Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Radiohead - In Rainbows

So I paid £4 for it in the end. They've given me 160kbps quality mp3s. That's quite annoying as 192kbps is the bare minimum that I'd usually go for. If you think this bits a bit geeky, that's 'cause it is.

1 minute in WAV = 10mb1 minute in 128kbps mp3 = 1mb1 minute in 320kbps mp3 = 2.31mb
So even for 320kbps there's a whole 7.69 of meg missing.

It's quite evident that there's something missing soundwise in some of these songs. I'm putting that down to the poor quality mp3s.

Anyway, the album?

15 Steps
The chaotic but controlled sort of rock guitar set to scatter gun drumming. Thom wails over the top. Hey we're back, missed us? It's a far cry from The Bends.

A heavier more distorted guitar attack on this one. Sounds like it could be off of Hail to the Thief until halfway through when everything breaks and falls into place. It's quite brilliant and shows how music has missed them.

Okay, so this one has strings on it. A stirring intro leads into a sedately staccato drum backing track with Thom really singing over the top. It's lush and subtle. Big strings and synths. Lovely.

Weird Fish/Arpeggi
On my first listen through this song stood out for me, and it does again here. The song builds and weaves, electronic lilts and whirls creates something huge, yet its held back. It breaks, then builds back up again, but never to an apparent crescendo. Haunting and beautiful.

An aside - the drumming is very machine-like so far. Bit samey samey.

All I Need
Could have been on Eraser. Driven along slowly by a reverberatingly bass heavy piano(?). Jonny Greenwood soon shows his hand late on with an irresistably epic section which ends far too soon.

Faust Arp
Short, acoustic interlude here. Thom sounds delicate and scared, but the overlying strings section is nearly menacing at times.

This is the song that you'd play if you wanted a good old cry. Sparsely picked out guitar set to a sea of percussion. You can see Thom leaning over the piano earnestly singing "you are not alone". The song drops out in the middle, then returns later on, even more heart breaking than before.

House of Cards
I can hear the song failing to reach its peak. Bloody 160kbps rubbish. It's here where you can really hear the mp3 lacking. Atmospheric, and again that word, haunting, it's easy to get lost in this song.

Jigsaw Falling Into Pieces
Rolling along, you know this song is going to build into something big from the start. A glorious middle in which guitars chorus together and roll around as Thom emotes along, as strings enter almost unnoticed and stir their way to the forefront before slipping out the way that they came in.

A piano ballad with an almost metronomic percussion effect which seems to run ahead and then get caught up by the subtly changing piano. The sound almost echoes around your head, panning and trapped. Unsettling.

So Radiohead are back. And I realise how I've missed them so. It's a hauntingly beautiful return, almost exactly in time for early nightfall and starkly cold nights.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Hit the Heartbreaks Honey

Oh, what can I do?

Black Kids - Hit the Heartbreaks (Zshare)

Not been updating this as much as I'd like so let's see if we can find some sort of regularity from somewhere.

The song above is by Black Kids, the newest "hotly tipped" band in a minute. They're very good, and have basically got the internet all a-buzz despite having played a handful of gigs and barely made it out of their hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.

Pitchfork and the Guardian have all featured them recently, and their new manager is one Scott Rodgers who also happens to manage some band called the Arcade Fire. They're planning to release an EP soon on a label which'll most probably turn out to be XL. I mean, they sign every-fucking-one these days! (Laura Groves see below is now in their stable of artists).

Go grab their demo off their MySpace for free. Oh, what do they sound like? Gloriously clever and beautifully twee pop. Like shoegaze on a sugar high from eating too much Haribo. The best song is probably "I'm Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You," but I have a lot of love for the call and response vocals in Hit the Heartbreaks.

Next up is a band I actually quite dislike. Xerox Teens, now known as the XX Teens, have always annoyed me, especially live. Their drummer is pretty manic and they've got horns and stuff, so by rights I'd love them. But, no. The singer sort of wanders about in dark glasses and acts like he doesn't give a fuck. That's not too bad I guess, but, they managed to fit in two girls dancing in synchronised slow motion. I can't even think of how to describe it suffice to say that it wound me up. It even wound up Xerox who forced them to change their name.

So, yeah. I'm not a massive fan of them, but this song is quite good.

