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Reviews

REVIEW: Heinali & Matt Finney – Conjoined (2010 / Paradigms Recordings 2011)

Having reviewed Rumour Cubes latest EP last week and outlining my own troublesome reactions to post-rock, a new record came to my attention: Conjoined, the latest release from composer/spoken word-duo Heinali & Matt Finney.

Had I heard this record before, I may have understood my cognitive dissonance about post-rock a little better. For this dark, heavy, brooding monolith of doomgaze (not a term I coined, but utterly perfect and not a jot over-the-top) could not embody cognitive dissonance any more; paranoid, claustrophobic, and infinitely intriguing.

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News

Dreadzone to release Best Of: The Good, The Bad and The Dread

After seventeen years in the business, British dub legends Dreadzone are set to release ‘The Best of Dreadzone: The Good, The Bad and the Dread‘ on Dubwiser Records on 9 May 2011.

Having released 6 albums in their career, including last years highly successful Eye On the Horizon in April, the band have a hefty back catalogue to draw on. Classics like Zion Youth, Little Britain (a rarer vocal version is included here) and American Dread are all set to feature across the 16 tracks.

In support of the tour they’ve announced a handful of UK gigs in May, as well as being confirmed for Glade Festival 2011 in June.

Having caught them at Scala back in December, you won’t be disappointed if you pick up the album and catch the tour.

Categories
Playlists

155 Spotisfaction Friday 25/03/11 – Mike Sheldrick

Morning kids. What an awesome week we’re having, no? Some daft bugger has closed all the blinds in the office today, so I’m taking far more coffee breaks than is strictly necessary to try and wrest back some sunshine.

I went airsofting last night with some friends (think paintball, but indoors and with BBs instead of paint) and tripped whilst heroicly pegging it away from the other team… consequently I’ve completely knackered my shoulder. I’m sat here, high on ibuprofen, trying not to move. My poor wife (who is 8-months pregnant and can barely move, too) had to help dress me this morning. Oh how the mighty have fallen, eh! So, if you see me around this weekend, be gentle otherwise I might cry at you.

Anyway!

Today’s playlist is courtesy of Mighty Mike Sheldrick and is entitled Barefaced Optimism. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect here, but this whole playlist works really well. Nothing like a sunny day and some undeniably classic tunes to cheer you up! Make sure to hit the read more link to see what Mike has to say about this mix – worth reading.

Bring on the weekend.

Dave

Categories
Reviews

REVIEW: TesseracT – One (Century Media Records, 2011)

Newsflash! Djent is going mainstream – and people are pissed. You’re probably asking ‘Why are people pissed?‘ or, more likely, ‘What is Djent?‘. Our story starts almost a decade ago.

Firstly, Meshuggah did something very important indeed when they nailed the ever-increasing technical element of their brutal thrash metal on 2002’s Nothing – a record whose ‘poly-rhythmic’ chops, synonymous with more out-and-out ‘prog’ groups like The Mars Volta, became something infinitely heavier: you put it over straight drum patterns people can follow, and groove metal is born. Suddenly those ‘pretentious’ and off-kilter rhythms are just a means to discover syncopation, to hang guitar lines over steady beats and draw out the very essence of groove. THAT is heavy.

About the same sort of time, home recording technology took off, allowing a new generation of guitarists, influenced by Meshuggah, to start really playing around with these new grooves, rearranging drums parts and guitar lines endlessly, and to swap them with the growing online community at a rate of knots.

But why ‘djent’? Well, to make sure the whole thing doesn’t get sludgy and unlistenable, guitarists found they really needed to choke their guitar sounds. A consequence of this was that your usual metal power chord ends up sounding, quite literally, as a ‘DJENT, DJENT, DJENT!’. Nowadays, Djent stands for that genre of music that keeps the guitars tight, is heavily syncopated, and was probably heard online about 7 years ago.

And there, too, is the reason why people are pissed. Periphery managed to really make the big time with last years self-titled album (all the material of which was available online for donkeys years), and at a similar time, Animals As Leaders released their self-titled album seemingly out of nowhere. People are now expecting Djent to move on, but what they’re getting is a number of bands releasing that first lot of material they heard back in ’04.

