Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Linkin Park Announce New Single

Linkin Park have announced the release of a new single. Burn It Down will be released April 16th, and is the first single from their upcoming fifth album, which is currently untitled but set to be released later this year.

The View Announce New Album

The View have announced the initial details of their forthcoming fourth album. The album will be entitled Cheeky For A Reason and will be released on July 2nd, following a UK tour. The album follows their third effort Bread And Circuses (released only a year ago) and it is set to feature songs such as AB, How Long, Anfield Row, Bunker and The Clock Has No Sympathy. The full tracklist and the artwork will be up here when they are released.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Glasvegas Post New Demo Online

Glasvegas have posted a demo of a new song, entitled "If", off their upcoming third album. The song can be heard here and it is reported that some other new ones will be making their way online soon.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Blog Update: Album Releases Sidebar

The sidebar sections entitled "Countdowns to Albums" and "Releases" have been combined into one section entitled "Album Releases", combining both countdowns and releases.

Neon Trees - Picture Show


01. Moving In The Dark
02. Teenage Sounds
03. Everybody Talks
04. Mad Love
05. Weekend
06. Lessons In Love (All Day, All Night)
07. Trust
08. Close To You
09. Hooray For Hollywood
10. Still Young
11. I Am The DJ

The album will be released 16th April.

The first single was Everybody Talks, released last December. The video was recently released, have a look here.

Slightly random, but does anyone else see a resemblance to the album cover of Glasvegas' album Euphoric /// Heartbreak \\\ (have a look here)?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Album Review: Heretics - Wealth = Success

It's been close to two years since I chanced upon this duo, after a quick tweet from Klaxons if I remember correctly - but time has seriously flown. Soon after that, I was investigating any and all tunes that were available around Soundcloud or YouTube, wherever I could find them! This time, they made my job a little easier and posted a demo of a new track around every month, keeping me interested. (Obviously, the demos have gone now that the album is imminent) For this album, there's not so much change in the sound - it's still very dark electronic pop music - but the style has definitely changed and offers a slightly more varied collection of songs. So let's examine it track by track.

This song was the first snippet we heard from the new album, released as a single in the summer of 2011, and it seems that this one hasn't changed at all; they did change the weird intro that was present before - it's still there but cut down by about 45 seconds. The song itself is a perfect example of what you should expect on this album - from the dark lyrics - "in memory of my death, it'll be my last great work, my epitaph" - to the downtempo feel of it all. And as always, the duo show they have a skill with choruses - somehow feel-good and sometimes sing-along despite being mired in darkness. A strong opener.

One of the tracks released as a demo, Roulette is the one that has most significantly been updated. Whereas once it started with chimes and a reasonably slow pace, now it starts with an electronic pulse and a harder-hitting beat. It is on the more uptempo end of the spectrum for this album, but that's still a very subjective description! The lyrics head towards politics and governments wasting our money and then asking us to pay for it; nothing unheard of but a little different from the opening track.

A significant change on this album is the introduction of two instrumentals in place of full songs, where the pair get to show off their skills with the electronics. Starting with a sort of "aah-aah" sound created by a synth, and building on that, slowly adding bits and pieces until the powerful beat drops its way in. It pulses and glows in all the right places, and doesn't last too long (at just over 3 minutes)

"I used to be an engineer, but now I'm just an engine" goes the first line of this track over a basic synth line which slowly allows space for other synthy noises to join in. It's more minimal than we're used to, but the chorus brings out some bigger sounds, although the last note doesn't quite sit right with me for some reason. This song is perhaps at the weaker end of the album, but it's still good.

Starting on a slightly darker synth note than the previous couple of tracks, this one also keeps backing synths to a minimum, or at least at a lower volume, for the first half of the track, but then for the second part, it launches into an absolutely brilliant finale, with a fantastic synth line dominating the whole song. One of the greatest moments on the album, even if it takes a little while to get there.

Here's one (finally) that I haven't heard before! This one is perhaps the least dark-sounding of the album, despite the title, with its slightly more uplifting up-and-down synth line. The lyrics, however, remain relatively bleak, but I suppose we've grown to expect this! The chorus flows nicely in from the verses, and despite not being the greatest one the duo have produced, the song as a whole is up there with my favourites from the album.

