All 15 entries tagged Holly Cruise

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August 29, 2007

Reading 2007 – Awards

So this year’s Reading festival somehow went off without the audience drowning, mostly thanks to the organisers turning carparks into campsites rather than forcing people to buy lilos and the like, and the hottest and most gorgeous three days of weather we will have this year. Sunshine on a bank holiday? I don’t believe it, and I was there! So here’s the best Reading festival awards blog you’ll read at ALD this particular week. Honest…

The My God You’re Fun Award – The Pipettes

First band on the Main Stage, everything and everyone to play for, and the weather’s unexpectedly rather damn nice. It left the Pipettes in the odd position of being in better circumstances than expected, but with more pressure (i.e. people) have ccrawled out of their tents as a result. And? And it was a blinder. There’s something massively endearing about the girls and their backing boys. Maybe it’s the easy on the ear but not sopoforic songs. Maybe it’s the rubbish but cute dancing. Or the polka dots and attitude. Whatever, they were a perfect start, and I’ll be off to buy their album asap.

We’ve had some of their stuff on here before, so here’s a jive-y little cover from the girls.

The Pipettes – ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’

I’ve Heard The Future And It’s Noisy Award – Crystal Castles

Oh my god. Drawing possibly the biggest crowd of the day in the Dance Tent despite being about third on, Crystal Castles sound like a Gameboy being microwaved whilst a madwoman yells over the top. Considering the last band to attempt this setup are The Knife (i.e. completely brilliant) how could it fail? It couldn’t. CC were brilliant, confrontational and yet somehow tuneful… ish. It is especially satisfying as this is band who’s first single was recorded by mistake, the singer pratting around in the studio and those vocals being used on ‘Alice Practise’. CC may be the hipsters choice at the moment, but sometimes those twats get it right. Sometimes.

Crystal Castles – ‘Alice Practise’

The Why Weren’t You Huge Award – Jimmy Eat World

When they got onstage for their Main Stage afternoon gig (the first of two) most in the crowd were there less out of obsession than out of a strange feeling that they should be there. Good choice. Very good. JEW proceeded to play a classic set of songs which you didn’t realise you knew and loved. It was almost perfect. Culled from Bleed American and Futures mostly, it demonstrated that there’s something unfair in a world which allows The Fray to become bigger than JEW’s real emotional rock. You should own Bleed American. No arguing. Being light on the earlier stuff was a shame, as it missed out the magnificent ‘Crush’, but they rectified that in their evening set. Stamina gets you everywhere.

Jimmy Eat World – ‘Crush’

Pissed And Wonderful Award – Patrick Wolf

Technical problems? Check. Pissed performer? Check. Fabulous glitter and violins? Check check check (actually !!! were good as well, but not pissed). Oh Patrick, how wonderful you are, with your craziness and beautifully dramatic songs. He’s like Rufus Wainwright with a folk fixation rather than a Judy Garland fixation. He also knows how to get an audience going. Thundering electro and folky strings shouldn’t really work but they do. His audience love him and it could spread. Yes, this is a gushing hagiography but ALD was there, y’hear? We were there! And there’s every chance that in future that might count as something to brag about, almost on a par with that time ALD saw The Killers at the Warwick Students’ Union with only 15 people in the crowd [snip! stop being boring – ed]

Patrick Wolf – ‘Overture’

If there’s any demand for more awards then we might write some more. At the moment we’re just trying to work through the two year supply of museli bars we took and forgot to eat…

June 05, 2007

Judder Judder Bam!

It’s funny how sometimes a song sounds like another. It’s come up again recently, the rather fine new single from The Cribs, ‘Men’s Needs’, sounds curiously like Placebo’s ‘Black Eyed’ but with a squiggly guitar riff over the top… and slightly less campness. It’s not an altogether unfair comparison either. The Cribs have a wonderful new album full of sparky little pop indie nuggets, rather like Placebo themselves. Plus they’ve chosen to produce their new album with Alex Kapranos from Franz Ferdinand, rather than in a bucket.

Indie pop aceness.

Endearing goth pop silliness… and the drummer was taught by the same geography teacher as me!

