.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Song Of The Year 2011

The winner of Music Madness' song of the year 2011 is:

Coldplay - Charlie Brown
Link

Despite not having been released as a single yet (it's set to be in the new year), Charlie Brown boasts an infectious guitar line, driving power from the bass and drums, and an all-round sense of grandiosity. Mylo Xyloto (the album it is taken from) may not have been the #1 album of 2011 for me, but this song will never grow old. Absolutely mind-blowing.

The song will remain in the 'Songs of the Week' section of the blog until 2nd January, when we'll be back to normal weekly service.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Blog Update: Labels

The 'Album', 'Single', 'Tracklist', 'Lyrics', 'Artwork' and 'EP' tags have all been removed from the blog as there was no real reason to have them.

Other than that, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Maccabees Post New Song Online

Go here to hear a song from the Maccabees' new album, Given To The Wild, due out January 9th. The song is called 'Feel To Follow' and is the third track on the new album.

The song follows first single Pelican, which will receive a release on 2nd January, and can be heard here.

Best Of 2011: #1



#1 - White Lies - Ritual

Original review here.

Firstly, Merry Christmas! Now to business... Who'd have thought that the first album I bought this year would end up being the favourite. Doing the opposite to this year's runner-up Coldplay, White Lies missed out on being #1 for me in 2009 (I know they were gutted, this is such a prestigious award...or not) but now they've claimed it. Ten practically perfect songs that have aged well and have never made me think there's something wrong with them. I loved it on first listen, and I love it even more now. The greatest of the songs are Is Love, which starts quiet and then BAM! - it gets absolutely massive, and the chorus is huge (well, all 10 songs have massive choruses), Strangers, the greatest one on here, with its thunderous electronic rock vibe, Bigger Than Us, the first single, whose chorus should have crowds mesmerised (especially when it appears five times!), and Holy Ghost, maybe the heaviest thing here, with a more industrial sound than we're used to, but with yet another storming chorus. They really know how to build up to a chorus and then they really deliver. This album is the only one this year I would happily give 5 stars to. It's almost a year old, and shows no signs of getting boring, even if iTunes tells me I've listened to it over 100 times (Bigger Than Us is sitting at 266 plays at the moment)... But there you go!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Best Of 2011: #2



#2 - Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto

Original review here.

The band's previous album, Viva La Vida, was #1 on my best of 2008 list, but this one doesn't quite follow in the footsteps of its predecessor, even though this one is definitely my favourite Coldplay album. Retaining the experimental vibes from the last album, but mixing it in with some more electronic sounds for the most part, Mylo Xyloto is a true masterpiece, which could soundtrack a summer (although it came out in October, so it probably won't) - especially with the grand pieces of work that are Hurts Like Heaven, which sounds like Arcade Fire on speed when let loose on synthesisers and told to include as many guitar riffs as possible; Charlie Brown, which instead has one guitar riff - but it's an absolutely thunderous one that never fails to give me goosebumps every time I hear it... as does Don't Let It Break Your Heart, with its epic wall of sound smashing its way through to the forefront after a little instrumental break. The last highlight is Us Against The World, which quietens things down but still manages to sound powerful in every sense. One of the best albums of this year, and maybe of all time for me. But there is one album greater, at least for 2011...

Friday, 23 December 2011

Best Of 2011: #3



#3 - Ladytron - Gravity The Seducer

Original review here.

The atmospheric sound of this album is a massive change from the band's previous industrial-sounding previous album, but it is a massive step in the right direction. Showing they can still produce some of the greatest electronic pop songs these days, Ladytron have made a beautiful album. I recommend you listen to the whole thing, but the greatest ones are the opener, White Elephant, which will take you by surprise if you have only heard the earlier Ladytron stuff, the darker, imagery-heavy Moon Palace, which features a rare lead vocal from the (usually) backing vocalist Mira Aroyo, and the slightly heavier Melting Ice, which evokes Pet Shop Boys at times. 90 Degrees will also leave you with goosebumps - it's truly magnificent. More of this please, Ladytron!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Best Of 2011: #4



#4 - Arctic Monkeys - Suck It And See

No original review.

Arctic Monkeys should be commended for not following every other band into electronic territory, as I don't think it would suit them. They retain a guitar-based sound, but still manage to make it sound fresh and exciting. This time, they're a bit more laid back and deal more in melody than before. The greatest songs, then, are the heavy but rather simplistic first single Don't Sit Down Cos I've Moved Your Chair, the rapid Library Pictures, and the beautiful title track, Suck It And See. So, forgiving the band the incredibly uninventive album artwork, the twelve tracks on offer here still prove that Arctic Monkeys remain one of the best in their league, even if it doesn't really sound a thing like their game-changing debut album.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Enter Shikari Tease New Album

Enter Shikari have unveiled a trailer for their upcoming third album, A Flash Flood Of Colour shown below.



At a guess, the songs are:
"Meltdown" (fairly certain)
"Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here"
"Search Party"
"Stalemate"
"Arguing With Thermometers" (definitely)
"Snakepit" (definitely)
"Pack Of Thieves"
"Gandhi Mate, Gandhi" (definitely)
"Hello Tyrannosaurus, Meet Tyrannicide"

Best Of 2011: #5



#5 - Snow Patrol - Fallen Empires

Original review here.

Whilst being quite a long album, with 14 tracks, the majority of the songs on here are some of the greatest Snow Patrol songs ever created. Although they took a slightly more electronic route, like a lot of bands this year, the band haven't let it dominate the album. It's very apparent in the opening couple of tracks and maybe a few others, but it's relegated to the background and instead we're left with some storming anthems and beautiful, minimal songs in equal measure. At the top of the pile we have This Isn't Everything You Are, which starts off slower and sad and then bursts into a stadium-filler of a chorus, much like their earlier great singles, the incredibly intense masterpiece (that's so big it doesn't need a chorus) Fallen Empires, and the darker piano-led New York. This is definitely their best album, and the prospect of a new one filled with some of the Fallen Empires rejects (which has been on the rumour mill recently) will be interesting to hear.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Best Of 2011: #6



#6 - The Wombats - This Modern Glitch

Original review here.

Four years passed between the Wombats' debut album and this one, and the difference is sound is so huge you can barely tell it's the same band. But this change in sound, to a more uplifting electronic pop sound, is welcome. It's another summer-y feel-good album, filled with more hooks than you can shake a fist at. The greatest ones are speedy opener Our Perfect Disease, the massive anthem Techno Fan and the rockier penultimate track Girls / Fast Cars. But they're all big, epic pop songs at heart, and this is an album that was definitely worth the wait.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Best Of 2011: #7



#7 - Elbow - Build A Rocket Boys!

Original review here.

