Category Archives: Alternative

She’s got a boyfriend anyway…

“And this is how it starts / You take your shoes off in the back of my van / My shirt looks so good / When it’s just hanging off your back”

Released on November 16th, Manchester band The 1975 are back with a follow up to their well received EP ‘ Facedown’ with a new four track which goes by the name of ‘Sex’.

If you like your alternative bands to be mixed with electronica, grungy guitars and R&B influenced vocal harmonies, then this EP is potentially your new favourite listen.

Opening track ‘Intro / Set 3’ and its follow up ‘Undo’ bring their R&B and slowjam influences to the forefront. For me, with this sound is where The 1975’s strengths lie. They blend these elements with chilled yet glitchy electronic beats which build slowly but surely into pulsating anthems.

‘Sex’ the lead single from the E.P has received its fair share of radio support with airplay from Radio 1, XFM and Kerrang recently and based on the quality of the release as a whole this is set to continue. With its upbeat sound, melodic vocals, catchy lyrics and reverb filled guitars this will take you back to the glory days of American bands such as Jimmy Eat World whilst still managing to sound fresh and on point.

With the EP’s closing track, ‘You’, we find nothing we haven’t heard from indie bands previously which could be seen as disappointing after the brilliance of the first three songs. But still, its catchy, its melodic, the lyrics are simple yet memorable and for me, even if its not the stand out track, its definitely worth more than a couple of listens.

Overall, a really strong EP which will no doubt be on rotation in my headphones for a little while yet.

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SEND ME DOWN

Just under a month ago, Haim dropped a new track, the beautifully catchy and pop infused ‘Don’t Save Me’. And now? Its time for the follow up. ‘Send Me Down’ has a darker sound to the bands previous releases, heavy on percussion and more driven in its pace whilst still staying faithful the bands trademark indie pop feel. My excitement levels for their (hopefully) soon to be released full length have just risen times a million.

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CHAINED

Check out the new video from The XX for the second single from ‘Coexist’, ‘Chained’.

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Closer

Yep, I’m a big cliche, but I’m not going to apologise..

This excites me MASSIVELY.

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RIP Tony Sly

Sad news spread across the internet last night as fans of punk band No Use For A Name found out about the passing of front man Tony Sly, aged 41.

Like many teenagers at the time, melodic punk rock was a big part of my life and musical discovery around 1998/99 onwards as I turned 15 and searched for music I wanted that wasn’t played on the radio. Fat Wreck Chords was the label that provided me with most of my favourite bands at that time and No Use For A Name were always a choice pick. ‘Making Friends’, ‘More Betterness’ and ‘Hard Rock Bottom’ were three albums my friends and I played until they wore out and they provided the soundtrack to many road trips as we passed out driving tests and gradually, kind of, grew up.

RIP Tony Sly, thanks for the memories.

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Bloc Party – Four

Of all the exciting new releases due out in the latter part of 2012 (and there’s a lot) the fourth offering from Bloc Party, aptly titled ‘Four’, is high on my ‘can’t wait’ list. In 2010- early 2011, around the time of front man Kele Okereke’s solo side project, rumours of the band disbanding permanently were particularly rife so later that year when the official announcement came that a new full length would be released in 2012, I, like many others I’m sure, breathed a genuine sigh of relief.

‘Four’ will hit the shops on August the 20th this year and if you can’t wait that long for a taster, check out the trailer below….

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1000 Minutes Part 38

I can’t actually believe how long it has been since I wrote an entry into the 1000 Minutes Project. Unfortunately I think I was lacking inspiration for awhile, but after an accidental nostalgic music listening session last week I’ve been kicking myself for letting it slide. Anyway, as those who read this will know, I like to try where possible to pick a handful of songs each entry that kind of fit side by side, not this time. This time I’ve gone with my gut and just plucked songs out of the memory that have significant meaning. To be honest, with only half the time left, I think thats the approach I’ll roll with til I hit zero from now on. So yes, entry 38, a little random, but fitting all the same.

