Tracks Monkeys With Lasers

More Problems!
September 15, 2009, 5:33 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

So it seems yet another filehost has decided to close my account so all the audio files on the site won’t currently work.. Will try and find another site that’ll let me host them and hopefully sort the problem out again soon. If you know anywhere that will allow file storage and hotlinking please let me know!

The Tallest Man On Earth @ Barden’s Boudoir – 09/09
September 15, 2009, 5:31 pm
Filed under: gigs | Tags: , , ,

I’d only got into The Tallest Man On Earth (TTMOE from now on out of sheer laziness) a few months before this gig after a few friends had been talking about how much they were looking forward to the show. So I took a bit of a punt and got myself a ticket to the show and a copy of his album from last year “Shallow Graves” which has subsequently become one of my most played albums since I first got it as I fell in love with it almost immediately; the brilliant lyrics sung with a slightly different voice and amazing guitarwork to go with it. As such, I’d been looking forward to the show and was very pleased with the decision to have got a ticket to see him on his first UK tour.

Barden’s Boudoir, on Stoke Newington Road, was yet another little venue I’d yet to frequent. After making the trip up North from London Bridge (after a slight kerfuffle with the bus driver closing the doors on me after my friend had already jumped off) we got to the venue via the pub and the first 30 minutes of the England match. Now Barden’s Boudoir wasn’t the most conspicuous of venues with just the door to the venue coming off the road. However, we finally found it and made our way in.

Now the inside of the venue itself was peculiar to say the least and incorporated possibly the worst layout of any venue I’ve been to with the stage not at one end of the venue but was in the middle and pressed up against one of the walls meaning that very few people could actually stand in front of the stage¬† and had to instead stand around the sides. This worked on one level as it meant the stage was surrounded with people but just felt strange. The venue was also one of the darkest I’ve ever been to and for ‘atmosphere’ I’m sure some of the halogen lights in the ceiling just had bits of coloured plastic covering them.

Anyhoo, after ariving a little bit late, we got there part way through the first support act, Holly Throsby. Sadly, with the stage layout and my being ‘vertically challenged’ I could see sweet FA of what was actually going on on stage (and as such got no pics) but her music was rather wonderful with gentle, minimalist, finger picked guitars underlying some beautiful, fragile vocals and all this was backed up with some low key drums/accordian/xylophones. I’d never heard of her before and was rather impressed but this was sadly spoilt by the fact that almost three quarters of the crowd talked the way through the entire set. This was a real shame as, from what I heard, it was a great little opening set but the talking spoilt it for those of us trying to listen to it but also for Holly herself.

After her set, and a quick change of place in the crowd from myself, the second support band took to the stage in the form of This Frontier Needs Heroes, a brother and sister act from the States. They had a very simple sound with just an acoustic guitar, a bit of hand clapping and some nice vocals and it all started out quite nicely and promising. After two or three songs, however, I suddenly realised that all the songs sounded pretty much the same and were all a little bit boring. The extended chats between tracks also got a little tedious and a little bit sickly and disturbing for a brother/sister act.

After all this though, the main act of TTMOE (otherwise known as Kristian Matsson) took to the stage to raptuous applause before receving silence from the crowd (at last!) as he launched into his first number. Despite all the problems with the venue, it’s fair to say that on the night, Kristian owned it. Bar a few people, the crowd could only stand there mesmerised by the performance and it’s easy to see why.

TTMOE was another of the guitarists I’ve seen over the last six months where his pure technical ability as a guitarist completely blew me away as he made playing look so so easy. At times, thanks to the tunings he used, he even managed to play one handed and all of this while singing in his rather distinct voice which, it should be said, sounded much better live than on any of his records. He also had a very unusual way of performing in that he would seemingly sing to just person in the crowd as he would make eye contact with you and carry on performing. He would also play up to anyone with a camera occasionally ‘posing’ for them as he carried on playing.

The setlist itself was a good mix of ‘older’ songs from his original EP, such as ‘It Will Follow The Rain’ and songs of his album such as my favourites ‘Where Do My Bluebirds Fly?’, ‘The Sparrow And The Medicine’ and (what turned out to be the crowd singalong) ‘The Gardener’ and on top of this, there were a few new tracks (or ones I didn’t recognise anyway!).

I thought this was an incredible set as I’ve not seen a solo artist have a crowd hooked quite like Kristian did and there really isn’t a better word to describe the set than mesmerising. It was a shame the supports were spoilt/weren’t great and that the venue itself wasn’t all that good but TTMOE himself definitely made it all worth it in the end. I can only hope that he comes back soon!

