Sunday, 30 December 2012

Song Of The Year 2012

The winner of Music Madness' song of the year 2012 is:

Hadouken! - Bad Signal

I know that this may seem like an odd choice, but the simple fact of the matter is that I have played this a gazillion times since its release, and it just won't get old! It's a move away from the new-rave stylings of their debut album and their aggressive, heavier follow-up, now taking on elements of dance and dubstep, along with a killer sample for a chorus. The lyrics may not be to everyone's taste - talks of news feeds, notifications, trending and SMS take on the world of social media, and are spat out at rapid rap-style pace. I've seen it live as well this year, and it went down a storm and a half. It bodes very well for the album it is taken from, Every Weekend, due out next year. I'm fairly sure you won't see this as anyone else's song of the year, but I don't care. It's amazing. Now everybody sing! "YOU DON'T REALLY LOVE ME, YOU JUST KEEP ME HANGING ON!"

The song will be on the Songs of the Week section of the blog until 7th January, when we'll be back to normal weekly updates. See you in the New Year!

Friday, 28 December 2012

New Courteeners Songs

The new Courteeners album, Anna, will be released February 4th. Here are some tracks on the album, either performed live or the actual studio version.

LOSE CONTROL (track 2)





MONEY (track 10)

Not included are Are You In Love With A Notion?, Van Der Graaff, Sharks Are Circling, Marquee and Here Come The Young Men.

Also, here are two tracks that were set for the album, but apparently will not be included:



Thursday, 27 December 2012

Hadouken! - Every Weekend



01. The Vortex
02. Levitate
03. Bliss Out
04. As One
05. Parasite
06. Bad Signal
07. Stop Time
08. Spill Your Guts
09. The Comedown
10. Daylight

The album will be released on 18th March. It has spawned three singles so far; Parasite, Bad Signal and Daylight. Bliss Out has also been released on FIFA 13. Levitate and As One have been played live as well.

There is one song that remains unaccounted for, and that is Vessel, which was played live but apparently won't be released on the album.

Lastly, here's an album minimix, containing (in order, as far as I can tell): The Vortex, As One, Stop Time, Comedown, and Spill Your Guts.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Best Of 2012: #1

#1 - Muse - The 2nd Law

And there it is. My absolute favourite album of 2012 - step up, Muse. Producing the only album that I consider to be flawless this year, Muse have really outdone themselves with their sixth record. Whilst fans of the older stuff will probably be turned away again (although riffs are back in full force), the album is just so so good. Each song takes on a different style and sound, so I guess the only way to sum up the album is to go through them all!

Supremacy is a blend of epic riff-heavy Muse and orchestral soundscape masters Muse; starting the album off with a bang (or at least, a big guitar) - it's been said a billion times, but could totally have been a Bond track. Track two, Madness, is probably the biggest departure from the band's established sound there has ever been - but it's amazing! Is there no genre the band can't turn their hand to? The last minute and a half is particularly impressive. This is then followed up by Panic Station, a funk track, which weighs in at only three minutes, but is likely to become a Muse classic.

The album then shifts off to a one-minute prelude to Survival (titled Prelude, inventively) which shows off the band's orchestral side (at least their writing of orchestral music), and then launches into their Olympics track Survival, with its rather simple lyrics but monstrous riffs. That then leaves you a bit stunned, before things appear to calm down with Follow Me. Starting with Matt Bellamy's son's heartbeat, and then strings and vocals guide you slowly through the opening part of the song, slowly building little pieces on top, but remains fairly basic, until - DROP! The song switches into full-on electronic music for the second chorus, and comes out of nowhere, yet it is absolutely brilliant! The song then continues in that vein until the end.

Animals is up next, and is another song likely to please older Muse fans, with its guitar riffs here, there, everywhere. Whilst it sounds like quite a calm song, the lyrics are filled with anger (although the vocals don't show this) - just see 'kill yourself, come on and do us all a favour' for the evidence! It then all comes to a huge, cataclysmic ending, before giving way to the sound of Wall Street traders getting excited over... something. Explorers follows it up as one of the more beautiful tracks, and the longest one on offer here at just under six minutes. Critics that say that Muse just copy Queen these days will have a field day on this song, but who really cares when it's an amazing song that takes you on an incredible journey? The ninth track, then, is Big Freeze, and now the critics that say that Muse just copy U2 will have their turn now. But again, who cares? It's a massive track! Just listen to Dominic Howard's epic drumming in the chorus and Matt Bellamy's fantastic guitar work and epic (as always) vocals. Believe it or not, after this song, there are four more, but Matt never sings another lyric (he gets to wail on one song)...

