Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep: July 2006

Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep

Monday, July 31, 2006

Thom Yorke : The Eraser Poem

Despite being nominated for a Mercury Music prize, it seems Thom Yorke's album, "The Eraser", is still subject to criticisms from the media. Yorke has responded in typically excellent fashion by splicing together the harsher words of the critics and making it into a nice poem. And here it is for your viewing pleasure.

"Seven out of 10/
could try harder/
could do better/
lacks correct motivation...
full of own self importance/
always shooting his mouth off/
tends to stray from the path... never was
never will be again/
the only way is down."
Furthermore, here is another mp3 from a recent live performance
in Copenhagen. This time it is "4 Minute Warning". This track could easily be on"The Bends", it has that sort of ballad feel to it that was a key feature of their 1995 release.
Mojo Magazine has this to say about it:
"Exquisite trad rock ballad riding a pinging piano and
tishing tambourine. Rare sunshine-breaking-through- clouds quality of chord
changes and measured optimism of lyrics".
In an interview with Classic Rock magazine, Thom Yorke said he
was getting frustrated by continually re-recording these new songs, but it was a
welcome relief to get out and play them to people. He also stressed that these
songs have along way to go before they are the finished articles.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Goodbye Syd

Since it is coming to the end of a month, in which the music world lost one of its most gifted artists. The video below is a poignant and amusing tribute to the former Pink Floyd leader. Never have such crazy words made more sense!.

The Madcap Laughs

Thom Yorke : "Cymbal Rush" (Live)

Thom Yorke : "Cymbal Rush" (Live)

Here is more footage of Thom Yorke performing songs from "The Eraser". This time it is "Cymbal Rush", aided by Jonny Greenwood and Nigel Godrich. This suggests a strong possibilty of some of Thom's solo songs being included in Radiohead gigs in the future.

Last FM : 23/07 - 30/07

Here are my most played songs of the last week:

1. In The Fur / Our Sleepless Forest
2. And It Rained All Night / Thom Yorke
3. A Hymn For Silence / Phon Noir
4. Paper Flow / Our Sleepless Forest
5. Illuminate My Heart, My Darling!/ Yndi Halda
6. Bless This Morning Year / Helios
7. 15 Step (Live)/ Radiohead
8. Harrowdown Hill/ Thom Yorke
9. Harmattan / Kjetil Moester
10. Winter's Wolves/ The Sword

Crippled Black Phoenix

Details are quite sketchy at the moment, but Crippled Black Phoenix seem to be some sort of supergroup featuring Mogwai bassist Dominic Aitchison, along with some ex-members of heavy rock bands including Iron Monkey.The self-proclaimed "merry band of bastards" play epic rock music. Listen here to their "dark-americana type ambience".

Friday, July 28, 2006

Thom Yorke : Harrowdown Hill News

Two Radiohead related posts today, mainly because there's a chance I'll be too busy tomorrow and I also want to keep up my promise of a Radiohead post everyday. This post concerns news of Thom Yorke's first single from "The Eraser". It will be "Harrowdown Hill", which is a strong contender for my favourite track of the year. It will be released on the 21st of August and the formats and tracklistings are as follows:

  • Ltd CD
1. Harrowdown Hill
2. The Drunkk Machine
3. Harrowdown Hill (Extended Mix)
  • Ltd 7"
A: Harrowdown Hill
B: Jetstream

  • Ltd 12"
A: Harrowdown Hill (Extended Mix)
B: The Drunkk Machine
So it looks like there will be a couple of unreleased songs spread over different formats, which is always good news. If you tune into Channel 4, on Monday 31st of July at precisely 23.40, you can catch the premiere of the video. Until then, go here for a preview

Radiohead : "On The Beach" mp3

Taking a break from the new Radiohead songs of previous posts, "On The Beach" is a track that I must admit knowing nothing about. All I know is I downloaded it from another site a year or so ago. It is a gentle acoustic blues number, not unlike Neil Young. At first, I was concerned it wasn't authentic, but it is definately Thom Yorke singing. If anyone knows anything about this song, please let me know.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Mogwai : In Demand

Mogwai, it seems, are everyone's choice when it comes to providing soundtracks for films recently. As I posted a couple of weeks ago, they have scored the soundtrack to the entire film of French footballer (and villian) Zinedine Zidane.

Now they are involved with Clint Mansell (Reqium For A Dream) for the new film "The Fountain". They will, along with the Kronos Quartet, perform music written by Mansell, for the film that stars Hugh Jackman (aka Wolverine). You can see a trailer here

Radiohead : "House of Cards" mp3

One of the main reason why I love Radiohead so much, is their ability to send shivers down your spine with one heartbreaking chord change. No matter what the album, there are always songs which do this. From "Knives Out" from Amnesiac to "Sail To The Moon" on Hail To The Thief or even "Black Star" from The Bends. They have a incredible knack of producing beautiful, melancholic songs.

Add "House of Cards" to this list. This song has been about for a few years, Thom Yorke even played an acoustic version at a trade rally early last year. Mojo Magazine describes it as:

"Exquisitely simple, marvelously melodic, 70's singer-songwriter throwback with mantric John Martyn quality emphasised by ghostly howls from Jonny's guitar".

As I've said before, the chord changes are what really strikes me about this song, but I also must mention that the vocal harmonies between Thom and Ed O'Brien work a treat as well.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Myspace : Good or Evil?

Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth was recently asked, "In light of the internet, do you think bands get to develop properly?". To be honest, his reply came as quite a shock to me. He stated, "No not at all. Unless they develop on the internet!. As far as being in a live band, playing tours, and learning the ropes, I think that's becoming less and less of a factor.

I would have thought someone of Moore's experimental tendencies would be all for a new way of promoting great music. Although in retrospect, you have to agree he has a point. It is quite ludicrous to think a band such as Arctic Monkeys can become overnight sensations, based on downloading and file sharing. But the influence of the web has become far reaching across the globe.

However, what sites such as Myspace and Purevolume offer, is a chance for young artists to exchange mp3's, get contacts and grab a wider audience, all at very little cost. I never would have got a chance to hear plenty of artists that I now enjoy, if it wasn't for sites like myspace

Here are a few who have caught my attention recently.

Our Brother The Native

Young Americans, Our Brother The Native, recently signed with the influential label Fat Cat Records based on their myspace site. The three piece (ages ranging from 16-18) have been together since only 2005, but have garnered severe amounts of critical acclaim. Would this have been possible without myspace. Who knows?, but the world is now a better place, because of them anyway. According to their bio, all three members have a wide range of training and influences, from grindcore to classical music.

Such eclecticism, is the main reason for what can only be described as a startling and unique release in "Tooth and Claw". Recently given an excellent write up in The Wire Magazine, where their sound was described as "eerie, captivating and disjointedly beautiful", songs such as "Falconiformes" are reminiscent of Clouddead, Animal Collective and Paavoharju. Their sample-laden music is most definitely "captivating". Listen here

Our Sleepless Forest

Bands with three word names have always appealed to me and I have no idea why. Here is another, Southwest London's Our Sleepless Forest, who are a bunch of teenagers making music that should really be beyond their youth. They are in good company, hailing from the same part of London as Four Tet, Fridge and new craze, Dubstep. They are also definite contempories of Our Brother The Native, as both seem to be (unintentionally) ploughing the same field. It is doubtful that, without myspace, these bands would have ever came across one another.

