Friday, 29 July 2011

Thursday, 28 July 2011

SONG FOR TODAY: The Wonder Stuff - Welcome To The Cheap Seats

I first heard this on a 2 CD compilation I bought in 1996 called 'True Brit'. Disc one had a lot of the Britpop hits of the time but disc two concentrated on classic indie from the past. The first thing that struck me about this track was how much it sounded like the Levellers, and by co-incidence I caught the last ten minutes of The Wonder Stuff's set at the 2009 Beautiful Days festival, which of course is organised and run by the Levellers themselves....

Review: The Horrors - Skying

The Horrors first burst onto the scene in the mid 2000's, but a lot of people dismissed them as a bunch of goths with a personality crisis who spent too much time listening to old garage rock bands, and the 60's infected debut album 'Strange House' divided music fans and critics. Their 2009 album 'Primary Colours' was their second album and changed a lot of people's opinions of the group, seeing their music evolve into a moody, Krautrock-inspired psychedelic Shoegaze sound. Now in 2011 they are back with their third effort 'Skying', for which the band built their own studio and decided to tackle the task of recording and producing the album themselves.

The result is a fine set of songs that grow with stature and impact with every listen. While you can spot little bits of the influences (Echo & The Bunnymen, My Bloody Valentine, Kraftwerk, amongst many others) the band have managed to twist these inspirations into their own unique sound, and a sound that this group sound very comfortable with. The songs are strong and the album moves along with a truly inspired confidence, taking in big anthemic choruses, 80's synths, lots of phasers, droning guitars and songs that explore many different musical places while still managing to work as perfectly accessible pop numbers. 

The album opens with 'Changing The Rain' where some rather intense percussion threatens darkness and unease, but instead the song shuffles along with a mid-paced, rather orderly baggy vibe and a bright positivity, making you wonder exactly which directions this album is going to take. The answers begin to unravel in the second track 'You Said', where the mood is brought down and touched by resigned-sounding melancholy. The sad croon of the vocals, the mesmeric soundscape of electronic strings and the ghostly beauty of the synths add to the bleak prettiness of this wonderful moment, making it an undoubted album highlight. 'I Can See Through You' is altogether darker, with an unsetttling but catchy keyboard hook, an enjoyably pounding groove and plenty of shades of psychedelica, sounding almost like a fusion of Hawkwind and Berlin-era Bowie. 'Endless Blue' misleads with its blissfully chilled out swoon of an intro, carrying the listener into a most pleasant ambience. Then about a minute and a half in the track explodes into action with a fuzzy, repetitive new wave punk riff and a euphoric, hazy chorus.
'Dive In' is one of the most instant tracks on the record and wonderfully hypnotic. the fractured, dissolved guitars form an attractive musical pattern underneath the tidy, strident vocal melody before a huge, powerful chorus is unleashed. Such big melodies however are only a warm up for the following track, the magnificent 'Still Life'. This song could very well be my single of the year so far and gets better with every listen: a neat bassline, backwards guitar loops, a steady drum beat, some stunning analogue synth sounds and a massive chorus that recalls Simple Minds at their commercial peak.Triumphant brass enters towards the end and adds to the power and scale of this excellent moment. 

Such anthemics are toned down in favour of the mysterious haze of 'Wild Eyed', where haunting strings play against woozy horns towards the end, conjuring up an almost 'Screamadelica'-esque vibe. Perhaps the album's centrepiece, 'Moving Further Away' is a brilliant accomplishment and at over 8 minutes long proves itself to be quite an epic. Driven by dancefloor euphoria and decorated with thrilling Kraftwerk-esque synths, the title is repeated with maximum impact as the music fizzles with an ecstatic energy. Then towards the end we are treated to a fierce, angry barrage of guitars that almost recalls Mogwai's heavier moments. 

'Monica Gems' is an altogether different beast, powered by an almost Strokes-ish garage rock riff, but becomes a marriage of psychedelica and glam rock, the vocals smothered with trippy reverb and maximum use of phasers. At first the closing 'Oceans Burning' is the song that proves the most difficult to get into, but soon grows into a work of strange, unfriendly beauty, drifting along in a cold downbeat fashion with a sheet of guitars that sound like an icy wind. There's a little hint of Frankie's 'The Power Of Love' before the song breaks down into an array of weird and wonderful electronics then bursting back into life sounding darker, stronger and more menacing until the track ends rather abruptly.

