Thursday, 31 March 2011

The Music to split up later this year.... A tribute

The Music have announced that they are splitting up after 10 years together.

The Leeds band will part ways after two farewell UK gigs in August.

Writing on their official website they wrote: "After 10 years, three albums and some unforgettable live performances, The Music have announced a series of final shows in England before going their separate ways at the end of this summer."

The band's farewell shows will take place at London's O2 Shepherds' Bush Empire on August 4 and the O2 Academy Leeds on August 5.

They released three albums in their career: 2002's self-titled debut, 2004's 'Welcome To The North' and 2008's 'Strength In Numbers'.

The final two albums came out while I was buried deep in punk rock and reggae, so The Music (being a Leeds-based indie band) weren't on my radar at that time. however I loved the self titled debut album, a record that I used to play many times back in 2002, while working at The West End Inn.....

And these are the tracks I remember most fondly....

SONG FOR TODAY: John Martyn - Solid Air

A slightly belated 'song For Today' for yesterday, since I lost track of time. There will now be TWO today, and here's the first..... Essential for a late night chilling session, this track i simply timeless. From a fantastic album too.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

REVIEW: Veto - Everything Is Amplified

I first heard this album almost a month ago, now it's time to do a short review. I'd never heard any of Veto's work before this album, but for fans of Foals and various other electronica groups, you may like this record. 

Opener 'You're Hard To Get' sounds a bit like The Cure produced by Trent Reznor but with all guitars replaced by acid house-esque synth sounds. This Cure influence is also evident in 'Am I Awake Or Should I Wake Up', which also sounds a bit like the Klaxons, as do quite a few of these tracks. Across the record you'll encounter songs peppered with polyrhythms, odd time signatures and sudden tempo changes, but takes quite a few listens to really appreciate. Indeed I feel the true nature of these songs haven't quite grown on me yet, and some of the tracks tend to be a bit TOO similar in tone overall, but I am impressed by many of the pulsing electronic arrangements and industrial beats which are joined nicely by Troels Abrahamsen's melancholic vocals. An undoubted highlight is 'Slowres', a perfect night time soundtrack of chilled but slightly uneasy dreaminess, and the awesome percussion and bass play in 'If Else' is brilliant.

Unfortunately this album is too one-dimensional and often songs tend to be direction-less. However, make sure if you hear this record you do NOT judge it from the first listen, as it definitely takes some time to live with. but even after some time with these songs, i can still only really give this a


My DJ-ing career and Melksham Community Radio....

My Photos by
So over the course of my life, music has inspired me so much that it has led me to many musical activities of my own. From being an indie fanzine writer in the late 90's, to being a punk rock protagonist in Armies Of Anger in the late 2000's, to pumping out dance anthems from 1996 to 1997 at a club in Corsham (and at the age of about 12). As the club closed, apart from a few random stints at a local youth club, I didn't approach nor use a mixer and DJ turntables for a long time, up until 2008. Back then in the late 2000's I was still firmly in the grip of punk rock, and listening to little else. And Radio 1's Punk Show with Mike Davies used to be a fantastic resource for music like that, and inspired by this (and having plenty of time on my hands not having a day job) I launched an internet radio station called SandinistaRadio, playing a mixture of punk, metal, folk-punk, ska, reggae, dub and lot of 'rebel music'. The station was a hit in the punk community and my weekly show 'The Punk Hour' was well-liked, as were my random live broadcasts from my bedroom.

But soon I ran out of spare time to run a streaming radio station AND pre-recording a proper live show every week. Plus after the split of Armies Of Anger the previous year and a time away from creating music, I was looking to make a musical comeback with No Manifesto. So SandinstaRadio stopped in 2009, but in September so did my band. And a massive broadening of musical horizons and a boredom of restricting myself to music only accepted by the punk scene led me to re-discovering many other genres including the classic Britpop I adored in the 90's. And in February 2010 (I think) I began broadcasting 2 hour long shows on Indiecore Radio, an internet station based in America. But a lot of American kid's ideas of 'indie' differs to mine, and perhaps this station's audience wasn't the most suitable for me, even though I did build up a good following of my own listeners.

