Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Mac Review 18

O.T.W – The Pistolas
The first time I heard the Pistola’s I was on a post Bournemouth rampage night out, at one of the classiest joints, The Villa. I woke and stumbled out of a friend’s house, and upon needed noise I stumbled upon shuffle on the Ipod. Bang Bang Rock N Roll, furious fury of noise burst from the cheap 6.99 earphones, I was awoken from the daze, half taken, and half disgusted by what was quite clearly rock of the highest quality. It just so happens that the Pistola’s are a four piece that are described by themselves as punk-funk juggernaut from the old town famous for Mustard and Alan Partridge that is Norwich. On recent single Take a Kiss, The Pistolas showed the funk wings which had been claimed and its tune a devilish and sly stab at the times we live in. Terrifying but cute, hard but soft, hyped but justified, It’s like the rapture with guts, The Pistolas shooting out for love.

Band from the Blog – Shy Child
I heard a term once which maybe I made up but it was coined Electro Goodness (Copyrighted Mr Hurst), Shy Child are exactly that, brilliantly vibrant, modern sounding, and above all exceedingly great, just like Mr Kipling’s cakes (Copyrighted Mr Kipling). Noise Won’t Stop is a hark back to the 90’s but also sounds as modern and fresh as dance should, a tired genre the brashness of Electro and the retro vibes have breathed a new life in to what was being viewed upon as stale. A two piece New York outfit, Shy Child drag the balls of dance through a blender mixing the old with the new to produce a hybrid fucked up but highly enjoyable festival of fun. Human/Animal Hybrids, why not when this is so much fun.

Mac Chart
10 Amylase – Cajun Dance Party
9 Curse of Saul – Good Books
8 Take A Kiss – The Pistolas
7 Art of Being Sure – The Official Secrets Act
6 Lost Youth – We Are Performance
5 King of England – Hot Puppies
4 Late of The Pier – Bathroom Gargoyle
3 Can’t Sleep – Bobby Cook
2 Radio Nowhere – Bruce Springsteen
1 Okkervil River – Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe

From The Vault
Billy Bragg – The Internationale
1990 started a decade that many would class as peaceful, it had neither the lingering worry of communism or the overbearing factor of Middle Eastern terrorism, though much of the actions of the decade could be said as a forerunner to the fateful day in 2001, in which we woke and worried once more. The Internationale by Billy Bragg was a reminder almost to many that socialism was still a cause worth fighting, Britain had been let down and needed answers, they needed the policy to match the rhetoric of the Labour party. So on case Bragg kicked out a mix bag of songs with one common goal, that we should not throw the idea’s of socialism out with the failings of communism. Bragg’s version of the Internationale is now the preferred socialist singing at a many union conference and with it Bragg delivers a modern almost up to date style that New Labour would later deliver then railroad over. Elsewhere on the seven track album is the satirical biting The Marching Song of the Covert Battalions along with marching band sound and sarcastic Bragg vocals. Blake’s Jerusalem is beautiful and with the inclusion of a heart felt song to the people’s of Nicaragua it follows almost heartfelt but always passionate. The highlight is the last track a cover, My Youngest Son Came Home Today delivers the most poignant and poetic lines My Youngest Son Came Home Today/His friends Marched with him all the way , then delivering the almost heart crushing line In His Box of Polished Pine. A reminder if it was needed, that we need not to use turgid comrade rhetoric to be socialists.

Album of the Week
Gravenhurst – The Western Lands
Every Gravenhurst record seems to hint at a complete etching, his lyrics are darker than the deepest sea, his mind is cast on to the listener in songs sometimes too horrifyingly lost to even take in. However, though The Western Lands does not relent on such a talent, it seems also that Gravenhurst’s protagonist Nick Talbot can also write a mean melody. Take Trust for instance, its melody drifts along like a scenic coastline full of etched innocence, yet dark forlorn for it’s future is yet to be told. The Western Land is if to be honest full of the melody and the sadness, it’s truly remarkable that Nick Talbot can be as poetically beautiful and yet hold such a little band of admirers, maybe this is for the best.

Single of the Week
The Hot Puppies – King of England
King of England is the new limited edition almost mystical release by The Hot Puppies. As infectious as sea scurvy on a Puritan ship in the 17th century, King of England is delicious and all consuming. Like all great pop it bounces along never having to ask if it can intrude for its sweet and conscience of such a fact. Poeticising the art of control and the loss of innocence, the King is dead, long live the king.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Maybe a "Modern Labour"

Recently, I've been considering my idea's and values in a social and political way. It's not that i feel i have become more centrist, it is that i have felt uneasy with the relative concepts that the left views itself in.

Furthermore upon reading Phillip Gould's Unfinished Revolution, i came to feel more not old or new labour, but an inbetween. I don't feel the modernising force that became blurred under New Labour, nethier do i feel the cold static outdated past of old labour.

"Certain Ideas"
Perhaps as i question my standing, i can view different points of view. I was against the war, the reasoning was flawed. However what really irratates me on the war is the way we simply breezed in without a plan, and are now leaving with a hundred fewer servicemen, and what really for, Hussien never collectively had power in much of the country much like the current government. Iraq is split by religion, it always will be, no one will have a stable country, but i do believe maybe that it is time for us to leave.

For the union question, i believe unions need to modernise, the collective vote was a mistake, and a mistake that clause Iv, and Blair forced out. However, how can a union modernise, how can they force through action when most of the public just complain when a strike happens. This countries forgotten that the workers, who would think themselves as middle class have been pushed to the limit. We need a new thinking, a third way for the unions, as well as Labour.

