Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Villagers review and some words of wisdom

Couple of things...

I've written a review of the debut album from Villagers (Conor J. O’Brien) Becoming A Jackal for Rockfeedback, read here.

Warpaint have announced another London concert, this time it's Scala on October 28th - I told you they'd supersize their venues yesterday and I was right!  Happy for them.

And one more thing, (that's three things and not a couple but hey, it's my blog so I can mislead you if I want, right?) The wonderful Phosphorescent will be playing the ICA on June 2nd (that's next Wednesday).  At the time of writing this blog post there were 8 tickets left.  If there are still any left, you can get yours here.  Here's To Taking It Easy is one of my albums of the year so far.

And one last thing (!) the latest album from Woods At Echo Lake is really good.  If you can get past the sad but touching lyrics, Death Rattles is a really good song - they keep a blog here.

OK, that's four things and no real wisdom.  I'll stop there...

[Photo: Phosphorescent by Martyn Leung - I think it's an awesome photo!]

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Warpaint Photos

Check out these super Warpaint photos from fellow London based music lover Martyn Leung (thanks Martyn!)  I saw them play a sell out gig at The Lexington in London last night and they thoroughly rocked the show! I think this description of their sound on LastFM just about sums them up:

The band weaves intricate guitar lines, hypnotic vocals, and driving post-punk rhythms into gorgeous, sprawling songs that skirt the line between the soundscapes of psychedelia and intimacy.” 

Make up your own mind here.  The Billie Holiday track is one of my favourites.

I can't see them playing small venues for much longer.

All photos all from The Luminaire concert on May 12th 2010.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

CocoRosie - New Video 'Lemonade'

Here's the latest video from CocoRosie for 'Lemonade' taken off their recently released album Grey Oceans.

Directed by Emma Freeman, it's quirky, wonderful, haunting and so very CocoRosie!   Really enjoying the flow of their new album too (I'll be writing a review shortly).  All in all, a good time to be a CocoRosie fan.

For those of you on Spotify, here's the link to hear 'Grey Oceans'.
CocoRosie Myspace


Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Favourite Albums of 2010 (so far)

Since May seems to be accelerating into June at an alarming rate, I thought it was time to do a quick short list of my some of my favourite albums of 2010 so far.  

In no apparent order:

Midlake - 'The Courage Of Others' [listen]
Music Go Music - 'Expressions' [listen]
Gill Scott-Heron - 'I'm New Here' [listen]
Caribou - 'Swim' -(favourite live concert of 2010 so far) [listen
Phosphorescent - 'Here's To Taking It Easy' [listen]
Nada Surf - 'if i had a hi-fi' [listen]
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - 'I Learned the Hard Way' [listen]
Love Is All - 'Two Thousand and Ten Injuries' [listen]
Dag för Dag - 'Boo' [listen]
CocoRosie - 'Grey Oceans' [listen]
Musée Mécanique - 'Hold This Ghost' [listen]


All of the links are for Spotify, my apologies if you don't have access yet in your country. On that note, as of today Spotify is available in The Netherlands- Welkom!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Revolver @ Pure Groove 13/05/10 review and catch up

On Thursday I had the real pleasure of listening to the sweet sweet music of French band Revolver performing a free lunchtime show at Pure Groove.

Thanks to a tip off from FG, I did blog about how much I liked this band last Summer (read here) but I've had to wait until now for their first show on UK soil.

Hearing them live and so close up (I was basically sitting on a chair right in front of them) gave me the perfect opportunity to listen clearly to how their gorgeous harmonies come together, picking up on the little subtleties that are perhaps sometimes polished from recordings.  They treated us to a cover of the Crosby, Stills and Nash song 'Helplessly hoping' which I adored and could quite happily have sat their all day listening to over and over.

Lovely guys, a great sound, highly recommend you catch a show while they're in the UK - Incidentally, they're playing The Great Escape in Brighton today, 7:45pm on the Life stage.  Go! Go! Go!

In other news...

The Tate Modern is celebrating it's 10th birthday with a free arts festival this weekend. Details here.

I've been enjoying listening to the Phosphorescent album 'Here's To Taking It Easy' and can highly recommend.  Favourite track so far is 'Hej, Me I'm Light', a soulful, mellow track with Matthew Houck's vocals sounding awesome.  Here's the Spotify link for those of you who can access. Also, it's great to hear The Netherlands will finally be getting Spotify on May 18th, article here.

In other other news (i.e. my garden)...

I have beaten the slugs'n'snails with my two new weapons -sand and beer.  No I haven't decided to head off to the coast and forget about them in a drunken haze, their slimy little bodies don't like sand and they love beer so much they drown themselves in it - no self control...


