Monday, 6 December 2010

The Mind Pilot have an essay by Haruki Murakami.

The Mind Pilot

Haruki Murakami has a thought provoking essay up on

Friday, 9 April 2010

Interview: NRWO

Florida band NRWO (Nothing Rhymes With Orange) are all set to release their second LP 'The Happiness Struggle' in the UK on May 4th. I caught up with Rich Coccaro to find about a little about the history of the band and to see what we can expect from the album.

How did you guys start out?

When I first started playing I didn't think about joining or starting a band, it kind of just happened. Carl was doing some singing on his own, he always wanted to sing in the band that I was trying to put together.. I wouldn't let him.. I told him he sounded and looked too much like that Bono dude.. Eventually after years of abuse and nagging, I gave in.. from then on we just started writing songs..

The both of us started getting into music and following bands at a very young age. My first show was The Police - Syncronicity Tour. Probably shouldn't have told you that because now you have an idea of how old I am.. Well I was about four or five.. Yeah, I made my dad take me.. That was kinda of the starting point. My first show was in a stadium and I was five.. that says it all..We've always had the mentality of writing BIG songs that could hold up in a stadium or an arena and I think that is reflective of the bands that we grew up listening to. I mean it's a bit more diverse these days but growing up with The Smiths, Oasis, u2, even Springsteen and Petty.. So that's where we've always wanted to go..

How does this record differ from your previous offering, 'Hello Mysterious'?

It's much better! That's the biggest difference I think..I wanted this album to be about songs that are simple and honest. I lent a hand in the writing a bit and tried to get Carl to go in a different direction from the past record. There were a lot of obscure references and I, as I'm sure most, had a problem connecting with. We were trying to be a band that we were not or will ever be and I don't even know what band that is..I think we've always had a much more understanding of what kind of band we don't want to be then the band we want to be. So With this album it was the two of us with an acoustic guitar taking personal experiences, stories, things that happened on a daily basis, relationships, etc. you know the usual, and just letting it go. This is how it is..

You're influenced by a lot of British bands. What do you think British bands offer than American bands don't?

I’m really not sure. Not to say that America doesn't have a ton of great bands I just think Britain has more. To me it's about great songs and less about who can be the most successful, make the most money in the shortest time. I think there is more longevity with bands from the UK. Primarily because I think the songwriting is better and the fans connect more with those types of bands..

You've supported the likes of RHCP and Doves, how did that feel?

It was good. Anytime you get an opportunity to play with bands that have inspired you in some way, it makes the shows that much more exciting. Also keeps us on top of our game. If we're supporting an act of that size, we better not suck!

What have you got planned for the rest of the year?

With the release of The Happiness Struggle, we'll be heading back to the UK in August. Then hopefully a follow up tour in the states, and then hopefully a follow up to that tour in the UK, then back to the states... I don't want to go home, I'd rather just live on the road. Well maybe a week or two back home would be nice.. and I say that now but a month into it and I'll probably want to be back home doing nothing..

How has British reaction to you differed from in the US?

The reaction so far has been pretty much the same all around, which is good and surprising. I think it's still a bit early to know for sure but we're hoping both sides take a liking.. We've always focused more on the UK because we just felt it was a better place to get our music
across.. As I mentioned before I just think there's more of an appreciation for music in Britain. If it's takes a while to break America then so be it..I think America needs their music spoon fed to them, so if that's the case, we'll do it. One at a time if need be. You always hear about bands breaking the UK before the US. Take Kings Of Leon. Perfect example.

What 3 tracks of yours should we track down and love?

Headlines And Deadlines
Escaping Hell
The Happiness Struggle...
and the rest of the album..

There's a place in Wales called Blorenge, which does rhyme with Orange. Does this make you sad?

I actually think I've heard that before.. but no it doesn't make me sad. If anything, glad. Because now maybe we can change the name of the band.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Destined for Stardom

Bands have been using the new wave of social media to enhance their status for years now; its most famous child perhaps being Arctic Monkeys, who raced to the fastest sales for a British debut album back in 2006. Now, however, social media has a new Queen. Noush Skaugen is probably the most famous female solo artist that you've never heard of and, remarkably, despite her unsigned status she's racked up a staggering 1.2million followers on Twitter (which is especially impressive when you consider that people like Stephen Fry have 1.3million).