"Modern Labour?"
I got the term "Modern Labour" from a interview i did, And it seems quite apt at the end of Tony Blair, the Labour party needs a new view, a world view that relies less on the US, more on the collective europe. We need a better serving transport plan, no more cancellation of train and tram projects in the face of increased road building. On the society we have we must listen to the youth, we must for once welcome them to debate, and not just the ones who are at the lowest or the highest of the education spectrum, the generation this country has lost. We should not condone Video Games or Tv as a quick fix to a society that isn't broken, but needs to be talked too. And we should no longer attack the needs of university generation, one which is now a customer, and a customer the universities should be offering far more to, and not less.

I've had the idea of collecting a manifesto together for some time, I want to collect a jumbled few ideas, such as this and put something i feel will benefit the country. Modern Labour needs the power to run this country that's 21st century, sad to say that Thatcher started and sped the modernising of this country up too quickly. Gould, Mandelson and others collectively modernised and developed the plans for a future Labour government, now it's time to start to build the country, we modernised too quickly and that we have little time is the most worrying thing.

Mac Review 15 & 16

O.T.W – Red Blood Shoes
A Harsh, in your face Brighton two piece with as much spunk to make it sound like a four piece, this is the wonderful yet quite deranged end of musical abandonment.
Their most recent single It’s Getting Boring By The Sea is more a statement than a tale of boredom by a seaside town that escaped being closed down, and yet if Pinkie and the gang still ran the show they would, you think be driven out by such passion, such thrall, such energy and such knack for a tune.

Brash, beautiful and with such charm Blood Red Shoes are such much more than the British White Stripes, not only is Laura-Mary Carter such rare beauty in the world of rock and roll, her talent alongside Ansell’s controlled yet reckless drumming producers a band far from just being there, as they say they want to be in a band, they want to make music, and it’s just a strange coincidence others have loved it too, no coincidence, not in the slightest.

On The Road/Off the Record – Glastonbury Part 2
So Saturday, and yet more rain fell which led to the missing of Cherry Ghost, and Ed Harcourt. Pete Docherty arrived as soon as the brief and slightly battered sunshine of the day, was god mocking us or is the now blonde haired Docherty the second coming, well Jesus had limited talent also. Maximo Park entertained the masses as I fled to see the delightful fox in wolves clothing, Patrick Wolf.

Dancing delightfully with the devil for 45 minutes, Wolf eclipses the nature of enjoyment and beauty with such innocence, maybe only 24, but age has matured around him and made him sense life’s battles and fight them face on, such the highlights from his most recent album The Magic Position are entwined with his previous brilliance, he still is understated, but surely he can’t be for long.

The Editors latest blandness is played out to its fullest, whilst the whispering of pear cider and the brilliant John Fogerty eclipse everything great and good. A wander to the techo dome and later musings along the path to the stone circle, Saturday ends with the path less travelled and the mud more sticky, roll on Billy, roll on MSP for Sunday was the finale of this fine fine festival.

Sunday was wet, quite wet, indeed so wet that the rain would allude into Monday, and end the festival on the lowest note possible. Ironically it started with Sunshine Underground , who were typical of many bands around. Gravenhurst followed for the second time in the weekend, when they muttered and muddled through a classic set of brilliance and bewilderment.

And so to Billy Bragg, you expect politics with Billy you also expect love and loss and Billy never let up, the heart strings were torn at, the new songs among his very best and all of this done on a borrowed acoustic guitar, sublime. So how to follow it with Ocean Spray, well not quite. The Manics knew the crowd, Nicky was sulking but after being spoilt to the hilt on the tour I expected little else, Imperial Body bags however is a tune, the best in years by MSP, however it could have been bettered with the inclusion of a little bit extra, maybe Masses, maybe a longer set. Who knows, the rest was The Who, the Chemical Brothers and a delightful and beautiful set by Gruff Rhys, that’s how it ended, the rain pelted down like the pity of a thousand souls, at least it didn’t flood I suppose.

Album of the Week

The Antlers – In the Attic of the Universe
The Antlers universe is cold, its murmurs of this and slight hesitations of that. As beautiful as it plays and as distinct as it sounds In the Attic of the Universe is the attempt at creating a meaningful sound, without a conclusion. It’s brilliant but it’s not. The tools have failed, but they failed after the job had been done, this isn’t a criticism its fact or is it. This may sound confused or a little too much of a ramble, sure Shh! holds the delicacy of childhood but is this actually going anywhere, maybe it’s the best album I’ll ever listen to, or maybe the worse, then again I’ve heard the recent Sum 41 one The Antlers, however are spot on, this is abstract and I’m undecided but I fall on the side of brilliance. 8/10

Single of the Week

Gravenhurst – Trust
Trust marks the return of singer songwriter Nick Talbot, taken from his forthcoming album The Western Lands. Lyrically its bitterness overshadows a tune which is probably his most commercial to date, then again when you make See My Friend a seven minute epic, any three minute song with a slight balance of the more subtle and chirper sound is always going to appear that way. Trust also stands out live, whilst most of the back catalogue apart from the Velvet Cell seem experiments in the human mind, Trust gages a more melancholy feeling and will possible appeal Talbot to the masses, well to a further audience at least. 9/10

My Vitriol - A Pyrrhic victory (Ep)
Fucking hell, new material from My Vitriol it suddenly came out of the blue. After what seems five years, it’s probably even more, and with Finelines forgotten in a distance how come this took so long. Well does it matter, My Vitriol are currently filling the gap left by the now dollar sucking cock rock Cooper Temple Clause had become, oh they’ve split, sadly probably for the best. War of the Worlds is a cold statement of intent, and Toy Soldiers has a revitalised feeling a victory of sorts, a victorious return. 9/10

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mac Review Number 14

Ever woken up with the sudden urge to listen to a classic, the urge gets more desperate due to the fact you don’t actually own it. That was me, this morning. Whilst the rest of humanity sleeps, I search for the Old red eyes is back by the harmless Beautiful South, you may ask, why such a man with masterful music taste would love such a song, well lets just say it’s fate. Hurrah, The Band for the blog is back with stars “Windmill”, so is the Ones to watch featuring “I was a Cub Scout”, and if that’s not all, the first part of the best Glastonbury review. This review doesn’t cost two pound fucking ten, by the way Kula Shaker are back, more on that next week, I can hear the groans already.

