Tag Archives: Music

Reviewed… The Futureheads – ‘This Is Not The World’

A week after this album was released, and it has become a firm favourite of mine! After two albums which i consider to be two great albums The Futureheads have continued their momentum, and perhaps created their best yet! Although the second album, ‘News and Tributes’, did not receive favourable praise from the press, it did reflect a much more experimental and challenging album, something which is not a problem on ‘This Is Not The World’.

The Futureheads return to a format which is both familiar to them, and popular with their fans – as they go for all out rock. Straight off from the opening track, and first proper single, ‘The Beginning of the Twist‘, the band set the tone of the album, as they go from one heavy, guitar-driven pop song to the next – this band certainly know how to write a catchy chorus!

Every track has an element that can get stuck in your head, be it a certain riff or a memorable lyric, and this is what makes ‘This Is Not The World’ a success! The Futureheads don’t try to be too clever or different, but instead craft an album that you will want to listen to over and over again – something which quite a few bands fail to do!!!

Of course, there is a low point on the album, which is track seven, ‘Hard to Bear’, with lyrics which are just slightly cliched and a riff which fails to inspire. However, all is forgiven, when you listen to the great rock tunes of ‘Sale of the Century’, ‘Think Tonight’, and ‘Broke Up The Time‘ – which is just a fantastic song, reason alone for buying the album.

The highlight for me is ‘Sleet’, which could fit on either of the band’s first two albums, and it is this, which reveals what the band have done right – they have managed to combine all of the elements that have made their first two albums great, and put them together to make an even better album…

This may not be the world…but it is one heck of a fine album!!!

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Filed under Music, New Release, Reviewed..., The Futureheads

To Mr Raymonde…

I was shocked and surprised to find a comment on my blog today from Mr Simon Raymonde himself (ex-Cocteau Twins/founder of Bella Union), suggesting that i was unfair in my criticisms of Bella Union and himself… I am writing this post in the hope that he might read it (as i have no way of contacting him directly…), and as a sort of retraction of my comments! His post can be read below:

‘hello, i noticed your comments about my poor job promoting the Autumns and have to say i found that rather ignorant and ill-considered. i have said many times in the press that the Autumns album is one of the best we have ever released and its lack of coverage in the european press has been a massive disappointment to me, but i am afraid i dont write or edit the magazines and our press department pushed the album in exactly the same way we do all our bands. why one band is revered and another ignored is not something i have any influence over…it is to the journalists and radio producers who you should be aiming your ire…i signed them cos i love them and believe in them and have spent many thousands of pounds to back up my belief and i will continue to push the music towards people as long as i am able to…

simon raymonde march 08’

To be honest, i had actually forgotten that i had been quite so harsh on him, and feel slightly disappointed that he now has the view that i was overly critical! Here is what i posted on November 23rd 2007:

i’m just hoping that Bella Union decides to do some actual work in promoting the album and new single (’Killer In Drag’ is supposed to be out early next year), as the amount of coverage and support The Autumns have received from their record label is pretty awful – the band deserve so much better, as the new album has had barely any press!!! If i was in The Autumns, i would be knocking on Simon Raymonde’s door demanding an explanation, but i’m not, so that won’t be happening!!!

Reading it back, i understand how it would appear…i am perhaps too harsh on Bella Union, but that is only borne out of my frustrations at the Autumns being ignored by the media and public – i understand that Bella Union will put the same efforts in promoting every band at the same level! However, in my opinion, The Autumns are probably the finest band around at the moment, which leads me to question why they are not one of the biggest acts, not only on the Bella Union label, but in the world(!)…

Of course, there were some issues that i had with Bella Union that i did not write about in the post, but will do so here to validate my original comments: Continue reading

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Filed under Bella Union, Fake Noise From a Box of Toys, Music, The Autumns

I’m NOT bored of ‘Cheap and Cheerful’…

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This post is dedicated to the new Kills album, as i cannot get their new single, ‘Cheap and Cheerful‘ (out some time around March), out of my head – it is so damn catchy…and is hopefully a sign that the new album is going to be good, especially considering that the first single ‘U.R.A Fever‘ is also amazing!!!

