Monthly Archives: January 2010

A Chemikal Romance

Tonight, Chemikal Underground Records celebrates its 15th birthday with a gig at the ABC in Glasgow. Playing at the talent crammed gig are Lord Cut Glass, Emma Pollock, Adrian Crowley, Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat, The Unwinding Hours, Zoey Van Goey and topped off by The Phantom Band. It’d be fair comment to say that i’m pretty devastated that i can’t make the gig tonight but i’ll celebrate Chemikal in my own little way.

Chemikal Underground came about when Scottish indie band The Delgados decided to buck against the trend. Instead of trying to get themselves signed to a label, the Delgados went a different route altogether and started their own label. Giving themselves a platform from which to release their own music and then taking the next step and signing up more artists.

Meet the Delgados, the guys and girl who started it all.

The label is well known throughout Scotland and has given many a Scottish band their first steps in the music industry. Some of it’s more famous artists were/are Aereogramme, Arab Strap, Bis, De Rosa, The Sluts of Trust, The Phantom Band and The Delgados themselves obviously. The latest addition to their roster is The Unwinding Hours, who i’ve posted about previously and am absolutely desperate to catch live (5th of March, not long to wait). Chemikal is also famous for releasing the first two Mogwai albums “Mogwai Young Team” and “Come On Die Young” before Mogwai took a leaf out of The Delgados book and decided to also start their own label Rock Action Records (more on that particular label in the future).

There’s one more thing that people might not know about Chemikal Undergound…..they gave Interpol their big break, gave them a major push into the European market. They spotted the talent in the raw New Yorkers. That’s right, if it wasn’t for Chemikal Underground there very well might have been no Interpol.

Back in 2000, when the label was age 5, it branched out and launched a separate imprint called Fukd ID. The idea behind the imprint was to allow Chemikal to work with and release records by bands that didn’t have to necessarily be signed to the Chemikal label as such. It worked a treat. There’s been 8 Fukd ID releases so far, they’re all very rare and are pretty much all sold out. Interpol appeared with Fukd ID 3 and this was their debut EP. Two of the songs on it (Roland and PDA) were later re-recorded for their debut album, “Turn On The Bright Lights”.

Here’s just a few of many Chemikal delights….

MP3: Zoey Van Goey – We Don’t Have That Kind Of Bread

MP3:  Sluts Of Trust – Piece O’ You

MP3: De Rosa – Camera

MP3: Arab Strap – The First Big Weekend

MP3: Aereogramme – No Really, Everthing’s Fine

VIDEO: Mogwai – Chocky

VIDEO: Bis – Mamelodi Sundown

I couldn’t very well end the post without allowing Sam and Paul to say their piece now could i?

MP3: Interpol – Roland

So after 15 years of introducing us to new bands and giving us some truly inspiring and original music, it’s a big thank you to Glasgow’s very own Chemikal Underground.

oh and Happy Birthday

S.I.T Wolf X

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The Last Month Of Fuzz

Sometime last December, i randomly came across an article in the local paper. It contained these facts about facial hair.

An average man has 25,000 whiskers on his face, and facial hair grows at a rate of approximately five to six inches a year. Whiskers? What am i? A fucking cat?

An average man will spend in excess of 3000 hours of his life in the act of shaving. This one really got to me, so by going a month without shaving it meant i gained back a good few of those hours!

Now, i had only shaved off my novelty moustache (the one i grew in aid of Movember) a few days before reading that particular article but decided there and then that i would make an attempt at growing a beard sometime in the upcoming New Year. “Beards are meant to make you look thoughtful,  philosphocal, even cool apparently ” i thought. “I’ve got nothing to lose”.

But i didn’t want to have a big fuzzy face for the Christmas season, i mean if i was to turn up at Christmas parties and nights out dressed in my ripped jeans with my face covered in unkempt multi-coloured facial hair i’d probably end up giving off the impression that i was lost and looking for spare change. So i waited a while before finally having my last shave on the 29th of December. I tried to time it perfectly so that i could enjoy New Years Eve and the following weeks New Year celebrations (my family celebrate New Year right up until the 5th of January, we have a lot of relatives to get round) with just a few days stubble and then a weeks stubble at most, that way i would look just normally ugly in the family pictures instead of really hairy and ugly.

This was my beard at 2 weeks old, it got worse believe me.

So the weeks passed by and i grew to like my beard and genuinely thought about keeping it for longer than the sole month that i intended. But last night the 4 weeks were up and it came off.

