Monday, 28 April 2008

Coldplay - New single and album

Early this morning, before the birds were singing, Alex Zane announced some huge news on Xfm's Breakfast Show. 'Violet Hill', Coldplay’s first single from the new album 'Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends' will be available as a free download for one week starting April 29 at 12.15pm. The single will be played for the first time on Xfm and will simultaneously be available free to download, a week ahead of its general digital release.

Coldplay's website will have preliminary details of two free shows that the band will play, one at Brixton Academy on June 16 and the other at New York's Madison Square Garden on June 23.

Everything you need to know is on Coldplay's website and Xfm's website

Meanwhile, their new album 'Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends' has been moved forward four days in the UK to bring it into line with the global release date June 12. The album comprises ten tracks produced by Brian Eno and Markus Dravs.

The track listing is:

1. Life In Technicolor
2. Cemeteries Of London
3. Lost!
4. 42
5. Lovers In Japan/Reign Of Love
5. Yes
6. Viva La Vida
7. Violet Hill
8. Strawberry Swing
9. Death And All His Friends

Monday, 21 April 2008

Amplified! - Professor Murder

photo by

Last year, I was rummaging on RCRDLBL and set myself a task to pick out only band names that I liked and download tracks even before listening to them. I recommend that everyone should give this a try because boy, did I discover some gems. The one diamond that is shining brightly at the top of my list is Professor Murder.

The New York four-piece seem to thrive on putting all their loves and influences into one big, bubbling pot and mixing it altogether. The final dish is a mash up of old music, new music, computers, loads of percussion and lyrics that I can just about understand. They don't seem
to care about conforming to whatever is 'cool' or considered a proper band. All they seem to care about is having fun and mixing beats into the crazy world of music. So call it what you like - dance, acid house or as their myspace states, happy hardcore and jam band - one thing's for sure, this is music that you just have to ring your cowbell to.

Professor Murder at RCRDLBL and MYSPACE

RCRDLBL also have a few tracks that you can download
Flex-It Formula
Civilization Three

The Remote Part

HUGE NEWS!! Scottish indie gods Idlewild are making a brief appearance during July with a few dates at some rare intimate venues.

02/04/2008 - Birmingham Glee Club
03/04/2008 - London ULU
04/04/2008 - Manchester Rugby Lounge

More news at Idlewild

Friday, 18 April 2008


photo by David Straight

The following have been on I-pod rotation this week.

Still Corners

London based duo Still Corners have been whispering through my speakers with their shoegaze, Doors style tunes. Vocals that hold a Karen Carpenter delicacy with psychedelic organs and dazed guitars that lead me dreamily through these miserable spring days.

Check out 'History of Love' and 'Cremona' at Still Corners myspace

photo by Gregory Nolan

The New York Fund

It's nice to see there are grown up bands in London. None of these kids with neon slashed t-shirts and hi-tech trainers showing off their new angular hair cut that covers one side of their face. It's good to know there are bands that stick to dreamy guitars and heart beat basslines. That's the beauty of country rock n roll - sweet love songs, with the occasional burst of dirty, explosive rock. The New York Fund bring their rugged handsomeness and Jack Daniels fused heartache that they so rightly declare. To make your life complete take a look at The New York Fund myspace

photo by Shervin Lainez

Jukebox The Ghost

Washington DC trio Jukebox The Ghost might be getting bored of the Ben Folds comparisons so apologies for adding myself to that list. However, it is certainly not a bad thing. With their uplifting piano-pop that douses you with happiness, it's hard not to fall in love with these three lovely men. Heartfelt, energetic and simply contagious - and that's only through my stereo. Jukebox The Ghost are currently on tour across the States and should be making their way over to the UK soon. More info and downloads go to Jukebox The Ghost myspace

Shout Out Louds and The Brunettes @ Bush Hall 10/04/2008

Time has never been on my side when it comes to a Shout Out Louds tour. Every London show has always clashed with me being out of the country or an irrelevant activity that I am not needed for.
However, last week finally saw their return and I was most definitely not going to miss it. Bush Hall provided the venue and a most fitting venue at that. Beautiful cupid statues coming out of the walls, red, velvet curtains and crystal chandeliers that added a touch of class and sophistication. Perfect for a band of similar sorts.

