Friday, 12 March 2010

Stricken City #2

Stricken City are one of my favourite discoveries of the last 3/4 months after first seeing them support The Joy Formidable at the Barfly I've purchased all their music (and advise everyone else to do the same).

The nice boys and gal have now released a new single EP called Animal Kingdom (one track from the forthcoming album and a few demos) it's on a pay what you want basis and can be found at the official Stricken City site here - go forth and listen to goodness.

The have two 7" singles - both fantastic (videos to the A-Sides below) although my favourite song of the first releases is probably the epic Bardou which is reduced to a B-Side - I hope that changes in the near future as it's too good to go unnoticed. Plus when I purchased the single direct from the band I got a free Promo CD containing both singles and b-sides and a nice hand written note - I love hands on artist - I think it helps build relationships with the fanbase.

Then their debut mini album 'Songs About People I Know' an 8 track CD released last November and limited to 1000 copies (buy it here) in all it's glorious splendour - it also includes a DVD with video / shows so is truly a bargain, given the quality of the album it's a shame they don't know more people! My favourites are probably PS, Pull The House Down and Five Metres Apart.

Plus Rebekah has the best name in the world, Raa, I want that surname!

Here are a few video's to get you in the mood...

Stricken City - Animal Festival from Stricken City on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Laura Marling #2 - Intimate London Show!

Here's a head's up if you are in London town like myself.

Laura Marling is playing a very intimate showcase at the Barfly on Monday 23rd March.
Tickets go on sale Thursday 4th at 12.00pm GMT - they won't hang around for long - here is the link.

Also get involved in pre-ordering the Devil's Spoke EP here and the album which is due on 23rd March.

Monday, 1 March 2010

February 2010 in Music

Album of the month:

GIL SCOTT-HERON - I'm new here - Buy the rough trade exclusive with with a fantastic bonus 7 track cd - without doubt one of the most important voices in 20th century music, gil scott-heron's landmark albums of the 1970's, and work with long-time collaborator brian jackson have influenced a myriad of musical styles from rap, acid jazz, neo soul and spoken word jazz. this latest album, expertly produced by xl founder richard russell, places scott-heron's keenly observed, biting spoken word narratives alongside sparse, modern musical backdrops which reference touchstones as diverse and relevant as dubstep, electronica and of course, modern hip-hop. politically as relevant as ever, as well as humourous, melancholy, and hopeful, this is the work of a vibrant, subtle poet of protest, still able to manipulate the traditions of a stylistic oeuvre he helped create into something warm, original and full of gravitas.

Runner Up:

SHEARWATER -the golden archipelago - BUY
'the golden archipelago' is the third album in a triptych of mindblowingly beautiful, dense and ambitious excursions about man's impact on the natural world from austin's shearwater. this time singer / songwriter jonathan meiburg turns his attention to life on islands - a world of lushness and austerity, silence and sudden cataclysms. from rising sea levels to displaced populations, meiburg travels from the falklands to madgascar, from the bikini atoll to the tierra del fuego. the music matches the grandeur and melancholy of its subject matter. this is an album album, in the larger sense of the word. meiburg's soaring vocals and complex song structures recall opuses like kate bush's 'hounds of love,' h usker d u's 'zen arcade' and even classic pink floyd. meiburg's grandfather's wwii experiences as a radiooperator in the south pacific help weave these times and places together with feelings of wonder, grief, and defiance.

Other Records worth buy
LOS CAMPESINOS! - Romance is Boring
HOLLY MIRANDA - The Magicians Private Library
FIRST AID KIT - The Big Black & The Blue
MIDLAKE - The Courage Of Others
LIGHTSPEED CHAMPION - Life Is Sweet Nice to Meet You

Gig on the Month: Hurts at Wilton's Music Hall, 24th February 2010
Hurts are on tour in MAY, the NME Radar Tour - get involved quick

Runner Up: We Are Scientists at Camden Barfly, 21st February 2010

Recent find of the month: SOAP&SKIN: Lovetune for Vacuum
'Lovetune for Vacuum' is an unwavering line of drama, inner conflict and melancholy - its impact lies in its paradoxicality: remarkably mature on the one hand, yet feeding on unbridled youthful exuberance on the other. Few musical discoveries in recent years have been as staggering as that of Soap&Skin aka Anja Plaschg. The sheer force this eighteen year old artist injects into her compositions almost beggars belief, her songs consuming every last drop of her with no regard for grace or beauty. Then again, the 13 deeply melancholic compositions of piano, sometimes crackling electronica and inimitable vocals, which oscillate between a whisper and a scream on this debut, are so drenched in beauty and gracefulness, one could crumble on hearing them.
See here for a live recording

March is shaping up well: Blood Red Shoes, Laura Marling, Joanna Newsom all await plus plenty more I am sure.

Marina & The Diamonds #3 - I Am Not A Robot

I've not posted about Marina in a while, probably because in all honesty I've gone off her a wee bit - her first singles were great, pop but pop in a good way, Obsessions / Mogwli's Road and I Am Not A Robot a highlight, but, to be honest I've listened to the album a few times and minus those singles it's pretty dishwater to me - Shampain / Girls / Oh No! spring instantly to mind. Perhaps over-produced, perhaps the anti-fame yet on covers of magazines spiel gets to me a bit...

I saw her at an MTV show in Jan, I thought it was pretty good, she could sing pretty well but I left not blown away,  I'll probably check her out again down the line, just once the hype dies down a bit.

Here is the video for an undeniably great track, "I am not a Robot":