1. WEEKLY ROUND UP…

    HELLO.

    Here’s some new songs to lighten your day.

    1) PEACE//BLOODSHAKE (click through to listen, obv)


    Who remembers when BBlood was just a demo? Three people, yeah? Well now it’s all grown up, with the title of ‘Hottest Track in the World’ in its arms. BLOODSHAKE stays close to its demo’s roots, a fresh indie-slacker sound with chirping guitars and drums and a breakdown and all dat stuff we love.

    2) SWIM DEEP//HONEY

    B-town babes Swim Deep offer up some new Summery sounds. It’s a pit more shiny and polished and chill than ‘King City’, but still coated with shimmery pop. (“OO OO BABY.”)

    3) PEERS//NIGHTDRIVING

    I’ve only just heard this, so I dunno how old it actually is but I DON’T CARE. This is a guitar-heavy ball of that nostalgic sound. You know the one I mean. ‘Nightdriving’  features dramatic vocals, great build-ups and an overall ‘YEAH LIFE IS GOOD’ vibe. 

     

  2. I’ve decided to do a round up of things I’ve enjoyed this week:

    Starting with GuMM

    LIONHEART is their new single, and is filled TO THE BRIM of shoegazing Summer-y ness, swirling soundscape and melodic “GARAGE/GAZE.” Absolutely lovely stuff.

    My main man, Willy Moon, also has a new song out. REJOICE. RAILROAD TRACK is an epic of a stomping Western song, complete with SPOOKY BELLS, rain sound effects and whistling.  

    PASSION PIT'S Gossamer has been making my brain happy since its release, and CONSTANT CONVERSATIONS, although not really breaking any new ground since ‘Manners’, is still a pretty chill song. (I’m trying so hard not to break out into saying “CHILL SUMMER VIBES” every time I write about something.)

    (sweet .gif from asiswas)

    SPLASHH, like a little baby Wavves, have been making me want to run about in a field wearing a tie-dye t-shirt for the past few weeks. The energy and fuzzed out vocals/guitars/overall music of NEED IT is electric, and downright FUN. 

    - That is my weekly round up. Have a BLAST *thumbs up*

    -R

     

  3. Things that are right good right now

    ALT-J // BREEZEBLOCKS

    Alt-J are still being awesome, and my new favourite is Breezeblocks. 
    After seeing them life, supporting Wild Beasts (dribble) all I can gather is a band with THAT VOICE/THAT DRUMMER/THOSE CASTANETS are destined for only great things.
    Doubly good news is that their album should be out around May, so I can stop creeping on Soundcloud and lie down on my floor and listen to it in full.

    MYSTERY JETS // SOMEONE PURER

    (Using a Two-doors-down era photo because it’s my favourite. Whatever.) WHO ELSE IS PROPER EXCITED FOR RADLANDS? PROPER PROPER EXCITED, I AM.
    Someone Purer is something different to Making Dens/Twenty One/Serotonin, but still so amazingly….MYSTERY JETS. It’s more straight indie rock that makes them fully deserving of the main stage slot at Reading. I DAREN’T USE THE WORD ANTHEMIC BUT GOD I’M GONNA. Give me rock & roll, indeed.
    You can pre-order a (SIGNED) Radlands here, I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING WITH MY HARD EARNED $$$.

    Also the Guardian have just cottoned on to:

    OBERHOFER // AWAY FROM YOU (clicky to listen, tis glorious.)

    Come on Guardian, keep up.
    ANYWAY, Oberhofer describe themselves as ‘formal training with the noisy exuberance of youth. Get raucous.’ GET RAUCOUS.
    Away From You is a kind of mash of A BIT WEIRD with TOTALLY LISTENABLE. It’s filled with boundless energy, some weird whistling bit and teenage love clichés. He even has a song called o0Oo0Oo. Lovely stuff. File next to Howler and Wavves. Perhaps even in between those two.

     

  4. J’s 2011 Review:

    5) Foo Fighters – ‘Wasting Light’

    This album has it all. Drama, suspense, romance and violence. If it was a movie it would be a Bond film, and it even has a built in Bond theme (‘I Should Have Known’). Album teaser ‘White Limo’ is the soundtrack to a brutal gang-related murder, and ‘These Days’ is the song playing in the background as the victim’s wife finds out. ‘Bridge Is Burning’ is the car-chase ending in the Hummer driving off a cliff, and ‘Rosemary’ is Bond seducing the pretty lady afterwards. Basically, in movie terms it’s a massive action box office smash that’s popular and still credible.

