Friday, 30 May 2008

High Dependency Unit

I am indebted to young Hector Peebles for this stuff. A kiwi band that is hardly new - back to the late 90's at least and without a prodgious output. High Dependency Unit - HDU claim to be a bit metal, a bit psychedelic, a bit rock and twist of ambient - seems about right to me. Oddly reminiscent of Mono on ocassions they make an exillerating sound

Its a real shame that their stuff isn't available over here - big H has been trawling the web to amass his collection of which EP's Momento Mori and Higher are personal favourites. Some stuff can be bought via Smoke CD's in NZ

They have new album coming out/is out not sure which - Metamathics, a slug of which is in the vid below. Metamathics: (n) (short form of 'metamathematics')
The investigation of the properties of realities intrinsically unknowable by and from our own, but whose general principles can be hazarded at.

Guillemots at Bristol

I think that this was probably our fifth time of seeing Guillemots - including Oxford Zodiac (RIP), Cardiff Uni and Bristol Academy,(not quite sure why I feel a slight twinge of embarassment here). Been a fan since first hearing them on a snippet on a KCRW/Radio 1 podcast for new music. The early (well 2005) stuff, Made Up Lovesong #43 and I Saw Such Things in my Sleep got me hooked, and the later We're Here (see vid below) - none of which now appear on their Myspace site unfortunately

They have always had a mix of solid pop song drive with some more odd components, a satisfying mixture for me. Fyfe has a good ear for a tune and his colleagues are fine musicians (with Arista being a Stroudie adds some local colour as well - like Eamon Hamilton from Brakes and Tom Smith from Editors)

Whilst I enjoyed the show, and especially the later portions, the band seemed a little ragged on ocassions - a bit like running down a hill together, and Fyfe's vocals weren't as sharp as he has been - a new propensity to a shouty style didn't help

But some of the stuff from the latest album Red seemed better on stage than on disc (my lad reckons they'd be better off with a more live sound on recordings but then he likes stuff a little 'rockier') and a fine verison of Sao Paulo wrapped it up with fevered activtiy all around and especially from Mr Drum man

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Business Time - Flight of the Conchords

Ok Ok maybe not the first time its been cited but I still find this a laugh. How come they are so big in the States and not here? Whats going wrong?

Monday, 26 May 2008

Cuong Vu - Trumpet a-go-go

Just listening back to some Pat Metheny (who has always made me go weak at the knees) and reminded just how great his sometime-trumpet player Cuong Vu is. A bit hard to locate any decent files or vids but there are some samples on his web space from his latest solo effort, Vu Tet, of which Solitary Confinment has some extraodinary playing. His MySpace of course has a bunch of stuff and there is some decent stuff on his MySpace Blog which also shows off Cuong bassist, Stomu Takeishi: a fine player.

Band of Horses/Tyler Ramsey

Just having a little peek at Tyler Ramsey's Myspace and noticed - joy of joys - that he will be supporting Band of Horses in London when we trek up the M4 to see them in June.

I seem to be having a bit of a 'thing' about all things currently (or recently just ex- in the case of BoH) Seattle. Tyler Ramseys album is genuinely beautiful and likely to be a contender for one of my albums of 2008.

BoH seem to have spawned not only Mr Ramsey but triggered a number of other bands like Fleet Foxes, Grand Archives etc all of whom are giving off that rather hippy, slightly blissed thing that is obviously finding much favour with yours truly

The National - Virginia EP/DVD

Loathe as I am to criticise my bessy band, and whilst its good to have summat 'new' to clutch to my bosom, I am still feeling a little let down. The EP is mostly stuff available elsewhere no matter how welcome (especially the live About Today - hence the vid link) but the DVD is just too smart ass arty for my tastes - Mr Moon and his hand held, washed out and fuzzy camera work ... sigh

Hey Ho they are still the band that is consistently on play for me with tracks that continue to reveal new layers with repeated plays. After much anticipation we saw them in Bristol earlier this year and they blew me away, and with a bit of luck they might do something similar in Birmingham in a few weeks as part of what seems their never-ending summer tour of festivals and ocassional gigs

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Fleet Foxes

A bunch of chaps - with the almost now inevitable connections to Band of Horses, from Seattle and whose parents obviously had loads of Buffalo Springfield and similar albums around - but hey it works for me. Happy, slightly hippy, five part harmonies and so forth.

The Sun Giant EP (Mykonos a stand out track) is a delight and precedes their eponymous debut in a few weeks. Shame there are no decent vids yet but the YouTube steal of Winter Hymnal does them justice

Bon Iver

Well this chap has done it for me - For Emma, Forever Ago , is a stunning album with a stack of great tracks including The Wolves (Act I & II). Check out a bit of stuff on Myspace

Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs

Well frankly I am still a little disappointed by the new DCFC offering, Narrow Stairs. It does have some good tracks, notably the loooong version of Possess Your Heart, Grapevine Fires etc, but it doesn't match up to Plans for me. Still owts better than nowt as they say.

Despite having to go on my lonesome, am still off to see them in Brum in July and hope they are worth the wait