This three piece claim a wide variety of influences, with each member covering different parts of the music spectrum. However, these tastes come together, quite nicely to achieve one common goal. Some of their influences include Animal Collective, Mogwai, Clouddead, Warp Records and pyschedelia. This is an ambitious mix, but the band are keen to point out that they are trying to do something different, without sounding too mush like the bands mentioned above.

Their sound reminds me of very early Mogwai, circa "Superheroes of Bmx", were they seemed to be more experimental, while "Paper Flowers" reminds, very much so, of Sigur Ros. "The Tinderbox" reveals another side to this group, with beautifully strummed guitars, washes of synth and out of tune keys mixed with obscured vocals. The band display enormous amounts of potential and an amazing level of maturity. You can download "Paper Flowers" and "The Tinderbox" from this site, or alternatively, you can go here, an listen to more beautiful music.

Kjetil Møster

Born in 1976 in Bergen, Norway, Kjetil Møster is 'slightly' older than the two artists mentioned above. Nonetheless, he has also benefited from the use of myspace too. According to his stats at almost 3000 people have listened to his music on myspace, that is 3000 who may never have heard of him at all.

Moester is a classically trained jazz musician who can play a plethora of instruments including saxophone, tuba, cornet and guitar. Described by Norwegian contempories Datarock as "the most aggressive and naturally talented musical noise we've ever heard", he has an abundance of bands. He is even a member of Noxagt.

His music is a mix of avant-garde, jazz and electronica that is quite refreshing to the ears. I can imagine this is the sort of music Mike Patton chills out to. Look no further than "Harmattan" to see where I'm coming from. Listen here and find out more about his projects here.

Radiohead - "15 Step" mp3

A couple of months ago, Radiohead toured all over Europe and played a number of new songs. Not much is known about them, however, some of them surfaced on the web from their Copenhagen show. Now if you are going to see Radiohead, we have to get to know these new songs. Today's mp3 is the first of nine I will post, it's called called "15 Step". Mojo Magazine describes it as :

"Eye-popping combination of lowdown blues grooving and 5/4 drum'nbass jitter, illustrated by Yorke's crowd-pleasing jerky dance on-stage. Radiohead now breathing life into old-hat electronica, much as they spruced up tired old guitar rock in 90's".

I'm not 100% sure that is the best description of the song, but what I can tell you is it has one of the nicest guitar lines I've ever heard. It also contains some excellent OK Computer style synths too, toward the end. Out of the nine tracks, it is one of my favourites. Of course, its hard to tell from live versions, it is doubtful that they are actually finsihed articles yet. We should probably wait until the proper recorded version before passing judgement. Nonetheless, though, enjoy!!!!. More to follow.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Rare Radiohead Remix

Here is a great, rare Radiohead remix for your downloading pleasure, by none other than the great man himself.... Thom Yorke

We Suck Young Blood (Thom Yorke Mix)

Tunng : Twisted Folk !

While the rest of the world were going mad for the American nu-folk movement, featuring the likes of Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom. Britain's folk scene was bubbling away nicely, under the radar. The UK is always recognised as the home of psychedelic music and these influences have helped the folk scene blossom into something unique and wonderful.

Look no further than acts such as Adem, Gravenhurst and Songs of Green Pheasant to discover a world of English whimsy and Simon & Garfunkel melodies. Now London collective Tunng, are taking things a step further. This six-piece outfit combine Syd Barrett style psychedelic lyrics, with dusty electronic beats not unlike Four Tet or Boards of Canada, to provide a winning mix of genius.

A major part of the Twisted Folk movement, Tunng are not dissimilar to American duo The Books, in the way they use obscure samples from films and kids TV programs. Some of my favourite songs include :

"Stories", from their new album "Comments Of The Inner Chorus", which contains flamenco guitar, voice samples and tribal rhythm's, that makes this song 3 minutes of pure joy.

Another great song, especially If you like nice choruses is "Jenny Again", a story about a serial killer, apparently. This combines the Simon & Garfunkel melodies mentioned earlier with glitchy electronica beats and spoken word samples.

If you've ever read "The Magic Far Away Tree" by Enid Blyton, then you will find a lot to love about "Woodcat" which is about being turned into a hare!. This band could only come from one place, namely Britain.

Tunng are very unique, and will be touring the UK in the Autumn. However, a North American tour cannot be far away. I will sign off with my favorite song, from a previous album, "A Tale From Black". This is the definitive Tunng song. I hope you love them as much as I do!. There are a host of videos, live sets and other mp3's to be found on their site here.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Idioteque is one of my all time favourite tracks, it changed the way I listened to music. Suddenly, Radiohead were quoting all sorts of artists I didn't know about, such as Autechre. I had to find out about these influences and ever sice 2000 have been heavily into electronic music.

This is the song that started it all, and the video below is a particularly storming version from Radiohead's Glastonbury 2003 headline slot. Enjoy

Radiohead - "Idioteque"

Last FM : 17/07 -23/07

My top tracks of last week, according to
1. Illuminate My Heart, My Darling / Yndi Halda
2. A Hymn For Silence / Phon Noir
3. Matilda Mother / Pink Floyd
4. As We Fade / Bitcrush
5. I Don't Think About You Anymore... / Hungry Ghosts
6. Svo Hjollt / Sigur Ros
7. Laureline / The Gentleman Losers
8. See Emily Play / Paloma
9. Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop / Kyuss
10. Mountains Made Of Steam / A Silver Mt Zion

Sunday, July 23, 2006

"Cymbal Rush" mp3

If you have watched the video below of Thom Yorke performing "The Clock", you may be as amazed as I was at how different the song sounds from his album version. Here's another example, this time it is a live version of "Cymbal Rush" performed at the beginning of May. I will be posting a video of another performance of this song featuring Thom, Jonny Greenwood and Nigel Godrich in the near future. "Cymbal Rush" also marks the first mp3 I've posted on this site. Cymbal Rush (live) mp3

The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble : "The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble" (Planet Mu)

Two things drew me to this album before I heard any of the music or read reviews. Firstly, if that isn't the best name for a band you've ever heard, then you are into some weird sounds. Secondly, the cover art is an enlarged and obscured ape-like head, not unlike King Kong's.

The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, TKDE for short, is the work of two individuals, Jason Kohnen and Guido Kiers. Initially formed to experiment and re-work the music of films such as Nosfarateu and Metropolis in 2000. The duo have since added extra musicians to complete their vision as the ultimate audio/visual project. The band are self-titled "mutant jazz".

Their ambition has culminated on this album, released on Mike Paradinas' innovative Planet Mu label. This album is a sinister mix of 70's American detective show jazz, DJ Shadow beats and Aphex Twin style interludes. It intended to accompany the short horror films of the duo, and the eerie recurring themes throughout provide the relevant atmospheres.