Soon I moved to the newly launched UKHD Radio, this time with 3 hour shows playing a mix of brand new releases, up and coming bands, rarely heard treasures as well as the weekly 'Vinyl Half Hour'. I loved doing the shows but pre-recording them to my standards took in excess of 6 hours to make, produce and mix down. Plus my show's focus was on a passion for real music, and served as an intended antidote to awful chart music saturating many radio stations. So when UKHD Radio began playing jingles featuring Lady fucking Gaga, I was annoyed. When they filled every 15 minutes with overlong show trailers, one in particular featuring an irritating DJ singing along to some chart 'hit' of the time, I was even more peeved. But when their "scheduling software" would fail, it could sometimes lead to major disasters. Such as some terrible pop nonsense playing during one of the advert breaks during my show. Plus there was the fact that during their poorly made shows, some presenters would run through the show schedule, mentioning every other show and skipping past mine. And when after a long wait they failed to put up a page for my show on their website, I felt a major lack of support on their part. I had to do all my own promotion and attract listeners myself, the loyal ones making up the small audience I did have. In May 2010 I got myself a well paid full time job in retail, which left me with very little spare time to present weekly 3 hour radio shows.

Without having to devote time to the show, finding spare time to hear new (and old) music was easier, and this allowed to discover some great stuff. So in late 2010 I began updating the webpages that comprised my radio show's website and blog, even though I didn't have a radio show anymore. The whole point was spreading the word about great music people may not be aware of, and I began doing this with detailed and honest album reviews. I then turned my radio show blog into a general music blog, but one from a personal angle, containing many stories and anecdotes about my musically-related experiences and memories, as well as reviews, videos, links and features.

By December the blog was scoring 3 times as many hits as it did when it was the radio show blog, and throughout the next couple of months the audience grew rapidly. And now in March 2011, not even a week away from the end of the month and the site has already scored twice as many hits as last month, which in itself was a very successful one in terms of page views. Currently scoring hundreds of hits every day, this blog allows me to broadcast my views and recommendations in a non time consuming medium.

Melksham Community Radio
But recently an interesting development has taken place locally. In my hometown of Melksham, a group of people are planning to launch the town's very own radio station, and one of my old pals from school who I still keep in touch with is on board to front his own dance anthems show on the station, when it eventually launches. Thinking about bringing my radio show back for the folk of Melksham and surrounding areas (as well as on he internet) but in a different and less time consuming form. I am currently in the early stages of my involvement with the station, but it looks like I may be making a return to the airwaves.....

I'll post more updates on Melksham Community Radio when further developments occur, but in the meantime here's their website:

A Radiohead-related guided tour of my local region....

Living in the countryside of Wiltshire, you'd think not much rock n roll activity happens here. Wrong. The area I live in actually has LOADS of musical history, although a lot of it goes unnoticed by many people. Here's a map featuring my town of Melksham (circled in green) and the surrounding areas. Soon I will be documenting and visiting the local places of musically historic importance in more depth but today I'm going to tell you about the links the area of Wiltshire and Bath has with the legendary Radiohead....

1. The Psychic Pig, Trowbridge

Radiohead's debut gig (at least under that name) took place at a venue in Trowbridge called the Psychic Pig in 1991. Says co-manager Mark Johnston:

“I was offered this band called ‘Only on a Friday’ for £50. When they turned up they insisted that we billed them as Radiohead, because they had decided to change their name. So I guess, by coincidence we got their first ever gig... They were the politest bunch of young men I have ever met. They washed up their own cups and dishes and helped tidy up the club.”

This photo is of the place where the Psychic Pig used to stand. Trowbridge is shit without it.

2. St Catherines Court, near Bath

In 1996, Radiohead recorded most of 'OK Computer' at a Tudor manor house in nearby Bath. St Catherine's Court belonged to actress Jane Austen, and other bands to use its recording facilities include The Cure and New Order...

3. Tottenham House, Marlborough

They returned to the county in 2007 to record part of 'In Rainbows' at Tottenham House, an old mansion house in Wiltshire that used to be a boarding school, then a rehabilitation house for troubled youths, and apparently haunted. "It was literally an old country pile," Ed O’Brien told Mojo in 2008, "huge and crumbling at the seams... Stanley [Donwood], who does all our artworks, said the ley lines were not very forgiving." 

More information here....

