Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tip for 2007: Black Gold 360

Veering away slightly from my usual preference for all things indie, one album from a totally different ballpark has been pushing my buttons recently. Blending together such diverse influences as Squarepusher, Miles Davis, Abba, John Coltrane and The Orb, Black Gold 360 creates an electronic soundscape where jazz and electronic/dance vibes meld together perfectly.

The album is the creation of Simon Sixsmith - label boss of Beluga Recordings, sometime member of Electric Puha and in-demand DJ.

The album has been impressing reviewers around the world, here are some quotes:

"An excellent forte into free form electronic jazz ... nothing can fully describe the complexity of its clever and eclectic mix.

"Excellent fusion of jazz meets electronics, in a beautiful package, as we have come to expect from the beluga crew."
Auke Ferwerda - 365 MAG, USA (

"The Album crosses boundaries in a way that makes you smile and wonder.
A miracle has happened: Black Gold 360 has got me liking jazz! A must-have for Four Tet-fans."
Dj Marcelle - ANOTHER NICE MESS, NL ( )

"Quite simply one of the best and most accomplished free internet releases ... Truly excellent."
Marvin Suicide, RESONANCE FM, UK

If you enjoy jazz or electronic music from the likes of Squarepusher, Four Tet or Nightmares on Max, give it a listen. And the best news is, you can download the entire album here for free!

Tip for 2007: The Wombats

There haven't been that many albums this year which have blown me away on the first listen. Particularly among the post-Monkeys bands, who have blended choppy/spiky guitar riffs with slice-of-life lyrics. From Bromheads Jacket to Milburn to Little Man Tate their albums have pretty much all more or less failed to live up to the promise of their early singles.

Then along came the Wombats. The name alone was enough to put me off initially, but eventually I decided to give them a try, and downloaded their new album 'Girls, Boys and Marsupials'. I put it on at a low volume in the background, but by the second track I was pricking up my ears, bumping up the volume and getting hooked. By track 3 the windows were shaking and I was bopping round the room. And it's been playing ever since.

And I still can't work out why. Is it the occasional doo-wop harmonies, at times reminiscent of my other current favourite Liverpool band, Hot Club de Paris? Or is it the killer riffs and hooks, which embed themselves in your subconscious and refuse to leave? Could be a combination of those two I guess!

Lead track 'Moving to New York' features the line 'Looks like Christmas came early for me' in the chorus. Too f***ing right it did! What an album!

In any event, I strongly recommend you have a listen for yourself. You can hear four of their tracks on their MySpace page, and six others on their band site. And if you want to download some MP3s, Bill at Sound Bites has a couple for you.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

This Month I Will Mostly Be Listening To….

Vol. 11 December 2006
1 Bloc Party - Song for Clay (Disappear Here)
2 Guillemots - Made Up Love Song #43
3 Ripchord - Lock Up Your Daughters (And Throw Away the Key) - tip for 2007
4 The Noisettes - Scratch Your Name
5 Muse - Knights of Cydonia
6 Pigeon Detectives - I Found Out - tip for 2007
7 Switches - Message from Yuz
8 Polytechnic - Man Overboard - verses, a chorus and a melody, who'd a thunk it?! Could even be a hit.
9 Babyshambles - The Blinding - long-awaited return to form of Tabloid Pete
10 The Veils - Jesus for the Jugular - caught the tail-end of their show in The Hague last month. Awesome
11 Hot Club de Paris - Clockwork Toy
12 The Maccabees - First Love - tip for 2007
13 Bloc Party - The Prayer - lead single off the new album, sounding better than ever. Tickets for their gig in Utrecht in April 07 already purchased
14 Howling Bells - Setting Sun
15 Union of Knives - Operated On
16 Pigeon Detectives - I'm Not Sorry
17 Band of Horses - Funeral
18 New Young Pony Club - Get Lucky
19 Larrikin Love - Happy as Annie
20 The Horror The Horror - Ipanema
21 The Veils - Not Yet

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Year-end mixtape

Here's the tracklist of my year-end double CD mixtape.

This Year I Have Mostly Been Listening To….



1 Akira the Don - Thanks for All the AIDS
2 Archie Bronson Outfit - Dart For My Sweetheart
3 Arctic Monkeys - A Certain Romance
4 The Beatles - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
5 Bloc Party - Song for Clay (Disappear Here)
6 Boy Kill Boy - Suzie
7 Easy Star All*Stars - Airbag
8 Franz Ferdinand - The Fallen
9 Fratellis - Chelsea Dagger
10 Graham Coxon - Standing on My Own Again
11 Hot Chip - Over and Over
12 Hot Club de Paris - Everyeveryeverything
13 Howling Bells - Blessed Night
14 Infadels - Can't Get Enough
15 Jim Noir - My Patch
16 Justice v Simian - We Are Your Friends (Edison remix)
17 The Killers - When You Were Young
18 Klaxons - Atlantis to Interzone
19 The Knife - We Share Our Mother's Health
20 Kooks - Naive