...And this is because the next two tracks are bassist Chris Wolstenholme's. Save Me is an atmospheric and beautiful debut track for him; whilst Liquid State might be the heaviest thing on the album; straightforward epic rock. It's very hard to call the first of those tracks the weakest on the album, because it is still amazing, but I have to call one of them that! The songs deal with the new singer's alcoholism, and you get the feeling that both of them are fully meant, even if you don't get Bellamy's crazy vocal range. But you don't really need range when Liquid State's chorus is just going to go off live. Actually, the whole song will go off live.

And so we come to the penultimate tracks, which are the title tracks. The 2nd Law: Unsustainable is the first of these. It scared all the avid Muse fans back in June when it was put out as a teaser, because it is the now famous 'Muse-does-dubstep' track. And indeed, only Muse could combine such epic strings, a newsreader talking about the second law of thermodynamics, a robotic voice singing 'unsustainable', some dubstep made with guitar, drums and bass, and even manage to fit in the previously mentioned Matt Bellamy wail. All in the space of four minutes. And somehow, it works fantastically. But then it ends, and finally we have reached the end of our bonkers journey with the other '2nd Law' track, titled Isolated System. This one is a complete contrast to its predecessor. They share a title because the newsreader gets re-used and the themes are the same. There are no lyrics, just haunting, beautiful piano work, slowly adding pieces every thirty seconds, before taking it all away, then building up again... and just as you expect an explosion, it stops, and fades out with the newsreader going 'isolated system' before it all ends leaving you with chills.

So, out of all 25 albums I've put on this list, only this one I felt required a full song breakdown, because out of all thirteen tracks, there are almost no similarities between them. If you're looking for a coherent album, don't come anywhere near here. If you're looking for an absolutely perfect album which shows off billions of different styles and ideas, created by musicians that are completely worthy of the term 'artists', and songs that will make crowds go wild live, then your search is over. The 2nd Law is genuinely a full 5-star album.

RECOMMEND: Madness, Follow Me, The 2nd Law: Unsustainable
LOW POINTS: Animals, Save Me

Monday, 24 December 2012

Best Of 2012: #2

#2 - Enter Shikari - A Flash Flood Of Colour

I have never been more surprised by an album than this one. I love both of Enter Shikari's other albums, but when I heard their tracks Sssnakepit and Gandhi Mate, Gandhi for this album, I began to think that wasn't going to happen again. But then... both of those songs grew MASSIVELY on me (I gave the latter a 2-star rating originally, but now it would either be 4 or 5 - admittedly, it's definitely a grower) but they also pulled nine other absolutely epic tracks out of the bag to go with them. And now, we go back to January for my thoughts on the album: "This is by far the band's most listenable album - it may be heavier in parts but there are also some fantastic sing-along moments and catchy parts. It's a very rare combination but Enter Shikari have genuinely struck gold here. The lyrics do take a bit of getting used to, but sometimes they just work fantastically. Again, it's good to know that they aren't taking themselves too seriously, and they do have a very unique style to them, both musically and lyrically, which they must be given credit for in a world where the charts are dominated by everything sounding like everything else. Even if you don't like the singles and are an Enter Shikari fan, get the album. There are some massive, massive moments on here - a true masterpiece. Let it grow on you like I did, it'll be worth it. And if nothing else, you can't deny that the band have some of the greatest song titles of all time!" In addition to that, I'd like to award Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here with my newly introduced 'guitar solo of the year' (it's gonna be a thing... seriously...). It's properly epic. So now it's Christmas Eve (at least, when this was published) and we have one more album, the greatest of this year's collection. If you follow this blog, you'll definitely have figured out which one it is. All will be revealed tomorrow for Christmas!

RECOMMEND: Search Party, Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here, Pack Of Thieves
LOW POINTS: Sssnakepit, Stalemate

