Monthly Archives: July 2008

Vampire Weekend – Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa video

They certainly didn’t waste any time making another video. This one is directed by Richard Ayoade again and it sort of shows, the ‘horror’ elements of the video and the cheesy effects used throughout is reminiscent of Darth Marenghi’s Darkplace. The video sees the Vampire Weekend boys being converted to goths by a mysterious flame haired social reject. Maybe this is the explaination for such an upbeat band having such a dark sounding name? Perhaps the second album will feature some angsty punk pop stylings?

The rise and rise of Vampire Weekend over the past seven months has been really impressive from a commercial point of view. And unlike other ‘buzz artists they are actually quite good and deserve all the praise and hype they’ve received so far. I can see them making it mainstream big with their second album, which (presuming they stay faithful to that afrobeat sound) would be excellent for the charts. MP3: Vampire Weekend – Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

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Jack White and Alica Keys to duet on James Bond theme!??!?!

Well! No one saw that coming did they?!

Fresh from Pitchfork:

Following in the illustrious footsteps of Chris Cornell, Garbage, Sheryl Crow, a-ha, Tom Jones, and so on, chart-topper Alicia Keys and Jack White of White Stripes and Raconteurs fame will perform the theme song to upcoming James Bond flick Quantum of Solace, according to a report (as yet not confirmed by representatives of either artist).

Keys and White will duet on “Another Way to Die”, which White penned and will produce and play drums upon. The tune– the first duet in the history of James Bond movie theme songs, for what that’s worth, and the fourth to date to include the word “Die”– will feature on the film’s soundtrack, due October 28, and the film itself, due November 7.

Quite an interesting duet, I’m already quite excited/curious as to what it’ll sound like. Much better news than all the Amy Winehouse/Leona Lewis/Duffy/Enter Generic Soul singer rumours that were flying about. Roll on October!

It’ll have to go some way to beat this though.

Or the strings in this.

And of course…

New Music: The Mummers

The Mummers hail from Brighton and are composed of Raissa Khan-Panni (vocals), Mark Horwood (music) and Paul Sandrone (production). It may be a lazy comparison and – if they make it big – it’s one that they will probably become overly familar with, but they do sound rather like Bjork. Lead singer Raissa has the same sort of idiosyncratic but impressive vocal style and she does sound worringly like her at times. Even down to the way she phases the pronounciation of certain ways.

The music is much akin to Bjork’s more whimisical and ‘pop’ work, rather than her forays into the avant garde and dance music. Despite the sometimes distracting likenesses to Iceland’s most famous export. The Mummers do manage to burrow their own ‘orchestra-pop’ niche quite ably. The music outside of the vocals is not so immediately evocative of other artists, it has a certain global, world music feel to it which may be down to Raissa’s travelling history, having trekked across India at 12 and covering the whole of America and Europe by 18.

If you enjoy Bjork, Bat for Lashes, Joanna Newsom and thier ilk then definately check them out. Thier debut album is released on the 25th of August and a two track EP, from which the track below is from, is available now on iTunes.

MP3: The Mummers – 2 Survivors


Kings of Leon – Crawl

This is quite ‘heavy’. A nice big heavy, distorted to breaking point bassline sets the pace and tone of the song. With some nice thunderous drums in support. Then some crunchy guitar layering over the top before Caleb comes in sing.

It’s the same sort of big venue conquering stadium rock with a garage rock/Southern Rock’n Roll twist to it. The refrain/chorus of ‘You better learn to Crawl’ is a bit poor in comparision and the song doesn’t seem to go anywhere in terms of melody progression. Like Beck’s Vampire Voltage the guitar solo at the end could do with being a bit longer, but maybe that’s just my indulgent Pink Floyd/Led Zeppelin fan speaking.

A good start to matching the greatness of Because of the Times nonetheless.

MP3: Kings of Leon – Crawl

New Kings of Leon song ‘Crawl’ available today!

I’m not sure when Kings of Leon got so big. Big enough to warrant headlining Glastonbury at least, but maybe that’s more down to what was a weak Glastonbury headliner wise, rather than as a statement of their world conquering popularity.

Regardless Kings of Leon are definately making the most of their new found ubiquity. After releasing the admittedly excellent ‘Because of the Times’ last year they look set to follow up that success in the studio with another album ‘Only By The Night’ due out – with Arctic Monkey style quickness – on September the 22nd.

And as seems to (thankfully) be the trend this year, they are releasing a taster of that forthcoming album as a free download. ‘Crawl’ will be available for download from NME.COM beteewn 3pm and 5pm GMT time. I’m not sure why NME are only offering it for download for 2 hours, they can’t be that niave to think that people will only be getting it from them. Anyway, if you miss that small window I’ll be uploading the song here sometime this evening along with my initial impressions.

MP3: Kings of Leon – Charmer

Mercury Music Prize 2008 – The Nominees: In Depth Part One Radiohead and Burial

Over the next few weeks I shall be having a more indepth look at the 2008 Mercury Music Prize nominees, examining the music and their chances at victory.

Part one is Radiohead and Burial…

Radiohead – In Rainbows  Latest Odds 9/2

The 21st Century has witnessed Radiohead at the forefront of musical innovation. Constantly evolving and challenging their fans and critics alike with maddening left turns and an almost hedonistic indulgence in the avant garde and generally strange. Few bands on the verge of Stadium filling mainstream success would take similar risks with their music but for the most part it has been a successful experiment. With critical and popular success both achieved In the post Ok Computer period.

