Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 Year End Best Of List

Ok everyone after toiling over the list I have come to this my final decision. It was tough as this was another exciting year for music. Not including any of the bands in the Top 10 does not denote their music at all and again this is just my own personal list. Do not miss the notable mentions for some other great music by bands that will probably not make the Rolling Stone or Spin Top 10.

To explain why I decided to give The Horrors and Bombay Bicycle Club top honours along with the rest of the Top 10 well it's due to the fact that both these albums surprised me with how good they were. Both bands released solid previous efforts but nothing prepared me for the sheer brilliance of the new albums. The Horrors recorded and produced the album by themselves which also gives them extra points in my books. Bombay Bicycle Club made a poppy/sad/dancey album that demanded your attention and brought you back for more. Kasabian has had solid releases so I expected the new album to be as good as West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum or better. Also Radiohead at first surprised me with their choice for the direction of the new album but after repeat listens there was no way not to appreciate the subtle nuances that crept out upon multiple listens. S.C.U.M. are a brand new band and I have to say their album caught me off guard and remained in constant rotation for good reason. White Lies made a perfect 2nd effort and hopefully they keep the momentum going because they have only continued to get better. Glasvegas definitely took a risk releasing such a strange follow up to their highly successful 1st album but it paid off in a heartbreakingly honest record that shone through the strangeness and revealed the beauty underneath. Ryan Adams again did an about face and made one of his best albums in a while. The Vaccines made a bold statement by making guitar bands cool again and harkening back to old school rock n' roll to shake up the current blandness of pop music. Finally The Arctic Monkeys "Suck It And See" saw the band mature and write some love songs along with some psychedelic numbers that came from working with Josh Homme on previous album Humbug.

I have been doing this for a while now and always like the feedback and the reminders of things I might have missed cause it's so hard to keep up with all the great music out there. I hope you all can concoct your own lists cause I would be interested to see what everyone else's Top 10's were. Until next year ladies and gentlemen keep your ears to the ground and your eyes on the skies. Cheers all!!

1. The Horrors - Skying
2. Bombay Bicycle Club - A Different Kind Of Fix
3. Kasabian - Velociraptor
4. Radiohead - The King Of Limbs
5. S.C.U.M. - Again Into Eyes
6. White Lies - Ritual
7. Glasvegas - Euphoria ///Heartbreak\\\
8. Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire
9. The Vaccines - What Did You Expect From The Vaccines
10. Arctic Monkeys - Suck It And See

Notable mentions:

Beady Eye - Different Gear, Still Speeding
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
Friendly Fires - Pala
Coldplay - Mylo Xlyoto
Brett Anderson - Black Rainbows
Hard-Fi - Killer Sounds
Big Talk - Big Talk
British Sea Power - Valhalla Dancehall
The Boxer Rebellion - The Cold Still
And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Tao Of The Dead
Cut Copy - Zonoscope
PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
The Dears - Degeneration Street
Yuck - Yuck
Elbow - Build A Rocket Boys!
R.E.M. - Collapse Into Now
The Suzukis - The Suzukis
The Strokes - Angles
The Pigeon Detectives - Up, Guards and At 'Em!
Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
TV On The Radio - Nine Types Of Light
Explosions In The Sky - Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
Gorillaz - The Fall
Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
The Antlers - Burst Apart
Matthew Good - Lights Of Endangered Species
Sons & Daughters - Mirror, Mirror
Battles - Glass Drop
Bon Iver - Bon Iver
Adele - 21
The War On Drugs - Slave Ambient
Washed Out - Within And Without
The Airborne Toxic Event - All At Once
The Young Knives - Ornaments From The Silver Arcade
Young Rebel Set - Curse Our Love
ZAZA - Sacred Geometry
Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You
Zola Jesus - Conatus
Fool's Gold - Leave No Trace
Bjork - Biophilia
Kill It Kid - Feet Fall Heavy
Young Galaxy - Shapeshifting
Young Brother - Young Brother EP
Yellowbirds - The Color
Wu Lyf - Go Tell Fire To The Mountain
Wooden Shjips - West
The Wombats - This Modern Glitch
The Wild Swans - The Coldest Winter For A Hundred Years
Silversun Pickups - Seasick EP
Wilco - The Whole Love
White Fence - Is Growing Faith
White Denim - D
The Whip - Wired Together
Wet Paint - Woe
We Were Promised Jetpacks - In The Pit Of The Stomach
We Made God - It's Getting Colder
Waylayers - Weightless EP
Viva Brother - Famous First Words
The Violet May - TV EP
The Vines - Future Primitive
The View - Bread and Circuses
The Victorian English Gentlemen's Club - Bag Of Meat
The Veils - Troubles Of The Brain EP
The Tunics - Dabbler's Handbook
Troubadour Dali - Let's Make It
Tribes - We Were Children EP
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Soundtrack
Torpedo - We
Tom Vek - Leisure Seizure
This Will Destroy You - Tunnel Blanket
Thirteen Senses - Crystal Sounds
Tennis - Cape Dory
Surfer Blood - Tarot Classics
Sug(r)cane - It's Like A Monday But It's Not
The Subways - Money and Celebrity
Subrosa - No Help For The Mighty One
The Strange Boys - Live Music
Still Corners - Creatures Of An Hour
SPC ECO - You Tell Me
Sparkadia - The Great Impression
Sons & Daughters - Mirror, Mirror
The Soft Province - The Soft Province
Soft Kill - An Open Door
Snow Patrol - Fallen Empires
Smith Westerns - Dye It Blonde
Smith and Burrows - Funny Looking Angels
Skint and Demoralised - This Sporting Life
Sisters Of Your Sunshine Vapor - Spectre Spirit
Sin Fang - Summer Echoes
She Wants Revenge - Valleyheart
A Second Of June - Psychodrama
Say Hi - Um, Uh Oh
The Sand Band - All Through The Night
Royseven - You Say, We Say
Royal Bangs - Flux Outside
The Rifles - Freedom Run
Real Estate - Days
The Ravenonettes - Raven In The Grave
The Rapture - In The Grace Of Your Love
Puscifer - Conditions Of My Parole
UFO Club - UFO Club/Night Beats Split 10"
Night Beats - UFO Club/Night Beats Split 10"
Vacant Lots - Confusion/Cadillac
Pete And The Pirates - One Thousand Pictures
Parlotones - Eavesdropping On The Songs Of Whales
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Belong
Our Ceasing Voice - When The Headline Hit Home
One Night Only - One Night Only
Neon Indian - Era Extrana
My Morning Jacket - Circuital
Mutemath - Odd Soul
Moving Units - Tension War
Moonbeams - The Daisy Chain
Monogold - The Softest Glow
Mona - Mona
Mogwai - Earth Divisions EP
The Moderns - Descartes
Model Morning - Model Morning
Minks - By The Hedge
Mind Spiders - Mind Spiders
Miles Kane - Colour Of The Trap
Metronomy - The English Riveria
Mammoth Grove - Mammoth Grove EP
M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
M.A.G.N.U.S. - Transformations EP
Lowline - Lowline
Lower Heaven - Today Is All We Have
Low - C'mon
Locksley - Locksley
Little Comets - In Search Of Elusive Little Comets
Little Barrie - King Of The Waves
Blackout Lights - Blackout Lights EP
Lily Of The Valley - Aquatree
Let's Wrestle - Nursing Home
Le Albatross - Monticello
Le Albatross - Farmington
Ladytron - Gravity The Seducer
The Kooks - Junk Of The Heart
The Kills - Blood Pressures
Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds - Gorilla Rose
Kele - The Hunter EP
Kaiser Chiefs - The Future Is Medieval
The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar
Jónsi - We Bought A Zoo Soundtrack
Iroha - Iroha
Incubus - If Not Now, When?
IAMX - Volatile Times
I Break Horses - Hearts
Hyde And Beast - Slow Down
Howling Bells - The Loudest Engine
Howler - This One's Different
Gypsy & The Cat - Jona Vark EP
Guillemots - Walk The River
Gruff Rhys - Hotel Shampoo
Gruff Rhys - Atheist Xmas EP
The Nix Dicksons - Red Fox EP
Black Phoenix Orchestra - Black Phoenix Orchestra EP
Go For The Eyes - Go For The Eyes
Go For The Eyes - One Through Four EP
Girls Names - Dead To Me
Ganglians - Still Living
Frightened Rabbit - Frightened Rabbit EP
The Fresh And Onlys - Secret Walls EP
Frankie & The Heartstrings - Hunger
Foster The People - Torches
Flying Fox And The Hunter Gatherers - Hans My Lion
Florence And The Machine - Ceremonials
Flashguns - Passions Of A Different Kind
The Flaming Lips - Gummy Song Skull
Five Seconds To Leave - SoundScapeLandTracks
Final Days Society - Ours Is Not A Caravan Of Despair
The Features - Wilderness
Falcon - Disappear
Esben And The Witch - Violet Cries
Eleanor Friedburger - Last Summer
Efrim Manuel Menuck - Plays 'High Gospel'
Echo Lake - Young Silence
Dutch Uncles - Cadenza
Dum Dum Girls - Only In Dreams
The Duke Spirit - Bruiser
The Drums - Portamento
Dreams - Forgotten Thoughts
Does It Offend You, Yeah? - Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
DJ Shadow - The Less You Know, The Better
Disappears - Guider
Dirty Beaches - Badlands
Digitalism - I Love You, Dude
Devotchka - 100 Lovers
Delay Trees - Before I Go Go
The Decemberists - The King Is Dead
Death In Vegas - Trans-Love Energies
Death Cab For Cutie - Codes And Keys
Dead Skeletons - Dead Magick
Dead Electric - This Mind Of Yours
A Dancing Beggar - Follow The Dark As If It Were Light
Cut Off Your Hands - Hollow
Cults - Cults
Cuba Cuba - Where Else Is Safe But The Road?
Crystal Stilts - In Love With Oblivion
The Crookes - Chasing After Ghosts
Cold War Kids - Mine Is Yours
Cold Cave - Cherish The Light Years
Chikini - Bitten
Charles Bradley - No Time For Dreaming
Chapel Club - Palace
Cat's Eyes - Cat's Eyes
Cast - Troubled Times
Cage The Elephant - Thank You, Happy Birthday
Bush - The Sea Of Memories
Black Pistol Fire - Black Pistol Fire
Black Lips - Arabia Mountain
The Black Keys - El Camino
The Beets - Let The Poison Out
Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2
Bass Drum Of Death - GB City
Austra - Feel It Break
Asobi Seksu - Florescence
Art Brut - Brilliant! Tragic!
The Appleseed Cast - Middle States
Alexander Ebert - Alexander Ebert
Alex Turner - Submarine EP
Alberta Cross - The Rolling Thunder EP
Acrylics - Lives And Treasures

Friday, September 2, 2011

Let's Dance Like We Used To

If someone told me like 10 years ago that the 80's would make a comeback in any way, shape or form I would have called them liars. Well here it is now 2011 and they have indeed made a comeback over the past couple of years from fashion to music. You can't deny it, every where you look it's back for better or worse. Why might you ask am I ranting on about the 80's well take a listen to bands nowadays and the amount of synths being used. The kids who grew up on 80's music are now making music of their own.

For example White Lies who hail from London are awash in synths and vocals that recall Tears For Fears, Talking Heads or Talk Talk from the 80's. That's not saying there's anything bad about that. I am grateful that synths have become more prominent again and White Lies are doing a damn fine job of making themselves known as purveyors of the revival. They formed under another name Fear of Flying around 2005-2006. After writing some darker material that wasn't suited for the band they decided to put Fear of Flying to rest and begin White Lies. Before breaking up as their previous incarnation they recorded a couple of A-sides with Stephen Street (who produced Morrissey and Blur) and toured with The Maccabees among others.

