Sunday, 18 December 2011

New Brigade

Artist: Iceage
Album: New Brigade
Release Date: 2/9/2011

Danish teenagers re- vitalise post- punk in fantastically realistic style

Last year Southend- On- Sea band These New Puritans took British post- punk on its most twisted, difficult and perhaps most creative route yet. As indicative as this was of virtuosity and imaginitive thinking, it more entirely re- interpreted the post- punk sound than harked back to it. In 2011 Iceage's debut "new brigade" seems the most likely candidate to set the bar for other releaes within its raw and scuzzy confines, not only because it's a wonderful set of songs, but it envisions the true attitude of the sound of bands such as DNA and "Pink Flag"- era Wire.

"White Rune" contains clattering, manic drums, sometimes devoid of structure whilst a messy yet clear- cut guitar riff spills over the top, showcasing the band's uglier side. However Iceage also have an impeccable sense of melody, another trait that can be aligned to their post- punk forebears. "Remember" has a rhythmically pounding drum rattle and a jarring, slightly scuzzy riff reminiscent of The Horrors' first album. Melody keeps rearing its head until it reaches its peak in closer "You're Blessed" which features easily the best riff on the album.



"New Brigade" is by no means a new sound, but that's what's so refreshing about it. By creating this album off the back of a no- bullshit mentality, a slew of great riffs and areas of experimentalism and melody to boot, Iceage have avoided the tricks and made a REAL post- punk record. In 2011, that's something that's hard to come by.

Download: 1) You're Blessed, 2) Remember, 3) Collapse
For Fans of: Crass, Wire, The Horrors

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Isam

Artist: Amon Tobin
Album: ISAM
Release Date: 20/4/2011

Former Brazillian Drum 'n' Bass forebearer creates too many illusions

Those of you familiar with Brazillian producer Amon Tobin's experimental D'n'B mixes in the '90s had better prepare to be alienated, because none of those influences or sounds are brought to the table on "ISAM". Forsaking song structure for a perplexing myriad of tinkles and electronic rushes, for its first half "ISAM" is actually very pretty and intricate, most notably on the hymnal clank of "Lost & Found." However its rear end descends into plinky- plonky delicateness which is harder to get your head around than the first half arguably was. "ISAM" is not one you're likely to remember.



Download: Lost & Found
For Fans Of: Actress, Patten

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Gloss Drop

Artist: Battles
Album: Gloss Drop
Release Date: 6/6/2011

Keeping their impeccable intricacies in tow, Battles put a friendlier and happier face on their music for what may be the feel good album of 2011

The departure of front man Tyundai Braxton halfway through the recording process of "Gloss Drop", New York veterans' Battles second album, was one that turned them into a more polarising band than ever before. Had the three musicians who make up Battles been any less experienced and the mountainous speculation that began to surface across the blogosphere about what "Gloss Drop" was going to sound like and the brutal weight of expectation may have crushed them. But having spent the best part of their musical careers in criminally underrated '90s bands, Battles certainly know how to react when they are faced with a challenge, a statement that is more than backed up by "Gloss Drop."

The band's 2007 debut "Mirrored" was one that marked them as kings of the experimental rock movement. Difficult, twisting, turning and inexplicably mathy, it marked Battles as one of the most unfathombaly talented bands operating, and it's a trait that raises it's beautiful head once again and comes to define "Gloss Drop", but in a friendlier and generally much happier and (whisper it) almost accessible way.



Opener "Africastle" starts off with throbbing electronics and reverberating guitar lines before exploding into a controlled but epic slice of shimmering euphoria. Right from the off there's absolutely no doubt here of the effort and heart poured into this record. The keyboards and guitars interlock in dizzying interplay, whilst John Stanier's 10- armed drumming powers through in relentlessly brilliant fashion, as it does throughout the record. "Futura" is glitchy and propelled by looped guitar and keyboard interplay, and sounds more stripped back than anything that the band have done done before, even if it is nevertheless a tuneful and percussive powerhouse.

The album's highlight however comes with the hyperactive and manic "Wall Street". It's a bulldozing testament to the talent which was never in doubt anyway on this on record. Stanier's manic drums speed along behind lightning- fast synths and bleeps that never let up the endearing tempo. Musical talent aside though, there's much more glory to be had here. Teaming up with Chilean DJ Matias Agyuayo on "Ice Cream" results in what may well be the feel- good song of the year with its grunts of "Uh, UH, oosh, URGH!" and bouncy ball of rhythmic pounding and a bubbley synth riff. Closer "Sundome", featuring Yamantake Eye of Japanese noise- mongers Boredoms is a wonderfully upbeat way to end an album.


"Gloss Drop" is not only an album that confirms that Battles are one of the most musically talented bands out there at the moment, but it's also a full- blown and upbeat showcase of the fact that they can push that talent in pretty much any direction they want and still make it all click and fall together in an amazing, colourful and creative mesh. By rights, this album should be your undoubted soundtrack to all your happy moments in 2011.

Download: 1) Wall Street, 2) Ice Cream (Featuring Matias Aguayo), 3) Futura
For fans of: Don Caballero, Holy Fuck

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

In Gnod We Trust

Artist: Gnod
Album: In Gnod We Trust
Release Date: 6/6/2011

Barely heard Manchester collective take their psycadelic sounds to brave, new heights

"In Gnod We Trust" must have a serious claim for longest two- track "album" ever recorded. The mammoth 20 minutes of first track "Tony's First Communion" build up pensively in an earthy and percussive rattle before climaxing on a masterful fusion of swirling, swivelling electronics and horns. The second track, "Vatican" trundles along in low- rumbling and similarly percussive style for 6 minutes before descending into a terrifying clash of horror- movie synths and microphone effect- tortured screams. Sure, "In Gnod We Trust" is a daunting task, but certainly not one you can fault for ingenuity, and one that becomes infinitely more rewarding with every listen.


Download: Tony's First Communion
For Fans of: White Hills, Eternal Tapestry

Monday, 12 December 2011

Slave Ambient

Artist: The War On Drugs
Album: Slave Ambient
Release Date: 15/8/2011

An expansive an epic take on the psycadelic sounds that have come before them

The psycadelic mind has always been one of the most powerful and potent tools in music. From Syd Barret and Can all the way through to The Horrors' monumental third album "Skying" released earlier this year, drug- addled creative juices have always given way to some of the most creative and sonically visual releases in modern music.