The Cribs – ‘Men’s Needs’

Placebo – ‘Black Eyed’

April 21, 2007

Manic Street Preachers – 'Indian Song'

Writing about web page

Every so often a song comes along which does exactly what it says on the tin. An Indian Summer is a period of warm weather appearing unexpectedly in the autumn, long after all concerned assumed that only crappy weather was on its way. Not everyone appreciates these indian summers, of course, but most people love the pleasant surprise of something you assumed lost reappearing. And now Manic Street Preachers have come up with a song called ‘Indian Summer’ and y’know what? It’s fantastic.

They look cool again!

The last two Manics albums have been somewhat divisive. Know Your Enemy was meant to drive away the casual fans but it nearly drove away most of their hardcore fans too. Lifeblood was an attempt to accept their late 1990s role as purveyors of shiny indie-pop-rock… except it was too shiny, too smooth, it sounded like all the nice slow songs off Everything Must Go and This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours without the fast exciting ones. For most people the Manics were artistically dead, looking like wandering into that autumn of a career where periodic but uninspiring albums would be produced in order to justify another nostalgia tour (we’ll call it ‘Rolling Stones’ Syndrome’). But that’s not very Manics now is it? No…

‘Indian Summer’ is off their new album, Send Away The Tigers. It’s ace. The whole thing is an completely unexpected return to form. The band sound like they care again. You can tell because, unlike the previous two albums, it sounds nothing like Nicky Wire has described it. KYE was a mess which scared away fans. Lifeblood was overly smooth and eleagic. SATT is not their debut Generation Terrorists updated. It’s way better than that. It’s like EMG, the album this writer regards as the best of all time. Obviously, it’s not that good but it’s loud, fast, melodic, etc etc.

It is the unexpected dose of the stuff you feared was gone. In short, an indian summer, and best of all, the song which bears that name is the best thing on the album (from what I’ve heard).

Manic Street Preachers – ‘Indian Summer’
[Preorder Send Away The Tigers and watch a short film on the making of the album.]

January 20, 2007


New year, new music!

2006 was fairly good for music I hope you’ll agree but 2007 also promises to be rather spiffing. Some of the acts who you will really need to check out are going to be profiled here over the next few days and we are going to start off with the latest slice of delicious indie goodness to escape from the north east of England.

Kubichek! are another band with a thing for exclamation marks. Not as bloody awkward to write as ¡Forward, Russia! or as goddam impossible say as !!!, they are part of that gang of bands which has thrown up The Futureheads and Field Music yet manage not to sound like either.

Kubichek! take the jerky new wave format which has served a lot of indie bands well over the last few years, and add muscle and speed. These are bigger and faster songs than we have been used to. Yet to soften the blow for those sensitive indie kids they layer their tracks with some rather lovely vocal harmonies. There’s something pleasing about the relentlessness and the sweetness, kind of like being licked to death by puppies. But with less drool.

They’re soon to release a new single, ‘Nightjoy’ which is a brilliantly danceable piece of pop magnificence which I’ve personally been inflicting on indie discos for over a year now. The long gestation period of this band has also apparently contributed to a tight live set which will be exhibited next Saturday 27th January at the Coventry Colosseum. Go and see them, it’ll be good for you! You’ll start adding exclamation marks to everything you do! And won’t that be like being five years old and high on sweeties again!!!

Here are the demos of ‘Nightjoy’ and ‘Hometown Strategies’. I could be controversial and claim that the ‘Nightjoy’ demo is better than the single but actually both are ace.

Kubichek! – ‘Nightjoy (demo)’

Kubichek! – ‘Hometown Strategies (demo)’

More tour dates for non-Cov residents
24/01/07 Carlisle, Brickyard
25/01/07 Barnsley, Lucorum
26/01/07 Swindon Brunell Rooms
27/01/07 Coventry Colosseum
1/02/07 Kingston, The Works

January 13, 2007

Mat and Chris's Indie Nipple – 12th January

Well, we're back. Super! 