Elbow could be forgiven for taking the long-awaited success that went hand-in-hand with their fantastic fourth album, The Seldom Seen Kid, and using it to craft a record that would appeal more to the masses. But they chose not to - and although I like commercial bands for the most part, this very stripped back and minimal album is absolutely beautiful, and features some fantastic lyrics ("And any noble fire that was burning in my chest / is acid in my belly at the very best", anyone?). The best songs are the huge eight-minute opener The Birds, the beautiful, restrained Lippy Kids, and one of the rare forays into slightly more commercial sounds, Open Arms. It's great to see the band not letting the fame get to their head, because when they make beautiful music that leaves you with your mouth wide open like this, you never want them to stop.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Best Of 2011: #8



#8 - Glasvegas - Euphoric /// Heartbreak \\\

Original review here.

Slightly odd album title aside, Glasvegas's second album sees them venture into electronic territory, and producing some damn fine songs while they're at it! Retaining some of their dark, slightly depressing sound from their debut but letting in some happier lyrics here and there, lead singer James Allan really comes into his own this time round. Masterpieces such as the anthems Shine Like Stars and Euphoria, Take My Hand mixed in with the epic doom-and-gloom of Whatever Hurts You Through The Night (the greatest song on this album) really makes for a mixed bag, but that doesn't matter - every song is absolutely jaw-dropping.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Best Of 2011: #9



#9 - The Vaccines - What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?

No original review.

Down into single figures, and sitting pretty at number nine is the greatest debut album of the year. There was a lot of hype about The Vaccines that sort of passed me by, and I only really looked into it after I saw they were supporting Arctic Monkeys and then heard the single All In White. And now I wonder why I didn't discover them earlier. The previously mentioned All In White is perhaps the greatest track on the album, but tracks such as the summer anthem Wetsuit or the indie-pop tune that is Post Break-Up Sex are both close runners-up. It is a very short album but then again, the songs have no chance of outstaying their welcome. Very much looking forward to album number two.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Best Of 2011: #10



#10 - Hard-Fi - Killer Sounds

No original review.

Filled with some slightly heavier rock anthems than we're used to from Hard-Fi, this album really surprised me. Whilst there are some little moments in a couple of songs that take a lot of getting used to, every song is more or less massive. The greatest of these are Fire In The House, which starts off with a slow electronic beat before exploding for the chorus; Bring It On, which is a great tune to psyche yourself up, and Feels Good, combining a fantastic rhythm you can dance to with some kind of Middle Eastern sounding instrument - it does exactly what it does on the tin (both the song and the album, although the title track is maybe the most stripped back and comes very unexpectedly).

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Best Of 2011: #11



#11 - The Whip - Wired Together

Original review here.

While searching for new music, a chance recommendation led me to this band and thus this album. Filled with epic songs designed to make you move, this very electronic album is both euphoric and anthemic. The best songs on offer are Riot, an intense tune that I imagine will be the highlight of live shows, the club-filler Best Friend, and the epic seven-minute closing track Slow Down, which never fails to make me smile. A great collection of songs that garnered a lot of repeats after their release.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Best Of 2011: #12



#12 - The View - Bread And Circuses

Original review here.

The first View albums always had something slightly lacking in them, but this third one is absolutely massive. There isn't really a song I dislike - all of them are more or less big feel-good anthems. First single and album opener Grace is mind-blowing, Tragic Magic is an absolute epic that never fails to excite, and you can almost hear the crowds shouting back the chorus of Best Lasts Forever. There is a bit of a new sound in the background, but the standard View guitar pop always dominates it. It's bloody brilliant.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Best Of 2011: #13


#13: Kasabian - Velociraptor!

Original review here.

I admit this album has grown on me a lot since it was first released - I was slightly disappointed on the first few listens, but some of the less exciting tracks have made their mark now (not all of them though). I still think the greatest songs on here are the absolutely insane title track Velociraptor!, Days Are Forgotten (which evokes some of the greatest James Bond theme tunes) and the slightly Middle Eastern sounding Acid Turkish Bath (Shelter From The Storm). So even when they aren't creating massive stadium anthems such as Club Foot or Fire, the band have proven they can make some slightly more laid back tracks - just give it time.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Best Of 2011: #14



#14 - The Pigeon Detectives - Up, Guards And At 'Em!

Original review here.

The only thing wrong with this album is the lack of change - it was a minor quibble on the band's second album, but after three years, all that's changed is a very slight shift towards electronics. But that's all that's wrong here. The tunes are fantastic - Done In Secret may be the greatest song they've ever done, Lost is built for screaming crowds, and Through The Door is another epic piece of work. The band are masters of crafting brilliant indie-pop songs, but it would be nice to see a slight hint of something new and exciting in future - but it's still a great comeback.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Best Of 2011: #15



#15 - Noah And The Whale - Last Night On Earth

No original review.

Mixing some sort of indie-folk with pop songs, Noah And The Whale created one of the most interesting sounds I've heard this year. With songs such as the summery L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N., the epic Just Me Before We Met and the more or less anthemic Tonight's The Kind Of Night, this album is designed to make you feel happy. While it lasts barely over half an hour, it's still worth checking out. It does wear out a little bit for the final two tracks, but everything else is completely fantastic.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Best Of 2011: #16



#16 - Neon Trees - Habits

Original review here.

Some absolutely fantastic Killers-esque pop-rock mashup songs fill this album - this band could be built for stadiums. Although the US release was last year, the UK iTunes didn't have this one in store until February this year, so it's going in here. Take a listen to the opener Sins Of My Youth, which fools you with its slow piano start before an epic guitar riff, the massive 1983, or the darker yet no less epic Girls And Boys In School, and you will not be disappointed. Interested to see where this band goes next.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Feeder Announce New Album

Feeder have announced that their eighth studio album, Generation Freakshow, will be released on March 26th. The album will be preceded by a single, Borders, due out sometime in January.

The album follows Renegades, their seventh album, released in 2010 - which completely passed me by!

Best Of 2011: #17



#17 - The Horrors - Skying

No original review.

The first Horrors album was pretty good at first, but didn't age particularly well. Their follow-up, the game-changing Primary Colours, on the other hand, remains great. This one falls short of its predecessor slightly. Although it retains some of the psychedelia, it doesn't seem quite as awe-inspiring. Nonetheless, it has some brilliant tracks - the baggy opener Changing The Rain, the 80s-pop style I Can See Through You and the eight-minute beast Moving Further Away are all absolutely magnificent. It's by no means a bad album, but when your last album was Primary Colours, it's quite hard to match up to expectations; at least, my expectations!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Best Of 2011: #18



#18 - Friendly Fires - Pala

No original review.

Filled with some incredibly catchy Hawaiian-esque rhythms and some massive choruses to boot, Friendly Fires' second album was perhaps the most summer-y sounding album of this year for me. Opening track Live Those Days Tonight never fails to excite, and songs such as Running Away or the epic Pull Me Back To Earth are absolute masterpieces. There are a couple of songs on here that don't quite hit the heights of the rest, but it's still a great album at heart.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

New Neon Trees Album

Following the song Everybody Talks, made available on YouTube earlier today (available below), Neon Trees have revealed that their second album will be titled Picture Show, and will be released in March next year.

Best Of 2011: #19



#19: Toploader - Only Human

No original review.