The War On Drugs obviously take the vast majority of their influences from the past. "Slave Ambient", just like "Wagonwheel Blues" before it, reeks of Springsteen, a more epic Velvet Underground and Tom Petty. However this time around so well structured and so uniquely- tinged are the songs that it's fair to say TWOD put almost entirely their own, Bob Dylan- in- 2015 twist on a sound that is ultimately a sum of their influences.

"Brothers" sounds like Bob Dylan fronting Pavement with slightly more colourful ouvre with its clear- cut picking and relentlessly driving drums. "Your Love Is Calling My Name" is an epic 6- minute venture into a world of woozy guitar effects and a heavy sense of epicness in the endearingly grandiose synths. This same sense of sonic freedom is shared by album centre- piece "Come To the City", a propulsive '80s daytime rock masterpiece complete with soaring synths, pounding drums and reverberating guitars.


Whereas "Wagonwheel Blues" held most of its charm in its walls of haze and guitar fuzz, "Slave Ambient" is altogether a much more expansive and more profound listen. It's beautiful soundscapes, usually conjured by a conjunction of soaring and glistening synths and bristling guitar lines give it a sense of roving freedom that few have managed to capture since Bruce Springsteen's mid- 80s heyday. Next time you take a road trip for the summer, make sure "Slave Ambient" is your drivetime choice; you most certainly won't regret it.

Download: 1) Your Love Is Calling My Name, 2) Come To The City, 3) Brothers
For Fans Of: Kurt Vile, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Days

Artist: Real Estate
Album: Days
Release Date: 14/10/2011

Real Estate with a stronger but just as charming sound

As much as Real Estate's self- titled debut was a slight gem to behold during summertime, it always hinted at potential rather than actually fulfilling it. As lush as the the shimmering "Suburban Dogs" and hazily charming "Fake Blues" were, everything seemed flimsy, like a band who knew exactly what they wanted to do but couldn't quite put their finger on what they needed to do to achieve the right sound. The band's second effort "Days" is both rather different and rather similar at the same time, and seemingly gets the balance between charming lo- fi haze and relative strength just right.

Opener "Easy" possesses the lo- fi, hazy charms and intricate and tuneful picking prevelant on the band's debut. However, it sounds much more potent. It sounds like the most restrained moments on The Stone Roses' self- titled debut, but has all the musical depths that those under- appreciated gems did. "Green Aisles" goes even further into maturity, both lyrically and musically. It's picking is reminiscent of The Smiths at their most macabre and morose, whilst the lyrics tell a hazy and somewhat mournful tale of stoner romance as front man Martin Courtney sings "All those wasted months/ all those English drugs...". The best moment however comes with "Out Of Tune", a glistening and beautiful piece of Deerhunter- esque guitar pop, with sparkling keyboards to back it up.


No one could ever claim that Real Estate are worthy of nomination for the originality awards, as most of their charms are recycled from their debut. However what's different this time is that "Days" is the record "Real Estate" should have been. It's built on the potential they conjured up previously, turned it into something bigger, and in doing so hinted at the even higher places this band could venture in the future. Who needs originality?

Download: 1) "Out Of Tune", 2) "Green Aisles", 3) "Easy"
For Fans Of: The Stone Roses, Pavement, The Smiths

Azari & III

Artist: Azari & III
Album: Azari & III
Release Date: 8/8/2011

Canadian House crew cover all aspects of the human mentality on debut full- length

In the world of the rave and free party scene, behind closed doors and drug- addled minds, there are much darker things at work. The blindness to moral values and the ability to just leave the rest of the world behind you can both be dangerous tools. Toronto house four- piece Azari & III recognize this all too well. As much as it is an album to dance like your life depends on it too, "Azari & III" is also a record concerned with appealing to the human conscience in general.

"Azari & III" is a record that not only manages to encompass all sides of the rave world, but also of life itself. Opener "Into The Night" shows the band at their most love- locked and sensual in a suggestive ode to love- making as coos of "I want you, I need you tonight" float over the stripped back but funky musical delivery. "Tunnel Vision" and "Indigo" both showcase the albums more dancey and, well, fun side. The former is a twisting re- interpretation of the mind- melting euphoria of free parties, whilst the latter is percussive fest of low- rumbling bass lines and squelching synths.


But there's also the dark- hearted side. "Reckless (With Your Love)" is a wonderfully crafted throwback to late '80s/ early- '90s house with its funky and crisp piano lines, but it presents itself as a warning against AIDS and a call to avoid throwing your love at just any stranger who walks through a club door.


It's not all as superb as the aforementioned tracks however. A selection of tracks, such as "Lost in Time" or the passive "Manhooker" would only cause confusion if played in a club because nobody would know HOW to dance to them. However, "Azari & III" is a record that has its messages at heart, and is going to stick by them. So next time you go to a club, as much as you may be planning to lose your mind, remember to hold onto a strand of conscience, because Azari & III won't be there to help you.

Download: 1) Tunnel Vision, 2) Reckless (With Your Love), 3) Manic
For Fans Of: Hercules & Love Affair, Tensnake

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Hello Sadness

Artist: Los Campesinos!
Album: Hello Sadness
Release date: 11/11/2011

Cardiff's twee- pop massive mature whilst keeping the old, depressive charms at heart

Throughout their back catalogue, Cardiff indie- pop seven piece Los Campesinos! have always seemed like the perfect band to soundtrack teenage, remotely harowing but funny coming- of- age stories, akin to Richard Ayeode's recent adaptation of "Submarine". Along with their endearingly sad tales of love, loss and desperation there has always been a hint at that childlike naivety; the sense of stepping out into the wide world, facing the challenges it throws at you and entirely not knowing how to deal with them. Gareth & co.'s output has always been one suited to chime with the wilderness of a teenager's formative years.

Their fourth album "Hello Sadness" sees a sense of change in the emotions though. Whereas before Gareth's lyrics of heartbreak and depression seemed inexperienced, on "Hello Sadness" the emotion grips you by the throat and almost forces you to believe that it is the real thing. This is REAL sadness. The more mature, world- weary outlook on life adopted by the band here is backed up by what is wholeheartedly a more mature sound.


Opener "By Your hand" is the closest the band get to the pop record that they had initially intended to make. The keyboard launches an infectious melody before the pounding drums and handclaps complete the circle of one of the catchiest songs you'll hear all year. More to the point of "Hello sadness" though however, it leaves Gareth pondering his position as he sings "I'm not sure if it's love anymore."