In this week's podcast:
  • The NEWS
  • Doves - Pounding
  • Cansei de Ser Sexy - Music Is My Hot Hot Sex
  • We talk about times and stuff.. we're back at 5 o clock next week, not 6. I whinge about PGCE students, because in fairness, they're bastards. I stab students, but I give back... And a big ABORT button to tune into Classic FM
  • Pulp - Disco 2000
  • The Arcade Fire - Intervention (Live on KCRW)
  • The Arcade Fire, Holly Cruise and her £128m over 5 years, the genre of the Klaxons, and some wonderful racism about Scientologists and TomKat.
  • Klaxons - Gravity's Rainbow
  • Radiohead - Idioteque (Live BBC Session)
  • We thank Thom for his wonderful live in-the-studio rendition. Thom doesn't seem to appreciate it... Bands touring hurts the environment, apparantly.
  • Bob Dylan - Subterranean Homesick Blues
  • Thom Yorke - Videotape (Acoustic, Live on From The Underground)
  • George Galloway... he hates war, but he loves RaW. Learning guitar, bedding music, air guitar competitions
  • Bloc Party - Song For Clay (Disappear Here)
  • Modest Mouse - Dashboard
  • We're on FM! Horrifying :)
  • Apples In Stereo - Same Old Drag
  • We completely cock up everything. Curses! We love you, though...
  • Muse - Knights of Cydonia

Come with me, come with me, we'll travel to infinity!

Download the podcast (Expired)

December 04, 2006

The Knife – Silent Shout


If there’s one thing which seems to unite all music blogs, and most music fans, it’s the desire to bash the NME. This makes it particularly grating when they manage to get it right, but never fear, there are always other big selling magazines which are spouting rubbish. The Worst Piece Of Music Journalism Of The Year award this year goes to Q Magazine which reckons Silent Shout by Swedish electro geniuses The Knife is “A hideous mess of electro noodling and maddeningly obtuse, tuneless vocals” worth one star out of five. Now everybody is entitled to their own opinion. However Q likes to play it safe. For all its gushing about Radiohead and Pink Floyd, the most typically Q bands are Keane and Coldplay. Safe. Indie. Definitely not the sound of the entire history of electronic music collapsing into a blackhole.

The Knife

Such a shame for Q really that in fact such a collapse sounds as magnificent and wonderous as it does. You really would have to be a technophobe, and an impatient one at that, to give Silent Shout one star. It suggests you have listened to it once, probably not even all the way through.

For those who want a real assessment here it is – Silent Shout takes all the distinctive, overused, overplayed features of electronic music and reimagines it as something beautiful and human. Yes, human. At heart this sounds like a woman (specifically singer Karin Dreijer Andersson) battling a stream of conflicting emotions against some challenging but rewarding music. And some blatant pop.

It takes guts to release the most tricky track on your album as a single, but The Knife took that leap and sent ‘We Share Our Mother’s Health’ out into the world. It is the perfect encapsulation of them. On first listen it’s a noise, a mess, and a disturbing one at that. Any more than one listen, however, is enough to bring out the thrilling rush of the piece, the melody (yes, there is one) and the feeling that it’s not really that disturbing, more a mad rush.

The rest of the album is more accessible, and quite emotional at times. There is an unexpected pathos in many songs, ‘Marble House’ and ‘Forest Families’ in particular should rip out the heart of any listener.

This isn’t about easy listening. This isn’t about trying to appear cool. This is simply pop music as you forgot it could be, challenging, rewarding and real.

Listen to these tracks. I was going to give you ‘Marble House’ but that song is so amazing, so wonderful, so fantastic that I believe you should bloody pay for the privilege of listening to it. Yes, that good.

MP3s Expired

Buy the album, damn you!

December 02, 2006

Delays – You See Colours

Delays 1The 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?

Delays Live
(c) Holly Cruise 2006, Delays at Warwick SU.

MP3s Expired

Buy You See Colours, only £6.99 it says here, and spread the love!