1 Hess is More - The Magic Invention of T.D.P.R.C.
2 Lily Allen - LDN
3 The Longcut - A Tried and Tested Method
4 Lovely Feathers - Wrong Choice
5 Morrissey - You Have Killed Me
6 Mystery Jets - The Boy Who Ran Away
7 Paolo Nuttini - Jenny Don't be Hasty
8 Peter, Bjorn & John - Young Folks
9 Portishead - Requiem for Anna (Un jour comme un autre - Anna)
10 Pretty Girls Make Graves - Parade
11 Pull Tiger Tail - Animator
12 Raconteurs - Steady as She Goes
13 The Rakes - All Too Human
14 The Rapture - Get Myself Into It
15 Roots Manuva - No Love
16 Switches - Message from Yuz
17 Teddybears - Cobrastyle
18 Thom Yorke - Harrowdown Hill
19 TV On the Radio - Province
20 The Victorian English Gentlemen's Club - Ban the Gin
21 Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Gold Lion
22 The Young Knives - She's Attracted To

Monday, November 13, 2006

Second-album syndrome

I'll be interested to see if the class of '04 can come up with the goods this year - Razorlight, Kasabian, Interpol, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Futureheads, the Bravery, the Zutons, the Caesars.... Franz Ferdinand have raised the bar for second albums, let's see who can step up and match them.
I wrote this in my first post on this blog, on 5 January of this year. Well the second albums have come and gone (please can we stop using that horrible word 'sophomore'? It means a second-year American student, FFS) some (Kasabian, Killers, YYYs) acceptably decent, others (Razorlight, Futureheads) a pale shadow of the potential shown on the first albums, but all of them missing that spark that makes you shout YESSS!

One of the names missing from my original list is Bloc Party. Their second album, Weekend In The City, is not due out until February 2007, so it doesn't count as an '06 release anyway - or does it? An early mix of the album has been leaked online in the past few days and I've been lucky enough to get my hands on a copy. To say that it has the wow factor missing from the second albums mentioned above is putting it lightly - very lightly. This album is making the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. I even just caught myself headbanging at my desk.

So be excited. Be very excited!

You can download live versions of various tracks off the album from my fellow bloggers at Good Weather for Airstrikes blog here, and read the official track-by-track guide published in this week's NME here.

And here's a video of them performing track 2, Hunting for Witches:

Sunday, November 12, 2006

This Month I Will Mostly Be Listening To….

1 Pull Tiger Tail - Animator
2 Ali Love - K Hole
3 Cansei de Ser Sexy - Alala
4 The Fratellis - Whistle for the Choir
5 Babyshambles & friends - Janie Jones
6 Green Day & U2 - The Saints are Coming
7 The Horrors - Count in Fives
8 Switches - Testify
9 The Legion of Doom - Crazy As She Goes
10 The Maccabees - Lego
11 Graham Coxon - What You Gonna Do Now?
12 IV Thieves - You Can't Love What You Can't Understand
13 Radio 4 - Packing Things Up on the Scene
14 The Knife - Like a Pen
15 Hot Club de Paris - Your Face Looks All Wrong
16 The Automatic - Rats
17 65daysofstatic - Radio Protector
18 Klaxons - Hall of Records
19 The Good, The Bad & The Queen - Herculean
20 The Victorian English Gentlemen's Club - Ban the Gin
21 Tokyo Police Club - Nature of the Experiment
22 The Holloways - Two Left Feet
23 Snakes Say Hisss! - Love is a Heart Attack

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Album of the Month

The best album to be released in the past month also has the huge advantage of being absolutely free - well, when you buy a copy of this week's NME that is. For a mere £1.95 you get the World's Greatest Music Weekly and Dancefloor Distortion, a compilation put together by Simian Mobile Disco, who were responsible for indie dancefloor smash We Are Your Friends, featuring wonderfully distorted (yes) and squelchy remixes of the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Klaxons, The Gossip and Hot Chip.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

This Month I Will Mostly Be Listening To….

Vol. 8 September 2006


Jim Noir - Eanie Meany


The Rapture - Get Myself Into It


Little Man Tate - House Party at Boothy's


Larrikin Love - Downing St. Kindling


The Young Knives - She's Attracted To


Mission of Burma - Donna Sumeria


Heartless Bastards - Brazen


Easy Star All-Stars & Horace Andy - Airbag


Professor Murder - Champion


Archive - Sane


Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Cheated Hearts


The Fratellis - Chelsea Dagger


SeƱor Coconut - Smoke on the Water


Pigeon Detectives - You Know I Love You


Los Campesinos - You! Me! Dancing!


The Rifles - She's Got Standards


Cut Chemist - The Garden


Jarvis Cocker - (C***s are Still) Running the World

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Blogged to death but I don't care

Jared and the boys from Bel Auburn have been blitzing us bloggers with links to the band's new album, Lullabies in A & C. Coz of course, as you are probably aware, there have been quite a few bands who've leaped from obscurity to major (indie) success after being championed by blogs, message boards, podcasters and the various other new media outlets which have sprung up on the internet in the past few years. And who knows, with a bit of luck your band could be the next Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, Tapes 'n Tapes or (gasp) Arctic Monkeys to ride a tidal wave of blog hype to relative megastardom.