'Skying' reshapes many musical ingredients into a strong, confident piece of work that shows a band hungry to progress with every record, exploring lots of diverse musical territories while still maintaining a firm grip on perfectly accessible pop melodies and memorable hooks. The grooves and sounds are all played incredibly tidily and in a most orderly fashion, yet the music is well and truly liberated, sounding wild and free. My only complaint is the sequencing of the album towards the end does leave the album feeling a little incomplete, like it needs to take one more journey and go out with a much bigger bang. Despite this The Horrors have produced an incredibly satisfying album that may take a few plays to really get into, but sounds awesome when the sounds and melodies capture your ears. This record should win The Horrors plenty of new fans and should be more than enough to keep their existing fanbase satisfied.


Dodgy - Stand Upright In A Cool Place - new album and tour

Britpop legends Dodgy will release their first album in over 15 years, along with a big UK tour where you can hear the new album in full as well as plenty of old Dodgy classics.

The new album will be called 'Stand Upright In A Cool Place' and will see the light of day 20th February.....

Read an exclusive interview with Dodgy's Mathew Priest about the upcoming album....

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Mr Scott:Music - Show #4 - 24/07/11 - Melksham Community Radio

Melksham Community Radio presents Mr Scott : Music - Show #4 - 24/07/11

A man who well and truly lives music, Mr Scott is here to offer you a taste of his epic record collection. Expect lots of fresh new music from bands old and new, legendary and underrated classics, some occasional obscure relics from the past and present, as well as the finest music from around Melksham and Wiltshire, plus the local gig guide. 

This edition features brand new music from The Horrors, White Denim and The Living End. There's some awesome protest-soul from The Flames, plus tuneage from Toots And The Maytals, Oasis, Babybird, Yuck, The Phantom Band, Primal Scream, Michael Kirwanuka and more. Plus we have local-music from Hell Death Fury, Thought Forms, The Hysterical Injury, Subhumans plus groups who are playing this weekend's Farmfest in Bruton!

You can listen to the show ANYTIME via Mixcloud, which is below.

SONG FOR TODAY: The Vandals - Ladykiller

SONG FOR TODAY: Underworld - King Of Snake (Barking Mix)

LISTEN: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - 'The Death Of You And Me'

So this week we finally got round to hearing the first fruits of Noel Gallagher's new musical project. 'The Death Of You And Me' has a slight country feeling to it and some New Orleans-style brass towards the end. It is surprising as well as familiar, with a sound close to that of 'The Importance Of Being Idle'. The song is also incredibly catchy, as I found myself hearing it in my head after just one listen. The album is something I am hungry for. Roll on October.....

Friday, 22 July 2011

LISTEN TO - Red Hot Chili Peppers - The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie - FREE STREAM

SONG FOR TODAY: Queen - Dragon Attack

A brilliant track from the album 'The Game'. Definitely one of their finest moments.

SONG FOR TODAY: The Pattern - Fragile Awareness

Just a single I bought at some point in the early 2000's. Never heard anything else by this band. Damn good tune though.....

SONG FOR TODAY: Nirvana - Blew

In the early 2000's I began listening to a lot more American rock music, and this included the Grunge legends Nirvana, who I had of course discovered many years before. Even though I do love most of Nirvana's output, perhaps they were just a tiny bit overrated. And if it came to picking a favorite album it would have to be the heavy and disturbing 'In Utero', but this is the opening track from their debut album 'Bleach', a record made for a few hundred dollars.

SONG FOR TODAY: Curtis Mayfield - Move On Up (full length)

ImageIn the late 1990's i was utterly obsessed with Primal Scream. Reading interviews with Bobby Gillespie taught me about a diverse array of bands who influenced the Scream, and Curtis Mayfield was one of those artists. Around the same time I had learned that Curtis Mayfield had recently died, and in a bit of great timing I soon found a CD of his in a £2.99 bargain bin in Kwik Save. The CD was an excellent compilation entitled 'Give It Up - The Best Of The Curtom Years 1970-1977' and I fell in love with the songs from the first time I played them. I soon discovered other Curtis Mayfield tracks that I also loved, but this is probably still the most well known of them. And it wouldn't sound complete without the incredible intro.....

