13 March 2009

Introducing: Phoenix

It's a bit stupid that I'm even giving these guys an "Introducing" tag seeing as how I've actually known about them for ages now and just, well, never got round to saying anything about them! So basically they're a bit like Daft Punk mixed with something somewhere along the lines of The Strokes. And if that sounds crazy, well, it's definitely NOT a catastrophe on record.

In fact, they've released 3LPs already, so they must be doing something right. Actually, here's what they're doing right: they don't really mix the two styles which are poles apart instantly - it's more of a case of, we'll use this style on one track and save the guitars for another day. So no, not a mess. So for people who like the more Daft Punk end, go for their debut "United" and for those who would prefer something a little more guitar-orientated then you should probably look out for "It's Never Been Like That" (hmm, appropriate title, considering).

Oh, I've decided not to waffle. Instead, I'll just show you this video for "If I Ever Feel Better". It's lovely stuff, really:

12 March 2009

No More... Please!

Okay, I can acknowledge that U2 are one of the biggest and most influential bands in the world but then I also agree with the statement that they're a bit like Marmite: you either love them or hate them.
Hate is a strong word - I couldn't exactly say that about them. I think I fall somewhere in between. There are one or two songs that I quite like but then I wouldn't go out and buy one of their albums. So I guess I can just about tolerate them.
Still, this tolerance is being pushed to the limits. Soon I will be pushed into the "hate" camp through simple over-exposure. The BBC seem hell-bent on placing them on every show they possibly can (radio and TV, no medium is safe from the onslaught) and it makes you think: why? Surely they don't need this kind of exposure to promote their album. Bono could simply stand up one day and say that they were releasing a new album and millions of die-hard fans would burst with anticipation until the magical day came.
But no, they have decided to cast themselves out and, I suppose, try and gain some new fans by talking about their "new" sound. Q Magazine even went as far as to say that "No Line On The Horizon" was their best album. I don't know. I've only heard two songs. Now it seems that I can't avoid them for love nor money - I am pushed to the point where I want to scream "nooooo" theatrically whenever "Get On Your Boots" or an interview comes on.
Please, give it a rest guys!

Radio Wars

Ah, Howling Bells... how long I have waited for your return. The debut was deliciously dark and lovely, covering your idea of Australia to memorable effect.

But this is hardly the same record. While maintaining their distinctive weeping guitars and the sultry voice of Juanita Stein, the band have gone in a more positive direction, as they put it because they have permanently moved to England. Lovely.

To prove this point, we can compare the lyrics of the opening songs to each of these albums, "The Bell Hit" from the debut and "Treasure Hunt" from this offering. In fact, only a couple of lines need analysing to see that the Bells are moving in a different direction in terms of songwriting. From "Hit": "Promises are empty in a world of emptiness" and from "Hunt": "We are the key that fits". Ooh, differenty.

Still, it's good to hear the new updated sound of the band. Everything is a little more polished, a little more thought out. "Golden Web" and "Digital Hearts" make use of some synths, which are far more prominent on the former.

It'll be interesting to see how these cleaner, slinkier songs sit in with the old ones in a live set. I can't see "Digital Hearts" or "Nightingale" being put together with something as violent as "Wishing Stone" or "Low Happening" but hey, I could be very wrong indeed. The contrast may even be a good point, showing how the Bells have adapted to their new sound and are more comfortable with who they are now in comparison to when they were tied Down Under.

10 March 2009

Can't Cook. Won't Cook. Try To Cook.

So there's this band called Passion Pit and they're musically a bit weird but if you like the whole idea of men with high-pitched voices (but not in the way that Prince and co do it) then you could check them out.

But their music isn't the point of this post; no, I wanted to show the world what cooking with the band looks like. While browsing around I stumbled upon this short but weird video showing the band cooking "pasta" (and you'll know why it's in inverted commas when you watch it). It's a depressing affair really. I'm not sure what the result looks like - actually more like halfway caramelised onions, but I'm sure my friend Diva will correct me and say it's more like calamari or something. Anyway, take a minute and a half to watch the train wreck.

