5, as you would get tenfold subscribing, which would be twice the profit. Who wouldn't pay such a small fee if they used it regularly?

I frankly cannot see this a wise business model. They will miss out on new users that may convert to the paid option, and will completely alienate some already paying members. They do make a lot of money from the free option, too, it must be remembered - the ad companies pay depending on the audience, which is huge at the moment.

It was all much more simpler when everything was physical, wasn't it?

Source: Spotify

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Johnny Lloyd // Prince Albert, Brighton - Review

Johnny Lloyd played at a small pub in Brighton yesterday, his first tour since Tribes split. That will be the last I mention them, or as Johnny put it after one song “don’t mention the ‘t word’”, out of courtesy. Any worries that his solo material would need to be backed by other songs were put to bed, as his new set of tunes were outstanding – far better than anything the unmentionables produced.

Embedded image permalink

His set was short but sweet at 8 songs, which is actually quite long for someone who has no album yet. It was lovely to see Miguel on the drums, and he relished playing the faster paced songs. There were worries before he came on that perhaps his, so far, only slow paced material may be dreary, but this was not the case. ‘Shoot That Silver’ was a particular highlight, with fantastically-Rolling Stones-esque, jazzy guitar. Perfect Body was another treat also, with a wry smile from Johnny after he announced it. Previous material from his two EPs went down really well, with applause all round when ‘Happy People’ was announced.

Whilst it is early days yet, next year could be big for Johnny Lloyd. I would presume he will release an album perhaps next summer, but until then the premise of what was on display here was more than enough to put faith in him. As the man himself said, “see you in 2015”.


Johnny Lloyd played:

Joy Ride
Like I Did
Happy People
Perfect Body
Running Wild
Dead Beat
Shoot That Silver

Pilgrims

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Mercury Prize // Nominations are in, no suprises here (for me)

It's that time of the year where the ice-cool Mercury Prize panel crawl out of their presumably soundproof dwelling, and announce their "Albums of The Year". As the boring bunch would probably want, the nominations are:

The 2014 Albums of the Year are:

Anna Calvi // One Breath

Bombay Bicycle Club // So Long, See You Tomorrow

Damon Albarn // Everyday Robots

East India Youth // Total Strife Forever

FKA twigs // LP1

GoGo Penguin // v2.0

Get ready to see this plastered all over albums in HMV, like the girl/guy you don't want, but secretly do.
You know the one.


Jungle // Jungle

Kate Tempest // Everybody Down

Nick Mulvey // First Mind

Polar Bear // In Each and Every One

Royal Blood // Royal Blood

Young Fathers // Dead

After doing a bit of research on the left-field entries (sorry FKA twigs and GoGo Penguin), I can agree with this list as a whole. There is quite a wide range of music on show here - and I for one am massively relieved Ed Sheeran is not on here. I saw an article by a paper that I won't mention (The Independent) about how he deserved a place there. How does he? He's far too cool for this indie-filled list. No-one on this list was bossed around by their record label, that's for sure. Sorry Ed, try again next time.

My early favourites are... well, quite a few. I've reviewed 3 of them - Royal Blood, Damon Albarn and Bombay Bicycle club - and have listened to most of the others now. Nick Mulvey's album is excellent, but I personally feel Bombay Bicycle Club or Damon Albarn deserve it most. The first is organic indie music at it's finest, but I cannot help but feel the number one status landed its place on this list, as fantastic as it is. The latter, Albarn's first solo album after 783 other musical endeavors, is such a different album to others on the list, as it is quite self-indulgent in its percussive nature, quite clearly not aimed at the radio stations A-lists.

I have been very happy with the past few years, in particular alt-J and Elbow, and am determined to have backed a band and get it right again. 

So, I'm going to say Damon Albarn. It's just that bit different to win it. Sorry Royal Blood, as fantastic as you two are, it isn't mercury worthy.

H x

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Royal Blood // Number One!