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Best Of 2012: #3

#3 - The Maccabees - Given To The Wild

This year's imaginary bronze medal goes to The Maccabees, with their third album. After their slightly unimaginative but fun debut Colour It In, they took a darker and more epic path with its follow-up, which was a massive improvement. And again, they get better. Now making use of electronic sounds and absolutely huge soundscapes, the band have crafted a masterpiece. This is what I said about it back in January: "The Maccabees try something new and succeed for the most part. I think it's just about ahead of Wall Of Arms, but they're two very different beasts. This is a greater sound which sends you to several different places, compared with Wall Of Arms' slightly more constrained sound (but no less epic). The main pitfall with this album, as mentioned before, is that with an album like this, when things move slightly slower and take time to build up, 13 tracks and 53 minutes is far too long. There are two songs that instantly pop up in my mind that the album could have done without - Go and Slowly One - maybe due to their late placing in their album, but at least Go tries something new. That said, I still love both and don't usually skip them unless I'm on a tight schedule! Maybe the intro and title track, Given To The Wild, could have been shortened to under a minute, as they've done previously (such as the Maida Vale sessions performance of the track). But overall, this is an incredibly strong album that should pave the way for a fantastic fourth one." And whilst I don't think that summary really does it justice - the album is genuinely incredible, take the ten tracks not mentioned in the summary and you have a flawless album! - it's true.

RECOMMEND: Ayla, Went Away, Unknow
LOW POINTS: Go, Slowly One

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Best Of 2012: #4

#4 - Bloc Party - Four

Conveniently coming in at #4, Bloc Party, a four-man band, come back with their fourth album, titled Four, with four circles on the cover... OK I'll stop now. But let me say, welcome back, Bloc Party. After branching out to electronic and industrial sounds on Intimacy (which I loved), and letting lead singer Kele Okereke let out some dance-y music on his solo album, the band are back to simplistic, guitar music. As they put it, they wanted it to sound like four guys playing in a room, straight from opening track So He Begins To Lie, which manages to sound slightly smooth even though it's quite a heavy track, particularly during the breakdown! They even include some ill-advised breaks on Real Talk and Team A where they put in random studio chatter - breasts and spider bites come up - but even without them, it sounds like they have achieved their goal. There is a bit of a heavier element to the album, such as the downright weird style-shifting Coliseum, the punky track dealing with last year's riots, titled Kettling,  or the absolutely gargantuan finale We're Not Good People. Elsewhere, we have straightforward pop tracks in first single Octopus (turning out to be slightly boring in light of the rest of the album), V.A.L.I.S. (how can you not enjoy a song that rhymes epiphany, philosophy, methyl amphetamines, conspiracy, theophany and phenomenology?!) and Truth, which has some slightly hilarious ooh-wooh-ooh moments, but stands out as the best on the album. There's also the amazing but weird 3*3, with its epic guitar, but incredibly creepy lyrics which are hoarsely whispered for the verses (It's about group sex, apparently!)And there are also more heartfelt moments, such as Real Talk, which has Snow Patrol singer Gary Lightbody's approval, or so I hear; Day Four, which is a decent chill-out tune, and is worth listening to just for the beautiful ending, and The Healing, which comes as a complete contrast to its successor (the previously mentioned monster of We're Not Good People). But, in summary, it's a welcome back for Bloc Party. Fans of Silent Alarm and not much else, take a listen to this one!

RECOMMEND: 3*3, Truth, We're Not Good People
LOW POINTS: Kettling, The Healing

Friday, 21 December 2012

Best Of 2012: #5

#5 - Keane - Strangeland

For their fifth album (I kind of consider Night Train to be their fourth), the band have gone back to their original sounds, after experimenting a little on Perfect Symmetry and a LOT on Night Train. But this time, they have experience of what makes a massive pop song. And therefore, we have twelve massive pop songs, filled with melody, led on by Tom Chaplin's powerful voice and Tim Rice-Oxley's brilliant songwriting. There are some clear singles, particularly on the first half of the album, with Silenced By The Night sounding like it could have come straight off their debut album, or Sovereign Light Café, which is a nice slice of nostalgia for the band, and results in their greatest song ever, and On The Road, which is immensely catchy. The second half of the album deals more in being a bit more varied, from Black Rain's ethereal, haunting sounds, through to epics Neon River and In Your Own Time, finally ending up at gorgeous piano-heavy closer Sea Fog (the 'oooh's that close the entire album are real goosebumps moments). So, although the experimentation has gone down a bit, the band are back to their roots, and they're back in force. Definitely their best work yet.

