Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep: September 2006

Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Free Music =

Everyone likes to download free music, right?. More often than not, though, it is done illegally on bit torrent sites or file-sharing sites such as Soulseek.

This is not the case at, a site where full albums of many up and coming independent bands deserving of your attention can be downloaded legally. The best part is it is completely free. "weeds out the crap and when the dust clears what we're left with is brilliant rockstars and gifted musicians".

One of the more notable artists featured recently, is Conor Oberst's Bright Eyes project. Here, you can download five exclusive tracks. There is no catch, just a site dedicated to bringing you great sounds. Ohter notable artists involved so far include the much vaunted Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah!. is not your typical mp3 blog, where bands are mentioned because they hav a rad! image and are cool. This site is dedicated to unearthing gems and posting on bands with some substance.

Its a great idea, visit regulalrly to get your fix of free music.

Keser : "Esoteric Escape" (Alex Tronic Records)

One of the main reasons for starting this blog was to find and help promote great Scottish music. Although I have posted on a handful of acts already, I thought it was time to step it up a gear. First up is Keser, who were recommended to me by New York based blog I Work At Initech.

I am preplexed at how I managed to let a band such as Keser slip under my radar, and it took an American based blogger to point them in my direction. The Edinburgh based duo create a sound that masses together the intesity of Mogwai, Boards of Canada style synths and inventive programming. They also share some similarities with Glasgow based Errors.

"Esoteric Escape" was released in late August through Scottish indie label Alex Tronic, and is a thoroughly enjoyable affair. It kicks off with the pulsing keys of "FM Rocker", before their electronica influences come to the fore after a minute or so with glitchy beats forcing their way into the mix.

"4 Cycles" continues this trend, although this time it contains a more prominent guitar melody that gives an almost Four Tet aura. However, the duo show they are a big fan of shoegazer bands such as My Bloody Valentine as a huge wall of guitar distortion hits around the 3 minute mark. The track ends with crazy Aphex style programming.

The first real highlight occurs on the fifth track, "In The Next Beginning". Starting with obscured and intertwined vocal samples, the duo portray a satisfying ability of combining euphoric synths, huge wall-of-sound guitars and solid chunky beats.

Being form Scotland, it is hard for bands not to be influenced by what has gone before them. Keser have certainly studied the dynamics of bands such as Mogwai and Aerogramme, but also retain their own identity.

"Rolling V2" would be more at home on a Boards Of Canada album than a Mogwai release, while "Frozen Fireworks" is introduced with pounding Rich Hawtin-esque beats and a sample of someone talking in A Scottish accent, that is a lot less harsher than my Glaswegian dialect.

Again the duo mix those strings, beats and guitars to great effect. If anybody knows, n5md artist, Bitcrush they will know what I am talking about. "Frozen Fireworks" would have been my favourite track on the album, if it wasn't for the next one.

"Destination:Destiny" immediately made me take notice as soon as I heard it. This one I recommend playing at full volume to get the greatest impact. It is a slow-burner (around four minutes of build up) but it is well worth the wait. As mammoth sounding guitars are unleashed around after the 4 minutes . It is as forceful as anything Mogwai have ever recorded and is certainly one of those 'hair on the back' of the neck moments.

Things are toned down slightly for the remaining three tracks. Album closer, "Kontrol/ Kaos" is an apt name for the track, as it starts calmly beofre descending into the chaos of those signature guitars.

"Esoteric Escape" is an album that can be listened to with headphones (where you will hear the intircate programming and subtle vocal samples) or you can also play it at full volume to annoy the neighbours with huge distorted guitar chords. Either way you will get a lot from Keser. A welcome edition to the scottish music scene.
You can catch Keser live at Bannermans, Edinburgh on November 11th.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Refused : "New Noise"

I am forever going on about Swedish music on these pages and happened to stumble onto this site. Scandinavian Sounds features the views of someone exiled in Sweden, and it is a great way to keep up to date with the country with such a Rich and vibrant music scene.

Browsing through the pages, I was reminded of the fantastic hardcore punk band Refused. I bought their album "A Shape of Punk To Come" in 1998 and was blown away by it. Sadly, they split up not long after it and some members went on to form The (International) Noise Conspiracy.

The video above is off the first song I heard form Refused. "New Noise" is an absolute stunner of track somhow featuring hardcore punk guitars and electronica elements. Politcally charged, this is what punk music should be about.

"This album marked a sharp and conscious departure from Refused's earlier work. The philosophy of the album, expounded in the ample liner notes and encapsulated in the song "New Noise", was that punk and hardcore music could not be anti-establishment by continuing to package revolutionary lyrics in sounds which had been increasingly co-opted into the mainstream. The sound of the record presented a challenge to existing punk sensibilities; its sounds were 'punk' at a fundamental level, but worlds apart from pop punk bands such as and Blink 182, and more political pop punk bands such as Bad Religion".

Album Of The Year

Since starting this site, I have been sent a number of albums that have really made me stop and take notice. Right now, in fact, I am listening to 3 great cd's. I plan full reviews on Vic Spanner, Keser, and Talk Less Say More soon. In the meantime, go to their myspace sites to get an idea of their sound.

This has got me thinking, with only about 90 days left to the new year, opinions will be getting formed as to what is the album of the year. Of course, there is still 3 months worth of music to go, but I already know of a few strong contenders for the coveted number 1 spot.

So, I hate missing out on great music, what would be your album(s) of the year so far?

Scottish Guitar Army #2

I must register a complaint to the Glasgow City Council, there is no way Mogwai should have been allowed to play "Glasgow Megasnake", "Helicon 1" and "Ratts of The Capital" in such close proximity in the setlist. I have finally discovered why my eardrums are no more!! .Here is the setlist in full, form Mogwai's Glasgow gig on Saturday:
Friend Of The Night
Killing All The Flies
I Know You Are But What Am I?
Acid Food
Glasgow Mega Snake
Helicon 1
Ratts Of The Capital
2 Rights Make 1 Wrong
We're No Here
Hunted By A Freak
Mogwai Fear Satan

Futhermore, there is a full set to download, from their Leicester gig at The Trader's Den. It has a completely different setlist to the Glasgow gig and features new track "Black Spider" as well as some older favourites "CODY" and "Xmas Steps".

Here is what some punters had to say of the Leicester gig.

"opening with "Xmas Steps" - don't get to see that often- the stereo delay during "I Know You Are...", which yes does show up on this tape- drifting off slightly during "Fear Satan", which meant that the kick that I'm normally watching for knocked me out of my fucking skin."

I also aquired the nifty t-shirt pictured above from Rock Action Records.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Scottish Guitar Army

Last night's Mogwai gig, was as good as I have ever seen them. "Hunted By A Freak" was again transformed into a ten minute epic in a live setting, while old favoutites like "Summer" and "Ithica 27-9" were given a welcome airing.

"Glasgow Megasnake" and the outstanding "Helicon 1" just about knocked me over, the sheer volume of noise was like being hit with a sledgehammer. "Ratts of The Capital" was also excellent, the only disappointment is the bands reliance on synths these days rather than the gorgeous glockenspiel they used to use.

"Mogwai Fear Satan" rounded of a spectacular performance in a packed Barrowlands, and Mogwai quite possible managed to get even louder, my eardrums are burst and out of action for a couple of days. This is not a bad thing.

A special mention must be given to Barry Burns for excellent use of the vocoder during "Acid Food" and "Killing All The Flies"

Once I remember the full setlist, I'll post a full review.

