He's slowed it right down and made it a rockier, more paranoid experience and gives an old classic a new lease of life.
31 May 2012
I'm something of an aficionado when it comes to trip hop even if I do say so myself and once in a while a track comes along that blows me away and it feels like 1994 all over again. I think this is one of those occasions and the influences are writ large across the whole track. At one point Tricky, another point Portishead and is that a bit of Massive Attack I can hear at the back? It seems very appropriate that I'm in Bristol as I listen to this and thinking about getting up for work. Trip hop this good is so uplifting.
Posted by lee at 05:59
30 May 2012
I love it when dance tracks really get deep down like they mean business. If the DJ sticks this monster on then he doesn't expect you all to be standing around admiring each other's trainers. He expects you to be in the zone, dancing to the beat. It's the least this track deserves. I love it, I really do.
Antony Hegarty has released this track available for download for a donation to the Australian Research Council Centre for Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. You can get it from here. Why the Coral Reef Studies charity? Well...it's the soundtrack to a film about coral by Lynette Wallworth.
It is a beautiful track but I do feel with his songs that it's all getting a bit samey. Perhaps because his voice is just so distinctive or maybe because he tends to favour piano pieces played in the same key but I'd like to see him branch out into a different direction.
A damn fine remix of a damn fine hip-hop track.
Posted by lee at 20:27
29 May 2012
I'd heard snippets before of this album but this has been the first chance to hear the entire album and I think the comparisons with XX, Maccabees, James, Gomez...even Stornoway are pretty accurate. Remember this is their debut album so it really is amazing just how much of a finished article it sounds. They have a blues-y feel and it suits the narration style of the songwriting down to a tee. It's not as whimsical as I first imagined but the harmonies are very soulful and they are all accomplished musicians that harks back to those early James albums, Strip-Mine in particular. Overall, the album has a lovely balance to it and one that I will keep coming back to when I get a chance to buy it (it is released this week).
I got into an online argument that I really shouldn't have over the weekend where I rushed to the defence of new music. Someone, rather pompously in my opinion, declared that modern acts are relatively talentless compared with those of yesteryear. It's bands such as Alt-J and others that make me so excited about music and they are the reason I spend far too much time hunting down and getting so evangelical about music. They are the raison d'être for this blog.
Right, enough tub-thumping from me and I'll leave you in peace to listen to what could be one of the albums of the year.
28 May 2012
He's never been one to shy away from a "wave your hands in the air" disco tune, has our Calvin. He's done it again with this Florence and the Machine remix that you will probably be hearing lots of over the next few months.
After a name change to make her a bit more web-friendly for British audiences, she returns as Faye with this massive tune complete with stunning video.She's definitely got the right voice for this kind of electronic power pop following on from fellow countrywomen Fever Ray and Lykke Li which makes me think that the Swedish/English accent must play a part in that. This song is definitely one of those that lays its intentions bare from the start as an anthem and then duly delivers on its promise.
Let's just make one thing clear, they're not from Tibet but rather Halifax, West Yorkshire. Their music is a rather wonderful mix of classical, almost Oriental and operatic and this track, Lullaby is a really good showcase for their talents. The video itself is as difficult to pin down as the music but I think I may have seen parts of it before in a Casiokids video (just in case you wondering!)
27 May 2012
26 May 2012
Last one of the night from me and this is a very intense remix of Crystal Fighters 'Earth Island'. It's almost unrecognisable from the original which to my ears sounds Oriental, minimalist and other worldly. This, on the other hand is definitely of this planet, probably in the zone at 3.15 am in a cool as f**k nightclub somewhere in East London. I'm now reaching double figures for hitting the rewind button on this and would be here for some hours yet if freshly laundered bed linen on my bed wasn't seducing me.
This is a seriously good remix.
I heard this song once on Radio 1 on (I think) Peter Powell's early evening radio show way back in 1980, I was 11 at the time and I remember thinking just how good it was. It stuck in my mind over the years and I finally tracked down a copy in a record shop in Soho in the early 90s. I lost it soon after without actually hearing it again and it was only a few years ago that this tune started popping up on the internet.
It's funny how certain songs stick in the mind and I distinctly remember what I was doing and where I was when I heard it too. This is all the more remarkable as I have huge gaps in what I remember from my childhood. Whether it's just that time has addled the brain or there was a group meeting of my memory banks and they decided not to recollect what was a pretty tough time for me, who knows but I guess it goes to show how important music has always been for me.
