Friday, 11 December 2009

Lisztomania [GET IT? GET IT!?]

"Modern music is as dangerous as narcotics" -Pietro Mascagni

Look at that perfect quote that sums the essence of my blog up, but if
you substitute DANGEROUS for FUCKTASTIC!

And talking of summing up (awesome segue approaching), here are some BESTS OF from both the last year and the last decade! They aren't proper lists, in the sense that numbers aren't placed besides them. B
ut I am against that listing and numbering bullshit man, music is free and freedom isn't free!

Anyho-ho-ho, onto an assortment of awesome albums that maybe you can buy as a Christmas present or a personal present (you selfish bastards you...)..

FIRSTLY! The top albums of the year (in purely my personal and honest and awesome opinion)-

  • The Horrors 'Primary Colours' I was happily amongst the first to criticise and mock The Horrors when they rolled into NME looking like emo stick insects emanating rather shoddy post punk with all the energy of a pair of hair straighteners. Nonetheless, in the name of good science and impartiality, I duly listened to their second effort when a friend recommended it and BETCHA BY GOLLY WOW, I was impressed. The tracks bleed something otherworldly, as if hypnotising the listener into somehow enjoying something that can mumble from a bunch of 19th century male prostitutes.
  • The Pains of Being Pure at Heart 'The Pains of Being Pure at Heart' - When I first heard 'A Teenager In Love', I honestly almost wet myself at the prospect of having time travelled back to the 1980s and listening to a brand spanking new Smiths/Cure collaboration...but I noticed the lack of a Delorean or phone booth and quickly went and bought the debut album from this group of New Yorkers. It's a blast of shoegaze and pop that showers emotions from summers and winters long gone and worthy of a few hundred or so listens (at least).
'Young Adult Fiction' by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
'A Teenager in Love' by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
  • Passion Pit 'Manners' - One of my finds on this very blog (A YEAR AGO I MIGHT ADD), ever since my musings skyrocketed interest in this band, their certain brand of spiky synths and high-pitch warblings have progressively made their way into radio, tv, festivals and music blogs the world over. It all began with the lead singer creating an EP for his lady (awww) and the debut album built on the sound that had manifested out of passion (hey, they are called Passion Pit!). Extra points for Jack Kerouac's voice at the beginning of 'Sleepyhead'...
'Sleepyhead' by Passion Pit
Also check out this from their original EP 'Cuddle Fuddle'

  • Girls 'Album' - A very hard to Google band and album name but worth the frantic searching after I heard a track through another blog. Obviously from San Francisco, their psycho shoe-gaze fused onto surf rock bounces and rolls along at different times, echoing the Beach Boys and Morrissey. The album really sets up an ethos of partying that makes it freaking ridiculously hard not to want to pack up and move to California, jam on the beach and drink all day long in the sun....
'Lust For Life' by Girls
'Laura' by Girls
  • The Drums 'Summertime EP' - I know it is just an EP but continuing the West coast vibe, the seven tracks that introduce The Drums to the world are nothing but pure joy and Californian life. Handclaps and whistles galore set up a surprisingly summery feel to your life even in the midst of December. However, the group hail from New York and must have mind melds with the sunny, surfing coasts of America to have such blasts of giddy energy that send the head-a-bopping.
'Let's Go Surfing' by The Drums
'The Saddest Summer' by The Drums

  • Bats For Lashes 'Two Suns' - Natasha Khan is a maestro of the dream, baroque pop she peddles, managing to cram classical and pop sense into her music. A patchwork of influences, 'Two Suns' reverberates with original emotion and it is hard to think of an artist doing anything similar. Electronic dabs and vocal dashes create such a vivid musical picture, it is difficult not to fall for the seductively dense and dark sound that Bats For Lashes emits.
  • The xx 'xx' - Back to London, England for a dreamy pop with a production technique that recalls several genres from electronica to R&B, the underlying sultry attitude that impregnates their act is apparent throughout their album. Muses on sex and relationships slither alongside a drum machine and carefully paced guitar picking. An album to slowly digest and internalise, so much that the music will eventually ooze from the pores of your skin as you stroll around late at night.
'Basic Space' by The xx
'Crystalised' by The xx
  • Dirty Projectors 'Bitte Orca' - 2009 has showcased a whole heap of New York musicians who have really crafted the musical sound and hits of the year, including Dirty Projectors, a lo-fi, experimental indie group who hit their groove (and a degree of widespread success and acclaim) with 'Bitte Orca'. Off kilter beats and breezy riffs permeate the album, managing to rack up an impressive sensibility that borders on experimentation whilst sticking to a perfectly enjoyably melodic tone and hum. Truly, an album that caresses harder and harder with each listen (weird, I know).
'Stillness Is The Move' by Dirty Projectors
'No Intention' by Dirty Projectors
  • Grizzly Bear 'Veckatimest' - A long admired band whose output has remained rocksteady, Grizzly Bear are yet another group of indie types hailing from Brooklyn, in New Yawwk City (note to self, for life; move to New York...). As well as innovative and exciting videos, the band gel together so naturally that the songs feel like they are pouring out of one angelic musical mind that knows how to craft a sonically airtight album. A quietly gorgeous record and that is all that needs to be said.
'Two Weeks' by Grizzly Bear
'Ready, Able' by Grizzly Bear
  • Animal Collective 'Merriweather Post Pavilion' - Animal Collective have made some challenging and exciting music over the past decade and, arguably, their best work has appeared in the form of their latest record, in the last year of the noughties. Exploring music so other bands don't have to (or because they simply can't), the album reads like an explosion of creativity, fuzz and imagination that has somehow been condensed into something that can be considered a helluva lot more poppy than previous attempts. A confident psychedelia cements the band as a force to be reckoned with, although sets a high precedent for whatever comes in the next decade.
'My Girls' by Animal Collective
'Summertime Clothes' by Animal Collective

