Thursday, 27 August 2009

James Free Download

I've been a big fan of James for some years now, their music has dated a bit but so many of their songs have found memories attached to them. They are currently giving away a track free from their web site, I've not had chance to listen to it yet but I thought I'd give you the heads up before it's gone.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

and then everything changed...

On the 21st at 10.20am Evie entered this world, isn't she the cutest baby ever? I guess I'm biased being her Dad. So if things go a bit quiet around here from time to time you'll know Evie's not being quiet...

Saturday, 22 August 2009

The Magi - New Track / Free Downloads

This month's Sheffield Music Scene magazine features The Magi announcing new track This Is What We Talk About is available for free download along with the three other tracks here. The Magi have featured previously on a 3WTM playlist and have influences such as The Smiths, Pulp, Oasis and The Who.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Mini Album Review Week - Quick Round Up

A quick round up on the other albums I've not had chance to post about.

The Maccabees - Wall of Arms
With the help of Arcade Fire's producer clear from the very start of the album you start to forget that they actually need the talent behind them to produce that sound. A quality addition to my CD collection, with Can You Give It? as my personal favourite. They're touring all over the UK and Europe from now until Christmas.

Red Light Company - Fine Fascination
Catchy pop songs in the form of Meccano and Scheme Eugene are accompanied by middle of the road music. Sometimes you can stand in the middle of the road and nothing hits you...

MP3: Scheme Eugene (James Yuill remix) - Red Light Company

Cloud Cult - Meaning of 8
Not a new album but after playing Feel Good Ghosts to death I bought my wife (read me) their previous album, Meaning of 8. If you like Feel Good Ghosts then this is another one for your collection with highlights including Chain Reaction, Pretty Voice, Take Your Medicine and Chemicals Collide.

MP3: Pretty Voice - Cloud Cult

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Up From Below
I only received this the other day so perhaps I've not given it the listens it deserves yet. It's hippy rock, great for a road trip in the sun. They have managed something quite difficult, creating an album with a variety of songs yet not losing their overall sound.

MP3: 40 Day Dream - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Mini Album Review - Florence & The Machine

I was interested to hear what Lungs would sound like. Despite being a big fan of Dog Days Are Over I was not overly optimistic about the album. I don't know why but her Brit award for "We Spotted Her First" / "Our Awards Are Down With The Kids" put me off, I think it meant she was tainted by the Duffy stench. A wise man once said "Happiness = Reality - expectations" this rang true with me as soon as I read it. It's like The Beach or Full Monty. I was disappointed when I first watched them as they didn't live up to the hype (don't get me started on Phantom Menace) but enjoyed them later (not the case with PM before you say). Any way I digress, lots of people will expect a lot of this album, for me it doesn't hit the expectations I had for it. However that doesn't mean it's a bad album, in fact it has some quality tracks on it. The singles Dog Days, Rabbit Heart and Kiss With A Fist are solid tracks and if you like your female artists, La Roux, P J Harvey, Duffy (shudder) then I recommend you check it out. For what, nine quid? Any album with three or four solid tracks on it has got to be worth it.

I would just like to ask one thing, why oh why did she/they end the album with a cover? RLP surely? (Record Label Pressure). It may be classed as a 'bonus' track but when it comes down to it it's still the ending to the album.

Sorry no downloads from the album but if you visit Record Label they've got a couple of her tracks to download and you can stream Kiss With A Fist.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Mini Album Review - Kasabian

I read somewhere that Kasabian just want to be Primal Scream, I think that was supposed to be an insult. I think there will come a point where Kasabian will out sell Primal Scream (as Ian Brown has done with The Stone Roses) and critics will have to start respecting them. This album is another solid addition to their discography, while I don't think it hits the high of their eponymous first album it certainly has strengths. Fire and Vlad The Impaler are strong singles and the album doesn't appear to have any real fillers. On early listens my favourites are Fast Fuse and Take Aim. Comparing their back catalogue further I would turn to this album before Empire, their second album, and while they haven't really covered any new ground I'm glad they haven't gone the way of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club i.e. losing their balls.

I'm trying to post more legit downloads nowadays so as the band are no longer giving away any of the tracks from the album (as far as I am aware) I offer you this cover of Fire by Calvin Harris which is surprisingly faithful to the original.

