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  • Tribes at Plug Sheffield

    12 avr. 2013, 10h46m

  • Review of the NME Awards Tour 2013 in Manchester

    14 fév. 2013, 16h19m

  • Girls at HMV Ritz, 10/11/2011

    14 nov. 2011, 17h35m

    Thu 10 Nov – Now Wave at The Ritz

    San Francisco band Girls took time out from their busy European headline tour to play second fiddle to Stephen Malkmus (of Pavement fame) and his band The Jicks, in a night specially curated by Now Wave.

    Whereas many bands might struggle to cope with the pressures of playing in a venue arguably much larger than they were used to, especially one predominantly made up of fans of the bill-topping act, it only took Girls a few songs to really make the stage their own. ‘Love Like a River’ from album Father, Son, Holy Ghost got an appreciative, but not entirely packed, crowd swaying, the soulful voices of the band’s backing singers- who were excellent throughout- really setting the tone for the rest of the gig and creating a unique and mellow atmosphere. This was a theme that continued throughout their set, and although rocky number ‘Die’ briefly got those at the front bouncing, it was more tranquil tracks like ‘My Ma’ and ‘Hellhole Ratrace’ that really showcased Girls’ talents.

    Single ‘Vomit’ had an increasingly impressed crowd transfixed, with one of the aforementioned backing singers even joining frontman Christopher Owens at the front of the stage to rapturous applause. The band themselves saw ‘Vomit’ as their set-closer, before being told they still had a bit longer to go. Owens, peering from underneath a mop of tangled blonde hair, therefore launched into old song ‘Morning Light’ before ending with ‘Substance.’

    Despite the length of some songs, the set never once felt self-indulgent, and although the band preceded the much rockier Stephen Malkmus, it was Girls’ songs that caught the imagination of the Ritz crowd. Judging by this performance, it shouldn’t be too long before we see them at the top of the bill in venues like these.

    Rating: 9 out of 10
  • A stupidly pointless music quiz to start 2009 :)

    1 jan. 2009, 23h16m

    1. How did you get into 29? (Scarlett Johansson/Hard-Fi)

    I'd heard so much about her album of Tom Waits covers so I gave it a listen and loved it :) and Hard-Fi from the glory days of Fifa 2004, gotta reason ;)

    2. What was the first song you ever heard by 22? (The Cliques)

    Wasting All Your Time

    3. What's your favourite lyric by 36? (Snow Patrol)

    Probably something from when they were alright, maybe "I get tired of the heart attacks, every time it rains"

    4. How did you get into 49? (The Kissaway Trail)

    Saw them supporting Editors in Manchester in 2007 and was blown away

    5. How many albums by 3 do you own? (Arctic Monkeys)

    Both of them, and a whole collection of B-Side albums and rarities

    6. What is your favourite song by 51? (Stereophonics)

    Just Looking

    7. Is there a song by 44 that makes you sad? (The Cribs)

    no? haha

    8. What is your favourite song by 15? (Interpol)

    Rest My Chemistry

    9. What is your favourite song by 5? (The Kooks)

    wow it's bad that they're still number 5. but i'd say time awaits.

    10. Is there a song by 6 that makes you happy? (Kings of Leon)

    Four Kicks, Manhattan, California Waiting

    11. What is the worst song by 11? (One Night Only)

    'Sweet Sugar'...oh dear...

    12. What is your favourite song by 10? (Idlewild)

    In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction

    13. What is a good memory you have involving 31? (The View)

    Seeing them at LMHR at city hall :)

    14. What is your favourite song by 38? (The Shins)

    Spilt Needles

    15. Is there a song by 19 that makes you smile? (The Courteeners)

    Not Nineteen Forever, Cavorting, Fallowfield Hillbilly, Acrylic

    16. Is there a song by 25 that makes you sad? (Joe Lean and The Jing Jang Jong)

    no, not really!

    17. What is the first song you ever heard by 23? (Babyshambles)

    Killamangiro (spelling?)

    18. What's your favourite lyric by 21? (The White Stripes)

    'And there was a time when all I wanted was my ice cream colder, and a little cream soda, oh well, oh well'

    19. Who is a favourite member of 17? (The Last Shadow Puppets)

    Haha I wonder, but only because I'm not too keen on The Rascals

    20. Is there a song by 14 that makes you happy? (Athlete)

    They're not exactly a happy kinda band! But Half Light is quite upbeat for them :)

    21. What is a good memory involving 27? (Foals)

    Crushing my ribs at the barrier of their gig, ah memories.