New Zealand youngsters The Brunettes offered their bouncing girl/boy pop as support and kept things upbeat with lots of wooden percussion,
trumpets and clarinets. The crowd didn't seem as excited as The Brunettes but that's the London audience for you. The appreciation was eventually expressed with the unfolding of arms and waving them sporadically in the air as The Brunettes challenged the audience to a dance off competition. The ladies had no problem with one in particular chosen as the winner.

The Brunettes continued their set with a child-like, 60s inspired sweetness and some unusual chanting of Mary-Kate and Ashley. Their youth and bubblegum-pop ballads provided the ideal opener for our headliners.

With a new EP recently completed, Shout Out Louds return with their love struck urgency and new song 'Impossible' opening with The Cure tinged vocals like 'I don't want to feel like I don't have a future.' Lead singer Adam, holds that overwhelming appreciation in his eyes which shows how much he is happy to be on that stage soaking in the enthusiastic crowd. He shuffles nervously in between songs and hugs his guitar lovingly when the moment suits.

They perform an amazing set using every instrument they can get their hands on and spoon feeding us classics 'Please Please Please, Very Loud and Tonight I Have to Leave It.' On one occasion Bebban leaves her keys and glides to the front mic to sing in delicate, hushed tones and once finished returns back to her original spot as if she never moved. Once they finish their intense encore to disapproving fans who wish the night would never end, Adam cups his hands together and shakes them on each side of his head like a boy that has just won a gold medal proving Shout Out Louds have a grip firmly on our hearts.

More live photos at Amplify This! Flickr

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Man Man

Man Man - To tie in with the release of 'Rabbit Habits,' Man Man are making an apperance across the pond. The Philadelphians are bringing their Captain Beefhart licks and Tom Waits drenched vocals to the UK for a few dates in May. Catch their unique sounds if you can because I am sure it will be a night to remember.

Review of Rabbit Habits along with some tasters at Pitchfork
Have a look at their lovely little home at Anti Records

11 May - Dublin Whelan's
12 May - Glasgow Stereo
13 May - London Cargo
14 May - Manchester Phoenix
15 May - Bristol Start The Bus

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

News & Tributes

Wolf Parade's follow up to Apologies To The Queen Mary is out on June 17. With a working title of 'Kissing The Beehive,' the Montrealers seem to be continuing along quality paths with their quirky rock. Find an interview and tracklisting at Billboard and listen to a taster at Pitchfork.

Rodrigo y Gabriela are scheduled to play London Roundhouse on June 25th. I have been lucky enough to see this Mexican acoustic rock duo several times in tiny venues and I cannot stress enough how they are the most amazing live act I have seen to date. The energy in their simple performance is so captivating it leaves you transfixed long after the show has ended.

Book your tickets at Roundhouse Box Office
Further information at Rod y Gab site and myspace

Maxïmo Park has announced a special one off charity show at the Kentish Town Forum on 28th May. A very rare opporunity to see these Newcastle elfins in intimate surroundings. The show is in aid of two cancer charities including The Royal Marsden. All proceeds go straight to charity and support comes from Mystery Jets, Blood Red Shoes and Pete and the Pirates. I would suggest a good deed for the day and purchase your ticket but they sold out within minutes. I suppose we will all have to watch it on TV.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Amplified! Vol.4

The Kiss Off, Brooklyn New York

I have been overwhelmed with American bands of late. A few popping in my inbox every few days that are really catching my attention. This morning I came across The Kiss Off from Brooklyn.
The five piece formed in 2007 by guitarist Adam De Rosa, bassist Nathan Lithgow and keyboardist Oliver Edsforth. The threesome was later joined by drummer Michael Resnick and singer Sam Tyndall.