Ones to Watch

I was a Cub Scout:-

With two singles gone and passed I was a Cub Scout (Oh why do I pick bands with long names) are becoming sighted, acknowledged and loved. It isn’t surprising the debut single I Hate nightclubs is a sublime slice of pop delivered in an almost despairing, yet utterly cute voice. The recent single Pink Squares develops on the predecessor, and leads with an utterly haunting yet enlighting vocal, over the top is abrasive pop at it’s best, you may have dissed that pop could be so life affirming, this is, it’s real pop then again, is it pop?

Band from the Blog


The mournful tones that hit you, the decadent feeling, and the sparse overtures that lap from the Windmill’s most recent album Puddle City Racing Lights could caress the most stone of hearts into mush. Mostly based round main protagonist Matthew Thomas Dillon (Yes, all greats share something in common), Windmill have a support cast of many on and off the road. A voice with a heart is the first cornerstone that strikes you, but Dillon with his cast, control’s a sound which is startling to hear and possibly special to watch. Much like a certain Daniel Johnston in voice, Windmill hold a higher more prestige quality, no lacklustre demo’s just beautiful searing noise.

Off The Record/On the Road

Glastonbury Friday – Pt 1:-
Wednesday passed into Thursday, and storms passed over the site, yes folks we had mud, we had bands but most of all we discovered fun for 5 days. It was Glastonbury, so we didn’t care for the most part it rained, however with over 20 bands over three blinding days this is just some of what went on.
My Glastonbury opened with the sound chimes of Reverend & the Makers, I was never willing to watch such a shower, and as on time the heavens opened, preventing myself from trekking down (this wouldn’t be the first time). The Cribs were the first band to be witnessed on the other stage, during which the rain for some oblique reason stopped, slanting but never starting to the relief of many, it would rain soon after those cheeky scamps left, a fuzzy yet completely tuneless set was still lapped up, they aren’t bad, I suppose. A rush back to the tent for the most important of items, a poncho, then across to “The Park” for the delightful cheekiness of Los Campesinos, as the rain pelted down, the summery excitement of the former one’s to watch was a delight, as the singer admitted he would even be watching Modest Mouse. A quick stroll caught a cameraman fetish featuring the delightful Mouse with guest Mr Marr on guitar, the older generation guessed it slightly weird, the younger generation told to buy wellies, this was random but funky all the same.

Bright Eyes followed in a subdued set which included many of the slower less powerful songs on his most recent album, and thus lacking the acquired power to be overly impressive, and was seen later rocking out to Super Furry Animals, but then again in the strong impressive crowd who wasn’t. With a mix of the sublime and well ridiculous, the sun appeared and everything was perfect with Gruff Rhys on top form.

The very first visit to the main stage proved to be lacklustre, though Bloc Party put a stern performance in, the crowd lacked any punch and the words boring came across my lips, certainly not a festival band, well not one on a main stage. On the way back Wainwright was ripping into a tuneful set, but tired legs needed resting and a recharge for later.

Never the biggest fan of Arcade Fire, I decided it would be time to view the majestic and harrowing live show, it was good, slightly short and some of the songs risked being lost with the poor sound. Nevertheless, I’ve been more intrigued to hear more and more I shall. Four Tet started late, and I left early, though intriguing the set came and went without much input and finally, after waiting over three years to witness, I would finally gaze upon Gravenhurst for the first and not the last time at the festival, sublime and with a crowd pleaser and firm favourite he lay bare his soul and closed Friday, on a high.

The Mac Chart:-

10) Cute – Colonopenbracket
9) Kill The Director – The Wombats
8) Hummer - Foals
7) Must Be The Moon - !!!
6) Fluorescent Lights - Windmill
5) Twilight of the Innocents - Ash
4) I Hate Nightclubs - I Was a Cub Scout
3) Its Getting Boring By the Sea – Blood Red Shoes
2) I Will Survive – Art Brut
1) Just Like Peter Cook - Korova

Album Reviews

Ash – Twilight of the Innocents

The last album from the cliché ridden three piece Ash the fault lying not with the band but the fault of lazy journalism. After the lukewarm American rock of Meltdown, the sceptics, me included had mostly written off Ash. Strange, because this record papers over the past, and uses many of Ash’s strengths and delves into new avenues to produce an enjoyable and occasionally brilliant album. Twilight of The Innocents tops off a record with such a flawless and beautiful melody. Polaris is useless yet Palace of Excess is Nucleartastic. Blacklisted sounds very pumpkinesque yet holds ground, Shattered Glass is fresh and End of the World is melancholy in its nod to the rock gods. Wheeler was wrong when he said no one makes good albums anymore, for this is a return to form, which sadly will signal a swansong. 8/10

Strange Death of Liberal England – Forward March
What, an album already! Yes Strange Death of Liberal England need an impact, for they eat 5p pasta, while there records sell in small qualities (Probably not true, more like 13p). The 5 piece who the NME have dismissed as Arcade Fire wannabes (Not actually witnessed most probably), have been garnering some respectable critical acclaim and Forward March, the first album showcases many a hidden gem. Mozart on 33 is stunning in its recorded glory and the singles Oh Solitude and A Day another Day are as good on record as off. Tip it off with I Saw Evil with it’s jaggedness and desperation then you have one hell of a record, which sits well in heaven too. 9/10