As normal, if you want to view the full list so far, follow this LINK and if you want to see all previous 37 ramblings from me, search 1000 minutes on the main page.

145. Green Day – Good Riddance (Time of your life) [2:35] [time remaining 453:35] (listen on YouTube)

Released in 1997 on Green Day’s fifth studio album, Nimrod, its hard to believe that this song is fifteen years old this year. It was around 1997, aged 14-15 when I first started branching out into punk and Green Day along with Blink 182 were the first bands I obsessed over. Like most teenage alternative kids this song became abit of an anthem for me and I can recall many cider drunk sing-alongs and countless discussions about it being the perfect funeral song, pretty morbid thoughts teenagers but I can guarantee I wasn’t alone. For me this was a beautiful song back then and still is now, it provides with an enormous feeling of nostalgia which considering the lyrics, will always seem massively appropriate.

146. Oasis – Live Forever [4:37] [time remaining 448:58] (listen on YouTube)

When Britpop was at its peak I always stood firmly in the Blur camp of the Blur Vs. Oasis debate. For me that decision was easy as I consistently loved every record that Blur released and my enjoyment for Oasis came to a pretty sudden stop after their first two albums. This however does not mean that I cannot appreciate Oasis in their early days, both ‘Definitely Maybe’ and ‘What’s the story (Morning Glory)’ were albums I appreciate massively and its because of that the idea of leaving them out of this project would be absurd. ‘Live Forever’ has always been my standout track from Oasis and in my opinion its the finest example of Noel Gallaghers incredible writing ability, no matter what my opinions are on their most recent releases, there is absolutely no denying that the man is a genius and who could argue when presented with this track. Put simply, its epic.

147. C.S.S – Lets Make Love and Listen Death From Above [3:30] [time remaining 445:28] (listen on YouTube)

This track reminds me of a very specific time of my life. I lived in Southampton, I’d just started promoting gigs with my then girlfriend and we decided on a whim one day that we were to become DJs. We went out and bought our own CDJs and would practice every available hour (often at the expense of university) in our bedroom. When we started to get our first gigs at clubs and bars, this song would always appear in our set without fail. At the time of its release, 2005 to be precise, it was so unlike anything else out there and it became one of anthems of the very short lived neu rave era.

148. Death Cab For Cutie – I Will Follow You Into The Dark [3:09] [time remaining 441:19] (listen on YouTube)

Death Cab’s fifth studio album ‘Plans’ dropped in 2005 and I have to admit as a pretty massive fan at the time it didn’t instantly click with me, until I got down to this track, number five on the album and I instantly fell in love. Written about frontman Ben Gibbard’s thoughts about the afterlife and the feeling of losing someone close to him, the lyrics are simply beautiful and the simplistic mono recording of the song adds to that even further.

149. Bon Iver – The Wolves (Act I & II) [5:22] [time remaining 435:57] (listen on YouTube)

I find that in order for a song to hit me emotionally there are generally two ways in which it happens. The first and most obvious involves being able to relate to the story the lyrics tell, the second which is without doubt much rarer requires a more epic build up and incredible sound which just leaves me feeling overwhelmed. This is the best way I can describe how ‘The Wolves’ by Bon Iver makes me feel. The simplicity of the slow and layered vocals building into a massive instrumental sound clash just blew me away the first time I heard it and continues to give me tingles every single time.

tbc…

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Ben Howard @ The Concorde II, Brighton

 

It took me a little while to decide that I liked Ben Howard. For several months he was an artist I listened to in passing, normally when wandering past my housemates bedroom as she reminded me often how incredible he was. I never actually sat down and took notice until my girlfriend, who could definitely be described as a super-fan, made me listen to his album from start to finish most lazy Sunday mornings. By the time I made my mind up his next Brighton gig had already sold out and I kicked myself (and she kicked me too) for not getting tickets. My luck changed however, when a friend of mine who was going travelling offered up a pair of spare tickets on Facebook and I jumped at the chance knowing that snapping them up would definitely win me some happy points.

