Thursday, 30 December 2010
'You With Air' is the new single from Melbourne band Young Magic and with it's slow swampy half time beat brings something interesting to the table and also to the genre that would have probably chosen a double time disco beat if it had fallen into the hands of the record label. Now based in Brooklyn Young Magic have assimilated their new surroundings and this is the finished article.
I don't know how strong a single contender this is having not heard the full album yet but there isn't anything really immediate about any part of it (even after repeated listen throughs.) This seems to be a exercise in having 1 hook and grinding it around and around in the blind attempt to make a finished product.
The B-side 'Sparkly' is more polished and complete but like 'You With Air' relies heavily on the beats and echo choir vocals although in my opinion would have been a better choice as the A side. I think the best hope for both tracks is they fall into the hands of a DJ that gives them a both re-mix as they have the ingredients for big sounding tunes but in this case have been let down by the execution.
Posted by Chris Lancaster at 14:23
Wednesday, 29 December 2010
Now the festive celebrations are once again over for another year and some of you out there (me included) have fistful's of vouchers and pounds all ready to burn at the local record shop/exchange/iTunes here is a quick review of a new record you may be interested in purchasing...
If You Can't Smoke Em', Sell Em'
Being the lowly music appreciator that I am I tend to listen to a lot of music, whether it be from the links I'm sent, CD's, EP's and singles, all expecting me to give my 2 cents about them (in the nicest possible way.) Honestly? Most of it is mediocre or shamelessly poor although every now and then a glint of light shines through and makes its merry way to my playlist which will remain there forever. A glint of light doesn't begin to describe Rodeo Massacre, they blind me.
I'm happy I have the new album If You Can't Smoke Em', Sell Em', because if I just had the single or EP I would be clawing the walls like an aching junkie needing more. I always try my best not to group everyone together and compare to other artists to one another..but. If I had, to and you were the pigeon hole police standing at my door I would say imagine if Jefferson Airplane and The Raconteurs had a super group (for this listen to 'Heaven or Hell'). From the Grace Slick/Janis Joplin/Patti Smith yelps and moans to the mariachi trumpets this is a group that are going to be climbing the cool charts in 2011. With reverb laden 12 string guitars, screaming Hammond organ and powerful vocals this is a record that is going to push them into the mainstream as, shock horror; they have massive songs with hooks and chorus's as well.
I have listened to the record in its entirety 4-5 times now in a row to make sure I'm not making some grave rash decision but it stands up. It’s fucking brilliant. The song writing is top notch, the musicianship and production fits perfectly and even the flute playing which borders being from Ian Anderson licks to Ron Burgundy on occasion but still doesn't outstay its welcome especially on the psych cover of Alice Cooper's 'I'm Eighteen' which sounds like it could have been the original that the 70's hit was taken from instead of the other way around.
There are a lot of bands trying to "do" the 60s thing and more the late 60's. This is genuine appreciation and homage without being pastiche or simple imitation as they sound like themselves and that’s a good thing.
Rodeo Massacre are a London 3 piece who will be touring in 2011 and I for one will be making the pilgrimage to see up close, although as a 3 piece I'm interested in how they are going to create the sound live. For those of you who haven't tuned in, turned on and dropped out I advise you to follow the white rabbit and dive into wonderland feet first.
Posted by Chris Lancaster at 09:25
Thursday, 23 December 2010
Hello readers out there in cyber space, just to let you know that I have loads of stuff slowly building up ready to be posted, but at the moment some of it needs to be printed on another site before I can "officially" post it here, it seems that I have sold out already and my daily blog/diary has turned me into a contractually bound media whore.
Some things to look forward to over the next few weeks/months
Reviews of the new albums and singles from Rodeo Massacre, Young Magic, Miles Kane gig review and exclusive interview as well as other gig reviews including Anna Calvi (also with interview)
in the meantime happy christmas to you all... eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we snuff it!....