Smashing Pumpkins – Zeitgeist
They are back, well the name and at least two of them, Corgan & Chamberlain are joined by two notable no-marks, though this is no doubt, Pumpkins. Tracks such as Doomsday Clock rock out for more for the sake of it, rather than any justified reason yet the tracks such as the Zwanesque That’s the Way and the brilliant Bring The Light with and a rock out middle has you wondering if this is a good, or a really good Pumpkins record. I regret that it’s an enjoyable not the best, however it’s a return and better than anything Corgan’s been peddling for years. 7/10

Other albums:-
Air Traffic/Fractured Life – Like the Borough of Christchurch 8/10
Velvet Revolver/Liberated – Yawnathon 2/10
Ryan Adams/Easy Tiger – Back In Leather 9/10
The Enemy/We Live & Die In These Towns – With this you will 2/10
The Editors/An End Has A Start – Just Dull 2/10
Art Brut/It’s A Bit Complicated – Eddietastic 9/10

Single Reviews

Brett Anderson – Back To You
Probably Anderson’s highlight of his solo career, and yet it doesn’t appear on his most recent solo album. Anderson on this record seems stuck on an infinite quest to recover some of the credit he lost due to the earlier lacklustre album. Back to You seems very much in the mould of his self titled album, yet it’s more homely, more uncomfortable and less safe. Back to You should of spearheaded, not tail ended the album, and for this it makes the song even more special 8/10

Bright Eyes – Hot Knives
Hot Knives tells of a speculative tale of partial importance, a discovery that breaks many a heart and the realisation that we rely on just a myth, a story that was told some years after it had happened. It’s one of the spunkier tunes on Cassadaga, and proves Oberst is a man of talent, who can not only connect with his own thoughts but the thoughts of events around him, which is remarkable, poetry with power 9/10

Other Singles:-
Electric Soft Parade/Misunderstanding – Misunderstood 7/10
Hours/Ali in the Jungle – Repeat, Release, Retire 2/10
Bishops/The Only Place Is Down – Indeed 4/10
Bloc Party/Hunting for Witches – Glasnost 7/10
Travis/Selfish Jean – Sharing for all 7/10
Kings of Leon/Fans – Appalling Fans 5/10

Mac Review Number 13

Off The Record/On The Road – Strange Death of Liberal England
Strange Death of Liberal England stared out shouting, almost preaching the words to such a motley crue of wayfarers and caught in headlight strays. This is Bournemouth, home to the occasional music fan, but mostly made of scenesters who on a day like this would prefer to stay in, for the rain may destroy their brutally fashioned hair. Yet I stray, Strange Death of Liberal England don’t deserve such stray talk, for they embody what is great and what is good about music. The haunting vocals swooned across the room, and being within feet of the band, I felt the force of such idyllic tunes, entwined with such craft, such perfection, such energy, such atmospherics, such anger, such poise, such balance and such creativeness. Mozart on 33 was haunting even from the opening strums, the placards had appeared moments before, this wasn’t quite what I was expecting, yet I wasn’t sure what to expect. The name suggests intelligence, and these five from Portsmouth held that with every song, nothing sounded on repeat, no chord was wrong, yet as the set closed and as the band seemed hell bent on destruction, this became apparent, I had searched for a band like this for sometime, they had arrived, like Moses from some other religious saviour, they spoke with words and actions, with placards and with the heart, truly something different in the most different of places. I Saw Evil the set closer, ripped it’s heart out and showed the crowd, it seemed to have converted several, they certainly converted me.

O.T.W – Yo Chomsky
Something always suggests you may enjoy a band, may even love a band. There will always be an inclination, whether it be the name, the tune or the general attitude or attire, there will always be a hook that drags you in. That is certainly the case with Yo Chomsky, a five piece electro/pop troupe from the darkness outskirts of Nottingham, proclaimed by the BBC as the saviours from the metal reputation Nottingham holds, big words have been spoken. The scruffiness of the demo’s only hint at something special, but the hint is strong enough to suggest more. Whether the abrasive electroness of “Watching Thomas Dolby” or the acoustic harshness of “A Weekend in Hatfield”, they a highlight a golden spark, that they could offer more than the complete package. But they do show a wackiness and invention, a control, a youthfulness, which cannot to be kept quiet, they have a name, they have creativity and they want to make pop, cool again.

The Mac Chart –

1) Must Be The Moon - !!!
2) Hummer - Foals
3) You, Me Dancing – Los Campesinos
4) Fucking Boyfriend – The Bird & The Bee
5) Mozart on 33 – The Strange Death of Liberal England
6) The Next Untouchable – Cajun Dance Party
7) Fluorescent Lights - Windmill
8) Starman – Golden Smog9) The Northern Cobbler – Crippled Black Phoenix10) Send Away The Tigers – Manic Street Preachers

Album Reviews

Crippled Black Phoenix – A Love of Shared Disasters
This delicious piece of decadence, coated with strings and striking with the most emotional yet subtle sounds that could drag forever across a universe, seems somewhat at odds with the current climate. With a track such as “Northern Cobbler”, which revisits a time, this modern world has forgotten. Or the sheer sadness of “I’m Almost Home”, the impact that haunts these songs hook inner emotions, only felt with the passing of something, so close and yet so distant, the soundtrack to saying goodbye. 9/10