The Tallest Man On Earth – The Gardener (live)

The Antlers @ Pure Groove – 04/09
September 8, 2009, 9:55 pm
Filed under: gigs, music | Tags: ,

It had been a while since I’d last made one of the Pure Groove instore sessions; the last being a Frank Turner show. As such, my memories of such shows was of a packed out record shop with a lot of people who weren’t seemingly all that interested in the artist just there to see what the fuss was about. It’s fair to say this show was a little bit different.

Now the previous one had been an evening show on a Saturday. The Antlers, however, were on at 1.30 on a Friday afternoon so you can begin to see how the atmosphere was going to be a bit different. Arriving what I thought was going to be a bit late, I was slightly surprised to find tables scattered about the shop with people sitting round drinking coffee. But I had got the right place and the gear setup on stage backed me up on that one.

After getting over the unusual surroundings, and the fact half of the crowd of forty were businessman on their lunch break, the three piece of The Antlers took to the small Pure Groove stage and following some setting up of kit they got underway. The set consisted of the majority of the ‘Hospice’ album which I, criminally, have yet to mention in the blog so far (bar the track ‘Bear’ appearing on one of the podcasts) which I’m surprised at as it’s one of my favourite albums of this year with it’s beautifully poetic lyrics and wonderful accompanying music.

Live, the album came across really well despite some problems with the sound; for example, the vocals were far too high for the first few songs, completely overpowering the rest of the sound. What was refreshing, both for me and the band it seemed, was that they didn’t just play the songs exactly as they were on the album but played around with them a little bit. I’m not always a fan of toying with songs live but they way the songs are written lends itself to this well as it’s more of an atmospheric sound than straight music per se with the guitars giving out reverb heavy ambience and the keyboards backing this up.

All the songs came across really well with Kettering and Sylvia being highlights (both on the album and at the show). The live version of Sylvia was quite different to the recorded version but sounded fantastic and, speaking to the band after, it turns out that they haven’t played that song live for a while so it was a pleasure to be able to hear it.

I thought the set was, altogether, really good with the rather intimate atmosphere adding to it. It was great to be able to speak to the guys afterwards as well and to even get my copy of the album signed by the three of them. The live sound really impressed me and I would loved to have seen them at the Lexington that evening but I, sadly, was unable to make the show. I hope these guys come back soon and that they continue to get the success and recognition that the album deserves.

The Antlers – Kettering (live)

Hundred Words Or Less #1
September 3, 2009, 7:35 pm
Filed under: Hundred Words Review

Crocodiles – Summer Of Hate

Lo-fi isn’t a genre I listen to widely but this album is a great example of the sound. The two guys cover distorted guitars, synths, drums and vocals between them to create just over half an hour of solid tunes. They don’t do anything particularly fancy but they do it well. ‘I Wanna Kill’ and ‘Refuse Angels’ are the standout tracks on a neat little album. The change in tempo between tracks keeps the sound different enough to maintain interest and to allow the above tracks to really shine through.

Dan Deacon – Bromst

I got hold of this album after a few friends raved about it. It didn’t sound like my kind of thing at all with descriptions of the album including ‘experimental, noise pop electronica’ but holy moly it’s good. The album is almost impossible to describe but the description above is pretty close. It switches easily between all out aural electronic assualt and a downtempo chillout almost flawlessly and with all but one track being over 4 minutes long, each song is rather epic. A possible contender for album of the year.

Emmy The Great – First Love

This album is one I enjoyed with it’s beautiful, wistful vocals and evocative lyrics with gentle indie pop/folk backing. The focus of the songs are undoubtedly the vocals with the music taking something of a backseat but with such a glorious voice this is no problem and works well. The only downside to this is that I sometimes drift off from listening to the album fully and sometimes begin to bore of it as it nears it’s end. ‘We Almost Had A Baby’ is probably my favourite track but there is enough here to enjoy to warrant a purchase.

Why? – Eskimo Snow

‘Alopecia’ was an album that I never quite decided whether I liked or not; there were plenty of brilliant tracks, such as ‘The Hollows’¬† and ‘Fatalist Palmistry’ but maybe a third of the album was average at best for me. Eskimo Snow sees the band less focused on their hip hop sound and I find this means the album feels a bit flat throughout and as such it never hits either the highs (or lows) of the previous album. Maybe I never gave it enough time but I don’t know whether it deserves another chance.

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