Wednesday, November 29, 2006

CD review: Brian Houston - Sugar Queen

BRIAN HOUSTON - SUGAR QUEEN
(BRIAN HOUSTON SONGS)



REVIEWER: ANDREW WILLIAMSON

Brian Houston is one of those people that's been kicking around Belfast micropohones for so long he feels like part of the fixtures and fittings. A talented songwriter and tunesmith, one wondered if he would ever receive the wider recognition he deserves. He has always been a better live act than recording artist and perhaps that has let him down, but 'Sugar Queen' seeks to redress that balance.

Recorded in Liverpool and produced by Nigel Stonier, Sugar Queen is Brian's best produced record to date. Robbie Mcintosh (Norah Jones, Paul McCartney) provides top drawer lead guitar and Thea Gilmore beautiful harmony vocals.

The record gets off to a great start with the upbeat, catchy 'End of the Beginning'. It immediately grabs your attention before the standout second track, 'Childish Things'. Namechecking the Belfast ship-builders Harland and Wolfe, it's a tongue-in cheek autobiographical song about dreaming of being a rock star and battling with the cynics. Easily the rockiest number, the production is spot on with a wonderful hook that will have you reaching for repeat button.

The rest of the album plays more down the Van Morrison route. Brian has always been proud of his heritage, and sings in his East Belfast accent about his native streets on the excellent 'These Days'. With a glowing endorsement from Bob Harris of BBC radio and 'The Old Grey Whistle Test', Sugar Queen provides Houston with his best chance yet of making a mark on the world stage.

FOR FANS OF: VAN MORRISON, BOB DYLAN,
DOWNLOAD: Childish Things, End of the Beginning
RATING:4/5

Download End of the Beginning Here for free!

Paste Magazine culture club

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This morning while reading the paper in Starbucks I listened to the latest Paste Magazine Culture Club Podcast, one of my favourites.

Well I urge you to download it. It is a Singer/Songwriter Special and features a bunch of people I had never heard of but now really like:

Sandra McCracken, Jeremy Lister, Matthew Perryman Jones, and Katie Herzig


Dowload the podcast here

Piney Gir Country Roadshow video

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I reviewed The Piney Gir Country Roadshow a whileback. I've just been told that they have a video for the single

Check it out: Great Divide

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Editors

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EDITORS
EDITORS REMIX EP
FADER Label
November 14, 2006


FADER Label is pleased to announce the recent release of Editors Remix EP, available now on iTunes for purchase ($3.96). Various producers were commissioned to come together and remix songs off the Editors' FADER Label debut album, The Back Room. Such notable producers featured on the EP include Sebastian, Ghislain Porier, Prince Language and P Nice.

Bonus tracks not included on the EP will be premiered on various websites starting next week. Keep your eyes peeled for the Shy Child, Pase Rock, Rubber Bullets, Trackademicks, Phones and Dr. Rocktheknobs remixes.

To purchase the Editors Remix EP simply click here:

To celebrate the release of the EP, FADER Label has teamed up w/ AcidPlanet to give fans a chance to create their own "Bullets" remix by downloading the components for the song on AcidPlanet.com. Winners will receive a ton of Editors schwag as well as have their remix featured on Editors' official website.
http://www.acidplanet.com/contests/editors?password=editors

Borat's iPod

If Borat had an iPod, he's just told us what would be on it.

BORAT PLAYLIST

1.Beat It - Michael Jacksons
I a huge fanny of this new song by dancing negro, Michael Jacksons. We have many major exports in my country -first is potassium, second is apples and third is small boys to Michaels ranch. Why not? Is niiice!

2. You Be My Wife from Borat Musical Listenings....

This is romantic song that I wrote about a woman's in my moviefilm, whom I wanted to make romance inside off. This feature Belinda Bedekovic, our famous keytar player and was produced by Korki Buchek!!!

3. Throw the Jew Down the Well from Borat Musical Listenings for Make....


This is most popular children's song in Kazakhstan. It is not in my moviefilm, but was record for Kazak television in cowboy bar in Arizona, which in US and A. I have hear this song have upset some peoples - I think it because my guitar playing not so good. I sorry.