White Lies was born in 2007 and took on a darker tone then their previous incarnation. They played as White Lies for the first time in 2008 and delayed release of their debut to gather some attention with the press. Their debut album was originally titled To Lose My Life Or Lose My Love but was eventually shortened to To Lose My Life... before it's release. For 2009, White Lies were first British act to have their album reach number one and to debut at number one. Quite an achievement for a debut album. After touring the album extensively and playing several festivals along with opening slots for Coldplay and Kings Of Leon, the band returned to the studio to record their sophomore album. They went with Alan Moulder as producer whose extensive credits include Nine Inch Nails and Smashing Pumpkins to name a few. In January 2011 Ritual was unleashed upon the masses to favourable reviews once again. Despite the band being compared to such bands as Joy Division, Interpol and Editors the band cite Talking Heads and Secret Machines as their influences.

Definitely a band that will only get better over time and their second album proves that they have staying power. Some lies are alright if nobody gets hurt and so a little White Lies never hurt anybody:

"Death" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Farewell To The Fairground" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Orl42Y-c4I

"To Lose My Life" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"EST" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Bigger Than Us" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Strangers" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Holy Ghost" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Orl42Y-c4I

This is best listened to loud, so turn it up!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Blowin' Cool

I know the name will probably turn most people off but once you get past it then there's some really good tunes waiting to be heard. A forgotten band of yesteryear Kitchens Of Distinction, name aside, are a real band with real songs and to their credit were doing things that a lot of others weren't comfortable doing. Lead singer Patrick Fitzgerald was openly gay and some of his lyrics pushed the envelope in the 80's when gay was still taboo for the most part. Fitzgerald was even a medical doctor but put that on hold to focus on the band. They released first album Love Is Hell in 1989, followed by Strange Free World in 1991, The Death Of Cool (in reference to Miles Davis passing away and his album The Birth Of Cool) in 1992 and finally Cowboys and Aliens in 1994. Sometimes the band would play secret shows as Toilets Of Destruction and dressed in drag playing ABBA, Bowie and Bauhaus covers. Jonny Greenwood even cited Cowboys and Aliens as an influence on Subterranean Homesick Alien. Sadly in 1996 the band split with Fitzgerald going on to create music under a new moniker Stephen Hero and Julian Swales moving on to compose music for films and theatre. Their name is taken from a company at the time that specialized in kitchen and bathroom fixtures, that one of the band members saw an advert for on the side of a bus. Heavily influencing many bands even if not being recognized for it from Interpol to Editors the sound they created will definitely live on. Get down to the sound:

"Drive That Fast" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"The 3rd Time We Opened The Capsule" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Quick As Rainbows" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Smiling" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"4 Men" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"What Happens Now" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Sand On Fire" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Here Come The Swans" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Relax, Don't Think About The Way I Treat You

Ambulance LTD started with Michael Di Liberto and David Longstreth who were later joined by Marcus Congleton. They signed with TVT records and recorded their only album to date LP. All the members left the group in 2007 leaving Congleton to be the last one. He received rights to the name and began recording with John Cale (of Velvet Underground fame) in 2008 but to this day nothing has come out of it. Some demo's did appear on their Myspace but nothing in the form of a physical release. After a legal fight with TVT ,who prevented the band from releasing new material, after filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy, the label was taken over by The Orchard. They were influenced by everyone from Spiritualized to My Bloody Valentine to The Rolling Stones and their music definitely reflected a band that wasn't ready to be pigeon-holed in any genre. Such an amazing debut and subsequent EP's that it's a shame if they don't release anything else. Here's hoping:

"Sugar Pill" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Primitive" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Ophelia" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Stay Where You Are" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

A band that deserves to be heard so spread the tunes with everyone you know who would dig them. Always share what you hear!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hanging Out With Scheme Eugene

So after a very long hiatus I am returning to writing about what I love best...music. Obscure music to put it best. I really appreciate everyone's support and hope that out of everything that maybe a couple of these bands have ended up in your music collection. If I've done that then I'm doing my job. Anyways onto the music and to kick things off I'm starting with an unknown (surprise) UK band (surprise) by the name of Red Light Company. They are from London, England and in their short time together gained some success with singles "Scheme Eugene" and "Meccano". NME touted them as one of the hottest bands of 2009. Since then the band has failed to capitalize on this other then releasing the great debut Fine Fascination in 2009. Nothing heard from the band since then until lead singer Richard Frenneaux posted a blog about his new project Anothers Blood in July 2011. Here's hoping the band isn't completely finished but Richard's trademark voice still lives on in Anothers Blood. Red Light Company drew comparisons to bands such as Arcade Fire and that is not too far from the mark as their music is infectiously catchy and easy to sing a long to. There is/was something about Red Light Company that just makes you want to listen to it over and over again. Always great to find a band that you've never heard and now can listen to repeatedly. Cheers to that:

"Scheme Eugene" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Arts & Crafts" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"With Lights Out" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Meccano" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Friday, June 10, 2011

All My Friends Think I'm Insane

Art Brut are an art rock band of the highest caliber. Deriving their name from French painter Jean Dubuffet's definition of outsider art - art by prisoners, loners, the mentally ill, and other marginalized people, and made without thought to imitation or presentation. It pretty aptly sums up the bands sound. Once, in an interview, Eddie Argos was questioned as to why he spoke on his records instead of singing and, confused, he replied that he thought he’d been singing all along. This is the sheer brilliance of the band. Their live shows have Eddie walking around the crowd, stopping the songs in the middle, for him to regale the audience with random musings or playing a vacuum (true story). If you've never heard an Art Brut track then you're doing yourself a disservice. They began with a demo called Brutlegs that caught the attention of Rough Trade records who offered the band a record deal. Bang Bang Rock & Roll was released in 2005 with "Emily Kane" being the first single released and was the highest charting single for Fierce Panda records. Second album It's A Bit Complicated was issued in 2007. Shortly after the release the band parted ways with EMI. Their last 2 albums Art Brut Vs Satan and Brilliant! Tragic! have both been produced by Frank Black (of Pixies fame) who is a huge fan of the band. Also an interesting fact is that Art Brut have franchises including the band We Are Scientists (AB47) who play or record Art Brut songs at random. Following in the spoken/singing tradition of Jarvis Cocker, Eddie Argos and Art Brut have definitely carved out their own niche and will hopefully continue to do so well into the future. If you ever have a chance to catch a live performance then I definitely recommend doing so as they are a whole other beast live. Here's to the revolution:

"Emily Kane" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Formed A Band" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Modern Art" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"My Little Brother" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Nag Nag Nag Nag" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Pump Up The Volume" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Direct Hit" http://www.dailymotion.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Alcoholics Unanimous" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshakes" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Slap Dash For No Cash" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Lost Weekend" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lost In The Woods

The band by the name of Pete And The Pirates is not what you would call well known. They make great songs with some quality lyrics and will probably remain out of sight which is fine with me but for those in the know then we are the lucky ones. There is an obligation for those in the know to share the greatness of the band with others. I know some of you probably want to keep them all to yourselves. This isn't fair to anyone especially the band who deserve a little TLC from everyone. Now that's out of the way, we can turn our attention back to the band and the music. Hailing from Reading, they've been around since 2006 and issued their first album Little Death in 2008. A great collection of tracks that appealed to all the senses. Changing up from song to song definitely makes the album sound fresh upon each listen. Second CD One Thousand Pictures saw the light of day in 2011 and carries on the same jangly guitar that makes Pete And The Pirates who they are, along with the harmonies. Also of note is the band Tap Tap, who are lead singer's Thomas Sanders other band that he fronts which includes some members of Pete and The Pirates. Similar in sound and of course trademarked by Thomas's voice they even share a song between the 2 bands "Half Moon Street". Highly recommended if you want some toe tapping music for sunny days. Listen to the sound:

"Come On Feet" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Mr Understanding" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"She Doesn't Belong To Me" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Winter 1" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Come To The Bar" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"United" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Half Moon Street" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Tap Tap "Little Match" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Tap Tap "Half Moon Street" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Cuts Like A...

The Young Knives hail from the UK, Leicestershire to be exact and have been around since 1998. Taking their name from a misunderstanding of "young knaves" the band read in a book, they started off calling themselves Simple Pastoral Existence. After the initial name and a split the band reformed as Ponyclub only to change their name to The Young Knives once they signed a record deal. They released The Young Knives...Are Dead in 2002 then dropped their full length Voices Of Animals And Men in 2006. Their first mini album was re-released as The Young Knives...Are Dead...And Some which included EP Rollerskater in 2007 for new fans of the band. In 2008 the band issued Superabundance and their newest album Ornaments From The Silver Arcade was unleashed in 2011. A quirky, fun band that has some clever tunes and lyrics. With jangly guitars and sneered vocals they fit in their niche quite well and are all the better for it. Take a walk:

"Here Comes The Rumour Mill" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"The Decision" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"She's Attracted To" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Weekends And Bleakdays" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Terra Firma" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Walking On The Autobahn" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Dyed In The Wool" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"I Love My Name" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mostly On An Island

Ok I'm going to stray from reviewing music today in order to give everyone a heads up on Sled Island http://blog.sledisland.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c that will be rolling into town on June 22-25. This year has one of the best lineups since the year Mogwai and Yo La Tengo graced the main stage when it was held behind Mewata. In order to prepare for the festival I took the time to take a listen to the bands that I didn't know on the list while also being thoroughly excited for the bands I did know. So I offer to those that want to know what bands they should check out my recommendations on the list. Some bands people will know or maybe they don't and will take the time to listen to them. Either way I hope to help shed some light on the great music that will be flooding our city in June. First up:

The Raveonettes "Forget That You're Young" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Alberta Cross "ATX" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

The Dandy Warhols "You Were The Last High" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

The Buzzcocks "I Don't Mind" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Twin Shadow "Castles In The Snow" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

The Greenhornes "There Is An End" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Blonde Redhead "23" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Crocodiles "Summer Of Hate" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Cursive "The Recluse" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Dum Dum Girls "Jail La La" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Electric Six "Synthesizer" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Minus The Bear "Pachuca Sunrise" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Moon Duo "Escape" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Quest For Fire "Strange Waves" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Dead Meadow "Sleepy Silver Door" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Red Cedar "Enter The Sun Gods" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

The Soft Pack "C'mon" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Starfucker "Julius" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Wild Nothing "Bored Games" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Zola Jesus "Night" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Also some other bands that don't have the visuals but deserve to be checked out are In Media Res and Deadhorse. I know there are probably tons more that I must check out but this is just the bands I know and had a chance to listen to. Let me know of anything else I should check out. Hope it helps and look forward to seeing you out at the shows.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sail To The Moon

The band Starsailor got their start in 2000 formed in Wigan/Chorley, England. Lead singer James Walsh was recruited and cited Jeff Buckley's album Grace as a source of inspiration for his singing style. Originally calling themselves Waterface they changed to Starsailor after a Tim Buckley album of the same name. First album Love Is Here was issued in 2001 to much hype in the British music press and skyrocketed the band into the mainstream. Playing several shows with big name acts including Manic Street Preachers and Doves was a prelude to playing festivals including V Festival and Rock AM/Rock Im festivals. For their second album Silence Is Easy(2003) the band started working with famed producer Phil Spector but things soon deteriorated and only 2 of the songs from the sessions ended up on the album. The band went back to the UK and finished up recording with John Leckie. The album fared well but did not live up to sales of the the 1st album. The band took their time with 3rd release On The Outside and eventually after recording to tape (without the use of ProTools) issued the album in 2005. Although lauded as a return to form the album failed to generate sales once again. In 2007 the band began recording for what would be their 4th album All The Plans released in 2009. This was preceded by a free EP The Boy In Waiting. It was announced in 2009 that James Walsh was working on a solo album and later that Starsailor were on indefinite hiatus. Such a diverse band that has managed to maintain their sound throughout their career while still updating their sound. An enduring sound that owes as much to James Walsh's voice as it does to the band's ability to continually write great stadium sized songs. Hope that this is only a small speed bump and that they manage to get back on track once Walsh has released his solo record. Gaze into the night sky:

"Good Souls" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Alcoholic" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Lullaby" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Silence Is Easy" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Four To The Floor" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"In The Crossfire" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Keep Us Together" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"All The Plans" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Tell Me It's Not Over" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Up And At 'Em

2 bands making waves in the UK at the moment are The Vaccines and Brother. They are generating a lot of hype because at the moment guitar bands are few and far between. Both bands seem to be bringing back a sound that hasn't been heard for some time. Buzzed about since last year and touted as the bands to watch in 2011. I may not be the first to rant about them but maybe to some people I am. Either way they are definitely making some catchy music. The Vaccines released a couple EP's before their full length What Did You Expect From The Vaccines dropped in March 2011. Their sound harkens back to 50's rock n roll and all over the map.

Brother on the other hand are by their definition "gritpop" but could easily be categorized with Oasis as "ladrock". Whatever you want to call them they have the attitude and sound to back it up to be one of the bands to watch out for. They have only released a handful of singles so far but are due to release their debut Famous First Words in July 2011.

It is cyclical that every 10 years another guitar band makes an impression and brings rock n roll back to the forefront so maybe it's one of these bands to follow in the tradition of Nirvana and The Strokes. Remember when they get big you can say you heard them first and be like that annoying hipster who heard about them before anybody else haha. Cheers and enjoy:

The Vaccines "Post Break-Up Sex" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

The Vaccines "If You Wanna" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

The Vaccines "Blow It Up" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Brother "Darling Buds Of May" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Brother "Time Machine" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Brother "New Year's Day" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

C'Mon Try A Little Bit

Mellowdrone hail from Los Angeles, California and consist of Jonathan Bates, Tony Dematteo and Brian Borg. They issued 4 EP's prior to their first album starting with ...Boredom Never Sounded So Sweet(1999), Glassblower(2001), A Demonstration Of Intellectual Property(2003) and Go Get 'Em Tiger(2004). Their first full length Box was released in 2006 and garnered some attention with many of the tracks being used in TV shows, movies and video games. In 2008 the band issued a 7" Maquina before issuing Angry Bear in 2009. Former member Cami Gutierrez went on to play in Uh Huh Her and Jonathan Bates has formed Big Black Delta and played with Monsters Are Waiting during some downtime. No word of any new material being recorded but let's hope so cause this hugely underrated band deserves some attention to say the least. Nothing really to compare the band to but there are so many different references you can hear in their music like Queens of The Stone Age. Refusing to be pigeon holed is probably what makes the band fly under the radar. After seeing the band open a show I immediately bought everything they had. There is not a single song I have heard by them that I do no like. I encourage everyone to listen to them and also their other projects. Come on try a little bit:

"My First Love Song" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Beautiful Day" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Bone Marrow" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Fashionably Uninvited" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Orange Marmalade" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Oh My" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Elephant" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"DMT" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Where Ever You May Go" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

If you go to http://bigblackdelta.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c you can download the Big Black Delta songs for free plus an EP. Enjoy and always remember to share what you know...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tear You Apart

Another band that deserves some attention is She Wants Revenge from California. Definitely pulling from their influences the band sound like a mix of The Cure, Joy Division and many other 80's bands but new at the same time. Releasing their first self titled CD in 2006, the band experienced some moderate success with one of their videos featuring Shirley Manson of Garbage and another being directed by Joaquin Phoenix. The band followed up with This Is Forever in 2007 but then seemed to slip under the radar but still managed to release two low key EP's Save Your Soul in 2008 and Up and Down in 2009. Just recently it was announced the band would be releasing their long awaited 3rd album Valleyheart in May 2011. This was preceded by 2 singles "Must Be The One" and "Take The World". Interesting to see what the band will do now as "Must Be The One" seems to be more upbeat than anything the band has done previously while "Take The World" harkens back to their older material. Lead singer Justin Warfield and Adam Bravin also seem to have a lot of unreleased material that may see the light of the day soon as b-sides. Let your heart melt:

"Sister" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Tear You Apart" http://www.dailymotion.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"These Things" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"True Romance" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Written In Blood" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Spend The Night" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Hazy Shade Of Winter" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Must Be The One" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Take The World" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Man From The Future

Take a step inside the world of M.A.G.N.U.S.(aka Magnus Gabrielsen) a multi-talented artist from Denmark who is making waves in his homeland and across the map. Taking his cues from various eras of British music, M.A.G.N.U.S. has taken these and formulated a well crafted debut EP.

"Teach Me Darling" kicks off the EP in excellent style with a swirling synth sound reminiscent of 80's groups but also sounds fresh and new. M.A.G.N.U.S.' vocals recall crooners such as Jarvis Cocker, Scott Walker or even David Bowie to name a few. The 2nd track on the EP "Wisdom Up For Grabs" brings out a raspier tone in M.A.G.N.U.S.' voice that brings thoughts of British Sea Power to mind. 2 songs into the EP and these songs already get stuck in your head which by any account is a sign of good things to come.

"Designer Life" starts off with a ringing guitar tone and breathless vocals that beg "let's find something real, let's do things that matter". The track is a good lead in to "Getting Harder" which sounds like Suede when they were at their peak during the early 90's. The lush strings and guitar would have been right at home on Suede's Head Music.