The beard divided opinion amongst my friends and family. My mum hated it, i looked neanderthal apparently. She is the most relieved that it’s now gone. My sister Lisa liked it. To her it made me look intellectual. Something i’m pretty sure i’m not. She also said that it made me look like i was “..a member of Mogwai or something…”. It probably had something to do with the shirt i was wearing at the time, it was a checked/plaid effort. Either way the Mogwai comment made me smile. My dad also quite liked the beard. He told me it made me look like a younger version of him. That was one of the swaying factors when it came to shaving it off if i’m honest! Most of my other relatives didn’t recognise me at first when they came over recently, seriously, that’s fucked up. How can someone not recognise their nephew/cousin under a simple beard. In general my close friends liked the beard, there was the odd cry of “lumberjack!” or “oh, look out, here comes Grizzly Adams!” but nothing negative really.

Well, anyway, it’s gone now, shaven completely off last night.

So here’s to you, multi-coloured Beard.  Born on the 29th of December 2009 and sadly fell down the sink on the 26th of January 2010. I’ll never forget you.

And here’s to a few beardy artists.

Take note of the “Do 50% of band members have a beard” part. So do beards make you cool? …….Really though..who gives a shit?

MP3: Fleet Foxes – Mykonos

MP3: TV on the Radio – Staring at the Sun

MP3: Aphex Twin – Girl Boy Song

MP3: Mastodon – Crack The Skye

?uestlove is easily the King of Beards

VIDEO:  The Roots – Here I Come (Live)

VIDEO: Devendra Banhart – Carmensita

VIDEO: Bonnie Prince Billy – I See A Darkness (Live)

(a clean shaven) S.I.T Wolf  X

PS. i promise this will be my last phase of experimenting with facial fuzz. There’ll be no more random moustaches and no more month old beards.

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Ae Fond Kiss

Tonight is Rabbie Burns night here in Scotland. He was born on this day in 1759. There is of course the usual celebrations that take place on his birthday, these celebrations usually consist of haggis, neeps and tatties but i’m going for something more musical tonight. Burns is perhaps most famous for Auld Lang Syne but he also wrote a lot of other wondrous pieces. Among them is my favourite, “Ae Fond Kiss”. It’s an aching ode to a love that’s been lost. I remember studying the work of Burns at school and this was the one that really stood out to me.

The story goes as follows: in 1791 Burn’s one true love Agnes M’Lehose (or “Nancy” to her friends and in the song) decided to end the affair between herself and Robert Burns and make an attempt to save her marriage. She travelled to Jamaica in pursuit of her husband and “Ae Fond Kiss” is the love letter/song/poem that Burns wrote to her when she was on her travels.

So instead of the usual run of the mill celebrations i thought it”d be a nice idea to remember Robert Burns by looking at some more alternative Scottish love songs. None of this Proclaimers nonsense though or stereotypical “Och Aye The Noo” type novelty singers that we seem to have way to much of these days.  No, i’m talking about proper Scottish bands and proper songs of despair and lost love.

But first and as cheesy as it may seem….i need to show this, it’s Eddie Reader singing “Ae Fond Kiss”. (lyrics are below in two forms)

I know some people, well most people in fact, struggle to understand the Scottish dialect and accent and although the song isn’t perfomed here in a broad accent i thought it’d be a good idea to post the lyrics in a more straight forward sense as well as the old script above. I should also point out that Eddi Reader sings the songs in slightly different order from the original lyrics.

A fond kiss and then we sever
A farewell and then for ever.
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee

Who shall say that fortune grieves him,
While the star of hope she leaves him?
Me, No cheerful twinkle lights me,
Dark despair around benights me.

I’ll never blame my partial fancy,
Nothing could resist my Nancy.
For to see her was to love her,
Love but her, and love for ever.

Had we never loved so kindly,
Had we never loved so blindly,
Had we never met or never parted,
We’d have never been so broken hearted.

Farewell my first and fairest
Farewell my best and dearest
Thine be like joy and treasure,
Peace, enjoyment, love and pleasure

A fond kiss and then we sever
A farewell, alas, for ever
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee.

A few more old Scottish songs (one from the 80’s and one from the 90’s) about heartbreak…

Arab Strap – Here We Go

Big Country – Come Back To Me

Enough of the oldies though, what does this generation of Scottish music bring us in terms of love that hurts?…….