RECOMMEND: Sovereign Light Café, Neon River, In Your Own Time
LOW POINTS: Watch How You Go, The Starting Line

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Best Of 2012: #6

#6 - The Enemy - Streets In The Sky

So many people slag off The Enemy, and it's not hard to see why. However, if you're looking for simple, straight-up guitar tunes and not a wide amount of innovation (like me) you're not going to do much better than this album. They tried the innovation with previous album Music For The People, and it kind of worked, but it didn't really suit them. So this time, they've just gone into full-on rock mode for the majority of these songs. The first four tracks will all make you jump and dance around, playing an imaginary guitar. (Just me? Awkward...) And there are a few more like that later on in the album. But the highlights are the ones that change up a little bit. Those ones are epic build-up anthem This Is Real, the more acoustic-y 2 Kids, or the penultimate track Get Up And Dance, with its grand chorus 'You can't live on memories when memories fade...' In fact, the album has very few flaws... until the very final second of the album; where we find the most annoying thing on any album this year. Make A Man is a great song, make no mistake, but its ending is so, so bad. It just randomly stops, for absolutely no logical reason. I had to copy a chorus in to replace the sudden stop, repeat it and then fade it out, in order to make it better. And if I can create a better ending just copying and pasting, it's probably clear that the original one wasn't good to begin with. But that's really my only real problem with this album. The tunes are all there. Simplistic, straightforward guitar pop suits The Enemy.

RECOMMEND: Bigger Cages Longer Chains, This Is Real, Get Up And Dance
LOW POINTS: Like A Dancer, Make A Man

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Best Of 2012: #7

#7 - Hitchcock - Running From The Sane

If there was a list of my top debut albums this year, this one would be the winner. The other six albums in my oh-so-exciting countdown are all from well-established bands. So this one must have done well! Released right at the start of January, it's been a long time coming (think I first found the band around 2009). Luckily for my lazy self, I've already written a full review of this album, and this is what I concluded: "This album was definitely worth the wait. It is packed full of electronic pop masterpieces with massive choruses designed to get you going and feel like singing along. However, as I've also mentioned, the album is way, way too long - it can start to feel like a chore listening to it - Blind Side and Ghosts are the weak points in my opinion, the former ruining the flow of the album and the other one not really playing to their strengths, at least not for long as the song quickly gets a little boring and repetitive. I admit that on their own, they can stand up well for themselves, but this is the album I'm reviewing, and I feel that they've slipped past the cutting board when they shouldn't have. I also feel that the album's order isn't quite right, what with some of their greater, more energetic tracks turning up towards the end, when some maybe should have been put near the start but it's not gone horribly wrong and doesn't detract from the enjoying of the album. Although all that sounds negative, this album is genuinely great. The eleven tracks that would remain if I was let loose on cutting the album together are all huge songs that are very impressive for a band that remain complete unknowns to the general public. Try it if you like this sort of music, I'll be amazed if you don't find at least one track that gets into your head. Hitchcock really have potential to be massive, as they've already proven their skills with the music." I maintain that the length and order of the album are an issue, but it is the only issue. The music is genuinely faultless. Unfortunately, I've considered all aspects of the album. Oh well, #7 ain't bad! And almost a full twelve months after its release, it still gets regular plays.

RECOMMEND: Don't Give Up, Cuban Heels, Never Said A Word
LOW POINTS: Blind Side, Ghosts

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Best Of 2012: #8

#8 - Pet Shop Boys - Elysium

It's very hard to believe that this is album number eleven. I know that they were making albums long before I was born, but what really surprises me is that I love all of them. There are high points and low points, but I wouldn't say I disliked any of them. Following on from their best album, Yes (unfortunately Elysium doesn't top it, but it gives it a run for its money), which was filled with ten classic pop songs and one odd curveball of a closer, this time the duo have gone for slower, peaceful and thoughtful songs filled with epic soundscapes and, of course, fantastic melodies. In fact, there are only a few songs that you might consider as being proper pop songs. These include the sort-of Olympics song Winner, the opening track Leaving, or the catchy Memory Of The Future. Conveniently, those are actually the three tracks that have been made into singles! But those ones are not just the backbone of the album. Invisible is simple, yet relaxing, which really fits with the album's artwork; Breathing Space takes a slight guitar-y turn, but produces a beautiful chorus; and the closing track Requiem In Denim And Leopardskin is a six-minute epic which finishes the album off in style. There are also little weird tracks, as you would expect from a Pet Shop Boys album, such as the two-minute long Your Early Stuff (apparently a compilation of taxi drivers' comments) or Ego Music, which is a slight attack on the current pop music industry, with sarcastic, deadpan lines such as 'in the sea of negativity, I'm the Statue of Liberty' and generally, just pure oddness. Overall, the album starts strong and just gets better. The final three tracks are probably the greatest way the duo have ever finished an album, going from pop song Memory Of The Future, to the dark and emotional Everything Means Something, and the pure epic Requiem In Denim And Leopardskin.

