Friday, 21 December 2007

The End of Year Awards!




Ok, so it’s been another barren month in terms of blogging. Sorry! But it’s not like I’ve not been super busy preparing my end of year charts of your consideration.

2007 hasn’t been a particularly vintage year for releases, in fact, it’s been rather tiresome at points. However, in spite of this, it’s still been a right old challenge settling on a top 10 albums for the year. You man disagree, you may fist-pump the air in total joy at the inclusion of a personal favourite or you might just be swelling in apathy towards the tedium of another lazy list. If you’re the latter, please look away now:

Albums of the Year

10. Yeasayer – “All Our Cymbals”

Not so much a concept record as a concept band, Brooklyn’s Yeasayer have produced a delicate record labeled in the “Middle Eastern-psych-pop-snap-gospel" genre (popular one, that) that throbs with a gentle passion, a intriguing instrumentation. However, it’s the glossed lo-fi production of the record that makes it so alluring, giving it a charm not dissimilar to a latter David Gedge experiment.

9. Patrick Wolf – “The Magic Position”

The 3rd effort from the flame-haired troubadour is by far and away his best effort. The follow up the not entirely convincing “Wind in the Wires” sees Patrick experiment further than before with his amazing vocal range and manipulates all the key check-points for a good song. “Bluebells” is a perfect slight of melancholic pop whilst “Accident and Emergency” sees a darker, yet more playful side of Wolf. With contributions from as far a field as Marianne Faithful and Larrikin Love, it was always going to be an eclectic aural journey and Wolf acts as a most capable Sherpa.

8. Low – “Drums and Guns”

If you’d have come to me and said “What’s your take on Low?” I’d have said that they’re pretty damn perfect, they just lack that immediate tug of accessibility. Then along comes “Drums and Guns” and there it was. Without a doubt, this is the easiest body Low’s work to just pick up and play. Whilst always maintaining a somber grace, “Drums and Guns” finds an almost child-like quality, best illustrated by “Hatchet”. A fine record.

7. Stars of the Lid – “Stars of the Lid and their Refinement of the Decline”

Multifaceted space rock from the most talented duo on the Kranky label’s roster, “…Decline” is a more focused driven affair when compared to 2001 “Tired Sounds”. Well worked tracks, with a detailed structure using a complex array for strings, synths and guitars to produce an undeniably unique sound. Six years in the making, “…Decline” is the mass total of great understanding of ambient music, which overwhelms the senses and numbs both space and time, it is in my opinion their most consistent and accomplished record since 1999’s “Avec Laudenum”, possibly even more so.

6. Iron and Wine – “The Shepherd’s Dog”

Sam Beam’s third album under the Iron and Wine moniker is much like the first, very very good. Whilst lacking the catchiness of “Our Endless Numbered Days”, this record still pounds the old route using a plethora of folk-wrangled melodies and powerful lyrics. Beam’s imagery is flawless as he paints scenic vistas with his gentle, yet determined voice. It’s only downfall which is all that costs him a spot in the top-5 is a missing big track like a “Radio War” or a “Sodom, South Georgia”.

5. Arcade Fire – “Neon Bible”

A semi-concept album with a focus on the injustice of war and use of religion as a weapon to be wielded against our enemies, Neon Bible might lack the instant grab of “Funeral” but is no less poetic, in many ways it shows a great lyrical growth. “Antichrist Television Blues” is a breathless monologue about desperate parental expectation whilst “Windowsill” acts as the obvious protest song. The heavy instrumentation takes a bit of a listen but remains short of overwhelming and “No Cars Go” sees this demonstrated perfectly together with a rousing chorus of voices. It’s a top record and whilst I’m attempting to treat all albums on their individual merits, I can’t help but think that should “Neon Bible not have been the follow-up to what I truly consider to be the finest record of the Millennium to date, it would probably have been higher up the list.

4. Battles – “Mirrored”


“People won’t be people when they hear this sound” wails the effects-ridden voice of Tyondai Braxton on the album’s standout track “Atlas”. Too fucking right! Love ‘em or hate ‘em, everyone’s got an opinion. I took my time making my mind up and have finally joined those in favour of the New York outfit.

The record is a highly accomplished series of dots and loops mixed with mighty fine production. As individual track, the albums loses coherency (apart, of course, for “Atlas”) but as a single body of work, it’s a truly outstanding, a massive headfuck of a record.

3. Radiohead – “In Rainbows”

A fine, fine record. Number 7 from a band who have failed to deliver a decent album since 2000’s “Kid A”. Many felt their day was over, but “In Rainbows” show a definite growth and real innovation but there is also a ream of good, old fashioned tunes. Lyrically, Yorke’s normally dark style has embarked on a much more open less metaphoric journey which makes for a refreshing change. The album shows a touch of class missing from a number of 2007’s releases and seems almost effortlessly eclectic: the hauntingly beautiful and deeply soulful “All I Need” and “Videotape” counterbalances an almost adolescent “Jigsaw Falling Into Place” and “Bodysnatchers” and it is this almost irreverent manner of writing, recording and performing an album which gives Radiohead this freshness and a Top 3 Album in the EGNTS countdown.

2. The Maccabees – “Colour It In”


Arguably the finest of the new scenesters, The Maccabees arrived with a debut record which, whilst being hotly anticipated wasn’t massively hyped. Every thought to yourself “I wonder what the Futureheads would sound like if they ever wrote a song as significant as “The Hounds of Love” themselves”? Well, this is that record. Early critical doubts soon wavered as 12 delightfully pop songs hit ears with gushing force. The slow start to the record in the form of the opening verses of “X-Ray” sharpen one’s senses and when the killer cord structure kicks in, your hooked! The singles jump off this record like a thousand fleas, of which “Latchmere” is still a personal favorite. Futureheads comparisons are lazy, if not a tad obvious, this record is so much more; a self-proclaimed love of the Libertines shines throughout the record, however, “Colour it in” dominates anything Barat et al have ever committed to record. This album is great fun, but the sharpness of the lyrics is clear for all to see. It’s a playful record but there’s a somber, professional clarity to it, this album hasn’t been thrown together at the drop of a hat and it is this which makes it likely to be one of the few records out of this scene which might have the most unusual (and unfashionable!) of qualities: longevity.

1. The Twilight Sad – “Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters”

Being Scottish, The use of broad regional accents is highly encouraged providing it’s not put on and exaggerated in an Arctic Monkeys style. Glasgow’s Twilight Sad use vocals as an extra instrument more so than anything I’ve heard in a long time. This Hotly angst ridden, emotive deftly skilled music enflames the sense and produces a harmonic, yet distorted slice of Scotland. From the opening bars of “Cold Days in the Birdhouse”, the record’s majestic ephemeral nature fleets throughout the prolonged reverberating guitars and hard hitting drums resonate for the best part of 45 minutes. Whilst many tracks shimmer with discontent over extended periods, it is the albums shortest track which steals the show and is a perfect example of why this is the 2007 EGNTS album of the year.

