Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Poor student seeks music

So, Album number 4 is due yesterday. The review will come tonight.

However, I never bought an album last week. Financial impotency unfortunately destroyed my chances of buying albums. As a result I am going to be a bit more creative. Instead of reviewing an old album that I love (that will no doubt happen) I am, instead, going to bring you a review of a new album by a new band on a tiny label: Billy Ruffian, My Secret Life. And as I know the band, I have the album for nowt, hence quenching my thirst for music and not spending money.

In other music news...
The RIAA (the guys who control all the music rights and such in America) are (*rude derogitory word*) currently driving Internet radio in America into the ground. New laws passed mean Internet Radio stations have to pay royalties, which is going to force all but the largest out of business. All in the name of artists, right? Well no.

The biggest gripe I have at the moment is concerning unsigned bands. If my band wants to give out music to a radio station to play, free of charge, that's obviously fine, as we own the copywright on it. Right? Right? Wrong! Apparently, They still have to pay for the right to play my stuff, and then I have to pay to join the bit of the RIAA (SoundExchange) so that I can get paid the royalties which I am owed. I know I hate England at the best of times, but I hate America more.


Friday, 27 April 2007

Some people mentioned the reviews are too long

So here's my answer.
Album A: Soulwax- Any minute now.

What the song sounds like:

1- E-Talking: Massive night out. Best thing you've ever heard. Sex.
2- Any Minute now: Massive mosh pit
3- Please... Don't be yourself: Lying in bed next to the missus when you've fallen out and aren't talking.
4- Compute: Running away from angrymen
5- Krack: Flying around in a plane, shooting Bad guys.
6- Slowdance: The video would have sumo wrestling in it.
7- A Ballad To Forget: That moment where something bad has happened (lost girlfriend, big fall out etc.) where you're lying by yourself on your bed crying? This is that song that you listen to.
8- Accidents and compliments: The song that you sit down to in the club to catch your breath, because although it's amazing, you just can't dance to it.
(That song that you scream they lyrics at your best mate over the dancefloor).
10- Miserable girl: Turn it up, clean the house.
11- YYY/NNN: The haunted house at a fun fair. A good one though, not one of those for 5 year olds with funny mirrors.
12- The truth is so boring: Post Coital cigarette.
13- Dance 2 Slow: Bubbles!

Score: 8.5/10
Download: NY Excuse, E-Talking
Soulwax Myspace

If this album was a colour: Dark Gray


Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Album 3: LCD Soundsystem, "The sound of silver"

LCD soundsystem is the project of New Jersey born producer James Murphy, a sombre, middle aged looking man, who you wouldn't expect to be the time to produce some of the catchiest and disco like songs this side of the 70s.

The first LP produced by the act, "LCD Soundsystem", was a double disc epic of classic electronic pop songs, in a time when such a thing was far from common, and well before "nu-rave" was on the scene. Chances are you will have heard "Daft Punk is Playing in my house", a 5 minute dancefloor classic that you simply cannot not dance to, a song which reached #29 in the UK charts. If you haven't heard the first album, definitely download "Tribulations", an uptempo synth based song which is one of those tracks to play in the morning to get you out of bed.

After much success with the debut album, expectations were raised for "Sound of Silver". With a much changed music scene, where electronic music is much more at the forefront of the charts due to the likes of Klaxons and CSS, would LCD be able to step up to the challenge, or simply rest on its Laurels?

The simple answer is there is no simple answer. The album sees a big change in direction to the sound for Murphy, whose trademark nasal vocals are found a lot less frequently on this record. Single "North American Scum" has clearly been released to appeal to fans of the last record, following in much the same vein as the debut, with driving disco drums, big bass lines and a lot of dynamic with the change into the massive chorus. A very good song, but wholly unrepresentative of the album.

Murphy has gone for a considerably more emotional sound on this record. Gone are the catchy keys and unique vocal hooks, replaced with a lot more singing, and songs that are a lot less instantly accessible. For some songs this works brilliantly; Track of the album, "Someone Great", is a very relaxed effect, heavy on synth and effects, with simply perfect lyrics about losing someone very special. Very emotional, and perfectly executed.