I heard first single Never Stop Wondering randomly on the radio somewhere, and when I went into HMV to get another album altogether, I randomly decided to impulse-buy this album, and it was one of the times that I do not regret it. The opening couple of tracks instantaneously got into my head - Marrakech with its atmospheric guitar riff and A Balance To All Things with its catchy chorus. The first single is also a highlight. Some tracks do fall short of the mark when the first four are so great, but it's still a pretty good album that garnered a few repeats.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Neon Trees Announce New Single

Neon Trees have announced that their new single, Everybody Talks, will be available for streaming from tomorrow (7th December). The single is the first taken off their currently untitled second album, due for release in early to mid 2012.

Best Of 2011: #20



#20: Chase & Status - No More Idols

No original review.

Filled with some huge beats and tunes, with a wide range of collaborations ranging from the biggest stars such as Tinie Tempah and Dizzee Rascal, which I don't really listen to at all, to (rather surprisingly) a band I love - White Lies! Still, this is a great album to get you pumped up for a night out. The best songs for me are Embrace (yes, because it features White Lies - but also because it's a fantastic song), Blind Faith and Hitz. Not usually what I listen to, but there are some great songs on here.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Hitchcock - Running From The Sane

Artwork


Tracklist
01. Intro
02. Don't Give Up
03. Cuban Heels
04. Homecoming
05. Remedy
06. Villain
07. Blind Side
08. Ghosts
09. Katie
10. Taking Care Of Business
11. Running From The Sane
12. Never Said A Word
13. Smack Boom
14. Hand To Hold

We have full versions of Never Said A Word, Smack Boom, Villain and Top Of The World.

Until recently, the band had the title track and Taking Care Of Business available on their Soundcloud page, but they have been removed (presumably due to the impending release of their album). If you followed One Night Only's ONO Wednesdays, Taking Care Of Business featured in one of those episodes, but all those videos have been removed from YouTube for an unknown reason.

Cuban Heels was played live.

Lastly, we have clips of Homecoming and Katie.

The album will be released 9th January.

Morning Parade - Morning Parade

Artwork

















Tracklist
01. Blue Winter
02. Headlights
03. Carousel
04. Running Down The Aisle
05. Us And Ourselves
06. Under The Stars
07. Close To Your Heart
08. Half Litre Bottle
09. Monday Morning
10. Speechless
11. Born Alone

The self-titled debut album will be released 5th March.

The single A&E will not feature, but Under The Stars and Us And Ourselves (the other singles) will.

Best Of 2011: #21



#21: Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You

No original review.

Stadium Arcadium, essentially two albums in one, was a stunning piece of work, but there's something not quite up there on this one. Maybe it was just the expectations, but this one is 14 tracks long (as long as either side of Stadium Arcadium) and drags its heels a bit. That said, there are some great ones: Factory Of Faith with its great bassline, The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie with its grand chorus, and Did I Let You Know? with its guitar riff and the brass instruments that turn up slightly unexpectedly. By no means is this their best album, but neither is it their worst.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Enter Shikari Set To Unveil New Song

Enter Shikari have announced they will unveil another new song tomorrow night - details will be posted on their Facebook page sometime tomorrow. The song will be taken from their forthcoming third album, A Flash Flood Of Colour, which is due for release on 16th January next year.

UPDATE: The track has been revealed to be "Gandhi Mate, Gandhi". It will receive its first play tonight on Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show, between 7pm and 9pm.

Best Of 2011: #22



#22: Mirrors - Lights And Offerings

No original review.

Some of you may remember Mumm-ra, who released one stunning album four years ago that never found itself a sequel. Instead, a chance search led me to this new band, formed by some of the former members. It's unfortunately not as good as Mumm-ra, but it's hard to compare indie-pop to the dark electronica that's all over this album. Some of it is very memorable and very catchy, but the others just seem to float by a little bit. Still, the better tracks include one of their earlier singles Into The Heart, the slightly slower track Write Through The Night, and the dancey Ways To An End. I may forget all about it in years to come, but there's still some pretty decent songs on here. But if there's any chance of a Mumm-ra reunion... No? Damn.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Best Of 2011: #23



#23: Kaiser Chiefs - The Future Is Medieval

No original review.

The first two Kaiser Chiefs albums were more or less instant in terms of how fast you got into them, but that trend dropped with their more recent ones. Off With Their Heads never grew on me, but this one came from being, in my eyes, a very poor album to actually being quite enjoyable. It was coupled with the nice idea with the 'make-your-own-album' stunt, which actually turned out not to be that great as it never sounded right to me. So when they released the full 13-track album, it did make it better. Highlights include opener and first single Little Shocks, the catchy When All Is Quiet, and the 80s dance-pop style Heard It Break. So even if they're not the greatest they once were, give this one a few listens - it's not bad at all!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Best Of 2011: #24



#24: M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

No original review.

I've never been a massive M83 fan bar the fantastic Saturdays = Youth from 2008, and while this one may not match up to those high standards, it makes a good stab at it. It's a double album with 22 tracks, although 6 are closer to little interludes, and as such it does go on for a bit too long, and has a bit of filler here in there. But there are some great songs on here - for example, Midnight City will get inside your head and refuse to leave, and the Intro song is five minutes of electronic brilliance. The sound doesn't change much but definitely still worth a listen, if you have 72 minutes to spare...

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Best Of 2011: #25



#25: Gorillaz - The Fall

No original review

Despite the original release of the album being in December of last year, a CD was produced for Record Store Day in April so I'm counting it. It's very inventive considering it has been produced entirely on an iPad - so on its own, it may lack a little bit, but when you put it into perspective, there's a wide range of styles and sounds on offer, and there are some tracks that actually are up there with my favourite Gorillaz tracks, such as Revolving Doors with its catchy rhythm, or Amarillo, with its fantastic melody. It's very different and may take a few listens to really get it, but it's really quite impressive, considering the fact that it was solely produced on an iPad.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Best Of 2011

#25 Gorillaz - The Fall
#24 M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
#23 Kaiser Chiefs - The Future Is Medieval
#22 Mirrors - Lights And Offerings
#21 Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You
#20 Chase And Status - No More Idols
#19 Toploader - Only Human
#18 Friendly Fires - Pala
#17 The Horrors -Skying
#16 Neon Trees - Habits
#15 Noah And The Whale - Last Night On Earth
#14 The Pigeon Detectives - Up, Guards And At Em!
#13 Kasabian - Velociraptor!
#12 The View - Bread And Circuses
#11 The Whip - Wired Together
#10 Hard-Fi - Killer Sounds
#9 The Vaccines - What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?
#8 Glasvegas - Euphoric /// Heartbreak \\\
#7 Elbow - Build A Rocket Boys!
#6 The Wombats - This Modern Glitch
#5 Snow Patrol - Fallen Empires
#4 Arctic Monkeys - Suck It And See
#3
Ladytron - Gravity The Seducer
#2
Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto
#1 White Lies - Ritual


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Editors Working On Fourth Album

Editors have released an update on plans for their forthcoming fourth album - they are intending to record it early next year, and aiming for a release around or after the summer festival season. Along with songs Two Hearted Spider and The Sting, played live on previous occasions, they have announced three further working titles: Formaldehyde, Sugar and The Weight Of Your Love.