“You Tear Us Apart With All The Things You Don’t Like”
MP3: Biffy Clyro – Mountains

“Are You Lonely Yet?
MP3: Idlewild – Love Steals Us From Loneliness

VIDEO: There Will Be Fireworks – Midfield Maestro

S.I.T Wolf  X

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Caught In The Act

Didn’t have  much time to do a post this afternoon…… i had an important meeting with a few friends and a few pints of Tennents round the local pub.

So, i’m just gonna do a quick post on some upcoming events that i’ll be attending. Some i already have tickets for, some i’m buying on pay day. Which is this Friday coming thankfully and boy could i do with it. I do the same thing every year, spend the November/December wage on Christmas presents for people and spend the majority of the Christmas wages during the festive season (nights out, parties etc) then realise, too late nonetheless, that i have the whole of January to wait before i get paid again. Maybe i’ll finally learn this year. Probably not.

Back to the gigs though..

You Can’t Eat The Word Food @ McChuils, Glasgow
Saturday 30th January

You may think i’m being biased here (the singer/guitarist is my brother in law) but if you want jagged indie rhythms that come tinged with many different influences from ska (Soap Opera King) to mod era punk (Rudiments Of No) and with a unique vocal delivery then get yourself along to one of their shows. Or at least their MySpace if you can’t make it. They’ve been together for years now and are one of the hardest working bands on the Glasgow scene, they’ve played all over Scotland and last year managed to get a London show in and impressed the audience. They’re signed to Headhunter Records and released their debut album in November 2008. They deserve to reap the rewards for their hard work, i’m sure they will this year. This show at McChuils is already their 3rd gig of 2010 and they’ve got many more to come this year. Try and catch them if you can. Oh and bring some food along if you do, they’ll appreciate it.

The Sunshine Underground @ ABC, Glasgow
Wednesday 3rd February
MP3:  The Sunshine Underground – Borders
The Leeds quartet have finally decided to return and give us another album. And with it another tour. They release their second album “Nobody’s Coming To Save You” on the 1st of February. Will it have been worth the wait? Judging by new lead single “We’ve Always Been Your Friends” it’s a yes. Catch them live if you can. They come across as a very different animal in the flesh. Punk, indie and they tend to show their dancier edge when performing live.

God Is An Astronaut @ Oran Mor, Glasgow
Tuesday 23rd February
MP3: God Is An Astronaut- Forever Lost
These guys are all set to unleash their new album “Age of the Fifth Sun” at some point this summer or before and are proceeding that release with a tour. I only got into them a few years back through my friend Keane, they reminded me a lot of Mogwai and i’ve liked them ever since. They are one band that i’ve never managed to see live before and quite frankly i can’t wait to get the chance to bask in their audio/visual arrangements. Apparently their live shows are immense.

Errors @ Grand Ole Opry, Glasgow
Thursday 25th February
MP3: Errors – National Prism
I’ve already seen these dudes three times before. Each time was a stand out gig in it’s own right. The first was seeing them as a support band back in 2006 and i was very impressed. The second time was a herbal drug induced haze at the Connect Festival in 2008 and then i went and seen them again in October 2008 at the Oran Mor, that night was just unreal. One of the best gigs (and nights) of my life to be perfectly honest. They have an avid fanbase and trusted live reputation and when you add the fact that they have a new album on its way then this show begins to look even more appealing than it possibly ever could. They’re definitely one of Scotlands leading musical lights and they look like burning bright for many years to come.

Japandroids @ King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
Friday 26th February
MP3: Japandroids – Young Hearts Spark Fire
Anybody who is a regular reader on here will probably have read my review of the A Place To Bury Strangers gig back in November last year. Japandroids supported that night and added to the immense volume of that particular gig. I was hooked before i seen them live. Their hook laden anthems dragged me in from the first time i heard the opening chord of their debut album “Post Nothing”. Their care free lyrics are a refreshing change from a time where too much lyrics are focussed on the negative. And after witnessing them live, even if it was just for the modest 35 minutes or so they played, i wanted more. After that support slot they announced they’d be coming back to Scotland..and well, here they are. Headlining. This is one gig not too miss.

Ex Lovers @ The Warehouse, Aberdeen
Wednesday 3rd March
MP3: Ex Lovers – Incomplete
This is another gig that i’ve been looking forward to for a while. I only discovered this band last summer and since then i’ve been waiting for them to announce a Scottish gig. I didn’t have to wait that long. The band seem to have decided to miss out Glasgow and Edinburgh right enough and have chosen Aberdeen as the destination. It’s a bit of a journey for me to make but i’m sure it’ll be worth it. If not for the gig itself then i know it’ll be worth the journey to see my friend Emma who is currently living and studying in Aberdeen.

