• [My Gang] Jonathan Wilson – Natural Rhapsody : Reco of the Week 24 Sept 11

    24 sept. 2011, 17h02m par Babs_05

    Track: Natural Rhapsody [Soundcloud]
    Artist: Jonathan Wilson
    Album: Gentle Spirit (8 Aug 2011, Bella Union)
    [ Soundcloud | Spotify | We7 | mflow ]
    Tags: , , ,
    Video: Click the pic...

    YouTube, official video


    Something for late summer/start of autumn, when lazy, hazy days of lost afternoons are still to be had and there's another wear or two of those summer dresses.

    This week's recommended track is Natural Rhapsody from Gentle Spirit, technically Jonathan Wilson's second album, the first ending up a little bit lost.



    Background: (from BBC review)
    Wilson may be a new name to us but to the cognoscenti of America’s alt-roots scene he’s a mover and shaker. He has played on Jenny Lewis, Gary Louris (The Jayhawks) and Vetiver albums; has produced records for others (check out the equally Canyon-coloured quartet Dawes); and Jackson Browne was his special guest on his UK stage debut. He holds regular jam sessions attended by the above and more besides, from Wilco to The Black Crowes. It’s not hard to hear why his little black book must be bulging. Wilson specialises in vintage gear, and Gentle Spirit sounds like the product of such equipment – warm, wistful and golden-hued, coated in creamed harmonies – but also, crucially, alive.
    Natural Rhapsody comes in at nearly 9 minutes, slow-paced and laid back. A mix of Radiohead's Subterranean Homesick Alien and Pink Floyd, it invites you to escape. The video does much the same, inviting you to a picnic then going a bit Alice in Wonderland.





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    Admin: Stats as of today:

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    Video
    Date Added: Jun 28, 2011
    Views: 5,075, Comments: 4, Likes: 29, Dislikes: 0, Ratings: 29, Favorites: 32


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  • [My Gang] Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi - The World : Reco of the Week 10 May 11

    10 mai 2011, 17h50m par Babs_05

    Track: The World [Soundcloud]
    Artist: Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi
    Album: Rome (16 May 2011, EMI)
    [ We7 | Spotify | mflow | 3voor12 ]
    Tags: ,
    Video: Click the pic...

    YouTube, Rome trailer


    Oblivious to hype as ever, when I first heard this track and then the album, I thought I was listening to an original soundtrack. This track in particular, The World, has end credits written all over it.

    'The World' features Jack White and closes the five year project, the album Rome.

    The project between producer Danger Mouse and Italian composer Daniele Luppi was to create an album inspired by Ennio Morricone's music for spaghetti westerns, staying as close as possible to the original 60s/70s music. They recorded on analogue tape and used vintage equipment, recording the album at Rome's Forum Studios, formerly Ortophonic Studios, a converted church and founded amongst others by Morricone. Some of the musicians who recorded on Once Upon a Time in the West and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly were enlisted, as was the soprano singer Edda Dell'Orso who contributed to the music for 'The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly'. Further, they brought in Cantori Moderni, the choir put together by Alessandro Alessandroni for 'The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly'.
    Daniele Luppi: It was really the dream to reunite the Cantori Moderni 40 years later. It was a choir put together by Alessandro Alessandroni – think about the Sergio Leone movies, the Morricone soundtracks with those beautiful soprano melodies. Alessandroni was not only the choirmaster, but his whistle is all over those movies. It makes a sound that you could not put together with other singers. [Source: The Guardian]
    Jack White was invited to write the lyrics and appears on The Rose with the Broken Neck, Two Against One, and The World. Norah Jones was brought in later for the female vocals (Season's Trees, Black, and Problem Queen). The video (above) explains more.



    The result is a mix of old and new. The authenticity of the sound and feel is undoubtable, but to fully appreciate this album, you need to love the work of both Morricone and modern trip-hop. Online, there is much criticism for the 'weaker' tracks, performed by Norah Jones, complaints being that they don't measure up. I don't think it's that so much as you need to expand your mind and take in Morricone via Massive Attack. Listen to Norah Jones as you might Emiliana Torrini and it all falls into place.

    Fans of 'The Good, The Bad and the Ugly' trilogy and Morricone's music for them are ecstatic, as are fans of Danger Mouse, who turns everything he touches to gold. Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi have found the right blend of contemporary classical, 60s lounge jazz and 60s/70s sensual pop. It's cinematic in sound and feel throughout, sprawling and expansive, crossing over to modern trip-hop and back again. Norah Jones is unrecognisable as the breathy 70s songstress and Jack White, too, introduces qualities in his vocals we haven't heard yet. As an exercise, the project is a triumph.