Nina Natashia & Jim White – You Follow Me
After the snooker, what was Jim to do, well his first forays into music show signs of promise, sadly this is not the legend of our Jimmy, neither is it legendary. The country tinge and the sweetness of Natashia’s vocals are occasionally haunting, But You Follow Me sounds undeveloped, it seems like a smattering of ideas on a page, never willing once to come together, as several slices of brilliance it’s creative, as one piece it’s a mess. 5/10

Single Reviews

Sky Larkin – Summit
For a single, this has no aim, no objective, it has no strategy or wit, no hook, no catch, It simply isn’t a single. However it’s good, it’s a subtle, yet rock out tune full of emotion, and has a whispery seductiveness like a cherry bakewell, a time lord would search a universe for this, and come home empty and alone. 8/10

Modest Mouse – Dashboard
Probably the most poppy slice of music from the latest long player by Modest Mouse, it includes the stylistics of Mr Johnny Marr, but you’d be hard pressed to know. Dashboard is subtle and direct, mostly a contradiction of what Modest Mouse are about, however it deserves to appear on the radio, on the dashboard of course, yeah don’t give up the comedy classes yet. 9/10

Los Campesinos – You, Me Dancing
Much like the pure pop of the debut single, You Me Dancing has the sing-along, shout-along’s, which are common with the campesino sound. Yet unlike the darker more sinister debut, this has hit written on it. From the bang bang of glockenspiel to the chirp chirp of the duel vocals, it’s summer, it’s smashing, and it’s great. 9/10

Mac Review Number 12

O. T. W – Enid Blitz
The website resembles a blitz of sorts, luckily the music doesn’t. Having released two self financed EP’s, which include such summary shocks as “Day To Day”, with a obvious knack for tune addiction, and “Doctor Doctor”, which is a jaggy slag of refreshment in a humdrum society of blandness. A four piece, with an obsession from the stony seaside of Brighton, Enid Blitz include several strings to their arsenal of weapons.

They have quirkiness, something that says fuck it, we’re good, almost like it’s meant to happen. The beauty and the solitude encapsulated in the vocals alongside the happiness in the tunes seem somewhat at odds, yet it’s modest, and almost makes you want to decamp and move along the coast to Brighton. It seems like its happening and with Enid Blitz, it should be happening really soon.

Album Reviews

Manic Street Preachers – Send Away the Tigers
Nicky, Nicky, shouted a fan girl, much is granted in rock music, and however the Wire’s attire is not. Is ‘Send Away the Tigers’, a fake, a phoney, well not quite. The title track sweeps with aplomb, and the two rocky fuckers ‘Imperial Bodybags’, and ‘Rendition’, retain some bite whilst adding humour. This is however not quite the return to the past, more a fill between ‘Everything Must Go’ & ‘Generation Terrorists’, it seems to hit the high as well as the low notes, but it’s solid, it’s blatant, it’s dumb punk fun, and they are loving it, and who can begrudge these eldest rockers that. 8/10

Help She Can’t Swim – The Death of Nightlife
Swimming aimlessly around for a few years, this Brighton four piece are still young enough, yet they return with much of the same. However unlike the debut, ‘The Death of Nightlife’ fits more in tune with today’s scene. “Pass the Hat Around” gives a maudlin feel to the opener, and “Think the Tapes Stopped” is a brilliant sarcastic duet between the two vocalists. They are still angsty, still entertaining, and the break has done them well. 7/10

Rufus Wainwright – Release the Stars
Since Want 1 & Want 2, Rufus has become quite the name, through his outlandish style to the sentiments settled on the previous two albums, Wainwright has along with his sister, exploded upon an unexpected but excited public. And so “Release The Stars” arrives with something of a change, gone are the misjudged lyrics and arrive are tunes, and tunes plenty. An attack on social America seems to flow throughout, yet the demanding Wainwright seems to fashion every song to include something, nothing seems filler, its beauty is arched in sadness, and this is a true American living in today’s society. 9/10

Battles – Mirrored

A progression from the EP’s of last year, Battles have stepped up and delivered one of the weirdest yet melodic albums of the year, tracks such as ‘Race: In’, set a rather fierce, almost obtuse angle to the record while recoiling in the shadows are pieces like “Bad Trails”. It lacks little, yet you sometimes wonder if too much is happening, however, a few listens and you believe the substance out numbers the worry, per se it’s quality wanes slightly in certain area’s, but Mirrored is ingenious of it’s time, subtle yet heavy, heartfelt yet lost, beautiful yet messy. Genius. 8/10

Yacht – I Believe In You. Your Magic Is Real
The album kicks off with a very sublime Andrew Bird style song, however that’s were the similarities end. Electro/funk/beats, and dare I say rock music appears on this, an ecliptic mix of styles. If Mika had idea’s and talent this is something what he could achieve, in fact you sometimes wonder upon staring at the CD inlay, if in fact it is Mika, however it isn’t, it’s quality, Radio 2 wouldn’t dare play this. 7/10

Mac Review Issue 11

Cajun Dance Party

Maybe you’ve heard the single, or maybe you’ve realised that you do have paedophile tendencies, Ok they aren’t that young after all, but what is shocking is how good they are. Daniel Blumberg, the front man, has a brilliant way with words, and the cuteness of the band doesn’t stop there. Thrilling live, and energy a plenty, the new single “The Next Untouchable” is a slice of pop genius which has been getting Steve Lamacq quite in a flutter (what a sight). They could be scamps from Skins, or just another five college mates in a band, yet you don’t get exciting pop beats from just anyone. Grand statements are being made, and though they are far too young, you would be silly to back against them, so let’s get partying.
The Mac Chart

