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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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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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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.

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FEATURE: Classics Collected

Hello and welcome to another edition of Classics Collected, where we at Spotisfaction Towers go all Time Team on you and dig up some classic record relics (and Dave would make a good Tony Robinson).

Presented to the experts for valuation this week (purely for insurance purposes, naturally) are a nice mix of styles from Rock through Hip-Hop and Dance to the Tarzan and Jane of Jungle. I’m sure each one will come back from auction as a bobby dazzler and we hope you enjoy them too. As always, make good use of our comments system, let us know our hits and misses and if you have any suggestions for future editions, be they albums, artists or themes, then let us know!

Stereophonics – Word Gets Around – Deluxe Edition – Our first choice this week is an album I’ve long known that I would be including at some stage, but my hand has been forced by its recent re-issue (or at least re-inclusion to Spotify) as a deluxe edition. With many of our choices, the albums represent a great deal to those of us, and indeed to those of you who were of a certain age at a certain time. This album in itself represents a great piece of songwriting, let alone as a debut, with each song expertly spinning its own tale of life. Its impact to my social scene at the time was huge and, as a result, this album and its follow-up will always have a special place in my heart.

Ocean Colour Scene – Moseley Shoals – This album was chosen as it had a similar impact to the above at the time of its release. Helped a little by heavy use on the popular show TFI Friday I’m sure, and spawing a large number of songs, this was a massive commercial breakthrough for the group. It started a miniature mod revolution on the back of it and, for a few summers, you didn’t have to go far to find coverage of Ocean Colour Scene.

DJ Shadow – Endtroducing… – This artist has a massive heritage in the hip-hop production scene and has worked with more artists over his career than I’ve had pointless arguments on internet forums. This was an important breakthrough album for DJ Shadow and as a piece of musical work created almost entirely on samples and loops, it inspired a massive number of bedroom breakbeat Beethovens.

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FEATURE: Tomorrow’s Sounds Today

Hi everyone and welcome to another edition of Tomorrow’s Sounds Today, where we at Spotisfaction Towers exercise our inner domestic goddess and serve you hot, delicious spoonfuls of the latest and greatest tunes fresh from the Spotify Fridge.

A good mix of music this week, from the eclectic jazz of Afrocubism to current commercial darlings Kings of Leon. As always, we hope you enjoy our choices but I would welcome all your feedback on the highlights, lowlights and slow burners this week. Did we miss a glaringly obvious release? Let us know and it might make a revisited page or even warrant its own full length review! The comment section is below and remember that your voice empowers you (but please be polite). And so, to business!

Kings Of Leon – Come Around Sundown – I’ll be honest and say I’m not the world’s biggest Kings of Leon fan, but they are still very popular despite this, so I am sure that news of the album will be well received in some camps. Musically, this record doesn’t sound a huge departure from earlier work and that’s by no means a bad thing. I almost get the feeling they’ve played it safe, ensuring they hit the same target as before. It’s a competent, enjoyable album but I fear the only negative, if there is one, is that there is not the immediate impact that the singles of its predecessor had.

Belle & Sebastian – Write About Love – So out with the politically neutral review of Kings of Leon, and into the selfish all-praising review of one of my favourite groups… Let’s not say we at Spotisfaction are not about balance! According to my Spotify, all the current Belle & Sebastian albums are 2010 releases so I suspect some contractual wrangling in the background or a mass re-issue. Earlier in the year we spoke about Push Barman To Open Old Wounds and how much I still enjoy listening to that record. This new LP is definitely a shift in direction but not a full-on change of lanes. It feels less relective and has a more dreamy shine to it, for want of a better description. Musically it is as strong as ever and I think will go down just as well with fans.

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FEATURE: Gig Rig

Howdy folks! The weekend is here and tomorrow night a few of us will be in attendance at the MF Doom gig in Bristol, which I’m rather looking forward to.

If you fancy re-living the ska punk days of the 90s, Less Than Jake will be performing in London, Birmingham and Bristol, as well as a few other locations around the UK.

Dare I say it, Christmas is fast approaching and the O2 Academy Brixton will be host to this year’s Soulwaxmas, which is sure to be a sell-out event – so get your tickets in quick!

There’s plenty of new music on the horizon for the new year that is slowly looming upon us, including Scottish post-rockers Mogwai, and The Go! Team, who will also be releasing a new album, the first since 2007’s Proof of Youth.

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FEATURE: Classics Collected

Hi everyone and welcome to another edition of Classics Collected, where we at Spotisfaction have a little dig around the archives and bring out some classic records you may not have listened to for a little while. Whilst we always like to hail in the new, sometimes it’s good to blow the dust off an old record and enjoy the wonderful sounds you may have forgotten.

