Friday, January 30, 2009

DIE PRETTY-Blondelle

Die Pretty-
Label-Rude Records
Status-Out as of 2007
Rating-4 Feathers

Hailing from England, Blondelle are one of those bands that make you wonder why they aren’t well known. Staying true to their punk influences, Blondelle released Die Pretty, a combination of punk and pop with a danceable tone. ‘Canary Effect Intro’ is not really a song, but an illustration of what the next song is going to be about. ‘The English Way’ is a genuine punk song about English Imperialism in the early Americas. The general guitar arrangements and vocals are true punk, which’ll make you swoon almost immediately. ‘Wonder’ is generally on the same note as the previous song, but only a tad more pop. Nontheless, it’s one the best songs from the album. ‘Golden Carriage’ starts out a little dark, but that good in my book. The crude vocals in keep with the authentic punk feel. ‘Yesterday’s Man’ is angrier than the last song, but the verse’s sound like ‘Say Hello To The Angels’ by Interpol, but the tone of the chorus saves it. ‘Other People’s Cars’ is not the best song, as in it’s not all that catchy and it’s really nothing too special. ‘Robolove’ starts out with a groovy keyboard that gives it a unique tune. The main problem with the song though is that the vocals start to meld with the instruments, which is generally unappealing. ‘Leave ‘Em for Dead’ is just a lot better in caliber than the last two songs. The lyrics are pretty entertaining and instrumental ‘breakdown’ in the middle is a nicely done. ‘Sofia Ran Away’: This is gonna sound anti-agression/punk, but they sound like they had a lot of fun recording this song, which if that feeling transmits to the listener, it’s automatically likeable. ‘Snow Clear Lines’ is a dark song, and although the vocals are a little too poppy, the instrumentation is very well done. ‘Die Pretty’ starts with a very catchy punctuated guitar. It has a danceable zest, which really gives a nice flair. You also gotta love lines like ‘well if vanity kills, then at least you’ll die pretty’. ‘With No Money’ has a nice mix of a light acoustic guitar combined with their signature electric guitar sound that gives it a bit more of an edge compared to the majority of the songs. ‘2 Years Short of a 5 Year Plan’ shows that they truly saved one of the best songs for last. The beat is absurdly danceable, but they still stay true to their basic sound. It has a weird time signature, but if your not out of your seat dancing around you don’t understand music. This is beyond doubt a fantastic ending to such a huge breath of fresh air. If you couldn’t tell, this album was really great for the lack of publicity it received. Basically, if you like The Clash when they’re authentic punk and you like the flair of The Ramones, you will like Blondelle without a doubt. Blondelle are now split, but upon hearing this album you can find solace in knowing that they definitely died pretty.
"It's the end of an era for us to say the least and although we never quite made it to the top, we hope that we will live on in a few people's memories." –Closing message from Blondelle

Video for Wonder

Recommendations: The English Way, Wonder, and Golden Carriage
Blondelle's Official Website
Note: Yeah, I promised I was gonna post another review last week, but I didn't, watcha gonna do about it? Huh? I kid of course. I was gonna post this but I ran out of time. I really hope you enjoy Blondelle. Just by looking at them you can tell they must be good. Happy Reading!

The Friday Thing: Your Only Doll (Dora) by Laura Marling

While watching 'From The Basement', I noticed that Laura Marling was going to be on it so I decided to give it a listen, being I never actually heard her before. After sitting through 40 minutes of Sonic Youth and Jose Gonzalez (both of which were painfully unbearable) Laura comes on like a ray of hope. I was surprised at the level of maturity she had given her age, and I must say, this was the best performance of the show. I hope you enjoy!