Unfortunately there's one very important thing a lot of the bands sending round MP3 links and begging for your kind attention are lacking, and which thankfully Bel Auburn have got in bucketloads. And that's the tunes, maaan. Yes, it's a piece of piss to put together a shimmering 24-track demo in your bedroom these days, but if it doesn't grab the listener's ear nobody's going to hear it, beyond say the first track.

So yes, Bel Auburn are a ray of light in amongst all the bands currently shlepping their music around the blogs. It's indie rock which is widescreen without veering over the top like so many of the bands around at the moment. And it's got an indefinable spark - you know, when a track gives you 'butterflies'. Can I call it the butterfly effect? Could be apt, really - a handful of emails sent in America create major ripples the other side of the world...

Anyway, please have a listen to the tracks below, then go on over to the band's site and find some more downloads, photos and stuff, buy a t-shirt, buy the album for a friend, go and see them on tour - tell them Jim sent you:
Bel Auburn - Metropolitan (Watercolor)
Bel Auburn - Blind Ward
Bel Auburn - Just Love

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

This Month I Will Mostly Be Listening To...

Vol. 7 Aug 2006

1 Polytechnic - PEP - awesome new band from Manchester. My tip for mega indie stardom in the near future.
2 Boy Kill Boy - Civil Sin
3 Paolo Nutini - Jenny Don't Be Hasty
4 Thom Yorke - Harrowdown Hill
5 Arctic Monkeys - Leave Before the Lights Come On
6 Justice vs. Simian - We Are Your Friends (Edison remix)
7 The Young Knives - Weekends and Bleak Days
8 Kasabian - Empire
9 Killers - When You Were Young
10 Hot Club de Paris - Sometimesitsbetter…
11 Polytechnic - Turn Around (Live) - love this band
12 Metric - Monster Hospital
13 Peter, Bjorn and John - Young Folks
14 The View - Wasted Little DJs
15 Joan as Police Woman - Eternal Flame
16 Mumm-Ra - Song B
17 The Dykeenies - New Ideas
18 Union of Knives - Taste for Harmony
19 Polytechnic - Penguin - getting the message yet?
20 The Dears - Ticket to Immorality

Friday, July 28, 2006

More magic from Manchester

Two in a row from Manchester - is this a sign that we are on the verge of a new period of creativity from the city that gave us Joy Division, The Smiths, The Happy Mondays and Madchester? The latest export from the north-west to impress me is Polytechnic, a five-piece whose new single Pep is out on Monday on hip label du jour Transgressive. I got my hands on a six-track demo, which along with first single Won't You Come Around / Let Me Down has been on repeat play here non-stop for the past 2 days.

Their sound is being described in many quarters as Manchester's answer to Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, which while a lazy comparison will give you some idea of what to expect. The vocals in particular have an element of the CYHSY / Wolf Parade / Modest Mouse fragility. Meanwhile the songwriting is as good as any of the above.

Download 3 tracks off their MySpace site and watch and listen to various videos and tracks on their band site.

Some press quotes culled from their website:
'My favourite thing at the moment? POLYTECHNIC, a new band from Manchester... I'm desperate to see them live because their demo is absolutely brilliant - one of the best I've ever had, really'
Steve Lamacq, NME

'This hand-clapping, sugar-rushing off-kilter classic-in-waiting hasn't left the stereo since we discovered them at Manchester's In The City last month'
pep on NME's what's on the stereo?

'The hottest new band in Manchester…'
bbc gmr

'There is hope for guitar music yet... They aren’t comparable, over the course of a live set or an EP, to anyone else. 5/5'

Thursday, June 15, 2006

This Month I Will Mostly Be Listening To….

Vol. 6 June 2006
Round-up of the best albums of the first half of 2006*

1 Infadels - Love Like Semtex
2 Love is All - Felt Tip
3 Hot Chip - Over & Over
4 Tapes 'n Tapes - Ten Gallon Ascot
5 Graham Coxon - I Can't Look At Your Skin
6 Seth Lakeman - The Charmer
7 Klaxons - Atlantis to Interzone
8 Serena Maneesh - Drain Cosmetics
9 Archie Bronson Outfit - Jab Jab
10 Arctic Monkeys - Mardy Bum
11 TV On the Radio - I Was a Lover
12 Morningwood - Nth Degree
13 Morrissey - The Youngest Was the Most Loved
14 Akira the Don - Thanks for all the AIDS
15 The Knife - We Share Our Mother's Health
16 Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Turn Into
17 Longcut - A Quiet Life
18 Mission of Burma - 2wice
19 I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - According to Plan
20 Hess is More - Yes Boss

* some of which were released in 2005 but I only heard them for the first
time this year.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A new contender

The Thom Yorke solo album ("it's not a solo album") has leaked online, and it's a cracker, but there's something else I want to draw your attention to. An album I knew after one listen was going to be in my top 5 of the year, alongside TV On the Radio and Archie Bronson Outfit. I'm talking about A Call and Response, by Manchester's The Longcut. An album that manages to evoke the spirit of Manchester's past, with influences ranging from Joy Division to the Happy Mondays to the Fall, while taking off in a totally different direction to the likes of Kasabian, Interpol or Editors.

