Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Frank Turner - I Am Disappeared

Wow, what a week for new music; Admiral Fallow and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart album releases yesterday, and a new Death Cab single this morning. Now this. Frank Turner is truly the Holy Grail in new releases for me. He leaked this song on his youtube channel; his first proper release (following the live release of 'If Ever I Stray') from his up and coming album 'May England Keep My Bones', a quote taken from Shakespeare's The Life and Death of King John. The album is due for release on June 6th.

Image thanks to Music Snob
So now on to the song. I've listened to in about 8 times in a row, and I've got to say, it really is a grower. In true Frank Turner style, it is an auto-biographical track describing a dream he had about Bob Dylan. As he said when I saw him live, it actually ended up being quite a boring dream, so he made up a more exciting ending and turned it into a song. A particular highlight is the palm-muted guitar ending as Frank exclaims 'come morning, I am disappeared. Just an imprint, on the bedsheets.' Following this the song kicks back in to it's familiar fast paced rhythm explaining Frank's escape 'into the sun rise'.

To me, this song is not as interesting a track as his previous live release ('If Ever I Stray' listen here), which felt like a bigger step away from his previous work to a more Rock N' Roll style. With that being said, it's still a great song which has only fueled my excitement for his upcoming album.

Death Cab For Cutie - You Are A Tourist

Today sees the release of Death Cab's first single from their upcoming album 'Codes and Keys' (out May 31st). The track is 'You Are a Tourist', and sounds on the first couple of listens like classic DC -  rumbling bass lines and an infectious guitar riff along with some solid vocals by Mr Gibbard.

With this being said, it doesn't have the 'wow' factor I was hoping for, being that it's pretty much the first new song the band have released since 2008's 'Narrow Stairs' (apart from 'Meet Me at the Equinox', and as it was on the Twilight soundtrack it is void). In my view, this is not as strong a lead single as Narrow Stairs': 'I Will Posses Your Heart'. A simply brilliant track, with a disturbing theme of lust an obsession.

Listen to the below, and let me know what you think.

Death Cab for Cutie – You Are A Tourist by weallwantsome1

Monday, 28 March 2011

The evening's artist - Matt Stevens

So, after randomly perusing (yeah I said perusing), Twitter a little while ago, I stumbled across an artist called Matt Stevens. This isn't so rare. I often find myself stumbling into new artists, being that I write a music blog; but there was something quite different this time and here's why:

The man is a fantastic, and I really do mean fantastic, guitarist. He has managed to capture a unique sound, drawing similarities across a variety of influences, from King Crimson to Nick Drake, but at no point mirroring anything too closely. I believe 'Acoustic Guitar UK' hit the nail on the head when they called him "A one man guitar orchestra".

His songs are epic, mood altering pieces, which can only be described as acoustic prog. Using (for the most part) an acoustic guitar and a loop 
pedal, he crafts the most amazingly intricate and detailed songs, based around some of the less orthodox musical structures and progressions.

Although all of his musical talents are impressive, and that they certainly are, there is another reason why he's such an interesting artist. Matt Stevens once said: 'Obscurity is the enemy, not piracy', and this seems to be the central philosophy that he works by. Here is a musician who has fully embraced the digital revolution and all the benefits that come with it.

Realising the potential value of being able to communicate to a worldwide audience, he utilises Social Networks (with 33,000 tweets and nearly 6,000 followers), plays live gigs online, does podcasts, as well as writing and contributing to a number of other publications and organisations. In doing all this he c
onstantly keeps his fans up to date with his activities, and has formed a solid community of like-minded musicians and music enthusiasts around him. Concluding that the music industry is in a state of flux, and knowing that he must change with it; his albums are available on a pay-what-you-feel-is-fair basis. The man is a 'poster child for the digital revolution'; and any band wanting to take advantage of the technology the 21st century has to offer could learn a lot from the Matt Stevens blueprint.

Check out his album 'Ghost' here (you can even listen before you buy).

                              Matt doing what he does: shredding his guitar, with loop pedal underfoot. 


Friday, 25 March 2011

The evening's anthem - The Moulettes - Recipe for Alchemy

They say that 'good things come in small packages'. Well if fame is anything to go by, then that saying could not be more applicable to this band.

Image thanks to big session festival

'The Moulettes' are a 5-piece hailing from Southampton, who specialise in writing strange and beautiful pop-folk songs. With 'Recipe for Alchemy' they may well have written one of the best and quirkiest pop songs I've heard this year.

To say that this song is original is an understatement. Its unique violin introduction and the following bass lines draw the listener in instantly. Using some less common instruments (namely cello and bassoon) the track has a sound like a cross between Ellie Goulding and Gogol Bordello (a comparison I never thought i'd make). The haunting twin vocal melodies are captivating, and complement the complex instrumentation perfectly.

It really is an incredible song, and I implore you to take 3 minutes 46 seconds out of your day to give it a listen. If there was more pop music like this, then you'd probably find me crouched over my radio most Sundays to hear the top 40 run down.