    'The World' was the first track I heard and the one I keep playing on repeat, making it an obvious choice for this week's article. The most striking thing about the track is Jack White's stretched, strained high vocal, tuneful and passionate. Surrounding that is every gorgeousness from a spaghetti western, the choir, the modern psychedelic 60s organ and the distant bell. In contrast to the darkness and melancholy of the rest of the album, 'The World' is brighter and more upbeat, dancey even. It maintains the sultry heat of the previous tracks and the themes of love, death and happiness, wrapping things up with a feeling of hope. The only downside is it is a little repetitive, but as end credits to a film, it would work.

    The album is out next week and is streaming on the sites listed below.

    Rolling Stone - listen now
    NPR - first listen
    The Guardian - full stream


    Further reading:

    http://romealbum.com/ - official site
    BBC review
    Wikipedia - Rome (album)
    Pitchfork - Danger Mouse/Jack White Project Details Unveiled
    The Guardian - Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi: how we built Rome, 8 November 2010
    NOWNESS - exclusive interview
    prefix mag - Danger Mouse To Release Ennio Morricone Homage with Daniele Luppi, Jack White, Norah Jones, Nov 29 2010
    IMDB: music recorded at Forum Studios, Rome



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    Video
    Date Added: Mar 25, 2011
    Views: 68,784, Comments: 41, Likes: 303, Dislikes: 3, Ratings: 307, Favorites: 218


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  • [My Gang] Cat's Eyes – The Best Person I Know : Reco of the Week 03 May 11

    3 mai 2011, 15h42m par Babs_05

    Track: The Best Person I Know [Soundcloud]
    Artist: Cat's Eyes
    Album: Cat's Eyes (11 April 2011, Polydor)
    [ We7 | Spotify | mflow ]
    Tags: , ,
    Video: Click the pic...

    YouTube, audio upload


    I have two albums of the week this week, Cat's Eyes, the new side-project from The Horrors frontman, Faris Badwan, and The Rentals - The Rentals Present: Resilience (A Benefit Album for the Relief Effort In Japan), another side-project, this time from Matt Sharp, former bass player for Weezer.

    In the days after the biggest and best royal wedding in 30 years, I thought a love song would be in order, but not being a fan of the mushy slushy stuff, this was a bit of a task for me. One that stands out is The Best Person I Know, a 60s girl-group sounding track that is not only beautifully done, but sweet enough without being saccharine and therefore, most acceptable.

    But first, the happy couple.


    [Source: The Mirror]


    According to reports, a third of the planet watched the royal wedding live, thanks to satellite television and the internet. Google had a link on its homepage to the live transmission on YouTube. Twitter was insane with hundreds of tweets per second; and for once, happy tweets far outweighed the miserable ones. The Palace itself kept people abreast of updates. Regardless of stance or cynicism, there was little doubt of the romance and the genuine friendship between the bride and groom. They each married their best friend.



    'The Best Person I Know' appears both on the new album and the Broken Glass EP, released a few months ago. Pared back and minimal with pitch-perfect ethereal and echoey vocals, it's The Shangri-La's via dream pop. The music is familiar to fans of The Horrors, shoegaze and fuzzy, but introduced now is a Burt Bacharach sensibility and lush orchestration. The lyrics support the dreaminess of the music, repeating the same lines, themselves constructed as simply as possible. They could be lines written by a teenage hand on the cover of an exercise book. It's a back-to-basics love song, back to what really matters and what moves us most.


    Are they? Aren't they?


    The track is typical of some of the album but not all. It reminds me a lot of the Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan albums, the voice of the fairy angel contrasted against the beastly devil-type. Faris Badwan and opera soprano Rachel Zeffira avoid going down the same road too much. Instead, they have created an album with an overall girl-group 60s feel with tracks that branch off to explore different avenues. So there are exceptionally light and airy tracks and later, some of those beastly devil ones. The gothic darkness of The Horrors remains and what we're seeing more of now is a sense of playfulness. I wrote about The Horrors before and I noticed it then. Now, it's more pronounced, and it's with that playfulness, with a light, unworried touch, that the album has been created.

    BBC review:
    As an album, Cat’s Eyes is simply remarkable. Sounding like all the spectral and slightly "woooh" music of yore, its makers throw in additional elements of Nick Cave gothery, Julee Cruise, early 4AD spook, Italian horror soundtracks and the more otherworldly elements of prime 1960s pop such as Scott Walker and Bobbie Gentry. The result is a hazy, somnambulant treat.