Huge congratulations to Royal Blood, who have made rock history tonight. They've sold an astonishing 66,000 copies of their debut album. This also make it the biggest selling debut since Noel bloody Gallagher three years ago.

What an achievement, and deserved too. Nice to see proper rock in the charts for once too. Who knew that many people bought music, eh?

Rock on, Mike and Ben, rock on.

You can read my review of the album on my site, found below this post.

H x

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Royal Blood // Royal Blood - Review

Royal Blood, eh. After listening to "Out Of The Black" and "Come On Over" for what seems a lifetime, they release their album this week coming with what seems a lifetime of experience. Simply put, they have stuck to their guns and done what they do best: Rock and-less-so roll.

I, and most other people, have heard of half of the album for months before this release, which is really its only criticism. For me, they released too many songs in the build-up, and should have limited themselves maybe. Everyone was already convinced they were awesome, and the tracks they have released prove this. A tiny niggle, for a two piece band with a huge sound.


If you have not heard of Royal Blood before (are you from the past?), then expect music as technical and "band" sounding as you can get from two people. Do not say Black Keys, as they have about three people behind them on top of the two we know about, so they don't count. I'm not saying they are better than the White Stripes from the off, but they come mighty close, without sounding as if they owe anything to anyone. They are definitely unique in a time of pop shit being churned out and thrown at the charts and our faces like £50 notes.

Relentless rock is what they do best, and this is all they do. The album is short and sweet at 32 minutes long, a desirable length for a band with songs that seemingly sound longer than they actually are. "Careless" is a highlight from the new tracks, with a catchy riff and good use of drums and simple bass throughout the verses, and a catchy chorus. The vocal effect reminds me of "Arabella", maybe something they learned from playing Finsbury Park with them this summer.


Many have tried to emulate a guitar sound with bass, and many have failed. For me, they have it spot on. His selection of pedals has fascinated me and many others from the start, and it is good to see them pull it off just as well live, as they play how they record, which always helps. The drummer, Ben Thatcher, is also pretty damn nifty with his sticks, hitting hard and fast - but technical, too. They have such a close connection live in terms of chemistry, one that is vital for a two piece band, keeping them in time and thriving off each other. It's great to see that, rather than silently playing to the crowd. Mike addressed the crowd at Finsbury with this clever remark: "I'd like to introduce the rest of the band: Ben on drums", before Ben invited the audience to bring on the noise in the breakdown of "Out of The Black". Such confidence, whilst not being glaring, is rare to see in bands starting out these days.

To think they have gone from playing intimate 100 people shows in Brighton, to Brixton Academy and now to Finsbury Park is simple incredible within the space of a year. It would not be too much of a stretch of the imagination to see them headlining a festival in a couple of years, or at least packing a field full to the brim with rock lovers, screaming their hearts out to every song they have. I know I'll be there, and I hope you will be too.

9/10

H x

Friday, 25 July 2014

The Acid // Liminal - Review



The Acid are a band that are subscribed to the rather popular belief, or rather rule, that 'less is more'. This is in both their music, and promotion of their music. Hearing very little from the band publically can work well, or well, not so well. Luckily, this band has all the right parts to succeed. Los Angeles singer-songwriter Ry X usually creates laid back songs with little electronic edge to them; but with Steve Nalepa and British grammy nominated Adam Freeland, they produce a very different sound. Whilst you may not have heard of these names before, you'll be hearing a lot from The Acid in the coming months.



Their anonymous appearance definitely mimics Alt-J, joining a group of invisible bands that neither care for this title or actively try to change it. The media present it; they ignore it.

'Basic Instinct' served as the appetizing starter for the band, with over a million plays on SoundCloud providing a good base for support to release this album. The haunting lyric of "coming up for air" is delicate and piercing at the same time, with distorted vocals and guitar later on releasing an edge not known to Ry X on his own.



Other tracks on the album lean heavily on the 'less is more' approach that bands like 'xx' have reigned in. The opener 'Animals' follows this principle to the letter, and is beautifully executed. Light and airy, with hints of an explosion of noise that never quite comes. A weak opener, maybe a better closer.

Elsewhere, you can find urban electronica on the definitely-not-a-Bowie-cover 'Fame', and the whisper quiet, guitar laden 'Veda'. If you're looking for music to keep you awake, you are in the wrong place. If you're looking for music to night drive to, high on acid or something less strong, this is the album.

Whilst the album has it's highs (literally), it can be a bit too minimal. Very similar to the second 'xx' LP, which was expected to heavily feature Jamie xx's work that had excelled in between albums. The fruits of their labour are evident, but perhaps not all they have to offer is quite there yet.

Who cares if they're invisible, if they make great music like this?

7/10

H x

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Alexei Crawley // Liars EP - Review

Alexei Crawley has been working on his debut solo EP outside of Abodes for around six months now. I had the unexpected privilege of receiving a preview link from Alexei a couple of weeks ago - having been a rather public fan of his work - and have been listening to the EP for a while now.

The first track starts of unexpectedly. Adding keys to the mix adds another layer to the music, making the mix deeper and helps definitely with the lack, for the most part, of drums. The chorus is catchy, and nothing like the recent collection of "Stay With Me" lyric inclusive tracks. The harmonies are a bold choice. Often broadening and thickening the vocals like adding chorus to guitar, and at times doing what chorus can do to a guitar and sounding like half a step down or out of tune, but it is simply another little touch among many on the EP. The riff that comes in later in the song glides between the left and right channels of your speakers, and whilst it could be argued to be too harsh of a tremelo, it doesnt matter. It adds once more to the song, variety that often is missing in first efforts.

The second track, previously previewed live and in demo form, starts of with a slow build up before the acoustic kicks in. Production values are high here, with echospheric (sorry, who uses that word?) sounds in the slow build up before the acoustic kicks in. More upbeat than the last one, despite the subject matter - which is another positive point for the album. The lyrics are woven and do not sound formulaic in structure or choice. Repetition is a theme on the album, in a good way, and is triumphant again once more. I can't quite pin the guitar that comes in later in the song - is it reverse reverb, or just high overdrive? Whatever it is, it sounds all rather lovely.

The two tracks that follow display yet more variety to fill your cheeks with, and catchy low volumed lines. Very much suicide inducing if you were annoyed at the recession crisis and your lack of a job, but stick with it and look past the pills. The keys this time sound like something the xx would like to steal, and the almost rambling lyrics are a marked change from the other two tracks.

As first EPs go, this is very well done. As far as I am aware, he is the sole producer too - which I can tell you is not easy. Yeah, there may be a crackle here or there in the first 10 seconds of 'Stay With Me', but where's your debut EP without it's faults?

Try to not get any of these songs stuck in your head, I dare you.

8/10

You can listen to the EP on Alexei's SoundCloud, here. By can, I mean 'will'. I insist.

H x



Friday, 27 June 2014

George Ezra // Wanted on Voyage - Review

Having been included in the list for BBC Sound of 2014, it was clear that George Ezra would be a hot topic this year. His track 'Budapest' caught the ear of indie lovers, and is a favourite of many radio stations now. It's been streamed 15 million times with YouTube and Spotify combined - that's pretty incredible considering the song has been out six months, and came out of nowhere.

Source: Culturefly.co.uk


His whisky-deep soulful voice fills many a room on this debut album, as it did on the earlier tracks released prior to this album, on the 'Did You Hear The Rain?' EP. Now, he's just filled a tent at Glasto. Whilst many have done this before him on the eve of an album release, no-one has quite as silently as he has. No magazine cover, no startling news pieces or interviews. Just music. Which is great to see in a culture fascinated by arguments and controversy.



There's promise on this debut album, with velvet acoustic guitars, and creamy vocals from both George and the choir on 'Leaving It Up To You'. Whilst the album definitely fades towards the end, the mood changes. With it, a display of variety too, not often found on indie debut albums. If he has a good festival season, I can see big things happening for Ezra. Very big.

8/10

H x

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Linkin Park // The Hunting Party - Review

Fuck, they were not lying when they said this was heavier.

I LOVE it. I always was going to though, but there is little denying that this their best album since "Meteora". The synths are nearly all gone, and guitar is at the front of the mix again, along with screaming galore.

"Keys To The Kingdom" kicks off the album, with an uncompromising scream from Chester. Aggressive, distorted, and pure rock. The guitar that follows is distinctly heaveir than anything off their past three albums. "All For Nothing" has a fabulous feature from Page Hamilton, with an old school chorus from the band that first hit the main time with hits like "Papercut" and "In The End". The previously released "Guilty All The Same" is gloriously heavy, with a fantastic display of the bands confidence.

They had confidence to refine their sound for the mainstream over the previous two albums, to much critical and commercial success. Personally, I loved these albums as much as the others, as it revealed a different side to the band that no-one would have seen or argued for in their earlier days. Cheers, Rick Rubin.



But now, Mike talks slicker, the riffs are quicker, screams are louder and they rock harder on this latest effort, "The Hunting Party". This is a highlight for their gitarist Rob, who has in recent years been stuck in the background, rocking out every couple of minutes. Now, he is in the sights of the public, for everyone to see. There are more solos on the first half of this album than there have been in their first five albums. They are bloody good ones, too.

For a comparison, Serge's solos on their stupidly titled... whatever it is, they sound like he has just picked up the guitar. Noticeably lame compared.

If you thought Linkin Park were lying when that they were going to go heavier, you were wrong. They asked their teenage selves whether they would be happy with their last two albums, and they said no, so went about to adjust that. If you are undecided about the album, listen to their earlier stuff and then this.

This, is a true successor.

Enjoy the ride, it's bumpy, and refined.

9/10

H x

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Arctic Monkeys // Finsbury Park, London - Review

The Arctic Monkeys stormed Finsbury park on both Friday and Saturday of the late May bank holiday, with an impressive stage set to boot and a very loud 70,000 ensemble of true fans.

The bill suited them perfectly. Royal Blood were absolutely rocking, and are definitely less like the White Stripes then The Black Keys are. These two boys don't muck about, they don't have anyone else on stage. "Let me introduce you to the rest of my band" singer Mike Kerr announced proudly, "this is Ben Thatcher". Ben is one of the hardest hitting drummers I have seen, nearly always breaking drum sticks - and they only play 5 songs at a time. Mike, somehow uses just a bass to create that wall of noise. Pretenders they are not. They will be big as soon as they get around to releasing that album of hits. I did hope for a July release, who knows maybe they will announce it soon after the two biggest gigs of their careers?

Miles Kane followed and was as always full of confidence, cheekiness and smiles all round. I particularly loved him toying with the camera and visibly having a laugh with the drummer whilst doing so, announcing to the crowd "that isn't loud enough Finsbury" slyly into the overly-fixed camera. The drummer as always is phenomenal, and looks amazingly like Arshavin and about 14 years old, still. His ability to have a joke with the band and keep the beat to 'Rearrange' is astounding. He still needs to have another album of hits behind him, lest we not forget most of the big hitters on the first were written with or by Alex, and the second with Paul Weller.

Tame Impala were... tame. They did not suit the barmy crowd. Musically talented, and the absolute tunes that are 'Elephant' and the Beatles-esque 'Feels Like We Only Go Backwards' doesn't make up for a lack of enthusiasm, and doesn't create an atmosphere of euphoria in the company of thousands of northerners. Let's leave it at that, shall we.


