Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Bat For Lashes-Two Suns: Album Review

Two Suns is the second album from Brighton songstress Natasha Khan and in short, is a ravishing pop record. It follows her Mercury nominated debut, Fur & Gold which was released in 2006 and thankfully, this so called difficult second album dazzles brightly on it's own.

The album tells tales of a souring relationship and it's eventual break up, but not the type that would have you reaching for the razor blades. It begins with off kilter beats in opening track
Glass and it pulls you straight into Khan's enchanting world allowing you to absorb her lyrics and the eventual motif of the album. The single to precede the album, Daniel and album track Pearl's Dream are all out 80's themed pop songs. Pearl's Dream being reminiscent of Kate Bush or Laurie Anderson, features members of Yeasayer who lend their talents to this and other tracks on the album.
Also featuring on Two Suns is Scott Walker, who appears on closing track
The Big Sleep, a simple and beautiful song with two very different vocals accompanied by a piano and the smallest amount of electronics and strings.

Khan revealed that while during the making of Two Suns in New York and the Californian desert, she discovered her blonde enchantress alter ego, Pearl. However, only slight bursts of this seductress can be heard through the album and namely through
Daniel, Two Planets and of course Pearl's Dream.

Two Suns in all, is a fine recipe of harsh electronics, lineal beats and string instruments but, it's the honesty and truthfulness that Khan expresses throughout, that in my opinion, is what makes this such a fine, majestic album and definitely one of the best in 2009 so far.
Bat For Lashes:Two Suns is out in Ireland this Friday April 3rd.

Take a peek HERE to see Bat For Lashes live at Maida Vale for the Zane Lowe show on BBC Radio 1 performing Sleep Alone.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Juan Maclean-One Day: Video

Juan Maclean's new track One Day is in short, a disco house loving beast and features Ms Nancy Whang of LCD Soundsystem fame. Brighton electronic indie poppers Metronomy sprang to mind when I first heard this with it's quirky vocal. One Day is taken from the forthcoming album The Future Will Come out here through DFA on April 10th but it shall also be released as a remix EP with Marc Romboy, The Emperor Machine and Surkin all lending their remix talents to the track.
Check it below.

Murcof-The Versailles Session: Album Review

Hear the name 'Fernando Corona' and you could be forgiven for thinking of some embarrassing middle aged Spanish crooner who is busy working some West Indies cruise line, not a master of dark, atmospheric and minimal electronica.
If you're a fan of the former, stop reading now because that ship has sailed. If however, you are taken by moody soundscapes and the minimal blips and bleeps of modern electronica then Mr Corona, or Murcof as he is better known, is simply unmissable.

Inspired by contemporary composers such as Arvo Part and other minimalists who went before, Murcof combines a simplistic blend of samples and glitchy electronic beats usually positioned across long industrial drones.
This will not be for everyone though. Those who prefer the sort of minimalism found in the likes of the Detroit/Berlin techno scene's and in the works of Mills, Hawtin et al may find the soundscapes of Mr Corona a tad sparse. Although these glitchy beats do at times reach crescendo's of high rhythmic patterns, they do again quickly fall away into some obscure sampled piano loop or machine like drone which gently drains into the next track.

For those lovers of something a little more obscure, you know, the people who rate the Eraserhead score as a piece of inspired genius (Myself included), Murcof will read more like Mozart.
His latest offering, although differing from previous albums, will sit nicely in any good collection.
The Versailles Sessions
was especially commissioned for the grand evening fountain display in the Jardin Du Roi at Les Grandes Eaux Nocturnes, an annual festival of sound, light and water at Ch√Ęteau de Versailles in France. And it is only in such a grand setting can his work be truly appreciated, as royalty of experimental electronica.

His latest offering, despite differing from previous albums, will sit nicely in any good collection.

Review By Patrick Fennelly

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Ben Klock-One: Album Review

Techno and electro have certainly gone through a sharp rise in popularity over the last two years. The only problem with a music genre when it grows is the number of copycat artists that hop on the band wagon hoping for fifteen minutes of fame. Then the issue arises of weeding out the good artists among the plethora of wannabes.

Cue the entrance of German techno/electro producer Ben Klock.