They spent three weeks there, recording live their most energetic songs from the album, 'Bodysnatchers' and 'Jigsaw Falling Into Place'. Between recording, they had the extensive forest to explore, with Thom reportedly being struck by the sound of a barking stag guarding it's territory. But Thom became sick, and with only a damp caravan to recover in, they soon returned to an Oxford studio. Before leaving, producer Nigel Godrich sampled the reverb from the mansion's grand chamber, which was applied to much of the album, notably Thom's vocal on 'House Of Cards'.

The house is now being redeveloped into a multi million pound hotel and golf resort....

4. The King Of Limbs, Savernake Forest

And now of course there's 'the King Of Limbs', named after one of the oldest trees in Europe. The thousand year old tree resides in Wiltshire's Savernake Forest, near Marlborough....

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

SONG FOR TODAY: Yuck - Georgia

One day I'd never heard of this band. The next thing I know their tunes were burning themselves into my mind and I got hold of a copy of their eponymous debut album, released a couple of months ago. You can find my review here:

And here from the album is 'Georgia'....

Radiohead - Supercollider/The Butcher

So this year's Record Store Day will see Radiohead releasing a limited number of 12" singles featuring more new tracks. 'Supercollider' and 'The Butcher' will be available on April 16th... Like last year when Blur released 'Fools Day', I'm gonna be first in the queue outside my local record shop at the break of dawn.....

Here's 'Supercollider' played live....

UPDATE (20/04/11)

So Record Store Day saw copies of the 12" snapped up immediately. And here are those two tracks

 Radiohead - Supercollider by ianbhoy

 Radiohead - The Butcher by ianbhoy

Lots of odd synths and a nice repetitive piano part on 'Supercollider', while 'The Butcher' features more of the strange rhythms and disjointed beats in the same disjointed manner as '15 Step' or 'Bloom'. Can see why they were released separately from the album.

You can also download them from here:

And for those who can't quite make out Mr Yorke's vocals, here are the lyrics....

Dust in a moment
Particles scatter
Coming up from the soup
Swimming upstream
Before the heavens crack open
Thin pixelation
Coming up from the dust
In a blue light
In a green light
In a half life
In an arc light
I’m a bass bin
I’m a pulse wave
I put the shadows back into
The boxes
I am open
I am welcome
For a fraction
Of a second
I have jettisoned my illusions
I have dislodged my depression
I put the shadows back into
The boxes
I put the shadows back into
The boxes
I see an angel hanging over the balcony
I see the angels hanging over the balcony
The Butcher:
Beauty will destroy your mind
Spare the gory details
Give them gift wrapped for the man with everything
Though I lived a lonely life
I was confused
A butcher
I feel nothing
As it courses up my arms in position of the worms
Up, up through my heart and to my brain
I’m a big slab of basic combination cut out chopped liver on the block
My heart’s still pumping
My heart’s still pumping
He’s a warrior
A warrior
Here’s a little bitch coming outta him
He’s a warrior
A warrior
Here’s a little bitch coming outta him
Coming outta him

Sunday, 27 March 2011

SONG FOR TODAY: Fyfe Dangerfield - High On The Tide

Guillemots lead singer Fyfe Dangerfield released a solo album last year, entitled 'Fly Yellow Moon', and what a great piece of work it was too. from it is 'High On The Tide'...

Saturday, 26 March 2011

SONG FOR TODAY: The Smiths - Unhappy Birthday

So today I finally got round to owning a copy of The Smiths final studio album 'Strangeways Here We Come', which I then discovered was recorded in Bath, not far away from my hometown. From it, here's the excellent 'Unhappy Birthday'...

Friday, 25 March 2011

SONG FOR TODAY: Mercury Rev - Goddess On A Hiway

My old bandmate Todd used to hate this band more than any other in my collection..... He referred to Jonathan Donahue as "Marc Almond's batty twin"... But even he had to admit, 'Goddess On A Hiway' is an incredible tune....

Thursday, 24 March 2011

SONG FOR TODAY: Laptop - End Credits

And I thought I'd re-discovered ALL the little-known indie tunes of the late 90s.... Until last night after a random YouTube search for the Evening Session, I found a video of a song by Laptop. The name rang a bell. Then I remembered THIS song.... It was impossible to find a copy of this back in what I recall was 1998, so now a search will begin to find it. I did however manage to buy another single by Laptop in the late 90s or early 2000s which was called 'Nothing To Declare', however I've completely forgotten the song and no longer have the CD. Anyway here's the brilliant 'End Credits'......

