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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Morgan Page - Body Work ft. Tegan and Sara

Worth a Listen 6 - Morgan Page

Not entirely convinced by this dance/pop/indie crossover. However the excellent Tegan and Sara's involvement make it worth a listen...

Friday, 24 April 2015

Queens of the Stone Age – Like Clockwork

A Christmas present but in this case not one I was particularly looking forward to experiencing. Dave Grohl’s involvement with QOTSA has put me off them a bit, although my prejudice may have no basis as I’m not sure he has anything to do with them these days. Anyway, Grohl aside, the album is still chugging, predictable and frankly boring. Basically, most of the tracks get flicked with the exception of two that are at least acceptable.

It sounds like they’ve run out of ideas and are making records just for the paycheque now. Having said that ‘I sat by the Ocean’ is engaging enough in a middle of the road style and ‘The Vampire of Time and Money’ is a quirky little rock ballad that it’s difficult not to enjoy. Credit where credit’s due, but it’s hardly worth the price of the album on its own. All the rest have the feel of a standard issue QOTSA b-sides and fillers compilation.

One for the hardcore fans only I think.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Daniel Avery - Drone Logic

Worth a Listen 5 - Daniel Avery

Progressive techno with a lovely arty video. Absolutely worth a listen.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Mind.In.A.Box - Escape

Worth a Listen 4 - Mind.In.A.Box

Decent slice of industrial melodic techno. Certainly worth a listen.

Dead Sara - Lemon Scent

Worth a Listen 3 - Dead Sara

Semi-agreeable grunge rock with snuggle-toothed female vocals. I'm not convinced personally but it's possibly worth a listen or two.

Evarose - Cough it Up

Worth a Listen 2- Evarose

Unspectacular Paramore sound-alikes but possibly worth a listen?

Pony Pony Run Run - Hey You

Worth a listen 1 - Pony Pony Run Run

Funky semi commercial house music with wholesome holiday based video. Definitely worth a listen...

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Grendel – Timewave Zero

If you ever fancy some sample driven techno with an element of aggrotech  and a nod to Infected Mushroom then look no further than Holland’s leading exponents of industrial electronic action; Grendel. I’d already heard the excellent ‘Harsh Generation’ and enjoyed the tracks with the more up front sampling most. Sadly ‘Timewave Zero’ uses the samples more as embellishments and relies on gravel tonsiled vocals and pulsating rhythms for the entertainment factor.

That’s no bad thing, but the album definitely lurches towards a darker feel to proceedings not unlike a pumped up version of Aesthetic Perfection but not quite so seedy. It’s a pounding tour de force with just enough melody, hooks and singalongability to keep you interested, but not enough to sweeten the sour atmosphere.
I enjoyed all the tracks but worthy of special attention are the high octane rush of ‘Neon City Lights’ (which sounds not unlike X-Cabs, which is praise indeed), the shouty meets mellow vocal of ‘Chemicals + Circuitry’ and the eighties throwback charms of ‘Wheels in Motion’. Best of all  is the mid-tempo electro of ‘Deep Waters’ with its starkly contrasted lush arrangement and squeaky yet gorgeous vocal.

I doubt it’s to everyone’s taste but seriously, what’s not to like? Funky, trance driven techno with contrasting gritty/smooth vocals and a lovely android with an exploding head on the CD cover!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Mahala Rai Banda - Mahala Rai Banda

I think I overdosed on this kind of Balkan gypsy vibe a couple of years ago and I struggled to engage with Mahala’s 2004 self titled album. Having said that it’s clearly a fantastic album with the requisite tooting and fiddling action and the booty-shakability to get everyone from old age pensioners to professional belly dancers strutting their stuff.

Musically it’s practically identical to 2009’s ‘Ghetto Blasters’ but perhaps a little less polished and with greater sense of atmosphere and raw grooviness.  It’s also got one of the best CD covers of the 21st Century that basically sums up the album perfectly. I also love the weird vibrato-piano type instrument that sneaks into a couple of the songs.

It’s essential listening for the genre and a veritable toot/fiddle tour de force. I’ll definitely give it another listen when I’m in the mood for this flavour of music.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

George FitzGerald - Child

Pick of the Week 62 - George FitzGerald

A gorgeous slice of deep house from the excellent Subsoul label. Melting vocals, old school beats and a baseline that could kill you. Smooooth!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Bright Eyes – The People’s Key

Another year and another Bright Eyes album is crossed off the list. It’s not an easy listen, but that’s not because of any lack of quality in the songs, rather the annoying pseudo religious diatribe that occasionally fills the space up between the tracks. It’s not that entertaining on first listen and after a few times it starts to drive you mad. Unfortunately the first weird rant is ‘joined’ to the first track so it can’t be flicked and you spend to whole dirge ridden 5 minutes cursing Connor for putting you through this repeated torture. If track one was rubbish I would have flicked the whole thing, but unfortunately it’s rather jolly. Ok rant over, and onto the songs…

This sits somewhere between the less commercial sound of Digital Ashes and the folky lyricism of Cassadaga, and for the most part it’s the standard issue Bright Eyes that we all know and love. It’s not until the last few songs that the album kicks into overdrive however. The last four tracks are sublime lyrically, beautifully crafted and up there with his best work.

‘Triple Spiral’ kicks off the quartet with straightforward rock and tender sentiments, ‘Beginner’s Mind’ is stunning, profound and so catchy it refuses to be flushed out of you self conscious and ‘One for You, One for Me’ completes the set with passion, simplicity and lyrics from a genius. Oddly, the stark piano driven dialogue of ‘Ladder Song’ is the album's most memorable moment; it’s touching, poignant and delicate. It’s the musical equivalent being 1-nil up and scoring four goals in the last ten minutes of a football match.

Not a great album, but it’s well on the way to being one of my favourites of the year. It’s not a game changer however, and if you don’t like our Connor’s previous work, don’t expect this to change your mind.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Coco Rosie – Tales of a Grass Widow

I’m not sure why I own this album but logically I should really like the quirky work of the French based Casady sisters whose sound has been labelled as ‘freak folk’. Sounds intriguing…it’s apparently a combination of blues, opera, trip hop, pop, electronica and rap. And they almost pull it off, however for some reason it doesn’t quite work.

Most probably this is because the singing sounds uncannily like the princess of quirkiness herself, Bjork, and I struggled to get over this whenever I listened to the album. The accent, the intonation and even the lyrical content are just too Bjork-esque. Secondly, the whole concept is just too fussy. There’s so much going on behind the familiar quirksome vocals. I was never sure what I was supposed to be enjoying and when. The CD packaging is lovely though.

All the tracks are much of a muchness in a Bjork meets Trip Hop in the style of Of Monsters and Men kind of way. I quite enjoyed the more straightforward songs like ‘Child Bride’ and ‘Villain’ but the strange rapping style on ‘End of Time’ is perhaps their finest moment.

It’s not altogether un-enjoyable but it just didn’t push my buttons. If you like the sound of a folky version of the Sugarcubes playing trip hop (without Einar unfortunately) then this could well be the perfect album for you.