All 17 entries tagged Music

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December 21, 2005

The World Needs Another Top 10 List

I regularly bemoan my inability to express why I like a given piece of music, art or film, but in an attempt to avoid work and to appear thoughtful, here’s an attempt anyway.

Bloc Party – Silent Alarm
One of the early releases in 2005, yet it’s the one I’m least tired of. The Bloc Party EP released in 2004 which featured ‘Banquet’ and ‘She’s Hearing Voices’ suggested great promise and Silent Alarm didn’t disappoint. It’s a bleak sounding album with pounding bass, decisive drumming searing twin guitar melodies and bold vocals. They can be brash when they want but still produce ballads such as ‘So Here We Are’. The album brings back memories of a tedious period spent sending off job applications and receiving rejections the following day, yet I love it.

Tom Vek – We Have Sound
There’s a minimalist feel to some of these tracks as much of the melody and general catchiness comes from the bass line with guitar and drums taking a back seat. Vek’s vocal range can sometimes be non-existent though it really suits the synth laden music. He’s clearly capable of letting lose every now again as evidenced by the most exciting track ‘I Ain’t Saying My Goodbyes’.

Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary
Wasn’t overly keen on this initially, but the fact that they’re from Montreal was reason enough to have a second (and third and fourth…) chance. The two vocalists (one grungy, one clean) add some variety to a sound that is compared with Modest Mouse.

Venetian Snares - Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett
Past releases from Aaron Funk of the ‘Snares have been guaranteed to scare kids into bed and cause irreversible damage to ones hearing should the volume dial be turned too high. Rather than being a straight up IDM release you’ve got some strings in here, piano, and even some vocal samples. It’s still dark music, but with real variety.

Death From Above 1979 - You're a Woman I'm A Machine
This duo shunning use of an electric guitar makes some highly energetic music. The raucous vocals and highly obtrusive synths more than make up for a lack of members and instruments. It’s a short album, but it doesn’t leave you bored for a second.

The Game – The Documentary
The on-off pseudo feud between The Game and mentor 50 Cent may be comic, but what should be taken seriously is this debut album featuring much radio-friendly, catchy hip hop. With Dr Dre and Kanye West assisting with production and collaborations with 50 Cent and Eminem it was never going to go far wrong. Highlights are ‘Hate It or Love It’ and ‘Dreams’.

M.I.A - Arular
No idea how to describe this, but to narrow the field slightly (or perhaps confuse matters) you’ve got a feisty female vocalist creating dance music that has some international influences. I was listening to the M.I.A and Diplo mixtape ‘Piracy Funds Terroism Volume 1’ at the time of creating last year’s top 10 which featured some of the tracks on her debut. I remember thinking the mixtape was a bit of a mess, but liked Arular anyway.

System of a Down - Mezmerize
It’s amazing how they can make the rudest lyrics sound so catchy and even….beautiful. The harmonies on this album make for great listening; you can even sing along too. I hear their second release of the year ‘Hypnotize’ is equally good but I’ve not had time to listen to it.

Kaiser Chiefs - Employment
Like the System album mentioned above, there’s so much good sing-along material here. There are some tracks I’m not particularly keen on such as ‘Time Honoured Tradition’ and ‘Team mate’, but the strength of the top half of the album more than makes up for things.

The National – Alligator
They’re compared to the morose Joy Division, which can't be bad. The opening track beginning with the paranoid lines ‘I think this place is full of spies’ give you an idea of what tone the rest of the album takes.


May 25, 2005

Reading festival update – Carling Stage lineup

The lineup for the Carling Stage at the Reading & Leeds festivals has been announced

According to nme.com

Appearing On Friday In Reading (August 26) And Saturday In Leeds (27) Will Be Ladytron, Charlotte Hatherley, Saul Williams, The National, Mando Diao, The Paddingtons, We Are Scientists, The Blood Arm, Cherubs, Two Gallants, The Rogers Sisters And Fell City Girl.

Saturday In Reading (27) And Sunday In Leeds (28) Will See Performances On The Carling Stage From The Go! Team, The Raveonettes, Sleater Kinney, Caesars, Yeti, Dogs, Arctic Monkeys, Mystery Jets, 747’s, Clor And Neon.