Monday, 14 November 2011

New Maccabees Single

The new single from The Maccabees, Pelican, will get its first play on Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show at 19:30 GMT tomorrow evening. The single is the first from their upcoming third album, Given To The Wild, due out 9th January.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Album Review: Snow Patrol - Fallen Empires



It's amazing how long it's been since Snow Patrol released A Hundred Million Suns - over three years ago - a few months ago I would have been longing desperately to hear a new song from them, and now that their sixth (sixth?!) effort, Fallen Empires, is here, it feels like no time at all. And in this, they have delivered their greatest album yet, in my opinion.

The album starts off with a couple of songs where the electronics take the place of the standard Snow Patrol guitars / piano. I'll Never Let Go starts off with a dark, electronic pulse as Gary Lightbody's vocals sound like they're desperately trying to break free of the distortion placed over them. There's also some grunge-y guitar that turns up in the verses and a standard, epic "Whooaaa!" after the chorus. The only problem is that it sounds like it could really go somewhere, but doesn't quite explode the way I wanted it to, except for the massive drums that turn up for (literally) the last two seconds. Oh well, it's still a great opener. Called Out In The Dark, the first single, is in fact, one of the few weaker links on the album. Based more on a groove this time round, with the occasional electronic beeping here and there, it still works well, but again, the chorus feels slightly less than what it could have been. But for all the criticising, after a few listens, all is forgiven, as the opening songs really come into their own.

We also have a couple of big epics where the established sound on this album is left alone for a bit. The title track, Fallen Empires, is an intense masterpiece. Countless drums build up and up as a mandolin plays the same notes rapidly throughout the entire song, and Lightbody's vocals assert themselves over the top of all this fantastic noise. There's no chorus, just seven verses and a huge outro, as a choir of voices sing "We are the light, we are the light", taking the song to its huge conclusion, leaving you speechless. The other epic is the six-minute The Symphony, which sounds like a bit more of a bouncy pop song at first, but after a couple of minutes it gives way to an instrumental where we enter the build-up phase, as instruments are layered slowly on top of each other before the massive ending where Lightbody sings "If this is all you ever ask for, then this is all you'll get" until the song ends with a rough guitar sound ending the song relatively abruptly.

There's also some more rockier guitar-based songs for those that aren't as keen on the electronics. The Weight Of Love starts with a guitar being strummed seemingly slightly out of time (but it works nicely) until the vocals turn up, filled with power. Soon after, the drum kicks in, and then the bridge where Lightbody's voice is at its highest, and we're away. Another verse and then we get the massive chorus where vocals are layered to great effect. It all sounds very polished, and is all the better for it. The same can be said for In The End, which on first listen sounds a like a little bit of filler, but given time, it works just as well as the rest; the chorus is another sing-along and the guitars really work well on it. It may not be anywhere near the best song on the album as there is something slightly lacking, but it is still good. Speaking of the best song, we have This Isn't Everything You Are, the well-deserving second single. This one may appeal to more old-school Snow Patrol fans, as it is more of a ballad akin to Run or Chasing Cars. It really hits its stride in the huge, huge chorus where the title is repeated and really makes you feel the power of it. It's such a shame it probably will never reach the lofty heights of popularity that Run or Chasing Cars did, because it deserves a place right next to them.

There are also some quiter guitar-based pieces, such as Those Distant Bells and Life-ning. The former is a nice stopgap between the straight-up rock of In The End and the epic poppy-ness of The Symphony - it's a sort of "calm before the storm" type of song. Strings and piano accompany the guitar melody underlining the whole song, along with a sort of metronomic drum beat that sounds a bit like an electronic clapping sound in places. A female vocal joins in at some point, as on some of the other tracks on the album, but here, it doesn't quite work. But it's not enough to ruin the song. Life-ning, on the other hand, is absolutely brilliant. It is both simple and fragile, as Lightbody lists off all he "ever wanted from life" - for all of the sadness implied in the sound of the guitar and piano, the song is just a fantastic slice of pure happiness. It's a song that just makes you want to smile. It may be simple, but it is incredibly effective in its straightforwardness.

Elsewhere, there are some more piano-led tunes. The Garden Rules and New York both seem to start with the same three notes, both on piano. But they soon both go their separate ways. The Garden Rules is a nostalgic song as we hear a story of unrequited childhood romance. It's a very beautiful song, and as with the most of this album, everything going on in the background of the song is what makes it so. The female vocal turns up, but works nicely this time round. Also here to lead the song out is a choir, singing the chorus "oh, you will never know how much I love you..." Another song to make you smile. New York is a bit darker, as Lightbody's vocals kind of float over the piano, before the drums kick in for the bridge, followed by a big chorus. This has single potential, even if it probably won't make a dent on the charts. But when the music is this beautiful, that doesn't really matter at all. The other piano-led tune is the sort-of closer The President (there is another track afterwards, but this one feels like a better way to finish) which sounds more like classic Snow Patrol and it's just basically piano and vocals. And some kind of pipe which makes the occasional pip here and there. It is a great eome-down from The Symphony, and would be a far better way to finish than the way they actually do.

The way the album closes is with Broken Bottles Form A Star (Prelude) which just takes a massive sidestep away from what you expect. The previous three songs work brilliantly in bringing this album to its end, and this one just seems to ruin it a bit for me. It's supposed to show you how the next album will begin, and honestly, I cannot wait to hear that, but this prelude is slightly unnecessary, even if it does sound quite interesting. But it is the only song on here that I really can complain about. There is also another lyric-less song in Berlin, the only remaining song to talk about. It is another great piece of happiness, though at times I have to question its placing on the album; while it is great, it again feels very slightly unnecessary. Maybe if it had been developed into more of a full song, it would have felt a bit more deserving of the place it finds itself on the album. It sounds more like intro music for live shows to be honest. But, for all that, it is still a great couple of minutes of pure, happy music.

SUMMARY
So, so close to awarding the full five stars to this. But due to the inclusion of Broken Bottles Form A Star (Prelude) which ruins the whole ending to the album, I can't say I would happily listen to every song. It has annoyed me to the point that I have had to edit the ending of The President to fade out before Broken Bottles... comes in. You may call that petty, but I just don't like it. But ignoring that, the other 13 tracks are absolutely brilliant; it's very hard to say which ones of them would be my least favourites. So if they'd released this album in the form I've changed it to in my iTunes, it would be an instant 5-star album. The electronics are never overdone and never detract from the sheer beauty and happiness that so much of this album contains. Even at almost an hour, the album never drags on, it's just big song after big song. The best thing they've ever done.