A six minute epic in every sense of the word. A lone voice chanting 'aaah's gives way to a brooding backing synth and drum combination. It's a very slow track but that means that six minutes flies past as you're listening to it. In an interesting reversal, rather than bringing more in for the chorus, this time everything disappears more or less, to give the vocals room to shine. Then, at about three-quarters of the way through the song, you think it's all going to end, before a slightly more hopeful sounding tune joins in but fades away to leave the chants heard at the start of the song, to bring it all down back into darkness. Definitely an odd track, but a great one nonetheless.

Again, we have a lighter (well, less dark) tune taking lead on this song, and unbelievably, it seems like the lyrics are taking a turn for the happier, although it is temporary, as before long we move away from lyrics about enjoying "the feel of the grass beneath your feet" to building "a prison for yourself, like you can't handle the freedom". Still, it's a welcome change of pace, despite the song not being hugely memorable or mind-blowing.

Remember I said there were two instrumentals on this album? Well, here's number two. This one could almost be a dance-y track played at some more underground clubs, it's slow-moving but has a nice flow to it. At times it does feel repetitive, especially with no vocals to take point on the track. Well, I say no vocals. There appears to be some vocals at the end, although what is actually being said is lost in electronic meddling. It does sound fantastic, though. And again, the song ends before you get tired of it, albeit a little abruptly.

So, here it is. The final song. Another six-minute epic, split into two halves this time. The first half is mostly just one synth (which borrows from the synth riff heard in Epitaph's middle-eight section) and a vocal line, although it does build at times. It also features the album's title: "When your income is not the best, it's easy to feel like you've failed, because wealth equals success". The second half, is electronic madness, synths flying in from left and right, bringing the album to a huge close.

Well, to be perfectly honest, I don't think this one completely measures up to the duo's debut - it's still a very good album, but there's something missing on a few of the tracks this time round. However, they should be commended for being more experimental and trying out a few different styles of song - the instrumentals and even parts of songs that go without vocals (the endings of Strangers or Ambition, for example) are some of the best things they've created. That's not to say the vocals aren't good (apart from the one note previously mentioned at the end of Engineer's chorus), they fit the mood of the album perfectly. Overall, still going strong!

FAVOURITE TRACKS: Roulette, Obscurity, Ambition
LEAST FAVOURITE TRACKS: Engineer, Life Like This

PREVIOUS ALBUMS (as I would rate them now): Heretics (4/5)

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Keane Unveil New Single

Keane have revealed their new single Silenced By The Night today. The single is the first one to be taken from their upcoming fourth album (fifth if you count Night Train as an album, which I do, even if it's more of a mini-album) which is entitled Strangeland. The album will be released 7th May.

Have a listen to Silenced By The Night here.

Monday, 5 March 2012

The Cribs To Air New Single

The Cribs will air their new single "Come On Be A No One" on Steve Lamacq's BBC 6music show at 4pm tomorrow. The single follows the first one "Chi-Town", both of which are set to be included on the band's upcoming fifth album, "In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull" which is due out 7th May.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Album Review: Morning Parade - Morning Parade

So, here it is at last. The long-awaited debut album from Morning Parade. I've been a fan since I heard Under The Stars way back at the end of 2010, and was drawn further in by A&E, their next single, which turned up around this time last year. Criminally, the latter song is not on their debut album and if I'm honest, it's hard to see why - it's one of their best songs! Still, it leaves room for many new songs; some of which are just as good.

The opener, Blue Winter, is a rougher, rawer sound than most of the album. Opening with feedback and a drumbeat, then giving way to the guitars. They don't waste any time getting into their stride. It's a very indie rock sort of track, but the chorus is slightly lacking compared to some of the masterpieces they create later on in the album. Headlights, which is planned to be one of the next singles, follows on from the opener, and contains one of the aforementioned choruses. "Cos like a rabbit in your headlights, I am the beckon to your call" it goes over backing vocals of "aaaah..." It's hardly original but it's still guaranteed to have fans singing along.