RECOMMEND: Winner, Breathing Space, Requiem In Denim And Leopardskin
LOW POINTS: Your Early Stuff, Hold On

Monday, 17 December 2012

Best Of 2012: #9

#9 - The Killers - Battle Born

This album is probably the most frustrating of all albums released this year. It comes so close to being perfect. Ten out of the twelve songs on it are untouchable, but there are two that massively let the side down... and those are A Matter Of Time, which is completely forgettable, and Heart Of A Girl, which is just boring. I know several fans will disagree, but I much prefer cutting them out. Without them, this album would have been number 1 this year for sure. The album still sits high on the top 25 purely on the basis that the other ten songs are huge. So let's focus on the positives! I was a bit apprehensive when reports came in that it was going to be a ballad-heavy album... and it is, but my concerns were more than dealt with; just take one listen to sing-along track Here With Me and tell me you don't agree. The highlights of the album include opening track Flesh And Bone - teased with a trailer way back in June - which clearly highlights the new electronic, 80s-style direction, with a massive guitar solo to boot; Miss Atomic Bomb, a prequel to the band's first real hit Mr. Brightside (It even uses the famous guitar riff as a middle-8!); and Be Still, which is just so gorgeous and spine-tingling, Brandon Flowers' vocals reaching their peak (in fact, he shines on the entire album, but is absolutely fantastic on this particular song). There's also folk-style From Here On Out, the instant classic and first single Runaways, and the pure rock masterpiece Battle Born. So, overall, it's such a good album, but massively let down by two tracks in particular. Oh well, nothing's perfect, is it?

RECOMMEND: Flesh And Bone, The Way It Was, Miss Atomic Bomb
LOW POINTS: A Matter Of Time, Heart Of A Girl

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Best Of 2012: #10

#10 - Spector - Enjoy It While It Lasts

Enjoy it while it lasts, you say? Oh, I will! Moving into the top ten now, with an absolute monster of a debut album! (Not my favourite debut album of the year, mind, but still up there!) Featuring twelve fantastic pop songs, Spector prove themselves as masters of catchy, guitar pop filled with melodies and thousands of sing-along moments. Just take one listen to Celestine or Chevy Thunder, and you'll be hooked instantly. There are also a couple of slight sidesteps - the smooth, electronic-based Grey Shirt And Tie, or the slight breather (which you'll probably need, coming after Celestine!) Grim Reefer, which may unfortunately be the weakest song, but still is undoubtedly up there. Every song here is purposely designed to have the crowds eating out of their hands. And they deliver such tunes in spades.

RECOMMEND: No Adventure, Celestine, Never Fade Away
LOW POINTS: Upset Boulevard, Grim Reefer

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Best Of 2012: #11

#11 - Morning Parade - Morning Parade

Stumbling upon this band in late 2010, with their tracks Under The Stars and A&E (the latter of which is not on here - criminally!), I couldn't wait for a debut album. Rumours circled, until finally it came out in March this year. But it was worth the wait. This was one of the albums I reviewed early on in the year, when I could still be bothered with full-on reviews! Here's what the summary said: "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." And nine months later, all of that really still rings true - the choruses are all monsters, but the sound is not massively new. I don't particularly need innovation to enjoy music, but it does add a little bit of value!

RECOMMEND: Carousel, Us And Ourselves, Born Alone
LOW POINTS: Close To Your Heart, Speechless

Friday, 14 December 2012

Hurts Album Due Out March?

Hurts' second album is reportedly titled Exile and will be released on March 11th, according to an iTunes release. You can download a new song called The Road from iTunes now. No other information is known, but is reported to be coming out soon - will have it up here on the blog when it comes in.

EDIT: It has now been confirmed by Hurts.

Best Of 2012: #12

#12 - Linkin Park - Living Things

Linkin Park's fifth album takes yet another sidestep into a new sound and style. After they got slated for third album Minutes To Midnight, and lost further fans with the massively different follow-up A Thousand Suns, this new one sounds a lot more like pop with a heavy twist in places. Also, the raps are back in force, noticeably, straight from the punchy opener Lost In The Echo. Additionally, this time round, the songs are shorter and to the point, none of them breaking the four-minute mark. It's not all happy pop-esque music either. Lies Greed Misery and Victimized are just onslaughts of aggression, the latter one popping out of nowhere - jarring a little bit as it comes after the melodies and beautiful imagery of album highlight Castle Of Glass. But they all seem to follow a distinctive verse-chorus structure. The only one not conforming to this, essentially, is Until It Breaks, which sort of shifts randomly between various styles. But the closing tracks follow this little mishap up and more than makes up for it - Tinfoil and Powerless form a sort of two-part ending, the former being a short instrumental, the latter being a huge, powerful finale, contrary to what the title might suggest. Overall, this one or A Thousand Suns remain at the top of my favourite Linkin Park albums (Sorry, Hybrid Theory fans) but they're far too different to really compare.

RECOMMEND: Burn It Down, Castle of Glass, Powerless
LOW POINTS: Skin To Bone, Until It Breaks

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Best Of 2012: #13

#13 - Heretics - Wealth = Success

I don't really watch out for many new bands, which maybe I should, but occasionally one pops up, usually courtesy of another, more well-known band. Heretics are one such band. Dealing in dark, electronic music, the band - well, duo - have a knack for creating melodies and choruses that could make a decent impact - if they were better known! I reviewed this album in full earlier this year; and this what I wrote: "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 (Battle and Silence) 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, they fit the mood of the album perfectly. Overall, still going strong!" And I keep that opinion.

RECOMMEND: Roulette, Obscurity, Ambition
LOW POINTS: Engineer, Life Like This

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Best Of 2012: #14

#14 - Metric - Synthetica

I got into Metric with their previous album Fantasies; and then proceeded to work backwards through their older stuff, and found nothing that took my fancy - so hoped that their fifth album (this one) would provide some more gems. And happily, it did. Taking a far more electronic direction for this album, as maybe the title would suggest, the band pours all their experience, and the ability of their main songwriter and singer Emily Haines, into the pot to create several fantastic pieces of music. From the straight-to-the-point opening line of Artificial Nocturne - 'I'm just as fucked up as they say' - through to the bouncy first single Youth Without Youth, and onwards, speeding, twisting and turning towards the epic soundscape of closer Nothing But Time, the album never really lets up. The other highlights include Lost Kitten, with its slight seductive charm (or maybe just annoying for some people) or the title track, which is probably the rockiest song on the album. But overall, an improvement on Fantasies, and hopefully I will stay with Metric from here on out!

RECOMMEND: Artifical Nocturne, Lost Kitten, Synthetica
LOW POINTS: The Void, Clone

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Pigeon Detectives Start Countdown

The Pigeon Detectives have put a mysterious countdown clock on their website. The countdown will hit zero on Monday 7th January. They are expected to announce their fourth album, which they have been recording this year.

EDIT: The countdown has been adjusted and is now set to hit zero on Tuesday 22nd January, 19.30 GMT.

Best Of 2012: #15

#15 - The Twang - 10:20

If nothing, at least The Twang are consistent. All their albums are filled with catchy tunes, none more so than this one, but never really stray too far from a defined sound, although the lyrics have improved quite a lot from their debut's slightly cringey rants about neighbours! 10:20, named after an angry note the band found taped to their studio (immortalised in the album's artwork) due to (another!) unhappy neighbour, is filled with the band's best tunes yet. Take Mainline, with its massive statement of a chorus: 'You ain't got nothing if you ain't got love', or Last Laugh, with its fantastic opening riff - that unfortunately doesn't really pop up again. A lot of songs were released long before this one; the obvious single We're A Crowd; Paradise, which also has a great riff to kick it all off; and a couple songs off an early 2011 EP - Guapa, with its subtler, more peaceful verses and then a punch to the face with the chorus, and Whoa Man, perhaps the lightest moment on the record, and the shortest (not counting intro track Neptune). But generally, the best of The Twang's three albums, but they have yet to create an absolutely outstanding record - all of their output so far would probably get around the same rating from me.

RECOMMEND: Mainline, We're A Crowd, Last Laugh
LOW POINTS: Take This On, Strangers

Monday, 10 December 2012

The Courteeners To Air New Single Tonight

The Courteeners will finally be getting their new single, Lose Control, out to the world tonight! Tune in to Radio 1 at 19.00 (GMT) to hear it! I don't think it's not the Hottest Record, unfortunately, but will be played at some point on the show! The single is taken from their upcoming new album Anna, due out February 4th.

Best Of 2012: #16

#16 - The Vaccines - The Vaccines Come Of Age

Talk about a quick follow-up album! Less than 18 months since their debut, The Vaccines have gone a bit more mature (as the title might suggest), and gone in a slightly wider direction than their debut, and has worked, but I still think the first one was better. But the guitar tunes are still all there; there's no If You Wanna or Post Break-Up Sex on here, but still has some almost reaching those lofty heights. Take Teenage Icon, for example. It may be the most similar to the songs from the first album, but still will want to make you move. The reverb around singer Justin Young's vocals have also been removed, and he sounds more confident for it; especially on tracks such as All In Vain or Aftershave Ocean (which is a fantastic title for a song!) Admittedly, the album does trail off a bit towards the end; Change Of Heart Pt. 2 and I Wish I Was A Girl are decent enough, but feel a little bit like filler, and Lonely World is just boring - it seems like they wanted to redo a sort of Family Friend-type ending again, but failed. But that's really the only issue I have with the album. Just take the opening trio of songs - No Hope through I Always Knew to Teenage Icon - and you'll be hooked. Probably.

RECOMMEND: I Always Knew, Teenage Icon, Ghost Town
LOW POINTS: Change Of Heart Pt.2, Lonely World

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Best Of 2012: #17

#17 - Neon Trees - Picture Show

This band feels like they haven't been around very long, and are already way into the era of their second album; but then again, the UK release of their first one was only March last year! So this one seems like a very quick follow-up, when in reality it's not. Anyway, irrelevant thoughts aside, this one embraces a far wider sound than its predecessor, and results in both highs and lows... Luckily this one came out during a time when I thought I had time to write reviews; so here's what I said in April:
"The band should definitely be commended from breaking out of the limited range of styles and sounds that Habits had - there's definitely more experimentation here - but some of the songs just don't quite work as well as the others. There's definitely no 'Animal' or '1983' here, but maybe that's a good thing. The 80s style definitely shines around the middle of the album, providing us with the album's highlight, Trust. The vocals are very well done, but not when they descend into "la-la-la"s or even Mad Love's "really, really, really..." section. Overall, though, it's about on par with Habits - despite being less consistent in terms of both quality and styles." And that has remained pretty much the same ever since. However, one song has grown on me massively.... the epic Still Young.

RECOMMEND: Moving In The Dark, Trust, Still Young
LOW POINTS: Weekend, Close To You

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Best Of 2012: #18

#18 - Hot Chip - In Our Heads

I'll admit to not being the biggest Hot Chip fan in the world; but I do like to listen to their output occasionally. This album is quirky in all the right places, none more so than the baffling first single Night And Day (the bridge rhymes Abba, jibber jabber, Macca and Aiya Napa for heaven's sake!). Slightly different from your average pop songs! All the songs are at least four minutes long, and yet they don't get old. The biggest ones are Flutes, which is a decent chill-out tune, and Let Me Be Him - which is an absolutely incredible song. Hitting almost eight minutes, the song is dark, slow and sad to start with, slowly building up, but seeming fairly middle-of-the-road... and then BOOM! EPIC CHORUS! The goosebumps kick in with the "oh-oh-oh-heeeey-oh"s... After another round of verse and chorus, we're treated to this atmospheric closing as vocals float over the top. If nothing else, the album is worth listening to just to get to that song.

RECOMMEND: Motion Sickness, Night And Day, Let Me Be Him
LOW POINTS: Look At Where We Are, Now There Is Nothing

Friday, 7 December 2012

Hadouken! Reveal New Album Title

Hadouken! have revealed that their third album will be called Every Weekend, and will be released in early 2013. No other details are known as yet, but on the 27th December, apparently some details will be unleashed. Potential tracks for inclusion are Parasite, Bad Signal, Bliss Out, Daylight, Vessel, Comedown, As One and Levitate.

Best Of 2012: #19

#19 - Two Door Cinema Club - Beacon

This album was a bit of a change from the band's debut. Whilst that album was filled with short 3-minute bursts of catchiness, this one sees them take on a more fleshed out, fuller sound - perhaps intent on taking on the stadiums? The fact of the matter is that it is not as good as their debut, but it's not bad by any stretch of the imagination. The choruses are more or less all there; just see songs like Handshake or Spring for the evidence. There's a few more heartfelt moments, such as on The World Is Watching, and songs that move away from the defined structure such as beautiful closing track Beacon. There are occasional moments reminiscent of the debut, particularly with the riff at the opening of the song Someday. Generally, a bit more of a mixed bag, but still going strong.

RECOMMEND: Handshake, Sleep Alone, The World Is Watching
LOW POINTS: Wake Up, Settle

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Best Of 2012: #20

#20 - Example - The Evolution Of Man

I never really got into Example; I heard Kickstarts and Changed The Way You Kissed Me when they came out, but never heard an album in full. So this time I thought I'd give one a listen... how convenient for me that one was just about to come out! This is a decent album with some fantastic tunes - Say Nothing and Close Enemies will provoke mass sing-alongs, and the heavy guitar-fuelled entrance that comes with Come Taste The Rainbow (yum... Skittles!) is great, along with the rap that comes along with that same song. There are a couple too many songs on the album; as amazing as We'll Be Coming Back is, it does feel a bit like a little attachment on the end of the album proper. But generally, it's got some decent tunage. Plus, the artwork is awesome.