Your Only Doll (Dora)

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Friday Thing: The City by Jamie Lidell

While searching for what my Friday Thing should be, I flipped when I came across Jamie Lidell's performace from 'From The Basement'. A while ago, I watched this particular episode because Beck was on it, and Jamie's performance of 'In The City' and 'A Little Bit More' were so exciting and he seemed so into his music that it sucked you in like a blackhole. This is one of the best, if not the best live performance (televisionwise) I have ever seen. I would very very very highly recommend watching this pure genius!

The City

ISOBELLA-The Little Flames

The Little Flames
Status-Out as of 2007
Rating-3 feathers

Known around the Liverpool area, The Little Flames released two other singles on the Deltasonic label. With clear influences in The Coral, and a fanbase including Arctic Monkeys, The Little Flames have made somewhat of a name for themselves. Isobella is their 3rd addition to their work. 'Isobella' is an awesome song. Other than the shear power, the first thing you realize is that this song was not specifically written for a woman as in it's not a dumb love song most female singers tend to perform. The whole song never takes a break from beginning to end, and it's generally very well composed. 'Werewolf Rumble' is a huge change from the last, and it's generally not as captivating. It's a bit too simple and the promising groove at the beginning tapers off a bit too quick. 'A Shadow Walks' calm but not overtly. The general tune is a lot better than the previous song's. You can easily picture James Skelly (The Coral) singing this and it could easily be a b-side to Roots and Echoes, which obviously to me is a high comparison. Generally, Isobella wasn't that magnificent. They have huge potential to do something great because their sound is so refined and if they made an album, i'm sure it would be up to the same standards that 'Isobella' exhibited rather than 'Werewolf Rumble'.
"Things changed, as you get older you realise you can go off in whatever direction you please"-Miles Kane

Video for Isobella

The Little Flames Official Website
Note: The Little Flames apparently recorded an album in 2007, but split due to something with Deltasonic. It was apparently leaked, and from what I can imagine, it should be very good. The bassist Joe Edwards, Miles Kane, and the drummer Greg Mighall are now The Rascals. Eva Petersen, the singer, is persuing a solo career. Miles Kane is also known for being in The Last Shadow Puppets. I hope you enjoy! I'll have another review out tomorrow, so watch out.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Prospekt's March-
Status-Out as of 2008
Rating-1 Feather

After releasing the very critically acclaimed Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, and after Chris Martin deemed Coldplay ‘the best band in the world’, they decided to bank on their success and release Prospekt’s March, which is a collection of songs that didn’t make it onto the album. Starting off with ‘Life in Technicolour ii’, it is generally not that different from the album version. Either way, instrumental or with words, it’s a very good song. It is pretty cool to hear it how it was originally concieved. ‘Postcards from Faraway’ is decent filler. It’s just a 40 second piano interlude that’s similar to ‘Reign of Love’ from Viva La Vida, which is kind of nice. ‘Glass of Water’ starts out a little too clean, and then the chorus seems all over the place. It, like many of the songs on the EP, can obviously be seen why this wasn’t on the album. ‘Rainy Day’ is a little too overdone. It sounds like they absolutely adored Sim2 music and used that influence to write a song for a gap commercial, if you know what I mean. The bassline alone is enough to get the jazz/zydeco feel. ‘Prospekt’s March/Poppyfields’ is nicely quiet, but the ‘build-up’ is way too sappy. For all I care he keeps saying ‘drums, here it comes’, but, shocker, they never come. ‘Lost+’ is a general mistake. Lost in itself is a pretty good song on it’s own, but when Jay Z comes in, it’s just downright atrocious. He starts with a few ‘uhs’, ‘yeahs’, and ‘I got yous’, and then when he actually gets around to doing his part, it’s not even that good, seen by rambling rhymes that really aren’t clever. ‘Lovers In Japan [Osaka Sun Mix]’ is a really great song, but I can’t really tell the difference between this and the album version. The only noticeable difference is that it doesn’t have ‘Reign of Love’ after it. ‘Now My Feet Won’t Touch The Ground’ is not the worst song, it’s just pretty boring. It’s a folksy guitar, set to very not folksy vocals. It’s just a bit of a bore. If you’re a Coldplay fan, and just didn’t want Viva La Vida to end, the day has come; Coldplay has heard your plea. For the rest of us, this simply was your chance to hear the songs that didn’t make it (rightfully so). If you’re like me, you would agree that they were right the first time.
“We've been playing it live better than it is on the record. So the live version has informed this Osaka Sun version, which is just a bit more lively.”-Chris Martin