Tesseract release their debut album One with opinion really split. Those that love the sound are right behind it, but you’ll find a number of people out there complaining that the material is old (not helped by vocalist changes and problems getting a label to release on). Well, no more! Let it be said right here – Tesseract are fully entitled to release the material on this album, because not only is it an exceptional body of work, nobody gets close to pulling off the atmospherics found on One.

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Reviews

REVIEW: Rumour Cubes – We Have Sound Houses Also

 

There’s something about Post-rock. I don’t know what it is. Somehow, I both love it and hate it. It’s both one of my favourite genres, and one I find most easy to deride. For instance (and post-rock purists are really going to hate me now), I can rarely tell my Mogwai from my Explosions In The Sky. It’s all just reverb guitars, rolling structure and no vocals (it really is though). Yet, and perhaps because of these limitations, when it works, it has the potential to be life-affirming – Godspeed You! Black Emperor‘s Slow Riot for New Zerø Kanada is a seminal release. Mogwai’s recent Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, and in particular tracks like White Noise, show why the genre works, why it continues to intrigue, and why it doesn’t get boring.

So new post-rock outfits sort of have it tough in trying to win me over – it has to triumph over its uniquely chastened stylings and be something quite startling indeed. With the three songs on Rumour Cubes self-produced EP We Have Sound Houses Also, triumph they have.

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News

RightClickSaveAs to play Hoxton Bar & Kitchen March 30th

I previewed RCSA back in October, and since then the boy has gone from strength to strength, working with some great producers, and getting his band together. He’s now due to play his debut headline gig at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen on 30 March – I’ve had a couple of sneak previews of the new band show, and it’s sounding absolutely superb, so I recommend getting to the show, tickets here.

In the middle of the last decade, bands like Interpol and The Killers integrated influences from the 80s – the formative decade for many artists today. Combined with the flourishing electro scene under Justice, Erol Alkan, Simian Mobile Disco and others, indie’s final integration with dance music was completed with Hot Chip’s The Warning in 2006, and the Klaxons’ Myths of The Near Future in January 2007. Since then, electro has been king, with artists like Friendly Fires finding their electronic side the more fruitful of their parent influences. So, ever wondered what glitchy electro-pop would sound like if it was done by just one man and his guitar? The answer is RightClickSaveAs.

Categories
Playlists

154 Spotisfaction Monday 14/03/11 – Jo Hawling

Morning kids. I trust everyone had a fantabulous weekend? Mine was pretty good – I did very little except for shopping, watching rugby and chilling out. Awesome.

Today’s playlist is by one of my two joint-favourite Hawlings, Jo, and is quite the eclectic mix of strong tracks. This playlist has completely evaporated my Monday morning blues – very impressive stuff indeed.

Remember remember that your playlists are the life-blood of this place. If today’s playlist has inspired you to create your own (as well it bloody well should!), chuck it our way. Laters!

Also, if you like what Spotisfaction is all about, please get in touch and we’ll have a chat about how you can help. HAVE A GREAT MONDAY AND STUFF, YEAH?

Dave

Categories
Playlists

153 Spotisfaction Wednesday 08/03/11 – Dave Christensen

Good morning folks. I’m going to be an honest bunny and put my hands up – I’ve been slacking horrendously with Spotisfaction. I won’t bore you with the excuses, but I will tell you that I’m going to try and find time to update a little more often. I got a little burnt out with running the site over Christmas, but I’m re-energised and ready to share some more Spotify playlists with you all. On that note, of course, if you have one you’re working on, send it our way ;)

I’ve spent this evening going through our backlog (wow, you guys have been busy! I’ll work through them over the next couple of weeks, I promise <3), so here’s one out of my “I’ve been listening to this playlist quite a lot, I should probably give it the post it deserves!” list! It comes from my favourite Dave, Dave Christensen, and is entitled “Fleeting Love”.

Enjoy.

Dave

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News Videos

VIDEO: Radiohead – Lotus Flower

So, Radiohead have moved the release of new album The King Of Limbs forward a day! You can now download the album for six of your English pounds from their website, http://www.thekingoflimbs.com/. Happy days! I’ll give you my first impressions when I’ve had a chance to listen to it after work today.

In the meantime, here’s the first video from the album for single ‘Lotus Flower’. Enjoy.