They maintain a nice little list of influences including Bowie, Echo The Bunnymen and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. You can hear the British influence shine through on tracks like 'Laying Dead' which holds an incredible Bowie strutting bass drum that runs through you for miles on end. I also need to mention 'Knots' with its distorted bass line that could be Joy Division if I close my eyes. Lead singer Sam Tyndell also delivers with the similar desperation that Ian Curtis once had. With fantastic vocal range his voice sores from the deep mumbles to passionate cries that can be heard on their EP 'Brace' which is released in Spring 2008.

The Kiss Off definitely gave my day the start it needed and are proof that British bands continue to influence musicians across the globe. If I had the paycheque of Puff Daddy then I would fly these boys over the atlantic myself.

The Kiss Off myspace and a couple of tracks for you to delight in

The Kiss Off - Laying Dead
The Kiss Off - Knots

Unicycle Loves You, Chicago Illinois

Yet more goodies from Chicago. All this delicious new music is making me beam. Which is exactly what Unicycle Loves You do to me. They are like the moment you put your favourite chocolate in your mouth and let the velvety, melting sugar and cocoa beans disperse over your tastebuds. Combining trumpets, castanets, synths and my most beloved cowbell only adds to their uplifting, sing along tracks. 'Highway Robbery' glides through with a Belle & Sebastian dreaminess including lots of 'ba ba ba ba di da.' Similarly on 'Woman Bait For Manfish' with the beautiful xylophone at the beginning. Unicycle Loves You are heavenly by name and heavenly by sound.

Just leave me to float away to Chicago on my chocolate boat.

Unicycle Loves You site and myspace where you can find plenty of upcoming Chicago dates

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Amplified! Vol.3

Man Plus, Seattle WA

As usual, when I am less than inspired by the British music scene my attention turns straight to America or Canada. I am currently going through that stage and I have discovered some gems that I would like to share with you all.

Man Plus are from Seattle and make tunes that you have to move to. I don't like comparing bands to other bands but with Man Plus, I truly can't think of anyone that they sound like. They use the average three minutes wisely by cramming in elctro beats and high hats, fuzzy guitars and mumbled vocals. 'A Ghost Is A Ghost Is A Ghost' was the first thing I heard and it blew me away. The repetitive piano chord that opens the intro and continues to play throughout the whole song is genius. The simple fact they don't remind me of anyone else makes me like them even more and maybe because they are from Seattle. Oh! and they have awesome art work. Either way, just make the most of the following goodies

Man Plus site and myspace
and some of their fancy artwork below

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Coconut Love

I openly admit that I fall in love everyday. It's a kind of disorder that I can't control. I really try. Unfortunately, it is and most probably will always be with boys that I can't have. That is definitely true for the following person. Since I first saw him riding his bike, catching a train across the Indian desert or wearing tights during 18th Century French monarchy he has stolen every beat of my heart. I have since discovered that not only is he beautiful, funny and clever, he is also musical. That doesn't make my unrequited love any easier. He has a voice like an angel and writes lyrics like 'I wish you would've put yourself in my suitcase. I love you standing all alone in a black coat.' All that is left for me to do is hide under my duvet and cry myself to sleep.

For all of you that have no idea what I am droning on about just go to
Coconut Records
Do your research and you will know who I am talking about.
(If you need a more obvious hint then go
here or just look below)

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

One Pure Thought

Twice in one night? Arty farty music videos that is. I have just managed to find Hot Chip's new video for One Pure Thought and it is fantastic. Totally quirky and child-like with bold, primary colours giving it a Gilbert and George tinge. A task for all you dancefloor daisies - try practicing the one-legged, air guitar dance half way in the video. I'm already tearing up my bedroom carpet with my moves.