Lover's In Japan [Osaka Sun Mix]

Recommendation-Life in Technicolour ii
Coldplay's Official Website
Note: I can safely say I don't understand why this got great ratings, I clearly don't agree with most reviewers on this. I did really really like Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, but this was just a mistake. Bon Apetit!

Friday, January 16, 2009


Status-Out as of 1999
Rating-3 Feathers

After winning their local battle of the bands contest, glam/goth Rocket Baby Dolls, comprised of drummer Dom Howard, singer/guitarist Matt Bellamy, and bassist Chris Wolstenholme, decided to go with a more ‘professional’ name. Now known as Muse, they got signed to Taste Media, resulting in their first album Showbiz. ‘Sunburn’ fires off with a lightly pleasant piano, which helps give it it’s own unique sound without sounding dainty. As a starter, it’s alright, not too heavy and not too light. ‘Muscle Museum’ is a fine follower to the previous song. Though I really don’t like the main riff, I really like the immense catchiness of the vocals, and the chorus will be grinded into your head like nothing else. The combination of bass aided by a deep piano is very effective and even if the song was terrible, the title alone is enough to save it. ‘Fillip’ freaked me out when I first heard it. It overwhelmingly your basic 90’s pop song and possibly the closest thing Muse’ll get to mainstream. It’s very infectious, but just not my type of song. ‘Falling Down’ is very soft, maybe a little too soft. It sounds like you’d hear it in a real fancy restaurant or in a bar geared towards the older crowd. It’s a little too-too bluesy for me, and it drones on a little too long. For ‘Cave’, though the guitar is a little iffy, the bass, drums, and vocals are really good. It sounds very much like 60’s spy movie music, which gives it a nice appeal. In contrast, ‘Showbiz’ sounds like a Tool song, especially with the drums and the vocals. Each part seems pretty complex, but it’s still kind to the ears. The very large use of falsetto vocals is a very creepy (but good) effect. ‘Unintended’ is a very nice break from the last couple of songs. Seen through the lines ‘you could be the one who listens to my deepest inquisitions, you could be the one I'll always love’, you can tell that it’s a charmingly bizarre love song. Equipped with a light acoustic guitar, light drumming, and very melodic vocals, it’s simply beautiful. ‘Uno’ is my personal favorite song on the album. Their weird music tastes and influences are made very evident here, seeing that it is a very heavy tango. This also shows that they are capable of taking risks, which for a debut is pretty gutsy. ‘Sober’ is also one of the best songs on the album. The beginning is very heavily 90’s, but the chorus brings it back to that experimental weird sound. The combination of a heavy guitar and bassline for the chorus with a falsetto ‘you’re so solid’ gives it a heavier gist which helps it a lot. ‘Escape’ starts out real slow, and even though it heavies up a bit, it generally just isn’t that great. It’s a little mean too demonstrated by the lines ‘you’re insignificant’. ‘Overdue’(s) general melody sounds very influenced by Pearl Jam, but, like the last song, it’s nothing special clearly aided by the fact that you can’t understand what he’s saying in the slightest. ‘Hate This and I’ll Love You’ is an awkwardly calm ending to this odd album, it’s almost safe to say they were ‘growing tired’ by this point. The slight pick-up at the end helps, but I still would’ve chosen a heavier tune to finish it off. Though Showbiz has very odd spanish influences with a heavy 90’s pop flair, this album surprisingly wasn’t all that terrible. Though not amazing, most of the songs show that they know how to take risks and that they are indeed fine musicians. They have promise and will surely not be called insignificant anytime soon.
“Most of our first gigs were in typical Devon pubs where you just go and sit down with a drink and watch VH-1 on the telly. They really didn't want to see a band. All they wanted was a quiet pint and we were in the corner just making a racket...”-Dom Howard