EDIT:

News just in – the new Radiohead turns out to be a total rip off! (Thanks James and Ben):

Categories
Reviews

REVIEW: The Streets – Computers And Blues (Atlantic Records, 2011)

Mike Skinner is back with his fifth and final hurrah under his moniker The Streets, with Computers And Blues, and the premise of being a more ‘Ravey’ reflective and evaluation of life at “Street Level”.

From the offset, Skinner positively demonstrates his intent to stretch the boundaries of musicality with the strangely syncopated and electrified introduction to opening number Outside Inside, combined with the ever-familiar, casually poetic style flowing tamely alongside the sporadic melody. Going Through Hell features a catchy ear-worm chorus and an almost obnoxious and leary driven thumping backing track.

Sadly though, the better tunes look to have already passed and the rest of the album seems to lose its way, with the next tracks failing to deliver or cover any significant new ground in its material content, sometimes seeming to have to resort to repetition to get the across the themes in the subject matter. Skinner has opted to stretch his poetic abilities with the use of more abstract metaphors which, often overused, actually hinder empathy with the lyrical content.

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Reviews

REVIEW: Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam (Brownswood, 2011)

A ghostwriter is someone who writes for and gives credit of authorship to another. A ghostpoet, we can infer, is that specific kind of ghostwriter whose work takes on a more creative, flowing, literative interpretation of events. Calling yourself Ghostpoet is actually pretty clever. It draws the focus on the music and not the musician, on the art and not the artist. It tells us to view the artist only as the pen, putting things together for the sake of the content, not the sake of the writer. It draws on the numinous of creativity, rather than the identity of it.

Also, it’s a pretty cool name.

It’s this juxtaposition between heady artistry and down-to-earth easiness that Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam presents us with. If he’s the ghostwriter, you’re the fence.

Categories
News

The King Of Limbs – Where are you?

That’s the question we were all asking. Thankfully Radiohead have come to tell us the answer: in a newspaper on Monday 9th May (or download for £6 notes on Feb 19th). Yes, as you’ve probably already heard, there’s a new album less than a week away!!

Newspaper Album – PRESALE
Radiohead’s new record, The King Of Limbs, is presented here as the world’s first* Newspaper Album, comprising:
* Two clear 10″ vinyl records in a purpose-built record sleeve.
* A compact disc.
* Many large sheets of artwork, 625 tiny pieces of artwork and a full-colour piece of oxo-degradeable plastic to hold it all together.
* The Newspaper Album comes with a digital download that is compatible with all good digital media players.
* The Newspaper Album will be shipped on Monday 9th May 2011 you can, however, enjoy the download on Saturday 19th February 2011.
* Shipping is included in the prices shown.
* One lucky owner of the digital version of The King Of Limbs, purchased from this website, will receive a signed 2 track 12″ vinyl.

*perhaps

http://www.thekingoflimbs.com/ | Radiohead on Spotify

Categories
Playlists

152 Spotisfaction Friday 4/2/11 – Phil Cooper: Power-folk/Americana

Good morning Friday playlisters!

Got a great playlist for you today. Phil Cooper has put together all the best folk/acoustic/americana, including The Haiku, Gomez, Band of Horses, Elbow, and a few surprising choices along the way.

Ignore the image. It’s apparently ‘folk art’. It just amused me. Now it’s made me hungry.

James

Categories
Playlists

151 Spotisfaction Monday 31/1/11 Ben Hawling: Soundtrack Of My Life 2009

Apparently today is the most depressing Monday of the year. Or, depending on who you listen to, last Monday was. Listen, it’s January, the weather is shit, you’ve had Christmas, what do you want? It’ll be Spring soon. Yay, daffodils and lambs. You know what lambs mean? Better Sunday roasts, that’s what.

Anyway, we’ve got a great little life-snippet of a playlist today. Ben Hawling is picking out years of his life and retrospectively soundtracking it. I think that’s really cool. Everyone can get taken back to a time in their lives when they revisit music, and so a playlist like this is a way to share that reminiscence. As I listen to the playlist myself, I remember when and where I was when it was part of *my* life, and it becomes interesting how music permeates through our lives like a giant audio Bayeux Tapestry. Anyway, enjoy.

James

Categories
Features Reviews

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.