How many times do you get given a record and for it to feel like a breath of fresh air? Here you are then.
Posts Tagged ‘2010’
Originally known to us as one of the curators of the Hangar venue and lofly label in Brisbane we shouldn’t have been surprised that Joel Edmondson had a musical project — the collective have more fingers in pies than Georgie Porgie after all. What we weren’t expecting, seeing as his label mates lean more towards the electronic and experimental side of the musical spectrum, was the polished pop and rock awaiting us on his MySpace page. We fired off our standard 15 questions to Mr Edmondson and his swift response proved wry and illuminating, much like his songwriting.
The cross overs. Every year has them; bands that get touched by the hand of hype and go from being blogged about to actually selling significant quantities of records/MP3s along with world wide tour schedules and high billed festival slots. This year one of those bands is Brooklyn’s The Drums who have certainly enjoyed a lot of column pixels and radio play on the strength of their back to basics c86 indie-pop as imagined by Phil Spector self titled debut album and its omnipresent lead single “Let’s Go Surfing”. Static’s Chris Berkley has a drink with three quarters of the band for a lesson in how to avoid being drowned by the waves of success.
This back-slashing Welsh act drove a truck through our radar earlier in the year with the schizoid tremor/pin-number offering debut single “1268”. We//Are//Animal (for it is they) have once again raised stakes with the follow-up, “Black Magic”, taken from their now officially released debut album Idolise which at the moment you can only get in Japan.… go figure. Nothing at all to do with dark chocolate, “Black Magic” is more the stuff of nightmares — a twitching, yawning, paranoia-filled walk on the wild side that has vocalist/guitarist Owain Ginsberg reciting the lyrics as if he were reading out a ransom demand from the devil. “Black Magic” could well be about the band themselves and their angular, death disco-ing ways — “it’s black magic/you can’t see it ‘cos you’re blind” or it could just be about the rest of you who haven’t caught on yet. “Black Magic” go get yours here… http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/black-magic/id382163340
Brooklyn’s Suckers channel a little ADHD indie rock throughout their debut album, defying hype and maintaining interest.
Inescapable, inexplicable, infuriatingly addictive and an irrefutable pop phenomenon. She is Lady Gaga and she has come to take your children. If this were true, I’m sure it would be a fair trade but in reality, her goals are much, much higher. She is Lady Gaga and you know full well why she is here. A fashion and style icon, Gaga has made her two years in the public eye seem like a special kind of Chinese water torture. Chances are you’ve either succumbed to her spell, or fighting the effects with all the strength you can muster.
How Webcuts first encountered Knoxville, Tennessee’s Coolrunnings could be best described as a lucky accident. And it’s no surprise that the best way to get someone’s attention is to slap a photo of some naked chicks skateboarding on the cover of your EP and let them sell it for you. The appropriately titled (and NSFW) Babes Forever was clearly the product of talented and warped minds. The creepy, schizoid mayhem of “Trippin’ Balls at Der Wienerschnitzel” and the inspired, almost unabashed, synth-pop of “When I Got High With You” sounded like they were made by some slacker Bill & Teds who’d already embarked on their own excellent adventure.
Champion Shoegazers Slowdive get the back catalogue reissue treatment. We’ll have the Souvlaki to go.
“Take my hand and pray with me”, and how we’ve prayed, patiently awaiting the arrival of Deerhunter’s 4th album Halcyon Digest. For the dimly remembering, the monumental Microcastle was Webcuts album of the year for 2008, and expections have already been set. “Helicopter” is the second track to be previewed from the album and it’s a loop-based, plink-plonk synth-led Deerhunter meets The Littlest Mermaid undersea adventure with Bradford Cox revisiting his usual themes of isolation and escapism, and well you know the rest, drugs and paranoia. Unlike those ‘slacker’ bands out there like Wavves and Best Coast who talk about getting stoned and making music, Deerhunter is the real fuck-with-your-head deal. The collage of visuals for the clip (Deerhunter’s first ever video) is unsurprising for them, but there’s something about “Helicopter” that feels like it will have its greatest effect while being paranoid, trapped, and on drugs.
