Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Music Chart - October 2012

Another great month for new music. Highlights include Beth Orton, The Birthday Suit, Green Day, Muse, Suzanne Vega, Lau, Wintersleep, Tori Amos, Bob Mould, Tim Burgess, Errors (again!), Taken By Trees, The Mountain Goats, Bat For Lashes, The Tragically Hip, Coheed and Cambria, Martha Wainwright, Jake Bugg, Lena, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Kate Rusby, Tame Impala and The Jim Jones Revue.
  1. Shallow Bed by Dry The River 
  2. Babel by Mumford & Sons 
  3. Jake Bugg by Jake Bugg
  4. Valtari by Sigur Ros
  5. The Lion's Roar by First Aid Kit
  6. Sugaring Season by Beth Orton
  7. Bloom by Beach House 
  8. Traces by Karine Polwart
  9. Ssss by Vcmg 
  10. The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind by Ben Folds Five 
  11. The Haunted Man By Bat For Lashes
  12. Generation Freakshow by Feeder
  13. Celebration Rock by Japandroids
  14. The 2nd Law by Muse
  15. Cut The World by Antony & The Johnsons 
  16. Oshin by Diiv 
  17. Silver Age by Bob Mould 
  18. New Wild Everywhere by Great Lake Swimmers
  19. Stardust by Lena
  20. The Ghost In Daylight by Gravenhurst 
  21. Sun by Cat Power
  22. An Awesome Wave by Alt-J  
  23. Battle Born by The Killers
  24. Sweet Heart Sweet Light by Spiritualized
  25. Ghostory by School of Seven Bells
  26. Charmer by Aimee Mann
  27. Born And Raised by John Mayer
  28. Coexist by The xx
  29. Like Drawing Blood by Gotye 
  30. Observator by The Raveonettes
  31. Now For Plan A by The Tragically Hip
  32. Race The Loser by Lau
  33. Southern Air by Yellowcard 
  34. Dead End Kings by Katatonia
  35. Banga by Patti Smith
  36. Instinct by Niki And The Dove
  37. Electric Cables by Lightships
  38. Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! by Godspeed You! Black Emperor
  39. Privateering by Mark Knopfler 
  40. A Conversation Well Rehearsed by The Birthday Suit
  41. The Unthanks with Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band by The Unthanks
  42. 20 by Kate Rusby
  43. Close Up, Vol. 4 - Songs Of Family by Suzanne Vega
  44. Even On The Worst Nights by Mixtapes
  45. Oceania by Smashing Pumpkins
  46. Blood Speaks by Smoke Fairies 
  47. Handwritten by The Gaslight Anthem
  48. Do The Struggle by Franz Nicolay 
  49. The Light The Dead Can See by Soulsavers 
  50. Hello Hum by Wintersleep
  51. Sounds From Nowheresville by The Ting Tings
  52. Lonerism by Tame Impala
  53. Mutual Friends by Boy 
  54. Devotion by Jessie Ware
  55. Moth by Exlovers
  56. Tramp by Sharon Van Etten
  57. WIXIW by Liars 
  58. My Head Is An Animal by Of Monsters And Men
  59. Young Man In America by Anais Mitchell 
  60. Given To The Wild by The Maccabees
  61. The Sister by Marissa Nadler
  62. Americana by Neil Young and Crazy Horse 
  63. Unearth by Grasscut
  64. Little Broken Hearts by Norah Jones
