Saturday, 22 December 2012

Quick Album Rundown for 2012

It's hard not to get down with the present state of music, when you've filtered out the cheap throwaway pop and binned the R'n'B the only guitar music on mainstream radio is depressing, slow paced "singer-songwriters" what a terrible genre that has become to stand for. While I have dipped in to that arena from time to time - and let's face it, the best music from most genres is worth listening to but please give me some more rock guitar singer songwriters.

All purchases this year have been of bands already on to at-least their second albums. I think that reflects two things, i) my lack of free time to search out new bands ii) the state of the record industry unwilling to back new bands. So on to the albums I have bought:

Muse - The 2nd Law

Muse continue on the route to becoming Queen. Not an easy task and some of their epic guitar tracks still exist on this album. I have spoken of my love of the track Survival before. Its lyrics may be simple and easy to write but they speak to me as a competitor and someone who likes to win.

Cosmo Jarvis - Think Bigger

Cosmo listens to my feedback and sticks to one genre on this album. Sadly it's more country and western than anything else. Not a bad album just not my cup of tea.

Reverend and the Makers - @Reverend_Makers

Given one star out of five by one past it and heading for extinction magazine you may be forgiven for thinking this isn't the album you were looking for. The band themselves admit the album opener was never due to go on the album. However the whole album has a similar feel. It's like the band left their political worries at home and went to Ibiza. There's still a guitar base but it's like they're trying to head towards a sound similar to The Prodigy. They never reach those highs but it works as an album and is uptempo throughout. Sadly their story telling isn't doesn't reach the heights of previous albums but it is one to own nonetheless.

The Vaccines - Come of Age

For me this is the best album of the year. Catchy, tight, cool. It has it all. I have to admit I thought they were from the US and I think this is where they lose some fans. They are creating a sound that they love but doesn't necessarily mark them out as band that was formed in West London. I don't really care where a band is from if they can make good music. They produced two cracking albums so far, now the pressure is really on for the third.

The Killers - Battle Born

A band that were the greatest slow growers of all time come back with another offering. Their debut Hot Fuss took critics and fans by surprise as it was released to low fanfares but by the end of the year of the following year everybody couldn't get enough. I don't think this album will be the same.

Spiritualized  -Huh? / Sweet Heart Sweet Light

Whatever the album is called it doesn't really matter. It's nice to have some new material from Spiritualized but it fails to reach the highs of Ladies and Gentleman or Let It Come Down.

The Maccabees - Given To The Wild

Having spoken to Schonberg about this band we've come to a similar conclusion. They songs all sound very similar. Not across different albums but each album is filled with songs very close related to each other. Inbreeding didn't work this time.

Keane - Strangeland

I bought this for my good lady with the added benefit of being able to listen to it myself. I've only listened to it a couple of times but nothing stood out for me.

Two Door Cinema Club - Beacon

Sometimes you need to hear more than one album from a band to get a full picture of them. This feels like I've learnt no more - and neither have they.

Call The Doctor - Hands Will Shake

Awesome album. Read the full review here.

So to sum up the year, I've really enjoyed The Vaccines and Call The Doctor, nothing else has really excited me.

Just as a quick after note there were some albums that passed me by where I have previously bought their material include:

Feeder, Rufus Wainwright, Dandy Warhols, Marina and the Diamonds, The Future Heads, Sigur Ros, The Hives, Passion Pit, Bloc Party, The Darkness, Animal Collective, The XX, Ben Folds Five, Greenday, Matt and Kim, Calvin Harris. They all released albums in the last year, can you believe it? Anyone buy any of these? Did you enjoy them? Let us know. I know +John Sills wasn't too impressed with The XX.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

A Bit Like Interpol and The National?

