It seems that whenever the economy takes a bad turn electro-pop comes creeping back out of the woodwork. Wave Machines’ debut album ‘Wave If You’re Really There’ is one of many recession-electro releases that we’re to be subjected to this year. Its not all bad news though, this release might just have enough great dance tracks to stand out from the crowd.
Posthumous Success is Tom Brosseau’s eighth album in four years and I have not been able to get it out of my head. A prolific songwriter and performer, as well as a writer of stories and other musings on his blog (tombrosseau.com/blog), the North Dakotan clearly has a lot to say, but his music is remarkably uncluttered and beautiful.
Caught in the middle of great expectations, Dirty Projectors’ new album could have fallen into the overly neurotic avant-garde and polyrhythmic experimentation patterns. It could definitely have happened, considering the Yale intellectual and artsy character of frontman David Longstreth, prone to fidgety, discordant, shrieking echoes and glitchy tunes. Yet, with Bitte Orca, he has managed to make his music approachable but still challenging, violent but still harmonious, tribal but still classical in layers.
Near Legendary indie folk troubadour Cass McCombs delivers another catchy, yet still somehow morbid slice of storytelling with the first single off his fourth album, Catacombs. As the song starts, McCombs voice alone is breathtakingly raw and powerful, sounding particularly dark in contrast to the upbeat music it’s laid over.
There’s a moment that most of us would have to confess to living at least one point in our lives, when it becomes startlingly apparent that you have pushed the boat out too far with the ‘state-altering’ substances. It’s that incredibly uncomfortable moment where you start to feel disconnected from the world going on around you. You feel as though you have been submerged underwater and all sound has become slightly muffled and distant. The night suddenly feels wrong and all the people around you enjoying themselves are monsters. The worst thing is that you know there is no way out, no quick fix answer to bring yourself back from the brink.
Despite the venue being a small town pub, the atmosphere for the evening’s show is excellent. After the obligatory local bands The Agitator, Derek Meins’ and Robert Dylan Thomas’ new project, take to the stage. Right from the outset the duo amaze any new listeners present, making a fair few of them jump on walking through the doors. The ferocity of Meins’ onstage personality creates an enthralled silence that’s extremely refreshing. The Agitator fluctuate between the soulful and outright outrageous creating a stir amongst the ever growing audience.
It’s not often that you arrive at the venue and see the band you’ve come to see walking just a few steps ahead, guitars strapped on and using the same doors as you to get in.
OK, so I’ve arrived pretty late (“as per usual”, my friends will tell you) but Charles and Rebecca, better known as Slow Club, start their headline ICA show standing at the back of the hall, from where they launch into an acoustic, unamplified version of ‘Wild Blue Mile’, with their fans circled in reverential silence around them.
Wedding Present bass player Terry de Castro’s debut solo album is a collection of cover versions written by her friends. The songs, which are not necessarily by well-known or famous artists, are recast by Terry on steel guitar and banjo to create a low-key, distinctly American feel.
The Union Chapel was bedecked with mildly disturbing papier mache animals, swirling waves, giant trees and sugar paper bunting in the shapes of autumn leaves for Willkommen’s coming out gig at the Union Chapel, where we were treated to the full range of the collective’s talents.
The beauty of Pagan Wanderer Lu isn’t that no two songs sound the same, it’s that no song ends the same as it begins with each track a miniature musical journey. And while your tour guide may be full of charming and witty anecdotes about places of local interest, driving the bus is an escapee from a high security institution coming down from a six week bender. Thus the energy of Fight My Battles For Me is motorway pile-up of musical styles and ideas.