Sunday, 17 July 2011

SONG FOR TODAY: Jet - Look What You've Done

SONG FOR TODAY: The Impressions - Mighty Mighty (Spade And Whitey)

SITE NEWS: Recent lack of posts, new flat and goodbye to my old house after 27 years.....

Regular visitors to this blog will have noticed a lack of updates over the last few weeks or so. There haven't been any reviews (with the exception of my Glastonbury round up) and every day's 'Song For Today' has just been a simple video post with no writing to accompany it. I've been posting bits of music news (usually sourced from the NME) to try and make up for the lack of proper reading material.

The lack of blog activity has not been down to laziness I assure you. But because for the first time in my life I have moved home and after 27 years I have finally moved out of the house I have lived with my family for all my life. The apartment I have moved in to has belonged to my girlfriend for the last few months and I moved my vinyl collection in about a month or so ago. Over recent months I have staying here for nearly half the week, so I since I hadn't moved my CDs into the flat yet I used this as an opportunity to explore my vinyl collection further, a lot of these albums being ones I have bought and not got round to listening to more than a few times yet. So that was why last month's series of 'Song For Today' was an (almost) A to Z rundown of tracks I own on vinyl.

At the beginning of July I officially moved in to the flat, and last week moved the majority of my CD collection in as well. But at the moment we have a computer but no internet access until we can find a decent internet provider. Until we do this I will be writing articles at the flat and transferring them to the computer at my family's house so I can post them to the internet. Moving out of the old house has taken some getting used to and has been very time consuming, especially when I've had to to do it in between my work hours, which are often long and at awkward times. Basically I haven't had much time to dedicate to the blog, but I have a lot of features and other exciting things planned for when I can post more regularly and in more detail, which will be within the next few weeks.

In the meantime I have finally moved out of my old house. The house where I first listened to Bowie as a young kid, grew up during Britpop, witnessed the great Blur vs Oasis chart battle, spent countless nights in my little bedroom after school listening to the Evening Session and the John Peel show, recorded some unsuccessful electronica albums, got into punk rock into a big way, recorded and produced EPs and albums with my old bands, made many compilation tapes and CDs, witnessed lots of Glastonburys on the TV and of course discovered and played thousands of brilliant albums. I've lived in that house for 27 years and it will always be linked with all my past musical memories, but having my own flat with my girlfriend marks a the start of a refreshing new era not just for me but for the blog.

So I hope all my loyal readers have remained patient and keep checking back to this blog because I will be posting as often as I can. So a few things of note that I've been enjoying lately.....

- The Horrors 'Skying' album - fantastic and well worth a listen. I'm sure repeated listens will make me enjoy this album even more......
- Foo Fighters at T In The Park - did anyone else see this on BBC Three last weekend? Utterly immense and THE festival moment of the year so far.
- Radiohead's 'King Of Limbs Live From The Basement' - This is something the BBC still haven't shown yet, despite saying they would at the start of this month. However it is now on the internet for all to see, and the live renditions of the new tracks sound awesome.
- Vinyl albums from AC/DC, John Foxx, OMD, Roy Harper, Joy Division and Spacemen 3 amongst many more that I have been enjoying late at night through the headphones.

Things to come on the blog soon - a round up of albums from this year that I haven't reviewed yet, the full in-depth story of my old band Armies Of Anger, the story of my musical memories as a kid in the early 90's, my compilation of lost late 90's/early 2000's indie classics, an A to Z of punk rock, a feature on the Debut magazine and LPs from the 80's, and a look through some old issues of the Melody Maker from the eary 2000s, including the last ever issue......

Thursday, 14 July 2011

LISTEN TO - Beady Eye - In The Bubble With A Bullet - new track, FREE STREAM

New Beady Eye song 'In The Bubble With A Bullet' has emerged online.

The track, which is set to feature as a B-side on their forthcoming single 'The Beat Goes On', has been posted on the net ahead of its release on July 18. The single will available for download and on limited edition 7" vinyl. Listen to the track by scrolling down and clicking below.