Today's musical purchases....

Living in the Past - album coverWith about a week ago until payday I told myself not to spend any more money on music at least for the next 6 days. So what do I do today? Go to Trowbridge and buy a nice selection of CDs and vinyl....

At the same indoor market stall where I bought my first ever record in the 90's, I picked up some great stuff and could've got even more if I wasn't limiting my budget. The stall is called Heroes Records and has always been run by Gordon, a top bloke and a proud survivor amongst Wiltshire's ever-decreasing music retailers. Always guaranteed to have awesome music at great prices, this stall has been essential throughout my music-consuming life, and this time proved to be a godsend yet again. I got 2 OMD albums 'Organisation' and 'Architecture And Morality', 'Midnight to Midnight' by the Psychedelic Furs, the excellent Jethro Tull LP 'Living In The Past', and finally after years of wanting to get it, a copy of 'Kilimanjara' by the Teardrop Explodes. All on vinyl.
Brushed - album cover

And a couple of bargain CD singles, 'This Is Music' by The Verve and 'Brushed' by Paul Weller, which I owned years ago.

Paranoid Android [CD2] - album coverThen onto a couple of charity shops where more 90's CD singles begged me to purchase them. CD 2 of Radiohead's 'Paranoid Android', 'Everybody Knows...' by the Divine Comedy, 'I Wasn't Built To Get Up' by The Supernaturals (which i also owned back in 1998), CD 2 of Pulp's 'This Is Hardcore' (which features an excellent 'Swedish Erotica' remix), two Gene singles 'Fighting Fit' and 'We Could Be Kings', and finally 'Halo' by Texas, which despite me not being that keen on Texas, is a great song with fantastic string arrangements from Mike Hedges. Album wise I found a copy of 'Bagsy Me' by The Wannadies for a quid.

Pleased most definitely.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

SONG FOR TODAY: The George Baker Selection - Little Green Bag

From the utterly brilliant 'Essential Soundtracks' compilation from FilmFour, here's a track mostly known for its use in Tarantino's 'Reservoir Dogs'.........

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

SONG FOR TODAY: New Model Army - Vagabonds

Just heard this on BBC 6Music and was reminded of what a great band this is....

Review: The Strokes - Angles

So as most of us know The Strokes were the talk of the world a decade ago, when they unleashed their debut album 'Is This It' to ecstatic reviews and major worldwide success. 2003's 'Room On Fire' was a good enough follow up, but 2006's 'First Impressions Of Earth' saw the formula begin to tire, and lots of songs just lacking any kind of brilliance. In fact so unmemorable were the tracks, that the only one I can recall is the definite stand out 'Juicebox'. So after five years away, I was hoping that their fourth album 'Angles' is going to be a lot better. And for the first couple of tracks, it is.

Opening track 'Macchu Picchu' is certainly very angular indeed, and a very promising start to the album. Brilliant choppy riffs, an electro almost reggae rhythm, strange lyrics, funky percussion, Julian's best vocal yet and a great melody all blend to produce a moment of magic, better with every listen. A result of the band combining the best elements of their old sound with new elements and producing a success. Next they use all the greatest aspects of their past output and stick to what they know best on the brilliant single 'Under Cover Of Darkness'. It's like 'Last Nite' but better and slighly more complex, with pleasing double guitars and a superb melody. Easily as good as anything they've ever done.

At this point it seems that The Strokes may have returned to form. But then, it takes a downward turn. 'Two Kinds Of Happiness' has an odd 80's AOR drum sound and a chorus that brings some nice guitar sounds and interesting rhythms. However the melody is hardly memorable, the bridge is lifeless, and the verse sometimes sounds like bland late 80's Queen, which is not good at all. The guitar solo towards the end is pretty cool though.'You're So Right' is a real surprise, a nagging riff, intense electro drums, a weird vocal and an odd twisted vocodered chorus, before a short burst of dark reverbed guitars precede the song's sudden end. New sounds, not much trace of the old formula, and a fantastic result.'Taken For A Fool' is a good bit of post-punk with a hint of Roxy Music during the chorus, while the chorus is strong and melodic, worthy of anything from 'Room On Fire' and 'Is This It'.