November 16, 2006


One of the best things about indie is that it is ridiculously broad. Compare it, if you will, to metal where anytime a band comes along which doesn’t sound exactly like some pre-existing band they are rewarded with their own sub-genre. At the most recent metal genre census it was revealed there are more metal genres than inhabitants of Belgium. But indie is just nice and broad…

Which is why it can be intensely frustrating dealing with the music press sometimes. At the moment they (and by “they” we are largely concerned with the magazine everyone loves to hate but read – NME) are currently enthralled by their latest concoction – New Rave. New Rave is the fusion of late 1980s/early 1990s rave music with modern indie, encompassing dayglo clothing, glow sticks and whistles. It has had a lot of print space, and is seeping into the broadsheets, figureheads already appointed. There’s just one slight problem. Musically it’s the emperor’s new clothes. And the best example is the ‘genre’s’ leading lights – Klaxons.
Klaxons glo
I have long been accustomed to scepticism about NME hype bands – I maintain Pete Doherty has yet to write an entire song which is worthy of the praise he gets (although he’s managed some excellent parts to songs) – so naturally I treated all talk of Klaxons with a roll of the eyes. As a fan of indie and electronica I was wondering exactly what the hell New Rave could actually be. Apart from the non musical accessories (and to be fair if you like the Manic Street Preachers you’ve almost certainly seen gaudy clothing and glowing items at an indie concert before anyway) I couldn’t get my head around how it could all be rave. So the best solution was to go and see Klaxons live.

Conclusion: They were great! Really really good live, excellent atmosphere, great songs, good stage presence. Where they New Rave? Were they bollocks. It was indie. Fast indie, indie with a disco beat, indie with sampled sound effects occasionally, but INDIE! According to NME the fact they cover two rave songs (‘The Bouncer’ and ‘Not Over Yet’) was a sign they were true New Rave. Well the other day I heard the Magic Numbers doing a cover of Hot Chip’s ‘Over And Over’, surely this makes them New Rave too. And the Arctic Monkeys’ cover of ‘Love Machine’ makes them a girl band who formed on a TV talent show. Tell me I am not alone in seeing the stupidity of all this.

Klaxons Live

The Grace cover, ‘Not Over Yet’, was a set highlight, it was brilliant. It also sounded like an indie song. Whatever its dance origins, Klaxons’ turn it into a good quality indie stormer, musically like a souped up version of The Research, and vocally reminiscent of loads of good bands, albeit none of which are regarded as trendy by the NME.

Even their singles, like ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’, don’t sound like rave songs.

Klaxons – ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ MP3 Expired

Klaxons – ‘Not Over Yet’ MP3 Expired

So there you go, you might want to hate them for what they’ve been hyped as, but there’s no need. Klaxons are not the punchable pretentious genre-name-droppers they might appear to be, at least not when their songs are cranked up. Have a listen for yourself.

As ever, don’t believe the hype.

November 14, 2006

The Organ

Writing about web page

Within seconds of Interpol having the fantastic idea of ripping off Joy Division there were waves of others who had the great idea of ripping off Interpol. Unfortunately the majority seem to have neglected certain details like the fact that Interpol actually did something more than merely ape Curtis, Sumner, Hook and Morris. For a start their music was denser, against Joy Division’s wiry minimalism. From the Interpol copyists comes precious little diversity, just men with sad voices singing songs which long to be drenched in Mancunian rain.

So what from here? From safety to where?

Why not let the girls have a go?

Oh they already have…

The Organ tend to be described as five morose young women from Canada. It’s not hard to see why. They make sad songs and are Canadian. Sort of. Actually, being Canadian is somewhat irrelevant unless there’s now a conscious attempt to liberate Canada from the Celine Dion/ Bryan Adams/Shania Twain tripartite dictatorship which makes people view Canada with suspicion. And the “sort of” applies to them being morose. Because there’s more to it than that.

Firstly being Canadian and in possession of a knowledge of the New Wave is not new. The Stills did it three years ago but kind of ruined it by being simply dreadful live and then messing around with their lineup and, indeed, every other aspect of their band. But the Organ seem more coherent, more cohesive. I bet they’d never turn around from a five minute jam and ask the audience “Do you think this is indulgent?” like some Canadian bands mentioned in this paragraph.

