• 20 Songs Released This Year...

    4 déc. 2010, 18h13m

    ...Which, after several listens, made me sit bolt upright and go 'AHAHAHGAGAHABHAGABAAAAHHH THIS IS AWESOME'. Or something to that effect...

    Get Some - Lykke Li
    MY KZ, UR BF - Everything Everything
    Fuck You - Cee Lo Green
    These Are Listed Buildings - Los Campesinos!
    Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) - Arcade Fire
    Lalibela - Caribou
    Pow Pow - LCD Soundsystem
    Canvas - Holly Miranda
    Soil to Seed - Matthew Dear
    On The Lam - Kele
    Memory Loss - The Radio Dept.
    Remember - Lali Puna
    Be Your Baby - Harlem
    Proof - I Am Kloot
    Empire Ants - Gorillaz
    Basement Scene - Deerhunter
    The Last Prom On Earth - Gayngs
    My Life - jj
    To Be Counted Among Men - Villagers
    The Coldharbour Road - Stornoway
  • 100 Ridiculously Good Songs That Just Popped Into My Head

    31 août 2010, 19h10m

    B.O.B. - Outkast
    Pot Kettle Black - Wilco
    Fireworks - Animal Collective
    PDA - Interpol
    Tulips - Bloc Party
    Smile - Télépopmusik
    Nineteen - ¡Forward, Russia!
    Lady Stardust - David Bowie
    Stormy Weather - Little Dragon
    Slow Burn Treason - Holly Miranda
    Rebellion (Lies) - Arcade Fire
    One Week - Barenaked Ladies
    All These Things That I've Done - The Killers
    Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
    Left Handed - Lali Puna
    Proof - I Am Kloot
    Frontier Psychiatrist - The Avalanches
    A Token Of Gratitude - The Radio Dept.
    Hospital Beds - Cold War Kids
    Blackbird - The Beatles
    God Only Knows - The Beach Boys
    Music Sounds Better With You - Stardust
    Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division
    Killing in the Name - Rage Against the Machine
    Out of Time - Blur
    Slide Away - Oasis
    Bumcop - Crazy Penis
    Hello, I Wrote A Song For You Called 'Welcome To The Jungle' - Hot Club de Paris
    Stars - The xx
    Blood Bank - Bon Iver
    Breaking It Up - Lykke Li
    Wilderness - Bat for Lashes
    Hyperballad - Björk
    Soul Purpose - Nightmares on Wax
    Closer - Lemon Jelly
    Susan's House - Eels
    The Rip - Portishead
    Psychiatric Explorations of the Fetus With Needles - The Flaming Lips
    Bad Romance - Lady Gaga
    Glósóli - Sigur Rós
    Debaser - Pixies
    Once in a Lifetime - Talking Heads
    Take on Me - a-ha
    Car Crash - She's Spanish, I'm American
    Council Estate - Tricky
    Worrywort - Radiohead
    Well Thought Out Twinkles - Silversun Pickups
    Eye Know - De La Soul
    Brainy - The National
    A Certain Romance - Arctic Monkeys
    Hong Kong - Gorillaz
    Electric Feel - MGMT
    The Scientist - Coldplay
    This Time - The Verve
    Don't Make Me a Target - Spoon
    Province - TV on the Radio
    At the Edge - Stiff Little Fingers
    Lovesong - The Cure
    I Wanna Be Adored - The Stone Roses
    5:55 - Charlotte Gainsbourg
    Barcelona - Plastiscines
    Do Nothing - The Specials
    Mirror in the Bathroom - The Beat
    Hands - The Rumble Strips
    Something About Us - Daft Punk
    Decadent - The Answering Machine
    No Scrubs - TLC
    All I Need - Air
    Sparks - Röyksopp
    No Woman No Cry - Bob Marley & The Wailers
    E-bow the Letter - R.E.M.
    Seventeen Years - Ratatat
    Odessa - Caribou
    How Soon Is Now? - The Smiths
    Working Class Hero - John Lennon
    Strange Fruit - Billie Holiday
    Move On Up - Curtis Mayfield
    Still Fond - Cut Off Your Hands
    What Becomes of the Broken Hearted - Jimmy Ruffin
    Touch Too Much - Hot Chip
    English Rose - The Jam
    Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
    Protection - Massive Attack
    In The Sun - Joseph Arthur
    Waterloo Sunset - The Kinks
    Heartbeats - José González
    All I Want - LCD Soundsystem
    Burn Baby Burn - Ash
    Another Chance - Roger Sanchez
    Lady (Hear Me Tonight) - Modjo
    Just As You Are - Robert Wyatt
    Juxtaposed With U - Super Furry Animals
    Good Grief - Foo Fighters
    Be Safe - The Cribs
    Pumping on Your Stereo - Supergrass
    Up Against The Wall - Peter Bjorn and John
    Downs Are Feminine Balloons - Mercury Rev
    Midnight Surprise - Lightspeed Champion
    Frozen - Madonna
  • Go Go Gadget Procrastination!