Hot Chip - One Pure Thought

Golden Cage

Is it possible for one person to make such danceable, loveable songs that pull your heart strings in every direction? Well, in my books Erlend Oye is that very person. His side project The Whitest Boy Alive have released Golden Cage and one of the most stunning yet simplest videos to assist this magnificent song. My words can't do it justice so just find out for yourself.

The Whitest Boy Alive
site and myspace

Make sure you catch them on their only UK dates
May 19th 2008 - The Brighton Coalition
May 21st 2008 - Koko, London

The Whitest Boy Alive - Golden Cage

Monday, 7 April 2008

Amplified! Vol.2

photo by Robert John

Kill The Drama, Pittsburgh, PA

Did anyone know that Pittsburgh was known as The City Of Bridges? I had no idea. That was my brain food for the day. It's amazing the things you find out when you should really be crunching numbers or getting that contract signed for your boss.

Anyhow, the other little detail that my brain managed to soak up was who actually lives in The City Of Bridges. Kill The Drama, four strapping gentlemen that are definitely not your ordinary, American rock band. When I first saw their photo, I must admit I thought I was looking at the new 30 Seconds To Mars. But don't let image lead you astray. Kill The Drama hold something very special. 'Close Friends With Sharp Knives' is the first thing to hit my ears and the hairs on the back of my neck. As a guitarist, a riff is one of the first things I like to hear and this track provides it. Fierce, fast and fearful. It's an intro that can leave other bands weeping in the midst. Bryan Laskey provides desperate yet sublime vocals be it the upbeat, thrusting rock anthems or the haunting ballads like 'Sunshine.' Bryan's voice is so bewitching that it makes me lack concentration. Even while trying to write this review.

They seem to have a good track record for a new band. Winning Pittsburgh's musical showcase The Graffiti Rock Challenge in 2006 and teaming up with photographer Robert John (Rolling Stone/Gun's n' Roses/Velvet Revolver/Alice in Chains) for the recording of their first music video. If that isn't enough, they released their debut album 'Close Friends With Sharp Knives' in February 2007. Not a bad resume for a few years work. Unlike some American bands that let fame go to their heads too quickly, Kill The Drama seem to maintain the 'keeping it real' mentality that alot of bands lack. You can hear their emotion. You can see their passion. And you can feel thier longing to be heard. The one thing that makes them stand out is they deserve to be heard.

All you need at Kill The Drama site and myspace

Take a look at Kill The Drama 'Close Friends With Sharp Knives' video

The Gin Riots, South London

I have had one single experience with gin that I prefer to push to the darkest depths of my being. A night which passed in sketchy, hedonistic stills that ended in disaster and drunken depression. So when The Gin Riots popped in my inbox you can understand the sudden nausea that overcame me at the sheer memory of my liquid enemy. Luckily, being a brave little soldier, I pressed on to see what was in store for me...and it wasn't as bad an experience as I expected.

The four-piece from South London seem to be tearing up the streets with their jangly guitars and deep, bouncing basslines with perfomances all over the city. I was first enlightened to 'The Daily Dust' which reminds me of balmy, summers in the park with a free flowing bottle of Pimm's. You can't help but hear the Barat/Doherty influence on this track with drawling vocals and imaginative lyrics with lead singer Guy Stevenson mumbling 'you'll be the death of me, you'll be the reason that I fall.' However, it's not all Libertines-wannabees - far from it. 'The Polka' picks up the pace with choppy chords and more finger clicking beats. With husky whispered vocals reminiscent of The Cure's Robert Smith you can hear youth, anger and gin pumping through their veins which must give off one hell of a live show. You can hear many other bands ringing through and constantly find yourself saying, 'don't they sound like so and so...?' but The Gin Riots seem to keep that individuality that I have not heard for a while.

I still won't be reaching for the bottle of Gordon's anytime soon but I will definitely be skipping my way to the front of Gin Riots next show and putting them high on my 2008 summer soundtrack.