When I found out the support act was going to be none other than London based three piece, Daughter, I decided we’d struck gold. I’d had ‘Youth’ and ‘Landfill’ on rotation on a playlist at work for some time now so I was looking forward to hearing more from them live. Daughter took to the stage with a grace and semi-awkwardness which suited their music perfectly and reminded me of early performances by The XX. Singer Elena Tonra was mesmorising as she shyly introduced the band and smiled nervously before silencing the front of the crowd with her incredible vocal. The venue was quite noisy, with alot of the crowd, clearly only there to see the headline act chatting throughout their set, but this didn’t phase the band and they captured the attention of those polite enough to listen, myself included, from the start of their set to the final note of their last song. I immediately purchased both EPs from iTunes on my return home and I urge you to do the same. You can do so HERE.

Daughter – Love

Ben Howard took the stage amongst a cloud of smoke, which incidentally set off the fire alarm during his first song, not that anyone noticed until he informed the crowd on the mic after introducing himself as he drew them in immediately with his faultless vocal and trademark unique way of plucking at this guitar on his lap.

What impressed me most about his hour and half long set was his interaction with his band, especially cellist / bassist / percussionist India Bourne whose stage presence was simply stunning. When watching soloists live previously, their backing band have always seemed exactly that, anonymous and there to support the named artist. This was not the case tonight, Ben threw conversational nods to his band throughout the set and their involvement was anything but anonymous. Tonight it felt as though we we invited to watch a band who had been working together for years, led by a modest, but incredibly talented frontman. Their banter was entertaining to watch also, as Ben described an ex girlfriend, of which 70% of the album is about and concluded that he was the winner after hearing that the record had gone gold. This was met by a disapproving look from across the stage from India, who we were told was one of the girls best friends.

Ben’s banter with the audience was also constant, at one point he spoke of how unsure he was when he heard that his single had made the Radio One A-List, but after deciding that most of his audience were seemingly over Ed Sheeran’s age, this could only be a positive.

Another pleasant surprise for me was the varied style and tempo of the set. I think I expected quite a chilled out acoustic vibe and although this expectation was indeed satisfied with some of his relaxed tracks such as ‘Black Flies’, ‘Everything’ and ‘Old Pine’ he also got the crowd dancing, clapping and singing along throughout the more up-tempo songs, noticebly with ‘Only Love’, ‘Keep your head up’ and my personal favourite, ‘The Wolves’.

In conclusion, Ben and his band blew me away, his vocal was even more incredible and unique live than what is captured in his recordings and the energy and presence was beating down on the crowd until the encore came to an end. Its safe to say that my super-fan girlfriend, now has most played playlist competition in the form of me.

Buy Ben’s album / singles on iTunes now by following this LINK and if you fancy something a little different, check out the Scott Nixon remix of ‘Black Flies’ below.

Ben Howard – Black Flies (NiXON Remix)

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212 – EDIT

Love Azealia Banks’ “212”? After a extended edit to drop into your sets? Fancy it with abit of a house injection?

Well…I might just have your answer…

Azealia Banks Feat. Lazy Jay – 212 (Tommie Sunshine & Disco Fries Remix)

The legend of the subtle remix, Tommie Sunshine, has joined forces with Disco Fries to extend this already monster track into a longer dancefloor hit whilst adding a little bit of extra sunshine of his own.

Enjoy…

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BAD GIRLS

Could 2012 be the year that makes music exciting again? With the recent comebacks announced or released, I have high expectations…

Seriously though, Santigold, followed by M.I.A within moments of each other? I wish there was a way of putting my excitement into words.

Lets take a moment to remember something…. M.I.A was named as one of the defining artists of the 2000s decade by Rolling Stone in its “Best of the Decade” list. Esquire magazine ranked her on its list of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century and Time magazine named her one of the world’s most influential people. Didn’t know this? Well, with her new single and its accompanying video, its clear to see why…

M.I.A dropped ‘Bad Girls’ the lead track from her yet to be announced fourth album on February the 1st and you can buy it on iTunes now by following this LINK.

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