All 23 entries tagged Rock
October 11, 2007
June 05, 2007
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.
The Cribs – ‘Men’s Needs’
Endearing goth pop silliness… and the drummer was taught by the same geography teacher as me!
Placebo – ‘Black Eyed’
The Kings Arms is a strange little place, opposite a swingers club just out of the city centre, it’s scummy but cosy, rough but friendly, and has a garden out the back with remarkable acoustics. There were eight bands on in the night, and either by divine providence or too much poker we (that’s me, Ellie, Matt and Sam, for future reference) unfortunately missed the first three bands. I would’ve been quite interested to see what Ladybird were like in a live context, but still we had five bands to go and as we entered Phony Bone were taking to the stage…
Phony Bone peddle indie in the obscurest sense of the word, at times they were going for Brakes’ warbling vocals mixed with humour and country, other times going for Pavement’s pure leftfield-ness and occasional is-it-a-tune? isn’t-it-in-tune? dynamics and for a song-and-a-half hitting Snow Patrol squarely on the chin. So to be fair, it was a bit of a mess, an occasionally entertaining mess (introducing one of numbers with with “this song is about our really low self-esteem, please like it” was a nice touch), but a mess none-the-less. Matt seemed severely disappointed that the bassist was intent on only playing two (maybe two-and-a-half) notes per song. Babydoll on their MySpace pretty much sums them up, which you might find enjoyable.
By the end of the set, I’d eloped to the back of the room with Matt to challenge two Kiwis to a game of pool on the obligatory slanted table. It was such a shocking game that White Birds and Lemons had already set up outside on the ‘other’ stage and were a few songs mid-set by the time we’d polished them off and followed Sam and Ellie to the garden area. It was a damn shame because they were damn good. Their MySpace declares ‘Blues/Folk Rock/Experimental’ but live they came across more like early-Muse, when Matt Bellamy had more of a Jeff Buckley/Thom Yorke complex and wasn’t concentrating on trying to be bigger than space itself. Starry Eyes streaming from their MySpace does follow this template rather well with a more bluesy, Jimi Hendrix central riff before taking a left turn through heavier territory. Live they were somehow tighter, a louder, overall more thrilling sound playing a better counterpart to the quieter moments. It’s hard to believe that lead singer Scott Frantz was capable of pulling everything off, but there he was, note perfect and then rocking out with the rest of them. A pleasant surprise indeed.
No mp3’s as of yet, their first mini-album should be out soon, and you can hear three tracks over at their MySpace.
We sort of unwittingly stayed outside for The Whipping Cats set, the breath of fresh air feeling a bit better than the dank indoors. Still from what we could hear, between the occasional heavy shouting, they stirred up some harmonica-blurting, old-school-blues and I’m sorry for not paying more attention. Then again, I’d be lying if I said we weren’t actually waiting for Motocade to set up outside and grab some good spots when the time came. That time did soon come, each band only given half-an-hour to entertain with a pit stop barely breaking a minute was allowed before the next band started playing. As it were, Motocade began to a half empty floor, but by the end of the second song, everyone was there, bouncing along like the week before, under a scarily full moon directly in the centre of the sky. It helped that the set was a fairly trimmed down version of the one we’d witnessed earlier, the two new songs still going down well and everyone well and truly buzzing. I can’t say much more than that, other than Matt’s obsession with getting a good view of the drummer. I didn’t want to ask why…
And before we knew it, it was time for the final band, Cut Off Your Hands! We scooted around to the front of the indoor stage while the band, replete in black polo neck jumpers and tight black jeans (we discussed this, and decided it’s the not the most fitting costume choice for the band), got their shit together and then… just… exploded.
Seriously, I’ve been electrocuted by a microphone before, but if there ever was a sane way to describe what singer Nick was doing during the opening song, I’m sure electricity would have something to do with it. As the rhythm section dominated pretty much everything sonically (despite the drummer breaking his sticks), Nick lost the microphone, found the microphone, jumped off the stage, rolled back on the stage via the crowd, lost the microphone again, twitched about on the floor for a bit, found the microphone again and generally went absolutely nuts for every driving beat and strum. By the second song he’d left the stage completely and climbed onto the top of the bar (goodness knows how) leaving a drunken idiot to take his mic to the stage, before he himself jumped off after shattering a glass bottle in front of us. It was insane, but at the same time completely brilliant (although saying that, Sam was still shaking bits of glass off as we left the place :S)
Everything you hear in the mp3’s below does relatively little to describe the intensity of everything else. Still Fond turned everyone not on stage into a twitching throng and other favourites You And I and Expectations just destroyed any preconceptions you might make about them. If you’re looking for a reference point, imagine the Futureheads with aforementioned electric shock to the rear and a good dose of Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist’s (he of The Hives) staring intensity, and you might get close to this old performance. Then times that by ten in every way possible. This was live and loud and very very good.
