Tracks Monkeys With Lasers

Top 20 Albums of 2009

Here we are; the not-at-all prestigious list of the best albums of the year as decided by me.

It’s been a good year for music in my opinion and I’ve listened to well over 50 albums of varying quality this year so trimming it down to 20 was no easy feat and plenty of bands only just missed the cut (sorry Cymbals Eat Guitars, Crocodiles, The Strange Boys, We Were Promised Jetpacks etc) but 20 is more than enough for y’all.

I do find these things quite hard to do though asI find it hard to compare an album I’ve been listening to for 6 months to one I only heard for the first time a couple of weeks ago. As such, this top 20 is how I felt on the day of compiling the list (it has in fact changed a fair few times since it was first put together) and there are probably some albums that should be in there that I haven’t heard at all.

As it’s the season of giving and all that (“it’s better to give than to receive” as my university so eloquently puts it) I’ve even put together a couple of podcasts featuring some of my favourite tracks off the albums listed here plus a few extra songs for good measure. Add to that my nervous ramblings and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give it a listen. I’ve put these at the top of the post so you can download and listen to them without giving away the list if you’re that way inclined. Just click on the links below and download them from megaupload.

Best of 2009 Podcast Part 1: Albums 20-11

Download here

Best of 2009 Podcast Part 2: Albums 10-1

Download here

Apologies for the second one being a fair bit bigger and having some terrible editing at the end but the podcasting software crashed during the final songs so I had to hash the files together. It’s worth downloading though, honest!

And so on to the list!

20 – The Anomalies: Free Soup Social

Podcast track: Oldskool

A fun little album that never seems to take itself too seriously, MC Goldseal, Mouthmaster Murf, Lo and DJ Mayhem have made a cracking little indie hip-hop album.

19 – Fuck Buttons: Tarot Sport

Podcast track: Surf Solar

The first of the ‘electronica’ type bands to make the list, this album gets off to a flyer with the sublime Surf Solar, which is well up there for one of the best tracks of the year. Sadly, I feel the rest of the album doesn’t match this level which is a great shame and which is why I can only put it at 19. A few more listens, and a bit more time, and I will undoubtedly believe it should be higher.

18 – Animal Collective: Brother Sport

Podcast track: Brother Sport

An album that was a real slow burner for me with regards to liking it, I’ve finally come round to the album having originally dismissed it. This is partly after listening to it a lot more after seeing them live and also finding that I much prefered it through speakers to earphones for some reason. This is the only album of theirs I own and the sort of ‘wall of sound’ approach of the album has grown on me massively.

17 – Noah & The Whale: The First Days of Spring

Podcast track: Blue Skies

I never listened to their first album so came into this one fresh. A rather melancholy album, not surprising seeing as it’s almost entirely about the singer’s breakup with his (then) girlfriend Laura Marling, but this doesn’t stop it being a beautiful album. The highlight is easily the track ‘Blue Skies but the track ‘Love of an Orchestra’ sandwiched between two instrumental tracks is brilliantly grandiose and pompous.

16 – Maybeshewill – Sing The Word Hope In Four-Part Harmony

Podcast track: Co-Conspirators

Following on from the immense ‘Not For Want Of Trying’ last year, MSW return with more of the same big post rock tracks with film audio clips interspersed over the top. Sadly it doesn’t quite hit the same heights as the last album and feels a little short at only 9 tracks (2 of which had been previously released as well) but it’s still well worth a punt.

15 – worriedaboutsatan – arrivals

Podcast track: you’re in my thoughts

A band that seemingly hates capital letters, they have produced a neat little ambient electronica album that has really grown on me over the last few months. Annoyingly, they’ve played in London twice recently but have been on dates I couldn’t make. They are, however, on tour in March with Her Name Is Calla and I will almost definitely be in attendance for that show.

14 – Passion Pit – Manners

Podcast track: Sleepyhead

A band that I only got into recently (a bit slow, I know) after a friend’s recommendation. A pretty solid and enjoyable album of which the highlight is obviously ‘Moths Wings’. Up until then, the album isn’t bad but that track takes it up a fair few notches. Only a couple of tracks come close to that song, with ‘Sleepyhead’ being one of my other favourites.

13 – The Joy Formidable – A Balloon Called Moaning

Podcast track: Austere

A good debut album by this band from the valleys, their indie pop sound reminded me of Metric quite a lot. The album is quite short at only 9 tracks but there’s enough variety in there to maintain interest with uptempo songs like ‘Austere’ and the acoustic track ‘9669’ being a couple of the highlights for me.