FAVOURITE TRACKS: This Isn't Everything You Are, Fallen Empires, New York
LEAST FAVOURITE TRACKS: In The End, Broken Bottles Form A Star (Prelude)

PREVIOUS ALBUMS (as I would rate them now): Songs For Polarbears (2/5), When It's All Over We Still Have To Clear Up (2.5/5), Final Straw (4/5), Eyes Open (4.5/5), A Hundred Million Suns (4/5)

Enter Shikari Move Back Album Release

Enter Shikari have announced that their new album, A Flash Flood Of Colour, will be released one week later than planned - on January 16th. This is apparently due to "manufacturing problems caused by Christmas getting in the way".

Monday, 7 November 2011

Some New Fallen Empires Previews

You can now preview I'll Never Let Go and The Weight Of Love (tracks 1 and 3) from Snow Patrol's new album, Fallen Empires here. More tracks are set to be added throughout the week.

I'll Never Let Go

The Weight Of Love

The Garden Rules
Berlin
Life-ning

New York

In The End
Those Distant Bells
The Symphony

The President
Broken Bottles Form A Star (Prelude)


Tracks 2 & 4 have already been released as singles (Called Out In The Dark and This Isn't Everything You Are) and track 6, Fallen Empires, has also been released on the Called Out In The Dark EP.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

New Snow Patrol Song Debuted Live

Another new song from Snow Patrol's upcoming new album Fallen Empires debuted at their Q Awards gig - it's track 8, Life-ning. Have a listen here.

They certainly sound like they're going for a more restrained, slightly more minimal vibe on this album - it's fantastic!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Album Review: Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto



So, here we are again - a new Coldplay album. One of my favourite bands of all time; the band are back with a fifth effort, and this time they've gone for a heavy electronic influence, but keeping the experimental vibes from last record "Viva La Vida...". You'd never believe this was the same band that wrote the album "Parachutes", all the way back at the turn of the century. However, one thing that has remained constant throughout the band's career is their knack for writing massive stadium anthems; even some of their quieter and softer songs can make crowds go wild. There's at least one on every one of their albums. But this one is stuffed full of them - and it's absolutely huge.

Take opener Hurts Like Heaven (not counting the 40-second intro Mylo Xyloto as a separate track), with its incredible pace and epic guitar riffs. This is perhaps the greatest way anyone's ever opened an album. It's an adrenaline rush that never lets up; and you can clearly hear the guitars making their mark all over the track, although Chris Martin's voice is ruined ever so slightly by a kind of robotic vocal in the background, but the song is not ruined overall. Also up there for sheer euphoria is Charlie Brown - it sent chills down my spine when I first heard it at Glastonbury, and the studio version is no less epic. The guitar riff is perhaps the greatest one they have ever done; so much that it pretty much does the job of having a chorus on the song - there's no real refrain here, but that doesn't matter. As the riff slowly comes in, slowly getting louder, over the synth-y opening, you think you're in for a smoother ride... and then everything smashes its way in. Absolutely huge. And if that wasn't enough, it finishes with a piano part at the end which is beautifully done.

There are instrumental interludes on this album, mainly placed before a massive track, such as Mylo Xyloto / Hurts Like Heaven. Also, we have M.M.I.X. preceding Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall, the first song to be heard in studio version from this album, all the way back in June. It was a great song back then, and it sounds slightly better still in the context of the album, even if it does have a hint of cheesiness about it. The third interlude is A Hopeful Transmission, which takes its cues from the intro track, Mylo Xyloto. It's also a brilliant way to lead into Don't Let It Break Your Heart. Now, there's an anthem if I ever heard one. Straight after A Hopeful Transmission finishes, a wall of sound just crashes around your ears... on first listen, it sounds like it's drowning out the vocals, but on repeated listens you get used to it - it's undoubtedly a bombastic, massive song built for stadiums, but it's perhaps the biggest surprise on the album, particuarly if (like me) you'd heard the majority of the songs live. A stunning penultimate track.

Elsewhere in the department of big stadium anthems, we have a couple of R&B- influenced tracks, the second single Paradise, which, like Every Teardrop..., was brilliant on its own and yet still manages to feel better yet in its placing on the album. The rather uninventive chorus of 'para-para-paradise" is overshadowed by the huge strings sound that covers the song, but it's still catchy and will get into your head. The other song is Princess Of China, which goes the whole way and brings in Rihanna to sing along. Now as soon as I heard this, I was incredibly sceptical, but actually, after two or three listens, it's actually done pretty well, despite the fact that it doesn't sound like Coldplay are actually in band mode - it seems like a Chris Martin solo song. The synths replace Jonny Buckland's guitar, but it's alright because the melodies they create are magnificent. The bass is also turned up to eleven - it may blow out your speakers. You have been warned. Anyway, Rihanna fits in fine, especially since she sounds different (at least from the two or three songs of hers that I know). After several plays, it's one of my favourites from the album, although I would have liked to hear more guitar and a bit more Chris Martin vocals - he seems to take the first verse on his own and then retreats into the background, occasionally popping up to accompany Rihanna. But by no means is it a disappointment.

My two least favourite tracks on this album are Major Minus and UFO, but they're still great tracks in themselves. Luckily they're some of the shortest on the album (bar the interludes). The former was debuted on the Every Teardrop... EP back in June, and I considered it to be good but thought it would stay as a B-side. In terms of the story I think this album is trying to tell, it's a necessary track, but it doesn't quite resonate with me as much as the other tracks. The latter is reminiscent of the band's earlier work, as it's very acoustic based. There are some strings accompanying it but they're very much in the background. The song only lasts two minutes and a bit, and even manages to fit in some kind of intro for Princess Of China for the last 15 seconds. It's not a particularly memorable song, but may become more of a hit for the fans that have wished for Coldplay to return back to their original sound. But, for me, it's the weakest song on the album.

The remaining three yet to be mentioned are all the slower, more delicate moments taken from the album - and oddly, they all begin with the letter U - add U.F.O. to the list and you have pretty much got all the quieter moments. My favourite of these is Us Against The World, which is for the most part acoustic, although it has a sunny introduction that's a joy to listen to. Drummer Will Champion also takes backing vocals on the song, moving away from his drums to accompany Martin. Towards the end, a massive organ/piano/I'm not really sure which... comes in and gives you goosebumps with the sheer amount of power it has, before stripping everything away to leave Martin and his acoustic to lead the song out. It's a good breather coming between Charlie Brown and M.M.I.X. / Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall, two of the most anthemic songs on there. The other "U songs" are Up In Flames - which is very minimal and restrained but takes its power from that, and features Martin's highest vocal on the album ("up in flaaaaaaames") and again the chorus is based on repetition, but it's fantastic nonetheless; and closing track Up With The Birds, which is a song in two halves. The first half wouldn't be out of place in a closing scene from a romantic film, and it features some odd electronic sighing sound that's a bit out of place, but also some huge cinematic strings to lead you into the second half, which is where the guitars and drums turn up - it sounds like it's going to lead into a big Coldplay chorus, but it builds up just enough to keep you interested and then ends a bit earlier than expected - it's a bit of an anticlimax to be honest, particularly after the previous four tracks (Princess Of China onwards), but it leaves the album on a positive vibe as the final note is played on the piano.