*Christmas (Baby Please come home) - Darlene Love
*All Alone At Christmas - Darlene Love & The E Street Band
*I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - The Ronettes
*White Christmas - Otis Redding
*Santa Claus Is Back In Town - Elvis Presley
*Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - The Crystals
*Happy Christmas (War Is Over) - John Lennon
*Fairytale Of New York - The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl
*Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee
*Run Run Rudolph - Chuck Berry
Posted by Chris Lancaster at 09:01
Monday, 20 December 2010
Captain Beefheart.Don Van Vliet. Never the twain ever met although you've seen them in the room occasionally. Trout Mask Replica?, strange fella, mojarve desert tan, slightly sun burnt,clear spot, the Spotlight kid, safe as milk? Definitely, 5 star.
1) Diddy Wah Diddy
2) Sure 'Nuff 'n Yes I Do
3) Zig Zag Wanderer
4) Call On Me
5) Dropout Boogie
6) I'm Glad
8) Ice Cream For Crow
9) Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles
Posted by Chris Lancaster at 14:01
Saturday, 18 December 2010
Restless Hearts And Silent Pioneers
Restless Hearts And Silent Pioneers is the latest offering from the Sheffield 6 piece Screaming Maldini, although before any visions of steel, Arctic Monkeys and Richard Hawley flicker through your fringed brows these mis-guided stereotypes couldn't be further from what is hidden in the grooves of this new EP. With influences collected from Arcade Fire to more abstract and almost Disney influenced classic sweeps that just well….make you smile and brighten your day.
This 4 track EP includes a varied array of sounds and arrangements complete with christmas bells and ghostly harmonies over some old fashioned craft songwriting which is very much against the grain of the times as most bands seem to turn their nose up at a hook, a whistleable chorus and a song that you remember after hearing it for the first time, those cads!. Tracks here include the immediate title track, which begins in an almost Bloc Party (sorry) vein before building up the arrangement with a dance bass line and unfolding circular piano figure which references Coldplay in a world where they actually enjoy themselves and stop crying long enough to smile.
Other tracks include the trumpet led instrumental 're Sledging' along with its classical motifs and whistling clarinet is a pleasure to listen to and the only downside to it would be at clocking in at 2 mins 44 seconds it's not long enough, and although building up into a crescendo it seems to end abruptly. Spoilsports. 'The Dreamer' follows with its full production and vocal choir singing the melody and is one of the few tracks that includes a standard overdriven guitar which is almost shocking when it arrives as it hasn't been something that is missing from other tracks which in itself is a triumph in the rock and pop genre which is dominated by it's inclusion and over use.
Screaming Maldini seem to live in a world where Bacharach and Brian Wilson hang the moon and more alternative bands like Mercury Rev and The Flaming Lips are the bench mark they aim towards as opposed to the latest Babyshambles track to leak from the web. Classic and zen-beauty. File next to Deserter Songs and Song Cycle.
Posted by Chris Lancaster at 15:59
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
The Loves are a Cardiff band who have recently relocated to London and who with this release (their 4th no less!) will be making waves when they hit the circuit in 2011. They are a band that manages to stay both contemporary as well as having one foot in the past in case they need to bring out something Technicolor (they often do). In my opinion they never go too far and become pastiche like or clichéd in their choices and arrangements. Similar to band's such as The Turtles or early Mothers Of Invention from that late 60's time period or even a band from today such as The Brian Jonestown Massacre or The Explorers Club they manage to sound like a group that has been transported to today from the 1960's rather than one who has simply bought Beatle wigs and gulped down fistful of LSD in search of inspiration (Yes I'm talking to you MGMT)
"...Love You" is their new 10 strong collection of songs to date that range from power-pop gems that reference everyone from "A Wizard, A True Star" era Todd Rundgren to scratchy Doo Wop 45's. Previous efforts from The Loves have managed to attract criticism because of their apparent reliance on novelty and joke pop although I think this is totally mis-guided and obtuse as they are clearly bringing something very new to the recently very bland and stagnant indie rock market. Tracks such as "King Kong Blues" (complete with false intro) drop hard from the start and are sure to be a highlight of their live set with its loose bass looping line and bluesy riff. While they have also managed to include tracks such as the first single "Bubblegum" that mixes The Hives with the off beat garage rock of a Nazz track while throwing a late curve ball as it morphs into a 50's era "Earth Angel" style torch song for the last 30 seconds.