The title track is the pinnacle of the band's new loss of naivety and finding of the ability to form a song remarkably well. It possesses an Arcade Fire- esque giddy, as pensive keyboards start off before the song explodes into a flurry violins and anthemic stateliness, all of which slots together pleasingly well.

Things are only to get darker from here on in however. "Life is a Long Time" sees Gareth reach super- depressive mode and despair at the human condition to a backdrop of Smiths- esque picking as he sings "You know it starts pretty rough/ and ends up even worse." "Every Defeat a Divorce (Three Lions)" makes a clear reference to the frontman's love of football, although you sense that it may be metaphorical for darker emotions present by the desperation in Gareth's voice as he sings "If he hasn't blown the whistle then it's not quite over yet." "Baby I've got the Death Rattle" starts off as a relatively twangy funereal march, before coming to life for the final two minutes, a lively precursor for the ghostly and mournful closer "Light leaves, Dark Sees Pt.II".


Los Campesinos!'s accolade of achieveing a more mature sound comes at no heavy price. They may still not have a cure for life's darkest internal problems, but they now sound like a band who would provide a soothing accomplice for people older than 17. Josh T. Pearson may still be the man to go to when you want to drown your sorrows with a bottle of whisky, but Los Campesinos! make a rather convincing argument for the band you should go to if you want some friendly, modern rhetoric to get you through your hardest times.

Download: 1) "Every Defeat a Divorce (Three Lions)", 2) "Hello Sadness", 3) "Baby I've got the Death Rattle"
For fans of: The National, Arcade Fire

8/10

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Here Comes 2001 So Let's All Head For The Sun

Artist: Fixers
Album: Here Comes 2001 So Let's All Head For The Sun EP
Release Date: 9/5/2011

The Oxford fivesome dash any hopes of them being the next psycadelic dream

You can't really blame Fixers for feeling the pressure. After announcing their arrival with two impeccable songs and hopes of "living the psycadelic dream", the quintet were facing people expecting the same kind of enormity. They won't get it with "Here comes 2001..." though. Opener "Another Lost Apache" starts off with Fleet Foxes- esque harmonies before descending into one of the most annoying pop melodies you're likely to hear all year. The shimmering "Crystals" and summery chill- pop of "Uriel" both carry a certain amount of elegant charm about them but are devoid of any wow factor, and for all it's brain frazzling psycadelics, by the time closer "Passages/ Love In Action" comes to a halt, you'll probably find yourself pretty glad that it's over.



Download: "Uriel"
For Fans Of: Animal Collective, Jonquil

4/10

Saturday, 5 November 2011

From Silence

Artist: Exitmusic
Album: From Silence EP
Release Date: 3/10/2011

A modern and icily beautiful introduction to the NYC duo

Acting against the norm for boyfriend and girlfriend duos who settle for being mediocre pop throwbacks (Cults, Summer Camp), NYC husband and wife duo Exitmusic's "From Silence" is an exercise in glacial modernity, but one that is quite brilliant at that. Opener "The Sea" is fulll cavernous and dense Esben & the Witch- esque vibes, whilst "The Modern Age" sounds like Beach House meeting Zola Jesus on the moon. It's on the closer though "The Silence", a haunting and spectral beauty that sounds like Portishead at their most expansive and sparse that the band really nail their sound.


Download: "The Silence"
For Fans of: Portishead, Beach House, Zola Jesus

8/10

Friday, 4 November 2011

Go Tell Fire To The Mountain

Artist: Wu Lyf
Album: Go Tell Fire To The Mountain
Release Date: 10/6/2011

After keeping their identity behind closed doors for so log, Wu Lyf unveil themselves as one of Britains most genius new wonders

When Wu Lyf first emerged in a flurry of strange imagery, stretched out, echoing and cacophonous pieces of self- dubbed "heavy pop" and refusals to talk to the press, nobody was quite sure what to make of them. All we had to go on was a set of demos showcasing huge potential and a band with a ferocious live reputation who had previously gone under the dumb- but- slightly- funny monicker of Vagina Wolf.

Come their debut album "Go Tell Fire To The Mountain", and Wu Lyf pull out all the pretensions and reveal that actually, they're four young men from Manchester who abide closely by their own codes and boundaries, and have a set a 10 tracks that are almost all near- masterpieces. Opener "LYF" builds up slowly from pensive and shimmering organ keys into a stratospheric sky- kissing piece of orchestral pop that trundles along with an afro- pop- esque beat.

 "Such a Sad Puppy Dog" announces its arrival in an expanse of cold and bear emotion lead by frontman Ellery Roberts and his fixating howl, before it explodes into a heavily atmospheric, reverberating and astounding slow- burner. "We bros", the centre- point of the album, is more jaunty, and is sure to spark some no less than raucous singalongs when played live.

As closer "Heavy Pop" crashes to an end, it marks the end of the arrival of a band who fit comfortably into their own ideology, and can work their own rules into masterpieces; more than that though, there is proof that in Wu Lyf, we have one of Britain's most unique, imaginative and wonderful bands that you're likely to hear for quite some time.

Download: 1) "Such a Sad Puppy Dog", 2) "LYF", 3) "The Cave"
For Fans of: Animal Collective, The Walkmen, Vampire Weekend

9/10

Friday, 14 October 2011

Top 5 Most played of the week- 14/10/2011


1. Junior Boys- 73
2. Gold Panda- 60
3. Wild Beasts- 38
4. Radiohead- 34
5. Everything Everything- 26

SBTRKT

Artist: SBTRKT
Album: SBTRKT
Release Date: 24/6/2011

Aaron Jerome adds more colour and vibrancy to an ever- more illustrious scene on his debut full- length


IDM (intelligent dance music), which grew to the height of its complex and illustrious power in the midst of the mid- '90s rave scene, headed full- on into the foray by Aphex Twin, Squarepusher and the like. Those who previously waved its neon flag proudly now should watch with an almost- equal sense of pride as a glitchy revival is being spurted out in all its neon glory from some of the UK's grimiest but most musically vibrant communities.

SBTRKT, aka Aaron Jerome, is one such carrier of the "IDM prodigy" standard whose technical advances to dance music have been rippling through the undercurrent of the UK garage scene for a couple of years, but are maxed out in his colourful and illustrious debut full- length. All of Jerome's skill with keyboards and sky- kissing loop patterns are brought up front present and correct here. The swirling twists and turns, soaring synths and two- step beat of "Sanctuary" create a minor- key sense of difficult epic- ness, with long- time collaborator Sampha's soulful crooning gliding soothingly in dramatic form.