12 – NOFX – Coaster

Podcast track: We Called It America

Despite all the other stuff in this list, I’m still a little punk rocker at heart and NOFX were on of the bands of my teens. Coaster is possibly my favourite album of theirs since ‘Pump Up The Valuum’ and it seems that they’re well in their comfort zone now (in a good way) with some great tracks here. The normal NOFX humour and drug/booze chat remains but some more serious songwriting is also present in tracks like ‘My Orphan Year’.

11 – Tubelord – Our First American Friends

Podcast track: Propeller

FINALLY Tubelord got round to making a full record and it was worth the wait. The album contains a load of their material which is found in bits and pieces across EPs and singles, such as ‘I Am Azerrad’ and ‘Night Of The Pencils’ but also contains plenty of new material with a different sound, such as the synthy ‘Stacey’s Left Arm’ and the acoustic ‘Cows To The East, Cities To The West’, to give the album another layer that previous releases may have lacked.

10 – Metric – Fantasies

Podcast track: Help I’m Alive

I’d not heard a lot of these guys’ back catalogue before this album but I much prefer this album to some of their previous ones; the songwriting seems much better as is the production (but without being ‘overproduced’). There are some fantastic tracks with my highlights being the album opener, which is on the podcast, and ‘Gimme Sympathy’ which also sounded great live too.

9 – The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart -s/t

Podcast track: Young Adult Friction

Another shameless indie pop album in the top 20 of mine, I first heard the album early on in the year and it was constantly getting plays on my ipod. That’s tailed off a little bit but I still never tire of hearing this album because of its dreamy, upbeat nature. Even songs with lyrics like “you’re my sister, this love is fucking right” seem to be happy, bouncy tracks. A little disappointing when I saw them live but this album has been featuring in many an end of year list for good reason.

8 – Slow Club – Yeah So

Podcast track: Giving Up On Love

A band I really do want to catch live, Slow Club’s debut album is an interesting mix of indie tunes, such as the one on the podcast, and acoustic tracks which, themselves, range from upbeat to slow and melodic. The contrast between the vocals from both of the band members gives their songs an extra feel. The album does lose its way a little bit in the second half when the tempo drops a little too much but this is all redeemed with the excellent album closer ‘Our Most Brilliant Friends’.

7 – There Will Be Fireworks – s/t

Podcast track: Says Aye

One of the most complete albums of the year for me, There Will Be Fireworks’ debut contains a number of great individual tracks such as ‘We Sleep Through The Bombs’ and ‘We Were A Roman Candle’. What gives this indie/post rock Scottish band’s album the edge though is how effortlessly the tracks roll into one another with the triplet of ‘Guising’, ‘Off With Their Hands’  and ‘I Like The Lights’ going together seamlessly and complementing each other brilliantly.

6 – Dananananaykroyd – Hey Everyone

Podcast track: Black Wax

Seemingly making up their own genre with what the dub ‘fight pop’, Danana take the sound of bands like Los Campesinos and then give it their own ‘edgier’ sound and this ends up producing a great sound. The band maintain a sense of fun about their music while not ending up too poppy. Another band I need to see live as tracks like ‘Black Wax’, ‘Infinity Milk’ and ‘Hey James’ would probably sound nothing less than amazing.

5 – The Xcerts – In The Cold Wind We Smile

Podcast track: Cool Ethan

An odd album this one; it doesn’t seem to do anything amazing or anything amazingly different but what it does do is great. I first got wind of these guys live at Lexapalooza earlier in the year after they were given one of the top spots. Another Scottish band on the list, these guys released their first album earlier this year through Xtra Mile and it’s full of great tracks that cover a number of bases with acoustic tracks, big anthems and fast paced indie tracks. Definitely an album to check out and I really hope these guys do well.

4 – Dan Deacon – Bromst

Podcast track: Get Older

Not necessarily the type of music I would listen to, I got hold of a copy of Bromst after hearing a number of people go on about it and how, even 6 months ago or more, that this was a contender for album of the year. After listening to it, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it and it’s difficult to describe the sound with element of electronica with synths and everything thrown in there but then vocals, pianos, keyboards, strings and brass layers on various tracks produce this weird album. But it all works together splendidly to give one of my favourite albums of 2009.

