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Monday Movies: 14th July

 
By on Wednesday, 16th July 2008 at 12:11 pm
 

Yes, I know it’s a tad late, but below are my five favourite videos of this week…

Below: Bloc Party: Mercury
I’m undecided about this one at the moment – it seems a bit too much of a divergence from the stuff I love from them. However, I did grow to love Flux, so here’s hoping this one grows on me.
[youtube:http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=WYdyExUfIbI]

Below: Feist does 1,2,3,4 for Sesame Street.
I’m a bit late to the whole Feist loving – but I do love this track she did for the new season of Sesame Street.
[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fciD_II7NI]

Below: Radiohead: House of Cards
Apparently this was filmed without cameras, all lasers and stuff. But it still looks and sounds great.
[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nTFjVm9sTQ]

Below: Delays: Keep it Simple
Personally, one of my least favourite tracks off of one of my albums of the year so far, but the video is mildly amusing, not as good as it should be.
[youtube:http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=AIPXYvBxItc]

Below: Ben Folds: Rockin’ The Suburbs
Since seeing Ben on Sunday night I’ve been rediscovering his greatness… this was one of my favourite tracks (well, apart from Not The Same, but there’s not a video of that!).
[youtube:http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=QlGCTWL6djo]

If anybody has any issues with me posting the tracks or videos, please email me at [email protected] and I will take them down ASAP. Many thanks.

 

Connect Festival / Now with Guillemots / Ladytron and friends

 
By on Thursday, 19th June 2008 at 12:26 pm
 

Hydro Connect Festival LogoI promised myself I wouldn’t mention the festivals this summer, with the vast majority of them having shockingly awful lineups (yes, Reading / Leeds / Wireless / Glastonbury, I’m looking at you). However one festival has consistently attracted my attention: Connect.

I’ve already mentioned it before, but the new bands they’ve added to the lineup this week means I have to mention it again: it’s like my dream festival lineup.

Not only do they already have Kasabian, Manic Street Preachers, Franz Ferdinand, Sigur Ros, Bloc Party, Gossip and friends, they now have the amazing Ladytron, Guillemots and NME favourites Glasvegas. Quite honestly, I’d give anything to see this lineup, as it looks pretty darned good compared to the rest of the festivals. All they need to do is add Delays and The National, and I’ll be up there in a flash.

If I were you, come payday I’d get a weekend ticket, which are priced £120 and weekend tickets with camping are £140. To buy, log onto their website or call Ticketmaster on 08444 999 990

 

My Top 10 Albums of 2007

 
By on Tuesday, 1st January 2008 at 7:29 pm
 

This is the time of year it seems just about every credible publication is doing a “best of 2007” albums, so I thought I’d join them and do a quick top 10 of my favourite albums this past year. I’ve chosen the top 10 from the 74 albums I’ve “acquired” (either downloaded / bought the CD of / been given the CD of). Disagree? Just say in the comments below.

  • Memorable-ness – Does it have you humming it for days after? Can you remember snippets of lyrics?
  • “Car factor” – Can you put it on play and leave it going without skipping any tracks / few tracks?
  • Irritability – Can you have tracks on repeat without wanting to throw the CD out of the window?
  • Musical quality – Is it likely to be a classic / seen as a highlight of the artist’s career?
  • Enjoy-ability – Is it fun? Get you going?
  • Innovation – How innovative is it?

10. Jack Peñate – Matinee
Jack Penate - MatineeHe may just be one man with a funny swirl over his name, but his album turned out to be one of the most consistent of the year. Many of the tracks are single-worthy, fun, danceable and just the sort of thing that goes down a storm at many end-of term parties.

Tales of bitterness, nights out, missed opportunities, and images of guys in smart suits akin to West Side Story make this album the first in my 2007 top ten.

Buy the CD on Amazon

9. Mika – Life in Cartoon Motion
Mika - Life In Cartoon MotionWho couldn’t have heard Mika’s first single, Grace Kelly, which bothered the top 10 for a few months at the start of the year. Fun, simple pop tunes that live are just quality party tunes.

Many people claimed Mika was trying to capture Freddie Mercury, and yes, he does sound a tiny bit like him, but is completely different: the tunes are quite possibly more girly than anything Freddie did, and his shows are far more like an acid trip than Queen could ever pull off.