Update! - You can get a bootleg recording of last nights gig, at Tea With Tufty

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Mogwai : "Xmas Steps"

This is what I have to look foward to tomorrow night and I cannot wait. A few requests were mentioned on the comments section here for "Xmas Steps". Going by this footage, who I am to argue. I am proud to be a Glaswegian because of the quality of Mogwai's music. Not many bands can touch them in a live setting. And Stuart is wearing an early 90's Celtic Away Kit. Hail Hail Boys!!!.

Friday, September 22, 2006

C'mon The Hoops

Blogging activities will be at a minimum tomorrow, not only will I be at Mogwai, beforehand, there is the small matter of the first Celtic/Rangers game of the season. I have a ticket for this too and the butterflies in my stomach are already going. This is a game no-one wants to lose. I predict Celtic's towering Dutchman Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink will score the winner fo us tomorrow afternoon, sending me deliriously happy to the Mogwai gig later that night

C'mon The Hoops

Mogwai : Zinedine Zidane Tracklisting and Cover

A welcome boost prior to tomorrow night's Mogwai gig. Thanks to super Mogwai site, Brightlight!, for bringing to attention, the brand new cover and tracklisting of Mogwai's next release.

"Zinedine Zidane : A 21st Century Profile"doesn't have a release date as of yet, but a 10" vinyl will come out on October 16th.

This film follows the mercurial French Football star (one of the greatest players ever to grace the Earth) over the course of 90 minutes in a game for his Real Madrid team against Spanish opponets Villareal, soundtracked to the strains of the mighty 'gwai. Its a marriage made in heaven. We all know what happened in the World Cup final, but in the madness of the aftermath, the world forgot we lost THE best player of our generation.

According to Angry Ape both "Black Spider" (which has been included in live sets recently) and "Half-Time" will feature on the initial vinyl release. This article explains everything about the film, while watch a preview of it here.

Here is the tracklisting:

1 black spider
2 terrific speech 2
3 wake up and go berserk
4 terrific speech 1
5 7:25
6 half time
7 i do have weapons
8 time and a half
9 it would have happened anyway
10 black spider 2

Alice In Chains : "Would?"

I picked up one of the bargain's of the year today, when I bought Alice In Chains seminal "Dirt" album packaged together with their "Unplugged" opus, for a measly £6 from Fopp Records.

I have been, meaning to buy AIC's unplugged set for a long time now, so getting it for such a small price was a nice bonus. I have also been able to replace my worn out copy of "Dirt" too, with a brand-spanking new disk.

Alice In Chains, for the uninitiated, were one of the more prominent members of Seattle's Grunge movement in the early 90's. Their sound was a unique blend of doomy, distorted and metallic riffing (courtesy of Jerry Cantrell), spooky vocal harmonines, classic rock structures and highly morbid lyrics.

"Dirt" is amazingly 15 years old next year and as I listen to it as I write, it still sounds as fresh as ever. From the driving "Dam The River", past the goulish "Godsmack", right through to the majestic "Down In A Hole", this is quite easily one of my favourite albums of all time.

Vocalist Layne Staley was one of the main contributor's to AIC's haunting style. His vocals could range from a classic rock howl right through to tortured wailing. A look at song titles such as "Godsmack", "Sickman" and "Down In A Hole" portray Staley's battle with his demons and heroin addiction. An addiction which eventually cost him his life in 2002.

It was a grizzly end for one of the most talented frontmen in rock history. Leaving behind a legacy and a truly remarkable and ultimately tragic band. The video above ,"Would?", is probably the band's finest moment. Catching the band at the height of their powers, around the time when "Dirt" was released.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Alas!, Alas! It's The Ascent Of Everest

I must have ordered The Ascent Of Everest's "How Lonely Sits The City" album at least three months ago from the band's website. It finally arrived, last Monday, after I had completely forgotten about it. I'll give you a brief history of this order...

I had heard so much about this album, earlier in the year, that I thought I had to get my hands on it. I ordered it from The Ascent's.. website for $10 (or '5 sheets' in Scotland) in June. A week later I got an e-mail from some guy ( later, I found out it was the band's percussionist) saying their distribution company had went bust. However, they promised my order was on its way, regardless.

A month later, my order still hadn't arrived and a few e-mails to said band member didn't inspire me with much confidence. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and just download the album since I had, in effect paid for it. But, digital transfer isn't doing anything for me these days, I prefer something tangible. So, despite the download, I never bothered listening to the mp3 version and forgot about the band.

I had admitted defeat in getting the album and moved on with my life. Until it, somehow, finally showed up last week through my letterbox. Not only that, the band had also sent a plethora of badges and stickers as an apology.

To the music though, was it worth the wait?.....

Yes, Yes and Thrice Yes.....

There is a lot of different influences (Godspeed, A Silver Mt Zion) but it is delivered with such panache, that it creates its own niche. A lot of the instrumentation reminds me of all those great Constellation bands, but I think some of the dynamics are reminiscent of Sigur Ros too.

The five tracks, spanning 55 minutes, are most enjoyable. Standout tracks include opener "Alas!, Alas!, The Breath of Life" and "A Thernody (For The Victims of Novemeber 2nd)", the latter being particularly poignant right now. It represents the day George W Bush came into power in the USA, effectively signing the deathwish of nearly 100,000 victims of his "war on terror".

Ascent of Everest apology accepted!. All is forgiven!.

I can't vouch for the quality of the delivery of orders, but I will most definitely vouch for the quality of their music. Listen here

The "Endtime" Is Now...

Or so I had hoped. Crippled Black Phoenix have completed the final mixing stage of their "A Love of Shared Disasters" album. In a statement released on their myspace site the a band member wrote:

"I havent got much time but just to let you all know that the recording/mixing for the album is complete, but you'll have to wait a little longer to get a copy, we've decided to put the release date back untill January '07. It'll give us all a chance to breathe and arrange some more live shows for around that time or soon after. "

I suppose this is both a good and a bad thing for us music lovers. It is bad because we can't get to hear one of the most anticipated albums of the year. However, it is good because anticipation of the release, will certainly, allow the band to develop their live show and give them space to "breathe"..

The band have implied that tracks will appear sporadically on their myspace player until January 07, let's hope so... In the meantime, join the CBP Forum

Here is the full tracklisting:

The Lament of the Nithered Mercinary
When You're Gone
Really, How'd it get this way?
The Whistler
Supppose i told the truth (why i went away)
Long Cold Summer
Goodnight, Europe
You Take the Devil out of Me
The Northern Cobbler
My Enemies I Fear Not, But Protect me from my Friends
I'm Almost Home
Sharks & Storms / Blizzard of Horned Cats

The band will also be performing at these fine establishments.....

Fri 20th - The Cooler, Bristol
Sat 21st - Nice'n'Sleazys, Glasgow
Sun 22nd - The Medicine Bar, Birmingham
Mon 23rd - Jabez Clegg, Manchester

I Work At Initech Blog

If you enjoy the content and music here at Boring Machines, then I urge you to check out I Work At Initech. It's another blog that has an uncanny resemblence to this one, in terms of the music that is posted on it. Mogwai seems to be the order of the day over at Initech and there is even a post on Crippled Black Phoenix. This blog gives a New York perspective to the music we all know and love.

I have already found out about great new bands that I have never heard before, one of them I am ashamed to admit was Scottish. How I have never heard of that band, I'll never know!.

Go here, to view the whole host of music, news and reviews that I have missed out on.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Mogwai : Barrowlands Preview

Glasgow's finest sons, Mogwai, will be making a triumphant return to their spiritual home, The Barrowlands Ballroom, this coming Saturday night (23/09). The Barrowlands is a legendary venue in not only Glasgow, but the UK. It is simply the best venue for live music I have ever been to.

This will also be the third time I have seen Mogwai perform in less than a year. But, I must admit, I am looking foward to it more than ever.

The last time I witnessed their live spectacle was during Scotland's Triptych Festival last April, at Edinburgh's cavernous Usher Hall. This venue is more suited for symphonies than rock bands, but Mogwai nearly tore the whole building down with the sheer volume. The mighty 'gwai blew us all away that night. Drafting in am extra guitarist on that occasion (Four guitarists in total on stage at some points), they played a devastating set, starting with "Auto Rock" and ending with monlithic live favourite "We're No Here" (followed by 20 minutes of ear-piercing feedback).

For three days after, all I could here was a high-pitched buzzing noise in my ears. People that night had to put their fingers in their ears because they couldn't take the ferocity of the wall of sound coming from the stage (not me though!). I am not even a new fan, in fact this Saturday will be my 11th Mogwai gig. My friend once described them as "face-melting". He wasn't wrong!

Gladly, my hearing impairment subsided before I got too worried. But now, I can't wait for more of the same.

The first time I ever heard Mogwai was in Merchant City Music, a guitar shop in Glasgow, in late 1996. While browsing through guitars I couldn't afford, I asked the owner who was playing on his stereo."It's "Summer" by Mogwai" he replied. "They're from Glasgow"

Fast-foward a couple of months, and at 15 I was off to my first T In The Park Festival. Browsing through the line-up, I noticed Mogwai were playing early on the Saturday and on the smallest stage. I made sure I was there to see this band that had impressed me all those months ago. My jaw was agape for most of this performance as I witnessed them rip through tracks such as "Helicon 1" and"Summer", almost laying waste to the tent that covered the arena. I had been a bit of a metal fan when I was younger, but this was the loudest thing I had ever heard.

I was immediately converted. When I returned from the festival, the first chance I got, I went out a bought their "Superheroes of BMX" ep. On first listen, though, I was disappointed. It wasn't like their live show at all.

This is something I have came to understand about Mogwai. It is impossible for them to do themselves justice on record. Their live show is just such a jaw-dropping experience and one that I will never tire of. This, though, is a hallmark of a great band.

I have since grown to love the "Superheroes..." ep as I realised there was a lot more intricate aspects to this band, than just loud aural blasts of noise.

There are a few songs I am hoping to hear on Saturday, so if any of the guys read this, please take them into consideration:

"Helicon 1" : this is probably the finest instrumental track ever written, in my opinion. It doesn't need violins, electronics or a brass section. Just the beautiful melody and, of course, that stunning climax. This song spawned a 1000 copyists, who could never touch it.

"Hugh Dallas" : Celtic fans will know what this number is all about. I am a huge Celtic fan, as are Mogwai. We are playing Rangers a couple of hours before the gig. I would love to celebrae a victory to this song.

"Folk-Death 95" - "Mr Beast" has been one of the best records of 2006, this is my favourite track from it".

"Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep" - well this blog is named after this song, you know!.

"Hunted By A Freak" - not one of my favourite tracks on record, but live at the Usher Hall gig, it was outstanding.

"Mogwai Fear Satan" - The definative Mogwai song. An near 20 minute monster, complete with a captivating flute and epic build-ups.

"Summer" - the song that started it all for me.

"We're No Here" - This is almost apocalyptic sounding and is probably responsible for deafness last time round. An absolute cert to finish of the Barrowlands set.

Maybe I have missed some tracks out, what would you like to hear at a Mogwai gig? Leave your comments.

If for some inexplicable reason, you have never heard Mogwai before, then go and listen here.

Phonºnoir and Fennesz New Tracks

Two Boring Machines favourites have posted brand new tracks on their respective myspace sites:


German musician Phonºnoir has uploaded new track, "My Paperhouse On Fire", and it continues his meticulous production techniques, which was one of the hallmarks of his album "Putting Holes In October Skies". This new song features more prominent drum programming, but retains the understated vocals and mercurial guitar playing. It also features female vocal harmonies, provided by Marie-Sophie Kanske of fellow Germans Transatlanticism. Go here to stream the track.


Austraian ambient composer, Christian Fennesz, also has a new song posted on myspace. "Tree" is a short piece that will feature on a Touch Records compilation. This track continues some of the themes explored in his critically-acclaimed "Venice" album. Using spectral drones and liberally plucked acoustic guitar, it evokes images of the rain-drenched landscape of Ridley Scott's "Bladerunner" film. Listen here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Cælum : "This Guitar Ep" (Camomille Music)

Internet radio is something I have generally avoided for the most part. However, when the fancy takes me I enjoy listening to Static Beats, which caters for the large electronic market around the globe. I have heard many great artists on this site, most notably Bitstream and Seven Ark.

While doing some blogging activities recently, I stumbled across a new station. I let Systrum Sistum run while I got on with my work and soon found myself enjoying the tunes. A quick check at the recent playlist presented me with a problem. I had never heard of anyone on it!.

One of the most striking tracks on that playlist was "Utrop" by Swedish-based musician Cælum. In fact I enjoyed it that much that I went online to find out more about this obscure artist. I found that Cælum's "This Guitar Ep" was availible to download for free via netlabel Camomille Music. They describe this release as "textural guitar playing, dark and nostalgic ambiances, crisp sound design and an overlaying feeling of mysticism...". I decided this sounded pretty excellent and downloaded it.

Although very short (under 12 minutes) this ep has left a distinct impression on me, to the extent that I am now posting on it. "This Guitar Ep" brings together beautiful guitar playing, Four-Tet style programming and the air of an Ennio Morricone soundtrack. In fact, I imagine this ep would be ideal to score some sort of futuristic cowboy film.

For example, on opener "Spaghetti", Cælum uses echoed acoustic guitars, that build slowly but with a tad of urgency about them. It sounds like music that would precede a shootout between two gunslingers. It has an excellent aura of anticipation, excitement and tension.

Next track, "Sunday Morning", changes tact slightly. Although the filtered acoustic notes are still present, a Four Tet style beat starts to emerge and takes the track on a different tangent, as guitars are looped fowards and backwards.

"Saturday Morning", meanwhile, is more sombre sounding, again using delayed guitar work, that is almost flamenco sounding. A stuttering drum pattern is added, along with wind sounds , that heighten the atmosphere.

The final track, is the aforementioned, "Utrop". A brief and beautiful piece that uses a treated acoustic guitar, that gradually distorts as the song progresses, finally ending in a midst of computer bleeps and static.

Cælum, is yet further proof of the rich and diverse nature of the music coming out of Sweden right now. It also provides concrete evidence of the quality of music availible to download for free on netlabel's dotted around the net.

Stream "This Guitar Ep" here, while download it here. In addition, check out Cælum's very own netlabel White Noise too.

Monday, September 18, 2006


Last week I decided to splurge on some album's. I bought a few I had downloaded a couple of years ago and liked, but I also bought some records from artists I hadn't really paid attention to much. One of the stand-out purchases was Yellow6' "Disappear Here", which was released way back in 2003.

I'm a big Epic45 fan and Yellow6 is part of the same Make Mine Music Collective, so this name was quite familiar to me, but his music wasn't. Yellow6 is Leicestershire based guitar experimentalist Jon Attwood. After serving his musical apprenticeship in punk bands throughout the 80's, Attwood has since progressed to making mesmeric ambient soundscapes. He uses "samples, programmed beats, reverb and a large improvisational element" to create his ethereal sound.

Attwood is also well-known for remixing duties having worked with the likes of Glider and Tristeza. It also might be worth noting the sheer volume of Yellow6 releases too, I lost count at 40.