The minimalist house bleepery of "Right Thing To Do" and the deliciously funky "Pharoahs" are like late '80s/ early '90s dance epics given a full- on 2017 swing. The glitchy synth patter of "Something Goes Right", once again featuring the brilliant Sampha, shows once again that Jerome has no problem delving into complexity.


Occasionally we'd like to hear the music speak for itself a little bit, but the lack of which is only a minor loss when, for the most part, Jerome proves himself a serious talent.

Download: 1)"Sanctuary (Feat. Sampha & Jessie Ware)", 2) "Pharoahs (Feat. Roses Gabor)", 3) "Right Thing To Do"
For Fans of: Jamie XX, Flying Lotus, Zomby

8/10

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

A Different Kind Of Fix

Artist: Bombay Bicycle Club
Album: A Different Kind of Fix
Release Date: 26/8/2011

In attempting to match their ambition with their sonic ability, Bombay Bicycle Club have created 2011's most unusually fixating guitar album


Is indie music in decline? A large proportion of the blogosphere seems to think so. With no real "heroes" of the indie rock 'n' roll scene since the demise of The Libertines and the emergence of the Arctic Monkeys, it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that on their third album, London romantics Bombay Bicycle Club seem to have, in some respects at least, tried to distance themselves from the trundling guitar- rock of their debut, 2009's "I Had the Blue but I Shook Them Loose." On 2010's "Flaws" they branched out into a beautiful whim of acoustics and Joanna Newsom adoration, which based itself primarily around six- stringed instruments but in a completely different way. On "A Different Kind of Fix" guitars are still an imperative ingredient, however so is, it seems, front man Jack Steadman's love of dance music and a glitchy cut 'n' paste loop machine. It's a scrapbook indie album, shinier and cleaner than the indie rock 'n' roll generation, and more a blossoming platform for BBC to try and convey all their ambition.

Opener "How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep?" begins in an electronic haze and glistening guitar- picking, before it proceeds into something that wouldn't have seemed out of place on "I Had the Blues...", only it's more complex, better orchestrated and as a result, much more powerful. "Your Eyes" is built around a looped rockabilly- esque riff which is one of the most infectious things the band have done to date, accompanied by Steadman's luring and lovelorn poetry, which comes into its fore here as he sings "I'm done with love/ It's not the thing I'm dreaming of."


"Take The Right One" is covered in a mysterious lo- fi fog, and along with the thick haze and late '80s clean- cut riffing is reminiscent of The Stone Roses' debut. "Shuffle" is inherently this album's "Always like This." Built around a looped and infectious to the point of being near- annoying piano riff and shuffling, danceable drums signal it as a song that was always destined for radio one adoration, and considering all the fans singing along to it at this summer's festivals before it was even out, it's destined to be their defining moment of 2011, whether it deserves to be or not.


The primary problem with "A Different Kind of Fix" (and it's only a small one mind) is that it's not a total re- invention. Songs like "Bad Timing" and "Beggars", whilst pleasant enough, do nothing to uphold the power encompassed in some of the album's finer moments. But in pulling everything together through a shared love of loops and technology, Bombay Bicycle Club have most certainly created a different kind of fix; it works on what is occasionally a sensational level, and it portrays the full ambition that the band hinted at previously but never really hit on. They're yearning for a more intelligent sonic path for guitar music- three albums in and their well on their way to finding it.

Download: 1) "Your Eyes", 2) "Favourite Day", 3) "Take The Right One"
For Fans of: The Stone Roses, The Maccabees, The Smiths

7/10

Friday, 16 September 2011

Songs For The Weekend, Vol.5

You know the drill by now. Once again this week there isn't really a theme that surrounds these songs, these are just songs I've been enjoying over the past week or so, and I hope that you'll enjoy them too. Enjoy x







The Antlers- Sylvia

In 2009, The Antlers released their third album, the heart-wrenching "Hospice." An album that was proclaimed by many to be one of the saddest recorded in recent times and album that "had the power to emotionally wreck its listeners," "Hospice" is a harrowing but beautifully crafted and written work throughout. "Sylvia," the third track from the album, starts off with a screeching electronic hiss and front man Pete Silberman's vocals being drowned by the depth of the atmosphere, before lifting itself into a soaring and just as dense but heavily beautiful flurry of guitars, before closing on a huge fanfare of hypnotic brass. It's one of the album's most dense moments, and at first it may seem like a wall of sound, but if you look beneath the surface, a world of heart-break and truly magnificent musicianship is unveiled.

David Bowie- Drive-In Saturday

This is the third track taken from Bowie's 1973 masterpiece "Alladin Sane", which is probably my favourite Bowie record of all time. This song is a culmination of Bowie at his most fruitful. He had a fine talent from creative and emotional lyricism, a fine ear for huge and anthemic melodies and that grudgy, rocky underbelly which was showing its last obtrusive peaks throughout the album but not taking anything away from the monumental epic sound scapes that were portrayed, "Drive In Saturday" being one of the record's finest examples. Arguably the best song from arguably Bowie's best work.

Wolf Gang- Lions In Cages

On his project Wolf Gang's debut album "Suego Faults" released at the beginning of August, Londoner Max McElliot created for himself a fantasia land; a world where heart-break was present, but there was always hope. A world where romance was a way to escape from reality, just as pop music was back in the day. McElliot's revival of escapism and romance in pop has lead to "Suego Faults" being one of the most heartfelt and wondrously tuneful releases of the year so far. "Lions in Cages" was the first single from the album, and is perhaps the finest example of McElliot setting his lovelorn writ against a back drop of sketchily and mysteriously hazy yet beautiful backdrop. In starts off within McElliot's mind what of what "Suego Faults" should be, as he sings: "In the city where I'm from/ There are lovers 'til the dawn," before looking somewhat switching back to reality briefly as he skeptically glances towards the future as he sings "Who's gonna pick up after we've gone?". Like a life-like dream, "Lions In Cages" catches McElliot at his most creatively fertile.