    22. What is your favourite song by 47? (Biffy Clyro)

    Machines, Mountains, Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies

    23. What is the first song you ever heard by 16? (Look See Proof)

    Casualty

    24. What is your favourite song ever by 8? (The Paddingtons)

    21, Sorry, 50 To A Pound, Panic Attack

    25. Who is your favourite member of 32? (The Raconteurs)

    haha, come on. Jack White.

    26. What is the first song you ever heard by 26? (Counting Crows)

    I think probably Mr. Jones. My dad played them a lot when I was younger but I seem to remember that being one of the first I heard

    27. What is your favourite album by 13? (Death Cab for Cutie)

    Plans

    28. What is you favourite song by 2? (Editors)

    oh my god. erm. Either Fall, You Are Fading, Crawl Down The Wall, Spiders, Push Your Head Towards The Air, The Racing Rats, Fingers In The Factories. But I love them all!

    29. How many albums do you have by 18? (The Killers)

    Three if you include Sawdust. I don't dare listen to the new one because I fear it will make my ears bleed.

    30. What is you favourite song by 12? (Joy Division)

    Disorder, Shadowplay, She's Lost Control

    31. How many times have you seen 1 live? (Razorlight)

    Once, unfortunately it was recent so they only played about half of the good stuff :/

    32. Is there a song by 39 that makes you happy? (Conor Oberst)

    I dare anyone to listen to NYC-Gone, Gone and not smile :)

    33. How did you get into 40? (Fleeing From Finales)

    Myspace add?

    34. What is the worst song by 46? (The Dandy Warhols)

    'I Am a Scientist' can get really annoying

    35. What was the first song you ever heard by 24? (Muse)

    Ooh-er, I dare say Plug In Baby most probably

    36. How did you get into 53? (General Fiasco)

    Saw them supporting One Night Only

    37. How many times have you seen 42 live? (The Strokes)

    Never I'm afraid

    38. What is you favourite song by 35? (The Libertines)

    Time For Heroes, The Boy Looked at Johnny, Vertigo, Can't Stand Me Now, Don't Look Back Into the Sun, there's too many to choose from!

    39. What was the first song you ever heard by 28? (Boys Like Girls)

    The Great Escape, surprise surprise

    40. What is you favourite album by 7? (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club)

    Aaaargh! Erm B.R.M.C or Baby 81, can't decide :/

    41. Is there a song by 31 that makes you happy? (The View)

    Superstar Tradesman, Dance Into The Night, Street Lights, Shock Horror, 5Rebbeccas :)

    42. What is your favourite album by 41? (Air Traffic)

    They've only got one as far as I'm aware

    43. What is your favourite song by 34? (MGMT)

    Erm, Pieces of What

    44. What is a good memory you have involving 46? (The Dandy Warhols)

    Bohemian Like You summer :) haha

    45. What is your favourite song by 33? (Revenue)

    The Departed, Chineseman, A Thousand Lies

    46. Is there a song by 4 that makes you happy? (Bright Eyes)

    Coat Check Dream Song, Old Soul Song, Four Winds, An Attempt to Tip the Scales (because I love the 'interview' at the end!), Road to Joy and Hot Knives make me smile :)

    47. What is your favourite album by 9? (Bloc Party)

    Silent Alarm

    48. Who is a favourite member of 38? (Conor Oberst)

    Oh I wonder...

    49. What is the first song you ever heard by 43? (The Enemy)

    Away From Here

    50. What is your favourite song by 20? (Tokyo Police Club)

    The entire album is flawless. But favourites are Juno, Tessellate, In a Cave

    phew, finished at last!
  • The Best Albums of 2008...

    22 déc. 2008, 21h13m

    For starters, can I just say that this is clearly in my opinion, so don't bother reading it if you're just going to leave comments criticizing. (Y)

    First up; the few that didn't quite make the top 15, but came close:
    Mystery Jets- Twenty One
    MGMT- Oracular Spectacular
    Black Rebel Motorcycle Club- The Effects of 333
    The Gaslight Anthem- The '59 Sound
    Bloc Party- Intimacy

    And now to the top 15, enjoy...


    15) Friendly Fires- Friendly Fires
    It's very rare that I agree with NME and actually like a band that are constantly hyped by them, but Friendly Fires self-titled debut is truly brilliant, and it's refreshing to see a band who are actually trying to create something new and do something different. On another note, Friendly Fires are one of the best live acts I have seen, and I would recommend to anyone who gets the chance to see them to make the effort and go.