I recently bought their second album ‘No Wow’, and found that, whilst i like most of it, at times, it does lack invention, and can be a bit boring if you’re not in the right mood to listen to it, so i am hoping that the new album is a bit more consistent…and on the basis of the two singles, it would seem that it is certainly going to be more experimental!

I do find it strange though, that The Kills seem to be one of those bands that divide opinion in quite a big way – a lot of comments on their videos are positive, whilst at the same time, there is also a significant number of negative remarks, such as how they are ‘trying to be cool’, and all of the scenester-bashing stuff, but i don’t think it is fair! Just because a band produce a certain type of music, they can be quickly lumped in with a certain scene or crowd, without a lot of thought being put into the generalisation!!

This appears to be the case with a lot of bands, although i admit, some of them do deserve it…but that is obviously my bias and tastes shining through – it is hard to be completely objective in anything nowadays!!!

Anyway, back on topic, i can’t wait for the new Kills album…and they are also touring a load from March to May, and details can be found on their Myspace below!!!
‘Midnight Boom’ out on March 10th – The Kills Myspace

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Do awards really matter anymore?

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So, i was sitting here, thinking of something to write about, when i realised just how irrelevant awards are nowadays! At least for me anyway…

If i saw an album in a shop, saying ‘Winner of …….’, i wouldn’t immediately think “ooh, i wonder what that album is like” – in fact, i don’t think i would spend any more time than a second thinking about that statement. That is how little i think of awards nowadays! I mean, who can actually name an award that is credible anymore???

I suppose i am more of the opinion that, if something is good, then an artist, or filmmaker or whoever, should be pleased with the fact that they have made a product that meets their ideas…and should therefore not try to promote the fact that they have won ‘awards’. For example, film adverts always include ‘Nominated/Winner of 2 Academy Awards’, and then have, in tiny writing, ‘…for best costumes and best toilet facilities’…i mean, they are normally awards that have no real purpose to a viewer!

Companies try to suck people in with boasting about such and such an award, but i bet that most people only buy/listen to what they actually want to buy/listen to, not just what is forced down their throats by the big corporations…

…at least, i hope that people are still capable of independent thought…

Right, now i’m going to go out and buy Mark Ronson, Kate Nash and Arctic Monkeys

(I’m not really, this is just a comment about how little i think of the Brit Awards or any other award ceremony that is dictated by the mainstream…or is hosted by Sharon Osbourne!!!)

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Anticipation…the curse of the human mind?

          I don’t know…whenever i hear that a band i like is going to be releasing a new album, i get really excited, and usually start to build it up in my head…then, when i hear some snippets or the first single, i either get even more excited, or become worried that it is not meeting my expectations. This is why, anticipation is the curse of the human mind – if we did not anticipate something, or build up expectations, then there would be no disappointment – and who likes to be disappointed?

Luckily, 2007 was not that disappointing in terms of album releases – i probably built up the new Autumns’ album way too much, but i was not at all upset with it when it came out… On the other hand, the Smashing Pumpkins album did not fill me with joy – yes, we got the awesome Tarantula, but we also got the last few songs, which i can barely stand listening to…if i’m too tired to change the CD, then i will listen to them, but i don’t enjoy it! Another album that i was disappointed with, was Battles – again, Atlas was a great song, but i got so bored when i first listened to the album, that i actually started to work (!) to give me something to do!

