Saturday, 9 May 2015

Calexico - Edge of the Sun

Sometimes my trawling of new releases on Spotify doesn't always catch everything I might like. An example of this is Edge of the Sun by Calexico. This showed up instead on the Amazon website as a new release. Incidentally, it is within Spotify's catalogue,

Well, I knew nothing at all about Calexico - a quick look at their bio on Spotify informed me that they produced an album in Europe when they first formed, but moved to the States and met with greater success over there. They are named after a town on the border between California and Mexico, despite being based in Nevada, and perhaps unsurprisingly, their music is an eclectic mix of styles drawing from international influences. I listened to a couple of tracks on Spotify and it was enough to convince me that I would like the album, so went ahead and bought a copy from Amazon. This is now twice in a row that I've got lucky with a purchase - what a fantastic album it is. And also, the bonus material in the 'deluxe' version in fantastic too.

My only issue with the whole album, and it is more of a personal foible, is that there are a couple of tracks with steel guitar in them. I just don't get on with the sound of a steel guitar. I associate it with country music, and I don't like country music - although that is a massive sweeping generalisation. It just grates with me - so there it is.

The only problem now is ... I was looking for a way to share a track and found this video on YouTube. It is the only song from the album with a video (as yet) ... but it's very odd. A bit unsettling actually. I'll share it anyway:


Monday, 4 May 2015

Django Django - Born Under Saturn

Well, it's release day for Django Django's new album Born Under Saturn. I see they've featured on this blog a couple of times. Well based on the quality of their last couple of tracks, I took the plunge and bought the album without even a preliminary listen through. It is rapidly turning out to be one of my best buys ever.


Never do I buy and album and then just sit and listen to it through - I normally listen in the car or something or, while I'm doing something else. Well, here I am, doing exactly that - too gripped to even go and get breakfast. Well I suppose I am typing about it at the same time. I'm also quite chuffed to be first person to review the album on Amazon - if only I could have sounded wise in it.

Link Here


Thursday, 30 April 2015

3WTM April Playlist

This month I've taken the chance to further my music education by checking out current tracks as well as revisiting some older tracks. These are the best I've found.

New(ish) Tracks

First Light - Django Django



I'm not sure how I missed this one off last month's playlist. Schonberg introduced us to Django Django previously on this blog with the excellent Default. This is a lighter track, less foot stomping than Default but still has a quality to it.

Distance Past - Everything Everything



We're starting to get some sunshine and it's good to have tracks that can match that lift in mood. Give it chance it takes a bit to get going, as I write this I've had this track for a month and it's a real grower.

Hey Now - Matt and Kim



Despite the worst them having the worst band name on the planet Matt and Kim have managed to keep going and the upbeat New York duo keep the pace going with this ditty.

California - The Airborne Toxic Event



I know I keep going on about how The Airborne Toxic Event don't get enough airplay in the UK but they don't. So I'm behind most people finding out they have new material out. Check it out.

Chaucey P vs All the Girls In London - The Dandy Warhols



I've always followed The Dandy Warhols, not always liking what they've produced but they've never been that far wide of the mark. This is a pretty strong pop song, well worth a listen.

What Time Do You Call This? - Elbow



I really like Elbow, I really like Simon Pegg, how about a film with Elbow in and a song on the soundtrack by Simon Pegg! Well OK, maybe that wouldn't be good but the other way around... (it might be a tad to long but I'll let them off).

Ong Ong - Blur


I'm not a big fan of Go Out, the first new track I heard of Blur's. Don't get me wrong it's not bad but it's certainly not the track "equal to anything else in their back catalogue" as Spotify described the lead tracks off the new album. However Ong Ong had me hooked, an upbeat, summer style pop track. I think it's probably taken Damon this long to write a track like this and be comfortable enough in his own skin to let it see the light of day.

Come Home Baby - The Charlatans


Classic Charlatans, a distinctive sound that many have tried to reproduce but failed. It's nothing new but it's great that they can still acheive this level and that they're still making records. May it long continue.

Revision

I've used Spotify to look back at some bands that have featured on this blog over the years and see what they're up to now. Some haven't really produced anything since but had songs at the time that I either didn't mention or didn't even know about. In this section I'll let you know which ones are worth knowing about, new or old.

New Love - The Twang



This is what is clearly wrong with the mainstream, The Twang released a cracking debut (pop) album and yet their follow up didn't hit the same heights. That meant we didn't hear much of the second album or much of them since. While I have a feeling their distructive behaviour may have had a hand in that it has kept me from good songs such as Barney Rubble off the second album and this, New Love off the new album released at the end of last year. A new, more mature sound (not a translation for boring as can be the case) that you should check out.