01 Recipe For Alchemy by aledinsalisbury

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Fleet Foxes - Battery Kinzie

The Seattle bands follow up to their self-titled 2008 debut is nearly upon us, and based upon the two pre-album singles released, it looks to be a thing of absolute beauty. If you didn't hear the album's first single (which also happens to be its title track) - click here

The format from their previous effort still remains; with intricate, sweeping harmonies and fast paced, stomping guitar rifts filling their songs
Despite the new albums sombre name, these two singles seem to have an air of optimism which was often lacking on their debut. In fact in the lead up to the first single's crescendo Pecknold sings 'What good is it to sing helplessness blues?'. Perhaps this is an encouraging sign for a brighter future for on of Americana's most promising bands.

Helplessness Blues' is due for release on 3rd May on both Sub Pop and Bella Union labels.

A short release of the second single, 'Battery Kinzie', can be heard below.

Fleet Foxes - Battery Kinzie by One Thirty BPM

Saturday, 19 March 2011

The Evening's Artist - Nathaniel Rateliff

This will be the first in an ongoing series of posts on my favorite new artists, or 'The evening's artist' as i'm so wittily calling it. I'll try and keep them to small artists, as there is no point in me informing you of my love for Queen or Bruce Springsteen (of which there is much). So, without much further ado:

Nathaniel Rateliff

Image thanks to SSG Music
'Who is Nathaniel Rateliff?' I hear you ask. Well he's not just the owner of one of the finest mustaches you're ever likely to see, although this is certainly true (seriously, Google search it, it's immense). This guy was unknown to me too until a month ago, however, since that point his songs have barely stopped being played on my iPod, Spotify or YouTube.

So lets fill you in: Nathaniel Rateliff is a young, folk troubadour from Denver, Colorado. His beautifully rich baritone voice perfectly compliments the music's sparse sound. Although called Nathaniel Rateliff, this is technically a band (featuring five other members), yes, 'much like Avril Lavigne' I hear you say. However, as the frontman, singer and guitarist he remains the focal point in the music. His music seems routed in folk and country routes, with songs often revolving around bleak imagery.

His debut effort 'In Memory of Loss' was a series of recordings he made on his 8-track, which were later transformed into a full 16 song album by producer Brian Deck (Iron & Wine, Modest Mouse). It really is a beautiful album, and one that deserves considerably more success and attention (though it hasn't gone completely unnoticed). The two things that are immediately noticeable on this album are: Nathaniel's voice and the huge amount of audio space on the tracks. Nathaniel's voice varies between a quiet swoon (on the intro to 'Once in a Great While') before breaking into more of a definitive shout ('Shrowd'), drawing similarities to Caleb Followill of 'Kings of Leon'. Instrumentation is used sparsely, with most songs just featuring guitar and vocals (though piano, harmonica and drums do also crop up from time to time) but all this focuses the listeners attention to the lyrics and swooning vocals harmonies.

16 songs is perhaps a few too many, and by the end of the album the impact of these tails of heartbreak and despair is somewhat lessened; however, there are some really incredible, heartfelt tracks on this album. It is available on Spotify, iTunes and Amazon and I would highly recommend you give the below a listen and if you like what you hear, buy the album.

For fans of - Bon Iver, Kurt Wagner and Leonard Cohen

'It's taken years to make a beautiful shroud'

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Artists to look out for in 2011 - Part 3

The time is finally upon us. I have collected all the results in. There was just one, and it was written by me. So I can now announce my number 1 'Artist to look out for in 2011':

1 - Ben Howard

Image thanks to Surf Girl Magazine

Ben Howard. Make a mental note of that name. I really do believe that this guy is destined for much bigger things. The 23 year old from Devon is starting to cause a bit of a stir in the industry, with a rapidly increasing fan base. One listen and you'll understand why. His innovative lap guitar style, made famous artists such as Andy McKee, is brilliantly worked in to his songs, adding both melody and percussion. It's not just the guys skills with an axe that impress, it's the voice. Truly his greatest instrument. He switches between the soft and sensitive, to a rough, raw cry with ease. Unfortunately due to his acoustic guitar and link to the surfing community, parallels will instinctively be drawn between him and Jack Johnson, however, I think that this would be a grave injustice to this upcoming star. I can see more similarities in his work to that of Eddie Vedder in his fantastic soundtrack to the film 'Into the Wild'.

Recent tours with Xavier Rudd, Angus and Julia Stone and Jason Mraz has seen the young folk artist playing to larger and wider audiences. Though Ben's sound is hard to pin down to a specific genre, and feels more intrinsically linked to the surroundings it was created in. Not since 'For Emma, For Ever Ago' have I heard songs feel more intimately affected by their environment. You can feel the wild nature of the South English coastline where this young musician resides in the very fibre of his songs. 