You can sign up for signed copies on their website (well you can once they fix the link!), which sounds like the deal of the year to me. You can also download various live and demo tracks there, as well as a track off the album, just click on the Download link on the home page (I can't link directly to the downloads, unfortunately). Well worth a visit!

There's also a 40-minute gig available in streaming video on the XFM website.

Have a listen and let me know what you think - leave a comment below.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

This Month I Will Mostly Be Listening To….

Vol. 5, May 2006

1 Akira the Don - Boom
2 The Automatic - Monster
3 Editors - Orange Crush - best REM cover ever?
4 Lily Allen - LDN
5 The Kooks - Naive
6 Princess Superstar - My Machine
7 Life Without Buildings - Young Offenders - from forgotten 2000 masterpiece album Any Other City
8 Katzenjammers - Cars - from Rough Trade compilation Counter Culture 05
9 Fratellis - Creeping Up the Backstairs
10 Muse - Supermassive Black Hole - first single off long-awaited new album
11 Hope of the States - Sing it Out
12 The Black Keys - Work Me - from the awesome Chulahoma mini album
13 TV On the Radio - Dry Drunk Emperor - about a certain president's 'response' to Hurricane Katrina
14 The Feeling - Fill My Little World
15 Hot Chip - Boy From School
16 Archie Bronson Outfit - Cherry Lips
17 Akira the Don - Bankers - put your fingers in the corner of your mouth, say…
18 Howling Bells - Blessed Night
19 The Longcut - Vitamin C - from A Call and Response, my album of the month
20 Paul Simon - How Can You Live in the Northeast - Brian Eno has done for Simon what his former acolyte Daniel Lanois did for Dylan

Friday, May 05, 2006

Capo di tutti capi

Partly thanks to his lablemates Kid Casanova (see below) I have been encountering the music of Akira the Don a lot recently. He is not unfamiliar to the world of blog - not least because he himself is a fervent blogger and vocal supporter of filesharing, who makes huge chunks of his output freely available to the world.

His mixtapes are legendary - ATD12 has just been released - and most of my exposure has been to these free downloads up to now, so I was very pleasantly surprised to hear more original tracks by him on the recent Something in Construction sampler and the Camden Crawl compilation.

And what stands out is the contrast between his genial rapping style and the brutal, intelligent to-the-pointness of his lyrics, most of which are wry dagger blows aimed at the heart of the global economic system and the political status quo that goes hand in hand with it. Unsurprisingly, the record business does not get off lightly.

So I was pleased to see Something in Construction have put the entire sampler online to download here, including two fabulous Akira tracks:
Bankers (mp3)
"Put your fingers in the corners of your mouth, say Bankers"
Jerusalem (mp3) (with Bravecaptain)

Don't miss the rest of the sampler though, it's class from start to finish.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Like a kid with a new toy

John Peel famously received 400 demo tapes / CDs a week on average, and struggled with feelings of guilt when he was physically unable to listen to all of them. These days bloggers and podcasters are taking over the role of new music promoters from radio DJs to a certain extent, but the format of the demo has also changed - more often than not we are sent links to MP3 downloads (mostly at a measly 128 kbps, as well....). So imagine my childlike pleasure at receiving my first ever real promo CDs in the mail this week ;-)

From Kid Casanova, to be precise, a four-piece from New York who play catchy indie pop songs which reward repeated listenings. Sparkly jangle on the surface but with a darker, Bowie-tinged undertow. Their debut album is due out in July on Something In Construction (in the UK). But, I hear you ask, are they any good, or are you simply plugging them out of a pathetic gratitude for your meaningless freebies? Well to be honest they didn't grab me straight away, but I'm glad I persevered - the songs definitely reveal additional layers after the 3rd or 4th listen.

So head on over to Kid Casanova's website at, and download these four tracks in glorious MP3:

Hey Johnny
Like We Did Last Year
By & By
Rec Center (the Kids in This Town)

I'm not sure how I'd cope with Peel-like levels of demos, but I'm happy for now.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

This Month I Will Mostly Be Listening To….

Tracklist for this month's compilation CD (Vol 4.)

1. Boy Kill Boy - Susie
2. Graham Coxon - You & I
3. Editors - All Sparks
4. Bromheads Jacket - When You Wasn't Famous
great cover of the Streets hit by yet another Sheffield band
5. Franz Ferdinand - The Fallen (scroll down)
6. Seth Lakeman - Riflemen of War - from new album Freedom Fields
7. Archie Bronson Outfit - Dart for my Sweetheart
from Derdang Derdang, the best album this month, and one of my top 3 of the year so far. Qualifies for rare double entry here.
8. The Infadels - Girl That Speaks No Words
9. Brakes - All Night Disco Party
10. Larrikin Love - Edwould
11. Dirty Pretty Things - Deadwood - former Libertine shows how it's supposed to be done
12. Futureheads - Skip To The End
13. Lovely Feathers – Wrong Choice
14. Hess is More - The Magic Invention from TDPRC
from new album Captain Europe by this amazing Danish multi-instrumentalist
15. TV On the Radio (with David Bowie) - Province
16. Gorillaz - Kids With Guns (scroll down)
17. Shit Disco - Disco Blood
18. Archie Bronson Outfit - Dead Funny
19. Duels - Animal
20. Tapes 'n Tapes - Buckle
21. Depeche Mode - Suffer Well

