Tuesday, 2 February 2010


January has been a bit of a slow month in terms of album releases but it has given me the chance to catch up on some older ones that I had previously ignored or have come across on other people's End of Year (and in the case of The National's Boxer, End of Decade) Lists. Consequently I've been enjoying The Pains of Being Pure at Heart's d├ębut album quite a lot alongside the brilliant Two Dancers by Wild Beasts and brand new eyes by Paramore (patchy but has some great singles). Possibly the highlight from all of this though is Dananananaykroyd, whose album was one I was meaning to buy since it came out (but only got around to doing six or so months later). Said album Hey Everyone! is a frantic rock record, that although not re-inventing the wheel does some fantastic and offbeat things with rock music, that really needs to be heard to be believed.

As a side note: I've picked up a the much hyped Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective. Aside from 'My Girls' which is one hell of a pop song I'm finding it a little hard going and more than a touch dense. From the few listens that I've given it I can tell the strengths and inventiveness it possesses are apparent but I'm also aware that it's going to take many more listens for my pop palate to adjust. I am sure that it will be worth it in the end and if nothing else it's quite good for drifting off to sleep to.

New releases though. There has only been two this month that I've actually been interested in and have therefore picked up both. First out of the blocks was Vampire Weekend's second album Contra, which although not life shattering is in my opinion a immensely listenable and fun pop record. The deft touches with the band work into their template work very well, even when they shouldn't (such as the auto-tune on 'California English') and even though the album is back-weighted there's plenty of variety. Personal highlights for me would be 'Cousins', 'White Sky' and best of all 'Giving Up The Gun'.

The second record is, of course, the solo album from Guillemots man Fyfe Dangerfield. A gentler and more stripped back affair than his day job, Fly Yellow Moon is a reminder of just exactly how much I enjoy listening to the man sing. Across the album there's dalliances with Northern Soul ('She Needs Me') glitchy pop ('Walk In The Room'), British Sea Power meets Richard Hawley epic indie ('Faster Than The Setting Sun') and acoustic musings ('Livewire', 'Firebird'). None of it is really Guillemots material and is somewhat better for being so.

The last thing to mention is the sheer amount of side projects that are appearing this year. Fyfe may have just opened the floodgates. This week has seen the release of The Hot Rats (formed by Danny and Gaz Supergrass) covers record, called Turn Ons, and later in the month we're due an album by Everybody Was In The French Resistance... Now! (a project from Eddie Art Brut and one of The Blood Arm whereby responses to a variety of popular songs have been recorded). It begs the question: is there anyone who's just sticking to their day job this year? We're fully expecting to hear next that Franz Ferdinand are recording music for fashion shows... Oh, wait.....

I'm sure that there's stuff from this month that I've missed. Feel free to tell me what they are...

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