Opening with the short "Nothing Changes", this sets the tone immediately and sounds scarily ominous. This quickly evaporates into "Pearls For Swine" which starts with a rather nice guitar melody, before thick DJ Shadow style breakbeats take over. Around the halfway mark, the track takes an unusual turn, with Venetian Snares style electronica, before returning to the relaxing guitar melody.

One of the good things about this album is its unpredictability, one minute it is sweeping jazz, the next it is full on Aphex madness. It is also reminiscent of The Dust Brothers "Fight Club" soundtrack. One of the best examples of this is "Lobby", which combines guitar and synths with throbbing basslines and tense drumming. It leaves you wondering what is supposed to be happening in the films it is meant to accompany.

"Rivers of Congo" reminds me of car chases in TV programmes such as Quincy, it is all jazz time signatures, weird brass sounds and off-kilter basslines. It is pretty inventive stuff and again highlights the the different styles of this release.

The album continues along in this eclectic vain up until the last track, the epic "March of the Swine" which returns to the guitar melody of the opening track "The Nothing Changes". This time it is mixed with scary noises and spliced voices. I would not want to listen to this song alone in the dark. At nearly 20 minutes, "March of the Swine" is a tad long, but still has enough to keep you interested, as intense beats are introduced. It somehow manages to become more sinister sounding with each passing minute.

I haven't seen the film that this is supposed to accompany, I intend to do so soon. But, I imagine it will be something to do with the end of the world. There you have The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, the sound to the end of the world.

Thom Yorke : "The Clock"

Radiohead : Less Than A Month

With the impending Radiohead gig in Edinburgh now less than one month away, it is time to turn our attention to Thom and the boys. It has just been announced that Deerhoof will provide support, in addition to Beck. I have to admit to knowing very little about them, but that will change in the coming weeks.

In celebration of the wonderful Radiohead, the video above is of Thom Yorke performing "The Clock" on the Henry Rollins show. It shows just how talented he is, the guitar work is unbelievable and he also shows us that amazing falsetto of his. More random Radiohead posts to follow in anticipation of their August 22nd date.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday Rant : Bandwagon Alert

Just seen a copy of the latest NME, complete with a Syd Barrett 5 page tribute. This really annoys me!. Why doesn't the NME stick to what it knows best, crap guitar bands that are famous for 3 weeks. Their target audience is surely girls who are just over the boyband phase and are now trying to get some cred. They have now cemented their reputation as serial bandwagon jumpers. It would be interesting to note, when Syd was last mentioned in the NME before his death. I'd say 1995, and that would be at a push. They have constantly dismissed Pink Floyd's records as dinosaur music and such like. Now they are telling us, why Syd's records are so important!!!!. I for one, do not care what Pete Doherty has to say about anything, let alone one of my all time favourite artists. And just who are The Fratellis for god sake!!!!.

Also, why was their tribute published on the 22nd of July, when Syd died on the 7th?. I guess we'll need to ask the editors that one

Being dead is apparently cool and raises the individuals stock, in the eyes of the NME. Why don't they leave it to the true fans, who have been listening to his music for years. I hate the NME. Damn You NME!!!!.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Last.FM : Top Tracks of the Week

Here is a list of the top ten tracks on heavy rotation from July 10th-16th

1 Octopus / Syd Barrett
2 Fake Blizzard (Buildings Falling) / Engine7
3 Matilda Mother / Pink Floyd
4 A Hymn For Silence / Phon Noir
5 Analyse / Thom Yorke
6 And It Rained All Night / Thom Yorke
7 Basscadet / Autechre
8 Lucifer Sam / Pink Floyd
9 Gardenia / Kyuss
10 The Purple Bottle / Animal Collective

Kyuss : Live

Kyuss - Gardenia

Only months before they split. This live version of "Gardenia" displays Kyuss' awesome force

Kyuss : Welcome To Sky Valley

As you grow up and accumulate cd's and records throughout the years, musical tastes tend to change or mature. Some stuff I have in my collection ,from ten years ago, almost makes me cringe. However, other albums stand the test of time and always live with you. One of the albums I am talking about is "Welcome To Sky Valley" by Kyuss.

When I first heard this band in 1995, they were just about to disband . Despite almost ludicrous amounts of critical acclaim, they never seemed to get anywhere. Thankfully, I discovered them before it really was too late. Tensions came to a head and the world lost one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

Not before making some of the best guitar records ever, though. Kyuss' "blues-based retro rock" was monumental and stunningly heavy. The four-piece honed their skills, throwing regular desert parties in their hometown of Palm Springs, California for their friends.

These skills developed into a sound influenced by Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Lynard Skynard and guitarist Josh Homme's favourite American punk bands. Of course, Homme is now ridiculously famous with Queens Of The Stone Age , but there was a time only those in the know, understood what an accomplished guitarist he was.

Kyuss' second album "Welcome To Sky Valley" stands shoulder to shoulder with any Hendrix, Zeppelin or Sabbath release. A collaboration with Masters of Reality's Chris Goss, the album's sleevenotes insist you "listen without interruption" as this is one hypnotic trip.

"Gardenia" kicks off the record with a thick riff that has since spawned thousands of copyists. Vocalist John Garcia sings with a bluesy howl ,that you soon come to love, reminiscent of Lynard Skynard. The band were famed for their awesome live power and I can imagine this one going down a storm.

Next track "Asteroid" changes the pace, Kyuss were not one-trick ponies. Starting with blissful guitar sounds, this instrumental effort soon let's loose, pummelling your senses into submission. The band had a unique ability to almost bludgeon, with their thick soup sound.

One of my favourite Kyuss tracks of all time is, "Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop", which shows the band were obviously under the influence of a plethora of illegal substances. Ludicrous song titles aside, this is arguably Kyuss' finest moment. The rhythm reminds of why I love heavy rock. Regardless of your opinion of that genre, this song is just outstanding. Music does not get any heavier than this.

"Space Cadet" is a mellow acoustic jam, highlighting maturity for a band who were all still in their early 20's. Garcia's vocals sound like something from Page and Plant's "Gallows Pole". While, "Conan Troutman" again displays Kyuss' awesome force. This is a short burst of a song with driving rhythm's and fraught guitars.

Finishing proceedings off, is 8 minute epic "Whitewater", featuring Josh Homme's best ever guitar work. Homme claims he had never heard any Black Sabbath records when growin up. If that is the case, then he was chosen by the devil himself, as Tony Iommi's heir to the throne.

Criminally ignored, despite bands such as Metallica and Faith No More often name-checking them, Kyuss disbanded after just four critically acclaimed albums. Of course, they will always have a cult following, but so many people missed out on them. Witness Kyuss' awesome live power on the video posted above. Once described by a Kerrang! journalist as "worth selling your legs to witness", I would give anything for a reunion.

T In The Park 2006 Re-cap

I am still absolutely buzzing from the performances of three bands at this year's T In The Park, almost two weeks ago. For Sigur Ros, I was expecting a top quality set, while for Animal Collective, I just had no idea what to expect!!. But, one band ruled the weekend. Glasgow's Primal Scream played a ferocious set. With songs "Kowalski", "Kill All Hippies", and especially "Swastika Eyes" all standout tracks.

