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Today at Spotisfaction

Some of the tracks the team are enjoying most today.

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Today at Spotisfaction

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Today at Spotisfaction

Here’s a look at some of the things we’ve been listening to today:

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Autumn Tone Records

It’s amazing how you sometimes stumble across treasure by accident.

At the height of Autumn, whilst wistfully day dreaming and listening to music in my room, I considered what sounds and music best represented the leafy season. In my curiosity, I typed the words ‘Autumn sounds music’ into the search engine in the hope of finding perhaps a list of possible suggestions. Instead, what came up was a link to the recently established Autumn Tone Records, which was instantly intriguing. I set about exploring the site, and checking out the varied list of artists, until I was satisfied that it was exactly what I was looking for. I felt like a child who discovers a den whilst playing in the woods; an image quite fitting when considering the alternative and natural character to the music offered on Autumn Tone Recordings.

Following it’s creation in 2005 by the music blog Aquarium Drunkard , Autumn Tone Records, based in Los Angeles, has been host to a number of acoustic, indie, folk, harmonic, and rock outfits who have all been driven out of obscurity and into the public eye. Currently, at least ten artists are represented on the label’s main website and are all definitely worth a listen.

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The Gin and Tonic Youth! – New Times (and some thoughts)

I found this album (The Gin and Tonic Youth! – New Times) the other day and it got me thinking: why do I know far more Swedish bands than Norwegian ones? The Gin and Tonic Youth! are a Norwegian band and join Röyksopp, Casiokids and A-Ha on my list of good Norsk bands. I’m half Norwegian and my natural dislike for Swedes makes me upset that I can think of a far greater number of Swedish bands – The Concretes, Radio Dept, Jose Gonzalez, The Tallest Man on Earth, The Hives, Ace of Base to name but a few.

Can anyone tell me any good Norwegian bands? And I don’t want metal bands like Turbonegro. I know about them; my cousin’s into them and I’m not. Or if you don’t want to help me, just check out the album I started off by mentioning. And check out this vid:

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Dubstep Warz on Mixcloud

Just listening to this Mixcloud of Mary-Anne Hobbs’ legendary Dubstep Warz Breezeblock show back in ’06. Hobbs has always been pushing new electronic music and her influence in helping Dubstep to the forefront of the British music scene was immense, and this show was pivotal. Amazing mix, get it done!

 

 

 

 

Update. You want a sign of how Dubstep has ‘made it’? Check out the breakdown in Britney Spears leaked new single. That’s right, Dubstep is ‘the cool breakdown section’ in Britney Spears new track.

Britney Spears – Hold It Against Me

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Cloudkicker

I don’t know who Amy is, but maybe I should love her too:


Cloudkicker – Amy, I Love You

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FEATURE: Spotisfaction’s Albums of 2010

Hi folks. It’s been a wonderful, insightful and sometimes strange year in the life of Spotisfaction, and it’s now time to wind-down and get ready for the Christmas period. We’ll be taking a bit of a break until the New Year, but will be back in full force come January! Before we leave you, though, here are our staff picks for 2010’s best albums.

Have a lovely, safe and relaxing holiday and catch you next year!

Dave and the Spotisfaction team.

Woody:
Perfume Genius – Learning

It has been a toughie to pick the album of the year. There were so many brilliant releases, some of which I still haven’t digested properly, but also nothing that really changed my life. So it had to come down to which album I loved from start to finish and for me, Perfume Genius Learning was pocket aces. It’s a hauntingly beautiful record. Learning has an honesty and fragility which, even after months of obsessive plays, hasn’t lost its poignancy. It wouldn’t win feel good hit of the year by a long shot, however it more than deserves to be a contender for album of the year.

Kev:
Broken Bells – Broken Bells

I’ve put a lot of thought into what I think is my album of the year as there are some very strong contenders with albums like High Violet by The National, Spirit Youth by The Depreciation Guild, Forgiveness Rock Record by Broken Social Scene, Infinite Arms by Band Of Horses and The Suburbs by Arcade Fire, to mention just a few, all released this year.

However the one album I find myself keep going back to time and again is Broken Bells by Broken Bells. When I first heard about a collaboration between musician and producer Danger Mouse and The Shins front man James Mercer I was intrigued. Danger Mouse has a bit of a history of getting the most out of an odd mix of musicians but would he be able to do the same with the notoriously introverted Mercer? The answer is quite simply yes as it turns out that these two are a perfect match. What you end up with is something a bit livelier than The Shins and has some of the standard Danger Mouse touches which pushes Mercer’s sumptuous yet melancholic songcraft forward to create a haunting yet captivating experience. It’s rare that you can find something so brooding that is so appealing. It’s an odd mix but it works together so well to create one of the most outstanding debut albums I have heard in years.