SUMMARY
This is a massive album and undoubtedly their poppiest one yet, but the amount of goosebump-inducing moments are numerous. They retain the experimental feeling of their previous album and continue to make their new sound seem fresh and original. Every song feels different to the others, as was the case with Viva La Vida. Back then, I gave that album 5 stars but that was when I was incredibly generous to rating albums (I'd give it 4.5 stars now). On this album, there's something a bit lacking from a couple of songs, and I don't think it fully deserves the full five stars unfortunately. But it's still one of the best things to come out this year, and my favourite Coldplay album.



FAVOURITE TRACKS: Hurts Like Heaven, Charlie Brown, Don't Let It Break Your Heart
LEAST FAVOURITE TRACKS: Major Minus, U.F.O.

PREVIOUS ALBUMS (as I would rate them now): Parachutes (3.5/5) / A Rush of Blood To The Head (4/5) / X&Y (4/5) / Viva La Vida (4.5/5)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Enter Shikari - A Flash Flood Of Colour

Artwork


Tracklist
01. System...
02. ...Meltdown
03. Sssnakepit
04. Search Party
05. Arguing With Thermometers
06. Stalemate
07. Ghandi Mate, Ghandi
08. Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here
09. Pack Of Thieves
10. Hello Tyrannosaurus, Meet Tyrannicide
11. Constellations

The album will be released January 9th.

The first single was Sssnakepit, released last month. You can see the video here. They have also been playing Arguing With Thermometers live.

The album will not feature previous singles Destabilise and Quelle Surprise; they were stand-alone singles.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Maccabees - Given To The Wild

Artwork


Tracklist
01. Given To The Wild
02. Child
03. Feel To Follow
04. Ayla
05. Glimmer
06. Forever I've Known
07. Heave
08. Pelican
09. Went Away
10. Go
11. Unknow
12. Slowly One
13. Grew Up At Midnight

The album is due out 9th January 2012.

A teaser video is here.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Preview Kele's New EP

iTunes now has 90-second previews of every song on Kele's forthcoming EP, The Hunter, due out 31st October (although iTunes has it down as 7th November). The link is here.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Another Snow Patrol Single Gets First Play

The new single from Snow Patrol, This Isn't Everything You Are, will receive its first play tomorrow night (Wednesday 28th September) at some point after 19.00 (GMT) on Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show.

The single is the second one taken from their upcoming album, Fallen Empires, due out 14th November (the single is due out the day before, digitally). It follows first single Called Out In The Dark, out now.

Friday, 23 September 2011

New Kele Single Debuted Last Night

Kele's new single, What Did I Do? (feat. Lucy Taylor) debuted on Radio 1 last night. You can see the video below.



The song is the first single taken from his upcoming EP, The Hunter, due out October 31st. More details here.

New Twang Album

This has been old news for a while, but it has somehow slipped past me. The Twang's new album, currently untitled, is due for a January 2012 release. The band have released a song, Paradise, as a free download if you 'like' their page on Facebook. The album is the band's third, following Love It When I Feel Like This (2007) and Jewellery Quarter (2009).

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Album Review: The Whip - Wired Together



I discovered The Whip by chance - a recommendation from The Sunshine Underground, if I remember correctly - back in the early days of summer when not much new music is scheduled to come out, and they had a five-track sampler available on their website, featuring all the even-numbered tracks from the album. On first listen, I thought it was alright, but nothing really stood out to me. Now, listening to those same tracks with the odd-numbered ones turning up, I don't know how I ever thought that.

There's all sorts of brilliant ideas floating about on this album, from the heavy, dirty dancefloor fillers to the lighter, less grounded songs that you can still move to. So let's take the heaviest first.
This bunch unfortunately contains the two songs that are probably my least favourites: Shake and Metal Law. The former isn't quite as inventive and stunning as much as the rest of the album, and tends to go on a bit long, but no matter, the chorus is basic but brilliantly done. The latter, on the other hand, is far too repetitive, even though it seems that it was done to describe the repetitiveness of band life: the key lyric is "Get up. Go to work. Do the gig. Go to bed." This is repeated well over twenty times while nothing insanely different is added to the mix in the background, but even when something different kicks in ("This is my metal law, you take it all and I want some more") it just doesn't really excite you as much. And now I've just realised I've typed out the entire lyrics to the song! (Minus all the repetitions)

But still in this same category, there are some bangers too. Intensity does exactly what it says on the... tin? It's the title track of sorts (well, it has the lyric 'wired together' in it) and it's one to get people moving and it all comes together fantastically in the chorus. Riot is the best one on offer, with its simple but powerful chorus of "It's just another riot!" set to make the crowds go wild - such a shame this band isn't better known, because this is huge.

So, leaving the heaviest, we move down a level to the lighter, more poppy songs. Secret Weapon ebbs and flows perfectly, with a catchy synth riff being the highlight; Movement takes ideas from 80s/90s disco with its memorable piano intro that runs throughout the song - this one is another dance-y track of a completely different origin than that of the likes of Riot and Intensity. Also hanging around is the album's closer, Slow Down, which is an epic seven-minute journey which seems to go a lot faster than that - it's the best way to close the album, and when the lyric "When two worlds collide, love will feel no pain" turns up, you want to smile. Not just because of the lyric, but because of the way it's sung, and the music that's playing behind it - it's one of the greatest moments on this album.

Remaining then are the album's opener, Keep Or Delete, which builds up slowly, gradually rising and rising, starting with an atmospheric synth as the vocals kick in - then soon we get drums, bass and the whole shebang before it shows off its epic chorus. Then there's Master Of Ceremonies, a song that sort of sounds like it's building to something huge but never quite makes it there. But once you've got around that, it's still a force to be reckoned with. Unlike the rest of the album, this song sort of shuts down a bit when it gets to the chorus, giving it an atmospheric vibe that The Whip seem to have effortlessly mastered here. Last but nowhere near least is Best Friend, a tune that begs for a video with crowds jumping in slow motion (or is that just me?). Lyrically, it sounds like it's about meeting a girl in a club and becoming her 'best friend' for the short time that you know her, and it's so basic and simple, yet so effective.

SUMMARY
Ultimately, the band have created a poppy album with huge choruses and brilliant music to go with it. Whether you're looking for the heavier songs more suited to moshpits, etc. (like Riot) or lighter songs to sort of nod your head along to and let it wash over you (like Best Friend), this album has you covered from the slowly building up brilliance of opener Keep Or Delete, to the epic beauty of Slow Down.

SCORE


FAVOURITE SONGS: Riot, Best Friend, Slow Down
LEAST FAVOURITE SONGS: Shake, Metal Law

Album Review: Kasabian - Velociraptor!