The minimal electronic drums and odd bassline of 'Games' is interesting at first but then just descends into laziness and sounds a bit like The Bravery. 'Call Me Back' has a nice minimal guitar sound and sounds like it could blossom, but underwhelmingly it doesn't do much at all. 'Gratisfaction' is a rather grating Thin Lizzy pastiche that ends up sounding more like Queen, and not in a good way, while 'Metabolism' has a menacing bass and guitar riff that twists round the fierce rhythm, but then when it comes to matching this with a good tune they attempt to pull of the sort of dark dramatics Muse do so well, but instead produce turgid and dull results. The last track 'Life Is Simple In The Moonlight' has a good chorus, but is let down by a lazy, meandering verse that sounds bored and uninspired, and by the time the track and the album finishes, you're left thinking "is that it?". Is this really the best one of the most hyped bands of the last decade can produce after a five year absence?

There are times when 'Angles' sticks to the old formula and pulls it off very well (Under Cover Of Darkness), and times when attempting new things works brilliantly (You're So Right). And when they add new elements to well crafted songs (Taken For A Fool, Macchu Picchu) the results are fantastic. But when they attempt to spruce up dull and unmemorable songs with new and unusual arrangements, it can't hide the fact that they could've tried a lot better. The fact is if The Strokes were making songs like this when they first formed, they certainly wouldn't have gained any attention from the music press or the public. Luckily back then they had plenty of great songs, an uber-cool sound and a real knack for writing catchy tunes, and thus they became one of the defining bands of the 2000's. Now ten years on from their debut, apart from on the 4 very good tracks here, they sound tired and completely uninterested in the music they're making.

Following a disappointing third album with a five year gap and then 'Angles' simply isn't good enough. I'll be buying this one when it reaches the bargain bins. 5.5/10

Review: Blancmange - Blanc Burn

It's no secret that lots of new bands have been borrowing musical styles from the synth sounds of the 80's, and this has led to many bands from that era enjoying revivals or reforming.  Heaven 17, The Human League, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, the list goes on and on. But do we really need 80's electro duo BLANCMANGE back?

Listening to this album the answer is a definite no. I'm not familiar with the stuff this group released in the 80's, hence I can listen to their first album in over 25 years without unfairly judging it against their previous work, but from the very start this album is terrible. Weak verses, appalling lyrics, dated production and frankly rubbish songs, none of them even approaching anything memorable.

'Radio Therapy' is a weak attempt at sounding like Underworld, while elsewhere we get hints of Erasure, 90's-era Pet Shop Boys and a sound that recalls an aging northern bloke singing with the fucking Scissor Sisters. Terrible. Listening to this album felt like a complete waste of time, and indeed nearly an hour of my life I will never get back. 2/10

Review: The Vaccines - What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?

So late last year I was made aware of a new band tipped for big things, and tipped to in some people's words "save guitar music" (which these days basically translates as any proper music getting into the charts at all), and was introduced to them via last year's single 'Wreckin Bar' and the incredible 'Blow It Up'. After the next single 'Post Break Up Sex' appeared in the charts and on many radios, the expectations for this band were very high, perhaps reflected by the title of their debut album..... 

Recorded in a couple of weeks during the Autumn of 2010, 'What Did You Expect From The Vaccines' is quite simply one of the great debut albums of this day and age. And coming from a band who haven't even been together for a year, this record is astonishing. Opening with the 83 second blast of 'Wreckin Bar', it is a bright energetic intro, with its no-nonsense power chords and a hyperactive sound bringing to mind Ramones-esque surf punk. After this short, sharp jab is 'If You Wanna', an absolutely incredible tune. Again the chords are bright and simple, the modern riffs of the verse blend with a hint of a 60's pop melody, and then it jumps into a chorus as addictive as anything you will ever hear. 'Lack Of Understanding' shows another dimension to the band, where they combine their minimal-chord style with an Editors-like style of melancholy, and (am I the only one to notice this) a very, very tiny hint of Embrace in the vocal delivery, and then comes the huge Mary Chain-esque pound of 'Blow It Up', with an massively towering chorus and a wall of glassy guitars.  