Then the main entertainment arrived, after 20 minutes of very odd choreographed collection of animated clips. One included wax brides you'd find on a cake slowly burning over a minute whilst Bowie played in the background. Pretty damn odd. What was not odd however was the mammoth noise level when the now accustomed intro to their gigs rang out. What was unbelievably classy was as soon as the beat kicked in, it was revealed that the stage span round, with the band in full swing with 'Do I Wanna Know?'. Very cool.

Alex Turner was quite visibly pissed out of his face, but rocked a Dracula look for some reason. Not sure on that, maybe one of his Sheffield mates told him it looked good?

The setlist was a bit odd for the band. They only played two songs each of their first  and third albums, with only three from their second. Humbug is an era I really crave to hear again, but they were not in the mood to hang on nostalgia. 'AM' was played in full minus one song, which is pretty much a non-issue considering its strength, but considering they had brought back older hits recently into their set like 'Dancing Shoes', it would be nice to see a few more. 21 songs is not enough songs for a band whose songs are not particularly long, and only play their biggest headline set yet for an hour and a half. Less cocaine, more songs. I know the mixture hits him hard brick by brick, but snap out of it and play some more hits, and less practicing of those lines, please.


The gigs were a resounding success, and they proved that they have nothing left to prove to their fans. Now that they've achieved that, they can next time release new music and start playing *finally* a longer set, and they'll be hailed as Jesus figures by NME. Then they'll be a bank holiday for their birthdays, if they got their petty ways.

Alex played an acoustic version of 'A Certain Romance' on the Friday, instead of The Last Shadow Puppets performing on stage to play 'Standing Next To Me' on Saturday. It was accompanied by some funny interplay between Miles and Alex: "What should about the solo Milesssss", "I'm not sure, maybe sing some French? (sings French)". Hilarious and brilliant - oddly, Miles did not come on for '505'. Can't wait for their next one together, despite no-one around me knowing any of the words. 'Fans', eh.

You can see the setlist they played on Friday in full below:

  1. (Began whilst turning 180 … more)
  2. (Extended Intro)
  3. (with snippet of "War Pigs" by Black Sabbath)
  4. (Extended Intro)
  5. (Extended Intro)
  6. (Extended Intro)
  7. 505 
  8. Encore:
  9. (The Last Shadow Puppets cover) (with Miles Kane)
  10. (Extended Intro)
  11. (Extended Outro)

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Bloom FM // Not shutting down, yet

It was only last week that I heard that promising start up Bloom FM were shutting down.

But, today they sit with 17 companies ready to invest.

It came after two blows to the company. The first, a strong upper cut, was Apple banning their iAds. Stupidity at its finest - Apple can't beat them, so won't join them, but try to kill them off. Nice!

The second hit, a knockout blow, was the funder pulling out, a complete shock the CEO said.

But, on Twitter they have been advertising for a funder, and it seems they have several interested parties. With no adverts and great advertising, the company are destined for great things.

Let's hope the money is enough to keep the streamer advert free!

H x

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Linkin Park // Until It's Gone - Video

Linkin Park have unveiled the first single of their new album, 'The Hunting Party'. The single, titled 'Until It's Gone', continues the promise of a throwback to their first two albums, with first class engineering and a heavier guitar sound. It follows their last two albums that I felt were pretty awesome, but were much more electronic and mainstream for sure. Now, the guitar is firmly at the front.

I read an interview with Mike Shinoda who said that he asked the band if their 15 year old self would be happy with their recent music. They wouldn't have been, as they were listening to heavier music, such as Metallica, so hence the slight, grittier change in direction. It's a shame Mike isn't in it, even if it was a short verse like it Burn It Down.

You can read a very interesting review with their guitarist, Brad Delson, here about the recording process, which hints at solos and riffs galore, with new pedals and effects to boot. I respect a guitarist who freely improvises, and with the freedom he has to shy away live, perhaps it provides the perfect habitat to gloriously free-roam over his guitar - and the music.

The song, in my opinion is fantastic. You can watch and listen to the video below. 