  65. Gold Dust by Tori Amos and Jules Buckley
  66. Hot Cakes by The Darkness
  67. Synthetica by Metric
  68. Words And Music by Saint Etienne
  69. Wonky by Orbital 
  70. Crown And Treaty by Sweet Billy Pilgrim 
  71. Shrines by Purity Ring
  72. Standing At The Sky's Edge by Richard Hawley
  73. Internal Logic by Grass Widow
  74. Strangeland by Keane
  75. Here Come The Bombs by Gaz Coombes
  76. Tough Love by Pulled Apart by Horses
  77. Interstellar by Frankie Rose
  78. New Relics by Errors
  79. Dead In The Boot by Elbow
  80. Wild Peace by Echo Lake
  81. Dub Egg by The Young
  82. Born Villain by Marilyn Manson
  83. Let It Break by Gemma Hayes
  84. ¡Uno! by Green Day
  85. Life Is Good by Nas
  86. Living Things by Linkin Park
  87. Beacon by Two Door Cinema Club 
  88. Oh No I Love You by Tim Burgess
  89. Underwater Sunshine by Counting Crows
  90. Manifest! by Friends
  91. Clear Moon by Mount Eerie
  92. Tree Bursts In Snow by Admiral Fallow
  93. Human Don't Be Angry by Human Don't Be Angry
  94. The Family Tree: The Roots by Radical Face
  95. Weapons by Lostprophets
  96. Blues Funeral by Mark Lanegan Band
  97. A Monument by Tu Fawning
  98. Aufheben by The Brian Jonestown Massacre
  99. Have Some Faith In Magic by Errors
  100. Hello Cruel World by Gretchen Peters
  101. Voyageur by Kathleen Edwards
  102. Long Live The Struggle by The King Blues
  103. Fossil Of Girl by Sarah Donner
  104. Blunderbuss by Jack White
  105. Here I Am by Oli Brown 
  106. Spirits by Plankton Wat
  107. Visions by Grimes
  108. Come Home To Mama by Martha Wainwright
  109. Tales From The Barrel House by Seth Lakeman 
  110. The Temper Trap by The Temper Trap
  111. ¿Which Side Are You On? by Ani Difranco
  112. Eighty One by Yppah
  113. Wrecking Ball by Bruce Springsteen
  114. First Serve by De La Soul's Plug 1 and Plug 2
  115. Kin Con by Alex Winston
  116. Not Your Kind Of People by Garbage
  117. Gossamer by Passion Pit 
  118. The Afterman: Ascension by Coheed and Cambria
  119. Siberia by LIGHTS 
  120. Ocean Roar by Mount Eerie 
  121. Europe by Allo Darlin' 
  122. North by Matchbox Twenty
  123. The Something Rain by Tindersticks
  124. Something by Chairlift
  125. The House That Jack Built by Jesca Hoop 
  126. Mirage Rock by Band Of Horses 
  127. The Savage Heart by The Jim Jones Revue
  128. Who Needs Who by Dark Dark Dark
  129. Anxiety by Ladyhawke
  130. Fear Fun by Father John Misty
  131. Transcendental Youth by The Mountain Goats
  132. Fragrant World by Yeasayer 
  133. Shields by Grizzly Bear
  134. California 37 by Train
  135. Break It Yourself by Andrew Bird
  136. Reign Of Terror by Sleigh Bells
  137. The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do by Fiona Apple
  138. Through The Night by Ren Harvieu
  139. Personality by Scuba
  140. America Give Up by Howler
  141. Black Light by Diagrams