Later tracks on the album such as "That Boy Is Mine" and "December Boy" have a wide appeal and make use of the female vocals in the groups arsenal and with more Raveonettes style to their sound show that The Loves can do "straight" as well as music with "eye-brows" to use a Zappa-ism.
The penultimate track of the album is "It's....The End Of The World" and features an audio cameo from ex-Velvet Underground member Doug Yule who play's Jesus, who's holy answer phone message says "hi this is Jesus i'm not here right now, I'm EVERYWHERE...please leave a message after the tone...BEEEP!" and is a slice of fried gold.
I look forward to seeing The Loves when they tour and promote this in early 2011 although I am slightly apprehensive to whether they are more of a studio band and worry that their live set can only fall short in a gig setting. I hope not.
Posted by Chris Lancaster at 21:52
One of the benefit's of getting older is that you start to get a backlog of experiences and (mildly) interesting stories although to actually label them as anecdotes or finally perfected Niven-esque gems might be pushing it.
Blues is where its at children, as my ipod is now charged and keeping me company on the cold winters mornings now I'm letting the "random" function fly constantly and have found it to be bringing up Howlin' Wolf, Elmore James, Albert King and Buddy Guy by the earful. This daily soundtrack has opened up my memory banks and I've remembered a meeting (unplanned as it was) of one of my guitar heroes and influence to everyone from Eric Clapton to Jimi Hendrix, ladies and gentlemen Buddy Guy.....
The scene of the crime for you all is London's Royal Festival hall and after sitting through the frankly pathetic warm up act of The Police's chorus effected guitar twanger Andy Summers and his "jazz" trio which made me for the first time ever start to appreciate Sting.
After the curtain had gone down, a few refreshments later and suddenly the show was on! Horn sections blasting out the Muddy Waters "I Just Want To Make Love To You" with all the balls of a Chicago blues band that you could hope for. The gig progressed and held my attention throughout although my previously mentioned refreshment's started to remind me of their presence and I had to excuse myself and visit the gents, although I had waited for a slow song so I didn't miss any of the fireworks. After I had finished I attempted to walk back into the room to my seat but a firm hand blocked my way and I was told I had to wait till the song finished and in the applause I could slide in, "sorry...house rules"...I could hear the music muffled as it was from the other side of the door and then as the band were winding down they picked up the tempo and dropped straight into "Damn Right I've Got The Blues" and started tearing the neck of the guitar with such fire that the crowd were whipped up into a cheering frenzy. By then I'm almost fighting the doorman to get in and see this natural wonder but "sorry, rules is rules" bloody jobsworth...the cheering got louder and louder while I got more and more disappointed and annoyed out in the foyer.
Then it happened.
The door that had been so firmly shut in my face only minutes before was now open and walking out of it with his polka dot stratocaster was Buddy Guy himself, his guitar plugged into a wireless pack and a few roadies behind him clearing his path while he'd played the solo walking through the crowd, he'd reached the door and was now walking past me and the doorman, he caught my eye, smiled, walked past the bar and then back past me again, all along soloing furiously.
Then it happened.
I don't know why, maybe I wasn't paying attention... It seems like a dream now, definitely in slow motion but I didn't realise my leg was sticking out at an angle.
Then it happened.
Buddy tripped over my converse...down,down,down he went. Like a fat girl hit with a foot ball, he stumbled and fell to one knee, his once riffing Stratocaster now feedback like stabbed seagull...he got his balance back and carried on walking, while shaking his head.
Damn right I had the blues...
Posted by Chris Lancaster at 11:23
Wednesday, 8 December 2010
1940-1980“Boy you’re going to carry that weight a long time….”
