Sunday, 30 November 2008

Elbow: The Seldom Seen Kid

Cover I'm often left feeling guilty about Elbow.

I came away from their Delamere gig feeling slightly disappointed. Whilst they were clearly on form, and all the songs were of high quality, I said at the time:

"Most (if not all) of Elbow's songs are quite heavy. There's nothing with vigor, nothing with "get up and go". Whilst I still say that every single song was very impressive, 90 minutes of it (including encore) did end up being a bit too much. Short bursts are brilliant, such a long set I'm not too sure."

Their fourth album was released back in March, and yet it wasn't until after they won the Mercury Prize that I ventured out and bought it. And now it's taken 6 weeks to actually put finger to keyboard to write a review of it.

But, I think there's something extra here. Perhaps I just wasn't in an Elbow "mood" back in June. Because, after hearing more and more tracks from the album, there was only one group I wanted to win the Mercury. And the reason it's taken so long to review the album is because it's been in the CD player in my car for most of that period.

Elbow's music is heavy. It's powerful. And this makes in brilliant. The Seldom Seen Kid just proves this. And, after listening to it again and again - a truly worthy winner of the Mercury

It takes less than a minute for the album to state it's intent, with the powerful chord in Starling. It makes you sit up and listen. Listen to the brilliant lyrics.

We made the moon our mirrorball. The streets an empty stage. The city sirens violins. Everything has changed. (Mirrorball)

A modern take on romanticism. There's haunting melodies (Weather to Fly), tuneful duets (The Fix), and true brilliance in what is still a strong contender for Tune of the Year (One Day Like This).

Not one bad track. In one way, I ended up being surprised by how much I like it. But, I think deep down, I should have expected it. And it's a very worthwhile purchase even if, like me, it's taken you a while a figure it out.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Bruised by a pirate

TOTW 2008 - #48

So, as we rush headlong towards the final month of year, hints of the Christmas record market are appearing.

However, enough of Terry Wogan and Aled Jones (which I'm sure most people will agree is much better than whoever wins the X-Factor), so here's Pete and the Pirates. No Somalian reference required.

OK, so it's not a video, or even a full clip - but Lammo's band of the moment are back on form with Jennifer (15 Dec). Catchy chorus, sing along melody - it's guitary indie stuff, but different enough. It stands no chance of being number 1 on the 25th - but so what? I love it too.

In the past, I've been dismissive of Jools Holland. He's got a new album out, and once again it's him playing Honky Tonk with people trying to sing over the top of him. But, I still like The Informer with Ruby Turner. It's meant to be a jazzy tune - so the Rhythm and Blues orchestra are right at home. The album's out now - and I'm sure for some it's a definite stocking filler.

Another honourable mentions is due to The Futureheads - I Wouldn't Be Like This if you were here (7 Dec) finally getting into my subconcious, with an almost punk take on the tune.

But, as I need a new mp3 player (thinking of combining it with a new phone - suggestions welcome), I'm drawn back to this:

Whilst I don't want an ipod, the tunes on the adverts are always pretty good. It's bouncy, yet mellow. It's unusual, yet simple. It's a strange crossmatch when you think about it, there's not much too it - but it's really enjoyable. Which is all we really need.

Bit of a mystery

This is why I'm not a proper music journo.

I went to see the Zutons on Thursday, and sat down this morning to write a proper review of them and their support act.

Unfortunately, I've hit a major stumbling block in that I don't know who the support act were. Which is a shame, as they were pretty good.

The thing is, it wasn't on any pre-gig literature I found; they probably announced it during the gig, but I can never hear what they say during a gig by virtue of the volume from the speaker stacks; and I can't find any clue despite much googling today.

So, I'll draft the Zutons part of it - but do want to know who the support band were so I can talk about them properly.

If you know, post a comment or e-mail me. Particularly if you are the band yourself!!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Never say Never again

OK, so this Alphabetising is a week late - but never mind, I'll have to reset it to run fortnightly from now. It'll be over 53 weeks instead of 52 - no major problem.

More unfortunately, it's not quite as detailed as normal, because I've not yet finished tidying up the music I had backed up, so can't immediately look at my library in alphabetical order for ideas. You see, without looking at a list it's very easy to forget tracks.

I'm thinking "Never" is an obvious choice. Unfortunately, it does produce quite a pathetic Bond track - it's not even from a proper Bond movie! And other tracks.

Maybe there's some "new" things instead. And also New York - which thankfully yields some better results. And I can also consider the night.

I'm sure there's many better suggestions - but, at the end of the day, it's just nice stuff.

The Letter N

Saturday, 22 November 2008

A Change from the chaos. Perhaps.

Before I go on, many thanks to Kev for filling the forced void last week. Unfortunately, it's also meant I'm behind on Alphabetising, and I've lost the Unsung I was in the process of writing on the old laptop. However, normal service should now be resumed (unless I break the replacement replacement laptop). Again.

TOTW 2008 - #47

Howling Bells - Into the Chaos - is a tune I'm not sure whilst I like it. It's just different I think

So, I don't like covers that often. But, once in a while...

That's Seal, with A Change is Gonna Come. You must recongise it, the opening line is just sensational. Orignally by Sam Cooke, this version looses nothing from the original. Class is actually a fair description.