I've looked around the web for appropriate T In The Park clips, but came out empty-handed. However, I do have live videos of other performances of my three favourite songs of the weekend. These are posted below.

Primal Scream are touring the UK this Autumn, I will definately be at their November 17th gig in Glasgow.

Sigur Ros - "Ny Batteri"

Sigur Ros

I cannot explain how much I love Sigur Ros' music. So I'll let this video do the talking. "Ny Batteri" was fantastic during their T In The Park 2006 set. If you don't love this band, you are not human

Primal Scream - "Swastika Eyes"

Primal Scream

An absolutely amazing performance from one of Glasgow's finest. "Swastika Eyes" was a highlight of their set. I hope this gives you an idea of how great they were.

Animal Collective - "The Purple Bottle"

Animal Collective

One of the craziest performances I ever have seen. "The Purple Bottle" is an amazing song

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Yndi Halda, Bar Bloc, Glasgow 17/07/06

There is something exciting about watching an instrumental guitar band in full swing. Devoid of vocals, these bands have to get every ounce out of their instruments, to convey the same passion. When it works, there is no other feeling like it.

One of those instrumental bands is Yndi Halda, and before you dismiss them as "another post-rock band", wait until you listen to what I have to say. This group of five friends have been creating such a buzz over the web over the last year, that I had to go and see what they were all about. Before I get started, I must mention that I consider Mogwai the benchmark in this genre, and so (unfairly) compare similar bands and performances to them. I think it is also worth noting that 'post-rock' of late has become quite stale and deriviative, with only a handful of acts pushing the boundaries out. Port-Royal and Epic45 are two of these bands who are shying away from the quiet/loud formula, and trying new things. However, when you see a band as passionate as Yndi Halda, perceptions tend to change.

First things first, though, the openers, and local act, The Site Of Future Rome, did a good job of keeping the 100-strong crowd enetertained. Their cello-driven instrumental music was engaging, with interesting time signatures and gorgeous, sweeping melodies. They will be touring all over Scotland towards the end of the month, read the tour info and listen to some music here.

Despite Icelandic moniker, headliners Yndi Halda have very little in common with Sigur Ros. They're sound is heavily influenced by the likes of Godspeed! You Black Emperor. People may accuse them as being copyists, but I would say they are honouring the Canadian legends. You cannot help, but be swept away by the passion of the live performance.

For such a young group, they are all technically gifted musicians. Violins, guitars, bass and drums combine to give an epic, swooning sound, that suggests huge potential. With only one Ep availible, this band have got plenty more left to say.

Their music has an almost celebratory or triumphant feel to it. Opening track, "Dash and Blast", easily demonstrates this. Weaving from one part to the other, this 15 minute epic is notable for it insanely catchy violin hook and loud bursting guitars.

Despite been let down by a small and inadequate sound system, the band summoned up every ounce of their energy and skill to put in an awesome performance. They would lay waste to a larger venue!.

"We Flood Empty Lakes", from the band's Ep, was another highlight. This effort showed why the youngsters from Canterbury, Kent are placed at number 2 in Decoymusic's Top 50 instrumental releases. Beating the likes of Sigur Ros, Explosions In The Sky and Red Sparowes.

Its not just about the music, though. The band have a fantastic D.I.Y ethic, like playing last night's gig for free or handmaking each of the Ep's individually. They are not even afraid to post negative reviews on their myspace site either. Its either naivety or confidence in their own abilities. I think the latter.

They also easily overcame the chatter of the punters in the bar within minutes of starting and seemed to have the audience's attention for the whole of the set. Closing song, the frantic and taut, "Illuminate My Heart, Darling", was quite simply jaw-dropping. Especially towards the end, where the violins and guitars wrestled with the drums and bass in a dramatic climax. In this kind of form there is only one winner..... The listener.

Yndi Halda, a band with enormous hype surrounding them. Could they live up to it. In short.....Yes!!!!!!!. Recently signed up, I expect big things in the future. Listen here and read this.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ian Rankin : Desert Island Discs

One of my favourite author's, Scottish crime writer, Ian Rankin has been interviewed by BBC radio series Desert Island Discs, citing his top tracks of all time. Rankin is resposnible for creating the outstanding Rebus character, in his crime fiction. Good to see he loves the mighty Mogwai as much as i do. Here is his list :

1. Double Barrell / Dave and Ansil Collins
2. Rage:Man / Mogwai
3. Solid Air / John Martyn
4. Atmosphere / Joy Division
5. Ssnow In Anselmo / Van Morrison
6. You Can't Always Get What You Want / The Rolling Stones
7. The Boy With The Arab Strap / Belle and Sebastian
8. Linseed Oil / Jackie Leven

Whatever Happened To : Hungry Ghosts

A couple of years ago, I stumbled across an amazing album, that changed the way I listened to music. "Alone, Alone" was the second LP from Australian 3 piece Hungry Ghosts and is easily one of the most devastatingly beautiful records I have ever heard.

The band combine traditional music from Asian and Eastern European countries with Parisian folk music and ambient guitar sounds, giving a cinematic desert feel that evokes images of wide open spaces, Western films and dust trail roads. Think film soundtrack musicians Ennio Morricone or Yann Tiersen and you are only getting half an idea of their sound. This is an unique release, and I have never heard anything like it. You can listen to some of their songs here. The title track "Alone, Alone" comes highly recommended, with some of the most amazing guitar work ever commited to record and is "dripping with melancholy". One reviewer has described this album as "...blessed with the ability to utter a million words with a single instrumental phrase and to turn a melancholy passage into a triumphant climax." Listening to songs like "I Don't Think About You Anymore..." it is very hard to disagree with this opinion.

However, the band are as enigmatic as their music and with only one previous album before this masterpiece, there is very little information about them anywhere. What I can tell you is they have practically disbanded, but form very occasionally to perform live. Founding member J.P Shilo did appear to go off the rails and end up in a "black hole". He is now recording again and returning to his interest in Tibetan Buddhism. He has posted some songs on his new myspace site.

But, listen to tracks such as "Nothing Has To Happen", "Remember What It Was Like To Float" and "Trying To Lift A Rock With A Bottle On Your Head" to discover one of the most criminally overlooked acts ever. Listen to some tracks here. You can also read some reviews from the time of the album's release in 2000, here and here

Festive Season

Since we are in the midst of the festival season I thought I would post on a few events that are coming up this year. Despite the fact there is no Glastonbury, there seems to be more music festivals than ever, with just about every taste been catered for. T In The Park 2006, for example, reported record attendance (and profit!!!) in what has already been a great Summer for festivals and music in general.

First up is the intimate 6,000 capacity Indian Summer Festival in Victoria Park, Glasgow on September 2nd and 3rd. As it stands, the line-up is fairly small, however, the quality of the acts appearing more than makes up for it. Scheduled artists include the critically acclaimed Antony & The Johnsons, Canadians Broken Social Scene and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs amongst others. Pricing is relatively cheap at just £60, the rest of the line-up can be found here.

