All 11 entries tagged Album
December 03, 2006
We Landed On The Moon! are a quintet from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We interviewed them a few months ago and their album has maintained on my rotation ever since – it’s a brilliant debut. The album starts with the excellent One of a Kind, crescendoing into full swing as the album goes through Everything is Fine and Simple Steps.
WLotM! display a number of styles throughout the album, with Blondie-style vocals from the lead singer flowing through influences from Blondie, Kate Bush, and the 80s indie-rock scene to create a wonderful mix of pop-rock that is very easy to listen and dance to.
There’s very little to say about the album other than you should go and buy it. Now!
BUY THE ALBUM NOW DAMN YOU
December 02, 2006
The danger of an early release for an album is that it can slip from people’s minds as the year progresses. This I fear could be the fate of the second album from Delays, which will be a real shame if it happens. This is the classic example of why bands need space and time. So many bands recently have produced a second album which is merely a slightly different rehash of their first, maybe with bigger producers and budgets, maybe with added burglary and prison (cough, Libertines). But what if a band came band with an album which improved on the negatives from their début? You See Colours is a perfect example of the latter phenomenon which must not become a victim of the former.
As melodic and tuneful as their début was, it lacked a punch. It was the sort of music you could do your homework to, lovely, soothing but not as urgent, not as vital and the records which make you sit up and pay attention. Not any more. You See Colours sounds like they’ve had an entire jar of disco biscuits shoved down their throats. Without sacrificing a single thing which made them good in the first place, Delays have gotten better – beats you can really dance to, swaggering synths, and a sheen which treads the right side of epic.
The only real mistake that is made is the unloading of the best four songs as tracks #1-#4. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with shoving them on repeat, it does mean the more subtle moments of the album, the later tracks, could get missed out. But what an opening four! There are maybe three or four albums released this year which can hold up an opening to match ‘You And Me’, ‘Valentine’, ‘This Towns Religion’, and ‘Sink Like A Stone’. Each is wonderful, with ‘Valentine’ in particular one of the best songs released this year. No question. The delivery of the line “I heard the last night on earth is for living”is more worthy of praise than most of the other songs which have been inflicted on the Top 40 this year.
So swirling La’s-like jangle and a heavy duty dose of disco/electro? What’s not to like?
December 01, 2006
Well, December has finally arrived, and here at à la discothèque (a secret for you – yes, we know that it should be à and not á, but where’s the wonderful symmetry in that? Don’t tell anyone our evil French literary boo though) we’ve decided that to celebrate 2006 in music, we’ll review 31 albums in 31 days in the style of an advent calendar, as well as keeping up with our usual music tomfoolery. Excited? Good. Go!
White Rose Movement are a post-punk/electro band from London, who style their music around danceable, sexy music. I frigging love it. Around about April/May time, when I was first discovering and getting into the whole indietronica/dance-rock scene (Postal Service, Hot Chip, !!!, that kinda jazz) I heard the wonderful Girls In The Back from the RaW playlist. I immediately came home and ordered WRM’s debut album, Kick.
When the album came out, it didn’t go down particularly well – a lot of the music blog fraternity marked WRM as boring and one-dimensional, but personally I think the album’s a bit of class, particularly with songs such as Testcard Girl, London’s Mine and Love Is A Number. The album builds up through electronic/guitar-heavy songs such as Kick and Girls In The Back, very danceable choons, to the more experimental and abstract beats of Deborah Carne later in the album.
Altogether the album holds up well, and has stood well against the test of time. Here’s some tracks to enjoy:
November 08, 2006
Writing about web page http://www.wearephoenix.com
For me, there couldn’t be a better time for a band like Phoenix to be entering my playlist. Here in Auckland, the sun is beginning to shine a little more, exams are almost over and I’ve got a whole summer to look forward to (sorry, I won’t milk it any more). This album was rather handily released back in May in time for the Northern summer but it’s only recently that I’ve really got to appreciate just how good it is.
Phoenix started out back when Air were getting big (and in fact spent some time as Air’s backing group) with Moon Safari, and their first two albums United (2000) and Alphabetical (2004) concentrated on the electronic/guitar pop their French contemporaries were famous for, but with a more direct band approach. You’ve probably inadvertently heard them through Lost In Translation (the singer Thomas Mars is dating Sofia Coppola) and the delightful song Too Young, a great example of this vibrant sound. The latest album doesn’t bring a total reverse of this straightforward approach, but instead you can hear the guitars are harder, the rhythms are tougher and it feels a lot more revitalised with an exciting level of energy that tended to be absent from most of previous album tracks.
The album kicks off with the shrill guitar alarm of Napoleon Says and doesn’t let up with the guitar hooks all the way through the album (with the exception of the tepid instrumental North which rather thankfully segues into the giddy blast of Sometimes in the Fall). The European connection is decidedly evident, characterised by Thomas Mars’ slight inflections and accent. Various lines are dotted with sly ‘huh’s that on paper may sound horribly pretentious (in the hands of someone like Jet, heaven forbid) but end up rather sweet and endearing. Another obvious touchpoint would have to be The Strokes, dealing in the same chugging guitar delivery but then nothing in the NYC-ians’ recent output can match the pop brilliance and innocence of something like Consolation Prizes or Courtesy Laughs.