Honourable mentions:
Kaiser Chiefs - Good Days, Bad Days Another catchy tune. Not much more to say about it though really...

Boyzone - Better. I know, it's wrong, and video is far too politically correct. Still, that might be why it's got a mention - so I can rant about the video. The idea of Boyzone having a video featuring a gay-love interest in their heyday is unimaginable. Now though, I suppose their fans are more accepting (ie. older). It's back to classic Boyzone ballads, and in that respect, it's a decent song when you've got the Mrs round - but that's as complimentary as I think I can get.

Alesha Dixon - The Boy does nothing. Delayed comment on this one, out since 10th November, funky, souly, great beat - what's not to love?

Ones to watch:
A new category, because I've heard glimpses of Glasvegas - Please come back home (1st Dec) on RadMac, and Pete and The Pirates - Jennifer (15 Dec -Digital) on RoundTable. Both are definitely prospective future TOTWs - but only prospective so far. Subject to airplay, expect future mentions before too long...

Monday, 17 November 2008

TOTW 17/11/08 : Chillout with the Kings of Leon and Friends.

You were expecting someone else? Our beloved snake like lawyer has suffered a bit of a problem in the technical area - his Laptop has packed up. So I gets a worried Text asking me if I can write this week's TOTW. Not I might add at the greatest moment, I've just finished 3 videos for a certain motorsport forum shot at a press do for the WRC, and none of them involved this music, so bear with me.

Lets start off with Asp's definate choice for TOTW, and I agree with him because this is fantastic. The Kings of Leon are on a roll at the moment with the release of their latest album, and "Use Somebody" has been unavoidable. It's a cracking track and definately deserves it's place at the top of the tree this week.

As usual he's given me the usual shortlist for the rest of them. so I'm only choosing the second place. Not that that's a problem since I would have chosen Leon for the first spot ... STOP WAFFLING STIGGY.

There is a distinctly acoustic feel to the rest of these, so better get on with it. Firstly, I've never heard of Shortwave Set, but I liked what I heard with "Glitches 'n' bugs". They do sound rather familiar though, can't think who I'm thinking of mind. Definately worth a listen if you want something not as full on as the Kings, but not too relaxing.

That honour goes to "The Leisure Society" who live up to their name beautifully with "The Last of the Melting Snow". It's a lovely laid back music just perfect to relax to. Sunlounger maybe, Ibiza definately not. It's just the sort of thing I'd have on my iPod for those sleepless nights...

Speaking of iPods...

That's the bizzarely named "Chairlift" and "Bruises". Which is actually a pretty good listen if you're after a bit of chillout with a beat. Although her voice does go a bit odd on the high notes, which is interesting.

So, one left, and it's the one I like the least; "School of Seven Bells" - " Half asleep". Whilst it's not actually that bad [reminds me of Ladyhawke from a few weeks back for some reason] I have to say that I'm not overly keen on it [just typed the band name there twice, I'm going mad] and so, your second place for the honours this week is...

Just relax with the interesting pictures... Enjoy!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Surprised to be liking them

TOTW2008 - #45

Come backs are a strange thing. Grace Jones - definitely not my favourite artist of all time. OK, she has had some good hits - but she's a bit of weirdo though. That all said, William's Blood (10 Nov) is really catchy.

I'm also very surprised that I'm still liking Coldplay. Lost! (10 Nov) makes it two songs in a row (I think). I think it's the drum beat, makes it really toe-tapping. I don't think there's much to it, but that makes it somewhat anthemic.

Honourable mentions:

Kings of Leon - Use somebody (12 Dec)

Santogold - Say Aha (24 Nov)

Airborne Toxic Event - Gasoline (17 Nov)

Howling Bells - Into the Chaos (17 Nov)

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Mr & Mrs

Plenty of classic tunes beginning with the letter "M". Comment really isn't required for the most of them - so here you go. The letter M

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Kids of Today

An interesting side affect of now wokring for a living is the fewer "honourable mentions" per week.
Which, obviously, means a smaller 'shortlist' for the last chance - particularly as some mentions later become TOTW. This is what's left:

Late of the Pier - Bathroom Gurgle
Friendly Fires - Paris
White/Keys - Another way to die
MGMT - Kids
Boyzone - Love you anyway
MIA - Paper Planes
Sia - Soon we'll be found
Sugarbabes - Girls

Looking at that list, I'm still surprised that one in particular didn't make it as a TOTW at any point. After all, I love the band, have their album, and often listen to it. I think it just didn't get the airplay when I was listening to the radio. And, there's no official video, which couldn't have helped. Kids of today eh, no effort...

(Here's an unofficial one)

Saturday, 1 November 2008

A bit of a theme

TOTW2008 - #44

I'm sure I've done this before. Selecting as TOTW two female artists. Two particular female artists to be exact. I know they've both been TOTWs on more than one occasion each.

Both are of that new soul that I'm always on about, both are very powerful singers, and I like both of these new songs. Quite different - as you'll see from the video (sorry, only one I could find that was embeddable), the first could be a Bond theme - dramatic, orchestral. The second, however, is a Bob Dylan cover - with singer, piano, and solo violin. Just beautiful.

Duffy - Rain on your parade (Nov 17th)

Adele - Make me feel my love (Oct 27th)