I bought "Disappear Here" for a meagre £3 from Make Mine Music and it is one of the most instantly striking ambient releases I have ever heard. It may be the frame of mind I am in at the moment, but all I can say is I have listened to this non-stop since receiving it on Friday.

Some of the best moments occur early on in the album, such as "Chrysler", which features a solemn, but reverbed, piano playing through a trance-inducing melody. It is both sparse and beautiful.

"Cycle" adds soft beats to the layers of sound, while a relaxing guitar arrangement provides a soothing atmosphere. Each song contains a repetitive structure, helping to create the album's amazing ambiance.

The whole album is painstakingly crafted from start to finish, with every effort made to make sure each note is perfected. I urge you to buy this album here, and get invovled with its echoed synths, pulsing drum patterns and dreamlike guitars. Anybody who enjoys listening to the likes of Labradford or Marconi Union, will find Yellow6 immediately appealing.

Or stream some tracks at myspace, or even take advantage of the generous amount of free mp3's at Yellow6's website. Check out thew other artists involved with the Make Mine Music Collective.

Top Tracks - 11/09 -17/09

1."Decemebr" / When They Know You They Will Run
2."Swagger" / Calla
3."A Million Scientists"/ Parkside
4."At The Heart Of It All" / Aphex Twin
5."The Audio Pool" / The Album Leaf
6."The Contact" / Marconi Union
7."Paperclipbeard The Pirate" / Strap The Button
8."Your Birds" / Last Days
9."Priorities" / The Butterfly
10."Tragic Carpet Ride" / Polvo

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Parkside : "The Disintegration Service" Ep

Parkside, a 5-piece from The Netherlands, draw on a variety of influences to produce a sound that is distinctively their own. This release, "The Disintegration Service" Ep is intended as a sampler for their forthcoming album, which is due out in November 2006. Going on this evidence, it may be an extremely interesting record.

According to their bio, we should "think of Radiohead's Kid A, but with a little more a song to hold onto" when describing their sound. One member also has a talent of "making his guitar sound like (composer) Erik Satie, while another has mastered the art of copying and pasting everyday sounds and incorporating them in the songs as instruments.

As stated before, this Dutch troupe have an abundance of influences. The strongest and most apparent , to my ears, is Belgian rockers dEUS. However, they also braid there music with samples and electronics, similar to UK act Tunng.

This is most notable on opening track "A Million Scientists", where Parkside share the same experimentation and keen sense of melody as their lowland counterparts. This track builds purposefully with a driving rythmn and plucked guitar work, befor the lead singer voiciferates theatrically at the chorus, sounding not unlike Fugazi's Ian MacKaye. It is a very strong opening effort.

"Into The Void", however, doesn't build on the good work of the first track. Although, there are some pleasing touches, such as the electronic bursts throughout, the song doesn't seem to go anywhere. In fact,it kind of reminds me of a latter day U2, and that is never a good thing.

Final track, "The Disintegration Service", though, restores some of the momentum that was lost. It shows a band willing to innovate, but without hampering their ability to create well-structured songs. I really like the mellow synths scattered throughout, which are also complimented by beautiful violin sounds that weave in and out.

This Ep certainly shows why Parkside are a favourite on the Dutch live circuit. In fact, the band will soon be performing a webcast where we can also witness their live spectacle. With two songs from three, hitting home it is not a bad release at all. It hints that the album proper could be a diverse and extremely creative affair.

Listen to Parkside here, download "The Disintegration Service" for free here, and tune into their webcast on September 28th midnight CET here.

Crippled Black Phoenix Live Dates

The enigma that is Crippled Black Phoenix have also announced four live dates around the UK. The one that interests me, is 21st of October at Nice 'n' Sleazy's in Glasgow. It is also understood that the band will be bringing their projection and light show along on tour too.

This will also mark the first show that Mogwai bassist Dominic Aitchison will play with the other "merry band of bastards", which also features Joe Volk and Electric Wizard member Justin Greaves, amongst others.

Furthermore, the band are nearing the end of the final mixing stage of their debut album and a release date is surely imminent, for what is one of the most anticipated records of the year. They also now have their own website which you can access here.

Red Sparowes - "Alone and Unaware, The Landscape Was Transformed..."

Red Sparowes have announced several live dates in both the UK and USA, in support of their new album, "Every Red Heart Shines Towards The Red Sun". They will be appearing at the Barfly In Glasgow pn the 18th of October. I have seen them twice before, and trust me, you do not want to miss their live show. Featuring memebers of Isis and Halifax Pier amongst others, they create instrumental soundscapes with a more metallic edge, don't miss these shows.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Our Sleepless Forest Signed!

I'm not one for blowing my own trumpet, but I think I can make an exception in this case. A young band I posted on here a couple of months ago, have just found out that Type Records will be releasing some of their music.

Our Sleepless Forest, are three youngsters (not even out of their teens), from London. Back then, I was full of praise for their remarkable sound. They combine elements of psychedelia, stuttered electronics and filtered guitars to develop and wonderful and atmospheric sound.

Type Records is well established as one of the most innovative (and coolest) imprints about. The likes of Helios, Khonnor and Xela can be found on their roster. Our Sleepless Forest will be releasing an 7' through Type, featuring "Poison Dwarf", "Cascade" and the glorious "Tinderbox". The band allowed me to host an mp3 of "Tinderbox" all those weeks ago (of course its now offline) and through our e-mails displayed an excellentl knowledge of the current underground music scene, that is portrayed throughout their music.

This marks the first real Boring Machines recommendation, and it couldn't have happened to more worthy guys. I hope it will bring every success this band deserve. Listen to Our Sleepless Forest here. The 7' will be available on the Type shop and through Boomkat. More news to follow.

Friday, September 15, 2006

"Svenskt" - Big Scary Monsters

Big Scary Monsters, has in the past, proved that it is an independent record label well ahead of its time. Not only have they released music by the critically acclaimed Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, they also have post-rock prodigy's Yndi Halda signed and ready to deliver their much anticipated Ep.

So with all that being the case, the 16th of October should be clearly marked in you diary in huge red marker pen. This date should be commited to memory, as it is the day BSM unleashes its ambitious "Svenskt" project

"Svenskt" is a compilation geared to celebrate the sheer quality and depth of the music coming out of Sweden right now. Some names involved might be known to you. Jeniferver, for example, have being creating quite a buzz recently, as have Ef. Some other's may be more obscure.

However, pop over to the "Svenskt" myspace site and stream some music. One highlight includes the excellent Audrey. This band are completely new to me, but the all female quartet impress with their lulling chamber pop sound.

Meanwhile, Logh are a band well-known and cherished in their native country. Reminiscent of Pavement this six-piece were formed in 1998 are a now on the roster of ultra-experimental label Hydra Head.

Considering that the serene Swedes, immanu el, are not even included on this compilation, the 18 tracks must be of the highest quality. As BSM themsleves state, "There are many, many others deserving of your time and ears". They have basically crammed the CD full to the brim of quality Swedish sounds.

Musically, Sweden may just about to become the new Canada and Big Scary Monsters are going to be at the forefront of the Scandinavian revolution. You can join this by pre-ordering "Svenskt" here, for a paltry £7. The first 25 people will recieve an "I Love Sweden" badge too.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Album Leaf - "Spinning Makes Me Dizzy"

Having released one of my favourite album's in 2004, The Album Leaf have followed the excellent "In A Safe Place", with latest album "Into The Blue Again". It was only released on the 12th of September, so I haven't heard this new effort yet, but if it is half as good as the previous one, then we will be in for a treat.

I have never heard the song in the video above, but "Spinning Makes Me Dizzy", is a prime example of The Album Leaf's sound. Playful beats, chiming melodies and just superbly written songs that combines elements of electronica and melancholic rock. One reviewer has described their new album as:

"(Into The Blue Again) finds the songwriter at his most intimate and comfortable. Serene piano leads and Boards of Canada-esque drum programming make this one of Sub Pop's best releases this year".

I first came across The Album Leaf when they were supporting Sigur Ros in 2002. Back then it was just group leader and classically trained musician Jimmy LaVelle on stage armed with a guitar and a laptop. Its also worth mentioning that LaVelle is an honourary member of Sigur Ros too with both groups featuring on each other's work. Despite the lack of a tangible band behind him that night, though, his set was pretty memorable and interesting and I bought "One Day I'll Be On Time" the next day. This was a period when I was studying business at university and I spent most of my free time and money at Avalanche Records, when I really should have been working on my dissertation.

As you can see from the video, LaVelle has now recruited a full band, so I'm intrigued to see him/them on the live circuit once again. There is no European tour as of yet, but if everything goes according to plan, I should be in Toronto to catch the show at Lee's Palace on November 9th. I'm now off to myspace to check out their new tunes, where you can also get $2 off the album if you order it there.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Epic45 : "They Cut Into The Hill"

The video above is from Epic45's fairly recent "Drakelow" ep, but this post concerns news on their new album. "We Left Our Home For Winter" continues their fascination with weather-themed titles and will be released in Spring 2007. It will be released throughout Europe by Make Mine Music. Expect outtakes, snippets and videos to appear on their myspace site. The band also have some dates performing with July Skies with details to be found here.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Port-Royal : "Flares (Part 3)"

I have finally came across some footage of the truly remarkable Italian group Port-Royal. Ever since posting this appreciation of their "Flares" album I have been scouring the internet looking to give you some tangible evidence, apart from my words.

Not only did I find this video, but I found 4 more including some live performances. If you haven't heard this album, then please make sure you do. It is not often that a band makes such an impact on me. In fact, there are only a handful (Radiohead; Mogwai; Explosions In The Sky ; Sigur Ros and thre Hungry Ghosts). "Flares" is one of my all-time favourite albums and at an expansive 70 odd minutes long, it ranges from blissful ambience, stuttering electronics and is full of huge guitar crescendo's. The video above is part 3 of album centrepiece "Flares". Simply stunning and an absolute masterpiece from start to finish. Go here to read another excellent description of "Flares"

The Butterfly - "Impatient Orchid" Ep (Good Name For A Racehorse Records)

The Butterfly, another signing to the excellent Good Name For A Racehorse Records, hail from Leeds, England. That all sound normal and above board so far, but I can tell you this five-piece are as far from normal as you could possibly get. In fact, they are just plain crazy!!!

This collective creates music that refuses to sit still. They can quite effortlessly jump from genre to genre, without out impacting on each of the songs flow and cohesiveness. "Impatient Orchid" is a truly remarkable release that embraces several styles with amazing ease.

Billed as a band who make "bombastic, subversive, and unashamedly brainy songs, that would fill stadiums in a universe where irony had been reclaimed by the dumb", their sound is like nothing I have ever heard before.

There is no apparent reason for their schizophrenic nature, but they have a kindred spirit in Mike Patton and his Ipecac imprint. The Butterfly share Patton's vision to continually challenge themselves and their listeners.

First song, "Eros and Thanatos" manages to encompass heavy rock, funk and even Mexican mariachi music. Add crunchy Tool style guitars at the chorus, and this is a curiously eclectic mix. This band manage to out do their American counterparts such as Incubus, whose middle of the road rock these days, is a poor relation to this.

The band claim they are happy being "too heavy for the indie kids and to weird for the rock crowd", but given the backing of inferior bands like Incubus and Linkin Park, they could be huge.

"The Art Of Falling" brings to mind "Angel Dust" period Faith No More. Again, it features several styles that somehow merge and work together. The frontman also displays an impressive vocal range, during a rather catchy chorus.

It is astonishing how many differing time time signatures and textures that are used in songs that last no longer than 4 minutes.

"Dispatches From De Clerambault's Patient", is probably the most straight-foward song on this ep, musically anyway. The Lyrical content, as the title suggests, is a different matter. This song is an account of "paranoia and is bleaky terrifying..."

Final track, "Priorities" reminds slightly of System Of A Down, only without their MTV sheen. It features an urgently funky verse, before those huge Tool-esque guitars come crashing in again on the chorus.

There is so much going on in "Impatient Orchid" that the 15 minute running time flies past as you listen. But, you are certain to go back for more. I don't know what the future holds for The Butterfly, I'm not even sure they do!. Whatever it is though, I can guarentee it will be weird, wonderful and extremely thrilling. Listen here and order "Impatient Orchid" here

Monday, September 11, 2006

When They Know You They Will Run - Demo

There seems to be a general feeling going around at the moment, that the instrumental/post-rock genre has reached a saturation point. It is a notion, that I do subscribe to in parts. Granted there are literally hundreds of bands, who are doing nothing new at all and only serve to hold back what was once an innovative movement.

However, since starting this site, I have come across some exciting bands that suggest post-rock is very much alive. From Yndi Halda's expansive soundscapes to Strap The Button's pyschedelic jam's, the UK's experimental scene is in safe hands.

Another band you should consider, is Bristol four-piece When They Know You They Will Run. They make instrumental music akin to Explosions In The Sky, but rather than matching the Texan group's intensity, they instead pepper their sound with a more metallic edge, like the Red Sparowes. The band also show enough innovation that bodes well for the future.

Before I start discussing the music, I must mention the fantastic artwork for this demo. It is beautifully put together and a lot of time has been spent on it. The bands logo of a crow sitting on a branch intertwined with their name, is a great touch. It is this sort of attention to detail that immediately impresses.

To the music, though.....

Kicking off with "Moving To America", the first thing that stands out is the powerful performance of the drummer. In fact, along with the bassist, he puts in such a flawless performance that it gives the two guitarists the platform and freedom to create their delicate melodies. They also display a good understanding of the dynamics involved in this genre, especially when they unleash a staccato riff around the 3 minute mark, that shows their influences are not solely based in post-rock. Its not quiet/loud here, its simply gloriously loud.

"December" shows, much like Mogwai, that this band do not need 15 minute build-ups to execute their sound. Instead, they can go for the kill almost instantly. This is a four minute burst of a song, that certainly shows both guitarists capabilities.

Without a shadow of a doubt, 3rd track "Last Words" is this demo's best. Starting with an introspective guitar line, the song gradually builds for around five minutes. The guitars throughout the whole demo are pretty original, so prevent tracks like this from becoming tedious. Having said that though, you do know that the band are building up to a big climatic section. But any predictablility is superseeded by the sheer force of the explosion of noise. The demo has a chunky and full sound that certainly helps create an almost monolithic loud section during "Last Words"

One (small) criticism, maybe that the over the course of a longer release, the band's style may become repititious. For example, final track "Mary, What Have You Got In Your Hands?", although well crafted, tends to meander for too long without leaving much of an impact. However, the strength of the material overall suggests that this glitch can be easily ironed out. When They Know Us... show they have their own ideas and that in itself holds a lot of promise.

They are currently recording a new demo and I'd be very interested to hear their progression. If this band develops properly, and I'm sure they will, then I see them fulfilling their obvious potential. Definitely, one for the future and I'll be keeping my eye on them. You should too!!.

Listen to and even download some tracks at their myspace. It also worth mentioning that They Will Know You.. will be performing live at The Croft in Bristol on September the 14th. Check them out in a live setting.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Strap The Button - "Going to Jib Choons (Choons for Going to Jib Like Innit)" (Good Name For A Race Horse Records)

Strap The Button are a Welsh six-piece that operate in the same stratosphere as Hawkwind and "Set The Controls For The Sun" era Pink Floyd. Signed up by the independent Good Name For A Race Horse record label, these space-rockers, who are all barely out of their teens, have been known to play 25 minute noise sets using just about any instrument they can get their hands on. They are also fond of strange album titles such as their previous effort "What Kind Of Rat Bastard Psychotic Would Play That Song Now At This Moment" shows. They have once been ,quite hilariously, described as sounding like "Animal Collective backing Tony Hadley as he undergoes a nervous breakdown".

"Going To Jib Choons..." continues the strange album title theme, and only enhances the image of this band as space-rockers. It features 8 long tracks interspersed with 8 sound collages, that actually work quite well in controlling the flow of the album. Titles such as "Machines" and "Electroacoustic Experiment" give you an idea of what is going on in the shorter pieces.

Opening track, "GNFaR CD001" starts with a repetitive guitar riff, with the band slowly building up, creating a dense and hypnotic sound. The track takes off with this spell-binding build up and then unleashes into a furious jam around the 3-minute mark.

After the short "Machines", "Casualty Of The Remesis Trilogy" kicks off with a Godspeed You Black Emperor type build up and excellent use of viola. The guitars here sound quite mysterious and the build up is very tense. However, the band unleash again, much like the album opener, and spiral into a jam session. This time, though, it's cut short, leaving you wishing they had explored the intense groove more.

Next up is "Countryphile", one of the more song-based of the short tracks. It's quite nice with a loose acoustic guitar and spoken word and fire engine samples. Its a brief respite, from the furious jam sessions of the previous tracks and glides quite nicely into the next song.

Strap The Button definately have an amazing talent of creating hypnotic grooves, especially when they are channelled and become cohesive.

By the time you reach "Full Moon Effect", you begin to understand what this band is all about and begin to anticipate each climax from their slow-burning build-ups. However, this is most unlike the thousands of instrumental acts who use layer upon layer of delayed and distorted guitar in a deriviative quiet/loud formula. This band are too talented to use such a watered down approach, and instead prefer off-kilter rythmns, frenzied guitars and spiralling violins, that creates a tense sound that gradually gets heavier until it explodes.

The band also portray plenty of diversity, especially on "Mystery Song", which sounds like early Pink Floyd covering "The Pink Panther" theme tune. It features a creeping bassline and sweeping drums that evokes images of the crime caper.

"Gravy's Song" is more restrained, starting off with very skillful and pleasing plucked guitar work. The melody soon develops and reminds me of Peter Green's "Man Of The World".

On the excellent "Dom's Song", recruiting a violin player has paid dividends for Strap The Button. This track has a more standard post-rock approach, but the band cannot help themselves and launch into psychedelic guitar frenzy, that is becoming the trademark of their sound.

"Paperclipbeard The Pirate" is the stand out track of the album (not just because of its fabulous title). There is a strong Hawkwind aura again here. They seem to have 1000's of ideas, sometimes they don't quite work, but when they do it is a joy to behold

Strap The Button are a seriously talented and certainly innovative young group. They seem to be influenced by a scene that was about decades before they were born, yet have a perfect understanding of its structures, textures and spirit.

"Going To Jib Choons..." doesn't strike immediately, for a start there is too much going on to absorb in one sitting. Instead, I found putting the album on in the background worked a treat. As when you actually sit down and concentrate on it you start to recognise and enjoy what is on offer, especially the more delicate instrumentation. This is, by far, one of the most ambitious and progressive releases I've heard all year.

The Arctic Monkeys may have won the Mercury Music Prize last week and may be getting all the plaudits, but these youngsters have much more talent and ideas in my book. They have restored my faith in the future of British music with this release. I would not be surprised if this ended up in my top 10 albums of the year come December.

Strap The Button's star certainly burns brightly in the stratosphere tonight.

Order this album for a mere £5 from here, and listen to their psychedelic freakouts here. Their website also has a detailed discography and a news section too.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Bands You Really Should Listen To - Part 3

Summer Went Too Soon

Summer Went Too Soon are a Swiss collective formed in 2005, from the ashes of a Sonic Youth influenced rock band. The remaining members decided to persue a more electro direction under the Summer... moniker recording a demo, which in turn was passed onto Urgence Discs Records, who snapped up the band immediately.

Influenced by a variety of groups including Kraftwerk and The Cure, right through to contemporary artists like Boards of Canada and Death In Vegas, the band do not want to be pigeonholed in one particular style.

They are currently recording their debut album, with a tentative release date for December. They then plan to "play, play and play" as much as they can around the world, accompanied by a live VJ, emphasising their commitment to spectacular visuals, as well as spectacular electro based rock.

You can stream some tracks slated to be on the debut here. "Big Brother" and "Access Code" are both highly recommended.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Team Brick : "Alsatian"

Team Brick is a one man gang and part of the excellent Invada Records Collective, which is run by members of Portishead. I have already posted on the "endtime ballads" of Crippled Black Phoenix and the folk stylings of Joe Volk, from Invada's eclectic roster and now it is the turn of Team Brick.

The song on the video clip above, "Alsatian", is short and simple, but yet strangely compelling. However, listen to his other tracks on myspace and you realise there is a lot more to this guy than meets the eye. "Ichot" sounds almost classical, while "It Must Be Great To..." is just pure avant-noise, before developing into a relaxing guitar melody, albeit mixed with some weird electronic sounds.

The influential Wire Magazine had this to say about his performance at Bristol's Venn Festival:

"Team Brick cuts a gnomic dash as he shambles onstage at the Malcolm X Centre and positions himself behind a tabletop of FX units. With a vocal style that moves between animalistic, highly accomplished but untutored operatic warbling and distorted caterwauling, the artist also known as Matt blends a small electronic organ and a salvaged CD rack into his merry noise-making. Team Brick's joyful noise offers a necessary corrective to the brattish negativity of superficially similar US artists..."

High praise indeed. Team Brick will be playing a handful of dates throughout the Autumn months around the UK. Check his myspace site for the listings.

American Watercolor Movement

I posted an excellent video clip a couple of weeks ago of the American Watercolor Movement on this site. The song in question is the infectious "Pour Les Auditeurs". If you enjoyed that then you may be happy to know that the band are self-releasing a new album. The excellently titled "It Takes 15 To Tango In My Book, What Book Do You Read?" will come out on October 3rd.

American Watercolor Movement "draws us into a world all their own. With looping beats and a unique lyrical mutability, their songs appeal to our senses, imparting stories of lust, longing, travelling and searching..."

Formed in 1998 as an experimental musical and visual project, the New Jersey six-piece are a truly unique band. Sounding like no-one else in particular, they place equal importance on the influence of authors such as William S Burroughs, as they do to musical pioneers like David Bowie and Pink Floyd.

"Flowers For Catalan" certainly displays an eclectic mix of influences. Starting with irregular Kraftwerk beats, angular guitars soon push their way into the mix giving an atmosphere and experimental edge reminiscent of the Talking Heads. The melodic chorus soon interupts this and then takes the song off on yet another weird and wonderful tangent.

They have two previous albums up on Itunes and you can pre-order "It Takes 15 To Tango..." here. Furthermore, stream some of their tracks at myspace.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Thom Yorke : "Analyse" Live @ The Mercury Music Awards

Last night's Mercury Music Awards provided no shocks as the judges opted for the easy option, and chose The Arctic Monkeys as the winner of the prestigous prize for 2006. Now, The Mercury Awards is famed for championing lesser known artists, recent winners include Roni Size and Talvin Singh. Furthermore, Portishead's era-defining opus "Dummy" was rightly chosen in the mid 90's, while you couldn't argue with last year's choice, Anthony & The Johnsons

The Arctic Monkeys won it this year because they where apparently the best band in Britain, bar none. They did have the fastest selling debut of all time in the UK, but the judges conveniently forgot the amount of hype that has been surrounding them. Basically, what I am trying to say is, if you tell someone something is good over and over, they will eventually believe you.

There is nothing wrong with their music, but singing about 'dancefloors' and other teenage problems has been done since the advent of rock'n roll. If this is the best thing that came out of Britain, then there is some serious problems in this country. I can think of hundreds of more talented and deserving bands. But then, they haven't been hyped anywhere near as much or given as much exposure. It is this sort of attitude that makes me hate magazine articles like, "The 100 Greatest Albums Of All Time" etc. You get the same old crap every single time.

The Monkeys frontman had this to say, " We made the best album of the last year, and the judges agreed.....". Oh well then, that is the end of that argument....

Rant over, Thom Yorke performed a stripped down version of "Analyse" at the ceremony, it has been wrongly credited as his first solo performance of a track from "The Eraser". This version is better than the album, and seems to make more sense with just a piano and vocals.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

An Abundance of Radiohead Things

For those of you not lucky enough to have seen Radiohead on tour yet, despair no more. There is an excellent quality video, of new song "All I Need" from their recent Amsterdam show here.

While, if you go here at mega Radiohead fansite At Ease, there is a mind-boggling amount of live bootleg downloads.

The final stop for Radiohead obsessives should be here, for excellent up to the minute photography and just about everything else you could possibly want thrown in for good measure.

The Good Name For A Racehorse Collective

Goodname For A Racehorse is a Nottingham, UK based record label that is "commited to developing progressive minded music of all styles to the best of its abilities"

They incessantly produce CD-R's and promote shows, events and club nights, with the proceeds being pumped straight back into the label to cover running costs.

Fiercely independent, their aim is to promote younger bands who are often criminally overlooked. Their prices range from a paltry £1 to a maximum of £5 for each release, with DIY attention and care the order of the day. The label has a myriad of excellent artists on their roster:

Strap The Button

"Strap The Button hail from just over the Welsh border and have been self-releasing music for a good couple of years now. When we first saw them live, they played a set that sounded not a lot unlike The Coral being buggered by Comets on Fire. Then we bought some of their EPs, which we won’t even attempt to describe. And then they did a 25 minute noise set with radios, a bowed bass, a theremin, circuit bent keyboards and broken cymbals at a battle of the bands.

As all that suggests, trying to describe their music isn’t the easiest of tasks. No two releases sound the same; but they’re all grounded in psychedelic space-rock. From there, they explore all kinds of territories: drones, improve and the good old fashioned pop song. Fans of Acid Mother’s Temple, Jackie O-Motherfucker, Green Milk From The Planet Orange or Amon Duul II are encouraged to investigate further but to limit their music to such comparisons is to do them a considerable disservice".

The Butterfly

"Bombastic, subversive and unashamedly brainy songs that would fill stadiums in a universe where irony has been reclaimed from the dumb and daytime TV consists of chat-shows about Nietzsche, Freud and deconstruction.

The Butterfly say they're "too heavy for indie kids and were way too weird and strange for the metal crowd". Good. We hate indie kids and metal crowds."

Talk Less, Say More

"Talk Less, Say More is the alter-ego of Matthew Jennings, who contributes synths and guitars to avant-rockers The Butterfly. Talk Less, Say More’s music is lovingly crafted from a variety of synths, samples, loops and voices.

Though the style changes from release to release, the genius and beauty is consistent.
If you wanted to genrefy his music, you could call him prog-hop or post-trip-hop, but that’d make you look a bit of a twat".

The Exploits Of Elaine

"Instrumental adventurers extraordinnaire set to move into unchartered waters with forthcoming album. Beginning life creating pocked sized post-rock, Exploits have self-released three crtically acclaimed EP's. Now delving into Kraut, Folk, Doom, Jazz and Improv territories".

The Good Anna

"Free improv duo making quite a name for themselves. They utilise guitar, sax, electronics, zither, drums, knives, forks and all kinds of homemade instruments. Good, clean, wholesome fun".

Erik Heath

" Mr Heath owns an Ondes Martenot. This makes us very jealous of him. But We Love him nonetheless and are delighted that he's making a mini-album of haunting, delicate and very beautiful music. Fans of Basinski, The Dead Texan and Yann Tiersen should like this".

Top Tracks - 27/08 - 3/09

1. "Loverman" / Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
2. "Do You Love Me (Part 2) / Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
3. "Dispatches From Clerambaults Patent" / The Butterfly
4. "We Flood Empty Lakes" / Yndi Halda
5. "The Astronaut" / The White Birch
6. "Crack Hitler" / Faith No More
7. "God Bless Our Dead Marines" / A Silver Mt Zion
8. "Cold Water" / Damien Rice
9. "The Point Of It All" / Fennesz
10. "O'Malley's Bar / Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Bands You Really Should Listen To - Part 2


Malysz are yet another quality acts from the prolific Sweden, that have being creating largely instrumental music since 2001. They seem to have an ever-revolving line-up, while work commitments have tied them down and hindered their progress. However, things seem to be settling down now, and the band are promisimg to get their act together and record some new material. That is not to say, though, you should not check out their older material. Tours with bands such as Ef and The Domus have helped hone the band into a very tight instrumental act.

The bizarre tittes of their songs may point to the fact that they do not take themsleves too seriously, but the quality of the music suggests otherwise. "All That Matters Is Not To Get Laid" contains intertwining guitar melodies that unravel before exploding into a huge crescendo of noise. They have a definite Explosions In The Sky influence (but then what instrumental band doesn't?), but they are far from being deriviative.

Instruments such as violins are used on tracks such as, the 10 minute epic, "What Privleges, The Philistines", showing a band willing to branch out into new territories.

If anyone fondly remembers, UK underground act. Bob Tilton, then you will find a lot to like on "Take Your Eyes Of Me, Jeremy Bentham", which uses off-kilter chords and time signatures before combining it with brass instruments in a rather nice chorus segment.

You can download some tracks from their myspace site, and also from their website. The band have also kindly donated an mp3 below. Follow the link for part 1 of this series.

Last Days : "Sea" (n5md)

There is a staggering amount of quality artists coming out of the UK at the moment, especially in the underground electronica and ambient scenes. Groups such as Epic45, July Skies, Yellow6 and D_rRadio all seem to be on the same wavelength and have being creating tranquil soundscapes for a good few years now. These bands combine elements of post-rock, shoegaze and down-tempo electronica and have the ability to mesmerise with the slightest chord change or with innovative drum patterns.

Now add Edinburgh based musician Graham Richardson, aka Last Days, to this list. Here is another artist who creates dream-like pieces that don't strike you immediately, but instead intentionally creep up on you before absorbing into your consciousness.

Signed to the pioneering n5md label (Bitcrush, Loess, Preom etc), Last Days debut "Sea", is a triumphant release that brings to mind the work of Pan American, The Dead Texan and Port-Royal.

Of course, with easy access to technology these days, ambient albums are 'ten an penny', and it does take something unique to truly stand out. Much like Helios' "Eingya" album, Last Days uses many instruments (guitar; glockenspiel; accordian ; percussion) and mixes it with human aspects of sound to create tracks full of blissful ambient haze.

There is also a loose narrative for the album, which deals with "the fascination with remote and isolated places". Each track charts the progress of a character that is disillusioned with life at home, and chooses to escape to another land on a small boat.

