Monday, 27 February 2012

Hey Jane - Spiritualized are back!

An eight minute epic called Hey Jane with a na na nar ending. Haven't I heard that something like that before. The answer is yes and no. You certainly haven't heard it coming from The Beatles. Despite the title and track length it doesn't appear to be a cheap counterfeit of Hey Jude. However it is nice and upbeat, certainly for Spiritualized and certainly compared to A&E, their last album 4 years ago.

If you haven't come across Spiritualized before I suggest you purchase Ladies and 'Gentleman We Are Floating In Space' and 'Let It Come Down'. The reason I guide you is that their albums seem to be hit and miss, those two are certainly hits and up there in my favourite albums from the years they were released.

As you will probably appreciate from Hey Jane they're not a singles band and all you can take from one track is a guide to what is to come and I'm excited. The picture above is the artwork believe it or not and the album and single will be out on April 16th.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Grouplove / Two Wounded Birds - Sheffield Leadmill, 18 February 2012

photo copyright Jamie Boynton (from

It's three years since the last time Jal and Schönberg managed to get to the same gig, but this is what happened last Saturday when Mrs Schönberg was laid up with the dreaded lurgi. The lure of Grouplove and their own brand of indie pop was too much for Jal and as the gig was sold out the offer of a ticket was most welcome.

First up was Two Wounded Birds, hailing from Margate and sounding like a mash-up between the Vaccines and Dick Dale and the Del-Tones. The band seemed to be undecided as to what they want to be; a sub-three minute power chord number would be followed by surfer rock 'n' roll reminiscent of the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. It must be said, however, that both genres sounded good.

The headline act hit the stage with tremendous gusto and never looked back. Their debut album (and a few other songs) were delivered professionally and with great energy - I think even if you didn't like what Grouplove had to offer then you would still enjoy and be entertained by their live performance. I certainly enjoyed every minute, well, except for having to listen to Jal shout out the chorus to 'Tongue-tied' and the like! I think Jal also enjoyed himself, he even set himself the task of meeting the band afterwards to let them know how much he's enjoyed it (see picture below).

So, if you get chance to catch Grouplove during their current tour then take it, you won't be disappointed.

Stream: All we wanna do by Two Wounded Birds
All We Wanna Do by Two Wounded Birds

Stream: Colours by Grouplove
Grouplove - Colours by Atlantic Records UK

Saturday, 18 February 2012

exlovers - Starlight, Starlight

I've just discovered exlovers and the first single 'Starlight, Starlight' from their forthcoming debut album, after listening to the band do a rather nice cover of Chris Issak's 'Wicked Game'. The single is available as a free download on the band's website, or you can stream it here on Soundcloud. The Wicked Game cover is provided below (offered for free download by the band).

Thursday, 16 February 2012

A tale of two CDs

I bought two albums this week. No wonder I've never got any money.

The first was a bit of a Valentine's present for Mrs Schönberg, Lana del Rey's debut offering "Born to Die". What can I say about the album, after two or three listens on the way up to the Lake District this weekend? Well, somehow I was expecting a brooding, ghostly album in a similar vein to 'Video Games'. Instead, there are a few listenable tracks (expect 'Summertime Sadness' to be the next single), but mainly it's like listening to Gwen Stefani in slow-motion. Mrs S seems to quite like it though, so brownie points awarded all round.

The second album was waiting for me on the doorstep following said trip to the Lake District, "Plumb" is the fourth album by Field Music, and I managed to give it quite a few spins on my way to work the following morning. The album is characterised by the first (and second, and third) songs. When Queen wrote Bohemian Rhapsody, it is said that they shoe-horned three separate songs into the one track, with the new Field Music album it seems like the first track has been expanded to three separate songs. The sudden changes in rhythms, tempos and styles throughout the album are quite reminiscent of Bohemian Rhapsody, the music is very well played, is rich in production and is probably best-described by the term 'avant garde'. Following the lengthy intro, the album just gets better. Next up is current single (and free download below) 'A New Town', which goes to show that when they want to, Field Music can write a pretty good indie single. The album is probably best listened to in it's entirety, and probably sounds great live. I'll let you know when I go see them next Monday...

As I write this, the midweek album chart has Lana del Rey at number one, and Field Music new in at number 39. Thank heavens for supermarkets. What's wrong with the mainstream?

Sunday, 12 February 2012

This Many Boyfriends - Starling

It seems like quite a long time since 'Young Lovers Go Pop!', so I am genuinely excited by the news of the release of 'Starling' by This Many Boyfriends.

If you like this sort of thing, then why not go and catch TMB live when they're next in your town? Their current tour is detailed below, but beware, all the Cribs dates are sold out!

23 February 2012 - Manchester - with Allo Darlin', The Deaf Institute
24 February 2012 - Sheffield - with Allo Darlin', Queens Social Club
25 February 2012 - London Popfest - 100 Club, Oxford St
26 February 2012 - Leeds - with Allo Darlin', Brudenell Social Club
28 February 2012 - London - with The Cribs, ULU Live
29 February 2012 - Cardiff - with Allo Darlin', Buffalo Bar
01 March 2012 - Edinburgh - with The Cribs, The Liquid Room
02 March 2012 - Brighton - with The Cribs, Concorde 2
03 March 2012 - Leeds - with The Cribs, Metropolitan University

This Many Boyfriends - Starling by Angular Recording Co

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Richard Hawley to Headline No Direction Home

Richard Hawley has been revealed as the finale headline act for the No Direction Home Festival to be held at Welbeck Abbey this summer (see here for a blog post on this). Richard is a bloody good musician, with a great and long track record, and he just so happens to support the best football team in the world as well. An excellent addition to the line-up if you ask me.

The Schönbergs will be attending the festival, if you want to join us, visit for details and tickets.

Richard has collaborated recently with fellow Sheffield exponents Arctic Monkeys, wonder if he can persuade them down for the encore?

You and I by Richard Hawley and Arctic Monkeys

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Band of Skulls - Sweet Sour

Do you know, it seems that there is a good reason to write a music blog. Jal has hundreds of emails from bands and labels offering tracks and albums up for review. Some of them are pretty good, others are quite colossal. Band of Skulls release their much-anticipated second album exclusively on iTunes on 7th February, and then everywhere else a week later on 14th February. In order for me to take advantage of having the album a full week before the general public I've given it quite a few spins over the last couple of days, and here's what I think:

Band of Skulls, to the layman, could be considered a bit of a one-trick pony. It's the heavy bass rock anthems that they do so well that people will hear, but the ballads and intricate post-progressive arrangements are the things that they excel in. This is supposed to be a 'dicfficult' second album, but it flows as easy as the band's melodies.

The album starts with an absolute corker, the title track 'Sweet Sour'. Colourful guitar riffs are reminiscent of White Denim, and they continue through to 'Bruises', a song that flits between melodic chorus, quiet verse and metal guitar riffs as well as any 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'. The band rock out as well as Metallica on the first single 'Devil Takes Care of his Own' and 'You're not Pretty But You Got it Goin' On', but can play it cool and calculated too - 'Lay my Head Down' and 'Hometown' are early favourites.

If you want a play-it-by-numbers rock album then go out and buy whatever the Darkness are releasing, if you want some intelligent progressive rock with a bit of variety then this is the album for you. Go out and buy it, so I don't feel so guilty for blagging a free copy!!!

The band have kindly allowed us to post a link to a free download of the title track, below. Thanks to Vic Trubowitch at Vagrant for the permission to post.

Band of Skulls - Sweet Sour

Plus, here's Bruises for you to listen to too

Band of Skulls - Bruises by Vagrant Records