Tuesday, 31 January 2012

January 2012 Playlist

Hooray for the new year! Boo for the impending doom of the Mayan apocalypse! In the mean time, this is my January playlist to cheer you all up.

1) High For This - The Weeknd
2) Clint Eastwood - Gorillaz
3) Default - Django Django
4) CMYK - James Blake
5) Breezeblocks - Alt-J (∆)
6) Where Is My Mind? - Pixies
7) Himalaya - Tribes
8) Together Forever - Two Wounded Birds
9) Fun, Fun, Fun - The Beach Boys
10) Back Of Your Neck - Howler
11) Dreams Don't Become You (With Zac Pennington) - Los Campesinos
12) I Want You - One Room
13) Heartless - Kanye West
14) Never Look Back - Slow Club
15) Shaker Hymns (Shallow Bed Live Sessions) - Dry The River
16)Young Lovers Go Pop! - This Many Boyfriends
17) New Brigade - Iceage
18) Niggas In Paris - Jay-Z & Kanye West
19) Night Boat To Cairo - Madness
20) Take On Me - a-ha

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Tribes - Baby Album Review

You should never judge a book by it's cover. This is definitely the case with Tribes. Aesthetically they look like a band who play dirty lo-fi and have been dressed themselves in a Urban Outfitters range called "Dirty Camden Urchins". However, they are much more than this. "Baby" is an album of surprises and much more complex than some of the more back to basics rock'n'roll going on at the moment. Tribes have moved one decade on from their competitors and the album bursts with bits of Bowie as well as the Pixies. But if you've actually heard them, you'll already known this.

 They were tipped at the beginning of last year as one of the bands to watch, but clearly 2012 is going to be their year. Where Tribes differ from most other guitar bands right now is their championing of actual melodies. It's all very well being able to blast out a chorus, but if you only know 3 chords, where else are you going to go? Tribes lyrics also seem to have more grandeur about them. Instead of writing about girls and drink, they appeal to a higher power asking "what use is God if you can't see him?" ("Nightdriving") and even a lament about the state of the country in "Corner of an English Field". Tribes just seem to be a step ahead of the competition and seem to be reaching for something higher, yet still appeal. They still have the raw passion of other bands, but they seem have channelled it into something more polished. That's not to say this is a slick over-produced album devoid of emotion, it's in fact exactly the opposite. The emotion and passion that seeps through the guitar-line in "Himalaya" could make a grown man cry. This is a big album and one that doesn't care anything about trends, and is all the more original for it.


Listen to Himalaya  

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Album Review: Howler - America Give Up.

Ok, so Howler aren't exactly doing anything new. Their "last gang in town" image, their guitar-wielding-saviors-of -rock bravado and out spoken lead singer are all things we've seen in a hundred other bands. The resurgence of guitar music last year thanks to bands like The Vaccines means there isn't even much for them to save. However, none of this matter if they have good songs. And they do, in abundance. Howler are the brain-child of lead singer  Jordan Gatesmith, and from every interview they give, he's clearly in charge. He writes the songs, he plays the solos, he dictates the bands direction. A months ago he stated that the album consisted of "dirty rock 'n' roll songs" and that it clearly does. Their label, Rough Trade, describes them as a Strokes-Drums-Vaccines hybrid, and if that isn't enough to get you excited, you're not going to like Howler. Every song is drenched in fuzz with Jordan's recognisable drawl bringing the songs to life. His almost lazy approach drips with cool, but not as much as his lyrics. Old favourite "You Like White Woman I Like Cigarettes" is given a re-write, heavier bassline, new title ("Wailing (Making Out)") but still keeps the key line "I want a girl and a new car, I want a drink and a guitar". It's with lyrics like these, simple but intimate, that Howler prove their worth. They even have a song called "America" which helps you to nearly forget the crank-rock anthem by Razorlight a few years back. Howler look set to continue down the same path the Vaccines took only last year, only a little more bad-ass. And this is what makes them exciting and needed.

Best Track: Back Of Your Neck


Wednesday, 11 January 2012

New Band- Alt-J (∆)

Now is around the time of year when every music magazine/blog goes crazy with "the next big thing". However, I already kinda did that, but I thought I'd share this little music-nugget I found.

Four piece Alt-J (∆) don't seem to have much of an internet presence, and finding anything by them is a struggle at first. But with some careful keywording, you can finally get to their soundcloud. This doesn't give much away about the band apart from (probably the most important thing about them) their sound. After some more digging, you'll stumble across their BBC sessions. These show a four-piece band with two guitarists, drummer and keyboard player. But again little is said, and the songs do their own work. Alt-J mash together, delicate folk guitar lines, a distinctive vocals and um hip hop drums. And weirdly, it works brilliantly. "Breezeblocks" is a highlight and the singers nasal voice mixes well with folk-worthy harmonies and a beat Kanye would be chuffed with. Elsewhere the songs range from really delicate quiet folk numbers (Hand-made) to nearly complete hip-hop (Fitzpleasure). Oh and if you're wondering why triangles are plastered on everything they do, it's because "Triangles are my favorite shape".


Download their demos here and watch their BBC sessions here