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Saturday, 27 October 2012

The Tragically Hip - Now For Plan A (Album Review 2012)

The Tragically Hip - Now For Plan A





Canada's best kept secret, The Tragically Hip, have not had an easy time of it in recent years. Their previous album, We Are The Same,  predictably divided fans. The title is an ironic affirmation to fans that in spite of enhanced production and a 'bigger sound', thanks to Bob Rock, The Hip are, and always will be, the same band. As for the album: it remains an example of how to bring in new ideas and still retain your soul, and The Depression Suite, the nine and a half minute opus, remains the highlight - and one of their best songs of recent times. But the band has much to prove after two disappointing albums: In Between Evolution and World Container followed In Violet Light, their most accomplished album since Trouble In The Henhouse in 1996. So now, ten years later, the band's thirteenth (studio) album is Now For Plan A.


If the big problem with The Tragically Hip in the last decade has been consistency of albums, it is now with their songs. Now For Plan A suffers from many things but the biggest frustration is it's home to some of the best songs the band has written - and some of the worst. The aggressive opener At Transformation is a great noisy, determined, start and We Want To Be It, with its persistent 'drip drip drip' is truly wonderful and mesmerising. Gorgeous guitars form the introduction to the anti-love song and singer Gordon Downie's most committed performance - and a simple premise is used to form something much more complex. Surprisingly, Streets Ahead is the nearest The Hip get to a perfect three-minute pop song; in part the younger cousin of Lionized - held together with a vibrant, upbeat and furiously delivered chorus. Continuing the good run of form, the title track, featuring Sarah Harmer on vocals to provide the 'other side of the story', is simply brilliant - this is controlled, focused and above all, tuneful. The only other song achieving the usual Hip greatness is the beautiful Done And Done, a rose between to horrible thorns.

The rest of Now For Plan A is a messy collection of ideas and misjudged arrangements. Only The Lookahead and The Modern Spirit capture any of The Hip at their best but they, and remainder, suffer the same fate. The sharp song writing, witty observations and Downie's reliable, tuneful, and creative vocals, desert the band. Man Machine Poem, Take Forever and closer Goodnight Attawapiskat are poor and About This Map is a great idea ruined by more bad execution - and a flat, dull, uninspired chorus. Now For Plan A is hopefully titled ironically as the album is far from the glory days of The Tragically Hip at their majestic, wonderful, best.
-- CS

Jack Bugg - Jake Bugg (Album Review 2012)

Jake Bugg - Jake Bugg


From time to time, a new single creates a false sense of anticipation for an album. That single is Two Fingers by Nottingham's 18 year old Jake Bugg. The renowned music expert, and man with his own two fingers on the pulse, DBA Jim (thanks JD!), put this new song my way and I was immediately and distinctly unimpressed. This is the sound of another young upstart embracing lad-culture, singing about smoking and drinking, like an early Alex Turner but without the charm. So the eponymous début album was approached with trepidation - for no good reason. Jake Bugg is a revelation. Supported by the song-writing and production talents of Iain Archer (Snow Patrol), Crispin Hunt (Longpigs) and Mike Crossey, Bugg deftly delivers a collection of wonderful stories and love songs, embodying his life, future hopes and dreams. From the vibrant guitar rockabilly of opener Lightning Bolt, and previous single Taste It, to the delicate charm of Country Song and the superb ballad Broken (Hunt's only, but vital, contribution), the first half of the album doesn't disappoint. Even the aforementioned Two Fingers (actually the fifth single from Jake Bugg), quickly followed by the tongue-in-cheek Seen It All ("One Friday night I took a pill, or maybe two..." begins the psychedelic adventure) with their over-confident, no-fear, swagger, add to the glorious mix. The second half is more sedate, kicking off with the excellent Trouble Town, immediately drawing comparisons with early Bob Dylan - all street-poet and attitude, The Ballad Of Mr Jones is a dark country-fuelled tale of misadventure, while Slide is another tearful ballad - the kind Richard Ashcroft can only dream of. Note To Self is Bugg's best vocal performance, the vibrato resonating from the world of Gerry Marsden and Gene Pitney, followed by the equally affecting Someplace. This blend of old-world production, new-world songwriting, and that fantastic voice is the key to Jake Bugg's triumphant musical introduction.
-- CS

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Muse - The 2nd Law (Album Review 2012)

Muse - The 2nd Law


Muse has grown as a band over fifteen years and six albums, a transformation starting with 2003's Absolution. The signs are all there on Origin Of Symmetry but the lack of focus, and talent to take the material and huge arrangements to the 'next level' plague the album continuously. So through Black Holes and Revelations and The Resistance, Muse arrive at The 2nd Law. And what a chaotic, glorious mess of an album it is.

Opener Supremacy is a bond theme without the film to go with it, and sets the early tone - that of power and holding on to it, Madness is Queen's I Want To Break Free with a majestic choral finale, and Panic Station is a pop-funk mash-up of Thriller and Scissor Sisters. So far, so Muse. After this audacious start is The 2nd Law's key track - the one minute orchestral Prelude, which after the opening trilogy, presses a reset button and seems to be there to introduce the album 'proper'. This starts with Survival, which was the official song of the London 2012 Summer Olympics; badly-judged - over aggressive and sinister, conjuring images of a malevolent despot struggling to keep order and control over a nation. On 2nd Law it works only to enhance the sense of oppression, menace and power - pomp and overblown production aside - but still remains one of the album's weaker moments.

