Monday, 25 October 2010

Track of the Week 2010: #43

The Vaccines – Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra) / Blow It Up

It was inevitable really. A re-post as Track of the Week. At least partially. After a bit more listening I've concluded that The Vaccines, at the moment, are a very good thing.

Both 'Wreckin Bar (Ra Ra Ra)' and 'Blow It Up', which will be released as a double A Side next month, are the short snappy pieces of fuzzy indie rock that we all want on some level. Of course some of us consider ourselves above this sort of thing. That's fine, there's plenty of sub-genres being prefixed with 'psych' to keep those busy. We'll take this stuff cheers.

Once again, I'm wary of being hyperbolic with The Vaccines as very soon too many of the wrong people will be. It happened with The Drums last year. Unlike that debacle however, The Vaccines are not shit.

So what do The Vaccines sound like then. Well, there's the surf elements of Pixies as well as the New York fuzz of The Strokes. On top of that there's a hint of Jesus and Mary Chain and the youthful vigour of early Supergrass. Although unintended I realise that the groups I've compared them to are ones that hold the very essence of rock and roll.

Both of these songs together only just break the four minute mark. That's about half the length of a Dream Theatre intro. The short length just makes you want to keep going back for more. So here you go. Keep revisiting.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Some Sunday folk from Darren Hayman

Darren Hayman & The Secondary Modern – Two Tree Island

Different from the usual fare I post about on here. 'Two Tree Island' is a wonderful and delicate piece of folk music that, if you've got a soul, will find soothing and reflective during the autumn. The song features on Hayman's new album, a concept record about Essex, entitled Essex Arms and sounds as though it was constructed with Sundays like today in mind.

(For purely typographical reasons I've often gotten Darren Hayman confused with Darren Hayes. Of course the one responsible for 'Two Tree Island' is the frontman of indiepop heroes Hefner. Not the bloke from Savage Garden.)

You should listen to the song for the reasons that I've highlighted in the opening paragraph as well as because the lyrics are evocatively superb. That's not the reasons I gave it a go however.

I won't bore you with them, but have a listen and see if you can figure it out...

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Want some ace free MP3s?

Of course you do.

Follow these links to the tracks at This Is Fake DIY

Weezer - Blowin' My Stack
From Weezer's forthcoming rarities CD Death To False Metal . Better than a lot of stuff they've put on actual albums.

The Go! Team - T.O.R.N.A.D.O.
Finally The Go! Team are getting ready to release their third album and this noisy-everything-everywhere track has all the hallmarks that made Thunder Lightning Strike brilliant

Wire - Two Minutes
A short snappy track from the post-punk legends. It sounds oddly like Young Knives. Guess how long it is.

Gruff Rhys - Shark Ridden Waters

Possibly the best song the Super Furry Animals and Neon Neon frontman has put out under his own name. Classic pop and possibly one of the tracks of the year. Really!

Weezer - Getting Up And Leaving
Seriously, Weezer. Two albums within a year. Then the B-sides collection. Then the Pinkerton re-issue. Then you spoil us with two free MP3s, with this one being from the aforementioned new version of Pinkerton? Oh, go on then!

NME has this too:

Pulled Apart By Horses - Somersault
The Leeds hard rockers have only gone and covered Sky Larkin. It's great!

That's four updates this week. How's that?


Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Have you got a minute and a half?

Well, I don't need all of it. This song clocks in at 1:24 which makes it shorter than 'Caught By The Fuzz'. It's a song called 'Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra)' and it's by The Vaccines.

I will warn you that the NME will be bumming these guys so very very soon, but I don't want that to put you off. For this is a supreme slice of indie rock perfection, recalling The Strokes at their best – but fuzzier.

I'd rather not add to the hyperbole, so will settle for jumping on the bandwagon. Listen to the song. I think it's good. I think you will too.

EDIT: Oh, and it turns out that the NME have a free dowload of 'Blow It Up' by the band. I've not listened to it yet, but if you're impressed by this then go and grab it.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Track of the Week 2010: #42

LoneLady – 'Fear No More'

I'm sure that you've all had times where you've read a review delightedly only to find out upon listening to the band or album that they're very little like what was read. The worst part of this is always that the idea has been planted in your mind and you feel robbed of a sound that never actually existed.

