Tag Archives: Arctic Monkeys

Brick by Brick

Well, Arctic Monkey’s previous attempt at a 60s sound was an unqualified success, so I’m really excited at the prospect of another album’s worth of that kind of stuff.


MP3: Arctic Monkeys – 505


Reading 2009

Tweets from the festival: @MisspeakMusic

Time for another festival, then. This time it’s Reading, a much shorter hop from my East London bunker and a slightly less prestigious festival than Glastonbury. Reading is geared towards the younger end of the festival spectrum with a focus on Kerrang buzz bands, rather than NME or Q ones; rather than the Guardian brigade that overwhelms Glastonbury, you can expect a fair amount of teeny boppers celebrating GCSE and A level results, excited at the prospect of seeing ‘essential’ bands like Lost Prophets and Enter Shikari and getting absolutely ‘smashed’.

Despite that, they do have Radiohead headlining on the Sunday, which should be genuinely essential. Hopefully they’ll be a strong contingent of enthusiastic fans rather than the painfully laid back ‘Greatest Hits’ bunch that slightly marred their appearance at Victoria Park last year. I’ll make sure I’m at the front with the kind of Radiohead fans who can mosh to Just and appreciate the off-kilter Techno of Idioteque equally, and won’t constantly be watching their watches waiting for Creep.

Of course, even I wouldn’t suggest it’s all about Radiohead. There are a fair few gems I missed at Glastonbury who I’ll be able to catch this time around.

The Homme, Grohl, Jones supergroup, Them Crooked Vultures, are a strong shout to make an appearance in the mysterious gap between Patrick Wolf and You Me At Six on the NME/Radio 1 stage on Saturday – at least it’s a stronger rumour than my slightly wishful Muse on the Park Stage suggestion before Glastonbury. They played Lowlands last week, a festival that has a near identical line-up to Reading, and have just come off stage at the Brixton Academy in support of The Arctic Monkeys who will be headlining on the Saturday.

Baring the inevitable clashes, I’ll be trying my best to check out…

Arctic Monkeys
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Vampire Weekend
Bloc Party
Friendly Fires
The Horrors
Little Boots

The full lineup can be viewed here

The main stage streak of Vampire Weekend, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Bloc Party and Radiohead should be pretty epic by most standards.

Obviously there won’t be any blog updates for the next days, though I do promise to get started up more quickly after the festival, there won’t be any two week hibernations this time. I am prepared. But perhaps more importantly, I will be tweeting live from the site – Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity willing – so add me on Twitter to hear the latest events from the Reading site:

Gasp! As I lose my belongings!

Laugh! At my entertaining tent related anecdotes!

And Shudder! At my pictures of the toilets on the last day!

It will almost like being there yourself!

Add me: @MisspeakMusic

MP3: Radiohead – Like Spinning Plates
MP3: Arctic Monkeys – Dangerous Animals
MP3: Friendly Fires – Jump In The Pool

(MOAR!)New Arctic Monkeys – My Propeller

Update: Nothing to see here now anyway. Backward label/internet policing don’t want the free publicity.

Yeah, yeah I know. More Arctic Monkeys.

Another day, another track. Can’t be long till the whole thing leaks, surely? Not sure if I like this one as much as Crying Lightning, but maybe it’s a grower.

I am beginning to get worried about the pervading minor-key, stoner rock sound that’s coming out of this album. I was anticipating something heavier, but this transformation seems to be posing the danger of losing the frenetic wit and bombast that their previous albums had. It’s a bit slurred and muddy in comparison.

In related news: The band will be playing a live webcast of the new album, Humbug, come July 30th, here. So we’ll be hearing the whole thing very, very soon.

Below is a low (low) quality rip of the new song, it’ll have to do for now.

Link: http://webtransmission.arcticmonkeys.com/

Arctic Monkeys – Crying Lightning Video

The song’s still growing on me; I like the grungy, stoner rock vibes, but the video takes that aesthetic a little too far with a strange, vaguely mythological journey that doesn’t really go anywhere and, apart from a few shots of Helders, doesn’t have any of the humour that usually features. A bit po-faced, a little cheap-looking, a bit shit.


In related Humbug hype… some scans from the bands Q magazine appearance are here.

Also, a new track from the album, ‘My Propeller’ is also ‘out there’. It’s being cracked down on heavily as it was here at We All Want Someone To Shout For (and I don’t actually have it…yet) so I’ll simply leave you with that nugget of information to do with as you please and instead give you the gift of the superlative Balaclava.

Humbug is out on Domino Records 8/25

MP3: Arctic Monkeys – Balaclava

Mercury Music Prize Nominations 2009

So, it’s that time of year again. Got to admit, it’s crept up on me and I haven’t really felt a huge urge to write about what a controversial or ‘edgy’ list it is like I do most years. Whether that’s to do with the self-styled independent nature of the awards, the state of the British music industry or whether it’s just a shit list I’m not sure. Anyway, the list and odds.

Florence and the Machine – Lungs 5/1

Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum 5/1

Bat for Lashes – Two Suns 6/1

La Roux – La Roux 6/1

Glasvegas – Glasvegas 6/1

Speech Debelle – Speech Therapy 8/1

Friendly Fires – Friendly Fires 8/11

The Horrors – Primary Colours 8/1

Lisa Hannigan – Sea Sew 8/1

The Invisible – The Invisible 10/1

Led Bib – Sensible Shoes 10/1

Sweet Billy Pilgrim – Twice Born Men 10/1

My heart goes with Bat for Lashes, her sophomore effort is assured and much more than the debut that (unfairly) failed to win in 2007, though the list being as it is, and the judges being as they are, I find it hard to see her winning it; she’s neither unknown enough to be a shock choice, nor safe enough to be a uncontroversial one.