Well, congrats if you’ve lasted through all that. I feel a special mention has to go to those who were ruthlessly denied a berth in the top ten. They include: Frightened Rabbit, Bloc Party, Maps, Jens Lekman and Stars.

The speedy part of the awards are next…

Track of the year:

1. Cold War Kids – “Hang Me Up to Dry”
2. Battles – “Atlas”
3. Lonely, Dear – “I am John”
4. Bloc Party – “Hunting for Witches”
5. The Whitest Boy Alive – “Burning”

EGNTS Gigs of the Year:

1. Arcade Fire (Brixton Academy)
2. Joanna Newsom (Royal Albert Hall)
3. White Stripes (Rivoli Ballroom)
4. Idlewild (Dundee Fat Sam’s)
5. Bruce Springsteen (The o2)

Well, that’s your lot! Hope you all have an amazing Christmas and I’ll be on here soon with some hot tips for 2008…almost certainly the kiss of death!

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Weepop! Records



Since I was a young lad stuck in my room listening to Lamacq whilst studying for my exams, I have had a favourite record label. This is unashamedly the mark of an indie geek/snob. Over the years, Fantastic Plastic, Jeepster, Fence and Matador have all found themselves in my good books. Now a new label has come and dethroned them all. That label is the magical, WeePop! Records.

It seems like a long long time since I’ve seen a more committed little label run with the sole intention of adding a little sunshine in our otherwise weary world but WeePop! do it was a grace and charm only seen in small DIY labels. Since their first release in June, the team has amassed a fine group of bands and artists. Most excitingly are Scottish popsters The Just Joans, Pocketbooks side project, Sunny Intervals and Desmond Reed, a young and overtly talented troubadour from Massachusetts. His Guinea Pigs EP is released via WeePop! and like all of their releases is strictly limited and produced on a micro 3” CD. I advise you to grab hold of it ASAP. It’s a charming collection of laid-back pop songs, which sounds like a down-tempo Apples in Stereo crossed with a less jangly Teenage Fanclub all performed by a prozac happy Ryan Adams. It’s a musically and lyrically accomplished body of work from a guy who is clearly intent on making very classy tunes. A full album release is hopefully not too far away and if this is anything to go by, it should be an absolute beast!

Desmond Reed - Neat

Monday, 5 November 2007

I Love Erlend Oye




This is no lie. I LOVE Erlend Oye.

Here's a man who has made nothing but world class music since as long as I can remember. The Kings of Convenience records are some of the finest tentative Nordic folk ever committed to record, "Versus" is some of the most proficient remixes made (granted, Erlend can little less credit for this) but it's still worth gushing over. Then we come to the poorly handled DJ-Kicks release which slipped out a few years back. I must admit to only picking this up in a Virgin (now Zavvi?!?!) sale for £3, well after listening to it I felt like I should have gone back and given them an extra £20. It's that ruddy good!

So it was with child-like eagerness that I listened to the Whitest Boy Alive record. Did it disappoint? Did it chuff! What a fabulous collection of tunes. From a multi-national outfit originally founded to make dirty industrial dance music. They did a crap job because the spawn is a heavenly slice of chart friendly indie-pop and is void of anything slightly programmed or dance-like. It's so damn good that it starts putting Peter John and Bjorn to shame "impossible" you cry? Well dear Blogger, hear for yourself:

Whitest Boy Alive - Burning

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Holy Hell!



Radiohead have made a decent record!

Like many others, I sat in a virtual queue awaiting the arrival of "In Rainbows". Unlike most, I failed, gave up and waited a few days and got it off a friend of mine (don't worry, I've got the disc box on order as well).

Well to my amazed dazzlement, it's a ruddy good record. Properly defined tracks, an acoustic guitar, it's almost as good as "the Bends", well, not quite. However, it's certainly the most accomplished album since Kid A, frankly, as a massive Radiohead fan, Amnesiac and Hail to the Theif bored me to tears. God knows, what the "I like that one about Karma and the police and that one about the surprises" crowd, although I suspect that deep down, that was the plan.

"In Rainbows" has restored all but the tiniest fragment of my belief that right now, Radiohead are the most important band still recording on the planet. One has to question who else could covertly record/release an album in that manner and create the levels of fan hysteria or media interest and for the end product to be a refined and credible fills me with a warmness much as apple pie and custard on a rainy Saturday teatime does. "Today has been the most perfect day I've ever seen" croons Yorke at the end of "Videotape" which acts as a perfect epilogue to the album. Sentiments shared by many fans upon 1st listening of this.

Radiohead - Jigsaw Falling Into Place

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Sex Pistols, who cares?



Rant time, my blogging chums.

Who the hell cares about the "Get the Sex Pistols to Number 1" campaign??

OK, so it seems odd that only 30 years ago the British crown was so weary about a band upsetting the Queen's Silver Jubilee, but it's hardly worth all the fuss. If you visit this blog there's a pretty high chance you also get your kicks from NME.com, in which case you'll be aware of their non-stop stories about so-and-so loving the hell out of Rotten, Vicious and co. Yup, pretty much anyone with anything to promote has jumped on the bandwagon; The Cribs, Kate Nash, Dave Grohl, Ian Brown, Razorlight and even good old Slash has rattled on about how amazing this would be. Really? A bunch of denial-ridden heroin addicts who can't play their instruments, can't sing and can't write a half-decent lyric and now can't afford to pay the bills are actually being encouraged to come out of the wilderness (or Reality T.V.)? Talk about looking backwards for no reason. OK, the Pistols had their time and begrudgingly, I'll admit they may have influenced the way this country has developed musically, after all we'd have no Babyshambles without them (OH NO!), but enough is enough. Plus, the self-congratulatory shite we'll have to put up with from the New Musical Express will be worse than if England win the Rugby next weekend.

I'm so against this campaign that as a mark of sheer fuckofficity, I'm providing a non official, 100% illegal download for you all. Enjoy, or preferably, dont.

Sex Pistols - God Save the Queen

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Joanna Newsom at the Royal Albert Hall




Words cannot describe how it must feel for a musician to perform at the Royal Albert Hall. It is surely the pinnacle of any artist’s career however, of the lucky handful contemporary artists that do get to enjoy the grand old hall’s buzz, few show the overwhelmed gratitude and gratefulness that California ’s anti-folk heroine, Joanna Newsom exuded on Friday.

