Review: Unwritten Pages – Pt 1

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, of the Mars Volta, said of progressive rock: “We are really tired of those labels and questions. Concept album? How can any huge project that takes up most of your life for a year not have a concept?” and it’s fair to say that Unwritten Pages, too, is lifted straight out of the bedrock of conceptual progressive rock.

The conception of Frederic Epe, a vocalist and instrumentalist of seemingly boundless imagination, who has been able to group together some of the finest musicians working in Europe’s progressive rock scene to create debut album Noah, he has been living and breathing this project for the last 5 years, and true to progressive form, the album is dense, challenging and carries a tense conceptual sci-fi narrative.


129 Spotisfaction Monday – 25th October 2010 – James TAE

Goood moorning Spotisfactionnn, gooood moorning eeverybody.

Hope you’re all well. London is both sunny and absolutely freezing at the moment, I think it’s going to be another iced-over winter. I’m looking forward to the days when I don’t have to come to work because of it. Then I can work on playlists all day, which is why we’re all here, right? Of course, you don’t want to hear from me all the time, and truth be told neither do most people here at the site, so make sure you get your best (and worst) playlists submitted to us. Check the Submission Guide on how to do so. Keep those playlists a-comin’!

My playlist today is entitled Poets Union, and it’s a collection of songs featuring my favourite verses, lines, spits and flows. You might look at the list and think that there are some dubious choices, but hopefully I present here an appreciable bunch of lyrics and performances. By way of a blurb, I think I’ll quote a favourite line or two from each of the songs. You can just leave this here and listen to the playlist, or read on for these snippets from the songs.

Take it easy


Preview: RightClickSaveAs

The last decade has been pretty good for indie music. The Strokes quintessential Is This It, released in 2001, wrestled control of rock music from the excesses of nu metal in the 90s, providing a taught, stripped-back lo-fi sound that reinvigorated indie music and set the ball rolling for bands like Interpol, The National, Kings of Leon, Razorlight, Bloc Party and many others in the subsequent years.

In the middle of the 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 acoustic guitar? The answer is RightClickSaveAs.


Review: 3 Daft Monkeys – The Antiquated & The Arcane

Tim Ashton, Athene Roberts and Jamie Waters, otherwise known as 3 Daft Monkeys, have been working on their blend of Balkan, Celtic, reggae, Spanish, punk-infused folk for more than a decade now. They are, in a sense, the UK’s answer to the also superb American folk trio Nickel Creek, but though equally adept at crafting a heady mix of influences into folk songs, the 3 Daft Monkeys are also known for their ferocious and uplifting live shows.

Neither is it a mean feat for a folk band to have been as successful, not least because they have insisted on doing it without ever signing to a label. They have avoided mainstream attention and have committed to extensive touring and the hard work that goes along with it. It’s no surprise, then, to see their music developing with a bredth and maturity not often allowed in an industry that has grown used to bands, at the pressure of their labels, pumping out albums every 18 months.


Review: The Twilight Sad, XOYO London

The Twilight Sad and Errors are worlds apart. One is exploring post-indie, wall-of-noise melancholy, while the other creates jaunty, kraftwerk-indie electro. They are, however, geographic clansmen, hailing from Glasgow (or, in The Twilight Sad’s case, from nearby Kilsyth, which is basically ‘oot in the sticks’). Their joint headline tour (they take it in turns to headline) ended in Edinburgh on Tuesday, and Spotisfaction were lucky enough to catch them in London’s new XOYO venue on 7 October.

XOYO is a very new venue in Old Street. You know, that part of East London with the tube station, within walking distance of Shoreditch, or Hoxton, or wherever it is the dickheads are hanging out this week. Personally, I don’t subscribe to this completely. Dickheads are everywhere, you don’t need to be in East London, or London at all, to qualify as a dickhead, but they have to go somewhere, and, traditionally, this area is where they tend to congregate. But there are lots of honest people here too, the people who just like music, like art, without all the pretense and pomp and ceremony. Scottishness dictates that the two bands on show tonight are the latter.


121 Spotisfaction Wednesday – 6th October 2010 – James TAE

‘Ow doos. Dave is busy getting ready to come to Londonium, so I’m taking over the site today. And, shamelessly, I’m putting up one of my own playlists, deal. This one is a list of the best music that, I feel, has come out of Scotland. Being half Scottish (you didn’t know that? I’m sure I mentioned it. No, I definitely mentioned it) I love the personality (some would say I have a bit of it) and the place has generated some really great music (Bagpipe Reggae aside). A couple of these bands I shall be seeing with Davey boy on Thursday, so keep an eye-out for a joint review. Between us we’ll no doubt be updating our Twitter feeds with our escapades.

Me Says:

I was late to the Frightened Rabbit party, but vocalist Scott Hutchison is a fantastic example of the humourous cynicism and straight-up ‘don’t mince your words’ vocabulary I love. The Twilight Sad take both bleakness and being in your face to even further extremes, and I have to say that their indie/folk/wall-of-noise sound has been owning my ear drums for the last couple of years. I even met the band after a show once, got them to open their own album with their teeth and then sign the front cover.

I encourage you to follow the narrative of the James Yorkston track – don’t worry, I found the opening lines particularly cliché-ridden too, but, by the final line of the track, hopefully you’ll see that that’s the point.

Mogwai don’t need any introduction, but for me they are, along with Godspeed You(!) Black Emperor(!) they are at the pinnacle of post-rock.

The overblown Biffy Clyro are brought right back down to earth with the frankness of the hilarious Arab Strap.

Closing the playlist, I know Beck isn’t Scottish, but he feels this Boards Of Canada (who are Scottish) remix of Broken Drum is the best remix he’s ever heard, and I’m inclined to agree with him.

Hope you’re cracking out the Whisky and shortbread after that. Enjoy.


Review: GetDarker Presents This Is Dubstep Vol. 3

The first This Is Dubstep compilation was released just under a year ago, in the Autumn of 2009.  A tentative, burgeoning, digital-only release, its success was marked: helped by the mainstream successes of the genre (following that remix of La Roux) during the summer of 2009, the compilation presented both the biggest tracks on the scene and the darker aspects at the fringes of the genre, serving to answer (with varying degrees of literality) the question they knew the mainstream were now asking: What is Dubstep?

This Is Dubstep Vol 1 had proven so popular that they released an expanded version on CD in July of this year, whilst Vol 2, which had been released earlier in March, went straight to CD (along with a digital release and an appearance on our much-beloved Spotify).  Although not necessarily well received in all quarters due to its slightly more mainstream track choice (does Benga really need to appear four times?), Vol 2 still became the first ever Dubstep release to hit the UK Top 20.

Vol 3 continues the success of the series, entering at number 10 in the UK Chart, a phenomenal achievement for Dubstep given a chart that has been dominated by Now That’s What I Call Music for more than a quarter of a century. But Vol 3 confidently backs up its commercial success with the most inspired tracklist the series has put together to date.  It still has the drops from the more popular tunes – as it always has done – but pays greater, more balanced attention to the varying influences and growing maturity of the genre; the first 5 tracks on the first side showing exactly what to expect.


113 Spotisfaction Friday – 17th September 2010 – James TAE

Morning all. I won’t keep you long this morning, since there’s a lot of blurb to get through. Hopefully I’ll see some of you tonight at Slak.

Today’s playlist is one I’ve been looking forward to for a long while. I still play the first installment regularly, and now consider the DZ remix of Feist/Boys Noize’s ‘My Moon My Man’ as one of my favourite tracks. So, here’s James TAE – hope you enjoy; I know I will.

Have a lovely weekend, folks.

James Says:

So, my first dubstep playlist, Dubisfiction, is perhaps my favourite of the mixlists I’ve done, because the genre is so vastly under-represented on Spotify, meaning I had to spend a lot of time unearthing tracks from the further reaches of the library.  Crafting a mixlist that worked was therefore an interesting and eye-opening project.

Dubstep has had a very big summer, culminating in the release of the Skream album (which still isn’t on Spotify – I told you it was an under-represented genre) which sadly hasn’t been particularly well received.  I can sort of see why.  What the genre needed, at a time when its sub-mainstream momentum was at its peak, was not a wimpery stab at the popworld from one of the genre’s primary representatives.  It was an empty step too far.  I thought, then, it was time to hunt out some more of the truly great dubstep that’s out there.

I give you, therefore, Dubisfiction 2.


Review: Losers – Beautiful Losers

Eddy Temple-Morris is, it’s fair to say, prolific. He has been responsible for giving first airplay to Kasabian, Simian Mobile Disco, Plan B and Justice (among others), on his XFM show The Remix, carrying the crossover tagline “Where dance rocks” – so a purist he ain’t.  He was also responsible for encouraging the inchoate remixing talents of Tom Bellamy, picking up a remix Bellamy did for his own band, The Cooper Temple Clause, of 2006 single Homo Sapiens. Since then, the two have collaborated on a number of projects, eventually forming under the moniker Losers, who now, after many years of writing, recording, tweaking, djing, touring, reworking, and remixing, release their debut Beautiful Losers.