Anotherer festival that has caught my eye, does not take place until December the 8th-10th but promises to be quite brilliant. Curated by Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, and part of the excellent All Tomorrow's Parties festival series, The Nightmare Before Christmas festival promises to be something special. First off, Iggy & The Stooges are the confirmed headliners, along with a rare UK appearance by Sonic Youth. To be held in Butlins, Somerset acts such as Bardo Pond, Dinosaur Jr and Wooden Wand will also be appearing. The rest of the line-up can be found here.

But despite all the quality acts mentioned above, if you had to choose one then look no further than this...Radiohead, Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh August 22nd. The world's greatest band return to Scotland for the first time since 2003, despite not having any new recorded material to promote.Unfortunately, it completely sold out within an hour of the release of tickets. Confirmed support is Beck and the whole thing is part of Edinburgh's T on the Fringe Festival. Can't wait to see Thom and the boys once again.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Engine7 : "Hope Street"

Scotland, for such a small nation, has a prolific record of producing outstanding musicians. Look no further than world famous bands Mogwai, Primal Scream, Idlewild and Teenage Fanclub to name but a few.

Glasgow, its largest city, is just as famed for its legendary clubs, venues and its culture, as it is for being one of Europe's leading murder capitals. Contrasting the beautiful architecture around the city centre and west end, there is an underlying current of deprivation, danger and depression.

It is the latter, that Glasgow based musician Alan McNeil, under his recording name Engine7 , draws his inspiration for his third release "Hope Street". According to his press release, Engine7 states "Hope Street is in Glasgow. It's the most polluted street in Europe. Busses, beggars and blood. No hope here".

This may have you thinking this is a sparse, desolate release. You couldn't be more wrong. What you have here is a carefully constructed Ep bringing to mind the beauty and tranquility of Sigur Ros, the inventiveness of Four Tet or Helios and the ambiance of Pan American or Labradford. Look no further than stand-out track "Fake Blizzard (Buildings Falling)". Lightly plucked guitars combine with synths, rhodes-style piano and gentle beats to create a track of stunning beauty. The interspersed voices, way back in the mix, give this track a certain edge and underlying tension, "treading the line between paranoia and peace". Although very understated, the melody of "Fake Blizzard" wraps itself in your heart and refuses to leave.

Glitchy beats and treated vocals are the order of the day in opener "Dubpatches (Too Many Times)". The track builds steadily like "being on a train in a storm". The vocals are tentative as the beats become more pronounced, reminding me slightly of Bola, had he explored more ambient themes.

However, name checking all sorts of artists is all well and good, Engine7 has plenty to offer himself suggesting this is a very unique release. There is a real cinematic quality to each of the tracks. "Stella, We're Sorry (Snow Peas)" is built around an sample from a English learning program. It is highly amusing listening to the sampled kids trying to pronounce the words as the music compliments them with driving drums and lovely synths. A very clever and highly original track.

Praise from the likes of Sigur Ros and Julien Neto has enhanced Engine7 reputation no end, but a main support slot with The Orb last month shows just how highly regarded he is. His Ep is an ambitious effort discussing issues, such as people's struggle to have a "less painful life". The cover art is a picture of rainclouds, but as Engine7 points out, are they forming or subsiding?.

"Lohan (Filtered Flutes)", is an ambient piece that has exotic sounding instruments throughout, evoking images of a dense South American rainforest. A far cry form the busy streets of Glasgow. Static beats become more apparent and frantic in the mix, before subsiding back to peace and tranquilly.

Closing track, "You'll See (Ghosts On Tape), starts with, funnily enough, ghostly vocals from Engine7 and a spectral background, while low frequency vocal samples weave in and out. As the song slowly disintegrates to an end, the listener is left wondering has the "storm" subsided.

Throughout his previous releases up until the current"Hope Street", Engine7 has evolved and is continually progressing, creating beautifully crafted, cinematic electronic music. As people strive for a better life, Engine7 strives to make his music more beautiful than ever.

"Hope Street" is scheduled for release through Itunes, Napster and any other Download Store. However, until then you can download it free from the Engine7 website, but for a limited time only. Furthermore, please check out this new Glasgow recording collective Palooka, who will also be releasing Engine7's work.

His first full album, as yet untitled, is almost completed and he has been working with Swedish dream-rockers Immanu-el during the recording process. He also has a couple of remixes scheduled which he will post here, and has completed one for Malota.

Epic45 Update and News

One of the most under-rated bands in the universe, Epic45, will be re-releasing their 2004 album "Slides" through MakeMineMusic and Cargo Records. This masterpiece was initially limited to 200 copies, now you can get your hands on a copy for just £9. It also features four bonus tracks from their "Long Walks" Ep.

In addition, their next album will be released in early 2007, but the band are looking for a cellist and/or a violinist. For more information go to their website.

If you haven't experienced the wonderful world of Epic45 then their myspace site is a must. If you just cant get enough of the lads, then this fansite will help.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

T In The Park 2006 Review

T In The Park, held annually in Balado, Scotland, is the UK's second biggest music festival, behind Glastonbury. It has been running for 13 years and is now a major part of Scottish culture, benefiting tourism to the tune of millions of pounds.

This years festival attracted almost 150 acts spread over several stages, both indoor and outdoor. The headliners for 2006, The Who and Red Hot Chilli Peppers, could both easily claim to be the biggest bands in the world. However, its not about the bands, it is about the 150,000 revilers who travel every year to have a brilliant time......

Day1 : Saturday 8th July

And a brilliant time I had. After setting up camp on Friday night, I awoke early on Saturday with anticipation and excitement to get in to the actual arena and see some quality live music. Managed to get in just after midday to catch Australian rockers Wolfmother assault the crowd around the NME stage with their brand of Sabbath/Zeppelin rock'n roll. The keyboard player attacked his instrument as if it had just insulted his mother, while the afro-haired guitarist and drummer did their best to stop the sound from being lost in the wind. Wolfmother are unashamed RAWK!!! and they are all the better for it. They played an excellent set and as the rain clouds gathered, the vocalist stated that they "were brewing up a storm!!!".

A quick visit to one of the 34 bars dotted around the mammoth arena, and then on to catch Nightmares On Wax in the Slam Tent. After Wolfmother's thundering set, N.O.W's chilled out reggae, dub and electronica became pretty tedious after a while. However, special mention must be given to the two female vocalists who had great voices.

Back to the bar (well, I am Scottish, you know!) and then on to see Hope Of The States in the indoor King Tut' stage. This six-piece from England have long being known as a very promising rock band, but have so far failed to deliver. On the basis of this performance, they might just be ready to rule. Possibly spurned on by the tragic events of losing a member to suicide, this band bleeds passion. All the members (with exception of the drummer) perform standing in a line across the stage, showing how together the band are. It's hard to pinpoint the bands sound but with two guitarists, a bassist, a violinist and keyboard player, they create one unholy racket. Loose references of their sound include Mogwai, Idlewild and possibly a bit of Radiohead. I expect big things from these guys.

The Slam Tent had a pretty decent line-up this year, so I returned to catch the up and coming James Holden's set. There's not much to say about the music, except it was loud, the beats were crunchy and the visuals were superb.