The clue’s in their timing. Their album is merely half an hour long. No fat, no flab, no fifteen minute jazz oddysseys with controls set for the heart of the fretwank. No song shall overstay its welcome. If you went round their house they’d give you a ready prepared cup of tea, ask how your day was then chuck you out onto the street. Where you belong.

Listening to their songs suggests being thrown out onto the street is something they’ve both done and suffered in the past. The first two tracks on their album Grab That Gun, ‘Brother’ and ‘Steven Smith’, take us straight away into their strange happy/sad world in which “we are warm and we are safe/enjoy it while you can before/things change” and where the eponymous stud Smith is somehow resistable to singer Katie Sketch whilst all others end up having regret filled romps. Chiming guitars, floaty synths and the strange feeling that they might have decided to conceal the Interpol connections with a heady dose of The Smiths abound. Really they’d be happiest wandering around Oxford Road, looking for new guitars at Johnny Roadhouse, M1 7DU, and complaining about the Glazers as the bright lights of the Curry Mile flash around them.

It’s all gone Mancunian!

But why not? No song overstaying its welcome, each emotion kept in check by mere threads. It’s the sort of album you need at 2am when you’re not entirely sure if you’re happy or sad, and need a slab of atmosphere which will happily accommodate both. So very blank and so very detailed at the same time. It shouldn’t work but it does.

Buy Grab That Gun from Amazon

Listen To These:

The Organ – ‘Basement Band Song’ MP3 Expired

The Organ – ‘A Sudden Death’ MP3 Expired

October 23, 2006

The Long Blondes

Writing about web page

So shoot me! Does the fact that a huge proportion of the music blogs out there in the inter-ma-web have gone mental for the Long Blondes mean we shouldn’t? Should we be different, rise above, and call them crap and mock them? Can we not? I really really like them, and know at least one of the other main ALD contributors does too.

Unsigned for ages, prompting claims across the music world of sexism, the Long Blondes are one of the best things to happen to music in a while. In a year which has seen a raft of very good female fronted indie bands arise (CSS, Howling Bells, Metric, The Organ) the Long Blondes might well be the best of the lot. Apart from the fact that a great many indie girls are now adopting the 1950/60s chic the band pull off so well, they have something which is somewhat important – the songs.

Taking the indie-punk-funk template and deciding to add in little details like Kate Jackson’s amazing voice, switching between aloofness and emotional with a sultry elegance, or possibly the clever lyrics – who else has referenced “Edie Sedgwick/Anna Karina/Arlene Dahl”with quite a much style and (yes, finally I can use this word in ALD) élan! That particular song, ‘Lust In The Movies’ has pretty much the same drum beat intro as the wonderful ‘Banquet’ by Bloc Patry, but it might be (whisper it quietly) a better song. Whilst you splutter into your cheap lager (why are you drinking cheap lager and surfing the internet?) also bare in mind that ‘Lust In The Movies’ is not their best song. This is why ALD can’t help but concede to the consensus and place a preorder at Amazon/Play/Fopp for their forthcoming album Someone to Drive Me Home (out 6th November, and yes, I do want it for my birthday, ta).

So after all this excitable wittering I’m guessing you want some evidence. Alright. Try these three:
‘Darts’ an amusing little b-side which shows their ability to make even the trivial sound fascinating and sexy.

The Long Blondes – ‘Darts’ MP3 Expired

Next up we have the BBC Radio 1 session version of one of their singles ‘Appropriation (By Any Other Name)’ which has brackets in the title (woo!), and manages to cram British Rail and fox hunting into a tune which is perhaps the best example of their self declared description of their music as “glamour punk”. It’s also the best instance of Kate singing like a female Jarvis Cocker, something she does occasionally (well, they are both from Sheffield) and which is something always guaranteed to make ALD writers happy.

The Long Blondes – ‘Appropriation (Live At The BBC)’ MP3 Expired

Finally ‘Polly’ which doesn’t sound like glamour punk at all, more a waltzingly louneg tune with an edge. It’s a sign of the variety they are capable of. It’s also the sort of thing you wish you could have had at your school disco.

The Long Blondes – ‘Polly’ MP3 Expired

Look! You can preorder their album and everything!

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