4. Macarena
We play this party song at my first wife funeral. Happy times.

5. It's a Kind of Magic - Queen

I like very much the lead singer - ladies man Frederick Mercury. It great shame that he die in that car crash. Many peoples say I looks like him, infacts, last month I come 7th in Almaty's annual 'who look most like Freddy Mercury' competition. This out of over 843,000 entrant!


6. Leader of the Gang - Garry Glitter

This one from convicted sex criminal Gareth Glitter. He very much admired in Kazakhstan and his music is also popular. Infact he second most popular sex criminal in Kazakhstan. Our most popular Urkin the Rapist who become big star after appearing in my moviefilm 'Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan'

7. Elokeinu on Album 'One Three Seven' - Zohar It is Jew music. You must listen to this, so you know what your enemy is think.

8. Candle in the Wind - Elton John

I very much like this song about crushed princess of Wales written by bald homosexual Elton John.

9. Rock Me Amadeus - Falco

Me and my producer Azamat Bagatov like listen to this.

10. I wanna sex you up - Color Me Badd

This favourite of my 11 year old son, Bilak. His wife and childrens like it too.

11. Holiday - Madonna
I liking very much this new song by singing transvestite Madonna. He is very convincing, the only thing that gives him away is his big hands, and the bulge around his chram

Saturday, November 25, 2006

CD Review: Bright Light Fever - The Evening Owl

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Bright Light Fever - The Evening Owl
(Stolen Transmission Records)
2006



This review, like British trains is long over-due, but here at last. Bright Light Fever are four young Californians signed to the new Stolen Transmission label. They specialize in staccato, punky guitars, rhythmic rock with a few piano ballads for the obligatory 'slow songs'.

They were on the verge of breaking up before the call came. Even Ferro (guitars/vocals) had just about jumped off the sinking ship but scrambled back in to make the record. The idea is to create a slightly creepy, Hitchcock, Twilight Zone feeling, represented by the owl on the cover. The guitars ring out slightly discordant sound, but don't start thinking Radiohead territory. The opener 'Broken Hands' is very catchy but not enough to make you hit the 'repeat' button.

Their writing shows some ingenuity, and careful aforethought, but the genre is tired. They may be good enough to be plucked from the hundreds of CDRs record label execs get weekly, but against everything else competing for your attention, Bright Light Fever don't really have enough to offer.

Rating: 3/5
DOWNLOAD FOR FREE: Broken Hands MP3

Thursday, November 23, 2006

CD review: TIM FINN - IMAGINARY KINGDOM

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i hadn't listened to much crowded house before. big in australia.

TIM FINN - IMAGINARY KINGDOM

(Parlophone)

Infected PR

Reviewer: Andrew Williamson



From his days in 70's/80's art-pop group Slip Enz to his time in Crowded House, Tim Finn has learnt a thing or two about good pop melodies. His latest solo LP, "Imaginary Kingdom" is crammed full with Lennon/McCartney hooks and rhymes.

The album opens with the bouncy first single, "Couldn't Be Done", clocking in at 2.58 it is built around the slow verse/catchy chorus recipe. The remaining piano driven, sing-along songs rarely stray above 3 minutes and are all enjoyable, if forgettable.

Tim Finn describes The Imaginary Kingdom as the place he goes to when creating and writing songs and less of a mystical wonderland. "Imaginary Kingdom" is a lot of fun; 'Salt To The Sea' and 'Winter Light' (which appears in the Chronicles of Narnia) provide some truly great musical moments, but elsewhere there is nothing to recommend that hasn’t been done before, probably by the Fab Four. If you wish The Beatles were still together, or are a big fan of Crowded House then this will be right up your street, unadventurous, but safe and enjoyable.

Rating: 3/5

For Fans of: The Beatles, Crowded House, Finn Brothers

Download: Couldn’t be Done, Salt to the Sea

Monday, November 20, 2006

Everyone loves free stuff

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Not a music post, but a neat one.



Giveaway of the Day is a site that gives something away every day, and that something is commercial software. Over the last few days, copies of EasyDVDCopy, iPod AudioBook, CDuke, LoadScout, and Frigate3 File Manager have been given away.

The plan at Giveaway of the Day is to work with software publishers to offer fully-licensed versions of their software for free for one day as a promotional tool. Publishers gain the word of mouth advertising that comes from happy users acquiring a full license to their products, and Giveaway of the Day gets to be the ones offering the giveaways. And users get free software - so theoretically it's a win-win-win situation.

Click on the image above to go there.

CD reviews on About The Music

May 07 - Wilco - Sky Blue Sky

April 07 - Justin Nokuza - Holly

April 07 - Jana Hunter - There's No Home

April 07 - Fireworks Night - As Fools We Are

March 2007 - Tom McRae - King of Cards (3*)

March 2007 - Kings of Leon - Because Of The Times (4 stars)

March 2007 - PG Six - Slightly Sorry (3 stars)

The Frames - The Coast

Explosions In The Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone


Jesse Malin - Glitter In The Gutter


Lucinda Williams - West

Indigo Moss - Indigo Moss

Crowded House - Farewell to the World (3 stars)

Paolo Nutini - These Streets

Horse Feathers - Words Are Dead

Brian Houston - Sugar Queen
Bright Light Fever - The Evening Owl
Tim Finn - Imaginary Kingdom

Josh Ritter - Girl In the War EP

Willie Nelson - Songbird


The Memory Band - Apron Strings

The Changes - Today is Tonight
The Devastations - Coal
The Piney Gir Country Roadshow - Hold Yer Horses
Sergent Buzfuzz - Sergent Buzfuzz
M Ward - Post War
Golden Smog - Another Fine Day
Chris Stills - Chris Stills
James Morrison - Undiscovered
Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
Ron Sexsmith - Time Being

Built To Spill - You In Reverse
The Working Title - About Face
Kelly Stoltz
Vanishing Breed
The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
Josh Rouse - Subtitulo
Josh Ritter - The Animal Years
Ben Christophers - Viewfinder
Bright Eyes - Motion Sickness
Wilco - Kicking Television Live in Chicago
John Parkes - Faithlessness
Kubb - Mother
Ryan Adams - 29
Ryan Adams - Jacksonville City Nights

Friday, November 17, 2006

top 10 records of 2006

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i've been asked to compile my top 10 records of 2006. last year i had it nailed early on, but this year i'm struggling.

here's my provisional list so far (yes there are more than 10 in the list)

bob dylan - modern times
ben kweller - ben kweller
josh ritter - the animal years
m ward - post war
sparklehorse - Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain
the mountain goats - get lonely
sufjan stevens -the avalanche -
the killers - sams town (you know what? surprisingly it's really good)
the raconteurs - broken boy soldiers
damien rice - 9
maybe ron sexsmith - time being.

there are a host of others im thinking about. what's been rocking your ipod this year? let me know, i want some ideas!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Watch Damien Rice perform new songs

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Watch or listen to Damien perform some new songs on Morning Becomes Eclectic by clicking on the link below. Damien's got the full band with him.

What do you think of it?

WATCH HERE

Listen to Sufjan Stevens Christmas EPs

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A little while ago I wrote that Sufjan Stevens was going to 'officially' release his Christmas EPs that we have been enjoying every year for a while now. As is now customary, he's recorded a set for Christmas 2006.

You may feel it a little too early to start getting into the festive cheer, but if you think that you can never be too festive, then you can stream the whole set of EPs here.

My favourite is 'Put The Lights On The Tree' from the 2002 collection. It features the line

call your grandma on the phone (echo)/ if she's living all alone/tell her Jesus Christ is here/tell her there is none to fear

Merry (very early) Christmas.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Damien Rice competition!

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We have a fantastic 14 x 14 lithograph of the new damien rice album cover to give away (it's awesome).

One lucky winner. All you have to do is send an email to aboutthemusicblog@googlemail.co.uk
with your name and address and you could win.

Check out the website HERE to watch the EPK and stream the album.


Good luck. Album review coming soon.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Ben Kweller - Ben Kweller

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I got my copy of Ben Kweller's self titled new album about 2 weeks ago. Since then it has managed to worm its way to the top of my iTunes top 25 most played tracks. It is so infectious, like an addiction you think you're in control, but then you just need to listen to the song 'one more time'. There are so many great, catchy singles on this album to listen to again and again.

It starts with Run, a fun opening with jangly piano, a bouncy beat and a simple chorus. Things really get going with 'Nothing Happening', a great bass line and slide guitar. It starts slow and builds gradually. The strength of Kweller's songwriting is his ear for a great melody. Hooks sell records and Kweller is in the same league as Matthew Sweet and Brendan Benson, but probably better than either.

The two best tracks, Sundress ( watch the video here) and Penny on the Train Track occur a little later in the album. Sundress has the best chorus I've heard all year, and Penny has such a rocking beat I was almost bouncing up and down the first time I heard it on a crowded train.

In short, it's a great album. If you like enjoyable, fun, accessible pop (and honestly, how doesn't?) then do yourself a favour and pick up a copy. I can't get enough of it.

Rating:5/5
Download: Sundress, Penny on a Traintrack, Nothing Happening

Rumsfeld has gone

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It's not music related, but thankfully Rumsfeld has gone. Good job americans. Anyway, this video of his press briefings is hilarious.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

CD review - Josh Ritter - Girl in the War

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Josh Ritter was one of those names that I had heard a lot, yet never heard his music. Until The Animal Years was released, I got a copy to review and almost instantly realised I had fround a friend. I'm a big fan now, and this is a great mini LP.


JOSH RITTER - GIRL IN THE WAR


(V2)

Release: 27 November

PR: Momentum PR



Josh Ritter must be making up for lost time. The 30-year old singer/songwriter has finally achieved stateside critical acclaim with his stunning recent LP 'The Animal Years'. Now, hot on its heels he's releasing a seven track mini-lp featuring acoustic tracks, demos and new songs. Co-producer Brian Deck (Iron & Wine, Modest Mouse) deserves credit for Josh's success, his thoughtful direction showcases the best side of Ritter. The tracks on this LP largely feature acoustic guitar coupled with Josh's clear, warm vocals shining through.

The highlight is the striking title track with its political poise ("the only thing I know to do is turn up the music and pray that she makes it through"). The early versions and acoustic demos of 'Monster Ballads' and 'In the Dark' strip the songs to their bare bones to reveal some beautiful song-writing. Ritter is one of the few artists to write poetry with his lyrics. Not a word is misplaced, the narrative as compelling as it is intriguing.


The new songs, 'Peter Killed the Dragon', 'Harbortown' and 'Blame it on the Tetons' were from the 'Animal Years' sessions but failed to make the final cut. They are similar in style to the album tracks and all fit perfectly on this LP with strong melodies and thoughtful lyrics. For fans of Ritter this record is a gem, for anyone else, it's time you made his acquaintance.

Download: Girl in the War, 'Monster Ballads (early version)'

For fans of: Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Glen Hansard

Rating: 4/5

Download 'Girl In The War' legally for free

Monday, November 06, 2006

The curious success of Duke Special

I've been a fan of Duke Special and his previous incarnations (Booley, Benzine Headset) for some time. He once played at a school Christian Union meeting to a handful of pupils and bemused teachers.

I last saw him back in May with Dave, just after his was signed to V2 records. We thought then that he was on the cusp of being famous.

On Friday he appeared on Later With Jools Holland, a long running British tv show alongside The Racounteurs, Muse, John Legend and other musical heavyweights. Thanks to the BBC, you can watch him and the rest of the show HERE.

Hurry, I think you can only watch the recent episode. Still, it's great to see the local lad doing so well.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Borat competition!

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WIN! WIN! WIN!

There are so many competitions on about the music it's hard to keep up.

You can win a copy of the new Borat CD, "BORAT: STEREOPHONIC MUSICAL LISTENINGS THAT HAVE BEEN ORIGIN IN MOVING FILM 'BORAT: CULTURAL LEARNINGS OF AMERICA FOR MAKE BENEFIT GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN'" plus posters, stickers and goodies.

We have 3 prizes: 1 grand prize of a soundtrack + poster, and 2 runner-up prizes of a poster and a sticker.

To win, just send your name and postal address to
aboutthemusicblog@googlemail.co.uk or leave a comment at the bottom of this post. It's a halarious CD.

Check out these clips of Borat on the Conan O'Brien show the other night:
Windows media
Borat clip 1
Borat clip 2 where he performs 'You Be My Wife' live

Good luck!

Wax on Radio Competition

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To promote the new album from Wax On Radio, Exposition, About the Music is giving away a copy of the album, and a really cool bag from Yak Pak.


These are top quality bags, retailing for $80, see for yourself at amazon.

So to win the bag and Exposition by Wax On Radio, just email your answer to this question to aboutthemusicblog@googlemail.co.uk

QUESTION:
How many tracks are there on Exposition by Wax On Radio?




"Time Will Bind Us To The Guilt of Commitment"
Real Stream
Win Stream Win

Waxonradio.com

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

BORAT TAKES MANHATTAN!

We must be getting sick of this guy some time soon, but he's so funny. Check it out:

MEDIA BLITZ BY KAZAKHSTANI TV PERSONALITY INCLUDES

FIRST-EVER NETWORK TELEVISION MUSICAL PERFORMANCE

ON "LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN";

"BORAT: STEREOPHONIC MUSICAL LISTENINGS THAT HAVE BEEN ORIGIN IN MOVING FILM 'BORAT: CULTURAL LEARNINGS OF AMERICA FOR MAKE BENEFIT GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN'"

The 4th most famous person in Kazakhstan, Borat Sagdiyev (better known simply as Borat), is set to make his first-ever musical performance on American television with an appearance on NBC's "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" on November 1. Sagdiyev will be performing "You Be My Wife," one of the many musical highlights from "BORAT: STEREOPHONIC MUSICAL LISTENINGS THAT HAVE BEEN ORIGIN IN MOVING FILM 'BORAT: CULTURAL LEARNINGS OF AMERICA FOR MAKE BENEFIT GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN,'" the official soundtrack to the eagerly awaited 20th Century Fox film, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Joining Sagdiyev for tomorrow's performance is renowned Croatian keytarist Belinda Bedekovic, who also appears on the CD. The soundtrack, available on Kuz├žek Records, in association with Downtown/Atlantic Records, arrives in stores today. The film is set to open in theaters across America and many major foreign territories on Friday, November 3rd.

CD Review - Willie Nelson - Songbird

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Here's the review for the exciting collaboration between americana 'it' boy, Ryan Adams and country legend, Willie Nelson. Mostly covers, but well worth a listen.


WILLIE NELSON & CARDINALS - SONGBIRD
(LOST HIGHWAY)
PR: Richard Wooton Publicity

Reviewer: Andrew Williamson


It was only a matter of time before this happened. Willie Nelson (73) and Ryan Adams (32) both release more records a year than is sensible, and they both love covers, so why not collaborate? Strictly, this is a Willie Nelson record with Adams as producer, but in reality it's much more of a joint effort. Ryan lends Willie his band, The Cardinals, and takes him to New York to cut a gem.

In much the same way Rick Ruben boosted Johnny Cash's later career with the "American Recordings" series, Ryan Adams hands Nelson a diverse selection of covers to showcase his voice. From Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" to Gram Parsons' "$1000 Wedding" Willie Nelson has never sounded fresher or better.

In addition to the covers, Nelson and Adams each wrote a new song specifically for Songbird. Nelson's acoustic "Back to Earth" could easily have appeared on one of his albums, while Adams contributed the magnificent country blues gem, "Blue Hotel".

The risk of a covers album is that they will sound tired compared to the originals, but guided by Adams' sensibilities Nelson stamps his authority all over the tracks. The Cardinals are a great band, providing a rocky edge and spurring Willie on all the time.

There can not be justification for yet another version of "Hallelujah", but The Grateful Dead’s "Stella Blue" and an unnerving take on "Amazing Grace" cap an outstanding collaboration. 73 or not, Willie Nelson is back on top of his game.

Rating: 4/5
For Fans of: Ryan Adams, Johnny Cash, Gram Parsons
Download: Rainy Day Blues, Blue Hotel