Thursday, August 30, 2007

Reviews 31/8/07

Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

Even as I write this review, Ga x 5 continues to grow on me. This is Spoon's sixth album and follows up the well recieved Gimme Fiction (2005).

My interest in the new album came whilst i was watching Late Night with David Letterman one night as Spoon were announced as the tonight's musical guests. So i decided to stick around. Glad in doing so as not only were the band present but were accompanied but a whole brass secton! They played the first snippet from forthcoming album entitled "The Underdog" which turns out to be quite a departure from some of their earlier work, never had one of their songs glowed so bright. I was impressed.

From the opening track "Don't Make me a Target" the album begins on a high note with main man Britt Daniel chanting the title multiple times to an energetic backbeat of guitars that plough through the remainding minutes. Ga x 5 never seems to lose your attention with such quality and catchy songs with each listen usually floating something completely new to the surface.

Tracks like "You Got Yr Cherry Bomb" and already mentioned "the Underdog" glisten as they are backed with brass sections, which really add that extra touch. "The Ghost of You Lingers" provides the signature Spoon sound with only piano chords played throughout the track as Britt wails over the top.

I've been listening to Spoon for a few years now and none of their previous efforts have stood out to me as much as this one. This is a truly exceptional release in an already accomplished career, Ga x 5 could possibly be the finest material they've yet recorded


Sean B

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Reviews 29/8/07

Silverchair - Young Modern

Silverchair are pretty much the most popular band Australia has to offer, depending on whenever they feel like releasing new material. 5 years later we have Young Modern.

This album is all over the place, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, from the few rocking tracks to the more poppy compositions which are mostly layered with charming orchestrations to the more straight forward tracks made for radio, left with a few great left of centre tracks such as "If You Keep Losing Sleep". The contrast in songs being written by the band now pretty much display how much Johns and co have matured musically over there years.

Silverchair are pretty much well known these days for having adopted two types of fans. You have your pre-Diorama fans (rock fans) and your all round fans (more open minded fans), I predict this effort will not sit well with the former.

With Johns coming off side project "The Dissociatives", Young Modern sometimes is hard to separate musically from said project with the same kind of obvious ideas being thrown into the mix with a few exceptions with the more rocking tracks (which are suprisingly quite scarce here). It's been said that Johns and fellow songwriter Luke Steele (Sleepy Jackson) were going to get together for a project, it seems a few songs that could have made that gig may have made it to this album in the way of "Low" and "Waiting all Day".

Silverchair's sound is a continuous work in progress it seems, mainman Daniel Johns has alot he wants to get out, nowadays an album by these guys is fairly spontaneous for the fact that you have no idea which direction they will take, which is fairly exciting.

Young Modern is an enthusiastic record but it is patchy, some just really plain tracks meshed with bursts of brilliance.


Sean B

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Reviews 29/8/07

The Shins - Wincing the Night Away

Garnering some attention with their sophomore effort "Chutes too Narrow" and of Garden State fame and being one of the first albums to be released in 2007, Wincing the Night Away was well anticipated amongst the "indie" community. With the pre-album single release of Phantom Limb I was no doubt licking my lips.

The album is delightful from beginning to end with tracks full of dreamlike sweet soundscapes soaked in sugar coated pop melodies. Singer/Songwriter/Mainman/Frontman James Mercer is at his best here. WtnA is a bit of a departure from their first two albums which may segregate old fan from the new fans.

Wincing the Night Away is The Shins most ambitious set of songs released to date, which shall not disappoint.


Live Reviews

The Cure - Brisbane Entertainment Centre - 8/8/07

With a career now spanning over 30 years, the Cure returned to our shores for a string of shows, being their first in quite sometime, though this not a "normal" tour this was a fairly familar concept in which the band performed a retrospective show. This was the Cure showcasing their material from over the years with over 10 albums of material to select from.

With no opening act which is fairly uncommon to not have these days. With a fairly metallic kind of set up with most equipment silver or black, the boys hit the stage, donning huge amounts of make up, which was no suprise and of course Robert Smith, returning last to stage recieving most applause and cheers as predicted.

The band begun in glorious, thundering fashion, such a huge sound for a four piece, playing songs ranging from their pop hits such as Just Like Heaven, Let's Go to Bed, Inbetween Days and Close to Me to lesser known fan favourites from albums such as Three Imaginary Boys to their latest self titled effort.

As promised the set went for a duration of 3 hours, with a set list of over 30 songs, such a magnificent concert, the crowd just in awe of Smith the whole time.

Only bone to pick i had was lack of synth/keyboards, which is just a must for a great deal of their songs in which they just made up for by adding guitar parts.

Great Concert.

