Archive for July, 2009

Noah and the Whale - First Days Of Spring

July 20th, 2009

Noah and the Whale - First Days Of Spring Album Cover

I’m sitting at work, listening to Noah and the Whales new album ‘The First Days of Spring’, and I’ve just had to down tools - its so darn good I had to write a quick review of it.

Melancholic, moody and totally Stupefying - its a marked departure from their first album which has always been seen as abit twee in parts. This is clearly a breakup album as most of the tracks revolve around that subject, but I’m glad this album wasn’t around last time I had a break up, or I’d have sat in my room with this on repeat for weeks, and never left the house!

Theres also a definate show of craftsmanship here - they’ve clearly shown their capabilities as musicians with stark melodies, to thoughtful use of instrumentation, including choirs, slide guitar, strings, brass, and even prepared piano.

If your hoping for an album like their debut that you can bounce around to, this album isnt for you. However, if your in an introverted mood, you should really dig it. Its out end of August, so do the right thing - support indie music, and go BUY it!! (I know I will be :)

Download the title track off their new album (FOR FREE!!) off their website (http://www.noahandthewhale.com/FDOS.html), so do yourself a favour and go have a listen!

M83 - Koko, 7 July 2009

July 14th, 2009

m83Anthony Gonzalez (aka M83) started the show in the dark, with 25 minutes of new, solo instrumental music. Of course, while I thought this was pure genius, it appeared many of the Koko crowd were a little confused by the extra long ‘intro’.

In fact the entire set was a departure from their show I’d heard a few months ago, containing a larger proportion of old and new M83 instrumentals. M83 must have played at the most 4 tracks from the last album, and even those were virtually remixes of the originals - every time you expected a certain riff to kick in, it had either changed, or would be a new riff entirely. The ‘Kim and Jesse’ crew did not seem that happy about it - the girl next to me kept on shaking her head as yet another ‘unknown’ instrumental began.

While they didnt sell out Koko, they seemed to suit the bigger venue, if only for the vastly superior sound system. Having also seen Simian Mobile Disco - also reknowned for their improvisation and live skills - at the same venue, I must admit I preferred seeing M83. Call me a nerd for liking the more experimental of the two, but perhaps the fact you have to work harder to appreciate it appeals to me more…

check out some samples:
M83-Unknown.mp3 (new?)
M83-Coleurs.mp3

Bon Iver - Serpentine Sessions, 30 June 2009

July 13th, 2009

photo by minifig - http://www.flickr.com/photos/minifig/3675887643/

Bon Iver’s show started with a Justin and band wandering on stage in a typically unassuming manner and taking to their instruments quietly, setting about silencing the audience with their beautiful music.

But this was the second time I’d seen Bon Iver, and to be honest, I preferred the first time around. While they were more polished this time, with a more defined, substantial sound, it was clear this show was nearing the end of a long tour. They’ve been on a constant world tour for the last 2 or so years, and has been in high demand everywhere as a boutique act. Many festivals have shown alot of interest - Glastonbury even had them play 3 different stages on 3 separate days just before this show, so its not suprising they seemed abit fatigued.

However, this was by no means a weak performance - the songs and performance still held the intensity that every audience member have come to love in their music, and an intensity on stage that would put the majority of bands to shame. In Justin Vernon’s own words they “wont be playing here again for a very long time”, implying they were due for a break and a long hiatus. I even got the feeling that it may even be more permanent than that, but lets hope not!

heres some examples:
Bon_Iver-Skinny_Love.mp3
Bon_Iver-Re_Stacks.mp3

Regina Spektor - Serpentine Sessions, 29 June 2009

July 13th, 2009

Regina SpektorHaving only discovered Regina Spektor’s new album ‘Far’ 5 days prior to her Serpentine Sessions show, i was looking forward to being suprised and hearing more of her earlier work. Fortunately she lived up to my expectations, and those of the couple of fans I went with. Her set was as varied and eclectic as her writing style, and seeing her in action certainly competes with other Songwriting diva’s such as Tori Amos.

Regina looked honestly suprised at the size and enthusiasm of the audience - surely she’s had audiences like this before? perhaps just not in europe?

Indeed, if your a Tori fan, I’d recommend giving her a listen. Heres a few samples from the night:
Regina_Spektor-Blue_lips.mp3
Regina_Spektor-Fidelity.mp3

Tracy Chapman - Roundhouse, 25 June 2009

July 12th, 2009

photo by Pieter Morlion : http://www.flickr.com/photos/pietermorlion/3028127026/On the night Michael Jackson died, I was appropriately paying homage to another fine musician. No disrespect to the man as a musician - his music was world changing… 25 years ago… and then theres also the media’s (and the worlds) apparent loss of memory regarding his rather blatant indiscretions.

In stark contrast, Tracy Chapman, also a pop prodigy of the 80’s, is still producing great music, touring, and looking a picture of health in body and mind. Indeed, her most recent album ‘Our Bright Future’ and reason for touring, is as good as any of her prior albums.

Tracy’s set played out like an anthology of her work, and her fans were very enthusiastic in cheering her on. (Except for the 2 die hard fans behind us who managed to listen to themselves talk through every song save the 2 they knew)

It was a great gig, even if it was overshadowed by the MJ factor - having listened to Tracy many many times over the last 2 decades, it was fantastic to finally have caught her live.

Check out a few samples:
Tracy_Chapman-Love_Song.mp3
Tracy_Chapman-Subcity.mp3

also, if your interested in cool websites, check out her (flash) coloring-in website - http://www.tracychapman.com

photo by Pieter Morlion, check out his flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pietermorlion/3028127026/