All 4 entries tagged The Long Blondes
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August 25, 2009
One thing that Emusic seems to be alright at, is stocking those little filler EP’s and singles that seem to get lost and never listened to when you’re wandering through your CD collection. I managed to gather a few, and all these bands have been featured on this blog sometime before I’m sure…
The National – Wasp Nest
At the same time as grabbing this, I picked up the self-titled debut, but that, understandably, felt a little unfocused. By contrast, this stop-gap EP between the sophomore LP Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers and the breakthrough Alligator is happily a more succinct distillation of what the band are all about. It features a song each from both those albums (in my opinion, the best ones – a live version of Murder Me Rachael and All The Wine) along with five non-LP originals.
At worst, these do feel like outtakes from the albums, and keep a rather stately pace compared to the featured two, but The National have always been about these understated buildups. Matt Berninger’s deep distinct vocal wrapped around cycling guitar and piano figures or sometimes also a battering rhythmic section (see the end of Cherry Tree or Murder Me Rachael), cementing the identity the band have built up over the course of their career. Rinse, lather, soak, if you’re feeling better… repeat. While it’s no means the best place to start (I’d say the latest, Boxer), if you don’t have the time to delve into the back catalogue, this allows you to dip in at your leisure.
Spoon – 30 Gallon Tank EP
I love Spoon, so I was a little gutted that the Emusic catalogue could only muster up this EP as an offering. The titular single was taken from their sophomore album Series of Sneaks (back in ‘98!), and has the guitar squall of debut Telephono and the more careful arrangement and production approach that would come to the fore with next album Girls Can Tell. That said, unless you really like the band I can’t recommend this record alone, the ‘remix’ of Car Radio (subtitled ‘Different’) is pretty much unlistenable, and the other two tracks pretty much define the term ‘B-side’.
However! Don’t let it put you off the idea of getting into Spoon… they are great! Honest!
The Clientele – That Night, A Forest Grew EP
I have posted about the last two Clientele albums on this blog and this EP acts as a compass pointing towards the next one, Bonfires on the Heath, arriving anytime soon. That forthcoming album will feature one of the tracks here, Share the Night, that shows a blissed out, dare I say, funky side to the Clientele.
All the tracks here share a similar ‘bounce’, an energy that expounds upon the previous effort’s glimmers of sunshine. However, Alistair still sounds as resigned as ever (“Somehow in this dream I’m getting tired” he laments in jaunty opener Retiro Park) yet the Zombies guitar freakouts that poked their head out from the haze on Impossible and Garden at Night make a return with more purpose and more vigour.
A great EP from these guys (and gal), making the wait for the new album, if not unbearable in anticipation, at least somewhat bearable with four fun pop songs to stick on repeat while we do…
Okkervil River – The President’s Dead
I’m going to see the band up in Glasgow in a few weeks, and in a moment of momentary madness I grabbed this single, even though you can download the track for free here and listen to the B-side The Room I’m Hiding In on Spotify.
That said, I love the song, it’s by no means their best, but a great stream of consciousness opening with a simple four chord turnaround before eventually bursting (literally) into a glorious one-line title-repeating chorus with that keyboard line that sounds like it’s breaking the speakers it’s being played through. These things don’t have to be complicated… just good. The B-side is less good, but who cares? This is goooood.
The Long Blondes – (various B-sides)
Just a couple left here from the now (very sadly) broken up Sheffield five-piece, so I’ll make it easy for you. B-sides are generally composites of other ideas or experiments… aren’t they?
Five Ways To End It = A Knife For The Girls x “Couples” more dance-y direction
Fulwood Babylon = Giddy Stratospheres – Giddy + (backing vocals x (chorus + reverb)) + a groove to kill for…
In layman’s terms, yeah, pretty good actually…
Next up: rather predictably… August! In another predictable move I’m going to change the format again! And do single albums again, because I tend to write more, and more clearly… I think.
December 11, 2006
In this week’s internet stravaganza!?
- Michael Jackson – Beat It (with Chris laughing and ruining my live jingle)
- Pink Floyd – Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2
- I cock up a few jingles. Score!
