Sunday, 18 September 2011

Timothy Alexander "16/12/27"

Timothy Alexander and Diacope Records are swiftly becoming the watch words in exciting and inventive  House and Techno. The new release "16/12/27", available to buy from Monday, encapsulates the  risks and revolutions taken, enveloped with a distinctly minimalist flavour.
16/12/27 by Timothy Alexander (

The three sides of the techno triptych relate to each other as so many distant relatives in a family gathering - distinctly different with shared traits, a form of storytelling through solely electronic means. "16" is enclosed, attracting the visceral unease towards dark shadows and the noise you hear from the bedroom when you know there's nobody around. "12" is an unsettled wind looking for a current to reverse, breaking out into a vaguely tribal motif. The lighter "27" channels multiple layers of sounds and beats through increasingly tighter curves,  not so much blending into each other as assimilating.

Each track is so twisted they might as well be cousins, and married, and really into chains.

You can find out more about Diacope through their Twitter  and Timothy Alexander can be sought after at Soundclound

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Vaporous Light

New from Vaporous Light, via Akoustik Anarkhy, "The eyes of a fool​/​Isn't it a thrill".

Released on 12 September, this double release is a double exposure on the stillness of contemporary acoustic music. The "skipping, surging" first track "The Eyes of a Fool" has a travellers tale character (and for that matter, Deserter's Songs). It's short - under 3 minutes short - resembling an introduction showing its ankle through the stage curtains. The mystery is beguiling - is that a ghostly vocal at its fading conclusion, is it forming words?

"Isn't it a Thrill" (without a question mark, note the intent, it worked for The Strokes), is described by remixer Raymond Ray as "a lost gem from the Gibb brothers albeit in a distinctly lower register." There's certainly a 60s vibe here, somewhere underneath one of those new fangled motorway things given the omnipresent drone in the background. With lost spirit vocals, fading out into the gloom, you could be forgiven for thinking the collective 5 minutes is spent in the absence of light rather than any of the Vaporous variety. The lasting impression, as is so often the case with Akoustik, is one of great promise.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Arctic Monkeys - "Suck It and See"

Released 6 June 2011

Time is relative, or so we’re told. Personally, time often appears like an elderly relative, one who never takes the hints and polite coughs while rooting around the cupboards for another slice of Mr Kipling.

For Sheffield’s Arctic Monkeys, time has merrily zipped along to such an extent they sound (and not to be cruel, but look) middle aged only 5 years into their steep career ascent. “Suck It and See”, studio album four, is as mature and measured as 2006 debut “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” is furious and eccentric. More precise, and certainly more melodic than its immediate predecessor, the somewhat ill-advised “Humbug” from two years ago, “Suck It and See” captures the lads in fine musical and lyrical confidence.

Working with James Ford has brought a character to these songs that instantly recall his work with the Klaxons for their “Myths of the Near Future”. Very early on in “Brick by Brick” is an echo from “Gravity’s Rainbow” which underlines and emboldens an already nifty garage belter. The sweet “Piledriver Waltz” and wry “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair” recall the most humble balladry from the debut, the blokes-do-cry songs richly filled with linguistic charms and surprises. “You look you’ve gone from breakfast in the Heartbreak Hotel / and sat at the back room by the pamphlets and the literature” from “Piledriver Waltz” holds its own against Morrissey at his most resigned. There are countless others – the title track especially ensures Alex Turner retains his reputation as one of the best current songwriters of his generation.

Bands settle at their most comfortable – Gomez, The Coral – and here the Arctic Monkeys have a lot more in common with these bands of depth, breadth and competence than the chancers who drew up to the stage in a battered old van with over-ripe choruses. Here’s to somebody working on a new album sleeve design sometime soon, mind…

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Thomas Tantrum - "Hot Hot Summer (Remixed)"

From Southampton, the hitherto chirpy and Britpop Thomas Tantrum have undergone a make-under (a phrase no doubt coined by geometrically-faced wardrobe botherer Gok Wan) with helf from former Chew Lips soundsmith Will Sanderson. Now using the label GWAIIU, the smart-by-halves Sanderson transfers the sunlight and shine in single "Hot Hot Summer" to somewhere in Sara Lund's coldcase drawer.

Now distinctly more in the area of Shirley Manson with dubstep beats dragging themselves across the place, "Hot Hot Summer" emphasises the character of Thomas Tantrum which was always more Blonde Redhead than Blondie. Where the original brought optimism, so this brings uncertainty, but don't suppose that is a synonym for "bad". Quite the opposite; singer Megan Thomas sounds more like a siren than usual, taking the bloke of her choosing regardless of his opinions of the matter. This is a far cry from the usual relationship with magic and melody associated with them, though what spells are cast send fingers rapidly hurtling towards their website on the hunt for more.