His come down tunes, “Relax, Take it Easy,” “Any Other World” and “Happy Ending” are quality tunes in their own right, comedowns for the end of the party. All in all a quality mixture of pop, rock, and pure fun.

My Live Review | Buy the CD on Amazon

8.The Wombats – A Guide To Love, Loss and Desperation
Wombats - A Guide To Love, Loss and DesperationI only really got into this a couple of weeks ago after the release of “Let’s Dance To Joy Division”, but it was on repeat all the way home from the US, with their amusing tales of urban English life. Songs like “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” celebrate English irony brilliantly, tunes that just have everyone dancing for the hills.

They’re knowledgeable, and the whole album is very tongue-in-cheek, which is just what modern indie-pop should be.

Buy the CD on Amazon

7. I’m From Barcelona – Let me Introduce My Friends
I'm From Barcelona - Let Me Introduce My FriendsI’ll admit it, I didn’t think I’d like this album. 29 people on a record sounds like a recipe for destruction if you ask me, but somehow they pull it off without sounding as chaotic as the Polyphonic Spree do at times.

Songs like “We’re From Barcelona” are fun, simple tunes which has all the vibe of a secondary-school band gone pro. EP song “Britney” unfortunately doesn’t make an appearance on this album, but if it did, the album would be even higher up my list.

Buy the CD on Amazon

6. Band of Horses – Cease To Begin
Band of Horses - Cease To BeginOpening song, “Is there a Ghost” is enough for Band of Horses to deserve their 6th place position on this list. A quality, haunting tune that just captures the whole vibe of the album – musically capable, listener – accessible.

The entire collection sounds far more polished and consistent than their debut, “Everything, All the Time”, which whilst had moments of brilliance, failed to capture the consistency of this collection.

Buy the CD on Amazon

5. Radiohead – In Rainbows
Radiohead - In RainbowsA suprise release, Radiohead seemed to garner more headlines for their “Music Industry ruining” way of release and letting people choose the price they wanted to pay for the download of the tracks as an MP3 file.

However, the album wa, in my opinion, one of their strongest yet. A distinctly electronic feel, they combined their solo efforts into a collection that was strong, consistent, and interesting. I wouldn’t be suprised if it turns out to be one of their strongest of their career.

My Review of In Rainbows | Buy the CD on Amazon

4. Stars – In our Bedroom After the War
Stars - In Our Bedroom After The WarI bought this one on a whim – I didn’t know much about Stars, but quickly grew to love them. Songs like the haunting “Barricade”, the danceable “The Night Starts Here” and the yearning “Bitches in Tokyo” make for a collection that builds on their previous albums (which I’ve since acquired), and makes a strong and consistent collection that I’ll be listening to for months to come no doubt.

Buy the CD on Amazon

3. Tegan and Sara – The Con
Tegan and Sara - The Con

They may be two lesbian identical twin sisters, but don’t let you think they’re a novelty act – far from it. They’re a quality duo, who make amazing short stories for the 00’s generation.

Produced by Death Cab For Cutie’s Chris Walla, The Con is their most accomplished yet, full of drama like their previous records, but a bit more believable, and a bit more stable now that they’re settled down with partners. They seem happier, if that’s possible, which is always good.

Buy the CD on Amazon

2. The National – Boxer
The National - BoxerThe National’s fourth album, Boxer is a very consistent record, though unfortunately not quite as good as their break-through “Alligator”.

They seem to be more at home with themselves, not quite as angry as standout songs on Alligator “Mr. November” or “Lit Up”. Instead, all of the songs are accomplished, but not as much emotion, which is a shame

The National @ The Astoria Live Review | The National – Boxer – My Review | Buy the CD on Amazon

1. Bloc Party – A Weekend in The City
Bloc Party - A Weekend In The CityI’ll admit it here. I wasn’t a big fan of their debut, Silent Alarm. I thought it was crap. However, once I listened to A Weekend in the City I “got” Bloc Party, and fell in love with both albums at once.