MP3: Fire (Originally by Kasabian) - Calvin Harris

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Mini Album Review Week - The Prodigy

The Prodigy are back on fine form with this album. They've mixed old style Prodigy with something new. Perhaps they are no longer putting themselves under the pressure of discovering something new on each album. Following the success of Fat of the Land the band had said they wouldn't release another album unless it was taking another step forward. The next album Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned was disappointing so it was good to hear them back to form.

The first two singles Omen and Invaders Must Die have a new sound to them while Take Me To The Hospital and Warriors Dance nod to the bands old rave days. It's a great mix, great to run to and quite a return to previous highs. There is even a Go Team! sounding end to the album with Stand Up. If you haven't got this album yet and enjoyed their previous work I definitely recommend getting it.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Mini Album Review Week - La Roux

I've been a bit slack on reviewing albums I have accumilated over the last few(several) months so I thought I'd spend this week playing catch up, starting with La Roux.

I first wrote about La Roux in January and posted Fascination. Since then she's had massive hits in the UK with In For The Kill and my favourite Bulletproof. When I say 'she' La Roux is actually a pop duo but you only ever seem to see Elly Jackson in the limelight. The album's good but not especially my cup of tea. If you like Fascination and Quicksand, both available from their web site, as well as the two hit singles then you'll like the album. For me it's a bit slow at times and is all ready to be remixed, maybe that's why there are so many remixes on Hype Machine.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Run Richard Parker - Yes Cassette

More catchy pop from Yes Cassette and this time they're telling Richard Parker to shed some pounds and get his arse in gear. OK they let him sleep too. Well that's if you take it at face value, Dan from the band says the song has more to it:

"It's based on characters in the book Life of Pi. Richard Parker is the tiger, and he is running to get back to the boat that he shares with Pi. They depend on each other for survival - although at the same time they are a threat to each other. I liked it as a metaphor."

The band are hoping to self release an album in the not too distant future, accompanied by a tour. I'll give you more details when I have them.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

40 Day Dream - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

I don't know whether it's just because there's a load of people in the band but I can't help but compare Edward et al to The Polyphonic Spree. It's that hippy sound, everyone sat around a camp fire with the bus they arrived on in the background kind of feel. They made the cut for last month's playlist and since then someone associated with the band got in touch and has kindly allowed me to post this track, 40 Day Dream, which was their first single. I also now have the album so once I've had chance to listen to it more I'll hopefully give you a further run down. Judging by the tracks I've heard so far it's going to be a great summer album.

Note: Link now hosted somewhere else after said it infringed copyright despite getting the OK from the record company...

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Games For Days - Julian Plenti

Julian Plenti's, a.k.a Paul Banks from Interpol, album is out now and if you're on his mailing list you will have received another freebie off the album. Games For Days is another sign that despite his instantly recognisable voice he has managed to go in another direction with this album. I guess that's why people have solo albums while still keeping the band going. A way to let the juices flow without worrying whether that is the direction you want to take the band.

Go here to sign up to his mailing list.

Monday, 10 August 2009


The last two playlists have had a cover in it that have been voted for by you dear reader. I hadn't planned on posting any of the "losing" tracks but I recently received another cover of Bonkers by Tom Williams & The Boat. How can you not post a cover that totally reworks a track and turns it in to a upbeat country / folk track. So then I have to post The King Blues so you compare and contrast, which you should all be good at from GCSE Geography. Make sure you have your tongue firmly in cheek before listening to the first one.

The original is of course done by Dizzee Rascal

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Bad Things Come In Threes

I've just read that John Hughes, director of THE teen films of the 1980s, passed away on Thursday. He had an art of capturing teen feelings and important moments in adolescence. As I was young when his films came out I only discovered them as they reached TV, many years later as it was then.

Two other great men also passed away recently, the greatly respected football manager Sir Bobby Robson who was everyone's football grandad / uncle, and Harry Patch, the last surviving man from the trenches during world war I.