‘Hot Hot Summer’
is released through Stranger Records on June 5th and their sophomore album, ‘Mad By Moonlight’ which also features the single ‘Sleep’ is out on June 12th.

You can hear it for yourself here and download:

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Tall Ships - "Hit the Floor"

Tall Ships' new single, out in June on Big Scary Monsters/Blood and Biscuits.

Starting their UK tour tomorrow (supporting Three Trapped Tigers), it's evident Tall Ships have caught the wind (sorry), are sailing in the right direction (really sorry) and will carry more passengers with them (just.....sorry) with the enticing new sound of single "Hit the Floor". (at least it's not "Hit the Deck")

This new one has an emphatic speed, divided into three distinct elements, each more like the sound of passing indie clubs in a speeding car than the last. There's 90 seconds of throwaway indie funk with tumble-down drums, followed by an incessant dancefloor magnet groove, concluding with a stubbornly effective cut-off chorus. It's polished as a pensioner's mantelpiece but yet retains joyous and boundless, little wonder the usual suspects are lining up to assure you all that they recommended Tall Ships to you first.

Clearly this blog is a little late to the party, though no less certain that there'll be a welcoming party at the dockside far greater in number than when they left....(Truly, truly sorry...)

Listen to new single "Hit The Floor" at Soundcloud

Tall Ships are on Facebook. Be sure to like them....

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Elbow - Build a Rocket Boys!

From Rochdale via "the man from La Mancha", the new album from Elbow is like every other with one significant difference. People have heard about them now, and from the cover of this month's NME it is Elbow's Guy Garvey, grasping a microphone and looking matter-of-factly, not a garish garbed bright young thing with lenseless specs. Mercury Music Prizes bestow mixed rewards upon recipients; Elbow found themselves playing with the BBC Concert Orchestra and having "One Day Like This" adopted as the television producers bed of choice for stirring images whenever usual choices SigĂșr Ros or Coldplay were deemed no longer de rigueur. Not at all bad - or in character - for a band previously content with relative obscurity.

Following up "Seldom Seen Kid" with what must be the equivalent of the next novel after a Booker Prize, Elbow have shrugged their shoulders and brushed off everything they are comfortable playing. It's same-but-different, more rounded, spun with observation and realism, miserable but steadfast.

There are tracks on "Build a Rocket Boys!" that venture into territories both new and familiar. "High Ideals" concludes with a drunken fumble at a Tapas bar, all bar-room pianos and brass; "The Birds" whips up hotel room jazz into an over-bearing schalger. In "Jesus is a Rochdale Girl", the observational postcard from the North is as moving and honest as anything from Cherry Ghost or Richard Hawley, and from here through "Open Arms" and "Lippy Kids" new familiar favourites for fans long-standing and recently recruited.

At their best when enjoying allowing the little things to build into a whammer of a finish, this album revels in the ascending and the simplistic co-operating. "Lippy Kids" is a title which belies its real content, the nostalgia and world-weary, dour and determined. It's the Lancastrian way of expressing hope and if there's the hint of the reverential it is subtle - "angels" are namechecked across the album, the religious and the scientific alluded in the title and choral orchestration.

There was something of the happy accident about the way in which Elbow's trajectory shot upwards, and implied hints of returning to comfortable pastures with this album cannot be denied. It is a strong album, strong in texture and content, and perhaps deliberately there are no obvious repeats of end-credit hugging anthems. Unlike Leeds' Kaiser Chiefs, whose occasional stumbles into chart-bothering struggled to exit the laden guff of their albums, Elbow know better than to surround one sure-fire bet with also-ran material. "Build a Rocket Boys!" acts as reminder and threat, as a thank-you to the Mercury and all it has allowed, but tellingly also a hat-tip to the crowds waiting for more they could recognise. It deserves as much attention and praise, though could do just as well with neither.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The Candle Thieves

Simple yet effective is back, people.

It's the age of austrity, music is rediscovering melody and none more sucessfully than The Candle Thieves. The duo - from Peterborough, never knowingly infamous for musicians unless you know otherwise - have a straight-forward, innocent side, at turns endearing and naive. "Breathing (Just For You)" is a repositining of Owl City to the shires of England and it's all the brighter for its playful charm.

The Candle Thieves spent the best part of 2010 on the road with gigs ranging from colourful toytown instrumentation at fans’ local pubs, living-rooms, kitchens and back-gardens to high-profile US support slots for Scissor Sisters, Lissie and David Gray, in-between releasing acclaimed EP ‘Sunshine And Other Misfortunes.’

With all the talk of cuts and budget constraints, why not enjoy the stripped-down simplicity of a darn-good pop song.

I don't do scores usually, so give the Candle Thieves a luminance rating of "sparkly".

"Breathing (Just For You)" is released on the 21 March.
You can find them -