Born in Sweden to a Swedish mother and Persian Father, Noush has split her time between Sweden, France, the US and London, completing a law degree at Warwick University in the process. After gaining some musical success she decided not to follow a career in law and having gathered more support through podcasting and Myspace Noush released her debut EP 'Palomino' in 2007. This in turn led to prestigious prizes in the form of 'Alternative Pop Artist of the Year' at the 17th Annual LA Music Awards, and 'National Independent Rock EP of the Year' at The Hollywood Music Awards. She then followed this up with her first full lenth album, 'Lost and Found' in 2008.

Her rise seems to show no signs of stoppng and, after becomming the most popular unsigned artist on Twitter, she became the first unsigned artist to be invited to perform a live-streamed showcase from Twitter's San Francisco HQ earlier this month. On top of this she's had a successful slot at this years SXSW, has toured with the likes of Nine Inch Nails, TV On The Radio, Paramore, R.E.M., Joss Stone and The Mars Volta. Now with a new album due for release in the spring Noush is releasing 'Run Baby Run', her new single, in May, which you can see below. The video is a further example of the lengths that Noush goes to to connect with her fans; she recorded it especially as a thank you after reaching one million fans on her Twitter.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Cerebral Topography 101

One of my favourite records is Steve Allen's ‘How To Think’. Allen was a polymath and glittering star of American radio and television culture. How to think is in many ways a precursor to later advisory records such as ‘Wear Sunscreen’. “Use words carefully” or “Look for the evidence” are just two of the observations Allen makes for having an empathic, universal human understanding. Allen also has an innate ability of embedding and encoding each of these instructional observations within a beautiful suite of compositions that are the ultimate in easy-listening, while simultaneously mapping and explaining the psychic territory, inner mechanisms and cerebral topography of the human brain. You can hear it too via this link… Steve Allen - “How To Think” LP (ZIP file)

Thursday, 18 March 2010

New Video - Burns - So Many Nights

This is a pretty special track from a guy I'm sure we're going to be hearing a lot more of in 2010 - Burns.

Nice French-house influenced loops with some phat beats on a Justice tip, this will make your willy wet.

It’s out exclusively on Beatport now:

Physical release is on April 19.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

New Video - Hot Chip - I Feel Better

The new video by Hot Chip is here, and it's directed by the genuis that is Peter Serafinowicz. Like all the best videos (John & Edward) it's both funny and a bit scary. Enjoy...

Hot Chip - I Feel Better

Hot Chip | MySpace Music Videos

I found FOUND...

One of the reasons I moved from Edinburgh to London was a frustration at the lack of a music scene, or venues that could attract established bands to come and play. It seems a little like the city is giving me the finger then, to find that a nascent scene has developed in the three years since I left. Maybe I was the millstone round its neck, who knows? Frankly, I'm sure you don't really care, and I don't blame you.

The point is there are now number of great bands doing the rounds in Edinburgh, one of the most interesting of which is FOUND. Their latest album 'Found Can Move' covers almost every genre short of appalachian yodelling, so instead of me giving you an arbitrary checklist of labels, I suggest instead you click the link below to their bandcamp page, stream their album for free, love it, then buy it.

You can thank me (or indeed them) later.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Live Review - A Genuine Freakshow - Bush Hall, 25.02.2010

As I made my way around Shepherd's Bush Green, en route to Bush Hall, it was throwing it down. It'd been raining for what seemed like all day and I bemoaned another typically damp and cold February. On arrival at the venue it was clear that the inclement weather had dampened the clothes but not the spirits of those who'd braved the journey out.

Firstly, a quick sentence or two about our four support acts of the night. Our Lost Infantry's young, fiery, guitar-driven indie follows in the footsteps of the likes of We Were Promised Jetpacks. They're not quite there yet but they're not that far away either. Next, Bright Spark Destroyer took to the stage. It's an odd thing to say that a band can be overtly nice but that's what happened here. Drawing influence from the late Radiohead should be a good thing but, with wide-eyes and fixed smiles, what could be interesting on record falls a little short of the mark live.

The Gadsdens

Following were The Gadsdens . During their set my girlfriend summed them up pretty well: "They're like Maroon 5, who are obviously shit. But, like Maroon 5, there's also something undeniably catchy about them."

After Our Lost Infantry's gaggle of fans/friends (easily the largest of the night -- for some reason) vacated the area in front of the stage for either the bar or the door it was the turn of A Genuine Freakshow. More fool those who, having fulfilled mates' duties, decided to leave.

As a slight, bespeckled Timothy Sutcliffe and co. took to the stage they held an intangible confidence that marked them out tonight's first 'proper' band. Their pacy, purposeful set was full of energy, menace and confidence. With a line-up including violin, cello and trumpet -- alongside the staple guitar, drums, bass -- it's refreshing to see that takes these extra instruments further than just atmospheric padding -- here they often lead melody with guitars left to create beds of distortion, atmosphere or tremolo picked chaos. When you Sutcliffe's vocals to the mix -- which err on the acrobatic -- the band's sound brings to mind the likes of Grammatics or Mew.

Tonight's performance is solid, as is the material. With a tour currently underway it should only be a matter of time before A Genuine Freakshow fly above the radar.

If you head over to A Genuine Freakshow's MySpace you can download a four-track EP for free.

Sway Delivers New Mixtape

UK hip hop star Sway has just popped his latest mixtape into that virtual postbox that is the World Wide Web and, since the Royal Mail haven't been entrusted with its delivery, here is...'The Delivery Mixtape'

Fans of Sway will know his mixtapes are nothing but the highest quality and often eclipse his official releases and this can be yours in exchange for your 'deets', your 'digits' or, indeed, your contact details from Sway's website.

He's also keen to get your feedback on Twitter - just mark your tweets FAO @Sway_Dcypha...

Thursday, 25 February 2010

New Ghibli film in cinemas

"Time goes slow in the place of work, minutes drag and the hours jerk", so rapped Joe Strummer on 'The Magnificent Seven'. I can see where he is coming from, frankly. Although (or perhaps because) it is the closest day to Spring London has seen this yearl; hence more light than usual is streaming through the window of my office, I am interminably fucking bored.

There is, however, a little chink of joy piercing through the gloom, and that chink happens to be in the shape of a goldfish called Ponyo. The latest film from Studio Ghibli is in cinemas now, and it tells the story of a friendship between Ponyo and a little boy called Sosuke. In typical Ghibli fashion though, Ponyo is a magical fish who decides to turn into a little girl and also has the responsibility of saving her new friend from an angry sea. Having never seen a Miyazaki production on the big screen, I am determined to put that right with Ponyo. Check the trailer below and feel all warm and fuzzy inside...

Monday, 22 February 2010

Souvaris and Sincabeza Combine For 'Clown Jazz'

Tomorrow sees the release of a rather wonderful new EP on the rather wonderful Gringo Records label.  'Clown Jazz' is an Anglo-French meeting of the minds over intens, instrumental, noisy, abstract pop with Nottingham's Souvaris teaming up again with touring partners of the past four years, Bordeaux's Sincabeza.

It is now some three years since Souvaris' sophomore LP 'A Hat' and the two new songs on 'Clown Jazz' ('Great Scott' and 'Hello, Antelope') hint at an impressive new groove-driven direction for the third album they are currently working on.

You can check out some sneak previews over at now or you can try our exclusive downloads below of Souvaris' 'Great Scott' and Sincabeza's 'Malalido' which open and close the EP respectively.  Don't say we're not good to you, now!

Souvaris / Sincabeza - 'Clown Jazz EP' (Gringo Records)
1. Souvaris - 'Great Scott'
2. Souvaris - 'Hello Antelope'
3. Sincabeza - 'Bacalacola'
4. Sincabeza - 'Facile a Compter'
5. Sincabeza - 'Malalido'

You can buy 'Clown Jazz' on 12" direct from Gringo Records by clicking here.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Warner to pull out of Spotify?

Warner Music has said it will stop licensing its content to ad-funded streaming services like Spotify, We7 and Lastfm.

Surely this is a backwards step to be taking just weeks after Spotify has been publicly backed by Universal and its premium service has achieved its target of signing up 10% of its users in all but two of the countries it is operating in. I suspect the chairman of Warner has lost his nerve ahead of the imminent US launch of the site. If he really didn’t want to bet the farm on streaming services, why not introduce get-out clauses into Universal’s participation if the US product does not do as well as Spotify hope. The US was always going to be the key market for Spotify, so to cancel on the eve of its launch makes Warner look pathetic, especially when, as yet, none of the other majors look set to follow suit.

Warner, and every other music label, need to wake up to the fact that there is a generation who consider the traditional model of buying albums as a ludicrous, they should be doing all they can to support services like Spotify and make them into viable business models if they are really serious about putting an end to illegal music downloads. It’s interesting to note that Warner chief executive Edgar Bronfman Junior’s alternative to Spotify is to “promote services that require payment”, maybe I’m missing something here, but isn’t that what he is denying Spotify the chance to become?

Like it or not Ed, some people will never pay for music, they are douchebags, but what can you do? Well, for a start you could try and wring some value out of those who sign up for free streaming services but don’t actually buy music. A sizeable proportion of that group will probably buy music merchandise or gig tickets, so why not make it a condition of the free streaming service that users receive say, five emails a week, about tours/merchandise of the 10 bands they stream the most music by. The success of Bandcamp has already proved that people are willing to give their details to a scheme like this to get access to streaming services. This wouldn’t be too difficult to implement either; if google can pin down search demographics involving the whole internet for advertisers to exploit, surely a streaming music site can do so within its own domain.

In short Eddie my man, the way people consume music is changing, and you can’t stop that process, what you can do is deal with the cards you are dealt and make some money from the changes. In case you are reading, I have attached a link to the bandcamp website below so you can see what an innovative web music portal looks like. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

We Need Answers Spawns No More Women

BBC4 devotees should be quite familiar with the trio of Mark Watson, Tim Key and Alex Horne, the three-headed monster host of We Need Answers - the most outlandish TV quiz since the heady days of Channel 4's Remote Control in the early 1990s. Every Tuesday they invite two celebrities of varying quality to fathom out the responses to the 'wackiest' questions sent to text answering services - including those concerning themselves. Outraged Daily Mail readers should look away now as, not only have the BBC thrown licence-payers' money at such a vehicle (and not at something nice like My Family or The Green Green Grass) but they've even allowed them to come up with the only game show even less intelligible. Try it, it's fun!

Eagle-eyed viewers may recognise Tim (on the right) as the bloke from the Strongbow advert who is left paralysed and oblivious by the sheer taste of his first sip of fresh cider, but we won't hold that against him. He's also been at the helm of several popular stage shows, the excellent Radio 4 shows Cowards and All Bar Luke and has an amazing second life as 'poet' Tim Key. Mark's no slouch either: he famously runs 24 hour comedy performances, has had success on Radio 4 and 5 and has three published books to his name. Currently he is wetting himself on Twitter at the prospect over turning 30. Alex Horne (playing the commentator) is something of a multimedia expert, providing idiosyncratic graphics for the trio's endeavours as well as his own live shows including his current tour 'Wordwatching' which comes highly recommended and is also available in book form.

Blog off

Do you listen to music anymore? Properly listen to it? Obviously the sound passes through your ears, but does the meat inbetween even acknowledge it? Do you have a problem identifying when you are musically full? The experience of listening to, buying and owning music has been dramatically changed over the last decade by the internet. There has been much talk of how the churn of blogs and internet hype-makers have accelerated the life-cycle of a band/artist to something approaching that of a mayfly, but everyone seems to be missing an important part of this equation; the listener.

All over the world, sweaty fingers are clicking on mice and eyes are dilating as we speak, heralding a new kind of hypocrisy, one we can all believe-in and look up to. A new species of music fan is emerging in the post-physical product age of music consumption, the hoarder. Typically, the hoarder will have a finger in every stylistic pie around, and will spend hours trawling blogs to find rapidshare links to steal newly-released albums before the labels can catch up and flag them as copyright infringement. It’s like file-sharing version of one of those board games where you have to whack a rat as soon as its head pops up through the hole, except the one who really gets whacked is the artist. Often, the hoarder will also display an at best rudimentary understanding of reality by believing that the only people losing out financially through their actions are a few suits who own major labels. They may even have rationalised their actions to such a degree they will tell you what they are doing is part of a winnowing process for the majors, instigating a new model of musical consumption where artist and fan alike will be better off without the tyrannical influence of major labels. So that would be the pay-nothing model then?