    27 août 2010, 13h50m

    So I've had something incredibly important to do that I've been meaning to do all week... But I still haven't done it. And... I don't really want to do it yet. So I figured I'd do one of these top 20 artist things I've seen around lately. Good idea? I think so.

    First track I head - Glory Box
    Track that made me love this artist - Cowboys
    Favourite track - Sour Times
    Favourite album - Roseland NYC Live

    First track I heard - Pyramid Song
    Track that made me love this artist - High and Dry
    Favourite track - Reckoner
    Favourite album - Kid A

    Bat for Lashes
    First track I heard - What's a Girl to Do?
    Track that made me love this artist - Daniel
    Favourite track - Siren Song
    Favourite album - Two Suns

    David Bowie
    First track I heard - Starman
    Track that made me love this artist - ''Heroes''
    Favourite track - ''Heroes''
    Favourite album - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars

    The Flaming Lips
    First track I heard - The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song
    Track that made me love this artist - The WAND
    Favourite track - Fight Test
    Favourite album - Embryonic

    ¡Forward, Russia!
    First track I heard - Thirteen
    Track that made me love this artist - Gravity & Heat
    Favourite track - A Prospector Can Dream
    Favourite album - Life Processes

    First track I heard - End of a Century
    Track that made me love this artist - Tender
    Favourite track - Tracy Jacks
    Favourite album - Parklife

    Charlotte Gainsbourg
    First track I heard - Master's Hands
    Track that made me love this artist - Greenwich Mean Time
    Favourite track - The Operation
    Favourite album - IRM

    Bon Iver
    First track I heard - Flume
    Track that made me love this artist - Blindsided
    Favourite track - For Emma
    Favourite album - For Emma, Forever Ago

    First track I heard - That's Not Really Funny
    Track that made me love this artist - Susan's House
    Favourite track - Electro-Shock Blues
    Favourite album - Electro-Shock Blues

    First track I heard - Clint Eastwood
    Track that made me love this artist - 19/2000 (Soulchild remix)
    Favourite track - Hong Kong
    Favourite album - Plastic Beach

    TV on the Radio
    First track I heard - I Was A Lover
    Track that made me love this artist - Dreams
    Favourite track - Tonight
    Favourite album - Return To Cookie Mountain

    The xx
    First track I heard - Intro
    Track that made me love this artist - Heart Skipped a Beat
    Favourite track - Islands
    Favourite album - xx

    Daft Punk
    First track I heard - One More Time
    Track that made me love this artist - One More Time
    Favourite track - Digital Love
    Favourite album - Discovery

    Bloc Party
    First track I heard - Helicopter
    Track that made me love this artist - This Modern Love
    Favourite track - On
    Favourite album - Silent Alarm

    Lemon Jelly
    First track I heard - The Staunton Lick
    Track that made me love this artist - Come
    Favourite track - Come
    Favourite album - Lost Horizons

    Little Dragon
    First track I heard - A New
    Track that made me love this artist - Runabout
    Favourite track - Stormy Weather
    Favourite album - Machine Dreams

    Lykke Li
    First track I heard - Melodies and Desires
    Track that made me love this artist - Let It Fall
    Favourite track - Breaking It Up
    Favourite album - Youth Novels

    The Radio Dept.
    First track I heard - The Video Dept.
    Track that made me love this artist - Heaven's On Fire
    Favourite track - Heaven's On Fire
    Favourite album - Lesser Matters

    The Rumble Strips
    First track I heard - Alarm Clock
    Track that made me love this artist - Alarm Clock
    Favourite track - Running On Empty
    Favourite album - Welcome To The Walk Alone
  • First Impressions - The Suburbs

    15 août 2010, 19h11m

    When I first heard about it, I was quite surprised by my own lack of enthusiasm for The Suburbs, the newest release by Arcade Fire. Although I never really got into Funeral, Neon Bible was my favourite album for a long, long time after I discovered it. However, I eventually played it to death and got... Well, a little bit tired of it, and now I haven't properly listened to anything by them for quite some time, and generally find myself skipping over their work when it comes up. One can only wonder if this third offering can change my mind and help me rediscover my lost love of epic Canadian melodrama.