RECOMMEND: Come Taste The Rainbow, Say Nothing, All My Lows
LOW POINTS: Crying Out For Help, Blood From A Stone

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Best Of 2012: #21

#21 - Feeder - Generation Freakshow

The frustrating thing about Feeder for me is that they have yet to release an album that is filled with songs that I like, not just a majority. There's always filler, even after eight albums. Additionally, the seventh (Renegades) passed me by completely, but that one is not the greatest entry in their history. Right, so little rant aside, Generation Freakshow again has some fantastic tracks ready to stand up against the likes of Just A Day or Buck Rogers. The opening quartet of songs, for example - kicking straight into Oh My, carrying on through to the single Borders, and following up with two further big, rock songs in Idaho and Hey Johnny. The filler kicks in for a bit before coming to another gold mine of songs - starting with Tiny Minds, one of the greater songs on the album. So, in summary, all it would have taken would be a few cuts and maybe one or two better songs, and this would be playing right up at the top of my top 25!

RECOMMEND: Oh My, Borders, Tiny Minds
LOW POINTS: Quiet, Fools Can't Sleep

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Best Of 2012: #22

#22 The Cribs - In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull

Ooft, this one's rough around the edges... yet it's good. From the guitar screeching at the start of the album on Glitters Like Gold, to the huge eleven-minute suite at the end of the album (split into four tracks), you're not going to find nice, rounded, radio-friendly gems. Instead, you will find great songs in the single Come On, Be A No One, the slow, drawling Back To The Bolthole, or the plain, simple sing-along finale Arena Rock Encore With Full Cast. The only time the album really slows down is on I Should Have Helped, a little acoustic number that splits the main album from the four-track suite at the end. It sounds far more like older Cribs stuff, probably due to the loss of their temporary guitarist (none other than Johnny Marr), and, in my opinion, is not as good as Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever or Ignore The Ignorant, but it should not be ignored.

RECOMMEND: Glitters Like Gold, Come On, Be A No One, Arena Rock Encore With Full Cast
LOW POINTS: Confident Men, Pure O

Monday, 3 December 2012

Best Of 2012: #23

#23 - Tribes - Baby

Boasting some catchy melodies and with a fantastic singer which a powerful voice that reminds me of Suede's Brett Anderson for some reason, Tribes' debut certainly is a good start. The highlights include the first single, Sappho, with its tales of lesbian affairs backed by epic guitar, and Himalaya, with a great soundscape, reminiscent of the US band Girls (in particular, Hellhole Ratrace), playing out over the course of its five minute length. The opening trio of songs are also worth a listen. Overall, looking forward to seeing where this band goes next!

RECOMMEND: We Were Children, Sappho, Himalaya
LOW POINTS: Walking In The Street, Alone Or With Friends

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Best Of 2012: #24

#24 - The View - Cheeky For A Reason

Unfortunately, this is not The View's high point. That award would have to go to this album's predecessor, the fantastic Bread And Circuses. However, this album - the band's fourth - has plenty of tunes to keep you satisfied. Whilst a lot of the songs sound a little more restrained and are less epic and in-your-face than the last album, you can still find time for the hands-in-the-air singalong of Hold On Now, or the sheer punch that comes with opening track How Long. Elsewhere, we have a completely pointless 11-second piano interlude titled... wait for it... Piano Interlude! There's the odd lyrical facepalm, such as "the girl with the tacky tattoo, is the one you shouldn't do" (yes, that's the chorus!) and a couple of songs that don't quite reach the band's normally high standard, but generally, worth a listen.

RECOMMEND: How Long, Hold On Now, Bunker
LOW POINTS: Hole In The Bed, Lean On My World

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Best Of 2012: #25

#25 - Man Without Country - Foe

So, we begin the countdown with a debut album! And a fine piece of work it is too. Filled with peaceful, ethereal synth-based music, this is certainly one to listen to if you want to chill out. Highlights include the single Puppets, which boasts a fantastic chorus, and the epic six-and-a-half-minute Ebb And Flow. Almost all the songs set your mind wandering on a journey. The only qualm with it is that it is very similar the whole way through, and towards the end it does begin to get a little dull, particuarly on the seven-minute Parity. But generally, a good start for the Welsh duo.

RECOMMEND: Foe, Puppets, Ebb And Flow
LOW POINTS: Closet Addicts Anonymous, Parity