From here, The 2nd Law settles down into a decent rock album. Follow Me stays just the right side of camp disco - like Jeff Buckley's take on I Will Survive as remixed by a youthful Trent Reznor, interrupted by Bono. The guitar work on Animals is especially good, as is Matthew Bellamy's vocals. Explorers is also great, a bit Black Star (Radiohead) with delicious backing vocals. Bellamy is again superb on Big Freeze, even if it's not one of the album's strongest moments while Save Me is a real surprise. Lead vocals for this, and following song Liquid State (kicking off like Ministry and ending up as something completely new), are handed to bassist Chris Wolstenholme, transforming Muse into a new band and two cracking performances. And the closing title track, a two-part electro-experiment of buzzes, clicks, robotic vocals and samples, fused with gorgeous piano and strings, is also Bellamy-free. This is bizarre, downbeat and serious, yet fitting, end to The 2nd Law - an album that starts with no identity and becomes something unique and interesting.

Far from a triumph, The 2nd Law is many other things. It is a three-track EP from a band on form doing other people's songs, more in tribute than parody; then a superb rock-pop album and some of the best guitar-work and vocals from the band; then Muse being something else: a new identity, a difference; before a well-meaning eco-propaganda prog-rock finale. No other band is attempting this with such brazen confidence, the level of sophisticated musicianship, and ultimate success.
-- CS

Music Reviews (Tim Burgess, Bob Mould, Beth Orton)

Tim Burgess - Oh No I Love You


Charlatans front-man and part-time DJ Tim Burgess has released two solo albums, the first I Believe in 2003 was a warm, charming and spirited attempt to break away from the then well-established Charlatans formula. The band were an important part of the Manchester scene, with the brilliant albums Between 10th and 11th, Up To Our Hips and Tellin' Stories (to name the best three from the five great albums the band made in the 90s), and have never quite reached those heights since. So nearly ten years after his solo début, Burgess is back with Oh No I Love You. Anyone expecting a Charlatans album will be disappointed, and should be. Burgess uses his solo work as an outlet to try different things, and unlike I Believe, which is largely straight-forward and uncluttered, this second album is a mix of styles and sounds. This is mainly due to the collaboration with Lambchop's Kurt Wagner and a host of other musicians including My Morning Jacket. From the big lead single and opening break-up song White, all cool retro keyboards and brass section, to the sad, croaky, six and half minute ballad A Case For Vinyl, to the love-lost downbeat electro-pop The Great Outdoors Bitches, this is both sublime and compelling. Elsewhere the songs are comfortable. The Doors Of Then is a pleasant country waltz and Hours is a string-laden slice of easy-listening. Only the slow listless Tobacco Fields grates somewhat. But Oh No I Love You ends well, with the falsetto-driven and slick guitar work of The Economy and the second six-minute epic, mournful choral closer A Gain, with Burgess again showing his wonderful vocal range and timing, proving that the project is a worthwhile success.

Bob Mould - Silver Age


Former Husker Du and Sugar front-man Bob Mould releases his tenth solo album Silver Age. A man with a huge musical legacy, he is now an assured elder statesman, and his current 'band' featuring Jason Narducy and Jon Wurster (Superchunk and The Mountain Goats) sound as brilliant as ever. Silver Age has all the angst and guitars of Husker Du, the melodies of Sugar, and Mould's sharp spiky tuneful vocals. From furious opener Star Machine, to the wonderful shimmering pop of The Descent, to the epic guitar-fuelled psychedelia of Steam Of Hercules, there is never a dull moment. The second half of Silver Age is only marred by the trite and predictable Angels Rearrange but the blistering Fugue State and final duo of Keep Believing and First Time Joy are both excellent; the former is the perfect way to start any rock song - even if the melody flattens as the song concludes, while the latter is the vibrant hope-filled album highlight. The bands he has influenced through the years can be heard everywhere on this album, the echoes of the past sounding new and fresh. Bob Mould has not only proved his continued relevance and importance with Silver Age but found a collection of songs worthy of his tenth solo record.