I still can't understand why bands bother with lyric videos. a) you miss out on views when the full video is released and b) when it is done this well, surely it is just throwing money into a black hole?

A bloody good, money-making black hole at that.

Now, just to wait for a fall European tour... Fingers firmly crossed.


Monday, 5 May 2014

The Shermans // Hurricane - Review

The Shermans are back again, with a turbulent new single from the Essex now four-piece indie band.
Turbulent, as in amazing. Their single this time is a more toned down affair, but with a cracking performance from every corner, with more prominent bass and a good mix all round.

The lyrics are strong, the beats strong and the chorus is, rather importantly, catchy. The breakdown after the second chorus reveals precision and patience, something bands lack these days.

The result is a four and a half minute indie anthem. I've linked the track below rather deliberately than embed the track, so you can check it out,and hear their other tracks and EPs.

7/10

H x

http://soundcloud.com/theshermans/the-shermans-hurricane

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Bloom.fm // Shutting Down This Month

Bloom.fm has announced it will be closing its doors less than a year into its business as a music streamer.

Citing an out of the blue investment pull out, and Apple ignorantly blocking their iAds on the grounds of it being a competitor, they have been left in a 'poetically crappy' state of affairs.

This is really sad as the service allowed me to pick a genre, a decade or even a festival (cool, right?) and stream always great music to my hearts content - ad free.You could even borrow up to 10 tracks, for free also.

One of the best party music apps is no longer with us. Today is a sad day for music.

The Horrors // Luminous - Stream

The Horrors latest album has been a long time coming for some, and it is finally close. Just less than a week away, you can help illuminate Luminous - clever! You can do this by listening to the stream below, and sharing it to unlock more tracks.

The first song is just... well worth the wait. Farris's voice is incredibly unique, he's really mastered it. Along with the two singles, this is shaping up to me a potentially album of the year, like the last two.


H x

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Damon Albarn // Everyday Robots - Review

If you like Blur, you may want to look away here.

If you like, or rather appreciate, good music, then you're in the right place. Damon Albarn's debut album comes after 19 side projects spanning 89 years in the business (some of that isn't true).


The music itself is mightily impressive. Mixing electronic drum beats with a very cool array of percussion makes something pretty unique - see Lonely Press Play for a perfect example. His warbling, mumbling at times voice may not be appreciated by some, but it suits this music.

Mr Tembo is very uplifting, with the heartbeat outro from Lonely Press Play leading into it perfectly. The ukulele buzzes along the song like a child on a train ride through an exotic paradise. That, is what this album creates: vivid imagery, with inventive (at times) lyrics. The keyboards and piano are worth of note, as they aren't always part of his work - they go with the usual guitar you hear, but this acoustic album is less about that; it is more about Damon himself.



Those voice samples are pretty weird too, eh? I love the one he does himself towards the the end of Mr Tembo: "football pitches" comes across as a Blur era comment.

The music you find on the album is like nothing he has done in the past. This is his most personal effort yet, obviously. It isn't his best, but it is definitely worth a listen at the very least.

Enjoyable.


7/10

Credits to spin.com for the photos.


H x

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Record Store Day 2014 // Collection

Very dreary and boring title, I know. I was up at 7, okay? That is pretty darn early for a student.

Anywho, here we are again. Or perhaps the first for some - but alas, this is my third Record Store Day I have been to, and again, it was excellent. The vibe around any record shop today compared to the rest of the year is akin to a gig venue before and after the last song. Which is pretty sad really, as this is more than likely my last visit (or rather purchase, as I do love looking through stores... to see what I haven't downloaded) to an independent record store this year.

Moving on from that slightly sad state of affairs, feast your eyes on my below haul of records.