The VaccinesOn to the sky high swoon of 'Wetsuit' next, where the previously heard melancholy is brightened before rising into a soaring bridge and a straightforward Beach Boys-esque chorus, touched with a bit of Spector-like production. The sharp bubblegum punk returns on 'Norgaard', blazing along like a sunny British take on the Ramones, before 'Post Break Up Sex' reprises the melancholy with a beautifully sad melody and a darkly anthemic chorus.
It has to be said at this stage in the band's career, the album as a whole certainly isn't the most diverse, but the formula of surf/garage/punk/pop/indie works well enough for the record's first half, that some of the songs seem to have companion tracks on the second half. For example 'Under Your Thumb' is a more reflective relative of 'If You Wanna', with a breezy chorus slightly recalling Kings Of Leon at their best. And 'All In White' takes that same attractive melancholy from 'Lack Of Understanding' and marries it with stunning surf pop melodies and huge washes of guitar. 

The VaccinesThe lively, sunny punk of 'Wolf Pack' comes with another great chorus as well as a hint of The Housemartins in the musical stylings. And that sparkling 60's surf vibe of 'Family Friend' is almost like a companion to 'Wetsuit', with its simple lyrics, simple chords and simple genius. Imagine if Interpol were capable of writing instantly catchy tunes that sounded a bit like the Beach Boys and The Velvet Underground. Well it wouldn't sound far away from this, and as it gradually speeds into a pounding climax, the album is brought to a fantastic close. And then there's a hidden track,a quiet, understated piano lament completely at odds with the rest of the album.

Since buying this CD I have been unable to leave it alone for more than a day. Often on this album, the tunes are so brilliantly catchy that attempting to sum up their awesome way with melody in words is difficult, but for sure these songs HAVE to be heard. 12 incredible songs and many, many melodies that will stick with you for a long time. And all in just over 33 minutes.9/10

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Saturday, 19 March 2011

SONG FOR TODAY : Metronomy - The Look

The second Song For Today is the new one from Metronomy, taken from their debut album 'The English Riviera'..... 

SONG FOR TODAY: Frank Turner - Love Ire & Song

TWO Songs for Today, since there wasn't one yesterday.... the first is the title track from Frank turner's 'Love Ire And Song' album from 2008... his fourth one is due in June and promises to be a real treat.....

Thursday, 17 March 2011

SONG FOR TODAY:John Foxx - Underpass

So Ultravox founder John Foxx is back with a new band and a new album... review of that coming soon, but in the meantime today's slice of musical excellence is his classic 'Underpass'....

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

LISTEN TO: Far-Cue - Over And Out

2010 album from locally renowned South West punk band Far-Cue. A review of it can be found HERE.

SONG FOR TODAY: D.A.F - Der Mussolini

I first heard this about 11 years ago on the John Peel show.... this can only be described as grimly sarcastic German rock of the highest order. D.A.F (or Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft) are a band who interest me a lot, and this track is taken from the album 'Alles Ist Gut'......

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

LISTEN TO The Strokes - Angles - FREE STREAM

Having played it a few times, my overall opinion on The Strokes new album is still rather undecided.... Certainly NOT the return to 'Is This It'-style brilliance they may have suggested before, but more of a multi faceted album with bits that work brilliantly, and bits that really don't. Bits where the band try new stuff and get it right, and bits where they stick to the old formula and create brilliance. But also new sounds that don't really work well and old Strokes sounds that come across as rather boring. My full review will be coming soon once I get my head around this album a bit more.... in the meantime you can make up your own minds by listening to 'Angles' in full here:

SONG FOR TODAY: Puressence - It Doesn't Matter Anymore

I can't remember where I first heard Puressence, but I know it was definitely on a Radio 1 show from about 1998. I remember loving 'This Feeling' and the follow up single 'It Doesn't Matter Anymore' which I bought from a record shop in Newquay that sadly no longer exists. I didn't buy the album 'Only Forever' back then, since I had only heard two tracks and it would've cost me £15 or so... But when I saw the Cd on sale for a few quid, I jumped at the chance of finally owning this album, and it is a fairly good record overall, despite the second half of the album drifting past me a bit... suppose I will have to play it more and see if any of the other tracks unfold into favourites. Anyway, here's the superb 'It Doesn't Matter Anymore' from 1998, complete with a wonderful string arrangement....

