Monday, 30 June 2008

What's Wrong With Mainstream - June '08

This is post has been deleted once so I have removed the links.

Well it's been a quiet month for up and coming bands as we've seen some releases from bands that have been round the block a bit (Spiritualized and Coldplay spring to mind) and also releases from bands starting to make it in to the mainstream - how good is it that The Ting Tings got to number one in the singles chart?I may also have taken my eye off the music scene as I've been watching the Euros and growing old. However, there are some good tracks in this month's playlist, some are ripped off the radio so you'll have to forgive me on the quality of a few of them.

Bide Your Time - The Courteeners

Why this song hasn't been released as a single I don't know, all I can think is that it's too mainstream and they didn't want to alienate their following (see Hard-Fi and Living For The Weekend - which I also love). If this doesn't convince you to buy the album nothing will.

MP3: Bide Your Time - The Courteeners

Impatience - We Are Scientists

I must admit to being a bit disappointed by the latest album and yet I really like After Hours and this track Impatience. Why they decided to release Chick Lit ahead of this I don't know.

MP3: Impatience - We Are Scientists

Soul On Fire - Spiritualized

The first single taken off the new album which I reviewed here.

MP3: Soul On Fire - Spiritualized

Letting Go - Team Water Polo

Certainly a contrasting song from the Spiritualized song, an upbeat, happy song, if not a little repetitive. Thanks to Good Weather For Airstrikes for the tip off on these. These guys from Preston are currently playing at Glasto (twice). Like what your hear, then hear more here.

MP3: Letting Go - Team Water Polo

Run The Red Light - British India

I've finally managed to get my hands on the British India album and it's not bad. I've only listened to it a couple of times but here's another track for you to try out. Let me know if you like it and I'll do a review of the album when I've listened to it more.

MP3: Run The Red Light - British India

Hippy's Son - Dirty Pretty Things

I've read mixed reviews about their new material but I've been pleasantly surprised by the single and this free download. I was really disappointed by the first album so maybe the next one will be an improvement.

MP3: Hippy's Son - Dirty Pretty Things

Forget-Me-Nots - Fear Of Flying

Last month I posted the great track Unfinished Business by White Lies. White Lies were born out of the ashes of Fear Of Flying so I thought you might want to hear something by them.

MP3: Forget-Me-Nots - Fear Of Flying

Strength In Numbers - The Music

Try searching for information on The Music using google and you don't tend to get anywhere quickly. What I do know is that their new album was out earlier this month so if anyone fancies doing a review for 3WTM they're more than welcome (Sillsy?).

MP3: Strength In Numbers - The Music

One Day Like This - Elbow (Highly Recommend)

If you've been following Euro 2008 you may have noticed that ITV (the non-Steve McClaren supporting channel) have been using an Elbow track a lot of the time. Well it's this great track taken off the new album (and recent single). I think it's the best track off the album. They also closed their Glastonbury set with it.

MP3: One Day Like This - Elbow

GFC - Albert Hammond Jr.

Having got hold of the track last month from his old album I was keen to hear more, if you were thinking the same try this out from his latest album. It's set for release in the UK on 7th July.

MP3: GFC - Albert Hammond Jr.

Private Affair - The Virgins

Their latest album has finally been released in the US so I've been able to get hold of another song from them. It's a good song but there's still no news of when anything will be released over here.

MP3: Private Affair - The Virgins

White Winter Hymnal - Fleet Foxes

Well the blog world and magazines are going mad for these guys. "The next big American band" use harmonies (five male singers I believe) to create a new sound - Ted from Scrubs would be so proud. I heard they were playing in Bristol at The Louisiana the other day, 50ish people probably enjoyed a great sold out gig that very few other people will ever experience.

MP3: White Winter Hymnal

Revolution In The Heart - Ed Harcourt

I can't believe I've not heard this before, it's a beautiful track and I think this is what bloging is all about, if it hadn't been for Rock Sellout I would never have found this track (it was originally released in 2006). I hope you enjoy it as much as I have been doing.

MP3: Revolution In The Heart - Ed Harcourt

Men - The Dodos

The Dodos have been around on the blogs for a while but they are only just starting to release stuff over here. I'm hoping that The Virgins will follow in the same vein.

MP3: Men - The Dodos

Violent &Young - Iglu & Hartley

Eminem teaming up with Limp Bizkit? Well that's what it sounds like, strangely catchy and again thanks to Good Weather For Airstrikes for this one.

MP3: Violent & Young - Iglu & Hartley

Geraldine (demo) - Glasvegas

As the single version of this is released Alan McGee is proclaiming them as THE most important band to come out of Scotland, since when has he ever been able to spot a great band in the making...

MP3: Geraldine (demo) - Glasvegas

Stay Away - Parka

Staying on the Oasis theme this is Parka's tribute to them with a real throwback to 96/97. This track is like nothing else on the album.

MP3: Stay Away - Parka

Love Is Noise - The Verve

Wow, there are some mixed reviews out there for this return from The Verve, people don't seem to like the fact that they've teamed up with Pingu.

MP3: Love Is Noise - The Verve

Broke Up The Time - Futureheads

Another song from the Futureheads latest release.

MP3: Broke Up The Time - Future Heads

Gobbledigook - Sigur Ros

Sigur Ros are probably most famous in the UK for their song being used throughout the Planet Earth series on BBC 1. I can't say the release of their new album filled me with excitement but I was pleasantly surprised by this offering, see what you think.

Mp3: Gobbledigook - Sigur Ros

White Lies - Dirty Secrets

Dirty Secrets are a band that sound a bit like The Killers and their album came out in March (I have only just discovered) so I'll be getting hold of a copy of that at some point. Not currently available on or in Zavi in Bristol City Centre sadly.

MP3: White Lies - Dirty Secrets

Hearts On Fire - Cut Copy

Straight out of the Eighties and by request from Schönberg.

MP3: Hearts On Fire - Cut Copy

22 songs you say? You lucky, lucky people. All comments / feedback welcome, let me know if any links don't work.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Blog Roll

I've finally managed to add a blog roll so now you know where I get most of my music from. They will all show when they were last updated apart from Good Weather For Airstrikes and Quick Before It Melts who don't seem to have RSS feeds. Although saying that QBIM sound like they're about to change ISP so that might change.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Album Review: Parka - Attack Of The Hundred Yard Hardman

Parka are a band I saw supporting Switches in April '07 and I've followed their progress since then. They are from Glasgow and the first thing that stands out about them is that they've got a guy on a saxaphone. Other than that they are a tough band to pigeon hole and when you look under influences on their MySpace site they don't have any listed. This is probably because there are too many to list and when I tried to decide their main one I kept changing my mind each time I've listened to it. I started by thinking they sound a bit like Primal Scream but I don't think that's anywhere near, maybe a bit of Carter USM but again that doesn't nail it on the head either. I guess the reason I keep changing my mind is that there's such a range on the album and choosing the tracks to represent the album is equally as tough. Just when you think you've decided what they sound like "Stay Away" comes on and it sounds like Oasis from the '96 era. It's a great song but sticks out like an Eminem CD in your Dad's Everly Brothers LP collection. Oh and I think Wake Up Call sounds a bit like Biffy Clyro's Who's Got A Match - I give up!

Generally, I think they sound like they are from the early 90's. Iin fact, in the Chumbawumba sounding track DJ In The Corner they mention the DJ taking them back to 1989 and they've not done a bad job of that themselves. The only problem is at the moment everyone seems to be going back to the 80's with bands like MGMT and even The Futureheads Beginning Of The Twist sounds like an 80's throwback.

The album's a good listen and worth having but it just doesn't have an oustanding track on it. Saying that there are no terrible tracks either. Most of the time it is high tempo and perhaps this supports the lyrics which often talk about going out or dancing. Have a listen and see what you think but I can't promise the whole album will sound like the songs below.

MP3: Mr Optimistic - Parka

MP3: If You Wanna? - Parka

Sunday, 22 June 2008

In Dog Years You're Dead

It was my birthday yesterday and yes, in dog years, I'm dead. It was a great excuse to get my friends together and all embarrass ourselves by having a karaoke party. I thought I'd post up a little playlist of some of the songs that were sung. Some were brave refreshing choices, others were obviously the result of cheap bar prices. I've posted a selection of the songs (I'm too hungover to post anymore) but there was certainly nothing wrong with the mainstream...

MP3: (You're The) Devil In Disguise - Elvis

MP3: She Moves In Her Own Way - The Kooks

MP3: Tainted Love - Soft Cell

MP3: Don't Stop Me Now - Queen

MP3: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

MP3: The Tide Is High - Blondie

MP3: Livin' On A Prayer - Bon Jovi

MP3: Fight For The Right - The Beastie Boys

MP3: Night Boat To Cairo - Madness

MP3: The Irish Rover - The Pogues

MP3: I Found Out - The Pigeon Detectives

MP3: My Way - Frank Sinatra

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Soundtrack Gems

Soundtracks are a great way to discover new music but sometimes it can be really annoying as you can't find out what a track is or get hold of it. Often they aren't available on iTunes or only as a full album. The most annoying of all is buying the soundtrack for a film and then finding the song you liked isn't even on there. Clint Mansell's Dead Reckoning is one example of this which I included on What's wrong with the mainstream's May playlist. You can download that here.

I've put together a playlist of some of my favourite tracks from soundtracks below, not all of them are rare or even unusual but I thought you'd like to hear them anyway. Some of course appear in more than one film, I've just commented where I heard them from.

I'll start off with Pixies and Where Is My Mind?. Played in Fight Club at the end when Tyler and Martha are stood together in the sky scrapper. - I'm going to try not to spoil any films for people who haven't seen them before. Surely everyone's seen Fight Club? If not, why not? It's got to be in my top ten films of all time.

MP3: Where Is My Mind - Pixies

Next up is the main song used in the Borne series. I have to say that after enjoying the first Bourne film (The Bourne Identity) I was a bit disappointed by the follow up. However, having recently watched The Bourne Supremacy again and the third film, The Bourne Ultimatum I now cannot wait for them to do another one. I'm told there are lots of books in the series so lets hope there are loads more films to come.

Anyway the main track used is by Moby, taken from his 18 album and is called Extreme Ways.

MP3: Extreme Ways - Moby

Ah, Shallow Grave. Christopher Ecclestone and Ewan McGregor's first major film and a great film at that. It certainly gets your heart rate up and the soundtrack is a key contributor to that. I think if I do another soundtrack post sometime then I'll be putting another one on from Shallow Grave. The main theme is by Simon Boswell, he did the majority of the soundtrack with notable mentions to Nina Simone and Leftfield tracks.

MP3: Shallow Grave Theme - Simon Boswell

The Matrix soundtrack contains some fantastic tracks and deciding which one to put on here was tough. In the end Rob D's brilliant Clubbed to death (kurayamino mix) just edged it. Enjoy.

Mp3: Clubbed to death (kurayamino mix) - Rob D

Which came first the chicken or the egg, Bill & Ted's or Wayne's World - all great philosophical questions of our time but I think if Socrates had been around he would have gone for the boys from San Demas. Party On Dudes.

MP3: Play With Me - Extreme

Now depending on which rules you play by the next track is from one of my favourite Christmas films. Sadly not everyone agrees that Gremlins is a Christmas film, they say that just because it's set at Christmas it's not a Christmas film (Die Hard would then also be a Christmas film). So as the track's not Christmas related I can post it up in June. Just think about poor Billy and his favourite little Mogwai, Gizmo when you're listening to it. If I had the skills I'd do a remix of this track.

MP3: Gremlins Credits - Jerry Goldsmith

OK, I realise that by posting the next track I'm leaving myself open to be called a big girl but I don't know what it is about this track but I really like it. It starts off as usual girly pap but then really gets me with the hook. I don't normally like female voices that much so whatever it is I like about it maybe you will too. Oh, it's from (cough) Bridget Jones' Diary, no really you might like it.

MP3: Pretender Got My Heart - Alisha's Attic

The Kill Bill 1 soundtrack is a great soundtrack to discover new music from. I think lots of advertising people did too as you will now hear lots of them over your favourite lager etc. adverts. This track is less used and yet is a great track. It was originally released in the 60s (I think, don't hold me to that) and is a firm favourite whenever I put it on playlists for people.

MP3: Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood - Santa Esmeralda

Limp Bizit. Mission Impossible, theme from the second one. Nuff said.

MP3: Take A Look Around - Limp Bizkit

One of my friends can do a great impression of the guy in the film performing the next track. A great quality to have you would think, well if I tell you the film is Deliverance and the guy is the inbred who plays the banjo then maybe not. Put that tennis racquet down Pie Man.

MP3: Dueling Banjos - Eric Weissberg

My old house mate used to be in to Orbital in a big way but I never really got it until I heard this track. The film it's taken from, The Beach, was based on one of my favourite books and was a little disappointing (don't you find that's always the case when you've read the book beforehand) but the soundtracks great. A summer CD without Mungo Jerry, always a good start...

MP3: Beached - Orbital

Badly Drawn Boy is a great song writer and so I was excited when I heard he was going to be writing the sound track for About A Boy (I know this was a long time ago now). Sadly most of the tracks are musical score numbers and not actually songs. This is one of the few actual songs on the soundtrack and I assume he singing about the fact that Hugh Grant's character does nothing and therefore has nothing to say to women when he's chatting them up so he invents a child.

MP3: Something To Talk About - Badly Drawn Boy

Now True Romance is a FILM. It's so enjoyable to watch and people who haven't seen it before always laugh at me when I say it's one of my favourite films. When I explain it's written by Quentin Tarantino they tend to stop laughing. QT actually put together a list of songs for the soundtrack and all were dropped by director Tony Scott which is a shame. Actually that's not 100% true, he did leave in the song that Dennis Hopper's character sings when he first appears in the film. True to soundtrack form though it doesn't appear on the CD.

Anyway this track by Hans Zimmer runs throughout the film and really ads to the feel of the it. If you've not seen the film you will wonder why I like this track, maybe it's time you saw it.

MP3: True Romance Theme - Hans Zimmer

I mentioned In The House - In A Heartbeat briefly in my May playlist. It's a song that's been used in a Peugeot advert but it was composed by John Murphy for the film 28 Days Later. I think in a way the film has a similar feel to Shallow Grave (probably because it was directed by the same person Danny Boyle). The title refers to how one person says to another that they would kill them "in a heartbeat" if they had to. In the house is where we find out whether they would...

MP3: In The House - In A Heart Beat - John Murphy

Road Trip is a one of a number of great "gross-out" films that we own in our house. Stupid, banal and great to put on when you get in from the pub. I now associate this track with road trips so much that I decided to put together a road trip playlist only for my brain to fail me. All I could think about was this track. Eels are greatly underrated (the band not the slimy wriggly things) and this is a clear indication of why they should have more fame.

MP3: Mr E's Beautiful Blues - Eels

The Trainspotting soundtrack is probably owned by 50% of the people who grew up in the nineties but if you ask anyone what songs are on there they will cite the usual ones: Underworld, Lou Read, Iggy Pop... but there are some other great tracks on there. This never appeared on a Pulp album but is another well written track from Mr Cocker (Jarvis not Joe, keep up kids).

MP3: Mile End - Pulp

A friend of mine, Jim, used to send me a batch of compilation tapes every so often and it was like a real treasure trove. His taste was always close to mine while still introducing me to lots of new music. One of the tracks on there was off American Pie, or so he told me. I hunted high and low but whenever I saw the soundtrack in the shops it was not on it. As I now know, this happens all the time but it took me ages at the time to get hold of this track. I've never really heard it on the radio so if it'd not been for Jim I wouldn't have been in to this track.

American Pie THE all time classic gross-out film? Probably.

MP3: Flagpole Sitta - Harvey Danger

Haddaway, all time dance gurus. A Night At The Roxbury all time best film. OK, maybe not on both counts but once you've seen the film you can't help but smile when this track comes on.

MP3: What Is Love - Haddaway

50 First Dates. A silly, easy going film that is great to watch on a Sunday. It may be Adam Sandler by numbers but add Drew Barrymore and you're already half way to making it a film I'd like to watch. This track has been used for many slots on TV but I only managed to get my hands on it this morning. Sit back and imagine you're on a boat in the middle of an ocean somewhere.

MP3: Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Brother IZ

Ever wondered, like Red, what those ladies were singing about in Shawshank Redemption? Well listen to this opera track and you'll feel just like Red, clueless. Great film, but I didn't need to say that, did I?


Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Album Review: Spiritualized - Songs in A & E

As you can probably guess from the title it's not a light hearted type of album, in fact when they start to sing "Goodnight goodnight" on the last track you wonder whether he is talking about the end of a trip "you're coming down", just signing off the album or talking about dying (it's made clear when he sings "funeral home, funeral home" at the end).

They are a band that have been through the mill a few times - and their fair share of drugs and the lead singer sounds like he's been through 100,000 fags since the last album. The drugs message is clear throughout the album with them singing "I've got a hurricane inside my veins..." on the current single which will be part of June's WWWTM playlist. An uplifting song, it harks back to the great songs from previous albums and was exactly what I was hoping for from the new album.

The rest of the album definitely has the Spiritualized feel to it but the singer's voice has changed their sound and they now have a hint of, well, Kings of Leon about them. The "garage-rock" track (as their blurb calls it) You Lie You Cheat is a good example of this. On Baby I'm Just A Fool they sound like the Kings of Leon crossed with Lou Reed which I never expected when buying the album but it's a good track nonetheless.

If you're expecting an upbeat, uplifting album then this probably isn't the album for you but if you like Radiohead and Elbow maybe you'll enjoy the elements that make up this album. After 18 tracks (some are only around the 20 second mark) you feel like you've had an experience, full of relief, pain, joy and tiredness, perhaps like a trip to A & E - but don't let that put you off.

MP3: Baby I'm Just A Fool - Spiritualized

MP3: You Lie You Cheat - Spiritualized

Why you should already like Spiritualized:

Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating In Space is widely regarded as their best album (although not by me) and this is the title track from the LP. Some of the other songs on the album are a bit heavier but this is a great floaty (as in like a cloud not a poo) song, if you've not heard it before download it now!

Mp3: Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating In Space

I struggled to decide what song to put on from Let It Come Down (my favourite album of theirs), which was their follow up to Ladies and Gentleman... I've decided not to post the singles from that album and post my favourite instead. Don't Just Do Something is a song about sitting around and doing nothing instead of doing something. "I could let it go but I'd rather know if I sat around would another show" "I like to sit around I'm just contemplating sitting 'round". Excellent, forget all these uplifting "quit your day job and seize the day" lyrics, just sit around. Enjoy (oh and remember to sit around and do nothing while listening to it!).

MP3: Don't Just Do Something - Spiritualized