DZ Deathrays- Gebbie Street

If you closely follow any music blogs or magazines and pay close attention to new music that's been surfacing over the past year or so, then you may well be familiar with DZ Deathrays. The Australian thrash-pop duo who apparently formed at a house party garnered much more attention after their stirling performance at The Great Escape this year. They've yet to release any EPs or records, but "Gebbie Street" is their signature 4 minutes of sleazy and bouncy scuzz- rock joy. Built upon a low-slung and tuned guitar line that Death from above 1979 previously trademarked and shifting forward groovily in a whirl of teenage fantasy- lyrics and crushingly heavy guitars as the song progresses, "Gebbie Street" encapsulates all of their slacker-but-sexy orientation. They will shortly be joining Wolf Gang, Niki & The Dove and S.C.U.M. on the NME radar tour around the UK, so try and catch them at one of those dates- They are well worth your time.

S.C.U.M.- Whitechapel

S.C.U.M. are another band who are just beginning to really make waves in the new UK modern music scene, despite having formed over two years ago. Featuring the runner of London's Underage Festival and the younger brother of Tom Cowan of the Horrors, their glacial, moving and atmospheric synthy take on post-punk is surprisingly fresh and brilliantly well crafted. This epic six minutes of soft euphoria rotates around an off-kilter but funky bass line and icy synths, making it sound like The Horrors if "Primary Colours" had been more "Blue Monday"- era New Order than Joy Division. They're also taking part in NME's Radar tour which kicks off soon, and they're another new young band that very much deserve your attention, both in terms of their recorded stuff and live.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Fool's Gold

Artist: Fool's Gold
Album: Leave No Trace
Release Date: 16/8/2011

Afro- Pop underdogs leave the shadows and get nearer to the big league

Afro- Pop collective Fool's Gold, on "Leave No Trace" are seemingly intent on proving that they deserve more than to simply exist in Vampire Weekend's shadow for their whole career. For the most part, they do a fairly fine job. Most noticeable of all is just how far they've spread their influences and turned them into something fresh, from the Talking Heads- esque strut of "Wild Window" through the title track's unashamed Smiths- y bounce and the full on central- African rattle of "Bark and Bite."

Download: "Leave No Trace"
For Fans of: Vampire Weekend, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Talking Heads

7/10

Top 5 Most played of the week- 9/9/2011


1. Beirut- 64
2. Wild Beasts- 49
3. Kate Bush- 41
4. The Antlers- 39
5. Fool's Gold- 27

Songs For the Weekend, Vol.4

This weekend marks the start of the 2011 International Rugby World Cup. As exciting as this is, and as supportive as the fans of, well, probably all the teams participating are, I don't actually know any rugby songs, and even if there actually are any that have been made with ingredients other than an orchestra, I think you'd be pretty hard- pressed to find any decent ones. So instead, here are some tunes that will be dominating my ipod over the next few coming days, and hopefully they'll do the same for you.






Los Campesinos!- By Your Hand

Depressive twee indie-poppers Los Campesinos! return with their fourth album "Hello Sadness" on the 4th of November, and "By Your hand" is the first single released from the record, and is a mighty fine taster of what we can expect from the record. In typical Los Campesinos! fashion, the lyrics deal with the trials and trivialities of young love, but in the most heart- wrenching fashion. They're a band who, akin to Wild Beasts, have always done sexual tension and heartbreak very well, and "By Your Hand" only re-enforces this tenfold. Musically it's more poppy than anything they've done before, but the catching keyboard melody along with their trademarked noodling guitars and hand claps and arguably the best chorus they've ever written, it's probably their most instantly memorable song to date. Front man Gareth Campesinos! has said that the songs on the new album are so sad that he'll struggle to sing them live without crying- sticking to their depressive guns though, he does try to asphyxiate himself in the video. It's a masterful pop song, but it's not for the faint hearted.

Gallows- True Colours
Alexisonfire split up ----> Frank Carter Leaves Gallows ----> Gallows search for new front man and recruit ex- Alexisonfire guitarist Wade McNeil ----> They then start making some of the most monstrous yet exhilarating heavy music you'll hear all year. It's an equation that makes perfect sense, and one that, by the sounds of "True Colours," they've made work fantastically well. "True Colours" is a 37- second long stab of furiously pummeling drums, crushingly heavy riffs and Wade McNeil's meaty growl, marking it as the shortest but heaviest thing Gallows have done to date. Whereas Carter's strong cockney brogue was more clear- cut over the rising tide of punk heaviness, McNeil's vocals are simply demonic, leading Gallows to amp everything up by about 1000 times. If Gallows are to follow this direction on their upcoming record, then you can bet your life that it'll be heavy record of the year 2011. You can also grab this tune as a free download over at the band's website.

Junkie XL- Molly's E (Azari & III instrumental remix)

There seems to be somewhat of a House revival going on at the moment. Last year the emergence of artists like Canadian DJ crew Azari & III spurred house music into new pastures of fresh creativity, and since then a more refined version of the music that dominated the charts in the early '90s has found its niche. Junkie XL is one such artist from Chicago, whose acid- fried funky house deserves to be sound tracking nightclubs all over the world. In their own artistic implosion however, Azari & III have chosen to make an instrumental remix of his track "Molly's E." They've turned it into something twice as subtle but just as funky, it's more minimalistic and mystic, almost more daring, but something that is ultimately dreamy. It's probably the kind of thing you'd rather put on when you got back from a big night out rather than whilst you're at a club, but all the same, it's a brilliant piece of dance music.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Rip Tide

Artist: Beirut
Album: The Rip Tide
Release Date: 2/8/2011

Zach Condon finally finds and settles into his own sound


Zach Condon is a man who seemingly, for as long as he has been traversing musical different sojourns, has been searching for a genre to call home. Except "Home" for Condon is outside of any existing niche- it's a world of expansive pastures and the desire to break away from normality and live in a universe that is entirely his own. If in all his previous work Condon and Beirut haven't quite found their nook, "The Rip Tide" finally sees them find their utopia.

Opener "A candle's Fire" announces itself with tones of picturesque accordion, before being joined by high-flying flushes of euphoric brass. "East Harlem" marries wonderfully crafted orchestration with Condon's thick but handsome brogue and romantic visions of home as he sings "Sound will call me home again." The title track, with its tranquil yet expansive orchestration, captures the ever-present roving feeling in all of Beirut's previous work. "The Peacock" is a cacophony of sparse but stirringly beautiful trumpets and Condon finding within him the mystic but wondrous poet as he sings "There's an answer for "I'm Cold Again"/ Down in the sand just like those soldiermen."


In honing their craft and feelings back towards those with which they grew up with, Condon and his cohorts in Beirut have comfortably slotted into their own dream- world. "The Rip Tide" is an album that keeps home close to heart, but also yearns for adventure and a certain element of escape.