    Track 1 - The Suburbs
    Huh, let the hoedown begin. and western, that was unexpected. I'm finding it a little hard to make out the lyrics here, it would've been nice if they'd been put a little higher in the mix, considering how important lyrics have always been to the Arcade Fire experience. And considering how long this track is, there's no real change of pace or...anything, really, to maintain your interest. It's...OK, I guess, but that's damning it with faint praise when you consider how good the last two album openers were. Bit of a mis-step, but they've got plenty of time to rectify that.

    Track 2 - Ready to Start
    Ah, here we go. Right from the start, this track has considerably more urgency and life to it than the whole of the last one. It does sound a little...Funeral-esque, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. At least the lyrics are easier to hear in this one. However, like the last track it suffers from being something of a one-trick pony and not really having much variety to it until the end, by which point I'm really getting sick of that chorus. Still though, it's certainly an improvement.

    Track 3 - Modern Man
    This one seems a bit more bass-driven and a bit more subdued than the last two. I like the atmosphere of this track, actually, but there's nothing too remarkable about it otherwise. The guitar sounds nice enough, but it doesn't really do anything other than play the vocal line. It does, however, mix things up a bit more often than the previous two tracks, and the slightly off-time drums keep you absorbed. Again, an improvement, but it stil just sounds like they're running on autopilot. I've suddenly become aware of how many more tracks there are to go through...

    Track 4 - Rococo
    Ahhh, now this sounds more like the symphonic, melodramatic Arcade Fire that I fell in love with. Not really a fan of the chorus, but I certainly like the instrumentation going on. In fact, the lyrics as a whole are... Really quite bitter. I don't know whether this one's about critics, or fairweather fans, or whatever, but ouch. Reminds me of Little Bitch by The Specials in that respect. If you can put up with that, though, this is definitely the strongest track on the album so far, even if, once again, I feel it should've ended a bit quicker.

    Track 5 - Empty Room
    My word. My first thought was 'Arcade Fire does Flight of the Bumblebee'. Finally, they've put some real energy into it. Really enjoying the strings that sound like the musician's having a seizure. Can't really think of anything bad to say about this one, actually, this is Arcade Fire really back on form. And look at that! It's not even 3 minutes long. Hint hint.

    Track 6 - City With No Children
    I'm having trouble thinking of anything to say about this one, to be honest... It's all a little formulaic, very... Arcade-Fire-by-numbers. Nothing special about it, and I doubt it'll stick in my head like Empty Room will.

    Track 7 - Half Light I
    Huh. I feel like this track should've continued to fade in a little bit longer, it sounds kinda...distant. Not that that's a bad thing, really, there's a pleasant quality to the female vocals and the repetitive guitar line. There's something of a festiveness to it, actually. It's a pretty nice tune, and unlike a lot of the others so far, doesn't feel like it outstays its welcome.

    Track 8 - Half Light II (No Celebration)
    Haha, what's this? The guys have gone synth-pop. It sounds good though, a nice little break from the norm. Really like that bassline and the scratchy guitar noises during the verse, combined with the triumphant-sounding strings. They should incorporate electronic elements for often; if this is any indication, it suits them. I know I keep going on about it, but still... I really do feel like they're making most of these songs nearly 5 minutes long because they're Arcade Fire and they can.

    Track 9 - Suburban War
    That guitar line makes me think of the Lone Ranger, for some reason. Another track like City With No Children, fairly uninteresting and without anything really special to make me sit up and take notice, although the way the song changes about halfway through is a good way to suck you in... Until it goes back to normal almost immediately. That's happened quite a lot in this album, actually. Ah wait, no, I take it back, I like how angry the song starts to sound about 3 quarters of the way in. Still a little late to truly save the track though, unfortunately.

    Track 10 - Month of May
    They've been maintaining a pretty consistent energy through the last 3 or 4 tracks, and this is the natural culmination; a powerful, driving guitar and an excited drumbeat power this track along. The vocals are...getting on my nerves quite a bit, I'd rather just listen to the instruments, but still. This is a definite and successful shot in the arm to an album that really needs it.

    Track 11 - Wasted Hours
    It's getting annoying how, on this album, every time these guys cut loose and show off just hw good they can really be, the next song always seems really disappointing in comparison. Rather than maintain the energy of the last track, they appear to have gone in completely the opposite direction and made a fairly generic and forgettable little ditty. Maybe it's just because it follows so directly after Month Of May, maybe I'm just looking at this album the wrong way, but I really don't like this one. It might've worked if it swapped places with Ready To Start, though.

