So So good


TOURISM/Terrorism, the forthcoming album by The So So Glos, has brightened up the dark winter nights for me.

Because the Brooklyn-based punk band’s second second studio effort is an entertaining, exuberant and enthralling, and possibly essential, LP.

The group condenses the punk ethos and attiitude of The Ramones with the pop nous of Love Me Do-era Beatles and the jangly guitar work of The Libertines, plus 101 other unexpected diversions from funky drummer outros to one-minute acoustic skits, into a half-hour of mayhem.
So So what are you waiting for, Glo and have a listen!

Classic forty one – Very good


VERY Fast, Very Dangerous is very Reuben.

It’s very rock, it’s very metal, and it’s very good.
It’s very much the sound of a band at the height of their powers – just listen to tracks like Kick In The Mouth and Every Time A Teenager Listens To Drum And Bass A Rockstar Dies – although that’s now a thing of the past as far as Reuben are concerned.
It’s also very underrated, and therefore very deserving of a place in the Classic Collection.
I very much recommend that you go and buy a copy, very soon.

Wild waste


CATCH-up caught up, it’s back to the everyday hum drum of having unreleased new music sent to me for free.
Ah well, mustn’t grumble.
Then again…

Now perhaps unfairly, I made a dig at trans-atlantic trio Sparrow And The Workshop‘s six-track ‘mini-album’ Sleight Of Hand for being neither here nor there – not short enough yet not long enough.
But there can be no argument that, clocking in at just seven tracks and less than half an hour, their ‘album’ Into The Wild is not long enough.
Then again, with an alt-folk-meets-country sound so over-egged, maybe this is seven tracks too much…
It’s not all bad – for example when they add a little Nick Cave-style rock to proceedings on Crossing Hearts.
But for the most part the sound is melodramatic, morose, and really not a lot of fun to listen to at all – Into The Wild? Into the bin, more like.

2009 Catch-up – IAMXcellent


IAMX, real name Chris Corner, and his 2009 album Kingdom Of Welcome Addiction was recommended on the Facebook page with the words “now THAT, THAT is an album of the year”.
Now not being familiar with any of his solo work – but aware of him being a founding Sneaker Pimp – I welcomed the chance to be hooked by this, his third solo studio album.
And although I’ll maybe hang back from declaring Kingdom Of Welcome Addiction one of my Albums Of The Year 2009, I will say it was a welcome suggestion.
Full of warm synth-driven electronica and thoughtful lyrics, the singer songwriter has bared his soul here.
It may not have me full-on addicted – but consider this his gateway album for me.

2009 Catch-up – Not Idlewild about it


I SUSPECT that frontman Roddy Woomble sort of reviews their previous album, Make Another World, on the sort of title track of Idlewild’s 2009 offering Post-Electric Blues.
“I’m bored for the first time,” he sings, “returning to a tried and tested method,” no doubt in reference to the band returning to the kind of straightforward indie rock that gathered them a Classic Collection inclusion for their debut 100 Broken Windows last time out.
Personally, I really enjoyed Make Another World.
But Post-Electric Blues, the Scottish group’s sixth studio outing, sees the band instead fusing Idlewild with Woomble’s folk-leaning solo streak on the better tracks like City Hall and Take Me Back To The Islands.
And, as Woomble explicitly states, the more traditional Idlewild tracks here do sound jaded.

2009 Catch-up – Jamie T time


GOBBY rapper and songwriter Jamie T is fast becoming pop royalty with a string of catchy, original singles in 2009, and with a previous Album Of The Year under his belt he surely too has a chance of being crowned again this year.
But however great Kings And Queens is, it never quite reaches the heights of his 2007 debut Panic Prevention.
Vocally the distinctive T mixes the razor-sharp working class perception of the Arctic Monkeys with the swagger and lazy patter of The Streets, over bedroom-born beats that fuse elements of hip hop, electronica and rock.
And his original sound is as triumphant as ever on tracks like Sticks And Stones and Chaka Demus – the problem is, I suppose, that it was just that little bit more original first time out.

2009 Catch-up – Temper rapture


ANOTHER band touted by myself nearly 12 months ago, alongside acts like Mumford And Sons and Florence And The Machine that came good, was Australian act The Temper Trap.
And with their August release Conditions, they delivered on their promise.
Chock-full of pulsating basslines, jingling guitars and soaring vocals, the debut is as polished and epic as a band can hope for – with some hair-raising moments with the likes of Sweet Disposition and Love Lost.
Perhaps a little variety could be added – but nevertheless like the Coldplays and Kings Of Leons of this world, Temper Trap effortlessly produce the sort of music that stadiums were made for.
U2 take two anyone?

Radiant Dragon has LOTP collaboration

PRODUCER Radiant Dragon has teamed up with Late Of The Pier‘s Sam Eastgate for a new track.
You can download Ghosts, which was written and recorded by Radiant Dragon in Singapore and co-produced by the Castle Donington frontman, by clicking here.
Radiant Dragon said: “I’ve tried to blend electronic, ambient, psychedelic folk and rock sounds together to bring out the atmosphere and themes of the song, lamenting immigrants lost and stranded at sea.”

2009 Catch-up – Skye’s the limit


METAL mammoths Mastodon and their March LP Crack The Skye were suggested as a potential Album Of The Year across on the Sound Off forum, as well as being tipped by myself as one to watch in January.
And with critical plaudits for the album, a conceptual romp through Tsarist Russia, coupled with support on the forum and a previous album, Blood Mountain, that I fell head over heels in love with, it’s fair to say my anticipation was high on approaching this record.
However I was left thoroughly disappointed.
Given the theme of the album, I shouldn’t have been surprised by the prog rock approach here, but the elements of stoner rock and freeform jazz hinted at in Blood Mountain‘s brutal metal have been eradicated.
Instead plodding Ozzy Osbourne vocals over inpenetrably dense, introverted riffing pervades.
Both in scope and technically Crack The Skye is a truly awesome body of work, and worth experiencing – however I’m not sure whether Mastodon made this album for the listeners, or just for themselves.