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.