Download: 1) East Harlem, 2) The Peacock, 3) A Candle's Fire
For Fans of: Bon Iver, The National, Fleet Foxes

8/10

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Top 5 Most played of the week- 2/9/2011


1. David Bowie- 55
2. Pixies- 43
3. The Smiths- 25
4. Warpaint- 15
5. Radiohead- 13

Songs For The Weekend, Vol.3

This week has seen a few things come to an end. Summer has finally come to a sad and much- disappointing close, the UK festival season is in it's final throes and for kids, this weekend marks the end of their summer holiday before going back to school. It's most certainly been an eventful summer; Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds and other festivals have all made the biggest impact on the music scene that they have in years, from Beyonce's career defining closing headlining slot at Glastonbury on the Sunday, to Jarvis Cocker joining The Strokes onstage at Reading. This week's selection of songs are mostly just good songs, but a couple of them I think you'll find fit this time of year very well. Enjoy.




Pixies- Gigantic


"Gigantic" is from inspirational and now legendary Frank Black- fronted '90s alt. rockers Pixies' second album, 1988's brilliant "Surfer Rosa." Pixies were always like rough diamonds- They did aggression and spontaneity fantastically well, but they ever kept in touch with that glistening sense of melody and ear for a great tune that they always had. "Gigantic" follows the structure of most of the band's songs; Steely, plodding bass lines, slacker-ish and overcharged guitars and nonsensical lyrics. Sung primarily by bassist Kim Deal, as well as having all the aspects of a classic Pixies song, it also contained a sense of high-flying melody that gets released on the chorus in soaring fashion. It's one of the most brilliant examples of Pixies matching their ethos perfectly.

Girls- Honey Bunny

LA duo Girls have been a young pinpoint for slacker indie for the last couple of years now. Their 2009 debut "Album" was a hugely brilliant affair of great melodies and Christopher Owens' awe-inspiring song writing talent. Their third album "Son, Father and the Holy Ghost" is out next week, and this new song from it is a wonderful and hugely catchy little pop- rock nugget, the kind the band have always been dab-hands at. It sounds more pristine and much more clear- cut than any of their previous work, and whereas before their charm lay in fuzz, it now seems it lies in the ability to write bopping, hugely melodic and brilliantly crafted pop songs. This track sees the band lose none of their ethos, as Owens moans on the chorus "They don't like my bony body/ They don't like my dirty hair." It's still undeniably Girls, but now more refined, and probably one of the best songs they've ever written.

Azari & III- Manic

A new wave of late '80s/ early '90s -esque house music is hardly what the music world in general needs right now. However, in the grimy depths of dance music however, unless you're one to dig deep and dark into the horrifying throes of grimy bass lines and penetrating beats, there's very little to marvel at. Canadian DJ crew Azari &III seem to have found a way to counter this with their brilliant self-titled debut album. It's probably the campest thing you'll hear all year, but with it's pounding and deliciously funky beats and dark lyrical warnings against AIDS and, well, society in general, you'll struggle to find a more relevant dance music album in 2011. The track above, "Manic" is the foursome at the height of their funky, sexy yet dark spur that could bring a new lease of life to dance music.

Wild Beasts- End Comes To Soon

The closing track to Wild Beasts phenomenal third album "Smother" could hardly be more fitting an ending. It's a pensive, peaceful and quietly beautiful 7 minute masterpiece, unlike anything the band had produced before. It rolls deep in the realms of organic instrumentation, and it's spectral and heavy air of retirement makes it one of the most moving songs the band have ever produced. It's a perfect song for this time of year because as things come to a close, you're left waiting on the edge of a cliff, as though something huge and epic is about to happen. You'd be hard- pressed to find a song better- suited to that situation than "End Comes To Soon."

Friday, 26 August 2011

Top 5 Most played of the week- 26/8/2011


1. Warpaint- 32
2. Kate Bush- 17
3. Jeff Buckley- 10
4. David Bowie- 9
5. Frightened Rabbit- 9

Songs For the Weekend, Vol.2 & Apologies

Greetings folks,

I would just like to apologise for the absence of a "Songs for the weekend" feature last Friday. Unfortunately I was very busy and didn't have any time to get on and do it. But even so, here's this week's playlist. There's no particularly theme to this list, this is just a bunch of songs that I've recently fallen completely in love with, and hopefully you will too. I hope you find something here that you like.



The Horrors- Still Life

Every album that Southend- On- Sea quintet The Horrors churn out is a complete transformation from their previous album. Their 2006 debut "Strange House" was a dark and ferocious throwback to classic British goth- punk a la The Cramps. Their second album, 2009's epic "Primary Colours" saw the band create Joy Division- esque dark and progressive indie rock songs in layers of feedback and chilling synths. They released their third album "Skying" at the beginning of July of this year, and it's already shaping up to be  a serious contender for album of the year. "Still Life" is the album's lead-off single and perhaps the best and most life-affirming piece of music the band have ever conjured. It's starts off with sketchy synths before adorning that unobtrusive but fantastically rhythmic drum beat, as it builds up into a chorus of epic proportions, before ending on a sky-kissing, gorgeous bout of high-flying synths and trumpets. This will be the perfect soundtrack to your sunsets this weekend.

Foals- Blue Blood

"Blue Blood" is the opening track to Oxford indie-pop band Foals' second album, the brilliant "Total Life Forever" which they released in May of last year. The band's 2008 debut "Antidotes" was a swarm of incredible musicianship and math-y, intellectual brilliance mixed in with the ability to conjour up a brilliant melody and even some sing-a-long anthems. "Total Life Forever" however witnessed a change in the band's ethic, whilst still keeping the old charms ever-present. "Blue Blood" channels all of Foals' new ethic; The lyrics are much deeper, much more meaningful than those of their debut. It's smothered in a light layer of lo-fi fog but it never has the sense of being suffocated. It's got the old awe-inspiring duel- picking by guitarists Yannis Philippakis and Jimmy Smith, as well as Jack Bevan's hugely impressive drumming and Walter Gervers' wonderfully funky bass line. It's still undeniably Foals, but fuller and more mature, and it's one of the best songs they've ever written.

Warpaint- Beetles

Warpaint are an exceptionally brave band. They are four women from LA who exceed all expectations by not only making some of the most heartfelt and stirringly beautiful songs around at the moment, but mostly because they dabble in genres of music that, up until now, have always been dominated by men; Psychedelic, progressive and dark rock music. In 2009 they released their phenomenal debut EP "Exquisite Corpse," which featured six hazy, dark, cavernous and stunningly beautiful jams that were more art forms than mere songs. "Beetles" is just one of these masterful jams. Starting off with swirling and reverberating psychedelic guitar effects and shuffling drums, the song builds into cavernous and reverb- heavy territory, taking it down an unexpected and brilliantly crafted route.