This is what could best be described as underground British ska and definitely marks a time when the lines between pop and ska were becoming more and more blurred.
Posted by lee at 23:07
I love all the current wave of neo-New Wave bands out there at the moment. At this point I'm rather pleased with that terribly pun in the first sentence, tomorrow I shall probably regret it. Ah well, let me tell you about this new song, the title track from the new album from the Oregon-based Chromatics. They are signed to THE record label that have done more to push New Wave back onto the musical agenda. I'm talking of course about Italians Do It Better. The whole album has an anthemic feel to it and the female vocals help to lift it brilliantly whilst carefully avoiding the trap of slipping into a power ballad. Why is it that all New Wave sounds like it's sung with an English accent? It's a great album and one of my tips for the critics' top 100 for 2012.
Posted by lee at 22:36
This is my favourite track from his new album 'Among the Leaves' which is currently receiving a lot of critical acclaim. This tune particularly sounds very Will Oldham but the album overall has more of a feel of a Lambchop or Midlake album rather than Bonnie Prince Billy. It's quite a deep album with the music and lyrics a lot heavier than the deliberately pretentious track titles. I won't spoil the surprise but if you fancy a giggle, you can read them here.
Truth be told, I'm shattered. I've had a lovely day with my 2 sons down on Hove Lawns and the weather has been what can only be described as glorious but we were out all day and the heat has finally beaten me. There's still time for some music though, there's always time for music and so I'm keeping the tempo down and the mood lighting low with this live performance from Sindri Már Sigfússon.
The concept is simple. Some music buffs invite their friends over, they play the music for the next 24 hours and it's all broadcast live via the internet. The only proviso is it's all vinyl. You can follow it here and I recommend you listen to even just a small part of it. The music is extremely eclectic and there's a lovely warm feeling to it all as if you've been invited to a housewarming. Watch the video below to see highlights of the last one.
And what is my favourite vinyl? Not sure but the Sugarcubes 'Here Today, Tomorrow, Next Week' could be a candidate.
Posted by lee at 00:25
25 May 2012
I've been racking my brains for a seriously funky summer album and I'm reminded of the Lo Fidelity Allstars classic. I don't listen to this album as often as I should. Here's the title track from the album and then Lazer Sheep Dip Funk, an impossibly catchy dance number.
This has Kompakt writ large across the whole track. Out on 28th May this remix is on Walls new album: 'Coracle Remixe'. Certainly one for the shopping list!
Posted by lee at 12:32
I plugged this band last year and their track 'I Love My Harbour' was one of my tunes of 2011. It seems that they will be under the radar so to speak for the foreseeable future, busy with making a new album but in the meantime they've left us with a free 5 track EP. You can download it here. It's got a couple of covers and a remix of the aforementioned 'Harbour' track. I'm not so sure about the remix to be honest. The track is powerful as an ethereal piece and I'm not sure the dubstep treatment was required.
This is also on there and much more in keeping with the tone.
23 May 2012
22 May 2012
Apparently it's World Goth Day so it's only right I play something suitably Gothic. I've picked something very controversial here, I've gone for one hit wonder Q Lazzarus with 'Goodbye Horses'. I think it qualifies as Goth and will argue the case until I'm blue in the face. And we can't have this song without Buffalo Bill mincing around.
"It puts the lotion in the basket!"
Posted by lee at 20:08
Another song for the summer. I'm a sucker for that old school jangly guitar sound and when you add a very cute female voice then you might as well serve me up because that's me done! Hard to believe that this band originate from the US midwest rather than the UK.
Posted by lee at 17:45
A few years ago, whilst on holiday in Ibiza I discovered that lovely sunny days and Nick Drake go hand in hand. Okay, it's not Saturday but this still works very well. It's a bittersweet feeling that I find so much solace in his music and clearly Nick Drake couldn't. It's such a shame.
This is only about half an hour long but don't let that put you off, this is an awesome little set. The Swedish ladies rock the house down.
Here's the set list (just wait until they really get going with 'I Love It'):
Sun Goes Down
I Love It
Nights Like This
Unbelievably, this is available as a free download here. It's got a kind of old school Eartha Kitt-esque feel to it with a stripped back techno sound to it that isn't quite minimal but certainly not full on either. It's a real slow burner too that will grab you by the end and have you hitting the 'rewind' button.
