You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2007.

A selection of new and old favourite tracks from bands that have recently released albums. Are they just hitting their stride? Did they peak early? Has their sound matured? What’ll they do next? You’ll need to hear the whole albums to make up your mind but these tasters should get you thinking.

The Shins
New stuff – ‘Sea Legs’ from ‘Wincing The Night Away’ 2007
Old stuff – ‘Young Pilgrims’ from ‘Chutes Too Narrow’ 2003
Download these MP3s

Of Montreal
New Stuff – ‘Faberge Falls for Shuggie’ from ‘Hissing Fauna Are You The Destroyer’ 2007
Old stuff – ‘How Lester Lost His Wife’ from ‘Satanic Panic In The Attic’ 2004
Download these MP3s 

The Rapture
New Stuff – ‘The Devil’ from ‘Pieces Of The People We Love’ 2006
Old stuff – ‘Sister Saviour’ from ‘Echoes’ 2003
Download these MP3s

Sleepy Jackson
New stuff – ‘Devil was in my Yard’ from ‘Personality (One Was a Spider, One Was a Bird)’ 2006
Old stuff – ‘Good Dancers’ from ‘Lovers’ 2003
Download these MP3s

!!!
New stuff – ‘A New Name’ from ‘Myth Takes’ 2007
Old Stuff – ‘Me and Giuliani Down By The School Yard’ from the album of the same name 2003
Download these MP3s
 

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
New stuff – ‘Yankee Go Home’ from ‘Some Loud Thunder’ 2007
Old stuff – ‘Upon this Tidal Wave of Young Blood’ from ‘Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’ 2006
Download these MP3s 

Want to hear more from these artists? Buy the albums from Amazon or download them from Emusic. 

Courtesy of Holly Erskine on Flickr - Arcade Fire at Brixton Academy 14 March 2007Courtesy of Holly Erskine on Flickr - Arcade Fire at Brixton Academy 14 March 2007Courtesy of Holly Erskine on Flickr - Arcade Fire at Brixton Academy 14 March 2007

Photo from the Brixton Academy show on the 14th thanks to Holly Erskine on Flickr.

I was unmoved by Arcade Fire’s show. Is that blasphemy? Admittedly, it’s near impossible to have a transcendent experience when you’re standing at the back of the cavernous Brixton Academy with 1500 heaving bodies between you and the performers.

The band opened with the two singles from latest album ‘Neon Bible’ and though ‘Keep the Car Running’ was an electrifying intro, the crowd was decidedly less enthusiastic about ‘Black Mirror’. There didn’t seem to be much downtime for any of the ten people on stage (there are only seven members of Arcade Fire) and with that many instruments contributing, each song started as a grand, orchestral wash of sound which only intensified. 

The old songs held up – especially a momentous Power Out which was played in the second encore, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Yes, it would have been better in a smaller venue but the real reason is I just haven’t fallen in love with Neon Bible despite trying (what’s wrong with me? everyone else seems to love it).

I’m blaming Of Montreal. They’ve made me a whore for hooky pop and that’s not Neon Bible’s strength. 

My Luminaries, Electric Cinema @ The Spitz

OK, so we haven’t discovered the next Arcade Fire. Electric Cinema ceratinly sounded like the Arcade Fire in spots though, uplifting at points, engrossing and sincere. It’s difficult to know if a band has forgotten where influences begin and their own sound ends, or whether someone else simply got in first with a particularly distinctive sound. Either way, the crowd responded enthusiastically to their slightly awkward but endearing stage presence.

And while commenting on the stage geddup seems beside the point there’s something really two dimensional about all band members dressing in red and black.  Just because it works for Meg and Jack doesn’t mean it’ll work for you.

My Luminaries manage to skate a fine line between Razorlight wetness and originality and credit to them as they mustn’t watch tv or have ever seen an ad for the O.C. because one of their songs could almost be a cover of kiwi lads Evermore’s teeny television hit.  They do have their moments but it would be a surprise if they weren’t another band to run off the end of the build your own indie band coveyor belt (proudly sponsored by NME).

Five out of five to The Spitz though. Spitz (fellow Commercial St resident) we love you and your rehearsal-in-the-attic ambiance.

The days are getting longer, the chill is disappearing from the air and the corners of our mouths are beginning to point skywards rather than floorwards. But the End of Winter Good and Proper arrives when you discover the album that will become your summer soundtrack.

Naming your band an unpronouncable symbol or series thereof is undeniably wanky. But we’ll forgive !!! (apparently pronounced Chk Chk Chk) because their latest album ‘Myth Takes’ is an unpretentious psychadelic rock/techno/funk hybrid that will have you cutting a rug from start to finish.  Best enjoyed turned up thumpingly loud with the lights dimmed.

Start with ‘Heart of Hearts’: http://myspace.com/chkchkchk

I love words but rarely listen to lyrics, it’s the melody that hooks me. So either the way I listen to music is changing, or a few of the songs I’ve listened to lately have been exceptionally poetic and lucid (they’re the ones that get me).

I had ‘a moment’ on the train en route to work on Friday listening to ‘The Past is a Grotesque Animal’ by US band Of Montreal.  Their latest album ‘Hissing Fauna, Are you the Destroyer’ chronicles lead singer Kevin Barnes’s break up with his wife. Every line is a kiss or a slap in the face. It’s more a poem than a song and because you know it’s not fiction, there’s something unusually satisfying about it – like an episode of David Attenborough’s Planet Earth made into music. Don’t just put it on in the background. Sit down at least once and give this song your full attention.  

Of Montreal – The Past is a Grotesque Animal – MP3

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Support acts can sometimes be good, sometimes be a bit ordinary, and sometimes they can make you want to kill yourself.  Shit Disco could have been a really cool name if they weren’t so. Yep.  Think of a parody of The Rapture designed to cause maximum aural torture.  My ‘musicians’ ear plugs paid for themselves in that one agonising set.

And assuming they have a smidge of modesty, The Rapture must have been a little bit nervous (in the early days at least) that audiences would feel ripped off if they left feeling anything but, well. You know. But they lived up to their name in every sense. 

If I was having a big hoedown and I could invite any one band on the planet, The Rapture would be getting the call up. The audience – especially the lone Japanese girl in the minidress smoking that cig so theatrically – clearly loved every minute of it. As did the band. Especially lead vocalist Luke Jenner (wearing a pair of tight jeans that made him look like he had childbearing hips) who couldn’t stop grinning and hung around post-encore to touch-hands-kiss-be-photographed-with The Fans. The Rapture indeed.