Thursday, April 06, 2006

My ears are thanking me and yours will too

Some of you might have guessed that I've been put off my stride somewhat by the FileLodge incident (see below). What with the famous Ryan Adams blogger case and the announcement yesterday of another 2000 cases to be brought against filesharers in Europe, my opinion of the record industry has dropped lower than I thought was possible...

On the other hand I've also been working my ass off the past 10 days and haven't had any time to blog. But then along comes an album that has made me sit up and take notice to such an extent that I had to make time in between to give you a heads up.

The Archie Bronson Outfit is a trio from the west of England whose new album Derdang Derdang is total psych-out rock n roll, with here and there Celtic / Irish touches and even a bit of early Hawkwind squeaky saxophone floating over the top. OK this description does it no justice whatsoever, but suffice to say if you like Tapes 'n Tapes and/or TV On the Radio you will love this.

So I urge you to nip over to their Myspace page and stream the songs there, or pop over to Musicisnotdead blog and download two songs. I've pasted the links below, thanks to Andy for these.

The album is out now on Domino, if you buy only one album this month, make it this one!

Archie Bronson Outfit - Cherry Lips [MP3]
Archie Bronson Outfit - Kangaroo Heart [MP3]

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Belly warming

Two ostensibly very different recent releases take traditional music forms and give them a modern twist, resulting in both cases in something wondrous.

Seth Lakeman has admirably resisted any attempt to divert him from the template he established on his Mercury Prize nominated second album Kitty Jay. New long-player Freedom Fields once again features traditional English folk instrumentation and lyrical content suffused with a modern indie/dance oriented attitude. And while there's nothing here with quite the impact of the title track of Kitty Jay, this is nevertheless an awesome album.

The Black Keys' mini album Chulahoma is not due for release until 1 May, but advance copies appeared online this week. The EP features covers of tracks by blues legend Junior Kimbrough, and its name is taken from Junior's home town. Their earlier albums never quite managed to win me over, but this is a different story. They tap into the spirit of the old bluesmen, but electrified in a way that is reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughan at his best. Simply put, it is a work of genius.

Both albums give you something only the very best roots music can provide - a warm glow in the belly.

Seth Lakeman - Setting of the Sun [mp3]
Seth Lakeman - Riflemen of War [mp3]
The Black Keys - Have Mercy on Me [mp3]
The Black Keys - Meet Me in the City [mp3]

Normal service will be resumed...

By the look of things, all the files I had hosted on FileLodge have been suspended, so if you are wondering why none of the downloads work, there's your answer. Luckily there are still other options available, so all the newer files will be available (for a limited period) through YouSendIt.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

BAD news to cheer you up

STOP PRESS: Just after I wrote this article, Carbon/Silicon released a new 12" single on their website. I have uploaded the two tracks here with improved tags (full band name and titles):

Carbon/Silicon - The News [mp3]
Carbon/Silicon - Grow Up [mp3]

The time seems right for a reassessment of one of the most influential British bands of the 80s. Big Audio Dynamite were primarily famous for being the band of 'Mick Jones of the Clash', but their first full-length LP, This is Big Audio Dynamite, was not only revolutionary in the way it incorporated samples and beatboxes into the traditional rock band format, it was also a killer album, packed with infectious rhythms, samples of Sergio Leone and Nic Roeg films and funny, thought-provoking lyrics.

They went on to make many more great albums, including Megatop Phoenix and The Globe (as BAD II), which saw them almost break through into the major league in the USA.

As the 90s progressed, however, interest in the band waned, and the last album they recorded (in 1997) was rejected by their record label. And while it wasn't perfect, it sounds pretty good today - better than its two predecessors in my opinion. The band eventually released the songs one by one through their - now-defunct - website, and the whole thing, including a load of bonus tracks, has just been made available to download in its entirety. In glorious 320 kbps MP3 format, no less, and free!

Click here to go to the download page.

Meanwhile Mick Jones has not been sitting still, of course, having famously produced the two Libertines albums and the Babyshambles album, Down in Albion. He has also been working with Tony James (formerly of Generation X and Sigue Sigue Sputnik) in Carbon/Silicon. According to Wikipedia, "similar in many respects to Jones' earlier work in Big Audio Dynamite, Carbon/Silicon aims to break the traditional approach to rock and roll. The band described by critic Alan McGee as "...the Stones jamming with a Laptop," make use of samples in their recordings and live shows. The formation of the band was catalyzed by the internet and p2p file sharing. The first song written by Jones and James was entitled "MPFree," in which they expressed their willingness to embrace the technology of the internet and file sharing, in the interest of spreading music, rather than profit."