    14) The Airborne Toxic Event- The Airborne Toxic Event
    This is a fairly late entry to my chart, but TATE's debut is an amazingly well written, emotional album, which certainly has lots to offer. The band seem to have a wide variety of styles, on tracks such 'Sometime Around Midnight' a moody, thoughtful Joy Division-esque influence is clear, whereas 'Gasoline' offers a more poppy, punchy sound from TATE's arsenal. A great album.

    13) The Raconteurs- Consolers of the Lonely
    I'll be honest, I'm always fairly skeptical of side-projects, especially ones including the frontman of one of the biggest bands out there. He must just be in it for more money, right? Wrong. Jack White and co. offer a much more mature, developed sounding album than their debut 'Broken Boy Soldiers,' and White's songwriting skills are enough to make any fan of The White Stripes mouth water at the thought of a new album.

    12) The Courteeners- St. Jude
    It took me a while to get into this album, but it's clear to see that St. Jude is a truly 'back to basics' album for the music industry. With no consideration for the current trend, Liam Fray didn't write this album so it'd be 'cool,' he did it just to make good music. With powerful guitar riffs and impressive vocals, The Courteeners' debut also sees them sticking to their roots, capturing that famous 'Madchester' sound, something which I feel bands such as Oasis have failed to do on recent albums. Plus, they're United fans (Y)

    11) One Night Only- Started A Fire
    I know, I know, it was all going so well...It's obvious that I'll be criticised for this choice, but there's something about ONO's debut that puts them in a different league to other 'indie pop' bands such as The Wombats or Scouting for Girls, or whatever 13 year-old girls listen to nowadays. I also like the attitude that George Craig and his band have, who once claimed that NME had stopped talking about music and had become a 'fashion magazine.' They may be from a tiny village in North Yorkshire, but they clearly know what they're talking about.

    10) The Last Shadow Puppets- The Age of the Understatement
    As a huge Arctic Monkeys fan, I didn't really have a choice but to include this in my top ten. Although TLSP are obviously not comparable with Alex Turner's day job, their album to me is just a fantastic example of how Turner has developed as a songwriter and as a musician. Gone are the days of him being that 'little scruffy kid from Sheffield'- he's beginning to look like- and sound like- a true rock star and a hero of a generation. And as for his mate, he's alright i guess.

    9) The Paddingtons- No Mundane Options
    I may be a bit biased here, The Paddingtons are the only decent band to come out of my home town since The Housemartins, so I've always seen them as kind of local heroes. After a well received debut album in 2005, The Padds struggled over the next two years, and with record label troubles a split looked increasingly likely. But the band stuck together, made their own truly independent label, and carried on producing the type of music they're good at. While it might not fit in with current 'trend' that NME seems so hooked on, at least it's a fine example of a band who are real and are just themselves, rather than jumping on the electro-synthesizer-Late of the Pier-inspired bandwagon.

    8) Razorlight- Slipway Fires
    It took me a while to decide whether or not this is one of the best albums of the year, or one of the worst. However, although it has been said that it is evidence of a band going further downhill by diluting their sound to become even more mainstream, unlike their self-titled second album, 'Slipway Fires' takes a more mature approach, and it's clear that Johnny Borrell has poured a lot of emotion and time into this album, unlike 'Razorlight' which was just smash-hit pop song after pop song. Although Razorlight's third album cannot touch the fantastic 'sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll' inspired debut 'Up All Night,' at least it can be said that Borrell wants to be taken more seriously as a musician. Let's face it, we all knew that it would be criticized by publications such as NME, seen as though Johnny Borrell is possibly the most hated man in music. I'd like to see the reaction to this album if it was by a 'new, cool band.' Still, I find it impossible to listen to this album really because it just depresses me and makes me think about how good this band used to be :/ But considering they wrote my favourite album ever I'm giving them a spot in this chart, out of respect at least...

    7) Kings of Leon- Only by the Night
    Despite the haircuts, the smash hit number one single (which I think gets on everyone's nerves now), and the OBVIOUS change in sound in order to become more mainstream, KOL's fourth album is still fantastic. I do tend to think that the main strengths of 'Only By The Night' lie in it's first five or so tracks, but everything about it screams real, brilliant music. Although I feel personally that too much mainstream success is never a good thing, KOL have made a pitch for the big league, so to speak, while doing the important thing and sticking to their true, American routes.