The Unwinding Hours @ Stereo, Glasgow
Friday 5th March
MP3: The Unwinding Hours – Little One
The Unwinding Hours gig at Stereo has the potential to be gig of the year i reckon, the return of legends . I’ll start from the beginning. Some people will know Aereogramme, some won’t. For those who don’t, i’ll explain. Aereogramme were Scottish post-rock cult legends that decided to call it a day in 2007. They were held in the same bracket as Mogwai when it came to pioneering Scottish music acts. Well, anyway the man with that distinctive, delicate voice known as Craig B has went on to form The Unwinding Hours with fellow ex-Aereogramme member Iain Cook. I bore witness to Aereogrammes last show in 2007 and it’s going to be amazing to see The Unwinding Hours first headline gig at Stereo. They have a small gig on the 31st January right enough as part of the Celtic Connection shows happening in Glasgow but Stereo will be their first headline gig and after managing to get my hands on a promo of their debut album (due out on the 15th February) i can safely say that this gig promises to be immense. Ps. their debut is an early contender for album of the year.

Four Tet @ The Bongo Club, Edinburgh
Saturday 13th March
MP3: Four Tet – Love Cry
It’s all set to be a chilled out noise fest when this one man show rolls into Edinburgh. Four Tet (Keiran Hebden to his freinds) is known for being very improvisational during his live shows. He can be dark sometimes but usually sticks to his more breezy brand of electronica, it’ll be the perfect gig to stand back and just admire. However, with the release of his new album “There Is Love In You” (out officially tomorrow but it’s being doing the rounds for a few weeks online now) he has glided into an even  more ‘dancier’ sound than usual. “Love Cry”, the lead single from the new album, is more than enough proof of this. It was the perfect way to tease his fans and build up anticipation of the new long player.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ The Barrowlands, Glasgow
Friday 16th April
MP3: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – As Sure As The Sun
I’ve seen these guys so many times now that i could be forgiven for deciding just to give this gig a miss. But i’m going, i’m despearte to see them live again. I’ve seen pretty much every single show they’ve done in Glasgow since they got together. First time i caught them live was back in 2001 at the tender age of 16 and i was taken in by the “cool”  image they so effortlessly portrayed. They were named after a motorbike gang from a Marlon Brando film right enough. Cool? No? Every time i see them though they still amaze me. Their musicianship is second to none, they’re unbelievably tight as a unit and they swap between instruments and songs structures with enviable ease. They’ve also had their fair share of problems, like most bands do eventually i suppose, but they always come back stronger. They grow with every offering, each album bringing something different from the last.

65Daysofstatic @ Oran Mor, Glasgow
Monday 3rd May
MP3: 65Daysofstatic – Retreat! Retreat! (live in NY)
I’m actually just smiling to myself with the thought of seeing these guys once more. They’re everything you want and need in a modern band and then more, the Sheffield natives are an awesome proposition on stage. Live, they have the opportunity to delve into their impressive back catalogue and use any number of amazing tracks they have at their disposal. And being brave enough to have break beat samples backing up their live shows alongside live drums only adds to the appeal. They are certainly among the elite of instrumental bands of today. Like i mentioned before their discography/output is frighteningly good, in fact, the vast amount of unreleased tracks they have recorded (remixes etc) have inspired many a mash up i’ve made. And i’m not ashamed to say i’ve “borrowed” samples from them on more than a few occasions. This will no doubt be an absolute epic gig from start to finish and along with The Unwinding Hours this is the gig i’m looking forward to the most.

S.I.T Wolf  X


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Half A Song

Right, most people in the UK will have seen this advert at some point.

When i first seen the advert last December it was the song that caught my attention (like it was supposed to i guess). It’s catchy and can i say “commercial” sounding without sounding too obvious? I honestly don’t care much for TV (i prefer DVDs) or adverts either really i suppose but this one really jumped out at me. Anyways, my first impression was “Is that the Temper Trap? Maybe a B-side of theirs or something?” but when realising that i’d never heard it before i sought to find out the song and the artist behind it.