With a word of warning: there is some swearing so the easily offended beware, and the camera does move in odd ways so I guess if you don't like sudden movements and fast stuff then be careful (just looking out for my readers!):

Introducing: Dan Black

Hmmm.... I must be losing my touch. It seems that I should have posted about Dan's lovely mix of electro and pop sensibility about.... two months ago? But after semi-forgetting his first single "Yours" I simply could not overlook him as soon as "Alone" came out. Firstly because "Alone" is a far superior single and more grown-up in a strange little way but also because it reminded me of how catchy and intoxicating his material was in the first place.

But alas, Dan was left to gather dust on the shelf while life took me by the reins and told me not to associate with the blog until I'd got my act together (although nothing bad happened - just a busy period). But now I'm sitting having a good blog day and I'm here to say something along the lines of: Dan Black is the next big thing, and if he's not then something has gone seriously wrong down the line.

Okay, so here's the lowdown: Dan lives in Paris and has done so for quite some time. He used to be part of a band but admits that he was the cause of their break-up, specifically that his perfectionism drove the other members to the insane asylum. So I assume that our Dan is a bit of a bedroom boffin who tweaks his controls in an attempt to get his own perect sound. And perhaps he has. Dan has mixed together some different styles, added some bass guitar and his own strangely affecting voice (okay so maybe it's more aggressive in "Yours" but its certinaly meek at points in "Alone") to create something quite magical.

Despite being undoubtedly mainstream material, there is something to his songs that screams underground and rough-around-the-edges. There is a slighty rustic feel to his approach to electro that gives it the edge over others - if Hot Chip are the polished princes of the genre, then surely Dan is like the aspirational squire. It's modern and entirely danceable. And he's just brilliant. That was the summary: I adore Dan Black.

Video to "Alone":

Interpol News

Interpol (the NY band, not the International Police heh heh) have announced that they've began work on their fourth album - but can I say, guys, that I would like more "Antics" and less "Our Love To Admire".

Yes, "Heinrich Maneuver" was a great song, and definitely one of their most upbeat but the end of the album plodded so badly that I thought they'd musically imploded and become a walking cliche, unfortunate for a band who manage to walk the line between indie and gothic so well.

Oh I just long for an album that has more songs like "Evil", "Narc" and "Slow Hands" on it. Please please please let it be so!

New cocknbullkid Single Out Now!

Yay! It's finally out! Officially my favourite of all of thecocknbullkid's songs is now out and available to buy on iTunes (heh, what a plug! I'm practically ordering everyone to buy it!)

But seriously, just because I'm nuts about this song in which Anita Blay falls along the same slightly feminist and spunky lines as "On My Own Again" does't mean everyone else will be. But the fact is, everyone seems to be going nuts about her! I think it's really only a matter of time before this girl goes COLOSSAL and attacks the pop world viciuosly - any other outcome would be a crime against humanity!

So without further ado, I present to you "I'm Not Sorry":

05 March 2009

Put Forward

Yeah Yeah Yeahs have announced that due to a leak on the net that they're going to release their third album "It's Blitz!" earlier than scheduled. In fact, it's gonna be out next week.
I'm listening to their first single on their MySpace site alongside some of their old stuff and I think that apart from Karen O's distinctive voice (which has still pretty much lost its growl), "Zero" sounds retty much like nothing they've done before. They've ditched punk rock in favour of punky electro, which can only be a good thing for me since I'm so into that sort of scene.
Anyway, it would've been niceto have let them work on it a little longer. You get the feeling that with leaks the bands sometimes feel they have to press forward too quickly, so maybe the quality control goes out of the window. Of course, I could be hideously wrong and it might turn out to be their best album yet. But it'll take a lot to beat the immediacy of their debut "Fever To Tell".
In the mean time, here's a video for the single, created on some animation software by some guy on Youtube: