Monday, 26 December 2011

Song Of The Year 2011

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

Coldplay - Charlie Brown

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"
"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


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


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.