This led me to a search and ultimately to YouTube. It was here i discovered that the song was “Halfway Home” by The Cool Hearts. But…all that was available were loops of the 30 seconds or so used in the advert. Which i really like by the way but i wanted to hear the full song. So i looked them up on MySpace…same thing…only 30 seconds of the song…but, wait, it’s officially released on the 22nd January? “I can deal with that” i thought, bearing in mind that this was just a few days after Christmas. Which meant i had just over 3 weeks to wait to hear the full track.

I waited.

Yesterday, i downloaded.

I’m disappointed.

It’s not that it’s terrible. It’s just plain. No life. Boring verses, good chorus. It’s what i should’ve expected to be honest but i got suckered in by the lure of a catchy chorus.

Here’s the song in it’s entirety….see what you think

MP3: The Cool Hearts – Half Way Home

So, Halfway Home are we Cool Hearts? Ok, well, can i just go back now?

Here’s the loop which i found on YouTube a while back and to be honest i actually prefer this version

Well, sounds like The Temper Trap, no? Even just a bit? That’s what pulled me in.

Car adverts aren’t all evil and misleading though. Over the recent years car adverts have featured some amazing tracks. Two that spring to mind are the Mazda one from a few years ago that featured the Infadels “Can’t Get Enough” and more recently there was the new Honda Civic advert that was soundtracked by Battles’ famous signature tune “Atlas”. That’s two great songs in their own right before they were even thought about for car adverts. Two great FULL songs. Not a catchy chorus on its own.

ps. speaking of Battles, they must be due an album this year and a tour. It’s been a year and a half since i last seen them live, withdrawal symptoms are kicking in. One of the best live bands around.

S.I.T Wolf X

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Your Monthly Video Dose: January 2010

I missed out on doing a December Video Dose so i’ll need to make up for that in the near future but for now here’s the January vids….

The Old Romantic Killer Band – Lovers Pass

Yeti Lane – Lonesome George

Sleep – Dragonaut

Vitalic – My Friend Dario

Martin Grech – Open Heart Zoo

S.I.T Wolf X

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The Angle Of Broken, Familiar, Post Egyptian Sound

the inhabitants of the first Six Mix of 2010 are…

MP3: Aereogramme – Post-Tour, Pre-Judgement

MP3: Helsingfors – Angle of Depression

MP3: Asobi Seksu – Familiar Light

MP3: Atlas Sound – The Light That Failed

MP3: Egyptian Hip Hop – Rad Pitt

VIDEO: Broken Bells – The High Road

(not an actual video i suppose but it’s from their own YouTube channel so this must be all they have planned for this song)

S.I.T Wolf X

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Opinions Are Never Wrong

“I love music. I believe that for people who love music, the desire to share it is innate and crucial for music itself. When we find a song we love, we beckon our friends over to the turntable, we turn up the car stereo, we loan them the cd, we put it on a mixtape. We do this because music makes us feel and we want someone else to feel it too.”

So….after i posted my Top 30 Albums of 2009 last week i mentioned that i would put up a list of some of my friends opinions on the best albums of 2009. So without further ado….

My friends opinions on the Top 5 Albums of 2009 are:

1. Gui Boratto – Take My Breath Away
2. VNV Nation – Of Faith, Power And Glory
3. Moderat – Moderat
4. IAMX – The Kingdom Of Welcome Addiction
5. Major Lazer – Guns Don’t Kill People..Lazers Do

(may i also add that Gordon wanted to have the GBXperience Volume 2 in his Top 5 but i refused to allow him on the grounds that it’s a compilation and they’re not actually George ‘Unfunniest person in the World’ Bowies songs, just “remixes” he’s done…oh and it’s utter shite.

1. IAMX –  The Kingdom Of Welcome Addiction
2. Regina Spektor – Far
3. MSTRKRFT – Fist Of God
4. Florence And The Machine –  Lungs
5. Peaches – I Feel Cream

1. Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport
2. Bloody Beetroots – Romborama
3. Vladislav Delay – Tummaa
4. Tiesto – Kaleidoscope
5. 2562 – Unbalance

1. Metric – Fantasies
2. Florence And The Machine – Lungs
3. Bat For Lashes – Two Suns
4. Matt And Kim – Grand
5. Ryan Adams – Extra Cheese EP

1. The Big Pink – A Brief History Of Love
2. The Horrors – Primary Colours
3. Moderat – Moderat
4. Miike Snow – Miike Snow
5. Bloody Beetroots – Romborama