    Standout track: ‘Arlandria’

    4) Arctic Monkeys – ‘Suck it and See’

    Shamefully, I didn’t get ‘Suck it and See’ until a couple of months ago. As a fan since ‘…Dancefloor’ smacked us all in the ears with its brilliance, I really don’t know why I waited so long. After finally stealing it off a friend I realised just what I’d been missing; elegant, light-hearted charm. First single ‘Brick by Brick’ in no way mirrors the rest of the album, but is no less magnificent. As we all know gone are the days of kerbside kebabs and tales of Sheffield nights, but with lyrics like ‘that’s not a skirt girl that’s a sawn off shotgun/and I can only hope you’ve got it aimed at me’ it’s hard to care. This album, (along with Frank Turner) soundtracked my days in London, wandering the streets looking for romanticisms and with Alex Turner’s words, finding them everywhere.

    Standout tracks: ‘Piledriver Waltz’, though that seems a bit like cheating seeing as it’s from the Submarine OST, so ‘Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I Moved Your Chair’ also

    3) My Passion – ‘Inside This Machine’

    In the 18 years of my life, My Passion are the band I’ve been most surprised to like. And I really like them. Like the Horrors, what was first seen by some (including me, I’ll admit) as style over substance has been fine-tuned into a flowing and catchy record, with less screaming and more real tunes. The lyrics are still abstract and at times mental (‘Your father came/with the washing line/then the big bell rang/and my heart went bang’? Anyone?) but they’re backed up by belting guitars and the duo of Jonathan Gaskin’s beautiful singing and the burning passion Laurence Rene’s voice. Unlike the Horrors, My Passion have seen none of the critical acclaim that preceded their second album… Saying that, I can’t see any of their songs reaching many radio playlists, not to say that they don’t deserve it. One for fans of synths, shredding and beautiful men.

    Standout track: ‘The Mess We Made of Our Lives’

    2) The Strokes – ‘Angles’

    As a raging Strokes fanatic I all but passed out when I pre-ordered Angles. Much uncontrollable weeping aside, it was definitely worth the wait. It’s got a lot of stick for not being Strokes-y enough but that’s the point- they couldn’t have made another ‘Is This It’ without being hounded for laziness, and the clearly couldn’t go in the opposite direction without disappointing others. The awkward interviews and news of their un-bro-ness (singer Julian reportedly let the others get on with it for weeks before he played nicely and joined them) don’t show in the final outcome, which at the end of the day is all that matters. As much as I’d love to see them as entwined and matey as they were back in ’01 after everything this couldn’t be expected, and they could point guns at each other as much as they want if it would produce things as great as ‘Under Cover of Darkness’. Singles aside the album’s definitely a ‘grower’, with songs like ‘You’re So Right’ and ‘Games’ taking a while to get used to. There are other instant hits, like glam ‘Gratisfaction’, and the influence of Julian’s solo album last year not to be ignored. If you haven’t got it buy it, then listen to it on long journeys for a week or two. You will fall in love.

    Standout track: ‘Machu Picchu’

    1) The Vaccines- ‘What Did You Expect?’

    I didn’t want to write about this one, simply because I have so many feelings about it it’s difficult to create anything articulate. But I shall try.

    What Did You Expect?’ is the best album of the year. From everything I’ve heard there’s no competition.  There’s plenty of albums with limited filler, but not many where it’s completely impossible to determine the best songs… For the Vaccines they’re all the best. As a band that’s been about for less than two years it’s a small miracle that they’re so established and mature, but as members they’re hardly inexperienced on the music front. Example: Singer Justin was once known as Jay Jay Pistolet, nu-folk extraordinaire with floppy hair and heart on his sleeve. Not much has changed, but this time there’s less sappy yearning and more aggressive ramming of love and pain down the throats of their hordes of fans. On gloomy days I like to reminisce about the first time ‘Wreckin’ Bar’ was played on XFM, and how I instantly knew this 1.30 punk gem was the shape of glorious things to come. Unlike R I fell in violent love with ‘Post Break-up Sex’ at first listen, and… y’know what? Just buy it. I could easily describe how brutal my love is for each song, from the achingly graceful ‘A Lack of Understanding’ to sleek and sexy ‘If You Wanna’. From first to last song (even after the last, there’s a secret one tacked on the end) it’s an album to change lives and mend hearts. 

    Click below the read more to find out other bands worth mentioning!