Well, it doesn't seem that long ago that I had just bought my copy of Kasabian's last album, the incredible West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, a psychedelic record filled with a whole world of interesting and different sounds, including massive tracks like Underdog, Fast Fuse and Fire that will go down as some of the band's best. And so here comes Velociraptor!, an album that, for the most part, ditches this style and moves away from power through massive guitar riffs and smashing drums - and instead moves towards a slightly more restrained, melodic design. Gone are the days of their trademark crowd-pleasing sing-along (or shout-along, mostly) choruses. Well, almost:

Days Are Forgotten is a brilliant first single that follows their old style, perhaps only slightly ruined by the nails-on-chalkboard style "aaaah"s that pop up occasionally, but with a huge chorus that evokes the Kasabian of old. Velociraptor!, the title track, despite being the shortest track on the album, is huge, the band at their best. It twists and turns and smacks you round the face - a real tour de force, definitely the best on the album despite its rather basic "Velociraptor, he's gonna find ya, he's gonna kill ya, he's gonna eat ya" chorus. Switchblade Smiles, the first track showcased back in June, is another highlight - there's a slightly more bearable scream from Sergio Pizzorno, but it still knocks the song down a level or two, and it's got a nice, big electronic vibe to it. The only other track that really follows this classic Kasabian style is Re-wired, which does not quite match up to anything they've done before, and sounds very slightly underwhelming considering the band's back catalogue - it's still a good song though, but I don't see it getting as big a reaction as, say, LSF, Empire or Underdog. In fact, having said that, I can't really see many tracks from here doing that either - maybe Velociraptor! - but then again the band should be commended for doing something different to what everyone labels them as.

So, now we've had a look at old Kasabian, let's look at the best of the new stuff. Let's Roll Just Like We Used To is a brilliant opener despite being the polar opposite of their previous album openers. It flows fantastically, and has the whole strings and brass treatment turning up here and there. It sounds big and cinematic, like the music playing over the opening credits of a film, particularly in the chorus. La Fee Verte takes its cues from the Beatles and does so excellently, and has a great, melodic chorus to go with it. It takes a bit of the psychedelia emphasised on West Ryder... and re-uses it to great effect. As does Acid Turkish Bath (Shelter From The Storm), the longest thing they've done at six minutes dead. As the name may suggest, there is a slightly Eastern vibe to it, and like Let's Roll... it flows well, and the chorus is yet again completely different but no less great because of it. Then there's I Hear Voices, which sounds like something that could have been on their first two albums yet somehow it's still new and exciting. It's a very electronic song, guitars are sparse, if not non-existent. The chorus doesn't smack you round the face, but it might provoke a few sing-alongs at gigs. Oh, and it includes the line "They hunt for rabbits just like Yosemite Sam". Kudos to Kasabian for putting that in there.

The other three tracks, unfortunately, fall slightly short of the incredibly high mark the band have set. Goodbye Kiss is the best of the trio but still, it's nothing that sends shivers down your spine. Even after a few listens, it's showing no signs of growing. The chorus alone is good, but the rest of the song drags a bit and doesn't show off any marks of pure musical genius like their earlier stuff. E;sewhere, Man Of Simple Pleasures is the most uninteresting one on here, again there's nothing to make you go 'Wow!' and Neon Noon is an underwhelming closer, its dreamy, restrained design just going on a little bit too long; despite the occasional moment showing some promise in both these songs, they never really deliver. Still, compared to a lot of music these days, this is better. Kasabian have yet to put a song on an album that makes me go 'No. This is awful, I'm not listening to this." but when your previous songs include bangers such as Club Foot, Cutt Off, LSF... (the list goes on, and I've not even finished going through the first album!) the result drops below the mark.

SUMMARY
It's good that Kasabian have made an attempt to break free of their 'lad-rock' label, and it's good that they decided to try for something more melodic and with more musical diversity, but unfortunately it's not something that I think suits them. Maybe time will change my mind, but after nine or ten listens, I think it's not improving much. However, there are sparks of promise - There are three fantastic classic-Kasabian tunes that, although they don't match up to some other songs, really are exciting, some of the best stuff released this year. The new style, however, ends up being very hit-and-miss, and I started to get a little weary of the album pretty much after I Hear Voices (the only real song I like beyond that point is Switchblade Smiles). But when it does hit, it hits really well.

SCORE


FAVOURITE TRACKS: Velociraptor!, Switchblade Smiles, Acid Turkish Bath (Shelter From The Storm)
LEAST FAVOURITE TRACKS: Man Of Simple Pleasures, Neon Noon


Friday, 16 September 2011

Snow Patrol - Fallen Empires

Artwork


Tracklist
01. I'll Never Let Go
02. Called Out In The Dark
03. The Weight Of Love
04. This Isn't Everything You Are
05. The Garden Rules
06. Fallen Empires
07. Berlin
08. Life-ning
09. New York
10. In The End
11. Those Distant Bells
12. The Symphony
13. The President
14. Broken Bottles Form A Star (Prelude)

The first single was Called Out In The Dark, released September 5th. The EP contained Fallen Empires, the title track from the album.

As of 16th September, seven songs have been played live: Called Out In The Dark, The Weight Of Love, This Isn't Everything You Are, The Garden Rules, Fallen Empires, New York, Those Distant Bells.

The album is out 14th November.

Snakepit First Play

Enter Shikari's new single, Snakepit, is set to have its first play on Monday 19th September, on Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show - it'll probably be the "Hottest Record" so I imagine it will be played around 1930 GMT.

The single is due out the day after, digitally, and is the first single off their upcoming third album, due early next year.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Kele Announces New EP

Kele Okereke, frontman of Bloc Party, has announced a solo EP to be released October 31st. The EP is entitled The Hunter and follows his debut album The Boxer. The tracklist is:

01. What Did I Do? (feat. Lucy Taylor)
02. Release Me
03. Devotion
04. Goodbye Horses
05. Cable's Goodbye
06. Love As A Weapon
07. You Belong To Someone Else

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Coldplay - 30 Seconds Of Paradise

Here is a YouTube link leading to a preview clip of the new Coldplay single, Paradise, due out Monday.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Coldplay Announce Mylo Xyloto Tracklist

Coldplay have announced the tracklist for their upcoming fifth album, Mylo Xyloto. The album page about Mylo Xyloto on this blog is here.

01. Mylo Xyloto
02. Hurts Like Heaven
03. Paradise
04. Charlie Brown
05. Us Against The World
06. M.M.I.X.
07. Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall
08. Major Minus
09. UFO
10. Princess Of China
11. Up In Flames
12. A Hopeful Transmission
13. Don't Let It Break Your Heart
14. Up With The Birds

Fallen Empires Release Date?

Some sites have Snow Patrol's sixth album up for pre-order with a release date of 7th November. This remains unconfirmed, however.

The first single, Called Out In The Dark, was released 4 days ago, along with the album's opener / title track Fallen Empires, and two B-sides.

Preview Velociraptor!

Go here to preview 30-second samples of Kasabian's upcoming fourth record, Velociraptor!, due out 19th September.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Enter Shikari To Release New Single

Enter Shikari will release a new single, Snakepit, on 20th September. The single is the first single from their new album, which is untitled at the moment. This means Quelle Surprise will probably not be on the album, and therefore is a standalone single similar to Destabilise.