In fact the exact opposite is true; major labels will probably continue to exist as long as music itself does, and they will always make money. The people that the hoarders are actually squeezing are the artists and small, independent labels that they profess to love. This is not an argument of legality, this is a matter of not shitting on your doorstep, not fucking the things you claim to love There is less justification for downloading music illegally now than there ever has been, it is now possible to listen to almost any album free through ad-funded sites such as Spotify or We7. This is evolution of the best kind; labels and artists recognising a new revenue source which pulls the rug from those who feel it anathema to actually pay to listen to music on demand. There you go guys, now you don’t have to, as long as you can recognise you don’t have a god-given right to actually own the stuff without showing the dollar.

Except this isn’t enough for our friend the hoarder, driven by an arms-race lust to have more and more new music (more than they could ever listen to or appreciate) they hit up the blogs daily for the latest fix, every day taking more money from the hands of people who don’t have much to start with. Were the pirate-link blogs filled with stuff that people with only a passing interest in music would go for, their existence might be more understandable, but they’re not. There are no links to download the new Gaga album, or Britney’s new record, instead it’s the Autechres and Magnetic Fields of this world who are receiving the dubious honour of “fans” being desperate not to pay to own their work. In any other form of culture piracy is looked down-upon, especially when it is hurting the artists at the bottom of the pile most, but the hoarders have developed a curious self-aggrandising where they feel theft is actually ahead of the curve and everyone else needs to catch up to their insight. I wonder if that line of thought would fly down my local Tesco…While I ponder being arrested for stuffing a pack of supernoodles down my trousers, if you don’t already use it, check out the link for we 7 below.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Looking To Size Up Your Crowds? Simples!

You know the feeling.  You desperately want to catch a casual ten minutes furtively glancing at images of young,  men grappling and grasping, seizing and squeezing, sweltering and sweat-drenched.  While some sites may offer you a handful from the same venue there has, up until now, been nowhere for the moshpit enthusiast to, to borrow an annoying lyric, "go compare".

Now, thanks to, you can compare moshpits at any time of the day or night - yes Mr Henderson, not just on your Friday night off!  Simply head over to the excellent and start rating now.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Listen - Gil Scott Heron 'I'm New Here'

Social commentary and beautiful music are rarely intertwined as beautifully as when Gil Scott-Heron steps up to the plate. Taking the template that Marvin Gaye laid down on 'What's Goin' On' and running with it has been one of the hallmarks of Heron's long career (along, unfortunately, with run-ins with the law).

But please put his past indiscretions (and successes, which can be just as heavy a burden) aside and give this album a listen - it really is rather special.

Review - Deadmau5 At Play Vol.2

It's very easy to be snooty about artists such as Deadmau5. If you are one of those people who class themselves as an EDM purist, it's easy to write him off, and criticise him for trying to take the dance floor into the arena, a lot like the vastly-inferior stadium-dance plodders Pendulum.

But write Joel Zimmerman off at your peril, because one thing is true about this fella - he knows his way around a 4/4. This is a masterclass in house music from start to finish, and sure, whilst it's not got the kick or the tough streak of quality that 'I Remember' or 'Ghosts 'n' Stuff' had, there are more than a few keepers in here that you can drop into your sets with ease ('Attention Whore' and 'This Is Also The Hook' being standout tracks).

This is house music that gives you a slap around the face. This is house music to make your bum clench. This is a decent odds and sods compilation.

Have a listen below and let us know what you think... I think it's a 7/10

'Deadmau5 - At Play Vol.2' is available on March 22nd on Play Records

Not Squares - Asylum

'Asylum', Not Squares' debut single, opens with a punch right in your ears delivered by a fist full of drums. Then, before you've had a chance to clear the stars orbiting your head, you're placed in the middle of dance floor and instructed to do one thing and one thing only: dance fucker!

Filthy bass, frenetic drums and angular guitar riffs propel this thrash disco beast out of the blocks at a pace that doesn't let up until its four and a half minutes have expired and you're finding yourself short of breath, the only respite being a breakdown of anthemic chanting and four to the floor kick drum.

Asylum gets a digital release on The Richter Collective on March 1st.