3 – Frank Turner – Poetry Of The Deed

Podcast track: Sons Of Liberty

The third album from Frank sees a bigger shift in sound than he had made between his previous albums as the full band sound takes prominence over the solo acoustic one. Initially I was unsure as to whether I’d like this and for the first few listens the step he’d taken may have been too big for me. Now, however, the album is close to surpassing ‘Love, Ire & Song’ as my favourite album of his. The full band tracks like ‘Like Fast, Die Old’ and ‘Poetry Of The Deed’ sound great with the normal singalong and ‘angst’ of normal FT tracks present. Some of the acoustic numbers drag a little bit and it’s not until the end of the album with ‘Our Lasy Of The Campfire’ and ‘Journey Of The Magi’ that the best tracks come into play.

2- And So I Watch You From Afar – s/t

Podcast track: TheseRIOTSareJUSTtheBEGINNING

One of the earliest releases of the year to make the list, ASIWYFA have produced an absolutely stunning post rock album which encapsulates their live sound brilliantly. The album opener ‘Set Guitars To Kill’ acts to simply blow you away with its real in-your-face loudness. The sound isn’t all about volume though with the guys all being great musicians and the fact that slower, more melodic tunes like ‘The Voiceless’ holding their own against the big tracks like ‘If It Ain’t Broke, Break It’. I said in the 2008 top albums, where their EP ranked highly, that their album was one to look forward to and I wasn’t wrong.

1 – The Antlers – Hospice

Podcast tracks: Kettering, Sylvia

Not an album that I listen to as widely as others in this list perhaps but this album more than deserves top spot out of all of this year’s releases. An album about a man working in a hospital who falls in love with a patient suffering from bone cancer and slowly losing her may not sound like the foundations for a great piece of music but the album follows this story beautifully. The lyrics themselves read like a mini novel if you read the album sleeve and are quite haunting as they are but when sung with Silberman’s falsetto vocals over the top, along with the wonderful guitars and keyboards, it makes for what can only be described as a beautiful album.

Gigs of the Year 2009

As we approach the end of the year it’s time, as any blog should, to look back on the year as a whole. With the main purpose of this blog being about live music, it seems apt to kick things off with my top 10 gigs from the year.

First things first, I’ve excluded the all day events I’ve been to this year, in Lexapalooza and Lexapalooza Lite, as they would have run away with the titles due to the overall awesomeness of both events. So in order to give the other shows a chance, they’ve been cut. And so, bring on the list!

10. We Were Promised Jetpacks @ The Lexington – 18/06

I’d been listening to this three pieces debut album, These Four Walls, for a few months before I got chance to see them at this great little venue. They had a couple of good support bands playing with them but their own set was short but sweet. ‘Keeping Warm’ was a great set opener with it’s uber long intro and kicked the night of well. Other songs off the album, such as ‘It’s Thunder And It’s Lightning’ and ‘Conductor’ sounded fantastic too but the highlight was most definitely ‘Quiet Little Voices’ which is one of my favourite songs this year (a list I won’t be compiling).

They seemed to have a great time on stage and I definitely had one off it.

Original review

9. Animal Collective @ Brixton Academy – 20/08

I went along to this gig a bit indifferent to this band but since then have got more into them thanks to this show. The sound levels and the sound quality may not have been as good as they could have been, the one buzzing monitor being a particular nuisance, but this didn’t stop it from being a damn good show. It was a shame I didn’t know more of their material as a number of the songs I didn’t know at the time sounded great live, especially ‘Fireworks’, and both ‘Guys Eyes’ and ‘Brother Sport’ of the new album sounded fantastic too.

It was a shame the crowd were a bit flat but this gig was an amazing experience as much as anything.

Original review

8. TV On The Radio @ Brixton Academy – 13/07

After thoroughly enoying last year’s album ‘Dear Science’, I had really been looking forward to this show. The set they played was heavily weighted in favour of this album and the big tracks off the album, such as ‘Halfway Home’ and ‘Dancing Choose’ coming across brilliantly but it was some of the more understated tracks on the album, particularly ‘Love Dog’ which really blew me away. The older material also sounded fantastic and the double act of the percussion heavy ‘Method’ and the sublime ‘Staring At The Sun’ rounded the night off for the encore.

Very glad I managed to catch such a top band on the only date they played in the UK.