Beth Orton - Sugaring Season


Beth Orton has been away for a while, to get married and start a family, but now six years after the disappointing Comfort Of Strangers, and sixteen years after her brilliant début Trailer Park, Orton releases the re-energised Sugaring Season. Thankfully Orton has discarded the 'easy-listening' style and bland middle-of-the-road balladry of her previous few albums and returned to her vibrant 'folk' roots. This has been described as a 'folk album for people who don't like folk' which is plainly ridiculous - what it means is this is a deep, atmospheric acoustic record filled with swathes of instrumentation, gorgeous vocals and compelling stories. From opener Magpie, you can tell Orton is determined and driven - like she is now giving Laura Marling something to think about. Her (now forty years young) vocals still retain a breathless quality, while gaining strength and maturity. Candles is especially surprising and wonderful - an impossibly high, yet husky, register drives the song forward through guitars and distant backing vocals: "You just found another way to cry..." is the dramatic closer to each chorus (with 'you' replaced with 'I' in the last dramatic moment). The lightness comes with Call Me The Breeze, a wonderful organ-keyboard filled, breezy-vocal country romp; while Poison Tree is a dark, menacing tale of lost love and faith. And the brilliance continues with the piano-led ballad Last Leaves Of Autumn, quickly followed by more great piano and the subtle tunefulness of State Of Grace. And closer Mystery is perfect, elegant simplicity and Orton's best vocal, not only of the album, but her life. Only the short See Through Blue, trying to break the 'seriousness', is misjudged, as Sugaring Season unfolds into a major triumph. Even though it lacks the song-craft and wide-eyed innocence of Trailer Park, Beth Orton is now, with Sugaring Season, a better musician and better song-writer.
-- CS

Suzanne Vega - Close-Up Volume 4, Songs Of Family (Album Review 2012)


Suzanne Vega has released the fourth (and final?) volume of her 'Close-up' series of reworked and re-performed songs from her own back catalogue. Close-up Volume 4, Songs of Family, as the name suggests, focuses on the people closest to Vega, and this one features previously unreleased songs - three no less, that conclude the album.

Songs are taken from Vega's previous albums with two notable exceptions. There are two songs from the much neglected Days Of Open Hand: Tired Of Sleeping and Pilgrimage, two from 99.9F degrees: Blood Sings and Bad Wisdom, two from Nine Objects Of Desire: Honeymoon Suite and World Before Columbus, two from Songs In Red And Gray: Soap And Water and Widow's Walk and (to complete the symmetry) two from Beauty & Crime: As You Are Now and Ludlow Street. No songs from her eponymous début and Solitude Standing feature (which is something of a surprise) and the opening song, Rosemary has only been released before on Vega's 1998 compilation Tried and True.

On paper, this looks like the weakest collection of songs on the four Close-up albums. That could be a good thing, giving more scope for the reworkings to shine. Only World Before Columbus, As You Are Now, Blood Sings and Soap And Water immediately stand out. But like many of Vega's albums (including these revisitations), quality is everywhere and it's easy to forget quite how good many of these songs are. Take Pilgrimage, for example. Here Vega has brought a dated and oddly-detatched song right up-to-date; gone is the big 80's production and echoing drums and the song can now escape, while retaining the original spirit. Many of the songs on Volume 4 have remained largely untouched. The difference this time is injected energy, when required, or increased poignancy to enhance the stories. After all, this is the most personal of these recordings. Soap And Water is as heartbreakingly beautiful as the original, the main difference being added guitar and the lack of strings, as is World Before Columbus. Both capture heartache and joy equally.

Big changes are few and far between. Tired Of Sleeping shows its age lyrically (now over twenty years old) but Vega makes a good attempt at undating, and uncomplicating, it - complete with a more effective big ending. That said, the original is wonderfully charming. As You Are Now is completely stripped bare of production and clutter, and Ludlow Street has all its rampant percussion removed, creating a more sedate version.