Walking past the main stage, after Holden's set, I decided to stop and watch a bit of Placebo's gig, for what must be the fifth time I have seen them without actually wanting to. They always seem to support bands I like or play at festivals I attend. I must admit, although not a fan, I don't mind them and was surprised at how low they were placed on the bill. They played most of their hits, "Nancy Boy", "Every Me, Every You" etc, and for a three piece on a gigantic stage sounded pretty decent.

Back to the slam tent to catch the tail end of Modeselektor's DJ set. The tent was absolutely packed and people were enjoying his abrasive style of electronica.

After this, had a quick rest, some food and washed them down with two swift pints of cider and into the NME stage to catch Ben Harper play. I have always liked his albums and think he is a supremely talented musician. He didn't disappoint here, displaying an eclectic set and polished performance. Massive in North America, maybe its time he caught on here too.

Last band of the night, and the whole reason I shelled out £160 for a ticket, Sigur Ros. By this point, the rain was lashing down upon the 75,000 revilers, and many decided to ditch the Red Hot Chilli Peppers headlining performance at the main stage, for the comfort and dryness of Sigur Ros inside, on the NME stage.

One of my all time favourite bands and they deserve to be huge. Could not wait to see them in a festival atmosphere and they did not disappoint. My only (minor) gripe was that at only 5 songs long, the set was far too short. Appearing behind a transparent curtain, "Glossoli" started with beautiful spectral guitars and soft pounding rhythms. And then there is that voice, enough to send several shivers down your spine. This soon receded into old favourite "Hafssol", which has been reworked into a kind of ceildah type song, and was absolutely stunning. "Ny Batteri" followed and again that voice echoed all around the packed arena , I wouldn't be surprised if people were in tears. Current fans favourite, "Saegolpor" was absolute dynamite too, and the chorus was one of the loudest things I've every heard, sounding like a crescendo of 1000 guitars. TheIcelandic collective (there must have been ten of them on stage) finished their set with a face-shattering rendition of Untitled *8 from their ( ) album. This has been the set closer on the two previous occasions I witnessed this spectacle previously, but this one was easily the best. Simply stunning.

Sunday 9th July

A night of heavy rain ensued, meaning I woke up absolutely drenched and my tent flooded with water. Not the best start to a Sunday, I can assure you. However, the strains of BBC Radio DJ(and John Peel replacement) Rob Da Bank could be heard and drew me towards the arena. If you have the internet, please listen to this guys shows. He certainly knows his stuff.

After some excellent tunes spun by Rob, including some Nathan Fake, I quickly ran over to the Pet Sounds Arena to catch Glasgow's latest favourites, My Latest Novel. Putting in a strong performance, the 5 members swapped instruments effortlessly and reminded me of a poppier Belle & Sebastian.

Next up, a friend insisted that he wanted to catch Morning Runner's performance. I wish I hadn't went, because the band played an uninspired set that was indie-by-numbers. All the obvious reference points were there, Coldplay etc etc, and it was easily the worst performance I seen all weekend. Boring, boring, boring.

The sour taste in my mouth was soon gone as I walked into the Pet Sound Arena, as the The Animal Collective emreged from the stage to perform their warped psych-pop. They were one of the highlights of the weekend, especially when their set overran and next act Jose Gonzalez and his fans were left bewildered, as to what was going on. The look on their faces was priceless. A 15 minute version of "Purple Bottle" wrapped things up, as Jose fans waited impatiently.

As for indie darling Jose Gonzalez, I didn't enjoy him much the last time I seen him, so playing exactly the same set wasn't going to inspire me to enjoy this performance. Although, he did a nice rendition of Massive Attack's "Teardrop".

Before going to see Zero 7 in the Pet Sounds Arena, I managed to get a part of The Editors set on the main stage , which was quite good in a FranzFerdinand/Joy Division type way.

Inexplicably, Zero 7 never turned up for their time slot, and it was left to Death Cab For Cutie to play an extra long set. Not really my cup of tea, but very good at what they do.

So it was headliner time again. The choices were Richard Ashcroft (NME stage), Primal Scream (King Tut's Tent), Felix Da Housecat (Slam Tent), Death Cab (Pet Sounds) or The Who (Main Stage).

I decided on The Who, thinking who, in their right mind, would pass up the chance to see a legendary band. But after 4 songs, I quickly realised that this band were pretty much not what they used to be. All the trademarks were there (windmills included), but quite frankly Roger Daltry looked like your maths teacher, while Pete Townsend looked ridiculous. Their sound was tinny and empty sounding.

Quickly, realising this wouldn't do, I ran to the King Tut's stage to see Primal Scream. Turning out to be one of the best rash decisions I've ever made, one of Glasgow's finest bands blew me away. They were everything a rock band should be, passionate, exciting, original, fresh and raw. Frontman Bobby Gillespie prowled the stage every inch like the rock star, he is the heir to Iggy Pop's throne. A bone-splintering version on "Kowalski" was followed by an ear-splitting "Swastika Eyes". This was changed to "America Eyes" as an obvious swipe at George Bush. Finishing of with hits "Country Girl" and "Rocks" the Scream were an excellent end to the weekend. Miss this band at your peril!.

Woke up on the Monday morning, cold, wet, hungover and financially drained. What a weekend!!!.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Yndi Halda

Yndi Halda are a band I have been listening to for the last six months or so, that make beautiful and blistering instrumental guitar music. They are about to embark on a UK tour, and I should be able to catch them at Bar Bloc, Glasgow on Monday 17th of July. Which is a very small, intimate venue.

It is worth mentioning that their debut Ep, "Enjoy Eternal Bliss" was voted number 2 in the top instrumental releases of 2005 by Decoymusic. Other favourable reviews have came from Rock Sound Magazine and their brand of post-rock holds a lot of promise for the future.

Listen to their Ep here or you can download a track from side project A Lily here.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Final Thoughts

My final post tonight then.......

If you like your music and you like it instrumental, you should do yourself a favour and check out this new site. The Silent Ballet has not officially opened its doors, but does have a rather superb compilation mix to download in celebration/anticipation of its completion. Bands such as Yndi Halda, Joy Wants Eternity and Foxhole amongst others have donated tracks to this webzine and its free to download.

I gather they are also looking for bands to write about and also contributions from outside writers.

On another note, I have not forgotten about my review of last weekend's T In The Park Festival. I'm still working on it, and from a very hazy memory too. I also have something else in the pipeline, featuring a truly wonderful but often over-looked band.

It has been quite a busy day for me, but there is one thing left to say...... Goodbye Syd Barrett

Type Records

I actually have tonnes of things to post about tonight, but wasn't expecting to post about the death of a music legend too. Anyway, one of my favourite record labels , Type Records, has updated their website for the first time in months. This UK experimental label is home to some great acts including Helios, Khonnor, Xela, Sickoakes and Deaf Center. It also features an outstanding radio section, where you can download amazing podcast mixes from a selection of their artists. If that wasn't enough, they now operate a myspace site where you can hear even more of their great music. Furthermore, podcast mixes from Tarentel, Helios and Julien Neto have been promised in the near future. Pheww!!!!

Finally, the picture at the top of this post is from Helios' excellent new album Eingya. It is one of the best covers I've ever seen.