The new Blue on Blue EP should be available soon in the UK as well as here. With Bernard Butler on production duties, it’s a relatively clean affair, but it shifts the punk leanings of the live show towards a more ear-friendly indie club floor-filler pop tune of the times. I’ve ripped the lead track from their MySpace, and you can also hear Oh Girl over there right now. Like right now… click!
A small request to anyone who was there… do you have any photos? I’d love to have been able to take some but I was busy bouncing around. And as you may have seen from my Motocade ‘live’ photo previously, it was a bit shit. More live reviews to come that I can make it to before I leave, hopefully it’s The Coshercot Honeys next…
May 30, 2007
It’s not hard to describe what sort of music Motocade play. Press that little triangle above and you’ll be under no illusions about them using blank and blank no.2 as inspirations through to the inevitable blank no.3. Only I’d like to think there’s something different here. There’s a distinct lack of pretension, just an emphasis on making lots of cool melody lines intertwine between three guitars (two electric, one bass, no less) and yet somehow the songs don’t come across as sounding the same.
I dragged some friends along to the Crow Bar club in Auckland, where they were playing a free gig for all interested. After an opening act that couldn’t decide if they were Depeche Mode or Interpol before giving up and playing a danceable tune, Motocade squeezed past the crowd on the tiny dancefloor to make it to the even tinier stage (or more accurately, other floor). Eden Mulholland, the singer, didn’t look like he belonged, looking a little shorter in real life™ and a bit unassuming taking up the mic. But when he started belting out the lines to opener State and Maine, it became obvious how everything clicked into place and well… everything clicked into place. Guitars were as tight as many of the jeans in the vicinity, the basslines physically forced the people to move and there was occasionally that ubiquitous cowbell…
Most of the set comprised of recent EP Into The Fall, but they delighted us with two new tunes that everyone bounced along to, in the absence of knowing any of the words. Which is how it all sums up really, they are an entertaining band, no doubt, all of their tunes would definitely be at home next to blank or blank no.2 and especially blank no.3. It doesn’t matter that it isn’t completely original, in the same way that something like Howl Howl Gaff Gaff was just a good collection of indie rock tunes, Motocade’s Into The Fall EP is also a good, nay, pretty great, collection of indie rock tunes. If there’s anything I could possibly have against it, it would be the occasional daft lyric, but I could hold that against anyone.
So yeh, if you’re wanting one of New Zealand’s catchiest bands, start here, watch their take on Outkast’s Hey Ya from NZ television and I’ll bring along some more bands with the next post…
UPDATE: New photo, and also, hopefully I’ll be seeing them again tomorrow at the Kings Arms, along with new favs Cut Off Your Hands!, but more on that and them later!
May 28, 2007
Writing about web page http://www.nzmusicmonth.co.nz
May 2007 was New Zealand’s Music Month, and although I did notice that there was a week of bands playing on campus in the Quad, it never seemed to catch the imagination, or even attention of a lot of people I talked to.
Maybe I was talking to the wrong people (I mean, engineers entertainment is usually in alcoholic liquid form), but maybe it wasn’t all that good? In the last fortnight or so, I set out about gathering some tracks from NZ bands in the attempt to gauge what was going on, and if there was a ‘scene’ at all…
If I asked you to name a New Zealand band, I suspect a lot of people would go ‘uh?’, I’d mention Crowded House and you’d go ‘really?’, or The Datsuns and you’d go ‘who?’, or maybe even mention some Australian bands that probably get mixed up now and again. I mean the accent’s the same, right? Wrong.