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  5. R’s 2011 Review:

    6) Passions of a Different Kind - Flashguns


    This long-awaited debut from London/Brighton/Exmoor band, Flashguns, revealed itself after my 11 months of waiting and didn’t disappoint. The album starts promisingly with ‘Sounds of the Forrest’ exploding into angry Britpop-esque action, where even lines such as “I’ll take you to my treehouse” would be able to ellicit a sneer.
    'No Point Hanging Around' continues in a similar but lighter vein, wearing the heart of U2 on its sleeve. 'The Beginning' begins like the token slow/sad song of the album, but manages to redeem itself with the simplicity of the lyrics. The guitars in 'Noah' are slightly reminiscent of The Strokes and clocking in at nearly 5 minutes you can see why the band describe it as "Inspired by seventies prog rock. Very indulgent but a great song to play live."
    If you like songs that follow the ‘we’ll start a bit quiet and slow then BUILD UP AND SHOCK YOU BUT IT’LL BE AWESOME’ then this should definitely be on your to-buy list.
    Standout Tracks: No Point Hanging Around, Come and See the Lights, Candles Out

    5) In Search Of Elusive Little Comets - Little Comets


    Released this January but never forgotten, Little Comets’ debut brings jangly pop with a twist back into the spotlight. It’s simple enough being able to string up some pots and pans and hit them, but combined with Rob Coles’s extraordinary lyrics is what makes the songs on this album something else entirely. Songs like ‘Mathilda’ and ‘One Night In October’ is perfect for digging out the dancing shoes/kicking out the jams etc, but also contain substance. ‘Isles’ is one of the best SONGS of the year, becoming oddly appropriate during the summer of 2011 (deep.) “Terror on the pavement, panic in the streets.” 'Adultery' is the perfect example of kitchen sink drama lyrics hidden underneath a shiny happy Geordie party. 'Intelligent Animals' is yet another showcase of the…er…INTELLIGENT lyric-writing, proposing an apocalyptic future over the emotional tinkling of a piano.
    Standout Tracks: Joanna, Isles, Dancing Song, Adultery

    4) The Big Roar - The Joy Formidable


    I AM known as the resident Formidable bum-licker, so there was a guarantee their debut, ‘The Big Roar’ would be in here somewhere. The album name is actually representative of the songs within it, ‘The Magnifying Glass’ is an urgent wall of noise, older songs such as ‘Austere’ and ‘Cradle’ have been reworked to perfection. The choruses are anthemic and stadium-ready with buzzing chainsaw guitars juxtaposed with Ritzy’s breathy vocals. One high point of the album for me was to hear her step away from the microphone for ‘Llaw=Wall’ which includes one of the most exciting pauses in a song (YES THEY EXIST). Overall, this album is actually VITAL shimmering, end-of-the-world soundscape.
    Standout Tracks: Chapter 2, Llaw=Wall, A Heavy Abacus, Cradle.

    3) What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? - The Vaccines


    A wise man (Alex Turner, I fink.) once said “Don’t believe the hype.” The question on EVERY journalist/music critic/17-year-old girl’s lips was: What DID we expect from the Vaccines?
    Believe it or not, I used to have a HATE-relationship with the Vaccines. If ‘Post Break-Up Sex’ would come on, I would turn it off shouting “OH GOD WHAT A POOR RHYME”. But before that, I’d already got in deep with falling in love with ‘Wreckin’ Bar’ and ‘If You Wanna’. This whole album is enthusiastic, fun at points such as ‘Wolfpack’, but also (God forgive me) EPIC during ‘All In White’. After the release of ‘Wreckin’ Bar’ etc, this band could’ve easily ebbed away into the “Oh well, it was fun in the summer” category and not come back out, but managed to save themselves with their explosive live act, ability to turn the single word ‘Elenore’ into a chorus and odes to 17-year-old models.

    Standout Tracks: If You Wanna, Blow It Up, Wreckin’ Bar, All In White, Norgaard

    JOINT 2ND) The English Riviera - Metronomy/Pala- Friendly Fires


    Joint second because I seriously could not choose to omit either from this line up.
    The English Riviera is a chillout album. A whimsical postcard back to Joe Mount’s native Totnes, the opener even includes the sound of seagulls. ‘Everything Goes My Way’ is a glimmering duet with Veronica Falls’ Roxanne Clifford, that fades into the icy synths of ‘The Look’. ‘The Bay’ gleefully gets away with plainly LISTING towns and cities before building up to the chorus with a fantastic bassline. If I was older than I am ‘Love Underlined’ would remind me of dance or pop music from the 90’s, especially the “aahs” - luckily I have a dad that knows his stuff regarding dance or pop music from the 90s’. This album is expressive, refined, and even hypnotic during songs such as ‘Loving Arm’. They’ve come a long way from the green-skinny-jeans-NU-RAVE-YEAH days of ‘Radio Ladio’ and whatever ‘Black Eye/Burnt Thumb’ was.
    Standout Tracks: The Bay, Corinne, Everything Goes My Way

