"Most rock journalism is people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, for people who can't read." - Frank Krappa

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Gig: Timber Timbre @ ICA 27/4/11

After realising the tickets for Timber Timbre's gig at ICA had sold out, a friend and I resigned ourselves to haggling with touts. We were slightly worried upon finding a significant lack of (no) touts outside, but there were two tickets left on sale. Fucking A. Anyway, we missed the support, but got in just in time to get drinks and get a nice place in the crowd for what we assumed would be a relatively normal folky gig.

Nosferatu started playing on a screen behind the stage and the three members walked on, singer Taylor Kirk wearing a Grim Reaper style cloak. They began playing songs from their most recent album, Creep On Creepin' On (which I wrote about here). Their gothic folk-soul-blues, in combination with the film, slowly but surely scared the shit out of me and (I hope, for the sake of my pride) the rest of the audience. Kirk, shrouded in the cloak and occasionally twitching a grimace towards the ceiling, added in abundance to the dark atmosphere.

Things really got going when they played  'Black Water' followed by 'Demon Host'. The group of crazy people on drugs (there always seems to be at least one at every gig) swayed and bobbed like maniacs. Everyone else tried not to wet themselves in a combination of musical appreciation and sheer terror.

They encored without Kirk's cloak and craziness. For the first time that evening, he actually spoke to the audience and was really quite charming for someone who, five minutes earlier, looked like he might suddenly decide to decapitate the entire front row with his guitar at any moment. Despite crowd shouts (and my finger crossing) they didn't play 'Magic Arrow', but instead played a brilliant version of 'Trouble Comes Knocking' (I think, or maybe 'Lay Down In The Tall Grass'?).

Altogether, it was pretty fucking fantastic. It wasn't what I was expecting, but it made a pretty big impact and was one of the most interesting gigs I've ever seen. He's playing at Union Chapel on the 1st of November. I'm going to do my best to make it.

This gives you a fraction of the experience:

And I just straight up love this song:

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Beastie Boys - 'Hot Sauce Committee Part Two'

I've always had a soft spot for the Beastie Boys: they have their roots in punk music, they make being jewish slightly less painfully uncool and, most importantly, they make funky, ballsy hip-hop.

Anyway, their new album, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, doesn't disappoint. It doesn't break any boundaries, contain any surprises or do anything exceptional (it may as well be called Another Album by the Beastie Boys), but it does what it says on the can, and that's all you can really expect from three ageing men. Also, it's just good, fun music.

You can listen to the album (via basketball pitch boom-box) here:

Slightly more excitingly, they've made a 30 minute video called 'Fight For Your Right - Revisited' to go with the album, which is evidently meant to be the sequel of the 'Fight For Your Right' video. It contains most of the current comedy big boys, and that guy who played Frodo in Lord of the Rings/the American dickhead in Green Street.

Here's the trailer:


Friday, 22 April 2011

The Whitest Boy Alive - 'Dreams'

I first heard The Whitest Boy Alive on a Kitsuné compilation. I was instantly stunned by the track ('Done With You') and played it over and over again until I got hold of the album, which exceeded my expectations immensely. This was all more than three years ago, but Dreams remains one of my favourite albums ever.

The first thing that struck me was the purity of the sound. I'm someone who loves noisy, scuzzy, lo-fi mess songs, but the cleanness of each track on Dreams is breathtaking. You can hear every high-hat hit, every bass note and each reverberated guitar stab or slide. This in combination with the beautiful way in which the instruments interact, rhythmically and harmoniously, creates a deceivingly simple but awe-inspiring noise that can't fail to make you want to dance in your bedroom. Alone.
In many ways it's comparable to Galaxie 500, Low and even The xx, but it's just so, so much better.

I think this album has been horrifically over-looked and under-rated. I admit that 'Above You' is a fucking awful track that I skip every time, but Dreams strips indie-pop down to a fragile and honest skeleton. It's a record that has not only had a profound impact on me emotionally but also on the way in which I listen to music, and I'm sure I'll continue to love it for the rest of my life.

Don't just take my wanky word for it:

Also, their live videos are pretty fucking amazing too. Check it.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Bad Brains

Since being wowed by No Trend, I've been slowly exploring the Hardcore Punk genre.

So far my favourites are Bad Brains, a band that stick out right away for being black rastafarians who occasionally play reggae. I've only listened to their self-titled first album so far, which Adam Yauch (aka MCA) of the Beastie Boys names "the best punk/hardcore album of all time". I'm not informed enough to confirm or deny that, but I do know that the album is fucking ace. Also, MCA's my fave Beastie Boy, so I'll just assume it's true for now.

Here are some great songs to soundtrack a day of joyfully smashing shit up (or sitting at home and watching skate videos on YouTube):

Saturday, 16 April 2011

No Trend

I stumbled upon No Trend, and I think this song is amazingly and horrifically good:

I don't know anything about the band (they don't even have a wiki page, what the fuck?), but I take it that they were part of that whole American '80s Hardcore Punk thangg, which I know hardly anything about. If anybody stumbles across this post and has anything to recommend, please help a brother out.

Here's some other songs that aren't as good, but also kept my interest:

Also, bit lame, but I really like some of their album art, especially the font.

True Womanhood

I found this song on the internet. It's a cover of a song I don't know, but it's fucking great:

Anyway, it's this band, True Womanhood. I like their name, I like their musical aesthetic, I don't like that they dress like cunts. Anyway, this song's different to the first song, but it's still very good.