    My second album of the week is The Rentals Present: Resilience (A Benefit Album for the Relief Effort In Japan). Prince William and Kate Middleton elected not to have a wedding list, requesting people donate to charity instead. It's a coincidence that I should choose this album too this week and, befitting the occasion, it's for a good cause. The digital download is available now and the CD is available for pre-order. http://www.therentals.com/ The whole thing is streaming here: [ We7 | Spotify | AOL Spinner until Sun 8 May ]

    From Ernest Jenning Record Co.
    [It] features 18 instrumental tracks by Matt Sharp and Lauren Chipman of The Rentals, all previously unavailable outside of the band's epic "Songs About Time" box set. ALL profits from this album are going directly to the Red Cross

    The music is entirely instrumental, orchestral, largey piano-led, with some found sounds and recorded spoken voice added on top, except for track 15, July Twenty One, which incorporates vocals in French but is still not a song. Experimental, it has a foot in both pop and classical music, reminding me somewhat of the work of Michael Nyman but only in that it has a cinematic feel and borrows some of the cadences. More than that, it has a contemplative, thoughtful, dare I say it, zen feel. Nothing grabs, there are no hooks, it's as smooth as water and as refreshing, standing up to repeat plays and the kind of music that lasts a lifetime. Within the music is both the East and the West, obvious with the spoken word but less so in the sounds.

    Guests contributors on the album include Portuguese actress dalila carmo, Nikolai Fraiture of The Strokes, Rodrigo Amarante of Little Joy/Los Hermanos, French musician Emilie Simon, Gorka Urbizu of Berri Txarrak, and renowned violinist Danielle Belen.

    From the official site:
    This album was originally recorded as part of Songs About Time, a photography, film, and music project that brought together a large group of accomplished artists who devoted themselves for 365 continuous days to create what the Germans call Gesamtkunstwerk—a total work of art. Originally titled “Tokyo Blues,” the album is a collection of eighteen original scores that were composed for the films of Songs About Time.

    The original title of the album was inspired by Japanese author Haruki Murakami's fifth novel ノルウェイの森, also known as “Norwegian Wood,” which was retitled “Tokio Blues" for the Spanish translation. And now, appropriately enough, what was once “Tokyo Blues” has become “Resilience.”

    The change of title is appropriate in more ways than one: The music collected has a touch of melancholy but ultimately, when one listens attentively, it expresses hope and a quiet countenance. The duo of Lauren Chipman and Matt Sharp, who shared the role of musical director, would often start from a simple chord progression that Sharp had intended for a traditional pop song. Chipman would then begin to substitute more complex "altered chords" which added a greater depth of color, creating a more experimental and modern arrangement. The result is what you hold in your hands: an elegant, invigorating and transcendent melodic synthesis.

    With its orchestral gestures, delicate piano and poetic interludes, the music paints a fitting tribute to the character and resilience of the Japanese people.

    -Derrick Taruc





    Further reading:

    The Guardian - Cat's Eyes interview
    The Quietus - review
    Wikipedia - Cat's Eyes

    The Rentals official site
    The Rentals - Facebook
    Wikipedia - The Rentals - Resilience
    Pitchfork - news in brief
    radioIO - press release

    Babs

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    Admin: Stats as of today:

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    Date Added: Mar 15, 2011
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  • [My Gang] Anna Calvi - Blackout : Reco of the Week 26 Apr 11

    26 avr. 2011, 14h37m par Babs_05

    Track: Blackout [Soundcloud]
    Artist: Anna Calvi
    Album: Anna Calvi (17 January 2011, Domino Records)
    [ We7 | Spotify | mflow ]
    Tags: , , ,
    Video: Click the pic...

    YouTube, official video

    I've wanted to write about Anna Calvi since the beginning of January but had to wait; the only place her debut album was streaming was on the Guardian website and there were no videos yet.

    Since then, Anna Calvi has appeared on Later...with Jools Holland, the album is widely available online and there's a shiny new video for this week's recommendation, Blackout.

    Like the rest of the album, Blackout is all high drama, melodrama, passion and overblown sound. Here is a female vocalist writing romantic songs that comfortably compete with stadium rock artists such as Muse. Favourably compared with Nick Cave and PJ Harvey, the music is built on solid foundations; it is exquisite and detailed, both intimate and ranging, creating a sound that carries and sparkles as it goes.

    Then her voice, operatic, intense and powerful. Calvi allows her voice to stand on its own and doesn't try to embellish it with ornamentation. The raw power of her vocals delivered straight and the surreal David Lynch/Angelo Badalamenti music together form an atmosphere of mystery and darkness at once disturbing and captivating, seducing the listener so nothing else matters.



    Blackout begins with an ethereal shimmer before the curtain goes up and the song bolts ahead. The beat sets a relentless, galloping pace as Calvi's vocals are allowed free rein. It's so atypical of contemporary pop, it holds you in its thrall throughout, leaving you a little spent come the end, itself as abrupt as the beginning.

    The video is very simple, focusing on Calvi and dazzling with glitter and lights. It serves not to detract from the song so you stay with it.