To wrap up the EP is "I'm Looping" which nicely sums up all of the influences heard throughout the songs. An upbeat track that is a good way to come down from an EP that is sure to please. There is no doubt that M.A.G.N.U.S. is heavily influenced by British music and uses the greatest elements to his advantage. Now to wait and see what else this man of many talents has in store for the future because if it's anything like what we've heard so far then lead on, M.A.G.N.U.S., lead on...

A promotional video for "I'm Looping":


An interesting interview with the man himself:


And here's a place for everything else you want to know:


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

And Boom Goes The Dynomite!

Ima Robot are from La La Land istelf, Los Angeles and formed in the 90's. An early incarnation of the band featured Justin Meldal-Johnsen and Joey Waronker. Both members had played with Beck and Waronker was a studio drummer who played with the likes of The Smashing Pumpkins, R.E.M. and Elliot Smith to name a few and now plays in Atoms For Peace, Thom Yorke's new band. Shortly after their first self titled effort both members left the group. Their first self titled CD was released in 2003 with Monument To The Masses following 3 years later in 2006. Although Alex Ebert has other commitments with Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeroes and newly released solo CD, Ima Robot managed to release another record in 2010 Another Man's Treasure. The good thing about Alex's projects is that they vary so differently from each other that one would be surprised to find that they tied together. Partial to their first CD with such great songs as "Dynomite" and "Scream" even their b-sides maintain the band's fun, upbeat style. Definitely listen to the diversity of all of Alex's projects but never forget where he came from. Slip and slide:

"Dynomite" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Scream" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Alive" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"STD Dance" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Lovers In Captivity" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Creeps Me Out" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Life Is Short" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Ruthless" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oooh My Desire

The band de jour is Stellastarr* who hail from Brooklyn, New York. Having met in school while studying art and design (which isn't an uncommon place for bands to form), they performed their first show in 2000. Their first CD was released in 2003 and had some success with a string of singles. They followed in 2005 with Harmonies For The Haunted which also fared well. Interestingly enough the album contained a hidden track on track 10 "Bloated Wife" which is said to be the 1st song the band ever wrote. The UK version of the CD included another track "Angela" and yet another version has "Foolish Games". Not much was heard from the band for some time but a song "Warchild" appeared on their Myspace and was said to be from their 3rd album and then eventually did appear when the album was issued a year later in 2009. Poppy hooks and a steady stream of great songs has made this band an underrated gem. The unique voice of lead singer Shawn Christensen also kept the band from sounding like a clone of other bands of their ilk. With their newest CD Civilized the band definitely bridged the gap between the 1st and 2nd albums and found a working formula that will hopefully carry over onto further releases. Also interesting to note about the band is all the members have others skills including screenwriting, painting and graphic designer to name a few. Get on board:

"My Coco" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"In The Walls" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Somewhere Across Forever" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Sweet Troubled Soul" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Love And Longing" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Damn This Foolish Heart" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Freak Out" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Graffiti Eyes" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Prom Zombie" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Great Escape

Finally to end this week's series is The Rifles from Chingford, London. Formed by Joel Stoker and Lucas Crowther who were inspired to form a band after seeing an Oasis show. After recruiting additional members the band played their first show in 2004 and went on to release their debut album No Love Lost in 2006. Before releasing their second album the band issued two one-off singles "Talking" in 2007 and "I Could Never Lie" in 2008. I personally love "I Could Never Lie" because it's just so damn catchy. Due to their album being delayed they issued The Rifles EP as a free download for fans before releasing The Great Escape in 2009. The band lost 2 of it's founding members but have started recording their 3rd album nonetheless. Such great songs and they definitely showed a maturity on their 2nd album that will hopefully carry over onto the 3rd. Great unabashed rock n' roll that should get everyone's feet tapping along. Take a long look at The Rifles:

"Peace & Quiet" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Local Boy" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Repeat Offender" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"She's Got Standards" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"I Could Never Lie" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"The Great Escape" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"The General" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Science In Violence" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Saturday, February 19, 2011

When Tom Cruise Cries

Today I would like to focus on The Rakes from London, England who sadly called it a day in 2009. Formed in 2004, the band released their debut Capture/Release in 2005 and had a string of singles climb into the UK charts. Their next CD Ten New Messages was issued in 2007 and then their final album Klang saw the light of day in 2009. The Rakes gained about as much attention for their music as they did their fashion sense even having a designer base one of their collections on the band. They also provided a soundtrack for a fashion show. It was quite sad to hear that the band had called it quits because they had continually put out such great music. With catchy songs and very witty lyrics, you couldn't help but enjoy The Rakes. As the band put it themselves on their website regarding the split, "The Rakes have always been very adamant and proud of the fact that we give 100% to every gig we’ve ever played. If we can’t give it everything then we won’t do it. That was the rule we set ourselves from day one". Good news is that lead singer Alan Donohoe is working on a new project so will have to keep my eyes peeled for something from that. Either way always good to enjoy something so unabashedly fun so I'll let the music speak for itself. This is an advertisement:

"22 Grand Job" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Strasbourg" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Retreat" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Work, Work, Work (Pub, Club, Sleep)" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Open Book" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"We Danced Together" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"The World Was A Mess But His Hair Was Perfect" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Little Superstitions" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"1989" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"The Light From Your Mac" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Definitely a band that hid such clever lyrics in their songs. Listen to the genius of "The Light From Your Mac" for evidence of just how great their lyrics really were.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

You Know I Love You

Next up in this week's series is The Pigeon Detectives from Rothwell, West Yorkshire in the UK. Formed in 2002, they have gone on to gain a huge following and had several successful tours. Their first CD Wait For Me was released in 2007 and went on to gold status soon after it's release. Second album Emergency was produced by Stephen Street (who has also produced The Smiths/Morrissey, Blur to name a few) and was released in 2008. They have recently recorded their 3rd album Up, Guards And At' Em and plan to release it in April of 2011. They issued a preview of track "She Wants Me" which is a bit of a new sound for the band. In the same brash, punky category as the rest of the band's I have and will be talking about, they are bringing back the guitar rock that has been lacking for a while. With the new song it sounds like the band has broadened their horizons but only a full listen to the new album will determine what changes they have tried to make. Look forward to hearing more from this band and definitely worth having a listen to all of their material to date. There are some funny stories surrounding the origin of the band's name as well with one story suggesting that a pigeon writes all their songs. A good sense of humour to go with a solid music output will keep The Pigeon Detectives on everyone's radar. Flap your wings:

"Take Her Back" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"I'm Not Sorry" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Romantic Type" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"I Found Out" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"This Is An Emergency" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c (the actual video for this has really poor audio)

"Everybody Wants Me" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Say It Like You Mean It" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"She Wants Me" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hey You!