Having endured endless front pages for MJ I feel that in the UK the real British public will be more sadden by these gentlemen passing than they ever were for MJ.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Album Review: Reverend & The Makers - A French Kiss In The Chaos

Let me take you back to 1991 and a film I have seen many times, The Silence of the Lambs, a scene near the start educates us all:

Hannibal Lecter: First principles, Clarice. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing ask: what is it in itself? What is its nature? What does he do, this man you seek?

Clarice Starling: He kills women...

Hannibal Lecter: No. That is incidental. What is the first and principal thing he does? What needs does he serve by killing?

Clarice Starling: Anger, um, social acceptance, and, huh, sexual frustrations, sir...

Hannibal Lecter: No! He covets. That is his nature. And how do we begin to covet, Clarice? Do we seek out things to covet? Make an effort to answer now.

Clarice Starling: No. We just...

Hannibal Lecter: No. We begin by coveting what we see every day. Don't you feel eyes moving over your body, Clarice? And don't your eyes seek out the things you want?

What's this got to do with Reverend & The Makers? Well in 2007 on the excellent State of Things Jon McClure talks about the things he sees and at times coverts. Clarice is probably closer on her deductions, he talks about social acceptance and sexual frustrations. Sometimes these are about Jon and sometimes these are about the city (Sheffield) around him. Like the killer in The Silence of the Lambs, Jon then moved on to the wider world away from his front doorstep.

No longer does he talk about who's shagging who, who's gambling, teenage pregnancies and faded dreams. Now he talks about politics, anti depressants and consumer society. He can't help it, he no longer lives in the world where it's easy to bump in to an ex. How does this affect the album? Well the lyrics aren't as instant to me or you as we don't get to see behind the scenes in Venezuela but perhaps we can associate with people on antidepressants - there are two tracks dealing with that.

Musically I think A French Kiss is a real improvement on the last album, there is more variety and I guess that matches the maturity of the lyrics. What you really want to know though is how good is it as an album, should you own it, would you play it over and over. Absolutely. It's a great album and already one of my favourites of this year. Highlights such as Hard Time For Dreamers, the next single No Soap (In A Dirty War) and the first single Silence Is Talking are nicely split up over the album but there are quality songs throughout.

This track is free to download from the bands web site where you can also see the video for Silence Is Talking.

Friday, 7 August 2009

JJ72 - What happened, where are they now?

I was speaking with a friend recently, asking them what I should write about on my blog, whether they would like to write something. Two days later they sent me a text "Get some JJ72 on your blog! Not new, but bloody brilliant..." followed by "That album carried me through the first year of Uni, and transformed my music taste from questionable dance / garage to the indie glory that is it today!" Can I just point out that it was probably meeting his now wife that actually did that (she already had good taste in music) and I cannot guarantee JJ72 will turn around musical tastes on their own.

After getting the text I looked in to what they are up to now, last time I heard they were working on their third album and I'd bought Coming Home and She's Gone, singles from said album, through iTunes. Well I'm sure it won't surprise you to hear they have split. They struggled getting the third album together, different sites stating that the record company was to blame, trying to push their creativeness to one side and be more like the first album.

The first album is a classic, I really enjoyed listening to it again (and again) when deciding what to write about them. So many tracks I could pick out for you, Oxygen and October Swimmer, both singles, Not Like Me, a lullaby-esq, less screechy track for those who don't like Mark Greaney's voice, and Algeria, possibly the only true sign that Greany's a big fan of Smashing Pumpkins (perhaps Long Way South but not to the same extent). Snow was actually their highest entry in the UK chart, slam dunking in at 21.

On the second album they didn't hit the highs as consistently, the two singles Formulae and Always and Forever are the only tracks I went back to after my recent listen to the album. I guess that's why the record company started to apply the pressure, I To Sky selling a fraction of the first album.

Most recent singles Coming Home and She's Gone showed promise of what was to come from the third never released album. They are still available on iTunes so I won't post them here, instead I'll give you a song or two from the albums. I'd certainly recommend buying the first album.

Mark Greany's now playing in Concerto For Constantine who sound a bit like Placebo and Smashing Pumpkins. On a last note I used to bore my friends by telling them that Mark had been told by his doctors that if he continued singing in the style he does that he would lose his voice. I secretly wanted to find that it was this reason for their split. Sadly it's not and now I can't remember where I heard that from.