1) The Next Untouchable – Cajun Dance Party
2) Fucking Boyfriend – The Bird & the Bee
3) Backfire at the Disco – The Wombats
4) The 2nd Great Depression – Manic Street Preachers
5) Fashion Parade – Misty’s Big Adventure
6) Cartoon Blues – Bright Eyes
7) Cherry Ghost - Mathematics
8) Foals - Hummer
9) Derek Jarman’s Garden – Nicky Wire
10) Fuck It I Love You – Malcolm Middleton

Album Reviews

Dntel – Dumb Luck

Dumb Luck is ironic in title, firstly it features many of the generation’s greatest songwriters, yet seems to lack any kind of song writing know-how. Secondary the fusion between tracks is woeful and lacking any idea, the beats are amateur, and the whole process seems to be trying too hard. However their are highlights on this record, firstly the vocals of Jenny Lewis are harmonic to the point of beauty, and To a Fault is sublime, but mostly it fails, sadly. 6/10

The Bishops – The Bishops
My ding a ling, my ding a ling. Oh hello, welcome to the 21st century in which all bands retread some generation’s music. Some of this however sounds quite modern, which I thought was impossible for The Bishops, who on previous singles seem to be stuck in 1963. They have the odd catchy song, and I have to admit the production has improved them immensely, however they are after all still your average indie band, still though, better than the Kaiser Chiefs. 4/10

The Twilight Sad – Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters
Don’t judge an album by its cover, the drastic horror of its cover illuminates to an album full of beauty and sorrow. Its power and intensity is a draw as well as its style and content, it’s a delve into the inner workings of a group on the edge, much as the cover suggests, this is about rejection, heartache and struggle. It battles those wars on its terms, and I would like to think, it won. 8/10

Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare
Poetry apparently, this is the new Arctic Monkeys album, Brian Storm is all well and good but the lyrics are poor. The second album sounds pretty banal, as with the first, and your favourite worst nightmare must mean a reference to your favourite band retreading the first album. Dull as dishwater without anything inspirational, is this an act of arrogance, or have they generally no ideas. 4/10

Other Albums
Kings of Leon/On Call – Parking Ticket 2/10
Nine Inch Nails/Year Zero – Too Soon 5/10
Mark Ronson/Version – Hit & Miss 5/10
Two Lone Swordsmen/Wrong Meeting – Right Time 8/10
Electric Soft Parade/ No Need to Be Downhearted – Hurt Inside 7/10
Thee More Shallows/Book of Bad Breaks – Breaking Up 7/10
The Switches/Heart Turned D.E.A.D – Signs of Life 7/10

Single Reviews

Foals – Hummer
No hook, no line, and this track will never sinker. The Foals are as interesting on record as their exhilarating live shows. Ironically this is no hummer, yet it’s catchy and it’s danceable to fuck, yes fuck. Sprightly kicking over the competition the Foals win on points score. 9/10

The Enemy
The most interesting thing to say about this record is that the singer looks like an ugly Mark E Smith. Furthermore, other bits of knowledge include they are from Coventry, and they are speaking from their broken working class hearts. Indeed, if I was The Manics, I would get them as support. Oh apparently they have, the records fucking awful mind. 1/10

Travis – Closer
Gone are the political leanings, and a move back to the dull as dishwater songs of the past. Closer is the new single from Travis, and slating Travis is like throwing sticks at a Tory Mp. Upsetting as it is, it is needed in fact its imperative that it happens, this is god awful bland boring sentimental wank. 1/10

Other Singles

1990’s/See you At – Lammo Look-alike 7/10
BRMC/Weapon of Choice – Library 4/10
Ash/You Can’t Have It All – Pure Pop 7/10
Field Music/She Can Do What She Likes – Bouncing Beauty 7/10
Strange Death of Liberal England/A Day Another Day – Fight Back 9/10
Daniel Johnston/Death of Satan – Casio R.I.P 4/10
Mika/Love Today – No Maybe Tomorrow 1/10

Sunday, March 11, 2007

More About The "Racist" Tory


Mr Clarke told BBC One's Sunday AM show: "There's nothing that Patrick said actually that was remotely offensive or racialist.

Apart from Mercer suggesting that black people are idle and useless and that they use racism to protect themselves.

I don't think anybody should ever see Patrick Mercer as a racist. If there is an opposite of racist, that's Patrick."

Nah the opposite of a racist would not suggest some black people use the racism card as cover for being idle or useless.

Last week, Mr Mercer, who spent 25 years in the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters regiment, said in a Times interview: "If someone is slow on the assault course, you'd get people shouting: 'Come on you fat bastard, come on you ginger bastard, come on you black bastard.'"

The fact he suggested that others that shouted such crass remarks remain in the army is pretty sad. Apparently he claims his demotion was because of political correctness, However i woudld suggest he take a long look at himself, his character and his remarks and actually realise what he said is very very wrong.

These remarks coupled with the remarks made by Davis & Clarke suggest, that you cannot teach a dog new tricks.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Wenger Whines Away

What a terrible 11 days for Arsenal and Mr Wenger in particular, after the challenge on four fronts, the brilliant football plaudits and the exciting young squad, Arsenal have sank.

They say there are no easy games in football, but for Arsenal they must of surely hoped for at least a victory last night. However their style of football and the substance of creativity let the side down again. Arsenal for three seasons have been one of the most exciting teams to watch yet they regularly fail to score the scrappy goals. A recent example of total football being a success to watch yet a failure is Holland, stunning match after stunning match put the Dutchmen at the pinnacle of football yet failure to ever grasp the World Cup left a bitter taste among many of the Dutch public.

For Arsenal to win trophies, maybe they need to be more complete and less "total".

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Chat with Billy Bragg Part 2

“The Progressive Patriot”, the first book by Billy Bragg the novelist has warmly received by critics and lovers alike. In this second part I discussed with Billy the culture and politics that aligned the modern world and asked him what he felt it was to be English.

Do you think Englishness is important and why?
“Yeah I do, Identity politics seems to have come to the front with the debate around Immigration, I think things such as the veil are linked to the persons own rights, I’m not a big fan of it but it’s the persons own decision to decide whether to wear it or not in the end. It’s not the governments and it’s certainly not a papers. I feel it’s also important to create a better more understanding society to be English is not about kings and queens and battles centuries ago, it’s about a fair and open society and treating people in the proper a respectful way.

How would you reclaim such an idea as Englishness?
(Smiling) “I would buy it all up and put it in a big sack, seriously I think setting an identity around a set of values and engaging with each other. We need a debate and a discussion based around human rights, but a proper and intelligent debate not a pandering to one side debate.”

What Qualities would you describe as being English?
“I feel that one of the very few qualities that are English or belong to Englishness are qualities like fairness, you can find fairness throughout English history such as the welfare state and immigration this is the kind of qualities we should be patriotic about not some war that happened centuries ago.”

Are the Unions still important in today’s capitalist dominate society?
“Very important, they are our only defence against the capitalism and multinational globalisation that as you said seems to be dominate in today’s world.”

How should the Union appear in the 21st century?
“The union should appear as being straight and to the point, they need to appear modern and more out there, they were they in Barking when the BNP was trying to whip up the tensions in the area, and they were out there with these bands forcing the message home.”

Is it important to get involved in a union?
“Almost essential I always stand up for the unions after all they stood up for me.”

How do you feel about Labour or New Labour as they call themselves now?
“I don’t agree with the name or the agenda that Tony has taken upon himself, I don’t want and the country doesn’t need a New tag to tell them, they need to be convinced through the polices that this is a version of Labour that is modern.”

And what about Gordon Brown?
“Well he’s a great idea, but he is only that because he is not Tony, we’ll see until then he is only a great idea.”

Why do you think the country is apathetic towards politicians and politics?

“Couldn’t give a fuck about apathy, It doesn’t exist. The thousands who marched on that anti war march showed that this country wasn’t apathetic, and the ones who marched in various towns showed the government they weren’t apathetic. The public have become cynical about this government and politics in general, they are never allowed to debate or it seems to put there arguments forward, people sadly have lost believe.”

How is the Billy Bragg different from the Billy Bragg 20 years ago?
“He is more interested in activism than interested in playing songs, hence the book being written and so forth. The Billy today feels that there is more to activism yet he will still continue to write don’t worry (smiles).”

Do you still like touring and writing music?
I still get a buzz when I go out on the road, now I have a family I sometimes before tour wonder if leaving my family is the right thing but once I get out there I realise this is the best job in the world in fact it’s not a job. (Grinning) I love it and I get paid for it, what a lucky bugger I am (laughs).

What is the meaning behind the book “The Progressive Patriot”?
“Basically it’s to justify and mix the two ideas, to go forward with the traditional idea. To reconcile tradition with radicalism, to live in the present while looking both to the past and the future.”

What do you feel about Journalism?
“Good journalism can be positive for everyone, agenda setting journalism without it’s positives is a dangerous path we need not to go down.”

How do you see yourself politically?
“I see myself as one man trying to reform the system for a better society with rights and freedoms and not economics.”

Do you think Literature is still important as apposed to the celebrity culture and television in educating us?
“I believe that they are more important than ever before and it’s books and not music or some other idealistic item. Hugo Chavez didn’t wave a clash album about, he waved a book around by Chomsky about that sky rocketed to the top of Amazons best sellers list…..I wish he’d wave my book about.” (Laughs)

And the final question, what do you feel about the environment?
“It’s the biggest issue in mankind’s history, it’s the one thing we all have to address at some point in the near future, if we don’t address it unlike Englishness or immigration this could mean the end of the world. Maybe the next book should be how to convince China.”

Top 40 Albums of 2006

40) Morrissey – Ring Leader of the Tormentors
Fun and Frolicking Morrissey Style

39) Roddy Woomble – My Secret Is My Silence
Folk at its most heart rending

38) Flaming Lips – At War With the Mystics
A debate between acid and our world

37) Bardo Pond – Ticket Crystals
Lushful and lustful

36) Whitest Boy Alive - Dreams
Alive with ideas

35) Joanna Newson – Ys
Poetic between the pitiful

34) Math & Physics Club – Math & Physics Club
Ballistic pop and breezy poetics

33) Ed Harcourt – The Beautiful Lie
Confrontational with his demons

32) The Research – Breaking Up
Wonderfully Lo-Fi

31) Adem – Love & Other Planets
Adem’s exploration into space

30) Psapp – The Only Thing I Ever Wanted
A scapegoat for solitude

29) Hope of the States – Left
Barbaric in noise

28) Pure Reason Revolution – The Dark Third
Mystically magnificent

27) Dirty on Purpose - Hallelujah Sirens
Heartfelt In Sorrow

26) James Dean Bradfield – The Great Western
Pop & Roll Music

25) Me without You – Brother, Sister
A sunshine beam across the dark night sky

24) Roger O Donnell – Truth in Me
Challengingly distant

23) Working for Nuclear City – Working For a Nuclear City
Harmonious and Haunting

22) Seth Lakeman – Freedom Fields
Explaining Americana, Separating Myth

21) Sparklehorse – Dreamt Light Years In The Belly of a Mountain
Crazy, zany destruct to construct

20) The Long Blondes – Someone to Drive You Home
“Someone to drive you home” the debut record from the Long Blondes is built from the art rock perspective. Descriptive and sarcastic while at the same time purveying the model idea of Britain’s bored youth.