The problem with this album is that it is a live album. LCD are a great live act, with everyone bouncing up and down and having a dance. This is a dancing album, but it doesn't work on record. Songs like title track "Sound of Silver", seem to go on for ages, with the same beat, repeating over and over, with bits being added and built up, forever. Live, this can and will work. On record, it leads to a very bland sound that could be used for elevator music. "All my friends" suffers from the same condition, with the main riff, a very nice and simple piano line, is repeated throughout the entire song, which is slowly built up and has everything else coming in after; First the drums, then the vocals. A good song, with some nice gentle singing from Murphy. However, the song ends up dragging, and leads to the listener becoming disinterested. This too, is a "proper" song, not a dance floor one. I don't think it will work live, and I don't think it works as well as it could on record.

Album closer, "New York, I love you but you're bringing me down" is another proper song, a beautiful piano piece, whose lyrics are self explanatory from the title, which finishes with a nice piece of musical aggression. A nice way to end the album, although it doesn't fit with anything else. There will be no bouncing to this song. Maybe some romantic dancing though.

There are still hints of the old Soundsystem in there. "Watch the tapes" comes in with a catchy-as-you-like vocal riff, then kicks into driving drums and bass line, with the old school vocal lines from Murphy, making you want to get out your seat and bounce around. "Time to get away" also offers hints of the debuts vocal lines, however the tracks tempo lets it down as it's much to slow to move about like a madman to. This track also suffers from the albums "start small, add things to it, add more things to it, keep doing this for a long time" problem. Although it has plenty of cowbell in it, which helps :)

This album is the reason why iTunes is good. It is a mess, and it's hit and miss. Half the album (North American Scum, Someone great, All my friends, New york...) are great songs, which I recommend you go buy. Even where I've criticised them, they are still worth listening to in isolation from the rest of the album. Then there are the other songs, which I would recommend certainly not paying for, like opener "Get Innocuous!". Although this has been getting a lot of praise from some camps, I can honestly say it sounds like a poor self indulgent experimental piece, which unfortunately set the tone for the rest of the album.

With this album, James Murphy has changed the direction of LCD from pop disco to a bit of pop, a bit of emotion, a bit of experimentation, which has led to a mixed album of hits and misses, and overall an album that does not gel. By all means listen to the tracks I recommended, but certainly don't buy this album. There's a lot of other albums that deserve your undivided attention more.

Download: Someone great, All my Friends
Don't download: Get innocuous!, us vs them


Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Don't cry!

Apologies for not writing to update you on everything musical. However, at the weekend my beutiful girlfriend was here so no posts allowed, then last night played a gig.

LCD review will come today or tomorrow, as I am watching a gig (which I will review) tonight. This weeks album is intended to be Mark Ronson with "Versions", but unfortunately I haven't had time to buy it yet. Will attempt to do so after work today.

I've also bought 3 albums at the weekend for £8. Manic Street Preachers - lifeblood, Soulwax - any minute now, and Mad Action (self titled). Possible reviews coming up.

Samba out!

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Unsigned 1: Please sign on the dotted line

IT's ok, it's ok, i'm back with more moosic for your ears. Today I thought i'd introduce you to some lesser known bands, because they shouldn't be lesser known.

In no particular order...


Shmoo are a Manchester based live electronic band. I don't mean dance there though, they're a full band, just no guitar. Bass, drums, keys, synth and vox. I discovered them playing at the old bar I used to work at, and they've since been close to the top on my list of favourite unsigned bands. They've had plenty of exposure, with their songs being on TV, plenty of support from the BBC, and regular touring in between song writing.

Their music is beutiful, but not in an acoustic way. Vocalist Rowena Scott has amazing, soaring vocals, which are technical without being anything like ChristnaBritneyBeyonce like. An amazing live band, with great, great songs, that would be a loss to music if they didn't make it.

Shmoo myspace
Shmoo: Play Thing live

Mr Fang music

I've actually discovered this band this week, but have viewed them more than good enough to include.

Mr Fang music is currently a 2 piece, who put together everything for the recordings, but are planning on getting a 3rd member in for live perfomance.

This band is very very catchy. Slightly indie shouty vocals, reminiscent of White Rose Movement, but with a lot more energy and balls. All their songs are uptempo, and you can imagine they'd be simply fantastic live. Great use of synchronised guitar and vocals, with a lot of use of synth and samples, this band is truely original and very listenable. If they get themselves together with good promotion and support slots, they'll definately be around the Manchester scene for a while.

Mr Fang Myspace

Track to listen to: Miss Deluxe (no link available, or video).

Our Fold

Bolton based Our Fold are going to make it. They are. No doubt in my mind.
I was introduced by the guy who puts gigs on at Bolton University, and I can honestly say I'm impressed. The band fit perfectly into the current wave of indie, but without being samey. Impressive technical songs keep you glued to the stereo, and even listening to the demos you can tell the songs would fit perfectly onto Radio 1. Imagine current Radio1 bumboys The Twang, but not wank. In fact, very amazing. Presenting, our fold.