It’s shows like this which give birth to the very nature of rock and roll. The hip-swaying sounds of a band as they rock back and forth, eyes closed, mouths pressed against the microphone with their feet marking the beat. It’s an undeniably sexual thing. This isn’t news. It’s why they tried to ban Elvis in the 50’s. He turned young girls on, and it wasn’t so much the man, but the music, the stage, the sweat, the motion — the rock and roll of it all. Wedged together in this barely ventilated Old Street basement, Los Angeles’ Warpaint are presiding over something that had this been the 50’s, would’ve gotten them banned too.
All killer, no filler, Joe Pernice and Co. turn up the volume and turn in one of their most enjoyable records to date.
You couldn’t pair a better band with a better song with New York’s The Walkmen taking on the R.E.M. classic “Driver 8” as part of the AV Club’s Undercover series. With the list of 25 songs narrowed down to just one, The Walkmen were left with the track nobody else wanted. Regardless, they take “Driver 8” and transform into their own inimitable style, albeit a little rough and ready, with vocalist Hamilton Leithauser sounding as if he’s never heard the song in his life. It’s worth remembering that the new Walkmen album Lisbon is due for release on September 13 through Bella Union, and coincidently, the deluxe edition of R.E.M.’s Fables Of The Reconstruction in which “Driver 8” sits proudly on, was released a month or so ago. Webcuts favourite R.E.M. album of all time, you say? Well, yes, indeed it is.
Sounding like a counter-revolutionary, singer-songwriter Jonneine Zapata’s task at hand is presciently hinted at in the title.
It’s not so much lurking in the 3 minute bluster of their debut single “How Long”, but a part of its DNA, that you quickly catch onto Ramona’s game. In the first 10 seconds alone they manage to answer the eternal question of “What if Debbie Harry joined The Ramones?”. You see it in singer Karen Anne’s bleached blonde locks and her breathy purr, and you hear it all over “How Long”, the harmonies n’ hooks, and the buzzsaw guitars that graduate with honours from The Ramones “Rock n’ Roll High School”. It’s just one song/one question answered, we thought best to rattle off 15 more. Thus becoming the first in our “Who The Hell Are…?” Q&A’s where we send out, Smash Hits-style, a random bunch of questions to a new act that has caught our eyes and ears, and then let them answer in their own words.
“You’re one of us, or you’re one of them“. Hamilton Leithauser, fist wrapped tight around the microphone as if he’s trying to strangle it, is howling those words. The rest of The Walkmen, heads bowed (as they remain throughout most of the set) play complicit and provide the carnival-esque roar to ram Leithauser’s words home. It’s not so much a question or a suggestion but a statement. For better or for worse, for way back when the band were selling their own white label records at the Middle East in Boston in 2001, I’ve been one of “us”.
Send out the search parties — Missing in action on the latest album from M.I.A. — “melody, listenability, and some semblance of a point”.
We didn’t review Ted Leo & The Pharmacists recent album The Brutalist Bricks, because frankly, the music speaks for itself. Trying to find 450-odd words to adequately sell Mr. Leo’s blood, sweat, and tears would be doing the man and his music an enormous injustice. You won’t see his music used on commercials, you won’t see him selling his soul on a magazine cover for a few more units sold. A punk rocker with a pure heart, Leo and The Pharmacists have always done it (for better or worse) their way, and you have to respect that… and buy their records. Man’s gotta eat, y’dig (read more about that here — http://www.tedleo.com/2010/07/07/regarding-the-rumors-of-retirement/). “Bottled In Cork”, one of the finer moments on The Brutalist Bricks, shows Leo throwing out enough hooks to make Cheap Trick envious and indulging in a little old fashioned fun, theatre style. I swear if he brought that show to London, I’d go see it.