    Track 12 - Deep Blue
    A little bit better than the last one, I like that big growling bass note...thing, but it's still another example of the same acoustic-y thing that's been showing up over and over again on the album. When you look at Neon Bible, and you see how different all those tracks sounded to each other the first time you heard it, and then you look at this one, and every third or fourth track sounds the same with something extra stuck to it. It's...disappointing.

    Track 13 - We Used to Wait
    That piano's a nice touch, and I like the bassline. I actually quite like how everything comes together on this one, it's got a nice sound, going from sparse and minimal during the verse to open and warm during the chorus. I know, I know, common trick, but it's always nice to see it work this well. And considering they've gone against the album's usual standard and seem to be avoiding the temptation to throw out all their lyrics in the shortest time possible and then repeat them ad nauseum, this track's length doesn't really count aginst it too much, despite it being the third-longest on the album.

    Track 14 - Sprawl I (Flatland)
    This track gives off a good, effective air of menace right from the start, which only gets stronger when the bass comes in. It's got a definite soundtrack-y feel to it, but other than that, it's not really too special. I quite like the lyrics, though, which is something I probably haven't commented on enough here.

    Track 15 - Sprawl II (Mountains beyound Mountains)
    Wow. Uh, ok, haha. Arcade Fire goes J-Pop. Hands up who else didn't see that one coming. I love the poppy sound of this one though, and it's got really the only catchy vocal of the album. We'll ignore that it's the penultimate track. Actually, after realising that this is the longest track on the whole album, I'd like to alter my earlier comments. Maybe it's not the length of the track that's bothering me, but the repetitiveness of them, particularly the vocals; the songs here tend to be very samey the whole way through, and there's only so long anyone can keep that before it gets boring. While this track suffers from that a bit, it's such a joy to listen to that I'm just going to overlook it. And it certainly doesn't feel as long as, say, Modern Man or Deep Blue anyway.

    Track 16 - The Suburbs (Continued)
    Nothing really to say here. It's an outro. The snare drum in the background is a nice touch, and the strings remind me of Good Night by The Beatles, but otherwise...meh.

    I'm just gonna come out and say this, I didn't enjoy The Suburbs. It's not really correct to say I found it disappointing; as I said at the start, I wasn't hugely excited going in. And who knows, maybe if I was as into Arcade Fire as I was when Neon Bible came out, maybe I'd have enjoyed it more. But it all just seemed too...dull for me. I'll admit that I was a little distracted by typing this to really pay attention to a lot of the lyrics, and maybe I'll listen to it again to do just that, but other than that I just can't see myself coming back to this one again in the near future. Best tracks are Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains), Empty Room and Half Light II (No Celebration).
  • First Impressions - The Boxer

    14 août 2010, 22h50m

    I have to say, I'm fairly intrigued by The Boxer, the first solo venture by Bloc Party frontman Kele (Okereke), who appears to have gone down the Jarvis Cocker route and ditched his surname. I've been a Bloc Party fan for a few years now, since just before A Weekend In The City came out, and while my opinions on that one are a little mixed, I'll still day that during their Silent Alarm period they could essentially do no wrong. Then they released Intimacy, where they went all electronic, and... Well, I didn't think it worked. This solo project apparently retains much of the Inimacy-era's sound, so it should be interesting to see if Kele can pull one out of the hat this time around.

    Track 1 - Walk Tall
    That's one of the most ominous drumbeats I've ever heard. And with good reason, this is somewhat...hectic, with a crashing cymbals, a military-themed vocal and a bassline that sounds like a revving F1 car. Actually, now I've listened to it a bit, it sounds like a heavier version of Mercury. I'm not really a fan of this type of heavy electronic music, and it's a little repetitive, so this one's a miss from me, but I know plenty of people who would like it.

    Track 2 - On The Lam
    I was bracing myself when the last one ended, but it turns out I needn't have bothered, this is a step into a more relaxed (don't mistake that for slower) sound. It sounds like something from the 90s, actually. It's a good track, but it's hard to pick out any one part to comment on; it's all just 'good'. Although if you strapped me to a chair and forced me, I'd probably pick out the vocals and the sampled drums during the quiter moments of the song.

    Track 3 - Tenderoni
    And on to the lead single, with a title which is slang for jailbait. Oh, Kele, you rascal. The synths sound kinda similar to the last track, and they sound like every other drum and bass song I've heard in every club since the dawn of time. As usual, Kele's vocals are top-notch, and I like the way it all explodes towards the 1:35 mark, but otherwise it just seems too generic. And spelling out the song's title is always a bad move.