Posted by lee at 12:00
21 May 2012
I haven't heard this in years but listening to that Saint Etienne mixtape with the Matching Mole classic 'Oh Caroline' reminded me of Gorky's version. This track I've selected is probably my favourite of theirs.
Posted by lee at 21:56
The album 'Quarantine' has recently been streamed by FACT magazine. I've not listened to it in full yet but from what I've heard I can understand why a lot of respected independent record shops have it as their album of the week. You'll find the tracklisting underneath the stream.
1 - Airsick
2 - Years
3 - Thaw
4 - Joy
5 - MK Ultra
6 - Wow
7 - Carcass
8 - Holoday
9 - Tumor
10 - Morcom
11 - Nerve
12 - Light + Space
This is from their new album, the video to the track 'Ég anda'. I love the music but can't say I'm too impressed with the video, it tries too hard to be wacky. It's unnecessary because the music already provides the avant-garde. There's no need to go around putting these visual exclamation marks to the songs. The record is out next Monday. Let's hope the video doesn't detract too much from the tune.
To coincide with the Hacienda's 30th birthday, ditto.tv have finally released 'All Along the Dotted Line' by Photo Kid. It was a one-off from Ben Kelly with Godley and Creme playing all the instruments. It's been transferred from tape to digital, they've polished the sound and even given it an accompanying video.
This is the very first I've heard of it and it's not easy listening by any stretch of the imaginatiion. Ben Kelly's voice and delivery is eerily similar to Syd Barrett. Have listen to Barrett's 'Opal' album and see what I mean. If I hadn't known better I would have laid good money on this being a long lost Barrett/Tubeway Army collaboration. Now there's a thought!
Posted by lee at 19:30
To coincide with the release of their eagerly anticipated (and not just by me) new album, Saint Etienne have also posted a lovely summer mix for their fans. It features some rather lovely tunes, including one by Robin Gibb who passed away yesterday, yet another victim of cancer. It's a very sweet and fitting tribute, I think. The Bee Gees and Saint Etienne are unashamedly pop, in fact they are proud to call themselves pop bands. It's a lovely nod from one great band to another.
20 May 2012
I was sent a link to this via Twitter just recently. It's another great Bandcamp find but I have saved it for a Sunday night as it best suits my mood. I forget who said it but a very wise person once wrote that the main differences between the sexes is that women will never understand the melancholy that men feel on a Sunday. For some reason, I find that music is a wonderful solace to this pre-Monday gloom. The album title alone is surely a great name for a band.
19 May 2012
18 May 2012
This very excellent Brighton band are streaming their entire new album on Soundcloud. Unfortunately, I haven't managed to create the playlist in the correct order - if anyone knows how to do that, please can you show me? - but I hope it doesn't take away from your listening pleasure. If I could cheekily suggest it's like having shuffle on your iPod!
The band describe the album as about grandparents, life, death, alcohol abuse, divorce, mental health, arson and love. All in all, just another day for your typical Brightonian, really.
17 May 2012
By now I think everyone has heard the sad news. Miss Summer has lost her battle against cancer and died at the age of 63. I was thinking about how best to pay tribute to the ultimate disco queen and rather than try to be clever with an obscure track from one of her lesser known albums I've picked the ultimate party record. I've written before how some tunes are genuinely timeless and I think "I Feel Love" is right up there at the top of the tree. And boy, how important it is too. Put simply this track defined dance music. Sod it, I'll stick my neck out and say that it still does. I adore this song and it's guaranteed to get me dad dancing when I hear it played. Actually, this song is very forgiving. You have to have absolutely no rhythm to dance badly to it. I'd like to think I haven't quite lost all mine just yet. Look and learn, kids.
I jest and perhaps I shouldn't but let me say that although I am sad that she passed away, I didn't know her and I'd like to celebrate her life and music rather than mourn her death. I did meet her once. I was with an ex-girlfriend and we were at a rather swanky hotel near Fitzrovia in London. Ordinarily the price would have been out of our reach but we'd wangled a lovely room for a very good rate. We were in reception, collecting the room key, I was trying to avoid the bellboy's eye and I saw Donna Summer walk in. Not quite, she glided in looking every inch the glamour puss. This woman oozed 'diva'. We shared a lift together and I, completely out of character...I'm painfully shy around strangers, all so briefly apologised for interrupting her day and said that I loved her music. And then we got out and she carried on up to the top of the hotel. A banal story, there is nothing exciting to relate and we didn't get to hang out with her but I'm telling this because I was reminded of it when I heard of her death today. I'm glad I got that moment to thank her.