I "liked" them on facebook, and am excited to follow their progress.

EDIT: They don't dress that irritatingly actually, but still.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Terrible News

Spotify’s aim from the very beginning was to make music on-demand available to all. To give you the power to listen to, discover, share and manage your music the way you want to - simpler, faster, better - while making sure the artists whose music we all love continue to see the benefits as we grow.
Making Spotify available to millions across Europe has seen the service become incredibly popular. People are listening to more music and from a wider range of artists than ever before, and are giving up on piracy, which is exactly what we hoped would happen.
So it’s vital that we continue offering an on-demand free service to you and millions more like you, but to make that possible we have to put some limits in place going forward.
Here’s how the changes will work:
  • New Spotify users will be able to enjoy our unrivalled free service as it is today for the first 6 months.
  • As of May 1st, any user who signed up to the free service on or before November 1st 2010 will be able to play each track for free up to a total of 5 times. Users who signed up after the beginning of November will see these changes applied 6 months after the time they set up their Spotify account.
  • Additionally, total listening time for free users will be limited to 10 hours per month after the first 6 months. That’s equivalent to around 200 tracks or 20 albums.
The changes we’re having to make will mainly affect heavier Spotify Free and Open users, as most of you use Spotify to discover music – on average over 50 new tracks per month, even after a year. Plus, the average user won’t reach the limit on plays for 7 out of 10 tracks, after a year of using Spotify. For those of you using Spotify to find new tracks to enjoy and share with friends, these changes shouldn’t get in the way of you doing that. Rest assured that we’ll continue to bring you the biggest and most diverse music catalogue available.
For anyone who thinks they might reach these limits, we hope you’ll consider checking out our Unlimited and Premium services, neither of which will be affected, plus we have a 7-day free trial for Spotify Premium that we’d love you to try. Throughout May, we’ll also have a pretty nice 30-day free trial for Spotify Premium – more details on that in the next few days.
Above all, this means we can continue making Spotify available to all in the long-term. We’ll be bringing out some awesome new features as well as significant improvements over the coming months, which will make the Spotify experience even better.
Thanks so much, as ever, for your unbelievable support and I hope to come back with some exciting news in the next few weeks.
Fuck you, Daniel

Monday, 4 April 2011

Panda Bear - Tomboy

It's out on April 12th, but can be streamed for free HERE HERE HERE!

Panda Bear (aka Noah Lennox) of Animal Collective has made a psychedelic masterpiece. It's the kind of music I listen to and think "Wow, this is really fucking good music!", which is always a good sign.

Here's some tracks, but really listen to the whole thing on the link above.

I've never really listened to any Panda Bear/Animal Collective output before, but I'm definitely gonna check it out now. Nice.

Sebadoh - Bakesale

Sebadoh are a band that I hold dear to my heart, namely their album Bakesale, which came out originally in 1994. It definately comes in my top 10 albums of all time, and is a contender for my "Best Album To Listen To When You're Really Pissed Off" prize, being the perfect mix of sloppy '90s indie rock and grunge.

It's being re-released in the UK by Domino (Sub Pop in the US) and I'm definitely going to spend my money on it and the 25 extra tracks that come with.

As much as I love Lou Barlow (which is a hell of a lot), my favourite songs on the album are Jason Loewenstein's contributions. Sadly, I have yet to hear anything else he's contributed to that's nearly as good (I will continue my search for ever if need be).

Here's some personal faves:

It's just so good!

Also, live videos of their current American tour look fucking awesome. Really, really hope they come to London soon. I saw Lou's solo set last January and that was really, really great; seeing Sebadoh play live would be one of the best things to ever happen to me.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Gig: Deerhunter @ Shepherds Bush Empire 31/3/11

As mentioned in a previous post, I was really, really impressed by Deerhunter's most recent album, Halcyon Digest, and so I had really high expectations for the gig. They were still way, way more amazing than I thought they would be.

First on were Lower Dens, who I got there early to see because I really like their stuff up on MySpace: lovely shoegazey, reverby stuff. About half of their songs sounded identical and fairly boring (mainly thanks to the very, very boring drummer), but the rest of their song were really, really good and I'd definitely like to check them out again.

Just after Deerhunter came on, singer Bradford Cox informed the audience that "Steve the lightman" told him that the legendary Old Grey Whistle Test series was filmed there, which was a lovely factoid to start the show. They opened with a new song, which sounded great, and then went into an overly feebacky version of 'Desire Lines' which, while being my favourite song on the album, was not as impressive live without the backing vocals.

The gig went from good to AMAZING when they played 'Nothing Ever Happened' from Microcastle. They jammed for ages on the outro and it just sounded fucking fantastic. From that point on, all the songs linked in with each other and were extended to great psychedelic effect. A few of my personal favourites were 'Helicopter', 'Little Kids' and 'Memory Boy'. It was all so good, I didn't even mind the crazy middle-aged man screaming random lyrics in my ear.

Here's some videos (I'm really glad people got it on film, but the videos really understate the experience of being there):

This was their encore. It was brilliant (especially the joke).

The noises at the beginning of the video gives you a small taste of the amazing sonic soundscapes they conjured up throughout the gig.

This was the new song they opened with.

This was the brilliant Magazine cover that they also played on BBC 6music the night before.

And on the way home, I saw a man in a suit throw up what looked like bloody maggots. It was great.