    As soon as I heard the introduction to Friendly Fires’ ‘Live Those Days Tonight’ on the radio, I had never felt so excited in my life. Pala is probably the most euphoric album since…Friendly Fires’ last one. They have never created a bad song. ‘Blue Cassette’ builds up to an explosion of a chorus, the same with ‘Pull Me Back To Earth’. (If glitter had a noise it would sound like the beginning of the chorus of ‘Pull Me Back To Earth’ true facts.) Their slowest song ever (Pala) -cleverly made with the sounds of cameras and wind-up toys - writhes around, reflecting the utopia presented in the book this album title’s based upon. A nostalgic look back to the raving days, but never losing its sense of humour (“Watching a film with a talking dog”) even the aesthetics of the Friendly Fires live show are pleasing. (Think: Hawaiian shirts, dancing ladies, and that grey haired fellow.)
    Standout Tracks: Hawaiian Air, Pala, Pull Me Back To Earth, Helpless

    1) Smother - Wild Beasts (We all knew it was coming)

    I feel like kicking myself in the face, then smashing my teeth into the kerb for only finding Wild Beasts this year. It’s a weird thing, being completely obsessively immersed in a band for nearly 7 months, and owning all their back albums in such a short amount of time. The first song I heard was ‘Bed of Nails.’ *Flashback sound*. But seriously, once I first heard it, it would not leave my head. Hayden Thorpe’s flowery vocals were ridiculous, the allusions to Frankenstein were silly, but somehow delivered with such sincerity to make them serious. The album’s lyrics are both overtly sexual and subdued due to Tom Fleming’s anchoring rumbling tenor, which during ‘Invisible’ turn from just generally pleasing to heartbreaking: “Your lips to my lips /We cease to exist”.
    Although esoteric and incomparable to any other band, the introduction to ‘Albatross’ always reminds me of The xx, until Thorpes “I blame you/For all of those things I’ve been through” encourages you to hang onto the double-breasted coat tails of every silky syllable. ‘Reach A Bit Further’ - almost seeming like a duet (for the creepy creeper fangirls at least) - is at it’s most euphoric during the chorus. As I like to allude to the apocalypse a lot, Fleming’s ‘Burning’ with ‘End Come Too Soon’ to follow has the warm sound of the apocalypse being over, but the realisation of what’s happened has not yet hit, so everyone’s still in a state of elation. Apocalypse allusion. CRIKEY.
    Smother is melancholy, nocturnal, but also offers hope during the ‘poppier’ moments like ‘Bed of Nails’. For the first month of owning this, I literally couldn’t get past ‘Invisible’ without falling asleep, not that it’s BORING, just so relaxing. They’re yet another band that’ve come a long way from their debut, Limbo, Panto. The medieval, sex-obsessed knees up compared with this sublime album makes it seem like a completely different band.

    TL;DR
    It’s well good.


     

  6. R’S TOP MUSIC VIDEOS OF THE YEAR

    (Complete with blurry Youtube print screens. You know it.)

    I’m going to start with one I’ve already talked about: HELENA BEAT//FOSTER THE PEOPLE. Their entire album, Torches, was pretty much EVERYONE’S sound of the summer if you include Pumped Up Kicks (complete with FUN TOUR STYLE VIDEO) but somehow I feel the video for Helena Beat was overlooked slightly.

    Without giving too much away, dystopian futures, awesome child gangs punching Mark Foster in the face and smashing shit up, and just general GRUNGE is always relative to my interests. (Not that the music is grunge. This song is pretty sparkly, complete with hand-claps and SUPER SYNTH  reminiscent of bands like Passion Pit.)

    Foster The People are coming back to London, playing Brixton on the 27th of April next year.

    so as not to spam up dashboards of boring people: SEE PLENTY PLENTY MORE MORE UNDER THE CUT (it’s worth it, it includes THE VACCINES, DUTCH UNCLES, FLASHGUNS, LOS CAMPESINOS!, METRONOMY, WILD BEASTS, PATRICK WOLF, S.C.U.M, ED MACFARLANE’S SWEET ASS MOVES AND A WHOLE BUNCH OF OTHER STUFF!)

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