Junior Boys- So This Is Goodbye: Review

Sunday, April 29, 2007

I've never been a huge fan of electronica, but in the last few months several bands have drawn my attention. One of them is Canadian based Junior Boys, whose influences include minimal techno and contemporary hip hop. So This Is Goodbye is their second album, and is remarkably different from the first. The first album was heavily influenced by original member Johnny Dark, who split from the duo just before the release of Last Exit. Since then founding member Jeremy Greenspan has collaborated with Matt Didemus resulting in their second full length LP.
It's not groundbreaking stuff, but soothing; a wine drinkers electronica for those late Friday nights at home with friends. Nothing jumps out and screams for attention, but that's a good thing. It allows So This Is Goodbye to slide on through the night, and you'll only have to set the volume once.

Junior Boys- The Equalizer: MP3
Junior Boys- In The Morning: MP3

Art Brut- It's A Bit Complicated

Friday, April 27, 2007

Art Brut, the playful British art rockers are due to release their second album in June. The first single 'Nag Nag Nag Nag' is now available but I've been lucky enough to get my hands on an advance EP of It's A Bit Complicated. I'll post two tracks today for your listening pleasure. They are pretty damn great, so once the album comes out we should all go out and get it. While it's less of the angular guitar sound of Bang Bang Rock & Roll, it's just as casual and unpretentious. It's A Bit Complicated will most likely be more pop, less rock.

Art Brut- Nag Nag Nag Nag: MP3
Art Brut- Pump Up The Volume: Mp3

Art Brut- Myspace

The Concretes- Kids: Video

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

It's now out in Scandinavia and will be released to the rest of the world very soon. I'm talking about the new album Hey Trouble from Swedish popsters The Concretes. After a break from writing music and the loss of a inspirational band member, the band is back with some of their best work to date. Without vocalist Victoria Bergman many were/are anticipating this new album (some sceptical). However Lisa Milberg has picked up the vocal duties like chocolate, and to be honest the songs haven't changed much at all. For those of us outside Scandinavia we can enjoy the three songs on their myspace. 'Kids' is the first single from Hey Trouble and has a cute little video. The song's about Lisa and Maria's obsession with music, which started when they were kids. The results of this obsession formed The Concretes. With potential to make album of the year lists, I recommend we all watch The Concretes very closely.

So So Modern

Sunday, April 22, 2007

So So Modern, the funkiest four kiwi's right now. Well they are actually just rapping up a mini world tour, but they'll be back soon. And hopefully coming back to New Zealand means work on a full length album can begin; because thanks to ragging reviews after SXSW the guys are now hot property on the world market. Currently only a few EP's have been released, selling out very quickly via myspace. But it's time for more, new rave, dance punk, whatever! So So Modern blow most British new rave bands to outta space and it's now time to prove it. The world awaits for a debut album, could it be called Friendly Fires, we'll just have to wait and see. In the mean time here's two fabulous tracks.

So So Modern- Fire Fights: MP3
So So Modern- Upgrade Your Chassis (It's A Pythagorean Party): MP3