Check out London dates and new songs plus a free MP3 at The Gin Riots
For our friends across the Atlantic, The Gin Riots have got an all important performance at
NXNW in Toronto during June. If you are over that way then show some support.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Amplified! Vol.1 - The Nightjars

photo by Anne-Laure Franchette

A new feature arrives at Amplify This! to pay homage for all new bands around the globe. If you have the Amplified tag stamped on your backside then you are definitely going places.

To guide us on this snowy March Sunday is The Nightjars, a four-piece shining the light for Manchester. Now correct me if I am wrong but whenever I think of bands from Manchester, I have the image of drunken, arrogant, northern swagger that comes with bands like Oasis, The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays but I suppose you can't make those assumptions to all bands. Of course, you can never forget the likes of Joy Division, Doves and Elbow which proves Manchester have managed to keep their footprint firmly on the music map.

The Nightjars are another band who are ready to join that list and on paper they look very promising. With influences from Velvet Underground and Pixies they are sure to cause a bit of a frenzy. After listening to some tracks off their album 'Towards Light' I have yet to feel dissatisfied. Alot of angst. Alot of drums. And a whole lot of bass. Perfect!

They deliver punchy, scratchy guitar rock in the form of 'Stay Focused,' 'Bass Drum' and 'Set Them Up' that gives a raw, young image for a band that are still on the fickle music ladder but the songs that stood out for me are the more melodic, grown up gems like 'You Set Me Reeling' and 'Second Guess.' Both with dreamy guitar and luscious vocals from lead singer Ollie that provide a heartbreaking mix for all us loved up couples that huddle together in pub corners and share whiskey tainted kisses while trying to pay attention to the band providing the soundtrack.

Label buddies with Joan As Policewoman, The Nightjars are sure in good hands on Reveal Records and hold promising reviews in NME, BBC Online and Fake DIY. These Mancunian guys are definitely doing something right so make sure you jump on the bandwagon before they reach the stadium they are aiming for.

Keep an eye on The Nightjars at their
site and myspace for news and dates
Until then, caress your ears with these darlings

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Let's Get Up

photo by Liam Henry

When you first hear Leeds based band Dinosaur Pile-Up you can't help but get excited. Like when your Mum used to give you a whole fifty pence piece and you would run as fast as your legs could take you to the corner shop and scream to the little old lady for every sherbert flying saucer under her roof. OK, well that's how excited I got. Without mentioning names, there are some really awful new music floating around at the moment but DP prove how much worthwhile talent is getting ignored. Frontman and multi-instrumentalist Matt Bigland is proving he is the full package both musically and lyrically with a voice to smack you back into T-Rex's giant jaws.

I was lucky enough to catch them on a short visit to Leeds in a tiny, half empty underground clubnight and they completely confirmed everything I have just said. Energetic, powerful and leaving the crowd wanting so much more...and that was only their first show. Someone pass the flying saucers please!

The lovely people at Fake DIY put DP in their Class Of 2008...and rightly so! Check out the interview with Mr Bigland. Class Of 2008 DP Interview

All you need at Dinosaur Pile-Up Myspace for demos, dates and downloads.
MP3: What Howard Said

Finally, here are some photos from the Leeds show at Trash 22/03/2008

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

The Stills - Water Rats, London 21/04/07

Yet more photos that have been dug out from the depths of my hard drive. And more of The Stills. I can never really fault their shows so I won't bore you with how fantastic and brilliant they were...yet again! Just enjoy the photos.

More at
Amplify This!
All things
The Stills

Voxtrotting In Hoxton

November 6th 2007 saw Voxtrot pass through London town. A rare appearance from these Texan elfins and what a night! A rammed Hoxton Bar and Grill in the scenester East End was the perfect setting. I was so excited that these guys had finally managed to get over to the UK to play some dates and it was totally worth the wait. Although, if Voxtrot are reading - please get your butts back over here pronto! Here are some shots from the show courtesy of Amplify This!

Check out Voxtrot's Myspace for dates and an exclusive Ova Looven remix of Firecracker