Songs such as “I Still Remember” and “Sunday” are the standouts for me, both quality songs that deserve the huge audience Bloc Party have garnered. I’ve possibly listened to this album more times than any other album, and will continue to do so for 2008 no doubt.
My Album Review | Buy the CD on Amazon

Continue reading My Top 10 Albums of 2007

 

Bloc Party / new intimate London show

 
By on Wednesday, 3rd October 2007 at 11:54 pm
 

Bloc Party's Kele OkerekeBloc Party are set to play a very special one off night at London’s Roundhouse as part of the BBC’s electric proms series of dates.

They’ll play the historic venue on Saturday October 27th, and apparently tickets are on sale now though I can’t find any evidence of this online. They have probably already all gone, but we’ll see. They’ll be supported by Mercury nominated Maps.

The press release mentions that the gig will feature “choral backing and alternate arrangements of the songs in collaboration with the Exmoor Singers”.

The band are warning fans to expect something very different from a normal Bloc Party gig with more details to follow.

Photo is taken from Shane Bee’s flickr stream under the creative commons license

 

Gonzo 5th Birthday Tour / Bloc Party / Cribs / We Are Scientists + More

 
By on Wednesday, 12th September 2007 at 2:41 pm
 

Bloc PartyBelieve it or not, Gonzo on MTV2 is 5 years old this year. To celebrate, they’re doing a tour of Barfly venues around the UK, with some of the best bands of the moment. Catch Bloc Party, We Are Scientists (who are doing yet another UK show) and The Cribs amongst other bands at each of the dates.

The ever present Operator Please are openers for each date.

Tickets go on sale at 9am on

Friday 12th October – Birmingham BarflyFuneral For a Friend with The Dykeenies
Saturday 13th October – Cardiff BarflyThe Rumble Strips with Blood Red Shoes
Sunday 14th October – Camden BarflyBloc Party with Does it Offend You, Yeah?
Friday 19th October – Liverpool BarflyThe Cribs with Lightspeed Champion
Saturday 20th October – York FibbersJack Penate with Dan le Sac Vs Scoobius Pip
Sunday 21st October – Glasgow BarflyWe Are Scientists with Foals

Photo is taken from Shane Bee’s flickr stream under the creative commons license

 

Bloc Party and Mika create a media storm over not very much

 
By on Friday, 8th June 2007 at 11:16 pm
 

Bloc Party on front of Total Spec magazineSo, todays Music Slut (quite possibly one of the better music blogs out there) has reported on two “talking points” shall we say that look set to divide opinions across our fair land.

First up, and its news that Bloc Party‘s Kele Okereke said in an interview with Total Spec magazine that:

“I think in the 21st Century drug-taking is something that is synonymous with life, really. All I intended to do with the songs is to capture what modern life feels like.”

Naturally, this has divided opinions as, in typical Okereke style, he hasn’t really admitted to taking drugs. Nor has he said that he thinks that they’re bad. Only that lots of people do take drugs, and that he wanted to reflect that fact in his songs. There’s a quick discussion going on over at Music Slut about this quote, though most of it appears to be going on personal opinions about Kele. Personally, I love Bloc Party. Granted, they’re not the most media-friendly of bands. But then they’re musicians. Not Paris bloody Hilton.

Mika on the cover of Out MagazineSecondly, Out Magazine has got Mika on the front, with the article and cover questioning his sexuality:

“Anyone can label me, but I’m not willing to label myself…Anybody who says that I don’t talk about sexuality or that I don’t politically sexualize my music because of taboos, because of being afraid of [not] selling records, is completely wrong. I’ve made a record that doesn’t compromise in any way what I’m allowed or not allowed to say in my lyrics.”

Music slut also has a quote from Mika’s people “who wanted to do a cover but only if it came out a few months down the road, because they were concerned about breaking into the mainstream market were Mika pigeonholed as a “gay artist” right out of the gate.”.

Why does it matter if he’s straight, gay, whatever? He makes bloody good pop music, and anything else is up to him to bring to the table. Plenty of artists have made it big by using their sexuality (Scissor Sisters anyone?) and plenty of artists have made it big by hiding their sexuality (Elton John’s first marriage anyone?)

All of it just seems to me that it ultimately just turns into some good publicity for all the artists, and gets people talking about them.

 
 
 

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