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Monday, 31 December 2012

Evlkeith's Festive 50 2012 (20-11)

Things are really starting to hot up now, especially when the first track in this evening's festivities is a 'she' track.

20. journey 5 - she - journeys
One of his more laid back ambient offerings - still a treat though.

19. Pheasant - Shook Ones - Revelation Records Crash Course
A touch of the Walt Minks about this one.

18. Automatic Midnight - Hot Snakes - Peel Sessions - EP
I've managed to sneak a Hot Snakes song in here. Despite having heard this before I haven't heard this version. So it's allowed.

17. Invisible (feat. 4hero & Natalie Williams) - Nu:Tone - Words and Pictures
I bought this on the strength of the cover and for once that tactic worked.

16. Do It - Blame - The Music
Blame moves from traditional Drum and Bass into more commercial dance territory.

15. Only Shallow - My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
The best track from an immensely disappointing album.

14. Zed And Two Naughts - The Mars Volta - Noctourniquet
Crikey. The Mars Volta haven't even made the top ten. Yet another disappointing album.

13. just your regular beat song - she - digital ambient designs
Some more premium quality 'she' action. The rest of the album is more ambient, but I can't resist the drum track on this one.

12. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger - Daft Punk - Discovery
Amazingly I hadn't heard this before this year and it's rather good, buoyed up even more by a cracking video.

11. Ocaso - Gone with the pain - St Ep
It's all gone a little pleasant at the end so let's bring it back to normal with some unintelligible shouting.


Saturday, 29 December 2012

Evlkeith's Festive 50 2012 (30-21)

Nearly halfway there, things are certainly starting to get better. Possibly.

30. Control Me - Sub6 - Sub6 - Saved (ep)
A pleasant bit of trance to kick off the evening.

29. Good To Know - I Create - Complete Medley
I love the mixture of low key guitar and screaming. Always a pleasure.

28. Spring Republic - Firebrand Boy - Songs for Cake
The first chiptune entry. Hooray!

27. New Direction - Gorilla Biscuits - Revelation Records Crash Course
Any song that starts with a fanfare can't be all bad.

26. Cuddly Toy - Beverley Knight - Soul UK
After breaking from The Pips to pursue a solo career, Beverley has knocked up some covers of famous soul tracks. Here's one of Roachford's 'Cuddly Toy'.

25. Twisted Again - Dag Nasty - Revelation Records Crash Course
Perennial Peel show favourites, Dag Nasty are a group that I've never got into. But this track is fair enough.

24. Camel Bucks - Comadre - Comadre / Trainwreck split 12"
This bloke has got a quality voice. Beautiful.

23. Stupid Game - Melanie C - The Sea
This album is way better than the blip that was 'This Time'. Definitely back on form.

22. Leaves Before Autumn - Julianna Raye - Dominoes
Prepare yourself for some premium rumba action. It doesn't sound too dissimilar to the Mr Rossi theme tune, which can't be a bad thing.

21. Freedom Of Someone's Conscience - Challenger - Against The Fate
A bit of an epic affair to end the evening.


Wednesday, 26 December 2012

EvlKeith's Festive 50 2012 (40-31)

Here we go with the next ten entries in this year's Festive 50, from 40 all the way down to 31.

40. Solar Sailer (Ki:Theory's Lay Our Bodies Down Remix) - Daft Punk - Ki:Theory Remix
I've got a suspicion that this is remixed from a track on the Tron Legacy soundtrack but seeing as though I can't be bothered to watch it, I can't be 100% sure.

39. Fashion - By A Thread - Revelation Records Crash Course
Another one that's a tad too catchy for me.

38. Totally Natural - ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Madonna
Normally they're dependably average, but this album is strangely below average. Disappointing.

37. Dinner for One - Amity in Fame - Dinner for One
How can you resist a video where people get dressed up in animal costumes?

36. Not Again - Staind - Roadrunner Records - Amazon Sampler Part 2
A portion of proper rock.

35. Higher Learning - Down To Nothing - Revelation Records Crash Course
A portion of shouting.

34. This Song: For The True And Passionate Lovers Of Music - Shai Hulud - Revelation Records Crash Course
And a side dish of screamo shouting.

