Archive for October, 2007

Sinphonola Autumn Edition Vol IV: The Revelations

FUCK BUTTONS-OK Let’s talk about magic (live@The Windmill)

The fourth instalment of our sinphonola is dedicated to the newcomers; the artists beginning to build up some buzz thanks to their interesting output. Starting with the UK duo Fuck Buttons who, if we are to judge by the incendiary quality of their live shows and the experimental nature of their sound -an interesting mix of noise, krautrock and electronica-, are about to release one of the most mind-blowing debuts of 2007. In a year where even The Guardian affirms the quality of UK so-called indie music stinks, Fuck Buttons represent a necessary break from the current wave of overhyped and uberbland new artists.

FUTURE OF THE LEFT-Adeadenemyalwayssmellsgood

And from the ashes of McClusky and Jacrew comes another of the most interesting debuts of the year, “Curses” by Future Of The Left. The Cardiff trio proudly carries the torch of a renewed blend of rock music, somewhere between punk, lo-fi and newer trends with interesting lyrics and lots of energy. Other of the bands generating a lot of attention in the British isles are These New Puritans, a four piece from Southband in the outskirts of that nu-shoegazing trend invading the world, with their first album scheduled for released early in the new year. Their first two singles, “Navigate, Navigate” and “Numbers” and some powerful live sets are objects of cult around the live scene.

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Can You Feel The (Bear)Force?

A new revolution is being coined in the cheesy world of gay pop: Bear Force One. A four-bear band debuting with a medley of cheesy disco classics a la “Stars Of 45” from “Boys” to “You Spin Me Round”, shamelessly aimed at cashing up on that more mature sector of the always profitable pink market. This hilarious first video shows the band at the peak of its vocal, corporal and choreographic powers. It seems they have got a rapidly expanding fanbase and they could soon grow to leave the novelty act tag to become the new Village People (without the customs). You can join the Bearforce via their website. Go on!! You know you want to!!

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Sinphonola Autumn Edition Vol III: The Returns

The pre-Christmas season is particularly suitable for letting nostalgia kick in. Probably that’s why long awaited comebacks from off the radar artists tend to happen these days. Big names used to be synonymous of Christmas presents and huge profits. Even in this times of sales crisis, there are a bunch of notable returns to the spotlight ready to invade every mass media of the planet and reap the benefits.
KYLIE-2 Hearts

The first one on hitting the headlines is Aussie eternal pop princess Kylie Minogue; after winning her battle against cancer, Kylie looks stunning a la Marilyn Monroe even when she sounds like a Goldfrapp B-side, confirming the latter as the defining artist for the pattern to follow in slick, contemporary pop music. Another pop princess, this one surrounded by scandal will try to overcome the well documented dramas currently happening in her personal life. Britney Spears’ new album, suitable titled “Blackout”, despite all the trouble sounds remarkably slick and could put an end to months of bad luck for the all-American star.

EDWYN COLLINS-You’ll Never Know

Also a long-awaited comeback, after months of being hospitalized and beating two haemorrhages and the MRSA bug, the ex Orange Juice main man Edwyn Collins enjoys a welcome return to form with “Home Again”. The hospital gap has kept his song writing skills intact as songs like “You’ll Never Know” clearly evidence.
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Sinphonola Autumn Edition Vol. II: The Confirmations

JENS LEKMAN-Sipping On Sweet Nectar

The second instalment of our autumn sinphonola is dedicated to some artists that have already showed some promise in former work and got follow-up albums ready; hopefuls waiting to be confirmed as household names for the Academy’s members, like Swedish troubadour Jens Lekman, who releases his second proper album after a collection of rarities and b-sides, “Night Falls Over Kortedala”, halfway between crooning and disco-tinged numbers, via chamber pop. “Sipping on Sweet Nectar” is the third consecutive track lifted from the album, few weeks after “Friday Night At The Drive-in Bingo” and “The Opposite of Hallelujah”.

The world is also eagerly waiting for Band Of Horses follow-up to “The Funeral”, an album who granted Rober glory to the Mount Pleasant combo. “Cease To Begin” is released this week, ready to repeat their initial success. New track “Is There A Ghost?” can be downloaded for free through their record label’s website, whereas in Myspace you can preview four new tracks.

Magic Markers sophomore effort “Boss” sees the band slowly departed from radical noise experimentation embracing, by moments, a more traditional rocking sound. Whereas UK DFA approved hipsters Hot Chip provide a teaser from their next year second album “Made in the dark” that can easily be described as bonkers, opening a new and very interesting creative path for the band.

More highly expected confirmations after the jump.
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New Joanna Newsom Track

With the memory of her all conquering live show at the Royal Albert Hall still recent, the as yet untitled new song that played was captured in a live show in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Another excellent composition that makes us eagerly wait for her new work.

