Wednesday, 30 November 2011

2011 Music Chart - November

New albums this month from Kate Bush: the wonderful 50 Words For Snow, and the equally beguiling Florence And The Machine's Ceremonials.
  1. Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes
  2. A Creature I Don't Know by Laura Marling
  3. Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will by Mogwai
  4. Slave Ambient by The War On Drugs 
  5. Ashes & Fire by Ryan Adams
  6. Last Night On Earth by Noah And The Whale
  7. Codes and Keys by Death Cab For Cutie
  8. Collapse Into Now by R.E.M.
  9. Belong by The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
  10. 50 Words For Snow by Kate Bush 
  11. Ceremonials by Florence & The Machine
  12. Passenger by Lisa Hannigan
  13. Sky Full Of Holes by Fountains Of Wayne
  14. Virtue by Emmy The Great
  15. The Big Roar by The Joy Formidable
  16. Blood Pressures by The Kills
  17. Velociraptor! by Kasabian 
  18. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds by Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
  19. Diamond Mine by King Creosote and Jon Hopkins
  20. Destroyed by Moby
  21. John Wesley Harding by Thea Gilmore
  22. Build A Rocket Boys! by Elbow
  23. Gracious Tide Take Me Home by Lanterns On The Lake 
  24. Close-Up: Volume 3, States Of Being by Suzanne Vega
  25. Bruiser by The Duke Spirit
  26. The King Of Limbs by Radiohead 
  27. Silesia by Jeniferever
  28. Ritual by White Lies
  29. Paradise by Slow Club
  30. Fishin' For Woos by Bowling For Soup
  31. The Fool by Warpaint
  32. Buffalo by The Phoenix Foundation
  33. Metals by Feist
  34. Young Pilgrim by Charlie Simpson
  35. Wasting Light by Foo Fighters

Thea Gilmore - Angels In The Abattoir (November 2011)

This month's feast of sound from Thea Gilmore to all her lovely Angels In The Abattoir is a cover of Mark Knopfler's Piper To The End. Thea original had a new song ready but 'technical issues' got in the way so we will have to wait for that. Anyway... this appears on the documentary Victor that was broadcast by the BBC earlier this month.

Thea says "It just so happens that Mark is a very good friend of the guy who wrote the novel 'Victor'.. a lovely man called Rick Stroud.. so imagine the sweat on Nigels brow when he realised that his guitar solo would be under the scrutiny of the Knopfler himself! Luckily, word came back that he loved our version.. and he was also pretty busy playing support to.. err, Bob someone at the time so all was fine!"

It's a great version that is true to the original and Nigel is superb.

Also Thea appeared on The Andrew Marr show... very brief but see it here...

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Kate Bush - 50 Words For Snow (Album Review 2011)

There has been much talk recently about the death of the album. Kate Bush herself has spoken about this and like many musicians seems willing to accept the changing face of music. But on the evidence of 50 Words For Snow she is not giving up on the format that has shaped the musical world for generations. And six years is an unusually short amount of time to wait for new material. Ignoring the recent Director’s Cut, an album that failed more than it succeeded but Bush deemed necessary to move forward, 2005’s Ariel is still a fascinating and relevant work. It put the blessed songstress back into our hearts.

As you might expect, 50 Words For Snow is a concept album that should, ideally, be listened to in its entirety while allowing individual songs to stand on their own. This is not a continuous narrative set to music. This is not an opera. This is not Mars Volta or Coheed & Cambria. In spite of a theme to bring it all together, this is not bound by it. Kate Bush lets the album breath; to take on a life of its own.

Opener Snowflake is magnificent and easily the best thing Kate Bush has done for decades. A duet with her son Albert, the song explores the concept of coming into a complex world as unique and beautiful object. A subtle and well-judged production provides a gentle touch so that the drama is never overstated. Everything that Kate Bush does has a complexity that isn’t obvious, especially after a first listen. The music surrounding Lake Tahoe is a great example of this. A gorgeous arrangement. To complete a start worthy of any Kate Bush album, Misty is another masterpiece and a modern adult take on The Snowman. Kate’s love affair with the snow is overtly described in lines such as “he is melting in my hand” and “the sheets are soaking”. Bush’s voice moves from naïve innocent to present day earthy rasp over the thirteen-minute duration, right up to the dramatic finale.

Bringing back the concept of the album, Wild Man sounds odd and disjointed as a single but is perfectly placed on the album as the central piece. Snowed In At Wheeler Street brings in Elton John in what is a deliberately showy and over-the-top performance, from both singers. We would expect (and indeed want) nothing else from either performer and the wonderful dramatic piano and crashing cymbals amplify and augment perfectly right to the end.  This is pure theatre and a wonderful love song filled with emotion.

The title track, featuring the sublime tones of Stephen Fry, is very reminiscent of Lemon Jelly’s Return To Patagonia. The approach of fusing music and spoken word is not a new idea but Bush has enlisted the very best. And it works, up to a point – with Bush spurning Fry onward through the words; absurd and intriguing, the only criticism being the over-complication. Just Fry reading to a simpler backing may have worked better but everyone is allowed their moments of self-indulgence. And Kate Bush never misses the opportunity.

50 Words For Snow closes with the delicate Among Angels – a straightforward, shapeless and short (at a mere six and half minutes…) lament that is arguably the best vocal and piano on the album. Bush is deliberately sparse, controlled and evocative: “I can see angels, standing around you…They shimmer, like mirrors…”. Simply beautiful.

50 Words For Snow is proof that the album is alive and well. Taking a concept and weaving it through over an hour of music to retain a central theme and message is a fine art. The feel of the album is exquisitely judged, with deep resonant piano and voice taking centre stage and forming the body of many of the songs. This is another reinvention to compliment a changing voice and personality. Ariel may have returned Kate Bush to our hearts but 50 Words For Snow will keep her there. For a very long time.
-- CS

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Cassettes Won’t Listen’s ‘Stuck’ - Kinect iPhone Video

Very cool new video for the single Stuck by Cassettes Won't Listen...

Filmed on an iPhone and created using an XBox Kinect.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Little Boots - new single Shake

Here is the new song by Little Boots...

Little Boots - SHAKE by LittleBoots

It's very Goldfrapp/Kylie but cool and stylish.