XX Teens - Darlin'

It's got steel pans. It's got slurred vocals. It's danceable. The video is quite mental.

It's great.

Still, the rest of their songs are quite shit.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Just a simple song..

Well, I'm not very good at this updating lark am I?

Will try and get back and catch up on all the things I want to do at some point, but right now we're moving onto a current favourite of mine. Singer-song writers!

I'm a sucker for a pretty girl singing a song.

This is Laura Marling, I saw her first ever gig at the Way Out West at which I also first saw Jamie T, so it's fondly remembered. She's just recently released her debut EP London Town which appears to be sold out so you'll have to eBay it. It'll be worth it in the future when she's snapped up and you start hearing her lilting away at you when you're shopping in Asda.

Laura Marling - London Town (demo) (Zshare)

The-next-big-thing title has already been bandied about when talking about the Young Marling, and it's an apt one. She writes quirky, songs about relationships in and around the big smoke. More Martha Wainwright than Regina Spektor.

Unlike this Laura. Laura Groves possesses a voice and cuteness not unlike that of Regina Spektor. She's also managed to be dubbed the 'new Joni Mitchell' by the NME. Whilst it's a bit early to be attaching such lofty titles to her, it's clear that there is undeniable talent in the Northern lass.

She's got no singles or EPs released as of yet, but you can pick up her song Coasts on the Dance to the Radio compilation, along with other gems from the likes of Sky Larkin and I Was A Cub Scout from here.

Laura Groves - Coasts (Zshare)

Kate Nash has just signed to Polydor and is having her debut album produced by Paul 'Phones/Epic Man' Epworth, so she'll be fairly massive soon. Already, described as the new Lily Allen (I didn't realise the real Lily Allen was old already) by numerous fashion glossys, the comparison is not unjustified. Her songs use "the authentic language of the suburbs, in her case Harrow in North-West London, and she describes ordinary lives with simple and beautiful poetry. In one of her songs she's stitching her leggings, and making the dinner, and she falls downstairs! But somehow these lives take on an epic heroic quality." As described by a terribly eager Northern man in an interview she did on BBC Radio 3 a while back.

She seems equally at home doing heartfelt acoustic ballads, which as you may have noticed is a direct route to my heart, as well as the complete opposite with slightly electro-esque numbers like Caroline is a Victim and Like Maybe. For these songs check the hype.

This song is taken from her first demo, and her voice carries so much emotion and tells such a story, that you can't help but love it, and yes, it's a heartfelt acoustic number.

Kate Nash - The Nicest Thing (demo)

Pre-order Kate Nash's next single, Foundations, here.

Now, I've saved the best until last. Emmy the Great. If there's any sense in the world there'll be a massive ruckus to sign just one of her songs. But, we all know the world makes no sense and it appears she's self releasing her first EP later on this year.

Her short, articulate, acoustic songs are beautifully straightforward, yet have such power. Her voice just soothes over the guitar and strings, and as these raw recordings show, it can have such power live.

Emmy the Great - Canopies and Grapes (demo)

Emmy the Great - Atoms (demo)

Emmy the Great - Snow (demo)

Utterly wonderful no? Now you love her as well go here and buy her singles digitally, as the 7" Secret Circus/Hypnotist's Son is unavailable anywhere.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

We expect great things from you

With the mention of Cajun Dance Party in my last post I thought I'd go over my list of bands/artists that I would like to sign for my imaginary record label.

The Cajun's were at the top of this list purely because their brand of saccharinely sweet pop songs are just that damn good, and the song writing talent shines through for all to see. Also, in the words of the great Steve Lamacq, "that's a lovely voice you've got their fella."

Go to their MySpace page for a listen of their new demo The Race. It's a lovely slice of indie-pop, and has a violin bit at the end. I'm an absolute sucker for violins me. XL are bastards for signing all the decent acts before me.

Right, on to the unsigned lot.