News Reviews

Review: Everything Everything – Man Alive

Following our news post last week, informing you that Everything Everything were streaming their new album Man Alive (Geffen 2010) on Myspace, I requested that it make an appearance on Spotify soon. Seems like they were listening to me, because I’m pleased to inform you all that it is now on Spotify too!

Everything Everything don’t need me to wax lyrical for them. In December last year, they were shortlisted for the BBC’s Sound of 2010. MY KZ, UR BF was featured on Zane Lowe’s Hottest Records blog, and they can count Take That amongst their biggest fans. In other words, they’ve got previous.

Its reach is understandable.  From the synth stabs of the Lowe-endorsed MY KZ, UR BF, you could be forgiven for thinking you were listening to 1986’s Please.  The falsetto melodies could be from the Beegees (though there’s a distinctly Futureheads vibe about Jonathan Higgs’ vocal when he’s not grabbing his balls).  The rhythm section bounces along like something straight out of disco-era funk.  It’s distinctly accessible.  And yet, not…  The chops are severe, the amalgamation of styles so abruptly put together – they want you to dance, but they don’t want you to draw breath.  Everything Everything are an enigma.


107 Spotisfaction Friday – 3rd September 2010 – James TAE

Good morning all. Not much to talk about today. A quick reminder to sign up for our newsletter (link above) if you fancy the odd email about what we’re up to, and another reminder that we’re always really keen to feature stuff that you’ve written -whether that’s a playlist like this one, an article or a review, anything you’re passionate about we’d love to publish.

Today’s playlist is by Spotisfaction editor James TAE.

Catch you all on Monday.

James says:

No words for this one.  A purely ambient, relaxed, chilled blisslist simply entitled “Ambient” to calm you this Friday morning.  Enjoy.

Features News

News: Counter Culture Pre-Launch

The end of summer sucks.  Fact.  The weather fades, it gets dark, and festival season grinds to a saddening hault pretty much after Bestival (next week!).  Fear not, though, for help is on the way.

Counter Culture, a new 4 month multi-arts ‘festival’ taking place under London Bridge Station, launches on 24 September and their site launched this morning with extensive listings (but far from fully announced – expect some great announcements as time goes on) of what to expect to see going on there until 1 January 2011.

Get your name on their mailing list, because the first 100 names will be added to the guestlist and get free admission for their launch party on Friday 24 September.  Special Guests are still to be confirmed, but with Man Like Me, the Streets-esque London-techno three-piece, and Rumours, ‘the worlds smallest 80s disco’ – which has been converting Isle Of Wight, Camp Bestival and V Festival into 80s time-warps in recent summers – already in place, it’s going to be one hell of a party.


News: Everything Everything

Awesome news!  The debut album from Everything Everything, entitled Man Alive (Geffen 2010), is now streaming via Myspace!  Here’s hoping it’s on our very own Spotify soon, but in the mean time, wrap your ears around this promo.  We can confirm the album is literally fantastic.

The album will be released for general sale on 30 August 2010.

    1. MY KZ, UR BF
    2. QWERTY Finger
    3. Schoolin’
    4. Leave The Engine Room
    5. Final Form
    6. Photoshop Handsome
    7. Two For Nero
    8. Suffragette Suffragette
    9. Come Alive Diana
    10. NASA Is On Your Side
    11. Tin (The Manhole)
    12. Weights

Update! Man Alive is now on Spotify too!! Listen now!


Review: The Megaphonic Thrift

Image courtesy of

The Megaphonic Thrift are an enigma to the extent that their references are so forced as to pigeonhole them unfairly. Take these as given: “It’s the new project from the guy from the Casiokids.”[1] (yes, Fredrik Vogsborg is a founding Casioist), “Their name’s from Guided By Voices”[2] or “Their name makes me think of The Polyphonic Spree.” (they certainly share a certain psychadelia with both), and when we’re talking about their music, they sound “like… uhhh… My Bloody Valentine[3][4] or Sonic Youth[4]… kinda.” (Yes, they’re a little noisy) Fine, that’s done. Now forget all that.


News: Richard Russell of XL Recordings

Photo courtesy of the

We thoroughly encourage you to read the interview with Richard Russell of XL Recordings in today”™s Telegraph. The article provides a revealing insight into the history and ethos of Britain”™s most influential label.

XL Recordings have gone from strength to strength since the label”™s inception in the late 80s to release dance and rave music. Now they are home to Dizzee Rascal, Thom Yorke and Gil Scott-Heron, and in the wake of The xx”™s recent Mercury Prize nomination, the Telegraph have featured an interview with the XL founder.

Read the interview here.