- The Long Blondes – Swallow Tattoo
- The Pipettes – Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me
- We discuss the Long Blondes, all the students going away and Fopp over the top of the Rocky theme, which is fucking awesome
- Of Montreal – Gronlandic Edit
- Listeners in the North experienced sound quality difficulties. Sorry.
- Hot Chip – The Beach Party
- Very bad rapping. Bad. Sleep deprivation kicks in. George Galloway hates war, but he LOVES RaW!
- The Charlatons – You’re So Pretty, We’re So Pretty
- Brakes – Hold Me In The River
- Another quiz dies on it’s arse. Why do we keep doing this!? Never Mind The Buzzcocks meets The Two Ronnies with rubbish effect… Best Journey ever though.
- KISS – Strutter (not Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!)
- Rainbow – Since You’ve Been Gone
- Eclecticism. Chris and Mat’s Indie Nipple
- Bloc Party – The Prayer
- Radiohead – Electioneering (What is it good for?)
- The end of the show. Steven Seagal and Thunderbox!? Chris tricks me into saying Merry Christmas, because he’s a bastard.
- Muse – New Born
November 09, 2006
I have been pleasingly endowed this month with some tracks for my favourite bands in the world, ever. (Well, a new Radiohead studio release would have been nice, but hey, maybe that’s just a little too much for a couple of months yet). Here are just a few of them (the rest will probably be played on the weekly radio show, Mat and Chris’s Indie Nipple, Friday at 5pm GMT at http://www.radio.warwick.ac.uk/). Enjoy, kiddies!
Voxtrot – Your Biggest Fan
á la discothèque favourites Voxtrot released, by my reckoning, their new single Your Biggest Fan a couple of days ago now. It’s stonkingly good, and bodes well for the debut album being released early next year. Unfortunately, the single is US-only, so us Brits aren’t supposed to get our grimy hands on it, boo!
‘Your Biggest Fan’ MP3 Expired
(Buy ‘Your Biggest Fan’ Import)
Bloc Party – Song For Clay
[MP3 removed by request]
The awesome Bloc Party are back with their new album, A Weekend In The City on 5th February next year. If this isn’t the first track on that album, I’ll eat my hat – a slow starter with Kele’s soft lyrics hitting into a heavy number that is just a little bit more grown up than the rocky songs that adorned Silent Alarm.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! – Some Loud Thunder
When Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! first emerged on the scene, distributing their own eponymous debut album, everyone kind of winced at their sound. It was a little bit before their time, but luckily they survived into the current age of indietronica and electro-pop that makes them absolutely bloody brilliant.
A new album is on the way in January, and it promises to be good on the basis of this track, which is good because I like them so there listen now??
‘Some Loud Thunder’ MP3 Expired
We Are Scientists – Hoppípolla
In the world of covers of songs that you’d never think would work, We Are Scientists covering Icelandic Gods Sigur Rós’s epic Hoppípolla (of every-BBC-advert-ever fame) is right up there, but after hearing them play it live on a BBC session it seemed strangely beautiful, and after hearing it on their new album Crap Attack (a compilation of B sides and rareities) I’m absolutely convinced that it’s one of the most beautiful covers you’ll ever hear now that the bum notes are gone. It’s a stunning tribute to the song and even the Icelandic/Hopelandish lyrics are there!
‘Hoppípolla (Sigur Rós cover)’ MP3 Expired
(Buy ‘Crap Attack’)
The Long Blondes – Once and Never Again
I yelped in glee on Monday when The Long Blondes’ debut album Someone To Drive You Home plopped onto my doormat. Probably one of the most exciting new artists to appear this year, and sexy to boot. Lovely. I love the way that most of the tracks that we’ve all heard before have been tidied up for the studio release, but I’m not too sure about the massive change that’s come to Separated By Motorways, which was so raw and powerful before but now seems stripped of it? I mean, I still love it, of course…
Anyway, this is Once and Never Again, my favourite track off the album. There’s something about singing “Oh, how I’d love to feel a girl your age” that’s strangely wonderful…
‘Once and Never Again’ MP3 Expired
(Buy Someone To Drive You Home)
October 23, 2006
Writing about web page http://www.thelongblondes.co.uk/
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