Here are some of my favourite cuts from the album:
Phoenix – Rally MP3 Expired
It’s not a song that really hit me first but it’s one of the songs where there are just parts of the vocal I love. Particularly in the second verse where he croons “Teeeeee-easin’ me”. Gets me every time.
Phoenix – Long Distance Call MP3 Expired
This immediately follows Rally and ends a pretty much perfect first four songs that the two songs afterwards suffer a little for it. The keyboards return for this track but only in subtle touches. A perfect pop crescendo to finish it off as well.
Phoenix – Second to None MP3 Expired
The track that closes off the album, and the taut rhythms here lock into each other so perfectly you almost forget that one guitar has just been playing one note for the past 90 seconds. It doesn’t matter anyway because it’s another brilliant pop song, and a brilliant ending to what I think is a brilliant album. \\
September 30, 2006
Writing about web page http://www.duelsmusic.com
I’ve always been searching for a good fun indie band channelling early-Bowie (well, okay, Hunky Dory-era Bowie, i.e. not Suede) into modern pop songs with youth and vigour. Over a year ago I happened across Duels who had come out with a little song called What We Did Wrong. The quirky piano melody was there, the la-la-la harmonies and thick lead guitar lines, it was pretty much perfect. Their website heralded a few more gems in the form of a radio recording of Young Believers and a few snippets of songs here and that they were in the process of recording.
With just two full songs I was hooked.
I’d just arrived in time for a single, Potential Futures, another stomper of a tune that lead me to my first online digital purchase; I was that enthralled. For the next six months though, there was no news of album recordings and a seemingly lacklustre follow-up single in Pressure On You. Time passed and earlier this year I caught wind that they were recording again, and the resulting album, The Bright Lights and What We Should’ve Learned, has turned out to be a cracker. It’s an album which I’ve rarely found, where a band actually lives up to that first promise you heard in them with so much hope. And a British one at that.
Full of these wonderful melodies and hooks, with the tracks I loved re-recorded with even more relish (that they deserve), giving songs like Pressure On You a bigger kick that just wasn’t present before. It’s hard not to mention the obvious influence of the Britpop era in songs like Animal and Brothers & Sisters but they manage to couple the more upbeat driving tracks with a more paranoid undercurrent in slow burners like The Slow Build (duh!), Young Believers and Taxi Song, showcasing a bit more depth to their sound.
The album came out at the end of July but being out in NZ it took me a while to actually realise it. They also have an EP to be soon released with the title track, Once in the Night, which I’ve included here alongside Animal. I’ve also included the first demo version of What We Did Wrong which captured me in the first place. If you dig around the website to find the ‘Little Monsters’ section then you’ll be treated to a few more free musical treats such as a rather sweet cover of the Talking Heads’ Heaven ( which funnily enough has also been covered by Discothéque favourites, Voxtrot ).
The Bright Lights And What I Should've Learned (2006)
Duels - Animal - MP3 Expired
Duels - Once in the Night - MP3 Expired
[Buy from Amazon]
Bonus: Duels - What We Did Wrong (demo) - MP3 Expired
Duels YouTube Channel
August 16, 2006
Goldfrapp’s recent release, Supernature was glam, futuristic, with this icy mistress ushering vocals out inbetween the electronic flourishes. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve lived with it longer, but Black Cherry, their second album after the atmospheric Felt Mountain, is so much more exciting and daring. The styles tackled here are more loose, more dirty, bringing in the harsher elements of electronic music to add to the tender songs they filled their debut with.
And with Goldfrapp, the attention is not always entirely on the music. Supernature was released along with glitter horses and air (or is it space?) hostess chic. The videos and photos for Black Cherry were full of animal heads and huskies, stockings, suspenders and ‘interesting’ dance routines (see Train video below). It makes for some great visuals. The art above was drawn from the Strict Machine video, another surreal collage of machines and animals.
Goldfrapp – Black Cherry MP3 Expired
Goldfrapp – Tiptoe MP3 Expired
Goldfrapp – Strict Machine MP3 Expired
[Buy Black Cherry]
July 31, 2006
I'm sure it's not just me who has a couple of songs that characterise each season. One of the songs that will always remind me of this summer is the wonderfully upbeat "Pull Shapes" by The Pipettes. And for once I've actually gone as far as buying myself the album, from an actual shop. It was money well spent.
The Pipettes are RiotBecki, Gwenno, and Rosay who got together (with backing group The Cassette) in Brighton. Their sound combines classic doo–wop themes with "punk pop–girl power". They've gone back to the beginnings of great popular music and have brought it kicking and screaming into the 21st century. The album reverses typical gender roles ("One Night Stand") and provides great relief for everyone sick of women asking why their man left them ("Why Did You Stay?").