Moggy:
Sleigh Bells – Treats

Well this qualifies as my album of the year mainly because it is the only one from this year that I’m still consistently listening to. My one year old seems to like it too. Anyway onto actual reasons. The whole Noise Pop thing is new to me and I think I like it. That distorted, fuzzy style best heard at absurdly ear bleeding levels mixed with Alexis Krauss’ frequently delicate vocals creates a highly pleasing mix. The album is all good, if not especially varied, but stand out tracks include Riot Rhythm and Crown On The Ground. The first because of the feeling that someone went to an American high school pep rally and turned it up till the speakers broke and the latter for its remarkable catchy tune. All in all I think this album is the mutts nuts. Well if someone kicked the buggery out of the poor dogs nuts.

James TAE:
Foals – Total Life Forever

2010 has, I feel confident in saying, being an exceptional year for releases. Indeed I had a ‘short’list of 25 albums that I found it very hard to choose between. The album I decided upon, Foals’ Total Life Forever, was for me an album that edified the potential I knew this band had, but felt they’d failed to capture on their debut album. The maturity and songwriting chops on this album, and the amount I’ve listened to it, meant it had to be my album of 2010.

Embracing a warmth they deliberately shunned on the first album – when their first choice producer Dave Sitek made their songs, apparently, sound like they were ‘in the fucking Grand Canyon’ – reverb is conspicuously present on their follow up. A deeper sound, subtler textures, maturity in songwriting (double header ‘Black Gold and Spanish Sahara’ showing their ability to control flow and dynamics in a way robotically obliterated on their first release) shows a band growing into themselves calmly. They’re also still a phenomenal live band, including an electrifying performance at this years Glastonbury, so for me, it’s Foals this year.

Dave P:
Deftones – Diamond Eyes

For me, Deftones hit the ground running with Diamond Eyes. It’s no secret that the band have gone through some really rough times in the recent past, particularly since unreleased album Eros was shelved following bassist Chi Cheng’s horrific car accident in 2008 (an accident which has left him even now barely conscious). This rocked the band in a massive way, making the decision to carry on recording undeniably tough. So, the raw energy which is apparent in Diamond Eyes is a statement – the band are focussed, as one, and playing to their (considerable) strengths. It might be seen by some as a band playing it safe (there’s none of the experimenting in soundscapes that has been prevelant since White Pony), but for me this album is brutally heavy, intelligently written, well put-together and a massive triumph.

Ben:
The Last Dinosaur – Hooray! For Happiness

Reading the liner notes for Hooray! for Happiness (that feel more like a prologue to a book) quickly tell you the conditions of the recording and that, importantly, a computer had no place in the process. Opener ‘Every Second Is A Second Chance’ builds on reverbed guitar, fragments of saxes coming out of the distance and hushed voices that build into mess of melody, choral shouts over a flurry of instruments. It’s the perfect opener and in this respect sets the tone for what’s to come. Part song/part instrumental, never staying within one genre, the band seem to posses a wide range of influences, even throwing in some elements of swing time and prog jazz.

But it’s the moments of calm that stick out for me, like the pairing of ‘Gusts Of Wind Blowing In Different Directions’ leading into ‘Home’. The later gives us simplistic but emotive lyrics, delivered in a dart like melody, building towards a layered crescendo, accompanied in part by the gentle clicking of fingers and heavy breathing, here used as percussion. The former is staggeringly bare leading way to a hunting piano part twinkling over gentle strings, gushing with feeling. It’s the moments like this that truly reflect the warmth of this LP. You get the feel for a recording that was a spur of the moment, late night sessions that went into the early hours of the morning, a series of ‘takes’ never to be repeated; happy accidents that sound intentional. You get a sense of just a group of people getting caught in creating this sound, a group not concerned with a clinical production.

It’s creatively working within the self imposed limitations that make this such a triumph, in this case sparking from an inventive solution round a problem, not simply throwing more money at it until it gets solved. Who needs Abby Road when you have a 16 track, a loop pedal and a few late nights in a quiet suburban town?

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Is Tropical Competition Winner

Hey all, thanks for the submissions for last weeks competition to win Is Tropical’s new single. I asked you:

What was the first Kitsuné compilation, and in what year was it originally released? The first person with the right answer here, on Twitter or on Facebook will get the single! Winner revealed tomorrow.

The answer was Kitsuné Love, 2002, and the winner was Thom Lavelle. Well done Thom – the single will be winging it’s way over to you shortly!

Stay tuned for more giveaways soon.

James.

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FEATURE: Gig Rig

Howdy folks! This week has been pretty awesome for gigs – with an intense set from Sleigh Bells on Monday and a stellar performance from The National on Wednesday, which ended with an unamplified acoustic rendition of Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks.

There’s a few new gigs to add to the list this week, and the most notable one is probably the upcoming tour from White Lies, whose music is gloomy yet upbeat and sounds like a cross between Joy Division and Interpol. I’ve not seen them live before but I’ve been reliably informed they put on an impressive show.

If you fancy some old-school ska-punk to reminisce about the “good ol’ days” of the 90s music scene then tickets go on sale today for Reel Big Fish‘s UK tour.

As always, hit the link for the full up-and-coming gig listings. Enjoy your weekends!

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FEATURE: Tommorow’s Sounds Today

Hello everyone and welcome to another editions of Tomorrows Sounds Today – sorry it’s a little late, but we had a manic one at the ol’ day job yesterday. Anyway, let us welcome you in from the cold cold winter and settle you in from of our roaring fire of new and exciting music. Slip off the shoes, pop on the slippers and we’ll make you a warming mug of some tasty new albums, we might even slip in a wee dram of hot releases as its a super cold day.

My first choice this week is one which is not part of Spotify but I feel it is an important thing to raise. I try not to be a charity plugger as there are far too many out there doing too much good work and inevitably they don’t all get equal voice.

That said, I have friends in the field on active service and I’ve spent different periods of my life tied with different Army Units (it was almost a full time career choice for me) so I am a strong supporter of the work the Royal British Legion do, not just at this time of year but all year round. Political views around war aside, people are dedicating their lives on a daily basis.

http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/remembrance/the-nation-remembers/two-minute-silence

Anyway…. morale guilt trip over with, onto the normal tunage!

Weezer – Death to False Metal – This album comes very close to the latest studio release Hurley which we covered previously and whilst the songs are all ‘new’, it is not intended as a new album, although the band have professed to giving it the same energy and coverage. It acts as a collection of work spanning their careers, and all I will say is if you are a fan of Weezer already, I think there is plenty in there you will like. However, I don’t think (as you would expect from an informal, non studio release) that it will necessarily convert any non-fans. It is still a great album and worthy of mention along with their main releases, and for me at least it certainly doesn’t feel like a weak B-sides cash in attempt. For that alone they should be applauded, as that is all too easy to do these days.

The Radio Dept. – Never Follow Suit – This EP from Swedish outfit The Radio Dept. is one of an ever growing list from a band who never seem to release many albums but are always punching out the EP’s. To say never is a little unfair as there are a couple out, but EP’s seem to form the backbone. As their name might suggest, they are on the more electronic spectrum and certainly make me think of some of the 80’s electronica bands with hints of New Order, Cocteau Twins and the like. A great piece of work and worthy of the rest of their catalogue.

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FEATURE: Gig Rig

Afternoon folks! Tomorrow is the LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip gig up in Sheffield, which I’ll be going to and am getting insanely excited about. It should make for a cracking night!

There’s really not a huge amount of new live music that I’ve found to report about this week. The most notable bit of info is that tickets for the NME Awards Tour 2011 go on sale today, and I must say that the line-up is looking pretty special: Crystal Castles, Magnetic Man, Everything Everything and The Vaccines all on one stage at various locations across the UK in February next year, and I imagine tickets for these gigs will sell out quite quickly.

Esoterica are a relatively unheard of and underrated band hailing from Surrey, whose vocals and prog metal tendencies draw instant comparisons to the likes of Maynard James Keenan of Tool and A Perfect Circle fame. They’ve recently added a new London date to the end of their UK tour in December.

As always, hit the link for the full up-and-coming gig listings. Enjoy your weekends!

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FEATURE: Classics Collected

Hi everyone, and welcome to another edition of Classics Collected, where we at Spotisfaction grab our musical scuba gear and go skin diving through the deeps of the Spotify oceans searching for hidden treasure. This weeks hefty booty that we’ve managed to haul to the surface is below, and we hope you enjoy each shining, jewel encrusted example…. can I get a “yarrrrrrr?”

Portishead – Dummy – At the time trip-hop was at it’s peak, this album was an absolute blockbuster. A fantastic mix of trip hop beats, haunting vocals and musical craftsmanship. It was an album that was almost too great for its own good, and it caused the group tremendous strain trying to follow it up and produce something as successful, or that would be received in the same vein. Whilst follow up albums have also been fantastic, Dummy has never quite been beaten. Its sufficiently accessible that even if you weren’t the biggest fan of the genre you could still appreciate it.