Which is music to the ears of this long-time BAD admirer!

Carbon/Silicon have made 6 tracks available for download from their website:
Carbon/Silicon - The Whole Truth [mp3]
Carbon/Silicon - Caesar's Palace [mp3]
Carbon/Silicon - Barnes Wallace [mp3]
Carbon/Silicon - The Global War on Culture [mp3]
Carbon/Silicon - What The Fuck! [mp3]
Carbon/Silicon - Are You Terrified? [mp3]

There is artwork for the 2 EPs available on the website, and for more information you can visit the official fansite.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Libertine making tracks

Dirty Pretty Things, the band of 'other Libertine' Cart Barat, is set to release its debut album in May. If the tracks on the promo sampler recently sent out to reviewers and record shops is anything to go by, we have plenty to look forward to. The songs bristle with the punk energy of early Libertines numbers. This will come as a pleasant surprise to anyone who like me was slightly underwhelmed by first offering Bang Bang, You're Dead.

In an interview with the NME late last year, Carl said that after a difficult year his new band feels like "four guys against the world again", and the tour has given him the chance to bond with the rest of the group.

He said: "I've taken a year to sweep up the pieces, focusing, and remembering who I was and why I did what I did rather than tying up the loose ends of the Libertines, which has really taken up a lot of time and emotional space."

Sounds like it did the trick:
Dirty Pretty Things - You Fucking Love it [mp3]
Dirty Pretty Things - If You Were Wondering [mp3]
Dirty Pretty Things - Deadwood [mp3]
Dirty Pretty Things - Gin & Milk [mp3]

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

More magic from Italy

Afterhours have built a huge name for themselves in their native Italy, and have been championed by the likes of Mercury Rev, REM, Mark Lanegan and Afghan Whigs founder Greg Dulli. Now they have recorded for the first time in English and are poised to break out into the rest of the world.

"Ballads for Little Hyenas" is an amazing album, dark, brooding and rich in drama. Singer Manuel Agnelli's voice veers from gritty Maggie May-era Rod Stewart growl to keening falsetto to Nick Cave baritone, while the music and atmosphere are drawn from a similar well to Cave, The National, Lanegan and their ilk.

The album is no.1 download at the moment in the eMusic Power Chart, and with the band currently touring Europe, they look as if they could be on the brink of gaining a worldwide following. Catch them while you can in these small venues:

Mar 15 2006 Paradiso - Upstairs Hall AMSTERDAM
Mar 16 2006 Rotown ROTTERDAM
Mar 17 2006 Vera GRONINGEN
Mar 18 2006 Ekko UTRECHT
Mar 23 2006 TBC BERLINO
Mar 25 2006 Stadtgarten ERFURT
Mar 26 2006 Carrera MONACO
Mar 30 2006 Alcatraz MILANO
Mar 31 2006 New Age Club RONCADE (TV)

You can buy the album for a mere £7.66 from the One Little Indian website, and there's also a video promo you can stream here.

Here are some MP3s in case you are not yet totally convinced!

Afterhours - The Ending is the Greater [mp3]
Afterhours - Fresh Flesh [mp3]
Afterhours - White Widow [mp3]

Afterhours MySpace page
Band page on One little Indian site

Thursday, March 09, 2006

My cup overfloweth

There are some mind-bogglingly good resources out there on 't interweb. I've mentioned Fabchannel before, which features live and streamed recorded video of concerts from the two best venues in Amsterdam, from the likes of Bloc Party, the Charlatans and Franz Ferdinand. Now I have stumbled across something even bigger and better - an archive of thousands of audio recordings of concerts:

The live music archive, featuring crystal clear soundboard recordings to stream or download (!) of performances by the likes of My Morning Jacket, Mogwai, Soul Coughing, Matisyahu, Ween, The Decemberists, Zwan, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Fugazi, Two Gallants, etc., etc.

The Grateful Dead are the best represented band there with 2923 separate gigs on offer. Seriously. Americans, eh?

I listened to a streamed recording of a 1996 Soul Coughing gig earlier, and was transported back to the time I saw them in a tent at Lowlands in '97, playing an almost identical set. Quality recording of a great gig.

Friday, March 03, 2006

I've been a better lover with your mother

It's funny how a buzz grows around a band or an album. A distinctive album cover definitely helps - you see it out of the corner of your eye a few times, stuck away down the bottom of the page on Pitchfork, PlayLouder, Gigwise, DiS. Then you start seeing the band name appearing on blogs, on the front page of the Hype Machine, and finally you put the band name and the album cover together and think "I suppose I'd better listen to this".

Tapes 'n Tapes - The Loon is the buzz album du jour, and I am listening to it for the first time as I write. That's right - it's so good I couldn't wait to write about it. The sound is not a million miles away from Modest Mouse, Wolf Parade and their ilk, except they come at you with some really unexpected rhythms - sometimes uptempo jazzy, sometimes a slapped rockabilly snare - which make you sit up and notice.

Ditto the lyrics, which also deliver regular slaps round the face when you are least expecting them - see the heading above.