Named after the town they’re from, Memphis has “some great songs, some brilliant moments”, but not quite all adding up to Magic, Kids.
Touring off the back of their third studio release The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night, the Quebec-based The Besnard Lakes returned to London to treat us with some more of their epic Beach Boys meets Spiritualized jams. Given the massive sound present on …The Roaring Night, there was some anticipation in how the band were going to pull this off as a four piece. With the newer tracks being a lot denser and harder to recreate live without either a 10 piece line up or a maze of effects and loop pedals, assistance came via laptop, which helped embellish the sound and keep true to their recorded material.
During their recent visit to Australia for Splendour in the Grass we caught up with LCD Soundsystem’s main man James Murphy who gave us reason to put away the hankies for LCD’s much reported demise – “It’s not necessarily the last record. I would make another record. It’s more the end of this part – three records that go together, an arc. We became a bigger band than I ever expected. Something needs to stop, for me, for us all to be happy.” He also waxes lyrical about making the record in the LA of his imagination, growing up and wanting kids, his Greenburg soundtrack experience and his many and varied future projects.
Releasing their soundtrack to 13 of Andy Warhol’s screen tests was an opportune moment for ex-Galaxie 500/Luna star Dean Wareham to fully express his love for Velvet Underground and the stars of Andy Warhol’s Factory. The screen tests alone, wavering between the visually arresting and the arrestingly mundane, were elevated into a new realm with the musical accompaniment provided by Wareham and partner Britta Phillips. Bringing the 13 Most Beautiful show to London (having frustratingly been given its UK premiere in Dunfermline last year) was a long-anticipated occasion.
From a Funeral to a Neon Bible and now out to The Suburbs, the long-awaited third album from Arcade Fire has Webcuts feeling right at home.
It’s Summer festival time in Europe, but over in Australia it’s Winter and Webcuts was there to brave the chill and celebrate Splendour in the Grass‘ tenth birthday with 32,000 others at the new Woodford location in Queensland. Over the three day weekend our reviewers witnessed a phenomenal selection of old and new favourites including — Ash, Band of Horses, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Cloud Control, The Drums, Grizzly Bear, Jonsi, LCD Soundsystem, Paul Kelly, Pixies, School of Seven Bells, Scissor Sisters, The Strokes, Tame Impala, The Vines, Yeasayer, and believe it or not, a whole lot more!!
Gemma Ray found the best way to deal with the Christmas period was to record a covers album. Not a bad idea really.
“Give me a minute and I’ll blow your minds“. The crowd laughs, so does the man who just uttered those words. The mood, somewhat quiet, respectful, shiftless, is lightened, and Mark Kozelek begins another master-class in tinkling the nylon strings of his Spanish guitar like Liberace would the piano. “I’m old” he breaks the silence again, “I’m fat, I need water, I need lyrics to my songs”. From my pew to the right side of the stage I have to squint to see if it’s not Neil Young sitting there complaining about his arthritis. To Kozelek’s credit, he’s still as ageless as ever, and that gut you were grabbing at? I’m pretty sure you’ve been carrying that for a while now.
For The Morning Benders, a big echo doesn’t necessarily mean a big noise, but the latter is certainly what these Californian boys encountered following the release of their sophomore album Big Echo earlier this year, easily giving Webcuts one of our favourite albums of 2010. Perfectly formed and lavishly constructed, Big Echo stretched its influences across the decades, from the lush ’60s doo-wop harmonies of “Excuses”, the ’70s Californian pop-rock of “All Day Day Light” to the peer rivaling, stark echoes (which the album lives up to its name) of “Hand Me Downs”.
Out of nowhere comes a near perfect album by a near forgotten band that rewrites their own history in one superlative-inducing swoop.