1. Bloody Beetroots – Romborama
2. HEALTH – Get Color
3. Sonic Youth – The Eternal
4. The Qemists – Join The Q
5. Yello – Touch Yello

1. Manic Street Preachers – Journal For Plague Lovers
2. The Baddies – Do The Job
3. Graham Coxon – The Spinning Top
4. Franz Ferdinand – Tonight
5.  Arctic Monkeys – Humbug

1. Temper Trap – Conditions
2. Metric – Fantasies
3. Air – Love 2
4. Florence And The Machine – Lungs
5. A Place To Bury Strangers – Exploding Head

1. The Prodigy – Invaders Must Die
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Zero
3. Temper Trap – Conditions
4. Passion Pit – Manners
5. Manic Street Preachers – Journal For Plague Lovers

1. The Horrors – Primary Colours
2. Biffy Clyro – Only Revolutions
3. Dizzee Rascal – Tongue N Cheek
4. The Maccabees – Wall Of Arms
5. Noah And The Whale – The First Days Of Spring

1. A Place To Bury Strangers – Exploding Head
2. Lightning Bolt – Earthly Delights
3. Soulsavers – Broken
4. Future Of The Left – Travels With Myself And Another
5. Them Crooked Vultures – Them Crooked Vultures

1. Isis – Wavering Radiant
2. Russian Circles – Geneva
3. Sunno)) – Monoliths And Dimensions
4. Dinosaur Jr – Farm
5. Alice In Chains – Black Gives Way To Blue

1. Andrew Weatherall – A Pox On The Pioneers
2. Yacht – See Mystery Lights
3. Bibio – Ambivalence Avenue
4. Animal Collective – Post Merriweather Pavilion
5. Nathan Fake – Hard Islands

1. The Mars Volta – Octahedron
2. The Veils – Sun Gangs
3. Mum – Sing Along To Songs You Don’t Know
4. Fever Ray –  Fever Ray
5. The Flaming Lips – Embryonic

S.I.T Wolf  X

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THE MONDAY LIST #12: The Top 5 Tips For 2010

2009 promised and delivered so much in the way of good music, lets hope this year can be the same.

Ex-Lovers are a London based band who had a good 2009. Last summer saw the release of their debut singles “Just A Silhouette” and “Photobooth” and then in September they released the EP “You Forget So Easily”. The title track was the standout but other tracks such as “New Years Day” were enough to draw them favourable comparisons to Elliott Smith and The Cure. Almighty praise indeed.

They begin this year by heading off on a few gigs this month and then starting a 3 week tour of Britain on the 20 February. I’ll be taking in the Aberdeen show. If they can start off this year as they finished the last one then 2010 could be a very big year indeed for this loveable quintet.

MP3: Ex Lovers – New Years Day

I’ve previously posted “Just A Silhouette” and “You Forget So Easily” so if you like what you hear, go download them too.

VIDEO: Ex Lovers – Photobooth

Brooklyn-ites Zaza are slowly making a name for themselves with their take on the sombre side of shoegaze. Their Cameo EP was littered with haunting sounds and glistening vocals and hazy cymbals. Never veering off far from their influences the band still manage to create a sound all of their own. If you let them they’ll take you on a musical journey.

The band are playing SXSW this March, so it won’t be long before the secrets out. Get involved.

MP3: ZaZa – Always On

VIDEO: ZaZa – Sooner Or Later

These guys are darker and more evil than an alleyway on Sauchiehall Street in the early hours of a damp, winter Sunday morning. The lyrics are dark, the music even darker. Swirls of feedback and threatening chords mixed with almost tribal sounding beats. Then there’s the deep and quite frankly scary voice of Gabriel Bruce. They remind of a band i fell in love with a long time ago, the Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster. They have the same psychobilly and gothic undertones throughout everything they do, including their dress sense. There is definitely a visual element to the band, they also have that “shock” value too and although the band themselves may deny it i feel that it isn’t intentional. I don’t think they are trying to shock (well not too hard anyway), i think that its just simply their idea of “musical and visual expression”. This dark and evil image they portray is how they feel about society and so this is how they’ll perform on stage, this is what they’ll sing about etc.  I’m probably wrong but that’s just my opinion. Intended or not, the menacing look works and it certainly adds to their cult status. The music speaks for itself though and if the image they have helps them along the way then brilliant. I just hope these guys get the recognition they deserve in 2010.

Ok. so the above picture doesn’t look that menacing but that’s them being nice. If you want menacing, check the video for “Crypt Tonight” below.