This week I'm going to dedicate to some good ol' guitar rock via the UK. Always a great source of music the UK unleashed a brash bunch of bands in the last couple of years hell bent on bringing guitar back into music. Today's band of choice is The Paddingtons from Hull, UK. They were first noticed and signed by Alan McGee (who founded Creation Records back in the day signing Oasis, The Libertines and Primal Scream to name a few). The band was also favourites of Pete Doherty who toured with the band with his then project Babyshambles. Their 1st album First Comes First (2005) was produced by Owen Morris (who produced Oasis' Definitely Maybe). They released 2nd album No Mundane Options in 2008 and planned to issue The Lady Boy Tapes EP in February 2010 but the release date was pushed back. It did finally see the light of day. They have a great video for "What's The Point In Anything New" on their 2nd album that is reminiscent of the movie Snatch. Catchy tunes with a little punk attitude thrown in makes for a good time with The Paddingtons. Get on your dancing shoes:

"Panic Attack" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"50 To A Pound" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Sorry" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Stand Down" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"What's The Point In Anything New" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Saturday, February 5, 2011

You'll Never Be Alone Again

Another band that was just on the cusp of their recognition when they broke up is none other than Simian. Originating in Manchester, the band released their first effort Chemistry Is What We Are in 2001 and We Are Your Friends in 2002. Differing from the first album which was more simple in it's song structures, We Are Your Friends was an example of where 2 of the main members where heading with a more dance oriented focus. The drummer and keyboard player went on to form Simian Mobile Disco, an in demand DJ group. I thoroughly enjoy both albums but have an affinity for We Are.. only due to the fact that it signalled an exciting future for the band that unfortunately never came to fruition. Their song "Never Be Alone" was released in 2006 as "We Are Your Friends" and credited to Justice Vs Simian, gaining Justice attention in a remix competition. Singer Simon Lord went on to release several projects including Lord Skywave and The Black Ghosts. Along with Simian Mobile Disco James Ford has had huge success as a producer with credits including Arctic Monkeys, Klaxons, The Last Shadow Puppets (to which he plays drums) and Florence & The Machine. Give both albums a thorough listen and decide for yourself what you like best. Give in to Simian:

"The Wisp" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Mr. Crow" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"La Breeze" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Never Be Alone" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Skin" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"The Way I Live" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Ok back on track and ready to deliver some more bands to the masses. Clor were a five piece band from Brixton, England. Formed by Barry Dobbin and Luke Smith who have each gone on to do various production for other bands. Although sadly they were just beginning to gain recognition for their self titled debut released in 2005, the band called it quits in 2006. A very catchy, quirky album that was chock full of gems that only now begin to jump out as being a solid debut. NME even went as far to name it the best lost album of all time. Dobbins now has started a new project entitled Barringtone. Too bad that this diamond in the rough took so long to get noticed but now that it is, hopefully more people will catch on. Enjoy it with the unabashed pleasure it deserves:

"Dangerzone" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Outlines" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Love + Pain" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

"Good Stuff" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nC-uyhg1c

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Wink and A Nod

Ben Everyman hails from Vancouver, BC via Calgary, AB and is exactly as his moniker describes, music for the everyman. It's sweet and simple without being dumbed down for the masses. Relying on wit and endless charm to carry the songs above the average acoustic act, Ben succeeds amply with both. Able to change up styles and his voice for each song, it's refreshing to not get stuck in the same cycle but instead be surprised at each new turn.

His debut Iconoplastic comes out at the beginning of 2011 and will hold up throughout the year as a formidable gem. From the first strum of the opening song "Ladeda" it's evident that Ben Everyman is more than a one trick pony. The song is simple enough but it's the lyrics that you must listen to in any song by Ben such as "all the hipster's dressed like cats" followed by more whimsical observations which lead into an abrupt hauntingly strummed repetition of the song's title with interwoven background vocals. Thus "Dead Snow" begins with a jaunty beat that has you tapping your toe from the get go. The song is a great showcase for Ben's voice and shows off his range. One would be remiss to mention that Ben Everyman's voice recalls similar artists like Mark Oliver Everett from the Eels or Lou Barlow of Sebadoh/Folk Implosion fame. Next up is "Rocknrollstar" which seems to be filled with biting, sardonic lyrics aimed at fame or maybe it's the everyman he's aiming at. You can decide who the lyrics are really aimed at.

Cleverly titled "Jesus Grew Grass (In His Garden)" is a little ditty about the lord and saviour himself partaking in the healing powers of pot and contains some great lines like "Jesus on a cross of wood, dying like he knew he would" into "Jesus grew grass in his garden, for his flock to use, and I'll bet he smoked it too". It's rare if not impossible for a songwriter to pull off lyrics like that back to back without sounding fake but not with Ben whose tall tales and stories sound genuine, as if he had lived all these lives he sings about.

"Birds' Songs" is a mellow affair that lulls one into a dream state that you don't really want to return from. The sullen background instrumentation adds to the effect and Ben's voice is as crisp as ever. Luckily if you do make it back in time for "The Girl Which Loved Her Pets" you won't regret it. A piano and acoustic driven track that tells individual stories about "the girl who kissed her friend", "the girl who sat alone" and "the girl who had no hands" to name a few. A very catchy song that sets itself apart from the songs it's preceded and followed by. Not that those songs aren't catchy, just a little more on the dark side, which also is not a bad thing cause we all know that life isn't always rainbows and sunshine.

The next and probably best (in my humble opinion) number on the album is "Don't Irritate The Bees" which seems to stick out as a heartfelt offering that strikes exactly the right chords with the listener. The chorus is effective in driving home the longing feeling stirred up by the echoed background vocals that stay with you. Again another song on the CD that benefits from background strings adding the emotional edge to an already emotive track. Finally we have "Video Game Guy" which is a lovely ditty that any guy around can relate to. If we could just escape into that video game world then all our cares and worries would seem meaningless up against saving a princess or collecting coins. Ben sums up what could be just some wishful thinking in life in general with "I will continue if I die" or just a take on video games and your endless lives in that world.

Either way that's what Ben does best is make you think about whether he's being serious or just toying with you. Definitely a collection of songs that you feel compelled to come back to because of the imagery it conjures or the smile it leaves on your face. Do yourself a favour, sit down to listen to Iconoplastic and let Ben Everyman share his witticisms with you. You won't regret it!

The video for "Dead Snow":


Check out his website for everything you need to know:


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Top 10 Albums of 2010

Ok ladies and gents here is the much debated over year end list. Now I'm not trying to appeal to indie hispters or anyone else for that matter by including Kanye West or anything just albums that really caught my attention over the last year. Year end lists are always a much contested affair but that's why we all have our own tastes and opinions. I encourage you to whip up a favourite's list of your own whether you choose to share it or not is up to you. The lists are always a great way for people to hear new music or rediscover something they may have let slip away. Here's my holiday treat for you and hope you enjoy:

1. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Beat The Devil's Tattoo

2. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

3. Interpol - Interpol

4. Two Door Cinema Club - Tourist History

5. The Sunshine Underground - Nobody's Coming To Save You

6. Surfer Blood - Astrocoast

7. The Drums - The Drums

8. Kings Of Leon - Come Around Sundown

9. The Besnard Lakes - ...Are The Roaring Night

10. The National - High Violet

The Coral - Butterfly House

Kula Shaker - Pilgrim's Progress

22-20s - Shake, Shiver & Moan

Detroit Social Club - Existence

Frightened Rabbit - The Winter Of Mixed Drinks

Tame Inpala - Innerspeaker

Mystery Jets - Seratonin

Klaxons - Surfing The Void

UNKLE - Where Did The Night Fall

New Young Pony Club - The Optimist

Vampire Weekend - Contra

Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest

MGMT - Congratulations

Yeasayer - Odd Blood

Gayngs - Relayted

British Sea Power - Zeus EP

The Walkmen - Lisbon

The Strange Boys - Be Brave

Salem - King Night

Foals - Total Life Forever

LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening

Beach House - Teen Dream

Autolux - Transit Transit

These New Puritans - Hidden

Crocodiles - Sleep Forever

Kele - The Boxer

Clinic - Bubblegum

The Black Angels - Phospene Dream

Gorillaz - Plastic Beach

Delphic - Acolyte

Ok Go - Of The Blue Color Of The Sky

Eels - End Times

Spoon - Transference

Hot Chip - One Life Stand

Midlake - The Courage Of Others

RPA & The United Nations Of Sound - RPA & The United Nations Of Sound

Massive Attack - Heligoland

The Courteeners - Falcon

Dead Meadow - Three Kings

Wild Nothing - Gemini

Broken Bells - Broken Bells

The Whigs - In The Dark

Jonsi - Go

The Futureheads - The Chaos

Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record

Deftones - Diamond Eyes

The Hold Steady - Heaven Is Whenever

The Dead Weather - Sea Of Cowards

Band Of Horses - Infinite Arms

The Black Keys - Brothers

Wintersleep - New Inheritors

We Are Scientists - Barbara

The Chemical Brothers - Further

Hurts - Happiness

Eels - Tomorrow Morning

Quest For Fire - Lights From Paradise

Sleepy Sun - Fever

Weezer - Hurley

Brandon Flowers - Flamingo

Belle and Sebastian - Belle and Sebastian Write About Love

Warpaint - The Fool

Fran Healy - Wreckorder

Stars - The Five Ghosts

Tricky - Mixed Race

Darker My Love - Alive As You Are

Bombay Bicycle Club - Flaws

Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse - Dark Night Of The Soul

School Of Seven Bells - Disconnect From Desire

Teenage Fanclub - Shadows

Stone Temple Pilots - Stone Temple Pilots

Born Ruffians - Say It

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Mojo

The Nix Dicksons - Giraffe EP

The Explosive Archives: Calgary Live Music. Vol. I

The May Cause - The May Cause EP

Edwyn Collins - Losing Sleep

Wolf People - Steeple

Tamaryn - The Waves

Serena Maneesh - 2: Abyss In B Minor

Red Cedar - Enter The Sun Gods

Raised By Swans - No Ghostless Place

Monster Movie - Everyone Is A Ghost

Midnight Juggernauts - The Crystal Axis

Maximum Balloon - Maximum Balloon

Kent - En Plats I Solen

Johnny Cash - American VI: Ain't No Grave

Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Hawk

The Hotrats - Turn Ons

Hollerado - Record In A Bag

Good Shoes - No Hope, No Future

Engineers - In Praise Of More

The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster

The Cinematics - Silent Scream EP

Cherry Ghost - Beneath This Burning Shoreline

The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Who Killed Sgt. Pepper

Blood Red Shoes - Fire Like This

Black Mountain - Wilderness Heart

The Bees - Every Step's A Yes

The Automatic - Tear The Signs Down 

Titus Andronicus - The Moniter

Admiral Radley - I Heart California

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - III/IV

The Orb Featuring David Gilmour - Metallic Spheres

Free Energy - Stuck On Nothing

Exit Calm - Exit Calm

Mogwai - Special Moves