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In With The Old

While looking out the Syd Barrett biography mentioned earlier, I also found two great books that I haven't read in years and now looking foward to getting stuck into once again. First off is this critical discography of German electronic music pioneers Tangerine Dream by Paul Stump. Tangerine Dream are a collective that has recorded over 60 albums since the late 1960's and that are always pushing the boundaries. This book really makes sense of their "mammoth output".

The second book comes from one of my favourite authors of all time, George P. Pelecanos. Famous for his hard-hitting crime novels set in and around Washington DC, King Suckerman is the best of them all. You need to read this book, if you don't believe me, read this:

"King Suckerman weaves the blaxploitation films, the drug deals, the soul music and the racial tensions that defined the 70's into a story of natural-born killers and two men who risk everything to bring them down."

This book really should be made into a film, it was published almost 10 years ago and features his two greatest characters Dimitri Karras and Marcus Clay. Check Pelecanos' website as he is preparing to release 15th novel "The Night Gardener" in August 2006. I cannot wait.

Lost In The Woods

Still pretty shocked at Syd Barrett's death and have been listening to his music since I found out. I also decided to fish out a book I bought 5 or 6 years ago called "Lost In The Woods" by Julian Palacios. When reading the book, I would put my Dad's Syd vinyl on, and quickly grew to love his songs, especially the album Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. Here is an excerpt from the book that charts one of the greatest musical icons of the 20th Century, inspiring millions worldwide.

There are also a number of other books dedicated to Syd, ana a truly amazing Syd Barrett FAQ site , which is surprising considering how short his music career really was. I guess his former bandmates in Pink Floyd called it right when they wrote,

"Remember when you were young/ You shone like the sun"

Tribute To Syd Barrett

It saddens me to announce that former Pink Floyd frontman Syd Barrett has died at the age of 60 due to complications from diabetes. He was one of the most enigmatic characters ever in music, and will be badly missed by the legions of bands he influenced. Pink Floyd's debut album, mostly written by Syd, Piper At The Gates of Dawn is arguably their best, while his solo albums The Madcap Laughs and Barrett contain moments of inspired genius, such as Rats and No Good Trying.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond.........


Last.FM : Top Tracks of the Week

Here's a list of all the tracks that have caught my attention over the last week. Its been a very inspiring music week for me, with being at a festival and the release of The Eraser. Obviously doing a couple of reviews meant I have been listening to Thom Yorke, Phon Noir and Port-Royal incessantly. However, I also managed to fit in a few others such as Tunng, n0 Things and Helios who have all got excellent albums out now.

Thom Yorke - harrowdown hill
Thom Yorke - analyse
Thom Yorke - black swan
Thom Yorke - Cymbal Rush
Thom Yorke - the clock
n0 things - coward
Thom Yorke - skip divided
Thom Yorke - and it rained all night
Thom Yorke - The Eraser
Thom Yorke - atoms for peace
Port-Royal - Spetsnaz - Paul Leni
Port-Royal - Flares pt.2
Port-Royal - Flares Part 3
Port-Royal - Geworfenheit
Tunng - Sweet William
phonºnoir - Warm From The Inside
phonºnoir - A Hymn For Silence
phonºnoir - Slowdown
phonºnoir - Origami
phonºnoir - Panodrama
phonºnoir - Melting The Ice
phonºnoir - Februarhimmel
phonºnoir - 15 disconnected 1
phonºnoir - 05 one and a half smiles
phonºnoir - 14 how to become invisible
phonºnoir - 16 le revoir
phonºnoir - 06 euphoria & sadness
Vangelis - Rachel's Song
Aphex Twin - Girl/Boy Song
Vangelis - One More Kiss, Dear
Mogwai - Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep
Shuttle 358 - I like being here
The Jesus Lizard - Mailman
The Jesus Lizard - Churl
Jeff Mills - Phase 4
The Jesus Lizard - Too Bad About The Fire
Telephone Jim Jesus - Little Boy One Eye
Vashti Bunyan - I'd Like To Walk Around In You Mind
Tunng - Mother's Daughter
Nirvana - Jesus Doesn't Want Me For A Sunbeam (Demo)
A Silver Mt. Zion - Dead Marines
The Taste - Same Old Story
Port-Royal - Jeka
Port-Royal - Zobione pt.1
Port-Royal - Zobione pt.2
Port-Royal - Zobione pt.3
Port-Royal - Divertissment
Port-Royal - Gelassenheit
Vorpal - Crash Up Against The Inevitable
Signal - Ondulop
The White Birch - The Astronaut
Mogwai - Folk Death 95
n0 things - Just Say It
n0 things - NinaPintaMaria
Tunng - Red And Green
Tunng - Jenny Again
Tunng - Engine Room
Thee More Shallows - I Can't Get Next To You
[T]ékël - Tutut
phonºnoir - Monolog In Stereo
phonºnoir - The Great Big Hole In The Sky
phonºnoir - Destroying Angel
Helios - Vargtimme
Tunng - It Because We've Got Hair
Taro Ishiwaro - Salinui Chueok track

Monday, July 10, 2006

Thom Yorke : The Eraser

Well the day has finally arrived. The day that the genius that is Radiohead's Thom Yorke releases his much anticipated solo album. Ever since a small announcement was made on Radiohead's Dead Air Space by Thom in early May I have been looking forward to hearing his solo effort. And so it seems has the rest of the world.

Reviews around the web have confirmed just how influential this man is and it seems he can do no wrong. The Eraser is a 40+ minute affair that manages to delight at just about every turn. Here Yorke continues down the road he has been treading ever since Kid A was released in 2000. Glitchy beats are combined with paranoid lyrics, beautiful melodies and probably spasmodic dancing from King Thom.

Yorke has often talked of his passion for Warp Records artists such as Autechre and Aphex Twin. However, on his first solo outing he manages to bring a fresh slant to an electronica world that can be at times stale and un-inspiring. In other words, there is just no-one like Thom Yorke.

Opening track, entitled "The Eraser", starts with cut-up piano and soft drum beats, actually stolen and modified from Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood. The track picks up somewhat as Yorke layers his voice of gorgeous melodies. The track ends with fuzzed out keyboards and some ghostly chanting from Yorke.

Next up, is "Analyse", featuring sweeping drums and an off-kilter melody that is so simple it shouldn't work. It really is classic Thom Yorke stuff, and he sounds particularly inspiring here. "You travel far.....What have you found!" he sings in what could be a definite single from this album. The song reminds me of "Like Spinning Plates" from Amnesiac on occasions. But he really signals his intentions for this album towards the end of "Analyse", combining his stunning vocal range with washes of keyboards, still retaining the melody and sway of the song.

"The Clock" follows, with more jerky beats mixed in with blues-ish guitar work. This song brings to mind some of Radiohead's more experimental b-sides, and may be an angle the band will be (hopefully) keen to pursue. In an interview with Mojo magazine, Yorke stated that The Eraser was "...A lot of the basic ideas kicking around when I got all of my software on my laptop". This statement does not do the album justice, because he has a superb handling of the electronics peppered throughout.