A special night was afoot and despite the best efforts of irrelevant 60s crusty folker Roy Harper to dampen proceedings by running through his self-indulgent, mind-numbing 1969 album “Stormcock” (which was closer to “Cock Storm” if truth be told).

Newsom herself seems to have chosen Harper specifically and refers to seeing him live ad-nauseum as being on e of the greatest moments of her life. Little does she know that a crowd of nearly 8000 people are thinking the same thing about seeing her.

On this night, Joanna Newsom is transcendent, her elfin figure perched daintily behind her harp as she regales us with allegorical tales riddled with simple lyricism and timely grace. In an industry so dominated by perfection, it is the little (and they are little) imperfections in Newsom’s show which makes her so endearing.

The performance tonight was spell-binding: Following the exemplary “Ys”, any live performance is going to be difficult and although her full orchestra shows earlier in the year were celebrated, it is the low-key (re)arrangement of this evening’s show which I find so delicate. Turning a Van Dyke Parks opus into a stripped down composition is near impossible, but Joanna and band do extremely well. Yet it is “Inflammatory Writ” from excellent debut “The Milk Eyed Mender” which strays furthest from the beaten path of the original converting a piano driven ditty into a harp and banjo propelled folk classic.

The populists in the audience will have left the show slightly irked by the lack of “Sadie” and that one from the advert “This Side of The Blue”. However, the rest of us go home thinking we’ve seen something truly special. Words cannot fairly put justice to this show. So in my best efforts, let me just comment that following this, all other music seems somewhat futile. On 28th September 2007, live music achieved perfection.

In case your appetite needs further whetting:

Joanna Newsom - Inflammatory Writ

Monday, 24 September 2007

This Town Need Guns


Don't worry reader, I'm not suddenly taking a Charlton Heston role. To be honest, South London has enough ruddy weapons as it is.

No, instead I talk of Oxford based post-rock merchants. This Town Needs Guns are a fine little outfit who are pushing forward with vocal laden post-rock to aplomb. Off the back of support slots with Cats and Cats and Cats (who, despite hype are really pretty average) and more impressively, The Young Knives, whom they supported on Saturday and whom EGNTS missed at the Drowned in Sound free gig early that afternoon due mostly to Soccer Saturday and laziness.

The band, who find salvation with Meet Me In St Louis and others on Big Scary Monsters (1st home of Get Cape Wear Cape Fly) have just released a split EP/album with Cats x3 are on top of the world, shaming the Cats x3 effort with punchy instrumentation and cleverly engineered vocals. It's somewhere between Wheat, Aereogramme and something I can't quite put my finger on, maybe it's a touch punky?? Dunno. It's certainly some of the best recorded DIY stuff I've heard for a while. Well done lads!

Enjoy.

This Town Needs Guns - "26 Is Dancier Than 4"

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Beats Francais




God! It is SOOO nice to have France alt-beats smashing out of the radio. I doubt we'll ever get the days when Daft Punk, Cassius, Air, Tahiti 80 et al were all we heard at the indie disco but it's certainly welcome relief to shake my ample ass to something that isn't fucking new rave.

Surely this isn't some sort of French reactionary antithesis to Klaxons and the gang over on this side of the Channel??

It appears to be a revolution lead (albeit from the sidelines) by Daft Punk who have ensured than everyone is pulling their socks up, and with socks pulled up almost to their armpits are Justice. OK, they've been about for a bit but debut LP "Cross" beats the living daylights out of any of the New Rave efforts...yes, even the Klaxons!

EGNTS caught them live at Field Day back in august and despite some shit hot mixing they failed to get the crowd going, primarily this wasn't their fault as due to strict curfew rules in Hackney, the pa got quieter and quieter and quieter.

But don't let this put you off, this is club-tastic tuneage and works a thousand times better on record, especially when considered that like so much good euro-pop, they are so delightfully easy to remix with everyone from the majestic MSTRKRFT to (friend of Norway) Alan Braxe to SMD. It is the former which I have chosen to enrich your lives.

Justice - D.A.N.C.E (MSTRKRF remix)

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Klaxons Take The Mercury



Despite being one of the biggest grossing albums of 2007 and the catalyst for the whole "New Rave" fashion trends, Klaxons victory at the Nationwide Mercury prize last night was bordering on surprise. Most on the on-the-night hype was with the charming Bat For Lashes and the resident drunkard Amy Winehouse, both of whom put in much better performances in front of their peers, judges and industry types at The Dorchester.

Personally, I'm quite chuffed, this has been a year for New Rave and I think it's pioneers deserve recognition. As an album it's actually reasonably accomplished (far more than their live show) and whilst it seems to follow the KLF's "How To Have A Number One The Easy Way", there are some excellent stand alone tracks. Granted, there are evidently better albums, but more deserved...that's a tough one. Klaxons as a unit work VERY hard and their almost non-stop touring is tribute to this. OK,so their no James Brown (R.I.P.) but the effort they've taken to secure this is massive and was evident by the tears last night and the all-night drinking that followed...and let's not forget, they're South East London boys as well!

Klaxons - Gravity's Rainbow

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

The Big Reading Review


Be warned Bloggers (or should that be bloggee?? Feel free to discuss), this Reading round up has the potential to be rather lengthy, taking as it does, the form of a diary. Whilst it’s content is more Bridget Jones than Anne Frank, it’s length is more akin to Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time”.

So with the warning out of the way, here goes.

THURSDAY

06:30 – Wake up and set off in car with the aim of arriving in a village on the outskirts of Reading in which to park free of charge, with rail access to Reading town centre and near the motorway. Yes this place does exist, naturally, it shall remain nameless.

10:00 – Following the always tedious first walk from the station down to site, we queue…and queue and queue. It does seem surprising that even at the height of arrival/departures, the organisers don’t implement a 2 door policy (one entrance and one exit) as I’m sure this would speed things up dramatically.

11:00 – Two out of three of us lose shoes in the search of somewhere to camp. Most of the site looks like the Dead Marshes, I’m half expecting to see Gollum at any time.

12:30 – Finally secure a spot in Orange (which was supposed to be a car park and as such was full of cow pats). After chatting with our neighbours about the state of the site, we depart in search of the wristband exchange and drink and shoes

12:45 – Discover that the queue for the wristbands is about 100ms long, give up and leave site for the town centre shoes

13:30 – Find shoes and head for the pub (Pavlov’s Dog), pleasant day in the beer garden, all is well apart from the old man (Fred) who sits next to me in the only empty bit of bench and proceeds to tell me his life story.