Video for Uno

Recommendations-Unintended, Uno, Sober
Muse's Official Website
Note: I'm down to posting 2 reviews a week (that means I'll have something tomorrow, yes!) and last week should count because I posted two things. I'm reviewing all of Muse's CDs over a period time, so if you like Muse stick around. Thank you so much for reading!

The Friday Thing: Same Jeans by The View

I don't know much about The View, but I really liked this performance. While watching a 2007 Glastonbury Festival special, this was one of the few bands I'd never heard of, but their happy/excited energy really made me smile. Hope you enjoy!

Same Jeans

Friday, January 9, 2009

Commentary on 2008's Top 50 Lists

I didn't write my Top 50 because, honestly, I only truly loved about 10 albums that I listened to this year. Upon viewing other peoples Top 50 lists, I was very surprised to see a lack of certain albums/songs and this is what I felt should've been in most lists. Note: This is just my beef.

A Larum by Johnny Flynn-Though folk music isn’t the most popular in the world today, how did virtually no one give Johnny Flynn’s debut ‘A Larum’ the amount of attention that it deserved? I have as of yet seen him on any top 50 lists, which really surprised me. He has an absurd amount of maturity for his 25 years and his sound is definitely one of the most original (at least of this decade) that I’ve seen. This was definitely one of my favorite albums for 2008, so let’s hope that 2009 is a much better year for him.

Age Of The Understatement by The Last Shadow Puppets-Alex Turner’s gone hipster and is not sounding like the Arctic Monkeys and whose this Miles Kane, what has he done? These are two very common beefs people had about this side project. If you don’t think about the two’s other/past projects and you treat this as a stand alone, this album is really good. Owen Pallett even did the strings! How this wasn’t on too many top 50 lists is beyond me.

The Wombats Proudly Present: A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation by The Wombats-Yes, I know, it’s the Wombats, one the worst groups to hail from England who’ll never be anything more than mindless pop, right? Wrong. Like many groups that manage to top the charts, The Wombats are seemingly no different, except for the fact that their sheer power is undeniable and their drummer (Dan Haggis) and bassist (Tord Øverland-Knudsen) truly know their way around their respective instruments. It’s surprising that they didn’t make it on virtually any Top 50 list, but groups like The Ting Tings did.

Jim by Jamie Lidell-Though this was very different from his previous album (Multiply), as in severely lacking in the electronic sound, that is no reason to forget about such a fantastic artist. Jamie Lidell embraced very tightly his soul abilities and upon hearing it, even just once, you can’t help but fall in love with it. The general compositions are also very well arranged, so he should get props for that at least. I’ve only seen this on one Top 50 list, and that was Under the Radar’s.

Modern Guilt by Beck-I’ve read nothing but good reviews for this album, and upon listening to it myself, I very clearly understood why. The main problem people seemed to have with this album is that it didn’t sound like The Information, which if you know Beck, every one of his albums is different than the previous. I absolutely adored this album and what very shocked to see that The Epitome of Cool was seen in so little Top 50 lists.

Being Somebody Else by The Coral-I know I’m extremely biased when I say this, but I don’t really get why this was in no one’s top ‘songs’ of 2008. I understand wholly that I’m possibly the only one who loves The Coral as much as I do, but it’s a very good song and their first release since Roots and Echoes.

Being Somebody Else

To me the best list I saw was in Under The Radar Magazine so you should check it out.

Happy 2009!

