Clark’s reputation has been steadily building from an Aphex Twin wannabe following his debut Clarence Park (Warp, 2001) to being hailed as an electronica innovator after the release of Body Riddle (Warp) this year. Tonight he brought his new live show to London, with live drummer Alvin Ryan to beef up his trademark hard-hitting big beats. It was a powerful and confident performance that showcased his talents for haunting melodies and driving bass.
Born Ruffians are an oddball three piece from the backwater town of Midland, Ontario who follow in the noteprints of stumbling, North American indieflolk like Pavement and Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah! with this eponymous debut EP. They formed in 2002 so its taken a few years to reach this point and release an opening salvo, and though it’s not quite a devastating statement of intent, it is a very promising 6 tracks of treble-y jerk-pop embellished/ruined (depending on your opinion of the man) by the strangled vocals of Luke LaLonde, variously sounding like David Byrne, Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo and a cat with ADHD (I’m definitely in the ‘embellished’ camp, fortunately).
Top artists will take centre stage of new digital download music programme From the Basement. With no host and no studio audience, it aims to bring you pure, intimate and unadulterated performances launching with Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke.
Idlewild are back after almost two years away with an exclusive new track to coincide with their sold out UK tour. The band will be previewing material from their latest album Make Another World (Sequel) released in February 2007 on six dates, but if you did not get a ticket you can still get an early listen to one of the tracks.
This is the 13th album by the ‘legendary’ (or so the press release says) Brian Setzer, and features 13 tracks (oooh! High concept!) which he claims are what “modern rockabilly should sound like”. A quote that portents doom. Just like the title of track 10 – When Hepcats Get The Blues.
If you like Moby, you’ll invariably already own his seminal album Play (Mute, 1999) which has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. If you don’t like him, you will probably still be able to recognise the majority of his Play tracks due the tendency for them to feature on television adverts, in movies and as part of other licensing deals. This collection of greatest hits attempts to thread the links between his work as a techno DJ, film soundtrack composer and producer of more commercially friendly dance tracks and tender moments.
William Elliot Whitmore opened for Lucero on a rainy Sunday at the Bowery Ballroom. In a very un-New York fashion, people came out early, packed the room, and shut up while Whitmore sat on a stool on a stage full of other people’s equipment while playing either his guitar or banjo.
At its best, Still Searching is a pretty exhilarating, if familiar experience. Short opening track “The Rapture” bristles with intent, “All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues” is storming manifestation of anger and angst, and all the guitars are thrashed and drums pounded satisfyingly throughout. Like Alexisonfire they mix up the abrasive screams of hardcore with the more palatable-for-the-masses, soaring ‘big’ choruses of emo (which makes screamo, naturally), although they make use more of the later than the former.
Prayer of Death is the fourth album by Entrance, and their first of fully original material. It’s ostensibly a solo project by self taught LA Denizen, Guy Blakeslee, but on this LP he has been supported by several co-producers and musicians, including Paz Lechantin (from Zwan and a Perfect Circle) and Devendra Banhart and Vetiver producer Thom Monahon. So, what would you expect from a man who is inspired by Jimi Hendrix, Timothy Leary and the Tibetan Book of the Dead? A concept album about death awareness in a war-torn world, of course.
It would be tempting to track the demographic course of this singles collection and its relation to British Culture, but you’d start with Manchester’s baggy era and then kind of find that The Charlatans bore more resemblance to whatever Tim Burgess was listening to at the time rather than any particular trend or movement. Forever is a singles collection that marks the 10-year anniversary of the death of their original keyboard player Rob Collins and coincides with a small tour and DVD release. For most of us particularly in the UK, the collection needs little explanation, hey The Charlatans have already released a Best Of and a Live album, and many of the same tracks pop up here again.
In those early, shambolic live gigs, filled with countless A&R men drawn in by the acclaim from his early EPs, Badly Drawn Boy was something of a perverse performer, messing about with structures and often not even playing songs to speak of. His debut album (2000’s The Hour Of Bewilderbeast) carried on this ethos and was a sprawling, brilliant mess of ideas over structure. His subsequent albums, the About A Boy soundtrack, Have You Fed The Fish? and One Plus One is One have seen a more measured take on singer songwriting.
From the respective receptions given, most people were here for Thrill Jockey’s psyche-blues peddlars, Califone (particularly as they do not often grace this intimate a venue), but for me there was also another draw — Denison Witmer — an acolyte bandmember of Sufjan Stevens. This was the second in a short (4 date) London-only jaunt as rotating headliners to support their new LP releases — Califones Roots and Crowns and Whitmer’s Are You A Dreamer?.
From University band to global stars, the Canadian trio that is Bedouin Soundclash has been lucky enough to see their brand of rock-tinged reggae filter out to fans worldwide. Mike Barnard caught up with lead singer Jay, drummer Pat and bassist Eon just before their appearance at Brixton Academy to talk touring, Myspace and the late, great Desmond Dekker.
The rising popularity of Canadian reggae outfit Bedouin Soundclash was laid bare at Brixton Academy where the trio received a rapturous reception. Well, I say reggae, but at times you could be forgiven for thinking you were caught up in the middle of a stadium rock act’s homecoming such was the unbridled joy many members of the crowd were experiencing. With their tender vocals backed up by rumbling bass lines and tight drumming this was a performance to be proud of for the Soundclash boys.
This was the second of a two night stint at the Roxy in lieu of the release of the Rx Bandit’s fifth album, …And the Battle Begun, which I recently received the pleasure of reviewing, and to celebrate the band played the new album in it’s entirety. The musicianship was mind-boggling and the crowd was electric, but the predictability of the set list hampered my enjoyment a bit. The Bandits seem to be much more in their element when they’re councing back and forth between their much varied ouevre, which we received a little taste of with an encore of “Overcome” and “Decrescendo” from 2003’s The Resignation. The audience didn’t seem to share my gripes though, going off the wall with energy throughout the entire set, and even beginning the lyrics to the encore before the band returned the stage.
This CD came in a double sided carboard sleeve, with one a colorful distorted picture of a two man band, clad in what seemed to be basketball shorts, and the other with a big number “13” and the words “Made in Mexico” repeated a number of times across the image. I had no idea what I was gonna get going into it, and to be honest, I’m not quite sure what I got coming out of it.
With …And the Battle Begun, their fifth album, and first release outside of the Drive-Thru Records banner, the Rx Bandits have made their first record that isn’t really too much of a leap from the previous one — which is not a bad thing. Rather than ambitiously scouring new territory, the band seems to be growing more familiar with the sound they’ve been hinting at for the past five years. The production is raw, much more stripped down than anything they’ve done before, however it’s all still there: the subtle keyboard licks dripping off the melody, a horn section that sparks off the beat like an out of control circuit, soaring vocals with ridiculous range, and guitar and drum lines that seem to shift every measure.
It’s been a big few months for metal fans with Boris/Sunn O, The Melvins, Mastadon and now Isis all returning with new material. In The Absence Of Truth is Isis’ fourth LP, and continues momentum created by Panopticon away from the core elements that most would define metal into a larger multifaceted prism of song. The beast that was omnipresent on Isis’ post-hardcore debut Celestial has been gradually suppressed with each further release. Oceanic followed and is still Isis’ modus operandi because it installed beauty to counterbalance the beast in equal measure, so whilst we were having our face cracked by huge compact riffs and bottomless vocals it still managed to glisten with a crystalline grandeur. Panopticon took things a step on, stealing the shimmer of Oceanic and expanding upon it adding more recognisable vocals, and melting down the heavy choruses to install more space and room for melodic inertia.
When AIS came on, I was expecting a 5-piece to appear; only three people walked onto the stage, but if I’d had my eyes closed, I’d have been forgiven for thinking it was ten. Again, the sound quality was impeccable: the bass drum and toms were as well-defined as most bands’ snare drums; their snare cracked like a bull-whipped ping-pong ball. No matter how deep the bass sank, or how dirty the riff, it was always possible to distinguish every last semitone.
To cut a long story short, a pre-historic sloth is frozen in the ice age, and later dug up by an ancient tribe. They idolise the sloth, and build it the best suit of armour in the world, in the hope it will one day day wake up. It does; cue the death of large numbers of villagers.