Echo & The Bunnymen, Adam Green, The Dresden Dolls, Engineers, Amusement Parks On Fire, Komakino, Towers Of London, The Rifles, Battle, Every Move A Picture, Young Offenders Institute, Boy Kill Boy And Forward Russia Will Take To The Carling Stage On Sunday In Reading (28) And Friday In Leeds (26).

I’m unfamiliar with most of the above groups, but stand out names are:

The National – Check out the album Alligator for some morose ballads; a la Joy Division.
The Go! Team – Sadly, they're on at the same time as the Foo Fighters.
Sleater-Kinney – Energetic girl power. Yet to hear their 2005 release.


April 19, 2005

Reading Festival Lineup – More updates

More news for this year’s Reading Festival attendees:

THE COOPER TEMPLE CLAUSE, THE SUBWAYS, HOT HOT HEAT and THE KILLS are the latest additions to the NME/RADIO 1 STAGE at this year’s THE CARLING WEEKEND: READING AND LEEDS FESTIVALS.

As previously announced Kasabian will headline the stage on Friday (August 26) in Reading and Saturday in Leeds (27) and will now be joined by The Cooper Temple Clause, My Chemical Romance, Fightstar and The Subways.

The following day will see Hot Hot Heat, The Kills and The Others play our stage.

On the final day in Reading (28) and Friday in Leeds (26), British Sea Power, Willy Mason, The Duke Spirit and Maximo Park will play on the stage, which is headlined by Bloc Party.

On the same day, Alkaline Trio, Turbonegro and Bullet For My Valentine have been added to the Main Stage line-up.

The Carling Weekend: Reading and Leeds Festivals will take place between August 26 and 28 at Richfield Avenue in Reading and Bramham Park in Leeds and will see Pixies, Foo Fighters and Iron Maiden headline over the three days.

Courtesty of NME.com

Good to see The Kills & British Sea Power included as both have released great albums this year. I’ve seen The Cooper Temple Clause play in Wolverhampton (not great), but missed their appearances at Warwick Uni. Overall, the NME/Radio 1 stage is clearly the place to be.


April 12, 2005

Indietits – Online Cartoon

Some browsing turned up a humorous online cartoon by the name of indietits – The single line description reads:

little birds who talk about obscure bands and make stupid jokes

Here's an entry from 7th April:

Archives are only dated from 1st April, so there isn't a much of a back catalogue to look through unfortunately. Still, it's well worth a few minutes of your time.


April 08, 2005

Wilco – Embracing technology in the music industry

From bbcnews

US country-rock group Wilco's lead singer Jeff Tweedy has criticised the music industry's negative attitude to the internet, saying it is "nothing to be afraid of". In an industry that has often blamed the internet for falling sales and "stolen" royalties, Wilco have defied the doomsayers and used the net to their advantage.

The group have gone from strength to strength since making their fourth studio album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, available online for free in 2002.

"It's just new technology, and it's nothing to be afraid of," Tweedy tells the BBC World Service's The Music Biz programme.

"People are going to abuse it - they are going to pirate music, they always have done - but it's the same thing as tape.

"Cassette tapes were going to ruin music. If you go far enough back, the radio was going to ruin music."

Full article here

Better technology has brought new ways to ‘acquire’ content without paying, but for the few who companies/individuals who look at new opportunities to catering for increased demand for digital media, the rewards will be huge. Exerting effort on small fry downloaders without studying the incentives driving such people to reject traditional sales methods is foolish. The companies behind services such as Itunes and MSN Music have the right idea, though they have a long way to go.

For anyone yet to browse the numerous mp3blogs around the internet check out some of the links on the Music category on the left hand side of this blog. They’re a great source of information on the latest independent (& decent mainstream) music and often provide sample tracks.


April 06, 2005

Reading festival lineup – New Additions

LCD SOUNDSYSTEM and FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND lead the latest additions to the CARLING WEEKEND: READING AND LEEDS FESTIVAL.
Both acts are among a brace of artists just confirmed for the festivals, which take place August 26–28.

Funeral For A Friend, who have just completed their second album ‘Hours’, play the Main Stage in Leeds on Friday 26 and Reading on Sunday 28, the same day as James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem play the NME / Radio 1 Stage.

On Saturday 27 in Leeds and Friday 26 in Reading, Celtic punks The Dropkick Murphys appear on the Main Stage on a bill that also features Pixies and Queens Of The Stone Age.