    When the album first appeared online on the Guardian website, I played it on repeat. I was taken by her voice, at times just a whisper and others, pure power, trembling as she controls it, the virtuoso guitar and nods to Ennio Morricone, flamenco, blues rock and classical. I found the sinister, menacing tones appealing and what impressed me most was the consistent theatricality that she maintains throughout, changing its shape and colour with every song. There is depth and intensity contrasted against light that comes from shimmers and relief after tension in the music is released. Themes are of love, lust and devils as she broods on fears and longings.

    Overriding everything is its sheer beauty. It's in your face with filigree and shadow. The album doesn't make for a light listen and I left it alone for a while, but I'm going to see her in concert tomorrow, hence the revisit and my choice for this week.


    Further reading:

    BBC review
    The Quietus review
    Pitchfork review
    The Line Of Best Fit - interview with Anna Calvi
    The Line Of Best Fit review



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    Admin: Stats as of today:

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    No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 45,101
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    Video
    Date Added: Mar 15, 2011
    Views: 61,079, Comments: 36, Likes: 402, Dislikes: 10, Ratings: 412, Favorites: 517


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  • [My Gang] Stereolab - Pause : Reco of the Week 12 Apr 11

    12 avr. 2011, 16h26m par Babs_05

    Track: Pause
    Artist: Stereolab
    Album: Transient Random-Noise Bursts with Announcements (Elektra, 1993)
    [ We7 | Spotify | mflow ]
    Tags: , , , ,
    Video: Click the pic...

    YouTube, audio upload


    To celebrate the shiny new pause function for Last.fm radios [blog post], this week's recommended track is Pause by post-rock pioneers Stereolab from the classic Transient Random-Noise Bursts with Announcements.

    Pause has one of them, a pause, just before the final minute when the track changes tack completely and becomes something else, ramping up the noise and painful distortion. Before that, dream pop is mixed with keyboards, noise, distorted spoken word, drone and fuzzy rock which, with their clever treatment and those gorgeous progressions, offers a moment to stop and reflect before the 18 minute masterpiece, Jenny Ondioline.



    'The Groop's' American debut was not without its problems; the majority of the first 1500 vinyl copies had to be destroyed because of bad pressing quality and one of the tracks had to be re-recorded:

    The original version of this LP had a George Harrison sample on 'Pack Yr Romantic Mind' for which we were denied clearance - we had to re-record the track without the sample but Elektra had already manufactured some promo cassettes with the sample. [Official site]



    Though I was aware of Stereolab in the 90s, like a lot of people, I never really got into them. I appreciated they were good, admired what I heard, but bought something else. Me and everyone else, by the look of things. There is much high praise for 'the groop' and a similar guilt in a lot of user reviews. If I wasn't searching Last.fm for a song with the word 'pause' in the title today, I wouldn't have found this album.

    The sound is ahead of its time for 1993 (when I was mostly listening to Saint Etienne's Foxbase Alpha and feeding my head with Megadog compilations). From Stereolab's inventiveness came both post-rock and britpop, Damon Albarn being a particular fan.

    Stereolab either legitimized forms of music that were on the fringe of rock, or brought attention to strands of pop music -- bossa nova, lounge-pop, movie soundtracks -- that were traditionally banished from the rock lineage. The group's trademark sound -- a droning, hypnotic rhythm track overlaid with melodic, mesmerizing singsong vocals, often sung in French and often promoting revolutionary, Marxist politics -- was deceptively simple, providing the basis for a wide array of stylistic experiments over the course of their prolific career. Throughout it all, Stereolab relied heavily on forgotten methods of recording, whether it was analog synthesizers and electronics or a fondness for hi-fi test records, without ever sinking to the level of kitsch. [allmusic]


    Once again, Last.fm wins hands down as my favourite music discovery site. I voted as much here. I like a lot of the other music sites too, but I didn't find this track on them and they didn't make me want to listen to Stereolab's entire discography, so fair's fair. Be sure to submit your vote too.



    Further reading:

    Stereolab - official site - discography
    Stylus Magazine - review
    Wikipedia - Transient Random-Noise Bursts with Announcements
    allmusic.com - album review



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    Admin: Stats as of today:

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    Video
    Date Added: Feb 2, 2009
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  • [My Gang] Nicole Atkins - Hotel Plaster : Reco of the Week 29 Mar 11

    29 mars 2011, 16h55m par Babs_05

    Track: Hotel Plaster
    Artist: Nicole Atkins
    Album: Mondo Amore (Proper Records, 4 April 2011)
    [ 3VOOR12 ]
    Tags: , , , ,
    Video: Click the pic...

    YouTube, live at Paste


    Mondo Amore is an album that works as a whole. Picking out tracks to highlight is difficult, like pulling out a feeling. For the purposes of this series, I've chosen the third track, Hotel Plaster, but it hasn't been an easy task.

    There's romance, high drama and torch songs, drawing together old blues, classic rock, pop and country whilst experimenting with where they can be pushed to.