Although he is best known in the underground Berlin scene, Klock's debut album One may be the record which breaks him through to the mainstream.
Released on Berlin label Ostgut Ton, One rides the wave between the tightly knit scenes of the minimal techno world and the larger, mainstream, techno scene. Whereas the likes of Richie Hawtin will keep to stripped down beats and loops, Klock prefers to step it up a notch and let rip from the get go, only falling back into more ambient breaks as the crescendos wind down, a brief reprise until the next song.

The opening track Coney Island begins slowly, but with a hint of menace and a synth loop that would make Missy Elliot producer Timbaland froth at the mouth.
The album barely lets up from then on for 13 tracks with some of the best techno you will hear this year. It is only half way through at the track Init One that Klock takes a slight break before returning to the heavier stuff. One is dark and menacing but never cheesy, and it is this that helps it rise above the rest.

Berlin is probably the most important place on the planet for electronic music right now and Klock proves that. It is rare that a debut can impress so much, especially when techno releases are a dime a dozen. But Klock's specific attention to detail and production will definitely see his album picked as one of the best electronic releases this year.

Review by Patrick Fennelly

Sample the sounds of Ben Klock below:

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Messiah J and The Expert live this Saturday @ The Academy

It has been an excellent 8 or so months for the Mjex boys since the release of their 3rd LP, From The Word Go on their own Inaudible Records. Not only have they achieved nominations for The Choice Music Prize and The Meteors, but they also won the album of the year gong on Entertainment.ie, they have completed two nationwide tours, performed on a tonne of radio shows as well as on the Other Voices program on RTE and covered many newspaper and magazine inches, all applauding a fine Irish album.
This Saturday March 28th sees them return to Dublin for a special show @ The Academy with support on the night coming from Le Galaxie and Halfset.
This is in my opinion is what Messiah J and The Expert do best, a stunning live show erupting with energy and vigour that entices the excitement from your very core.

Tickets are a steal at €14.45 so go grab one and see you down the front.
Photo courtesy of Hazel Fitzpatrick
. The girl is good. Click on her name to see her excellent work.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Depeche Mode to play the O2 on December 10th 2009!

As the headline suggests Aiken Promotions have announced that Depeche Mode shall indeed be stopping by Dublin on their world tour on Thursday December 10th 2009 at the O2.
The band who are about to release their 12th studio album on April 17th titled Sounds Of The Universe have always had an extremely die hard fan base world wide and I expect this gig shall be a sell out. Tickets go on sale this Friday March 27th at 9.00am.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Dananananaykroyd-Black Wax: Video

Check out the video to Dananananaykroyd's new single Black Wax below. The single is taken from their forthcoming debut album Hey Everyone! which is out in a couple of weeks on Best Before Records. The band are currently showcasing at SXSW and are due to embark on a UK and European tour beginning next week. This self proclaimed fight pop band also have a very interesting blog, so to keep up with Dananananaykroyd in action then go here.
For more posts on Dananananaykroyd go here.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Electric Picnic 2009 the rumours...

Every year there are a certain amount of people who make the pilgrimage to Stradbally for the Electric Picnic. I am one of those people and I am proud to say haven't missed one yet!

So as the announcement came that Festival Republic would be investing in this years festival, alarm bells went off. For those of you who don't know Aiken promotions are no longer taking part in promoting and booking acts for the Picnic, therefore to keep it alive and well another promoter had to come in and help POD out in keeping things going. Festival Republic are formerly known as Mean Fiddler and is co-owned by MCD. So does this mean a change in music variety, the chilled settings of Stradbally estate and the age limit of 18+ ? I for one hope not but I am happy for a little change if it means keeping the EP going.
The line-up rumours are working over time as we speak and we might just get to see the likes of Orbital's return, David Byrne, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Morrissey, Ryan Adams, Okkervil River and Fleetwood Mac all making appearances in a beautiful place in the country!
Again these are just rumours but it's fun to speculate. Bestival in the Isle Of White, taking place a week later is boasting quite a strong line-up with Soulwax, Kraftwerk, MGMT, Massive Attack and Metronomy all confirmed. Here is hoping one or all of the above shall play EP.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Anticon give away new compilation album, theFREEhoudini for free.

More free stuff coming your way this week with the Anticon label giving away a free compilation called theFREEhoudini, mixed beat accurate by Themselves aka Doseone and Jel.
Described by Anticon as one part, aggressive rap compilation, it features some of the better hip hop word slingers including Buck 65, Aesop Rock, Busdriver and WHY?'s, Yoni Wolf who is accompanied by Odd Nosdam.
This free download is available for 90 days only, where afterwards, you can purchase a physical copy of the album which will feature an extra 15 minutes of music featuring Alias, Passage and Fog's DJ Andrew, as well as artwork created by Doseone.
So sign up for the newsletter to get your copy HERE.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Matt Berry-Witchazel: Free album

In my opinion Matt Berry is a comedic genius. His characters especially in Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, The IT Crowd and The Mighty Boosh season 1 are classic and his own productions the Snuff Box and AD/BC A Rock Opera are filled with songs written and produced by the man himself!
It's fair to say Berry's love of music is worn on his sleeve and he even wrote the music for Steve Coogan's Saxondale, hip hip hooray!

So he has released his second LP, Witchazel and you can get it for FREE for a limited time only!
It even guest stars Paul McCartney (or does it really). Witchazel is a psychedelic trip of odd, humour filled pop songs and if you can leave the music snobbery at the door you may even enjoy tracks such as The Badger's Wake and Accident At A Harvest Festival!
Since it's free for a limited time only I will let you decide that. Go HERE to get it!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Yeah Yeah Yeahs-Zero: Video

I can't get enough of this fantastic new track from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs titled Zero.
The very cool Karen O and co. are back with a new album due for release here on April 3rd called It's Blitz. I think Zero is going to be (it really should be) one of those songs you will be hearing everywhere non stop! Welcome back Yeah yeah Yeahs.

Q-Tip live @ The Button Factory, Dublin: Review.

After witnessing this gig, I will say this and stand by it, Q-Tip is the James Brown of rap.

The energy he exerts and the power of his performance from start to finish was incredibly exciting. The crowd at the beginning of the night were their usual stubborn selves, being slow to to get into things but by the last few songs there was pretty much a mosh pit in front of me. Q-Tip had the whole crowd in a dazzled lock step, copying his every move, bound in his spell. Every posture and ad-lib transmitted a confidence and swagger which all lovers of hip hop seek. The difference here is that Q-Tip had earned it and didn't need to posture idly, we were all in the presence of a master at work.

One thing that spoke powerfully at he gig was the diversity of the audience. Although it was safe to say White Harlem was in the building, there were people of all walks with a mutual respect and they had all come to witness a true artist perform.

Running through new material and then seamlessly knocking out old skool hits to the erupting delight of the audience, this was a well selected set. The exceptional band all clearly had Jazz training and this points to the hard work of rappers like Q-Tip connecting the two cultures in an effort to keep them vital to younger music fans.
Solos from the band were bright but not indulgent and flowed back into the main groove comfortably. The notable edition of a DJ with some crafty scratching was the icing on the cake.
A tasty show for all!

Review By Ian Lysaght


Thursday, 12 March 2009

Bat For Lashes-Daniel: Video

Check out the beautiful new track and video from Bat For Lashes called Daniel.
It's the first single to be taken from her new album Two Suns due out in on April 3rd

Boxcutter to release Arecibo Message on April 17th

Northern Ireland's Boxcutter is back with a brand new LP on Planet Mu Records on April 17th. The title is Arecibo Message and it's Barry Lynn's 4th album on the celebrated label. On last nights Mary Anne Hobbs show on BBC Radio 1, Boxcutter mixed it up all wonderfully glitchy to preview tracks from his forthcoming release. You can hear that mix again by visiting HERE. Since 2006 we have had the aural pleasures of Oneiric, Glyphic and Balancing Lakes from Boxcutter and if last nights remix is anything to go by then Arecibo Message will be another album featuring on high rotation on many a stereo.
Check out the first 12" from the new LP, A Familiar Sound with Kinnego Flux on Boomkat.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Fans get to vote for their favourite Warp tracks to feature on a new compilation.