19) Liam Frost & the Slowdown Family – Show Me How The
Heartbreaking in its natural deliverance Frost is a modern day saint a man who delivers a message that isn’t peppered in positive spin. Things are far from perfect in this world and Liam Frost knows this well. His powerful poetry is a stark and honest message in the world of bullshit, long may he continue.

18) Larrikin Love – The Freedom Spark
Gypsy punk tales of outsmarting Mr Blair and simple but effective love stories on all sorts of weird and wonderful characters. The child like imagination of Larrikin Love’s chief writer is Barrett style in its ideology and warm in its delivery, exciting and amazing.

17) Gomez – How We Operate
From the opening drums down to the chilled rather retro blues, Gomez returned to writing tunes on this sixth album and first proper release for ATO records. The break from Sony and the American live has rejuvenated what was becoming a band that lacked ideas, from the sing along of “See The World” and the sweet “Girlshapedlovedrug” this is up with Bring It On.

16) The Format – Dog Problems
Beach boys sounding fun and poignantly delivered summery songs are warm and infectious. Between Kweller and Folds sits The Format banging out tune after tune of heart aching tunes of love and loss, superb.

15) De Rosa - Mend
Sceptical in its Americana De Rosa’s darkness delivers a beautifulness which also suggests commerciality. De Rosas fragility in vocals set back to the most catchiness of indie songs establishes a path for the future which will have to developed.

14) Northern & Western – The Gilded Age
Arousing in its mixture of scenario and scenery folk that’s far from crusty, country that is far from dull and the most luscious mix of vocals to deliver a style all of there own. Americana at it’s most breathless.

13) My Latest Novel – Wolves
Sweet vocals sung over an alluring and delightful mix of elegant sounds “Wolves” is fresh and invigorating it’s what Idlewild would be able to create if they could play it’s charming it’s exciting and it’s only the start.

12) Cat Power – The Greatest
Cat Power on this her second record crafted a feeling that showed how fragile the human mind was and how bleak the bottom of a bottle can be. Yet the imagery and captivating capture of her world is so bleak and honest it’s a piece on which the heavy heart is laid down bare.

11) Mystery Jets – Making Dens
Having arrived as a 5 piece from eel pie album and a love of all things floydesque 2006 saw the debut album bursting with an energy rarely seen. Jams galore and ideas a plenty “Making Dens” allowed the Mystery Jets to experiment further the second album should be no struggle.

10) Nicky Wire – I Killed The Zeitgeist
Brash, intelligent, heart-warming sometimes sad sometimes startling brilliant “I Killed the Zeitgeist” contains some of the most emotional songs committed to tape not polished not recorded and rerecorded just one take or two and then finished, A genius of a record.

9) Ben Kweller – Ben Kweller
Subtle in its message and warming in its heart, Ben Kweller’s third album returns the beauty of his debut. Full of melody and optimism Kweller in his simple but meaningful way brings his heart to the fore in some of the most honest songs this year.

8) Plus/Minus – Let’s Build A Fire
Ambient in spirit “Lets Build A Fire” speaks from the heart intently devouring the life that creeps around. A lesson in how to construct the deconstructed Plus/Minus lay hollow a air of hope in all the misery.

7) Jarvis – Jarvis Cocker
It’s NOT FUCKING PULP. This is possibly the most glaring observation on this the return of Jarvis Cocker, and also probably the most annoying thing a person could speak about the album. Hell it’s heart rending in its bitter social commentary Jarvis at least is back.

6) Andrew Bird - & the Mysterious Production of Eggs
Horrifyingly haunting and violin led Andrew Bird’s second album follows a path of mystical development and depth changing melody around the space of sixty odd minutes.

5) Victorian English Gentleman’s Club - Selftitled
Disjointed and disordered the debut from these three mortals is a collection of the chaotic and controlled. A lifetime of tunes in only 30 minutes it’s brilliant effective and simple, bang bang rock and roll up.

4) Jeremy Warmsley – The Art of Fiction
Wide eyed escapism Warmsley delievers what must be one of the debut albums of the year. The Art of Fiction has the depth and imagination that most modern music lacks. Its different in it’s hidden qualities as well as the qualities that are brought to the surface.

3) Final Fantasy – He Poos Clouds
Quite possibly the worst album title of the year if not the decade, Final Fantasy returned in 2006 with a glorious ambient vision covered in strings and solitude, beautiful within its strengths and its weaknesses.

2) iLiKETRAiNS – Progress/Reform
Epic building songs of massive scope this mini album might not count in many lists but it needs noting that Progress Reform is a cold piece with the vocals being delivered in such a sparse and detached way to leave the listener haunted by the very essence of what he is hearing.

1) Lupen Crook – Accidents Occur While Sleeping
He’s a weirdo, a freak a boy who plays in his own mind with words and phrases most of us dare to speak. Maybe but that’s doing Lupen Crook justice. He’s intelligent, strikingly bright, fragile and beautiful at the same time. His music is crafted, sentimental and vicarious, he’s a poet and he’s different.

Top 10 Singles of 2006

Top Ten Singles of 2006
10) Foals - Try This On Your Own
9) Victorian English Gentlemen's Club - Ban The Gin
8) Air Traffic - Just Abuse Me
7) Blood Red Shoes - You Bring Me Down
6) Nicky Wire - Break My Heart Slowly
5) iLiKETRAiNS - Terra Nova
4) Patrick Wolf - Accident & Emergency
3) Answering Machine - Oklahoma
2) The Headlines - A Long Process
1) Elle Milano - Swearing For Art Student