Wednesday, 22 December 2010

My Album of the Year

Beach House – ‘Teen Dream’
This is arguably the seminal album in the plethora of dream-pop albums that are currently pleasing our ears. Each and every song on ‘Teen Dream’ is crafted beautifully. It is impossible to name stand-out tracks as they are all stunning in their own right.

Four Tet & Caribou - Coronet 19/11/2010

When I think of my favourite albums of 2010, Four Tet and Caribou are two that spring to mind immediately, and the opportunity to see them both at once felt like an amazing prospect.

I've never been to the Coronet before, and it was absolutely rammed. This seemed to be the perfect vibe for the rave element this gig offered.

Caribou as a live band embodied a stylised aura with them all dressed in white, and songs like 'Odessa' and 'Sun' were mesmerising.

Seeing Four Tet felt like a spiritual experience - I have been in awe of him for so long, and this was the first time I had seen him live! Playing many tracks, from the more than pleasing 'There Is Love In You' it almost seemed effortless. Twinkly lights, dancers and balloons aside, Kieran Hebden does not need any gimmicks to show his true amazing ability.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Album Review: Mt Desolation - Mt Desolation

In the vein of supergroups we have recently been treated to Them Crooked Vultures as a major highlight, and following suit we now have Mt Desolation who are boasting members of Mumford & Sons and The Killers. However, at the crux of the band are two members of Keane, and not the one that did cocaine that everyone knows. Thus the foundation of the band is not really the coolest or most credible of characters, so not expecting the most exciting of albums. Predictably the album has gone down the very popular folk movement that seems to be everywhere at the moment. No originality, just jumping on the bandwagon. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean they have done a band job of it, the songs are enjoyable and perfect examples of the genre, but the album lacks the drive and the unique element that the listener is calling out for. Essentially this is an album that you wouldn’t choose to put on and listen to.

2 out of 5

Album Review: Chiddy Bang - The Preview

Chiddy Bang first came to our attention with their mash up of MGMT’s awesome song ‘Kids’ named ‘Opposite of Adults’ - what they seemed to think was an original title… The track was different, but totally weak and poor in comparison to the original. And sadly their preliminary album follows suit. Filled with lifeless, obvious party tracks, there is no substance or stand out track. Even production from Pharell Williams can not save them. The idea that this is a placeholder until the full LP ‘The Swelly Life’ is released in 2011 does not bode well for what we can expect. Let’s hope by that time the additional songs will be considerably better.

1 out of 5

Mumford & Sons @ Rock City October 5 2010

Mumford & Sons have had a phenomenal year where they have gone from practically nobodies to who is on everybody’s lips. After setting the festivals alight this summer with their sing along anthems, they are currently on the road selling out venues across the country.

At Nottingham’s Rock City, the crowd is mainly middle aged men and women and it is clear that the band has a universal appeal, albeit feeling sceptical about my first encounter with this band after becoming so mainstream. The band stroll on with an assertive confidence grown from their recent success, although, playing their banjos they still seem rather humble. In between songs the banter between the band and audience is on top form - this is a band that actually has charisma! Of course it is their singles and fan favourites ‘Little Lion Man’, ‘Winter Winds’ and ‘The Cave’ that are best received, and the crowd erupts singing along. But also previewing some new tracks, it seems that Mumford & Sons can look forward to more success with their flawless formula of a slow starting song, picking up speed and volume. Mumford & Sons are very tight knit and together, and certainly a band that people should see live.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Album Review: Mark Ronson & The Business Intl – Record Collection

Ok, Mark Ronson may not be the coolest guy after the cover and massacre of that Smiths song and his awful peroxide hair, but ‘Record Collection’ has not left a bad taste in my mouth at all. Predictably Ronson has adopted a more electronic, pop sounding direction, and moved away from his renowned reliance on the trumpets, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. The LP boasts a pretty impressive eclectic mix of collaborations featuring artists such as Boy George to D’angelo, although ‘Bang Bang Bang’ is still arguably the best track on the album (and if you have not heard The Count & Sinden remix of it, you should youtube or Spotify it now.) Mark Ronson, in my eyes, has certainly redeemed himself for ‘Version’.

4 out of 5

Monday, 27 September 2010

Wild Beasts at The Troxy – 16/09/2010

The Troxy is a grand art deco venue in the East End of London, a place of grandeur, a place where something special and momentous should happen. For three nights it was the location for the Campfire Trails, an event celebrating folk music, which over the three days featured performances from bands such as Mumford & Sons, White Rabbits and Adam Green. On the second night I had the pleasure of seeing Wild Beasts.

Wild Beasts have been around for a few years now, but have never really got the commercial coverage they deserve. Two Dancers, their second album, has seen them grow from an ok band with huge potential to an extraordinarily amazing band, and the album has been one of my favourites of the year - one that I just could not stop playing. Personally, I think they were the closest rivals to The xx for the Mercury Music Prize. So, I hoped they would live up to my expectations live. They certainly did not disappoint.

The set opened with ‘The Fun Powder Plot’, the first track on Two Dancers, and the audience were in awe of the presence and charisma of Hayden, the lead singer, and his countertenor voice. This gives Wild Beasts an unusual and unique presence which distinguishes them from other bands. The set continued with the band surrounded by a mist of dry ice which was fittingly eerie for songs such as ‘We Still Got The Taste Dancin’ On Our Tongues’. This spread and covered the audience, almost involving them, and thus encouraging them to erupt into a mass sing-along for songs such as ‘All The King’s Men’ and ‘Hooting and Howling’. As a band they were enticing and exciting to watch, and most certainly more than justified their appearance in a grand venue. They announced to an appreciative and eager audience that they were going into the studio in the following week to begin work on their third album - the future holds something promising and special to look forward to, and perhaps they will then receive the recognition that they more than deserve.