    6) Stereophonics- Decade In The Sun: Best Of Stereophonics
    I wasn't really sure whether or not I was allowed to include a best of album in my list, but just after a few plays of the classics featured on this album, it had to be there. I'll be honest, I'm not a big Stereophonics fan, I have the odd album but I wouldn't say they're one of my favourite bands. However, any band that can last ten years and still continuously produce great songs must be doing something right. That's the good thing with this album, all of the songs are unforgettable classics, and I like the way that each one I heard I said to myself, 'oooh, I know this one...' I think bands such as Stereophonics are great role models to the many up and coming bands that there are today, as they've managed to keep on going and continue to produce great music.

    5) Scarlett Johansson- Anywhere I Lay My Head
    Hmm...a Hollywood actress decides to do an album covering a guy with one of the most unique voices out there, surely a mistake? Not at all. I was originally wary of this album and what scrobbling it could do to my amazing reputation (ahem), I feared that it would just be a typical glossy actress-turned-pop-singer album in the style of Paris Hilton et al. But after reading glowing reviews, I gave it a try, and was totally blown away after the first listen. While it's true that I find it very difficult to listen to other than at night just before going to bed, Johansson's voice is simply stunning and gives a fantastic twist to the original classics produced by Tom Waits. She even includes one of her own songs aswell, and I certainly cannot wait to hear more material from her in the future.

    4) Death Cab for Cutie- Narrow Stairs
    Although apparently huge in the States, Death Cab are still relatively unknown over here, you could easily walk around my college and 99% of the people would probably say, 'never heard of 'em but they sound emo.' (Yes, unfortunately the majority of people in Great Britain are idiots.) Anyway, back to the album. At the risk of being abused by real Death Cab fans, this was the first album I ever heard from them, I kind of worked backwards and eventually got hold of some of their older material aswell. This album sparked my interest in them and although i prefer 'Plans,' I think that 'Narrow Stairs' is just a fantastic example of songwriting at its very best. It's kind of a shame, therefore, that we don't really hear much of them over here, and instead get force-fed generic, melancholy bands such as Coldplay and the 'super-cool' Glasvegas. Hmm, I'll stick with Death Cab thank you very much.

    3) Look See Proof- Between Here and There
    I can guarantee that the majority of people reading this (erm, if anyone actually does read it...) will think, 'who?' Either that or they'll think, 'oh here we go, another crappy NME indie clone band.' This may be true to some extent, LSP's musical style is hardly the most unique I've ever heard, and they are often compared to bands such as Good Shoes, for example. However, for me this debut album just showed so much energy and a kind of 'we don't care' musical approach, with absolutely tons of different noises coming from all over the place. The songs themselves are ridiculously catchy, and although many people claim they're all very similar sounding, if they're all excellent, surely this isn't a bad thing? Hopefully, LSP won't 'do a Razorlight,' by which I mean produce an enthralling, energetic debut album and them for some crazy reason follow it up with a load of 'ready for radio 1' dribble. I'm not sure if they're big enough to do that, so for now I'll continue to enjoy an album which is so full of life and makes me truly happy to listen to.

    2) Conor Oberst- Conor Oberst
    In similar fashion to the reason why the Last Shadow Puppets album was included, as a Bright Eyes fan then I couldn't not leave a place for Oberst's self-titled solo album. Although he has been criticised recently for attempting to make his music more 'poppy' and mainstream, I feel that the last Bright Eyes album, Cassadaga, showcased some of his finest work to date. Therefore, I was delighted upon hearing this eagerly anticipated album by Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band, as it continues in a similar style to Cassadaga, Oberst offering us some rather mellower, more mature sounding vocals compared to those on previous albums such as personal favourite 'Fevers and Mirrors.' However, this style undoubtedly suits Conor, and let's be honest, everything he touches seems to turn to gold.

    *drum roll please*...

    1) Tokyo Police Club- Elephant Shell
    Wow. In one word, wow. From the very first time i heard this album I knew straight away that it was up there with my favourites, which is why I can confirm that TPC's debut is my highlight of 2008. After having owned all the previous singles, b-sides, e.p's, etc etc, this release was well overdue in my opinion, but didn't fail to disappoint. While it could be said that it is short and sweet- on average most of the songs are no longer than 2-3 minutes- each song on this album is flawless, and not a day goes by that I don't have the amazing drum introduction to one of the most unknown, should-be-number-one songs out there, 'Juno,' whirling around my head. While this release seems to have made little stir in terms of the yearly reviews of other publications, for me, Elephant Shell is one of the most refreshing, vibrant sounding albums I have heard in a long time. I'm certainly glad that I discovered this album as it has, for me, put the icing on top of another wonderful year for music.

    BRING ON 2009!