15:30 – Get bored of drinking and shoot of to the cinema for something to do

18:00 – Stumble upon the fabled Zero Degrees (one of only 3 pubs fronting Meantime micro-brewery, the others being The Union in Greenwich and Zero Degrees in Blackheath, us South East Londoners were overjoyed at this).

19:45 – Full to the hilt of 7% raspberry lager we hunt down food on the way back to site, the Toby Carvery at £5 a plate seems like the best option.

21:00 – Banter round the tents before another attempt to get wristbands, queue is still huge but give it a shot anyway. 20 minutes later we’re locked and loaded, only mine is too tight.

22:30 – Off to bed, we’re all knackered.

Food costs: £5 Toby Carvery.

FRIDAY

09:30 – Earlyish start and brave the toilets, bad idea. I’m not one for complaining at festival toilets, in fact the Reading ones are probably the best but they were hosing them down at half-nine in the ruddy morning! The queues were HUGE. When I did make it in there I almost suffered a fate worse than death. As the cubicles back onto each other I hadn’t contemplated the prospect of the power hose cleaning. Without going into to much detail, let’s just say I was about 5 seconds away from a face full of shit!

11:00 – Meet up with others and warn them of the dangers of the toilet only to discover they’ve brought their own port-a-loo.

11:30 – Join the milling crowd by the entrance and grab a bacon roll. Chat with some lassies that have the worst tent location on site. Right by the main entrance to the campsite behind an ice-cream van and in front of a burger van.

11:55 – Finally the gates open and in we go just in time for The Pipettes on the Main Stage who are charmingly listenable, it’s a lovely serene start to the weekend.

12:45 – Ripchord in the Carling are nice also, somewhere between Shed Seven and Oasis. Very retro but not at all bad, certainly an improvement on some of the line-up’s other indie-popsters.

13:15 – Wander over to the Evening Session Tent (sorry, the NME/Radio 1 Tent) and catch the end of the Sounds who are a bit dull especially when they’re followed dramatically by Sparta who for me, are the first real draw of the festival. Just as in 2002, they do not disappoint….At the Drive WHO????

13:45 – Lunch and a meander through the market, try on a Mexican wrestling mask.

15:00 – Go to see Blood Red Shoes (indifferent), it’s packed, have a sudden feeling that everyone will be busying themselves with the small acts in the hope of catching this/next year’s Klaxons/Arctic Monkeys.

15:35 – Get a seat in the Alternative (nee. Comedy) Tent and see half an hour of Tim Minchin who is excellent fun.

16:00 – Walk over to the Lock-up Tent and in the process see the big mass of flesh wobbling over the stage whilst hearing this vile warbling, could only be Gossip.

16:05 – Plain White Ts. The girlfriend’s choice. They are actually pretty competent, tunes are nice enough, bit of the Get-up Kids to them which is never a bad thing. “Hey There Delilah” proves to be the first (and one of the loudest) sing-alongs of the weekend unfortunately the 4 girls behind us were violently out of tune.

16:55 – A nice sit down by the main stage to hear some Jimmy Eat World (I knew more than I thought) “Blood Sweat Sugar” still fondly remembered as a flat favourite in university.

17:15 – Remembering the Blood Red Shoes busyness, we arrive in good time for 1990s who are charming and appear to enjoy every minute of their half hour set. They’re good but I leave still not sure whether I’ll buy the record or not.

18:05 – Fight our way into the NME Tent for Get Cape Wear Cape Fly who seem blown away by the 15,000 strong crowd. Sam Duckworth asks “Who saw us in the Carling Tent last year?” pretty much everyone cheers. Liars, we actually did see him last year from our fold-away stools outside a half-empty Carling Tent. He was good then, he was exquisite today.

18:55 – Scrum to get out of the tent made worse by the neon army arriving for Enter Shikari, I start a rumour at they are “only for gays” some take this in good spirit, some look pissed off, others look embarrassed, have I inadvertently outed them???

19:05 – Interpol on the Main Stage do exactly what they say on the tin. Proficient and short on interaction, they trounce through nearly an hour on first class post-Joy Division minimalism split almost evenly from the 3 albums including (most-pleasingly) “PDA” from “….Bright Lights”. No “Stella is a Diver…” would be my only complaint.

20:00 – We head to the Carling (with beer and curly fries) to camp down for a few hours. It’s time for South London to take over! Jack Penate who dances like a spaz and sings like an angel is followed by Patrick Wolf who is spell-binding and is by far one of the stand out performances of the Festival and takes the EGNTS Best of the Day award.

22:30 – Albert Hammond or Ash? Albert Hammond or Ash? That was the dilemma of the day. After plumping for Ash, I can’t believe it was in doubt, this was my ninth, that’s right NINTH time seeing Ash and they were ace! Nothing from Nu-clear Sounds, only one from Free All Angels, Charlotte Hatherley might as well be dead. The set was hot and fiery although the crowd was not exactly packed. Opening with Lose Control was a stroke of raw genius and the title-track from new album “Twilight of the Innocents” proves an excellent set closer. The encore is brief consisting solely of “Jack Names the Planets” which Tim declares proudly as the last track of their first Reading in 1995. Anything from “Trailer” is greeted with joy by me and crazy I go, fist pumping the lot!

23:30 – Head over to the Alternative Stage to catch some of the Dirty Sanchez live show. I see a man put his knob in a guitar and 2 other guys stick drumsticks up their bums. We last 10 minutes before leaving to explore the desolate site. Due to the campfires there’s a strange mist decending on the arena and the 500 or so folk trudging around the site looks like something out of Night of the Living Dead. Much coolness.

00:20 – Get into the Lock-Up tent which now takes the form of the cinema tent in preparation for "Borat". Beforehand there’s a bunch of short films one about a guy getting raped, one about the Epping Forest murders. Something for everyone then?!

02:00 After a chucklesome time with "Borat" we decide against watching the UK exclusive of Daywatch (the 2nd part of the Russian “Watch” trilogy) 6 weeks ahead of general release and fire off to bed.

Food Costs: £4 Bacon Roll, £8 Highland Cattle Cheeseburger w/bacon, £4 Curly Fries


SATURDAY

10:00 – I wake up and got to the toilets, this time I'm 1000 times more cautious than on Friday.

11:30 attempt to get into the carvery’s all you can eat for £5 breakfast, needless to say, the queue is massive and we give up and walk down by the Thames and along into Caversham where we find a filling full breakfast in an air-conditioned cafĂ© overlooking the rowing club.

12:00 - We head in for the Alternative Stage where we have been promised a Q&A with the NME. SO MANY QUESTIONS! Finally, McNicholas faces his angry disillusioned public....although, he doesn't. Nobody does. Some faceless arse from the mag turns up to host a Q&A with We Are Scientists instead. WNME wusses out. In spite of this, WAS are very funny answering a range of questions from "What's you're favourite biscuit?" to "What's up with the cats on the album sleeve?". It passes half an hour.