They first came to my attention with the very punchy "Your Kisses are Wasted On Me" which was released back in March. Unfortunatley, because of uni work I wasn't able to truly register the song. The hugely catchy chant opening is now thoroughly stuck in my subconscious though. And it was very well followed by "Pull Shapes" which is a top (if cheesey in parts) tune.
"We Are The Pipettes" is their debut album, and it's full of foot–tapping tunes (okay I can't stop dancing to it) and empowering lyrics. The mixture of smooth vibes and gritty vocals makes for a great sound, perfect for sitting in that soda bar, or cruising down the beachfront in a '59 Cadillac.
We Are The Pipettes MP3 Expired
Sex MP3 Expired
One Night Stand MP3 Expired
July 25, 2006
Another strange association with this album, I've no idea why I've got this album, other than I saw this animation and the resulting research into The Walker Brothers led me to finding this spectacular album. The vocals, lyrics are faultless and the arrangements always sound fresh and engaging (check the bass line in The Old Man's Back Again). It's a short 32 minutes long, but it's half an hour I never mind repeating again and again.
Scott Walker – Angels of Ashes MP3 Expired
Scott Walker – The Old Man's Back Again MP3 Expired
Scott Walker – Get Behind Me MP3 Expired
Pulp have always been one of Walker's followers, the lush arrangements (especially with their last [?] album I Love Life, with which Scott was involved with) and Jarvis' delivery very much in debt to his style. Jarvis Cocker has been hitting the headlines as of late, for his latest song in all it's glory has been going round the MySpace chitter–chatter.
July 17, 2006
Given the number of great writers on this blog, I've decided to take an alternative approach to this whole thing. I'm not the best writer in the world, so I thought this would provide a bit of a different kick.
I'm simply going to take an album that I'm currently in love with and draw the lovely band in question, or if the chance comes, something else art–y that's relevant, be it photo, painting, collage, sketch whatever. I'm not saying I'm the best artist at the world either, but I'm having a good damn go at it.
So, first, if you haven't noticed, is Modest Mouse's 2004 album Good News For People Who Love Bad News. To be bluntly honest with you, I picked this up second-hand in Auckland's greatest music store, Real Groovy, and it's been on constant rotation while I drew the picture above. The album also hosts the brilliant single, Float On, but I've chosen three different cuts here that display the brilliant range of moods and styles the album crosses.
It's my first real connection with the band, an almost impulse buy, so I'm keen to hear the rest of the band's catalogue…any suggestions?
Modest Mouse – Ocean Breathes Salty MP3 Expired
Modest Mouse – The View MP3 Expired
Modest Mouse – Blame It On The Tetons MP3 Expired
Amazon.co.uk (only £4.97!)
[Buy Good News For People Who Love Bad News]
July 11, 2006
I often wonder about what it would be like if I met Thom Yorke. Here we have someone who has made such a profound impact on music as the lead singer of Radiohead, placing them in an alternative genre of their own with experimental, wonderful sounds that assault the ear drums. I've loved Radiohead since OK, Computer, and I downright wish I'd listened to them more before then, but now I'd have to say they're probably my favourite band. However, if I met Thom Yorke, I think I'd find him quite disturbing.
Of course, this isn't a new feeling. Thom Yorke is probably the main creative force behind Radiohead, and so you could expect a "solo" album to lend much a similar sound, and it shows through. The Eraser would not sound out of place somewhere inbetween Kid A and Amnesiac, not quite getting to the rockier stages of the latter but with a more refined, creeping sound than the former. This is, of course, not a "solo" album, but the result of Thom Yorke sitting for a day with his laptop and a whole bunch of samples from Radiohead's sessions over the past few years and thinking "Yeah, I should probably use this to do something wonderful".
Except Thom Yorke wouldn't think that. He'd think "Fuck Bush", or something.
And yet, this album somehow doesn't reach the eclectic heights of Kid A, and you struggle to put your finger on why. There's something missing that would put this in the As Good As Kid A category, and maybe it is the rest of the band's influence that is shining through. The one thing you wouldn't expect from a Thom Yorke record would be for it to sound nervous, but it does seem that way.
You can't really take each track on its own though, you have to sit back, take a cup of tea in hand and just let it wash over you a bit. Whereas other albums demand to be listened to over again, this begs for background, atmosphere, and if you take it in that way, it's simply wonderful. The first single will be Harrowdown Hill, according to Yorke, but it seems so undignified to remove it away from its home on the album. If you don't have 40 minutes to sit and listen to it all, then I'd say don't start - there's no Everything in its Right Place here to save you.
If you loved Kid A, you'll love this. If you didn't, you won't, but if you're undecided, then don't expect this to be an effortless listen – you have to treat it carefully and give it a chance, and it'll pay you back double when the brilliance shines through.
8 out of 10
The Eraser was released yesterday (10th July), stupid.
Radiohead are touring at the moment, but if you don't have a ticket, don't expect to get one now…
The Eraser was released Monday, July 10th in the UK.