Full article from nme.com

I know there was lots of hype surrounding LCD Soundsystem’s self titled album earlier this year but I’m yet to hear it, nor am I sure what genre they slot into. Nothing from Funeral For A Friend comes to mind either. However, posts I’ve read on a message board in the past suggest that they’re a poor emo group which begs the question of why they’re playing on Sunday. In any case, I suppose it’s worth taking the time to see what the three new entries to the line-up have to offer.


April 04, 2005

Coldplay's X&Y Album Art Released

Not to sure what word best describes it, but candiates are ‘interesting’ and ‘random’. The album, called X&Y will be released officially on 6th June and the tracklist is shown below. The song ‘Talk’ has been floating around the net for a few weeks, and is pretty pleasant. The press have said that the band weren’t sure whether whether or not to include it once it had been leaked, but I’m glad it’s there.

Tracklist:

  1. Square One
  2. What If’
  3. White Shadows
  4. Fix You
  5. Talk
  6. X&Y
  7. Speed Of Sound
  8. A Message
  9. Low
  10. The Hardest Part
  11. Swallowed In The Sea
  12. Twisted Logic

Via Coldplay.com


April 03, 2005

Joss Stone – A wealthy woman

From bbcnews.com

The 17-year-old British soul singer, Joss Stone, has rocketed into the list of the richest young musicians, earning an estimated £5m in the past year.

To the uninitiated few, Joss Stone is no more and no less than an unremarkable young woman. Tousle-haired and pretty, like millions of teenage girls, she is unaffected and unassuming, not one naturally to stand out in a crowd.

But put her behind a microphone or on a stage and a staggering transformation takes place. Belying her diffidence and youth, Joss Stone's persona as a singer is sassy and coquettish, her voice rich and deep, knowing and world-weary, just like that of her own idol, the late, great, Janis Joplin.

Her rise to fame has been rapid, even by the "blink-and-you're-gone" standards of modern celebrity.

Full article here

The girl is a good singer, but £5m at the age of 17? Anyone working in the marketing department of her record label deserves a pat on the back. Ah, to be a young blonde in the music industry (singing voice optional)…..


March 24, 2005

Radiohead start work on new album

Reported by pitchforkmedia.com yesterday:

After two years away from the studio, Radiohead have begun working on new music again, planting the seeds of what will likely become the follow-up to 2003's Hail to the Thief. A cryptic message from frontman Thom Yorke, posted earlier this month to the band's official webboard, suggested that this may be the case, however vaguely, reading, "hey weve started work. (speaking of cookies) no really." Now there's confirmation from guitarist Jonny Greenwood to back up the gibberish.

"Everything starts with songs, and with Thom, and with the excitement you can get in the band when you hear new music, and you know you've got the chance to watch it mutate and change," Greenwood told NME. "There's nothing like that, nothing as exciting. We're rehearsing at the moment, and again it's fun. We all want to push forward, and when you have five people who are all like that, you couldn't ask for a better thing."

In related news, Yorke and Greenwood will be appearing live in London next Monday and Tuesday at the London Royal Festival Hall, as part of The London Sinfonietta, to premiere new material they've apparently written specifically for this event. Fans should prepare to witness "two evenings of experimentation, collaboration and cross-genre juxtaposition," according to the performances' spokespersons. A selection of classical works and Arabic traditionals will also be played.

To say I’m looking forward to this would be an understatement.


March 22, 2005

Reading Festival 2005 – Dubious value for money


For anyone who missed the news yesterday, the current lineup for the 2005 Reading Festival can be found here. The festival runs from Friday 26th August to Sunday 28th, with a weekend ticket costing £125 minus booking fees.

I look forward to seeing The Pixies, Foo Fighters, QOTSA, Maiden and Bloc Party, though the other offerings don’t have as much appeal. Were it not for The Pixies, I probably wouldn't bother given the cost. With any luck we’ll see some smaller, promising groups added to the lineup in the coming weeks.

Unfortunately, it looks like we won't have any controversial additions, such as 50 Cent who last year earned a cool £285 000 despite being forced off stage after 15 minutes. I don't understand the mentality of people who think it's clever to throw stuff because the music isn't to their taste. How about walking away and doing something more productive?


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