SONG FOR TODAY: Harvey Danger - Flagpole Sitta

SONG FOR TODAY: Gomez - Bring It On

Thursday, 7 July 2011

SONG FOR TODAY: Alkaline Trio - Private Eye

The new series of 'Song For Today' begins today. And what's the theme of this A to Z? Simply artists that haven't yet featured as 'Song For Today. So we start with Alkaline Trio........

Ladytron - Gravity the Seducer - new album

Ladytron have a new single and album out.

'Gravity the Seducer' is released on September 12th. 

The album, which is the Liverpool synth quartet's fifth, has been produced by Barny Barnicott, who has worked as an engineer for Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian in the past.

'White Elephant'
'White Gold'
'Ace Of Hz'
'Moon Palace'
'Altitude Blues'
'Melting Ice'
'Transparent Days'
'90 Degrees'
'Aces High'

Ladytron's fifth full-length album 'Gravity The Seducer' will be released on September 12 (UK) / 13 (US) on Nettwerk Records. This player contains selections from 'Gravity The Seducer.'

 Ladytron - Selections from 'Gravity The Seducer' by nettwerkmusicgroup 

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

LISTEN TO - Mumford & Sons - Home/Untitled - FREE STREAM

 Mumford & Sons - "Home/Untitled" (Live on KBCO) by

Noel Gallagher - 'High Flying Birds'- Debut album

Special Edition CD/DVD + Vinyl
Noel Gallagher has announced full details of his new solo debut album 'Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' at a London press conference.

The ex-Oasis guitarist said his new record will be released on his own label Sour Mash Records on October 17 and will be followed up by 
a second collaboration LP in 2012 with Amorphous Androgynous. 

The LP, his first material since Oasis split in August 2009, was recorded in London and completed in Los Angeles during 2010 and the first half of this year. It features 10 new songs and was produced by Gallagher and Dave Sardy.

Photo: Photo: Dean Chalkley/NME
Musicians appearing on the records include ex-Oasis keyboard player Mike RoweThe Lemon TreesJeremy Stacey and American percussionist Lenny Castro, best known for playing on records by The Rolling StonesStevie Wonder and Elton John.

The album also includes guest appearances from the Crouch End Festival Chorus, who Oasis and Gallagher have performed with before, and The Wired Strings.

Gallagher is due to tour in the autumn but no further details have been announced yet. He launched his own official websiteTwitterYouTubeFacebook and MySpace ahead of the press conference. No material has been posted up on any site so far.

The full tracklisting for 'Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' is as follows:

'Everybody's On The Run'
'Dream On'
'If I Had A Gun'
'The Death Of You And Me'
'(I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine'
'AKA...What A Life!'
'Soldier Boys And Jesus Freaks'
'AKA....Broken Arrow'
'(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach'
'Stop The Clocks'

Rumours surfaced earlier this year that the first single from the record will be the 'The Death Of You And Me'.

Although the track does feature on the record, it is yet to be confirmed as the album's official first single. 

Noel Gallagher has also confirmed he will be touring the UK in the autumn and will be playing Oasis songs as part of his live set.

Speaking at a press conference to launch his new solo album he confirmed that he would be touring in the week after the album is released on October 17. He also confirmed that the first show would be in Dublin on October 23 and that the tour would take in ManchesterLondonand Glasgow.

He said: "We're going to go out on tour a week after the album is out. We're going to start off slow in small theatres. If it's [his solo album] good enough to get bigger than that then it’ll get bigger than that." 

Gallagher added that he would tour again in 2012 and more extensively. He said: "I don't think they’ll be a huge great big tour this year. I think this year it’ll be a quick whizz around the world and try and do the major cities and then it will probably be a bigger tour next year."

He also indicated that he would definitely be playing Oasis songs on the tour, saying: "The album lasts for 46 minutes and 12 seconds, so I will play some Oasis songs. They're my songs and I wrote them on my own. I'm proud of them and I'm proud of where they sit with what I've done now. I don’t think I'd ever do a gig without playing them." 

The album is available to pre-order and comes as a CD, CD/DVD, digital download and a very special 180 gram vinyl. Get the album here....