So what of the new songs? Brother Mine and The Silver Lady were written over thirty years ago but now sound completely relevant and modern. They are completely different, the former an upbeat country-pop celebration and the latter a more reflective take on the same subject. These are more obvious 'family' songs than most of the metaphor-driven work on the album. The final of the trilogy, Daddy Is White, is the newest song, and the most interesting. Revisiting the sound and approach of much of 99F degrees, this is new take on an old subject, and is a fitting finale to an album about family.

Looking at all four volumes of Close-Up, not many musicians could do what Suzanne Vega has done. This series of albums is both predictable and compelling; there are surprises and comfortable familiar arrangements aplenty but more often than not, it succeeds as a celebration and a reminder of just how good the songs of Suzanne Vega are. For past, present and future.
-- CS

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Mogwai remix album 'A Wrenched Virile Lore'

Mogwai are to release a new album on November 19th entitled A Wrenched Virile Lore containing remixes of tracks from Hardcore Will never Die, But You Will.

Track listing:

'George Square Thatcher Death Party' (Justin K Broadrick Reshape)'
'Rano Pano (Klad Hest – Mogwai is My Dick RMX)'
'White Noise (EVP Mix by Cyclob)'
'How To Be A Werewolf (Xander Harris Remix)'
'Letters To The Metro (Zombi Remix)'
'Mexican Grand Prix (Reworked by RM Hubbert)'
'Rano Pano (Tim Hecker Remix)'
'San Pedro (The Soft Moon Remix)'
'Too Raging To Cheers (Umberto Remix)'
'La Mort Blanche (Robert Hampson Remix)'

Karine Polwart - Traces (Album Review 2012)

Karine Polwart - Traces





There are many folk musicians who are ever-present yet go about their trade largely unnoticed (except maybe not to a group of hardened fans). Karine Polwart has been in and out of bands (and currently a member of The Burns Unit with Emma Pollock and King Creosote), as well as collaborating with other solo artists, including Idlewild's Roddy Woomble, but it is her own solo work which is her most engaging; none more so than her latest album Traces. Polwart's début Faultlines won her two BBC Radio 2 folk awards and unlike this, the darker follow-up Scribbled In Chalk, and the traditional Fairest Floo'er, Traces is an exquisite collection of bitter-sweet songs from the beautiful recollections of childhood to tales of relationships and family, love, loss and memories.


Through the simple acoustic delivery is an ethereal production, evident from opener Cover Your Eyes, deftly blending Polwart's Stirlingshire vocals (think Amy MacDonald sings Kate Rusby) with grand flourishes of strings and percussion to convey the feel of weather, unforgiving coastlines and a valued dune ecosystem. "Not even God himself could stop the Northerlies from blowing" is just wonderful imagery and every song on Traces immediately paints pictures in the listeners' minds at every opportunity - as great storytelling should. An early highlight is the charming and poignant Don't Worry, highlighting the plight of fighting men and women: "When the soldier comes back, with the weight of the world in his little knapsack... He's gonna need a hand to hold...to ease out the thorns from the heart of his soul" is superb songwriting and heart-breaking narrative. This is followed by the equally emotive and stirring We're All Leaving, about growing up, finding your own way and moving on. The song builds elegantly to a controlled dramatic climax.


More great moments are scattered throughout Traces like gold dust: the wordless vocals of King Of Birds, more stirring tales of family, memories and growing up with loss: Strange News ("And the mother does just what she must and the father comes undone; in the not-yet-snow we wave and shout 'hello'...to a morning sun"), complete with a gorgeous central vocal and Inge Thomson's perfect accordion, and the slow-building darkness and drama of Tears For Lot's Wife is perfectly arranged and shows the talents of the wonderful band, including Polwart's brother Steven; all excellent at every turn. The magical Tinsel Show adds more youthful nostalgia.

Into the final trilogy, Sticks 'n' Stones is a slow-burning relocation of leaving behind a treasured family home with more brilliant word-smithery: "Inch-lines on door frames, and thumb-prints on window panes...scars where the bed stood and names scored on old wood  ...and our dreams in the rafters, secrets in timbers... and hopes in the plasterboard" is interspersed with stark cold 'empty' accordion to complete the juxtaposition. Salters Road is probably the album highlight and easily Polwart's best vocal of her career, let alone the album - a simply beautiful and heart-wrenching tale of two distant lovers set to the backdrop of the atmospheric Scottish landscape. Closer Half A Mile, is a close second for album highlight, as it takes the most awful of subjects - that of abduction and murder - and with a perfectly-judged and brave delivery, turns it into a moving tribute. "You were high on being alone... You were high on being old enough to walk home...for the first time", the final part repeated twice, as the terrible tale unfolds. "And the trucks still roll by..." forms an emotional end.

Traces is Karine Polwart at her best; direct and honest folk songwriting with an added 'sheen' thanks to a brilliant supporting band and expert-touch production. This is a great modern folk album,  Polwart's voice shining with its own personality, truth and starry-eyed emotion, and the stories and characters are brought to life through the songs.
-- CS

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Peter Buck releases Solo album, Tomorrow!

Former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck has a new solo album, released on October 5th. The record features Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney and the Corin Tucker Band, Jenny Conley of The Decemberists, Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye and several other friends and musicians Buck has worked with over the years.

From the official R.E.M. HQ website:

"I know I said for years that I would never make a solo record. It was never a plan or a desire but it just kind of happened. When REM called it a day I'd spent the last 3 months on my back with a semi-crippling injury unable to play guitar. With my band gone and unable to use the fingers on my right hand, I started writing lyrics just to have something creative to do. The lyrics turned into songs and the songs turned into what felt like a possible album, so I called some of my favorite musicians, Scott, Mike, Bill, Lenny Kaye, Corin Tucker, Jenny Conlee, and booked studio time."

Buck has written most of lyrics on the album but vocal duties go elsewhere; however he still feels it is his solo record.

Buck is also quite dismissive about the project: "At this point it is a limited edition of 2,000 vinyl only. As for the future I may do some performances, but this is not a career, it is something I am doing for fun."

Will the album be available digitally? Who knows. I hope so.

“If I had wanted to make it a CD, the CD would’ve been out three months ago,” he said, “but vinyl is what I want to do for right now. It’s a record—like all records, people will have to look for it, I guess. It’s not gonna be in Walmart. We’ll see about the digital."

Ok so he's being humble about it all but he was (is) the guitarist in R.E.M. While we all appreciate his artistic integrity, he could reach a huge audience. 2000 copies? Vinyl? Come on, at least give us a digital listen, even for a limited time.



Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Music Chart - September 2012