It’s been 30 years since John Lennon was assassinated on the doorstep of his adopted home in New York City, and for someone that has such an influence on me it’s hard to imagine (sorry) that I haven’t actually been alive in his lifetime.
Explaining to someone why John Lennon is such an enduring figure still today is easy on some levels (i.e. the music of a generation that possessed a timeless quality to it) but also I think it's the man himself that hold's the attention and universal love. By no means a perfect being or saint he spoke to the everyman and every woman all living their lives together, the up’s and down’s the good times and the bad. He used his fame and voice to speak for the people who weren’t heard. He also was the seed of a new generation that had come out of the post WW2 years. The generation before had lived through the blitz and just wanted some piece and quiet to raise a family and live their lives (and who could blame them) but Lennon’s generation were the “atom bomb” generation where the whole world could end any day now so what’s the point in sitting around and counting the pennies its time for rock and roll! Before Punk, before Metal, before The Prodigy there was John Winston Lennon and he’d do it all better than you 20 years before you’d even think to.
Celebrity grave robbers like Albert Goldman tried to tarnish the image with stories about violence, drugs and painting Lennon is as bad possible light as possible, although who ever made money saying good things about a celebrity?
I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that although I never met John Lennon face to face or had any contact with him on any level I felt that I knew him through his songs and interviews because he didn’t hold back or sugar coat anything (unlike today’s pop stars that demand a copy of the list of questions by a publicist that will scrutinize every question and prepare ready made answers) you could ask John anything and you’d get a honest response which sometimes could be beautiful, angry, funny or cruel depending on the subject, day or mood of him at the time. Interviews concerning his former “fiancé” Paul McCartney have gone from “the only thing you did was yesterday“and “The sound you make is muzak to my ears” to later on “We are like brothers (McCartney), I’d do anything for him and I’m sure it’s the other way around too”.
Quotes and interviews followed Lennon about his life but at the time of saying any of them he 100% believed it and that is why people loved him, his heart was stapled to his sleeve at all times, it was sincere. He did make innocent and sometimes “angry sixth-former” comments too that sounded stupid and mis-guided by the time they hit the press but although bandwagons were jumped on regularly, they were usually jumped off a month later, everything from primal scream therapy to macrobiotic food, tarot cards, David Peel and left wing “smash the state” revolution on the streets politics, even a cheque that he had signed for a charity made it’s way to the IRA (and then later to the newspapers surprisingly) all happened with his good intentions behind them, only to have to apologize to the various complainers down the line ready with a microphone shoved in his face. Influential people don’t get much higher up the pecking order than Lennon at that time, Richard Nixon has been taped while talking to an aid mentioning “Lennon, he could be a problem, he is the type of person that could sway an election” and ordered phone taps and cars to follow him. Can you imagine that happening to Justin Timberlake?
The music in The Beatles from which he was 1 quarter and half of the greatest pop music song writing partnership of the 20th century is without argument and his solo output although short (only 10 years, 5 of which were spent at home looking after his second child Sean and not releasing anything) So with only a possible space of 5 years he released the songs he is most remembered for from this solo period of his life, still an achievement in a world where pop stars take 4 year breaks between releases and tours. Songs like “Imagine” and “Jealous Guy” are already the new standards of today and the former being lifted to an almost spiritual and political anthem which amazingly I never get bored of hearing even after the millionth run through. Not everything he recorded was 5 stars gold, there were some patchy songs here and there but the good outweighed the bad and as only 1 quarter of the greatest band in history he was never going to be able to carry the entire load by himself. Recently his back catalogue his been re-mastered and loaded onto “Spotify” so if you have a free hour dig out these solo year’s gems and turn of your mind, relax and float downstream with him.
01) Instant Karma (We All Shine On)*
02) Gimme Some Truth*
06) Out The Blue
07) Jealous Guy*
08) Oh Yoko!*
09) Aisumasen (I’m Sorry)
10) Cold Turkey
*=produced by Phil Spector (just for your information..haha, FREE PHIL!)