    Hotel Plaster is a song about missing someone. It seems to be over but she's not letting go just yet.

    I know we've hurt each other pretty bad,
    But this midnight horoscope
    It tells me there's a little more hope


    It begins in dreamy echoes and long notes, her incredible voice dominating. The female Roy Orbison can cry a song. She's alone, not even at home, and lets it all out. Twangy guitars slide her emotions and a heavenly choir hears her prayers.



    Her pain is palpable and can be felt throughout the album, which came about after a period of immense loss. She had split from her label, Columbia Records, her long-term boyfriend, Paul Ritchie (The Parlor Mob), and her band, The Sea. She focused on her work to help cope, resulting in forming a new band, Nicole Atkins & The Black Sea, and creating Mondo Amore. Her inspirations are Scott Walker, Nick Cave, David Lynch, Angelo Badalamenti and classic blues and 60s psychedelic rock.



    The album begins with Vultures [Stereogum free download] which opens quietly, giving way to her powerful vocals and blues rock. Cry Cry Cry is a sad song sung in a cheerful manner, typical of the 60s, "Our love's a dark disaster". This week's track is next and is followed by my next favourite, You Come To Me, with driving beats, lush orchestra and loud rock. My Baby Don't Lie sounds old fashioned with Nicole Atkins angry, not wanting to believe the news she's hearing about her boyfriend, "if the little girl don't shut her mouth she's gonna get a black eye". This Is For Love softens things back and is about disappointment but hope for the future. In You Were The Devil you can hear Badalamenti's influence in the music. Lyrics are surreal and dark. "I gave my breath so I could suffocate your fire / Still it’s the hate in your words I came to admire". War Is Hell slows the pace down further, setting up the penultimate track, Heavy Boots, another personal favourite, ending on a high with the brilliant The Tower.

    The emotions in these songs range from despair to distress, longing to loneliness. Dark and melancholic, she dives deep into the black sea and has a good look around. In the final track, The Tower, she allows herself to completely crumble, because it's not until she does that that she can put herself together again. The album, then, is personal and intimate, a snapshot of a bad time and what it felt like.


    Further reading:

    Paste Magazine - review
    Wikipedia - Mondo Amore
    allmusic.com - Mondo Amore
    Interview Magazine
    Facebook



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    Admin: Stats as of today:

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    Date Added: Jan 5, 2010
    Views: 1,481, Ratings: 11, Comments: 6, Favorites: 17, Likes: 11, Dislikes: 0


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  • [My Gang] FOUND – Shallow : Reco of the Week 15 Mar 11

    15 mars 2011, 17h27m par Babs_05

    Track: Shallow [ Spotify | We7 | Soundcloud ]
    Artist: Found
    Album: factorycraft (Chemikal Underground, 14 Mar 2011)
    [ Spotify | We7 | mflow | Bandcamp | Soundcloud ]
    Tags: , , , , , ,
    Video: Click the pic...

    YouTube, edit of Shallow


    They had me at I only ever wanted to put my tongue in your dimples.

    My recommendation of the week is the standout track, Shallow, from the new album, factorycraft, released this week.

    Characterised by melty shoegaze swoons, surfy garage and Cocteau Twins pedal board, this catchy track shimmers whilst it bounces, slipping and sliding along the way. It is the only one on the album to have this treatment, making it memorable and moreish. The video, frustratingly, is only an edit. There isn't a full video for this track yet.

    [Ziggy Campbell on Shallow]: This track was painfully difficult to get sounding right at Chem 19. Paul Savage agonised over it. At one point I declared it a complete write-off before Paul turned it round and managed to make it (in my opinion) one of the finest moments on Factorycraft. It’s a eulogy to all the empty factories, shops and houses in my dying hometown. (The Skinny)

    I was torn between this and album closer, Blendbetter.
    [Ziggy Campbell] The lyrics for this one include a slightly out of place nod to 80s blue-eyed soul boys Hue & Cry. I’ll say no more on that matter. We used a deliberately out-of-tune guitar and a sample of a hoover to create the moody, sci-fi inspired backdrop to this song. The outro features the only live drums on the entire record, which I insisted on playing much to everyone’s annoyance… because I’m painfully shite. We recorded all the vocals in one day due to a tight budget. I remember screaming the last colourful line of this tune right before my voice packed in. (The Skinny)


    (Source: MySpace)



    Formed in Aberdeen and now based in Edinburgh, FOUND do exactly that, take what they find and see what they can do with the sound it makes.
    FOUND began life as an experimental arts collective putting on many weird and wonderful events in art galleries, warehouses and even storage containers.

    Their most recent project, an emotional robot band called Cybraphon, captured the attention of the world’s press. Since its unveiling at the Edinburgh International Festival at the start of August, Cybraphon has been featured on national newspapers across the world (e.g. China, Brazil, Italy, Spain, UK), made the top story on the homepage of WIRED.com and has been covered by CNN and TV networks internationally including BBC’s primetime arts show The Culture Show. In November 2009 Cybraphon won a Scottish BAFTA in the Best Interactive category.

    FOUND made their American debut at SXSW in March 2009 and followed up with a string of performances at CMJ in October 2009 where Brooklyn Vegan picked them out as ones to watch. In the UK they have built up a strong fan base and highlights of their live career to date include the BBC Electric Proms, T in the Park, Triptych, Brighton’s Great Escape, the Fence Collective’s ‘Homegame’ festival and Hydro Connect Festival. (Official site)




    The album has a lo-fi, roughly finished sort of feel to it, with space for the sounds to breathe. Lead singer Ziggy doesn't disguise his Scottish accent, notably on Johnny I Can't Walk The Line, with the line Johnny I just cannae / Cannae walk the line. This track has one foot in OMD and the other in Ennio Morricone.

    Album opener, Anti Climb Paint, features Nuala Kennedy on harmony. It sets the tone with jagged edged but gentle folk rock that sits apart from the average. It's the second track, I'll Wake With A Seismic Head No More, where my favourite line (above) comes from, that tells you how intelligent this album is. Machine Age Dancing is the most commercial sounding track and is followed by the glam Blackette. By this point, you're listening beyond the familiar indie rock to the glitchy electronica and whirrs and squeaks, admiring what they're doing with it. And this is where Shallow comes in. The second half of the album is slightly overshadowed by this track but carries on regardless, finishing on the brilliant psychedelic Blendbetter.

    This album is outside the box whilst standing within it. The music spills out and soars around you, dazzling and confusing with its unexpected twists and references, done in a familiar and acceptable way. This is how you push people beyond their comfort zones without them feeling it.




    Further reading and info:

    http://foundtheband.com/
    Twitter: @foundtheband http://twitter.com/#!/foundtheband
    MySpace
    Facebook
    BBC review
    FOUND’s Factorycraft: a track by track tour by Ziggy Campbell, 01 Mar 2011

    Babs

    - My Gang

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    (Ziggy Campbell, Tommy Perman, Kev Sim | Source: Flickr)


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  • [My Gang] Stateless – Ariel : Reco of the Week 08 Mar 11

    8 mars 2011, 17h23m par Babs_05

    Track: Ariel [ Soundcloud ]
    Artist: Stateless [ Spotify ]
    Album: Matilda (Ninja Tune, 21 Feb 2011)
    Tags: , , , ,
    Video: Click the pic...

    YouTube, official video

    My new obsession. A band that brings together hard rock, trip hop, jazz, dance and soul to name just a few. This week's recommendation is the lead single, released last November.

    Ariel opens with sampled gypsy guitars and heavy beats, morphs into hip-hop trip-hop decorated with glitchy squelches and squeaks from sampled synths and electronica, then moves on to a sparse piano and echoes before returning to the main, thuddingly heavy beat.

    The vocals are soulful and downbeat, allowing the glitchy samples to flash and sparkle. The treatment is complex; even after repeat plays, there's still new detail to notice.

    Ariel is the goddess of healing and the song is about her conflict with the devil, the battle between good and evil.

    The video illustrates themes from both the lyrics and the music with an improvised dance interpretation using motion capture technology and digital animation by FIELD. See the making of here: watch.

    The tiny points of light are like the glitch sounds that flash yet form a sort of aural soup surrounding the main track. Again, dark contrasts against light with black and bright neon colours. The combination and shades chosen are clever and not expected, bright flame orange given shape with flat matt purple and highlighted with pinks. The devil appears in shiny, silvery black. Their battle takes place in another world which, in the end, shatters.



    It's a strong track, with Chris James's vocals somewhat reminiscent of James Blake and Scott Matthews. Elsewhere, he sounds like Chris Martin (Coldplay), Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Jeff Buckley, and occasionally Matthew Bellamy (Muse). I've only named a few.



    The album comes in at about 50 minutes but feels longer because you're paying such close attention. In amongst the spacey ambience and hard rock trip-hop is sensual soul, seductive and moreish. Where James Blake is clinical and cold, here, they're feeling it. Massive Attack style trip-hop sits side by side with Radiohead and Muse type heavy rock and electronica with an occasional flourish of funk and dark disco thrown in for good measure. The contrasts continue with loud versus quiet, familar versus experimental, and abstract lyrics versus catchy choruses.

    Curtain Call begins the show, teasing with a barely audible opening so you wonder if it's started yet, slowly moving into a haunting ambient beginning and a beautiful piano piece that reminds you of Portishead's The Rip - "Won't you come sit here by the fire with me / Tell me the stories of the places you've been." - before kicking off into pure noise.