First up are The Svengali's. One of them is brothers with someone in Cajun Dance Party, but I can never remember which one. Basically, they're a lot like CDP, but seemingly far more bitter in their general outlook. That said, it's still gloriously fun indie-pop. Check their MySpace to listen to their self released single Sting in the Tale / Swimming Upstream and buy it here.

he Svengali's - Love Letters for Delinquents (demo) (Zshare)
The Svengali's - Runaway (demo) (Zshare)

Second up we've got The Hussy's. Quite frankly how someone's not given them a massive pot of cash in return for their signature is beyond me. It seems to be the trend now for bands to go unsigned for as long as possible. The biggest unsigned band in the UK right now are The Wombats. I imagine they keep their head above water, like their predecessors to the title of biggest unsigned band the Long Blondes, by going on ridiculously long tours and selling out the venue. Anyway, once The Wombat's finally sign for a lot of money it'll be The Hussy's turn.

Sounding something like the lovechild of The Pipettes and the aforementioned Long Blondes, The Hussys serve up joyfully infectious indie-pop so good that I have no hesitation in proclaiming them to be your new favourite band.

The Hussy's - Tiger (Zshare)
The Hussy's - We Expected (Zshare)

Two will do for now. More coming soon.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

In with the daffodils..

So it's finally spring, the sun is out, and you don't have to wear ridiculous coats all the time. I always like to celebrate this fact by finding songs which reflect my mood about this whole no-coat wearing situation.

This is the new song by The Teenagers, France's coolest band since, well, Justice I guess. It's about Scarlett Johansson (obviously). I recorded this from their MySpace page a couple of days ago and haven't stopped listening to it since.

The Teenagers - Starlett Johansson (YSI)
The Teenagers - Starlett Johansson (Zshare)

They're finally starting to go and play some live shows, and since I can't direct you to any links where you should go and buy this song, you should definitely hit this up. The lineup is immense. (click to buy tickets, and remember to take some change for the, er, reasonable drinks at the Scala.)

They're playing an All Ages gig at the same venue with The Presets and Metronomy on the same date (it's just a bit earlier, y'know, as they've all got early bed times) for all you under 18s out there. If you're over 18 don't go, it'll be horrible.

This is Example. He's from about 10 minutes from where I live. This means nothing in the grand scheme of things, but y'know, it's always nice to support local artists. Not that he needs anything from me. He's clearly about to be fairly big, having just signed to Mike Skinner's label The Beats.

This song is from his mixtape which you really should order from here quickly as it's about to sell out.
What says "the sun is out" more than Tracy Chapman's Fast Car? Rapping about borrowing someones Porsche to try and pick up girls. That's what.

Example - I Need A Fast Car (YSI)

Now this lot, Cajun Dance Party, I've been following a while and was going to feature in my 'Ones-to-watch' list for 2007, but since we're nearly 4 months in I'm scrapping that. They've recently signed a fairly mega deal with XL, who seem to be snapping up all the best unsigned acts these days. However, they're releasing their debut single on the fantastic Way Out West label, home to other great acts well worth checking out like Late of the Pier, Video Nasties, and Laura Marling. Buy it here.

These are just demo. Listen to the brand new, brilliant sounding single versions on their MySpace.
Cajun Dance Party - The Next Untouchable (demo) (Zshare)
Cajun Dance Party - Amylase (demo) (YSI)

The Next Untouchable was deservedly Steve Lamacq's demo of 2006 and you've seriously, got to check out the chorus on Amylase. It's slightly non-sensical, but try and not sing along. Dare ya.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

First things first..

Right, hello.

These two are songs which make me pretend to be a big superstar DJ. You know, looking out over 2,000 odd people with their hands in the air waiting to go mental? Yeah? Oh.
Basically, listen to the breakdowns.

Para One - Dudun Dun (Boys Noize Remix) (buy here)
Klaas vs. I Am Finn - I Love You (Van She Tech Hip Remix) (buy here)

This song makes me love music so much right now, yet also despair a lot as it should by rights be EVERYWHERE. It should be all over the TV and radio. I think I heard it the other day on Radio 1, but it was being used in some advert thing. Not. Good. Enough.
Union of Knives - Evil Has Never (buy here)

This song is not new rave, as that's a joke genre which has somehow become real. It is however utterly, utterly fantastic. To dance to this song you just pretend to play a drum, march, close your eyes, and move from side to side.
Shy Child - Down On You (buy here)

Sorry for the Zshare hosting. I'm having trouble working out how you actually upload things to normal webspace.
Also, sorry for the AWFUL colour scheme. I asked blogger to shuffle the colours and this is what it did, I'm still trying to work out how to make my posts have a title, so please do suggest new colours etc.