The Friday Thing: 'Red and Purple' and 'It's That Time Again' by The Dodos

(Behind) Closed Doors is a series of videos from the Netherlands where the respective artist plays one-three songs in an elevator all acoustic. I, myself, had just discovered The Dodos and was very pleased to find that they did their own set, equipped with some funny comments. This is The Dodos with 'Red and Purple' then a quick 'It's That Time Again'. I hope you enjoy!

'Red and Purple' and 'It's That Time Again'

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I Am Your Bastard Wings-
Eksi Ekso
Label-Magic Bullet Records
Status-Out as of 2008
Rating-3.5 Feathers

If you heard someone say ‘I Am Your Bastard Wings’, you definitely would think of big brassy/orchestral-instrumentation, right? If you did, you’ve pretty much described Eksi Ekso’s debut album. Eksi Ekso, formly known as On Fire from Boston, combines grandiose string arrangements with a heavy bass and drum line to form a sound undeniably theirs. ‘I Am Your Bastard Wings’ starts with the very Moody Blues-y ‘The Wintering’ which quickly leads into ‘O’God, They’ve Frozen’; rightfully so. Equipped with a very dramatic horn and very regal orchestrations, you quickly come to an understanding that they are not the weird indie band you thought they were based on their album title. ‘Killing Texas’ has a different aura from the last two and it happens to be my personal favorite. The drum and bass combination is really ideal, and the heavily distorted orchestra really creates a nice effect. ‘The Choir Will Always Sing’ is very similar to ‘Killing Texas’ but a lot more fantasy/dreamlike. The drums are the work of pure brilliance though, I must say. ‘Albatross’ is not quite as nice as the previous two. The horns that start the song off are promising, but then the song just gets way too artsy and over the top. ‘I Thought You Died Last Time’ is a decent song. About the only true thing that sticks out is that the strings are the exact same sound as Ra Ra Riot’s signature strings. ‘Nitnb’ starts with a lone violin and piano. The piano effect is really very effective because they shockingly hardly used a piano until now. Though only a minute and a half long, every second is packed with melancholy splendor. ‘Marvi’ sticks out from the rest but really not in a good way. The guitar and drums overtake the song so much that it sounds like an emo-mess rather than a nicely arranged masterpiece, which is not for me at all. The bassline in ‘The Gallows’ is possibly its best attribute, but the dissonance is a little too unpleasant for my liking. ‘Just Leave’ is a little too over dramatic for me, especially after hearing the last song, but the vocals in this song are the best they’ve been. ‘(Spouse Of) The Blind Hunter’ is a very nice little song. Like ‘Nitnb’, it’s very melancholy, though the vocals are pretty creepy, but that was probably not the point. ‘Russian Excuse’ is a very calm song and the very subtle build-up is a very good effect. The very end sound is like a guitar clicking or something and it goes on for about 30 seconds: that to me is just a little weird. Though no song really stands out unless it was really bad, and it gets pretty repetitive without actually repeating itself, I must say, ‘I Am Your Bastard Wings’ wasn’t that bad. Eksi Ekso are very good instrumentalists and the majority of the songs are truly very nicely arranged. The combination of drums with a light string section is definitely their forte. If you’re not into a too mainstream sound and you like your obscure compositions, I would very strongly recommend this album to you.

Recommendations: Killing Texas, Nitnb, The Wintering
Eksi Ekso's Official Website
NOTE: Sorry for my lack of posting. I plan to actually get two reviews out per week this year so lets start out strong. I got the image from google so if it's a problem, just tell me. This review is featured on Danish Poet, so you can check it out there too. I hope you enjoy!

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Friday Thing: Your Love Alone by Manic Street Preachers

I'm not a fan of Manic Street Preachers, or The Cardigans for that matter, but I saw this performance on a Glastonbury 2007 special, and it drilled itself directly into my head and wouldn't leave, hence I posted it. Nina Persson is not my favourite singer, but you have to admit, in this performance of 'Your Love Alone', she was pretty good. Let the drilling begin!

Your Love Alone