12:45 – Head in and watch Breaks who rock like bastards and make me regret the fact that neither British Sea Power (albeit Eamon-less), The Tenderfoot nor Electric Soft Parade were asked to play on this day of shitty headliners.

13:30 It is HOT. We find shelter in the Lock-up which continues to act as the festival’s Room of Requirement and changes form today into the Dance Stage where we watch some (in fact my only slice of) New Rave in the form of Does It Offend, Yeah? Who are just a bit dull despite being quite energetic.

14:!5 Girlfriend drags me to Good Shoes, I leave after 2 songs as it’s God-awful and return to the Dance Tent for Scroobius Pip vs. Dan Le Sac. Busy due to the internet success of “Thou Shalt Always Kill”. A solid show is well received, the aforementioned track brings the house down just as we exit for The Shins.

15:05 Main Stage with The Shins is fun. They’re pleasant, full of joy and go down well in front of a crowd far too large for the intimacy of the records. In spite of this, they cope admirably. I concoct an Arabic Keffiyeh out of my bucket hat and a counterfeit tshirt. It works well.

16:10 With nothing better to do, I stick around for Angels and Airwaves…yawn. This is the worst thing I see all weekend. Tom DeLonge as clearly lost it and produces 45 minutes of sub-U2 solos and bland chat. He gets royally bottled and spends the last 5 minutes justifying why he shouldn't be bottled and how this is his life now, not Blink 182. Who fucking cares??

17:05 – Gap. Head to the Alternative Stage as it’s the only shaded area left. We sit for an hour and chill.

18:10 – Head off to Bloc Party. Having watched them in 2004 opening the NME Tent, I was feeling rather emotional as we awaited their arrival. I was not disappointed. They gave everything. The large crowd (although tepid) enjoyed it massively and set closer “Helicopter” gets everyone moving. Kele and Russell met at Reading and as he said “If it wasn’t for Reading there would be no Bloc Party”. Personally, the way this year was going I was starting to feel that if it wasn’t for Bloc Party, there’d be no Reading.

19:45 – Early start for the 2nd last act due to RHCP demanding a 2 hour headline slot, cunts. This doesn’t bother Arcade Fire who destroy all in their path, strolling with ease to the fictitious Band of the Day award. Performing perfectly in the same set as their Neon Bible tour, they render all other music obsolete. “Antichrist Television Blues” is sickeningly breathless and leaves Win Butler panting like an animal, “Rebellion/lies” renders me close to tears with it’s prophetic and angst-ridden glory and “Wake up” leaves us all hoarse. There are no headliners worth watching, who cares

21:00 – My memory (and timetable) remind me that due to RHCP being baby-raping wank-rags, I can catch pretty much all of the !!! set. They are great, I think, although after Arcade Fire, they seem like a poor choice, Nic Offer looks and dances like Napoleon Dynamite and gets an ample crowd dancing like maniacs. Credit to them, they make music to dance to. You just can’t help yourself!


22:00 – I catch the last 10 minutes of We Are Scientists who from earlier seem like nice guys who I really want to like but I just find immensely dull. Shame.

22:35 – With no headliner as such, we retire to the Alternative Stage which now hosts an Audio-Visual show care of Transgressive Records, having missed Absentee (who we saw at Field Day 2 weeks back) and Battle (who clashed with Arcade Fire) we arrive perfectly in time to see Jeremy Warmsley. He’s a nice chap and a small crowd enjoy the live visual of a girl flower arranging on stage and a couple playing suicide chess. Engaging show, soulful tune age. I retire head back to the camp site a happy man.

23:15 – I contemplate the Silent Disco until I realise I’d look like a twat and instead share some vodka and chat with the lads in the tend next to us. Fun.

Food Costs: £6 Cooked Brekky, £5 Chicken Mushroom and Swiss Cheese Pie, £5 Cheeseburger.


SUNDAY

08:00 – Early rise again! This time to disassemble the tents and get packed away. This is done remarkably swiftly.

10:00 – Arrive at Reading station and partake in a Subway mega breakfast roll. Tasty.

10:30 Arrive at secret parking location where a local resident commended our ingenuity. We drop off the tent and bags and return to Reading.

11:30 Arrive back at site where the gate are already open…as they should be!

12:00 – Gym Class Heroes by the main stage are alright. They do the hits. By which I mean “Take a Look at my Girlfriend” which I’m familiar with more from its use on Sky’s Soccer AM than I am from knowledge of rap. Still it’s a chilled start to they day.

12:45 – Dilemma #1: Pull Tiger Tail (EGNTS’s friends of friends) or I was a Cub Scout, the dreamlike electro-acoustic pairing. I plump for Pull Tiger Tail out of blind loyalty. They rock ass and rip through a meteoric set. The last time I saw them live, they were in a venue half the size of the NME Stage they were inhabiting today. Deep!

13:20 – I meet up with the girlfriend who had gone for Cub Scout. They had sound problems and we’re diluted by the noise from the Main Stage which had been plaguing the Carling Stage’s new location all weekend. The noise at this time was coming from Hello/Goodbye, who competently execute an extended set (due to +44’s absence). I get the feeling that this would go over a lot better in the States and their album's #13 in the Billboard 200 Chart suggests that this may in fact be true.

13:35 – We now have shit-all to do until The Maccabees at 4pm. We get some lunch and head for the back of NME Stage where we get shade from the sun and an earful of New Young Pony Club. They are poor. Unfortunately, what started life an quite an interesting project has hurtled through the record industry mill into some seedy underage sex show. The band all seem uncomfortable and this plying of sex as opposed to music but still Tahita Bulmer continues to demand that the crowd “all get off with the person next to them”. Classy.

15:00 – With nothing better to do we stand around and imbue milkshakes and Strongbow and have a natter for an hour. Sunday was needing something to kick it into shape otherwise today was bordering on becoming a damp-squib.

16:05 – YEAH! Damp squib averted. A healthy crowd are in attendance for The Maccabees. Having been dragged to see them in the Carling last year, I was far more willing to go this time. They get the whole place jumping, youthful faces seem overjoyed as they tear through almost all of their excellent debut album “Colour It In” culminating in an impassioned rendition of “Lego”.

16:50 – After one good showing in the NME Tent, another follows it immediately in the form of Cold War Kids. Another 2007 breakthrough act popular with all at EGNTS Towers, they open bravely with “We Used to Vacation” which is hardly a get-up-and-go track it manages to captivate the entire audience. Vocally, Nathan Willet’s range is as good (if not better) than on record, he leads his band through the album and brings things perfectly to the boil as he screams “Hang Me Up to Dry” through gritted teeth. This has been special and we leave keen to acquire tickets to the Bush Empire show in November.