Not Squares - Asylum from Bright Stem on Vimeo.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Pavement Announce Best of Tracklisting

That tracklisting for Pavement's new retrospective 'Quarantine the Past' is in.  The album, which is released by Domino on 8th March, features a generous twenty three tracks with pretty much all you'd expect present and correct.

Pavement - 'Quarantine the Past (The Best of Pavement)'
1. 'Gold Soundz'
2. 'Frontwards'
3. 'Mellow Jazz Docent'
4. 'Stereo'
5. 'In The Mouth A Desert'
6. 'Two States'
7. 'Cut Your Hair'
8. 'Shady Lane / J vs. S'
9. 'Here'
10. 'Unfair'
11. 'Grounded'
12. 'Summer Babe (Winter Version)'
13. 'Range Life'
14. 'Date w/ IKEA'
15. 'Debris Slide'
16. 'Shoot The Singer (1 Sick Verse)'
17. 'Spit On A Stranger'
18. 'Heaven Is A Truck'
19. 'Trigger Cut / Wounded-Kite At :17'
20. 'Embassy Row'
21. 'Box Elder'
22. 'Unseen Power Of The Picket Fence'
23. 'Fight This Generation'

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Video: Ocelot - Our Time

How To Get Ahead In The Music Industry - A&R Edition

Is this what the inner-sanctum of the music industry is really like? Yes and no.

Brilliant slice of juvenile pisstaking here from Louis Gaston of The Streetlife DJs - check the comments section below for a few comments from popular DJs.

But just remember - it's on spec, yeah? And if you get offended there's probably something wrong with the way you do 'business'...

Friday, 22 January 2010

Where's My Tie?

I'm sure you've probably seen all of these around London and the rest of the UK, but if not, check out this Holy Moly article, and this website, where you can *ahem* amend David Cameron's totally fucking nausiating poster campaign.

It made me laugh, mainly because it makes an insincere moron look even more stupid. Simple really.

Make yours here.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

The Gorillaz Are Back - Check Out This Cool Little Widget

The Gorillaz return after a long hiatus this March with their new album, and as is increasingly the norm these days, there is a pretty slick social media campaign going on to promote it.

I love this sort of shit - I love it when bands and labels actually make an effort to do something interesting, something different with an album release. Maybe I'm just a major label shill, but I'd rather have some big and brassy campaign like this, with plenty of interesting twists and turns, than another fucking email saying that some dreadful dance-rock outfit is playing at The Slug and Lettuce, who have been signed by some fart-sniffing bedroom indie label. But I digress...

Here's the tracklist for y'all:

Plastic Beach (2010)

1. Orchestral Intro (featuring Sinfonia ViVA)

2. Welcome To The World Of The Plastic Beach (feat. Snoop Dogg and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)

3. White Flag (feat. Kano, Bashy and The National Orchestra For Arabic Music)

4. Rhinestone Eyes

5. Stylo (feat. Bobby Womack and Mos Def)

6. Superfast Jellyfish (feat. Gruff Rhys and De La Soul)

7. Empire Ants (feat. Little Dragon)

8. Glitter Freeze (feat. Mark E Smith)

9. Some Kind Of Nature (feat. Lou Reed)

10. On Melancholy Hill

11. Broken

12. Sweepstakes (feat. Mos Def & Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)

13. Plastic Beach (feat. Mick Jones & Paul Simonon)

14. To Binge (feat. Little Dragon)

15. Cloud Of Unknowing (feat. Bobby Womack and Sinfonia ViVA)

16. Pirate Jet

You can follow Murdoc on Twitter here.

And you can pick up a neat little Gorillaz widget here. No doubt it's going to have a host of neat little features popping up on it over the next month, including the eagerly-awaited video for the single 'Stylo', and a few podcasts.


Not so Smashing Pumpkins

The Smashing Pumpkins have released the second song, 'Widow Wake My Mind', from the 44 track album Teargarden By Kaleidyscope. News of a new Pumpkins release is fast becoming more nerve-wracking than playing Russian roulette in the middle of a particularly bad acid trip.

