Friday, May 30, 2014

Top 5 Records (May)

1) When Nalda Became Punk - indiepop or whatever! EP
2) Phil Reynolds and the Dearly Departed - if my feet were fingers, i'd stab you in the eye
3) Your Imaginary Friends - silence is a villain
4) The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - simple and sure
5) Linda Guilala - xeristar EP

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Another side of Bob Dylan

All the way back to 1964 and Bob Dylan's 4th album, and this is still the stripped back basic Bob. Just him and his guitar and the occasional harmonica. However the album saw a change from his protest-heavy earlier work being more humorous, witty and often absurd with inventive wordplay. This is Bob beginning to develop his style and sound, something he has continued to do throughout his career to the present day. Its a great listen, its the sound of the times but also a sound for all-times.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

MV : "Until the sun explodes" by The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart

New album out in days.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Real Estate - atlas

Real Estate's third album "atlas" is a distilled refinement of indie pop and melodic alternative. Sweet mellow harmonies, easy rhythms and perfectly judged jingle jangle guitars.

"Past lives" is a wonderful song, truly wonderful. One of the best songs in recent years. Perfectly judged and switched onto the album's mood of melancholy and weariness amid the sweet songs. Its sweet but its also bittersweet, great melodies such as on "Talking backwards" but these underpin feelings of melancholy and nostalgia in the lyrics. Its a very fine album indeed.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bob Dylan - modern times

After a long period of "meh" Bob Dylan returned to form in the 2000s with a string of albums harking back to rockerbilly and rock and roll's roots. Albums including "Together through life" we reviewed a few weeks ago and its studio predecessor "Modern times".

Its all a bit of a shambles, random notes shuffle in left and right, but it perfectly matches the state of Bob's voice which is usually a gruff growl and grin. "Thunder on the mountain" is a great opener, a shuffle-y jam. "Workingman's blues #2" is a wonderful work in melancholy and modern angst. Its a measure of the man's genius that the voice of the 60s can still be so relevant 40 years later.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My Bloody Valentine - isn't anything

The debut LP by My Bloody Valentine is considered by some their best work (personally i prefer "Loveless" - just) but it is nothing less than an iconic album that changed the world - the indie world at least. Coming in 1988 it changed the direction of indie into a noise and feedback filled near future inspiring so many bands (ok many were terrible copyists but by no means all) up until the present day.

Amid clouds of feedback and drones of noise "Isn't anything" invented the shoegazing sub-genre. More urgent than "Loveless", perhaps a little more conventional but only a little. Highlights include opener "Soft as snow" which sets the tone with its weird drone noises and tempo changes. "Lose my breath" is blissful dream pop, yet with an underpinning of menace. "Nothing much to lose" descends into an acid-haze.

"Feed me with your kiss" was the single and grinds along irresistibly, i've always thought it was a little basic though compared to the rest of the album. Its still good though as the album is great, its more than great. Its the one "everyone" talks about, and for once everyone is right.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Byrds - ballad of the easy rider

The eighth album from The Byrds from (late) 1969 was tied into the film "Easy rider" and leads off with the theme song "Ballad of Easy Rider" though most of the album has little to do with the film actually though helped rise the album's (and the band's) profile. A return to form and a cohesive album after a period of turmoil in the band the album has a number of lovely country rock and psychedelic tracks.

Its also a varied album, the folky title track followed by the rockier and even a bit funky "Fido". "Oil in my lamp" is a beautiful piece of period psychedelia, razor sharp guitar tunes punctuating the sweet country rock harmonies. Great song as it is the following "Tulsa County" is even better, a superb country track.

Another highlight is the laid-back and reflective "Its all over now, baby blue". Its a cohesive and assured album full of beautiful tunes, the sound of the end of the 60s, the sound of the frontier.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Your Imaginary Friends - silence is a villain

Your Imaginary Friends produce wonderfully rich indie pop/rock packed full of great tunes and melodies, choruses and a little sprinkling of fuzz fuelling songs about heartbreak and loss in the greatest alternative tradition. All elements are present on this tremendous mini album leading off with "Your silence is the villain", an exciting indie pop/rock rush driven by urgent bass. "Beyond euphemisms"  is more down beat and pared back but still an essential pop rush.

"While beating red lights" is a richly textured pop song full of beautiful hooks and melodies. "Visiting hours are over" is a little dreamy and layered. "In Washington Drive" takes us down a more acoustically melancholic and laid back avenue (or drive). Finally "Baby you're going to Hell" marries bitter lyrics to a playful backing. Its a song only a band on top of their creative force could do, and is the perfect way to end a varied and exciting album.

Sadly this was the end of Your Imaginary Friends... actually no need to be sad because they just changed their name. Step forward We Are Imaginary, lets hope for lots more great indie noise to come!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bob Dylan - together through life

Bob Dylan's 33rd studio album no less, and a well-received document showcasing the latter Bob Dylan. His voice has long gone of course but it doesn't really matter. The backing is simple, rootsy and easy. It takes elements from pre-rock and roll popular music, something Bob has increasingly drawn upon in latter years (though of course this has its roots (ahem) back with his late 60s experiments in country rock). The music sounds simultaneously out-of-time and timeless.

Most songs are co-written with the Grateful Dead's Robert Hunter and highlights include the moody boogie romp of "Beyond here lies nothing" and the skanky blues of "My wife's home town". The accordion led "This dream of you" is also great fun. It won't go down as one of Bob's best albums but as a document of new material from a rock elder statesman its pretty decent.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

When Nalda Became Punk - indiepop or whatever! EP

Having expanded from a solo project to a trio When Nalda Became Punk recently released this new EP, reinforcements maybe filling the sound out a bit but the band is continuing the sweet punky indiepop project of before. And hooray for that as the songs are wonderful. "Song for Carrie Mathison" and "Indiepop or forever" are jangly twee pop classics.

"Daylight saving time" is a little rougher guitar wise with plenty of fuzz added to the super pop melodies. "A secret plan" has plenty of lo-fi synths and is equally wonderful. Each song is a well-crafted and energetic treasure but taken together the EP is simply a treasure chest of jewels.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Top 5 Records (April)

1) Real Estate - atlas
2) Phil Reynolds and the Dearly Departed - if my feet were fingers, i'd stab you in the eye
3) Mary Chapin Carpenter - songs from the movie
4) The Byrds - sweethearts of the rodeo
5) The Monkees - the birds, the bees and the Monkees