17:30 – We head to the Carling Tent where we see the bulk of the Maps set. This is electronica at its most tentative and humble. The majority of crowd are uninterested, they are awaiting Kate Nash. Those of us that do appreciate the intricacies of beautifully crafted dots and loop sequences are mesmerised as James Chapman performs his still embryonic live show.

18:30 – Kate Nash takes to the stage 10 minutes late. The tent is rammed. Most people in there are 18 at most and are screaming of Ms. Nash to justify their existence and quantify how they feel about boys and stuff. Her debut record “Made of Bricks” is quite lovely, her live show is blandness personified. She opens well enough with certain single “Mariella” before announcing her intentions to play “Birds”, her mic is far too quiet and the restless, excitable crowd seem to throw her. Fans start climbing the supports to get a better view. Of course, bottles are thrown in an attempt to dislodge the plucky scramblers. Nash looks helplessly at stage right and someone comes out and demands that everyone gets down. To be honest, this was the highlight of the set. “Birds” much like “Foundations” much like “Merry Happy” go down well but really shouldn’t have. Tedious. What is worse, despite having a full album and other bits and bobs in her arsenal, she still finishes early. She is on stage for 17 minutes out of the 35 she has been allotted. Total shambles, to think I missed Devendra Banhart for this.

19:00 – We then join the masses who cross from Carling and Nash to NME and Jamie T. He plays to the biggest crowd of the weekend in the festivals second stage. Full, competent and unashamedly brash he skiffles his way through an hour long set enjoyed by all.

20:00 – I prepare to exit for a final wander and a trip to see Gallows, this is put on hold as the 15,000+ crowd all attempt to exit. There’s a huge crush at which the feckless wanker stewards at Oxfam do nothing (in fact, they have done nothing about anything all weekend). A steel fence being a burger van starts to collapse and is smacking off a propane tank. The owner of the burger van is trying valiantly to avert potential disaster. Oxfam stewards still do nothing. I retire to the safety of the tent where we await CSS. They are just a bit “meh”.

20:30 – After 10 minutes of bland Brazilian dance-pop, I leave and run for the Lock-up and for Gallows. This is the best decision of my life. Watching Gallows is like watching the end of days unfold in front of you. Franks Carter is angry, he’s upset and he’s downright mental! 5 minutes after I get in, he announces that this show is such a benchmark for the band he’s going to get a tattoo on stage. He does! Chad from New Found Glory who Frank announces “have looked after us all summer” (on the Warped Tour) proceeds to ink Carter in front of the most passionate and rabid crowd of the weekend. Musically on record, Gallows are not really my cup of tea, bit too scream and shout. Live they are somehow different, they are heavy beyond metal. They sound like the angry bastard children of The Dead Kennedys and Max Cavalera. Carter proceeds to join the audience during the blood-curdling concluder “Orchestra of Wolves”. He then climbs the central rigging in the middle of the crowd and gets maybe 15-20 metres up before joining in the final chorus. He has no mic yet is still audible over the thumping band. He jumps….there’s a gasp and then he emerges, carried forward to the stage. This is how all bands should be. I leave a shaking wreck. I have no idea what I’ve just seen. Was this the greatest thing I’ve seen this weekend or was this the greatest thing I’ve seen my entire life. Band of the Day without the tiniest doubt in my mind.

21:30 – We catch about 20 minutes of Peter John and Bjorn over in the Carling who sound as charmingly Swedish as always. Bless them. I fear for the sound in there once the Smashing Pumpkins kick in.

22:05 – Later, Billy Corgan and gang take to the stage and a stylised fantasia exposes itself in front of a large crowd. The new material goes down reasonably well but it’s not until the third song of the night when the opening riff of “Today” sends the crowd into raptures. Corgan, looking rather like Lord Voldemort remains quite whilst his smoking hot new bassist pouts for the entire set. All the hits come out including little acoustic rendition of “1979”. 3 before the close, he launches into “Tonight Tonight”. This is a moment I have been waiting 8 years for. At last, this chapter can close.

23:30 – I leave happy with “That’s The Way” ringing in the background. ON the way out of the site I hear “Cherub Rock” fire up as Corgan salutes Reading Council with a big Fuck You to the curfew.

03:00 – After a short train ride and a speedy trip round the M25, we arrive back home. I’m beaten, I need sleep, a shower and about 2 hours on my laptop to write up the festival.

Food Costs: £6 Highland Burger, £9.50 Shitty Cheeseburger and Curly Fires.


And so ends my Reading 2007. Congratulations if you made it to the end! I promise my next post will be shorter!

Thursday, 16 August 2007

The Twilight Sad


Not done a gushing post of high praise for a while but MY GOD! The Twilight Sad are worth it.

The Twilight Sad are an intriguing lot. Formed in the Glasgow hinterland, this four-piece are VERY Scottish which is of course, the best way to be. This Scottishness is most definitely the first thing that hits you when you place their debut record and EGNTS contender for album of the year "Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters". Singing in a Scottish accent is all fine and well as long as you mean it and you're not putting it on. This is Glaswegian at it's most poetic, think Mogwai going human bowling through the Trossachs with Aiden Moffat and Roddy Woomble. It is very very good thing!

The prefect melody's and soulful vocals give the record a heart-wrenching sense of melancholy whilst its sparse but very neatly arranged instrumentation adds to a the notion of a resolute majesty. Post-rock doesn't do this justice, it's so much more, so much more...well, human.

It's a truly beautiful thing. Clearly I'm not alone in this belief as they guys have already found themselves playing with the likes of Nina Nastasia, Snow Patrol (proof that some good still remains deep inside that MOR exterior) and the Smashing Pumpkins.

The Twilight Sad play will be supporting Mice Parade in September and Idlewild in the Autumn before doing a few shows of their own towards in the of the year. At all costs you must see them, but for now...Myspace

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Mercury Music Prize




Yeah Yeah, I know, I'm a disgrace to the Blogging fraternity.

As it happens EGNTS have recently relocated it's operations and I'm currently Broadbandless and it'll take 'em 3 weeks to reconnect me. What century is this????

Anyway enough gripes. The only real impact this will have is that the cutting edge choones of choice will be lacking due to blogging taking place at work.

So with that dealt with: on with the show...

The Nationwide Mercury Prize (nee. Mercury Music Prize) announced it's nominees last week. Unsurprisingly it was the usual tawdry bunch of faces getting nods from their peers.