Tuesday, 11 May 2010

She & Him @ Koko's

For those of you who don't already know them, 'She & Him' are actress Zooey Deschanel and musician, M Ward. I think most people who have ever seen 'She & Him' perform live would agree that it's more like 'She' and 'a little bit of Him'.  She is very much the face and voice basking in the spotlight, He is more the all in black traditional axeman contributing occasional vocals.

Those of you who read this blog regularly will know I'm a major fan of M  Ward and I'll be honest, unlike most of the people there on Friday, I was there to hear M Ward rather than Zooey.  Given this fact, there was a risk I would perhaps be a little disappointed since, well, it wasn't an M Ward concert and also I can't say their second album, Volume 2 has really excited me all that much.  As it happens, the outcome was quite the contrary, I really enjoyed myself.

I'm not going to write a detailed review, I was after all there on my wedding anniversary so it would feel wrong!  So here are a few points of note.
    Friday night was She & Him's (Her & His?) first ever London concert.

    For any doubters, Zooey really can sing.  A powerful yet tender delivery of 'I Put A Spell On You' gave her the perfect opportunity to showboat her vocals.

    M Ward played 'Magic Trick' straight after MrChalky told me how cool it would be if he played it.  Spooky!  

      If you like Volume 1 more than Volume 2 it's still most definitely worth going to see them live, just look at the bumper set list below.   The last five songs were by far the best sounding (along with 'Magic Trick' of course).  The last song before the first encore, 'Sweet Darlin'' was simply stunning and they could have easily finished the show on a high right there but to come back with three more fantastic songs was simply awesome!

      Koko's Set list

      I Was Made For You
      Black Hole
      Me And You
      Lingering Still
      Change Is Hard
      I Thought I Saw Your Face Today
      Brand New Shoes
      You Really Got a Hold on Me (The Miracles cover)
      Would You Like to Take a Walk? (Ella Fitzgerald cover)
      Magic Trick (M. Ward cover)
      Gonna Get Along Without You Now (Skeeter Davis cover)
      In The Sun
      Take It Back
      Don't Look Back
      Over It Over Again
      This Is Not A Test
      Riding In My Car
      Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?
      Sweet Darlin' 
      Encore 1:
      Fools Rush In (Johnny Mercer cover) 
      Roll Over Beethoven (Chuck Berry cover)
      Encore 2:
      I Put a Spell on You (Screamin' Jay Hawkins cover)

      If the super camp/drunk guy at the back of Koko's singing and dancing along to Zooey singing 'I Put A Spell On You' is any measure of audience approval, I'd say they scored 10/10.

      A great night with fantastic company.

      [Photo by Bobbles]

      Thursday, 6 May 2010

      Flight of the Conchords @ The Melkweg

      Just back from a lovely few days in Amsterdam visiting our good friend Chris and watching the very funny Flight of the Conchords kick off their European tour at the Melkweg.  Not only was it great to take some time out from the familiarities of every day London life, it was also a very welcome respite from the UK general election coverage.  Phew!

      The Melkweg is a great little venue, a former dairy set next to a canal within a stones throw of lots of bars and in a pretty central part of 'the Dam'.  I wasn't prepared for the compulsory 10,50 Euros charge for three monthly memberships to allow us to actually get in with our tickets, but I had booked the tickets on the strength of my dutch (which is zero) so I could very well have missed the bit that said this was necessary.

      The show itself was fun.  My favourites such as 'Foux du Fafa', 'Robots' and 'Business Time' all sounded superb. The crowd was pretty much laughing before each of the songs began and I did get that slight feeling of over familiarity with the material, a little bit like when you've seen a comedian a few too many times and they start recycling the same jokes.  Yes they are still funny but they do start to loose their edge somewhat the tenth time round. (Please cult fans - don't knock me for saying that!) 

      Even though FOTC released their second album 'I Told You I Was Freaky' last November, their set still relied heavily on their self titled first album.  There were some instruments still unused at the end of the set which made me wonder if they either ran out of time or perhaps chickened out of playing some of their newer material. An audience member pointed out the tiny red piano at the centre of the stage hadn't been played to which Jemaine responded "we just keep that little piano on stage to make Brett look bigger".

      Sure, they were a bit rusty (forgetting how some of the songs went) what with it being the first night of their tour but funny stage banter linked everything together nicely so you could easily forgive them, sometimes it's important not to take such details too seriously.

      All in all, really fun evening but keen to see where FOTC take things next.

      [Photo by Elger van der Wel]


      In other news- things that I have grown in my garden that have now been eaten by snails while we've been away- kidney beans, courgettes, marigolds (they were only 2cm high!), sweet peas, raddishs and sunflowers.  Pffft.  Snails taking advantage of my absence.
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