New albums this month from the mighty Mark Knopfler, Two Door Cinema Club, Matchbox Twenty, Cat Power, The xx, Mount Eerie (again), Nas, Jessie Ware, Katatonia, Grizzly Bear, The Killers, Band of Horses, The Raveonettes, Ben Folds Five, Aimee Mann and last but not least Mumford & Sons...
  1. Shallow Bed by Dry The River 
  2. Babel by Mumford & Sons
  3. Valtari by Sigur Ros
  4. The Lion's Roar by First Aid Kit
  5. Bloom by Beach House 
  6. Traces by Karine Polwart
  7. Ssss by Vcmg 
  8. The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind by Ben Folds Five
  9. Generation Freakshow by Feeder
  10. Celebration Rock by Japandroids
  11. Cut The World by Antony & The Johnsons 
  12. Oshin by Diiv
  13. The Ghost In Daylight by Gravenhurst 
  14. New Wild Everywhere by Great Lake Swimmers
  15. Sun by Cat Power
  16. An Awesome Wave by Alt-J  
  17. Battle Born by The Killers
  18. Sweet Heart Sweet Light by Spiritualized
  19. Ghostory by School of Seven Bells
  20. Charmer by Aimee Mann
  21. Born And Raised by John Mayer
  22. Coexist by The xx
  23. Like Drawing Blood by Gotye 
  24. Observator by The Raveonettes
  25. Southern Air by Yellowcard 
  26. Dead End Kings by Katatonia
  27. Banga by Patti Smith
  28. Instinct by Niki And The Dove
  29. Electric Cables by Lightships
  30. Privateering by Mark Knopfler
  31. The Unthanks with Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band by The Unthanks
  32. Even On The Worst Nights by Mixtapes
  33. Oceania by Smashing Pumpkins
  34. Blood Speaks by Smoke Fairies 
  35. Handwritten by The Gaslight Anthem
  36. Do The Struggle by Franz Nicolay 
  37. The Light The Dead Can See by Soulsavers
  38. Sounds From Nowheresville by The Ting Tings
  39. Mutual Friends by Boy 
  40. Devotion by Jessie Ware
  41. Moth by Exlovers
  42. Tramp by Sharon Van Etten
  43. WIXIW by Liars 
  44. My Head Is An Animal by Of Monsters And Men
  45. Young Man In America by Anais Mitchell 
  46. Given To The Wild by The Maccabees
  47. The Sister by Marissa Nadler
  48. Americana by Neil Young and Crazy Horse 
  49. Unearth by Grasscut
  50. Little Broken Hearts by Norah Jones
  51. Hot Cakes by The Darkness
  52. Synthetica by Metric
  53. Words And Music by Saint Etienne
  54. Wonky by Orbital 
  55. Crown And Treaty by Sweet Billy Pilgrim 
  56. Shrines by Purity Ring
  57. Standing At The Sky's Edge by Richard Hawley
  58. Internal Logic by Grass Widow
  59. Strangeland by Keane
  60. Here Come The Bombs by Gaz Coombes
  61. Tough Love by Pulled Apart by Horses
  62. Interstellar by Frankie Rose
  63. Dead In The Boot by Elbow
  64. Wild Peace by Echo Lake
  65. Dub Egg by The Young
  66. Born Villain by Marilyn Manson
  67. Let It Break by Gemma Hayes
  68. Life Is Good by Nas
  69. Living Things by Linkin Park
  70. Beacon by Two Door Cinema Club
  71. Underwater Sunshine by Counting Crows
  72. Manifest! by Friends
  73. Clear Moon by Mount Eerie
  74. Tree Bursts In Snow by Admiral Fallow
  75. Human Don't Be Angry by Human Don't Be Angry
  76. The Family Tree: The Roots by Radical Face
  77. Weapons by Lostprophets
  78. Blues Funeral by Mark Lanegan Band
  79. A Monument by Tu Fawning
  80. Aufheben by The Brian Jonestown Massacre
  81. Have Some Faith In Magic by Errors
  82. Hello Cruel World by Gretchen Peters
  83. Voyageur by Kathleen Edwards
  84. Long Live The Struggle by The King Blues
  85. Fossil Of Girl by Sarah Donner
  86. Blunderbuss by Jack White
  87. Here I Am by Oli Brown 
  88. Spirits by Plankton Wat
  89. Visions by Grimes
  90. Tales From The Barrel House by Seth Lakeman 
  91. The Temper Trap by The Temper Trap
  92. ¿Which Side Are You On? by Ani Difranco
  93. Eighty One by Yppah
  94. Wrecking Ball by Bruce Springsteen
  95. First Serve by De La Soul's Plug 1 and Plug 2
  96. Kin Con by Alex Winston
  97. Not Your Kind Of People by Garbage
  98. Gossamer by Passion Pit
  99. Siberia by LIGHTS 
  100. Ocean Roar by Mount Eerie 
  101. Europe by Allo Darlin' 
  102. North by Matchbox Twenty
  103. The Something Rain by Tindersticks
  104. Something by Chairlift
  105. The House That Jack Built by Jesca Hoop 
  106. Mirage Rock by Band Of Horses
  107. Anxiety by Ladyhawke
  108. Fear Fun by Father John Misty 
  109. Fragrant World by Yeasayer 
  110. Shields by Grizzly Bear
  111. California 37 by Train
  112. Break It Yourself by Andrew Bird
  113. Reign Of Terror by Sleigh Bells
  114. The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do by Fiona Apple
  115. Through The Night by Ren Harvieu
  116. Personality by Scuba
  117. America Give Up by Howler
  118. Black Light by Diagrams