My favourite remix, it's featured at more than one of my house parties.
16 May 2012
I was listening to her first album tonight on a little explore of Bristol where I'm working at the moment and had forgotten just how good it was. I have bittersweet memories of this album but the music is as good as when I first heard it and fell in love with her music. This is one of the more obscure tracks from it.
15 May 2012
She's not the easiest of singers to listen to but if you stick with it then I think you might find the rewards are plentiful. This is from her very first album ' Desertshore' and really puts paid to the lie that she couldn't sing. I think she preferred the 'talk/sing' method because of her strong accent and I wish she had persevered with more singing but I guess that might have detracted from what she was best known for. I'm rambling, let's get to the music. This song is, as with her life, all too brief.
Track number one from their upcoming album is an uplifting affair and is bound to be hitting the radios in a big way this summer.
As a bonus, I found the tracklisting for the album, Gossamer, for those that are interested in these things.
1. Take a Walk
2. I’ll Be Alright
3. Carried Away
4. Constant Conversations
5. Mirrored Sea
6. Cry Like a Ghost
7. On My Way
9. Two Veils to Hide My Face
10. Love Is Greed
11. Its Not My Fault I’m Happy
12. Where We Belong
Their album comes out at the end of this month and it's probably the album of the year that I've been waiting for. It's been a long time, too long, since their last album and rest assured a full review will make an appearance in the not too distant future. In the meantime this can sate my hunger, it's the first track 'Tonight' from the album.
Best Fit Sessions have brought us this acoustic piece. Is it just me or does her voice sounds very English?
Adam Bainbridge redeems himself massively in my eyes for the abomination of a song* on his debut album with this wonderfully touching video of how he creates a song with the help of young Ramon.
*the cover version of 'Anyone Can Fall In Love'. Shudder!
14 May 2012
She's the Canadian lady of the moment, it seems with everyone name-dropping the very lovely Grimes as their tip for the top. Not to be outdone, I'm going to add my name to that list of her fans. I love the darkness she brings to her music. I guess this is the influence of Witch House going mainstream. It's nice to see Canadian pop have that twist to it and put paid to the myth about music from that country.
Better known as Dave Gahan and Vince Clark, VCMG have had an album out for about a month now. I haven't had a chance to play it in full yet but it's on the list (I promise!) and from what I've heard so far, it's packed full of beaty goodness. It's a bit heavier and more seriously dance-oriented than their usual pop angled music but I guess that's what this spin-off is for: to allow them free reign to make different music.
13 May 2012
It's hard to believe that a double act from Chicago could have an English sounding album with heavy dub reggae influences but I can assure you that is what we've got here. Their album is released this week and is already on my shopping list.
Yet another bandcamp act referencing themselves in their debut album and once again proving that there's some great new music out there. I can't seem to find too much about them at present other than the briefest of bio's on Bandcamp. They are fronted by the stunning Nadine, hail from Montreal and are playing a number of gigs around Quebec soon. They play an earnest and accomplished pop and manage to avoid the twee MOR rather well. It's mainly a classic guitar/drum arrangement but a few of the slower tracks feature piano as well. Nadine's voice is beautifully husky and it works so well in her native Canadian French. The guitars are a little too crunching at times and almost seem to be begging for some air grabs but overall they compliment the band well. Overall, it is a very good album and reminiscent of No Doubt's early work.
12 May 2012
The debut album from Boyfriend has proven to be something of a slow burner for me. I wasn't overly impressed at the start but with every listen, I'm beginning to get where they are coming from. It has depth and beauty in equal measure but what really stands out for me is the craftsmanship of the musicians on show. I think I've become more discerning as I've got older and this is why I have persevered with the album, it's so well produced that I was able to appreciate the music on its own before the concept of the music as a whole.
Enough about me, let's play some music.
11 May 2012
Ben Watts and Tracey Thorn are the coolest couple in the universe. Forget Wills and Kate; forget Victoria and David; forget Beyonce and that bloke she's with; Ben and Tracey ARE the cool cats. I don't think they realise just how a regard a lot of people (myself included) have for them. From the bedsit pop of the 80s, the stuff Ben did with Robert Wyatt, the Home Movies album that got me through backpacking and university, the stuff Tracey did with Massive Attack and of course the Walking Wounded album, probably the most played album in the whole of my quite extensive music collection.
This is from the previous Temperamental album and has the Todd Terry makeover, it's a massively important record and just simply brilliant.