Kate Bush- The Big Sky

As much as Kate Bush was always a master of taking the format and structure of the classic pop song and turning it into something unconventional, weird and still enchanting, she was also a master of producing unashamed big- hitting pop anthems, and "The Big Sky", taken from 1985 classic "Hounds of Love", is one such anthem. As did the rest of "Hounds Of Love", "The Big Sky" shows that Bush was at the height of her fertility lyrically, and that all the passion and life-weary experiences she had and the feelings she felt were being portrayed from her operatic vocals and the hugely memorable melody of the song. And much like the rest of "Hounds Of Love," it's a pop masterpiece.

Lady Gaga- You and I (Wild Beasts Remix)

This is probably the most unexpected thing to come out of the world of music so far in 2011. However it probably shouldn't be- Wild beasts' love of big hitting pop music is no secret. As is typical of Wild Beasts, they've stripped everything back from Gaga's tune, leaving just an expansive and beautifully sparse and minimalistic Junior Boys- esque dance- pop anthem. Also as is typical of Wild Beasts, it's suitably sexy, smooth and sensual. They've turned it into something which is both spectral and ghostly and something that, unless you knew it was Gaga, you may never have guessed that it was. Another touch of genius from the Kendal four- piece.

Keep Shelly In Athens- Our Own Dream

Greek dream- pop duo Keep Shelly In Athens have been on the blogosphere for quite some time now. They released their debut album "In Love With Dusk" in 2010, and it quickly became hugely popular amongst many  music bloggers and fans of that kind of music all over the world. "Our Own Dream", taken from their upcoming EP of the same name is a glitchy, warm, fuzzy and star-gazingly beautiful slice of dense lo-fi pop. It contains starry- eyed synths as well as layers and layers of misty haze, and gorgeously peaceful and enchanting siren- like vocals. It may well be true that the blogosphere is becoming overwhelmed with the swarm of bands producing this kind of music, but Keep Shelly In Athens are more than worthy of your time and attention, for this track alone.


Monday, 15 August 2011

Opinion: Thinking Through Melody

How much does music affect the brain, and is it a cause for concern within our society?


In light of the recent riots that started in London and then spread to other major cities within the UK, there has been much speculation about what the cause of these riots is. The original riot was started after a man was shot by police in Tottenham, but then why should that be a grievance for people in, for example, Liverpool? Many things have been blamed; Our consumerist society, the gap between the rich and the poor, the discipline with which those carrying out the riots were brought up. However, as we should have foreseen, some people have turned back to that old, ever present chestnut: Music.

In a recent article in the Daily Mirror, journalist Paul Routledge wrote:
" Is rap music to blame for this culture of violence? I blame the pernicious culture of hatred around rap music, which glorifies violence and the loathing of authority (especially the police but including parents), exalts trashy materialism and raves about drugs."

To which London rapper Professor Green put back this stirling argument:
"Yeah ban rap music, silence us even more. Surely this isn't about shifting the blame, but accepting responsibility? Neither my music or that of my peers is to blame for society and its faults. We didn't create the tiers."

Music has, over the decades, all too frequently been used as a scapegoat for blame when an institution (usually a government) wants to hide away from reality. Marilyn Manson got the stick in America for apparently inspiring the boys to commit the Columbine High School massacre through his music in 1999. English heavy metal band Judas Priest were blamed and even taken to court after two devout fans shot themselves in the head after apparently hearing a subliminal message hidden in one of the band's songs. Emo has consistently been blamed for teen suicide. When people don't want to accept responsibility, music is their easiest way out.

It's certainly true that to an extent music does have an effect on the brain. Admittedly, when listening to Mastodon's "Blood and Thunder" I feel psyched up and ready to take on anything in my path. When listening to Warpaint's "Baby" I feel an overwhelming sense of head- over- heels romanticism, and when I listen to Faithless' "Sun to me" I feel like I should be in the midst of a sweaty mid- '90s rave. But when listening to "Blood and Thunder" I don't want or try to beat up the next person who walks round the corner. When listening to "Baby" I don't try and kiss every pretty girl who walks past me in the street. When listening to "Sun to Me" I don't suddenly take loads of acid, don a fluorescent lycra body suit and start re- enacting those '90s rave ups.


The crucial point is that the lyrics and atmospheres conjured up by music, 99.9% of the time, are not meant to be taken literally. Since the dawn of modern music sex, drugs and violence have all been very prevalent themes in lyrics, across all mediums of music. Bob Dylan was one of the original purveyors of misery through music, and most of Jimi Hendrix's lyrics were probably written off the back of an LSD hallucination, most notably "Purple Haze." However when Hendrix wrote " Purple Haze," he most certainly wasn't condoning drug abuse, he was simply describing an experience.


The same train of thought can be linked to a band who have been an easy target for disgust ever since they emerged from the grimy back alleys of LA, the skulking hip- hop collective Odd Future. Consistently throughout their music they rap about rape, murder, domestic violence and loathing of authority, which in their case is mostly their parents. But when Odd Future rap about these things, they are not advocating any of them. They don't WANT you to go out and rape any women. They don't WANT you to kill any policemen. By creating these villainous characters for themselves, they're simply re- iterating an age- old art- form in music, and this is not to be taken literally at all. I mean, nobody actually suspects David Byrne of being a sadistic murderer as he suggested in Talking Heads' classic "Psycho Killer", do they?

The people who commit these crimes do not do so because the lyrics in a song told them to. In the case of the riots, many things are to blame. The ridge between the rich and the poor is huge and is ever increasing. The consumerist society we live in fuels the idea that it's the possessions you HAVE that matter rather than what you achieve. In any other case, it's often because the people carrying out the deeds have been secluded, or have secluded themselves from society. It's a well known fact that the two boys who committed the Columbine massacre didn't have many friends at school and were socially awkward. More recently, when the police arrested Anders Behring Breivik, the man convicted of killing 97 innocent people in two terrorist attacks in Norway in July, they found that he had "far- right sympathies" and was in alignment politically with the Klu Klux Klan.