Oh! - What A Glorious Thing - Akira The Don



I just happened to hear Huw Thomas on Radio 1 quite some years back (2004) as he was standing in for Zane Low. He played the Drinking Song by Akira The Don, a track commenting on the accepted nature of drinking and the not so socially accepted, less offensive act of smoking weed. I still play that song a lot so I thought I'd see if Akira had ever managed to reach the same heights. It turns out he's still creating thoughtful new material. This effort from 2006 is less social commentary more describing what he did on an average day. It's a nice upbeat track ready for the sun to come out, I even forgive him for the Lovecats element to the track.

Edwould - Larrikin Love



You may remember Larrikin Love from a playlist way back and the excellent banjo infested Happy As Annie. Sadly there isn't any new material however there appears to be an album of all the material that was created at the time. This track is similar to Happy As, strap yourself in as it starts at a lick.

I Can Make You Love Me - British India



Previous playlisters may remember British India for their track Tie Up My Hands from their 2007 debut album Guillotine. It was a strong debut but as an Australian band they don't get much coverage over here and I hadn't realised how much material they have released. I Can Make You Love Me seems to be their most popular track. It's taken from their 2012 fourth album. Last month they released their fourth album Nothing Touches Me and I've been enjoying the track Wrong Direction if you wanted more of the same.

Apple Of My Eye - Ed Harcourt



Ed Harcourt featured a while back with the excellent piano led Revolution In The Heart back in 2006 yet despite being nominated for the Mercury Music Prize back in 2001 he's never hit the mainstream. This song, taken from his debut album in 2001, Here Be Monsters is another great track that is one of those songs you just cannot see getting airplay on the radio but more people should know.

Satisfied - Esser



You've got to have a bit of fun in the playlist right? Esser appeared on the blog with I Love You. This was also off the first album, I don't think there was a second...

Tie Me Up With Jackets - Fight Like Apes


OK so Fight Like Apes may have a new album out but I'm going to introduce you to a song from 2009. Man I'm so up to date.

Further Reading

Following on from last months playlist I looked up some of the bands to see if the rest of what they've got to offer keeps the quality as high. These are the bands that made the cut which suggests they're pretty good.

Dream Lover - The Vaccines



I'm already a big fan of The Vaccines as you may know but this is something different for the band, it makes me excited as to where they can go with their music and in particular the new album. If you're not a fan this might change your mind.

The Ground Walks, With Time In A Box - Modest Mouse



I've been enjoying taking in Modest Mouse's back catalogue as they've not received the airplay in the UK that they have elsewhere. This however is one of their latest efforts and what a stonker it is. I think most regular readers of this blog will soak the 6 minutes of this track up and then put it straight back on.

The Big Bad Wolf - The Heavy


Soul rockers The Heavy featured on this blog a little while back with their track taken that was used on a Guinness ad. You may have noticed another track of their's, How You Like Me Now, being featured on another advert for clothing. I however wanted to point out The Big Bad Wolf off the same album as What Makes A Good Man. Good things do come to those who wait. Another excellent track to check out by The Heavy is Short Change Hero.

Feed The Mantaray  - Slaves



More full on ear throbbing from the two piece hailing from Kent. How difficult it will be for them to keep their sound fresh with limited instruments we will have to wait and see. Also check out their latest single Cheer Up London.

So want all the tracks in one easy playlist. Spotify it is...

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Death Cab For Cutie

It's not often that I find a band in their infancy, become a firm fan and watch them go on to greatness. That is certainly the case with Death Cab For Cutie - I've come rather late to their party! Well, a couple of new songs from them appearing in the 'New Music Tuesday' playlist on Spotify caught my attention.

Firstly, Little Wanderer




and then No Room In Frame




Both really good tracks which got me really excited for their imminent new album Kintsugi. My interest was further stoked by delving into their back-catalogue. Their last album Codes and Keys is a belter as exemplified by the opening track Home Is A Fire



and Some Boys



So ... I went back another album - more great stuff, for instance, I Will Follow You Into The Dark



All boding very well for the new release ... which came out a couple of weeks ago ... and after all the anticipation ended up disappointing me slightly, and making me glad I'd listed on Spotify first before just buying it.

BUT, as is often the case, I was a bit hasty with my judgement and there's actually nothing wrong with the album. There's not a bad song on it in fact - it just doesn't dazzle.

I'm going to get to know them a bit more and will really enjoy doing so though.

This is the kind of thing I like finding - a great band with a quality back-catalogue that I'm not aware of.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Big Country

On holiday in a foreign land (OK, it was only Wales) and I could hear a track getting played over and over again. I looked up and saw it was coming from a wild west style shooting game. I wandered over and really liked the tune, I couldn't quite place it but knew I recognised it. Could Shazam identify a tune out of a pay and play game? It sure could. The theme tune from The Big Country became the theme to my holiday. You've probably heard it from many adverts.