MP3: Loverman – Crucifiction

VIDEO: Loverman – Crypt Tonight

These two could have stepped right out of the 80’s. I’m probably not alone in guessing that the era of New Romanticism from that decade have hugely influenced them. They have the same aching lovelorn lyrics, style and drum machines. And they’ve certainly blown the dust off of a few twenty five or so year old synthesizers. What i like most though is their ability to tell a story in a song without getting to “into” it. If that makes sense, which it probably doesn’t again. They dress slick, they sound slick and they’re destined for a big year.

Another really appealing thing about Hurts is that you can dance to them, so get yourself along to one of their shows this year and dance like it’s the 80’s. Yes, even if you missed/were too young for that era. I totally missed that scene (i was born 1985) but it won’t stop me loving and wanting to dance along to Hurts disco anthems.

MP3: Hurts – Blood, Tears And Gold

VIDEO: Hurts – Wonderful Life

This is Leeds noise punk at it’s finest. Leeds has produced a lot of good music over the last few years or so. The Tupolev Ghost and The Music to name but two. Pulled Apart By Horses are the product of cult Leeds band Mother Vulpine splitting up. The members went on to form PABH and also one of last years tips, Dinosaur Pile Up. But lets focus on Pulled Apart By Horses. They are effectively a bulldozer of noise. Aggressive in output yet the melodies remain. It’s beautiful noise. A lot of times band this heavy end up losing their sense of melody, not these guys. They sometimes garner up an almost Disco feeling. They’re also a mouth watering prospect as a live act with the ability to keep a crowds attention, which in todays “scenes” can be a pretty hard thing to do.

MP3: Pulled Apart By Horses – Get Off My Ghost Train

VIDEO: Pulled Apart By Horses – Meat Balloon

S.I.T Wolf X

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Filed under the monday list

Top 30 Albums of 2009

Once again there were too many great albums to whittle down into a top 30 but i did it…eventually.

The list once again goes in a countdown style, 30 to 1.

30. Arms and Sleepers – Matador
29. The Antlers – Hospice
28. The Qemists – Join The Q
27. Soulsavers – Broken
26. Memory Tapes – Seek Magic
25. IAMX – The Kingdom Of Welcome Addiction
24. Hazards Of Swimming Naked – Our Lines Are Down
23. Atlas Sound – Logos
22. The Prodigy – Invaders Must Die
21. Them Crooked Vultures – Them Crooked Vultures
20. HEALTH – Get Color
19. CircleSquare – Songs About Dancing And Drugs
18. Bibio – Ambivalence Avenue
17. Nathan Fake – Hard Islands
16. Lightning Bolt – Earthly Delights
15. MSTRKRFT –  Fist Of God
14. Lymbyc Systym – Shutter Release
13. Gui Boratto – Take My Breath Away
12. Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport
11. Ex Libras – Suite(s)

10. Motor – Metal Machine

It first it seems like this is just a collection of bleeps and spluttering noises backed up with sound effects that would fit the scene of a midnight space ship race in some galaxy far away but if you give it a full listen from start to finish you’ll find an electronic classic full of gritty techno tracks.

9. Crocodiles – Summer Of Hate

These two guys have been labelled as a lot of things this past year. From Jesus and Mary Chain revivalists (more?) to the leaders of The New Shoegaze Generation (or Nu-Gaze as some call it… *shudders*) right through to “talentless noise” according to one reviewer (said reviewer is clearly in need of some sort of musical lobotomy operation). But whatever brush you decide to tar these two San Diego natives with at least take the time to listen to their scuzzy fuzzy pedal driven racket because it’s definitely an album worth snapping up (did i just say that?!). Oh and they used to be in a band called The Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower, they’re worth checking out for the name alone.

8. Bloody Beetroots – Romborama

Bob Rifo has been around a while now and whilst he performs live as The Bloody Beetroots with Tommy Tea as his sidekick, there’s simply no getting away from the fact that he himself ACTUALLY IS the Bloody Beetroots. The songs are his. He does production, mixing, recording, composing and arrangement. All of it. Tommy Tea is just his sidekick on stage, although to be fair to him it wouldn’t be the same with just one crazy DJ in a mask jumping around stage so lets give him some credit. The point i’m getting at though is that this is essentially the work of one man, it’s raw, bouncy and aggressive yet playful at the same time, it’s an album that’s been a long time coming too. Some of the tracks on the album appeared online as early as 2006, “Butter” and “I Love The Bloody Beetroots” being examples. So was it worth the wait? Um…..yes!