Leading the nominations by the Arctic Monkeys, Klaxons and The View. The middle order of Jamie T, Amy Winehouse and the Young Knives together with former winner Dizzee Rascal looks slightly more inspired (in the mosr MOR way possible) and the tail enders (whom are due a win) include Irish folk warbler Fionn Regan (never know the Republic was in Great Britain but never mind), James Chapman's Maps moniker and Jarvis Cocker's fave, Bat for Lashes. Personally, I think this is one of the weakest list in years. The 2006 list was actually a top effort with a number of worthy winners, this year, who knows? It's unlikely to be a high-charting act following on from Arctic Monkeys last year. Both head and heart tell me, Jamie T is the man for 2007, there'll be a big push from rank outsider closer to the day (being September 4th).

As always, the certain acts are conspicuous by their absences:

Kasabian - "Empire": Allegedly the best album EVER (which I thought was lad-rock piss) has not been added, bit of a surprise

Bloc Party - "Weekend in the City": Arguably the soundtrack for all my fellow 20-something London dwellers. Personally one of my favourite records despite critical indifference.

Gallows - "Orchestra of Wolves": The hardcore bands never get their chance, this was by far the most likely candidate but even more sedate alternatives missed out...

Enter Shikari - "Take to the Skies": Sounding as smooth as Dean Martin compared to Gallows but hugely popular with the cool-crowd.

James Yorkston - "Year of the Leopard": Would have been my personal choice as the 'Folk Entry'. Ticks all the Mercury boxes but maybe lacks a push from Domino in the presence of the Arctic Monkeys. Outshines Fionn Regan's rather average debut.

The Maccabees - "Colour it in": Another EGNTS favourite. Probably the best of the London scene breakthroughs although Jamie T's effort is noteworthy.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Reforming Bands




OK people,

On the eve of the release of the new Smashing Pumpkins album (I think we all presumed this Corgan moniker was dead, no?), I thought I'd add my 2 pence on the matter of bands reforming.

Some have been expected (Dinosaur Jr.) some have caused raised eyebrows (The Verve) but is it a good thing?

Personally, I think the act of reforming is somewhat natural and as I try to view this as an opportunity of legions of fans to see bands they've only heard on record (me and the 'Pumpkins, for example) but there are some questions as to the motivations for these moves.

The record industry money behind these moves are MASSIVE. Which, I have no problems with provided there's an element of honesty. Clearly a lot of bands (especially faceless drummers and bassists) are now broke. Footage of The Stooges at Glastonbury looked painful as a bunch of guys looking like they're on a fishing trip proficiently motor through a range of hits as Iggy roars out wistful gravel like the past 20 years had never happened. I'd have been satisfied if it wasn't for the interview I'd seen the day before whilst the guys desperately skirt round the topic of money when asked "So, why are you guys back on the road?".

Unfortunately, this seems to be the reaction of everyone is their position. This saddens me, but not as much as the prospect of a wealth of second-rate albums. This will undoubtedly be the case the new Smashing Pumpkins record, who as a band have consistently failed to make an impeccably flawless record since "Siamese Dream". The new single "Tarantula" is pretty 'meh', which is slightly better than anticipated.

A new single from McCabe, Ashcroft et al is not likely to yield such mediocrity and will almost certainly be awful, which as a massive fan of "Urban Hymns" will be most distressing.

Should these bands really be hoping to attain mediocrity? They certainly wouldn't have excepted it in the past so why now? As in so many industries, integrity has been replaced by financial gain. Sad

Before: Smashing Pumpkins - Today
After: Smashing Pumpkins - Tarantula

Friday, 22 June 2007

Battles



I am so damn confused!

Battles, New York's latest export have been bothering me for some time now. But is is because it's good? Or more thought-provokingly, because it's utter rubbish?

Thankfully, it can't be genre pigeonholed, something McNicholas over in NME-Towers will be hopping-mad about. It's too electro for indie, too indie for electro and is well produced to be lo-fi. it's a mystery. Recent single "Atlas" is the perfect example of this. It opens like something between Kasabian and Led Zeppelin before going off in a million different aural directions. I think I like it, I should do, I like similar stuff. The trouble is that for every awesome bit of tune there's an equally dreadful bit. In total I don't think there's a flawless track, but in spite of that, it all fits so nicely together. God! Is that good, I mean, I would ordinarily say "no, what use is it if they can't even write one full track that's good", but I'm still being roped in on it. I wouldn't care if they were all bad or all good or even if they were a bit "meh" but they're not, I can tell it's either gash or awesome but just can't fathom out which one they are.

Someone, HELP!

Battles - Atlas

Friday, 15 June 2007

Jarvis is Melting!


The newly renovated Southbank Centre or the Royal Festival Hall as it used to be known (how pointlessly anti-monarchy can they be???) is gearing itself up for the Jarvis Cocker-curated Meltdown Festival which kicks off tomorrow. As well as some backside-kicking shows from the likes of Devo, Cornershop and the Jesus & Mary Chain, the former Pulp man on demi-god of Britpop will be performing twice himself; Once supported by the excellent (if not slightly over-egged 1990s) and for a second time playing Disney classics as part of Hil Wilner's Forest of No Return show. This will also the likes of Beth Orton, Nick Cave and the East End's dealer's favourite user, Mr Pete Doherty. The fact the ex Libertine is not the most controversial figure performing is a testament to the line up which also features borderline alcoholic Shane MacGowan and recently outed Nazi (although he says otherwise), Bryan Ferry . Still, I suppose it's fitting considering Hitler bankrolled Disney during the war....allegedly.

Still, whatever awaits the sell-out crowd, I'm sure Jarv will turn it around, after all, this won't be his first cover...

Javris Cocker - I Can't Forget (Leonard Cohen cover)

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

The Rivoli Review




Knackered, beaten and dehydrated. I returned home from a rousing White Stripes gig in Brockley, South East London last night which has rendered me useless today.

The venue, as you will see was the most amazing 1950s Ballroom complete with chandeliers, Chinese lanterns and rich, red velvet drapes. The venue screamed "White Stripes" from the moment we walked in.

So in the sweltering heat (so hot, the print on my t-shirt started to become sticky) Jack and Meg too to the stage to play a blistering, breathless set compiled of classics ("Joleen", "Hotel Yorba" and closing number; "Seven Nation Army" receiving rapturous ovations) and material from the forthcoming album of which "Icky Thump" and highly-likely 2nd single "Effect and Cause" getting the biggest cheers. This was The White Stripes stripped back to a raw and emotive stage most thought they'd turned their back on. There were no elaborate staging, no fancy interpretations of the red/white/black dress code, no fashionable facial furniture. This was clearly a chance for all concerned to relive the early days of the 100 Club and to that effect, most notably the temperature, they succeeded.