Sean B

Friday, August 17, 2007

Reviews 18/08/07

Panda Bear - Person Pitch

After releasing the amazing "Feels" just last year, Animal Collective member, Noah Lennox, has gone out alone this time under his AC moniker, Panda Bear, producing more acid pop tripping sounds with his latest piece, "Person Pitch".

If the Beach Boys recorded the likes of "Pet Sounds" under the influence of mind altering drugs then maybe they would have beaten Lennox to punch, but as it happens Panda' has thrown samples, a loose production and a sweet sounding voice all into the indie pot and has managed to come up with a musical gem.

The cornerstone of the release definitely lies within the 12 minutes 30 seconds of the wonderful 'Bros', with it's busy sample attack and sugar sweet melodies from Lennox himself. Other highlights include the aptly named crescendo journey of 'Take Pills' and the epic wing man to that of 'Bros' in 'Good Girl'.

He proved that he's a modern genius last year with his involvement in the Animal Collective. Now Lennox has proved he can go out on a limb and create wicked fried soundscapes on his own. If running through the daisy fields whilst under the influence on acid is your thing then "Person Pitch" just might be the sound track to your life.


Jesu - Conqueror

With the impressive "Silver" EP hitting shelves last year, many were anxious to see what Justin Broadrick had up his sleeve for the new Jesu release. You want jaw dropping? Look no further than the newest chapter of the former Godflesh member's catalogue; "Conqueror". Although different to that of "'Silver", the brimming elements that Broadrick injects into this project ooze with musical brilliance.

The guitars are a sludge attack that almost fail to squeeze out each note but all of a sudden a shift in gear occurs, transforming into a shoegazing noise that transcends above everything else to knock you to the floor. 'Transfigure' is a shogazers dream, as the guitar tremolo and effects are awe-inspiring, while the brooding soundscapes of 'Medicine' and 'Mother Earth' write a new chapter in the Jesu story altogether.

This is a truly beautiful experience that quite frankly has the ability to be the metal version of My Bloody Valentine's "Loveless". The term 'shoegaze' gets misinterpreted a lot, however this is as close to the genre as any other band has produced for some time and it's only ironic that a band known largely in the metal/industrial circes taps into this array of sound.

Deerhunter - Cryptograms
In the calender year, there's always a band that you've never heard about, who make an album that truly satisfies your musical taste. In a sense, that's the whole process of finding new music. However, with Deerhunter, it feels different. Why? Because these guys are just that. Different; enigmatic, even.
Kids who have some well rounded knowledge on indie music will lick their lips when the sounds of Deerhunter's second album, "Cryptograms" find its way onto the stereo. This is a slice of everything from that true indie sound where 'Lake Somerset' advances, to the head-fucking shoegaze delight that is the title track, to the psychedelic and throb of 'Spring Hall Convert'. What's that I hear you say? "All angles covered?"
It seems to me like these guys have come out of different corners, respectively, indulged in each others record collection for a couple of years and the end result is this very well accomplished album that posses timely build-ups, lush interludes and raw sonic beauty.

If you run a fine tooth comb over "Cryptograms", you'll find more influences than you can poke a stick at. Seriously, this is the most diverse indie album you'll hear this year. I don't even think the band itself know what they are and to be honest I hope it stays that way!

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Baby 81

Ditching the gospel sounds that their previous outing "Howl" bathed itself in, Sanfran's coolest leather jacket sporting trio are back with perhaps their most accomplished effort yet, in "Baby 81".

Back are the sounds of psychedelic white noise that made their first two albums so contagious. The guitars ooze with noise during album highlight 'Berlin' while 'Weapon of Choice' is as emotionally fuelled as Peter Hayes and Co have ever delivered.

More solidarity from the BRMC who, if truth be told, really haven't made a classic in their short career, but they've far from made a dud either. Four solid albums in an era that has seen mediocrity rise to an all time high. Like their previous three albums, "Baby 81" continues the pattern of musical strength which we continue to associate this fine band with.


Kings Of Leon - Because Of The Times

Wine with Eddie Vedder, rubbing shoulders with Bono. Yeah, that's all "cool", but can you make a decent album after being in the limelight with so many of the music industries main players? In the Kings Of Leon's case, well - to put it quite bluntly - no. Unless I'm missing something, "Because of the Times" is their most weakest effort yet, however irony will play it's part and this album will most likely be the band's best seller (That's always the way isn't it?).

Gone are those dirty southern fried riffs and in are the over produced sounds that have plagued other good bands in the past. Maybe this band is better working under pressure, as the production of "BOTT" has had the largest time span of the three. Or maybe the association of the stadium rock gods rubbed off on KOL's a bit too much? Either way, this album won't be cop too much of a belting on your respective Itunes playlists.

A lot of rubbish has to be sifted through to get to the good bits (Look no further than 'Knocked Up' while 'On Call' isn't too bad after half a dozen listens, either) and if you're like most music lovers, other sounds in your musical catalouge will be waiting in the wings of your playing media to worry about the latest effort from the KOL.


Simon K

Reviews 17/08/07

The Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

"The Arcade Fire are the best band in the World," Coldplay's Chris Martin once said. Just keep churning out the albums and you'll be like Bono one day, pal. As for the Arcade Fire. The toughest assignment; Following up to their groundbreaking debut, "Funeral".

So many bands' in The Arcade Fire's position would have signed a huge record contract with a major label, as an increase in money, fanbase and fame would have all been at their doorstep. Not The Arcade Fire, though. It's business as usual and "Neon Bible" is your typical no nonsense sophomore album that stamps this band's authority in today's music scene.

Although many will say this has reached the peaks to that of its older brother, "Neon Bible" falls a little short to be honest. Highlights include single 'Keep the Car Running', the brooding giant that is 'Intervention' and the melodic driven 'The Well and the Lighthouse'.

"Neon Bible" is a great record and the indie ethos shown by The Arcade Fire is living proof that the Montreal collective are all about the music and nothing more. Not even Chris Martin's sweeping statements could derail this fine band.


Bloc Party - A Weekend In The City

Another NME hype band. Another sophomore album. You can just hear the alarm bells ringing. So many bands' have faltered at this stage of the journey, but it's safe to say that Bloc Party aren't one of them.

"A Weekend In The City" posses the traits that Bloc Party built their success on with their debut opus, "Silent Alarm". Although the band's overall sound fails to transcend that of its younger brother, the lyrics and music work well enough to gain reputable praise from music lovers a like. 'Uniform' is vintage Bloc Party playing to their strengths, while 'I Still Remember' is a perfect example of a bright young band in red hot form.

This really is a continuation of goodness for the London four-piece, creating an album that you can listen to from front to back without any trouble whatsoever. Out of all the bands NME get sticky between the legs with, Bloc Party are the most interesting and I don't think any one's ever really doubted that. They string together some brilliant, riffs and rhythms while Kele Oreke's lyrics have that certain sense of ambiguity about them, that make this lot just that little bit more interesting.

Simon K

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Farewell Tony Wilson

Yes, sadly it's true... Highly influential and acclaimed Factory Records owner and man of many other endeavors Tony Wilson, has died. As reported by most respectable music publications, he succumbed to a heart attack on August 10, 2007.

Wilson was most famously known for signing Joy Division ( later, New Order), and the Happy Mondays. He was also known for opening the Hacienda nightclub, which in the late 1980's, helped to create the massive music scene in Manchester known as "Madchester".

This news has shocked and saddened the music world. Though Tony is gone, his legacy will live on. His influence continues to resonate through today's up and coming artists.

Goodbye Tony Wilson 1950 - 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

Reviews 14/08/07

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Some Loud Thunder

Prior to its release, this album from one of Brooklyn's quirkiest indie outfit was highly-anticipated in the indie music circles. Unlike its predecessor, it's doesn't instantly hit you in the face, however there is a profusion of goodness if you're patient enough.

Critics seemed to have employed the good old build-em up-knock-'em-down attitude, however if you dig your music you'll know very well then to give two fucks about what some wanky art fag writer thinks.

Overall, not a bad album, but it's no classic either. Give it time; patience is definitely a virtue with this one.

Rating 6.5/10.

Explosions In The Sky - All Of A Sudden I Miss Everybody

If there's one band that has brought elation to indie music lovers it has to be this Texas post-rock juggernaut. Their spine tingling riffs and atmospheric build-ups have a heart melting quality about them. Although Explosions In The Sky construct their albums by implementing a similar framework, the results continue to be timeless.

AOASIME falls somewhere in between the greatness of "Earth Isn't A Cold and Lonely Place" and the guitar throbbing "Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die". However that's not to say that the best is past the Austin collective. The opening beast that is 'The Birth and Death of A Day' stamps the band's authority as one of the classiest in the genre of post-rock, while the chilling effects and epic moodiness of 'It's Natural To Afraid' can go down as one of the band's finest tunes ever put to paper.

With the peaks outweighing the troughs, it's fair to say that many will be satisfied of with the noise that EITS have produced this time around. Definitely the band's darkness release to date, adding more fine tunes to the catalogue of Austin's finest post-rock act.

Rating: 7/10

Simon K

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Small Introduction

So a few friends and I decided to create a blog with the aim of bringing you up to date with the latest and greatest in popular music. We intend on providing quality reviews of quality artists. We will mix that with a bunch of our own opinions and thoughts and throw in a few live reviews and selected news stories. In the near future we will even stretch out into the realms of Film and Books.

So keep checking for updates as we will be up and running in no time.

Sean, LM