Sunday, 22 March 2015

A 3WTM Playlist

It's been sometime but I'm finally back with a playlist. Since I used to do them regularly modes of getting music have improved and have only got cheaper. There may not be any free downloads but even when I did have permission to post them they still got take down so YouTube and Soundcloud will have to do. How you get those on to your generic MP3 player is up to you.

They may not be all songs outside of the mainstream but they're new songs to me since I've taken up Spotify Premium. Thanks to Chris and Neil (Schonberg) who gave me the gentle nudge towards streaming which has been around a good while but has been truely set free with more recent smart phones.

I've been listening to the likes of Foo Fighters, Blur, The Wombats, Mumford and Sons, Jamie T,  Paolo Nutini, The Go Team! and Noel Gallagher but these tracks below are the ones that have repeated play after play. I hope you like them too.

Cigarette Dreams - Cage The Elephant



Having revisited Reef's album Rides again recently it's clear that some bands don't have a real range to their music despite the excellent I've Got Something To Say and Sweety, how the later didn't make it on to their "Best Of" albums I don't know. Anyway Cage show on this track that they have that range that I didn't expect. I really like listening to this in the car, probably that he mentions driving in the rain. Great to enjoy another track of their's after the stonking track Shake Me Down.

Figure It Out - Royal Blood



I'm as late to this party as Greece with their loan payments but at least I could say I knew who they were when they performed at the Brits not long back.

Lampshades On Fire - Modest Mouse



Having enjoyed Float On all those years back, I've listened to a few of their tracks recently and Lampshades is the most upbeat one I've enjoyed the most.

Live For The Moment - The Sherlocks



I was surprised to hear these guys were from Sheffield after hearing the lead singer's voice. If I didn't know better I would have said this was The Courteeners by a different name. While they may trot out a cliche (not Liam Fry's style according to his lyrics) other than that they could from Manchester and on their fourth album - outdoing The Courteeners at their own game. I like it, shows promise.

Nasty - The Prodigy



With the new Prodigy album due out at the end of March I've been exchanging emails with my friend Simon who has been a fan for years. I think we both agree this, the lead single, is the strongest track we've heard out of the three released so far. The album is lining up to be good rather than spectacular but a welcome return nonetheless - previous album Invaders Must Die is/was an excellent album to run to.

Trainwreck 1979 - Death From Above 1979



When you get something like Spotify (other streaming providers are available) you're suddenly spoilt for choice and don't know where to start. Schonberg pointed me in the direction of Death (as well as suggesting I listen to Royal Blood again). Thanks Neil, I'm enjoying both.

Bathroom Tile Blues - The Orwells



In a recent blog I mentioned The Orwells who have been featured on the Apple advert. Having listened to their album I thought I'd point out one track I've been enjoying, Bathroom Tile Blues. Apart from the one I mentioned before this is the next stand-out track.

Let Go - The Very Best



Having someone from The Vaccines and Vampire Weekend play on your album is certainly a way to get you notice - well it worked for me. Senegalese / Malawian influences are on the album and there's certainly a Vampire Weekend feel to this.

Oh! Whiskey - Jim Goodwin



I have a friend who likes Doves, a bit, and whiskey, a lot. He should like this. I do.

Pedestrian At Best - Courtney Barnett



Recommended by my friend Steve and, first listen I thought it was average but I can't stop singing it after I've listened to it.

Take Off With You - LIFE



Hopefully you've kept up with this blog over recent times and have noticed I really like the band LIFE, still yet to release their debut album they do have a few tracks out there and a new EP due out in May. I'll bring you more about the song Go Go Go nearer that time but until then enjoy yet another strong track from this East Yorkshire band. Hopefully they'll make it to Bristol at some point as Hull is a hell of a long way to travel.

The Hunter - Slaves



I feel too old to like this band, not because older people shouldn't listen to this kind of music, more that it makes me feel like I kid. It makes me want to shout, to turn the volume up, to drive fast or even better to (snow) board fast. I'm enjoying Slaves, if you like this also check out Feed The Mantaray, another good track.

Psycho - Muse



A foot stomping return for Muse, nothing really new from them but a good strong track and a fair few listens in I would say it's better than anything on the last album.

Handsome - The Vaccines



I'm told that The Vaccines are all right to like, according to The Guardian. I think that puts some people off but I don't care. If they said they were uncool I'd still like them. A strong new track along side Melody Calling, I'm looking forward to the next album

All The Sad Young Men - Spector


Probably the first band I discovered through Shazam, and again as I heard the track (Chevy Thunder) again still not realising it was them. The album sadly was disappointing but their latest track above, alongside Don't Make Me Try means they've moved on a bit since then, sounding closer to White Lies which makes me excited to hear what the rest of the album will be like. I wait with baited breath.