So, off they march towards Wireless, no heating problems there, it's supposed to be chucking it down tomorrow. Ha ha!

Ps: The photos are action shots, they are not blurry....believe that and you'll believe anything.

Monday, 11 June 2007

White Stripes head South




Mighty duo The White Stripes play the tiny Rivoli Theatre in glorious (yet unfancied) South East London tomorrow night.

The gig will be in support of their new single and album Icky Thump. 3 days later they will be performing to a slightly larger audience in Hyde Park as park of the celebs/VIP festival of choice; Wireless.

I, luckily was one of the hundred or so early bird who secured Rivoli Theatre tickets, pictures will be uploaded in the next few days or so. For now, get icky people:

The White Stripes - Icky Thump

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Been a While



But finally you can rejoice, I'm back and blogging!

I come with news of an exciting evening of fun brought to you be the very best label in the world. The East Neuk's very own Fence Records. Yup, the DIY Scottish label based in the Commonwealth's last Kingdom (Fife) come to London featuring an evening of rural raconteurs from the likes of Adrian Crowley and the Pictish Trail. Someone else rather special may also be dropping by...wonder who that could be?

The details are above and I would urge all of you to GET YO ASSES along to EC2, just don't mention the "F" word ("Folk" that is).

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Set Your Faces To Amused



The marvellous, splendiferous, hilarious (and any other word ending "...ous") Peep Show returns to the screen of Channel 4 TOMORROW! Yup, the return of Jezz and Mark is REALLY welcome and what the HECK is going to happen?? Will Mark get married out of Embarrassment? Will Jezz get his second shot with Big Suze and Will Super Hans beat the crack? It is, as he has reminded us "rather moreish"!

Now this is a music blog so out of respect and excitement for Peep Show, I've stuck on a little bit of Harvey Danger to get you in the mood. EVERYBODY: "Paranoia! Paranoia! Everybody's coming to get me..."

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Easter's Almost Here


39 days of struggling my way through Lent has been tough; giving up The Simpsons, chocolate AND Football Manager 2007 has been chuffing hard I can tell you.

So in celebration of the stuffing/watching/playing that awaits me in less than a day, I thought I'd chuck up a choon! OK, I could have gone for "I am the Resurrection", I guess that'd be the obvious choice but way outta left-field.....

Quasi - The Golden Egg

Didn't see that coming did ya??

Happy Holidays, whatever you're up to!

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Esiotrot


Esiotrot are awesome.

GAME OVER

There must be close to 1000 reasons as to why the rock ass. Firstly, they're named after one of my favourite childhood books which is worth a purchase on its own, but to top that off with a lofi genius and nods towards three of my most favourite bands: Pavement, Hefner and Belle & Sebastian and I personally have hit the jackpot.

The Brighton collective on the excellent Kentish label The Mentalist Association have tuned into something very uncool hence the lack of media-inklings floating around, in fact only DrownedinSound scalped a review of the newly released album "Schmesiotrot", yet for all this retro-alternativeness, it is both relevant and contemporary, pulling away from the 3 bands listed above and adding to their mix with aplomb. Tracks cover themes as wide ranging as over-reliance on technology, to indie girls dating pretty-boys, to punching William G. Stewart on 15-to-1, ther's literally something there for everyone. Listen for yourselves and then buy the record (just £5 from here).

Esiotrot - There'll be a Time for Nice Guys

Monday, 2 April 2007

Remember when....



Emo meant something TOTALLY different?

Emo: Geeky, all guy bands like The Get Up Kids and The Ataris working off the dumb (I mean it in the most musical non-offensive way) predecessors like Weezer and Fountains of Wayne, using simple infectious cords and endearing lyrical statements.

Suddenly out of nowhere, Emo is now this dark master driving forward Panic! at the Disco Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance. Now, people think I'm being Indier than thou, but I can't tell the difference between P!ATD and FOB, I JUST CAN'T! What makes it so much more confusing is that The Ataris have gone all serious, Weezer are on hiatus and the Get up Kids seemingly vanished after producing one of the great records of the late 90s in "Something to Write Home About" (which actually WAS something to indeed, write home about).

Luckily The Hold Steady have turned up and thrust themselves towards the eager record-buying public. OK, it's a bit nu-skool Emo, but it rings of classic classic emo charm and I for one welcome them.

The Hold Steady - Chips Ahoy
and just because I can...The Ataris - San Dimas High School Football Rules

Saturday, 31 March 2007

Los Campesinos!



Ever since Panic! At The Disco exploded like puss-filled boil all over the charts/popular culture, I've been suspicious of bands with an exclamation mark in their name. Luckily the wonderful wonderful wonderful Los Campesinos! restored my faith in punctuation.

The tunes show marks of adolescent fun in a Go!-Team-minus-samples style mixed with the deadly cool lyrical wit of early Belle & Sebastian help propell the songs in the most charming way possible couple this with lofi riffs straight out of the Yo La Tengo School of Tuneful Noise and LC! elevate themselves effortlessly above the clutter of heartless noise-pop outfits being groomed in the wings. Wichita are rarely wrong with their signings and I'm pretty sure Los Campesinos will do them proud.

The new single is free to download from their funtastic website here and further couple of tracks can also be found below:

Los Campesinos! - Don't Tell me to do the Math(s)
Los Campesinos! - You! Me! Dancing!

Friday, 30 March 2007

A New National Anthem



Twelve of them to be precise. Of course, I speak not of good ole "God Save the Queen" but of top New York outfit The National. The hotly tipped 3rd full record "Boxer" is released on May 22nd 2007 worldwide on Beggars. I for one am VERY excited. If you get the chance to see them live I recommend you do so. They're in town (well, my town) on 22nd May at the Astoria and if you can't make that, they'll be at the Mean Fiddler promoted (read: boutique cash cow) Latitude Festival in Suffolk over the weekend of the 13-15 July.

The tracklisting for "Boxer" is as stated below:

01 Fake Empire
02 Mistaken for Strangers
03 Brainy
04 Squalor Victoria
05 Green Gloves
06 Slow Show
07 Apartment Story
08 Start a War
09 Guest Room
10 Racing Like a Pro
11 Ada
12 Gospel

A further treat can also be found here.

Don't say I'm not good to you!

Thursday, 29 March 2007

My First Post



OK, Go me!

I'm blogged up and ready to go. I've been busy looking at music blogs for a few months now and have FINALLY decided to join the not-so-huddled masses.

Updates - I imagine - will be sporadic but when they arrive hopefully they'll inform and intrigue.