When I read the reviews of The XX's album I was expecting from the singles an infusion of post-punk and contemporary pop influences that the group didn't supply. It's not that I've a problem with The XX, it's just to my ears they're much more akin to Portishead than the sonic innovators of the late '70s and early '80s.

With my listening habits these days being very fragmented it's been difficult to pick a lone track that I think you should check out above all others. Making that something so hot off the shelf that you won't have heard it elsewhere is nothing short of impossible. That's why (and bringing the two strands together here) I've gone for a track from an album that was released earlier in the year but that I've only just got around to picking up. Hopefully you won't have heard it. It's by LoneLady. She's from Manchester. And it's everything that I hoped The XX would be.

LoneLady's debut album Nerve Up, from my first few listens, comes across as a very fresh sounding recording that rather than taking the exact sonic hallmarks of post-punk interprets the ethos of 'ripping it up and starting again'. Whilst the angular riffs for the most part are the starting point or central motif around which the song hangs there's always much more going on. The vocal frequently slips into a distinctly pop style, whilst drum machines echo electronic music from a time that's difficult to pinpoint. There's occasionally flourishes of synthesiser that recall the more nostalgic moments of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and flickers of '90s alt. rock. But these are all threads woven into the wider landscape that's inhabited.

Nothing weighs this down to a particular style and it's all but impossible to pigeon-hole the album.

This weeks' Track of the Week is the closing song from Nerve Up. It's as stripped back as LoneLady gets and sees here guitar accompanied only by the barest of strings. It verges on the gothic and is absolutely stunning. Perfect for the long winter months ahead and as different from last weeks TotW as it's possible to be.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Track of the Week 2010: #41

Delays – 'In Brilliant Sunshine'

It's well and truly gig season again here in Sheffield and of the four that I would have liked to have hit this past week I only managed two of them (Everything Everything and Delays). Bust still, two is many more gigs than I've been to recently.

Delays really are great. They've been around for a while now, with my fandom going back to the days of their debut album Faded Seaside Glamour in 2004. Somehow last night was the first time I've seen them live, and boy were they good. As they're on album number four now most of the music press has lost interest and this year's Star Tiger, Star Ariel has sadly underperformed. This baffles me, and cuts to the centre of what I've long wondered about Delays.

Why are they not HUGE?

The jangly pop songs of theirs are so perfect that they should be melting hearts across the board; from the indie kids to the teenage girls and middle aged men. Their more upbeat dancier stuff meanwhile can kick the ass of many inferior acts who try a similar thing (Calvin Harris, I'm looking at you), but is for some reason confined to minor stages at festivals when it should be blowing away the big crowds.

Honestly, the best bet is to blame the marketing.

Take 'In Brilliant Sunshine' from Star Tiger, Star Ariel for instance. One of the highlights of Saturday's set it's not a track that I took that much notice of on the album. Live it's tremendous and whipped the crowd up very nicely. And this isn't even Delays at their best. They've mastered the pop song. Someone give them some fucking recognition!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Track of the Week 2010: #40

The Joy Formidable - 'I Don't Want To See You Like This'

Though I've mentioned them very little The Joy Formidable inspire something quite special within me. I don't believe that any new band for a long long time have the scope and huge potential that they have. Their sound is just staggering.

One of the true highlights of this year's Glastonbury, even though they were only the opening band on the second stage of one day; they've a wealth of excellent material. Largely, the highlights of their career have appeared on last year's mini-album A Balloon Called Moaning. Sadly, I didn't really pick it up in time for it to have appeared on my album countdown at the end of 2009, but had I then it would have featured very highly.

'I Don't Want To See You Like This' is set to be the first release from the forthcoming debut proper from The Joy Formidable and it's exemplary of their sound. If nothing else then the drumming on the single is worth checking out, for it provides earth shattering foundations for the guitar, bass and vocal interplay. Should '...See You Like This's parent album appear before the end of the year and live up to half of the potential that they displayed on A Balloon's finest songs then it could be the best album that we see in 2010.

Watch this space.

And this video.