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Atlas Sound 'Logos'; Fever Ray 'Fever Ray'; Yeah Yeah Yeah's 'It's Blitz'; Phoenix 'Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix'; Julian Casablancas 'Phrazes For The Young'; Camera Obscura 'My Maudlin Career';

So, those are my favourite records of the year that was 2009! Let me know what are yours, what I still need to buy and I will be back with a best of the decade list after le weekend!


Wednesday, 2 December 2009

December Ditties!

Without music, life is a journey through a desert. - Pat Conroy

Listen to ‘Constellations’ and look at this picture of Darwin Deez, the musician responsible, and tell me that it isn’t Julian Casablancas in some sort of super-hi-tech make up and costume! The Strokes sound-a-like comes in a variety of flavours, with ‘Bad Day’ vibrating with Beck-like enthusiasm and ‘Bedspace’ taking a leisurely, drawn-out approach to indietronica. Check out the mustachioed maestro asap!

Darwin Deez's Myspace

Best Coast’s frontwoman, Bethany Cosentino, comes from the school of shoegaze, with her drawling slur of a voice and her shuffling lyrics that squeeze through the humming guitar riffs, broken drum beats and muffled sonics that coat each song. A garage rock sensibility is also embedded in each track, especially in the gorgeously titled 'Sun Was High (So Was I)', where the lead guitar juts and jerks through the entire piece. The current surf-rock fusion that has swept bands across the US still manages to hold a sort of sway and intrigue, though it may very well soon become an overhyped and overheard phase. Until then, Best Coast sweep along with a surprisingly refreshing lo-fi attitude.

Best Coast's Myspace

That will do for now...until next time....


Thursday, 26 November 2009

Sonic Suggestions

Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. -Charlie Parker

Punk and Mariachi music are two genres with very, very, very little crossover possibility. Yet The Bronx have decided to blast that out of the water by renaming themselves as Mariachi El Bronx and releasing an album of Mexicano ditties. And it bloody works. The music is upbeat, catchy and holds a sway and kick that a punk background may have helped spur. Current single 'Cell Mates' claps and hops along aboard a heap of trumpets and joy, with a vocal performance quite distant from the usual screech of The Bronx frontman Matt Caughthran. The video is equally brilliant with flashing suits galore. (Cell Mates on Youtube)

The Bronx Myspace

The past few months of my life have been soundtracked by The Drums brand of Brian Wilson-infused beach indie pop. Although summer has long since evaporated into rain and wind, the likes of 'Let's Go Surfing' and 'I Felt Stupid' summon such imagery of sand, sea and surf, the sun comes out with each whistle, yelp and foot stomp. Perfectly danceable indie pop to stop the rain, if only in your head.

The Drums Myspace

Whilst I am here, I shall mention some current fantastic singles from established artists that are well worth a listen. Firstly, Lighspeed Champion (aka Dev Hynes) sidles alongside Basement Jaxx on 'My Turn', a top notch fusion of Lightspeed's lyrical delicacy and the dance band's bells and bounce style. Also check out the colourful video HERE! [Includes dancing bright bears!]

I have mentioned Passion Pit about a year ago and they are only JUST hitting the big time (another scoop just for you New Narcotics readers), with 'Little Secrets' all over BBC Radio now. Still perfectly synthed and sultry indietronica for the ears. Live for good ol' Myspazz

Christmas is creeping slowly upon us and Julian Casablancas of The Strokes has released a cover of an SNL christmas ditty alongside his brand new solo album 'Phrazes For The Young' which ain't half bad (even if it is just The Strokes goes solo). Anyway here is his festive attempt...

I shall be back very soon with Winter Warmers to keep your ears toasty as we enter the cold December month....