So over the next few weeks, I’m going to educate you about what I’ve found about NZ music. So…
Motocade, who I went to see last week live and who have been getting a lot of good blog hype (for good reason), one of the national music magazines, Real Groove, which conveniently had a showcase of NZ bands on its cover CD, and of course the local university band scene, of which I have also been to see a few bands and ‘obtained’ a compilation CD. If I have time, you may also get a post about some of the more the mainstream NZ music, the Australian/NZ crossover, the dub influence and a reminisce about Drum ‘n Bass clubbing in Dunedin (or maybe not).And in answer to the question of a scene… here’s the opening couplet from Motocade’s My Friends
Let’s pretend to be part of the scene,
They can show you, what fucked really is… oh!
April 21, 2007
Writing about web page http://www.manics.co.uk
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).
March 30, 2007
I’ve been a bit lazy this week, digging around for one-shots for the aim of writing as little as possible. Today is no different, and your blast from the past this time is Muse.
I grabbed these tracks way back in sixth form, scarily 6/7 years ago now, when me and my friend harassed another Computing A-level student in a Muse t-shirt to lend us the rare Random 1-8 B-sides CD. It collects the non-album tracks that appeared on the band’s early EP’s, when Matt Bellamy still sang like he wanted to be Jeff Buckley and they weren’t really sure how far to push the dramatics. For that reason, the songs aren’t brilliant, but they are still pretty damn good (two ended up as Hullabaloo content, although I think two here are better). Funnily enough, before the release of Origin of Symmetry all of these tracks were freely available to stream from their over-the-top Flash site (for the times anyway).
Pink Ego Box (or Instant Messenger on one of the EP’s) is probably my favourite, a quiet introduction building and leading to a bass heavy crunch of an outro. Only this time, instead of about space dementia and black holes he sings about chatting to his would-be girlfriend on MSN. Interesting.
Coma rocks out Showbiz style, riffs all over the place, a particularly tasty main course with again (unintentionally?) humourous lyrics. ‘I don’t care simply because I can’t wake up and find it in me / I’m in a coma’. Right. It does show the Muse dynamic pretty well, though, Matt’s manic licks over that solid rhythmic backbone. The last chorus tries pretty hard, but unfortunately can’t reach the same peak as something like Cave or Sober (another one for amusing lyrics).
The last song here, Host, shows Matt had a love for the ‘singing-into-the-megaphone’ trick a long time before Feeling Good. Its quite reminiscent of another cover of theirs, House of the Rising Sun, only with tacked on lost verses from Unintended in-between.
After reading what I just wrote, I guess I’m not really selling the quality of the tracks. They are a decent trio of songs, nothing special, just a welcome alternative to those who want to hear something different from them, that isn’t packed to the teeth with their now patented over-ambitiousness. However, it does also just make me want to put Showbiz on again and bounce around the room. See you in a bit…
From Random 1-8 EP (2000):
Muse – Pink Ego Box (Instant Messenger) MP3 Expired
Muse – Coma MP3 Expired
Muse – Host MP3 Expired href=”http://www.amazon.co.uk/Random-1-8-Japanese-Muse/dp/B000050YOE/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/203-1402069-7508714?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1175175629&sr=8-1”>Good luck with buying this]
March 23, 2007
Maxїmo Park are a brilliant band. Nuff said.
Our Earthly Pleasures comes out later this month, and if the signals and signs of Our Velocity are anything to go by, it will be another cracker. I’ve got here a few b-side tracks from the album Missing Songs. Compilations like this always seem like a cop-out, a money maker for poor souls like me trying to get every track possible. But here, the tracks are of top quality (minus the demos), worthy enough to sit alongside many of the album tracks. Which is praise enough, because I can’t think of a single track on A Certain Trigger that it could do without.
Fear Of Falling is actually the second song I heard, coming from the Apply Some Pressure single. It stops and starts and surprises like all good pop should, constantly changing yet sounding seamless in its transitions. It’s almost a shame they don’t stretch the ideas out into a longer song, it being over before you know it.
Stray Talk is an acoustic number, somehow transferring their melodic interplay to a stripped down production. A welcome departure from manic energy, but still it only gives you a couple of minutes breath before the next track. In a recent interview, they mentioned more acoustic tracks being played with for use as b-sides which, from this account, is a great idea.
The final track here is a remix of I Want You To Stay by the glorious Field Music. A piano lifted from the intro to Cheers leads us down the stairs and we are invited to stay with Paul for a drink or two. With the Field Music boys we are gifted to a gorgeous reinterpretation of the song, all bouncing piano and effortless lead guitar lines. ‘You know the way I feel’ closes out the song and with it you also know its a place you wouldn’t mind returning to for another night.