It took eleven years, three albums and a European tour for Melbourne space rockers Black Cab to broach Brisbane but they did and yes, it was worth the wait. Even the prospect of a half empty venue, an OCD stricken punter and the one colour Hi-Fi lights were not enough to dissuade Black Cab in performing anything less than a mesmerising set of original material and two stunning encores that paid homage to the whole space/drone/shoegaze rock genre. Able support was provided by Brisbane alt.rock kings Grand Atlantic.
Last seen by Webcuts at the Primavera Festival in Barcelona tearing up the stage like street kids on a candy high, North Carolina’s Superchunk took great delight in reminding the assembled why they were of the last great alternative bands of the 90’s still standing. Having been somewhat quiet since 2001’s ironically titled Here’s To Shutting Up, Superchunk have a brand new album on the way, the epically titled Majesty Shredding released on September 14 (US) and October 4 (UK). The band’s website says the album is “neither a return nor a departure…” and that just tells you everything you need to know — exhuberant, melodic, intense and in your face (and that’s just the slow songs) Majesty Shredding could well be their greatest hour (or 41 minutes). While we wait for October to roll round, sit back and relax as the band peel out on a cover of The Cure’s “Inbetween Days” recorded especially for the AV Club.
When you get down to the nuts and bolts of rock and roll, it’s not about how tight your jeans are or how good your stylist is, it’s about the music. It’s about the song. For some bands in particular, it’s about the pop song. Two and half minutes of spun gold that held your attention long after the needle left the record. Few bands embodied the spirit of the sublime ’60s pop song than The Primitives. Sitting backstage at The Scala in London, Webcuts catches up with Tracy and Paul to rewind the clock and to talk about the events that brought The Primitives into the 21st Century and what lies ahead for the band.
Is there anything more cliched than the rock and roll break-up? Secret meetings in dark alleys. The guitarist that suddenly pops up on other people’s records. The singer who doesn’t return their calls. You either see it coming a mile away, or it creeps up on you like old age. It happens to the best and it happens to the worst, and eventually it will happen to them all. Piss and moan about it all you like, but what’s done is done. The latest induction to the rock and roll hall of “fuck this shit for a laugh” are Webcuts’ favourite punk sons, The Scare.
From “Exile In Guyville” to exiled in general. It hasn’t been smooth sailing for Liz Phair. In fact you could say things have been downright un-Phair.
When does standing in the front row give you a direct line to god? Just because your idol, or current object of interest, is able to look you in the eye while they’re singing doesn’t mean that this is your opportunity for some face-to-face “let’s get to know each other” time. Really, it doesn’t. And it’s rare that a concert is marred by one asshole that doesn’t get the hint and won’t shut up, but shit does happen, and it happened to Kaki King and to the respectful crowd who had to endure this one “fan” and his relentless pursuit in establishing a “connection”.
For the first few seconds you’d swear this is Morrissey’s “The First Of The Gang To Die”, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to associate that solitary opening chord with the work of one Joe Pernice. As far as recordings go, Joe hasn’t quite done a Colin Meloy, but he has authored a 33 1/3 series book, of his quasi-fictional adolescent experiences with The Smith’s Meat Is Murder. This is not as sordid as it may sound. Rest assured, “Jacqueline Susann” has nothing to do with Morrissey or The Smiths. It’s just a quick 2 minute 30 second rev (screeching guitars as screeching tyres, no less) of the Pernice Brothers’ engine to reintroduce the band into our lives once again. Taken from their latest album, Goodbye, Killer the video clip for “Jacqueline Susann” is an obvious joy to behold. I say this sarcastically of course. You pay peanuts, you get 3 minutes of a guy riding a bicycle.
The (Bloc) Party is over. Now, it’s a dance party and there’s nobody here, except Kele and a few diehard Bloc Party fans looking bored.
Impressive third album from these exemplary Scots. It sounds like the Winter Webcuts had… except more productive.