Monday, 10 August 2009

Rhythmic Recommendations

Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life. ~Ludwig van Beethoven

Talons manage to fuse math rock with post rock whilst sprinkling a little raw punk and a dash of classical strings into the mix to provide an eye opening storm of music that relentlessly streams forth from each track. 'The Tragic Decline of Buff Orpington' is an epic tale crushed into three minutes of fury, whilst 'The Pearl' unleashes rollicking guitar riffs that give way to soft, sweet strings, ensuring a juxtaposition that cannot be ignored. Check them out as they tour relentlessly over the next month.

Talons' Myspace

Proving that being a bit geeky and loving classic soul can get you somewhere (I still have my fingers crossed), Mayer Hawthorne's has come along with an old soul throwback style that bleeds 60's Motown and oozes 70's romantic soul. Think Smokey Robinson, The Dramatics and the Four Tops within a bespectacled white boy from Ann Arbor, Michigan. 'Just Ain't Gonna Work Out' and 'Love is Alright' are perfect representations of the early soul vocal groups spot-on sweet nothings musing on love lost and love gained. Everytime I imagine this guy on stage, I see a foursome acting out a host of well rehearsed mini dance moves. 'I Wish It Would Rain' may very well be my new favourite song, as Mayer manages to evoke all of that soulful longing I adored as a kid listening to my parents Motown records....

Mayer Hawthorne's Myspace

I am lucky enough to witness Jeffrey Lewis and the Junkyard this Friday at an awesomely underused venue called Hamptons. I was eagerly anticipating a Watchmen lecture with the musician/artist/genius at Latitude Festival but due to some car problem, he didn't make it in time!!! Karma has made it up to me by allowing me the chance to witness him perform and I urge you to go listen to 'Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror' on his myspace, a rip-roaring folk track that showcases his wildly winding vocal ability.

Jeffrey Lewis and the Junkyard's Myspace

Supporting Jeffrey Lewis are a local seven piece folk act who I have praised constantly over the last half a year or so. Haunted Stereo manage to juggle a host of musical instruments with master precision, combining in a cacophany of musical heaven summed up in the jaunty joyride that is 'Head On' and the oscillating musical journey 'Childhood's End'.

Haunted Stereo's Myspace

Thats all for now folks!!!!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Once again, I start again...

No explanations, just musical education... upwards and onwards....

A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence. ~Leopold Stokowski

Pulled Apart By Horses are four lads who think up fantastic band and song names, hail from Leeds and throw caution and vocal chords to the wind, firing all 12 cylinders with their personal attempt at pounding out hard, fast and rhythmic riffs whilst hollering over the ruckus they create. They also manage to climb atop speaker stacks and injure themselves whenever possible...check out 'I Punched A Lion in the Throat' and 'E=MC Hammer'.

Pulled Apart By Horses Myspace

Brighton is a town of musical and artistic invention and The Mummers are keeping the bar high, fronted by Raissa Khan-Panni, a musician with a vast well of ability and experience despite her youth. Appearing on Jools Holland and releasing a debut album entitled 'Tale To Tell', the group should reach your radios and televisions imminently! Listen to their amazing cover of Passion Pit's 'Sleepyhead' (a band I mentioned at the end of last year in the last blog posting, who are now shooting into the stratosphere...) and the summery 'Wonderland', a track that will pick you up, lay you amongst the clouds and slowly lull you into contented slumber...

The Mummers Myspace

Bradford has not held a great musical past but this may change with a young lady named Laura Groves, musically named Blue Roses. She fuses a Kate Bush sentiment with the female folk fallout of Laura Marling, ending up with a beautifully strung together self titled album that drifts along endlessly and joyfully. 'I Am Leaving' leaves a sweet taste in the mouth as the vocals swell and soothe over the space of three calm minutes. 'Does Anyone Love Me Now' showcases her ability to juggle lush alt-folk guitar with otherworldly strings and singing. Let her voice send you to sleep before everyone in the land is dreaming to her effortless melodies.

Blue Roses Mypace

First Aid Kit consists of two Swedish teenage sisters whose intense and beautiful songs recall the harmony and delicate nature of artists such as Devendra Banhart and Bright Eyes. Listen to the catchy and instantly noddable 'You're Not Coming Home Tonight'

First Aid Kit's Myspace

Fast paced kraut punk comes thick and ferocious from Not Squares, a band from Belfast. They know how to navigate synths and bass guitars with the utmost anger and musical cohesion, squealing and shouting as they do so.

Not Squares Myspace

Finally, Chew Lips are a London trio whose dancefloor friendly electro has smashed through various blogs and music magazines. 'Solo' and 'Toro' are two tracks that are guaranteed to move feet, hands and heads.

Chew Lips Myspace

That is all for now music lovers and brothers...tune in next week or the week after that or whenever I post something new...and keep you ears wiiiide open...