As always, an MP3 paints a thousand words, so here are a couple of tracks that I haven't seen on other blogs up to now:
Tapes 'n Tapes - The Iliad [MP3]
Tapes 'n Tapes - Buckle [MP3]
Tapes 'n Tapes - 10 Gallon Ascot [MP3]

You can buy the CD direct from the band on their website, where you can also download 3 other tracks off the album and 3 tracks from their debut EP.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Turn on. Tune in. Get blown away.

TV On the Radio's second album, 'Return to Cookie Mountain', has leaked, and first impressions are that this will sweep all before it. It's a massive soundclash of styles, impossible to pigeonhole yet utterly New York-ian, a riot of distorted guitars, sound collage and falsetto-Mick-Jagger vocals.

A certain D. Bowie also lends his vocal backing on one song (Province).

It is one of those albums that picks you up, takes you on a 50-minute emotional rollercoaster ride and leaves you reeling.

If you haven't got them already, buy their first EP and album and get yourself prepared, this is going to be one of the albums of the year.

Here are some tasters:
Blues From Down Here [mp3]
A Method [mp3]
I Was a Lover [mp3]

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Artex Monkey

If you've never lived in the North of England you might not get a lot out of this, but a thort it were reight 'ilarius:

Artex Monkey site

Artex Monkey - A bet tha luks gud on a pushbike [MP3]

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Unreleased Liars track

Let's be generous here and say "I don't get them". Liars that is. But there are apparently plenty of you out there who do, and as I have been sent this cover of the Nirvana track, which I have been reliably informed will not be released elsewhere, I might as well post it, eh?

Liars - Territorial Pissings [mp3]

Knock yourself out!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Decline? Wot decline?

The BBC and everyone else is once again parroting the spin put out by the music and film biz that sales of CDs, DVDs, etc are in decline - as a direct result of all those evil filesharers, obviously - when patently the opposite is true. This time booming DVD sales are 'bucking the trend'... Er, but surely the trend in all the others is also booming - it was only yesterday the Beeb was informing us that 'business is booming' in the UK music industry...

Wait a minute, VHS, yes that's definitely in decline. Silly me.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Take Your Medicine podcast

As proud sponsor of the inaugural Take Your Medicine podcast, which is ear-blessingly good, I'm taking this opportunity to plug the very wonderful eMusic (and hopefully earn some free downloads in the process...).

You've probably seen the swirly-dot banner ads all over the place - on Pitchfork, for example - but you might not have got around to clicking on them yet, or hesitated to sign up because of the credit card needed.

Rest assured, however, that it is definitely worth a visit. New members get a free trial of 50 downloads, and these are worth having. A brief browse through their catalogue turns up masses of hard-to-find albums and EPs by a huge range of artists - all on independent labels. Whether you just fancy the latest indie chart toppers, such as Maximo Park, Sufjan Stevens or Bloc Party, would like to try something new or want to dig around for some obscure track you've been looking for for years, it's all here.

The website is packed with recommendations, lists and links to related artists, all of which help you discover music you didn't know or had forgotten about - like Amazon's Listmania only better, and with the added bonus that you can download a single track (for free during the trial period, just 15p / 25c a track thereafter) in order to hear it for yourself.

All the tracks are in pure MP3 format, with no DRM or licences to worry about.

Once you've had a look and decide you'd like to try it out, please email me first and wait for the invitation email from eMusic to arrive. Not only do you get your 50 free downloads, I get an extra 50 for recommending you if you decide to sign up at the end of the trial. But even if you're sure you won't sign up at the end, please email me first anyway!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Arctic Monkeys remixed

A website dedicated to Actic Monkeys remixes/bootlegs/mashups

Including an absolutely bonkers mashup of IBYLGOTD with I Predict A Riot as sung acapella by the Cheshire Chord Company (a choir)...

These two are also definitely worth a listen:
Arctic Monkeys vs Roots Manuva - Witness the Curtains Closing [mp3]
Arctic Monkeys vs The Killers - Scumbody Told Me [mp3]

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Tip of the week - The Features

Again not a new band, they released their debut album in April 2005, but they're new to me and by rights they should already be up there with the likes of the Kaiser Chiefs and The Killers. Their songs are 3-minute slabs of perfect indie pop jangle, and their sound has elements of the Buzzcocks, the Cars and Blur.

You can download their standout single Blow It Out, which sounds like the New Pornographers fronted by Conor Oberst, here. The best tracks off the album are the the aforementioned Blow it Out, The Idea of Growing Old [stream], There's a Million Ways to Sing the Blues and Leave It All Behind [mp3].

You can also download some MP3s from their website:
Paid to Think [mp3]
Thursday [mp3]
The Beginning [mp3]
D-Con Radio One [mp3]
Anti-Gravity Class of 93 [mp3]
Exhibit A [mp3]

The Features website

Friday, January 13, 2006


Congratulations to No Rock&Roll Fun for reaching its fifth birthday (and 1 millionth visitor!) yesterday. The UK's best place for up-to-the-minute comment on the world of popular music, it's like Private Eye but with stories you're actually interested in reading, delivered free to your doorstep every morning. Yes, it's that good.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Aberdeen grower

I've downloaded a few more tracks by Aberdeen City and they are all seriously good, proving that the MP3s on MySpace were not killer and the rest filler (scroll down for the links). The three I found on Limewire were Pretty Pet, Incredible Story and Final Bout. I've had the six tracks I've now got on heavy rotation for the past couple of days and they just get better and better.

