Worth Listening Again No.1

This New Pornographer’s track was already a bit of a favourite before someone pointed out the drumming on the outro; I’ve never really heard anything like it. Seriously, have a listen…

 

Side note: No-one’s said much in the comments yet, I’m starting to feel a bit lonely. Actually, on a vaguely genuine note, I set this thing to up to try and start some fun music-based conversation, so please jump in if you feel like it.

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Getting the ball rolling

The Last Battle - Heart of the Land, Soul of the Sea

The Last Battle have, for me at least, been one of those bands whose name you see around and about but you never get round to investigating. Between gig posters, venue running-orders, assorted blogs, etc. you can end up seeing a lot of band names and I guess some of them stick in your mind more than others, even if you never bother to actually track down their music. Actually, if it hadn’t been for… insert convoluted, not especially interesting story here… I probably wouldn’t have found out that they’d released an album and a couple of free EP’s in the last year. Which would have been a damn shame really, everything I’ve heard from them so far has been great and they seem to be putting out new music at quite a rate.

The music itself is acoustic folk-pop, the sort with enough energy to give the songs some punch without ever sounding aggressive. They’ve got a real grasp of that melancholy vibe the best Scottish folk trades on but they pull it off without coming across as monotone or overly dour the way the more austere, traditional stuff can. It’s a little hard to think of a specific part of their sound to talk about, it’s not so much that they’re doing anything particularly new as that they’re doing a specific thing really well. I’m still working my way through the album so if I think of something a little more enlightening to say in the next few weeks…

Anyway, the song below is one of the b-sides on the free EP they put out last month. There’s something about the simplicity of it that really does it for me, I’m not sure I can explain it any better than that. And it’s vaguely festive and it’s still sorta… yeah, I’m stretching a bit with that.

The Last Battle – Once Upon A Boxing Day

You can listen to and buy the whole album at the Bandcamp link below…

The Last Battle

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Never said this was a new music blog

This is eight different shades of batshit-crazy and that’s just one of the reasons it’s awesome…

 

EDIT:

On an ODB-related note, read the Summary section of the article below. ‘ODB then expresses some confusion with respect to the morality of the situation, but he is able to remedy this by presenting his Cristal brand of champagne, and urging the patrons to disarm themselves, because ODB does not approve of such violence.’ I fucking love Wikipedia when it tries to take itself seriously.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Got_Your_Money

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Not Records of the Year Pt.2

The rest of the year-end list is still in the works so I figure I’ll just hit you with a quick one today. I’ve spent a bunch of time this week listening to Das Racist, a hipsterish hip-hop act from New York whose defining qualities seem to be playing up their ethnic background* and writing the densest pop-culture reference-based lyrics I’ve ever heard. They can rap pretty damn well too, which helps. They’ve got two free albums on their website, check it out if you get a chance…

http://dasracist.net/

* One guy is of Indian descent and the other has a Hispanic background. I think.

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Records of the Year 2010 Pt.1

With Mum off on holiday I’ve abandoned Macclesfield for the foreseeable future and am wobbling my way out of Manchester Piccadilly. I miss the Virgin Pendolinos, at least they didn’t make me vaguely nauseuous. Since I’m stuck with a few hours to kill in a poorly-ventilated box and haven’t really written much for the site yet,  I figure there are worse ways to start than giving you an idea of what to expect from this blog than to go through my ‘records of the year’.

I haven’t ranked the list, mostly because it’d be fairly arbitrary and I’m fond of the albums for a bunch of different reasons that don’t really fall along any sort of linear scale.

Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

If you get all your music news from blogs and RSS feeds it can be pretty easy to confuse indie-scene critical acclaim with actual popularity. I’d pretty much assumed that most people I know would have heard this, the thing has been all over every American blog for months, Pitchfork gave it 10.0 for fuck’s sake, and West himself is all over the news for all the reasons we’ve come to expect, so it came as kind of a shock to find out that hardly anyone I know has actually listened to MBDTF yet.