Posted by Chris Lancaster at 10:18
Monday, 6 December 2010
Saturday 11Th December. Its penciled in my diary now so it must be real. Or in other words I've accepted the "event request" on Facebook so it must be real. I am Djing as part of a night of music for one of my old mates who served and did his bit for fun and laughter and rock and roll before exiting the film far too early. Now I'm at a loose end when it comes to track selection. After all this shouldn't be a somber affair as the last thing any one wants on a Saturday night is another wake or run through of the funeral, it needs to be upbeat and loud. But balancing sentiment while still remembering the occasion involved seems to be the worry I'm facing. It's not a greatest hits or perfect play list, hopefully rather a revival of a party heavy night that reminds us that were there the first time around what it used to be like while at the same time giving a night to those that missed it a taste of what came before. New tracks that were made after his passing will be scattered within dyed in the wool classics and I will be uttering the opinion that anyone raising eye brows or flicking NME play lists wondering if mid 90s tracks are being played "ironically" or not will be escorted to the back room for a brief but firm kicking.
Here are a couple of choices that will definitely be getting a play.
1) Head To Toe - Kings of Leon
2) Fade Away - Oasis
3) Made Of Stone - The Stone Roses
4) This Is Music - The Verve
5) Club Foot - Kasabian
6) Stay Young - Oasis
7) Local Boy In A Photograph - Stereophonics (I know! Its amazing that they were once amazing)
All requests will be taken with the contempt they deserve.*
*requests basically mean "i don't like what your playing, play THIS"....
Posted by Chris Lancaster at 11:17
Thursday, 2 December 2010
December is officially here and all of the news stands and newsagents are full of various rags listing the "official" BEST OF the years music, Q magazine will be full of the Elton John's of the world, MOJO with Americana and London Roundhouse non commercial releases and NME either Arcade Fire or a myspace band that started yesterday and broke up before the record was released.
As part and parcel of me having and operating a blog is that occasionally I actually contribute to it I think it's only right and proper for me to include my list of what ditties have been clogging up my eardrums in the past 12 months, some will be new and some will probably (definitely) be older although personally I think it's all relative as the first time I hear a track or album then it's "new" in my opinion.
Here goes my tracks of the year (who buys whole albums any more right?)...me that's who...but that's beside the point...*deep breath*
01) READY TO START - ARCADE FIRE (best track from their 2010 album "The Suburbs")
02) YOU KNOW THAT I'M NO GOOD - WANDA JACKSON (this Amy Winehouse cover produced by Jack White for Third Man records does the impossible and makes Winehouse's version sound like the cover!)
03) PICK YOUR BATTLES - ELI 'PAPERBOY' REED (Still one of my favourite artist's around at the moment, amazing live and even better on record. Bringing real R&B and soul back to the masses)
04) PYRO - KINGS OF LEON (from their latest album, and not hidden under a layar of stadium ooohs and aaaahs)
05) TELEPHONE - LADY GAGA (Just for the "wha-wha-what did you say" bit alone)
06) LOVE WON'T BE LEAVING - ANNA CALVI (youtube and myspace this badboy...sorry girl)
07) FUCK YOU - CEE LO GREEN (How could I not mention this? A great,great pop song with motown a'la Four Tops hook and vocals)
08) BETTER THINGS - SHARON JONES & THE DAP KINGS (from the attention the Dap Kings got being the backing band for Amy Winehouse during the "Back To Black" sessions they are finally getting the recognition they deserve. Sharon Jones can wail, moan, and seduce you with her voice..all in the same song usually)
09) RAINBOWS IN GASOLINE - THE GHOST OF A SABER TOOTH TIGER (This is the new band from Sean Lennon and his girlfriend and muse/model Charlotte Kemp Muhl, acoustic whimsy with strong melodies)
10) INHALER - MILES KANE (While we wait for the upcoming The Last Shadown Puppets second album in 2011 we have this single from the soon to be released solo album to tide us over, expect great things, loads of 60s hooks and winks without being cheesy and obvious...wonderful)
Posted by Chris Lancaster at 09:24