Angst in their pants

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FOLLOWING in the wake of Crystal Castles‘ hugely successful 2008, You Love Her Coz She’s Dead and their commodore-abusing Inner City Angst EP has got a release.
The electro group, who assure fans that their moniker doesn’t promote necrophilia, are a mixture of forthright Daft Punk-style beats and Crystal Castles’ bafflingly-popular primitive computer bleeps.
However this approach pays off for the duo – although messy opening track Superheroes sounds like Bloc Party playing in a warehouse full of ringing mobile phones.
As the EP progresses the sound develops an almost glam vibe, peaking with the frenetic Blood Lust.
Quite simply, if you like Crystal Castles, you’ll think these are a cut above.

Vote Guns N’ Roses

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AFTER 15 years of the most epic, ludicrous back story to an album ever, costing an alleged $13 million, and seeing double figures of musicians coming and going, Guns N’ Roses‘s Chinese Democracy is finally in stores.
Well, unless you live in China, that is.
And you know what, it’s alright – not as bad as I feared, yet expected.
A bit long-winded in places, with some face-melting guitar solos in others – what else did you expect from Axl and his appetite for distraction…
How long until the follow-up?

Set to make a killing

• STADIUM fillers The Killers have released their eagerly-awaited third album Day & Age.
The Las Vegas band’s LP, the follow-up to 2006’s Sam’s Town, features the hit single Human.
You can also catch the band live in the UK next year at dates in Birmingham and Nottingham in February and March.
• Hip hop royalty Kanye West has released his fourth album, the ground-breaking 808s & Heartbreak.
The album, which features the single Love Lockdown, is a change of direction for the rapper, who uses a combination of synth and vocoder on the LP to stunning effect.
• Wish it could be Christmas every day? Then pick up your copy of Christmas Jukebox!
The three-CD compilation features three themes to make every Christmas party go with a bang – a festive section, a rock selection and a further 20 tracks of pop.
• Hot new band Burningpilot are driving into the charts with their debut album.
The new LP, Cold Caller, is an arty slice of post-punk greatness akin to Franz Ferdinand.
• Eighteen-year-old solo star Alessi’s Ark releases her debut EP, The Horse, on December 8.
The release, a sophisticated, crafted preview of an up-and-coming talent, was produced by the team behind Bright Eyes.
• British-born country pop singer Chilli Gold releases her debut album in January.
Waterfalls, which features here current single Out Of My Mind, is available from January 12.
• Described as “the folk-pop Ting Tings”, Oh, Atoms are set to release their debut album You Can’t See The Stars From Here next year.
The whimsical indie-folk album, which features the single Sugar Mouse, is due for release on February 2.
• If all this is music to your ears, why not log on to echoisaacashe.blogspot.com for more news, reviews and musings from the music world.

A Frankly indispensible collection

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FORMER hardcore outfit Million Dead frontman Frank Turner has, for three years now, been knocking ’em dead as an alt-folk people’s poet for the post-rock generation.
With a wry, quintessentially English eye for a dry, self-depreciating lyric and an honest one man and his guitar approach to his compositions, Frank’s new The First Three Years compendium really is an essential release.
Even if you already have his first two albums, the magnificently-titled Sleep Is For The Week and follow-up Love, Ire And Song, the extras here are a choice selection.
Frankly, his cover of Dancing Queen by ABBA is worth the money alone.

Go West

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AS THE title 808s And Heartbreaks suggests, this is not an album of party anthems from Kanye West.
And also, as the title suggests, Kanye has come over all 1980s synth and vocoder.
It all adds up to a real change of direction for the chart-troubling rapper.
Utilising a Roland TR-808 – the drum machine used on Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing – for the beats and bleeps on this album, the LP has a distinctive and arresting sound, although pound for pound there’s clearly less hit single here than on his previous three albums.
Nevertheless kudos must go to West for taking his work out on a limb – and for plucking Ashe family favourite Mr Hudson for a profile-raising collaboration – obviously since Graduation Kanye has grown as an artist.
Hopefully 808s And Heartbreaks will be one that the public grows to love.

Blooming boring

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FOR her debut album Yellow Flowers, London-based singer Natasha Panas has “sourced some of the UK’s finest players”.
But however polished and accomplished the sound is, it’s more bland than big band.
This collection of easy listening is just far too easy – aside from the David McAlmont collaboration Kennington there’s nothing there to stimulate the listener.
Think smooth jazz, but smooth as in devoid of any distinguishing features.