Anyone with any interest in the band will be well aware of the massive limitations of Zeitgeist, and the first release from Teargarden... 'Song For A Sun' is absolutely diabolical, something akin to Phil Collins attempting to rip off Led Zeppelin. So what of the new song? Well, the good news is its not terrible, but on the other hand, the best thing you could say for it is that sounds like a very mediocre B-side from the Gish era. ‘Widow Wake My Mind’ is faintly psychedelic, with a decent approximation of the SP knack for a triumphant solo. The piano break in the bridge and lyric about “crawling into my heart” are a bit cringe-worthy, and the track is undeniably lightweight, but overall it’s not bad- and almost certainly better than anything from Zeitgeist.

Musicians like Billy Corgan inspire a particular kind of hero-worship among their fan base, the longer the career; the more this effect is amplified. When a band has such an excellent catalogue of albums stretching over the length of time the Pumpkins do, the albums become more than great pieces of art, they become soundtracks to the fans formative years. They become a trusted friend- always on hand to celebrate the highs and sympathise with the lows. So when the inevitable decline happens, to the long-time fan it feels like more than a band releasing a bad record; it feels like a slap in the face to the band’s legacy, to the fan’s very memories. No-one expects artists to go on making wonderful music forever, but when things do start to go downhill, the clamour for them to bow out gracefully becomes intense.

The plan for Teargarden By Kaleidyscope is to release every one of the 44 songs online for free as it is written, with a physcial boxset to buy when all the tracks have been released, so its seems obvious that Billy Corgan is not willing to fade into the night anytime soon. And, being honest, we shouldn’t really expect him to, its entirely unfair to want someone to just stop make making music because it doesn’t live up to an existing fanbase’s expectations, but the frustration at one member (Corgan) putting out shonky material under the Pumpkins banner with none of the other original members involved is much easier to sympathise with. Having used Zwan and his own name to release music in the past (both of which were considerably better than the current Pumpkins material) why has he now decided that he can justify being the sole proprietor of the Pumpkins legacy?

Sadly, this kind of ego-driven behaviour rarely works out well in a musical sense. There are countless examples of the singer of a much-loved band going on to make highly dubious musical decisions without the input of any of the band’s original members; Axl Rose’s Chinese Democracy debacle being one recent instance that springs painfully to mind. The Smashing Pumpkins haven’t yet plumbed those depths, and despite myself I can’t help but like ‘Widow Wake My Mind’ a little bit. With 42 songs from Teargarden By Kaleidyscope still to go, it may even turn out to be an excellent album, stranger things have happened. The part of me that treasures Gish, Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness however, fears that the best days of Billy Corgan, and The Smashing Pumpkins, are long gone.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Free Downloads From Feeder Side Project!

I've always had a soft spot for indie rockers Feeder, with 'Buck Rogers' and 'Insomnia' in particular being two tracks that managed to fill my adolescent years with plenty of air guitar moments at indie discos. That sounds naff, doesn't it - but you get the point.


Have some big, power-chord magic on us, courtesy of Grant and Taka's new side project, Renegades!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Free Download - Ocelot 'Our Time (Bird Peterson Remix)'

Coming to you loud and clear from the wilds of Texas and, er, Leeds, Ocelot are James Welsh and Cory Kilduff, and they are pretty fucking good.

The duo first met when Jimmy – from Leeds - was in Texas on a BMX holiday with friends and hooked up with Cory and his hardcore band The Rise. On his return to the UK Jimmy started sending Cory remixes of The Rise tracks via iChat and after the band had toured the UK, with Jimmy acting as tour manager, they asked him to become a full time electronic member of the band.

When The Rise ceased to be, Jimmy and Cory continued to make music over the Internet, from Leeds to Austin. These new tunes, while influenced by their more technical rock background, would take a more electro-pop, house and techno direction - Ocelot was born.

Ocelot first came to prominence for their remixes, with several high profile re-rubs to their credit: Muse Knights of Cydonia, Royksopp Girl & The Robot, Dragonette Competition, The Killers Human and Robyn Be Mine, amongst them.

They’ve had notable props from Franki Chan’s IHEARTCOMIX label ,that rose to prominence during the blog house surge – on of the premier labels in West Coast electro in 2008/09.

Now signed to legendary dance label Wall Of Sound in the UK, Ocelot will release their debut long player in early 2010.

