Friday, 4 April 2014

Guinness Advert - What Makes A Good Man - The Heavy

It's been a while since we've featured the music from an advert but I used to put tracks up quite regularly that feature on adverts. Now I watch less ads, as well all do, box sets and hard disk recorders have reduced the viewing figures of the 30 second art. However I have seen the latest Guinness advert, even if my most recent view was on a YouTube advert. The well dressed men of Congo feature with the background of the great soul track 'What Makes A Good Man?' by The Heavy.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Pylo - Young

How about a band that is local(ish) to me. Pylo are from Bath and have a real anthemic, U2 feel to them. If you like them, their EP 'The Woman' is out today.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

LIFE - Money

A little while ago I wrote about a band from Hull called LIFE and they're really starting to live up to the hype I have for them in my head. Their latest single is out now and follows in the form of the previous tracks.

Sadly they don't come anywhere near me on their brief initial tour:

11th Mar             The Sesh (Free) HULL
13th Mar            The Sun at The Station BIRMINGHAM
15th Mar             Crash Records (Free Instore) LEEDS
15th Mar             Pop Sex Ltd (Free Instore) SUNDERLAND
19th Mar             The Garage LONDON
20th Mar             Bunkers DUNDEE (Free)
21st Mar              Factory Records GLASGOW (Free)
22nd Mar             Cellar 35 ABERDEEN

Saturday, 22 March 2014

The Kooks

Sometimes I post about a track to say listen to this, this band are good. Sometimes I just find tracks that interest me and I think they might interest you. This is more the later. The Kooks, remember them? Well they're back with 'Down'. The lead singer's voice is as individual as ever, the sound, well it's a new way for them to go, more soul and funk...

Friday, 7 March 2014

What I got for Christmas

I got the gift of music for Christmas. John Lamb knows me well and therefore knows that the gift of online music tokens is always a winner. So, with £15 of iTunes voucher burning a hole in my pocket I set about deciding what to do with it. Would I use it to fill an obvious hole in my collection by purchasing back-catalogue copies of obscure 80s synth-pop? Would I blow it all on two new albums? No, instead I decided to savour the moment and decided that I would use it to purchase singles and EPs of promising bands I'd seen live that took my fancy. Well, I thought it would last much longer than it did, but the Winter months have thrown up some fantastic pairings in God's own County.

First up was Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, supported by Joanna Gruesome. After a late start caused by some issue on the doors, Joanna Gruesome launched into a fuzz-pop tirade for the assembled crowd. Reminiscent of Call the Doctor with a fuzzbox, the singer (I don't think Joanna is her real name) screamed over very danceable guitars. They're like the Veronica Falls that it's OK for grunge kids to like. Anyway, immediately afterwards, my first 79p of electronic currency was spent on purchasing 'Sugarcrush'...

January bit hard up North and only the hardiest of souls ventured out to music venues. Nethertheless, my next outing was in mid-February to see an excellent line-up assembled by those masters of promotion 'Semi-detached'. Those clever guys had arranged for Cheatahs to visit the Harley in Sheffield, dragging along Menace Beach and Shinies along in their wake.

Shinies are a Manchester band with very listenable tracks, There weren't many in the Harley during their early set, but those present were treated to classic guitar-based indie jangle, with a bit of shoegazing thrown in. Tracking down the band on the internet post-gig I was dismayed to find that their song 'Taste' had been used on a 'Made in Chelsea' soundtrack, but then I decided not to be snobby (after all, even those people can still like good music) and shelled out for the EP. After you've listened to 'Taste', try 'Plasticine'...

Immediately after Shinies came Menace Beach. Hailing from Leeds, the band barely fitted on the small Harley stage, but proceeded to fill the venue with sounds that were part-psychedelic, part-shoegazing, part-thrash. The perfect warm up to the excellent Cheatahs.

I would have guessed that Cheatahs hailed from somewhere in the US and had their moment of glory firmly in 1992. Their sound is all about shoegazing, alt-indie rock and they even look the part too. That is not necessarily a bad thing, as the whole genre seems to be having a bit of a revival at the moment, and the Cheatahs set was like taking a step down memory lane. I already had Cheatahs tracks in my collection, but decided to add to them by purchasing the 'Cut the Grass' single. I've posted 'The Swan' here, as that's the song that got me into the band...

A week later we were out again, this time to take in a free gig at Bungalows and Bears in Sheffield to see Younghusband support Cloud Control. Being free, we were slightly concerned that there might be an early clamour to get in so decided to get there woefully early, but were rewarded by being treated to second-support By the Sea. Hailing from the Wirral, the band seemed like young boys setting up for their first ever gig, even the sound engineer was treating them as if they were adolescent newbies ("can you hit your drum please, can you sing a bit of a song please, now you, the other one, you join in"), but after all that was out of the way we were treated to some very dreamy, garage indie, which washes over you but gently scrubs your face in doing so. Later, I found that the band were in their third year together and had released a few EPs and singles. 'Dream Waters' was, at the touch of a 'buy me' button, mine...

