Wednesday, 28 May 2008

With A Buzz In Our Ears

photo by Sigur Rós

Sigur Rós

With the big move to Vancouver in two weeks time, posts are a little scattered of late so bear with me and I will get to work on all the photos and gig reviews that are building up.

A quick mention of some news that I am excited about and want to share with you all is the new Sigur Rós album. The Icelandic quartet return with their fifth LP "með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust" (Try saying that after a few ciders) or the easier English translation being "with a buzz in our ears we play endlessly" on June 23rd.
Apparently it is also the first album in the band's career to be made outside of Iceland taking them to studios in New York, London and Havana. I doubt there will be any salsa influences seeping through, but I am highly certain there will be a continuation of epic, soaring strings and dreamy vocals on their latest addition. My heart flutters at the thought of it.

The album will be available to pre-order from June 2nd and a live stream of the album will be available on june 9th for those who have pre-ordered. Sigur Ros will also be playing a handful of festivals around UK and Europe in the summer so stay on the look out.

To keep your ears sane until then, you can download the first track of the new album from the website.

Sigur Rós MP3 : Gobbledigook

Sigur Rós: Website / Myspace

Friday, 23 May 2008

Black Cab Sessions

Death Cab For Cutie

When the guys from Death Cab For Cutie recently dropped by Camden Electric Ballroom, I was one of the lucky ones to witness an amazing show. Every person in the audience were captivated by Ben and the boys performance. They even seemed overwhelmed to be there while spoiling us with tracks from new album 'Narrow Stairs' and classics that made us all first fall in love with them.

Wasting no time on their brief London trip, Ben and Nick were kidnapped by the guys at Black Cab Sessions to perform 'No Sunlight' in the back of a....wait for it....Black Cab. I won't bother with the 'Cab' puns. Just check out the video and more Black Cab acts at Black Cab Sessions (my personal favourite is Spoon's Britt Daniel's performance of I Summon You - heavenly!)

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Nine Inch Nails - The Slip

Nine Inch Nails

It seems everyone is handing out free albums at the moment. That's the power of the online world. It's like the balding, musky smelling man that lives at the bottom of the street and offers little children the most delicious of candy. You know not to talk to strangers but you just can't resist. And I don't think anyone could resist Trent Reznor if he was standing in front of you waving around a free album.
Mr Reznor has done just that to say thank you to all the NIN fans out there. A FREE, NIN album? You couldn't ask for much more really.

You can get the album and artwork here in various formats. Just follow this link and the instructions and your life will be that much more complete

Sunday, 4 May 2008

White Rabbits @ The Borderline 29/04/08

To accommodate six fully grown men, two drum kits and a hefty sized keyboard onto a tiny stage is going to be a major task for any skinny sound tech. Somehow, they managed it for the White Rabbits first show at London's Borderline - and they have a TEENY stage.

The New York based six piece finally arrived in town to kick start their short UK/European tour to coincide with the recent release of their debut album 'Fort Nightly.' A fair bit of fuss has been hovering over their heads of late, with powerful live performances and a slot on David Letterman it's easy to see why music geeks are falling in love. With a rammed venue and rising temperature, White Rabbits clambered over leads and amps to their designated spot with ease. Their set was overwhelmingly engrossing with Matt and Jamie displaying two perfectly synchronised drummers who provided hammering stampedes on new single 'The Plot' and occasional tropical beats on 'I Used To Complain Now I Don't' that brought back fond memories of my beloved London boys Madness.

Pianist/vocalist Steve sat comfortably at his keys on the side of the stage facing his band mates and watching both guitarists/vocalists Greg and Alex occasionally bump into each other. Proving that space was limited, bassist Adam stood beautifully in a dark, amp-filled corner occasionally stepping up to let off steam on yet another drum for crowd pleaser 'Kid On My Shoulder.'
Visually, there was a lot happening on the small stage but all the instruments and three part harmonies enriched their forty minutes with texture and charm to make the most joyous, powerful performance I have seen in a long time.
White Rabbits Myspace / Site
More photos at Amplify This Flickr

If you need any more persuasion then have a look at their performance on David Letterman.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Quiet Nights @ ICA with Fanfarlo, Orphans and Vandals and Serafina Steer

When you live in a city, it's always difficult to find quiet hideaways of tranquillity. However, amongst the rush hour and startled tourists, the ICA provided the perfect pocket of silence. Suitably titled Quiet Nights, Friday evenings saw you walk up a spiral staircase leading to the Nash Room. A tiny, high ceiling room that was adorned with rugs, fairy lights and a selection of instruments in the corner. It was like being in your front room while your friends are scattered around talking in hushed murmurs and climbing through the huge bay windows to have a smoke on the balcony. This was the setting every Friday for various acts to perform acoustic sets that eased you into your weekend. My chosen Friday was the ever delicious Fanfarlo accompanied by Orphans and Vandals and Serafina Steer.

To begin the competition of who can play the most instruments, a tall, blonde girl under the name Serafina Steer, placed herself amongst the array of percussion and picked up her modest harp. She plucked her way dreamily through several songs including a cover of Morrissey’s Persuaded with velvety vocals and cascading harp strings. Lullabies that told stories of love, dawn and horses. Once finished, she packed her harp away and disappeared into the crowd with a satisfying smile on her face.

Vandals and Orphans were to follow consisting of 3 ladies adorned in flowing gowns that could easily be placed in a F Scott Fitzgerald novel and 2 gentlemen in well fitted shirts and messy hair. Between them, they worked through a harmonica, glockenspiel, harmonium and even a musical saw to provide a skin tingling eeriness to songs like Christopher and Strays. Whilst sitting at his toy piano, lead singer Al emitted a Pete Doherty persona through mumbled, cockney vocals and poetic lyrics (rolling, glazed eyes included). With creeping bass lines and haunting violins, Vandals and Orphans acoustic set was the perfect back drop for the closing darkness of London.

Of course, the evening was not going to end dark and miserable as the happiest and most up beat of bands was still to come. Even more percussion came out of the woodwork including mandolins, trumpets, accordions, fanfarlophone (whatever that is) and the popular musical saw. Drummer Amos opted for the chair less route to coordinate one foot on bass drum and the other on top hat and multi-instrumentalist Cathy skipped around the stage to jump from one musical contraption to another. According to lead singer Simon, this was Fanfarlo's first acoustic performance but that didn't seem to faze them. Actually, they seemed quite relaxed as they watched the seated crowd sway to Sand & Ice, The Outsiders and a sing-a-long finale assisted by hand out lyrics. For tonight at least, if there was an award for 'Band Who Can Play The Most Instruments' I would gladly hand it to Fanfarlo.

More photos at Amplify This

Fanfarlo Site / Myspace

Orphans & Vandals Myspace

Serafina Steer Myspace

Joy Division Movie

photo by Paul Slattery / Retna

Not to be confused with Bafta nominated Control, the new Joy Division movie is simply their story in their words. With the participation of all the surviving band members (now known as New Order), 'Joy Division' examines the band's story as depicted through never-before-seen live performance footage, personal photos, period films and newly discovered audiotapes.
From director Grant Gee and producers Tom Atencio, Tom Astor and Jacqui Edenbrow, Joy Division chronicles a time of great social and political change in England and tells the untold story of four men who transcended economic and cultural barriers to produce an enduring musical legacy.

The movie is out 2nd May 2008.

For those of you who have been kept in the dark recently, here is the trailer for 'Control.'

For more info Joy Division Movie / Xfm Interview with drummer Stephen Morris / Joy Division Myspace