Download 'Our Time (Bird Peterson Remix)' here now!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Review - Radioclit Presents 'Saga Africa'

It's difficult to try and explain how interesting and forward thinking electronic music can be when there are so many moronic records in the charts under the banner. Which is whay it's aways reafreshing to hear something fresh from an act such as Radioclit.

The Saga Africa EP is a Radioclit-helmed compilation of tracks themed around Africa, featuring a few up & coming producers like Douster, Myd & Lazy Flow. It's tribal fidgety madness, and my personal favourite is 'King of Africa' by Douster, which contains a sample you may recognise.

Check it out - I think it's brilliant, I just want to know what you think about it now.


Free Download - Ali Love 'Love Harder'

Some of you out there may remember Ali Love from his vocals for The Chemical Brothers on their 2007 hit single 'Do It Again'. Some of you may recognise him as the Hackney street urchin who penned the Sigue Sigue Sputnik-meets-The Ramones goodness of his debut single 'K-Hole'. Either way, he's been around a bit, and after a couple of years in the wilds of East London drinking in his first love, the one that his last record label didn't really want to be revealed - his love of electronica and disco. And you can download his new single here, now for FREE!

Hot on the heels of his low-key single release "Diminishing Returns", Ali is back in February with "Love Harder", his first proper single and a scintillating teaser of his brand new album, to be released in spring 2010. Look out for remixes from Prins Thomas, Jaymo & Andy George and Mighty Mouse, but in the meantime, download the extended original mix here now, let us know what you think, and enjoy the Italo house vibes!

Friday, 8 January 2010

BBC Name Top 5 Ones to Watch in 2010

The BBC Sound of 20xx poll has been runniung since 2003 and has successfully predicted some of the biggest names in pop over the coming twelve months on many occasions.  Of course, this mere association and pre-release hype does wonders for a fledgling act, but none can deny that there is the raw talent to back up these claims for the most part.  Well, I guess we won't mention The Bravery or Sadie Ama...

This year's poll result is in, collating the views of over one hundred critics and broadcasters (i.e. the best of whatever was on their desk in December) and the top five looks like this.

1. Ellie Goulding
2. Marina and the Diamonds
3. Delphic
4. Hurts
5. The Drums

So, these are the artists to hit the blogs for now - ensuring your iPod is the one most lauded in February and most criticised come November.

Interestingly the BBC describe winner Ellie Goulding's sound as as "If Kate Bush, Bjork and Stevie Nicks shared a flat in trendy Shoreditch in 2010, this noise would emerge."

Three middle-aged women living in a flat in Shoreditch? Sounds more like a modern, musical pitch on the Golden Girls - now if they can just convince Duffy to join them I think the BBC might have a true winner here.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Serena-Maneesh Return With New Sound

Norweigian psychedelic rock stars Serena-Maneesh have been incredibly quiet since their self-titled debut hit these shores in 2006 backed up with what was, for me anyway, a memorable performance at that year's Reading Festival.  Now they return holding an album five years in the making (and recorded in a cave of all places) with what sounds like a surprisingly new electronic, almost jazz-like sound.  Imagine Muse with no major label obligations, a little more imagination and a total disregard for radio play and you might just be there...

'S-M 2: Abyss in B Minor' is released through their new label, the legendary 4AD, on March 22nd and features eight new tracks including the rather wonderful 'Ayisha Abyss' which the label are offering up as a taster (they're very good like that).

Serena-Maneesh - 'S-M 2: Abyss in B Minor'
1. 'Ayisha Abyss'
2. 'I Just Want to See Your Face'
3. 'Reprobate!'
4. 'Melody for Jaana'
5. 'Blow Yr Brains in the Mourning Rain'
6. 'Honeyjinx'
7. 'D.I.W.S.W.T.T.D.'
8. 'Magdalena (Symphony #8)'

Link: Serena-Maneesh Profile at Culturedeluxe

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Panacea Release Free Download EP

This is a bit embarrassingly behind the times, (the thing was actually released in October 2009, civilisations have risen and fell in the blogosophere between then and now), but one of my favourite hip-hop groups have decided to give away their latest EP for free. Panacea's 'Corkscrew Gaps' EP is a collection of rarities, remixes and tracks which didn't fit on to their last couple of albums, and the whole thing is available to download absolutely free.

Anyone who likes conscious & chilled beats with hefty jazz influences should get their digital ass to the link and video below.