The Specials – The Specials – Unknown to some, revered by others The Specials managed to produce some of the most innovative music of their age. Deftly weaving punk sensibilities with ska beats and twotone styles, they single handled restarted a ska revival in the late 70’s which kept going into the 80’s. This album is a shining example of what started the movement and what made them such a powerful force of their age.

Placebo – Without You I’m Nothing – Not their first album (which is also excellent), but certainly I think the album with the most impact which they have released to date. It certainly moved them as a band with a certain hype to serious contenders in terms of mainstream appeal. A little dark and melancholy in places, but musically a fantastic collection of songs.

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ARTICLE: Another Step Forward for the Misunderstood Misfits of ‘Emo’…

[Editor’s note: Our “Article” feature is for opinion pieces designed to provoke debate. Please feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comment section below. Anything you want to get off your chest? Why not submit an Article of your own!]

So, the new My Chemical Romance single is out, and has their most ridiculous title to date, the brilliantly non-sensical ‘Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)’. And following on from the epic, sprawling and, arguably, darkly misguided The Black Parade, the only thing I could think when I first saw the trailer to the new album was, “Where is this going?”

At this point I guess I should make it clear that I’m a big My Chem fan and have been following the band since just before the release of Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, their second album (first for a major label). Saying that kind of feels like an admission, like revealing “I’m an alcoholic”, and I still don’t know why, but thats a conversation for another time.

Back to ‘Na Na Na’. It’s the lead single from the band’s fourth full length effort, the fairly absurdly titled Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, and judging by the trailer and promo stuff released, it’s another concept album, albeit a slightly more upbeat one (depending on your point of view).

Upbeat is how I’d go about describing ‘Na Na Na’ as well. Starting where The Black Parade‘s ‘Teenagers’ left off, the track has a glam rock feel to it mixed with the slightly more punk sound that was promised by their take on Dylan’s ‘Desolation Row’ used on the Watchmen movie soundtrack.

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FEATURE: Tomorrow’s Sounds Today

Hello and welcome to another edition of Tomorrow’s Sounds Today, where, as always, our crack team at Spotisfaction have crossed palms with silver, tossed runes, followed black cats and polished crystal balls till our fingers were mere nubs to bring you the latest and greatest releases on the Spotify shelves.

Also I’m afraid I’d also like to have a little moan but best to get it out of the way before the good music! I’m not sure if this is a function of Spotify or their wrangling with the evils that are record executives (I have my suspicions but at the moment they are unproven), but a number of the newer releases I’ve been listening to recently are starting to have that growing trend of only including part of the full release. It can’t be my account as I’m currently running the full premium (mostly so I can listen on my iPad) so I can only assume its deliberate. My concern is that some bright spark at (x) records has decided that if we cant hear the full album on Spotify, we’ll rush to the nearest MP3 vendor or better still, the killer margin of a high street record store to buy their wares. Can I just say, if any of you are listening, no this won’t! It will make me more likely to look online for the rest of the album. Once I have made the decision to spend my hard earned on streaming services I am not buying your overpriced plastic discs! Recent articles have shown in some territories, Spotify makes more for the artist than regular sales, stop robbing us of half the album!

…. and breathe…

Onto the good stuff! This week we have a nice mix of genres for you. In the lead up to Christmas I’m sure we’ll start to see the compilations and seasonal albums ramp up, but for the moment we’re still getting normal releases thankfully!

UNKLE – Where Did The Night Fall – Opinion appears to be divided as to whether the current releases by UNKLE are as good as their early work, personally I’m a fan of all their albums but I’m sure the debate could rage in the comments section :) This album was an easy choice for me following my slightly unhealthy repeated plays of one of its tracks, Follow Me Down which reminds me of early Sneaker Pimps. This record contains some great guess artists and a good range of subtle blending of styles which for me just create a really complete sound and a really solid record. To those new to the artist, there is nothing about this record that will disappoint, but to those fans of the old, I’ll leave you to make your own minds up!

Rumer – Seasons Of My Soul – Considering the amount of coverage and hype Rumer has had, its hard not to remember this is still her debut album. Countless comparisons to the likes of Karen Carpenter are easy enough to hear in both her voice and the tunes, but at the same time these comparisons feel a little lazy. One of two of the tracks certainly seem to have been written to show that style of vocal of which she’s more than capable of, but she also has enough range to be strong on her own and not just be seen as a clone of a former favourite of the collected consciousness. This album might feel safe to some but I see it as a great example of someone playing to their strengths. It’s a perfect sunny morning, coffee and danish, feel good about yourself record and I think there are days we all need that.