Today we bring to you Cfit and their album Triage. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland - it's such an American thing to put "small place, large place", you guys know where Dublin is don't you? So this band have been compared to Interpol and The National. Well, while they may have some similarities I probably wouldn't put them in that same bracket as those two. Their sound is one with great depth, this comes from all areas of the seven piece including the mix of male and female lead vocals. The whole album is free to download and I recommend you check out the slow building Plausible Deniability below.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Courteeners - Lose Control

So we've had the first play of The Courteeners new track Lose Control and as a big fan of the band I have to say it wasn't what I was hoping for but maybe it will grow on me. You can check out the video below. The single is out 28th January.

Monday, 17 December 2012

New Alphabet by Eels

As the new album nears (5th February) we get to hear another track off the new album. New Alphabet is released tomorrow - 18th December. Check it out above.

Thursday, 13 December 2012


As I commented on Schonberg's last post I suddenly realised I'd been keeping my enjoyment of a track to myself. That track is of course True Romance by London based Citizens!. Not the first band to title their track True Romance, the track by Golden Silvers instantly springs to mind. So to name your track the same within such a short space of time suggests you've got some balls and are proud of your track. And Citizens! should be proud of this track. It came out at the end of last year and at the time it was just another track on a playlist for me but it didn't take long for it to grow on me and really stand out  What a track it is, it hides at the start creeping in to your subconscious until before you know it you're singing (screaming in my case) along to the track. Check out the video above, it's got the feel of a Lynx advert but don't let that put you off. Just like the song it draws you in.

Checking out their web site I listened to some other tracks and I think they've got a bit in common with Frankie and the Heartstrings. I decided to buy the album, you can too by clicking here. At the time of typing it's only a fiver...

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Schönbys 2012 - Best Single

They're back! After a year-long hiatus (well, what would you expect with an end-of-year awards?) the Schönbys are here to shower glory all over the best musical aspects of 2012.

The awards are a fictional vehicle for me to let you know what I've enjoyed listening to during 2012. Winners and nominations are drawn from music I have seen, heard or bought during the preceding 12 months.

First up is single of the year. I find this category difficult to judge, mainly because the kind of track I would normally like doesn't always make the greatest single. A case in point is one of the top 10 below. The Vaccines' offering of Teenage Icon can only be described as a classic single- catchy, high tempo and three minutes long, however I can't have it in my top 5 because it doesn't fit in to my idea of cool. Damn my music snobbery.

The ones that missed out on the top 5 (in no particular order) are:

Sweet Tooth Bird - Beth Jeans Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny
Tessellate - Alt J
Theme from Velodrome - Chemical Brothers
Lightning Bolt - Jake Bugg
Teenage Icon - The Vaccines

So, let's count down those top picks of 2012...

5. Mountain Sound - Of Monsters and Men

There's always room for Icelandic indie-folk in anyone's top 5. Mountain Sound is the second single from Of Monsters and Men's debut album "My Head is an Animal", reaching the heady heights of No. 66 in the official UK charts.

4. Simple Song - The Shins

Simple Song just sneaks in the list, released way back in January of this year. The Shins seemed to have crossed the boundary into mainstream when dropping the Sub Pop label and releasing 'Port of Morrow', with a more accessible sound, and the British public responded by shooting the track right up to No. 192 in the official UK charts.

3. Black Doe - Mary Epworth

Officially a re-release of an early single, but sent out again to coincide with Mary's first full-length debut "Dream Life". Mary is yet to trouble the UK charts compilers...

2. Black, White and Blue - Ladyhawke

The electro-pop songstress from New Zealand returned with her follow-up album "Anxiety" in 2012, and this epic floor filler was the first single off it. I fear that I may not fill the same floors regularly frequented by the nation's single-buyers, however, as the track only managed to enter the charts in Belgium.

1. Default -Django Django

Seriously, who buys singles these days? This is a classic song, the first single from Django Django's self-titled debut album. It's funky, catchy, cool and short, with a killer riff. When researching this post I was expecting to find that it reached the top 10 for a brief period in January, but no, another strike out.

I'm looking forward to all your comments on my bad choices, so it's over to you...!