    The next showpiece after Ariel is the new single, Assassinations, released 14 February. [ Soundcloud ]. It doesn't end where it begins. Tribal drums and ethereal sounds open with the beat slowly introduced with the chorus "You can't stop whatever is round the corner". Glitch is introduced and the track builds to a leap into loud, grungy stadium rock. No, you can't stop whatever is round the corner. "We will knock it dead".



    Stateless are from Leeds, Yorkshire and formed in 2002. 'Stateless' because their music aims to defy placement. Matilda is their second album, produced by Damian Taylor (Björk, The Prodigy) with guests Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), DJ Shadow, and the Balanescu Quartet.

    No one track is like another and none set the tone, the album is as disparate as its samples and influences, yet underpinning everything is this soup of glitch and World sounds, thanks to the eastern European violins of the Balanescu Quartet, sitars and the gypsy guitar. It's big yet small with attention to fine detail. Cinematic and theatrical yet intimate. Heard on good headphones, the sound swirls around you, so you literally turn around to see if it isn't anything else. Glitch comes at you from all angles and you're totally immersed. Yeah, soup.

    I have linked to everything by Stateless in Spotify (above). Be warned, Art of No State (2003) is another artist by the same name (and awful).




    Further reading:

    MySpace
    Wikipedia - Stateless (band)
    Official site
    indieLondon review
    Musos Guide review


    Babs

    - My Gang

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  • [My Gang] Ladytron – Ace Of Hz : Reco of the Week 01 Mar 11

    1 mars 2011, 19h02m par Babs_05

    Track: Ace of Hz [ Soundcloud ]
    Artist: Ladytron
    Album: Best of Ladytron 00-10 (Nettwerk, 28 March 2011)
    Single: Ace of Hz (30 Nov 10)
    Tags: , , ,
    Video: Click the pic...

    YouTube, official video

    Somehow, I have managed not to write about Ladytron yet. I can now correct this glaring omission by introducing the new single and video from the forthcoming retrospective, due at the end of the month.

    Ace of Hz, (pronounced 'hearts') maintains the standard and sound Ladytron have established over the last decade, raising their game now with the sophisticated polish of the practiced hand; echoed in their stylish video which takes motifs made famous by surrealist artist René Magritte.

    Though formed in 1999, I first noticed Ladytron in 2002 when they released the singles Seventeen and Blue Jeans, from their second album, Light & Magic and both still among my all-time favourites today. I didn't get a personal computer till the following year, YouTube and the world of online music were still in my future. I heard Ladytron on XFM and time stopped.



    Ladytron blends electronic pop music and some New Wave influences, along with some more experimental leanings including psychedelic elements, using an array of vintage analogue equipment to achieve their distinctive sound. Albums so far have focused on a balance between pop structures and digitally edited analogue electronic sound. [ Wikipedia ]



    To put this in context, around the same time in 2002, indie was enjoying a renaissance, thanks to unparalleled works by Radiohead and a revival inspired by The Strokes. In rock, all hailed Queens of the Stone Age. In pop, we were still mad about Kylie's Can't Get You Out Of My Head, released the previous autumn, and Girls Aloud were to form at the end of the year thanks to a reality show. This was the year Glastonbury featured Coldplay, Garbage, Stereophonics, Orbital, Roger Waters, Rod Stewart, and Air.

    Underground, Goldfrapp were just beginning their career and their only release to date was their award-winning debut, Felt Mountain. It was on the back of Ladytron that Goldfrapp took their electronic route later on, and Ladytron would go on to produce some remixes for them.

    In fact, it may be fair to say Ladytron inspired a lot of the electronic, EBM music we have enjoyed over the last decade right up to The xx. All take inspiration from Ladytron's mix of old and new, in particular early 80s post-punk synthpop. Artists we regularly recognise are The Human League, OMD and Depeche Mode to name a few. NME finally ask Have We Overlooked The Brilliance Of Ladytron? The answer is yes, yes YOU have.

    On to the retrospective. All too often, retrospectives are cobbled together and released too soon with insufficient content and far too much peripheral padding. We're supposed to buy into the merchandising in other words. For this reason, I tend not to pay too much mind to them. In the case of Ladytron, if this is released with a photocopy of the Amazon page, it would still stand above many of the others. It is a good introduction to a hugely underrated and often overlooked band.



    Fans and collectors will already have these tracks. For them, there is the new single, released last November and coming in at about 30 mins with all the remixes. You can listen to them all here YouTube: Ladytron - Ace Of Hz Full EP Stream [Audio].



    The Best Of Ladytron 00-10 reflects on a decade highlighted by 604 (2001), Light & Magic (2002), Witching Hour (2005) and Velocifero (2008) plus two new tracks; "Ace Of Hz" and "Little Black Angel." A two-disc deluxe version features an additional 16 tracks & 80-page photo booklet.

