Monday, 28 February 2011

5 albums to get excited about in 2011 - Part 5

I heard a rumor there was a little award ceremony that took place last night, the Oscars or something..... Never mind that. The real anticipation and excitement is around who will take the last spot in the '5 albums to get excited about in 2011' run down. So without much further ado:

5. Coldplay

Image credit to AWMusic

Now I can almost hear the moans and groans already. Settle down people. I know the words 'Coldplay' and 'excitement' don't often get used together, but give this blog a read and then see what you think. 

If ever a band was ever directly comparable to Marmite, then surely it would be Coldplay: never have I know an artist to have quite such a love or hate status. It has always struck me as strange that a band that writes such seemingly unoffensive music, can cause quite so much offense. One thing that is without any doubt is that they are one of the biggest bands in the world. Their list of awards is endless (so I won't bore you with all of them), but includes: 6 Brits, 7 Grammys, 5 NME awards and an Ivor Novello. Not only are they exceptionally decorated by the industry, but have also racked up over 50 million records worldwide.

The release of Coldplay's fifth album has been delayed from it's intended 2009 release due to heavy touring from the band as well as a series of plagiarism charges. The boys last album ''Viva la Vida' was an ambitious step following on from 2005's disappointing 'X&Y'; with a much wider range of instruments, sounds and themes. Tracks such as 'Yes' showed that the band were not afraid to step away from the sound which they had grown famous for.

Although the English four piece have been working on their next album for a considerable period, there are still relatively few details, let alone an album name. Acclaimed producer and instrumentalist Brian Eno has been adding his expertise to the mix, working on and off with the band over the duration the creative stage. In an interview with the BBC earlier this year, Martin and Champion  claimed the new album was about 'love, addiction, OCD, escape and working for someone you don't like.'' On the 1st September Chris performed an exclusive new track called 'Wedding Bells' at the Apple Inc conference (see the below video). According to Miles Leonard, the president of Parlophone (EMI) the album should be expected out "towards the autumn of this year". 

I, for one, cannot wait!

                                                  'You keep on moving, baby, I'll stay still
                                         I always loved you and I always will'

Sunday, 27 February 2011

5 albums to get excited about in 2011 - Part 4

Following on from my post on Okkervil River are the band that need no introduction (so i'll go ahead and not give them one):

4. Mumford and Sons

Image credit to Stereoboard

Here is a band I fell in love with on my first listen. Their unique brand of anthemic folk has taken the country, and the world, by storm. I first saw them back at 'End of the Road Festival' in 2009, where they played in front of about 200 people on a lazy Friday afternoon. Well what a difference a year and a half makes.  

Rising out of the famous 'West London folk scene' alongside artists such as Johnny Flynn, Noah and the Whale and Laura Marling they have gone from strength to strength. The band has received two Grammy nominations (for 'Best New Artist' and 'Best Rock Song' - for Little Lion Man), a Mercury nomination and a Brit Award win for 'British Album of the Year'.

It was always going to be a case of the difficult second series for the Mumford boys. The huge amounts of media and public attention on the band in recent months will mean their follow up to the hugely successful 'Sigh No More' (which sold over 948,000 copies in the US alone) will have an even greater weight of expectation. The band have promised to strip their sound down and somewhat start from scratch on their, yet un-named, sophomore effort - which is due for release later this year.

Here is the picture from Mumford and Sons performance at 'End of the Road Festival' 2009.

If you haven't checked out these boys live yet then you are seriously missing out. Don't believe me? Well listen to the below video, and then feel free to apologise for ever doubting me.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

5 albums to get excited about in 2011 - Part 3

Next up, a band which I will unfortunately say that I was a little slow on the uptake with. I had been advised numerous times to give them a listen, or that 'i'd really like them', however, it has taken until recently for me to get round to it. They are without doubt the best band you've never heard of. Anyway, I will relieve you from the edge of your seat and let you know the band I am talking about is:

    3. Okkervil River
Image credit to JP's Blog

These Texas natives, fronted by Will Sheff, are my favorite new band discovery - and with a back catalogue spanning 11 years, there's no shortage of material to catch up on. If you have not checked these guys out then I strongly advise you get involved now (but of course finish reading this blog first). Their sound is encapsulated in stark indie/folk anthems with intricate instrumentation and truly striking lyrics. I can honestly say that I believe Will Sheff to be one of the finest lyricists in the business, and if you need proof just listen to this beauty here.