Anyway, the whole point of me writing this, is to have a quick run-down of some of the albums / artists i’m looking forward to hearing to this year (in no particular order & i may also forget to include some on my list…i don’t have a brilliant memory!) :

The Futureheads: ‘This is not the World’ – May 2008

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With the follow-up to 2006′ ‘News and Tributes’ The Futureheads sound like they have gone back to their rockier roots – i love both the first and second albums equally, so i can’t wait to get my hands on this album…their myspace page has a few new tracks on it, all of which sound immense…

Futureheads Myspace

The Dears – Unknown title and release date

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I have been listening to The Dears so much recently, and ‘No Cities Left’ is a masterpiece – a true work of beautiful art, so my expectations are high for the new album, which should be out this year – i have a feeling that this is going to be their best yet…so i’m hoping that they will prove me right!

The Dears Myspace

Brendan Benson – Unknown title and release date

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Brendan Benson is one of the best singer-songwriters around, and his new album is certainly one that i can’t wait to get my hands on – if it is as good as the last two, then i know that i’m in for a treat! Here’s hoping we get some news soon!!

Brendan Benson Myspace

The Raconteurs / Jack White solo

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I thought i would combine these two to save space…The Raconteurs album is going to be good – no question about it! If you put two amazing songwriters like Jack White and Brendan Benson together, then it is impossible for the music to be bad!

As for Jack White, supposedly, he is working on 2/3 albums besides The Raconteurs for 2008, one of which is rumoured to be a solo album – i shall be constantly on the look-out for information!!

The Raconteurs Myspace

The Kills – ‘Midnight Boom’ – March 10th

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Referred to as being nothing more than music for ‘scenesters’, i really don’t care, the first two singles off of ‘Midnight Boom’ are so damn catchy, that i am listening to them virtually every day, which means that i can’t wait for this album!

The Kills Myspace

Guillemots – ‘Red’ – March 24th

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I thought that their ‘Through The Windowpane’ album was beautiful, but also a bit hit-and-miss at times, so i’m hoping for a more consistent album this time, but with all the quirkiness of the first still there – we shall see!!!

Guillemots Myspace

That is it for my main focus, as i know that these albums are definitely coming out this year (all being well!), but i am also hopeful that new releases from Modest Mouse (Starting to record next month), Andrew Bird (currently recording) and The Cribs (have been in the studio with Johnny Marr) might be popping up at some point in 2008, but there are obviously no guarantees!!!

I also wish for new releases from Iron Maiden and The Autumns, but the chances of that happening this year are slim-to-none, so i will have to make do with all my expectations for the others…

…sigh…i hope they’re good…

…peace…a.b…

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Filed under Music, New Release, Rumours

Albums of 2007 – Number 1: The Autumns

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The Autumns – Fake Noise From A Box Of Toys

Well, did you really expect me to put anything else as my best album of the year??? Seriously???

Sure, Radiohead almost took it, and many others were close, but for me, there is no better album in 2007 than The Autumns’ ‘Fake Noise From A Box Of Toys’…as i stated at the start of my review in September!!!

So why is this album the best??? Quite simply, it is the amazing songs, the high quality musicianship and the fact that you can listen to this album again, and again, and again…and so on…I certainly have listened to it repeatedly since i got my copy of it! How many other albums can you seriously say that about?

There are many highlights on this album, and if i listed them all, then i would be writing for hours – there are so many layers to the album that you discover new ones every time you listen to it…and this is one of the main reasons as to why it is such an enjoyable listen, as The Autumns have crafted an album so beautiful and complex, that you can uncover these hidden gems and appreciate the album even more!

Sometimes, i feel that i can not fully explain The Autumns as i would like to…at times i feel that nobody can put into words just how – for want of a better word – perfect this band is! I don’t know, perhaps i am being a crazy fan, or maybe, i just get this band (i like to think it’s the latter)…as no other band at the moment has such an influence on me as The Autumns do, and at the end of the day, if a band can move you emotionally, or influence you musically, then that band has to be doing something right!!!

In terms of musical quality, ‘Fake Noise…’ is superb, as you get a diverse range of styles and influences evident in the songs. For me, the best tracks on the album (at least, at this moment in time), are ‘Clem’, a ferocious yet beautiful track; ‘Killer In Drag’, a supreme example of top-class indie rock; ‘Night Music’, one of the most gorgeous vocal performances you could ever hear; ‘Glass Jaw’, great musical shifts with rocky guitars and fun vocals; and finally, ‘Adelaide’, which is again, another fun, upbeat number!!!

