Singles of the Week
Another week, another round-up...
Sadly not a Swedish cover of the timeless Spandau Ballet classic but delightful nonetheless, 'Gold' from Anglo-Swedish trio Air Castles is a perky, joyous and uplifting slice of indie rock that makes it easy to see why they were picked to play the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury this year.
No, your equipment isn't faulty, you aren't hearing the song at the wrong speed. Detroit born Alex Winston is supposed to sound like Alvin and Chipmunks. This EP, with the lead track 'Velvet Elvis' is at fist a bit hard to take, mostly because her squealing vocals are piecing your eardrums. But once 'Fire Ant' comes on with it's vaguely Bollywood feel your ears adjust someone and you realize it's not too bad, in small doses that is.
[b]Blitzen Trapper[/b] have definitely found that peaceful easy feeling with sixth studio album [i]American Goldwing[/i]. The album reflects life in a small town and the angst and restlessness that comes when you've been in one place too long but don't have the gumption to pack your bags and head out. And it feels like that too.Unlike 2010's [i]Destroyer Of The Void[/i] with its wonderful stories and beautiful arrangements, [i]American Goldwing[/i] sounds like a band in a rut. The countrified melodies are all a bit samey and it lacks the heart and soul of previous releases. Album opener 'Mind Find It Cheap' and the rousing 'Fletcher' are affable enough but 'Love The Way You Walk Away' lacks heart. The lovely Dylan-esque 'Girl In A Coat' works well (mostly because they aren't trying to sound like the [b]Charlie Daniels Band[/b]) but the rest of the album just goes from one bland twangy tune after the another. Vocalist Eric Early sums it up pretty succinctly in 'Taking It East Too Long': "I've been taking it easy too long / Sticking around this lonesome town / Like a bird that just won't fly." Maybe it's time they moved on.
The Portland boys take it easy for album number six.
For something proclaiming itself to be "post punk", Damn Vandals' 'Can't Go Dancing When You're Gone' has a distinct lack of energy or bite to grab your attention. Instead it coasts by on a dull riff while front man Jack Kansas' vocals feel like they've come from a different track altogether.
Nothing fancy here, just gold old ‘balls to the wall’ rock music done with a flare missing from so many of modern day pop-punkers. File under exciting.
When he first started gaining a rep for his 'Fuck Me I'm Famous' club nights, I doubt David Guetta realised to what extent that title would prophesise his coming career. He's undoubtedly Europe's biggest DJ, probably the world's biggest (Norman Cook who?) and his commercial clout only continues to grow. Guetta has dominated the charts over the last two years with electro-house anthems featuring catchy star vocals from some of the biggest US stars from the spheres of pop and R'n'B. Nothing But the Beat isn't looking to drastically alter the blueprint; indeed, by this point, you'll already be familiar (whether you want to or not) with Snoop Dogg hookup 'Sweat', current Taio Cruz/Ludacris collab 'Little Bad Girl' and this summer's big hit 'Where Them Girls At', a personal guilty pleasure thanks to a typically colourful rap from Nicki Minaj (surely she'll be ruling the world soon?).While the 'instrumental' Disc 2 of this double album reminds us that Guetta didn't always rely on stunt casting, focusing on the beats rather than the A-list guest spots, Disc 1 will no doubt be providing the charts with big-hitters well into next summer. Despite the roll call including hot names Jessie J, Dev and Lil Wayne (not to mention old-handers Akon and will.i.am), it will all start to sound a bit identikit halfway through; that is, if it didn't by track two. You'll likely know whether you're going to buy this or not already, but if you're not a fan I certainly recommend you take a chance download on 'Titanium', pairing the only true instance of a surprise vocal (courtesy of crazy pop balladeer Sia) with an uplifting, building backing.
Europe's biggest DJ enlists chart-bothering mates for double-disc party soundtrack.
A perfectly serviceable dance anthem that will probably hit all the right spots for late night clubbers but, when experienced in the cold light of day, is rather insipid and generic.
Kasabian are back with a vengeance, and the lead single from album number four, Velociraptor! is a killer tune which proves that fatherhood has not softened Serge Pizzorno and the boys. 'Days Are Forgotten' with it's hip hop inspired verses and sing-a-long choruses is one of the best things the band have ever written, and that's saying something.
This Northern Irish quartet make quite the brilliant racket, full of razor sharp and catchy riffs and vocal snarls that recall The Jesus Lizard at times. With a second full length entitled Easy Meat on its way and UK tour due in October, if this song doesn't have you thrashing your head in anticipation then you're probably dead.
Breezy, 80s-channeling pop of a kind you think The Pipettes tried, and failed, to attain on their last effort. B-side 'Probably Right' which begins with a kinetic, Cure-style bassline isn't quite as engaging, but the whole package is a fun tribute to a period the duo clearly understand.
The Narcoleptic Dancers
Ahead of their debut album, this franco-dutch half brother-sister duo regale us with another sweet piece of pop whimsy which, although a tad twee, gets away with it by being a nicely restrained 2 ½ minutes long.
Indie rock veteran survivors already and they're probably not even eligible to vote yet. If their third album took some time negotiating its way to the surface, here's a reminder that despite using genre tools, they employ them with deft but punk rock spirit. Not their most startling tune but a smart enough calling card. Helpful pointer for free: like Blood Red Shoes? Then lookee in here.
Young Cambridge rockers launch their debut album in the company of a few nurses.
Following instalments from Phoenix and Digitalism, this third compilation from the Kitsuné Tabloid label sees Brazilian duo [b]The Twelves[/b] offering two mixes: a set of exclusive dubs of their key remixes, plus an eclectic mix of influences and favourites. Both mixes share a similar carefree spirit, fusing electro, synth pop, disco and Output/DFA-style dance-punk. Highlights on the first disc include the Twelves' shimmering electro workout of Zeigeist’s ‘Humanitarianism’ and the synthetic groove of French Horn Rebellion Vs Database.The second mix keeps the party going, joining the dots between modern pioneers and forgotten gems. Hence French house maestros Alan Braxe & Fred Falke and Twin Shadow’s balmy rock rubs shoulders with Blockhead Chaz Jankel’s ‘Without You’, a 1983 electro-funk rarity that may have invented the Scissor Sisters; and the frothy 70s Eurodisco of Tommy Seebach’s ‘Bubble Sex’, which resembles nothing so much as Hot Butter’s ’Popcorn’ getting in a lather with Space’s ‘Magic Fly’.
Volume three has a Brazilian flavour.
Win a pair of tickets to see The Boxer Rebellion in London
With their music appearing on the likes of Grey's Anatomy, a performance on US chat show Late Night with David Letterman, a sold out UK tour and a slot at this year's SXSW festival under their belt, The Boxer Rebellion are set to play their biggest headline show to date at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire on September 29th and thanks to TMF, you and a friend could be there!For the chance to win a pair of standing tickets to the gig, just answer this simple question.
Single of the Week
A welcome re-release for one of the highlights from Patrick Wolf's fifth album Lupercalia, coupled with an darkly excellent remix from Hurts. In its original version, 'Time Of My Life' is a beautiful, affecting and brutally honest acoustic-led ballad that carries an emotional punch but doesn't let that weigh down its breezy catchiness. Sublime.