At the end of the day, papers like the Daily Mirror are always going to blame something anti- conformist. The fact remains however that music cannot be blamed for the disgusting aforementioned crimes that have been carried out over the decades. The only people extreme enough to commit such horrors are those on the outer rims of society, with a deeper- burning hatred for something. The likelihood is that music will always be used a scapegoat for such times. Rather tragically though, the inclined unwillingness to accept responsibility only decreases the trust we have in those we put our faith in in the first place.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Artist: Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Album: Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Release Date: 17/6/2011

2011's most DIY album comes in swirling pints of psych, funk and garage- rock fun


Since the emergence of the chillwave scene, becoming a bedroom- based pop artist/ producer has been all the more cooler. Even though it's been the ethic of artists like Ariel Pink since the early '90s, artists like Washed Out and Memory Tapes have bought its home- made charm to the 21st century forefront.

New Zealander Ruben Neilson's new project Unknown Mortal Orchestra is a bit of a contradiction, but in the most artful way possible. Each of the nine tracks on his self- titled debut hangs heavy with the lo- fi thug and blissful haze typical of bedroom pop, but yet the music itself harks back to a much more organic time. "How Can U Love Me?" is a deliciously minimalistic slice of white- boy funk, given a futuristic twist by its foggy but not dense production. "Nerve Damage!" starts off in a whirl of loops before plummeting into a raucous, riotous desert rocker on which Neilson lowers his voice a la Captain Beefheart circa "Safe As Milk" to a backdrop of jangly Black Lips- esque guitars. "Little Blue House" is a throwback to '70s British stoner- rock, whilst "Strangers are Strange" is borrowed from all of the more funky moments of David Bowie's back catalogue.

Sometimes the music lets the side down; Opener "Ffunny Ffrends" is persistently annoying, as is the ridiculously titled "Jello and Juggernaut." However Neilson has proved that by taking influence from the past and making it into something that is entirely your own leads to ultimately fresher sound. It's a lesson that a lot of bands would do well to learn.


Download: 1) How Can U Love Me?, 2) Nerve Damage!
For Fans of: Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, David Bowie, Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band

7/10

Skying

Artist: The Horrors
Album: Skying
Release Date: 11/7/2011

The Horrors reach new stratospheric heights with their third album


In a world where the music industry, and more directly music fans, are the most fickle incarnations known to man, it's very hard for a band to know what to do after releasing their debut album. If The Horrors had stuck to the same sound that they churned out on their 2006 debut "Strange House", then they would have accused of being complacent throwbacks, harking back to a time irrelevant to anyone who didn't want to dig any deeper underground than Klaxons.

At the same time, the band took a massive risk with their 2009 second album "Primary Colours" which roped in a more shoe-gaze/ post- punk style and drew heavily on the influence of Joy Division and My Bloody Valentine- So far removed was the sound from their debut that, whilst now more versatile, they were in danger of alienating the black- clad, eyeliner worshiping hordes they had garnered with the unexpected success of "Strange House."

However in 2011 it seems that any concerns that the band had of alienating anyone have long flown out the window, because "Skying" is a different beast entirely. On "Primary Colours" The Horrors certainly proved they were dab- hands at a variety of different sounds, but it's with "Skying" that they provide real substance to that statement. It's an album that with its newly found resonance in sky- kissing psychedelic pop, yearns with ambition.

Opener "Changing The Rain" opens up with cavernous percussion before exploding brightly into a flurry of soaring synths and darkly wailing guitar lines. Immediately this is a new Horrors; They now churn forward with a sense of open- armed grandiose and no more are the melodies stripped back by a persistent lo- fi fog. This is The Horrors truly opening up and releasing all the creativity that their juices allow them. "You Said" is full of echoing atmospherics, and even the ingredient of brass horns makes a penetrating appearance. The song is also packed out with reverbed- out guitars and gorgeous, twinkling and star- gazing synths. "Still Life," the album's lead- off single, is a life- affirming slice of organic euphoria. Glacial and rushing synths carry the song along with a starry- eyed sense of wonder, whilst a pulsating drum- beat meticulously keeps the song moving forward. It's perhaps the most euphoric and stratospheric song the band have ever conjured.


The eight minute thirty seconds of "Moving Further Away" embodies the entire ethic of a 2020 dance floor; Twirling synths and psychedelic swirls lead the way into a clashing, apocalyptic close of dramatic synths and crunching guitars. Closer "Oceans Burning" swarms itself in a lo- fi haze and is propelled along by a mournful, ghostly appeal, before climaxing in wispy and haunting synths.

As much as "Skying" does sometimes seem like a sum of its parts, The Horrors now have a new target. No longer are they confined by any walls of sonics or criticism; They are fully fledged beasts now, ready to take flight high into the sky and beyond. And they'll keep moving forward- They never look back.

Download: 1) Still Life, 2) Moving Further Away, 3) You Said
For Fans of: The Psychedelic Furs, The Verve, Suede

8/10

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Nine Types Of Light

Artist: TV On The Radio
Album: Nine Types Of Light
Release Date: 12/4/2011


Something that has often been overlooked when considering the music of Brooklyn post- punk band TV on the Radio is just how much fun they're having. Behind the lovelorn tales and howls of 2008 breakthrough album "Dear Science" lay a backdrop fueled by the desire to just be well and truly fun to listen to.

"Nine Types of Light," the band's 4th album, is seemingly the first time that the band's poetic romanticism and sharp- tongued political rhetoric is put aside somewhat for a more fun and ready- to- laugh- in- the- face- of- life approach. Opener "Second Song" starts from humble beginnings before building into one of the most jovial and possibly best choruses that the band have ever conjured. "No Future Shock" makes the political meltdown in America seem like the greatest party on earth, as Kyp Malone coos " Shake it like it's the end of time." They couldn't have made their political rhetoric any sexier than on "New Cannonball Blues," which builds up from sleazy synths and an almost dubstep- esque beat which gives way to a brilliant vibrant fanfare of finger- picking funkiness and trumpets.

The old and vivid troubles of love and heartbreak are still present, most noticeably on the wonderful and chiming lullaby "Will Do." But as Tunde Adepimbe yelps on raucous closer "Caffeinated Consciousness": "We live our days now/ 'cause we might not sleep tonight". It's with this kind of buoyancy, skill and the will to have good fun that proves that four albums in, TV on the Radio are having more fun than ever, and we should be having fun with them.

Download: 1) New Cannonball Blues, 2) Second Song, 3) Will Do

For Fans of: LCD Soundsystem, Rain Machine, The Antlers


8/10