Above are, from top left clockwise:
- Nirvana - Pennyroyal Tea/I Hate Myself and Want To Die (£12, 6,000 produced)
- elbow - Charge (£10, 1,000 produced)
- London Grammar - Hey Now (£8, 2,000 produced)
- Bombay Bicycle Club - To The Bone/Reign Down (£12, 500 produced)

Pretty remarkable that Billericay managed to get in some of these, don't you think? I went particularly with an eye on the BBC record. I have "To The Bone" already, as it came with "Easier" (yet to be released elsewhere, officially) in the boxset of their last LP. The London Grammar LP has a lovely design to it, which I have attempted to capture below - the photo doesn't do it justice though. Not sure on them calling it "this side" and "other side". There's trying to be cool, and then there is trying to alter the bible.



The elbow one, well, I just bloody love Elbow. It has a lovely engraved etching of the album cover on the b side.

The Nirvana record has a particularly interesting history to it - it was a cancelled release 20 years ago after Kurt sadly died. Their were images of the records produced in Germany, but the release was cancelled. They claimed to have destroyed all the copies, but mysteriously a few vanished.

"mysteriously", eh.

Here we are now, 20 years on, with a Record Store Day release. Something that in its day would have been sought after, but now easily obtainable on one day of the year. To top it off, today alone I can see an eBay account which shall not be named has sold 5 copies for $40 dollars, making a 500% profit on each record sold. Extortinate; Kurt is most definitely turning in his grave.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Bombay Bicycle Club // A thoroughly deserved number one

I'm writing from a train station in London to be able to finally say Bombay Bicycle Club have reached number one with "So Long, See You Tomorrow". Not "So Long See You Later", Radio One. It's fantastic to see a band you root for becoming so popular and encouraging a style of music that is often illegally downloaded to be bought.

The accolade is thoroughly deserved for such a true band. Having bought their first ever EP when they were still at college, this is far from what they set out to do.

I look forward to arriving home at uni and opening my limited to 200 box set.

Thank you BBC, and thank you UK for making it happen.

H x

Friday, 7 February 2014

Bombay Bicycle Club // So Long, See You Tomorrow - Review

Having previously only left 13 months between albums, the 30+ months gap to this Jack Steadman, singer and lead guitar, produced fourth LP sees Bombay Bicycle Club delve further into their own eclectic sound scape. Having left it so long, you wonder what caused the change. So, I asked Jack himself.

I wish. The man's harder to contact that than an MP outside of an election campaign.

Jack and the band love travelling, and their destinations are painted all over 'So Long, See You Tomorrow'. The sounds of India can be heard on 'Feel' one of the firs to be d├ębuted live recently. The track represents a change and shift in focus further away from their perhaps landfill indie first effort, and more so towards the 'Shuffle' sample style. The standout tracks from the album in fact all have samples: 'Overdone', 'So Long, See You Tomorrow' and 'It's Alright Now'.



'Luna', and the previously released 'Carry Me' are most certainly their biggest sounding songs to date - a reason they are catapulting towards the number one slot for Sunday, having topped the album chart midweek, a first for them. 'Luna' catches Jack in a happy mood with some seriously catchy bass from Ed, who features far evidently more on this album than the last. Not only is this the album that Jack chose to pump the bass levels up, but Ed now plays synth on some tracks - they're great musicians and it is great to see the other jump into the mix. Jamie also plays bass on 'Carry Me', a thumping track, and sings on other tracks too. Music from musicians, a rarity.

To see a band I've followed from the dizzy garage shows of yesteryear (I can say that now, okay) reach even dizzier heights of the chart is fantastic. Only 'Flaws' and their last LP 'A Different Kind Of Fix' have been lucky enough to reach the charts. They haven't topped no.4 yet.

This time every inch of me is hoping they do, with their best album yet.

9/10

H x

Monday, 20 January 2014

Blog Update // Bombay Bicycle Club - Luna @ Sunday Brunch

I know it has been a while.

And I do really know my last blog post was on Bombay Bicycle Club. But surely you know they are one of my favourite bands?

Among the other things I know, this blog post is too small. I'll update all my sites and blogs soon, and continue my work with the Brighton University "The Verse" too.

Enjoy:


H x