This success has been mirrored in the Mercury music Prize itself. With Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief being nominated for the award in 2001 and 2003 respectfully. However the alienating sounds of both albums and Radiohead’s mainstream reputation have conflicted judges and failed to provide Radiohead with a Mercury Music Prize.

This could all change this year, with the relatively ‘safe’ In Rainbows up for nomination. Heralded by critics and fans alike as their best work in a decade, which in my opinion is a little harsh on the Kid A – Hail to the Thief period but a valid statement nonetheless to the quality of the album itself which can easily hold its head high alongside the best of their work.

In Rainbows is easily one of the, if not the best album of the past 12 months; British or otherwise. From a strictly critical point of view it’s hard to imagine anyone else winning but this mightily album. It is the sound of Radiohead finally comfortable once again with not necessarily challenging boundaries but rather settling inside them and simply making great songs. Getting rid of the needlessly experimental indulgence that sometimes scarred Hail to the Thief and also dropping the political belligerence that compromised their lyrics.

Instead Thom and co are far more sensual and heartfelt. Going back to writing songs about life, love and the various other shades of emotion rather than lashing out at the Bush administration or heralding the apocalypse.

It works beautifully and the album is beautifully sensuous. From the frenzied wall of guitars with Bends like ferocity, of Bodysnatchers to the soulful vocals on Reckoner it may not necessarily be the best album Radiohead have done post 1997, but it is the most well rounded and ‘whole’.

However, as is the case with most panel decisions, the choice will not necessarily be the judges favourite. It will a compromise and you can never tell if the judges will decide to pick a surprisingly left field choice to grab headlines, ala Antony and the Johnsons in 2005; Or if they’ll come to a more honest and fair one. The early odds have them as frontrunners along with Burial and Elbow, but time will tell.

MP3: Radiohead – Wierd Fishes/Arpeggi

Burial – Untrue  Latest Odds – 7/2

Burial’s Untrue is a tough nut to crack. It’s sparse, very sparse. It would be easy to write it off as ambient ‘mood’ music, destined to be the soundtrack to a thousand Pretentious arty types dinner parties. But it’s something much more than that

Untrue is extremely evocative. It‘s one of the few albums that sounds like a very specific area – and I don’t mean in the sense of say, sounding Spanish because of the use of flamenco guitars – Untrue sounds specifically like the small strip of ’inner suburbia’ that encircles any major UK city. It sounds like a midnight journey through the areas at the end of the Tube, the shadowy recesses of tower blocks and estates that sit in the shadow of the dizzying lights of the big city.
And perhaps because I live in a place very much like this. Just out of the reach of the city but definitely not in a area that could be described as ’rural’ that this album does it for me.

The album is so hard to describe in a traditional sense. The music seems to be composed entirely of memories and places rather than in a more conventional method. It sounds like a 21st rendition of Eno inspired electronica, intersped with Garage, Jungle and Dubstep. Seemingly random bursts of deep, heavy basslines and disembodied ’chipmunk’ vocals intrude the dreamy soundscapes. Burial skips carefree, interjecting some songs with combatively ‘pop’ sensibilities and others are unforgiving dense and offer very little on initial listens, but repeated listens will be rewarded – if you have the memories to go with it.

Infact; I’ll just shut up because this description from another review (That I unfortunately cannot source)

“Untrue is not the streaked neon and glitter bomb buzz of the West End in the early hours. Nor is it the melancholy romantic sweep of city possibilities so beloved of outsiders. No, Burial has soundtracked the London night out beyond tube lines, the shadowy hinterlands of South London Boroughs. The stuttered shops, graffitied underpasses, the smashed bus shelters and abandoned cars of the endless suburbs. You feel as if you are wandering dazed through the early hours of a Sunday morning. Half-heard mobile phone conversations, reverberations of bass bins in passing cars, snatches of dance music drifting in the air. The lonely sound of a distant tower block party heard coming up through the piss stained lift from six floors below.”

As for it’s chances for a victory. Surprisingly; it’s the favourite. As I have mentioned before the panel do have a tendency and a history of choosing quite left field choices. But this is very left field. However, it does have a huge critical weight behind it and a relative populist appeal to it, in comparison to Portico Quartet and Rachel Unthank anyway. It could prove to be the perfect compromise for the judges.

MP3: Burial – Etched Headplate

Just Like The White Winged Dove!

Stevie Nicks‘ ‘Edge of Seventeen’ has been a guilty pleasure of mine for quite a while now. It’s inclusion in the GTA4 soundtrack has only reinforced my illicit love for such a cheesy track. The shimmying guitar riff makes for a brilliant backing track to cross city car chases and other tomfoolery.

However like most guilty pleasures, it’s a one trick pony. Beyond that famous guitar riff and the cheesy refrain of “Just like the white winged dove sings a song that sounds like she’s singin’ Ooo, ooo, ooo” the song has very little to offer and soon loses momentum.

So it is my pleasure to introduce a remix that improves and supercharges the song, trimming the fat and removing any pretentions that the song is about anything more than that guitar riff and refrain. Created by Crash Overdrive. The riff is sped up, a pounding 4/4 beat added and some big, crunchy Justice style bass is thrown in as well. Crash Overdrive is an apparently new remixer to the scene, judging by his Myspace profile views anyway. But hopefully he or she will be able to give a few more guilty pleasures the same reinvigorating treatment.

MP3: Edge of 17 – Stevie Nicks (Crash Overdrive Remix)