So So Modern- Myspace

Gomez (Live) Review

Friday, April 20, 2007

Gomez, Thursday 19th April at the San Francisco Bathhouse, Wellignton

So last night had the pleasure of seeing one of my all time favourite bands play live. With extremely high expectations for one hell of a performance, it was to my disgust to arrive at the venue to hear Gomez four songs into their set. I'm going to get my gripe out of the way first then I can talk about the gig. Going on past experience I arrived at the venue thinking I had plenty of time, normally I arrive so early I end up waiting around for the music to start. However on this occasion the band started so early I missed the start. The tickets specified 8pm, so with two support acts I anticipated Gomez to take the stage sometime after 10pm. At 9.40pm Gomez had played three songs. All I want is some consistency, earlier in the year when CSS toured the tickets specified an early show and they never took the stage till after 11pm. It was a major fuck up on someones behalf, maybe mine for being naive.
To the music! Gomez were brilliant, they are masters at their craft and it really showed. It also showed they are a band of some experience, taking clean studio sounding songs and breaking into an all out jam. As I walked in the door they were playing 'Here Comes The Breeze', straight away I was in the moment as Ben Ottewell's voice filled the room. As expected they played a lot from their latest album How We Operate, which I was pleased with. 'Charlie Patton Songs' was the first song to really touch me, and was used mid set to somber the mood. Grinding mid song with a long electronic pulse, it may have dragged on for some, but the tranformation back to the main song was timed to perfection. The most memorable moment would have been during 'How We Operate'. Ottewells voice was made to feedback through the mic, giving it an amazing echoing effect. Everyone was left silent and stunned as his soulful voice rebounded about the room. 'Get Myself Arrested' was an obvious crowd pleaser, the songs a brilliant pop anthem and one all crowds know well enough to sing along.
The encore delivered the song I was most hoping they'd play, 'Chasing Ghosts With Alcohol'. Although I was a little disappointed it was just played like the studio version. 'Whipping Piccadilly' ended the show, and honestly if I can give Gomez any advice, it would be to drop this song from their live set. I just don't like it live. I came away from my Gomez experience a little bitter, but happy to have witnessed one my favourite bands in the flesh. There weren't many memorable moments, but hey I'm a critic.

The Lisps

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Lisps are the latest band to catch my attention. Quoting directly from their website "The Lisps are a New York-based assemblage of 21st century post-rock n' vaudeville auteurs. They write songs about science and love and sometimes perform in costumes, with tap shoes and without microphones. The Lisps are the public/performative version of all the relationships you're struggling with". What more could I say, if this doesn't sound mouth watering enough then you're reading the wrong web blog.
I expect The Lisps to rise to fame pretty quickly, emerging from a city where dance punk/pop is all the rave. They offer something remarkably new and could appeal to an audience a little isolated by the new rave scene. I remember seeing the Dresden Dolls last year and they were absolutely brilliant, not just a musical act but performance art. I can image a Lisps show being even grander than this. They also remind me a little of Tilly and the Wall and the Brunettes. With their debut EP The Vain, The Modest, and The Dead now out, the Lisps are a band to watch.

  • The Lisps- Myspace
  • New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down

    Sunday, April 15, 2007

    It occurred to me the other day that this song could be the greatest epic of the decade. It meets all the right criteria; it's over five minutes long, it builds from a slow piano driven ballad to an all out rock explosion then fades out slowly in a mess of piano and guitar. Of course this is not the only criteria for an epic, but the rest are generally opinion driven and differ person to person. What bought me on to this topic was remembering a conversation me and a friend had a few years back, when we tried to list our top ten epic songs of all time. Of course naturally we went back through the classics, Zeppelin, the Stones, Beatles and Bowie. But we both came out with one song on top, The Velvet Underground's 'Oh! Sweet Nuthin'. I think David Bowie's 'Heroes' was also high on the list.
    So it is to this list I now have to add 'New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down'. And it goes pretty high on the list. It's a big call I know, but this song has something special. I put the winning touch down to the lyrics of James Murphy. It's no secret that I have a soft spot for great songwriting, so lines like 'but they shuttered your stores/ when you opened the doors/ to the cops who were bored once they'd run out of crime' really set me off. 'New York, you're perfect, oh please don't change a thing/ your mild billionaire mayor's now convinced he's a king', this is absolute solid gold. The rest of the albums pretty damn good as well. LCD Soundsystem could have one of the albums of the year already.
    So here's the song in it's entirerity, all five minutes thirty five of it.

  • LCD Soundsystem- New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down: MP3
  • SJD- Beautiful Haze: Video

    Thursday, April 12, 2007

    'Beautiful Haze' is the latest song from New Zealand singer/ songwriter SJD. It's rather nice and has a touch of socialism to wet your filthy little paws.
    SJD aka Sean James Donnelly has been making and producing music for several years. He has two albums, the most recent being the critically acclaimed Southern Lights released in 2004. A third album is expected soon with the singles 'Beautiful Haze' and 'Bad Karma in Yokohama' both expected to be highlights.

  • SJD- Myspace
  • Pop Levi- The Return To Form Black Magick Party: Review

    Tuesday, April 10, 2007

    Pop Levi could well be a musical genius. His debut record TRTFBMP jumps from genre to genre without battering an eyelid. The Levi story is an interesting one. The son of a Jewish doctor and a gentille nurse, Levi grew up a gypsy. Influenced by music from a young age he was an accomplished musician by age ten. The masterful musicianship on TRTFBMP is a testimony to this upbringing.
    From the outset the music is an instant throw back to sixties pop and early seventies glam, comparisons have already been drawn to artists like Marc Bolan and Syd Barret. But it's the diversity that's makes this album special, each track comparable to famous icons but still uniquely Levi. Already 'Blue Honey' has been a hit with it's glam psychedelic swagger and 'Sugar Assault Me Now' is about to hit the indie charts. But it's gems that won't be heard outside the album that make this classic rock. '(A Style Called) Crying Chic' is a soulful blues engagement reminiscent of early Yardbirds, while 'Flirting' will have Brian Wilson fan's grinning ear to ear. 'Hade's Lady' is a personal favourite, elevating Pop Levi to a place reserved for the very best.

  • Pop Levi- (A Style Called) Crying Chic: MP3
  • Pop Levi- Hade's Lady: MP3

  • Pop Levi- Myspace
  • Easter Showcase

    Thursday, April 05, 2007

    Easter is upon us, for some lucky folk you'll have a long weekend. Here's three bands for to you enjoy over the Easter break. The first is Australian group Operator Please, these guys look so young it's scary. They emerged after winning battle of the bands in 2005. Fresh, innocent and funky, Operator Please are ready to party. You just need the chips and fizzy drink. 'It's Just A Song About Ping Pong' is their latest release and is out in the UK on 7" Vinyl.

    Operator Please- It's Just A Song About Ping Pong: MP3

    Operator Please- Myspace

    Secondly, New Zealand band Kill Surf City!!. The band have just finished recording their EP and are getting it ready for release very soon. If the songs posted on their myspace page are anything to go by, it's going to be a little ripper. They create a mix of surf, psychedelic punk which comes out tinged with bubblegum pop. 'Headin' Inside' will be included on the EP.

    Kill Surf City!!- Headin' Inside: MP3

    Kill Surf City!!- Myspace

    Lastly The Teenagers. These guys are crazy! Off The Record put me on to them and I thank them for that. The Teenagers are a crazy dance pop outfit that know no boundaries. The lyrics are blunt, sexy and so funny. If you want to know what it means to be 'rock n roll' in 2007 then check these guys out. Preview track 'Homecoming' is a funny little track that can't be described with words.

    The Teenagers- Homecoming: MP3

    The Teenagers- Myspace

    Land Of Talk

    Tuesday, April 03, 2007

    Land Of Talk are an exciting Canadian group I've just discovered. Seriously these guys kick butt. They remind me a little of You Say Party! We Say Die! (who I'm also listening to a lot of at the mo). They released their debut Applause, Cheer, Boo, Hiss last year and got minor blog coverage.
    The band are Elizabeth Powell (vocals/guitar), Bucky Wheaten (Drums) and Chris McCarran (Bass). Growing up in Ontario, Powell has been making anti-rock anthems since the age of fourteen, after meeting Wheaten in 2005 they formed Land Of Talk. McCarran completed the band after a number of other bass players failed. They could be big, but for now lets enjoy them as an indie favourite.

    Land Of Talk- Speak To Me Bones: MP3

    Land Of Talk- Myspace

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