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J.A. Bayona a por el Oscar


Fresh from the news of his debut feature film being chosen to represent Spain for the Oscar to Best Foreign Film, here’s the trailer for the Guillermo del Toro (who last year received many awards for his classic “Pan’s Labyrinth”) produced “El Orfanato (The Orphanage)”. Juan Antonio Bayona’s Opera Prima is a gothic horror tale that’s collected rave reviews wherever it has been showed (Cannes, Sitges, San Sebastian…). Even Hollywood has bought the rights for a future US remake.
Starring Rober award nominee Belen Rueda (“Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside)”) and Geraldine Chaplin, this unusually big budget (for a Spanish production) thriller seems likely to be one of the movies of the season.
“El Orfanato” follows the Catalonian director career in the world of music video for Spanish pop artists of questionable merit, but enormous public appeal. However, the pinnacle of his career as a clip director was his collaboration with OBK and the magnificent superproductions he made for Camela, which helped to change the image of the kings of techno-rumba from “bar de carretera” tape social phenomenon to National superstars, thanks to exploring the Seventh art’s different genres, from western to science fiction, in each of the visual productions made for the perky trio.
Some highlights from Juan Antonio Bayona’s pop video story with commentary IN SPANISH after the jump.
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… And El producto was delivered to the Scala

EL-P “The Overtly Dramatic Truth” (Live at the Plug awards)

Brief remark to praise the excellent live show El-P offered to his London audience last Thursday.

After a lively set by the support duo Kid Acne, in Beastie Boy circa “Licensed to Ill” vocal mood, and a rather long wait El-p finally hit the stage for a brief but incredibly intense show.

By asking the audience, “Do you want to listen to some happy music? Well, you’re not getting any of that shit” the rapper pretty much set the tone of his performance, mostly focused on his latest album “I’ll sleep when you’re dead”.

The ex Company Flow member came onstage showing a black eye, and a bleeding wound in the head -we want to believe it was all make up-, with a crew that included an excellent, and rock n roll hall of fame inductee, DJ in charge of the always innovative rhythms; a keyboard player and a second rapper.
Classic moments from his debut “Fantastic Damaged” back to back with new favourites like “The Overtly Dramatic Thurth” or “Up All Night” didn’t leave anyone disappointed.

El-p proved that he is one of the few artist still carrying hip hop’s traditional torch made of social commentary and sense of rebellion, injecting life into a genre currently dying due to an overdose of gangsta poses and commercial, teen pleasing rubbish.

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ATP joins forces with Pitchfork media

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All Tomorrow’s Parties, our favourite festival experience, has joined forces with the ever controversial US music website Pitchfork Media for 2008’s first edition. The event will return to its original location in Camber Sands during May 8-11.

Names already confirmed include Lou Barlow’s grunge legends Sebadoh; art-pop experimentalist Ween; Cardiff new indie darlings Los Campesinos; Black Flag reworkers Dirty Projectors; noise and electronic experimentalists Fuck Buttons; Of Montreal; Caribou; Pissed Jeans; etc…Around 23 more artist are to be confirmed for what it looks like another impressive line-up not to be missed.

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Sinphonola Autumn Edition Vol I: The Heavyweights

Our simphonola autumn special comes so packed with new music that we had to divide it in four sections. Starting with the tried and tested, the ones who have already proof their value but carry on adding new wood to the fire, avoiding to run out of steam; critical favourites and forerunners in the race to achieve those much wanted best-of the year spots.

BATTLES-Tonto

Beginning with Math-rock extraordinaire combo Battles, whose “Mirrored” album will certainly be recalled at the end of 2007; they are about to release a new EP worth of new material, “Tonto”, including the Brooklyn rising rapper Joell Ortiz remix of “Leyendecker”. His rhymes fit perfectly in the post-rocking, genre melting pot characteristic of the four New Yorkers’ output.
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Listen to the excellent new Beirut album

A lot of excitement and pre-release activity is surrounding the inminent sophomore album by Zach Condon and his band Beirut. Anticipation is high after his multi Rober winning “Gulag Orkestar”. This time they have travelled from the Balkans to old Paris with astonishing results. The whole of “The Flying Club Cup” can be streamed at their My Space page.

The album’s dedicated web page is reuniting a collection of musical vignetes for every track, consisting on live performances in different places (some of them already aired via La Blogotheque).

An International tour is also imminent, with the band reaching our shores in November. On 10/11 they will be playing Candem’s newly refurbished Roundhouse.

Listen to Beirut’s “The Flying Club Cup” here.
Explore and watch the band’s performances in the album’s webpage here.

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Digital Gifts Bonanza


DEERHOOF-This Magnificent Bird Will Rise (Live at Primavera Sound 2007)

The digital world’s upheaval after last Saturday’s Radiohead announcement continues with two of 2007 most prominent bands being in giveaway mood through their websites.