To listen to his music click hereAccording to his Myspace they he is 'laying the finishing touches to the debut album in a little barn studio [....] near home so all is gold and good.'. So hopefully we will not have long to wait to hear a full length release from the Devon artist. 

In the mean time; get comfortable, tell the dog/friend/brother/sister/wife/husband/*insert noisey influence* to shut up, make the video full screen, and enjoy 4 minutes and 33 seconds of raw talent:

For fans of - The John Butler Trio, Bon Iver, John Martyn

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Artists to look out for in 2011 - Part 2

So you've read the last part and are probably kicking back with some Admiral Fallow or Andrew Davie whilst you're reading this - don't you worry, I have plenty more musical Inspiration for you. Next up:

3 - Tubelord

Image thanks to The Line of Best Fit

Now there may be a little bit of bias in this selection as these boys are from Kingston (where I went to uni), so I was exposed heavily to them. Regardless of that, I think they are bloody brilliant!

A long way from the quiet, subdued folk pop sounds of the previous two entries; Tubelord rock hard and fast. The bands sound is easily distinguishable by their songs intricate and complex structures - often changing in structure and speed - yet somehow remaining strangely catchy. Their first album, 2009's 'Our First American Friends' is an absolute gem. Released on independent label: Hassle Records, it is a fast paced album with lyrical themes often humorous and just the right side of emo ('Oh fuck it i'll take one [...pill], and join the grins too. I'll trade morale for hypocrisy and connect to you').

I caught these guys at Glastonbury (I was one of few people, as most were drawn to the to the bright lights of Snoop Dogg who was playing at the same time) and was very impressed with their live shows. It was a very high energy performance, and they proved themselves as talented musicians keeping up with the albums tight sound. Check them out here.

For fans of - Tellison, Reuben and DARTZ!.

2 - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Image thanks to Broklyn Vegan

Moving on from a band with one of the worst names ever (I mean seriously, what is a Tubelord?!), is one with arguably the most pretentious. Now there is something about this band that is a little bit twee and pretentious (I mean I got the photo of the band from a site called Brooklyn Vegan, for christ's sake). Despite this though I can't help but love their music.

This indie/pop four-piece hail from New York, and their self titled album was one of my favorites of the last couple of years. Filled with catchy low-fi tracks which have a kind of Smiths-esque sound at times, yet, in decidedly un-Smiths fashion, still sound throughly positive. What is so special about this band is the way often mix melancholic verses which erupt in to uplifting chorus', made all the more special by the beautiful combination of Kip and Peggy's voices.

The band's follow up album 'Belong' is being released on Slumberland, and is due out on the March 29. I really feel that if they play their cards right on this this effort, it may take them into the big leagues. Listen to the pre-released album title track below (and check out the rest of their stuff here):

For fans of -  The Naked and Famous, Los Campesinos! and The Smiths.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Artists to look out for in 2011 - Part 1

Pioneers are smug. Lets face that fact right now. At some point we've all been in that position where we find ourselves uttering the following phrases: 'I've been listening to *insert band name* for ages', 'have you only just started watching that series, I was watching it when season 1 was aired'. Smugly showing everyone around you that you were there first, and thus, you are a true fan. With this idea in mind I though i'd share with you some superb artists that I have discovered in the hope that they get famous and we can all enjoy a shared moment of abject smuggery with anyone who'll listen.

5 - Admiral Fallow

Image thanks to The Skinny

I discovered this Scottish six piece when I saw them supporting their fellow countrymen, Frightened Rabbit, at the Anson Rooms in Bristol. They were the first support band and played an intimate set in front to just one hundred or so spectators. However, the number of people at that moment was irrelevant, as the captivated crowd clung by every note. The band's debut album 'Boots Met My Face' was released in 2009 on Lo-Five records, and is due for re-release this month. BMMF is a fantastic record, with the songs; 'Squealing Pigs', 'Four Bulbs' and 'Subbuteo' particularly impressing - listen here. They seem to have the ability to write pop folk songs that you feel like you've know on your first listen.

For fans of - King Creseote, Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad.

4 - Andrew Davie

Image thanks to Andrew Davie Myspace

Andrew Davie is a remarkably talented young man. At 22 years old he will have a long and illustrious career in front of him, that much I am sure of. He was the singer and guitarist of my favorite small band that never made it big - Cherbourg, (damn it, my signed 10" LP will never be worth what I envisaged). They were also heavily involved in the 'West London Folk Movement' and played extensively alongside bands such a Mumford and Sons. Although they never had an album, just a series of EP's, the songs they did release were excellent. A clear example of quality over quantity. I highly recommend you check them out
Since Cherbourg's split he has been writing solo songs, which are also very good. and can be found here. A mixture of a beautiful voice and intriguing lyrics, which are very dark at times, but always equally outstanding.

For fans of - King Charles, Jay Jay Pistolet, Snow Patrol and Mumford & Sons.

Part 2 to follow.