I've just spotted a comprehensive list of MP3s to download via blogs which I am just about to explore.

On the basis of what I've heard so far, I will be buying (gasp) my own copy of the album soon.

Monday, January 09, 2006

This Month I Will Mostly Be Listening To:

Tracklist of January's compilation CD

1 We Are Scientists - It's a Hit
2 Tom Vek - CC (You set the fire in me)
3 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Let The Cool Goddess Rust Away
4 Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch
5 Queens of the Stone Age - Little Sister
6 Mike Doughty - Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well
7 Bloc Party - Banquet (Phones Disco remix)
8 Wolf Parade - I'll Believe in Anything
9 Seth Lakeman - Kitty Jay
10 Death From Above 1979 - Black History Month
11 The Crimea - Lottery Winners on Acid
12 The Rakes - Retreat>
13 Bob Dylan - Like a Rolling Stone
14 Lemon Jelly - The Staunton Lick
15 Art Brut - Moving to LA
16 Autolux - Turnstile Blues
17 Modest Mouse - Float On
18 Aberdeen City - Sixty Lives
19 Cuban Boys - The Nation Needs You Highly recommended - infinitely better tribute to Peelie than the so-called tribute album!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

XFM's Music Response top 50 tracks of 2005

XFM have posted the Music Response top 50 tracks of 2005. Very UK-skewed, but generally a fair assessment of the year.

The only surprise for me is Athlete at no. 2 (and 33). They do about as much for me as Snow Patrol, yawn.

The top 5:
1. Arctic Monkeys - I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
2. Athlete - Wires
3. Kaiser Chiefs - Oh My God
4. Hard-Fi - Hard to Beat
5. The Bravery - An Honest Mistake

My tips for 2006 - part 1

OK so now I've had the chance to read everyone else's tips and I can cherrypick my own ... not quite the point, I hear you say, but that's exactly what plenty of other bloggers and journos seem to have been doing. And how much insight do you really need to predict that Arctic Monkeys are going to be massive?

So it might look like lazy journalism (not to mention partisanism, considering my links to the city) to predict that a few others from the Sheffield scene will break through this year, but the fact is that the ground is currently very fertile in that particular corner of South Yorkshire.

The five bands most likely to make it, in my opinion, are Little Man Tate (pictured) [mp3], The Long Blondes [mp3], Bromhead's Jacket [mp3], Milburn [mp3] and (long shot this one) Bhuna [mp3].

Friday, January 06, 2006

St John

Thanks to Take Your Medicine for pointing me in the direction of The Cuban Boys - The Nation Needs You. A tribute to John Peel which in 3 minutes 14 seconds achieves more than all the tribute albums, concerts, biographies and commemorative magazine issues put together.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The National in session

The National released one of my favourite albums of 2005, Alligator. For those of you not yet familiar with them, here's the perfect opportunity - a radio session which you can download in high quality MP3 format from The Muzzle of Bees blog. The sound quality is excellent, it sounds like you are in the studio with them.

Second Impressions

After reading Alexis Petridis' review of the new Strokes album in the Guardian, in which he claims that the album is smothered in 'widdly-woo guitar', I was half-expecting to hear something approaching Santana when I eventually heard the thing. This seemed unlikely though, given the chugging groove of Juicebox (love the song, hate the video), and on first listen I thought he was way off the mark.

Second and third time through, however, I started to see what he meant. In the new musical landscape dominated by stripped back rock a la DFA 79, acoustic singer-songwriters and 20-piece bands from Montreal, the Strokes are sounding very quaintly out of touch.

Never mind though, the way the fashion in retro sound keeps lurching from era to era, 2006 might be 2000 all over again, in which case they're in luck!

Hear First Impressions of Earth on the NME Media Player

Albums to look forward to in 2006

I posted this as a comment on the excellent Take Your Medicine MP3 blog, but decided it was worth using as my first entry here:

2006 looks like being another vintage year for albums. Apart from anything else, there should be a new one from Radiohead to look forward to.

I'll be interested to see if the class of '04 can come up with the goods this year - Razorlight, Kasabian, Interpol, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Futureheads, the Bravery, the Zutons, the Caesars.... Franz Ferdinand have raised the bar for second albums, let's see who can step up and match them.

Then of course there's Graham Coxon - and Blur. I expect plenty of magic to flow from GC's guitar, and hopefully Damon can find some time to hit the studio with Blur. Will his overtures to Graham bring him back into the Blur fold? And would it be a good thing? I can hardly wait to find out.

Another big question (for me) is - will Portishead finally get their 3rd studio album finished, and if so will it cut the mustard in this so-called 'Dance is Dead' era? Or has time passed them by to such an extent that they have given up on the idea and decided to stick to producing the likes of the Coral? I for one hope not.