Original review

7. The Antlers @ Pure Groove Record Store – 04/09

One of Pure Groove’s in store sessions (that I really should go along to more often) this was on at the slightly bizarre time of 1.30 in the afternoon on a Friday but I am very glad I managed to make the trip across London for their set. With just a handful of people present, they played a large majority of their album ‘Hopsice’ with most songs having a slightly different twist live to on the record. The reworked version of ‘Sylvia’ was especially good but others such as the beautiful ‘Kettering’ and ‘Two’ came across just as well.

A wonderful intimate little gig and I even managed to have a chat with the band and get my copy of the album signed.

Original review

6. Metric @ The Electric Ballroom – 19/05

For such a big band, I was amazed that this gig was so cheap so booked tickets in a shot when they came out and I’m very glad I did. Fantasies was the only album of theirs I had prior to getting the ticket so was most familair with the material off that. Luckily, for me at least, the set was pretty much dominated by these songs which I much prefer to their older albums. Emily Haines is a fantastic singer and focal point for the band and she was simply brilliant on the night. The lighting and sound were spot on so tracks like ‘Gimme Sympathy’ and ‘Help I’m Alive’ came across as well as they could have. The acoustic rendition of ‘Live It Out’ was a perfect ending to the night.

A fantastic live band and a great show.

Original review

5. 65daysofstatic @ Dingwalls – 26/04

A band that I love and had never caught live before. Fantastic support on the night from Tubelord (and some not so fantastic support from Amusement Parks On Fire) as well. These guys’ records just don’t them justice as they are so so much better live than on any album of theirs. Their performance on this night was simply mind blowing and the whole venue went absolutely mental for them. I only wish we’d been down in amongst the madness rather than where we were. And a rather fitting end to the night with a complete power cut during a brand new song cutting their set short.

Absolutely cracking show and can’t wait to see them again.

Original review

4. Graham Coxon @ The Lexington – 13/05

A gig I heard about through a friend, I was lucky to grab one of only a few tickets for this fairly intimate gig at The Lexington. The gig was to showcase his new album ‘The Spinning Top’ which he played through in it’s enitrety. I’m not a huge fan of the album but it was absolutely fascinating to watch such an accomplished guitarist playing such technically amazing songs. The change between the pure acoustic songs and the distorted ones were welcome and it was interesting to see a gig that just consisted of one album in order.

A great gig and very fortunate to be so close to such an accomplished musician.

Original review

3. Frank Turner @ Shepherds Bush Empire -29/10

He had to make an appearance at some point didn’t he? I may have seen Frank play a handful of gigs this year but this was easily the pick of them. The whole night was great as he had some excellent support from Beans On Toast and Fake Problems and his own set was one of the best I’ve seen at any of his shows. As I’ve said numerous times in reviews of his gigs, it’s a whole different experience seeing him with the band than solo and it was the energy of the performance from this show with the band and the sheer scale of the gig and crowd that made this such a great show. The stalwarts of his live shows, such as ‘Photosynthesis’ and ‘Prufrock’ were as good as ever but the inclusion of older material like ‘Nashville Tennessee’ and the fantastic cover of ‘Smiling At Strangers’ were epic.

All this on top of the new material sounding just as good made for a special night.

Original review

2. And So I Watch You From Afar/Maybeshewill @ The Good Ship – 20/05

ASIWYFA are only second to Frank Turner in the artist I’ve seen most live and this was their finest moment this year. This was very much helped by the fact that on the same bill was another of  my favourite post rock bands in Maybeshewill. The rest of the crowd may not have known them as well as I did, having seen them play the same venue previously, but that didn’t bother me and they were as good as the last time I saw them. But if I thought they were good, ASIWYFA were on another level completely. The setup of the Good Ship set it up for a mind blowing show as the 50 or so of us in the ‘pit’ were pretty much on the stage with the band.

The energy from both the band and the crowd made this one hell of a gig and left me feeling shell shocked afterwards.

Original review

1. The Tallest Man On Earth @ Barden’s Boudoir – 09/09

And so the number one spot goes to the marvellous Tallest Man On Earth and his show at the bizarre little venue of Barden’s Boudoir back in September. The venue was an odd little place but in hindsight maybe the perfect sort of stage for Kristian to play on as it allowed the fans to surround the stage and this allowed him to sing to each and every person in the crowd. As I wrote in the original review, he had a slightly unnerving style of playing live as he would pick out people in the crowd and sing almost just to them and when it was you he ‘picked’ on, it seemed like an eternity that he was singing for you. Up until this gig, I’d enjoyed his album but this has nothing on how he was live and it was almost an honour to see him play such amazing songs and sing in his unique style.