Electronic label Warp Records is celebrating its 20th birthday this year and they have invited fans of their music to vote for their favourite Warp tracks of all time on www.warp20.net.
The ten most popular tracks from the voting system shall then feature on a compilation along side Warp's chosen top ten tracks to be released sometime this Autumn. They are also encouraging avid fans to leave a note, message or memories attached to their favourites with the best ones featuring in the album artwork. I think it's a great to see a forward thinking label like Warp reward their loyal customers and fan base by including them in what should be a popular release. So whether it's Aphex Twin's Come to Daddy that does it for you, Grizzly Bear's Knife or Luke Vibert's Synthax that sends you into a euphoric filled sweat then have your say and get voting!

Eels are back with a new album Hombre Lobo!

Eels have announced on their website that they will be releasing a brand new album on June 1st (May 29th in Ireland). Hombre Lobo is the confirmed title and you can check out the tracklisting on their website HERE An oldie but a good one!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Yuksek-Tonight: Video

I may be a little late on picking up on this electro pop stomper from Parisian dance producer Yuksek, but better late than not at all. He is also one of many producers who have dabbled in remixing for others and his current turns include White Lies, Autokratz and Tommy Sparks.
Yuksek returns to Ireland for what is surely to be a thumping set in the Twisted Pepper on May 8th.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

New Foggy Notions gigs announced.

The good people at Foggy Notions have just added a couple of more gigs to their ever expanding calendar. Anti-Pop Consortium hit Whelan's on May 16th while Phosphorescent plays Whelan's with a full live band on June the 1st. Good times ahead then. Check The Foggy Notions MySpace for a full listing of their up and coming gigs.

Jape 's Ritual claims this years Choice Music Prize!

Congratulations to Jape on nabbing this years Choice Music Prize. He was announced winner at the Choice ceremony last night in Vicar Street, Dublin. Ritual was nominated amongst some fantastic Irish releases this year and it must have been a tough decision for those involved to make when choosing album of the year. Congrats to Richie on his win and I think only good things can come of it. I am sure if you head over to Jim Carroll's blog it will be full of last nights highlights.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Peter Bjorn & John-Nothing To Worry About: Video

I am finding myself hitting the repeat button quite a bit when it comes to the new Peter, Bjorn and John track Nothing To Worry About. As Nialler9 pointed out a while back, Kanye West was the man responsible for leaking the track initially after the band sent it to him.
They now have a pretty cool video to go with it too. Nothing To Worry About is out on March 27th and they play the Button Factory this Saturday March 7th.

Hockey & Passion Pit Live in Whelan's: Review

Last night a sold out crowd in Whelan's were treated to not one, but two sparkling performances from Hockey and Passion Pit. Hockey who are from Portland, Oregon opened the show with Work, one of their funk filled tracks from the forthcoming album Mind Chaos which gets it's release here in May.Work invited the audience into their set from the get go which in return, snowballed into a rapturous performance with the band performing the wonderfully spirited Song Away and soul driven 3am Spanish. By the time Hockey performed their current single and current band anthem Too Fake, the crowd were so enamoured by vocalist Ben Gruben's vivacity and panache that I thought Passion Pit had a tough one to follow if I am being honest.
So Passion Pit came on to the stage surrounded by keyboards, drums, more keyboards, Samplers, Synths and guitars. Their audience was a well warmed up mix of young and old(er) and I think every female in attendance fell a little bit in love/lust (just a little bit now), with lead vocalist Michael Angelakos for the simple fact that the songs that have captured their hearts were written for his girlfriend as a Valentines gift. Synth pop at its best, I've Got Your Number, kicked off proceedings in a sprightly fashion upping the tempo and sound of the night to eleven. Smile Upon Me and Better Things from the accomplished Chunk Of Change EP, also enchanted the crowd into some great sing-a-long moments while tune of the night was always going to be the hugely brilliant and popular Sleepyhead.

If you unfortunately missed either Hockey or Passion Pit then gladly you will get a second chance to catch both acts as Hockey have been confirmed for Oxegen and Passion Pit for The Electric Picnic, thanks Jim Carroll for this joyous news on a Monday morning.
Check back later in the week to hear what Hockey had to say when we met them for a coffee while they were in town.