The new Stars album The Five Ghosts is a focused and streamlined record that in some ways harks back to their synth-pop roots of their first album, albeit being much darker in tone and theme. While Stars’ diminutive front-man Torquil Campbell, and its glamorous front-woman Amy Millan, may get the most of the star light we recently had words with the quiet achiever of the band, Evan Cranley. Evan reveals to us details about the process and direction that the new album took, the decision behind the Séance EP, his jack of all trades role in the band, the novel approach to touring the new songs and how to create a fantastic remix.
For a band who’ve been around (in this incarnation at least) since December 2008, it would be more apt to call this Leeds-based 8-piece collective Milk White White Baby Teeth but Milk White White Teeth it is. “Ingrid Won’t Smile” is their debut 7″ release, once again cherry-picked for greatness by the taste-makers at the Too Pure Singles Club. The allure of “Ingrid…” lies in that snug calypso swing. The swirl of brass and keys, the soaring vocals, the vibrant percussive rattle… the fact it has a girl’s name in the title — all perfect pop song ingredients. Similar in style to Arcade Fire’s “Haiti”, “Ingrid…” has more of a grounding in classic 80’s British pop like Orange Juice and Haircut 100, but maybe that’s just me… Unfortunately, there’s no official clip as such for the track as yet, this Radio 1 session version will have to do. For more information, head over to http://milkwhitewhiteteeth.tumblr.com/
One of these albums is pure genius. The other went straight to #1. Bow down to The Boo Radleys, Britpop’s forgotten heroes.
Critic proof Canadian indie-poppers release their fifth disc of tunes but like its subject matter we find it lacks substance.
There are people who write for this website who weren’t even born when Devo last made a record. This is not for them.
We’re now entering a phase of the year where great albums are in abundance and Villagers’ debut is no exception.
Having devoted this spot to electro-brats and electro-babes in past weeks, it’s time we bring Webcut of the Week back to what it was made for — pimping psychedelic stoner rock. Heading across the border (in fact across the ocean), we pull into Canada’s Black Mountain to check out their “Old Fangs”. Granted there’s a pervading Queens Of The Stone Age stink about this track, but it’s the pulse of those keys and the entwined vocals of band leader Stephen McBean and Amber Webber that strap you in for this dark ride — “play those deathwish chords” indeed. Their third album Wilderness Heart is out September 13 on Jagjaguar and the band are currently on tour in Europe as we speak.
As anticipation mounts for the release of their upcoming third album The Suburbs, Arcade Fire commence on a brief hit-and-run tour of intimate and out-of-the-way places in Europe, somehow finding themselves performing on a moat in the middle of a limestone quarry in Sweden. For a band like Arcade Fire, such inventive and idyllic surrounds seem apt, but it only poses the question — How hard can a quarry rock?
More emotional missives from angry, intense, young American men. What steady diet do they feed you on?
Oh, summery shimmery albums. Why must you hook us so? Berkeley, CA’s, The Morning Benders serve up a treat.
Anne Booty better known in music circles as Coco Electrik is back after a three year absence with a new single “Fire & Ice”. The delightfully oddball video directed by George Tsioutsias was inspired by Plato’s Allegory Of The Cave. As none of the Webcuts staff currently hold Ph.Ds we can’t ascertain its accuracy, but can still enjoy the sight of Coco donning a blond wig and shaking her booty with various metaphysical and interplanetary objects swirling around, all the while backed by an infectious blast of electro-rock. Ink in July 26 on your calender as that is when Electrik’s sophomore album White Ink will hit stores both physical and digital via Oscillation records.
It’s summertime twee pop hour and who better to soundtrack but ex-Heavenly and Talullah Gosh popsters back with their third album.
Villagers is the nom de plume of one Conor O’Brien, the young Irish gent with the piercing blue eyes positioned above these words. Having released his debut album Becoming A Jackal on Domino Records last month to widespread acclaim (surely topping the album charts in Ireland is nothing to be sneered at), O’Brien has been steadfast in moving his Villagers around the country like a pack of wayward Irish gypsies.