    Track 4 - The Other Side
    Aha! A guitar. Caught him out. This one's actually not bad at all, Kele seems to have realised that he needs to expand his bag of tricks a little if he's going to sustain this stuff through an entire album. And expand he does; the aforementioned guitar's the most obvious change, but it's by no means the only one. I swear there's a cowbell in there, and I'm fond of the effect on his voice when he sings 'You're driving me insaaaaaaane'. This one's also get a very different atmosphere than the previous tracks, it's a lot sunnier and seems a bit more user-friendly overall. First really good track on the album.

    Track 5 - Everything You Wanted
    A piano now! Someone's been raiding the music shop. Sarcasm and bitterness aside, this is a promising start, he's definitely moving into lighter, less squelchy territory for this part of the album. I like the beat on this one, and the chorus, despite being a little gauche lyrically, has a really nice, catchy sound to it. As with the other songs on the album, it suffers a little from its repetitiveness, but it's still a good song. Also, it's probably the most Bloc Party-esque one on the album so far, make of that what you will.

    Track 6 - The New Rules
    That 'Restart and try again' in the background is really annoying. Thank god it stops sometimes. This is an odd little intervals; gone are pretty much all of the electronic bells and whistles from the previous tracks, replaced with a bouncy little melody that sounds like it's been lifted from a nature documentary and a sweet duet between Kele and...some girl, whom the liner notes inform me is called Jodie Scantlebury. Sounds familiar, but... I'll have to look it up. Anyway, despite being really quite out of place and maybe better assigned as a B-side, it's still pleasant to listen to.

    Track 7 - Unholy Thoughts
    I have to say, with a title like that, I was expecting a seriously nasty, grimy beast of a track. But surprise! It's actually got quite an indie sound to it. It probably wouldn't have sounded out of place on Silent Alarm, actually. It's got a really strong, driving bassline, and I love the vocal in the chorus, though I've got no idea what he's saying (Viesta?). I'm not so fond of the acoustic breakdown in the middle, that's a little jarring when I was enjoying it so much before, but otherwise this is my favourite on the album so far.

    Track 8 - Rise
    I think at this point it's become clear that Kele's abandoned the more aggressive style of the first few tracks for something a little...lighter. This sounds a little like The New Rules, it's very soft and tinkly. The verses almost have a nursery rhyme-like quality to them. Once again, he displays his knack for a chorus, and the octave-jumping bassline is good. Oh wait, never mind. Just as I was starting to get bored of the song, he's thrown some good old crunchy synths back into the game. Forget what I said about lighter and softer earlier... It's not nearly as aggressive as in Walk Tall or Tenderoni though, and they're actually quite a good addition to the song, giving it a new lease of life. The female vocals are a nice touch too. However, it could probably stand to be at least a minute shorter.

    Track 9 - All The Things I Could Never Say
    Now there's a good, old-fashioned Kele Okereke signature song title. The jumpy, nervous synth in the intro *really* reminds me of a classic 90s dance tune, but for the life of me I just cannot remember its name... Bit of a slow-burner, this one, and lyrics-wise it's familiar ground, even if I do kinda like them. But it really reminds me of On from A Weekend In the City. To the point where I actually can't shake it out now. It's not bad, and once again, I'm enjoying the female vocals towards the end of the song, but it feels like a buildup to something that never happens, and there's nothing about it that really stands out. It doesn't really have any bearing on the song, but I should mention that I like how he subverts the lovestruck expectations presented in the title with the 'You're making me older / You're making me ill' chorus.

    Track 10 - Yesterday's Gone
    The most striking thing abut this track is how much it contrasts with the opener. Whereas Walk Tall was a big, stompy, crunchy monster of a track, this is totally the opposite, a breath of fresh, optimistic air. These are some of Kele's best vocals on the album as well. Not really too much to say about it otherwise, actually, it's just one of those things where everything comes together and works well.

    First of all, I'd like to apologise for all the Bloc Party references in there. I was hoping to judge this album entirely on its own merits and not have to bring in Kele's previous work, but occasionally that didn't quite work. Besides, All the Things I Could Never Say really does sound exactly like On...;) Anyway. I said at the start I was intrigued by this albuum, but I never said I expected to like it, and when Walk Tall kicked off, I was a little...apprehensive. However, The Boxer's something you really have to look at as a whole; with each song, it gradually becomes more and more optimistic and approachable, and generally gets better the further you go. It's certainly better than Intimacy, at any rate. I'll tentatively say that I like it, but we'll see how it goes with further listening. Best tracks are Unholy Thoughts, Yesterday's Gone and On the Lam.
  • First Impressions - Youth Novels

    14 août 2010, 21h44m

    So I picked up a bunch of new albums for myself the other day and haven't quite got around to listening to them yet. Seeing as how I've had a fairly uninspiring day and am foreseeing a particularly sleepless night, I figured I might as well put them on now and share my completely meaningless and half-baked opinions with you, the Last.FM public. I'm sure you're thrilled.;) I'm going to do them track-by-track, and I'll do a separate journal for each to avoid an epic wall-of-text. Anyhoooo...

    First up is Youth Novels by Lykke Li. Pretty old, I know, but still. I can't really remember what provoked me to buy this one, and I have no idea how to pronounce her name (Is it Lykkuh? Lykkee? Like? Help me out here...), but she's been compared to Bat For Lashes on this very site and that's never a bad thing. Let's take a look...

    Track 1 - Melodies & Desires
    Liking the icy, olde-worlde synth intro. Very glacial, very Scandinavian. Fittingly, I suppose, she is Swedish after all. Huh, I guess that's her speaking... I was expecting a much stronger accent, I don't know why. Not that I'm complaining, this is...pleasant. Very soothing. With the repeated mantra of 'Love is the harmony, desire is the key' and 'I'll be the rythm, you'll be the beat', combined with the extremely minimalist background, I'm getting... I dunno, almost a Zen feel off this track. Good opener.

    Track 2 - Dance, Dance, Dance
    OK, we're getting a bit of life here with that clattery beat. WHOA. Is that Ms. Li singing there? My word. She sounds about 6 years old. Not usually a fan of voices like this, but it's working with the upbeat mood of this track so far. I'll just wait and see if she can keep my interest through the rest of the album. Haha, the random interjection of the trumpet made me laugh, in a good way. Another good track, but it probably won't stay with me like the first one.

    Track 3 - I'm Good, I'm Gone
    Not really a fan of the distorted vocals at the start, it sounds like whoever's doing them is holding his noise. This track's got a nice groove to it though, the piano and the drums are combining well. Sounds a bit...familiar though, and not really in a good way. Her vocals are a little less squeaky here, and her accent's finally starting to show up, which can only be a good thing. Still, definitely the weakest track so far. But it's early days yet.

    Track 4 - Let It Fall
    Apart from the fact that she starts off sounding like she's trying to do a Damon Albarn impression, I really like the vocals on this track. She's pretty much hit the sweet spot, not too squeaky, but not too bland either. I like that bassline as well, despite its simplicity. Otherwise, this track just kinda...floats past. It's fluff, but pretty impressive fluff nonetheless.

    Track 5 - My Love
    I have to say, I don't really like this one. It just sounds a bit dated, really... And it sounds like she's got a horse doing backing vocals. Conjures up images of dodgy romantic comedies and sleazy, greasy-looking Spanish men. Not something I really want a song to do to me...

    Track 6 - Tonight
    Ahhhh... That is a nice intro. Quivering, slow-burning synths, leading up to piano and vocals, leading up to some surprisingly loud drums and a chorus which really sticks in your head. Though I hope I misheard and she's not saying 'Dry my ass' at the start... We're definitely back on form here, really enjoying the melancholy atmosphere and overall sound of this track, and it's the best showcase so far for what she can achieve vocally when she really wants to. Possibly a bit long though, but that's really just looking for niggles.

    Track 7 - Little Bit
    Here we have it, the lead single, and the title track of her first EP. And it's easy to see why, it's got a strong, danceable beat and a chorus that drips beautifully out of your speakers. And to those guitars sound kinda...Asian-influenced to anyone else? Really sweet, laid-back tune that I'm probably gonna be humming for hours; it's clear that she's found her groove by this point. Hopefully she can keep it up.

    Track 8 - Hanging High
    This one seems a little bit...darker, I guess, than the others on the album. It doesn't really work... Li's better when she stays poppy. This just doesn't really fit that well.

    Track 9 - This Trumpet in My Head
    Well, this is...different. Very sparse, in a haunting kind of way. Very spooky. Definitely feeling the Bat For Lashes comparisons here. It's got a good atmosphere, but I would've preferred it without the little mariachi trumpet in there. I know, I know, it's in the title, but I think it works just fine without it. I'd actually kinda like this one to be a bit longer as well. But it's still good enough as it is.

    Track 10 - Complaint Department
    I love that bass synth. If Li's voice weren't so squeaky and cute, it'd actually be quite menacing. And those drums just make everything better, this is one of the best beats in the album yet. This song actually reminds me of a less evil cousin of Where is the Line by Bjork. Remember when I said she's better when she's poppy? I stand corrected. In fact, the further into this one I go, the more I like it. Probably my second-favourite on the album so far, just behind Tonight. The bouncy drum noises towards the end of this one lose it some points.