33. Love Scientific - Bit Funk - Love Scientific
A change of style with this one and the first dance based entry this year.

32. Dear Good Man - L'antietam - family
This is almost the complete opposite of a dance track with virtually no discernible beat. Good stuff.

A fantastic sugary treat to end the evening, this was one of the outro songs on the excellent Bleach.


Monday, 24 December 2012

EvlKeith's Festive 50 2012 (50-41)

And so we come to this year's Festive 50. These songs make up the soundtrack to what has been a really hard year at times. It is a bit of a struggle for me to listen to some of the tracks now, but that doesn't stop them from being great, despite many being freebies.
The same rules apply as for last year: one track per artist that I have to heard for the first time this year. If I've bought two albums by an artist then they're allowed two entries. Without further ado here we go:

50. Scared Of Girls - Placebo - Without You I'm Nothing
Placebo can normally be counted on to at least produce one good song per album. Shame that I'd already heard the one good song before ('Every You Every Me') so you get this useless track instead.

49. More Or Less - Small Brown Bike - Dead Reckoning
Boring average rock that borders on Blink 182 levels of blandness.

48. Trapped In the New Scene - Octoberman - Fortresses
I've got a suspicion that Doccortex might like this camp acoustic entry. 

47. Jeckyl And Hyde - The Nerve Agents - Days Of The White Owl
I bought this album based on the strength of another song I'd heard by them, but the album isn't that great.

46. Incredible - Joss Stone - Colour Me Free
I love the bit in this where her voice goes squeaky at the end of one of the lines.

45. Little Window - Beatbeat Whisper - Beatbeat Whisper
Another one for Doccortex, this must surely be one of the defining songs in the camp acoustic genre.

44. Reez Miez Stringz - Nachtwindheim - Schone Musik fur schone Menschen
For kazoo fans everywhere.

43. You Weren't Lyin' Saying You Were Mine - A City Serene - Spring Demos
This sounds like the sort of thing that niece of evlkeith might be into (especially by looking at the picture below), a tad too catchy for my liking, hence the low position. 

42. Call it Reckless - Scarlett O'Hara - EP 2009
Fairly average screamo type affair, but pleasant enough.

41. all my friends - the bilinda butchers - beko_cs01
Yet more camp acoustic but at least they're named after a proper pop celebrity this time.


Friday, 21 December 2012

Panic at the Disco - Vices and Virtues

I really enjoyed the first two Panic at the Disco albums and had high hopes for this one. 'A fever you can't sweat out' was frenetic and anthemic, 'Pretty Odd' was quirky and heartfelt, 'Vice and Virtues' falls into the disturbing netherworld category of 'quite good'. It's not annoying, passionate, gruelling or enlightening; it's just quite good. Which ironically is never a good thing.

The difficult third Panic album gets caught betwix and between the first two. The first half is fast paced pure pop akin to 'A Fever...' but endearingly cheesy with just the hint of Eurovision. 'Mona Lisa', 'Let's Kill' and 'Hurricane' all fit this format and on first listen are great, but on repeated exposure are throwaway and vacuous. The second half travels halfway to Quirksville without going the whole distance, and the songs are folky, fun and frolicsome, but ultimately unsatisfying. 'Always' fits the bill perfectly; it's got all the ingredients of gorgeous-ness, but ends up tasting like Quorn.

Another reason not to like the LP is that the tracks seem to be ordered by quality, with first the best and number ten the worst. This is never good tactics as the listener feels that things are steadily moving downhill as the album progresses. Although having said that, 'Sarah Smiles' has grown on me to the point where it's my favourite track, however I doubt anyone else will share that opinion.

It pains me to say this, but 'Vices & Virtues' is let down by the fact it tries to please everyone and comes nowhere near matching the standard of the first two. It's like a Bedfordshire Clanger (look it up food fans), it has a savoury and a sweet end, but neither are particularly tasty and in the middle section they've got mixed together a bit. If you were a farm worker from the last Century you'd munch it happily enough, belch, and say "That was quite good." But you'd rather eat some blue cheese, an oyster or a fermented herring wouldn't you?


Sunday, 16 December 2012

Rough Trade - Counter Culture 2011

I look forward to Rough Trade's Counter Culture compilation every year, but it's got to be said this is hardly a vintage year for the collection. I never like all of the selections and that's part of the fun with such a diverse and interesting selection policy, but Counter Culture 11 contains few tracks that actually engaged me.

CD1 focuses more on the generic indie/singer songwriter and Real Estate provide a ray of light with 'It's Real' and likewise Koreless brighten up proceedings with 'MTI'. Only Veronica Falls bring the house down with the highly enjoyable sixties inspired, Mama's and Papas meets the Shop Assistants anthem that is 'The Fountain'. It's slim pickings from twenty odd tracks.

CD 2 is more techno/electro oriented but if anything is less appealing than its twin disk. Fatima Al Qadiri produce some sweet tin drum sounds, while VCMG provide an upbeat trancy stormer in 'Spock'. Again there's just one outstanding offering with Atari & III's 'Tunnel Vision' where LFO meets New York Hausen Authority in a retro techno treat.

All in all it's a disappointing year for Rough Trade but here's hoping CC 12 returns to form. Luckily I've still got Counter Culture 09 saved for a rainy day too.


Monday, 10 December 2012

First Aid Kit - Our Own Pretty Ways

Pick of the Week 24 - First Aid Kit

Another Swedish combo, and this time it's the delicious timeless folk of the Soderberg sisters aka First Aid Kit. It's nothing particularly innovative, but done with such gusto, enthusiasm and innocence, it's virtually impossible not to fall for their passionate harmonies. This is no fluke either as their LP that I've been listening to recently is literally packed with songs of similar quality and intensity.

The video is another matter altogether. Initially I felt cheated that Eric was allowed to leave and go for his breakfast without properly bonding with the girls and possibly forming a lifelong relationship. After repeated viewing however, I've started to think he may just be a bad actor and all that cute awkwardness actually stems from the fact that he's a New York waiter with limited thespian talent. Who knows? But the whole episode definitely provokes more questions than answers. Although I doubt anyone else in the whole world is interested.


Saturday, 8 December 2012

Cafe Cuba (50 original Cuban Classics)

It's hard to say when it's an appropriate time to listen to Cuban music. Whatever I've done whilst listening to Cafe Cuba, the music has seemed a particularly ridiculous backing track. To fully appreciate this collection you probably need to visit Cuba, it just feels so out of place in downtown South Yorkshire, even though we are both (or have been) socialist republics.

If you smoke large cigars, role them on women's thighs, or partake in Salsa, Bolero or Cha Cha Cha then this is the CD for you. If you like doing a camp, jaunty little dance around the house then perhaps it's for you too. But for the rest of us it's just not appropriate.

It's quality, well made music, but unlike the rest of World music it seems pretty location specific. Every track has the same vibe combining 1950's film soundtracks with Strictly Come Dancing, but I did enjoy the contributions of Ruben Gonzalez, Ibrahin Ferrer and Pupi Campo.

However every cloud has a silver lining, and there is one outstanding track out of the fifty which transcends the cultural, social and geographical differences between Havana and Rotherham. Omara Portuondo's 'Ti Dije Quedate' is a passionate, full bodied Cuban work of genius and well worth the price of the CD alone.

If you're going on holiday to Cuba or perhaps you live in Cuba, then buy this immediately. Be a little more circumspect if you live in Denaby.


Saturday, 1 December 2012

The Sweet Serenades - Die Young

Pick of the Week 23 - The Sweet Serenades

It seems a long time ago that all Swedish bands wanted to look and sound like Abba. Nowadays they're a more diverse bunch, with the Sweet Serenades looking like a cross between the brothers in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (not in a ginger way of course) and Lars from Lars and the Real Girl. The video is faintly disturbing with lots of long lingering shots of wispy chest hair and the worrying behaviour of the peeping Tom in the heart suit. The song however pulls the whole thing round with a joyful yet melancholy slant on the tired old love story format. It's a real grower and I'm looking forward to giving the debut LP a listen in the near future.