Our Fold Myspace

Track to listen to: Victim of lies (check the cowbell out!!)

Belt, tap and needle:

Also check out Shura below...

That's it for unsigned bands this post! Samba out!

Thursday, 19 April 2007

That's not the case

Only time for a quick post. Was going to be a big unsigned band post, but left all the links at work!

So, instead, I treat you to the following. Beautiful, beautiful music at its best. By a very talented'un called Shura, who deserves fame a lot more than most the singer/songwriter rubbish out there atm.

Watch. Enjoy. Comment.

That's Not The Case Live

Shuras myspace

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Reuben Sandwich

Apparently they're big in America. Never heard of it myself.

The band Reuben, I have however. They're one of my fave bands, like ever. From Aldershot, home to bands such as Vex Red (before they shut up shot), Reuben are potentially the catchiest heavy band in existance. An Oxymoron to an extent, but when you listen to them, all will become clear.

Lead singer and guitarist of the 3 piece, Jamie Lenman, has simply the most dynamic voice in history. He can go from shouty screams (and i'm not a fan of screaming in bands, but this man is the exception) to beutiful melodies in the blink of an eye. Add all this over some of the best technical drumming you will hear from a band, and heavy as you like bass lines, and you have one of the best bands out there. I assure you, there is nothing out there quite like Reuben.

They are on the verge of releasing album 3 (so if you haven't heard yet, what's your excuse!?). First album, Racecar is Racecar backwards, was a 16 track epic (they wanted to record as many tracks as possible in case they didn't get the chance to again) which simply had hit after hit after hit on it. Although some songs aren't as mainstream-friendly as others, you'll find it difficult to not like them. Second album, very fast, very dangerous, was just as good, releasing some very welcomed fresh material to the fans, which saw some very "pop" songs (I say pop. I mean if metallica did pop. But nothing like metallica. Because Reuben are good), and some very, very hardcore shizzle.

The band have since parted company with their label Xtra mile, created their own (Hideous records) on which they have recorded and are about to release "In nothing we trust", the making of which can be seen on a hilarious video blog on the myspace, and have already released their DVD "What happens in Aldershot, stays in Aldershot". With backing from a lot of alt radio, including the infamous Zane Lowe, hopefully the band can finally get some of the success they deserve.

O, forgot to mention, they're doing a massive fat tour to support the whole thing, and on the grounds i've seen them about 6 times, I can safely say they're one of the best live acts on the circuit at the moment.

Reuben myspace
Reuben website

"Keep it to yourself", from very fast, very dangerous

Succioperro. Weird Spanish? Perhaps. Great band? Certainly.

I discovered them supporting Reuben on their most recent tour. Superb! They're like Biffy Clyro, but cleverer and more accessible. Getting their album is certainly on the Top Of My List Of Things To Do. Unforgiving riffs, with beautiful vocals over the top. One of those bands that it will always upset you because you can't see them getting that big break that they really deserve.

O, and an interesting tidbit for you. Did you ever hear of Marmaduke duke? It was the lead singer of Biffy Clyros side project. Technically, it still is. But the point is, that it was done with one of the guys from Sucioperro. They're all from the same place in Scotland! Imagine that.

Check out the video for Dialog on the 2 below. An epic tune if ever they were.

Sucioperro myspace
Sucioperro website

Dialog on the 2

I suppose to top this trio off I might as well bring it back to Biffy Clyro. Biffy are from Ayreshire. Biffy have been going for ages without receiving the credit they receive. Biffy are amazing.

You've probably heard of them. They're on the verge of releasing fourth album "Puzzle" on major label Warner, and they've had oen of their singles, "Saturday Superhouse", hammered to hell on Radio 1. The key here, is that this is their fourth album. That means, 3 more before it. And i'll tell you now, they're good. Very good. So good that if you buy an album this week, make it one of them. I'd probably recommend their debut, "Blackened sky", as it's the most accessible, and a good way to ease yourself in.

You probably want to know what they're like. It's not an easy answer. They play clever, clever music, with time changes, and melody changes, and vocal changes, but make everything flow. This is the epitimy of a band that does not follow the verse chorus verse chorus bridge verse chorus route of song writing (Hello Kaiser Chiefs).

Listen to them. NOW.

Biffy Clyro myspace

Biffy Clyro website
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