    Track 11 - Breaking It Up
    Oh, this is good. Love those group vocals, even if they do remind me of Grange Hill for some reason. Never even watched that show... The way everything comes together in the chorus is absolutely glorious, especially after the rather quiet and subdued verses and breaks, and it's the most danceable song yet. Perfect little pop song, and the best one on the album so far by quite a distance.

    Track 12 - Everybody but Me
    This sounds like a Semifinalists or jj song. And is it just me, or has the drummer really been enjoying themselves over the last two or three tracks...? This is decent enough, but there's no real hook to it, and since I'm still riding a Breaking It Up induced high, it seems terribly slow. Still, there's no denying that this 3-song burst is her strongest straight run of good songs yet. Just a bit of a pity it took this long.

    Track 13 - Time Flies
    Li's gone back to the six-year-old-on-helium affectations of Dance, Dance, Dance on this track, but my god, does it work. There's something really tender and... Well, beautiful about this one that I can't quite put my finger on, and it's wrapped up almost entirely in the vocals, though that's not discounting the instrumental contributions by any means. This really took me by surprise, to be honest, I really enjoyed it.

    Track 14 - Window Blues
    Just going to throw this out now, I'm normally fairly wary of any song that has the word Blues in the title. Call it a prejudice. And this one starts off with a big, stompy piano and bass drum sounding like the theme tune of some pantomime villain, so... Slightly on guard here. It's actually got kind of a weird, Wild West-y feel to it. I don't really like it... It could've worked earlier in the album, but Time Flies sounded like it should've been the closer.

    And there we have it. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by Youth Novels. I didn't really know what to expect going in, but despite some inconsistency and a few weak moments (I'm looking at you, My Love and Hanging High) it's actually quite a pleasure to listen to, especially towards the latter half of the album when she really starts churning out the good stuff. Favourite tracks are Breaking It Up, Time Flies and Complaint Department.
  • Top 50 Artists Questionnaire

    14 août 2010, 14h29m

    1) How did you get into 29?
    I pretty much grew up listening to The Smiths, my mum's a huge fan. But I didn't properly get into them myself until I found their singles collection when I was about 14.

    2) What was the first song you heard by 23?
    Ms. Jackson was my first Outkast tune, I think.

    3) What's your favourite lyric by 33?
    Wow, TV on the Radio are so good at this, it's going to be tough, but... Tonight stands out in particular. Probably... 'Your busted heart will be fine / In its telltale time'

    4) What is your favourite album by 49?
    Turn Off The Bright Lights by Interpol.

    5) How many albums by 13 do you own?
    I'm pretty sure I own all of Daft Punk's albums except their first live one.

    6) What is your favourite song by 50?
    There She Goes by The La's. A bit predictable, I suppose, but there's a reason for that.

    7) Is there a song by 39 that makes you feel sad?
    All My Friends by LCD Soundsystem can make me feel kinda crappy sometimes.

    8) What is your favourite song by 15?
    I haven't really listend to Arcade Fire in a while, so my memory's a bit hazy, but I'd probably have to go with Rebellion (Lies).

    9) What is your favourite song by 5?
    Close call with Massive Attack. Superpredators never fails to raise a devilish little smile, but Unfinished Sympathy is perfection. If it came to it, I'd probably have to go with Unfinished Sympathy.

    10) Is there a song by 6 that makes you happy?
    On by Bloc Party, every single time.

    11) What is your favourite album by 40?
    The Singles by Feeder. Best £5 I've ever spent. Completely recommended.

    12) What is your favourite song by 10?
    I was hoping I wouldn't have to choose a Bon Iver song... I'd probably go with Blindsided, but Beach Baby runs a *really* close second.

    13) What is a good memory involving 30?
    Hmm... I don't really have any memories specific to Sigur Ros. Which is weird, considering they can make any moment about 50 times more epic.

    14) What is your favourite song by 38?
    Running On Empty by The Rumble Strips. Love the way Charlie Waller screams in that one. Ahem...

    15) Is there a song by 19 that makes you feel happy?
    The Stone Roses are generally good at this anyway, but How Do You Sleep stands out, despite the subject matter.

    16) How many times have you seen 25 live?
    I saw the Foo Fighters once in Hyde Park in London about 4 or 5 years ago, supported by Motorhead, Queens of the Stone Age and... Uh, some others. It was good, but the sound was a little bit dodgy.

    17) What was the first song you heard by 22?
    I'm pretty sure I just bought The National's Boxer album without listening to anything by them first, so I suppose it would've been Fake Empire. Not a bad way to start though.

    18) What is your favourite album by 11?
    Muse have never topped Origin of Symmetry, and at the rate they're going now, they never will.

