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