Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Band of Holy Joy - Paramour

The Band of Holy Joy have been away from more than eight years. Johnny Brown and crew have always dealt in a heady brew of Tom Waits string drenched melancholy allied to a bruised and battered urban realism. A cross between Ken Loach and Marc Almond, Scott Walker and Walter Sickett. Moments of beauty hewn from the mundane, the night set aflame. The prosaic turned to poetry, coal into diamonds.

Paramour is as vital, sweeping, majestic and magical as ever. A real beauty has just passed through.

Band of Holy Joy

Darkstar - North

Darkstar – North

In a year that retro synth acts have been tipped for success in the UK charts Darkstar seem to have somehow slipped under the mainstream radar. Whilst the hollow fasclime synth pop of Hurts and Delphic has hovered up the press and airplay the more futurist sounds of Darkstar have gpne unheard. The band scraped the first version of the LP as it hadn’t capture the sound in their souls.

Maybe it’s because the band have mined the icy blast of pre Dare Human League. The sounds, beats and glitches in production mark the band out as one that is looking forward rather than backwards. The glistening melodies and Dusseldorf beats married to James Buttery papier-mâché soul vocals are a delight. The dark heart of the North laid bare.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Gaslight Anthem -American Slang Number 8

Gaslight Anthem -American Slang

Brian Fallon and his cohorts returned with a short, sharp jolt of classic blue collar punk. The New Jersey band built on the solid foundations of The 59 Sound. It ten tracks full of the yearning shades of Springsteen’s heartland rock crossed with a punk sensibility. There was a shift in Fallon’s song writing with a rejection of the romanticism of youthfully nostalgia. This was replaced a hard won bitterness and maturity. The riffs were switchblade sharp and the heart was still tattooed large on the sleeves.


Lairs - Sisterworld - Number 9

Lairs - Sisterworld

The third instalment from the every wonderful Liars. As with everything Lairs do clichés are inverted and convention force feed shattered glass cocktails. Relocating to LA the band produced another brash, strident blast of anger, disgust and feral energy. Looking for the heart and soul of the city Angus Andrew located a hollow neon ennui. Murder, drug addiction and the Hollywood sign. This was no holiday in the sun.


The Books – The Way Out Number 10

The Books – The Way Out

A welcome return for art rock New York duo the books. The Way Out was born out of the discovery of a set of self-help casettes in a junk shop. The source material is warped, looped, spliced and sampled to form a different set of meta narratives. The sunshine and flower hippyness turned into something darker and more revalationary. The taped sources are welded onto lobsided funk, anti-pop and throbbing electronica. A real revolution in the head.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Raime EP Review

The debut release from Raime is an arty, post-dubstep treacle black delight. Details about ehe duo are as sparse as the bands fractured soundscapes. Released on Blackest Ever Black imprint the tracks embed themselves in your sub conscience like a nightmare of sleep on the nightbus home on a empty windswept winters night.

There is something in the nagging electronic minimalism that calls to mind early Cabaret Voltaire if they had been raised in Croydon and not Sheffield. Beautiful echoes of the instrumental interludes of the This Mortal Coil LPs on 4AD dubbed by the ghost of King Tubby ripple through the tracks.

Martin Hannetts use of space is something else that springs to mind, the artwork has shades of Peter Savilles work for Factory Records. However is completely unfair of me to reduce this to a series of dated musical references.

The EP is far from an exercise in tasteful post- modernism. With is thickets of sunlight vocal vapers, bone dry bass and heavy echo it is very 2010. The bass frequencies add a low end dread and a wonderful speaker buckling vibrancy to the sound. Let there be darkness.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Order - Live Woolwich April 1987

New Order - Live Woolwich London April 1987

This was the first time I ever saw New Order live and in my home town, well my part of London. It was a warm up gig I believe for a bigger date in London the following week.

I bought a copy of the gig on tape from a small ad in the back of the Melody Maker. My first proper gig and my first bootleg rolled into one. I lost the tape years ago and have been attempting to track in down online for ages.

At last I found a copy of it here :

Its a recording from the crowd and as I listened to the gig for the first time in best part of 20 years I could still remember the between song banter. Barney being rather cutting about South East London, the great ad lib in the middle of Face Up, the storming version of Temptation.

It was an great gig and New Order encored with a version of Atmosphere when they never did encores of played Joy Division songs.

To top it off they then played a rare Velvet Underground song "
Do The Ostrich" one of only seven times they played the song.

1 Ceremony
2 Paradise
3 Shellshock
4 Way of Life
5 Your Silent Face
6 Every Little Counts
7 Subculture
8 Face Up
9 Temptation
10 Bizarre Love Triangle
11 Sunrise
12 Atmosphere
13 Do The Ostrich

Friday, October 01, 2010

Vic Chesnutt Live at Lee's Palace on 2009-11-07 Download

A wonderful live performance by the wonderful and sadly missed Vic Chesnutt.
The whole show is available for download for

I have loved Vic Chesnutt since seeing play live at Moles Club in Bath on the Drunk Tour.
It was one of the most effecting and emotion gigs I have ever seen. I was hooked and have been ever since.