The album is due towards the end of the year.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Snow Patrol - New Songs Update

A few songs from Snow Patrol's upcoming sixth album, Fallen Empires, have turned up (2 studio versions and 5 live versions); collected for you here along with 2 B-sides. They have also played a song called The Garden Rules, but a version of this has not been found yet. (EDIT: Found one! - it's featured in the list below)


STUDIO VERSIONS ON ALBUM

CALLED OUT IN THE DARK (first single)


FALLEN EMPIRES (opening track on the album)


B-SIDES
ON THE 'CALLED OUT IN THE DARK' EP

MY BROTHERS


I'M READY


LIVE VERSIONS

THOSE DISTANT BELLS (played in the acoustic set, so unknown if this is how it is on the album)


SIGNS OF LIFE (alternate title is The Weight Of Love)
Embedding disabled by request of the video's owner, link here


THE GARDEN RULES
Embedding disabled by request of the video's owner, link here


NEW YORK


THIS ISN'T EVERYTHING YOU ARE (my personal favourite)


Other songs that might feature on the album are Unspeakable Things, Life-ning, All I Wanted From Life, West Of Here and I'll Never Let You Go.

We also know the final track is titled Broken Bottles Form A Star (prelude); the full version of which will open the seventh album, which is apparently already finished! (Two-part album? Yes please...)

Paradise First Play

Coldplay's new single, Paradise, off their forthcoming fifth album, will get its first radio play at 07.50am (GMT) on Radio 1 on 12th September, the same day that it is set to be released as a single.

The album it is from, Mylo Xyloto, is due out 24th October.

Album Review: Ladytron - Gravity The Seducer



Ladytron are an interesting band; constantly coming up with something new for each album (this one being their fifth) and despite being such an electronic-based band, the sound remains very warm and human rather than cold, robotic and detached. For this album, they've let go of the heavy, industrial powerhouse sound that dominated fourth album Velocifero, and gone in the opposite direction completely - the songs are ethereal, very atmospheric and aren't really grounded by bass or huge drums as on the last record. The album's opener, White Elephant, is a case in point with its beautiful synth melody and the ethereal vocals of singer Helen Marnie; a definite highlight of the album.

There are a few songs that evoke older Ladytron ever so slightly, such as Mirage or Ace of Hz, but on the whole, it's all new and improved. There are a few instrumentals here - Ritual (possibly the heaviest sounding song on the album), the epic, cinematic Transparent Days and Aces High, which is just a redesigned Ace of Hz without vocals. Despite being a good tune on its own, maybe it should have been left off, especially considering that what comes before it - 90 Degrees - is the sort of song you'd imagine closing the album, what with its floaty, atmospheric vibe and what I think is Marnie's best vocal on the album.

Speaking of vocals, the band's Mira Aroyo is relegated to a lot of backing vocals, which is for the best on this album, as she fits some of the band's darker, heavier songs far better than Marnie, but as this album is not like that, she only gets lead vocals on two songs, Moon Palace and Altitude Blues - the latter is more spoken word than singing, whereas the former is probably the best thing they've ever done, with some fantastic imagery in the lyrics and a real sense of epicness throughout.

Elsewhere, we have: White Gold, a slow, minimal song based mainly on drums and vocals with a synth occasionally rearing its head in the verses, whereas the song feels fuller during the chorus. A fantastic synth melody that crops up a couple of times later in the song feels slight underused, however. Also, we have Ambulances, a darker, sadder song with several "aaah..."s and harmonising, but it's all restrained until the last 30 seconds, when the drums smash their way in to send this one out in style. Lastly, Melting Ice has a slightly Pet Shop Boys vibe to it in places, and is another highlight, with a brilliant chorus with the lyrics "Passing clouds hold onto shadows, pouring light on ancient shipwrecks...".

SUMMARY
A lovely, warm, melodic album that is powerful without resorting to smashing drums (much), but instead takes its power from its sheer beauty and its magnificent lyrical imagery, particularly on Moon Palace and 90 Degrees. Maybe one track too long, however (Aces High, I'm looking at you).

SCORE


FAVOURITE TRACKS: White Elephant, Moon Palace, Melting Ice
LEAST FAVOURITE TRACKS: Altitude Blues, Aces High

Hear Gravity The Seducer Now

You can hear Ladytron's fifth album in full on Spotify now, here.

If you don't have Spotify or the stream doesn't work (it didn't for me initially), go to Ladytron's official YouTube page to hear 10 tracks from Gravity the Seducer (Altitude Blues and Aces High aren't up at the time of posting). EDIT: All songs are now up there.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

New One Night Only EP?

There are rumours that One Night Only will release a new EP in November this year; I haven't seen anything concrete yet. It is unknown whether it will feature new songs or not. If it does feature new ones, it is possible the songs are Games, Long Time Coming and Night On Earth.

After their fantastic second album, I cannot wait to hear more...

Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Whip - Wired Together

Artwork


Tracklist
01. Keep Or Delete
02. Secret Weapon
03. Shake
04. Movement
05. Intensity
06. Riot
07. Metal Law
08. Master Of Ceremonies
09. Best Friend
10. Slow Down

The album is released September 19th.

To hear six tracks (1, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10) from the album, go to the band's official website.

Blog Update: Reviews

Whilst this blog is mainly to do with getting information about upcoming albums and other stuff, I like to write the occasional review, just to jot down some thoughts about the album.
I used to write track-by-track reviews, but due to lack of time to write down all that, I will only be giving a rating, shown on the Reviews tab, and maybe a short overview occasionally.

The idea behind how I rate the albums is listed below; although it won't always work!

0.5 - Utterly, utterly awful album. Will never listen to it again, will get rid of any copies I have, will wonder what possessed me to give it a go. (Never given an album this before, but there's a first time for everything)

1.0 - Awful album. Likely I bought it on the basis of one song, and that song wasn't brilliant to begin with. Will never listen to it again.

1.5 - A very bad album. Maybe has one or two very small redeeming qualities, but unlikely to be heard again.

2.0 - Not a good album. Showed potential at some point, and may have a few good songs, but won't get much beyond 2 or 3 listens.

2.5 - Average. Enjoyed parts of it, but replay value is limited, or maybe just half the songs are good, half of them are bad.

3.0 - Reasonable. Has sparks of greatness, but for the most part, fails to really stick.

3.5 - Good. Enjoyable listening, but has nothing jaw-dropping or particularly stunning. One or two tracks lacking.

4.0 - Very good. I give this rating and above only when I like every song, but at this level, there's nothing that will have me repeating the album for years to come, but I enjoy it for the most part, and will probably play it a lot until it gets boring.

4.5 - Excellent. Could play it for many years to come and it wouldn't get boring. Songs are great to listen to, and probably has some fantastic moments.

5.0 - Outstanding. Every song is great, and if I had to pick just one to listen to, all of them would be contenders; there are none that I'd think about skipping for even a second. I give this rating more than most reviewers, and mostly for albums that reviewers wouldn't dare give full marks, but there are just some albums I can't fault in terms of what I like listening to.