Carousel comes next, perhaps the greatest song on the album for me. It moves a few inches away from the more guitar-heavy side of the first two songs. I did say 'inches', mind. Starting with an electronic beat (that soon turns into a fuller drum part) and a small synth part to accompany it. It also contains a massive anthem of a chorus ("all our lives, in a hiding place! In a hiding place!). I think it should be a single. After the three-punch combo of the first few tracks, we move into something a bit more heartfelt, Running Down The Aisle, which brings in piano to create a sad atmosphere. "Tell them to keep the cameras rolling..." goes the chorus, and really makes you feel moved by the whole thing. As it heads towards the end, lead singer Steve Sparrow makes his mark even more on the track with some fantastic vocal work. A beautiful change of pace, although it does end a little unexpectedly.

Next up, it's back to guitars taking the lead, and this is the single that preceded the album, Us And Ourselves. The first time I heard this track, I wasn't particularly interested. It has grown on me, however. The best part of it is just before the end as everything comes together and the words "oh it's us and ourselves" are repeated over the standard "oh, oh..."s, before it ends the way it starts. It's nothing incredible, but could still make an impact on the crowds. And then comes Under The Stars, which has been slightly reworked by the sounds of it. It sounds much more powerful in the drum department, but it hasn't lost any of its magnificence from the original. Its a very dance-y track which I expect will be reflected live (and maybe already has, considering they say they've never played a gig without that song). Again, the vocals reach their peak right at the end (they're brilliant the whole way through, mind).

Now if you've been a fan of the band for a while, you may have come across this next song, Close To Your Heart, as a free download last year. It's another rawer guitar sound for this one, and it's another grower. First time I heard it, not so keen. Listening to it more, it does make a little bit more of an impact, but I still think of it as one of the weaker tracks on the album as it doesn't really have much to interest me. But I still like it, more or less. Maybe I'm just bitter about A&E not being on the album - this would be a perfect place for it to go, in my opinion.

And now it's back to the sadder side of Morning Parade with Half Litre Bottle. The song consists of more or less nothing but a lone guitar and a lone vocal (with a few extras in the background) singing about drinking to take away your problems. It does begin to get a little boring towards the end, but the band have made sure it doesn't overstay its welcome too long, seeing as it is the shortest song on the album. The next song, Monday Morning, is quite a relaxing, atmospheric piece with another fantastic chorus which flows beautifully and seamlessly from one verse into another. It does, however, begin to overstay its welcome towards the end as well.

Speechless opens with a lone piano before guitars and drums burst into life. Unfortunately, by this point, it sounds like a lot of this has been done before on this album, and it doesn't quite have the same power that I think the band was going for on this song as a result. Still, it's not a bad song by any means. But finally comes Born Alone, an absolutely epic six-minute masterpiece of closer which redeems the band ever so slightly. It showcases everything the band do best, the chorus being the highlight. It's another song trying to tug at your heartstrings but this time, rather than going all minimal and hoping that does the job, this one is a fuller sounding song. "I was born alone, but I will not die alone!" screams Sparrow over the climax of the final chorus, and gives you goosebumps. Fantastic stuff.

It's undoubtedly all been done before, and even the band sound like they didn't have a wide range of ideas, as the album does drag a little at times. Still, they move sounds quite a bit, from guitar to piano to synths taking point on the various tracks. And you can't deny they have a way with choruses. These guys have the potential to really make it big, even in a world where guitar music is being suppressed by all the rubbish that dominates the charts. All they need now is a few more exciting ideas, and bingo.

FAVOURITE TRACKS: Carousel, Under The Stars, Born Alone
LEAST FAVOURITE TRACKS: Close To Your Heart, Speechless

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Hot Chip - In Our Heads


01. Motion Sickness
02. How Do You Do
03. Don't Deny Your Heart
04. Look At Where We Are
05. These Chains
06. Night And Day
07. Flutes
08. Now There Is Nothing
09. Ends Of The Earth
10. Let Me Be Him
11. Always Been Your Love

The album will be released on June 11th.