This week’s edition is an all-female edition with four great female artists to tempt your musical palette. In each case I’ve picked what I believe to be their breakthrough record, but for each example, to be frank, there is such an excellent catalogue of work you could pick any one of them and just enjoy their back catalogue for the day!

Tori Amos – Under the Pink – Not her first album but in my mind the best of her early work, classic pianist and songwriter Tori has a lot in common with one of our later choices today, Joni Mitchell. Her sheer volume of work means you could probably spend the rest of the week enjoying her sound alone, she has kept up an unbelievable standard in the work. Whilst not as adaptive as, say, Madonna in changing sounds and trends,  as the core dynamic remains there still is plenty of growth in her work. This album is relatively stripped down compared to some of her later work and focuses on her technical talent on the piano and her simply gorgeous voice.

Björk – Debut – The album that started it all, before the increasingly eccentric costumes, the airport bust-ups and the media battles. This album demonstrated her talent so well it became an instant hit and was a clear disconnect from her previous work with the Sugarcubes. Whilst a musician from a young age, this work has some real human qualities and subtleties that come across as an honest, driven debut from someone out to show her talent. It spawned a number of popular singles and shows a surprising complexity in places with a simple heart in others. It’s not hard to see why it was popular at the time and despite some of the oddness that followed, it remains a timeless work today.

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FEATURE: Tomorrow’s Sounds Today

Hi everyone, and welcome to another addition of Tomorrow’s Sounds Today where we at Spotisfaction Incorporated fire up the kettle and brew a hot steaming mug of the best music picked from the recent additions to the “What’s new” section on Spotify. This week I’ve come up with the provisional tagline “October 2010: So you can teach an old dog new tricks!” as it seems to be a significant number of the big releases this week are new works from artists of the past which in some cases we had feared were gone for good.

Robert Plant – Band Of Joy – Earlier in the year we reviewed “Angel Dance”, a new single from Robert Plant, and it was well received. Fast forward a few months and we now have Band Of Joy which is thankfully as good as the single which preceded it. It’s been some time since we’ve seen some work from Plant, the last piece being a duet with Alison Krauss back in 2008. I am pleased to say this album ticks all the expected boxes and doesn’t disappoint. It is clearly a solo effort but it does have that unmistakable Zeppelin flavour running throughout a number of tracks, and it manages to not sound like a weak, watered down solo Zepp or some sort of strange pastiche. Kudos.

Manic Street Preachers – Postcards From A Young ManA welcome return for Blackwood’s favourite sons, and something strange seems to have happened… the Manics seem to be happy?  I’m not saying every album of theirs is a wrist-slitting emo depress-fest, but there is an unmistakable positive energy to this work compared to some of the previous angst-writhen or politically charged pieces. It is not surprising, then, that in some of the music press both Mr. Wire and Bradfield have said they are shooting for this album to be more radio focused in order to gain airplay. With some heavyweight guests in the form of John Cale, Duff McKagan, and both Ian McCulloch and Tim Roth on the cover, the pieces are in the right place and the album doesn’t disappoint.

Neil Young – Le Noise – At a scant 8 tracks long I’m not sure if this should be classified as an album or an EP.  With that in mind the tracks are a good length so overall there is meat on the bones. Whilst at its core the music is classic Young, the title of the piece is not just lip service – there is a definite “noise” element to the production without breaching into genres that his vocals are perhaps not suited to. At times the split between low tuned, distortion heavy, almost grungy guitar acts as a little too much of a difference to the high, soulful but almost reedy vocals, but thankfully this never ultimately detracts from the music.

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FEATURE: Gig Rig

Howdy folks, and happy binary Friday (for those of you who are geeky enough to know what that means)! Another fortnight has passed, which means that it’s time for the lowdown on the best live music coming to a stage near(ish) you.

Giants of the dance world, Faithless, will be hitting some of the larger venues around the country in December, after returning with their sixth album, The Dance, earlier this year.

A couple of smaller bands that have been doing the rounds lately in the blogosphere are Sleigh Bells and Warpaint, and you can catch them both at some of the smaller gig venues in Bristol and London later this month and in November.

Hit the link to see the full gig listing…

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Playlists Reviews

FEATURE: Classics Collected – 1994

Hi everyone and welcome to another edition of Classics Collected, where we at Spotisfaction continue our work as Music Time Lords going backwards this time instead of forwards. The SpoTardis this week has stopped on the year 1994 and all our albums (with 1 cheeky exception) were released in what turned out to be a very succesful year for those of you who love to rock, and love the sound of good guitar music!