The only word I can use to describe this show is mesmerising and I’ve already got my ticket booked for the next time he’s back in London.

The Gardener – live at Barden’s Boudoir

Original review

Agree/disagree with what I’ve got down? What was your favourite gig of the year? Leave a comment and let me know!

Coming soon(ish): my top 20 albums of 2009 with accompanying podcasts.

Podcast #16 – Live And Unplugged

A belated 16th podcast featuring;

The Rural Alberta Advantage – Rush Apart
Frank Turner – Heartless Bastard Mother Fucker (live)
Graham Coxon – Sorrow’s Army (live)
Tim Fite – A Better Fence
Antlers – Bear
65daysofstatic – Retreat! Retreat! (live)
Maybeshewill – Co-Conspirators (live)
Justin Vernon – Ring Out
Klaxons – Golden Skans (Acoustic)
Metric – Help I’m Alive (Acoustic)
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Come Saturday (live)
Dave House – Born Steady
Bruce Peninsula – Crabapples
Slow Club – Our Most Brilliant Friends
And So I Watch You From Afar – The Voiceless (live)

Download from this link

New Album Reviews – Maybeshewill and Miike Snow

Maybeshewill – Sing The Word Hope In Four-Part Harmony

Maybeshewill finally released their second album last Monday but I’ve been listening to it for a fair while after picking up a copy at their show last month.

After their first release ‘Not For Want Of Trying’ in 2008, which was one of my albums of the year and possibly my favourite post rock album, they had a lot to live up to. All their previous work, both the first album and the ‘Japanese Spy Transcript’ EP, has a slightly heavier, more intense sound than a lot of post rock bands and it’s this, along with their use of movie samples, that has always endeared them to me and with this album it is definitely more of the same.

The opening track ‘You Can’t Shake Hands With A Clenched Fist’ sets the tone for the album brilliantly with loud, sharp guitars creating an sound that could accompany any apocalyptic movie scene before launching into Co-Conspirators which contains everything a good Maybeshewill track should, as does How To Have Sex With A Ghost.

Elsewhere on the album, This Time Last Year and Last Time This Year both feature which was something of a surprise to me as they’d both featured on a 12″ split (with Her Name Is Calla) that they released last year. However, they’ve been reworked and sound better than ever here. Accept and Embrace is a strange track that I sometimes love and am sometime indifferent to but for no real reason. Our History Will Be What We Make Of It is an unusual track, comprising just spoken dialogue overlying a minimal electronic track. But it works.

To close, we have the title track of the album which starts out in a very sedate manner with just the piano and slowly building and building before the specially written dialogue comes in.

Altogether, this is a fantastic album for me that builds on the previous work perfectly. It does feel a little short at 38 minuts (with the final track having a couple of minutes of silence at the end of it) and this feels even more apparant seeing as two of the eight tracks have already been released. It may not quite be as good as their first album, but it’s still one of my favourite albums of the year so far.

Highlights: Co-Conspirators, Our History Will Be What We Make Of It

Sounds Like: 65daysofstatic, And So I Watch You From Afar

Rating: 9 wise monkeys

How To Have Sex With A Ghost

Miike Snow – Self Titled

Monday also saw the release of the debut album from the Swedish trio, Miike Snow, which comprises Andrew Wyatt, Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg. The three have known each other since 2004 when writing material for another artist. The album wasn’t a success but the three remained in contact and in 2007 they formed the band.

The album is strong throughout but, for me, the first three tracks are by far the best; Animal kicks off the album with it’s light, ‘bouncy’ synths and minimal vocals over the top. Burial, possibly my favourite track, follows in a similar vein but builds to a bit more of a crescendo in places, before leading to Silvia, the darkest song of the three, which builds and drops in a fantastic manner.

The rest of the album has a fairly similar feel to the opening tracks but every track manages to be different enough so that the album never feels overly repetitive. While this may be a good thing as the sound they do produce is something I possibly wouldn’t normally listen to but something I enjoyed. However, it does feel as though they found their sound but were afraid to experiment too much which is a bit of a shame. Here’s just hoping they’ve saved some big ideas for the second album.