It’s a shame really because the record is stunning. I’d never been a fan of Kanye, I guess I’d bought into the whole media image of the guy as being a narcissistic asshat and got so pissed off by ‘Diamonds from Sierra Leone’ that I was convinced he was a talentless hack. Watch the VMA performance of ‘Runaway’ and it becomes very very clear that he’s actually an earnest guy who lives up to the incredible hype he’s created for himself. I could wax on about my favourite tracks for hours, Jay-Z’s verse on ‘Monster’ is the best thing he’s done in years, but I’ll just point you in the direction of the VMA performance and the rendition of ‘Power’ on SNL  and let you see for yourself.

Meursault – All Creatures Will Make Merry

I feel a little bad that this is the only Scottish band on the list, I’m not very up on what’s happening on the local scene at the moment. Hopefully I’ll be able to remedy this in the coming year, there are a few albums I keep meaning to get but not getting round to; The Scottish Enlightenment, Inspector Tapehead, Yusuf Azak, Eagleowl, The Last Battle, etc. That’ll be a decent start at least.

In the meantime I’m more than happy to be living in a city where I can see Meursault play on a regular basis;  they’ve nailed a sound that’s huge and intimate and they’re consumate performers.The album itself is sad and memorable in all the best ways and the production gives the whole thing a rain-drenched, wind-swept sort of atmosphere. I suspect their next album will top this by quite a distance but I have to admit I can’t think how.

N.B. The video above is a live one from the Song, by Toad site that includes an extra verse at the end of the song.  It’s one of those ‘Oh, now this makes much more sense moments’…

Los Campesinos – Romance is Boring

Since recording this they’ve swapped in three new members to fill the spots left by the departure of Aleks and Ollie so I suppose you could look at this as the last release by the band as it was. Not a bad send-off though, it’s probably not a better record than ‘Hold On Now, Youngster!’ but not by much.

The musical palette is broader and the tone while not a bleak as ‘We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed’ is still darker than the first album. Gareth’s writing and singing continue to improve and the band always know when to drop in one of those group shouts that make me grin like an idiot, so I’m more than happy to stick around and see what they do next. They’ve just launched a zine too, which you can take a look via the link below.

http://www.loscampesinos.com/heatrash/

N.B. And this one is off the first album, I just really like it. Besides the videos they did for RIB are kinda pants.

To be continued…

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First post, W00t! (And thusly did he get perma-banned from his own blog)

So let’s try this again…

I’ve set up and abandoned a couple of blogs in the past so I’ve spent a little time thinking about what I’m going to use this thing for. It helps me to have an idea of what I should be posting but I’ve come to realise that being too serious and meticulous about one of these things is a great way to make sure I don’t actually enjoy using it. So we’ll be keeping things a little woolly for the forseeable future.

I will say, however, that this is a music blog. No rambling stories about my personal life and cheap angling for sympathy here. The intention is to talk about gigs/albums/whatever I happen to have heard recently and to try to avoid writing about stuff I don’t like. I far prefer to write about music that excites me and I’ve no particular desire to spend my spare-time sniping at people I’ve never met for recording songs I’m not fussed about. That said it’s quite possible something will irritate me to the point that I can’t stop myself from ranting about it, stranger things have happened.

I won’t be giving things scores either, mostly for the usual ‘it’s totally arbitrary and doesn’t tell you anything about the songs’ reasons but also because it’s pretty pompous for a relative novice/amateur/dumb-ass/’insert-stronger-insult-here’ to sit and lord it over people who make music for a living.

I’ll stick up the unedited versions of the reviews I’ve written for The Student (Edinburgh University’s student newspaper, shockingly) once I get back up to Edinburgh later in the week, and I might repost one or two things from my old music blog if I feel the urge but I may just let those go quietly off into the corner to gather dust.

So yeah, that was the intro post. Fun times! Cheers for taking the time to actually read this, it’s genuinely appreciated. And please do jump into the comments, particularly once I start talking about actual music instead to all this meta waffle, and tell me how I’ve gotten the wrong end of the stick on your favourite record and how this means you’ll never speak to me again. Go on, you know it’s going to happen sooner or later…

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