7. Japandroids – Post Nothing

The two Canadians make a glorious thumping feast of noise when they play live and just about manage to achieve the same decibels on record. Hidden behind all the hard hit chords and biting drums though are actual songs. Good songs. A lot of good songs. A lot of good songs about good things. There’s no “oh everybody hates me”, “life is shit” or “me, me, me” in the lyrics. They sing about girls and good times. One set of lyrics goes “I don’t wanna worry about dying, i just wanna worry about those sunshine girls”. So that makes them ok in my book.

6. Passion Pit – Manners

Without a doubt this was THE pop album of 2009. A masterpiece in crafting hooks, melodies, harmonies and all things poppy into 4 minute gems. The use of chimed guitars, synths and gentle padded rhythms never sounded better.

5. Moderat – Moderat

When Modeselektor and Apparat got together there was always going to be a special outcome. But no one knew just how special. Moderat is an album awash with soundscapes that sound fresh and appealing. Waves of white noise tinged with a chromatic vibe and the distinguished, comforting voices of Sascha Ring and a few guest vocalists. There’s more than a few “chillout songs” on the album but there’s also a fair share grittier beats and dark synths from the Modeselektor side of the spectrum splattered around. On the bonus edition of the album there’s a dvd with music videos and a few extra tracks, namely “Beatswaysick” featuring the insane rapper BusDriver. There’s something for everybody on here and those ingredients add up to make this a Top 5 album easily.

4. Cougar – Patriot

Ok so having a purely instrumental album at Number 4 may seem like a bold move but Cougar are deserving of it. The arrangement of the songs are bordering perfection and every instrument seems to come in at exactly the right time. The songs shift between slow and fast, quiet and loud, between intricate guitar lines and full blown power chords and all the while manage to sustain the listener, each song representing a different mood. It’s a common misconception among most people that bands with no singer must be Instrumental Post Rock. In my eyes Cougar aren’t, they’re just a band of great musicians on top of their game making absolutely essential music.

3. Maybeshewill – Sing The Word Hope In Four Part Harmony

This is probably another surprise entry but yet again one i feel is more than deserving of its place. Maybeshewill have been on the scene for a few years now and have consistently stuck by their ethics when making albums. They do things their own way and are beginning to reap the rewards for it. Their sound consists of movie samples, keyboards, synths and very heavy guitars and heavier drums. They can do the whole “quiet” side of things when they want to as well mind. Add all the louder components together though and all you’d expect to hear was a washing machine of incomprehensible noise rattling around, yeah? Wrong. These guys know to make a tune work.

2. Tape Deck Mountain – Ghosts

“Ghosts” may come across as somewhat of a concept album about, well, ghosts. It’s layered with lyrical references to ghosts and even burial throughout several tracks and it certainly has an eerie sound that escalates during the whole album. Tape Deck Mountain are very Lo-Fi and remind me from time to time of the slacker kings “Dinosaur Jr” and “Pavement”, which by the way isn’t a bad thing. The vocals are very low in the mix. The band instead are seemingly happy to focus on feedback and psychedelic tones. “Ghosts” might not be everyones cup of tea but it ceratinly caught my attention this winter. The release date could have something to do with how much i like this album. It came out at a very gloomy dark time here in Scotland and i think somehow that feeling channelled into the album on the first listen and i’ve been hooked since.

1. A Place To Bury Strangers – Exploding Head

What can i say about A Place To Bury Strangers that i haven’t already said before on this site. They are the undisputed Lords of Noise.  “Exploding Head” didn’t exactly mark a change in direction or indeed progression from their debut album but why change something when it sounds this good. From the opening track right through till the last second of feedback is squeezed out of Ackermanns pedal this album is a sonic assault. Sure, it’s laced with lyrics of a heartbreak, betrayal and love. It’s wrapped up in a bubble of delay and reverb. It’s pushed along by a rhythm section that came straight from outer space. But most of all it’s consistent. It never stops for breath. It’s just track after track of classic shoegaze.

S.I.T Wolf  X

ps. later this week i’m going to stick up a quick post including some of my friends lists of their Top 5 albums of 2009. I think it’ll be nice to get a few different outlooks on the music of 2009. Feel free to leave your own opinions on what you believe were the Top 5 albums of last year.


Filed under best of 2009