However, i also love the moments of sheer beauty on the album – ‘The Midnight Knock’ and ‘The Beautiful Boot’ – which add a nice ambient/shoegazer element to the otherwise more uptempo stuff such as the pounding guitars and beats of lead single ‘Boys’.

Then, of course, you have the epic nature of ‘Turning Strangers…’ and ‘Oh My Heart’, which… WAIT A MINUTE …am i just writing a full review again…yikes, i think i might…

So, if you hadn’t already guessed it, i love this album…and i’m not just saying that – this album would be in my Top 10 all-time greatest albums…and that means a lot in my book!!! If i had one recommendation of an album to buy from 2007, The Autumns would win every time…and i just hope that we don’t have to wait another 3 years to get the next album…as i’m sure it will be just as good!!!

And this concludes my ‘Albums of 2007’…i’m sure that many would disagree with me on some or all of my choices…but these are my favourites…and that is all that matters to me!!!

…all i have to say now, is HAPPY CHRISTMAS…i am sure that i will post again before the new year, so keep reading…

…Thanks…a.b…

The Autumns Official

The Autumns Myspace

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Albums of 2007 – Number 2: Radiohead

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Radiohead – In Rainbows

Ok then, i am going to start this short review with an admission…and a shameful one at that…this Radiohead album is probably my album of the year – it was so, so close between this and my number one that there was nothing between them!!!

So why then, is Radiohead my number two??? Two words for you – “Disc Two”…yes, that is right…after hearing the second disk of In Rainbows, it is impossible for me to put it at number one – not because the songs on disc 2 are bad…but because they are so good, in particular ‘Down is the new up’, ‘Up on the Ladder’ and ‘Banger and Mash’ – i cannot believe that these songs were not deemed good enough to be put on the main album, as only ’15 Step’, ‘Bodysnatchers’ and ‘Jigsaw Falling Into Place’ are of the same quality on the actual album…

And this leaves me wondering why Radiohead couldn’t find a place for these songs on In Rainbows…yes, i can see that they maybe don’t fit the mood – they are more ‘rocky’ than the bluesy tone of In Rainbows…but the songs are that good, that they would find a place on any other bands albums!!! I think that this might be the curse of ‘Hail To The Thief’…which is a great album, but is let down by a few songs…some filler…and it would have been a much better album if it was only 10/11 songs long…and so, in a way, i guess Radiohead might have been a bit scared by this!!!

This is the reason why In Rainbows is not my number one, because i have to judge it on the 10 songs that make up the album, and i feel that they left 3 of the best ones out…but it is still a fine album!!

I am sure that it will probably go down as Radiohead’s ‘love’ album, as Thom Yorke has claimed that many of the songs relate to relationships, and the tone of the album is soothing and romantic, except for the vicious ‘Bodysnatchers’, which is probably the best track on the album – the heavily distorted guitars, Yorke’s paranoid/parasitic lyrics and its amazing tempo…one of Radiohead’s best songs full stop!!!

I have already mentioned my other two stand-out tracks…the dance beat majesty of ’15 Step’ and the great ‘Jigsaw…’, but the other tracks are good aswell…much more romantic than any other Radiohead album, it is an intriguing new direction from Radiohead…and a good one at that!!!

In my first review of this album, i questioned whether In Rainbows could ever be deemed a classic album as OK Computer is…two months on, and this Radiohead album is already a classic in my opinion, even without the second disc!!! It has everything that you love about Radiohead, and at the end of the day, that is all you need to know when reading this review…In Rainbows is just pure Radiohead, and i love it!!!

…My album of the year shall hopefully be revealed tomorrow…to mark Christmas Day…so read it when you can…

…a.b…

Radiohead Official

Radiohead Myspace

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