First of them, Deerhoof, have put an album worth of rare, live and unreleased MP3s available to download for free via their website. The tracklist goes as follows:

1) “Holy night fever”
2) “Rrrrrrright: germlin remix”
3) “Milk man”
4) “Our angels ululu”
5) “Look away part two”
6) “Kidz are so small”
7) “Someone’s swizz-deerhoof mash up we found”
8) “Jorge b.s. friend”
9) “Flower, panda, you’re our two, the last trumpeter swan”
10) “Unused dedication sound effect”
11) “The perfect me: cover by so cow”
12) “Twin killers”
13) “Milking”

Download or stream Deerhoof’s new MP3s here.


ARCADE FIRE-Money Changes Everything (Cyndi Lauper Cover, Live at The Hollywood Bowl)

And, to create new expectations, Arcade Fire have just warned their fans to go to http://www.beonlineb.com on Saturday October the 6th for more surpises, Gratis!!

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Last, but not least, superblog Stereogum has launched the second installment of its tribute to iconic albums series. If a few weeks ago, the likes of Marissa Nadler, The Twilight Set, My Brightest Diamond, etc. covered the whole of “OK Computer” and renamed it “OKX” for the occasion; now it comes the turn for another Rober award winning album, the last of R.E.M.’s finest hours, “Automatic for the people”.

Titled “Driver XV”, to commemorate its release fifteen years ago, TheVeils, Blitzen Trapper, Figurines and The Wrens stand out from a myriad of fresh indie talent celebrating the sounds of Athens, Georgia’s music legends.

Click here for the whole tracklist and/or free album dowload.

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Joanna & Polly reach live glory


JOANNA NEWSOM-Colleen (Live at the Royal Albert Hall)

In a terrific weekend for live music in the UK capital, Joanna Newsom and PJ Harvey, two of the Academy’s favourite female artists, played respectively two triumphant gigs, which have placed them both ahead as favourites for the Rober, heating up the race for this year’s Best live act gong.

There were high expectations surrounding the queen of new folk at the closing concert of her international tour and Joanna Newson didin’t disappoint, bringing the audience at the Royal Albert Hall to standing ovations. After a two hour set comprising the whole of her second album, the Rober winning classic “Ys”, accomodating Van Dyke Park’s lush orchestral arrangements to fit the requirements of her three-piece band, plus highlights of her first, “Peach, Plum, Tree” among them.

She left room for the traditional, covering a Scottish popular folk song, helped at the vocals by support band The Moore Brothers, and the brand new, introducing a complete new song.

Amazed by the place and expresing her gratitude for British folk legend Roy Harper’s support ,Joanna Newson caught the whole of the Albert Hall in her pocket.


PJ HARVEY-Nina In Ecstasy (Live at the Royal Festival Hall)

The following day, Dorset’s favourite songwriter presented her eight studio album, “White Chalk”, in one woman band mode to rapturous effect.

Polly Harvey, dressed with the granny-like outfit she wears on the cover, went through the majority of the sepia-toned, evocative new songs, where she’s replaced her usual guitars for a piano on its composition.

She started her show with two classics from Rober award winning album “To Bring you my love”, the title track and “Bring His Love To Me”, armed solely with an electric guitar and some distortion pedals.

In a stage divided in four areas (piano, where she played the new songs; front microphone for the electric ones; a keyboard and some analog beat boxes that gave her some problems for the most experimental material, mostly taken from her “is This desire?” days, and a chair where she played harp (a lovely reworking of “Down by the water”) and acoustic guitar.

New tracks followed old highlights like “Rid of me”, “Water”, “Pistol” or “Mansize” with haunting intensity. Alltogether, the gig brought us the many sides of a superlative artist currently back on top form.

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The revolution will be Radioheaded…

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The most critically acclaimed band in the planet today ended weeks of internet especulations, cyphered codes and hidden clues about the fate of their new material by anouncing the release of a new album exclusively through their web www.inrainbows.com .

The news are sending shock waves through the industry as this is widely regarded as an historical move that will shape its future. Radiohead terminated their contract with EMI and instead of renewing it or signing with another label, they have decided to manage their output themselves, cutting on the intermediaries (both labels and retail -the band don’t allow their music to be sold via itunes as they don’t agree with albums being unbundled and their tracks sold separately-).

To make things even more interesting, there are no promotional copies being sent to any journalist or media. The download of “In Rainbows” will be available from next Wednesday on a “pay what you want” basis, which could be seen as a radical measure to reduce illegal downloads. However, a boxed physical edition containing a second CD, extra tracks, hard vynil copies, a collector’s book and other merchandising can be also pre-ordered and will be sent out on December the 3rd, priced £40. The boxes will be made to order and are aimed to satisfy hardcore fans. A 2008 physical release on CD is also being considered. More details can be obtained here.

Soundtrack specialist blog The Playlist has compiled clips available in youtube for most of the new tracks, taken from Radiohead’s recent world tour.
Watch them here.

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