From Missing Songs (2006):
Maxїmo Park – Fear Of Falling MP3 Expired
Maxїmo Park – Stray Talk MP3 Expired
From I Want You To Stay single (2006):
Maxїmo Park – I Want You To Stay (Field Music Mix) MP3 Expired
March 21, 2007
[Photo from Chromewaves.net]
The National are a New York band without all the trappings and baggage that seem to go along with that moniker. They are primarily another indie rock band, but their albums enjoy a mix between the raucous and the reminiscent. The sound is a far cry from the sharp riffs and post-punk beats of many of their contemporaries, opting for a more melodic, layered and ultimately more satisfying approach. They come out with their fourth album, Boxer, later on this year, but it’s definitely worth catching up with some of their older material.
Alligator was the last album they released, and most people’s (including mine) entry point. They toured along with Clap You Hands Say Yeah which was a double edged sword in terms of exposure as most people appeared for the support act and left before the National even took to the stage. Which is undoubtably a stupid thing to do, because Alligator is a fantastic record. Singer, Matt Berninger, dishes out lines somewhere between sarcasm and dead seriousness about various objects of love. The song All The Wine is a brilliant piece of narrative, built over chiming U2 guitars until a final release with Berninger crooning, ‘Nothing can touch us, my love’. Karen is another fantastic tale, a lover trying to explain his actions over rolling piano and lines like ‘It’s a common fetish, for a doting man, to ballerina on the coffee table, cock in hand’, with nary a smirk or a wink of the eye. As I said at the start, they can get explosive at times as well, Abel, Lit Up and the powerful closer Mr. November. The latter crashing around as Berninger sing-shouts ‘I won’t fuck us over, I’m Mr. November’ throughout the chorus. The slower, less immediate songs help the album as a whole to grow on you. The more introspective songs such as Daughters of the Soho Riots and City Middle may seem inherently skippable at first, but soon provide a more interesting contrast of pace and mood.
[Photo from the AllTheWine Forum]
I picked up Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers a little later, in the Marketplace of Warwick Uni for a rather tasty £7. It begins with a much darker tone with Cardinal Song, but gets brighter towards the end of the album with songs like the playful Fashion Coat. Yet there’s also a slight country tone apparent, with slide guitar appearing several times and songs like It Never Happened, Trophy Wife and 90-Mile Water Wall displaying that typical alt-country strum and beat. Murder Me Rachel and Available are pretty much most indicative of where the National sound was heading, the former builds up into screeching violins and doesn’t stop, only barely dissolving into muffled shouts and drum rolls after a telling line, ‘Tomorrow won’t be pretty.’ It’s overall not quite as coherent as Alligator, the style of music is more varied and the production sometimes isn’t executed with the same diligence as the stronger songs.
Listen to these, and buy the albums in preparation for Boxer, which is out on May 21st.
From Alligator (2005)
The National – Karen MP3 Expired
The National – All The Wine MP3 Expired
The National – Mr. November MP3 Expired
[Buy] *Highly Recommended*
From Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers (2003)
The National – Slipping Husband MP3 Expired
The National – 90-Mile Water Wall MP3 Expired
The National – Murder Me Rachel MP3 Expired
March 06, 2007
Faces On Film are a band from Boston, Massachusetts who I’ve not heard a lot from (and their site doesn’t give a lot out either) since we received this track, Archers, later on last year. The instrumentation of The Walkmen is coupled here with the kind of raw energy you hear in early Idlewild material. It’s got dirty great but quirky riffs, powerful drum beats and that kind of recording quality that sounds more alive than live. It’s got lines shouted repeatedly over an unconventional song structure. And it makes me want to belt out the lines with it even though you can’t make out the words. You know, just like the tracks off Captain.
Word on the street is that they will be/are/have already been recording an album for release in the summer. Several tracks were given out for free from their MySpace page so I’ve got here another one that isn’t currently available for streaming.
I’ll Sleep To Protect starts out less lively than Archers with a gentle looped acoustic riff but builds slowly and surely (complete with rising ‘Oh oh’s’) to a much fiercer crescendo at the four minute mark.
They do have an earlier EP available called Seven Sisters, but I’ll be damned if I know where you can actually find it. Enjoy these for now…
Faces On Film – Archers MP3 Expired
Faces On Film – I’ll Sleep To Protect MP3 Expired