I criticized last year’s list for being ‘predictable’ – I also started the post with ‘It’s that time of the year again!’, whoops – that’s not really a criticism you could aim at the list this year, but I’m not really sure if it’s a particularly strong list, or even if a strong list could have been compiled out of recent British releases.

A quick glance at my ‘Best of 2009’ list and I realise it’s nearly entirely American, apart from Jarvis, Clark and, of course, Bat for Lashes. British music, particularly ‘Indie’, Rock and Alternative music which is where my preferences lie, seems incredibly stale, derivative and well, shit.

We have the NME; America has Pitchfork.

We have Reading; America has Bonnaroo.

We have Glasvegas; America has Grizzly Bear.

We have Kasabian; America has Animal Collective.

Ok, so some of those comparisons are a little facetious, but British rock music and the festivals that it fills are entering a bit of a nose dive. It’s not only a case of the top tiers, the elite of each country’s output that is differing, browse the mid-levels of festivals and the real difference in depth of quality begins to show; Of course, being a different country we don’t have to endure the reams of shit music that American doubtless produces just as they won’t hear much of ours – regardless if it’s good or not – but festivals like Coachella, Bonnarro and Lollapalooza will be stocked with bands like St Vincent, Dirty Projectors, Deerhunter and Dan Deacon in the lower reaches of their line-ups; festival goers to the venerable (and, don’t get me wrong, thoroughly excellent) Glastonbury music festival have to endure the ‘Lad Rock’ parade of NME-backed bands like The View, The Maccabbes and Enter Shikari. And this is ignoring the (mostly) truly awful line-ups at lesser festivals such as V, Reading and T in the Park.

British festivals also have a strange aversion to Hip Hop, something that is perhaps merely a reflection to how bad we are as a nation at the genre, but is genuinely embarrassing at times. One only has to look at last years outcry against Jay-Z to see that the British music scene, and it’s followers, are both perhaps a little introverted and incestuous in what they like and support.

This is not to say we don’t have great bands, we do. Radiohead and Arctic Monkeys are two great examples of innovative and great bands that we should be proud of, but further examples? Radiohead are pretty old now, so arguably you could erase them from that list if you wanted a list of ‘contemporary’ British music, thought I’d strongly argue that they are still very relevant they’re not a product of the current scene as say, the Arctic Monkeys, or worse yet, Kasabian, are.

Maybe it’s just a fallow year for British artists, but as I browse through my last.fm profile, my recently added music on iTunes and the bands I’m generally turned on by and follow, I realise they’re all from Brooklyn, Baltimore or Atlanta, rather than London, Sheffield or Bristol. The listmakers could have included The Doves, Little Boots or any number of fair-to-good albums released in the past year, but would it have really made any difference? There’s definitely no In Rainbows or Untrues that I can think of recently that make me genuinely proud of the country’s music output.

As the decade draws to a close it seems more and more evident that when it comes to fresh, innovative and exciting music, America is where it’s at.

MP3: Bat for Lashes – Moon and Moon
MP3: The Horrors – Primary Colours

New Arctic Monkeys – Crying Lightning

So, the first single. Can definitely feel the Homme influence here, it’s not quite Black Sabbath, but it does channel Queens of the Stone Age a little bit. Alex’s vocals are low, the sound is dark, the guitar tone is greasy, fuzzed out and raw as opposed to the Monkey’s usual bouncy, tight guitar sound. Definitely seems like they’re moving away from their garage/post-punk stylings to something much heavier. Takes the darker moments of Favourite Worst Nightmareand pushes it that little bit further.

It’s not an immediately obvious choice for a single. Very dark and cavernous and has no immediate hooks, but its a grower. Can’t imagine it’ll be the blockbusting hit that Bet You Look Good or Brianstorm was, its not as explosive as those tracks, but its definitely got me intruged for the rest of the album. Bring on August! Or at least the inevitable leak in late July.

MP3: Arctic Monkeys – Crying Lightning

Little Boots’ Hands is released, Arctic Monkeys name new album

Hope you had a happy Hands release day! It seems like only yesterday when I first discovered Victoria Hesketh’s charming ditties of Stuck on Repeat and Meddle but it was nearly a year ago!

Make sure you get out and buy it! It’s very good! Expect a review sometime in the near future.

If, after 12 months of breathless blog hype, you’re still unconvinced, I’ve posted the ridiculously overblown, ridiculously camp, but ridiculously catchy Remedy after the jump…

In other news, the Arctic Monkeys have just named their new album. It’s called Humbug. Yup. Humbug.

Considering the whole album has been showing very American stylings, from Josh Homme producing, recording in the Mojave Desert and a heavier hard, stoner-rock sound anticipated as a result, the use of such a British word seems to be a conscious juxtaposition of cultures which is in typical of the Monkeys’ typically wry sense of humour. Nice.

It’s still due August 24th. Just in time for their Reading and Leeds festival dates (which I will be attending). I was never a huge fan of their hugely over-hyped first record, but Favourite Worst Nightmare was easily one of the best and most consistent record’s of 2007 so I can’t wait.

MP3: Arctic Monkeys – Brianstorm
MP3: Little Boots – Remedy