All 4 entries tagged Folk
March 28, 2007
Lo and behold, a week after posting about my favourite Clientele tracks, they go and post one of my soon-to-be favourite Clientele tracks up on their MySpace. Bookshop Casanova and Nothing but Sunshine have been added to their playlist and if it weren’t for my awful internet connection, I’d be all over the page and the recordings. However as it is, I’ve had to slyly record it (complete with buffering gaps) and fix it up in Audacity just to hear the bloody things.
They are fantastic by the way…
...And if you haven’t caught the tracks I posted earlier, grab them now because they’ll be gone in the morning.
March 14, 2007
God Save The Clientele
That’s the title of the new album that’s due to arrive in April. But I think I’m already way ahead of myself. I’m sure many Americans have already witnessed The Clientele, as they supported Spoon on an American tour and also from the rave reviews for Strange Geometry, their third LP (after semi-compilation Surburban Light, and follow-up The Violet Hour) that have graced the web since it’s release. It also help that big indie label Merge are behind them across the pond. They are in fact from London, and it’s a fact that baffles me.
I can definitely understand why they aren’t more popular here. In a national music scene of bold dramatic statements of retroism and laddishness or every attempt to be bigger than the last big band or more different or whatever, who wants to know about a slightly morose band with subtle arrangements, a penchant for reverb and a tendency to sound ‘intelligent’? (I can’t think of a better term, sorry). One of the songs on Strange Geometry is spoken word prose! It would never fly in NME!
Regardless, the truth is people are missing out here. Songs from the first cut, Joseph Cornell and I Had To Say This, show off a jazzy shuffle over Alasdair’s voice-in-a-church-hall laments with a bit of groove coming across like a mix between Love and the Zombies. And that is a good combination.
Strange Geometry cleaned up the act, paring down the reverb and adding gorgeous string sections (from Louis Phillipe) and is worthy of all the praise it’s been given. They are not afraid to show off that sometimes do let loose, the solo in E.M.P.T.Y. and the coda of Impossible, dare I say it, ‘rock out’, but you know, not too much. It was never all about loudness anyway, the album being packed with those late evening reflections built over graceful fingerpicked electric guitar and shuffled drums. Since K Got Over Me is built as one giant melodic guitar line running through the whole song, Alasdair’s playing being another unique selling point. Songs like Spirit and (I Can’t Seem To) Make You Mine are beautiful numbers, building and releasing gently like when you’re sat outside the club on a park bench wondering how the hell you’re going to deal with the morning. Strange Geometry hits the right amount of highs and lows, but previous album The Violet Hour took it too far, actually pushing to make you depressed.
And that (somehow) brings me back to where we began, a new album. Described as being ‘happier’ and introducing a new keyboardist/violinist, Mel Draisey, whilst incorporating ‘disco beats’. Intriguing to say the least, but maybe this will finally make people get up and take notice.
God Save The Clientele indeed.
From Suburban Light (2000):
The Clientele – Joseph Cornell MP3 Expired
The Clientele – I Had To Say This MP3 Expired
[Buy album from Amazon]
From Strange Geometry (2005):
The Clientele – Since K Got Over Me MP3 Expired
The Clientele – (I Can’t Seem To) Make You Mine MP3 Expired
The Clientele – E.M.P.T.Y. MP3 Expired
[Buy album from Amazon] (highly recommended)
March 12, 2007
And now for something completely different…
You can imagine that being said any time the Soft Hearted Scientists are introduced, because they just are, I suppose. Among the instruments listed as playing on their site they have ‘Fruit Shaped Percussion’, ‘Massed Impulse Buy Broken Rusty Stringed Autoharp Sympathetic resonance’ and ‘Coaxing Percussive Purrs from Cats’. You may think they are joking, but a listen through to any of their studio recordings reveal they may be doing more than just taking you for a ride.
They are yet another band I’ve neglected to mention until now, but I’ve rather fortunately timed it right at this moment because new single, Siberia, arrives on shelves quite soon on April 2nd. It will be followed by an album proper as their previous long player, Uncanny Tales From The Everyday Undergrowth, was simply a collection of their first 3 EP’s.
Mount Palomar is the opening track from that collection and it’s a great entry point for listening to the band. Combining sonar sounds with a story that might just be about zombies and hot air balloons, or just about a mountain, it breaks off with a drum roll into a great chorus, before gently settling down again on whatever ground they were on.
I’ll Be Happy, I’ll Be Sleeping is a demo they posted earlier on last year that will appear in some renovated form on the new album. Gentle harpsichord swells break up acoustic pickings while the Scientists’ ruminate about what would happen if they existed in the seventeeth century, or it could be just about asking a girl out like most songs, I don’t know. I think it’s the only track ever that could possibly get away with the line: ‘If I hadn’t been burnt as a warlock, I doubt I would’ve succumbed to primitive dentistry.’
It’s all very soothing as acoustic music tends to be, but there’s something more going on here that breaks it apart. The endless experimentation with sounds means you’ll be lost for days listening to these songs and still find something new to pick out when the time comes around again.
And it will, I give Cubs honour on that (I never got to Scouts).
I think I’m going to settle in to a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule after this, so feel free to intervene inbetween… I still have plenty to write about
December 08, 2006
I’ve been in Australia for two weeks, and New Zealand for five months almost, so I figured I should at least be checking out some of the local music around. Unfortunately, I’ve been a bit shit in that regard, opting out or risking money on names I’ve not heard of, but I’ve been surprised after reading this review and buying the album, that no-one else has picked out Australian Ned Collette for making a surprisingly great solo album (away from his group, City City City, who I’ve not heard). It’s only the second time I’ve ever bought an album on the strength of one review (the other being CYHSY, go hipster me) and I’m beginning to wonder whether I should trust my internal sincere musical radar more often (I’ve avoided I’m From Barcelona so far at least).
Back to the music, Mr. Collette has produced a fine set of tunes that are not perfect, but showcase enough charm and diversity in the arrangements to make it worthy of a purchase to any fan of folk. Opener Song For Louis begins with a trademark Nick Drake fingerpicked melody before his more assured, confident and slightly rough (sandy, some might say) voice breaks through with a touching paean to a friend. Female vocals and electric guitar join in briefly to add a sweet touch before fading into the enjoyable instrumental reprise, The Happy Kidnapper.
Each of the songs holds unique arrangements past the standard acoustic foundation, a bouncing beat here (Boulder), slide guitar there (A Plea For You Through Me), handclaps and a psychadelic synth line out of nowhere (Janet) and this is all without mentioning the glorious centrepiece of The Laughter Across the Street. Laughter starts with another picked line, and the same, almost reassuringly so, tone of Ned’s vocals come in, soon accompanied by double bass and more picking arrangements. A choir and violin section sooth you through another few stanzas before you realise the focus start to shift. Suddenly, the quiet ‘do-do-do’s that were hushed moments ago have been backed by another bouncing electric guitar line, choirs build, drums nudge their way in and squelching synth bubble underneath to really work the song into something special. It’s no wonder that you can hear a slight applause at the end.
The only downer for me in the whole album is the monotonous Heaven’s the Key, but I can accept that for all the unexpected joy the rest of the songs have provided. So here’s a few so you can decide for yourself:
Ned Collette – Song For Louis
Ned Collette – The Laughter Across The Street (from Cokemachineglow.com)
Ned Collette – Janet
MP3s removed by request
BUY THE ALBUM IF YOU CAN FIND IT GADDAMN!
Best Bet is the Ned Collette Store