Monday, 14 March 2011

SONG FOR TODAY: Ian Brown - Stellify

A genius and voice of a generation or an arrogant, tone deaf egomaniac? Whatever you think of Ian Brown, he was in one of the greatest bands of all time, a band whose debut album was so great they didn't really need to do much else to go down in history. Of course none of Ian Brown's solo albums have come anywhere near the genius of the Stone Roses, but 2009's 'My Way' is without a doubt the most consistent collection of songs he has produced as a solo artist. And from it, here is the brilliant 'Stellify'....

Sunday, 13 March 2011

SONG FOR TODAY: The Vaccines - If You Wanna

So the debut album is out tomorrow and after hearing it a few times I can confirm that it is one great record... This is the current single, and possibly their finest moment yet. One suspects plenty more fine moments to come....

Gigs: Frenzy - Bradford-On-Avon, Wiltshire, March 12 2011 PLUS VIDEOS

Since starting my full time day (and night) job back in May last year, and also after finding time to listen to loads of new music, spare time has been scarce. Which is why FRENZY's gig in Bradford-On-Avon in Wiltshire last night was only the 6th gig I've been to see in the last eight months, and the first time I've managed to catch Frenzy live since July last year.

The guys had just come back from a long road trip back from the Bedlam Breakout in Northampton, which they headlined the night previous and followed with apparently very little sleep or time for recovery. So the fact that these guys still ripped through the songs with all their usual energy was rather impressive. The venue was a small one, and the crowd was the usual size for a Wiltshire audience, rather than the masses they play to abroad. It only took two or three songs before people got lively and the band stepped into gear, delivering their mid-80's classics with speed and precision.

Steve Eaton's guitar work was utterly exceptional all throughout the night, and at one point during their (far superior) version of 'Love Is The Drug' it sounded like there were at least two guitarists on stage, while bass king Steve Whitehouse was on his usual brilliant form and from Adam Seviour's drumming, you wouldn't think they'd just spent long days travelling. Tracks from the recent 'In The Blood' album went down just as well as the old classics did, with 'Hero' in particular sounding immense, and the band blasting through 'Johnny Rocket' like their lives depended on it. If anyone reading this blog hasn't witnessed the Frenzy experience, then keep an eye out for gigs near you, because trust me it's ALWAYS worth it.....

See exclusive footage of 'Johnny Rocket' and 'Hero' from the show.....

Click below to watch in full screen (second video plays automatically)

SONG FOR TODAY: The Phantom Band - The None Of One

Uh-oh i've done it again...... it's gone midnight and i forgot to post yesterday's 'Song For Today'... so once again there will be one now and one at about 6pm-ish tonight.... The first is a track from The Phantom Band's album 'The Wants' from last year.... a marvellous record definitely worthy of seeking out....

Saturday, 12 March 2011

ARCTIC MONKEYS - 'Brick By Brick' video and new album

Arctic Monkeys will release their fourth album, entitled 'Suck It and See' on Monday 6th June 2011. The album will be released in the US on Tuesday 7th June 2011.
'Suck It And See' features 12 new Arctic Monkeys songs and was produced by James Ford at Sound City Studios in Los Angeles.
The album will be available on CD (WIG258CD), vinyl (WIG258LP) and via digital download (WIG258D). The tracklisting for 'Suck It And See' is below:
01. She's Thunderstorms
02. Black Treacle
03. Brick by Brick
04. The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala
05. Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair
06. Library Pictures
07. All My Own Stunts
08. Reckless Serenade
09. Piledriver Waltz
10. Love is a Laserquest
11. Suck It and See
12. That's Where You're Wrong

'Brick By Brick' VIDEO

MEMORIES: Radio 1 Roadshow, 1996, Weston-Super-Mare, with Chris Evans, Skunk Anansie and Echobelly

Sometimes people forget just how massive the Britpop boom of the mid 90's was. Upon revisiting this particular summer's day in 1996, it certainly makes Britain in 2011 look like even more of a drab, miserable shithole.