    19) Who is your favourite member of 1?
    Isn't Mark Everett basically the only member of Eels anyway...?

    20) Have you ever seen 14 live?
    Never seen The Coral live, no. Not really too fussed about it either.

    21) What is a good memory involving 27?
    Hrrm... Guillemots are good, but I don't really listen to them enough to have any delightful memories of them.

    22) What is your favourite song by 16?
    My personal favourite Charlotte Gainsbourg is probably The Operation, for *that* bassline.

    23) What is the first song you heard by 47?
    Again, I just bought Swim by Caribou without listening to any of it first, so Odessa.

    24) What is your favourite album by 18?
    Bjork's best album is probably Homogenic, although Medulla gets a special mention.

    25) What is your favourite song by 21?
    I think I like Thirteen best out of Forward Russia's catalogue. It would be Gravity and Heat, but that one goes on a little too long.

    26) What is the first song you heard by 26?
    Oh, Jesus Christ, I probably heard my first Blur song when I was about 4 years old... I have vague memories of hearing Tender and End of a Century at a young age, but I've got no idea which was first. I guess End of a Century's more likely, seeing as how it came out first.

    27) What is your favourite album by 3?
    Wow, another hard one, Radiohead... This one varies. Though it tends to be Kid A most often.

    28) What is your favourite song by 2?
    With Bat for Lashes, it's either Daniel, Siren Song or Pearl's Dream. Mmm... Probably Siren Song if I really think about it.

    29) What was the first song you heard by 32?
    You keep picking all the boring ones. Once again, the first track on Holly Miranda's first album, Forest Green, Oh Forest Green

    30) What is your favourite song by 8?
    "Heroes" by David Bowie is hands-down my favourite song of all time.

    31) How many times have you seen 17 live?
    I saw The Answering Machine once when they supported The Rumble Strips at the Scala in London. Possibly the only support act I've seen that managed to completely upstage the main event.

    32) Is there a song by 44 that makes you happy?
    Haha, 'happy' is an odd choice of words when it comes to Nirvana. I can't really think of a song of theirs that makes me happy, as such.

    33) What is your favourite album by 12?
    The Flaming Lips have never released a *bad* album, but Embryonic is my favourite at the moment.

    34) What is the worst song by 45?
    Flight Tonight by The Avalanches doesn't really keep up with the standard on the rest of Since I Left You.

    35) What was the first song you heard by 34?
    The Clash is similar to the Blur situation, I was hearing stuff by them from such a young age that I have no idea what I heard first. It was probably either London Calling or Rock the Casbah though.

    36) What is your favourite album by 48?
    Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever is undoubtably The Cribs' finest hour.

    37) How many times have you seen 42 live?
    I've never seen The Beat live, though they're still going and I'd liek to if I got the opportunity.

    38) What is your favourite song by 36?
    It really depends on my mood with The Beatles. I've always got time for Blackbird though.

    39) What was the first you ever heard by 28?
    Origin Song by Semifinalists. First track, first album, you know the story here...

    40) What is your favourite album by 7?
    In my experience, The Cure aren't really an albums band, but I guess it would be Disintegration.

    41) Is there a song by 31 that makes you happy?
    Little Dragon specialise in crafting nuggets of pure joy, but Runabout should be prescribed as an antidepressant.

    42) What is your favourite album by 41?
    The Specials' first, self titled album, even though the version of Too Much Too Young on there is a bit poor.

    43) What is your favourite song by 24?
    Oh my, Gorillaz... I think I'm just going to have to go with my gut and say Empire Ants. Although I'm already regretting not saying Hong Kong or El Manana.

    44) What is a good memory involving 46?
    Once again, haven't really got anything for Gnarls Barkley.

    45) What is your favourite song by 35?
    Pretty much everything Los Campesinos! touched before their 3rd album was gold, but I think All Your Kayfabe Friends is the one I go back to most often.

    46) Is there a song by 9 that makes you feel happy?
    Despite being the most miserably fuckers on the planet right now, The xx are still able to warm my heart with VCR and Islands.

    47) What is your favourite album by 4?
    All of Portishead's albums are masterpieces, but Roseland NYC Live is breathtaking, the best live album I've ever heard. If we're just talking studio albums, then it's probably Third, even if it is quite a tough listen at times.

    48) Who is your favourite member of 37?
    Again, Burial's just the one guy. I forget his name. Nathaniel something...?

    49) What is the first song you hear by 43?
    I'm pretty sure it was Somebody Told Me. I didn't really like The Killers at first. Wonder why.

    50) How many albums do you own by 20?
    I've got all three of Lemon Jelly's albums. And they're all brilliant.