Apologies to those looking for our usual mix of musical diversity – I’m afraid this list stems from a recent jump through old albums and a conversation with some colleagues. Originally this list was going to include the excellent Ten by Pearl Jam and following a chat with some friends (and some divided opinion on its greatness) I wanted to make a classic list that started with Ten and then had some other albums to compare it to in order to seal the deal once and for all. In searching for good albums of the age it quickly appeared that a number of truly great albums of the genre(s) were released in 1994 and in fact 1994 was a real golden age.

Weezer – Weezer – aka The Blue Album. As debuts go this record really ticks all the boxes. At the time it was pretty original in terms of sound, and there certainly weren’t many similar acts. It spawned a couple of hit singles to get it into the mainstream consciousness, and in this writers opinion is still their finest work despite the many great albums which have followed it. If nothing else, this release should be remembered for the Happy Day’s inspired video for Buddy Holly and the Guitar Hero mainstay, My Name Is Jonas.

Green Day – Dookie – Whilst not their first album, it was certainly the first album that gained them any serious attention and made them MTV darlings of the age thanks to the anthemic Basket Case (which also happened to have a great video). At the time I was very into the “extreme sports” scene and this record seemed to be on constant play at parks, tracks and events across the land. In many ways this was their peak, more refined than its excellent predecessor (Kerplunk) and the next couple of follow ups were strong but never quite as complete.

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Tomorrows Sounds Today

Hi guys. Welcome to another edition of Tomorrow’s Sounds Today, where we at Spotisfaction Towers give you all the killer and none of the filler from the last fortnight’s additions to the “What’s new” section of Spotify. It has been a truly bountiful fortnight and there is so much content that I couldn’t possibly fit it all into review and remain meaningful – apologies in advance for not covering it all! As always, you can find the things I couldn’t fit into this piece in the TST playlist after the break. Now, on with the show!

Royksopp – Senior – Our first choice this month was a no-brainer – the latest piece from the top Norwegian electro kings. It is an album which has had an uncommon effect on me in that I don’t want to force unnecessary blurb out about it. Its great, its really great, go listen. That is all I feel it needs.

Atmosphere – To All My Friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy: the Atmosphere ep’s – Our next choice this week is a new artist on me and in one I feel sadly remiss I had not discovered earlier. Having played through the album a couple of times (with increasing joy), I felt compelled to go over the back catalogue and I have to say, hand on heart it was one of those days I thank the gods of the Internet for creations like Spotify. There is no way I, in old world music behaviour, would have gone out and bought a back catalogue… but I digress. A great choice for you hip-hop lovers, phat beats, great rhymes with some meaning and edge. A positive voice in questionable times who clearly draws from life rather than faking it.

Skunk Anansie – Wonderlustre – Rather than being known for genre busting, I swear the latter part of the current decade will be known as the time all the old bands reformed! Week in, week out, I see a new band from the past come together to have another punt. Did they iron out their differences or just receive an inordinately large gas bill? I don’t wish to sound ungrateful, in many cases this is a really good thing (the new Soundgarden for example). In other cases it is just a shameless cash in, doomed to failure.

I’m on the fence about the Skunk Anansie reformation. I loved them the first time round and I’ll be honest and say I know little of the drivers behind the reform but how is the sound? Just as good as it ever was and whilst for some the lack of change might not resonate I think it’s an album worthy of note.

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FEATURE: Gig Rig

G’day chaps and chapettes! I have a confession to make. It seems that when I was transferring all the gigs into the new format I inadvertently missed a whole bunch of them out. But fear not, for I have now added them to the list, along with a load of fresh new ones!

As promised earlier in the week, there are a selection of upcoming Abe Vigoda gigs. Unfortunately, I won’t be able make it to any of them though. One gig I am going to, however, is LCD Soundsystem / Hot Chip in Sheffield. Tickets for that one are now sold out I think but (at the time of writing this) they are still available for the London and Cardiff gigs.

About 10 or so years ago I went through a massive phase of listening to the first three Deftones albums constantly. It was borderline obsessive. Since then I’ve kind of lost touch with their music but I’ve been reliably informed that their recent stuff is excellent, so will have to give it a listen at some point.

Holy Fuck are one of our personal favourites here at Spotisfaction Towers. Their two albums are superb and judging from the reviews I’ve read, their live shows aren’t too shabby either. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to catch either the Bristol or Birmingham gigs.