There is a great review of the gig that this recording is taken from here on the great blog Mechanical Forest of Sound:

This is great stripped back version of Supernatural one of my favourite songs of Vic's.
I really miss the man's music.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Strand of Oaks - Daytrotter Session

I have fallen in love with Stand of Oaks after down loading the wonderful Pope Killdragon from E Music. Stand of Oaks is the working title of Timothy Showalter based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The sound is wonderful blend of wired haunted folk with strange synth noises bubbling underneath. Think Bon Iver produced by 70's Brian Eno. It's a strange brew of fractured dreamscapes, half remember childrens stories and historical fantasy.

Get a free taste via the wonderful Daytrotter. They have a free Strand of Oaks session to download.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mercury Music Prize 2010 - Spotify Links

Spotify Links for the Mercury Music Prize.

The Mercury Music Club shortlist for 2010 was announced in London today. I have done a quick search of Spotify and placed links to all the Mercury Music Prize 2010 LPs below.

Sad to see no King Midas Sound, Errors, Ikonkia or The Twilight Sad on the list.

My money would be on The XX but I seem to have lost my touch over the last two years and not got close to picking the winner since the Klaxons won in 2007.

The links below should open the LP in Spotify. The only missing one is Kit Downes and the link should go to their myspace page.

Biffy Clyro 'Only Revolutions' - Biffy Clyro – Only Revolutions
Villagers 'Becoming A Jackal -
Villagers – Becoming A Jackal
'Corinne Bailey Rae 'The Sea' -
Corinne Bailey Rae – The Sea
...Mumford & Sons ‘Sigh No More’ -
Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
Paul Weller 'Wake Up The Nation -
Paul Weller – Wake Up The Nation
'Wild Beasts 'Two Dancers -
Wild Beasts – Two Dancers
'Kit Downes Trio ‘Golden -
’Laura Marling 'I Speak Because I Can -
Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can
'Dizzee Rascal 'Tongue N’ Cheek -
Dizzee Rascal – Tongue N' Cheek
'Foals 'Total Life Forever
Foals – Total Life Forever
'I Am Kloot 'Sky At Night' -
I Am Kloot – Sky At Night
The xx 'xx' -
The xx – xx

Who would get your vote? Who do you think should be on the list? Plan B is the one that stands out as a glaring omission.

King Midas Sound - FACT Mix 103

The ever wonderful King Midas Sound have a mix archived over at King Midas Sound Fact at

The FACT magazine quote reads...

"This morning’s FACT mix takes the form of a very special session from King Midas Sound, the trio of Kevin ‘The Bug’ Martin, Roger Robinson and Hitomi.
All live edited, with special effects and additional vocals and commentary from the London trio, KMS’s FACT mix reads like a list of influences on their twilight Lovers Rock sound, featuring sweet reggae in Tanya Stephens and Gregory Isaacs, dusty shoegaze in My Bloody Valentine and A.R. Kane and modern favourites Burial and Little Dragon, plus tracks from Sade, Larry Heard and Scritti Politti, and material from King Midas’ forthcoming debut album, Waiting For You on Hyperdub....."

The mix track listing is as follows:

King Midas Sound - Sometimes (Waiting For You/Hyperdub)
Lovejoys - All I Can Say (Reggae Vibes/Wackies)
15/16/17 - The Weather (Magic Touch/DEB)
Burial - Night Bus (Burial/Hyperdub)
Little Dragon - Twice (Little Dragon/Peacefrog)
The Dynamics - 90% of me is you (Version Excursions/Points South)
Tanya Stephens - It's A Pity (Gangsta Blues/VP)
Jacob Miller - Baby I Love You So (Who Say Jah No Dread/Greensleeves)
Gregory Isaacs - I'm Alright (Cool Down/VP)
Wayne Jarrett - Live&Love (Horace Andy Meets Naggo Morris & Wayne Jarrett/Wackies)
Sade - Lovers Rock (Lovers Rock/Epic)
Rhythm & Sound ft Lovejoy - Best Friend (With the Artists/Burial Mix)
Larry Heard - Missing dub (Theo Parrish remix) (Missing You/Track Mode)
Vincent Gallo - Lonely (When/Warp)
A.R.Kane - Madonna is with child (69/Rough Trade)
Scritti Politti - Sweetest Girl (/Rough Trade)
Lloyd Chambers - Dry Your Tears (Firehouse Revolution/Pressure Sounds)
King Midas Sound - i Dub (Dub Heavy/Hyperdub)
Scientist ft Johnny Osbourne - In Your Eyes (Wins The World Cup/Greensleeves)
King Midas Sound - Outtaspace (Slow Motion mix) (Waiting For You/Hyperdub)
Japan - Ghosts (Tin Drum/Virgin)
Kevin Shields - Ikebana (Lost In Translation s/t/Emperor norton)
King Midas Sound - One Ting (Dabrye remix) (Cool Out/Hyperdub)
Oval - Do While (94diskont/Mille Plateaux)
Thomas Koner - Kanon (Isolationism/Virgin)
My Bloody Valentine - Touched (Loveless/creation)

Read more: