Sunday, March 28, 2010

One to watch - Joe Pug

Listen to "Nation of Heat" EP on Spotify.

And through spotify web link.

If, like us, you like Josh Ritter, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Ryan Adams or others who have a way with a voice and an acoustic guitar then you might like to check out Joe Pug.

He studied playwriting at the University of North Carolina and has just released his debut full length album, "the Messenger".

He sings with heart, empathy and emotion. His EP is on Spotify, check it out.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Good night Sparklehorse

Good night Sparklehorse

This weekend, we learned the sad news that Sparklehorse frontman Mark Linkous had taken his own life. The New York Times reports that Linkous shot himself in the heart in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was 47. His hushed beautiful music grew out of his habit of playing the piano at night and trying not to wake his wife. He enjoys an album with one of the longest titles in music history - Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot .

It was was "It's a Wonderful Life" that really drew me to Sparklehorse. A wonderful album packed full of interesting collaborations that abounded with optimism. Unfortunately for Mark Linkous it was not to be. We'll miss him.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fiction Fight - Jacob

Fiction Fight are an up and coming Coventry, UK-based band delivering a mixture of alternative and electronic music with strong lyrics and melodies.

Fiction Fight's latest EP, Jacob, is described by the band as a mixture of early TV on the Radio with the strings from Bjork. There are definitive hints of TV On The Radio but it sounds to me to be much more like the dark, brooding guitar of Mogwai or Boards of Canada with an electronic alter-ego.

The EP opens with "Broken Drum" and the sound of a looped, (broken?) drum beat and atmospheric guitar chords. The three members are Josiah Gillespie, a homegrown, heart-on-sleeve folkster from America and Cornwall, Chris Donald, post-hardcore kid fresh from the Yorkshire scene and Rachel Challis, drummer turned guitarist turned singer. Most tracks on the EP feature layered male and female vocals over electronic drums similar to Radiohead's Amnesiac era, especially (think Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors or Idioteque)

Clouds, the third and significantly strongest track, brightens things up with a pretty, Air- Moon Safari -like melody, a rising chorus and a wonderful grooving bass line ending wonderfully with reverb drenched vocals and horns.

To fill the expansive sound out live, the tour band includes Tim Pitt on drums, Matt Donald on bass and Nathan Leigh on keys. Luke Richardson (keys/trumpet) and Anna Brigham (violin/cello). They will shortly be touring the UK so keep your eyes peeled for some fresh new alternative electronica

Fiction Fight on MySpace

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Canon Logic release "Avenue Of Criminals" soon and you can stream the album above. They have now relocated to New York but the new album retains their their idiosyncratic indie sound from fantastical piano-driven pop songs like “Nights At Armor Mansion” to the bouncy, infectious “Avenue Of Criminals” (which brings to mind a more upbeat version of fellow New York transplants the National) and the stripped-down, lo-fi interlude “Last Day Of Man,” FM Arcade is literally the sound of this band discovering—and challenging—themselves.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Jamie Cullum - The Pursuit - album review

Jamie Cullum – The Pursuit

Jamie Cullum is smart. He's an exceptionally talented jazz vocalist and pianist but he knows that jazz doesn't sell big these days, pop does. But he also doesn't want to sell out. Sure he has to write tunes that will please the masses but to satisfy his own musical needs he can throw in an adapted Monk lick over Cole Porter's “Just One of Those Things” or deconstruct the Harry Secombe/Tony Bennett classic, “If I Ruled The World”.

But let's cut to the chase, The Pursuit has converted me. There is something to Cullum. I wish he was a bit more jazz and a bit less pop but I realise that the bank manager says he has to be. Instead he can take the best of pop and make it jazz. Here Cullum reimagines songs from Not While I’m Around, that sentimental ballad from Sweeney Todd, to Rihanna's pop favourite “Don't Stop The Music”. This is the the highlight of the album, he manages to retain the infectious hook of the chorus yet stripping down the song to the bare essentials, simple chords and brushed snare drums, until the verse builds to the familiar chorus. Cullum breaks off for some exceptional piano fills before returning to where he started.

The album features a variety of beats, production techniques and styles. He is clearly branching his wings and for the most part it works. He is clearly a talent and this is his most experimental album to date. It will be very interesting to see the direction he takes from here, but for now lets sit back and enjoy the music.

Rating: 4/5