Immediately afterwards came the amazing Younghusband. If you like all that 'Horrors', 'Toy', genre and you weren't afraid of the shoegazing (Catherine Wheel, Swervedriver, Ride) movement of the early nineties then this band is for you. I was mesmerised from start to finish with the swirling melodies and the almost-Joy Division bass and drum. The album needed to be bought instantly, but wait! My credit was almost up, so to keep in line with my pledge at the beginning, I purchased new single 'Left of the Rocks'. Come payday, the album will be mine. Oh, yes, it will be mine.

I feel like I've got three good months of pleasure from my Christmas present. Thanks John (and family)!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

At The Moment I'm Listening To...

Sometimes with posts there's a pressure to write a piece about a band or bring something new. I thought you might just want to know what I've been listening to recently. Two tracks. Go get 'em.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Schönbys 2013 - Best Album

In my humble opinion, 2013 has been an annus longplayerus. That's a good year for the album to all you non-latin speakers. Now, my humble opinion may well be tainted by the fact that for nine months of this year I have had to endure 90 minute commutes to Sunny* Scunny, and this time has more often than not been made more bearable by having a new album or two to listen to along the M18 and the M180.

Earlier this year I decided that, in order to fit all of our belongings into one room while Schönberg Central was being re-built, I would box up all my CDs and put them into the loft, effectively consigning all future purchases to 'digital download only'. I thought this would spell the end of full album purchases for me, leaving all future purchases as single tracks of whatever was finding heavy rotation on 6music. How wrong could I have been - maybe the commute helped, or maybe it was the quality on offer, but I have found myself buying two or three albums per month during the year - a similar frequency to the heady days of 1991.

With so much good music out there then picking a top 10 for the year has been very difficult. Do I choose the coolest 10? Or the 10 most obscure? (as you know, I am a music snob). Or do I choose the ones that I would want you to know that I like? In the end, I have decided to let my laptop decide. I have graded my top 10 based on how many plays each has had on my copy of iTunes. It was the only way I could differentiate between some of them.

Here goes....

10 Desire Lines - Camera Obscura
9 Ships - Sweet Baboo
8 Walking on a Pretty Daze - Kurt Vile
7 Delta Machine - Depeche Mode
6 AM - Arctic Monkeys
5 Trouble Will Find Me - The National
4 Holy Fire - Foals
3 II - Unknown Mortal Orchestra

2 Corsicana Lemonade - White Denim

1 Random Access Memories - Daft Punk

No real surprise with the No.1, but the extent to which it came out on top really surprised me. Most albums get about 10-20 listens on my iTunes, but the Daft Punk album was a full 30 listens ahead of it's nearest rival. This I put down to the versatility of the album, equally at home being listened to at full blast in the car, or background dinner party music, or even on the outdoor speakers for a barbeque. Anyway, if you don't own it then you should.

Honourable mentions must go to Public Service Broadcasting, John Grant, Suede, Drenge and Midlake, who could have featured higher in the ratings if I'd acquired them earlier.

*interestingly, Scunthorpe does seem to be sunnier than Sheffield

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas Music

Let's start with Frank Hamilton and Lonely This Christmas. Not the most upbeat Christmas song but I did want to mark Christmas with something. Mud who originally recorded this song as a mickey take would probably not approve of its serious nature. You can download this song plus another track here. Merry Christmas everyone.

A Bridge Of Friendship have asked the bands on their roster to put together some covers. Only a Hippopotamus would do...

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Free Download from LIFE - Crawling

I featured LIFE on the blog not too long ago and I was pleased to find this free download in my inbox today. The blurb says it's a nice bridge between their last single and their next. Listen to / grab the download above or check out their video below.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

NONONO - Pumping Blood

Do you remember in the past when you couldn't have a song as soon as you heard it. Where you had to hunt down a song you'd heard. You'd start with how it sounded, hope someone knew what you were on about and hopefully put a name to the song (I remember going in to HMV and signing a song to the woman behind the counter, unsurprisingly she didn't recognise one of the best selling songs that year). Well I knew I'd heard a song I liked, I'd even Shazamed the song but then destroyed my phone by throwing it in a pint of squash. GET ON WITH IT I hear you cry. So you've guessed the song I like is the one above, it's the filler during Final Score on BBC. The official version isn't available on iTunes in the UK, only a remix. How you get the proper version is up to you, all I'm saying is that the thrill is in the chase and I have the proper version.