Highlights: Animal, Burial, Silvia

Sounds Like: A chilled out mix somewhere between Animal Collective and MGMT. But not.

Rating: 7 snow monkeys


Maybeshewill with And So I Watch You From Afar @ The Good Ship – 20/05
May 24, 2009, 10:23 pm
Filed under: gigs, music | Tags: , , ,

This was a gig I’d had down in my diary from the day I first heard about it as both of these bands I absolutely love and have both seen aready in London in the last 6 months and the Good Ship is a venue I really like as it’s such a small place and is quite unique in it’s setup with the stage in a pit at the far end of the bar.

I got there nice and early as I wanted to try and catch every band that were playing. First of the lot were the curiously named Flies Are Spies From Hell who I rather liked, being a post rock rock band with the USP of having a pianist in the band which added an extra layer to their sound which made their set quite memorable. They only had a short time on stage to impress but they certainly managed to make me take notice of them. Not that it was easy to ignore them at the volume they were playing at!

Go here and download a copy of the track People Not Here for free.

Afterwards came Wild Dogs In Winter who played a very understated, shoegaze set that didn’t really grab me. There was nothing wrong with their set but I found myself drifting off a fair bit while they were playing which is never a good sign. They had a few good songs in their brief set but a few that really didn’t inspire me as well.

Follow this link to download a free copy of  the song Good Ol’ Burnt Eyes.

After the stage had been setup again, it was the wonderful Maybeshewill’s turn to take to the stage and they played a set that I really enjoyed, opening with the opening track off their new album You Can’t Shake Hands With A Clenched fist which is a fantastic song that could easily provide the soundtrack to any apocalyptic scene in a film and it set the mark for the rest of the set.

I managed to get myself right down the front for their set which, if you’ve ever been to the Good Ship, means that I was practically on stage with the band as there’s really no such thing as a stage in the ‘pit’ where the band plays and pretty much all that seperates you are a few speakers on the floor in front of the band. The sound they gave out was simply astounding and old favourites like The Paris Hilton Sex Tape sounded brilliant. Their set also had a nice mix of new songs as well with Co-Conspirators, Accept And Embrace and This Time Last Year (technically not a ‘new’ song but still) all getting plays and all sounding brilliant.

To finish their set in, almost obligatory fashion, they played Not For Want Of Trying which is easily one of my favourite songs of theirs. Overall, they played a blinding set again and I loved it even if many of the crowd didn’t seem to know them; both guitarists get an a quality sound out of their kit, the drumming is fantastic and the bass playing really tight. The ony annoyances I have is that they never seem to get enough time to do a really good set and the laptop they use always seems to be a bit too quiet so some of the dialogue they use, such as Peter Finch’s “Mad As Hell” rant on Not For Want Of Trying, gets all too easily drowned out. I’m nitpicking but there you go.

Then after they had finished came the headline act, And So I Watch You From Afar and my god, these guys know how to put on a show! Opening with the rioutous Set Guitars To Kill, the crowd (and band) just went absolutely mental and it’s easy to see why when that tune is so epic. The energy from both band and crowd never let up through the rest of the set and it was simply brilliant thanks to that.

What little stage boundaries there were quickly dissipated with the band throwing themselves around it, juming into the crowd and, occasionally, vice versa; I was worried I was going to lose a tooth by the end of the set either from one of the guitarists smacking me in the face or from being thrown into a speaker by one of the crowd. The band launched their way through a set of tracks from their recently released, self titled album (some of which also appeared on their EP from last year) such as the massive Start A Band and If It Ain’t Broke Break It but also some of the slower, more melodic I Capture Castles and The Voicless, the latter two allowing the crowd and the band to recover between some of the moreheavy songs.

As I said, their set was truly spectacular both thanks to the band and the crowd and afterwards I just felt knackered from it all. There was absolutely nothing to fault from their set and it was perhaps even better than the last time I saw them at the Bull & Gate as the crowd were so much more involved (or at least they were in the pit where I was) and in the end I did manage to keep my full set of teeth even if my neck was a bit sore from all the headbanging.

All in all, a fantastic night of music with two of my favourite current bands playing great sets. Not bad for four quid really..

Maybeshewill – Co-Conspirators (live)

Something Old, Something New #2
May 10, 2009, 11:06 pm
Filed under: music | Tags: , , , , ,

The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter

From the 1969 album ‘Let It Bleed’.

