Saturday, 26 May 2012

Having finally got a turntable in place I can review my Record Day Store purchases from April....

First up is a double A side 7" from Nerina Pallot. You have to wonder what this lady has to do to get more airplay - Side A, All Bets Are Off, is a string laden piece of summery pop which Radio 2 and the commercial stations should have on heavy rotation. And to top it off you have Bernard Butler contributing a short but sweet guitar solo in the middle. Side AA, Butterfly is more forceful and features a guitar intro from Butler which curiously sounds a bit like it was lifted from a 80's track by The Cult. Throughout Pallots' world weary vocals are spot on and she should be such a bigger star.

Second up is remix 12" from Simple Minds. Curiously the tracks come from different albums but is in keeping with their current nostalgia for their early albums. Moby has remixed the instrumental, Theme For Great Cities from the Sisters Feeling Call album. The main difference seems to be to update the track as a shiny piece of dance music. Having re listened to the original I can't say the remix was at all needed. The flip side is John Leckie's remix of I Travel from the Empire And Dance album. If anything this mix is even less essential - I've sat and listened a couple and times and struggle to even work out if their is any difference to the original.... Great to have this 2 songs on vinyl but the remixes are a complete waste of time.

Finally a 9" EP from The Smoke Fairies to celebrate their forthcoming second album. The opening track, The Three Of Us, features some gorgeous swampy slide guitar and a full bass/drum compliment which makes this their heaviest rack to date. The second track, Radio Clicks On dials back the heaviness and has a bit of a west coast vibe.
Bells is the track that sounds most like an outtake from the debut album, all acoustic guitars and fabulous harmonies. The final track, The Wireless, carries on the mellow acoustic feel.
The opening track suggest a harder, heavier direction which could be really intriguing if it's carried forward onto the new album - Can't wait.

I do have one more purchase, a 7" from the Civil Wars featuring their cover of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean but the record is currently sat in Bristol waiting for me to collect it !

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Had this album hanging around for a while but recently reminded to do a review by the band offering free downloads of all their albums last week..... Blueneck come from Bristol and manage to make it sound like the most desolate place on earth

Repetions is their 3rd album and is continues from where the magnificent last album, The Fallen Host, left off. It's in an exercise in melancholy and wanting yet you never quite understand what the yearning is for. The album contains huge swathes of piano and strings which ebb and swell to magnificent crescendoes of noise. Song titles such as Pneumothorax, Venger and Ellipis are meaningless but somehow more simple titles would make it feel less otherwordly.

Repetitions contains a lot more vocals than previous albums but they are not there to be listened to or deciphered to convey a mood. In a couple of songs the guitars come to the fore most noticeably in The Last Refuge but there is less of a that apocalytic thrashing heard on The Fallen Host album

A quite brilliant album and if you got for free then bargain of the year. Play with the lights out but never at the end of a bad day.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Based solely on a couple of reviews I bought Boys & Girls album by the Alabama Shakes only to find that everyone else knew they were the hot new thing !!

This is proper R&B rather than the Rap& Bling version.... A proper band with real soul and rythmn, all topped off with the most amazing voice. A version of Janis Joplin for those too young to remember
Beware though, there is nothing 'new' on here but they borrow well from history.

The first 3 songs include Hold On and Hang Loose which are prime examples of this bands potential. They groove with really purpose and highlight what the hype was about. The album is too long though and suffers badly towards the end were the enthusiam and ideads dry up before ending with the upbeat On Your Way and a flurry of cymbals

Brittany Howard's vocals are the real star quality on this album. She is no X Factor wannabe but someone singing from the heart even when the lyrics sound like they were the put together at the last minute from the Penguin book of song lyrics. The Chorus on Hold On really shows off her power

A fantastic vinyl album on side 1 but trailing off on side 2 - Interesting to see where they go next