    Track List:

    Disc: 1

    1. Destroy Everything You Touch
    2. International Dateline
    3. Seventeen
    4. Discotraxx
    5. Tomorrow
    6. Soft Power
    7. Ghosts
    8. Flying In Built Up Areas
    9. Playgirl
    10. Blue Jeans
    11. Cracked LCD
    12. Deep Blue
    13. Light & Magic
    14. Runaway
    15. The Last One Standing
    16. Little Black Angel
    17. Ace of Hz

    Disc: 2

    1. The Reason Why
    2. Whitelightgenerator
    3. Mu-Tron
    4. Black Plastic
    5. The Way That I Found You
    6. True Mathematics
    7. High Rise
    8. Black Cat
    9. Another Breakfast With You
    10. Usa vs. White Noise
    11. Commodore Rock
    12. Evil
    13. Beauty *2
    14. Seasons Of Illusions
    15. Versus
    16. All The Way






    Babs

    - My Gang

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  • [My Gang] Lykke Li – Get Some : Reco of the Week 22 Feb 11

    22 fév. 2011, 18h59m par Babs_05

    Track: Get Some [ Soundcloud | Download mp3 ]
    Artist: Lykke Li
    Album: Wounded Rhymes
    (Atlantic, 28 Feb 2011) [ Hype Machine ]
    Tags: , , , ,
    Video: Click the pic...

    YouTube, official video

    (Source: Official site)


    A dramatic single from the extraordinary new album from Lykke Li (pronounced: lickey lee), streaming exclusively at Hype Machine this week.

    It features tribal drums and surfer guitars with Lykke Li's vocals dominating over the top. It's a come hither, to put it mildly, and is meant to be played loud. It was released as a single last November, as a taster for Wounded Rhymes, with an equally dramatic accompanying video.

    The video presents Lykke Li in tribal costume on a theatrical set with movie images and stills directly behind her. It's monochromatic and shiny with flashes of light and sharp editing. Lykke Li barely moves, the kaleidoscopic special effects provide all the movement for her. The drums are hypnotic, the special effects compelling, and she smoulders to camera. Of our current crop of weird women, Bat for Lashes, Fever Ray, Soap&Skin et al, all girlish and fey, Lykke Li is the sexiest, albeit in an aggressive, man-eater kind of way.

    There was great excitement on the interwebs for this new release today, with all the major music publications and blogs pointing to the full stream. After four years of hard work, it's probably fair to say she has arrived. She has appearanced at festivals and on television, but it's probably her contribution to major movie soundtracks that got her noticed. The song Possibility was written for the film 'New Moon' (2009).



    Reviews are still being written for the album. I have been listening to it on repeat all day and am still discovering details. It's electronic pop with a heavy tribal theme and Hammond organs, full of catchy hooks and melodies. Produced by Bjorn Yttling of Peter, Bjorn & John, to my ears it's mainstream enough to appear on commercial radio yet weird enough to satisfy my hunger for something different.



    Wounded Rhymes opens with Youth Knows No Pain, again punchy and loud with repeated lyrics. Then she changes tack for the new single, I Follow Rivers, which is more in line with what we expect from our weird women. The accompanying video builds on this with seemingly abstract images of her in a snowy landscape by the sea, following a man running away from her, her cape billowing in the icy winds. Then she catches up with him. [ Watch ].

    The next two tracks, Love Out of Lust and Unrequited Love, change the pace, slowing things down. Now you can hear her unique treatment of harmonies and vocals. There was an underlying ghostliness in the earlier tracks, now she heads into otherwordly territory, weird woman proper.

    This week's track is next and is followed by the most striking song I have heard in a while. Called Rich Kids Blues, she's depressed and rebelling against her pushy mother. Considering most the album-buying demographic are her mother's age, they will most likely identify with the parent and wonder how to best deal with her complaints. Younger listeners will put it on their mp3 players and blast it next time they're going through an "I hate you!" moment. It helps that it's pure bubblegum pop, addictive and repeatable.

    Sadness Is a Blessing has a slightly 50s rock 'n' roll vibe and reminds me in parts of Roy Orbison's I Drove All Night, although I must admit, I thought of Cyndi Lauper's version. It features the line "Sadness is my boyfriend", which I am sure will be heavily quoted. It is also the most vocally ambitious, though she shies of any gratuitous extravagence.

    The slow and acoustic I Know Places is next, followed by the penultimate track Jerome which features the now familiar driving beats and unusual instrumentation. Silent My Song closes, bringing the curtain down with pure unadulterated Fever Ray. I adore this track. Featuring beautiful harmonies and soaring vocals, it's ghostly and skeletal in its minimalism, yet rich with tonal detail. You're left feeling you've been treated to a fantastic show and wouldn't mind an encore if there's one going. There is. Track one.


    Further reading:

    Official site
    Wikipedia - Lykke Li


    Babs

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