After a short album opener, things get underway with "The Safest Place". This is a very apt name for the song, as warmly strummed acoustic guitars are introduced and mixed with melancholic strings, before a gorgeous piano melody takes the lead. An almost classical piece, it conveys the hope one would get when setting of to a new place.

"Two Steps Back" follows, with a slow building tempo and pulsing bassline, the character is well and truly at "Sea" here , as apprehension and uncertainty sets in.

Things take a turn for the worse on our character's journey, if "Arriving At Jan Mayen" is anything to go by. This sparse song is a very unsettling experience featuring drones and weird chanting, quite similar to Aphex Twin's darker ambient moments

The beautiful tones of the glockenspiel help to restore some light during, next track, "Mountains". It is in such tracks, that Last Days truly excels. He has a knack of producing slow burning melodies that help lull you into a state of calm.

The stand-out track, though, of this release is "Your Birds". Amazingly, this was a last minute inclusion on the album. The first real hint of substantial percussion elements can be heard here, and they are reminiscent of Sigur Ros' "Glossoli". The song contains a gradual, but over-powering melody that makes you want to listen to it time after time.

"I Remember When You Were Good" returns to the same feel, as opener "The Safest Place", as the hypnotic piano line, portrays Last Days' subtle skills and instrumentation. " Fear", uses more instruments than most of the other tracks, as our character is coming towards the end of his journey. Again. it is full of slow changes and melodic structures that soon leads to a triumphant finale, as the character's fear is soon over-powered by a sense of hope in what lies ahead.

The journey comes to an end during "All The Lighthouses", as the character tries to make sense of his approaching new surroundings. Contemplative piano notes clash with lonely wind sounds, as the character begins a future of uncertainty in his new surroundings.

Last Days' "Sea" is a challenging release that offers something new on each listen. Its strengths lie in its subtleties and variations from piano led pieces throught to the ambient rock of "Your Birds". The album is intended to be listened as a whole, rather in seperate tracks. After a few listens, though, the subtle chord changes, static noises, muffled beats and strummed guitars soon start to become familiar, making this a very warm release.

"Sea" is an album, that requires you absorb it slowly, keeping with its gradual and tranquil tempo, while taking in its blissful majesty. It will be released by n5md on September 12th. You can stream some tracks here, while you can order a copy here. Further reading can be located here. Futhermore, Last Days has his own music blog, find out what inspires him here.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - "Loverman"

Nick Cave is an artist I have known about for several years, but quite inexplicably paid little attention to. Despite many friends telling me how great his music is, I still neglected him. It wasn't until about six months ago, that I noticed his double album "Abattoir Blues / The Lyre Of Orpheus" for £7 in Avalanche Records, that I finally decided to take the plunge, and become part of Cave's dark and morbid underworld.

After about three or four listens I was transfixed with just about all of the songs, especially "Easy Money" and "Messiah Ward". Since then I have went on to buy several albums by the Australian, including the highly-acclaimed "Murder Ballads". Cave has a unique way of telling a story throughout his songs, and his lyrics are captivating.

My most recent purchase was, "Let Love In", on the basis of this review, and it is fast becoming my favourite album of the lot. The haunting "Do You Love Me (Part 2)" is one of the best tracks on this release, as is "Red Right Hand", which features organs not heard since 50's Horror films. The video above, however, features my favourite track, "Loverman". It is a very sinister piece that explodes during the chorus, with Cave rambling on about the devil.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

A Silver Mt Zion : "God Bless Our Dead Marines"

I caught A Silver Mt Zion's live show in early June, at Glasgow's ABC venue, and remember this song "God Bless Our Dead Marines" being an absolute standout. The double bass thumped right through me, while the twin violin attack was superb. This songs momentum builds tremendously, while I also love the out of key and fragile vocals. This footage taken from another gig on the tour brings back a lot of wonderful memories of that night.

Due to lack of ticket sales, the venue was downgraded, to the much smaller ABC 2 that night. However, this only served to heighten the atmosphere, as around 200 people crammed into a room only menat for half that amount. How the band (7 members) managed to fit on the minute stage was beyond me. But watching them perform all huddled together, is something that will live with me for a long time. A very special band.

Muse - "Stockholm Syndrome"

I have always had a love/hate relationship with Muse. I first saw them at T in The Park 1999 round about when they were just starting to break. I had heard about how much of a genius Matt Bellamy was and on that day they were pretty good but didn't leave an impression on me.

However, being a major Radiohead fan, I was always quite suspicous of bands like Muse, who I thought were a poor parody of Thom and co...

However, last year, I moved toToronto for 6 and a half months, and so had to fill my Ipod up with 20gb's of music to soundtrack my stay before my journey , as my files would be left at home in 'sunny' Scotland. Basically, I copied about 2,500 songs to get me through my stay in Canada. I copied some music by Muse, unitentionally to my Ipod.

Walking to work one absolutley roasting hot day (it was the hottest Summer on record in Toronto last year) I thought I should give Muse a chance. I was half expecting to dismiss their sound immediately but instead found myself captivated by their tunes. After 3 or 4 listens, I was compltely hooked.

Their songs are melodic, euphoric and extremely catchy, while Matt Bellamy's operatic vocals could rival Thom Yorke. I have been told that they are an exciting live band, but having dismissed them as yet another NME favourite back in '99, I didn't pay much attention to them. They are playing in Glasgow soon, and judging by the video of "Stockholm Syndrome" above, I dare say I am going to be there. For a three piece they make an incredible sound and look to be an excitng live act.

Pearl Jam - "Rearviewmirror" (Live)

Pearl Jam are simply one of the best rock bands of the last 10-15 years. Their recorded output is consitently excellent, every single album has at least four classic songs. Everybody calls Led Zeppelin a classic rock band, I think it's time these guys are held in the same breath

This is a video of "Rearviewmirror" from last weeks Reading Festival

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Top Tracks 21/08 -27/08

1. " No Way" / VS
2. "Cantina Massacre" / Gringo Motel
3. "We Sing Sin" / Romance of Young Tigers
4. "Ab Irato" / Engine The Gun
5. "Into The Ocean" / Golden Death Music
6. "The Art Of Falling" / The Butterfly
7. "Opus" / Tupolev
8. "Polarites" / Arca
9. "Siren" / P.G Lost
10. "Analyse (xfm session) / Thom Yorke

The White Birch - "Seer Believer"

An album I have been enjoying over the last couple of weeks is "Come Up For Air" by The White Birch. Yet another excellent recommendation from Almostcool site, The White Birch are a three piece from Oslo, Norway making very beautiful and understated music.

I am serioulsy considering relocating to Scandinavia, judging by the quality of the music from this region. The only thing that is stopping me is the price of a pint (£5.30 in Denmark!!).

Loose reference points include Sigur Ros without the massive glacial washes of e-bowed guitar, especially on "Storm Broken Tree" and "Stand Over Me". The instrumentation throughout also brings to mind Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, as well as Anthony & The Johnsons and Belle & Sebastian.

The vocals range from the Sigur Ros falsetto of " Stand Over Me" to the whispered "The Astronaut". Overall, it is a quite startling release on Rune Grammofon, that slowly melts into your memory, and before long will have you having humming along to the haunting melodies.

The video above is "Seer Believer", you can also download four of their songs here

Radiohead Live In Edinburgh

If you have read my review below about last week's Radiohead gig in Edinburgh, you will know how much I enjoyed the older material, especially from "The Bends". Here is footage of "Fake Plastic Trees" from the gig. It sounds even better than I remember. You can just about make out Jonny Greenwood on the far right of the stage, he was inspirational on this performance. But overall, this is in honour of a truly wonderful band, and long may they continue!!!

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