Their latest album 'I Am Very Far' is due for release on the 10th of May on Jagaguar records. This their sixth album will be a follow up to 2008's excellent: 'The Stand Ins'. The bands sound has changed dramatically over the past decade becoming far more commercial and accessible, mainly due to the maturity of Sheff's voice. Despite this the band has firmly maintained it's integrity. These changes have led to an ever increasing fan base, and with performances on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and notable collaborations with Roky Erickson there are many promising signs for the future of Okkervil River.

If you fancy a sneak peak of what to expect from the new album listen to the first single 'Mermaid' below.

                                    'And the days all float by and the days over waves,
                                       under sky and the weeks slowly leak into years.
                                             The last islands are all left behind.'

Thursday, 24 February 2011

5 albums to get excited about in 2011 - Part 2

Moving smoothly on from Frank Turner is the the band whos singers other band were once covered by Mr Turner..... you follow? No? Okay. Well for you fans of tenuous links just click here to hear what i'm talking about.

    2. Death Cab For Cutie

Image credit to Chart Attack

In attempt to make me feel old, Death Cab will be releasing their SEVENTH studio album on the 31st May!
'Codes and Keys' will be the bands first album release since 2008's 'Narrow Stairs'. It promises to be a change of sound with the Washington quartet, setting down their guitars for a more synth based sound. This is not to say that guitars hold not place on this record, but that they will use a wider array of instruments, with synths and strings occupying a lot of the sonic space. To see Zane Lowe interviewing Chris Walla about the album, click here
     Another substantial change is at the production stage of this record. The normal process of band member Chris Walla do the albums mixing was changed in this effort in favour of producer Alan Moulder (The Killers, Nine Inch Nail and The Smashing Pumpkins). It'll be difficult for Death Cab to replicate the success of their previous effort ('Narrow Stairs'), which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, but this records marks an ambitious new era for one of alternative musics most consistently brilliant bands.

To get you sufficiently excited for this release, why not listen to the video below: Little Bribes, taken from their (post 'Narrow Stairs') EP 'The Open Door'

'You said this city has a beating heart,
that pushes people down the boulevard'

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

5 albums to get excited about in 2011 - Part 1

Okay, so I know a blog post about albums to be released over a year are generally done at the beginning of the year, but I feel that blogs, like revenge, are a dish best served cold. That said, I don't feel i've missed too much thus far - except the out of left field release by Radiohead- and lets face it, no one saw that coming.
So over the next 5 posts i'll commence my run down (in no particular order) of '5 Albums to Get Excited About in 2011'

  1. Frank Turner
Image credit to Consequence of Sound

What better place to start than with my favorite artist of the moment. Frank Turner writes catchy songs ranging in genres from folk/pop/country/punk, all unified by one one factor: thought provoking, intelligent lyrics. As well as this he happens to be one of the best live performers currently in the business (I saw him two days ago at Bournemouth Firestation and he was incredible). His shows can only be described as a Frank Turner sing-along, where you're certain to be leaving with a smile on your face, and no voice left in your throat.

His latest EP 'Rock & Roll' was a great taste of what to expect on his upcoming, currently untitled, album (though it's due to be announced tomorrow). Containing the instant sing along anthem, 'I Still Believe', this song is a tribute to his philosophy 'that something as simple as Rock and Roll could save us all'.
This will stand as Frank's forth full length album and is due for release on 6th of June (UK). If you can't wait that long, check out the video below for an example of what to expect!

                                             'I still believe, in the need, for guitars 
                                                 and drums and desperate poetry'