I hope you enjoy the new tracks, comments always welcome, positive or negative about the tracks would be great.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Friday Night Dinner - The Music

We've really enjoyed the first three series of Friday Night Dinner. A sitcom about a modern day Jewish English family who get together each Friday Night, you've guessed it, for dinner.

The two main tracks used, the title music and a track used half way through most episodes have a similar feel to them and one certainly has a familiar feel to it having featured on this blog some years ago.



I tend to steer clear of most remixes, I found them a waste of time and generally adding nothing, only taking away from the original. This certainly takes Miike Snow's Animal in another direction and creates a new, better track. Would I think that without having heard it many times on the programme? Probably not. I hope whether you've seen it or not, you enjoy it.



This you may recognise from the past, featured way back in 2009, worth revisiting as Friday Night Dinner have. Check the show out, very funny at times.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Other Side



I have been (impatiently) waiting for the release of Public Service Broadcasting's latest offering ever since I heard the excellent 'Gagarin' and learned that the next album would be a concept based around the Superpowers' race for space in the 60s and 70s. I was expecting tales straight out of the library text books of my childhood, and I wasn't disappointed - Sputnik, Yuri Gagarin, Apollo 11 all feature - but the track that has taken my imagination, emotion and breath away is 'The Other Side'.

It describes the moments on Christmas Eve 1968 when the astronauts of Apollo 8 became the first humans to orbit the moon and therefore see the dark side. The point at which the craft disappears into radio silence as it traverses the other side is very powerful and second only to the euphoria of the re-emergence 45 minutes later.

Whether you like electronic music or not, this is the most powerful and emotive thing I've heard in a long while. Have a listen to it. Wear headphones, close your eyes and imagine you are there, at the vanguard of human endeavour. Imagine what's going through the minds of the astronauts and the controller on the ground in Huston, who narrates the events as they unfold.

Top stuff, Public Service Broadcasting, top stuff.


Sunday, 15 February 2015

Latest Apple Ad - The Orwells: Who Needs You



When I started this blog one of the things I looked at was the music from TV adverts. Often you hear the song but at the time it was hard to track them down (even with Google). Now with Shazam it's a easier and no doubt will get easier. So adverts no longer tend to be non mainstream tracks as people can hunt them down so much easier. I'm particularly enjoying the latest tune to accompany an Apple commercial. The Orwells. With a nudge from my musical friends I've started trialing Spotify so I'm also going to check out their album. Again something that has got easier. Now what am I going to do with all that time I've saved.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Latest Discoveries from Spotify


I really wish I could easily share a Spotify playlist. I've started trawling through the 'New Music Tuesday' playlist that they publish every week, and if I find anything of interest, I put it into the 'Good New Music' playlist. I've not been at it for very long, and the playlist is currently just over an hour long.

OK - here's 'East Of Tennessee' by Beta Radio from 'Colony Of Bees', which I have to admit to not having listened to yet (the album). My feel for genres isn't very well defined, but I would liken this to Mumford & Sons - the harmonies are lovely - a bit country, but really well done. The song just ticks along really well.



'Paper Trails' by Darkside from 'Psychic'


I love this. Again - quite a downbeat track - the album (only really listened to once) is something different - mellow, instrumental in many places. I don't know what it is, but there's something about this track that reminds me of 'Papa Was A Rolling Stone' without the wah guitar.

The Killing Kind by White Fever from Beating Of Wings



It doesn't look like this has met with much public attention yet (only 178 plays on the Soundcloud site at the time of writing). This is a great tune from what would appear to be a new group with - another with just a solitary EP to their name thus far. Melodic, haunting, catchy, atmospheric. I want to say 'Echo and The Bunnymen' with a female singer,

Why Don't You Save Me? by Kan Wakan from Moving On

Very mellow (another, I know) and stripped back. This reminds me quite a lot of Portishead.




Ooh look - this track is downloadable! DOWNLOAD IT NOW.

When Will We Be Free? by Young Lions from Blue Isla (as yet unreleased)


This song gets going about a minute in - it reminds me of a few things which I can't quite bring to the front of my mind - it is much more upbeat. Maybe its a cross between Temper Trap (Sweet Disposition) and a Doves track, but I can't think which. Any suggestions?

Nowhere To Go by Hurricane Love (sadly all I can find by them at the moment)



What a fantastic track - just give it a listen.

Let Go by Coasts (again these seem to be newcomers with not much out)


Another good song. These lot remind me of Two Door Cinema Club.

That will do for now - there are others, but probably a bit more 'Mainstream' (Belle & Sebastian, Fall Out Boy, Imagine Dragons)

Comments welcome - I'd love to know if anyone else likes these?