Reviews

Hail To The Thief ~ Radiohead

Some tough questions still remain unanswered in mid-2003, with regards to the mainstream’s ultimate millennial band. Are we to scorn them for a continued disdainful neglect of their own stomping ground, the mainstream? Pity them for their incomplete excavation of the leftfield? Treat them like remedial children for not sticking to the plot, berate them for failing to replicate works so singular and definitive that they could and should never be repeated anyway, for the sake of themselves? Do we Continue Reading

Reviews

The Private Press ~ DJ Shadow

Six years since his debut ‘Endtroducing..’, here comes DJ Shadow with his second solo album proper. ‘The Private Press’ more than wears its heart on its sleeve – the title refers to those musicians who release their own music, regardless of commercial success, out of a belief in what they have created. DJ Shadow seems to be feeding off and paying homage to that spirit with this messy, idiosyncratic, wonderful album that appropriates generously then returns with interest a diverse Continue Reading

Reviews

Mazes, long popular on the DIY recording scene, have made their debut album in a ‘proper’ studio – the ‘proper’ studio in question being an old lightship moored on the Thames. Engineer, producer and owner of the lightship (cap’n?) Ben Phillips has, over ten days, helped the band create an album that has a cohesive sound yet retains Mazes’ rough edged energy. The band sound a bit Weezer, especially with Jack Cooper’s thin but game vocals thrown over fuzzy guitar; Continue Reading

Reviews

In his last album ‘Foreign Landscapes’, Volker Bertelman (aka Hauschka) went from avant-garde solo piano to a larger sound palette with his series of pleasingly left-field compositions for orchestra. And now, Bertleman’s musical journey has taken another dog-leg with his new release ‘Salon Des Amateurs’ in which mid-paced dance music (think Bent and Crazy P) combines with modern classical achieving a result that isn’t a naff and overblown slab of easy listening a lá James Last but a warm and Continue Reading

Reviews

What is swagger? Swagger is rough-edged charm, arrogance rescued by style. Remember the first time you saw ‘Trainspotting’ and Renton running to the sound of Iggy Pop’s loose skinned drums and Neanderthal bass? Remember the buzz, the absolute Yes of it? Well, ‘8mm’, the opening track on Underground Railroad’s new album, creates the same rush with similar sounds only at a much slower pace. In short, it has swagger. Underground Railroad, those Parisian exiles are running loose in London these Continue Reading

Reviews

I think a few things are becoming obvious as the band grapple with the nervous divide between fumbling pop youthfulness and the stodgy progressive flab of maturity; there’s a band the Artic Monkeys think they are, there’s a band the public think they are and there’s a band the Arctic Monkeys think they should be.  It’s a level of self-consciousness most people achieve by the age of fourteen when a lad’s sense of identity veers between gauche, compliant child and Continue Reading

Reviews

Smother – Wild Beasts

‘End Come Too Soon’? Something about the band reaching a ‘climax’ of sorts? All too easy I’m afraid, and to have pursued this line would have been thoroughly discourteous, given the dedication shown by the Wild Beasts themselves in thwarting our expectations and delivering an album as delicious as it is depraved, meticulous as it is monstrous and as lyrical as it is lugubrious (that’s ‘sad and melancholy’ for all those Facebook users out there). Unlike Crud though, ‘Smother’ does Continue Reading

Reviews

Last I heard of Cass McCombs was ‘Crick in My Neck’. Here was the perennially enigmatic and hard-to-nail Californian throbbing away like a persistent headache or the proverbial thorn in one’s side. It was a thrashing celebration of couldn’t-give-a-fuck vocals, swooning guitars and slippery organ fondling. Classy and upbeat miserablism that gave Morrisey and Leonard Cohen a run for their money. And if all you hear is the bruised gothic melancholy of  ‘Buried Alive’ and ‘Saturday Song’ with lines like Continue Reading

Reviews

Whether he’s doing crazy cat things with his wife, Laura Darlington as The Long Lost or unfurling his mighty muttonchops out from under some terrific Victoria notch-collar jacket, Daedelus is always interesting. Challenging, yes, eccentric certainly, but never dull. And that’s how it should be. As soon as a musician finds his hands wandering to the preset button his precious Bontempi keyboard, you know his creativity is as good as dead, which is a philosophy he extends to ‘Bespoke’ – Continue Reading

Reviews

An American noise pop band. I know what you’re thinking: these guys are just another in a long line of acts who want to have all the impact of the Velvet Underground but have none of the tunes, so what do they do? They throw together a jumble of vaguely familiar hooks, lather it in reverb, squeeze it threw a filter or two and set it against a background of jarring feedback and interminable drones. Sprinkle it with psychedelia, leave Continue Reading