I must have been 12 years old, and still at the point where ALL i listened to was an endless diet of Britpop bands and the dance music that I dutifully listened to in order to carry on DJ-ing. And looking back it's not hard to see why: because Radio 1, the UK's main radio station seemed to play Britpop bands all through the week and dance music all through the weekend. Like I've said before, i thank God i grew up during Britpop. Every generation needs a notable musical movement that breaks into the mainstream and captures the minds of lots of young people, before the bands in that movement lead these young people onto older and less mainstream music, that in turns leads to a life of rich musical discovery. And kids during the 2000s and this decade have nothing in the way of a definitive popular musical movement to lead them onto the right track.

But let's go back to the summer of 1996... British bands were selling tons of albums, New Labour was going to take over from the Tories and make everything better, even our national football team were doing well and were expected to do great things at Euro '96 (which was also held in England). And Chris Evans was impossible to escape, 'TFI Friday' defined telly in the 90's, his wacky laddish humour being just the right tone for the time. Chris Evans also fronted Radio 1's breakfast show, which at its peak had over 7.5 million listeners.

So when Evans and his gang of sidekicks hosted a huge Radio 1 Roadshow at Weston Super Mare beach, me, my mum and brother went on the not-so-long drive to be there. Looking forward to a great summer and with six weeks off school, 1996 was a magic time. Golden days where great music, huge optimism and a carefree excitement were the vibes of the time. A crowd of over 32,000 people singing along to 'Wonderwall' as if it was the new national anthem,  and jumping up and down in the sunshine to the sounds of Dodgy, Supergrass and even Sleeper, while being entertained by "live" performances from SKUNK ANANSIE and ECHOBELLY. The fact that an event like this caused such mass hysteria at the time shows just how much of a grip Britpop had on the nation at the time, and listening back to the event for the first time in nearly fifteen years was a strange and emotional experience... how I wished I could be back there now to live it all over again.

But with the help of video and audio documentation I am able to relive parts of that particular day... Here is a BBC documentary from over a decade ago that shows the story of the Radio 1 Roadshow as well as concentrating mainly on the huge event at Weston-Super-Mare that day. Watching it shows just  how the humour in the 90s was often juvenile and the sort of thing that people these days would have to get extremely drunk to find amusing.... as drunk as Chris Evans, Danny Baker and Gazza used to get back then. How nothing else seemed important apart from having a good time at all times. Interesting scenes involving Evans and his gang inviting lots of people back to their Weston hotel room, which included drunken singalongs, with Gem Archer (later to be in Oasis) leading the way on piano.

Other entertaining aspects of the film includes a glimpse into the ridiculous lives of some of the anoraks that used to obsess about the Roadshow....

This very-organised sounding trainspotter, with possibly the most boring voice ever was extremely keen: "I usually get to the roadshow site early at about half past 8-9 o clock so i can get a good place at the front. And then just wait for the the action to start on stage. I've got my camera and I take lots of photos, and at home all my walls have got enlarged pictures of the roadshow from over the years" Christ, and I thought I was a bit of a nerd. There's a good chance that this dude STILL hasn't lost his virginity now...

But that's NOTHING compared to this guy....

Showing his excessive collection of roadshow photos to a member of the road crew in great detail, it makes you wonder what this guy actually did when Radio 1 called an end to the roadshow a few years later. Maybe he couldn't handle the shock, fell into despair and killed himself. Either that or he's still out there somewhere, in a darkened room, masturbating furiously over photos of Nicky Campbell and Simon Mayo before breaking down into tears and then continuing to plot his plan to blow up BBC Broadcasting House....

Unlike types like him, people like me went to the roadshows whenever there was going to be good bands playing, even if they did mime to recorded tracks that were so obviously the studio versions. But being at this event in the summer of 1996 was the only chance I had (being so young) at feeling like I was part of the Britpop experience, and seeing Skunk Anansie and Echobelly was my first taste of being only metres away from famous bands. It would be another couple of years before I got to experience Ocean Colour Scene live, and that was what I classed as my first real gig (not counting local bands and pub gigs), but Weston-Super-Mare in 1996 was simply decadent. Maybe in 2011 someone should organise an event at a tacky southern seaside resort, with Chris Evans hosting and Skunk Anansie and Echobelly playing... and see if 32,000 people turn up then..... If only.

Watch the documentary 'Six Go Mad In Somerset' below (each part plays automatically and in full screen)