Another contender for a single is "Black Swan", again featuring blues guitar and static beats, the song comes across like a softer version of "Go To Sleep" from Hail To The Thief. However, the album takes a slight lull over the course of the next two tracks "Skip Divided" and "Atoms For Peace". They don't particularly do anything for me. Having said that though, there have been songs Radiohead have done, such as "Let Down" from OK Computer that I didn't particularly like for years, but absolutely love now, so don't take my word for it. The track name "Atoms For Peace" is taken from the motto of the International Atomic Energy Agency, incidentally.

Much of the album continues the musical themes and directions explored in Radiohead tracks such as "Idioteque", "Backdrifts", "The Gloaming" and "Myxamotosis". Halfway through the album you realise how much you are enjoying it, and I certainly didn't want it to end.

Next up is the absolute stand-out "And It Rained All Night", about Yorke's fears of devastating flooding. A fear that may actually happen to Yorke's home town of Oxford eventually due to global warming. Is it any wonder why he campaigns relentlessly for the sake of the planet. The song contains tense keyboards, conveying his fears and those trademark paranoid lyrics.

What really grabs you about the album, though, is Yorke's vocal performance. Vocals are generally left alone and not pushed back in the mix, as in recent Radiohead efforts. This is plainly evident in the album's best track "Harrowdown Hill". In fact, this may actually be one of Thom Yorke's finest moments. The topic of the song , the lyrics, the melody, beats and vocals combine to make this an absolute stormer and it will be the first single. Harrowdown Hill is the place in Oxford where, in 2003, the body of Dr David Kelly was found after an apparent suicide. Kelly was just about to release his findings that there was no justification for Britain to invade Iraq. Many people believe he was either pushed to suicide by the sheer pressure or that he was, in fact, murdered. Here Thom sings, "Can you see me when I'm running........ Away from this......... I can't take the pressure....... No-one cares if you live or die..........". It is both haunting and sad and an obviously angry Yorke unleashes his frustration and fury at Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Labour government. He has been on record saying it is the hardest and angriest song he has ever written finishing with jagged, edgy guitars. It is also worth noting, the song contains an excerpt from "The Gloaming". Click here, if you want to know more about the death of Dr David Kelly.

Yorke has also mentioned that he may play some of the tracks during Radiohead live sets, and has been rehearsing with Jonny Greenwood. I hope one of them is album closer "Cymbal Rush". Starting with trademark blips and bleeps and a hazy keyboard melody, the song slowly develops into a classic Radiohead storm before finishing to an abrupt halt.

Overall, The Eraser is an absolute belter of an album, that does not disappoint. All the classic Thom Yorke traits are present, and even fans of the more conventional Bends-era Radiohead will find plenty to love here.

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T In The Park Madness

Hello, I am back from a weekend of beer, music, beer, rain and more beer. Oh, and I mistakenly only brought half a tent!. Don't feel too bad actually and am even looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. Before all that though I should mention 3 bands I seen who were just simply superb.

I will definitely post a festival review this week but I just have to re-collect my thoughts. Judging by these reports from this newspaper, the weekend was a major success.

Also congratulations to Italy on winning the World Cup, and commiseration to Zinedine Zidane, what were you thinking!!!!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Port-Royal : Follow Up

Following up on my post for Italian ambient kings Port-Royal, the band have e-mailed with some information on their new album , some festival appearences and also some remixing duties:

  • They are currently "completing" their new record. It will be a ten track, 55 minute affair with "more elctronics and rythmns than in "Flares" and less guitars". However, it will retain the same melancholic feel and atmosphere. The band are hoping to have it out by the end of the year. Check out the Resonant website frequently for updates.

  • The band will also lend their hand to some remixing duties for the English band Televise and the Canadians Millimteric. The band are keen to point out it is their first time, but are looking foward to an "interesting experience"

  • Finally the band are scheduled to play in the Route du rock Festival, taking place in Saint Malo, France between August 11th-13th. The band have labelled this the "most important gig of the Summer and of their career!". The line-up is pretty excellent, with the likes os Mogwai, Liars and Calexico appearing. Port-Royal will perform after Ulrich Schnauss.

No news on UK dates at the moment, but with a new album out this year (hopefully), they shouldn't be far away.

Keeping with the Italian theme, here is how the magnificent Fabio Cannavaro and his Italian team-mates stunned German Football in last nights World Cup 2006 Semi-final. What a performance from the Azzuri.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Tube of The Week : Ian Wright

Ok, I might come across as quite biased here, beacsue of my Scottish heritage, but I thoroughly enjoyed England's penalty shoot-out exit to Portugal on Saturday in the World Cup quarter finals. Predictably, the media are blaming Sven-Goran Eriksson, who failed to get the best out of their "undoubted world class players".

This arrogance is the main reason why Scots love to see the English fail so much. England have only ever won one major tournament ( in their own country nonetheless) and since then only appeared in two semi-finals. This is poor for a country who think they are among the world's super powers.

Anyway, the point of this article is not to slag the palyers off (although Rooney deserves it), its the media who should shoulder the blame for continually raising expectations.

The tube of the week award goes to BBC football 'pundit' Ian Wright. It is highly embarrassing when fellow pundits, Brazilian Leonardo and Frenchman Marcel Desailly, both have a better command of English than him. It was also embarrassing when he squealed like a schoolgirl when South Korea equalised against the French, with Desailly sitting next to him.

There is a rather amusing article, containg one of Wright's gems :

“However long we were in the wilderness, I would rather see us in the wilderness for years with an English manager than win the World Cup with a foreigner”.

This makes him look like a bigot, but in all reality, his saving grace is he is just not very clever. Although such comments are pretty poorly judged, when you consider the amount of fellow pundits around him in the BBC studios, who are actually "foreigners".

A Guardian article recently remarked they " hope (Wright) is being paid to act like an idiot, for comedy value". I am certainly not paying the TV License to listen to this clown!.

However, his crowning moment came after England missed their third and decisive penalty. He could not even look at the camera and looked as if he lost all of his life savings on England's exit. Many people call him passionate. I call him my tube of the week. Get him off the TV. NOW!!!!!!!!!

Festival Action!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Excellent news (well, for me anyway)..............

When all seemed lost and there's was little, if any, hope. A friend of mine has managed to get me a ticket for the T in the Park Festival this weekend in Kinross, Scotland. I never got my act together on the two occasions tickets were released. They all sold out within an hour and my contacts couldn't find any either. Tickets have been offered at silly prices, but I refused to pay extortionate amounts. However, from out of nowhere, my friend has 'pulled it out of the bag' for me. I owe her a big favour.

The Line-up is pretty good this year, and with no Glastonbury to speak of, it could be the UK's main festival this Summer. I was particularly gutted when I found out Sigur Ros were headlining one of the stages, but then I realised the Animal Collective were also making a rare appearance too. The Animal Collective are a band that have always interested me and I can't wait to see how they perform their psych-folk/pop music. Sigur Ros, on the other hand, I know inside out, having been into them since 1998. Only managed to see them twice though, including at the Massey Hall in Toronto last year. It will be great to experience them in a festival environment. I'm also looking forward to seeing The Who close everything off on Sunday night. After a day of recovery, I'll post a wee review, complete with a step by step guide to the Pete Townsend windmill.

So I now have a prized ticket for the full weekend plus camping. As Mr Burns would say......

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