Released in 1969, the album reached the top of the UK charts and reached#3 in the US Billboard charts, where it also went double platinum.

The song, and the album as a whole, have been said to sum up the change in mood that was seen in the UK as the free-loving ’60s drew to a close and the ’70s began. The song itself, written by Jaggar and Richards, speaks of sheltering from an oncoming apocalypse but doubles this with quite loving lyrics. The female vocals weren’t originally going to be on the track but were the idea of the record’s producer and so Merry Clayton was bought on board and sings possibly one of the most famous lines in “Rape, murder; it’s just a shot away, it’s just a shot away”.

Never actually released as a single, it’s possibly one of the Stones’ most famous tracks and has been covered by many artists and used widely in TV and films, such as in Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Departed’.

It’s possibly one of my all-time favourite tracks.


Maybeshewill – Co-Conspirators

From the upcoming album ‘Sing The Word Hope In Four-Part Harmony’

Following on from their 2008 album ‘Not For Want Of Trying’, Maybeshewill return with their brand new album featuring more of the same. With loud, melodic guitars, huge drumbeats, twinkling pianos and driving basslines, they seem to be back on fine form. The album also features ‘This Time Last Year’ and ‘Last Time This Year’ which have been floating around for a while as well.

No strangers to samples either, with their first album featuring the Oscar winning monologue by Peter Finch from the film ‘Network’ and dialogue from the 2002 film ‘The Rules of Attraction’ providing the intro for another of their tracks, they show no signs of changing that. However, the title track off the album also has spoken lyics by the band themself which can be found on their forums.

You can pre-order the album off the Robot Needs Home website. Also, Maybeshewill are currently in the middle of a huge tour of UK and Ireland and I’ll be seeing them on their London date.

Live and Kicking
April 18, 2009, 2:33 pm
Filed under: music | Tags: , , , , , ,

Sadly nothing to do with the 90’s Saturday morning kids TV program but a mini feature on a couple of gigs from the last few months featuring a few photos and live recordings.

Los Campesinos!

Back in October 2008, I managed to catch these guys in Camden as part of the ‘Shred Yr Face’ tour with Times New Viking and No Age. LC! themselves played a blinder with a real good fun set, playing a load of songs of their first album and a handful off their new album as well. They finished with the epic ‘Sweet Dreams Sweet Cheeks’ which was simply fantastic live. If you get chance to see these guys, do it.


You! Me! Dancing! (live)

Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks (from 2008’s ‘Hold On Now Youngster’) Download


Also in October last year, I caught these guys at a tiny venue in Kilburn (where they’re playing again in a couple of months time) and it produced a great, intimate atmosphere. They weren’t top of the bill on the night, that honour went to This Town Needs Guns, but for me they were the best band there by a mile. Their set was a wee bit short which was disappointing but what they did play blew me away. Great band and even got a signed 12″ and had a chat with them afterwards. Looking forward to the new album out in June!!


Not For Want Of Trying (Live)

The Paris Hilton Sex Tape (from 2008’s ‘Not For Want Of Trying’) Download

Bon Iver

This was back in December 08 at the peculiar venue of the Victoria Apollo; peculiar as it was still showing ‘Wicked’ (the Wizard of Oz musical) at the time so the stage was still decked out with trees and had a dragon hanging from the ceiling. It was also one of the most peculiar atmoshpheres I’ve ever encountered at a gig as it was like seeing an actual theatre production as you felt so self-concious talking between songs and I even put my phone onto silent. The set itself though was breathtaking; songs such as Skinny Love and RE Stacks were stunning live and the band with him made it even better.

We also got to hear some of his new material, which has since been released on the ‘Blood Bank’ EP, and the singalong finale of The Wolves was magical as well.  Would pay good money to see him again.

Bon Iver

Skinny Love (Live)

RE Stacks (from 2008’s ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’) Download

Frank Turner

Last, and by no means least, in this feature is the freebie gig that Frank Turner performed just over a month ago at Pure Groove Records in Farringdon. This really was special as it was just 150 fans, Frank and his guitar with a selection of tunes from both of his albums and a few new tunes for good measure too. Could hardly speak afterwards from all the singing and with such an intense atmosphere there, I think his gig in October at the Shepherds Bush Empire could be something special. Below is a recording of a brand new song off his new album out in September.

The Road (Live)

Heartless Bastard Mother Fucker (from 2009’s ‘The Last Three Years) Download

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